Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween + Our Pumpkins

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Are you having a spook-tacular Halloween? I am, clad in orange and black with a posse of pumpkins awaiting dusk downstairs. I've carved a pumpkin each year as far back as my memory reaches; it's a tradition in my family. As soon as we started dating, it became mandatory for Jarrod to carve one too, and now every year we craft a pumpkin for Conan as well. This year we got massive pumpkins from the patch and it was quite a lot of work to gut and carve through them, but they look great! And now we have a ridiculous amount of pumpkin seeds to roast -- I've got a batch in the oven right now!
 
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This one is mine. I got the free pineapple pattern here and added the "Hawaii."

 
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Jarrod made a tiki man.

 
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And we carved a Charlie Brown and Snoopy pumpkin for Conan.

 
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He helped! :)
 


I think we made the right design choice!
(image source)
 

Monday, October 29, 2012

My Birthday in Pictures

10-27-12 Lindsay's Birthday
I celebrated my "golden" birthday on Saturday -- 27 on the 27th -- and had a fantastic weekend. I worked at the library all day Saturday (where I stuffed my face on birthday cake), so Jarrod and I went out to dinner afterwards.

On the way home, we learned that Hawaii was under a tsunami warning following a moderate earthquake in Canada, with the first wave predicted to hit in two hours. We got home and turned on the news, then I promptly stuffed my face with a second birthday cake. (This was our third tsunami warning in three years, with little effect on Oahu the previous occasions, so we weren't too concerned.)

Yesterday we went parasailing over Waikiki. It wasn't as thrilling as I had imagined but it was really fun and the views were gorgeous. I'd say this birthday was a success -- I got to devour two cakes and cross something off my Hawaii bucket list, and Mother Nature even decided to spice things up with a tsunami!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Furry Friday: Conan Meets a Seahorse

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When my mom was here, we took Conan to the dog beach on base and Jarrod found this super-cool little guy -- our first seahorse!
 
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He'd gotten stuck in some shallow water when the tide went out, so after we took his picture Jarrod put him back out in deeper water. We felt so lucky to add "seahorse" to the list of amazing wildlife we've seen in Hawaii!
 
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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Conan's Canine Lymphoma: Rough Patches and Sunny Spots

IMG_1473Today Conan receives chemo treatment number seven and he's doing really well. His weight has stabilized, we've cut his prednisone dosage back to one pill every other day so he has astoundingly more energy and pep, and he's hardly had any chemo side effects the past two weeks. He's been much more playful, trotting along on walks and running to his heart's content at the beach.

But we went through a major rough patch at the beginning of October. We had always figured the doxorubicin would give us the most trouble and, oh, were we right! It's the most dangerous, harsh drug of Conan' regimen and he actually had to get a cardiac ultrasound prior to the treatment because doxorubicin is known to cause heart failure. It can also leave permanent, unhealable tissue damage if it leaks out of the IV.

We were nervous going into the treatment but relieved coming out -- the vet said Conan did great, and he came home and wolfed down his dinner. All was well until Saturday morning when Conan ate breakfast, then promptly puked it back up. Things quickly went downhill from there. He threw up several times, refused to eat and hardly drank any water. By Monday morning he hardly had the energy to move off his bed and we were certain he was dehydrated.

Off to the vet it was Monday morning, and our fears were confirmed -- Conan was in need of fluids and his blood counts were approaching the dangerously low mark. In the end, the vet recommended we hospitalize him until his condition improved, and poor Conan stayed at the vet for three days and two nights (with a lovely price tag of over $1,000). Adding to our stress was the fact that we were supposed to be heading off for our Kauai vacation on Tuesday morning! We debated whether to postpone the trip, try to leave later in the week or just go, and ultimately we chose to go ahead with our vacation. The vet assured us that there was nothing we could really do by staying here, and the friends who had planned to dog-sit Conan were amazingly kind and flexible about the whole thing.

