Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Letter, 2009

Dear Family and Friends,
Merry Christmas from Misawa, Japan! We’ve certainly been busy since our last Christmas letter! The Minear Family packed up and moved to Misawa Air Base at the end of January, courtesy of the Air Force. We moved to a small farming community in Northern Japan and love our new life here. We live off-base in a very interesting house, our kitchen and bathrooms are very different from what we were used to. We also purchased two used cars and John finally got a TV of his own, instead of the hand-me-downs we had in New Mexico. We are enjoying getting to know our Japanese neighbors, Annelise and I walked to the air show with them in October and had a lot of fun.
This year has been filled with a lot of travel, John has to leave town every month or so for work and we took a family vacation to Guam in July. We had a wonderful week there and Annelise LOVES the beach! We also made a trip to Florida this fall; John was already there for work so Annelise and I took a military flight to Seattle and then made our way to the Southeast. I had a lot of fun shopping and buying things as simple as Pepto-Bismol tablets that you don’t have to chew and my favorite scent of deodorant. We have everything we need available on base, but there are times when you want a specific brand or color or scent and you have to make do. Of course, I also bought plenty of clothes and Christmas gifts while I was in Florida as well! The best part about our trip to Florida was visiting Disney World. My parents, sisters, and brothers-in-law and John’s mom, aunt and uncle met us there and we had a blast. Annelise enjoyed all of the attention and John and I enjoyed spending time with family and not having to carry her everywhere. My parents were just here for a week over Thanksgiving and I think they really enjoyed their trip. They tried several new foods and we showed them our favorite spots around Misawa.
In between the big trips, we’ve also made several small trips around the Aomori Prefecture (our region of Japan). We went cherry picking, to a baseball game, and to a number of festivals. Our favorite festivals are the Cherry Blossom Festival in the Spring and the Misawa City Festival in the Summer. John was able to climb Mount Fuji this summer after going to Tokyo for a work trip; he was able to see the sun rise from the summit. Our favorite place in Japan, however, is Shipwreck Beach. There are five or six wooden ships there, partially buried in the sand right on Mutsu Bay. We love going to Shipwreck for picnics and to search for sea glass and other treasures. I’ve got a bunch of sea glass just waiting to be made into jewelry and other crafts, if only I had the time.
We have made many new friends here in Misawa. I learned from living in Clovis that you have to get out and get involved in order to meet people, so within our first month here I took a pottery class and got involved in the squadron and the Misawa Officers’ Spouses’ Club. We’re lucky to be in another great squadron, I was definitely worried that I had been spoiled by the Wizards and Fireballs at Cannon but was pleasantly surprised by how involved people are here. It really is true that you band together when you’re overseas and so far from family. I am now on the board for MOSC and am still wondering how I got roped into it. John really likes the people that he works with and some of them are even married! So we’ve been lucky enough to make friends in the squadron, through my adventures, and even some ‘hand-me-down friends’ that I met through one of my old friends from Clovis. We are truly blessed by this and my parents said that leaving here was a little easier knowing that we have such a great group of people who care so much about us.
My favorite thing about living in Misawa is how beautiful and colorful everything is. From the flowers that start in the spring and last well into the fall to the amazing foliage all around, Japan is such a beautiful country. John’s favorite thing about living in Misawa is exploring the country. Between ski trips in the winter and all of the festivals, we have been able to see quite a bit of this part of Japan. Annelise’s favorite thing about Japan is definitely how friendly the people are. She loves waving and saying Hi to everyone, and all of the Japanese people adore her.
Speaking of our beautiful little girl, Annelise just turned one! As I said, my parents were here for Thanksgiving and her birthday (which was on Thanksgiving Day this year) and I tried my hand at making her cake. She had lots of fun eating the cake and playing with her new toys. She is growing and changing so much, she picks up new tricks every time I turn around! Annelise and I have been going to Water Babies, a swim class on base. The class is almost over but she has had a lot of fun and is no longer scared of going under water, now we just have to keep up with taking her to the pool so she doesn’t forget what she learned. She can’t swim yet, but we’re hoping to take the class again next fall. Annelise has been walking for a little while now and we’ve had to put up baby gates to keep her off of the stairs and away from the Christmas tree. She loves Elmo and would watch Sesame Street all day long if I would let her; she was very excited to get Elmo pajamas and books for her birthday. Our sweet girl is so very friendly; she has never met a stranger. She took to our families right away when we were in Florida, even though we hadn’t seen them since January, and even waves at people when we’re driving down the street! If you are on Skype, look us up because Annelise loves talking to people on the ‘TV’.
We are planning a trip to the States in a couple of months and again for my sister’s wedding this summer. Hopefully we’ll get to see most of you while we’re out there, we certainly miss our friends and family. Please continue to check ajminear.blogspot.com and ajminear.shutterfly.com for updates and photos of our adventures and leave us comments to let us know what you think!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!
The Minears
John, Angela & Annelise

Saturday, December 5, 2009

One Year Old

I've been putting this post off because it's bittersweet. Annelise turned one year old on Thanksgiving and I can't believe our sweet, sweet baby is now a toddler. My parents were here for the week before her birthday and we had lots of fun showing them around. They taught her some fun new sounds, she now makes a high-pitched noise to try to whistle. We went to the doctor this week and although Annelise hasn't gained much weight since her last appointment, she's met all of the milestones for her age. She has been slow to gain weight because of all of the walking she's doing, along with her swim class. We only have 3 classes left and I hope that she starts packing on the pounds once we're done.

We started Annelise's twelfth month with a short jaunt from Ft. Walton Beach over to Pensacola to spend the day with Auntie Kim and Nana Peggy. We met them at the Navy base and watched the Blue Angels practice and then went inside the museum and got autographs! Afterwards, Mommy got to go back 'home' for the first time in monts, we went to Hobby Lobby. We had a lot of fun that day and then went back to our hotel to prepare for the big trip to Orlando.

On that Friday, we left for Orlando as soon as Daddy got home from work; the drive took over 7 hours but it was worth it to see the family and go to Disney World. We got to the hotel after midnight and you stayed up for a while playing with Babi, Grandaddy, Grandma, Nanna, Kyle, Lusa, Trent, and Uncle Greg and Aunt Karen. That's right, Grandma surprised us by bringing some relatives that we had never met! We had a blast the next day at the Magic Kingdom, riding rides and seeing the sights. Buzz Lightyear and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad were everyone's favorites and you loved being held by everyone and basking in the attention. Because it was Halloween, you were dressed in the adorable dress that Aunt Karen made and the whole park was decked out! That night we went to a restaurant that Mommy really liked but apparently some of the others weren't huge fans of. That's what they get for ordering the same old-same old, I was adventurous and lucked out!

The next day we took some family pictures and then packed up to go back to Ft. Walton Beach. It was a short weekend, but so worth it. We had so much fun with family and can't wait to go back to Disney World when you're older. We also want to make a trip to Tokyo Disney before we move.

The rest of our time in Florida was spent shopping and spending time with Daddy. We flew back to Seattle and ended up having to wait a day to get on the Patriot Express because of maintenance problems. The motel that Mommy picked was kind of shabby, but it was next to a Denny's, down the block from a convenience store, and had a free shuttle to/from the airport. That was all very important because the airport only had two restaurants outside of security and Mommy was tired of them. Plus they did not have Dr Pepper in the airport, while the convenience store did!

We made it safely back to Misawa and you did so well on all of the flights. Annelise, thank you so much for being such a good traveller, it makes life a lot easier. Once we got back to Misawa we cleaned the house and unpacked all of the stuff that we bought and mailed in Florida. Daddy came home a week later and then we started prepping for Babi and Grandaddy to visit!

When Babi and Grandaddy came to Misawa, we took them to Shimoda Mall, Hachinohe (the fish market and Niitori), the Pacific Ocean, and Hirosaki Castle. You and I took kimono pictures with Babi and we also had one-year-old pictures made of you. We had a great time and made lots of memories. But now for the real reason they flew thousands of miles: your birthday!!

We started the day with some rain. Then Mommy had to run to Yokomachi because we forgot to thaw the rolls. Then we got to eat Thanksgiving dinner! It was definitely better than last year's, Daddy makes a much tastier turkey than the hospital. Mommy decorated your cake with pink and purple icing and yellow and pink flowers. It was not as elaborate as I would have liked, but I keep reminding myself that all that mattered was that it tasted good. Your Tio David and Tia Yazmin came over to help celebrate and we sang Happy Birthday to you. I helped blow out your candle and then we let you dig in to your cake. You enjoyed rubbing icing on your face and in your hair while the grown-ups ate cupcakes, and then Babi took you upstairs and hosed you down in the bathtub.

Annelise, you are one blessed little girl. So many people who love you gave you birthday presents. You got lots of pretty clothes, winter gear (a coat, two hats, gloves, and some boots!), several books and puzzles, and lots of toys. My favorites are the Little People toys and your favorites are the push toy, Cookie Monster doll, and spoons and forks. You're not very good at eating with them yet, but you like to pretend they're drumsticks!

This month has been a busy month for you, little girl. Not only did we DO a lot of fun stuff, a lot of fun stuff HAPPENED! You got your sixth tooth not long after we got back to Misawa and I can tell that you're working on getting two more. You have different waves for Hello and Bye-bye and have started pointing at things. You say Grandaddy very well and also sing 'I Love You, Yeah Yeah Yeah', it's so cute! You can now climb stairs, we had to go to a Japanese store to find a baby gate wide enough to keep you off of our staircase. The craziest thing that happened was that you managed to turn on your Elmo DVD by yourself! The best we can figure, you were playing at the entertainment center and pushed the power button to the bluray player. Because of the way it had previously been turned off, it started the movie without you having to hit play. All I really know is that I was washing dishes and realized that you were watching Elmo, but I hadn't turned the movie on! You also got sick for the first time this month, you got a cold that lasted about 48 hours. The snotty sneezing was pretty gross, but I credit breastfeeding with the fact that you recovered so quickly. You also got some new shoes this month, they have squeakers in the soles and you love to toddle around making noise. Sadly, we have misplaced one of the shoes so you have been squeak-less for a week or so.

