Monday, September 12, 2011

Looking forward to Fall

As the summer is winding down and the temperatures start to drop below the mid/teen hundreds we are beginning to look forward to fall. A few weeks ago Cydney started taking gymnastics, something she looks forward to each week. It has seemed to give her more confidence in doing things on her own and without me having to be right next to her. Her favorite event is the balance beam, as soon as we walk into the gym she is ready to get on the high beam and walk back and forth. She does a great job listening to the instructor give directions and taking her turn. She gets upset when it is time to leave and asks daily if she can go to gymnastics.

One of her other favorite activities to do is to walk to the park, she asks to go pretty much every morning. Now I have no excuse to get out for a little morning walk/jog. This fall is shaping up to be fun and busy. With a trip home to Tulsa for a week, followed by a trip to San Diego in October and more fun playgroup activities to new places in Vegas we want to check out before leaving. Cydney was also asked to be a flower girl in her Aunts wedding in December, now we are on a dress hunt. I can't wait to see her all dressed up and hope she does well and cooperates. We are also looking forward to some much needed time off once Jared is finished with Weapons School. It has been over two years since we took a vacation!

I have been working on her Halloween Costume. I had been wanting to do Boo (from Monsters Inc) and found a picture online and a blog post with instructions on how to sew the costume. I have never sewed anything before, so I bought a sewing machine and took a hack at it. I don't think it turned out too bad, there are still a few adjustments to do, but it is pretty much finished.

Now that I have got this sewing thing started I am excited to get to our next assignment and start learning how to make curtains, pillow cases, etc for decorating the house.

Until next time,

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Two Years Ago......

we were welcoming Cydney into this world. The past two years have brought us so much joy and many heartwarming moments. We are blessed to have a sweet, smart, poliet and caring daughter. Couldn't ask for better. It has been a blessing to have someone to spend my days and nights with while Jared has been deployed, TDY or just working a late night. She certainly has both of us wrapped around her finger, especially Jared.

We are amazed at how fast she picks up new words, concepts and sayings. She will tell you her full name when asked, counts to 14 easily still needs help with 15-20 sometimes, knows all her letters, colors and shapes. Cydney loves Elmo, monkeys and books. She enjoys going to the library for story time and getting to sing songs and dance. Next week she is starting a weekly gymnastics class, and maybe swim lessons in the near future. Her favorite songs to sing are ABC's and Twinkle Twinkle, she also can be heard singing along with the radio in the car. Cydney loves to help push the shopping cart through the store. You will usually find her under me pushing the cart from the bottom.

Here are some of my favorite pictures over the last two years:

We were happy to be able to spend a week with Grandparents and Aunts, who all came out to Vegas for Cydney's Birthday Celebration. Turned into a week affair, getting gifts from everyone and enjoy a couple cakes. Cydney learned how to make Grandma Jodie's Chocolate Cake, and enjoyed helping mix the ingredients. Even if the first one did not turn out looking so great it was still fun to make and delicious to eat. Cydney received a play kitchen for her birthday and has enjoyed playing with it since. Every morning she wakes up and wants to make pancakes. It is fun to just sit back and watch her play and see her imagination developing daily.

Until next time,

Sunday, July 10, 2011


We have been back in the USA for almost two weeks now. The first couple of nights were spent in Salt Lake City, before we began the drive to Vegas. Once we arrived in Salt Lake, we began car shopping for my car. We had an idea of what car we were looking for, just needed to find a dealer with the right price. After a day of shopping we found one and came home with a 2011 Ford Edge. We are both very happy with the purchase and it is nice to have a car with all the bells and whistles.

The next item on our agenda was getting to Vegas and getting into the apartment. I had found one online a few weeks prior to leaving Misawa and got our name on a temporary lease, all we had to do was show up, look at it to make sure that is what we wanted and sign the lease. Everything with that went pretty smooth. Turns out the person I talked to on the phone quoted me a 12 month rent price, when we informed them that we would only be needing the apartment for 6 months the price almost doubled!! After some talking behind closed doors the apartment manager agreed to rent the apartment to us for the lower price.

Getting settled into the apartment and living back in the US, has been an experience. Since arriving we have purchased two cars, rented an apartment, bought beds, and other small things needed to get by until our stuff we sent from Japan arrives. Living on minimal furniture and household items can be a challenge. Cooking dinner is probably the most challenging. Cooking with plastic utensils is not very easy.

Upon arriving in the US I saw a news article about an F-16 that had crashed in Vegas a few hours before. Knowing quite a few pilots in Vegas, the worry set in that this was someone we knew. Then the search for information started. While news media had not released information on the identity of the pilot, the community is small and word travels fast once family is notified. Our arrival in Vegas began with heavy hearts. We learned that we knew the pilot who had crashed . Jared was stationed with him in Korea a few years back and was happy to hear they would be together again in this Weapons School Class. We had been looking forward to reuniting with him and getting to know his wife and child. Prayers to his wife and daughter and family during this tough time.

