Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Yesterday, I got on the scale and was very excited to see I now weigh what I did when I got pregnant with Wyatt. Quite frankly, I was beginning to think that was an impossible goal. I actually dreaded getting pregnant because I had grown up with the idea that after you have a baby, that's pretty much it for your body. I'm not exceptionally image-conscious, as is obvious from my lack of make-up and fancy clothes, but I do care about being a healthy weight. This weight thing, though, hasn't been my focus over the last few months. It was more a happy outgrowth from our growing good exercise habit.

Back in December, Oliver and I had a talk about what was keeping us from committing to working out regularly. We'd made a goal before we moved here to get back in shape, and his schedule is such that that is very possible, but we didn't do much of anything the first few months here. We hashed over incentives and maybe a competition, but couldn't find something that would motivate both of us (we've done stuff like that before and failed for the same reason).

Finally, we decided to take a harsher route. We made a rule that we couldn't use the computer until we'd worked out. It is in effect Monday through Friday, with the option of swapping a day out for Saturday. Or, you can just forgo using the computer and not work out, although that hasn't happened too often. We didn't quantify what type or how long to workout, although it needs to be more than walking to the park or the store. That takes all of five minutes here.

This is by far the most effective thing we've ever done. Whether that is a commentary on how addicted we are to computers or not, I am loathe to investigate, however, we are still working out almost five months later. In the beginning, I quite honestly was only working out because I wanted to use the computer as I was exhausted and had aching muscles from being so out of shape. Now, though, it's become part of our day. I always take lunch time to go because Oliver is typically home for about an hour and a half. Then, when he gets home, he'll go workout while I make dinner. We also haven't turned on the Wii Fit to do anything but weigh ourselves and track our time, but in the beginning, we used it almost every week when we were too tired to run outside or go to the gym.

So, losing the weight has been fantastic, but I'm most happy about building exercise back into our day. That's got to be the hardest part about exercise, at least for me. When it's a habit, I enjoy it very much. I feel so much better now, and I can finally run a mile in less than ten minutes, something I have always wanted to do. I can still tell I gave birth twice, but that's ok. Some sacrifices are totally worth it.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pumpkin Time

A couple weeks ago, we went to a craft fair in North Andros (the same day we visited Morgan's Bluff).  There were a lot of interesting things for sale there, and maybe one of these days I'll get around to blogging about the rest of it, but the best thing I found was in a small tent in the middle of the fair. A couple women were selling fruits and vegetables that had been grown on Andros:

fruit and veggie stand

There were selling everything from jalapenos to pomegranates, but what I walked off with was quite exciting for poor vegetable deprived me:


These beauties, a couple cucumbers, and a type of pumpkin I'd never seen before:


Over Halloween, I was disappointed that the only type of pumpkins they got were the jack o'lantern kind. They were also $12 a piece. I bought a couple when they were half price after the holiday to give pie making a try, but the result was pretty tasteless. The only other choice was canned pumpkins, which just aren't the same as sugar pumpkins. This pumpkin was only $3, and looked like it might taste pretty good.

Tonight, I finally got around to cooking it. I saved half of it to make a pie, but used the rest in soup:

pumpkin soup

I used a recipe I usually make with butternut squash (shockingly, there were leeks at the store today, a first for our time here), but it seemed like it was lacking something. The pumpkin had a different flavor, as expected, so I decided to throw in some nutmeg, too. I never would have thought nutmeg, garlic, and cheddar cheese would work, but it did.

After dinner, I picked through the guts and washed off the seeds. I spread them out to dry, and am hoping I'll be able to grow some of my own for this fall. I also saved a few of the green pepper seeds. I am already growing some from seeds I bought a few months ago, but I want to give them a try (assuming they weren't sprouted from a hybrid seed). Heirloom seeds from Andros would probably fare a lot better than seeds from another area. They have had time to develop resistances to the bugs and other things out here.


Stay tuned: the gardening saga will continue.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sometimes, It Pays to Call Ahead

There is a dental hygienist that flies in a couple times a month to take care of routine care. For anything else, we have to fly to West Palm Beach. March is the month all of us need to have our teeth looked at, so we had scheduled dental appointments for today. Wyatt's was first, at 10:15. Oliver doesn't come home for lunch until 11, so mine was later, as was his. He always takes the car to work, which is typically no big deal because I either don't need to go anywhere or can walk because everything I need is a five minute walk away.

