Tuesday, February 26, 2013

There's Something About: My Daughter

And mine is awesome! Plus, she's turning 9 on Wednesday. I'm not so sure I'm ok with this. I told her today she was still 2 to me. She gave me a funny look, and then Lightning laughed at the fleeting thought that he could be older than his sister.

She gave me a birthday wish list weeks ago. Pretty much right after Christmas. I suppose she wanted to jot all the things down that she wanted but didn't get. Here's a pic of her list. She's soooo sweet!


She asked for a Tech-Pet. It's some weird dog robot thing that works with your iPhone/iPod. #2 on the list: iPhone, for Tech-Pet. At least she's thorough.

I haven't fully embraced the American Girl Doll thing. They seem a little pricey for dolls. Like maybe they're supposed to sit on a shelf and look nice. But girls actually play with them! She got a My Twinn doll for her birthday last year. I figured the money was a little better spent there since you send in a photo and they match beauty marks and moles. I guess it just wasn't enough. At least she waited a year to let me know she's not satisfied with last year's birthday present.


Numbers 4 and 5: "5 plane tickets to California, first class seats" and "tickets for 5 days in Disneyland." We had visited California and Disneyland during Christmas and I guess she noticed the much larger seats that we had to walk through to get to our tiny peasant seats on the plane. How nice of her to ask for first class tickets for all 5 of us and not just herself. She's so considerate!

And Disneyland - let me tell you about Disneyland! When I was little and lived in SoCal, 1 day at Disneyland was a good day. Eventually, you realized it might be nice to spend 2-3 days at Disneyland to see/do everything. But now there's California Adventure! We bought 2-day park hopper tickets and could've stayed longer! I'm having a hard time with buying 2 separate tickets to go to parks that are basically across the street from each other and owned by the same parent company. But 5 days at Disneyland?! I guess she wishes we had more time there. Not sure how to swing that if I have to buy an American Girl Doll.

#6 - "stufed panda." She usually gets 100% on her spelling tests, so she was obviously in a rush when she wrote this list. But I might be sensing an obsession here. She has A LOT of stuffed pandas already. I'm pretty sure she loves pandas; don't think she needs anymore. But she's consistent.

Next on Tink's list, a "pet hamster with all pink cage." This poor girl has been asking for a hamster for a solid year or more at this point. She's done her research, too. She's checked out several books from the library at school. She even asked to purchase a book from the pet store in preparation of getting a hamster. We have Rocky. He's small, cute, furry, and runs around like a maniac. Why do we need to add to the craziness?


She got a Fijit for Christmas 2011. It's a noisy little pink rubbery thing that is not cute. And now it has little friends? Is it lonely? Is Tink lonely? Not happening.

Did you know that Disney's Tinkerbell has a sister? Her name is Periwinkle. She's actually Tinkerbell's twin. Maybe this is my daughter's way of asking for a sister. She does that a lot. She's gonna be asking till her brothers get married, I guess. Or maybe she is lonely. Nah.

The one thing I was pretty sure she would get before her birthday was Daddy, #10, "my most impotant present." She saved the best for last, or maybe she realized she was being too materialistic and decided she better ask for something a little less selfish. Either way, he's home.


Now, if you look closely, she crossed out numbers 4, 5 and 10, on her list. When I asked her about numbers 4 and 5 she said, "I don't think anyone's actually gonna get me those things." So, she's realistic. That's nice. And since Daddy's already here, then crossing off #10 was appropriate.

It's funny how a little birthday wish list can help you to see your child in ways you might not have paid attention to before. I wonder what next year's list is gonna tell me.

~Michiko

Monday, February 25, 2013

There's Something About: The Young Retiree!

There really is! She let me guest post on her blog last week which is AWESOME since I'm so new to the blogging-scene. I was thrilled! It was just so cool to me - I felt like I won the blogging contest. You know, the one where you get to guest post on a great blog.  And then, she agreed to guest post on my blog, too. DOUBLE AWESOME!




Hi y'all! My name is Elizabeth and I am known around the internet as The Young Retiree!
 

