Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Still blaming it on the move..(PSC in military lingo)

I'm back up again.. I'm so behind it is embarrassing.. Please forgive me and I still pray I have but a few readers out there.  I know the 27th of Jan. will mark six months here in Okinawa. On one hand it's hard to believe it's been that long but than on the other hand it feels that long already and longer..
What have we done for the last 6 months you ask? Well, some days I'm not sure myself.  I'm taking a break from Facebook to try to catch up on things, but feel that I'm getting nowhere fast. Ever have that feeling? We were beach bums the tail end of summer/fall as much as we could.  Then school supplies arrived with household goods and things slowed down a bit.

The beaches are plentiful and beautiful and sadly I've been busy trying set up life for us that we haven't explored them as much as I would like.  Come spring/summer and that will change.  Here are some of the beaches we went to thus far.  We went to this beach called "Sea Glass" beach and it was true to it's name.
Muruku Beach

Vending Machines in the middle of

Sea Glass Beach

Just some of the glass found

Girls have finally started Japanese group class with our homeschool co-op, but will we will be looking into a family tutor. They the girls completely lost, but it was their first class. (I left with a headache and I was only observing from the back of the class.)  My Japanese is limited to counting to 5.. Ici, ni, san, shi, go.  The girl's teacher told them this cute little way to remember: I have an, Itchy knee son and she go. Whatever helps you learn.  Chickpea can count to 10 with ease, but she has youth to thank for that.  Yes..Hai. Thank You..Arigato. Hello/Good morning/Good evening..Kon'nichiwa.  There is only so much smiling and bowing of the head one can do.  See we (I) really need this class and a tutor.

I have found a few fresh markets that I like to go to and a few grocery stores that I'll go to when I don't want to shop on base.  Shopping on base is a great comfort and also a great expense and hassle at times. It isn't always cheaper to shop off base, but it's fresher and that what I usually find on base.  It is still very overwhelming since I have no clue what the heck things say and google translate is a great tool and all, but half the time doesn't work. So I end up guessing at what I buy and then it becomes  "Surprise" this is what's for dinner! I try new things, but nothing too crazy people..

A small haul from a little market called the Banana Stand

A new market my neighbor told me about. They have samples of just about
they sell, which hubby and girls enjoyed.

Variety of mushrooms

My favorite aisle at the supermarket. Only because I love trying
the different coffees. :)

This is where is gets challenging for me...

Hubby likes trying these rice cakes. Spam and eggs are
pretty good and never thought I'd say that!

I haven't bought rice, but I have bought a rice dispenser
so I think I really should, but how would I know which one to buy?

Knock on wood.. We have been very fortunate that Hubby hasn't had to fly too often even though he has been "on alert" (their term for being on call here) a lot lately.  I can deal with him flying, but prefer him not to. ;)

Our bodies have acclimated to the island temperature.  We are freezing at 50-60 degrees. Last few days we have walked around in our limited warm gear I packed.  I was so excited when I found a fleece jacket I somehow managed to bring with.. Believe it or it comes in handy.  I never thought I'd live on an island and say I'm cold, but some days in my house I even say I'm Freezing!!

Once school started I feel like we slowed down on our exploring, except for parks.  We get together with some other homeschoolers in Okinawa and check out different parks.  Can I just say that Japan knows how to do parks. Some of these parks are lawsuits waiting to happen in the states, but are complete FUN here.  My girls can't get enough of them. My hubby and I even enjoy most of them.  There are so many more left to discover here...

Nakagusuku Park or Better known as the
Trampoline Park

Nakagusuku Park or Better known as the
Trampoline Park

Nakagusuku Park or Better known as the
Trampoline Park

Roller Slide Park or Tobaru Koen Park
the stairs just to get to the slide are an
awesome workout.. :)
Asunaro Park
Girl's least favorite park, but still had fun with
their friends.

Drop Slide Park currently girl's favorite park.
Ladybug and myself about to drop.

