Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Just for my family...

ServiceMaster really IS everywhere!!

Sidenote: My oldest brother and parents owned a ServiceMaster franchise for several years. It was an endless amount of work for everyone involved! At some point, we all "worked" for ServiceMaster either cleaning carpet, sucking up flooded basements or wiping away soot; oh the joy!

It just so happened that I had my camera sitting next to me (as it should always be) and was able to grab at it quick while at a stoplight. Ahhh, ServiceMaster!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Zoo - Revisited

For those of you who check my blog from time to time, you are likely wondering why I am posting zoo pictures again. Well, it seems that Dana was quite interested in taking a peek at the "insanely angry chimps" that I was telling him about from the last trip. But, much to his dismay, they weren't so angry. In fact, I am fairly sure that they were under some sort of a tranqulizer as they just had a glazed look to them and were staring out into oblivion. A drastic contrast from the crazy (and angry!) chimps from 2 weeks ago. But, I digress.

Anyway, it was a gorgeous Saturday and we had a great time. Really, if you (who live in Oki) have nothing to do and want a cheap activity, the zoo is fun for an afternoon.

Once again, my kids favorite place to be was at the petting zoo area. Even better this time, because they had cute little bunnies to play with.

Andrew and the "best bunny ever!"

Logan liked carrying this chick around in his pocket, until it decided to get a little more comfy and wiggled his feet around. Logan was not too excited about little feet scratching around his chest.

Josh has found his little piece of heaven; a bunny AND a chick. He was quite content to sit on this bench for at least 30 minutes while gently snuggling his new best friends.

He REALLY loved this bunny. He wasn't about to share it with the 200 other kids that seemed to be thronging to the petting area. It was HIS bunny. He was a bit heart broken when we convinced him to put the bunny down (and so was mom).

The "Wonder Museum" at the zoo was once again so much fun. The kids love it. It really is the best kids museum I have seen yet; and so cheap! 200Yen for adults and 100Yen for each child.

Oh, and the most important part...lunch! Okinawan Soba (the noodles, broth and pork/bacon slab), Yakisoba (Dana's favorite food on the island) and an "American Dog" which translates into a corn dog. Of course, who else on this earth batters and deep fries an already unhealthy food item to make it even better?! America! It was really really good though. :)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Flowers and a Clean House

So, I have been busy; really busy! Sadly, I am just not doing anything that is very exciting and "blog" worthy. I see that my frequency of posting is taking a nose dive pretty fast; sorry. I am trying! What can I say? I am boring. :)

ANYWAY, the last couple of days has been consumed with trying to get my quilting group on track with templates/patterns in hand. I planned a large get-together, made snacks, bought my fabric and convinced Dana to create a pattern of a sanshin for me for my quilt square assignment. Oh, for those that don't know, I need to fill you in on the quilt. It is an Okinawa Memory quilt. I have gathered 20 women to make 20 squares for a quilt. Each woman picked a theme (sanshin, sushi, taiko drum, dragon boat etc) and will make 20 identical 10x10 inch squares for the quilts. We have 6 months to complete our squares and then at the end of 6 months, we pass our squares out to the 20 in our group and in return get a square from each of them. In the end you have 20 different Okinawa themed squares to create a quilt from. Yay!

So, the last couple of days I have been busy with getting our get together, well... put together. :) So, after a busy and very productive several hours this morning at our get-together, I was beat. I dragged myself into the apartment awaiting the disaster zone that I had left it this morning. You know the scene, cereal bowls still on the table, couch cusions everywhere, blankets for the "forts" drapped all over the couch cushions, dishes in the sink and laundry waiting for me. Ahh, home sweet home. BUT, to my complete suprise I walked into a sparkling clean home! For a moment I was very confused..."what the....?" It seems that my sweet husband had come home during his lunch break, cleaned the house for me and then left me these beautiful flowers. How sweet is that?! How lucky am I to have such a thoughtful husband. So, thank you again Dana for being so great. You stayed up with me late into the night making a pattern for me and then came home at lunch to clean up. I love you!

Oh, so I bet you are all wondering about my nifty vase for my flowers. Ya, well...when you move as often as we do that collection of glass vases that you all have under your kitchen sink or up in a cupboard doesn't really exist for me. So, I improvise! Also, a note of interest for those home in the States...we can't buy gallons of milk here, just these half gallon cartons. Why? I have no idea. Ahh, the good life.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Flea Market

Every weekend on one of the bases a flea market can be found; a glorified garage sale. Anyone that knows me is well aware that I am NOT a morning person and their is little reason for me to get out of bed of my own accord before 7 a.m.

