Hawaii' '10

And I LIKE my curtain headboard, OKAY?

Saturday morning I woke up angry. I don't know. I JUST WAS, OKAY? 

Phillip kept saying, "Go get a coffee!" "Go out!" and being all NICE about it, but because I was feeling Angry and perhaps a bit Surly about everything, I felt like shouting, "I DON'T WANT TO GO OUT! I WANT EVERYONE ELSE TO GO OUT!" 

(I did not say this.)

But it's true, I just wanted to pick up the living room and have it STAY toy-free for more than five minutes. I wanted to clean the kitchen and just have it STAY clean. I wanted to feel caught up on laundry and I wanted to put all the papers on my desk away and I wanted to pack up maternity clothes and clear off the dining room table and pick up my bedroom and GAH WHY AM I ALWAYS CLEANING UP AFTER EVERYBODEEEEEEE!!!

(My mother just read that and is now thinking to herself, "VINDICATION.")

Instead! I stomped around and yelled a lot, but at some point things got better (my in-laws came over and played with the kids? I went for a run? I invited friends for dinner thereby giving myself Something Fun To Do?)

And then I woke up sort of angry TODAY. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?

Well, last night I had freaky deaky dreams that left me way un-rested and then I thought I was going to bust open a few preschooler noggins in church this morning. This is particularly unfair, as my kids 1) are getting sick and 2) were JUST FINE in church. I don't know what it was. Like I suddenly decided that everyone needed to sit stock still and pay attention and quit hanging on me and what, you need another Kleenex AGAIN? Blargh! I wasn't ANGRY in church so much as... TIRED. I was tired. There you go. 

Hours later I took myself out on a restorative trip to Target where I purchased all sorts of clearance items for my house, including a five dollar tablecloth that I turned into a curtain "headboard" in my bedroom. I would post a picture except 1) it's kind of too dark right now and 2) I want to find my bedroom BEFORE pictures and 3) you probably won't like it anyway and i am not in the mood for anything other than "OBVS YOU ARE THE NEXT MARTHA."

It wasn't that long ago that we stayed forever after church talking with all the other parents of small children. I looked forward to this! But I honestly can't remember the last time that I didn't just want to fling myself at the exit and zoom back home. I feel so frazzled after church, even today when I SWEAR my kids were TOTALLY FINE. Maybe it's the whole process - getting up, getting ready, getting everyone in the car, hauling everyone into Mass, getting everyone settled with their crayons (with which to deface the worship aids). The people I used to talk to all the time are probably all, "WHATEVS, CHEUNGS" and we will never be invited to coffee hour again. 

I keep feeling like this is just my life and it's not particularly hard or particularly easy and I get as much sleep as any other mom in my position and actually I have so much help and my kids were so fun today so where does the ragey tiredness come from?!?!

Phillip and Emma and I are headed to Portland this weekend and we are reeeeeally looking forward to it. I don't think it's about sending the big kids to the grandparents for two nights so much as just a Change of Scenery. I feel awful saying that, again, because I just HAD a change of scenery, just a few weeks ago I was sitting by a POOL eating a giant stack of PANCAKES delivered to my LOUNGE CHAIR. But what can I say, another little mini-vacation is sounding pretty nice. 

Hawaii weddings: highly recommend

So, this wedding was pretty fabulous. Not least because my kids were so stinking cute.


I even bought Molly a teeny little plumeria to clip behind her ear. SO CUTE.

When we met up with the bride and groom for dinner the night we arrived, she handed me an envelope full of three different schedule spreadsheets - one of them was five pages long. Lest you think I am making fun of her, I AM NOT. No no, I stand in REVERENCE. Had I only the courage and will to force five-page schedules into the hands of my sister's wedding party, perhaps I would not have been coordinating a grand Wedding Attire Scavenger Hunt mere hours before the ceremony. 

But you know, when you are a bridesmaid, and an out-of-town bridesmaid at that, you don't have many responsibilities other than making sure you show up with your dress and your shoes. So I can't say I paid a lot of attention to the spreadsheet, but that is how I knew everything would be orderly and lovely and smooth. And except for the part where the slideshow wouldn't work properly and the groomsman assigned to me was dragged up to the microphone to tell hilarious stories about the groom to fill the silence, it was. (And even that was a highlight, in my opinion. I love goofy groomsmen.) 

It was at a pretty fabulous hotel, in the garden where the hotel holds its luaus. Which means the biggest of the hotel's several private garden areas. Which means: REEEEEEEALLY BIG.

