We’ve Been Busy…

July 14th, 2008

And I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon. A brief recap in photos…

We went on vacation to Tokyo:
Twirling

We went to a Hiroshima Carps baseball game:
America's Favorite Pastime in Japan

I cooked without burning the house down (and it was good!):
Happy Father's Day

I visited a Buddhist priest with a friend:
Buddha

We gave up brushing our hair for the summer:
We Don't Brush Our Hair in the Summertime

We watched fireworks:
Excited About the Fireworks

We (and when I say we, I mean Justin) Sumo’ed with the neighbors:
Sumo Rasslin'

We (this time when I say we, I mean I) harassed the dog:
Even the Dog Won't Look at the Camera

Fun things we’ve done without photographic evidence include lots of movies at the theater, lots of playing outside, and lots of flower planting. I’ll actually take photos of that when my solar lights get here. Can’t let the opportunity to catch the flowers still alive pass me by.

Things still left to do this month…

  1. Meet Nikki and her gang when they move out here to be close to me. (Okay, really the military is moving them out here, but whatever…)
  2. My mom comes for a visit! Yay!
  3. Celebrate Lauren’s 8th Birthday
  4. Lots of sightseeing with mom

What 8 Months?

July 6th, 2008

Peek a Boo

My bad.  Again.  Moving on.

So, here in the land of Iwakuni we have limited American shopping options.  And when I say limited, I mean we have The Exchange.  The Exchange hates me.  I want some tiki torches, so of course, there are none at The Exchange.  I proceed to my default second option, Target.com.  It can never be as good as stepping in to a brick and mortar Target and getting smacked in the face by the smell of popcorn and seeing all of that shiny, pretty red, but you take what you can get.

So, I find some tiki torches online.  I like them.  I put them in my virtual shopping cart.  I go to check out, but no.  There will be no shipping of the tiki torches to APO/FPO addresses.  WHAT?!  So, frantically, I check Amazon, Lowe’s, and Home Depot only to be shot down again and again.

I thought about taking my neighbors’, but it’s an awfully small base and I’m sure I’d get caught.  I could ask The Exchange if they’ll be getting any more tiki torches this summer, but I’d have to talk to 95 people before one of them would finally give me the wrong answer, so I’m stuck checking in every few days to see if some miracle has occurred and they actually have something people want to buy.  Besides Roxy purses, because they usually have an awesome collection of those.  Until I see them anyway…

The Holidays

November 22nd, 2007

Merry

We’re just going to pretend like I haven’t left this poor blog lonely for months on end. So shh!

I love the holiday season. And not just because it includes the single most important day of the year (my birthday on December 4th in case you’re wondering). Yesterday we kicked it off with Thanksgiving. We ate a little later than we wanted to since the label on the ham lied about how long it needed to cook and we didn’t have any pumpkin pie because someone forgot the evaporated milk, but everything else turned out great. Including the stuff I made.

We had also decided that we would put up the tree. Okay, what really happened is I tried to put the tree up a few weeks ago, but Justin said we had to wait until at least Thanksgiving. Alas, that did not happen. We’ve had our tree for 5 years now and have only put it up twice. The last time was back in 2004, so I forgot I had tossed all the lights and was planning on buying new ones. So this morning I got up to go Black Friday shopping (which was a bit of a disappointment, but I expected it to be) and got some lights to finish up the tree. It looks pretty and sparkly but I need a new tree that isn’t so… sickly looking. It even has presents under it!

So now, some family updates. We’ll start with the littlest and work our way up to the biggest. Ryan is adorable and talkative and more trouble than I ever bargained for. He finally got a decent haircut earlier this week and he looks like such a big boy. He loves the new dog. Can’t say the same for the dog, but hey, he is about 500 times bigger than Banzai. (I so did not name him.)

The Newest Hackworth

Katelyn is doing really well in school. She gets a little bored sometimes since, according to her, she “already knows everything” they’re learning. She’s learned to ride a bike without her training wheels. She’s also quite glad that soccer season is over. It doesn’t seem to be her sport.

Lauren is also doing really well in school. She got invited to join a gifted class that meets once a week. Her class is a multi-age 1st/2nd/3rd grade class and even though she’s a second grader she’s doing the same work the third graders are. We also separated the girls’ rooms. They’ve been sleeping in the same room since Kate was born. Since we have a 4 bedroom house and the fourth bedroom was really just sitting there useless, we asked Lauren if she’d like her own room. Kate was pretty sad the first night, but since then their rooms have been clean every single day. We should’ve split them up years ago!

Justin recently finished a couple more classes for his degree. One of these days he’ll actually get it done. It’s getting much closer now. He’s working, hanging with us on his days off, and sortof training for a marathon.

I’ve been pretty busy the past few weeks. The business is doing pretty well. It keeps me on my toes. It also has kept me from taking as many pictures of my own family. I’ve been trying to keep up with them, but when they see the camera come out and start sighing and groaning and saying, “Not again!” it pretty much kills it.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone back in the states. I hope your food, family, and friends are plentiful.

