Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Holiday panic

I know this will sound ridiculous to most people, but I'm starting to panic. September is almost over and we haven't settled on costumes for Halloween this year. Here's a little refresher course on why the pressure is building at this point:

Halloween - 2008
Munchkin, Glinda, Cowardly Lion, Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man

Halloween 2009
"Little" Green Army Man, Mr and Mrs Potato Head, Jessie, Buzz Lightyear, Woody
Halloween 2010
Captain Hook, John, Michael and Wendy Darling, Tinkerbell and Peter Pan

We'd love to do coordinating costumes again but can't seem to think of the "perfect" idea. I'm a little picky about not doing a currently trendy or popular theme (our Toy Story year was the year before the latest movie came out, for example, and wasn't a hot theme at that point). I'm also a little silly about store-bought costumes and would much rather put a costume together with pieces gathered together at thrift stores and tailored to our needs or (only if absolutely necessary LOL) sewing it myself. I'm really at a loss. We're also coming up against some resistance from the older boys at this point, as you can imagine, so whatever idea we come up with has to have a big WOW factor for them or we may not be able to keep them on board (without force...muwahahahaha).

Here's what is frightening me more than anything else at this point. Someone jokingly mentioned that we could all be princesses and Willy has latched on to that idea with such fervor that I'm terrified it's the direction we'll actually go. And for the record, he wants to be Jasmine. As in Jasmine from Aladdin. You read that right. Bare-midriff costumed Jasmine... Now you're terrified too, aren't you? And the boys keep fighting over who "gets" to be Tiana in frog form from the Princess and the Frog. I'm pretty sure Willy and Molly would be the only people thrilled with the family-of-princesses costume concept so my desperation is increasing.

Any ideas? Usually I'm a bit dorky about keeping our costumes a secret until Halloween night but I'm feeling a need to solicit ideas this time to at least get our creative juices flowing (and flowing far, far away from princesses to be specific...) Anyone?


Friday, September 23, 2011

Grandma Ruth

My Grandma Ruth passed away tonight. It wasn't sudden or unexpected. She had four of her six children in the room with her when she took her last breath. I understand that her out-of-state daughter was on the phone with the siblings at the time or shortly thereafter. Her oldest son was certainly waiting and welcoming her on the other side. So was my Grandpa Bentley Mitchell, who died over 50 years ago. Despite missing her for now, I can't help but feel such an overwhelming sense of gratitude for my faith in eternal life, my faith that families can be together forever, my faith that Grandma and Grandpa had a long-awaited, joyful reunion in heaven tonight.

Grandma was a special woman with a strong testimony of the gospel, of family heritage and of missionary work. She served several missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and had a deep and loyal love for the culture and people of Tahiti, where she served. She frequently and freely shared shell leis and island stories with people who would listen and appreciate. I feel a spark of extra enthusiasm every time I hear the Tahitian drum beats or hear "Ia ora na!" as a greeting, and I'm so grateful to live in the Polynesian Islands where I've had an opportunity to learn to appreciate and get a flavor of some of the things she so dearly loved about her time in Tahiti.

We sometimes referred to Grandma as "eccentric". She was a collector and giver of things. Lots and lots and lots of things! She loved to shop the D.I. (similar to the Goodwill or Salvation Army Thrift Stores) and buy gifts for family members. I'll never forget the Christmas when we were still in Utah and got to go to her apartment and pick out our own Christmas gift from among (no exaggeration!) hundreds of trinkets and treasures spread out over multiple banquet tables. It was a literal smorgasbord of second-hand stuff that she considered trash-to-treasure and loved to pass along.

Grandma came to every single family event that she was invited to. Graduations, baby blessings, baptisms, weddings, etc. she was there. And she always arrived with an enthusiastic "Yoooo hoooooo!" and kisses on our cheeks. I grew up with Grandma in our home for almost all Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays that I can remember. She was a fixed part of the holiday. She mostly sat and observed the goings on. But she was present. Always.

