Monday, December 31, 2012

Bye 2012!

Happy New Year friends! 2012 flew by, didn't it? We had a couple of huge events this year. We welcomed our beloved little boy into our lives. I've learned so much about myself because of him. I'm so thankful every day for a happy (usually) healthy little boy. Ryker is exploring and taking in his surroundings at an exponential rate, and his personality is really starting to reveal itself.

We moved into a new home about a month ago and are still unpacking. Most of the house is set up, but I need to spend some time in organizing my studio. This house feels more like a home. And as much of a pain (and expense) as it was to move, the hassle was well worth it.

Do you all have goals for this year? I have a few that I would like to share:

- work out consistently: I feel better when I do. I want to be strong & healthy, not just for myself, but for my little boy
- read more: I did read a bit more in 2012 than in years past, but I would like to continue to add to my reading list
- make more stuff: as in, art, books, knit, crochet, prints, drawings, anything! I miss making things and I find I'm happier when I do. Plus, Japan has a number of cool craft books and kits that I want to try out while I have the opportunity
- blog once a week: I feel like once a week is a reasonable goal, considering everything else I have going on. Taking care of a baby is a full time job. For those moms out there that manage to work, cook, clean, and excel in other areas in addition to raising your babies, I give you major props. I don't know how you do it all.
- work on school consistently: I'm still working towards a certificate in graphic design, although it is taking longer than I ever imagined.

I know my goals may seem selfish...but I've realized that I need to focus on myself to be a better partner to my husband and better mom to my little one.

I hope your year is one of joy and happiness!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

kindness of strangers

i went for a walk a few days ago with little ryker in the ergo.  the weather cooled off a bit (still in the 80's though) as the sun began to set.  as we walked along, i described our surroundings to my little boy and pointed out fun things on our route to the grocery store.  in the store, we had many oohs and aahs and exclamations of "kawaii!!" (cute!!) as people saw ryker's blue eyes and drooly grin.  after we paid for our goodies, we headed find the weather took a turn for the worst.  it was raining.  oh well.  i plopped a burp cloth on ryker's head and away we went.  we passed a couple of small shops and apartments.  suddenly, i hear a woman calling "sumimasen! sumimasen!" (excuse me!) behind me.  i stopped and turned to see a small japanese woman running towards me with an open umbrella.  i gladly accepted her kind offer, bowed and said thank you.

i could not believe how kind and considerate a complete stranger was to me.  i was floored.  that one small act made my day.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

adventures in motherhood

the last couple of months have been incredible - incredibly amazing, incredibly trying, incredibly challenging & rewarding.

you know that saying "sleep like a baby"? i imagined a swaddled baby snoozing away peacefully in his crib. my reality: my sweet little munchkin hates to sleep. and when he does sleep, he snorts, coos, kicks and flails his tiny limbs around. but i have to admit it's pretty cute.

the days of 8 hours of sleep are long over. i've had about 3 hours of sleep at the most and no caffeine. i'm functioning at a level i never knew existed - and in college i thought i was tired...HA!

there are some days that i am overwhelmed by taking care of this tiny little person. the only other thing i've been able to accomplish during the day is brushing my teeth. but there are moments during those difficult days that make it all worth it - like when ryker looks at me and smiles when he wakes up from a nap. i look forward to those moments every day.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

welcome to the world!

hubby and i are happy to announce the birth of our baby BOY, Ryker! he was born on april 7th at 12:41pm, 8 pounds, 4 ounces and 21 inches long.

he's handsome and sweet and i just can't stop kissing and holding him. i'm so thankful he is healthy and happy.

Monday, March 26, 2012

projects and pups

in the midst of all of this baby prep, i received a letterpress printing request! i told my client that i was due soon, and thankfully, the news didn't scare her off. after all of the logistics were figured out, i'm ready to start working on her project. i'm so excited and am looking forward to sharing the results - although it might be a little while :)

i'm also mulling around another project - some letterpress birth announcements for the kiddo. i have a general idea of the design, but haven't committed it to plates yet since we won't know the details til after the baby is born (obviously).

