Sunday, August 28, 2011

First Day of School (I mean Chaos) 2011

It's tradition across the lands of this world to embarrass I mean take photos of your kids on the first day of school each and every school year. The tradition doesn't end when you hit middle school, high school and in some cases college. (I had a friend last year who made her sweet husband take first day of grad school photos, wish I had thought of that!) Today was that day for us... you'll see some super happy campers in these photos who just LOVED to get their photo taken. (I didn't care, I just kept snappin' pictures!)

Look at Junior, doesn't she look thrilled? Mark threatened her all weekend that we were gonna wear our bathrobes and hair curlers to take them to school. Not that we've ever done that but the horror of the prospects crippled my poor girl!
Nice sweatshirt huh!? It's like 3 years old, a handimedown from the boys. She loves it; I on the other hand could have died that she wanted to wear THAT to the first day of middle school. But then again I was reminded this morning... "Mom, you just don't know what cool is anymore!"

My grown up response.... "WHATEVER!"

This boy, Seth, is also wearing a old t-shirt to school the first day. New Shoes, new shorts, very old t-shirt. Why you might ask? Because he used his shirt sleeve as a napkin for breakfast and I made him change his clothes. So he picked this shirt... I just closed my eyes and prayed some more!

Don't get me started with this stud, Caleb, tryin' to look all cool and hardcore. He's so sweet and cuddly I like him just the way he is... when he smiles for me!

This one's not too bad. It's amazing how TALL my boys are. We have several friends who have high school kids, yep my boys are taller than them, their boys too! I won't be surprised if the boys are 6'4" and 6'3" with K80 topping out at 6' and weighing a whopping buck 10! (Which one do you think will be taller? or bigger overall?)

This one is just for fun. Mark snuck up behind Caleb and 'caught' him just as I was taken this picture. I love the natural smile and joy in his eyes. Where was this sweet boy when I was taken his school pictures 10 minutes later? Oh Yeah... he's in 7th grade... must look tough!

How did you first day of school photos turn out? Was it a blissful experience like mine?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Mega Water Park!

Mark got out of the field (military training while sleeping in tents... aka....playing war!) Friday night. Since we haven't spent that much time together in the past 2 weeks as a family doing fun things we decided to head out to the water park here on Okinawa. It's definitely not a MEGA water park, but it's cute and we had a blast playing together. We've been spoiled with Great Wolf Lodge, Water Country USA, the Beach (in Ohio) and last but not least the Disney water parks. This... this is nothing like any of the above. It has... well let's look at the pictures. (click on any of the photos to enlarge them)

This is what you call a traditional cement slide in Okinawa with a great water feature. The kids loved it, adults went on it. I can honestly say Mark and I did not, but we loved people watching!

Here are the kiddos at the top of the cement slides. I must say I got some cute and TALL kiddos!

A picture of the artwork on one of the walls at the park. I love how Disney it looks!

Caleb just off the only tube slide they have, more on that later.

Seth with his elegant landing off the tube slide.

K80 exiting the pool... look at them ab muscles. Doggone she's so stinkin' cute. I {heart} her!

These two slides, one green and one yellow, are the only two large slides. They also have a lazy river that floats around the slides, the tube slide and the cement slide. Yep that's it. Not much but enough to keep us busy for most of the day!

It's really fun to watch people. The Japanese families that come don't sit on the sides. They actively play with their kids. There are no pool chairs, lounge chairs or spots to lay-out. You park your stuff on a bench and you go play. No one lays out in the sun, reads a book or sits on their cell phones. Which Mark and I absolutely love because we love being kids and playing with our's.

A few things about this photo. This is where you stand or rather sit in line for the slides. They only send 4 people up at a time. The rest of us sit and wait under a tent like this. It's so much nicer than standing in the blazing sun on the stairs waiting for your turn.

Now see the lady in the pink and black swimsuit. Yeah her looking for someone, she has 7 year old twin girls and she approached me and asked me if I was the mother of the twelve year old twin boys. I responded quizzically with "yes, is everything okay?" She proceeded to ask if they were identical, swearing that they were, demanding that I should get the test and lectured me on life with twins and gave me all the details of the "famous" twins in Hollywood. Needless to say I couldn't get away fast enough, and my sweet husband never came to my rescue. It was obvious she drove her husband nuts because I never saw them together until it was break time.

All in all we had a wonderful day, so relaxing filled with lots of laughs and a dead battery!

Yep when we left the park, the car wouldn't start. I had the courage to play charades with several Japanese to tell them we needed help. They graciously came to our rescue. I neglected to take pictures... Opps.

