Saturday, August 29, 2009

13 Months(ish)


Well, according to the calendar here in Guam, you are 13 months old today. Technically, because you were born in Ohio and it's not the 29th there yet, you really have another day, but since we are in Guam, we're going on Guam time!

Let me tell you, for about the 1 millionth time, God must have known we were coming here because he sure did send us the right baby for this crazy life we have! You have been sooooo good. Sure, you have moments- who doesn't? I've had a few myself recently.... But overall, you are amazing. You are happy, you are funny and you make us laugh. You are charming the socks off of all the locals and Japanese tourists here at the hotel. They are mesmerized by your blond hair and blue eyes. We can't walk anywhere without someone coming up to grab your toes or play peek-a-boo. And you handle these intrusions from strangers way better than I ever could.

You slept so-so last night. It's hard on all of us to be off our schedules, tired, jet lagged and in the same room. You woke up around 2 this morning and I brought you into bed with us. We were all up by 4, and just waiting for the dining room to open so we could go eat breakfast. On top of all the traveling stress, you are teething AGAIN (it seems like as soon as you get a new tooth to pop out you have 2 more ready to come through).

Daddy and I love you so much. We are so glad you are on this adventure with us.


A Long Day (or 2 really)

We checked out of our cabin at Bellows around 8:45 this morning. We had hoped to have some free breakfast at the lodge, provided by Bellows Services, but it was not a come and go thing as we thought. so we decided to just skip breakfast and head into town.

Our first stop was at the Navy exchange in Pearl Harbor. It is huge! It puts the Bx at Wright Patt to shame. I wish we had had more time to look around and more suitcase space, I could have dropped some cash in that place! We had breakfast there and then headed downstairs to the commissary to stock up on food and bananas for Price to have for the flight. We found the base gas station and filled up and headed to the airport.

Unfortunately, we had our cell phone service disconnected before embarking on our journey to the airport and we took the wrong highway. The highway we took, led us back to the other side of the island (no exits for 10 miles), in the complete opposite direction of where we needed to be going. We ended up going about 30 miles (round trip) out of our way. We finally made it to the airport 2 hours before our flight was scheduled to leave.

We got all 16 of our bags out of the car and onto the shuttle, then out of the shuttle and through the 1st round of baggage checks. We were only allowed to check 9 bags, so Don and I had to carry on 7 bags, the stroller and the car seat. We knew we were the people everyone else going through security would hate, so we stepped out of line and got organized and let as many people go ahead of us as possible. We did everything right, but they still felt the need to hand search several of our bags. I didn't mind too much, except that it seemed like we were in security for 30 minutes, and the clock was ticking to departure time.

They also confiscated Price's bananas. This may not seem like a big deal, except on the flight to Hawaii, bananas seemed to hold some magical power and could instantly (much to the delight of our fellow passengers) calm the kid down anytime he got fussy. I literally shed a few tears as I shed the bananas, fearing that we might have an unpleasant flight.

Luckily, no bananas were necessary on the flight to Guam! We had awesome seats, and except for a few short incidents, we had a peaceful trip. We did however, cross the international date line, so when we landed in Guam a mere 7 hours after leaving Hawaii it was already Friday evening.

After navigating ourselves off the plane and through the airport with all 7 of our carry on bags and then retrieving our 9 additional checked bags we headed to customs. At this point, I was taking deep, calming breaths trying to go with the flow as I knew once we headed through customs, we were "home."

Our arrival was wonderful and welcoming! Our relocation company met us with drivers from the hotel, who immediately relieved of us our luggage. Don's flight was also there and greeted me with a plumeria lei- it was gorgeous and smelled divine. They also had snacks and water for us so we wouldn't have to worry about trying to find food for dinner. Everyone was so nice and warm and our first impression is very good. Price was a super trooper. He was smiley and flirty with everyone- in such a good mood- especially considering how long he had been on the plane and that he had a poopy diaper! Once our welcoming party disbanded, we were whisked away to our hotel to settle in for the night. Our bodies were so tired, Price went to bed around 7 and we followed quickly and passed out before 8.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Another Day In Paradise

