Thursday, December 31, 2015

Party On, Dudes!

Well, it's been too long a break between posts again, but let me tell you something. 'Tis the season for a whole lot of celebrating!

  • First, Lilly kicked off the month by turning eight. Eight! (Where does the time go???) We celebrated as a family on her actual birthday: chocolate chip waffles for breakfast, going to see the Peanuts movie, and then in the afternoon, Jayna took us sailing.

    It was so amazingly beautiful, and pretty much the perfect temperature with just the right amount of wind. It was a great way to celebrate.  
  • That night we got Thai food, and Lilly asked for her "very own order of noodles because Wyatt takes all the noodles and just leaves the broccoli and egg." (Pad see ew).  Now, I know this sounds really sad, and it kind of is.  You could say this is what happens when you have a bunch of kids or when you're the very middle of five.  But no, trust me.  This is just what happens when you want the same thing as Wyatt.  Anyway, I'm happy to report that she got exactly what she wanted, plus spring rolls.  

  • The next day, we had her party.  After some crazy big extravaganzas when Jayna was little, we've learned to keep things small.  We tried to keep the number of guests to the same as her age, but I fudged it a little since some of the guests were sisters, and we invited eleven kids.  But only eight were able to come, so it worked out!  She had a "not-quite-slumber-party" where everyone wore pajamas, had pillowcase races, and then, because it got dark by six, played some fun games with glow-in-the-dark rings and balloons and glow sticks, and everyone when home at eight, so we still got a good night's sleep.  Win-win, right?
  • A couple weeks later, I threw a Christmas party for Jayna, Skyler, and some of their friends.  We played some games and decorated cookies, turned up the air conditioning, and made a giant pot of hot chocolate.  It was really fun.  I think that sometimes, when I remember my own teenage years, I get freaked out by the thought of having .  But that night was a reminder that they are (usually) good people just going through some of the craziest years of their lives, and they need safe places to have fun and be themselves.   

  • Also worth celebrating, I finally got a picture of all five of my babies' faces in one frame.  The reason I didn't have one yet is complicated and so crazy that if I told you, you probably wouldn't believe me.  All I can say is that it makes me really sad, and getting this felt like a step in the right direction.  Even though we just set up the tripod out front and took it with the timer, and I'd barely even brushed my hair because I only about 15 minutes in which to try for this. It's not really everything I'd hoped for, but it has all my babies in it, and I am so very thankful.
           This is probably more of an accurate portrayal of us, though.

  • Speaking of photos, while I was using my "fancy" camera, I also took these.  I kind of love them.

  • Christmas was wonderful!  

    It was just a nice, quiet family day.  

    I'm also happy to report that I got some of what I'd asked Santa for in this post. ;-)  We took a little drive on the Kalananiole Highway, and stopped at a beach right at sunset.

     It was so beautiful!

  • Unfortunately, that night started a giant puke party.  Wyatt had been sick a week before.  Since he's so generous with germs, we were almost positive we'd get sick then, too.  But nope.  It wasn't until Christmas night Annalee started throwing up.  We've had a few stomach bugs, but I don't think I've ever seen one of my babies throw up that often.  It was nightmarish.  In the morning I started texting my mom and mother-in-law (a nurse), asking what they thought I should do.  She'd gotten to where she was completely limp and listless in my arms, and I couldn't even get her to breastfeed.  Her lips were yellow from bile.  I called the nurse advice line for our insurance because I knew the doctor's office was closed, and was told to go to an urgent care clinic about half an hour away.  Of course, everyone and their best friends were there, so it was two hours of waiting before we were seen.  And just before the doctor walked in, Annalee started nursing again.  So the doctor said to just let her nurse a couple minutes, then wait in the exam room to see if she held it down.  He said they weren't great at peds' IV's  there, and the best thing would be for her to hydrate orally.  She kept it down for thirty minutes, so the doctor let us go, and we were all hopeful.  But I got home... and it all came up.  I called the doctor back, and he said to go straight to the ER.  

    He even called the admitting doctor there, so I only had to wait ten minutes.  It took about seven hours to get her hydrated and keeping fluids down,

    but we were finally released late that night.  And then... Sunday afternoon, Lilly, Skyler, and Matt got sick... and Sunday night, Jayna and I came down with it too.  So.  Not.  Fun.  The good news is, we are all healthy again -- just in time for the new year!  And for the first time ever, I'm wishing I'd eaten more Christmas cookies!
So here we are, just hours from ringing in the new year!!  It's been a wild month -- and a pretty amazing year.  There were definitely some lows, but also plenty of really wonderful moments -- some of the best in my life!

I have more posts planned soon (I know almost no one will be reading this tonight, but I thought I'd still post it now), but I hope you have all had a wonderful December, and that 2016 brings all the best things! :-)

Thursday, December 3, 2015

What I Learned in November: Still

So did everyone have a great Thanksgiving weekend?  I hope it was a wonderful day for all of you.  I also hope you checked out the links in my last post and got some good deals on Small Business Saturday.

