The 2002 Christmas Kazette
Aloha from sunny Hawaii! Our year has been very busy with our move from Nebraska to here, and I feel as if each month could take up an
entire Kazette. I’ll try to pare it down for you.
In January we drove out to St. Louis to drop off the car the Navy was shipping for us to HI. We tossed in a little sightseeing, Our own St Louis archhaving been there the summer before, and drove back to endure a couple of weeks with only one car!
February brought us the flurry of moving (not to mention some snow, though the best storms were in January!Doug, Erika making snowman) The 1st week we moved stuff into storage for the duration of our HI stay; the 2nd week we sent a light load of ‘must have’ items like sleeping bags and a microwave (no furniture allowed) on it’s way to HI, supposedly so it would be there when we got there and could help make ‘home’ more comfortable until our big move got there (6 to 8 weeks after leaving NE.) The 3rd week was our big move and all the last minute things to get our cat, Little Bear, ready and ‘legal’ to move to HI. The islands have a strict quarantine process to ensure that rabies never reaches the islands. Little Bear boarded her plane a week before we did.
One last week of hotel living and renting a car in Nebraska, and we ourselves were on the plane. It was of course cold and windy and I seem to remember a layer of snow on the ground... regardless, I wore shorts and a winter coat to the airport. We had a relatively uneventful trip and arrived in HI about 3 hours after we were supposed to, rented a car, collapsed in the hotel and the next day we were able to pick up Doug’s car (the one shipped from St Louis.)
It took us less than 4 weeks, I think, to get us completely ‘street legal’ and officially moved to the island. We rented a house about 20 minutes from Pearl Harbor, where Doug works, got both our cars to the island and inspected and with stickers for HI and the Navy Base, got our household goods delivered and our cat our of quarantine.Erika petting Little Bear in quarantine Phew! Bring on the visitors!
That’s right... we had TWO sets of visitors shortly after arriving on island. Dan and Reva (friends from WA) came to visit us while they were on a wonderful multi-island vacation, Dan & Revaand Todd and Lynn, Todd & Lynnfriends who grew up with me in Madison, came to see us/HI too! Although I didn’t know the island all that well yet, I think I did an OK job showing them around. Any of you who come now will have a more experienced guide.
(A group of Doug's former co-workers from Nebrasksa also came out to Hawaii and we met them for dinner. Cool!) Stratcom folks at Aloha Tower
The summer passed, and although it seems as if EVERY day is the same, weather-wise, here... somehow it was much hotter in June-August. With no air conditioning, we felt the difference. Now that it’s December, I could still go to the beach every day, but I *DO* feel cooler,
especially at night.  Erika started at a new preschool (mid-summer)and she’s really been enjoying it.
Fall brought slightly cooler temps, and a wonderful Halloween. Erika decided to dress as “Steve” from the show “Blue’s Clues” which was a bit obscure, but she had tons of fun and got more candy than I’ve ever seen in my life. Erika as Steve; Halloween 2002We spent Thanksgiving at our house with some friends, for a total of 9 people! I think that’s the most we’ve ever had in any of our houses and we had a great time. Doug made a DELICIOUS traditional dinner.
Erika turned 4 in May and FINALLY got potty trained! It was very late in coming, but when she finally ‘got it’, it only took a week or two; we only had 1 nighttime accident and perhaps 3 daytime ones. Whoo hoo! There are lots of parks in the area, though not many with swings, and we’ve been to most of them. We enjoy doing picnics and Erika really enjoyed “The United States Birthday Party” ( = July 04). The celebration on the Pearl Harbor Navy Base had rides, music, food, a car show, wrestling, gifts/trinkets and of course, fireworks. Her favorite holiday was Halloween, though, just like me. Since about June, she’s been taking ONLY halloween themed books out of the library on our weekly visits. Some she has gotten out more than once! She is trying to learn how to read but isn’t quite there yet. She still is a very good helper and enjoys cooking with Doug, Doug & Erika make meatloafbaking with me, and doing various arts and crafts at home and at school. Neighborhood friendsThere are several kids in the neighborhood, mostly older than her, that she enjoys playing with. There’s a short but steep hill in our backyard that we love to go ‘sledding’ on, with cardboard for sleds. Some of the older kids try to crouch or stand and ‘surf’ down. Erika sliding down our backyard hill on cardboard
Doug seems to enjoy his new job at ComSubPac (Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet); I don’t get to hear many details since parts of his job are ‘super secret’ but for the most part I think it’s interesting work. Occasionally he will get sent to the Mainland on business, but as in Omaha these trips are rarely more than 3-5 days. He also goes to sea about once a month, but that’s also for very short periods of time. It means some extra $$, though, so that’s not a bad thing! It does feel weird for me, however, to once again not know where he is. Once I drove him to the sub, dropped him off, and while talking to his Mom later I realized I had NO IDEA what sub he was on, or how to contact him if I really ‘needed’ to.  I also had to laugh when he was dropped off from one of these trips on the nearby Air Force Base. I had been waiting on a Navy pier for him when I got a call on my cell phone, and I had to say, “Pick you up WHERE?”  Doug has also been swimming and working out on his lunchtime so he has a healthy tan and growing muscles! I’m married to Popeye!