One time Grandma came to stay with me and my younger siblings because my mom was in the hospital. She'd apparently gotten a good deal on cantaloupe before coming. I kid you not - we ate cantaloupe soup while she stayed with us. We had cantaloupe for all three meals plus dessert for days. I couldn't eat cantaloupe for years after that. Now I eat it with a fond heart and a giggle. Another time when she was taking care of me and my brothers and sisters she made us a casserole but we were out of milk in the house. So she used vanilla ice cream in place of the milk. They're both dairy right? Needless to say the casserole was inedible. Needless to say, she had given us one more family funny to laugh about over and over again. Needless to say, she gave us so many special memories that we can recall and smile about now.

When I was in college Grandma Ruth shocked me completely. She was in her 70's and had lived life as a widowed, single woman for about thirty years. So what did she do? She became friends with a nice gentleman in her senior apartment community and went and married the man! She showed me that love has no age limit. I remember being really, really happy for her to have a companion for many of her older years.

I loved my Grandma. I've missed her since moving away from Utah. I've said good-bye to her at the end of each visit knowing it could very likely be the last time I would have a chance to say good-bye in this lifetime, but always hoping for just one more visit. Our next visit will just have to wait.

At my sister Sarah's wedding in August 2007.
At Molly's baby blessing in Utah, July 2008. A four generation picture.
The last time we saw Grandma when we visited in Utah, March 2010.
We arrived at her nursing home after she'd gone to bed for the night.
She still got straight up out of bed and welcomed us into her room for a visit.
She was so enthusiastic and appreciative of visitors. She gave us a
grand tour of the whole nursing home facility and gave the kids crackers and juice.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Over-scheduled but fun fun fun

Life has gotten crazier, if that's even possible. We suddenly find our little family extremely over-scheduled but everyone (except me LOL) is having a blast so we're just plugging along trying to navigate and coordinate calendars and keep up with the necessary among the extra-curricular. Three big cheers for Honolulu Parks and Recreation who offers quite a few awesome programs that are free Free FREE so we're taking advantage. Here's our crazy line-up these days (and the reason I still haven't gotten around to blogging about seeing Alex O'Laughlin, Scott Caan, Terry O'Quinn, et al. in person a few weeks ago!!! Sqeeeeeeeeal!)

  • Toby and Brady are going to the most fabulous swim lessons! Offered FREE by the Honolulu Parks and Rec Department, the boys have swim lessons at the Waipahu Community Park Pool. Their instructors are amazing! Toby has gone from timid and clinging-for-dear-life at the edge of the pool to jumping off the wall and swimming back to the side with a big grin on his face and without any assistance. Brady got registered for a level just above his comfort zone but his teacher has been so encouraging that he's risen to the challenge and is swimming incredibly well and perfecting strokes he had previously not learned. They've only had four lessons so far and they're just taking off. It's been simply awesome to watch! And the swim lesson season is 21 classes long!! FOR FREEEEEEEEEEEEE! I'm just stunned by the quality of this program and the cost blows my mind. It's absolutely a billion percent worth the little drive we take to get there twice a week. Did I mention there's open swim immediately following their class and that that is free also?! So Ben and Molly can get some pool time for free as well. Amazing.

Loving his local teacher. He's like a big teddy bear and
Toby totally trusts him.

On the very first stinkin' class he had Toby's face in the
water and letting go!

Learning some proper technique.

Lots... and lots... and LOTS of bobs in the 6 ft pool.

  • Yet another amazing Honolulu Parks and Rec program, this time for Molly. Every Tuesday we're now going to a Parents and Tots co-op playgroup. It's kind of like a pre-preschool program. We have a couple hours with a group of about 25 kids and their parents doing circle time, arts and crafts, snack, free play and story time. Molly is in HEAVEN. Mommy? Not so much. I'm really having to keep my eyes in check or they'd probably roll right out of my head. I'm not usually a parent-judger. Honestly! I know I lack so severely in many aspects of parenting that I can usually just look away but there are a few instances in this group of such cringe-worthy parenting that I can't help myself. Indulgent much? Some of these Mommies have completely conceded control to their toddlers. And then there are the checked-out Mommies who seem to have completely forgotten that they are the responsible adults and should be keeping their child from harm or from harming others and do moronic things like not correcting their child who is riding the trike against "traffic" or who is climbing up the "roller coaster" track as another child riding the roller coaster car is zooming down it. Aside from the questionable parenting going on the program itself is fun and it's giving Molly and I some great structured fun time together. I appreciate that. I appreciate that the program is FREE! **Edited! I started this blog post before going to Parents and Tots today and had a MUCH better time today than previous days. I talked with a lot of moms today and the obnoxious ones weren't there today so it was downright enjoyable for everyone. Yay! Exchanged phone numbers and talked about playdates. It was a successful morning for Molly AND Mommy.

