Happy Valentine’s Day!

Initially, I had been brainstorming about cheesy military Valentines to make and share with you for a free download. I came up with the idea too close to Valentine’s Day though. So it’s an idea I tucked away for next year.

My husband came home this week and things have been way hectic. My son turns 5 this week and we have friends coming to visit us. We wanted to get my son a LeapFrog toy and didn’t realize it was a hot item and evidently sold out at most places. After driving all over and making many phone calls, I finally found one. Whew!

I have also been running around trying to prep for our friends that are coming because evidently we got rid of our extra bedding. Neither my husband nor I remember doing that, but we can’t find it. Do we have a missing box? No clue. But, we used to have a nice duvet cover and matching curtains. We had put it away once the guestroom became a baby room and now it’s missing. So I was trying to find something that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. This is a challenging task in Hawaii, because prices are hiked up on everything! Even my go to place, Target, is pricey. So I finally, found some bedding at Macy’s. They were having a 50% off sale. Yay, me!

So, yes, more reviews are coming. And remember the little teaser about a giveaway? Be on the watch for that at the end of the week. You won’t want to miss it.

In honor of Valentine’s Day (and because I have an incredibly sweet tooth) share with us your favorite place to get something absolutely delicious for dessert. It can be a candy place, a bakery, or a restaurant that makes the most awesome … (fill in the blank).



Happy Valentine’s Day!

Laura


Categories: MWOM | Leave a comment

What bugs you?

*Warning not for the squeamish*

When we first moved into our house we had some visitors. I was in the family room and saw three cockroaches crawling on the wall. Three HUGE cockroaches. Needless to say, I was a bit freaked out. I told my husband and he said something like, “well we live in a tropical climate, it’s to be expected.” That night I went to bed to sounds of my cat playing with something and all I could picture was her playing with the cockroaches. Gross!

So the next morning I told my husband how I had a hard time falling asleep. I fully expected him to mock me. Well, evidently he had an encounter himself. We did not have our household goods yet, only our express shipment. In our express shipment we including folding chairs. You know the kind you take to watch a game. They fold up and are placed into a bag you can then care on your shoulder. Well, my husband went into the garage after I went to bed to get one of these chairs. He pulled the chair out of the bag and over twenty cockroaches came pouring out! Needless to say, no mocking. He agreed we needed to call an exterminator.

Well, we procrastinated because after these incidences, we’ve only seen one here or there. So my theory was perhaps they came in our express shipment. You see, the shipment got to Hawaii and our place wasn’t available yet, so it went into storage. The chairs while in crates, weren’t in boxes. So my theory was the cockroaches crawled into the crates.

Fast forward to last night. My husband left for the mainland for work for a week. So I’m on the couch and I notice my cat playing with something.



I lift my feet onto the cushions and think it’s okay, the cat will take care of it. Well, she continues to play with it. She even puts it in her mouth, carries it, and then drops it to bat it around. Seriously? And that sucker is FAST! Well, that one got away, but she found another one. Really? So I went and got the can of Raid. While my kitty was playing with the second cockroach, the first one emerged and I took care of it.



As you see, it is 4 inches from back leg to antennae. So I went to bed totally wrapping myself up in my blanket and hoping any other cockroaches would leave me alone. The next morning my boys let me know there is a dead cockroach on the kitchen floor. Perhaps, it was cockroach #2? Who knows. Oh, and then we found this one in the cat’s water dish.



I am going to hope it fell in and couldn’t get out. I’d hate to think my cat actually drowned it. Sigh. I always like to make the most out of situation though. We went to the library last week and got library cards. Would you believe, the book my oldest son picked out was all about cockroaches. Perhaps, this is why they are back. They take the book as a welcoming or something. Either way, now my son can REALLY learn the parts of a cockroach.



So tell me what kind of rodent adventures have you encountered? Have you ever had anything unexpected in your shipment?

Categories: Hawaii, Pets | 14 Comments

Making Friends

Evidently, I am a bad blogger. I had all of these good intentions to share my process of moving with you all and it just didn’t happen. It was just such a crazy and busy time, plus we had sporadic internet connection.

