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2 Girls, 2 Boys and a whole lot of noise.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

kids update

So my kids are getting older, which makes me happy and sad at the same time. Since their dad isn't here, I need to post some things about them so he can see what we do while he is away.
To start with, we went to the dentist. Can I just say, switching dentists is ridiculous. It took me 30 minutes to fill out the paperwork for 3 of us. I think that there should be a standard form that asks you for your lifetime of information - like a resume of your medical history. You just update it before you go to a new doctor or dentist, and then you are done. Or even better, your insurance company just sends a copy of all the medical records that the doctor needs and you just stay out of it. They paid for it, right? Your insurance company should know more about you then you might even remember. They might be able to even blackmail you..."hey, you remember that rash? I do. Pay up or we will post it on facebook."

Anyway, it was a pain and I admit that I was a little concerned about going to a dentist in Guam. I know that sounds awful but there are no dental schools here and all the hygenists are from Guam. I might add that they are pretty relaxed about enforcing most laws here so it wouldn't surprise me if there was some dentist that had all of their cousins working there...just sayin.
OK, this place we went to was acceptable. It was not as amazing as the dentists we had in the states, but it was sufficient.
 Katy got the cold room. They obviously are prepared for the situation. (Side note, Kaitlynn asked us to change her name to Katy when we got here. When I asked her how she wanted it spelled she decided that she wanted it like Katy Perry's name. That makes a mom proud. Who doesn't want their 6 year old to be just like Katy Perry?)
Cody was pretty content in the dentist chair. My kids love the television. (They get that from their dad.)

Cody has a problem with some of his speech sounds. You can understand most of what he says but some sounds make him sound German...or maybe Russian. Anyway, I took him to a speech therapist to have him evaluated. She did a bunch of tests with him to see if he had any learning disabilities that might cause him to have a speech problem. After they asked if we had dropped him on his head as a child and if he ate paint chips, etc., he took these crazy tests where she put out a paper with a pattern on it and he had to match the pattern with the blocks. At the time I took this picture he had already done a half hour worth of tests. He got 100% on almost all of them. He is 4 (like, turned 4 in August.) So you can see that he is a little tired but he likes the puzzles she is giving him. So we get to this one:
And I am thinking, how can a 4 year old get that? It is a code. He is 4. She uses no words to give him directions and that (picture above) is what he comes up with. He went from left to right, (which is the sign that he is ready to read) put one in the wrong spot, corrected it without someone telling him and got them all perfect. He is 4. I started to hope that he wouldn't get them correct because how can I teach this child when he might be smarter than me...at the age of 4?
The teacher was very impressed and Cody thought the test was awesome. She told me that this was 8 year old comprehension stuff. In the end, the teacher told me that the normal range for these tests (which test your internal thinking) is 85-115, with 100 being the mean. He scored a 139. I was very proud, obviously. This kid is going to find a cure for cancer - or at least get paid a lot of money to crack codes.

Moving on, I signed both my kids up for a ballroom dancing class, taught by my friend. Katy usually quits all organized sports and activities that I sign her up for and true to form, after the first day, she said she hated it. Cody, however, liked it so I had him finish out the month.
This is us dancing at the last practice. He knows the tango and a waltz and one other one. It was really cute. We did this with our friends Allie and Ashlyn Torgesen (Aspen's kids). I am not sure we will do it next month because Cody will be doing basketball but it was really cute.
And lastly, here is my beautiful daughter. She has her own personality. In case you can't tell from the picture, here is everything that is going down.
1. It is a Saturday afternoon at 4PM.
2. She is walking around the house in a hooded coat.
3. She has decide to have a bowl of ice cream...
4. ...and a champagne glass full of "ice cold water" to go with it.
5.  She also has a bad attitude.(You might not be able to tell that from the picture.)

These are my kids and this is what we have going on. I have a Halloween post coming right up. We kind of go crazy at Halloween. I need to get some pictures taken and then you can see what we "have done with the place" for Halloween.

