Checking in, grief, and loving.

2.29.2012

My little Eva is sick today.  She was up all night with temperature and it is continuing on this morning.  Tylenol is taking the edge off but she is still on fire.  We are going to spend this rainy, gloomy Wednesday cuddling on the couch watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  I am going to indulge her every desire (pacifier and bottles and "toons") so that she doesn't whine and fuss all day. Some might call this taking the easy way out.  Today I'm calling it "comforting".
{my lap right now}

My Mom's birthday was on Monday.  It was hard.  I just miss her desperately.  It has been almost 7 months since she passed away from brain cancer.  I think this month was a bit easier than last... until her birthday.  I really fell into the "it's not fair" and "why her" trap.  I was doing really well all morning, just thinking about her a lot.  Then I posted this on my facebook

"After trying to decide all morning what to do today to celebrate my mom's birthday, I realized that I am already doing what she would want... playing w my daughter. So we went out and jumped on the trampoline and went to the market so I can cook a decent meal for B tonight. Being a good mom to Eva and wife to B is the best way I can think of to honor my Mom. Hug your loved ones today in honor of my Mom. ♥"

And then I lost it.  I crumpled up on the floor and sobbed for an hour.

I spent yesterday kicking ass.  I cleaned my entire house top to bottom, spent 45 minutes running on the treadmill, cooked a pot of soup, played outside for an hour, wrote a paper, spent some time on the phone handling insurance stuff, and took a bath w Eva.  I feel much better today.  After feeling so crappy on Monday, owning yesterday whipped me right back into shape.

I was going to stop this post here but since I am stuck on the couch with a sick baby laying her head on my lap, I might as well share some of what I am loving lately.

*I am loving having my sweet dog back.  He seamlessly fit right back into our family like no time at had passed.  Eva wakes up and immediately squeels "Find Kingston?  Find Kingston?" before she even sits up in her crib.  She follows him around demanding that he "Give five, give five" (aka shake) and joyfully shares all of her food with him.  He treks upstairs and sleeps at the foot of her crib during her naps.
{she is in there, cuddled in all of those blankets.  I decided to do the responsible parent thing and not attempt to pose this picture but just let her continue to sleep uninterrupted.  I love Kingston's sleepy face here}

*I am loving that the weather has warmed up a bit here in Maryland.  We have spend the last few days comfortable in jeans and sweaters while jumping on the trampoline and cruising the neighborhood walking Kingston.

*I am loving the $125 electricity bill that I got yesterday (for 32 days of service).  Compared to the $301 bill last month (for 22 days of service), it was a very pleasant surprise.  Guess my cousin was right.  75 degrees is too high to leave the thermostat.

*I am loving thinking about tanks, sun dresses, and wedges.


Happy Wednesday.  Hug your loved ones a little tighter today


Military Monday- Nina: Anchorage, AK

2.27.2012

The Military Monday duty station feature on this blog is designed for us military families to meet our fellow military spouses and also to learn about duty stations across the world.  We all get to (or have to depending on your outlook and particular set of circumstances), move every couple years to different duty stations that are scattered throughout the country and the world.  This feature will allow us the opportunity to explore these different areas of the world before we get there.  If you are interested in being highlighted for this feature, please send me an email.  
***


Name and blog site:
  
Nina, Adventures of the K Family http://www.kfamilyadventures.com


Branch of service:
Army

Where currently stationed:
Fort Richardson, AK

How long have you been there?:
Since 2009

Favorite restaurant in the area:
Simon & Seafort’s in Anchorage downtown has lovely views, and delicious halibut. Sullivan’s Steak House is always a safe bet for good steak and they do have an extensive wine list. Moose’s Tooth pizza selection is absolutely stunning, and pizza lovers do love that place. Even I, a non-pizza-eater, usually find something to munch there.
A real treat is Double Musky in Girdwood, about an hour south of Anchorage. Double Musky has Cajun/New Orleans type menu, wonderful wine selection, and extraordinary service. The restaurant is very popular, and they don’t accept reservations so more than likely table is not available right away. But the wait is definitely worth it.

