52 Weeks of Happy 2015: 31, 32, 33, 34

It feels like a LONG time ago that I loaded the following photos below, from week 31 of 2015.  E and I were still snuggled in our Hawaiian abode, not yet on the road of adventure.  We were reading Where the Sidewalk Ends, I was discovering the ultimate delights of Chameleon Cold-Brew, and baby lady had just started getting solid at sitting by herself.

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Since then, our weeks have changed dramatically! I was able to be a part of my dear friend’s wedding, we moved ourselves down to Ohio for family time, and E has been having a blast with all of her aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents!

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 Now that I have better access to a computer and internet, I am excited to be back in the weekly groove of the 52 Weeks of Happy Project.  Cheers to the upcoming Week 35, and onward with our journey!

Travelin Girls

I’ve logged into the blog so many times this month hoping to write.  Then I was torn by the overwhelming amount of photos, memories, and stories I had to share.  So MANY GOOD MOMENTS.  Today I decided I had to rip off the writing band aid and do what I always do…leap forward with both feet outstretched.  Get ready for the posts over the next few months to be sporadic.  To be spontaneous and love-driven.  We’ve been on the road since the beginning of the month, and we’re not stopping anytime soon.

It will be that much sweeter when this deployment comes to an end and we become a team of three again.  But until then, we’re sucking up the sunshine and sharing this little lady’s light with the other loves of our lives.

I’m most impressed by my itty bitty travelin sidekick.  She’s taking to the roads and skies like a champion.  She’s full of wanderlust at her wee age of 7 months, and I love watching her take in every new place, face, and experience with such incredible joy.  I’ve adjusted to being a wanderer with baby.  With pacifier dangling from my shirt, bottles packed, luggage lifted, sweat on my brow and baby strapped to my body, I’ve been a one-woman show toting us from Japan this summer to Hawaii, and onward to Canada and now the mainland USA.  I’m proud of myself.  I’m doing this.  It’s possible.

Along the road we’ve encountered long flights, hugs, reunions, family meals, new friends, old friends, family, weather changes, crashing in different rooms, long walks, and clinging to one another.  We are each other’s constant.  At the start of this trip I felt nervous.  A bit petrified.  Would all this change be good for her?  Was it safe? Was it the right thing to do?  Now I can look at the road behind us and the one stretching on in front and say YES. A resounding YESSSS.  It is worth it.  Each minute we grow together.  I will look back on these crazy days with my baby girl and feel ever-thankful for taking us on this big adventure.  There are more to come of course, but this moment RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW is amazing.

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I’ll be playing storytime catch up over the next few weeks, so stay tuned for some sweet photos and tales of our days thus far.  Until then, We’re sending you some love and hopes for your next big adventure;)

xoxoL&E

Sweet Summer Sundays: Take 7

This weekend, one of the last of true summer, was glorious.

I’m talking macaroon-baby snuggles-Hawaii is GORGEOUS type of GLORIOUS.

Sweet Summer Sundays 2015

Our Saturday morning was an amazing stroller workout, with the beautiful hills of my neighborhood in the background.

Sweet Summer Sundays 2015

During baby nap time, I enjoyed catching up on the chronicle of our lives via photos:

Sweet Summer Sundays 2015

Sunday was another killer workout, but this time a hike up the Makapu’u Lighthouse trail.

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The view from the top is always a breath of fresh air.  This weekend was a perfect blend of soaking up the outdoor sun and enjoying a little quiet time at home.  This project has helped me love weekends during deployments again!  Here’s to the final few in August.

GOAL Time: August 2015

Travel brings power and love back into your life.

~Rumi

Isn’t it wonderful when you fall upon the perfect words?  I stumbled across the above quote and immediately thought, “yes. This is AUGUST 2015.” We are hitting the road again soon, and I’m excited, nervous, ready, hesitant…a real roller coaster of emotion.  But when I look at this quote I am reminded of why we are going. There is power in travel. Power in hugging those you love. Power in seeing familiar faces.  There is so much power in love.

August 2015 GOALS!

 Of course I am a whirling dervish of things to do before we leave, but the day will come, ready or not.  We will board and soar to love, new adventures await.  I have very few goals for the month ahead, but as always, I like to set some.  Here’s what last month looked like:

JULY GOAL RECAP:

1. Back up laptop and clean it off   I was super motivated after the clean off and proceeded to then clean my phone, and back up all of our cameras. BAM. Feels good to get that DONE.

