First Snow!

Since both of my girls were born on the sub-tropic Okinawa, Japan, they had never seen snow–until this week. They did know what snow was based on their Christmas movies and Kendal was excited to come to North Dakota (AKA: The North Pole) in order to see it. Living in Okinawa for four years was worth not having winters! I was raised in Delaware and I am pretty sure the earliest snow I ever experienced was around Thanksgiving–but even that was rare. North Dakota apparently skips autumn–or at least decides that one month of it is enough. Although I appreciate the beauty of snow and God’s creation of the seasons cycle, I hate being cold. On a cold day, I am perfectly content to stay inside, curled up in a blanket with a good book and a cup of coffee (or hot chocolate). I wish I had a fireplace! Still, I am willing to drag myself outside in order to see the smiles on the girls faces.

The girls watching the snow fall. This reminds me of “The Cat In The Hat”

After a day and night of snowing.

Kendal is super-excited! Audrey is mad that the scarf is covering her face!

Kendal has a blast playing & diving in the drifts!

Audrey doesn’t know what to do!

Keenan doesn’t mind it!

I am glad that Shane likes to play with the girls in the snow so I don’t have to!

Did I mention that I miss Okinawa?!

Traveling To North Dakota

As I mentioned yesterday; God has blessed us several times during our travels and from the moment we arrived in North Dakota.

Seattle:  Before leaving Okinawa, I attempted to re-activate my pre-paid US cell phone. Unfortunately, because there was no US service in Okinawa I was not sure if the activation went through. We had friend who was going to meet us during our short layover in Seattle. I attempted to call her as soon as we landed only to find that the activation did not go through. Immediately after getting off the plane we had to go through customs. The customs officer couldn’t let us go through because a problem with my passport and referred us to another area where we had to explain three times to three different people what was wrong with my passport and why I had two of them (one travel & one military). While we were in the waiting area surrounded by several foreigners who were ahead of us; both very over tired girls started crying uncontrollably. By God’s grace, one of the customs officers called us up in front of everyone else. After canceling one of my passports he let us leave. Then we moved to the next location where we picked up the rest of our luggage (all together we had 1 stroller, 2 car seats, 4 carry-ons, & 4 large suitcases). We had to go through security where they scanned our luggage in the machine all because we were carrying dog food. After that we dropped off our luggage at another security where they scanned and sent our luggage to the baggage claim. When we arrived at baggage claim we picked up the luggage again along with Keenan (our dog) & his crate and headed to the Delta line where we had to get our boarding passes. When we reached the desk (after waiting in line forever), the lady offered to let me use her cell phone when I mentioned that someone was supposed to meet us. Before I had a chance to finish leaving a message on my friend’s phone; I saw her walk by. We almost missed her completely; she was on her way to leave! She had been searching for us and calling our inactive cell phone for over an hour. She helped us with the girls as we got Keenan checked in to his location. Then she walked with us to security so that we could go to our gate. Although we only saw her for short time; it was great to see her since it had been three years since our previous meet. When arriving to our gate; I immediately went to the desk to request a change in seats. The airline had placed us in four different places all over the plane. The guy was completely understanding and adjusted them accordingly. Before we had a chance to sit down; the gate called us for boarding!

Audrey & I at one of the airports.

Minneapolis:  We also had friends meeting us during our short layover in Minneapolis. We did not have to pick up luggage or Keenan at this airport. Because we were still flying Delta; the airline automatically transfered everything to the next plane. This meant that we could go directly to our gate without having to go through security (which is a major ordeal). Shane introduced himself to a few military guys at our gate and asked if he could borrow a cell phone. After making contact with our friends, we decided that Kendal & I would stay at the gate with our carry-ons and Audrey & Shane would go through security to see them. When they returned, Shane was going to the pay phone to attempt to make contact with his sponsor. We were not completely sure that we would have a place to stay or someone to pick us up from the airport in ND. A military spouse sitting near us offered her cell phone. Fortunately, he was able to talk to his sponsor who seemed surprised that we were arriving that night (even though he was told through e-mail a couple of times). The lady who lent us her phone, called her husband and asked him to bring their big van to the airport just in case Shane’s sponsor did not have enough room for all of our stuff.

