Saturday, December 27, 2008


Since we are hanging out here with fairly warm temperatures and NO snow I figure that now would be a good time to post our pictures of the "Germany" leg of last year's trip. It was just a couple of weeks before Christmas and coming from Okinawa we THOUGHT we had warm clothes, but ended up buying the kids jackets, hats, gloves etc.. all while there.
It truly was a 'winter wonderland' those first few days we were there.
Joseph and Jessie couldn't get enough of Uncle Jason, anywhere he was going they were going to go also.
This last picture is of the Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria. This is the first time we attempted to visit, but it was so cold and we were ill prepared so, we decided to take a picture and return another day.
The first shot here is Janie on the day we did make it back to visit Neuschwanstein. It was very cold, but as you can see, she wouldn't wear her mittens. She sucks her thumb and it made her so mad every time she'd stick that glove in her mouth that she finally pulled both mittens off. Her little hands were FROZEN, I felt so bad for her. It wasn't until two weeks later when my mom suggested just cutting the thumb part off of that particular mitten that I realized we could have solved the problem with much less trauma!
Next is a shot of the castle when it was clear out and you could actually see it. I do not have the same love of castles and all things renaissance as Jeremy does, but if I had to pick a castle to live in, it would DEFINITELY be this one. It was quite fabulous and not so ornate that I'd have to choke down my dinner every night:)
The third and fourth pictures are of Hohenschwangau Castle, which belonged to King Ludwig's parents. He had Neuschwanstein built right near his parents' castle. Can you tell which photo was taken by me with my camera and which was taken by Jeremy with his camera, surely not!!

These two shots were taken the day that Jeremy, Jason, Joseph, Jessie, and I drove to Salzburg. What a beautiful day it was. Janie stayed with Jeremy's parents at the hotel and spent all of her time walking the halls saying 'hi' to everyone she saw while we explored the Kris Kindle Market and enjoyed the day with the BIG kids (because 5 and 3 is really big).

We rode a tram up the mountain and found the Salzburg Castle at the top. The first photo was inside one of the million or so rooms we toured and the next shot is just a cute little band that was outside in the courtyard playing Christmas music. They look so festive don't they?!
This last shot is my favorite because I feel like it captures the beauty and stillness that we were able to experience in person. Such a quaint and quiet little German village just on the outskirts of where we were staying. I'd like to peek inside the windows or be the mouse in the corner for a couple of days just to see what goes on in such a place as this.

Friday, December 19, 2008


I figured that since we are celebrating the Christmas season that it would be a good time to share a little about our trip to Israel last year. This is how Jessie entertained herself on the airplane ride from Rome to Jerusalem. Our flight took off at like 5:30am or something crazy like that.

This is a shot of our hotel room. Joseph and Jessie fell asleep on the car ride from the airport to the hotel. Where did Janie sleep, you ask? Right in between Jeremy and I in that double bed!!! AAAHHHH the memories!!

Here is a shot that I really like of the Dome of the Rock. It was so intricate and beautiful. We were very dissapointed that we couldn't go inside. Apparently there are no visitors allowed anymore (or at least while we were there).

Jeremy and Joseph at the Western (Wailing) Wall. Jessie was very upset that she couldn't go with them, but there are separate sides for men and women. Jessie and I went next.
A close up of the wall. Check out all of the prayers in the cracks. I don't know how there is any room for more! It was fascinating to see!Jeremy and the kids checking the guide book for an explanation of the Via Dolorosa. This, they say, is where Jesus walked with the cross as He was led to the hill where He was crucified. There were many different points of interest along the way that we stopped to read about. Jeremy was explaining one of these to the kids.
We thought this was a cute shot of the kids together.
This is the Damascas Gate, which was just a couple of blocks from our hotel. This is one of the gates that leads to the Old City. We spent much of our time there.
The family at the river Jordan. We tried to imagine what it would've been like back then when it wasn't a tourist attraction. The kids enjoyed talking about when Jesus was baptized and the possibility that this might be where the event took place.
This shot is from our visit to Bethlehem. This was a church built over the cave where they think Jesus Christ was born. Again, you have to imagine what it would've been like back then without all of the decoration and so forth.

