Monday, September 28, 2009

It's Monday

I know it is technically fall, but man is it hot around here! Sunshine please go away. Blake and I are headed up to Sacramento to visit my parents. That means that the highs for the day are going to be in the 90's instead of our Bay Area 80's. How will I cope? I guess fall is all about waiting for the colors to change.

Since I won't be blogging too much in the next couple of days I am going to introduce my second family in my Mothering the World series.

Please meet Malia...

Question #1: What is your family heritage (cultural background)?
I'm Pacific Islander aka Polynesian...Tongan to be exact.

Question #2: Do the majority of mothers breastfeed or use formula (and why)?
99% of Tongan women breastfeed all the way up to almost 24 months. Reason why it has always been that way and formula is hard to come by considering it's a poor country and mothers prefer to breastfeed, it's more convenient for them.

Question #3: Where do family members sleep within the home?
They have their own bedrooms, mostly shared by siblings, but boys tend to move out of the rooms and sleep in the living rooms when they're around age 10 or older. Younger children though sleep in the parents room most times.

Question #4: What are the common roles of the mother vs. father?
Father's are the providers and protectors while the mother's main role is raising the children at home. They share in the discipline and enforcing of values but mothers tends to stay home to raise the children most of the time.

Question #5: What does a typical day look like for a mother?
From dusk till dawn her main focus is keeping the home in order, tending to the children, extended relatives, and maintaining the home.

Question #6: Who takes care of the children if the mother works outside of the home and how much does childcare cost
There is no cost for childcare if the mother works outside the home mainly because they have lots of relatives around who will help watch the children.

Question #7: What are the common discipline tactics used with children?
Spanking is actually not illegal in Tonga and consistent with teaching of daily values. Children do not see this as abuse and they grow up and respect their parents. Extended relatives and neighbors too will scold the child if they're misbehaving and it's acceptable with parents. They all participate in making sure the children are respectful. It's amazing how respectful children are in Tonga to their parents. They do not talk back when being scolded or told something to do. I wish children in America were more respectful of their parents like the children in Tonga.

Question #8: How does your culture perceive children?
Children are a gift and it's the parents responsibility to teach them values for their future. If a child grows up and ends up in a bad way parents see this as a failure of their parenting skills and are very embarrassed by it. People also do gossip about the family if a child misbehaves and parents don't like that so they enforce values early on in life.

Question #9: How does your culture show affection towards children?
They're very loving toward their children. There is daily praise if you have a good child and never ending scolding if a child misbehaves. Parents raise their children to be responsible grown ups when they get older.

Question #10: What are some typical games played with children or played amongst children?

Children mostly play outside with everyone else' children whether it be relatives or neighbors or children from the whole village. There is hop scotch, juggling contest, hide and seek, etc. From dawn children are outside interacting with other children. Parents do not always supervise them because they're very street smart and everyone watches out for everyone else's children. They practically know every family there so kidnapping, rape, murder, is almost unheard of. I was just there visiting this past summer after 20 years and was amazed by how relaxed life is there. There is an innocence there that I can never find here and I'm glad I took my 9 year old son there to experience that simple kind of life. There is no 24 hour TV, internet, or video games. Children are outside being children and entertain each other with whatever nature can offer. They are a poor country but they don't seem to notice that....they are just happy with whatever little life offers them that I envy. Growing up there I wouldn't trade my humble beginnings for the craziness of life here. My children are spoiled because they grew up different from me and I hope to take them to Tonga more often so they can appreciate things, people, and life a little more.

Thanks Malia for your great insight. I too agree that America has dropped the ball on teaching respect to children. I still don't understand why we, as a culture, find we are better off not teaching these skills. Societal norms are a hard force to reckon with.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Spacial Awareness

I love being around children who are Blake's age because they are slowly figuring out the rules of the world. The other day Blake tried to climb into the back of his play truck. He got so frustrated and I ended up having to take it away from him. Then at Andrew's parent's house he tried to stand on a tiny, toy scooter and make it work. It frustrated him again that the toy sunk into the carpet instead of doing what he thought it would do. You have to love the human brain.

