Yes, we did it. We got a puppy. He’s such a sweet little bundle of joy and…what were we thinking?! I’m going to blame Maia. And Sarah, but mostly Maia. Maia began really wanting a baby pet last fall, and the answer has been no and no and no. But like all barriers over time, our resistance eroded with persistence, and Sarah began to crack first.
On my last work trip in mid-February I started getting texts of adorable puppies who were available on Craigslist and I knew it was the beginning of the end. Then on 2/20, Sarah said (in front of the kids), “Oh Papa, let’s just get one!” I thought for a second and figured it was inevitable, so figured why not. No time like the present. We called the number on Craigslist—one puppy left—so we drove up to the hills, pulled up to the house with the puppy, and before I was even to the dog pen, I heard all four girls squeal, “Awwwww!” And I knew it was over. This was definitely the day we were getting a puppy.
It’s been one of those periods where I’ve been wanting and wanting to write the recent adventures of Team Hokama, but the adventures pile up and before I write one down, another happens. This puts me in a state of hesitation, a prolonged state, a one-month-long state. So I’ll do my best to get the highlights in here without totally boring you with a list of “stuff we did”.
We seem to be handling the heat pretty well this summer. The girls have been enjoying a larger, inflatable pool we bought as summer began, but we still just have to stay inside in the hotter afternoons. Perhaps the best way we’ve dealt with the last crazy heat streak (many days of 100+ and one topping out at 109) was leaving. We planned our camping trip for July 10–14 to Big Sur and it just happened to be the hottest week of the summer (so far). We wanted to camp at Kirk Creek, but of course it was full, so we headed up the road a little to Limekiln. All the campsites in the redwoods were closed due to funding cuts, but all the sites closest to the beach were open, and a few were available. We found a nice spot, isolated on top of a hill, and proceeded to have a blast. Well, I have to admit, it wasn’t exactly a blast at first. The long drive, tired kids, and setting up camp got to me and I admit I acted like more of a child than the children, but after that initial hiccup, I did well. It was, in fact, our best camping trip ever.
You’ll see from the pictures that you have to go under a bridge of Highway 1 to get to the beach, but it was kind of fun to see the engineering feat up close, and it was so high, we hardly heard any traffic above the ocean waves crashing on the shore. A fresh water stream flowed nicely to the ocean, so on the beach we could play in fresh water pools above the ocean. We also took a couple hikes into the redwoods, and seeing the girls tromp down a trail gave me hope for our future adventures in backpacking. Limekiln Falls were definitely a highlight, and we even climbed up to the base of the falls to be right underneath them. We had to carry the kids up (and down) a precarious little patch, but it was fun and well worth it.
The cool thing about this camping trip too, was that Keana and Maia were able to handle everything better than in the past, and still enjoy it. They’ve always enjoyed camping but they were able to enjoy it while still doing more around the camp and adding more activities, like hiking. Keana was very helpful with dishes and watching out for Aliya, and Maia’s coping with a different environment was smoother than in the past. I think part of that is them simply being older and partly because Sarah and I are coping much better ourselves. Sarah and I even got a couple nights by ourselves out by the fire, under the stars (no fog!), while the kids slept soundly in the tent. By the end of the trip, the girls were begging to stay longer, so I think it was a success. Once we had our camp broken down we went down to say goodbye to the beach and hit the road. The girls were awake for a few minutes, then crashed for a couple hours as we wound our way south down Highway 1.
The rest of summer has almost been a blur. I’ve mostly been working and Sarah has been keeping the girls busy with visits with Tia and Olivia, trips up to Grandma Bev’s lake house, playing in the pool in the backyard, and general tom-foolery indoors. I’ve done a few session of “music camp” where we play instruments, sing, practice rhythm, and learn instrumentation and genre (think YouTube videos of all kinds of types of music). This summer I introduced a little solfége and a few musical terms too. I also took the girls to the library last week, which they loved, and hope to make a few more trips before the summer’s over. Keana is really into reading longer “chapter” books and can sometimes be found walking around the house with a book in her hand, somehow maneuvering around obstacles in her way without looking up.
