September 9, 2016

Back to school!

The kiddos have been back in school for 2 weeks now and things are off to a good start! I filled out a form at the end of last year requesting specific qualities in a teacher for each one of the kids and it really paid off. Each one of them got a teacher that suits them better than I ever could have imagined.
This little stinker snuck out the front door with her pink boots on and I didn’t notice until we got to the school.
Aidan got Ms. Cruz-Damian who has 17 years experience and seems to be very structured and somewhat strict but still very nice. Aidan does best when he has structure and rules. He really likes her so far. We couldn’t get a picture of him with her because by the time we got to his classroom she was already instructing the class.
Maya got Ms. Stockwell.
She seems sweet and bubbly which is perfect for my sweet Maya. This year Ms. Stockwell is trying out a new classroom setup. Half of her classroom has desks and chairs and the other half is flexible seating meaning there are couches, bean bags, pillows so the kids get to choose where they want to work each day.
Arabella got Ms. Tapp
Ok, seriously, this is a match made in heaven! I was so worried about Arabella because she is my little free-spirited wiggle worm. She did amazing in Kindergarten but, lets be honest, Kindergarten is all about projects and fun. I was worried that her transition from fun to having to sit at a desk all day would be a brutal one. Just check out Ms. Tapp’s classroom…
Heavenly, right? Arabella LOVES school!
I’ve been so relieved to hear from each one of these kiddos just how much they love going to school.

Okinawa Summer 2016

Our Oki summer has come to an end. I have to say, I was really sad about the kids going back to school and having to get back on a busy schedule. It surprised the heck out of me how much I truly enjoyed 85% of my time with the kids. Of course, that 15% made me want to run away and not come back until school started but it didn’t kill me like I thought it would.


This will be a summer I will not soon forget for so many reasons. This was the first summer in years that we were able to do fun stuff as a family without a trach baby or 3 toddlers. The kids are old enough now that doing stuff isn’t just work so we were able to go on sooooo many adventures and wore ourselves out with our non-stop weekend trips. 

I love that the kids learned an invaluable lesson about the value of working, earning and saving. On the first day of summer I made this chart and the kids LOVED it!


Every single day they worked hard to earn tickets and at the end of the week they could exchange their tickets for money and I would take them to Daiso or the Exchange. I also told them that I wouldn’t be buying them anything that they didn’t need so if they wanted a toy or a special treat they had to buy it themselves. The first week they all blew their earnings on random toys at Daiso. Two weeks later Aidan and Arabella decided they wanted to buy a milkshake from Burger King and Maya had earned enough money to buy a Snackeez.


Aidan had buyers remorse when he saw what Maya was able to buy by saving her money.


As the summer went on Aidan continued to ask me for chore after chore after chore and wouldn’t spend any money because he wanted to earn a $20 bill. He earned that bill and has continued to save. He is now up to $60!!!!


Also through this experience I was able to see just how golden Maya’s heart really is. There is a lady that will on occasion set up shop at the Exchange where she will sell her balloons. They are priced based on how elaborate they are and range from $1-$5. (These pictures are from the first time we saw the balloon lady. I didn’t have my phone with me during this last time)



Well, Arabella doesn’t like doing chores and doesn’t care to earn money so she rarely had money. One day we saw the balloon lady and all of the kids wanted a balloon, so I told them they could buy one with their money. Aidan immediately decided he would pass. Arabella didn’t do chores so she didn’t earn any money, she was so upset about that. Maya had $4 and really wanted a balloon so she chose a $4 balloon but quickly changed her mind to a $3 balloon so that she could buy Eva a $1 balloon. That act of pure love melted my heart.


Before I had the kids working to earn money they had no appreciation for money or things. If one of them broke something they didn’t see it as a big deal because, in Aidan’s words “You can just buy another one.” This is no longer the case at all. They rarely ask for anything because they know I’ll most likely make them earn it and they definitely understand the value of and appreciate anything that we do get for them.

Some other summer randoms…

My dream of teaching my kids how to make knotted friendship bracelets came true! Well, with Maya at least.



Shaking her bum while helping me make breakfast.


Arabella making fort messes and never cleaning them up.


We have all grown a lot in the year that we’ve lived on this little island. It has been a really tough year but I can now officially say I am 100% adjusted to our lives out here and can’t imagine how hard it’s going to be to leave our Okinawa home in 2 years. We’ve got lots of things to do and places to see before then so we’re gonna get on it Open-mouthed smile

September 8, 2016

Happy Birthday Aidan & Eva!!!!

We got to celebrate their birthdays in so many little ways for a week! Since we decided not to have an actual birthday party we just spoiled them rotten for a whole week. We made mini cakes and cupcakes…
Made their dreams come true by letting them eat Aidan’s favorite dinner in the living room while watching Labrynth.
This little monkey was fine on her birthday but the next day, on Aidan’s birthday, she had a fever.
She was complaining about her tummy hurting so we were prepared. Good thing because she threw up shortly after I took this picture.
Eva ended up having hand, foot and mouth so it was a little hard to celebrate much but we did our best.
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We treated this kid(and the whole family) to an ice cream cake at the BX. We were out and I had promised the kids that during birthday week they could have ice cream every night so we kind of had to, lol!
Things don’t usually go as planned in our little world but we try to make the best of less than ideal situations. It seemed to work out this time.

Family Outing

Waaaaaay back in July we drove up to the aquarium to enjoy some fireworks. It was such a unique thing to see and experience a huge gathering with the locals. The fireworks were cool but the real experience for me was just seeing everybody set up, cooking and just hanging out waiting for it to get dark.




The view was stunning!



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I seriously could not get enough of this sunset!





As it got darker, we set up camp.


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It was a fun night. Never mind that it took us FOREVER to get home. I love our little island!

My two yellow belts

Aidan and Maya worked so hard to earn their yellow belts. Aidan was confident and excited while Maya was really nervous but they both ended up doing awesome!
Getting ready
Next was Maya
I love this series of pictures
Now together for the blocking portion
Then came the reward for all of their hard work!
She was so happy I’m pretty sure she didn’t even know what was going on while Aidan was getting his yellow belt.
They were both beaming for days after this great accomplishment. Rich and I couldn’t be more proud of them!

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