Claiming Credit

So,

Quinn, the youngest boy, has some how learned to make these horrific poops. I’m talking diabolical.  If I could just catch’em and put’em in a jar… I would make a killing, A KILLING, selling them at places like Spencers.  The other day(sorry I didn’t get pictures but I didn’t want my camera to get broken) we are walking around downstairs and I smell this smell, that smell that says “this something you might have to spend a little time on Dad”.

Now the first thought I have is…”Jo, I’m going out to mow the lawn, and Quinn pooped.” But I decided to MAN up and change it myself.  Now I don’t usually get sick from this kind of thing, I’ve worked in a Medical Laboratory with my Dad, I’ve been thrown up on, peed and pooped on, I’ve cleaned it out of the tub…but this thing was something totally new.  I had to actually check my eyebrows after I got done to make sure they were still there.

That was the boy, but the girl, she’s so small and only having the breast milk right?  So…I get home from work the other morning, Jo is getting up to take a shower and Kira is in bed, I get in and I heart this Brrrrrrrpft, and I’m like wow, such a big sound coming from someone so small, then the smell hit me.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  Another one?  How can this be?

Now here’s the funny thing in all this(I know, I know… like talking about smelly poop and farting is not funny enough), Jake doesn’t particularly smell bad in farting or pooping but every time someone says “eeeeewwwwwww, who did that?”  Jake says, “I did” and is so proud for claiming other peoples work.

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The Answer, part II

So,

We were at home for about 2 weeks getting everything ready and making one last visit  to friends and family before heading back to the far east.  We just jumped on the plane, planning to somehow get back to Japan on Space-A, no real plan other than that.  The Patriot Express only flies on Thursday and we have no plan so we head to Travis figuring the more time we have to catch a flight the better our chances are of getting something to Okinawa.  Travis to Hickam or Guam, but Alaska and Korea weren’t out of the picture.  So, we manage to make Travis to Yokota…to Okinawa.

Hannah was in school right away and the year progressed pretty well.  Not ever having had a teenager full-time before there were quite a few adjustments that were made on both sides but we made it through the year without too many bumps or bruises.  The best part is she met a couple of really nice girls and became good friends.

Hannah with M & M

Hannah with M & M

Just before the end of the school year when we were trying to get the flights figured out for her trip home she started to think about staying another year for 8th grade.  Having 2 famlies that she loves is so hard to make a decision and did she ever fret.  She made lists, talked to us, her friends, thought, cried, weighed, and pondered.  Finally it was time to talk to her mom.  Hannah talked, I talked, A. talked.  We prayed, argued, thought, cried, weighed and prayed.  Three weeks later A. had decided to let Hannah make the decision, and she decided to stay.

Hannah with my birthday cookie

Hannah with my birthday cookie

Hannah and the girls dressed up for Halloween

Hannah and the girls dressed up for Halloween

A week ago I get an e-mail from A.  The suspected but dreaded e-mail in which she says she missed Hannah too much to let her spend another year with us in Japan.  I called and tried to argue, but really how can I argue about it?  I feel exactly the same way except the other way around.  The last year has been an answer to prayer — I’ve bristled and yelled, I’ve been proud and embarassed, I’ve taught and learned, but the most important thing this last year has been…getting to spend a whole year with my little girl and getting to see and know the woman she is becoming.  As well as a lesson in God answering prayers, somtimes He says yes, sometimes He says no and at other times He says wait 12 years….  We will keep praying and preparing for the next step if there is one…who knows…high school…maybe….

Dad and Hannah

Dad and Hannah

Sad to see Hannah go

Sad to see Hannah go

This picture sums up how we are feeling about Hannah both going home for the summer and not coming back for this year of school.

The Answer

So….

It was almost 14 years ago now, when a prayer was said.  It was…not a desperate prayer, more of a request.  Just a simple prayer from a man with a simple understanding of how to pray.  (Is there a wrong way?  A better way?  Hmmmmm)  The prayer went something like this:  “…Lord one of these days could I have a chance to have my little girl live with me….”

