Isabel Louise Benavides…pictures Wednesday, Sep 17 2008 

I am hoping that these pictures have posted.  This is our little granddaughter.

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Baby Isabel Louise is home… Tuesday, Sep 16 2008 

Our new family came home today around noon.  Chela has spent her first afternoon and evening in her new home.  She loves to eat and is not happy when her mommy is not ready to feed her.  She is an impatient little one and is quite funny in her impatience  Tamara is still very tired.  Benny and Tamara ran around this afternoon getting all the paperwork done.  It is not an easy task being born in Japan and having parents who are Canadian and American, especially as there is a move coming in the beginning of November to California.  Chela has been registered at the City Hall and has her Japanese birth certificate.  Now they have to apply for her to get her Amerian passport to be able to travel to the USA in November  Chela slept on Jerry’s chest for most of the afternoon while mom and dad did their running around.  They did have to come home for one feed in the middle.  Adjusting to a new little person in the house is always stressful.  As the days move along, we will all get more organized and life will get easier.  Still enjoying Japan and the friends Tamara and Benny have.  A group of them dropped in again this evening, and they are great people.  So goes another day in Japan!

Another day as grandparents… Sunday, Sep 14 2008 

We have been thoroughly enjoying being grandparents.  Chela is absolutely beautiful and we love to hold her, hug her and give her lots of love.  Tamara will be at the Women’s Clinic until Tuesday, as her hemoglobin and iron levels are very low, so the doctor would like her to stay an extra day.  She can still be quite lightheaded when she stands up quickly.  Chela is adapting to nursing well and for most of the afternoon her grandma held her as she slept.  She has so much dark hair and she is such a strong baby, squirming, stretching, and holding her head up and bobbing it around.  No wonder Tamara complained about all the kicks and hard pushing this little one did inside her.  Jerry got to see the USS Essex today as Benny took him for a tour this evening.  We are now at Benny and Tamara’s place as Benny stays with Tamara and Chela.  The Japanese show know how to care for their new moms.  The Women’s Clinic where Tamara is staying, is absolutely amazing.  The service, the meals, the accommodations are exemplary.  We are totally enjoying our stay here and are just so blessed to be able to be here at this special time in our lives.

ISABEL LOUISE BENAVIDES Friday, Sep 12 2008 

Our little granddaughter was born yesterday, September 12th, at approximately 8:30 pm, weighing in at 8 lbs and 21 inches long.  She is a feisty little one with lots of dark hair, dark eyelashes and eyebrows, chubby cheeks, long fingers and toes, and is absolutely beautiful.  Tamara and Benny are such proud parents.  We are so blessed.  We are very excited being grandparents.  We got to hold her…she is amazing.  She had her eyes open and was very alert, but certainly made sure we knew she was there.  She has a healthy cry and I don’t think her mom and dad will have to worry about her not letting them know what she wants.  A new life begins!

Still Waiting… Friday, Sep 12 2008 

The last couple of days have been hot, humid and sunny.  The first day Jerry was here Benny and Tamara took us around and about Sasebo and area.  It is absolutely awesome…we went out to Tamara’s favorite park, Hirado Bay Park,  and walked in the heat.  Japan is made up of islands and we could look out and see small islands all around us.  Everything is built high and you don’t realize when you are driving that so many of the roadways are above the towns and cities and over bodies of water.  When you get to a highpoint where you can look over the landscape, you begin to realize all the roadways are above.  There are always high walls on the sides of the roadways so you actually can’t see exactly where you are.  We walked down to the water’s edge and then had to walk all the way back up…not an easy task for Tamara…but she did it!  We toured around for much of the day, just hanging out together.

We barbacued ribs for dinner and then some of Benny’s shipmates came over bringing flowers and cards for Tamara’s birthday.  Another game of Scrabble was played and we enjoyed Oreo Cookie Cheese Cake for Tamara’s birthday cake.  Great fun!

Yesterday we gave Benny a day off from driving us around and Jerry, Tamara and myself washed and cleaned the car; Tamara then had the baby’s carseat installed as they have to adjust the carseats for the Japanese make of cars.  Now Jerry and I get to sit real close in the backseat!!  It was very hot and sweat was pouring down all parts of our bodies.

