Monday, December 21, 2009

Sorry I Asked.....sort of

Yesterday was our 12th anniversary. Shane was feeling a little under the weather so we had a low key family day at home building K'Nex and playing "Gold fish" as Kateri calls it. It's always fun playing with her and Cyprian. She gets the game and is pretty good. Pippin, when asked if he has a Jack says "No, but I have a three and a four" and usually announces the new card he has fished out of the pile. But that is fun too. As have been the last 12 years.

So the other night, we were getting into bed and I asked Shane,

"Why did you want to marry me?"

He looked surprised.

"Why did I want to marry you? Because I loved you."

"But why? What did you like about me?"

I wasn't looking for an ego boost or anything. I was just really curious. I mean I know what I was like back then. I wasn't really very nice. I was kind of moody. If I didn't
get fed often enough I was*not a nice word.* When I think back I really wondered what he was attracted to. And what made him not run away.

He paused.

"I don't know. I never really thought about it. I just loved you. I couldn't help it or change it. It just is."

He paused again.
"I mean I guess I'd have to think about it. Maybe if you gave me couple days I could write up a paper or something. But I've never thought about why."

I started laughing. I had only asked for fun but I was sure he could come up with something. He was acting like I had asked him what his favorite Martian dish was.

"I don't really think in details. I'm a big picture person so when you ask for details its hard for me to say. Let's turn it around. What would you say if I asked you the same question?"

I leaned up on my elbow and looked at him. I rattled off a list of things I like,

"I like the way you laugh, your sense of humor. I appreciate your work ethic. The way you would interact with my nephews and siblings, and now our kids. Your honesty, your thoughtfulness, your character."

He looked pleased and said,

"Wow. This is nice. Keep going."

I stopped.

"I could go on. But its your turn. Does hearing some of my list help?"

"A little."

I waited.


Finally he came up with this gem.

"I love all the potential you have. I know sometimes you say you can't or have some excuse for why not. But I know you are capable of a lot more than you think you are.'

He delivered it like it was really something.

I wrinkled my nose.

"So you loved me for my potential. Like a lump of coal could someday be a diamond. Hmm. I don't think I'd have ever guessed that."

I was still laughing when he turned out the light.

"I like that you like to read," he offered as a parting gift.

It's been a great 12 yrs and I look forward to the next dozen. And the next. And to someday achieving my potential. I didn't ask what he thought that might look like. That would much too detailed.

I don't know why the date is wrong as today is the 28th. Oh well. I had to ask for help getting my keyboard to work. Of course he just pushed one button and then tried to explain why it worked when he did it. I don't really care about the details as long as it works. And it gives him something useful to do. Besides taking out the garbage.

We're Back

Somehow the pictures got all re-arranged but I'm too tired to fix them right now. So in no particular order, here are some photos of out trip to Bora Bora. The Four Season's Resort was absolutely amazing and I've never been so spoiled in my life, except by my husband. After getting home I had to get used to sitting down without someone immediately offering me ice water, or menu, or both. The staff was incredible and I could fill up several posts, and I probably will, raving about how nice they, and the resort were. But for now... These little huts were sprinkled around the pool. If you got near one a staff member rushed over to set up the towels and fluff the pillows and another would bring ice water and ask if you needed anything else. They were pretty cozy and one day we did sit and have lunch in one. They would have been great for naps, but there was so much we wanted to do we actually never slept during the days.
This was our last swim out side our bungalow, it was a modest 1,100 sq ft- the size of our first house- and so cozy. The water was about 8-10 feet off the deck so we would start the mornings with a little swim before breakfast. Some days Shane would swim to the shore and then run back for a morning work out. It was too far for me so I'd shower and wait for him to jog back- which was a little ways. But just enough to prepare us for breakfast.

Our dinner at La Villa Mahana was incredible and also warrants its own post as we took pictures of every course. And each one was amazing. Definitely on the not cheap side- the girl's menu doesn't even have prices. But like I've read on the travel sites, if you are looking for a deal on Bora Bora, you're on the wrong island. I guess that would apply to all of French Polynesia. The dinner was incredible. Shane had the foie gras as one of his courses and it was so yummy.

