A Day in the Sequoias

We made a last minute decision to visit Sequoia National Park over Labor Day weekend. The sequoias were beautiful and incredible, but man it was a doozy of a trip!! You just can never predict what a trip will be like with a toddler. The drive up is about 5 hours and Lucy just was not having it the day we drove up. It was pretty rough and I was honestly about to lose my mind by the time we got to the hotel. It ended up being a very very very hard day. I was emotionally taxed from all of Lucy's crying and when we made it to the hotel our dog sitter texted me to let me know Winston wasn't behaving well at her house and I needed to find him another place to stay. 
It was so strange because Winston is normally a very well behaved dog! She said he was marking her house and had bit her puppy. I believed her but it didn't sound like Winston at all! Trying to find a dog sitter from 5 hours away ASAP is incredibly stressful. I was honestly ready to just turn around and forget the whole trip! But we had driven up with Duke's brother and mom and I didn't want to ruin the whole trip over my emotional mess. After a few hours I found a very very kind lady who loved English Bulldogs and told me she'd watch him for free.
I'll write about how that story with Winston ends in another post since this one is supposed to be about the sequoias. We spent just one day driving through the park and drove a smidge into King's Canyon as well. I'm so grateful we have the national parks that preserve these gorgeous pieces of land! America is awesome. There is so much diversity in land in just our country. Our goal is to hit up all or at least as many of the national parks in California as we can while we are here. So Lucy had better start learning to enjoy the car a little more!
Lucy and her cousin Jack running full speed ahead
Lucy looking at the biggest tree in the world-General Sherman
General Sherman, pictures do not do it justice!
favorite picture of the trip^
Lucy looking out at the "big trees" and she spilt water on her shirt which is why it's off (typical)
cool, hallowed out tree on it's side you ^could walk through
Quick stop in King's Canyon National Park
I love visiting national parks! The earth is amazing. 


Park City with the Fam

When we arrived back to the states from Japan we spent the first 10 days searching for a place to live and for cars. It was an incredibly stressful time because we were also adjusting from jetlag with ourselves and Lucy and no one was getting enough sleep! Then we headed to Utah to spend some time with both sides of our family. My mom's side of the family had a reunion and then we headed to Park City with just my family for a little get away. The weather was unusually cold the 3 days we were there; it was in the 50's and 40's! So we didn't spend as much time outdoors bc we hadn't brought proper clothing. We did stop by the beautiful McPolin Barn which has a flat trail running along the way and we took a ton of pictures bc what else do you do with such a beautiful barn!?! Duke ran back to the car after a couple snaps bc he was in shorts and a tshirt and it was super windy and cold, but I'm glad we made the stop anyways!
My little brother, his wife and baby
 My mom and little sister
 my mom cracks me up
 My older sister and her little boy who's the same age as Lucy
 dad and mom
 my family who was there
 Lucy and Alistair loved "driving" the tractor
 My mom bought the grandkids little 4th of July outfits and so we attempted to get pictures. Always fun with baby and toddlers! These are the Bland grandkids..so far!
 Couldn't get lucy to have a normal smile the whole time, but this one below is my favorite. The two 2 year olds!
 We also spent some time walking main street and taking the free trolley rides. Lucy and Alistair loved it so we did it twice haha. 

 spotted some Banksy art
 Lucy's $3 cow cookie *insert eye roll here* 
 Peonies win for prettiest flower
These 2 both had to push the stroller, naturally.
It was so fun to spend time with my family! We rented an airbnb up there and had a blast. Lucy was spoiled having cousins to play with and the added attention from aunts, uncles and grandparents. 


Life as of now

Life has finally gotten to a point where I have a chance to sit down and make a blog post! We moved back to the states on May 27 and from about May 15-present my life has been in absolute whirlwind mode. I have been overwhelmed and stressed like no other time in my recent life that I can remember. We were homeless until a couple weeks ago and I counted that we packed up and changed locations 9 times in those 2 months! In June we spent some time in Utah with family. In between and during all of that we bought 2 cars, found a place to live, bought more furniture at one time than I would like to ever do again (bc we didn't have much!),  caught up with more family and friends, Duke started working, moved into our house, and now just trying to live life and make it to a dr's appt for this poor 2nd baby! Let me be the first to tell you, I do not recommend moving overseas while pregnant with a demanding 2 year old. It was absolute crazy town!!! While it has been SO awesome being home and getting to eat watermelon everyday and peaches and nectarines and strawberries and delicious mexican food, I have finally begun to miss Okinawa. This was the biggest/hardest move I've made since moving away for college 11 years ago. I am so excited to be in California though. I'm also super lucky to have some good friends already living right here in the same town and nearby.

I just started Lucy in a preschool program a few days a week and it has been an absolute godsend. I already feel like a better mom and I feel like a person again. I've been in a depressed funk for a while, which I'll write more about in another post, but I have been in 100% survival mode as a mother. Lucy was watching way more tv than I was proud of and I was just trying to catch a nap to feel motivated to something productive each day. I've been feeling better this week though! I'm excited to finish getting moved in and on to exploring more of San Diego and California. I've missed blogging and sharing pictures and writing my thoughts and feelings, so hopefully I can get back into it again before baby #2 comes and life gets crazy again ;). 

Pictures from our time in Park City with my family in June. (when it was freeeeeezing! like 48 degrees!)


Hira Taki Waterfall

So this waterfall has been on my Oki bucket list for a while now. I definitely underestimated the turmoil this hike would cause me. There were SO MANY spider webs & spiders! Like every couple feet there would be a massive network of spider webs. Sometimes just layers of them. It was insane and definitely took us a lot longer since we were constantly stopping to knock them down. I'm pretty terrified of spiders so I was hunched over and tense for the entire hour+ hike to the falls. Like my back hurt the rest of the day lol. It was pretty, although I don't think we even made it to the main fall haha. But we decided the one we saw was good enough. It was a beautiful hike, just be prepared for some serious spider web knocking. We also def wore the wrong clothes. We both left with some bites, assumedly from spiders. But most the hike is through the river. Last piece of advice is I wouldn't bring young kids. It's pretty slippery and the path is not well worn at all. In fact if it weren't for the markers I wouldn't have known where the path was. All that said, I had a lot of fun since Joanna was willing to brave the way and knock down the webs while I cowered behind her. 

 When Joanna took a pretty hard fall lol. It was sad but she laughed it off
the waterfall we ended at
 so we got to a point on the trail and it looked like the only way forward was to jump off the stream/waterfall (pictured below) so we stopped to snapchat and then luckily we saw the camouflaged rope of the side of the cliff^. close call lol.
^me the entire hike