Christmas Day

December 26, 2020

Christmas Eve was all about Jesus...

Christmas Eve

December 25, 2020

I think they're starting to catch on that the present they get to open on Christmas Eve is always pajamas...

Parade of Lights

December 19, 2020

One of my favorite Kwaj traditions...

Sky's Birthday

December 16, 2020

Sky is 11!

Elementary School Holiday Concert

December 13, 2020

This year, the pre-school kids were invited to attend music classes at the elementary school and that means that all the boys are in the elementary choir.  They all memorized the songs for the holiday concert (and D and I knew them by heart too by the time the concert came around!) and then got to sing them in front of the parents.

Earth, all spruced up and ready for the Holiday Choir Concert

Little Bits of Life

December 11, 2020

I work at the holiday events and got to take a picture with Santa and Mrs Claus!

Sky's first Band Concert

December 10, 2020

Sky with her clarinet after the show

Inflatable Fun at Camp Hamilton

December 7, 2020

Big inflatables mean big fun at Camp Hamilton!

Gospel Day on Ebeye

December 6, 2020


Gospel Day dances at the Full Gospel Church on Ebeye

Santa Comes to Kwajalein

December 5, 2020

How does Santa come to a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean?  This year, he came by helicopter!

Sky the Architect

December 3, 2020


 Looking to redesign your beachfront property?  I highly recommend Sky and her friend E for your next in-ground beach front pool, complete with wave-reinforced front edge, easy entry stairs, and natural design elements.

My Artful Boys

November 30, 2020

Fire is an amazing artist! He loves to read comic books and graphic novels and redraw the pictures out of them.  This one is from one of his Pants vs Zombies books.  He has a great eye for detail and draws the pictures so well they look like they've been traces rather than drawn free hand.  

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 27, 2020

It's not Thanksgiving for our family without one of D's smoked turkeys!

Happy Birthday D!

November 22, 2020

Happy 45th birthday to the best husband and dad ever! 


Gluten Free Dairy Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Cream Pie

November 21, 2020

  I love sweets!  They're one of the things I've missed the most since I've had to switch to eating gluten-free and dairy-free.  I also love a challenge and wanted to make something for D's birthday that I could eat too.  With a little help from the interwebs, I cobbled together a chocolate cream pie that was gluten-free, dairy-free, and delicious.

Swim Meet (and a lot of bragging on Sky)

November 5, 2020

 This girl says she wants to quit swim team but she's doing great at it!

Household Goods Arrive!

October 28, 2020

 Between travel restrictions and government slowdowns, it took a long time for D's orders to come through.  Unfortunately, D's work group couldn't push back his start date which ended up leaving us with two weeks to arrange a move.  Thanks to some amazing friends, it all came together and our first shipment of house hold goods arrived the other day.  

An Afternoon at Camp Hamilton

October 20, 2020

Sunfish boats along the sea wall

Shaving Cream Social

October 18, 2020

The shaving cream social is a Kwaj tradition and I couldn't wait for the kids to participate.  Sky and Fire did it when we lived here before (2013, 20142015) but all the kids are old enough this time around. Let the messy fun begin!


October 16, 2020

Earth and his friend O had some time for a little free play at the pool before swimming lessons which meant that it was cannonball time!

Columbus Day Runabout

October 11, 2020

 Every year on the Kwaj, the Running Club hosts a half marathon on the Columbus Day holiday and D and I have done it (well, half of it) almost every year we lived here.  This year it was just me, no husband, no babies in jogging strollers, and I wasn't even sure I could run the whole thing since it's only been 10 weeks since my surgery. 
But I finished!  I ran the whole race and it felt great!

"The Clarinet Chose Me!"

October 10, 2020

 Band on Kwajalein starts in 5th grade and Sky is going to play the clarinet.  She had the sweetest story for me when I asked her how she settled on an instrument: she told me that her teacher had her try out several instruments and was thinking about the trumpet until she tried the clarinet. She said, "Mama, the clarinet picked me!" Apparently she was able to play it comfortably and loved the sound it made.  
  I'm so thankful that she's at a school that offers music programs like this and that Sky is taking full advantage of them.  I'm also thankful for those two years of violin lessons that she says I made her take!

Swimming Lessons

October 8, 2020

 It's time for swimming lessons again!

Puddle Jumping

October 7, 2020

 What to do with to cranky little boys on a rainy morning?  Take them puddle jumping!

Shopping Day on Ebeye

October 5, 2020

One morning this past weekend, I took Sky and friend shopping on Ebeye.

First Swim Meet

October 3, 2020

These three cuties had their first swim meet of the season this past weekend!

Fire's First Comic Book

October 2, 2020

 Fire is very creative and loves to read graphic novels so it's not a surprise that that's the medium he's using to express himself.  The other day he presented D and I with his first comic book:

Manit Day and a Trip to Ebeye

October 1, 2020

  Manit Day is the Marshallese holiday that celebrates the traditional culture of the islands.  There are big festivals on Ebeye and one on Kwajalein as well. 

Water's Sixth Family Day

September 30, 2020


  This sweet, wonderful, loving, energetic boy has been with us for six years!

Working with ADD

September 29, 2020


Looking back through all my 1000+ blog posts, it looks like I've never said anything about Fire and ADD. 


An Evening and Morning at Emon Beach

September 28, 2020

   After all the time spent in quarantine, we're spending as much time at the beach as we can!

