Welcome back…to myself (Part 2)

Welcome back…to myself (Part 2)

In case this is your first visit, this is a follow up to Part 1 wherein we explored Summer & Autumn in the Osbornes’ life.
“It was thrilling, informative & just the right amount of funny.” -Real Life Reviewer
“10 out of 10. Would recommend to a friend.” -Another Completely Real Life Reviewer
“There were too many photos…” -A More Honest Real Life Reviewer


w    i    n    t    e    r
(the one where they didn’t change costumes for the shoot & you started to notice)

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Winter in Alabama is actually exactly what you would expect from winter. There was even a small amount of snow! About the same amount as is pictured in the above Winter episode poster. And our faces were about the same as well…it’s just that WE WORE JACKETS.

Anyway, I spent most of my pre-Christmas winter directing a sweet Christmas show down at Southern Broadway called The Christmas Gift. It’s a period piece about a Massachusetts orphanage at the end of WWI. It had all the sweetness & nostalgia of a classic story, with a clever twist at the end. It was my inaugural directing venture & it was a delightful challenge. The cast was cooperative & talented & the company directors & writer were exceedingly kind to allow me the reins of their art. I learned so much about directing, storytelling & the magic of theatre from a different perspective. Plus, I got to teach Zip Zap Zop to a whole new group of kids, so that alone was worth it all.
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We spent a good deal of time with GA family during this time as well (which I know is technically Autumn, but I kinda forgot to add these photos because PREGNANCY).

Also, my sister, Mary Lou & I are BOTH pregnant & it’s just the cutest sister thing I’ve ever done. Isn’t she ADORABLE?? These were all taken over Thanksgiving weekend which as you can tell was an absolute blast. Being close to family takes the edge off of all the amazing friends, sites & events we miss about Japan. Isn’t it just the best problem to have so many blessings scattered ’round the world? It makes me think of Pooh Bear:

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SIDEBAR THAT I ASK YOU TO FORGIVE ON ACCOUNT OF ME BEING THE *MOST* PREGNANT: We’re staying at my folks’ place while we finish waiting for Baby Oz & I found our copy of the Winnie the Pooh treasury & we’ve been reading aloud from it each night to Skye & I just cannot wait to share it & all the other treasures known as books with my little family as we learn how to be brave, honest & kind by reading stories about characters who are all those things & more. One of my favorite things is watching Skye sit down with a book & “read” it to herself out loud because, if nothing else, I am doing one thing right if she thinks that’s fun. Praise the Lord, who chose stories to share His love for the world & continues to lead us in ours as we enjoy the beauty of all the rest. END OF SIDEBAR. LOVE, THE TEARY PREGNANT LADY IN THE BACK.

After the show closed, we spent our Christmas break down in sunny Florida where we got to catch up with so many sweet friends & family members & enjoy being warm over the holidays.

Then it was back to normal life in Alabama, taking the pup & babe for evening walks, doing all the research on having a biological baby & reading the #1 best book on it that I’ve found: Holy Labor.

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P.S. When we pack up & travel it always looks like this, whether it’s for a day or a month:IMG_6324I literally love it.

Also, guys, I know this is a lot of photos…it’s just there are SO MANY GOOD ONES. But not too many becasue that’s not a thing *cough* looking at you, honest reviewer *cough*

Yes, that’s our daughter in the freezer (she loves ice) & yes, that’s her in a box (she loves squares) & yes, that’s her hanging from a pull-up bar (she loves muscles). Just a little glimpse into our everyday. hope you’ve enjoyed:)


s    p    r    i    n    g
(the one where Rory has never handled live flowers before AKA the worst one yet)

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Spring has been a season of waiting for the Osbornes. Oakie finished up the first half of his flight school & is waiting for a SERE slot (look it up if you’re interested enough to ask) which will happen after the baby comes. We’re waiting FOR the baby to come. And after all that, we’ll be waiting to find out what airframe Oakie will fly which will largely determine where in the world we move to as a fledgling family of four come the end of this year.

