1.01.2017

2016 Year in Review

Oh yes, it is that time of year again!  When I actually pay attention to my poor, neglected blog and go over the last year in Q&A format.  So, what did I do this year?

I think I will post a month by month rundown of my year with the highs and lows in an upcoming post.


01. What did you do in 2016 that you'd never done before?

Sky Cycle, Achievement Unlocked!  Seriously, this thing kept going viral, and we went right by the park where it was at so decided to check it out.  It is seriously overhyped.



 02. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Always makes some, always revisit them the next year to see how I did.  View Upcoming Post on my success (or lack thereof)

 03. Did anyone close to you give birth?


I had a couple of friends give birth, and my sister in law.  

 04. Did anyone close to you die?


I will feel really foolish if I say no and I forgot about somebody, but no.  

 05. What countries did you visit?

Japan and the USA.  Mostly Japan.  

 6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

Energy.  And a functioning back.  Actually the first part of 2016 was fine, it was the latter part where I felt like an old lady.  

 07. What date from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Funny how no dates just jump out at me from this year, though time periods do.  I guess November 8th, because of the election, which seems to be a big thing for this year.  

 08. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Getting out and exploring.  Prior to September, we did a LOT.  Very full and fun year for our little family.  

 09. What was your biggest failure?


Not staying active through the latter part of the year.  Seriously people, if you get pregnant, stay active.  If you weren't active before, try to at least go out for a walk regularly or something, but just stay active!  I kind of hit a lull midway through the second trimester, we focused on potty training Ashlyn and weaning Corbin so didn't do a whole lot.  I paid a price for it.  

 10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I'm currently in the midst of a 9 month injury, haha!

 11. What was the best thing you bought?


Memories.  Lots of Memories.  

 12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Our tenant, when we finally kicked him out of the house.  There was a bit of Schadenfreude there, I apologize, but he was a serious pain in the butt.  It was more of a "Don't let the door hit you on the way out!" kind of thing.  But I don't think that's what this was asking.  Meanwhile, I'm not sure how to answer this question normally.  

 13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
 

Gosh, I think the entirity of the USA.  I get it, since I'm not a fan of our current President Elect, but how some people have acted in response has made me shake my head.  I'm not looking forward to returning back to the States in regards to politics.  Things are very touchy in regards to anything related to the presidential election, which I was never a fan of regardless of which direction it went.  

 14. Where did most of your money go?


A motorhome.  We had a few maintenance issues come up with it.  Also, a car died, one that we were expecting to get some money out of when we left here, but it went kaput, end of story, no use coming back from the dead.  We had to junk it and any investment into it, then turn around and buy a car to replace it that we believe we will most likely have to junk when we leave.  That was a big ouch that we weren't planning on.  We also went on a few roadtrips, but those were worth it.  

 15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

The Roadtrips we took, we had a lot of plans and it was just a really fun year for that.  

 16. What songs will always remind you of 2016?
  

I guess Mariah Carey's ultimate fail of a New Year's Eve party will be a big part of that (even though it was already 2017 when I got the word, hehe, I didn't see it myself but it was EVERYWHERE!).  But I don't really listen to music all that much and I think I am showing my age.  

 17. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?

Considering how strong of a note we ended 2015 on, 

 ii. Thinner or fatter?

I'm currently 35 weeks pregnant, and baby is measuring big and I am carrying some excess fluids.  So I feel like a whale.  

iii. Richer or poorer?


I think we are at a wash in that regard.  We are fine financially, thank goodness, because otherwise losing that car would have been a lot more painful then it already was.  

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Worked on our Japanese.  We've been here for two and a half years, my Japanese is actually quite mediocre considering.  And it doesn't look like we will be working to get it any better.  

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Surfed Facebook, or my phone in general.  Serious time suck.  

 20. How did you spend Christmas?

It was a quiet day with the family.  We opened presents, meant to go to Church but that kind of got away from us, then we went out to eat at the D-Fac so I didn't have to cook.  Came home after that and played with all of our new stuff.  

 22. Did you fall in love in 2016?

Well, I'm already in love with my husband, and I love my kids.  I guess I fell in Love with Zion's National Park, heck National Parks in general.  When we get back stateside, Gus and I are ditching the kids and taking a little trip together.  We have to.  

23. Favorite Month 0f 2016


This is a tough one, there was a lot of good things about 2016.  April was awesome.  So was June.  So was July.  Heck, August, whatever.  They had a lot of great memories.  September left something to be desired, but it was not without its perks, and it was a necessary break from the go-go-go of the earlier part of the year. Anyway, as a whole, 2016 wasn't a bad year for us, not at all.  

 24. What were your favorite TV programs?

Do kid shows count?  I have seen a fair few, but my mom-brain seems to have forgotten most of it.  

 25. Did you have a falling out with anyone that remains unresolved?


With this year, I would say no.  I try not to hold grudges anyway, it affects me more than the person I'm holding a grudge against.  I try to keep peace between my various family members and friends anyway, I'm not really the type to try to stir things up, mostly.  At least I try not to.  More often than not, I just lose touch with people, it wasn't a really falling out, its more about going our separate directions.   

 26. What was the best book you read?
 

I am not a huge book reader by any means, but toward the end of the year, some friends in church started up a book club again and I have been trying to stay apart of that.  Anyway, the first book we read, A Long Walk To Water, was fantastic.  

 27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
 
Music?  What is this culturally enriching thing you speak of?  Seriously, I don't listen to much music.

 28. What did you want and get?


A series of memories of different adventures in various parts of Japan.  

 29. What did you want and not get?


A trip to Nagasaki.  We broke down on the way there. 

 30. What was your favorite film of this year?


I would have to say Rogue One.  And I say that having not seen much of any movies in the theater, so my movie viewing has been limited.  I also liked Finding Dory.  

 31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

We celebrated number 36 on a Tuesday.  I think I had an appointment earlier in the day.  I didn't want to cook dinner, so we ate out at a little Chinese place called Karinba.  I got something a little slimier than I meant to.  Gus got me a cake that was actually a hodgepodge of cakes.  My visiting teacher brought me a Chocolate Bundt Cake, we were covered in the cake department.  I didn't really ask for anything in particular, but Gus got me some chocolate covered Hawaiian Macadamian nuts.  They were tasty.  I gorged.  


 32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?


Not having the breakdowns we did, and probably not losing our car.  That was the biggest down turn.  Also, if by some incredible luck somebody other than Hillary or Trump won the election.  

 33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?


Oversized T-shirts and Lounge pants towards the end.  Before that, Jeans and a T-shirt.  I am not fashion conscience, and I don't pretend to be.  I dress for comfort.  However, my oldest daughter is turning into a bit of a clothes horse, and it cracks me up.  She always has to have a dress or a skirt on, and she hates jeans.  She loves leggings, though she wears holes in the knees before I get the opportunity to replace them.  

 34. What kept you sane?


My little family has kept me sane, while at the same time, being the source of my bursts of insanity from time to time.  Gotta love being a mom.  Overall, I think I have kept a fairly level head.  Gus might suggest otherwise.    

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you like the most?

