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Happy Veteran’s Day to all those who have served our country, who serve it still, and will serve in the future. Your sacrifice is our freedom, and as a country and as individuals, we are forever grateful.

And especially to my own personal veteran, who served long before he met me and therefore doesn’t seem to have any pictures of himself in uniform hanging around. I’m sure he was quite handsome. He still is.

On vacation for our first anniversary back in May 2012.

I love you, husband.


Today, I am thankful for big American kitchens.

I loved living in Japan, and sometimes I miss the food more than I can stand, but I hated cooking in my various tiny, tiny kitchens. In my first apartment, I didn’t even have any counter space. There was a sink, and next to it were the two elements, and next to that was a wall that separated it from the fridge.

My kitchen, leading into the living area. I'm standing in front of the entrance to the bathroom area (separate shower and toilet). The apartment entrance is two feet behind me.

My stove and sink. That was all the counter space I had.

Doing prep work was a nightmare. I eventually stopped trying to make elaborate home-cooked meals and just got stuff I could throw in the microwave (which sat on top of the fridge). I only lived there six months, but it was still a step up from my second Japanese apartment.

The kitchen was actually maybe a bit bigger than the previous one, but I hated that place. It was a dump, crawling with bugs, dirt and grime everywhere. And the neighbors (other foreign teachers who worked for the same company as me) were terrible neighbors. Perhaps it was not entirely their faults (the walls were about as thick as cardboard), but they also tended to have loud get-togethers in the “back yard” at three in the morning. I don’t think I have any pictures of this place, possibly because I moved after only three months, my decision this time.

I moved to Moriya, which was quieter, cleaner, and closer to my work. I no longer had a train ride of nearly an hour before and after work. I could jump on my bicycle and go! I loved living in Moriya, and I loved my apartment, even though the kitchen still wasn’t much bigger.

Yes, it's a terrible mess. This was before Geordie moved in with me; I rarely used the kitchen for cooking. It was more like a storage area. I later got a (free!) microwave and organized it some.

I managed. It wasn’t until Geordie started hanging around that I started wanting to make more involved dishes. It was tough for us to both be in the kitchen at once, so we didn’t do a lot of tandem cooking. Nor did we have a table to eat at together. Sometimes we shared dinner on the couch, but often, we ate separately: Geordie on the couch at his computer, me at the desk at my computer.

Moving to Susono changed that. We still had a small kitchen, but at least we had a dining area with room for a table and chairs. The table got a lot of use: I used it as my prep space then cleaned it all up so we could eat off it. It took a bit for us to get synced, but in August and September, we did a lot of cooking together. Part of my nesting manifested as a need to cook decent meals, and made a dinner menu for four-five days every week. I even did some baking in my little convection oven.

This is actually the apartment one floor above us (where Mom stayed), but the layout is identical to ours. Sink, small counter space, two-element stove (which is hidden behind the fridge). Mom took this picture while standing next to her table.

Cooking in our kitchen (dinner: pesto salmon, sauteed mushrooms, lemon risotto). I do nearly all the actual cooking. Geordie is an excellent prep cook and sous chef!

It was a still a little cramped, but it was comfy enough for two people. I had everything organized the way I liked, including a small bookcase I used as a pantry. For the first time, I felt really comfortable in a kitchen in Japan, and I enjoyed settling in and acting like a “normal” housewife. It was odd at first, but I’ve always loved cooking and that took over everything. I love cooking for Geordie! He’s pretty easy to please, as long as I stay away from what he doesn’t like (onions and peppers, mostly, which is fine because I hate them too). I can experiment with new things and new recipes, and he’ll give them a try. Because it’s so nice to cook for him, I eagerly anticipated our life in Susono, where I would stay at home and take care of Lauren and the house and be what I generally never expected I would want to be: a homemaker.

Now, I’m still eager to have my own kitchen. I love Mom’s kitchen. It’s big, it’s room, it’s got sooooo much counter space. I try to cook the weekday meals, which seems to make everyone happy, including me. I like to cook for people; it makes me feel useful.

So, with all that being said, I’m talking about kitchens today because his might be my last “blessings” post for a while. From now on, Tuesdays are going to be a day to talk about food, cooking, and baking. As much as I like to cook, I love to bake even more. And recently, I’ve felt the desire to bake more. I haven’t really baked anything since Christmas. And since so much of my life revolves around food, I know I’m going to end up posting about it. So, I’m just going to go ahead and reserve some space for it!

And, surprisingly, I actually don’t have much to talk about in the way of cooking and baking today. I’m going over to my brother’s place for dinner tonight. He, too, is a big fan of food and cooking, but I honestly can’t remember the last time he cooked for me. Could be interesting!

Today, I am thankful for my blog traffic.

Seriously. The past couple days, there’s been a spike in visits. So, those of you who are stopping by for the first time: welcome! How are you doing?

I also want to take a moment to respond to a wonderful gift Hannah, who runs Sadie Mae’s Mommy, gave me at the end of last week: a blog award! Thank you, Hannah!



Liebster is German for “dearest” or “beloved,” but it can also mean “favorite.” The idea behind the Liebster Award is to bring attention to blogs with less than 200 followers.

As part of receiving the Liebster Blog award,  the awardee does the following:

1. Choose 5 blogs with fewer than 200 followers to grant the Liebster Blog award.
2. Show appreciation to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them!
3. Post the award on your blog and link back to the blogs you have given the Liebster Blog award to so everyone else can pay them a visit!


What this means is that I’m going to choose five more blogs and give them this award, which they all most certainly deserve!

  1. Stretching My Wings. Heather has been my Very Best Friend in the Whole Wide World for almost ten years now. We met in college and bonded over English Lit courses and Dungeons & Dragons. I’ve watched her daughters grow up (one of whom is my proclaimed god-daughter). She’s my spiritual sister and greatest advocate, and I have never been without her support. No one could be more awesome. Heather blogs about random, every day things, which she makes highly amusing with her wonderful writing style. She’s been blogging more regularly again – hooray!
  2. Live. Love. Laugh. Last year, Kasie married one of my cousins. Because of the whole “living-in-Japan” thing, I was unable to attend the wedding, and I have yet to meet one of the newest additions to my extended family. Over the summer, she became pregnant – and then miscarried in the first trimester. She lost her baby the weekend before Lauren came still into the world. I admire Kasie greatly; she has a busy busy schedule and continues to have a wonderful attitude about life and hope. I’m looking forward to meeting her face-to-face someday.
  3. The Lotus Flower. I found this blog through Faces of Loss, and I was amazed at the similarities between us. She lost her daughter – also named Lauren – at 37 weeks, only seven days after my Lauren was delivered. So much of what she says rings true with me too, and I take hope that perhaps I can have the same strength she does.
  4. Getting It Sorted. I love this blog, and I adore Lyndell. She is such an inspiration; she as endured so much, including the loss of her beautiful daughter Charlotte. Lyndell has a way of getting straight to the point and not holding back any punches, which I really admire.
  5. Tisi’s Tirades. A blog for angry babyloss mamas everywhere. If you’ve ever wondered why babyloss parents are so irritable and bitter sometimes, this would be a good place to start. Tisi is an amazing woman: in the space of 12 months, she lost three precious babies. She has every right to be as angry as she needs to be.


I am a daughter and a sister, a wife and a friend. I am a reader and a writer, a dreamer and a realist, a teacher and a learner. I am the mother of a baby born sleeping. I am on a journey of healing, walking a path paved with tears and grief and hope.

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