Friday, July 29, 2011

What's going on here?

I know many of you have questions about the flights, but I am not mentally prepared to discuss that right now. My blood pressure still skyrockets just thinking about it. So until I can process it all in my head you'll have to wait.

BUT..... What's going on here?

I am not a woman of fear. At least I like to think of myself that way. I am fairly strong and confident but something inside of me has changed not sure when, how or why but here goes.

Yesterday while out in Anchorage w/ my mom and K80 we went shopping. Seriously what's a group of girls gonna do when stuck somewhere with shops (lots of shops that don't exist within a few thousand miles of our home!)... We are wise though we're gonna get stuff we need. Not want, but need. Like new school shoes b/c we can't seem to find any decent one's for less than $150 in Okinawa. And shorts, remember I tried to shop online everyone is sold out. Not in Alaska, they had racks and racks and racks of shorts, exactly what we wanted on CLEARANCE!

Don't get me started at the Michaels I stepped into. So many new things to create and do... Mark if you are reading this no worries. I only bought a few things for the kids to make for their lockers. I didn't buy any other scrapbook or crafting items.... I promise. (If you don't know me that's a HUGE statement. I cannot go into a scrapbook/craft store and walk out w/o anything it's immoral, unethical and if it's a mom and pop shop it's un-American. I feel strongly that we need to support those shops more than the big box stores. (But that's a whole other blog post for another time far far away.) Bet you're wondering what this has to do w/ confidence. I'm getting there hold you horses.

We went into the Sportsmen’s store (it's like a BassPro but a lotta bit smaller!). When we walked in a man about 20+ stared at K80. He couldn't keep his eyes off of her. This immediately sent me into mama bear syndrome. Did you read the story about the grizzly who attacked the 7 boys in Alaska last weekend... yeah I was raging like her inside! We walked around but my left eye never lost sight of this man. Guess what happened next. Yep, K80 had to tinkle. I could see the bathroom so I sent her a head, walked behind her so she wouldn't see me. You see, I'm building confidence and independence in her. She can't know I don't trust her to go to the bathroom. But it was "him" that I didn't trust. And I certainly didn’t want to her to see my concern for this man, but I’m not naive either! She's usually a quick trip to the bathroom; she didn't come out right away. My stupid left eye lost contact w/ the creepy man so I charge toward the bathroom to swing open the door and in a sweet voice with a loud boom yelled "Junior, you okay!" To hear her sweet reply was overwhelmingly calming... "Yep Mom!" followed by the thunderous flushing sound. She popped out washed her hands and we went on our way. I didn't allow her to leave my side again. My left eye us was permanently glued to the weirdo and I noticed while leaving the store his eyes were still fixated on my K80. I prayed intently for our safety the rest of the day.

Fast forward many hours. Mom left for her flight. I assume she made it because she did NOT come back to the room like we did yesterday morning. K80 and I watched TV, nothing on but Disney. She was a happy camper since we don't have that in channel at home. I played on FaceBook, returned some emails and just relaxed. We even ate some pie. We got take home desert and danggum was it super yummy! As the evening progressed it was time for bed. I tucked Junior in and headed to my bed. I couldn't relax. I suddenly felt all alone, on the ground floor of this hotel (we stayed here before our RV trip alone and felt perfectly fine) we could hear lots of people and commotion. It was unsettling.

I honestly cannot say the emotion I was feeling was fear, “God hasn’t given me a spirit of fear but of power love and a sound mind. “ (2 Tim 1:7) It was uneasiness, not sure if it came from the afternoons events, but I began to cry and pray. Tears streaming down my face it hit me. I missed by boys, my Mark. I wasn’t scared for our safety (although I did pray a lot for that); I was lonely for my help-mate, my best friend. We’ve been apart a lot over these past several months (not to mention all his little trips and mini deployments here and there!) and I love having him around. I love living life WITH him by my side, he’s truly my best friend. He completes me. K80 couldn’t sleep, she climbed into my bed to find me crying and praying. We talked a bit, cuddled a lot and prayed together. We decided we missed our boys all 3 of ‘em. We can’t get home soon enough.

