A Long Overdue Update

Well, it's been over a month since I posted. It turns out that the longer you wait to post again, the easier it is to find reasons not to. So, I think the easiest way to go is just person by person.

Island Boy: Turned three at the end of March. Three is looking to be more trying for all of us than two was. He has discovered independence, and so we have hit the age of "NO! I WANT TO DO IT!!!" And it's usually at that volume. I am working on my level of patience, which is low when we're trying to get out the door, and he decides that he wants to do the chest clip on his car seat, but takes 5 minutes to do it. At the same time, a large part of me is so proud of him for learning how to do these things. Speaking of things I'm proud of, we're finally on the road to potty training!! He goes most of the day in the same diaper that only gets slightly moist at most these days. I'm just waiting on him to be ready for big boy underwear. Pooping in the potty has been made fairly easy by the fact that he mostly goes once a day at the same time daily.

Island Girl: Is walking more than crawling now. She still walks like a drunken sailor, which is so sweet to watch. She's fearless as ever, though, climbing anything that strikes her fancy. Today I caught her trying to climb up onto our child-sized table from one of the chairs, which was about 2 feet away from the table. Later this evening, she figured out how to climb up both sides of our toddler slide, and how to crawl down the slide side. She is talking more and more now, too. She says "Mama," "Dada," "Hiiii!," and "Dat." She can also nod her head for yes and shake her head for no.

Island Dad: Is busy as ever at work!

Island Mom: I'm busy trying to keep up with the kids. Some days are more trying than others. Those are usually the days I feel like our house has been run through by a tornado or ten. Some days the tornadoes win, but darned if they aren't sweet, adorable little torandoes! ;)


Island Girl

My Dear, Sweet, Active, Wonderful Daughter:

One year ago today, I first held you in my arms and looked at your chubby, pink face. And rubbed your oh! so soft baby hair (most of which fell out and has now been replaced). You were not a teeny tiny baby. You came out looking more like a two-month-old. And I LOVED it. Big babies are awesome. Never forget that.

Very shortly after we brought you home, at less than three weeks old, you started smiling at us. Willingly. Although you have always been a decent sleeper, that smile made those few times you would wake me up at night so much easier! It still does. Only now, your smile has so much more emotion behind it than it did when you were not even a month old.

Shortly after you began to smile at us, you also began to laugh at us, and with fairly little effort on our part. You still laugh easily, and I hope you never, EVER lose that. You especially love laughing with your brother, and he loves to make you laugh. I hope both of you hang onto that!

You did not mind tummy time, because it meant you could watch your brother buzz around the room more easily. You still think he is absolutely the coolest thing in the world, and now that you can play with him and take his toys, you relish doing both! He has always loved you, but now he genuinely likes to be around you and to play with you, too. And he's getting used to having his toys and food snatched. Most of the time.

You are nothing, if not determined. Island Dad worried, the other day, that you are impulsive. I disagreed quickly. You are completely the opposite. Every thing you do, ever move you make, is completely calculated to further you towards your goal, whatever it may be. I really hope you never lose that (though, please, don't be ruthless!) Determination like yours will get you very, very far in life. It will get you wherever you want to go, really.

You LOVE to eat. There is very little that you won't touch. Although, you prefer meat over almost everything, and almost anything over carbs. Clearly, you did not get my appetite. You got Island Dad's!

You also love "babies." You got two for your birthday today. You love to hug them, kiss them, and then hold them back and giggle and giggle and giggle at their faces. It is so much fun to watch you take delight in something, because your laughter is infectious, and it only makes me want to make you laugh even more!

You are so, SO very close to walking. You stand up completely on your own, with nothing to hold onto. Or you hold on to something, stand up, and let go. And I can see the wheels turning in your head, trying to figure out how to take that step. But you get frustrated and crawl instead. I know you'll get it eventually. You always do!

You are nearly done nursing. Twice a day is all, most days now. I can tell you're ready, so it's more than fine with me. But please, Island Girl? Don't stop cuddling with me!!

