Friday, December 30, 2011

Greetings from Japan!

Hello to everyone from the small island of Okinawa. If you weren't able to tell, this is Brian with the obligatory deployment post. It's the end of 2011 and the second deployment of the year for us. Deployments are never fun as being separated from Rachel, Brady, and everyone else at home is almost unbearable at times. That being said, Japan is much more enjoyable than the desert and we've stayed busy flying and exploring the island. There is quite a bit of culture and the people are very friendly and accommodating. Also, the food is outstanding and although it's been quite rainy, the temperature has been a comfortable 60-70 degrees, so I can't complain too much.

Here are some pictures I've taken so far:

Here's the little critter that was waiting outside my door to greet me when we arrived. Very big and slimy.





Everywhere we go there are vending machines that offer both hot and cold beverages. They're in the strangest places sometimes, but I'm always comforted that Tommy Lee Jones (Spokesman for BOSS Coffee) is there to keep me hydrated.



Moving on to food, here is a picture of my favorite meal so far. It's basically a plate of bacon with potato salad, leafy salad, tasty soup, and of course rice. No forks allowed.



This is our second favorite dining establishment. Its real name is Arashi but we call it the vending machine restaurant since you place your order through the vending machine (above) located at the entrance. The fried rice is delicious.


Here's a picture from our first drive up to the northern part of the island. We took the scenic route following the ocean most of the way.



A marker at the northern most point on the island. Not sure what it says but I'm sure it's interesting.



A statue of the bird that cannot be found anywhere but the northern part of Okinawa. We thought it looked like a combination between a chicken and a pineapple.



Dramatic cliffs at the northern point. They were very accessible and we climbed all over them.



Another scene of the northern shore. The rocks were very sharp but luckily no one was hurt.



The second trip up north was to Hiji Falls. Here's a picture of the entrance to the trail leading to the actual falls.



We had to hike a little to get to the falls but the views were pretty impressive.



We finally made it to the falls and the hike was worth the effort as the falls were very pretty.




Me in front of the falls. In the past, people were able to actually take a dip in the water at the base of the falls, but now it's roped off.



A picture of the outside of our billeting. Not the prettiest place in Japan, but still better than the desert digs.



The view from our place. Green grass in December is neat.




The view from my door. That's where the snail was to greet me.




And the interior of my room. It came fully equipped with a TV, fridge, and microwave. The lighting is very dim, but at least I don't have to have a roommate.




Here's a picture of the BBQ at our deployed commander's house on Christmas Eve. Very nice of him to have us over for a home cooked meal.




Finally a picture of our ride. The "Hagu" which I think means beater car in Japanese. Not very impressed.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Very Papillion Christmas

Hope that everyone had a very Merry Christmas!! Christmas was very different this year for us (my first one not in Minnesota, without Brian, and no snow!) but we made the best of it! We missed Brian tremendously, but were able to skype with him a couple times on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We also missed Brian's family a lot but were able to skype with them on Christmas Day, thank goodness for skype! My parents came in on the 23rd and we did our typical Christmas Eve dinner and then presents. Santa came this year too and he didn't disappoint! Here are some pictures from our Christmas:


Rascal patiently waiting for Grandma and Grandpa to get here!



Christmas Eve dinner with the empty spot :(


Look I was there too!





Our red, green, and white spritz cookies Dad and I made. We were quite proud of them! :)



Our Christmas tree loaded with presents



Brady's reaction was priceless...look at all of those presents!!!!


He thought any present with tissue paper was his and went to town!


Got a ton of presents and his favorite thing was a cardboard box....of course.



Brady's cookies, milk, and note left for Santa.


Brady discovering what Santa left for him (a trampoline, a rocking horse, a vacuum, and a broom!) The bounce house was a gift from Nana and Papa from when we Christmas with them at Thanksgiving. Brady sure is a lucky boy!


Have to test out everything of course! Thanks Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Ross for the rocking horse! I mean, Santa! :)


My adorable little man loving his Christmas gifts! So blessed to have such wonderful family and friends! :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Brian!!!

Today is Brian's 26 Birthday! I really missed celebrating with him this year. It's his first time celebrating it in a different country and it's also the 12th birthday I've been in his life for! He actually spent most of his day flying a mission but found some time to go out with friends and celebrate. Brady, Rascal, and I love you Brian and send you our love 9,700 miles away! :)



I was looking for a picture to put up of Brian (my pictures on this computer are limited) and found some from his last deployment. My hero! :)



I found these ones of him flying too


And this one! Spending his birthday defending our country.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Update

Hello! Sorry for the lack of updates lately. December has just flown by so far, I can't believe that we're not that far away from Christmas! Lucky for that too because Brian's been gone for almost two weeks now in Japan. We miss him so much but are able to talk to him on Skype most days, sometimes even twice a day. He's 15 hours ahead of us so it's been weird to talk to him when it'll be my Tuesday, his Wednesday, makes for some confusing conversations! Brian's been flying a lot (he's actually flying right now, flight number 5) so he's been staying really busy out there. Hopefully he will update soon! Brian took out the nicer of our 2 computers so I probably won't be updating with pictures as much because this computer is S L O W!

Brady has done really well with this deployment (so far). I was really worried because he is crazy about his Daddy but he's been content to Skype and look at pictures of him. I'm hoping that continues! Brady grows up every single day. Brian even said the other day, I've only been gone 10 days and he's changed so much! He literally learns a new word every day and talks more and more, it's so crazy! His word yesterday was bite. I was eating a Dairy Queen blizzard (for the baby, not for me, of course) and he came up to me and said "Mama, bite." I absolutely love that I'm able to stay home with him and see him learning. He's so proud of himself too when he learns a new word! He's still obsessed with Elmo and The Wiggles and they enter our home on a daily basis. He also enjoyed playing in the snow the last 2 snowfalls we got and even helped mommy shovel the driveway!

I've been feeling really good the past two weeks. I've missed having my best friend around but I kind of just go into "deployment mode" when he leaves. I am so, so thankful he left during my 2nd trimester because whew, that first one was a dousy! I am feeling so much better now besides some fatigue but I think that may be from taking care of an active toddler 24/7. At my last doctor appointment they said the baby's heartbeat was 140 which is much lower than Brady's ever was. Pretty sure his was always in the high 150s and 160s. So perhaps a calmer child?? I have an ultrasound on the 30th (my 20 week anatomy scan) so we should hopefully be able to confirm the gender! So excited! I have only bought 2 outfits so far just in case the other ultrasound was wrong. I'm starting to feel the baby move too so that's exciting. That was my favorite part about being pregnant. We're looking forward to Christmas even though we've already celebrated Christmas twice so far and Brian won't be here. Grandma and Grandpa are coming out for a week to entertain us so that'll be fun! My next update I will include pictures! :)
 
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