Sunday, October 31

Little Red and Cat

George and I finally gave in and got in the spirit of Halloween.  Nyah was fired up about this Halloween stuff, obviously not having a clue what it was, but after all the talk and hype knowing she had to be a part of it.


Every morning after waking she would ask, "Can I go to Halloween today?"


So the day came and Little Red Riding Hood was a hit. In true Nyah spirit though, she was more concerned about the Big Bad Wolf than Little Red, constantly talking about him when someone asked what she was. She jumps into bed a little quicker at night due to fear of The Wolf. If Kmart had a wolf costume, she could have been a wolf.  
Though there were no wolves around, we were accompanied by a pretty cute little cat who now wants nothing to do with being held or buckled into the confines of a stroller. She wants to be independent and on her own, all the time.
George took the kids door to door and I took them to a Fall Festival where Nyah got her face painted...
 ...and had her first taste of cotton candy. 
Its is never a bad time watching the girls having new experiences though I ended up eating the cotton candy. I forgot just how good it was.

Friday, October 29

Hello Tropical

Good Morning! Hello Hawaiian print. Guess someone was in an extra tropical mood this morning. Hope everyone is feeling this good today and no, this is not a costume, this is what she wore to school. Cue steel drums.

Thursday, October 28

Field Trip

Elsa and I had the opportunity to accompany Nyah and her classmates on an outing this morning.  Nyah's school is located close to Christiansted so the class travels into town once a week to check out the sights and sounds. This was our first time to venture out with the class and what a wonderful morning we had. 
We walked to town two by two, holding hands and looking for new discoveries at every turn. We made it to the Fort in Christiansted and the kids finally, after the long walk of being on their best behavior, got to be themselves and run free. 
We then enjoyed a snack of peanut butter crackers and basil tea on the water front.


Elsa milled around the entire time. Elsa can draw quite a crowd when entering Nyah's school. The students have watched Elsa grow and always keep a watchful eye on her. The boys seem especially interested in Elsa, always touching her or hugging her at every chance, which caught me by surprise for some reason. 
The children ran up the hill...
...and they ran down the hill.
We then made our way back to school by way of the boardwalk. Two by two, chit chatting the whole way. We stopped once for a break and one red hot candy each.
We finally made it back to school with sweat dripping and rosy cheeks and the kids quickly devoured their lunches. Elsa then began terrorizing the classroom. Love that Elsa has the opportunity explore and get comfortable in the environment where she will someday spend so much time learning to be an independent and self motivated learner.


As I was walking and enjoying my morning with these little curious bundles of energy I was couldn't help but look back on my preschool experience. I remember my classmates, and I remember the mass chaos of playtime in the stinky church. I never recall my preschool teacher brewing tea for me from the freshly grown basil in the back yard which I helped grown, nor do I recall my teacher talking with such a loving voice or kissing me and telling me she loved me as I would left each day. 
I am so thankful Nyah is able to start her lifetime of learning in such a loving, diverse, warm and natural environment with a teacher that even I find inspiring. I love my visits to Star Apple Montessori and find myself wanting to linger in the peaceful environment Miss Jill has created.

Wednesday, October 27

Purple

Nyah chose to dress in head-to-toe purple for school the other day. Sound familiar? Scary?
I guess when I was around Nyah's age purple was my color and absolutely everything had do be purple. Clothes, big, bubble gum, etc. 


So history repeats, though Nyah hasn't taken it that far yet. Thank goodness.

Monday, October 25

Work

Pardon the momentarily lapse in sanity blogging. As I mentioned before, I have returned to work but not without some pouting on my part.  I was in serious denial. I quickly was brought back to reality after working my first twelve hour shift in the small island Emergency Room, which is a place I thought I would never return.  If you want an eye opener about society, just spend a day in an ER.


I wanted to cry during my entire shift and the days following. In fact I did cry to George. Actually, I would compare the whining and crying more to one of Nyah's tantrums. He stuck to his guns though and didn't give in and I have now faced the reality that I must work and the best place to work is right here in the hospital.