If you travelled with us through our season of adoption in the last almost 2 years (whaaaa????), you know that we’re familiar with waiting. It’s become a rhythm of our lives as we journey through. Waiting has produced patience, patience perseverance & perseverance the strength to find joy along the way. Our waiting muscles are strong & we are soaking up every moment of this waiting, knowing that sooner or later, all things come to pass & you find yourself looking around the next bend. Life doesn’t happen around the next bend, friends. It happens while you’re waiting. It’s not a new thought, but it’s a challenging practice. Maybe someone needs to hear that.

Here are a few ways we’ve spent our season of spring…and waiting:

First of all, looking at photos of this sweet babe. I am so excited to nuzzle that little nose, mouth, chin combo! (Oakie thinks these are a little creepy; if you share that sentiment, I’m sincerely sorry to subject you to it.)

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Next, a short series I’ve titled Skye in Containers:

We’ve also been spending a lot of time in our sweet backyard snapping all the candids & selfies because the photos only snag a glimpse of the magic & I like to frame as much magic as my walls can hold.

We’ve also been exploring pigtails, motorcycle gear & our Sunday best trying to find Skye’s aesthetic. I vote all three.

Lastly, we made the move to Columbus to have Baby Oz in my hometown. My sister, Theresa, threw Mary Lou & me the baby shower of the century:

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We celebrated Oakie’s March birthday in his favorite way: just the three (four) of us sharing a picnic in the middle of nowhere & eating out together at Cracker Barrel. #classyand29

Since then, we’ve been enjoying the sunny countdown days to Baby Oz (which they tell me will have to be by Saturday/early Sunday morning at the latest)! Next time you hear from me, we’ll have a tiny babe to add to this Mowgli Baby & her best friend, Remy.

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Until then,

love from the osbornes

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Happy Birthday, Little Bear!

Happy Birthday, Little Bear!

Today, this growly, grinning girl turns one! Sometimes, I actually think someone formed a conspiracy to skip a month or two in there somewhere because it can’t literally have been an entire calendar year since this baby came into the world. But they assure me it has & all mamas feel this way. I guess I’m a card-carrying member of the Time Flies Club now (our mascot is a fly; I’m campaigning to get it at least to be animated, but they said I’m new here so just hush).

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Yes, we let her stand on the chair. She has killer balance. & it’s her birthday.

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We celebrated with this family. The Todds.
The family that made it all happen.
The family that made the phonecall & made us parents.
We wouldn’t be here without this family. God bless them. We love y’all.

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Doesn’t she looks just SO happy about her birthday? I promise she was…

Although the delays have caused more waiting then my heart was prepared for, I feel it’s appropriate that she celebrate her first year here in Japan. How many birthdays will she get to have just a few miles down the road from where she was born? (For all I know, it could be tons, but just let me have this…)

As we approach this milestone, my heart is rent in two as I try to hold all of the feelings inside; feelings of joy & accomplishment, excitement & pride in all that she has become & will grow to be, but also the weight of what this day means for another sweet couple who remember this day a little differently…a lot differently. This is the other side of adoption. The side we don’t show to the cameras. The side we don’t talk about. Even now, I hesitate to relate the thoughts that take up space in my mind as I work through the complex emotions of this anniversary. There’s another family who is processing the reverse of these complex emotions; grief at the loss their family has experienced; joy at the outcome of their love-led decision: the best thing for this baby girl. The weight of their sacrifice will be borne through their years, just as it will through ours. We will always be commemorating this day in tandem. A parental parallel held loosely in life, but bound by the strongest cords of love.

How does one even begin to behold such magnitude? I find myself saying with Paul, “And who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Corinthians 2:14) When he penned those words, he was talking about a different kind of love…or maybe the same kind of love?  He was saying that our lives spent spreading the knowledge of Jesus are a Christ-like aroma fragrant to those who are being saved, but quite a different aroma to those who are being lost. To some, the way we live Christ-like lives will seem attractive & full of light, but to others it will seem senseless, naïve or worse.

