Wednesday, October 18, 2017

OKINAWA LIVING

SOOOOO...Our house sold. YAY!! And for a good price to a very good woman. I'm SO happy that's all through.
PHEW!
Now we're living it up in Okinawa Japan. We LOVE it here!

The delicious food!
 
 We moved here with a family whose wife is from Okinawa. She took us to our first restaurant and Japanese grocery store. It was nice having a translator for our first off base trip!
 YoshiHachi Sushi with a friend I made through my nephews (they met her and her husband in New Zealand, of all places!). She moved to the States and I miss her, but I'm glad she introduced me to my favorite sushi place! 

The beaches!
A fun beach that's shallow for days we discovered. Super warm water with super soft sand.
This is Maeda Flats, one of the best snorkeling spots around. It also has some caves and lots of poisonous cone snails. Must wear booties around here!
  
The good food! (There's TONS of good food!)
Kura Sushi, a fun sushi go-round restaurant the kids LOVE. Every 5 plates (each are 100 yen) can win you a toy, and the food isn't horrible.

The parks!
Their parks aren't made so kids won't hurt them little selves. They're made to have fun. So refreshing!

Fish markets!

The temples!
This is one of the biggest reconstructed temples and it was under construction, dang it. But we had a fun time touring the beautiful inside!

Snorkeling!
  
 Some sea urchin shells Christian and I found at Maeda Flats

 Fish spas! 
(They eat dead skin off your feet!)

  Oki Pedi's!
Everyone gets an Okinawan Pedicure at least once. They get pretty extravagant but I liked this one. :)

The pools!

Dance parties with endless food and chocolate milk!
Kiddie Disco has adult and kid dinner buffets, endless chocolate (and white) milk, and a make your own ice cream sundae bar. Oh, and dancing. :D We try to make this once a month fun time!

The zoo!
Our first trip to the zoo a guy walks by on the other side of the pathway..ON an elephant. He stops to eat some foliage and the boys stare in amazement. Pretty darn awesome.
We got to feed an elephant on Logan's birthday. Too fun!!
They have a petting zoo with chicks you can hold. They're so soft and fluffy and cute!

Fun places to play!
Round 1 has 6 stories of fun! The boys spent a solid hour in this ball pit, shooting balls at each other.

Huge snails!
We found this beast in our backyard. They're Giant Asian Snails, a pest around these parts that carry human disease. Cool yet...((shudder))

Dress up dinner parties!
Dressed up in a kimono with a bunch of other ladies and had a buffet. I think they cinched me a bit too tight so I couldn't eat too much! :D

Fun capes to explore!
Ada Cape, so beautiful! The first place we found the sound of crashing waves--the other beaches we've been to have breakers so there aren't big waves.

Castle ruins!

THE OCEAN!
One of my happiest places, the beach. I'm surrounded by them. Pinch me! I must be dreaming!

Splash pads!

TOKYO!
Among other things, Alan and I hit up Disney Sea in Tokyo. Fun for the young at heart!

Did I mention the BEACHES?!
These sunsets will never get old!

The aquarium! 
 The Okinawa Aquarium has a touch tank when you first enter full of different types of sea stars, sea cucumbers.
Lots of tanks of fish!

FRIENDS!
We play at this park by our house almost every night. The boys have made a lot of friends there.
Elijah's and his best friend walking to school together. He tells her, "I think we're going to get married when we get bigger." LOVE, LOVE, LOVE
I went on a girl's trip to the main island and hit the LDS temple. Such a fun and tiring day!
I may look like I'm holding an invisible cigarette, but I'm trying to make a peace sign. All Japanese do it. I just can't seem to turn my hand around.
For real.
A big group of us ate at a yummy Thai restaurant. Green curry and a delicious coconut shake that I'll daydream about for years to come.
The three boys have done wrestling the past 2 months (well, except C since he broke his wrist). They don't like it. I don't like the schedule. But they're getting better?
Had missionaries and our friends and neighbors over for dinner, then made hearts after a discussion about love.
So I figured that since I'm on a sub-tropical island, I HAD to buy a coconut. We had a lot of fun with it. If Miles's face wasn't any indicator to that.
I made yummy candied coconut. 
I'll definitely do that again!
And the best part? We have over 2 1/2 more years to enjoy this island.
CHEERS!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Moving STINKS

SO I love changing locations, moving from one state to another. It's fun meeting new people, discovering what each area has to offer and observing each state's culture. The people around here, for example, WORSHIP the St Louis Cardinals (the pro baseball team for those of you who don't know, and if you don't know, DON'T tell anyone from around here b/c they'll string you up by your toes). They also smile and wave and bring you baked goods. At least in my cozy bubble on this side of the Mississippi River.
We've thoroughly enjoyed the free zoo and science center in St Louis and ample good eatin'. We've lived in Bolivia (MYSELF) and the Phillippines (HUBBY) and the four corners of the U.S. and fully adjusted to each locale. The only thing that's been different here in the greater St Louis area has been...we BOUGHT a HOUSE. Our first home.
It's cute and conveniently easy to maintain. I love it. The only BAD is that NOW I carry the stress of trying to sell it.
We have orders to JAPAN. Yay!!!! Okinawa, no less, the Hawai'i of the Orient. Beaches! Sushi! Beaches!! We are stoked. I can't be fully excited, however, until we get this house sold. It's been on the market less than a week and I'm worried. WORRIED. It's all I can think about. Will it sell? Will it sell in TIME or will we be stuck with a mortgage payment after we've left the country? Will it sell too early, resulting in us being booted from our home before we have to leave? Will the boys break the house in half so we can't even sell it (sometimes I truly wonder). 
I didn't want to buy a home in the first place! For this very reason. 
The biggest turn off is that our house doesn't have a basement. Buyers want basements.
Because this is "tornado alley".
Why they'd want a house to fall on TOP of them, trapping them inside, instead of around them is beyond me. But it's what most want.
So I'll continue to PRAY it will sell. Because there will be others like me...
...who don't want an extra dark, dreary space to clean...
...with a foundation that cracks...
...with water that leaks...
...and SPIDERS galore...
...that uses so much electricity to dehumidify...
...and a sump pump (whatever that is)...
...and sewage backup.
Right?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Fabulously Fun Florida Vacation

