Good morning! Aloha kakahiaka!
Brett and I are two happy parents right now, with all three of our girls here. We’ve been having a great time together whether it’s watching TV, going on walks, or sorting through their things. The house is in a crazy state right now, with stuff all over the place, but I refuse to freak out because I know it’s only for a short time and not worth worrying about. We rearranged some of the furniture in the living room before they arrived which helped give us a bit more space, and there have been no complaints from Meiling and WenYu about sleeping on the sofa (YaYu won the draw and got the inflatable queen-size mattress for her bed). YaYu is still decompressing after a stressful finals week and then the long flight home, but she’s glad to be home and spending time with her sisters again.
Experience has taught us that when it comes to travel plans, we can almost always count on things changing. The girls’ flight on Wednesday arrived three hours ahead of the original schedule, the one we were still working off of. If Meiling had not messaged us that morning with the new flight schedule we would not have been at the airport to meet them! YaYu’s flight also arrived over a half hour early. On Thursday morning I woke up to a message from Air Canada telling us that instead of leaving for Paris in the late afternoon as planned, our flight has been re-scheduled and will be departing at 10:00 am, meaning we have to change our plans and spend the night before somewhere near the Baltimore airport. The new schedule also has us arriving in Paris the day before our Airbnb reservation, so that’s something else we’re going to have to figure out, whether to stay overnight in Paris, or go out to Strasbourg and spend one night in a hotel there. We’re not doing anything now because we know things will probably change again before we go, but we’re definitely going to have to stay on our toes.
This morning I am:
- Reading: I am still slowly reading The Death of Mrs. Westaway and am about two-thirds of the way through. I’m pretty busy these days with other things and don’t get to read until late at night before falling asleep, so sometimes all I get through is one chapter. I wasn’t sure at first whether I was going to like this book or not but it’s grown on me the further into it I get, and more addicting.
- Listening to: Brett’s making chocolate chip mini waffles in the kitchen, the girls are listening to a podcast and chatting, and the wind is blowing strongly outside (and it’s cold!). I’ve got a hot cup of coffee though and am in my happy place.
- Watching: Brett and I were watching Home Before Dark, and another series, Chestnut Man, (I read the book earlier this year) before the girls arrived but those are now on hold. Last Sunday we watched The Elephant Queen, a beautifully filmed documentary about a group of female African elephants and their leader. If you have Apple+ streaming, I highly recommend it! We’re now watching random stuff with the girls but we started bingeing the new Dexter series last night (on Showtime).
- Happy we accomplished last week: We had two big things that needed to get done last week: a BIG shop, and picking up the girls – mission accomplished for both! The shopping trip was positively exhausting this time though. The piles of the girls’ things we had kept for them are growing smaller because of their efforts but there’s still quite a bit to get through. Meiling and WenYu have each already filled one giant suitcase with their stuff. We visited Old Town Koloa this past week, and Meiling brought foot masks for the two of us to do together. Those were weird.
- Looking forward to next week: 1) We’re hoping for some good weather so we can get out to hike, and hopefully go to the beach at least once with the girls. 2) We also plan to go to the Tip Top Cafe one morning this week for breakfast (probably Tuesday). Otherwise, we’re all happy spending time together at home and always can find plenty to do to stay busy. 3) We’ll be doing a Zoom call with our son and family on Friday afternoon, before our Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas celebration.
- Thinking of good things that happened: 1) I had seven sales on Etsy (small ones), every one a complete surprise as I didn’t expect to have any sales last week. 2) None of the stores during our Big Shop were overcrowded, nor was Old Koloa Town or the Kukui’ula Market last Thursday, which was also surprising – we expected to have to deal with hoards of people. Kukui’ula felt like a ghost town it was so empty. Everything will probably get crazy this week though. 3) The wind was mild enough on Thursday evening that Meiling, WenYu, Brett, and I could enjoy a fire outside and make s’mores. 4) Our orange tree is loaded this year, maybe with three times as many oranges as there were last year. The tree produces super sweet oranges, and they should be ready to start picking by the end of January.
- Thinking of frugal things we did: 1) Our Big Shop was a BIG one this week but we somehow managed to keep it under control and actually finished under what we budgeted. We stuck to our list like glue, and found everything except a box of graham crackers and some carrots, and I forgot to get a box of pasta and 3-4 apples which I picked up later at Big Save. Every inch of our little refrigerator and freezer has been filled to overflowing with food. 2) I used three of my Delta gift cards to purchase tickets for our flights (exit row Comfort+ seating) to Baltimore next May. The price for the tickets was low enough that I still have enough Swagbucks left over to purchase a $500 PayPal deposit into our travel account. 3) We put $6.06 into the change/$1 bill bag, leftover from the Big Shop and lunch out on Thursday. 4) We ate all of our leftovers and didn’t throw out any food.
- Adding up what we sold last week: I sold 15 hashioki from the Etsy shop and $75.99 will be going into our travel account, $75.99 more than I expected this past week. My profit margin is somewhat low right now though as everything is on sale, but I’m glad to get more hashioki out of the apartment and on to new owners. WenYu said she will take over the shop if I want to keep it going but we’re trying to decide if that’s possible or worthwhile.
- Grateful for: One of the greatest gifts I have ever received has been the opportunity to parent our three girls. For reasons we will never know, their birth parents were unable to keep these girls with them, but instead chose to place them where they would be given a chance at a new life. And through what we consider nothing less than a miracle, we were matched with these girls, each of them a perfect fit. Raising them hasn’t always been easy, but I’ve never felt anything less than profound gratitude that three times some unknown bureaucrat in China chose these threel to be placed with us. We cannot imagine our lives without them.
- Bonus question: Do you have a favorite coffee drink? I’m pretty much a “black coffee is perfect” gal, but occasionally I enjoy a nonfat latte. I love, love, love Starbuck’s peppermint mochas this time of year but haven’t had one for the past two years. I also love their nonfat green tea lattes as long as they’re unsweetened. I do not like pumpkin spice lattes or any other flavored drinks, and prefer to keep things simple.
We have made a huge amount of progress getting the girls’ items organized. Their suitcases are already stuffed, boxes are being packed for mailing, and other items sorted for the thrift store, trash, or recycling. I’m not quite sure where or how they’re going to squeeze in their Christmas gifts. They have had fun looking at the things they kept or we kept for them, remembering when they got an item or made something or when a picture was taken. Many things have puzzled them though: Why did I want to keep this? Meiling and WenYu plan to take almost all their stuff back with them on the plane, including WenYu’s electric guitar and amplifier. We going to buy a big suitcase at the thrift store this week for the guitar and amp, and she’ll check it as additional luggage, much cheaper than mailing or shipping UPS. We’ll do the same with YaYu’s stuff and take it along when we head to Pennsylvania next May.
I hope everyone had a great week and are looking forward to the one coming up. Less than a week to go until Christmas! I’ll have my regular Monday food and exercise post up tomorrow, and then will be back next Sunday, post-holiday. Wishing all a wonderful week of good food, family and friends, good books, things accomplished, and lots of good things happening!