I’m a Worrier….

So…

One of the things I got, if you believe things like this get passed on, from my mother is that I’m a worrier.  When I was growing up, the bus my brother and I were riding on broke down and we got home late.  Since my mom was a teacher she also got home late but that day she beat us home.  We walked in to her crying and worried sick something had happened to us.  We were fine and really thought is was silly for her to be so worried that the bus broke down and she beat us home.  I mean how crazy is that, buses break down all the time, right?

Today, I was cleaning up some of Moka’s poop in the boys room.  Ya, she doesn’t whine at us when she needs to go out like wonderful Nala did.  Anyway, my phone rang.  Now on my phone I had an alarm sound for the ringtone, I just changed it and gave that one to my wife so I’d know when it rang it was her.  I answered the phone and said hello, a little bit disgusted because I was cleaning up poop. (Mad might be a better word)  Jo was crying and said she was just in a pretty bad accident but she was ok.  Now, I’m typically a slow thinker, sometimes it takes me days to come up with a good response to an argument I had 2 days ago, but when I get calls like this my mind starts  racing super fast.

I mean so fast that by the time she says she’s had the accident I’ve already thought about both the good and the bad.  After she says she’s ok, she starts saying “I killed them all, they’re all dead”.  Ok, bad accident, calling me so she’s ok but everyone else is…what…dead?!?  I try to get out of her  if the kids are ok and it’s like pulling teeth.  I’m about to freak out.  I mean get in my car and drive way to fast up there, calling my mom and having her drive way to fast to get down there, meanwhile I’ve got to call the in-laws and tell them…what?  And while I’m driving.

She, I think, finally heard the panic in my voice and told me they are all ok and the police just got there and she’d call me back when she knew more.

At this point I still didn’t know about the people in the other car, and to be completely honest it’d suck if they had been killed but my concern right then was my family.  I start calling people and when they answered the phone I gave all the pertinent details before I said hello, “Jo was in an accident and is ok, the kids are ok, they’re all ok.”

I made it through about 2 phone calls before I lost it, unfortunately I lost it at Pop’s secretary.  She took it in stride and when I called back I apologized and understood.

They’re all ok, the car is dented pretty good in the back driver’s side by the trunk and the other car ended up getting pretty smashed up.

I’ve been going around the house crying because I could totally have lost my entire family today.  Some things just never get thought of and now I know why…they’re just too horrible to have to think about.  As I’ve been walking through the house I’ve been thinking about being alone again.  And you know what?  I am absolutately terrified of the prospect.  That woman makes this house run, my credit score is 750, or something like that, because of her, we are almost out of debt because of her, I eat good food because of her, I’m back in college because of her, I love photography because of her, I have three wonderful children living with me because of her, she is why I have a relationship with God, she makes my world go ’round and I have no idea what life would be like without her.  Hopefully, and God willing, I will never have to find that out.

Dear Jesus, thank-you for my wife and my family.

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Onward and Upward

So…

That third class I wrote about, you know, that one where I get to show you what I’ve been doing for homework. Well, I finished it this week and I’m not going to tell you I did horribly bad.  I am also not going to tell you I did horribly good either.  Horribly good?  Really?  What does that even mean?  Let’s just say I didn’t do as well as in this class as I did in my first two classes.

It all happened on the last assignment, I was hovering around 93% – 94% ish for the last several weeks and I thought it was ok, an A or A- won’t be the end of the world, my last assignment was worth 300 points and I figured I’d get most of them and keep the A’s going.  My final was a photographic narrative  on the Marriage of culture between the United States and Okinawa.  Pretty neat idea since I live here and it is distinctly Japanese but yet American also.  Anyway, these are some of my images:

The Flags

And

The Shoes

I really like this one.

What a great sign, right?

Jake and one of his good friends, who is Japanese, at their “graduation” from C-san to B-san.

Best Friends

Anyway, there are 16 others that made the final cut, I can show you more if you want.  Maybe I can download to flickr or something like that, hmmmmmmm.  I got a 222/300 on my final.  He just didn’t see the cultures mixing in my pictures.  Of course I completely disagree if he read my write up you can totally see it in my pictures.  His comment on this last picture was that this could be from any school in America.  Really?  I mean seriously!!!!  Any school in America where the kids wear Japanese name tags on their uniforms?  Where are these schools?  My wife is DYING to get Jake in to a Yochien in San Diego but with the pay cut we’re taking it’ll be impossible.

There are two others:

Quinn at the seawall

and…

Kira at the seawall

He said these could be at any beach in California, or maybe it was any beach…regardless he thought they could have been taken anywhere.  Ok, the first one is Nemo, with Dory’s tail with Bruce and the Hammerhead in the back, and way back there is Sponge Bob, overcast day, beach, ok…I’m not going to totally disagree with it, but in my artist statement I do say something about American influence on food, drink and cartoons.  With Quinn being in the pictures I think it kind of makes it a Japanese picture and it should be in the narrative.  The next one with Anpanman or the bread faced guy, is a Japanese cartoon character and I think superhero.  With his bread face saves people from starving by letting them eat his face…What can I say…It’s Japanese.