Well, the flea markets here are entertaining enough that even I am willing to rise by 5 a.m.! I know I know, it is shocking but take a moment to check these pictures out and you will see why.

Ok, so this is how it works. You go to Outdoor Rec and get a "permit" for a parking spot. You then arrive well before the sun rises and get to your designated spot. Open up the trunk of your car and start pulling out the goods! Now, by goods I in no way mean "really good stuff." The locals here are very, VERY excited to buy anything American and even better if it has seen some use. Got a half bottle of Bath and Body Works lotion you don't want anymore? Sell it at the flea market! How about that really worn out t-shirt that has a few tired seams that your husband doesn't want to be seen in any longer; sell it at the flea market! How about nursing pump you no longer need? Sell it at the flea market...but be very prepared in how to "mime" the actions of how to use the pump to 25 Okinawan men that have never seen such a thing. Warning: your pride may tank.

Point, is don't throw stuff out, someone will buy it. Oh! But have your plastic grocery bags available because your buyer will be verrry disappointed if you don't have one for her/him.

Alright, back to the pictures. It is 6:30 a.m. now and we are all set up. There are rows and rows of cars in the parking lot just like this. Rebecca and I shared a spot and you can see her half way down on the right side (click on any picture to make it larger).

The buyers are not allowed into the flea market until 7a.m. sharp. They are anxious. The gate opener in the blue shirt should be afraid. For his life. Seriously.

Ha! See?! They are excited! The whistle was blown, the gates swung open, the blue shirted guy has been trampled and they are off! Look at all those happy faces! Lotion! Shirts! Breast pumps, here we come!

Well, the shopping has been frantic and I have more 100yen coins than what I know what to do with. So, if I just head out of that gate that the poor guy lost his life too, I will find this nice food vendor waiting for me! Now, I know what you are all saying. No way, would you eat at a vendor in the states that had a "shop" like this! What, you don't like the broken down furniture, falling over shelving and stockpile of water (I think) bottles? Well, in the States, I wouldn't have either..but here, well now-that is a sign of good food!

And look at it! Cooked fish (whole with his eyes still in), mixed up rice stuff, some kind of yellow thing-the goods! But wait...oh, I see something! Soba!! YAY! I love soba!

200Yen for a steaming bowl of soba you say (or, I think he said something like that)? You bet! Yummo! Soba, miso broth, fried egg strips and green onion. Ahh, comfort food in a styro-foam bowl.

See, doesn't that look great?

Thursday, April 17, 2008


The Okinawan people are great. They have gone out of their way to accomodate all of us Americans living on their island. They are courteous and polite and it seems that for the most part they are "ok" with us being here.

I am always amazed at how many (read:all!) of the Okinawans speak english. I surely haven't worried about learning spanish while living in the states but the Okinawans all seem to know at least a little (if not A LOT!) of English. I praise them for this...good job and thank you for making my life so much easier here. :)

BUT one of the fun cultural differences here is at times, words get lost in translation and whole new phrases are born! Here are a couple of pictures of some recent finds.
Well, yes...I do agree!

"Happy" and "Winter"...do they really belong together? Not in my book!

This one was very creative and I give the sign maker an "A" for effort. By the way, the food pictured is curry with sliced goya and rice. I LOVE the curry here! It is like a rich, sometimes spicy and oh so flavorful stew, always served with rice. It is delish! Dana likes it even more than I do. Now, to just get the boys on board! Goya on the other hand is a very bitter fruit/veg/something that I just can't seem to enjoy. Though, a good Okinawan friend here assures me that she can cook it for me in such a way that I will LOVE it! I am willing to give it a shot, but unless it is covered in A LOT of chocolate, I just don't know if it is going to happen. :)

Ahh, now THAT is my kind of sign! "Happy" "Food" and "Therapy" now..does that mean that food is good therapy and makes me happy or that because I each SO MUCH food to be happy that now I need therapy? I guess either would apply. *grin*

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Okinawa Zoo

I bet you thought I wasn't blogging anymore, didn't ya? I can't believe how fast this month is flying by, and I haven't had the time or energy to blog! By the time night rolls around, I am completely done for the day.

This week was no exception. It was a spring break and a gloriously busy one at that. The kids had a great time! Four of the six days, they spent considerable time on different beaches, one day was dedicated to the zoo and the one day spent at home was filled with catching up on homework and projects; whew!

