Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Missing Plane-Part I

The day started out like any other. Cooking, cleaning, schooling, karate... Then I got the e-mail. "Hey Z, there is military wife stationed in Guam who is on her way back to the east coast and needs help getting from the Hickam passenger terminal to Honolulu International. Can you help her? Oh, by the way, she's traveling with 4 children (including 18 month old twins) and she's pregnant! And I don't know when she'll take off or land and she doesn't have a cell phone."

I enthusiastically accepted the challenge for several reasons. 1) It's nice now and then to break up the monotony of homeschooling: "Let's recite the second declension male nouns from our vocabulary list this week, kids." 2) My husband is very smart about locating airplanes, which would make this job a piece of cake. 3) I know what it's like to be on the receiving end of another person's kindness, so I appreciate the opportunity to "spread some love around." 4) Jesus gave so much to me, a ride to the airport is the least I could do.

My friend promised to call or e-mail when she knew more, and I promised to check my e-mail periodically throughout the night. It was around 3:00 when I read in an e-mail that the plane took off around 10:00. The flight from Guam to Hawaii is one that my husband flies frequently, so I figured they would land between 5:00 and 6:00. I called the pax terminal at Hickam and listened to the recording. Those of you who fly Space-A are familiar with the drill. Push 1 general information...push 2 for arrivals...push 3 for departures... The only missions that were scheduled to land were a flight from Korea coming in at 4:00am, and a flight from Okinawa landing at 8:00.

I got on the phone to my very smart husband who was in Tucson for a conference and asked if maybe the flight from Okinawa had been in Guam first. He confirmed that it had been in Guam first, but it left Guam 20 hours ago and there were only 2 registered passengers on board. He reported that he didn't see any other flights from Guam in the air. So, not knowing what else to do, I showered, got dressed, and drove to Hickam. I thought that on the off chance that the flight DID arrive at 6:00-ish, I should probably be there to greet this woman and her children. If it were me, I knew I would be terrified and exhausted after traveling so long with 4 children and not having anyone there at the airport as planned. I brought a book along, though, and was actually looking forward to the opportunity to sit and read, which I never get to do at home.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Seven Quick Takes

Seven reasons to love living in paradise:
1. The rainbows. I see a rainbow more days than I do not see a rainbow. Many days I often see a double rainbow!

2. The sun, the sand, the water, the weather. Need I say more?

3. The view. I'm surrounded by incredible beauty! Trees, flowers, birds, blues skies, and blue seas. I just want to drink it all in!

4. The spam. No, just kidding. I will never understand the Hawaiians' appreciation for meat in a can. But I do adore all the fresh products I can get year round from local farms! Pineapples (of course!), bananas, tomatoes, eggs and goat's milk...

5. Costco. Ok, so as much as I love those bananas I get from a local family-owned farm, I love those gigantic packages of nuts flown in from California. And Costco is so close to the house! Right next to Target.

6. The people. It's an interesting cultural experience to be a racial minority. I was watching a group of school children walk, and out of 30 kids, there were only two Caucasians. I was worried when we first moved here that the Hawaiians would be resentful of our presence, both as whites and as mIlitary members, but I've found them to be a very warm and kind people. It's been a pleasure getting to know them and their land.

7. The company. If you live in paradise, you'll have lots of friends come out of the woodwork to visit. It's been fun hosting our friends and family. We hope to see more soon!

For the "original" seven quick takes click here.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Some Sample Meals

What we eat on the SCD:

Scrambled eggs (with roast chicken, peppers, cheese, bacon, avocado, spinach, etc)
Fruit and yogurt smoothies
"Oatmeal" (cooked almond meal with yogurt, honey, and cinnamon)

Sandwiches on scd bread
Costco sausages (made with chicken and minimally processed! Read the labels carefully though, not all are legal)
Hamburgers, no bun, but with lots of fun toppings: cilantro and cheddar, guacamole and provolone, chile mayo,
Drumsticks, made the night before and served cold or reheated
Tuna salad with legal mayo, pineapple and macadamia nuts, served over lettuce (I just had this for lunch today, with fresh ahi tuna! Yum!)
Fresh veggies: carrots, peppers, squash, sugar snap peas

Peanut butter pork (one pork loin, several "glugs" of legal soy sauce and several "dollops" of legal peanut butter in the crockpot on low, all day. Serve over shredded cabbage.)
Curried shrimp (saute a few pounds of shrimp, add 1 cup coconut milk, a few tsp. curry, serve over grated cauliflower)
Broiled Halibut with creamy parmesan and roasted veggies
Steak, chicken, or fish on the grill
Meatballs (made with eggs, legal bread crumbs and seasonings)

Strawberry shortcake (a la Grain Free Gourmet)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Food, Food, Food!

