Home Chapter One Our Vegan Lifestyle Likes Comment-Free

I'm Bored

Sunday, September 30, 2012

I'm bored, y'all. Bored is the best word I could come up with. I've had visions of sugar plums something a little more, me, in my head for awhile now. Thats not saying that this blog isn't me, but- well... the pictures on the sidebar are two years old. The background wallpaper has faded into a blanket of white, and my previous blog designer has seemingly fallen off the face of the planet (and good for her, don't we all wish we could live off the grid?). I never did fill out the "about us" section, or the "our vegan lifestyle" bit, because... to be honest: we're not vegan anymore. Our lives have changed so drastically, and so quickly... this whole thing that we had going on for us here in this little space on the web, its just time to wrap it up. Sometimes I pop back in and blow lightly on the embers to keep the story burning, but the chapters that have been written here over time are ready to fade into a sequel. With a new setting, and some new characters, and maybe a little adjustments to the theme.

Whats really going on here, is: I love my family. I love living with them. I love photographing and documenting them, I love teaching them and growing with them. But I am more than my family.

I need an outlet. I need a place to write and expand my feelings. My feelings. My. Me. Mine.

...as a mother of 3, soon to be 4- I have gone through a major metamorphosis. I ate my way through like 12 ice cream cones, and then the entire locally grown organic farmers market before I turned into a butterfly. And maybe I'm still missing a few spots on my wing or whatever, but- I need a place where I can project whats really on my mind, and push myself in personal ways beyond motherhood. Because even though my family just sees me as the lady that takes them to and from the beach on any given day, prepares random batches of chocolate pudding and sprinkles their favorite cookie crumbs on top when they're having a particularly crumby day (oh you totally chuckled), and the unofficial dr who pulls sea urchin spines and soccer field thorns out of palms and knees... its time that I start seeing myself as more.

I'm looking for a blog designer- is there anyone out there that can help me? I've window shopped around, looking at other blogs and design listings on etsy, but seriously, its all too much. Either its too over stimulating, or the price for the my clean slate settings is just too much. I'm not looking for anything fancy, something pretty simple actually, but- I don't know the first thing about how to install a design, or how to edit a banner in photo shop. And yeah it might be simple to learn, but I just do not have the time. I've just moved across an ocean, I've got an entire house to put together (starting tomorrow), I've got a whole lotta potty training to do before our new baby comes in 8 weeks, some major holidays on the horizon, oh yeah and a husband, and... I'm just busy. So if maybe you've got a minute, and you think you can help me, will you email me? My contact info is over there on the side of the page :)

To be continued...

First Grade

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Eleanore was home schooled for most of last year. It wasn't anything that we planned, but after we moved from Dyess to Goodfellow, it just kind of happened. And we loved it. But... towards the end of her kindergarten year, I started noticing little things here and there that clued me in to the very real truth of, she needed more. I hated to admit it, I felt like a bit of a failure even, but I couldn't deny her the socialization and stimulation that she was craving, just because I wanted to teach the kids my way, and in a tra la la everything organic and pioneer-like manner. There were many, many, many advantages of home schooling (learning in pajamas, youtube videos instead of recess, not having to dress everyone in snow suits just to walk down the street and then have to strip them naked halfway home because the sun decided to come out and bust up the snow storm, crazy Texas), but in the end, Eleanore just needed more than I could offer her. And when this new baby comes in 8 weeks- I'll even less to give. Or maybe I'll just give it differently? Lord be with me either way, haha.

Anyways, so we've been in Honolulu for a little over a month, and all of the stars finally aligned just right, and Eleanore started first grade. I'm taking a little photo class on the side (sort of, I've been terrible with keeping up with the lessons and assignments) that gave me a nudge in the right direction to think about how I wanted to photograph and document her first day.

