Saturday Sights: Churaumi Aquarium


A few people asked for more photos from out trip to the aquarium. Here they are and as you can see it sits on land with a view. It’s quite the peaceful experience.



Wholesome Wednesday: Living Room Reveal & Transformation



Y’all, we couldn’t help ourselves! Christmas decorations are up and making our spirits even brighter. I realized that we transformed our living room before we even revealed the original space.  Are you thankful or what?! I just happend to photographically document just about  everything. This was one of the requests we received from a few of our readers! If we could post more photos. Of course, and here they are!

Of course, the year that Jake and I decide to get a real tree for Christmas becomes the year that we don’t have a tree at all. We gave away our fake tree before moving here and we don’t want to buy another one at the crazy prices here. Yes, we could order online but that just doesn’t feel the same so we decided to forgo the christmas tree while stationed here. I know it’s so sad and if I was with you I would be handing you some kleenex. I also was in tears with our daughter Lyianna when neighbors broke the news. Japan doesn’t have Christmas trees nor is America able to ship real ones over here for our military communities. They used to from what I heard but due to pests live trees are no longer allowed through customs.

Let your tears be turned to laughter and joy with this new custom of a stocking Christmas tree! Jake and I did a quick one hour make over of our home during the girls nap time last weekend. We decided to get creative and utilize what decor we did bring. We are only here in Japan temporarily so this seemed perfect and we officially have a tree! The girls apparently didn’t actually sleep so instead of going upstairs to enforce the nap we brought them downstairs to surprise them.

Can can you all just imagine how surprised a two and six-year-old were when we told them this was our tree?




Wholesome Wednesday: Learning Studio




Chalkboard: Hobby Lobby | Metal Baskets: Hobby Lobby | Rug: Hobby Lobby | Metal Shelves: Ikea | Table & Stools: Ikea | Paper Stool: Ikea | Black Baskets: Exchange 

Hello y’all. I posted a photo on Facebook with the girls playing school in their learning “studio” and received a few messages requesting to see the room. Of course, people asked where I got some of the stuff and if I had pictures of the process. Yes, I do! I also added the info to where we got our pieces from in the last photo caption for you. You’re so very welcome!

This little space was a necessity for Jacob and I. We actually did not have this in our previous home and it is all brand new. We took about a year deciding what we do with a space for the girls. We didn’t want another play space. We have nothing against a playroom or play area. We had one for years. In the last move however our girls lost an interest for toys. They began taking interest in other things to occupy time with. So we began the slow pre-move purge. We gave away all of their toys away except their American Girls stuff. You could say the American Girl stage began for us. It really instilled a different kind of play and learning.

Lyianna began only wanting to play with these dolls and read the books. During this time she really started concentrating on reading more than anything else. In reading so much she began to accelerate her love of learning. She began playing school all of the time and asked for a classroom in the next home. We also had a good friends, the Pelayos, who had a homeschool room that she loved and asked to use as inspiration. We started with the table as a focal point. She needed to be able to do homework, art and play with her dolls. We did an Ikea haul before leaving Texas and during that shopping spree Jacob chose this table. He loved that it came with stools opposed to chairs and that they were adjustable. It is perfect for the girls as they grow over the years. So this room is inspired from her love of art, learning and the Pelayos family.

I can’t tell you enough how much these girls love this room. They color in their coloring books, do homework, we practice spelling tests, play school, Jacob leaves daily notes to Lyianna and the latest is Origami creations on this table. As you can see from the photos it is also a space that can easily be altered with subtle decor changes. I love that I can bring it to life with each season. The rug is my favorite part of it. It’s a bible verse!

Do you have a space you love watching your kids be kids in? Share with me!



Tuesday Thoughts: Together


Lyianna recently realized that her favorite t-shirt didn’t fit anymore. This was not only saddening for her but us too. It’s a reminder of how quickly our children grow. Lyianna is six and a half now but has been wearing this t-shirt since she was three years old. That’s how slow I thought time was going. Boy was I off! It really does feel like just yesterday we rushed out to buy this TCU top for college spirit day. It feels like only weeks ago she was begging to wear this everyday because she was tired of wearing a uniform. She thought it would be better to wear this shirt to make her kindergarten teacher happy. See her teacher was alumni. This shirt sure made this girl happy and proud. Wearing it even gave her a small sense of belonging especially when she missed home.