When I was 25, I married the man of my dreams. He is in the United States Navy, and was getting ready to leave my home town with the ship he was on. He would be moving to California for what could be as short as a six month stay until his orders and time on the ship were done. We were at a stand still! Would I move, or would I stay at home? What would I do if we moved to a state with an absolutely downtrodden economy? Would I look for a job and take it for a short period when someone else could benefit more from it?
 
We decided I would meet the ship in California, and that I would spend my days as a housewife... a young retiree! It seemed like a funny title when I began blogging. I wanted to keep my sanity in our one bedroom apartment and get some sense of community in my days! Retirement has been anything but boring!
 
Three years later we are still in California, at a second duty station, with two more deployments under our belts and I'm still living the life of retirement, except now I'm working from home too selling CHOCOLATES as a Lindt Chocolate R.S.V.P. Independent Consultant! 
 
"Retirement" has it's perks though! I am able to spend time connecting with friends, building a great homelife for my husband and I, raising three rescue dogs, and focusing on my health as we train for our first 5K! I'd love for you all to hop on over to The Young Retiree and follow me on my journey through this amazing life!




Now, head on over to The Young Retiree and check her out. You won't be bored - she's the busiest retiree I've ever seen!

~Michiko

Sunday, February 24, 2013

There's Something About: The ABCs of Me

Ok, I'm trying out Maria's ABC's post. Check her out - she's totally cute! However, I, on the other hand, still feel like I have no idea what I'm doing, but here goes!


Age: Um, really? Ok, 39 (choke).

Bed size: King - after baby #3, I decided it was a must!

Chore you hate: Putting away laundry - it'll sit on the couch or in a basket for days sometimes.

Drink of choice: Dr. Pepper is my fave, but I regularly drink lemon water now.

Essential start to your day item: My phone - I gotta feel like I can be reached, you know, in case of emergency. It has nothing to do with checking my blog, or Facebook, or Twitter, or...

Favorite color: Purple!

Gold or silver: Both, depends on the item.

Height: 5 feet - even. Yes, I know, I'm short.

Instrument(s) you play: Flute & clarinet in school, but I still pull out the flute once in a while.

Job: I work for an insurance adjuster - bookkeeper, secretary, office manager. You decide.

Kids: Buzz 14, Tink 8, Lightning 6 - check them out here!

Living arrangements: Husband, 3 kids, 1 dog and some fish in a 4-bed, 2.5 bath house.

Mom's name: Grandma - I don't have a nickname for her yet.

Nicknames: Michiko, I guess.

Overnight hospital stay other than birth: One night with Tink for dehydration when she was about 2yrs old. Otherwise, nothing else for me.

Pet Peeve: My kids leaving garbage all over the house; lights on when no one is in the room; when my stuff is moved on my desk and not put back where it goes.

Quote from a movie: My husband says I don't watch movies that are good enough to quote, but what does he know?!

Right or left handed: Right

Siblings: One younger sister

Time you wake up: 6:15 because apparently, Buzz needs to get to high school. Yuck!

Underwear: Of course!

Vegetable you hate: ONIONS!!!!! Can you tell I hate them?!

What makes you run late: Trying to do too much before it's time to leave.

Xrays you've had: Aside from dental xrays, broken pinky, sprained ankle, neck and back after car accidents (they weren't my fault).

Yummy food you make: Not much, but most recently chicken soup!

Zoo favorite: Tigers, monkeys, peacocks - I can't decide!



Hope you enjoyed finding out a little more about me. Let's hear about you!
 
And here's a pic of Tink and me at a baby shower this weekend. Just 'cause I know you gotta have some pics!
 
 
~Michiko

Friday, February 22, 2013

There's Something About: Chicken Soup

I don't cook. Ok, maybe I do. I prefer baking. It's very precise. If you don't use exact measurements, that sweet dessert you work so hard to make may not taste so good in the end. Maybe I have a touch of OCD.

But cooking is another story. I'm not a "chef." I definitely cannot just throw some things together that were in the pantry/fridge and whip up a tasty dish. I have to know the exact ingredients and have an idea what to do with them before I mix them all together. I'm starting to get better. Plus, I have a picky family, really picky (we'll discuss that later).

