Monday, February 18, 2013

Paradise Top Ten

... Testing, Testing... (tap, tap) is this thing on?

I feel like I need to get a broom to sweep the cobwebs from this place. Hawaii is most certainly a wonderful place to live. When I am not at church or homeschooling, we are outside, so it has been hard to eke out time to spend blogging. I feel like I've been a bit narcissistic about it in the past.

The top 10 things we LOVE about Hawaii...

10. Pineapple Ice Cream. Really, it's Dole Whip. And anything else they serve food-wise at the Dole Pineapple farms. We have been several times and have skipped the tourist stuff most of them. We show up just to eat!

9. The Jeep. We bought a jeep when we got here. It is bright yellow, like the sun, and we love to just drive in it. The wind blows in our hair and we get to really FEEL the warm sunny weather!

8. The things to do. Since we've been here, we've visited the zoo, some of the local museums, the SWAP Meet, (a great place to get hawaiian souveniers), hit several of the beaches, and malls.

7. Where we live. We live on base, near the commissary, in a wonderful new townhome with lots of space. We live on a street full of kids the same age as the babies in this family. We used to live in a different community, a bit further from the commissary, with quite the drive home from base for Daddy... However, there were lots of good things about that area. We had a view of the water, were less than a block from the pool, and had lots of friends to play with there too. I will never forget the first night that we arrived, we slept with the windows open, and when morning came, the birds were singing. It was such an amazing sound, those tropical birds (pigeons mostly!) issuing me a wake up call.

6. Security. Not just living on base, but living in Hawaii has really made me feel safe. There is almost no crime here. Our jeep doesn't even have doors or windows because no one really bothers much. There are your typical "stay out of here neighborhoods" and such, but even then, they just aren't as bad as most populous areas in the country.

5. Kid Activities. Little Monster has been involved in Kempo Karate here, which has been amazing for improving his focus and discipline. He LOVES going, even more now that he has achieved yellow belt. Both of the kiddos have been attending Leahi Swim School. That place is amazing. The water is warm, the kids both have turned into practical fish. The teachers there really treat you like family. And the kids have learned how to swim amazingly well! Butterball is swimming like a fish, and amazes people with how well she just hops into the water. And I honestly think it is thanks to this swim school!

4.The Beaches. There are beaches everywhere. And one right near our house here on base. The waves are small, and it is rarely busy on a weekday. The water is so clear that you can see further than you should. Little Monster even learned to snorkel recently so that he could see the sea life that hangs out under the water. He is fascinated by the fish, turtles, and everything else at the beach. But mostly, both kids love making sand castles.

3. The scenery. You drive out of the neighborhood and you can see green, fabulous mountains on two sides of you. Turn around and there is the ocean. Deep and wide in all it's majesty. There really is a rainforest here, and you can surely smell it in the air. We have seen a rainbow at least once a week for the past year. I can't get over how beautiful they are, and how often we see them. They aren't the faded, barely visible rainbows I remember as a kid. They are bold, bright, and often have a reflection creating a "double rainbow" effect. When we finally do leave this island, I will be very sad that it will not be as easy to chase that pot of gold as it is here. The kids love the rainbows too, and often fight over who the rainbow belongs to.

2. The Weather. Need I say more? There is a reason why people make fun of those of us who get used to Hawaii weather. Because any temperature below 78 is "brr, cold!" and anything above 82 is scorching HOT! It rains a lot since we are within the tropic of cancer, but most of the time you can find a sunny spot somewhere on this island.... and usually it's by a beach. The rain usually doesn't last long, though!

1. The People. We've made some fantastic friends here. And that is no different than any other place we've lived. But mostly, the people here, really do share the honest "aloha" spirit. I have felt more welcome here as a military family than I have anywhere else in the country. Maybe because it's obvious I'm not a local, so my expectations were different? I have been but a few places that didn't offer a military discount while we've been here. Most of the people on the island share a faith that amazes me. The people here on this island are worth writing home about.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

tap, tap... testing?

Is this thing on?

Has it really been a year? I guess we've just been busy enjoying paradise and I haven't had much time to write.

Stay tuned.

Maybe. I think I hear the beach calling....

Saturday, March 12, 2011

My heart is aching...

Thursday was a rough day. Nothing seemed to go the way I wanted it to. I put the kids to bed early and was relishing some time watching some TV I had taped while doing some work on the computer and enjoying a delicious sushi dinner. I spent a few minutes wallowing in the long hard day that I'd had. Children who didn't nap, taxes that took to long to complete and to top it off, cleaning up a bunch of poop. I realized how blessed I was that after such a rough day the kids had gone to bed early. I was heading there myself.

And then it happened. My day got worse. Very quickly. The news of the 7.9 quake in Japan (which was quickly elevated to 8.9) was bad enough. Watching the devastation and the fear and imminent deaths there broke my heart. But a large earthquake like that means a lot more to me now that it affects me personally. An earthquake that size most definitely means a Tsunami is likely. And considering that I can see the water from my living room window, I couldn't spend a lot of time sitting around and doing nothing.

