Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Spooky Charlotte's Web

The last few days the kids have been on a bug collecting kick.  Today after school, Charlotte burst in the door wanting her bug box for a really cool spider.  She grabbed it and out she ran.  This is what she brought back.

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Fortunately no humans were harmed in the collection process.  A neighbor girl actually collected this beautiful Black Widow specimen.  She is a fantastic, eerie, creepy, perfect example of a Black Widow.  Everyone here now has the heebie jeebies.  I think Jason is spraying tomorrow!

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pretty in Pink and Orange

While my 3 oldest boys are roughing it in the cold, it is getting in the 30's.  They are also sporting attractive orange clothing.  I thought I would share a complete contrast.

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Okinawa Sunset
Stay warm and safe!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Our Little Park

Just before we left Japan we spent lots of time at our little park.  Jason would frequently use it as his way of entertaining the girls while I was busy with the baby.  I joined them one day and Jason had his camera.  Those fun moments you get to watch your kiddos be kids.

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As the temperatures get cooler and cooler here I start to miss the mild temperature of our island.  I think I would even take a typhoon if it meant I was warm and could wear flip flops.  We are adjusting and getting settled, it just seems like there is always an urgent situation needing out attention and I can't get into a routine.  I am craving it.  How do you get a routine going when every day something important disrupts it all?  Seriously, would love to hear!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Why We Use Straws

This is why we use straws to drink my smoothies!

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I make really thick smoothies because that is how I like them, more like a Frosty.  Except my Frosty's have spinach, kale, blueberries, raspberries, flax, and pineapple juice.  Lately I have been throwing in an apple from the local orchards - oh yummy!  My friends taught me that the blueberries cancel out the bitterness from the Kale (and never use the stems, too bitter).  The kids like them as long as I use plenty of pineapple juice.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Pictures of our last day, Jayce's Perspective.

I was downloading pictures and found these from our last day in Japan.  I of course demanded that we spend part of it at the beach.  We only had the morning until Jason had to drop off our car to its new owners.  What I love about these pictures is Jayce had the camera for a big part of the day.  I get to see what he thought was worth taking pictures of, I think they are cute.

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Digging for sand toys.

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They decided to splurge and pay for a banana boat ride.  The Japanese are always worried about safety.

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They are waiting for the ride to start, I don't think Jason was impressed.  It was impressive enough for my boys.

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I love all the selfies!  I wonder if the sign is warning about Typhoons or what.  The wave is picking up that poor kid.

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He loves the soda machines and Shisa's!

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Jayce will miss the vending machines and soda choices.

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A wooden ship playground, the kids love the zip line.

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I had never read this sign and always wondered why they chose a wood ship for a playground.  Thanks  Jayce for the story!

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More cute selfies!

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Our final sunset, it was beautiful.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Moustache Smile!

After being re-united with family we loaded up into 4 or 5 vehicles for the final drive home.  I quickly realized that my family had other plans and Charlotte was staying with cousins before I had time to say no.

The next time I saw Charlotte was lunch the next day, she was in borrowed clothes and this....

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She is stinkin cute even with a moustache. (I love that the cousins put it on upside down and filled it in with permanent marker - which was the least permanent part of the moustache).

After lunch with 11 kids we headed back to Grammy's for the rest of the evening.  By bedtime Charlotte was overly tired and we thought it was so funny.  You couldn't tell she was upset, she had a permanent smile.  Love that face.

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Taking her picture helped to cheer her up and then we tucked her in and I don't think we saw any kids until late morning.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Back in the Saddle

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I apologize for my longer than expected absence.  They packed up our belongings in Japan on June 18 and then we didn't see it again until August 24.  We are still getting settled, but we are finally all connected again.  I received a kind e-mail from blogher informing me that I was going to be dropped from their ad campaign, it has been too long since I blogged.  I have had it on my to do list, but with unpacking, school, and a new business - I have been slower than I wanted.  So, I am back to blogging and hope that my readers will return!

So much has happened and the time has flown since we left the hotel in Japan at 6:30 am on July 1.  We spent the next 25+ hours travelling back to the states and our new life here.

30 minute bus ride
2 hour minute flight
6.5 hour layover
9.5 hour flight
3 hour layover
2 hour flight
1 hour layover
1 hour flight
30 minute car ride
14.5 hours flying
10.5 hours waiting
1 hour commuting

+ 1 sea bag, 2 medium suitcases, 5 carry-ons, 6 large suitcases, and 3 car seats (1 of which was a carry on) (not counting Jason's luggage)

Which of course it wasn't that smooth.  Everything was relatively smooth until we reached Seattle.  When you go through customs you pile all your luggage and carry-ons on to the carts to get through.  Then they load it on a conveyor to go to your connecting flights.  The airport personnel are so efficient that they had grabbed Jude's car seat and sent it off down the conveyor belt before we realized it.  We needed to get it back.  They told us it would be no big deal.  We followed their instructions and said good by to Jason who was staying in Seattle.