Other than motherhood, I have been busy trying to fit all the stuff we *DID* bring into our much smaller house. Oh, how I miss Erika’s playroom! I also have worked on quite a few web pages this year; our own, one I actually got PAID FOR (whoo hoooo!) and a few volunteer ones. I now feel much more comfortable getting around the island, and pronouncing street and town names! I am involved with a great group of ladies that does an orientation-type class for Navy wives, called COMPASS, and if I can ever get my butt out of bed and turn myself into some kind of morning person, I might actually be quite active in that group. I haven’t found a mah jongg group to play with yet, but I did learn how to play Bunco.
Doug and I have been so lucky to find great childcare for Erika; she gets very excited whenever we tell her a babysitter is coming... so we are back to going to the movies though its not as often as we used to go. We also finally found a church that we are comfortable with, on the SubBase at Pearl Harbor. Between that and our library cards, I feel very settled.
Moving to Hawaii has been a great experience overall. The drivers here are laid back and kind to a fault... merging here is almost NEVER a problem, even on the busiest roads. We visited the Mainland in September and noticed a big difference in wait staff, though. Our waiters/waitresses were SO NICE on the Mainland... I guess the Hawaiian’s are tired of all the tourists and don’t seem to think they have to be nice so that someone will come back. People, though, are very friendly. We were thrilled to get our first “Howzit?” and I got called “Auntie” by the mom of one of Erika’s classmates. All in all this should be a very pleasant 3 years.
     Merry Christmas!   Mele Kalikimaka! Dan's pic of us at House with no Key
Wait, there's more!
xtree PrentendEarsTHE ERIKA EXTRA
It's only fitting that I type this in green, as that is Erika's favorite color. It's one of the only things she will actually pick as a favorite!  If I ask her, "Which did you like better, the "Jonah" movie, or "Beauty and the Beast" she will likely answer: "I liked BOTH of them!" .... Very diplomatic of her!
Erika has continued to embrace new things, although moving here was a bit traumatic for her. She asked EVERY DAY for months if we could go back to Nebraska so she could see her friend Brittany. "I don't like Hawaii. I want to live in Nebraska. Why did we have to move?" She still misses Brittany very much, but has adjusted to living in Hawaii... I have a short movie clip of her strumming on my ukelele and singing "I love Hawaii, I love Hawaii!" Ukelele Erika
Erika has grown quite a bit over the last year and is now about 43 inches tall and around 40 lbs. She loves to dance, and run and build sand castles at the beach. She is NOT a fan of open water. She does ok in pools or at the local water park, but really doesn't like to go in the ocean. This makes life a little easier for us as we don't have to be on constant alert when we go to the beach to make sure she's not drowning. Instead we have to keep on eye on who's she's recruiting for her new best friend. She is VERY friendly and is constantly walking up to other kids and saying, "Hi, my name is Erika. Want to play with me?" She does this at the beach, at the Mall, at the Park, at restaurants (in Erika's world, that's 'resternaut') and just about anywhere she sees another kid.
Erika had lots of fun learning how to play soccer. The Boys & Girls Club had a 10 week session for 4 year olds. They focused on basic skill and having fun... not playing and winning games. I was very impressed with the coaches and Erika was sad when the 10 weeks were over. We will be looking for more soccer and other sports as the year goes on. Erika playing soccer
We got digital cable when we moved here, and that, plus her getting older, has expanded Erika's TV favorites/options. She went from only knowing/liking PBS and Disney shows to adding some Nick Jr like "Blue's Clues" and "Bob the Builder"; "Dora the Explorer" and dare I admit it?? "Spongebob Squarepants"  Her new PBS favorite is "Cyberchase" and our kid video/DVD library is ever-expanding. It's great that we also get to rent ones from the local library! Variety is truly the spice of (motherhood) er, ummm.... Life!
Erika still loves black olives, but many things she used to eat are now on her 'yuck' list. Thankfully, though, in general she still prefers vegetables and fruits, as well as cheese, as snack foods. There are very few candies that she likes. Preschool has been good in that they often only serve milk or water with the daily snack, so Erika has been drinking more water. (She has always liked milk.) Subway is one of her favorite places to go when we eat out for lunch; a ham and cheese sandwich with mayo, no mustard, is usually preferred over a hamburger or cheeseburger. She hates most fruit punches and will have lemonade instead. We do not give her soda, but the few times she has tried some she hated it. One less thing to battle over, hurray! She doesn't seem to want to explore local cuisine, but hey, her parents have been holding back on that a little too.
Erika's been working hard on learning how to read. She is going by the memorization method, rather than sounding each letter out. To each their own, eh? I imagine as she is taught phonics in school she will use both methods. Erika loves preschool and participates in "Show and Tell" almost every session. She goes to preschool at the local YMCA on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. I have had fun going on their field trips with them... so far we've gone to the Zoo and to Sea Life Park.
Erika got to do quite a few surprises this year, including but not limited to Baskin Robbins, The Hawaii State Fair, watching the "Jonah" multiple times in the theater, watching fireworks from the water on 'Capt Pete's boat' (Pete is Doug's co-worker) and seeing "DragonTales Live!" She enjoyed going with Todd and I to the top of Diamond Head, and then repeated that feat with Daddy too a few months later.
All in all the move to Hawaii has been a positive one for Erika and we hope she will remember some of the great times we are having here when she gets older.
The End
ok, ok, so the paper one had a wordsearch... here you go:

find the following words from the Kazette: (you'll have to print it out, or just play 'by eye')
word search words