That brings me to another reason why being a military family is different from being a normal civilian family. When you grow up in Nebraska, you hear the civil defense sirens and know that a tornado is threatening your county. That is, unless it happened to be 10:00 AM on Wednesday. When you're a military family and you move thousands of miles, the shortlist of natural disasters changes with each move. The ones you're used to really don't apply in each place. On the east coast you worry about hurricanes. The west coast has wildfires and earthquakes. And apparently, an island in the middle of the pacific has issues with volcanoes, sulfur dioxide air, and the aftermath of major earthquakes all along the ring of fire - Tsunamis. The thing is that when you grow up in an area you learn to stop being afraid of the natural disasters that are common in your area. You get used to the sirens, warnings and know that you're relatively safe even if the disaster threatens to strike. But when you move to new areas, you have to learn to cope with new, scary things that you aren't used to.

I am truly, TRULY blessed to live in a very close-knit community. We all watch out for each other's children and talk almost daily. If we don't see someone for a while, we check to ensure that things are okay. And because of this, even when my best friend is thousands of miles away, I have people I can lean on. People who have in just a few short months have become family. And so, when the earthquake hit in Japan, the word was passed quickly throughout the neighborhood. We all know that earthquakes, though far away can directly impact our area. When the tsunami watch was issued, we all talked and knew that should it become a warning, we would go somewhere together. When civil defense said it was "highly likely" the watch was going to become a warning, we had decided to get ready. So that if it became a warning we would be able to leave ahead of everyone else and avoid traffic. So, fifteen minutes before the first siren, we were already packing up, planning to go somewhere together, in the middle of the night, with all of our children. And when the siren sounded we were already well on our way to seeking safety.

My heart is aching for those in Japan who are dealing with the tragedy. But my heart is also aching with gratitude for a Great God who helped to place my family in this home. Aching with love for my neighbors who have stepped in to watch my children when others had to be rushed to the emergency room. We may not live in a brand new house, but we have a roof, walls and plenty of room. We have a view of the water in a wonderful area of the world where the weather is almost always amazing. We have friends for the kids to play with (and get hurt with). We have block pot-lucks and birthday parties. We have a community that is hard to find. So it was with great relief that Friday morning, when the all-clear was sounded that we returned to our homes. But the relief was not because our houses and our things were in tact, it was because our neighborhood family was.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Apple TV. Seriously?!

Have you heard about this thing? I was very skeptical. Any time Daddy comes home with some new-fangled gadget, I want to know how much it costs and why we really need it. (I'm not sure exactly when I went from being excited about the new gadgets to exasperated. I am not sure I'm happy about this shift, either.)

Then, my sister sent me a YouTube video of my sweet baby nephew Bear. Oh, how I miss those CHUNKY, chunky thighs. His solid frame, and his sweet contagious smile. I watched the video on my phone. And then I thought I should watch it on a bigger screen. My iPad! I was watching it when Little Monster came around and wanted to know what I was watching. And why did that sound like Auntie on the iPad?!

I noticed this little odd thing on the bottom of the screen and clicked it. And it gave me an option for watching the video on Apple TV. After only a few minutes of input juggling, there was Bear! Bigger than life Bear! Being the goof that he is on the big TV. Monkey and Monster just sat and watched Bear over and over.

And now I find myself anxiously awaiting the newest Bear video to be uploaded. I haven't seen a new one in a long time. Despite the fact that I've posted a few videos of Monkey and Monster since then. But you know sisters. They are busy. Oh, and they are in the mid-west and trying to dig out from about a gazillion feet of snow. I guess I'll give her a break.

But what I was originally trying to say is that Apple TV -- it's totally sold on me. I love watching Bear on the Big Screen! And now that Daddy is busy, I'm sure the kids are going to love watching him read good night books there too!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

And so it goes...

Or rather he...

Daddy has returned to the daily grind of sea duty, and with that the return to a lonely life of being a married single parent. We have been truly blessed and spoiled in the past few years having him home every night, in time for dinner too!

My lack of blogging here hasn't had anything to do with anything other than a lack of time to sit and do it while the children are quiet. I have continued to blog. In my brain. As I am vacuuming or preparing breakfast, folding laundry and going about my daily tasks blog posts arrive in my head. But I haven't been putting down the vacuum, waffles, or towels in order to blog at all.

Turns out, when you do that your house stays clean longer than thirty minutes. It might also have something to do with our wonderful neighborhood in which at 3:00 in the afternoon the children are set free while the adults chat and supervise the chaos. It isn't chaos. That isn't fair. There are many days where the children play in orderly groups in their games. They organize duck duck goose, hide and seek, some sort of medieval knight game that involves foam swords, shields and bicycles, and a myriad of other things. Some days, though, they look like a bunch of free electrons buzzing around the street and the cul-de-sac.

I can't believe how blessed we are to have such a wonderful place to live, with wonderful neighbors and the opportunity to enjoy it all -- even if Daddy isn't here to enjoy it with us.