Creamsicle Mobile

July 30, 2006

Here's a photo of our friend's car which is affectionatedly known as the creamsicle due to its lovely color scheme. The interior is also a wonderful mix of orange and white. I will miss all of these fun Japanese cars!

Family Slideshow

July 26, 2006

Funny to see how "slideshows" have evolved with new technology. I love the new ways of doing digital slideshows, but I have to admit that I also still enjoy the old fashioned Morgan slideshows that continue to be an important family ritual. I love the smell of the slides, picking out favorites with my dad, loading them in the trays, watching the images pop up on the big white screen and reliving those magical family moments as well the embarrassing ones.We hope you will enjoy this more "modern" slideshow of our family. We had a wonderful photographer come to our home in April to document some special moments for our new family of four. Click on this link to view the slideshow and then click on the saperstein icon: And for those who live in Okinawa, here is a link to Amy's website


As of today we have 28 days left until we leave Okinawa. We have 16 days until we close on our house and officially become homeowners. We have 20 days until we start remodeling the kitchen (crazy isn't it to remodel a kitchen while living overseas and never stepping foot in it before?!...but I would just rather not deal with a big renovation with two monkeys in the house, especially the monkey girl who is getting very mobile!) We have 28 days until we get to introduce Camille to Adam's family for the first time. We have 35 days until Noah starts his new preschool in Jacksonville.

The reality of all the upcoming changes really hit me on Monday when the movers came to pick up our final shipment. I am trying to remain calm while also dealing with the very mixed up emotions of sadness about leaving, excitement about returning to the States, and dread that we will continue to live in limbo and out of suitcases for another couple of months. Camille and Hayden (Camille's first love and our sweet little neighbor) watched the movers with complete fascination and perhaps a little fear...those guys move fast and furious.

Blue Angel Fever!

July 15, 2006

There's been a lot of celebrating on our little street. Our neighbor and friend, Drew (Sydney, Zoe,and Hayden's Daddy) has been selected as a pilot for The Blue Angels! He will be flying "Fat Albert", the C-130 plane. We are so excited and proud! We are also VERY happy that they will be moving to Florida and can't wait to spend some fun weekends together. If you want to learn more about The Blue Angels or their current schedule, visit their website

Here are some photos from last summer when Drew gave our playgroup a tour of his C-130 here in Okinawa. The kids loved it and it was also obvious that Drew loves his plane and loves flying. Way to go Drew!

Toliet Paper and Reverse Culture Shock

July 14, 2006

Last night while standing in the toliet paper aisle at the comissary, I was struck by the "new and improved" size of American toliet paper big that you need an extender to fit them on regular size holders. I think it was some sort of sign that I need to start preparing for "reverse culture shock". When I returned from Japan in 1996 after a year on the JET program, I remember standing in the toothpaste aisle at Walmart and feeling so overwhelmed by all of the choices for toothpaste that I ended up leaving the store empty handed except for a splitting headache. Do we really need so many options for toothpaste? Do we really need mongo sized toliet paper rolls because we are too lazy to change them? Do we really need drinks that are so big they could keep a small village hydrated? I don't know how to prepare myself for our return to the land of "supersize", Costco, Sam's, and "bigger is better", but I guess we'll start with the toliet paper and see if it helps with the transition.

Noah's First Self-Portrait

Noah just recently started drawing people and this was the first time he made a drawing of himself. Also, note his attempt to write his name at the bottom. He was very proud of himself. Lately he has been telling us "I am an artist just like Grandpa" and it looks like we might be continuing the family tradition!

Battling Beetles

July 12, 2006

A popular summer time activity for Japanese kids is catching bugs, especially enormous beetles. Every summer the stores are stocked with bug catching supplies (nets, bug houses), t-shirts with big beetles, and even inflatable pool toys shaped like beetles. The parks are filled with kids and their bug hunting gear.

We haven't found any of these cool beetles in our yard but we were happy to discover these big mechanical beetles at a local arcade.

What's a peach?