Christopher took the younger two to the park, so that I could walk Elie into the office, take her to the bathroom, and then wander with her down the outdoor hallway to building A to join her new class for a year of spelling words, cupcake free snacks, and special classroom slippers. And hopefully some friend making and fun having as well :)

She was all smiles on the drive there- she had been anticipating starting school since we asked her about public school at the beginning of the summer. We woke her and her brother and sister up at 5:30 am so that we could get everyone fed and dressed, drive down from the city out to the base, and get her signed into the office by 7:30. There was another little girl starting her first day as well, kindergarten though, so the two anxious Annie's sat by the door giggling about growing taller than trees and shrinking smaller than ants, while the office folks got them enrolled and the Mama's chatted about previous bases and coconuts.

That first brave walk around the corner and down the sidewalk past all of the unfamiliar faces was a little nerve wracking. She kept slowing, twirling, and looking back at me. I kept urging her to go forward (so I could get a picture, hah!), but eventually she just stopped, folded her arms, and pouted. Thats when you know its time to put the camera away and just focus on being a mom.

The kids have outdoor cubbies- because in Hawaii, where its a perfect 85 degrees and sunny every day, you can do that? The kids take their "passport" (binder) and journals out of their backpacks, water bottles as well, and remove their "outside" shoes and stuff them into their little labeled (Elie doesn't have a label yet) wooden locker space with their backpacks. They've all got inside shoes to wear- so not to bring sand and mud (it seems to rain/mist daily) into the classroom.

Lunches lined up perfectly by the sink, good morning messages written on the white board, fresh boxes of markers and friends to help explain how to do journal entries... it was a swirl of brand new, and all so exciting.

I tried to give her as much space as possible, backing away farther and farther as the clock ticked on, only inching back when a whimper of doubt lured me in. It took about twenty minutes before I was able to escape back out into the sunshine- where I stood and stared a little longingly at the blue doors, half expecting her to come running after me. I guess it was me that maybe was wanting to run back in to her?

But then I got over it, took a deep breath of salty air'd freedom, enjoyed the fact that my little girl was in good hands other than my own, and continued on to finding and figuring out a new routine.

And she did great. She survived the day. She even had fun. And I survived too. Though I certainly missed her, and the silence of her confused siblings was almost too much to handle- especially when they both fell asleep in the double stroller along the Waikiki beach, allowing me to sit peacefully on the lanai listening to Hawaiian music by myself for almost an entire hour...

This is good for us. Not just her, but us.

I can get used to this :)

A Rough Morning Rant Followed By Adventures From Ko Olina Lagoon #4

Monday, September 10, 2012

This morning kind of sucked. Christopher accidentally woke the kids up (its hard not to, when we're all crammed into just one room) while he was getting ready for work at 6am- and there was just no recovering. Fast forward 3 hours, to when everyone was getting on everyones nerves, I had a brilliant idea to haul the stroller in from the balcony (I can barely carry it), through the narrow space between the beds and the couch, and out into the hallway where I planned to load the kids up, to take them downstairs and down the street for a nice stroll along the Waikiki beach boardwalk. Sounds like a great start to our day, right?! Who wouldn't want to wake up and walk along Waikiki? ...Too bad the dang thing (the stroller) was somehow broken, and I spent nearly 15 minutes sweating it back together while the kids were all nagging and crying at me, complaining that "theres nothing to do". Well eventually we got downstairs, hogging the entire elevator on our decent, and out into the fresh air and sunshine, to start our journey.

And it was gorgeous out! Oh, so gorgeous. 

But nothing seems to go smoothly lately, so at the first "no" that I responded to Eleanore with, when she asked if she could ride the giant sand buggy on display beside the taller than mountains display of surf boards for rent, the sassy six year old started dragging her feet and spitting out insults. Ugh. So its one of those days, is it? Charlie and Evelyn rocked the walk, sitting happily in the jogger as I pushed them along side the crashing waves, but Eleanore... kicked up sand, and sobbed, as loudly as possible, the whooooole way there, and whoooooole way back. 

