Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Baby Nursery (or not)

I've had my blog window open for over a week now waiting to jot down some memories, throw at you some pictures of our recent activities or even show you the nursery that we have been working on. But lets be honest, the only real evidence I can show you that a baby is in fact on its way would be progressive selfies of my growing belly and a few shots from a baby shower along with a laundry basket and two bags of baby necessities.(Whatever those may be, I'm still trying to figure that out).
Last week, we started a four week series on child birth and all that fun stuff and it started hitting me that in seven short weeks our tiny human will be here. While all that is good and grand and making me more excited then ever, I was feeling sad and grumpy too.
Freaking hormones.
I felt like I was drowning in so many to do lists and want to do lists before baby comes that I've been overcome with guilt. Guilt that our house isn't clean enough, that I'm being crafty enough, guilt for not cooking dinner, that not one baby item is washed or put together. Guilt for not having 100% energy to do things I normally could. It is not a fun feeling. One would think, the extra 25 pounds, frequent trips to the bathroom, and all the other cliché pregnancy joys would be a constant reminder that it is okay to slow down but for some reason, I'm guessing it has to do with being a woman, we forget and stay in overdrive.
Then, I got the sweetest, most needed advice from a friend. I'll sum it up,
"I'm causing the burden and causing the guilt. God doesn't require a Pinterest inspired baby nursery to love me or greet me with open arms."
And that my friends is a freeing thought. God has equipped Brandon and I both with what we need to be awesome parents. Probably Brandon more than me but anyway. We both know there will be times of failure, struggles, and disappointments but as long as we love on our little baby that is all that matters and I'm absolutely confident we can do that.

So its time to go Jimmy Fallon style with some thank you notes...
Thank you.... society for making me feel like a terrible parent-to-be because we aren't giving our tiny human an entire room in our house. I'm sure it will need it almost never in the first few months of it's life while we are here. In reality I'm pretty sure it's stuff will be all over the house anyway so why try to contain it.
(I guess now would be a good time to mention we are moving back to Japan for another year, actually two, so baby will only be here for a little while before we leave)
Thank you... giant box stores for providing thousands and thousands of baby products that every new mom-to-be thinks she needs but will probably actually never use. How many types of butt cream do we really need?
Thank you... Pinterest for giving me thousands of ideas for an adorable nursery, but I'm pretty sure the only thing adorable I'll want to look at is my baby and its sweet little features.
(I am not saying you shouldn't give your baby a nursery, just saying that for our nomadic lifestyle, it isn't happening. I still love seeing everyone elses' come together for their sweet babies and totally get that your baby needs its own space.)
But in all seriousness...
Thank you, Brandon for always asking what you need to do for me every single day, it's time I give in and let you help me.
Thank you sweet friend and your always perfect Godly wisdom.
And thank you, 19 day old babies for giving me a preview of what life will soon be like for us, only with just one instead of two babies. The next fifty days are going to be long but I will fill them with sleep and rest until then, and maybe a little nesting if I feel like it.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Home is..

Home is...

..an open back field and grass..
..hangers from cleaning out closets..
..flowers growing by the house...

..reuniting with good friends at Sunday morning church..
..homemade waffles instead of pancakes..
..new shoes and shopping..
..transportation I call my own..

..29 weeks..
..our first American doctors visit..
..31 weeks..

..road tripping ten hours with my guy..
..being reunited with my DOG..
..celebrating a 29th birthday and two adventurous years of marriage..
..Florida Georgia Line concert with my entire family..

..sweet friends from college loving on Baby D..
..mom and sister throwing me an awesome baby shower..
..meeting one of my best friend's sons, Max aka Mr. Man..
..catching up with longtime friends I grew up with..

..loving on 16 year old Rudy..
..playing ball with Tag man..
..Tag comforting old man Rudy..
..and ten hour road tripping with both my guys.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Hawaii 2013

We've been home for almost two weeks and I'm just now finding some time to catch up a little bit.
Hawaii was very good to us and we still have peeling sunburns today to remind us of the sun and sand. We spent lots of time walking the beaches, ocean floating, exploring the North Shore and taking a submarine tour. We adjusted, for the most part, to some jet lag, ate one of my favorite meals ever at Roy's, and enjoyed the fusion of Japanese/Hawaiian/American people. Not to mention eating some tasty American food.
And then we started our travel home on the wrong foot with a single piece of luggage being left at the hotel, being a dollar shy for a luggage cart, two flight delays totaling four hours out of Hawaii resulting in missed connections. We finally arrived back home late Sunday.
Thanks Hawaii for allowing us to relax for a few days before reality set in. Hope to see you again next year.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Packed Bags