We decided to go to Pearl Harbor today. I am glad we did, but unfortunately jet lag caught up with our typically pleasant little fella. So, I didn't feel like we had the experience we could have/ should have had. It was still quite sobering to think about how many people gave their lives on December 7, 1941. So many of them are entombed in the ships that still lay below the surface of the water. Don and I also wondered what the (many) Japanese tourists who were visiting the memorial felt. Were they coming to pay their respects? Was it as meaningful for them as it was for us Americans? Did they come with resentment? Or did they just visit because it is listed on the places to see while in Hawaii? We will never know.

The monument to all of the submariners who lost their lives during WWII, flag at half staff in honor of Ted Kennedy

Price's first boat ride. On our way to visit USS Arizona Memorial.

The USS Arizona Memorial, honoring the 1000+ men who lost their lives when Pearl Harbor was attacked.

Gun turret from USS Arizona

View of USS Arizona from the memorial

Oil leaking from USS Arizona

Tired Baby

On the travelogue side of this- it was worth a visit. The website and many other places with information about Pearl Harbor, tell you that you can plan on waiting up to 3 hours to be admitted, especially in peak season. We did not wait that long, but it was crowded. We picked up our tickets around 10:00 for the 11:15 group. There is no charge to visit the USS Arizona Memorial (which includes a short film and then a boat ride to-from the memorial itself). You can also tour a submarine and the USS Missouri, but there is a charge for those tours. Since we had Price, we decided just to do the Arizona Memorial. You cannot bring bags of ANY type into the facility, so plan ahead. Strollers are permitted until you get to the theatre and boat, you can leave the stroller (unattended) while in the theater and at the memorial. We did this and had no problems.

After Pearl Harbor, we grabbed some Jack in the Box for lunch and ate it in the car while Price napped. We headed back to our cabin and enjoyed another relaxing afternoon of beach time and relaxing.

Tomorrow, we head to Guam!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Off the Beaten Path

One of the great things about where we are staying is it is off the beaten path, only military memebrs can stay here and use the beach. So, it's not crowded or touristy. It really reminds me of Dauphin Island (and I know our D.I. krewe would LOVE it here).

We (the boys more than me) had a good night, we put Price to bed around 7 and Don and I made it until 8. Price slept soundly until about 3:30, and went back to sleep after having a little (mommy supplied) mid-night snack. We all slept until about 6:00 (which was noon Ohio time). We all woke up hungry, but also interested in watching the sunrise, and moving slow. We used my favorite iphone app, Yelp*, to find a local place to go have breakfast. We decided to go to a restaurant called, Cinnamons in Kailua. It was so off the beaten path, we had to ask a local to find it for us. We were so glad we asked for directions- it was definitely worth it! We sat outside and had little birds join us. Price enjoyed watching the birds while we ate.

After breakfast we wanted to see a sight before heading back to the cabin and putting Price down for a nap, so we Yelped and found a nearby historical park, Ulupo Heiau Historic Site, to visit (by the way, I have determined that all of the under used letters of our alphabet live in Hawaii to get more action- the letter K and all of the vowels get a work out there). This place was hidden behind a YMCA (luckily the Yelper pointed that out in her review, or we would have never found it).

Basically, this site is a stone temple that is several hundred years ago. It is about 30 feet tall and about 140 x 180 feet wide. It was built as a place of worship to Hawaiian gods.

As you can see in the picture, people still leave gifts- there were squash and flowers left on the plaque.

There was a marshy area surrounding the Heiau. No one was there but us and the birds. Banana, pineapple and coconut trees were everywhere.

I felt as if we were seeing Hawaii in its natural form. I was also amazed at the size and abundance of the philodendron and other plants that we consider to be houseplants growing wild, free and unencumbered by pots.

There were also several unique trees, the one below had a unique root(?) system.

Close up of the root? system.

This is one tree, but it looks like many more than that.

