The Obligatory Children Update

Since I haven’t been updating and our trip to Kentucky was so ever loving short over the Christmas break, I’m interrupting my newly found string of adventure posts with updates on the spawn children. So you’ve been warned. My family has made it clear they want to know. Here comes the proud mom post… Feel free to ignore it if you must.

The oldest…

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Arleigh is a typical teen with a phone glued to her hand. She has added instrument number 4 to her repertoire. Crazy since I can’t read music. Seriously, I told you this would be the proud mom post…She was just recommended for a writing course that we’re pretty excited about. She’s decided to she wants to find a way to write for her career and she’s really, really good at it. Maybe she should take over this lame proud mom post. 

The second…

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Hanan is preparing for high school. Sigh. This is the week her course application was due. She’s joined a recreational cheer squad which has helped her find her aloha and that means this mama is closer to finding hers. Life has been an adjustment for all of us. She is at a large school and was happy to receive a supporting role in a new theater production. So basically, the kid is busy. She keeps me on my toes all the time and I’m happy to say that she’s turning into quite the responsible young lady. The social aspects of middle school are hard. No, really, really HARD. I’m constantly amazed at what she has to navigate. 

It’s hard to find pictures of Hanan by herself. She’s at a stage where she constantly hides from a camera if I’m taking the picture. Funny how I see selfies all over her Instagram but I can’t take pictures. She’s also at the age that she’s forbidden me from speaking about all sorts of things. Here’s a list…

  1. Boys.
  2. Accomplishments.
  3. School.
  4. The social ramifications of knowing who was suspended for what. (Scary.) 
  5. Basically all things Hanan.

So I’ve broken a few rules but again, proud mom post and all.

Number 3…

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Have mercy. This child! She is so so fun and so so aggravating. Clearly, she doesn’t love the metro at all. When she is not busy irritating the living tarnation out of her sisters she has taken over as Jack’s body guard, instructor, tutor, boss, playmate, aggravation, and most recently roommate. It’s helping her finally sleep through most nights though so I’m good with it. She’s found a her passion in playing soccer, even the crazy fast indoor soccer. During her first game, one of her teammates left for a trip to the ER and needed stitches on her face. Pray for me. Did I mention that after four years of asking, Santa finally caved and brought drums. I thought, there’s a basement with a door. It will be fine… There is a constant state of saxophone, piano, guitar, and two kinds of drums happening in this house almost every afternoon. Sometimes it’s beautiful. Sometimes it’s noise. Just pass the Tylenol…please. 

Number 4…

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Mr. Jack… He genuinely likes life on the mainland especially with so many firsts, like Build-A-Bear. (Thank you Uncle Jim and Aunt Carolyn!) He still asks when we’re going back to Hawaii. In fact, when the metro drove by Reagan National Airport, he was sure that’s what was happening in spite of the fact that I hadn’t packed a darn thing. It’s not all sunshine and roses over here. He’s doing great but we had a rough morning. It happens. He loves going to a new speech therapist after school. Legos for Christmas are still a favorite. His favorite is a new helicopter from Uncle Mike and Aunt Sharon. He has such a sweet disposition, he puts up with all his bossy sisters really well. Except this morning… boy howdy. When it’s rough around here, it’s rough. Of course it doesn’t help that he now feels the need to tell me his eyes are freezing every time we leave for school. None of us enjoy the cold anymore particularly at a bus stop. 

In case you’re wondering about the adults, we’re good. It’s a busy season at work for Ray. The kids make it a busy season for me here. We do occasionally enjoy a night out by ourselves…when he can get away from work. I even enjoy the nights out when they’re for work. 

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That was taken at his Christmas party. We had a really good time and won a wine opener that for the life of me, I can’t find. (Not that I’m looking at 9 in the morning.) 

We’ve all jumped on the rat race that is Northern Virginia and are finding the aloha in our mainland adventures. If I haven’t heard from you, it’s your turn. Let me know how things are please.

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USA Band Competition 

On Saturday I hitched a ride with two other moms and headed to Annapolis to the Navy and Marine Corps Memorial Stadium for the USA Bands Competition.

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I never thought my first time seeing that field would be for Arleigh. It was a bit surreal to walk into the stadium…even with Ray’s favorite Dancing Goat.

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I can’t wait to go back for a football game. And of course, my beloved Hawaii is never far from my mind. I sat across from the Pearl Harbor sign.

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I’ve never been to a band competition. I had no idea what to expect. As a new band parent, I certainly have an appreciation of the work it takes to compete. These kids and some of the parent volunteers have really done an amazing thing to prepare for these events this year.

Honestly, I have no idea what I’m doing. I don’t know music. I knew Arleigh’s high school looked awesome but so did all of the other schools performing. Before the awards were announced we enjoyed a great performance from IUP. They were AMAZING. 

Here’s Arleigh’s band. 

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She’s the third sax from the left, behind the “N” in Navy. (I think. It’s hard to see on the computer screen.)

She was so great. Marching is completely new for her and I’m amazed at the choreography. I think that was clearly my word for the day… and impressed. 

They were one of the larger bands and in the last group to perform. We waited with baited breath watching them watch from an upper deck. 

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I’m happy to report a big fat WIN!!!! I’m so happy for the seniors. What a great way to start off their freshman year. It was such a great and tiring day. 

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I’m also happy to report Bria has a win and scored several goals for her team. It was a great weekend to be a Stiff. 
    
