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Family

Where's Your Head At?

It’s cliche at this point, but our life is not a dress rehearsal. I don’t remember being a five year old and wanting to be a firefighter, a professional basketball player, and an astronaut. But I do know how I feel right now; I want to be world’s number one dad, in great shape (to play basketball), surf/bodysurf big waves, volunteer, entrepreneur, earth advocate, etc. There’s not the same naivety now as there was when I was five though — I know I can’t do it all — and I barely sleep in an attempt to try…

Maybe being an adult is just about prioritizing?

I do wonder how many other people struggle with their time and how they use it. How many of you feel it pass you by, day by day, with simple failures or maybe even larger ones, and does it ever cause you to stress out when you reflect on it? How many of us get used to making excuses to ourselves to the point that they’re so routine, we don’t even notice them anymore? Maybe the greatest privilege I have is being able to work a job while I’m tired?

If I close my eyes and I think about yesterday, do I smile?

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Back in the USSR (Costa Mesa, CA)

We're back. And at 34 years old, I'm living at my parents (well only for a few weeks). So what is one of the first things we do -- we go to Knott's Berry Farm and ride some rollercoasters for Van. He's tall enough to go on a few REAL coasters as a 3 year old. Surprised? 

This is also when we got Van tested and diagnosed with autism. While there was a brief moment of self pity and fear, there were stronger feelings of commitment, resilience, and perseverance. 

We bought a new family car and are planning on a being a one-family-car kind of crew. Let's see how that goes. We really splurged on this one so I hope Toyota does us right and this one lasts us a long time. 

Back in our old new house and back to our old new shenanigans. OFF THE TOP ROPE!!!

Rounding out Hawaii

Well I've been busy having fun and not putting things together to post. So here's a bunch of stuff in one post. 

We played at Rocky Point ... the surf here is great ... we got married right under a tree here ... This place will always be special. 

Our current tenant is the director of marketing at Volcom, Ryan Boyes. He happened to be at the Volcom Pipe comp this year and invited us to party at the Volcom house the day of the finals in pumping Pipeline. So we brought Coco with us. Although this wasn't on my bucket list anywhere, it was a once in a lifetime and extremely unique experience. 

Ash turned TWO!!! Ash you won't remember this birthday but we were in the process of moving back to CA, so we decided not to have a real birthday party for you, and postpone it until we moved back to CA. You loved all the balloons we had for you, and as always, you loved all the trucks you got ... from us ... because you don't have friends ... because you're 2. 

    Random acts of Hawaii. Swinging on a swing at Sunset Beach Elementary, laying on a beach at Wailua, celebrating Ash's 2nd birthday, and playing in a tidepool at Rockpiles. What a life you kids have (and parents too). 

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Stock Market

Colette, you're the best. Today I walked out to tell your mom how much money I lost in the stock market and you went and grabbed your coins and said "You can have these if it helps."

Kids are just better human beings than adults. 

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The Ballistic Missile Post
Ballistic Missile

We hit the reset button hard -- on life. I was at the skatepark when Meagan called me at 8:08am. She said she had just received an alert on her phone (as seen above). I asked no questions, threw my stuff in the car and drove home -- fast. I knew we didn't have much time. I felt confident that a missile wouldn't hit the north shore, so our family would be living in potential nuclear fallout for the next few weeks. Meagan was filling up everything should could with water. I was franticly researching missiles, trying to find out if this is true, and negotiating our best options for survival. It was going to be a bad couple of weeks.

And just like that, 15 minutes later, it was confirmed it wasn't real (well it was 38 minutes, but within 15 minutes we had found twitter posts saying it was a mistake within 15 minutes). It was almost impossible to look at my kids and think "They have no idea we're about to have our lives changed in a drastic way any minute now." They were smiling, screaming, and running around like kids do. While this was fake, it did force us to address a few things. And a fear that was never inside of me sits somewhere deep inside of me now. It's a bit hard to explain.

But in true Melum fashion, instead of harping on it too long, we went outside and enjoyed ourselves -- because what else is there to do? 

Meagan saw an actual photoshoot go down ... so she decided she wanted to have one of her own. 

