A Plague on.....Just our one House.

Well, here we are, still camped out in our hotel room. Mr. J. now knows the guy who works the continental breakfast by name, happily greets him with a high-five every morning, and I think is starting to assume that Big J (for privacy) is part of our family now.

We have/had gotten ourselves into a pretty good routine, despite being almost literally on top of each other. Mr. I. would get up around 6 or 6:30 and be out the door by 6:20 or 6:50, depending on whether it was a PT (work-out) day or not. I would get up at 6:50, check my e-mail and wake up a bit, and then get the kids up and out the door for breakfast by 7:30. Then on to the gym for us for awhile before running errands on base and eat lunch, then back to the hotel to kill the rest of the afternoon either playing, swimming, doing laundry, or some combination thereof.

Then it happened. The plague. Yesterday morning Mr. J. woke up with the nastiest looking goopy eye I've seen in a long time. We've been having rough nights lately, lots of snoring, lots of waking up talking, and lots of general grumpiness. So I knew he was having some congestion issues. But, as usual, I had no idea to what extent until we went to see the nurse practitioner yesterday. The pinkeye was just that, but viral. Which means there's really not much you can do for it except wait it out. Oh...and he was already highly contagious. Great. We also determined that he's got some bronchitis. So he's on antibiotics, as well.

So this explains a lot of the behavior issues lately, I suppose. Ok, we can deal with that. Well, then Mr. I. came home from work yesterday complaining that he didn't feel well. Given that he starts to whimper if he gets a hangnail, I didn't think much of it. Until later that night, when he asked me to feel his forehead and he was hotter even than normal! So added to our already sick toddler, I now also had a sick husband on my hands, too. At least he is a big boy about taking care of himself when needed. Unfortunately, this meant that the a/c in our room was down to 70 by the middle of the night. And then Mr. I. was trying to steal all the covers from me, as well!

Suffice it to say, I am hoping that Miss S. and I both skip out on this wonderfulness. She seems ok so far, and I don't have any signs of anything being wrong, aside from feeling really run down. Which I attribute to crappy sleep lately.


New Look

My new header is courtesy of Lori over at VIP Signatures. She will also be designing a background for me in the near future, so look for more changes to come!


Terrible Twos

In part because of the move, partly because we're all living in one room on top of one another, but also just because of the age, we have been dealing with the insanity that comes along with the terrible-twos.

There are days when I feel like I am absolutely at my wit's end with Mr. J. He tries to negotiate his way around everything we ask him to do. Perhaps we have not been firm enough on follow-through with threats to take things away. On our part, we're working on that. But this kid....oy!! The other night he lost dessert (and, in fact, had to leave the restaurant early while Mr. I. finished the dessert) because he was throwing his spoon. To his credit, he tries to communicate what the problem is. But what do you do, as a parent, when he says "[Mr. J.] hold the spoon!" And then you give it to him and he chucks it at you?

Today, he and  were both really hoping to go to the pool, as we have not been in  a few days (a true introduction to "rainy season" has kind of prevented it). But.... when it came time to get ready, he refused to cooperate so I could get his bathing suit on. He would come over to get dressed, but then lay down and say "sleep!" or roll all over the bed, or just refuse to come over in the first place. After about 20 minutes of this, I finally gave up, told him he had to the count of three to cooperate, or we were going to miss out on the pool. He opted not to cooperate, so he is now having quiet time, Miss S. is napping, and here I am!

These are our only two recent success stories. More days than not, however, I feel defeated, mentally exhausted,  and like a failing mom. It's not a good feeling.


Just Keep Swimming!

We have been busy getting settled in over the past few days.

In just a week we have purchased new phones (review coming in a month, per a couple of requests), we have purchased a new-to-us minivan (yikes...can you say "soccer mom"?), and even managed to explore our surroundings in there somewhere!

Our trip to look at/purchase/pick-up the new van took us further south on the island (toward the Naval Base, as we were purchasing from a Navy family). The family we purchased it from lived off base, and in a development back in the mountains. Our drive back to their home took us past some breathtaking views. And had we known this would be the case, we surely would have taken a camera and some pictures. However, we did not, and so will make sure to go back sometime and take those pictures!

Today found us trekking back past the Air Force Base (not on base) to a beach that one of our friends had told us about (said friend and her children went along, as well, otherwise we would never have been able to find our way there)! It was off the beaten path a bit, down on part of a wildlife preserve. The drive there allowed us to see some of the biggest potholes I've ever seen. These were something I think we were hoping to get away from on Guam, but no such luck for us.

The beach had gorgeous white sand, and the cliched sparkling turquoise blue water that was protected, as are many beaches on the island, by a coral reef a couple of hundred feet out. It was a great place for three little boys, their parents, and one baby sister to play.

Miss S. seems to enjoy the water about as much as Mr. J. did at her age. Kind of a "this is weird...." look on her face, but definitely not screaming. I'm not sure she's such a fan of the sand, however. Today she accidentally (of course) stuck her hand in the sand and then slapped herself in the face with the same hand, resulting in sand in the mouth and one eye. Add that to already being tired and that equals out to one crabby baby. But we got her cleaned up and out, and she's fine now, no worse for the wear.

Mr. J. continues to prove that he should be part fish. He is completely (and a little terrifyingly for us parent-types) unafraid of the water. We're working to teach him how to blow bubbles and kick his legs, and he is getting it slowly but surely. The kids and I spend at least part of every day down at the pool(s) at our resort. They have a "splash" pool that seems tailor-made for our situation. It is not even a foot-deep, and warm water, so Mr. J. can play without threat of harm, and Miss S. and I can sit and watch him play without having to worry about him.