I thought I would give you an update on how it's going with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. I can say with honesty that it is getting easier with time. I am tempted to "cheat" once in a while and do drive-though, but then I consider the incredible progress we've made and it completely quashes the temptation.

When we leave the house, we've gotten good at planning ahead and bringing snacks along. Or if we're occasionally caught unprepared and we need a quick bite to eat, there's this thing called the grocery store...:) It's really easy. You get out of your car, go inside and put a few choice items in the cart: cheddar cheese (hard, aged cheddar has very low levels of lactose), grapes, almonds... Sometimes you can find scd-legal meats that you can roll up in a lettuce leaf like a wrap. It's pretty simple, it's just been a matter of changing how we think about our food choices.

We eat at home most of the time because it seems when we eat at restaurants the only choices our scd kiddos have are: hamburger, no bun with steamed veggies, chicken with veggies, or steak with veggies. That can get pretty tiresome for our children. Especially when they watch us chowing down on french fries or pizza. Though Ruby Tuesdays has a great salad bar. The dressings are all illegal, but A doesn't care because he doesn't really like dressing anyway, and M doesn't care because she is fruit-obsessed and only wants to eat the grapes and pineapple.

As time goes on, I am seeing more and more signs that baby Z has the same gut issues as M. He has far too much trouble in that area for a little guy who is 95% breastfed and only about 5% established on solids. My choices are to wait until he weans and begin him on the scd, or (gulp) put myself entirely on the diet right now, since he's probably reacting to all the non-scd foods I'm eating. This will be a struggle because I really, really, really (really, really!) enjoy the weekly/monthly (depending on work/travel schedules, you know?) pizza and ice cream dates I have with my husband. I will try to be a big girl about it and NOT WHINE. But that will be hard for me because did I mention that I really like pizza and ice cream?

How to Fix Bad Yourself

I saw these two blog posts, and thought they were too wonderful not to share!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

And now, it's time for some random funny (and scary!) photos

Asleep on the elliptical trainer

Mustache March (see what I mean about "scary"?)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Honolulu Farmer's Market

R was taking a Red Cross Babysitter class in Honolulu on Saturday, so we left the house extra early to grab breakfast at the farmer's market.

Okinawan Donuts. MMMMmmmm...

Garlic butter corn-on-the-cob and local tropical juice

A shrimp omelet made with duck eggs

And what farmer's market would be complete without a booth devoted to spam?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Pill Box Hike

We live in such an incredibly beautiful place! I will be sad when we leave, but that's just life in the military, right?

We are certainly blessed now that our oldest daughter is ALMOST 12. For those of you who don't understand the significance-that's BABYSITTING age! It seems like we are just extraordinarily busy with tasks at work and home, but try to sneak out once in a while for a date. A few weeks ago we left at 4:30 am to go on a sunrise hike up to the pill boxes. The pill boxes are little posts in the mountains along the coastline that served as look-out stations during WWII. They're abandoned now, but it's still interesting to visit this little piece of history.

Of course, no romantic date would be complete without an adorable baby! Here I am, sitting against one of the "pill boxes."


Dole Pineapple Plantation

You can't live on Oahu and not pay at least one visit to the the Dole Plantation!
Ready to see all the pineapples?

OK! Here we go!

Hmmmm, which way to go...

Pineapple heads!

We're only slightly lost in the maze!

Hike to Makapu'u

Our family took a very fun hike up over the Makapu'u lighthouse. Hubby hauled the camera gear and carried the baby. I pushed M and P in the double stroller. It was utterly painful yet exquisitely breathtaking.

My husband is amazingly athletic.

I am not.

My two big kids

The lighthouse

This was amazing. We hiked near a humpback whale sanctuary. The whales migrate from Alaska to Hawaii in the wintertime. I could have stayed for hours just watching them swim and play in the water!