The mountain was so pretty and every time you saw it you had to take a picture because oh, its raining on the mountain. Now the sun is shining on it. Now the sun is setting. You never got tired of admiring it. Shane wanted to hike it as far as you could go. I wanted to sit in the pool and have a kiwi mojito. I guess we'll leave the hike for another time. along with para sailing. Our appointment got cancelled do to wind conditions. But were able hike around the ocean side of the resort and snorkel in the lagoons so there was no lack of activities to fill the time.

We had a very good Chateneuf du Pape with our dinner. It was nice to have 5 courses to go with it. And it went with all of them. Very well.

We went on the shark and ray snorkel which was too cool. The first day we were there, Shane was snorkeling off our deck and found a sting ray. So of course he had to come back and get his camera on a stick and go play Steve Irwin. I was very glad to hear from our snorkel guide that they are actually very friendly and if you don't scare or step on them they won't bother you. However, when they cover the floor like a carpet and then come swimming at you trying to climb up your chest its hard to not take a step. They are very heavy and could knock down a little kid easily. So I stayed close to Shane and grabbed on to him if I needed to.
Shane thought they were super cute and cooed and talked to them like they were little puppy dogs. They lapped it up, much like a puppy dog, as he stroked their heads with half a bait fish. He eventually let them eat it. It really was unbelievable. The reef sharks were there too. But they were not playful at all.

The camera had a spot of water on the lens, but we were surrounded by begging sting rays. We had to wait for a path to clear before we could make it back to the boat. It was hard to say good- bye to the little guys. Well actually not so little.

We had a nice sandy beach to play on, and the resort is growing coral in the lagoons. There were already a wide assortment of sea creatures, but in a few years when the coral is bigger it will be even more amazing.

We had a little gecko join us for dinner one evening. He just sat there on our table for the longest time. Then he blew a bubble- I think that means he liked us- and stayed until the waitress almost but the bill on top of him. I was releived to see he found his way off the table via Shane's leg. We wanted to bring him home too. Along with a sting ray.

All in all it was an amazing time. We met some neat people and neat animals. Had some divine meals. Exquisite service. And not too bad of a sun burn. Our five year plan it to all learn french and take teh whole family on a trip. The resort had tons of activities for kids with a supervised facility for younger ones. And an entire area for teens with a pool table, foosball table, couches, computers and games. I think once the kids get older, can swim better, and learn some french it would be an amazing place to take them. And we'd enjoy it too.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Deck The Halls- or Anyone Can Decorate

I know I'm not a decorator. My Spartan rooms and bare walls are a testimony to the fact that I lack much vision for artistically arranging pretty much anything, and I accept that. But today I decided that to take our minds off the loss of Draca, we would decorate the kids' rooms for Christmas. And I thought it would ease the move back into their bedrooms, which I think everyone taking care of the kids this week will appreciate.

And I figured with pine garlands and white lights, how hard could it be? We put on some Christmas music and I set to work untangling the lights from last year. After 15 min I looked and had about 3 feet of usable lights. Not to be discouraged I kept untwisting away, Kateri keeping me company. The other kids got bored and went away. But armed with my light strand, some nails-sorry Shane- and a garland I nailed and twisted my way to a Candy Cane Lane Masterpiece.

And when I was done, I stepped back and realized, I was right. I'm horrible at this.

The picture is a little blurry, but that actually improved the look as you can't see extra wires and such sticking our here and there. Not to be discouraged, I descended on Kateri's room. I decided to forgo the garland as it was really time consuming, and prickly. But the strand was a little long for just her window and after wrapping it back and forth a few times I still had a big wad of twinkling lights. I thought, duh, make a wreath of lights. So I scrunched them up, added another nail- sorry again, Shane-and I was done.

