Friday, October 31, 2008

North Shore

We are headed to the North Shore tomorrow!!! We are finally going somewhere we can actually take pictures. Some of our plans include dinner at a Mexican Restraunt, Matsumoto's Shaved Ice, and maybe watching the sunset at one of the many beaches.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hawaii!!!

So far we are enjoying Hawaii! We are planning on driving around the North Shore this Friday afternoon and that will be our first real site seeing. Basically, Dustin goes to work everyday and then when he gets back to the hotel we have been going shopping. There isn't really a lot to see when it is dark so we figured we would just check out the shopping centers that are too far to walk to. During the day, I hang around the hotel, find info on things we want to do, and venture out to some stores.

Yesterday I walked (3/4 mile!) to the Ala Moana Shopping Center. It is HUGE! I think it has 4 floors. I spent a good 2 hours (or more) walking around the stores and bought some stuff at Old Navy (MOM, I got my own card now so I can quit using yours... they gave me 20% off!!) and I bought Grace a Christmas ornament at the Macy's Christmas store. It is a Snowbaby in a stocking and has her name on it! I saw really cute stuff at some other stores but it was all too expensive to buy. I checked at Macy's to see if they have Feltman Brother dresses and, of course, they didn't. After walking around for about 3 hours I decided to take the trolley back to the hotel. My hotel was the last stop so I got to see Waikiki Beach, found the Denny's I keep hearing about, and saw a few other places we might check out while we are here. When Dustin got back we left for the Waikele Outlets. I mainly wanted to go to the Carter's store and that was basically the only store we actually shopped at. I walked around Osh Kosh while Dustin inquired about nearby food choices.

I still want to go back to Pearlridge Shopping Center (the mall we went to Monday night) and I think that I may check out the Hilo Hattie store since they have a free trolley that stops right in front of the hotel. I think this weekend we will probably go see Pearl Harbor and to a beach. We might go to the Dole Plantation too!

Anyways, here are ALL of the pictures we have taken in Hawaii so far :-)

I fell in love with this dress at Carter's. It will be so cute with her black shoes!
It is a size 3 months and is really smaller than it looks.

This is what she will wake up in on Christmas morning! Well, we will add the hat and bib a little later.

Her Christmas morning outfit again.

This is her Christmas dress!! She has some really cute red shoes to match too and the dress came with white tights!

And an outfit for naps, playtime, or just in case she needs changed. Actually, I had bought the cute Christmas socks and then realized that they wouldn't work with the sleeper and wouldn't match the dress so I decided she needed something else. I must have been pretty persuasive because Dustin had talked me out of it but then he had it in his hand when we went to check out!

The dress Dustin picked out at Wal-Mart on grocery shopping trip. We later found out that they don't have supercenters in Hawaii. They did have a small grocery section so we were able to get a few basics - cereal, milk, bread, peanut butter and jelly, and some juice and water.
I have been getting requests for pictures so I just took these this morning. Like I said, we haven't really been able to do a lot of site seeing and shopping isn't really my idea of a camera toting trip!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A little change

So we are not staying in the Hilton Hawaiian Village, and neither are the 3 NCO's who are TDY here with Dustin. After 2 nights (well, 1 for me!) we decided to change hotels and there are several reasons. The main reason being we were told before booking our room that we would be able to get free wireless in the lobby. They forgot to mention that we would have to PAY $15 each day to get that free. We weren't happy with our room either... they "upgraded" us to a room with 2 double beds because they were out of kings, the room smelled like urine and there was blood on the vanity. And who puts a refridgerator in the bathroom??? There is something we don't like about the idea of being able to sit on the toilet and reach in the fridge and make a sandwich! So now we are right across the street, have a nice view of the ocean, diamond head, and the city (and the Hawaiian Village!). We have a king bed, free internet in the room, refridgerator, microwave, free breakfast, and friendly hotel staff. Yesterday was a bit stressfull seeing how we had no idea where we would be staying last night. Leaving the hotel also meant I had no place to stay while Dustin was at work so I grabbed the computer and some books and hopped in the car too. We found a really nice lady in an office near his classroom and she let me use the phone and computer all day and even took me to see the PX. It was pretty nice being able to find a hotel, call and cancel a few reservations (the Hilton booked us in their other hotel when we complained and then the other reservation wasn't ours) and look up info on several of the places we want to visit while we are here. After we checked-in to the new hotel we went to a mall. Grace got a Christmas dress!! This is the second dress Dustin has picked out for her since we have been here. We also got Christmas presents for my parents (yes, you ARE getting something other than a grandbaby!! And it came from Hawaii! But I bet I could find it in Lawton... does that really make you wonder???) So yesterday turned out to be a really fun day. Today I am planning on going to another mall (about 1/2 mile from the hotel!) and then maybe plan something for tonight... we might just go back to the mall we were at last night because we only saw 1 floor of 1 building and I just found out there is a Baby Gap and Children's Place there!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

And we're off...

to Hawaii!! Dustin left today and is currently en route. I will be joining him tomorrow. We had to get my tickets before he even knew his flight dates because we just knew if we waited the price would sky rocket. And what do you know... he just got his Wednesday night! We were able to book the hotels in advance by taking a guess as to what day he would be checking in/out and we were right on. I am also flying back 5 days earlier because that is about as late as I can fly while being pregnant. I think my doctor actually added 1 or 2 days past my cut-off so I could stay the entire weekend. We are making a list of things we want to do while we are there and, of course, Wal-Mart is on the list! We are staying at the Hilton Hawaiian Village and then moving to the Hale Koa the night before I leave (the Hilton is booked up) I am sure I will be planning some outings while Dustin is at work everyday. I can't wait!!

