The move across the world (incredibly long and will interest very few people…)

June 29

Good morning. I am ready for the day.

Friday was a reminder of just how much I hate moving.  I know, I know my husband is in the wrong job field if I have a problem with moving. And I know I shouldn’t even be complaining because I didn’t even have to do the work of packing and boxing everything up, but it was still a really long day!

It actually went pretty quickly as moves go, they got there at 8am and we walked out the door of an empty house at 6pm. It wasn’t too bad until they packed up the chairs! Also by the end of the day my hands reeked of bleach. Nothing like scrubbing a house that is just going to sit vacant!


Leaving there we dropped off a whole boatload of cleaning supplies at our animal shelter on base, had to swing by the store for a leash since they packed the one I set aside (and then all of the backup ones as well) and then off to get settled in our new home (for the next few days) the Navy Lodge. Time to get used to living out of suitcases! The room is decent sized; it has a kitchenette which is good because the dining out options are pretty limited on base.

We did run over to La Plaza for dinner, grabbed some pizza and ran into a bunch of friends.  They were doing an alcohol free happy hour so I got a booze free mai tai; which incidentally is just juice. It would have been much improved with some alcohol in it! So we had another round of goodbyes which suck.

Back to the hotel with poor Bowser who doesn’t know what to do with himself. He can’t get settled and he is the worst to try to get to go to the bathroom on a walk, he NEVER goes when we are on a walk. He always waits until we are back into our yard to pee. He is such a weird dog. So needless to say we’ve been walking him and walking him to try and get him used to peeing in new places. He’s going to have to get over it or he is going to have a VERY long flight!

Goodbye Las Palmeras housing! It’s been real!

June 30

Saturday was off to a disappointing start as we woke up early to catch breakfast at the galley but got there a half hour after it closed. Really? Saturday breakfast from 6:30am to 8 am? What a bummer when I was really in the mood for some eggs, back to the hotel for a breakfast of cold cereal.  The lobby promised coffee and pastries in the morning but the coffee was some of the worst I have ever had (and I’m really not that picky) and the pastry was a little cake thing about the size of a pat of butter! Yes I am complaining and I really shouldn’t be at $75/night. Plus we did have a kitchenette so at least we had breakfast stuff on hand.

Hung around the rest of the day and even spent some time on the tennis courts, let’s just say it was a miracle if we could manage to volley more than three times! The kids had fun running after the ball and Bowser was happy to be out of the hotel room and able to stretch his legs.

Saturday night we were invited over to my friend LaDonna’s house for dinner. Omar and her husband Joe have been taking classes together so they know each other as well…. Plus she has two kids and a pool so my kids were happily entertained for hours. And her house. Oh my goodness, her house. It is my Spanish dream home! Three levels, an open courtyard in the middle, beautiful yard and tiles. I had to shut myself up because I was gushing. But seriously, if we ever move back to Spain, base housing can suck it.

July 1

July is here! Can’t believe that tomorrow we will be flying to Hawaii! Insane. Nothing on the agenda for the day, although we did actually manage to grab brunch at the galley. Much better hours on Sunday! Of course the kids don’t know how to behave at a buffet and fill their plates with way too much food.  Of course we saw some friends there to say goodbye to, I hate all this goodbying!

(and yes my husband mocked me mercilessly for taking pictures at the galley)

After breakfast we had to return our rental car, the tiny little Chevy Spark. Luckily we just had to return it to the air terminal so it wasn’t a far walk to the Exchange.  As we are walking from place to place we are reminded of doing the exact same thing 4 years ago when we first got here. It is amazing how quickly the time has gone.  Of course I was getting all sentimental on our walk, taking pictures of EVERYTHING, saying over and over, this is the last time I’ll see the post office, or my work, or the fire station. Being absolutely ridiculous about everything of course.