Our Thanksgiving was simple, sweet and lovely, starting with the neighborhood turkey trot

(which I didn't do, I've got my workout jam and running isn't part of it.  I did workout, but not that.)  Wyatt's was the "tot trot" -- only about 100 yards. Maybe not even that far.  Anyway, he was  his usual people person self, and didn't realize the race was happening till the last ten yards or so because he was so busy talking and waving as he jogged along.  As soon as it was over, he started crying, saying he wanted to do it again.  

Lilly ran really fast.  She and her sweet friend had promised each other they'd be a team.  They practiced together for the past week or so, and ran really fast, coming in 4th and 5th for the girls in the mile run.  I think we might have started something, because she promptly announced she wants to do more races.  Like, soon.  As in, now.

Anyway, the rest of the day was nice and low-key.  We made all our favorite Thanksgiving dishes, and used used our nice plates, and Matt washed them without being asked because he is just awesome like that,

 I had time to play the piano, and Annalee joined in.

 We stuffed ourselves on apple and pumpkin pies and banana pudding, then some of us watched Planes, Trains, and Automobiles while the younger ones watched Arthur Christmas. 

It's been a while since I did a "What I Learned This Month" post.  And I don't know if I officially "learned" these things last month, but I realized them all over again, and the feelings were so strong it felt like a whole new lesson.  Does that make sense?  Anyway, here goes.

-- It still hurts to say good-bye.  Or, "See you later."  One of my really close friends on the island left in November.  Another left in July.  And even with FaceTime/ Skype and texting and all that, I still felt so very sad to see her off.

In college, I took a couple child development classes from this one professor.  On the one hand, I really loved her classes.  She would often start the class by reading a children's book, and I was introduced to some wonderful stories and authors because of her.  I learned so much, too.  The problem is, her tests and project grading was just awful.  Everything was completely arbitrary, even the questions on the test.  I will never forget the question that made me most angry: "True or False.  It is easier for the child who moves away than for the child who is left behind."

Okay, is that not the dumbest test question EVER?!  How could anyone know the answer?  Does pain have a metric?  When I was growing up, I was usually the one leaving, and I could write a book (in fact, I tried to) about how hard that was.  There are no simple words for it.

But when someone -- someone you love, someone you can talk to so easily because it feels like you've known them forever, someone you can laugh and cry with, someone you can leave your kids with to go have a baby -- leaves, it feels like a big hole has been punched out of your heart.

So I still don't know the right answer to that ridiculous question, but I know I miss my friends who leave.  And sometimes it feels like I'm just missing an awful lot of people all the time.

-- It still pays off to make the effort of making friends.  It sounds really cliched, or paraphrased from the old song we sang in Girl Scouts about making new friends but keeping the old.  But really?  I think we forget easily how important it is to have a good friend, even when it means stepping waaaaayyy outside your comfort zone to talk to people.  We get "too busy" with life to take the time for friendships.  But again and again, I'm learning how much better I feel when I've reached out and at least tried to connect and make friends.  Yes, a lot of friendships turn out to be surface level, but the ones that don't are life changing.  The past few weeks since my dear friend left, I've pushed myself to go out and talk to people in those moments when I think, I'll just stay inside and cook dinner/ browse the internet/ read.  And I still miss my friend so much, but it feels good to stretch my friend-making muscles.

Very related: I love this post by author Kristen Strong!! (It's not new, but go read it now!) I wish every woman/ girl over age 10 would read it!

--  It's still so amazing.  I remember a year ago, thinking about a new baby being part of our family, and how that baby would be crawling around.  And now we know and adore Annalee, and she's doing that.  She turned six months old on  Thanksgiving Day.  I'm so grateful that I have another baby, plus her four siblings.  I used to assume that motherhood would become more mundane or something with more children.  But if anything, it seems all the more miraculous with each one.  Sometimes I think that if you could hear Matt and I talking or playing with her, you'd assume she was our first -- or at least, not our fifth.  It's as if looking at our sixteen-year-old (and all the others in between) and remembering how she was once this small has makes the process of parenting that much more amazing.

We were also very grateful to have Matt with us this year.  It hasn't always been that way, and when he's gone, those are the toughest holiday seasons.  This year felt a little bittersweet, because while it's Annalee's first Thanksgiving, it could be the only one where we are all together, at least for a while.  We don't know for sure that he'll be home next Thanksgiving.  Jayna will be probably at college in two years, and since we don't know where we'll be, much less where she'll be, being together just isn't a given.

I'm trying hard to savor every moment, and if we are all together next year and the year after, well, all the better.  For now, though, I know that my cup runs over.

Still, always.