I knew she wanted to do that so I'm proud of her for going for it even though I know she was probably embarrassed. You just have to do what you want to do -- even if you feel silly for wanting to do it. Who cares? It's been a great couple of weeks as we're pushing ourselves for even more adventures than before, knowing that we're heading to CA soon. 

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Kailua Pillbox Hike / Day

We've been skunked all year driving down to Kailua and trying to get a day of hiking, beaching, and funning with good weather. BAD WEATHER BE GONE! Although we got rained on a little bit, the majority of our time down there was awesome. And Meagan and I got about 30 minutes on the beach, with all 3 kids asleep. Triple win!!!

The hike itself was pretty easy ... you kids are troopers. Although I must admit I was pretty nervous that Van, and noone else, could go flying off the edge of the cliff at any moment. 

After the hike we played at a giant wooden playground that you kids are in love with. It really is a kid's paradise. We then went over to the beach and just messed around for awhile. A perfect day.

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Trucking Along

It was another successful Christmas / Hanukkah for the Melum family: everyone but me got the flu and was throwing up on Christmas day. This family certainly doesn't have the best track record with this time of year or these holidays in particular. Looking forward to this improving! 

I have to admit the quality of camera on this new iPhone is worth it. I'm looking forward to the photos getting better, as well as the video. 

Coco had her first dance / ballet recital and she was so over the moon excited and proud it was hard to handle. She took it very seriously, kept her chin up, and remember to really point her toes. She had another milestone too: concurring the monkey bars! She's had a rough battle with those bars, but now she can do them no problem. And she did it so frequently she got a few huge blisters on her hands. Way to go Coco!

Van is as weird as ever. He loves school (although he's on break right now) and things are starting to click for him. He is being more vocal about what he wants, he copies Coco and everything, and has been ducking his head underwater and going in the ocean with waves! Here's a great slo mo of him running. Van, you constantly run and look 100% out of control, and mostly don't pay attention to where you are running. It's great fun to watch you and almost gives me a heart attack everytime we're on the pavement. I wish your knees the best of luck!!!

Who is the froofiest? Ash of course. We often want to put Ash in the trASHcan, because he's being an ASHole, but we love him. Although he still refuses to speak and mainly communicates through coordinated grunting, his personality is starting to really shine through. He follows Coco everywhere and wants nothing more than to be big. He can be see around the house wearing shoes that are too big, climbing things that are too big, and sporting clothing that's too big (the clothes are actually normal size, Ash is just a little small right now). 

Meagan doesn't stop talking about moving back to CA. We're so excited to get back into our house and do a little remodel (probably something we shouldn't have done when we first bought it but didn't have the money).  I've been surfing every day, lost of a few gopros already, broke a few boards, but I'm loving every minute.

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Winter in Hawaii

It's colder than you'd think and I think we're all used to the heat. I have no idea what the temperature is, but we're all freezing in the morning. It's probably 70 degrees, ha ha. 

We're only going to be in Hawaii 3 more months ... and I'm feeling the pressure, but I can tell Meagan is ready to get back to CA. There are so many ways we are connected in this day and age it doesn't feel like we live out in the country often. But if you step back and look at it, our daily lives, we really do live out in the middle of nowhere. I love it.

Coco is continuing to impress me with her competitiveness, compassion, and occasional sassiness. She tries to climb on the monkey bars, over and over and over again, and if she can't do it she is so disappointed it's actually sad. It's easy to cheer her up after, but she truly is upset if she can't do something.

On that note, Ash is similar -- he wants to do everything himself. He's starting to talk a lot now and is very much like a stereotypical boy. Right now, he loves putting on Van's shoes and walking around in them. Yesterday he jumped and dunked a basketball on the mini hoop. He plays really well with his siblings and loves copying them. Those cheeks though. That chin. I'll start saving for cheek surgery. 

We're currently looking at trying to buy a second home when we move back to CA, but I don't think it's going to happen. I'm convinced:

The person who borrows the most money is the richest

But that scares me. Can you be conservative and risky at the same time? 

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Surf Contests and Winter

The waves are big now. Every day. All day. It's both exhilarating and exhausting. Everyday I go out I'm just a little bit scared ... but it rarely stops me. Although I must admit, my appetite for taking off on huge and dangerous waves is slowly waining. 