Annelise, you're so grown up now! You are very independent and love walking everywhere so I cherish the times that you're sleepy and want to snuggle. This last year has been so wonderful and I look forward to what the next year with you will bring!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

November 18, Ten Years Later

I saw Bonfire being built once, on an October Saturday in 1999. Just a few short weeks later, Texas A&M was all over the news because the stack had fallen in the wee hours of November 18th. I took a lot of crap from people I went to high school with, I spent a few hours worrying about friends on campus and if they were OK, and I got my acceptance letter a few weeks later and officially became an Aggie, it was a turning point in my life.

Freshman year I went to the memorial and cried the entire time, in the rain. I've only been to the official memorial once to read the inscriptions and stand on that hallowed ground and I've never seen the off-campus Bonfire burn, I'm waiting for the return of the real, official Bonfire to campus. When it does, I will go back to College Station from wherever I am in the world with child(ren) in tow. I will stand in the crowd of my kinsmen and cheer, celebrating the lives of all Aggies and the 'burning desire to beat the HELL out of t.u.'

I bleed maroon always, no matter where I live or how long it has been since I stepped foot on campus. I am drawn to buy maroon clothing and shy away from anything orange, even if I know I'll look good in it. I wear my ring proudly and 'scope' other people's hands for Aggie rings as well. When I see a fellow Ag, I know I am with family and feel perfectly at home. I know that, between my Aggie family and my Air Force family, I am never alone and am even more grateful when those families overlap. Non-Aggies are amazed when I go right up to someone with an Aggie ring and introduce myself, they just don't understand how I could walk right up to a General or a random person in an airport. But then again...

From the outside looking in, you can't understand it. From the inside looking out, you can't explain it.

Today I remember the twelve who died when Bonfire fell and the many, many more who have given their lives in the service of our country. After the service academies, Texas A&M has commissioned more officers in the armed forces than any other university. We have actually commissioned more officers than the Air Force Academy. We have a long history of loyal service to our God, our Country, and our University. I am proud to be a part of that history and hope that I make Aggieland proud of me. It is so much more than a school, it is the beginning of the rest of your life.

So in memory of Aggies past, in honor of Aggies present, and in hope for Aggies future, I answer, Here.

Friday, November 6, 2009

11 Months Already? (several weeks late)

Annelise, we had an amazing month together, going to water babies and running all over Misawa getting stuff done to prepare for our big trip back to the States. We started the month by sending Daddy off to Alaska, he spent a few weeks there and then went on to Florida. While Daddy was in Alaska, we helped Auntie Kim pack for her trip to Florida, and man was that tough! It took us alllll day to get her suitcases under the weight limit and then we had to help her mail a bunch of stuff. That was when we discovered your fear of packing tape, you cry every time you hear it being pulled off the roll. I don't really know where this fear came from, but we're dealing with it.

You got bucked off the couch this month, I'm still not sure how it happened but you ended up on the floor with a huge new bruise. You also conquered your first typhoon, which wasn't much of a typhoon at all since it went south of Misawa. We basically just got some wind and rain and lived to tell the tale.

Mommy spent a lot of time baking this month, our squadron sold cakes and other assorted fun stuff at the annual Misawa Air Fest. I made 40 cakes and then got to spend the day watching some really cool planes fly around. We walked to the air show with our Japanese neighbors, you loved that. The girls entertained you all the way from our house to the flight line, which is quite a trek. You got your first tattoo, an F-16 of course, and got to watch the Japanese Blue Impulse demo team and the USAF Thunderbirds! You're such a little Air Force baby, the sound of the jets didn't bother you a bit and you only got annoyed when you ran out of puffs to eat. After the air show, we got to see Mommy and Daddy's friend SLICK, who flies Thunderbird #2. We met SLICK and his family when we lived in New Mexico and I was very excited to get a picture of the two of you together.

We spent quite a bit of time cleaning up the house in anticipation of Babi and Grandaddy's impending trip to Misawa. They won't get here until you're almost a year old, but we had to do stuff far in advance because we took a quickly-planned trip to meet Daddy in Florida! Knowing that Daddy would be away from us for almost 2 months and that we now have access to a weekly flight to Seattle, we decided this was the perfect time for you to make another trans-Pacific flight. Preparation for this trip included cleaning up the house, throwing some clothes into a suitcase, and a lot of waiting around. We waited at the passenger terminal for several hours before finding out that we made it on the flight, then we spent a lot of time on planes in order to get to Florida. We flew from Misawa to Seattle, with a stop in Alaska, then we waited around in Seattle before we flew to Charlotte and then to Pensacola. Thankfully, Auntie Kim and Nana Peggy were happy to pick us up in Pensacola and entertain us until Daddy got off of work and drove over to retrieve us.

Once we finally got to our hotel, you had the best time playing with Daddy. He is still your favorite person and you completely light up when he gets home from work. Since we got here, you have taken your first steps and it is amazing to see you discover your surroundings from this new perspective.

Auntie Kim and Nana Peggy babysat you on the 24th so Mommy and Daddy could go out for my birthday, you had a blast and we ate some really good steak. You're such a parrot and had a blast mimicking Papa Wade and playing with little Brayton.

My next post will be all about our time at Disney World with the family, we had a wonderful trip and made some great memories!! I can't believe you'll be a year old soon, the last year has just flown by.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My Sweet 10-month-old

My sweet Annelise Marie, you are ten months old now and I can't believe we're only two months away from your birthday! I've already begun planning your party, I've even started buying stuff for the favor baggies!

This has been yet another busy month, we started going to Water Babies this month and you love it! There are 6 other mommies and babies in your class and we get together twice a week and sing songs and play in the pool. You love to 'kick, kick, kick' and hate having water dripped on your face.

This month, we met Baby Yushin, he's my friend Junko's baby and looks like a little Japanese man! He's so adorable and I can't wait for him to be big enough for you to play with. We also found out this month that Aunt Carla is having a boy, I can't wait to meet Baby Quinn when we go back to Texas next year! Speaking of babies, you do not like it when I play with other babies, you like being the center of attention.

Your favorite toy right now is the dinosaur Roll-A-Round toy, there are places for little balls to roll all over it and you have finally figured out how to do so and to get it to make noise. At first, you just chewed on the balls or threw them, then you tried to climb on the dinosaur to get closer to Elmo on the TV, then you figured out how to push the buttons to get sound without having to deal with the balls! You are one smart little girl!!

We went to the Lake Towada Kunizakai festival this month and got to see some really cool floats and dancing. The best part was when some kids were handing out apples and you got one! We ate it the next day at the beach. That's right, we made another trip to Shipwreck Beach, this time with Daddy in tow. We got to hang out with the Gerst family and eat a yummy picnic. It's getting cooler now, so that may be the last time we go to the beach until next year, although I do want to take Babi and Grandaddy out there when they visit.

You went to the doctor twice this month, I was worried that you had an ear infection but it turned out to just be a new tooth. This tooth (tooth #5) came in twice, it went back down after it came in the first time and made me very angry. I hate that you were in so much pain and the only things that help are Momma Milk and motrin. The second appointment was for your well-baby check and you are doing great! Your doctor was very impressed and said you're right on track.

So what are you doing now that is so amazing?? You make a monkey sound, a dog sound (or 'Rona sound'), a horse sound, and an Indian sound. You also know to say 'Yah' when I ask if you're hungry and shake your head 'no' if I offer something that you don't want. You tasted a pork chop this month and I'm working on getting more solids in you to fatten you back up; water babies has slimmed you down a little.

And your biggest accomplishment this month??? You stood on your own!! We were at Daddy's tug-of-war tournament (his team placed third, they were the top American team. yeah!) and you were playing with some Japanese kids and just stood up! You haven't done it since then but I don't really mind, I want you to stay my baby for as long as possible.

We went to the base pool with Daddy last week and had a blast. You loved showing off all the things you're learning in swim class and wanted him to play with you the whole time. I might as well not have been there! I think next time I'll stay at home and take a nap while you guys hang out together...

We ended the month in a great way. Daddy and I went to the Air Force Ball on base while Auntie Kim babysat you here at the house!! Auntie Kim watched you a while back while I got my hair cut, but it didn't really count because she just walked around the BX with you while I was just down the hall at the salon. So yeah, this was your first official time to be babysat by a non-family member and you did really well!

I love you, Annelise, and hopefully by the time I write another one of these, we'll be in Florida!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Stolen from Annie: Crafty chain letter!

My friend Annie posted this blog chain letter and I thought it was a cool idea, so here goes...

The first 5 people to leave a comment on this post will receive something handmade from me. The catch (in true chain letter fashion) is that you have to post this on your own blog/facebook/myspace page. Just leave a comment and then e-mail me your address if I don't already have it.

The rules:
1. I make no guarantees that you will like what I make. What you get is what you get.
2. What I create will be just for you, with love.
3. It will be done this year (2009).
4. I will not give you any clue what it's going to be. It will be something made in the real world and not something cyber. It may be weird or beautiful. Or it may be monstrous and annoying.
5. I reserve the right to do something strange.
6. In return, all you need to do is post this on your blog and make something for the first 5 people to respond to your blog post.
7. Send your mailing address to lone_angel_04 at yahoo dot com.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Nine Months Old!!