(Navy Lodge, random base photo, water tower)

Meandered our way over to the Exchange where the boys got haircuts (LAST haircuts in Rota!) Did some last minute shopping for things (last time in the mini mart!) then back to the hotel. Squeezed in another tennis game (if you could call it that) even though it was hot as heck out.  Spent the rest of the afternoon doing laundry and repacking the suitcases.

We did get to watch the final Euro 2012 game between Spain and Italy with Spain coming out on top. While it didn’t get quite as crazy as when Spain won the World Cup two years ago but it was pretty fun to hear all of the fireworks and car horns going off every time Spain scored. I will say that we were all rooting for Italy a bit, that Mario Barotelli has a great story and is quite a character.

Final night in Spain was sad, it’s hard to let go even though there isn’t anything left here. No house, no job, it’s time to move on. Spain was just such a wonderful time for our family.

July 2, 2012

Oh 4:30am is butt ass early in the morning. Amazingly we all managed to wake up okay and get everything together and out of the hotel. The only small blip was me letting Bowser out off-leash and he decided to go running off trying to find cats. I’m sure all of the other residents loved me yelling for my stupid dog at 5:30 in the morning.

To the airport at a little after 6 and the line is already insane. The first flight out is the one we are on, the 7am to Madrid, but the check in process doesn’t even start until 6. So there is a huge line of people that they have to try and get processed in 45 minutes. We are close to the end of the line, big cart full of luggage PLUS the huge dog kennel on another cart. We have to wait to check in ourselves before they will check in the dog (who is whining like CRAZY in his kennel, poor baby!). The process is just crazy, they send the kennel through a scanner then I had to walk the dog through security (thankfully he was being really good at this point) and then put him back in his kennel on the other side. At this point they are rushing us because the plane is getting ready to take off so they rush the dog out there and we are speed walking to the plane. Luckily our airport is tiny and we pretty much just walk through security out the gate, then over the tarmac to the plane.

Blurriest pic ever! He wouldn’t sit still in his crate!

*Two things with the dog: we were quoted 150euro and then they charged us 300euro and of course we had no time to argue. I’m planning on contacting Iberia not that I know if it will make a difference it was just irritating to be surprised like that. Second, they didn’t want me to leave his leash with the kennel. Oh and third, they did check him all the way through to LAX so we didn’t have to transfer him ourselves when we pulled into Madrid.*

First flight over, just an hour, the easy one was out of the way.  Getting to Madrid wasn’t too bad. They’ve remodeled since the last time we were here and it was much easier to navigate. Grabbed breakfast at McDonald’s (Egg McMuffin’s for the win!) then tried to figure out where to ask if our dog was okay. No one really knew too much about him, thankfully they said he should get on the next plane no problem. Of course me being a worry wart am asking if anyone would be giving him water or letting him out of his kennel. No one knew. So my poor baby is probably in the kennel crossing his legs right now, I did put down layers of puppy pads and blankets and towels.

Hanging on the airport train…. Omar is thrilled to be here.

This is SO FUN!











So now, right now, I am smack dab in the middle of a 13 hour flight from Madrid to Los Angeles. Almost perfectly in the middle, we’ve been on the plane for almost 7 hours. So far so good. I’ve got my Kindle and my iPad and we are currently watching “A Thousand Words” on the plane (yes it is as bad as all of his other movies, so glad I didn’t pay for it)

The plane ride can’t last forever (even though it is kindof starting to feel like it) really looking forward to landing in LAX and getting to stretch my legs and see how my puppy is doing!

