Honolulu Zoo

DSC_0130aOne of our last ‘fill up two weeks off of school with fun’ fun days was to hit up the zoo. Of course when I suggested it you would have thought it was the meanest thing ever. They were turning into mole people in the days after Christmas, blinds closed, eyes glued to tv and video games. I finally dragged them out of the house and made it to the zoo all on my own, no gps needed. What a great feeling that is! Also bonus #2, I found a parking spot in the lot right next to the zoo. $1/hour parking, heck yes!

Let me go ahead and get my flower photos out of the way here. Can I just say that I love how well landscaped this zoo is? It is so beautiful and lush.

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First up, the Keiki Zoo, or petting zoo (keiki means kids/children in Hawaiian). One of my favorite parts is the koi tank that the kids can crawl through. The koi are huge and beautiful. The first time we came here Omar refused to go in so I am happy he actually decided to do it this time. Don’t my kids look like they like each other in that picture? False!

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It wasn’t too crowded which was great, we took our time and walked and walked and walked. One thing that drove us crazy was the lions! You could hear them calling from all over the park but we could never catch a glimpse. I know some new cubs were just born so maybe they were still inside but I wanted to get some pictures of mom or dad making all that noise!

We saw pretty much everyone else though. Thanks for cooperating zoo animals!

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The meerkats were cracking me up, they looked like three little old men on a park bench. And the baboon was mid-yawn, he just looks menacing but was in fact being very sweet, although look at those canines! Yikes! The lemurs and turtle were having a standoff which was quite amusing, they couldn’t get to their island and he was very contentedly sunbathing. And Ms. Rhino, well she was posing pretty!

And of course the awesome trees that are all over make for a perfect backdrop, I love the banyan trees!

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If you live here make sure you take a trip out to the zoo, they have military and kama’aina discounts! We paid $8/adult $4/kid. Not bad! Also you are allowed to bring in your own food and drinks so pack a picnic lunch and a blanket!

 

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Joint Spouses’ Conference 2012 Recap

Okay so this was awhile ago but I had such a great time and took SO many pictures I wanted to share it. Also I had forgotten my camera and had to drive home and get it so after doing all that these pictures MUST see the light of day!

The Joint Spouses’ Conference is a military spouse conference that is hosted each year by one of the branches. This year Navy had the privilege and the conference was held on Ford Island.

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We had the CO of Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam open up the conference, then a really cute little message from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Dempsey and his wife.

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I was actually second guessing my decision to go at the last minute, I was getting some major anxiety over the fact that I was going to know NO ONE! I found out the night before that one of my friends from football was going to be there so at least I had someone to eat with!

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We got great little welcome baskets and a tote bag full of more goodies. The entire conference was decorated SO well, I was very impressed! Those ladies did an awesome job!

There was a large list of workshops you could take: cooking, painting, photography, sailing, hula, lei making, business classes. You name it. I went with Lei Making, Beyond the Mai Tai, Hula and Chocolate.

First up Lei Making. I really enjoyed this and was amazed at how easy it is, just threading flowers. Tuber roses smell AMAZING! We also did a ti leaf lei which involved twisting ti leaves. It was not really complicated but my brain is old and tired! So I ended up with a ti leaf bracelet! This workshop was put on by the Hale Koa hotel which is a military hotel in downtown Waikiki. The women were great and VERY informative. Seriously I would love to take some Hawaiian studies classes!

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Sporting my new handmade lei of purple orchid and tuber rose!

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Next up was Beyond the Mai Tai, which was also hosted by the Hale Koa, but the bartenders this time. And yes it was still rather early in the day for drinking but what the heck. We had some delicious samples, got some great recipes and all got a little bit tipsy. Good times!

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Lunch was delicious! We had a ton of dessert and it was hilarious to see all of the photographers whip out their cameras to take pictures of the food. I know my husband rolls my eyes at me but it is so nice to be among like minded people!

 

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Our guest speaker was Mrs. Hawaii who happens to also be a Navy veteran and current military spouse. She was not your normal pageant queen but was really down to earth. She is doing some amazing work with childhood obesity and nutrition in Hawaii.

IMG_9907aWe also had some adorable little hula dancers but my camera was on a wonky setting and none of the pictures turned out.

After lunch it was time for Hula lessons! This was a class that was insanely out of my comfort zone. I don’t dance. Like, ever. Well maybe if I’ve had enough to drink but the mai tais had worn off by now! But this is something I really wanted to do and thankfully we had a great instructor, the same lady from the Hale Koa that taught me lei making! I don’t have any pictures because it’s pretty impossible to take photos and hula. But I had a GREAT time and actually remembered most of the steps!

