Category Archives: life

All my life…

All my life has been a series of doors in my face. No, not really. I’ve just always wanted to say that. What this post is really about is what I heard over lunch. All my life my mom has said “This is lunch.” or “This is dinner.” or “This is breakfast.” Well, at lunch today (we were eating out at Carlos O’ Kelly’s) I was calmly eating my kid’s meal when I heard a voice from a few tables over. It was a mom telling her child that “This is lunch.” We had quite the laugh over that.

No promises…

It’s been a big year at the Allen’s – new baby, new house…   I have no apologies for not updating the blog for the past 9 months (yikes!), nor do I promise to do better in the future.  You get what you get.

I’m not making New Year’s Resolutions this year.  They just don’t work out for me.  I am going to try to be more organized, but that’s a long-term goal I’ve been working on for years.  One day I’ll get it right, or I’ll realize that that’s just not who I am and learn to be happy with it.

So, quick update:

Matt – still stationed in Japan.  We’ve got about another 18 months here – halfway done.  He is really into scuba diving these days, and luckily, living on a tropical island, he has plenty of opportunities to do it.  Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s a hobby I’m going to get into.  Something about being underwater sounds too claustrophobic for me.

Me – of course, I’m also still in Japan, homeschooling Madison, making baby food and washing cloth diapers.  Not exactly the grown-up I thought I’d be, but I am so happy with my life right now – happily married, enjoying motherhood, although I am missing my family.  Last summer, Matt bought me a new camera, so I’ve been getting into photography and loving it.  *Hopefully* I’ll be using this blog to post some of my pictures and you’ll get to *hopefully* watch me improve.

Madison – 6 years old, in first grade now, so smart.  I am so proud of her.  She reminds me a lot of myself – which is both good and bad.  Now that she is reading fluently, she’ll take a book anywhere we have to go and sit and read it happily.  She’s also taking Japanese lessons (she speaks it better than me), piano, ballet, Girl Scouts, art class, you name it, she probably does it 🙂  Sometimes I feel like my life consists of driving Madison to her next appointment.

Mason – 10 months old today.  It’s hard to remember life without him.  He is crawling now and getting into everything, and has three teeth poking through.  He also has the wildest hair I have ever seen – he gets that from his dad – and I really love putting it up in a mohawk.  It’s pretty funny actually.

So there’s a little bit of an update on our lives here in Japan – everyone is happy and healthy and that’s all that matters, right?

Oh, and ps –  looks like I need to update my blog header – our family hasn’t looked like that for a while!  Here’s a shot from last month, sightseeing at Cape Hedo.  Thanks Courtney for taking this picture 🙂

The Kids’ Room! (Our home, part 3)

We are down to less than two months till the baby is born, so that is definitely going to change things up around here. We’ve been a one child family for quite a while. Everything is ready for the baby though – my hospital bag is packed, the room is ready… There are a few things I’d still like to buy, but they are necessarily necessary. I would like a glider rocker and I am having a really hard time finding one over here. At least finding a semi attractive one.

Madison and the baby are going to be sharing a room – we just don’t have that much space in this house! I think it will work out though. Madison is really looking forward to being a big sister. Anyway, here are some pictures of Madison’s room/the nursery. The ducks things are the same as we used in Madison’s nursery, although my mom did make a new matching quilt for the baby – we intentionally bought extra fabric when when Madison was born so that I could reuse the nursery stuff but each child would have their own quilt.

The baby crib. The walls are actually orange. They look kind of yellow in this picture.

Madison’s bed. I’m planning to put their names over their beds, but I’m waiting till we pick a boy name so that the letters will match. We still haven’t decided 100% on a name – suggestions are welcome…

This is Madison’s shelf and her area for her personal stuff…

and this is the baby’s dresser and space for his personal stuff.

Instead of buying a new dresser, we bought these shelves for the closet for Madison’s clothes and the baby will use Madison’s old dresser. There are actually three shelves; there is a blue one is behind the closet door. They were about $12 each (1180 Yen) and the bins were $10, so it’s a nice storage solution for about $60. She does a pretty good job keeping her clothes on the shelf so far.

We have all of Madison’s toys in a closet under the stairs – part of my peace offering for making her share a room with a boy. It’s a tight squeeze, but at least this way she will still have her own space, even after the baby is born. Here are a few pictures of her toy room:

So now we are about halfway through the home tour… look for more later!

A bit of everything

So I’m not really sure where to start here, since it’s been a month since I updated, and a lot has happened since then.  Madison was sick for 5 days with a fever of 104, and although I’m not trying to make excuses, I’d say that’s the main reason I quit updating for a while.  Then there were the holidays, and we were out of town for a week…  but we’re back now and while I’m not really doing New Year’s Resolutions this year, I am going to try to post on this blog 2-3 times a week.  That’s my goal.

We had a nice Christmas, although it was hard being away from family.  We were able to talk to Matt’s family on the webcam on Christmas Eve (Christmas Day for us) and it was nice to be a part of that even though we were so far away.  I’m going to share some pictures, but this is taking longer than I expected, so I’ll have to do it later this week.