Kateri took one look and declared it looked "all tangled". Then she ran and threw herself face down on our bedroom floor, crying. Putting the beds back together is next on my list. I'm not sure what she had envisioned but I'd think any little girl would be excited to have Christmas lights on their walls. I might even do my room next.

She got over it and I comforted her with the knowledge that Grandma and Auntie Courtney, who have very good taste and very generous hearts, are going to help decorate next week. She was a little consoled and I think tonight when she gets in bed and sees the sparkly lights she'll be pleased. At least long enough to fall asleep in her own bed.

I can't take credit for this one. Kateri decided put up the banister garlands by herself. I think it kind of gives the look of a jungle Christmas or an abandoned building being explored by Indian Jones. Or something like that. So far no one has tried swinging Tarzan style from the balcony, and I took down the long piece that stretched all the way across the banister, threatening to clothesline Shane on his way down in the morning. I did envision it happening- see I have some vision, and it was really funny, but I thought it was in the Christmas spirit to take it down. And I think that might make up for all the nail holes.

Photo shoot- by Kateri

I took a few, meaning 4, pictures and was shocked when I went to download them and found there were over 100 pictures on the card. Browsing through them all it was pretty obvious who the photographer was. This was one of my pictures. Kateri decided last night to "organize" the pantry. I hate it when she does that because I can't find anything afterwards and have to ask her where the chicken broth etc. is. Maybe that's why she does it. But I don't want to discourage her from helping around the house and I think in time she will be a very good organizer. Although I was a little taken aback when she emerged from the pantry for a moment and announced,

"I'm not doing this for you. Its for Grandma, when she comes over."

I guess I"ll take what I can get for now.

Anticipating a trip to Grandma's, she had two bags packed by the front door, complete with her Christmas stocking. And when Shane and I were searching for the camera this morning she reached deep into her backpack and pulled it out. Complete with her latest photo journal.

She likes to go around and ask people to make a funny face, which everyone is happy to do.
Cousin Jonah was happy to oblige too.

I think this one might be for her room remodel plans. I'm not sure if this is the before or after picture.

This one was pretty good of our new Gecko, though I fear what she might have done to get it to cooperate.

A little Christmas arrangement she did in her room.

Proof she had an accomplice.

"Pizza on a Pillow"

Ahhh the life of an artist!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

End Of Life Decisions

I don't think you're ever really ready to make them. And even if you do plan ahead, they can still catch you off guard. I certainly felt caught off guard yesterday. I wrestled all afternoon with the options. I called Shane for help. I tried to comfort and prepare the kids when the outcome seemed apparent. But even then we were faced with choices.

Draca had developed a prolapse. We decided to take her to the vet in the morning, but in the morning it was even worse and we knew she wouldn't make it. Cyril went to the icon corner to pray for her, I was praying for Cyril. We had to decide between letting her slowly die or ending her pain. Would it be more painful for the kids to see her go slowly or to end it quickly. I admit I was tempted to just end it myself and end the kids' and her suffering. But then I wondered how the kids would feel if they found out mom had done in their gecko.

In the end Shane talked to Cyril and Cyril decided it would be best to let her go. Shane gave him a beautiful carved box he brought back from India and we made a little blanket and pillow for her. Cyril had decided the hibernation/freezing option seemed kindest, so I cleared a space for the box and we processed to the fridge.

I took the little kids to use the big kids swim lessons and Shane stayed home to assist in the burial. When we got home they were just leaving to the pet store to look for a new gecko. I cleaned out the cage and ordered pizza for dinner. In a little while they were back with a baby gecko. She/he was the most active of the bunch and the kids immediately agreed it was the one. They picked out some new housing for it and new flooring. We got it all set up and he settled in nicely. They are going to name it Draca if its a girl and Draco if its a boy. WE should be able to tell in the next few months.

The mourning continues today and I don't think we'll try to get any work done. But the kids are planning how to celebrate the new gecko's first Christmas and hopefully over time they'll be able to smile and enjoy the new pet. And I'll be praying this new one lives a long and healthy life.