Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Elijah 365 part 10

Another week has come and gone, quite quickly I may add.  This week was thanksgiving- one of my favorite holidays.  Not only did we get to eat yummy food, but we got to spend time together as a family.  Eli got spoiled being carried by mommy, daddy, and some friends.  Of course, he was still as fussy as possible!  I'm just waiting for this colic to pass!  Mornings seem to be the worst!  Here's to hoping!  
Here are some photos of Eli from our week!
Day 71- Nov 19.  Hanging in his big boy chair

Day 72- Nov 20.  Feeling patriotic today while big brother hangs with me!

Day 74- Nov 21- In that comfy chair again!

Day 75- Nov 22.  Happy Thanksgiving!  Eli was sporting one of Zach's old outfits to celebrate.  Love the owl!

Day 76- Nov 23.  Hanging with Daddy for his morning coffee

Day 77- Nov 24.  Hanging with his silly big brother while Mommy snapped some christmas photos.  (no this is not our chrismtas card photo!)

Day 78- Nov 25.  Laughing in Daddy's arms!

Monday, November 26, 2012

A family to be thankful for

 Thanksgiving is a time of year for you to gather with those you love and reflect on what you are thankful for.  Usually, you spend this time thinking about just how lucky you are to have that family.  This is our third year in Japan for thanksgiving.   I've heard before that "You have two families.  Those you are born into, and those who become your family."  Though the families we were born into could not spend another thanksgiving with us, we are grateful for the wonderful family we have here.  We have spent the past 3 thanksgivings with completely different groups of people that are like our second family.  This year, we spent it with our friends, the Snyders.  
And what's a thanksgiving without a grilled turkey?  Yep.  Once again, Dima grilled our turkey.  It has become a tradition now, and I will never allow him to make it any other way.  A roasted or even deep fried turkey is nothing compared to the juicy grilled turkey that Dima makes.  It's made with fresh herbs and citrus and topped with a white wine gravy.  Does it get any better then that?  Yes!  It does!  Because this year, Dima decided to also grill a stuffed turkey breast topped with turkey bacon.  Us girls took over all the sides.  Angie made a LOT.  She made spinach dip, a while ham, rolls, mashed potatoes, candied yams, pumpkin pie, 2 pies, stuffing, and a fruit salad.  She is quite a cook, and Dima was really looking forward to her pumpkin pie, as she makes a mean one!  I planned on making a lot, but leave it to our commissary to run out of all the things I needed.  I was able to make a pumpkin hummus dip, HEALTHY green bean casserole, purple potatoes with a maple sauce, and pumpkin brownies.  We were well fed this year, with plenty of leftovers.  
Zach was helping with the potatoes.  He was saying, "Hot!"
This being Zach's second thanksgiving, we were very excited.  Zach is a piggie, so a holiday centered around food was right up his ally.  Eli of course can't eat food yet, but he came along to hang out in our arms as we took turns eating.  We all ate some yummy food, had some wine, and hung out with some of our wonderful Oki family.  Zach was on crazy mode afterwards, so we let him stay up a little later to play.  
Zach was having so much fun with Tim!
It was a lovely evening, and it makes me think just how much I'll miss this next year.  As much as I look forward to spending a holiday with our families for the first time in years, I will miss the simplicity of our life here.  We are very thankful that they are in our lives.  

The Thanksgiving Tree

Thanksgiving is a beautiful time of year.  The weather is starting to cool down (well, as cool as it gets in Okinawa!) and we are filled with some of my favorite fall foods.  It's very unfortunate then that turkey day seems to be skipped these days.  It seems that the stores go straight from halloween to christmas decor, skipping such a wonderful holiday over.  Thanksgiving has become a day for people to stuff their faces with unhealthy, fat and carb loaded foods to the point of stretchy pants!  Not for us.  As much as we do enjoy our healthier alternative on the thanksgiving feast, there is so much more to this holiday.  It's an important holiday to me because it's a time for us to reflect on just how lucky we are to be living the life we've been given.  Instead of worrying about the calorie rich foods that we could consume this thanksgiving, I instead chose to focus on the true meaning of thanksgiving- giving thanks!

