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Monday, September 29, 2014

My journey to finding a babysitter.

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Last week I needed a baby sitter for the first time since Evey was born. Besides once or twice being left with immediate family, she has never been left with anyone. I wasn't looking forward to it, and even with a few weeks notice I was still unsure how to go about it.Paul came home from work with  bad news, shortly after I gave him my school schedule, telling him the nights I needed him home, he found out he was going to be gone for an entire work week. Not that big of a deal, I can miss two days of school. Wait.... Nope.,... Midterm that week. If I miss it, it can seriously negatively impact my grade.

Panic set in. What am I supposed to do? I need to go to class? First I asked my teacher if I could bring my daughter to class with me. HA HA HA! Yes I'm crazy. I can barely even get homework done with her around, let alone focus on a midterm. My Professor (obviously) said no. I was very concerned. I don't have many contacts here in California. I knew my parents were coming to visit the weekend before, but I didn't want them to delay and screw up their vacation by asking them to stay an extra 4 days.

So I turned to Facebook I know how crazy that sounds, and I didn't post in an open forum "hey what stranger wants to watch my kid". I have a group of ladies I really trust, we have similar parenting styles, and they are local. So I asked for recommendations. Right away I had a girl recommended to me. She is a Marine Wife, she previously worked in child care, and she was really close, like I could walk there close. Also she has her own baby, so Evey would have someone to play with. 

I had her come over for an interview, I let her play with Evey and she told me about herself. It actually worked out perfect, she showed up just as my washing machine started to vomit foam, so I was able to see her occupy Evey so I could handle the disaster in my laundry room. Okay, maybe that's not perfect. But it worked out anyway. I really like her, and I could even see us being friends, because we both have similar parenting styles. So I scheduled her in. 

The week of babysitting was stressful, not only did I have a heavy workload for school, and a midterm, but Paul was gone from Monday morning to Friday night. But despite all of the stress and anxiety, Evey's first (and second) babysitter experiences went off perfectly. Neither of us cried. I really didn't expect her to, but I was pretty sure I would, if I hand't been so distracted by school I probably would have. And I am going to schedule Evey for a few more days, during the day, for weeks I have papers due, so I can focus without her getting into shit and distracting me. We are also probably going to have a play date so Evey doesn't think every time we go the sitters house she is being left there. Only time will tell, but I may have gotten a friend out of the deal too!

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Random thoughts from college student.




Taking two history classes isn't a big deal. Taking two history classes, which are both set in different formats (two schools, two different online programs) can get a little confusing. Especially when the assignments start to mirror each other. This last two weeks both classes have been focusing on sources. Where you find your history, and I keep mixing up the assignments. Or forgetting which class I am currently working on. The classes are totally different too, one is World history and the other is Historical Methods, so learning how to be a historian and analyze the information history gives you. The historical methods class is reaallllyy boring. It's also a condensed 8 week course, so it's roughly double time. Twice the boring work in half the time. Lots of boring articles to read.

One class the teacher does not want discussion submissions to contain attachments, in the other class the teacher encourages them. One class One teacher wants sources done in one way, and another teacher wants them another way, and the methods teacher says that all history papers (ever) should be sourced her way (and I remember another history teacher telling us this too, so she is right, I think). One class wants submissions on discussions and assignments all turned in my Sunday night (the end of the "online class week") the other wants initial discussions in by Saturday and further discussion with other students until Tuesday. I know I am going to drop the ball on a deadline and have no one to blame but myself. 



On top of all this silliness I am trying to keep up in Japanese, and doing quite well I must say. And trying to maintain a household and happy child. Who is causing me to be a little extra sleep deprived this week, Mini Me has taken to waking up about 3-4 AM and trying to stay awake, and it takes quite a bit of work to get her back to sleep only to have her wake up at 7am totally wide awake and ready to conquer the world. And I have been up studying past 1am every night this week.I'm a bit overwhelmed at the moment, that's why the blog is particularly sparse. I'm still here, holding on.