Anyway, I don’t think he liked me very  much, I can only hope to avoid him in the future.  Kinda like the first time at PUC where you’d hear don’t take ____’s class he’s a jerk, take it from ____ he is much better/easier.

So thanks for letting me rant, I’m sure after I get over this I’ll be a better photographer at least I’ll be one who can shoot pictures of a California coast while in Okinawa.

My Wife….

So…

My wife…is about the most amazing person I know.  She is truly a SUPERHERO to my boys, the girls and me.  Here is what makes her super….

This weekend she had her dreams crushed, I mean destroyed.  She has a picture of our lives and what she wants out of life and how we should be living.  She wants to raise her own chickens, if we could find the land to do it, she’d raise her own cows both for eating and milking.  There would definitely be some sort of garden and probably it would be significant.  We would go to farmers markets and personally know a fishmonger, a butcher and a baker.  We would not have HFCS in our diet, nor would we have Xantham Gum, Monosodium Glutimate(MSG), or maltodextrin.  We would like to eat “Hippie” and with all the other stuff be “Hippie”, to include live in a veritable “Hippie” place.  That was Whidbey Island for Jo.  She has more websites from her research of the place in her bookmarks than I’ve ever had in my life.  She has been researching for months and within the space of one day had it all taken away….

She called her parents, cried, was sad and hasn’t done the dishes.  This is since Friday night…LATE.  Today is Tuesday.  So this is, like, 3 days later.  Now for the new place, she has a website list that rivals (possibly beats) the Whidbey Island list.  She’s already found a place for us to get grass finished beef, she’s found a place for us to live…while we are looking for a house to buy.  She has found schools for the kids to go (Japanese) which are probably to expensive to enroll them into.  She has met with several people, sent e-mails and chatted…did I forget to mention I got sick today, I was going to be a good husband and do the dishes for her.  I got sick, and SHE did the dishes for ME.

She is my friend and the mother to my kids.  She is the keeper and caretaker of my family, she pushes me to new levels, new limits.  I’m back in college, Jake will have an easier time learning Japanese in the future, Quinn is the strongest most coordinated kid in his gymnastics class, and Kira is BE-E -A-U-TIFUL.

She is MY WIFE…MY HERO….

The Stockings were hung….

So, my family is amazing and I love them all.  I know, I know, your family is amazing also, and I completely agree.  I’m not saying my family is better than yours, just simply that mine are amazing.

My Mom and Dad (Grammy and Grampy) have gotten out of their California home several times now and have come to visit us, in Hawaii, England, and here in Japan.  But even though my Dad is from Hawaii, I had to get married to get them to come out for a visit.

Jo’s Mom (GranDee) is world class.  She’s come 3 times to Japan, 2 of those times were to take care of her girl after pushing 2 whoppers out.  Quinn 10 pounds 10 ounces, Kira 9 pounds 12 ounces, both with no drugs. She came to England and even drove on the right side of the road, not the right side but the right side.  Haha, sorry that’s a little bit of humor from us who drive on the left hand side of the road.

Then there’s Joelle’s Dad & Judi (Pop and Grandma Judi), they are supportive in everything we do, they’ve come to visit us wherever we’ve been, but none of these people are the story.

The woman I would like to tell you about tonight isn’t EVEN technically related to us.  She is Joelle’s dad’s wife’s mother (step grandmother???), but she has taken us in and treated us like we are her own.  We keep having kids and she keeps doing these incredible things.   This is not to take anything away from any of the other grandparents and family but this woman is 86 years old and still going strong.  She is Grandma Jones and this is the kind of thing she spends her days doing for my kids.  This arrived two days ago, just in time to be stuffed with goodies for Christmas:

Kira's Stocking

And get this… she has handmade these for ALL of the kids….

Here’s Hannah’s:

Love it

Jake’s…

I love the bowling pins hangin' on by a thread.

And Quinn’s…

My favorite Candy Cane tree decorations.

Wow, is all I can say.  She’s always a delight when we visit, she always makes conversations with the boys and keeps at it until they finally open up to her.  She’s welcomed us into HER family and we are thankful.  We love you Grandma Jones and we are happy to be apart of your family.

Koza Seibo Yochien Undokai

Ko-za Say-bo Yo-chi-e-n U-n-do-ka-i.  Meaning Koza Seibo Catholic Preschool SPORTS DAY!!!!!!!!  And it is HUGE.  It’s almost like a mini Olympics with races, performances and dances.  Undokai is a part of every school in Japan, and has been since the Olympics were in Tokyo.

Things got started pretty early for a Sabbath day and started off with a sort of opening ceremony.  The coolest part is they have the kids do some of the speaking on a microphone in front of everyone.

Opening announcements

Opening announcements

Marching around the track

Opening Ceremony parade

And then there’s the dancing, it took Jake a moment to warm up to the idea of participating in the singing and dancing but he sure didn’t take as long as he normally does to warm.

Jake doing the opening dance

Jake doing the opening dance

This is one of Jake's friends S.

This is one of Jake's friends C.

