Keeping up with our busy Navy lives....wherever we live :)

Monday, February 1, 2016

Independence!

Well the day finally came to separate these two rug rats--they have been sharing a room for nearly three years!
The bedtime shenanigans were becoming too much to handle......
As in they giggle......warning after warning until I lose my mind!!!!
So to avoid losing my mind......we have cut off the fun.....at night!
Plenty of other hours in the day to play.
So far they are each enjoying the independence!!
And night one was a success! PHEW

Sleepover!!!!

 We had our first Japan sleepover this past Saturday!
I had 4 other girls over, making 6 girls total in our 1200sq ft townhouse!
LOTS of giggles!! Ages 4-9!!
I swapped an overnight with two friends who had a command event to attend in Tokyo!
We have our own event coming up in March, so that way I have an overnight sitter secured as well! 
It makes it so much easier to scratch each others backs.....then scramble for a sitter! Saves a buck too!
 Abby had the kids doing her volcano experiment for at least an hour!!!
 And Headbandz was a huge success! They loved it!!
......in the end, we all survived, but I must say I was TIRED.

Daughter Snuggles

I was so glad to snuggle these two on the couch Friday morning after a VERY busy 3 days back to the working field! I commuted for training to a neighboring base and was gone 12+ hours all three days! Luckily the kids had Friday off so we all got to relax a bit and get errands done! 

Wowsers

The girls LOVE this magnetic tile gift they received this year. It has been keeping them very busy!
Look, NO electronics!!! Hah! The challenge has been to build the tower as tall as possible using all pieces possible. This thing is amazingly sturdy then crashes when you touch it!
Always recreating!! FUN FUN

SUSHI!

Mike and the other 3 department heads and the Executive Officer of the squadron met for a sushi dinner out last week! This Chef, Nakamaru has a well known sushi restaurant where he wines and dines a LOT of the military!
Finally Mike went somewhere BEFORE me!!! I'm super jealous, I know he puts out amazing sushi!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Employed!!

I'm very excited to share that I start a new job tomorrow Jan 26th!!
It was an opportunity that literally fell in my lap! I was not searching for employment, but it seemed like a great fit and a great way to get my foot into the job market door after 9 years of not working since I was pregnant with Abby! 

Background-- So while we were at the theater in Tokyo in December Mike happened to sit next to an American who lives on a neighboring base near us. She asked if he thought I would be interested in the position or at least willing to spread the job opening announcement. Not thinking much of it I said sure, that is likely just share it with my group of friends here. But after thinking about it, more and more it made sense that I take the leap and try something new. 

It's a very minimal commitment, only 3 days per month! I will be teaching a course curriculum that is mandatory for retiring service members to take before leaving service. Teaching resume building, job search skills, etc, etc. 

It's a fixed curriculum so I'm not reinventing the wheel!!

Anyhow I just wanted to share the new venture with everyone!! 
This week I have three days of training to shadow another instructor, and then next week I teach my first class. 

35 has arrived--and going to be great

Loved celebrating my birthday a day early on Sunday, as a family...together!! Gift enough. But these two picked out special gifts for me to make things extra special. 
Maddy got me new super soft socks, and Abby picked out new lotion!! Love my girls!! And their dad who facilitates this process each year. He's the best!!
Birthday dinner--ribs I made in the pressure cooker!! 
My awesome gift from Mike was a annual subscription to DrLaura to download all her podcasts!! I've definitely missed her commentary for the last year we've been without satellite radio!! Now I'm plugged in and can listen anytime, especially while I'm cooking!! 
The delicious cake Mike and the girls picked out at the Japanese Baskin Robbins! 9 cube---9 squares of different flavors!! 
We omitted the first 30 candles to keep with the fire code!! Too dangerous!!
Mid thirties here I come!! 

Family that plays together.....

Love how interested the girls are whenever dad picks up his guitar!! 
I already apologized in advance to our direct neighbors for the eventual noise disturbances!! Luckily she has young boys who I'm sure are just rocking out in their bedroom on the other side of the wall!! Hopefully!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Beer Me!

Because you just can't make this stuff up!
Beer vending machines at the spa we visited last weekend!! 
Talk about instant gratification and no ID check :) Of course Mike got one!!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Snow Surprise

We woke up to an unexpected 2+ inches of slushy snow this morning!! Not at all in the forecast!! 
Our back patio
Front walk 
The kids were really surprised when they awoke to the white stuff 

Sumo Tournament

Today's adventure was to Tokyo for our first Sumo tournament. These tournaments sell out fast, and luckily I planned ahead and bought tickets the day they went on sale because I wanted a weekday that Mike and the kids had off. One less thing on the must do list for next winter. 

The only problem with today was last night we got an unexpected 2+ inches of snow!! So, that threw a wrench in our train scheduling and road conditions. As if traveling to Tokyo on 90 minutes of trains isn't hard enough. Add in weather delays and it's more like 180 minutes of travel. 

This was a great experience and I hope we can go again next uear!! 
But we got there!! 
I opted for chair seats.....but they do offer "box seats" on the lower level where you sit Indian style for hours on end. I've come to the realization that American legs just can't do that!!! 
The arena view from our seats. Didn't need binoculars! 
Start of a match
Beginning of a new round....they parade on the stage in their outfits 
Then they turn around!! 

Hakone Spa Day

Yesterday we did a base tour to Hakone to a spa! It has amazing and fun flavored baths!! Plus some outdoor water slides and grotto type hot spas!! 
Hakone is well known for the healing and nurturing effects of its natural hot springs so many people venture there often to the Japanese bed and breakfast hotels to soak up the local waters. 
The coffee bath! They pour real coffee into in a few times a day. 
The rose bath!! So fragrant and full of real floating roses!!
The wine bath!! They pour real wine into it throughout the day! 
The Sake bath!! Real sake drips from the spout slowly 
And they had an add on fish spa!! You get five minutes of soaking where the little fish suckle and eat the dead skin off your feet and legs! We all loved it!! A must do!! 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Donna and Henry visit Japan

Our near two week visit with Grandma Donna and Henry came to an end last night! After 13 full days of sightseeing, amazingly warm winter weather, and lots of memories made.....they made it home to the good 'ol USA!! And I was so proud to hear that after two weeks of traveling on trains in Japan they even managed to get to the airport via a train all on their own!! 
The moment they arrived the girls stole Henry's accessories
Big Buddha at Kamakura 
Street food in Yamato
We had an amazing three day visit to Hiroshima!! No kids!! Just the three of us
We travelled via the Shinkansen bullet train from Tokyo to Hiroshima (3:45 travel time). So now I can say I've done that!!
Hiroshima Castle
Look we found a real live Samurai!!!!
On the outside deck of the 5th floor of the castle 
The castle at night 
Atomic bomb dome site (at night)
Shrine with many torii gates
We tried Okonomiyaki in Hiroshima! It's a dish traditionally with egg, a very thin battered pancakes, cabbage and pork and sauce all layered.....but in Hiroshima they do it with noodles too! 
Took a ferry to Miyajima Island-- floating torii gate
The island is well known for fresh oysters! We saw the beds in the ocean as we crossed over. I had them three ways on the island! Deep fried, grilled, and in a curry steam bun!! All absolutely delicious!
The four of us went out for El Torito in Yokohama! And walked through China Town afterward 
Then on our last day in Tokyo we went to the top of the Tokyo Tower! (A little dark, but you can see the view of the city scape behind)

Mike, Allison, Abby and Roxy Smith

Living life in beautiful Virginia Beach, VA!