Sunday, August 13, 2017

MA Visit Part 3: Last Few Days in the US

Hello from the other side! After an intense 24 + hours of travel that began at 1 a.m. in Seattle😱, we arrived in Okinawa at 5 p.m. Friday. We are now 13 hours ahead of the east coast. We did manage to get about 7 hours of sleep last night, but we are still very jet-lagged. I don't know what time my body even thinks it is -- it is just continuously recalculating. I keep looking at my phone to remind myself what day and time it is. Tim suggested I blog in order to avoid conking out during the hour before our sponsors come to take us out for new phones and lunch. I have to save the nap for when we get back (although I could probably take one now and later.) There is not enough coffee in the world sometimes.

Tim's parents had all our family and friends who could make it for a farewell cookout. Carolyn made enough of her yummy meatballs and sauce to feed an army and crafty Karen did a beautiful job with the decorations. Once mostly everyone had arrived, we had a promotion ceremony for Tim. It was a way to mark the occasion of his promotion, and more for the benefit of me and the rest of the family than for him. As Tim says, it's about us, not him. We wanted a ceremony, and there wasn't going to be the traditional one at his place of work since he was between duty stations. His best friend Derek, a Marine veteran, read the warrant. Carolyn and I pinned on his silver oak leaves. I think it meant a lot to the family to get to watch. Then we took lots and lots of pictures and everyone ate.
Monday was tough. We loaded up our six suitcases and backpacks, and took our car and Tim Sr's car to the hotel at Logan Airport. After a couple hours we waved goodbye as Karen and Carolyn drove away in our car. That really made it real for me. It was so hard seeing them go and not knowing when we'd see each other next. Thanks to the Marine Corps keeping us in suspense as they are wont to do, we didn't know yet whether we'd be in Japan for a year or three or four. The minute we got off the plane here, his new boss told him congratulations on getting command in Cherry Point, NC. The change of command is in May. It's a crazy life we have. 

Tim Sr stayed with us and flew the next morning to Seattle, where we all stayed two nights and had a day to explore and see the sights. Then we tried to get a few hours of rest before we all headed to the airport again and he saw us off before flying back to Boston. 
Tim cashed in all his points and got us the nicest suite at the Hilton at Logan Airport. The kids were beside themselves with excitement when they saw the views we had.

I want a do-over of Seattle. It was so smoky from wildfires in Canada, and we couldn't see all that much from the top of the Space Needle either. Tim Sr said the view was amazing last time he went. They could see Mt. Rainier even.
How I felt about being in a long, narrow passageway with hordes of people. That is what Pike Place Market is, not an open air farmer's market like I'd imagined. I couldn't get out of there fast enough, and I know I missed out on some yummy local food. Next time I will stay outside and I will ask Tim to go get me something good to eat. No one ended up getting anything to eat there, just walking through and out. We got hungry and ate Subway a little while later. So dumb.
It's been a whole day since I started this post. I think I'm adjusted to the time difference. Now if we could just get Joey sorted out.. This morning I made a big deal of opening the shade and letting him see the sunrise and acting cheerful because it's "morning!" even though I was so exhausted from being up with him half the night.

That's it for now. Have a great Sunday!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

MA Visit Part 2: Outdoor Excursions, Pool Days, and Joey Finally Gets a Good Haircut

I didn't think I'd be back here so soon, but I'm in no hurry to go upstairs and start trying to go to sleep. Tomorrow's the first step of our journey -- we drive one hour to Boston to spend the night. It will be an easy day; the important thing is that we don't forget anything when we leave Tim's parents'! I know everything's replaceable, but it stinks to have to buy things we already have, the way we've been spending money lately.