This post showcases several pics of the zoo. Rebecca and I wore our kids (and ourselves) out with a fun filled, and hot day at the zoo. I had heard mixed reviews on the zoo, but all in all we had a great time. The "wonder museum" is awesome and similar to the much loved Cleveland Childrens Museum...but better and only 100Yen per kid! The grounds were beautiful and the animals...well, as long as you moved past the insanely angry chimps that like to throw "poo" (yes, you read that right) on you to make you stop staring at them then it was "A-ok!" It was interesting (and sad) that the large animals (chimps, lion, bear etc) had extremely small cages while the coi fish had a large lake to call their own. The "petting zoo" area was the kids favorite, so here are several cute pictures of the kids having some fun.

Josh and his favorite "chicky." I love how this picture shows the brightness of his blue eyes.

Josh found a "squatty potty" just his size.

Who knew that washing hands could be so fun?!

Gorilla climbing.

Welcome to the zoo!

The zoo had all of these cute little "walking signs" to follow and be excited about! :)

Andrew loved the chicks.

A rare picture of Mom and Josh, thanks Rebecca!

No worries here, the chick is not dead, just asleep. Apparently, Logan is a chick-whisperer.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Dana and I have mentioned several times over the course of several months that we love the age the kids are at right now. They still need us, but we actually get to sleep at night! Andrew gets up in the morning and pours himself a bowl of cereal while putting a "living scripture" movie on for his brothers. Logan is so eager to learn and be all grown up, but with about 5 minutes of tickling his face while being snuggled he is sound asleep. Joshy is at the absolute best age right now. I love 2 year olds! They can be so full of mischief but the majority of the time they are just cute and fun. Their personality truly shines.

So what is a mom to do when she is done adding to the family, but LOVES the age her kids are at right now? I cannot come to any conclusion on this one; wait for grandkids I guess.

I have to register my kids for school tomorrow and while some moms may be jumping for joy, I seem to have a heavy heart about it. I don't like sending my boys out into the world-not even kindergarten! I love having them in this protective, sheltered and innocent little haven called home. But again, what is a mom to do? Kids have to grow up right? Ahhhh, the dilemma of it all.

So, with that said, here are some pictures of my boys taken this past week. These pictures, and the moments that come with them are exactly why I wish they would just FREEZE and stop growing up. I love em'!

At what other time in your life can you run around the house with swords in your underwear (and 2 more in the back of his shirt) and it is COOL?!

Logan, my animal lover, "rescued" this snail from certain death in our parking garage. He loved watching him crawl/slither/slime his way down the hall.

Some days are just so darn busy that Joshy has to grab a nap anywhere he can get some peace and quiet. Can't find his favorite blanket? No problem! A cushion will do.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday Dana!

I wanted to take a minute and dedicate a post completely to the man I love most in the world. Of course, I know all the reasons that I love you, but I just thought I would let my small "blogging world" know them as well.
*You are the most gentle and kind person that I have ever met.*You are always calm, even in the middle of the "storm" and that calm soothes me.*You have always treated me with respect.*When I take a much needed "break" on some random evening, I always come home to a clean house and happy kids.*You play with our children.*You love our Heavenly Father and strive to please him.*You always CTR.*You are the spiritual leader in our home.*You are never gruff with the boys, always kind.*You take those few extra minutes to explain to the kids a "better choice" instead of just being angry with them.*You take time seperately with each of our boys so that they know "you love them best."*You are respectful to your parents.*You give everyone the benefit of the doubt.*You always listen.*You never yell.*You have taught our boys to be respectful and have good manners.*You always support me.*You always love me, even when I am grumpy.*When I am grumpy, you give me time to take a nap :).*You are funny.*You always make everyone around you feel important.*You serve your country with pride.*You are always eager to learn.*You let me "freak-out" about something and then you talk some sense into me.*You love your family.*You are always honest.*You truly do care about the people you see at work.*You are always striving to be better in any way that you can.*You put up with my over-protective parenting.*I can trust you 100% to always keep our kids safe.*You do Andrew's math homework with him and take the time to really help him understand what he is learning.*You give Logan "homework problems" at night and make him feel so smart for coming up with the right answer.*You rock Joshy at night when he has had a bad dream.*You continue to be a man that I love being married to and look forward to eternity to spend with.

You just turned 33, so there are 33 reasons why I love you-though I could easily come up with 33 more. Thank you for being all that you are to me and our children.

Andrew was so proud of his dad when he graduated dental school.

Logan is Dana's "mini-me" and loves his daddy more than anything.

Joshy follows his dad everywhere he goes and is quick to jump in his arms for some snuggle time.

I love you Dana! Happy Birthday and thank you for making these last 10 years good years. Not always easy with all the moves, challenges and "adventures" we have taken, but always good and filled with love, hope and togetherness. You're the best!