Thursday, August 26, 2010

I Read Blogs...

I think I read a lot of blogs. I don't just follow them I actually spend time reading them. I read about 8 faithfully and then bounce around about 5-10 others when I have time. How come lately I am beyond frustrated with what I read? I am about to quit half the blogs I follow because they are putting me in a bad mood. I can't just get up and walk away... I want to do something about it. For one blog I want to send the parents the book/parenting class program "Growing Kids God's Way!" They claim to be a "religious/Christian" family but are blowing the basic principles outta the water. Another blogger would receive the book "How to Win Friends and Influence People" because all she does is bash her friends and hate the world, nothing in it is ever right. The last blogger I am beyond frustrated with would receive the book "Why do bad things happen to good people?" and also "Purpose Driven Life". From ashes comes victory, mourning turns into dancing. Don't get me wrong, I love people. I have a passion for helping people, but I too am human and my sanity level is dropping w/ age.

I will not send anyone books, don't be looking in your mailbox for "love mail"; instead I've decided to honestly pray for them. Take the time I would be reading their blogs and ask God to bless them, to encourage them, for them to see what God is truly capable of... giving them a life of freedom. I figure if I can take those moments to pray and bless others than I will no longer be frustrated and stressed, I take the focus off me and back onto God and His purpose, the plan He has for me anyway.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I love these displays at Sanae… it’s a department store, similar to Sears but more upscale! More Like a Macy's but with tools, computers, appliances, and even a food court! Oh... pardon me! Caleb insists that I mention it also has a huge gigantic game room! (similar to Chuck E Cheese minus the annoying Mouse, what is nice parents send their kids over there to keep them occupied while they shop! I love it!)
The sell Spam and Corned Beef Hash in gift boxes! Apparently they sell like crazy during the holidays and as house warming gifts.They also have other bizarre odd gifts I'll take more pictures of them later!
An easy way to exchange Yen into Dollars is to move the decimal to the left 2 places. Then add a little bit of Dollars b/c the exchange rate is horrible right now!
Refrigerators for sale at the Sanae!

I love the doors and drawers. All of their products are so energy efficient and convenient. Of course if I kept this frig for too long I’d stock it and forget where I put things so I would have to label the outside to know what was where! A Sign at the bookstore inside Sanae… I love the Fairy Tails! Wish I knew that the sign actually said...

Book found in the above bookstore… I love the cover and would love to read it just because the picture is so awesome! If anyone can find it in English… send it to me!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Random things I've notice on the nationals...

Things I've observed and sometimes question about the people of Okinawa~
  • They don't wear sunglasses. It's blazing sun all the time and they don't wear sunglasses. I physically cannot see without my sunglasses it's so bright here.
  • They cover themselves up in the heat, they wear long pants, long shirts, hats or a lot of scarves (maybe they read Amanda's tutorial on how to wear a scarf and they wanna be fashion trendy?), and my favorite socks w/ sandals (flip flops most of the time!) I know the dangers of sun rays, but it's so HOT! We, Americans, stand out, not just because of our skin tone but also b/c we are wearing shorts, tank tops and still sweating profusely and they are full covered and appear to be cool as a cucumber!
  • When they mow or use the weed whipper they look like men who tend to bees! All covered up with head gear and all. Strange sight compared to the lawn mowing services in America w/ plumbers crack and wife beaters for shirts!
  • They remove their shoes whenever you enter a home, in certain restaurants and businesses. I even see them without shoes outside, but their feet are never dirty. What is their secret? And will it work on my grimy boys?
  • They believe that the traffic light is still green and you can go through it up to 4 seconds even after it has turned red. Thus, one must drive very cautiously!
  • And last but not least... you almost NEVER see them drinking sodas, it's either water or fruit juices! Mark says it's because they've never had good Cream Soda!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Ethan and his Zhu Zhu Pet

Okay, relax this posting isn't about Japan.
Aren't you relieved...