We went to Kathy and Brett's for the afternoon, and celebrated Sofia's 13th birthday. 13, holy cow! I remember the first time Tim took me to their house for dinner, and this tiny girl who reminded me of Boo from Monsters, Inc. wanted to show us her room. I remember being amazed that someone that itty-bitty could walk up the stairs. The time sure flies.
Delaney learned how to dive. Annie's really close, but not quite there. I never did learn how myself, so they are way ahead of me.
Joey slipped face-first into the water while fooling around on the steps. Sam grabbed him right away and I told him, "You have to like Auntie Sam now since she just rescued you." He was still scared of her for some reason and it was kind of funny.
One morning I came downstairs after sleeping in a couple extra hours, and Joey came running to me as always. "Mama!" It was a minute or two before I said, "Wait a minute, you look different. You got a haircut!" It was about time; it had grown out so long. Isn't he so handsome? He's come a long way from Dumb and Dumber. The barber Tim took him to did such a great job, and I wish we could just take him there every time he needs a haircut (until he starts getting buzzed like Timmy). In my experience, it is really hit or miss who knows how to give a little boy a good haircut. And since my kids have not the slightest curl or wave to their hair, you can see literally every place the scissors have been and there can be no error. I definitely should not be trying it at home. I have learned my lesson. Although we both agreed the barber left some pieces a little too long in the front, so this morning I gave him a donut and tried to snip-snip the front pieces just a bit. I didn't ruin him!
We hiked Purgatory Chasm on one of our hotter days here. The kids started out excited, but got tired and lost their enthusiasm pretty quickly. I made fun of them for that, but then realized that they were choosing the more difficult ways to go while I was sticking to the spray painted path.
We forced them to pose for a couple more group photos after this one, which was kind of mean. Look at the way Timmy is lying face-down on that rock. But we made up for it afterward.
The next day while hanging around here, I grabbed my camera because of how much I loved seeing Annie share an ice cream cone with Joey. He kept saying, "Bite," and she'd give him more. We've been eating a lot of ice cream.
Friday was a 'make your own pizza' day.
We went kayaking and paddleboarding, and that was a lot of fun. Timmy and I shared one of the kayaks that Kathy brought. It was meant for one person but since Timmy's small, we both fit with no problem. We were kind of pressed for time with getting to all the islands we wanted to, and making sure everyone got enough time to paddle and to swim. But Timmy kept asking to paddle and I let him because I knew he wouldn't be happy until he'd completely worn himself out. He did a great job, even with how hard it must have been having my weight in the back. He really would like his own kayak next time, and I told him we'll see. He would have also liked to paddle board, but the rules at the park were you had to be 8.
At one of the islands I let him take the kayak for a spin by himself.
On Saturday we went to Mass with Tim's parents and then out to eat. On the way back we saw this beautiful rainbow, which I could not stop taking pictures of. 
♫Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection..♫😁
Not pictured: Tim and I going running together every other day before lunch, and me not dying even though it was the middle of the day and there were hills. Actual hills! We'd walk for a while afterward  and talk too, and that was something I looked forward to. I don't know when we'll get another chance. We also went went out many times by ourselves, and although it was only to do mundane things like shop or get his new military I.D., it was nonetheless fun and felt like such freedom. Having family as babysitters -- there's nothing like it.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

MA Visit Part 1: First Couple Days and Timmy's Birthday Party

I've been wanting to update for awhile, but I find myself at a loss for words. Things have been good, great even. I am so overwhelmed though, and our adventure of getting to Okinawa hasn't even begun yet. All the turmoil is in my head. I have a hard time getting to sleep and when I do sleep, I have weird, disturbing dreams about lines of people, lost baggage and things that don't make sense. In addition to that we wait yet again with bated breath for the Marine Corps to kindly release some information that affects our future in a huge way. I think I've been there a few times by now, but it does not get easier. No, it does not.

Meanwhile, we've been having a wonderful time as we spend our last few days in the U.S. at Tim's parents' house in Massachusetts and visiting with family. The kids have been here since the first week of July while Tim and I kept Joey with us in SC and wrapped up the move out of our house. Tim, Joey and I got here on July 27 in time for Timmy's 6th birthday festivities, and it's been a really nice time that I want to document. I've been taking a ton of photos (which have been crippling my laptop btw, since I got my dslr -- another reason it's gotten harder to blog!)
It is a special kind of joy to watch my kids roll around in the grass and not worry about what might bite or sting them. This picture was taken the day after we arrived. Joe was so happy to see his sissies and bubba again!
Timmy was doing his math workbook -- probably in order to earn more time on a device.🙈
Karen threw a fun little party for Timmy's birthday, with dancing in the backyard (with a disco ball!), s'mores making and night swimming. She outdid herself as the most fun auntie.
And if all that wasn't enough, the dance party ended with a bunch of us with our arms around each other, swaying to "The Rainbow Connection." I dare you to tell me something cheesier than that happened at your last family gathering. After that there was night swimming for those who wished to participate. Night swimming with all your clothes on was an option, and the little girls had to do that because how many times do you get to go swimming at night with all your clothes on?

