Friday, September 27, 2013

Babysitting Conversations

Victor and I are playing mommy and daddy this weekend! We're babysitting two pretty cute kids from our branch/neighborhood, and it sure is a wake up call to see how different our lives will be with kids, but I would say that luckily it's not turning me off to the whole mommy thing. Maybe it was because of this sweet moment that happened at bedtime prayer tonight:
Yeah. It made me swoon a little.

And in true "kid's say the darndest things" fashion, here are some of my favorite quotes that have come from the four and a half year old in the last 24 hours.

"Have you ever had a baby?"
Me: "Nope, not yet."
"Well, it breaks your stomach when you have a baby. Just so you know."

"Does your husband work at the hospital or at a different clinic?" (her dad's a dentist, so she must assume that every guy is a dentist)
Me: "He doesn't work at the hospital. He does stuff with computers."
"I don't think that's a real job."

Scene: at dinner and witnessing Victor's hearty appetite.
"How much food can you fit in your mouth???"
Victor: "A lot."
Ha ha ha ha.

There's still a few days to go. Stay tuned for more gems.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Bucharest by Bike

 It's been a while since getting back from Romania, but I forget I have these pictures, and I really am fond of them. Bucharest is such an interesting city. I wish I could see this city one hundred years ago. They say it was so beautiful: the Paris of the east, but unfortunately most of it was destroyed during communism. Consequently most travelers to Romania never stay in Bucharest---they go to the more beautiful and preserved parts of the country. I don't blame them, but I still love Bucharest, and I still defend it. There's great culture here. Art museums, galleries, opera, philharmonic, restaurants, and more. And it's so lovely in the spring and summer.

On our last part of our trip, Victor had a day of meetings with military/government peeps, so I spent the time exploring the city with our hotel's free bicycle rentals (loved that!). Getting around Bucharest by bicycle is the best. It's my favorite way to get around and see the sights. One minute I'm in Cismigiu Park and the next I'm circling to the Parliament Building (second largest building in the world next to the Pentagon, and I heard that Donald Trump wanted to buy it to turn into a casino/hotel?? Romania must have said no ha). I made sure to stop at my favorite book store/tea shop and a few other random favorites.

It was a morning well spent. And looking back on the photos is making me miss it! Hope you enjoyed.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Five Years Ago: Never Before Seen Footage!

You know what happened on September 24th, 2008? Do you remember where you were? And since this blog is all about ME, do you know what I was doing on this day five years ago??

 Well, it was a very big day for me. I entered the Missionary Training Center for a crash course in being a full-time missionary and learning the Romanian language in just eight short weeks. And I can't believe that it was five years ago. Time really flies. But I really want to commemorate that time of my life with a blog post, because the MTC really was a one of a kind experience. Many say that it sucks, but I personally loved it...most of the time.  
I spent all my time with these people...

And I got to meet a lot more amazing people who were being sent all over the world and learning every language imaginable. It was so exciting. In those eight weeks, we were only expected to study, learn, eat, sleep, work out, go to the temple, and listen to amazing speakers like this guy (seriously, this talk is amazing), this guythis lovely woman (another one of my favorites, and...I hugged her!), and many others.

Naturally, there were moments when we went a little stir crazy
^^^"please stop popping my cast" that quote^^^
Good times. Hope you enjoyed the glimpse into what goes on in the MTC behind closed doors ha. 

Anyway, happy five years to me, and any of my fellow missionaries reading this. So grateful for that amazing time in my life. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to do it!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Decorating a Traditional Japanese House

My friend lives in a traditional Japanese house. It's cool, but it sure is a decorating struggle. Like, the ground level has a traditional tatami room which can't really function as a normal living room. The top floor is technically the "in-laws suite" (because the grandparents live with the rest of the family) so that's where the couch and tv are.

Anyway, my friend took a trip to Australia and gave me a budget to decorate her place while she was gone. I only had time to work on the ground floor, but it was fun. Stay tuned if I ever get to the top floor!

So this is what the house looks like:
The tatami room: underneath the rug is the panel that you can prop up to make a table. 

On the right is meant to be the place where you put your ancestor's ashes and make offerings to them and such. Like I said, hard to decorate if you're American and don't really do that kind of thing.

On this wall by the kitchen table used to be a huge Marine Corps picture. When my friend told me I could decorate how I wanted, that was the first thing to get moved. It's now hanging as you walk up the stairs. Hope her husband doesn't mind!

