30 November 2014


November was the busiest month of the year over here. We had a shift in work schedules, a chock full calendar, and a baby who was sick for the very first time. We shared an incredible Thanksgiving meal with our friends here in Japan. And we were lucky to have my parents under our roof the next day for the most delicious second feast, featuring the tastiest Apple Sausage Sourdough Stuffing. Anabel was in heaven having her Grandma and Papa in town, and she still requests to see them every day. We adventured to Mount Fuji and to Tokyo Disneyland. We drank spring water that began at the top of the Mount as snow and spent 80 years melting and traveling to the very bottom to 8 different springs. We met Mickey Mouse and ate too many buckets of curry, and honey, and caramel flavored popcorn. We stood under rows of trees with golden leaves, and shuffled our feet in piles of gold beneath them. I took our family photos, and we were able to order and get our Christmas cards -that doubled as ornaments!- in the mail on time for the first year in...well, ever, I dare say. (We chose to go with Tiny Prints this year!) Our house is now quieting down, and the sickness has been chased away with our trusty oils and humidifier. The holiday season is now in full swing. A tiny wreath hangs on our condo door. Icicle lights dangle above our balcony. A tree that is mostly half-decorated, due to a very helpful toddler running around, illuminates our living room. And just the palpable happiness that sits heavy in the air this time of year is all around us. This country is lit up everywhere you look, and the best Christmas soundtrack plays nearly everywhere you go. November was chaotic and busy and beautiful in its own strange way. I have no doubt December, and even the New Year to come will follow suit.

20 November 2014

Mount Mitake

One of the greatest parts about calling this part of the world home is being able to see every one of the four seasons come to life. In the spring we get to see the cherry trees blossom nearly everywhere, the pink petals falling all around like a snow glob. In the summer, everything is vibrant, green, and alive. In the winter, though the leaves have fallen, and the flowers are few, the snow that blankets the empty trees and streets is so, so beautiful. And Autumn, well, you see. Vibrant golds and reds, the brisk air, and the crunching beneath our feet as we walk.

I love this part of Japan because just outside the concrete jungle, are mountains, hills, and gorges that stretch all around us. They are forested with the most incredible trees. Mount Mitake is among these mountains and is just a short drive from our house. This is one of our favorite places to hike.

We take the cable car up about 800 meters, and then continue to hike up to the summit. I especially love this hike because there is a small village and shrine that you walk through to get to the top. It is just amazing to me that these sweet people have made their homes or their businesses all the way up there. There are even various farms along the hike that harvest massive fruits and vegetables. What they do harvest, they place out in front of their homes or shops and place a piggy bank next to them, using the honor system to sell the food they have grown. That simple living is so interesting to me. Apparently, Mount Mitake has been catering to pilgrims and serving as a center of mountain worship for almost 2000 years!

We visited Mitake in the summertime this year, but this recent trip was something else, for obvious reasons. We strapped a sleepy Anabel on our backs in the Ergo Baby Performance carrier (so comfortable!) and she was so unbelievably happy to be there while we walked up and up. She made it her mission to carry every leaf Steven gave her with care, for as long as she could manage. And I could tell she was pleased by the way she kept hugging into us and kissing our backs with a big "OPA!" The fresh air was good for all of us, I think. And nursing her once we had reached the summit, overlooking the orange and reds of the peaks and valleys of Tokyo city, well, that's something I will never forget.

The day was perfect. The weather was just warm enough and just cool enough, the view was unreal, our girl was happy, and the whole ordeal felt like a real date for me and my guy. These are the days that I live for.

This post was sponsored by Ergo Baby
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