Monday, October 20, 2014

Oki Preparations - Medical Records

Even if I really try to find the time for the blog, it seems that the day just have to get more hours, or I have to stop sleeping..I'm hardly ever in bed before midnight or 1am anyway.. During the days it's a constant running around and we're very busy, and when the evening comes along, I got the dinner, bath and bedtime done and finally get around to clean up the kitchen etc after 9pm, I finally have extra time to fold laundry or sorting more paperwork etc. Then later, I'm just too tired to start up the computer and download pictures etc. I will try to get better and sneak in more time here, as I also find it important to document what is going on and I know that family and friends are interested in hearing what is happening.

So, to keep track I thought I'll make a weekly summit of what's going on and what we will be doing regarding the move to Okinawa in February. I thought of making a list for the Friday's, but I think as when we get down to it, most work or decisions will be made over the weekends when my husband have off (every other weekend that is) and therefore I decided to make a Monday list regarding the preparations. So here we go:

- Medical Records. This has taken/is taking some time..The last weeks, I've been preparing and been gathering information, calling around for updated printed records from all Doctor's Offices that we have been seeing since we moved to Yuma. NORMALLY, all family members of a military family have a Medical File, which stays with your Primary Care Manager and where ALL information about your health, your visits and treatments are put in with the updated copy at the top. It's normally a thick- a very thick- file. Well, as we don't live on base, and I hardly have been to my Primary Care Manager, I have no updated file for myself or for the kids. All my appointments with different doctors, Spine Institute, Screenings and Physical Therapy, was just regarding my back issues last year. I need papers from all of them, copies, x-rays, reports, and when I have gotten them, they all need to be sorted and put into my file. This week I'm getting more medical history printed out from other offices, and hopefully by the end of the week, I will have my file somewhat updated and complete.

- Then, I haven't been on top of this at all since we moved to Yuma. When we lived in KS, me and the kids never went to the Dr. on base, as there was no base close, and all our appointments were from non military facilities. When we left KS, I had all Medical history for me, which was A LOT, remember I was pregnant with twins, hundreds of appointments and tests, and then all the paperwork from the hospital, and then everything from the Pediatrician and the hospital when the twins were born. I got all the medical history for all three kids and myself in big envelopes from the three years we lived in KS, and then never sorted them out to create a Medical Record. So it's hours of sorting papers...

Picture borrowed from the internet. 
(This could easily be me though, with a huge pile of files to organize!)

- Now, the kids need their files complete too. So it's records from Pediatricians, Dermatologist, Allergy testings and and and... it's a lot. BUT, most offices are very helpful and print them out for me, I just have to put it all together and divide the paperwork right for the kids and then hopefully I have it all prepared and ready for when we are called to come for the Medical appointment in the screening process.

- Screening process. There is a lot of paperwork to fill out and get ready and prepare for, before one get called to go to the screening. This I haven't completed, as I was missing dates and documents from all kind of appointments that I have to back up information with. These I hopefully will get this week.

- Then when we have everything complete, we can go to the Medical appointments, and hopefully we will all get the "OK stamp". It sounds like a lot, and it is. If you have always lived on base and never gone to any other doctor than on base, you are so ahead of the game and they already have everything, now everything has to be updated, proven, documented...The Medical appointment can only be done later, as there is a time limit on how far ahead you can get the papers signed off. Meanwhile, my job is to make sure that there are no issues and that we have everything complete to make it a smooth process when we do get the appointment. With the holidays coming up, we don't want any delays of any kind.

- Another thing on our minds right now is what to do with our cars?!? We can't take them with us, so the options that we have is to sell them, or store them. None of the options are ideal, and we are not sure what to do right now. To store them here in this hot climate, is really not good, and we might have an option on taking them to San Diego and store them in a much better climate, where it's not so hot and dusty. Luckily, THIS part is one that I really have to say would be my husband's responsibility. I have no idea about cars, and he has bought both cars and done a great job in researching before buying them, so this one I think will be up to him. Either way, I'll miss my car so much!!