2. Cooking day for a friend + plan my own meals with efficiency I planned so well that the next few days before we leave I’m living on crumbs. C’est la vie, and some trips to Whole Foods hot/cold bar ahead this week!

3. Send boxes off (2) Signed, sealed, delivered.

4. 10 Stroller Strides Classes I attended 9, and 2 Hot Yoga Classes. Not too shabby.

5. Sew rows of quilt together DONE! Now I’m ready to assemble the beast.

6. Check in on family budget, in-act super saver mode for the rest of the month (boo) Super savers we were not, but at least we are on budget.

7. Introduce Evelyn to FOOOOD! Fun! Peas, carrots, green beans, avocados, banana, apple, oatmeal, rice cereal, pears, sweet potato…yup. We’re all into the food.

8. Get AFAA core material sent in This was a huge load off. So glad to be finished!

Now onto AUGUST! 

1. Clean house before heading out

2. Keep up with family finances

3. Lower step count to 10,000 a day this month so that you can still feel accomplished during travels

4. Write in advance and schedule 7 blog posts

5. Breathe. Just breathe. You can do this.

Any big plans coming up for you this month? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

Checking in with My ABC’s of 2015

On January 1st 2015 I picked 3 words to encompass the year ahead.  You can read the original post here.  Today I am checking in with my progress on this journey.

My three words this year tied into us having our first child, I picked an A, B, and C.  Attempt. Bliss. Change.

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Original thoughts on ATTEMPT: I want to put the fear away this year and TRY. I’ll never know until I do!  The goals in all of these categories are personal, so excuse me if I stay a little private until I have more of a plan to share.  However I know I want to attempt a new business venture.  Attempt more in this blog-space.  Attempt Mama-groups and fun.  It’s time to put myself out there in a whole new way.

Currently: As I look back on my words, I realize a very big and interesting turn: I didn’t know Ryan was going to deploy.  Attempt has turned into: attempting to capture Evelyn’s first year.  Enduring time apart from Ryan and attempting to keep our boat sailing.  Attempting to keep myself healthy and happy as well.  I have joined my own mama group, Stroller Strides, and it has been such a life saver.  I have not had as much time to myself to really create in this space, but I have created elsewhere.  I’ve created the top of our quilt, Evelyn’s baby book, I have not abandoned this space, but have attempted to add to it with what present energy I have had.  Attempts are made everyday, to keep smiling, loving, laughing, and living.

MyABC2015

BLISS: What would bring me joy this year?  I would love to get off the island for a bit of traveling, to see our family and friends and to find new ways to document this beautiful life.  I would also love to get my body back in a year’s time. No pressure, no hurry, but to steadily work towards my before-baby health.  It would also bring me bliss to continue my education in new areas I have a passion for.

Currently: Ah, Bliss.  I feel like after the newborn phase dwindled out, I have had more bliss. I find bliss in knowing myself.  In getting to be my best me.  I definitely felt lost a lot of that first two months, lost in the toughness of it, and lost in the love of this other little being.  I know I’m finding my way to bliss this year by being honest.  I found a babysitter for a few hours one day a week.  I go away and be alone with me.  It is bliss.  It is bliss to also love this little girl so much.  She is pure joy.  She is delight. She is love.  I have already been off island once to see Ry, and it was amazing.  Before the year is up, we’ll all be together again.  I am going to be with family soon, and that will be it’s own form of familiar, beautiful bliss.  I am also working hard at my before-baby health, and have been doing it with a new found patience.  It’s strange, after I had Evelyn I have not been as hard on myself. This year I’ve learned how to cheer myself on.

MyABC2015

CHANGE: Our lives are about to change in a BIG WAY.  I want to keep honest communication open with myself and my husband on this journey.  I want to enjoy the new life we are welcoming.  I want to EMBRACE this new chapter and instead of fight it, just fly with it.  Each day is going to bring a whole new lesson.

Currently: Oh wow have there been changes this year! E changes each week, each day.  I try not to fight it too much, but flow with the tide.  It is not easy.  It hasn’t been easy to accept the distance from my husband this year.  But it is a physical distance.  Not emotional. I’m proud of us for embracing this separation by supporting one another.  I’ve changed.  I’m still me, but I am a mama-me. And it’s okay.  I was so worried of losing myself when we had a child.  I feel like instead of losing, I gained a better, even more compassionate part of myself.  I love even deeper. I am strong, capable, and have risen to the changes we have/are going through.

MyABC2015

2015 still has four more months in it. I plan to use them wisely.  I plan to keep checking in with my words.  I can’t wait to see what I have to say about them when we ring in 2016.

