December Update

Merry Belated Christmas!  If your family celebrates, I hope you had a great day!  (If not, I still hope you had a great day. Ha.)  Ours was pretty much the best one EVER.  Especially considering J was on a different continent last year.  This year was quite different.  We went to the beach!

But let me back up because I haven’t posted in a while.

Things are….kind of incredible right now.  My one issue was that we hadn’t really met anyone.  And that’s been remedied.  It’s kind of funny when I think of it now, because I think I actually said…I figured people would just be magically coming up to our door and inviting us to dinner once we moved here.

And then our neighbor did.  She invited us over for a Christmas (Eve) dinner/party.  And that actually was a lot of fun.  We got all fancy in our holiday wear and spent an evening socializing with way more people than I anticipated being there.

And her husband made an amazing eggnog concoction that went down way too easily.

But the best part was that the kids had a great time – Aidan included! – and we met another set of neighbors.  Their little boy is having a 10th birthday party today and we’re invited!  So look at that!  More socializing!

And I have also become fast friends with another unschooling mom.  I may have mentioned her before, but we met in a Oahu homeschooling FB group.  Go technology!  We went downtown to check out the Christmas lights with her family and it was as if we’d all known each other forever.  Her daughter fit right in with our rowdy bunch (she was seriously punching J by the end of the evening – classic!  You know he deserved it.) and the husbands had no trouble pairing up to make fun of their super talkative wives.  It was fan-freaking-tastic.  And I got to try malasadas for the first time.  Similar to creme-filled doughnuts.  Yum.

So although we haven’t had a chance to meet up again just yet, we have plans within the next week and we text message a ton.

That was really the missing piece for me here – socializing.  And it’s falling into place.  My heart is so happy.  And yes, that sounds corny.

My heart is so happy that I don’t care if it’s corny.  So there.

In other news, Audra starts baseball practices next Thursday.  To say I’m excited would be a big fat lie.  Four hours a week of practice just does not sound fun.  Luckily, it doesn’t conflict with my volunteer call shifts – got lucky there.  I’m just crossing my fingers and toes that she likes it.  J took her out back and practiced with her yesterday.  She seemed to be grasping the rules of the game.  The rest will come.  I hope.  If not, we’ll be free next season!

(I’m such a shit parent sometimes.)

Oh!  J and I signed up for next year’s Honolulu Marathon.  Right now, I can barely jog 3 miles.  Soooo I have my work cut out for me.  But honestly, I’m not even a little bit worried about being able to do it.  We hiked 15 miles in the Smoky Mountains earlier this year.  And we encountered a rattlesnake which made the last half pretty much miserable.  I think we can walk 26.2 miles on the road.  Well, hopefully we’ll jog at least half of it.  But I’m keeping my expectations low.  I don’t care if I have to crawl the whole damn thing.

I’m pretty sure that this will be a one-and-done type of thing.  If I’ve learned nothing else about myself, it’s that many things are fun the first time.  Then I get bored.  So I’ll be able to say we did it! And then never again.  Works for me. :)

So I finally got the new blog up and going!  It took me forever to settle on a name, but the new friend I mentioned above suggested I use “wandering” instead of “adventure”.  And that sounded perfect.  So finally, I decided on The Wandering Five.  I still need to purchase the URL, but Google/Blogger is no longer making it as easy, so I gotta figure it out.  But when I set that one up, I finally let go of my photography site.  I’ve been paying $14/month for years now because I was nervous to cancel.  But it’s time.

But back to the name.  At first I thought “wandering” didn’t fit because we set out on particular adventures.  But then I realized that wandering is exactly what we do.  We’ve lived in six different states now, and we have no idea where the future will take us.  And that’s perfectly okay.  We’re just along for the ride and finally learning to take advantage of the change in scenery.  So we are happy to wander.  And the blog is about the things we are doing in the process.  So, perfect.  And I’m really excited about the entire thing.  I feel like our experiences can be helpful to other families who are learning to get out and be active.  And then they don’t have to sift through the rest of my B.S. to find what they want.

I still have a lot of blogs to post to catch up, but that’s a fun process for me too.  I love everything about it.  It’s been giving me something to get excited about.  Win all around.