Coco is being home-schooled by mom and she's sos smart and artistic. She brings art projects to me in my office daily. She's working on her addition and subtraction, days of the week, months of the year, al sorts of important things she'll never really need to know because the world will be run by robots in 30 years. 

Van is going to school 5 days a week and being a champ. The other day he picked up a small basketball with one hand, ran out the little mini hoop, and through it in the hoop with one hand. Color me impressed. He knows how to read a decent amount of words and has a memory like an elephant. He's talking more and more now and getting much easier to understand.

Ash is finally talking! They are grunts mainly, but we get what he's saying. He absolutely loves his siblings and copies everything they do. He's also in love with trucks and can be a little nasty sometimes. He's already saying his ABC's and acting like a little boy -- I'd say Ash seems the most normal.

 

We're into our final 3 months here in Hawaii and it's bitter sweet. Meagan and I constantly battling with what we should do when we move home (buy a new house and be broke, move into our old house and remodel, do nothing and just be happy???). I love Hawaii so much -- it's actually difficult to be here sometimes. What do you do when you have no energy, but it's so nice outside and in the water, you just HAVE to surf or swim? You're just spent all the time. Oh well. 

Sleep when you're dead. 

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Technology
Clarity isn’t hard to come by, it’s hard to maintain.

There was this brief moment today where I was working, watching Pipe, and trading. What a world. 

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I Feel Alive

It's cliche ... but smell the air, watch the wind blow, feel the cold. Stop what you're doing. Feel the tension, the anger, the excitement, and the joy. Live intentionally.

Take nothing for granted -- even the bad -- it can be an inexpensive lesson to a much better self. This is as much a reminder to myself as it is a lesson to you kids if you ever read this. Clarity isn't difficult to come by, it's difficult to maintain.  

It's raining, windy, and 6am, and you guys just woke up. Time to snuggle. 

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Pillbox hike: Sunset Edition

I'm proud of this family every day. Ok, not every day. But I was proud of us all on this day. We hiked up the Sunset pillbox and we all did it ourselves (save Ash). Yes, every member of the family made it to the top on their own two legs (except Ash and his lazy bones). 

Sunset pillbox hike

As evidenced below, going down was a bit of a different story. That's an extra 100lbs on my back ... and while I'm in decent shape, I'm certainly not used to this. Needless to say, by the bottom my knees were shaking on every step. I kept thinking "Don't let your knees give out, because it will be quite an impressive and destructive yard sale if this tower tumbles."

Sunset pillbox hike 2

I also went out and surf Sunset double overhead. It's been a long time since Ii've surfed out here with any size. It's always a little intimidating at first but then you get the hang out it pretty quick. I caught some fun size set waves (nothing to write home about) and had a general blast. That paddle out and in never gets old. 

Sunset surf session
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SUNFLOWER FIELDS!

This by far exceeded my every expectation. You pay $5 to park and then they let you walk through the sunflower fields before they harvest them. For some reason walking through this makes you filled with child like wonder -- you just keep smiling. It's just a bunch of flowers, but you can't help but be filled with happiness. 

**NOTE WEAR SHIT SHOES BECAUSE THE CLAY WILL GET STUCK TO THEM LIKE YOU CAN'T BELIEVE**

 

I can't imagine what it would be like to be 3ft tall and running through a bunch of yellow flowers, in Hawaii of all places. 

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Home: Hawaii

We're back. And nobody misses those flights.

Pictured below is the side of Shark's Cove that most people don't go to. Super calm, nice, and grandma friendly. Or so we thought ...

Grandma wanted to go for a quick snorkel sesh, with decent swells almost breaking in the cove. Long story short she wasn't able to get out without a few run ins with the rocks and getting a few memorable cuts. SOUVENIRS! For that time 20 years from now when I forgot, the rocks here can be very sharp -- you often lose just a little bit of flesh to them.

We don't go to this spot often but the kids love it because it has everything: calm water, a rock to jump off of, sea glass, and rocks to climb. Tough life. 

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Going Back To Cali ...