Next week is week eight -- the second doxorubicin treatment. Our vet said she plans to use a lower dose this time (I was thinking 50% lower might be good but she plans to decrease it by 10%) and at least now we're prepared for what might happen. And there's a light at the end of next week's tunnel: Conan will start the every-other-week portion of the chemo plan. It'll be so nice to have more of a break between treatments, both for Conan and for us!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday

Aloha and happy Wednesday! It's crazy to think that in three short months I won't be able to start my WIWW posts with "aloha" anymore, since I'll be shivering and bundled up in sweaters and fur-lined slippers and electric blankets in Ohio. We have grown to absolutely love Hawaii and it's going to be so hard to bid our tropical paradise aloha, but such is the military life. And moving to Ohio does have some pluses -- I'll finally get to wear my boots and scarves and cardigans!

We've done so much during our three years here, but we still have quite a long Hawaii to-do list. My mom was here for a wonderful week-long visit and we had a great time lounging on the beach and relaxing -- something Jarrod and I don't do enough of! I'll be posting some pictures from my mom's visit later in the week.

For now, here's what I wore:
 
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My mom was taking some pictures of us after we watched the sun set at the beach Saturday night and Jarrod thought it would be fun if we attempted a dorky magazine photo shoot pose. We plastered on some massive smiles and I threw my head back in a semi-real guffaw... and surprisingly, it actually made a pretty natural-looking, rather cute picture!

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If you ever visit Oahu, you should check out the swap meet/marketplace at Aloha Stadium (where the Pro Bowl's played) on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. The parking lot around the stadium is filled with vendors selling souvenirs, handmade crafts and food, and cheap jewelry! When Mom and I went on Sunday, I got some chocolate-coconut cookies, two necklaces, a Hawaiian-print apron, a wooden sign, a knockoff Prada bag and some barbeque sauce and fresh sliced coconut for Jarrod. It was quite a shopping spree!

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Here's the other necklace I bought at the swap meet on Sunday. It'll be perfect to bring some Hawaiian sunshine to the dreary Ohio winter in my future!
 
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Monday, October 22, 2012

She Picks Pumpkins At The Seashore

One of my favorite things about Oahu is that, though we have no fall weather to speak of, it's home to the best pumpkin patch I've ever been to -- Aloun Farms. Acres and acres of pumpkins -- miniature, regular, giant and white -- are ready for picking off the vine, along with corn and sweet onions.
 
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Here's Jarrod perusing a tiny section of the pumpkin field.

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We found some prime specimens!
 
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Since it's our last Halloween here, we decided to splurge on a giant "king" pumpkin.
 
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In all, we have nine pumpkins from the pumpkin patch and an assortment of gourds (in the leaf bowl) from the grocery store. I'm looking forward to carving our three big pumpkins next week for Halloween -- one for me, one for Jarrod and one for Conan!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday

Aloha and welcome to my extra-long WIWW post, which has two weeks' worth of outfits! To celebrate Jarrod's return from Afghanistan, we took a wonderful trip back to our favorite Hawaiian island, Kauai. We relaxed, we beached, we ate ice cream. And now my mom is here for a week-long visit. It's shaping up to be an awesome October! I'm looking forward to posting more about our Kauai getaway once I have time to sit down and look through all the (800+) pictures we took!

As always, I'm linking up with The Pleated Poppy to share in the WIWW fun.
 
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None of the pictures of this outfit came out great, but I really wanted to show off the lovely necklace I bought at the Coconut Festival on Kauai! 
 
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Yesterday we took my mom to one of our favorite spots on Oahu -- Laniakea Beach, a.k.a the Turtle Beach, on the North Shore.

Monday, October 15, 2012

My Week in Pictures

10-09-12 Kauai 2012
Jarrod and I got back on Tuesday from a wonderful eight day getaway on Kauai and I hope to post more pictures of our favorite Hawaiian isle soon. My mom just arrived yesterday for a week-long trip and I'm sure we'll follow up our amazing time on Kauai with another great week!

