Air Freshener Fail.

The best part about being new to blogging is all the time I spend looking at other blogs. I've found so many that I love for a zillion different reasons.
I LOVE Our Homemade Happiness for all of her homemade alternatives for chemical filled household products. I would love to go completely green and use all of my own cleaners, but I've been stuck on Lysol and Windex for so long, the transition is just not that easy. Especially when my husband doesn't exactly see eye to eye on the whole vinegar-based-cleaners-really-work thing. And I wouldn't want to discourage him from helping around the house! =)
Anyway, I decided to start with the easy stuff. When I moved to Okinawa, I had a few friends that sold scentsy and I was instantly hooked. I mean like I changed the scents every few days kinda hooked. I haven't been using them lately though, I guess I've just been busy and lazy. And both of my friends have left the island so I haven't had anyone to order from. So, my house hasn't been smelling as Fan-freaking-tastic as it usually does. When I read OHH's post about natural air fresheners, it was a no brainer that I had to try at least one.
Again I went for the easy one. Because it was, well.. easy & I had all the supplies on hand already.
Boil Water, Fruit and Spices.. How easy!!
I used an orange and lemon and then added a stick of cinnamon and a drop or two of vanilla. I boiled and simmered and IT WORKED. It made my house smell fresh. OHH said to do this on and off for a few days before tossing the goods.
Here comes the FAIL part.
I followed the instructions. My house smelled great for a while. Until... Tuesday morning. I was getting ready for work and as I was making breakfast I turned on the burner to boil the water. I thought once it was boiling I would turn it down and let it simmer for a half hour or so before I had to leave. And I PROMISED myself I would not forget. I swore I would turn it off when I came back into the kitchen to grab my water.
I'm sure you know where this is going.
Luckily for me I came home on my lunch break...5 hours later! I'm pretty sure my house would have been on fire had I waited any longer. My entire house smelled of charred mess. My smoke alarm also never went off, so I'm pretty sure I need to check those batteries.
I'll be trying this again.. but I'm going to wait a bit to let this episode die down. I'm sure I'll be hearing about it for a while!
Let me know if you have better luck!

Typhooning Fun.

Typhoon Bolaven has come and gone and I have to say I was a little disappointed. For being the "worst in 13 years," that typhoon was a total bust. It did, however; give us lots of time for nonsense.. and napping. Keegan and I made these cool paper bag monsters with some random craft supplies I found around the house.
They're nothing elaborate, but they satisfied my crazy toddler!

And this one is a little blurry, but you get the idea!
Typhoon season is from June-November here. That's almost half the year!! So if you have any tips or trick for keeping the wee ones entertained for hours.. and even days on end, I'd love to hear 'em!


Joys of "Nesting"

The weekend is finally here! Unfortunately for anyone in Okinawa, a massive typhoon is headed our way.

We’re currently in TCCOR-1, you can read more about the different Tropical Cyclone Conditions of Readiness and how they affect military and government personnel, here.

Anyway, since we’re going to be on lock down soon, I decided to take advantage of the time and embrace my nesting urges. I feel like there is still so much to do and our newest little man will be here in just 5 weeks…OR LESS!! I started with Keegan’s room and went through everything in the closet and upper storage areas. This is what his room looked like mid-cleaning session.


I know… Odd method, but it works. I literally emptied the closet and storage and then only put back the things I wanted to keep. No worries, the room is back to being clean and much much more organized than before plus I’ve got 2 full bags and a box marked for the thrift store.  

Not only do I throw things about like a mad woman while cleaning, I also spend an unnecessary amount of time looking at all the cool things I forgot about; my favorite being my old journals. I found one that dates 2004-2008 and spent TWO WHOLE HOURS just flipping through it. It was a good blast from the past.

 I laughed at a lot of them, but this one made me smile and maybe tear up a little bit, but we won’t go there.
I can’t believe that was almost 6 years ago! That little baby girl is starting Kindergarten in about a week. She looks like her mama with a little extra tan. Her crinkled-nose smile gets me every time. She is smart and spunky, and a little bit like me. I wish we lived closer!

