Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sakura (桜)

I feel as if this month as flown by, where did March go?! Only 30 days ago it started and the land was still bare and the trees all looked dead, now while out and about the scenery is brightening up even on gloomy days with all the Cherry Blossoms in bloom!

When we found out we had orders to Yokota the first two things that crossed my mind were Mt. Fuji and Cherry Blossoms! Well I am blessed to be able to see Fuji-san out my bedroom window on nice clear days. We have yet to make it up towards the mountain to check things out, but we will one of these days! One goal I have before our 4 years expires here is to climb Fuji! I figure I'll do it our last summer here so I have time to train and prepare myself for that journey!
Fuji-san from my bedroom patio back in December!
I kept hearing that the Cherry Blossoms would be in bloom late March so as the days ticked by I and we got closer to the end of the month I figured I'd start taking more walks off base to check things out, plus I'm currently pushing myself to make it 60miles in 2 months so I like to get those miles in! It wasn't until the 22nd that the trees really started to get pretty. Since I had never experienced Spring in Japan I didn't know what to expect exactly but words and pictures do no justice to the beauty of the Sakura. In a short 8 days the trees have gone from lightly blooming to the petals falling off. Its a quick change and weather doesn't help (this rain and breeze we are having is starting to make it snow blossoms). I also didn't realize how symbolic the cherry blossoms were for the Japanese, its the start of a fresh season. They celebrate by pinicing under the trees and having festivals! (We have yet to make it out to a festival due to Zack's work schedule.) I got to watch part of a documentary explaining the meaning of the Sakura to the Japanese and it was very touching. I went on a walk with a friend a week ago along the Tama River. It was a cloudy, windy day yet there were still so many people enjoying themselves under the trees along the paths. A lot of people had little grills going or bento boxes and they were drinking. The way they value family and nature really speaks to me. I felt happy just watching family and friends enjoying themselves. I would love to make it out to Showa Park before all of the blossoms are gone but the weather forecast the next week looks awful wet, thankfully we have another 3 Springs to enjoy the scenery! Here are some pictures of Sakura that I have snapped :)
Down by the Tama River
Same trees as the above picture just up on the path and one day later :)
Sawyer and I on our walk
This picture doesnt even begin to show to massive amount of people out enjoying the trees on a rather blah day, but that family having a picnic was cute!
Just love the white and pink!
On base.
Our Tower
Trees along the street by our tower.
The beauty of these trees is something that one really needs to experience, I could try and describe the beauty and take a million pictures but it still does them no justice! I just wish they hung around a little longer! With the Sakura blooming and the switch from nice weather to rain, you can tell spring is here!
Since I don't do the whole New Years Resolution thing I like to set goals every so often for self improvement. With losing so much weight before this pregnancy I was determined not to gain the 65lbs that I did when I was pregnant with Sawyer, so I set a goal once the weather got nice to walk with Sawyer. Figured it would get us both out of the house and the cardio would help me not gain too much weight. March 11th, after 2 decent walks I decided it was time to set another goal! The goal being I want to walk 60 miles before May 11th. My walks average 30min-2hours depending on where my feet decide to go and if I have Sawyer with me or not. I have a couple friends who walk with me and little do they know help keep me motivated to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I'm finding that the first 45 min is the most brutal, but I love the accomplishment I feel after I get 3miles or so in. Due to the rainy season I will have to start walking on the treadmill to keep on track to knock my 60mile goal out of the park, but I'm proud to say that as of March 30th I have 28/60 miles completed (47% of the way there)!!! There are days the pelvic pressure is too much or I am so fatigued that I know better than to push myself, or the days that after the walk I cant do anything cause of aches and pains but I am hoping that keeping active will help my recovery time as well as keep some weight off.
Here is my longest distance so far, I'm not trying to go fast plus this was a day that we stopped and took lots of pictures of Cherry Blossoms and ran into Seiyu for Strawberries!
We are getting ready to take a trip to Yokosuka Naval Base in two days so be on the lookout for that fun adventure post! Until Next Time XOXOXO

