Thursday, January 31, 2008

I'm so Lost!

Dear Jack,

It has been so long since I last gazed into your blue? brown? eyes (see how long it's been, I can't even remember...) I'm so Lost without you!

I imagine you are running through the sand dodging bullets right now, or maybe you are in the jungle spying on The Others. I wish I could be nervously watching you, but I am sitting here typing at my computer instead.

It's not because I've moved on, it's just that we don't have any kind of cable or satellite or even fuzzy local reception, so no TV.

Maybe I'll be able to catch up with you later.

Stay safe!

Love from
Your #1 Fan

PS - don't get killed or anything.

PPS - remember that day? That was a bad day. You've come so far. Don't ruin it!


I don't usually care about the whole no TV thing, but tonight I'm grouchy about it. Yesterday I realized my prediciment and called the cable company. Nathan may consider that to be treachery or mutiny, but they will be out next week to hook us up. (sorry nathan!)

Did I ever mention that our friend was in an episode of Lost?

My friend Mrs."Pantaloons" invited me over to watch Lost at her house, and I was planning on that, but imagine my grief when I realized that Hannah is babysitting tonight.

I think I'll go have a big bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream to drown my sorrows.

Then I'll see if I can catch up with Jack online. If that doesn't work I hope you tivo'd it for me...

update - Hannah did not get the part as the ugly step sister. apparently she was too cute! (just kidding, I made that up. She is really cute, though.) She will have a smaller part, though. I think it will be great for her to get to be in a play and get to know the people in charge...they'll be putting on The Sound of Music later in the year...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I'm tired.

My feet are sore.

I cut my nails too short.

I want a snack but there's no chocolate in the house.

I don't have anything to read.

Someone needs to vacuum.

And take out the garbage.

BUT the kids are in bed AND the internet is working again.


Me and Emily.

Isn't Emily a cutie?!?

I haven't posted Emily photos in a long time. Goal for tomorrow: emily on camera!

Also for tomorrow, Hannah goes back for a "callback" for one of the step sisters!

exciting stuff

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Tomorrow (Monday) Hannah will be auditioning for a roll in a local production of

She will be singing Favorite Things from The Sound of Music. John says he is sick of that kittens song... which means that Hannah has been doing a good job practicing her audition piece.

If I was in Cinderella I would want to be one of the Ugly Step Sisters. Hannah says she would love to be Cinderella, but she's not old enough... any part would be great!

How about the horse part? That could be fun!

I know she is brilliant and wonderful and I hope the play people will be able to see that, too! Callbacks are on Wednesday....

Break a leg, Hannah!

(this picture reminds me of those drawings where you have a huge head and a tiny body - a caricature?)

Friday, January 25, 2008

And the winners are:





Thanks for entering the book give-a-way contest!

Please email your address to me at wbarrm @ to claim your prize!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

It's Aloha Friday

and thank heavens! Whew! This has been one busy week.

The Big Island is the topic for this edition of Aloha Friday.

Hawaii's Big Island isn't just big, it's still growing. It is bigger than all the other Hawaiian Islands put together, and thanks to Kilauea Volcano it is getting bigger every day. Kilauea Volcano has erupted lava almost continuously from its east rift zone since 1983. Those lava flows have added over 500 acres to the island.

Nathan and I were able to go visit the Big Island of Hawaii in November. I posted photos from our trip of our Manta Ray dive here and here and here. But I never got around to posting up any other photos.

We stayed in a cabin at the Kilauea Military Camp in Volcanoes National Park. (notice the red arrow expertly drawn on the map above)

Nathan and I hiked down into the Kilauea Iki Crater floor (behind us in photo). The lava is solid, but still steaming in the cracks. There were photos at the visitors center from the early 1900's when this crater was molten hott!

We also hiked through a lava tube.

It was amazing to see the vegetation starting to come up even in the middle of a lava field.

The problem with travelling without children is that I seem to show up in every picture.... This is a steam vent. The steam vents were really active while we were there. We were unable to see any red flowing hot lava, though. Maybe that's a good thing.

And last picture, I promise. Here we are at the Kona Temple.

I was searching for a picture yesterday and ran across these photos from our trip to the Big Island. Seeing those pictures from our trip made me miss my Nathan. I am really glad we were able to get away for a few days before deployment!

Happy Aloha Friday!