Thank goodness I have a husband who worry's about us a ton.  I took the kids and our carry-ons and headed to the gate.  Parked us and sent Jayce and Grahm with money to buy some burgers while we waited.  Shortly after that Jayce and Grahm return without burgers, but with Jason and the car seat.  The airport had not idea where to send the car seat.  we would have lost it!  After feeding and pottying everyone I realize that they had changed our gate, fortunately not too far.

They are late boarding us and getting us to SLC.  I only had an hour layover to begin with.  And now I have no layover, 5 kids, carry-ons, and a car seat.  We land and they asked everyone to stay seated so those of us with connecting flights could make it - no one every stays seated.  We were at the back.  We  go off and I sent Jayce (who is very concerned about missing the flight), Grahm, and Charlotte to run ahead of me.  While I carry Jude in the carry seat and beg with and plead with Tennyson to please run and keep up (this is at 24 hours of travel).  Some how we made it to the gate, and they let us on.  They even let me take Charlotte to the bathroom before we boarded (the plane is waiting for us).  Tennyson and Jude are both having meltdowns at take off.  We made it and were welcomed home with signs and a crowd.

We will forever miss Japan and will cherish the time we spent there.

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Saturday, June 15, 2013


Our adventure in Japan is coming to a close.  Our computer will be packed up in a couple of days and then it will be a month or so before I see it again.  So, posts will be few and far between until we are settled.

We will miss Okinawa and are excited to have family in our daily lives again.

A Couple First Smiles

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Ryukyu Mura Part 2

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Here are my kiddos with the performers.  There is the Emperor and Empress and their attendants, Kijimuna, female dancer and taiko drummer.

One of the really fun things about Ryukyu Mura is the parade/performances they hold twice each day.  These performances showcase several of the festivals held during the year.  It gives you a quick snapshot of all the fun you can have during the year.

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The first picture is of the Miruku parade.  The guy with the mask is the Bodhisattva of happiness, rich harvests, and prosperity.  

The two female dancers in the middle pictures are performing some kind of harvest dance.  They are holding farm tools and whistling and singing.  The Okinawans are amazing whistlers.

The dancer on the right is performing the Juri Dance.  The performers are holding two wooden pieces in each hand that they click together.
The dance was staged to bring auspicious conditions for a good harvest and profitable business. However, the Juri dance (Juri means prostitute in the Okinawan dialect) has not been performed since 1989, when a feminist group criticized the decadence of the event.  They started performing again in 2001.  Source

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The picture on the right shows the royal party who watch over the festivities.  I love the sheer orange kimono that the
Empress is wearing.

The next two pictures show the Shi Shi Lion and his master the Kijimuna.  Legend has it the Shi Shi lion lived on a mountain in what is now Uruma City, and that they were instrumental in keeping devils away and protecting the community.  The Shi-Shi-Mai(Lion dance) is known to have the power to ward off evil spirits and summon the god off harvest and wealth, bringing prosperity to the region, and the tradition has been passed for generations everywhere in Okinawa. Source

Tennyson did not enjoy the Shi Shi Lion getting that close.  They are pretty cool costumes.

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The two pictures on the left I believe show the performers performing the Kachāshī Dance.  In Okinawa, it is often a feature of celebrations such as weddings and victory festivities after Okinawan sumo matches and public elections. Traditionally, the dance is accompanied by the sanshin and drum, and often punctuated with finger whistling called yubi-bue (指笛?).  Source

The picture on the left is of two Kijimuna!

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A few more pictures of the Juri Dance, the Shi Shi Lion and Kijimuna, and the Taiko Drummers (I have posted about them before).

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A street performer entertaining the girls.

**Note for our memory - Grahm decided to be very upset with everyone and would not get close enough to be a part of any of the pictures.  I think he surprised my parents with how stubborn he can be.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Photo Catch Up and a Joke

Joke first:

40 Grahms = 1 Ton

He thinks that is so funny.

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Little Mommy

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Time Outs are rough!
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That face makes me want to hug her so tight...
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...and kiss away all those tears.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Ryukyu Mura Part 1

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We took my parents to visit a replica of an old Okinawan village.  The mock village is called Ryukyu Mura.  You can view several old homes that they have restored and relocated to this area.  It lets you see what homes were like 100 years ago, how they cooked, how the rooms were divided up.  It is really cool.  There are several places to see and participate in Okinawa crafts - there is pottery, sugar extraction from sugar cane, and many more.

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In the first picture Jayce, my Dad, and Jason are sitting on the edge of one of the historical homes.  They were very open and simple (I wonder if it was easier to keep clean?).  

