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Monday, January 31, 2011

The Past 48 hours....

I am often asked by my adorable husband what did you do today. So I thought I'd share w/ you what I've done in the past 48 hours... Listed in no particular order soooooo Hold on Tight!
I got a haircut,which is not easy to do! Then I decided I needed some piercings and color. Hope you like it Mark... K80 thinks I ROCK!
I've been trying for almost 3 months to renew my driver's license from North Carolina. It expires in 10 days! I've been doing everything online, thought everything was finished... then I get a form in the mail 2 days ago with all this paperwork I need to fill out!
Thus the eye exam... do you know how hard it is to get a simple eye exam for a drivers license.... IT'S NOT! But thanks to the very kind Corpsman at the clinic who took pity on me I did complete the mound of paperwork and got everything filled out and sent it Express Mail to NCDMV... I pray I don't get pulled over before it comes!
I've answered and written approximately 2,582 emails, that's a lot of running to the mailbox (especially since it's on another base!)

YEP, I got a mammogram, what gave it away?
And last but not least I've done lots of Boy Scout lashings, homework with the kids, drove to and fro swim team, bought 6 pairs of shoes (all the for the kids and Mark none for me Thank you!), attending the Yoron Adventure Camp meeting for K80, made 8 breakfasts, cooked 1 dinner, drove the expressway 3 times, talked at a MOPS meeting, chatted w/ my girl Maureen, talked to my mom on the phone, cried on the phone with Mark, tucked my kids into bed twice, washed, folded and put away 2 loads of laundry, ran the dishwasher twice b/c I put dirty dishes in with the clean ones, got a word from God at church, went to the bank, paid all the bills and got flowers from my baby!
What have you done lately?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Fairy Tale Romance

When I arrived home today in my inbox was this...

“Once upon a time, in a land far away…”

It’s how most Fairy Tales Start.

There’s a princess, a castle, a knight or a dragon,

and some important matter of the heart.

Then along the way, there’s a witch with some poison,

a greedy relative or “friend” with a plot.

There is pain, there is loss, effort and struggle,

as our heroin is overcome and distraught.

Now somewhere in there a hero emerges

with 7 little dwarfs by his side.

He may have a steed, or dragon or donkey,

but he arrives right on time, in full stride.

With a sword at his side and a kiss at the ready

he’s prepared all his life for this chapter.

With effortless motions he scoops up the princess,

and they ride away, “happily ever after.”

In many ways our marriage parallels

the aforementioned writ and prose.

We’ve had our pain and loss, our effort and struggle,

and always come out smelling like a rose.

Our roles switch around concerning who rescues whom

or who sweeps the other off their feet.

Our times apart are our biggest trials,

but our reunions are always sweet.

Our “little dwarfs” play their roles with their own attitudes

singing and “whistling while they work.

Sometimes their happy, or grumpy, or dopey

but they’re always quick with a smirk.

We don’t need to have a Fairy Tale life

or to have a life filled with laughter.

I only need you with your love and affection

to make me completely happy ever after.

Then the doorbell rang and I got these...

The flowers are so tall, incredibly beautiful. Don't ya just love that kitchen floor?!

I am so happy our lives are not the typical fairy tale, but it's our tale and it's amazing. I truly never dreamt life could ever be this wonderful. I am married to my very best friend, what more could a girl ask for?

Growth Charts!

I've never really been fond of growth charts, but since I had to measure my kids for some physical forms I thought I'd take a peek. Wouldn't ya know my kids are somewhat normal. Not all of 'em, but 2/3's of them are, doesn't that sound bad. I can make it sound even worse... my daughter's never been normal.

K80's still in 10% or less on the growth chart for weight, which is a huge improvement. She used to be in the 5% or less. So she's gained a few pounds. We also just ate a huge meal out so that may have something to do with it too! As far as height she's in the 50% range. Which is kinda shocking to me b/c she's taller than most of her friends and she's the youngest in her class so I think this chart is a little skewed.