Google image search overwhelmed, this guy doesn't look as overwhelmed. as he looks like he just found nude pics of someone he didn't want to see nude. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Baked Avocado egg



I have seen this all over pinterest and a couple facebook friends have made it, so I thought I would give it a try. Avocado and Eggs, two of my favorite foods, what could possibly go wrong? 

I read these two recipes for my inspiration: All Recipes Baked Avocado Egg and Fit Sugar Baked Egg Avocado. They were the first two hits on google, and really I was mostly looking for baking temp and time. 

So I prepped my avocado, put in my egg, and popped it in the oven. 425* for 15 min (my egg actually took about 18m to set) 
topped it with Mortons seasoning salt, pepper and sriracha

Meh. 
It wasn't good. I think my problem was the warm avocado. That was kind of gross actually. I tried all the hot sauce in the world and I still struggled to choke down the warm avocado. 

I think I'll stick to For The Love Of Cooking's tried and true Mini Frittatas when I want baked eggs. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

My thoughts on college as a 30 something


I have been in and out of school as an adult for about 7 years now. Since we left Okinawa in 2010 it's been strictly online. This year I decided to complete some lower level classes at a local community college, to save money and to get a face to face learning experience. Especially with languages, I need someone talking to me, no way can I do that online.

So this semester I walked into a classroom, at a community college, as a 30 something. My first thought was that I was the oldest person there, even older than the teacher. "OMG I am older than the teacher" I think is was the text I sent my sister after I took my seat. Although this ended up not being true, she is the same age as me, and there is also one student older than both of us, at 35. Still I feel very old sitting in a classroom full of 19 and 20 year olds. I also found myself looking at some of the students and just shaking my head, "who would wear that", or "gosh you are so immature" are some of the thoughts I have frequently.

My class, Japanese 101, is mostly full of first year college students, who don't quite know how to behave in a classroom, but my teacher has to shhh! the class numerous times a day. Also they frequently interrupt the teacher or speak out of turn. Many students have a basic idea of Japanese culture from anime, and lots of students make anime references in class. I try to not sound pretentious, but there is so much more to Japanese culture than anime. I usually keep to myself in class because I don't want to stick out as the older student that thinks she knows everything.

So far things have been going well, I have my first of 4 exams tonight, which I should be studying for, but instead I am writing about. At least I have my oral portion memorized:

Hajimamashte Alana desu. 
_school name omitted_ diagaku no gakuse desu.
san nensi desu. senku wa rekishi desu. 
sanjuni sai desu. Yoroshiku onegoshimas.

can you read that? I introduce myself, state I am a college student at _university_, I am a third year student, and my major is history, then my age and nice to meet you. At least that's what it's supposed to say. I hope that's right.

My other two classes are online, both history classes, one is world history since 1400 and the other is historical methods, learning about why history is important and such. The methods class starts Monday and has it's first paper due Friday. The other one has a paper due this Sunday, and I haven't even started thinking about it. This is going to be a long weekend. Plus I need to find a back up sitter for when Paul has to work and can't be home when I need to go to school.

School takes up a lot of time, I didn't realize this until I recently, trying to do homework and study with a very active almost two year old, climbing all over me. Who is now waking up from her nap and I still haven't studied, or finished my homework. So I guess I shall sign off for today, I need to try to get her back to sleep and at least finish my homework. Tell me about your experiences going back to school as an adult. I'd love to hear about how you handle time management, especially with a toddler. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

How are we?


