Oct 26, 2012

Old Macdonald's Farm

With only 5 days til Halloween, we Finally made it to the Pumpkin Patch! We rounded up some pals and headed out to Old Macdonald's Farm! It was our first time and the kids loved it! It was a different type of Pumpkin patch than we were used to. Yes, it still had a petting zoo, horsey rides and pumpkins, but it wasn't a real pumpkin patch. Everyday the pumpkins are brought in by the pallet and set out on hay bales. Weird i know! Whatever, the kids didn't notice so we didn't say anything!
Ava found a friend in "brouhaha"

Jag found some food friends too!

Enjoying the mechanical bull

Jayden and Ava running the Hay Maze!

Lil Pumpkin
We have been so busy trying to get settled into our new house that i am way behind on blogging! I promise I will write more soon, til then- enjoy some major cuteness from today!

Sep 8, 2012

Moving, Kindergarten, Surgery,Walking, leaving, oh my!

Whew! What a whirlwind our lives have been since the kids and I arrived back in Arizona 3 weeks ago! I think i have sat down for 4.3 minutes. total. While Ava, jag and I were having fun in Oregon, Brian was here in Phoenix, {not having fun in the 115 degree heat} having MRI's, X-Rays, Arthograms, doctor's appointments, and so on and so forth! In between all of that mumbo jumbo, he had some time to house hunt. He actually put an offer in on one before I arrived home. Let me tell ya, either the photos of that house on Zillow were back in the glory days or someone should be arrested for false advertising. ha! lets just Thank God we were still inside our "ten day" period and were able to cancel that contract stat! (sorry brian)! It didn't take long for him to redeem himself, the very next day we looked at some others and found our future HOME! yay!! Buying a house aint easy folks, it's A LOT of work, driving around & providing ALL of our personal information. like everything. (I hope that none of these people are identity thieves or we're SOL)! I am saying this like we're 1st time buyers. We aren't. This is not our first rodeo, but for some reason 6 years and 2 kids later I am a completely different  buyer. I think we might have learned a thing or two the 1st time. Thank Goodness. Not getting an ARM is the 1st rule. (paying 9% interest in 2008 wasn't very fun or good for my saving strategy). Anyways, we have dotted the i's and crossed the t's and are on our way to a new address in a couple weeks! In the meantime, we have moved out of the condo we were renting and into our good friend's {donnie, paige & Liam) house til we close. This house is about 2 miles from our future home and much closer to Averie's school than the condo was! (I think that i have a passion for moving, but i just don't know it yet. I mean who wouldn't choose to move 2x in a 4 week period in August in Phoenix?) Okay, so now back to my blog title- I think I've covered the "moving" part and now onto something more exciting-KINDERGARTEN!!! Averie started Kindergarten last week and totally loves it! She has a fabulous teacher who is much more like a mama than a teacher. (it's a good thing). Mrs. White is so awesome we just love her. When she told me she hugs the kids all day long I was sold. Once we are moved {n the weather cools off} we can walk Averie to and from school each day! She'll probably ride her bike along side us! I went my first PTO meeting and plan to be involved as much as possible. (i really just want to be able to stalk averie volunteer in the classroom)! Ava sits at a table with Ada and Tallulah and they have become fast friends!! Ada was in pre K with Ava last year, so it was great to go into class knowing someone! School is from 845-315 so she has long days, but has adjusted better than I have.
Brian finally had surgery on August 28th and it went well. Dr. Lee shaved a bone spur, cleaned out some floaties and cauterized inflammation. It's still swollen and tender, but hopefully after some rehab it will be stronger and better than ever. He has his stitches removed on monday and a final check before he heads back to Japan. :( Yup, he has to go back (the team still owns him) to rehab and hopefully be better enough to play if the team makes the play offs. The carp are in 3rd place and the top 3 teams go on to play post season. It's pretty exciting because they haven't made play offs in like 100 20 years. Of course it would be a lot more exciting if Brian was healthy, but he isn't. that's life. :)
In other exciting news, Baby Jagger started walking TONIGHT! {14 months & 1 day} He just stood up with no help and walked across the room. Of course we all started screaming and freaking out so he instantly sat down! I did get my camera out and video a few steps to share!!There isn't a whole lot that is cuter than a baby learning to walk! He was wobbly and giddy, we couldn't stop smiling! As fun as this new milestone is for him and us, it's just another step in growing up which I am trying HARD not to let him do. I probably baby him more than I should and I might regret it in a couple years. but you know what. oh well.
Also want to send a Shout Out  (pretty sure that was the first time i have ever sent a shout out) to my dad! He celebrated his birthday yesterday!! Happy Birthday to the worlds best daddy & papa!!! LOVE you!!!
1st day of school!