We went to Starbucks for coffee and people watching.  It is so interesting to watch people in another culture.  I wish I was able to converse with them, but that would take some time for me to do.

We came home and Tamara finished up packing and her and Benny headed out to the Women’s Clinic where they will deliver their baby.  Still no news, but Tamara is working at it.  Hopefully everything will go well and we will be able to publish the news.

Still loving Japan.  Most of all I am enjoying the laid back feeling of not having to go or be anywhere at any particular time.  Just embracing each day and enjoying time with our kids.  Can hardly wait to hold that little grandbaby…that will be amazing!

Jerry has arrived…. Wednesday, Sep 10 2008 

We drove out to Fukuoka last night to pick up Jerry from the airport.  It was an absolutely beautiful drive through the huge hills or mountains and to see the rice paddied nestled between the lush tropical terrain and small villages alongside.  This was my first travel through the country in the daylight.  The road system is something else and I was glad to have Bennie driving with help of navigation from Tamara.  All the roads are toll roads so you have to pay to drive on them.  Fukuoka is a City of about 1.4 million and the road system, to me at least, is very complex, but Bennie grew up in LA so it wasn’t a big to him.  The hard part is when there is no English on the signs.  Jerry had a very long flight over here and was very tired, but had a good sleep last night for his first night in Japan.

It is Tamara’s 31st birthday today.  We celebrated last night at the Hard Rock Cafe, where they sang to Tamara and she got a free ice cream Sundae.  The evening was absolutely calm with great temperatures so we did a little walking around as well  We were by the big Yahoo Stadium where a baseball game was in progress.  We are planning a laid back day with Tamara.  It looks like the baby will be coming by the end of the week.

We just talked to DJ and Cheryl in Saskatoon on Skype.  It is hard to believe that we can see each other on the computer and we are thousands of miles apart.  Matt and Jesika called today as well and Jesika showed us the foot long strand of grapes she picked from their backyard.  LIfe is good!

Seeing the ship… Monday, Sep 8 2008 

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Benny took me and Tamara on to the USS Essex the other evening and gave us this amazing tour of the ship he serves on.  We must have spent about 3 hours on the ship as Benny took on to the flight deck and pretty well through the main portions of it.  I was not allowed to take pictures and I probably shouldn’t say too much of what we saw, but it was absolutely amazing.  These ships are like small countries floating on the water.  They are totally self contained and have everything on it that any of the people on the ship would need.  Having said that, there is no way I would be able to survive in such close quarters.  There is really not very much privacy and very few windows and I just felt clausophobic on it.  It is an amphibious ship so it has types of aircraft landing on it and also specialized boats that are utilized with the ship as well.  If you want more indepth information on the ship, I would encourage you to google it.

Benny has been off for the weekend so we have been relaxing together.  Both days we went to the beautiful swimming pool and swam in hot, hot weather. We have been having alot of fun.  Tamara is still moving around slowly and waiting for this little one to arrive.  We have laughed lots, eaten well, gone to Starbucks, walked in the park, watched movies, and played Scrabble every evening.

It is now Monday afternoon and Tamara went to the doctor this afternoon.  Little “Chella” has not dropped yet, but the doctor says everything looks good.  Tamara’s due date is Friday, September 12th, so we will see what happens.  Jerry comes in tomorrow evening and we will head to Fukuoka to pick him up.  Looking forward to that happening.  We bought Tamara a Slider Rocker this afternoon as she really does not have any chair to sit on to rock her little baby.

One spider story…the other evening I was telling Benny this story of me growing up and some of the stuff I had experienced as a child, telling this story while standing in front of the stove.  Benny is intently listening to me, but all of a sudden I notice that he is looking towards my right side, and he slowly gets up from his stool and walks to stand behind me, and then I hear a big “bang” on the wall right beside my head, and there is Benny standing with a magazine which he has hit on the wall, and under it is a smashed spider.  He thought it was quite funny, but I did appreciate that he did not tell me there was a huge spider there, but quietly got up and killed it before I even saw it.

I was visiting with a woman at the swimming pool yesterday afternoon and she was telling me her experiences with the cockroaches and huge spiders.  It was quite hilarious.  Well, as long as we can laugh about these experiences, I guess it is okay.