Now, time for Chocolate making! This was fun basic intro to working with chocolate.

We had our ingredients laid out in front of us, ganache with some different flavorings like lavender, cocoa powder, cayenne, sea salt,  and nuts. I thought mine looked like the Hawaiian islands.

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And here I am with all of my finished truffles. And a chocolate dipped strawberry.

IMG_9919aI really liked the sea salt as well as the cayenne truffles. I accidentally gave Omar one of the cayenne ones when we got home. He was like ‘what is wrong with this, its burning my mouth!’ Sorry! My kids aren’t fans of ‘weird’ chocolates!

We wrapped up with some more food as well as a silent auction and a basket raffle and I was beat! I had a really great day and met some really nice women. Really my only complaint was that everyone had their iPhones in front of their face all day. We aren’t there to check FaceBook, we are there to meet people and have a good time. It was kind of annoying but whatever. I am really looking forward to going again next year, I think the Army will be hosting.

 

And here are just some random photos from the day:IMG_9874

 

 

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Blah

So.

I’m kinda sorta in a HUGE funk right now. And I can’t shake it.

I don’t want to do anything, housework, cooking, leaving my house, I just want to stay home in my cocoon and be pissed off.

So to ensure that I actually get out of the house as well as hopefully get me in a better frame of mind, I have been scheduling the shit out of myself. PTA, fundraisers, Humane Society, dog sitting, Family Readiness Group, training, lunches, playdates, coffee, football. Anything so that I am not sitting at home thinking about how much longer I am going to be alone.

This sucks.

This wasn’t in my plan for Hawaii. We were going to explore the island together. I had so many more spots that I wanted to go to as a family and as a couple. We never made it to a luau and I won’t go to one without him now because that is something I want to do together.

I haven’t snorkeled since he left. That was our thing, man. Something that he found out he totally loved to do and something we loved to do together.

I was chatting with him tonight and mentioned how much they had done and he said something along the lines of it hardly matters. Which I understand. I mean what we still have left is more than a normal deployment, we have MONTHS to go before we even have a normal deployment left!

And I am angry. And sad. I feel cheated out of my time with my husband. Time that we were supposed to have together as a family. Part of it is the lack of warning or warm up time, it was so, so sudden. Part of it is the shear LENGTH! I don’t know how Army and Navy IA do this crap for a year. Over and over again.

I am just looking toward this sea of months left and thinking about everything that he is going to miss, and then he’ll be home and we’ll have to re-integrate which always sucks because he’ll feel like so much has changed since he was gone. And it will have changed, we’ll be different, the house will be different. And it’ll take time for us to get to the new normal after being separated for so long. I don’t want to deal with all that! We were in such an awesome space together as a couple and a family before he left.

Anyways. That is my vent. It’s not a unique one I know but this deployment has been particularly sucktastic.

So, pray for peace in the Middle East and all that, I want my man home.

End rant.

So, yeah, this happened…

 

I finally went to the doctor today to get my finger looked at. It was the same finger that I had jammed in our last game and I kept telling myself that I just needed to give it time to heal. Well it just wasn’t feeling any better, it was still swollen and every time I tried to straighten it or hit it on something it still hurt like hell.

So off to get it checked, got some x-rays taken, doc tells me that it’s fractured for sure, there is a chip somewhere. So just great. I have never broken anything in my life, but I guess a finger isn’t a bad bone to break! So all was fine up until I got turned over to a corpsman to have it splinted. He made sure that finger got as straight as possible. I. Almost. Died. And I have a pretty high pain tolerance. So now I’m all wrapped up for a few weeks, hopefully my finger is normal after this.

I will say, I never realized how much you use your ring finger until every time I try to use it, it hurts! I can’t put my hair up, type, wash dishes, open jars! It’s terrible! My husband told me I should send his ship a red cross message so he can come home and help me! I can’t do anything, I am broken!

Living in Hawaii {4 Month Update}

We have officially hit four months of living in Hawaii.

And I am in love with this state.

Hawaii can be a difficult place to live. It is so very different than living on the mainland. It can be hard to not have every store and restaurant you are used to having around the corner. (No Olive Garden, Michael’s or Chik-fil-a!) Living here means that you are living far from family, at least a 5 hour plane ride away. It can be expensive, housing is expensive, food is expensive, we are on an island so you will pay more for everything. We are lucky to be able to shop at the commissary and exchange which offer a huge savings over shopping on the local economy.

But with all that it is still magical to live here. I will be driving and then all of a sudden see a gorgeous rainbow, a vibrant green volcanic range, or a stunning sunset over the beach.