Quote of the week: (from Katy):
Mom: Katy, finish your breakfast, you only have one bite left.
Katy: When I burp, it means I'm done. I already burped, mom.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Finding the pigs-see visiting teaching post

I feel the need to add to the visiting teaching post, you see...last year there was a lesson on when you go "visit teach" someone, you don't just go in, give a spiritual message and say "call us when you need us". If you can see that the baby is crying and the floor needs swept, get up and do something about it. Visiting teaching is more than something you just check off each month. Serve each other.

Ok, so that being said, I think Aspen took this to heart, whereas, I have not prepared myself fully for these expectations. You see, when Lovely told us that her pigs were missing and that she was pretty concerned about it, Aspen said, "Do you want us to help you look for them?"
I looked at Aspen.
Lovely looked at Aspen.
Then Lovely belted out her boisterous laugh and said, "No. No. I will look for them." because I am sure that Lovely saw what I was seeing...Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie trying to chase down wild pigs in the jungle.
I am certain that the church presidency was not thinking about some of the circumstances that 2 white girls would be in when they gave that message about "get up and do something."

I just wanted to clarify what actually happened. Also, I am happy to report that Lovely found the pigs...without a crazy version of "The Simple Life."

Friday, September 28, 2012

Sanders Slope 4.5 miles

Alright, it seems that everyone was a little curious about this hike that we do so I decided to document it. According to my friend, Michelle Sherrer, Sanders Slope is 1.5 miles of actual slope with a 10% grade but we start at the beach and walk for 4.5 miles total, 1.5 being the slope part. Make sense? Here are some pictures to show you our adventure. Aspen and I do this twice a week. We have other friends join us too on Mondays but Friday was just me, Aspen and Lindsy!
Aspen, me, Lindsy

 This is about a mile into the hike. We are at the base of the slope. You can kind of see that it goes up into the jungle right above my buff arm.

The ocean is on our left. This is the middle of the slope.
Here is Aspen, plus 100 pounds of kids. She is a beast!
Here we are at the top. Our hair is a mess and we are dripping sweat, but we have made it. You can see the beautiful ocean behind Lindsy.

 And this is the top of the slope. We still have another mile to go but it isn't anything like the slope. The view is amazing from up here, you can see the coastline, and it is beautiful.

So I do this twice a week, usually helping push someone else's load along. Sometimes it rains (which is my favorite time to go) and sometimes the sun wants to destroy us but we will keep going. It is a great workout and a lot of fun. It also gives us a chance to get out and enjoy Guam's beauty.

So far I have done it 5 times. I am keeping score. Miller - 4, Sanders Slope (Tarague) - 1.
(Tarague won on Monday. I was pretty dehydrated and sick-feeling afterwards. I can't count that as a win.)

And that is our story.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Visiting Teaching

So my friend, Aspen Torgesen, and I went on our first visiting teaching experience this week. We have 5 local ladies on our list and the only one we caught up with is Lovely. Lovely is a very happy, patient person. She has a life so different from ours that it was truly humbling to give her a ride home from church and realize that she has so few possessions compared to us. My kids were asking all kinds of questions about why she lived in a "hut" and had so many dogs.
I explained to them how Heavenly Father sends us all to different parts of the world with different things and that we are so blessed to have a roof over our head and to have nice things. I was wondering why we were lucky to be born in a nice house with running water and electricity and there are many people out there who aren't.

Aspen and I went to visit Lovely on Monday and she was stressed because her mother's pigs, that she was supposed to be tending, had escaped and run away. She was looking all over for them but they could be anywhere - including on someone else's dinner table. She told us that she can't run the icebox because it takes too much electricity and there are 4 houses that share electricity. She also has no running water. I am so American that I don't really comprehend how that works. (How can someone not have enough electricity? And it makes me feel even more "awesome" that I have 3 freezers at my house and she doesn't even have one.) The Chamorro people buy a lot of canned meat because there is no other way to store it. (spam). Many Chamorros live in "huts" like hers. They are made of 2x4s and then covered in sheet metal. (I know the sheet metal is right, I am just not sure if the 2x4s is right but something is holding this thing up). Some people live in a shipping container that they just put on some land. It is unreal to me.

Here are some pictures of our experience at Lovely's house:
 This is local "tapioca". Also called Yucca. Aspen and I have no idea what you would do with this.

