Photo of the Day

Photo of the day:

Underground Japanese market
Naha, Japan


I've been wanting to restart this blog for a while now.  I'm finally get some time to do it.  My oldest is in Kindergarten now, which makes it much more quiet around the house.  I'm in a break from classes at the moment and life is just pushing me to be more expressive.  SO here's my outlet.

This is what you can expect from my blog:

1. Lists of favorite things...probably categorized for multiple topics.
2. Photo of the Day-- Lens Mission photography
3.  Family and Kid stuff
4.  Goals, Work stuff...Education philosophy and military student/family counseling.
5. Favorite Recipes
6. Recent/Current Book Recommendations
7. Cool photo adventures and journaling

You get the idea.  Looking back on past posts was so fun for me.  I encourage you to browse through my past posts...which actually started in 2007!  That is wild.
It's a new stage of life and breath of fresh air coming to this blog, so stay tuned.

Current happenings.  We bought a house!  Our first house.  It's near the base of Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs.  Last week, the school next door was on lock down due to a BEAR wandering around outside. Colorado is a pretty magical place.


We moved!!!

Wow, it's been a long time since I posted.  Life has been crazy hectic.  I started graduate courses through Colorado State.  Adam was selected for Officer Training School.  Meaning he will no longer be doing Metals Technology, but will receive a large promotion and begin a new career field in Operational Research (what that entails we still have yet to know.)
So with his promotion, he spends 2 months in OTS training, and we also get a new duty location which is....

We made a list of our top 8 bases to go to called our 'dream sheet.'  It is entirely hit or miss where you are selected to go;  basically in line with where the Air Force needs you.  But occasionally, people are rewarded with places on their dream sheet.  It just so happened, that Peterson AFB in Colorado Springs was #1 on our list.  And it was #1 for a reason.  Adam and I have talked about living in Colorado since we first got married.  It's the quintessential place that has everything we are looking for.  And we are here. 
We took a 4 day roadtrip traveling from Spokane, WA to Missoula, MT.  There we stayed right on the river, with a view of the large M on the side of the mountain. 
The next day we drove to Billings, MT and stayed in an awesome hotel with a water park and right next to a Cracker Barrell.  Score!  Shoutout to that restaurant for allowing us to bring our dog inside too  :)
Day 3 we drove to Casper, WY.  Not much going on there in ole Casper. 
Day 4...finally, we arrived in Colorado Springs.  We stayed on base for a week before moving into our new house. 
I already miss Spokane...it was such a charming place to live.  But nothing so far beats Colorado.  We live on a cul-de-sac so the boys can ride bikes all over the place.  We also have some amazing neighbors...one family with boys the same age as Luke and Sawyer...who by the way, are so big now, so amazing, so smart, so adorable...should I go on?

More on our Colorado Springs adventures soon!


Conversation with my 3 year old

(Looking at squigly green lines drawn on a whiteboard)
Me:  What did you draw, Luke?
Luke:  They are rattlesnakes.  They live with us.
Me:  Ooooh, I don't know about that.  I'm afraid of rattlesnakes!
Luke:  It's ok.  Don't 'wuwy'...They are friendly rattlesnakes.
Me:  Oh!  Good!  Whew, that was close.
Luke:  My life is coming true.


Me:  Well, mine too.


Indian Canyon Hike, Spokane

I've always been eluded by the fact that there are so many secret hikes around Spokane that are never spoken of.  I'm assuming most local nature lovers venture to these alluring places, but they have a known interest...not telling everyone about it.
So after a lot of google and local nature photography websites, I found a few gems in the area.  Of course we are always out discovering, but this hike in particular was a new favorite. 
It's a public park about 10 minutes from our house.  It's never come in conversation.
It's a beautiful hike, and felt almost like bushwacking with the lushness of the greenery. It's a trail that curves through the inside of a steep gorge.  A small creek was flowing through the middle.  We had to cross it a few times over logs or rock jumping...with 2 little boys in tow, I might add. 