LAX was super crazy. We landed a few minutes late, the line for customs was insane, grabbed our luggage and waited for the dog to come down in the oversize elevator. Elevator arrives, no one will give us our dog! They said a representative from the airline had to do it! Say what! We have 1.5 hours to get out of baggage claim walk a million miles to the new gate and go through security for our next flight. Finally one of the baggage guys starts pulling stuff off and we get our baby. He was whining and whimpering to get out. Sorry baby! We go through customs and start rushing toward the United check in. Stop for 30 seconds at a pet relief area for Bowser but he was more interested in sniffing everything than peeing. Get to the check in counter, where of COURSE the lady has an issue with us sending our dog as excess baggage. She wants us to take him to cargo. Oh no lady. I’ve googled my ass off and talked to your pet coordinator, this dog is getting on this plane. (Military exemption suckers!) She calls someone gets told to stick the dog on the plane, and off we go. But not before realizing that we forgot to pick up my husbands seabag from the baggage terminal. A half mile away. That we can’t get to. Oh. Shit.

His seabag has ALL of his uniforms. Uniforms which he is required to be wearing in three days. We are panicking but have no choice but to get in line and get through security so we can catch our flight. We barely had time to use the bathroom before we had to board the flight. And hooray, we are sitting in the back row of the airplane. Worst flight ever. Big guy next to me kept stealing my armrest, I had people’s butts in my face for 5 hours as they waited in line for the bathroom. Couldn’t sleep, just miserable.

Land in Hawaii, go to baggage to tell them about our bag, they say it should make it’s way here so we don’t need to file a claim.

Omar’s sponsor and chief meet us and give us a ride to the hotel, so happy we didn’t have to try cramming in a cab. Oh, and also after I had them swing by the quarantine holding area so I could drop off some food for the dog. If you fly in after 3pm you have to pick up the next morning.

Get the kids to sleep around 1am, just for a nap I tell them. I sleep for about 3-4 hours and am up and awake at 5am. We did it. We are actually in Hawaii! And I am claiming beach front view from our hotel because I can see a sliver of water between the two hotels in front of us!

Boxer lurve…

And he’s the one who swears he doesn’t even like the dog. Please.

We have SUCH a great dog. I don’t know if we just got lucky or what.  We know the people who have his brother and their dog is out of control.  Bowser may dig a hole every now and again but other than that (oh and that time when he chewed the leg off of one of Mckenna’s Monster High dolls) he is SO good.  He loves the kids, he barks and growls when there are strangers in our yard, he gets along great with other kids and dogs.

He is my shadow pretty much all day when I am home. Today the internet was out most of the morning (horror of horrors) so I actually had to clean my house. He just marches with me as I was walking from room to room, napping on the kitchen floor near me while I did the dishes.

Anytime people ask, I gush about this breed, they are very high energy, don’t get me wrong, but he has been a wonderful addition to our family.  I love this crazy dog!

Moving is slowly killing me

Moving from Spain to Hawaii is a pain in the ass. I know I shouldn’t be complaining, that yes we are  moving from one dream vacation spot to another, but I still get to complain!

First off is the dog, my baby. We still aren’t 100% sure we are going to be able to fly with him in July. Many airlines have a summer heat embargo that prevents pets from flying in the cargo hold. On top of that, he is a snub-nosed dog which has a further set of restrictions.  We have some papers we received from the travel place on base that say that the heat embargo is waived with PCS orders. But I am not believing anything anyone tells me right now with out confirmation from the airline. I don’t want to get to Madrid and have someone tell me I can’t put my dog on the airplane. What the hell would we do then???

Second, finding temporary lodging. We only get a set amount reimbursed from the military for a hotel each day and finding one under that is almost impossible. Add in parking and wifi and taxes and pet fees and we are coming out of pocket for quite a bit.  I am looking for someone on the island who pet sits so we can have the dog stay there instead of in a hotel.  (Okay while we *could* find a cheaper hotel, I don’t want to stay in a shady area. If I am going to be in a hotel for 4+ weeks I want it to be in an area where the kids and I can walk to things, so I am focusing on Waikiki.)

Thirdly: HOUSING! Holy crap is the base housing wait list long! 2-4 months! I am looking for something off base, preferably in Mililani, preferably 4 bedroom, and is pet friendly. Oh and is under $2500/month. Pretty much dreaming the impossible dream over here.