Happy Birthday, to my dear, sweet, no-longer-a-baby girl. I love you so, SO very much!


Not What I Imagined, Part 1

I did not grow up in a military family. I did not grow up anywhere near a military installation, and so military culture was (and often still is, though less and less) very foreign to me.

I grew up in a family where the mommy and daddy both went to work every day. Because my parents were both teachers (now both retired), education was always top priority for my brother and I, and it was never questioned that we'd go to college. It was also almost never questioned that I, too, would be a mom who worked outside the home. And there certainly is nothing wrong with that. I hope to one day be back in the work force in some capacity.

Island Dad and I met the summer immediately after we had graduated college and right before we both went off to our respective graduate schools. He was not yet active duty at the time, but I believe the possibility of his joining the military came up even in our very first conversation. Now, given that we met at a summer camp and I was pretty sure it was just going to be a six-to-nine week "summer fling," I thought to myself "Cool, but not for me." Oh, how very very naive of me!

As it turns out, the fates had something different in mind for my life than what I'd always imagined. I mean, I was going to GRAD SCHOOL. I was on my way to save the world as a Social Worker (again, naive)!

By the end of my intended six weeks at camp that summer, I couldn't leave Island Dad so easily. So I stayed on for the remaining three week session of camp. Turns out, we couldn't give each other up at all. So we did a long distance relationship.

About six weeks into our first semesters, he came to Ohio to visit me. About five weeks later, just before Thanksgiving, I went to DC to visit him. Over Christmas break, we each met the other's family. The topic of "the future" had never come up with regards to our relationship until this point. One night, after Island Dad had made an off-hand comment about not letting the grass grow under his feet, I had had enough. I NEEDED to know where it was going, because I very much wanted to get married and have kids, but if he wasn't looking for the same thing, I was not about to waste my time (much as I did NOT want to end it with him!) So I asked him point blank. Given that we've been happily married for five years and now have two kids, you can pretty much guess that we did not break up as a result of his not seeing a future for us, lol.


Valentines and Muffin Tins!

Happy Valentine's Day!

I had a great day with my two little Valentines, and of course with my big Valentine, as well :)

Island Boy has been getting really into holidays lately, so he was ALL about Valentines day this year! He loved all the hearts, red and pink, and expressions of love. He also thoroughly enjoyed receiving several cards in the mail from relatives, and also a gift from us.

We had our Valentine's Day muffin tin meal on Friday, and today we had pink, heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast.

Top Row, L-R: Strawberries, plain yogurt with Valentine sprinkles, strawberries
Bottom Row: Three mango slices cut into heart shapes
Because it was a breakfast muffin tin this week, I went fairly simple. It was still a smashing success, as not a single morsel of anything was left (of course, Island Boy adores fruit as well as dairy products of all sorts, and if you add sprinkles, he's in heaven).

And, just to show them, here are our pancakes from this morning. It was a really basic recipe with some red/pink food coloring gel mixed in. And we had strawberry syrup, too. Both kids gobbled them up!



Today, my "valentine" is relaxation.

After a rough day yesterday, and having been feeling a bit "blah" with our normal routine lately, I changed things up today. We ate breakfast as usual (although Island Boy did have a muffin tin breakfast, which is out of the norm for us....more on that Monday, though). But then I decided to take the kids to one of my favorite places, Infusion Coffee & Tea. Island Boy gets to have a smoothie when we go there, so he did not complain one bit. He happily sipped his strawberry/blueberry drink, Island Girl drank/played with her water, and I enjoyed my blended mocha frap, all while enjoying being out of the house and at a pace that was in no way frenetic. To be honest? It was wonderful!

Then we went to the mall. Normally, malls aren't relaxing. But our mall has MIMO (apparently otherwise known as Pelota Pagoda). Both of my children would happily sit and watch this sculpture for hours on end if I let them. Even though I won't let them stay all day, it does easily kill half an hour, watching the balls go, trying to piece together how it all works (and, I'll admit, I watch raptly, too). We also did some window shopping and got lunch at the awesome food court (no sarcasm here, promise). And then it was nap time!