*scratches head*  I'm clueless.  I don't know why I bother with this question.  Who cares?  I'm not 19 anymore, I could care less about celebrity figures.  Public Figures too for that matter.  I really tried to get behind Gary Johnson, but he sort of derailed somewhere halfway through the year and though I still cast my vote for the guy, I was kind of relieved that he had zero chance of winning the election and it was more about casting my vote for the party he represented (though I'm not 100% libertarian by any stretch of the imagination)

 36. What political issue stirred you the most?
  

It was 2016.  The absolute worse election year in the history of my life.  We had two crap candidates at the head of the major tickets and I just wanted to ignore the whole thing.  I am remaining cautiously optimistic with Trump and just waiting to see what kind of President he will be, as getting upset doesn't change anything and I don't have the energy to get upset over it.  So yeah, that whole thing.  

 37. Who/what did you miss?
 

When I went back stateside for 7 weeks, I really missed Gus.  Coming back to Japan, I miss my family back stateside.  Apparently, we also missed the rhythm method with our fertility window and wound up pregnant with a little "Oops" baby.  So that one will be joining our family in 2017.  This is the final munchkin, I swear.  We are done with kids after this, as we are no spring chickens, and I have discovered that I miss my youth.  

 38. Who was the best new person you met?


I have met a lot of fantastic people over the year, one of the things about living on a Military Instillation, people come and go constantly.  We had an influx of new friends over this summer and it is hard to just pin one person down that leaves an impact.  Sadly, we see a lot of friends go as well.  
 
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.


Sometimes, you just have to roll with it.  Life happens, things can take a turn for the worse, you have to assess what you can do in such a situation and sometimes there isn't anything you can do.  

 40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Seeing how I am not musically inclined, I never know how to answer this question.  Google doesn't seem to be wanting to help me in this regard.  I guess I'll go back to the 1990's and say "All I want to do is have some fun" by Sheryl Crow and leave it at that.  

1.02.2016

New Year's Resolutions 2015/2016 Edition

Every year without fail, I post my goals for the prior year, how I did, and then what I am looking forward to the next year.  I may not post anything else all year, but I post this.  How'd I do?

1. Natural Childbirth - Done and done.  In a hospital, minimal interventions, I was satisfied with the experience.  Seriously, I can do labor no problem.  I don't like the 9 months working up to it.

2. Organize my Life/ Set up guest room - We'll give this an amber.  I don't think my life will ever truly be organized, but we did have a functioning guestroom for the summer.

 3. One big trip Once a Quarter - Another part way.  We made it to Tokyo and the trip there and back was quite the adventure.  Tokyo itself however...well, lessons learned.  It was the only big trip we did this year, but it was enough.
 3.1.  Mini trips once a month in summer-  Kawarage, Tsugaru and Star Wars with Rice Art and Nebuta, we had at least one trip a month this summer.  And don't forget Tokyo!
 3.2.  Major Festivals Year Round - Hirosaki Snow Lanterns, Misawa Tanabata, Aomori Nebuta, and a couple other little ones.  I might not have seen the really big ones that I wanted to, but I'll call this one a success.

4. Run -  This one is far more red than green.  Well, I did run, somewhat.  But with very little consistency.  Seriously, that third kid.  Love him though.
4.1 Base Races -  Big fat fail.  I didn't do one.
 5. Live the Title Soccer Mom - For the first half of the year, I did.  Second half, forget it.  Talk about exhausting.  Kaia is doing Preschool though.

6. Potty Training - Halfway there.  Kaia is trained.  Ashlyn is not.  She is ready though, I just have to commit to it. 

7. Preparedness -  I should give myself a little credit. It isn't as bad as it could be.  This is important enough to make it a repeat resolution though. Well, we do have a motorhome now...

8. DA Photo / Military Biography - Who am I kidding?  I'm not doing squat with anything to do with my military career while I am over here.  Still, I would like to update my DA photo.

9. Hire a Mamasan -  Done, they are life savers, and it is nice to have a clean house every two weeks, even if it lasts a couple of hours.
 9.1. Keep the house between Mamasan visits - Haha!  This should just be rephrased to handling kiddos better.  That is a goal for 2016.

10. Prepare to Go to the Temple - I am actually making good strides here.  I shall continue to head in that direction.  Maybe 2016 will be my year?

So, what are the goals for 2016?  We'll start with the repeats.

1. Potty training - Ashlyn is on deck, and she is really close.  I'll call it a success if I can get her trained before her third birthday.  I don't want to push her too much though, that stresses both of us out, but this would be awesome.

2. Preparedness - That means getting our paperwork straight in the event of an emergency and we have to be shipped out of here.  Also, 72 hour kits, and water.  I would like to think we have two weeks worth of food.  Its difficult to stock more than that.

3. Travel, Travel, Travel - We have a motorhome and we aren't afraid to use it!  This does involve planning out trips though.  We got a couple planned for down south, plus those long weekends to take advantage of.  We are learning through trial and error.  Yes, this is in line with #3 above.
3.1. All Japan Fireworks Festival - This year.  We will do it
3.2. Sapparo - Maybe, and likely via Ferry.  In conjunction with temple open house would be awesome.  Otherwise, Snow Festival.
3.3.  Tokyo - Tentative date of June.  We have family visiting, also possibly friends. 
3.4.  Southern Honshu - Because why not?  That requires a lot of preplanning though.

4. Temple - This year, I hope to make this happen.  If not, at least continue in that direction so it can happen next year.

5. Birthdays - Without going into too much detail, I want to acknowledge birthdays in ways other than a facebook greeting to siblings and niblings.  I've been planning this for a while, this year, I will make it happen.

6. Limit Political Talk - Nothing brings people closer than talking politics, hah!  Anyone who knows me well knows I'm a bit of a political junkie.  I follow current events closely and I feel like I stay reasonably informed.  Plus, this is an election year.  However, nothing gets me riled up quite like politics, and the desire for the last word.  One simple way to avoid this is to avoid talking politics in the first place.  Well, I can't promise that, it's a presidential election year after all.  So I'm limiting myself to one facebook post a month on politics.  Maybe link those to the blog, maybe.  I'm not going to engage other people on their facebook pages, if people get too political I will probably simply unfollow them.  I do not have the time right now to get riled up.  I have three kids I have to chase.

7. Pass my MSTs - Roller Derby related.  I need to pass my minimal skills test, which requires me to skate more, which requires me to practice, well, you get the idea.  Passing my MSTs forces me to do those other things.  I would like to put a hard date, like maybe this summer or something, but depending on life in general, I might just consider myself lucky if I pass them by year's end.

8. Organize the chaos - my life is chaos, hopefully I can yell less while I'm at it.  This includes getting the kids on a schedule, because when we are on a schedule, everyone is happy.  Sticking to the schedule can be trying. 
8.1 - Limit my phone/facebook/social media time - Maybe give myself a limit a day, because wow, what a time suck.  I can't ditch it entirely though, because that's how people contact me.  And that's how I stay in contact with friends and family back home.  But aimlessly surfing the web, though it is how I keep up to date, can be a time suck too.  Really cut back in that area. 

9. Summer Reading Program - I signed up for it last year, but we didn't do it.  It was just to much for me.  I like the idea though, so I'm going to try to get it done with the girls this year.  And Corbin too.  Might as well.  These kinds of things put me on a schedule, which is a good thing. 