Adding onto that the kids will be starting school when we still be in temporary housing so how the heck do I decide where to enroll them? I am REALLY looking forward to living in Hawaii and I know I am going to LOVE it. I am not, however, looking forward to the transition period of the next few months. It’s going to suck.

Stressful week so I am venting. My dog acted like he was dying, impromptu girls sleepover tonight, went to see a slightly disappointing Mirror, Mirror at the drive in, and I’ve spent too many hours today researching hotels.

Let me go to sleep so I am not a zombie in the morning!

Mother’s Day Weekend Recap

We had a fun weekend, took the dog to the beach, went to feria in Jerez, then out to dinner for Mother’s Day at Blanca Paloma, aka my happy place.

My kidlets were threatened that they better be on their best behavior so I could enjoy my favorite dinner, the beautiful day, and the sunshine. They did great, iPods and Nintendo DS’s helped.


Me and crazy pants. He demanded a silly photo.

The salad of my dreams. Fresh mozzarella, fresh pesto, sun-dried tomatoes. So, so good. I also had some bruchetta with tomato, provolone and feta.  No pictures of that because it was inhaled.

Happy Mom’s Day to me! I swear I don’t always have bitch face!

On our way out, the beach was PACKED when we got there and empty by the time we left. It was a beautiful day!

On Saturday a friend of mine and I took our boxers to the beach. This whole area is under water at high tide but at low tide there is a TON of room for them to run.  Swimming isn’t allowed so it stays empty and we can let the dogs run and they don’t bother anyone.


Bowser decided to cool off and get into the water. He’s never done this before, but once he realized how much it cooled him off he didn’t want to get out!  I don’t even know if he can swim! We’ll have to see this summer!

All three puppies! Bowser loves his buddies!

In the amount of time that we were there (maybe an hour total walking) I got sunburned! This Spanish sun is NO JOKE!

And then there was candy…

We had a great weekend.

Saturday was an errand day, had to go grocery shopping. Managed to get one of the last two hams in the commissary. Not having ham on Easter would have been a deal breaker. What the heck else do you have? I really would have loved to make lamb but who knows where I can get that here! Anyways, I managed to grab all of my groceries for Easter dinner as well as all of the other stuff I needed and it wasn’t too crowded. YAY!

Also managed to run over to the exchange can get some last minute Easter crap for the kids baskets. My mom sent them clothes but I BEGGED her to not send baskets this year. They are full of stuff the kids really don’t need. I am really trying to cut down on the amount of STUFF that comes into the house.

So I grabbed the kids some bubble sets, pool toys and some candy and called it a day. Also had some books hidden away in my room that I grabbed and put in the baskets.

The weather was beautiful so we threw some steaks on the grill for dinner (we being I) and took a little walk around the neighborhood.  There has been a ton of construction going on as they convert 2 bedroom duplexes to 4 bedroom houses and our street is pretty much a ghost town. The half that was all two bedrooms is closed off and our half of the street with three bedrooms is half empty. They haven’t been moving any new families onto our street.  Anyways, we had a nice walk and I resisted the urge to trespass in all of the new construction!

That night I ended up staying up WAY too late finishing my final project for a class. Now I am down to ONE class! I wish I could say I was excited I am just so ready to be DONE.

Sunday morning came way too early after being up so late. O had me up by 9 and I gave him some breakfast and then hibernated on the couch with some coffee. At 10, M decided she wanted to make everyone breakfast (more like brunch by the time we ate). She had gotten a Paula Dean cookbook for kids from my mom for Christmas and has been dying to try it out. So she made us all fried egg sandwiches and herself french toast. I barely helped her at all (I did fry the bacon for the sandwiches) Just gave some pointers on egg flipping. She did a great job! I need to let her help more in the kitchen but that is ‘my’ space and I am terrible at sharing.  I just know I LOVED helping my mom, aunts and grandmothers in the kitchen (and my grandpa at the grill) when I was her age.