As for the rest of my nesting, I plan to spread it out throughout the storm and then the rest of the week. This house will be baby ready by next weekend... and maybe we’ll have an early surprise =)  

I’m so impatient, one can only hope for such things!


Meeting Keegan.

I once thought it couldn’t get any better than this. Or that, as it was then.
Rewind about 3 years.
I got out of the Air Force and moved cross-country on a whim just to be closer to a guy I’d been dating, but in reality, barely knew. After all, we’d only been dating two years and does that really count when most of the relationship was spent over 2000 miles apart? But I moved, and I loved it.
…And then I got engaged.
Only two months after I moved.
…And then I got married.
Just ONE month after I got engaged.
…And THEN we got pregnant.
A mere 6 months into our marriage.
What was happening? Holy moly, life was spinning so fast at that point. And did I mention that only a year prior to my move, I was convinced that I was never getting married or having kids. I was set on being a single-career driven woman with lots of nieces and nephews to spoil. But there I was, 20 years old, just married and pregnant.
I remember being excited when I bought the first test. I might be pregnant. It was storming like crazy when I went to the store for it, and in California, no one drives in the rain. I swear I was the only one in the store and just buying that test seemed life-changing. Mostly because I already knew what it was going to tell me.  I never believed anyone that told me “you’ll just know,” or “I just knew,” what a load of crock!!! But I grabbed a first response kit and wandered through several aisles before I made my way to the check out while my mind wandered endlessly. I JUST KNEW, and I couldn’t help but think about what color eyes he or she would have. Would it be a he or a she?  What color hair? Dimples?  More like my husband, or like me?
 I just knew… and that was a crazy feeling.
Of course, the test was positive. Once I saw the double lines, I cried. I was scared and nervous. Excited.
…And I had to tell my husband.  Mikael’s reaction was such a positive reinforcement. The smile on his face spoke volumes and that’s something I’ll never forget.