We are finally settling into our house in Hawaii and the movers just removed our boxes this past Friday, woohoo! Speaking of last Friday, I was invited to a jewelry party. I like picking out jewelry to match my outfits and did it more so in Virginia where I had a friend that was REALLY good at picking out matching jewelry and shoes. Most of the time I would get her opinion to make sure I wasn’t making some big fashion mistake. But, for the most part, I don’t wear jewelry. Especially since moving to Hawaii. It’s mainly shorts/capris, tank tops and flip flops. So I wasn’t sure about going, however, I am trying to make new friends and decided I should go.

I am glad I went because I had a good time. I met a few ladies and actually heard one lady talking about how she gets together once a week to go hiking with other moms. I thought to myself, “that might be fun.” I have a girlfriend, who is stationed in Taiwan, suggest to join a running club. That is what she does; however, I am not a runner. The idea of hiking sounded like fun though. This island is beautiful, so what better place to try it out, right? So, I did something that had I been in high school, I would never have had the nerve to do, I sort of invited myself. I started talking with this woman later and said, “I heard you talking about hiking with other ladies…”. She then started telling me about it and asked me, “would you like to join us?” So we exchanged numbers. I then waited for the text with the information, but it’s funny, because I felt like I was dating. Is she going to text me? Ha! She did.

So I met up with these ladies and we all road together to the Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation Area.



As we get out of the car, I must admit I was very intimidated. One lady pulls out her backpack that has a straw coming out of it that wraps around her shoulder so she can just sip when she gets thirsty. Another woman, starts strapping on a belt with two water bottles attached. I think to myself, “uh-oh, I might have gotten myself in deep on this one.”



Then we pass a sign that says, “Aiea Loop Trail: 4.8 miles.” Oh crud, I’m in for it. The first few yards was a nice flat shaded trail and I think, “okay, I can do this”, but then the elevation starts to change and we start climbing over all of these tree roots.



LOTS of them.



I think to myself, “I am in trouble.” But, I got to see beautiful views like this:



And this:



I might not be able to get out of bed, but I did it and you know what? I had a blast! The women were great and they have kids in the same age group as mine, bonus! So now I am hoping to crash their party next week too.

While hiking, I was wondering what everyone else does when moving to a new place to meet friends. This has been a gradual thing that I have gotten better at with each move. I really have the military to thank for that. So tell me, how do you make new friends when you move?


Categories: Hawaii, Kids, Moving | 7 Comments

Moving Tip: Making a Moving Binder

I am going to start sharing some of your awesome moving tips that were entered in our Moving Tip giveaway last month.

rmparadis and HeatherK both suggested to organize yourself with a moving binder.

rmparadis:

Buy a binder or expanding folder. You want to be able to keep everything you need handy.
Insurance- cars/tricare/dental
Car titles/bank loan paperwork
Birth certificates/pass ports
Current bills- phone, cable, credit cards, etc…
School records
Medical-current physicals, shot records, dental records
PCS paperwork
Keep all moving receipts

HeatherK:

Make a “transfer binder”. Color tab for different things. Utilities, Lease, Orders, Household goods sheets, your Expensive list with all your DVD’s TV’s serial numbers etc, lists of DVD’s or book collection etc. Then every time you move, you just add to your lists of books, serial numbers etc, and just redo the utilities and lease sections. Or if you don’t lease it goes housing info. This way you have all your important numbers, confirmation numbers and turn on dates for utilities, your lists to check when you unpack.

I have found this extremely helpful because I don’t have to write the numbers down AGAIN for serial numbers, for the companies that need my lease I just pull it out because we all know everyone wants a copy. Orders are organized along with household goods and I know the companies number is right there.

Over the years I have made a new binder for every move and after we move from that place I put all the info back into it and then if we have a problem from that time, I just go and find it in the binder.

My husband was already in the CG before we met and after I used this way, I am OCD, so I love to be organized. He couldn’t believe how easy everything was when we moved. Dity receipts, household goods, orders, pet vaccinations, were all neatly organized and color tabbed out. It was so stress free and all my papers were together.


Categories: Moving, Moving Tips | 6 Comments

How Do You Spell Sergeant?