Full post to come, I'm tired and don't feel like blogging today. On the plus side, I'm going to try a weekly 'survey' like Roommate and Friend do so that you guys are kept more up-to-date on what we're up to.

Well, Annelise, you've now been outside my tummy as long as you were inside it. You're definitely not the tiny little thing that Dr. Fuelberth took out of me, you get taller and heavier every day. We don't spend much time at the beach these days because you're too heavy for me to cart around for long. Your looks are changing, when you were born you looked just like me, but now you look more like your daddy. Your eyes are still a beautiful blue, you have Babi to thank for that, and your hair is growing and getting thicker. We're still stuck using headbands but I figure you'll have enough hair for pigtails before you're two...

We've had another great month here in Japan, Daddy climbed Mt. Fuji with Uncle Derick and Auntie Lisa and brought you back a climbing stick. We spent more time at the Dirty Kimono Shop where you get to see your friends, the crazy old men who work there. After our last trip there we went to breakfast with Kim, Junko, and Akiko and you had your first taste of eggs! You really like scrambled eggs, but if I feed them to you, you take them out of your mouth so you can feed yourself. We haven't fed you many new foods this month, when I feed you 'real food' at our dinner time (around 6), you don't eat enough breastmilk before bed and wake up hungry a few hours later. I've got to get better about feeding you something at lunch, but I usually just grab a sandwich instead of cooking something.

We parked our car at the American Park one Saturday for a huge yard sale, that was a lot of fun. We made about $100 (which I used to fuel my kimono addiction and at my new favorite recycle shop) and you made a friend named Lily! It was a long day, but we got rid of a bunch of stuff that we didn't need anymore. We did go to the beach three times this month looking for sea glass, we found some cool shells and sand dollars, but not a whole lot of sea glass. We also made two trips to Aomori, one to drop off Tia Yazmin and Tio David at the airport and one to pick them up. On our first trip, we found an amazing recycle shop called Crazy Used Store Bomber, it's my new favorite place to shop except for all the stuffed animals. And by stuffed, I mean someone spent a LOT of money at the taxidermist's. I bought you your first Elmo doll there, along with a few kokeshi dolls and a really cool gift for your godfather. On our second trip, we went to the Big Buddha, which was very interesting. I was the unofficial tour guide since I was the only one who bothered to read the guidebook, and we enjoyed discovering what each building or site was meant for. There was a very sad area full of pinwheels stuck in the ground that were placed there in memory of unborn children, but it was nice that they are remembered. We really liked taking pictures all over the place and even got a cute one of you in a big basket!

One of the most interesting things we did this month was actually two things! The store on base held a Christmas in July event and you got to take a picture with Santa Claus, and then the next week you got to take a picture with Elmo! You didn't mind Santa, but Elmo scared you; you like to have a chance to assess the situation and when Elmo walked right up and got in your face a little, you freaked! You're crying in the pics with Elmo, but I figure you need some of that kind of photos to show your therapist in a few decades.

This was also the month of the Misawa City Festival. We went to the parade on Friday evening and got to see some amazing floats that were all made right here in Misawa. The parade on Saturday didn't have big amazing floats, but it did have lots of people in crazy costumes. There were sumo wrestlers, ninjas, and even a whole group of men dressed like Michael Jackson. Some people might think that they dressed that way because MJ passed away this summer, but they are apparently in the parade every year! The only disappointment from this festival was the lack of potato on a stick, my favorite festival food.

Annelise, you are a very sweet and smart girl. You know just when to do the sweetest things, like snuggling with me or Daddy or giving kisses or saying 'I Love You'. That's right, you're only nine months old and can already say I Love You! Granted, it sounds more like 'ah la lya', but you say it in response to someone telling you they love you so I think it counts. Your favorite words are Mama, Dada, Babi, Nana, Me, and Lala, you even said something that sounded like Grandaddy the other day! You have figured out how to work some of your toys this month, like the caterpiller you got for Valentine's Day. You hook the pull around your teeth and pull the caterpiller away from you to make it jiggle. I'm pretty sure this is bad for your teeth so you don't get to play with him anymore. You have learned how to 'find hidden objects' (that's a milestone!) by taking toys out of their containers and try to roll toys down the neck of your Roll A Rounds toy. The Roll A Rounds toy, however, is not as good of a toy as I originally thought, you tried to climb on the steps of the tail (it's a dinosaur) and also tipped it over trying to climb on it. You really like to dance and sing, the Friends theme song is a favorite of yours, and you even decided to dance after an earthquake!

We got to see three of my Great-Aunties on Skype this month, you were amazed by how much they talk. You still love talking on the phone and on Skype, you especially love giving kisses and telling on me. I swear, you get a different tone to your voice sometimes and I just know that you're telling on me for not letting you chew on something or for buckling you in your carseat and taking you somewhere when you really want to crawl all over the place.

Annelise, you're getting closer and closer to standing on your own, but you're still very scared of it. The other day, Daddy noticed that after you clap your hands, you clasp your fingers together. You're so cute and smart!! I think you weigh about 20 pounds now, but we won't find out for sure until Sept 16th, there's only one pediatrician right now so we had to wait awhile to get an appointment.

This coming month is sure to be full of fun stuff, Japan is always serving up one surprise or another and you never cease to amaze me!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Quick update

We've been up to a lot, yet not a lot, lately. John climbed Mount Fuji at the beginning of the month with a couple of our friends. They started in the evening and climbed overnight to see the sunrise at 4:30. He had a lot of fun and they brought back some amazing pictures. We've spent a lot of time hanging out with friends, going to each other's house for dinner and whatnot. Annelise and I have also spent quite a bit of time running around doing a whole lot of nothing. I feel like we leave the house almost every day but don't get a whole lot done. Yesterday we found an amazing recycle shop in Aomori, there were several things that I would have liked to bring home with me but didn't have the money or space in the car for. That's probably a good thing, I realized that I don't really need a curio cabinet just now and that although the samurai helmet was really cool, we don't have a place for it in our house. I did, however, come home with four new kokeshi dolls and some bobble-head Morioka horses, as well as a birthday gift for someone special. We're going to go back to Aomori this weekend to pick up some friends from the airport (I dropped them off yesterday, that's why I was there) and hope to check out the Big Buddha there. I can't wait to post pics, this Buddha is seriously gigantic, you can walk around inside the statue, and he's not the tubby guy that Americans imagine, he's more regal.

I'm finally getting started on my craft projects, I'm currently working on a curtain-ish thing to cover our linen cabinet and am finally starting a quilt that I meant to make almost 2 years ago. I then want to try my hand at teddy bears and purses made from the awesome kimonos I've been buying and work on some sea glass jewelry. Speaking of which, I have plans to go back to the kimono shop and also to search for sea glass next week!

Have I said lately how grateful I am that John went to weapons' school? Thanks to him going through six months of hell, I get to live in this paradise and try all kinds of new things. Before we got this assignment, I always said that the one place I didn't want to get stationed was Asia because it was just too different from everything I'm used to. I'm so glad that God and the Air Force didn't ask for my opinion! I've already made so many new friends and so many wonderful memories and I can't wait to see what else this assignment has in store for us!! This just goes to show that there is good to be found in every event in life, in every place the Air Force sends you. I don't believe that crap about God not listening or not answering prayers; I believe that sometimes He says 'No' for your own good, just like I tell Annelise 'No' when she tries to chew on an electrical cord or climb up the stairs. She doesn't understand why, but I do, and the same thing goes for events in our lives. We don't understand, but God does, and being in the Air Force has definitely taught us that.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

8 Months Old!?!?

Goodness gracious, Annelise, I can't believe you're already 8 months old! You didn't have a doctor's appointment this month, but I know that you've grown in both height and weight. When I'm nursing you in the middle of the night, I look down at you in my arms and can't believe how big my baby girl has gotten.

This month has been very exciting for us, we started by going to a cherry orchard, cherries are one of your favorite foods. I wish they were easier to eat, but I can't just give you a cherry to gnaw on because of the seed. The next day we went to a Japanese baseball game, which is completely different from an American baseball game. The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles didn't win, but they had fun cheerleaders and mascots, including an eagle-like man, a pickle, and two dwarves. You had fun playing with the noisemakers that we got and Mommy got her first taste of Japanese rest stop food. I had some sort of pastry with ham and egg salad, it wasn't very pretty but it was very very good.

The next week we went on our Guamanian vacation, where you got your fourth tooth and started pulling yourself up on everything that will stand still for a few moments. You adored the beach, you thought that the ocean was the perfect place for splashing and loved licking salt water from your hands and eating sand. During our Guamanian vacation, you got to ride the train for the first time and were pretty good on the way to Tokyo. On the way back, however, you were tired and ready to get home and weren't very well-behaved.

Annelise Marie, you've been growing and growing this month, and it's not all because of Mommy Milk anymore! You love eating apples and grapes, as well as Gerber puffs. Your favorites are the fruit-flavored ones, you've got a sweet tooth like your mommy. You also tasted broccoli and chicken this month, as well as Mommy's ice cream. This will be a surprise to your daddy, but I just couldn't resist your sweet little smile and gave you some when we were in Towada the other day.

Speaking of Towada, we went to Lake Towada last weekend for the fireworks but were rained out. It's a good thing I bought a rain cover for your stroller because without it we would have turned around and headed home. The cover kept out the wind and rain so that you were much warmer and more comfortable than the rest of us.