We then spent the next 9 months on a wicked rollercoaster. Along with finding out we were adding on to our family, we also got official orders to Japan.  Mikael was given a report no later than date of August. I was due just a month later. I had to obtain a special clearance and jump through several hoops, but we boarded a plane in early August and flew to Japan 34 weeks pregnant. Surprisingly, the 15+ hour trip wasn’t as miserable as I thought it would be (and it was much easier than traveling with a 9month old!).
We made it to Japan and settled into our new home 2 weeks after arriving. I had my 37 week check up on a Friday September 10th. My blood pressure had been high for the last two weeks so they sent me home with a large jug and told me they needed a 24 hour urine sample to check for preeclampsia. Uggh, gross. And worse, if protein levels in my urine were high, and I, in fact, was experiencing preeclampsia, I would be induced immediately. I did not want to be induced.
Throughout my pregnancy I had decided that I wanted to deliver as naturally as possible. I did not want to be induced and I did not want an epidural. I would refuse.
I went home and started experiencing mild cramping that night. I blew it off as being from the check up but by morning those “cramps” were more than just cramps. They were vicious. .. and regular. About every 5 minutes, all day from the time I woke up.  I could bear through them, so I didn’t bother calling the doctor yet, plus I had plans for the night and it was September 11th. Call it superstition but it just seemed like bad luck to be delivering a baby on that night, so I pretended like nothing was going on.
That night I went with some friends to a get-together and found myself barely able to pay attention to anyone. The pain was awful and seriously distracting. I sat in a chair the whole night and when a friend asked if I was okay, I decided maybe I wasn’t.  She helped me walk to the car (yes, I needed a little help!) and we headed to the hospital. Mikael of course met us there, I can only imagine the things that went through his mind while driving to the hospital alone. I was only hoping for two things: that he remembered the carseat and that the baby would come after midnight!
Once we arrived at labor and delivery, the set me up in a triage room to monitor my vitals and contractions. The machine verified my complaints that the contractions were coming regularly at 4 minutes and after a check-up the nurse said I was dilated to 3cm! Good news.. Kind of. I spent the next few hours waiting.. and waiting, with nurses coming in and out to periodically check. My contractions seemed to be getting closer and surely more painful so I was certain it would not be long.
Finally a nurse came in and started to unhook me from all the gadgets, I of course thought this meant they were finally admitting me and I’d be moving to a delivery room. Not the case. I don’t remember exactly what the nurse told us, I just remember her helping me up and saying that I was still only dilated to 3 cm. Then… then she says to me, “Come back when you’re REALLY in pain.” Come back when I’m REALLY in pain. Lady I could barely walk up the stairs! I am REALLY in pain. She obviously never took a class on what not to say to a pregnant half-laboring woman.
So we went home..with no baby and infuriated beyond belief. The nerve of that woman! Ahh. And the contractions were still going strong. They lasted throughout the night and all day Sunday. Being in so much pain, I was unable to sleep and didn’t feel much like eating. I was miserable, hungry and beyond exhausted. I moved back and forth from the couch to a hot bath trying to seek minimal comfort. I broke down in tears several times and I honestly don’t know if it was from the pain or lack of sleep. I’m sure my husband thought about checking me into a mental clinic after the baby arrived.   
On Sunday, my contractions became closer, but I was still so mad at the nurse that sent me home that I refused to call the doctor. I did not want to be sent home again. So I waited. And waited. By Monday morning I could barely move during the bouts of pain and hadn’t slept or eaten in 48 hours. I couldn’t take it anymore. We called ahead and let L&D know that we were on our way and that contractions at this point were about every 2 to 3 minutes AND this time they REALLY hurt.
Once there, we again spent several hours waiting in triage with nurses coming in and out.  I was miserable and I hated how calm, well-slept and fed my husband looked. I also hated how much he couldn’t understand what I was going through. I would ask him to get the doctor to check on me and he would go and come back saying that they were busy. He is a very patient man, and most times I love him for that… but this was no time to be patient. I certainly was not patient.
We waited.. and waited.. and the pain was wretched. Every few minutes, time seemed to stop as the contractions took over my body. I tried to breathe through them, but breathing only does so much for comfort.  After a few steady contractions, I just broke down. I started crying like crazy. I was in pain, I wanted food, I wanted sleep.. I just wanted to feel normal. And to have my baby. I think I scared my husband at this point, because he then ran out and immediately came back with a doctor.
The doc did one more check and let me know I was dilated to 5cm and they would now admit me. Finally!  I was moved into a delivery room right away and they asked if I wanted an epidural. I was in so much pain… but I wanted a natural birth. Screw it! Give me the epidural!!

I got the epidural about an hour after I was admitted and it was WONDERFUL!! I couldn’t feel a thing after they administered the shot and I actually got a few hours of sleep while my body labored on!
Once I woke up, I was already dilated to 8 cm and things went pretty quickly. Once I was fully dilated, a little over an hour later, I pushed for about 20 minutes and at 9:41PM we welcomed the most amazing little boy into the world. My world.

At that moment, everything was perfect. And I thought, things just can’t get any better than this.

But... here I am, almost two years later and only weeks away from welcoming baby number 2.  I am not excited for the torture that comes with delivery, but I cannot wait for the moment that another piece of me is in my arms.

Getting married. Getting pregnant. The epidural.  … I once told myself that I never wanted any of these things.  I am so glad that I’ve kept my mind open to change, because I can’t imagine my life without my growing family… and let’s face it, without that epidural, I may have killed my husband =)

This post was written in response to a writing prompt from Ashley over at Little Miss Momma.

What’s your story?



Pictures are important.

My family and I are going to get Maternity pictures done today and I’m really quite excited about it. I actually won the photo shoot in a giveaway through the photographer’s facebook page (check out Simply Ania, I’ll be sure to post some of today's shots when they're available). Anyway, I was telling my dad about getting pictures done and he thought I ought to just wait until the baby was born and then have them done. I’m going to do both, but he seemed to think that was kind of pointless. I don’t. I think pictures are important. And if I could, I’d have them done professionally every month. Okay, maybe not every month, but at least every six. Unfortunately, my budget just doesn’t cut it.

