Last Supper

Well, Teage turns into an official full-fledged BIG BOY today.  The experience leading up today has been emotional, proud, and anxious.  I am going to breeze through this post quickly..because I don’t have time to sit and cry like a baby at the computer.  I’m so proud of him and excited for this milestone and I know he will give them ALL he’s got ;o)  Sooo, I thought all weekend (and all Summer really) how the days leading up to Kindergarten Eve would go.  A week ago our family did a photo-shoot together for the first time as a fam bam of five .  I think he is big enough now to actually take direction other than, “Pick up your toys” and “Don’t hit your brother”.  BTW, pics are coming soon and they are going to blow.you.away!  Anyway, it brought him up to the older sibling group and gave him the opportunity to be a ‘big kid’.  He also got a visit from his new teacher and para here at the house where she gave him a goodie bag that had a book in it…

Biscuit Visits the Big City…YES!!

Mrs. Rocha-Mendoza (yep, she’s Hispanic) sat with him on the stairs to show him the book and chit chat while George and I filled out some papers and asked a few questions.  To our surprise (kinda), when they were done, she came over and raved about his reading and sight word skills!  It felt good as a mom to know that my bedtime reading was paying off (and the fact that JD likes to watch movies with subtitles).  After a week of bonding time, it was evident that I had plenty of time to prep for his first day (insert that WRONG Labor Day holiday weekend right in the middle of starting school).  We went to the Dino Park, the movies, gymnastics started, more parks, did some crafts, shopping…I had a blast being partners in fun and spending the quality time with him that I know is already fading fast.  I mean seriously, he is just too big…

First day at gymnastics, Level 2!

Rocket Man at the park

Doing it big…in a tree!

I knew I wanted to do something together on Kindergarten Eve as a family so he could feel how special HE is and how special his new day is to all of us.  We went to the movies, had lunch, and then came home while he and daddy built car tracks and talked about the first day jitters.  I wanted to make him a special supper…his last preschool supper, if you will.  I knew it was going to be something comfort-like…and decided to go southern, since I have many memories of growing up eating southern food on school nights. He devoured his chop of course and the pasta salad.  The cabbage ended with me saying “two bites more”.

Last Supper

Once dinner was over, it was bathy time and I read him the book that has been in our top 5 list at bedtime lately…

So I tucked him in, gave him his old bear and he stayed there until I had to wake him at 7.  He had picked out his outfit the night before and once he got dressed, ate breakfast, and brushed his teeth, he was eager to “walk like big kids” to school.  But before we could do that he needed me to help him make his hair look COOL! (“Because kindergarten is cool, Mom”)!!

So funny that he has kept the Oki pose after all this time!

The walk to the school was nerve wracking…all the kids walking around, the parents holding the little Kinders tight, the cameras…it was a lot!  But Teage walked up, put his name tag on by himself, and hugged me real tight….I almost broke, but I didn’t, for him!  He looked a little nervous too at first, but once he saw the other kids and then his teacher…he couldn’t keep his eyes off of them and started slipping into a comfortable place…I could tell.

In line…

In awe of his teacher…lol

I can’t wait to hear all about his day from him and the teachers.  I can foresee it being more than an adventure!!

I posted some pics of the big kids’ first day on Facebook….they are old hats at the 1st day happenings, but WOW…they look so close in age these days!

Saige-n-JD: 8th & 11th

Go Get ‘Em Isla Bambinos!!

Top Ten

 

Top Ten things I have said/want to say to my son’s Child Development Center:

 

10. Why did that kid just lob a red marker at my head and nobody react?

9. Talk about throwing kids under the bus! If two kids get into an altercation, this Center has no discretion when it comes to disclosing the other child’s name who is involved.

8. Being that you have no discretion during an incident…does that mean you talk about all the kids to whomever you choose?

7. When a child needs to be involved in an activity or lesson in order to NOT feel bored….making him do tasks like filling up your water table or holding your sign-in board does not suffice as such.

6. I definitely do not need an attitude from the b!#ch at the front desk…just sayin’.

5. Courtesy calls are your way of trying to tell on my kid. Who is in control there??…STOP BEING A TATTLETALE!!

4. When you roll your eyes because the kids are already getting on your nerves at 8:30am…you showed me (and your students) yet again that they are working YOU and not the other way around.

3. Four different teachers in four months is UNFAIR to not only my child, but my whole parenting routine.

2. How come nobody saw my kid get punched in the face which caused his nose to bleed heavily and ultimately begin this regressing behavior in this now unsafe preschool setting?

