Thanksgiving Party II

Last year, Carl and I started a really fun tradition.  Because he was going to be gone for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valentine’s Day, I decided we would celebrate a “Friendsgiving” feast a little early.  We picked a day in late October that I was off and he was around, and we had so much fun that we decided to repeat it.  Carl’s mom was in town, so we had an excuse to party!


DSC01258This year, our friends really came through with the food.  We provided the turkey, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole and they brought the rest.  There was a huge spread–barbecue meatballs, garlic cauliflower, cranberry stuffing, and ALL. THE. PIE.


We’d been expecting a huge typhoon, so a lot of people cancelled last minute.  People asked if we were going to cancel, but we’d already defrosted the turkey–the show must go on.  As other people frantically shopped for typhoon prep groceries, we hunkered down and prepared a feast.  I figured whoever could make it would be there, and if nobody came, we’d still have the basics covered.


I love that in Okinawa, every party quickly becomes a baby party.  Teagan is currently super into touching everyone and everything, and luckily the other babies were on board.  When her babyfriend Sojourner showed up, the two sweet girls instantly grabbed each other’s faces–adorable!  They rolled around on the floor and inspected various price tags and pillows.


DSC01268When it was finally dinnertime, Carl made a sweet speech about being grateful for family.  We loved hanging out with our Okinawa family and having Laurelee here to party!

This year, I’m grateful for a sweet family and a warm home.happy reading



Weekend Update: Baby Party

Disclaimer: It’s 2AM and I’m attempting to stay awake to switch to night shift.  This post may be slightly loopy.

This week, we got sick of going out to eat and invited a bunch of my friends over for salads.  It was incredibly fun–five women and two babies doing nothing in particular.  For a while, we all were sitting on a corner of my bed staring at the babies and laughing. The other baby was younger than Teagan, and she was totally bullying him and loving it!

DSC01236.JPGI love these ladies!  Okinawa is such a unique place, and here your friends quickly become family.

We’ve also enjoyed taking Laurelee to some of our favorite places.  Today was a total girl’s day–pedicures, sushi, and shopping.

Does it get better than this?

Currently reading: Maranatha Road, Heather Bell Adams



We are having a blast with Carl’s mom in town–it’s so nice to have family around helping with little things.  Teagan loves getting to know her grandma, and we love showing her the island.

This weekend, we took her to one of our favorite cities–Osaka!  We got to work enjoying kuidaore (“eat until you fall down”) style food, Osaka’s speciality.  First up: okonomyaki.  Okonomyaki was invented post-WWII when food and supplies were scarce.  Some creative mama with a home full of hungry kids decided to invent a cabbage pancake filled with whatever’s in your kitchen.  Like all fried food, okonomyaki is best enjoyed with beer.DSC01047.JPGDSC01042DSC01044

We stayed in an adorable apartment that was completely Doraemon themed.  What is Doraemon, you ask?

Doraemon is a cat-like robot from the 22nd century of the future. His favorite food is dorayaki, a sweet bean paste filled bun, and his birthday is 2112-9-3 he is also know by the name “Ding-dong”. He weighs 129.3 kg, is 129.3 cm tall, can leap 129.3 cms in the air and can run 129.3 km per hour. He is afraid of mice and hates rats, his ears were eaten off by rats. He has a fourth-dimensional pocket on his abdomen from which he can take out many amazing TOOLS. Doraemon was sent back to the 20th century because Nobita’s grandson can’t bear to see his grandfather suffer. So he sent Doraemon to help out with Nobita’s troubles

EVERYTHING was Doraemon-themed.  The toaster, the toilet, the toothbrushes provided, the snacks were all on theme.  We were provided with Doraemon onesies, and when the owner found out that we had a baby with us, she brought a baby sized Doraemon outfit so we wouldn’t be left out.  I love Japan! So weird and great.


The next day, we headed to Universal Studios Japan to explore Hogsmeade.  We dressed up the baby for the occasion: her shirt says I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.DSC01060


We stayed all day and by evening, we were totally tired!  A restful night back in the Doraemon room, and we were back in Okinawa before we knew it.

I love Japan and this little family!


Weekend Update: Little Moments

It’s been busier than I thought, going back to work.  Sometimes it seems that every day off is just a prep day to go back.  Slowly, I am getting better at balancing and everything is getting easier.

This week, I found my camera charger, which obviously meant a baby photo shoot.  I’m so obsessed with this girl!  She is not a fan of the constant photography.


We headed to Cape Manzamo, a gorgeous viewpoint close to our home.  I took Teagan out for pancakes, and then walked out to look out at the beautiful view. DSC00933

It was perfect! It’s finally feeling like fall in Okinawa, still pretty hot but definitely bearable.  Not quite pumpkin spice weather, but if I turn up the air conditioning, I can pretend.


This little girl loves getting kisses from Carl and pulling chunks of fur from our poor cats.  She has TWO teeth coming in.  Every day, she’s more playful and fun–more human than baby blob.  I love it!