There should have been a waterfall flowing here, but it was just a trickle.  It hasn't rained here for months.  There is a huge risk of forest fires right now. 

Huge cedar trees were all around the top, which we hiked through before our descent into the gorge. 
 One was eager to lead the way, and the other was squirming to get down...not quite ready to lead the way.  (Don't tell him that.)

There are miles of trails that we have yet to explore here.  I'll let you know what else we find!  I'm excited to come back in the fall or winter, when there is a lot more flow.

Here's a link Washington Trails Association


Washington River Days

River days with my rough and tumble sunshine boys.
These days always end up with wet sandy clothes, red rosy cheeks, hungry bellies, and fun new memories.

 Bald Eagle sighting
 Dirty boys...aka little explorers who love to have fun!

Being in nature, and discovering the world is so much fun to do as a parent.  It's near and dear to our hearts and to share our love and passion with our boys is so fulfilling.  They love being outdoors, climbing trees, jumping in rivers, catching bugs, hitting the trail and just about anything else outside. 


Woodland Park Zoo Seattle

We loved the zoo in Seattle.
Check out this big guy posing for me!


Missing Argentina

I miss these amazing views...
Argentina was such an amazing experience.  I learned so many new skills, and learned so much about myself in the process.

 Bariloche on the coast of Nahuel Huapi
 The cabin where 7-9 of us lived on the side of a mountain
 El Bolson
 Our neighbors
 Rio Azul confluence
 AAh Patagonia
 Bariloche again
 Curious cow
 Rio Azul

 Pointing to our cabin
 2 Day old lamb
 Piltriquitron, my muse
Buenos Aires


A Tribute to Jack Johnson

A Tribute to Jack Johnson
by Adam Fillman

5 Long Days by Adam Fillman

About 2 weeks after we started dating, I left for a family trip to London.  I was there for 5 days.
It was the first time that I was in Europe but desperately wanted to be home.  Love is powerful.

A Tribute to Jack Johnson by Adam Fillman

Its been 5 long days since I felt the woman,
Come and cover my soul she;s been a cookin
Up a dream I know, I feel it too
Wanna shake the world
Wanna shake with you
So shall we go
Well I’ve been lower than a concrete post
But I’m up and up just a flying with the crows
I see the world clearly now
Give thanks to the sun
Give thanks to Pascal
So shall we go
And oh if the world turns to grey
I would come to you to see what you would say
Wont you please wont you please get out your paint and
paint us a sun
Won’t you
Paint us a sun
Wont you please
paint us a sun

It’s been 5 long days
Wont you come on home to me.


Brothers, Christmas and a Dead Tree

Luke is 2 months shy of 3 years old.

The latest 'Conversation with Luke'
"Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?"

In other words, we talk to each other all day.
Whew, yes!  Explain everything.
 He wants to create conversation, he wants to continue all dialog.  Silence should never exist.  The question of 'Why?' has become a type of response to anything that we say.  So, we've been getting deep...our conversations take turns that they've never taken before.  Topics of existence, the size of the universe, what we are made of.  Our discussions never intentionally get that far, but when answering the question 'Why?' continuously, you are bound to reach the core of the subject; it is inevitable.

*Currently* Talking about anything related to Santa's sleigh and the reindeer; mainly, Rudolph.  Why is Rudolph's nose red anyway?
He loves creating puppets with his hands, wearing towels as capes (he has a Superman cape wrapped and under the tree!) He's a big Daddy's boy.  And he loves JOKES!  He is too funny.  His favorite joke:  Hey, whose nachos are these? ...  NOT YOS!!!