The boys, hold your socks are you ready for this!
Caleb is 5 ft 3.75 inches tall! That's tall right... well he's 82% taller than his peers.
Seth is 5 ft 3 inches tall! Same thing but he's 81% taller than his peers.
I do not know their exact weight but we think we know where they are so that would put them at 50% so they are completely average with their peers.

They seem so tall to me. The boys have grown about 3 inches since we moved here. All their pants are so short. (Noah called he said the flood was over and he asked me to buy the boy some new pants!)

I do have to admit to the entire world that I have some super cute boys and a spunky adorable freckle faced girl. It was just yesterday that I was changing diapers and they weren't tall enough to climb into the van. Now they crawl outta the van b/c their legs are so long. Their little legs no longer dangle in the kitchen chairs. And we've now wear size 9.5 in men's shoes. When did they grow up? Who gave them permission? I love who their are becoming and I love that they are healthy and tall and beautiful... I love my kids!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Opps I slept at the movie theatre....

Today I took the kids to the movies. We met some friends there to watch the new Harry Potter film. I've never seen any of these movies and I haven't read any of the books. My kids however are beginning to. It all started with the these long plane rides from the states to Okinawa in August and then again back and forth again in December. There are only so many movies on the planes that are appropriate for kids. I finally gave in and allowed my kids to watch them. I had never allowed them to read the books or watch the movies for many reasons that I won't go into right now (maybe another post, we'll see).

So onto the movie, the first couple of scenes were quite graphic and creepy to me. I do not like movies like this. I continued to watch and tried to keep an open mind. Because I had not seen any of the previous movies I was completely lost. I didn't know the characters or anything about the movie at all. I have a tendency to bore myself to sleep when I am lost or confused. If I am taking a college class and the professor has lost me I drift off into lala land. If I am watching a movie and it bores me or I don't understand, out I go. I fall asleep in the car when I am the passenger b/c I don't have anything to do, and when I do pay attention to Mark's driving I go crazy. It's better on both of us if I just fall asleep. It's not always appropriate and sometimes this trait has gotten me into trouble. But I honestly cannot help it.

Today was one of those days, I tried hard. But I failed, I fell fast asleep about 30 or 40 minutes into the movie. I don't think I snored, at least Maureen wouldn't admit that I did. I got a good nap in and I felt much better after the movie was over. When I asked my kids about the movie, they said "they were somewhat lost but it didn't matter is was pretty good." Allow me to translate... they didn't like it. They did however all agree that the snacks were good!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Message from Mark...

Below is an email that I received from Mark. I thought it was fitting to share with ya'll. This picture was taken on a family outting just before he left. Enjoy!


Thanks so much for passing this on and for praying for me. I am feeling much better, but the conditions persist. We are pretty cold, that is for sure. I don't think the temps have been above freezing outside since we got here, day or night. We brought some water bottles from outside that were frozen 10 days ago. We put them in our tent to thaw them out but they are still ice, 10 days later. The tents have 1987 on them for the date of original issue... 6 years before I became a Marine, so they are not in that good of shape. The heaters we have in them don't do much, as what gets heated quickly escapes. The work tents are newer and retain heat much better, but we are not supposed to sleeAdd Imagep in them or store personal gear in them. We also have lots of high profile people coming through so they have to be clean and look like work-spaces. We walk about a mile to chow unless we can catch 1 of 8 vans that are shuttling Marines back and forth. We have to shower at the gym and shave either at the gym, chow-hall bathroom or from one of the aforementioned frozen bottles of water. Laundry is either from the laundry mat or with a service that comes twice a week.


Considering how uncomfortable this is, I can only imagine how those Marines did it back in the day of the Korean War. Their gear was much less suited for this environ and they didn't have a chow-hall or gym or these heated work tents to fall back to. I guess it is all about perspective, right?