Previous duty stations:
Ft Lee, Ft Sam Houston.

3 favorite things to do in your current city:
Outdoors activities such as hiking, mountain biking and skiing. Anchorage and neighborhood is full of trails and paths, which makes the area a real paradise for outdoors enthusiasts like us.
Anchorage Museum has often interesting exhibitions, and their restaurant has good lunch selection.
Seeing UAA Seawolves or Alaska Aces’ hockey games – always a blast!

Favorite duty station so far: 
Fort Richardson definitely is a great place to be stationed at. If we could have this particular Army post in Lower 48, it would be perfect! The only negative side of Ft Richardson is the location of Alaska – while AK is part of the US, we are still terribly far from the Lower 48. Traveling to and from Alaska is expensive as well as takes quite a bit time. The nearest Lower 48 city, Seattle, is 2,500 miles away - 3.5 hours by plane!

What is the biggest draw back to where your current duty station?
The distance! Alaska is terribly far away from everything else, and as avid world travelers it has been sometimes a struggle to figure out the flight routes and schedules. It typically takes half day to get anywhere out of Alaska.
Also, the shopping is limited in Alaska; so online shopping becomes very handy, very quickly. The downside is, unfortunately, the shipping – some stores do not ship to Alaska at all, and some stores charge arm and leg for it. Selections in stores vary quite a bit, and for example the Nordstrom’s in downtown Anchorage carries very small shoe and cosmetics departments.
And Alaska truly has four seasons. Summers in Anchorage area mild, temperature around 70’s, although there can be days when the mercury makes it all the way up to the 80’s, and even above. Winter is snowy. Like seriously snowy. And cold. This winter has probably been the worst temperature and snow-wise: we have had a few weeks of subzero temperatures, and shoveling the driveway has become a great, regular workout.

How strong/ or not is the sense of community in the area?
Among the military people the sense of community is strong. Naturally because of we all are “outsiders” here, and Alaska is its own world, completely different from Lower 48. People always told me that Alaska is nothing like the rest of this country, and I used to laugh at them. However, after living here, I can only nod. That is so very true. The life is slower here, people are more into low-key activities, and locals live pretty much according to the seasons. Yes, sometimes it feels like Alaskans hibernate for (dark) winter months! Making friends with locals can sometimes be a bit challenging. To me they don’t seem to be as outgoing and approachable as the folks in the continental US.

What is the overall feel of the community/area/base?
The base is great, and people stationed here are welcoming. However, Alaska is a very black-and-white duty station: you either love it or hate it.  There is only a very little grey area. The local community is more closed, and it may take time an outsider to make friends here. However, being outgoing and getting into activities (also outside the military community) makes a difference and is a great way to meet locals too.


Are there any local festivals you have been to or are planning to attend?
Alaska lives from an event to event! There are events for every reason: summer solstice, winter solstice, Fur Rondy is a weeklong celebration right before Iditarod Sled Dog race starts…. The local ski resort, Alyeska, hosts some kind of event nearly every summer weekend. Up in Fairbanks they have annual ice-carving world championship competitions every year – among other exciting events. 
We have visited quite a few of these events, and Iditarod (sled dog race from Anchorage to Nome) is probably one of our favorites although the summer events are fun too. I will be shooting the Iditarod also this year for my photo agency clients, so we will attend for sure! We are also planning a trip to Fairbanks to see the ice carvings.
{Setting up shrimp pots}
Have you joined any groups on base?
I do some fitness stuff on base as well as am a member in Officers’ Spouses’ Club. 

Who is your hero?
It’s hard to name only one hero since there are so many awesome men and women that I can look at, and say that they are real heroes and special people. However, my husband is naturally the biggest hero in my eyes. I respect him, and admire his dedication to this country and us. He is the one that I can always count on, I know he does always the right thing, no matter what, and most importantly he is always standing by my side.


***

If you are a military spouse and want be featured for this post, please send me an email at HandlingWithGrace {at} gmail.com





Really, NYC? You surprise me a bit.