Benny arrives… Thursday, Sep 4 2008 

I met Benny for the first time as he arrived off the USS Essex and gave him his first hug from his mom-in-law. We then went out for dinner and the three of us then went home and played a game of Scrabble. Benny was very tired as he had been on the midnight shift the night before.  He headed back to work today on the ship early this morning.  I like him.  I am looking forward to spending time with him and Tamara over the next weeks.  He is only here for 2 weeks for sure, as he is not sure his leave is going to be granted.  Tamara and I spent the morning  yesterday at a Lamaze Class, and the two women there who were expecting babies as well, found out their husband’s leave was denied.  So we are not holding our breath on Benny getting his leave.  I put pictures on Facebook of Benny’s arrival.

Troubled sleep…Early Morning! Tuesday, Sep 2 2008 

Last evening as Tamara and I were relaxing in the livingroom, both being very tired, Tamara suddenly stands up and says “I heard a bug fall from the ceiling!”  “I heard it bounce on the floor.”  So we steathily and quietly walk into the kitchen and check the floors and then walk into the front hallway AND I SAW IT…a huge cockroach scrambling across the floor into the front entrance.  Tamara asks, “Where is it?”  “I’m not sure”, I reply, “but I saw it scramble under the broom so it could be anywhere.”  “I see it, it is by the door.”  “Get it Tamara as it is really fast!”  Tamara is ready with the HOT SHOT Roach & Ant Killer and begins to spray.  In a few seconds the Roach is lying on its back and taking its last couple gasps.  This one was not a baby…it was huge.  Now comes the sleeping part, as this Roach had dropped from the ceiling on to the floor…hence the not so good sleep as all I could picture was this big Roach falling from the ceiling on to my head while I was sleeping.  It was very hot and humid so sleeping witih my head under the covers did not work well!  I did alot of self talk to tell myself that I had much more strength within myself than to be afraid of a BIG ROACH!  Didn’t really work well!  Praying didn’t help too much either to overcome the fear!  Not too sure about my faith these days!!!!

Tamara is talking loudly on her cell phone at 4:30 AM.  I jump out of bed thinking she is telling Benny that we are off to the hospital, as that is what I hear her say.  However, she is talking to her friend Tina, who is crying on the phone, because she woke up in the middle of the night from a bad dream, laying on the floor, she tries to get back in bed, but the bottom part of her left arm won’t work…she thinks she has broken her elbow and is on the way to the hospital in an ambulance.  Now she is in an ambulance driven by Japanese who know no English and she knows very little Japanese.  There are two hospitals here and Tamara is not sure which one is the correct one.  We drive up to one hospital and it looks pretty dark with nobody around.  Tamara says, I am not sure where to go as I can’t read any of the Japanese signs, maybe I should have gone around the building.  Well, let’s head off to the other hospital.  We get there, Tamara says, “Mom you get out and ask if Tina is here and if this is the right hospital.”  I said, “How can I do that as I don’t speak any Japanese?”  Tamara says, “I know but neither do I speak any, just go and ask.”  So in I go and ask with this poor older Japanese gentleman trying to understand what I am saying.  Everyone is so polite here and try so hard to please you.  I hear Tamara on the phone and says “Ask if this is Sogo Hospital” which I did and he understood Sogo and indicated that we needed to go back to the hospital we had been at.  We head back to where we had just been with Tamara hoping that she is on the right roads, and this time we go around to the back side of the hospital we were at first, and there is the ambulance.  We park and we get out and the ambulance driver says “Tina” and we say “Yes” and they direct us into the hospital.

Tina ended up with a dislocated elbow, together with a fracture which requires surgery.  So our day today was full of taking her from hospital to clinic to home to helping her shower and get dressed to back to the clinic for a catscan…and in between all of that Tamara had a pedicure, waxing, and reflexology appointment.  I fell asleep on the floor waiting for her.

We are now back at home.  Very hot again today.  Tamara has been feeling some slight contractions, so who knows, this might be another short night.

Finished reading my Sailing to Sarantium series…loved it…and will start on some of the other books I brought along that were given me for my Retirement Party.