Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Oki Preparations - Dental Check

It's been awhile since my last post about our preparations for our move to Okinawa, Japan in February, so here we go, this is what's going on right now:
  • Last week we had our Dental appointment with the Dentist on base. The kids and I go to a Dentist out in town, but for the final screening, we have to have everything checked and made sure it's up to date with the provider on base. I had all the records, and it all went smooth and fast. All five of us in the room and one after the other. Well, Chris was last, and we didn't wait for him, as he anyway was going back to work after the appointment, and we needed to get home and get dinner started. 

  • Ben was very upset and worried before the appointment. He didn't want to go there at all, and even if I tried to explain that we just had to show him how nice our teeth are, he didn't want to go. BUT, after talking with him again, after seeing Isabella jump up in the chair and go first, he was very brave and did it! I played with him that the chair would start moving if he snapped his fingers, and the dentist played along and told him that ok, time to snap and he did and WOW, the chair moved. Pretty cool how well the Dr. understood without further words, that I needed to get him comfortable. I was so proud of him, he did what he was told, got lots of praise for his shiny teeth, and then he was done. Chris took them in the waiting room to keep them busy, while it was Cassie's and my turn. We were all good, and ready to be signed off as OK. One step done of the checklist!!
  • The last two weeks have been slow, we have turned in all the medical papers but have not yet been able to get screened and processed. It's frustrating, but there is nothing that we can do at this point. We finally got a date set and will have our Medical Screening on December 8th. 
  • Why the hurry you might wonder? Well, considering that it's holiday season starting this week with Thanksgiving, there are a lot of days that the offices are closed and everything takes so much longer. The total processing takes about 6-8 weeks, and not until then, we can get our date and tickets booked. To know that we need to leave in the beginning of February, this doesn't leave us much time. This is very stressful, as we need to reserve a spot for our "in cabin" rabbit, as the flights normally only allow a few number. We have no control over what airline, if with Patriot Express or commercial, it's all not in our hands. For someone that wants to make things happen and be on top of things, this "hurry up and wait" is very frustrating!! 

  • To not know what date we are getting on that plane is hard. It makes it very hard to plan ahead for other things. We need to have a plan on when to book the movers. When they come and pack the fast shipment that takes about 30 days to get to Okinawa. Then they come back and pack the second shipment that takes about 3 months to get there with ship. Then at that time, we need to move into a hotel and clean out our rental in a few days, take care of storage for the rest of the things that won't be coming with us to the island at all. Then we still need to decide on what to do with our cars...As it looks now, we most likely will put the Honda in storage with a good friend of us in Texas. Why? Well, if we happen to be stationed on the East coast or the West coast when we come back after 3 years, it's about in the middle to go and get the car!  The second car we will most likely let the military put in storage for us.
  • It's always stressful and hard to move, but this move takes the price! There are so many factors that we can't control, and to have to wait and not being able to plan as you like, is hard. 
  • So, to at least take some control of some things, I've kept very busy with selling things on Craigslist and last weekend I had a big yard sale here at home. Cleared out toys and clothes and it was nice to see all the "big" outdoor toys gone. I made some money, and got a lot of things cleared out, perfect. We will have another yard sale after the holidays, in January for sure, to clear out maybe some furniture etc too. It takes a lot of work to put these yard sales together. A lot of sorting, cleaning, washing and taking pictures. I rented tables to put everything on, and many hours went on this. Saturday morning early before 7am, the people started coming...I had hardly opened the garage, and people started pulling on things. I sold a lot and it was an almost sad feeling selling the strollers, the toddler slide, the water table that they have spent hours and hours of fun with, the seesaw, and all kind of things that were so typical for their early years. Even if I've know for a long time now that we are DONE with having children, it still hits you and it becomes very clear when you get rid of all the baby stuff...knowing that you won't need it again.
  •  And to make matters "worse", last week my husband got a new job! Just like that, out of the blue, he got transferred to another position. He's now not working shift as usual, but "regular"  office hours. What is regular in the USMC? 7am-6pm give or take, Mon-Fri. It means that he is home on the weekend, but this week he has hardly been home before 8pm, as there is a lot to take care of. So we'll have to see how "good" these hours will be for the family, for him, it's stress pure, as he has to get a lot of stuff done in that office before he leaves, and as he is taking over after someone that didn't do his job well, it's a mess. Best part of this- no more night shift and sleeping during the day!!