Well, this past month or two I have done a terrible job here to keep you updated.
I went on two road trips with Brandon. We are soaking up our time just the two of us while we can.
Been growing this baby. It's like a weed growing each and everyday. This past week I have
 noticed I'm slowing down but I try to keep my normal pace. Sleeping has been wonderful. Jet lag is going to mess that up pretty nice I'm sure. 
Been spending lots of time with other wives here. It's like we've become teammates of our own. Going to miss them lots this offseason as we go our separate ways. Always a bummer but feel super blessed to have made friends with them and hopefully our paths cross again.
And that's about all. Seriously the past few months in Japan have been great.
But, the time has come and our bags are packed.
Tomorrow, yes TOMORROW, we catch a flight to Hawaii to celebrate our two year anniversary a little early and enjoy our last vacation as a family of two.
By Sunday evening we will be sleeping (or not depends on jet lag) in our own bed.
Monday I will be cruising to Target and having Chick-Fil-A for lunch.
Cue angels singing.
So that's our plan. This is our journey. We've loved having you along. It doesn't end here but for now... we are closing this chapter of our Japanese adventure.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Final of Parent's Visit

The day has come! Here are the lasts pictures and places of my parents trip. And while I am a day late, it's fitting to share more photos of them because they just celebrated their anniversary!
And these happen to fall in no particular order because I have lost all track.
We took the rope way up the mountain, enjoyed the scenery and then mom and dad had a quick herbal foot bath. There was so many people waiting that day that I just decided to sit this one out. When we go to the top there was a school class there and they were so excited to try out their English on us. We then hiked down the mountain, a good leg workout to say the least.
Another afternoon, we headed over to the port of Kobe, pretty close to where we live. They have a bunch of shopping and restaurants right near the water. We decided to go up in the tower before the sunset, sit and have a snack and drink while the top revolved, and then enjoyed the sunset. Afterwards we grabbed dinner at a buffet that offered all kinds of different Japanese cuisine. I think I mentioned a while back we took in plenty of baseball, four games overall.
Then we ventured into Osaka to check out the Umeda Sky Building. Brandon I had never been before but he sees it on his daily commute and I had heard neat things about it. It is two separate buildings connected at the top with an observatory deck. Thinking we would get a pretty view we headed up before dark and stayed while the sunset. It was pretty hazy that particular day but still offered up a great view!
And I forgot this one from our time in Hiroshima. Mom had heard about these famous pancakes, which I now see everywhere but before their visit had no clue about them. So we found a little shop right near peace park. I wasn't so sure about it but I was starving and needed to eat something. They are actually pretty good and we had them once more during their visit.
And that...concludes my parents visit from MAY! I can't believe we leave in a month because looking back to when they visited seems like yesterday! I have no idea when I will start recapping my sisters trip. She actually said she would write that for me, but obviously I'm in no rush to get things done, possibly before Christmas.
Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!!!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Saturday Snippets

Happy Saturday! I definitely woke up with a happier heart today. It's the weekend and I have plans to go pick out fabrics for this quilt I'm planning to make. Instead its raining but I think I'm going to go anyway. Here is the quilt. I have had my eye on it for quite some time and when I found the PDF file for sale online, I decided to make that my September project. Now to pick some gender neutral colors. Only thing that can make it cuter is a snuggly (not to be confused with ugly, Mom) little baby!

I also just finished booking our flights HOME! October 16th is the lucky day and we have a three night layover in HAWAII. What travel agent booked that - oh wait, I DID!!! A little early two year anniversary celebration/vacation before baby. Two birds. One stone. We are simple like that. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