The rest of the house has so much storage everywhere, except for the kitchen. Like no space at all for a pantry/food storage. So that was what I chose to focus on. Making more storage in the window, but also making it look good.

Now, for the after!

I found a matching shelf, and got storage bins from the hundred yen store. She has a lot of tea pots, and we all know how much I love tea pots (all my wedding flowers were in tea pots and tea cups), so it's a good way to display them.
I moved the chair to open up the tatami room a little more, and covered that pillow with extra fabric from my guest bedroom refashion
Instead of the Marine Corps picture, I hung this awesome map she found at a thrift store here in Okinawa, and dug through her photo albums to find some fun snapshots taken all over the U.S.A. Does that make me sound like a creep?? Oh well. 
So, hope you enjoyed this glimpse into a traditional Japanese house! What do you think? Any other ideas? All opinions welcome. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Married Conversations

Scene: chilling on the couch one night. Victor is unusually quiet.
Me: "What are you thinking about, Victor?"
[pause] Victor: "Investments." [pause] "Sorry it's not anything romantic."


Scene (and a disclaimer): If you know me then you know that I am pretty quick to raise my voice in a discussion or an argument. I know I know, I need to work on it. Anyway, we were having a small argument. Really, it wasn't a big deal. You don't need to worry about the state of our relationship ha ha.

Victor: "Annie, you don't need to start yelling. Like, you're not going to yell at me in front of our kids, are you?? You can yell at the kids all you want, but I'm your partner."

I don't think he meant it to come out like that, but I can't help but chuckle that he's okay with me yelling at our future children, as long as it's not yelling at him. Ha. Love that guy.

Until next time!

Adventures in Japanese Shopping: Washi Tape

I'm getting on the washi tape train, people! Thanks to pinterest, where there are so many ideas on what you can do with washi tape, I am stocking up here in Japan, because the washi tape flows in abundance. And in so many adorable patterns. 
^^^Peter Rabbit! Love love love^^^
For only a dollar, you can get these perfect wood stacking things to store your washi tape. I only bought one for now. We'll see how many I get in the future. If you have any other ideas for using washi tape, send them my way. 
And this has nothing to do with washi tape, but I'd thought I share recent finds when I've been out and about.

Hello Kitty does Halloween. How adorable is that??
 And for some random funnies:
^^^labeling it as it is^^^
^^^Do not cheating!!^^^
^^^Don't even know what to make of this one. Still baffles me. Ha^^^

Until next time! I sure do love shopping in Japan. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Then and Now: Re-Creating the Moments

I couldn't help myself as we were in Romania (what feels like so long ago boo hoo) to re-create some of my favorite snapshots from my first go around in Romania almost five years ago. It's fun to see the differences. 

Then, at the REAL Dracula's castle (one of my favorite spots in Romania found in the gorgeous Carpathian mountains):
And my triumphal return:
Then, in Cluj-Napoca: dear Victor, who really needed a haircut:

 Returning to Cluj, looking fine and fresh (and tan, which helps with the looking fine part):

Then, in Cluj, winter 2008. Single, and not willing to mingle, because I'm too busy preaching the good word of God:

Returning, this time with a husband of my very own:
^^^so happy to be in this lovely city that we love^^^

 Thanks for indulging me. I just love reminiscing and seeing what a difference a few years make. Makes me feel grateful and blessed and sentimental. Like sand in the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Labor Day Withdrawals

Ever since Victor and I started dating, our Labor Day tradition was to spend it in New York City. I have written about it here, here, and here. It was our special thing, although if we're being honest, we went to NYC whenever we could, because we love that city. And lately, we've really been missing it. Okinawa is lacking in the cultural arts stuff and I've been craving a Broadway musical so bad lately! 

So, I was feeling a bit bummed at the beginning of this Labor Day weekend for the above reasons. But, we made a plan of things we were going to do for the four day weekend, and we had a nice relaxing weekend together on this beautiful island.

First we went and visited a friend of Victor's from the Naval Academy who was in port on her destroyer from mainland. Unfortunately, they couldn't leave base so we toured the ship and chilled on the beach with her for a little bit. I sat in the captain's chair and loved feeling like the boss ha.
 Then we had a late breakfast and then headed out to a little beach on a different island that we wanted to check out. We love this little beach now.
^^^Moonrise Kingdom^^^
Then is was a bonus day off!! Yay! We headed up to the Marriott Resort and spent the day lounging at their pool facilities with our friend Sherry (whose husband is deployed boo). We had a great time. 

So, it wasn't New York City, but I guess it's a good runner up. Hope you had a great Labor Day as well!