Monday, February 28, 2011

My Son Can Legally Wear This to School!

I've heard so much controversy about what kids can and cannot wear to school. In 4th grade in North Carolina one of my boys got in trouble for wearing a Disney World Star Wars trading pin with light sabers on it. I truly thought it was over the top, but I was going to obey the rules. And we didn't take that to school again.

Today, Caleb is wearing a shirt his Dad sent to him from Iraq. If you notice the #69 shows the sizes of a different caliber weapons used in the military. There is such a difference living on a military base attending DODDs schools. It saddens my heart to think why we, the USA, are in the situation we are in today.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Whatever shall I do?

Today is the last day of swim team practice until May 31st when the summer season starts.
Whatever shall I do with my Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:45-6:15pm? Awe yes, homework. We shall do homework... Oh what joy. This doesn't seem like a very good alternative. Can I get a recount?

Monday, February 21, 2011

I can honestly say....

There is a recent blog topic making it's rounds amongst many of the blogs that I follow, so obviously it happens often. But I, yes, BUT I can honestly say I have never had to use Code Adam. I have never lost or misplaced my child or children long enough to warrant Code Adam to be issued anywhere. Don't mistaken me for a perfect parent because I am not. When the boys were babies I read this STUPID STUPID article that said parents of multiples were more likely to have a child abducted than parents of singletons. I don't think I went crazy over this, but it certainly heightened my safety measures.

Then one day while we were living in northern Virginia we were at Tysons Corner, a big beautiful mall. The boys were in 3rd grade and Jr was in 2nd. My mom, Mark, the kids and I were all enjoying a leisurely day at the mall. Mark was in the book store with the boys while Mom, K80 and I were just a few stores down trying on some clothes for K80. The boys were specifically told that Mark was in the store with them. If the boys stayed together they could look on their own in the book store. Well after a little bit, the boys apparently couldn't find Mark, he never left the same section of the book store. So the boys set out to find us in the mall. They came a few stores down to where mom and I were and couldn't find us. We were in the changing room the moment they came into the store. So they set out to find the mall cops, and they found them. (Think Paul Blart Mall Cop!) The mall then proceeded to make several announcements for "the lost parents". Funny thing, the announcements can ONLY be heard in the hallways of the mall, not in any of the stores. And since I was in a store and Mark was in a store we never heard it. (Does that makes us bad parents or a poor mall intercom system?) Mark did finally hear the "missing parents" report and together we went to the mall security office. Caleb and Seth claimed their missing family members and we lived happily ever after.

I recall the discussion with them later, telling them that they did the right thing going to the mall cops, but they also did the wrong thing by leaving the bookstore. Even if they thought dad had left, they should have told the bookstore people and not wonder the mall looking for a mall cop.

Did we panic, I don't recall panicking, but I do remember being embarrassed. Was I worried; they were together so I knew they would fight off, flee from or scream their way from any "bad people". They were on a mission to find us. They knew what to do and because of our parenting they did it without question.

So why bring this up, well a blog I recently read was making light of the fact her child got lost in the mall. They locked down the entire mall to find him 30 minutes later hiding. Can you imagine what it would take to lock down an entire mall. I am thankful my children never hide from us, they RUN to us. We have strong independent outspoken confident children who know who they are, what they stand for and we love them very much. I pray they always run to us and not from us.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Okinawa Marathon

Today is the Okinawa Marathon... what does that mean for you? Not much, but for me and my house it kept us from going to church. And at the same time it allowed us to sleep in and chillax today. I know many of you are wondering just why this changes our lives. Mainly because the route of the marathon is all over the entire island. They are running right past the gate to get in and out of our base housing. It was HIGHLY recommended to us to just stay home and enjoy the Sunday. So we did.
With 13, 000 runners headed down our street you trying getting out. The island is only so big so they have to run somewhere right. I admit I was a bit frustrated with this at first then I embraced it. This has allowed our family to truly relax. Not rushing anywhere, just sitting back watching the runners out our back door sipping my hot chocolate thinking to myself... thank goodness that's not me. They are running 26.2 miles and it's raining, what are they thinkin'? Didn't their mama's ever tell them to come in out of the rain?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

life is like a box of chocolates

I once heard that "life is like a box of chocolates!" But what does that really mean?