We did come here with a bit of an advantage. After living in Spain for four years we learned to live without many of the American conveniences that people complain about not having here. Plus we’ve been living far from family. So when we moved from Rota to Pearl Harbor it was awesome for us! We had Target and Starbucks and T-mobile…

It is like most places for me, it depends on what you make of it. If you spend your time here complaining about how much you hate it, you’ll end up hating it.

We’ve had a great time getting out and exploring the island, learning about the culture and customs and eating!

Don’t get me wrong it’s far from perfect here, the DMV is a nightmare, the traffic is the worst, and the bugs are out of control. There are shady parts of the island, it sucks being 6 hours behind all my friends and family on the east coast (especially when your husband deploys!)

I have found some fun friends by stepping outside my comfort zone and playing football, volunteering with the PTA and getting together a FRG for the Paul Hamilton.

The only thing that would make it better would be if my husband were still here to explore the island with me!

Care Packages!

While I hate pretty much everything about deployment, the one thing I do enjoy is sending care packages to my husband.  It’s been years since I’ve had to do it (5? 6? I don’t remember!) So I’ve been having fun coming up with ideas of what to send as well as making the boxes themselves fun.

This was the first box I sent out. I LOVE these large size priority boxes from the post office. First off, you get a discount if you are sending these particular ones to an APO/FPO. Second a 12×12 sheet of scrapbook paper fits each side perfectly!  I decided to put some pictures on here, just printed them out on copy paper so I could glue them on. I was hoping it would give him a little boost to remember why he is doing this and what he has to look forward to when he comes home.

 

The next box I sent was my favorite and I forgot to take a dang picture of it! I am so mad at myself! I had it all decked out with a Navy theme, that one had the PS Vita he wanted as well as his iPad cover/stand he forgot to take. You’ll just have to picture it in your mind. It’s terrible but it was a good use for the Navy embellishments that I didn’t like and wasn’t going to use for actual scrapbooking but didn’t want to throw away. So don’t throw away your ugly stuff! Just use it on your husband, he doesn’t know the difference!

 

Okay, I normally try to split the box at least half and half between snacks/junk food and meal type food but this one went a little overboard on the junk food. What can I say? I am trying to eat less crap so when I see something tempting I just buy it and sent in off in a box. Seriously, those Pocky sticks were tough, I LOVE them!

 

 

And here is the latest box, just sent this one this weekend and I am a little mad at myself, didn’t realize how late it got in the month! I want this to get there before Halloween but it probably won’t.  This is my first ‘theme’ box.  I didn’t want to just sent a crap load of candy so I sent some other snacks in there too… The little jack o’ lantern tin was in the dollar section of Target, I put some of those single piece candies you see, pumpkin shaped snickers, rotten egg cadbury, etc. Also Target had the crinkle paper filler in lime green so that is in the bottom of the box. Oh and I found a stupid creepy mask at the exchange for a dollar so I threw that in too…

 

There are some things that I know I am going to put in (like the gel insoles, those steel decks are murder on feet!) febreeze to make his rack smell a little nicer and not like ship. Yes, ship. It is a VERY distinct odor. And haribo gummies, his favorite candy (which will hopefully bring back memories of the haribo candy store we couldn’t stay away from in Germany!)

But then a lot of times I just cruise the aisles of the grocery store or exchange and just see what crazy new stuff is out there.

But here is a list to help get started on packing those boxes:

Food – meals

Precooked rice packets

Cup o’ noodles

Microwave soup

Single serve mac & cheese

Tuna steaks

Tuna salad kit

Single serve oatmeal/cold cereal

 

Food – Snacks/Junk Food

Trail mix

hostess/little debbie stuff

Combos

Gum

Mints

Nachos

Pringles

Beef Jerky

Single serve cookie packs

Popcorn (I love the new bowl one)

Goldfish

Energy shots

Granola Bars/Clif Bars

Toiletries/hygiene

Insoles (I bought the ones made for work boots)

Travel size toothpaste, shaving cream, qtips, shampoo, medication (they take up less space and I replenish them as needed. If your husband has hair a full size shampoo may work better for you!

Foot powder/spray (wearing those dang boots)

Febreeze

hand sanitizer

sanitizing wipes

Etc.

Cards, letters, notes from the kids

Entertainment such as playing cards/dvd’s or handheld games

Magazines/books

I do tend to send lots of food, the galley food isn’t the best and I want him to be able to have something to snack on if he’s hungry. If there is ever something he doesn’t like he can just give it away to someone else.  I am going to try to do the cake in a jar, we’ll see if it works and if it is still edible when he gets it however many weeks later!