I feel like I haven't really done much of an update in a while. So here goes, an update, in mostly pictures

Evey has learned to be sassy and stubborn
"hey, at least i'm not standing on the table anymore..."

but remains cute as hell

We BBQ a LOT, like almost every weekend for the last month
ymmm Ribs

We have started to think about maybe potty training (someday)

We have breakfast with dinosaurs sometimes 

I am cooking much more frequently than in Montana

The weather is pretty nice 

I am still trying desperately to drop a few pounds

desperately

happy mornings (not too early usually, thankfully)

But all in all we are having a good time, and getting along pretty well in cali. 
It's not what we expected, but hey, it's not snowing either, so there's that! 

hiding those roots

Not even 10am and I have already built a bed #toddlerlife #momoftheyear #isitnaptimeyet
Ikea is going to put me in the poor house, good thing it's over an hour away and surrounded by crazy traffic, or I would be there every day.

I'm gonna miss my Jeep, but this is way more practical. #toyota #corolla #newtome
 I can't forget Little Red! We traded in my beloved Hello Kitty Mobile (Jeep Patriot) for a much more gas friendly Toyota Corolla! Also, Yay for no more transmission problems! (briefly mentioned here)



Oh and I am starting school soon. Gotta finish someday right? Two classes start this month, and one next month, and that's all I've got planned until spring. Wish me luck! 


Saturday, August 2, 2014

What I Miss Most - Okinawa


If you haven't seen Rambling of a Marine Wife's post What I Miss Most- go read it first,  I can almost mirror her post, but I'll try to make mine different. 

If you have been a follower for any period of time you know I love Okinawa, I love Japan, and we are holding out hope we will someday return to Japan. But for now I have to live vicariously through friends who currently live there and share all the pictures of their adventures on facebook. And I have my own pictures, they document probably the most fun and adventurous three two years and 9 months of our lives. I frequently look back at Okinawa with fond memories of good friends, great food, and so many adventures. I wish I had been more active on my blog during that time so I would have more detailed stories to go with those pictures. 

So without further adieu : 

The things I miss most from Okinawa 
(in no particular order) 


Vending Machines EVERYWHERE
Even in the middle of nowhere. I had at least 3 very close to my house, less than a 2 minute walk.  My favorite drinks were, Fanta orange, Aquarius (like a gatorade, but a very mild, refreshing flavor) and Sanpincha (a jasmine-y tea that is also delicious, unsweetened and very refreshing on a hot humid day.) Sanpincha was probably my favorite of all, the best one is in the Yellow CocaCola can with the shisa and hibiscus on it. And in the winter (or in some machines year round) you could get hot coffee too! A cute little can of Georgia Cafe au lait to start your day! 


Georgia Coffee. Yummy/

 Bike rides along the coast
I was lucky and both while living on base and off base I was very close to the ocean. Oh wait, on Okinawa you are always very near the ocean... But I was super close, less than a mile I would say. When we moved off base, and Paul deployed, I picked up bike riding as a way to spend my day (and maybe to get to and from the izykaya without driving.) I would frequently spend HOURS out exploring on my bike, going 20 miles in a day was pretty common. 

The Festivals
One of the things I could never get enough of is all the festivals, it seems like there was always something, somewhere being celebrated. So much fun. 




Food
I could go on for days about the food, oh the amazing and wonderful food, Japanese, Indian, Thai, Greek Gyros, even the Mexican isn't that bad. And seriously the fish was so fresh in most restaurants/sushi joints it was usually caught that day. "Catch of the day" had a whole new, literal, meaning.



Drink (of the adult variety)
Okay, I'm not gonna pretend that Okinawa has an amazing drink selection, you can get most hard liquor, but beer and wine are a little lacking, even on base. But.. I did develop quite a taste for Orion, Okinawa's beer of choice (and locally brewed), and there is always Chu Hi, which, I have no idea what it is, I think it's a mixed carbonated beverage with sochu. I love Chu Hi! and it's a great alternative to beer or mixed drinks. 

Fun!
Okinawa (and I would imagine, most of Japan) is just fun, and silly, and cute. The guy at the farm across the street regularly walked his bull. Where else will you see that? There is so much cute, everywhere you look! Even the garbage truck plays a fun song, that sadly reminds Americans of an ice cream truck, but you don't want to run after this guy. 
Cute cups of something, inside a free gift mug!