Sawyer is 10 months old.  He is crawling at lightning speed, and pulling up on anything and walking around...including walls.  I've seen him stand alone once.  He has 4 teeth,  loves Mama,  mesmerized by Adam playing guitar and looks at us like we're crazy most of time...especially when we are dragging a tree into our living room and decorating it.  He loves his big brother.
Christmas is so much more fun with wide eyed children...their wonderment is contagious.  Especially when you are rediscovering the holiday through a child's curiosity.  Such as, why are we getting a tree?  Thanks to google, many questions are answered for everyone.  Are you curious now too?  Find out:
The tree behind the brothers is our first tree this year.  At the beginning of December, we went to get a beautiful PNW Pine tree.  The fir trees they had were way too big.  So we got a nice 7 foot pine.  The smell, aaaah, the smell of a fresh tree in the house beats any oil, candle, scentsy, anyday!!
Well 2 weeks passes, and the tree drooped lower and lower and lower.  Needles were falling, the color was gone.  I didn't understand!  I watered every 3 days!  It was no use dwelling.  After reading about the extreme fire hazard a dead pine tree becomes, we made a decision.  We stripped it bare and tossed the thing in the backyard. For the first time in my life, I now have a $40 Plastic Fir.  Aren't fake trees just a little 'too perfect?'  My Mom once told me that she loves trees that are imperfect, flawed, not very full, not the prettiest tree they have.  Maybe her sentiment has passed down to me. 

Merry Christmas HOHOHO! 


Christmas in Okinawa, Throwback 2013

Last year around this time, I was pulled in too many directions and had to take a hiatus from blogging.  So here are some fun, twinkly photos of our Okinawa Christmas last year.  Luke's 1st Christmas too!!

I had a few people ask me what Christmas was like in Okinawa.  
I'll explain our experience through a series of Christmas throwbacks. 
It was interesting for a couple of reasons...First of all Japan is primarily Buddhist and a native religion called Shinto.  A small percentage of the population (around 1%) are Christians.
However, the culture of Japan and the culture of Okinawa are vastly different.  Okinawa is swarming with Americans.  Most businesses cater to Americans...therefore on the # 1 consumer driven holiday of our homeland, the smart thing for any Okinawan business to do is cover their entryways in garland, blind us with twinkly lights and advertise the gift giving season. Which was nice, honestly.  The best thing about Christmas is the 'spirit'...the shift in our emotion and thoughts; subconsciously taking on a more hopeful positive attitude.  The holiday season is so full of FUN.  The weather gets cooler, you think of scarves, hot chocolate, snow, family, food, love, laughter, friendships, giving, christmas trees, decorations, and for those of us with kids, Christmas takes on so much more joy than ever before. 
So when we were able to take our almost 2 year old on a walk through one of the coolest Christmas displays ever, in a foreign country, next to the ocean; it was a great memory. 

American Village, Okinawa, Japan December 2013

 All photography was with a NikonD7000.  Lovin this bokeh!
More of Christmas in Okinawa coming soon.


Custom Christmas Cards

Some good friends of ours asked if I could take photos of them for their Christmas card this year.  She had a good idea and needed a little help 'getting ready.'
I was all about it! 
So I helped their dog, Riot, string them up in lights and duct tape their mouths...bad dog, very bad dog.  HAHA, I think they came out great!!
Here is the photo they used:

The lights under his paw.  Hahaha, a nice touch!

Merry Christmas ya filthy animal!

The Gorge Ampitheatre, DMB 2014

The Gorge Ampitheatre.  In one word...amazing.  It's vastness.  It's natural beauty.  It literally echos
It's located in a very small town called George in central Washington...that's right.  It's in George, Washington.  Just east of the Cascades, in canyon country, someone had the idea to build an epic music venue, on the edge of a cliff overlooking the vast Columbia River Gorge.  Someone was brilliant.

Years ago, in my wild youth, I spent 3 days camping and dancing at the Sasquatch Music Festival.  Relive that glorious blog festival here:  SASQUATCH 2010 POST

So that was 4 years ago.  A literal lifetime ago.

