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)