Today it means sometimes you get a delicious chocolate with peanut butter or fudge inside, and sometimes you get the gross strawberry creme filled ones. Or even worse, the chocolate covered coconut ones. My boys had both today and they weren't happy about it.
And I got caught. Earlier today I had a hankering for one of these little gems. So I stole one from each of my kids 'box o' chocolates'. Stupid me, I taught them boys to count and I couldn't blame it on their dad (stupid deployment!) like I normally do. Luckily for me, K80's not home from school yet. Hope I sneak this one past her!
P.S. I know the Bible tells me "Thou shall not steal" but does it really count when I bought the chocolate in the first place? Pastor John Reimer if you are reading this you are allowed to use this in your sermon series. I am happy to be a good example of what NOT to do as a parent.

Learning more each day.

After 17 years of being married to a US Marine stateside one would think they knew a lot about the military, especially the Marine Corps. Living just 6 months overseas I've come to realize I am very much misinformed, in the dark or just plan oblivious to so many things. In the states we do not get AFN (America Forces Network, our TV and radio stations), but here that's all we got. I absolutely complain about the TV, the lack of normal shows and decent radio stations. (Major Plug for Pandora on my IPod... it's a real lifesaver!) However, since we do not get commercials I've learned a lot about our military, the behind the scenes info so to speak.

So you are asking yourself, what are talking about woman... allow me to explain.

Years ago, and I mean many many years ago, back when I was in college and the Gulf War happened I heard something that didn't stir much in me until now because I didn't understand at the time what I was actually hearing. But I remember hearing anti-war protesters asking the public and local college students NOT to donate blood during an on campus blood drive. They said it would "support the war effort!" I truly didn't understand what that meant until recently. I believe what they were trying to say was that donating blood would help save the lives of wounded warriors and that would technically be supporting the Gulf War. (I have a huge gut wrenching ache in the pit of my stomach just typing that... it's unimaginable to me.)

This brings me to today's lesson on the military...
Did you know that military personnel and their families can only use blood donated by other military members or their family? What does this mean... this means we take care of our own. Every wounded warrior, every family member that's ever needs blood gets it from one of us. We don't use any donated outside of the Armed Forces Blood Program. On one hand I am very sad to think that people wouldn't donate because we are military. I am sad that another reason is security, apparently we (the ASBP) has to have stricter screening procedures for our blood donors to ensure we do not get any tainted blood. But on the other I am very proud to think we truly take care of our own. We, military families, have a bond few people around the globe will ever truly understand.

It's an honor to be part of this family... so if you'll excuse me I need to get to bed. I have to get my rest I am donating blood soon.

BTW: I've never donated blood before. In high school I was told I could never donate b/c of my blood transfusion I had in the late 70's. I've just been told I pass the screening and can now donate. I am thankful for those who donated 33 years ago, it's why I am alive today. I am blessed with the thought of being able to save a life of a wounded warrior. Donate blood today, you never know who's life you could be saving.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Scars and the stories they leave behind...

Well, like I've said we've been here for six months. Which means it's been exactly 6 months since that dreadful day at Torii Beach and my encounter with that slimy creature from under the sea. Last night before bed I am not sure what made me think of it but I checked out my scars. Yep faint but still visible on my hand, slightly darker on my calf. My right thigh... yeah you can see it from across the room. Zorro the Jellyfish left his mark.
Picture this... I'll be in my 90's hanging out at the villages in Florida, (I plan on being a snowbird) talkin' trash about my trip to the beach, pullin' down my pants and showin' off my scar to all the other old bitties in the bunco room. All the while Mark is down at the park takin' out pigeons with his pocket pistol reminiscing with his VFW cronies. We are gonna be such cool old people, our grandchildren will have so many stories to tell about us.