Later that afternoon, we took Price down to the beach to play. He LOVED it!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


We are in Hawaii!!! I never really thought that I would ever visit here (much less visit en route to moving to Guam), it wasn't a priority. I figured, I had seen the Caribbean, how different could Hawaii be. Well, all I can say is I am so glad we are getting this opportunity- it is truly gorgeous!

We arrived around 14:00 local time (20:00 for my Ohio friends, 19:00 for my Central Time zone peeps). I have never been so happy to get off a plane in my life! We didn't have a bad flight, Price was really good the whole time, it was just a looooonnnng plane ride and a lonnnggg day. We left Ohio at 8:00 EST and flew to Atlanta on a puddle jumper. Not my favorite mode of transport on an easy travel day, and today we had 6 carry-ons, plus Price's car seat. Of course, we also had to leave the terminal and go on the tarmac to board. Luckily, the Delta ground crew was wonderful- we got to pre-board and they helped us with our baggage. (we got looks from people all day about the amount of bags we had and I wished I had a t-shirt or sign or something that said, " My husband is in the military, we are moving to Guam, quit judging us!!") We arrived in ATL and had enough time to go to the bathroom, change Price and take a tram to our gate before immediately boarding our flight to Hawaii. The first half of the flight actually went by pretty quickly. The second half, not so much- I felt like somewhere over the Pacific we got sucked into some kind of time warp that froze time- it seemed like 15 minutes took an hour, but all in all it was an uneventful flight- for which I am beyond grateful!

After retrieving our 18 million pieces of checked luggage and picking up our rental car, we were on our way. It was rush hour traffic and the drive took longer than we had hoped, but once we left Honolulu, we were able to pick up the pace. The drive to Bellows was gorgeous once we turned onto the Pali Highway (will post pictures later, we were in too much of a hurry to stop at the look out points along the way, but plan on going back before we leave). The views of the mountains and ocean were spectacular!

About 5 minutes before arriving at Bellows, Price woke up from his nap and was no longer interested in being in a car seat (who could blame the kid?). His meltdown commenced and could only be stopped if I sang Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. I think I sang it about 15 times before I decided that the sounds of his screaming were preferable to the sound of my singing. Luckily, the views of the beach and water were somewhat of a distraction for Don and me and helped us tune out the screams. We got checked in and Price calmed down and walked to our cabin.

Our cabin is rustic. Think several steps down from military housing or a slight step up from a state park cabin and that is what we have. Two bedrooms, a living room/kitchen/dining area and small, leaky bathroom. That is what's on the inside, this is what is on the outside...

View from back porch

View from front door

With views like this who cares what the inside looks like? I am in awe of the beauty and Don and I both feel very blessed to have this opportunity.

Well, it's not getting late here, but our bodies are wiped out, so we are going to call it a day soon. Will share more of our adventures tomorrow!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Adios Amigos!

Today was all about visiting with friends before heading out of town. We had breakfast with the Pelleys. We had a nice time catching up with them. That afternoon, I stopped and saw my friend and former co-worker Ashleigh at her new children's consignment store (Our Mommies' Store in Kettering- it is great!). I dropped off lots of Price's old clothes and different things to sell. Ashleigh and I had a good visit and it was nice to see her one last time before we left and also to trade baby boy stories (she and I were pregnant at the same time and our boys were born 4 days apart). Finally, we met up with the Mays, the Lauers and Rye for dinner at the Dublin Pub. We laughed a lot and just enjoyed each others company. It was,as all of the visits were today, a little bittersweet since we know we'll be getting on a plane in less than 24 hours and heading to Hawaii. It was really hard saying goodbye to Rachel- but we did good- no tears were shed (at least not in front of each other). I remember the night I met her at a Med Group Spouses meeting, just a few weeks after Don deployed and the first day I was in Dayton all by myself with 6 week old Price. She had on cute pink shoes and was pregnant and I knew we would be friends. Perhaps unknowingly, she was a lifeline for me a few times while Don was gone- I probably should be suprised that she wanted to be my friend because I know I talked too much the first time we hung out, but I was just so in need of face-to-face adult interaction I couldn't shut up!

