October 31, 2012

  NaBloWriMo, National Blog Writing Month, for those who can't quite manage the real thing: NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month.  I've tried to do NaNoWriMo twice now and I've got two started but I can't seem to make it past 3000 words.  The first time, before we brought Sky home, we were in the middle of a mission cycle and about to move to Kwaj and the second time, we were on vacation in Thailand.
  So this year, I'm going easy on myself and doing NaBloWriMo- one post a day, every day, for the month of November.  They won't always be long and they won't always have pictures but I'll try to keep it interesting for you, my four readers.

Marshallese Vocabulary: Update

October 29, 2012

  Thanks to Fire's Jimma (grandpa) on Ebeye, I'm finally learning Marshallese.  I've been going over there after teaching my English class on Mondays and he takes be through vocabulary and sentence structure.  Because Marshallese is a very flexible language, I've also been asking Florina and Ms Carmen about any pronunciation that I'm not sure of.  I've started using more of these words with Sky but so far, she's not speaking any Marshallese other than yokwe (hello) and bar lo yuk (good bye).  I'm sure she'll pick up more as she spends more time Ebeye though.  Fire's Jimma has a great nephew that's just her age and she loves to play with him but he doesn't speak English- I guess if she really wants to get into trouble with her new friend, she'll need to learn Marshallese!
  This is an update and repost of this post.

jahb: no
jahb jeebway: no touch
nana: bad
aynana: that's bad, it's bad
kway nana: you're bad (used very rarely)
babu: lie down
kigi: sleep
eedrak: drink
mongai: eat, food
enno: good, edible
awa in: time (eg: awa in mongai , awa in kigi)
tah: what
mwayo: home
draylon: inside, enter
nahbwejj: outside
yukaray: play
muhtuhm: friends
mejjahm: face/eye
ningning: baby
likatoo: pretty
lakatoo: handsome
etal: go
im: and
ibwen: with
jahb jang: no cry
jahb lemwayjj: no scream
jahb kororo: no talk
jewdok: get up
kia: now
emon: good
emon tata: great
aton: dirty
komol tata: thank you very much
lahlay: look, watch
sheejjit: sit
ijjin: here
laytok: give
raynin: today
eelayjju: tomorrow
tudu: swim, bathe
yokwe: hello
bar lo yoke: see you later
lo yoke illejju: see you tomorrow
ejj: it
ejj emon waht: everything's fine
kakeejay: chill out, relax
cudu: dog
coos: cat
bubu: grandma
jimmuh: grandpa
mama: mama
baba: daddy
ejj etahm moor?: how are you?
emon, ah kway?:  I'm good, and you?
ebwe: so-so
ejjahng: sad
etam?:  What is your name?
eta im..: My name is...
jjuon: one
ruo: two
cheelu: three
emmen: four
lalem: five
jijuno: six
jimjuon: seven
ralitok: eight
ratimjuon: nine
jonguol: ten
etal ngan eea?:  Where are you going?
rej etal ngan mon wea: let's go to the store
mon wea: to buy
rej etal ngan...: let's go to the (eg: etal ngan school, let's go to school)
bohkatohk: bring it here
likuut tee: put it here
anmeen: left
anmohn: right
lowahn: in
kahtaan: between
yawn: on
lahl: down
luhlung: up
mohlok: forward
likalok: backward
ngay: if
komonemuhn: be gentle, be kind
jab kajangay: don't make him/her cry
ekatahk: learn/study
ejj ekatahk kajjeen marjel: I'm learning Marshallese
ayin: time to
ayin ekatahk English kia: It's time to study English now
morong: can/ possible
eebahn: now way/ impossible
ellamin ahn pa: how do you say...
kwojjelay ka chee-en: I don't know
paramok pa: say it again
see-low: slow
mahkahj: fast
sibahng nga: help me
jahb inah bada: no problem
jahb kahgeel: behave
karrayo: clean up

* A note on pronunciation:  All the words above are pronounced with the American English letter sounds except the r's which are pronouced with a trill like a Spanish r and the jj which is said like the second g in "garage"  The "ng" is pronounced like "ing" without the i..

Family Picture

October 26, 2012

One big slice of Happiness Pie

Photo Catch-Up

 Sky shared a sticker with Fire

 Then held him on her lap while he ate it!

 She's doing much better with him but still has a hard time sometimes sharing things that used to be hers.  Here she is trying to climb into the high chair.

The high school kids do a haunted house event for little kids and this year it was held during nap time.  Sky was happy about the costume but not about being woke up after only and hour nap!
My pretty mermaid princess!  She picked what she wanted to be and I found her costume on Etsy (A Rainy Day Play)

 Here's a flash back to the same party a year ago

 Sky giving her shark-daddy and fisherman-brother the stink-eye

 But she cheered up enough to make a sugar cookie

 I'm kind of crabby this Halloween!