This weekend is the Tanabata Festival here in Misawa and yesterday we dressed up in our yukata and strolled around town. For me, that meant that I wore a kimono and obi, and for you it meant wearing a cute little onesie-like outfit that I bought at Nishimatsuya (the bunny store). We looked beautiful together and had lots of fun. Sadly, I did not get another potato on a stick because I was full from eating my chicken fried rice.

You're so grown up, Annelise, you crawl all over the place and are now working on walking around by holding on to the furniture or your cage. You haven't gotten very far yet, but I'm sure it will happen soon. Your hair has grown so much in the last month; you're not ready for bows or pigtails yet, but it's better than it was. Your favorite words are mama, dada, and baba. We're not sure what baba refers to, but you say it all the time. Daddy is your favorite person, it's hopeless to get your attention when you're looking at him. Your next favorite person is Elmo, you refuse to talk to Babi or Grandma on the phone when Sesame Street is on and you love watching the Elmo's World DVDs that Daddy bought for you.

The next time I write one of these posts, you'll have been to the doctor again. I can't wait to find out how much you weigh and how tall you are! I already know that the doc will be amazed by how smart you are, your grasping abilities are above-average because of the way we feed you and you use your feet to pick things up and get them to your hands!

Well, my smart little baby, until next month! I love you so much!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Where America's Day Begins...

We just got back from our vacation to Guam, we had so much fun! This is the first real vacation we've been on since our honeymoon, so we were overdue. We started by taking the bullet train to Tokyo, then another train to the airport. We got to Guam around 2am, but Annelise had spent so much time cooped up on our laps that we were up until almost 4 playing with her. The next day we explored the island a little, we saw an old friend at the BX on the Air Force base, and I ate a DELICIOUS cheeseburger! We stopped at a Spanish fort to take some pics and met two Buddhist monks! On Friday, the sky was pretty overcast so we ate some delicious Mexican food and then went to an aquarium. We love taking Annelise to aquariums, she adores water and fish and this aquarium had a good-sized tunnel to walk through with all kinds of fun sea life. John bought Annelise a stuffed sea turtle that we named Squirt, like the turtle in Finding Nemo. We ended up at one of the public beaches that afternoon, Annelise loved the 80 degree water and was delighted to sit in the sand and splash around. She also tried to eat some sand, and judging by her diapers I didn't do a very good job of keeping the sand out of her mouth. That night we got some delicious steak at Tony Roma's. I know, I'm the idiot American who goes on vacation to a tropical island and eats American food, but I miss American food! I haven't found a decent steak in Misawa and the Homemade 1/2 pound Cheeseburger at Jeff's Pirate's Cove was so good I almost cried.

On Saturday, John went scuba diving and Annelise and I slept late. That afternoon we did some more exploring, and we did the same on Sunday. Sunday morning John went diving again and Annelise and I walked down to the Denny's for breakfast. The kid is so used to Japanese people fawning all over her that I think she was a little disappointed by her reception on Guam. People thought she was cute, but they had better things to do than play with her. That afternoon we took some pictures at the place where Ferdinand Magellan landed on Guam in 1512, I felt very historical. Monday morning we planned on driving to the Southern tip of the island and going to a resort, but Annelise was having a bad morning and we ended up just hanging around the room. That night, we went to dinner at Rhonda and Popeye's house, it was so nice to spend some time with old friends. It made me feel like we're in the 'real' Air Force, we've been around long enough to go to dinner with people we used to be stationed with. (p.s., we just found out that some of our old neighbors from Cannon are moving here, that makes me feel even more grown up! People always talk about how small the Air Force is and how you meet up with people you used to be stationed with and now it's happening. With John's career field, we're very likely to switch types of bases with each move so I had given up hope on being stationed with people I actually know.)

Tuesday morning we went back to the AF base to do a little more shopping and mail our souvenirs home so we wouldn't have to cart them with us on the planes and trains. We went to the beach on the navy base that afternoon and had a wonderful time. I bought a floatie for Annelise, which she did not like very much because it impeded her splashing abilities, and we spent some time in the deeper water so Annelise could actually swim with the fishies while John snorkeled a bit. Then we sat on the beach, on the beautiful sand, in the crystal-clear water, and just enjoyed some time together as a family.

We had a wonderful vacation, even if Annelise misbehaved on the train rides back. She spent the first night in Guam in a 'fort' that we made by blocking off the space between the two beds with pillows and a suitcase, but then we bought a pack-n-play for her to sleep in the rest of the week. It would have cost us almost $200 to rent a crib from the hotel so instead we bought an $80 pack-n-play and I didn't have to worry about how clean the sheets and mattress were. We ate some delicious food, including pancakes that were the size of dinner plates and almost an inch thick. When you go to Jan Z's for breakfast, you only order one pancake. They have delicious tropical tea on the island, it's mango-flavored and doesn't need any sugar. I looked up the brand they serve at the Mexican restaurant and I can't afford it, it's $9 for 6 bags!

Annelise is now crawling like a champ and pulling up on anything that stands still. She also got her fourth tooth on the train ride to Tokyo and now gives the sweetest baby kisses ever. We took lots of pictures while we were on Guam, we even figured out how to use the timer so that we have a few (crooked) family pictures. Check ajminear.shutterfly.com for the pics, hope you enjoy them!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Seven Months Old!!

Annelise Marie, we've had a lot of fun this month! You've grown and changed quite a bit, and your personality is so vibrant.

We started the month with a doctor's visit. You are happy and healthy and the doc was impressed that you can sit on your own. You now (almost a month later) weigh about 17 pounds and are 27 inches tall. I can't believe that you've doubled your birthweight and grown half a foot! You had to get two shots this time, you were supposed to get three but the clinic was out of the third one. You don't have to go back to the doc until you're 9 months old and other than the shot we're still waiting on, you don't have any more immunizations until you're a year old! I am very grateful for that, you're always so quiet and sad when you get shots.

We spent plenty of time with friends this month and made new friends, as well. You got to play on LYNX's piano and you're such a ham that you would bang your fingers on the keys and then turn and look at us to make sure we saw how cute you were being. We took Lisa and Yazmin to the kimono shop and I found an obi with butterflies on it, I'm going to use it to make a wall hanging of some sort for your room when you're older.

We went to Shipwreck Beach twice this month, you like being outside but are not fond of the SPF 70 sunscreen that I slather all over you. It doesn't help much, you've still picked up some color even though I reapply it every two hours. We also went canoeing on Lake Ogawara last weekend. You liked sitting on my lap and watching the world move by, but you did not like wearing a life jacket. I guess you'll just have to get used to it, though, because Daddy and I like going out on the lake.

We felt our first two earthquakes this month, they feel like you're driving over railroad tracks even though you're standing still. When we felt the first one, you looked at me with this confused look on your face, you wondered how we were moving without actually moving!

I had two spouses' events again this month, but this time you stayed home with Daddy for both of them. I left bottles of pumped milk so you wouldn't go hungry and you actually drank some of it the first night. You also fell asleep in Daddy's arms, you haven't done that since you were only a few days old. The second night, you decided that you didn't want a bottle and went to bed without dinner, but then I accidentally woke you up when I was putting a heavier blanket on you (it was very cold that night) so you didn't go hungry.

Your intelligence is sometimes overwhelming, Annelise. First, you taught yourself how to play peekaboo, now you imitate the elephant sound on your jumperoo. I get a big smile on my face every time I hear you chattering with your animals, and you also like to hear your voice echo when we go up and down the stairs. You are a very smart child, sweet girl, and I can't wait to see what happens next!

The most exciting thing we've done this month is started you on solid foods. We bypassed the pureed baby foods and jumped directly in to feeding you table food. You're so independent that I'm not sure how you would have handled me spoon-feeding you anyway. So far you've tried bananas, apples, watermelon, avocados, carrots, cherries, pineapple, and little bits of bread that I tear off of my food. You're not fond of avocados or apples, and your favorite is definitely cherries. We're going cherry-picking next Friday, I'm going to make sure we take lots of pictures!

There are so many things to look forward to in this next month. You are very close to crawling now, you can get your baby belly off the floor and move your arms or your legs, but not both your arms AND your legs. You've got a pretty cute scooch going on right now, you look like a little inchworm. You are also working on your top teeth, although I'm not sure how long it will be before they appear. You're more drooly and are chewing on your hands all the time, so I know it will happen soon!

I don't know who you look like anymore, some days you look like me and some days you look like Daddy. We even have a picture where you look like your Grandaddy! (He's pretty proud of that.) All I do know is that you're so beautiful it hurts and that everyone who sees you is charmed by your beautiful blue eyes and sweet, sweet smile. You're quite chatty and love talking to your grandmothers on the phone, I just have to keep your hands out of the way because you're really good at hanging up on people. You also like telling Daddy all about your day when he gets home from work. We greet him at the door every day and you're always so excited to see him and talking to him, he loved celebrating Father's Day with you and getting the card that you 'signed'.

Well kiddo, I guess that's it for another month. I know this month is going to be lots of fun and full of adventures, but could we keep the poosplosions to a minimum?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Shipwreck Beach

Today we made the trip to Shipwreck Beach, which is about an hour from Misawa. We parked in this little driveway that was definitely not a parking lot, but it's really close to the shipwrecks. Then we walked down this little gravel road to get to the beach and the shipwrecks. I wish I knew the story behind the wrecks, there were four ships on the beach.

We set up our picnic lunch, using the picnic basket that we got from my aunts at one of our wedding showers. I had Annelise all dressed up to take pictures, but this beach wasn't quite right for that. The other beach we went to was a little more beachy, this place kinda reminded me of Galveston.

After we ate our lunch, we went hunting for sea glass. This beach is on the bay, not the ocean, we have access to the Pacific Ocean, Lake Ogawara, Lake Towada, and Mutsu Bay all within one hour of Misawa. Shipwreck Beach is known for the wrecks, but it's also known as a great place to find sea glass.