Girls and I were introduced very early on to Cocok (pronounced Coco's) Nail Salon.  We don't go often and when we do we usually go with our friends. It is a very fun girls day.  It is amazing the fine tiny nail art they do to toe and finger nails.  We might be a little spoiled...
Panda Faces, Peacocks and Something Fancy
Last picture is of Okinawa from this huge Farris Wheel in American Village.  American Village is an odd little Americanized Japanese shopping and recreational area.  It has a wide range of restaurants, shops and little and some big arcades and rides.  I'm sure at night it is a happening place to be, but have never been at that time.  They had it lit up for Christmas, even though they don't celebrate Christmas their main customers the Americans do so they decorate and it was really pretty.  I was surprised to see that they have a Red Lobster and Starbucks.  Not so much Starbucks since you see them everywhere but the Red Lobster was the shocker. 
Mahatma American Village

So that's six months in a nut shell. Lots of smiling and head bowing, parks, a few friends, house unpacked, and some exploring.

Hopefully, I will continue to blog this year. Hard to believe it is 2016.  May you have Blessed 2016.


Saturday, May 2, 2015

What I've learned in 13 years....

Monday is our anniversary and it’s booked with flight school, end of year testing for the girls and then the biggest appointment… Our meeting with EFMP (Exceptional Family Member Program) to hopefully be signed off for ORDERS!!! Momma needs this to schedule everything else for this blessed move of ours.  Prayers that all our T’s are crossed and our I’s are dotted, because I’m handling all of this solo-I guess you can count Chickpea and Ladybug as support—As long as they aren’t fighting over the tablet!
Back to me and my love and our day.  I wasn’t sure how this blog would go and then the first one was lost when my laptop crashed so this will have to do.

Here we are folks 13 years ago on our wedding day.  We are about to embark on the biggest journey of our little lives.
May 4, 2002
We have added to our love over the years. Chickpea and Ladybug are truly blessings and I’m blessed to be their momma.  Then there is Bria.  She is very lucky to be going to Japan with us--
My little family

What I have learned after 13 years of marriage.

1.  Marrying my Man was the Best decision.  I’m truly, beyond blessed to have hubby in my life.  He loves me despite all my faults and morning ugliness.

2. FORGIVENESS- You have to forgive over and over and over again. Sometimes for the same stupid thing (one of us thinks it’s stupid.)  I’m perfectly fine stewing in my anger till hubby comes and says sorry first, but as I’ve matured I’ve started working on being the first to say Sorry.  It’s never easy, but feels good and makes things so much better!

3.  I’m NOT really that great to be married to.. I’d like to think that I’m, All That and a Bag of Chips and my hubby hit the jackpot scoring a wife like me (* wink wink)-- but let’s face it I can’t fool anyone with that and I know for a fact I can annoy my hubby to no end.

4.  As wonderful as I think my hubby is, he is not Jesus!  He can’t fix me emotional, physically or mentally.  That is a job I can only give to Jesus and it is hard to not to put my issues on my hubby.  Trust me you need to give it to Jesus the first time around.

5.  We are each other’s BFFs.  With life, moves, kids, work and friends that come and go, we have realized we are each other’s Rocks.  We are  there for each other at the end of the day through thick and thin.

6.  My hubby needs s*x….. A lot!!!!!! I like to be romanced.

7.  The grass IS NOT a shade of lovely greener.  The older I get the more clearly I see when my grass looks brown, I simply need to water it to get to be it’s own beautiful shade of Green.

8.  At some point you will read “The 5 Love Languages” I thought I’d never pick it up.. Never say Never people!  Started reading last week.  Books on marriage aren’t all that bad.

9.  Encourage and Build each other up.  It’s easy to criticize and point out failings (perceived or real), but do the harder thing and encourage and build each other up.

10.  My hubby needs attention.  My hubby is in a house with all girls, but he has no problem holding his own when it comes to talking.  He needs me to be “into” him and “into” whatever he’s interested in.  For him that is new fitness routines, new health food concoctions, and many random YouTube videos.  These are a few things my hubby is “into”, therefore this is what I’m “into”.

11.  Laugh and Have Fun.  If you can’t laugh with, at each other and often, you are just plain boring!

12.  Love isn’t Always Spoken.  Though you might go the day without words or affection.  Love is there through faithfulness in your responsibilities.  We however make it a point to say, “I love you” as much as possible throughout the day.

13.  Marriage is hard stinking work-- I know if I hang tight to Jesus and the hand of my hubby- We will continue to have the ride of our life!

 Enjoy your Cinco de Mayo!