 This fisherman is so cute I could eat him up!

 Sky (and Daddy) doing the pumpkin walk

 Sky won and got to pick a pumpkin

 The winner with her prize

 A Kwaj-style hayride (the trailer was full of palm fronds)

 The colonel reading a scary story to the kids in front of his house

 D went to the Swashbuckler's Ball at the Yacht Club this year.  It's a big pirate-themed party and D's been wanting to go for a while.  He had a great time.  A friend watched Fire for us and Dky and I went to see Brave.

 Just for laughs, this is what was out of sight in "Pirate D" picture above

We had a Welcome Home party for Fire last weekend and it was a really good time.  Lots of people came to see Fire and play with Sky. 
 I didn't take too many pictures during the party but I did happen to get these two.  I guess you could call it a before...

 and a during!

 This picture was taken at Sky's Welcome Home party last August.  That little baby...

 is this big girl, Sky's good friend Juliet.

 We were lucky to have Florina and Sky's teacher's over from Ebeye.  They all loved holding Fire and would just pass him back and forth.

 This picture was taken last night- look who finally cut his top teethe!  He's been working on those for a few weeks and is much happier now that they're through. 

 Escher has gotten really big (he wouldn't hold still for a picture)

 but unfortunately he's a biter.  We're hoping that when he gets snipped in a few weeks it will curb some of that aggression.

Sky loves books!  Here she is with Daddy last night reading one of her new favorite stories, "The Three Little Pigs"

What We've Been Up To

October 25, 2012

  I don't know how much they're covering it on the news back there in the states but here's an article about what we've been doing on Kwaj lately:

This is a file photo I found on the internet but I have seen re-entries like this in the past

Feeding Fire: An Ironic Solution

October 22, 2012

   I've been doing some more experimenting with baby food for Fire (like I talked about in this post) and have had several failures and a tiny bit of success. I have tried pureeing the meals that we eat (beef short ribs with mushroom-barley pilaf and lamb with rice and veggies) and have been able to get a few bites into him but neither of those have been a big winner. I did have some success with pureeing canned veggies (mixed peas and carrots) which is leading me to believe it's a texture thing. Maybe he's still not ready for chunky food? D is advising me to let this one go and for once I might. But only because of something that happened on Ebeye last night.
   Yes, you read that right: I may have found a way to diversify Fire's diet on Ebeye, an island that has been called "the slum of the Pacific". On a whim, I took some money with me when I went over to teach yesterday and I stopped in the grocery store after class. What did I find next to the baby formula (the three different varieties of baby formula- be still my heart!)? Baby food- lots of baby food! They had stage two meals (meat and veggies), fruit blended with oatmeal, green veggies, carrots, turkey with gravy. I was practically giggling as I grabbed two of everything. Believe me, I appreciate the irony of the fact that I can buy what I need for my son on an island without a sewer system but not on the one right next to it that exists as a little slice of America.

Manit Day Giveaway- And The Winner Is...

     To pick the winner of the guam, I assigned each entrant a number based on when they put their names in:

Teresa: 1
Lynn:  2
Caroline :3
Chris: 4

And the winner is...
Congratulations Caroline!  I hope your daughter Ysabelle likes her guam.  Please email me the address you would like the dress shipped to and I'll get in in the mail this week. 


October 18, 2012

  We played our last soccer game of the season last night.  It was a tough one, against the varsity girls high school team.  They are very good and they beat us 4-2.  They have a front line of three girls that have been playing together since they started playing soccer and when they get ahold of the ball, you just have to get ready to be scored on.  They're just that good. 
  I played goalie this season and in one of the quieter moments of the game, it occurred to me that being a parent is a lot like playing goalie in soccer.  There are a lot of people involved, but when it comes down to it, you have to face the challenge yourself.  There are people who can help, who can make sure that you're not under pressure all the time but there will be a lot of times when it's one-on-one and those times are hard.  Sometimes you can make the save and get the ball back on the field and keep the game moving, and then you can feel really good about yourself.  And sometimes you can't.  Sometimes your head wasn't in it, you weren't paying attention, maybe there was just too much coming at you at once, or maybe the shot was just to hard for you to stop.  And then you feel bad about what you didn't do, what you should have done, and you can get down on yourself.
  But the game keeps going and there will always be another opportunity to make the save, to do it better. 

  But back to soccer: most of my games started later in the evening but D was able to make it to one last week and took a few pictures for me.  That's me, in the goal box:

   And then a certian little someone who loves cameras got ahold of it and started taking pictures:

 (that one at least has the game in it...)

  I really like these pictures.  In the first one, I'm pretending to catch Sky up in the air (I made a few good saves that way during this game)

And in this one, Sky is holding my gloved hands to her face so that we can play "shake-face".  Love that girl.