 We did drink the coconut water. It wasn't bad. It was a little difficult to drink out of a coconut that had just been machetied though.

 This is Lovely's house. She is holding a machete so she can open the coconuts for us. We had a good visit with Lovely. She asked us to pray that her husband will accept the Gospel, that she will get accepted into the subsidized housing so she and her kids can be safer, and that she can find the pigs.


So Jeremy had to go. We knew this was the nature of his job before we moved here. He really wanted to be a part of this "Red Horse" team, it is just unlucky that he got here right before a huge team had to deploy to the desert but he is excited to be a part of it. I decided to blog more so that he can see how the kids are changing and so he can know what is going on here.
This was us at the airport saying goodbye. He will be gone for almost 8 months.
A friend asked me about this. She said:
I bet living on such a small island would be very difficult and to have Jeremy be deployed!? Really? I know! I kind of knew it was coming because of the job type so I handled his leaving like a champ. Usually I withdraw from him and cry a lot, which makes it harder for him. This time I was a perfect angel and very supportive because I could tell he was stressed. I am imagining my "amazing wife" trophy in my head right now. :)
Either way, he is gone for a while and we are trying to have good times until he can come back home.
I love you, Jeremy.

About Guam

I know many people are curious about Guam so I thought I would do a post about the island "paradise" we live on. First, I have a friend who posted this on facebook. It summarizes it well:
I have learned a few things about Guam during my time here so far:

1. I learned quickly that I do not live IN Guam. I live ON Guam or ON island.
2. The humidity straightens hair like magic. I won't be curling my hair every day anymore.
3. The lines on the road don't determine where people drive; the potholes do.
4. Even the bugs are beautiful and colorful: bright green beetles, red and yell
ow spiders...
5. It's not really out of the ordinary to see chickens and wild boars
(and dogs) hanging out in the road.
6. For all the talk of Guam being infested with brown tree snakes, I have yet to see one.
7. It rains somewhere on island every day, even during the dry season.
8. Shopping at Kmart on any random day is like Black Friday shopping in the States.
9. It takes more paperwork to bring a dog
(or guns) to Guam than it does to bring a child.
10. The further I travel, the more I realize how interconnected the world's people are. I've met people from my hometown right here on Guam!
(This friend is from Pocatello, Idaho. Where I grew up. She was talking about me.)
We are loving it here! What an adventure! - Lindsy Crossley
Also, I had a friend from California ask me some questions about Guam so I will share what I said:
So, how is school for your kids? Kaitlynn (Katy, now.) seems to really like school. She abhors homework but she has so much less homework this year compared to last year. She should be thrilled. Cody hasn't started preschool yet and I kind of want to do a preschool co-op with my friends but I already enrolled him in the preschool on base. The one on base only goes from 745 to 1015 though. And school here starts at 735! A full hour before it did in California. Ugh! I told my friends that if we want to walk to school, we have to be up by 653. Yes, I have it down to the minute. I hate getting up early. We were really lucky to have an extra long summer and I wasn't ready to give up my sleep in and do nothing days.
Are the schools on the base? Yep, the schools (elementary and middle school) are on base - right next to each other. We walk there - on days when we wake up before 653. :) Also, the schools here are so amazing. Their "projector" is equivalent to a large IPad. They touch the screen that hangs on the wall and can move their names to hot lunch, cold lunch. They do word games on the screen and it randomly selects who's turn it is to come and help the teacher. I am not describing it well but it is incredible. Picture a giant IPad instead of the projector you usually have in the classroom. They also go to "Culture" class to learn about the culture and history of Guam, "Spanish" class, "Art" and "PE" on top of all the other cool stuff they do at school. There are 900 kids at her school but Katy only has 17 kids in her class.What is the language of Guam? The language is Chamarran. The people are called Chamarros and instead of Aloha (in Hawaii) they say "Hafa Adai" (haf a day). There are lots of weird languages though because each island around here speaks their own and then they come here and it is a big mix of all kinds. The people kind of look Latino, but don't tell them that. :)
What is the shopping like? Basically, picture if you could only drive to Sacramento and back -ever. (30 miles away) but you can only drive 35 mph. And your only shopping stores off base are Kmart and Ross. (but the Asian tourists shop there and drop off tour busses full of people so even if you go in to those stores it feels like a black friday with lines to the back of the store.) the Ross has 20 check out lanes. Seriously. Its just weird here. The locals are all on welfare because the military has driven up prices to where they cant afford to live here...and basically, its an American Mexico with rampant loose dogs and run down buildings. :)smile Im not as devastated as I was when we first got here and it makes me laugh to think about these things.
Are you shopping online more? Yes, but I hate online shopping. Half the stores don't have Guam as an option for shipping to or as the billing address that you have to enter. Its ridiculous. And we don't have mailboxes at our house. Everyone has a PO Box so that adds complications. There is also no Fed Ex or UPS that delivers here. We just have the post office. (We all hate the post office.)
Do you have a ward or branch? We have a ward. Half the people are locals and half are military. There are a few white families that live here permanently for their husband's job. There are amazing youth in our ward. The young mens is large and they seem like great guys. (I substitute taught the 15-18 year old's Sunday school for the last 5 weeks. It was great because none of them have ever read the BOM cover to cover so we just talk about the stories, not about the deeper meanings. We were leading up to Captain Moroni, which is my favorite so I really liked it. And one young man bore his testimony about something he learned in Sunday School. It was awesome that the spirit is in the classes. All the youth are natives and only one or 2 had been to the states. It is crazy that our lives are so different. Their experiences are so different than mine.
That's all she asked me that I can share.
So we got here after about 24 hours of flying. I stayed awake the whole time. No one else did even though Jeremy said "If we stay awake on this 8 hour flight from Hawaii to Guam we will have an eaiser time adjusting our sleep schedules when we get in at 8PM." Guess who was the first one asleep? Jeremy. (Just in case you couldn't sense my sarcasm.) We stayed at the "Royal Orchid" which I will not be staying at again. They have small, stiff beds made for Asians. Our backs hurt so bad after the first night. The pool was also on the same floor as us, which made everything smell worse than it already did. The pool looked blue, until you got in it. Then you couldn't see your legs that were 3 feet down. It was opaque. Kaitlynn went underwater and Jeremy couldn't see her. Creepy.
Luckily, we got a temporary house on base after that.
Complete with 2 twin beds for Jeremy and I to share. This made us laugh. It was actually a really nice place and Cody tells me that he wishes that we could live there still. Probably because there was a pull out couch that we opened and watched movies all the time because we were sick once we got here or I was so sunburned that I could hardly move for a week.
After a month in the temporary house we moved into this cement box. It doesn't look like much from the outside but it is really nice inside.
We painted.
Cody's room.
 Katy's room.
 This seems to be everybody's room. Especially since dad is gone.
Living Room.
         And now that we are all set up, we go to the beach almost every weekend. Wouldn't you?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Whoa 2 YEARS since my last post?!?

I guess that is about the time I started school again. I think I will keep the "Days Since Christmas" countdown. It is kind of funny. (well to me, anyway.) My kids are older, I am older, Jeremy is way older. Haha. Just kidding.
So our updates: We moved from California to Guam in June of this year. Kaitlynn started first grade, Cody is in preschool for another 1 or 2 years. (The doctor today said, "Well, he should be having a growth spurt soon." I hope so. He is still in 2T and 3T clothes. His head barely fits in them though. :)
We have a house in Guam on the Air Force Base. It is a cement box on the outside but is pretty nice inside.
This is Jer and I at his award ceremony before we left Beale. He got some cool medals for doing stuff.
This is us at a beach in Guam. This beach was called Fai Fai and was one of the coolest beaches so far - especially at low tide, and with awesome friends.

Cody's birthday.

Cody's first day of soccer.
Kaitlynn's (Katy) first day of school.

Cody going to church.

Cody's soccer medal.
This is her favorite and she has a golden tan to prove it.
This is not her favorite - homework. Her devil side comes out every day that there is homework in her backpack. Don't let this phoney smile deceive you.
So that is our randomness. Jeremy is deployed until April-ish so we are just hanging out in Guam. Thank goodness for good friends. This place is crazy. :)
Maybe I will post more. Maybe I won't. It's too soon to say.