Contributed by: Mark Francis

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Twilight Zone....

At one time I had 3 toddlers that refused to eat bread crusts. I had to cut them off every sandwich or they didn't eat. And believe me there was a time in my life that peanut butter and jelly (no jelly for K80 mind you!) was a staple at our kitchen table. I recall at least once in my mothering of toddler time period that there was a major meltdown about bread crusts and the world would end if it any portion was left on their sandwiches.
Just last week, my daughter asked for peanut butter toast for breakfast. Apologizing I said I needed to get to the commissary, and I gently informed her the only bread that was left were 'bread butts'. During the next 15 seconds the earth tilted on it's axis, pigs flew, a snow ball was discovered in hell and my heart skipped several beats, my eyes rolled to the back on my head and I caught myself just before I fell to the floor; as she cheerfully replies "I'll take them, I love bread butts!" The entire world stopped for a moment of silence, people thought it was an earth quake. Nope, it was so much more than that; another strange scientific phenomenon that cannot be explained.

My stinkin' kids now eat bread butts and bread crusts. When did this happen, what suddenly changed, am I going loony? Things like this just don't happen.... or do they?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Observations

Observations on this fine Tuesday morning here in Okinawa...

At 7:55am when I took the recycling outside so K80 could take it to the curb I heard music. Not just any music, pretty music. We have a Japanese elementary school a little more than a stones throw from our house and sweetly piping from their indoor and outdoor loud speakers was "It's a Small World" sung in Japanese. Such a familiar tune, just what I needed today.

Moments later I walked with K80 to the curb carrying her Ripstik (you surely don't think I'll ever ride that thing) as she dragged the huge recycling can to the curb. I kissed her, said a short prayer for her and kicked her to the curb, literally! I leisurely walked home, it was a whopping 50 meters (remember we measure everything in metric here). Upon my lengthy journey this is what I saw...
Yep, a half stick of butter with a bite out of it. Does this make for a great breakfast or what?
A pair of yellow Crocs were delivered to our door the other day. I told the little girl that they weren't K80's, K80's are ORANGE (so we can see her at night) not yellow. I told her to take them home. Nope, she dumped them in my front yard. They've been laying there limp for several days now, today I asked K80 what size they were, obviously they weren't being missed by their owner. Nope, size 2, we wear size 4.5. Can't even adopt them. I left them there.
Our street is the mecca of crap. Since my castle resides at the end of the cul de sac and the wind blows this way and not that. All the trash ends up in my yard. You wouldn't believe what is laying around our court. In a weeks time I could completely dress a homeless person from a jacket all the way down to socks, underwear and now apparently New Yellow Crocs!
I think I shall purchase this sign and hang it up... think it'll do any good?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Guilt...

Here I sit complaining how cold my house is this year, and Mark called yesterday to tell me his sleeping tent was 2 degrees that night and it was -11 outside. I'll never complain again how cold my house is (at least until he comes home that is!)
Praying for you Mark, stay warm and wear extra layers. Keepin' it toasty at home for you, come home soon, come home safe. I love you.

Weird things I remember...

I remember weird random things from my past. Today I will focus on strange things I remember from summer camps, either as a camper or staff. Maybe one day I'll share "how I know this information to be gospel truth".
  • Noone, who's noone?
  • Katsup packets explode if you kneed them too much!
  • If you skinny dip, you will get caught.
  • A camper should never hear cops running through the woods with scent dogs. It scares the crap outta Girl Scouts.
  • A deep freezer is not a place to lock someone in.
  • Off cans can and will explode if tossed into a campfire, thus the need for the warning label.
  • One cannot drink 2 sodas on a 10 minute break.
  • A canoe will float with 10 people in it.
  • I cannot do a front flip off the diving board but I make one hell of a belly flop.
  • Tractors don't float.
  • A suicide is not what you think it is.
  • Deer-flies hurt like hell!
  • Cigarette burns leave permanent scars.
  • Mrs. C is not as scary as her students think & Mr. C will not sit on you if you misbehave.
  • Music majors should not be in charge of camp songs. It's not chorus it's CAMP!
  • Bat ball is a lot of fun!
  • Swimsuits should never ever have zippers in them.
  • Leather bracelets rock.
  • Being the hopper has it's advantages.
  • Friendship bracelets are worth the work.
  • and last but not least... never ever send the new staff member alone to lead a hike.
Bizarre thoughts float thru my head, no wonder people question why I am not in therapy! Not to mention the fact I still send my kids to summer camp and I am very jealous that I am not there with them.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Confessions

