Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Alissa is 15 today!

Happy 15th birthday today to my oldest daughter, Alissa. Fifteen years have flown by.

Fifteen years ago, I remember being a young, scared new mom, with a beautiful new baby and a husband about to move halfway around the world. I remember praying that I would do a good job and wondering if I had what it took to be a good mom, especially so young.

You and I were inseparable for the first 3 years of your life. Dad was gone a lot and it was just you and me. I loved those days. I mean, they were tough. You hated to sleep!

I am so proud of the young lady you are becoming. You are confident, happy, caring, funny, smart and beautiful. You are a great student, a great leader, and a good role model to your 2 younger sisters, who watch your every move and wish they could be a teenager like you.

Your life is full of challenges right now. High school in itself is challenging. Add to that your Class President role, your military brat lifestyle, and our plan to move again this summer (and sending you to your 8th school by the time you reach 11th grade.) You handle life like a champ - taking every challenge, every situation, and you make it yours. There is nothing you can't do!

As you grow, and need Mom less and less on a daily basis, please know that I am always here in the background of your life. Always available to you, always loving you and being there for you.

You (and your sisters) are the greatest joy in my life. My firstborn child, you changed me when you joined my life. You made me something I never thought I would be. Something wonderful.

Your mom. A role I am honored to have.

We have complimented each other over the years. And today I am profoundly proud and blessed to wish you a Blissful 15th Birthday. If you see me cry off and on today, it is not from sadness.

It is because I love you so much. And I guess I never realized how beautiful your life could be. You are blessed, and it fills my heart.

I love you more than I could ever put into words. But you know that.

Have an amazing birthday today!

Monday, September 21, 2009

I got 5K yesterday....

Ok, that's a little deceptive. But I liked the title.

Alissa and I ran a 5K race in downtown Honolulu yesterday. It was the Nike 5K for Kids race. Almost all of Alissa's 10th grade PE peers attended, because they get school credit for it, and the proceeds of their entrance fee went directly back to their school.

Since Alissa had so many friends there, we separated at the very beginning of the race. She preferred to walk it with her friends, and I set out to jog as long as I could.

I crossed the finish line at 7:48, 48 minutes after I started.

It was a grand day, for many reasons:
  1. A race by the ocean, how cool is that?
  2. I ran 3.1 miles in 48 minutes. I was thrilled with the time. Yes, I have room for improvement. But I did it.
  3. I ran about 75% of the race, slowing to a walk for just a couple of short distances.
  4. It was a beautiful day.
  5. I RAN A 5K race!
Those who know me know that I don't exactly have a runner's body. I am a little top-heavy, which has always precluded me from ever even trying to run. But about a year ago I started jogging, little by little. And I have continued it for almost a year now.

Jon has run in many races here in Hawaii. He is an avid runner and loves the feel of being in a race. I planned to run in one, but have always chickened out at the last minute.

Yesterday was an accomplishment for me. Who ever thought I would run in an organized event, ever??

It felt great. But today my thighs burn as I walk down the stairs. I guess maybe I should have started running earlier in life.

Yesterday makes me want to run again, and even more seriously this time. I will look for another short race or 2, to prepare me for the Great Aloha Run in February. That one I am definitely enrolling in.

It was a fantastic day. I'm proud of both of us.

Happy Monday!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Crib quilts, babies, Park Day and fun

Last Friday we had our weekly Park Day. There's a gated park at the end of my street that has a couple of play areas and a ton of grass (for frisbees, football or kite-flying).

When I first moved here, there was a group of women who met there with their kids on Fridays after school to hang out and talk (while the kids played and ran around). They called it "Park Day". The gal who sort of organized the whole thing (we'll call her "Q") was an uber-homemaker who baked something every day, so she always brought cookies or something. The women brought lawn chairs and juice boxes and scooters, and a fun afternoon was had by all.

Well, "Q" moved last June (2008) and as new people came to the neighborhood, I encouraged them to come to Park Day. I was welcomed there, and it was fun. However, when "Q" moved, Park Day changed. The ladies who had always been there weren't as welcoming as "Q" had been, and they openly showed their disdain for the newcomers. (To this day I'm not sure that I was ever really welcomed, I believe that those ladies probably said some mean things about me when I wasn't around...) They made the new folks visibly uncomfortable. So, Park Day disbanded - unofficially.

About a month or so ago, my Paiaha Ohana suggested resurrecting Park Day - but with a new twist. This would be much more casual, more friendly and welcoming to whomever wanted to come. All you needed was a chair, a smile, and some sunglasses (because the sun shines brighter in the park, I think). We gathered in the Park for that first new Park Day, and fun was had by all.

So, the tradition continues!

And last Friday was the best of all (so far). We had 8 families represented,which was fantastic. Many of the dads also came. (That was rare with the old Park Day - too much gossip...) In addition to normal laughter, there was a small birthday party for one of the kids. To see her face light up while blowing out candles with her Ohana around, it was precious.

We decided to bring dinner-type foods, too. As we've been staying at the park until dark, the kids were too tired to eat a proper dinner (and so their Friday night dinners had consisted of cookies and cheese puffs and whatever else the moms had grabbed on the way out the door...) I don't think dinner will be a weekly event, but it sure was fun. The kids ate a little better, and moms didn't worry what they'd do about dinner when Park Day was over...

Two of the moms are expecting babies before the end of the year (one is expecting a boy, the other a girl). One mom invited Alissa and I to feel her tummy. It's been a LONG time since I've felt a baby bump. It was sweet and precious and so wonderful. To be so close to this mom that she'd share that with us was priceless. And we felt the baby's head!! It was so cool.

These are memories that I want to hold onto forever. To keep in my heart to remember our days here in Hawaii. How the folks we met became a part of our life and grew to be very special to us. I document them here so I will have them many years from now, to remind me of those people, their generosity. Of Penny's super-funny stories and how I look forward to them. Of the baby bumps (and the new babies that will soon join our weekly festivities). Of the Thursdays every week and how I can't wait for one more day, for Friday, because I know what's coming. Stories and laughter and hugs from all the kids, not just the ones that belong to you. A group of more than just neighbors - a group of true friends.

Ohana who read this, you all mean so much to me. I have never lived anywhere where neighbors meant this much. Where all 100 of our kids could play together, and run together, and be together. Hawaii has a whole new meaning for me because you are part of that experience.

Thank you!

So, for the 2 moms-to-be, I made baby blankets. You may remember the one I made for my sister back in July. I fell in love with it. It wasn't perfect, but it sure turned out pretty cool in my opinion.

I gave them the blankets on Friday at Park Day:

for the girl baby, whose nursery is pink and chocolate:

for the boy baby, whose nursery is shades of blue:
Now I just need an excuse to make another one. I love doing it. I am really working up to making one for my own bed. But I need a few smaller ones under my belt first. And they're so stinking cute!

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Leave me a note. And if you know anyone who might like a baby blanket....

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


He is 11 days old today. This picture is a couple of days old, but you can see how sweet he is. What a blessing, a new life in the family.

I remember once, several years (and grandchildren) ago, my dad made a statement that he wanted to have 10 grandchildren. I don't know if he remembers saying this, and he'd probably deny it, but that statement stuck with me for some reason. There might have been 6 grandchildren in the family then...I can't remember, but I'm fairly certain it was before Abby was born, so that would have been sometime before 2003. Ten seemed like a large number back then, because I certainly wasn't planning to have any more kids. (Thankfully God disagreed with me...)

Anway, Brady makes #10 of the Diamond grandchildren. And he is such a welcome addition to the clan. I am overjoyed that my sister has a son. (And I can't wait to meet him!)