Thursday, March 29, 2007


The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.
- Jacques-Yves Cousteau

So, last summer we got a fancy new camera, thanks to my sister's husband who decided to upgrade. The camera is kind of scary and heavy and, though Nathan pretends like it's my camera, I have really never used it. Until Spring Break 2007.

I took the serious camera with us to the beach. I pretended like I knew what I was doing, and started taking pictures. There's something about this camera that makes people think you are a professional. It was fun! I took almost a hundred pictures of the kids in the water, and of the horizon, and of the rocks, and of a boat, and of a spot in the water that was maybe a whale or maybe not.

I wish I had taken a picture of a very nervous mother in a stiff floral shirt dress straight out of the 50's who spent her entire time at the beach yelling at her kids to come closer and get over here right now or were're going home...

Nathan showed me how to use photoshop, and I've been posting pictures of that day all week. I love these sandy shots. What do you think?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Spring Break 2007

Em and John Splash

Wave Jumping

Where's John?

Spring Break is 2 weeks long, here in Hawaii. We are in the middle of week 2 and so far we have:
gone shopping at two different malls
gone to the beach 4 times
painted ceramic animals and "sticky paper"
shopped at the BYU Hawaii bookstore
walked around the Temple grounds and visitor center
gone on a hike to a lighthouse
gotten a brain freeze from Shave Ice
played with friends
and enjoyed a little whale watching.

Whew. This is getting tiring.

Today we got up early and headed to Hanauma Bay for some snorkling, but the parking lot was already full at 9am, so we checked out Bellows AFB and got information about reserving a cabin for our vacation this summer. They also have group camping - anyone want to come for a family reunion? This place is perfect - beautiful grounds, right on the beach, in Hawaii, and only $35 a night for groups up to 75 people. Mom?

We still wanted a little water action, so we decided to head to downtown Waikiki and swim at the Hale Koa resort. We found the parking easily (a miracle for me.) Then we spent 4 hours swimming in a pool right off the beach. It was beautiful, and so fun! Emily is such a little fish! By chance, we met some friends from our neighborhood there, too.

It was a super fun day, but now I'm tired. Nathan is gone this week, and I am having a terrible time sleeping. I keep waking up at about 1:15am and am not able to get back to sleep for hours. On Tuesday night I never went back to sleep. I tossed and turned, then read until the sun came up. Help! What can I do? I need my sleep to survive the rest of our Spring Break adventures...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Body Surfing at Waimea Bay

Calm and beautiful - the water, and Hannah.
Just swim past the breaking water, and the water is perfect for relaxing.

Swim a little closer to shore, and the waves are perfect for body surfing.

Go Sydney!

Hold your breath!

Can you see that little pipe forming?

We came to this beach in December and the waves were huge. Bigger than a house. 16-20 feet! The surfers were loving it, but no swimmers allowed in the water. Emily lost a flip-flop to a huge wave that came up over the sand hill. A woman came over and warned me to keep close to the kids and pointed out how high the waves were coming (after we lost the slippah.) That embarrassed me, but she was right.

It was hard to tell how big those waves were, but seeing the smaller 3' (and occasional 5') waves this week really made me realize just how gi-normous those big waves were. Lucky for us Waimea Bay has been calmer this Spring Break. Perfect for boogie boarding and body surfing and whale watching.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

A Primary Song From Hawaii

If you chance to meet a frown,
Do not let it stay.

Quickly turn it upside down
And smile that frown away!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Swim Wear Woes

Hannah and I have been searching for the perfect swim suit. Something cute. Something hip. Something in a size tiny (for han). Something modest.

When I say modest I don't mean this:

I mean regular swim suit coverage. No cap sleeves, no long shorts. We'll buy board shorts to match, and we have rash guards to cover up on top, but we want the option to tan. Board shorts and rash guards really are important in surfing. Especially if your spend more of your time struggling to stay on the board than on your feet. So we have those. But we want a cute suit for the beach and the pool.

Cute, but not scary. No high cut briefs. No cleavage. No bikinis. A tankini is okay, but we want full belly coverage.

This is proving to be more difficult than I had hoped. Even in the land of sun and surf.

We found some cute separates at Lands End, but the smallest they come is a 4-6. That's great for me, but not so good for Hannah. They have cute kids swimsuits, but we need a little support, you know? Also, when we decided to go ahead and order the small and just see how it fit, we found that they had already sold out of many of their small sizes. Bummer.

So we've gone to local swim shops, but low cut in front seems to be big this year. And little boy shorts are cute, but we need a little more height - we gots'ta be able to bend over!