10. Family Pics and Christmas Cards - I got them out last year, I want to try again this year.  And get them out in a timely fashion.  Anyway, its a good excuse for taking family pictures.

11. Get the Creative Juices Flowing - This could be in the way of art, writing, or photography.  I did a month long photo challenge last month and loved it, I need to do those more often, which kind of gets me into sub resolutions.  I really want to just take my camera out with me and get better pictures of what we are seeing and doing. 
11.1 Participate in some kind of monthly challenge every other month - I did one for December, so we'll stick to even numbered months.  This could be a photo a day type thing with a prewritten list, or even some kind of sketch challenge or something.  I can do more than every other month, but I'll try to stick to a minimum of one a month.
11.2. Draw! - Once upon a time, when I was a wee child, I thought myself an artist.  I just need to pick up a sketch pad every once in a while and draw again.  I'm leaving this vague, if I can draw regularly, I'll consider myself a success in this endeavor.
11.3 - Learn a new skill - I don't know what yet, but something crafty, or artsy.  Maybe knitting?
11.4 - Write a Children's Book - I have a couple ideas, I should knock them out while my children are still children.
11.5. Deviantart - Document the above. . .

12. Family Home Evening - This is a Mormon thing.  I want to be consistent with it.  My kids are getting to an age where they would benefit from it too.

13. Child-bearing ultimatum - are we or aren't we done?  This year we shall know for sure.  Because once we are sure we are done, there isn't going to be any more happy little accidents, if you get my meaning.

14. Work out - mostly run, but I'll keep it vague.  Hey, it's new year's!  What resolution list is complete without the desire to get into shape!  Round is a shape. 

So that's enough.  Looks like if I do it, I'm going to be pretty busy.  But I think 2016 is going to be a good year. 

1.01.2016

2015 Year in Review

You think I abandon this thing, but every new year, I post an update about my year in review, and a resolution post.  And if I had a kid, I'll tell you my birth story.  I have a few drafts in my queue that I never finished, I just can't stop long enough to write anything in too much detail, and by the time I get back to it, the moment has passed and I don't feel like finishing the post.  Maybe one day, I will revive the blog, but meanwhile, you will always find me on Facebook. 

 01. What did you do in 2015 that you'd never done before?
Gave birth to a boy.  I have given birth before, but to girls.  I also became a den leader to cub scouts.  Hard work but a lot of fun.  Discovered Roller Derby.  Love it, so much fun, however my life is crazy so I can't give of myself to it like I would like to. 

 02. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I always do, but rather than resolutions, I guess I'd call them goals.  Or maybe that is exactly what resolutions are?  Oh well, I find them kind of fun so yes. 

 03. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes.  Me.  Also a few friends.  And some cousins.  My sister-in-law. I know a lot of people in the baby making business apparently. 

 04. Did anyone close to you die?

 No.

 05. What countries did you visit?

We have stuck to Japan.  We never left the country for 2015. 

 6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?

  More opportunities to travel and see the sights.  2015 had its moments, but we were often stuck inside.  Three kids does a number on you.  Especially when they are all young. 

 07. What date from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

May 1st.  I had a baby.  Those days are etched in your memories forever.   

 08. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Having a baby I guess.  Becoming a mom to three and not completely losing my sanity.  But I have come pretty close.  I also got Christmas cards out and my life is slowly getting more organized.  I notice when I have goals or little milestones I shoot for, I feel better.  I started Roller Derby, but haven't really advanced much through it. Hopefully that will change this year.  Getting a handle on Cub Scouts.  Lots of things.  Busy busy.  Keeping myself busy is good for me. 

 09. What was your biggest failure?

Being overcome with mom fatigue has made me a bit of a party pooper at times.  I have also lost my temper a few times and I immensely regret it afterward.  A lot of my failures seem to revolve around being a mom.  I'm glad my kids are so forgiving.  The neighbors might not be so, however.

 10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I had a baby.  Recovering from that counts. 

 11. What was the best thing you bought?

A motor home.  A tiny pintsized motorhome that my daughter calls a "Camping Car", so we can go see more of Japan.  Now we have to find our groove with it.  I wish we could ship this thing back home, it is seriously awesome.  More adventures await us in 2016!

 12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
  Can I just say that USAA rocks?  Well, it does!  I'm a fan of this company. 

 13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
  A certain tenant in our rental back home.  I will not go into detail, that scenario is still playing out.  But it was very hair raising for a little bit.

 14. Where did most of your money go?
A motor home.  Actually a lot of thought went into this purchase.  We think we can find a way to get most of our money back out of it when we leave here.

 15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Having a baby boy.  Going to Tokyo, which didn't play out like we wanted it to. 

 16. What songs will always remind you of 2015?
I avoid current music when I can.   2015 seemed to have really bad music for some reason.  And I'm not huge in following music, 

 17. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?

I would have to say I was doing pretty well last year this time and I feel the same this year.

 ii. Thinner or fatter?

Thinner.  Last year I was pregnant. 

iii. Richer or poorer?

Poorer for having purchased a motor home, but richer in the experiences it will hopefully bring.  Truthfully, we are ok. 

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Given hugs. 

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
 Yelled at my kids. 

 20. How did you spend Christmas?
Quiet morning at home with the family.  We then went to the water park and went swimming with some friends.  Then we came home and had a sodium soaked ham. 

 22. Did you fall in love in 2014?
Yes, with a little boy named Corbin.

23. Favorite Month 0f 2015
 May was a good month.  I'm going with May.  July was pretty sweet too, though it had a hiccup in there. 

 24. What were your favourite TV programs?

I discovered Doctor Who, but seriously, with kids I didn't get a good chance to really discover Doctor Who, because I would totally get into it.  Kids prevent me so far from it.  I'm digging My Little Pony and Phineas and Ferb, so glad Netflix finally released season 4. 

 25. Did you have a falling out with anyone that remains unresolved?

Actually, yes.  Long story, it's a somewhat distant family member who is a Social Justice Warrior, it involved Facebook and the year where everyone became offended over everything.  I'm a little irked it played out the way it did, anyway, she went on a tirade and I trolled her for it.  I probably should have just out and told her that her method of persuasion was less than persuasive, anyway, not sure if any other cousins appreciated my blunt method.  Oh well, if I see her at a family reunion in the future, I'm sure we'll talk, but not counting on her showing up, as she doesn't seem to particularly care for the family.  not sure if I will either for that matter, though I would love too.    

 26. What was the best book you read?
I didn't read much in the way of books, but I have been trying to refocus my life this year.  Do kids books count?  I'm going to go with The Book with No Pictures. 

 27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
  Lindsey Stirling, I love her!

 28. What did you want and get?

A healthy baby boy and a motor home

 29. What did you want and not get?

We wanted to move out of the Towers.  It didn't happen.  So we adapted and overcame.   I'm ok with it now.  I also want to get better at roller skating but that requires me practicing more.  So that one is on me,

 30. What was your favourite film of this year?

I guess I liked Inside Out and Star Wars, The Force Awakens.  I didn't see a whole lot of movies this year, but I'm a big enough Star Wars Fan that we had to see it before the spoilers seeped out. 