It turns out I have so many photos from this one day that I'll have to make this a multi-part post. Until next time!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Joey: 19 Months

He's got a lot to say but still uses just one word at a time. For example, he'll take my hand and say, "Me", which I take to mean "come with me" or "help me", depending on where he's taking me and what he wants me to do. Just the other day he beckoned with "Me", and plopped down on the floor with Little Blue Truck, wanting me to read it to him. If I ask him where something is, he says, "Know" for "I don't know." He also knows now that I'll often happily comply with his requests. While I'm wiping his bum he might say, "Bah!" (Bath. A lot of times I will just let him have a little soak after a #2 if I'm not feeling confident about how well I've cleaned him up, and he's always anticipating it.) Come to think of it, he does say one two-word phrase: "Dandoo" (Thank you). He is very talkative for a boy with few words. On a recent ride in the car he and Tim had a conversation that went like this:
"Da-dee? Da-dee?"
"Yeah, buddy?"
"Yeah, buddy?"
"Da-dee? Da-dee, car." He pronounces the "r" in car too. (What happened to Worcester?)
He wants to figure out how everything works. If it has a plug, he wants to plug it in and turn it on. He put a glove on one hand and took a screwdriver in the other and tried to "fix" an office chair. He's figured out the lock on the trash can lid. *Big frowny face* But he still doesn't know how to open doors. Once he does I know those covers will fool him for awhile too. He also brings me my flipflops and puts them on me, which is adorable. He really likes to be doing things. He needs to be busy with a job of some sort. To that end, he takes things from the place they belong and puts them somewhere else. So, during the last week of getting ready for movers, we had the situation where I was doing a lot of rearranging, he he was rearranging things his way, and it was kind of maddening for me at times. Again I relied on the base daycare to spell me for a few hours here and there. That was a real sanity saver.
I was just reading through Timmy's 19 month update and marveling at the similarities between the two of them. One big difference, though: I was having to wrestle Timmy into his carseat to go places, and he was doing that arched back thing every time! Having multiple errands was hell. Not so with Joey at all. He loves going for rides and never gives me any trouble about being strapped into his carseat. That was one of my saving graces with the rest of the family gone for several l-o-n-g days. How funny, since I remember Timmy being the easier baby. Then again, while he may have been the easier baby, he got to be quite the handful once he progressed through the toddler and preschool stages.
Joe is not much fun as an only child, and I now remember why it was harder to have just one than two or more. With his siblings away he has been very restless, bored, and gets feisty with me a lot. Every time I take a step in any direction he thinks I'm abandoning him, and he follows me, crying. He wants me to hold him all the time, but he doesn't want me to hold him and he squirms to get down. He tries getting into things he knows he shouldn't. He's been inside a lot too, which isn't helping matters. It is SO hot down here, and the mosquitoes are vicious all day long, not just at dusk. The 'black flag' siren goes off each morning as early as 9:30 or 10 (black flag means it's so hot the recruits can't train outside.) The 'no longer black flag' siren doesn't go off until around 7 p.m. usually. It's the dog days of summer, and kind of a challenging time for us.
With the older three kids away, Tim and I are having the novel experience of appearing to be a family of three again when we're out and about. We went to Mass last night and many of us were stuck in the back and it was mostly older people who smiled in our direction, probably thinking, 'They're one of those couples who wait till later in life to have a baby. Bless their hearts.' Joey got very restless and Tim had to take him outside and try to contain him on a bench since he wanted to run off to the parking lot. As people started to trickle out after Communion and saw the two of them there and Joey wailing, they would try to give Tim some encouragement as they passed, like, "Oh don't worry, he'll get it one of these days." Tim just smiled and nodded, but inwardly was like grr..

Coming up next -- one of the most eventful months in his little life.