Today we are off to H20asis, an indoor waterpark here in Anchorage.

It was cheaper than anything else to do here and we shouldn’t go shopping anymore! The piggybank is let’s just say he’s….

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pix from the 49th State!

K80 lost a set of antlers along the path, but boy isn't she a cutie. We'll keep her another year!

A mama and her baby. They were right and I mean right next to our campsite. They eventually walked through our site at Denali. It was so beautiful and sweet to watch them chomp on trees and bushes along their way.

There she is... McKinley... aka Denali. I prefer the name Denali. Yeah, McKinley's from Ohio but Denali... that just sounds so majestic. Fitting for a mountain like this "the high one". The tallest mountain in North America. And I got to see her! We are in the 30% club. Did you know that less than 30% of all people who go to Alaska actually see her! We saw her 3 different days, I do believe that puts us in the 5% club.

K80 found her one true love a new born puppy. We went to the Iditorod Headquarters in Wasilla. They had 4 four-week old pups (the other 6 were at home w/ mama). I can honestly say we couldn't put them down. K80 became an official puppy handler letting all of the visitors hug and love on them. I musta taken 100 shots of just the pups, Mark can we please have one? We so miss having a dog, but life in Okinawa doesn't make it easy to have one. One day, promise we'll have another pup... I vote for an miniature Alaskan malamute with bright blue eyes, but I guess I have to let Mark have an input too.

And we found this, the largest pure chocolate fountain in the world. Yep, we bought some and taste tested some more. Sorry we already ate it all. That's what happens when you buy it early in the 1400 mile trip. Sure was super delicious you'll have to come to Alaska to try your own, they only had like 20 different fudges and 100+ chocolate candies to choose from.

More photos to come but I'll leave you with this quote that I heard from a friend who heard it from Pastor Ron at church this past Sunday... (clear as mud right! that's not the quote silly goose!)

When you sow your "wild oats" don't expect a good harvest from bad seed!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It's a Bear!

As you can see K80 and I got caught by a Big Brown Bear!

We'll return to regular programming as soon as we find better internet, until then enjoy this photo!

Monday, July 11, 2011

First REAL trip to a USO!

This is pretty sad, but in 18 years of being a military wife I've never been in a Airport USO. I am amazed at these women who run this place. I imagine these retired women are either veterans themselves or spouses of veterans; either way they truly have a heart for our military and our military families.

You see, I'm in Seattle en route to our huge vacation in Alaska. We have a 7 hour layover and there is no place I'd rather spend it than in this USO. It's been nonstop busy since we arrived, several groups have moved in and out of here already but many are here for the long haul. Some 7+ hours like us, others 24 hours til their next flight goes out. There is a constant turnover.

As I sit and observe I can't help but notice how old I am to many of these kids. I can legally say kids because I am officially old enough to be their moms' I think some of these boys were at prom just 3-4 months ago and now they are off to war. Don't get me started on the girls here. As K80 sits next to me I am reminded that in 8 years this could be her or 6 years one of my boys. One of the girls is reading the magazine "Seventeen" sitting in their cammies, 17 and in cammies. Wow! Another young man is writing a letter, I would like to think he's writing to his mom but by the emotions on his face I am certain it's his girlfriend back home. A few are playing video games, a couple more are sleeping and one is chatting it up with one of the volunteers.

Then there are the 'crusty' guys. The guys who've obviously been in 15+ years loving what they do, but their tired. They've probably deployed way too many times to count on one hand or maybe even two and they are off again. You can tell their tired by the looks on their weathered leathery faces. They stand tall when they have to but normally slouch because it's just easier. I am grateful for these men and women; they take care of the babies in the room, the guide them, mold them and shape them into warriors. They vow to bring them all home and we all know that promise cannot be kept. You can see that each of these men and women have lost someone or many, too many. Their hearts ache and they continue to wear them on their sleeves.