Another Wittlebee Box

   We got our last Wittlebee box in the mail yesterday (to read why we won't be using the service anymore, see this post).  Even with the mail delay we've had lately, it only took about two weeks to get here, so again, points for fast shipping.  This box was for Sky.  Since she doesn't need any clothes right now, I ordered these clothes in 4T to be stored until she grows into them.  Here's what came in Sky's box:

   Sky got two T-shirts, one outfit (tunic top and leggings), a dress, and a jumper.  On the whole, I like the clothes that we got for her.  What I don't like is that I specifically typed "Nothing white", those exact words, into the "Stylist Comments" section and what did we get? Two things that are very white (and one that's practically white).  I also typed "No pants" and we were sent leggings.  I understand that you can send things back but since that would be a hassle for us, we're going to keep these items.  White clothes just can't stand up to Sky- that girl is fierce with markers, food, anything that can leave a mark will make it onto her clothes.  And I had to trick her into pants last night.  Hopefully by the time she grows into the leggings, she'll actually want to wear them.

  One other issue with this shipment, that we didn't have with Fire's, is the size disparity.  Apparently one brands 4T is not the same as anothers.  The polka-dot dress and blue T-shirt will be put in a box for later but Sky can wear the blue jumper and the "Peru" T-shirt now.  Those things are going to be saved for our trip to the US.  I'm actually kind of glad that the jumper is on the small side because now Sky will have another "winter dress" to wear when we're in the states (note to self: must purchase turtleneck and tights). 
  This tunic and leggings outfit isn't one that I would have picked out for Sky myself but I think it will look great on her, against her dark skin.  One of the benefits of this clothing service is that you get things you might not have picked out yourself.  If we ever come into, forty extra dollars a month, we'll probably start using the service again, but for now, that's the last of Wittlebee for us. 

Party at Fire's Place

October 16, 2012

(removed at a later date)
Since it's been almost six months since Fire came home, we figured it was finally time to throw him a party. We're ahead of the curve on this one- it took us six months to get to Sky's party. If you're on Kwaj, stop by on Monday any time after 10AM. If you're not on Kwaj, you're still welcome but you'll have to pay for your own plane ticket!

Feeding Fire

October 15, 2012

  Does anyone remember the movie Cast Away with Tom Hanks? I caught it on TV last week, and let me tell you, I can relate to the scene at the end of the movie where he picks up the lighter, clicks it and gets fire, and just shakes his head. I'm so envious of parents in the states that can just stop by a grocery store and pick up baby food- I'm not mad, I just wish I could do the same thing!
   Feeding Fire is getting to be a problem. This boy loves to eat and he's ready to move on to more food. Until now, he's been eating the Gerber baby food that we can buy here, mainly the four standard veggies (squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, and peas) and the four fruits (apples, bananas, pears, and peaches). We feed him one veggie and one fruit at each meal and he chows them down and then takes a bottle of formula. Lately though, he's still been hungry after eating his baby food and has been taking larger and larger bottles. If we were back in the states, I would start buying stage 3 foods for him to expand his palette and keep him fuller longer.
   But we're not in the states, so I can't. And unfortunately, Fire only has two bottom teeth right now so he can't really chew, otherwise I would move him towards eating baby versions of our meals. He loves to gum food and we'll give him crackers or carrots while we're eating dinner but most of them end up in the high chair rather than in his tummy. So I've been experimenting lately and here's what I've found: this is hard and every time he rejects something, it's like a kick in my mommy-heart and when he eats something that I made, I want to dance for joy.

Let's get the Fire-rejects out of the way first:
-carrots (but he'll eat the store-bought ones... Even when make them extra yummy by cooking them in chicken bouillon and then puree them to the consistency of the store-bought food, he won't eat them. They come back out with a giggle and a raspberry)
-sweet potatoes (see carrots- so frustrating!)
-black beans (These came out so yummy I would have eaten them! Fire will eat one or two spoonfuls and then he spits them out)
-lentils (see black beans. Arrrrghhh!)

But Fire is loving:
-my home-made yogurt
-feta cheese (really, he'll eat feta but not carrots or black beans?)
-avocado (pureed with lime juice, salt, and water)
-tofu (he could eat tofu all day! I used a box of water-packed silken tofu (the tofu and the water), salt, pepper, soy sauce and sesame oil and blended it all to his favorite consistancy. He cries if I don't get this into his mouth fast enough)

I'm going to keep trying things, mainly because I have to. I've looked into ordering stage 3 food online and it's just not worth it. It's not cheap and the cost of shipping makes it even more expensive, plus the mail is pretty backed up here right now. Up next on the dock for food to try is blending rice into things, like the canned peas-and-carrots I bought last night. I've had trouble getting meat fine enough that he can eat it, so I might try some ground beef or turkey next, pureed with rice or potatoes.
 Have you made your own baby food? What worked for you? Also, what's your take on baby-food mills? It looks like they can be hit or miss. I'll keep you posted on how things go.

