Thursday, December 29, 2011

Larger than Life

So, I have spent a few years coveting all the beautiful canvas pictures everyone has on their walls.  Wishing I had the money and the picture to forever want on canvas.   Then one day earlier this year, I came across a picture system that was the answer to my problems - cheaper, big as I want, and because of the price I don't feel too bad about replacing it every now and then.  It is IXXI.  

For Christmas we ordered the picture I wanted.  In fact it might be one row too wide and one row too long.   My kids are now larger than life on my wall.  I smile every time I see it and can't wait to have a house again were it will fit even better.

Putting it together and hanging it was so easy.  No nails or screws in the walls.  Each piece is printed on plastic, so it is durable.  

There is an even cheaper option.  There are software options that will cut your image into smaller pieces that you can then print out on your home printer for a similar look.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas in Japan

The best part about having Christmas in Japan is that we are usually done opening presents here while our families in the states are celebrating their Christmas Eve.  So we can rub it in a little that Santa likes us better because he visits us first.  We are definitely counting down to Christmas 2014 - In 2014 we will be with family (10 Christmases without our families is a long time).
Charlotte's Christmas wishes consisted of a "binky" baby (baby with pacifier), pink wig (pictures to come) and a fairy wand.

I decided that Tennyson wanted a baby to bath with, a teddy bear and a Japanese toilet seat.  In these pictures she is growling at her Teddy Bear after she noticed it under the tree.  They of course became fast friends.

Grahm wished for Lego Pirates of the Caribbean Wii game, Ninja clothes, and Harry Potter wand.

Jayce requested a Chemistry set, Lego Harry Potter DSI game (the second one), and Star Wars Lego Ship.

Jason was blessed to receive the Doctor Drill-n-Fill, now he can practice whenever he wants.  Santa also brought some clothes and a glass fishing buoy.
Santa brought me a rice cooker, a baby carrier and the coolest picture of my kiddos (I will share later).

I loved having the chance to go to church on Christmas Day, it is to bad that our church does not offer Christmas services every year.  It helped me feel like the day was about more than Santa.  I am so grateful for the birth of our Savior and His life and example.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas!

We wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas!  We hope you enjoy the kids being home for a few days and all the traditions!
The template for the card can be found at Simple as That.

(By the way - Jayce was supposed to look annoyed (it fits this age) and Charlotte didn't feel well).

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tackle Football

The season is finally winding down.  We have 2 events left, trophy ceremony and Round One (fun day).  This was an intense season of football.  They started practicing in September.  The first 2 weeks they practiced every night for 2 hours.  Jason was gone during the first few weeks and I thought it was going to kill us, I had little kids getting sick at practices and trying to keep them happy for 2 hours.  Towards the end of the first weeks Jayce wanted to quit,.  I talked him into waiting until Jason was home so he could help him out.  I could only kind of help.  The couch cushion was a great tackling dummy (the big one with a little elbow in it!).  It helped a little until Jason was home.

Jayce did really well for a month or so, he was enjoying the games and practices.  Then suddenly he was sour again and we struggled with practices off and on until the last 2 weeks of the season when he really wanted to quit.  He decided to hang in there for $50 (no complaining was required).  Towards the end of the season he was playing for almost every offensive play.  He had come along way.  Their team is ranked #1 in the league for his division.  It is always fun to be on the winning team.  Our team won every game except the 2 we tied.

At his teams banquet he was given the award for Biggest Heart.  I can't think of a better award to win for an athlete.  They commented that they thought he was going to quit and hung in there and that he never cried (I think all of the other boys cried at least once).   You should see his arms, he is getting way to big.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sumo Grahm

This was a really fun event the school sponsored.  I have a new appreciation and understanding of Sumo Wrestlers.  They might have belly's, but they are solid muscle.  They can even do the splits.  Sumo Wrestling is a sacred sport.  If I understood correctly it was meant to be getting back to nature - just man vs. man.  After their demonstration they let children volunteer to try out some of the moves they were shown.  Jayce did not get selected during his assembly - but Grahm did.  It was lots of fun.  I am glad I decided to go.

PS -  I turned on my heater today, finally!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Thanksgiving Program and Honor Roll

Grahm performed in the first grade Thanksgiving program.  They recited several poems and songs.  It was cute and Grahm was a cheese ball.  Tennyson wanted to get to him so badly during the performance.  He is growing way to fast.

Jayce pulled through after he realized grades are serious business and ended up on the Honor Roll.  We are so proud of him for working hard.  

Friday, December 2, 2011

School Projects

I have a hate love relationship with big school projects.  I love them because I get to spend a little more time with my kid working on something together (and the crafter in me enjoys it).  I hate them because, well... they are work and one more thing in my already busy schedule.  We have a had a few this past month.

Jayce was assigned an Indian project.  Jayce wanted to do a poster, the crafter in me hates them.  So, I persuaded Jayce to build a replica of a dwelling.  We of course chose Cherokee (that is the tribe Jason belongs to).  After doing some research we started building.  We had to enlist Jason's help on the construction of the bones of it all.  We tried to not just have it look like a replica, but be built correctly as well.  We were close, but not exact.  I had fun and I think Jason and Jayce did too.