Minot: Finally, we arrived in North Dakota. Shane’s sponsor did pick us up and took us to the base where we checked in to visitor’s lodging. There were no dog kennels available for Keenan so Shane’s sponsor kept him at his house overnight. In the morning (after pretty much no sleep due to the girls being off schedule), we checked into temporary housing. Shane called around to different kennels and found one that had space available. While making arrangements for Keenan, the owner of the kennel invited us to stay at their house for the afternoon. While we were there we pet horses (Kendal was thrilled because she has never seen them before), played with their cats (which Audrey & I loved), Shane shot guns, then they fed us, took us to their church, and lent us their car for as long as we needed it. Since then, we have moved into our own home, purchased one vehicle (2007 Toyota Camry), and have made several (almost daily) trips to town. We have had a few set backs in the past couple of weeks but for the most part things have been pretty good. God has truly blessed us.

The foal really liked Kendal and kept nuzzling her!

Blog Updates!

Congratulations Fiona & James on the birth of Lilian Angela!!! Lily was born 4:53am on Friday, August 13th. You may remember that I featured Fiona as a guest writer during my Mother’s Day series. She described her experiences as a first time pregnant mom (“mum”-in Australian). If you missed her post; check it out here. Next step is trying to convince her to write about her first few weeks of motherhood 🙂

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The Countdown has ended and we have arrived in North Dakota! God has blessed us from the moment we arrived (more on that soon)! We are in a new home but we are still waiting on all of our belongings to travel here from Japan. We have been told that our express shipment with all of our clothes, all of our kitchen, homeschooling materials, and the girl’s beds will arrive next week. Of course we were originally told that they would arrive this week…so we shall see 🙂 The large shipment which has all of our furniture and everything else could take up to November to get here. I am praying that it arrives much sooner! In the meantime, we are living on borrowed air mattresses and minimal kitchen supplies along with what we packed in our suitcases. We have bought a few things that we know are not coming in shipments but without the furniture our house is mostly empty. Shane’s parents are coming for a visit tomorrow and staying for a week. Hopefully they won’t be bored out of their mind!

My biggest concern about moving here was the climate…and yes it has been a shock! The first day here it was ND’s hottest day (upper 90’s) of the summer which was perfect for us; but it went downhill from there. We are now in the 70’s in durning the day and lower at night. I have already turned on the heat and don’t plan to turn it off any time soon. I have collected basic items such as candles, flashlights, batteries, etc. in case of a power outage this winter. We still need to stock up on can goods and extra water though.

If you missed my posts about our moving journey before arriving to ND check out the following: “You Are God Alone”The Countdown BeginsThe Countdown Continues.

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The Anger Series will continue soon (now that we have internet in our home and are starting to get into a normal routine). If you have not already; be sure to catch up with the previous posts in the series which are all listed here.

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I look forward to getting back into the blogging routine! I’ve missed being at my computer!

FYI For My Readers

I just wanted to thank all of you for your continued support of my blog site. As most of you already know; we are in the process of moving from Okinawa, Japan to North Dakota, USA. The next few weeks will be a whirlwind for us as we pack up and move across the ocean to our new location. I am going to assume that my time on the computer will be short intervals whenever I can get a moment (wherever internet is available). That being said; I will probably not be posting any new posts until we get to ND. Even then, I am not sure how long it will be before we will get a house and internet set up.

Feel free to continue commenting on posts or e-mailing me personally. I will check in as often as possible!

Image from google images.

The Countdown Continues

We have less than a month left in Okinawa. Last night it was really starting to hit me that our time here is running short.

We still have so much to do. I am still trying to organize all of our belongings and determine what things go with what shipment. Our refrigerator, washer, and dryer leave on Wednesday so I am trying to use up our food and catch up on laundry. Our express shipment leaves on Thursday so I am trying to determine what clothes and items will be going on the plane with us. Our household goods shipment (all the big stuff and anything left over) leaves on Friday so I am trying to make sure that we don’t have too much weight. I had a whole area set aside in our house to put the items going in the express shipment. I took a nap all evening; when I woke up the girls had completely destroyed that area by opening bins and dumping them all over the house. Shane folded most of our mounds of laundry last night. When I got up this morning the girls completely destroyed most of what he accomplished by throwing everything on the floor. Needless to say my house looks like a tornado went through it.

We are still waiting for a flight itinerary. I really can’t make layover plans and arrangements until I have that! Fortunately, God has blessed us with friends who are allowing us to stay at their house if we have an overnight layover in Seattle.