Here goes, many of you know or have heard me talk about my SIL (sister-in-law), Mark's brother's wife Amy, not a cousin or related to the family accept by marriage, but there are from Kentucky! Amy and Chris have 4 children. Their first born son, Ethan, who is the third born child is struggling with potty training! I kept telling Amy boys are the worst, don't bother they'll figure it out (I am speaking from experience here, don't worry I am a professional boy potty trainer, and I have the certificate to prove it!) So here they go...Ethan has two older sisters and a cousin (my Katie) who loves Zhu Zhu pets. He can't get enough of them. So Amy and Chris got this brilliant idea to bribe Ethan w/ a Zhu Zhu pet. Ethan does pretty good going #1 on the potty, but #2 is a No-Way-Jose kinda thing. The deal was when Ethan goes poop on the potty, just one time mind you, Ethan will get a Zhu Zhu pet.

They bought his Zhu Zhu pet early July about the first to be exact! This Zhu Zhu pet has sat on top of the fireplace mantel since then. They even brought it out to Mom and Dad's (when we were visiting this summer) in hopes that my boys and Katie could convince him and encourage him to face his fears and earn his Zhu Zhu pet. It was a no go, he simply refused. He wasn't gonna do it for 100 Zhu Zhu pets!

Just this week, my Ethan earned his Zhu Zhu pet! It was only about 6 weeks after they bought it for him. Yeah, I think they honestly had a party for him! The next day after earning his Zhu Zhu pet Amy asked him "Let's go poop on the potty?"

Ya know that that lil' stinker said, "No thanks, I already go my Zhu Zhu pet!"

All I can say is he got his stubbornness from the Francis side of the family!

But then again, I am the favorite AUNTIEEEEEEEEEE!

I think I shall send him some Ninja Zhu pets for Christmas, we'll show those girls huh!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

School.... It's amazing.

Yesterday we, meaning me as Mark was at work across the island, registered the kids for school. Truth be told, I only got the boys officially registered. I still can't believe it, my heart aches... they are middle schoolers. Can't wrap my head around that one. I swear I just walked them to kindergarten last week. But here we are in a foreign land registering for MIDDLE SCHOOL.

Bet you're asking how'd it go... awesome. The boys are going to STATE OF THE ART brand spankin' new school; okay, it's 3 years old! After getting lost returning from the immunization clinic that had pierced my sweet children each with a shot plus a PPD test we arrived in stellar fashion at the school. Greeted by the Principal and head registrar we were off to a great start. Paperwork, people complain in the states about paperwork, I've seen nothing like it since arriving here. We've killed a small rain forest just w/ paperwork. After it was all said and done we got a 60 minute PRIVATE tour of the school by the Principle himself. What a wonderful man, it was such a blessing and relief to my boys spirits' to hear, see and learn from the leader of their new school.

We even got to pick their electives. Caleb in going to be in chorus (the first grading period anyway) and Seth picked band, a brass instrument. What immediately flooded my mind at that point: How in the world am I supposed to buy/rent a musical instrument in this country when I can't even get from one location to the other w/o getting lost?! Mr. Principle assured me it would be fine, then he showed us the music room. It's lined with instruments on every wall, every cabinet, hundreds of them. "We provide the instruments for the students" he said ever so calmly. I about passed out. Really a school that provides instruments, they even have a recording studio. And don't get me started on the computer labs, the science rooms, or even the plethora of resources available to every student.
Friday, we venture off to Katie's school. Where she will for the first time in her life get to walk or ride her bike to school EVERYDAY! She's beyond ecstatic about that and "I CAN'T WAIT!" She's a 5th grader now, not sure how that occurred. She was wearing a dance tutu and pig tails last I remember.

.....disclaimer: The first of these pictures is from the boys entering first grade and Katie entering kindergarten. I cannot find the boys kindergarten pictures. But I promise, I've already scrapbooked them! This last picture is Katie days before Daddy's first deployment, she was only 3! :(

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Housing... Oh how I love thee!
I read many military spouse blogs, many of which are often about housing. After reading them I honestly think, surely things aren't that bad. The shoes is on the other feet now and lemme tell ya they stink. We are only in the beginning of our housing drama so I will do my duty and fill you in from time to time on our progress.

As you know we arrived on the island exactly 12 days ago. We arrived on a Friday, we had a housing meeting Monday morning. At which time they informed us that we would receive a call by the following Monday, with an offer of two houses to look at. The housing capacity is at approximately 92.6%. Translation out of the hundreds of houses we have in country, only about 3 are not lived in. We'll offer you two, then the one you don't pick will offer to the next sucker (sorry I mean Marine) and then the last one left goes to the next unlucky soul. When we submitted our housing paperwork in March, yes March. We were told the housing was at only 20%, and getting a home would be super easy and we'd get our pick. LIARS!