The big event this last week though has been the illness of our youngest cat Fluffy (a.k.a. Kira), who got a respiratory infection and had to be hospitalized for a few nights. We took her in last Sunday, got her back on Wednesday, and went back to our vet for check-ups Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. She’s finally drinking on her own and has perked up considerably, so we think she’s over the worst of it. Miko got a milder version and has been on antibiotics for 10 days, but luckily the big strong guy has been able to stay home.
And next we head up to the annual family campout that Sarah’s done all her life by Wishon Reservoir. Keana first went when she was 3 months old and Maia when she was 9 months, but Aliya has yet to have the full experience. We promised the girls an extra night camping, so I think we’ll be up there 5 nights/6 days. Not entirely sure how we’re going to fit all that food/water, but we’ll work it out. With every trip, especially the camping trips, our Nissan Pathfinder (even with a Thule skybox) gets smaller and smaller.
So that’s the gist of it. Below are photos and video from our camping trip to Limekiln; figured I better at least get those up before the next one!
A few weeks back we went to a friend’s birthday and they were a foster family for a local cat rescue ranch. There were five kitties that had been abandoned in a dumpster and of course, they were adorable. And of course, Keana and Maia spent the day in the room in the back of the house, with the kitties, just in absolute tiny-furriness-heaven. And of course, they desperately wanted to take one home. What surprised me though, was how thoroughly Sarah had fallen in love with one of the little sruffers too. (Sarah was the one that was adamant that after our current cat, Miko, died, there would be no more animals with Team Hokama.)
We left the party with excited discussion about the possibility of actually getting a new kitty, one that was the girls’ very own. Once I saw the look in Sarah’s eyes when she said how much she liked one of them, I knew there was no debate. On Friday, July 22nd, after jumping through a few hoops, little tiny Kira (a.k.a. Fluffy) joined our team. She was sweet and cuddly and affectionate right off the bat, and we were all in love.
Over the next two weeks we slowly introduced her and Miko. Kira had her own room, with everything she needed, isolated from Miko. Then we introduced them just by scent at first for the first 5 or 6 days, then through a cracked door. Over the course of the next several days we allowed them to each explore each other’s spaces, but not together. Then, eventually, they met face-to-face. Kira hissed and growled and Miko looked at her cautiously but patiently. Only once have they had a little sparring match, but really only Kira got passionate about it. Miko has really been a kind big brother for the most part, which is good, because he could basically eat her. Now, Kira is mostly free to roam about the house.
Keana and Maia adore her, but Keana especially loves her. I think now she realizes though the work that goes into raising a cat, and has grown tired of Kira’s constant need to play. Keana and Maia have even become a little afraid of her tiny, but fierce play-attacks, and Maia often can be heard screaming for help when Kira stalks her. Aliya enjoys grabbing her tail and pulling on her skin, which we try to avoid of course, but that baby is quick and sneaky sometimes. Sarah’s basically been taking care of Kira’s food, litter box, and water, and I think she may be her “person” now. Kira loves to nap with Sarah and cuddle with her in the later evening hours. Of course during business hours, she loves to walk across my keyboard and sit on my shoulder, or steal my chair when I get up. And what is it with cats and power cords?
The last thing I’ll say is that choosing her name was a bit of a battle. The foster family had named her Fluffy, which Keana loved, but we just couldn’t bare to keep that name. So we talked and talked and talked about it, and tried letting the kitty choose her own name by putting 3×5 cards on the ground with possible options. But finally Sarah and I just had to choose the most popular “normal” name, explaining to Keana that she can still call her Fluffy. The ironic thing is that we called her Fluffy for so long, now we’re having a hard time calling Kira. So we’ll see. Maybe in a month or two we’ll revert. But for now, our newest, cutest, furriest member is Kira.