My sister sent a link to Modbe. They have cute suits, but, I think a little more mom-ish than Hannah wants. In fact, I might order one for me, and a skirt. But, I have a feeling that I can only order if I join their little home-sales party club.

What's a mom to do?

We ordered this:
But I'm not sure. We are going to try two more stores this morning, and if we don't find anything we like better, than we'll keep it, but...

Do YOU have any ideas?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Book Talk

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck I read this as a teenager, and really enjoyed reading it again last week. There were several things in the book that I have been thinking about ever since.

#1 - O-lan's hard work. In the first days of their marriage, she cleaned the house from top to bottom, mended clothing and bedding (killing the bugs that lived there), and then joined her husband working in the fields. When she had her babies, she only stopped work just long enough to go inside, give birth alone, and clean up before heading back outside to work, then fixed a hot meal for dinner.

#2 The oldest son gets an attitude and Wang Lung, the father, doesn't know what to do with him. He never felt like that as a young man, so why is his son acting so rude? O-lan tells her husband that this kind of thing only happens to wealthy young men, and that most wealthy families would give the son a slave and the problems would go away. I think it is interesting that Buck attributes teenage angst with wealth and ease...

#3 The book that I read came with some discussion notes, and one of the questions was: Was Wang Lung happier before or after he became a wealthy man? I don't know. In the beginning of the book, he had to work so hard to just stay alive, and one bad season could result in the death of his family. But there was no peace in his home when he became a wealthy man. Having money lead to all sorts of trouble, not just the nicer home and lovely gardens. So, I don't know about Wang Lung, but O-lan was definitely happier before the money.

#4 I feel so removed from food production, that it just blows me away to think about growing each and every bite of food to sustain our family. I cannot comprehend how it could be done. How much land would it take? What are the bare necessities? I know that people still do this, but, I'm sad to say, it seems so hard and strange to me. And who grows all the wheat that is magically turned into the goldfish crackers and wheat thins that I buy at the store? And are we really the lucky ones?


Digging to America by Anne Tyler was a fun read about two families adopting babies from Korea. They become unlikely friends as the girls grow up. It was an interesting look at America through the eyes of recent immigrants.

So, what are you reading?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Super Duper

Girls, come on. Leave the saving of the world to the men? I don't think so. (Elastigirl)

No matter how many times you save the world, it always manages to get back in jeopardy again. Sometimes I just want it to stay saved! You know, for a little bit?(Mr. Incredible)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

We Love You, Grampie!

Happy 24th Birthday,
Big Guy!

Beware the Ides of March

Julius Ceasar was killed this day in 44 BC. Did anyone celebrate the Ides of March by wearing a Toga? or getting an Orange Julius? me either.

But, it has made me think a little about politics. And the more I think about the upcoming election, the more I realize I don't know very much. Not much about the possible candidates other than if they get on my nerves or not. Not much about issues. Not much about anything...

Now, I don't mind being a little bit naive, but I would like to be a bit more with it.

So how does one go about educating one's self politically? Do you have a favorite news source or political blog that you read? Do you discuss politics with your friends? Do you listen to Rush Limbyuck? Do you participate in marches or canvassing? burn your bra? chain yourself to the courthouse steps?

Really. I want to know more, but I don't know where to start. Please give me your best tips.

"The following story, too, is told by many. A certain seer warned Caesar to be on his guard against a great peril on the day of the month of March which the Romans call the Ides; and when the day had come and Caesar was on his way to the senate-house, he greeted the seer with a jest and said: "Well, the Ides of March are come," and the seer said to him softly: "Ay, they are come, but they are not gone."

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

This is Why I'm Hot

Happy Birthday, Laurie!

Laurie is the #1 McSister. As a kid, I remember her always trying to keep me in line. For a long time she told me I was soooooo annoying. She said it in such a sweet voice, and I just knew she loved me and thought I was great. It took me a long time to figure out what annoying really meant. Big meanie.

She and her husband have come to visit us in every place the Air Force has taken us. Once they even came for Thanksgiving while Nathan was deployed. That meant a lot to me. We're hoping they continue the tradition and come snorkel with us!

I love you Laurie!


Hannah had Young Women's last night (can I just say for the record, I love how the two, soon to be three, wards in our building do not have youth activities on the same night. It is nice to go to the church on Tuesdays and have the whole building to ourselves.) Anyway, Hannah had Young Women's and Nathan is out of town, so we all had to head down to the chapel. Since it's only an hour, and since there is nothing to do near the church, the 3 other kids and I just hung out in one of the classrooms and watched a movie with some other little kids.

