Archive for the ‘Vacation Life’ Category

Mind boggling.


I can appreciate the simplicity and hard work of Amish life. I cannot, however, imagine actually doing it longer than a week or so. But man do they have a kick ass safari park. While in Ohio, the relatives said we were gonna head out to Amish country. My only other Amish country experience had been in 8th grade on a trip to Intercourse, Pennsylvania, and basically all I remember is constant giggling about the name and the dude squirting milk straight out of a cow at us. This was a far better experience. It was a gorgeous day, the kind that makes you actually appreciate the middle of nowhere. I had no idea what to expect from an Amish zoo, but I imagined it would be something like the dilapidated animal parks in Okinawa. Man was I off. My grandmother was in the front with me, and the little was running amuck in the back with his Grandma.


SO I guess we know where I get my creature whispering from. My grandma could basically get anything to come up to her. I on the other hand scared zebras because I decided to stick half of my body out the window at them. So needless to say I would not fair well on an actual safari. I am really really good at making friends with Giraffe’s though. They’re my favorite.




Dreams made real, people.

I have ALWAYS wanted to feed giraffes. I pet them, baby talked at them, made faces, and almost cried. It was amazing. You feel so tiny.  I felt like racing home, building an odd shaped barn and having my own giraffe. Okay let’s be honest, I couldn’t handle that, but still! It was such a fun day of animal feeding and laughing. I couldn’t believe this was run by a bunch of Amish people, though I do see the appeal, and the money flow is probably tremendous. I did wonder though if there was an Ark hidden somewhere on the land.



I took about a thousand photos, and had to edit and narrow it down quite a bit. You’re lucky I didn’t bring home the mini donkey, husband. After walking around to see every single creature they own, we headed off to the market and winery for more goodies. I can’t imagine there’s much else to do in Amish country aside from what we accomplished in a few hours.


I’m still finding animal food pellets in my Jeep.


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I’ve done something wrong with my life, I haven’t road tripped until now.

This was only across a few States and with only my toddler in tow. And really, far less junk food than I would have required had I done this in my late teens, early twenties. I’m talking like an old woman now. I’m not, but to be fair the furthest road trip you could take in the area of Japan I lived in was about 3 or 4 hours depending on traffic. So now I’m making up for lost time. We recently traveled up to Carrollton, Ohio to visit some family, and this is post one on our trip.

Please excuse the fact that almost all of these photos are out my dirty Jeep windows, but I was trying to power through and not stop too much. The first photos I ended up taking were just before I crossed over into Virginia, when I spotted a mountain. Though if my husband has been with me, he would have reminded me that it’s not actually a Mountain if it wasn’t once a dinosaur murdering, active volcano, or as majestic as the Olympics. But when you live in the flat area we do, I was excited to see even one misshapen blob of Earth. I sacrificed a few minutes to pull over and check out the viewpoint for Pilot Mountain.



From there I drove on into Virginia, where I realized I hadn’t really looked at my route, and trusted my GPS fully, because I had no idea I was going to be driving in a bit of the Blue Ridge Mountains as well. I even passed the actual turn-off for the Blue Ridge Parkway. See you again in the fall, turn-off. I’ve heard it’s one of the most breathtaking places for Fall leaves, so I’m all over it. Seriously, Google image that nonsense and it will make your brain freak out about all things Autumn.



From there on out, all of the States pretty much blended together and looked exactly the same. Lots of green hills, tons of corn, and a whole lot of… ahem… interesting looking folks. I hadn’t seen a single trooper until I crossed over into VA. BAM! Cop after cop after cop. Good thing I don’t have a CA license plate on the Jeep or I may have been targeted for going a little over the limit. Oh yeah, 7 over, tops… I’m a wild one.




But really, it’s a very pretty drive, and I did get through two audio books each way. One of those books was Bossypants by Tina Fey, so if you happened to be driving next to me, I’m very sorry for the ugly face I make when I’m trying not to crash while laughing hysterically. I can imagine it looks something like if you gave a cow a facelift and threw M&M’s at it’s mouth. That’s the best analogy I can come up with. Try and imagine it. No? How about this one; When you’re driving and feel an epic sneeze coming on and know if you close your eyes you will kill 75 people in a pile up, but if you don’t close your eyes they will pop out of your skull. It’s sheer horror and maniacal laughter rolled into one. It ain’t pretty, people. If you’re going to road trip with a toddler really the only things I needed were a small backpack full of his favorite toys, a book or two, and all of his favorite snacks. The first time he got out of the car was at the VA rest stop and he ate it in the parking lot. With skinned knees, blood all over, he looked at me and said “I DON’T WANT VIRGINIA!” You and me both bud, you and me both. It was a wonderful first road trip, and I’m glad we got to count cows. I totally.played the license plate game by myself. HIGH SCORE BITHEZ. Also hey, look at me posting a travel post on Travel Tuesday, about time right?!?!

