Tuesday, April 29, 2014


We took a walk today and I brought my camera to use my macro lens for what it was actually made for, for a change ;)  We have a little booklet on Hawaiian flowers, so I thought it would be fun for the kids to find these flowers and identify them in there. Also, I think I'll get some of these enlarged and frame them for artwork in our house!


Monday, April 28, 2014


Two weeks left! The hotel life just started really getting to me yesterday. It took Casey half that long, haha. We're ready to get into our house, we have some good ideas for it and for our outdoor spaces and we're eager to get started! And to spread out, I'm not gonna lie. I am praying daily, though, that my own actions and attitude would remain outwardly joyful, even if my inward feelings vary, because we all know how Mom's mood sets the tone for the rest of the family, don't we??

So, while I'm excited to blog soon about house projects and sewing projects, for now, these pics of Waikiki life will have to do!

Every Friday night, there are fireworks on the beach. It's beautiful here, you guys. It was fun to get to use my camera at night, for a change!

Today, the kids and I went to Bishop Museum and bought a family membership. Totally worth it, the place is really big with several buildings to explore and the kids had a BLAST there. The science activity center was super cool, with a lot of eduction about volcanoes and Hawaiian plants and animals. We also saw the planetarium show. We didn't even get to the other buildings! They're excited to go back.

When we got back to the hotel, the Marine Corp band was playing in the courtyard! Super cool!
 That tree's name is Gus, by the way. He's famous ;)
 Annnnd, then it was quiet time :)
Off to the pool! Pray for us! 14 more days!!

Friday, April 25, 2014


This week, I strove to add some structure back into our lives, as much as is possible in our current situation. We were dealing with the typical behavioral issues that arise when kids' lives are undergoing great change and we knew that getting into a routine, one in which certain things are expected of them daily, would help. And boy, did it. We now clean up our rooms and do some school on my bed before going out each day. This is what that looks like usually:

 I had brought a few school things with us when we left Virginia, we hit a Goodwill store and got a few books in Colorado and when we got here, we found some books and games at Savers. Eventually our books/games suitcase became pretty outta control:
 So we organized it today! Much better.
 Having this suitcase organized really helps the kids find things to do other than watch the Disney channel ;) And of course, where Natalie is, the crafting usually is also. She was trying to look mad that I was taking her picture.
We've written some postcards, studied up on the turtles and penguins that we visit across the street at the Hilton, had spelling bees, made up Bible trivia questions while waiting for our food at restaurants every night, observed the vastly different wildlife here than where we've lived in the past, practiced magic tricks, worked on word puzzles, Natalie learned to play Sudoku on a restaurant kids menu, etc, etc ... and I call all of it "school" :)

I am eager to get into our house, though and get back into it for real! We aren't planning a summer break really--with our style, I find we all prefer the routine of our relaxed homeschool all year. I've ordered a book to start with some ancient history, Charlotte Mason/living books style. And I picked out a microscope too, we really cant wait to have some fun with that. We would like to get a book on birds of Hawaii and flowers of Hawaii too.

I met some of our soon-to-be neighbors at the park in our soon-to-be neighborhood the other day. They were so nice, one gal let me see her house, which is just like what ours will look like! Having a visual is huge when you've accepted a house site unseen, ya know? And they told me that our nextdoor neighbor and our across the street neighbor are both homeschool families! So that's encouraging.

We only have seventeen days left of hotel living, woot! It's been fun, though, actually. Of course, it's wearing on us in ways, but we might as well enjoy this while it lasts!

Monday, April 21, 2014

an update and a photo session

Hi, friends! I wish I could say I'll be blogging more than once a week in the near future, but I'm using a five year old Macbook that still runs like a champ, but is a bit slow at uploading photos from my camera. Until we get our big computer back, posting may still be sparse. You can always follow me on Instagram, though, at NikkiSchreiner :)

We're still bumming around the Hale Koa on Waikiki. Casey goes to work and the kids and I hit the beach, run an errand and do a some school. That will be the new routine for the next three weeks, when our house on Fort Shafter, which we decided to accept, is available. I was struggling with it for a few days, but we made a pros and cons list and the pros far, far, far outweigh the cons. It's centrally located, which is a big plus and the amount of space will be really nice.  Houses don't come big here and us being home so much, we do enjoy our space. the girls are going to share a room so that we can have a sewing/crafting room to get creative in while hiding the mess. I've pinned some fun ideas for that and they're excited.

Change of subject, I really want to share some of the maternity photos I took of my dear friend Jennica while we were in Colorado a few weeks ago. She's expecting her third baby and I was delighted to take these pics for here, I've never done a shoot like this before so it was extra fun.

Congrats, friend :) 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I'm baaaack!

Well, in case you've been wondering, yes, we made it to Honolulu and it is amazing and beautiful and we love it :) We are in the Army's Hale Koa on Waikiki and have hit the beach daily, it's amazing! We are still sort of half in vacation mode and half in work/new routine/find a house/buy a car mode. There are a lot of choices to make, especially about housing! On post or off, we just don't know what to do. In the meantime, the kids and I go to the beach as often as possible and yesterday I took my camera (the beach is not the safest place for a DSLR, ha!)

For my Colorado peeps who are experiencing snow today, I apologize in advance :-/

 A crab! It's so cute how they pop their little eyes up and swim sideways.
 We caught the lunar eclipse. Pretty cool.

So, we did find a car, a minivan, which we, like many hip young marrieds swore we'd never own, haha! But, they sure are practical for an area like we're in now. Easy in and out for the kids and easy for me to drive and park in crowded Honolulu. We pick it up tomorrow.

We were offered housing on Fort Shafter. It shares wall on both sides and has no sidewalks and no yard (like zero yard--there's a raised lanai in back and then a drop off into a jungly hill.) To play outside, the kids would be playing in the driveway, which is shared with three more houses, so them playing out there doesn't feel safe to me at all. But, the house is new and way bigger than they come here off post. And there's plenty of kids to play with. And we'd get to keep the money we've been saving for first month's rent and security deposit (which in Hawaii, is a LOT of money!) And Casey wouldn't have a grueling commute, which is rare here. Agh, but no yard! And shared walls, after what we had in Denver, that would be an adjustment. Zero privacy, really. We seriously do not know what to do. Do you share walls with neighbors?? If so, how do you make the most of it?? 

ALSO, eating is becoming a frustration. We have two mini fridges in our adjoining rooms. No meals are complimentary. Two of us don't eat gluten. I'm thinking about getting a blender (mine broke right before we moved anyway) so I can at least make a smoothie for breakfast (seriously, for all five of us to go to the breakfast buffet is over $40 per day. And that's just breakfast. We get per diem for food, but still...) There are a bazillion Asian food places at the mall food court, but most of the sauces contain gluten at those types of places. We had that today and now Natalie's stomach hurts. I need to go make a grocery list. Your thoughts and ideas would be appreciated, as we have at least three more weeks here in the hotel :)