Thursday, May 31, 2007

It's Aloha Friday

Hula is a dance form accompanied by chant or song. It was developed in the Hawaiian Islands by the Polynesians who originally settled there. The hula is unique to the Hawaiian Islands

Every movement in hula has a specific meaning, and every expression of the dancer's hands has great significance. The movements of a dancer's body might represent certain plants, animals, and even war.

When Calvinist missionaries arrived in Hawaii from New England, Hula went underground due to the influence of missionaries' to ban the "lewd and lascivious" dance. But later in the century, King David Kalākaua enouraged a return to the tradtional arts, and formed his own troupe, encouraging the dancers to learn the old hula.

At the Hula Preservation Society, you can read about the history of hula, see historic photos, hear chants, and listen to interviews with some elderly Hawaiians who grew up in the early 1900's and share memories of their lives.

Today there are several hundred halau hula (hula schools) and less formal hula groups on all the Hawaiian Islands and even the mainland, teaching hula to thousands of students and keeping the old ways and traditional Hawaiian culture alive.

Recently our elementary school celebrated May Day with each grade performing a Hula.

My thoughts on Hula - you don't have to be a tiny ballerina to perform Hula - actually, having a little meat on your bones is a good thing! We have been to a couple of performances, and I'm impressed by how beautiful and elegant the older (and more traditionally built) women are. They really know how to move.

I'm supposed to get my hula on for Girls Camp. I just don't think I'm up for it. Help!

***Late Breaking News - Sydney will not BEE 2nd VP. But she doesn't seem too sad about it....


So, Hannah and I were driving home from the Ortho, listening to The Fray when we heard the song "Hundred."

We had a little arguement about what the words say. I'll write out what I thought, and what Hannah thought, and you can tell me which one you think is right:

Somewhere between Ocho and a Hundred

Somewhere between Unsure and a Hundred

I think Ocho is kind of clever, as in: How old are you? Oh, somewhere between Ocho and a Hundred!

But I couldn't pursuade Hannah, so we looked it up... What do you think? Me or Hannah? You can clickity click here to see which one of us was right.

Have you ever misheard a song Lyric? I do it all the time.

Nathan and I thought (well, maybe not Nathan, maybe he was just being nice to me. I'll have to ask him....) Simon and Garfunkel, in The Boxer, were talking about the WARS on 7th avenue. Nope!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


We had such a great time playing with little Katie!

She is just adorable!

I was impressed by how easy going she is. She visited gardens and beaches all over the island and was able to nap anywhere!

She also put up with a lot of helpful cousins!

We miss you Katie!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Bad Mom Award

Poor Sydney. We are on school election #2, and as you know, I was born to be a campaign manager. For Sydney we have focused on the BEE as her election slogan. We have made little bumble bee shaped sings with: Vote Sydney B. for 2nd V.P. We have made other signs with BEE SMART or BEE COOL vote Sydney B. for 2nd V.P.

Sydney is not very excited about this election. Apparently her teacher nominated her for it without first asking if it was something she really wanted to do. And what exactly is a 2nd V.P? But she has been a good sport about it, though last night as we were working on her speech, I asked her if we should say "I'm running for V.P." or "I want to BEE your V.P."? Her answer was: "Just choose the worst one, because I don't want to BEE it!"

So for her election speech we cut out 5 Bees and wrote Responsible, Fun, Trustworthy, Honest, and Hardworking on the bees, as a visual aid.

Her speech is this afternoon. I sent Sydney with her speech over to the teacher in charge to make sure that it was acceptable. When I checked on Sydney on my way out of school, she was crying.

It turns out visual aids are not allowed. Waaaa! This was not mentioned on the 3 page campaign guide. In fact, the guide specifically mentions that there should be "a "hook" to get the audience interested and focused on you"

So, I'm back home, typing up her little speech again. Now she will say, there are 5 things I will BE as your V.P. and hold up five fingers. #1 (holding up one finger, not the adorable bumble bee) I will be Responsible... etc. It will still BEE cute, but...

I hope she will bee okay!

ps - I also heard the mean lady tell one student that parents really aren't supposed to be at the election speeches, because it's just for the students. Hello! If my 9 year old is giving a speech to the entire student body, I am going to BEE there!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Happy Memorial Day!

