Friday, September 18, 2009

The Swine Flu

Yes, yes. The H1N1 virus has reared its ugly head and made its way all the way to Okinawa, Japan. People here are getting sick right and left. Its kinda cool because everyone wears surgical masks here when they are sick. Its bad manners to be sick and not wear one. Audrie sneezed in public once and we got the most evil glare ever. I tried to take some pictures for you all on the sly, but I couldn't get one. Here is one that I found online. People get really creative.
On the american side of things. . . The hospital emergency room is filled with coughing feverish people of all ages. And of course my family doesn't like to be left out of anything, so the decided to join right in.
Cala, Audrie and Sam all decided to turn against me and get sick within the span of a week. Cala had the most mild case of the flu. Audrie caught it next and was sick with 104 fevers. Sam's wasn't as bad, but all the flu snot got his asthma irriated, so he ended up in the ER. Surprisingly, I stayed healthy. This was very much the result of A LOT of prayer.
Well, the only fun thing about being sick in Japan is trying new remidies. There are these fever cooling jell packs that people use on kids. We had to try it on the girls. Its really sticky and goopy, by you just stick it to their head and it helps them cool down.
Thankfully we are all doing MUCH better one week later. There are more stories to tell, so i promise to blog again soon.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Okinawa Sunsets

There is something about sunsets that drives you to deep reflection.
As some of you know, Sam and I have chosen to extend our time here in Okinawa. We are not slated to leave the island until the end of 2011. With that information in mind, all of our loved ones have been hitting us with a barrage of questions.
Everyone seems to ask us the same question lately. "What is it that you guys love so much about Japan?" There are a lot of different things we like. The peaceful lifestyle. The really polite people. The fun food. The fascinating culture. It was hard to put our finger on just what it was. then one day we sat on the sea wall and watched the sun set over the Sea of China. Then it hit us. Japan is just home.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Every once in a while I have one of those mom moments that makes me shake my head and wonder what my life has come too. Recently I have been contemplating the many random things I have had to tell my daughters this past summer. These are things that I never thought I would have to say out loud. I thought I would share some of these random thoughts with you guys. “DO NOT lick your sister.” (As she holds her sister’s head in her hands.) “DO NOT head but your father there!” (I think you guys can guess this one.) “Ladies DO NOT show their buts to the neighbors.” (One of my daughters grew a fascination with flashing.) “Ketchup is NOT a food group.” (After the fourth serving of ketchup on her chicken nuggets.) “Why did you lick the stove if you saw the pot was boiling?” (I still haven’t gotten the answer to this one.) “No that boy does not have boobies.” (Whispered quietly so as not to embarrass ourselves as the really chubby guy is still in ear shot.) “Yes one day you will have boobies.” (After they thought long and hard about the chubby guy with man boobs.) I could go on, but you get the picture. I love my daughters and I think that with time they will only get more interesting.

Monday, August 17, 2009

First Day of School

So the first day of the school year has finally come. I must confess that I am more excited that the girls. The American summer vacation schedule is entirely too long! This was the first school year that Sam and I couldn't be there to take the girls to their first day. I worked nights and Sam is still stuck in Hawaii. I had a significant amount of mom guilt about this, so I went crazy on the school supplies and let the girls get almost whatever they wanted. Then after school i picked them up and to Yogurt Land.(Check out my earlier post on our fav. dessert place). In all honestly the girls could have cared less that i wasn't there because they were happy to see their friends. But, the let me appease my mom guilt through over sugaring them. Then they insisted on taking a picture to send to daddy who is stuck in the airport. (Before you think they are that sweet. . . they really only wanted to show off that they got frozen yogurt). Here are the griddy pictures from my cell phone from our first day.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Yogurt Land

There is this new is cream place that opened up here. Its called Yogurt Land. Now, we like frozen yogurt just fine, but I was not sure how I would like a place that was only yogurt. Sam and the girls went first. They came home with raving reviews and said I absolutely had to go! So, one festival weekend we decided to go check it out. It was so AWESOME!! (The pictures are kinds gritty because they were on my phone).
There were walls of frozen yogurt machines in every flavor. I picked peanut butter.
There is then all these topping flavors like chocolate chips, strawberry, bananas, and even corn flakes. We all had very unique tastes.
Making it even cooler was that every one was dressed up all cute. During festivals everyone wears their Kimonos. I thought these girls looked really cute.