This is the glass we found today, that's a lot of glass for only about 1.5 hours of looking. We also didn't go all that far down the beach. Next time we'll park at another place and explore the other end of the beach. On our way back to the car, John took a pic of Annelise and me in front of this gigantic pile of shells. We don't really know where these shells came from, there were no shells like this on the beach. We don't know if this is just where they put all of the shells from the restaurants or if someone is in charge of combing the beaches for shells or if they somehow got them from the bay, but it's A LOT of shells. And they smelled. There were birds on top of the pile of shells and I worried that they would trigger an avalance of some sort.

That's right, all of the white things in the background are shells. Anyone want some shells from Japan? We had lots of fun today and I can't wait to pick up some wire and such to make jewelry with my sea glass. We got blue, green and clear glass, and apparently you can also find red and purple glass, although those colors are very rare. I think I'll need to see some samples so I know what to look for. The darkest blue piece I found looked like a rock until I licked the dirt off of it. Yeah, I know that's gross; I felt like Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs or Kirsten Gum from Cash and Treasures (now called Treasure Hunter Kirsten Gum). So anyways, I'd like to go back to Shipwreck Beach with more time and a slightly warmer day so that I can search more thoroughly for darker glass. Until then, I'll have some fun with what we brought home today. And, let's face it, I've got more than enough crafty projects to keep me busy.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Annelise's first food

We gave Annelise her first food tonight, she had some bananas. Many of you know that I have issues with textures, because of that I find pureed baby foods to be very icky. In order to avoid those kinds of foods as much as possible, we're going the baby-led weaning route. We'll offer her food from our plates and let her figure out textures and flavors and decide what she does and doesn't like. Because she's still fully breastfed, it's ok that she's not actually eating much. Annelise probably didn't get any actual banana into her stomach tonight, but she enjoyed playing with it and tasting it. We're going to take it slowly so that she can get used to different kinds of foods and so we can monitor her for any possible food sensitivities or allergies. We've got an independent little girl, so she's more than happy to do this stuff herself, it would probably be a fight to be able to feed her purees from a spoon. Feeding Annelise this way not only ensures we know exactly what she's eating and saves us from spending a ton of money on baby food, it is also going to expand what we eat. I want her to try as many foods as possible, so there will be a lot more fruits and veggies around the house from now on!

Anyways, I took some videos and spliced them together. The resulting movie is too big for me to send through Yahoo, so I decided to post it here. Hope y'all enjoy!

Friday, June 5, 2009

It's a Wonderful World

I love to read, you all know that. I have stacks and stacks of books and am always looking for more. I read my favorites over and over again, I've lost count of how many times I've read the Harry Potter books and the Chronicles of Narnia.

When we lived in Clovis, a friend introduced me to paperbackswap.com. PBS is an awesome site where you can post books you no longer want and earn credits when you mail them to others. You then use those credits to request books that you want and they are mailed to you by someone else. There is no exchange of money and since all books are mailed via media mail, your personal outlay of $2-$3 per book is well worth it. I LOVE PBS and have used the site to fill in my favorite series. Currently, I'm getting rid of a few series that I'm bored with and am using my credits to get some books that John wants and to explore a couple of new series.

One of the best things about PBS is that you can still use it if you live at an APO or FPO, which is not the case for many websites. Stores that only use UPS or FedEx to ship will not mail things to us. We are also limited by weight requirements and a few other requirements. I love that I can still get my books through PBS and I take full advantage of the service.

Since we moved to Japan, my access to English-language books is limited. There's a library on base, but I like owning books and sometimes I put a book down in the middle of the story and don't pick it up for weeks because I get busy. Libraries don't like it when you keep their books for a month... There's also a small bookstore at the Base Exchange, they stock a lot of popular authors, but you can never be sure that they will have the exact book that you want. My last option for buying books is the base thrift shop, which is a crapshoot. The stock there depends on what others are getting rid of, so I seldom find something I want to read at the TS.

My PBS buddies have kept me sane, I can usually find the books I want on the site and wait anxiously for them to arrive (sometimes it takes 6 weeks for media mail to get here). Getting mail is like having a birthday, it's a wonderful little surprise and I love going to the post office and finding out that a new book has arrived. I started noticing the sweet little notes in my books not long after we moved here, notes thanking us for John's service. Those little notes make me smile, they remind me that although we're sacrificing a lot by living so far from our families, we are appreciated. There is a woman on PBS who has told me that if there are ever books on her list that I want, she will mail them to me without me having to use my credits. This week, I received a message on PBS from a woman who is mailing me a book and also wants to send us a care package. Then this morning I woke up to find a message that someone had given me 10 book credits, just to say 'thank you' for John being in the Air Force.

I am so very lucky to have a wonderful family and friends, but the PaperBackSwap community is an unexpected blessing. I cried a little this morning when I got the message about the credits, it warms my heart knowing that people appreciate what we do. I have more to say, but Annelise just woke up from her nap. That's the way I roll now...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Half a Year Already

Man, they're not lying when they tell you that time flies once you have a baby. I can't believe that Annelise turns six months old today.

Annelise Marie, when we tell you that you're a genius baby, when I sing 'Who's the smartest little girl in the whole wide world?', I'm not exaggerating by much. You have had a VERY busy month, growing and changing and learning every day. You are just as curious (nosy) as the day you were born, always looking around and taking in everything that you hear and see. You are very verbal and make sure that you are heard and that we are listening to what you have to say. You're getting closer to saying that magic word, Mama, I'm going to cry when it actually happens. We practice every day and I know that once you start, I'm never going to hear the end of it.

I am amazed when I look at pictures of you in the hospital just after you were born. You're just not the same baby anymore. You were so tiny then, now you have adorable rolls of fat on your arms and legs and you've gotten so tall that we had to move your jumperoo to the next height. Your bald spot is finally filling in, that's a huge relief to me. You still have a mullet, it's going to take the rest of your hair a long time to grow as long and as thick as that little patch on the back of your head. Your blue eyes and huge smile charm everyone we meet and my favorite part of you is your adorable baby belly. That's Daddy's favorite part, too, he loves smooching on you and tickling you and making you laugh. Your laugh is the sweetest sound in the world and your cry is so sad and pathetic that it breaks my heart.

You've become so adept at rolling around that we had to buy a play yard for the living room. Our house isn't set up for baby gates so you spend a big part of your day in the 'cage'. You love it there and sometimes one of us will crawl in with you to play. Between rolling and spinning and a little bit of scooting, you can get just about anywhere.

Over the last couple of weeks, you have gotten your first two teeth. They came through quickly, with only a couple of days' span between seeing one and it popping through and then another couple of days' span before the other one was through, too. They're not all the way in yet, but they sure are sharp. Your little 'puppy teeth' can leave quite a mark if you get ahold of my hand and I have to keep a close watch on you when you're eating.

You had your first bottle last week, I pumped and pumped to make a measly few ounces so I could leave you with Daddy during my OSC meeting. We had to do some experimenting to find a bottle that you liked, but we figured it out. You're not a huge fan of it, but you did take about half an ounce the night that I was out. Then something happened and the milk went sour, it may have been too long since I pumped it, but at least we know what to do now. I'm so grateful that I got that couple of hours out of the house on my own, I'm a much better mommy when I can get a little time to myself every once in a while.

Last week, we went to a play group at the Misawa International Center. We'll be going back twice a month, I like most of the people there and it gives you a chance to interact with other children. A little Japanese girl grabbed a toy from you this time, you grabbed it back later. And then, when I least expected it, you sat on your own! I didn't get very good pictures because I didn't want to move away from you out of fear that you would fall over, but I got some within the next few days. You're doing better and better, especially when you have a toy to play with. I still stay very close by, you tip over after 10-15 seconds, but I'm sure that it won't be long before you're off doing things like this on your own.

We've spent lots of time with friends this month, including two trips to the kimono shop and several cookouts. We went to lunch with some friends a week ago and one of the ladies working at the restaurant held you while Daddy and I ate. Aunt Lusa was worried when I told her about it, but you loved every second of it. Then later that day we met our neighbor across the street and she hugged you and loved on you and talked to you in Japanese about all sorts of things. I have no idea what she was talking about, but you seemed to enjoy yourself.

Yesterday was Memorial Day and since Daddy had the day off of work, we drove out to the beach. We slathered on the sunscreen and headed out, it didn't take very long to get there and was well worth the effort. The water was very cold, which you didn't like very much, but the sand is so dark that it's almost black and you liked squishing your fingers and toes in it. Some of our friends came along and brought their dog, you liked looking at Kona and watching her play fetch. She even licked your hand once, she left plenty of slobber and sand on your fingers. We plan on checking out the other beaches in the area, no swimming is allowed at the beach we went to this time because of the riptide. I've got some adorable swimsuits for you, I can't wait until it's warm enough to put you in them!

The next month is going to be lots of fun, baby girl, I can't wait to see what you learn next! We're also going to start letting you munch on some big-kid food, we'll see how that works out...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mother's Day

We've been up to quite a bit in the last couple of weeks, but I'll leave that till the monthly update on the 26th. This past Sunday was Mother's Day, we had lots of fun celebrating all weekend. On Saturday, we spent the day in Towada and went to the used kimono shop and a really nice recycle shop. We also spent some time just walking around and taking pictures. Two of the people we were with are photography enthusiasts, so we all served as models for the day. Annelise was an especially popular model, but we won't get copies of any of the pics until we see everyone again over the holiday weekend.