52 Weeks of Happy 2015: 30

This week was pretty quiet on the home front.  I have been prepping for our trip early, so that I may enjoy our last few days in Hawaii and not feel stressed over them.  So far, so good.  I have always been an organized traveler, but with a baby I find myself even more so.  I need to know I have everything she could need with us!  Besides that, we participated in several hot but awesome Stroller Strides workouts, I took a chunk of “mama time” for myself on Thursday (hooray massage!) and enjoyed watching little girl glow, despite teething pain.  I also accomplished a LOT off my monthly to-do list, and am now all set to kick off August TODAY!

Our view from this week:

Little E finding all the places to roll and hide;)
52 Weeks of Happy 2015

The view from my mat during crunches at Stroller Strides. Not too shabby.

52 Weeks of Happy 2015

Evelyn loving her spot next to me during the class:

52 Weeks of Happy 2015

Trying new textures with soft wafers:

52 Weeks of Happy 2015

Hey there blue eyes!

52 Weeks of Happy 2015

We are ready for week 31 and our next adventure to start! Until then I’m squeezing in morning walks with my toes in the sand.

5.3 Million Steps to 30: 9 month update

As of July 28th, 2015:

I’ve been stepping it out since October 17th, 2014

251 days remain

I’ve walked 2,831,924 steps

That’s about 1,244 miles over 9 months!

I have 2,468,076 steps to go!  That means I need to average 9,833 steps a day to make my goal on time.

 This month I took my steps on the road for my first trial: vacation and trying to achieve steps.  It was my worst week yet!  There were one or two super-sight seeing days where I did knock it out of the park.  The other ones we spent hunkered down as a family, just taking life slow and soaking up time together.  When I landed back in Hawaii, I got back on track and really stepped (pun intended) it up a notch.

5.3 Million Steps to 30

What really pushed me in month 9 was the Fitbit App on my phone.  I was immersed in “challenges” all month like the Weekend Warrior and the Workweek Hustle.  Friends and family across the miles were engaged, and we all pushed hard to be the champion.  It’s amazing what a little friendly competition can do for your game.  What also helped was that I am feeling the difference in myself and Ev when I get us out on a night walk before bedtime.  I put her in the carrier, and off we stroll. I’ve learned at this point, she can’t go in the stroller that late or she falls asleep again. No bueno for mommy that loves baby’s 7:30pm bedtime right now, and then some time alone to herself;)

All my hard work has paid off, and now I only need an average of 9,833 daily steps to reach 5.3 million by April 5th 2016.  That is rockin!  I am currently going to keep my daily goal at 11,000 though, to make up for the days where I do not hit close to the 9,000 mark.  We have a lot more travel dates coming up, and with a little more work on some days than others, I can keep working towards this big achievement stress-free.

I can do this. One step at a time.

Arigato

In two days we will hit the halfway mark in this deployment.

We have three months left.  This time apart has been vastly different because of one cute-as-a-button reason.  I’ve written previously about deployments, and how I dealt with the separation.  You can read my previous tips at the following links: The Deployment Dilemma and Dealing with Deployments Part 2.  Although I was not alone last time, with a growing little lady inside of me, I have to say going through a deployment with a child is vastly different than any of the others I experienced before.

It is interesting to ponder.  I’ve had people tell me (before baby) “well at least you don’t have a kid” during a deployment.  Now that I have baby lady, people tell me, “at least you have a baby, it makes it go by so much faster.”  Having done the spectrum of the big D: as girlfriend, as spouse, as pregnant, and with baby, I can say NONE are easier than the other.  As a girlfriend, I was hoping that all my waiting would someday lead to what I knew in my heart I wanted: to be married to the man.  As a spouse, I kept busy with work.  The work that paid, and the work I did on myself, using the months to grow, learn, explore.  As pregnant, I nurtured the little life within and prayed for him to get back on time for the birth.

Now I’m midway through of the dreaded deployment with my new title as Mama.
a travel thank you

What I can say about this new stage for me is that time is a giant catch 22.  The days both blaze and drag by.  Time has felt like it is flying, but yet also dragging.  I say flying because she does keep me magnificently preoccupied.  I say dragging because she has changed so much since the last time we were all together as a family.  It feels like he’s been gone longer because she has morphed from little infant to an interactive and strong six month old.