1. Word of the day: Accountability…who has it and does it exist in your administration??

Having Teage in the CDC here has been a roller coaster of peaks and valleys!! No child is perfect, but things have been really hard for us as he has transitioned multiple times in such a short time there….all of which the snobby women who run that joint don’t have any regard for. Time to dust off my big girl panties and take this shiz on…again!

Thanks for listening,

Kumon is Kickin’

Have you heard of this? Kumon originally started in Japan. I can remember all the Kumon centers located all throughout Okinawa. I had never heard of it until we moved there. The program is an after school program that focuses primarily on Math and Reading. They also have a Junior program for preschoolers. I am kicking myself for not enrolling my kids in it while we were in Oki, but you can imagine my surprise when I saw these workbooks in the Bookmark recently.


It has been just what I’ve needed on the off days that Teage doesn’t go to school. He loves the bright pictures and small workbook pages, I love the inventive way they teach basic skills like fine motor. These workbooks focus on coloring and folding with a little social exercise to use with each one.


The wipe off math flashcards are perfect for getting him involved in the process of learning to write the numbers. He can already write his name (and of course type it) and most of the numbers 0-9. Once we count the dots, I flip it over to reveal the total and he writes the number…he loves the anticipation of it all.


I am on the hunt for more…to get info on finding a center in the states (LUCKY) you can check out their site HERE!! Gotta love the Asians for kickin’ Kumon our way!!

Home Coming Together

I had this whole post written for Foodie Friday about my lunch adventure with Steve…it was a good one, too. AND THEN, I went to upload the pics and they were M.I.A.! Not on the camera, not on the hard drive, not on the laptop or desktop. The Cyber Monkey took them, I know it! So weird…

Anyway, I still have plenty to say that isn’t related to food.

This past week, there have many things going on. The obvious was our peep visit (did I mention that more of my peeps need to jump on the bandwagon and get their arses to Europe…our guest bed is calling…and HELLO, it’s Europe!!). Back to my story…after Stevie E and J left, I had to take Teage to “gyumsticks” (his interpretation of the word…so precious), and I finagled some waaay better photos that day.

He was such a good listener, that he was the only one to receive two stamps that day…I was like “Really??”
Stick it and Stretch….


He has never had a problem with heights…GO TEAGIE!


Saige had homecoming week going on, too. In spite of my own anxiety preparation, the school does a pretty good job of easing the kids and parents into THE Dance of the Fall. Each day of the week, they dress up according to the spirit theme. Tuesday was wacky tacky (she looked neither wacky nor tacky I thought…unless you call 3 necklaces and some leg warmers tacky. I thought it looked like any other trendy person on the street). Wednesday, was PJ day (again, my kid walks downstairs with some black sweat pants and her Oki All Day tee on…not so PJ-ish to me). Thursday, it started to get a little weird. It was “Gender Bender” day. Hmmm….I don’t remember that ever being something our school had. Sounds good to me and she took it and RAN!! After scouring her dad’s closet for some “boy jeans”, she walked into my room looking like this….


I thought “OH NO, bring my daughter back!! I cannot be invaded by all boys up in here!!” All kidding aside, she looked like she finally got the idea of spirit week. Since the boys had to dress up as girls I thought for sure the boys would back down. I mean, how many boys do you know that would hike their skirts up and model the stilettos?? Saige reported that afternoon with pictures to prove that the boys went ALL OUT!! Make-up, midriff shirts, bras, and minis. Far cry from our school days. I was happy to hear it though. It means more and more kids are self confident. LOVE THAT! I guess being a girly girl really is desirable to the male species. I wonder if George wouldn’t mind squeezing into a….oh wait this is a Family Blog, not Diane’s headspace! Back to the Fam Bam goodness…

I also made my way to a new town this week…Saarbrucken. My Itouch had a brainfart and decided to freeze up and crash on me. When I tried to call tech support, they told me I had to take it in to the nearest Apple provider…which is in Saarbrucken, about 60k away (not that this is breaking news, but the Itouch coded, I gave it mouth to mouth, and it is now doing just fine) Back to the drive…I popped in my trusty Garmin, strapped Teage into his Chico and off we went.

