Monday, January 31, 2011

Cannon's Piano Recital

We were so proud of Cannon today as he had his first piano recital.  He's been taking lessons for about 18 months now, but this is the first time he's got to perform in front of a crowd.  I know he was nervous, but he did great!  We are so proud of him.

He was playing the Radetzky March by Strauss

With his teacher, Mrs. Choi
Since the recital was being held at the Renaissance Resort up island, we started the day by going for brunch at one of their resturants. 

In the lobby of the Renaissance.
Emmy and Lydia
Unfortunately, the Asian buffet was full, so we ended up at the Italian one, which was also full, but they let us eat in the bar area and it was equally nice.  The buffet was yummy with an awesome display of desserts - my favorite: beni imo tiramisu (beni imo are the purple sweet potatoes grown on Okinawa).
The view from our table.
Yummy desserts!
Not sure what these hairy fruits were in the foreground, but the chocolate fountain was good!
Our friend Liz and daughter Lydia joined us for brunch and the recital.  Later, another neighbor, Sarah and her daughter, Nola, drove up to hear the performance too.  We are so fortunate to have such wonderful, caring neighbors here.
London, looking very dapper with his hair actually styled.  That's Joey in the background, another neighbor whose sister, Courtney, was also performing.
Emmy doing the Japanese pose (peace sign)
Did you know the legal driving age in Japan is four?  Just kidding!  This was on display outside the hotel.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Montgomery Gentry

You know how you see those news stories about how so and so visited the troops for a goodwill concert - to boost the morale?  Well, I guess our current home qualifies as a place that needed a little morale boosting because on Friday night we were treated to a free concert from country duo Montgomery Gentry.

I love country music, and although Montgomery Gentry is not one of my favorite bands, I was still more than willing to go see their show.  Our plans were to take the kids for their first concert, but as the week wore on, the weather turned worse and worse.  We modified the plan to just Stevie and I going as our neighbor, Liz, offered to watch the kids.  But by Friday afternoon it was pouring rain (all day), breezy and chilly.  Steve decided he didn't want to be a "wet rat" so begged off, offering to watch Lydia instead if Liz and I wanted to go.  And after a week of having the kids stuck inside, we were just spirited enough to try it! 

My fears of lines of traffic getting on base, lines to park, and being stuck outside the packed hangar in the rain were completely unfounded.  Liz and I ended up having a great time and Montgomery Gentry put on a great show!

Walking up to the show - looking to the left F-15's

Looking strait ahead - concert in a hangar!  And yes, that's the rain pelting down.

My lovely attire to keep me dry!

Where else do you attend a concert in your cammies?

That's one BIG box of ear plugs.  Only in the military would they pass out ear plugs at a concert!

See the stage to the right and the tail of an F-15 to the left - how cool!


Liz and I - two wild and crazy gals!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Baby Zachariah

For the last 9 months we've been following the progress of our friends Krimp and Dima and the growing bump in Krimp's belly.  They're a great young couple and having their first baby overseas so far from family has got to be tough.  Even tougher is that Dima is being deployed for three months within the next short while (meaning days).  But the enthusiasm and excitement they share about the new addition to their family seems to outweigh any sadness about Dima's temporary departure.
On Tuesday, their waiting finally paid off and they were rewarded with a beautiful, healthy baby boy.  What was more exciting (for our family!) is that Stevie got to deliver him (via c-section) and I got to be in the operating room acting as photographer.  It was such a special privilege to be able to share such an intimate moment with them.  Thank you Krimp and Dima!  And it was extra special to see my hubby at work and in his element.  I am finally convinced that he is a "real" doctor. :)

Stevie in his "zone"
Baby Zachariah just minutes old.
Doc and Dad with the new bundle.
Two intelligent people trying to figure out how to put the mask on (Dima and me!)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Comprehensive Park

Sunday was a beautiful day - sunny and warmer than its been so we decided to head out to the biggest park on Okinawa so that the kids could ride bikes/scooter and we could have a walk.  One thing led to another and we ended up going with 7 other neighbors which turned out to be lots of fun.

The motley "adult" crew.

