Spring Break Music Fest

March 31, 2012

   Spring Break is big deal on Kwaj and we kick it off with the Spring Break Music Fest.  Brewers start months ahead of time to have the perfect beer ready for the beer tent,  musicians and dancers practice for weeks before the show and the island's chili chefs pick out their favorite recipes for the chili cook off.  There's cotton candy, Italian ice's and baked good to be had, and this year, a whole lot of sunshine made for the perfect afternoon at the beach.
  We headed out to Emon Beach after Sky's nap and went right to Swanby Snow, the island's Italian ice maker.  The Swanby's have an ice machine and grinder hooked up to a bike trailer and they bring it to every event.  It's something we all look forward to and it was a great way to start the afternoon.
 I had a "special" Italian ice: Bacardi and Root Beer!

How We Got Here

March 30, 2012

   "The Marshall Islands?! Where are they and how did you end up there?" Those are questions we get a lot. The answer to the first is: the middle of nowhere. The short answer to the second is: by airplane! The long answer is the story below. Enjoy!
   Travel, both in the US and internationally, has defined much of my life. I caught the travel bug in high school when I began to go on mission trips with my church. Those work missions in Montana, Washington State and Alaska whetted my appetite to see more of the world and I jumped in with both feet during my sophomore year in college. I spent four months aboard the MV Universe Explorer with the Semester at Sea program, visiting 10 different countries during the course of the voyage and coming back to the US with a shaved head and a completely different outlook on the world.
   After completing my degree in Biology I spent three weeks on a survival trip in Australia with the National Outdoor Leadership School and then landed in Omaha Nebraska, near where my mother was living at the time. I returned to school and got a second bachelor’s degree, this one in medical technology and took a job on the night shift in the lab at a large hospital. Shortly after I graduated, I met D. We dated for four months before he left for 13 months to work at the South Pole in Antarctica. 

Getting Crafty on Kwaj and a Nanny Update

March 29, 2012

This will be Sky's second Easter with us but our first together in our house (we were in Kansas for the last one).   I'm excited to be creating our holiday family traditions and I wanted to try to keep the focus of the day where it belongs, rather than on the bunny and the chocolate.  We'll be going to a sunrise service on the beach and then having a little egg hunt at the house.
   There haven't been many options for Easter baskets at the store and the ones they do have are ridiculously commercialized so I made one for her myself:  

 The basket was part of one of my birthday gifts, the handle was made from some scavenged wire and heat shrink and a friend made the liner out of some scrap fabric (thanks, Lindsey!).

Kite Day on Kwaj

March 24, 2012

 This past weekend, Community Activities hosted a Kite Day here on Kwaj.  They had some free kites for the kids and lots of folks brought out their personal kites.  It was great to see so many people out and sky had a lot of fun looking at the kites.  D has several stunt kites and used to fly them pretty regularly so he enjoyed pulling them out of storage and showing off some tricks.

At the Skate Park

March 23, 2012

   Yesterday evening was a beautiful night here on Kwaj and for once we didn't have anything planned so we headed over to the skate park after dinner.  D's been skateboarding since he was a kid and Sky loves doing anything that Daddy does.  It's something fun to do as a family and helps break out of the the everyday routine.  Plus, it makes us look way cooler than we actually are! 

 Our little skateboarder

Big Changes for Sky

March 22, 2012

I mentioned in an earlier post that we had hoped to hire a nanny to watch the new baby once he or she comes home. Shortly after we announced our next adoption, some friends approached us about hiring their nanny. Ms Florina is related to one of the teachers at the school and started working at a nanny once her youngest child started school. She had worked for this family for two and half years and they thought she was wonderful and wanted to make sure she had a job once they left. Well, we've hired Ms Florina and Sky is staying home with her in the afternoons now. Unsurprisingly, it's been a rocky start so far.
Ms Florina came over on Monday afternoon and was there when Sky woke up from her nap. Sky wasn't very happy about that and was pretty upset when we left her alone with Florina for about a half hour that day. Yesterday was Ms Florina's first day picking Sky up from school and it didn't go that well. Sky would probably still take two naps a day if she could, so she's pretty tired by the time she goes down for her nap after lunch. Even though the teachers tried to keep her awake yesterday, she fell asleep but woke up while Ms Florina was taking her home. Apparently she spent the entire afternoon either crying or laying on the floor "pretending to be dead". Hmm. I hope today goes better!
Sky LOVES school and we knew that this would be a difficult transition for her. Because of that, we made the decision to move Sky to part time before the baby came home so that she didn't associate Ms Florina and the loss of school time with the baby coming- she's going to be jealous enough and we didn't want to add to it.
A wonderful bonus to hiring Ms Florina is that she has agreed to speak to Sky primarily in Marshallese and to teach us the language. I've already learned some new words and will continue to update my Marshallese Vocabulary post as I learn more words.
It took a week or so for Sky to adjust to going to school after staying home with me all day but she did adjust and I'm guessing this transition will go the same way. Do you have any suggestions for easing toddler transitions?