Speaking of tantrums, I thought we were through the worst of it but Nyah threw one for the record books at the grocery the other day. I am sure all of the people waiting in the check out line are still talking about it and either saying, glad we're not the only ones, or holy shit, what the heck is wrong with that child/mother.


Anyway, working isn't so bad, I still have a lot of friends in the hospital who I didn't realize I missed until I saw and had a chance to catch up with. It does feels nice to think critically again though I majorly resist it for some reason. I can pick my own schedule so I work mostly when George is home. Elsa has been by twice on this twelve hour shift to snack. I got to see Nyah also which is fun because she is totally into the hospital, doctor, who's a patient, I am a doctor thing. My stethoscope is like a treasure to her.


Working two days a week isn't all that bad, a lot better schedule than some harder working moms out there who deserve ultimate props. Honestly, I do enjoy helping those who are truley sick though those patients can be few a far between here. I have discovered since coming back to work though, out of my blissful state of motherhood, that I am no longer an ER Nurse. I no longer get off on the adrenaline rush a true emergency brings. Shucks.


So my outlook is better, thanks to the ever strong and positive man of the house and I am so thankful I have a job and still get to be a mom at the same time. Hopefully, this will get us one step closer to having a house with a yard with waves crashing in the background.


I needed a time out, I took it and I feel much better. Now let the emergencies occur.

Saturday, October 23

Our Trip West

George heads to class every Friday after work and doesn't get finished until well past the time the girls have gone to bed. We have gotten into the habit of doing a fun activity on Friday evenings to pass time and celebrate the weekends arrival. Girls only.


Today we made the trek to Frederiksted way on the West end of the island. It is actually not that far away but when living on a small island the other end can seem like forever away. The girls and I ventured out west with the great company of Ziggy Marley, various kids tunes and a some Lady Gaga, Nyah has become a fan. I looked at the speedometer once when I got the feeling I was speeding and realized I was only going 45 mph. Thats about as fast as we go around here. 


I adore Fredriksted. It just oozes history and has such a peaceful ambiance. A sleepy town with few signs of America around. I love the feeling I get when in Fredriksted. Perhaps its because I am usually there in the evening when the sun in setting. Sunsets have the ability to make me take a deep breath and wipe away whatever thoughts are lingering in my mind.


When we arrived in Frederiksted we went to see a new exhibit at the Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts. Guess I was craving some culture for the girls and I. Not much around here. But as it usually happens on this island, when you let the day lead the way, we ended up running into friends at the park. The kids played until sunset and then we all ate pizza together and didn't make it home until after dark. Some of my favorite days in life are the unplanned ones.


We had such a great day. The perfect way to celebrate our life together and help me keep my mind of what I must face tomorrow. 


The time has come. I got a j-o-b and I start tomorrow.  I cautiously broke the news to Nyah tonight as she was taking a bath and she just looked at me, laughed and said, "No. Daddy goes to work" and went on washing her doll's hair. Guess I'm not the only one in denial.


Here is a little video of our blissful afternoon and evening out west. Some say west is best and I have to admit, I totally agree.

video

Song: I Go Ka 
By: Ali Farka Toure


The quality of this video isn't the best. Try going here for a better version. My apologies, I was having some technical difficulties when attempting to upload. 

Thursday, October 21

Walking With Confidence

Elsa discovered her confidence yesterday at about nine o'clock in the morning and started walking. She had that look in her eye and she could not be stopped. She was walking only with encouragement prior to yesterday. I am not sure what happened during the night that made her wake and think she could conquer the world, but she was ready. 


Elsa struck out on her own at the laundry mat of all places. It seemed the risk of falling wasn't a big deal to her anymore and totally worth the hassle of getting back up.  I saw her improve during the long short time it took to clean the clothes and she hasn't stopped exploring since. 


I remember Nyah found her confidence in walking at a book store in Indiana. A little boy was toddling around and it seemed in her mind that she decided if he could do well so could she and off she went. I guess everyone has moments like this in their life.


