Happy Thanksgiving and a Raffle Winner

November 28, 2013

  Happy Thanksgiving from the Marshall Islands!!!  We had a low-key day home with the kids yesterday.  At breakfast we went around the table and said what we were thankful for:
    Sky: Turkey and family
    Me: That we love each other, even when we fight, and for our family
    D: A wife that puts up with his crazy ideas, and our children
    Fire:  That! (pointing at the pan of cinnamon rolls in the middle of the table)

   D smoked 3 racks of ribs and we headed to the beach for dinner- unfortunately the weather (and flies) didn't cooperate and we ended up eating at home but it was still a fun end to a non-traditional Thanksgiving Day.  We're having our big Thanksgiving dinner on Monday night- we'll be having 22 people over for dinner!  Luckily, half of those are kids under 5.  We're having our family over from Ebeye and I'm especially excited for that because I don't think Lomodro and Merline have ever had an American Thanksgiving.  I promise, I'll tell you all about it on Tuesday!

  And now for our raffle winner......
Roger and Caroline!
  Congratulations!  Please email me your address and I'll get the books out to you right away.  Becky, I have a consolation prize for you too, so please send me your address as well.  Thank you so much for your contribution to Operation: Science Stuff!  We're having a tie-dye event on Kwaj this weekend which will wrap up the fundraising portion of the project.  I'm really hoping we'll be able to purchase everything the students asked for.  The microscopes arrive this week and I can't wait to take them over to the school!
In lieu of pictures, since we haven't had our big Thanksgiving yet, here's a look back at earlier Bates family Thankgivings:

2010 (not a Thanksgiving day post but definitely something to give thanks for)
2008 (nothing for 2009 but I was in Antarctica in 2008, and Thanksgivings there are great)

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!  We hope you have a wonderful day, full of family and love!

(Note: here's the link to our Full-House Thanksgiving )


Operation: Science Stuff- First Trip to Guegeegue

November 26, 2013

   The first donations for the high school on Guegeegue went over last week.  I was able to collect some things from the base that weren't being used anymore as well as a set of encyclopedias from the elementary school and some chemistry equipment from the high school here on Kwaj.  The Host Nations office arranged for me to travel with the donations on an RMI boat directly to Guegeegue, which is so much faster than taking the ferry and then driving on the causeway like I did last time.
  I felt kind of bad that the first set of donations from Operation: Science Stuff was more cast-offs from Kwaj but the students were very happy to get the basketballs and volleyballs and the teachers were excited to have the science supplies.  They were bowled over when I told them about how the fundraising was going.  The students had organized a small presentation and afterward, I got a tour of the science lab.
  I wish I'd remembered to take a picture of it for you to see:  there was one counter in the biology classroom with two volumetric flasks and one broken microscope.  There was a sink but it wasn't hooked up any more.  I can't wait to take them the rest of the science supplies and if there's money left over, I think it might be best to donate it to the school to help fix up the lab.
   Here are a few photos from that day- more soon!

 Myself with Mr Kabua and Major Sova from the Host Nations office and Mr Jeadrik, the high school vice principal
Loading the donations to go to Guegeegue

Children's Book Raffle for Operation: Science Stuff

November 19, 2013

  We're having another raffle for Operation: Science Stuff!  The prize for this raffle is two books authored by children in the Marshall Islands and published through the Unbound Bookmaker project.   Each entry is $5 and you can enter as many times as you'd like.   Use this PayItSquare link to enter: Operation: Science Stuff.   The raffle will close on November 28th and we'll draw a name for winner that night.
  Thanks for all your support so far and good luck!
 Book one: 
 The Important Book About Majuro, written and illustrated by Mr Savu's 4th Grade Class
This sweet book features self portraits of the children who wrote the book along with pictures and descriptions of "important things" around Majuro

Book two: 
Legends from Jaluit Atoll, written and illustrated by Grades 5-8 at Imroj Elementary School

This book retells traditional legends from Jaluit and stories from the Marshall Islands in both Marshallese

and English, with pictures for each


Passport Photo Memories

November 18, 2013

Do you look back at old photos of yourself and smile or cringe?  Do you laugh and say, "Those were the days?"  I find myself doing all three when I look at my old passport photos (I'm a saver, so I have them in our lock box).  In the spirit of openness, and in case you need a good laugh, I've posted them below, along with some memories.  

At 16

 My first passport.  I don't remember why my mom got us passports but I still remember going to have the pictures taken.  I was wearing my favorite outfit and I thought the pictures looked great!  Such a dorky '90's girl- over sized glasses, turtleneck and college sweater, and long, middle-parted hair.  I thought I was so grown up but 16 seems so little to me now!
At 20
Holy cow, is that the same girl!?  This picture was taken when I got back from Semester At Sea, a life-changing four months spent sailing around the world.  My mom didn't recognize me when she picked me up at the airport- really, I was standing in front of her and she looked around me for her daughter!  She still asks me how long my hair is before she picks me up from a trip because of that.  At this point, I thought I knew myself and had everything figured out- at least I knew enough to know that I really had no idea about life.  While I loved having my head shaved, to me this haircut is visual expression of how directionless I felt at the time.  The doors of my world had been thrown open and I had no idea where to go after that.  Luckily, I found my way through, one step at a time.