I tend to walk on the side of life that sees the glass half full.  I see silver linings.  But yes, it took me almost a month to get any posts up about Japan because looking at the photos and retelling the stories made me smile and my heart ache simultaneously.  I am jealous of families that get to be together all the time.  But we’ve never martyred ourselves out to this lifestyle we choose to live.  It could be better right now, but it could always, ALWAYS be worse.  So we push on.  We encourage each other.  We take time to communicate.

We take our blessings with gracious hearts.  I am THANKFUL we had a break to go see each other.  It was amazing.  And hard.  Hard to say goodbye.  These next three months will continue to be just that: amazing and hard.  It is hard for us to not experience this part of Evelyn’s babyhood together.  But I’ll be darned if I miss a moment of it wallowing.  E has such tenacity for life.  She has smiles and joy and a fervor that gets me up, singing songs, dancing in the living room, and living to the fullest each day.  Just as I did before her, I do with her now: we live.  We love.  We wait for the other limb of our family tree to come home so we may all root down together once more.

We’re counting the days, and yet I am conscience to remain present in them as well.  We’re halfway!

A Family 4th of July

Our 4th of July 2015 was beautiful because of its simplicity.  As our days of a family of three unwind, I see that I love the ones that are busy and full of adventure.  Yet I love the ones that are quiet too. Moments built upon daydreams.  Standing on hilltops, watching the sun go down.  Hearing the familiar choir of cicadas, feeling the faint ocean breeze, and hugging one little girl tightly to our chests.4thofJuly 4thofJuly 4thofJuly 4thofJuly

Some days are built for the noisy clatter of discovery.  Others are made for slowly drinking in the surroundings, and remembering what it is like to be still.

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Whichever path our day takes us on, I want to find those hidden treasures among the minutes.  To stop when our baby wants to gaze at a tree moving in the wind.  To allow her feel a leaf for the first time with her fingertips.  As she grows, I see she has the observant eyes of her father, blended with my blue green hue.  The ones that like to stop and gaze at nature.  There is such beauty in this world to see little girl.  Thank you for helping us stop.

4thofJuly

Our 4th of July was devoid of the normal fireworks and cookouts.  But it was full of love, ramen, and one gorgeous family walk, gazing together off of the edge of Japan.

Kokusai Street, American Village, Hamazushi!

We did not tourist it up too much during our time in Japan. Mainly because time was limited, and we we were not there to sight see.  I went into the trip telling Ry, “the only sight we are really here to see is YOU. Anything else is a happy bonus.” That said, we did get out to three big tourist haunts.

Our first stop, Kokusai Street:

Japan Travels

This shopping strip shuts down traffic on Sundays so we could freely roam the streets with ease.  We tried the Blue Seal ice cream crepes.  I had an interesting sweet potato flavor with Okinawa salt cookie.  I could have used a bit more cold stuff along with all that wrap, but it was decent.  I loved seeing the habu snake sake bottles, with a REAL dead habu snake in the bottom of the bottle.  I also loved wandering into a few cute jewelry boutiques, and picking out a few yummy items for dinner at a market.  We fell in love with the bitter melon bites.

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Next up, American Village! This quirky little shop/restaurant blitz reminded me of my days working for Carnival Cruise Lines and being dropped in Cozumel, Mexico.  There weren’t any vendors out shouting about their wares, but it had a similar bright paint-seen better days-vibe.  We met up with our friend Chenoa, and I FINALLY was able to try Dr. Fish!

In Korea, I always meant to drop into a Dr. Fish pool, but I never got around to it.  Thankfully, my dreams came true in Japan.  We each paid a small $5 to dip our toes into the fish-eating waters.  The fish then proceeded to eat all the dead skin off our toes, which was very ticklish and kind of icky to me.  I did not expect to feel revolted by it, but I pretty much despise bugs, and the feeling of them nipping at my digits made me think things were crawling all over me.  At least our traveling feet were very fresh after!

Chenoa and I took advantage of our clean toes and put them in brand-new Japanese jelly shoes.  I’ll be wearing them out soon, promise.

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Finally, we dropped into Hamazushi, a great little conveyor belt sushi restaurant that you could grab things that zipped by on the line, or order specific pieces.  I feel like my taste buds are now thoroughly spoiled by all the great worldly adventures they have had.  Sushi, in Japan, is definitely a different experience and taste than anything I’ve had in comparison.  It is so fresh, almost melt in your mouth buttery.  Yum…I’m getting hungry just thinking about it again!

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All of our bonus sights in Oki were enjoyable, and hopefully one day we’ll be back to hit up even more of what the island has to offer.