However,we woke up to rain today. It rarely rains all day here, and it almost always rains at night, not during the day. Oliver took the car today, anyway, because he has a decent distance to go to get to work. I figured the rain would stop soon enough, as it typically does.

Unfortunately for me, it didn't. In fact, it intensified. When it was time to go, it was coming down pretty hard, so I outfitted Wyatt in his rain coat, and put a jacket on Oscar to mollify him because he really wants a rain coat, too (although it really wasn't cold enough to need one). My plan had been to put him on my back in the Ergo and use the umbrella, but I could not for the life of me find it. I also couldn't find the rain cover for our jogger, which was put who knows where when we moved, plus we were running late, so I finally just put Oscar in the jogger, pulled the sun shade over him the best I could, and braved the elements.

We were drenched by the time we got there, and ten minutes late, but we made it. I was concerned our lateness was an issue because I noticed the dentist room was dark (you can see it from the front door of the clinic), but when I went to talk to the receptionist, I discovered it was something else completely: due to the bad weather, the plane our hygienist was on had been diverted to Nassau and no one knew when it would return to Andros. Sigh.

So, I left my number in case she showed up and wanted to reschedule for tomorrow, and dragged us back home in the pouring rain. Oliver got back soon after and we discovered the missing umbrella was in the car the whole time. Definitely not the most useful place for that.

At least it's warm here. I don't mind being rained on so much when it's nice out temperature-wise.

Belly Casts? I Don't Get It

 Click the pic to find a wiki explanation.

I was bored and linking around to random blogs when I came across a horrifying (at least to me; I seriously had my stomach flip over when I saw this) post about someone's belly cast. I've never seen one of these before, and I'm still wishing I'd passed on this one. Is this some new trend or something, or have I just managed to miss hearing about it?

There are a lot of things I kept from my first pregnancy, like the book full of random stats like my fundal height that I know Wyatt will never care about. I even hung onto his cord when it fell off to horrify Oliver when he came home, but we promptly tossed it afterward. Granted, a belly cast isn't in the realm of disgusting like a dried up cord or eaten placenta (wow, not even going there...), but it's still pretty freaky.

I can understand taking pics of your growing belly. I didn't do much of that, but it was more because it didn't occur to me than anything else. I actually told Oliver near the end of my pregnancy with Oscar that I wanted a final shot of me before he came out. Later that night, my water broke and we didn't think of it again until it was too late. I do think it's a tad strange to see people updating on their blogs every week what their belly looks like, but I also wasn't a glowing pregnant type, so I don't want those pics in the public view, haha.

What, though, do you do with a belly cast? You can't exactly frame it, so do you put it on a pedestal like a dress form? Tuck it in the closet behind your clothes with all the other random stuff you want to keep like your childhood doll collection, yet have no room to display? Do you decorate the nursery with it? Do you use it to feel good about yourself when you lose the weight? Do you think your kid might want it when he's grown?

I don't know, I think I missed the train on this one. And I'm not sad about that. I'd love a pic of my mother pregnant with me, just to see how my own pregnancies compared. I would not love to have a belly cast of her. It's too weird. I did love being able to be pregnant, and the outcome was certainly fantastic, but I wasn't one to enjoy the experience nearly as much as others, so maybe that is why I can't understand this. If anyone has some insight, I'd love to hear it.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Update on the Garden

We are growing things here, and it's a lot of fun. Container gardening is not nearly as labor intensive as traditional methods, so it's also been a lot of sitting around and waiting, but we are starting to see results:

jalapeno and thyme

Remember these? They have been thriving in the bokashi. Only one thyme plant survived, but it's growing gangbusters, so that's ok. I'll probably plant another one at some point. The stuff around the plants is actually dead flowers and leaves from the tree near our trailer that has been the bane of my existence lately. I went out to clean it up again several weeks ago, and it struck me that the stuff would make great mulch. So, I piled it up outside our shed, and have been using it to great success.

The below picture shows off my biggest excitement about these plants:

That little flower is hopefully going to turn into a jalapeno in the coming weeks. There are about ten more little buds growing on both plants, so I'm crossing my fingers we will be enjoying them in chili this summer.

