April’s End

Well, we have had a whirlwind week so far and it’s only Wednesday. The weekend was nice despite the windy behavior at the beach. Torii Station (the Army installation here) had its beach Grand Opening. Saige and George were not around so the boys and I ventured to the beach anyway, JD was determined to get on the waterslide, plus they had a treasure hunt that afternoon. Too bad it wasn’t sunnier, but we still had a great time together…

That pirate guy yelled “AARGH” right in his face and he freaked out…bad pirates!

 

JD in the mix of the hunt…

He was fascinated by the parasailing…

 

Then, Spiderman made an appearance. Teage was showing him his “strong” pose. He does this every time we take his shirt off!!


Also, the beginning of the week marked George’s Change of Responsibility. He has been the First Sergeant for 18 months and usually it is a one year rotation. So, it was time to move out and give another the same opportunity. It was a great ride, but as I have been saying to everyone….HE’S FREE! He was fortunate to get the position, and he did so well. I’m proud of him…time to venture on to something new. The ceremony was very nice and the speakers had nothing but great things to say about about him and our Family. It meant a great deal to us. I guess selfless service does pay off in the end!! Seriously, thanks to everyone who made this experience unforgettable. Check out the pics…

CPT Dressel, Hubby, & Incoming SFC Thomas
The kids and I receiving our gifts and Roses :o)

Saluting the Colors during the National Anthems

The passing of the Sword signifying change in leadership
Isla Family…freedom :o)

Love Ya…

Photo Freedom

OK, so all of my peeps pretty much know that I have grown this obsession with taking awesome photos and such. I have been perusing photo blogs and contests only to make the comparison to my pictures. Mine are ok for a one shot auto program photographer. Soooo…enhancing them really makes them stand out!!! I have been tooling around with a few of my old pics and came up with some really great results. George says I should copyright them and maybe even sell them…but I am a newbie, I know my place. I am also a sharer. If this takes too much of my time (which as we all know is precious) and enough hits, then I will reconsider I guess. But for now, I am just so enamored with the shots. Some, if not all, of these pics are on this blog somewhere…compare and contrast people. Enjoy….make sure you click on them to enlarge them!!







So, what do you think???? Love Ya…

Shi-Shi or Shi-Sa?

Let me just preface by saying that “back to school” week has been pretty relaxing. Ahhhh-silence is golden. However, I did take the big kids to a Shi-Shi Dog making class. I filled out this random drawing at the Community Center on the Air Base, and I WON!! I love free craft classes. So I was wondering about the whole Shi-Shi versus Shi-Sa name. What is the correct name of these lucky twin lion-pups? I looked it up…

A shisa is a lion originally from China that wards off evil spirits and was initially placed at the entrances to castles, temples, imperial mausoleums and communities. “Sheshi” is a Chinese word meaning lion-dog. The second “shi” is a popular honorific title in China with no specific meaning. As a result, this word is pronounced shisa or shishi in Okinawa’s local dialect.

So I guess either name works for Okinawa. I say Shi-Sa…it’e even on my shirt if you can read it. We had a great time making them…especially since we had the whole room and instructors to ourselves. The Okinawan ladies were real sweet and didn’t speak a lick of English. They were real good with the kids as well.


I also went on yet again…another field trip with JD. Man they have a lot. Actually, I enjoy it. The kids are funny to be around. They do some of the craziest things. We went to Comprehensive Park and did a field day type thing. There five rotations, kickball (talk about old school, I was all over it), basketball, playground, relay races, and soccer (I watched that one…). I am only gonna share a couple pics…my fave is the one of JD in the relay race doing the hula hoop jumprope. That boy’s got some height in his jump. He’s like a dang gazelle :o)

 


BTW, we are still awaiting word on what is happening with our PCS move. There are people here who are still trying to get the extension paperwork overturned…but we are still moving forward with plans to leave this summer!!

They say if you send out subliminal messages, people can “will” certain things upon themselves. I am trying not to get ahead of myself…but as a woman, that is what we do! We plan, pre-plan, plan some more and research everything known to mankind about our futures. I think I, along with many others, have now mastered this art of the PCS move. It never gets any less anxious though…feel free to send out your very own subliminal messages for TAMPA TAMPA TAMPA!!! Ok I’m done!! Hope you all had a great weekend. Love Ya….

Spring Break…the end!

Well, the time has come that all little children must go back to receiving their education. WOOT WOOT!! I love them of course, but DANG it can be hard to please/entertain a 13 year old a 2 year old at the same time. But we did it and had a fun week all around. Saige got in her sleepovers here and at her friend’s, while Teage fulfilled his eagerness to have outdoor play every single day. JD is so easygoing…except when he complains that he’s missing out on his lego fix. So, the previous post was all about the first few days of Break and this will cover the latter part.

