Happy Meal Okinawa Style

June 28, 2006

A few photos from dinner the other night. Adam proved that he is a true wonder dad...feeding Camille while also holding a sleeping Noah.

Good food, good company, and some great sunset views...what more do you need? Why can't the McDonald's Happy Meal be more like this?

Japanese cars

June 27, 2006

Japan has some very interesting car names and car styles. Here are a few:

Beach time

June 26, 2006

This week is the annual Gutekunst (my mom's family) beach trip to Navarre Beach, Florida. Our family has been making this yearly pilgrimage for over thirty years. It is a wild and wonderful beach trip that knits us closer as a family and it is one of my favorite experiences in the whole world. I can't wait to share this special beach tradition with my kids next year. To all the Gutekunst family members at the beach this year...catch some good waves for us, enjoy the sunsets, and mark us down for next year!

Since we haven't been able to take part in the Navarre trip, we have made up for beach time by exploring Okinawa's beautiful beaches. We will really miss the Okinawa beaches . Here are some photos from our favorite Okinawa beach adventures.

Moving Day

The movers came yesterday to load up most of our stuff. The house is pretty empty now and it actually feels nice to have a clutter free environment. Camille likes having more space to roll and scoot around (moving backwards on her belly...getting close to crawling, yikes!) And Noah loves the echo in the rooms. My mom was a HUGE help in getting through the move and we couldn't have gotten through it so smoothly without her here.

We had heard good things about the Japanese movers but to see them in action is pretty amazing. They are quick, strong, and very thorough. All of our stuff is now packed into wooden crates and getting ready to board a ship bound for the States and scheduled to arrive in Jacksonville in early September. We are scheduled to leave Okinawa in mid-August. It is now becoming very real. I find myself in a that liminal state between two places...starting to get sad about leaving this beautiful island and starting to imgine life in a new part of the world.

Lots to celebrate!

June 9, 2006

It is so nice to finally have some time to post on the blog and also nice to have some good news to share...lots of it...quite a contrast to last week. The first big piece of good news is that Camille is doing much better and healing quickly. We had one little scare a couple of days ago when she developed a rash. This was probably a reaction to one of the antibiotics and it is gone now that we have stopped that medication. Her wound is healing quickly and we are adjusting to her "unique" hairstyle....shaved in the back. It is actually a Taiwanese tradition to shave babies' hair and cut their eyelashes in the first year to promote thicker hair growth...we aren't planning on cutting her eyelashes, but perhaps the back of her head with have thicker hair? Which is probaby a good thing since the actual site of her bite will never re-grow hair. I am also doing better...physically and emotionally.

One of the highlights for this week was my mom's arrival. I am finally able to sleep, eating better, and feeling much happier now that she is here. There isn't anything that compares to the comfort of having your mom by your side when you are sick or stressed, is there? She has already been such a big help to us. It is great to watch her with Noah and Camille....they are soaking up all of the extra attention and really enjoying the time with their "Duchess".

The next big thing that happened in our lives is that we became homeowners! My in-laws did an amazing job of househunting for us and found a great house in a wonderful neighborhood close to Noah's new school and the Naval Hospital. The backyard is a family's dream come true...large shade trees, a huge climbing structure and swingset, space for soccer, a fence, established plantings, big patio, and friendly neighbors. We will be doing some work on the kitchen before moving in and we are still waiting for the inspection and appraisal to be completed. Keep your fingers crossed that all goes well with these important steps. We are thrilled to have a home waiting for us and are very, very grateful to Syd and Judi for all of the hard work they did to find this first home for us. We are also lucky to have a great team of realtors, Jami and Erica, who have made this process easy and enjoyable for us....we can't wait to meet them in person in August.

Other happy news is the arrival of two beautiful babies... Paul William (proud parents Jennie and Jon and big sister Bella) and Abbie K. (proud parents Jill and Flip and big sister Hannah). We can't wait to meet these cuties once we move to the States. Congratulations and Welcome to the World!

It feels so good to be celebrating all of these events. Thank you for all of the prayers and healing wishes.

A Better Day

June 2, 2006

We are very happy to report that Camille did not have the second surgery that was scheduled for today. Her fever is down and the ulcers in her mouth are part of a viral infection possibly caused by the breathing tube, stress, or germs in the hospital. We are still monitoring things very closely. Adam has done an amazing job in his duel roles of daddy and doctor...I don't know how someone who isn't in the medical field could clean out these open wounds (especially Camille's which is deeper than mine). Adam has been so strong, patient, and reasurring during a time when I know he has also been very worried and frightened (possibly more than me since he has the medical knowledge to know worst case outcomes). I feel so lucky to have him as my partner, my best friend, and the father of our two wonderful children. We are not out of the woods yet since Camille's infections are very serious so please continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

The above photograph is of Camille with one of the wonderful nurses who has been taking care of her. We have been impressed and touched by the level of care and attention she has received.

Update and need for more prayers

June 1, 2006

Camille awoke this morning with a fever and ulcers in her mouth. She is scheduled to return to the operating room again tomorrow morning for a second surgery, but the surgery may be postponed if all goes well with her tonight. We are praying and hoping that she won't need another surgery. Please, please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

My mom is scheduled to fly to Okinawa next week and that has already given us some comfort during this scary time. It will be so good to have her here since this has been a very stressful time for all of us. I haven't been able to sleep or eat, but I have perfected the art of worrying and also spending a lot of time praying. Adam was scheduled to leave for Jacksonville this weekend for house hunting. Adam's parents will be making the trip to Jacksonville for us and I am sure they will find a great house for us. At this moment we are just eager for our little family to be healthy and together under one roof. Thank you for all of the prayers and good wishes. We will continue to update when we can.

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