January 15, 2016

Maya’s heart

Maya has a heart of gold and something just happened that I don’t ever want to forget. Aidan came to me and told me that he didn’t want his Pokemon cards anymore. I told him that it was fine and that he could give them to Maya if he wanted to. He went straight to his room and got them. Maya was in her room and a few seconds later I heard her say “No!” Then, I heard them back there talking for a bit. I went to see what was going on and found Maya in tears! I asked her why she was crying and she responded, “Aidan gave me his Pokemon cards and it’s just too much. He’s just doing too much for me.” I explained to her that he didn’t want them anymore and she still was crying because she felt overwhelmed by what she saw as a sacrifice for Aidan. I love her heart so much!

 

Story #2- When we were at Disney in Hong Kong we went on a “Cars” ride that was a 3 seater with only one driver and Rich and I had to be in each car. Aidan, Maya and Arabella all wanted to drive but we could obviously only have 2 drivers so we did rock, paper, sissors. We warned them that there was no crying and that the loser would get to do something else special. Arabella won against both of them so her spot was secure. When it came down to Aidan and Maya, Maya won and Aidan immediately began to cry. Without hesitation Maya said, Aidan can drive! She wanted to drive but she didn’t want Aidan to be sad. Maya was born knowing that when you do something nice for someone else you feel good in your heart. She was born this way!!! What a blessing she is to our family.

January 14, 2016

Happy New Year @ Ogido Park

We’ve gotten boring in our old age I’ve decided. Maya wanted to stay up until midnight but it seems she was the only one and being out numbered we were all in bed by 10. We made up for it on New Year’s day though. We spent the day at one of Okinawa’s awesome parks. Apparently, parks are a thing here in Japan and they just really go all out. We were very impressed.

There were 3 different sections at this one park. The first one had a long roller slide which the kids loved. It was their first time.

I love this picture even though it’s blurry. She was squealing out of pure joy!

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Eva also loved it.

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Their favorite part of the whole part was the hang glider.

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She was so scared her first time.

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Maya was a monkey on this thing! She was standing up and trying to be a little dare devil.

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Even Eva got in on the fun!

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Then we headed to the 2nd part of the park. This is where they spent the majority of their time and also where Rich and I facetimed with his family who was celebrating New Years so there are few pictures.

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That white thing was bouncy.

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As we were leaving the park we stopped to ring in the New Year with Rich’s family via facetime. It was pretty cool. Excited for the adventures that await us in 2016!!!

December 28, 2015

While daddy is gone

(This is a post that I started while Rich was gone but then started having computer issues so I couldn’t finish or post it. Finishing it and posting it for memory’s sake.)

While daddy is gone we are still truckin’ along. I went to Arabella’s class Thanksgiving party and it was SO CUTE! The kids sang a couple of songs.

Arabella's Thanksgiving Program

After Thanksgiving we put up the tree.

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I took a moment to remember our friends, Emily and Derek, who passed away last year the day after giving us this homemade ornament. I can’t believe it’s been a year.

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I’ve had a hard time finding a place for all of our Christmas decorations because our place is so small and we have limited wall space but I found the perfect place for our shotgun shell lights.

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We’ve continued our new Baker Sunday Selfie tradition.

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Unfortunately, the kids asked if our elf was going to come this year. Because they asked he did *insert eye roll* They all just love him because I give him credit for all of the nice things I do, hahaha!

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What a fun night I had with the Mill’s. Laura and Doug live in the building right next to mine. After finding out that I’m a yerba mate fan they both wanted to come over for some mate done right. She brought over some pan dulce and the most delicious grapefruit mate I’ve ever had. We stayed up talking and laughing until 11pm. Such a fun couple! I can’t wait for Rich to meet them when he gets back.

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Last week there was a Japanese band playing at the Exchange so I started videoing and captured this awesome moment!

Aidan's Air Sax

He had no idea I video’d him until we got home and I showed him the video. He’s so cute!

