Saturday, January 31, 2009

Hawaiian Word of the Week


definition-a lot, many.

This one is used a lot by the people i work with. Here are some examples of how you can use it...

ex 1. Ho dat restaurant, no eat ovah deah. How cum? CHOKE kakaroaches.

**translation: I really don't think it is a good idea to eat in that restaurant. Why? It's not very sanitary.

ex 2. No even go ovah da Pali, get CHOKE CARS.

**translation: You might not want to take the Pali route. The traffic is just terrible!

Now for your homework this weekend...try to use choke correctly in conversation twice a day, and then for extra credit you can share your new-found knowledge with a friend! Good luck and have a nice weekend!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Flat Tires and Blessings

So I had a bit of crazy happen to me earlier this week--and i feel like i've told this story more times than i want, but i wanna try once more for the good ol' blog.. and i apologize now for my inability to tell a story in a concise manner--its all in the details, ya know?

I woke up Sunday, just a tad later than i would have liked, but other than affecting the way i would wear my hair for the day, it shouldn't have been that big of a deal. Then i get out to my car and then my neighbor (stalking the opening of my garage door, i guess) runs out to my garage as i am getting in my car and asks if i can give her and her family a ride to their church because they have lost their keys. Besides the fact there are 5 of them, i am running late to meet Hillary so we can prepare music for Children's Church. So I nicely have to decline, wish them well as they look for their keys, and then finally get into my car. I get as far as out of my garage when I realize I have a flat tire.

Thankfully Hillary wasn't too far away and could turn around and come pick me up. We didn't get to church early enough to prepare, but we ran some old songs, the lesson went awesome, and honestly Children's Church ran smoother that Sunday than it has in weeks. Church only got better from there, with a wonderful sermon and meeting a new military couple that just moved here to stay for 3 years. I tried not to scare them away on their first visit, but i have high hopes for them to be my new best friends as everyone seems to be leaving us at the end of the summer. So for now, i just introduced myself, talked a little, and have been praying a lot that they will be back next Sunday.

***I would like to interject here a mid-story moral. The enemy is always there trying to pull us down and keep us from the good things that God has to offer us--and thankfully, a rough start to my morning and a seriously FLAT tire did not keep me from being where I should be and receiving all the blessings that God had for me.

Now, on with my story--My friend Renee hung out with me all day Sunday to help me with my flat tire issues. After trying to use a compressor to put enough air in it to get the car to Goodyear with no luck, i called on our friends Herman and Lisa, one of the few men not deployed right now, to see if Herman could come over and help me. Herman helped me figure out my next step to taking my full-size but also flat spare to Firestone on base and get a new tire. Then he would come back after church that night to change them for me.

So, all went well at Firestone and i came back home with high hopes for having the flat tire blues fixed before bedtime arrived. If only did I know....

Herman came over and had a terrible time getting off the lug nuts. Apparently, the last time i bought tires, about a year ago at Firestone on base, they tightened the lug nuts on way too tight. So tight in fact, that they stripped the lug nut key and left me with no way to get the tires off my car. That night Herman tried for a long time to get them off until his 9 month old daughter wouldn't stop screaming because she was so tired--and it was pretty late at this point. I finally told Herman not to worry about it and just to go home and take care of his daughter, and that i would find a ride to school in the morning and we could figure it out later.

Thankfully my good friend Marybeth was available to get me to school the next morning, even though it was a bit of an upset in her family's morning routine. That afternoon, after a long day on a field trip with SPED preschoolers to the farm, I called Lexus to see what i should do and they said i would have to be towed to their dealership, all the way into Honolulu so they could get the lug nuts off. Towing is so expensive here and by then I was super discouraged.

When I got home from school, the first thing i notice is the litter box sitting in the garage right in front of my door. It is then that my memory comes flooding back from the night before prior to baby Naomi's pitiful crying and my lug nut catastrophe--i was in the middle of changing out the litter box, which i totally abandoned when everything else started to fall apart. Then by the time we called it quits--i went straight to bed from having an exhausting day.

So...fearfully, i step into the house, which may i add was very clean from the weekend. Usually if there is a problem with the litter box, the cats find whatever they can dig in and go shi-shi there. With everything clean, i realize what had most likely happened and ran upstairs to the bedroom where as i suspected, i find cat shi-shi all over the middle of the bed. * and let me just throw in the kicker, just in case this all isn't enough for you--my washing machine is out of operation and has been for a month. So summary thus far is, I have one broken car, no good plan to fix it, cat shi-shi all over my bedding, a broken washing machine and no way to get anywhere to wash it.