Our little ahem... budding artist? Check out that color combo!

  • Tuesday is also a Performing Arts day for Brady. He just stays after school for it so no transportation or scheduling really required. He loves it! Was a little heart broken that he didn't get a solo singing spot at recent auditions, but he'll keep trying.
  • Tuesday is also my hula class in the evenings. Aaaaaaahhhh. I love hula. It does my mind and body a LOT of good!

  • Brady and Toby have swim lessons again on Wednesdays.
  • Brady has Breakdance class on Wednesday evenings. I shared pics of his dance at the end of July. He LOVES his breakin' class and teacher, Remedee!
  • I have Zumba class on Wednesday evenings in the same studio where Brady has his dance class. Sometimes I do one class. Sometimes I temporarily lose my mind and do a class and a half or even two classes. They overlap timing with Brady's class so I have some options depending on when we can get there and when I need to get home. In any case, Zumba is the other part of my week that does my mind and body a LOT of good!
  • I have four piano students on Thursday afternoons. I love teaching piano. I only have this small handful of students right now but it's quite plenty for me and my schedule. I could maybe take one or two more, but I'm not really sure where I'd fit them in LOL.
  • Brady has Performing Arts after school again.
  • Molly has her hula class. She is doing SO much better now! We tried the class back in January of this year and she was just too young to focus and was a lot more interested in just having fun and being silly, which was to be expected of a not-quite-three-year-old. Now she loooooves hula and really enjoys going to class and learning new moves and dances. Some of her movement is hilarious and adorable all at once. I can't wait to see her in her little hula dress in her first performance. I'm a sucker for cute, and Molly dancing hula is dang cute.
She's focused and practicing hand motions here...

And she's Chatty Patty here... (can you find her? My little
blondie is pretty easy to spot in this group...)

"Duck Walks" - Molly's favorite.
  • Thursday evening Brady has Cub Scouts and Ben has Boy Scouts or Young Men activities at church. Recently Brady's troop did a play which Brady thoroughly enjoyed participating in. And Ben got to go to Boy Scout Camp this summer with his troop. He loved it! Willy is totally fired from taking pictures of people though... these were literally the only two pictures of Ben that he got for the whole 48 hours Willy was at camp with the scouts. He did, however, take 98 gorgeous pictures of plants, flowers and scenery at the camp...

  • Ben has Robotics Club after school. He seems to be liking it, but it's a brand new year and club so I don't have much to report about it yet.
  • One more big shout out to the Honolulu Parks and Rec for their awesome programs and classes! Molly and I go each Friday afternoon for her Tiny Tots swim lesson. I have to get in the water with her which is turning out to be more fun than I expected. As confident as Molly is in the ocean water and at the beach in general, she was pretty dang clingy the first few times we went in the pool. I'm pretty sure it's because she couldn't figure out how deep the water is, whereas at the beach she walks out as far as she's comfortable and knows she can touch. When she progressed in her lessons to jumping in to me from the side of the pool she once touched her feet on the bottom of the pool (4 ft pool) and I think that helped her understand that it wasn't an abyss or something. Her confidence has improved dramatically and she's *this* close to being able to float independently on her back. Another lesson or two and I think she'll have it. Yay Molly!

Sculling and straight-leg kicks on her back. This is her
fav thing to do.

Blowing bubbles and practicing big arms. Not her fav...
And I need a new swim suit top.
This one has gotten baggy thank you very much. :)

Just a hug now, no longer the death grip she had the first few weeks.
Thank goodness for weekends and no regular recurring commitments (besides church on Sunday mornings)!