We made paper airplanes and John and his friend Enoch dive bombed everyone and everything in sight. We made cootie catchers and Sydney told me my fortune (I will get a million dollars.) Then we found a rubberband, and we took turns shooting it across the room to see who could shoot it the farthest (me saying: be careful...don't hit'll shoot yer eye out...etc) After a while Emily started to get silly with the rubber band so I had to put it away.

Then I started playing with it. I stretched it way out. I made a rubber band gun with my finger, I twisted it around and around my thumb. There is something very satisfying about stretching out a rubber band...

Then, ZAP, the rubber band slipped and popped me on the lip.

It stung. It made my eyes water. I would have cried but there were child-sized witnesses. Right about then the youth finished up their activities, and all the adults came out into the foyer and started visiting, while I've got a white welt across my upper lip! I am so hot!

We heard this song on the way home, and really, it sums it all up for me:

This is why I'm hot
This is why I'm hot
This is why, this is why,
this is why I'm hot:

I'm hot
cuz I'm fly
You ain't
cuz U not.

This is why, this is why
this is why I'm hot.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Bird Call

This morning as I was walking to cool off from my early run, I could hear a distinctive bird song, "whir-a, whir-a, cheep, cheep, cheep, cheep". The bird was in a big tree near our home, I couldn't see it, but I could hear that it was just over my head. And the bird seemed to be counting. First the "whir-a, whir-a" and 6 cheeps, then the "whir-a, whir-a" and 8 cheeps, then 10, then 12, and even 14 cheeps. I kept walking and didn't hear if it kept going on and on, or if it took a break and started over again.

Counting by evens.

I thought that was kind of odd, so I decided to see if I could find the bird and it's song online. There are 3 different kinds of birds that I see in our yard, but I only know the name of one, the cardinal. So I googled and found a recording of a song that is very similar to the one I hear around our house, but that song is not exactly the same speed as my bird, and the whir-a is a little different than the bird I heard this morning. I kept searching and I read that: Cardinals learn their songs, and as a result the songs vary regionally.

Also, I read that: Cardinals have a distinctive alarm call, a short metallic 'chip' sound. In some cases they will also utter a series of chipping notes. It is often easy to locate Cardinals by their alarm call, since they will make it readily when humans walk nearby.

Sorry if I scared you, little guy!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Mormon Fun

This Sunday the Stake announced a special meeting for all members of the stake to discuss a change in ward boundries. For all you non LDS-ers, Mormon congregations are divided into "wards" with about 300 or so people who meet together on Sundays and for youth groups and all that stuff. Each ward has a Bishop who leads the ward and other leaders to guide the members. A ward has geographic boundries, so your ward is assigned to you based on where you live. You are discourged to go to a ward that isn't your own, or to choose your own bishop based on hurt feelings or friendships. A Stake is a group of wards, lead by a Stake President who provides leadership to Bishops and members in an area.

There was a bit of a buzz at church about what the change would be. So we went to the meeting last night, and the Stake President read a letter from President Hinckley giving the stake permission to re-align ward boundries. Our stake will now have one new ward, and the other wards in the stake gained or lost members to make room for the new ward.

The Stake President said that some wards had more than 600 members, and some wards had less than 300 members, but reguardless, all the wards have had about the same attendance on Sundays. This change will give each ward in the stake an average of 400 members, and will give more opportunities for leadership, and encourage wards to reach out to those who are not attending to come again to serve together.

Our family stays in our same ward, with our same Bishop. In our ward, we lost members, and no new neighborhoods were added into our boundries. A big chunck of housing on base that was in our ward is now in a different ward, and other members out in town were affected, too. We will be losing a counselor in the Bishopric, a counselor in the RS presidency, the YW president and one of her counselors, and more... It is kind of exciting and scary, too.

One thing we have loved about this ward, is that it hasn't seemed as stressed for members to serve. I have a feeling that will be changing, now. An LDS congregation does not have a paid ministry, so all activities and classes and support come from the members of the ward and the service that they give, so with fewer active members it will be tricky to make sure that all positions are filled and funtioning.

One thing that I think is good about the change, is that the new ward takes part of the military members from the base. Now the military members in our area are spread over 3 wards. Military members here need a lot of support with the heavy deployment cycle. Husbands are gone (often for a year at a time) and cannot serve in the ward, and wives at home with their children often have more needs than usual. Also, military members come and go quickly. We are willing to serve, but we won't be here forever, and that affects how the ward works, too.

