Reading: Nothing! How embarrassing. The last book I read was Zero to Five: 70 essentials parenting tips based on science. SUCH A GOOD BOOK! If you're a parent that is, otherwise probably pretty boring. Mindy Kaling's new book just came out Why Not Me and I can't wait to get my paws on that. I prefer the audiobook when the author is a comedian, but I think I'll get this one on kindle next! Absolutely loved her first book.

Eating: A lot of smoothies lately of the strawberry-banana persuasion. They have been my "sugar-fix" lately. Ok and chocolate chips. Also have made these taco lettuce wraps a few times this month.

Thinking about: I've been having a lot of thoughts on the pressures around us to be more. I feel like I'm constantly bombarded with quotes and messages on Pinterest and Instagram that are 100% meant to be inspirational. Messages that are telling the audience to stop being a dreamer and start doing. Or work today so you'll be happy tomorrow. Lately they are making me feel like i'm supposed to be doing more. Like being just a mom is so basic. I realize that is not the intention, but that is how I'm feeling! Entrepreneurial moms seem to be all the rage these days. Ladies who work from home, making money, and are still a wonderful mother. I think that is great, if that's what you want to do. I follow an Instagram account @heymamaco that features many of these moms. And it's made me feel like a bit of a bum. Everyone seems to have an Etsy shop or some kind of side business or sews cool dresses, or diaper bags or what not on top of motherhood. Recently I've been thinking....but what if I'm happy RIGHT NOW doing what I'm doing right now? Is that allowed??? I don't make any money and I'm OK with that. We have everything we need and I like having this time with just Lucy and the tiny amount of free time I have to myself. It seems like my social media feeds are screaming at me to DO MORE! Well I don't want to right now!! I want to live in this moment and enjoy it. Perhaps there is not something I am more passionate about right now. I want to focus on being a mom right now. A slower pace to life has become important to me as I've gotten older. I've realized I'm happier when I'm not running around like a chicken with my head is chopped off.

Looking forward to: A lot this month! My birthday is a couple weeks, Lucy's birthday is the end of this month AND I get to fly home to Arkansas (for just a week!) to be at my best friends wedding. Looking forward to that the most! I'm excited to see my parents and younger siblings, as well as for them to get some Lucy time. It will be a real treat. (only dreading the flight by myself with a mobile child..ahhh..prayers please).

Enjoying: Friends. They've been getting me through while Duke is gone. I'm so lucky to have met so many wonderful ladies out here and to have my old roommate out here! They make the long days shorter and the hard days easier. I'm grateful I have them to vent about anything with, to laugh with and have fun with. It's also huge to have friends who are in the same military situation as me. It's kind of hard to hear people complain that "they're husband got home at 7 today-ugh!" or "my husband is leaving for the weekend! I'm so sad". I understand their feelings are legitimate-anything out of the ordinary is hard. But it's just really hard to hear that when sometimes I go to bed without seeing my husband and he's usually gone for at least a week at a time. You know what I'm saying?! It helps so much to be in this community!

Learning: How to get a baby to sleep who doesn't want to! I don't even know where to start. She has been a great sleeper the last 5 months, but once she figured out how to stand up in her crib it was all over. It's been a rough 3 weeks. And the only naps we're getting is driving around. The only "me-time" I've had is a couple hours after she's down and before I go to bed-which I've mostly spent FaceTimeing with Duke. Oh the life of a mother!! If she wasn't so cute..

Loving: Okinawa. I feel lucky to live here. Not everyone feels that way and I feel sad for those who don't. This tiny island is filled with so much beauty. I'll probably never live so close to the beach again (10 minute walk/2 min drive). I'll never live surrounded by another culture so different from my own. So many unique situations I encounter here that I probably won't again. Every once and a while it hits me hard how much I love this place and the people that live on it. It's a special place for sure.

Ok, I feel like I complained a lot in this post--I'm sorry. This blog is supposed to be about happy things. But sometimes life gets to me! This month has been harder on me than any other time with Duke gone (not sure why). I try so hard to be positive everyday, so forgive my few complaints here. Life is good.

Also, I got the idea for this post from Something Sweet. She has a link up if you want to participate too.


Manza Beach (Kinda)

A couple Saturdays ago (it's been a crazy month!) I went with some friends to a new beach! Manza Beach is the beach that ANA Intercontinental Resort uses for their guests. I always thought you had to pay to use their beach. Turns out I was wrong! They do charge you 500 yen to park though. 

We actually didn't end up going to Manza Beach. Right by the parking lot there is a little path down a beach. This beach only had a few people and didn't have the obstructed views Manza did. It's right in between Nabee Beach and Manza. This perfect spot is going on the list of my favorite beaches here. I love the Onna area and their beaches are so beautiful! If you haven't been here you should add it to your list. Some more pictures from our day below. 
 such a beach babe
"ahh the wind in my hair"
Me, Natalie, Taylor and our baby girls!
Natalie had a great idea to fill a bucket with water and then bury it in the sand. The girls loved splashing in it. Brings the water to them!
It was a Saturday well spent!


