Back to School!

(Please ignore Omar’s pained expression, he’s going through that I-can’t-smile-like-a-normal-person phase)

School starts early here, ridiculously early in my opinion. Mckenna went back to school on July 30th, Omar had an orientation on Friday and started for realz this Monday. So this week I officially have two school age kids.


(This is Mckenna’s for real first day pic, but it was when we were still in the hotel room of doom…)


Since we are done (really I mean it, DONE!) having more babies, I feel like a chapter in our lives is over. I’ve had a kid in tow for the last 10 years, and now they are both in school!  Now I am child-less for 6 hours a day and it feels SO bizarre.

Part of it was a realization at just how quickly time has flown. When Mckenna started kindergarten 5 years ago, I was hugely pregnant with Omar and ended up having him 3 weeks later. Now that baby is going into school, too. I wish I had my hard drive so I could pull up some photos of Mckenna’s first day.

Oh here is one I dug up from my facebook page of the month Mckenna started kindergarten and Omar was born:


Look at her! She is a baby! (and Omar REALLY is a baby) It still stuns me just how quickly the past 5 years have flown by. We moved to Spain, then to Hawaii. It’s just crazy how much your life can change in a few years.

One thing that is great about having two kids in school is the fact that my husband is on leave right now! While we are still running around like crazy with all of the errands we are still having to get done, we are also hanging out together. Just us! It’s been really nice, even though he has been dragging me to the gym most days after we drop off the kids. Today we actually went and saw a movie while the kids were at school. (The Watch, stupid funny, but then again I love all the cast members).

So bittersweet. There is my adjective for school starting. Both my kids love it so far. I miss my babies but am also enjoying these free hours I have.

We have a house!

So we moved into our house this week, it has been WONDERFUL to get out of a hotel room. Everyone needed a door to close to get away from everyone else. I love my children but I am really, really glad that I can send them upstairs to play, or to the park right behind our house.

We have some hideous awesome temporary furniture that we get to use until our stuff gets delivered. But really, it’s nice to have beds, a couch and a table and chairs. The same day we moved in we had our temp furniture delivered, our express shipment delivered and had satellite tv hooked up.  So we at least have enough stuff to cook and get through the next month. It’s been great to be able to cook dinner again. It’s going to be a long time until we eat fast food!

There is a LOT that I want to do to this house. I really want to paint some walls but we have to get approval first… Also our (tiny) yard is pretty much just red dirt. So I am really looking forward to getting some grass seed in there and doing some gardening. I have a little papaya tree in my front yard and I am hoping I can actually get it to produce some big ol’ papaya.

Oh, and one of the perks of living in Hawaii? I found a roach today in my kitchen. Since we have hardly any food it must have already been here. Needless to say I was throwing up in my mouth, I have NEVER had to deal with roaches before! First thing tomorrow I am calling maintenance to have them come spray the crap outta my house. I can deal with ants and spiders but roaches are a deal breaker.

Need to take some pictures to show, but we’ve been so crazy running around getting errands done. Really looking forward to relaxing and settling in!

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!

Hotel Living

I am officially over living out of a hotel room. One week, that’s all it took.  Plus we’ve been lucky because I’ve been dropping Omar off at work then running around with the kids so we aren’t stuck in here all day. But man, it sure didn’t take long for me to miss cooking. And dressers. And a bedroom door between me and my children.  We moved from our hotel right smack dab in the middle of Waikiki to one right near the base. Our temporary housing allowance was getting cut off because we refused a house to wait for the house we really wanted, and that means we have to start paying out of pocket for a hotel. So goodbye beach hotel, hello cheap hotel. I’m not complaining, it’s clean, has wifi in the rooms, a pool and is SUPER close to the base.

We did have some delicious Chinese food for dinner tonight. Let me just tell you that Chinese food in Europe? Is not what you are used to, we got used to it over there but man was it so good to have our unauthentic American Chinese food again!

Also Cinnabon for breakfast (yes I know I will soon be 200lbs). Little Omar said to me “Mom, you need to learn how to make cinnamon rolls like these!” Honey I am sorry, the closest you will get will be from the tube. I haven’t had the patience to make yeast breads in forever.

It’s been pretty fun taking Omar out to eat everywhere, it’s all a first for him. First Cinnabon, first Taco Bell, second time at Popeye’s (the first was in Germany of all places!) Although I did almost disown him for saying he didn’t like the cheddar bay biscuits at Red Lobster (and yes we are planning on hitting up EVERY SINGLE chain restaurant on island!)