Biking & Compassion

Even if it's started to be more cold mornings and evenings now, we still have perfect temperatures in the afternoons. I love that the temperatures are finally around 80F/26C and some days even below that! Just wonderful!!! In the mornings though, we have had as cold as down to around 50F/10C!!

So now we can be outside more and more and the kids love to spend time on their bikes. I normally walk around the neighborhood with them biking, and so we did one afternoon the other day.

Isabella had an accident and fell with her bike, there were some uneven parts of the side walk and she didn't pay attention to where her training wheels went. She fell and hurt herself and was in tears. No scraped knees, but some on her hands, but not too bad. Still, after lots of tears, and kisses she started to feel better. Especially as her twin brother gave her a spontaneous loooong hug to make her feel better. I love that they despite their everyday arguing,  have that deep love and compassion for one another. I was so happy to catch this on a picture!

 Cassie's friend A came over for some volleyball!

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Fun Filled Saturday

 I'm so behind on my posts here on the blog, but there is so much going on all the time, but I'll try to catch up a few entries what's been up lately. About a week ago, we had a really busy funfilled Saturday. First, I took the kids to the mall to go and see the new movie, "Big Hero 6". One of the Children's Dentist's here in town were sponsoring this event, and giving out tickets for free! Pretty great, and as I understood that the tickets were going to go fast, I took the kids there early! We got tickets, and even if we had to sit and wait for about an hour before the movie started, the kids were happy and we had brought books with us to read while we were waiting.

And suitable for a fun event, the kids even got "goodiebags"!  
A movie poster, a calender and a toothbrush. 

 The kids got free "Kid trays".
with popcorn, a drink (they did have a lemonade, no soda for these kids!) and a fruit snack. 

We all thought that the movie was really good, and now Ben has put it on his wish list for Santa. I don't know if it will be out on DVD before Christmas though..

When we came out from the movie, this year's first Christmas event was going on at the mall with fun stuff for the kids, Christmas carols and of course a visit from the man in the red suit! Later in the evening the Christmas tree would be lit, but we didn't stay around for that.

 A hot and sunny day in front of the Christmas tree!

 Ho Ho Ho...look who we found sitting in the shade!

 Some crafts for the kids.

 The Choir were singing "Do you want to build a snowman?" from Frozen.

We had been looking around for Santa for awhile, and then we found him, sitting in the shade by the bouncy houses. He was only there for a little while at the time, and then I guess he went inside here and there for some breaks in the A/C, but it must have been very hot in the suit, the hat and the big black boots in the sun and the temperatures were around 90F/32C.

 No snowy skies here in the South West Desert, only blue sunny skies - like every day!

It sure is different to be here in the sun amongst the palm trees trying to get a Christmas feeling in the hot sun, seeing Santa and the Christmas tree. In other places in the world, or even in our Country, you hear the kids (and grown ups for that matter), complaining that it's too cold to attend any of these Christmas events, and they try to warm their hands on cups of hot chocolate..Well, there were no hot chocolate or cookies needed here to keep the kids happy, but chilled drinks and ice cream.

After this, we went home for a quick stop for a late lunch and then we got ready to  go to the next event this Saturday. Here in the Foothills, they had their annual "Fall Festival". Cassie decided to stay at home for this one, and Chris was home anyway getting ready for the Marine ball that he was attending this same evening. So it was only me and the little ones that took off to the park for some fun. The kids had a blast in the bouncy house and doing the cake walk.

Face painting.

Elsa on the cheek.

Waiting for the Cake walk to begin.

 "Cake walk" or "Musical chairs"
Ben got a brownie-mix tray for his price on winning his round of cake walk.

 Isabella won a "little" cupcake on her cake walk!

After this long fun filled day, the kids were pretty tired, and after dinner and bath, they ended the day with a movie that I had rented for them: Mr. Peabody & Sherman.