My boys!

Jag walking!!! 14 months & 1 Day!!!

Aug 2, 2012

Why Hello there USA!

Well, we finally said "sayonara" to Hiroshima on July 29th….it was a bittersweet (mostly sweet) day for us Bardens! The kids and I were already planning on coming back to America sometime early-mid August (to see family,{mainly my Grandma (gigi) Maryann who isn't doing well}) and then Brian made the executive decision to have elbow surgery, so he joined us for most of the trek home! Right now Ava, Jag and I are in Oregon visiting family (we got to spend some quality time with Gigi and it was great, can't wait to see her again tomorrow), playing outside in the near perfect weather and enjoying the soft, lush grass…meanwhile Brian is in Phoenix awaiting his doctor's appointment tomorrow to schedule his surgery! Lets all pray that it's just a "cleaning" out of bone spurs and he will be on his way to a speedy rehab soon! thanks!
Ava & Chica- both on cloud 9!
25 and a half hours, 4 flights, 16 hour time change and MAJOR jet LAG= some pretty awesome children! No joke, we left our apartment around noon on Sunday (29th) in a cab headed for the Hiroshima Airport- boarded a flight to Tokyo-killed some time in the airport with our Favorite Carp employee-Noma-boarded a HUGE A380 to Los Angeles- 9 or so hours later we landed in LA, cleared immigration and customs and boarded a shuttle to another terminal to re-check in and wait for our next flight! At this time, Brian went to his own terminal and boarded his flight directly to Phoenix :( boo. Our 3rd flight for the trip was a quickie to San Fran….where we sat patiently for over 4 hours and anxiously awaited out 4th and final flight to REDMOND! Woo HOO! By this time I was pretty much done for and worthless but none the less, excited to see Mom and dad and even more excited for them to see Averie and Jagger! All in all the travel wasn't that bad and by adding an extra stop to our itinerary and flying Singapore Air rather than United I saved a bunch of money and bought a new lens! ha! By the way, I HIGHLY recommend flying Singapore Air over United Airlines when flying to Asia any day- They had amazing customer service, beautiful flight attendants, great food, awesome seats and the price was right too! Well, its 1:47 am and I am going to make myself go to sleep (adjusting to this time change is no easy feat)! Goodnight and sweet dreams. God Bless! xxoo
Saying Goodbye to Noma at Narita Airport! (We really miss her)!

Ava & Moppy ready to cross the pond!

About 2 hours in….zzzz

Lucky Jag, got greeted Good Morning by these two beauties!
Helping Nana water her hanging basket-

Ranch life is hard work!

Ava loves her Nana!

and her papa!

Jul 10, 2012

July Seventh-My baby is 1!

 Jagger is one! Whoa, did I just say that? Of course, Brian was out of town, so we haven't really celebrated yet- but I did snap some pictures of Jagger on his actual day of birth!! We plan on having a small party here this week and will throw him a well deserved 1st Birthday Bash at home in Oregon next month!!



Jun 19, 2012

This and that and the rest of the story.

Hi. Jagger's nappin' and Ava's glued to some Olivia right now, so I have time to blog a bit! Well, as you probably know, we are still here in Hiroshima! Brian's elbow is good enough to play on for the time being, so he is working at a come back and will most likely have his elbow cleaned up once we get home! Prayers for being able to play the rest of the season! He is gone right now on a road trip and its a little strange to have him gone! We haven't spent a night apart since we arrived in Japan over 3 months ago! Crazy to say that during a baseball season!! haha!
It's rainy season here now and supposedly we had a "typhoon" yesterday! It just looked like heavy rain to me! Averie is doing wonderful! She is itching to go Oregon and see her cousins...they Skype from time to time, but it's not the same! She has been spoiled the last 3 years by getting to spend about 1 month at Nana's house each summer...so why should this year be any different? Well it's not quite so handy to hop on a plane from Japan! We are going to try to make it happen tho...even if that means flying back here after! Jagger is doing something new almost every day it seems! He now crawls "normal" with his belly off the floor, waves bye-bye and is getting pretty good at flash cards!! Such a smart baby boy! He has a little cold now- feels better, just has this nasty lingering cough- hope it goes away soon! I am doing swell! Nothing noteworthy to report about myself so I will just leave it at that!  Enjoy some new Pictures from our adventures  overseas! xoxo
View from our Balcony at dusk!