I came away from our adventures today feeling rejuvenated. Exactly what I needed at the end of a patience-trying week.


Crock Pot

I know I skipped yesterday, but I'm sharing one "valentine" for both days.

I adore my crock pot/slow cooker. I really don't use it often enough (like, oh, every day)! I love that I can basically take an afternoon off if I just put in a tiny bit of extra effort in the mornings. And the ease of both prep and clean-up is wonderful when you have two active young children in the house. I'm sure I'm mostly preaching to the choir, though.

Here are the recipes I used  last night and today. Both came from Taste of Home magazine.

White Chili
3 Cans (15.5 oz each) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
3 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
1 jar (15 oz.) Alfredo sauce
2 cups chicken broth
1 to 2 cans (4 oz. each) chopped green chilies
1.5 cups frozen gold and white corn
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded pepper Jack cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 small sweet yellow pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1.5 tsp. white pepper (I used regular black pepper)
1 to 1.5 tsp. cayenne pepper
Salsa verde and chopped fresh cilantro, optional.

In a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker, combine the first 15 ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours until heated through, stirring once. Serve with salsa verde and cilantro if desired.

Slow Cooker Tamale Pie

1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with mild green chilies, undrained
1 can (11 oz.) whole kernel corn, drained
1 can (10 oz.) enchilada sauce (I use green, because I prefer the taste, but red would work nicely, too).
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 pkg. (8.5 oz) corn bread/muffin mix
2 eggs
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
Sour cream and additional minced fresh cilantro optional

In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the cumin, salt, chili powder and pepper. Transfer to a 4-qt. slow cooker; stir in the beans, tomatoes, corn, enchilada sauce, onions and cilantro. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until heated through.

In a small bowl, combine muffin mix and eggs; spoon over meat mixture. Cover and cook 1 hour longer or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Sprinkle with cheese; cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve with sour cream and additional cilantro if desired.


Muffin Tin Monday

Today, my "valentine" is Muffin Tin Monday. Mostly, because today is Monday. And because Island Boy does adore his muffin tin lunches!

There is no theme this week, but we had a good time doing some Valentine-y things (though expect far more Valentines next week, and lots of red!)

Here's our lunch:
Top Row, L-R: Frozen blueberries, plain yogurt, chocolate chips
Bottom Row, L-R: Heart-shaped bread with apple butter, frozen blueberries,
open-faced heart-shaped turkey and cheese sandwiches.
Either I really hit on something this week, or he was starving at lunch time, but Island Boy ate every. Last. Bite. There wasn't a crumb of anything left in that muffin tin! I knew for sure the blueberries (which he actually dipped in the yogurt, much to my surprise) would be a hit, as he loves berries of any sort. He actually seems to enjoy them even more when they're frozen. I was also fairly certain he'd like the chocolate chips, as well as the apple butter bread. The plain yogurt and the sandwiches were more of a gamble on my part, but he ate it all, with no problems and no prodding!



Tonight, my "valentine" is food. Yes, there are the obvious reasons to love food. Nourishment, sustainment, etc. But this love is more about the emotional bonds we, as an Island Family, have with food. Now, I highly doubt that I will EVER have a love affair with food like Island Dad does. For those of you who don't know him, let's just say, it's truly a testament to good metabolism (and the military's physical fitness requirements) that he's not considerably heavier than he is. The man loves. To. Eat.

For me, I'm only just discovering how much I truly love food. As I am now feeding three people besides myself, I'm constantly challenging myself to make new, amazing things that are also healthy (although, I'm also a big fan of moderation, so I did have ice cream for dessert tonight. Full fat).

