And then there were 4...

And then there were 4...

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Okinawa Zoo

So it only took us a year to get to the zoo...but finally the weather and our schedule coincided, to give us the PERFECT day at the zoo!  Lucky for us, we were able to meet up with the Georges too...making the day that much more special. 

I couldn't believe how close to the animals you could get!  My camera does not have any type of if the size of the animals is any indication of our proximity to the animals...then we were pretty stinking close!  Dominik at one point reached out and actually touched the fruit bat...much to TJ and I's dismay :) 

While the living conditions for the animals were quite deplorable...Japanese just have a different way of caring for their animals.  Despite the zoo's in the USA's attempt to make the habitats as comfortable for the animals as possible...captivity is still captivity for animals regardless of how many faux trees you include. 

In addition to up-close animals, the signage for the Americans was pretty great.  Definitely needed the following signs to help us not get into a sticky situation!

We had such a wonderful day at the zoo!  Next time we go we are hoping to feed some elephants and see the zoo keepers feed the Hippos.  Many trips to the zoo are foreseeable in our future here in Okinawa!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

All About Persepctive

As our first memorial day in our first duty station we wanted to do something AWESOME!  Some of our friends mentioned the Okinawan Peace Prayer Park down in Naha and said it was worth a shot.  TJ has been to the actual park twice, but never to the museum, so we packed up the kids, met up with our friends Andrew and Justien and headed down to Naha.

The day started off pretty rainy, but luckily the museum was inside.  Most places in Okinawa are pretty second class...they don't have to pretty up the buildings because their beaches are so spectacular :) however, I was pleasantly surprised at how well done this museum was.  We each had headphones that translated all of the exhibits for us, and it was fascinating to be on the other side of the war...getting a TOTALLY different perspective on WWII than if you were at a museum in the states.  The exhibits brushed incredibly briefly over the whole Pearl Harbor incident, and then went in incredible depth about the hardships and travesty the Japanese endured at the feet of the Americans. 

Overall the exhibit was very well done and we all left understanding how foreigners feel when they leave the museums in the states.  Coming from DC and experiencing all the museums there, this museum was really interesting.

As soon as we were ready to hit the memorial park, the rain let up!  In the park there is hundreds of walls with names of both Japanese and American soldiers who died during the Battle of Okinawa.  These walls sit just on the cusp of spectacular cliffs that overlook the ocean.  It is quite breathtaking.  Such a picturesque view for these very deserving soldiers bodies to lay to rest.  We are so fortunate to be part of a nation with so many freedoms.  These freedoms were so diligently fought for by those giving, and willing to give the ultimate sacrifice for it.  I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to honor these soldiers!

My favorite story about the Battle of Okinawa can be found on the Mormon Tabernacle Home Page and goes like this:

The following story took place among an exhausted group of Marines during World War II in what had once been a large rice paddy on the northern end of Okinawa.

The sun was shining brightly the next day when I was awakened by the sound of someone singing. I looked out over the 2,000 men who lay sleeping, steam rising from their wet bodies, and saw a dirty, tired Marine with blond whiskers singing:
Come, come, ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear;
But with joy wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear,
Grace shall be as your day.
I could not believe my ears! I had not heard that hymn since I left my home. I got up, staggered over to where the Marine was, and joined him in singing the hymn. Soon another soldier joined us, and another, and another, until finally about 20 of us were singing together:
And should we die before our journey’s through,
Happy day! All is well!
We then are free from toil and sorrow, too;
With the just we shall dwell!
But if our lives are spared again
To see the Saints their rest obtain,
Oh, how we’ll make this chorus swell—
All is well! All is well!
When we finished the hymn, we stood in the steaming sunshine and joined with one another in a humble, church-like meeting. We sought the Lord with an opening prayer, told each other our names and where we were from, and bore our testimonies to each other. Then we remembered it was Sunday morning. The men nearby began to grumble because we had awakened them, but in that former rice paddy, thousands of miles away from home, we had the most moving testimony meeting I have ever been to in all my life.

We finished our day off with dinner at Thai in the Sky which overlooks the ocean from a mountain side...literally eating Thai food from the sky.  The food was what I would picture authentic Thai food tasting like (shrimp heads and all).  Not really my taste...but the view more than made up for it!

Friday, May 16, 2014

3 months

Parker is now 3 months old; the time is flying by!  Parker is currently eating every 3-4 hours and sleeping in between most feedings for 30 minutes to an hour, and he eats about 4oz (to my best prediction)  He goes to bed around 8pm and wakes up at 4am to feed, then back to sleep until around 7am.  He laughs and giggles all the time, and is very ticklish.  He can hold his head up pretty steadily and is still working on rolling over from his back to his tummy.  Daddy is Parkers favorite right now (I'm vying for the position) and he will sleep and laugh for Daddy better than anyone else; although, baby brother is pretty good at getting Parker to giggle too.  Parker is content to hang out and observe and has been voted the worlds greatest baby by both his mother and his father :)  We both LOVE this kid!!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mothers Day

Can I just say that who ever dreamed up a holiday that celebrates moms should be kissed!!  Not only do I love being spoiled, but I love being reminded how much I am loved.  Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in day to day the point where you get down on yourself and feel very inadequate...well mothers day is a great way to be reminded how much you are loved and needed.  In addition, I am also reminded how lucky I am to have three of the best boys in the entire world.

This year for mothers day I was spoiled from start to finish.  TJ got up early and made me a delicious breakfast of French toast (with homemade French bread) and bacon.  At church we got chocolate and had a munch and mingle the last 10 minutes of Relief Society.  Then I came home to be showered with presents of real fresh water pearl necklace and earrings AND an Amazon Fire TV!!!  Then TJ BBQed up some ribs and made a salad and cous cous which we ate with our good friend the Georges. 

LOVE my pearls!!!

This was definitely a day wonderful enough to help me feel special and loved the whole year through.  I don't know what I did to deserve such an awesome husband and the best little boys in the world....but I feel so blessed to be their wife and mom!!! 

I'm also so grateful for the wonderful examples of mothers that I have in my life!!  I don't know what I would do without my mom!  She taught me how to be a mother who leads by example, loves her Savior, and gives just about anything she can without any expectations of receiving.  She has loved me unconditionally, and loves my sons with all her heart.  I hope to be half the mother that she is someday!!

Back on the Wagon

Typical pattern after having a baby is that fun dates with the hubby are the first to go.  Contributing factors are the time, exhaustion, and finding a babysitter that you are confident in their ability to care for your new born.  Well Parker is three months and it's about time that TJ and I get back on the dating wagon; with each other of course. 

For Easter I bought TJ tickets to the Ryuku Kings professional (in Japan) basketball playoff game.  The Kings are supposed to be pretty good, and we both miss live basketball games so much.  So Saturday afternoon we hired a 15 year old young woman and headed down to Okinawa City to watch the Kings play ball.  The stadium was fairly small, but man the Japanese got really into it!  They cheered so stinkin loud with every basketball, despite the Kings 20 point lead for most of the game. 

After the game we went and had sushi together and chatted about life.  It was so refreshing to not only feel like a real adult again, but to hang out with my ultra hot hubby.  Definitely solidified the fact that dating each other is very important, and will be a reoccurring event from now on!