 31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 35.  It was quiet, and unfortunately, an earlier incident kind of ruined it for me.  It wasn't Gus's fault, but he sort of spaced it.  But as you get older, birthdays are less important. 

 32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If I didn't yell at my kids so much, and if they wouldn't push my buttons like they do. 

 33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
Nothing has changed. Nothing.  My personal fashion concept remains forever unchanged, I am completely and utterly predictable in this area.  Most of the time, I go out with no make up.  I reserve that for special occasions, though my kids are working it over so soon I won't have the paltry handful of items I currently possess. 

 34. What kept you sane?
Church.  Church keeps me sane.  I find kindred spirits there, and it is a place of renewal and reflection.  My social network in Misawa mostly surrounds my church friends. 

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you like the most?
When I see this question every year, I blank out, seriously. 

 36. What political issue stirred you the most?
 This next year is going to be a doozy.  Anyway, the appeal of Donald Trump I guess.  I do not get him.  2016 is going to be a circus. 

 37. Who/what did you miss?
 Family back home.  My mom did come visit for a month.  So did my mother in law.  I still miss them.  Also, I miss my horse. 

 38. Who was the best new person you met?
A little boy named Corbin.  Also made some great friends in Church. 

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.
 You choose your attitude.  In the year of the perpetually offended, you have to choose your own reactions.  I choose not to take offense.  It has served me well.

 40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"Hello"  I'm going with that one.

5.06.2015

Corbin's Birth Story



 Corbin was born on May 1st, 2015 at 3:36 am at a whopping 9lb2oz and 22 inches in length.  He shared a due date with his older sister of May 9th, just two years apart, however their birthdays are a scant two days difference. 

One thing I learned from giving birth three times, is that every time is different.  Every pregnancy is different, and every birth is different.  Kaia was a first time mom experience, Ashlyn was an anomaly in a lot of ways.  I was kind of looking at my experiences prior and using them as a basis for what I might experience this time around, but I think I leaned on them a little too much.  But let me go back to the beginning.

I found out I was pregnant on September 4th, 2014.  We had been in Japan for four months, and another baby wasn’t really on the agenda for us.  I do admit that I had started feeling like we were supposed to have another, but Gus and I were kind of assessing where we were in our life, and a third child wasn’t quite in the picture just yet.  We were open to the whole notion of having another baby, if it happened, but we weren’t trying, and we were taking precautions to prevent another one sneaking in there.  However, I guess some things are meant to be because sneak in there he did.  I almost cried when I saw the positive line on the pregnancy test.  After the initial panic and shock wore off, I just settled into the idea that we were going to be the parents of three kids, and a family of five.  What are we in for? 
When pregnant in Japan, get a maternity pic in a Kimono
 
Our adventures slowed down quite a bit because I got car sick easily on the roads of northern Japan in the first trimester.  I kept this pregnancy mum for a while, only telling a handful of people.  We were trying to figure out how to tell our family when my sis in law provided the opportunity with an excuse to head back to the States for her wedding.  We announced our pregnancy at fourteen weeks and fifteen weeks to our respective families while we were home for the holidays, and then made the ‘Facebook’ announcement on Christmas, when we found out what we were having.  After two rambunctious little girls, we were going to add a boy to the mix.  I had a feeling from the start that it was going to be a boy, mother’s intuition I guess.  A lot of people were surprised we were pregnant, and that we hid the news until we were twenty weeks.  It was kind of fun having that secret in a lot of ways. 

Every pregnancy is different, I could tell this one was different in subtle ways.  I went into the pregnancy being very active, I had started running and working out with the intention of continuing through out, well, that went out the window by week six.  The exhaustion hit me and I was just done with worrying about it, since I was taking care of a sixteen month old and a nearly three year old at the same time.  I didn’t have time to worry about that, and though I craved the naps I got with my first two pregnancies, forget it with this one.  I snuck one in when Gus was home from time to time, but they were few and far between.  I got some strange reactions with certain foods, and the last month I got swollen feet.  Where did those come from?  They were a pain, though I count my blessings because I was very healthy aside from that.

The birth however, threw me a bit.  Because I had a very fast labor and delivery with Ashlyn, and when I was checked at my last appointment, I was already dilated to a 3-4 and 70% effaced, I decided that when I knew it was labor, I would go in.  I wasn’t going to joke around with that.  I felt that I would be lucky if this was a repeat of Ashlyn’s birth, and a part of me felt like I could have birthed her easily at home if it had come down to it.  In fact, my intuition felt like this would be another quick labor.  Well, it wasn’t.  But that wasn’t a problem because of all of my labors, this was the easiest.  Delivery was a different story.

My mom flew out on Monday, the 27th of April, and I was just hoping that I could hold out until then, taking it very easy so my mom could be here for the birth.  Then it was go time.  I was ready for this baby to arrive, and boy was I feeling it.  On April 30th, we had gone and grabbed a few groceries at the commissary and I was feeling a little off.  I had Braxton hicks that were pretty intense at times, not painful, just really uncomfortable, and this was a bit different.  When we got home, I started monitoring them, trying to time them, but they weren’t the most consistent.  The pain level was all over the place and it was actually pretty manageable.  I knew it was labor though, but I didn’t want to jump the gun.  The contractions kicked in just before 4.  They were coming about every five minutes, give or take.  I felt like I could manage them and labor at home for longer, but with my history, I just felt safe in going in and making sure I was there instead of having an accidental delivery at home.  They kind of frown on that at military bases.  To give you an idea of how mellow these contractions were, my mom insisted on taking a picture of my belly at that moment.  She insisted I was pretty far out there.  I did feel rather enormous and ready to move this baby along.  I still retained my sense of humor too.

time to get this kid out of me!
 Because Gus was close to the end of his shift, I just waited for him to get off before I called him, telling him to come home.  We all loaded up in the car, took the kids to a friend who offered to baby sit them, and headed to the hospital.  I was still having some labor, but it was still really mild and a bit more irregular, definitely early labor symptoms.  The nurses went ahead and got me a room, allowing me to stay because of my history as they checked me out.  I was dilated to a 4, maybe a 5, and still 70% effaced.  I was also still having some really mellow contractions.  The nurses weren’t concerned too much, saying they would check me in a couple of hours to see how I was progressing, in the meantime just coming in now and again to make sure things weren’t progressing to fast. 

And so we sat.  And waited.  I twiddled my thumbs for a bit, and wondered what the heck this was.  I knew it was labor, but I was beginning to second guess myself.  The contractions were starting to stall. 

I had a friend who was certifying to become a doula present and we decided to go for a walk or do something to speed things up.  I tried squatting, I tried lunges, I tried speed walking, I tried all sorts of things.  Nothing was really happening.  Gus grabbed dinner and I just asked for dried carbs so he brought me triscuits.  This was getting a little lame, and a little embarrassing.  I just felt labor completely stalled out.  They came back, checked me again, no progression, and told me to go ahead and go home, and come back in when things were a little more intense.  They told me not to worry about it, they would rather me come in than not, and I was the only one in Labor and Delivery at present so there wasn’t a whole lot going on anyway.  So around seven o’clock, we headed home, I felt a little defeated. 

Bouncing on a yoga ball, doing speed walks around the corridor of our apartment building, other. . . stuff. . ., anything to get this sucker moving. 