 

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First Day of School

On Sunday we were visiting another church. (I promise I’m not just bragging about my kids. This story has a point.) The children’s minister looked for me between classes. She told me that she briefly met Arleigh and Hanan and how she was amazed by their spirit of adventure. Apparently she asked them about things they would love to do. She wanted to know about Jack. Then she said, “Do you know you have a very bold daughter?” Yeah… sort of aware. This could be good or bad but I just smiled and waited to see where she was going. It was Bria’s first time attending this children’s ministry. They do a few things in an age appropriate class then all the grades gather for a small worship service. She is in second grade. She volunteered to read the morning scripture. She stood in front of the large group and read without nerves or jitters. Then she sat down. I wish I was there to see it but we were in our own class. The sweet lady told me how she’s not used to visitors behaving like that. Funny thing is, military kids don’t always know how to be visitors. 

Yesterday Hanan went to school number five. That’s not even counting the two different preschools she attended. She got on the bus with a neighborhood friend. She knows. Find your crowd fast. I’m super proud of her. 

Arleigh started high school. How is that even possible? School number five for her in nine years. 

Not going to lie. This has not been easy. With the start of band camp we had some pretty nasty days. It’s amazing to see her confidence grow. She walks around a huge campus, finding her way without problems. I remember being all nerves going to high school. Sure there were people there I didn’t know but there also almost 40 that I had been with since kindergarten. At parent orientation, I watched as kids who had been in this school district forever melted down. My kid found her way without breaking a sweat.

These two hooligans started second grade at their second school.

First bus experience. New school. Bria was slightly offended at the bus stop when a very little boy asked if she was going into kindergarten. Later a mom asked if she was in 3rd or 4th so all is right with the world again. They rocked their day. They made it home and are ready to go again this morning. 

The thing about military kids that amazes me is this…

That is the hardest part. The good-byes. I’ve been there. There are moments when you think you don’t want to open yourself up to a new relationship because that means there will be a goodbye. My kids are brave and fearless and they have no idea. They solidify relationships quickly because they don’t know how long they have. 

I’m happy to report that all four rocked their first day. There were a few hiccups and a couple of sad parts but for the most part everyone is happy and ready to go back today. Thinking about our other moves, that is nothing short of amazing and worry of a prayer of thanks. Yep. Totally bragging but my kids are rock stars and so are their military kid friends. 

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The Nana and Papa Chronicles

We’ve been enjoying Nana and Papa’s company for a bit now. We actually made it out of the house into town on Monday to the Air & Space Museum.

I’m not sure exactly when Bria and Jack decided to get so tall. Good grief! I won’t mention the fact that my oldest is trying to look taller. (I see that Arleigh Grace!) 

We watched an IMAX movie about the Hubble Space telescope. They decided to play IZ at the beginning of the movie. Everyone waited for my reaction. (I may still pine for our island life a little.) Then in the middle of the movie they mentioned how beautiful Hawaii is from space. Seriously, it’s beautiful from any vantage point. I really am trying to embrace D.C. living. I promise. In other news, Bria and Jack are both considering being astronauts for Halloween now. The choice is between astronaut and wolf for Bria, Hulk, TMNT and astronaut for Jack. 

All four kids acted like kids and had a great time. 

After minor disappointment that it wasn’t like the Science Museum in Huntsville, they found the interactive room and LOVED it! 

It’s nice to get out and let them learn and have fun. I’m sure the teens didn’t think it was possible but we managed. 

It was a short day because Arleigh’s band practice is ongoing until school starts. We’ve just enjoyed having Nana and Papa around this week in between all of our many school functions. It’s Friday and that means FOOTBALL. Arleigh has her first public performance with the marching band and we’re all pretty excited to see it, especially Nana and Papa. We’re off to soak up the rest of our time with them. Have a great weekend!

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The Kidnapping

I would like to report a kidnapping.  This morning at O dark thirty (that means about 5:15 a.m. Grandma) these sweet girls showed up at my house to steal my daughter. I must be a horrible mom because I allowed it to happen. 

It’s the last day of band camp. Can I get a Hallelujah, AMEN!!! She made it! We made it! Dare I say it? She actually LIKES it!!! How far we’ve come in a couple of weeks. This morning she was whisked away in the dark with the other freshmen. These sweet girls snuck in her room, woke her up and got her ready and out the door in under 10 minutes. Bless them. I’ve never been able to do that. 

This morning Arleigh will be initiated into band. There are games, races and some other fun stuff. They’ll eat breakfast and then the last day will start. 

I’m so so happy for Arleigh. She has friends. She knows people. She’s learning her way around the school. She has a better head start at her new school then some of the other kids that have been in the same district for much longer. I think this mama just found her some aloha.

Go Spartans! 

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This One Time At Band Camp

We are on day 3. Can I get off this band roller coaster yet? She likes it. She hates it. She’s quitting. She’s suffering through. She’s proud. It’s the WORST THING EVER. We are supportive parents. We are the WORST PARENTS EVER. I go from knowing my stuff to the dumbest mom on the planet in less than 2.5 seconds. Sigh.

Arleigh is at band camp today. Heaven help me. I got her there. On Friday, boys in her section were literally in the fetal position crying on the pavement. Arleigh was praised for being the toughest in her section. She’s the only girl. All Arleigh will say is that she’s worried it’s not her “thing.” An upperclassman’s encouragement got her there this morning. Heaven knows it wasn’t her mother. 

This is for you Arleigh Grace…

 

And then there’s this…

 

Thought you’d like this one too. 

Okay. I’ll stop now. This is one roller coaster that I’m ready to get off of. We have three more weeks. I promise this blog won’t be all things band. Right now, it just feels like our whole little ohana revolves around it. 

If you’re a band parent, please tell me it gets better. PLEEEEEAAAAASSSSEEEE!

 

 

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