The basil is also looking great. These two plants having been providing enough of the herb for a meal or two a week. One of them keeps trying to flower, so that's been a pain to keep up with, but it's worth it. Wyatt likes eating the leaves right off the plant, so I let him have it every so often. Number 10 cans work really well for stuff like this. I'm using another one in the house to grow lettuce, and it's a perfect size for that. I think I do need to put these on a tarp or move them into the grass, however, as they are leaving rust marks on the concrete. The one inside isn't rusting out like this. We have very high humidity here.

This next picture is of the raised bed I built. I brought some wood over on the plane back in January to do this. I had to do it in two foot lengths so it would fit in our bags, so it's smaller than I want, but I have enough to build another onto it when I have enough bokashi to start it. The back piece was actually one we found in our shed when we moved in. I think it was leftover from when they built the stairs.
main garden
What's growing in the box are two bell pepper plants in front, a recently transplanted tomato in the back left (I started it long before I had a place to plant it outside, so it's a little worse for wear right now), and a couple squash seeds just starting out in the top right. Wyatt planted those, and was very excited to see them sprouting this morning. I plan on making some kind of support with rope attached to the back of that tall piece of wood and the stairs behind it, then draping the vines and tomato plant over it when they are big enough to need support. The box on the left are our chive plants, which are coming along nicely. They are finally getting big enough to harvest in greater quantities, so we'll be doing potato salad soon, I think.

Inside the box is mostly bokashi, with a layer of manure compost on top. The store had some for sale about a month ago, and when I discovered it was only two dollars, I bought two bags. It's been a pain to find enough decent dirt to cover the bokashi like you are supposed to. Now I don't have to do that anymore, plus it gives the plants a little extra nutrition. The bokashi seems to be breaking down really well. I left it for two weeks after putting it in there before planting the tomato and seeds. When I dug into it, I almost couldn't tell it had once been a bunch of food scraps.

Finally, to show I don't always grow just for eating, we have the flower seeds I won at a baby shower soon after moving here. I let Wyatt plant them, and we've called this plant his ever since. I had thrown out the packaging right after we planted them, and quickly forgot what they were called. When they came up and tried to climb all through our blinds, I looked them up and discovered we were raising a black eyed susan plant. It's having fun on our front porch, also in a number 10 can:
Flowers on the porch

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mail Call...Or Not

This computer thing is turning out to be a real headache. I finally went with Dell because supposedly they ship to FPOs, while Apple does not, nor does just about anyone else. Also, they had the system I wanted at about $400 off, so that was hard to pass up. I don't think I want to switch to Apple just yet because it's a bit of a learning curve for me at this point, and I have no way to quickly find the software, etc. that I need in order to make it work out for me. We will probably replace the laptop with an Apple, though, whenever that becomes necessary. That way, it's not something we rely on and can have fun learning on. I've been using PCs ever since my dad brought one home when I was ten, so old habits die hard.

Anyway, I ordered one no problem, then started getting emails asking for this and that. Apparently, they will ship my monitor, but not the CPU. You know, the thing I actually need. I've been going back and forth about it, but finally decided to use ShipitAPO to get it. I'm not thrilled about it because it's going to cost me a fair amount more to do that, plus I've never used it before and this is an expensive test drive, but short of flying to the States and trying to find what I want and bringing it back myself, I don't have another option. Dell gave me some more grief about that one, but right now, they are supposedly building it, and I'm waiting for a shipment confirmation.

 Thankfully, we've been able to get most of what we need without all this drama up to now, and I'm relieved it doesn't have to take a tortuous route to get here like most military addresses overseas do. I am just crossing my fingers at this point that all works out. There's really not much else I can do.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Picture Pages, Picture Pages

Yesterday, we decided to watch the latest CES Fireside for church. Wyatt was bouncing all over the room, so I told him to find something quiet to do while it was on. He decided to draw, so Oliver and I gave him some church-related ideas instead of the typical disaster and bad guy drawings. We had recently acted out most of the Nephi/Lehi story, including the boat journey, over the last couple of Sundays, so we focused on those events. This was by far my favorite of the bunch:

When I asked him what it was, he told me it was a picture of Lemuel holding a broken bow. The circular object is the Liahona. He informed me that it had stopped working because Lemuel was being bad. I'm not entirely sure what growth is on his right leg, but I love, love the ears.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Morgen's Bluff

I have got about three different posts going through my head, so be warned I am going to spew a few out that aren't exactly in order over the new couple of days. We did something a little different this weekend. There was a craft fair up on the northern side of Andros, so we took a drive to see what it was like. We haven't gone all the way up there before because everyone here keeps telling us we need a guide to find stuff, and there isn't much to find. However, since we can't seem to hook up with anyone going up there, we figured this was the perfect time to do it ourselves since there was actually a definite destination for us to reach.