Each of the men, women, and children who cross the threshold of this USO are changing the course of America and our world. Their daily sacrifice to serve our great nation without limits, without hesitation, and sadly often without the support of their fellow Americans is breath taking. I truly cannot say thank you enough, your service has not gone unnoticed in my family's life. We hold your service with the deepest of gratitude, the utmost respect and unwavering devotion. THANK YOU!

Now go call your mom and tell her you love her one more time and that you'll be safe because my Gunny, my Sarge, my Top, my Lieutenant, and my God's got my back!

Do it now!! .... (it's your turn to say "Yes Ma'am" and pick up your cell phone and start dialing!)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Leavin' on a Jet Plane...

We're leavin' on a Jet Plane... Don't know when we'll be back again! Seriously we're leavin' and we aren't sad about it. You see, K80 and I are going with my mom on her dream vacation. Traveling for two weeks in an RV 1000+ miles in 49th state, Alaska! We are so excited we can't sleep.

The boys, Mark and Aunt Sue are headed slightly north also, but the other side. They are going to Canada to spend 7 days canoeing in the Canadian Wilderness. What an adventure!

Reality hasn't set in yet that either of us get to go on these amazing vacations. We've been planning them for 18 months and now... now it's time to fly fly away! Pray for safe travels and loads and loads of memories!

Be on the look out for some truly breathe taking photos. Maybe we'll play guess where this picture was taken!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Is it that time of the year?

I know it's only the first few days of July, but around these parts you've got to start early before the well dries up. When I was in Hawaii the HUGE military exchange was having a mega back to school tent sale on June 15 (the day before we fly home and I didn't get to go). So here we are today...

A girl can dream of these deals, I long for the deals listed above. We have no Staples, we haven't an Office Max or Office Depot or Wal-Marts in these parts. We got nothing (except our tiny isle in the exchange with super overpriced goods!)! This weekend when we just happened to be on Kadena picking up some new pillows (which they were out of stock of... there were only two bed pillows left in the entire stinkin' store... do you feel bad for me yet? Well you should!) I saw the "school isle".

"Come Kids, let's get this done! Everyone pick out a zip up binder, and we'll grab some lined paper (10 packs to be exact)!"

That took all of 15 minutes to chose from 4 different binders (with only 3 colors each). Simplicity at it's finest but it's soooo UBBER BORING! I love bright fun office supplies and back to school notebooks and binders. You'll find NONE of that here, we only have dull dumb looking and not pretty at all supplies. But the shopping is done.

I also spent some time on the sofa looking for clothes.(in case your wondering I was online shopping!) I swear every child on this island and in the states wears the same size as my kiddos. Everything I liked at a decent price was sold out in our sizes. Seriously folks... make more! I was able to find some deals at for K80 and for my boys. Thankfully they will not be naked on the first day of school! We have exactly 7.5 weeks til school starts. That's just enough time for the packages to get delivered. It can take up to 30 days for mail. That's another reason I have got to do this early!

Now don't get me started on shoes. This is a very delicate subject for me. Two weeks ago we went to buy cleats for my Mark. The closest place was "Sports Depot" in town. Do you know they don't stock shoes above size 28 (= to a 10.5 in USA sizing). Ummmm, Mark wears an 11. Needless to say she shoved his poor toes into a pair for the game that night because his 15 year old pair broke in half. (Just in case your interested, they won the first game and lost the second two in the tournament!)

What's a girl to do... I wear size 11 so needless to say-- Don't even bother looking at Sports Depot. However they store clerk did tell us they can order us some shoes. (I'll store that in my memory bank, they may take 3 months to arrive but I'll remember that!) This weekend I also looked for a pair of tennis shoes. Nothing fancy just super comfy for our trip to Alaska and beyond. I found 4 pair I loved at the exchange, and asked the kind clerk to fetch me a 10.5 and an 11 in each. What do you think happened next?