Jared is staying busy with class during the week and on Sunday's. We make sure to make the most of our Saturday's as family days. We also learned that Jared will once again miss Cydney's Birthday, due to a TDY. This year we are looking forward to Grandparents and Aunts celebrating with us, and we will also celebrate early with Jared before he leaves.

Cydney and I are finding plenty to do to keep us busy. We have connected with some of the other wives/kids out here and are getting together for play dates, gymnastics classes, and pool time. I am happy to be in the HOT weather, enjoying being outside and spending time with Cydney in the pool. She is not a big fan of the water just yet, she is content sitting in the kiddie section. We are slowly getting her used to coming out into the deeper sections with us.

Some of the things Cydney has been up to and learning the last few weeks:
*She can count to 14 on her own (when she is in the mood :))
*Constantly calling out letters as she sees them on buildings and signs
*Likes to practice writing letters
*Her new favorite book is "Monkey George" (Curious Geroge)
*She has moved into a big bed, and is doing well. No falling out and seems to be sleeping better.
*She is beginning to show some interest in the potty. Still gets a little scared when she actually sits on it, but will ask to do so throughout the day.
*Her favorite songs are ABC's, Patty Cake, and Ring around the Rosie
*Favorite foods are Crab, pizza, cheese, yogurt, cheerios, pancakes, rice, strawberries, and blueberries.
*Like to pretend talk on the phone to anyone. Anything is a phone these days (remotes, blocks, old phones). She likes to call and talk to Daddy, asking where he is and where did he go.
*Loves having an empty living room to run around in.
*Scared of spiders or anything that may be a spider (Fuzz, dirt ?).
*Does not like being dirty or getting her hands dirty. She will wipe up spills or ask for napkins anytime she has food on her hands.
*Follows us around shutting doors behind us. Always reminding me that I left a door open.

I can't believe she will be two in just a few short weeks. Time has flown by! She amazes me everyday and we are so lucky to have such a sweet, smart and loving little girl.

Until next time,

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Goodbye Misawa

The time has come to say goodbye to our home of the last three years. It is a bittersweet goodbye. We have thoroughly enjoyed our time here and have made many memories and life long friends. Many we will be sure to see again at future assignments.

We have experienced so much here with our friends; starting and expanding our families, making new friends, reuniting with old friends, as well as experiencing the passing of mutual friends. Living away from family is hard, so we are blessed to be able to have formed a family with our fellow squadron members and will miss seeing them all everyday.

Living overseas is a unique experience, one that we are happy to have been given. Knowing that while you husbands is working crazy long or extremely odd hours, and being away for months at a time we have someone who is walking the same path and sharing those experiences right along side you. Taking part in Karaoke nights, getting together for dinner just so you don't have to cook for yourself, exploring the surrounding areas to find the best places to eat, shop or take the kids for entertainment are just a few of the things I will miss about Misawa.

We are happy to be moving back to the USA, being closer to family is going to be amazing as well. More time to spend with grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings and more friends is something we have been looking forward to for a long time. Even though we will still be several hours away, traveling back and forth will not be as daunting.

This week has been full of selling our cars, lining up an apartment for Cydney and I, researching cell phone companies and plans, informing all necessary companies we are moving and getting services canceled, getting the pack out dates scheduled and finalized, and sorting our household goods into four separate shipments. Stuff to pack in luggage, stuff to be sent by mail to our new location (things we will want right away but don't want to pack in luggage), items to be shipped that are too big or too much to be mailed ( anything we will want to have for the next 6 months, but can live without for a couple months as they make it back to the US), and any items to go to storage for the next 6+ months (this is probably the easiest group since it will be all the large furniture, pictures, etc.)

The movers come for the first round of packing tomorrow. The next two days will be a whirlwind of packing boxes, loading a truck and cleaning the house to prepare for our final out inspection.

Here are a few pictures from the past couple of weeks:

Riding on the carousel with Elmo

Eating a popsicle. "It's cold!"

Don't worry I got this!

Some pictures of the stranger things around Misawa:

No matter where you are on the road, you can find a vending machine filled with food, beverages, beer, or even cigarettes!

Need Eggs and the stores are closed? No problem, you can find them in a vending machine

Transformers? on the side of the road

Stores with names such as Hard Off, Off House and Wonder Goo

Goodbye Misawa, next stop Vegas!!

Until next time,

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Welcome Home

Welcome Home Panthers!!!