The craft fair itself is not the subject of this post, although I will talk about it later. After we got bored there, we drove around to see if we could find Morgen's Bluff. From what I understand, it is supposedly where the pirate Captain Morgen paced looking for ships. We were having no luck finding it (it's very true you need a guide to be sure of where you're going - there is next to nothing in the way of street signs here, so you kind of have to pick a direction and hope for the best), so we'd headed back to the main road to go back home when Oliver missed our turn. Happily, we then stumbled upon the road that appeared to go to the bluff (if what we found was indeed Morgen's Bluff).

Here's the road we drove in on. Pretty much all the side roads look something like this, adding to the difficulty of finding stuff. I loved the trees; there were kind of like pine trees, very unlike the very dense mangrove forests we have in Central Andros.

Basically, it was a huge chunk of coral that jutted out into the sea. We weren't exactly prepared to climb coral rock, which is a very prickly, grippy surface, but we did it anyway. Oliver was in flip flops, so I think he had the hardest time, but we managed to get us all up there in one piece. I'm so glad we did, too, because it was beautiful up there! We're definitely going to have to take another trip up there with a very thick blanket, some proper shoes, and probably jeans, and have a picnic. It was also, as most things in Andros are, deserted of all people, which was another plus.

O and I
 It was windy up there! Here Oscar makes it clear what he thinks about all that wind, and you can get a sense of how rough the coral rock is by looking at the texture of it behind us. I never realized coral can get to be like this. I always thought of it before as tendrils, but Andros itself is pretty much made of the stuff. That's why the beaches here are so white. Coral makes perfect sand!


Here's a shot down the length of the bluff. Where I was standing was where it joined the main island. The rest is surrounded by water. Definitely a great place to watch for ships.

I took this looking down at our car. We weren't terribly high, but it was interesting getting up there while carrying Oscar. Luckily, coral is very easy to climb.

We thought this was a cave, maybe a pirate hideout, but no such luck. It's just a deep hole worn into the side of the bluff. Although, maybe a couple hundred years ago, it was something more interesting...

The water here is so amazingly clear! I know our oceans are being polluted at an alarmingly high rate, but it's nice to find such clarity still exists out here.

I couldn't resist adding this one. This is Wyatt's latest picture taking pose. I am building quite a collection of pictures of him in this same pose in various places. It never fails to amuse me how quickly he assumes it when the camera comes out. At least he's still willing to let me take his picture! Oh, and the hair, yikes. We tried to get it cut this Friday when she takes walk-ins, but a squadron of helicopters are here for a bit. That means lots of action in the skies, but a long line at the barbershop. Maybe we'll have better luck next week.

The whole shoreline there is covered with concrete blocks, in what appears to be some kind of erosion control. We had some fun climbing on them, although it made me nervous when Wyatt was jumping around. There were deep open spaces between them, and I could see him getting very stuck in there. It would have taken a long time to get help to him, so I finally convinced him to get down and do something a little safer.

After Wyatt got down, Oliver climbed between one out of curiosity. He then managed to lose a sandal while standing on one of the lower blocks. I figured it was a goner, but he actually managed to snag it with his toes. He had me a little worried when he remarked it reminded him of a time he'd gotten stuck on the submarine trying to retrieve something in the outboards, but he was fine.

We had perfect weather for this little trip. It's been a little on the cold side lately, but Saturday was beautiful. So far, I'd say March is a great month to visit the Bahamas. It's too windy for most of the bugs, and the sweltering heat and humidity are tamed. There are some chilly nights, but for anyone coming from a real winter wonderland, it will be very comfortable. 


