Sunday, May 6, 2012

Spring is Finally Springing at Misawa!

So, as usual, it has been way too long since we last wrote.  Our intentions are good, and we mean to update the blog every week or two, but somehow we get overcome by events…and there are a lot of events.  We last wrote an update near the end of February, so we will give you a quick recap of what has occurred between now and then, AND we will try to write more frequent updates.

Anyone who has followed Megan on Facebook knows that this has truly been an endless winter.  We ended up with 222.9 inches of measurable snowfall, which is the third most in the last 50 years, and only about 25 inches shy of the all-time record.  To put it in perspective, Anchorage, Alaska broke their snow fall record this year with 133”…about 90” less than we had.  But is seems that spring has sprung and shoveling for the year should be over.

Our last snowstorm in late March!

Our back patio...there was only about 3 feet of space between the snow on the ground and the snow hanging off the awning.
At the end of February, we got to arrange a field trip for Delaney’s class to go and visit the base Post Office.  Since the Post Office is part of the Comm Squadron, she thought it was pretty cool that she got to take all of her classmates to her dad’s work.  The postal airmen did a great job and let all the kids “send a letter” to their parents, and they had letters waiting for all the kids on the mail truck…overall it was a successful field trip. 

On March 6th, Megan got to meet with officials from the Department of Defense Schools as part of the Parent Teacher Organization.  She also was invited to attend a spouse’s forum with Mrs. North, the wife of General Gary North, the Commander of Pacific Air Forces.

Riley and Callan had a week of Terra Nova testing in March – this is the equivalent of state testing for the DoD schools.  Since it has taken us so long to write a blog update, we have since gotten their scores back, and they both did just fine…we are definitely happy with both of their schools.

Basketball season for all three of the girls ended in mid-March, but they jumped right into spring sports.  At the end of basketball season, Riley was selected to play on a Misawa team for girls her age to play against a Japanese girls team.  They ended up playing two games against the Japanese team, and while they did not win, it was definitely a unique experience.  For the spring, Riley and Callan are playing volleyball, and since Delaney was not old enough for that, she wanted to sign up for flag football – so she did!  Riley and Callan ended up on the same volleyball team which makes practices very convenient, they have played 5 games so far and continue to improve every week.  Delany started football practice a couple weeks ago when it finally got warm enough, but her first game got rained out.
Laney getting ready to dunk!

Callan showing off her moves.

Warmin up for the game.

Laney and Coach Quynn at the "Banquet"
Riley playing 'D' against the Japanese team...she towered over them, but they were pretty fast!

US and Japanese teams!

On March 21st, Riley was inducted into the National Junior Honor Society.  She did not initially want to apply, but we twisted her arm a little bit, and she put her all into the application and was accepted.  She was very happy, and we are very proud of her.
NJHS certificate!

Riley with the NJHS adviser and the Principal

On March 25th, Jeff got to go bowling with officers from the Japanese Air Self Defense Force (JASDF).  There were about 8-10 from his group, and just as many from the JASDF.  It was great to meet their counterpart commanders from another country and spend a little time bonding American style – even though bowling appears to be really big in Japan as well.

Some of you may have seen pictures for the new paint job on Jeff’s  COMM ROCKS van.  One of the airmen in the squadron came to him with some ideas for making the van more noticeable, they went back and forth on a few ideas, but ultimately Jeff let him paint the van, and it is definitely more noticeable (and the talk of Misawa).  It is great seeing many people smile and laugh when we drive by.
The new and greatly improved COMM ROCKS Van!

Jeff also participated in the squadron's "Mustache March" contest...Megan loved the new look (NOT) was a looooong month!

Spring break was the week after Easter, unfortunately we could not take a vacation because the 35th Comm Squadron had a couple of big projects going on that week.  We had a fun Easter morning with the girls, followed by church and an Easter egg hunt in the neighborhood.  Callan and Delaney signed up for a week long class at the Arts and Crafts center, and Riley (& Megan) enjoyed sleeping in and having a little less hectic schedule.  The Mission Support Group commanders held a couple events throughout the week; we had a crud tournament one night (if you don’t know what this is, Google it…it is a little hard to explain), and a poker tournament on another night.
The standard picture on the stairs!

Callan found her basket in a closet.

Delaney's was in the dryer - CRAZY Easter Bunny!

Neighborhood kids...there are just a few, and these are only the younger ones.

Playing Crud!

MSG at the Kanpai Lounge!

Proud to be...MSG!

On April 14th, Jeff and Megan attended “Taste of the World” which was a professional cooking demonstration and 7+ course meal, with different wines paired for each course.  The food and wine was absolutely amazing, and other than there being way too much food, we thoroughly enjoyed the evening…the “Drunken Strawberry Cake” for dessert was probably the best course…MMMMM MMMM good!

April 21st was the annual Misawa beach clean-up.  We took the girls down to the shore, and with roughly 1000 people from Misawa and just as many local residents we cleaned up the port and beach.  By the end we filled a couple of tractor trailer size trucks with debris.  A lot of it was still left over from the March 2011 tsunami, and a lot of it had just accumulated during storms over the winter.  We had a Japanese/American barbecue afterwards, and finished just in time to get to another volleyball game.
Getting ready to clean up!

Fun, fun, fun!

On April 25th we were very sad to find out that Jeff’s Grandmother had passed away.  She lived a very full life to the ripe old age of 89.  She never lost her sense of humor, and right up until the last time they saw each other, Jeff would kid her about being an old lady.  We have many great memories, and are very blessed that the girls got to know her and will also have some memories with her…not to mention all the wonderful recipes (pumpkin cookies, apple pie/sauce, mustard, homemade macaroni and cheese, tuna casserole, etc.) a few of which we have learned how to make.  She will be very missed, but remembered fondly, and reunited with many people who love her as much as we did.
Frances June (Kohl) Phillips
April 29th we drove up to a beach about 30km north of Misawa along the Pacific shore and collected shells and sand dollars.  There were literally hundreds of sand dollars, but a lot of them were pieces or broken…we only kept the whole ones that we found, and came away with about 30.  The one thing all the beach combers hunt for is the glass floats that the fishermen use.   We have yet to find any of those, but hopefully we are getting closer.

HUGE shells!

Money, money, money...or sand dollars $$$

20'+ long bamboo fishing pole we found on the beach!

Megan’s Pampered Chef business has been much busier over the last couple months, she has had several parties, and has even more scheduled!   Additionally, we have stayed busy with numerous change of commands, promotion ceremonies, retirements, graduations, and many other events.

Hopefully, this catches everyone up and we can stay on top all the events we have coming up.  On the near horizon, is the end of school for the girls, Jeff has a trip to Ohio coming up for a two week class (during which he gets to become a godfather to Cameron Kreisel and attend his grandmother’s memorial service), and hopefully a trip to Mt. Fuji sometime over the summer.

That is all for now from the Phillips-5 Japanese Adventure!