My husband has been in the military for just over 7 years, but I've just recently started to think of myself as a "military wife." I kind of thought of military wives as "them" not "me". But a few months ago I stumbled upon SpouseBUZZ and found this connection with military spouses all over the world going through the same things as me, and I've started to like calling myself an Air Force wife.

It has been fun and even a little comforting to read about others housing troubles, to hear about deployments and reunions, and to ponder the meaning of the word dependant. I'm happy knowing I'm not the only woman whose closet has been taken over by Camoflage R Us. And after our last move, I was a little less lonely knowing there were other girls out there feeling the same thing.

Speaking the same language as so many other military wives has made me feel a wierd sort of hoorah-hoorah sisterhood. And I've got 6 sisters of my own, so I know sisters when I see 'em.

Yesterday I got an email from ArmyWifeToddlerMom, aka Rachelle, at SpouseBUZZ mentioning that my blog is like up in lights at Spousebuzz as part of a who are the people in your neighborhood thang!

So, welcome to Hawaii ladies!

Thanks for stopping by!

Leave your slippah's by the door, and there's pineapple in the fridge, help yourself!

Tonight Rachelle will be interviewing me on Spousbuzz Talk Radio. I am pretty much famous. That will be on at around 8:00pm central time or 4:00pm here in Hawaii.

4:00pm is right in the middle of crazy time at our house. I'm going to have to hustle home from my new hula class to get here in time. I hope I don't sound like a dork! I have a cough and I think it might be bad form to hack during an interview. Yikes!

I'm not really sure how Spousebuzz Talk Radio works, but I think you can download the show if you miss it live...just a thought.

This is how I'm feeling:

Gosh, I love that picture. Hi Nathan! I miss you! This photo was taken at Volcano National Park on the Big Island back in November - we were down in a dark creepy lava tube.

I've been trying to find a photo of me to put up here that makes me looks good. I gotta do something to make up for that dentist shot, but I'm having a hard time finding one that fits the criteria:
a) doesn't make me look fat
b) I'm not making a dorky face
c) my eyes are open
d) there's nothing in my nose
e) my hair's not all kuh-razy

not possible.

This will have to do:

Haleiwa Trench Summer 2007

Talk to ya later!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

To Kindergarten or Not to Kindergarten....

John is 4. He will be 5 years old on August 31st. School starts August 1st in Hawaii, but the kindergarten cut off is in like December or something.

Since he was a baby I have planned to keep him home from school the year he turns five. Here's why:

- we lived in South Dakota and will be moving back there in a year or two. South Dakota's Kindergarten cut off date is the first day of school, so some years he would not make the date.

- he's kind of small for his age.

- and other stuff, like sometimes writing is harder for little boys, and older boys do better in sports in high school and stuff like that that I've read and friends have told me.

- our friend from SD turned five a few days after the K cut off. She stayed home one more year and when she finally started school she was SOOOOOO ready!

- K here is full day. I'm not sure if I love full day.

- I like hanging out with John. We are buddies.

Now that he'e nearly five, I'm not so sure any more. Here are some reasons to send him to K in the fall.

- I think he needs to be in real school. I've enjoyed the neighborhood swap this year, but I think he needs more structure.

- The elementary school offers a young class for K4.

- I would have more time to volunteer and get my eyebrows waxed.

- John's buddy "Max" will start school in the fall and they are just the same age.

- Kindergarten at the school is free. Preschool is not free.

- He would be going to the same school as his sisters.

This is something I have been asking everyone about. Today, my sister Mary asked a similar question about her daughter Lindsey and preschool. (I hope you don't mind that I'm totally copying you, Mary!) You must go see Lindsey all dressed up for school. She is so cute! I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one wondering about the fall, even though winter term just started.

What is best?

Some people say it's easy to treat your youngest like a baby - it's not a bad thing to let him grow up.

Some people say they kept their son home another year and they are so glad.

Some say they wish they had kept their son home another year.

Some say they sent their son early and he's doing great....

What do you say?

*don't forget to enter to win a Free Book! Last Chance!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Look Ma!

No Cavities!

ps - don't forget to enter to win a Free Book!

pps - thanks again for this kick-fanny-awesome photo, Mary!

ppps - Mary, if you remember who said that (kick fanny awesome) you will win a super duper big dollar store prize!

pppps - my dental hygenist says I really must start flossing even if I hate it.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Blog Book Tour and Give Away!