My 'hood
Speaking of the farm across the street, I am so sad but this is the only picture I can find, and it's in the middle of a typhoon. This is taken from my bathroom window, and that little yellow stand is a farm stand that was regularly filled with fresh veggies! They also grew sugar cane and had cows too. 
Just down the street there was a woman who ran a little store out of her garage, selling things like beer, sodas, rice, the bare essentials, and occasionally (if you made it at the right time) bento lunches. Much closer than the konbini (convenience store)


Beaches
Most beaches by our house were not "swimming beaches" with beachy sand and stuff, they were very rocky and muddy and full of dead coral and lava rock, so you could do what you wanted, like take your dog for a dip. Or take your fully clothed self for a dip when you ran to hard and far in the heat and you are about to puke (only happened once)




The Late Nights/Early Mornings 
Okay, I partied like a frat boy in Okinawa. Paul and I didn't have kids, we had no responsibilities and we partied, hard, and frequently. I am so happy to be a mom, and to have responsibilities, but sometimes I miss it a little. 


Driving on the "wrong" side
I dunno, for me driving on the left side of the road seemed more natural, it was more comfortable for me. I super dooper miss that. 





It's hard to explain. I frequently get asked "why do you love Okinawa so much?" and I just can't answer. It's everything, every bit of that island I love. You just won't get it, unless you get it. There are a few people I know who get it, where Okinawa is just their happy place. I will always have a place in my heart for that island, and I deeply hope that someday I will be given the opportunity to return. 
I could go on forever, but I will call it complete for this time. 
I will leave you with a picture of the sunset from my bedroom window.


Sayonara
 さようなら

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

"Turn at the Rotary"

I was blog stalking Domesticated Combat Boots, and she is currently in Boston. It made me reminisce of when we lived in Western Massachusetts, in fact we lived there when I started this little blog. Paul was stationed at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee, working with a reserve unit, as basically a guy who trains the Reserve Marines. We had lots of wild and crazy stories there, and lots of really good friends were made. But one funny memory that sticks out, was when we very first entered New England. 

sunset at cape cod 
It was beautiful a sunny day, and we were totally lost. This was before smart phones, and google maps. I had a list of directions printed out, and my trusty Rand McNally map in my lap as Paul drove. It was me and him, the Jeep and the U-Haul. Trucking along interstate 95. We were in New York City, and desperate to get to Massachusetts. Traffic was probably horrible and we were desperate for a short cut. The "Merritt Parkway" would get us off Interstate 95 and maybe even be a little faster! So we took our exit and ventured off our "Mapquested" path.
Somewhere around Greenwich, Ct we saw a sign on our little, beautiful, scenic highway that said something along the lines of no towing, or no trailers. This would explain people waving at us and giving us the finger, yelling from their cars, they were not welcoming us, We were not supposed to be there with our little U-haul. So we got off, unsure of where we were, and hoped for the best. We could not find our way back to the Interstate, and after, who knows how long (seriously, that was 10 years ago, I am surprised I remember this much) we stopped and asked for directions. 

somewhere in our neighborhood in Chicopee
I remember it was a mechanic, some older guy, gave us directions. "Go blah blah blah, to the rotary, and blah blah blah" 

So we drove off, and starting going over his directions, and looked at each other and said "So, What's a Rotary?" We pulled over again, and started making phone calls, I think we called everyone we could think of and no one knew. Again this was before smart phones, so we didn't have google at our fingertips. Finally I called my grandmother, thinking she has to know. Her best guess was an old pay phone, like a rotary phone. So we drove on, looking for an old pay phone. We never found one, but we did eventually find the Interstate. We arrived in Chicopee late that night and I think it was several days later when we saw a sign that said Rotary with a big arrow, this is how we learned that a rotary is a traffic circle, and not an ancient pay phone. 