The Queen of Lost

August 7th, 2007

It’s been a busy sort of week here at Hackworth Headquarters. Since the tooth fairy was so busy last week, the girls and I decided to head out to the Â¥100 store (aka Daiso or The Hundred Yen Store which is the equivalent of a dollar store in the US) to spend her yen.

While we were out, we also decided to hit Tokai (the craft store) and generally just have ourselves a girls day out. I got lost. Twice. But then I realized I wasn’t really lost, which was a huge relief, let me tell you. In reality, I found a quicker and easier way to get to that side of town. It was so nice because I am the Queen of Lost. I grew up in a city laid out on a grid. I went to college in a town laid out in much the same way. Super simple to navigate, and still I would occasionally get lost.

Then we move to Pensacola, FL. I seldom drove. Not only was I about 20 months pregnant in the middle of July and barely able to fit behind the steering wheel, but it was just easier letting Justin chauffeur me around. Fast forward three months to us moving to Jacksonville, NC where there is absolutely nothing grid-like about their streets. I got lost our first night in town looking for the Wal-Mart. See? Queen of Lost.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to call Justin from a pay phone or gas station and ask him to find me on Google Maps.

The point of all of this? Yeah, I’m not sure. Except I have no pictures of the kiddos for you since we’ve been so swamped this week. But I got that cute little bucket at Daiso for (you guessed it) Â¥100 and the pretty purple flowers the next day at You Me Town for Â¥398. All in all a cheap ($4.29) way to make me happy and give me something other than my kids to show you.

Â¥498

Umm… Is This Thing On?

August 6th, 2007

So, we’re all still alive and kickin’. I can’t believe I’ve neglected this place for so long. I have no excuse, so instead I’ll just jump right in with the latest.

Lauren turned 7 a couple weeks ago, then promptly lost some teeth. Soccer will be starting soon and she’s very excited to start the 2nd grade. She’ll more than likely be in a multi-age class again this year since it worked to her advantage last year. She’s growing like a weed and already she’s nearly as tall as my shoulder.

Toothless

Kate also celebrated her birthday back in May. 5 years old and so ready to start kindergarten already. She’ll be playing soccer this year, too. She’s enjoying Japan so much. Every time we leave the base all of the kids ask for sushi.

Justin's Daughter

Ryan turns 3 this month. I am seriously confused about where my baby went. He’s done with the whole potty training thing. No more diaper changes for me! We’ll be putting him in Yochien (Japanese preschool) in September. If my poor little Mom heart can take it. I’m excited to have the day child free to do whatever, but at the same time I’m a little… I don’t even know. But what am I going to do with myself all day?!

My Buddy

We’ve been spending lots of time at the beaches and running around town. We do some of our grocery shopping in the Japanese grocery stores to get ourselves out and experience some of the culture. We love many of the local restaurants, too. It helps me keep my mind off the fact that I miss Target. And Old Navy. And Chili’s, Starbucks, and lots of other places, too.

All in all, we’re enjoying our time here. And I’ll try not to stay away for so long.

Squeeze

Again and Again and Again

February 28th, 2007

Currently we’re on day 3 of “Justin is Missing Potty Training Again and it is SO Not Fair”. I know it’s been a while since I’ve been over here and I feel bad. Really I do, but life is hectic right now. There’s a lot to talk about so here goes.

As you might have gathered, Justin is not home. He’s gone on a little TDY (temporary duty) that has put him back in the states and it completely sucks. It might be for 2 months it might be 4 months. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely positively ecstatic that he’s not back in Iraq, but we’ve only been in Japan for a month and a half. It’s only been 6 months since the last absence. The kiddos and I are seriously ready to have him home for a long time.

Miss Lauren, my little super achiever, got citizen of the month for February. I’m so proud of her. She truly amazes me on a daily basis. She’s only in the first grade and she’s already been to 3 different schools, yet she manages to make friends quickly (she’s already wanting to call them on the telephone) and adjust better than I could have hoped. She loves going to school and I’m so thankful that she is nothing like me in the friend making department. I’m a total spaz in person.

Kate is also doing very well. She’s loving gymnastics. I can’t believe her birthday is right around the corner. She just doesn’t seem like she should be 5 yet. Since she didn’t get to go to preschool out here, she’s very excited about going to kindergarden in August and I know she’s just dying for the warmer weather to hurry up and get here so she can go to the park and make friends.

I’m trying to potty train Ryan these days. I hate this part of my job. I’d rather get up in the middle of the night to crying babies than potty train. He’s doing okay, but we’re definitely a long way from being done with diapers.

As for me, I’ve got a big thing in the works. Still waiting on something that should’ve been here this week before I can go ahead with it, so until I get that I don’t want to announce it and jinx myself. But it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long, long time.

