Rural Washington

One of the many things that we missed about America was the wide open spaces. 
Yesterday we went on a country drive through fields of golden hay. 

Here's what a Mama does when we drive past a cow field for the first time in 3 years. 
PULL OVER!!  Luke needs to see a real cow, up close...

 What you can't hear is Luke and I Mooing as loud as we can!
 This is such a beautiful road.  When Adam puts his motorcycle back together, we are going joy riding here!!
 Pretty skies

Aaaaahhh..such a pleasure to see as far as the horizon and not see one house, road, telephone and electrical line or other man made contraption.


Yoshi Hachi, Okinawan food and Health

One of our favorite places to eat in Okinawa was Yoshi's.
A traditional sushi joint with the most delicious and fresh sushi EVER!
We have officially become sushi snobs.  Since moving to Japan, I realize we will never have sushi like that again.  And at the cheap prices that we are used to!
However, when we first got to Japan, we were so excited about the food!  I mean...Asian food is a favorite!  But we quickly realized that our expectations were WAY off.  Of course, the sushi was the best thing in terms of a traditional Japanese dish;  But there were a lot of things that we just couldn't get into.

 Take off your shoes when you get in, and sit on the tatami mats on the floor!

Soba noodles, Udon, Yakinuki (although we did like Yakitori)...there were many strange brothy soups.  One in particular, which I'm not sure of the name...with a true pig's food floating in it.  No thank you!!!!  They love their pork.

But the people of the Ryukyu Islands have the highest life expectancy than anyone in the world!  Why?!
For one...the average American serving size is about triple what we would get in Okinawa.  They eat very little carbs and processed foods.  In fact, many toxic ingredients and pesticides that we find in various processed foods in the US are banned in Japan.  This was a comfort when shopping at the local markets because I usually had NO IDEA what I was getting!  haha! 
Also, we would see some old ass people just doing their thing in town...walking/hobbling around or riding around on these little motorized carts, even riding bicycles or scooters.  They are very active and it continues into their old age.
Another thing and probably the most important part of their health, which they take very seriously...is maintaining a calm, positive mind. In all aspects of life.  Before work everyday the employees will stretch, yoga and meditate before beginning their work day.  When a woman becomes pregnant, she stops doing anything with any amount of stress and focuses entirely on the health of not only her body, but also her mind.

A few months after we arrived on Okinawa, I was leaving a store (it was on base, but there were many Japanese locals who worked on Kadena), and this kind Japanese lady was at the cash register.  In front of me was a woman with a tiny baby...the woman was ooh-ing and aaaah-ing at the baby.  Ironically, that very day I had found out that we were pregnant with little Luke, our first baby.
So I got up to the register, and the lady commented to me about how precious babies were (in her broken English.)
I was too excited to hold back, and told her that I had just found out I was pregnant.  Her eyes filled with tears, she literally walked around the counter and held my shoulders and told me 'Oh, you going to be good mommy.  If you happy, the baby happy.  Love is in you.'
OHMYGOD...I'm pretty sure I was changed. And my respect for the Japanese people and their cultural difference shifted.  It brought to my attention how they approach life and how different it is from myself and anyone else I know.  Over the next 3 years, many of these moments presented themselves...I feel so full that I was able to see and learn first hand from such a truly wonderful culture.

Conversations with a 2 year old

My son Luke has certainly found his voice.
He is a chatterbox and usually cracks us up with the things he comes up with.
It's in his honor that I start 'Convos with my 2 year old'  and share some of the ridiculous things he says...He is learning as he goes and it's so fun to watch!

This morning:

Luke:  'What you doing Mommy?'
Me: 'Changing your brother's diaper.'
Luke: 'Oooh.  Wow.  That looks like hard work.'

Yesterday while discussing Halloween costumes...

Luke:  ' I going to be Superman.  I going to be Batman.  I going to be a monster.  I want to be a princess. I want to be a giraffey.  I want to be Mickey Mouse.  I want to be a polar bear.  I going to be a lion and say Rooooaaarrr'
Me:  'What should I be for Halloween?'
Luke:  'You going to be Superman.  Then I going to be Batman and Superman.'