So aside from all of that, we’re still working on getting our house finished.  My mom and stepmom will be here in exactly two weeks.  Whoa!  We ordered Aidan’s new bed and got it all set up.  It’s simple – just a full platform frame and a new mattress.  We thought about going the queen size route, but that would make Aidan lose even more floor space to play.  And we figured out guests could snuggle extra close in a full-sized bed for a week.  Better than an air mattress!

We also worked on getting the art/photos hung in the kids’ rooms as well.  We aren’t quite done yet but I’ll take pictures when we are.  My gallery wall is still full of paper frames.  Gotta get the actual photos up there.  I think I’ve finally come to terms with the imperfect spacing of it all.  No one else is going to care.

And yesterday we kicked ass in the garage.  It was a hot mess for the last few months.  We had just enough room to park the van and J’s motorcycle.  But we finally got our bikes fixed and we needed to get them hung from the rafters.  So we got out there and worked our tails off for a few hours.  I purged a ton of holiday crap that I don’t set out and we organized the rest.  Now it looks clean(ish) and we can move around a bit better.  Success!

But mostly I’m super excited about the back porch.  We hit Target for the after Christmas clearance, and we found 25′ globe string lights for $4.50 each.  I love cheap!  So we grabbed four boxes (2 for the back and 2 for the front), and a few lanterns too.  We want to keep the lights on the back year-round but the front ones are for next year’s holiday season.

When we got started though, we didn’t know what the heck to do.  We really only needed about 32′ of lights to hang them straight and we couldn’t do that without a ton leftover.  Or we had to stop them short.  But ultimately, we decided to let them hang and we were able to work it out.  And after we got them hung, we ran to Home Depot and found a $300 dining set.  And on top of the sale price, we got another 10% off.  Woot!  So when we got home, we raced to get the table put together so we could eat dinner out there.  So damn exciting.

Magical!

Now I just need to actually invite people over to enjoy it with us.

The last thing we had to do to prepare for my mom & Roz’s visit was get the puppies’ paperwork to the quarantine station.  That was a whole process.  We had already assembled all of the necessary rabies papers when we were in Indiana.  But then we had to print and fill out the import forms – one for each dog.  Then we had to get money orders for each dog and have the forms notarized.  I was a notary at one point and it was a pretty quick process.  But this was way different.  We went to a bank and it literally took a full hour for her to sign two forms.  Whoa.

But we went down to the quarantine place and turned everything in while crossing our fingers.  The clerk said everything looked great and gave us a receipt for the fees.  So as long as we have no trouble with the dogs actually making it on the plane (we are all a smidge nervous), we should be able to get them straight from the airport.  And that’s good because that quarantine station is not a place I want my dogs to be.  Not even for a day.

What else?  Remember my chore and trying-new-food plans?  They have been mildly successful.  The kids have been doing pretty good with the reading and sometimes good with the dishwasher.  And I have tried a ton of new foods!  I still have quite a few to blog.  The holiday kind of threw me off this week, but next week I will be making even more new things.  We are having a lot of fun.

And that brings us back to Christmas.  And the beach.  I am actually really excited about how well we did this year with gifts.  I feel like we made a small number of careful and thoughtful selections for the kids.  The stockings had good things in them – not a ton of stupid little objects just to fill it up like usual.  The highlights ended up being bodyboards, snorkeling sets, swim vests, skateboards (roller blades for Aidan), and then a few individual things that they each wanted.  J got me a waterproof camera and we also bought snorkeling sets for ourselves.  Plus my dad & stepmom bought the kids wetsuits.  So we were anxious to head to the beach to try everything out.

You can check out all the pictures and commentary here but this is a small sampling of our day’s fun:

We have plans to go snorkeling again with our new friends next Friday.  I loved it so much while practicing in the lagoon and can’t wait to do it for real in the open water!  And the bodyboards were a hit too.  It’s nice to just float out farther in the water.  We won’t be actually using them for real waves anytime soon.  Baby steps.

So that’s about all for this update.  I’m kind of going through a blog identity crisis here, so I’m never sure what to talk about.  This blog has gone through so many transformations, and I’ll figure this one out soon enough.  But for now, I’m sort of all over the place.

Hope you have a great weekend!