Friday, October 30, 2009

Good bye car seat!

Just over a year ago we found out that Tennessee law requires children to be 8 years old AND 7'8" AND 230 lbs. (I might be exaggerating a little, but not much.) Aspen was soooooo sad. She had been looking forward to no car seat the entire year, and now with just a few weeks to go her hopes were being dashed to pieces.

The law for 9 year olds officially states, "Children age nine (9) through age twelve (12), or any child through twelve (12) years of age, measuring four feet nine inches (4'9") or more in height, must be secured in a seat belt system."
It is now official. Aspen said a (non) tearful good bye to the car seat. I told her she could still sit in it if she wanted to, but strangely enough she declined.
Thanks Grandmas and Grandpas!

Oooo, what is it?
Aspen's birthday sky. Beautiful!

Happy Birthday Beautiful Aspen!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

7th annual pumpking carving party

October brings us to that time of year where we are celebrating all things fall.

When we first moved out here, we invited Jonathon's boss and his family over to carve pumpkins. They don't celebrate Halloween in Japan. They have 3 kids and we thought it would be fun to get together and show them something very American. I remember when they showed up. We had asked them to bring their own pumpkin. We answered the door and there they were, our five cute friends with one little baking pumpkin. (I really think that we shared our pumpkins. If we didn't, shame on us! But really, I think we did!)
So here we are, 7 years later in what is one of our families favorite traditions. We invite our Japanese neighbors and all of the Japanese from Jonathon's work over for pizza and pumpkins. It's amazing how much the kids like it. Especially since there is only one other little girl who comes. This year they worked so hard cleaning and helping us get ready. They deserved a party!

Enjoy the millions of pictures below!
Olive, who insisted
that this year she was old enough to do it her self.
All of it.

Our neighbor

Break for food.
Gyoza wa oishi!
The kids
Cedar who also insisted that he do it all himself.
(Though he didn't really like getting the guts out.)
Aspen working hard!
The fruits of her labor.
Olive and Cedar working hard.
The fruits of their labors.
Jonathon Working hard.
Everyone working really hard.
(yea, I know, I need to get out the thesaurus and find some new words.)


Friday, October 23, 2009

I'm famous!

Remember my 72 hour post? I commented to thank the sight that I got it from, and this morning I woke up to them linking my site to theirs. How fun!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cedar's lost tooth

Cedar lost his first tooth this evening!

You only loose your first tooth once, and this was so fun for him!
(Can you see me sending out mass picture messages to everyone in the background?)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Music for your ears

Olive's new favorite song is "A Child's Prayer." She goes around singing it all the time. She is getting better, but her renditions and the words she puts in when she can't remember the original words are too cute. I think that she got a little nervous when I recorded this a few nights ago, but this is my favorite version of this song.

Aspen is doing so well at piano. Her old teacher graduated and moved off to BYU to go to school so this year she has a new teacher. She gets to take lessons at the church where she and everyone else had preschool. This is her playing "Going Home" a melody from Antonin Dvorak's symphony #9.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

72 hour kits

I have this little list of blogs that I often visit when I am wandering in cyberspace. They are all cute and inspiring. About a month ago I was doing my normal blog-stalking and found this on one of the blogs. I don't know why it inspired me so much. I hear about 72 hour kits all the time. We have usually had one, but as hard as I try, I have the hardest time figuring out what would cause me to grab my family, our kits and run? We don't live on the coast. No Katrina this way. We don't live at the base of a volcano or even a snow covered mountain. There is little chance of flooding in my house and I am sure there is a fault line somewhere around here, but it's not generally worried about. In short, not much happens around here. So what could happen that I would have only 2 minutes to gather everything that is important and run? (I already asked that, I know.)
Our 72 hour kits
Back to the point, I saw that post and thought, I need to get my 72 hour kits together. I need good ones, ones that would actually work. I had thrown a change of clothes, several bottles of water and some cans of food in our back packing backpacks. They were super heavy and not very well organized. This post I saw (really, as soon as you are done here, you should go check it out, maybe you will be inspired like I was.) had such a simple way to organize 72 hour kits.

Everything is stored in gallon bags. Each days food has a menu and all items are in that bag for that day. There is a "treat" bag- 3 extra snacks a day. There is a clothes bag with a change of clothes. I did underwear, socks, long pants, short sleeve t shirt and a sweatshirt. There is a toiletries bag with tooth brush, tooth paste, tissue, hand sanitizer, band aids, a rain poncho, an emergency blanket, matches, baby wipes, pen, small pad of paper, and 2 long lasting hand warmers.
One day of food all wrapped up!


Jonathon and my bag have a few extra things like medication, flashlight, extra batteries and emergency candles. There is also extra toiletries like glasses and contact stuff, a better first aid kit, a sewing kit, girl stuff, a compass and a whistle. Sunscreen and bug spray, and this cool little water bottle that filters water as it comes out.
Kids "toiletries"

Adult "toiletries"

Bagged and ready

I also put in there a paper with our names,address and phone numbers, who is in our family, a family picture, emergency contact names and numbers and our health insurance info.

It didn't end up taking as much money as I thought it would to put together good kits for everyone in my family. I found backpacks on clearance for $5.00 that I used for Jonathon and I and I just used old ones we already had for the kids. The food was about $50.00. That turns out to be about $1.00 a meal. I really tried to think about what my family would eat, and though it's not totally nutritiously balanced, everyone should at least be willing to eat what's in their bag and and they shouldn't be too hungry.3 days of food

To make this a little more appealing to the kids, and hopefully to lessen their fear if we should actually ever use them, we put all of the food together during a FHE. The kids were great, and they didn't turn their noses up at anything that was put out. Next year, when it is time to change out the food for fresh food I want to do a drill and time how long it takes us to get everything together and then go camp for the night at the state park that is just up the road from our house. We would have to choose one days worth of food and live on it for 24 hours. That should be the real test of what we will need.
45 meals ready to go!

I am keeping our kits in our garage, by the garage door. That way if we ever need them, we can just throw them in the van and go. We also keep all of our camping stuff there. So, if we ever really do need to grab and go, we can grab the tent and sleeping bag and cooking stuff too. I will put the water there also. Hopefully we can keep that area clear and easy to get to.

Now, I do need your advice. All that we need to do to complete the kits is put in some cash. I know that we need to have little bills, but how much should we have? And, have I missed anything? I tried to think of everything, but I really do have a hard time imagining any particular emergency.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Football started a while ago. Here is Cedar from yesterdays game.

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