Testing (blech)

Hello Faithful Followers,
I am a tired, busy mommy and don't always have time to post the way I would like. Blogging is at the very bottom of my priority list, so forgive me for taking such long blogging breaks. I'm going to try to get in a few more posts this week just so you can see what we've been up to these last few months!

Standardized testing is required for homeschoolers in Hawaii. Those of you who are familiar with my educational philosophy know that I don't really believe in "grades" and "testing." Learning is what matters, and it's a daily, lifelong pursuit, not something that's done at a desk between the hours of 8:00 and 2:00. We do have formal lessons for math and communication (writing, speech, or grammar) daily. We have less-formal lessons for history, science, foreign language etc. We try to keep away from textbooks in those subjects as much as possible and read lots of living books and supplement with cd's and dvd's. I do keep good records to make sure we don't overlook any important topic, such as the Civil War or the three states of matter. That being said, I was VERY nervous about our first experience with the Stanford test. I knew my children were bright and educated, I just wasn't sure that they fit the "government-approved definition" of bright and educated.

I sent R and A into their little testing rooms with the rest of the nervous, young homeschoolers, then ran to the park to kill time with my younger 3. I picked R and A up at noon, greeted them and asked as casually as I could, "So, how'd it go?" R sighed and confessed, "Mom, I didn't know any of those math problems." My heart sank and I begin thinking in my head which math curriculum we should switch to next year since the one we were currently using CLEARLY was not working. She told me how everyone had finished the math section way before she did, so the proctor let everyone else go take a break because it was taking R SO LONG to wrap it up (the test isn't timed, but it's not always reasonable to make everyone else sit there for long periods of time waiting for others to complete a section). She said,"Then I didn't know what else to do, so I prayed to God to help me know the answers, and then I remembered them!" Sweet girl.

Let's just say I was in a lot of anxiety the last two months waiting for those scores to come in! But, *big sigh of relief* the scores arrived and the kids did great. Not just great, but really, exceptionally well across the board. Even in math! Hooray! I think her cause of anxiety was probably the fact that the questions start out easy, then get progressively harder. If you're taking a 6th grade test, the questions aren't all at the 6th grade level. They start out at the 1st grade level then progress to the 12th grade level, so the tricky questions might cause some panic to set in, even though it's not really reasonable to expect a 6th grader to know 12 grade math.

R still hasn't finished her math curriculum for the year, so she has to keep working on that for the next couple of weeks. A is about 6 months ahead because he really likes to do math (weird, I know). I'm also having them do some writing through the summer. They'll probably do a little bit with foreign language as well. One of the perks of being in the military is free online access to Rosetta Stone! R is learning French; A is learning German. And they'll keep on reading, reading, reading through the summer. M resumes preschool July 8th, so we'll probably hit the books full-time at that time again as well. What are your summer plans?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Pearl Harbor

There is so much to do and see on the island of Oahu. We haven't seen too many sights because we knew that visitors would inevitably come and we would get bored of visiting the same tourist destinations again and again, so we were saving our trips for those special occasions!

My parents were here in March, so we made our first trip out to the Pearl Harbor memorials. We visited the museum of the Pacific Air Force, which was small, but still neat. We also toured the USS Missouri, where Japan surrendered to the US in 1945.

The most memorable part of the day was the trip out to the USS Arizona Memorial. I knew they had built the memorial to this ship that had been destroyed during the attack of Pearl Harbor in 1941, but I didn't realize that the Arizona herself was still there, what was left of her, anyway. The navy has shuttle boats set up to take passengers from the ticket sight to the memorial out in the middle of the harbor. As I approached the white, sleek memorial I felt such a surge of emotion: gratitude for the young men who gave their lives on that day, and for all the service men and women who continue to put themselves in harms way and grief for the numerous, numerous losses of life that day.

Words can't even express how I felt as I stepped into the memorial and looked out and saw the sunken hull and mess of burned metal that became a graveyard for so many that day.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Best Field Trip Ever!

Saturday we, along with another family, had the great pleasure of being guests at the home of a tropical horticulturalist and his wife in Kaneohe. We decorated Easter eggs (fresh from their own chickens!), played on the swing set, visited with the goats, ate a yummy lunch, and toured the grounds. Cinnamon trees, coffee trees, vanilla vines, papaya, bananas, taro, ginger, plus much, much more were all growing right there in the yard. It was so interesting to see small-scale tropical farming in progress. I learned so much!

