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Friday, October 3, 2014

Five for Friday

1.  Well, looks like we're counting down now!

2.  I'm glad we got an answer.  I feel like we're moving into a brand new chapter of our lives and I think this is a really good (albeit scary) thing.

3.  It'll definitely be a whirlwind for the next few months, but we can take on anything.  I promise!

4.  Maybe now we can actually relax when we go to Kauai!

5.  For now, let's enjoy our island and our football games this weekend :)

ily <3


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Getting to Know Hawaii: Paradise Cove Luau


The Need to Knows:
  • The Paradise Cove Luau is located at 92-1089 Aliinui Drive, Kapolei, HI 96707.  It's exact location can be found here:
  • Paradise Cove is open every day except for October 31st and December 15th from 5PM to 9PM.
  • There are three luau packages available: Hawaiian ($88/adult, $78/youth [ages 13-20], $68/child [ages 3-12]); Orchid ($119/adult, $105/youth, $92/child); and Deluxe ($153/adult, $137/youth, $124/child).  All prices are from the Paradise Cove website; keep in mind there can possibly be deals found elsewhere, particularly if you are kama'aina and/or military.  Infants 3 and under are free.
  • If you are driving yourself, make sure to get there at 5pm to beat the tour buses.
  • For more information, check out their website at www.paradisecove.com.


Back when my dad and my brother came all the way out from Alabama to visit me and Mr. L, they were dead set on checking out a luau (my brother's first and my dad's second).  Since my dad had already experienced Germaine's Luau, this time we decided to treat them to a different luau that we'd heard lots of good things about called Paradise Cove.



Paradise Cove is in a beautiful location right next to the famous Ko'Olina Lagoons on the west side of Oahu.  It's actually super easy to get to and find and the parking is plentiful (always a big plus for Oahu!).  We arrived a little bit before 5PM (before all the tour buses got there), turned in our ticket vouchers that we purchased from our ITT office on Pearl Harbor, and got in line and waited for the luau to officially open.  Thankfully it didn't take too long to get in after we arrived and we made our way onto the Paradise Cove grounds with a complimentary Mai Tai in hand.


Mai Tai line (alcoholic and non-alcoholic options)
Sitting at our table
The first thing we noticed after we found our table (the seating is assigned here, unlike Germaine's) was all the activities available to the luau guests.  This was actually probably my favorite part of the experience.  It felt very interactive and fun, especially when all three of my guys decided to participate in some good old-fashioned spear throwing!



There also may or may not be video footage of my brother and Mr. L being forced to do the hula...however, they'd probably kill me if I posted it here!  :)

Other activities that Paradise Cove offered were lei making, pictures with parrots, a short canoe ride around the lagoon, and .  It was definitely a great set up to keep kids entertained and I could see why many people had suggested this luau if you were bringing them along.

The cove where you can take a quick canoe ride
Lei-making

Parrots!
There were also demonstrations of various things like how to open a coconut.  The performers here were very entertaining, even well before the actual show part of the luau began.


After the spear throwing, my family and I decided to walk the grounds a little bit.  We made our way over close to the water and gazed at the gorgeous Oahu coastline while the sun began to sink towards the horizon.  It was beautiful!





We then moved on over to an arena-esque area where the pig was roasting whole in traditional Hawaiian fashion.  As we sat and relaxed, more and more people walked over to sit down, and then the presentation of the pig began.







After some initial dancing and an introduction, two men moved the pig out of the pit and brought it around the arena for all of us to see.  



By then our stomachs were seriously rumbling and we were ready to eat, so shortly thereafter the buffet lines opened.  Since we had gotten the mid-tier seats (Orchid package) through our local ITT office for a great price, our group was the first to get in line for our dinner.  Thankfully there were three lines so they moved pretty quickly.  Light music played during dinner (which was pretty delicious with a variety of items -- menu can be found here) and then the entertainment officially kicked off!


The performers were fantastic throughout the show.  They did a few different kinds of hula, sang a Hawaiian wedding song, and even invited audience members up to learn how to perform a hula which is always popular.  The best part of the show were the fire performers though.  They're always incredibly impressive and everyone always seems to be amazed with their talent!







My family and I had a great time visiting Paradise Cove for their luau.  I definitely saw why they come highly recommended from lots of people, even people who live here who have hit up plenty of luaus in their time.  With that said, there were some things I wasn't a fan of.  I really didn't like that they nickel and dimed you when it came to the drink selection.  Water was free, but even sodas cost drink tickets (or six dollars cash) which I felt was a little silly.  The tickets should be reserved for alcoholic drinks like how the other luaus do it.  I also wasn't too big of a fan of the assigned seating, but it didn't bother me as much as the drink situation.


However, we did enjoy ourselves, the food, and the show, so if we ever have family or friends come to visit us in our short time left on island and demand a luau, Paradise Cove will definitely be a serious contender!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Five for Friday

1.  I'm definitely happy we got an answer.  Now we can start at least attempting to think and plan ahead!

2.  Baby news is the best!!  I'm so happy our family is getting a little bit bigger and I can't wait to shower that kid with love and presents!

