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.

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The Decision

So….

Thanks to my wonderful parents, which also includes the in-laws, GranDee, Pop, and Grandma Judi, I have 2 new lenses for my camera.  They are the new Nikkor 50mm prime.

the Nifty fifty

and the zoom.

the 55-200 Vibration Reduction Zoom

I also have been encouraged to head back to school and get a degree.  I am having a hard time keeping up with posting here, working and going to school.  Something has to give.  I’ll try and keep posting some pictures to my picasa web album, I’ve got a few in there from when I first got my camera and I just put a few in there last-night when I posted some pictures with my Career Profile.  I’m not saying I’m quitting just probably slowing down for a couple of weeks.

On that note, we drove for an hour to go to a couple of places this weekend for an adventure, but I ran into a problem I’ve never have before and I hope to never have again.  More on that in a sec.

And this adventure wouldn’t be complete without one of those crazy phallic symbols I love so much with all the Kanji

The crazy Kanji phallus thing

From there it’s a short walk up a stone path

The short walk up a stone path

The greenery was green, the path was stone, maybe a little slippery but I had my sneaks on so I was confident.  Jo was waiting at the top pointing to something and I kept looking up and back to see what in the world she was being so mysterious about.  I couldn’t see a dog-gone thing, I’m walking up there looking back thinking to myself WHAT, WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT!!!!!!  WHAT?????  They waited patiently at the top of the stone path….

Waiting patiently for Dad.

When I got to the top of the short stone path she pointed to a tree and said look butterflies, can you see them.  I turned and I still couldn’t see anything.  So…I got my camera out and zoomed in…sure enough, butterflies.  I took 2 pictures.

One

and

Two

Now at this point my back LCD comes on and doesn’t seem to be going off.  Wait I didn’t push any buttons, and I’m trying to take some pictures of butterflies, I turn it off.  I’m getting ready to take another picture and it comes back on.  What the heck???  You stupid SOB camera, stay off, I’m trying to capture the beauty of the butterflies here.  It comes back on, now at this point I’m starting to get angry, but this time I really take the time to look at what is going on.

Earlier in the day, just before we left the house, I thought I’d put my spare battery in so I could take some practice pics on the way down and make sure I have my White Balance set correctly and which one is going to be better for shade or clouds or bright sun.  As I search through my camera bag I’m realizing I took the battery out and put the fresh one in while we were camping last weekend.  I put the other one on to charge when we got rained out and moved into the room.  Hmmmmmm, the spare wasn’t in my bag like I’d thought it was.  In fact I still can’t find it.

So…as I looked at the back display I noticed the battery symbol was blinking, “oh that can’t be good”, I tried to turn it off and then back on and focus, no joy.  I tried turning the back display off and focus, sorry Charlie.  I almost threw it down the short stone path, totally could’ve made it to the bottom, to see if the jarring would work but thought better of that.  You’ve got to be kidding me.  My battery is dead and I can’t find my spare.  Even if the spare had 1/2 a charge I could get through the day with it.  This is the first stop.  Unbelievable…I looked through my camera bag 3 times there at the top of the short stone path, and my camera bag isn’t that big.

Lesson learned.  Keep better track of the battery packs.  Maybe get an extra one for the extra one. A veritable backup for the backup for the backup.  A double or triple back up.  Speaking of backups, I should think about getting some extra memory cards also.  I don’t shoot in RAW yet but I will probably start, that will cut down on the amount of pictures I can take.  Aaaaaaaaugh.  Back ups and back ups for my back ups.  This is crazy.

That is the latest adventure we’ve had here in Okinawa, I’ll make sure I keep you posted on what is going on in this tropical island paradise.  Even if I am a little slow in doing so.  Especially since we are quickly approaching the next step in our island adventures, Whidbey Island.(but that’s a different post)