Man, did I say this out loud yet?….this GPS thing is like GOLD!! Who knew the hype was so dead on!! It sends me onto many unknown adventures and I could care less where I end up because home is only a fingerprint away. I have it set for Dr. Nightmare to talk to me sometimes….George sets it to the British heifer Serena. What does that voice have that British Daniel’s doesn’t…lol! Anyway, I found a mall on the way, some riverboats and of course, tons of food stops. I didn’t have the time on a Friday afternoon to visit all these places, but with my steadfast GPS I will be back out on the road again in no time, with camera in tow.

Next up for the week was the middle school’s Fall Carnival. I had no hand in the planning of this event, but I was more than happy to help man one of the many game booths. Meet your Bean Bag Toss Maestro (that was for you Farrah)…

The boys had a blast…especially when they got their faces painted. Teage wanted a Batman mask (that is what he is going to be for Halloween)…

and JD requested a skeleton (I beefed him up in the editing room with all the wounds & vampire eyes)!

While I was there chasing after bean bags, I also met someone that lives in my village. She has two smaller kids, but seemed pretty nice. It would be nice to know one of my neighbors I guess. So far the only one I’ve met is the guy across the street, Axel a.k.a Red “cause I’m a redneck”. His words! I’ve never seen this guy when he wasn’t fuming alcohol. However, he does have the up and up when it comes to getting oil and firewood. I’m sure he would have porchtime with me, but I’m not that desperate yet…errr, YET!

Back to homecoming week…..the inevitable occurred on Saturday…the dance!! Saige made her way to the football games that morning while all the men and I did some flea marketing…love it! After that, she came home and napped until 5 so that I could help her get ready. Once my palms stopped sweating, I started doing her hair and makeup. Yeah I said it…makeup. This is not starting on the regular, but for the occasion I thought it was time…plus it was fun for us. Nick and his parents came to pick her up and he had flowers for her (insert “Awwwww”). His parents seemed pretty normal, so that was good. I took more than enough pictures…against Saige’s wishes. She looked beautiful, and GROWN!





I cannot believe I am here in this moment in time with her already. She is going to drive the boys wild here, because she is good girl and knows what she wants. Boys are second to her goals and I admire that. It makes waving the nightstick to the boys less necessary.

While she was whooping it up, we killed time by going to our new fave local restaurant, Porbacher Hof. It is literally two minutes away (that’s what Garmin said) and is owned by the brother of our landlord’s wife. The place is beautifully decorated and the food is off the chizzle…Here’s a couple pics I took in there.



A plate of steak and potatoes later, I was on pins and needles to find out how it went…and to see if Nicky tried to pull a fast one on my girl…I’m just sayin’!! She is no wallflower, but boys are boys, and I’ll cut one if I have to! George picked them both up and dropped ‘the boy’ off at home first. I tried to act like I was just chillin’ with Teage when she walked in, but I was dying for her to spill her guts! She answered my prayers and was full of stories about dancing with her friends, trying to drag Nick out there, and taking pictures the whole time. She pulled out the camera and said…

S: “Oh, by the way, we did kiss and I took a picture of it”.
Me: “Ummm, ok”
S: “It was nothing bad though, just a quick one”
Me: “Well, did he try to put his tongue in your mouth?”….it’s a reasonable question, she’s not 5 anymore!
S: “MOM….No, Mom. In fact, I’m glad he didn’t try because I wasn’t ready for that”
Me: ….Breathing again….

Now, I know she has ‘kissed’ before in Okinawa, but then they broke up and she had said to me “it really should be worth it ’cause you may not last with that person, ya know?” YES I DO & thank you Jesus for figuring that out!! I hope all my kids stay on this path of cause and effect. It’s all about “What’d Ya Learn?” But, overall she had fun and that was what mattered.

That’s all for now…I’m still looking for the M.I.A foodie pics, I’ll let you know when I find them!!

P.S. Did I mention it is flipping freezing here now?? Try a high of 40’s and frost on the ground…my boys wear Winter well though, don’t they??


Good thing we finally lit this thing….(and yes, I do have a chestnut tree growing in my backyard)!


Tschuss…..

First Day…

There are many firsts coming our way these days. Like having my first soda here with no ice (they serve drinks with no ice in Germany, I forgot), first time back and driving with no restrictions on the autobahn, first time my daughter was hit on by a man right in front of me (ok young man…he’s a waiter in our hotel restaurant with obviously no sense), finding out for the first time that power of attorneys aren’t good for finding out info about your husband’s pay, getting our first key to our off base house, and of course the first day of school (woo hoo…I just had a party for one in my mind LOL). Anyway, I wanted to share with you guys pics of the house. We are making it our personal project as well, because while it is big and in a perfect neighborhood, it has some potential for bigger and better things and so I am diving in with home projects right away. Things like painting, do it yourself art pieces, some new flooring upstairs, new light fixtures in some of the rooms, and window treatments. We don’t move in until the 14th so I plan on getting some of these done while it is empty. I can’t wait….