I have a confession. I've been carrying this secret around for over 20 years and since my (cough cough) 40th birthday is just around the corner I thought it was high time I come clean.

College was a time of great memories, hard work and work work. I had, emphasis on HAD to work in college in order to attend college. My freshman year I worked an average of 15 hours per week at the YMCA. By the end of my senior year I worked 25 hours a week plus did a 15 hour a week internship (45 minutes away) and carried a full course load just to make ends meet. I didn't go out often, I do not remember one movie I went to in college, and eating a $5 pizza was a huge treat. I needed those quarters for laundry and an occasional Pepsi. In all seriousness I loved college and I loved working to pay for it.
While in college my dad sent me a very unexpected gift for my birthday. At the time I think he was trying to be a cool dad, and he sent me 2 concert tickets. I honestly can't remember what the concert was, only that is was in Columbus which was an hour away. I didn't have a car let alone extra money for gas and I couldn't afford to take off work to go. I didn't know what to do... so I sold the tickets. I needed the $30 I got for the tickets more than I needed to go to the concert. The tickets were worth $50, I felt horrible. I evaded talking to my dad for weeks. He finally got a hold of me on the phone, (back in the 90's there were no cell phones, we had one payphone in the hall that 30+ girls shared) and he asked how the concert was. I lied to him and told him it was pretty good. I didn't know how to tell him I needed cash more than concert tickets. I remember taking that $30 and spending it like it was gold. The Friday night of my birthday week a friend, Jeanne, and I walked to LJS (Long John Silvers) and I didn't have to buy a kids meal. I washed all my laundry that Saturday and treated myself... I used fabric softener! That $30 lasted quite a while, where that concert would have only lasted the night.
Sorry I lied dad, do you forgive me?

Friday, January 21, 2011

I was Lied to!

If you read my Facebook post the other day you know we had eggs and sausage for dinner. In fact my exact up date was ...



"wonder who the winner tonight will be... the one with the tiny egg shell that got away while making scrambled eggs for dinner!?"

Just in case you are wondering no one claimed the prize. But that is not why I am writing this entry.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After cooking this gourmet dinner the other night I have decided that my mom lied to me as a child. You see when I was growing up we'd have breakfast for dinner about once a week. Mom always made eggs and either sausage or bacon, never both and I don't make both either, that's what IHop is for! Mom would make the meat first then use the same pan and cook the eggs in it. She always told me that it made the eggs taste so much better. But I don't think so. Eggs have earned the right to be cooked in their own pan. If there is one thing that working endless hours on kitchen duty at summer camp has taught me, it's how to make scrambled eggs. Not to toot my own horn, okay what the heck...TOOT TOOT... I make some Rockin' Super Fluffy Light and Dreamy Scrambled Eggs, at least that's why my kids tell me. (see fluffy egg picture below!)But that is not the point, cooking eggs in the 'used' pan is yucky. I do not like the greasy taste or the flecks of bacon/sausage goo in my eggs. (see picture below) Being lazy the other night I did what my mother did, cooked the meat then the eggs in the same pan. Still don't like them that way, but I do know now why my mother does it. Bet you wanna know too... one less pan to wash! She could of just told me that, I'll wash the extra pan just to have Rockin' Super Fluffy Light & Dreamy Scrambled Eggs! I pledge to you (if anyone actually reads this) and my children I will no longer be lazy. I shall from this day forth cook eggs in their own pan and wash the extra dish... for eggs are deserving to be cooked properly!