This past week and a half have been full of anticipation, excitement, happiness and relief as the 13th Fighter Squadron made their return to Misawa from Iraq. The squadron has returned from a 7 1/2 month deployment, and while the guys were away the wives and children were in Misawa living life without their husbands and fathers. Anytime the guys leave it seems things in the house start to fall apart, cars break down, people get sick, injuries happen; anything and everything that could go wrong will. Murphy's Law!

No one expected to endure a history making Earthquake and Tsunami that washed away many areas of Japan leaving many dead and homeless. While Cydney and I were not in Misawa at the time of the Earthquake, we were constantly thinking about and praying for those here in Japan. I can only imagine the feelings and emotions going on during and after the Earthquake. From what I have heard and know about the ladies here, everyone was taking care of each other and being an amazing support system to one another. Enduring power outages, fuel shortages and the constant aftershocks (which were large Earthquakes in themselves) they all got through it and formed even stronger bonds with one another. There was even an early arrival of one "Panther Cub". A good friend of mine went into pre-mature labor and delivered her baby boy with the Lady Panthers by her side. Her husband was able to make it home a couple of weeks later, in time to bring the baby home from the hospital.

While in the States, Cydney and I were anxious to get back to Misawa to be back on time for the squadrons return. After a few delays due to the Earthquake and resulting travel restrictions we made it home with plenty of time to prepare for the return.

We were so happy to finally hear they were on their way and would soon be home! Only having a few years experience with the Air Force life we have quickly learned not to expect them home until we actually see them here. Lots of things can cause delays, and I think we ran the gamut of them this time.

On the day of Jared's return I was running around getting those last minute details completed. Running to the Commissary one last time to make sure there was food for him, getting cars filled with gas, cleaning the house (so it didn't look like I had not done a thing since he had been gone), completing any repairs or finishing projects I had started. I don't know why, but things always seem to sneak up on us and we are hurrying at the end to get it all done. Now that I had the information that they would be home that afternoon I HAD to get it all finished.

I was also very curious on how Cydney would react to him in person. The last few months we had been talking on Skype a few times a week. She would get so excited to hear the computer ring and see him on the screen. Many times she would talk to him for the first couple of minutes and then return to playing or just want to sit on my lap and look at him. I wondered if she would react with the same enthusiasm to see him or if she would become shy as she does around other strangers. To our surprise and delight she was very happy to see him, walked right up to him as he was getting out of the jet. Giving him a big hug as he picked her up and said "Hi, Dada". Our hearts melted. We talked about the airplane, and the sound it makes. She was very happy to be in daddy's arms again. Still a few days later she is surprised and happy to see him walk into a room. Lots of hugs and kisses are being given!

She is also surprising Jared on how much she talks, constantly talks. She is a parrot and will repeat anything we say, so now more than ever we have to be careful. She has been spending her time showing him all her favorite toys, books, games and how Digee plays and dances with her.

Now we as a family are focusing on time together again as well as preparing to move. We are excited to see what is next for us in this journey. Looking forward to some HOT Vegas weather! I am sure I will be regretting saying that soon.

While the military will come and pack the house there is still some preparations to do as well as get rid of things we have accumulated these past four years that we no longer need or use. That is now my JOB for the next few weeks, to get this house ready to be packed up and moved back to the USA.

Until next time,

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Spring is here!!!

The Cherry Blossoms (Sakura) have stated blooming, which means Spring is here.

The last couple of weeks home have been spent finding time, between rain storms and windy days, to get out and enjoy all the beautiful Cherry Blossoms. These trees bloom for only a couple weeks each year before all the petals fall to the ground, covering it like a blanket of snow. We have yet to make it out to Hirosaki Castle this year, hoping to make that trip in the near future. We have gone around to local parks to enjoy their playgrounds as well as the beautiful trees and cool weather. Following are a few pictures of our outings.

Statue of Liberty Park (Icho Park): Home to Japan's largest Statue of Liberty, this statue is on the same Latitude as Lady Liberty.

Towada Horse Park: Found this park thanks to some friends. This park is situated in the hills of Towada. There is a large playground with play equipment, as well as a large area to run around and play soccer, catch or any other sport that requires lots of room. As you enter the park you will see a large horse shaped slide. There are pony rides available as well as the opportunity to feed ponies carrots for around $1. In the back of the park sits a large roller slide that winds it way down the hill.

Train Park (Chuo Park) Misawa: Located right outside the main gate, this park is a great place to view the Cherry Blossoms.

Sakura Yabusame:Easter Sunday was spent enjoying an Archery Festival in Towada. Ladies dressed in elaborate costumes shooting arrows at targets along a runway while riding horseback. Despite the muddy grounds and lack of Cherry Blossoms it was a fun and beautiful day.

Easter Egg Hunting: Due to our plans to attend the Festival on Sunday we celebrated Easter on Saturday with friends and neighbors. We also welcomed a few Japanese friends to celebrate with us and introduce them to our Easter traditions. The egg hunt was completed just in time for it to start raining again.

