Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Time for A New Blog

Fox and Amy are no longer in Japan. If you need to get a hold of them, or read their ramblings, or view pictures of their latest children/activities, please visit:

Fox and Amy in Utah

Creative new title, isn't it? Sorry we are making everyone change their links for our family blog, but we look forward to reading your comments at the new, more appropriately-titled one!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Sayonara, Japan!

Fox and Amy are no longer in Japan! We are now in Logan, Utah, where Fox will be going to school full-time and teaching part-time at Utah State University. Our journey back to the United States was long. China Airlines has gross food and doesn't let people with kids board first. But way to go on hosting the Olympics!

We are so glad to be back in the U.S. with its cheap produce and large streets. Here's a little update on each of us:

Cash is still adjusting and has not been sleeping well. He spends his days at the park across the street, coloring, reading, or terrorizing the cats. Today, he pulled Jubilee's tail and then immediately put himself in time-out, smiling the whole time. He's been eating more than ever and actually loves broccoli now. I'm amazed! We are in the process of figuring out which type of diapers work for him. We've tried a couple brands. One had fragrance in it, which made his legs break out. The other was cheap and not absorbent, so he got a bad diaper rash. Time to potty learn!

Fox has spent this last week in orientation and is really enjoying USU campus. He will be teaching a freshman English class at 7:30 am! Luckily, we live just a few blocks from campus. He is loving not having to duck under doorways. Also, he discovered that the Logan library has a plethora of graphic novels, much to his delight!

I discovered that the Logan library does not check out magazines, so it's a good thing that I no longer have my magazine addiction. I am loving Logan. Everything is on Main Street. We are within a 5 minute drive of anywhere we need to go. Also, there is a great farmer's market on Saturdays. I had my first doctor's appointment today and really like my doctor. Everything is going well with my pregnancy. Did I mention that there is a huge park across the street? It's so fun to spend the hour before Cash's bedtime just playing at the park.

Kelsy has been here with us for two weeks, and she's been spoiling me with service! She moves to her new place tomorrow, and it's right around the block. It is so nice to have her so close.

We are really glad to be back, although we really miss the people we got to know in Japan. I guess we'll have to rename this blog!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Japanese Summer Fashions

This past week, we've been able to embrace some traditional Japanese summer fashions!

Japan has a ton of summer festivals (matsuris). Since it is so hot and humid, the ladies can't dress up in their usual heavy kimonos, so they wear yukatas, kimonos made of light cotton fabric.
Here is Fox with his student Sachie, who is on her way to a yukata beauty pageant. Isn't she gorgeous?

After the pageant, Sachie gave Cash this cute jinbei. Jinbeis are kind of like pajamas and are more popular with children, but we did see several teenage girls wearing theirs at a nearby festival.

Cash and Miyuu looking super kawaii! Well, at least Miyuu--Cash looks kind of weird with his mouth full of popsicle.

Fox's student, Seiko, presented me with this beautiful yukata when we had lunch at her home the other day. Seiko and her mother dressed me in it. I was so excited! Unfortunately, having a tight obi around a pregnant belly isn't the most comfortable thing in the world.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Looking Forward To...

A ton of people have asked us what we're looking forward to when we get back. So, without further adieu, here's our list:

-- Whole wheat bread that has more than five slices a loaf. Heck, any whole grains! One can only eat so much white rice.
-- Two-way streets that are actually wide enough for two cars with no risk of driving into a rice paddy.
-- Clothes that fit! Fox is a 4 XL here and has to shop at a King size store. I am barely squeezing into a large and am out of luck when it comes to shoes.
-- Libraries with books in English!
-- Ice cream in a flavor other than vanilla and chocolate.
-- Boca burgers. Pickles. American cheese. Chocolate soymilk. Watermelon. Basically all of the foods we haven't been able to eat in quite a while.
-- Little conversations. I am excited to actually know what a store clerk is saying to me, rather than just having to nod my head and hope that she asked a yes or no question.
-- Our kitties!
-- Our piano (okay, it's an electric keyboard, but it's still cool).
-- Fox is looking forward to watching Dark Knight. The last time we went to a movie was "Stardust" last August, which was actually our last date, I think.
-- Fox is also looking forward to high ceilings. He has head trauma and a stooped back from our low doorways.
-- A full size stove, refrigerator, bed, washer...basically we're looking forward to gargantuan American portion sizing!
-- And of course, our family and friends! Four of my friends and one of my sisters have had babies, and I'm so excited to meet them all. I'm also excited to have everyone see Cash. He really thrives around being with a lot of people, and he's been stuck at home with his mom most of the time.