the pups are being cling-ons. i think mia is more clingy than normal. i wonder if she can sense what's happening. i kinda doubt it. i do think that they are going to adore the baby. especially once the kiddo starts eating solid foods. i'm sure we won't need to buy napkins - the dogs will take care of vacuuming food bits.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"weekend" adulting

our "weekend" was busy - i say weekend with quotation marks because it happens during my hubby's scheduled days off, instead of the traditional saturday and sunday. we were SUCH adults and did lots of adult stuff. for example, we took my car in to have the brakes checked & serviced. we grocery shopped. we went to my 38 week doctor's appointment. we checked the mail. and i even dropped by the legal office and had some advance directive papers drawn up. super adult. i should wear a cape.

with our guess-timated due date just two weeks away, i've been fervently working away on preparing for this kiddo's arrival. according to our last appointment, it could be any day now - although we've heard that generally first time moms go a little longer, around 41 weeks. hubby was pretty thrilled with the news that the baby could come any second...and has proceeded to tell me to go into labor. now. right now. i love that he's so excited to meet our baby. and we are both incredibly anxious to FINALLY find out if we have a boy or a girl! i would post a recent pic or two, except that i don't have any new ones where i'm wearing something other than sweatpants. i'll try to get a good one before the big event.

Friday, March 16, 2012

short book review

i just finished the lovely book "Great with Child: Letters to a Young Mother" by Beth Ann Fennelly. it was so sweet and compassionate. one thing i've just realized, now that this pregnancy is nearing the end, is that i haven't focused enough on being kind to myself over the last few months. while i have given myself breaks and countless naps, my mental dialogue hasn't been terribly positive. i'm a worrier - thankfully, hubby helps soothe some of my worries. most of the books i've read about babies/pregnancy haven't been very supportive - i know they mean to be, but the focus on the medical & physical side of things is overwhelming.

"Great with Child" was a breath of fresh air - it was filled with kind advice and funny, touching stories. it was as if Beth Ann was writing to me. i heard about it through joanna goddard's blog Cup of Jo - go here for the post about the book. if you are looking for a good book to read during your pregnancy, i highly recommend it.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


well, i'm a week away from being full term (37 weeks) and i've been running around the house frantically organizing stuff. my mom says it's nesting. but when i asked hubby, he said "ehh, you've always been like this." so i don't know. what i do know is that we have more dog hair tumbleweeds in our house than i've ever seen - even though we cleaned approximately 3 seconds ago. which means one of two things: our dogs are shedding more or they are shedding the same amount and all of that hair was eaten by the carpet of our old house. (gross.)


i've been toying with revamping the blog and am getting an idea of how i want to set it up. nothing too crazy, but a blog facelift would be nice. i toyed with blogger a little bit, since my lack of web design skills are keeping me from doing anything major. i've looked at the designs of blogs i admire and wondered "how did they do that??" taking on another project doesn't seem like the wisest idea at the moment, but it's good to get the wheels turning now. has anyone else switched from blogger? or designed in dreamweaver & uploaded your results? any tips?


when i woke up this morning, i had a hankering to do some art stuff. i've had an idea for printing some small book covers for quite some time and spent the morning sketching out the new idea. i think i'll get back to my roots and carve this guy from a lino block. partially because i am impatient and don't want to wait for a letterpress plate to arrive. that, and i'm feeling guilty about letting my beautiful new-to-me press sit in my studio.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

short book review

rachel moves to chicago to be with her boyfriend, who becomes her husband, and has a wonderful job...however she misses having close friends nearby and realizes how difficult it is to make new friends as an adult. so she sets out to find new friends by going on 52 "friend dates" for a full year.

i think a big reason i enjoyed it so much was due to how lonely i've felt living in a new place. since i'm rather introverted, i have a hard time putting myself out there. i loved the way rachel describes her dates - how awkward she feels, how hard it is to reach out to new people. it gave me some ideas on how to meet new people (now it's just a matter of getting out there and talking to people). she has a very positive outlook on the entire process, even when things don't work out exactly how she wants. i'm not looking for a new best friend, but a few new friends would be wonderful.

