For Liz and Josh!

A year ago, our friends Elizabeth and Josh taught us how make tamales, which is a Christmas tradition in their family.  We spent a great evening cooking together... and made this little tutorial.  We miss you, Liz and Josh, and all of our fun Saipan cooking parties!

ps. the tamales turned out so delicious.


Our Navy Hill Compound

Brian and I love the compound that we live on in Saipan.  It is a big compound located on top of Navy Hill and we have lots of shade trees to keep us cool from the year-round Saipan heat.  There are about 7 or 8 other houses on our compound and we have American, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and local neighbors.  It's pretty unique and has been really cool getting to know our neighbors.

This is the view from a field near our house.  It looks out over Garapan, Saipan's tourist district, and onto the ocean.

Living up on a hill equals an ocean breeze, and lately we have been sleeping with our windows open and our air condition off.  It feels a little humid that way, but saves us a lot on our electricity bill (Saipan's electricity costs about twice as much as electricity in the states... we try to leave our air condition off as much as we can.)

Sam loves the land around our house where she can run around.  We have a few other dogs that roam around on the compound that she tries to play with, but they are usually "too cool" for her, and nip at her when she tries to play with them :)  Guess she'll just have to stick with her dog park buddies!


Atulai "Big Eyed Scad"

Every morning for the past few weeks the locals have been gathering at the same place near edge of the reef of Lau Lau Bay.  Just before sunrise, with their throwing nets in hand, they are ready to catch some fish.  I had heard that there was a great ball of Atulai fish that had gathered in the Bay and that some of the net fishermen were pulling in almost 100 pounds of them a day.  Typically, the Atulai spend most of their time in deep waters, but almost every year they migrate in great numbers into some of the island's shallow waters. So with speargun and underwater camera in hand, my friends and I went to see what everyone was talking about.  


Happy Thanksgiving Year 2 in Saipan!

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend!

For Thanksgiving this year, we went to our friends Laura and Joe's parent's house and enjoyed a day of food and good friends.  Helen Ann and Dave's house in in Papago, and it has a beautiful and enormous front porch, where we all ate.  It still feels a little crazy to eat a Thanksgiving turkey dinner outside with a tropical breeze blowing, but it was delicious!

One of the very best parts of Tgiving this year was our "Extreme Bocce Ball" game.  Almost everyone joined in, throwing coconuts instead of bocce balls, and using the big yard around their house for a playing field.  So much fun!!

The two big squash Brian bought for our potluck meal.

Here are some things I'm very thankful for right now:

2 good jobs in Saipan

Our small house on top of Navy Hill with the cool breeze and great view

A husband who is thoughtful, sincere, respectful, and hardworking

PLL nights with my girls!!! 

Wonderful friends who make the island feel like home

A pup named Sam who cracked us up at the dog park tonight with her doggie pals

The support and love of our families in the states- we love you

The christmas light on our porch right now

Healthy bodies

Our church in Saipan and the family of God we have there

And some tether ball to make the day complete :)


Rachel's Birthday

October 29th was my wife's birthday and has been her third birthday spent out of the country. To make this day special we spent the day doing some of her favorite things. We started off the day with a trip to her favorite coffee shop then dropped her off with her friends for a day at the spa. 


 While Rachel spent the day at the spa, Sam and I stayed home to do some cleaning at the house.   While I worked, Sam's job was to open this coconut.

My dog after a long days work.  Good work Sam!

Me and Rach at the revolving 360 restaurant for her birthday dinner.

Happy birthday my darling!


Smooshed Doggie Face

These pictures just make me crack up every time I look at them. Poor Sam!


3 Day Weekend

We really enjoyed our three day weekend in Saipan.  Ok, get ready for a LOT of pictures...

On Sunday afternoon, we had some friends up to our house for some dessert after lunch.

I was a little worried about everyone fitting into our tiny house, but our front porch was perfect for people to lounge on, and the weather was great.
 Our friends Jake and Jackie brought their two dogs, so Samantha was in heaven playing, running, and wrestling around with them all afternoon.

  We have a lot of land around our house so the guys played some frisbee on our compound.

 Jackie's baby will be here soon!!  She is the cutest pregnant lady ever!

Our house, up on Navy Hill

Taking a walk through the compound.  I love all of the shady greenery, trees, and flowers.  We also have a lot of fruit trees: avacado, papaya, banana, guava, and breadfruit.  The breadfruit are so gross when they fall off of the tree and squash on the ground!

On Monday, we headed out to Managaha and relaxed on the tiny island for 6 hours!  We snorkeled, read, napped, and snacked all day long.  A few people saw a huge barracuda in the water, which they said was about 4 feet long!  We also saw an octopus as we were heading back to the boat- they are so graceful and cool to see in the water, especially if they change colors.

Holidays are the BEST.

Lately, I've been listening to LifeChurch TV podcasts (Craig Groeschel) a lot.  I read his book, Weird, a few months ago and now I'm really into the podcasts- they're so good.

Yesterday I listened to "I Quit Comparing," and this really stood out to me:

"Comparison is the death of contentment."

It's so true and I've been thinking on that idea a lot, as I notice exactly what I compare to what others have, do, etc.  His sermons also focus a lot on knowing who you are in Christ, and I'm excited to listen more and learn more about this.  Just wanted to share!


I love these girls and we love Managaha!!  

We had such a fun three day weekend- more to come soon.


a grateful heart

Very thankful right now. I'm grateful for what God has given Brian and I, and I'm also working on consistently having an attitude of thankfulness instead of focusing on whatever annoyances or problems there may be day to day.

I'm thankful for being in Saipan right now and for the comfort and normalcy that comes from staying in a place longer than a year.  I love this little island and also love knowing what to expect after being here so long.  After traveling for two years and constantly finding ourselves in new situations, it's been so good to start off this school year with our same jobs, church, and some pretty awesome friends.

Also, I really love this guy.

I'm so proud of him and glad he's all mine.

One of my favorite pictures of Brian and I from Taiwan... swim caps were required for the public swimming pool!

 A picture from way back when in OKC

Also happy to have the very best puppy in the world!  Sam's got skills- she can do so many tricks now.

Also, CONGRATULATIONS to Brian's brother Eric and his wife, Kristy, on finding out they are having a little baby girl!  So excited to meet her and happy for them!