Here is a little tidbit of McSister family history in honor of Memorial Day (I hope I have this right - though I'm sure one of my sisters will correct me if I'm wrong)

We live on Schofield Barracks, in Hawaii. A long long time ago... before WWII... before my grandpa met my grandmother... before my dad was born... my grandfather, Mark, was station here with the Army Air Corp. Right here on Schofield Barracks. There are some interesting old barracks on this base (some being remodeled, some still housing soldiers) built in the 1920's that I'm sure my grandfather must have lived in.

My memories of my Grandfather mostly consist of visiting their St. George Condo and playing "Oh When the Saints" on the electric keyboard. And my Grandpa turning down his hearing aids when we kids were toooooooo loud (often!) And a song about a Monkey and Diego? But I feel a weird kind of closeness to him here.

I wonder what the island was like when he lived here - was Wahiawa really the pineapple capital of the world? - was he stuck here in the middle of the island, or was he able to go to the beach and learn how to surf? or to the Temple? Did he look rather dapper in his brown uniform? What was his job here? Was he a drill instructor by then, or was he a young recruit? Did he ever see any Hula Dancers in grass skirts? How did a young man from Tooele, Utah end up in the Army in Hawaii?

One thing I do know about grandpa, is that he really wanted to be a pilot, but he was color blind. My sources say that you still cannot fly for the military if you are color blind. So, back in the day, the color blind test was somehow administered with yarn. Grandpa had figured out a way to cheat on the test, and therefore, enter the Army Air Corp and learn how to fly. But just before he was able to take the test, they changed it to the dot test that is still used today.

Grandpa never learned to fly, but he continued to serve in the Army. He was later stationed in Texas where he became a drill instructor, met my grandma, Ella Gant, and the rest is history!

Happy Memorial Day

(p.s. I would love to hear stories about life as a military wife during the forties. Grandma doesn't talk about that much, other than to say that she was always prepared to whip up extras of dinner for anyone my grandpa brought home with him. I imagine her in heels and pearls and a starched apron.)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Adventure Continues

Sunbathing ...

Splashing in the Surf...

Waterfalls ...

Flora ...

and Fauna

Jungle Hikes...
Yooohoooo, Jack, over here....

and Snorkling...

And this is how I'm feeling now...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Tiki Hut Tours

Your adventure includes:

Banyan Trees

Secluded Islands

Beautiful Beaches

The Polynesian Cultural Center

Maori Warriors

And Sunset on Sunset Beach

Call now to make your reservation.
(Thank you Laurie and Randy and baby Katie for letting Tiki Hut Tours use you in our advertisements)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Thursday 13

13 things I need to do before Saturday, when my Big Sister and her family arrive at the Tiki Hut

1. Fluff Hammock.

2. Pick up porta-crib, high chair, and baby-gate from my neighbor.

3. Install an AC unit in the kitchen window.

4. Scrub out the bathtubs.

5. Remove books from the bottom of the book case and bring down a few baby toys. Also, crawl around and look for other dangerous items and put them away - ie the box of photos and John's paper clip collection.

6. Put indoor plants upstairs so baby Katie won't eat them.

7. Go shopping for stuff like water bottles and snacks so I look like I'm cool like that.

8. Decide whether to have them sleep in our room downstairs or upstairs in the girls' rooms. I just don't know which is best. If they are downstairs, they will have more room to roam if Katie doesn't want to sleep, and a little more privacy, but if they are upstair, Katie could have her own room - and the PT won't wake them up in the morning. I don't know. I think we've discussed this before.

9. Show Emily and John how the flush works on the toilet.

10. Sweep off back lanai (patio) and set out the little lawn mower and dump trucks for Katie and John to enjoy.

11. Stock up on sunblock and bug spray.

12. Paint my nails and pluck my eyebrows and chin hairs.

13. Iron my grass skirt and pick up my coconut bikini from the dry cleaner.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


My husband's "real" job in the Air Force is flying in the B-1 bomber. The B-1b, affectionately called the Bone is a super-sonic bomber. It flies really fast, and has a powerful roar on take off - what a cool air plane!

Back in the Air Force, my husband's job is to drop the bombs. For the next couple years he is calling in those bombs from the ground with the Army. He is kind of like an exchange student - an Air Force ambassador of bomber goodwill to the Army.

