Maui Wowi!

in the Garden of Eden, Maui, Hawaii | January 2018

Hello, friends! Happy Wednesday – it’s hump day!

I’m sitting here looking out at majestic Lake Washington. The sun and clouds are battling for Seattle’s sky real estate right now. I’m not sure which will win (I hope it’s the sun!). I am so excited that we are just a couple of days away from February. It’s the month that’s still considered fully winter but provides a glimpse of spring with daffodil and tulip teasers popping up from below ground.

I’m so glad to see 2017 behind us. It was a really good year because baby Flora was born in February. But it was also a difficult year with the deaths of five family members and two friends, a saddened state of our Union, and saying goodbye to our kitty, Dandy who found a new home with a really lovely but lonely woman in our neighborhood. I also went back to work. Going back to work was great for me personally, but a huge logistical nightmare with the high cost and low availability of high-quality childcare and preschools. But we are leaving all that to the past. It’s a new year!

We have a few exciting plans lined up for 2018. Nathan and I started off the year with a week on Maui with my sister and brother-in-law. Have you been? We went on our honeymoon a few years ago, but because I was sick we didn’t see nearly enough of the county. It’s a very spiritual place to be in. My favorite part of the trip was the 12-hour day driving the Road to Hana and back. It was pure restoration for the soul. I’m wishing I were back there now… We also saw a tropical plantation, took a snorkel/whale-watching sail (which made me sick), ate deliciously fresh seafood and drank not-strong-enough cocktails. (It was always my dream to have cocktails by the pool, which I finally achieved.) We took photos, enjoyed pool time, and rested. I think I even slept for 12 hours the first night we were there. It was total heaven.

Two big events happened in Maui.

The first was that I was notified of my acceptance into the University of Washington’s Information School Master’s program. This is also one of our exciting plans in 2018. The program (ranked 2nd in the nation!) officially begins in September, though the new-admit wooing of “welcome days” and similar events are already starting. I applied to the program with one objective in mind but before the UW iSchool ever offered me admission, I became undecided. There are so many wonderful career paths to take – librarian, information architect, content strategist, metadata librarian, curator… I really don’t know where to begin. I feel like a Freshman in college all over again! I plan to talk more about this adventure in future posts.

The other big event that happened while we were in Maui was the false alert of a ballistic missile threat. Those minutes were the most terrified I have ever been in my life. I cannot emphasize enough what that fear felt like. I remember wondering if I was in a movie and how much more terrifying it felt than simply watching a movie. Actors don’t do justice to that kind of true fear. Or the deep sadness in believing you won’t see your children again. Or the possibility of being separated from your spouse among tsunami waves – or worse, vaporizing radiation. In the movies, you always expect a happy ending, and in this situation I didn’t. It was horrifying. It happened the day before we left, so when we had to leave Maui, I wasn’t a bit sorry. When we eventually got the “all clear” that the alert was a mistake, I cried for an hour. I still have some post-traumatic stress from the experience when I get alerts on my phone. Mostly, though, I feel grateful to be alive.

Finally, 2018 will be bringing us a new home! We are selling our house after only about four years in it. But, as my husband hears from me on a regular basis, it was four years too long! I wonder if other women identify with needing a house that is really a home. One that does everything you need it to in order to make life run smoother and more efficient. I do, for sure. Our house (what I lovingly call the “Patchwork House” due to its varying decades of style when we purchased it), is a great starter house. It’s got everything you need in a first house, including a lot of updates and a lovely fenced yard. The first three months of updates was exciting, but once Maxine joined the family, the time and cash to continue the updates were in competition with diapers and travel, otherwise known as time and money. We are putting our house on the market sometime in March with the hope of purchasing a new (to us) house by June. I realize the hard work that lies ahead – packing, cleaning, completing repairs, etc., but really I am so excited to have closet space and an open floor plan, I can hardly stand it.

Let the fun commence.

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New Holiday Traditions

cutting the tree

I am one of those people who is ready for Pumpkin Spice Lattes during the last week of August and plays Christmas music the last week of October. I get so excited for holiday traditions and am so ready for the next season by the time the current season is ending that I can’t seem to reel in my excitement. This year, I really told myself that I would wait until mid-November to turn on Christmas tunes. That’s when the radio stations start playing Christmas music, so it seems like a socially safe bet, right? As Halloween crept up, I talked myself into waiting until at least November 1. But, no, I started playing the very old Christmas classics – Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Rosemary Clooney, Chuck Berry, Ella, Cash, Perry Como – right after my birthday. I need to accept that every November 1 – or sooner!, I start the holiday celebrations. It’s a tradition.

I love traditions. Growing up, they created the great memories of my childhood, whether it was the Saturday nights listening to the “oldies” station while driving to my at my aunt and uncle’s cabin on the river, sitting outside by the river roasting s’mores at the bonfire, or driving around looking at Christmas light displays in the station wagon with my family (and so many more). One of my absolute favorite traditions was our family being assigned another family at church to “secret Santa”. We would bake and drop off cookies and treats at the family’s door, ring the bell, and run! Traditions are so great. They are reliable. Comfortable. Exciting. Unique and personal. They fill me up with a sense of joy and brightness, and most importantly, they create happy memories.

And I want my girls to have happy childhood memories.

 

I sent off an email to family earlier this month asking what the holidays plans were shaping up to be. I found myself telling everyone that Nathan and I would be hosting our “third annual” prime rib Christmas dinner, and I thought to myself, third annual?!  That’s officially a tradition, right?! The first year we started this, Maxine was about seven weeks old and my in-laws were visiting for the holidays. We didn’t want to go anywhere for any holiday that year and decided to invite everyone to our house for Christmas. It was so much fun that we decided to do it last year as well. We expect to continue to host Christmas dinner for any family or friend who wants a warm home to celebrate the holiday.

After giving traditions some thought, I listed all the fun activities we plan to participate in for the third year in a row.

  • Nathan, Maxine and I went for breakfast and then cut down our Christmas tree;
  • Maxine makes her third trip to visit Santa in downtown Seattle this weekend;
  • We will make a drive with hot cocoa to marvel at the neighborhood Christmas light displays; and,
  • Maxine gets an ornament for the tree that represents her year (this year, it’s a shark, which has been her big obsession), which she will be able to take with her when she starts her own Christmas traditions one day.

We have some new activities this year that I hope become traditions now that Maxine is two and old enough to participate: baking Christmas cookies; giving boxes of cookies to friends, neighbors and family; participating in Operation Christmas Child; making a new Christmas tree ornament; and, opening a daily advent calendar. I was planning on doing the Elf on the Shelf, but I prefer to make it about kindness, and that is something I feel we can work on year-long, not exclusively at Christmas.

Have you considered your favorite traditions as a child? What traditions do you have as an adult?

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