Nothing like a good homecoming story that warms the heart. I saw this video today and just had to share. A young girl correctly spells the word sergeant at a school spelling be. She is then asked if she knows a sergeant. She replies, “my dad.” The school announces they are going to meet a sergeant. Her face looks so sad until she turns and sees it’s her dad. Ah, love it!!


So did you tear up like me?

Categories: Kids, Surviving Deployment | Leave a comment

My Pôpoki

So in my previous post I discuss all of the steps needed to get my cat (pôpoki) to Hawaii. I thought I was on top of the process. I had her microchip implanted:



She had her 2 rabies shots that were given more than 30 days apart. I obtained an original certificate and made sure they signed it in ink as required. (Her previous rabies certificate from Virginia was stamped so I emailed the Animal Quarantine at rabiesfree@hawaii.gov to confirm this would be okay. I was told as long as the most recent one was in ink we were fine.)

We had a successful OIE-FAVN Rabies test result. The original was sent to Hawaii and her 120 of quarantine began. I thought the only thing left to do was to submit all of the paperwork to them before 10 days of arrival. I needed to send the original rabies certificates and a “Dog & Cat Import Form AQS-278”. I knew this form needed to be notarized so I figured it was a one day project, right? Um, no!

I hadn’t looked at the form until this Tuesday. On it, it tells me I have to list a hospital or clinic they can call should Cinder need medical treatment while in quarantine. This makes total sense, but it was a lot of work that I hadn’t planned on. I went to the Animal Quarantine website and found a list of approved clinics. Well, you have to actually register your pet at one before you list the place on the form. So, I did some research and found some reviews (I told you I was a review girl, right?) on the website Yelp. I then had to wait until 2pm EST for the places to open up in Hawaii. The first place I called said they were full. The second place I called was full. The third place I called said they no longer participate. I finally called The Cat Clinic and was successful. However, it’s not just a matter of answering a few questions and your registered. You have to fill out their forms. These forms could be mailed or faxed. Well, I don’t own a fax and mailing was going to take too long. So I called my local Fed-Ex and got their fax number. I then called The Cat Clinic back and gave it to them. I went to Fed-Ex fully expected to fill the forms out there and fax them back and be done with it. Nope. I needed a local address on the form. Sigh. So back home I went.

I then looked into my options of getting a P.O. Box. I decided to go with the UPS Store because I would then have a street address, not just a P.O. number. This should be an easy process, right? You know I’m going to say no, right? They emailed me a bunch of forms. I had to fill them out for me and my husband, have them notarized, provide two forms of ID for both of us, and then sign a form saying they could charge my credit card. Yikes! So I filled out the forms and then yesterday we had them notarized on base. I made copies of drivers licenses and Military IDs and was ready to go. Yesterday was hectic with trying to track down information about our moving company since we haven’t heard from them and they are due to be here in less than 2 weeks. My youngest son also had his physical therapy appointment. So finally, when the boys were in bed, I went to Fed-Ex and faxed all 12 pages of my mailbox application. I called to confirm they received them at the UPS Store in Hawaii. Yes, they will call me back in ten minutes with my address. Wonderful! No, not so much. They call me back and tell me that the notary was suppose to verify my two IDs and write them on the form. REALLY?? Ugh!

So yes, I have to redo my application and get it notarized AGAIN. But, luckily he was a nice person and told me he would go ahead and assign me an address. He said he had 30 days to submit the form. So that buys me a few days and gets me an address to put on the form to register my cat at a clinic in Hawaii. Which means I can now submit my forms to quarantine. The moral of the story? Don’t wait, thinking it will be smooth sailing. Just send the forms in as soon as you can.

I want to hear about any issues you all had when traveling with pets. Was it all smooth sailing or did you have some snafus?

Categories: Hawaii, Moving, Pets | 6 Comments

Word Board Winner

Wow, thanks for all of you who entered our Moving Tip Giveaway! There were 46 entries!

So the lucky winner of one of these awesome “Home is where the (enter your branch here) sends us” word boards donated by Perfectly Distressed…






…was selected by assigning each tip a number and using random.org to “draw a number out of the hat”.


The winner was the 23rd tip entered, woohoo!