Since then, I've gotten married, moved to Japan, adopted a dog, had 2 children, and come full circle...moving to Eastern Washington.  Only 2 hours to The Gorge.
I've been on the search for a good show to revisit this incredible venue.  Honestly, it wouldn't even matter who was playing.  The venue is an experience in itself.
An opportunity came.  My best friend Alicia was coming to visit;  And I needed to get her a birthday gift; And Dave Matthews Band happened to be playing their 3 day weekend at the Gorge. Admittedly, I have sort of lost touch with my jam band side...During my college days, DMB was a regular on my playlists, but has since faded into lost ipod shuffles.  The good thing about this band...they never get old, they are incredibly talented and they are legends.  I can play a song from years ago and still remember every word.  I vowed to see them in concert before they retired...they were a bucket list band.  I bought us tickets.
Sidenote from a Mama...
 It was an amazing getaway from home.  No matter what any mother says, we need breaks too; and while I am not constantly seeking them out, when they present themselves, I take advantage of my temporary freedom to the fullest extent.

Not only was I spending this time with my best friend, who I hadn't seen in 3 years, but we were going to one of the most epic venues in the world to see one of the most talented bands of our lifetime.  Excited was an understatement.

Our drive from Spokane took us across flat countryside, gaping gorges and dry plateaus.  We blasted new music to my ears and giggled with excitement, catching up on lost time and feeling young and free.
When we got there, we parked and pulled out our 40s.  HAHA, seriously that's exactly what we did.  The only difference from the last 40 I had?  This one was a carefully selected local brew, not my usual Coors Light from my college days.   It was warm with a cool breeze, not a cloud in the sky.  Everyone around us had the same idea.  We made friends with our neighboring tailgaters and by the time everyone started shuffling towards the front gate, we had all become best friends...(our 40s were empty.  We all had that in common.)

We danced and pranced across the green grass inside the Gorge (see photo, we had just crested the top of the hill to find this view!) and found an amazing spot to watch from the lawn. 
 It was nice and flat, perfect for dancing, which is exactly what we did for literally 6 hours straight.
The show was incredible.  For all of my fellow DMB fanatics, this was the setlist:

  1. Acoustic
  2. All Along the Watchtower
    (Bob Dylan cover) (Dave solo)
  3. Grace Is Gone
  4. Slip Slidin' Away
    (Paul Simon cover)
  5. Tripping Billies
  6. Loving Wings
  7. Rhyme & Reason
  8. Crash Into Me
  9. Typical Situation
  10. Electric
  11. The Best of What's Around
    (with The Lovely Ladies)
  12. When the World Ends
  13. Squirm
  14. Lover Lay Down
  15. Cornbread
    (with David Ryan Harris)
  16. Jimi Thing
    (with David Ryan Harris)
  17. Grey Street
  18. Steady as We Go
    (First time played since 8/6/06)
  19. Drunken Soldier
    (with The Lovely Ladies)
  20. Can't Stop
    (with The Lovely Ladies)
  21. You & Me
    (with The Lovely Ladies)
  22. Sledgehammer
    (Peter Gabriel cover) (with The Lovely Ladies)
  23. Encore:
  24. Some Devil
    (Dave Matthews song) (Dave solo)
  25. The Stone
  26. Shake Me Like a Monkey

(Cornbread!  My favorite song by Dave.  A little obsessed with it.)
Anyway, it was such an awesome experience.  Memories for a lifetime!  If you've never been to The Gorge Ampitheatre, I suggest you make plans immediately.  You will not regret it.
These photos were taken with my iPhone, not my Nikon...hence the lack in quality.

What is it about an encore that can bring you to tears?!  As we were walking out, he was playing his last song of the encore and it became quite a surreal moment.  It was dark, and I turned around and looked back at the illuminated stage, the sax blaring, glowsticks everywhere, people were dancing and cheering, the entire gorge was alive.   It was like a beating heart, pumping, loud, full.  I was smiling from ear to ear, dancing from my hair to my toes, and smiling from deep within.  This place is something special.