All's Quiet on the Western (Pacific) Front

April 30, 2013

  We've been up to a lot and to nothing at all.  Here's a person-by-person family update.  Pictures soon, I promise!

D: is working a lot (NASA) and pretty sad that kiteboarding season is over. 
A: is taking care of the kids a lot and isn't sad at all that the kiteboarding season is over!  I rode my bike for a trialthalon team last weekend and did a personal best of 42K in 90 minutes.  I'll be riding again this weekend in a Bike-a-Thon to raise money for the American Cancer Society. 
Sky: is doing really well these days.  We seem to be moving past a lot of the behavioral problems we've had with her in the past, although the trade off seems to be a loss of "listening ears".  She'll be starting speech therapy soon- we'll know more about that once the testing is done. 
Fire: is walking up a storm and growing like a weed.  He's still calm and happy most of the time and a real joy to spend time with. 

  Overall, we're doing really well.  Even though nothing is wrong, it feels like a bit of a slog right now, simply because we don't have anything big on the horizon.  That's slowly changing as my family makes plans to come a visit us this summer.  My dad will be coming for two weeks at the end of August and my brother and his family are hoping to come over the Fourth of July.  D and I are considering buying a boat, starting to talk about our next vacation, and waffling over whether or not to add to our family (this last one is just talk so far).  We're keeping busy with playdates, family movie nights, walks, paddleboarding, soccer practice, and time with friends. 

Bet Against Me

April 18, 2013

  Go ahead, bet against me.  D is, so I won't feel bad if you do too.  In a little over two weeks, I'll be participating in a 100-mile bike ride to help raise money for cancer research.  I've set a goal of raising $1000.00, and I'm at $150.00 now.   So I want you to be against me.  Bet me a 25 cents, 50 cents, or a dollar a mile that I won't make it to 100.   Or you could challenge me to a flat amount, say $5.00 for every 25 miles.   But be prepared to pay, because this is something that I feel pretty strongly about, so I really want to meet my goal.
  Do you know someone that has battled cancer?  I do, and I know the reason they're alive today is because of the advances in treatment that research brings.  Help move that research forward with a contribution. 
  This is the link to my page: How Far Can A Ride?  Thanks in advance for your support!

Do Babies Drink Beer?

April 15, 2013

 Sky at 14 months
Fire at 14 months
  D and I were laughing the other night about finally getting back on familiar ground now that Fire is 14 months old, the same age Sky was when she came home to us, and at almost the same time, we both said that they're so different at this age that there isn't much familiar about it. 
  At 14 months, Sky could walk and run, walk up and down stairs, feed herself with a spoon, drink from a cup or  bottle, and help with putting her clothes on and taking them off.  My baby had some mad skills! 
 We actually had to help Sky unlearn some of her skills after she came home.  She would drink out any kind of bottle she found, including old beer bottles in the recycling bin.  As soon as we discovered that, we moved the recycling bin and started teaching what she could and couldn't drink out of .  We would show her different beer bottles and ask her, jokingly, "Do babies drink beer?"  and then we would laugh and tell her, "No, babies don't drink beer!".  She'll still ask us if something is beer before she drinks anything she doesn't recognize. 
  Fire can't do any of the things that Sky could do at the same age.  We're okay with that and happy about it.  Because he came to us so much earlier, Fire doesn't have the trust issues and defense mechanisms that come with all of Sky's mad skills.   Fire isn't destructive the way that Sky was and he can give and take affection, where Sky could still only take it.   All that being said, I wouldn't change a single thing about either of them.  I sometimes still wish that we could have brought Sky home as a baby, to have saved her the need to learn to do all those things she could do so early,  but then she might not be the independent, joyful, smarty-pants that completes our family.

Shoes, Beer, and Cotton Candy

April 11, 2013

   Spring Break Music Fest, one of the biggest parties of the year, was last weekend.  D entered in the chili contest and sampled some beers at the homebrew contest, while the kids played on the playground with their friends and I watched everything from the shade.  The music was great- there are so many talented people on Kwaj- and it was fun seeing so many people out at the beach.  We didn't stay too long this year because the kids weren't up for it, but we all had a pretty good time.

Fire says, "Shoes are dumb!"

"It goes like this, right?"

"Maybe it goes in here?"

"No, really, Daddy, gimmie!"
 Don't worry, Fire didn't get any beer but Sky got a cotton candy the size of her head:

That's What She Said

April 10, 2013

  A few weeks ago Sky came home from school saying "Poopo".  She would laugh like she was getting away with something every time she said it and D and let it go, thinking it was just something silly she wanted to say and that it would pass.
  This week, a combination of thing clarified "poopo" for us.  On Tuesday, the director of Sky's school told me that the speech therapist thinks Sky has a slight speech impediment and wants to test her.  She said it's just a few letters, including "H's" and that it shouldn't be too hard to correct.  I didn't really think anything of it until I was handing Sky some toilet paper later that evening and telling her to wipe.  She said "Poopo, poopo!" and started laughing, and it all came together. 
  What do you think my precious (and precocious) little girl was actually saying?  I'll give you a few clues:
1: "Poopo" is half right
2: There's an "H" missing in there, and an "L"
3: Most telling of all, Ciela's best friend at school right now is a 4-year-old boy

  Have you guessed what Sky was actually saying yet?  I'm hoping that she's done with saying the word before her speech therapy kicks in because it makes me laugh every time she says it, like it's our private joke, and I really don't want to have to correct her.  Has your kid ever said something like that- a little naughty but not quite worth correcting?  Did you let it go, or give them something else to say instead?

Family Portrait

April 4, 2013

  Sky drew this family portrait at school yesterday.  From left to right, that's Fire, Daddy, and Sky.  She also wrote her name above her picture.  I know in the grand scheme of things, it's not much, but this picture almost made me cry when I saw it.  Look how big my baby girl is!  She can draw faces and she's starting to know her letters.  Sky, we love to watch you grow- keep it up!


April 1, 2013

Marshallese Lessons

  Most Monday afternoons when I take the kids to Ebeye, I meet with two wonderful young women who teach me kajin Majel, the Marshallese language.  Sister Toga and Sister Tekiare are LDS missionary sisters who've had to learn the language themselves and use it all the time in their missionary work.  They are wonderful teachers and my vocabulary and understanding are growing by leaps and bounds.  But language isn't the only thing I learn when I'm with the family on Ebeye- I'm also being gradually taught how to behave properly in the Marshallese culture.  Last night I learned that you don't talk about the irooj or his family (here it's the Kabua's) outside the compound.  People here still take the irooj and his leadership seriously, enough that Bubu made sure that I knew to stop talking about it while we were walking around town.
  I've also learned that when we're at the family's compound, Bubu and Jimma are in charge of the kids, not me.  If Sky asks them for ice cream, they will buy her ice cream, whether I want her to have it or not.  I'm also not supposed to interact much with the kids, especially not in their disputes.  When Sky and AJ (one of her cousins) were fighting over a toy, I tried to mediate, and Jimma actually pulled me away from it and told me to let them figure it out.  "Kids and adults are seperate." he said.  Something similar happened when AJ accidently hit Sky with a rock.  She got a hug from Bubu but no one got a talking to like they would have at my house.
  I feel like we're walking a very fine line.  We want to fit in and be accepted but we'll always be ribelle and not Marshallese.  I can learn the language, wear the right clothes, and try to behave properly but it may never be enough.  Until I started stepping physically out of my American culture, I never realized how much of my life it influenced, and how hard it would be to meld it with another, very different, culture.
Our Charmed Life. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.