I was recently invited to participate in a Blog Book Tour for the book: For Parents Only by Shanti Feldhahn and Lisa A. Rice. It is an enjoyable read full of thought provoking questions (and answers) for parents of teenagers. I liked that this book is more a peek into the mind of the average teenager - not so much a user manual to teens.

I have two copies to give away to you! If you are interested, just leave me a comment or email me at wbarrm @ yahoo dot com (remove the spaces and change dot to a .) I will blindfold myself, and throw darts draw two of your names out of the goblet of fire a hat to select the lucky winners. Winners will be announced on Friday, January 25th!

I love parenting books but as Hannah (thirTEEN!!!) has gotten older I've noticed something - my local library has shelves and shelves of parenting books for babies and potty training and toddlers, but the selection of books for parents of teenagers is very slim. I was excited to read this book because it has a hopeful message - our kids need us, even when they think they don't, and our kids really do love us, even when they don't show it!

As I was reading For Parents Only by Shaunti Feldhahn and Lisa A. Rice, I often found myself nodding my head in agreement. At other times I had to run and ask Hannah, "Do you really feel like that?"

I enjoyed finding that I'm not alone in being baffled by my teen:

Did you know that freedom is often the biggest motivator for teens? "They will do anything to get it and they are terrified to think of losing it." (p.15)

And did you know the "No Freaking Out!" rule? Apparently in the mind of teenagers it is perfectly okay for a teenager to go berserk, but they are counting on their parents to keep the boat steady - no overreacting by parents allowed. And pretty much anything a parent does can be considered freaking out! I liked this explanation from a kid:

"Freaking out is any strong emotion. You can even freak out about good things. Kids are not going to say to their parents, ' You are now being overly expressive about this situation.' We'll say, 'Stop freaking out.'" (p122)

Note to self: learn how to be that "oasis of calm in the midst of emotional storms."

If you have a teenager or will have a teenager or work with teenagers I think you would enjoy this book. So leave a comment and enter my drawing to win a free book! If you don't win, you can always find For Parents Only for sale here.

And here's the official summary and author bios.

Book: For Parents Only
Author: Shaunti Feldhahn and Lisa A. Rice


Shaunti Feldhahn is known for unlocking the mysteries of relationships for men and women. Now she turns to a parent’s relationship with a child, particularly a child of the opposite sex. Drawing on the results of a nationwide survey of kids and teenagers, she explores questions such as:

What do moms need to understand about the “tough and tender” boy who values respect over love?

What do dads need to understand about their daughter’s need for affirmation?

What are the six biggest pet peeves teens have about their parents?

Understanding the answers to these and other important questions can help parents make the holidays a time of celebration and unity, not strife and friction.

For Parents Only offers a unique look into a child’s mind and frees readers to communicate in healthier ways as they discover that understanding their kids may not be as complicated as they think.

Author Bio:

Shaunti Feldhahn is the author of For Women Only and numerous other books, with sales totaling nearly one million copies. A nationally syndicated newspaper columnist and public speaker, Feldhahn earned her master’s degree at Harvard University . She and her husband, Jeff, have two young children. Lisa A. Rice is the associate editor of Christian Living magazine, the mother of two teenage girls, and a screenwriter and producer.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Where's Your Helmet?

Here is Sydney. Smile Sydney, I want to get a picture of you on your wave board!

Sydney got a wave board for Christmas. It is basically a skateboard with just two wobbly wheels. These were the big gift in our neighborhood this year. I have seen no fewer than 30 in just our little area of the base.

These may not have been a popular Christmas gift where you are, because they are best used without snow, but I can promise you will be seeing them in your neighborhood this summer.

Sydney will demonstrate how it works:

You kind of push off, get your balance, then wiggle your back foot to go faster or go up hills. Sydney is extra good at this. I can say that with authority because #1 I have seen all the neighbor kids on these, and Sydney puts them all to shame. and #2 I know from personal experience it is harder than she makes it look. She is light and quick!

Notice the bare feet? The helmet is manditory, but slipah's are optional. Sydney says she has better control without the shoes getting in the way.

She is not afraid of going fast and can go up driveways and off curbs. She can also swoop in a perfect circle. Even more importantly - she knows how to stop! Did I mention Sydney is really coordinated and not afraid of anything?