Check out the new Isla Command Center :o)

view from the front door entrance…

our baby fireplace (I can already see the fire going during Christmas Eve)

our living room(s)

kitchen (I plan on making a dining nook near the left corner)

the office (I will have a futon in there for sleepover guests as well)

the laundry room

the downstairs bathroom…(i love the cute pull-out mirror in here)

the stairs to our three basement rooms (we are making one for George’s tool/fix-it shop, one as a dance room/studio complete with mirrored wall, and the other will be storage most likely)

upstairs landing (the phone is to buzz people in our front door)…

two of the kids’ rooms (I think JD and Saige, I say think b/c as you can see they are connected kinda…if I can make sure they are good with that, it will stay that way, otherwise it could end up being the boys’ rooms)

the master bedroom

Teage’s room

Upstairs bathroom (I don’t see anyone standing up in this one…except maybe Teagie)

view of our village from the balcony

I LOVE IT!!!!

Another big first was the start of school. All of this anxiety, and pleading, and the lightening PCS move was for this day. So my kids could start school with everyone else. I got everything put in motion Friday (as soon as we had the house lease in our hands) and they were good to go for today. I took them both to get their hair ‘did’ as well yesterday. JD had his “first” appt with a beauty salon instead of the old barber shop George always takes him to. I am proud to say that he won’t be going back with dad. They actually styled my boy’s hair and it looked great. Saige got a trim and bangs. They both looked sharp this morning and it caused a tear to form in my eye seeing how big they have become. I can’t believe I have a middle schooler and a high schooler…what’s more, I can’t believe I have 3 year old on top of it…I need a massage! JD was like “see ya mom”, when I walked them down and Saige was more like “can you wait til I know where I am going?” She was more nervous because of the friend thing, but she is so easy-going and likable…she probably will come home with 20 peeps’ numbers. Here are my grown kids on their first day….



Teage couldn’t be excluded from the school pic montage…

Miss you all and talk to you soon!!!

Germany…Check!

Well, I had a feeling that someone would here my prayers (and small tantrum) yesterday, because we have an assignment people!!!

Right now we are scheduled to go to Baumholder Germany! It is not Mannheim, because the branch manager is a real *BLEEP* and wants George assigned the unit that deploys the quickest (too bad Mannheim deployed like 2 weeks ago and if they had sped up the process, we could have just gotten the assignment legitimately). NOW, there is talks of a drug deal being made to get us to Mannheim instead, but the big obstacle was making sure we got Germany at all. Drug deal aside, I am cool with either. I hope it turns into Mannheim, but all the bases are so close, it really doesn’t matter. Here is where they are: (by way of the school districts)


As you can see they are pretty close. Did you pick up on how close France is?? I’m just sayin’!

Now the fun begins…

First we have to get screened with EFMP for JD to get approved travel, due to his services. And in the meantime we are going to go to MPD (Personnel) to see about getting flights lined up and what our options are for taking leave. We want to do a stopover and try to squeeze in a visit to FL on the way. I hear that you can only take 10 days or so en route in order to not effect the free stateside plane tickets later. So, we are gonna see what we can swing on that. After that is household goods pickup, Poquito’s health certificate, and clearing this base. The deros date for us is 1 Aug but we will try to fly out mid July or so. School starts on 31 Aug in Europe as well as here…it will be a quick adjustment, but at least they will be able to start like everyone else (which was the whole point). I wish we had more time, but like I have said before, I work well under pressure, so you better believe momma’s gonna get things done. I will have even more news to follow in the next few days, so I welcome you to join us as our PCS adventure unfolds…

Fam Bam Brief

I have been avoiding the blog ever since my Internet went out, because now I have a pile of things to catch everyone up on. Sooo…get comfy, grab a lemonade, and let the adventure begin LOL!

Well, as I said said, the Internet people BLOW and left us without the ability to reach out and touch someone. Now while in some aspects it was nice, being out of the loop and expanding my time for other important things, I felt like a prisoner not being able to connect with my peeps. Anyway, it wasn’t that dramatic…just annoying!