At 29
Happiness pie- a picture that looks like me!  No glasses, a bright smile, and flat, well-behaved hair.  This picture was taken after D and I returned from our honeymoon in Costa Rica (meaning that I had to travel for my honeymoon on my last passport (see picture above).  I almost didn't make it through immigration!).  I felt like I was finally on the road to my life.  I had a wonderful husband, a good job, and was about to head to Antarctica for the first time.  D and I were going to live an adventure-filled, traveling lifestyle and this was the passport that was going to get me there! 
And I guess it has gotten me there, here, where I am now.  They all have. 

Operation: Science Stuff Update

November 17, 2013

  Operation: Science Stuff is going really well!  We've raised a little over $1000.00 so far and only need $600 more to purchase all the supplies that the school has requested.   I think we might actually be able to meet that goal since there are three fundraisers left before that portion of the project closes.  If you're on Kwaj and you want to contribute, the Catholic confirmation class is going to be holding a bake sale (more info on that as the plans come together), and there will be a tie-dye fundraiser at Emon Beach on December 1 in the afternoon.  For folks that aren't on Kwaj, I'll be starting another raffle here shortly, with two of the children's books from the Unbound Bookmaker project as the prize, so watch the blog for details.
  Besides fundraising, I've also been able to collect some donations for the high school.  The high school here on Kwaj has donated some supplies that they were given when the photo lab closed- I was able to take them over to the high school earlier this week.  Also, when I contacted someone traveling to Kwaj about hand-carrying some microscopes I wanted to buy, he offered to purchase a third microscope as well as prepared slide set, slide-making kits, and books on using a microscope- what was a wonderful surprise!  The microscopes should be here in early December and I hope to be able to purchase the rest of the equipment before Christmas.
  A big Thank You!  to all of those that have supported Operation: Science Stuff so far.  Your help is greatly appreciated.  Stay tuned for more info on our next raffle!



November 16, 2013

    The plan for Halloween this year was to have Auntie, Uncle, Lomodro, and Merline over for dinner and then take all the kids out trick-or-treating but I guess I didn't think that through enough because when I went to get the paperwork to put them on the visitors list for Halloween, I was told the list was already full.  In retrospect, the fact that the list filled up in one day (there were some people waiting in line at 4am to get kids on the list!) isn't surprising- coming to Kwaj on a regular day is a big deal so coming for something kid-focused (and candy-focused) like Halloween is going to be huge.  I'll plan ahead better next year.
  Since I'd told Lomodro and Merline they could come over for Halloween, they were pretty disappointed when I told them that they couldn't.  I decided to make it up to them by taking Halloween to Ebeye.  I bought some pizzas, took a face painting kit and all the candy that Sky had gotten from her school trick-or-treat, and the kids and I went to Ebeye for the evening.  It was a hit!  The kids loved the pizza and everyone, even the older kids, wanted their faces painted.  Auntie and Uncle didn't really know what to make of it all, since they don't celebrate Halloween there.  I told them that it's a holiday for kids, where they can dress up and ask for candy and their parents can't tell them no. 
  I think it was probably the best Halloween we've had with the kids.  Everyone had fun, real fun, and we were sad when it was time to go.  I think we might do something like that again next year.

Fire was a pirate
 Arrgh!  Cutest Pirate Ever!
Yes, that's a penguin on his shoulder- don't judge, we don't have any stuffed parrots.
 Now that's how a fairy flies!
 Brian and AJ
 Lomodro and Merline
 Sky and Merline

We tried something different this year: 
I know it's hard to see, but that's a carved pineapple.  We got back from Ebeye too late for me to get a picture of them lit up outside.  I think we're going to do this again next year too, so I'll get a better picture then.  Thanks for the idea, Michelle!

Taking My Dad To Roi

November 15, 2013

 My dad: have mini-backpack, will travel
 Our parade heading for the airport
Seeing the sights on Roi

No trip to Roi is complete without feeding the radar chickens

 We eventually had to pen Fire (AKA: the great chicken chaser) up so that we could feed the chickens

but once all the bread was gone...

 Here, chicken, chicken, chicken!
Look out, chickens, here comes Sky!

After lunch, we hit the beach to cool off
and Fire took a nap on his favorite mattress 

The paddle board came out

 and Sky got brave!
Then I took a turn
What about D?  Nope, still stuck under a napping baby

Once Fire woke up, my dad took a turn in the hammock

 I say, "Cheers, to a great day on Roi!"

Getting Back To It

November 14, 2013

I know it's only been about two weeks since I posted last but it feels like it's been forever.  I have so many posts that I've been wanting to do but with Fire being so sick, I just didn't have the time or the energy.  Happily, he's on the mend so life is getting back to normal.  Until I get to all those other posts, here's some photos from the last few weeks:

 Such a girly-girl!  Pink vampire teeth to match her pink butterfly shirt and pink skirt

 D thought this was hilarious when he saw it.  He said, "Really?  There's never a "last issue" in an adoptive family.  You're always working through something." 

Our Charmed Life. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.