Juggling in June
Sometimes life can be so cruel to you. It speeds up time when you want it slow down and slows it down when you want it to speed up.
This was our last month living in Japan and on our beautiful island of Okinawa. The time has sped and gone faster and faster. I have had moments in the last month when I've wanted to press the pause button and soak it all in. The picture above was one of those moments. It was a full moon that was setting just as in the opposite direction the sun was rising. I was standing at one of the most magical locations in all of Okinawa. A place called Mirabu beach. The landscape here is just spectacular. The little outcroppings of rocks and islands along a beautiful beach is truly breathtaking. I fired up my camera and tried my best to capture the scene the best I could.
We spent almost all of June trying to juggle all of our priorities. It was a month I'll never forget...
Last Days of School
Our kids have been blessed to be taught at Kinser Elementary School. They have had some truly awesome teachers. We had some great things at the end of the school year.
Linz volunteered to help out with the elementary school Kindergarten program. She designed and put together the program and did some other stuff for them. Linz is awesome!
The kids in McKay's class did a superhero theme. They all dressed up in capes and were given awards for their hard work this year. McKay earned an award for Sports, Art and Reading. He is a great kid. He also got an award for being a motivator.
Kennedy also got awards in her class for having the most reading points in all of second grade and Art.
There were a lot of end of the year activities. One of them is an all time favorite of me: Donuts with Dad. We go to the school, the kids create a lot of things for us and give us donuts. McKay ate two. Ha ha!
Hayden also had his last day of school. He has been going to a Japanese local preschool with half American kids and half Japanese kids. He loves his teachers. He has grown and become such a great little boy. I secretly think that he is the smartest of our kids. But don't tell them that. He remembers things that our other kids never could. He remembers names of all the kids in class and his teachers. He catches on the patterns and repetitions very quickly. I took a few photos with my phone at his school on the last day. We brought in some American donuts to share with all of his classmates.
I am posting a few things that the kids have done this year. Kennedy drew the sea turtle completely by herself. She really does love art, drawing, painting, coloring and everything! She truly asks me if she should be a famous artist when she gets older.
McKay was chosen out of all of Kindergarten as having the best panda bear painting. He is precise in all his work. When he is concentrating he sticks his tongue out to the side. He takes his time, doesn't like to be rushed and likes to do things correctly the first time. That should serve him well in life. Trust me it had nothing to do with anything we did for him. He just came from heaven that way.
This has been and always will be one of my favorite places on the entire island of Okinawa. My wife and kids have been here multiple times with friends for swimming dates. I have been here multiple times for photo shoots. But I haven't been here in a long time to just go swimming.
The kids had a great time enjoying the caves, waves and tide pools. I had a great time taking photos and snorkeling around.
Mermaid's Grotto is a place where so many people come to snorkel and also to scuba dive. If you go a ways off the shore line you can find so much animal life. Having the younger kids make it a little more difficult for us to get that far out. We choose to rather stay close and swim with the kids.
After an all day event on the beach we went to our favorite shaved ice place and got mango ice. Hayden was very excited about it!
Once it gets summer time in Okinawa there are only two places that you want to go. Either the beach or the pool. The kids have had swim lessons every day for the last two weeks. We spend about 3-4 hours a day at the pool. The kids love it and jump in a soon as they get there and then don't get out the whole time. McKay and Kennedy are quite the swimmers. Hayden still likes to hold on to mom and dad for the most part. But he is getting much better and more daring every day. He likes his puddle jumpers but lately he hasn't wanted them and thinks he can swim without them. That means we have to keep and extra close eye on him. If I happen to get off of work early enough Linz and I have been taking turns doing laps while the other watches the kids. I am not the strongest swimmer and die after about 100m. But it is such a great workout.
Thankfully the kids have had great friends that show up every day and so they have people to swim with. The other funny thing about living in Okinawa is that it rains when it is still sunny. I think this week alone we have had 4 days of rainbows because it will be raining on one side of the sky and the sun is shining on the other side. The kids never even slow down when it starts raining at the pool.
One benefit of swimming so much is it tires Hayden out. This is a difficult feat to accomplish. He will fall asleep pool side or fall asleep on the way home. He literally cannot wake him up. He crashes hard.
Sand Dollar Beach
One of the places Linz and I had been to a long time ago was Sand Dollar Beach. It is kind of a hidden gem of a place. The first time I visited it I thought it was ugly, but the second time I was shocked at out pretty it actually was. We got there and had to wait about an hour before the tide got low enough for us to actually find the sand dollars. They are impossible to find if the tide is not at its lowest point.
But we spent a few hours combing the beach looking for shells, sand dollars and sea glass. The kids came back with quite the collection!
The same day we hit up Sand Dollar Beach we went to a great local park and a little splash pad.
Preparing to Move
Being that this is our final month is Japan we have had so many things that we have needed to juggle. On top of all of these activities we have had to prepare to move across the world back to America. This has required us to dejunk the house, scrubbing the house clean, go through all clothes, drawers and closets. This, although a pain, is actually quite refreshing. It feels good to get rid of things and clean our life up.
We have had to purchase American phones with American phone numbers. Thankfully we were able to put our old lines on hold and so our phone number will be the same. We have had to find a place to live in California. Once we find a place to live we are going to have to buy a washer and dryer, fridge, a new couch. We have had one car in storage but I will be returning without a car and so we had to find me a car to drive.
Military shipments go in multiple parts, We had our first shipment, which was the bulk of our stuff, on June 4 and the rest of our stuff on July 2. This requires us to organize which stuff is going in which shipment. Then we have to organize which stuff is going to come in our luggage. It is like a nightmare trying to keep in all straight. But once you have done it a couple of times it does become easier.
Other things that happened this month was a celebration of the end of my time a my dental clinic. I have had the chance to work with some truly amazing and wonderful doctors and people. They have helped me grow and become better.
We also had a dinner with two locals families that we have come to know. They have been great friends to our kids and we have truly cherished our relationship with them.
Love of Landscapes
Perhaps the thing that I am going to miss the most are the beautiful landscapes here in Okinawa. I have grown to expect the beauty everywhere. The pictures above were both taken at some of the great beaches of the island. The first is a Mirabu beach. It is located at the southern tip of the island and has some amazing sand and rocks along the coastline.
The second photo is at Toguchi Beach. One of the most popular locations for watching the sunset. I have taken so many family photos here. I was so glad that i was able to take some good landscape photos of the place.
We have had the best 3 years here in Okinawa. I could not have asked for anything better. We have had a cultural experience, social experience and spiritual experience that has made us all grow and become better.
Our next adventure is off to California... Who knows where life will take us after that!!!
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