Looking forward to some warmer, drier weather soon so we can continue to enjoy the outdoors.

Until next time,


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Where has the time gone..........

I can't believe I have a 20 month old, one who continues to surprise and amaze me with how much she is learning and picking up. Cydney is full of personality and always on the move. She enjoys singing and dancing, playing with "digee", helping me with laundry and picking things up to put them away, Elmo, playing outside, and exploring her surroundings. She is very attentive to her surroundings and those around her, mimicking everyone's gestures as well as things they say. Her favorite phrases are "Thank You" and "Welcome".

Her favorite time of day is when Dada calls and she gets to tell him stories about her day, show him her new "tricks" on Skype, or just give him lots of Kisses!.
She is missing him a lot and I know will be very excited to see him again soon. We like to take lots of pictures to keep dada updated with what is going on at home and new things she is doing. Following are what we have been up to during our recent trip home to visit.
Sitting at SeaTac USO, waiting on flight to Tulsa. Thank goodness for this USO, gives us a chance to get some comfortable rest while waiting between flights on our way to or from Japan.

Meeting Grammy, Pop Pop, Aunt Cait and Aunt Jo at the Airport upon arrival from Japan:
(very tired after close to 30 hours of travel and waiting in Airports, but very happy to see family again)

Enjoying Oklahoma sun, not much sun in Misawa this time of year.

Riding "Bullet"

Watching Elmo and Friends:

Every trip home requires a little Pokes!!

Trying out Gymnastics:She loved it and we look forward to getting enrolled in classes once we get settled in Vegas.

Riding rides at Incredible Pizza:

Bouncing around at the Bouncy Barn:

Getting together with old friends and meeting new ones:
While in the States this time we took the opportunity to travel to San Antonio to see old friends who we had made in Misawa and have since moved away. Lucky for us there was a big group of them stationed in and around San Antonio, giving us the chance to catch up and let the little ones meet each other for the first time. These three are all within a month of each other. Being together again was fun and brought back memories of fun times. We are excited to be moving back to the States, so reunions like these can be more frequent.

San Antonio Zoo: Cydney enjoyed the warm sunshine and walking around while helping to push the wagon. She also enjoyed exploring the Children's Area with hands on activities.

Children's Museum in Seminole OK:
Cydney enjoyed exploring the museum, playing with the magnets, bubbles, going through mazes, riding trains and anything else she could find to do. We will be sure to visit this place again anytime we are back in Oklahoma.

On March 11, 2011 I woke up to the news that Japan had been struck with a 9.0 Earthquake and resulting Tsunami. The epicenter of the quake was 200 miles South of where we live in Japan. The following days were full of feelings of worry, relief, guilt, and unknowing. I was worried about our friends who were there at the time. How were they doing, how was the town of Misawa doing? They had lost power, so communication was down. Few friends who had Iphones were able to update Facebook and email out what was happening and what the outlook was. Not only were they dealing with the aftershocks of the Earthquake and power outages, it was still winter in Misawa and it was snowing. Living without heat, water, and power for a few days was certainly an inconvenience. After a few days power was restored to the base and town. I was able to get more information about friends and the situation on base. Misawa was not hit as hard by the Tsunami as the towns and cities further South were. I was relieved to hear that our friends were doing fine and dealing with the inconveniences as well as could be expected. The ladies here are a strong group of women and handled the situation with grace. Everyone jumped at the opportunity to help wherever they could, donating money, time, clothing and goods to those in need. I had feelings of guilt, guilt that we were safely in the States and enjoying time with family. Guilt that we were not there to endure the same hardships they were having to deal with at the time.

The next couple of weeks were spent deciding when the best time to return to Japan would be. Once things had settled down in Japan, and the volunteer evacuations were complete, Space A flights were once again opened on the military flight we had planned on taking back to Japan, and tickets were booked for our return.

Cydney got her pictures taken by Madison Vining
Proceeds of her Be The Change photo sessions are being donated to Japan. Thank You Madison for taking these pictures and helping the cause in Japan.

Celebrating Easter a little Early:
Coloring Eggs

Hunting Eggs:

After 8 weeks away, we are back in Japan. Upon returning we were happy to find our home in good shape. No major damage (weren't expecting any structural damage) only a few items had been knocked off shelves and out of place. The biggest mess was the pantry where containers of rice and brown sugar had fallen and busted open as well as a bottle of vinegar breaking and spilling everywhere. The smell was pretty bad, but aired out after a day or so. We are very thankful nothing more was "wrong" with the house. We are now home and awaiting the return of the squadron. Looking forward to seeing "dada" and getting to spend some time with him again. Then we begin the craziness of moving! On our way to Vegas, so excited and happy to be going back to the States.

Until next time,