Despite the length of this list, there is a ton of stuff we will miss, but that's for another post. Maybe when we start missing it!

Getting Ready to Leave

We have two days left in Japan...and we aren't packed. Yikes! We're getting there, though. This week has been so busy. We've been working extra during summer special classes, as well as training the new teachers. On top of that, we are trying to keep the house clean and keep the bags packed, which is hard to do with curious Cash getting into everything. We've been able to visit with a lot of our students, which is fun but also very time-consuming!
We will leave Marugame at 6:30 am on Friday, take a 4 hour bus ride to the Kansai airport, and fly to Beijing for a 5 hour layover! We leave Beijing at 10 pm and arrive in LA at 6 pm! Crazy! Fox and I are both really anxious about traveling with a crazy toddler and hope that all of the new sights and sounds of travel will keep him occupied for a little while.
So, family, we will see you soon! Thank you for all of the love and support (and the care packages--without which, we would have died!) you've given us while we've been away. It's been an amazing year!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Our Trip to Matsuyama

Today was Marine Day in Japan, a day to give thanks for the blessings of the sea. Since we had the day off, we decided to go to Matsuyama, the largest city in Shikoku, with our friends, the Bests.
We first went to the Tobe Zoo, which was so nice. There were so many baby animals. Here's Cash checking out the hot and tired creatures...

such as this one:

Look at the size of those teeth. Yikes!

A mama monkey just hanging out with her baby, who is very latched on:

After the zoo, we ate at a department store and then headed over to Dogo Onsen, Japan's oldest and most famous bathhouse.

Yep, that's nude public baths we're talking about, people. This particular onsen was the inspiration for the famous anime Spirited Away. Fox frequents onsens, but I had never been to one. It was definitely an interesting experience--not so much the nudity as sitting in a hot tub in the middle of summer! After your bath, you change into a cotton robe and go to a huge tatami room, where you are served tea and cookies. It's a time to rest and relax...but beware of the toddler toppling over teacups and stealing snacks!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Boy or Girl? Part II

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Yay! Fox called it (again), and I had dreams about boys (again--with Cash, I had dreams of girls). We are very excited to be able to finally use our girl name, and she'll have a Japanese middle name, although we're not sure which name yet. There are some very beautiful names in Japan. Today was our last doctor's visit in a foreign country for now. It has been a very interesting experience. As we got our ultrasound today, our doctor said, "Hmm...penis nai. Onanoko!" (Hmm..No penis. Girl!) I will definitely miss racking my brain's limited Japanese to figure out what my doctor just told me.

Here I am at 5 months along and sweating uncontrollably in this humidity. Do you see the length of my hair?! You won't see this length on me again, unless we move to Alaska. I am waiting for Fox to go to Texas for a week, and then I'm getting it cut. Don't tell!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Coloring Time

My two "children" got into the markers and seemed to enjoy themselves.

Oh, Daddy, I love coloring with you....

except when you color on me!

Sunday, July 6, 2008


Today is Tanabata in Japan. It is the Star Festival held on the seventh day of the seventh month every year. It is believed that on this day each year, the stars Altair and Vega, lovers separated by the Milky Way, come into alignment and are finally allowed to be together for one night. It is also believed that any wish you make on this day will come true. You write your wish on a strip of paper, called tanzaku, and hang it from a bamboo tree. All around our city, their are wishes hanging up in local businesses. It's so neat!
So, today, Cash and I went to a Tanabata party at WaHaHa, the local playgroup. We learned the lovers' story, sang the Tanabata song, and ate cucumbers, the official vegetable of summer and Tanabata! It was really fun.
A wishing tree:

Cash helps to sing the Tanabata song:

Kids traveling through the "river of stars" (aka a streamer Milky Way):

And finally, here's a short video of singing time. The woman next to me is Kumiko, holding her son Kaichi. Kumiko is my translator at baby group--her English is excellent! She is due with her second baby a few weeks before me. Cash was wandering around by this point:

Friday, June 27, 2008

Rice Planting Time

All around our area, the local farmers are planting their rice. The rice is implanted as a little shoot from a machine that looks like a riding mower that distributes the shoots evenly. Here is the newly planted rice behind our house:

Just a week before, this field was full of onions bursting from the ground. They were harvested and hung to dry in the farmer's shed. We've been able to eat some freshly picked onions, and they are so crisp and delicious!