I somehow managed to keep a smile on my face and ignore her, though everyone on the boardwalk was distracted from whatever it was that they were doing by the screaming little girl shouting God knows what (seriously, nonsense) at the top of her whiny lungs. Towards the end of the mess, a really tall surfer man even stopped to try to brighten her day by serenading her (or maybe he was serenading me, ooh la lah!)- and she still couldn't pull herself out of it. 

I admit, I was embarrassed. As she shouted that she hated me, and that I was the worst Mom ever, and that she was going to starve to death if I didn't give her a juice box (makes sense, right?)- I wanted to abandon the situation for a lounge chair and lemonade in the sand. Everyone looked our way as we passed. Me pushing the babies merrily (bright cheeked, but still merry!), a smile on my sun kissed and angry face, enjoying the comfort of the sea salt scented trade winds... and Eleanore stomping and shrieking like a wild banshee behind me. So even though I knew everyone was watching, and I wanted to turn around and smack some sense into her (I don't hit my child, but sometimes I sure wish I did!), I did what I knew I needed to do to show her that she wasn't going to ruin my day, or anybody elses- which was to act as if her ridiculous tantrum wasn't evening happening. I got a few friendly sympathy smiles from folks who I assume were fellow parents, and a few dirty looks from tourists who maybe had to turn up their ipods a few notches in order to drown out the sounds (boy I wish I would have had an ipod), but- by the time we got back to our room, I think she had gotten the point. Or maybe she didn't, but- someday she will, right?! One can hope

All 3 of the kids are asleep right now, so I've finally had a few minutes to myself. The house keeper came in and gave us fresh towels and changed our garbage. I baked two loaves of Pamela's bread. And when I was finished with that, I sat down with a few photos from our beach trip to Ko Olina last Saturday. 

My camera card was almost full when we got there, and I didn't have any spares with me, so I didn't get to go picture crazy like I wanted to (which was probably a good thing), but the photos that I did get were pretty alright, the perfect still shots of my memory. Minus the scorching sunburn that my legs took.

Look at that. Just look.

We couldn't have found a more perfect spot. I had terrible pregnancy insomnia the night before- being woken up at 2:00 by my son falling out of his bed, and then not being able to get back to sleep- so I had lunches and swim suits packed, and we were out the door before 8am. There was plenty of parking, and only a few people on the beach.

The water was the clearest blue that I think I've ever seen. And so warm. This place really is paradise.

The plan was to hunt for sea shells, but turns out this isn't really a shell hunting stretch of sand, so- the best we could come up with were these tooth looking things. There were a few good ones within those finds, but for the most part it was a bit of a bust. I told Elie we'll have to find our own special sea shell beach. We've got a few years to do it yet- no big hurry.

We brought our whole haul of sand toys with us, so hours were spent digging and stacking, building sand castles and tributaries of all sorts. I'm pretty sure they spent more time digging than they did swimming. And at one point, we had collected somebody elses kids who wanted to get in on the action. I took that opportunity to disappear deep into the lagoon for a little swim- I had been wanting to get my dreads wet all day.

The sands at Ko Olina are white and fluffy, unlike the rough treks along Ala Moana and Waikiki. Walking barefoot in this stuff was actually a pleasure- feathers instead of rocks.

We chased little fishies through the shallow waters, and dodged rain drops from the random clouds that would sporadically pop up overhead. Did I mention how bad we all needed this?

Sure, there was still coughing from our lingering sickness, which we think may actually be some environmental adjustment allergies, but- we were able to get past it and really enjoy ourselves. I'm not sure I've ever seen the kids so happy in all their lives. Between Evelyn's "simming in da ooh-sin!", and brother crushing big sister's sand castles... life just doesn't get much better.

I look forward to this upcoming weekend for a possible return to the blue lagoon, or maybe one of its neighboring waters. Only this time, I'll remember to apply sunblock to my pasty white legs more than once- I'm still sleeping uncomfortably because of the pink sting.

Oh- I hear the beast (Eleanore, in case you haven't picked up on my passive aggressiveness yet) stirring behind me. And the other two, too. Time to switch the background noise from HGTV to Spongebob or something equally annoying- and time to cut up my freshly baked bread as well!