On New Years Eve, Matt and I were invited to an afro party, which I thought was a really fun idea.  Everyone at the party had to wear an afro.  I might steal that idea and have one when we get back to the states.  I think this is one of the first times we have gone out on New Year’s Eve since Madison was born.  It was nice.  And the afro’s were hilarious…

Last week, we spent the week camping at Okuma, a military resort on the beach here on Okinawa.  It’s about an hour and a half away from where we live.  I’m not much of a camper, but we all had a really great week.  We stayed in a cabin there and did most of our cooking over the campfire.  Matt and Madison bought wetsuits so they could swim even though it was a little chilly, and we went up to Cape Hedo, the northern point of the Island.  I definitely think we’ll go back before we move, although next time we probably won’t stay in the cabins since we’ll have a new baby.  They also have regular rooms.  We took lots of pictures, so this is a pretty long slideshow:

We also stopped at The Butterfly Park on the way home from our vacation.  We’ve been studying butterflies the last couple of weeks in school, so this was our culminating event.  I was a little disappointed because there were only two types of butterflies, but it was still neat (although it would have been cooler if we could read the signs!).  We had a lot of butterflies land on us and saw some coming out of their chrysalises and letting their wings dry.  Madison really wanted to have butterflies land on her, but once they did, it kind of creeped her out.  She said they tickled and she was ready to leave after that.  You can see in some of the pictures she looks scared.

Finally, I got my haircut yesterday.  I hadn’t been brave enough to try a new hair stylist since we got here, but I finally had to just go get something done with it.  And I am happy with it.  It’s cut pretty much the same as it was before we moved.  Here’s a picture of the new hair, and although it’s not too flattering, a belly shot too.  Since I know you all want to see how chunky I’m getting.

And now we are back to our regular routine…  at least for the time being.  And as always, there are lots more pictures on Flickr if you want to check them out.

The Ferris Wheel

Madison has been asking to go on the ferris wheel since the night we got here four months ago and I have put it off as long as I possibly could.   It is a huge, impressive ferris wheel, but it goes very very slow and I was told not to go on it in the summer when it is hot.

Now that the weather has cooled down considerably, we decided to brave it and went this weekend.  It was very slow, but there were some beautiful views and we had a nice, slow, peaceful ride.  I actually don’t think Madison will ask to go again because it was pretty boring, but I am glad we went.  Here are some pictures from our afternoon…

The biggest building in the background of this picture is the hospital on Camp Lester where the baby will be born.

The mall, Jusco, and a hotel. This is part of “American Village.”  According to Matt, the water in the background is the East China Sea.

Madison’s Handsome Bathroom (Our home, part 2)

When we were cleaning yesterday, Madison went to grab the camera so we could take a picture of her bathroom to put on the blog. According to her, she has the “handsomest” bathroom. Since we do have three bathrooms in this house, I let her choose how she wanted hers decorated for the first time. She chose frogs. It’s not my favorite, but it’s not my bathroom.

On a positive note, we already had the green shower curtain. It’s not a perfect match, but I’m happy with it.

I found these little frog suction cups things at the 100 yen store last week and thought they would work really well for hanging up her bows, since, once again, the walls are all tile and we can’t really hang anything up. So far they have stayed, so I’m happy.

And yes Mom, I know you want to see the living room, but you have to wait until Matt comes home so he can push the entertainment center against the wall!

This is what happens…

when your 5 year old gets a hold of the camera.

We’re getting her a camera for Christmas… not sure if that’s a good idea or a bad idea…

BTW, the shirt she’s wearing in this picture is one of Matt’s.  She been sleeping in one of his shirts almost every night since he’s been out of town.  It’s cute.  She’s very excited for him to come home – she told everyone at church he’ll be home in two days and this afternoon she made him a card that said “I Heart U.  Come Soon.”

A trip to Cocok’s

Ok, I know as soon as you all read this post, you are going to be booking your plane tickets to come visit me.  Just give me a little warning so I can get your room ready 🙂

Madison and I had the most amazing afternoon.  We went to Cocok’s, which is a spa/salon here that specializes in toe art.  I am really picky about my toes – they are very sensitive and generally, I don’t let anyone else touch them.  The only people who have ever cut them are my mom, my husband (when I was too pregnant to do it myself), and me.  And of the four pedicures I have had before today (all for special occasions), I haven’t enjoyed a single one of them.  I just don’t like people messing with my toenails.

However, today was amazingly different.  I was still uncomfortable with the filing and clipping part of the pedicure (which didn’t take long at all), but the pedicure also included a foot bath, a thirty minute foot/leg massage and, of course, the art.  It was so wonderful.  Madison got hers painted also (although I didn’t spring for a massage for her), and so she was still and quiet and so good.  It was such a peaceful afternoon.

This picture really does not do my nails justice.  They are beautiful.  And I think this is an indulgence that I will continue to treat myself to until the baby is born, since bending over is quite uncomfortable and clipping my own toenails is out of the question for a while.