2.25.2012

There are a handful of stereo types and expectations of NYC that I have collected over the years from movies, TV shows, and word of mouth.  I found some of these to be totally true and many of them to be 100% wrong.  I am comparing NYC to the cities that I have spent a lot of time in (Honolulu, San Diego, Los Angeles, Washington DC, San Francisco, and Orange County).  Keep in mind that this is just my opinion based on one trip to the City so I am certainly no expert but they are worth noting, none the less.  
Fact
*New Yorkers are rude.  It's a fact.  From the pizza people to the guy working at the visitor center to the cop on the street.  They are annoyed that you are asking them a question.  Not every single person was rude but in general, FAR more people were FAR ruder than any place that I have ever been.
*There are no blondes.  It was so easy to find my platinum sister as we walked through the sea of brunettes.  Even though she is short, I could always find her by her blond hair shining like a beacon on light.
*Overcrowded.  OMG, there are SO FREAKING MANY PEOPLE.  It really is unbelievable.
*The diversity is incredible.  On one street there will be a Thai restaurant, pizza place, Vietnamese massage parlor, corner market, and a donut shop.
*Everyone walks really fast.  I cannot keep up with my short stubby legs.  It must take years of practicing to get their legs to move that quick.
*They love their ciggies in NYC.  I am not sure that the American Cancer Society has gotten the message out about cigarettes causing cancer yet in the City.  There are dozens and dozens of people standing on the sidewalks outside of buildings smoking.  Far more people smoking in the middle of the day than the other cities that I visit.
*The pizza is yummy.
\
{Riding the subway.  Loving the "choo choo" train.}
Fiction
*The traffic is horrible...  Well, sure there was a lot of honking but we drove out of the city at 4:30pm on a weekday and it was no where near as bad as the traffic in Honolulu, San Diego, or LA.  The traffic in the city was much more bark than bite.
*There are tons of homeless people... I think there are WAY more homeless people (per block) on the streets of downtown San Diego than the streets of New York City.  It might have something to do with the fact that I visited the City in February and its colder than a witch.
*Fashion... didn't see any.  Maybe Sex in the City gave me unrealistic expectations but I was sorely disappointed by what I saw on the streets.  Lots of black pea coats, black tights, flat shoes, and leather boots.  From what I saw, people care much more about what they wear in LA.
*The pizza.. it's yummy.  I wouldn't call it incredible.  Umm, have you been to Chicago?!

What about you?  Have you found any stereotypes about cities to be totally true or surprisingly false?

I heart NYC

2.24.2012

{Times Square}
 We are back home after our short trip to New York.  New York City is amazing.   It is overwhelming and extraordinary.  The sights, the smells, the diversity, the noise- it is all so intense.  I loved every moment of our time in Manhattan.
{The HUGE Toys R Us, posing with "JT", my husband looking at a peep show while wearing our sleeping daughter, dinner in Little Italy (yum.  yum.  yum.)}

{Central Park (I want to live in one of those huge old buildings that overlooks the Park)}

   {Donuts at The Donut Plant.  Yum.  Worth the walk.}

We also bought a fake purse from Chinatown (just like out of the movies), went to Dylan's Candy Shop (spent over $30 on a couple chocolates and some Australian licorice), rode the Subway, ate the pizza (our verdict- Chicago's takes the prize),  tried the street hot dogs... pretty much every single thing on the tourist "to do" list.  

My sweet Eva was a doll.  She was such a trooper.  It was another reminder that things are pretty easy with only one child.  She was just along for the trip like the rest of us.  She had a great time with her Auntie.  It was so cute to see them bonding.  It had been over six months since she has seen any of her Aunts (insert sad face).  
***
Highlight of the trip?  Experiencing NYC with my sister.

Low point?  Almost getting in a fight with a crazy person (and then the subsequent fight w B about it).  This guy was running around a corner and ran straight into a lady.  He screamed at her, "Get the f*&^ out of my way" and called her a bi*&^ and when she said, "You ran into me!", he asked her if she wanted him to punch her and pretended like he was going to punch her in the face.  