Nothing.  Le Sigh.  I was sort of hoping for an April Baby.  Looks like he was coming in May after all. 

We were resolute to go ahead and call it quits, time for me to go to bed.  I messaged my babysitter as we contemplated getting the kids, but decided to leave them there, just in case.  Besides, Kaia was already asleep.  It could still happen, I just wasn’t sure what was happening at present.

Well, I woke up around midnight to some more intense contractions.  It felt promising, but they weren’t so bad that I couldn’t talk through them.  I went ahead and decided to walk around and monitor them a little more closely.  They were still spread out, about five minutes apart.  I woke up my mom and we monitored them together.  She wasn’t sure what I was experiencing, because they were still relatively mild, but they were coming more and more regular.  I went ahead and sat down, and they kind of went away, but as soon as I stood up, they would get me.  This is not how contractions are supposed to behave so it had me baffled.

It was kind of a strange labor, sitting stalled them, standing started them.  What in the heck?  We decided when I found the pain unbearable we would head in.  We debated waking up Gus while we monitored them, but I decided to let him sleep.  Then I had a strange contraction, it wasn’t anywhere but at my pelvic joints, not in my back, not in my legs.  I could talk through it relatively easily, it just left me a little winded, and that was the first sign something was happening.  I decided to sit down and just sit until a contraction hit.  We continued to talk, I was wondering if these contractions would move closer together at all, and then bam!  That one was a little more intense.  And then something was noticeably different.  I started trembling a little, and mom knew I finally transitioned.  She suggested we wait for another contraction like that and I was No, get Gus up now. 

We headed back to the hospital at two in the morning, giving them a phone call to let them know that this time this was it.  They were waiting for us and sent us back to the first room we had been in where they checked me again.  I was at 9 cm and dilated 90%, time to call the doctor.  They expected me to go before he got there, but no, this was an odd labor already and it continued to be odd.  Even if I had wanted an epidural it was too late to get one, so we went through the process of breathing through my contractions waiting for that last cm to finish and allowing this baby to come. 

An important part of any labor is a supportive birth partner. 
I did miss my sister's photography talent this time around however.
 
Labor had stalled again.  It was hospital policy to put in an IV so I had to wait through that, fortunately my labor was still relatively mild in the scheme of things while we waited for my body to finish that last little bit.  Nothing.  Still nothing.  I didn’t want to sit, I wanted to stand, so we stood through the contractions while Gus bore through my pressure points at my hips, which provided relief.  Still, this last cm was not cooperating so they offered to break my water, which hadn’t broken yet.  The nurses were impressed by how calm I was, but gave me advice on what to do to speed things along.  They suggested I would go into delivery right away if that happened and baby would be right there.  I looked at the time and gave myself until 3:15, if I didn’t go into delivery on my own by then, I would let them break my water.  Well, 3:15 came and went, and at 3:17 the doctor broke my water.  We were on our way. 

It took my body a bit to figure out that something had changed, but I was resolute to not birth on my back.  I wasn’t sure what position I wanted to push in, so I got on my hands and knees and decided to repeat my delivery with Ashlyn.  However, this was not Ashlyn’s birth, it was different, and I realized that it wasn’t going to behave like it did then.  Something was different.  I probably sat there breathing through the contractions for five to ten minutes waiting for the urge to push.  When it came, I started pushing.  The labor had been easy up until this point.  Then it became quite painful.  He wasn’t coming out easy peasy like Ashlyn did, I was going to have to work at this one. 

When his head started to crown, I tried to ease him out of the birth canal, and I felt his head emerge, I could have sworn it did, and then the pushing stopped.  I just sat there, waiting for another contraction to hit and that urge to push to return.  There was a brief calm.  I didn’t know what was going on, I couldn’t see what I was doing, but apparently something was wrong.  I had nearly pushed his head out, but when I had stopped pushing, his head was sucked back inside of me.  The doctor checked to see what was going on, and then ordered me to get on my back.  I didn’t fight him, this wasn’t right, it wasn’t the same birth as my last so I willingly went to my back and with the next contraction he told me to push as hard as I could.  I wanted a delayed cord clamp, but they had to cut the cord which was wrapped tightly around his neck.  As soon as it was cut, they needed me to push and get him out.  Now.  I pushed, and I gave a scream, and out he came.  I reached for him, wanting to hold him, but was informed that they needed to take him at that moment, and I saw why when I realized he was dark purple and limp.  They needed to get him breathing again.  I was still in shock from delivery and looked over at my mom, who was crying.  I wasn’t sure if it was tears of joy or not, but she later told me that it had scared her.  Fortunately, they were able to get him breathing within a minute and his color came back.  When I heard him cry it seemed like a collective breath of relief went through that room.  He was going to be ok.  I look back and realize that I couldn’t be more grateful for having been in that hospital then right then.  That was exactly where I needed to be, or else I would have very likely lost Corbin.

Corbin was introduced to the world (via Facebook) with this pic, showing him blue in the face. 
I just watched from my vantage point, unable to see anything, as the doctor focused on me once he was certain my baby was alright.  I was actually not in too bad of a condition, I only had minimal tearing and two stitches took care of that.  I was also still shaking, mostly due to the adrenaline coursing through my body.  I birthed the placenta shortly thereafter and after they got Corbin cleaned up and a little more pink, they went ahead and weighed him, gave him his shots and brought him back over to me. 
A healthier looking Corbin a couple hours later
My first impression was a little marred by the bruising on his poor face.  I had apparently pressed him against my pelvic bone and they warned me that he might be a little bruised and swollen for a bit.  It quickly went away though, and I went about trying to nurse him.  He took to it like a champ.  Everything seemed alright, he appeared healthy except for low blood sugar levels which needed to be rectified by my nursing him.  He was very content and mellow, and I just relished in the skin to skin contact. 

How in the world did this little guy fit inside of me?
My recovery surprised me, I was up on my feet rather quickly and able to take a shower.  Because of a couple minor complications they wanted to keep my in the hospital for at least twenty four hours, which I was fine with. I spent Corbin’s birthday just chilling with him and surfing the internet on my iPad (ok, mainly facebook) and seeing the reactions of people when we announced his birth.  People were a little confused at his birthday, until they remembered we were in Japan and it was already the next day. 
This baby is perfectly chill.  So mellow and easy so far.  The first pic on the internet was his poor black and blue face so I had to get a prettier one when he looked better up ASAP.  He’s a chunk, and at over 9 lbs, I’m trying to figure out how he managed to fit inside of me.  I’m in love with him.  When his sisters came to visit, they were very curious of him.  Ashlyn absolutely adores him.  Good thing too, they will be sharing a birthday season for the rest of their lives. 

Quick family picture. 
Being at home, my recovery is going well, and right now the big concern is Jaundice, which seems to be a problem with all of my babies.  However, we are doing well, adjusting nicely, and I’m having to remind myself that I just gave birth and let my mom and husband dote on me.  It can be difficult with two older children who want me, but we are managing.  I am oh so grateful to have my mother here, and for having an easy infant so far.  We’ll see how I manage once my mom leaves and Gus is back at work again.  I think that will be the biggest transition of all. 

Welcome to the Donnelly Family little Corbin.   