We had a few more stops on our week adventures and one of them was Shuri Castle. The oldest child has already been here on a field trip for school, but it holds a lot of history about Okinawa (specifically the Battle of Okinawa which destroyed most of the castle in 1945) so I thought it was a must that we go as a familia. It was fun and I could feel the historic energy as we sashayed the halls of the biggest Okinawan castle. There were several areas where we could not take pictures and had to walk barefoot, mostly because of the ancient artifacts and conserving the restoration. JD was hilarious…he kept asking the whole way…”Where is the KING?” Of course this was the home to many of the Ryukyu kings centuries ago. But, we finally found the throne, the crown, and the quarters where the royal families lived. It was very regal….

The random tour guide practically cut off Teage’s head in this pic…poor baby :o)


There was a nice mini display of what the castle would have looked like in its day….notice the king…hiding away!

Along the way through the castle, there were podiums where you could get your map stamped and if you received all the stamps you got a reward…JD took that as a mission. He was excited to see that the reward was stickers of all the stamps. So all the kids got their stickering on…

…map complete!!

Our next stop was Kokusai Street. This reminds me a little of NYC where there are just tons of shops/restaurants lining the street complete with the usual peddlers, starving artists, and your occasional photo cutout spot. We all had a blast…Saige brought a friend to this one!! “You gotta have a shopping buddy”, she said!! She’s pretty much right!!

JD ran up and put his cutie face in this one so I immediately snapped and then sissy says…”I’m not putting my head in that slaughtering pig thing”. I didn’t even notice. That is all wrong!!


Ok I had to do it….


Lastly, “One of these things just doesn’t belong here” LOL LOL LOL!!!


We picked the sunniest day of the whole break (thank goodness we had one) and high-tailed it up to Okuma Beach Resort. We have been there before, but it has some great amenities that we wanted to do again. Gotta love a beach day…


This is all Teagie wanted to do…throw rocks in the ocean!! He wasn’t too big on getting sand all over him…it was cute! And of course we had to go pod racing…

In addition to all the out of school fun…we celebrated Easter on a very low key this year. We did the good old egg hunt (well two of them did…the other one was telling herself she was too big to hunt LOL), ate Thai food and went shopping before heading in early to prepare for a school night’s sleep.

 

 

It was a very relaxing day and I have to say the whole week was a fabulous one.

Now, I have some news that just got brought to our attention today at lunch (yes I said at lunch where George and I were minding our business…when a co worker of his walked in and burst my bubble). Our extension to stay here has been officially disapproved!! It made my stomach turn. Not just because it means I have to think about once again packing up my whole life and changing locations…that is part of the job. But mostly because of the kids’ education. It is so hard to make the kids move and ask them to make all new friends and adjust to a new school. It hurts, but I know they will be ok no matter what happens. I am not sure of what will happen now….since it is still so fresh! We have some other options (maybe Tampa…that would be awesome, or Germany would be ideal choices). I just hope we can lock in a location before we are TOLD and placed and in some jacked up state. Let the anxiety begin….

I’ll keep you all posted as I learn new information! Please keep us in your prayers for a good assignment…

Hope everyone else had a great Spring Break, too!!! Love Ya!!

Neo and Busena

Well, we have added more to our scrapbook of Spring Break and headed to Neo Park & Zoo, Fruits Land, and also Busena Underwater Observatory the past few days. The weather has been acting up and not very Spring-like, but we are making the best of it. Sunday, we hit up Neo Park in Nago (the northern part of the island). It amazes me how different a zoo even is here, compared to the states. You wouldn’t be caught dead in Miami Zoo doing this…

Because maybe this could happen if you’re not careful!!


Seriously, walking an Alpaca?? Don’t they spit and stuff? All I know is George had to go after it once Teage’s grip got loose and he came back out of breath saying, “Those things can run!!”

Even this seems to be a stretch…birds are shady I tell ya! You never know when one of them’s gonna get flappy on your a$$.

I was watching my back is all I’m saying…

The boys both got their pony ride on as well. Teage’s first one, he was always scared…this time he was excited!

They also had a petting zoo there that had like 20 purse-size pooches and one pot-bellied pig in the mix. This picture says it all….George’s face is imitating his words, “What’s up with the pig, he thinks he’s a dog!” Yeah he did, and he was so cute.

Then we went and visited Mr. Tortoise. He looked really tired and OLD! Poor guy! He’s probably given so many kids a ride that his back must hurt. So we opted for a good old fashioned rubdown and went on our way!


Saige spent most of her time in the petting zoo with the guinea pigs or what we refer to now as a Bugsy (watch Bedtime Stories if you haven’t already).


Another questionable animal prancing about….Teage & a Wallaby!!

JD wanted me to include this one. He broke out into song immediately…”I like to Move it, Move It…”

So, towards the end of the park, they had a room where you could go in and pay 600yen. They dress you in traditional kimono garb and take your picture. We were all over it…WOW I look really tall in that Japanese bonnett!

Leaving Neo Park…Good Times!


Once we left there, we hopped on over to Fuits Land. Not sure what to expect, well hopefully some fruit, right? Yeah, so the fruit was out of season. HA! But, there were two other sections: the Butterfly Garden and the Bird House (dang, more birds). Here are my biggies prettying up the flowers…

Check out the golden butterfly coccoons. They are freakishly shiny! There were hundreds of them hanging on grates. Ahh, the joys of breeding…

Oh, here’s an after life shot…

Next were the birds. They were just flying around all over the place (sketchy, I tell ya). You could buy nectar to feed the rainbow ones, which all three kiddies enjoyed.