One day, late August, there was a phone call from A, Hannah’s mom, and she said she would let Hannah come out for the school year, what a wonderful experience that will be….  I’ve never seen my wife work so fast and get things put together for the trip.  All I had to do was run a leave chit.  She got the dog taken care of, she got tickets arranged to get us from place to place.  The whirlwind that is my wife was at peak efficiency.  A week later we show up to get on the Patriot Express…0600…6a.m.  I don’t know that I have ever been more excited in my life…I’m going to pick up my little girl and she is going to come and live with me for a year!!!!!!!!!!!!  August, eh?  Did I mention August is in the middle of PCS(Permanent Change of Station) season.  NO SEATS!!! are you kidding me it’s a 747, my little girl is waiting for me…aaaaaaugh!!!!!!!!!!  Ok, in 2 days there is another plane leaving…got on…to Hawaii.

Hickam Airfield…It’s been awhile since we’ve been here but as we get off the plane and into the terminal to collect our luggage there is an announcement for…North Island, San Diego.  Not exactly where we wanted to go but my best friend in the whole world lives at Pendelton maybe he could pick us up and get us to the train or something…anything.  We manage to get in touch with my mom and she helps us make calls because we will, of course, be in the air.

Come to find out the aircrew is late, they can’t find them…they are on their way home from flying around for 6 months and the last 2 stops, Hickam and North Island…oh boy.  They show up, get us on the plane and take off, C-130.  About 20 minutes from the time they showed to wheels up.  10 hours later….

North Island in the middle of the night and we now have to try and find transportation, phone calls were made blah, blah, blah, my best friend in the whole world shows up.  Sleep, rental, trip to SFO to STL and….

Dad and Hannah

Dad and Hannah

Hannah and the boys

Hannah and the boys

My little girl isn’t quite so little anymore but she is still my little girl.  I suppose most fathers of daughters feel this way.

The trip out to Pick up Hannah at her Aunt and Uncle’s house in St. Louis to bring her back here to Okinawa was, we  believe, PLANNED by God.  Everything fell right into place, from missing the Patriot Express, to my best friend in the whole world picking us up to St. Louis.  Sometimes we had to wait a few minutes to get a car or a ride or the next plane but all in all the trip went so smoothly it is hard to believe.  A plan that was 12 years in the making.

To be continued….

The 10,000 Eisa Dancers

So…the other day Joelle took me out to my first 10,000 Eisa Dancers Festival.  Man was it hot, and the Eisa Dancers were pretty neat as well.  There’s something about hearing all those drums drumming and yelling that shook me from the inside.  To be honest it kinda felt like it did when I went to my first football game where my beloved Dallas Cowboys destroyed the Los Angeles Raiders at the Coliseum.  The thundering in my body gave me chills despite the warm weather.

Anyway, here are a few of the pictures….

Parking

Parking

Pretty cool, you just park your car over this blue thing and then after about 5 minutes the yellow thing pops up and you can’t get out until you pay.

Q

Q

This was right after we got there and Quinn’s hair is already sticking to his head.

T gettin' the info

T gettin' the info

So this is our Friend T, she whipped out her map and started to make communication with the natives so we would know if we were in a good spot or not.  She is great.

Regular people dancing

Regular people dancing

Everyone got involved in the parade and dancing.  These were people from right around where we were standing, there was a woman, a few moments before, helping them with their sequence of dance moves.

Kids

Kids

Even the kids got into the parade and the drumming and dancing.

The Crowd of Dancers

The Crowd of Dancers

Most of my shots of the long street with all the dancers turned out to be pretty bad, this ended up being one of the best if that tells you how bad the others were.  Anyway, really neat to see the long line of dancers all making the same moves at the same time.

Cute girl

Cute girl

This girl caught my eye because she had some good eye contact with all of us standing in the street, and a nice smile…one of the few.

Intense

Intense

As opposed to this guy, who I also thought was interesting because he not only was really into it but had such great, intense facial expressions, I though he was very Maori like.