No chickens were harmed in the writing of this blog... okay maybe just a few.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Things I miss About the USA!

A simple list of things I've grown to miss about the USA.
  1. Chipotle's, mexican grill... more than Yummy... heavenly!
  2. A powerful hairdryer... I have the same one I had in the states, but the voltage is different here and everything runs a bit slower/weaker.
  3. Running to the store... there is no running to the store for anything. It's a long process b/c everything is in Japanese and you have to analyze the package to make sure it's what you really want.
  4. I miss my mail delivered to my door. I have to drive down these back roads about 4km (yes, and nothing is in miles here either!) go into another base to get my mail.
  5. Picking up the phone and calling my friends, especially my mom. When I want to chat or ask a quick question it's night time in America.
  6. My big living room and my own craft space. Enough Said.
  7. Hobby Lobby
  8. Michael's
  9. AC Moore
  10. and any other brick and mortal scrapbook store I can find!
  11. Sonic's Breakfast Burritos
  12. Frozen Coke Icees (Oh how I long for one of those! They are the MOST refreshing drink... insert tear!)
  13. I also admit I miss Mark's Mustang... he looked so stinkin' cute riding home with the top down.
  14. All my peeps in Jacksonville, miss you girls!
  15. Target
  16. El Cerro Grande... great Mexican place in J-ville. It was a our Sunday addiction. Unlimited Chips and Salsa goes a long way when you have boys with hallow legs!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Feeling Blessed!

Yesterday we got some pretty bad news. Nothing I can discuss right now but rest assured it's some of the worst news I've ever received. So I bet you're wondering how I feel so blessed today... allow me to explain.

My kids have been begging for a sleepover. I finally caved, so tonight we have a 2 extra pre-teens in our home, one boy and one girl. (Normally it is at this point in the scenario that Mark would run and hide and not come out til morning, but he's gone so here we go!)

The young man is so sweet, he's a seventh grader. He told me how beautiful my home was and how he wished his home looked this good. Which blew my mind because my house only has gov't furniture aka... cheap hotel stuff! Believe me it's nothing fancy. He loved my lasagna (it's Stouffer's) and bread (slam on the table biscuits) that we had for dinner. He ate every last bit. The little girl staying with us is just a sweet, she's stayed before and has always been such a southern darlin'!

As we sat around the dinner table everyone had manners, including my children which isn't always the case. There was no farting, burping or shoveling of food! I was honestly quite impressed. They all cleared their dishes and loaded the dishwasher. Right now the boys are playing the Wii and DSi. The girls are upstairs playing are you ready for this...Cheese Touch by Diary of a Wimpy Kid. There is NO Yelling and NO Fighting... it's quite peaceful in my house. I love it. If all sleepovers are this way I'd have them more often.
I am truly blessed. Thank you Lord for reminding me how fun kids can be, how polite, sweet, kind and gentle! Tonight even with Mark away I am blessed beyond measure.

But just in case you don't hear from me for a few days send in the
Marines to make sure they didn't hog me in the closet under the stairs!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Sign...

This is a sign at one of the parks we frequent. Not sure exactly what the picture is warning me of, but none the less we stayed clear of people with guns pointed at a man with a dog.
After having lived in base housing for the past 5 months I think the man with the gun is just fed up with the dog pooping in his yard everyday!
It's a good thing we aren't allowed to have guns here.

A Day at the Parks....

Friday the kids had a half day of school! So what's a mom to do? Hit 3 different parks and play all day. We invited K80's friend, Emily, to join us. It was a BLAST! Here's a few photos and a video of our day out and about. Sorry the videos sideways... OPPS! These are the rollers on the roller slides. It's awesome, numbs your butt and fly down the slides! As K80 would say... "That's totally Whack!"