With moving to Japan we have had to restart the process of finding and adjusting to wear we belong. It is hard some days and easier others. On the hard days we miss our people, doing life with them, and being comfortable. On the easier days we just enjoy being together. Most of our time together however is just staying home. Which got us thinking that we really need to get out more to explore and make experiences since our time here will go faster than it feels. We get asked often how we could be prayed for and helped through this journey and so we wanted to respond to this support. Our response is more of a question actually.

Will you do this with us?  That is how we wanted to answer. We have received a few requests to blog about certain experiences and take pictures of certain sites. This was motivating! We have a couple of friends who are even making lists of what they want us to go experience, photograph and write about for them. They think they may never have the chance to visit and so this was a way for them to get a close up experience. By the way they seem to know about things we have never heard of or knew about. Because of this we are forced to research and plan adventures. It is causing us to get to know our new “home” in a creative way. It’s fun and in a way still doing life together.

A friend recently shared a blog post that was about togetherness. Which is what I personally miss most and this verse was perfect for today and our request for a unique togetherness.

Hebrews 10:24-25

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another- and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”




P.S. What happens to the TCU t-shirt now ? It got passed down to Camrielle!


Mini Me Monday: Purple Plaid & Waffles


Dresses: Nordstrom Rack


Good morning from Japan! Good evening and afternoon too.  I see that we have readers in different times zones all over the world! Thank you so much for reading and following us!  Last Monday’s momentum was a little quicker than today’s. I stayed up late going to church back home. This was online of course. So I’m a little tired and slow today. I had to force myself out of the house because I promised to answer some of y’alls questions.

I received so many questions about the previous waffle post and thought I would take the time to answer those who asked. I’m actually writing to you all from the little Japanese waffle shop we blogged about last month. Unfortunately, I am not enjoying their delicious waffles this morning because I opted for their delicious Spinach Egg Benedict instead. I thought about giving into the delicious temptation though!

First, I was asked if I should be eating the waffles. When I read this I had so much love because y”all are keeping me accountable to my autoimmune protocol diet. Thank you! However, I totally should not have eaten them. I did get a tiny bit sick and I definitely learned my lesson. I do not regret the experience though. I was also asked if this is why I didn’t write about the waffles. I laughed so hard. No, the answer is no. I left the post blank because in the moment I felt the pictures spoke for themselves, lol. Apparently not! Just so you know I did go back and write about the experience a few days later. You can read the updated post here.

Second, I was asked if I had any Instagram videos of my experience. I think I do I basically do take photos and videos for our girls to watch later in life. I just don’t post immediately or even same day as to not be on my phone as much. I am very intentional about being in the moment with my family when we are together. I will look for the videos and more pics to post on Insta stories!

Third, I was asked if I had taken photos of us together in our matching outfits. Come on, you know I did! Can you see how much the girls are growing in their confidence? They do all their own poses without instruction. I was also asked where I got the girls dresses. I captioned that in the last photo above. I actually do this 99% of the time with clothes! Sometimes I do provide the link to shop directly for that item!

I actually love getting questions because it makes this so much more fun! Please keep them coming! Y’all have actually asked so many about this and other posts that you have inspired a Q&A post, would you like that?



Wholesome Wednesday: HAPPY 10th Halloween








I can’t believe another Halloween has come and gone! Another year has come and gone. Tonight marked ten years since Jacob and I met. I’m not sure if I have ever blogged about our love story but maybe one year I will but until then just know our love story began on a Halloween. On this day we celebrate each other more than the scary, frightful and trick or treating. God bringing us together on such a crazy night is what we truly celebrate and love to look back on. Thankfully I have photographic documentation too! Can I share with y’all again how much happiness we create each year with this simple tradition of dressing up in costumes?

Last year I shared tips on DIY costumes and saving money on purchased costumes, you can read that post here. This year I just want to share a few photos of our family evolving since Halloween 2009. I happened to find most original photos except a couple. The photo from 2009 was taken on a camera with actual film so the original is still in my scrapbook. I took a photo of the scrapbook photo for you though. Jacob was gone for Halloween 2010, 2011 and 2013 so we don’t have those. The only other missing photo is from 2015 which is on our old desk top. That computer is currently in storage back in the states, bummer. I hope you enjoy what we do have and posted above. Reminiscing in our memories brings so much happiness. Enjoy!