Um, this is maybe a THIRD of the tables. 

The ceremony itself was held in a smaller lawn area behind this huge covered area. 

Um, this is maybe a 42nd of the number of chairs required for all the guests. 

But before all that started we were getting our hair done and hanging out in a hotel room with this view:


Other Bridesmaid and I mostly sat around in this otherwise uninteresting hotel room not knowing what to do with ourselves, as we were the out-of-town bridesmaids and therefore useless in every way. We did hold a lot of flower boxes, I suppose, and say many an encouraging thing during the Get The Bride Into The Dress Process. Oh, I did pin the flowers in the bride's hair. My one contribution to the wedding! Go me! 

And then it was showtime.


There would have been more sobbing if I hadn't kept my head down almost the entire time, trying to avoid blindness by sunlight. I think they lined us up by height too, in which case: sorry for ruining the picture symmetry, Bride! Oops! 

You can't really tell from this picture - 

So! Many! Tables!

- but one of my favorite things were the table decorations. They had floral centerpieces, but the "runners" were banana leaves, and at either end of the tables were fruit centerpieces. But the fruit had all been cut up and put back together with little toothpicks, so you could eat ALL OF IT. Which basically meant our table decor was demolished ten minutes into the reception. 

Oh, I also loved the music.

Hana hou!

For those of you not in the know, Hawaiian music is either the ukulele 'Over The Rainbow' type thing you've heard on occasion, or it's my dad's easy listening radio station slowed down about nine thousand beats per minute.

And once all my hard work was over, you bet I used up those drink tickets. 

Don't mind if I do! 

I was a better mom on vacation

Well, today was pretty horrible. I could either hold Molly and get stuff done, or I could have a small person clawing at my leg moaning "holdmeholdmeholdme" while attempting to get stuff done. I alternated off and on, as you do, and the whole time I am cursing my existence because the other child is being a hellbeast as well and it seriously did not occur to me that he was just trying to get some attention too until, oh, four o'clock. I'm just smart like that. And do you want to know what happened around four o'clock? I'd finally gotten my barftastic, overtired, miserable, unhappy and possibly sick daughter asleep and was going to put her down in my bed since all of her barf sheets were in the wash. And while I'm doing this Jack waltzes in and starts SINGING and JUMPING and SHRIEKING and throwing himself onto the bed and I am FURIOUS because he's going to wake up Molly and then I am SCREWED. And he wouldn't listen to me and wouldn't get out and ignored my repertoire of Mean Scary Faces and I finally just had to put (a very much awake) Molly down on the bed and chase after his scrawny little butt. I yelled. OH HOW I YELLED. I'd just HAD it, you know? I QUIT! And Jack bursts into tears and says, "I just want to sleep with you TOO!" 

Oh internet, I am crying just typing that. I don't get to quit because I am FIRED.

Let's talk about something else, shall we? How about parenting SUCCESS, as exemplified by this past week in Tropical Paradise. I've written all about the nighttime sleeping arrangements for Parenting on Thursday, but I'll give you the rest of my tips and tricks right here. 

Tip #1: Bring babysitters! Who thought of taking the grandparents along? That person was brilliant! Oh right, IT WAS ME. It's especially effective if your babysitters' idea of good time is "Hanging Out With The Preschool Set". We sent them over to Nai Nai's room every morning. I never once gave those kids a bath or got them dressed in the morning. Phillip's parents washed them and fed them and entertained them in the afternoons and, basically, any time Phillip and I wanted to be doing something else. Which was, well, ALL THE TIME. Most mornings we were out meeting up with friends and most afternoons we were finding other things to do besides sitting around the hotel room while the kid who deigned to nap napped and the kid who wouldn't nap watched a DVD. Even the morning before we left, we were ushered out of the hotel and told to go have breakfast by ourselves, take one last stroll on the beach. Don't have to tell me twice!

Tip #2: Know easy going people! This is a great tip. When you are making plans with easy going people, ESPECIALLY easy going people who have kids, no one is mad when the pizza is forty minutes late or your kid, say, barfs in the hallway during the party. 

Moments before the barf.

Tip #3: Give in! Kids don't want to go to bed? Want cookies for breakfast? Prefer Naked over Swimsuit? WHY NOT? You're on vacation! Who cares! Here's a little secret from me to you: when you PLAN to give in, when you are already in the Giving In MINDSET, you aren't being manipulated or losing or otherwise demonstrating your utter failure at parenting. You are taking the easy way out because the easy way is what you DO on vacation! It's ALLOWED!  