A Bigger Purpose

I received some reading material from our church family a few weeks back. Normally Brandon leaves shortly after I wake up, if not before, and I have time alone to eat my breakfast. As I flip through different articles and devotionals I try to find something to kick start my day. A nugget of wisdom here or a bible verse there, whatever jumps out at me.
I stumbled upon this article titled Embracing Change in the July issue of Homelife and knew it was right up my alley. For whatever reason, I didn't begin to read the article, instead it was laid open to the page on the floor of our bedroom for several days. I knew it was going to slap me in the face with truth and I guess my instinct was to avoid the convictions I knew were written upon the following pages.
Then one night as I was trying to fall asleep, Brandon already off deep in dreamland, I found myself anxious and unsettled. I couldn't pinpoint the exact reason but I have no doubts that it had part to do with hormonal changes and part to do with this season that seems to be dragging on.
Of course, I pick up the article and start to read. Basically a couple gets married, has a baby, moves across the US, on one income.
Seems pretty familiar. I found my gut in my throat...gulp... and pressed on reading.
Word after word I couldn't read fast enough.....
...if Christ is at the center of your marriage, your job isn't to create a comfortable life but to develop a life that's securely grounded, despite uncomfortable circumstances.....
Japan, uncomfortable, surely not. I can put food on the table, take a hot bath, and live more comfortable than lots of people in our world.
...trust ... it's the result of an intentional, daily commitment to submitting yourself, your plans, and your personal comfort to the authority of God...
Not so easy, my plans, whatever they may be, feel only achievable from the land of the US and personal comfort - goodbye favorite restaurants and Target shopping. I know what it sounds like, you snob. And I won't deny it, I can't hide in my sin and selfishness to want these things. And yet I read on.
...Abraham and Sarah announcing to their entire family that they were to pack up because God told them to travel to an unknown place (Genesis 12)....when Noah told his family God commanded him to build an ark because it was going to rain (Genesis 6)...reflect on Job, who was determined to trust God even when his wife didn't (Job 2)...the most shocking of all, Mary telling Joseph she was pregnant and the father was God...
Whoa. I'll let that sink in for a second.
...God doesn't promise stability; however, submission to His will does promise security - in your marriage and in your life.
Like I knew it would, the article stirred in my heart many things.
  • Our marriage is securely grounded in Christ whether we live in Alabama or Japan. Amen for that.
  • My attitude (as of lately) has not been intentional in submitting to the authority of God's will and not my own. In my eager attempt to rush home I may be missing daily opportunities to serve others. My dad told me a few years back that I have a tendency to always want to be somewhere else, instead of being where I am. He is right.
  • Knowing that we very well could be returning for a second season, with a child, has triggered some (okay a lot) of questioning of our purpose and time in Japan. The answer may show tomorrow or this week, but mostly likely we are seed planters and the harvest may not show for years. Who's lives are we supposed to touch while we are here? Maybe its someone back home reading our story? Where do we find maximum opportunities to love others and live out the truths we read daily? Or are we here, Brandon and I, for our marriage? For the bad to be whittled away (cause lets face it we are not perfect) and the good to grow into something even better. Now that to me is exciting stuff. Opportunities to change and impact others... I like it!
This past week I have only been able to feel this nasty cloud of restlessness, an unsettled feeling, and angst (none of which can be good for baby). I've been trying to hash it out daily. I thought perhaps spending more time being grateful for the small things would help or talking with Brandon. Each time I tried to bring it up the words just came out sounding like, "I hate this place get me home."  I reasoned that it was okay to feel that way, ready to be home, and while I know that it is okay to feel that, I cannot go on feeling only that.
Then last night I started writing a version of this post in my head and I started to feel better. Only problem was it was 3:30 am and I was snug as a bug, with the hamster wheel turning. I woke up today with one goal -- to shake the feeling that has been bringing me down. 
Okay so its more of a three part goal to work on.  To seek and find contentment in our circumstances. To trust the architect of my life's plan. And to focus on the positive outcomes that my very small presence could make to someone or in someone's life.
Really long story short, whatever or however it may appear our life is, it is nothing short of a life full of trials, both happy and sad, moments of anxiety and worry, frustrations, and insecurities. I do try to keep this blog a happy place, same with my Facebook and Instagram feeds, chocked full of good happy memories. I use this little space to share and open up, because a lot of times after I do, I feel much better, even if no one else reads what I have to say. 