So me, with my big fat mouth, decided that I needed to let him know that what he did was wrong so I told him, "What the f&^ is wrong with you.  You ran into her.  Why would you pretend to hit her?  She's a girl."  He then asked me if I wanted him to f(*& me up and acted like he was going to try to fight me.  Then he realized that B was with me and told B to "Get his girl in check or he was going to f(&^ us up. blah blah".  B got mad at me for not minding my own business.  I can't help it though.  Oh well.  I am glad I didn't get stabbed by a crazy person on the streets of New York City.  That would have really ruined the trip.

Dreaming of sunshine

2.21.2012

Because its February and I live in the middle of the Arctic East Coast, we are freezing our arses off.  After spending the last few days outside exploring D.C. with my sister, I was sitting on the couch this morning dreaming of sunshine and summer.  It is so cold outside that I didn't even want to step outside with Kingston to watch him pee this morning.  We have an amazing three tier deck off the back of our house.  As I was standing at the door trying to watch to make sure he didn't see someone or something and decide to run away (have I mentioned that we don't have a fence?  Who knew that fence installation would cost as much as a new compact car?), I started imagining a deck make over and all of the summer parties and BBQ's that we are going to have once temperatures reach not miserable.  It does usually help to have a friend or two to attend the parties but baby steps people.  I will put "make some friends in this new city" on the list right next to "purchase the $1200 patio furniture set listed below".


{picture of our deck.  Brrr.}

{A girl can dream, right?}

{So cute.  I am loving the bright simplicity of this little set.}


{Because is it really a proper deck if there isn't an outdoor fireplace?}
{Did I mention it's cold outside?}
{Drinks need coolers.  Enough said.}

{visiting the Smithsonian Institute with my sister yesterday}

After exploring D.C. for the past two days, we are going to take a quiet day today before we leave for New York City tomorrow morning.  Hope your week is going as well as mine! 



Stitches, dates and puppies

2.19.2012

My husband lost a battle with a bag of garbage which resulted in a trip to Urgent Care for stitches this morning. Yes, you read that right.  He got beat up by the trash bag as he took it out to the can.  Luckily my sister flew in to town last night so she was able to stay home with Eva so we didn't have to expose her to the germy, uckyness of Urgent Care.
As we waited for his life threatening, emergency 3 stitches, he was joking that this is our first date away from Eva in a year (3rd ever).  While, obviously, I didn't let it slide and allow our doctors visit to be called a date, it was kind of sad that it genuinly WAS the closest we have had to a night out together in forever.

After they put in the stitches and wrapped his hand up in a way that is NOT exaggerated (*ahem*, see photo above), we came home to the sweetest, full body wiggling, tail stub wagging pup.  Our dog is finally back home where he is supposed to be- with us.

Assuming that B's finger doesn't get gangrene and fall off, this is going to be a great week.  Trips to D.C and New York are planned.  Cocktails to be drank.  Smiles to be had.  Memories to be made.  Let's do this!


It's the little things:12

2.17.2012

With everything going on, it is important to remember that it is the little things in life that make it all worth it...

It's the little things: The fact that she still happily wears her bows.  They are just so cute.  Every time we go out and she wears her bows, she brings joy not only to me but also all of the little old ladies.  Also, we are seriously enjoying going to the grocery store together.  She "gets it" and knows how to help me with the veggies and other food items.  

It's the little things: A sleeping baby.  Helping a friend by babysitting her 6 month old.  Thankful for the reminder of how HARD babies are.  I think B might be on to something by wanting to wait...

It's the little things: Stopping to smell the flowers.  Yes it is a pain in the rear to stop and play on these little germ receptacles, but she loves them.  Why not stop and get in a few extra smiles for the day?

It's the little things: My sister is flying in tomorrow to visit!  She is the first of our friends/family members to come visit our new house other than my cousin who stopped in on his way out to the Middle East.  Excited for her to see our new house, reconnect w Eva (its been 6 months), see D.C., and go to New York together.  


It's the little things: Attending our first "play group".  It was a Valentines party.  Eva had a great time and the other Moms were nice.  We will be going back.  Yay for getting out of the house!

What little things made you thankful this week?

Who's life is this anyways?