Tonight, Island Boy, who has maybe eaten a green leafy vegetable once in his life, actually ate Spinach Malfatti (like gnocchi, but no potatoes). Home made, no less. And he LIKED it! Island Girl hasn't yet developed preconceived notions about foods, so she's not picky at all, but she also thoroughly enjoyed her malfatti. I was quite pleased with myself on that one!

My own diet also needs more vegetables. The more I learn about cooking them,though,  the more I'm finding that I really enjoy them (I still prefer them raw, which is better, but harder to get the kids to eat). I'm even finding myself wanting to try new vegetables like artichokes. We'll see how that one goes over with the rest of the family.



Today, my "valentine" is laughter. Laughter is so, SO important in getting through days with small children and, indeed, in getting through life in general. It definitely makes everything more fun!

At lunch this afternoon, as Island Boy was trying to get down from his chair, he accidentally tipped the chair over backwards in an attempt to push away from the table. He was scared, but just fine. Thankfully, his fall had been somewhat broken when the chair hit a very kind airman's leg (the airman wasn't hurt, and was more worried about Island Boy). I picked Island Boy up as he started sobbing. I hushed him, and then, slowly, as he calmed down, the sobs turned to chuckles of "that was so silly!" At not quite three, somehow, this child has already learned the amazing ability to laugh at himself (when he's truly ok, obviously, it would have been  a different situation had he been injured).

It's something I'm still working on, not taking myself too seriously. Realizing, though, that the Island Kids are both learning such things by watching me is ever so important! Watching Island Boy laugh at his own accident/mistake helped me out not even an hour later when I had a moment (the details of which I will not get into) that left me wondering "How in the heck did I manage that?" Only to be chuckling at myself once I had figured out that everything would be just fine.

And, of course, there are very very few things that Island Girl's laughter can't make better, even though she's not embarrassed by anything (yet). Something about hearing babies giggle just makes me want to join in!



My "valentine" for today is creativity, both my kids's and my own. Due to a flat tire (and an almost equally flat spare tire) on our van, the Island Kids and I have been stuck at home today. Adding insult to injury, it rained almost all morning. It did clear off after Island Girl's nap, so we could go out and take a walk. But this still left me with significant amounts of time to fill, when normally we would be out of the house, doing something fun.

First, I introduced my kids to Here We Go, Steelers, and we danced around a while. Then Island Girl was ready for her nap, so Island Boy and I broke out the paints. He had a GREAT time!!

SO pleased with himself!

Hard at work. Who could possibly resist that face?

Modeling his apron and paint brush.

Island Girl wanted to get in on the action with a crayon. Then she tried to eat it.
Obviously, Island Girl woke up sometime in there. As you can see, she thought she was feeling creative, as well....until the mean ol' Island Mom took it away after Island Girl put the crayon in her mouth and bit it!

After painting, we had a nice walk outside, and then I got to get creative with a Muffin Tin lunch, more of which will appear on Monday :-D



For the month of November (and Thanksgiving), many people choose one thing, each day, that they are thankful for. For February (and Valentine's Day), I am challenging myself to pick something that I love each day. In addition to expressing gratitude, it will hopefully help me on days when I'm feeling less than loving (or lovable).

As we are already three days in, I'll start with three today.
1) The Island Family. Of course I adore my family. Island Dad complements my personality in ways I never imagined possible. He calms me when I'm worried, and, more importantly, puts up with me when I'm worried. He keeps me going when I think the Island Kids might have me being carted off to the mental health ward any minute. He has brought adventure into my life. He convinced me to go sky-diving with him when we'd been dating a little over a year. Since then, I've moved to "The Island" with him (talk about adventure!), embarked on the journeys that are married life and parenthood with him, and taken up SCUBA diving so we could have further adventures together.
Island Boy, being "two....almost three!" is constantly making me take a second look at things, both good and bad. His language and the things that he comes up with have me in stitches a lot of the time, even when he's supposed to be in trouble. I mean, how can I not turn my head and stifle a laugh when I start to "count" him and he looks at me and says, seriously, "Don't worry about it Mommy." Of course he still gets sent to time out, and I rarely let him see me laugh about it, but it is really funny.
Island Girl. Dear, sweet, Island Girl. I already am envious of just how fearless she is. She is so driven to get her way that she is inhibited only by the fact that her body is still developing. This drive will serve her well in life, I know. I also know that it may cause more than a few gray hairs for Island Dad and me.