Whitney F. is our winner! Congratulations Whitney! Her tip is:

“Moving Tips: – Always pack cleaning supplies including a broom and vacuum in your personal vehicle. There is nothing worse than getting to your new home and not being able to clean it before your furniture gets there. – Pack a plastic shower curtain, shower curtain rod, shower curtain hooks, toilet paper, sleeping bags, and folding camping chairs in an easily accessible location in your car. After driving for possibly days, a nice hot shower is the best medicine to ensure that the rest of the unpacking goes smooth. Plus who likes to drive to a strange new house in a strange state and have to find a Walmart in the dark just so you can clean up before going to sleep! -NEVER, EVER forget extra plastic bags and lots of paper towels! You won’t regret it when you have car sick passengers or a dog with explosive diarrhea just hours into a cross-country move!”


So many of the tips were wonderful so be on the look out for them to be featured as blog posts in the near future.

Also, don’t forget Perfectly Distressed has offered ALL Military Word of Mouth followers a 10% off coupon to her shop at http://www.perfectlydistressed.com/ valid until October 3, 2011. Simply enter the code MILITARYWOM to receive the discount.

Categories: Giveaway, Moving | Leave a comment

Moving Tip Giveaway

Alright, let’s have another give-away. You are going to like this one! We have a beautiful prize donated by Perfectly Distressed. Check out these awesome “Home is where the (enter your branch here) sends us” word boards. The winner will receive one topper and first duty station. Can we so oooh! aaah!








Beautiful right? I thought you’d like this one! So now you all are asking, “How can I win one of these?”

Simple, just share with us your best moving tip. It can be something you learned in a PCS meeting, something you learned the hard way, or something you just know. The winner will be selected by assigning each tip a number and using random.org to “draw a number out of the hat”.

In addition, the best tips will be selected as a featured blog post or mentioned some other way by Military Word of Mouth. If you want to submit a picture, (not necessary to win, but helpful if selected as a featured tip on the blog, simply email it to militarywom@gmail.com. We will start the contest now and end it Sept 27, 2011 at midnight EST. Winner will be announced on September 28, 2011. Please make sure you enter a valid email address so I can contact you. The winner will have three days to get in touch with Perfectly Distressed. Please allow one week from contact with her to allow her to complete the sign and get it shipped.

Finally, but not at all least. Go share some page love over at Perfectly Distressed. Not at all necessary to enter, however, highly recommended, since she was ever so kind to donate for this fun contest. Tell her Military Word of Mouth sent you. In addition, Perfectly Distressed has offered ALL Military Word of Mouth followers a 10% off coupon to her shop at http://www.perfectlydistressed.com/ valid until October 3, 2011. Simply enter the code MILITARYWOM, how nice is that???

If you got to this blog post, other than our Facebook page, please go “like” our page so you know when the winner is announced. Thanks and good luck!

To enter, simply enter your tip here.

My Moving Tip [Submission form=’Movingtip2′]
Categories: Giveaway, Moving | Leave a comment

The Word on Japan

Our next guest blogger is Emily from the blog, “Keeping Time“. She blogs about her family and the many adventures they have experienced from living in Japan to deployments. Today she is sharing her knowledge about the different housing choices for Yokosuka Naval Base. Welcome Emily and thanks for sharing!





Yokosuka Naval Base: The Housing Options


When I woke up this morning I had a very exciting email waiting for me in my inbox. A good friend wrote to tell me she’s thinking about moving to Japan and wondered if I could fill her in on the Yokosuka housing options. So first of all: yes, of course, just get here! And second of all, oh my goodness, I can relate! Every time we move I scour the internet for information about housing, but there’s never enough information to be had and it’s never what I’m needing; so, without further ado, for all you military friends and strangers, here’s what I know about Yokosuka military housing.

If you’re planning to live on base, you’ll have three options: Yokosuka Housing (on the main base), Ikego Housing (a support site in Zushi, which is about 20 minutes away from Yokosuka), and Negishi Housing (a support site in Yokohama, the second largest city in Japan, which is about an hour away from Yokosuka).