The B-1 community is pretty small as there aren't very many of the planes. The B-1 is only located at two bases, so you always know someone who knows someone who you know...

As we were moving I was mourning the loss of close friends, and I didn't think I would really miss that B-1 "community" but I read an article today that brought all those green flightsuit memories back to me. I miss you B-ONE.

A friend, Jon, wrote that Day in the Life of article about a B-1 swap out. It looks like it is a series, so we will get to read more next week.

Jon, you're a great writer! You should start your own B-1 Blog!

Did you feel that?

at 12:47pm Hawaii Standard Time the Earth was thrown off its orbit when the last piece of my laundry was washed. and folded. and put away. It was a beautiful moment.




John just had an accident, so don't worry, everything's right in the world, again.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A flower for you on Mother's Day!

Aloha Brothers and Sisters
Happy Mother's Day!
Today I am excited to talk about my favorite topic - ME! I love Mother's Day - any opportunity to celebrate ME is a good thing! And because we are lucky enough to be able to talk to you today, I get to talk about my favorite job:

Being the Mom. I realize this leaves some of you out, but today I would like you to look deep inside and find your inner mother. I know you have heard her voice before "put down that cookie" or "be nice" or "close the door"

As a mother I have many jobs - you know the regulars:
clean up on aisle 5
taxi driver

But there are also more exciting Mom jobs that have taken me by surprise:
Mom the actress - while shopping with all 4 of my children at the mall last week - Why did I think going to the mall with all the kids would be a fun thing? I was not having fun and I felt like curling up into a ball and pulling out all my hair, but instead I put on my charming smile and sailed through a few stores without losing or abusing any of my children. It was an Oscar winning performance.

Mom the fun stopper - the fun stops here

Mom the Drill Sergeant - the voice that can command the attention of children everywhere

The Momintator - ready to rid the world of all evil and rescue her children from danger, even when it means embarrassment for the mom. I'll Be Back.

And Teacher Extraordinaire:

“Mothers, you are your children’s best teacher. … Teach your children the gospel in your own home, at your own fireside. This is the most effective teaching that your children will ever receive. This is the Lord’s way of teaching. The Church cannot teach like you can. The school cannot. The day-care center cannot. But you can, and the Lord will sustain you. Your children will remember your teachings forever, and when they are old, they will not depart from them. They will call you blessed—their truly angel mother”

“Take time to always be at the crossroads when your children are either coming or going … whether your children are six or sixteen. …

“… Take time to be a real friend to your children. …

“… Take time to read to your children. …

“… Take time to pray with your children. …

“… Take time to have a meaningful weekly home evening. … Make this one of your great family traditions. …

“… Take time to be together at mealtimes as often as possible. …

“… Take time daily to read the scriptures together as a family. …

“… Take time to do things together as a family. …

“… Take time to teach your children. Catch the teaching moments. …

“… Take the time to truly love your children. A mother’s unqualified love approaches Christlike love” (President Benson, To the Mothers in Zion, 1987).

Blah Blah Blah

Let every mother realize that she has no greater
blessing than the children who have come to her as a gift from the Almighty;
that she has no greater mission than to rear them in light and truth, in
understanding and love. …

I remind mothers everywhere of the sanctity of
your calling. No other can adequately take your place. No responsibility is
greater, no obligation more binding than that you rear in love and peace and
integrity those whom you have brought into the world. (Gordon B. Hinckley)

Happy Mother's Day, Mom! You are the best!

ps - I tried to get the kids to say stuff like "My mom is an awesome mom!" and "My mom can beat up your mom!" and "My mom is the most beautiful and wonderful mother in the whole world!" I'll let you know if they pull through for me.

Friday, May 11, 2007

It's Aloha Friday

It's Aloha Friday, and I hope you are ready to kick back and relax this weekend!

Aloha, in the Hawaiian language means, love, affection, peace, compassion, hello, goodbye, and more. Saying Aloha is more than saying hello - it also conveys a sense of love and welcome.

There is a lot of talk, in Hawaii, about having the spirit of Aloha. I think that is my favorite part of our time here in Hawaii - seeing and feeling that acceptance and love.