2) Our amazing extended families. Many people stationed on The Island do not have families who are willing to come visit here. It's a long flight, and a very expensive one. We are lucky enough to have my mom (Island Nanny) who has come to visit TWICE in the nearly eight months we've been here, my dad (Island Grandpa), who hates flying but loves his family enough to want to come visit anyway, and Island Dad's parents (Island Opa and Island Opa's wife, Island Dad's step-mom). Island Opa's wife doesn't love flying, either, but also was willing to make the trip out here. I can only hope we have adequately expressed to all of them how much we don't take their coming here lightly or for granted, and how much we love them.

3) The Island. It's not always easy or fun to live on a tiny island, distant from anything familiar. But as I watch those back on "The Mainland" dealing with the blizzards this winter, I'm increasingly grateful that our "weird weather" for this winter was rain outside of rainy season. Rain boots trump snow boots any day.


The Return of Muffin Tin Meals!

We have been really, REALLY busy with family in town these past few weeks. We have been sightseeing all around the Island (more on that later this week), and enjoying some relaxation time with other adults around to play with (and spoil) the Island Kids.

That said, this week's Muffin Tin Meal theme is "favorite foods." Normally, macaroni and cheese would have been first on the list, but the kids had that last night, as Island Dad and I were out for a date.

Top Row: Apple circles with cinnamon, grilled cheese sandwiches in the shape of a "J" and stars, chocolate pudding with star-shaped sprinkles.
Bottom Row: Grilled cheese, "Number 4" egg (hard-boiled), raisins

The name of the egg: We were visiting friends last winter when Island Boy was about 23 months old and just starting to recognize numbers, but not yet letters. These friends had a stash of hard-boiled eggs stored in their refrigerator for breakfasts. The hard-boiled eggs were marked, of course, with an "H" on the shell. Island Boy mistook the "H" for a number 4, and has thus been referring to them as "number 4 eggs" ever since. We haven't really bothered to correct him....

At any rate, he ate about half of everything, going (surprisingly) for the apple slices over the pudding as his first item. He liked it all, just was not in an eating-type mood today. The adults in the house have all been passing around a cold, and I suspect Island Boy may be dealing with the cold, as well. Looking forward to getting back into the swing of Muffin Tin Mondays again!


Fuzzy Paradise Bed & Breakfast

I mean what I'm about to say in the most polite, kindest way possible (and I truly am happy to have had my parents and then my in-laws come to visit): lately, I feel as though I'm running a Bed & Breakfast! First, my parents were here for 17 days (9 of which, my brother was also here for). They left on Monday morning (early). The housekeeper came later Monday morning and did the "big" clean (I do little cleans here and there, but it's so, so nice to have someone else do the bathrooms and floors!) Island Dad's parents arrived on Tuesday night (late). Just about 36-hour turn-over, lol.

We had a great visit with my parents and brother, and, if the rain ever lets up, the visit with Island Dad's parents should be just as great! The Island Kids are both eating up all of the attention (you know, the kind that only grandparents can give) and spoiling.

I observed the other day that Island Dad and I have both picked up different things that we've kind of become good at "tour guiding." For instance, he knows a lot of facts and figures about size of the island, population of the island, and military history of the island. I can now give a pretty good tour of the WWII sites on the island (though he knows the sites on the Naval Base a bit better than I do). I also know more about the area around the Basilica in Agana than he does, while he knows more about the southern end of the Island than I do.