Our house looks like it might finally sell. If this deal falls through, I’m totally going to cry. Oh! Last bit of news, since we had to leave Tessa behind with Justin’s parents we decided to get a kitty here. It’ll be easier to take a kitty home than it would’ve been to bring one here. We found a wonderful sweet guy named Smokey-san to join our family. He’s a 3 year old Russian Blue and just as cute as can be. I haven’t been able to snap a photo of him yet because he’s still a little shy around the kiddos, but he keeps me company at night.

I think that’s about it. I better go check on Ryan and make sure he didn’t pee all over my rug. Again.

Konnichiwa

January 16th, 2007

Wow what a week! We got here late Thursday night (Thursday morning US time) and we’ve been going non-stop since. We’ve had welcome briefs and cultural adaptation classes. We’ve been on a tour of downtown and we’ve walked and walked and walked some more.

More Walking

We went to housing this morning and got ourselves a house. We can move in Monday. I’m glad because temporary lodging is getting old. We managed to get one of the 4 bedroom townhouses. It’s a little farther from the commissary and exchange, but still a manageable walk until we can get a car.

Lauren started school today. She’s in a classroom that has both first and second graders. They’ve also got a pet rabbit that is free to roam around the room. They have a waiting list for preschool so Miss Katie doesn’t get to go. That’s about it for now. It’s rainy today and all I want to do is curl up with a good book.

Leaving on a Jet Plane

January 9th, 2007

Tonight is our last night in the states.  I’m excited and nervous and completely stressed out.  Are we going to make all of our connecting flights?  Will every single piece of baggage we check get lost?  What if we lose a kid?!

Lauren cried a little when I tucked her in bed tonight.  She doesn’t want to leave.  She’s had such a great time with all the grandmas and grandpas and aunts.  I tried to entice her with promises of new friends and old, but she’s so sensitive and I’m just not sure it helped.

Tomorrow is going to be an early day.  Our flight leaves at 8ish unless we can get a standby spot on the earlier flight.  Then it’ll be over 24 hours before we actually make it to our final destination.  I don’t know how long it’ll be before we have access to the internet, but it’ll be as soon as absolutely possible.  I cannot wait to get back to regular life.  Living out of suitcases and not having a place to call home is really getting to all of us.  See you all on the flip side.

December 10th, 2006

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been a month since I checked in here. Things have been crazy. We’ve been visiting family, shopping for Christmas gifts, and spending more time in a vehicle than should be allowed. So lets back up a bit.

We had a great Thanksgiving at Justin’s aunt and uncle’s house in Columbia, SC. We went to the zoo and saw all of the Christmas lights at night. I did a bit of Black Friday shopping with cousin Becky and scored some awesome deals. Justin went hunting and scored himself his very first deer. It was a good visit and we’re so sad that we won’t get to do it again for 3 years.

We made our way out to Oklahoma and we’ve been here since the 26th of November. We celebrated the 2nd anniversary of my 25th birthday where I scored a new lens or two. I’ve obviously been a good girl this year.

The kids are all enjoying this time with family so much. I can’t believe how fast the time is flying by, though. Oh! I had the pleasure of meeting up with Miss Brandi from Baby or Bust. If she ever emails you and asks you out for drinks, do it. She is the sweetest, funniest person. It doesn’t hurt that she’s an OU girl, either. We sat at The Mont in Norman for 4 hours.

Friday, I had the pleasure of taking Lauren to see The Nutcracker. Thanks to Pepaw, we had awesome seats. I’ve seen it at least 6 or 7 times and I never get tired of it. Lauren really enjoyed it, too. She kept asking to peek into the pit to see the orchestra, which is one of my favorite parts, too.

For now, that’s about it. We still haven’t sold our house yet, which is stressing me out, but I have faith that it’ll go soon. Other than that, we’re just spending time with family and eating as much Taco Bueno as I can. Hopefully it won’t be another full month between updates.

Another Long Rambling Post

November 2nd, 2006

Moving is a lot of work. Moving to a different country triples that work and makes the days fly by. Between passport photos, parent teacher conferences and appointments I don’t think we’ve had one day on our calendar that hasn’t had the square filled with things to do.

This weekend is our last one in this house. We’ve got a million things to go through and tons of planning to do. We’ve got to separate our things into what we’re packing to take on our trip to Oklahoma and subsequent flight across the Pacific Ocean, what we’re having express shipped out there, and what is going in the big shipment of all of the rest of our stuff. TMO (the movers) will pick up the express shipment on the 9th.

Next weekend we’re headed up to another Hackworth clan member’s house for a chicken stew and general lazing about. It promises to be a good, picture filled time. Then on the 13th and 14th the rest of our stuff gets packed and sent off. On the 15th we close on the house and on the 16th we’re off to Columbia, SC through Thanksgiving. Anyone want to go Black Friday shopping with me?

So that’s what is going on with us right now. There’s all the usual issues going on such as area clearance packages being turned in but not getting submitted, but nothing that has had me pulling out what little non-grey hair I have left.