Madison’s were very cute, and she did stay very still, but the second she was “dry,” she rushed off to the play area and her’s did get a little smudged.  If she wants to do it again, she’ll have to sit longer and skip the play area.  In case you can’t tell, that’s a smiling pink daisy with clouds in the background.

We ended the afternoon with a trip to the new Starbucks that just opened across the street from Cocok’s and  to the 100 Yen store.  It was a very nice peaceful day, which I really needed.  I also got my car cleaned out (a good idea since Matt will be home in a few days), so driving is once again a nice peaceful experience for me too.

And I’ve already decided on the purple reindeer for my Christmas pedicure…

Welcome to our home! (Part 1)

After almost three months in Japan, I am finally feeling settled enough to post pictures of our house.  I have received all of the furniture and curtains I ordered, and most of my pictures are up on the wall.  So, welcome to the first part of our home tour:  the Master bedroom and bathroom.

Here’s our Master bedroom…

This room is upstairs – all of the bedrooms are upstairs.  Matt painted the walls blue for me, and the curtains are from our living room in Missouri.  It’s funny when you move so much, you end up with stacks of curtains that don’t fit any of your current windows.  It was nice to find curtains that fit!  Also notice the box unit on the wall.  This house doesn’t have central air.  Instead each room has it’s own box unit.  It really hasn’t been too bad yet.  A few days in the summer were bad, when I had been baking and it was really hot, but I started baking in the morning instead and it hasn’t bothered us since.  Actually, we are lucky that this room has a ceiling fan, but there are two lights that are both on the same switch, so we can’t run the fan at night unless we want to sleep with a light on…  Oh well.  Like I said, it hasn’t been too bad yet.

This is the only one of our dressers we brought.  We have another matching chest, but because of our weight restriction, we only brought the dresser and Matt and I are sharing it.  The pictures on the wall are our wedding picture and a wedding cross-stitch my mom made for us.  And you can see in this picture that the floor is schoolhouse tile.  We bought a rug that covers most of the floor, which is also nice because we have to run the cable cord across the floor.  Since the rug covers most of that up, there’s less of a chance we’ll trip on it 🙂  I’m rethinking my decision to buy a white rug though.  Not sure what I was thinking there.  It gets dirty really fast, and carrying the vacuum up and down the stairs is not great fun.

And these are our closets.  They are ugly, for sure, but it’s really nice having those extra cabinets on top.  We can fit a lot of stuff in there, which is nice since there’s not a lot of storage.  And they are deeper than they look.

And here is our lovely Master bathroom…

The toilet is behind the door.  Things I like about our Master bathroom?

1) Having one!  That is really nice, although it is pretty much the family bathroom.  More often than not, Madison takes her baths in here too.

2) Really good water pressure!  In fact, its almost too much for me, which is very rare.

3) This is the only faucet in the house that can accommodate a water filter.  Unfortunately, the water here has lead in it, so I bought filters for all the sinks.  However, the filters don’t fit on any of the other faucets.  So we all brush our teeth in here, and all the water in the kitchen is filtered through a Brita water pitcher.  Since that is getting really old, Matt is supposed to be bringing home a new kitchen faucet when he comes back from the states.

Things I don’t like?

1) The mirror, which is a medicine cabinet, is so high on the wall I can’t see into it.  I imagine this is something Matt likes about the bathroom, but I really don’t.

2) The cabinet is not attached to the wall very well.  When we first moved in, it appeared to be, but over the last couple months, the caulking as completely detached and I’ve discovered it’s not really installed.  That’s something I should probably call the housing office about, but it’s pretty low on my priority list.

It’s also tiny, but that doesn’t bother me too much.  This house has three bathrooms, which is crazy to me, for base housing.  And the yellow tile everywhere is not my favorite.  You can’t really hang anything on it, so the walls are bare.  But overall, I’m pretty happy with how the bedroom and the bathroom turned out.

It’s a boy!

So I don’t know if any of you noticed the clue in my post yesterday, but we had a sonogram a couple weeks ago and found out we’re having a boy!  Matt, of course, is thrilled.  I didn’t care either way, so I’m happy too.  Madison is, well, a little disappointed.  A few days ago, we were going to go shopping a buy a new crib.  When I told her, she didn’t want to go.  I’m pretty sure she thought if we didn’t buy a new crib, we wouldn’t have to have the baby…  I’m sure she’ll get over it, but she seems to be taking it pretty hard

And while we are on the subject of babies and pregnancy, why is it that people think they need to touch your belly when you’re pregnant?  Today I was at the store, standing in line, when the lady in front of me touched my stomach and asked if we knew what we were having.  It’d be one thing if it was someone I knew, but she was a stranger!  And since we were standing in line, I was stuck making akward conversation with her until she got to the front.  It was a long line.  Then we saw her again at a restaurant – I had a sudden craving for cheesecake, which is very weird because I don’t really like cheesecake – and she stopped to talk to me again like we were old friends or something.  I don’t understand…  maybe I was just cranky today…

And before you ask, yes, we have chosen a name.  Matt chose one and I chose one.  Unfortunately, we haven’t chosen one that we can both agree on.  I’ll have to keep you posted on that.  Any ideas?