There seems to be a strong sense of family, here. Families are strong and big and close. My friend, Lia, from American Samoa says that there is no word for Uncle or Aunt or Cousin in Samoan because all family is as close and caring as your own parents. Lia has family visiting with her all the time and is often away on the other islands to visit and help out cousins and aunties. She says the aloha spirit can get a little out of control!

That spirit of Aloha makes me think of my own family and my 6 sisters. We are spread all over the US, but when we get together there is an overwhelming feeling of love and acceptance and teaching and learning and family. We should all live here in Hawaii! We could take over this place...

Extreme Aloha sums it all up:
Aloha is a very special word in Hawaii. To use it freely is acceptable, but to use it appropriately means that you know the special feeling behind the word; Aloha. It means that you see the mountains as drive down the freeway and still marvel at them after all these years. It means that you like the feeling of warm sand between your toes, and cool salty water against your legs. It means that you don't mind stopping to pick up a piece of trash as you walk on the beach or sidewalk. It means that you remember to smile at total strangers, just because. Most of all it means you think Hawaii is one of the best places in this world to live, and you're happy to share it with others.

Do you have the Aloha Spirit?

ps - this Sunday I get the chance to try out the "Aloha Brothers and Sisters" to the congregation for the first time. I am a wee bit scared - but I know they'll answer back with a friendly "Aloha" and I'll feel better.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Surf Club *updated

The mom's surf club meets today. We'll be meeting up in Haleiwa, at Ali'i beach, at 3pm, if you want to join us. The Surf Report says that the conditions are fair and that the waves will be a steady 1-2 feet. Just right for beginning surfers (or surf wannabes) like me.

I'm not asking for much here, just a chance to stand on the board. Just one swell that pushes me and the board toward shore. I don't need to be able to do this:

Or this:

I'll let you know how it goes.

Planning to visit soon? Try brushing up on your surfing skillz here.

*Here it is, my Surf Report:

The good news: I am proud to announce that I stood on the board, with both feet...but only for like a half a second before I rolled into the water.

The bad news: I only got up that once. After that I paddled like crazy and felt the waves pushing, but I didn't get on my feet.

I was having fun, until some dad started giving me tips. At first I thought that was nice. Then it started to annoy me. And when I got out of the water and found the same dad sitting on the beach near us, ready to offer a few more handy tips, I started to feel a bit grouchy.

I gave him the stink eye and sat out until he and his family finally left. The more I think about it (and I'm thinkin' about it plenty) the more I think he was really just trying to be helpful - he's probably a real nice guy and a great dad.

And probably it's my pride that's a little hurt. All right? I'll be the first to admit that I don't know what I'm doing. Okay? I'm not ashamed to tell you that my arms are sore from all that paddling. Got it? So stop watching me, it's starting to creep me out.

I can't wait to get out there and try again!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Vote Vote Vote for Hannah

I am in mom heaven. How I love election time. And I don't mean the Republican Primaries.

It takes me back to 6th grade... to balancing on a bar-stool, cutting out hundreds of little the smell of a Sharpie Pen and rubber
Get in Stride, Vote McBride

My mom was the queen of all grade school elections in the era before dot matrix printers and personal label makers. As our #1 campaign manager she came up with clever sayings, great handouts, and memorable one-liners. My sisters and I all ran for student body officer at one time or another. We didn't win very often, but we always ran in style.

And now it's my turn. I have been waiting for this moment for so. many. years. Oh, the years of teacher nominated student council. The anguish. The disappointment of lost opportunity. But no longer. Finally it is MY, er, Hannah's turn!

Hannah is running for Middle School Vice President. I could not talk her into wearing a sweatsuit (complete with sweat bands) and running on stage for her speech, and plus, Barrett doesn't rhyme with Stride. So we are going with the classic "chews" Hannah B. for V.P.

Who doesn't love a stick of gum with a message? (besides the janitor)

I'm trying to talk her into blowing a big bubble at the end of her speech. She thinks it's tacky. I think it will really tie it all together. And whose election is this, anyway?

Hannah is a lady and she knows how to vote so we don't need Pedro any more.

Yo! chewz me for V.P.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Mom-inator

Not only is next Sunday, Mother's Day, it is also the week that our family gets to speak in church. Waaaaa!

Speaking in church seems to be a way to be welcomed into a ward. It gives us a chance to introduce our family, and it gives our ward the chance to see just how cuh-razy we are.