So there is is. The insanity of our week. The reality is that the kids are having fun and we're getting out of the house a lot and that feels good in the grand scheme of things. It's hectic and busy but we're not spending a fortune on this stuff and the value of several these opportunities was too good to pass up. I've never wanted to be one of those people who over-extends her kids and forces them into a bunch of extra-curriculars, but I think I'm the only one actually feeling any kind of stress about our schedule. Brady was a little frazzled last week when on top of his extra-curricular activities he had JPO (Junior Police Officer ...aka crossing guard) duty before and after school each day. That made for a looooooong week for him.. But when he's not doing that it's just fun after school, low-key stuff. All in all? Busy but good.

How about you? Do you have a schedule full of activities that puts ours to shame? Or did you read this and think "whew. they're nuts"?

Friday, September 16, 2011

For those who want to create a Love Wall

Between comments on Facebook and the comments here on my most recent blog post I had quite a few people express interest in creating an "I Love You Because" wall in their home. I was really tickled by the thought of this concept spreading far and wide and it made me grin to consider all my friends' families writing each other little love notes in their homes!

Here's my personal reality though. I see an idea that I love. I roll it around in my brain and think of ways to tweak it to make it more personal. I consider colors and placement and variations. And I come up with a great plan to implement the project idea that inspired me.

And then I do nothing.

And the idea joins the countless others that I've been momentarily passionate about and then tossed aside in pursuit of other! cooler! more exciting! projects.

This happened to be one project that I actually acted on and I'm so happy with how it's affecting my family! I figured I could make this project easy for you to actually take from concept to hanging on your wall, too. I packaged up what I had already created for my home, added a few alternative options (5x7 and 4x6 sizes included, three different patterns, eight total colors and a choice of black or white wording) and put together a simple Assemble Your Own: Little Love Notes product just for you. If you've got some basic photo editing software and can work with layering .jpg files and .png files you can make this work and have some lovin' art in your home in no time!

The Assemble Your Own: Little Love Notes product is available in the Scrap Girls boutique HERE right now and by happy coincidence there's a sale going on through Saturday night for 40% off all Assemble Your Own products so the timing couldn't be more perfect. I was almost giddy when I saw the email blast from Scrap Girls in my newsletter a few minutes ago telling me about the sale. Perfect perfect perfect!! Enjoy :)

If you don't happen to have some basic photo editing software but you want to do this project for your walls and you know which size/color/pattern/wording combinations you'd like I can assemble them for you and email them to you ready for printing. The cost for my time in assembling the Little Love Note in your specifications and sending it to you for your personal use only will be $1 per love note. Not bad for a quick splash of color and sentiment on your walls right? If you're liking the concept but have a different color or wording in mind, just drop me a line and we can work out the details of your request.

And please, please, pretty please be sure to snap a shot of your Love Wall once it's hanging! I'd LOVE to see it!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New wall hanging in our home...

I'm really excited about a little project I finally finished and hung on the wall in our new home. I mentioned it a few weeks ago on Facebook. I hadn't done any designing for a few weeks due to the move, and actually hadn't even opened Photoshop in probably two weeks and I was desperately missing it but finding it tricky to get back in the designing groove while there were still things to organize, unpack and settle here in our new home. Well my good friend Wendy encouraged me to open Photoshop and do something. So I did! I tackled a very simple project (inspired by a Becky Higgins project) that I'd had bouncing around in my head for a while. I layered some paper texture to give my little project some depth, I played with colors and fonts until I was satisfied, and I sent it all off to Costco to be printed.

Then I went frame hunting in eight different stores. I bought frames three different times thinking I'd found the perfect option but then realized I didn't have what would work best in the space I had designated for the project. My extremely simple idea turned into something almost paralyzing because I wanted it to be perfect. That ugly, ugly goal of perfection. Ugh! Fortunately in my quest to find the "perfect" frame I did stumble upon some vinyl wording on clearance that actually was... perfect! I found my very simple, very basic 5x7 frames and was finally able to head home and hang my work! An evening with the ladies at church and a great discussion about decorating our homes (thanks Kahala!) and I finally got up the nerve to just hang the stuff and go with it!

