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Bula, Welcome Home

Incase you do not know my husband, I will fill you in on a few of his favorite things. Sitting in the massage chair in the comic book room with a stack of The Age of the Apocalypse series at his side, Warm apple pie with a heaping pile of vanilla bean ice cream, learning something new in the word, and successfully surprising me. Our honeymoon was a complete surprise, which was both incredible and faith-testing all in one. 

I am a bit of a control freak, just throwing that out there to be honest. Those who know me best will let you know how many lists I write in one day (In fact, last night while Oj and I were at a boxing match, I was scrounging through my purse nervously looking for a blank sheet of paper so I could make a grocery list for next week. It may be a little bit out of hand.) When I find out I am going on a trip, I begin making lists of things to pack and outfits I must wear and places I must go from that moment on. Usually it’s about a month in advance, but the situation is no different if there is 6 months notice. This is why the honeymoon presented a challenge Oj loved- all I knew was that it was 12 days and sunny. Sunny has always been too broad a term for me. Antarctica is sunny- in fact, thats the place you’re most likely to get a sunburn! I packed for tropical weather and enough clothes to last me a month, and awaited wedding night to hear where we were going.

Wedding night came around and he changed his mind, he was still going to keep it a surprise til’ “tomorrow.” So of course, first thing “tomorrow” I asked, only to be shut down. I didn’t find out where we were going until we had landed in LA and were walking through the International terminal (me with my ears plugged, i’m not ashamed.) And right when I unplugged my ears a man said to Oj “Oh wow, Fiji is supposed to be beautiful.” And that was that. 

Eleven hours later we landed in a dream. Bright blue water everywhere, carmel sands, and flowers sprinkled across every tree and inch of ground. After a beautiful helicopter ride we arrived at our resort, where some staff members were singing a beautiful native song and smiling ear to ear, dancing at your arrival. “BULA! WELCOME HOME!” Was all they said repeatedly, truly Fijians are some of the most authentically sweet people we have met. That started the first portion of the honeymoon- the relaxation and rejuvenation portion. We stayed in an over water suite that was both modern and comfortable with our own deck to swim from, snorkel gear, a glass bottom floor to watch the fish at night, and home made cookies left in a cookie jar every night. 

 Passion Fruit Iced Tea. Must. Find. Recipe. 
 Home! Villa 7

 Our own little dock

The whole time at the resort truly felt like I was staying at grandma’s house, if my grandma was an uber-modern uber-wealthy Islander with fantastic taste in interior design and a sophisticated palliate. I think i’m going to start over- the whole time at the resort was incredibly comfortable. Oj said it felt like an episode of cheers- every staff member knew our name. “Bula! Welcome to dinner Oj and Jill, you must be hungry, you weren’t at lunch!” (There is a 19 hour time difference between Fiji and California…we never adjusted.) That was the thing about it, the resort was tucked away yet so large and spread out. It was a luxury to be in such a beautiful place and only surrounded by about 6 other couples- we felt like we owned the island. 

 I need to do a segment just on the food- the reason I came home desperately needing a gym

My favorite day followed my other favorite day (I will be using the term favorite day a lot, it was just that kind of trip) Our third day there, there was a beautiful tropical rain all day. We ran to breakfast, got a massage and stayed in for the rest of the day reading, napping, and watching The Wire- our show for the honeymoon. The next day, we woke up and grabbed our snorkel gear and explored the ocean, swimming all the way to land to get a kayak, only to head back out and explore some more. This was Oj’s first taste of exercise on the trip, and of course he just couldn’t help himself. “C’mon! Don’t get lazy on me, we’re gonna loop around that island then double back. If you get tired I’ll just pick up the speed for us…”After a half hour of rigorous rowing, I promised him that I would pass out, fall out of the boat and drown if he made me go around another island. It was marital compromise that we turned around and got back in bed, but those times were so special out on the water.

 Every sunrise was this magical 

 I assure you, tea has never been as incredible as Fijian chammomile. We had it with every meal. 

 Oj through the glass bottom floor in our room

When it was time to leave, I decided Fiji truly was like a home away from home. Every morning and every night we got on our knees and thanked God for the people there, the beauty of the island, and that much needed time after the hustle and bustle of the wedding. Late nights being up at awkward times- having slept all the way through dinner, but now being wide awake for the wee hours of the morning-were spent getting to know each other better. We are brand new in marriage, and Fiji was the perfect backdrop to our beginning. 

Lets Talk About Toddler Talk

Oshiolema is a really smart kid. Super smart, actually. He started asking questions at 21 months and has grown more curious by the day! But as his vocabulary grew, it seemed that his annunciation stayed the same. And now, at 3.5 years old, he has a few speech struggles we’re working to address. My question is, what age is the right age to address speech?

5 Favorite Hotels in the World

It’s traveling season! This summer is busy for us, as always. I’m the trip planner in our family and few things get me more excited than researching to find a gem of a hotel for our trip.


Oshiolema talks more than just about any kid I’ve ever met in my life. He stuck strictly to “Dada” “Mama” “more” and “that” for a what felt like a long time, but once he hit 18 and 20 months old he whipped out this vocabulary that blows my mind every day. At 3 years old he’s more curious than ever and his questions and commentary warm my heart or make me laugh til’ my stomach is sore. (Unless, of course, it’s him saying ridiculous things to Keogena or asking me the same question 30x a minute.) I keep a little journal of the stand-out things he says that I just know I want to look back on when the house is quieter. While each “how come” feels like a brick on my back at times, I’m so thankful for the way his brain works and for the opportunity to hear the many thoughts in there. Here are a few Oshiolema-isms as of lately:

Gold & Graphite Favorites Part One

The first post I wanted to look back on for this week down memory lane is the recap of our Honeymoon. I originally posted this June 11, 2011 after a whirlwind nearly three week long honeymoon in Fiji, Australia and Bora Bora and my goodness, that feels like a lifetime ago! This post is one of my favorites because it’s like peeking into a little journal entry by my 21 year old freshly married self. We had been married for exactly two days when we arrived in Fiji and also, because we decided we were only going to kiss until marriage this was just such a precious time. Enjoy this peek into one of my favorite posts- the first stop of our honeymoon!