Got it.


Seawall stories

Along the East China Sea was a long, paved pathway called the Sea Wall.  A great place for running, biking, strolling, scuba diving was also popular there and there were restaurants scattered around the densely packed neighborhoods.

These photos are a culmination of trips to the seawall during our three years there.  I love the golden hues of these photos because the seawall is where we always went for the most beautiful sunsets on island.
These photos tell a story...
I don't know these two, but they really epitomize Okinawa.

Fireworks on the beach for one of their Japanese holidays.  So cool!!!
These sunsets are burned into my memory.  I love this photo...check out the 3 rain storms over the ocean!

Looking back

If you look back a few posts, you will see how our journey became very infant oriented...obviously so did our lives. 
I will post some of the highlights of life with a baby in Japan as a military family.
Looking back is surreal.  What an adventure we had!!!

First of all...check out this snail in Okinawa.  The snails there were so huge and apparently poisonous.  We wouldn't let our dog go near them.

Here's a photo I took while testing out my new Nikon D7000 camera.  As a birthday gift last year, I was able to add a 50mm lens to my arsenal.  Look at the detail!

 This was a hike we went on testing out this backpack carrier.  I am so in love with this photo of Adam and Luke.  I want to blow it up and frame it.  Same expression?!
 Every hike that we went on in Oki was full of curvy tree roots, big leaves and palms, heavy canopies.


How do you like the new header?  Can you spot the hidden creature in the picture?  I like it...it was recently taken while on a canoe trip on the Little Spokane river.  Just before we put the boat in the water, I looked up and saw this beautiful plant being illuminated by the sun.  I didn't realize until we were back at home looking at the photos...there was a little creature that decided to make his photographic debut.  Pretty fun find!
 So...I'm back!
Let’s play CATCHUP!
(This reminds me of a funny joke…name that movie. 
"Three tomatoes are walking down the street- a Papa tomato, a Mama tomato, and a little Baby tomato. Baby tomato starts lagging behind. Papa tomato gets angry, goes over to the Baby tomato, and smooshes him... and says, catch up!")

Ok, what was I saying…Yes, we need to catch up.

It’s been awhile!  My last post was 11.13.2012…that is almost 2 years.
So much has happened since then.

I fell off the blog wagon because I started a family.  Also, my space was full on blogspot and I wasn’t sure if my content would be worthy of paying for the website.
Well,  I came to a conclusion recently…someone might possibly be interested in my musings, photography, family, military life, travel, art, dreams and future plans, pretty stuff I find on the interwebs,…among all the other things you might read here.
I look at all of the photos that I’ve taken since then and realize I now have a ton of content.  So I decided to start churning out the old blog again.  Brush away the dust and cobwebs.  Put on a clean pair of slacks.  Detangle these memories a little bit and get chronological.
Hopefully  someone can take something from it…These blogs will usually be written while the kids are asleep or I can get a spare moment of peace.
I will start posting about 3 times per week.
 If you’ve never read my blog before…I encourage you to go back and see the dreamy life I had before my even dreamier life now.  Since you don’t really know me yet, I should warn you…I’m quite happy.  So if you’re not happy, maybe you can relate to something here, and it brightens your day.  If you are happy, then we’ll get along fantastically.

I have 2 sons.
Latest introduction:

We recently moved from the beautiful island of Okinawa, Japan to Spokane, Washington.

We are a military family...for now.  We have big decisions ahead of us and we can't wait to see what will happen...We are only in Spokane until mid 2015.  After that...who knows!?!
It's been crazy coming from a very hot, humid, subtropical climate to a very dry and cold climate (6 month winters...We just experienced below 40deg temps for the first time in 3 years!)  But we are adjusting.  We love it here...surrounded by natural beauty and we still have a lot more exploring to do!

Read along.  Enjoy and share!!

Sarah Fillman
Lens Mission Blog