Rainy Season is here!

lost in translation...I hope!

We didn't have beer and human, but the iced Americano in a mason jar was pretty darn tasty!

my boys

Love this little boo-boo doll! (one if his many nicknames)

Safe to say Japan likes their produce BIG! (green onions and daikon)

Bran Flakes anyone?

Japanese style- in a salad.....they also like them in their ice-cream!

What's a trip to the supermarket without picking up some frozen octopus?!


Jun 10, 2012

time.

How is it already June 10th of the year two thousand and twelve?! What the heck, where did the first 11 years of the "new millennium" go? Crazy to think that Brian and I met 12 years ago this month! What? You mean I am no longer a "twenty something"? Doesn't seem possible that I am closer to 31 than 29 and that my "new baby boy" is going to be a year old in 27 days. My mind is baffled almost everyday when I am reminded {by something as small as looking at my kids} of the speed of life. If I had one wish, it would be to slow it down. 
My wonderful Grandma Maryann or "gigi" as Averie calls her has had a lot of changes the past few months and she is a constant reminder that our time as earthlings is like a blink of an eye! She has lived 91 great years, but that doesn't make it any easier or validate the fact that she could be on her last one as I type. She has macular degeneration and is almost blind, but her mind is about as sharp as always!  I pray each night that God will restore her vision just for a day, week, month or even an hour so she could really see what Jagger's face looks like, play a fun game of cards on her own or do the crossword puzzle in Star Magazine (her favorite)! Gigi we miss you!! 
Anyways, I have come to the conclusion that I cannot slow down time, rather just enjoy each and every second I am here, and sometimes I forget to do that too! I am human after all. Some days I am so worried about taking enough pictures etc, that my camera or (iPhone most days) gets in the way of some fun play time. I try to snap a few pics or videos and then put the camera down til nap time! (still working on it though)!
Averie rec'd a fun bible study from her Auntie Sas for her birthday and we try to read a couple per week and do a craft that coincides the lesson. This week was an extra fun one! The lesson was about control and the craft, titled "Slippery Goo" was about things we can't control. It was a super, fun, easy thing and Averie loved it almost as much as I did! We were "awed" at what we saw!! (Be sure to watch the Video below)!
It's getting HOT in Herr!! lol- {circa college days 2002.} and by "hot" what I really mean is Humid, sultry, sticky and not too sweet! I don't think my deodorant works in Hiroshima, and I am not the only one who has that same complaint! The daily high's are around 80 but feel much warmer due to the humidity! [shouldn't I be used to the heat (phoenix) and we didn't exactly play for teams in the dry-lands (St Louis, Memphis, Miami, New Orleans, Round Rock)]!! Oh well, with moist air comes great skin and not so great hair so if you see me sporting the "bun-bow" you will know why! haha! 
We had a fun week- started off with a family trip to Fukuoka to go to Costco! After it was all said and done, not so sure it was worth it! Here's the breakdown--
*Hiroshima to Fukuoka- 1 hour on the Shinkansen (bullet train) $275.00 (each way)
*Local train- 20 minutes-$10.00 each way
*Taxi from the last train station to Costco-- $20.00 each way
*Costco-$400.00 (and they didn't carry about half the items on my list- Crystal light, Kirkland peanut butter, greek yogurt, coffee creamer, etc)
*Shipping the food from Costco back to Hiroshima- $30.00 (we can't take ground beef & mickey mouse nuggets in the diaper bag)!
*The fact that this Costco in Japan has almost the SAME EXACT food court as the Costco in America- PRICELESS! 
Also, some friends we played with in the Memphis/Cardinals days finally arrived! Nick (stavinoha) has been here all year, but his wife and 2 daughters arrived the end of May! It was so wonderful to see some familiar faces and catch up with Casey after a few years of not seeing her! Brian is practicing but thinks he will eventually have to fly back to Arizona, have surgery and return to Japan to rehab. This year has been strange- hopefully he can get his elbow repaired and continue playing asap!!! Averie went to a birthday party on Saturday, Hello Kitty was the theme-so very fitting! It was a fun time and all of the little girls were adorable! Ericka made some yummy food and all of the kids had fun!
Here are some pics of that and a few others from the week! They are all off of my phone, so excuse the quality! 
Peace!
We both enjoy the view!