Its kind of nice, blogging regularly again. Even if I am just sort of using this as an outlet for my mood swings, and even if it is only temporary until I have an entire house to take care of again.

Until next time?

Passing The Time In Our Hotel Home

Friday, September 7, 2012

So not only did I get whammied with that awful cold/flu bug thing that had me stuck in bed and missing out on awesome tropical island things and stuffs, but, so did the rest of my group. Each and every one of them. And I'm not talking just a sniffle here and a "cough cough" there, but more like- children breathlessly hacking for hours on end while simultaneously suffocating in rivers of their own colorful snot. Its been gross, y'all. I think we may have filled up our own landfill, with all of the tissue that we've gone through. Luckily, here we are, a week or so later, and while the coughs are still lingering and nagging every time we laugh or shout, I've been able to take the full size box of kleenex out of my purse, and for the most part, we can all take a deep breath in and out without choking on our unwanted lung clutter.

Someday we're going to get out and explore this island!

But until that day comes (which I hope is tomorrow morning, bright and early just as the sun is coming up- Ko Olina lagoons for sea shell hunting?!), we've been making the most out of our teeny tiny living space. Whether its making caves between the two queen size white comforter coated beds, or chowing down on organic microwave popcorn on the green diamond patterned carpet in front of awful cable tv cartoons- its all coming together.

This is what a typical Charlie hotel tantrum looks like. Sooo... sleep time, pretty much. He'd probably stretch out across the bed and throw his fit there, but that would be way too close to where we want him to be, so he climbs up onto the chairs, making the most of his nonsense, and stretches himself out between to the two padded seats- until he loses his balance and falls un gracefully against the textured wall to the ground... which I can't help but laugh at, even though its totally not funny (right?), and... well sleep routines are just non existent at this point. The kids are up until all hours of the night, not having their own rooms and distracted by the constant luau going on beyond the balcony. Christopher and I like to go sit out on the lanai and watch the planes fly by, to kind of give the kids some privacy (and to gift ourselves with some fresh air), which sometimes helps with the tired theatrics, but in the end has never been fully successful. The kids usually end up watching re runs of King Of Queens with me until the boring adult humor causes them (and me both) to drift off into sleep.

Eleanore is really into coloring and activity books right now. Probably because its something that she can take away with her, to wherever she pleases. Sometimes its the small triangle table on the balcony, sometimes its onto the cold tiled floor area in front of the fridge, or sometimes its the comfort of "her" bed. Five people living in one small room together has really challenged our expectations and realities with all things having to do with privacy.

Thanks Mom, for the activity book, by the way. Eleanore has really buried her creativity and curiosity in it.

One good trade off though, for the lack of space, and this is kind of what keeps me going... is the nightly sunset. Every night is different- the colors, the clouds, the mood- but every night is gorgeous. Some nights I miss it, maybe because we're driving back from doing laundry at a friends house (the one friend I have here- Hi Amanda!), or because we've just bought our very first set of grown up furniture (seriously... this is a big deal for us- goodbye bar stools as end tables! Hello his and hers dressers!), but even on those nights I can usually catch it in the rear view mirror as we're driving down the H1, or run barefoot out onto the balcony to catch the colorful reflections that bounce up from behind the waters onto the clouds above... I live for these sights.

I have yet to see a sun rise here. I wonder which I'll like better?

Today instead of taking the kids to the beach like I had wanted to (and like they had wanted to), because of the faucet in the middle of Evelyn's face, and the gurgling frog voice that woke up with Eleanore and her grumpy girl bad attitude, we took a new over sized Thomas coloring book (Grauntie I think this time thanks are in order for you) outside to color in the rain. The nice thing about the way that the wind blows off of the mountains, is that it protects our patio from the falling waters, so we get fresh air, we get "out of the house", and- Eleanore and Evelyn fight over crayons and throw them over the railing the land in the fountains 22 stories below? ...ugh.

Nice pictures, kids!