The Entertainer

The Entertainer

And to not be out done, this guy, from one of the shops near by, when there was a lull in the drumming and dancing came out and…yes…that is a broom…with a flute…or…a flute…with a broom.  Of course then there’s always the stick with a flute on one end and a broom on the other…hmmmmm…curious.

Drumming girl

Drumming girl

This row of people were pretty fun to watch, they have the big drums that make that deep thump, thump, thump.  Again great facial expressions and some nice moves…actually now that I think about it their moves were pretty close to everyone elses moves but I got pictures of these guys and not the others.

It was pretty hot and we were there for about 3 hours we drank lots and of water but it still wasn’t enough.  I think Kira and Joelle ended up with some rash from just being skin to skin and it being so hot.   Despite the heat it was so much fun, we had a great opportunity to get some good, fun pictures, and see another culture celebrate with a huge parade and party. One thing that this reminds me of is how blessed we can be in the military, with all the chances we have to get overseas and experience different cultures and meet new people and have a chance to learn new languages, and see so much of history.  Of course to do this you have to have get off the base, but that’s a different story.

Which one to get??? Aaaaaaaaaugh!!!

So, I don’t know if you have noticed or not but I have gotten into taking pictures.  You see it starts out like this.  I enrolled in this photography class here on Okinawa.  Not a big deal just one of those classes they offer down at the Arts and Crafts Store here on base.  4 classes, 1 a week for 4 weeks.  It ends being taught by this airforce guy that is into photography and really does know quite a bit could be a pro but hasn’t said it yet, he has a job already in the Air Force, photography is more of a hobby.  He shoots Canon and loves it.  He really did make it interesting and quite fun.  I ended up borrowing one of my friend’s cameras for the class (He was with us in England, and now he is with us here in Okinawa and he is a good friend).  Anyway, I borrowed his camera, Canon…again, and have shot in the M mode pretty much ever since.

I’ve got 2 friends here that are pros: one is Aviva, who shoots Canon, and one is Kimberly, who shoots Nikon.  I asked around between the 2, Canon vs. Nikon and liked the answers for Nikon much better.  Of course when you are starting something new like this with opinions galore what kind of questions do you ask?  Ummmm, which one is better?  If that’s not a loaded question I don’t know what is.  But the bottom line, EVERYONE said, was “Whichever one you decide…stick with that.”  My choice…Nikon.  I really have no good reason for that other than my Dad had just gotten a Nikon.

So starts the search.  How do you search for something that you know nothing about, only that you know it’s Nikon?  Ebay?!?  I put in my queries and watched the auctions so I could get a good average price range, Amazon.com, B&H photo and only a few others so I didn’t get overwhelmed.  After all that how did it end?  I just went down to the BX on Kadena and bought one there.  A Nikon D40.

I read some books, and took some pictures and I still, a year later, really have a good time shooting(the camera).  Anyway, so we’re at the Aquarium the other day and we were inside, then hurriedly outside, and I wanted more zoom than I had, blah, blah, blah.  I decided at that point I was definitely getting a bigger zoom lens.  Nikkor and Sigma seem to be the main 2.  Sigma has a new 18-250mm, Bingo.  I’m getting that.  Now, a couple of days later, I’m wondering if that is a good decision.  Maybe I want something like that new Nikkor 50mm prime AF-S lens.  My father-in-law handed me a 70-210mm AF.  Very nice.  Over the last weeks I’ve taken it out and have done some shooting with it, but it is manual focus with my camera and I’ve ended up with some almost fantastic shots.  Just a little blurry.  I think with practice I can get used to that, so now that question is do just keep practicing with that and get the new Nikkor AF-S 50mm prime? or the AF-S 35mm?  Which for the sensor in my camera is what you see with the naked eye?  Those I can get in something around 1.4 or 1.8(that is a technical thing) for some low light situations or portraits type shots and amazing bokeh.

Now I realize that not a lot of people are going to be looking at this, and furthermore most of you aren’t going to really care but I am hoping that by writing this down and reading it will help me to make my mind up.