XO~ Drea

Friday, March 13, 2015

Aging and Loving Gracefully

Change, I can smell it in the air. Spring is around the corner and I feel the promise of new growth when I sit outside and watch the girls play. Change is all around me these days, and I need to embrace it, but I’m struggling to do so like a lady full of grace.

When I found out we were moving to Japan I’m not sure which made me cry more, the fact I would be so bloody far away from home, or the fact that I would be months away from 40!!! Months before that, I was already struggling being in my mid-30s.  I enjoyed turning 30 and the few years after that, but last year and this year have been something else.  I can’t put my finger on it, but it is there haunting me. Yes, these are the silly things this crazy lady thinks about.. 

By the way I’ve made peace with Japan and I’m now super excited, but still overwhelmed with the amount work that needs to be done to get us there.  I would just appreciate it if people would stop themselves from saying; “Aren’t you afraid of the Tsunamis and Earthquakes?” It never fails to be the first thing out of their mouths, followed by, but you will love it over there. Umm Thanks, I think? One of my biggest fears in life is drowning, and I’m going to be on an island surrounded by water that just 4 years ago experienced the wrath of a deadly tsunami.  Premature aging causing stuff here!

Back to my dilemma of not feeling or being young anymore… As I’m sorting and packing I’m finding baby/toddler/little girl things from the last move. This move I have young ladies.  It is a hard pill to swallow thinking that I’m no longer a mommy, but a mom.  Yes, I’m still needed and mostly wanted but not like before.  I really, really miss them being those sweet, adorable little baby girls, and now they are sweet, beautiful, amazing, young ladies that I get to spend my time with.  I can tell how things are changing and sometimes it really freaks me out.. I’m not ready for all this!! See another gray hair to make me feel another year older.

How do you age gracefully or just happily in my case?  I know I have a great life and I have been able to do some pretty amazing things.  So why is the thought of getting any older so daunting? Why does everyone seem to be getting younger while I’m getting older? Doesn’t help this process one bit!

How do you adjust for the next chapter in life? The chapter where you are needed less, wanted less, desired less, just a whole lot of less!  Maybe, that is what I’m struggling with the most? I’m needed, but not as much, but yet it still feels like there isn’t enough time in the day.

I’m not always the best at closing chapters. Yes, I tend to hang on to things, but only the really good things.  One of the harder things now about getting older is not completely saying goodbye to my youth which, by the way is like nails on a chalk board, but rather what leaves with it are my babies. As they grow so does everything else. We no longer are a young married couple with babies; we are now the couple with kids. Nope, don’t like the sound of that as much…In the wise words of my hubby…It is what it is and Life goes on…Sniff..But..Whah

Growing older effects EVERYTHING!!!!

On top of everything else Marriage goes through change, did you know that?  I guess I knew it did, but got busy with life that I didn’t pay attention; till one day I woke up and said dang this is different! We have been married for almost 13 years so there is no way around change.  Marriage brings out our selfishness, anger problems, score keeping abilities, pride and trust issues, but you have to find Grace and Forgiveness for each other to make it through thick and thin!

Last few months I’ve noticed changes and friends let me tell you we are in for a ride. One moving to Japan, that’s a biggie, hubby changing AF jobs again, another biggie, hubby hates current job with an unbridled passion: meaning he comes home almost every night in a foul mood, (which leads to him not noticing wifey getting pretty for him, which leads to fight, where wifey should have shown grace, but didn’t…Not pretty) Chickpea and Ladybug growing like weeds and only getting sassier by the day, lots to handle as a stay-at-home mom/homeschool mom. Am I complaining, NO…Venting Yes, but Complaining NO.

I google searched the heck out mid 30s and not much of anything useful came up.  Found plenty of stuff if you are interested in finding a date and people wondering if they are going through a mid-life crisis.  Nothing however, to help figure out what I’m dealing with, so I took a couple of days to soul-search.

So what's the point of this blog?  

I had some grand adventures in my 20s. My 30s are for assimilating, and refining.  At 35 I am discovering what it is to be ME.  To be anything else in my life I have to be who God designed me to be as Andrea, then I can perform as wife, mom, daughter, sister and friend, but not before then.