Preschool Time And Nutrition

Last week we talked a lot about nutrition in school and here at home. Everything that the kids eat, we discuss in what group it belongs, if it's healthy or not..Very important to get them to understand this, and as we have talked a lot about these things around food at home. When we go shopping the kids are always allowed to pick out a fruit or vegetable that they want to try, that they like and they are very good knowing their way around fruit and vegetables, and it was nice for them to get a lot of praise in school when they knew a lot about this, and were able to impress their teachers with raising their hands and knowing the answers to most of the questions! Happy mommy!!

I just wish that our very own picky little eater, would do more than name them, and eat them as happily as his sister, but still, he is getting better I must say, and I have at least a handful of different veggies now that he will eat, instead of the constant corn..:) Anyway, I really like the fact that they talk a lot about this already in Preschool, as they are so eager to learn. They also had two days of "trying and tasting"different veggies and fruit, and they came  home with a chart filled out which ones they had tried. They were very proud to present these diplomas here at home!

 Ben's job one day was to bring the cart with outdoor toys outside.

 On their way out, each child got a picture of an item in the nutrition pyramid, and in a game they were going to name it, say what group it belonged to and if it was healthy or not for them.

 Another day in Preschool, it's getting cold in the mornings, and little jackets are needed!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Children's Art Festival & Warm Christmas Feelings

These pictures are from November 8th, about two weeks ago, when there was an annual Children's Art Festival down town. I have totally forgotten to download them to the computer, and came across them today. So, I figured, that I'd post them here right away before they get forgotten again.

There are always so much going on here in town in the weekends. Almost both Saturday and Sunday. It's impossible to be able to participate in all, but I try to pick out a few activities every weekend that I try to take the kids to, and I am glad that we have so much to choose from.

They really go all in when it comes to children here in town, and most of all these events that you see me take the kids to, are free. All supplies provided, come as you are and enjoy! What is not to love about that!?!

We must have missed this one last year, and I didn't realize that it was so huge, and all Main Street was blocked off, and there were so many different stations and activities to do. We had to go up and down first to at all be able to see what we wanted to do, and still there were too much to choose from. All three kids love art and love to draw and paint. So to start off to give them some paintbrushes, was a given station to go to! Here are some pictures from our wonderful afternoon:

Ben drawing a blue dinosaur. The "theme" for the festival was dinosaurs, and I think that this one is absolutely wonderful. I don't even think that it was meant to be like I see it, but I see a blue big dinosaur bird sitting with his orange feet sticking out in the front, and with his orange beak open to eat.

 Very concentrated getting all the details!

This was a fun station. The kids got to place three plastic dinosaurs on a "magic" paper, then count to 30 while the paper was laying in the sun, then the sun had marked the paper and the dinosaurs where dark. Ben & Isabella thought that this was so fun!

 Beads and dragon teeth combined made great necklaces..

Ben using a different technique while creating this piece of art. Tearing his paper up and then gluing it onto the other paper. He created a volcano with hot lava shooting out at the top and pouring down the sides. Isabella and Cassie had already moved along, but Isabella did the same thing and had fun doing it!

 Proud artist!

Creating with clay was a fun (and messy!!!) station!

Cassie got to try pottery.

Messy but fun!

 Ben made Olaf from Frozen..

I think it looks like a beautiful bird, look at those eyes and beak, and even wings and tail feathers...but no, it's Olaf the snowman..

And Isabella made Elsa from Frozen.  

Lots of details, eyes, nose and lips, even worked on the hair to the side for the braid!

When they started to close up the stations later in the afternoon, we thought it was a great idea to have an ice cream before heading home. There are a lot of small little shops along the old town, and I never have the opportunity to look around here, many of them are not open regularly, especially the cute little interior design, home living and gift shops. So while the kids had their ice cream outside in the shade, I had a peak inside some of the stores, and one was especially cute, with nice little Christmas decorations.

 I thought these little pillow ornaments were so cute, I think I might have to go back and get them, I should have gotten them right away!

Inside the store, one could really get into the Christmas spirit, walking outside into the bright sunshine, the feeling soon went away. It was after all over 90F/32C that day!

Palm trees and bright blue skies instead of ever greens and snowy skies...