We are all adjusting swimmingly (pun completely intended), and learning to love it here!


The Flight from Hell, or, How we Became "Those" Parents

As we prepared to make the trek from Minneapolis to Guam via Tokyo, I kept trying to envision how the flights would go. Specifically, I tried to envision how the 12 hour flight to Tokyo would go, especially for the oh-so-two Mr. J.

I was never very worried about Miss S., as she was already a great sleeper, and, being only 3 months old (as well as in a rear-facing-only car seat), isn't really capable of kicking the back of anyone's seat, except maybe her own. But her legs aren't even long enough for that.

Our flight began at 4:10 PM, so, around nap time. At what ended up being actually an 11-hour flying time, that put us in to Tokyo at roughly 3 AM on the time all of our bodies were accustomed to (it was about 5 PM Tokyo time).

In all my wildest imaginings of what Mr. J. would do on this flight, not once did it occur to me that he might actually stay awake the entire time. Especially since he had been up until 10 the night before and then woke for the day at around 6:30.

And wouldn't you know, that is EXACTLY what he did. He started to nod off very briefly at the beginning of the flight. However, he was nodding off with his head forward, and not in a very comfortable position. So I told Mr. I. to gently push it back. When he did, Mr. J. woke up immediately, screamed a bit, and then settled down.

We were ok with this, assuming that he would fall asleep when it was around "bed" time. In the mean time, Mr. J. decided that it was far more fun to kick the seat in front of him. We explained, repeatedly, why this was definitely NOT alright, and he did eventually stop. For awhile.

Somewhere around the five- or six-hour mark, Mr. J. became very, VERY tired. He took his blanket and tried and tried to get comfortable. But, being a tummy sleeper, he kept trying to figure out how to put "bockie" in front of him, and of course that did not work at all. So he flipped out instead, especially when we tried to help him place the blanket.

His tantrum included (though was not necessarily limited to) screaming and crying (most of the time), kicking the seat in front of him with impressive vigor, knocking his head from side to side in his car seat (thus hitting it against the side-impact protectors), and/or hitting us, often many of these things simultaneously. Now, in fairness to Mr. J., he was so beyond over-tired at this point that he really did not have control of himself. We did our best to hold his feet down so as to not irritate the poor unsuspecting businessman in front of him (because really, having your seat kicked by the screaming child behind you is really just adding insult to injury).

Mr. J. did calm down for a few brief moments in the four hour period during which he continued to scream. At most, I believe, his calm moments lasted 5 minutes. He would start to doze off. And then he would either have a difficult time placing bockie again, or he would kick his feet, wake himself up, and begin all over. I'm sure this was very very frustrating for him.

Mr. I. and I did not just sit idly by, believe me (and this, I believe, is why no one actually killed us on this flight)! We got up several times and walked Mr. J. around. We helped him regain control of himself from time to time. We tried to help him go to sleep. Much of it to little or no avail.

However, we did finally get him settled in his seat and at least quiet for the remainder of the flight (about an hour and a half by the end).

He was grumpy during our two-hours in Tokyo, though did very happily eat some Pretz (Japanese snack sticks), and enjoy some Calpis Water (Japanese drink with a yogurt flavor).

He zonked RIGHT out on the plane to Guam, before we even left the gate. He slept for the entire four hours there, until an announcement woke him up at the very end. He was less than thrilled about this, again. This tantrum involved smacking as well as, again, kicking the back of the seat in front of him.

Once in the hotel, he was down for the count, though, and slept straight until 8:30 the next morning.

Oh, and where was Miss S. during all of this? Well, for the four hour tantrum, she was sound asleep in the seat right next to Mr. J.



Growing up, I lived in the same house for the better part of my first 22 years. Neighbors rarely moved out, and new ones rarely moved in. Because of this, I did not have cause (or desire) to make new friends very often while growing up. I didn't want to, either. I am still very close with most of my childhood friends.

While I have no doubt that Mr. J. and Miss S. will learn how to make friends quickly and easily at each of our assignments, it does make me a bit sad that they quite possibly will not know the joy of having a friend from childhood on.

It is so completely wonderful to have a friend who knows all the history, who is like a sibling (and whose parents are like a second set to you). One who has to keep your secrets because you know too many of theirs. A friend to go on family vacations with you. Or whom you can call when your heart has been broken, whether for the first or twenty-first time (because this friend will always know the exact right thing to say or not to say).

I am thankful that my children are growing up in an age where technology will allow them to easily keep in touch with friends. But I don't think that this can replace playing in the backyard whether sunny or snowy, or hanging out at the local pool on the warmest days, summer after summer. I hope that my children can find such a bond with someone in their childhood.


Before we left North Dakota

Before we left North Dakota, Miss S. was not yet straightening her legs to "stand" (of course, we support her, as she is but 3 months old). By the time we left Pennsylvania, just 2 weeks later, she could do this, and do it well. The girl is solid muscle!

Before we left North Dakota, Mr. J. was not using "I" instead of "[Mr. J.]" or "You" to refer to himself. Yesterday, he told me "... and maybe I like Grandpa." He has used "I" several times today, as well.

Before we left North Dakota, Miss. S. was smiley, and would occasionally coo at us, but hadn't yet truly found her voice. Now, she will shriek with glee at the top of her lungs, because she knows that SHE is the one making all the noise!

Before we left North Dakota, Mr. J. did not really know many of his family members beyond his grandparents. Now, he can request, by name, both uncles, any number of surrogate aunts, and tell you what he likes to do with each one.

Before we left North Dakota, my kids were a just-past-newborn and a budding two-year-old. Now, they are a full-fledged baby and a Big Boy.

I can hardly wrap my mind around how much they have both already changed in just 2 weeks.