November 28, 2010

Christmas Trees and Cupcakes!

I have never, ever put up my tree the weekend after Thanksgiving.  Always seemed too early and messy when the needles were falling dead off the tree by the 15th of the month.

Yes, I absolutely have to have a live tree.  Not negotiable (and I have heard all your compelling arguments.)  Last year someone told me you could go to the North Shore and get a Norfolk Pine - I was excited beyond belief.  I have been waiting all year!

I don't think I had ever seen one of these silly looking trees before moving here but I have fallen in love with them and couldn't wait another day to get ours.  This here is Justin...helping us pick out just the right tree (well, two trees because I just couldn't resist.)

Isn't it magnificent?  Obviously we haven't gotten to the decorating yet but I had to show it off.  Emily and I decided we don't need a star because it has it's own built right in (and it goes clear to the ceiling at nearly 9' tall!) 

A good friend of mine had a birthday a few weeks back and we just now found the time to celebrate it Hawaiian style.  A few of us took her to the Kahala Mandarin Hotel in Waikiki.

If you find yourself waking up one day to a small fortune left to you by a long lost relative, I suggest you spend it here. Seriously - this is the hotel to the stars on Oahu and it is P-O-S-H! 

Fantastic landscaping, waterfalls, pools, dolphins in the private lagoon. You name it.

For hotel guests only they have these lovely little lounges with a pop up shade and on each is a little flag pole with a flag that you raise if you need a fancy drink with an umbrella.  Oh, I could get used to that.  Do you hear me long lost rich relatives...yoooo hooooo?

This cute little guy was just swimming around.

The birthday girl enjoying a cupcake on the beach.  That's how we roll ;)

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November 26, 2010

Giving Thanks!

First things first.  Emily lost her first tooth the night before Thanksgiving!  It's been ready since Halloween but the trauma involved in pulling it proved to be too much so we waited, and waited, and waited, until it basically fell out. 

 A very excited little girl headed off to bed awaiting her very first visit from the tooth fairy!

Of course she didn't disappoint!  Emily awoke to a beautiful new lipstick purse, a hello kitty lipstick, a rainbow heart necklace (with a matching bracelet) and maybe even a five dollar bill, oh yeah, and a letter from the tooth fairy herself.  But that's it.  Any more would just be ridiculous right? Good thing we only have 19 teeth to go :)

Now on to our Thanksgiving feast!  I started cooking the day before and managed to get EVERYTHING made except the turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy.  I had a simple plan, quadruple everything and hope it was enough!    

I have never prepared food in such quantities before but it turned out just right.

The girls did the decorating

And the appetizers

Our guests showed up at 1:00.  We had friends from Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Lebanon, Maldives, Federated States of Micronesia, Mongolia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, and Thailand. 

By the time they arrived we were in great shape food wise so it was fun to mingle and get to know them for a bit.  They were so happy to have been invited to our home and holiday celebration.  For many of them this school has been their first trip to America. 

The woman in the dress had just flown in with her daughter from Singapore the day before and was excited to experience Black Friday in America!

"Family" shot around the turkey!

Before we ate we shared a unique blessing.  David had asked someone from each religion to come prepared with a prayer.  Olivia started us off with the Lord's Prayer in Hawaiian and we followed it with a Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim prayer.  Each was said in their language and translated for us.  We explained to them the origin of Thanksgiving and pointed out that the first feast was to celebrate the merging of cultures. 

I can honestly say it was one of the best Thanksgivings I have ever spent.  Rujito from Indonesia brought me a gift from his country and a note that said "I wish our friendship will last forever."  I hope so too.  I felt honored to host them in our home and hope it is a day they never forget, I know it will always be a treasured memory for us.

As for the food, the only thing I ran out of was gravy and pumpkin pie.  They wanted traditional the whole way!  Everything else was just about right.  By now you are asking yourselves "how did she do it?"  Well, just this once I will share my secret...

The plan!  I forgot to erase this before everyone arrived and it proved to be a source of fascination!  Our neighbors came by for dessert and I even got a "BZ!"  In Navy talk that is "Bravo Zulu" or job well done.  There is no higher praise :) 

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November 20, 2010

A little bit of this and that

The big thing on my to do list for the last week has been final preps for a training workshop put on by a group I chair called the Leadership Continuum.  It's designed for XO/CO spouses - and it's purpose is to train them for their unpaid leadership roles they assume through their husbands job.  (That role can include but isn't limited too; mother, sister, confidant, scapegoat, therapist, babysitter, party planner and superhero).  We host 4 workshops a year and this one was on disaster preparedness.   

