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 for the pics, hope you enjoy them!