Moving forward to this week. On Monday, Mark went to work. If you know Mark you are aware of his cell phone abilities or rather habits. I began calling him when I woke up at 8am to make sure he answers the phone and that he keeps it w/ him. WHY would I request such a thing! Because that number is the ONLY number housing has to get in contact w/ us concerning a house. And they said they would call on Monday. In my book if you say you are going to do something, something as important as tell someone you have a HOME for them you are going to do it! Well after 2 hours of hearing nothing but Japanese on Mark's cell phone I took the bull by the horns and did something about it. Bet, you are wondering why Mark's phone is in Japanese, Duh... were in Japan and I can't figure out how to set up voicemail (not that it would even matter, Mark doesn't check that either!) Did I also fail to mention that at a later time I discovered Mark's phone was in his car turned off the entire time I was calling him! Lovely 'eh?!

Back to the bull horns... "Come on kids, we are leaving."
"Where are we going mom?"
"We are gonna find us a house!"
"Yeah, I want my own room"
"I hope it's big"
"Can we help decide too, I want to paint my room!"

So off we went. First we went to the wrong base in the wrong direction trying to find the housing office. Luckily on the said wrong base I was able to drive the wrong way into the gas station to find nice Marines laughing at me and asked them where the housing office was located. They tilted their heads to the left and replied,

"Um, Ma'am you are on the wrong base! It's over on Courtney, you are currently on Foster!"
"Okay, how do I get there?" (legitimate question right?!)
Here's my answer "blah blah blah blah blah turn right at the big crown sign, blah blah blah continue straight until you see the bull fighting ring, blah blah blah and then make a left into the gate! Got it?"
"Yep, sure do thanks" as I make a exit through the entrance.

Okay kids, lets look at the map. 90 minutes later we arrive at the housing office. Okay maybe I should tell you I didn't exactly go directly there. Bunny trails, lots and lots of bunny trails that I didn't mean to take and got me all turned around and I was lost on the island. Apparently I should have stayed in Girl Scouting longer to become more proficient in my map reading skills!

We've arrived. Praise the Lord. After sharing my nice story about our morning adventures w/ the hippie looking old dude (who did tell me he graduated HS in 1972 and has only been on the island 3 weeks) he informed me to return at 9 am tomorrow and they will have 2 houses for us to look at! Yeah, another victory for my persistence!
"Okay kids let's call Daddy!" Because a Marine wife can do nothing without her man. I was 'told' he had to be there for the housing offers. Which means I have to get a hold of him, so he can inform the unit of his early am meeting. I tried calling Mark again. Nothing by a Japanese lady talking a hundred miles a minute. But I did hear "Arigato" which means thank you right before she hung up.

Let's recap. I can't get a hold of Mark on his cell phone. I have NO other contact numbers for him. All I know is what base he works on and his unit. The phone books over here do not list unit information. What's a girl to do? Find her way right... off we shall go!

Mark works approximately 30 minutes from the base we were on (which by the way is one of the bases we should be offered a home!) Let's go kiddos. So I read the map (better this time I might add!) and off we went. We make it to Mark's base in approximately 32 minutes. Not bad, I was pretty stinkin' impressed w/ myself, and I didn't hit, run over or make a wrong turn not once. (I am patting myself on the back right now!)

Okay, now we are on Mark's base. It's a lot bigger than I had thought. Lets find some Marines, they are so good at giving directions. "Look mom, there are two!" We stop them, ask them if they know where said unit is. The look of shock and disbelief over took them. I was slightly concerned for a minute thinking... Oh crap am I on the wrong base again? I wasn't Praise the Lord. They told me right where to go, keep going straight the building will be on your right. "Thanks Marines!" And off I drove... slowly the speed is a whooping 25 kph. (translation that's about 15 MPH)

Caleb found the building. Katie found Dad's car. Seth, I think was thankful to just be there. We walked inside to be greeted by a Duty NCO. I asked for Mark, by proper rank and name of course. I got another bewildered look. He calls on the phone.
"Um, Ma'am he's in a meeting."
"Okay, can you just tell him that we came and he needs to call us!"
Seriously what I was I expecting. The Marine Corps cannot function without him, he's a very busy man with lots of responsibilities. It's okay, just make sure he calls me. A second later the door opens, "Daddy!" scream 3 little kids (who really aren't so little!)