I had so much fun at the used kimono shop, and everything was made even better by the fact that John watched Annelise so that I could go in and shop on my own. It was so nice to dig through the piles and not worry about her grabbing things or getting fussy or whatever. Plus, the store is not very clean and one of the men who works there smokes. I will be taking her with me when I go back next month, but won't be staying inside for very long. The way the store is set up, there's a room upstairs with kids kimonos and summer kimonos for Y100 each. The adult kimonos up there are cheaply made and some of them have stains/holes/whatever. Then all of the kimonos/happy coats/obis that are downstairs are Y500 each. There was a room with summer kimonos and lots of happy coats (the shorter jackets), as well as under-kimonos that are basically Japanese underwear. Then there was a whole section full of boxes and boxes full of obis and then there was another section with some kimonos on hangers and a GIGANTIC pile of kimonos. I'm talking 8'x4'x3' high. I got two summer kimonos and one winter kimono for myself, as well as 5 or 6 obis, a kimono for Annelise to wear in a few years, and two summer kimonos for me to experiment with on sewing projects. My total was Y6500, which is roughly $65. When I go back, I want to pick up a couple more obis and a few winter kimonos for sewing projects. I bought patterns to make teddy bears and purses, and today while I was on base I saw some pretty obis or kimonos that had been framed. You can also take obi-tying classes to make really pretty wall-hangings and such. I would love to find an obi or kimono with butterflies on it and frame part of it for Annelise. I think that will be a great way to display kimonos and obis in my house that is also within my decorating style. The wall-hangings that you can make are really cool, but definitely do not fit well in my house.

On Sunday, John and Annelise each gave me a card. John tried to trace an outline of Annelise's hand in the card from her but it didn't work out well. Check the Shutterfly site for a picture of it, it's so cute! I also got a new book to read to her (last year I was about 12 weeks pregnant for Mother's Day and John gave me a book to read to Annelise while I was pregnant), a framed wall-hanging that says 'God Bless This Home' in Japanese, and I bought myself a kokeshi doll of a mother and child. We went to Mass, where Annelise was sweet and adorable and complimented by other moms and then we went to brunch at the Club. We met Shannon for brunch and got to eat with some other people we know from the squadron and their adorable kids. I'm in love with Jack, he's just over a year old and is in a very adorable stage; he blew kisses to us as they left.

After brunch, we made a quick trip to the commissary and then stopped by the house to pick up the brownies that I made the night before. We then drove over to Kim's house for a cookout and had lots of fun spending time with the same people we were with all day Saturday. I'm so glad that we have actual friends here that we actually hang out with that aren't from John's office or our neighborhood, people that both John and I like. We had lots of friends in Clovis, but for the most part they weren't OUR friends, they were my friends or John's friends. And we very rarely did anything with any of them as a couple, other than squadron or neighborhood stuff.

So anyways, my Mother's Day was wonderful. And it was topped off with a prize from John's mom, she sent a Paula Deen cookbook and a Japanese phrase book! I'm not sure why we didn't buy one of those before we moved here, but they're always out at the bookstore and sometimes pantomiming just doesn't work.

I hope all of my Mommy friends had a wonderful Mother's Day, I miss you guys.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Today we went on base to check the mail and run by the B/X. While we were there, we ran into Nomi. I met Nomi last week at Kim's house and she is the first Japanese person that I actually know that I've run into while out and about. Our real estate agent doesn't really count, he was running a booth at the bazaar in March. And it wasn't just 'hi, how are you', Nomi stopped to tell me that the International Center playgroup is cancelled this week. While I'm sad that we'll miss out on the playgroup, it made me very happy that I'm making friends and seeing them all over!


Annelise and I went to Hirosaki today for the Cherry Blossom Festival. We went on a bus trip organized by the base, it was nice being able to just ride along instead of figuring out directions and dealing with paying tolls.

This is the tail end of the blooming season so most of the trees were already green. We found a few patches of still-blooming trees, they were so gorgeous. The day started when we got off the bus. We walked through a small market and of course there were people handing out samples of whatever food they were selling. I snatched a piece of apple and then ended up eating some sort of tentacle. I was distracted and the sample was in my hand before I could say no, so I had to eat it. The flavor was ok, but the texture was not fun. I made it a full three months in Japan before eating anything with tentacles, I'm pretty impressed.

When we got to the park, we walked around a little, taking pictures of the different kinds of trees. I had someone take a picture of the two of us in front of a blooming tree and then another pic of us through a hollow tree. It's a really cute picture, check our Shutterfly site to see it.

I fed Annelise and then we wandered around the park for a while. She ended up falling asleep in the stroller and I used the handy-dandy blanket clips to hold her blanket up so she'd stay warm. I also used the plastic stroller-protector to keep out the raindrops (it only sprinkled). Japanese people have a gadget for everything, I love it!

We didn't actually go into Hirosaki Castle, there were stairs and I didn't want to wake up Annelise to take her out of the stroller. I found out later that the stairs inside the castle were pretty steep, so I'm glad we skipped it. We wandered the castle grounds and looked at Mt. Iwate, which is the tallest mountain in Aomori Prefecture.

By this point I was very hungry, so I grabbed a very yummy donut before searching for more food. I eventually found the area set aside for food and souvenir vendors, but encountered my usual problem here in Japan: I don't read Japanese and therefore have no idea what the different foods are. There were various foods on sticks (apparently this is a universal festival food, along with cotton candy), as well as yakisoba and some other yumminess. I skipped the yakisoba, I can get that anywhere, and went for the potato on a stick. The spiral-cut a potato and then stuck the stick through it, spreading out the spirals so that when they fried it, everything was browned. There were 6 topping options, all in powder form. I bypassed the BBQ and mayonnaise options and chose the seaweed/butter/salt sprinkle. Potato on a stick is yummy, I highly recommend it. Then I bought a Coke and a roasted ear of corn to round out my lunch. Yeah, that's really well-rounded.

On our way back to the bus, I stopped and bought a Kokeshi doll with cherry blossoms pained on it as well as some flip-flop socks. You know, the socks with space between the big toe and the other 4 toes so you can wear them with flip-flops. Not all that fashionable, but oh, so Japanese.

I had lots of fun today and am very proud of getting out and doing something without John. If I spend all my time at home while he's out of town, I will go very crazy very quickly. Annelise was well-behaved, let's hope she does as well when we go on the ferry tour next month!

Again, check ajminear.shutterfly.com for pictures from today as well as some cute pictures of Annelise from the last month.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

My 5-month-old little girl...

They say that time flies when you're having fun, and it's totally true! Annelise, I can't believe that you're already five months old! You're a totally different person from that teeny tiny little baby we brought home from the hospital. You have a huge personality and you charm the socks off of everyone, including Daddy and me.

This past month, you had your first Easter (and first Easter basket), your first splinter, and your first playgroup. Easter was a lot of fun, you love the bunny from Babi and Grandaddy and you look so cute in the rabbit ears that Aunt Nanna sent. You first splinter made me sad, I couldn't stand the crying when the nurse removed it. I wish I had the splinter instead of you, I hate that you were scared and hurting.

Our first playdate was very interesting, we went to a playgroup at the Misawa International Center. You were one of two American kids there, everyone else was Japanese. You had lots of fun playing with the Japanese mommies and they loved holding you and carrying you around. Hopefully next time I'll get to play with a Japanese baby while you play with the Japanese mommies! Everyone was impressed with how smart you are, apparently Japanese babies develop more slowly than American babies.

Speaking of development, at your last doctor's appointment you weighed 15 pounds and I'm pretty sure you're closing in on 16 now! You're by no means fat, you don't have half as many rolls as Aunt Lusa had, but you're not skinny either. You're just perfect, I wouldn't change a bit! You're much more into rolling over now, you can travel all the way across the living room if you're in the mood. You've also figured out rolling over to get to a toy you want and will sometimes scooch a little to get to a toy. Your current favorites are teething toys, your front teeth are on their way even though we can't see them yet. You're not a fan of orajel, but it really helps with the pain.

Annelise, you're grabbing at everything you see now, getting ready to start grabbing for your food. You figured out how to get ahold of my necklace the other day and I was so proud that I almost forgot to make you let go! Last night we had game night and you grabbed LYNX's cards and Erin's hair and then you gnawed on Mike's hand. I think he was a little surprised by that, we freed him from your clutches quickly.

It snowed last night, several inches accumulated. I was completely surprised and now I'm also sad. The wind/rain/snow/cold temps no doubt took all of the cherry blossoms off of the trees. I had planned a trip to Lake Towada this week to go out and see them, I guess we'll wait and see how the trees on base fared first.

Annelise, I love you so much and you're so much fun. You're such a smart girl and Daddy and I are proud to be your parents. I've actually begun to like to change your diapers because you're the most talkative when you're on the changing table. One day I'll have to take a video, it's so darn cute!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


It's still April 21 in the States, I was too tired last night to make this post.

As a Texan, April 21 holds special meaning for me; it's the day that the Texans won their independence from Mexico, the day that we became a nation. As an Aggie, it hold even more significance. April 21 is the day of Aggie Muster, 'If there is an A&M man in one-hundred miles of you, you are expected to get together, eat a little, and live over the days you spent at the A&M College of Texas.' I don't know if there are any other Aggies in Misawa, but I'm used to spending the day on my own.