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Friday, July 25, 2014

Homesick



I have been working on a post about Okinawa, kind of a response, or a "here's my list" to Ramblings of a Marine Wife's post:  Top Things I Miss from Okinawa and I must say, I've been having a hard time with it. I love looking at all my pictures, and re-living all my experiences, but It makes me very sad too, very homesick. 
It doesn't help that I have so many friends that have recently arrived or still live on the island. So I see their pictures and updates frequently. I hope every day that Paul comes home from work and says "guess what? We are going back!" I know it's not going to happen, any time soon at least, but my heart says stranger things have happened. Someday we will go back. Someday. 



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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Toddler Tantrum



Things have been rough around here the last weeks or so. Can terrible twos start before two? That's the only explanation I've got.
We have had some pretty terrible tantrums here. It breaks my heart to watch my little girl get so upset because her cartoon is over, or the carrots got yogurt on them, or the dog (who is 12 pounds) stepped on her foot. We are also trying to work on enforcing rules, like you can't just dump out the cheerios if you don't want to eat them. Trying to enforce rules, also normally results in a tantrum. I don't want to raise a spoiled brat, but sometimes it's just easier to give in to her, because she doesn't understand. Yesterday I cried with her, as she cried, I don't even remember why, she cried a lot yesterday. 
The hardest thing about her tantrums is how she acts, She often starts thrashing about, and will intentionally hit her head on the floor,or on you if you are holding her. According to Dr. Google, this is normal because she is experiencing all these new emotions and becoming aware of them, but doesn't have the verbal skills to express herself, so she throws herself around or smacks her head into things. These are really the worst, I try to hold her so she doesn't hurt herself, but usually the tantrum then gets worse for a few seconds (minutes? feels like an eternity) before she starts to calm down. 
Parenting seemed relatively easy until now, the baby cries? Hold her, feed her, change her, one of the above was the answer, now there is no answer. I don't even think she understands why she is so upset, which makes it so much more frustrating for her, and in turn, me. I am doing the best I can, and I am doing what feels right to me, but sometimes it feels like I am not doing anything right. Like yesterday, I think my neighbors (who were outside) we're probably about to come check on us, because Evey SCREAMED for about half an hour as I tried to get her to pick up the cheerios she dumped on the kitchen floor, (or at least sit with me while I pick them up) and then we sat in Time-Out, while I counted to 10, the first time and 30 the second time, her screaming and thrashing around the entire time. But I didn't back down, and in the end we got the cheerios picked up and we made it through 30 seconds of time out. and she quieted down and we played with blocks. 
How do you handle tantrums and terrible twos? How do you help your toddler find their way back to that happy place? 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Daiso Japan!

The day we went to CoCo Ichiban (well, both times, we've been twice now) we also made a trip to Daiso Japan, also known as "The 100 Yen store". In Japan Daiso is a chain of 100 Yen stores that is similar to dollar stores, but better quality, at least in my opinion. And lots of functional things, cleaning, makeup, storage, foodware, decor, notepads and stationary. Some of my best memories from Japan are going out with one of my best friends in Japan to get pedicures, have Sunabe Gyro, and then going to the 100 yen store. 
So of course I was thrilled to find out there was some located in California, and they were promptly added to my "to-do" list. The nearest one is a bit of a drive, it's about an hour north of here, but so worth it.  We make a day of it and also go to Coco Ichiban, and there is also a Japanese grocery almost right next door to this Daiso, so it all works out nicely. It's almost like being back in Okinawa for a couple of hours. 


Walking inside it's like being transported back to Japan, the store looks just like the ones in Japan, they carry all the fun things that I miss being able to get everyday. And just about everything is only $1.50! Some of the larger items are $3 to $5 but I don't think anything is more than $5. 



We had so much fun, and I am already planning my next trip! 


I wish I had taken  more pictures, but the store was very crowded both times (on the weekend) and I think it's a little weird for me to be walking around with my DSLR taking pictures inside a store. 

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