Hiking and Pumpkins!

Hi.  I need to blog today.  I’m sucking all of the joy out of this place.  I’m in Hawaii for the love of God, but I’m stressing the eff out.

I mean, THIS is just minutes from us – what is there to be worried about?  (We haven’t actually done any swimming in the ocean yet – just mostly playing in the sand.)

For shits and giggles, this picture below has the same file number so I accidentally uploaded it instead of the one above.  It’s from 2007.  Crazy how much our babies change, yeah?

And this one so you can see their faces better.  Adorable, amiright?
Okay, back to it.  We are struggling with where to live.  We are trying to make big life decisions within just a few tiny weeks.  And for a woman as fickle as me, that’s no easy task.  We have been renting homes since 2006 and we’d love to stop throwing money down the drain.  But I don’t want to buy a home unless it feels right and we can definitely afford it.  And this might be the first place we’ve lived where it seems you can get more for your money when renting.
We’re also making ourselves sick making sure that the kids each have their own room.  But still, we’ve been in this rental home for over a week now, and the kids have slept in their own rooms twice I think? Every night they sleep on the futon in the living room.  And during the day, they play together in the same living room.  So why again are we so worried about them having their own rooms?  And I mean this in a short-term renting context.  As far as buying, it’s hard to imagine locking ourselves into a three bedroom home for the next four-ish years.  We realize that a lot can change in the children over four years.
Anyway, my hope is that we can secure a rental for 6 months to a year.  We are in the process of doing that now, but of the four houses we are seriously interested in, none are available to be seen yet.  So I’m hoping that this weekend will be a winner.  And then after our lease is up, we can revisit the idea of buying.  We’ll have a better idea of our monthly budget and we’ll also have a firmer grasp on that side of the island.
Do you see what I’m doing to myself?  It’s ridiculous.  I went to bed at 10:30pm last night but was awake until nearly 1am stressing over this crap.  It’s so easy to say before you arrive that you’ll be fine living anywhere as long as you’re all together.  And that’s true in many respects.  But then you realize that it kind of does matter.  I guess it shouldn’t, but it does.  In our current house, we are dealing with geckos (and their poop everywhere), ants, gnats, mosquitoes, millipedes (& one centipede so far), and of course our produce-loving rat.  (The rat is likely gone at this point, but we aren’t sure.)  We have to leave the windows open because there is no a/c and many of the screens have holes.  And under the entire front door, there is a half-inch gap that just invites the wildlife to join us inside.  I totally knew to expect all of that (minus the rat) coming to Hawaii so I’m not shocked.  But it does make me hesitant to move into a place that doesn’t have new screens.  I don’t want to run the a/c constantly – especially when the electric bills around here run around $500 or more per month.
There is just a lot to think about.  My main focus is living in one of the new communities in Ewa Beach.  The houses are stacked on top of each other but that also presents many opportunities for friends for the kids.  I love how excited they get playing with other children.  They are actually next door right now playing with the neighbor’s grandchildren.  I want that in our new place.  I can put them in tons of activities, but nothing beats organically-made neighborhood friendships.  Even if they don’t last forever.
So after spending the last several days trying to decide if we should buy right now, I feel pretty good about just renting.  We just simply can’t afford to buy what I want, and I don’t want to buy less than what I want.  Makes sense, right?  Dammit, I am one picky bitch.
We looked at this house on Friday, and doesn’t it just SCREAM island living?  I wanted to scoop it up right on the spot, but in the end, it was just too tiny for our family.  I adore the neighborhood though (amenities include sidewalks aplenty, pool, tennis courts and gym!) so I’m hoping something else comes available there.  
Moving on.  This weekend, we went hiking and to a pumpkin patch.  Perfect!  The hike was just a short little thing, but it was entirely uphill.  And for a minute, we weren’t sure if we missed the waterfalls because it felt like the longest 0.8 miles ever.  We were enjoying it just fine, but the mud – ahhhh!

