We wanted more normal and we embrace it. Normal kid silly shenanigans to remind us- none of us are perfect- them as growing humans, us as parents. Parenting is very messy. Life is messy. As we clean up the messes, we get to try an put things in the order we like.
Phil still works long hours. We snuck away one day in December for a lunch date. He spent half of it on the phone with work. He took a couple days off before Christmas and took over my busy, allowing me to do some of the fun Christmas stuff. He got some general maintenance things done around the house and with the van- finally got to take my Buddha to see the Big Buddha at the Valley of the Temples.
Kiera had a ballet performance at the new mall. After daily rain for over a month, the weather cooperated-we were worried because of the outdoor stage. She was beautiful.
I went to the girls' school program. Phil couldn't make it because of a new work kinda thing- to be explained later. There were so many parents there. The most I've seen since we've been there (close to 10 years). I couldn't even get inside to see the girls sing- but wrangled a decent view from the door.
Took the kiddos ice skating since they had so much fun at the squadron Christmas party there- got cold and a cold. Bella made a fabulous ugly sweater and helped me with an adventure in making organic coconut sugar scrub.
Kiera and Lily performed songs at Ward Center and we talked dad into some art therapy after. Phillip was spending the day with his girlfriend for her birthday- doing community service. Because that's what she enjoys. I love this. Her family is wonderful, takes good care of Phillip and even helps with our girls.
Christmas itself was fairly quiet. We got to hang with the cousins, played games and started getting the house in order. Some of the BIG news before Christmas in the Mallory house was that Phil was offered a new position in the Hawaii Guard. He will be taking command of the 169th Air Defense Squadron at Wheeler Army Air Field. 2017 brings some exciting new challenges on different levels! I am extremely proud of Phil, as a friend, as a wife and mother of his pretty cute kids but I have to say the man has a work ethic that is far too rare these days. I just can't express how in awe of him I am. Despite everything we have going on at home- the medical challenges, which aren't just paper cuts or colds and flu, he does his job and then some while still being the best partner through chaos that I could ever ask for. I'm pretty sure over the past 11 years at any given time he's had or been doing 3 jobs at once- not including anything at home. We are really sad to be leaving our Hawaiian Raptors family who we have been with since 2005. But that is also a good thing about being on an island and in the Guard- We will still get to see each other.
Being in between jobs at the holidays was a balance, but as always we got creative to spend time together. One of those days we spent cleaning out his office in the fighter squadron. I won't lie- it was kind of tough. Even though the building is new, the office was relatively new- I know how hard he has worked and it doesn't show in the trophies on the bookshelf or the framed prints. It showed in the stacks of papers happily shredded- the bits of lunches past steamed cleaned from under the desk, the constant ping of messages and questions still stacking up on his phone.
Yesterday we got to see Phil introduced as the Commander of the 169th. I am truly thankful for the warm welcome we were given during a busy day, that our family had the opportunity to meet many of the men and women of the 169th and see just a small bit of what they do to protect the state and country. I've always said that when the time comes, I don't need public acknowledgement or thanks, I am the lucky one to be his wife and grateful to be by his side for this journey. I hope I tell him enough. It was really difficult to not tear up when he began his talk with, I've never officially had the opportunity to publicly thank my family. Although we are not ones for pomp and circumstance and have repeatedly said that official recognition is not necessary, sometimes the best way to lead is by example and I have to say after showing and receiving gratitude- it can be a humble way to lead. I know I was humbled by his words- although not unfamiliar to me but knowing they fell on strangers' ears. Yet a short time later, the kids and I got to meet so many of those friends and now they are no longer strangers. As we head in to many unknowns and we continue on with the known of constant change, there are many good things to come and many opportunities are just challenges we haven't figured out yet.