This sweet precious little walking girl kept me up all night last night. Its amazing the effort the body has to put forth just to push teeth out. It was obvious she was in a lot of pain and nothing would due. She struggled all night and I was certain that we would have to make a trip to the doctor this morning to have her ears checked. I quickly changed my mind after she woke up this morning, of course when I finally got into a deep sleep, with a hug smile on her face, shrieking with joy, ready to welcome the day, acting like nothing we went through the night before even happened. How could she. 


Elsa is deep into her sweet air conditioned slumber right now, no doubt dreaming of small pieces of paper to put in her mouth,  while I sit here with burning eyes feeling the horrible effect of fatigue mixed with caffeine hoping some of what I'm writing makes sense. I should be napping too. My old napping skills are lacking, my mind won't settle down enough to let me sleep. My fingers are crossed though that all of Elsa's walking conquests today have made her tired enough to sleep tonight and that her teeth settle the heck down so we can rest. For George's sake, please.

Wednesday, October 20

Ten Months

Discussing kids growth is so cliche yet I can't help it, it is a blaring sign in my face. As I was holding Nyah before bed tonight I was just made aware of how huge she is.  I know this and I knew this but I was just blown away tonight. Trying to sit together, I could feel the weight of her pressing down on my legs as she was squirming to get comfortable in my lap because she is so long. Sitting on my lap was always a  no brainer for us. A safe haven for us both. 


I remember being a kid and one day realizing I was to big to ask anyone to pick me up just for the fun and love of it. I don't remember feeling sad, just accepting. Though I want to protect Nyah from this, I guess it is an inevitable part of growing up. Learning to stand on your own two feet and be your own big person. I just have a feeling this day is coming sooner than I anticipated or prepared myself for. Thank goodness no one is ever too big to sit in their mom's lap.


Check out this old girl who held her chest out a little farther as she strutted inside after she finished washing the truck with her Dad this weekend. She took such pride in her work because as she put it, "The truck was dirty". Duh. Obviously. She really didn't see what the big deal was.

As I held this sweet girl tonight, I decided to look back in my photo archives to see look if I could find pictures of Nyah when she was Elsa's age, ten months. 


I just giggled, there are so many similarities I am now seeing between the two of them. Same round, chubby cheeks same curious looks, same strong, purposeful crawl.  Funny how parenting works. Seems for me that I get so absorbed on the stages in front me that the memories of the girls before, the little memories, of their nuances, how they move, look, and behave seems to vanish. When everything is happening in the moment, and everything is either pure bliss or I am about to loose it, I could never imagine forgetting what is taking place right in front of me, though sometimes it takes a photo to take me back.


Wish I could keep the snapshot of Nyah on my lap tonight in my memory forever, because I know our future together will blow my mind and though I may not forget the moment we shared this evening, I may forget the details of her little three year old self. 


I breathed Elsa in a little longer tonight, sank my fingers into those juicy thighs and squeezed her a little tighter, knowing that all too soon she will be a big three year old in my lap squirming to get comfortable.

Monday, October 18

Life In Town

I sweep our floors everyday. I actually could sweep the floor twice a day and probably would if I were my mother but I just can't bring myself to it. I adore the natural breeze that blows through our house and prefer it to air conditioning but the breeze brings a lot of stuff with it. This makes sweeping the tiles daily a must, especially with a little one constantly moving around on them. 


Elsa has recently takin' a liking to the broom, possibly because she sees it so often. If I happen to be sweeping the floor while she is awake she follows me around and giggles, trying to catch the broom with each sweeping motion it makes.  It makes sweeping a challenge because she is inevitably dirty by the time the house is clean. Today she really got into cleaning the floors and decided instead of following the broom she would just go sit in the dirt piles I had created and kick the dirt around. Looks like I am in need of a new strategy. 


As I was sweeping the floor this afternoon, and attempting to keep Elsa clean, I kept hearing loud singing coming from outside. I kind of ignored it, stranger things have happened on this island. It wasn't until later in the afternoon when the girls and I were out for a walk that I realized it was our "professional" karaoke singer neighbor belting out the tunes. As we were walking he must have been channeling Prince because he was really giving "Purple Rain" all he had.  I had to question George about what actually qualifies him to be called "professional" karaoke singer because he is not good, actually, he's hilarious. I think Nyah was even laughing.  