I must confess. . . it is now our official favorite dessert place on island!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sam's Employed!!!

Today Sam got an call from the human resources department of Community Bank telling him that he got the job we had been praying for!!! He goes in tomorrow to sign the contract and starts as soon as he starts his terminal leave with the Marine Corp. He will now be working as the Acquisitions Officer for Community Bank. Or maybe it was Contracts Specialist. I don't know. He'll correct the blog if I am wrong though. :). Thank you all SO MUCH for your prayers. We are SOOOO excited about this HUGE next step.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Work, Life and Summer Fun

Sam and I got a call the other day from my brother-in-law, Joseph. He reminded us how HORRIBLE we have been with keeping up with calling people and updating our blog. I sadly have to agree. Life has been insanely busy -not that this is an excuse. We have been very very remiss and will try our hardest to be better about it. Bear with me now as I work to update you all on the exciting adventures in the Bernard World.
Busy Busy Busy. I my life is rather boring. I am still working hard as a mental health nurse. Sam on the other hand has much more excitement. This Saturday he will be flying out to spend a week in America to officially end his USMC contract. We are ridiculously excited. He has started the interview process for civilian jobs. He had an interview with a local bank to work as an acquisition officer. We are praying that he gets it if it is God's will.
Well lots is going on now that Sam is getting out of the military. We prayed long and hard and decided that we want to stay in Okinawa for an extra year. As of right now we will be living in Okinawa until 2011. With this in mind we made the choice to move into a real Okinawan house. We move in this Friday. We will send pictures soon.
Summer Fun:
This summer has been busy. My (Dacee) dad came to visit us for a weekend after spending 3 weeks touring China. He had fun seeing where we live and what we do to fun. The day after he left my (still Dacee) mom came to visit for a month. She has been amazing to have here. She has been watching the girls and seeing all the Okinawa sites.
One last cool thing that happened today. Okinawa had the longest solar eclipse seen in over a century. I was all excited for it, but it wasn't that amazing. The whole world turned kinda gray like it was a cloudy day. . . only eerier. I couldn't see the sun directly because. . . . well because it was the sun. I didn't have one of those cool eclispy looking things to see it through so like you all I have to see it through pictures.

Well, I guess that is all for now. I promise to try to send pics of the new house to you all soon. We love you all! Keep us in your prayers.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sam's Birthday

So life here has been really busy. The girls are finishing out their school year. Sam is closing out his time in the Marines and I am busy with work and school. We all decided we needed a short break for Sam's birthday (he's 29 years old now!!!). Sam really doesn't like cake, so the girls and I decided to take him to this ice cream parlor that is right across the street from where I work.
They have the most amazing menu items. There is this one AMAZING menu item. I forgot my camera so I tried to find a picture of the ice cream he choose online. This is the closest one to the one he picked. Only add corn flakes, chocolate syrup, bananas, oranges, kiwi, and an upside down ice cream cone. I am NOT exaggerating.
We finished it all. We were on a sugar high for the rest of the day, but Sam said it was the best birthday dessert he has ever had. I admit. . . we all liked it too. :)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Should I stay or should I go?

We are officially in the countdown for Samuel's departure from the USMC. Sam is so excited. He is so happy coming hoe from work. He is working on his resume all the time. Sam has been in the military since we first got married. It feels strange to see this time in his life come to an end. Now I will be the only military member in the family. My contract ends in 2011. I am trying to figure out what to do.
The Navy wants to send me to grad school to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner, and i want to go. I LOVE my job. Working with psych patients is fun. But recently Sam and i have been debating whether i should stay with the Navy or not. Our nation's leader has recently irritated some of our long standing allies and befriended some of our allies long standing enemies. This makes me and Sam uncomfortable.
Then my boss gave me this book called Rule Number Two: Lessons I learned in a combat hospital. Its a memore from a Navy psychologist who was deployed when her kids were 15 months old. Its a great book. Kinda sad though. It was suppose to inspire me, but its had the opposite effect.
Let me explain by telling you the two rules of war. "Rule number one is that young men die. Rule number two is that doctors can't change rule number one."
All of you often ask what me and Sam are going to do in regards to the military. The truth is we don't know. We are at an impasse. I love my job with the Navy, but does that mean i should stay? We are praying for wisdom. We'd love to have you guys out there praying for us to.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

My baby turned 7!!!!