During this season when we reflect on the birth of our Savior we are grateful for the opportunity we had, as a family, to visit the Holy Land and for the chance we had to share our testimonies with the kids. Although they were only 5, 3, and 15 months they were able to feel the spirit of the trip and still talk about what we learned while there. We are grateful for Jesus Christ, for His life, example, and for His sacrifice for all of us.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Random Family Outings

A couple of weeks ago Jeremy got off work early and after we picked Joseph up from school we headed to the local peanut factory. Since none of us have ever experienced this sort of thing we didn't know exactly what to expect. We walked into this huge building that has MOUNTAINS of peanuts inside. We stayed just long enough to let the kids try mountain climbing and then we bought some delicious peanut brittle and choclate covered peanut clusters! YUM!!!

Janie wasn't too "nuts" about climbing or even touching the peanuts really so we've only got Joseph and Jessie in these photos.

Last Sunday we went out for an afternoon drive and ended up at this place called Hick's Mountain. Well, who wouldn't want to stop there for a looksee????? It was a nice surprise. Just a little shoreline to walk along and some beautiful views of the sunset over the lake.

It isn't always easy to get all three kids looking at the camera at the same time and so by the time we finally did Janie had slid halfway down the rock! Next time we'll go a little earlier, take a picnic, and maybe even snap a shot of the whole family.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Finally Four!!!!

Jessie's 4th birthday has come and gone and I'm just getting around to blogging about it right now! Actually, it was one of those things where the pictures were on the laptop and I had to convert them and transfer them from one computer to another. I usually end up procrasting when it requires that much work:)
Jessie was actually sick on her birthday, but a couple of days later we had a party for her with her friends and they all had a blast.
These are photos from our little family party. Jessie is displaying one of her gifts for daddy to take a picture! Does she look happy to you?
Here she is blowing out her ONE candle. We took cupcakes to her school because it was her snack day (since it was her birthday). She didn't get to go to school that day because she was sick, but we saved enough cupcakes for our family and she had just enough energy to blow out her candle.

She also had enough energy to try on her new make up!! She always has energy for that!! It was so funny to watch her putting this eye stuff on without a mirror. Needless to say, she looked BEAUTIFUL after that makeover!

Here she adds the final touches with this fancy lip gloss!

What would we do without our Jessie? She is such a character and our home would definitely be VERY quiet without her! We love you Jessie and we're glad that you can wear a size 4 shoe now since you're four years old. She keeps telling everyone that now she can wear a size 4 shoe!! Funny Girl!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is always an exciting time of the year. It seems to usher in Fall and all of the beauty that accompanies the season. The kids have been asking me for months what they should be for Halloween. We've spent time looking at and picking out costumes and finally the day has come and gone. What fun we had preparing, dressing up, going to parties, and EATING JUNK FOOD!!!! And of course, the kids are thrilled to have their bags of candy.

Here are a couple of shots of the kids in their costumes just before we left the house for trick or treating.

Joseph was a Power Ranger for the second year in a row. Different costume this year. The funny thing about his choice is that he has never even seen Power Rangers, but he just likes the looks of the costumes I guess. He had a blast running from house to house with Jessie and his friend, Amelia.

"Stra-ba-ba-ba-ba-berry, Strawberry Shortcake!" After 1.5 hours of going back and forth between costumes online, Jessie finally decided on this one!! The hat came with hair hooked to it, but of course she didn't like it. I cut the hair out, put her hair in rollers, and sprayed it red. The only problem is that after running around at school all morning she kind of lost the curl. She could have gone without a costume and had just as much fun!!

We figured that since Janie spends half of her time crawling around on her hands and knees, meowing at us, that a cat costume would be appropriate! She really enjoyed trick or treating. She ended up spending much of the time in the stroller observing the other kids, but she still got her fair share of candy thanks to Joseph and Jessie taking her bag to each house.

She looked over at me during church on Sunday and said, "trick or treat!" I'm so glad that her voice is partially gone so not too many other people heard her.

All in all it was a fun holiday and we have some serious working out to do before Thanksgiving comes!!! AAAAGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!

Friday, October 17, 2008


Well, now that almost a year has gone by I figure it is time that I get working on documenting our trip from Okinawa to Italy, to Israel, to Germany, to Seattle, to Oklahoma! Wow! The beginning of the trip sounds pretty exciting, but the end...not so much!

We left Okinawa and flew (not direct, of course) to Rome where we rented a car and drove to Sicily! It was an absolutely beautiful drive. I wish we had more pictures of the scenery. Just picture it being green and hilly with random sheep spotting the land and castle ruins in the background. It was spectacular!