After taking a couple shots of random flowers, I came around the corner and saw this…Teage makes friends everywhere he goes. Plus, I think the Japanese ladies with the little one were really trying to get a picture of my son’s saucer eyes LOL! How cute are they??

We knew it was time to head out when we saw this…Oki weather is always playing tricks on us!!


Today we went to Busena and it was a really sunny day. I wish we had planned the beach instead after driving up there and seeing this view…


Getting ready to take a long walk on a short pier…


The boys got tired I guess :o) What an awesome big sissy!!


My baby is a HAM!!!

The steps down into the observatory lead you to a 360 degree room of portholes. The fish were everywhere! I got a few good pics, but this one really felt like I was in the water with them it was so clear…


After we left the observatory…

…we headed over to the glass bottom boat to get the real experience of the coral. It was cute since the boat was shaped like a whale.

I highly suggest checking out the local touristy spots on island. They are really worth it. Next up…castles, ice skating, beaches, and shopping!? And who knows what else!!!??? Stay tuned…Love Ya!!

Egg-stravaganzas and Forests to Boot

The weather has been playing tricks on us lately and it has been quite chilly over here in sunny, tropical Okinawa. The breeze has been nice to me, but to some (meaning my cold-natured hubby) it has been “freezing”. Freezing, really?? Nah, they just don’t remember how scorchy it gets in the summer here. I am SO enjoying the coolness.

On that note, Spring Break started as of yesterday afternoon and we kicked it off with our Battalion Egg-stravaganza! Loaded with egg hunts, races, games, food, and prizes…the kids had a fab time!! Our whole family decided to fully represent the Unit and dressed in the traditional Signal Orange (George wanted to be different and wore his blue Battalion shirt instead…it reminded me of the Gators, so big ups to my cousin Charlie)!!! Check it…(you can click on the pics to get a better view)…

Egg on a spoon race…

George and I planning our strategy for the 3-legged race
We also spent the next day taking the big kids to Forest Adventure. You have to be 7 and up, so thankfully it was Teage’s last day at preschool before his Spring vacation. So, what you do is book a time and drive up to this building which I assume is just a receptionist office. Next, they shove you in a van and drive you up this shady mountain and then drop you off at a wooden deck. After following the signs, we stumbled on a little cabin with a Japanese man smiling and harbessed. He gave us a quick safety lesson on our harnesses as they are adjusting it around my nether regions at the same time. JD kept telling the man “I’m gonna be a hero on this adventure”. It was cute!

So, once we were all strapped up, we received another lesson on how to hook our carabiners up at each station and sent us on our way. Now let me just say, the ground was quite a distance from where my feet were at the first zip line. But, I had faith that my pulley was going to hold me since my son was practically shoving me out of the way to go first. If he wasn’t scared…I shouldn’t be right?? NOT! Talk about getting a sudden fear of heights. But, we pulled through…for all 8 or 9 zip lines!!

 

 

It was very exhilarating. Another part of the course was an adventure course that featured various rope bridges, ring walking, ladders, tightrope walking, and the…wait for it…Tarzan Swing! This thing was my ultimate nightmare. You might as well call it bungee jumping horizontally. Thank God there’s a huge web-like net there so when you smacked into the stopper it wasn’t too much of a jerk. I felt like a fly on a flytrap out there. Nevermind the terror in my stomach as I free-fell to my unknown demise. Talk about intense. George, however, thought the kids and I were quite humorous!! Insert screaming as you view these! (Oh I forgot to mention, JD was screaming alright, but it was his Tarzan yell…just like the movie) We had a blast….

Yeah, that’s me…Upper and lower!
JD

 

Saige

Stay tuned for more of our upcoming Spring Break adventures!!! Love Ya…

Singing St Patty’s Day Pineapples

Hi there everyone…

We had our St Patty’s day house party finally and it went off without a hitch. I made homemade mojitos for like 3 hours straight LOL and managed to only offend one person throughout the night. Seriously, like a friend recently reminded me, how annoying is it when someone doesn’t take your words for what they are?? Oh well, I’m a big girl and can apologize if it means someone will feel better. ANYWAY, it was a success and thx to all who came. Check out the pics of everyone celebrating my favorite color…

 

 

We also celebrated JD’s final choir performance at his school. Next year it’s the big leagues, so it was bittersweet to see him up there as the oldest member. He loves it so much and wants to continue chorus in middle school. It thrills me that he is so into the arts. He had a narration part, an instrumental part and of course all the singing you could muster…



Lastly, the girls and I took a day trip yesterday and the weather was stellar!! Beautiful days like this make me excited to stay in Okinawa (Still waiting to hear of we are). So we ventured to the Pineapple Park and had a great time. I think we all thought we were professional photographers with our massive cameras…but DANG we took some good pictures! How cute are we….?

The weird pineapple car that drove itself…

 

 

Baby P

 

 

Teenage P

Life is good…Love Ya!!!