1.29.2015

New Years Resolutions: 2014/2015 edition

You know, I love the idea of having a set of goals to accomplish for the year, and then looking back and seeing how I did.  Sometimes looking back can be depressing, or it can be a chance to reassess where your priorities lie.  My goals have definitely changed over the years.  So this year has been kind of everywhere, in a good way!  I think I did ok, cause I knew before hand where life was going, which mostly dictated where our resolutions were aimed.  How did we do for 2014? 

1. Stay sane -  In the scheme of things, I did pretty ok, though I have moments where I lose it.  I'm a mom, what more can I say?  And my daughter loves to push my buttons.  However, we are managing to cope.  My house is not always clean (pretty much never clean) but we will manage. 

 2. Try not to get pregnant until after Ashlyn turns one (if we get pregnant at all) - Ashlyn was a good fifteen months old when the stork decided to visit.  Yes, it was an accident, we weren't trying.  However, I was starting to feel like we were supposed to have another one.  This little Nugget (his prenatal name until he makes his arrival) will probably be our last, and he is welcome to our family.  Though I was a bit stunned when that pregnancy stick showed that second little line.  Totally not expecting it.

 3. Learn How to Make Sushi -  This skill alludes me.  I do have a sushi making kit, and one day I will learn.  It was not going to be 2014 however.  Besides, I live in Japan, whenever I want Sushi, I have my choice of authentic sushi just outside the gate.  I'm sure I'll learn before we leave here though

4. Downsize - Oh yes, we downsized.  Got rid of a bunch of stuff, and it felt great!  Still have some more to do though.

 5. See a Foreign Country - Living it!  We are in Japan and we do love it here.  It is a great experience, though the winters are long, but they are manageable. 

5.1.  Don't get Cancer -This one is a bit tongue in cheek, mostly because of the fears with the Fukushima power Plant disaster.  We have no worries up here, we're pretty well isolated from that and a lot of those fears are unfounded.  Kind of a fear mongering in a lot of ways.  We do have potassium Iodine though if we do feel like we need to worry.  The larger threat is down south of here

6. Leadman - Dang it, we sold my bike and I didn't get a new one.  I also didn't really have anyone to watch my kids at the time so it just didn't happen.  Gus did it though. 

 6.1 Bloomsday! -  Signed up and was ready to do it.  Nobody to watch my kids though.  There was a bit of an issue that day as well, I won't go into details.  Anyway, I didn't do it.  Kind of bummed about it too.  I got a double stroller to walk the kids and everything but I think they had to be registered or something.  We just forewent the whole thing.  I was kind of under a lot of stress because we were one week out from our trip to Japan and we were closing on our house.  Just kind of a stressful time. 

 7. Make our Move a Smooth One - You know, I really can't complain about how our move went, in a lot of ways it was very smooth.  I wish we got a slightly different configuration with our house (one of my pet peeves, laundry in the kitchen, I was unable to escape but I'm dealing with it) but overall we are learning to look for the positives of our living arrangements.  Gus does miss his Garage though.  I miss having a yard that the kids can go play in, plus having acreage.  But overall, it went well. 

 8.  Learn how to read Japanese -   I actually did have the Kana down pretty well when we first got here.  I have to have a refresher on it though and constantly keep looking at it.  We don't get out the gate enough to be forced to know it, because most signs are in Kana and Romanji, and as long as things are in Romanji, you don't have to know the Kana or the Kanji.  The Kanji though, that might be a lost cause.  I know a little, but there is so much to learn that it is difficult to stay on top of unless you put forth the effort.  I think I can relearn the Kana again pretty quickly, though sometimes I feel it's a bit redundant for having two basic character systems with the same sounds, but that's part of Japanese, learn to love it.  I have the Hiragana down a little bit better than the Katakana though. 

9.  Show Greater Patience with my Resident Two (now Three) Year Old -  We're working on it.  She's still a handful, but we are working on it.  She at least understands more.  She starts preschool very soon and we have her in some classes like tumbling and signed her up for Soccer (that should be interesting) just to help her funnel that energy in a productive manner.  When I show greater patience versus frustration, I notice she does so much better.  But I'm human, I just need to channel my energy better as well.  We'll continue to work on it. 

10 - exercise more -   I think this one was going well, until I got pregnant.  For a good month and a half this summer I was doing awesome, was getting my run time down quite a bit.  My goal was to get running in case I did get pregnant, I could run through my pregnancy.  I forgot about the fatigue I get though.  First trimester was relatively easy except for the lack of motivation and will power to do anything.  But I did do very well for that month and a half, once baby is here and things have settled a bit, I will try to get back into that routine. 

So overall, I don't think I did to bad.  I had some successes, and a couple of washes, but overall I'm not complaining.  It was a fairly mild year for resolutions overall.  So, what do we have for 2015?  Well, January is almost over, but it gave me a chance to really think about what goals and plans I have in mind. 

1. Natural Childbirth - I think this one is doable.  Yes, we are expecting again, a little boy due in May.  I have had two children sans drugs already, and you might look at me like I'm a little crazy for forgoing the drugs, and maybe I am?  But the thought of having a needle inserted in my spine is just as crazy to me.  And I have always had an aversion to drugs.  So we are going for a natural, drug free birth.  I can do it!  Though if complications do arise, the important thing is baby is healthy. 

2. Organize my Life/ Set up guest room - Ok, you might wonder about this one.  Well, we live in a three bedroom apartment.  We have no garage.  We have one little storage area in the front of our apartment, and we didn't downsize quite enough like we should have.  So the third bedroom is where Ashlyn sleeps and all the rest of our stuff is.  It is a disaster, but she doesn't climb out of the crib so we have been able to make it work.  However, it is the guest room if we ever have visitors, so we need to go through it and find a place for everything, or just get rid of it.  It's happening, slowly but it's happening!

3. One big trip Once a Quarter - This is actually a goal for the three remaining years we are in Japan.  There is so much to do and see that we have to really plan those trips.  This year will probably be dwindled down to three, because of baby and everything, but we want to make these trips to go see the sites.  Summer is the best time to travel, and there is a limited window there to really see Japan where we live.  We have not made it down to Tokyo yet, but I want to make Tokyo at least a yearly trip.  There are other places we want to visit, such as Sapporo, Seoul (seriously, there's a hop to Seoul every week, it would be crazy not to go there), and pretty much southern Honshu Island.  We are in Northern Honshu Island, as far north as you can go and still be on the big island.  Tohoku region, which is where we are at, is not where most people think when they think of Japan.  Most of the sites are down south.  We are not without our charm though.  Anyway, a Big Trip is an overnight trip that takes at least three days to do.  We have a list of things to see while we are here, we have seen a lot of Aomori, there is still so much we want to see and do.   We did want to go see China and the great wall, but that has been budgeted out.  We have to find a different way of doing it.

3.1.  Mini trips once a month in summer- In conjunction with above, the weekends are our time, especially in the summer.  That time is gold.  Last year we got into the habit of going camping once a month and picking a destination to go check out.  We will continue this tradition this year.  It might get a bit of a delay due to baby, but these trips are mostly geared around Tohoku, and mostly northern Tohoku, basically Aomori, Iwate and Akita prefectures.  Pretty much drive somewhere, find a place to camp, and explore.  It's actually a lot of fun.  There is always something new to see. 