I am so in love with my island home and my crazy family.


Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday

Last summer, armed with some colorful pens, I sat down to make a very special list.  Carl and I had been talking about books that really influenced us, and I wanted to know that someday my kids would have their own list of influential books.

Growing up, I spent many hot summer days in my  local library–is it just me, or do all libraries have amazing air condish? And the best tasting icy cold water fountain water.  They must have a direct line from a secret mountain spring.  I can’t wait for this babe to love the library as much as we did.  I hope she loves the water there as much as her super weird, super nerdy parents.

This is the Carl-and-Hayley family list of books we’d want her to read someday.

Get workin’, T.
  1. Harry Potter (the entire series)

    …and preferably she could go back in time and wait in costume at midnight for each book release.


  2. The BFG, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach  

    We were just talking about this! Why was James and the Giant Peach such a horrifying movie?  It definitely seemed too scary for kids.  The giant bugs were supposedly nice, but were SO creepy looking!bfg

  3. The Phantom Tollbooth51fWQBmjbVL._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_

  4. The Hardy Boys series

    I never got into Nancy Drew but I loved these books!  I remember their chum Chet, described as a rotund boy driving a jalopy.  I used these words on the regular; I was probably the coolest kid in my fourth grade class.914d9xLbgrL.jpg

  5. Charlotte’s Webb


  6. The Hobbitphoto_5653_0-5

  7. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe317500

  8. Little House on the Prairie51OMP91O3KL._SX333_BO1,204,203,200_

  9. Huckleberry Finn & Tom Sawyer

    Carl’s must-read book.  I didn’t even read these until high school English.theadventuresofhuckleberryfinn

  10. The Invisible Man, The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, and Dracula for kids

    Much Googling has taught me that this series was called the Great Illustrated Classics.  It seemed like everyone at my school was reading one of these at any given free reading session.  The really hardcore kids read Goosebumps, but that just wasn’t me. INVISIBLE_MAN-2

    What books do you love to this day?

Weekend Update

When I was on maternity leave I [halfheartedly] considered going back to work early for a practice day just to work with nothing on the line.  I didn’t want the pressure of being short-staffed with a full waiting room, but I was never worried enough to come back early.  That sweet baby took up every second, and before I knew it I was back at work for real.

I can’t believe how lucky I was! I worked with two great nurses and we had a nice shift (“slow” is a swear word in the E.R.)  For twelve hours, I barely spoke of babies or breastfeeding.  I’d forgotten how much I liked the people I work with–they are such go-getters.  They do crossfit, they take Japanese lessons, they collect exotic sea creatures from secret beach locations.  I love hearing about their adventures.  Meanwhile, my sweet husband had volunteered to take the baby for the day so the transition was that much easier.  No dropping her off with strangers–instead I got text updates and dad got a run for his money.


I got my practice day after all.

After just the one shift, it was back to the weekend!  Carl and I met up with another family of go-getters who were brave enough to take their six day old to the beach. We loaded up the fans and shade creating devices to keep that baby cool while the boys and I took turns snorkeling.  We joked that the bravest one was the mama who showed off in a bathing suit just six days after having a baby.  What a champ!

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This snuggle sesh didn’t last long–my chunky babe was cuddling little Teddy a little too hard!

Can you believe those baby blues?  The water was perfectly warm, and filled with colorful fish–a snorkeler’s paradise.  Our afternoon was capped off with Matthew spearing what we think was a parrot fish.  We had such a great day with this little family!35406160414_b99850d67e_o (1).jpg

Today is what we call a “rest and regroup” day.  Groceries, cleaning, Neflix.  I have absolutely no faith that this next week will be as smooth as the last, but I am so grateful.



Literary Drinking Buddies

I’ve always wanted to hang out with J.K. Rowling.  As a kid I assumed that she was an exiled witch who knew everything about the wizarding world and chose to present it to us Muggles as fiction.  As an adult, I think she’s hilarious.

funny-jk-rowling-twitter-comebacks-20 (1).jpg

She would definitely be that girl you instantly bond with in line for the bathroom.  You’d make fun of the boys who think they’re impressive and she’d be weirdly amazing at the mechanical bull.  J.K. Rowling would definitely hold her liquor, and when you couldn’t hold yours, she wouldn’t judge.

I don’t think I’d like drinking with Hemingway.  He’d be the guy at rating girls on a 0-10 numerical scale, all the while neglecting to notice that they were all out of his league.

Emily Dickinson?  The weird girl who tells you about the personalities of her various cats and can’t quite take a hint that you just don’t care.

Edgar Allen Poe would show up somehow plastered before sunset and would have conveniently forgotten his wallet.  Rude.

Yep, I’m definitely sticking with J.K. Rowling.

Who would be your literary drinking buddy?



Things I Did on Maternity Leave

This week, I have to go back to work.  Womp, womp.