Incidentally, I had originally planned to make message frames just for the kids but then I thought about it for a few minutes. My "love language" is Words of Affirmation, and bless my hubby's heart... he doesn't know how to speak my language very well. So I decided, in a moment of inspiration, that both he and I needed to have message frames as well! And even if he forgets to leave me little messages, I'm hopeful that the kids will enjoy including me. For the little photo shoot of all the first messages I wrote I decided I wasn't going to leave myself out, and I even wrote a little love note to myself. It was a fun kick-start to our little love project. Here's what the family saw once it was all on the wall:

I recognize the writing is a bit small so here is what I wrote on each of them:

Daddy: I love you because you work hard for our family.
Mommy: I love you because you are sticking to your plans and goals.
Ben: I love you because you set a good example with your tidy room.
Brady: I love you because you are always kind to your sister.
Toby: I love you because you give good cuddles.
Molly: I love you because your giggle makes me smile.

My kids were tickled when they realized I wasn't just hammering and hanging random things on the wall. In fact, after Brady read the frame with the message to him in it, he held his head a little higher and walked over to the couch and sat down next to Molly and put his arm around her and snuggled her for a while. It was, dare I say it? The perfect reaction! Exactly what I was hoping for.

Now this is how the project works. The color and standard "I love you because" message is printed and framed. Then we use a dry erase marker to write on the glass inside the frame and we have ever-changing public love notes right inside the door of our home where we can all see it first thing when we get home. The kids have grasped the concept swiftly and enthusiastically. Here are a few of the notes they've written to each other since I hung the frames a few days ago:

Brady to me:

(My personal fav so far) from Daddy to Ben:

Toby to Molly:

Daddy to Toby:

Toby to Brady:

And the kids' favorite, from Brady to Daddy:

As it says in one of my (and my grandma's!) favorite hymns "There is beauty all around, when there's love at home!" Beauty and love! That was the goal.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Real Me: Sometimes I just want to cry

I hate it when I feel the way I do today. There's no trigger reason for this feeling. Nothing happened in particular that left me wanting to curl up on my bed and shut down for the day. But that's how I feel. I feel anxious and jittery. I feel overwhelmed. I feel angry (at no one and nothing in particular).  Mostly I just feel like crying. And I don't know why. I feel like I have so many good things going on in my life that there's actually no reason whatsoever to feel unhappy or blah, yet I do, and I can't explain or understand it. It's an incredibly frustrating emotion.

Just had to get it out there. And I feel stupid doing it because there's nothing identifiable that's causing this. But I think sometimes I gloss over the blah days or try to hide them with humor or something. But the reality is, today I feel blue. I guess it's okay to feel that way sometimes. Even if we don't know why. I hope it goes away quickly though because an ornery mom makes for an ornery house and then I'd have to pile feelings of guilt on top of the feelings of blah and I don't think I could handle that.

Please tell me I'm not the only one who goes through random, weird mood swings like this?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Real Life: New address!

It is definitely time for a Campbell family update! It's been a crazy few weeks and I think I've finally recovered from my severe lack of sleep during the move to actually sit down and think about it all again to get it written down. Of course now it feels like ancient history so it's kind of a drag to write. Go figure. How about a bullet point post for today? Yeah. That will work. I recognize that you may not be interested in the drama of our crazy move itinerary so of course feel free to skim or skip if you want, but I have to get it documented. It was quite an adventure and I don't want to forget the wild ride.