The shock on his face was priceless. "What are you doing here babe?"
"Well, we got some news about housing and you needed to know ASAP for work and well, lets be honest! Where's your cell phone?!"
"In the car!"
I knew it... so I tell him about the meeting. He brings us behind the prison doors and we get to see his office and met his boss! Great man by the way. 20 minutes later we leave, we meaning the kids and I. Mark still had to work, remember he runs things now. We arrive home in 32 minutes, I didn't get lost once. Thanks for the vote of confidence.

I'll continue the housing saga.... stay tuned for more details.

Oh I almost forgot... bet you are wondering why I kept getting all the weird looks once I was on Mark's base. No I did not have ketchup on my shirt and yes I did have matching clothes on! It was because it's very RARE to see spouses or kids on this base. It's "working base" the only people who live on this base are single Marines who live in the barracks. And the fact it is 30 minutes from the closest base that houses families. So we were in fact... an odd site to see.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Streets of Okinawa

Sad to say we arrived over 10 days ago on the island of Okinawa and I have yet to post on my blog. I should be flogged but thankfully none of you can find me to do it! So lets begin from the beginning...

We arrived under the cover of darkness. Our amazing sponsors drove us to our hotel room. It was filled with goodies, lots of food! Yeah US! We hit the bed not too long after and the next 10 days have been a whirlwind of chaos, fun and sleep!
I'll recap for you in true military form:
  • Had a housing meeting, told us to wait a week and see if they have anything for us!
  • Still sleeping in hotel.
  • Hotel is a Japanese hotel, everything is in Japanese... did you know none of us speak or read Japanese! More on that later.
  • Went to the commissary, about killed us getting there we took all back roads and then were asked. Do you remember how we got here? Ummm NO!
  • Went to take the drivers test! I panicked and felt like I was 16 all over again. Thankfully we passed the test!
  • Went to the newcomers briefing that would explain life on the island to us and explain the "ropes" for us newbies! They took a 8 hour briefing and told it to us in 4 hours! They talked faster than a speeding bullet. What did I take away from the briefing... suicide kills, don't do it. Be very cautious of the waters they are super dangerous, and oh the scuba diving and snorkling is some of the best in the world. One more thing, don't drink and drive. They told us that about 500 times... okay I got it.
  • Found my friend who was lost since elementary school... we haven't seen each other since HS. She just happens to be stationed here w/ her husband and kids. Perfect, and instant family! LOVIN' IT!
  • Bought two cars in less than 24 hours. Talk about stressful... the steering wheel is on the wrong side and you are NOT allowed to test drive cars here.
  • They gave me a drivers license and a car within 24 hours... in a foreign country where they all drive wrong! This make NO sense to me at all!
  • Got stung by a jellyfish... should have listened more at the briefing, those waters sure are dangerous!
  • Finally got some sleep, we are officially on Okinawa time.
  • Got lost twice...
  • Went to church twice, two different ones. Think we may have found a church home... going back next week to check it out again. Yeah, we really need to get planted somewhere.
  • Boys went to Boy Scouts... loved it. Now looking for a troop closer to our home, not 45 minutes away!
  • Kids swam in hotel pool too many times.
  • Ate out toooooooo many times but WOOW it all tastes sooo delicious!
  • Japanese TV stinks, especially when it's all in Japanese. Although the kids think Disney channel in Japanese still rocks. I am now insane... you'll find me w/ Mickey Mouse ears living in a shoe box on the corner rocking back and forth singing "won't you be my neighbor!"
  • I would post more pictures but the internet will not allow me to do so. Check out our photos on Facebook.

This is a picture of us driving down the street. You can see the crystal blue water ahead. That's the China Sea... where sea creatures lurk to sting cute ladies named Colleen.

Until next time... we'll be snorkeling and cruising the streets of Okinawa in style, praying we don't get lost again!