On another note... I ordered some vinyl lettering from Sugar Berry Way today. She is actually here on Okinawa and I just happened to see her table while I was at Market Day at the Schilling Center. The lettering is going to be a border on Grace's walls. It will be white lettering in a very pretty font and it will say
"Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and Grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.
2 Timothy 1:9"
I can't wait to get up on her wall. It is going to look so great!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Weights and Measures

At the BX yesterday I was trying to use one of the coupons for a free baby item that we got from ACS. The only coupon I had left that that they actually had the item was for a FREE 7 1/2 oz. AAFES brand Petroleum Jelly. So I get to the checkout and the Japanese cashier is really having problems with this coupon. Finally, she tells me that I got the wrong size and my first thought was "It only comes in 1 size! How could I possibly have the wrong size?" So she points out to me that in the picture on the coupon it is for a 7 1/2 oz. container and I got a 7.5 oz. container!! She kept saying the coupon was for a 7 2 or something and was trying to get a manager. So instead of trying to explain how 7 1/2 and 7.5 are the same thing I noticed it had the weight in grams so I pointed that out. Problem solved!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Long Weekend

Well, the weekend is coming to an end and it is going to be a little odd getting back into the normal routine. Last week we had the Headstart class so Dustin only went into work for about 15 min. one afternoon to sign some papers.

We finished Headstart on Friday, the let us go early since it was a long weekend. We immediately started looking for airfare to Hawaii as soon as we walked out the door. After looking around at several travel agents we decided to go back to one of them and get the ticket!

On Saturday we went to the 100 Yen store and got some stuff for Grace's room and envelopes for Christmas cards. We found our favorite Japanese candy and they had new flavors!! Coke and we think the other one is Aquarius (a grapefruit flavored sports drink) Then we stopped by McDonald's for lunch... who would have ever thought we would crave McDonalds??? We spent the rest of the day around the house (well, Dustin went into work for about an hour to work on some stuff). While he was gone, Heather got a lot done on Grace's stocking... all that is left now is some sequins!

Sunday was church and then our monthly BIG commissary trip for the month (ALWAYS the weekend before payday!). We spent about 2 hours there but we stocked up on some things (toothpaste, razors, etc) and saved $55.85 with coupons! We had a cheering section at the register... the cashier (or as the Japanese say "Casher") took our receipt to see how much we had actually saved and then announced it to all of the baggers that were around.

And on Monday we went to some home furnishing stores.... one was similar to IKEA and the other more like Target's home department. We came home empty handed but plan on going back to get baskets for Grace's room. After dinner we decided to carve our pumkin. Since we won't be here on Halloween we carved it and put it on the front porch with a big candle inside. We didn't think ahead of time to get a candle for it so we are using one that Heather got from Grandma Phyllis for Christmas last year! It doesn't seem like it's been a year since we were carving a pumkin in El Paso last year....

Here are some pictures from the pumkin carving:







Friday, October 10, 2008

And the next trip is....

HAWAII!!!!
We will be taking a little vacation to Hawaii in just about 2 weeks! Dustin just got a TDY assignment for a 2 week class near Honolulu and since his airfare and hotel are going to be paid for (and hotels on Hawaii are not cheap!) we decided to make a little vacation out of it. We are not quite sure where we are staying since we are still waiting on orders but we have heard that some people who have gone in the past have stayed at the Hilton on Waikiki! And the class shouldn't be too demanding, Dustin will probably actually have more time off than he would at home. Oh, and he gets to stay longer since he doesn't have to deal with the airline's policy on flying pregnant :-)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ryukyu Mura

Ryukyu Mura was pretty interesting and we definitely want to go back! First stop was the gift shop (we were with the headstart group so we did that while they got our tickets) and then we watched these eisa dancers perform:


video


After they were finished with their performance we walked around to see everything. They have little huts (houses) - in one you could paint your own Shisa dogs or learn ikebana (the art of flower arranging), there was a sugar mill and a pottery shop. Next time we want to do all of the crafts they have to offer. After we walked around and saw everything we went to the Central Square where we watched another performance (michijyune show).


Here are a couple more videos - Lion Dance and the Karate demo:

video


video



And here are pictures from the parade:

The Procession of the Royal House and High Officials
Usudeka Dance

Miruku Parade

Lion Dance

Mamidoma dance

Dustin even gave it a try!!
And more pictures from the day:

The Pottery Workshop

Sugar Mill

Random Japanese Fountain - Shisa Dogs

Playing the Samisen

Us with the Eisa Dancers

Dustin trys his skills at the Gong

Monday, October 6, 2008

Japanese Headstart

Yes, we are going to Headstart! After trying to get into the program (mandatory training for Dustin) for 7 months we finally made it. Today was Day #1 and to be honest, we were not looking forward to it. It wasn't too bad, although sitting in a classroom all day isn't the most fun thing in the world. We learned a little bit of history about Japan and Okinawa, a little about the culture, and how to say a few things in Japanese. It could be worse... we could have a monotone instructor to bore us all day! Tomorrow is Day #2 and we are taking a field trip to Ryukyu Mura and then to Shuri Castle. We have already seen the castle so I might pass on that and come home early. We have been wanting to go to Ryukyu Mura for quite a while now so we are pretty excited about that. It is nice that Dustin is home from work at 4:30pm and that I can spend the entire day with him.... but that just probably means he will be extra busy next week (and maybe even some evenings this week and this weekend) Well, I am going to pack up the camera and get things ready for tomorrow.

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