She's trying to teach me how, but whenever I crash she gives me this look:


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hacking Cough

I bought a new jar of Vitamin C and a bottle of that stuff Deanne recommended to help fight off a cold, oh, I found the name, Zycam. The Zycam has a yucky chalky taste and you're not supposed to eat or drink after letting it dissolve in your mouth - no cheating by chewing. Ew. I don't like it, but maybe it's helping.

I'm not really a medicine kind of person, but I do not want to be sick.

Talking makes me cough and I sound like a smoker, but I don't FEEL sick. That's good, right?

I haven't been running in two days and I miss it. I had a good 3 week streak going. But I have been walking to school and back at least twice a day. That's got to count for something...


In other fascinating news -

A housing maintenance man came by today to fix a few things. That's one of the bonus features of living in Base housing. They provide a handyman to take care of the little (and not so little) troublesome house things. Toilet trouble? call housing! Refrigerator door not sealing? call housing! Siding blown off and scattered through the neighborhood during a storm? call housing!

Today's list included trouble with the lights in the laundry room, sliding pantry door off the track, sliding closet mirror off the track, sliding screen door off the track (are we seeing a pattern here?) and toilet handle falling off.

Housing to the rescue!

John followed the repair man around and reported back to me about all the tools he had "he has a drill, mom!" "Mom, that guy has a ponytail..." "You gotta see the ladder - I think we need one of those..."

John thought that was totally cool. But here's my favorite part: while I was signing the paperwork after the repairman had finished, he said something like "You keep your house real nice."

Let me have an Hallelujah Chorus!

All that cleaning last week really paid off!

Now if I could just remember to take down the trio of snowman decorations. I keep forgetting that they are still hanging on the wall...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Cough, cough, sniff...

I think I'm getting sick.

My throat is sore.

I have a cough.

My nose is a little sniffly.

I think my head hurts, but maybe I'm just really tired.

Do you think it's still okay to run in the morning? I don't have a fever or anything...

And that reminded me of this:

by Shel Silverstein

"I cannot go to school today,"
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
"I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I'm going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I've counted sixteen chicken pox
And there's one more--that's seventeen,
And don't you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut--my eyes are blue--
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I'm sure that my left leg is broke--
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button's caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle's sprained,
My 'pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb.
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow's bent, my spine ain't straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is--what?
What's that? What's that you say?
You say today is. . .Saturday?
G'bye, I'm going out to play!"

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sunday Go Meeting Suit

This morning I was standing in the closet trying to decide what to wear to Church (skirt with big red flowers? purple linen shirt? black dress?) After trying everything on and deciding on the black dress (with my favorite turquoise necklace) I spotted Nathan's suit.

His black, pin-stripe church suit, hanging there between his green flightsuit and a pair of tan corduroy pants. For a second I thought I should take that to the cleaners.

I reached to pull out the jacket that Nathan wore to church each and every week and I found the most delicious surprise.

It smells just like him!

Clean and yummy.

A little like cologne and a little like his motorcycle (with just one car and Nathan attending early Sunday meetings, he was stuck riding his motorcycle to church each week. In his suit. Often in the rain.)

I think I'll wait a while before I have that dry cleaned.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


With the kids still out of school and me being a little too lazy to do much more than go to the beach now and then, we have spent a lot of time during our winter break cleaning.

We sorted through closets and got rid of clothes and toys. We put away things that had piled up in the laundry room and even moved my sewing machine up into the play room (which we also cleaned and emptied of trash and things waiting to go to goodwill.)

Nathan, you will be surprised to hear that I actually took everything (including those shoes) to the Salvation Army (not Goodwill after all). It was closed the first time we went by, so I had to make two trips in one day, but I did it!

I started to give away our Little People garage, but I stopped myself. My mom has several Little People sets that we had as children, and it is fun to see my own children playing with them. So I saved the cars. And I'm glad I did.

Emily and John's room is much easier to keep clean now that the toys have been pared down. The homeless person who was living in Hannah's closet seems to have moved out. And I could hang-out all day in my new improved (and de-junkified) laundry room!

We pretty much cleaned everything but the kitchen sink.

