Oct 31, 2010

Aaaannnndddd...We're BACK!

And it's NaBloPoMo.  So I'm going to try to post every day this month.  Because hey...we've been gone a long time.  And I have a lot to talk about.  
(We'll see how it goes.)

But for starters, here's where we've been for the last two weeks:

From Misawa to Seattle to San Diego and back again.  Most of it driven in a mini-van.  

It was a looooong trip.
(Did I mention we brought all FOUR boys?)

WHY did we do this?  

To job hunt.

WHY do we need to job hunt?

Because next year we'll be getting out of the military.  
(Goodbye job security and free health care!!!)

WHY are we getting out of the military?

Because Faezer has leukemia (among other reasons) and we want to be closer to family.
[Sub question:  Why does Faezer have leukemia?  Probably as a result of the radiation she received as treatment for the breast cancer she had when I was a kid.]

So we traversed the west coast of the United States searching for jobs.

And we're pleased to say we have a few more options then we did 2.5 weeks ago.


Any questions?  

Cause I have all month to answer them!

Oct 23, 2010

California Here We Came

I don't know how to tell you this, so I'm just going to come out with it.

I'm in Carlsbad, CA.

Are you shocked?

I am too.

We didn't know we were really coming until we came.


I am too.

(But that's normal.)

Needless to say, I have some stories to tell...but no time and no battery life now.

So just know this for now: the fact that we're all here, together, alive, and still sane...
is a certifiable miracle.

More later.

(from California.)

Oct 14, 2010

Breaking News: Biggest Baby Ever Blessed!

In the L.D.S. church, we don't baptize new babies.  We do, however, bless them.  Specifically, a worthy male member of the church holding the Melchizedek priesthood, usually the Baby-Daddy, will give the newborn a name (officially entered into church records) and a blessing.

Baby blessings generally occur in front of the congregation on the first Sunday of the month.  (The first Sunday of the month is also reserved for Fast and Testimony meeting.)  Most babies are blessed at around two or three months old.
(Top two photo's by Maxwell.)

Unfortunately, when Baby Gray was born, Doug's good friend Merrill was still deployed to Afghanistan.  Since our friends here are our family, we wanted to wait for him to be able to participate.  

But by the time Merrill came home, Doug's good friend Wes had been deployed to Korea.  So of course, we wanted to wait for him to be here to participate.

Which is why Baby Gray was just blessed this month at the ripe old age of six months.  (And he wasn't happy about it.  He cried all the way through the blessing.)  I'm surprised the men didn't drop the little tank!  Had we waited any longer, he could have hopped down and crawled away.

Now, these blessings can be audibly recorded, (we usually drop a tape recorder in Doug's suit pocket) but video recordings and photographs are generally (okay, always) frowned upon in the Chapel.

(These are some of the best men I know.)

But Doug's Catholic dental assistant didn't know that when she recorded the blessing on her i-Phone and took a bunch of pictures!  Which is why we're probably the only family you know with a video recording of their baby blessing!  :)  (Thanks May!  You rock!)  :)
Anyway, we were very happy to finally bless our sweet little Grayson, incredibly grateful to have Merrill and Wes back safely to participate, (with Doug's other wonderful friends; Mark, Rob, Ryan, and Dave), and thrilled that so many other friends and co-workers not of our faith, made the effort to be there to support us.  
(Yes, his name is still Grayson Brandon.  Doug didn't pull any last second switch-a-roos)

It means a lot--especially when we're so far from home and have no "real" family attending.  (I say "real" to differentiate--not diminish--their importance since, as I said, our friends here are our family.)

We love you Gray-Gray!  Glad you're finally "official"!

(By-the-way, the two blog posts linked above are two of my favorite posts ever!!!)

Oct 5, 2010

Japan and Disney: A Match Made in Heaven

(Alternate title – Europe and Disney:  A Match Made in Hell)

For the last two days, (I started this post a week ago) The Dub Clan and the Healthy Clan have been partying it up at the happiest, most exhausting place on earth.

That’s right:  The Dub’s did Disney!  
Disney Sea* and Tokyo Disneyland to be precise.

Now, I’m going to assume you’ve all been to Disneyland and Disney World more times than you can count because you were raised by a Disney fanatic father sometimes known as "Papa Disneyland".  (What, that’s just me?)  So I’m not going to spend a lot of time going over the basics.  I just want to mention a few differences I noticed in the Japanese version of Disney.  Two actually.  Merchandise and food.
(Yes, they're sitting on the shrubbery.)

1.     Merchandise:  Of course, both places have the requisite million stores with all the usual stuff PLUS...;
     An extremely large (LARGE) selection of cell phone dangle thingys, walls covered in various towels and washcloths,  (Japan loves a good washcloth)
 cool Mickey rice bowls and sushi plates (wish I could've purchased a whole set) and Mickey Mouse sushi magnets.

Oh, and Duffy the Disney Bear.  A completely random stuffed animal created solely to exploit the Japanese love of plush toys.  (Plush toys that come with multiple accessories and outfits and in every shape and size…as Duffy does.  Though I can’t for the life of me figure out why Mickey/Minnie/WinnieTP don’t fit this bill.)

2.  Food:  Not as much ethnic variety.  A LOT of fish (fish casserole, fish burgers, seafood pizza), pressed mystery meat patties, and curry in the restaurants.  Then we have the concessions:  The big thing is popcorn for your 1500 yen** souvenir bucket.  Caramel, Salted, Curry, Milk Tea, Honey, Soy Sauce and Black Pepper.  (Caramel, Honey, and Curry were the only one’s we sampled.  Refilling your bucket cost 500 yen.)

Churros are hard to come by, but can be found in the Cinnamon or Honey-Lemon variety  (strangely yummy).  Mickey shaped frozen treats come in the form of a pale and weakly flavored ice cream sandwich or an orange or apple flavored popsicle.  Westernland (not Frontier) also sold tiny (very popular) turkey legs.

 Less familiar were the doughy meat pies and rice/seafood treats.  (We didn't try these)

The first night at Disney Sea we had Italian(ish) and last night (at Disneyland) we had Savory Crepes filled with “Chicken Salad”.  (The Healthy kids loved ‘em.  My boys couldn’t believe they were expected to eat a Crepe filled with something other than Nutella and Bananas.  (We did get some dessert crepes as well which my boys loved and the Healthy kids thought were too mushy and gross.)
Anyway, Disney was fabulous.  We managed to get in enough kiddie and big kid rides to keep everyone happy.  And we took full advantage of the "Parent Switch" so everyone could go on the rides but only one half of us had to wait in line while the other half waited with the babies.  (Em and Gray)

It was a great trip and we're glad we got to share it with the Healthy's!  They're great friends to put up with us!

More later!  Maybe!

*Disney Sea is actually a park totally unique to Japan.  It has a handful of fun rides (big and small), lots of great shows, and a whole "underwater" kiddie area called King Triton's Lagoon (or something) that the kids loved (and was great because it was all indoors and Tuesday was very rainy.).  It was super cool and a lot less crowded than Disneyland.  Highly recommend!

**100 yen = approx. $1.20
1500 yen= approx. $18.00