This time at home I was able to see so many peeps and it was so non stop that, mid way through, I completely lost my voice. But aye! No time to slow down. So here's a look back at my time at home. It's hard to keep things in order so here goes nothing...

Started off my time on the right foot with some bomb pizza from the Farmers Market and shopping at the Grove with Karin. (fyi, stores to miss when you live abroad: Sephora, Anthro, Madewell) I was also able to drive up to SB to hang out with my college roomies Abbie and Cat! That drive on the 101 is pure magic. 

Cat has a son named Ezra and he is the best little dude! It was so nice being at the beach and running in the sand with him. While Ezra was napping at Cat's mom's house, we were able to sneak out for some coffee and time to really chat. We caught up on all that has changed these last few years; Cat having Ezra and moving to AZ, Abbie getting a new job and being married to Jake, and my time living and teaching in Japan! We've come a long way since little freshmen in the college dorm together!

I loved being back on auntie duty and also spending time with Jen's family for their Christmas party! At the party we played a white elephant gift exchange game and I ended up winning an entire collection of Paulo Coelho (the author of The Alchemist) books and I had a mild bookworm-freak-out moment! Seriously, such a good gift. Unfortunately I couldn't bring them back to Japan (too heavy) but I will be spending my time reading through all of his books when I am back stateside. 

One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is reuniting with these girls - my high school sweethearts! Its crazy the things we've been through as friends...and how blessed we are to still be in eachother lives.  We've been having a Christmas party since we were in high school, and this year, like the true adults that we are, we decided to dress up in onesies. Love my hometown homies!! 

I was glad to be back on some morning walks with the kiddos. Cam and Len are so cute together.

New Years...we were like "where's Cam?" and we find him quiet as a mouse sleeping in the backroom haha.

In&Out with Cam! She just moved to NYC (check our her amazing food blog  UMAMICAMI) so it was the perfect last hang out with her to grub on some burgers. She's been my friend since we were tiny little tots and we share a similar love for all things Japan/Tokyo! 

It was great being back at GVBC for two weeks, especially to see Pastor Steve who will be retiring this year. 

Happy New Years! We actually celebrated East Coast time, which we've done the last few years, which makes everyone happy to sleep early and the kids can feel the magic of New Years Eve without knowing the real time. Also, Hunter hilariously planned his own New Years Eve sleepover at my moms house and said I was attending before asking me. He said, "I just thought it would be a fun idea" hAHA. Then he wrote thank you notes to the people who celebrated New Years with him. this kid! 

creepishly similar faces of me and my sissy (10 yrs apart, mind you)...and the best journal made by Emiko. 

Had to do some damage at Madewell. *thanks Jen Sissy

Eden is the cutest little nugget...and Hunter is growing too fast!! He loves playing outside with every ball possible.

As much as I love Tokyo and city life...I will always be a beach girl. Love this place. 

Cousin bocha time! 

I was able to spend some time with my good friend Nomes (Naomi) who made me this legit fanny pack! We grubbed on acai bowls by the beach and shared teacher stories (she teaches 6th grade)...kinda funny that we both ended up doing the same thing for work! 

My time at home wouldn't be complete without a Laker game with my dad. Loved seeing the new young crew of Lakers play and hanging out with my old man.


This is so out of order...haha...but on the days between Christmas and New Years I drove down to San Diego for a little APU reunion with some of my favorite people in the world. Let me try and introduce everyone...

L-R: Zach and Liana (married. live in SD), Marty and Natijane (married. parents to Judah Mae. live in SD), Anneke and Jeremy (engaged. live in Chicago), Eddie and Natty (dating. live in Napa), Megan and James (married. live in Azusa)....phew!! I lived with all these girls senior year of college so it was a treat being back under the same roof as them and hanging with their guys too! so. much. love.

two necessary items while in SD...INCREDIBLE ACAI BOWLS + CALIFORNIA BURRITOS. I could cry.

These are my people RIGHT HERE! Gosh, I can't even begin to explain what a blessing these women have been in my life. They are the perfect balance of wisdom, patience, gracefulness, strength, humor and pure joy! I am a better person because of these ladies. Blessed. 

Two days in SD was so wonderful. We spent most of the time playing with baby Judah and just chillin out. Thank you Lord!

Back in night I was able to meet up with my yonsei basketball sisters Steph, Akemi, Lynz and Alysa! We all met when we were kids and have kept a really strong bond since then. Akemi lives in PA now, Alysa has been in Hawaii the last few years and I'm in Japan... so every time we happen to all be back at home it really feels like a treat. I love these girls! 

Spent plenty of good time with Russ + Jen + the boys + Kac! We were all in Vietnam together last Christmas which doesn't feel that long ago -  it's crazy how fast 2016 flew by. 

HAD TO EAT CHICK-FIL-A. This is straight up the most perfect lunch meal...nuggets, fries, and a frozen coffee. OH MAN. Also blessed to have spent some time with my sista-friend Lexi! The last time I was home was for her wedding! So it was rad seeing her again and catching up on her married life.

A flower for my grandpa. Love you forever gramps. 

And lastly...I took this photo on my last night at home. My grandma lives with us now and before she went to bed I grabbed her hand and gave her a hug. She held it tight for a moment and just smiled at me. I was thankful to have spent this precious time at home. Distance really does make the heart grow fonder!