Sunday, September 30, 2012

Jelawat fun

What to do when the power goes out?  Eat melting ice cream and play around with flashlights, of course!!

Me trying to get the camera settings right

Rave party!


Isaac looking super spooky
We lost power off and on in the early morning.  Then the power went completely down from about 10am to 2am.

Although we've been through some good sized hurricanes at Camp Lejeune, I don't think we've ever had a direct hit like this.  Video of the wind in the back side of the typhoon:

Here's a car getting tossed through the air (**I updated the link with the original video that gives credit to the Marine, Joseph Nolan, who shot the video on Camp Kinser.)

A link to AFN Okinawa's pictures.  Lots of car damage and effed up sheds (so glad we got ours installed by the Makeman crew!  Definitely worth the extra yen!!)

Hoping this is the last big storm of the season.  Although we got a lucky break and missed three typhoons being away in Oregon, I just don't feel like doing this again any time soon.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

We're back!

The island hoppers have returned!  I'll try to get caught up soon but unpacking and laundry and the general resuming of life after two months away has been keeping us busy.

Our space a return was much, much smoother than the first trip (although I do have to say Chris was one lucky ducky and got on the Patriot Express flight to Seattle on his very first try).  I bought commercial tickets from Portland to Honolulu a few months ago and reserved four nights at the Hale Koa resort for a short vacation.  And I was dead on - we arrived in Hawaii on Monday night and left Friday afternoon, exactly four nights.  There was supposedly a flight to Kadena on Tuesday morning (not sure if it actually left or not, the Hickam Facebook page didn't post a report).  Then our flight to Kadena was delayed from Wednesday to Thursday morning, then to Thursday night, then Friday morning, to finally Friday afternoon.  (We were sitting in the terminal debating spending longer on Oahu or taking a couple of days in Guam.  A little bummed we didn't get to see Guam but also glad that we didn't have to fuss any more with the uncertainties of space a)

Our flight from Hickam to Kadena was on a KC-135.  Again, I read that this plane was very cold.  I bought an extra blanket and hauled a carry on packed with jackets and hoodies so we'd have a chance at staying warm.  Nope!  Maybe it's just my luck, but again this flight was disgustingly hot!  Although the floor and the windows were definitely un-insulated and freezing, we must have been near some sort of exhaust or heater and spent most of the flight uncomfortably hot.  As I told our family, it felt like sitting in lawn chair next to an extremely loud dryer vent for about 9 hours.  The other passengers sitting just a couple seats away from us spent the entire flight bundled in hats, fleece and blankets, so the heat definitely seemed to be contained to just part of the plane.  

Just like everything else with space a, be ready for anything.  Dress in plenty of layers and be prepared for any extreme.  And most importantly remember - free is a very good price!!  (Overall, we spent about $2000 on airfare - a quarter of what we would have spent flying commercial from Naha to Seattle or Portland.  And about $600 on hotels - basically five nights in Waikiki.  So overall, I'm very pleased with our space a experience!)

A hot and unhappy Isaac sitting on the crates of gear

An evil looking Owen in our cargo net seats

I think there's usually space on the floor for sleeping but our mission was hauling medical equipment and most of the cargo space inside the plane was taken up by crates.  The floor of the plane was basically a freezer (I literally used the floor as a refrigerator to keep our boxed lunches ice cold), so without heavy blankets I don't see how that would be comfortable.

Owen co-piloting...
And down in the refueling boom control area

Sad to see our summer adventure come to an end but very glad to be back home in Okinawa (even if there's a cat 2 typhoon heading our way!)

Monday, September 24, 2012


Thursday, we woke up to find our flight was delayed once again.  We went from a roll call at 7am pushed back to 4pm, then finally to 10am on Friday.

I took the boys out for breakfast and swimming while Chris got caught up on work.  Owen had fun chasing the fish at the lagoon and Isaac ate plenty of sand.  On the way back to our room, I saw signs for a luau that night.  The Hale Koa's luau was one of the cheapest (about half the price of the one at the Hilton) and the kids were free, so I figured why not.

We arrived that night greeted by free drinks and shell leis.  Most of the guests were wearing Hawaiian shirts and dresses.  Kicking myself for not thinking to bring my grandmother's amazing muu muus from the 60s!

Trays of punch and mai tais

I was surprised to see several activity stations set up on the lawn - I thought we were just getting dinner and show.  From making a lei with orchids to getting temporary tattoos on his arms, Owen loved all the fun.

