Sunday Afternoon 5/6/2018

It’s been a very busy but fun week (which is why I didn’t get a post up on Thursday). I’ve had the best time with my grandchildren, my son and daughter-in-law, but they are on their way back to Japan today. Normally I’d be feeling very down in the dumps over their leaving because I wouldn’t know when I’m going to see them again, but while I’m sad now and will miss them all, I know that this time next year we’ll be in Japan finishing up our three-month stay there. In fact, I booked our flight from Auckland to Tokyo this past week (found an amazing nonstop fare)!

Enjoying birthday ice cream at Lappert’s in Poipu. Our grandson’s cone was originally twice the size of what’s in the picture, dipped in chocolate and with sprinkles – impressive!

This past week I went on the tubing tour with my daughter-in-law and grandson and we had the best time! So. Much. Fun! It was also special for me because once again I got to see a place on the island that I never would have seen otherwise because of its location on private land. This past week we gathered for several meals, spent time swimming over at their resort, had our grandson over for a couple more sleepovers, had ice cream to celebrate his birthday and took him shopping for a new Lego set. Our granddaughter began letting me hold her, and I got to watch the two of them for an afternoon so M & M could go out on a lunch date and have some time together without the kids in tow. The sun finally came out yesterday and they finally made it to the beach, and last night we got together one last time for a Hawaiian-style dinner: kalua pork, chicken, macaroni salad, rice, and a delicious cucumber salad made by our D-I-L. We had a fabulous week – the only thing better would have been more sunshine and less overcast and rain (although that didn’t slow any of us down)!

She doesn’t want to forget “Hawai’i pono ‘i”

Brett and I also attended two events with YaYu this past Wednesday: a luncheon at Gaylord’s restaurant for the Shinseki Foundation scholarship winners, and her National Honor Society banquet that evening. In between the two events we got together with everyone at the Kukuiula Market for ice cream, and YaYu picked out a piece of “Hawai’i decor” for her dorm room from one of our favorite shops there. Two years ago WenYu chose a plaque that said “Stay Calm and Think Aloha,” but YaYu chose a pillow cover with the words of the Hawaiian state anthem. She said it had taken her nearly four years to learn it, and she doesn’t want to forget. The big surprise of the evening came when we got home that evening, opened the envelope from the Shinseki Foundation and discovered her scholarship was for $2000, not $1000!

This afternoon I am:

  • Reading: I’m still reading Little Fires Everywhere, but again didn’t get a lot of reading done this past week. Every night my head would hit the pillow and I was asleep in a couple of minutes.
  • Listening to: Brett’s cousin is visiting the island today – his cruise ship makes a stop in Kaua’i – so Brett is showing him and his wife around for a few hours. I stayed home because our grandson was here for one last sleepover last night, and I had to get him ready to go after Brett had gone. YaYu is studying (just one more week of academics left to go!), and the laundry is almost done. It’s quiet outside for a change – just a few birds but no roosters, no weed trimmers.
  • Watching: We didn’t watch anything this week. We’re going to watch another episode Unforgotten tonight on PBS. We’ve been calling the show “Soft Talkers” though because we have to turn the volume way up to understand what anyone is saying.

    Old favorites and new CookDo cooking sauces from Japan, to make Chinese-style dishes.

  • Cooking/baking: We’re having a simple “breakfast for dinner” tonight: scrambled eggs, grilled breakfast sausages, fruit, and toast for Brett and YaYu. A few things I intended to make last week didn’t happen, so this week we’ll be having grilled apple & chicken sausages (finally), grilled Korean chicken, and chicken & vegetable curry, plus I’m going to make a couple of pork dishes using the sauces my D-I-L brought from Japan.
  • Happy I accomplished this past week: My daughter-in-law and I got all of YaYu’s graduation lei ordered – so happy that task is completed! I also finished booking our stays in Perth, Australia, and Rotorua, New Zealand, as well as our flight to Tokyo. All of our lodging for the Big Adventure is now reserved (and paid for) except for one night in Napier, New Zealand, but the B&B where we want to stay there isn’t open for booking yet. We have just five more flights left to book now (Bordeaux to Bologna, Rome to Lisbon, New Delhi to Hong Kong, Hong Kong to Perth, and Tokyo to Portland). I drank lots of water this week, but didn’t study French even once. Brett and I were able to take three walks – we had really been missing them.
  • Looking forward to next week: We will be attending the Kiwanis awards banquet on Tuesday evening, where YaYu will receive her scholarship. I’m mainly looking forward though to returning to some semblence of normalcy so that Brett and I can get out and walk almost every afternoon, and I can get our eating and sleeping schedule back on track.

    Suited up for the tubing tour with helmets, gloves, and lights (I’m wearing a bathing suit under my clothes). I love my grandson’s “not another picture” expression.