One thing I have learned to "throw together" is chicken soup. I know, I know. Most of you are probably thinking to yourself, "It's chicken soup - how hard can it be?" I already admitted I don't cook.

However, I've spent years of asking co-workers, friends, relatives what they use and how they do it. And more years getting the nerve to actually try to put everything together. But I finally started trying and came up with my own chicken soup recipe several years ago.


Where are the carrots?

Oh, right there next to the beans!
 
Secret ingredient: dill weed.

I don't know what I'm so nervous about. I think I feel some sort of judgment with my cooking, but maybe I should save that for therapy.

Anyway, it was deeee-lish! I was gonna add more E's, but thought some of you might find that obnoxious. I'm just that excited about my chicken soup. And I love when I get a chance to use my crockpot.

I'm learning that sometimes it doesn't really matter what's in it. It's great in the winter. It's the perfect comfort food. Some people will like it, and some won't. Most won't with my family, but I know I make it with love and I LOVE it!

~Michiko

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

There's Something About: Vegas

And whatever that something is, probably depends on who you ask. For me, it was just a warm place for my husband and I to spend some time together.

Since being gone on the deployment and getting home a week before Valentine's Day, we decided it would be nice to spend a few days together sans kids. I was a little conflicted about the timing, though. I mean, the kids missed him, too. But they would have 5 whole days during the mid-winter recess from school to spend with Daddy, which started the day after we got back. So, I guess the timing was ok, after all.

We stayed at the Aria. It came highly recommended by one of my husband's friends. And it was beautiful. The room was very elegant. The flat screen even greeted us by name when we walked in. Very high-tech! The view was great and we could see plenty of lights and scenery. However, it seemed very ooh-la-la. Maybe geared towards an older crowd. Just sayin'.


And everything, at almost every hotel, was decorated for Chinese New Year. In case you're wondering, it's the year of the snake.

We got dressed up and had a very nice, very expensive V-Day dinner at Jean Georges Steakhouse. I was gonna take a pic of the food, but it didn't seem appropriate at such a fancy-shmancy place.


I think my eyes are closed!


We saw a couple of shows, free with our vacation package - can't beat that. It was warm enough to go to the hot tub, and then cool off in the pool. We walked through the malls, but after spending money getting to Vegas, I don't know who has money left to shop at Prada, Harry Winston and Gucci! Then we walked the strip, too. And my feet were killing me!


While the Aria was beautiful, NY NY was very enjoyable. If we ever go back to Vegas, I think NY NY is the place to stay. There were great shows, plenty of food choices and a really fun crowd. I made friends - from Canada, Florida, Alaska, California and Arizona! We made friends with people from England and Wisconsin, too, but I forgot to take their pics.

Canada
Florida
Alaska

California
Arizona
After relaxing for a couple of days, we were ready to go home, kind of. Sometimes the comfort of your own bed is better than any fancy hotel room. But it was time to get back to the kids, the house, the job, and the 18 degree weather.


When can we go away again?

~Michiko

There's Something About: Guest Posting

I'm not sure what that "something" is quite yet, but it was fun.

Check me out at www.theyoungretiree.com and then check out The Young Retiree herself!

Much love and thanks!

~Michiko

Thursday, February 14, 2013

There's Something About: Wind Chimes

Several years ago, I opened my front door on Christmas day and found a messily wrapped present at my doorstep.  There was no tag and we had no idea who this gift had come from. We brought it into the house and unwrapped and find MY wind chimes. My beeeautiful, purple, butterfly wind chimes that my wonderful MIL had given to me for Mother's Day one year.


Getting old and broken - time for a new one!

The questions started going through my head like crazy!

- Were these my exact wind chimes?
- Who would give a gift without identifying themselves?
- When did my wind chimes go missing?!?
- And who would wrap them as a gift to return them?

I asked all my neighbors and of course they all deny it was them. And they even go so far as to say it's such a great prank, they wish they would've thought of it.

It happens again for the next couple of Christmases. I don't even remember realizing my wind chimes were gone until we were decorating for Christmas, and at that point, they would've been in the way anyway, so I guess I just figured I would buy new ones after the new year. And then Christmas day we would find a present on our doorstep that would turn out to be my wind chimes.