Saturday, March 23, 2013

1096 Days & Still Going Strong!

April & March of 2010 were a month of new beginnings for me. I was a newly single 22yr old, who had given up on college, given up on "local" boys, and needed a change. I had a good job part time job and amazing friends that were helping me through the changes. I was done trying to meet guys in the Chico Bar scene, I was done trying to rekindle old relationships, and I was really at a loss on where to find a decent MAN and not a little boy in a 20 something year old body.
My friend 'Hank' introduced me to a free dating website that she was using. I found "fishing" with her fun and entertaining and loved hearing stories of her conversations or dates she went on. After a few weeks of living vicariously through her(and two failed dates with guys I met at the bars), I decided it was time to sign up, I was just going to see what there was to offer and maybe go on a few dates. That's when my "fishing" days started on (POF), it was free and I figured I had nothing to lose! Started my search in the Chico Area, came up dateless because it was just like a virtual bar scene that I didn't want any part of. So I expanded the search thinking if I got out of the Chico area and did a semi-long distance thing it would work. That's when a certain profile from Yuba City caught my eye, now the first time it popped up on my search and read it I was about to send an email when I noticed he smoked so I decided not to email him. A week or so later 'Hank's' birthday rolled around and after a fun night out at the bars as I awoke hungover on her couch, I went "fishing". Now this picture pops up again in my recommended feed:
Now this time I think to myself, "Jenn it is one little aspect that maybe you could try to ignore", his eyes captured me every time I looked at his picture- so I sent him a simple little email. Saturday March 6th, hungover and not doing much at 'Hanks' when my blackberry alerts me of a new POF
email. Now once I read the reply I got those butterflies in my stomach because he had given me his cell number since he was driving from Mississippi back to Vegas (Yes, I was just as confused cause his profile said Yuba City but decided to roll with it). Like a giddy little girl we start texting, 'Hank' is helping me out so I don't sound too crazy and helping me think of questions to ask. Little did I know that, those moments would change my life completely! I learned about his job and why he was in Mississippi headed to Vegas then Cali, since the AF cross-trained him. After a few days of texting non-stop we had our first phone conversation while he was visiting his family in Colorado, he even sat in his truck at night freezing so his phone could charge and we could talk. We had talked about everything from favorite foods/colors to where we saw ourselves in 5 years and life goals. Now some call me crazy for this next step, ok a lot of people do and they call me absolutely crazy for even getting on a dating site, but it was a step that had to be made sooner or later. Zack was not headed to California for another month but we really wanted to meet and see if the connection we felt over the phone was the same as what we felt face to face. So I bought plane tickets to Las Vegas.

I purchased tickets to fly in March 20th and leave March 24th, figured that was more than enough time to get a feel for how we would connect. Now my boss thought I was insane, 'Hank' may have thought it to be crazy but she was supportive, and other friends told me I had a death wish and wondered what would I do if he turned out psycho, and my Mom was supportive as always. Well my only true plans were that we would be madly in love and it would be a perfect trip, but I knew I could always escape to the strip somehow and go home early! Now among many of our late night conversations we had talked about Marriage and I felt like I had known Zack for YEARS not just a few days or weeks. We had joked about getting hitched Vegas style while I was down visiting.
March 19th, I was more nervous than ever before but it was an excited nervous. I was about to meet the man behind calls and texts. Like any girl I had gone clothes shopping and gotten a new clothes to wear and a new purse, hey I had to look my best! Zack informed me that night on the phone that he had a surprise for me when I landed. I worked the morning of the 20th, then hopped in the car and headed towards Reno to get on a life changing plan ride. That 80min flight was the LONGEST 80min, I was so nervous I don't think I sat still. Landing in Vegas was exciting, I didn't know what to expect but was hoping that he was my prince charming. I got lost getting to baggage claim but he stayed on the phone with me helping me get to him, I think I was so nervous I wasn't reading the signs right plus it was 9:30pm and I hadn't slept the night before with all the nerves and excitement. I will never forget rounding that corner and seeing him! He was holding a dozen long stem red roses, he was exactly like his pictures and his face was priceless like he had just seen the most gorgeous girl ever! Now I have to admit our first kiss was one of those quick airport kisses so we did have too much PDA but it was still electric, I just remember trying not to pass out. Once we got my bag and headed to the truck he gave me my surprise, he waited in line at WalMart for the midnight release of New Moon for me since he knew I loved Twilight! Then he drove me up the strip since I'd never been to Vegas and took me to Applebees for dinner.
My Roses he had bought me.
The next two days were filled with Nellis AFB tour, showing me around Vegas, and me hanging out at his house while he had to work.
Driving around town, First picture as a dating couple!
 I felt like we had known each other for years not just 2 weeks. The connection was definitely there! On March 23rd while I was surfing the net Zack came up behind me and asked, "well want to go get married?", we had talked about it on the phone and through texts but it was the first time since we had met in person. I of course said "Yes!", and we got one of his roommates to be our witness. Late afternoon on the 23rd we headed to the Clark County Courthouse and got our certificate, then walked across the street and were married!
Our wedding photo.