3.2.  Major Festivals Year Round - Japan lives for festivals, if you want to get into the true Japanese experience, this is the way to do it.  There is a snow festival coming up, one in Hirosaki, Towada, Iwate and of course Sapporo, the Sapporo snow festival is a must do while we are here which might have to wait until next year or 2016, but we will probably do Towada this year.  We hit up the Aomori Nebuta which was definitely worth catching last year.  There is Cherry Blossom viewing in April/May (this one we can't go far with this year) and plenty of other exciting things to see.  Every region has a major festival they are known for.  I just need to have a list and start knocking them out.  They are a lot of fun to visit. 

4. Run - After baby gets here, I have a B.O.B. and I'm not afraid to use it.  I also think Kaia would want to just run with me on the track.  Girl seriously loves to run.  otherwise, she can sit in the front of the stroller and I'll push the kiddos around.  My goal is to get under 18:00 on my two mile run.  Yeah, I know, but I've never been a runner.  This is my first goal.  We'll go from there. 

4.1 Base Races - Misawa does a lot of fun runs throughout the year.  I did an adventure race last year (at six weeks pregnant, yikes!) that I had a blast doing.  I just want to take advantage of these races and use them as my goal.  The races I'll focus on are the ones in late June and after.  I won't push myself much before then, because, you know, baby. 

5. Live the Title Soccer Mom - My mothering experience will be complete while I shuttle my first born to whatever activities we sign up for her.  Right now she's in tumbling.  She's also in Preschool.  We signed her up for soccer later this spring.  We also have the option of putting her into dance and some other activities, as well as little sister who will probably be doing activities later this summer too.  There is a reading group / story time at the library.  One thing I have learned about these is that it provides structure, which is good for Kaia (seriously, she needs all the routine and structure she can get right now) and it is good for me, because it keeps me on routine too.  I just have to be careful not to overdo it where it stresses me out.  getting out of the house is always a plus anyway.  Sometimes that can be difficult during the week, but when you have to be somewhere, it kind of forces your hand.

6. Potty Training - So I am letting Kaia take the lead on potty training right now, and she is showing signs that she is so ready (this has come and gone several times in the last year or so, she shows interest, and then she loses interest).  Ashlyn is starting to show the signs too.  I am hoping to have BOTH of them potty trained this year.  Kaia will probably be finished before baby arrives, hopefully we can knock this one out in February.  I really think Ashlyn, who's a second born and a bit of a copy cat in a lot of ways, takes the cues from her sister here.  I would love to have just one in diapers.  That would be totally awesome.  It is difficult though when we do a lot of traveling.  I think that's what stopped Kaia from doing it earlier when she was showing she was ready this past summer. 

7. Preparedness - Ok, for those who don't know, I'm a Mormon.  I hold no shame in that declaration.  Mormons are all about preparedness.  So there is only a limited amount of things we can do while we are here, but I really want to make sure my preparedness plan is set and up to date, especially with a new member of the family joining us later this spring.  If an emergency does happen, the Air Force will ship me and the kids back to the States.  Truthfully, I have to have a bunch of paperwork and things in order for that to happen, so I need to be sure that stuff is set.  Also, get my 72 hour kit repacked and up to date as well as a lot of things.  This is an important goal, I really need to get it done.  I encourage everyone to have a little plan in case of an emergency, even if its something small like a power outage.  I want to make this a big goal this year to have everything in order.  A year supply of food, hah!  That's not happening here, but I would like to have at least a month's worth. 

8. DA Photo / Military Biography - I need one of these up to date.  When we go down South, hopefully this summer, I'm going to plan on getting one done.  It's low priority, but I need it.  I also need to write up my military biography.  There are opportunities in the IRR for me (right now it's low priority, because, you know, Pregnant) and these things will help this along.  The Mil Biography should be written pretty soon.  The DA Photo will have to wait until later this year.  I just need to get them both done. 

9. Hire a Mamasan - I might have misspelled that.  Basically people hire locals to come do a good clean their houses, they are called Mamasans, and they are thorough and good at their job.  I so need one, just twice a month.  Gus has already agreed to it.  I know he feels better coming home to a clean home. 

9.1. Keep the house between Mamasan visits - This might be a tall order, but relatively neat would be nice.  A steam cleaner might be necessary too.  We'll put that on the list, I did not miss having carpets at our last home.

10. Prepare to Go to the Temple - This is another Mormon Related Resolution, I won't go into detail with the theology and doctrine behind this resolution for my non-Mormon readers, but it is a very personal thing for each person.  It hasn't been a huge goal in my life prior to now (though it should have been), but it is becoming more and more important to me.  It might just be me going for now, but eventually I would like to see our whole family go and get sealed (that is a goal that has to be Gus's as well, not just mine, and I can't nor I won't force him to do it), and I think it would be awesome to call the Tokyo Japan Temple 'our' temple.  I might not make it to the Temple this year, but hopefully it will be a goal we achieve before we leave here. 

Ten's a good round number (not counting the handful of sub resolutions I have listed).  There are some long term goals we have over the next three years we have remaining here too, but those are in another post, and maybe slightly referenced in this one. 

Anyway, we'll see how the resolutions go.  And maybe, I can blog more.  Just maybe.  I do miss it, I just have trouble finding the time to spill my words out when I have little ones that like to vie for my attention.  And I do like to ramble quite a bit, which is why the short quick nature of Facebook seems to work so much better for me.  Thought to be honest, I've largely weaned myself from that lately too.  We'll consider it a good thing, for now. 

See you next year :P

2014 Year in Review

So here is my year in review, at the tail end of January.  I really like to do these, as it is a nice wrap up of the prior year, though lately, it appears that this is all I do with my blog anymore.

 01. What did you do in 2014 that you'd never done before?
Moved across the ocean, with my family.  I have lived overseas in the past, but it was always in a deployment setting.  This is different.  This is actually moving your whole life. 

 02. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I did ok.  See my next post. 

 03. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Gobs of cousins, we are all in the child birth phase in our lives, and I've got a lot of cousins.  The Erickson's especially are known for reproducing.  Also, Misawa is a Baby Base.  Everyone here seems to be pregnant, with a newborn, or probably going to be getting pregnant in the very near future.  Seriously, something is in the water.

 04. Did anyone close to you die?

I had a cousin who committed suicide unfortunately.  She is family, though I haven't seen her in many years.  She suffered from some severe depression and it was a truly tragic situation. 

 05. What countries did you visit?

Japan.  We almost went to S. Korea, but that is probably going to be on the list while we are here, if we can somehow finagle it with children. 

 6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

A little more alone time.  I have to take advantage of nap time, except we have decided that Kaia no longer gets naps unless she manages to go down early in the day.  She was staying up too late and taking late afternoon naps.  We had to get her into some kind of routine.  It has helped tremendously. 

 07. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

May 11/12th.  Longest day of my freakin life!  And yes, it was technically two days, but the sun never went down on May 11th and never came up on May 12th, so it just turned into one big, long day.  We flew to Japan from the states. 