So here is Blake trying once again to fit into the back of his truck.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mothering the World

Lately, my new pipe dream is to go back to school to study family life in different cultures. I am interested in all of the many ways people rear their children. I keep telling Andrew that when my kids are in school I am going to join one of those crazy graduate programs that will send me to live in the bush for six months. Instead of enrolling in classes, I thought it would be fun to contact people in my community to give me a head start into how their culture raises children. Each week I will showcase a new family so we can all learn how different cultures take on the task of parenting.

I am starting with an American family and will branch off to other cultures as the weeks progress.

Mother: Tasha

Question #1: What is your family heritage (cultural background)?

We are both "Americans."
I am 50% Swedish and 25% Native American and 25% of everything else. My husband and I are not quit sure what's all in there to be honest with you.

Question #2: Do the majority of mothers breastfeed or use formula (and why)?

I think this one in my perception goes 50/50. I think that here in the states it is quite common for both parents to work or if you are a single mother you have no choice but to work. I have known some mothers that continue to pump while they are working. I personally was able to be a stay at home mom and solely nursed until my son was around 6 months old. With our society here there is a really big push for breastfeeding because of the health benefits and the closeness. I think that the push goes a little too far at times and makes mothers feel guilty if they are not able to nurse or have chosen not to for their own personal reasons. I am speaking from experience here. I don't think any mother should feel guilty. All it comes down to is love. That is what our babies are going to remember growing up is if their parents loved them, not if they were breastfeed or not.

Question #3: Where do family members sleep within the home?

My son sleeps in his bedroom in his crib and my husband and I share a bed in our bedroom.

Question #4: What are the common roles of the mother vs. father?

My husband works out of the house at a 9-5 job. I take care of the home, baby, shopping, cooking, cleaning, bill paying. He is a great helper though when I need it.

Question #5: What does a typical day look like for a mother?

Get up about 1 hour before my son does and get some reading and realxing time before I start my busy day. Once he is up we have cuddle time and play for a bit. We eat our breakfast together and then it is back to playing. I try to get some things done during the day, toddler willing, and in between play time. He takes his 2 hour nap after lunch and then we start making dinner before daddy gets home at 4pm.

Question #6: Who takes care of the children if the mother works outside of the home and how much does childcare cost?

Daycare unless you have a close knit family support system that can help to care for the children. I am not sure what the childcare costs are since I have not had to use them yet. I have seen some pay between $8.00 to $15.00 per hour.

Question #7: What are the common discipline tactics used with children?

Time outs are a big one. At my son's age that does not work well yet since he is only 13 months old. We tell him no and try to redirect him to distract him from what he is doing. That seems to work well for now.

Question #8: How does your culture perceive children?

They think they are cute and adorable but everyone cringes when they think about their children becoming teenagers.

Question #9: How does your culture show affection towards children?

Awwww, oh how cute. Give a little squeeze to the cheeks. Hugs and kisses you know the typical.

Question #10: What are some typical games played with children or played amongst children?

Patty cake, peek-a-boo

Thanks Tasha and next week we will meet Malia from the Pacific Islands. If you know of anyone who might like to submit answers, email me at

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Baby #2

Here is baby #2. I swear it is a little boy and s/he looked just like Blake did. S/he moved around for us a little bit. Baby's intestines are on the outside of its body so our OB was a little concerned, but he said that they tend to go back inside. We have another ultrasound scheduled for week 13 so we will follow up on that. Who knew? Intestines and all, I love this baby.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Second Day in Capitola

The summer love story may have fizzled, but Miriam is that much better of a surfer. The friend of the "love interest" showed her the ropes yesterday so she was well taken care of.

She borrowed Andrew's old board and spent a couple of hours soaking up the surf:

There she is looking like a local (on the far right):

Blake and I were down the beach a bit where he could play in the waves. His favorite game was to hold two handfuls of sand and wait for the wave to come up. Once the wave came, he would throw the sand in and scream in delight. Ah, to be young again:

This morning I will drive Miriam back to Livermore so she can decide what to do with her last two weeks in the US. It was great having her and she will definitely leave with some surfer memories.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hitting the Beach

My friend Miriam is staying with us for a few days while she does another US trip (she is from Germany). I met her while I was a nanny and she was an AuPair in Livermore. Andrew took her surfing about a year ago so we decided to head to Capitola for a day at the beach.