We also managed to dye eggs, bake cookies, have an easter egg/basket hunt, and prepare and eat a huge meal. Then off for another walk to the playground to burn off the food!  Time for the photos!

Okay. Their baskets were in use so they used paper bags to find eggs. Don't judge me. Also M would like you to know that her braces matched her dress! Good choice this month babe!


So! Excited!


Last year this spot was the toughie... she could NOT find the last egg. This year was in the stack of patio chairs.


Oh yeah. And this BRIGHT GREEN one sitting on a white fence. She walked past it about five times.


Found his basket! And then proceeded to try to take everything out and put it into his paper bag.




After looking ALL over the yard she was ready to give up on finding her basket. Finally found it in the doghouse. A place that she had peeked into while looking for eggs. Oh yeah. Covered in a dog blanket. MMMMMmmmm, dog hair chocolate!


My beautiful girl.


A shot with the kiddos. Yes my daughter really is that tall.
(Alternate title: You're not having any candy until you take a picture with mommy!)


And the arguing starts over who got what and who has the better candy. For God's sake it's all the same! I know better!


I hate you all right now for making me pose with this stupid basket.


This is so humiliating.


Adorable. Love this man.


Proof that we dyed eggs since I didn't take a shot of them all lined up pretty and colorful. And now they are all piled in a bowl in the fridge and we've already eaten half of them.


Bubbles! (Every time I see kids and bubbles I think of that "Knocked Up" line: Paul Rudd saying he wished he liked anything as much as his kids liked bubbles. SO. TRUE!)

Bowser loves bubbles, too!


Love these. We went through the whole giant bottle in a day. They are super fun.


Bowser STILL loves bubbles!


After dinner it was still nice and sunny and I snuck outside with a glass of wine on the chaise lounge. I felt like a lizard, winter was too long. O came out to see what I was doing my my husband (!!!) and daughter (!!!) cleaned up dinner and did the dishes (!!!). (Sorry it was just really surprising!)

We were just outside being silly and he kept saying he didn’t want to take a picture and I just kept taking them.


I call this one: "Are you serious, mom?"


And this one: Damn I love this kid.

Winter beach day

Sometime last month we drove over to the beach on base with the dog just for fun.  Now ‘technically’ this beach isn’t open right now, and ‘technically’ Americans are usually only allowed to use it during a certain part of the summer, and ‘technically’ I don’t think dogs are allowed (certainly not off leash!) But I have a tendency to be that person who asks forgiveness instead of permission!

You can see the Spanish Armada right over that stone jetty... Pretty cool!

We had the entire beach to ourselves. It was still a pretty cool day and windy too, not beach weather at all. Unless you have two kids obsessed with seashells and seaglass and a dog that LOVES to run.


Crazy doggie! Those front feet just crack me up!

Attacking waves

We need to get back out there before it starts to really warm up. It’s really nice to be able to let the dog go crazy on the beach. I’m kinda curious to see if he can even swim, he is so top heavy!

Beach baby

Beach babe

Wiped out and COVERED in sand

Our time did get cut a little bit short as another family came onto the beach with a picnic basket. I knew Bowser wouldn’t leave them alone (he ran up to them as soon as he saw them walk down) so home we went with baths for everyone.

I am just so grateful that we can live so near the beach. I can see the bay from my driveway. I can hear the waves as I walk in our housing area. We can go anytime we want to some beautiful beaches along this sunny Spanish coast. While I might complain about the Navy (who me?) I am SO glad my husband isn’t in the Air Force or Army! At least with the Navy we are pretty much guaranteed to be near the ocean! I am so so so looking forward to Hawaii where I can go to the beach every. single. day!

Also: I am totally going to order this print. I just adore it.

16 x 20 paper print - The Cure for Anything Is Salt Water - inspirational ocean artwork, beach word art typography poster

Image via maechevrette