Living in such a remote location, we are fortunate to even have family members who are both willing and able to visit us. We are even more fortunate that there are plenty of things to do here to keep visitors occupied, and that we enjoy finding new things to try all the time. As it turns out, being forced to act as someone else's tour guide can turn you into a pretty good tour guide quite quickly.


Going Healthier

I have two main food-related goals for the year:
1) Get all of us eating more fruits and veggies (not such a problem for Island Girl who will literally eat anything, but a HUGE problem for the rest of the Island Family).

2) Incorporate one meat-less meal a week. This should help in the eating more fruits and veggies category. Island Dad will just have to suck it up and deal with it. He'll thank me in the end, right?

So, tonight was my first go at the meat-less meal (not vegan, mind you, just no meat).

From Taste of Home Magazine, we tried out Black Bean Cakes with Mole Salsa.

1 can (15 oz. Black Beans), rinsed and drained
1 egg, beaten
1 cup shredded zucchini (1 small zucchini)
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. ground cumin

Salsa Ingredients
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
3 Tbsp. grated chocolate
1 green onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1 to 2 tsp. minced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1 tsp. honey.

In a small bowl, mash beans. Add the egg, zucchini, bread crumbs, cheese, chili powder, salt, baking powder and cumin; mix well. Shape into six patties; brush both sides with oil. Place on a baking sheet.

Broil 3-4 inches from the heat for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until a thermometer reads 160*.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine all salsa ingredients. Serve with black bean cakes.

My modifications: 

I inadvertently left out the baking powder and cumin. Would not have known a difference at all, though they were likely more dense without the baking powder. Even without the cumin, these were still VERY flavorful, especially when eaten with the salsa.

In the salsa, I left out the chipotle peppers (I have not been able to eat them at all since I was pregnant with Island Boy 3 years ago). I also left out the cilantro, mostly because I can't ever use it all up when I buy it, and also because Island Nanny doesn't care for cilantro. The salsa was still plenty amazing without either one, and Island Boy even managed to eat a few bites of "chocolate tomatoes" and "chocolate peppers". And this is a child who NEVER eats raw vegetables (I "forgot" to tell him that there was zucchini in the "cakes"....oops!)

Now, I did also over-buy on the zucchini. So, I made Zucchini Sweet Potato bread!
I based my recipe off of the zucchini bread recipe from the Joy of Cooking (Rombauer, Becker, & Becker, 2006, p. 628).

Zucchini Sweet Potato Bread
1.25 all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup mashed sweet potatoes
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups grated zucchini  (squeezed of excess moisture)

Preheat oven to 350*. Combine first four ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, eggs, sweet potatoes, vanilla, and salt. Blend well. Stir in the dry ingredients. Stir in zucchini with a few swift strokes.

Pour into a greased 9 in. x 5 in. loaf pan. Bake 45 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pan before removing to cooling rack to cool completely.

With the addition of sweet potatoes, this turned out amazingly moist, and so, so yummy!


10 Months!

As of today, Island Girl is now 10 months old.

At lunch a few days ago. Handling the straw like a semi-pro.

She has changed so very much in the last 10 months. At birth, she was 9 lbs. 5.5 oz., and 20.34 inches. Now, she is pushing 20 lbs. and 28 inches She has a well baby check tomorrow, so we'll get an official weight and length then. 

She's been hitting milestones one after the other lately. She pulls herself up to standing very consistently now (she's been doing this for a few weeks), and is starting to cruise along whatever surface she is holding onto at the time.

She still army crawls, except for when she is going a short distance between two things she wants to stand up on. Then she crawls on all fours. And when she army crawls, we refer to her as [Island Girl] The Alligator. She's so fast with the army crawl that she does, in fact, resemble a reptile.

She's starting to pick up words, too. She can say something that sounds (to us) like Island Boy's name while looking at her brother, something that resembles "bye-bye" while waving, and something that sounds like "stinky" while waving her hand in front of her nose. Oh! And she can play the "so big" game like she's been doing it her whole life. And she applauds herself when she's done it right, haha.