  • Thinking of good things that happened: Both my granddaughter letting me pick her up and the unexpected amount on YaYu’s scholarship check were the highlights of my week. The tubing tour was a lot of fun as well, and the view we were able to see of Mt. Wai’ale’ale and the Blue Hole were beyond stunning. We learned our landlord chose the single professional woman as the next renter, and she wrote to let us know she wants to buy our living room furniture (sofa, chair and coffee table) and will also buy the stainless worktable in the kitchen! Our moving sale keeps getting smaller and smaller, a good thing!
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: This was not the most frugal of weeks for us – we were out and about a lot with family and spent some $$ on our grandson for his birthday. They did bring over all the travel-size toiletries that were provided in their condo, so we are set now for our travels. The nonstop fare I booked from Auckland to Tokyo saved us nearly $400 from what we thought we’d be paying for that flight.  We put $12.56 into the change/$1 bill jar this week, odds and ends from several places we spent money this week and $5.19 from recycling.
  • Grateful for: So, so very thankful for the past 11 days we got to spend with our son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren. Every day was wonderful, and I can’t wait to see them again next year!

    Our beautiful girls – adoption was a win-win for all of us.

  • Bonus Question: What’s a path you took in life that’s very different from what you imagined? The most surprising one for me is motherhood. Raising children was something I never saw myself doing or really wanted to do when I was young. However, when I met Brett I felt he would be a good dad (and he is) and that changed my mind. Who knew though that parenting would be the thing I’ve enjoyed doing most of all? After our son was born I learned I could not have more children, but he was an easy child to raise and we wanted to adopt. It seemed impossible for us because we moved so frequently with the navy, but in 1994 I learned about adopting from China from one of my college professors, and Brett and I decided to go for it even though our son was almost out of high school at that point. We intended to adopt just once, but life happens and we ended up with our three wonderful daughters. My children are my greatest joy, and the part of my life I am most proud of.

One more gratuitous photo of my adorable grandchildren enjoying a BIG shave ice together.

That’s all this week from Casa Aloha! How did your week go? What frugal things did you do? What did you accomplish? What good things happened for you?

9 thoughts on “Sunday Afternoon 5/6/2018

  1. Marji Peterson says:

    Loved this entire post. So much fun and love and excitement and surprises (adorable grandchildren, scholarship surprise, accomplishments for your trip and graduation and sale of furniture, etc.). Enjoyed seeing photos of grandchildren at Lappert’s and eating shave ice — that is a precious picture. Hope you’ll have time to keep posting about Kauai and preparations for your trip plus all the excitement surrounding YaYu’s graduation.

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    • Laura says:

      This past week was a good one! Our son told us he was happy that he’d been able to come to Kaua’i, a place he’d probably never have come otherwise, and that our grandson is old enough now that he’ll remember coming to Kaua’i and the things he got to do here.

      The extra amount of the scholarship was a BIG surprise! YaYu is still waiting to hear about two more scholarships she applied for, but we’re all pretty happy about how she’s done so far.

      We’ve pretty much decided that we won’t be coming back to Kaua’i when our travels are over (post up about this on Tuesday), so we are trying to soak in as much of the island as we can before we go. I can barely think about leaving – this island is so special to me and always will be. Coming here was one of the very best things we’ve ever done. I’m so glad we were able to meet each other!

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    • Laura says:

      It is indeed.

      I was feeling pretty good for most of the day after saying goodbye to everyone (especially the grandkids), and then the sadness hit me with a wallop late this afternoon. It’s hard to accept that they’re not on the island any more. We had such a good time!

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  2. Laurel Hill says:

    Great pictures. What a lovely visit! So happy for you. And YaYu continues to shine. I love her pillow cover and it’s a practical thing to pack and carry around. You have every reason to be proud of all of your children! And those grandkids…so cute. Glad your granddaughter warmed to you…she’s a real cutie.

    We just spent a long weekend with grands in Toronto. We had a great time, but we’re pooped! 🙂

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    • Laura says:

      We had the BEST time! I’ll bet you did as well with your grands.

      Our granddaughter has such a sweet temperament – very easy going. It took three days of seeing me before she would let me pick her up and carry her around, but by the time she left she was pointing and calling me “ma-ma” (for Gramma). We only saw her fuss just once the entire time and it was entirely understandable. Our grandson loved coming to our house because we let him play computer games (PBS Kids) and watch movies!

      They stayed at the same condo where we’re staying right before we leave – it was fabulous and I can’t wait to stay there – it will be a great way to say good-bye to Kaua’i.

      Finally, one thing we noticed was how quickly the time went while they were here, which has Brett and me wondering if our travels are going to fly by quickly as well, or at least seem like it.

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  3. JJ says:

    I’m sad to hear you won’t be returning there, but at the same time, I’m not surprised since your kids are scattered around the mainland and it wouldn’t be practical. I’ll wait for your post tomorrow.

    It looks like you all had a great time and I’m happy that your son and family were able to spend time with you on Kaua’i before you leave. Just wondering, does your grandson speak English?

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    • Laura says:

      Tomorrow’s post will explain everything.

      Yes, our grandson speaks English. He primarily speaks Japanese to his mom, but otherwise English (our D-I-L is a fluent English speaker). He goes to an international school in Japan where English is the language of instruction, and studies Japanese a couple of times a week. Our son and D-I-L are planning to send him to camp in the U.S. every summer as well. He is truly bilingual!

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  4. tpol1 says:

    I am so glad you had such a great time with your wonderful family. The pictures are so cute. I love the one in which both grandkids share a bowl of shaved ice. He is a very good little big brother 🙂

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