I feel that there is nothing harder to watch as a parent than your little kids getting bigger. My little Micayla just turned seven! This is so strange for me and Sam. Looking at her all we can think of is 'Where did all the years go?'. I think it is extra fun for us because we had Cala when we were just 21 years old, so we have grown up with her.
Well, I feel that birthdays are should be the BEST day of the year. My girls agree. They love birthdays more than Christmas - really. See, we stress that Christmas is about giving to others, but birthdays is the day that is all about you. They get to plan their perfect party. Their friends have to all be nice to them, and they can't get in trouble.
The only rule of children's birthday parties for me and Sam is the they can NEVER EVER be in our home. This year Cala wanted a sleep over, and i was so consumed with mommy sadness over my little girl growing up that i said yes. Why? What was i thinking? It was CHAOS.
There were 15 girls there, but thankfully only 12 stayed the night. We started with cupcake decorating.
After we sugared the girls up we did Disney Karaoke and dinner, a pinata, more cake and a movie.
I didn't think this whole plan through. With all the sugar in their system they didn't want to go to sleep. Sam and I were up till 2am!
Cala had a wonderful time though. She barley made it through the next day. Both her and Audrie were spent.
Looking back I guess it was totally worth it. You do only turn seven once. :)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Food in Okinawa

I was having a conversation with my dad the other day about foods here in Okinawa. When we first arrived on island everything seemed quite overwhelming. We were surprised about how different Japanese food was here on island compared to how it was in the movies. It took us awhile to get use to everything, but now we have developed quite a few favorite foods here on island.
Okinawan food is different than food on mainland Japan. Okinawa is really famous for their soba. Its a soup that is a lot like ramen noodles only made fresh and a lot better. Sam and I LOVE soba. It is made with homemade egg noodles, tofu, seaweed, green onions, pork, and this salty ginger seasoning. It tastes a lot better than it sounds.
The girls love more traditional Japanese food. The most famous kind is cutlet curry. This is a crispy fried pork cutlet served with curry and veggies over rice. I admit we have this at least once a week.

There is of course the even more traditional sushi. Sushi is more of a eat out thing here. There is this place here called sushi-go-round where the chefs make the sushi right in front of you and it goes around this wheel and you just pick the kind you want. Its kind of hit and miss, but I like it anyway. The girls usually just order fried squid, which tastes surprisingly like chicken.

Tea here is a real specialty. Its in every vending machine. You have to be really careful when you by them because 90% of them don't have sugar. The first time Sam and I tasted them they were really gross. It tasted like chalk. I really like it now. My favorite drink comes from a place called Quickly's. They make all kinds of cold teas. I wasn't sure at first, but now I am addicted. My favorite is Jasmine Pearl Milk tea. It is a Jasmine tea with milk and tapioca beans. It is surprisingly addictive. But don't worry. If any of you make it over to this side of the world there are more traditional foods here.

Overall we are really loving the food here, and are kinda worried at how well the kids will adapt when we take them back to the states. Who knows, maybe we will find someplace that makes fried squid in the U.S. too. :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Poor Sam

Yes, I know i am way overdue for a post on the status of my injured husband, but i got to say. . . he is a difficult patient and makes getting on the computer hard. :)
Actually he has not been that bad. He has done AMAZING with pain control and is tolerating his cast a lot better than i would. The area is taking a little longer to heal than the doctor first expected, so he had to leave the staples in. Sam gets the staples out in one week and goes back to work in a couple of days after. I have included some pictures for your enjoyment. Be forewarned, some are kinda gross if you aren't medically minded.
This is a picture of them taking off his surgical dressing.

Here is what it looked like under all that gauze.