I’ve seen a little of what he means just in this past year. Some reactions are full of delight & wonder at the story of God’s providence in our family’s lives. Others are critical, skeptical, insensitive; unmoved by the weight of the decision made by both families. And who is sufficient for such things? The answer, as you might have already guessed, is: Not me. Not Oakie. Not us. We stand here by the grace of God alone.  He has softened my heart with an empathy I’ve never before known; He has worked out in us a patience we could never have manufactured; He has led us graciously & slowly, giving us only each day as it comes, requiring of us a soul-deep trust in His goodness & faithfulness. And I feel certain, He has been walking another family through a similar faith-journey.

In the end, I see in our story an echo of The Story. Another Father who lost His child so that we could experience a love we had never known. Another Child who lost His Father so we would never be Fatherless. Another heart-wrenching sacrifice so the ones He loved best could live in the fullness of life.

I pray that within our lives, you sense the aroma of Christ that brings with it true Life. I pray that our cracks will allow His light to shine through all the more; that as the psalmist says, we will be like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day (Proverbs 4:18). We are the jars of clay; we are the moon reflecting the sun. It will never be us, but the One who is in us that will be worthy of your praise & adoration. May we only ever be the shadow that points to the substance.

love from Japan,
the Osbornes

P.S. For Skye’s first birthday, we’re asking friends & family to write Skye a letter or note that we will keep for her 18th birthday. Include anything you like; funny stories, advice, wisdom from your life, good knock-knock jokes, examples of handwriting/paper/stamps as those will be obsolete in the next two decades, really anything you’d want her to have as she launches into the world 18 years from now. (There are no degrees of separation here; if you know us, write us! And for the three people reading who don’t know us, but stumbled on this blog in cyberspace, I don’t want you to feel left out. You have good knock-knock jokes too! Write us!)

Mail them all to the following address:

Skye Elizabeth Osborne
c/o Dr. Paul M. Garcia
3612 Edgewood Road
Columbus, GA 31906

11 Months!

11 Months!

Well, of all the reasons for being late to post, this has got to be the best one: We spent all of Saturday on a much needed hike in the woods & the early parts of this week chasing down the final paperwork for Skye’s passport to return to the US with us!

We are now all set to apply for the Japanese passport as soon as Golden Week is over & expect to be ready to move to the visa phase in the following couple of weeks. This means there’s a really high likelihood that we’ll make our June report date! Praise the Lord from whom comes every good gift.

For all you Amazing Race fans, we would’ve made you proud. On Tuesday we got our first clue: Meet your attorney’s assistant at her office @ 4:10pm to get what you need for the next challenge.

Challenge: Make it from your attorney’s office on one side of Tokyo to the Minato-ku City Hall on the other side of Tokyo by closing time (5pm).

Our victory: Take a number at the appropriate window 2 minutes before they stop taking requests, have a wonderful bi-lingual friend to translate (thank you, Kaori!!) & get everything you need to apply for Skye’s passport.

Reward: A Travelocity sponsored dinner at an amazing Hawaiian restaurant. JK, it wasn’t sponsored by Travelocity…but it should’ve been.

Phil, WE ARE READY.

And so are you. For Skye’s 11 Month photos:

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#sass
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This is her kiss-blowing pose…

After all that, a hike might seem commonplace, but for us, it was exactly what we needed. I’ve been reading about the effects of nature deprivation & I self-diagnosed. The prescription? A 3 hour, 8-mile hike around Lake Miyagase in the Mount Tanzawa range. Just what the doctor ordered!

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Lastly, guys: This photo. Her hair is terrible. The face is…just…everything. & I don’t even know. I just flipping love it.