A perfect visit back to California. Mainly filed with friends, eating, drinking, and rollercoasters. Van had an amazing 3rd birthday ... 3 times over, ha ha. It's also worth mentioning Van was tall enough to go on a real rollercoaster, SideWinder at Knott's Berry Farm.

Staying at Grandma and Grandpa's new house was probably incredibly stressful for them, having the children run around and ruin their new home, but we're very appreciative of them allowing us to do that. 

Molly lent us her Toyota Land Cruiser to drive around town (people kept waving at me) and that was generous as well. Wait, we swam in a pool, went to We Play Loud, rented a bounce house at Auntie Kork's house: kids, don't ever think your parents didn't love you and give your a gnarly childhood.

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Typical Day in Hawaii

We do this daily. You just can't understand what it's like to be able to run in the water all the time. The temperature is perfect. I'll never take this for granted. 

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Halloween

For some reason Meagan decided Cinderella was the them this year. I present, Cinderella, Jaq, and Gus.

It was an amazing Halloween though. We lasted about 1hr at the carnival, because Van wanted to jump too much and wasn't into waiting in the lines. Coco wanted so badly to trick or treat we went to the only place you can do that on the North Shore: Sunset. We practiced with everyone on what to do when you walk up to a house and naturally, we were the first people at most houses. 

The kids loved it and so did the parents. Surprisingly, both Van and Ash kept their hairclip ears in most of the time. 

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Uncle Christian's Here

And Coco will not leave him alone. He came baring gifts!!! He brought a whoopi cushion (which we quickly broke) and darts that whistle, light up, and you slingshot into the sky. 3 are on the roof and 2 are in my neighbors yard. We have one left. But we're having a blast with flinging them everywhere. Coco chases after them and tries to grab them out of the air. She finally has all the days of the weeks down and has started doing simple addition and subtraction.

 
 

Van is reading his first book -- well, more like he's memorized what the words look like and can recognize them -- but still. He loves when the sun goes down and it's time to "RUN RUN" around the house and scream and be weird. Put your arms down Van and just run like a normal kid.

Ash knows almost all the letters in the alphabet. He doesn't laugh that often but when he does it's the cutest. His haircut is still awful. He likes putting on Coco's shoes and walking around -- NEVER TRY TO HELP HIM. Ash is going to be a "I can do it myself" kind of person.

 
 

We don't live the most lavish life out here -- in fact it can often times resemble glamping -- but it's perfect for where we are at now. Our kids are just ruining everything at this age and what better place to do that than in Hawaii? 

Meagan is looking forward to going back to California and seeing family and friends, eating well, taking the kids to various appointments and theme parks. She's also nervous for when we get back to Hawaii and Van goes to school!

Christian and I have been bodysurfing but the waves / conditions aren't great yet. Things are looking promising for the next day or so. Hopefully we can get Christian into a few killer waves. 

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Bodysurfing Pipeline
VanMelum bodysurfing Pipeline

A couple of things for clarity:

1. This makes it look like I'm alone: far from it. There were like 30 or so guys out.

2. I shared this wave with a bodyboarder which I later photoshopped out (it's surprisingly easy)

3. I didn't make this wave. You're forced to take off SUPER deep out at Pipe, it's the only way you can catch waves before everyone else ... and because of this ... it's very hard to make waves. I did make a few on this day ... but I'm stiff ... going balls to the wall as fast as I can. No silliness. 

4. This place fucking rocks. I can't wait for it to get bigger. Nice little A-frame TeePees. 

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Oswald: Burning Bright Like The Sun

I took Oswald to be euthanized yesterday. When we left for Hawaii 6 months ago he was 185 lbs, yesterday he was 115 lbs. Lymphatic cancer had got the best of him. Despite knowing this was best for him, it was difficult to look into his eyes knowing you were going to put him to death -- and that he had no idea.

So what's the takeaway? What can we all learn from the death of a family pet? 

I think we learn nothing. It's just a gentle reminder (like getting a common cold) that health is everything. Relationships / family are a close second. Oswald wasn't the world's best dog, he didn't have a magnetic personality or the kindest heart or an incredible sense of humor -- he was just loved -- and that is more than enough.

 

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