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But I Am Le Tired

Oh blog, I’m so sorry for leaving you. You see, I went to rural Ohio, and, well wifi is a rare commodity there apparently.  It was a very nice week away, but oh how I missed my own little house. 5 states in less than a week. WHEW. And somehow we went to 3 different Zoos. I am ZOO-ed out. Seriously, if I saw another monkey, I’d punch it square in the face. Basically all of my photos are either out of a car window, or at a zoo. I went thrift shopping, and saw a lot of Amish people. This is really just a very terrible small blog post about how I went away, and am now back. Ha! Better posts on the horizon my friends, but here’s my little note in between couch comas and prepping for shark week. Speaking of which, here:

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Let’s be honest, my life is basically a vacation. I’m a stay at home Mom, married to what I assume to be the only Marine who doesn’t really leave a whole lot. See, he’s such a good Marine, that they want to keep him around a lot, which I know sounds a bit silly, but making sense of how the Marine Corps works is almost an impossible task. So how on Earth do I feel like I need vacations still? Especially after having just moved from Overseas? Well because even though my life may seem like a vacation to the every day outsider, it’s not always the case. I do have an amazing amount of free time, with no real duties outside of making sure my potty training son is aiming the right way and that the laundry doesn’t meet the same height as Mt. Kilimanjaro. My husband works 14+ hour days, 5 days a week, and our weekends are really the only chance to be a normal functioning family. I hadn’t seen my Dad in person in over two years, so when he told me he was coming out for a quick visit, I was ecstatic. Because when it comes down to it, THAT’S where I struggle with military life. Missing our families. Okinawa was somewhere around 6,000 miles away from my family. Now we’re about 2,000 and some change miles from home. SO close, yet so far. We’re on the wrong coast for both of our families, so sometimes it’s hard making the Skype, texts, and calls the real time we have with our family. Enter: Dad Visit.


After picking him up in Raleigh, I immediately made him wander through the packed streets of Raleigh for their 4th of July festival and fireworks. My Dad is such a good sport and totally put up with all of my mini adventures while he was here. The people on the left of the photo above taught my son to take small flowers and shoot them off using their own stems, and the people to the right of my Dad & Jax got engaged right in front of us. Raleigh is not a boring town my friends. When they found out we were from California they were kind of amazed we were there. I almost forget sometimes what it’s like outside towns that aren’t completely run over with military families. It’s such a nice break when you see the clueless faces of people who know nothing of your crazy life. Hearing “Thank you for your service” never gets old. These days hearing it is pretty rare, and that’s a really sad fact.


We made side trips to New Bern, Wilmington, and little areas around home. Somehow I also got my Dad to transplant my tomatoes and Angelonias, in true Dad form. We did our favorite things, like visit an aquarium, and drink craft beers, even managed to check out the State Farmers Market in Raleigh before he flew out again. The weather was amazing while he was here, the day he came the rain stopped, and the day after he left, it began again. As if my Dad brought the California sunshine with his smiles. If you live around here, definitely get out and explore. A lot of military here complain about what a terrible place is, and I’d guess they would be right if they stuck to only our small town. But there are a lot of hidden gems, you just have to get out and find them.


It’s so amazing to have family around. I look back at how I took it for granted living in the same town as them for so long, and am amazed at how military life has made me appreciate the time with them so much more.  If you’re lucky enough to spend time with your family regularly, you’re lucky enough. For this part of our lives, I’ll look forward to the short visits, and the silly calls and texts, and when the time comes to settle down, I’ll hold onto what the military way of life has taught me about being thankful to be able to hug the the ones you love or share a cup of coffee in person.

I’ll be posting small posts about some of our Adventures with Papa soon.


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Life with cable is… interesting. You see, in Japan, we didn’t have cable at all, I caught all of my shows online and little dude watched his movies. Now, between the hotel and the In-Laws, we have cable suddenly. So between Gaspard & Lisa, Sid the Science Kid, and whatever the hell Yo Gabba Gabba is, my child has become obsessed with watching his morning cartoons. Namely Jake & The Neverland Pirates which I think is totally adorable and completely allow. But I wouldn’t be me if I let him sit and rot in front of TV every day, so off we went on a mini roadtrip, knocking off a few bucket list items of mine.