 08. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Getting out the Gate and seeing Japan when we first got here.  We really made an effort to go site seeing and exploring, and it really made a huge difference and has gotten us excited about living here.  Also, selling our house and buying a new one (we didn't want our equity floating around in a bank account), though selling that house was a huge bittersweet moment.  I have so many memories of that place and have a sentimental attachment to it.  fortunately, I'm used to moving, and I have a four year curse on me (I have never lived in one house for longer than four years, I thought I would actually break that curse, hah!)

 09. What was your biggest failure?

The situation dealing with the one and only blog post of 2014 that was not related to New Years.  I went back and read it and shook my head.  I never got proper closure from that, though I tried to at the last minute, but it looks like I never will.  It still gets my goat sometimes when I think about it, and I wish I could get closure.  However, one day I will, and right now I'm far removed from the whole situation so I don't really have to think about it. 

 10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Does Pregnancy count?  Hah!  No, I'm doing pretty well actually, though Pregnancy did stop a lot of things in my life from happening. 

 11. What was the best thing you bought?

I guess a new house.  We sold a ton of stuff and downsized quite a bit.  We still have more downsizing to do while we are here. 

 12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Does this question just bug me or something?  Anyway, 'Merica, for voting the way it did in 2014 elections I guess.  I was a fan of how the Midterms played out.  Though I still hate politicians and am watching those dang republicans and seeing how they play their hand now that they control congress. 

 13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
This question is kind of inline with the question above.  Ugh!   I guess my own in reaction to that earlier incident, and the person who that 'post' applied to just really frustrated me to the point that I broke off all contact with them. 

 14. Where did most of your money go?
Out of a bunch of material possessions and into another house.  Also a move happened in there, but a lot of that was covered and not really out of pocket.  Also, traveling around Japan.

 15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Take a guess.  We were really excited about moving to Japan, and it has been a fun experience for the most part. 


 16. What songs will always remind you of 2014?

'All about that Bass' I guess.  I heard a few songs but I must be getting old because for the most part they annoy the crap out of me. 

 17. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?

I think it's a wash, I was doing pretty good this time last year and I feel pretty good this year. 

 ii. Thinner or fatter?

 Fatter.  Definitely fatter.  I'm pregnant.

iii. Richer or poorer?

  Good questions.  I guess we're doing pretty well, we don't have the monetary obligations we did before and a lot of money is going into savings.  We sold off a bunch of stuff so we are probably richer, but we are living in an apartment (that I'm not the biggest fan of) and it is a far cry from the experiences of living out in the country, so in that regard, I feel poorer, but we have tried to make up for it. 

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Gotten outside the gate more toward the end of 2014, since becoming pregnant, we kind of got tied to the house, the first trimester I got really car sick when we went on road trips, the and roads here are pretty curvy unless you take the toll roads.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Complain about our living conditions.  Granted, it's not ideal, I hate the kitchen and the bathrooms, but we are discovering the perks of tower living with toddlers.  I'm glad this is not a permanent situation and that we don't have to pay the bill here, so there's that.  I really need to count my blessings more and complain less in general.  I am very blessed. 

 20. How did you spend Christmas?
It was a quiet morning, we gathered around the Christmas Tree, opened stockings and presents, sipped Wassail, and decided to find out what we were having (it's a Boy!) and then announced that we were pregnant on Social Media (I was keeping that one close to my heart).  We spent the rest of the day pretty much chilling at home and watching movies while Gus played with my present (he got me a GoPro, I almost got him one so it was good that I didn't)

 22. Did you fall in love in 2014?

 I fell in love with Japan and its people.  Is that a bit clich├ę? 

23. Favorite Month 0f 2014

 You know, this year has been a pretty good year in all.  August was hot and muggy, but we did so much and got out and saw so much, it's a great time of year to discover Japan. 

 24. What were your favourite TV programs?

  How many kid shows can a person watch?  Seriously?  I don't think I got into any tv shows here that I really enjoy immensely.  Gus does watch a lot of TV, its how he decompresses after coming home from work, but I generally zone out and surf my phone instead.  I have low tolerance for tv these days.  So I guess I didn't answer this question.  Can I say that I have discovered I really can't stand Cartoon Network cartoons? 

 25. Did you have a falling out with anyone that remains unresolved?

Yes, it has been mentioned.  Yes, I'm still frustrated about the whole situation.  I guess this question needs to be rephrased again because this question is often answered earlier in question 13.  Alright, new question for next year, we'll come up with one to replace this one, or perhaps a question to replace 12 and 13. 

 26. What was the best book you read?
I actually read Wonder by RJ Palacio for a book club, it was fantastic and a quick read.  Highly recommend reading it, it has a great story and moral and despite being geared towards fifth grade reading level, really quite excellent. 

 27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Music?  Er, huh?  I don't think I really discovered anything new in music, and if I did, I have already forgotten it so that tells you everything you need to know. 

 28. What did you want and get?

An all expense paid trip to Japan and the

 29. What did you want and not get?

 A car not named after a terrorist organization.  Seriously, I drive a car called a Toyota Isis.  Ironic. 

 30. What was your favourite film of this year?

Maleficent, which I saw on DVD.  I never went to the theater, not even once, this year that I can recall.   We area also a Frozen household, what you do when you have little kids.  It has a high rewatchability factor, fortunately.  and it is adorable listening to my daughter sing to the title song.

 31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

 I turned 34.  I was back in the states with my family.  I had to drop Gus off at the Airport.  We went and saw Breezy the day before. 

 32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

If I could have gone back to the States a time other than during the holidays.  It is not a great time to visit with young children because everyone is so busy that you can't just drop them off on whoever and its hard to go around doing stuff with them that I needed to do.  I did leave them a couple of times with my mom and felt it was necessary to get back to them because I could tell my mom was busy trying to get ready for Thanksgiving and I didn't want to leave them with her for to long.  There were a few people to see and things I wanted to do while back in the states that I didn't get to do because of that, but it's ok.  I still love my kiddos.

 33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?
The same fashion concept I have every year.  Mostly jeans and a t-shirt, though I notice my wardrobe is starting to get a little more mature lately.  I must be growing up finally.

 34. What kept you sane?

Getting outside the gate.  Not a task for the feint of heart with young children. 
 
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you like the most?
Celebrity figures?  What are those?  Hah!

Ok, I'll give you Ted Cruz.  I kind of like this guy.  Also Mia Love.  Yes, a couple of politicians.  I hope to see more from both of them.  There were a few others. 

 36. What political issue stirred you the most?
There was an election last year, so everything seemed to be geared toward that.  Mainly ISIS I guess.  Gun Control keeps seeming to pop up, I voted in the election last year specifically for that reason, it was the only thing on the ballot that I cared about.  Of course, it passed, Dang you Washington!  Well, I'm an Idaho resident now.  Le Sigh. 

 37. Who/what did you miss?
My friends and family back in the states, and my horse.  Oh gosh I miss my horse! 

 38. Who was the best new person you met?
I have met so many great and fantastic people here in Misawa that I don't think I can narrow it down, but I guess I can say Misawa LDS Military Ward is a group of people that I don't know what I would do without. 

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.
Count your blessings.  I get overwhelmed sometimes with my children and life sometimes, but when this happens, I have to just take a step back and remember how truly blessed I really am, and I truly am blessed. 

 40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Let It Go (overplayed, yes, but definitely applicable)