Happy Halloween,


Tuesday Thoughts: Trick or Treat



Ding dong! Someone answers their door and you scream, “Trick or treat!” It was exciting as a kid! Wasn’t it? It’s even more exciting to watch your own children do it. I have to admit celebrating Halloween this way was actually pretty fun as a child. I don’t remember enjoying dressing up as much as I did collecting can. My sister and I worked so hard to collect as much candy as possible. Today, in adult and parenthood the joys have reversed. I love dressing up more than collecting the candy. In fact, I try to avoid candy as much as possible. So, is it possible to remove the absurd amount of candy without taking away our children’s joy??

Yes, it is possible and quite easy. Don’t take them trick or treating! Just boycott Halloween.  I am just kidding y’all! Take a deep breath, I’m not that parent, I promise. Instead my view is quite the opposite. We’re allowing the girls to collect as much candy as they want or can during the different events we attend in October. This will include tonight’s trick or treating. We will trick or treat first then tend to the doorbell. Once they choose a few pieces to keep for themselves to enjoy they will dump the rest into our “Halloween” bucket. Yes, you are reading this correctly! We are recycling our collected candy for the trick or treaters on Halloween! Don’t worry because we made it a teachable but fun tradition for the girls. And it saved us a little bit of money! You can see we have already got started in the photos …

How do you like that for control management?!



Momentum Mondays: MariCar



Oh Mondays. Mondays can have such negative stigma can’t they? Not mine, not anymore! I have decided that Mondays will be my day. In going from zero to sixty since our arrival here in Japan we have finally and intentionally slowed down our pace. I personally needed to begin taking back a little time for myself, for my well-being and rejuvenation. It’s a little reminiscent as to why I began this blog in the first place and it has the name it does. I took back one day a week where I traded my humidified messy bun with baby blow out stained clothes for curls, a dress and makeup. Oh how Sundays have become one my favorite days and now I’m looking forward to Mondays too.

Mondays for me have typically been a day that lacked momentum. It comes right after a weekend in which we spend time together as a family. Sometimes that time is spent being lazy at home and other times it’s being out and about in the world. Non the less by Monday I’m drained, lol. I go hard all week and weekend being there for my husband, my girls. You moms know! By the time we have time for ourselves (which is usually at the end of a week or day) we are too exhausted to do anything! Yeah girl, I heard that amen! Our role as mothers are so hard yet so much more rewarding. As much of a reward it is to no longer have an audience every time I go to the restroom I want an even more triumphant reward, time. I have found no better reward than to give myself a little more momentum by carving out a little time at the beginning of the week for myself. Mondays for me, myself, and I. This Monday I actually made a little time for me myself and Mario! ‘

I signed up for this regiment spouses social event months ago. I figured it was a good start in getting to know the work family and in the meantime do something new. You think in that time I would have researched exactly what this was going to entale but I didn’t. Instead I waited until last night to only research what I should wear. No judgments please as I legitimately wanted to know if I needed to wear closed toe shoes, which I did! I assumed like many of you reading the title that this would just be an ordinary go-cart race track in which we raced each other around on. I definitely assumed the uniqueness was just dressing up as Mario Cart characters.

Oh no, it was so much more!!! Once I started receiving notifications from the other women about needing my license and passport I started getting nervous! Then on the carpool ride I found out we were driving around in these go carts ( dressed up as Mario Cart characters) in the streets! Yes, you read that right! We drove around in the streets of the island’s biggest city! This is not something that would ever fly in America and so I am super grateful for the opportunity to have experience this and with the women I did! They were so full of life and joy bringing making me feel right at home. For one whole hour I even felt like a teenager again! I may have even been a little more of a rebellious teenager in the last ten minutes with breaking a coupe rules by videoing some moments and then finally zooming past everyone so I could finish in “first” because to my surprise it was not a race at all. It was simply speeding around town in a hilarious costume and laughing the whole time.

I hope you are encouraged to get out there, take back a little time for yourself and do something new.

Enjoy the photos and if you are curious about those rebel videos I took then check out my Instagram stories!



Fatherhood Friday: Finding Dory

Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium


My sense of direction has not always been the best, and I am thrilled to witness that our daughters take after their mother as they grow up.  “You missed the turn back there, Dad!”  Kids! What a constant source of wonder.

Back when we were in Miami, I remember taking Lyianna as a small toddler to PetSmart to look at the animals there.  Due to the infamous congested traffic of South Miami, a trip to a Target for diapers would be at least a 45 minute affair.