Owen practicing Polynesian dance moves

Cocktail hour music

The dinning area and stage

Since I booked last minute tickets, our seats for the show weren't the best.  The meal was good, with a little variety of Hawaiian foods, and big enough to share with boys.  The entertainers were funny and we loved watching all the dancers.  Maybe next time the boys will be old enough and we'll go all out with the show at the Polynesian Center (we also promised Owen a ride on the submarine and swimming with the dolphins), but the Hale Koa's luau was great for us.

The bar

We packed our bags and got ready to say aloha to Hawaii in the morning...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Day 2 in Hawaii

After a full day of relaxing in the sun and a wide open schedule thanks to space a flight delays, Chris decided to book us on a short afternoon tour.  A bit cheesy but no worries about renting a car, directions and traffic, deciding where to go and all that.

Hanauma Bay

Makapuu Point

Another great family photo


Watching the sunset from the Hilton's bar

Another wonderful day!

Thursday, September 20, 2012


We said our goodbyes to my family and boarded our flight to Honolulu Monday night.

I hedged our space-a bets and booked flights from PDX to Honolulu ahead of time instead of hoping and waiting to get on a flight out of California or Alaska and needing last minute airfare.  Plus, we got a short vacation in Hawaii - not too shabby!

At the Honolulu airport, no joke, we took a limo to the resort.

Big pimpin, bitches
(Okay, it was the next in line at the taxi stand and could fit the car seats.  Whatever.  Not going to stop me from feeling like Beyonce.)

The Hale Koa is beautiful!  Because we've never stayed at one of the military resorts before, I wasn't sure what to expect.  But the grounds and beach were above what I was hoping for.

The Hale Koa lobby

Looking over Gus

Gus, the banyan tree

The beautiful flowers at Hale Koa

Dad scaring Owen after walking through the "spooky trees"

The view from our room was wonderful!  I never realized that Hawaii had such amazing mountains.  Although we could see the ocean (a blue water view, as my dad would call it) and part of the gardens, I couldn't stop looking at the clouds and the mountains just beyond the skyline.

Our view

And of course, the wonderful beach!  After all the moving and grooving in Oregon, all I wanted to do was relax and hang out by the water.  No big itineraries, no elaborate plans, just a whole lot of nothing.

Looking towards the Hilton

The Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon

Little fishies in the lagoon

Monday, September 17, 2012

Enchanted Forest

Our last full day in Oregon was spent at Enchanted Forest.  

I went once when I was a little kid (probably about 25 years ago).  I thought it was super cheesy and rinky-dink back then, so I've never wanted to go back.  But Jason suggested a trip for the kiddos and we agreed that it might be fun for them.

Pleasantly surprised, I thought it was like a mini-Busch Gardens!

The castle at the beginning of the park

Snow White's cottage

The Wicked Witch 

The Old Woman and the Shoe slide

The kids rides were so much fun!  And we were even able to squeeze in some adult fun on the log ride.

Saying good bye to Chris's family was tough (wishing we could sneak Linnea home with us in a suit case!) but hopefully we'll be stationed back on the West Coast soon.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The big day

Keenan and Lori's wedding was amazing.  They are so cute and fun and quirky - and their day suited them perfectly!

Owen, the adorable ring bearer
Gorgeous centerpieces
Watching the sunset before the ceremony  

The ceremony had me laughing and crying.  Especially Lori talking about the 5 minutes between when the Tohoku earthquake hit and when she found Keenan.  And then the cute reading from Mr Rogers by Keenan's best man, Martin (makes me feel crazy old thinking of them having sleepovers together in middle school!)

Grandpa is ready to party!
The happy couple
Congrats, you crazy kids!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Owen's 3rd Birthday

Owen's birthday is at the end of August and we were lucky enough to have the chance to celebrate at home in Oregon again.

He's been obsessed with trucks, especially big ones like dump trucks and bulldozers, so I decided on a construction theme.  Thanks to my dad being a contractor, we had plenty of real construction supplies on hand for decorations.

The decorations

Isaac loving the bubble/backhoe combo

One example, I made some temporary coffee tables out of my dad's supplies.  He had several plywood boards laying in a scrap pile.  I placed the boards on top of his extra Homer buckets, and viola - tables!  To dress them up, I simply duct taped strips of orange table cloths to the top.


But my dad's biggest contribution: his Bobcat!  With Owen's help, he dug up an old tree stump in the yard.  Owen was in heaven!  (And I think Grandpa had a pretty good time as well!)

Grandpa's big surprise!

My new sister-in-law, Lori, made another amazing cake.  She had three tiers of chocolate cake for Owen's 3rd birthday.  So cute and so delicious!

One happy birthday boy!