The middle picture is of a Tatami Mat.  I was surprised at how thick they are.  These mats were made of a rice straw core and covered with a soft rush straw (wikipedia).  These mats are still used today and are very expensive to replace.  You never walk on a Tatami Mat with your shoes on.

The last picture is of a Banana Spider, pictures never do the beast justice.  These things are the size of an adult male hand.  They are fast and will bite, but not poisonous.

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The top left is another picture of an historical home (and proof I was there).  

The top right picture is of the famous Habu snakes.  They fascinate my boys and creep me out.  They are a deadly pit viper that is native to the island.

The bottom left picture is of Koi fish (Carp).  It was crazy, all you had to do was walk near the edge and they thought you were going to feed them.  They would go into a frenzy, literally swimming (climbing) over each other.  We did feed them a few times, just so we could get pictures and video.

The bottom right is a picture of some yummy treats to purchase.  It is pig face skin in case you could not tell.  We thought the packaging made it even more appealing.

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The top left picture is of a water buffalo.  They use them to crush the sugar cane.  I think that is the purpose of the wheel behind Jayce in the upper right photo.

Almost every where you go the Japanese provide photo ops like the ones in the bottom two photos.  This one depicts the Kijimuna, tree spirits.  There are several folktales about these mischievous spirits, here is a site that has several of them.  Jayce really likes them because of the red hair.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Remembering the War cont.

After we visited the Navy Underground Headquarters we headed to Peace Prayer Park.  Jayce has been wanting to take us there to visit for awhile.  Since the Underground Headquarters was exhibits and a tour, we wandered around the park grounds rather than head inside.  We enjoyed the outdoor exhibits and beautiful park grounds and ended up missing the exhibits inside.

We only read a portion of the 240,000+ names of those who lost their lives during the Battle of Okinawa.  The park grounds are very large and we didn't see all of it my any means.  We obviously need to go back.

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Enjoying the view.

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Walking around the grounds.  A lot of the outdoor exhibits only had plaques with Japanese on them, so we probably missed a lot.  (Tenny has her belly button).

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The boys ran down a long flight of stairs and this statue was down there.  

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There was an entrance to another underground military headquarters.  This was not open to the public for touring, but Jason got a picture so we would know what was at the bottom of the stairs.

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Found a broomstick in this pavilion, so we rode around a bit waiting for them to come back up the stairs.

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Grahm found a stick bug!

The Basic Concept of the Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum

In late March 1945, a fierce battle such as has rarely been seen in history took place on these islands. The "Typhoon of Steel" that lasted for ninety days disfigured mountains, destroyed much of the cultural legacy, and claimed the precious lives of upward of 200,000 people. The Battle of Okinawa was the only ground fighting fought on Japanese soil and was also the largest-scale campaign of the Asia-Pacific War. Even countless Okinawan civilians were fully mobilized.
A significant aspect of the Battle of Okinawa was the great loss of civilian life. At more than 100,000 civilian losses far outnumbered the military death toll. Some were blown apart by shells, some finding themselves in a hopeless situation were driven to suicide, some died of starvation, some succumbed to malaria, while other fell victim to the retreating Japanese troops. Under the most desperate and unimaginable circumstances, Okinawans directly experienced the absurdity of war and atrocities it inevitably brings about.
This war experience is at the very core of what is popularly called the "Okinawan Heart," a resilient yet strong attitude to life that Okinawan people developed as they struggled against the pressures of many years of U. S. military control.
The "Okinawan Heart" is a human response that respects personal dignity above all else, rejects any acts related to war, and truly cherishes culture, which is a supreme expression of humanity. In order that we may mourn for those who perished during the war, pass on to future generations the historic lessons of the Battle of Okinawa, convey our message to the peoples of the world and thereby established, displaying the whole range of the individual war experiences of the people in this prefecture, the Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum. (LINK TO MUSEUM)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Jayce is Certified!

Our Youth Center here in Okinawa is awesome.  The director Mr. Rhinehart does amazing things for the kids.  This past October he was able to provide a scuba certification class to the youth.  Since Jason and I are now certified we jumped at the chances to allow Jayce that opportunity.  He had to mow the lawn a few times and do some other chores to pay for half of the fee.

He had fun through the process.  He was nervous for a few of the tasks (so was I).  I think it was good that he was in the class without his parents, so he would tough it out through the scary parts.  He did awesome and is now certified.  He finished up his certification while my parents were visiting.  Here are a few pictures of Jayce the Scuba Diver.

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Tired after the swim.

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The equipment is pretty heavy.  At one of the dives Jason had to help Jayce out of the water, he was tired.  This time he made it out on his own.

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The jealous bystanders.

Looking at these pictures makes me want to dive.  I really hope I can get in one or two more dives before we leave.  I just need to find a willing babysitter to watch Jude near by so I can nurse before and after dives.  Any locals interested?