  • Monday 8/15 - Picked up keys to our new place! A few maintenance issues still needing to be addressed but we were free to start moving things in. Gave two checks to the landlord - one for the security deposit and pro-rated August rent, and one that was post-dated for September 1st for the September rent.
  • Tuesday 8/16 - Took a few boxes to the new house! Woot woot!
  • Wednesday 8/17 - Packed. And purged. And packed. And purged.
  • Thursday 8/18 - Packed. And purged. And packed. And CLEANED. And had a professional cleaner come to my home to give me an estimate on what it would cost for her company to do our move-out house cleaning. I'd never given up that control in all 11 of our previous moves, but the idea of it was so appealing I thought I might be ready to hand over the reins. It was pretty horrifying to have them see the disastrous state of our home at that point. Messy and cluttered and strewn with boxes and all the stuff that just settles to the ground as you're purging and packing. But they assured me they'd seen much worse and let me know they'd get back to me with an estimate.
  • Friday 8/19 - Property Manager came to do a "pre-inspection" which, frankly, seemed like the stupidest thing I've ever heard of. Hey I know! Why don't you come inspect the home mid-packing, mid-purging and pre-cleaning, pre-repairs? Duh. I'm sure she was mortified as she walked around the home and I got increasingly aggravated with her as she snapped photos of scuffs on cabinets and chipped paint on high traffic areas. It was such a colossal waste of my time and energy and worry to have her there right in the middle of all the craziness of preparing for the move when things weren't even remotely ready to have her inspecting the place. I guess she just wanted to be prepared for any big repairs that might be necessary, and she'd never been inside the home so she wanted to see it to be able to start working on leasing it to the next renters, but still... were those extra 4 days really necessary? Hmmmph.
  • Friday 8/19 - As if the drama of the property manager wandering through our house wasn't horrifying enough, I checked our bank account and found that the new landlord had cashed our post-dated September rent check and that both his bank and ours allowed the check to clear! Seeing our account depleted by such a significant amount sent me into a total tizzy. Called my bank and got this answer "If you wrote the check and the funds are there we cash it regardless of date." Lovely. Contacted landlord and anxiously waited for a reply.
  • Saturday 8/20 - Finally fell into bed at about 3:30 a.m. I'd been so stressed about the move that I just couldn't make myself stop packing.
  • Saturday 8/20 - Up and moving about 7 a.m. Packing, packing, packing. At about 10 a.m. the troops started arriving to help! About half a dozen men from our ward (church congregation) showed up and started hauling boxes and furniture to the giant work truck one of the men had brought for us to use. The day was hot and sweaty so I ran to the grocery store to get bottled water (and donuts!) for everyone that was helping. By the time I got back and pulled in front of the new house they'd already unloaded the first truck and headed back to the old house for the second and final load! When I walked into my new house I found three women scrubbing and sanitizing my kitchen, unpacking boxes and organizing my kitchen shelves and cupboards for me! It was such an overwhelmingly kind act of service that I got pretty emotional. When the truck returned I took the time to count all the people from church who had shown up to help.... TWENTY-TWO!!! We had TWENTY-TWO people come to load, unload, carry and clean. It was astonishing. We've moved a lot of times and always been blessed with some help from friends and family but this was just unreal. We are so incredibly grateful for the assistance we got that day! It was surreal.
  • Saturday 8/20 - Afternoon - enjoyed a home with central air for the first time in 3 years!! Woot woot!! Heard back from the new landlord who apologized for the goof-up with the rent check and who said we'd be reimbursed on Monday if we could make it in to their office in town. Phew! That sealed the deal and when Willy said "Just hire the cleaners!" I didn't even fight him on it.
  • Saturday 8/20 - Evening - Went with Ben and Brady over to the old house and finished gathering up the random crap that still lingered. Took a van full of stuff to the new house and took Willy back with me to the old house to finish the final storage closet. Got home and in bed about 2 a.m.
  • Sunday 8/21 - I went alone to church to accompany in Sacrament meeting and then headed home. A couple of the kids had come down with wicked coughs Saturday night and we were all so exhausted we just couldn't do church. Met the cleaners over at the old house and let them do their thing. Despite my original hesitation about giving up control of the move-out cleaning and having to pay a huge wad of cash for the service, I've never EVER felt so relieved as I felt the moment I opened the house to the cleaners and let them at it. It was so freeing! And instead of killing myself cleaning all day (and night and the next day) I enjoyed a Sunday afternoon nap (in the air conditioned home hehehe!). Bliss! The cleaners scheduled to return on Monday to finish up a few details. It had gotten pretty late in the evening and it was dark and we all wanted to verify the work by daylight.
