November 30, 2014

Baby Toys

November 29, 2014

Look who's starting to reach for toys!

NaBloWriMo Fail and Some Pictures

November 28, 2014

  Okay, I'll admit it- this year's NaBloWriMo has been a fail.  I just haven't been able to keep up!  Did anyone notice that I started back-dating some of my posts?  Thanks for enabling me, blogspot.  To make it up to you, below is a little photo-dump of cuteness.  Enjoy!


This Water's godmother, Auntie Mo meeting him for the first time.  Mo is Fire's godmother as well and she and Uncle Paul are the closest things to grandparents that the kids have here now that their Bubu and Jimma (Fire's birth-grandparents) live on Majuro

Thanksgiving on Kwaj

    This Thanksgiving was probably the best I've ever had on Kwaj.  D and I were apart and I was single-parenting for the first time (and struggling ) over our first Thanksgiving here. Our second Thanksgiving we were still figuring out a baby (since Sky came home to us at 14 months, we skipped a lot of it) and that Thanksgiving was mostly about trying to manage two kids at a friends house.  Thanksgiving last year was bittersweet because Uncle (Fire's grandfather) was in the hospital.  We'd been planning to have him, Auntie, and Fire's brother and cousin over for a real American Thanksgiving.  Then, when Uncle got sick, we thought that the dinner would be a good opporunity to cheer the kids up and let them see Uncle in the hospital but that fell through too.  The food was good but for me at least, the party was a little hollow.
  This year though, this year I think we got it right.  We started out on Thursday with a Thanksgiving party at the kids school:
Do you see my little indian? 
(Oh, the irony that she is actually Indian, but not that kind of indian!)

We had a potluck lunch with the kids and then helped them do crafts
On Kwaj, we celebrate most of our holidays a day after they're celebrated in America.  Since we're actually a day ahead, that means that we celebrate on the same day you do.  We had Friday off and we had a great morning with the kids.  D and I both got good runs in and then I took the kids to a friends house for a play date.  That evening we got together at Emon beach for the mother of all potluck dinners.  Everyone brought their favorite Thanksgiving food, the kids played at the beach, and once the sun had set and the flies went down, we feasted.  It was wonderful!  Since everyone brought a little bit, no one had to work too hard, the kids were always entertained by each other, there was always someone to talk to, and at the end we all helped with clean up.  We all had so much fun and I hope this becomes a tradition.
The whole group

Seasons on Kwaj

November 25, 2014

  The best description of Kwaj that I've ever heard:
Kwajalein: where it's always summer outside and winter inside.

N-600K Update

November 23, 2014

  We are in the process of pursuing US Citizenship for our two children born and adopted in the Marshall Islands through the N600-K process.  USCIS recently changed their website and below is a screen shot of the new results page:

  Pros: You get to see the exact date that your case was received.
Cons: You no longer see the processing stage of your case.

  I called USCIS to see exactly which local office would be handling our case, since the best option for us is Honolulu.  After an hour-long hold, I was able to get our cases transferred to Honolulu and was told that they are currently processing cases submitted in May.  For a timeline, that means that it will be another two months before they start working on Sky and Fire's cases.  Cases usually take three months to process.  Provided the kids are approved, we'll be sent an interview notice with a date about three months in the future.  Put all that together and we can estimate that it will be another eight months before we'll be going to Honolulu for citizenship hearings.

School Scholarships on Ebeye

November 22, 2014

  Are you looking for a chance to make a difference in a child's life?  If so, consider sponsoring a child on Ebeye.  There are over 2000 children there who can't go to school because the public schools are overcrowded and their families can't afford to send them to a private school, where tuition is between $60 and $100 a month.
  Giving a child access to education will change their future.  All the schools teach English, which is required to get a job on Kwajalein.  If a child can stay in school long enough to graduate from high school- a feat only managed by 50 students in the public school system last year- the pool of jobs availble to them, both here, on Majuro, and in America.  They may even have the opportunity to go to college. 
  If you would like more information about this great opportunity, please contact Cheryl Johnson at

 The blue and white building is the Seventh Day Adventist Mission School, one of the schools that children will be sponsored to attend

 A very bad picture of Ebeye Calvary School, another one of the sponsorhip locations

Water's Baby Pictures

November 21, 2014

 My friend Julie (from Julie Savage Photography) offered to take Water's baby pictures in exchange for him being her model, since she'd never done baby pictures before.  From the pictures below, I'd say she doesn't need much more practice!  Water was calm and happy through the entire shoot and she even managed to capture a few of his beautiful smiles.


D's Birthday

November 20, 2014

Happy birthday to the best man I know.  I can't believe how lucky I was to find you.  Thank you for sticking with me through it all.  You have a kind heart and can always make things fun, even when I want to scream and pull my hair out.  You're an amazing father, so much more patient with the kids than I am.  It's been a great ten years together and I know the next ten will be even better!

Water's New Super Power

November 19, 2014

  All our kids have super powers.  Sky's super power is perseverance.  She will stick with something until she figures it out or finishes it.  Fire's super power is his happiness.  He's just a sweet boy and people are drawn to him because of it.  Until last week, Water's super power was sleeping through the night.  Seriously, at three months old, that's a super power and all you could ask from a baby.
  Unfortunately, Water has developed a new super power: throwing up.  He does it all the time and he excels at it.  Water has always been a big eater.  He's already eating 6-8 ounces at a time and if we feed him any less, he screams and screams, or if he calms down, he screams to be fed again an hour later.  He's always been able to keep all that food down too, spitting up just a little bit if at all.  That changed last week.  Now, he spits up sometimes as much as an ounce right after eating and continues to spit up intermittently for the next two hours.  You just never know when it's going to come out or how much.  He goes through 5-6 outfits a day, 4-5 bibs, and most of his rags.
  I'm not sure what's causing this but it doesn't seem to be passing.  We've cut back to only six ounces of formula but that hasn't helped.  Next we're going to try the soy formula that we can buy here.  Maybe he's developed a reaction to the milk formula he's been on since he was two days old.  He has is 4-month appointment next month and if he's still being super at throwing up then, we'll talk to the doctor about reflux.
  What are your kids special super powers?   Have any of your kids had Water's super power (the throwing up, not the sleeping, although you're welcome to share sleeping stories too)?  What did you try and what worked in the end? 

How could so much throw up come out of something so adorable?  One of life's great mysteries....

New Family Pictures!

November 18, 2014

 In honor of Water's homecoming, we had new family pictures taken.  Julie from Julie Savage Photography took the pictures and I think they turned out great.  Of course, I was pretty stressed during the shoot (with someone always having to hold the baby, there just aren't enough hands to keep the other kids corraled!) but it still went well and I think Julie really captured our family. 

We didn't like the kids' school photos this year so we asked Julie to do a couple of headshots as a part of the shoot.  If you want school photos of the kids, leave a comment or send me an email and I'll send you the digital image so you can print it.

(Notice the costume change?  Our first photo shoot got rained out and we had to reschedule for the rest of the pictures.  Hurray for winter in the Pacific!)

  Have you had family photos taken recently?  Any tips for getting kids to coorperate?  For these photos, I used candy: one smile earned one skittle.  What has, or hasn't, worked for you?

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