Things are finally starting to falling into place. We sold one car today! Hopefully we will find someone who buys the other one. We also found out that Keenan (our dog) will be able to go on our plane with us. Which will save us a lot of money.

Like I have said several times before; I am really going to miss Okinawa. I am going to miss the friends we have made, our church home, the food, the shopping (I went to the 100 Yen store for the last time yesterday), etc. I know that God has a plan and purpose for us in North Dakota. I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us!

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Image from Google Images

The Countdown Begins

We have finally received our orders! Which means our lives have jumped to turbo mode in order to fit everything that needs to be done in a month’s time. Last minute appointments, lunches & dinners with friends, organizing & purging belongings, pack suitcases, pay bills for the last time, clean entire house (I thank God that my cleaning ladies will do this!), and fly out! And that doesn’t even cover half of it! One of the benefits of military moves is that they send people to pack up and move all of our stuff. I can only imagine how hard it would be to do that ourselves on top of everything else.

So in a month we will say “good-bye” to our home of 4 years. We have made life long friends since coming here. Some have already moved away and some will be here awhile longer. Both of my girls were born here. The food is amazing. The scenery is absolutely beautiful! God has blessed us in more ways than we can count. Okinawa truly has become a home away from home. We will miss it.

Now, it is time to move on and say “HELLO, North Dakota!”

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All Creatures Great And Small

Anyone who knows me well could tell you that I hate creepy things like: spiders, snakes, bugs, etc.

You would think that my husband would know this after almost 8 years of marriage!

A few days ago, Shane took the girls on a walk. While they were gone, I was curled up on the couch with a good novel. As they walked in the door, Keenan (our dog) rushed to meet them and I heard Shane say to Kendal “Don’t show it to Keenan; he will eat it. Go show it to Mama.” That should have been my first clue! Unfortunately, I didn’t think anything of it and went back to reading my book. Then, Kendal rushes into the room and puts something about an inch from my face saying, “Look Mama!”

Lets take a closer look:

Needless to say, I screamed, panicked, and nearly jumped out of my skin! Shane ran into the room and said that it was just a Cicada shell. It took a minute to realize that the thing was not moving. Shane took the shell and threw it in the trash. Kendal stood in front of me looking scared. I scared her when I screamed! She had no idea what she did wrong. I gave her a big hug and told her that I was sorry for scaring her.

A few minutes later, Kendal started asking where her “bee” was. She said, “The bee is my friend. She is happy and she loves me!” She went into the kitchen where Shane was and said, “Where is my bee?” When Shane told her that it was in the trash, Kendal looked like she was going to cry when she said, “But she loves me!” It was enough to break our hearts!

Then I had the idea of turning this into a blog; so I sent them outside to take a picture. Kendal got to see her “bee” again but this time it stayed outside.

July is the main month that the Cicadas are around Okinawa. We wake up daily to the sound of their “music” and believe me when I say that they are noisy. Unfortunately, I now have a visual image of what is making the noise and that is enough to keep me away from the trees!

Somehow, I need to keep in mind the following:

“How many are your works, O LORD!

In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.”

Psalm 104:24

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I’m not the only one with aversions to creepy crawlies:

Neil–Fallen Ants

Timothy–Creepy Crawlies

Kimono Memories

Both of my girls were born here in Okinawa, Japan. I wanted to do something for them that would be a lasting memory for them to look back on. Since they are both very young; the best way to do that is to give them pictures of that memory. So, we splurged and got pictures of the girls dressed in Kimonos.

Kendal was very excited! I kept telling her that she was going to be a Japanese Princess. She did really well with posing; but she focusing so hard on posing that she didn’t smile in most of her pictures (these were the only ones where she smiled). Audrey did not like being in the Kimono and started screaming the moment the mamasan started to dress her. She calmed down when Kendal was getting her pictures taken. They attempted to get them to pose together but they kept walking toward the camera. After a couple of shots; Audrey started screaming again. She would not calm down unless I was holding her. So, I finally told them to take a picture with me holding her (the reason why I am not wearing a Kimono is because I never intended to have my picture taken). I leaned as far out of the shot as possible for the top picture of Audrey.

Overall, I am pleased with the pictures and glad that we got them done. My husband was put out by the price but I made up for what I spent by posting things for sale the following week. I hope that the girls will like having them when they get older.

***I took pictures of the photos in order to post them. This is why they are a little blurred.

***Original photos were taken by Ageda Photo Studio-Okinawa, Japan