I always knew I’d want to work while raising kids.  Stay-at-home moms are superheroes, and I respect the hell out of them, but that’s just not me.  Going back to work feels like eating my veggies–it’s something that I want to do, but also really, really don’t because my baby is the best baby in the world (sorry, other babies) and I love her and I’m pretty sure that I will have a meltdown every five seconds that I’m at work.

When I was first getting used to having a plethora of time and a dearth of free hands, I frantically googled “things to do on maternity leave”, “what to do while breastfeeding”, and “how to work out with baby”.  The search turnout was less than satisfying, and I quickly found my own answers (respectively: whatever you want, Netflix, and stationary bike).  I’d like to think this list might help some busybody mom like me, but if nothing else I will have a list of my teeny accomplishments.



(in order of least to most significant)

  1. Watched all of The Office, Riverdale, and Friends
  2. Went to brunch a LOT
  3. Drank a lot of delicious coffee
  4. Savored the occasional afternoon nap
  5. Cleaned my house.  Thanks, Roomba!
  6. Took the babe on numerous stroller walks to the beach and the convenience store
  7. Pumped enough breastmilk to fill my freezer
  8. Figured out how to accomplish everyday tasks with one or no hands
  9. Explored Okinawa again
  10. Survived our first mini-deployment
  11. Travelled to California and Tokyo
  12. Attempted to get back in shape, not an easy task as a temporarily single mom
  13. Caught up with so many old friends
  14. Introduced T to her grandparents, her aunt, great-grandma, great-uncle
  15. Cuddled this babe for approximately 12 weeks straight.  Loved her more than I ever knew was possible.


Weekend Update: Carl’s home! (hopefully)

I’m writing this post ahead of time, and I have no idea if Carl will be home when he thinks he will.  Our timelines are flexible and change often, generally stretching and delaying.   Being dual active duty means that we are doubly flexible.

Listen, I love and support the USMC, but this baby is ready to see her dad and I am ready to see my husband.  If he’s here when he says he’ll be, rest assured I won’t have time to update this post.  We’ll be too busy catching up on lost time and seeing the whole island!

Fingers crossed.

happy reading

Big-lostworld.jpgCurrently reading: The Lost World, Michael Crichton

“What makes you think human beings are sentient and aware? There’s no evidence for it. Human beings never think for themselves, they find it too uncomfortable. For the most part, members of our species simply repeat what they are told-and become upset if they are exposed to any different view. The characteristic human trait is not awareness but conformity, and the characteristic result is religious warfare. Other animals fight for territory or food; but, uniquely in the animal kingdom, human beings fight for their ‘beliefs.’ The reason is that beliefs guide behavior which has evolutionary importance among human beings. But at a time when our behavior may well lead us to extinction, I see no reason to assume we have any awareness at all. We are stubborn, self-destructive conformists. Any other view of our species is just a self-congratulatory delusion. Next question.”


My Book Reviews: Rules of Civility

When it’s my month to choose the book for book club, the pressure is on.  I want everyone to love it, to transfer that love to me (Hayley, you have the best taste in books, you are just the best person, etc. etc.)  I’ve had several flops (Hayley, this book was too weird but we still mostly like you), and now I research before suggesting anything.  One of my favorite websites in my search is The Modern Mrs. Darcy, a blog about books that was recommended to me years ago by the famous Lauren Honeycutt.

I picked three recommendations from her blog, and my book club voted for Rules of Civility.

Do you ever read books and sink deep into the given mood?  I’ve read books that were cozy like pumpkin spice and sweaters, some that were beachy and easy, but this book was like re-living a long night in D.C.  I remember being on night shift, unable to sleep at two in the morning, and watching snow fall onto an empty street.

This book was that mood exactly.

Katya (aka Katie, Kate, Katherine) is a smart, capable 20something who meets “Tinker” Grey on a night out with her best friend, Eve.  The two girls engage in some competition over the rich and fabulous gentleman, but Eve eventually wins after she is seriously injured in a car accident–the ultimate pity move.  In her attempts to move on, Kate meets glamorous young friends (think The Great Gatsby) and drinks a lot of champagne.

“Anyone who has ridden the subway twice a day to earn their bread knows how it goes: When you board, you exhibit the same persona you use with your colleagues and acquaintances. You’ve carried it through the turnstile and past the sliding doors, so that your fellow passengers can tell who you are – cocky or cautious, amorous or indifferent, loaded or on the dole. But you find yourself a seat and the train gets under way; it comes to one station and then another; people get off and others get on. And under the influence of the cradlelike rocking of the train, your carefully crafted persona begins to slip away. The super-ego dissolves as your mind begins to wander aimlessly over your cares and your dreams; or better yet, it drifts into ambient hypnosis, where even cares and dreams recede and the peaceful silence of the cosmos pervades.”

Woven throughout are themes from George Washington’s Rules of Civility, hence the title.  My good friend Maureen read this book and raved about the symbolism and imagery in the book.   Listen, I don’t know about all that, but this book was good.  Like cold pizza for breakfast good.

You can thank me later for my magic words.

On a side note, it is about 45 kazillion degrees here.  Thank god the library has the best air conditioning!