He is in good company though because we have some real characters living around us. We have a hoarder who just recently was found out after the ambulance had to pay him a visit. Two dumpsters later I think the place might now be livable. We have a moaner, a lady in her late 90's who still drives, a man with breasts, and an old bitty who's only pleasure in life comes from complaining, about everything. Actually, I am sure she has already taken great pleasure in handling the karaoke situation. He lives above her after all.


We had a wonderful walk today along our own private road that is under construction which leads into Christiansted. This walk was my first taste back into exercise after having Elsa. Sometimes our only major adventure out of the house when Elsa was just days old. I would pack the girls in the Cadillac like double stroller and walk up the huge hills, which at the time was difficult but now is just nice. 


I used to look out from the top of the hill on our walks and ask George about a building I thought was a beautiful color. Funny how life works out because the unknown building turned out to be Nyah's school and where she now spends so much of her time.  


Walking with Nyah is always fun. She has started picking little things she sees from the ground or trees and giving to me as gift. "Here Mommy, I picked this for you." Precious. Our walk usually end on the Boardwalk with an ice cream treat. 


This is our neighbor KerryAnn, who Nyah calls by her sisters name, Alani for some odd reason.  Nyah just loves her. When Nyah hears KerryAnn come home she runs to the door and yells "Alani", and invites her into play no matter the time of day or what we are doing.


Last night as we were walking on the board walk we ran into some of Nyah's classmates. As the parents were talking, the kids found some coconuts and were throwing them around. Miss Judy, a regular at a local bar for as long as George can remember, who pushes a stroller around filled with trinkets, peanuts, chicklets, glow-sticks, and other goodies, and drinks Budweiser, saw the kids with the coconuts and quickly broke them open for them on a sharp edge. The kids were so overjoyed to indulge in the tasty treat.


There are so many days I catch myself dreaming of living on our little chunk of paradise on the North Shore and setting the girls free but days like today remind me that I might miss some of the conveniences and characters that comes with living so close to town.


On another note, 
"Purple Rain, Purrrrple Rain"





Sunday, October 17

Pumpkin Carving

Nyah had her first pumpkin carving experience this weekend. When I asked her what kind of face she wanted to carve into the pumpkin,  she kept saying, "a hippopotamus". She finally settled on a happy face.
She was overjoyed with the entire process, from the anticipation of carving, to cutting the pumpkin open and sticking her hand into the seedy goo, to carving the pumpkin and eating all the roasted seeds.



Nyah ate all the pumpkin seeds and asked for more when they were gone.
Unfortunately, Elsa napped through the whole experience but she did love her little pumpkin

We lit Jack-O-Lantern tonight and Nyah watched him all night. Needless to say, I think pumpkin carving will be added to the list of family traditions. George and I are glad because we had just as much fun as Nyah did carving her Jack-O-Lantern.

Friday, October 15

The Automobile Situation

The fancy thermometer in our rental car read 88 degrees yesterday. It was a balmy day. Days like that remind me why I am so thankful for fans. I felt like I was driving a race car down the pot hole filled streets of St. Croix in the compact rental car.  I haven't driven a car in a few years. Our family cruises in a truck, yeah buddy, which is currently being serviced. You might wonder why we don't just drive our other car. Well, the thing is, other car is a Jeep which doesn't have working seatbelts in the back or much of a top to shelter the kids from the wind, rain or flying objects.  These are the very reason I love driving the Jeep because to me driving the Jeep equals freedom, aka no kids in the back. 


I remember the days before Elsa came along when we would take Nyah for rides in the Jeep.  When we would start going fast her hair would fly in the wind like crazy. She finally got smart and would just cover her head with her blankie, for the entire trip. Funny sight when looking in the rear view. Poor kid.



Though it was nice having four doors and a trunk to shlep stuff in without it getting wet the past few days, I don't think a car fits our lifestyle.  