It started with a bare tree hung in our kitchen.  Each day, someone in the family got to put a leaf up with what they are thankful on it.  We all got to give thanks for many of the things in our lives.  They could be anything, with a simple or deeper meaning.  It really made us all realize just how lucky we are.  Though my life came out very different then I envisioned, it takes looking at our beautiful fall tree to realize just how lucky I am.  Though it's not on our tree, I am very thankful for this holiday to get me to realize that.  
Here are the things we are thankful for, in no particular order:

Elijah: Today I'm thankful for walks in my Ergo carrier.
Zach: I'm thankful for all of my wonderful friends.
Daddy:  I'm thankful for the Marine Corps- past and present who fight for our country's freedom and values.  Semper Fi! (written on the Marine Corps birthday)
Mommy:  I'm thankful for sweet little boys who know how to make someone's day.  (A random little boy at the grocery told me I was beautiful that day)
Elijah: I'm thankful that my mommy feeds me so I can grow!
Zach: I'm thankful for my new squeaky shoes and my matchbox car!
Daddy:  I'm thankful for grilled turkey, friends, and my beautiful family on this holiday.  
Mommy: I'm thankful that my boys got to spend 4 wonderful days with their grandpa Steve!
Elijah: I'm thankful for being able to meet my grandpa Steve!
Zach:I'm thankful for Tylenol, Barney, and blankets to snuggle into when I'm sick.
Daddy:I'm thankful for my wife saying yes 4 years ago today.  (This was written on the anniversary of his proposal)
Mommy: I'm thankful for days I can workout.  I am a far better Mommy and Wife when I can workout!
Elijah: I'm thankful for generous friends who help soothe me!
Zach: I'm thankful for playtime at the park with Mommy and Eli
Daddy:I'm thankful for my friends turned family in Okinawa
Mommy: I'm thankful for long walks with my boys.
Elijah: I'm thankful for velcro swaddles
Zach: I'm thankful for Disney movies!
Mommy:  I'm thankful for the beautiful life I've been given.  It may not be what I expected it to be, but it's so much better!
Elijah: I'm thankful for my mommy, daddy, and big brother!
Zach: I'm thankful for the love that my family and friends give me
Daddy: I'm thankful for my healthy, happy, and wonderful family.  Even the Fur-ball!

As you can see, we have a lot to be thankful for this year.  We are truly a blessed family.  This crosses off the final thing on my fall five list- A thankful tree!  

What are you all thankful for?  I'd love to hear!  Spread some thanksgiving cheer!

Monday, November 19, 2012

A "Smart" ROAK!

Awhile ago, you may have noted that I mentioned that I love doing nice things for others.  It's a wonderful gesture, and something that I want my children to learn from me.  In a world where people want want want, I want my children to learn to give give give!  So I created a little challenge for myself- incorporate some Random Acts of Kindness (ROAK) into our days. 
Today, the boys and I went for a long walk.  Before leaving, we decided to pack up a random act of kindness.  The plan was to leave money on a vending machine for someone to get a free drink.  I packed up $1.50 in quarters and headed out.  When we got to the shopette, we realized they did not have any American vending machines.  They only had a Japanese one, and I didn't have any yen on me.  Instead, we decided to head inside and leave our ROAK by some drinks there.  This actually worked out better, as the bottles of water happened to be $1.50 exactly!  This way, I can not only be kind, but I encouraged someone to buy water and not soda!  We taped our little baggie to the price tag of the water bottles, and left the store.  We don't know who grabbed it or when, but just knowing that we made someone's day is enough for us.  
I look forward to spreading the kindness in the future.  I hope you all can join me in the mission to be kind!

Silly Stepanoff Shenanigans!

Keeping busy during the week isn't a hard thing to do.  Between my vigorous clean eating schedule, caring for a toddler, a newborn, and the daily demands of life, we keep quite busy.  It all sounds like such a chore, but we do still have time for fun.  Here's some silly photos of some of the fun we've been having.

Zach went pee pee in the potty!  We are slowly introducing the potty.  He loves it and constantly says, "potty!" throughout the house now!