2.15.2012


More often than I should probably admit, I look around and think, "Is this really my life?".  I have changed so much over the last couple years.  Everything has changed so much over the two years.  I moved from Hawaii to southern California to Florida and now to Maryland, had my baby, lost my Mom, and bought my first house.  All in two years.  I went from being a working girl who never steps out of high heels and lives to get drunk and giggle with girl friends on the weekends to a stay-at-home Mom who often doesn't put make up and jeans on until 4:00pm- 20 minutes before B comes home.  I used to dream of great jobs, exotic travel, designer bags, and shopping.  Now I dream of PVC privacy fences, up-to-date kitchens, and the "unicorn" part- time job (high hourly salary, close to home, flexible, inspiring, fun... worth the hours away from the baby).


I used to worry about my clothes when I went out now I worry about my daughters hair bow.  I used to care about the most flattering and cutest clothes.  Now I care about my daughter memorizing 16-20 (she has 1-15 down *pats self on back*), practicing the days of the week, and getting in as many hours laughing and wrestling on the floor as possible.  I used to worry about stilettos versus wedges.  Now I worry about Eva's socialization and encouraging sharing while I throw on my Uggs day after day.


With all of that being said, it's not that I have given up.  I am not going to turn into a frumpy housewife any time soon.  I brush my teeth, get out of pj's, and put make up on every single day before my husband gets home (is it sad that I think that deserves a pat on the back?!?).  I blow dry my hair a few times a week.  I run and diet to keep the chub at bay.

I was thinking about just how much things have changed as I was looking around our house today.  When we got married and it was just the two of us, our bedroom was the most important room in the house.  The only important room in the house, honestly.  We bought the most expensive sheets and spent many, many hundreds of dollars on bedding.  All of the accessories were lovingly chosen and everything in the room was perfect.


Now, Eva's room is the space that we have poured our hearts into.  Her room is bright and sweet and everything is hand picked with love.  On the other hand, our bedroom is yucky, white, boring and has not been touched since we moved in.  Sharp puppy paws tore tears in our nice duvet cover and most of the old accessories either don't "work" in the new room or have been re-purposed for other rooms leaving the 15+ foot walls stark, white, and pathetic.  Every room in our house has new flooring- except our bedroom, we have painted every single room upstairs- except out bedroom... every room upstairs is cute- except our bedroom.


I mentioned this to B and he smiled and shrugged.  He just says, "one step at a time" with an easy smile.  It is just amazing how much things can change over the course of a couple years.  Our life has been picked up, turned upside down, given a few hard shakes, spun around in circles and then let loose.  My little Eva has rocked our lives to the core.


I would not have it any other way.   




DIY project- See those white book shelves?  They were hung in the kitchen filled with old tea pots.  I painted them and B hung them as book shelves.  I love.

Feelin' the love

2.14.2012

It's Valentines Day.  The one day of the year that makes us take a pause to remember our loved one(s).  The one day where we all feel forced to so something special.  Some years that is probably a pricey gift, others a special home- made meal or dinner and a movie out, and some just a last minute box of chocolates from the 7-11 (ahem, welcome to my life).  The point is just to let your lover know that you are thankful they are around.  (*anyone else find the word "lover" to be weird and kind of icky?*)

I am not going to write a sappy love post to my sweet husband because 1. I'd rather tell him in person and 2. he doesn't waste his time reading this little 'ole blog.

So, Happy Valentines to you!  I hope you have someone to love and be loved by today.

XOXO



Military Monday: Bri- Kaneohe Bay, HI

2.13.2012

The Military Monday duty station feature on this blog is designed for us military families to meet our fellow military spouses and also to learn about duty stations across the world.  We all get to (or have to depending on your outlook and particular set of circumstances), move every couple years to different duty stations that are scattered throughout the country and the world.  This feature will allow us the opportunity to explore these different areas of the world before we get there.  If you are interested in being highlighted for this feature, please send me an email.  
***

Name and blog site: Bri, tinytexanbri.blogspot.com

Branch of service: 
Marine Corps

Where currently stationed:
MCBH Kaneohe, Bay, Hawaii

How long have you been there?
Since June of 2011

Favorite restaurant in the area:
Kailua/Kaneohe doesn’t have a lot of restaurants to offer, but in Waimanalo (20 min drive with traffic) there is a Mexican restaurant called Serg’s. You’d think there wouldn’t be good Mexican food here, but we love it!  The fish Tacos are amazing and probably fresh considering it’s a 5 minute drive from the beach.

