Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Aspen is in the Friend!

Last February when Jonathon and I went on our 10 year Anniversary trip, my mom and Tony took the kids to Disney World. As they were driving back to the airport they stopped at a ward building to attend Sacrament meeting. They had a neat experience that Aspen wanted to write in and tell the Friend about. She has been looking every month in the Friend waiting for her story to appear. I tried to prepare her that not every letter gets published. She could accept that, but she was sure hers would get in. And here it is! (I think if you click on the picture it enlarges it so it's easier to read.)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

School's out!

Aspen again. We are now officially on our 5th day of no school.My dad didn't even go to work this morning because when we woke up, guess what we saw. Frozen rain was everywhere.
Yep, those are icicles on our lawn chair.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Vacation

We are currently on day 3 of canceled school because of the weather. Only two more chances of the kids getting to go to school this year. I don't mind too much, but I need just a little more kid free time to finish getting ready for Christmas. (I was kinda counting on this week to finish up...)

The other problem is that I am running through our "things to do on Christmas vacation" list. Christmas vacation hasn't even started yet! We are going to end up with 3 weeks of vacation. I like it so much better when big long stretches like this are scheduled. But oh well...

We were going to do these next week, but we needed something to do today, so here are our "gingerbread" houses!

The finished product!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


This is Aspen, since my mom won't post. When I look at blogs (which I often do) I like to look at the pictures the most, so I am going to do a lot of posts with lots of pictures(or three)!
We are playing this game where you take pictures of people
jumping off the bed!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's a....

We found out today...
It's a BOY!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Grandpa's visit part 2

The Saturday of Grandpa's visit dawned COLD! We were up bright and early for the final football game of the season. Grandpa told Cedar to score a running touchdown and to catch the ball for a touchdown. He did it! He was so proud after the game, "Grandpa! I did it! I scored a running and a catching touchdown just like you said!"Next up on the list of fun things to do: The Panther Creek State Park Halloween party. The state park that is five minutes up the road from us is really a treasure. Sometimes it seems it's a hidden treasure. They put on some really great kids programs. They aren't very well advertised so there isn't a lot of people there, which is good and bad. Really it's too bad that more people don't come, but for us it the best.They had crafts.A fire for roasting marshmallows.A picture spot.A real pumpkin pinata. This was one of the coolest ideas I have seen. They took a real pumpkin, hollowed it out. drilled 4 holes to string a cord through and under to hang it up by then filled it to the brim with candy, stuck the top on and hung it from a tree.
Needless to say it was a huge hit.There was even a hay ride with lots of friends.As if that weren't enough for one day, we came home and got to celebrate Aspen's birthday. She wanted a dark chocolate cake with dark chocolate frosting and chocolate chips. I called it death by dark chocolate.As soon as the kids finished their cake, they were costumed and out the door to see if any of our neighbors were home. (They weren't.) But this didn't deter them. They had it on good authority which was the best neighborhood in town to trick or treat at. Luckily we have some friends who live in that neighborhood, so we didn't feel too intrusive as we parked at their house to start the night.

I didn't get any pictures of them trick or treating. Maybe I was pictured out. But my excuse is that they were too fast to get any good shots. As soon as we parked they were out the door on our neighbor's lawn waiting in line to get candy. By the time the rest of us got out of the car they were three houses down.

They were right about this being the best neighborhood. For Tennessee the yards were relatively flat and close together. They came how with quite the haul!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Olive's Testimony

Today at church Olive asked Jonathon if she could bear her testimony. He said she could and then the proceded to have a really funny whispered conversation over who was supposed to go first. Someone else beat them up so Olive whispered over to Aspen, "Aspen, will you help me with my testimony?" She said yes and Jonathon got ousted.

It was so cute to hear her little testimony. It's the first time she has ever gone up. We don't have a lot of kids in our ward so we only hear testimonies from kids a few times a year. Something amazing happened after she sat down. Kids started coming from everywhere to share their testimonies. Aspen even got up again to share hers. In some wards, I know it's not unusual for so many kids to get up, but in our ward it was. It was so beautiful to see all of these little kids, even kids you would never have guessed would get up did.

Cedar was the only member of my family who didn't get up. Aspen kept trying to get him to get up. It's not something you can force someone into though.

I don't get up often, but when my kids are leading the way, I will follow. Olive reminded my why we bear our testimonies. When I sat down she told me how much she liked my testimony and that she almost cried while I was talking. That's why I got up. An unplanned but memorable moment for me. The gospel means so much to me. I try to teach and communicate this to my children. Sometimes I think it goes in one ear and out the other, but maybe this time, for right now, they understood.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween weekend part I

Grandpa Bob got in Thursday afternoon. We are so excited for him to be here. I got the kids a little early from school and we drove out to the airport in Johnson city. We had a quick dinner at Cedar favorite restaurant Cici's pizza. It's a pizza buffet. They even have macaroni and cheese pizza. (Though I didn't try it.) We raced home only to be stopped by 2 wrecks and traffic. I've never been to Johnson City when there was traffic, so I didn't know to expect any. Now I know.