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Love from Japan,
the osbornes

Easter In Japan

Easter In Japan

WARNING: THERE ARE GOING TO BE WAY TOO MANY PHOTOS IN THIS POST. you have been warned. (Moms of the 70s-90s with buckets of photos prints & no where to put them, I GET IT. Oakie is lucky we married in a digital age…)

This Easter has brought us to such a different place than last Easter, but we still went to the same park to celebrate Jesus rising from the dead with our church family here in Japan.IMG_6047

We saw many of the same smiling faces that we saw a year ago, but this year they were nearer & dearer to us; true friends. We sat under the same tree, but this year it was warm & sunny. (I forgot sweaters for Skye & myself & didn’t once need them.) We heard the same glorious story, but this time hearing about how God did all of this to adopt us into His family moved me in a completely new way. We even had similar picnic food, but this time we shared it with a teething ten-month-old.IMG_6127

Easter in Kinuta Park with Tokyo Horizon Chapel for the second year was everything I expected a year ago & nothing I could’ve dreamed.
We even had something a little extra to celebrate because on April 13th, Skye officially became an Osborne!

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This moves us one step closer to concluding the adoption, but in the moment, I can’t express how little that seemed to matter. We had given her our name, like Oakie gave me his, like Christ gave us His. Her identity was transformed, like mine was when I married Oakie, like each of ours was when Christ rescued us. What’s in a name? Maybe not much, but also…maybe everything. One day, she will say, “I am Skye Elizabeth Osborne” & with that she’ll be saying she belongs with us. It’s bittersweet & it’s beautiful & it’s big. One of the biggest things I’ve ever been a part of. There’s not much else more central to who we are than the name we call ourselves & now, this little girl, our daughter, will call herself an Osborne. Just like me. Just like Oakie.

Currently, she is sitting in the screened patio door watching Oakie mow the yard while she plays with her toys. Every once in a while, she spies him & yells DADA & squeals while waving her squeaking squid toy like a maniac. The truth is that she already knows who she is. No name change could tell her more than the grin on that man’s face when he silently waves like a maniac right back at her above the roar of the lawn mower; but as she grows into that identity as his daughter, it’ll be helpful for her to have something to call it. & for us, it’s called being an Osborne. For you, it’s Smith or Jones or Garcia or Hancock. It’s the name we give our legacy; our section of the story. I pray that we tell it well; that one day the echoes of the angels will reverberate with the sound of the chapters we added to The Story. & I can’t tell you how happy I am that we got Skye.

(Like all good things do, this made me think of a musical number that you should take a pause in your day to watch if you want to know what the inside of my heart looks like today)

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Just when it feels like we’re saying goodbye to Japan, we find out we may have another few weeks here. So, a secondary announcement, for all those awaiting our return: We’ll be here through May, most likely. As my sister Lou said, “Waiting is hard.” She’s right. It’s also #worthit. We know what’s on the other side & we’re leaning forward while at the same time, keeping our feet grounded in the roots we’ve cultivated here.
Here’s a glimpse at some of those roots:
Top photos: The owner at our all time favorite Japanese Café, Fukurouza, near Sagami Depot where Oakie works. It’s the cutest, most hipster-ly adorable place ever & they often play The Sound of Music soundtrack & that is just fine with me.

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Bottom photo: Me sharing the Easter story while my friend Nozomi translates to a group of her English students. She & I met through PWOC (Protestant Women Of the Chapel–a fancy name for the women’s Bible study on post) & she asked me to come & give a little gospel presentation last Christmas & again this Easter. Delays have their upsides 🙂

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Lastly, one of the greatest gifts of this sojourn to Japan is the adventurer that I get to do it all with. Isn’t that photo on the right SMOKIN’? This man is everything I could ask for & more. Kind, selfless, hilarious, confident, fearless & so full of energy that he can keep going when I want to quit. I could wax poetic, but I’ll spare you. I mean, a picture is worth a thousand words & all that. I may have married him for his looks, but I really lucked out, didn’t I?

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Love from Japan,
the Osborne family.