A few days ago Noah wanted to know what I feeding Camille. When I said "peaches" (pureed baby food) he looked puzzled and said "what's a peach?". It hit me then that he really did not know since we haven't had peaches in three years. Well, that's not exactly true. We do occasionally get them flown on to the island but they are VERY expensive and usually not very good. It reminded me of one of our first trips back to Louisiana when Noah was so amazed by cows and horses...something he had never seen in Okinawa, but something I grew up seeing all of the time. So one of the first things we will be doing when we return to the States is going to a grocery store or a farmer's market and buying peaches!

But here are some photos of things we have loved eating while in Okinawa

Okinawa Soba...a big bowl of soup,noodles, vegetables, and slurpling is required
Stir fried beef with lots of wonderful little side dishes
One of Noah's favorite meals...Japanese curry and rice presented as a children's meal. Just about every Japanese restaurant we have ever eaten in has these fabulous children's meals complete with fun dishes, little spoons, chopsticks, and even toys at the end of the meal. Noah loves eating out because of this special treatment and we love it because the kids meals are usually a great mix of veggies and other yummy things not the typical American kids meal of chicken nuggets and fries.

More medical issues, more stress

As if we didn't have enough stress in our lives (moving, renovating a kitchen from overseas, finalizing an adoption, etc) we now have a few medical things to take care of when we arrive in Jacksonville. Camille did not pass her second hearing exam yesterday. We got a little more information with the second test. Her left ear and ear drum seem to be fine, but the right side is not responsive. She will have a third test in early August and if that shows similar results she will need further evaluation in Jacksonville including a test under sedation. She may also need to have tubes since she has had several ear infections. She can hear and respond to sound, but it seems that she may have some hearing loss in the right ear. We are hoping the third test will tell us a little more.

Noah will need eye surgery when we get to Jacksonville. We knew this was probably going to be the case, but now it looks like it will need to happen sooner rather than later. His left eye wanders, especially when he is tired or "zoning" out. We have been watching it for almost a year now and he has had regular appointments to monitor it but it continues to get worse. I hate that he will need surgery, but the concern is that if the weaker eye is not repaired he will favor the dominant eye and eventually lose vision in the left eye.

And two days ago, I finally went to the dentist and found out I cracked my back tooth and will need a crown. I started having pain before our trip to Taiwan but in the midst of all the craziness I kept putting off a visit to the dentist. Note to self, do not postpone dental appointments. Unfortunatedly, they can not take care of it in Okinawa because it takes at least six weeks to have the crown made in the States and sent here. So I will need to find a dentist soon as we arrive...anyone know a good dentist in Jacksonville?

Typhoon Season

July 8, 2006

Typhoon Ewiniar is headed for Okinawa and due to hit sometime tonight. This will be the first typhoon of the season for us. Typhoons and hurricanes are basically the same thing...big, big storms but here are some of the differences I have observed since living in Okinawa (and having grown up in Louisiana).

Hurricanes are given personal first names in alphabetical order and the list of names rotates every six years. In 2000, countries throughout the Pacific decided to use a different naming system and each country submitted "names"...words for flowers, animals, and some personal names in the native language for the submitting country. Here is a list of the 141 tyhphoon names

Another major difference we have seen between typhoons and hurricanes is in the level of impact. Each summer Okinawa bears the brunt of several large typhoons including super typhoons which are the same as level 4 and 5 hurricanes. Despite very high winds, we have never lost electricity, water, or phone service. We have never had to board up or tape our windows. Modern Okinawa architecture is not very attractive (block concrete buildings) but it can withstand some pretty impressive storms. I really think the Gulf Coast of the United States could learn a lot from Okinawa.