1. This shot of Kauai's stunning Napali Coast was taken on our sunset dinner cruise.
2. Jarrod at Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.
3. Palm trees at the park where we attended the Kauai Coconut Festival.
4. Jarrod and I at Kauai's famous Tunnels Beach on the north shore. We had planned to snorkel here but a huge swell came in and the waves got to 30 feet high -- definitely not snorkel conditions.
5. How could I resist trying these candy corn M&Ms? They went great with my pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks.
6. Mom arrives!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Book Review: "The Maze Runner"

"The Maze Runner" by James Dashner
Book 1 in the Maze Runner series
First published in 2009
375 pages
My rating: 4 out of 5
(image source)

I picked up "The Maze Runner" because I heard several times that it's "Hunger Games"-esque. And I have to say I agree, though it's not as well-written, fast-paced or gripping and Suzanne Collins' crazily famous series.

Like "The Hunger Games," "The Maze Runner" is set in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic world, though at first readers are only introduced to the Glade, a perfect-weathered seemingly fairly happy self-sustaining community made up of around four dozen teenage boys. It might even seem idyllic except that the Glade is surrounded by huge stone walls with massive doors that close of their own accord at night, either to keep the boys in or to keep out evil killing-machine creatures called Grievers. Or the fact that the walls of the Glade are surrounded by a massive, ever-shifting maze that certain boys -- Runners -- spend hours a day exploring and mapping in an attempt to find an escape route. Not to mention that every 30 days a new boy arrives in the Glade via "the Box," a metal elevator-like contraption, with absolutely no recollection of how he got there or his life before the Glade. They boys refer vaguely to the Creators -- anonymous people who somewhere, somehow are running the show, who send supplies in the Box each week, and whom the boys know are watching their every move.

When Thomas, our protagonist, arrives in the Box, things in the Glade quickly begin to change and it becomes apparent that, good or bad, an endgame is looming. Will the boys solve the mystery of the maze, will they learn how they came to be in the Glade and why their memories were wiped clean? And how many boys will have to sacrifice their lives for this to happen?

While I ended up really enjoying "The Maze Runner," this book and I got off to a rocky start. We only see things through Thomas' eyes, and when he first arrives in the Glade he's completely ignorant of everything, including the odd and confusing slang spoken by the Gladers, and no one will give him any information -- therefore we as readers are in the dark as well. Pieces of information weren't doled out fast enough to keep my interest in the plot, and I may have given up on it had a friend not warned me that it was hard to get into. But I was glad I stuck with it -- it really does morph into a page-turner eventually.

There are currently three other books in the Maze Runner series -- two sequels and a prequel, which was just released, and a movie is in the works. I'm anxious to read book two, which I think will get off to a much quicker start than the first installment. And I have to pass on the recommendation: if you liked "The Hunger Games," you should definitely give "The Maze Runner" a try -- and don't give up on it when it gets off to a puttering, snooze-fest of a start!

Happy reading!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Furry Friday

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Aloha and happy Friday from Kauai! Today I wanted to share these two pictures I took of Conan right after Jarrod got back from Afghanistan at the end of last month. So sweet! And now I'm off to lounge on the beach... :)

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday

Aloha from Kauai! Jarrod and I decided to take a nice, long, eight-day getaway to celebrate his return from Afghanistan and I hope to have lots of cute outfits and gorgeous beachy pictures on my next WIWW post! In the meantime, here's what I wore last week:
 
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I wish I had on a colorful skinny belt with this outfit... but let me tell you, finding cheap skinny belts to fit around "child-bearing" hips is not always easy. Places like Forever 21 have tons of low-priced belts, but they're only big enough to go around my waist! Even the XL belts don't usually fit through the belt loops on my pants, and that always flabbergasts me a bit seeing as I'm a fairly normal size -- size 10! Since tucking in shirts seems to be a growing trend, a (hopefully inexpensive) child-bearing-hip-length skinny belt is on my shopping list!
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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Goodbye Afghanistan...

Goodbye Skype, goodbye cold bed, goodbye meals for one, goodbye deployment!

Jarrod got back from his six-month deployment to Afghanistan a week and a half ago, and I know I'm a bit late in posting these but I just had to share the sweet pictures from Jarrod and Conan's reunion.
 
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And here's us, oh-so-happy. :)
 
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