Our boys ended our trip by doing what they love best these days: throwing rocks. The water was unreachable from here, but they thought it was hilarious when they managed to shatter one of the smaller chunks of coral rock on the huge wall here. I think I almost got whacked in the head, but it was nice to give them free rein to go crazy. Boys need that sometimes.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Things You Never Think Of Until You Live In The Middle of Nowhere

So, it appears I have a serious memory problem with my computer. I picked up a nasty virus a few days ago, ended up reformatting my computer just in case I hadn't gotten rid of it completely because I didn't want to take any chances, and now can't seem to do anything high performance without it crashing.

Now, I'm sitting here wondering what the heck to do now. It's not like I can just drive to the nearest Best Buy and have them run a diagnostic on it, which is what I would have done if I could. My computer is nearly five years old, which is old in computer land, but I know I could nurse it along if I had the resources to do so. The type of RAM it takes isn't even used in new computers, though, so buying new RAM in the hopes that is definitely the problem (as it appears to be as far as I can tell), is a risky proposition because I can't just run back and return it and try something new.


We actually have three computers right now. One for each of us, and a laptop that Oliver used to take on deployments. It was never meant to handle heavy online stuff because he can't go online in a submarine, so we just use it when we travel or when Wyatt wants to play games and we are using ours. So, on the outside it looks as if I should just have a good cry and let it go, but we're a little addicted to our computers. This is especially true now that we live in the middle of nowhere and the internet is often our only connection to civilization (I really wonder how people did it out here before the advent of the internet).

Truly, I love living here, but it is so not fun when these kinds of things crop up. Although, I've wanted a new computer just for all the new stuff that came out, so on the plus side, I know I can talk Oliver into buying one now. Although, much as I want to try out a Mac, this is probably not the best time for that.

Decisions, decisions...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Yay for Libraries!!

So, remember that Sony Reader I won back in January? Well, we received it around Valentine's Day, as well as a $100 credit for books. We picked out a couple books to try it out with, and were happy with how it works. The thing I had been most hoping for, however, was to be able to check out ebooks.

There are several competing readers out there these days. The Kindle is the one people all hear about, but I was surprised to discover that the only one that is compatible with what your library has available is the Sony Reader. I'm going to put my money on the Sony for this reason only, and I hope it wins out in this war (or the other Readers rectify this issue).

I went to try this out right away. Unfortunately for me, I had tossed my library card in the move. Oliver still has his, but he's never used it online. We actually used to use mine for pretty much everything as I was the one who kept tabs on due dates online. So, we emailed the library and  begged for his password and the ability to use it online. Nicely, they sent the information, and I gave it a try tonight.

Two ebook downloads later, I'm so excited about this! This is huge for us. The only "library" here is a room full of books that you can borrow (or keep, as no one monitors it), or leave some of your own. That's it. There is no librarian, nor a budget to buy new books. So, if you want a book, you pretty much have to buy it. Now, we have another option I thought lost to us while we lived here: the library!

I will give Sony a free plug for this one. If you are in the market for an ereader and are considering another one, don't buy it. Get the Sony and use your library. Trust me, you will be grateful (although maybe not as much as I am right now, haha).

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Oh, Yogurt! Oh, Yogurt! Wherefore Art Thou, Yogurt?

I went to the store yesterday and was so excited to find this in the cooler:


I brought it up to the checkout stand only to have the woman tell me it hadn't been put into the computer yet, so she couldn't sell it to me. She told me to come back tomorrow when it would be ready. So, Oliver went in today to buy a couple tubs for me, and there were none left.

I'm so frustrated about this! It's rare that I find something like this that is what I was once used to buying in the States. Yogurt has been especially hard because almost all of it is made with high-fructose corn syrup, something we don't eat. I also refuse to eat the nonfat kind as it is way too thin for my taste. The only things I've seen here were either nonfat or the flavored kind with corn syrup. So, no yogurt for us.

I used to use yogurt a lot. Not so much for eating, but I kept a tub of the whole milk plain stuff from Stoneyfield on hand to use in pancakes and other things. I'd buy this vanilla kind because it was one of the few Wyatt and I will eat (although sometimes I'd pick up some more exotically flavored varieties sans corn syrup for Oliver). I was hoping to use this as not only something to eat, but a starter to make my own plain yogurt.

It appears, however, that I'm going to have to order some starter and go from there. I've been resisting that because the stuff is so expensive, but desperate times call for desperate measures. And next time something like this happens, I'll wave some money in her face and beg her to just let me take it home. You just can't let stuff like this out of your sight here!