We spent a day in LA visiting the California Science Museum and ended the day with a drive up to Leo Carrillo State Park in Malibu just in time to see one of the most beautiful sunsets I may have ever seen in my life. I couldn't put my camera down because i honestly could not get over the beauty of it! Also I have to mention I'm blogging this while listening to the old OC mixes and it is making me so happy!! I suggest listening while reading this but I can't force you. When is Netflix gonna pick up the OC? I'm still waiting for that day. And now I give you a very trimmed down version of all the photos I took. California is full of beauty. 
 My favorite little explorer

 I love when I can capture a real smile from Duke. They are my favorite.
It's almost strange how happy looking at a photo of your husband and daughter together can make a person.
Until next time California.

Joshua Tree National Park

We returned to California the day after Christmas and headed straight to Joshua Tree National Park. We met up with the rest of Duke's family that live in Utah. It was a blast. I love me some National Parks. America is so awesome you guys! We only spent a couple nights there, so we did a few hikes and saw the stars at night. Although, please remind me to never be stationed at Twentynine Palms! It's the city right outside the park, and man, it's booney town! Luckily there isn't an air base there, so we should be able to steer clear ;). Here's a photo dump of the pretty park!
hanging in the hotel that night.
On our way to the park! Duke loves pictures.
ok, i need help. See the black dots on my pictures? I'm pretty sure it's the lens that has dust in it-does anyone know--can i just bring it to a camera store to get cleaned? Bc I hate those dots! Anyone done that before??
Our little fam!
Duke, his mom and sisters
Some of Duke's best friends from college met us out there. It was great to see them! Their off living in Columbia now.
handsome hubby
do you see the heart in the rock between duke and I?
And there is the Dr Seuss-looking Joshua Tree itself. 


Visit to Arkansas

We flew to Arkansas for my first Christmas with my whole family since 2010. It was a blast. Some highlights included seeing Lucy and her cousin Alistair play, watching the Star Wars as a family, lots of help with Lucy :), hiking & bike riding with Duke, enjoying the square and Christmas lights, homemade Christmas morning cinnamon rolls, game nights, Jonathan getting his Eagle Scout award, and lots of quality family time. It was a real treat to have that time together since it so rarely happens for us living out in Okinawa. Since it's been so long since Christmas, I"ll post some of my favorite pictures from the trip and call it good.
hiking through Bentonville
first time I realized she was giving me kisses
blurry, family male bonding time
all the kiddies
Hanging outside Walton's 5 & dime aka the first Walmart, in Santa's sleigh. 
 Christmas was fun with Lucy this year, but I think it will be even more fun next year! Can't wait.
 I just love her.
 mischievous babies
The morning before we flew out my little brother Jonathan had his Eagle Court of Honor. It was nice to go to something like that of his because I have been out of the house since he was 8 and have missed all kinds of events for him. Proud of my little bro!
 The Eagles Nest. Both my brothers, my husband and bro-in-law are all precious Eagle Scouts!
My whole family whom I love DEARLY!!!!