I'm not sure how long these will hang here, but it's fun to walk by and get a huge whiff of onion. I can't believe I just said that--with my last pregnancy, I avoided onions the entire time. This time, I love them!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Practicing English

We are the only white people in our neighborhood, as far as we know, so we get a lot of attention when we are out in public. Children and adults alike will literally follow us around when we do our grocery shopping. The kids usually yell out "Gaijin?!" which basically means "white person", which they don't see a lot of on this small island of Shikoku. Our neighbors are really nice and always try to talk to us in the little English that they know. The elementary students that see us in passing usually yell out "Hello!" and "How are you?" and then giggle hysterically with their friends. They get a big kick out of practicing their English.
Well, yesterday, Cash and I were walking around our neighborhood and were passing some 6th grade boys coming home from school on their bikes. One of the boys started staring at us, so I figured he would say hello. Out of nowhere, he yells, "This is a pen!" (No pens in sight, mind you. The boys were just riding along.) And then of course, he and his friend started laughing and peddled away. It was so random, but, hey, way to go for practicing your English on a gaijin!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Breakfast Lover

The only foods Cash shows any enthusiasm for now are breakfast foods (and curry rice--this boy can eat his weight in that!). He is so happy with a bowl of oatmeal for dinner, as shown above. He's also a big fan of scrambled eggs, pancakes, smoothies, and yogurt. What happened to the little boy who would happily gobble down spaghetti, rice, soup, and beans? I hope he comes back!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Boy or Girl? It's A...

Mystery! After waiting almost two hours to see the doctor this morning, we went into the ultrasound room very excited to learn the sex of our baby. Unfortunately, little one did not want to reveal the mystery! The doctor couldn't say for certain whether it was a boy or a girl. Oh, well--there's always next month...or November! The baby is growing well, and I'm feeling great. I haven't gained weight this month, though, which I attribute to the fact that Cash and I go on walks at least two times a day. Despite that, the baby is measuring a week ahead, which is good. So, we'll see if we can find out next month, and I'll try to post the ultrasound pictures later to see if maybe you can tell.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Happy Father's Day, Fox!

Today is Father's Day in Japan. It's tomorrow for my own dad, so I didn't forget him! Below is a little montage (okay, it's 5 minutes--so kind of not little) I put together for Fox. He is such a great dad, and Cash loves him to pieces. Fox really takes time to play with Cash, even if he only has a few minutes between classes. He really loves his little guy, and it shows. They are always so happy to be together, constantly giggling and squealing. It's so amazing to watch. Happy Father's Day, Fox! We love you!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Why Japanese People Don't Get Fat

Fox ordered dessert at a local restaurant, and this is what he got.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Shikoku Mura

Last week, we went with a couple of our friends to Shikoku Mura in Takamatsu. Shikoku Mura is a historical site featuring original Japanese farmhouses dating from the 1800's and earlier. The farmhouses and building were taken from all around different sites in Shikoku, so that you can get a feel of which area used which architecture. It was really interesting tos ee all of the old, original buildings, but honestly, I just went for the vine bridge!

Fox, Cash, and Fox's friend Takagi-san behind him on the awesome vine bridge:

A sugar-cane press hut:

There were so many steps and crevices that Cash was in the backpack most of the time. He was very happy to be let out occasionally!

Cash staring at all of the soy sauce storage bottles, standing in front of a soy sauce factory.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cash's First Haircut

Cash's curls were getting a little out of control, so I decided to take scissors into my own hands and give him a little trim.
Rocking out hippy baby:

I don't like the preppy look!

Well, I guess it's okay.

Ahem, notice how there are no pictures of the back of his head? It doesn't look too bad, but this was my first time cutting a squirmy toddler's hair. Practice makes perfect!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Japanese Office

I am a huge fan of the Office. It took me until this year to get into the US version, because I really loved the British version. My brother David and I watched the whole series one summer and just cracked up. ("Will there ever be a boy born who can swim faster than a shark?"--remember, Dave?) The U.S. version is actually alot better--way more wholesome. But, did you know there is a Japanese version? Check it out!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Your KitKat Fix!