I have always wanted to go to the Hoh rainforest, but we didn’t make it happen the last few times I’d been visiting up in WA so I was rather determined this time. Hubby even let me drive in favor of no one getting car sick,and also so I could pull over at almost all of the viewpoints and drive everyone nuts. But can you blame me? This place is a constant calendar photo! Living in this part of WA is almost crazy to me, crazy in the sense that I could never ever get used to the majestic views and coffee stands every other block. The trees, the lakes, the people… it’s nothing like California. Don’t get me wrong, I love my homeland of CA, but this is different. I grew up going to Yosemite almost every Summer & Winter and this is like taking that best part of my childhood, and giving it to me 24/7. It’s glorious.

IMG_4010I’m honestly like a kid in a candy store at the moment. Problem is, I can’t buy much because I’m going to another candy store for the next three years and need to save as much money for that as possible. So I get out every few days with the family and enjoy some of the place I’d love to call home someday. I assume when I win the lottery I’ll open my B&B somewhere on the water here and tend to my horses and make yummy meals for traveling strangers. No seriously, it’s so good here, it ruins all of the other States.  I mean I haven’t been to every other State, but I’m just making the assumption it’s all crap. Kidding! If anyone wants to buy me a plane ticket to prove me wrong, then have at it.


I took about a 500 or so photos on my camera alone and somehow got it down to 300. I mean you can only look at so much moss and trees right? WRONG. This hike was perfect. Short enough that the kiddo didn’t fall off a cliff because he was bored, and long enough that I really was immersed in what seemed like a different world. I do look forward to living in NC and doing a lot of hiking/exploring, and this may have made me even more anxious to do so. It’s just where I’m happiest, out on the trails. Well it’s either that or at an aquarium, both my happy places. But anyway, enough babbling, here’s a few more photos.




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I’m lost in the proverbial sauce. Vacation sauce that is. Wait is this even a vacation or am I homeless? Aw man, I’m homeless.

Anyway, welcome to the first installment of Warrior Wednesday, where I break down aspects of my attempting-to-be-healthy-and-sometimes-sucking-at-it lifestyle.

Clear Creek Trail Run

Clear Creek Trail Run

Right now, I suck at it. Between adjusting to weather, time, and not having a jogging stroller, I have BARELY gotten out to run. I guess it’s possible to be doing indoor exercising, but it just ain’t happening in this house. But this is Washington, my happy place right!? I should be doing yoga on a mountain and running free through the forest! Well at least I’ve done that second bit, I hit the trails with the Mr. for a good 4 plus miles. Good meaning, barely huffing it along in the cold and being a total sissy pants. I am struggling with staying positive about running at the moment, which for every beginner is probably a necessary struggle. I just need to get over this speed

More trail.

More trail.

bump of thinking I really suck at running. I need to turn into one of those uber positive pinterest photos about how badass it is to run. Like how even if I’m slow, I’m lapping people on a couch. Or even if I only run a mile, at least I ran. Yeah try telling that to the Club Sandwich and iced tea I just inhaled. I’m thinking I need to run a few miles to balance the glorious calories on that one.

Trying to match Mr. Grumpy gills.

Trying to match Mr. Grumpy gills.

But! All is not lost! I have been losing weight! Not much, but I can tell a little. How can I tell you ask? My pants fit! Yes ladies and gents, this girl who couldn’t put on weight for the first 20 years of her life, is now battling the pounds! While my husband likes to say he likes my curves, I’m not a fan of the muffin top. I don’t even like to actually bake, so how I turned myself into a giant muffin, I do not know. Not. A. Fan. It’s also slightly difficult not to indulge at local eateries after being away from them for three years, but the knowledge I’ll continue to have them after my time in WA certainly helps in putting them off for a while. I’m looking at you Olive Garden, you delicious bastard.

So for now here’s my first update, I’ve only run a little over 10 miles in January. Not a good start to the 250 miles I plan on running by the end of the year. I haven’t done a single round of yoga, and I haven’t even touched my weights or done cardio. Here I am giving an update anyway, because I want to motivate myself again, and let the rest of you beginners, middle-ers, and marathoners know, we ALL go through the big “Do I Suck At This” speedbump. The trick is to overcome it and press on anyway. I’m 25 (holy crap I’m turning 26 in less than 3 months…boo) and I’m on the right track, even if I’m running in real slow circles at the moment.

Out on safari apparently.

Out on safari apparently.

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