Two trips with two fun families for some of the most delicious cheese and beer we've ever had. Check in soon over at Belgium with Kids for a wordier description of our visits!
On Sunday, the stars aligned not only two thousand years ago to cause the thing that we call Epiphany to happen, but also this year to make us go back to chapel for the first time since Oz was born. Chapel is about 6.5 minutes away from our house, so we left our house about 2 minutes before it was supposed to start (so that's with negative 4.5 minutes to spare--really pretty good by our standards).
We managed to make it there while the band was still playing the first song (and doing a great job at it, by the way!). With the GNG being 3 now and us not playing in the band any longer, we brought her into the service with us for the first part. I don't remember who was lugging what, but we all brought all of our very literal baggage in with us (with no intentions to "leave it at the altar"...). We marched right past that sign that says No Food Or Drinks In the Sanctuary, carrying Oz in his infant car seat, overflowing diaper bag, Eva, and someone's* very full ceramic travel coffee mug**. The next few things all happened within seconds of each other: we found a pew, giggling Eva jumped up on it with her shoes on so she could see the front of the church, Oliver let loose his best pain-scream because he was tired, and the Pater Familias placed the mug on the floor, kicked it over and broke it, allowing its contents and jagged edges to spread like the muddy waters of the Jordan across about 8 square feet of the (thankfully uncarpeted) floor.
Watch out, world. We're back.
(And no, shockingly, I don't have a picture of any of that. Some recent pictures to console you:)
New Year's Eve, Cape Zanpa area
Christmas Day, Cape Zanpa
**You can see what's coming a mile away, right? But coffee tastes SO much better from ceramic!
Forgive my pregnant emotions for a moment, but today was probably our last day free to adventure with our family-as-it-currently-stands. Of course, said family is only going to get awesomer with an even boy/girl ratio, but it still made me pause for a moment. We chose Chinen from our excellent Okinawa Explorer guide book (I recommend it--don't know why we haven't cracked it until now) because, well...just because. We hadn't been out into that little area before. (Chinen is the pink.)
With ATM and gas stops, going back home for the map, bakery detour, etc. it took us 2 hours to get out there. Eva girl was extremely cranky by this time, and really, who can blame her? So we made our first priority the "glass-bottomed" boat at Chinen Marine Leisure Center. The port was extremely quaint and the bottom was more like a slit, but it ended up being more than adequate. She had an amazing time on the ride and saw "Nemo and his dad" and "not Dory but then we went over there and saw Dory".
She has this face that I like to think of as contemplating life, the universe, and everything. She's pretty contemplative these days, and that mind is going a mile a minute.
We then headed up into the hills to visit Cafe Curcuma, one of the best restaurants in southern Okinawa (we had no idea until we saw it on our guidebook map). There was quite a wait, but it was worth it.
(The PF did a better job with this style picture. It helps that she is his female spitting image--sometimes I'm shocked that my offspring could look so much like someone else.)
And we had this view the whole time:
I didn't see that UFO at the time, and it apparently wasn't on my lens, so I'm going to label is a ghost UFO. Pretty special. After lunch, of course, we all hit food coma and had to go home. We did not even scratch the surface of the sites in Chinen (the historical walk sounds interesting, as do the sacred sites) and will certainly be back.
Highlight: Being surprised by the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge (I know, I'm the worst birdwatcher ever). We saw several birds that are native to Hawaii, which is kind of unusual with all the invasive species taking over. It will definitely get its own post.
Frighlight: This one's Eva's: My evil, parents, who hate me, sent me down the waterslide and let me go under the water!!! Nary a drop shall touch my face again. (Mom's note: For once, she didn't inhale. We're making progress.)
Picture of the Day:
Highlight: Beautiful weather, beautiful pool and beach, beautiful family, and delicious chicken tenders.
Frighlight: Arriving at the airport 30 minutes before our flight left Kauai. We're fashionably late to every party, people.
Picture of the Day:
Highlight: Will you kill me if I say going to Target? It is so much easier to buy bed linens and maternity clothes in person.
Frighlight: To visit the USS Arizona Memorial, you have to take a boat out there. There are no amenities, bushes, and not even any dark corners--you're totally trapped on a very solemn structure, and in the water below you is the sunken ship, including hundreds of sailors' remains. So when your preschooler cries, "MommyIgottagopotty!"...yeah... (She held it, the big girl.)
Picture of the Day:
Highlight: Getting to fly back with the Pater Familias, instead of the original plan which had us girls flying by ourselves and him going straight to the States.