This is the first park we found on our journey...cool isn't it! Don't you love K80's socks! I believe Santa brought her those... She's so funky cute! They ran from the bottom of each slide back to the top over and over again. Lovin' every minute of it. I bet your wondering why they are carrying cardboard. Simply put, 2 reasons. 1. Saves the pants from rubbing so much on the slide (wears them out quick). 2. Keeps the butt from getting numb so fast. It's just something you have to experience to understand.

video

Love the video, Seth was the only one brave enough to go down head first. I don't think you go as fast, his chest was fire red when he got to the bottom!

$25 spent at Subway for lunch + $6.25 in gas + getting lost and confused on Okinawa Roads = Priceless Day of Fun and Many Memories Made!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Do you know how it feels?

Do you know how horrible it feels to miss a phone call from your best friend who's deployed?
It's 'I wanna throw myself on the floor and have a tantrum until he calls again' ...horrible!


P.S. In case you are reading this Mark...
I miss you and I love you!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How Important is Water to YOU?

I haven't talked about this on my blog and it's personal but a big part of my life. I don't have health problems but there is one thing that can change my health in minutes, and that is chlorine. Funny thing is I developed this allergy while I was lifeguard/swim instructor. Apparently it was caused by over exposure to chlorinated pools. I had it under control, and it didn't completely alter my life until I was full swing into my life as an "aquatic therapist". I worked about 5 hours a day in a pool with special needs children and adults doing physical therapy. The allergic reaction became so bad that the slightest smell of chlorine would send my body into full meltdown (borderline anaphylactic shock). Now chlorine is serious business around this house.


I know it sounds crazy but Chlorine is found in more than just a swimming pool (or your laundry room). It is used in drinking water/tap water as a purifier,and it's in most artificial sweeteners like splenda, aspartame and saccharin. Did you know that sucralose is sugar that has been so HYPER chlorinated; it's injected w/ chlorine to remove the calories in sugar but leave a sweet taste behind. Sounds good right, no calories but a sweet taste? But chlorine is extremely toxic in large amounts to the human body and it's my Kryptonite in any amount.

To explain how intense my allergy is, I began drinking a meal replacement beverage last winter. It was sweetened with sucralose (which at the time I didn't know was made w/ chlorine). Within a few days of starting the drinks I became strangely ill. My eyes were burning so bad they were fire red and tearing constantly. My skin became so dry it was cracking. I literally felt like I was raw on the inside, burning from the inside out. The pain was unbelievable. I didn't realize what was causing it right away, but once I did I began flushing my system out with large amounts of purified water. Several weeks went by and I decided I better go to my doctor. I was told I should have gone straight to the ER and they would have flushed my system by putting me on dialysis. Yes, it was that severe.

I am sure ya'll are concerned as to how I survive since we need food, WATER and air to live. In order to remove chlorine from tap water I need to run it through a good water filter, take that water and run it through my distiller. Then I can safely drink it. It's a fairly long process. It takes approximately 5 hours to make 1.2 gallons of water. There are many things that I cannot eat or drink when we go out. It's just part of my life and we work through it.
Through trial and error I've learned that I can drink Dasani bottled water. I can safely drink it. I've not found another bottled water that I can drink and not become instantly sick. I don't drink it often b/c it so much cheaper to "make my own water", but it's nice to keep a case of it around to grab and go if I should run out of "my water". One thing I checked into was the availability of Dasani water before we moved to Okinawa. Yep, they sold it in the commissary, not a problem.

Not any more... the Coke Cola Company, who bottles Dasani water, has pulled Dasani from the shelves of all commissaries around the globe. Why, who knows, but they didn't renew the contract is all I know. What does that mean in my little life, I'll be making more water. I did, however, scour the bases over here and bought all the bottles of Dasani water that I could... a whooping 10 bottles. That will last me a little bit, but certainly not the next 30 months we are on island.