My kitchen sink has been bothering me for a while. I have tried scouring powder and sos pads, but my stainless steal sink just doesn't want to shine. We had a new faucet put in a couple months ago and the sink REALLy started to look dull. Car wax didn't help. Window cleaner didn't help. Leaving dirty dishes in it for 5 days didn't help.

I recently read something somewhere (I can't remember where) about using just a bit of oil to shine up a sink. I didn't really think that would work, but I read something about oiling a sink again somewhere else (I'm not sure, maybe flylady?) and I decided to try it. But I waited a few days just for kicks.

Then this morning, after I rinsed syrup off a couple of plates and sprayed the crumbs down the disposal, I dried out the sink, put a wee bit of olive oil on a clean washcloth and rubbed it around the sink. And voi-la! The sink is shiney and clean! La la! Go Me!

Now if I could just get someone to clean the black stuff off my flat-top stove....

Friday, January 11, 2008

Random Bits

  • I usually have trouble sleeping when Nathan is gone and this time is no different. I've been able to GO to sleep but not STAY asleep. That is no fun. And when I wake up in the middle of the night I have a hard time going back to sleep. Any suggestions?

  • Yesterday I saw two girls (actually one teenager and one mom-type) wearing sweat pants with PINK printed on the rear. Why? Not cute.

  • Did you notice that they were wearing sweats? It is 61* here according to my weather pixie. Brrrrr! I am wearing socks and a long sleeve shirt - it is freezing!

  • I haven't heard from Nathan since just before things got interesting over in Iraq. Which I'm sure just means he's had a busy week. But I worry.

  • School starts on Monday (for Han, Tuesday for Syd and Em.)It's been a nice lazy winter break, but I'm ready for a little more routine. Maybe having to get up early will help me sleep better at night.

  • I haven't forgotten about my New Years goals - after I get this posted I'll head out for my run, which makes 5 for this week. And I just started a hula class, I think it will be fun and (hopefully) not too embarrassing.

  • That's all.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

What are you hiding under there?

Under Where?
I made you say underwear!

He he he!

This week in the news I saw a couple of different undies stories. Each made me giggle like a 4th grade girl.

The first was the story of a fire put out by a pair of ladies underpants. You can read the full story here. I'll just give you a brief rundown: a grease fire started on the stove, so a young man reached for something to smother it. The first thing he grabbed was a pair of his aunts extra large knickers. He got them wet, threw them on the fire, and succeeded in smothering the flames. Those were some smokin' hot (under)pants! The comments from the fire official when asked about the method of fire extinguishing were great: "Clearly it depends on what size you are — but I don't want to go there."

This reminds me of the Christmas when I decided to sneak a peak at a gift from my Grandma Faye. I carefully opened the end of the package without ripping the tape. I had to be fast and quiet so that none of my sisters would notice what I was doing and tell on me. I pulled the gift out of the wrapping and found........a pair of huge silky pink grandma undies. not cute. Let that be a lesson for you.

Next news story was at GI's Mom Starts 'Project Underwear'. also known as G-strings for GI's. Just kidding. I made that up just now - them'r just jokes. So, yeah, anyway, this soldier's mom saw a need and filled it. She started this worthy project as a way to help her son who is in Iraq and the other men and women who proudly serve with him.

Every mom hopes her child is wearing clean underwear....just in case. So this mom got friends and neighbors to donate 40 bags full of tighty whities and polka dot boxers. I don't want to trivialize this. I mean, I think it's a totally great idea and I'm sure well appreciated, but it made me giggle to think of her son opening a huge package from his mom - imagining it's a new wii or some homemade chocolate chip cookies or something - and finding instead hundreds of Fruit of the Loom! I wonder if he handed them out to his buddies or if he took the box to the mess hall and put out a little sign like "Got Shorts?" I see a calendar deal out of this....

I see London, I see France....

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Has it really been 14 years?

I heart Nate!

Friday, January 04, 2008

It's Aloha Friday

The very best thing about living in Hawaii is the people. Living on Post we don't always have a lot of interaction with "real" Hawaiians - our kids go to base schools with other military brats, we see military doctors, we shop at military stores. But thanks to our church we have been able to get close to some really awesome locals.

We were recently invited to a retirement party for a man in our ward. He is retiring after 40 years as a school administrator. He and his wife are planning to move to the mainland to live their dream of working on an Indian Reservation later this year. They have a huge-o-rama family with 5 grown children with children of their own, and 4 more children still at home, their youngest just 7 years old. I love this family.