I’ve always been a photo fanatic but today I really thought about why. Why are they important to me? Photos capture the moment, they save a memory. If for some reason I don’t make it to tomorrow, I want my children to remember me. I want them to remember the love I have for them. I want them to see how happy I am when they are around. And if I make it to the day my great-great grandchildren are born, then that’s just wonderful and I’ll have a stockpile of photos ranging from incredibly beautiful to extremely embarrassing and I promise to share every single one of them!
 “A picture is worth a thousand words,” they really are and yet sometimes I find myself speechless looking at photos. I look at pictures from the day Keegan was born and it sometimes brings tears to my eyes. I love that day, and I’m so glad I have pictures to document it. Someday I’ll show Keegan and he can see just how happy we were to have him, to bring him home, and to have him brighten our lives. You can see that in a picture. I can look at those photos and feel what I felt that day. I can hardly believe that was almost two years ago. And I know in 10 years, I’ll find myself baffled that 12 years flew by.

I don’t have many photos, other than school yearbooks, pre-dating high-school. And I do not have a single family photo from when I was a kid. Not one. I don’t think such a thing even exists. My dad isn’t much of a camera man, for whatever reason, but he won’t be around forever. One can only hope that God will give us plenty of time to make memories, but nothing is guaranteed. And if he were to go tomorrow, I would have no photos to show my children. Keegan has only met him once, at nine months old, and the new baby has obviously never met him.  That doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for making memories, and at such a young age, how much will they really remember?
So, I will take my maternity pictures today and I will take newborn pictures when the baby is here. I will take family photos every year and I will take snapshots with my own camera every day of my life because I want to remember this. And I want my kids to remember this. And their kids to remember this.  Unfortunately, our lives won’t last forever, but photos… photos are timeless, and there will be plenty that will outlive me by many, many years and I can only hope that my children, their children, their grand-children, and so-on will someday cherish those photos just as I do.



Quality Time.

Just spending some quality time with Keegan. We're together a lot but life (by life I mean chores and responsiblities, boo) seems to get in the way, so it's been a bit since we've really had a good long bonding session. I've really missed this and in a way it makes me sad that it won't be just Keegan and I anymore. Don't get me wrong, I am totally psyched for the new baby, and of course I'll love them both just the same, but I know how hard it will be for Keegan to adjust. And I'm not sure that he'll understand why he has to share me (and Mikael, of course) with someone else all of a sudden. It breaks my heart that he'll be sad and might question something so concrete as my love. I hope he embraces the big brother role (we've been practicing with babydolls!) and stays the cute little snuggle bug that he is.

Just some thoughts.


Learning to Breathe.

This pregnancy has been really draining on me lately. It doesn’t help that my husband has been working some pretty crazy hours, so I haven’t had much help entertaining Keegan while I try to keep up with things around the house.  So what I’ve been doing is playing with Keegan until he goes to bed and then staying up super late to get things done... and then waking up super early for work. What a vicious cycle, is it Friday yet? I guess I’ve just been super tired which has led me to be easily frustrated and that combined with a lavish amount of hormones has led to more bouts of ridiculous crying than I would like to admit to.
Last night I finally got some relief through Yoga. I haven’t been able to go in over a month since Keegan’s swim lessons were at the same time.  I admit I wasn’t a fan of Yoga at first (you have to be so quiet and patient... two things I am definitely not), but I have found a rare sense of peace during yoga. Does that sound weird and cliché? I think so too, but it’s so true.  Yoga somehow manages to calm all my stresses, fears, and any negativity every time I go.  I like to close my eyes during most of the class, except for those moves that get really tricky, and it gives me time to reflect on myself and why I’m feeling however I feel that day.  It’s amazing how I can talk myself out of stress and fear in a quiet environment.  I hardly ever hear quiet anymore.
Yesterday I realized how much I’ve been overwhelming myself lately. I’ve been trying so hard to keep up with work, housework and being supportive for my husband that I’ve forgotten to take care of myself.  I am firm believer  that pregnant women are fully capable of doing everyday things they did prior to pregnancy, whether it’s running, lifting things, or working full-time, but even pre-pregnancy I would need a nap to keep up with all the things I’m doing these days. 
With less than 6 weeks before the baby arrives, I’ve decided it’s time to slow down a bit. I’m going to breathe a little more and spend extra quality time with Keegan before he becomes a big brother!  I’m also going to squeeze in more time for myself, whether it’s Yoga, a pedicure, or just some time to read a book.  It’s hard enough to find time now, I can hardly imagine how much I’ll struggle to find “me” time with two kiddos.
No laundry folding for me tonight! Yay!!
Just Breathe.