Oh, and neon green plastic slinkys are fun, right?! Even if they get trashed and tangled up into an awful crinkled mess, and cause me to lose what little sanity I have left while I'm trying to straighten the coils in my spare time instead of silently tanning in my imaginary hammock in the afternoon sun.

Charlie loves that thing. And I love him. So it works :)

We use the hotel dresser as a toy box. Books go in the top drawer, and toys/baby dolls/cars go in the bottom. We'd like to unpack our clothes and put them in here, but this just seems to make more sense. This way the kids have a slight amount of freedom when it comes to playing, and they're still able to clean up after themselves, which is really important.
Nobody has smashed their fingers yet, I'd like to add. I'll update on that next time I post, haha. I figure its just a matter of time.

There just aren't words.

Okay well there are, but- does there need to be? ...yes maybe, since this is a blog.

Charlie is my good napper. Eleanore is my complainer, who puts up the biggest fight she can muster, no matter how tired she may or may not be. Evelyn is my obnoxious red head, who starts thrashing things and making trouble just before passing out. But Charlie is my good napper... rarely puts up a fight, and happily sleeps through sibling scrapes and screams. Also... he looks so precious while doing it.

Be still, my heart! ...the other night, after another getting to sleep struggle, this is eventually how we found the two older kids in the bed beside ours. Nothing could have been sweeter. ...they'll love this picture when they're older. And by love I obviously mean hate. Until they're older than older, at which time I hope they'll both be able to appreciate it. I'll love it the entire time, though, always.

So even though things are difficult for us right now- we've got no inside space to stretch our legs out in, our noses are stuffy and red, our throats are swollen and froggy, and our bathroom triples as a laundry room/time out center/sauna and sand center... we appreciate what we have, and we're making the best out of it.

I have really high hopes for waking up early and beating the crowds to Ko Olina tomorrow. We've had enough of Waikiki, I really want to pack a cooler and take the kids away for the day, sniffles and all. Maybe I'll have more than hotel photos to blab about soon? Maybe we'll see a sea turtle? Or find a treasure of sea shells? Spot a sea star??

Well even if we don't make it out to do that, and need yet another day to recover, we've always got our sunsets.


Sunday, September 2, 2012

I'm bundled up tightly in Christopher's blue fleece lined hoodie (mostly because I've outgrown my own in just the past week), every blanket in the room piled on my chilled body from the foot of the resort bed all the way up to my sun kissed and chattering chin. Its kind of funny that I only have time to slow down for blogging when I'm sick, yeah? I have the flu. I don't know if its something that we picked up from the dirty foam lined lagoon behind our hotel, or maybe something that was floating around the stagnant air of our 6 hour long flight, but- uuuugh. I've barely gotten out of bed all day. The good side of that, though, as always, is that it gives me no excuse to put off uploading photos any longer- if I'm grounded, might as well make the most of it. I did get up to go buy a used car from a family uprooting and headed to Japan, because our rental was costing us (wasting us, really) a small fortune, and to make a large veggie scramble for the kids and husband for dinner, but- then dragged my achy butt back to bed, and here I will lay for as long as possible. Or until I can stand without feeling faint. Whichever comes first.

And did I mention... ALOHA!! 

Thats right! That cross country move (which hasn't quite gotten documented yet, due to my constant need to keep going going going) that we and our mini van took together, lead us from Texas to Boise, from Boise to Portland, from Portland to Longview (and back and forth to Portland several times), and then straight up to Seattle where we put our car onto a ship for a short ride across the pacific, and then crowded onto a Delta airlines 757 and flew over miles and miles and miles of ocean, to the beautiful island of OAHU

The past week has been a flurry of city traffic, trips to the big pink hospital, house hunting, grocery seeking and shopping, beach going, elevator riding, sand dancing, breakfast on a balcony 22 floors off the ground, sunsets and silhouettes. We are, in love with it here. 