Grahm was assigned to make a vest out of a brown paper bag.  It was part of his costume for their Thanksgiving program.  We made it the day before it was due (of course).  I didn't like the design so I started trying to get it to lay down like a vest should.  We had it looking nice.  Grahm was a little nervous of it after I had verbalized that I had made it wrong.  I offered to get another bag and re-make it correctly (I was even hoping, then it would lay better).  He said no and ran off to play.  Well at 8:00 am the next morning (30 minutes before we need to leave) he announced that he was going to be too embarrassed to wear the vest we had made.  Why did he have to pull that card, why didn't he just say he didn't like it.  So we scrambled to finish packing lunches and made another vest.  At the program I saw lots of different looking vests, the first on would have been fine.  Oh, well.

Jayce was recently assigned to make a clothespin doll.  Why?  I still have no idea.  Jayce chose to make Harry Potter.  This was an easy project and I really was able to stress being careful each step of the way so the final looks good.  Lucky for Jayce his mom has a huge scrap bin and we were able to find black fabric to make a cape.  His teacher tried to keep it!  Now he is hanging on the tree.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fort Day!

We had sick kids and a rainy day - what to do?  Build a fort in the living room, of course.  Jayce wasn't sick, but Mom decided to keep him home.  Shows you how much confidence I have in public schools (fort building at home or a day at school - time better spent!).

Do you like Tennyson's flying nun hairdo?

Charlotte wants a pet, badly.  She has narrowed her choices and has left the final decision to me.  The choices in order presented: a Lion, a Giraffe, a Puppy, or a Bear.  hmmmm.  A good selection.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Blew Her Mind

Charlotte and I were visiting in the car on our way back from the fabric store when she started a discussion about corn on the cob.
First she wanted to know if Tennyson could eat corn on the cob.  I told her she could.  She might not eat much, but would love the buttery mess.
Then she need to clarify that she was talking about corn on the cob and not a hot dog on a stick - corn on a big stick.  She told me how much she loves corn on the cob.
I decided to share this information with her.  I told her how a hot dog we put the hot dog on the stick.  Corn on the big stick grows that way.

It does! she exclaimed with eyes wide.  I giggled.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sidewalk Angels

A few weeks ago I happened to be having a rough day and I was sent Angels to lift me.  These were not your usual variety of Angels - these were Sidewalk Angels.  They left me little messages that really made my day.  It was such an amazing idea.  If you know anyone who needs a little extra love - give them sidewalk messages.  Awesome.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

6.8 Earthquake - No Sweat

About lunch time the house started rumbling and shaking for just a second.  I thought - hmmm - was that an earthquake or did a big truck drive by.  Then about a minute later (probably less) things started really shaking and they weren't stopping.  So I grabbed Tennyson and Charlotte and headed for the dinning table.  About the time we got there it stopped.  I was mildly impressed, things were really moving.  It didn't even rattle my dishes or knock anything off the wall - these concrete houses.  I think grabbing Charlotte and heading for the table freaked her out.  She was very nervous after that.

The boys of course had their own wild moments at school.  Jayce was at lunch and saw a TV fall to one side - so he bailed under the table and other kids followed suit.  Grahm was in the computer lab and he has stories of lights falling and a computer getting broken as they went under the tables.  I think I need some clarification - the teacher didn't give any indication that anything that interesting happened.  Never a dull moment here.

Marine Corps Birthday Ball

Jason finally let me attend a military formal function.  In the past we have had too little of babies or he has decided that it is not a great atmosphere for his wife.  This one was a great experience.  I loved all of the ceremony involved and all the symbols.  It was a nice reminder of why we are here and to feel a real connection to the history of our great country.  I think it is so easy to take for granted all of our freedoms and all of the sacrifices of the past that bring us to this point.  I was so glad I was able to attend and hope to be able to again.  The Marine Corps knows how to put on a show.

As we reached the car on our way out - Jason conveniently remembered that we didn't get our picture taken.  Even though I was disappointed I was not about to ask a grumpy man to walk all the way back in to see if the pictures were still available.  So I was sad until I decided that we would just have to dress up again another day and have our pictures taken.  Jason realized that he should have chosen to walk back in and check things out or he should have helped me remember earlier in the evening.  He loves getting his picture taken and loves getting fancied up.

This is a snapshot after we got home - so the hair has wilted and we are tired.  I photoshopped out the door, so that is why it is weird.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


We had a good Halloween.  By that I mean - I only had to dress them up twice.  The first time was for festival on base.  It was fun and Jayce went with a friend - and we definitely got the "I am too cool for you" vibe when we tried to say hi.  

Charlotte went as a Black Crow to the festival (Grahm wore it when he was about the same age - Jayce was a Scarecrow).  Then Monday at about noon we were talking and she was telling me how much candy everyone was going to give her because she was going to be so creepy.  I explained to her that the Crow costume wasn't that creepy (unless you are scared of Crows ;)).  She told me she needed blood on her face.  I further explained that with a mask you don't get to have blood on her face.  Well she decided to be a vampire instead.  Grahm was Snake Eyes (from GI Joe).  Jayce as Larten Crepsley from The Saga of Larten Crepsley.  Picture at the bottom.

