And then there were 4...

And then there were 4...

Monday, October 28, 2013


This year for Halloween Dominik and I are planning to travel stateside.  Since TJ is such a good sport and the thought of being separated for a holiday is utterly devastating (more so for me)...we thought we would throw a pre-celebration for Halloween this year.  Dominik is too young to know the difference anyway; and we totally bypassed the bag full of candy that inevitably follows Halloween.

So, Monday night Oct 28th we put on our costumes (again, with the hubs being a good sport), invited a few good friends over, cooked up some grub, and had a fun night just hanging out!  Of course we all enjoyed the traditional sloppy joes, graveyard cups, mummy dogs, eye ball truffles, and this year started a new tradition...s'mores! 


We are so grateful to be in such a great place with such amazing people surrounding us.  Despite the warm temperatures for Halloween (something we have never experienced before), it was still a great way to spend Halloween!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Halloween; Oki Style

Past Halloweens have been spent in cozy hoodies, walking through pumpkin patches, roasting seeds, and eating anything and everything pumpkin.  This year due to the fact that we live on a sub-tropical island, all traditions have pretty much gone out the window.  Some people here purchase the commissary pumpkins and carve them...However, those pumpkins are so expensive and decay at a very fast rate.  So instead of sulking about everything we couldn't do this Halloween, we decided to embrace what we could do.

Pineapples here in Okinawa are in a bit of abundance; there is even a pineapple plant just 30 minutes north of us that is similar to the DOLE plant in Hawaii.  Because they grow rather easily here and they are in season right now, TJ and Dominik scored 4 fresh pineapples from a farmers market just up the road from our house for only 300 yen each (about $3.00).  Pineapples, much like pumpkins, are great for carving.  But, unlike pumpkins, the inside of a pineapple is sweet, delicious, and can be enjoyed immediately. 

With all of these contributing factors playing a part, tonight, instead of having a pumpkin carving party...we had a pineapple carving party.  The Layton's were nice enough to have us over to their house where we enjoyed a delicious dinner of mummy dogs, mac'n'cheese, and of course...pineapple!


After dinner we didn't waste anytime, and got to carving.  The pineapples carved really easily and looked so cool when they were lit up.  I almost enjoyed it more than carving pumpkins!  Granted you are working with a much smaller surface area than your average pumpkin, but the faces with the large flowery top are so illuminated with the candle inside. 

We are so glad that we found the silver lining this holiday season and really embraced the spirit of Halloween with a bit of an Okinawan twist.  I can't wait for Halloween night to light em' up!!! 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Snorkeling at Maeda

This past weekend was a 96 (4 day weekend) for all the Marines in honor of Columbus Day.  Luckily we are Green side too, because Army, Navy, and Air Force only had 72's (3 day weekend).  Since we have been unlucky in our predicting of the weather in the past, we decided not to test our luck and just head to the beach on the first sunny day.  Saturday turned out to be beautiful and the waters were deemed "all clear," so that was our day.

TJ packed up the car with all our snorkeling gear and along with the Layton's, we headed out to Maeda (My-da) Point.  The water was a bit murky and the tide was coming in making the waves a bit choppy, but there was still tons of fishies to follow and admire.  The water was surprisingly very refreshing and not a temperature that I have come to expect while on the island.  Usually the water provides no reprieve from the hot, humid weather and feels like a cross between a hot tub and a warm bath.  We really lucked out that along with the cool breeze on the beach, the water was like a nice heated swimming pool; cool but not too cold.  Just right! 

For my first time snorkeling I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed it.  Granted there were a lot of things that I didn't account for...fitting my goggles just right, flippers vs. no flippers, how much waves effect snorkeling, and how unpleasant salt water tastes and feels when it gets into your mouth and eyes.  Despite the major learning curve, I had a great time.  Dominik hoped from TJ and I as he too admired all the sea life beneath us.  We saw Nemo's, Dory's, Dr. Fishies (the black and white striped fish that Nemo makes friends with while in captivity), and all sorts of cool other things.  After an hour or so, Dominik, Taryn, Rowan, and I headed to the beach while TJ and Grant snorkeled around for a bit longer.

Overall the day was fantastic.  We are so lucky to have such awesome adventures that we can plan and execute at a moments notice.  There are many more spots that we have yet to explore and we all look very forward to doing so!!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Danas on the Tail of Fitow

Apparently June through November is typhoon season here in Okinawa.  Last year there was some pretty devastating typhoons that we are still suffering from (farms and crops were wiped out).  Luckily for us, this years typhoons have been pretty sparse.  Many members believe that this is because they are building the new church building; it can't just be ironic that there has not been one typhoon and the week after the roof goes up we have three.  Tender mercies I tell ya!! 

A few weeks ago we geared up for typhoon Fitow that was supposed to be bad...but not too bad.  Commissary lines were heinous, as everyone on the island tried to stock up on water and non perishables at the last second (us included).  Due to lack of space and cost of food, stocking up last minute are going to be the trend for the next three years.  Fitow ended up being quite calm in our neck of the woods.  There were some strong gusts of wind and heavy rain, but other than that we came out unscathed.  As much as I wanted our first typhoon to be epic, I feel very blessed that we didn't lose power and suffer any damage! 
Dinner out before the storm...The sky was the prettiest color of purple

A few days after Fitow came typhoon Danas.  This was supposed to be a Cat 4 storm which means trees uprooted and winds of 130-150 mph...That's cray-cray!!  TJ got the day off of work and we geared up for the worst.  Thankfully, much like Fitow, Danas just blew past without any damage and not even a flicker of power loss.  In the northern parts of the island Danas was fairly bad, but again, no real damage. 

In the end, our first typhoon experience was actually pretty fun.  We were forced to hang out as a family inside with no plans.  We relaxed, ate, laughed, played games, and ran outside in the rain a few times :)  We feel blessed as we recognize the Lord's hand in protecting us from what could have been two very bad storms, and hope that we can have the same good fortune throughout the duration of our next three years!