Friday, March 2, 2012

things i miss about alaska

dry weather - this includes my clothes feeling dry after being put away for a day, towels drying overnight, the lack of heavy thick air. i'm already sick of constantly feeling damp and gross.

cable tv - a luxury, i know. but even having a handful of regular channels without cable would be nice. especially if we didn't have to pay about $500 to get the regular crappy channels. hulu has its moments, but it doesn't work half the time - even though we are paying for the service.

grocery stores 3 seconds from the house - i miss being able to run out to pick up simple things like benadryl, sour cream, half & half, or peas. now, i have to drive 20 minutes to find out that the store is out of sour cream - for 3 weeks straight.

healthy dog food - it was nice to have a selection of good meals for my pups. if we wanted to mix stuff up, we could try something new. now, we order food a month out and hope it gets here on time. feeding our pups healthy food is just as important as feeding ourselves & our soon to be born baby good food.

coffee - lattes on every street corner and good coffee availability (steamdot and kaladis). not that i've been able to drink coffee due to the pregnancy, but having to wait 4 years for a decent latte instead of a couple more months is depressing.

our local breakfast place - being able to throw on some sweats and drive a minute up the road to have some delicious greasy spoon chow was the best.

lack of mold - the disgusting mold that grows and regrows constantly and makes us sick is probably the most frustrating and soul sucking part of living here. we clean and clean and clean - it seems like we clean everything all the time, to the point that we don't have time to enjoy ourselves.

our old house - i loved our house. there were so many memories wrapped up in our home - it's where we got engaged, where we brought home our puppies vito & mia. i knew we wouldn't be there forever, but i guess i just wasn't quite ready to let go.

winter - the snow and ice and cold is something i miss more than i anticipated. i actually like the cold. i like wearing sweaters and drinking hot drinks. playing in the snow with the dogs was a blast. freshly fallen snow is beautiful.

and of course my family & friends. no explanation needed....i just miss them.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

collection of thoughts

you guys, it is raining sideways outside right now. like pouring buckets, howling wind, the whole nine yards. and it's one of the things i like about living on a tropical island.


i've been working on my graphic design classes and just finished a class on design & composition. i took quick a few art classes in college, and most of them seemed to expect that i possess an innate ability to know what a good compositionAdd Image is without anyone ever telling me. this particular class was SO helpful - very straight forward and clearly stated explanations. here's a couple of projects i turned in:

the first two are addressing different kinds of negative space, using the theme "ode to bicycles"

the second image is a poster for a "mostly mozart" concert. i used images on flickr, found under the creative commons license.

what do you think?


last night, during another bout of insomnia, i was perusing some websites and guess what? i found a doula on island who teaches a natural birth class!! just in time due date is coming up quickly. i am so excited to start the class and relieved to have found another way to approach childbirth, rather than the negative stories that i addressed here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

childbirth is scary...or so they tell me

i went to a childbirth basics class today and it was...interesting. the course went over what to expect during labor & delivery, along with the different stages of labor, average hours per stage, and other bits of information along those lines.

there was a video - but it wasn't as graphic as "the video" from a previous class. and by "the video", i mean the most traumatizing thing i've ever seen. have any of you seen a birth video? if you have, well, i'm sorry. if you haven't, then avoid it at all costs!! i guess part of the reason it freaked me out so much was due to the fact that i'm going to have to birth this baby at some point (he or she can't stay in there forever) and i really don't want my experience to be like the ones on "the video".

there is SO much focus on how painful and agonizing giving birth can & will be (according to most women) - it's like hearing women trying to "one up" each other. "well i was in labor for 30 hours..." "oh yeah?! i was in labor for 40 hours without drugs AND i had to get a c-section at the end anyway!! BEAT THAT!!"

why can't more of these classes focus on how our bodies are incredibly smart and know what to do, if we just don't overthink the whole thing? that women have been having babies forever so maybe all of those generations will have passed down some inherited ability to have a kid? and instead of telling pregnant women how painful this process WILL be, why aren't we told about the numerous stories of women who have had a pleasant, natural birth?

alright, i didn't mean for this post to be a rant. i understand that sometimes things happen and medical intervention is absolutely necessary. i'm thankful that we live in a time when we have the technology & medicine to save moms & babies. and i'm not saying that choosing an all natural birth or a c-section or any other kind of birth is right or wrong. i guess i'm just frustrated in how the information i'm receiving is so biased.

fortunately, one of my friends gave me this book before i moved - and considering there aren't any lamaze/breathing/natural birthing classes available here - it's been a very comforting read.
you know what's funny? i had no problem kicking butt through a multi hour martial arts black belt test, where i was tested physically & mentally for my endurance, knowledge & skill, broke numerous boards, sparred with a number of people (sometimes all at once) - yet having a baby is kind of freaking me out. time to put all of the mental strength training from years of martial arts to use - and focus on a positive birth experience for this baby and for me.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

my birthday

my birthday was a few days ago and usually i'm pretty excited about it - as in, i do a countdown and "remind" close friends and family on a somewhat annoying basis. but this year was a little different. being so far away from home made a big difference. plus, i turned the big 3-0.