Portrait of a man who knows how to pick his battles. 

Everything else good? That was just luck. Total LUCK that the kids took naps nearly every day (BOTH of them). Perhaps those babysitters really wore them out, who knows, but by Wedding Day, when it was imperative that both kids be moderately pleasant in the evening, they were both (BOTH!) taking three hour naps in the afternoon. Their eyes would start to droop - not always at the same time, but that was okay - and we'd just stick them in a random bed AND THEY WOULD STAY ASLEEP. If this was not The Universe trying to advance-make-up-for today I don't know WHAT it was. 

The kids spent most mornings on the beach. Early, because that's when they woke up, and because it wasn't so hot and the crowds weren't out. We bought them sand toys at an ABC Store the day after we got there and they were good to go. My in-laws took them to the zoo...

Contemplating what it means to be an elephant living in Waikiki.

...and the morning of the wedding they all went to the aquarium while I was getting my hair done. Our local friend rented car seats for us - total lifesaver in the Hauling Our Crap Through The Airport Department. And God bless Google Maps for iPhone, without which we would still be stuck on H-1 trying to find the stupid turnoff for the stupid karaoke joint. (Seriously, I am never going anywhere unfamiliar again without Google Maps and an iPhone.) 

Oh, and I brought a TON of food, because this is what I wished I'd done on our Disneyland trip. But I hadn't factored in my in-laws, who promptly went to Safeway and bought enough supplies for a MONTH in Hawaii and who, every day, stopped at Fatty's Chinese Kitchen for PROPER nourishment. Perhaps I ate those Cocoa Puffs all by myself. 

Proof that I did not make that name up.

I miss them

Oh internet, I have twelve million things I want to tell you but I am All Aflutter over which thing FIRST and maybe not THAT thing and would anyone be interested in that OTHER thing and oh dear maybe I should just post some pictures and be done with it. 

Except uploading the pictures is Phillip's job and he is doing homework. SO. (SORRY MOM!)

Logistically, relationally, weddingly, every possible way in which to -ly, things went as well as they could possibly go. I am serious. From the flights to the navigating around town to the hanging out with people we hadn't seen in forever to the wedding itself. I mean, my mascara didn't even disintegrate and settle into the wrinkles under my eyes like it ALWAYS does. This trip was THAT charmed. 

Probably the most amazing thing was that I managed to go the entire week without a sunburn. 

No, the MOST amazing thing is how events like these always produce tight and steadfast bonds with the people experiencing the event alongside you. The last time I saw Other Bridesmaid was the day we both graduated from college, nine years ago and we weren't really friends with each other so much as just friends with the bride. But she was my best friend this week - a total and near-instant tie. I always knew we would be friends if we'd spent any time together, so this was proof. We talked nonstop about every aspect of motherhood, and I do mean EVERY ASPECT. We talked about our hair and dresses, she tried to teach me the Gospel of Bare Escentuals, we shopped together, ate together, wondered together whether the bride would be annoyed if we spent the hour between picture taking and the ceremony drinking a beer in the hotel bar. She lives very far away and I found myself sort of distraught over the fact that I wanted to keep in touch with her and how silly is that, everyone knows it's only a temporary Big Event Relationship, but then SHE'S the one who mentioned staying in touch when we were saying goodbye and, well, wouldn't that be awesome?

There was a photobooth at the wedding and I have these pictures of myself and Other Bridesmaid and Maid of Honor, and then another set of the three of us with the bride and I have looked at them several times since we got home, feeling sort of sad. Maybe I'll scan them for you. 

I want to tell you what it was like to be the SAHM in a group of women focused on their careers. I want to talk about island-style. I want to tell you what worked and what didn't work with the kids. I want to tell you about the food and the views and show you the shoes and the dress and oh I HAVE to tell you about this wedding because whenever I asked about it and the bride said, "Oh, it won't be too big," and "No, it's not going to be fancy or anything, don't get excited" she was LYING. 

I wrote all that to remind myself. And to warn you, in case you want to skip out of here for a week or so.

My friend the bride is coming up here next month and part of that time I'll be at another wedding, this time in Los Angeles, but when we come home we already have a date at her favorite pizza joint. And I told her that we're coming back to Hawaii for our 10 year anniversary, although maybe another island, maybe Maui? (Phillip doesn't know this yet, although I'm sure he'll agree.) And she recommended some amazing resort on Lanai so now all I have to do is win the lottery or rob a bank because people, Hawaii is always somewhere where you have to go back