Yes to the Dress : USMC Ball 2012

Along with what seems like a million other things, the Marine Corps ball is right around the corner. For those of you that aren’t familiar with the ball, it’s held every year to celebrate the Marine Corps’ birthday, this year being the 237th. Marines wear their jaw-dropping blues and the ladies get to wear fancy dresses and feel pretty =).
Being overseas, the selection of dresses (especially ones that will fit!) is pretty slim. Since, I’m going to order online, I think I ought to order soon, just in case the shipping takes forever. I’m also going to order the dress a size or too bigger to play it safe. Then once it’s here, I’ll try it on and take it in to get altered.
So here’s the fun part. I’ve been looking and looking! And I’ve narrowed it down to five dresses. I found all of them on this website that was recommended to me by a friend. They’re all pretty different in style, which I think makes it so much harder to choose.

I like the mermaid effect of this dress. And the red! Though I’ve never been much of a red person, I’ve always wanted to be! I also like the extra coverage on top. I have to keep reminding myself that I’ll be nursing around ball season, so I’ll be extra loaded!

I love, love, love this color. I think whatever dress I get, it just may end up being this color. That’s another great thing about this site, all dresses come in most colors and they’re made upon order. I’m not a big fan of the strapless, mostly because it acknowledges all that armpit fat (and this baby has certainly given me some excess along with my boobs!), but I do like the way the bottom falls.
I like the coverage up top on this one and the cut in the middle. Keep in mind I’ll only be 6 weeks post-baby when I but any of these bad-boys on, so anything that’ll hide the post-baby flub is a winner in my book! I would definitely have to order another color with this one!
So I know I said I wasn’t a fan of the strapless and this is pretty close to strapless, but I really love the style of this dress! The tummy coverage is wonderful and I like the over the shoulder deal. I could do blue too... or yellow/gold.

This one is different and I like it that way. I really like the material and the cinched waist with lots of coverage up top (I’m really self-conscious about my armpits.. it’s weird, I know). I’m just not sure what color this would look best in.

Those are my top 5, in no particular order. Let me know what you think, a girl can’t decide by herself ya know!

I’ll probably order it sometime in September, so I’ll be sure to keep you updated on which one is THE one!  

 And after that it’s onto hair, make-up, shoes, jewelry... oh so many decisions for one night!



"Jack of All Trades, Master of None" : That's OKAY!

Whoever coined the term, “Jack of all trades, master of none” must have known me in some strange distant way. Believe it or not, I had only heard that term for the first time about a year ago! Is that crazy? I had heard “Jack of all trades,” but hearing the “master of none” part spoke to me with flashing lights and wailing sirens. That’s me!!

For the longest time I’ve struggled with the fact that I have no passion. There is no one thing in my life that takes center stage. I haven’t been doing, collecting, or practicing anything for an insane amount of years. There just isn’t anything that I absolutely have to do every week, month or year without having withdrawals and for some reason this bothered me. I’ve tried really hard to dive into things like cooking, baking, crocheting, various sports (I’ve tried dozens!), and tons of other classic hobbies. Each one came and went as another phase or craze.