We made it only 15 min. late to football practice. Then home and bed. The kids have school tomorrow.

After the kids were tucked safely in school in the morning and my errands were finished, it was off birthday shopping for grandpa and I. Aspen said she wanted a new CD alarm clock. As we were shopping I had a better idea. (At least my fingers were crossed that it was a better idea...) Grandpa got her an MP3 player and some little speakers and I hot her an alarm clock she could plug into her player. Mission accomplished.
After we picked the kids up from school it was piano lessons for Cedar and quick get your chores done for everyone else. Cause it was party time! The kids got invited to a friends house for a fun Halloween party. They had a blast. Tent in the living room haunted house, leaf maze tag, bobbing for apples and reach for doritos. scary dinner and costumes. What more could you want? We picked them up a few minutes early because we are party hopping!
Next it's on to the ward trunk or treat and chili cook off. It's a tradition of me not to make chili. I brought hot dogs. There is some really good chili there, and then there is some that will burn your insides right out of you.This year we combined with the Bays Mountain ward that meets in our building. So it was huge! which means, the treat bags overfloweth!My favorite part of the whole evening was when my dad was passing out treats. Amazingly enough, my kids were trick or treated out and sitting in the back of the van when our candy ran out. Cedar decided to help out and made a round of the parking lot then dumped it in the sack Grandpa was holding. We could stay open for another few kids. In came a group of kids and grandpa pulled out a candy to give to the first one. Then he stopped in mid giving. He was holding a full sized 100 grand candy bar. Cedar saw it and didn't care. He's never had one of those (do you think I have failed my children by not making sure they are familiar with all of the best candies?) G-pa struggled for only a second with the internal debate of giving or not giving the candy bar to the kid with his bag open. Good job Grandpa, he handed out the candy with good grace and waited till there was no one at our van before telling Cedar not to give away the best stuff! I took the hint and saved the full size bag of peanut butter m&m's. a few treaters later we were out of goods and started closing up shop. The kids had made a great haul, and we had just begun!What did you give out this year? Sometimes I am on a healthier kick than others. This year I compromised. A little of both. We gave out silly band and dark chocolate bliss bites. It was interesting to see the reaction of kids. Some asked for only silly bands then got back in line to get some more. Others asked for only chocolate. I guess silly bands may be on their way out...

Thursday, October 28, 2010


I have already kicked the cat off the computer chair. Had my hot chocolate and checked everything I "need" to check in computer land. Yet I am still sitting here. I haven't felt much of a desire to blog lately. But I feel it now. So, even though my dad will be here this afternoon and there is some major cleaning to do. And even though I didn't have bread this morning so I had to stop at the store and get some on the way home from school. And I still need to make sandwiches and deliver lunches to my 3 cuties (by 10:30.) And even though I need to shower, and make my bed, and run my errands, and clean the kitchen, and, and , and... Here I sit. I hope this post isn't really lame. That would mean I am wasting time. But I want to get this memory down. Before the emotions fade and it's just another thing that happened once.

Once a week we car pool with a friend of ours who lives behind us. Usually it's on Friday. She works at the school as an aid. I pick up the kids since she doesn't have to be there until 10:30am. The she brings them home. She's already there. It's a win-win situation. We save each other a trip and a good 45 min.

This week my dad will be here on Friday so I didn't want to car pool then but I hoped that we could move it to Wednesday because I had a midwife appointment in Knoxville and then I wanted to do a little shopping. I would get an extra 45 min. Perfect.

It was all arranged.

Tuesday morning the kids got ready for school. Aspen packed her piano books and we got all of the library books ready. That afternoon I went and had lunch with Cedar. I saw Christine there and we reconfirmed plans. Everything would be great.

When I pick up on piano lesson days (Tuesday) I don't try to be there early. Lessons are at 3:30 and it only takes us 10 min to get there. So I usually leave my house at 2:55-3:00pm. I get to the school by 3:05-3:10pm. I have until 3:15 before they have to go sit in the gym and I have to sign them out.

Today was no different. I picked Olive and Cedar up and drove over to the intermediate building (there are 2 buildings.) to get Aspen. I was annoyed. It was 3:12 and no one was outside calling students when their parents came. (These schools have it down to a science. If you don't have the "card," you have to go in show id and sign them out.) I still had time. I wasn't late. I drove around front where the intermediate kids go if their parents are late. I saw a bunch of bus riders, but no Aspen.

Back to the back of the school. Still no one. I got out. The doors are locked and no one is waiting where the kids should be. Now I'm getting really annoyed. It's still not 3:15.