P.S. Feel free to share our news on your preferred social media! ❤

10 Months!

It’s that time again & Skye was super not ready for her photo shoot. There may or may not have been tears & 47 deleted images including a mix of blurred smiles, almost falling off the chair & a fair amount of breaks to wipe a running nose. Apparently “sit still” is not in her growing vocabulary. However, “dada,” “mama,” & a handful of sign language signs are! She also high fives, waves “bye bye” & smiles on command.

*One of those is not true.

Skye’s fifth tooth is breaking through on the bottom & she’s hover-standing, but she’s still certain that crawling is the fastest way to get where she wants to go so walking seems to be on hold for now.

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Things are moving right along over here. The cherry blossoms still haven’t made their highly anticipated appearance, but who better to be fashionably late than them? We’re expecting them next week!

Our adoption process is coming to a close & we are so excited to see the day every little thing is completed! We’re hoping to hit the states sometime in late April & as our time here ends, we find ourselves overcome with the bittersweet emotions indicative of a blessed experience. We have made friends, met more of the family of God & seen some of the most beautiful things on earth in our year-&-a-half-long sojourn in the Far East. What a true gift it has been to live in Japan.

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Until then,
love from Japan!

9 Months!

9 Months!

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Well, she’s done it again. She’s gotten older & cuter at the same time.
She has two bottom teeth & the top two are breaking through!

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Do y’all need a flashback? Because I kinda do…

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Is this even the same BABY?!

And yes, busted, navy blue is a theme here AND I AM NOT ASHAMED. My children will wear fun & festive colors, but they will also wear a lot of navy blue. This will not make them sad. This will make them aware of the value of accent colors. This is science.

Things are getting ever so slightly warmer on this side of the world & those little cherry blossom buds are teasing me on my morning jogs. Come on, little guys! Make like Nike & just do it.

*Nike is a sponsored affiliate of this blog.
** No it isn’t.

Our adoption process is moving, but we have been informed that there are some unexpected delays which have pushed our re-entry timeline back. We hope to spend the majority of the spring/early summer in the states, but we really won’t know till we’re there. The good news is spring in Japan is glorious & I am SO excited that we get another one.

To all the concerned parties, I am tripping Skye every time she looks like she’s about to start walking so DON’T WORRY.

To all the parties that weren’t concerned until they read the last sentence, I’m kidding…basically.

God is good & we are grateful.
Love from Japan.

8 Months!

I’m awfully glad I don’t get grades on these blogs, because I believe I’d get quite a few points deducted for failing to post Skye’s 8 month photos until almost her 9th month. But HAHAHAHA, I’m an ADULT & I don’t GET grades anymore. Muahahahahaha. THE POWER!

That being said, thank you to the few of you who took on the professor role & reminded me that these were, in fact, due a few weeks ago. I could give you all the details about how the printer malfunctioned so I didn’t have my cute sign or how we had a friend in town for a couple of weeks & we travelled a lot, but that would sound a lot like excuses & I’m an ADULT & I don’t USE excuses anymore. Muahahahahaha. THE POWER.

Without further excuses ado, here are Skye’s 8 month snapshots:

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I mean, the child is cute.
& she’s into topknots lately.
Totally her.
She insists.
She also wears shoes now, pulls up on everything, loves pulling books off the shelves (to read, obvs), hates that I use “obvs” ironically because “it isn’t ironic if you mean it”, eats rice crackers like it’s her job, babbles da-da & ma-ma with enough consistency that neither of us feels gypped (full-discloser: I’ve never spelled that word before, but I looked it up & that is correct. Not gipped or jipped…I checked), & grins a lot more readily for photos than she used to (for example, this photo shoot took a full 20 minutes less than previous ones).
She’s pretty much great & we adore her.

& for no reason at all & CERTAINLY not to offer up proof of our visitor, Meghan, &  our travels, here are some COMPLETELY RANDOM PHOTOS from the past few weeks:

 

For those in the states, Happy Valentine’s Day & for those elsewhere: Happy 15th of February!!