Dr. Osgood holding a ripe cacao pod

Vanilla has to be hand-pollinated.

Some Chicken-love

Surprised by the charging dog!

Some male-bonding time

About 6 tangerines and 80 strawberries later...

I mentioned to Mrs. Osgood that if I ever had a yard like that, I would sit outside on the porch all the time to enjoy it. She said there's no time to enjoy it! There's too much work to do to keep it looking that way! Wow, there's a profound life lesson right there. How many area of life can I apply that statement to?

Photos by the Amazing Acadia

Monday, April 5, 2010

Climb Every Mountain...

The latest addition to my SCD cookbook collection arrived last week. It was a substantial book entitled "Ice Dream." And as you can probably guess, the cookbook was chock-full of all-natural, refined sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan ice cream recipes as well as cookie, brownie, compote and sauce recipes to compliment.

M was ecstatic when the cookbook arrived and immediately implored me to make her some. I would have done so instantly, had I not run out of scd-legal vanilla earlier in the week. We went to the commissaries, both on the Air Force base and on the Naval station in search of vanilla, but learned through interrogating the employees that they no longer carry that brand, THE ONLY LEGAL BRAND IN THE ENTIRE STORE, so we had to look elsewhere. I was pretty sure that Costco had a brand of vanilla that would be acceptable, and in large quantities as well, so we made our way back to the very southwestern most corner of the island, only to discover that the Costco brand contains sugar or some derivative thereof. Fortunately, I was able to procure a tub of Hawaiian Organic Christmas Berry Honey, as well as a dozen Gala apples, so we didn't exactly leave empty-handed.

I knew that Whole Foods carried an exquisite brand of Hawaiian vanilla extract that is SCD legal, as well as well as several other brands, but *sigh,* Whole Foods is WAAAAAAAY on the other side of Oahu.

"Mommy, I. Wan......T. Nii Neem," said my sweet little M. And I couldn't refuse her, so off we went across the island in our enormous white van. And they didn't have the Hawaiian vanilla, but they had several other brands that were acceptable. So I bought lots and lots so I wouldn't have to come back anytime soon, as well as some some macadamia nut butter (yum!). And I found gluten-free soy sauce! Hooray!

At this point, it was time for A to go to Karate, so we did that (he had to go without his uniform, because I didn't know when we left the house that morning we wouldn't be going back any time soon!), then headed home, talking the whole way about ice cream, and which flavor we were going to make, and how yummy it would be. So we got home, unloaded all our little people and our groceries and immediately set about making our treat. I mixed this, and poured that, blended this, warmed that. After the final ingredient was added I looked down at the cookbook to read: "Pour into 2 wide-mouth quart-sized jars and refrigerate for at least 6 hours."

Now at this point it was already 7:30 p.m. I had been promising M ice cream all day long. What was I to do? I thought for a moment, then I stuffed the Vita Mix with coconut milk and frozen strawberries and processed until thick. And she thought it was wonderful!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

First Day of School

We DID finally end up enrolling M in the local preschool. I was actually prepared to keep her at home and just keep working with her here, so I ordered a book on helping children overcome speech and language problems that was recommended by the Homeschool Legal Defense Association. The very first chapter talked about how important it is for children with profound phonological disorders to get intervention as early as possible because speech skills affect all other aspects of learning. The second chapter described why school Speech-Language Pathologists are perhaps among the best in terms of training and experience. This wasn't what I expected from a book from HSLDA, but it really helped me come to a quick, clear decision.

M is only attending school 2 mornings a week, which isn't bad, considering they initially wanted her to come all day, every day! The speech therapist is only there Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so those are the days she goes to school. The school year is actually over the last week of M, so she's really only going to be attending for 2 months, but school resumes the first week of July, so we're hoping she won't lose any progress.

The funny thing is that M was tested to be profoundly delayed in all areas, but in just the past month or two we've really worked to figure out her learning style and helped her to learn all her colors, shapes numbers and letters. The girl who was tested this winter was very different than the one who arrived at school this spring! We are now just hoping and praying that we get this speech issue ironed out before they want to put her in Kindergarten! I won't be able to negotiate 2 mornings a week then!

Also, the diet is going wonderfully! It's truly better than I could have expected-although it's still early on in the process, so I don't want to jinx myself! I weaned Moff of her medication about two weeks ago, and as of right now, that girl has some incredible poos!