After dinner, we went to Target and walking in, I lost it. I started crying like a dumb fool!! It just hit me that yes, we were really getting on a plane in less than 12 hours and heading to Hawaii and then on to Guam. I know I am probably wired weird if saying goodbye to friends didn't send me on a crying jag, but Target did? I don't know, I guess maybe it symbolizes me saying goodbye to my comfort zone and sense of security. Anyway, we really are heading across the Pacific tomorrow. We've really enjoyed Dayton, we've made great friends, had good times, welcomed a baby into our family- so of course we're going to miss it, but we heading on to our next adventure and looking forward to seeing what God has in store for us.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

All Clear

Well, the house has been emptied of everything. We've cleaned, scrubbed, painted, sweated, laughed, almost cried and said more than a few curse words over the past few days- but We ARE OUT!! We passed or housing inspection with no charges (thanks to Mom and Spot Shot carpet cleaner). I am EXHAUSTED and sooooo glad that this part is over. We leave in 3 days so we can realx (a little) and spend time with friends before we head out.

It was really hard saying good bye to Mom today. She took Isabelle with her, so it was a double shot of sad dropping them off at the airport. I didn't cry as much as I thought I would. It's just hard not knowing when we'll see our family again, hopefully Don will find out soon about his school and we'll know firm dates and can start making plans. I am very grateful for my mom, she was such a huge help with Price and cleaning- we couldn't have survived this end of the move without her. Shelly and Rachel were big helps too. We said see ya later to Brandon and Shelly yesterday since they were heading out on vacation, i know we'll be saying the same to Nathan and Rachel soon and it'll be hard. But hopefully, as is common in the AF, our paths will across again soon.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Going, Going, Gone...

All (ok, not all but almost all) of our stuff now exists in boxes and has been loaded onto trucks and has begun its journey to the foreign land of Guam. We will be following soon. We'll get there first and have to live without much of our household goods for the next 2 months. Price and Isabelle's lives have kind of been turned upside down. Neither one of them has any concept of what is going on. Price doesn't seem to be super affected, but Isabelle isn't enjoying our new digs. If only she knew that in a matter of days she'll be on an airplane heading to Texas for 3 months...

We have accomplished so much in such a short amount of time. I feel better about things than I have been. We sold the car and the laundry machines (aka- washer & dryer). The movers have taken away everything except the stuff that goes into long term storage. The past two days went relatively smooth. My mom has been a HUGE help with Price and also keeping me on track and motivated. My neighbor Shelly has also been a huge help- keeping Isabelle, loaning me her vacuum and today keeping me company and scrubbing my disgusting stove with me. Until today, I always felt like I would only let a really old, life long friend help me scrub a disgusting stove since there is a certain degree of embarrassment that comes with each layer of filth that exists.

And then it hit me, I have made lifelong friends here- I just haven't known them as long as my other friends. We are still in the process of getting to know each other, and that's one of the bittersweet things of being a military wife (friendship is the sweet part, the bitter part is having an ever changing time frame to get to know people before one or both of you get moved to some other part of the world). I have made several really good friends in the three years we have been here, and a few of those have been just in the past year, even in the past few months. I hope that we are as blessed in Guam as we have been in Dayton.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I Know I Probably Shouldn't...

I'm supposed to be packing. The movers come tomorrow to box up and crate away all of our things. i have a about a million and one things to do before they get here, so it makes a lot of sense to be blogging. I can't help it. I am always surprised how quickly time flies. It seems like we just found out we were moving and had plenty of time to plan, prepare and pack. Now the time is here and I don't feel prepared at all- on any level!!

Don has been crazy busy at work this week and even in the evenings we are showing the car and other things we are trying to sell before we move, so when he gets home he doesn't want to do anything. That helps me to be less than motivated. I also know that once the movers are here and things are being boxed up and we move to our temporary housing, it will make all of this real. And as appealing as the prospect of moving half way around the world to a tropical island paradise with an awesome opportunity to travel around parts of the world I never dreamt that I would see is, the reality is I am really comfortable where I am now. Once those movers show up, I have to acknowledge how far away we are going and how different life will be and how it is going to be a while before we see our family and friends again.