Back to the front. Still no Aspen. I see one of her friends. I ask if she's seen Aspen. No. Great. Park, unload the other 2 kids, grab my wallet and go inside.

The building is empty of adults. There are basketball players and cheer leaders waiting for practice to start, but no adults to be seen. I look in the office. The principals office. The teachers lounge. I had passed her teacher walking over to the other building on my last trip around the building. Annoyance is starting to turn to fear. Where on earth would she be??? They aren't allowed to keep kids after school here. And besides, the last time Aspen got even as much as a warning was MAYBE in 1st grade. Finally, there is an adult that works there. She seems in a great hurry but stops when I say I can't find my child. She does an all call through the school. No one there. She suggests I ask the 2 teachers who are out with the 100 or so bus riders getting ready to load the bus.

OK. Nope. They haven't seen her. They have been pretty busy with the students they are in charge of. It wasn't a surprise.

My last hope is that for whatever reason she walked over to the other building??? Why she would do that I don't know. And if she did. Christine would surely send her back. Tomorrow is car pool day. Fear is bubbling pretty close to the surface now. I don't think it helps that all emotions are intensified with pregnancy, but regardless. I couldn't find my child and no one was around to help or explain her absence.

We load back into the car and head back around to the other school. There she is with Christine. Once she sees me she breaks into some sort of stick your tongue out nanny nanny dance that drives me over the top. What in the world did she think she was playing at? Did she not know that I was about 1 1/2 min. from calling the police to look for her? And here she is enjoying a good joke? NOT FUNNY!

(Remember, I just lost it.) I pull up, roll down the window. Dangerously speak for her to NEVER do that again. The joke is wiped clean off her face. She knows it's not a joke. Now she feels all of the fear I did. I've never talked to her like that before. She gets it. I know she's sorry. I am beginning to understand it was a mistake. Christine sees that i didn't "forget" her or tell her the wrong day. I ask her through stuffed nose and willing myself not to cry that if Aspen ever makes that mistake again, to please send her back to the other school to wait for me. I am really in no condition to comfort Aspen crying in the back. To understand why Christine would be in on this joke. To do anything other than leave and cool off. But Christine needs to explain. And later, I take it in. She was busy with a serious situation in her class. She had just learned that Aspen walked over. That Aspen thought that we were carpooling today. She had been calling me. (I left the phone at home.) She was comforting Aspen trying to lighten her mood (I think she realized there was a mistake) by saying I was silly and had forgotten or made a mistake.

It was a learning situation for everyone. I know that no one was trying to make a joke. No one had failed to do anything they should have. (There was a faculty meeting at the other building which is why no one was in the intermediate building.) Christine would have told her to go back if she had seen her, (which she usually does.) The stars had lined up just right for it to all go wrong, and it was no one's fault.

But still, it took me all afternoon to shake that feeling. That empty gut feeling that a big chunk of me is missing. Like someone could have taken my child. And then how would I live if there was that vital a part of me missing? I've seen things like that on TV. But when I watch them, I am warm and comfortable in my living room and I have just tucked my children in to bed. It doesn't happen to me. It couldn't happen to me.

But it could.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Busy day!

The gang
October brings with it cooler weather, fall leaves and our one and only party. Don't mistake me on that one. We do birthday parties ALL THE TIME. I am talking about hosting something close to a real party. We have people over and we go out, but when it comes to big bashes. The annual pumpkin carving party with our Japanese friends is the only one we do. This was our 8th year! It's really hard to believe that we've been around for 8 Halloweens! Cedar wasn't even one when we hosted our first one. That one was so much fun. We invited Jonathon's boss and his family over to carve pumpkins and make pizza. Halloween was very new to them, so when we told them to bring pumpkins to carve, they brought one little pie pumpkin for all 5 of them. We had a ball telling them about our funny Halloween traditions, and this little get together became an annual thing.The spread
Taking out the guts.

This year was another first for one of our party. A family we are friends with is hosting a Japanese teenager for the school year. We invited their family and were super excited when Moeko got to stay even after the rest of the family had to cut our to make it to a play the kids were in. Designing and planning
She had never carved a pumpkin and really didn't like the "getting the guts out" part. When we took every thing outside and lit them though, her face and reaction were priceless!
Olive admiring Jonathon's creation

Cedar deep in concentration. (Aspen and Olive were too quick to get pictures of.)
Cedar's mummy

Aspen's kitty
Olive's face
Jonathon's pumpkin
That was how we ended the day.

We started with Cedar's 8:30am football game. Brr!

After that it was a mad dash to get all of the last minute details taken care of for the pumpkin party AND Aspen's birthday party.

Aspen's party ended up being really small. But who needs tons of friends over, when you've got a brother and a sister ready to liven things up?! Even though it was small, it was super fun and full of all the right ingredients for a birthday party.

It was a super busy, but super fun day. Next up... finishing painting the bathroom before Dad comes!

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