I made the kids a Halloween lunch.  The boys told me everyone at school was super jealous.  Maybe I will try harder next year.  We had help Trick-or-Treating this year.  So someone younger than Jason and I took the boys off running and they came back with a ridiculous amount of candy.  I think next year I will buy smaller bags.  Charlotte had a friend who went as a witch, they were super cute.

Jason is always so good to carve exactly what the kids ask for.  I would probably say - too hard and stick with the traditional face.

Here is the cover of the Jayce's new favorite book.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

40th Annual Naha Tsunahiki (Tug-of-War)

This year we attended the annual Tug-of-War festival in Naha.  This event has been in the Guinness Book of World Records.  

This is an excerpt from wikipedia.
The festival begins with men dressed in traditional Okinawan garb standing on the rope facing in opposite directions to symbolize the battle between East and West. A myriad of performances take place along the rope's length, from martial artists of varying ages, to older women performing a sort of fan-dance. It is a international event with Japanese nationals, American military, and tourists in attendance. Just before the start of the match a man dressed in the garb of the Ryūkyūan kings stands on a wooden platform hoisted in the air on the shoulders of men standing on opposite sides of the rope. The "king" is carried on this platform down the length of the rope, before the festival starts, and the two kings perform a ritual sword contest.
The main rope, over one meter in diameter, has many smaller diameter, but very long ropes extending from it, and the participants pull these during the contest. The contest lasts 30 minutes and the challenge is to pull the other team a total of 15 meters. If neither side pulls the other the 15 meters, whichever side has pulled the other the furthest wins.
After the 30 minute time limit expires, one side is declared the victors, and they are allowed to climb on top of their rope to celebrate. It is customary for participants to cut apart the rope, and take a length of it as a token, and so throngs of people using tools ranging from their pocket knives, scissors and hacksaws set on the rope cutting lengths of it to commemorate the festival.

Before the Tug-of-War starts there is a parade.

There are several of these large "flags".  They bounce them to the music as they move down the street during the parade.  The other sticks are there to help pick up the "flag" and to keep it upright.  Each "flag" has a different top.  

In the events of NAHA GIANT TAG-OF-WAR, there are many unique and traditional events- finger whistle, firecracker, gong, drum, preparation and Karate‐show. Before the tag-of-war, parade of 14 flags is held by many young men wearing the black special uniform named Mumunuchihanta. This parade is called Ufunnasunei. There are 14 committees in the conservation society, but each of them has one or two flags. These flags are symbols and good-luck charms of the areas, which they live.  It is very difficult to walk and hold the flags. So the young men are very proud of attending the parade and holding the flags. (Source)

Some children performing in the parade.

This is how you have fireworks in a parade.  They light them and toss them in this little box.  I want one.

After the parade and before the tug-of-war started we checked out a local meat market.  This was interesting.  Pork is important here on the island.

This picture gives you an idea of how large around the rope is.

The boys getting ready to help pull.

The drummers help the participants pull the rope to a rhythm.  Charlotte and her friend are getting a chance to help.

I took this picture so you could see how crowded it is.  I was really nervous that Grahm was going to get trampled.  The blonde head in the middle.

Before the Tug-of-War begins they have a re-enactment fight between the Ryukyu East and West rulers.

They pulled for 30 minutes.  It was hot and crowded pulling and Jason will never do it again.  After the contest is over then everyone gets a pieces of the rope.  It is good luck that lasts all year.  It was a tie this year.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Life Well Lived Getting Happy

If you have stopped by Blogher you might have noticed that they have a Life Well Lived section that covers lots of useful topics. They have discussed staying on top of your laundry, dressing for your age, using accessories, and more.

I have been asked to comment on the question: How do you deal with negative people in your life?

How do I deal with negative people in my life?  I avoid them.  Just kidding.

I listen so they feel that they have been heard.  I let them know I understand their feelings without stoking the fire.  Then I try to focus the conversation on something positive, even if it means a change of subject (smooth and subtle change of subject).

Dr. Aymee has some great tips that I think can even get through to a grouchy 9 year old or an angry 7 year old.  Go check it out and share what you do to stay positive here. You also need to stop by here to enter for a chance to win $250.

**I volunteered  for this program and I am not being paid to share my thoughts!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Aquarium and Strange Poster

We visited the Aquarium again.  It was Jason's first time.  It is really cool and there is more to see at the entire Ocean Expo Park - another visit.

This picture is outside the Aquarium.   All over the park grounds they have other botanical sculptures of sea life.

We visited the aquarium with friends and the girls were so cute.  I love how 3 of the kids climbed into this window to watch the Sharks.

It was a super fun trip, except Tennyson was sick on the way home and made me wash the car seat cover.

At the Aquarium outside of the restrooms I noticed this poster and had to quickly snap a picture.  I believe it is telling us that if we don't wash our hands that we will get a beating from germs.  I love the visual image of being beaten by a giant purple germ.  So please follow the directions to the left to avoid your own future germ beating.