Previous duty stations:
None that I’ve accompanied him with, this is our first together as a couple.

How strong/not strong is the sense of community in the area?
Everyone on the base is friendly; meeting new people is not a problem. Also, everyone treats you like family!

3 favorite things to do in your current city:
1) The base rents out boats, surfboards, paddle boards, and kayaks.  We take advantage of that!

2) I love visiting different beaches, there are so many!.  The beach in the picture above is Pyramid Rock.  One of the multiple private beaches on base.
3) Drive, drive anywhere!
Favorite duty station so far: 
This has been my only one so far and I love it!
Who is your hero?
My mother, for sure! She’s the most inspiring and intelligent women I’ve ever met, and had the privilege of being raised by.  


***
If you are a military spouse and want be featured for this post, please send me an email at HandlingWithGrace {at} gmail.com


It's the little things: 11

2.10.2012

This week was a good week.  I took advantage of having a car during the day by getting out of the house once almost every day.  I haven't made it out to any of the library toddler times but I am going to try next week.  I have been dieting this week and I have lost 3 pounds.  Over the past 4 months, 6 pounds have slowly crept up and made permanent residence on my hips and thighs.  Instead of trying to run and work it off like a responsible adult, I am going old school and starving myself for a couple weeks.  I have been busy helping B w school work, painting the baseboards in the upstairs bathrooms and prepping them to be painted over the next week, and playing with Eva.  She has been so joyful and silly this week.

With all of this going on, it it important to remember that it's the little things in life that make it all worth it....


It's the little things: Continuing on house renovation projects.  Wiping out the old, ugly 1980's finishes one project at a time.  I used the "Cabinet Restorations" system.  I think they came out pretty good.  
BEFORE

AFTER

If you look at the first picture, you can see that there are sea foam green baseboards in this bathroom.  Remember how one of the rooms had purple baseboards? Well, this bathroom has sea foam green.  Weird right?!  I painted those white this week too.  Next I need to pick a shower curtain and then paint this bathroom.
*
It's the little things: My mini-me.  She copies my every move and repeats every phrase that comes out of my mouth.  This is both a blessing and a curse.  Yesterday I caught her trying to use a tampon.  That's awkward.
*
It's the little things: Continuing to try new recipes.  These are the pinterest kale chips.  They were so-so.  B hated them.  I thought they were ehh.  They were kind of like salty thin sea weed strips.  (side note- as I am writing this, Eva looks over at the computer, sees the picture of the kale chips, points at it and says "Uckos! Uckos! Uckos!".  Guess she didn't really like them either.)
*
It's the little things: Her cheese face.  I can't get enough of it.  It is so intense.  
*
It's the little things: Real Housewives.  I am obsessed.  I love all of them but Orange County is my absolute fave.  I am so happy the new season started!
***

Share what little things are making you happy this week.  

Not going to end up on the pole

2.07.2012

You know those days when you feel so filled with gratitude that it just totally engulfs you?  I have had a lot of those lately.  Eva has been in a happy stage and hasn't been too whiny or needy.  She is the most adorable little chatter-box.  She is so smart and sweet.  B's boss told him that she "stole the show" on Super Bowl Sunday.  She was running in circles hugging and giving kisses and fist pumps to all of the adults around the circle as they watched the game.  Everyone kept commenting on how advanced and personable she is.

As they were cooing over her and shocked as they listened to her count the magnets on the fridge and sing songs, one of the ladies was joking that she was going to send her grandson to live with me for a while so he could "catch up".  She said he is just a bit older than Eva but far behind her developmentally.     

Last night when B and I were talking he brought up how, with daughters, Dad's can never win.  If she ends up being a loser, it's his "fault".  We all know the joke....