There are many other things going on, but these are the immidiate things right now. A lot more will happen next month, when we are officially "90 days out", as the military so nicely put it. Then, we will be able to get started with the movers, get the medical screenings taken care of, which is a big part. Then we also hopefully will get more details about where my husband will be stationed. There are several bases on Okinawa, and we don't yet know on which one my husband will work, and therefore where we most likely will be put in housing. When I know that, then we can notify schools etc that we are coming and start getting more information about the area where we will live.

Then, we also have to start taking care of a lot of things here at home, a lot of planning is already taking place in my mind and on my lists, on what to bring, what to sell, what to put in storage for three years. Not easy, but more about that another time!

When it feels a little bit overwhelming, as it does from time to time, I try to take a deep breath and remind myself that in less than four months,

I could be walking on this beach...

looking for this:

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Columbus Day Playtime

Yesterday, it was Columbus day here in the US. Some schools depending on school district, are closed, and my kids had the day off. Chris was working over the weekend, and therefore he had his day off yesterday and today. It was nice and warm, which means that it wasn't too hot for us to spend a few hours in the park before we had to go and get Cassie's allergy shot and another appointment to the dermatologist. To make more of the day, we decided to grab lunch on the go and the kids had a picnic in the car (with available A/C) before hitting the playground. These are some pictures from our afternoon.

 "Leaving on a jet plane...don't know when we'll be back again.."

Look! This week we even will even see and eight in the front during the day..
THAT was long ago!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Wedding Chapel Now & Then

Something that I really wanted to do while visiting Sweden, was to stop by our Wedding Chapel to show the little kids where mommy and daddy got married. As Cassie was 4 years old at the time, it was especially nice to be able to take Benjamin and Isabella there when they are 4 years old too. They have seen plenty of pictures and even seen the DVD from our wedding, but still they didn't really understand that this was where it happened.

When my brother and my sister-in-law came to pick us up, I asked if we could stop by there on the way out of town, and we did. It was a chilly and windy day, and not at all warm, and the rain was lingering in the air, so very different from the day I last was here, where we had a great sunny summer day.

Walking up to the Chapel, we actually saw that there was a wedding party taking pictures outside, and when we walked closer, they walked in and started to take pictures inside the Chapel, before their ceremony was about to start. So, we couldn't go inside, and we didn't want to wait for about an hour or so, as we needed to get back on the road, but it was nice to at least be able to get some pictures from outside the Chapel.

It felt very special thinking about that last time I stood outside these doors, I had just married the love of my life and we walked out with little Cassie on our side greeting family and friends. Lovely memories!! Now, Cassie is almost as tall as me and instead of one four year old by my side, I now had two!!

This is outside the Chapel where we had our Champagne toast 
and drinks before our photo session started.

There is also a nice option to have an outdoor wedding just here by the water. I thought that this was such a wonderful place, but I didn't dare to take the risk of booking the wedding outside, in case of the weather. Another reason to why I decided to have the wedding inside in the Chapel instead of outside, was because I really wanted to have live music, and that was not an option outside. Looking at it now, I wish that we at least would have taken some pictures here on our day, but somehow, that was not done, and still, I'm very happy with the wedding pictures that our photographer took with us outside.

Before we got back into the car, we let the kids play a little. It was really chilly and windy, so we soon decided to leave. It was so much warmer and nicer weather when we were here last time, August 26th, 2006:

Goodbye's & Hello's

After over a week with my friend Linda, it was time to say goodbye for this time. It was wonderful as always to see her and her family, and we enjoyed our stay so much and are so thankful for their hospitality! To make it easier for me and the kids, my brother and sister-in-law made the decision to borrow their neighbor's car and drive the 4 hour drive to come up to Vasteras to get us!

Linda & I - Friends for over 20 years!

It was so wonderful to see them, and there were plenty of tears of joy by the reunion! So long ago, last time we saw them, was when Benjamin and Isabella was only 2 months old... Linda and Roger had been busy making a great lunch for everyone while I was packing up the rest, and it was nice to sit down together before the drive.

It was bitter sweet to say goodbye. It was wonderful to see my family again, and still sad to leave so soon. But what made it easier was that we knew that we soon see each other again, as we would travel with Linda up to Vasteras again before we were going home 5 weeks later..