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Blueberry Cake

September 26, 2020


  If you know me, you know I love to bake and my recent diagnosis with celiac disease and severe lactose intolerance has really put a cramp in my baking style.  Now that I have access to ingredients and a real kitchen again, I'm starting to revamp some of my family's favorite recipes.  My first success: blueberry cake!

On The Way to Kwaj, Part 2

September 25, 2020

 Because of the new arrival procedures, we were scheduled to fly into Honolulu several days before our flight to Kwajalein, and because of the coronavirus quarantines in Hawaii we had to stay at the house the whole time rather than sightseeing.  Just like in Tucson, we wanted to make this as fun as we could for the kids so we made sure to rent another house with a pool:

Tropical oasis? Yes, please!

On The Way to Kwaj, Part 1

September 23, 2020

 We made two stops on our way to Kwajalein, one in Tucson and one in Kailua.  Since we knew the whole transition would be stressful for the kids, we wanted them to have as much fun as they could in the process.  Consider yourself warned: this post and the next one are full relaxation and pool time!

Date Night

September 21, 2020


Just the two of us...

Goodbye Ebeye

July 19, 2020

   There they are, all the things that made up our life on Ebeye over the last year.  My friend Katie came over and we spend three hours packing- I think most of it was Earth's toys!  That boy came here with three matchbox cars and left with five boxes of toys.

Going forward

July 14, 2020

 Things are coming together for our family!  Earth and I will be flying back to America on July 22nd and then the whole family will be returning to the Marshall Islands in late August.  We are thrilled for the chance to be together as a family again and I think a few years on Kwajalein will be a lot fun for all of us. 
  Check back here on the blog to see how our whirlwind pack up in Arizona and mandatory three week quarantine back here in the Marshalls goes!


July 12, 2020

Earth has fallen in love with deep sea fishing, ever since my friend Rick took us out for the first time in October. He has a great time out on the boats and loves it when we catch fish. We've been out two or three times since Christmas and have been lucky enough to catch something each time.

We caught one yellow fin tuna and a bunch of skipjack when Earth's friend and his dad came out with us

USCIS is Hedging Their Bets

July 7, 2020

 In the last few weeks, the processing times for Earth's case has shot up to 47 months.  If I had to guess, they're anticipating not getting the funding from Congress to continue operating after August 3rd. 
  We've been in touch with our senator's office and have been told that Earth is in line for an interview but that there's no other information available.
  As always, we'll keep you posted

New Kicks!

June 16, 2020

 Someone got new shoes today!

Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C

June 15, 2020

  For the last year, the word "plan" hasn't really been in our family's vocabulary.  We've had to roll with the punches as they came and hope and pray for the best.  Now, as we approach the one year anniversary of Earth and I's return to the Marshall Islands, we're starting to make a lot plans.  They all revolve around the whole family moving to Kwajalein because Earth's case has been delayed due to COVID19 - in January, D applied for and got a job working for the Army here on the base.  The application and deployment have been slowed by all the safety measures and interruptions that happening in everyone's lives right now and that leaves us with multiple paths for the near future.

N600K Update

June 12, 2020

  If this screen capture looks the same as the one I posted last month, it's because it is.  No changes to report on this end and no updates from our Senator's office.  It's not a big surprise since this case isn't any kind of emergency and since it's a naturalization rather than immigration, it will probably at the bottom of USCIS's priority list.

Swimming Lessons

May 10, 2020

   Earth and some of his little friends are taking swimming lessons!

N600K Update

May 8, 2020

  Another month and then some has passed with no change to Earth's case status.  We had been working with our senator's office to try to get some information on his case before USCIS suspended in-person services and recently heard back from the Honolulu office.  The information on the email indicated that the adjudicator had been preparing to schedule an interview but now everything is on hold and that Earth's case won't be considered for emergency processing since his application is for naturalization rather than citizenship.
  Obviously, this isn't the way we thought things would go but all we can do is work towards the fastest solution to getting back together as a family and that's what we're doing. 


May 5, 2020

This little guy managed to get himself really, really sick.  Twice

Grocery Shopping on Ebeye

May 3, 2020

Many people think that the solution to the  very high rates of diabetes and high blood pressure in the Marshall Islands is as simple as changing how the people here eat.  It seems so straightforward- just eat more vegetables and less carbohydrates and processed food.  But what do you do when there are no vegetables?  Or if there are, they cost three times as much as rice?
  Let's take a little tour of the main grocery store on Ebeye, to give you an idea of the broader scope of the problem.  Earth and I had to pick up a few things so I took pictures of some typical things that you might want to buy along with their prices.  I've also looked up the prices for the same item at the Kroger near my home in the US and listed that under each picture.
My shopping helper

N600K Update

March 19, 2020

 In light of the fact that USCIS has closed all it's field offices for the foreseeable future, it looks like this process might take longer than we'd ever imagined.  If I'm being honest, I really thought that Earth and I would be home by now, but instead, here we are, still in the Marshall Islands and buckling down for the long term.
  In an interesting twist, perhaps because the office personnel have more time to process cases now that they're not doing interviews, the average processing time has gone down drastically to 5.5 months and the date of inquiry has moved forward by a year.
  It's so ironic that we're overdue to hear about our case now and genuinely could get a decision any day but aren't able to actually have the interview.

A Quiet Night at Home

March 3, 2020

Just an evening at home with a four-year-old...

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