I see now that life will continue to evolve. There will never be a point where I am all done, all grown up. Just when I’ve mastered one phase, a new one will come along such as, menopausal psycho, empty-nester-ness, senior citizenship, and so many more.
There will be many phases in my life where I will kick and scream the whole time, cry, laugh or want to hit the pause or rewind button, but it will be a life well lived.  I hope I can gracefully embrace the changes of life with grace and that I’ll age like fine wine. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Valentine's Day Gift Giving...

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and most people have their babysitter lined up or anti-Valentine’s Day activities lined up.  Depending how you view the day.  I enjoy the day. We don’t go overboard, but we have fun with it.

This year we will celebrate 13 years of wedded bliss. We have had some memorable Valentine’s Days and some forgettable ones.  Probably half of those 13 Valentine’s Days we haven’t even spent together because of work schedules or deployments.  I’m a lucky gal that my hubby is pretty awesome when it comes to being romantic. Even though we don’t get to take regular dates because we have what I would call “trust phobia” with everyone (minus most family of course) when it comes to our children.  We are dealing with it and plan on finding someone regular to babysit before they are in high school.

I know there are plenty of people who say, “Valentine’s Day is just another day” and they are completely right, but I like gifts and so if my hubby chooses to buy me something on this Cupid’s Day I shan't say no.

Even though he is a true Romanic he has asked me “So Babe, what do you want this year?” on every gift giving occasion, which doesn’t bother me because I’m always making lists of “I wants”. Here are a few of my most recent lists:

I went through a phase where I asked for an Orchid plant, but no matter what I did or how hard I tried I still ended up killing it after the flowers fell off, so again it might have lasted longer, but a waste of money in the end.

I’m manicure and pedicure kind of gal, so that is always a winner in my book

A RED Keurig seems nice, but I’m still undecided if it is for me.  I still really love my old fashion coffee maker.

I keep a list on Amazon of Books that I want.  Hubby could buy any five at random or just one and I’d be super duper excited, because I know they are books I definitely want to read at some point and besides I just plain LOVE books!!! Yes, I know I’m a Geek!

Take me shopping for a designer handbag. Even though I’ll spend time looking and after I drool a little I’ll probably walk out without a purchase, because I can’t justify spending that much on a bag that I’ll switch out in a few months.

This year hubs planned to buy me a bigger diamond. Due to my expensive taste, we decided this probably wasn’t the best time with a big move and lots of expenses coming up. 

So that is what I have for myself at the moment. Just wait till it gets closer to my birthday. 

Now, how about them fellas?  They are just about as difficult to buy for as we are.  I think I’m pretty good at figuring out what my man will like, but there have still been some misses over the last 13 years.  

I’ve learned to not buy him clothes.  Not that I buy him clothes on Valentine’s Day, but now I only go shopping with him not for in the clothing department anyway.  Even though I think he would look great in something and it might be stylish.  He has his favorite outfits and the rest will sit in the closet till I end up cleaning them out.  Even though he swore he really liked them.. Umm, ok yeah

Hubby usually has his Amazon cart loaded with things he would like so that is an easy go to.

This year he will be gone for Valentine’s Day doing training so I plan on spicing it up…Card and a boudoir picture from a previous gift to remind him of what is waiting at home.  What guy wouldn’t love that??

What if you are on a budget?  Just because you have a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have a romantic and great Valentine’s Day.  Here are a few ideas we tried when we were on a budget a few years ago.

Romanic Dinner for two after the little ones went to bed.  When we lived in Vermont my hubby would buy Lobster and Steak and cook up a delicious meal for us.  We would put the girls to bed and then dress up and sit down to a delicious feast.

Save for a joint gift you both will really enjoy.  Ours was a rowing machine. We love to be active and it was the best money spent ever.

Make your own gift. Nothing is more special than something truly coming from the heart.  One year we weren’t together and hubby wrote me a love letter on special paper and bought wax and a special seal stamp just for that letter. Yes, one of my favorite gifts EVER!!

A “Why I Love You book” You can find it on Amazon for cheap and I think it would fun to fill out the 96 pages of "your love”.  I provided a link below.

There are so many ways you can be creative and show your soul mate, the father or mother of your children, the one you love just how much they mean to you..

Whether Valentine’s Day, Anniversary or Just Because, Be Creative and Love the One you are with!!!

Last time we were able to dress up for Valentine's Day