Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Tag just wanted to wish all of his friends- especially the Wroes in Australia and the Buttimores in England- a very Merry Christmas!

May you and your bears have a very happy holiday and a happy New Year!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Culture Night and The Big Question...

Last night was Culture Night at Tyson's middle school, and kids were encouraged to bring displays for various countries/cultures. We thought it would be a perfect opportunity to share our International Teddy Bear Exchange with our local community.

Tyson worked on his board for several days- we printed off a lot of photos from the blog for him to use, and he did a fantastic job on it!

It was quite serendipitous that he had chosen to put England on the left side of the board, because to the left of us was a table that had been set up with English tea & scones! Mmm...very tasty!

Here's tag with a special little suitcase we made for him. He was happy to meet all of Tyson's classmates and show off the photos of his travels.

One of the more fun parts of Tyson's presentation was this voting opportunity to decide where Tag should go next. We had little slips of paper with teddy bears on them- red dot teddies for Japan, green slash teddies for Africa. The voting was very close, but the winner was...


By just two votes.

So we will be spending the next few months searching for a good host family and making "travel arrangements" (well, buying a nice envelope at least). Can't wait to see what Tag will get to do in Japan!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Tag's Homecoming!

On Saturday we were watching General Conference when Dad came home from helping Uncle Erik with something and he brought a package in with him- it was Tag! Home at last!

Thank you SO much to Amita and Lizzie and the Wroe family for the WONDERFUL goodies you sent back with him! We just loved the keychains, pins, and yummy chocolate (especially those Tim-Tams- reminded us of Kit-Kats only yummier!)

I was going to send some treats back with Koko, but no matter how much googling I did I couldn't figure out what treats we had here in the U.S. that you don't have in Australia. Next time we do this with someone I'm going to take a photo of the candy aisle and ask them to pick something! 

We got Tag settled in with us for the afternoon session of conference. Here Charlotte is sharing some candy corn with him. She was using it as markers on her Conference Bingo board (once you get bingo you get to eat all the candy corn!)

We're getting ready for fall and Halloween, so we got a pic of Tag with one of our jack-o-lantern decorations- see the kangaroo pin we pinned on his shirt? ;-) We are so happy to have him back home with us, and we're so grateful to our Australian friends for taking such good care of him. Hopefully Koko will be home very soon!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Koko's Farewell Party

The weather is turning cooler here, and we decided to take advantage of it for a fun Family Home Evening/Farewell Party for Koko. We thought it would be fun to roast marshmallows in our backyard fire pit and make s'mores! 

While Dad and I prepared the fire and the s'more ingredients, the kids jumped on the trampoline. Teeny took a break to take a photo with Koko.

Koko and Charlotte roasted a marshmallow together.

Audrey and Koko shared a s'more.

Koko's favorite part was the chocolate. :-)

Here he is with a mom-roasted marshmallow. I happen to be awesome at perfectly roasting marshmallows. It's a gift.

Teeny turned into a bit of a sticky mess after hers!

This is after she stuffed the whole thing into her mouth.

Tyson was goofing off and making funny faces with Koko. This is his, "I can't believe it's already time for me to go home!" face.

We've loved having him, and he'll be home shortly (and don't be surprised if he still smells like a campfire!)

We got him all tucked in, along with a few souvenirs. 

These are our sad faces. Some of us are better at sad faces than others. :-)

Everyone gives Koko kisses to last him on his journey across the ocean! He was very tired from such a fun summer and said he'd probably just sleep the whole way. 

Hope he arrives back in your arms safe and sound! Farewell, sweet little Koko!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Meatloaf Yumminess!

We tried your recipe for meatloaf and loved it! Lizzie doesn't look impressed in the picture but she was just at the end of saying 'Cheese' for the camera. She loved the meatloaf so much that she stuffed all of hers into her mouth at once. I didn't post those pictures up because it wasn't pretty! haha ...

 Amita liked hers with some Tomato Sauce (ketchup) on top.

Amita asked for seconds so this one is definitely going into our meal rotation. 

We are all sad to see Tag go but excited to see Koko again. Thankyou for inviting us on this adventure with you. It's been great fun!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Koko Goes to Church

We wanted to make sure Koko got the full church experience with us before we sent him back home to Australia, so this week we brought him to church with us. 