We had no rings for each other but I didn't need a material thing to know that I had just met my soul mate and sealed the deal. I lost friends over the sudden marriage but wouldn't have changed what we did for anything, even now I love our Love Story-retelling it still gives me butterflies! The next day was sad, I didn't want to leave my husband I bawled like a big baby but he was set to move to Beale (Yuba City, CA) in about a week. We decided I would fly back down and help move stuff to California with my husband! The flight back into Reno was TERRIBLE, worst turbulence ever and topped off with the incoming snow storm it was a disaster.
I flew back to Vegas a week later to help load the UHaul and drive the Ram while following Zack in the UHaul. It was amazing knowing it was the last time we would have to be sooo many miles apart (well until deployments).
At a Rest Stop on the 14hr drive
Our Convoy!
Due to some things that had happened at my job I continued to work for another month in Paradise, commuting between Beale and Paradise to be with Zack but continue to work. We finally had our first house together and had bought each other rings by May of 2010. Life was wonderful and I finally felt complete.
I always questioned the saying love at first sight but after experiencing it I know that some people just have that connection. I'm so happy that Zack and I found each other, he can brighten the darkest days, knows what to say to make me feel better, and always does everything he can for our family. No we are not the perfect couple we have our ups and downs but its just to remind us we are human and proves our strong connection when we make it over the little hurdles! he has seen me at my best and at my worst, yet still loves me with all his heart and knowing that brings nothing but joy to my heart. Today is our 3 year anniversary, its been an interesting and fun 1096 days but I cant wait to see what the rest of our lives hold. I love you Zackery Thomas with all my heart!
Here are some of my favorite pictures of us through the last 3 years...
Family Pictures June 2010, courtesy of 'Hank'!
Just hanging out in Colorado
Showing Off
Working on 'Nicole'
Halloween 2010
Zack Jamming December 2010
Heading to the OR to have Sawyer April 2011
Holding Sawyer April 2011
Our first Family of 3 Picture, San Fran June 2011
Pre Deployment Family Pics. September 2011 (Jade Photography) 
Reunited after 6 months! April 2012
Mothers Day Beach Trip 2012
Moving to Japan 2012
I could go on and on with pics but I'll end with this one:
23 March 2013.
Forever and Always. XOXOXOXO

Friday, March 22, 2013

I'm back!!!

Got to thinking about the blog and realized I hadn't written in 5 months?!?! I have also been thinking about the direction I want to take this blog and decided its not just for pictures and our Japanese adventure's but also thoughts feelings, daily life, or anything else I want to blabber on about! My goal is to get on here at least once every 2weeks (hoping to do weekly but I forgot how much pregnancy drains you AND how having a toddler makes you even more EXHAUSTED!). Since I feel the need to pick back up and get better about blogging so here we go!

Family Pic from Early December
These last 5 months have been crazy! After finding out we were expecting (Bristol Nicole, Due June 29th!) and how sick I was in the beginning we didn't get out too much! We have taken trips to the local Zoo but not much more adventuring, or not nearly as much as we would of liked to have been doing. Up until this last month we have stayed home quite a bit especially because Winter got super cold and I was a big baby less than thrilled about the cold! Probably one of my favorite memories of this winter was Sawyer's reaction to seeing snow for the first time!
Laughing and trying to catch snowflakes!
We were in no way shape or form ready for the snow, so we didn't get to play much but once we did get his boots in and his snow jacket it never snowed again!? My one of my favorite pictures from Christmas this year is this one:
My Little Man is growin' up!

Christmas went well, it sucked being away from family but gave us a change to start our own traditions! Time seems to drag but at the same time fly by, guess its always that way during the holiday season! I was happy to see what 2013 will be bringing the Smiths! So far its been a good year and its only going to get better!

We took our first family day adventure in awhile just last week, the Takao Trick Art Museum was our destination! With my Mom's visit approaching and the weather getting so nice its time we started getting out more again! The museum is a bunch of smaller rooms with just paint on the walls but as you walk around and look things look 3D! They encourage you to touch and have fun. Lots of laughter and silliness happen here! There is also a floor with more interactive art. We enjoyed it very much and I look forward to taking my Mom! Here is the website in English: I'll share just a few fun pictures we got that day, lots more up on Facebook!:
Trying to not let the Gator get us

Mirror Fun

I think I make a great Centerpiece!

Springtime in Japan is BEAUTIFUL and we haven't even got to experience it in full force yet! Now the allergies that come with all the pollen are killer but once you get a good Allergy Cocktail(eye drops, nasal spray and pills) from your doctor you are all set! I have been trying to walk 30min a day lately to help prevent massive pregnancy weight gain. Being 24+ weeks preggo I'm still weighing just as much as my pre-pregnancy weight with Sawyer!!! This morning we went on a walk down to the river to see how well the trees were blooming and to get some good miles in (I want to complete 60miles before May 11th!). Another goal I have is to complete the base loop which is a little over 8 miles, soon but I'm also keeping in mind I don't want to push myself too hard too fast!

Pretty Blossoms on this mornings walk!

Cherry Trees are just getting going, Can't wait til next week!

Now that we are a quarter of the way through 2013 already, I can say I'm please with how this year is turning out so far. Ready for May & June to be here so I can see my Mom and meet Little Miss Bristol!!! Hard to believe in just 6 days we will have lived in Japan 7 months, only about 180 weeks left of living in Japan!