"Um, Ma'am we don't have any in stock."

"What are you talking about? You haven't even looked!"

"We don't carry shoes that large."

"Well... go back there and check. And get me any women's tennis shoe in size 10.5 or 11 that you might have!"

"Really ma'am?"

"Yes, please!"

He comes walking back with 2 boxes of shoes, both filled with the most ugly old lady lookin' shoes you could ever imagine. I think they dated back to 1984. It was ridiculous. In all seriousness I do NOT have overly large feet. I know of 5 women who wear size 11.5 or 12's on this island. Where do they buy shoes, cuz they ain't ever barefoot and always wear super cute shoes?!

So here we sit, shoeless. The boys are desperate for new shoes (they wear them out in 3 months, they've been wearing the same pair they have for 5-6 months now. And people wonder why my house smells!) I am obviously going to wear my croc flipflips in Alaska. K80's good. She's got her Chuck Taylors to carry her through (old fashion converse for anyone over the age 30!)

Mark, well he buys shoes 2-4 pair at a time because he's learned that you can't always depend on shoe availability and he needs good shoes to PT in everyday. (Wish I was that smart!)

So if you're out an about doing your back to school shopping and your getting frustrated because your kid won't make up his or her mind. Be thankful and say a little prayer for those of us across the pond who have to go shoeless with ugly dull super boring I got's nothing special school supplies.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

My 3 kiddos on the seawall. I still can't believe it's July 4th. Where did the last 2 months go?
My sweet man! After almost 18 years of marriage he still makes my heart flutter!

You wouldn't believe how hard it is to get a decent family photo with 3 clowns.

My Seth.

My K80!

K80 and her Daddy. A friendship forever.

Only Caleb can make a gun out of a tripod!

Caleb... don't ask! We didn't we were too afraid!

"Mom take our picture!" Okay!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

WOW! It's Been too Long!

Wow, it's been too long since you've had a real update so here you go. Let's start from the beginning. Okay we won't go that far back but I'll give you a few photos that will help tell this crazy funny story of the life we've lived lately.

Let's start with the photo below. It was taken before my surgery when my girlfriend, Maureen, accompanied me to Hawaii. We had a lot of time to spend with not much money. Maureen spotted this revolving restaurant miles away on our way home from the hospital one day and decided we needed to eat there. So keeping our eyes in the sky (on the prize) we weaved our way through traffic and finally found this beautiful mecca of restaurants. Then we found out it was closed, but right next door was something even more majestic. It was Sam's Club. We had a blast; spent several hours wandering the isles drinking Coke Icee's and filling up that super-sized shopping cart. Below is the picture of our loot. We got a huge frying pan, a swim suit, several t-shirts, underwear, pop tarts, socks, magazines, and a couple totally rockin' 70's/80's disco music CD's! And YES, you see a Nordstroms and Macy's sign in the background but there's something about Sam's that makes the two of us smile!

This picture is from the day we arrived in Hawaii. We went straight to Pearl Harbor. Every American needs to experience this sacred ground.
I Love Love Love this picture of my mom and I. This was taken 8 days post surgery. No, we didn't hike Diamond Head but we did watch a helicopter rescue mission from the peak. That was pretty neat, the girl was okay we suspect it was a heat related rescue but we have no proof.
This is by far my most favorite photo. It's me and my Marine. He arrived the last few days I was in Hawaii. He was there for a work related conference, but he managed to carve out a little bit of time for me. This photo was taken at the Luau at the Hale Koa. Scrumptious Dinner and great memories.

Now for the update that you are really interested in... Friday's doctor appointment. Dr. Coats' report... "you are healing as expected. The pain you still have is completely normal. It was a pretty intense surgery and it's gonna take longer to heal than you thought. You will probably experience pain for another 4 weeks but you can return to a 'normal' life as you feel you are ready!"

Translation... Alaska here I come!

That's our Update! Until next time... keep your chin up!