Blake loves more friends at the beach:

A surfer guy fell in love with Miriam and decided to give her a "private" lesson on his board (this was more entertaining for me than any reality TV show!):

Blake loved watching all the surfers and kept trying to climb over the cliff to get into the ocean:

We are headed back for another day at the beach and hopefully Miriam will continue her love story with the California surfers (ah, to be young again).

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Pacific Grove Triathlon In Video Sequence

My apologies for the shaky cinematography (I was excited too)!

Starting the swim leg:

Once they finished the first lap, they had to run around a buoy on land and hop in the water to swim another lap:

Andrew out of the water and onto the bike portion:

Starting the bike leg:

First bike lap:

Second bike lap:

Third bike lap:

Warren biking:

Andrew finishing the bike leg:

Starting the run:

Rounding the first turnabout:

Last lap:

Andrew crossing the finish line:

Warren running:

Across the finish line:

You guys are awesome. Way to show us what the human body can do.

Mr. Andrew Hurst, Triathlete

Two years after thinking about doing a triathlon, Andrew finally completed his first Olympic distance triathlon. Coming in at 155th place out of 1500 ain't that bad! He swam almost a mile, biked 24 miles, and ran 6 miles all in 2 hours, 40 minutes. He came in 9th in his class for the swim, 30th in his class overall, and 137th out of all the men. Andrew's parents made a great cheering squad and Blake enjoyed the long day of triathlon activity. Onto the race.

We stayed here:

It was right on the course so we could cheer from our balcony:

The transition area the day before:

Andrew's space (#137):

Mmm...sweet treats:

6am race day:

Andrew got his markings and was ready to race:

Warren (Andrew's co-worker who spurred this all on) arriving for race day:

Andrew getting in his wetsuit:

Ready to swim the mile swim:

On your marks:

We cheered our brains out:

Daddy did it:

Warren did it too:

Good job to all the athletes who competed!

Ah, finally time to rest:


Watching TV after a long day's work:


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

On Sunday we all piled into the RV (David, Ellen, Sandy, Mia, Nick, Jessica, Andrew, myself, Blake, and Tobin) for a picnic near Yosemite. Ellen fed us the best fried chicken and other gourmet picnic food. They sure know how to do it! It was nice to breathe the fresh air and be amongst the grasshoppers and lizards.

Walking to the meadow:

We won't call it dry, we will call it end of summer gold:

Crossing the bridge:

Ellen and Tobin picking up trash on the walk:

Blake loving the sights and sounds:

Mia always being photographed:


Blake helping Tobin with the trash:

Nick being John Muir:

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Family Gathering

Walter's service was very peaceful and the weekend has been full of great stories and life celebration. The photo books are amazing and it is hard not to romanticize Walter's farming photographs. You can't say Walter didn't live a full, compassionate, or hearty life. Cheers to you Walter.

Here we are at Uncle Glen and Aunt Karen's:

Blake loved the caramel popcorn Aunt Shirley always brings:

Karen and Anne:

Myron and Erin:

Ellen describing photos to Angie:

The backyard setup:


The girls went for a shopping trip in Fresno. Megan drove us (along with Sandy and Shirley):

The next day there was work to be done on the patio at Ellen's house. Blake helped dig out some dirt and rocks. Shirley and Jessica worked their fingers to the bone:

Cleaning up at day's end:

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Blake Can Kick A Ball

Blake loves kicking balls now:

Blake also took a ride on Andrew's shoulders for the first time:

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My goat

I guess LuLu looks more like a goat when she is walking around. She got shaved and is much more fun to be around. Here she is next to her barn.
I've made the leap from Log Cabin syrup to real maple syrup. Log Cabin has long been a staple at my parent's house, but it is time for me to grow up and face the facts. Log Cabin is not real syrup.

The label caught my eye this last weekend when I was finishing the last drop of my last bottle (forever I swear). It says, "NOW! No high fructose corn syrup."

The first ingredient on the back is corn syrup. Wow, they think we are that dumb. So long Log Cabin, I am off to experience the world of maple trees.