  • Monday 8/22 - Met the carpet cleaners at the old house and breathed a sigh of relief when they were the miracle workers I'd heard they would be. 
  • Monday 8/22 -Went to town to pick up the reimbursement check from the new landlord. Car decided to go crazy while I was stuck in one-way hell in downtown Honolulu. The low engine oil pressure light started flashing and then the alarm started dinging and there was literally NO street parking anywhere! I drove around increasingly panicked for over 5 minutes with that dang alarm dinging at me before I finally found a parking garage. Honestly wondered if I was even going to be able to drive the car! I picked up the check (phew) and then walked to a nearby Long's Drugs to pick up some oil for the car (that was fun to carry back to the car a few city blocks away...), put oil in the car and held my breath. The car ran! The light didn't flash and the alarm didn't sound. PHEW! Terrifying experience. Time for a stinkin' new car!!
  • Monday 8/22 - Evening - Willy and I headed to the old house to take care of some repairs that needed to be done, finish up the yard (which Willy was going to do with the help of our good family friend, but when we got stuck in town with the car issues, our friend and his 6 year old son went to the house and did all the mowing and trimming and palm frond gathering for us!!! Amazing!), and do touch up paint. I turned the Pandora on on my phone, tucked it in my pocket and tackled the painting. It was my first time every really doing house painting and I LOVED it! I found it incredibly enjoyable. (Until the next day when I could barely walk because of all the squats and stretching I'd done while painting LOL). Got home well after midnight. Another exhausting evening.
  • Tuesday 8/23 - Headed to the old house to meet pest control (a fun move-out requirement in Hawaii... blah.) and finish up the painting that I couldn't do in the dark of the evening before. Did some cleaning that the cleaners hadn't finished since they hadn't shown up to finalize things when they'd said they would (eeeeek) and felt a pretty substantial amount of panic wondering if they were going to come back at all to finish the job. They finally rolled in about an hour before my final walk-through was scheduled with the property manager. They said they wanted to come then so they could be there when the property manager was there in case anything needed to be done to meet her expectations. They had NO idea what they were committing to by doing that! The prop manager showed up a little early and was there for TWO HOURS doing our final check out walk through! It was ridiculous. She made the cleaners re-do all three bathrooms, re-do a few of the blinds, and re-do the entire laminate floor throughout the house! I was SOOOOO glad the cleaners were there when she came because otherwise I would have apparently been charged for the "dirty" areas or been responsible to clean them myself. (The woman was outrageous! The house was gorgeously clean. I couldn't believe how insane she was! Like scraping a handful of little pin-prick sized black spots on the outside of the sliding glass door with her fingernail and asking "Why wasn't this window cleaned?") It was the most eye-rolling experience I've ever been a part of. She did compliment the paint job though hahahaha! But I got to walk away from the house ultimately feeling like we would get the majority of our deposit back and it felt so relieving to be DONE!
  • Saturday 8/27 - Willy and I tackled the garage that was pretty packed with boxes from the move and basically got it emptied out with the exception of a handful of random crap boxes. It felt GREAT to get it done, even though it was no fun doing it LOL.
And now this week has been full of settling in, doing a little decorating and just getting used to a new home and neighborhood. I can honestly say we are so much happier here than we ever even expected. We had been worried about space because the layout is quite a bit different here, but we're fitting well. The kids are happy with their bedroom arrangements; Ben has his own room now and so does Molly, Toby and Brady are sharing a room now. Things feel good*. And not just because of the central air (but that certainly helps LOL) We're where we're supposed to be right now and that feels great! Home sweet home!

* I'm going to make one complaint about our new house. Right about the time that the second truck full of our furniture and boxes was arriving, so fully mid-way into the move, someone asked tentatively "Did you know there's no dishwasher?" And for a brief moment I thought I was going to lose my lunch or cry or both. But truth be told, I'm surviving the whole dishwashing-by-hand gig. It's true that the kids are now eating their sandwiches at the table on napkins instead of plates, but I haven't given in to the appeal of paper plates and plastic utensils yet, so I guess that's something. Sigh.