It's driving me crazy why someone would take my wind chimes only to return them to me on Christmas day. I even posted about it on Facebook hoping a crazy family member would admit to the shenanigans, but no such luck.

This past Christmas, while my husband was deployed, the kids and I went to California. Before we left, we decorated and I noticed my wind chimes were missing. But, I really didn't think twice about it, figuring I'll get them back Christmas day, anyway.

After we return from our holiday getaway, my house-sitter notifies me that we got some deliveries of cookies, cards, and brownies. I ask specifically about an odd shaped package and my wind chimes, but she tells me she didn't see anything. She probably thinks I'm crazy.

So, now it's January and no wind chimes have appeared. Which makes me think about my husband. Maybe he's putting someone up to it and they forgot to deliver the package; or maybe he's waiting till he gets home for the reveal. Either way, I've pretty much figured I'll just be patient and they would turn up. Or even better, go shopping for new wind chimes.

If any of you watch the news or weather, or read my blog, you know we had a terrible snowstorm this past weekend. And when Lightning comes home from our best neighbor's house on Sunday, he walks in with a package, a Christmas bag. The first thing I pull out is a nice container of chocolate chip cookies. I love her chocolate chip cookies and was informed earlier this year that I didn't get them at Christmastime because I wasn't here. Whatever!

The second thing I pull out of the bag turns out to be my wind chimes!!!!

So, check out what my best neighbor posted to Facebook:

The end of an era. The prank revealed,

In 2009, we were going trick-or-treating with our neighbor. She is one of my closest friends and a really good neighbor. That Halloween, she decided to leave candy on her porch in a bowl against her husband's advice. Not only was the candy gone, but so was her nice Tupperware bowl. She was so upset that for Christmas, with the cookies I usually send to my neighbors, I also sent her a new bowl. The next year, 2010, J said to me, "we should steal something from her this year, and give it back at some random time." So we stole her butterfly wind chimes and hung it up in our house. She came over, and never noticed it hanging in my kitchen. So at Christmas, I wrapped it up and J left it on her porch. She posted on Facebook, "who would steal my chimes and return them?" I commented, "so weird. Maybe it was someone from your church." We repeated the steal and return at Christmas in 2011. Summer of 2012, she said, "I bet it's you." I said, "I wish I was that creative." This past Halloween, her husband, an Air Force pilot was deployed somewhere in North Africa. He missed Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and his wife and each of his kids' birthdays while he served our country. She spent Christmas in California with her parents. J got the wind chimes, but we couldn't leave them at Christmas. When she got back, she commented that she missed my cookies at Christmas. I decided to hold on to the chimes and wait for the right time to reveal. Her husband came home (Thank God) this past Wednesday. Just in time for a snowstorm. J went over to help him dig out this morning and I baked a batch of my "Just can't eat 10 chocolate chip cookies." (With flour I had to borrow from her) I found a Christmas cookie jar and some Christmas wrapping paper, wrapped the wind chimes and attached a note saying that I didn't want to send this gift down at Christmas because I wanted to wait till her husband got home so they could enjoy it as a family. The kids were back and forth between the 2 houses all day, so when their son Lightning went home, J gave him the package. About 10 min later, my phone rang. We all laughed about it. I told her its time for new chimes. And now I have to say, I'm a little sad its over. Guess we'll have to get creative and come up with some other way to entertain ourselves..... I guess we have until Halloween to come up with something.
 
I love my neighbors. We have a lot of fun. But maybe it's my turn to come up with the next hoax. Any ideas?
~Michiko 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

There's Something About: Snow

We got a lot of snow Friday night. I don't know the official inches for my town, but some areas got as much as 33 inches. We were more like 12-18 inches and that's just my best guess.


Snow is not my thing. It's pretty while it's coming down, sometimes. And freshly fallen snow is gorgeous. But that's about where my appreciation ends.

You have to clear off the car(s), shovel the walkway (in the front and back), shovel the driveway, put down rock salt, and drive carefully if you have to go out. Not to mention - IT'S FREEZING!


I do not like the cold. Not even a little bit. It just doesn't fit this self-proclaimed California girl.

But I was the first out to shovel. I figured it would be a good workout. Then I was the first back into the house - it was cold. I love my fireplace! I can stand right in front of it and get toasty warm.