Monday, January 10, 2011

ReDuce, ReUse, ReCycle!

Here in Okinawa they mandate recycling. Which in our family isn't a big deal, we've recycled everything we could for years. But it truly amazes me is how they reuse so much different stuff and still make it look so natural and beautiful. Look at these water jugs/ water bottles used as flower pots.
They don't look all that spectacular until... you have a whole wall of them!
The only thing I might do differently is paint the caps a dark grey or black color so they do not stand out as much. I really love this idea, I truly think I may have adapt this when I get back to the states. They truly are beautiful.

Okinawa is filled with unexpected gifts of beauty.

The simpliest things made to please the eye.

I love it.

Friday, January 7, 2011

How does one respond?

I just got back from picking up my mail. It's been a couple days since I checked it and my box was fuller than full. I got lots of Christmas catalogs and about a dozen Christmas cards. My heart filled with joy. I love getting cards and letters in the mail. I couldn't wait to open them all at home so I sat in the van opening them up one by one, gazing at photo cards, reading yearly letters and missing the states. Then I saw this one. It was one I had sent to a dear neighbor, Ms. Barbara, we had in Virginia Beach some 9 years ago. It was returned to me, labeled "Deceased". My heart suddenly felt heavy, I couldn't think. I couldn't move. What a sad way to tell someone that their friend from years ago was no longer sharing this earth with us. Ms. Barbara has battled and survived cancer twice, had two heart surgeries and was a strong vibrant woman of God. I had heard she had cancer again, but I honestly thought she would beat it again. She was a like an adopted Grandma to us. She babysat the boys while Katie was being born. A sweet sweet lady, with a tiny little dog that my 3 wee ones loved chasing after. She babysat for free just so Mark and I could have date night once in a while. She had a heart of gold and a warm spirit. I will always remember you Ms. Barbara and I look forward to one day sitting with you in heaven, looking at your garden smelling the sweet fragrance of all your hard work.

"Well done thy good and faithful servant, well done!"

Primo Kitchen Kids Meal's Rock!

Click the photo and see how good a kids meal looks on Okinawa. We visited
Primo Kitchen a while back and this was K80's meal.
So yummy...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

D-Day

I'm asked often by family, and 'non military' friends what it is like having your husband gone. It's usually rather funny because either days earlier or weeks later they will complain that their husbands are going on a fishing trip, or have to travel for work for a few days, or even better... they have to work late tonight, and they have it so hard. I try really hard not to laugh and I really want to sympathize, but it's not easy. Sometimes I want to scream. I will try to express as best I can to express the hearts' of military wives...
This is a picture of the good times. One of my dearest and best BFF's. What a sweet kiss her husband stole at the Marine Corps Ball this year. He just left for another deployment. Another yes, less than a year ago he just got home from a 12 month deployment to Iraq, he's gone again for another 7 this time to Afghanistan. They 3 children and have been married 18 years.
This is a D-Day photo...Deployment Day. The picture tells the entire story. We met this couple over 10 years ago when our husbands were instructors together. They have 2 children and have been married over 15 years.
What does all of this mean? It means we 100% embrace the great times and 100% embrace the heart ache. A heart ache that cannot be understood by the average person and is only reserved for those that carry the title Military Spouse. We have to kiss our best friends, our babies' fathers, our lover, our mate, our everything one last time holding onto every moment of every breath as if it could be our last because none of us truly know if it is our last moment together. Our spouses do not fly to Vegas for a conference or ride to Daytona for Bike Week. They are gone for months on end, year after year. These men miss the birth of their children, anniversaries, Christmas's, 4 of July and the first day of school. They miss out on their daughters first kiss, the first time their son stood up to a bully, homemade dinners, baseball games, tea parties, teenagers with drivers permit, and new puppies.
We, the military spouses, are repeatedly told that we "were not issued with their sea bags" and are not a priority to the military. We are extra baggage. But we also know that these warriors depend on us to stand strong, carry the torch all the while we also keep the lawn mowed, cars tuned up, bills paid, house clean, laundry done, homework completed, work full time, send care packages, write letters and emails and most of all keep a level head. Especially when the family back home who never sees them falls apart and can't handle the deployment we are there... holding it all together reminding them and reassuring them that God is in control.