i don't even feel grown up enough to be 30. but i suppose i'm doing all of the things grown ups do. refinancing a house, moving halfway around the world, eating real meals instead of mac & cheese every day... and i'm fortunate. lucky even. and i certainly appreciate and am extremely thankful for my life, my hubby, and my family.

this birthday was special for a number of reasons, but a huge one was due to my hubby. he's awesome. he worked all night, came home, decorated the house AND a homemade confetti cake. YUM! he also got a ton of family & friends on skype at the same time & surprised me with my loved ones wishing me happy birthday!

he also bought me a great present - a kindle! i'm looking forward to getting back into reading on a regular basis...and i have to say, buying books on the kindle provides instant gratification (since i bought 5 in the last hour - thank goodness for gift certificates). i tried to pick a few books that would give me some options depending on my mood. here's what i have so far:

- the girl with the dragon tattoo by stieg larsson
- the curious incident of the dog in the night-time by mark haddon
- a million miles in a thousand years by donald miller
- MWF seeking BFF: my yearlong search for a new best friend by rachel bertsche
- an object of beauty: a novel by steve martin

overall, my birthday was wonderful - i had a relaxing day with my pups & hubby. time to get reading!

Monday, February 20, 2012

feeling "crabby"

i'll admit it...since the big move, i've been a bit of a hermit. in some ways, i guess i didn't realize how much a move like this would affect me. i'm sure a big part of the emotions i'm working through has to do with crazy pregnancy hormones, but another part is simply that i am an introvert. a home body. i like being at home...and am comfortable talking to my pups and my growing belly.

i haven't exactly been motivated lately either (as you can see by my lack of posting). i've never had the opportunity to relax and be lazy - there's always been school, a job, projects to work on, social calls, and occasionally, sleep. i tried to cram more into each day than time allowed. but, after being on this planet for 30 years, i think it's okay to allow myself some time to digest my feelings.

have you experienced a big move? how did you cope? do you have any tips?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

the story of nozomi

as most of you know, i have a soft spot for dogs. over the last couple of years, hubby & i have come across a number of lost dogs and have done our best to get them back to their owners. about a month after we arrived on island, hubby took our pups out for their morning bathroom break. a few minutes later, he is calling for me to help him. i put our two pups in their kennels and a moment later, hubby brings in a medium sized dog with long, dirty, matted fur and no collar. she was jumpy and seemed to be a bit afraid of hubby.

i sat on the floor and beckoned to her in a soft voice and she immediately came over and allowed me to pet her. we wondered how long she had been out on her own. as we spent some time with her, we assumed she must have been someone's pet. we fed her and gave her a bath, as well as attempted to groom her - cutting out the matted chunks of fur. let me just say, she had kind of a bad haircut by the end of it. but at least she was clean.

we started making phone calls and trying to get information about where to take her and how to find her owner. turns out, the resources for saving animals are practically none existent. there is an adoption service run by volunteers that deal mostly with puppies & kittens. the vet and kennel on base was no help. the stray facility located off base (even had STRAY in the title) wouldn't take strays found off base. the local pound would only keep an animal for 5 days and then the animal is put down. we were trying so hard to do a good thing and kept running into walls and red tape. so we took her to a vet off base and had her checked out - she didn't have a microchip, was given her first set of shots, was dewormed, and tested for heartworm. unfortunately she tested positive for heartworms; however, the vet was very confident that she would recover with treatment.

after all that she had been through, i decided she needed a name - so i chose "nozomi" which means hope in japanese. we started contacting our small group of friends to get the word out about getting her adopted. as much as we wanted to keep her, it wouldn't be fair to her considering we already have our two pups plus a baby on the way. word got around quickly and we found a family who was willing to foster her until we found a permanent home for her. shortly after she went to her foster home, another family heard her story and gave her a furever home!

sweet nozomi

Thursday, January 19, 2012

vito's 3 year anniversary

today is the anniversary of vito's third year with us! he's calmed down a bit (kinda) and is quite a bit bigger than when we first picked him up.

as you can see, some things haven't changed :)