Lightning was the first to bundle up and play outside. Buzz helped with the shoveling and then attempted a fort and piled up some snowballs. Tink, a girl after my own heart, stayed inside as long as possible, until she realized she was the only one left inside and her friend wanted her to come out and play. Even Rocky went out just long enough to do his thing. And had a little struggle getting back up the steps.


We have great neighbors! And one even has a snow blower which helped to clear the snow from behind the cars so we could back the cars out of the driveway, eventually.

Then the sun came out. All the snow and cold temperatures mixed with a bright shining sun and warm rays is very confusing. It makes you feel like you want to go outside, but then you step out the door and realize, "Nope, not happening." I mean really, it should only snow like this during the week to ensure no work and/or school - not on a Friday night when you're looking forward to doing fun things all weekend.

Which means, sometimes, you just have to venture out a little, even if it's just to the convenience store down the street. The roads in our neighborhood weren't too bad and there's supposed to be freezing rain tonight. So, in the end, school is closed on Monday and that makes the kids happy - which makes Mommy happy.

~Michiko

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Best Day Ever!

He's home! Finally! It was a long 4 1/2 months, but he's home. And what a day it was.


The families were notified that the planes would land between 1:00 and 1:30pm. So, I took the day off work to do a few things beforehand.

I got a manicure with a pretty new polish. If I plan ahead correctly, I like to take my own polish to the nail salon so I can do touch-ups later if necessary. I love the color!
 

I had scheduled a blowout with my hairdresser so my new hair would be perfect. Thankfully, it wasn't too expensive, because it was super windy! But a good blowout will last a couple of days, so it wasn't a complete waste.

Then, I picked up all the kids from their respective schools. By now, I had been notified that the planes had taken off a half an hour earlier than scheduled. Of course, that means I'm running late now. And it turns out I left the camera and signs back at the house! The best laid plans...

But, we made it with time to spare. There were lots of families waiting to meet their loved ones. And there were airmen everywhere who wanted to greet and welcome home their co-workers and friends.

Our big sign was hanging for all to see! And the kids held on tight to their own signs.



The first plane landed and we waited for the crew to unload and greet their families. And then the loudest sound you ever heard startled everyone. The second plane did a fly-by right overhead! It was amazing! And so exciting.

The second plane landed and we all waited to greet that crew, too. There was applause and screams of joy - there was so much happiness! Daddy was on the second plane, so we had to be extra patient waiting for him. And then we smothered him with love!



~Michiko

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Monday, February 4, 2013

A New Family

Not really. Same old family, with new hair, kind of.

With my husband on the way home, I decided I wanted to do something new/different with my hair. I've done the blonde highlights in the past, which was great, but I eventually decided it took a lot of time and money. Many years passed before I ever did anything again. Then I grew it out and waited for the right time. Now that I see every little gray hair that pops up, the husband's homecoming seems like the perfect time. And I wanted something a little more drastic than normal. So, this is what I did. And I LOVE it! (Although I hate pics of myself. I'm gonna have to get used to this, I guess.)

RED!!!
Then I noticed the boys' hair was getting a little unruly and decided it was time for haircuts. Buzz never wants it quite as short as I do, but I'm trying to accept that he might be old enough to decide how he wants to look. But once the hair gets past the ears, I have to speak up.  Lightning isn't as picky. But we have to bring an extra shirt with us because he really doesn't like the itchiness afterwards. See how handsome they look!


 (I really need to figure out how to take better photos with my iPhone!)

Tink decided months ago that she wanted to grow her hair out, all the way down her back. But I guess she's realized lately that the longer her hair gets, the more difficult it is to brush. So, she voiced her desire to get a haircut, too. Above her shoulders! I don't think her hair has been that short since she was 4 years old, maybe. But it's so cute and curly when it's short. And once it was said and done, I was a little surprised at how short it actually looked. Tink loves it and can't wait to surprise Daddy with her new hair!


So, maybe we're not a new family, but he might have to do a double-take when he sees us at the homecoming! Just keepin' the man on his toes!

Oops - I hope he doesn't see this before he gets home.

~Michiko