Just so you can see how big the incision actually was:

He got a brand new cast. Its a regular fiber glass one, even though the staples are still in. I love the color blue it is:

Now he can gimp around on crutches like this:

The doctors tell us he will be back to normal in a year! Keep him in your prayers!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Okay, every once in a while you have to have a mommy moment. Some of you might know that i firmly believe my children are the cutest things ever. I think its a mom requirement to find your children endearing. Well, I know that it is valentine's day and i should be writting about hearts and candy, but my little Cala wrote the cutest essay on President Linclon ever. I just got it back from her teacher, so i had to share it. This might be something only grandparents enjoy, but you all have to suffer. Sit back and enjoy the writings of Micayla Rachel Aurora Bernard. Keep in mind that she is only six years old.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

So I have been awful lately about updating our family blog. I have a valid excuse though . . . life has been crazy. Our new year started off with a bang. The girls are back in school and doing GREAT. They surprised us early this month by telling us that they both had decided that they were ready to be baptized. Sam and I debated it for a while because they are so young, but they assured us that they had Jesus in their hearts and they were ready. So one Sunday night we let them take the plunge. (Hehehe - get the pun?) They were so cute. Unfortunately we don't have any really good pictures because they were so short. They couldn't see over the baptismal ledge. It was a really proud mommy and daddy moment. Other than that we have been really busy with work and injuries. I just diminished up my physical therapy from the knee surgery I had in December. That was a relief because I had three appointments a week! Sam decided that he was tired of all the attention I was getting with my hurt knee so he decided that he was going to tear his Achilles tendon. Seriously though, he was playing basketball for the first time in YEARS and someone ran into him and tore the tendon. He has surgery tomorrow. :( Keep him in your prayers. Well, unfortunately I have no interesting pictures to post on this blog entry, but I wanted to let you all know that we are still alive here in Japan. I promise to post pictures of Sam in his huge leg cast and post surgery stuff too. We miss you all!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Puppy Love

Okay, so Sam and I have this love/hate relationship with pets. We have gone through quite a few dogs, cats, fish and turtles in our seven years of marriage. Our kids now ask us "Can we keep this one for a long time?" That's bad I know. Well, recently we were given our dog number six after dog number five came down with doggie cancer. Our little pure bred American Yorkshire terrier was found abandoned on the road. The girls named her Rosebud after the dog from Snow Buddies. (If you don't know what movie I am talking about just take a second to be thankful that you don't have elementary aged girls.)

So this is Rosebud. How cute is she!?!? Oh, and yes that is a blue Mohawk she is sportin'. The Japanese groomers here love their small dogs and the girls and I couldn't resist. Sam just shook his head when he saw her and said "I want boys.". I don't know what he's talking about. ;P

Here's a better look at her cute hair cut.

Well, as adorable as our little Rosebud is she is getting on my nerves. She refuses to potty train. We have had her for almost seven months, which is really long for us! She pees in her crate. Holds her pee on walks and then pees as soon as she gets in the house! Everyone tells me that small dogs are the hardest to train because they have these tiny bladders. She's full grown and she is even smaller than most Yorkies.

I have promised the girls that we will actually keep Rosebud for a long time, but i am breaking here. What ideas to you guys have on how to potty train a stubborn dog?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year!

Wow! It is 2009! I have to say 2008 was one of the longest years in my life! Sam agreed too. It is hard being half way around the world from family and friends. :( We love you guys. Well. . . we were so excited to welcome in the new year. We decided to for-go all the mandatory military activities and do something more family oriented. I am so glad we did! There is this BEAUTIFUL botanical garden here. Every winter they decorate the whole place up with lights. They do a light show with fireworks for new years! We decided to go with our neighbors. Here is a really cool pic of one of the areas they lit up.When we first got there all the employees were dressed up like Santa's helpers. It was so cute.
They also opened up really awesome play areas for the kids. Somehow everything looks more magical in the dark. The girls went WILD.

Sam and I had to join in on the fun too. It got really dark - even with all the lights, so Sam bought the girls these cute lightsabers. (Did I mention we LOVE Star Wars.) The girls quickly broke out into Jedi fights. They were really getting into it.

Of course the dads saw the girls having fun, so they stole the lightsabers from them. I thought they were funnier than the kids.
We ended the night with the beautiful light show. There were all these lasers and stuff. I couldn't get a clear picture of it though. :(
Over all it was a wonderful day! We hope your New Years was wonderful too! Happy New Year! Hope each of you has a GREAT 2009!