Crakers? Yes.

Carrots? No.

27 Pounds Heavier and Two Minutes Faster!

  We participated in the Columbus Day Runabout again this year- one or two laps around the island at dawn.  When we did it last year, we only had Sky in the BabyJogger stroller and were regularly doing 4.5- and 5-mile runs. We finished in 1 hour and 12 minutes and felt like rockstars. We have had a really hard time getting in long runs since Fire's been home so we weren't even sure we'd be up to doing it this year but I'm so glad we did. It was a beautiful morning and both kids slept until just after the race started.  Sky munched on graham crackers and drank her juice while D and I made our way around Kwaj.  We took turns pushing our 50 pounds of babies (27 more than last year!)  and as we approached the finish line, Sky started asking to get out and run, so we popped her out and she and I crossed the finish line together.  I was shocked when I saw our time: 1 hour  and 10 minutes!  Without training, and with a heavier stroller and an extra baby, we'd finished two minutes faster than last year.  Go Team!

After the run

Sky wore the number on her jammies for the rest of the morning

Our race certificate

  In high school and college, I was a thrower, one of the "big girls".  We had team shirts that said, "I'm fat but you're ugly, and I can always go on a diet".  I trained hard, lifted a lot of weight, but never ran very much.  And when I did, I didn't go very fast or very far.  It just wasn't my thing.  Then I landed in Antarctica, eating more than I liked, weighing more than I liked.  Palmer has a small gym and I decided to get back into it.  I started out walking for 20 minutes with a short, slow jog in the middle and worked up from there.  The treadmills were right in front of a old, giant television and I would loose myself in movies while I ran.  I was able to get control of my eating and with the extra exercise, the weight came off.  I was proud of myself and wanted to keep it up.
  I haven't stopped running since I left Antarctica.  I have a two-mile loop here that I run 3 or 4 mornings week.  I'll listen to the news on my radio and watch the sun come up.  Sky has been coming with me since she came home and now I bring both kids.  I still don't go fast but I definitely go and every time I come to the end of my run, I'm proud of myself.  It's a great way to start the day.

A (Belated) Manit Day Giveway!

October 11, 2012

  I was hoping to do this giveaway for Manit Day (say "mah-nit") but because of some techincal difficulties, I'm a few weeks behind.  But better late than never!  This guam was made and purchased on Ebeye and we're giving it away to celebrate Marshallese culture for Manit Day.  It's about a size 4T in very traditional (bright) colors.  These dresses are the perfect thing to wear on a hot day when your daughter just wants to be cool but it would also look good over a pair of jeans. 
  To enter in the giveaway, simply leave your name in the comments section.  We'll hold the drawing on the evening of the 19th, Kwaj time.  Happy Manit Day!

A Trip to Ebeye and the Manit Day Celebration

  In an interesting redo of last year, we went to Ebeye on Manit Day last weekend.  One of the groups that I teach English to, Youth to Youth in Health, was holding an art show and we decided to make a morning of it. 
 This is the new ferry to Ebeye.  It's loud and doesn't have AC but it's faster and more comfortable than the old landing craft that used to be used as ferry

 My cutie pie didn't want her picture taken

 We had told Florina that we would be coming over for the art show but she surprised us and met us at the dock.  Her family hasn't met Fire and she wanted to take him home with her for a while.   Don't judge me, but man, was I glad she did.  I'd forgotten to bring his sling and D hadn't come with me.  It was really nice to just have the morning with Sky and to know that Fire was getting a lot of love from one of his favorite people (and her teenage daughters!)

 The young men in the Youth to Youth in Health Art Program painted this mural at the entrance to the Mon LaMike bar where their classes are held.  This is also where I teach English.

 The SDA school on Ebeye.  Class was in session but as soon as they saw us with our cameras, the students rushed to the window to have their pictures taken.

Sky's first freezy-pop = happiness

 Me and my girl

 The art show in front of the Mon LaMike

 I bought these shells there
 And this painted float

 An Ebeye street scene. 
That's my good friend Paula carrying Sky. 

It was a fun, but hot, morning and everyone crashed for naps once we got home

This lucky girl got a little candy bar before we headed out to the Manit Day Celebration at the Marshallese Cultural Center

I love the dancing! 

See Sky sitting there on the edge of the platform?  That's the exact same spot she was in last year (and in the same dress, come to think of it...).  She really, really wants to be up there dancing! 

  Besides the dancing, there were demonstrations on rope making, weaving, fire starting, and coconut opening.  They had tables of traditional foods like pandanus, coconut rice balls and big vats of coconut drink.  We had a really fun time and it was great to share it with Sky, now that she's getting a little older and understands a little more.  
Our Charmed Life. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.