I brought a dish of chicken to the party to share and the spread was excellent - lots of sushi and rice and shrimp and seasoned beef. I was ready to eat way too much food and have fun visiting with friends, but I was unprepared for the totally rockin' entertainment:

Elvis Performed Live!

The Blues Brother mixed it up,

And Johnny Cash wore his favorite black shirt!

Unfortunately Sonny and Cher were unable to make it due to a previous engagement...

Nathan - you would have loved it!


Deployment Diaries:

I've been waiting to hear from Nathan all week. I talked to him early Sunday morning and nothing since. I knew he was probably heading into theater (is that what you call it?) so I was worried. But I got an email from him this evening (thursday). That was a relief.

Now it is 12:30am on Friday morning and Nathan just called. Luckily I stayed up to watch a movie, so I was awake for the phone call. He was at work trying out the phone line and not actually able to really talk.

and I couldn't help it, I started crying. Why does my voice get choked off when I cry? I don't even think feel all that sad - it's just like this big emotion that I can't contain so it leaks out in tears. I cried on the phone, which made it hard to talk so I couldn't say all the things I've been storing up, which made me cry more. And that probably didn't exactly brighten up Nathan's day. so I had to cry some more after I hung up the phone and now I'm crying while typing this sad paragraph. oh bother.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Re - solve: firmness of purpose or intent; determination

I love To Do lists, and New Years (as well as the beginning of a deployment) is a fun time to make a great big list of things that I hope to do, but maybe don't actually really and truly do.

This year I want to:

Spend less $
Save more $$$
Pay off the big red 'burb
Stay home more
Read good books
Take a class (yoga? violin? real skool?)
Learn to surf for reals

Plan and Survive (and hopefully even enjoy) Girls Camp
Run 5x a week

Do the Great Aloha Run
Hang curtains and pictures in my bedroom
Look Hawt when Nathan gets home in September

That's all.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

One Week Down

and I think we're going to be okay.

It seems to strange that time really does just keep going on. I'm not nearly as teary or grouchy as I was last week (sorry Nathan), and I'm feeling like I've got a job to do: the kids still need breakfast and the laundry still needs to be washed and it looks like I'm the one to get it done.

It has been really nice to be in our own little cocoon here. No alarm clock. No school. No obligations.

We have talked to Nathan 3 times and he sounds good.

Though, I haven't heard from him since Sunday and I'm starting to get a wee bit worried. Just worried enough to google, but not worried enough to start making phone calls.

Today, after I get my run in, I'm going to put up two clocks - one Hawaii time and one Iraq time.

I wonder if I can do that on my side bar?

That's all.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Hau'oli Makahiki Hou!

Happy New Year from Hawaii!

We started off our New Years festivities with a fondue part-ay. Strawberries in melted chocolate...Mmmmm!

Then we played some games.

I totally recommend Uno Attack for your next family party. We all enjoyed it -
from Hannah (13) all the way down to John (4 years old). John was able to understand which cards to play and he was absolutely thrilled when the machine gave him more cards! Hannah and Sydney and Emily were shrewed players and tough to beat. Emily was not so thrilled when 8 extra cards were spit her way.

After playing Uno for an hour and a half, we went over to our neighbors' house for some Karaoke. Fun! (Thanks Jay and Val) Nathan, you would have totally loved that - little Tina has a great voice, me not so much...

As we left their house we stopped to watch some fireworks in our cul-de-sac. New Years in Hawaii is all about fireworks. There are more fireworks tonight than on the 4th of July!

There were fireworks stands all over town, but it didn't occur to me to pick up any as I'm pretty sure they're illegal on post. Our next-door neighbors had tons of fireworks, though. They were lighting them off for over an hour, It was fun to watch, but kind of a bummer for our kids who wanted to play, too. next year... One screaming flower came right at us and ripped a branch off of our small palm tree. Take cover!

We finished off the night with another round of Uno and a movie. All of the kids were still awake to welcome the New Year.

It is a little odd to celebrate the holidays in 75 degree weather, but I'm not complainin'.

I hope your New Year is Happy!

**Updated to add that now it is 10:53am (according to the computer, but my watch says it is 10:46am and my watch never lies) on New Years Day and the kids are still sleeping! Happy New Year!