Here are the kids crammed in the back of our little rental car. Janie looks so different now and I'm sure she wouldn't be nearly as cooperative as a two year old as she was then (as a 15 month old) with all of the time we spent driving. We drove to Napoli (Naples) the first night, which wasn't too far. We had to go to the BX and find a blanket for Janie because we lost hers in the airport at Rome. I walked all the way back to the tram and told the security guys that I couldn't find my baby's blanket. They got on the tram and looked, but it was nowhere to be found. Luckily, there is a BX in Okinawa also and they had the same blanket. No big loss!! Then we went to bed. We were all so exhausted from the flight. Janie actually fell asleep in the shopping cart at the BX with the blanket under her head.

When we had driven as far south as Reggio Calabria we had to take a ferry across to Sicilia (Sicily). This is us hanging out on the ferry. It is so awesome to watch as you leave mainland and to see the island of Sicily across the way. This was a perfect break from sitting in the car!Our first night in Sicily we stayed in the city of Catania, which happens to be where the mission office is for the Catania mission, which also happens to be the same mission in which I served. It was fun driving through the city and seeing familiar sights and surroundings. The next morning we got up and headed out for Palermo (the biggest city on Sicily). As we drove we made some stops to check out different castle ruins, stretch our legs, etc... In case you don't know Jeremy.....he tends to be just a LITTLE bit of a castle fanatic. It actually was amazing that we even made it to Palermo that day (night). Those of you who DO know Jeremy are laughing right now because you know exactly what I am talking about and you WISH you had been there with us!!!:) This castle was in the city of Enna and it was very fun to climb to the top with Janie in the stroller and look out at an astonishing view!!! There was some sort of festival going on there that night and everyone was all dressed up in their renaissance costumes. It took every ounce of me to convince Jeremy that we would live without participating in the festival. I'm sure it would have been fun, but we had a schedule to keep and I tend to be a little extreme when it comes to things of that nature.

We made it to Bagheria, a little town outside of Palermo, where we stayed three days with our friends Giusy and Toto. The kids latched onto them like little leeches. They couldn't communicate, but they sat at the table and colored with them and Joseph just talked to Toto as if they had known each other forever!! It was fun to watch them interact. This is Giusy, one of my very dear friends, with Joseph and Jessie.

The next day we decided to take a trip to Agrigento to see some Greek temple ruins. This was just a shot of the kids during one of our stops. I can't remember if they were trying to make Janie laugh or what was going on, but I like this picture of the three of them together.

Here we are in front of one of the temple ruins. We had a fun time running all around and climbing on anything we were allowed to touch. We had a very fun experience while in Agrigento that day. Well, it was fun for us. A whole group of Japanese tourists were there and when they saw us they just came running up and asking if they could take photos with our family and of the children (The Japanese love little white, blonde headed babies. I can't even begin to count how many Japanese people have pictures of my kids on their cell phones). I didn't know whether to respond in Japanese or Italian, but it was just like we were home in Okinawa. Joseph was thrilled to speak the 5 words of Japanese that he knew to try and impress! When we first got to Okinawa I had such a hard time because anytime someone would speak to me in Japanese I would answer in Italian. It is the only other language I know so that is what would come out. It was funny to have the opposite happen to me while in Italy.

Giusy was off of work the next morning so we went on a walking tour of Palermo. The kids were such troopers. I really didn't know that kids could walk so much in three weeks, but I'm pretty sure they could do a 5k with no problem. This is Giusy and Jessie balancing on the stones in the courtyard of the cathedral in Palermo.

This is a picture of the kids and I standing in front of the door to the apartment that I lived in for 10 months of my mission! I loved walking up to that door and explaining to them that that was where mommy was a missionary. We bought some pizzas from the guy on the corner who had just bought the store when I was there as a missionary. He was still there with his two daughters. We talked and laughed about the old times.
Later than evening we met up at Giusy's mom's house with her two sisters Antonella and Francesca. This is Francesca and her daughter Florinda. We then went back to Giusy and Toto's house where we ate dinner together. It was just like haning out with family!! This is a few of us that were eating that night. I don't know where everyone else was, like my other children, but obviously they were somewhere close by because we still have them today. The boy sitting in between Giusy and Francesca is Riccardo. He is Antonella's oldest son who just happened to be born while I was serving there. Kinda makes me feel a little OLD!!!
Here we are just after church. Giusy's mom and her sister, Antonella (and family) do not belong to our faith, but they came that day and then we all went back to Giusy's for a traditional MONSTER family meal. We were just missing Francesca and Florinda that day. They go to another branch and had church while we were eating. Giusy's mom is such a crack up! She kept calling me "Sorella," which is sister in Italian. She said she just couldn't help it and then she would rattle off some piece of advice that I was supposed to give Jeremy. He was awesome all through this leg of the trip, which really was meant for my enjoyment. He interacted and talked with everyone and, other than the language barrier, felt right at home. It was one of my most cherished experiences with my husband and my children to have them meet and get to know some of the people who are most dear to my heart and the land to which I feel so connected.