Dima and our "puppy"

Daddy's work had a thanksgiving party.  Zach got to make a nice crown to hide his bald head!

Zach was trying out for the newest movie "Magic Zach"
playing at the beach

Dig dig dig!

Big boy at the playground!

With his big brother

Running around

Dima loves bringing Neko down the slide

Zach had to show his doggy how it's really done!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Elijah 365- part 9

Nine weeks.  I'm wiped.  Not physically.  Mentally!  Yes, having two under two is tough enough.  But goodness- Eli is proving to be much more difficult then Zach was!  He is giving me a run for my sanity.  He constantly eats, which Zach did too.  But he also must always be held upright.  I can't even hold him upright on the couch.  I have got to be walking at all times.   It seems that the only way to calm him down is to walk with him in an upright position.  
Needless to say, we've been going on many walks!  Not that that's a bad thing.  I love going for walks with my boys.  It gets us all some fresh air and gives me some exercise with a 10+ pound baby strapped to me.  I've been making a workout of it.  I walk about 3 miles, go to the playground and let Zach play while I workout with my resistance bands, then do lunges up the hill to my house.  It's quite a workout, on top of the kickboxing I do every day!  Maybe Eli is fussy so that I get my workouts in?  If so- thanks for whipping me into gear Eli!  Now please give me an hour or so a day to get things done, silly boy! 
Here are some photos from Eli's 9th week!
Day 64- Nov 12.  Yay!  I got a photo of Eli's happy smile!

Day 65- Nov 13.  Zach's reading to his baby brother

Day 66- Nov 14.  My little football

Day 67- Nov 15.  The playgym has been taken out!  He loves watching the sun sing and light up. 

Day 68- Nov 16.  It's not a 365 without a "simba" like photo!

Day 69- Nov 17.  Hanging out with Daddy and Zach

Day 70- Nov 18.  He looks great in yellow just like big brother!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Some Beach... Somewhere...

This weekend we've kept busy.  We've barely had time to get much time for fun, so we finally decided enough was enough.  We needed to go for a walk to the beach.  It's been beautiful weather, so it was a perfect day to just walk and then play.  We packed up the stroller and baby carrier, and even grabbed the dog for the walk.  We had so much fun.  Ok... Zach had so much fun!  He LOVES the sand.  I wish I had brought some sand toys.  Next time!  We all enjoyed getting out and getting the exercise.  I love this time of year in Okinawa!
he could've done this for hours

Waving to Mommy!

You try getting them both to look at the camera!

Love that boy

Best buds. 

Looking at the jets

Beach bum

soda pop cars

We've all seen and heard of the science experiment involving soda and mentos.  Put some mentos into a 2 liter bottle of coke and it'll explode.  While this further proves how awful it is to consume beverages like soda (Drinking a science experiment is not my idea of healthy) I'm glad soda is around so we can watch this kind of reaction.  
Our neighbor turned 7 this weekend.  For his birthday, he had a small football party.  We were able to stop by for a little bit, and brought this neat gift we found.  It was a soda bottle car in which to do this mentos experiment with.  It was perfect.  Educational, and fun for any boy to watch.  Heck, it was fun for me to watch!  
Unfortunately, they do not sell 2 liter sodas here.  They have tried to ship them here from America, but they exploded in the trip over.  The experiment works best with this size bottle.  Instead, we used 1 liter bottles, which still gave us somewhat of a neat experiment.  It would have been cool to see it with the bigger bottle, but you gotta do what you gotta do here.  We had fun anyway.  I learned that doing the experiment with a diet soda produces a bigger explosion because there is artificial sugars in them! 
The boys setting it up

Adding the mentos

Goofy Joe face

Joey drinking the soda after the explosion

This one fizzed the most


Zach cracks me up.  He is such a fun loving and easy kid.  He can make fun of anything.  And that's what he's been doing all week. 
My goofy kid cracks me up.  Gotta love his imagination.  As silly as he often is, he can also be very sweet.  I've said it before and I'll say it again- I love this age!
Wearing Daddy's hat

Firemen wear their flip flops on the wrong feet before putting out fires!

Breakfast time.  Do I have something on my face?

Ok- I'll just eat more!


Reading to his baby brother