FLORIDA IN JANUARY is a great place to be. The 15 hour drive was SO worth it.
New Year's Eve we hit up Legoland. It was a blast and the boys loved it! It's big enough to have a day of fun but small enough not to overwhelm. The fireworks show that night was incredible. They gave us 3D glasses with 2016 on them that made the fireworks (and any other light) look like Lego blocks. It was fun and super creative.
As sweet as they may look, the only annoying part was standing in line with these active guys. 
They constantly wrestled and knocked into everyone packed in around us. 
At least we didn't have to wait longer than 30 minute in any line.
Psh
boys 
<3 i="">
On the way to the Florida Keys we drove through the Everglades to search for wild alligators. Driving eastward on 41, we took the 94 Loop Road. This road didn't come up on my google maps search, but it branches off of highway 41 where it curves northward, about halfway through the park (right after the Miccosukee Indian Village). We never had to pay to get inside the park this way. We saw at least a dozen gators, which was good since I don't think Jan is gator "season".
They hang out between the grouping of trees in the waterways. We drove slowly and spotted some through the trees, too, though that was tiresome.
Watch out for the mammoth mosquitoes. Keep your windows up or wear bug spray. This road curves around and meets back up with highway 41. 
I never thought it'd be so difficult to find a sandy beach in the Florida Keys!
Most are full of painful rocks.
We drove an extra couple of hours to reach Sombrero Beach in Marathon.
White sand, warmish water that I swam in all day. No waves to wash my little ones out to sea. Rock outcroppings with small holes with little fish in them. It had bathrooms and a nice playground. Overall it was a great beach, though I wouldn't travel those bridges again just for a beach (I guess the Keys are more for snorkeling).
I had a shark sandwich at a random restaurant it was DIVINE. Wish I could remember the name of the place but man! It was memorable. Probably helped that I was super hungry.
The next day, after an hour of church, we walked around South Pointe Park in South Miami Beach. We watched some guys fish off the pier, which was surprisingly fun. A guy caught a large Southern sheepshead 20 minutes after casting in. The pier was big and really pretty. We had to pay to park but such is the way of life in large well-populated cities.
Afterward, we got our feet wet walking along the beach and searching for shells before heading up to Orlando.
Monday we went to Magic Kingdom. Now I've always been skeptical about Disney parks. The astronomical prices of tickets and gaudy Mickey gear. Really? It's just a theme park, right? 
WRONG
The rides alone are amazing. Super fun yet not physically painful like carnival rides, and they last LONGER. They have little characters moving along the ride joined with the thrill of the rising and falling and twisting. And the shows, full of fire, waterb fake snow or bubbles falling down on our heads (or all of the above), and parades and fireworks shows truly make it the happiest place on earth. I see why tickets cost so much!
I can't wait to return!
Once again, standing in line with these guys was QUITE annoying.  But we maneuvered the lines and figured out how to use our Fast Passes (via my Disney experience app, which is a must have) so we didn't have to wait too long.
On the boat, ready for It's a Small World. There were enough rides Logan could go on that it wasn't too annoying to take turns sitting out with him during the bigger kid rides.
Still, we've decided not to return until he's at least 44". :)
Two cuties saying hello to Goofy while waiting for the parade of lights. Rides, interactive 3D movies, fireworks...all of the funnest things in one park. A-MAZing!
Cinderella's castle was beaUtiful at night. We did 2 days at Magic Kingdom and still didn't see it all. It was by far my favorite park. Clean streets, polite people, happy staff...
I fulfilled a lot of childhood fantasies here.
Christian and Miles did Jedi training at Hollywood Studios. We signed up right when we got there in the morning and spots were filling fast.
We also loved the stunt car and Indiana Jones shows! 
Fantasmic was the prefect end to a super fun day. I must see at Hollywood Studios. We spent one day here and I thought it was plenty. I am intrigued by the movie making process so I loved it, but it's still not as filling as the meat and potatoes: Magic Kingdom.
ANIMAL KINGDOM had a fun safari ride. Not much else by way of rides but there is a fun interactive 3D bug show.
The funnest ride is called DINOSAUR. Christian and I rode together first, then I took the three oldest boys right before we left. They were FREAKED out (life sized dinosaurs chasing them, roaring in our faces, sneezing on us) but I loved it! :D There was a mountain ride we didn't have time to go on.
Thank you, Walt, for dreaming so big. We truly enjoyed our trip!
Going hard each day, they ended up passing out on the bus ride to our hotel. Sweet critters.
In another few years we'll be back, Disney World, and pad along your clean streets once again.