Now the interesting thing to observe in Okinawa is the difference in reactions between Americans and Okinawans. The Americans, especially those new to the island, run to the commissary (on-base grocery store) and stand in huge lines to purchase tons of water and supplies (despite many base announcements throughout the year encouraging folks to keep a stock of typhoon supplies). The Japanese grocery stores are rarely overflowing in the same way before a storm. For those Americans living on base, we are not allowed to leave our homes or the base once a certain level is reached (depending on proximity of the storm). When we lived out in town, we were amazed to see how many of our Okinawan neighbors would continue to drive even during the worst parts of the storm.

Hopefully Typhoon Ewiniar will be an easy going storm and just give us a nice weekend hunkered down at home enjoying some intense family time ...not quite as wild as a Cajun Hurricane Party, but we'll have time for those next summer in Florida! If you want to follow this typhoon or others in the Pacific, check out the Joint Typhoon Center website

Swimmer Boy

July 6, 2006

This is the summer of swimming for Noah. He wasn't too thrilled with swimming or swimming lessons last summer, but this summer is a different story. He is doing great...jumping in, putting his head under, kicking, reaching and pulling. He loves his new suit from Nana and refuses to wear anything else. He had a blast at the beach last weekend....thanks to the Hess family for the tip on that secret beach.

Camille is 8 months old

Today is Camille's 8 month birthday! Here are some current stats on her. She has four teeth (2 top and 2 bottom). She is starting to crawl. She loves to eat any and everything in reach. Her hair is starting to grow back and cover up the spider bite scar. She is starting to do the sign for "more" and loves music, especially when her daddy sings. Her favorite toys are a plastic Bob the Builder that Noah lets her borrow, a weird Japanese pacifer/nipple toy from Sloane, and a cute monkey from Summer and Karl. She continues to charm everyone with her amazing even cuter with her new teeth! Happy Birthday, Mei-Mei!

You've Got Mail

Here is how the mail is delivered in Japan.

When I lived on mainland Japan (1995-1996), I would listen for the sputtering sound of the postman on his bike in hopes of getting mail. That was during the wonderful year of courtship when phone calls were too expensive and e-mail didn't exist (in rurual Japan)...Adam and I wrote a lot of letters. It was such a good way to get to know each other. I am glad the internet and e-mail exist, but I have to admit that old fashioned mail is still much more thrilling and personal.

Sticky Rice Is So Nice

Camille's new favorite food! She's also a big fan of tofu and Japanese rice crackers.
Never interupt the wild Mei-Mei during feeding time because she may attack!
Eating is exhausting business!

Okinawa Blues

The Bad
I have been in a real funk since last week. The day after all of our belongings were packed up and put on a ship, we were informed that our departure date has been changed. No real explanation and no firm departure date. No apology and no offer to help us out. This is why families get out of the military. This is a result of poor leadership, lack of planning, and a lack of concern/compassion for the impact this last minute decision has on us and the two other families who received the same news last week. After all of the hard work Adam and the other two guys have put into this command, it feels like a real slap in the face to be treated so poorly and without any good reason. We are still hoping to arrive in Jacksonville by the end of August (but who really knows?!).

The Sad
In the last few months most of our friends have left the island...either gone back to the States for the summer or moved to a new duty station. This is the sad side of military life. I am already anticipating and starting to dread the fact that I will have to start all over again in building friendships once we arrive in Florida. We will miss the friends we made here in Okinawa and hope that we will be able to stay in touch with e-mail, skype, and phone calls...but still not the same as hanging out at Oura Wan, afternoon playtime on Georgia Loop, or watching Okinawa sunsets together. We were also really sad to say good-bye to my mom when she left on Tuesday. I am sorry she had to be here at such a stressful time, but it was so wonderful to spend time with her and to watch her with Noah and Camille.

The Beautiful
Whenever I think of Okinawa, I always think of all of the amazing shades of blue. I remember my first visit to Okinawa (Aka-jima..small island) over ten years ago and I was awestruck by the intense blue water and vivid blue sky. Despite my current feelings of anger and sadness, we will really miss living in this beautiful place.

Happy 4th of July

July 4, 2006

Southeast Botanical Gardens

July 1, 2006

A special place for exploring and appreciating the tropical beauty of Okinawa.

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