So, I like to keep things real so here’s the challenging part of the 5 weeks Rich was gone. The first 3 weeks were cake. Everything was going smoothly and I was giving myself a pat on the back for keeping it together better than I had expected. Then, the *you know what* hit the fan. The kids had been having a lot of time off of school, 2-4 day weekends and 1-3 day weekend. On top of the fact that Rich was gone the kids schedule was changing a lot. Aidan never does well with change. In the past he has reacted to stress by acting out and then having tics which puts a lot of stress on me and then in turn I put more stress on him. It’s such a vicious cycle that is really hard to deal with. So, here we were, 3 weeks in with 2 weeks to go and mine and Aidan’s stress levels at an all time high. He hasn’t been diagnosed or anything but in an attempt to find a way to survive the next 2 weeks I was doing a ton of research into his symptoms. I decided that Aidan has one of two conditions- transient tic disorder or a mild case of tourettes. He always has tics but when life is “normal” and stable they are reduced to physical tics like flicking his fingers, rolling his eyes or shrugging his shoulders. These tics are so mild that I’ve come to accept them as being just a part of who he is in that they aren’t constant or consuming. Now, when there is a big change in our lives like moving, school ending or dad leaving for a few weeks, that is when the vocal tics start. This time it started as a “whoo” and morphed into a high pitched whimper that was constant, like every 3-5 seconds. This was so overwhelmingly stressful for me. Not only the sound but also just knowing that he was stressed and feeling guilty that I may have been the cause of that stress. He was also extremely sensitive. He just needed a lot of extra one-on-one time and attention and I could see a notable difference in him when he got it.

 

There, I kept it real. Rich being gone was so hard! It was hard facing trials without any support. I’m a pretty private person in that I don’t like telling everybody I know all about my problems and I don’t really like being on the recieving end of service. I know that if I would have reached out to my home teacher his wife would have taken my kids for the remainder of the 5 week TDY, she’s THAT awesome! Even without knowing our struggle she brought us many delicous meals and then had us over for FHE where we had her awesome homemade pizza and the kids decorated one of her homemade gingerbread houses.

We love the Hatt’s so much!

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Some other adventures we had…Eva’s favorite place to poop is in the bathtub. I happened to notice her a little too focused and quickly stuck her on her little potty. She did it!

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This sweet girl lost her front tooth!

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Then she literally lost it and had to write the tooth fairy a note.

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We did survive 2 more Baker Sunday Selfies!

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Finally, our family was complete again.

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December 27, 2015

Christmas 2015

I have to admit that I was pretty bummed with the way everything was going down this year. I blame it on the stress I let get to me with Rich being gone the 5 weeks before Christmas. It was rough and I was stressed but that’s for another post. Facebook put me in check with it’s flashback reminders by pointing out that we’ve had some pretty dang rough Christmas’!

2 years ago on Christmas Eva was really sick and I was getting next to no sleep and would eventually end up with shingles.

6 years ago on Christmas Day Arabella was in the hospital and the doctors were still trying to figure out what was wrong with her.

Facebook, thanks for the reminder of how bad it has been and how I need to be grateful that everybody is home AND healthy.

So, Christmas Eve was not a fun day. The kids were being horrible and I was a grump. I was missing my family and friends and it was a gloomy, rainy day in Okinawa. Suddenly my home was just too small and messy and I just didn’t like a single thing about our lives in that very moment. I just couldn’t see any possible way that we were going to have a good Christmas.

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We took this picture and got the kids to bed. Rich and I finished Christmas preparations and went to bed. While lying in bed I had a moment of peace and quiet to think and that’s when the guilt crept in. How could I be so ungrateful? Now, I’m looking at ^^that^^ picture of my kids and remembering how grouchy I was and how I could just cancel Christmas all together and I don’t understand how I couldn’t see that I’m the luckiest mom in the world! Look at how precious they are! I allowed the guilt to eat at me for a little while because I deserved it and then I just felt blessed.

Christmas morning the kids were so excited to tell us that Santa had come. Then, Arabella told us that Aidan already tore into his stocking…and dad’s! That’s when I remembered why I wanted to cancel Christmas in the first place. We didn’t let that ruin everybody’s morning though. Santa had come and Rich and I loved sitting and watching the kids open all of their presents. It was fun feeling connected to our family members in Missouri while opening such kind and thoughtful gifts. We love and miss them so much!

Santa was pretty awesome this year. He got each of the kids a plaque with their name in Japanese.

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Santa doesn’t only know our kids really well, he also knows Rich really well. The main gift he got them was a Wii U which totally made the kids AND Rich super happy. Funny how that works outSmile Here they are enjoying their favorite Christmas present.

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Eva got a Little People Clippity Clop princess toy.

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Once she decided she liked it she quickly marked her territory with one of her usual utensils of choice, a black crayon.

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We had the best lazy day with minimal fighting. Yes, it was a Christmas miracle. We finally decided we would head to the Aeon mall to get out of the house and get some dinner.

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We each picked what we wanted. Rich had steak.

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Aidan had his usual, spaghetti.

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The girls and I shared a big bowl of Ramen and dumplings.

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After dinner family selfie

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Inspite of my “Scroogy” attitude on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day was one filled with love and family.

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