Interesting stuff. I hope your Sunday was a little less eventful!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Not Quite

This morning, I was taking too long in my shower, and Emily came in to see if I was done yet. When I said, "Not quite," she asked, "What does quite mean?" I answered, "It means almost." And she said, "So, you mean you are Not Almost done?"

What does quite mean?

She was talking to me some more as I was getting ready for church and she told me that while I was taking my long shower she had played a game of checkers with her imaginary friend. Emily won!


I hope you remembered to Spring Forward today! It is always embarrassing to be an hour late for church, or early, (which one is it? I can't remember.) You are now an hour more ahead of us, as Hawaii does not observe Daylight Savings Time. (Arizona is the only other state that doesn't change, either.) Do other countries do daylight savings?

Friday, March 09, 2007

Mom My Ride

Mary - I thought you might need a little advice for taking care of your fancy new ride. I am here for you sista. Just watch this video. You'll know what to do.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

76 Trombones

Hannah plays the flute in her middle school band. This weekend 4 middle schools and 2 high schools got together for a battle of the bands. Hannah's group sounded great. One parent behind us said, "That band is cream of the crop."

One thing I love about the band, is that where ever you go, all band geeks (sorry hannah) tap their feet to the music! If you look close in that picture, you can see Hannah's little black ballet slipper in mid-tap.

The last minute scramble for a black skirt and clean white shirt brought back memories!


I went jogging today with Hannah's IPod. She's had her IPod for almost a year, and this is the first time I remembered to take it with me. Fun!

I've been suffering a little country music withdrawl, so I dialed up the Dixie Chicks on the playlist. I know we hate the Dixie Chicks and all that, but it was fun to be Ready to Run with Earl. I started listening to country when we lived in Texas - it was a requirement. But country music and Hawaii don't mix. The only country station here is on AM. I enjoy the island sound while driving around town, but the Dixie Chicks have a nice running beat.

I felt like that commercial - my legs were just running along like usual, but my shadow was dancing like the crazy dancer guy at my sister Sarah's wedding. I have a feeling I may have shouted HELLO a little too loud to the people that I passed on the sidewalk.

About halfway through my run I started to have ear-bud problems. It turns out that not only do I sweat so bad it looks like I'm wearing a bib by the time I get home, but my ears also sweat. Great. It was a bit annoying to have to continually push the earbuds back into by sweaty little ears. After a while I started to be able to hear my own heartbeat between songs. Is that normal?

Have a great day!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Surf News

THE place to get your wave report is at Surf News Network. You can find wave height information for every part of the island, and on the other Hawaiian Islands, too. You can also read about wind conditions, and wave conditions - mushy, smooth, or otherwise. Today you can see that the water is smooth at Waikiki beach, but perfect for beginning surfers up at Haleiwa with 2-3 foot waves, and a chance of rain in the afternoon.

Here is a map of home sweet home. I added in surfboards to show where we have attempted surfing, and yellow scuba tanks for where we have gone diving. If I was good at this computer stuff I would add in some links from the little surfboards to pictures of me not surfing at those various locations. I AM hoping to add this map to my sideboard and keep it updated with our adventures. Maybe a little hiking man for hikes, etc.

Find the little black home shape and you can see where we live. We are in the middle of the island. The North Shore is about 15 minutes from home, and Waikiki is about a half hour away to the south west. The Temple is about a 45 minute drive around the top of the island. We are up in elevation and it is a bit cooler and wetter here, with afternoon showers daily, lately. We are right in the agricultural part of the island with pinapple, sugarcane and coffee grown nearby, and rich red soil tracked into my kitchen on dirty little feet.

Can you believe we really live in such a cool place?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

One Year Older and Wiser, too!

G'morning sleepy head. How does it feel to be 9 years old?

Odd McSister birthday tradition - breaking though paper over your door. Fun!

Can you do it?

All in one breath?

Cool checkered cake! Thanks for the recipe, Anna! By the way, Sydney was a little disappointed that there were no red and black markers on the cake - when I said checkered cake, she thought I meant checkers!

Sydney's big birthday treat was a trip to Hanai Bear where she got to pick out her own teddy bear to stuff, then dress. So many adorable choices - cowboy or girl, astronaut, surfer dude, bumble bear, princesses, school girl, and more! Sydney named her new bear Malia, Hawaiian for Mary. Isn't she a cute little hula bear? Time for bed birthday girl!

Happy Birthday, to you!