Updated: My Marshallese Vocabulary

March 21, 2012

  I've added some new words to this post, including the numbers one through ten.  I'll continue to add more as I learn them.  Enjoy!

A New Dress and Sky's Irish Mommy

March 20, 2012

One of our friends here made Sky and one of her baby dolls matching dresses- so cute! Thanks, Anne!

Adoption Update

March 15, 2012

  Nothing to report.  We're waiting, just like the rest of you- 8 weeks and counting.  Because my work has been asking, I emailed the Agency and our lawyer and all they were able to tell us is that our time between our referral and court date will probably be less than the two months it was with Sky.  So we're just living our lives, trying to stay busy and not think about it too much.

Potty Training Update

March 13, 2012

  I had a talk with Sky's teachers yesterday and we've decided to go back to pull-ups.  It would have been nice to have her potty-trained by the time the next baby comes home but she's not even two and a half yet and we're not in a hurry.  Sky just couldn't get the hang of knowing that she had to use the potty and was peeing herself all the time.  I think part of it was stress and part of it was that she just wasn't ready.  On the upside, she did recognize that she was wet every time that she peed herself, which is a huge step forward.  I think we'll take another whack at potty training in 3 months or so but until then, we're going to roll the carpets back out and let Sky play inside again.

Our Family vs a Rack of Lamb

March 10, 2012

   Sometimes the grocery store here on Kwaj gets in some special cuts of meat and there were racks of lamb for sale this week. D and I love lamb but had never had a rack of it so even though it was ridiculously expensive, we bought one to try. D cooked it in a basil and thyme infused olive oil and we had it with pasta and alfredo sauce and frozen corn (because that's how we roll- $20 worth of meat served with cheapo frozen corn).


Potty Training

March 8, 2012

  Sky's big girl panties arrived in the mail yesterday and she's wearing them to school for the first time today.  Just in case, she has four changes of clothes in her back pack.  Her teacher, the fabulous Ms Carmen, thinks Sky is ready and since she's been teaching 2-3 year olds for twenty years, we're going to defer to her judegment.  Sky has been doing great at school but seems to forget all about potty training at home.  Wish us luck!

What to do on afternoon off...

March 7, 2012

   Last week I had an afternoon off from work, a whole 4 hours of time to myself before I had to pick Sky up from pre-school.  What to do, what to do?

 I stopped at the library and picked up some books,

Thoughts on Home

March 5, 2012

    D and I love Kwaj.  We live on a tropical paradise where life has been shaved down to the simplest of things.  We both love our jobs and we're very happy with the school that Sky goes to.  We talk about staying for 10-20 years and raising our family here.  But this isn't home.  We talk regularly about when the next time we'll go home will be and when someone goes back to visit family in the states, we ask them how long they'll be home for.  After living in Omaha for two and a half years, I would tell people that that's where I was from and even though I've lived here for that long, home is still someplace else.  It's not just D and I either.  There was an article in the paper last week about a man and his wife who had lived on Kwaj for 45 years and were going back to Hawaii, going home.
  I don't know if it's the because of the contract nature of the work or because we can't buy homes here.  Maybe it's because it costs at least $1000.00 to go anywhere from here but this isn't a place that people call home.  I wonder if it will be different for Sky?  If we do stay here for 20 years, she will live here her entire life before going to college or the military.  Will this be home for her or just someplace that she lived?

Slices of Life

March 2, 2012

What is that, growing in the really ugly looking succulent?

 A pineapple!
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