We cry ourselves to sleep because the pillow next to us is empty again. We shun away our tears at the dinner table when our son says, "This is Daddy's favorite meal, sure wish he was here to eat it with us." We sometimes go to Wal-Mart or the commissary with a ball cap on and dirty jeans w/ a t-shirt because we truly don't have the energy to take a shower or take care of ourselves because we so busy taking care of everyone and everything else. We build homes with blood sweat and tears, we make trips to the ER for tetanus shots, broken bones and stitches... alone. Holding it all together, praying night after night for a phone call or an email anything to tell us that another day has passed and our warrior is okay. We cringe at the sight of black cars in a friend's driveway, but we are smart enough to plan a head... we have a plan of action for the "what if". And then we pray 24/7 never to use that plan. It's not a simple fire escape route, it's my world has collapsed around me I can no longer breath plan. .
We can't tell you what's really on our hearts because if we speak we won't be able to stop. We appear fearless in the eyes of man, but God truly knows our hearts. He sees our pain, the gaping hole from the missing piece of us that only our spouse can fill. We rely completely and totally on God, it is He who carries us, walks with us and talks us thru each and every deployment.
Thank you for taking a peak into our lives. It's a small picture, but I believe an accurate one.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cafe' Kelp!

Oh my goodness... this little cafe has definitely become a favorite of ours! It's a tiny little quaint cafe on this old country road. It looks as though the family who owns the house opened up the main floor to make it a tiny bit of heaven. I regret not taking photos of this slice of joy but I did manage to take some of the food. When Mark and I arrived there were only 2 cars in the parking lot, obviously one belonged to the owners and the other a local couple on an afternoon date just like us. We don't speak much Japanese and the owner didn't speak much English. I think we may have been their first American customers because they watched us closely the whole time (I'll tell you why later!)
Not knowing what to expect we went on the conservative side and got a chicken and a pork dish. Restaurants here are all about presentation of their food. They truly go way out of their way to make it special, interesting and creative.
This was the appetizer plate that came out prior to the main course, we also got a HUGE bowl of soup. Mark devoured the soup and mine! On this plate we have a piece of pickled ham and veggies (not pickled like we think pickled)... this was delicious. We also got a slice of egg, like a quiche or omelet. The leaf had the famous purple potato and a slice of fruit, the other small square is... honestly we don't know. But it has the consistency of MEGA hard jello and tastes not too yummy in my tummy. It is however served at a lot of places on the island. And last but not least, cucumbers, local cucumbers are so tender and good. Not sure what they put on them, but wow, my taste buds were loving it.
This is Mark's pork plate. Lots of local things, so tender and delightful. Truly words cannot describe.
My chicken plate, sorry I ate some prior to taking the photo. I admit Mark's was better than mine, but honestly both were truly amazing. Although the portions were a bit smaller than we normally get the flavor surpassed our expectations by leaps and bounds.
The cheese cake desert comes with the meal. It's thicker than American cheese cake and isn't nearly as rich or sweet but still quite good none the less.
Now to the good stuff, why was the owner watching us so closely... to see if we truly loved it. They had only been open a few days maybe a week when we arrived. I think she was a bit nervous because we Americans are often so critical of new things. They herbs, spices, veggies/fruits, and all of the leafy greens were grown right there in the yard surrounding the building. We watched her go outside and pick fresh items for our dishes. It was truly an experience, I'll always remember.
Mom, don't worry I am taking you here when you come visit!