This is C, one of Jake’s classmates, we met her mom and dad at another event the school had.

So after all of that dancing and opening announcement stuff, it was finally time for some of the sports stuff.  Jake got to run a race.  They had the kids who were next to run get into these rings on the ground, a sort of on deck runner circle.

The on deck runner's circle

The on deck runner's circle

On your mark…get set….

Look at that stance, doesn't he just look fast.

Look at that stance, doesn't he just look fast.

GO!!!!!!!!!

I'm runnin' I'm runnin'

I'm runnin' I'm runnin'

1/2 way ’round the track and he is in first place.  He’s wearin’ the red hat.

He's winning

He's winning

This is where my son starts looking around to see where everyone else is and just enjoy everyone clapping for him.  Normally this is ok if you are this far ahead, however, Jake has a tendency to stop doing what he’s doing, in this case running, or winning.  You gotta love that at this age winning and losing doesn’t matter to them, only to us older folks.  Ahhhhh, the innocence.

Oh….and the win!!!!!!

He actually managed to come across first.

He actually managed to come across first.

We got to take a break and have some lunch.  Taba-san made it in time to see some of the running and dancing, she even brought some fruit for the boys.  She’s totally cool and has really become a part of our family, she speaks to Jake in Japanese and he blushes.

Our mama-san came to check out the activities

Our mama-san came to check out the activities

After lunch there was a dance for the mamas/daddys and the kids.

Dancing with mama

Dancing with Mama

They even put on a show with the A-sans (5 & 6 year olds) as Eisa dancers playing with drums and dancing and all just like the ones down in Naha.

The kiddos doing Eisa dancing...pretty cool

The kiddos doing Eisa dancing...pretty cool

We all got to have some shaved ice, during the Eisa performance.

Jake and C having some shaved ice

Jake and C having some shaved ice

It was a good day. There was a relay race at the end that involved the parents.  We won(the red team), one guy came trucking around the turn and wiped out just like several of the kids did on their race.  That must have made them feel a bit better.  The weather was coolish, it sprinkled a bit around lunch time.  It was a very well prepared day, lots of practicing and planning must’ve gone into it.  Trying to communicate between Japanese who speak a bit of English and Americans who speak a bit of Japanese was a fun challenge.  They give the kids Monday off as a holiday from the sports day.

Of course everyone was a winner.

Nice job buddy

Nice job buddy

Jake struck this pose without any prompting from me, but it sums up the success of the day.

So…What ABOUT Bob??

So….  While GranDee was here, we got to go to this place called “The Cottages at Ourawan Beach”.  It is way up at Camp Schwab, now way up  can mean a couple of different things.  Consider, in this case, that I’ve lived on an island for my last 3 duty stations, that is 10 years or so, and in that time things have gotten a bit skewed.  Like if I have to be in the car for 45 minutes…whew…man…what a drag…such a long trip.

Anyway, as you could’ve probably guessed it is at a beach, a small beach, but nice enough especially during the week…all the marines are at work during the morning/afternoon.  So we were pretty much alone the 6 of us.

I don’t really know how this came about, but Quinn and GranDee came back from down the  beach with Quinn holding a hermit crab named Bob.  And it wasn’t just a hermit crab named Bob… it was that all hermit crabs ARE Bob.

DAD:  Hey Quinn, whacha got there?

QUINN:  Bob

DAD:  Oh, I thought it was a hermit crab.

QUINN:  (Head shakes no) Bob

DAD:  So the hermit crabs name is Bob?

QUINN:  (Head shakes yes) Bob

An unknown quantity of time passes(Like 5 minutes) and we are back at the water.

DAD:  Hey Quinn, where’s Bob?

QUINN:  (points in the general direction of mama)

JAKE:  Hey dad, look it’s Bob.  Quinn it’s Bob.

QUINN:  BOB!!!!!!

JAKE:  Dad, another Bob.

QUINN:  Bob!!!!

This is Bob

This is Bob

Another Bob

This also is Bob

Look, it's Bob.

Look, it's Bob.

And....Bob

And....Bob

I was walking along with Jake when all of sudden I see this little thing on the sand skitter away from where I was walking.  I looked real fast but it was to late to see so I just kept on my merry way…there it is again…hmmmmm, I wonder what that could be?!?  Certainly not Bob.  The next time I see the movement I stop and look, really fast ’cause this time I’m prepared.

Could this be Bob's cousin....Mike, or Tom?

Could this be Bob's cousin....Mike, or Tom?

I don’t know but he was hard to see and he could run in bursts really, really fast.

There were some rocks nearby the boys got to go and climb around on…it was a super good day.

Handsome boy

Handsome boy

Grrrrrrrrr

Grrrrrrrrr

We had a couple of days there at the Cottages, they are pretty nice.  It’s a short walk down to the beach, during the week you pretty much have left over people from the weekend, or the early weekend starters.  The night scenery is nice, there is a light house you can see and a hotel across the bay.  The boys were great, I got to grill and make pancakes, and not be at work, and Jo got to rest, and GranDee got to play with the boys, and Kira…  well, she slept and nursed and pooped.

A great time was had by all.

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.