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.

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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.

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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.

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WHAT I DID DURING MATERNITY LEAVE

(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.”

 

Delicious words

My favorite words from Stephen King’s The Shining
  1. Nimbus: a luminous vapor, cloud, or atmosphere about a god or goddess when on earth

2. Lassitude:  a weariness of body or mind from strain,oppressive climate, etc.; lack of energy;listlessness; languor

3. Verdigris: a bright bluish-green encrustation or patina formed on copper or brass by atmospheric oxidation, consisting of basic copper carbonate.

4. Denuded: to make naked or bare; strip

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Oh, Sweet Summertime

I’ve been lucky enough to travel home pretty frequently while living overseas.  I love being able to take Teagan to meet my family and close friends that I’ve known for years.

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More on the trip later–right now I’m busy soaking it all in.

happy reading

Weekend Update: Maureen is here!

When people make the effort to visit us here in Okinawa, I know that they must really love us.  It’s incredibly expensive, and such a huge undertaking to fly for almost 24 hours each way.

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Maureen came out to Okinawa last week, and we’re having the best time.  I am loving having another pair of hands to help me with T.  I’m getting spoiled: I can shower for longer than thirty seconds without the relaxing sounds of a hysterical baby.  I have someone to share every mundane baby noise and movement with.  Sometimes I even get to eat with two hands!

35312066772_f02ac4fb18_o-1-e1498215051826.jpgHaving visitors always brings out the best in me; I have a reason to get out and see touristy things.  We’ve seen ancient castles, gorgeous beaches and waterfalls, and of course we’ve enjoyed ramen and sushi.  It’s so nice to be with someone I’ve known long enough to just be with.  Instead of shallow conversations about people at work, we have pointless talks about Harry Potter character development.

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Today, I am thankful for good friends and good food.

Weekend Update: Father’s Day

Is it Father’s Day (the day belonging to the Father), or Fathers Day (the day to celebrate multiple fathers)??  The internet recommends the first style.

DSC00788.JPGWhen I worked Labor and Delivery, seeing a dad hold his new baby for the first time was always emotional.  If the dad cried, my heart instantly melted.  Being a dad is such a special thing, and I am so lucky to have a great dad and a great husband who loves Teagan more than anything.

Father’s Day seems to bring out the most Neanderthal cliches:  according to stores, dads like beer and grilling meat.  They also like ties, but mostly meat and beer.  Even searching for gifts is tricky: how about a gift basket of beef jerky?  Does he like to golf?

Growing up, I’m pretty sure that every year we got my dad a package of new socks.  If he was lucky, we would make some artistic masterpiece at school out of macaroni and spray paint.  I’m also pretty sure that he totally loved the simplicity: to him, a gift card was perfectly acceptable.  That kind of thing would never fly on Mothers Day (Mother’s Day?)

Happy Father’s Day to all the golf-loving, grill-mastering, cigar-smoking dads out there.

Currently reading:

Beartown, Fredrik Backman

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“You never have the sort of friends you have when you’re fifteen ever again. Even if you keep them for the rest of your life, it’s never the same as it was then.”

 

What Kind of Reader Are You?

Hanging out with a baby 24/7 has put me in an interesting situation:  I have lots and lots of time, but no free hands.  Teagan loves to be held, and even though banging pots and pans wouldn’t wake this sweet babe, putting her to bed by herself instantly has her screaming.  So I wear her in the baby carrier or hold her ALL. THE. TIME.

I’m Netflixing, I’m podcasting, I’m Kindleing like you wouldn’t believe.  This is a great problem to have–I’ve started reading new book blogs and listening to the podcast What Should I Read Next?  The guest they interviewed this week talked about how she was always the girl who refused to start with the second book in a series; she had to begin with the first or not at all.  She talked about how she just loves the smell of books and turning the pages of a real, physical book instead of an e-Reader.  She takes amazing care of her books and gets angry when friends return them to her damaged.

Because I’m weird, I started to get weirdly jealous of this girl.