Nyah on the other hand is a definite fan of the car.  She entered school Wednesday morning and proudly announced first thing to her teacher and classmates as they were taking their shoes off that she, "Got a new car!". 


Every time Nyah got in the car she would raise the pitch of her voice and start raving about how she "loves our new car!". And then would frequently informed me during the drip that, "This is Nana's car". I am starting to get the idea that if something is nice or new, well then it must be Nana's or Nana must have bought it for her. 


I kept trying to explain that we had to give the thing back but I think she was just enjoying it while she could. I mean I let her eat in the car. Might seem pretty routine but this is a huge deal to us. We have very strict no food in the car rule. If the smallest crumb gets dropped in the  truck, the next morning there will be cockroaches crawling around feasting and George will be asking me why I let Nyah eat in the car, again. There is no way around this. I will get busted.  Disgusting I know, but that is just a fact of life when parking close to da bush and when living in a tropical climate. The bugs are vicious here. Believe me, I have learned this lesson the hard way. I was like a bad dream. But with the rental car, who cares, Nyah could eat and drop crumbs to her hearts content and Hertz could sort out the rest. I'm a horrible. 


When we returned the car last night Nyah cried. Hard.


She "doesn't want the truck anymore, she wants the car". She asked for the car again as we were getting in the truck for school this morning. I guess the car was just more her size.


Someday I am sure we will have to get a family type car but for now I am happy with the truck and kid free Jeep. Oh the things poor Nyah has to endure.

Thursday, October 14

Treasures

Nyah spent the morning in deep concentration balancing these beautiful limes on a spoon while carrying them from a bowl in the kitchen to the stove of her play kitchen. These are the most delicious limes so packed with juice and flavor. These tasty gifts were grown by George's parents, whose yard, in my opinion, holds some of the islands greatest treasures. 
These limes start out green then turn yellow but everyone still calls them limes. Whatever you want to call them, all I know is that I love them both for the wonderful flavor they give our food and for the endless fun they have provided Nyah this morning.
I love that Nyah, one of my hearts greatest treasures, is capable of making the simplest things in life so beautiful. Hope everyone is able to take some time and enjoy their greatest treasures today.



Wednesday, October 13

Storytime

Storytime is an important event in our house. As I've mentioned before it is the perfect time for Nyah to stall before bed or throw a fit because storytime was cut short or taken away due to, well stalling. I thought I would take a moment to highlight some of Nyah's current book obsessions, which we read twice a day, and sometimes more, just depending on how lucky I get. If you ever wonder what I think, well I don't think, I just hear the catchy tune of the Dr. Seuss stories in my head all day.

Big A little a
What begins with A?
Aunt Annie's alligator....A...a..A

Big B little b
What begins with B?
Barber
baby
bubbles 
and a 
bumblebee

and my favorite

Big M little m
Many mumbling mice
are making
midnight music
in the moonlight...
mighty nice

Nyah's is really fixated on Disney's Nursery Rhymes and Fairytales. As I was reading this book to her the other night, from memory of course,  I was surprised to realize that she too has the book memorized. I then tested her with some of her other storytime addictions, Dr. Seuss's ABC, and Ten Apples Up On Top, and she definitely knows them all. Im not sure why I thought she didn't have the stories memorized, I mean we've only read them a million times. I am so proud of her ease in picking up the stories and I am so glad she is actually listening, though it is now impossible to skip pages when feeling extra tired. One of my favorite things about being a parent is the feeling of surprise and pride felt when watching the progress of a child, realizing the hard work has paid off. The feeling is mighty nice.

Here is a little video of her reciting nursery rhymes. She can talk, I promise, but I think her mind moves a little too quick and her mouth can't quite keep up and she just ends up talking too fast. I have no clue where her tendency to talk fast came from.


Lets be honest, the girl can recite a pretty fierce Jack Be Nimble.

Tuesday, October 12

She Walks

Here is a little eye candy for my family. Please ignore the frightening way I look. We were taking it easy that day, I in my comfy clothes, never predicting my child would decide to walk before I had a chance to get cleaned up. How dare she. I decided to take one for the team in order to share this monumental day in Elsa's life.