So, i did what any tired, frustrated and defeated girl would do...sit in the middle of the floor and cry...a lot. I had tried so hard to be strong and not let this little flat tire defeat me, but it did.

It was during this cry that my life started to come back together again. Kim, who is currently on a extended vacation from work, dropped what she was doing and came right over to help pull me back together. Lisa called to tell me Herman wanted to try something else to get the lug nuts off and not to call a tow truck yet--and then very nicely scolded me for not telling them earlier i had a broken washing machine so Herman could take a look at it. Then she offered to wash all my bedding--whew, what would i do without them? things are looking up--i can at least function..

From there, Mike calls that night, listens to the whole story--is completely supportive and consoling--he even offers to call Geico to see if there is anything they can do...and lo and behold an hour later Geico sends Big Daddy towing with a man, no kidding, that is like 7ft. tall and really big to my garage to solve my problems. Although at first i was very intimidated and slightly nervous about this big man in my garage--he was very kind and helpful and in no way tried to cheat me. Of all the people I have had to deal with here since Mike's deployment, as far as fixing my cars and appliances, this giant was by far my own personal blessing from the Lord. Ya know it can be very unnerving for us as women living somewhere by yourself and having to deal with problems we may not know much about. A lot of times the service technicians and mechanics try to pull things over on us--and we are usually smart enough to know something isn't right, but then we don't know how to fix it or have the right terminology to call them out on it. So back to my friendly giant...He told me of some places to call to do some price shopping on getting my lug nuts off and he would come back the next day to tow me when i knew what i wanted to do.

Herman, my stand in husband/father (whatever) offered to make the calls for me and help me decide what to do. In the end, we find out it is just as cheap to take the car the dealership as anywhere else. So, Big Daddy Giant Tow Man comes back the next day and tows my car to the dealership. Then both Big Daddy and Lexus call to let me know the car got there safely and then to top it all off...Lexus doesn't even charge me for any of the labor! They got my lug nuts out, changed my tire, installed my new lug nuts and then just handed me teh keys adn told me to have a nice day! Even through all the set backs and worry, the Lord was looking out for me, as he always does.

***Now for the end of story moral (or maybe i should say, moral"s"):
1. Sometimes the Lord brings us down just to pick us up again and teach us that we always need to rely on him for help and trust that he will always take care of us.
2. There are blessings in all of life, the good times and the bad--we just have to find them. Just in those 3 days, i was touched by all of the help my friends here on the island gave to me--from moral support, transportation, washing my laundry, and being the stand-in husband helping me deal with the car and mechanics...someone was there for me at every turn. The Lord really has blessed me here in Hawaii with a wonderful support system. Sometimes it takes little things like this to realize all that we really have.

okay that's my story. and hopefully the last time i tell it. it really exhausts me just to think about it!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Christmas Catch Up

I am very terrible about making sure i include all the big things happening in my life...and i know it is because i don't have time to blog while they are happening and then when its over i usually am too tired to blog at all...
But, i can't let christmas go without a little recap. Christmas was very good this year. I have decided, even though it can be very hectic to come home during the Christmas season, it is also the best time to come to ensure that you get to visit/see everyone. Between Christmas parties and everyone being off work, i really got to see just about everyone that lived in hour radius of home. That's really quite a feat. Usually i have to leave before i could get to everything i meant to--but thankfully not this time.... AND to top it all off, I also got to eat at EVERY restaurant i wanted, some even more than once!

It was good to see all the family. I got to spend some quality time with my brother and my Aunt Diane who lives in Kansas. We celebrated Christmas with Alex on Christmas Eve and then got together again on Christmas for lunch. Grandpa was the hit this year, rocking his cool Santa hat and guarding his presents like his life depended on it. To keep up with tradition, Katie came by for presents --but this time with her husband Tim and their puppy Jaxon.

Like every year of my life, minus last year when i didn't come home, i spent the night before Christmas at Dad's. We relaxed Christmas morning opening presents, laughing and eating sausage balls, my Christmas breakfast favorite. We celebrated Christmas with the Caudle's a few days early this year and got a great pic, shown below with some of the girls. Then for Christmas dinner all of my stepmom's family ate at Gram's house. There i got to meet the newest member of our family, Madison. It's great seeing the family growing and having babies around. Its a different feeling watching Christmas through kids eyes, realizing you aren't then kids anymore. Families are always changing--it's all kinda bittersweet, but beautiful.

The Sunday after Christmas I joined the Burns Family Christmas party as well. It was very good to see everyone. Especially the kids. They grow up so fast--they aren't babies anymore! Sadly, i forgot my camera on this day, so no pics.