I've known since June that we were moving to Guam. It's been a main talking point of just about every conversation I've had with friends and family members for the past 2 months. I've actually felt relatively calm about the whole thing. A calm I can't seem to embrace because I keep thinking it's going to leave and be replace with some kind of frenetic freak out. I hope the calm stays and I hope I can embrace it!

Currently I just feel overwhelmed with seemingly minor decisions about what to do with out grown baby clothes and items. Should we take them with us to a land of limited storage in hopes that we will have a baby while we are there? Should we get rid of them before we leave and then if we do have a baby buy stuff all over again? (We actually feel blessed because we have very dear friends who are pregnant and we are going to help each other out with some of the big baby items and I think I'm going to send the clothes home with my mom). And where do all of these boxes from under the beds keep coming from?? I don't remember putting them in there. So, as I unearth new boxes of stuff, I have to decide what to do with the contents. Keep or toss. If kept, kept in long term storage or sent to Guam. And the dust, I feel like I need to continuously dust so the movers don't bring the Dayton Dust Bowl with them, and I MUST get all of the trash out of the trashcans or we will have 3 months old stinky stuff when our household goods arrive, and take down pictures and curtain rods and, and, and the list just gets longer...

And then, when I allow myself to think about things I get a little misty as each day brings a new last- tonight is our last night in this house, today is the last day I will see my stuff until it arrives in Guam. Soon, we will have our last meal with our Dayton friends. I am ready for the firsts!!

Monday, August 10, 2009


Price got sick on Thursday. He doesn't get sick often, but the past month he's gotten sick several times. When we got back from Pennsylvania, we all got sick. It knocked each of us down hard, but we bounced back two days later. Then, Price got diarrhea, for the first time, on his first birthday. And now he has some new crud. He was fine on Wednesday, but on Thursday when he woke up I knew something was wrong. He wasn't himself at all. He was lethargic. He didn't want to / couldn't pull up on things, walk, cruise, or crawl. I even tried to get him to crawl up the stairs (his favorite past time), but all he would do was lay his head on a stair and look pitifully defeated. In all the times he's been sick, he never acted like this, so I called the doctor and told her what was going on and she said he was probably getting a virus and just to watch it. As long as he was eating, drinking, pleasant, and going to the bathroom there was no need to worry. So, I didn't. His temp hit 102, but he stayed in good spirits and other than not having any energy and feeling like crap, he seemed ok. So, I let it go.

Friday, was a little better except his fever got higher (because I let it). I feel very strongly that fever is a good thing. It is the body's way of killing an infection. Just like we boil things we want sterile, our bodies use fever to heat the blood to a point where the "invader" can no longer survive. I also feel very strongly that a child shouldn't be rushed the doctor at the first sign of a fever because I don't want Price to get medicine that isn't necessary just because a doc thinks I'm being an over reactive parent and the only way to satisfy me is to give him an antibiotic. I think it's ok to wait a few days to see if the fever (with the help of lots of liquids, cool food, and Tylenol when the fever hits a certain point) goes away as long as Price is behaving normal for the most part. By Saturday morning, his fever was completely gone and the baby gates had been put back up because the crawling, climbing child of mine was back in full force. His fever though, has been replaced by some weird rash. Don and I think he has Roseola. We're hoping to get that self-diagnosis confirmed tomorrow when we take Price in for his 12 month well baby visit.

Price being sick is never fun, although I am very grateful that he is such a happy baby and that this hit this week rather than a few weeks later when we are in the middle of our move. But I was really sad that he got sick this weekend. This was our last "normal" weekend before we get caught up in all of our moving craziness. I had a serious pity party on Friday evening. Maybe this is God's way of helping us mentally prepare for what life will be like initially in Guam, not having friends to hang out with on the weekends. Part of me is excited about the move, but a bigger part of me is dreading the goodbyes, the having to get reestablished, feeling lonely like I did this weekend.
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