There are three Musters that stand out for me, in 2000, 2003, and 2006. 2000 was the year of my first Aggie Muster. I had been accepted to A&M but didn't really know a whole lot about the school. I knew the basic traditions, knew that I liked the campus, and knew that they had a great Civil Engineering program. I didn't tell anyone that I had no idea what was going on, my friend Rusty was born in Bryan and has always been a die-hard Aggie and he would have ridiculed me for not knowing. So I attended Muster in Ennis, knowing only that I would find out whether or not I'd been awarded a scholarship from the Ennis A&M Club. The 2000 Muster was an important one, Bonfire had fallen just a few months before and we honored the twelve. It was my first REAL experience with former students, not just current students. I was touched by the idea that someone will answer 'Here' for me after I die, and I was honored to do the same for others. I didn't receive a scholarship that night, I was really disappointed. The Aggie Spirit prevailed, though, and the Old Ags there that night were so impressed by all of us incoming Fish that they donated extra money and awarded two more scholarships, one of which I received.

In 2003, I was in Houston for NASACon, one of the most memorable experiences of my college years. I had a lot of fun and made some awesome friends, but the best part was Muster. When we found out that Muster would occur during NatCon, some people immediately said they wouldn't be in Houston. We had a couple of BQs in the AAS squadron and they had to be in College Station and none of the rest of us wanted to miss it, either. We found a conference room in the hotel and set it all up, I think Paige was one of the people in charge of that. I helped read the names, that was an amazing experience for me, but the best part was that Muster was important enough to all of us that we got up early and made it happen. I felt a real sense of community then and I know that the other Aggies who attended who were not AAS or SW members really appreciated it.

Then we come to 2006. I had lived in Clovis for just over a year and was facing my second Muster without going to something organized. My friends Amy and Decie invited me to a party at the 524 bar, one that happened to be pirate-themed. That pirate party was awesome, I got to hang out with friends and drink a lot (basically the only things to do in Clovis). The best part of the night was when I heard 2 drunk guys singing The Spirit of Aggieland. I joined in and after the song was over, found out that they were both Class of '01. That party means so much to me because it reminded me that you find Aggies in the most random of places and that the Aggie Family is such that you can approach anyone just because of the ring on his/her finger and be automatically welcomed because you wear the same ring.

Family is of the utmost importance to me, my 'real' family back in Texas, my Aggie family, and my Air Force family. I'm so happy that they have overlapped, my friend Rusty is now married to my cousin Mary and one of my friends from the Fireballs is an Aggie, Class of '98. I don't know where Annelise will go to college, but she will grow up knowing all about the importance of family and how being an Aggie not only gave me a new family, it helped me meet John.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Annelise taught herself to play peekaboo a couple of months ago. Originally, she would bring her arm around in a circle and stop with it over her eyes, then pull it down and smile at us. Since then, we play peekaboo with her from time to time, using our hands or a blanket. Yesterday I was checking my e-mail and looked back at her in the living room to see her playing peekaboo with the animals on her play mat. I stayed back so that I wouldn't distract her and got a pretty good video of it. Ignore the background noise, Kenny Chesney was on Oprah.

So here it is, hope it brings a smile to your day!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Fun!

This weekend was Annelise's first Easter! We started out by dyeing eggs on Saturday. We only did 5 (I boiled 6 but one cracked open), but that was just enough. We stripped Annelise down to her diaper just in case we spilled the dye, but everything went really well. She wasn't very interested in the eggs, but she loves not wearing clothes so she was happy.

We wanted to attend the Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday night, one of our friends was joining the Church and we wanted to be there to support him, but things just didn't work out. Annelise is teething, so she's pretty fussy in the evenings, and we weren't going to be ready in time. Instead we went to Mass Sunday morning, that worked out well because we got to see some of our friends and wish them all a Happy Easter.

The Easter Bunny visited our house, he concentrated on technology this year. We all got CDs, I got Sleeping Beauty on DVD, and there was some candy for the grownups as well as a stuffed airplane for Annelise. And then there was the huge pile of stuff sent by the grandmothers and my sister. Annelise received stuffed animals, an outfit, a couple of books, a pin to wear on her Easter dress, and lots more stuff. She's so darn spoiled, but who can help it!

After Mass, we went to brunch at the Club. As always, the food was ok and the price was astronomical. We don't go to brunch very often, there are other places on base that serve a decent breakfast for a lot less. It was nice to show off our pretty dresses, though, so I guess it was worth it. I wore the same dress I wore last year (because I love it and there's not a huge selection out here) and Annelise wore a dress that my mom and Dianna bought at JC Penney. When we moved here, we decided that my mom would pick out Annelise's Easter dresses and John's mom would pick out her Halloween costumes. The selections at the BX aren't great and this way they get to go shopping for their grandbaby. My mom loves buying frilly dresses and Halloween is Sandy's favorite holiday, so it works out well.

Sunday afternoon we went over to my friend Kim's house for Easter dinner. The food was delicious, the company was entertaining, and I even got to play Phase 10!! Kim invited two other families over and we all had a blast. Annelise loves playing with Kim, she smiled and flirted with everyone. John got to talk guy stuff with the husbands while Annelise and I played cards with the wives, so we were all happy!

Overall, our Easter was really great. I'm so thankful that we've made wonderful friends here and that we got to spend the day together. Annelise looked adorable in her dress, my and John's parents handed out pics of her over the weekend. For you Aunties out there, I'm waiting for mine to arrive so I can mail them; it may still be a few days and I hope Jess's doesn't get lost in the mail during her move!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Fun in the April Sun!

April has started off to be a great month! Last Saturday (the 4th) was John's birthday, we spent the day doing fun stuff. We started at Cinnabon for breakfast and then went to Japan Day. Lots of people from Misawa set up fun stuff in the high school so that the military folks could experience small pieces of Japan. We attended a tea ceremony, got Annelise's name written in Japanese characters, made a kite, and got lots of info on stuff to do in the surrounding area. I forgot the camera, but we'll go back next year and take lots of pictures. They even had rooms where you could try on samurai armor or a kimono. Most of the rooms were dedicated to Japanese crafts, like braiding (very cool, I tried it), embroidery (a little different than we're used to), several kinds of painting, and working with bonsais. We really enjoyed ourselves and can't wait to use the maps and guidebooks we got to explore the area.

That afternoon, we went to the Misawa Aviation & Science Museum. Misawa was the starting point for the first non-stop trans-Pacific flight, the plane's name was the Miss Veedol. Images of Miss Veedol are everywhere around here, even on the ambulances! The museum houses Miss Veedol half of the year and then it goes to Wenatchee, Washington, for the other half of the year (that's where the flight ended) while a replica hangs out in Misawa. There were also a couple of other replicas and then you move on to the science part of the building, which was the best part. There were all kinds of interactive displays, a spinning room, helicopter and airplane simulators, experiments to help show you the effects of gravity, and many others. Everything was totally interactive and John was like a kid in a candy store, we will definitely be going back. They also had a really great souvenir shop where we got Annelise a small wooden replica of Miss Veedol. We'll probably get one for Kolton for his birthday, I think he'd like it.

Saturday night we had dinner at home, I made brisket, parsley potatoes, and yellow cake with homemade chocolate icing. John was in heaven, he ended up eating brisket for several days afterwards and wouldn't let me freeze the leftovers because he wanted to keep taking them for lunch. Thank goodness for foodnetwork.com, I found a brisket recipe that could be done in the oven with a very flavorful dry rub. I'm pretty impressed with myself and will be making brisket again in a couple of weeks when I host the OSS coffee.

Sunday we went to Mass and then to the parish Easter Basket Celebration. Sandwiches and Popeye's chicken were provided and everyone pitched in with side dishes and desserts. We had lots of fun hanging out with people from church, John said it was the first time he's ever done any kind of fellowship activity after Mass. We'll be joining in again soon for Fr. Christopher's farewell, I just hope it's warm enough for an outside event. The one we went to was inside, but the next one is planned for outdoors. It's definitely warmer here, but even temps in the 50s are too cold for Annelise to be outside for long.

One of the funniest things about the weekend was that we kept seeing Marty and Vanessa on Saturday. Marty and Vanessa are friends of one of my friends from when we lived in Clovis. I met them when I was visiting Jess in San Antonio last Summer, and boy am I glad. We first got together not long after we moved here and have somehow seen them every weekend since! Between base activities, ski trips, and just seeing them in the Commissary, it's very cool to see someone we know as we're out and about. That's the kind of thing that makes Misawa feel like home, and it took a while for that to happen in Clovis.

The excitement has continued this week, on Tuesday Annelise and I walked down to the grocery store for their sale day. On Tuesdays, Yokomachi has a whole section of food for 100 yen. Since they're only about a kilometer away, I popped Annelise into the sling and we went on an excursion. We sat in the cafe area for a while so I could replenish with a croissant and a Coke and then we explored the store. I got some yummy fruit and even found my favorite Snyder's Snacks, garlic prezel pieces! They only had single serving bags that were kind of expensive, but it was a nice treat.

Wednesday I got up early for a 7:10 dentist appointment and John stayed home with Annelise. No cavities, thank goodness! John took the whole day off, which was very nice. Somehow, him being home in the middle of the week was so much more fun than him being home on a Saturday. We really enjoyed ourselves and even got some things done around the house! Annelise also had a doctor's appointment on Wednesday, her 4-month checkup. Annelise now weighs 15 pounds and is almost 26 inches tall! She's in the 55th percentile for her weight and the 75th percentile for her height, but the most impressive part is that she's in the 95th percentile for her head measurement. Annelise takes after her Daddy, she has a big ol' noggin. We have to make sure that the necks of all the clothes we buy are very stretchy or have snaps so that they will fit for a while. Annelise had a big-girl experience at the doctor's office, she had to get a splinter removed. I was taking pics of her with her Easter basket and she got a splinter in her finger. John and I couldn't get it out so we had the nurse take care of it. I held Annelise, John held her arm, and the nurse held her hand to get the splinter out. Annelise cried a little, but she cried even more when the nurse came at her with the band-aid. She thought the whole thing was over and then the nurse grabbed her hand again, so she started screaming! Once the Bugs Bunny band-aid was on, however, she calmed down.