But as I mentioned on Facebook, the biggest win for me is that I wore (non-knee-length) shorts to go hiking.  I wish I could explain it to you, because it’s the most free feeling in the world.  For over a decade, I refused to wear them.  Not because I couldn’t.  But because I couldn’t let myself.  And now, even with my scars and the remaining jiggle in the front of my thighs, I don’t much give a shit.  It’s as if I know now that this is my body – for better or worse.  My arms still are an issue, but overall, I’m gaining a newfound confidence that is pretty much nothing short of incredible.  It helps that J is no longer worried he’ll hurt me so he’s gotten a little handsy.  Three cheers for handsy husbands!
I have let this new me slip back into some old habits, and that is becoming quite the issue.  We are eating like shit a good portion of the time and my activity level is still fairly minimal.  I know I’m packing on the pounds even though I have no scale to prove it.  I’m 7 weeks post-surgery today and my pain is pretty much all gone. I’m still a little sore on the fronts of my thighs and on parts of my abdomen, but I feel like I’ll be good for a jog by next week.  But what I need to do starting right this minute is eating better.  We have curbed the eating out for no better reason than we couldn’t stomach it anymore.  But we keep buying junk to eat around the house and that’s not a whole lot better.  Helloooooo chocolate covered raisins (in bulk) and Sour Patch Kids.  Eek.  I’ve also decided that since we now live in paradise, we should have a drink each night.  To hear Audra tell it, we’ve slipped into being full-time drunks.  I guess that’s what happens when you go from never drinking to daily drinking.  But no, I think one wine cooler each night over the past week does not qualify me for a 12-step program.
Anyway, back to the pumpkin patch.  This one was complete with rides, live entertainment, and shave(no ‘d’) ice.  And of course (not quite ripe) pumpkins.  We had a lot of fun!

And that was our weekend.  I also wanted to do about 10 other things that I read about (twilight tour of the zoo, acrobat/non-animal circus, festivals, etc) but J says I should pace myself.  We do live here now.  And despite all of my bitching about the housing situation, I really am thankful we are here.  There is so much to do and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of hiking.  (Well, until we’ve done all of the trails…and then I’ll need to get creative or start island hopping.)
Last night I spent hours researching homeschooling.  I had decided to use this year to purely unschool.  After following the rigid guidelines of the kids’ charter school the past two years, I was happy to deschool for a bit.  But when we moved, I thought I had to submit our planned curriculum to the local school system.  It turns out that I don’t need to do that.  So that’s good news.  I guess at this point, I feel pretty secure in unschooling and love the philosophy behind it, but it’s scary as well.  I’m not worried about my kids’ futures as I know what I’m capable of as a parent and I know what they are capable of as children.  I guess it’s the judgements of others?  Maybe even the legal repercussions?  I’m hoping my time here will result in some healthy connections to other unschooling families.  There was a group at one point on Yahoo, but it’s no longer active.  Maybe I need to start one?  I’ll let you know what happens.  For now, I’m happy to let my kids be themselves and learn as they go.  And it’s totally okay if that seems nuts to you. ๐Ÿ˜‰
As an update, my open suture hole thingy in the back is definitely getting smaller.  I wasn’t sure for a minute, but it definitely is.  It’s been open for just about a month at this point.  He told me 4 weeks for my hip opening, and that closed up in half the time.  He said 6 weeks for this back one (after it had already been open about 2 weeks, so I’m hoping that he doubled that estimate as well.  I figured at the time that he was overshooting it so I wouldn’t be complaining later, and it looks like I may have been right.  Very smart, doc!  At this point, I don’t even need bandaids for my hip and two drainage areas, but I’m still wearing them for my sanity.  And I’m keeping the backside opening covered with gauze.  I still put in the calcium alginate daily as well.
And for an update on my areola situation, I’m happy to report that I finally removed the tape from the procedure and they are much closer to matching than before!  My right boob is still smaller and it dips in by the nipple which sucks.  But in a bra, it’s not really noticeable.  There’s still a chance that my left boob will get a bit smaller because of some remaining swelling, but I’m not holding my breath.  It’s just pretty awesome that I can walk around braless and not feel them hit my lap when I sit.  Oh, and the boob sweat that I would be having here in Hawaii – soooo not missing that!
So that’s the happenings here in Hawaii.  I can’t wait to do more stuff.  I have a whole book full of things to do in the next few years.  I can’t wait!  But most importantly, I’m excited to get settled into our own place.  I thought I could just be happy jumping from furnished rental to furnished rental and visit the world for years, but I was wrong.  There’s something about being in your own bed.  Even when your house is dirty, it still feels like your dirt and not someone else’s.  Does that make sense?  Anyway, that will happen soon enough.  
I have to go fold clothes and make lunch.  It turns out that those things don’t magically happen in Paradise.  That’s a shame. ๐Ÿ˜‰
P.S. One of the 4 bedroom houses I loved (to rent) is available to be seen today.  Now I just hope J is able to get home in time to see it.  Wish us luck!
P.P.S. Thanks for putting up with my whining about the housing situation.  I know it’s annoying – especially when things should be all rainbows and ukelele music when living in Hawaii.  But I like to keep it real!