We weren't given a specific topic to discuss, but since it's Mother's Day...

What would you like to hear on Mother's Day? Stories about how perfect and wonderful I am as a mother? Stories from the scriptures about other perfect mothers? Ways to become a better mother? People who have helped me on my journey of motherhood? Ways in which I am failing to be a good mom? A plee for help? Stories about bad mom behavior at the grocery store and library? That sad poem about which child loves mom the most? Jokes about moms? Skip the whole mom topic and discuss Baptism?

I know some women get all wierd about Mother's Day, but I'm fine with it. I don't want to hurt any feelings or leave any non-mom's out, though. Have you ever had to speak at church on Mother's Day? Do you have any tips for me - good talks you've heard, or embarrassing things to avoid? Should I use Annie's list of mom-jobs? What? Help me out here.

I'll be back...

Friday, May 04, 2007

It's Aloha Friday

As we were getting ready to move to Hawaii, I was a little confused about all the islands - how many are there, which is which, is Hawaii a state or an island, etc.

I'm still a little fuzzy on just how many islands there are, so I thought I would educate myself a little more about this amazing state on today's Aloha Friday.

The state of Hawaii consists of eight main islands: Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe and the Big Island of Hawaii. (and though I was happy to find this little tidbit of information, my map does not show which islands is Niihau, or Kahoolawe. But I'm here here to help. Do you see that little island next to Kauai? - that is Niihau. And that little island between Maui and Kauai is the island of Kahoolawe.)

Hawaii is the most isolated population center on the face of the earth. Hawaii is 2,390 miles from California; 3,850 miles from Japan; 4,900 miles from China; and 5,280 miles from the Philippines.

The Hawaiian Islands are the projecting tops of the biggest mountain range in the world.

Hawaii was the 50th state admitted to the union on August 20th, 1959.

The wind generally blows east to west in Hawaii. The highest recorded temperature is 96' F (Honolulu Airport), but temperatures over 92' F generally occur only once or twice a year. The lowest temperature (under 3000 feet altitude) is 56' F. Temperatures under 60' F may occur but rarely more than once a year. Average daytime temp. (July) is 82' F. Average daytime temperature in January is 72' F. This is why we do not have air conditioning. I will say that there are a couple hours in the afternoon that are just a little warm.

There are no racial or ethnic majorities in Hawaii. Everyone is a minority. Caucasians (Haoles) constitute about 34%; Japanese-American about 32%; Filipino-American about 16% and Chinese-American about 5%. It is very difficult to determine racial identification as most of the population has some mixture of ethnicities.

The island of Oahu draws more visitors than any other to Hawaii. One-third of the state's best surfing beaches are on Oahu.

The Big Island is Hawaii's largest at 4,038 square miles. It is twice the size of all other Hawaiian Islands combined.

Kilauea Iki, found on the Big Island, is the world's most active and largest volcano.

Kalaaupapa, on the island of Molokai, was once a leper colony administered by Father Damien.

The island of Lanai is considered Hawaii's most secluded. Lanai's Hulope Bay is a marine preserve and considered one of the best diving spots in the world.

Wendy's Tiki Hut, can be found on the island of Oahu - just a short drive from some of the worlds most beautiful beaches.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

I have a feeling

it's either good sleepin' or good bloggin'. Not both.


So you just get a To Do list today, and even my to do list is boring:

Fix hair

Water the lawn



Return movies to the library

Find Wahiawa Post Office

Find out what I signed up to take to Enrichment Meeting tonight

Take a nap

Pick up kids

Homework rodeo

Fix Dinner? Left over lasagna?

Go to church

Watch a Lost episode from a couple weeks ago

What are you up to today?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

It's not chocolate

Here's a little story as told by Sydney.

Yesterday I went to use the 3rd graders' bathroom and there was a Kindergartener going poop in the middle of the room. Ew! Right on the floor.

So I went and told my teacher.

My friends and I have noticed some stuff in the middle of the bathroom before, but we never knew who did it. Now we know.

Jobs I'm glad I've never had: elementary school janitor.

*update: Sydney says there was another poop incident today. It was so bad that the office had to get on the loud speaker and tell all the 3rd grade girls not to use that bathroom. double ew!