Our Anniversary

We've officially passed the 6 month mark on island.
We've been here for 6 months and 1 week.
It's unbelievable everything that has happened since we left the states.
I miss the USA, but I am very excited that in 7 days my mom will be here to share,
explore and live life with us!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Shake Rattle and Roll

So it seems we've have an earthquake with several aftershocks in the past 24 hours. A 5.4 Earthquake... they said that's a pretty good one! There have been several earthquakes on Okinawa since we arrived but I never felt anything.
What does that say about me?
Am I oblivious to my surroundings or
do I just have such a rockin' life nothing jars my rhythm?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Whooda Thought...

Lesson #386 that I never thought I'd have to teach.

"You cannot use your brother's toothbrush because you are too stinkin' lazy to go upstairs to the other bathroom." The kids have two toothbrushes, one upstairs and one downstairs. Apparently Thing 1 was using Thing 2's toothbrush and Thing 2 figured it out! Talk about a blow up at 6:25am!

Can't say I blame him, it's pretty gross. But I honestly never knew I would have to tell my kids to only use your toothbrush. I assumed and you know what that makes: an ass out of you and me. Anyone want to guess where Thing 1's missing toothbrush is?

Lesson learned, excuse me while I go buy more toothbrushes!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Birthday Boys!

Seth with his $100 bill.
First ever... they were so thrilled!
Funny story about this photo... I asked Caleb to turn it around, so what's the boy do? He turns around! K80 was rolling on the floor laughing. Caleb... You're so funny!

Happy Birthday My Boys!

Friday, February 11, 2011

40 Years of Love!

Today was my fortieth birthday! What a day it was... K80 got me new blades for my scrapbook paper trimmer, which I desperately needed! Caleb got me a $24 gift card to the exchange (he loves giving me gift cards... when he was little he got me a gift card for my birthday... it was for 56 cents for the local scrapbook store in Virginia!). Seth he got me a small vacuum cleaner. If you know Seth at all you'll see the humor in this gift! My mom got me two fantastic camera strap covers. And Mark got me a beautiful Iris plant. I am so loved!

This is Junior all dressed up for her dance. She looks so grown up. Daddy better buy a bigger gun he's gonna need it in a few years.

My Junior and her freckles... she's gonna break alotta hearts... just like her daddy!
This is the best group of Student Council kids I've ever seen. These amazing kids made me a HUGE birthday card and had a cake specially made for me and presented it to me at the dance. They rock! I am a very blessed woman... thank you Bechtel Student Council members you made my day.

K80 rockin' it out w/ her peeps. Gotta love a girl with moves like that!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

How to Protect our Kids?

I've always been very protective of what my kids do online. I allow my kids on the internet, they play games and stuff. They each have a blog (mind you they haven't written on them since we've moved, that's another story for another time). They each have mail accounts. They know the specific sights they are allowed to go to for games and other kid things. If it is not in their favorites list they aren't allowed on the site (Mark and I add and delete things from their favorites). So far they've not strayed far. My kids also do not have Facebook accounts or cell phones. They've never texted anyone. In my opinion there's plenty of time for that when they get to high school.

But I am noticing over the last 6 months that they need online more and more for school projects and reports. Here's my problem. In the past I've always sat next to them when they do research or 'surf' the internet for research. I don't have time for that anymore with 3 kids doing school work and running from here to there in between things. Sometimes they need on the internet when I am busy with other things. So how do I keep them safe.

I have increased my preferences on google to keep away "bad" things, but it's not nearly as blocked as I like. And if I set my preferences too strict it blocks 90% of the internet and keeps them from a lot of good information they need. I know that google is not the only search engine, and I know that once you click a suggested website you travel off into the unknown. The advertising alone is horrendous.

This is where I need help. How do you keep your teens safe online? I want them to learn to use the internet and learn to live within their boundaries and limits but I need a safety net as well. I've heard of Integrity Online. But I am not sure if that is the best option for kids. I've had suggestions to just let them go, they see and hear much more in school. Not acceptable I want to teach them to "guard their gates" and use wisdom, but until they grow stronger in their faith and moral character I am not leaving this up to the world to decide what gets plugged into my children's eyes, ears and hearts.

Shout it out, tell me all about it, I want your opinions. This is untapped territory and I want this to be an open forum.... so spill it would ya!