I also spent a day with the kids i used to nanny for. They are growing so fast, but still the same sweet and funny kids as always. We played with their new Christmas toys, made cool reindeer tshirts that i learned how to make in my hawaii preschool and then we made messy reindeer cookies. Its good just hang out with them and be a kid for awhile.

Lastly I was lucky enough to see lots of my friends. I had dinner dates, shopped and watched movies and had sleepovers with all my favorites from both highschool and college. I am so lucky to have these friendships that have lasted for so long.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Swells and Sunsets

This weekend the weather was beautiful and perfect and did i mention it was beautiful?

Despite what the meteorologists were predicting there was hardly any rain and the wind was definitely not hurricane worthy.
So, because of this perfect weather and my 4 day weekend i was able to spend a couple of days really enjoying Hawaii and all it can offer. Sunday i went to Waimea Bay to watch the 20+ ft. waves, a breathtaking sunset and got some really amazing pictures. If you like them there are more on my pics website.

If these don't make you wanna book your flight to come visit--you're nuts!

had to throw the funny looking tourist in the mix. haha!

Books and Movies, Movies and Books

So in case you don't know this about me already i love to see movies and even more i love to read. I don't know if it is just the escape from reality or just a chance to experience new things, learn new things and just let my imagination run free--but these two things are my biggest hobbies.

With Mike being gone I have taken both reading and movie watching to a new level. I average a book and a movie a week, at least. So I thought i would share with you all my opinions on what i am both watching and reading. On the right-hand side of the blog under "Our Favs" there is a link called Jessi's Books. This link will take you to my goodreads page. If you are an avid reader like myself please join goodreads and add me as your friend. I would love to know what you are reading too!

Also on the right-hand side of this blog i have added my recently seen movies with a star rating. Just the usual:
1 star = terrible, didn't make it thru it
2 stars = didn't like it
3 stars = just okay
4 stars = very good
5 stars = absolutely amazing

I just need to add here that lately i have seen some incredible movies. Please, if you haven't already, go see these movies before they leave the theatres!

1. Australia--its a great epic tale--the story is captivating, there is a great love story, enough action for any guy to enjoy and then it throws in some real Australian history that you may not have ever heard much about.

2. Seven Pounds--This movie is hard to describe without giving it away. It really tugs at your emotions and conflicts the soul and i guarantee you won't leave the theatre dry-eyed.

3. Curious Case of Benjamin Button--This is for the movie goer who doesn't mind sitting in a theatre for 3 hours and really investing some time in a movie. If you can do that, i know you'll love this one. It's been awhile since i have seen something this truly different and creative. Brad Pitt really did a great job with this one.

Hope everyone had a nice holiday weekend! Hopefully i can get back on soon and catch you up on my Christmas vacation.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Well, Happy New Year once again everyone! I hope the year has started off wonderful for each of you. Since getting back to Hawaii, I have dove right back into work, church and friends and have hardly had any free time. A bit shamefully, I must add that my suitcases are even still in my bedroom floor, unpacked, except for the things in them that i have needed over the past 2 weeks. Maybe this weekend it'll all get put away--but then again, maybe not because i hear its gonna be beautiful outside...and i am ghostly white (well, maybe not quite ghostly, but still).

On the 5th I started working as a long-term sub in my favorite preschool class at Holomua Elementary. I am filling in for a teacher on maternity leave for at least until mid Feb. but more likely until the beginning of April. I love the other teachers in the room as well as the kids. The job keeps me super busy and helps my weeks fly by, which is awesome as I am waiting as patiently as i can for Mike to come back home.

We have been hearing that most of the brigade should be home by the 3rd and 4th weeks of February. As we have learned, the ARMY is never 100% on dates, but there is no doubt that this deployment is almost over with many of their replacements there already and training to take over.

Tonight, I am "hunkering down" with my girls as we prepare for the hurricane force winds to rip through the island. It's not actually a hurricane, but just crazy winds. The entire island has shut down in preparation for tonight and tomorrow. Carrie and I, both currently working in the school system, came to Kim and Hillary's neighborhood so the 4 of us can celebrate our day off and be with each other in the event of another blackout like over Christmas break. Blackouts are no fun when you live by yourself but when we all get together it is like a party! So YAY for fake hurricane parties, musicals, grey's anatomy, wiis, and then each other when the power knocks out!

I'll keep you posted on the weather condition as i am sure you are all sitting on the edge the your seats in anticipation!

I will leave you with a cool North Shore wave pic from the high surf created by the storm (and no, i did not take this, i stole it from the local newspaper website).

Thursday, January 1, 2009

it's 2009

Hope everyone had a wonderful New Year! Happy 2009 from Chicago!