We have 2 wards and 1 branch that meet in our building (which is also the Stake Center), and our meeting is the last one at 1 o'clock. It only takes us about 10 minutes to drive there. We start with Sacrament Meeting, and then Christine goes to nursery and the kids go to Primary- Audrey and Tyson have Sunday School first and Charlotte has Junior Primary Sharing Time/Singing Time. Then in the third hour Charlotte goes to her Sunday School with her class and Tyson and Audrey go to the Senior Primary Sharing Time/Singing Time.

Here is Koko with Teeny and her nursery class. She has the same nursery teacher that her brother and sisters have had, and we all love her! She usually has between 6-8 kids in her nursery class each week.

Here is Charlotte waiting reverently with Koko for Primary opening exercises. She usually has 7 or 8 kids in her CTR 5 class.

Here is Tyson and his good friend Spencer. They are in the Valiant 10/11 class. They have about 6 kids in their class.

And last but not least, Audrey's class! They usually have about 6-7 kids in there.

I would guess we have a little over 50 kids in our Primary. We love them all, and we were so happy that Koko got to meet them. 

I think our next post will be about Koko getting ready to go home- wow, the summer sure did fly by! We will be sad to see him go!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

And Koko Lived Apple-y Ever After...

The weekend before school started (Labor Day weekend here in the U.S.) we decided we needed a little bit more family fun to close out the summer, so we headed out to Charlottesville (about an hour and a half west of where we live) to Carter Mountain Orchard, where we were lucky enough to hit that sweet spot where the end of the summer peach season and the beginning of the fall apple season overlap!

My camera ran out of batteries so we used Dad's iPhone to get these shots- this one from the observation platform is really cool!

Carter Mountain Orchard is up on a mountain (well, what passes for a mountain in Virginia- our friends from Utah like to argue with us about what a mountain really looks like) and it has a beautiful view. If it wasn't so cloudy, you'd be able to see a ridge of mountains off to the left (west) that's the Blue Ridge Mountains.

We started by hiking up another part of the mountain to get to the peach orchard. See that little red building down at the bottom? That's the barn where we parked. It was quite a hike! Koko hitched a ride in Tyson's waist pack. His little furry legs couldn't handle all that walking.

Here's Charlotte reaching up HIGH for a big, fat, ripe peach!

Dad helps Teeny get one too.

Once we'd gotten our peaches, we headed back down the hill for apples. 

Audrey's doing the ol' twist-and-PULL!

Peekaboo! Charlotte, we see you!

The gang takes a break from all the hard labor so we can take a picture.

Crazy Koko! What's he doing up in that tree? I think he's getting an apple...

A beautiful day in Virginia!

And as a special bonus, a video!

Hope you enjoyed our day at the orchard!

Friday, September 11, 2015

ANOTHER Birthday!

Lucky us, we got to celebrate not just one, but TWO birthdays with Koko! Charlotte celebrated her 6th birthday on September 2nd, and we had a wonderful time celebrating with her.

A photo of the very silly birthday girl. You can see our backyard behind her- we're very lucky that it's very big!

Tyson is helping Charlotte with a present- he got her some princess accessories.

She stops during present opening for a picture with Koko.

Remember how Teeny got a little squirrel family for her birthday? Well, Charlotte enjoyed playing with it so much that she asked for more fun things to go with the squirrel family, so they got a doctor's office set. Koko watched (and held on to a piece and wore a pink clip on his ear) as they got it all set up.

All the kids and Koko had fun playing with it with Charlotte.

This was Charlotte's birthday dinner as per her request: a baked potato with cauliflower, carrots, broccoli & homemade cheddar cheese sauce; peas; and edamame (soy beans in the pod). This girl sure does love her vegetables!

She licks her lips in anticipation...

Here she is with her pile of empty edamame pods. She ate all the ones on her plate plus two more helpings. That girl would eat edamame for every meal if I let her!

Tyson, Audrey, and Teeny work on decorating Charlotte's cake. Charlotte asked for a chocolate cake with chocolate icing, with M&Ms and candy pearls on top.

The finished product!

Chocolate cake and chocolate ice cream! Koko liked both.

And so did everybody else!

Like Teeny's chocolate beard? (and our wiry mess in the background? LOL!)