I've been making a pretty big effort to haul my camera around with me to catch the moments that I truly want to remember (the every day things that I'm sure to forget with time), so as much of a pain as it is to have a big heavy strap rubbing my neck raw in the same place where my seat belt does, while a bulky camera bounces against my back every time I increase my step, while going through airport security with 2 crying children, 6 bags of miscellaneous carry ons, and a double stroller that apparently has to go over there to that gate to be inspected, because this gate isn't wide enough, while my husband is off fetching a lost boarding pass with the third cryer- I've been doing it anyways. 

Fly to Hawaii with us? 
Virtually, I mean
Did I mention that I have the flu?

So thats what it looks like when a family of 5.5 moves to Hawaii. Most of our stuff is loaded onto crates and hopefully on a boat by now, but- we were allowed up to 20 checked bags for the lot of us, so we took it. Well, minus that Target bag on the ground beside the cart- that had Udi's brand hot dog buns in it, which is all I had with me to eat for the day.

By the time we got to our gate to sit down for a sec before they started to board, we realized that our flight was leaving 45 minutes sooner than we previously thought, and we had about 5 minutes to run to and from the bathroom to take care of business before catching the fish tail end of the massive line of happy childless vacationers. So we made it in time, but- pretty sure our bags bumped into every single passenger between the front door and row 30. Maybe not the spoiled folks in first class (though they probably deserved it the most, hah), but every one in coach for sure. When I found our row, without thinking, I directed Eleanore towards the window, Evelyn beside her, and I took the aisle. Charlie took the middle across the way, and Christopher occupied the aisle beside him, within arms reach of me. No big deal, right? We totally got this.

Except: Charlie fell asleep almost immediately, calmly snoozing beside Christopher while he kicked back and stuck his nose in a seemingly extra thick copy of Sky Mall (jerk), while Eleanore proceeded to start with the "are we there yet?"'s, while simultaneously kicking the crap out of the seat in front of her (I like to make enemies from the get go), and Evelyn who hadn't napped all day and was probably lacking a meal or two threw herself into some kind of toddler red alert, arched her back as stiffly as physically possible, and screamed until her high pitched sound waves pierced every ear in the rows immediately surrounding us, and then fell into a sweaty sleep in my lap about 35 minutes later (but not before the flight attendant came by and tried to give her a bag full of sugar sweetened gluten, "anything to get the baby to stop crying", she said), laying across one arm in just the right way, making it so that reading a magazine, or even reaching for one, was just a hopeless fantasy of mine.

And after the dust settled from mine and Evelyn's sleep standoff, Eleanore realized just how boring flying on an airplane would be. Every five minutes, without fail, she asked me when we would be there. And in between those beautiful repetitive moments, she managed to kick/bump/or maybe even jump on the seat in front of her, causing the angry asian lady, who by the end of the flight was ready to file a restraining order, to keep turning around for a whole lotta stink eye towards the Mom (I casually looked away just in time to miss it just almost every glance), and used what she thought must have been a mom voice, asking my daughter to angrily to knock it the eff off.

Ah, thats the face of a very happy six year old. Smile stinker, we're flying to Hawaii!! ...besides, you can reach the magazines, so it can't be all that bad.

Oh it wasn't all that bad for her. She had a window all to herself, with a window shade to constantly open and shut, which I'm pretty sure sent me into at least two seizures- and she got to look (um, over the wing) down at the beautiful ocean beneath us, which she mentioned the depths of and how much it would hurt if we crashed into it, until the sun went down and erased everything in sight- telling me that it was time to sleep, but telling her that it was time to up the complaining a notch, and maybe even throw in some tantrums for extra attention from the lady with the angry eyes.

Yeah hows that Sky Mall magazine?? Oh its good? Oh good for you! And you're right, you do need that electric hand warming pocket knife that cuts down diseased trees and saves forests from destruction while somehow miraculously feeding the poor in foreign countries.

Oh alright, I forgive you. But only because Charlie woke up and had to go to the bathroom (and no way am I stepping foot into an airplane bathroom, EVER), and Evelyn rolled her sweaty head to my lap, freeing my arm and letting me beat the crap out of you with my exhausted hormonal anger.

