13 in 2013

Our Kansas home

A week into the new year and I’m finally getting around to looking back at the past year. What can I say? I like living in the present and I look back when I have some free time (which nowadays is definitely not spent on blogging). 2013 brought great adventures, many ups and a few downs to our family. This is as close as I will get to a year in review because I don’t want to bore you with lessons I’ve learned or my goals for the upcoming year. I’d rather share a little bit of our family’s adventure in the past year. Interestingly enough, we managed to visit thirteen states in the last  year. We start our trip down memory lane in Kansas, our temporary home for eleven months.

Oh Kansas

We lived in Fort Leavenworth, KS and got reacquainted again with winter. We even managed to bring in a bit of Hawaii into Kansas.

Bringing a little bit of Hawaii into our winter

During spring break, we took advantage of all the use or lose leave days Jerrold has saved up to go east and see St. Louis, MO. We went here in the summer of 2012  to pick up our car, but the one hundred plus degree weather was not that fun.

Spring Break 2013

Plus we wanted to visit some of our Midwestern familia. We saw Aki’s godmother in Illinois and some more cousins in Missouri. That’s three states, if you’re counting.

Visiting our extended familia in Illinois

In May, I sojourned back to Washington state, all by myself nonetheless, and met up with my mom and two of my brothers for my big brother’s graduation. This was actually the first time I’ve ever been to Eastern Washington.

Welcome back to Washington

Interestingly enough, we were so far east that our hotel was in Moscow! The one in Idaho, that is.

Welcome to Moscow!

I didn’t think I’d see my not-so-little nephew again for quite some time, but sadly we all had to travel back to North Carolina last June for my stepfather’s funeral. *Sniff* The upside is that I got to see my family again and celebrate my birthday with my mom, all my brothers AND my stepbrothers and their families.

Cousin reunion

A week later, under orders from  the Army, we were on the road again on what we called our “Wild West Coast Road Trip” so we can move to Fort Lewis, WA. The drive took us three weeks since we tried to see most of the major attractions along the way. We got to check off many things that were in our bucket list.

Somewhere in Colorado

State number seven is Colorado. Don’t we look cute in Colorado? I forced Jerrold to stop on the side of the road for this one (the reason for that big smile). The funny thing is we never had to deal with tornadoes while living in Kansas, but we had to take a break the moment we crossed the Colorado border because were about to drive into an area with a tornado warning.

Welcome to Colorado

We took two days going through Colorado. There were so many mountain roads and a desert that we had to get through. That could be a whole blog post in itself.

Four corners, USA

We took a detour through Four Corners, USA, the only place where you can be on four states and on tribal land at the same time. This has been on my bucket list since I took my first Geodetic Surveying class in engineering school. True story. So just like that we were in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah… AND I even managed to shop for souvenirs in all four states.

Grand Canyon junior rangers

From Four Corners, we braved the Arizona desert so we can stay at Flagstaff and see the Grand Canyon. Whoa!

Sunset at the Grand Canyon

I think if I had more foresight, we would have stayed one day longer and spent a night in the Grand Canyon. Maybe next time.

Welcome to Nevada Viva Las Vegas

For our eleventh state, we headed to Nevada via Route 66. We even managed a stop at the Hoover dam along the way. I think Nevada overwhelmed us quite a bit. The heat was oppressive. The traffic on the Vegas strip was obnoxious. The craziness on the Vegas strip was too much. We did get to meet up with several old friends living in the area, and there were so many things to see. I might hazard another trip there in the near future, but we might stay at a different hotel next time.

At this point we were just a week into our trip. It was time to head back into the desert and drive to California. We took our time traveling through Cali. First stop was San Diego where we got to see Jerrold’s brother and the kids got to reacquaint themselves with their cousin.

Oceanside with our San Diego cousins

We headed north to Los Angeles to see my brother. We got to visit the Griffith Observatory and see the Space Shuttle Endeavor at the Science Center. Bucket list, check and check.

Geeking out at the Tesla Coil in Los Angeles

After a many days of sightseeing and eating Asian food, we headed north to San Francisco. The last time we were here was in January 2004. We were smitten with this city and could probably say we left our heart in San Francisco. And here’s a cheesy picture of us in front of the Golden Gate bridge to go with that cheesy sentiment.

Golden gate bridge

We weren’t done yet with California, though. We drove north via scenic 101 to see the Redwood forest and stayed an additional two nights before heading up to the Oregon coast and state number thirteen.

Welcome to Oregon

Confession: I had to holler at my kids to look up from their devices and look at Oregon. The funny thing is last week, I was telling Ani about our hotel that we stayed here and she looked at me in shock and said, “What? We went to Oregon?” They were so done with this trip by now.

We stayed the night at a seaside town called Lincoln City because Jerrold and I saw an article about it almost fifteen years ago. We thought this would be a fantastic place to vacation because of the glass balls that the town artists place in the beach for tourists to find.

The next day we hightailed it out of there and drove the five hours up to Fort Lewis to complete our Wild West Coast Road Trip. Hello Washington state. Hello Seattle, our old home. We’re so happy to be back.