Elsa will be ten months on Saturday. 


At ten months Elsa is such an independent girl, playing alone or with her sister all day, only coming and standing at my feet with a pitiful whimper meaning she is hungry or tired. She still love to nurse and sleep, though she wakes up occasionally in the night. When she is tired she cries and the only remedy is to lay her down with her blanket, which she normally covers her face with as she is falling asleep. 


She wants nothing to do with baby food, opting instead for the real stuff. Rice and beans is quickly becoming one of her favorites. 


Elsa has perfected fit throwing in the past couple of days, expressing her now found voice most often when Nyah takes something from her or when getting her diaper changed. I am suprised at how early she learned this but I guess it is a survival skill when growing up with an older sibling. Elsa is so feisty and full of smiles. We love you beyond words littlest one.

Monday, October 11

Lesson in West Indian Cooking

I drove down the bumpy dirt road in the Jeep Saturday to attend my first of hopefully many cooking lessons from my favorite St. Lucian woman, Christiana. Elsa loving received her middle name from Christiana who also goes by Chris. If you have never met someone from St. Lucia, you should. I have never met kinder people and any time I spend with George's parents always reminds me of this. 


In my time home with Nyah and Elsa I have tried to make a conscious effort to be more domestic. I find it really rewarding to take care of my family and a major part of taking care of a family is feeding them. If I am going to feed them I want to feed them good stuff.  George's favorite foods are without a doubt those cooked by his mom so I decided it was about time I learned from the best. I have very little cooking knowledge as my parents were making every effort when I was growing up to provide a better life for us and I was unfortunately not wise enough to learn from the women in my family who came before me, who hold our secret family recipes. Honestly, when George and I met I couldn't cook anything. George and I always laugh that I will be cooking like a West Indian as opposed to a Hoosier when I am finished. Luckily, I love the traditional food the people of St. Croix eat so I was more than happy to learn how it all comes together.


The day with my soon to be mother in law began with a good lesson in cooking rice (no, I cannot make rice and it's not pretty when I try) followed by a lesson making stewed goat, one of George and now Nyah's favorites.  I know, the things we do for love. Stewed meat is popular here and I am so glad I was able to learn as it is super tasty and can be applied to many different dishes.


Chris begins by washing and seasoning the goat then boiling the goat the night before to remove any fat. Here she is separating the meat from the fat after the meat spent the night in the fridge. 





Next we sautéed peppers, onions, parsley, garlic and an unknown herb from her yard which she called goodete`, I am sure I am spelling this wrong. 
We also added these tasty little green peppers, also grown in their yard.  
Next we added the goat to the veggies, followed by burnt brown sugar mixed with water to give the goat a nice dark color. I must admit, this was the last ingredient I ever thought went into the dish. Color is an important element when cooking with Chris. 
We then added some water and let the pot simmer on low. Finally we added some young papaya, again from their yard, to help soften the meat along with some tomato sauce. Check out this tree.
This dish then simmered on low during the afternoon of cooking and our wonderful conversations about family and Chris's days growing up in St. Lucia, cooking on coal pots, peeling her own rice, walks home from school for lunch, life with no refrigerator and cooking with her family. Here is the finished goat. Yes, the bones remain.
She also taught me how to  make beans to put over the rice, one of my favorites, salmon and a special blend of seasonings she uses which she blends together in the blender then adds to dishes when some seasoning is needed. 


She finally taught me how to prepare breadfruit, which of course is grown in their yard. Breadfruit is what is referred to as a provision here and is a like nothing I have tasted before, the consistency of which is somewhere between foam and a potato. Horrible description but a really tasty fruit.


Here is the breadfruit after being boiled in salty water, peeled and the center removed.
The feast that followed the hours in the kitchen was well worth the work. Everyone indulged, smiled, sweated a little and ate too much. 



This was one of the best days I have had in a while and I hope there are many more cooking lessons to come so maybe someday our girls rave that their mom's cooking is da best!
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