Good news in the family, my baby sister Melisa just got a job for next fall. She's finishing up her bachelor's next month and will be starting her master's in the fall as well as teaching 6th grade math! I'm so proud of her! And Annelise was so excited about the news that she rolled all the way over, from her back to her tummy to her back, the full 360 degrees instead of just 180 and then back again. My sweet girl is so smart!

Check the Shutterfly site for new pics in a couple of days, including one of Annelise with her big-kid band-aid!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Asamushi Aquarium

We made a foray out into the wilds of Japan today and drove to the Asamushi Aquarium in Aomori. We picked up directions from the family center on base and they were typical of a country with no street names. "Turn on white pole road" "Turn left at the fifth traffic light" and so on. We got there all right, there was some snow along the way and a very long tunnel through a mountain. We thought the ticket price was a little high (1000 yen for each adult) until we realized there was a dolphin show and feeding shows for the otters and dolphins.

Some of the exhibits were a little ghetto, there were small fish tanks for local frogs and such, but for the most part everything was really well-done. Some of the tanks looked kinda small, but they had a huge variety of sea life. The sea lions, seals, and otters were definitely in show-off mode and Annelise couldn't take her eyes off of the turtles. Here eyes were really wide the whole time we were there. The penguins were kind of disappointing, they were all sitting around in the habitat and none of them were in the water.

There was also a tunnel tank where you could walk through the tunnel while fish, some sharks, and a huge stingray swam over and around you. Annelise thought that was really cool, she kept looking around. We ate lunch in the little cafeteria and then went to the dolphin show. We missed watching any of the feedings, we didn't feel like waiting around and having the stroller meant we took up a lot of space.

The dolphin show was really cool, there are 5 or 6 dolphins there but only 2 did the show that we saw. They jumped through a hoop and played with soccer balls and large beach balls and did some other typical dolphin stuff. I wish we had gone to the dolphin tank to see them separately, but Annelise was getting fussy.

We will definitely go back and will probably take any visitors we have. It was worth the price of admission and the aquarium is across the street from the ocean. It was a beautiful drive up there through the mountains, and then you pop out right on the water, so pretty!

I posted some pics on our shutterfly site, check them out. Oh yeah, and Nemo is the same in any language. There were 2 tanks with clownfish in them and the Japanese kids were crowded around them saying "Nemo! Nemo!" It was pretty darn adorable.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

She's 4 months old!

Annelise Marie, you are four months old today! I can't believe how fast the time has gone and it's crazy how much you've grown! You're at least 25 inches tall and weigh between 14 and 15 pounds!

You hit a couple of great milestones this month, sweetie! You laughed your first, adorable, baby laugh on March 6. It doesn't happen often, but that makes it even sweeter when it does. You also rolled over for the first time on your own on March 13! You rolled from your tummy to your back and I didn't even see it, I left the room for a couple of minutes and when I came back you weren't the way I left you! You're not very interested in rolling over, though, and haven't done it again since.

Your legs are getting stronger and you can support yourself for longer and longer amounts of time. You even pushed yourself forward the other day. You were laying on your tummy and scrunched up your legs and PUSHED! Granted, your arms weren't cooperating so you scooched on your face, but there was still forward movement!

We didn't get out and do much this month, we've been pretty busy here at home. We did attend our first bazaar on base and bought gifts for lots of people. We bought you your first robe, I pretend it's a kimono. You look so adorable in it and I love dressing you up when we get on the webcam with the family.

We went to the last session of our pottery class last week and took cupcakes to share with everyone. You wore the "I *heart* Japan" onesie that Aunt Sherry gave you, the Japanese people thought it was so cute! You even made friends with an older Japanese woman who carried you around and even put you to sleep while I finished my vase.

Some big things are coming up this month, sweetie. We're going to go to the aquarium this weekend (weather permitting) and at least one cherry blossom festival. I can't wait to see the cherry blossoms and to take pictures of you surrounded by them.

Oh yeah, one more thing. I decided this month that you speak whale. We love Finding Nemo and sometimes you sound just like Dorrie when she's speaking to the whale. You make a variety of sounds and some of them even sound like words. I swear, you even said 'Ranger' once! We have the best conversations, I love chatting with you.

You and your Daddy are too adorable for words. You light up when he walks into the room and he just about melts when you smile at him. Nothing makes me happier than to see the two of you together, the two of you make everything better!

I'll close with a picture of you in your robe, so cute!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Shutterfly and update

Check out our Shutterfly site at ajminear.shutterfly.com for new pics. I'm not posting pics here because I make one big post on Shutterfly every month. I also added new pics to the December and January albums there, some photos that my sister took.

The rest of our belongings arrived yesterday so the house is full again. Annelise slept in her crib for the very first time last night. John spent quite a bit of time putting together the crib, glider, shelves, and jumperoo, he's my hero. Annelise loves her jumperoo, although her legs are so short that I have to put a pillow on the floor so she can bounce around and she hasn't yet figured out how to use her legs to turn herself around to play with the different toys.

We'll be spending the next couple of days unpacking and decorating her room, I'll post pictures on the Shutterfly site once everything is set up!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

3 months old!

My little girl is 3 months old today, I can't believe we're here already! Lots of things have happened in the last month, we moved into our new house, Annelise and I went to a pottery class, and Annelise met her pediatrician here!

We love our new house, Annelise, it has two stories and you have your very own room! You're sleeping in a borrowed bed right now, hopefully you'll be in your crib by the time you're 4 months old. We still have a lot of unpacking to do, but I have a limited amount of time in which to unpack during the day because you require so much attention. Daddy bought a very large tv and you love to watch Sesame Street with me. You also love when people sing, you sang along with Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift during the Grammys and be-bopped around when we watched the Oscars, as well.

You went to the doctor a couple of weeks ago for your check-up and a couple of shots. You did so well when you got the shots, you only cried for a minute or so and then gave me a dirty look. After a short nap, you were ready to go again and were back to your old, talkative self that night. I took you back to the doctor this week because you had a diaper rash that wouldn't go away and you weigh 13 pounds now!! You're also 23.5" tall, that's almost two feet! You love your doctor, he's a total Doogie and you just smile at him and flirt away! I can't believe how big you've gotten, you don't fit into my arms the same way anymore.

You and I are attending a pottery class here in Misawa, it's interesting. I'm not very good at the potting thing and you had an explosive diaper during the first class. I had to change you on the cold bathroom floor with only the changing pad to protect you and you got very angry with me. You were much better this time and I was able to actually participate in the making of my vase. Mr. Ito did most of the work of shaping it, but I actually did a lot of the shaping of the bottom of it this week. We'll go back one more time in a few weeks to paint it and then Mayu will pick it up after it's fired.

Speaking of Mayu, she's our first Japanese friend! She works on base and leads a lot of the tours within the community that show the military folks cool thing about the area. Besides the pottery class, we've also gone grocery shopping with her in a Japanese grocery store and I'm hoping to start a survival Japanese class on Monday. There will be other excursions in the months to come, but I'll probably have to find a babysitter for you for some of them. I'd like to go to the used kimono shop but it's very dusty and you might get sick.

You've hit your 3-month growth spurt lately and are nursing more often than you used to. I love our time together while you eat, but this really cuts down on the time I have available to unpack our stuff. Daddy and I are ready to have everything set up and you want to be in the middle of it. You're only content in your bouncy seat for five or ten minutes and I just can't do most of this with you in the sling or baby bjorn. I can't wait for your swing and jumperoo to get here next month, you're going to love them so much!

You're officially out of your 0-3 months clothing, thankfully your 3-6 months clothes arrived in the mail this week. You have so many cute new clothes, I can't wait for you to wear them all. I had lots of fun dressing you up in all of your Valentine's Day outfits, now we need something for you to wear on St. Patrick's Day!

Your personality is ever-emerging, you make us smile all the time. You're more talkative than ever, with a wide range of sounds and volumes. You've also taught yourself to play peekaboo, in your own way. You cover your face with your left arm and then pull it down and smile. I LOVE when you do this and it made me so sad that you would only do it for your Daddy for a little while.

I love you so much, Annelise. I can't wait to see how you grow and change over the next month!

Monday, February 23, 2009

We got 9 boxes in the mail today!!! All of the stuff we mailed from Texas arrived, as well as a gift for Annelise from her Uncle George. It has been so much fun opening all of the boxes, I can't wait to get the new bedding on our bed. Annelise has already spent some time in her bouncy seat, she interacts with it so much more than the last time she was in it. I'm also in the process of washing all of her 3-6 months clothes, they arrived just in time. My kid is right on target, the 0-3 months stuff is starting to get tight just as she's about to turn 3 months old.

We finally got the internet hooked up here in the house, so now I can actually post whenever instead of having to go to the cafe, and we even got our Vonage phone hooked up now that the adapter arrived in the mail. We're really starting to settle in here, the kitchen basics are unpacked and I actually cooked dinner tonight. Getting all of the kitchen stuff sorted and put away is going to take some time. Had I known that we had long-term storage available earlier, I would have done like my friend Vanessa and left a lot of the kitchen stuff behind. I definitely would have left the crystal, I very rarely use it at this stage in our lives.

All of my books are unpacked and I've been sneaking time to read here and there. I definitely missed my books while I was in Texas and am sad that I will have to put my book collecting on hold while I'm here. I'm still going to buy new books as they come out, but I probably won't be able to pick up any of the older books that I need to fill out my collection.

Oops, baby's awake!