My husband will gladly share plenty of very true and slightly embarrassing stories from what he calls my “hippie days,” when I was working at a summer camp and decided I needed to rock the surfer look, become a vegetarian (which last about 3 months… all I ate was pasta!), and thought it was okay to only shower bi-weekly.. what?! I swam in a chlorinated pool… that gets you clean enough, right? ..Yea, it was that intense.

Yes, that's me on the left.
That wig may have been a one-time deal,
but those shades, bracelets, beads, and headbands
were daily accessories for the entire summer! =)

Keep Calm and Surf On, Dude!

I would say all of the phases I went through were “intense” while they lasted. Or at least I was very interested and passionate about them for the time being. I once baked 5 cheesecakes from scratch in one day! If you’ve never made a real, from scratch, home-made cheesecake, just know that it takes forever! And the cleaning up part takes even longer. I can’t be sure that there still isn’t dried, crusty, cheesecake splatter somewhere in that apartment. But that’s beside the point.

The point is, I spent so much time searching for that one thing that I could be passionate about FOREVER, that I never realized how passionate I was about the things I was doing at the moment. I mean, that’s what really counts right? I can’t expect myself to be a dedicated Olympic athlete, or a TV worthy cook like Rachael Ray or Paula Deen (although it would be completely cool, and I have some serious respect for anyone who can master something).

All I can do is be my best and love what I’m doing, even if it only lasts a few weeks, or months.

Now that I’ve come to that realization and totally believe in it, I’m having one of those, “Yea! Why didn’t I think of that before!” moments. I’m not my 100% best every day, and yes I still do things that I don’t totally love, but for the most part I find myself pouring my heart into even the little things I do. So I may not yet be a master of any trade and I may never become one, but I certainly know and have done a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  I have laughed and loved all along the way and I’ll be perfectly fine if I never find a permanent niche.  



The Perfect [anniversary] Gift.

Seriously, why is it so hard to come up with a gift idea for a man.  I could think of a million things my husband could do for me for our anniversary, yet it took me weeks of searching to figure out what I was going to give him! All I knew was that it had to be perfect.  And Cheap. I may be a working woman, but I am definitely on a budget.

I thought for a while about things my husband may have mentioned or things that he enjoyed and I realized that it had been so long since we had spent time together NOT being parents that I wasn’t really sure what he liked anymore.  So, we obviously needed some alone time.  So for the first part of my gift, I made reservations for Okuma, a local military “resort” here on Okinawa.  I knew we’d have to take little man, because there’s no way I’m ready to leave him with anyone overnight yet, but at least it would get us out of the house for the weekend and out of the everyday routines we’ve fallen into.

Keeping up with the latest craze, I scoured Pinterest for gift ideas. I stumbled onto The Dating Divas and almost immediately found what I was looking for. A Passport to Love.  A homemade gift that required plenty of thought and love and would guarantee a date with my husband at least once a month for a year… Sold.  And it was cheap! For now at least. I made a list, using some of the ideas listed on the website, of all the places we’d go “visit” in a year. Mikael has only opened his August adventure so far, so I can’t spill the beans yet, but I will keep you posted.
Anyway I printed the passport, put it all together and added Mikael's information.

I also printed the airline tickets to all the places we were going. And then I decided to add a few tidbits about each country. I printed each country’s flag, a map, and a picture that I thought reminded me most of that country. (This particular month also included tickets to the wine festival!!! See the Italian theme there? )

I also bought a pack of blank thank you cards ( the only purchase I made for this gift) and then I made a card for each date/country. On top I wrote the destination and on the bottom half, I wanted to remind my husband that no matter where we go in the world (which could be anywhere with the military!) I will always love him. I then wrote 12 different reasons why in each card, so he could be reminded each month.

I put them all together, bundled them up and added a not and voila!

He loved it!  We’re going to “Italy” first, so stay tuned and you can travel the world with us! =)

Our Trips