Seth came running to the van today after swim team. His face beamed like I've never seen before. He opened the van door leaped inside and squealed "Guess What Mom?....
(he paused for dramatic effect!).... I sit second chair!"
"Wait what?! Second Chair! That's Fantastic!" I screamed. "Whooo Hooo!". I asked Seth how he found out. He's such a great story teller. He said ...
"Mom, I challenged today. I did my best, I really really did Mom! Then Mr. Knowles read through the list of who's sitting in each chair. Trumpets... First Chair (I don't remember who it was... sorry.) Second Chair... Seth! Mom everyone said... What! WOW! and Mr. Knowles kept reading. I was sooo happy Mom!"
I think Mr. Knowles didn't make that big of a deal out of it because Seth worked so hard for it. He totally earned that chair. I am so proud. He challenged right before the Christmas concert and went from twelfth chair out of fourteen to seventh chair. Now my boy sits second chair! My heart is sooooo big for that boy.
He's really becoming an amazing young man.
I honestly was giddy with joy for Seth. He's practiced so hard and is really learning a lot. He's been working on Taps and Reveille to also become the bugler for his scout troop. They are very difficult pieces for a first year trumpet player, but I think I hear very grumpy scouts being woken up by 'the Sound of Music' in the very near future!

Monday, February 7, 2011


We've been on island for over 6 months now, there are scooters everywhere. Flying down the white line scaring me to wits end. Most of the time even with the windows down you don't even here these little two wheeled road rats. I've come to have a love hate relationship with them. I've always wanted a scooter (it's my first step to a motorcycle you know!), but the drivers here are a bit more... ummm how shall I say it... psycho than I prefer.
Then Sunday came, what a glorious day that was. We found the Tortilla Factory, a fabulous Mexican place that is very similar to Chipotle's, and we saw many "real bikes". Here are two bikes I was able to whip my big camera out and take pictures of while driving down the street. Yeah, I could have allowed my children to use my camera, my favorite super great Nikon the best gift ever from my husband camera. But with the windows down I had visions of beautiful pieces of plastic and glass bouncing down the street getting run over by road rats trying to swerve around my precious Nikon. So in reality, you only have two pictures of the many big bikes we saw around island this weekend. I love this one, ready to hit the waves. I will stop and pull over the next time I see this bike and take a photo worthy of framing.
Then we saw these two trikes at the local Lawsons. They had horns all over the bikes. Which was rather odd since you are only allowed to honk your horn if you are in desperate need of the local Koban (police) or Kyuukyuusha (ambulance). These guys were great, I hope you can see them flashing us the famous Japanese pose you'll find in most pictures... the peace sign facing forward.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Tortilla Factory!

I have been dreaming of Chipotle’s since we’ve moved here. Then just the other day I saw an ad for “Tortilla Factory”, it opened February 1st. I was super stoked to arrive today with my kids in tow. We were greeted by the aroma of sassy Mexican food and super friendly staff. The owner/manager is such a nice man; he speaks impeccable English which is very helpful when you order your meal because it comes ‘made to order!’ We had a great conversation together and I discovered he modeled the Tortilla Factory after Chipotle’s in the states. They have bowls and burritos, tacos and special made a cheese quesadillas for my daughter! I inquired about the ‘spicy chicken’, how spicy is it? Not too spicy at all, come to find out the local Okinawans do not like spicy food; which explains why the Mexican food over here is so mild compared to the states. All three kids gave the place two thumbs up and me… well I leaped for Joy! So Yummy… can’t wait to take my husband when we returns home from his trip.

Here's my burrito... and yes that is a side order of chips and salsa!

K80's cheese quesadillas!
The boys both had meat cheese only soft tacos. They both said they were super delicious, and yes that is my bottle of Dasani Water! I truly can't wait to bring Mark here. It'll be a date, and then we'll head down to the seawall for a romantic walk on the beach.
Sorry for the formalness of this post. This is the article I submitted to Okinawa Hai.
Hopefully it'll get published soon.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A day in the life of Pre-Teen Twin Boys...