It's so hard to believe that a year ago I was feeling hugely pregnant, though still had 2 months to go. Harder still to believe is that a year ago, we had no idea who this little person we were waiting to meet would turn out to be. She fits so totally perfectly in with our family, and is, in some way, a perfect balance for each of the other three of us (just as Island Boy is, just as Island Dad and I  both are). She is fun, bubbly, and willing to jump into just about anything (except anyone other than her mommy or daddy's arms for now). And she hate, hate, HATES being told "no." She listens and stops, but oh, is she unhappy about it!


Teething Bites

Island Girl has been working on teeth lately. Working HARD. As of Christmas, she had just her two bottom teeth fully through, and a third bottom one that had poked through shortly before. Two weeks later, she now also has two top teeth through the gum, and a couple of other tooth-y looking bumps on her bottom gum.

Normally a happy baby who is excellent advertisement to have more babies, Island Girl has been outright GRUMPY lately. She wants to be held, but not be still while being held. That's not a lot of fun for the person holding her (i.e. me). She also was wanting to nurse significantly more frequently. That part wasn't a huge deal, except that that's in addition to wanting to be held nearly constantly. And, oh! the constant whining and/or crying.

And we can forget about her going to bed as easily as she used to. Lately, it's a screamfest even if she's completely fed, dry, and tired. There's been a fair amount of rocking and back patting lately. I refuse to fall into the same traps we did with Island Boy when he was a baby, so she always always always falls asleep in her bed. No nursing to sleep, no rocking to sleep (she won't sit long enough for the latter, anyway).

One other super fun thing she's started along with the teething is biting. Her favorite thing to bite is.....me. When she's done nursing, she clamps down, grins, and pulls back (teeth still clamped). Believe me, she's the only one smiling when she does it!

Hopefully, she will get several teeth out of the way now, and then we can all have a bit of a break. I'm sure she's ready to stop hurting, and I'm ready to have my sunshine-y baby back. Just in time for her to turn into a toddler!


Through a Tourist's Eyes

We are all healthy here again, thankfully! My turn arrived on Friday, and I spent all of Friday, and a good part of Saturday feeling pretty crummy. But, I'm back to full steam now. Yay!

My parents (Island Nanny and Island Grandpa) and brother (Island Uncle 1) arrived on Friday. Island Grandpa has, unfortunately, already picked up the stomach bug. Thankfully, we know it passes quickly.

Before he got sick, though, we were keeping pretty busy, seeing our island through the eyes of tourists. Saturday, Island Dad and Island Uncle 1 went out geocaching and explored Pagat Cave.
Island Dad inside the cave
(photo credit: Island Dad)

Island Uncle 1 checking things out

Island Uncle 1 going cliff-jumping 
They had a great time, and I was truly sad to have missed the experience. Island Girl has been clingy lately, so I was definitely needed at home.

The following day, we took them to Ritidian Beach. This is one of our very favorite spots on The Island.

Because of changing trade winds and currents, the waves were absolutely HUGE while we were there. They break very far from shore, so it's still swimmable. The waves were supremely awesome, though. Island Boy tolerated them quite well, and even squealed with delight when they would "tickle" his toes. Island Girl, being all about mimicking lately, also started squealing along with her brother. Island Nanny and Island Grandpa had a great time playing with the kids, and Island Grandpa in particular had a grand time showing Island Boy how to use a turtle-shaped sand mold. 

Today, Island Girl and I ran some errands in the morning. Island Boy has wanted no one's company besides Island Nanny these past few days, so he stayed home with her. After our errands were done, we picked up Island Boy and Island Nanny and visited K-Mart and Home Depot. It's noteworthy that this was only my second trip to K-Mart (here), but that we frequent Home Depot.

Otherwise, it was an easy, relaxing day. The rest of the week will hold other adventures, as well, while Island Uncle 1 is here, and we'll find other ways to occupy ourselves during the remaining week-plus that Island Nanny and Island Grandpa are here.