Yokosuka Housing:

There’s just no getting around the fact that the main base is really ugly, but there are still advantages to living in Yokosuka: after all, if you live there you’ll have a shorter daily commute and more access to all things both familiar and American. There’s a large commissary, a sprawling NEX (seriously, sprawling; it encompasses, like, three different buildings), a food court with a plethora of fast food restaurants (most of which deliver), and a building that serves as a church, a synagogue, and a temple. In Yokosuka, you’ll also have a hospital, a hair salon, a tailor, a good school, and probably lots of other useful things that I’m forgetting.

If you plan to live in Yokosuka though, be prepared to wait a few months. Most likely, you’ll camp out in the Navy Lodge for awhile and then you’ll be offered either a townhouse or an apartment. (Somehow I don’t have any pictures of the housing in Yokosuka, but it looks almost exactly like the housing in Ikego, so you can reference those pictures if you’re interested.) Since Yokosuka housing can be hard to come by, you probably won’t have much choice about where you end up living on the base. You might have a great view of Tokyo Bay with Mt. Fuji in the distance or you might be looking straight out at somebody else’s apartment.

Yokosuka itself (as in the Japanese city) seems great, but the major drawback I hear about life on the Yokosuka base is that, with all that easy access to American stuff, it can be hard to motivate yourself to get off the base and start exploring. Theoretically, you could spend years on the Yokosuka base without ever leaving; for better or worse, it’s that self-sufficient.

Ikego Housing:

Ikego Housing is in Zushi (a small city about 20 minutes from the main base), and compared to the Yokosuka base I think the housing here is attractive. You’ll get the same ugly buildings of course, but Ikego is settled into a rolling hill at the edge of a forest. If you live here you’re likely to have trees and birds — hawks and blackbirds, mostly — outside your window. In addition to a mini-mart, a small restaurant, an elementary school (until 3rd grade), and a swimming pool, Ikego Housing has hiking trails, log cabins, and campgrounds to tempt you. (Plus, there’s a great beach just minutes away.) The Yokosuka base has a large MWR office with lots of classes for adults and children (which I think I forgot to mention), and Ikego Housing has a smaller branch as well. I haven’t looked into which classes they offer for adults, but your kids can take karate lessons, ballet lessons, and piano lessons (and probably more) in Ikego. There’s also a soccer team here and I think they offer cheerleading.

Better yet, there’s a side gate into Ikego Housing that opens out onto the train station, which makes for very convenient travel; and, if you live in Ikego you’ll have to travel. Unlike Yokosuka, Ikego Housing isn’t totally self-sufficient. At the very least, you’ll have to run out to the grocery store once in awhile. Fortunately, there are lots of great Japanese groceries stores nearby, two of which are a short walk from the main gate and the rest of which are only a train stop away.

Oh! And the single best ramen restaurant in Japan (according to me) is immediately outside the main gate in Ikego, which is reason enough to move here, I think; but if you are feeling too lazy to get off base, there’s also a fairly good American pizza delivery.

As with the Yokosuka base, if you live in Ikego you’ll either have a townhouse:


Like I said, the buildings are ugly; the surrounding area is much prettier.


Looking at the front door from the living room


The laundry room leads into the kitchen (not so good for hiding dirty laundry!)


Some of the townhouse kitchens seemed long and narrow…



…and the stairs were steep and narrow, too, which is why we chose an apartment.

Or an apartment:


The kitchen is boxy, which I like, and the stainless steel counters are nice for pastry baking


A bedroom, all fitted out with loaner furniture


Chris in the hall, which tells you nothing about the housing — sorry!


But at least the laundry room is hidden!

Negishi Housing:

The fact is, I don’t know a whole lot about Negishi Housing. I think it has an elementary school (until 5th grade), a grocery store, various classes for kids and adults, at least one restaurant, and a pool. It’s also in Yokohama, which is a really great city with lots of shopping, an aquarium, amazing restaurants, and a lively China Town. The drawback is, it’s an hour away (by car!) from the main base in Yokosuka.

Aside from the commute problem though, Negishi generally seems like a nice place to live. First of all, when you’re there you don’t feel like you’re in military housing at all. Many of the houses are actual freestanding houses, and the architecture isn’t all just industrial-generic, either. The neighborhoods in Negishi feel like real neighborhoods with big yards and lots of green, open spaces. Honestly, when we first moved to Japan, Chris and I both wanted to live in Negishi Housing.


