What an exciting month we have had! We are now all moved into the new place. We had a great Thanksgiving weekend, the girls finished up their tennis season, I have had a lot of opportunities for work and Dave went on a business trip to the Big Island and to Maui.
You may recall that November started in a frenetic race to complete a huge sewing project: 18 mermaid style Muumuu; finish costuming the BYUH Theater play, Blithe Spirit; and then the mad dash last minute move to a new house. The first two weeks of November were exhausting. I really thought I might lose it so I scheduled a massage for myself for a few days after the move. With that carrot in front of me I was able to keep up my pace and get things done. I am so glad I spoiled myself a little bit because I was quite refreshed afterwards, I felt so much better that I scheduled another massage and acupuncture session for a week later!
Besides all that I spent the first two weeks of November substituting every day from 8-noon. I taught reading and math to 3rd graders. It was a lot of fun to be in the classroom again but after two weeks I was glad to be finished up. I prefer substituting for just a few days.
The following week I went to work with Jenny cleaning one of her hubby's construction sites. It was a beautiful custom built home in Makaha Valley. It had amazing views of the mountains, valley and the ocean. We spent most of our time scrubbing paint and debris from the stone floors and washing the enormous walls of windows. It was hard work and we came home sore but it was kinda fun to have work I didn't really have to think about.
The second day I was out there I got a frantic call from Dave. His office was sending him to the Big Island and he had 30 minutes to go home, pack and leave for the airport. The guy who was supposed to go had a family emergency and wasn't going to be able to make it. Dave made it and had a great week there. Every time he travels somewhere he falls in love. He is no longer trying to talk me in to moving to Mongolia, now he's trying to get me to go to Big Island. I really want to visit but I am perfectly happy here in little Laie.
The most travel I got this month was going back and forth to the eye doc. I've been trying to get my birthday present, contacts, adjusted just right. I have tried three different pairs and have another pair coming in this week. Each one is getting a little bit closer to perfect. I am looking forward to having good vision and have noticed already a difference in how many headaches I get. That was one of the reasons I wanted contacts: to see if vision correction would clear up my headaches.
Earlier this month I was commiserating with my friend Katrina over how much was going on in November. She was rattling off her list, I rattled off mine and then with exasperation in her voice she said, "And then there's Thanksgiving!". "Thanksgiving" I callously responded, "is no problem for me. I can't wait until Thanksgiving!" For Thanksgiving we did our traditional--after doing it for three years in a row I can call it tradition, right?--Big dinner on Thanksgiving Eve and spent all day Thanksgiving at the beach. It was fantastic! It was heaven sent. It was the perfect start to the holiday season. Jenny's family and Michelle's family came over for dinner. We split up the food so we each made 3 or 4 things. We invited a couple students to join us too, boys Dave and I know from Fresno. The boys brought pies and drinks; Jenny brought mashed potatoes, rolls, pomegranate salad, and more pies; Michelle brought corn casserole, pie and sweet potatoes; and I made the turkey, gravy, stuffing and Christmas Salad (spinach, avocado, craisins, raspberry vinaigrette, feta, red onion, sunflower seeds). It was fun to have everyone over and to enjoy good food and friends and then to spend all day Thursday camped out at Sunset Beach together. We left the house at 10 am and didn't return until the sun went down around 6:30pm. We relaxed and surfed and laid in the sun and played in the waves and talked about how lucky we were. I am very thankful for Thanksgiving.
We spent Friday bumming around the house, putting up Christmas decorations, crossing little tasks off our lists, watching the Sunset Pro surf competition online and doing lots of laundry. Friday night Dave and I went to the movie Ender's Game with Jenny and Brad, and the kids all did stuff with friends. I really liked the movie and think I'm going to have to read the books again.
Saturday was the girls last Tennis match. Hallelujah!! The girls and I have had a lot of fun learning how to play tennis but we are so happy the season is over now. We celebrated by having the whole team over to the house for a homemade waffle cone ice cream sundae party.
It would have been nice to get a new table before Thanksgiving but we didn't find one until Saturday night when Dave and I drove clear out to the far side of Ewa Beach to pick it up, an hour and half drive. We successfully talked the guy down from $600 to $300 for a table with an extension and 7 chairs. Three of the chairs are from a different set but they look good enough with it. I like to mix things up anyways.
With the new table and the Christmas stuff up things are starting to feel settled. We can find most everything we need. There will be adjustments and further organizational efforts but truly do those ever end? The girls are sleeping on cots until we figure out a bed for them. They are enjoying the cots and have set them up right next to each other. They are hoping that we buy them a queen bed to share. I really like this place. It stays cooler and has fewer bugs and is generally nicer than any of the other places we have lived in since we moved to Hawaii. We still don't have a dishwasher and our laundry is downstairs and shared with twelve other people and we have no yard but I'm ok with that and think I could stay here for a while.
Yesterday in church it was testimony meeting. One of the old Kapuna got up to bear testimony and talked about living his life here in Laie and how there was no place like it in the world. I haven't been that many places but I wanted to stand up and yell "Amen!". I love Laie. I love the fresh air and the ocean breezes. I love to hear the crashes of the waves in the distance. I love the sounds of happy people everywhere. I love hearing the birds singing and yes, even the roosters crowing. I love the sunrises and the sunsets and the beautiful green mountains and lush jungle forests. I love the friends I've made here and the challenges I've faced and the things I've learned. I love the community that has embraced my family and made us feel like we belong, the good, upstanding youth my kids are friends with, the freedom and independence this little community affords my children. I don't always love working hard but I love working hard to be able to live here. It is worth every hard earned penny. I am so thankful for the beautiful, crazy, exciting, challenging, perfect life I live.