Frighlight: On our way home from the airport, awake for the past 21 hours*, driving from shoppette to shoppette on Kadena looking for any kind of children's fever reducer as Eva burned up in the back seat. (Our supply recently got fried when I left it in a glove compartment.) There was nothing, but thank God she did not get sicker and slept through the night without too much discomfort. (ICE, ICE, baby!)
Picture of the Day:
*This may not sound like a big deal, but I'd like to remind you that I'm growing a human.
I'm joining in late to My 3 Boybarians' Project 52 linkup (one picture a week for a year). Hopefully it will force me to grow through public humiliation--since that's what blogs are for, right? I think this image qualifies as "Made with Love" because when Italians do/make anything, they usually do it pretty emotionally. (If you go to Italy, look and listen for the words for emotion/emotions/emotionally--they're everywhere.) When it comes to wine, that emotion is love.
And yeah, I served this Recchia wine in a Villa Sceriman pitcher. It was a delicious combination of all Veneto wine memories. (Sorry, you had to be there.)
The wine barrel in our house is actually from Recchia, by the way. (Who remembers the infamous wine barrel story?!)
OK time to quit the inside-joking and link up.
Does regular ole pumpkin pie not have enough crust or butter for you? Yes? Read on...
A few years ago I was headed to my friend's house for Thanksgiving dinner. As I went to grab the pumpkin pie out of the tiny little Italian oven, my hands slipped and it dropped to the oven floor. You know how pumpkin pies are supposed to be all satiny-smooth on top? Yeah. The thing was destroyed. I cried a little. (We were late, too, of course.)
I am the opposite of a creative person, especially in the kitchen. If a recipe says to include 1/8 of a teaspoon of something, I will hunt up and down until I find my 1/8 teaspoon measure. Anyway, inspiration randomly struck. I spooned the remnants of the pie into a baking dish, mixing it up more, topped it with more graham cracker crust (from a box, not the pre-formed kind), drizzled some melted butter on top, and baked it for a little longer. And--I'm not going to be humble here--it was one of the best things I've ever tasted.
(And I'm eating some right now, that I made on purpose.)
Blimp pilot dies saving passengers from crash - This guy is a real hero.
Military wives by day, derby women by night - A few months ago Nathan went to the gym during the evening, and when he came back he said, "You will never guess what I saw!! Over on those tennis courts, there are like 40 women doing that roller skating thing!" Roller derby seems to have exploded overnight here on Okinawa (or maybe they just suddenly are dispersing their merchandise really well now). And I just found this article specifically on Okinawa roller derby.
MyPlate - I don't know when this happened, but the USDA has moved away from the pyramid thingy to a plate thingy which is much more accessible. Strangely, I can't find the Stuffed Cookie section...
Brownie Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies - I want to go there!!
In other news, I am never shopping at the BX for Eva again. Between the Bunny Store and Aeon (formerly Jusco, maybe? in American Village) I believe we are covered. And I will probably be doing all of my own shopping at Uniqlo. But the BX is still good for things like giant frog-shaped baskets for holding toys (half off at a vendor down the right-hand hallway)!
In actually, it was just fitting. Here it is: [OK I just published this, then noticed that that first phrase did not feature "actuality", as it was supposed to. Case in point.]
A friend of mine got in the car today so we could do some shopping together. She had mentioned the other day that she's a little spacy (like all mothers of young kids!). As I listened to Eva squawking in the back seat and my friend telling me how she forgot to get her daughter off of the bus when we were on the phone the other day and had to drive all the way to another base to get her...
I pulled onto the wrong side of the road*, into oncoming traffic. Maybe moms just shouldn't hang out. It would be safer for everyone. (Don'tcha think?)
Nobody ever said motherhood would make me smart.
On to tidbits, almost all shared by friends on Facebook or the Pater Familias:
- Secret Desert Army of Colombians - I cannot make this stuff up, people.
- fagottini pere e prosciutto - Make them. Weep with joy and deliciousness. I miss you, Aeolia. (This is from a restaurant outside of Vicenza. People go there just to eat this dish.) I seriously miss those poppies, too. I hunt for the Kleenex box that has them on its design.
- How to get a real education - Some interesting points.
- Schools arrange secret abortions - The overall, shocking ethical issues aside: I pray so hard that no matter what situation Eva ever finds herself in, she'll be able to come to me for help first. I want to be that kind of mother. I pray equally hard that she doesn't get knocked up, but after a certain point I will have more control over the first thing than the second. Is it weird that I'm saying this about my 21-month-old?
*And a final note in my defense, for those of you who don't know: in Japan we drive on the left side of the road. Usually.