Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Summer School

Yes, I am one of those mean moms that makes my kids do school work over the summer.

Everyone is working on a program called, "Times Attack" that you can download onto your computer from the internet (for FREE!)  Getting everyone quick and sharp on their multiplication facts.

And also, reading daily as well as a little Spanish for Michael and Zion.

Getting going was a little tricky - until they realized that I was serious about:

No fun until the work is done.

So after about four days of no video games and no movies and no computer time......

They started getting their work done first thing in the morning. 

And some days, without being reminded.

Motherhood - it's a tough job - but someone's gotta do it.

I wonder how many of the world's leaders had a mom that said, 
"don't worry about your schoolwork"
"eat all the donuts you want"
"you can brush your teeth later"
or "I'm going to bed, stay up as late as you want"

I am telling my kids ZERO of those leaders had a lazy mom!

I woke up one morning hearing Zion speaking's a little video.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Liberation Day

Liberation Day -

To catch up on the history and events leading up to Liberation Day

Read this story

and this one

I had big plans and high hopes for Liberation Day -
but, we all slept in too late to get through the Parade Route before the roads closed.

I am a mom -
and I have a plan B.

We drove "the back way" around the parade route, and ended up at the end of it.
We found a parking place about 2 blocks from the end of the parade -
and headed out with beach towels to sit on, sunscreen and water.

We only missed a couple of things at the beginning of the parade.

Zion and his buddy Jonah, scrambling for candy!

Cool cars were a big hit with the boys

and the military, of course!

We did get rained on a bit

and we didn't make it to the end of the parade

It's a BIG parade!

Around noon, the boys were tired and hungry.

Since we were at the end of the parade,

some of the floats had run out of candy -
which didn't help motivate them to stay longer.

But it was a good day!

Happy Liberation Day Guam!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Change of Command

The Commanding Officer of Naval Facilities Guam,
Captain Pete Lynch was relieved of his duties on Wednesday at the change of command ceremony.

Accepting his position as the new Commanding Officer is John Heckmann.

It was a bittersweet day.

John Heckmann was the S3 in NMCB-5 when Mike was in battalion in Port Hueneme 97-99.
His wife, Lisa, was a dear friend - and their daughter, Hannah was in my little daycare program
a couple mornings a week.

So, for this reason, I was excited to have Lisa heading to the island of Guam.

Sadly, Lisa coming, means Melanie leaving.

Melanie and I have a lot in common
and she is just easy to be around.

Her company is always enjoyable
and her middle son, Daniel, and Isaac are great friends too.

Daniel, Isaac and Ryan

The ceremony went perfectly.
Rear Admiral Gregory is an amazing speaker.

Additionally,  Capt. Lynch's remarks to Melanie were so sweet that most of the ladies in the crowd had to double blink away a tear or two.

The reception afterwards provided a chance for most of the wardroom to socialize a bit with some great food at Molly McGee's.

Here are some photos of our CEC peeps!

Debbie and Phil Cyr

Danielle and Rob Brown

Matt and Tracy Pine

Jaime and Jason Fahy

Stephanie and Rob Leftwich

Witt Featherston and Lauren Cook

Cheryl and Russ Pile

Tony and Laurie Scott (his wife Anita was there too!)  

Keith and Jill Barton

Kristen and Jay Krushinski
Melissa and Donald Brus

As always,

Summer in the military means people are coming
and going - so more good-byes are on the horizon,

but it's always fun to share some good food
and some laughs in the meantime.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The rainy season

If you are moving to Guam - summer is not the best time. 
More rain, a little hotter, and more humidity.

If you are coming on vacation, come at Christmas.
It's awesome!

The island of Guam has a dry season and a rainy season.

The dry season is sort of winter/spring,
and the rainy season is sort of summer / fall.
It rains here often - but during the dry season - it rains 10 minutes and then it is sunny again.

Your best bet (*during dry season) is to wait it out..........
and if you are at a water park with tourist,
it's a sweet deal -
cause they all make a run for it
and you have the place to yourself.