Check it out: it’s an honest-to-goodness house!


And that house comes with a NEIGHBORHOOD! Imagine!

Does it sound too good to be true? Because I think it is…


Rumor has it (and it might just be a rumor), that the Negishi houses are plagued by bugs and mold in the summer.



All I know is, I felt like I could make a home out of one of these little houses, which wasn’t a feeling I had when I toured my future apartment. I liked the small, boxy kitchen (despite the fact that it also held the washing machine and the dryer) and I loved the large windows and the wooden floors in the downstairs rooms.


But when we went upstairs there was a foul odor coming from the commercial-grade carpet in the bedrooms. I don’t know if all the houses have the same carpet, but there was a lot of it in this one and as much as I loved the downstairs I just couldn’t live with that carpet.


But maybe you could?

Or maybe you’re dreaming of rice paper doors and tatami mat floors? In that case, there are plenty of great Japanese realtors who can help you find off-base housing.
Categories: Base Housing, Japan, Navy, OCUNUS, The Word On | Leave a comment

Not Deployment Music

On the way to dropping the boys of to school today, I heard the song, “Need You Now”, by Lady Antebellum. I was immediately transported back into time to about a year and a half ago. My hurt all of a sudden had that painful pull to it and I remembered all to clearly the pain of missing my husband. If you haven’t heard it, I have included the video below, but I’m telling you do not listen to it if your spouse is currently deployed.



The verses that get me every time:

And I don’t know how
I can do without
I just need you now

Whoa, whoa
Guess I’d rather hurt
Than feel nothing at all

So, off course I didn’t change the channel, because I must enjoy self torture of something, but it did get me thinking about other songs that evoke the same heart-wrenching pain.

How about Jason Mraz, “Lucky”? This song is like a deployment theme song. In fact, when I first heard it, I had to look up the video because I was certain I was going to see a military-themed video. The lyrics are so perfect:

Do you hear me,
I’m talking to you
Across the water across the deep blue ocean
Under the open sky, oh my, baby I’m trying
Boy I hear you in my dreams
I feel your whisper across the sea
I keep you with me in my heart
You make it easier when life gets hard

I’m lucky I’m in love with my best friend
Lucky to have been where I have been
Lucky to be coming home again
Ooohh ooooh oooh oooh ooh ooh ooh ooh

They don’t know how long it takes
Waiting for a love like this
Every time we say goodbye
I wish we had one more kiss
I’ll wait for you I promise you, I will

Finally, the last song that is on my, “Do NOT listen while my husband is deployed list is “Home”, by Michael Buble. At least the Mraz sound has an upbeat tempo, but this one is just so sad sounding. It totally makes me cry.



The whole song gets me all emotional:

Another summer day
Has come and gone away
In Paris and Rome
But I wanna go home
Mmmmmmmm

May be surrounded by
A million people I
Still feel all alone
I just wanna go home
Oh, I miss you, you know

And I’ve been keeping all the letters that I wrote to you
Each one a line or two
“I’m fine baby, how are you?”
Well I would send them but I know that it’s just not enough
My words were cold and flat
And you deserve more than that

Another aeroplane
Another sunny place
I’m lucky, I know
But I wanna go home
Mmmm, I’ve got to go home

Let me go home
I’m just too far from where you are
I wanna come home

And I feel just like I’m living someone else’s life
It’s like I just stepped outside
When everything was going right
And I know just why you could not
Come along with me
‘Cause this was not your dream
But you always believed in me

Another winter day has come
And gone away
In even Paris and Rome
And I wanna go home
Let me go home

And I’m surrounded by
A million people I
Still feel all alone
Oh, let me go home
Oh, I miss you, you know

Let me go home
I’ve had my run
Baby, I’m done
I gotta go home
Let me go home
It will all be all right
I’ll be home tonight
I’m coming back home

So I really hope if your spouse is currently deployed you did not inflict self pain on yourselves and list to those. Are there other songs that get you right in the heart every time you hear them when your spouse is gone? How about a song that gives the strength to get through another day until that moment when they are back in your arms again?
Categories: MWOM, Surviving Deployment | Leave a comment