Seth doesn't clear his breakfast dishes today. He left them sitting on the table. Yes, I could have rinsed them and put them in the dishwasher since I was going run it anyways. But I couldn't. He's been pushing it by not doing little things he knows he supposed to do. My plan was to make him wash them by hand when he got home from school. As a gentle reminder that he can't get away with this stuff.
They are now home from school. The boys beg for a snack. I tell Seth he needs to do his dishes before his snack. He willingly does them and apologizes for leaving them there. At the same time I was putting away the spatula he drops his bowl on top my special green glass bowl that was in the sink. I said "if you break grandma's green bowl I am gonna spank you!" and gently popped his butt w/ the spatula. Seth laughed.

Caleb said "Grandma's bowl?"

and I replied "yes, the green bowl, it was my cereal bowl when I was your age at Grandma Marge's house."

Do you know what that stinker said... "Man, that bowl's old!"

I wanted to beat him, I whacked his rear with the spatula as he ran outta the kitchen laughing....

My sophisticatedly mature reply... "Turd-burglar!"

Say it Ain't So!

January 8, 2011 I posted this on FaceBook...

she, K80, has a "valentine's dance" at school. I told her she's only 10. She doesn't need a fancy dress. What will she have to look forward to in middle school and high school. So we went shopping. She picked out her outfit. A new shirt, a fudora hat (only cost us $25 total!). She'll wants to wear her old jeans and either her new silver boots or her chuck taylor shoes! I love that she's still a simple girl.
January 8 at 10:54pm
Now fast forward to today, February 3, 2011. I was at the Kadena Exchange birthday/Valentine's Day shopping. When I ran into two ladies whom I've never met but overheard talking. I butted my nose in (I'm very talented you know!) and discovered that their daughters are also attend K80's school and are going to the dance. And guess what... they are shopping for dresses. I also learned that many of the girls have dates and some of them bring their father's as their dates (I wonder if the boys bring their mothers? Hmmmmm). We have a no dating rule and that applies to going to dances with a boy/girl. Our opinion is that there will be plenty of time for that in high school. But honestly my heart broke when I learned that many Dad's do bring their daughters... Mark will still be gone.
I was so very proud of my K80 for being who she is and for going to the dance in a style that fits her and in a super cute outfit that she'll actually wear again. I was struttin' my stuff leaving the clothing department... so proud of her choice! Yeah ME! Yeah K80!
Fast forward a few hours... she runs through the door from Student Council and announced "she is not allowed to wear jeans or tennis shoes of any kind to the dance. She has to look dressy and nice. It's a Friendship Dance you know!"
~Insert a Moment of silence please while I mourn the loss of her cute outfit
and proud mommy moment.~
So that got me thinking will I see some of these at the dance...

I truly wonder how dressed up these kids will be. If girls have to wear dresses and no tennis shoes, do the boys have similar rules... like wearing a collared shirt and a tie?

Have I mentioned that the dance is exactly 7 days away... and I didn't notice any dresses that jumped out at me in the exchange! No time to order anything online so we'll go out into town and see what we can find. This ought to be interesting. Can I cry now? Don't get me wrong I live for the day to buy homecoming and prom dresses with my girl, but not yet. I'll have to buy shoes to go with the stupid dress b/c chuck taylors aren't gonna cut it. But if you know K80 she'll NEVER wear this outfit again unless I make her. Hmmmmm, guess what she'll be wearing every Sunday to church until she out grows it. (I have to add this... I bought K80 two dresses to wear in DC. She's outgrown them already, they are waaaaaaaaaaaay too short! That was 2 months ago.) I understand they want to make it special, but can they give a girl a bit more notice.

If you remember K80 is Student Council President, she shouldn't buck the system... or should she?

This reminds me of the episode of Everybody Loves Raymond when the daughter is invited to a birthday party and the dress will cost $200+.
I recall my first babysitter for the boys, she's all grown up now and is planning her wedding for this summer! Yeah!!!! Anyway... she was tired of buying dresses for this dance and that dance so her senior year of high school she made a dress out of tinfoil and duct tape! Maybe K80 and I should do that... What do you think?
Any quick ideas for a rockin' K80 style dress with matching shoes, and I can't sew so it's duct tape or a hot glue gun... it's all I got!