 **Bold text is borrowed and paraphrased from Embracing Change by Wynter Pitts. July 2013 issue of Homelife**

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Finally September & A Birthday Shout Out

I have almost caught up completely with my parents trip but going to take a little break before I finish the last few days worth of activities.
First - Happy Birthday to my younger brother! Can't believe he is 24 today. It's totally sinking in that I need family time. Family time being a holiday game of balderdash or something of the like. Boy am I excited to get home to see everyone.
It's our last full month of living in Japan!! Can I get an AMEN? Yep, we will hopefully be home mid-October so this is the last full month residing in Japan...until next year. (Possibly/Probably/Still unknown) I am pretty much over this baseball season for many reasons I can't explain here. We are trying to get our flights booked that include a mini vacation on the way home. But still don't have an official day of when we will be finished. All the rainout games get tacked on to the end of the season, as if it needed to be any longer.
Last week we went to the doc for our 20 week checkup, at 21 weeks but whatever. Dr. said everything looked good and didn't give us any accidental indication of whether a little lady or gent will be joining us. At this point we still have not purchased anything for baby. I guess it's because I know that luggage space on the way home is hard to come by. Sorry kid.
Speaking of space, someone hast totally take over my space in the last eight weeks and I love it. I knew I was getting bigger but didn't really see it until I put on the exact same outfit. I'll admit getting used to this new body of mine has been a little weird and made me selfish at times but now that I'm feeling this baby moving and shaking its beyond worth it. And that's all I got for now, just counting down the days until we head home.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Nara. Take Two

And although Kyoto is one of my favorite cities here in Japan, Nara just happens to be a close second. It's just peaceful and relaxing and so much like being in the country with all the surrounding deer. We went to Nara on the last day my parents visited. It is about an hour train ride but there isn't a huge hurry to do or see a lot in a small time. It was relaxing and didn't involve a ton of walking which we thought would be a good thing the day before a long flight.


Friday, August 30, 2013

Kyoto. Take Two

I had already visited Kyoto once before. I thought I had a pretty decent idea of how to tour the area but the truth is a hired private tour guide is probably the way to go. Because Kyoto is such a busy city, the old capital of Japan, and top priority for many sightseeing visitors it is not easy to get around quickly. Especially if one decides to visit the day of one of Kyoto's famous festivals. But we did it anyway and enjoyed the parade and culture along with a few shrines and temples. Kyoto, you are still one of my favorite cities.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hiroshima - May 2013

You read that right, MAY 2013, I won't even apologize for being this late on this post or the next few for that matter. I just have not felt like editing pics, writing posts, or doing much of anything except resting and feeling baby move around constantly. Oh yeah and eat. Plus I am pretty sure pregnancy excuses me for such tardiness. I'm working on some virtual nesting to get caught up on all the posts I have planned and want to write about so for the next couple of days while Brandon is gone on a short road trip I plan to tackle them with a vengeance.

Hiroshima. It's heart wrenching, tragic, and hard to completely capture the devastation that took place. It is a quiet place, one where most are there to pay respects or learn of a significant historical event. I'm not a history buff so I won't get into the war and reasons for the bombing but below are photos of and around Peace Park Memorial including the A-Bomb Dome and Children's Peace Monument.


Hiroshima Castle

Sunday, August 18, 2013

7 and Counting

Baseball in August. I don't love it. But I don't have to. It's hot, high 90's and the team is on the road for most of it. Brandon has been gone the past week and won't be back until the late Thursday. While he is gone I have more time to miss home and I do. I think it has more to do with knowing the next chapter, the baby chapter, is quickly approaching and I'm ready to do some things to get us ready for that. I've loved Japan and all it's brought this year but I'm ready to pack up from this season and get home.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Round Here

For starters, Brandon is gone on a long road trip and I thought about going along but with the heat I just decided I'll tag along in September. Also maybe by then I will have adjusted my wardrobe to have enough outfits that fit instead of Brandon's gym shorts. Stylish, I know.

As of today we are in the 19th week of this roller coaster ride of pregnancy. I must say that with each day I'm loving it more and more. Especially since I've been feeling the baby moving around. Mostly late in the evening (a little night owl like me) or after a big meal.


While that number is slowly counting up, we are also counting down until we COME HOME! I think its around 56 days until the last regular season game, not that I keep track. We already started trying to make some travel arrangements home to save on expenses but since we don't know for sure what day we can leave nothing is final. Sure is exciting talking about it though!

Besides that I've been working on clothing projects for a friend. Which entails borrowing a sewing machine, which is absolutely fine by me. Here are a few of the things I've been making. I thought for sure after five months I would lose some of my skills but I actually think not sewing for that long made me better. I don't want to do it again, just looking at the bright side.

I know it's a bit ridiculous but, the bear was all I had and I needed to check for size. It feels SO good to be making stuff again. Plus I am getting in some good practice before our own little one arrives, especially if it is a she.
And that is all that goodness happening around here. Growing a baby and sewing with a little bit of baseball and lot of missing our dog!