Taiwan Day 3

Our last day in Taiwan we chose to spend in the mountains. We headed an hour north of Taipei to Yangmingshan National Park. 

I have to pause here to tell you what impressed me most in Taiwan. The people were incredibly kind to us. You know how on subways there are priority seats for those with small children or pregnant ladies or elderly people etc? Every time we stepped on the subway with Lucy, someone offered us a seat. EVERY SINGLE TIME! Japan has a reputation for politeness, but I have been in Tokyo pregnant and with Lucy- once standing there on the subway while she was screaming and trying to breastfeed her and no one offered me their seat. I was really impressed Taiwan! Also we got on the bus to the park and didn't realize you had to pay in coins-which we had none- and 3 people offered to pay for us. I was so touched by their kindness. Don't forget there are good people in this world!
We only had time for one hike. We picked Mt Qixing. We had absolutely no idea what to expect. It ended up taking 2 hours to reach the summit and it was about 98% stairs I would say. Both our legs were shaking on the way down. It was intense! The weather that day was rainy and overcast, which was nice since we were hiking, but couldn't see a thing at the top! I'm glad we did it, even though my legs were sore for the next 4 days. Ha.
 my photography game was so off this whole trip, so lets just pretend I meant to have that tree in focus...
The Summit! Lucy was LOSING IT, so we snapped a pic and ran down. It was way past nap time on the way up, and the only way we kept her happy was letting her nurse on the go, which meant I had to carry that lug around! But she slept the whole way down the mountain, so yay for that!
 near the top there was like 1 minute without stairs..it was the best thing I'd ever seen
After resting at the hotel for a bit we went to the area down by the Taipei City Hall MRT stop for dinner. Our hotel was close to the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial and the area was fine, but I really enjoyed this other part! It felt more "big city" and had a fun vibe to it. The restaurant we had planned on eating at ending up being in the most upscale mall I've ever stepped into. They motioned for me to take my poncho or to leave. Haha. We decided dinner was probably going to be extremely expensive so we went across the street to a more affordable mall and ate an American-looking restaurant.
a horrible iPhone video, but I had to post this of Lucy laughing while we waited for our food. One of my favorite things is to hear that laugh!
view of Taipei 101 as we walked home
 Lucy making friends at the airport. So cute.
This little ham cracks me up.


Our trip to Taipei, Taiwan Days 1 & 2

For Labor Day weekend we decided to check out Taipei, Taiwan. It's actually really close to us. Just an hour and a half flight. And just as deathly hot and humid as Okinawa. We had a good time and saw some neat stuff. The first day we focused on the city stuff. Visited Chiang Kai-Shek memorial and Taipei 101. Here's some pictures from those places below!
 caught some small changing of guards ceremony
 hmmm..looks a little like the Lincoln Memorial if you ask me ;)
 The National Concert Hall-wish so bad something had been going on while we were there!
 Loved the pretty grounds
The National Theater across from the Concert Hall.
I always think it's cool to see American products in other languages
Next up we went to Taipei 101. Din Tai Fung is a dumpling restaurant that is on everyone's MUST DO list. So I forced Duke to go with me. Neither of us are dumpling people and I would say for dumplings they're are good, but my mind was not blown. Duke decided he still does not like dumplings. I do love fried rice and thought theirs was delicious! The coolest part was watching them make the dumplings. They've got a serious assembly line going and it looks like a tedious job!

 Lucy was happy just eating her puffs and getting them on her face.
Taipei 101 was the tallest building in the world from 2004-2010. According to Wikipedia, it's now the 7th tallest. We decided to brave the line and go to the observatory for a view of the city. It was cool I guess. We did the inside view and then climbed up a few more stairs to the outside view as well. 
Foggy day but hello Taipei!
Oh and here is Lucy being adorable in the tub! I loved the high back's of these soaking tubs. Each night we were there I took a shower and then soaked in the tub for a while and it was fabulous. Probably the only relaxing I did all weekend!
The next day didn't go as planned and we went by the seat of our pants. We had planned to go to a place called Wulai-which had a beautiful waterfall and hot springs and aborigine villages etc etc. So we were all decked out with our swimsuits on and everything, took the metro to where we would get on the bus and then found out the road to get there was closed due to a typhoon that had hit a couple weeks previously and made it too dangerous to go to. I was pretty sad bc lots of our friends who had been said it was their favorite part of their trip and I felt like it was the day Duke would enjoy the most. So we just decided to go to Maokong. It's an area that's known for tea growing and gondola rides up the mountains. We waited at least an hour in line for the gondola ride. But really it was just restaurants at the top. We walked around for about 15 minutes, then decided to just eat and get out of there. So the day was kinda a bust, but we had a good meal up there and pretty views!
 views from the gondola-taipei 101 standing out there!
We ate at this cute cafe and the food was actually pretty good!
also-that is the most American looking salad I have had since leaving in Asia
Had to try some tea since that's what the area is famous for. And look how tiny the teacups were!!
Duke's true feelings about Lucy ;)

going back down the gondola!
scooters are everywhere in this city! 
Stayed tuned for Day 3!