“Keep my baby off the pole!"
"I mean they don’t grade fathers but if your daughter is a stripper you f*&$#@ up.”
-Chris Rock-

But, it's true.  When people comment on Eva being exceptional (if I do say so myself), I get all of the credit.  If she ends up being a loser later, (unless I do something horrible) people will assume that her Dad's a deadbeat.
 
Oh well, only one of us had to push her out of our nether region so maybe that's payback.

At the end of it all, I can say with a fair amount of confidence that my baby will not end up on the pole.  And if she does, B and I will not be taking the credit blame.  That will be ALL her.  And since we plan on paying for her college, that will not be a valid excuse.


Military Monday: Kara- Okinawa, Japan

2.06.2012

The Military Monday duty station feature on this blog is designed for us military families to meet our fellow military spouses and also to learn about duty stations across the world.  We all get to (or have to depending on your outlook and particular set of circumstances), move every couple years to different duty stations that are scattered throughout the country and the world.  This feature will allow us the opportunity to explore these different areas of the world before we get there.  If you are interested in being highlighted for this feature, please send me an email.  
***

Name and blog site:  Kara,  Ramblings of a Marine Wife 

Branch of service:  Marine Corps

Where currently stationed: Okinawa, Japan

How long have you been there?: The kids and I have been here 16 months, hubby a few months longer

Favorite restaurant in the area: I don’t get to eat out nearly as much as I want.  There are still tons of places I want to go, I can’t say that I have one favorite.  I went to Poco a Poco last week and fell in love!  It’s an all you can eat and drink restaurant.  You pick what you want and they bring the food to you.  The atmosphere was wonderful; it could easily handle larger groups and intimate couple dinners.  On the other hand, there is a sushi go round down the street from us.  Basically, as the sushi is made, it is put on a conveyor belt and you pick up what you want as it goes by.  This restaurant is 100 yen a plate ($1.25), so you can eat pretty cheap.

Previous duty stations: This is our second duty station together.  Ft. Leonard Wood was our first.  Hubby has been a few other places, but I haven’t had the pleasure!

3 favorite things to do in your current city:
-There are tons of festivals here.  They are so fun to go to because it is so different than anything I’ve ever seen and you get to try new things.
-Food.  I’m just now starting to venture out to more restaurants with friends and I’m loving it!  I’ve never been one to try a lot of new, weird things, but I’ve found that I’ll try anything here.
-I’m in a foreign country.  It’s fun to see how other people live.  I like driving around and seeing new things or watch my daughter try to have conversations with little, old Japanese ladies.  I like going to convenience stores and finding new snacks to try based on the picture on the package (I can’t read Japanese!).  It’s always something new and fun.
Are there any local festivals you have been to or are planning to attend? Of course!  I love them.  The cherry blossom trees are start to bloom in late January/early February and there are festivals island wide.  I went last year, but they weren’t in bloom yet, so I’m dragging the kids this year so I can see them.  Another big festival is the Naha Tug-o-War.  It’s a HUGE tug-o-war rope that is pulled by over 15,000 people and weighs 18,000 lbs.  I got in on it this year.  It was tons of people on top of each other and I scraped the skin off my hands from pulling for 30 minutes straight, but it was an awesome experience!
What is the biggest draw back to where your current duty station? The distance.  It’s not easy or cheap to fly home.  Honestly though, there are so many perks here that you can suffer through missing your family.  You could fly home for vacation or fly to Thailand.  I don’t have too think to hard about that one.
Favorite duty station so far: I really liked Ft. Leonard Wood (I know I’m in the minority there), but I love Okinawa!  I think a person either loves or hates this island and we definitely like it here.
Who is your hero? I can’t say that I’ve ever had someone that I’ve called my hero.  I admire people who selflessly help others.  People who hear the calling to do something bigger or better than themselves.  This includes members of our military, but also those people you hear about who work together as a group to lift a car off a complete stranger after a car accident.  People who don’t think twice about doing what needs to be done in life threatening situations.  I don’t know that I could do that, so I admire those that can.
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