ANYWAY..........the first all-day rainy day was, sadly, Father's Day.
We were at GabGab, the hot spot for fun in the sun on the base, but there was no sun.
We stayed under the umbrella during the rain and swam in between.

The Sunday following Father's Day was also rainy.
They even closed the base pool because of thunder.
(didn't know thunder could hurt you in the water, but..........)

But the big rains have come this week.
There is a typhoon (not near us, we aren't in danger) does bring a lot of rain.
It has rained long and hard for the last few days..........

The boys get cabin fever and make me crazy.

we had a fun day -
indoors with friends -
despite the rain.

Some Phase 10
Wii Just Dance 2
good food
and a LOT of laughs
(see the videos below)

our favorite girl!

little bit of sweetness

(*take note of Mike outside the door; grilling dinner - isn't he the best!?)

Thanks to the Blan Clan and the Scotts for hours of entertainment!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Did I mention........

that last week after Michael's pool party, we went to karaoke with friends??

It was a blast!

The whole place sang Happy Birthday to Michael.

and Zion was the youngest singer on the mic!

Fun times!

Friday, July 15, 2011

WWII history tour

Our favorite Thursday event,  hiking with Rec-n-Crew, was a history lesson.

Next Thursday is Liberation Day -
the celebration of the U.S. Marines
landing on Guam to take the island back from the Japanese;
July 21, 1944.
(*you can read more about it here)

The island of Guam celebrates Liberation Day in a BIG way.

In case you don't know the history,  December 7th 1941 was not just the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
It was also the capture of Guam by the Japanese.  (although, in Guam, it was already December 8th)

The Japanese also took over many of the smaller islands around Guam as well,
 Rota, Tinian, and Saipan.*
(*these three islands are now considered the Commonwealth of the U.S.)

The Japanese ruled over Guam and its people for two and a half years.
They treated the people of Guam, the Chamorro people, very harshly.
Much in the same way that Hitler was treating Jewish people.
For this reason, they celebrate the freedoms they received from the recapture of the island by the U.S. Marines.  The battle was three weeks long, and the loss of life was large.  But it was possibly one of the
turning points in WWII.  The U.S. regained its position in the Pacific, and its advantage in the war.

Here are some photos of the sites.

Sumay Cove is the historic site of a once, thriving Chamorro Village.
This cross, and a few pieces of walls, are the only things that remain from the bombings from both the Japanese in 1941 and also the Americans in 1944.

Japanese Sub from WWII

Piti Guns

These guns were hauled up the rugged hillside by the local people enslaved by the Japanese.
They are massive and I can't imagine how heavy.
They were placed here to defend the harbor against the Americans.
Because the Japanese knew that, eventually, the U.S. would return to the island.
The guns were put into place just days before the Americans landed.
Ammo for the two smaller guns never arrived, and the guns have never been fired.

The Japanese used the landscape of Guam to their advantage.
This cave in the mountain side leads down to the beach,
where a large gun was placed to defend the beach head.
The cave might have served as a quick escape route,
as well as a dry place to store supplies.

pill box at the top of Asan Ridge

Overlooking Asan Beach -
where the Marines landed on July 21st 1944,
from the location of the pill boxes atop Asan Ridge

Memorial to the U.S. Marines -
placed on the 50th anniversary of Liberation Day

Asan Bay Overlook - the location of the Japanese Commander's headquarters
It took a little over six days for the Marines to make it from the beachhead to the top of the ridge
fighting hand to hand combat as well as taking fire from both above and below them.
Most of the men fighting were barely out of high school.

Historic photos can be found here - at the National Parks Website.

Thank you to the Seabees of NMCB-133
who came out and cleared the trail a couple weeks before our hike.

A special thank you to the Park Rangers; Ranger Dan and Ranger Jim.

Also, a big shout out to Miss Barbara from Rec-n-Crew for all she does to make our Thursday hikes (and this tour) a great success.  

Last but not least:
Thank you to those Marines and their families who paid the price for Chamorro freedom.
You are not forgotten.