Epic Seattle view




After ten years of riding around in our old CR-V, we finally transitioned to a two-car family. Yes! No more riding in the rain or being stuck at home. The funny thing is that during the first week we had the new car, we were still going about our days like we used to with one car, carpooling and doing errands together. Old habits die hard.

Tuesday Tidbits*

Science experiment

The best thing about today:
The warm(!) sunshine and watching Aki try to make fire with a magnifying glass. He even roasted a pistachio and some marshmallows.

Something I’m looking forward to:
Jerrold getting his new car and having my car back so I won’t  be stuck at home any longer. A few more weeks. Crossing fingers.

Buying the mister a new car

Something I’m dreading:
The kids going back  to school. They’ll be going to two different schools this year and I’m not really too keen on that. Plus I’ll miss them.

Most inspiring event of the month:
Setting up my office space where I can finally create. I love not being sentenced to the dungeon basement any longer.

Nicest thing that’s been done for me lately:
Aki picked flowers for me when he went to the park with a friend.

What I ate for dinner last night:
Japanese chicken curry.

Someone I’m thinking about today:
My little brother Steven who is getting settled in college this week. They grow up too fast. (This photo was from almost ten years ago. Aaaaw…)

Baby brother and baby boy in 2003

The last person I spoke to on the phone:
My mom, so I can see how they’re doing in college. (They’re pretty much all set. Yay!)

Something new I’ve learned:
Making a smaller curtain rod out of an old much  larger curtain rod. You have no idea how hard it is to find a 17″ curtain rod!

One thing I love about my life right now:
I’m loving our new house and I’m really enjoying decorating it and turning it into a home.

* Prompts from Big Picture Classes’ Pajama Party on July 31st.

It’s so cold


One thing I didn’t expect about living in Washington state was how cool it gets during the summer, which is quite strange since we lived here for more than three years in college. Lately, the temps had been dropping down to mid-50F at night. Anyway, I might as well contradict myself and my last post. I know I’m not perfect!

  • It’s so cold that I wore a sweater, a scarf, and my fuzzy boots to go run errands today. It wouldn’t be so unusual if it wasn’t August 3rd, yo!
  • It’s so cold that we bought two new comforters for our beds since we got here. Funny thing is we didn’t have a need for them in Kansas.
  • It’s so cold that we fight over the throws in the family den and I have instilled a rule that NO ONE is allowed to take them from the living room. The kids like to walk around the house wrapped up in a blanket. Snuggies might be in our future.
  • It’s so cold that some mornings we have to turn on the heat. I’m trying to conserve energy but we can only go around so much with cold toes.
  • It’s so cold that I wear my fleece sweater at home. Fleece is my friend.
  • It’s so cold that I’ve almost exhausted my tea and hot cocoa supply at home. Winter is going to be interesting around here!
  • It’s so cold that I can’t even bring myself to get some frozen yogurt even though it’s in my Summer Manifesto to do so.
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    Today. We went on a visit to IKEA to try and hunt for missing hardware and a glass door that the movers broke. To no avail. *Sniff* We also looked around for a new bookcase to house our boxes of books. Since we were nearby, we also visited an old project that I worked on over ten years ago during my young engineer days. You probably have never seen someone fawn over a road more than I did today. (Geek moment.)

    Still no pictures from the Wild West Coast road trip. I’m almost done unpacking our house though and will get to it soon enough.

    Speaking of cold. Inspired by my new office setup (which really is just my laptop on my desk surrounded by boxes), I finished this gem of a layout.

    Winter in Kansas

    I included a writing assignment that Aki did at school. I love adding memorabilia like this to my pages.

    Hello from sunny Seattle

    Hello from sunny Seattle! Yes I used “sunny” and “Seattle” in the same sentence. We’ve been road-tripping this past month all across the western half of the US to get to our new duty station in Washington state. We’ve had such a fantastic trip and have gone to places that we thought we’d never go to, as well as crossed some items off our “bucket list.” We called our road trip the “Wild West Coast Road Trip” which began in Kansas City, Missouri and ended this past weekend in sunny Seattle.

    We had a fun time visiting the city and exploring our old haunts and visiting the places we used to live at. Plus the weather was just glorious. We really picked a great time to move to Washington! More on our road trip in the near future when we get our Internet connection set up at our new home.

    The kids have been out of school for over a week now. I have a backlog of photos that need processing, as well as so many untold stories that I wish I had the time and the words to share in this space. But right now I just want to share these series of photos that I took for the last day of school, just like I did before.

    These are the outtakes of the day that I really have to share. I can’t help but laugh out loud every time I look at them. See for yourself.


    I wanted to get a photo of them sitting on the porch just like they did on their first day of school.


    Good grief! Try as I might, I just could not get both of them smiling. “It’s too bright!” they complained.


    I might as well be shooting at them with laser beams! Oh my goodness!


    Ani tried her best. Maybe Aki did too. BUT it’s really hard to tell.


    Seriously, mother? How many more photos are you going to take? Laughing. Out. Loud. Over. Here.


    Hee. Hee. Ho. Ho. Oh I love these guys.


    I tried another approach but apparently the sun was still too much to take. Can you tell we’re not morning people?

    I hope you enjoyed these as much as I did. Happy summer…