Comprehensive Park is, as its name suggests, comprehensive.  There are trails and playgrounds, koi ponds and basketball courts, beaches and water park, and so much more.  We've been to the water park there and to feed the fish at one of the ponds, but not explored much more.  After getting all the kids suited up for their ride, we started along a path which meandered along the sea. 

The motley "child" crew.

Do you think her head is tipping because of the weight of the helmet?

We made pit stops at this interesting rock formation and to get a close up look at the seaweed "farm".

Sea weed farm.

I'm not sure what this lady was doing with the bit of seaweed on the rock, but I loved her typical Japanese outfit!

We ended up at the park where many, many Japanese were also enjoying this beautiful day.

Krimp with 2 days left in her pregnancy giving the baby his first ride at the playground.

Emmy made me sit with my feet up, it was a bit unstable that way!


I don't know what it is about the skies over Okinawa, but we get some of the most beautiful sunsets around.  Maybe it's because my kitchen window faces west and so when I'm cooking dinner I stare at the sky at just the right time.  Or maybe it's the view from our perch on the hill.  Or maybe I'm outside a lot here playing with the kids.  Who knows, but I know they're fabulous!

The Mad Scientist

I saw on the sign board outside the elementary school as I was driving London to school this week that there is a science fair for the fifth graders and although Cannon isn't technically attending school, he can still participate.  So we recruited the help of our local experts (my dad who judges science fairs in SC and Stevie who has contacts at the hospital) and went to work.

From an extensive list of categories and topics on a great website (, Cannon chose the "Death Ray" experiment.  Really, I think he just liked the name, but I thought it would be cool to do some microbiology.  Not that I really knew what I was doing as it's been a long, loooonnng time since I've been in a lab, but again, that's why I called in the experts.

Stevie was able to contact a pathologist who was really excited about helping Cannon with his experiment and in true doctor/military style assigned a lab tech to do the work with him!  HM1 Santiago has been an awesome help walking Cannon through the whole procedure and teaching him proper lab technique.  It's been really fun and I'm, as always, completely amazed with how fast Cannon catches on to complex ideas.  The basic experiment, for those of you interested, is to culture e-coli bacteria in petri dishes, expose one half of the dish to UV light at different time intervals, and see what length of time it takes to kill off most of the bacteria.

The first day...

Stevie, going over protocol with Cannon.

Culturing e-coli with HM1 Santiago.

Looks very intent, doesn't he?

Taking the samples into the UV room.

Sample one under the lights...

Looking at a slide of e-coli.

With his samples

My budding scientist!
So after we ran the experiment, the plates had to incubent for 24 hours.  The next day (Saturday), London came with us as we went back to check on them.

Bad news!  The concentration of e-coli was too much so he had to rerun the experiment...

Day 3 - Sunday - We headed back to the lab again to check the results and once again had failure :(  Turns out plastic and glass are impermeable to UV-C light so when he shot the agar plates with the lids on, nothing happened!  I took this as a good time to teach him about the reality of science experiments and then we re-did the experiment, again.  Tune in for part two of the Mad Scientist...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Trip to Toguchi Beach

After running around most of the day doing errand/sports/vet stuff, I convinced (read dragged) the family and some of the neighbors (Krimp and Dima) to Toguchi Beach for a little air and exercise in the late afternoon.

Toguchi is a beautiful spot to go for a short walk, skip stones, play at the park and watch sunsets.  I love the rock formation that pops up out of the water like a jack-in-the-box.  What kind of forces of nature would leave one little outcrop of rock or carve a tunnel through another?  Just a thought to contemplate on a Sunday afternoon...

Beautiful sunset

Low tide

Emmy's in one of those phases when it's hard to get a good smile.

This is usually a great beach to find cone shells and sea glass, but today it was a little skimpy on its treasures. Nevertheless, the kids enjoyed skipping stones, "fishing" for seaweed and otherwise being kids. Krimp and I enjoyed taking pictures, and the guys passed the time throwing a football. Boy, am I going to miss being able to soak in this beauty!

Stevie and Dima sympathizing with Krimp (she's due in 4 days)

Emmy, London and Cannon contemplating the tidal pools.

Love this one of Cannon!

He looks a little mischievous, doesn't he?

Fishing with a stick for sea weed.

Why such a grumpy face?

Having fun on the roller slide!

It's a race - yee haw!!!