During all of that, Army week on Okinawa was taking place. It’s basically a week of competitions (dodgeball, chariot race, relay races, military drills, basketball, etc). It kicks off with a BBQ at the beach and so we all went and the kids finally got out their swimsuits and had some waterplay.

Teage was too cold at first to get wet….until we got to the actual beach and then he was ready to go diving in. Most of the people who know me know that I do not like play guns…any kind. Water guns are flirting with the line with me even and so this is the look he gave me when I told him to give me the gun…what a riot. (I let him keep playing with it since we were actually in the water)…


Capping off the week, George and I went to the 234th annual Army Ball and it was…..umm OK. It doesn’t even come close to comparing to last year’s, all my girls have left since so it was me and the dance floor when the electric slide came on. I mean there are some ladies here I like, but in all reality, not the same! Our battery on the camera died about 45 minutes in and so we had one picture of us that someone across the table took and he obviously doesn’t know how to focus a camera :o). But, I heard there was someone near us that was snapping pics and I am in the process of harassing her to give em up :o) So some of those might show up in a later blog. Here is what we had..


Out in the lobby of the Ball they had giant posters on stands of various Army happenings and right there by the entrance to the bathroom (which gets tons of traffic HA HA), was my hubby in the chariot race that week. He helped win 3 events…go BOY!!


Also, we ended the school year and it was pretty emotional. My big kids are getting bigger and I’m not sure if I can handle this growing up thing. JD had his little graduation ceremony and it was awesome.


He had a grin from ear to ear the whole time. He was excited to show off his progress into middle school. I, however, was the blubbering mom in the front. He has come such a LONG way with school and we were so proud of him. They sang “World’s Greatest” as a class (insert tears) and then JD was one of the chosen to announce and give a bio on a guest speaker. He did absolutely perfect. Everyone after was saying how he was the most clear with his speech and pronunciation. The funniest was that he was too short for us to really see him over the podium. It was so cute. He didn’t care though and worked it!!


He received the Presidential Award for Academic Achievement…the only one in his class. He was astounded when he saw that it came with a letter from Barack Obama. He said “Mom, I got a letter from Barack Obama!!”. You should have seen his face….


JD and his Teacher…Mrs Shobe!


Well, since it was a crying morning, why not make it a boo hoo night. That same night, LTC Elle had his farewell roast/dinner. We are gonna miss him greatly, but I know we will always keep in touch. He really changed the morale of the Battalion and made everyone feel like a Family. Our hat’s off to him and all he has accomplished being here…I presented him with a photo book of his reign in Command and said a few words. And yes, I cried some more…


George went up and his shop presented him with a Taiko Drum. He told the story of the “nice haircut”…FUNNY!


Next thing on the agenda was Saige’s birthday. The weather’s been crappy here and not ideal when you want to do a get together with friends at the beach. So we decided to put the party off til later this week. Instead, we went to Round One (like a Dave and Buster’s I think). One entrance fee and you can do everything. Outdoor stuff, arcades, roller skate, climbing thingys, karaoke…) It was a blast and I think she enjoyed it. Plus, her ex-boyfriend was there (he still wants to go out with her, but she had to ‘let him go’ because he didn’t believe something she said…she has such a stronger personality than I ever did at that age and I LOVE it). She knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to let go of a boy at the same time. Crucial I tell ya…what a fabulous young lady she is growing up to be. I am really proud of her. 9th grade just might kill me, but I know she is ready to handle it and can. God Love Her…


So here’s fun times…


Oh, so all the rave in Japan are the sticky pictures booths. Saige goes at least once a week with her friends. They take 6 different poses of you and you can decorate, write on them, and flair them all up. Once you have done that, they print off a sheet of the pics as stickers to put on your locker, or phone, or binders, or in your room…I’m telling you they are the next best thing since sliced bread Saige says. So we decided to jump into one and do a Family sheet. (It’s really strange that it is all in Japanese and Saige knows what every button means…)


We couldn’t forget the cake and presents though…she loved the gifts from everyone. Thanks to Grandma, Grandpa, Popo, U Alex and A Rhea for the presents from afar. We hooked her up with money for her savings acct this year. She is too hard to shop for, and besides she has so much already…

The cake request was simple…her favorite: butter yellow with milk chocolate icing

Teage thought it was his birthday again and wanted to blow out the candles. Saige wasn’t having it :o)
HAPPY 14th Saigie Baby!!!

Isla Fam Bam OUT….