3.  I'm crossing my fingers that today goes well!

4.  I think we are going to have a fun and busy weekend for sure!  I'm excited to see the Blue Angels perform :)

5.  We also need to get on putting together this furniture pretty please :)

ily <3

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Real Healthcare is Nothing Like Grey's Anatomy

This blog post was originally written a few months ago around the beginning of summer, but I never took the time to finish it and put it up after getting my initial thoughts down.  In light of recent news on this front though, I decided to post it to catch you all up on what's been happening with Mr. L's situation.  It's not terribly optimistic so I apologize in advance for that.

~*~

Mr. L is now officially starting the medical board process.  For those of you who don't know, a med board (MEB) is basically what happens when a servicemember has been injured or taken ill while on active duty.  The Navy decides through a board if the servicemember can be declared fit for full duty once again or separation from the military is the best course to go.  The board also decides what sort of disability rating the servicemember gets if separation is imminent.

So for the next stretch of time (I'm unsure as to exactly how long), we will be attending many appointments to prepare all of the documentation needed to be sent to D.C. for his board.  We aren't happy -- how could we be? -- but we are both slowly accepting that the military may not be the right place for Mr. L at this point in time.  That in itself is such a weird thing to say, though.  The military is all he's ever wanted, so how could we have even gotten to this point at all?

Here is a funny Liam picture to cheer you all (read: me) up while reading this post.
 If there's one thing we've learned throughout the past year-plus through this process though, it's that real life healthcare is not like an episode of Grey's Anatomy or House.  Doctors don't give a crap about "figuring out" your condition and trying to "fix you."  They don't give a crap about solving your puzzle of an illness.  They just want to get their payout and maybe prescribe you a little medicine to tide you over while they move on to the next patient until their day is done.

Don't misunderstand me -- we've had some great doctors helping us through this situation.  Mr. L's PCM has been so wonderful to us and a lifesaver for our morale.  The ophthalmologist we saw for a couple of months back last year was genuine, kind, and always made sure Mr. L had a direct line straight to him for emergency purposes (which led to him advising us to head to the ER for an MRI over a year ago now after his eye pain became crippling migraines).  And his acupuncturist has been so patient, kind, and willing to listen whenever he needed to express any thoughts or concerns.

At this point, however, it's just hard for us to remain positive and hopeful, especially after our (third) neurologist informed us that Mr. L's condition isn't a neurological issue, which couldn't be farther from the truth.  It may not be diagnosed at this time, but it is DEFINITELY neurological -- most likely a cross between trigeminal neuralgia (or another kind of neuralgia) and cluster headaches.  Trust us when we say that we will be attempting to find a new (this'll be the fourth, if you're keeping count) neurologist if it's at all possible -- healthcare for active duty is so restrictive sometimes.

Yes, that's Lila in a t-shirt.  I don't even know, you guys...I'm probably losing it.

But now we wait.  We're praying we get some kind of good news that we can hang onto during this process and that it comes sooner rather than later. I guess we'll see.  Until then all good thoughts and prayers are very, very welcome!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Roasted Parmesan Zucchini

I've noticed I have a severe lack of go-to side dishes in my arsenal.  Sometimes Mr. L and I just get stuck in a rut where we have the same thing a few times a week.  He doesn't mind the routine so much, but I do not like it at all.  I need to shake things up a bit sometimes!  

I've always had a soft spot for zucchini, so I knew that it would be super delicious just simply roasted with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and, of course, cheese.  I've found that I have to keep my side dishes simple or I just won't bother most of the time.  Thankfully it doesn't get simpler (or yummier!) than this dish!



Ingredients
  • 2 zucchini, quartered and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and place your zucchini pieces onto a baking sheet lined with foil.


Drizzle olive oil over each piece and then sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese and the amount of salt and pepper that's to your liking.


Bake the zucchini for about 15 minutes and then serve and enjoy!


Are you a zucchini fan?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Five for Friday

1.  Yay for snuggles!

2.  I'm hoping we're both over being sick.  That's been no fun!

3.  I'm glad you had a great mid-week game!  It was a little weird having it on a Thursday but it was actually a really good day :)

4.  I'm also glad you like the chicken dip!  That way I don't have to eat it all myself, haha.

5.  I love that you've been loving my cooking lately.  It makes me feel great!  :)

ily <3

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Seven for Sunday

1.  I guess we'll know in a few weeks what the word is from D.C.  Let's keep our fingers crossed!

2.  We definitely should watch more documentaries together.  I know a couple that might interest you!

3.  You're so sweet for taking the dogs to the groomer for me so I could watch football.  Thank you!

4.  I'm glad we have each other, especially during disappointing news.  I'm getting more and more ready to move back to the mainland :\

5.  I still hate you for getting that drop this week.  Lol, congrats!

6.  I'm glad we're talking about taking a relaxing vacation together.  You need a stress-free weekend with minimal go go go activities!

7.  I guess we both knew that you'd eventually get me sick.  Thanks for taking care of me though :)