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 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...