Found out which school my kids are going to. Not 100% happy with it. I can change it to another school but I am not sure how much of a pain in the butt that will be or even if they will approve it.  I hate the way they draw district lines. We end up going to a school that is across a highway instead of the one that my daughter could ride her bike to.

I think we are going to explore the beach on Hickam tomorrow since it’s just up the road. I’ve heard that it’s nice. I’m still kicking myself for not packing my snorkel stuff. I’m trying not to buy more but I don’t know if I can wait until our stuff gets here in September!

The end of the month can not get here soon enough, I am ready for a house!

Six More Years…

This is both something to celebrate and kinda sign over at the same time. My husband reenlisted for six more years in the Navy. Which – yay!- means he has a job for six more years! But also means the Navy owns him for six more years. Or actually, more realistically 10 more because he’ll probably stay in and retire.  The Navy has been good to us over the past 10 years, yeah it was a little tough when we first got in, but now we are comfortable, moving, deployments, all that stuff is just something we got used to as part of his job. It’s part of our life now. I could never have imagined where this decade has led us in the Navy, we kinda figured we would ride out 4 or 6 or 8 years in Norfolk. Staying in for 20 was never really in the cards, neither was living overseas. Now I just have to sit back and see what surprises the next 10 years brings. I am so very, very proud of my sailor and the sacrifices he has made.

Now, onto the reenlistment ceremony!

As cheesy as it is, I really wanted to be at at least ONE ceremony of his! I have never been at a reenlistment or frocking (promotion) ceremony before so I skipped out on a few hours of work to come hang out.

Thankfully I was able to do a quick and easy catering job courtesy of the local commissary!


And before you get to reenlist you actually have to get kicked out… Here he is getting an honorable discharge.

For those few seconds between getting kicked out and reenlisting, he was a free man! Pretty much all the jokes have been made, trying to run, jokingly cussing out a superior, etc…

Swearing back in… Why hello PAO, that is a nice ring you have there!


Making it official and signing his life away for six. more. years!

So thankful that one of the MC’s got this picture. We have SO few pictures of just the two of us!

Rivera Gardens: The BEST viveros ever!

Okay, I have heard about this place for YEARS and have had numerous people tell me I HAVE to go… Our nurseries here are called viveros, and they are all over the place. The one right by the base is Viveros El Lago, I have spent a pretty penny in there on pots, flowers, herbs and ceramics.

Well one day we had some time to kill and decided to head out to the big viveros in Chipiona. A friend gave me directions and I thought I knew where it was based on the few times I’ve driven through Chipiona. Well we follow those directions and get no where. We were out in the country with nothing looking like a garden center in sight. Finally after back tracking and asking for directions and STILL not being able to find it we gave up. Decided to keep heading down the road and go to Las Dunas mall in Sanlucar. Wouldn’t you know it, we ran into the dang garden center! It was no where NEAR where I thought it was and where my directions said…

Well we found it and I could have probably wasted an entire day in there…

From the outside. The play area inside. Jungle gym & playhouse. There is also a small merry go round. And while your kids play you can enjoy a snack or coffee from the cafe inside. So nice.

There is a huge pond in the middle of the place with an island and multiple bridges. And lots and lots of koi.  I have no clue what my son is doing, probably some superhero pose.

Oh my. The plants. I’ve pretty much had to let my garden go which was really hard this spring when all I wanted to do was buy a crap load of flowers and plants. It didn’t help that we had a super hard frost for the first time in 4 years that killed EVERYTHING! My hibiscus, my banana plant, my dame de la noche. All my big stuff froze! It’s all starting to come back but I am just hoping I get some flowers out of my hibiscus before I move! Anyways, it was very hard not to buy a hydrangea in every color, they are one of my favs. (Although it took like 4 times to spell the name right)

Along with plants they also have animals! Puppies and chickens and peacocks, oh my! Seriously though if we have a yard when we move to Hawaii I am going to get some damn chickens. I want chickens SO BAD! Also who knew you could just buy peacocks? They were about 70-80 euro each, not too bad right?

O hiding under this pretty fern. Me and the girl…

This place also had outdoor furniture, grills, home decor, and tons and tons of ceramics. They have a sister store next door that sells cut flowers. It was closed when we went which is probably a good thing. Fun day shopping!

Rivera Garden directions and info.