Sunday, June 12, 2022


Photos a year apart. Both late spring. Tokyo and Amsterdam.  Posting these rather than digging through millions of photos of this past year.

June 12, 2022: A year ago we arrived in the Netherlands. We have officially lived in Europe for one year today! It is amazing to reflect back on the year and think about the highs and lows of the year. I remember sitting on the airplane a year ago, both of us just so full of uncertainty and excitement about the move and new job. We had come up with a list of questions while in Japan we were curious about life in the Netherlands and Riley wrote them down in his journal to revisit. 

We had a date recently and went kayaking just the two of us and brought up this list and was fun to ponder this past year together and adventures we have had together as a family. This past year we were in 11 countries as a family, and 12 for me with a solo trip to the US for Whitney's wedding!

 The list of places this year: Japan, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, England, Ireland, and Spain. We will likely never have a year like this again. It's been such a great year with so many blessings and opportunities. 

The grass isn't always greener abroad we have had plenty of set backs and challenges this year. I also made a list of some of these lows, but decided to not include. 

The list of questions we wrote down before our move a year ago and answers:

how small will it feel? 

Bigger than expected but still small, a village compared to Tokyo but still plenty to do and explore in Amsterdam. 

How will runs there be?

Amazing, exceeds expectations. Lots of great parks nearby and scenic city runs. 

How will our Sunday walks be? 

Great, less frequent than Japan but beautiful. 

How will the ward be?

Exceeds expectation!  Lots of young expat families in similar situations. We expected to be commuting to English ward outside city, but go to the dutch Amsterdam ward. Really international, lots of kids same age as our kids. Current callings: Executive Secretary and Nursery Leader 

Will we have friends in the ward? 

Yes, lots of great friends and relationships made this year for everyone including kids. 

How bad will the rain and weather suck? 

As expected, pretty terrible. Lots of grey skies and rain. Affects Alyssa more than Riley. 

How awesome will the Europe travel be? 

Amazing, one of our favorite thing about living in Amsterdam is the proximity to the airport and access to travel. We have 11 countries for 2022. 

How will I like marketing? 

Less than expected, not great. Low job satisfaction. Wants to get out. 

How will we like the place we live in?

Better than expected, really great location feels massive compared to our space in Tokyo! Also, more than double the price. We love being on the canal and seeing the boats go by all day out the window and the balcony has been a bit hit for the boys, makes up for lack of backyards. Just want to get rid of a few pigeons.  

Also Riley shared this entry from last year, fun to reflect and read on it. Future is bright. 

June 1st, 2021

In the office cleaning out my office, sitting in the library with the view. Lots of memories. Good good memories. Good people. It’s important to reflect on the past and be in physical areas that remind you of your past as a reminder that you can do hard things. You think of all the anxious memories and hard times and now look back and you can say you did them and that gives you confidence to navigate an unknown future. I can do hard things. I’ve done them in the past and there’s no reason to believe I can’t do them in the future. Memories are great but you have to choose to believe that brighter times are ahead regardless of how bright the past has been. I’ve been very blessed to work here and with some amazing people. Just had lunch with my team and really felt like family. It’s hard to move on but the future will be bright.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Ireland Roadtrip- Views


OHH IRELAND!! You are so beautiful. 50 shades of green, we were blown away by this country and loved driving around and honestly felt like I wanted to stop every corner to capture the beauty of this place.  It is clear why it is called the 'Emerald Isle.' Just so, so much green. My camera roll is full of little twisty roads, ruins, and farms on farms. One of the best trips yet, this post is just of some landscapes from days on the road. 

popcorn and a view


April 18, 2020: Our trip finished off in Dublin.  We spent one night here before we flew back so only got a day and a half to explore this city (Riley worked from the hotel for the day) so our sightseeing was short and sweet and spent a lot of time at the parks around Dublin feeding the birds with the boys and going slow. It was a nice change of pace and pretty city, but glad we spend most our time on the road and exploring the countryside. 

Ireland- Cliffs of Moher

April 18th: Easter Sunday! We spend the morning driving and going to a little LDS branch in Tralee. It was probably the smallest branch I’ve ever attended, just a couple families and 3 sister missionaries, one the them happening to be a college friend’s little sister. The Sisters spoke that Sunday in church so that was fun to see that. 

My dad served his mission in Ireland and Scotland Mission (he was only on Scotland and Northern Ireland) but was fun to thinking about him and what his mission must of been like in the country. I would really love go to his areas and Scotland and see them. 

The highlight after church was spending the evening at the cliffs of Moher. It is definitely a high tourist spot with lots of movies filed here, but was breathtaking nevertheless. Luke found a couple snails and played with them and insisted on taking them with us on the road.  Riley went out the next morning and ran along the trailhead to cliffs while I showed the locals at our campsite about microwaveable popcorn and helped make a little home for the snail to travel back with us on road.