I wish I had a better picture to represent how fabulous the event was.  The team in charge of this workshop was absolutely fantastic, they left no stone unturned in their preparation and they covered a wide variety of disasters both natural and situational.  I thought the centerpieces were cute too!  The local weatherman was our guest speaker and hopefully folks will start sharing their photos of the event soon.  He is a bit of a celeb in these parts and was a lot of fun!

Today we attended a UH football game with David's class.  He is attending the Asia Pacific Security school here locally and his classmates are from all over the world.

The school tries to come up with fun entertainment for them on the weekends and what better than a good old American football game?  We started with a tailgater and a little football of our own.

And proceeded to the game.   

The Warriors were up big at the half but Emily started to feel bad so we left.

How you can be having fun one minute and sick in bed with a 102* fever an hour later I'll never know!  I do know that someone in my family (mostly me) has been sick since July.  Seriously.  It is a never ending germ fest here.

This week I am all about the big T day.  We decided to host the foreign students in David's seminar for a traditional Thanksgiving feast.  Our count is up to 30 now so lets just say my fridge is packed and my stress level is threatcon A.  Despite all the work involved I am really looking forward to it. Some of the most memorable times in our overseas experiences were when local people took us into their homes and showed us traditional life in their country.  I am excited to share our world with them.   

The minute that is over I will shift to fa la la la la mode and to the dreaded Christmas card photo...oh can it really be that time again?

Hmmmm, we ARE wearing green....

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November 11, 2010

Peoples Choice!!

Well, the house seems very quiet with our family gone but we are returning to the regular routine around here. It was a GREAT visit chock full of fantastic memory making events.  Mahalo nui loa (thank you very much) to Davids parents and Aunt for making the long trip to see us, we really had so much fun!

One of our highlights was the Fall Festival at Holy Family.  This year the theme was "carnival" and part of the festivities was a  "Chili Cook Off."   Olivia was excited to enter it but I had to confess that I'm not known for my chili.  I have heard rumors over the years that Grandpa is, so I signed them up!

While I was busy at school with set-up and cotton candy making (harder than it looks by the way) they were home cookin!  Here they are setting up their station. 

And here is Olivia accepting the first of their TWO wins!!!  They came in 3rd from the judges standpoint but they won the "peoples choice" which we all decided was the real prize!

 Ahhhhh - the victors!!  They called it Oklahoma Red Dirt Chili.

Oh yes, I told you we also threw in a birthday for Dada right?  The cake is a little short on presentation but delicious none the less.

Emily always gets Dada the perfect card - in this case Hello Kitty wishing you a very happy 5th birthday.  Nothing says I love you like that. 

Although we were busy with the usual "life" stuff - we managed to interject a few tourist stops, a few beaches and a boat ride in Kaneohe Bay. 

Seriously, can you believe this is real?  The only way this could be better is if David and I were on that boat.  Right honey?

                                       Fast friends!

She even stole his hat (and I'm thinking his heart too)
Thanks for a great few weeks.  Aloha :(

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November 3, 2010

October Fun

I've been gone so long I almost forgot the password for my blog!!  Thanks to all of you for your patience - and you know who that excludes!

Here's my Dorothy...and her little dog too!  Not sure if you can tell but her dress was shiny satin and had sparkles on it.  We decided Dorothy needed to get with the times. 

Sunday was such a whirlwind in my, swap meet, trip to Kaneohe and Bellows beach to show David's family around, pumpkin carving, forgotten book report (due the next day), dinner and trick-or-treating.  We carved pumpkins in record time and this was my creation.  It came out much better in my head but things usually do.  It's a wonderful place to be!

Of course...right.  Sheesh.

David...of course again right?  Oh I almost forgot, we threw in a birthday for him over the weekend too but the photos of that are on Grandma's camera - mine was lost temporarily in the shuffle! 

Ahoy matey! 

Pali Lookout

We have been having a great time with our family - unfortunately David and the girls are all in school during the week but we aren't letting that slow us down much. 

Koi Pond

View of the USS MISSOURI from the Arizona Memorial

Fancy schmancy Hawaiian Pedi's!!

Sunset from my lanai

Pearl Harbor

Beautiful!  They are enjoying the blue oceans, flowers, foods etc.  I have run them all over this island and when I'm not wearing them out the girls are!  It's so fun to have them here.  This weekend we are going to turtle beach and for a pontoon boat ride to sandbar!

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