Unfortunately, her oldest son A was not at home at this point, as he was busy at a soccer tournament. It would be great to once also have both our families complete in the same picture, maybe next time Chris will be able to come with us!

The car was empty when they drove up, but we filled it up with suitcases and bags going back to my brother's house!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Where Home Used To Be...

One day when I was visiting my friend Linda in Vasteras in Sweden this summer, I took the kids for a longer walk to show them where we used to live. Cassie of course remembers this, and thought it was both fun and emotional to see the house, look up at the windows that used to be our home for about two years. So much happened during these years, this is where all the wedding planning took place, this is where all the preparations took place for our move over to the US.

For me it was a bit unreal too, to stand by the door that Cassandra used to race me to, with two kids being 4 years old, the same age that Cassie was when we lived there, and left. Who could have guessed that I years later would stand by the same door with twins at the same age?!

Second floor to the right, kitchen and my bedroom window facing this way.

Back in the day sweetie, it was only you and me here!

Isabella was really upset, she wanted to get inside and look inside the apartment. I told her that we could take a picture by the stairs, but we didn't go up to the door.

Second floor balcony, such a nice balcony with the green birch tree outside, making it really cosy. Cassie's room was on the right hand side of our balcony on the second floor.

Back in the day, I didn't have a digital camera, and at some point, it would be great to get all paper pictures scanned into the computer, but that's not something that will happen in the near future..

Anyway, looking through the photos that I have on the computer, I found a few from the summer of 2005 when Cassie was three years old and from 2006, when Cassie was four, just like Benjamin and Isabella were at the time visiting the same address. These pictures are the ones that I found from and around the apartment. I wish I had found one from her at the front door!!

Our small little hallway.

 Both daughter and mother looks a few years younger to say the least...:)

Cassie drawing in the middle of paperwork of our wedding planning 2006

Cassie 4 years old.

Haha, I found this one too, from inside our kitchen at the same address in August 2006. I had just gotten a sample of the wedding cake that I had designed and ordered. I had extra ordered a sample to show to Chris that hadn't been there for all the planning, and also for him to be able to try it before the big day, even if this was just a few days prior the wedding. He came to Sweden just about a week before the wedding date!

 In the same kitchen a few days after the wedding.

This is how it looked in the neighborhood. Our house was just behind the parking lot and the birch tree to the right in the picture. The side walk is the walk to Cassie's daycare center, that was just a few minutes walk away from home. We walked there with the kids, but they closed that day care and opened up another one, where she spent her last few months in Sweden. Many days in rain and shine, have we walked here together, sometimes on the bike with Cassie on the backseat, and in winter a few times on a bobsleigh.

The rock in this picture above was a huge rock in the outdoor playground at the day care center. I so remember Cassie playing on this rock together with her friends. They were not allowed to be on the rock if they couldn't get up on their own, and it was a lot of struggle to get up I remember..Strange somehow to see my little ones having the same struggle to get up!

Instead of friends on the rock, Cassie was now sitting there with two siblings! Pretty amazing...

We also went back a second time to the daycare center to visit with her teachers there. It was great to see them, and it's pretty funny how things are. They said that they talk about us and remember us and that they thought it was so great to see us both again. So many families and so many kids have come and left this building since Cassie went here, so it's nice to see that they remembered her/us at all! Let us put it this way, Cassie didn't remember them as well as they did her...:)

While we lived in Sweden, I didn't have a car, and Cassie and I walked or took the bike everywhere. If we were going somewhere further away, we always joined or got a ride from my friend Linda. To get to the closest stores, we had to walk through a pathway in the "forest". It was always covered in slugs and Cassie and I still refer to this path as "Snigelstigen". Fond memories..

The kids loved this, walking around here on this little path, just like in the jungle for them so very unlike what they are used to from home.

My sweet Cassie, who would have guessed where we would live today, and where we would be moving to in the near future, when we walked back and forth on this path 8 years ago..It's pretty amazing how much has happened since then. In many ways, it feels longer than just 8 years!