I would joke to Lyianna that I was “taking her to the aquarium” as we took our time in the nicely air conditioned store.  I was a Resident at the time, and my time off was far and few in between.

Lyianna’s eyes would light up as we looked at the Beta Fish and then clown fish, “Nemo, Daddy!”  A simple trip to the pet store was such a treat to her. “We will certainly do more together when I finally have a better schedule,” I remember reassuring myself.

Fast forward a few years, and now we are a family of four and living clear across the world.  Our youngest daughter Camrielle now adores the sequel of Finding Nemo. When Danica and I found out that Okinawa had one of the largest aquariums in the world, I knew we had to go check it out.

We surprised the girls with a ‘Finding Nemo and Dory’ adventure to Okinawa’s Churaumi Aquarium. It was amazing!  The facilities were very grand, orderly, and majestic. We felt like tourists as everything was announced in Japanese.

As a gigantic whale shark glided past the glass displays, Lyianna commented “They’re fish here seem happier, don’t they Daddy?”  And Camrielle had that wide-eyed look of glee on her face as a shark swam above us through a clear tunnel.

I have to remind myself that life’s moments are constantly happening now, in the present.  With Danica, I am trying to plant seeds with our daughters so that they won’t lose their sense of wonder…. and also to always be able to find their way home.

Point your kids in the right direction—
    when they’re old they won’t be lost.

Proverbs 22:6, The Message








Wholesome Wednesday: Be Our Guest

White Frames: Walmart | Bed, Duvet, Nightstand, Curtains & Rug: Ikea | Chairs: Amazon | Scalloped Stand: Navy Exchange | Small Frames, Vase & Clock: Home Goods | Anchor Laundry tote: TJ MAXX | Gold Tray & Blue Pillows: Dirt Cheap | Map: Hobby Lobby


In the midst of still adjusting to our life and new routine here in Japan I have finally been graced with a little time to myself. I’m currently in the northern part of Okinawa island sitting in a little cafe. I am sipping on fresh squeezed pineapple juice while overlooking the Pacific Ocean and thinking of home, you my family and friends. Oh I really miss you … (So just as I was about to put a period at the end of this sentence I received a FaceTime call on my lap top! From my youth girls in Texas! Wo, God!)

Then it dawned on me, I haven’t really updated you in a while! Since we’re all missing home and y’all I figured I’d continue where I left off in our home reveal series. Today I’m welcoming you into our guest room. This is the first room we set up because we want to be prepared for visitors as soon as possible. Sadly, this may be the first place we are visited less frequently since it is the furthest we have been stationed. Non the less, we are ready for you!

The nautical theme of this room is inspired from our love of the sea. Jacob and I both were born and raised in California near the ocean. I prefer to just listen to and stare at it while Jacob loves to swim, snorkel, dive and sail it. We have incorporated our love into this space by working with the textures of rope and metal, focused on the primary color blue and use photos I’ve taken over the years of difference ocean settings. Well, I’m actually just getting around to placing photos in all of our empty frames, lol. Dependent on who visits we trade out a few photos of the sea with photos of whoever is visiting. We love being intentional about this as to make it more homelike for the guest.

We also love the nautical theme in our guest room for its neutrality.  I have a wonderful husband who enjoys being apart of the decorating process. So from the beginning of our marriage I have had the joyful the challenge of finding and keeping the balance between the feminine and masculine touch. One of our favorite pieces was the world map. It’s a popular one I believe and so to make it unique to us we are placing gold pins to mark everywhere we have lived. The color and texture of this map really brought out and tied together our connection with sea, travel and our appreciation for even handedness.

Neutral tones are the way to go. Especially, for us military (or anyone else who moves often) families always moving. We are often restricted with finances, size, and finances. So this works great with constant change and white walls. Incorporating clear furniture is another great “trick” to make a small space seem breathable. Overall this room is open, light, airy, relaxing and even a man can appreciate it. In fact, a few neighbor’s husbands have complimented the room. I have to admit when a man appreciates our taste it almost makes me more proud than when a woman admires it! Women just know how to meet you at your level of excitement though.

It sure was exciting when Jacob joined the Navy and has since been moving us around the world trading one ocean for another. It has made this interior design even more fitting.

We hope you soon you will experience our seafaring love of a room,

Until then, God bless you!



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