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,