Just kidding. ...Evelyn had woken up by then and was playing with her seat belt.

At one point during the flight, Evelyn and Charlie traded, so that the older two could be silly together and really let the lady in front of them have it. And want to know what the best part about that swap was?


Awww, whats wrong? Baby making you crazy? Hmmm, well, if you wouldn't mind too much, could you calm her down, maybe give her a bag of famous amos or something, so that I can read my Sky Mall in peace? K thanks :)

Hey you know what I could kind of go for? A hunger fighting world saving pocket knife.

Oh I love you honey.

Here, let me throw in a couple of other photos from the flight:

All bickering aside, the flight went really smoothly. There was no vomit, diarrhea, or blood. I managed not to cry (I saved that for the Taxi ride to the hotel). Eleanore's number one fan in row 29 somehow found the strength to fall asleep through the constant seat quake. I didn't starve thanks to my remaining Udi's hot dog bun.

But really- my kids got to fly on an airplane for the first time. That is seriously, so cool.

When we landed in Honolulu, some of our luggage was missing. We had marked all of our pieces with bright orange duct tape on the sides and around the handle, and luckily a lady passing by had recognized the markings, because she said she had seen a few of the stragglers back at the funky shaped items counter. Getting all of our stuff from baggage claim to the taxi pavilion was only a slight nightmare- squeezing our entire family, and our horrendous amount of gear into a measly SUV with a condescending driver, thats where the real treat was. By this point, the idea of moving to Hawaii was the worst thing ever, and I sobbed myself to sleep in my hotel suite overlooking what was supposed to be the ocean, but was instead a whole bunch of blackness surrounded by awful city.

Before going to bed though, I had opened up the curtains. I knew that I was just exhausted (the three hour time difference wasn't helping), and hoped that with the sunrise would come a light heart.

"Oooh! Look at all of that water!!", shouted Charlie at 6am, as soon as the sun started to fill the room. I smiled before my eyes opened, told him to go have a closer look, and before we knew it the entire family was standing out on the balcony, taking in the stunning view of the harbor and waves beyond it.

Okay maybe moving to Hawaii wasn't such a bad idea.

Barbie jeeps, cable tv on pull out couches, and iced kona coffees topped off with chocolate rice milk from the cafe by the waterfalls.

My favorite orange headband made by my favorite Norwegian friend, snuggling with my favorite red headed girl, pointing out waves and boats and birds on our balcony (ahem... lanai).

I repeat: Hawaii is not so bad after all.

Maybe I'll just let some of the photos speak for themselves...

Peek a boo from behind the curtains... yes please.

Something that we were missing after a few days though, was food. Cereal bars and Udi's hot dog buns will only take you so far, you know? So after a trip to the local health food chain "Down To Earth", and finding the Whole Foods over by the mall in whatever city that was... we needed some curry. And we needed to eat it on the balcony at sunset. For sure.

No, yeah... thats real. I must have stood there in the fresh air, smelling my cumin spiced zucchini rice, staring at the pink and orange sky for at least twenty minutes. Just frozen. Because they totally didn't have views like that back in Texas. In fact, I'm not sure I've seen a view like that, anywhere.

We've only made it to the beach a few times, between running errand after errand, but the times that we have gone, have been nice. Sometimes we don't go until the sun is setting, an after dinner walk type thing, and by then most of the other families have gone home and its just lone romantics wandering between the waves and the boardwalk. The kids usually find abandoned sand castles to crush and sticky sea creatures to pass between their fingers. Getting them home is the hardest part, because like all good things, they just don't want it to end.

So for now we're shacking up on the 22nd floor of a semi famous resort in Waikiki, the beach is our right in our back yard, the sun rising is our alarm clock (thanks to Charlie, mostly). Christopher goes back to work on Thursday, which is hopefully when Eleanore will go back to school, rocking the first grade... and our house will be ready for us on October 1st.

Hickam AFB. We made it.