If only I had the self-discipline to care about any of these things!  I read mostly from a Kindle because its lighter and easier to manage than a book, but if I forget to charge the Kindle, iPhone it is.  I’ve moved so many times that I own probably less than twenty real live books, and they are all too damaged for the library to accept.  A pizza stain at the climax of the book is my signature, because I’m classy like that.

Luckily, we were out on a stroller walk and I had time to digest these weird feelings of inadequacy.  I love reading, I love books, I love libraries so, so, much.  I love to swan dive into a story and not move until I’ve devoured it all.  I love history, fiction, poetry, adventure, mystery, romance.  I’ve been known to drop a book that failed to hold my attention and pick up another without a second thought.  I am happy to reread old favorites over and over again.

What kind of reader are you?

Are you slow and steady, someone who likes to mull over the themes of a book upon finishing?  Are you an eReader reader?  Do you love to read in libraries, or at home on the couch?

Picture of the babe just because:

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I hope that you are all reading this from a pool chair in some exotic place.  Summer reading is truly delicious, isn’t it?
happy reading

Okinawa’s Hydrangea Garden (Yohena Asaji)

Last summer, we moved closer to Carl’s work and away from a lot of the “big city” areas of Okinawa.  Down south, there are cafes, malls, and so many Americans.  Where we live feels wild–nature is everywhere.  Beautiful beaches, overflowing jungles, and plenty of peace and quiet.

I’ve been looking for ways to stay local.  As fun as it is to spend long car rides with a screaming baby (she HATES the car seat), I prefer to find things to do a little closer to home.  When I heard about Okinawa’s Hydrangea Garden, I couldn’t wait.

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Yohena Asaji is so-named for its owner and founder, Mrs. Uto Yohena.  This year, she’s 100 years old!  She has been caring for the hydrangea fields for forty years, and before that they were tangerine fields.  The story goes that she started with one plant, and it did so well that she ended up with more…and more and more and more and more!  She is the ultimate plant lady!IMG_2630

There are over 10,000 hydrangea plants today.  It’s not just hydrangeas, though–she has all kinds of exotic looking and fragrant blooms.  I even spotted a few budding tangerine trees.IMG_2632Teagan enjoyed her nap in the carrier and only poked her head out for this photo.

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We finished off the afternoon with a shaved ice–delicious!

The past few days, I’ve gone to bed with such a full heart and a thankful spirit.  What else could a girl possibly ask for?

Currently readingBorn to Run, by Bruce Springsteen

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“No one you have been and no place you have gone ever leaves you. The new parts of you simply jump in the car and go along for the rest of the ride. The success of your journey and your destination all depend on who’s driving.”

happy reading

Weekend Update

Today is my birthday! Hooray!

Each year, birthdays become a little bit less of a big deal, don’t you think?  The last two years I was super sick on my birthday, and this year my one goal was to survive this day without throwing up.  So far, so good!

This week, Carl left for a little while.  I knew I’d miss him, of course, but I was mostly sad that T wouldn’t get to see him.  She loves her daddy time, and even though it’s hard to tell what she understands at this point, I know that she knows something is missing.  I’m just not as good as him at making up stupid songs and dancing around the house with an upside down baby.

With him gone, everything is just a tiny bit more difficult.  The cat caught a huge cockroach and was chasing pieces of it around the house…that’s a Carl job for sure.  He would have taken the bug outside; I shut my bedroom door and hoped she’d just eat it before I woke up (my way worked too).  For a little while, I’ll be on my own, so I am trying to go easy on myself and celebrate the little victories.

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This week, completely on my own, I:

  • Got the baby to sleep for four hours! At night!! (Like I said, little victories)
  • Read two amazing books while feeding a squirmy baby
  • Went to the gym, got kicked out of the gym for having a baby with me, and went to a different gym with a baby room
  • Went on several stroller walks/runs in which T screamed the entire time
  • Tackled a huge project: the overflowing, cluttered closet in the baby’s room

This little prankster baby is fast asleep, so I might squeeze in a shower, my very own birthday present to myself.  Cheers to me!

Currently readingWith Malice, by Alice Cook

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