Moral of the story... Enjoy life to the fullest each and everyday and when your battery goes dead more than once go buy a new one!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Movin' on Up!

This looks very similar to our old house, but it's not! It's VERY different. For starters we won't have 54 children living in our court. There are only 4 four bedrooms up on our hill. Just down our hill we have about 8 two bedroom apartments, but they are a bit down the way. AND here is the GREAT news it's renovated. So everything is new. Even the grass! It's an end unit so we'll have more yard to tend too but that's okay. That's what I had boys for. We've lost quite a bit of storage but we'll manage. We haven't accumulated that much stuff since we've arrived on island so we'll be good to go. We are going to try to give the boys their own room's. They've never been apart and they are fighting over who gets what room.
I'm so excited to do this move alone... can you tell?!

We also registered the kids for school. Yep, this means 3 schools in 3 years for all my kiddos. Stinks super big time. Pray they get the electives that they requested. They are also so very nervous to start another new school. They are only 1km from school so they get to walk. I'm happy about that... it means no bus drama. YEAH ME!

I'll post more soon, but I've got to jet and get ready for the last night of VBS!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

If a Picture is worth....

If a picture is worth a 1,000 words then this posting is worth a doctorate thesis paper!

What a breath taking view. Behind every turn in the RV were views like this. Pictures cannot even describe the beauty of Alaska. I look forward to returning one day to inhale more memories like these!

K80 at the Tolsona Wilderness Campground. This creek ran throughout all the sites. It's a beautiful place truly in the woods. My favorite campsite of the entire trip.

K80 met the REAL Santa Claus who lives at the North Pole (Alaska). She was mortified that I made her do this, but you can tell by the smile on her face... she desperately wants to still believe.

A view of a glacier from our RV. It was so far away and still so immensely huge.

Another picture of a glacier up a bit closer, with the lens that is. I love the colors.

My new favorite flower, the Fireweed. They grow all over Alaska. They look rather purple in this photo but they are really more pink. The color changes throughout the season. Fields and fields of these flowers grow wild. Lots of folklore about this blooming wonder.

More Fireweed!

I must have taken 1000 photos of just landscapes. Each one different and you can stand in the same spot all day take 100 photos and each one will be different by the way the sun shines, clouds roll in and out and the shadow from neighboring mountains. It's unbelievable.

This river is the Little Susitna. It's the river that flowed behind my brother's house when he lived in Alaska many years ago. No other sound is more peaceful than a babbling brook. Pure Bliss.

This is the view of Denali from my side mirror. Whenever I checked my mirrors I could see her, the majestic mountain. No wonder many people have made the pilgrimage here just to catch a glimpse of her beauty.

If you look close enough you can see that two rivers merge. One is a glacier river, see how pure blue it is, that is not the sun. That's the water and boy was it cold.

This was the last campground we stayed out, ummm I mean parking lot. Yeah we had a tree in between the spots but not much else. That's our RV and mom sitting by the campfire. If you click the picture you can see the bunt pan campfire ring they gave us. I'll explain more on that later!

Many of the rivers up here are called braided rivers. Which means the rivers often change their pattern but never fill the river bed. I've never seen any before and loved how they blend together so smoothly.

Mom, K80 and I at the Alaska Pipeline. So huge and powerful.

At the Gold Mine, we got to hold a gold nugget worth $60,000. Talk about WOW Factor!

This is the very last photo I took in Alaska. One last memory.... Thanks Mom for such a great vacation, I love you.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Meet the Typhoon!

Click the image and it will appear bigger. If you see where I put the circle you can see how tiny Okinawa is in comparison to this storm. I can't really call this a Super Typhoon it's more like a Holy Craptastic Mega Gonna Getcha Typhoon! It will probably grow to a Category 4 before reaching us. We've battened down the hatches, now we wait. I pick up the kids early from Operation Purple Camp tomorrow. So sad that this storm has ruined their week of camp.

Japan cannot afford another major natural disaster... pray this rolls over us without any issues.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Ready but Not Ready...

Clothes bought for the kids that fit! (They all grew go figure!) Check!

New School Shoes! (You don't even want to know what sizes they wear now!) Check!

School Supplies Bought/Given/Gifted! (What a blessing!) Check Check!!

All ready for school to begin but definitely not ready for summer to be over! Looking forward to the next 4 weeks of summer filled with OPC Camp, DEFY camp, VBS, MOPS stuff and fun weekends filled with trips to the pool, beach and GeoCaching!

I love my Family and I love Summer!