Okay, it was KitKats! No, it's not KitKat soda. It's just a few KitKats in a can. We got a kick out of it!
There is a drink called "Pocari Sweat" here. Yep, sweat water. It's like a vitamin-enhanced water, and it's actually pretty good. Does anyone want to drink Sweat? We can bring some back!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Vending Machine Love

One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just doesn't belong. Can you tell?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Cash was tagged by Ellie (aka the future Mrs. Ellison Ellis)

Ten Facts about Cash:
1.) Cash loves to help in the kitchen. He especially loves to suck on the salt shaker (no, I don't let him!) and play with the measuring spoons. Here he is helping me make bread:

2.) Cash loves dogs but doesn't like them up close. He loves to see them from a distance but hates petting them. Strange.

3.) Cash is very precise about his morning ritual. He wakes up at 5:50 am, has a banana, and then watches his Animal Adventures DVD. Don't freak out, Mom--it's a short video of classical music over a tour of the San Diego Zoo. He loves it, especially the butterfly area. If we try to alter the routine, he will point to his banana and the DVD.

4.) This boy loves to be outside. Here he is helping me in the garden.

5.) Cash loves music, especially "Little Bunny Foo Foo" and "One Little Finger". He is a sucker for Leann Rimes.

6.) Cash loves to read. His favorite books are "Baby Faces" from Grandma Joan and "Baby Sports" from Grandma Betty. They are tiny books featuring pictures of babies.

7.) This is funny, but Cash loves to lay down. He will be playing and then just lay down out of nowhere and continue playing.

8.) Cash has six teeth and is getting another molar and tooth as we speak.

9.) Cash loves pebbles. He will get a rock from our yard and hold it in his hand the whole time he is outside. I think he takes after my dad this way--a relaxation thing.

10.) He also loves girls! He will pat them on the back and hug them. Here he is giving a "love pebble" to another baby he met in Kyoto. He followed this girl down the pathway for about fifty yards. She rebuffed him, poor guy.

Cash tags: Shayla, Isaiah, Asher, Ava, and Graysen. Share 10 Facts!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Our Trip to Kyoto

We have a week off, so this week we decided to go to Kyoto for a few days. Our trip started on Wednesday, with an early morning, 4 hour ferry ride and an hour train ride to get to the Kyoto station. The station has 15 floors, so we got lost right away! We finally found our hotel after a while and decided to walk to Nijo-jo, a famous castle. It looked close on the map but ended up being a forty-minute walk.

Here we are in front of Nijo-jo. It's famous for it's nightingale floors, which are floors designed to squeak at every step to reveal any sneaking intruders upon the castle. Cash was light enough that the floors didn't squeak as he ran around the castle, so you're doomed if someone sics a baby assassin on you!

On Thursday, we headed to Kinkakuji, the Golden Temple. This place was packed with tourists, most of them from different European countries. The temple is covered in gold leaf and is in the middle of a beautiful landscape.

From there, we walked to Ryoan-ji, which is famous for its Zen rock garden. Cash tries to find enlightenment while sitting in a wet diaper--kind of tricky.

After that, we headed up Teacup Lane, which is a steep climb to Kiyomizudera. The lane is famous for making and selling special pottery. It's near to Gion, a famous district known for geisha teahouses. We spotted some elusive geisha on their way there.

This is Kyomizudera, a famous temple that has an amazing view of the city.

The crowd lines up for the healing waters that flow from the temple's waterfall.

Fox gets a taste of the healing water.

What makes this my favorite spot: Ice cream! I got a kinako (toasted soybean) flavor cone that was served with an edible cinnamon spoon. So yummy! The other flavors are black sesame, green tea, vanilla, and cherry blossom.

Our last spot was Ryozen Kannon, such a beautiful spot that the guidebooks don't mention often. It is a memorial to all of the Japanese soldiers who died in World War 2.

On Friday, we left Kyoto to explore Kobe and then got home last night. Cash did so great on the long ferry ride, thanks to the children's playroom they had. Here we are on the ferry as it nears the Akashi-ohashi bride, the longest suspension bridge in Japan.

We had a great time and were so happy to get off of our small island for a while. Big cities are so much fun after living so long in a rural area.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Manno Park

On Monday, we went to Manno Park, a huge park about fifteen minutes from our house. It was so big and beautiful! We don't see a ton of wide open space here, so it was nice. The park has fountains, huge rolling slides, a field where you can rent earth balls, gardens and a jumping pod. Our camera died about fifteen minutes after we got there, but here are some shots we were able to catch.
The jumping pod--not just for kids!

Fox and Cash jumping:

Enjoying the sun--it was the first day Cash was able to wear shorts this year!

The rolling slides from a distance. I didn't go on them, so as not to dislodge the fetus, but Fox did...and well, let's just say Fox doesn't have a lot of rear padding so he was in a bit of pain!