The last hotel we stayed in the night before we flew out of Rome wasn't exactly big enough for our family of 5. Jessie still managed to find a place to wash her hands though....maybe I should have had her use the sink....

So, we put Joseph and Janie to sleep in the bed then later moved Joseph out to the couch in the kitchenette. Janie stayed in the bed with us, and Jessie???? Well, someone had to sleep in the closet. We threw some cushions on the floor from the back of the couch, a couple of blankets for a sheet, and pillow and voila! a bed for Jessie! It worked out for most of the night. She only kinda fell out of bed (or the closet) a couple of times.

We made it to the airport by 3:30 am or something like that for our flight heading to Tel Aviv, which will be another post on another day. This has been my longest blogging session by far and it is bed time for me.

Although I loved our whole trip, this probaby was the highlight for me so, thank you Jeremy for surprising me and taking me back!!!


This is kind of like saying "Go Italy." It is something the Italians always say and it seemed an appropriate end to this post.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Birthday Boy!!!

Joseph is six!!! He is so excited. One of the first things he tells everyone is that last Thursday he was five and then on Friday he was six! He had cupcakes at school and then he got to pick what he wanted for dinner. Any guesses???? McDonalds with a twist. We didn't have to eat it there. He wanted to bring it home and eat it on a blanket on the floor in the family room. So that was what we did. He opened a couple of presents from the girls and ate cupcakes that night and then the next day he took a friend to Chuck E Cheese. This is a BIG deal for us as it is an hour and a half away from here. The kids had the time of their lives and it was TOTALLY worth the drive.
Janie gave Joseph this Batman mask that he has been wanting for months and he wore it all that night and the whole next day except for at Chuck E Cheese because we made him take it off and leave it in the car. Here is Batman himself opening his Megatron from Jessie. He told everyone he talked to that he was getting Megatron for his birthday so I sure am glad there was one at Wal-Mart the night before!!Last but not least is the bike!!! When we left Okinawa we left Joseph's bike there because it had been outside for three years and was old and rusty. We promised we'd buy him a new one when we moved. While Jeremy and I were away for a few days this summer Joseph taught himself to ride a bike without training wheels while staying at his grandma and grandpa's house! We decided we'd better get that bike we'd promised him!!! We told him we would get it for his birthday so, after school on his birthday he asked if we could go get his bike. I told him that later that night after daddy got home from work we'd go and look. Jeremy picked the bike up on his way home from work and we put a big red bow on in and parked it on the front porch. While the kids and I were inside Jeremy went out and rang the doorbell, I had Joseph go and get it. He was quite shocked to see a fancy new bike parked there. He had just taken one of his shoes off (we were reading books on the couch) and he said, "Mommy, go get my shoe and my helmet!" Anyway, we spent the next hour or so out in the street riding bikes. He loves it and wants to ride it everyday!!
The other favorite birthday surprise for Joseph was an email he got from his cousins Addison, Logan, and Landon singing "Happy Birthday!" I think we watched that at least 7 times!! Thanks guys!


We had the opportunity to go to a rodeo that was here in town a couple of weeks ago. This was definitely a new experience for us as the kids kept asking us all day when we were going to the 'radio.' The kids had a blast with the pony rides, bouncy castle, food, snacks and friends. We met up with about 5 or 6 other families from our ward and just hung out for the evening. The weather was perfect with just a small breeze, but not cool enough for jackets.

A rodeo wouldn't be a rodeo without a cowboy hat right???

Jessie fell in love with the ponies. In fact, she had quite a meltdown on the way out when we wouldn't buy her a little stuffed pony. I guess she thought that was all a part of the deal. We tried to explain that she got the cowboy hat and a RIDE on a pony, but she was not going to have that. We all got to listen to her sob the whole way home. I don't really remember how we got her to bed, but I DO remember the first thing she asked me when she woke up the next morning. She asked if we could go back to the radio to buy her pony.

I LOVE this picture of Janie. She was excited to ride the pony, but she sure looks skeptical doesn't she? Not quite sure what sort of stunt this guy might pull on her!

All in all it was a fun evening for everyone. The kids (and daddy) have actually decided that they'd like to take up horseback riding after watching the young kids in the rodeo that night.