So nice to see some old friends in Japan!

tried out the Bow-Bun! loved it!

demonstrating how we can't control the goo!


the chips actually have cheese on them...flavor burst for sure!


Ava's bow bun was cuter than mine!!

Brian took Jag to the Carp game!

Ava at her first birthday party in japan!

Isabella and Averie at the Hello Kitty themed party!

Breast Cancer Awareness at the Carp game! "what would they do if I sucked on it?"





May 25, 2012

My favorite Corn!

Citi Field in NYC, home of the Mets, has the BEST corn on the cob! If you get a chance to go there, head out to the food court area in center field and try the street tacos and corn! You won't be regretting it, as it's one of the best ballpark foods I have tried, and believe me, I have tried a lot!
So, anyways now that I am a world away from NYC what's a girl to do when that "corn craving" comes calling? Re-create it, that's what!! Using canned corn I satisfied my craving and can't wait to make it with fresh corn once we get back!

Saute- {over med heat}
1 tsp olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic-minced
1/4 onion minced

Just cook a few minutes until fragrant. 

Add-
2 cans {drained} corn
sprinkle with a generous amount of fresh cracked salt and pepper

After corn is heated and turning a little brown stir in a few tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese!

Sprinkle a dash of cayenne pepper and squeeze a little lime juice on top before eating! devouring :)

the parmesan cheese totally makes this dish!!






May 19, 2012

hi.

Hi.
We are surviving Japan! By surviving I mean that we are hanging in there during these most boring of days, but are counting our blessings that we are getting so much family time together!! The weather is awesome right now, couldn't ask for anything nicer, well except maybe a little less "haze" or whatever that stuff is from China that turns our blue sky gray! We have been doing a lot of bike riding and are getting to see different parts of the city, so that is very fun! Brian surprised me for Mother's day and took us all to Kyoto for the night! It was a very fun trip! Just great to have a change of scenery and of course, Averie loved it- if she had her way, we would live in a hotel! Kyoto is an old Japanese City that is famous for its many temples and shrines and I had always heard it was a must see destination! So, since I am a photographer and a picture lover...what do you think I went and did? Oh ya, you guessed it- LEFT MY CAMERA AT HOME! Not just the DSLR, but the point and shoot too! I think I am the first person to visit Kyoto with no camera! At least i phone has a decent one, so i took some with that!
Kyoto is about a 2 hr train ride North from Hiroshima and we stayed at a hotel that was connected to the Kyoto train station, so that was nice and handy! The hotel was very nice and had an indoor pool...yippee, we all get to go swimming.....NOPE- Kids are only allowed in the pool until 9 am and they have to be 3 years old. Bummer! Strange Japanese rules...So Daddy took Averie while Jagger napped and I got ready in the room!! After swimming, we went to breakfast at a place Averie had spotted the previous night when we first got off the train- "Honey Bees"! We had some delish waffles that were covered in ice-cream, whip cream, cheesecake, chocolate bananas and strawberries! More of a dessert really, but anything goes on "vacation" right?! We walked around the Gion district which was famous for its Geisha girls and ate at a little (curry udon) noodle shop that is somewhat famous I guess-I wasn't a fan but I am happy I tried it once! We also went to Sanjusangendo Temple. Inside are 1001 Buddhist Statues- the whole Buddha thing is very interesting! I don't think I will be converting religions anytime soon :) i LOVE my GOD!!! 
We had a pretty uneventful week this week- brian had a bone scan to see if it's bone spurs that are bothering his elbow so bad, and turns out it is! We are waiting on a doc in the US to find out if he should get surgery- hopefully we will know soon :)
Hope you all had a Great weekend! xo








May 8, 2012

Milestones. Kids. LOVE

So...I was just cruising through my friend Amanda's blog (she hasn't updated it since November 2010) and I realized how much I am lacking in my own! I get busy posting so much about some things and forget to blog about little things that are important too- like milestones of the kids!! So, here ya go- as of May 8th, 2012 here is what my littles are up/in to~!
Averie Tyler Barden
5 years 3 months old
Kindergarten drop out. Takes after me.
Dancer Extraordinaire- especially interpretive/modern.
Fabulous Artist- Colors and draws me enough masterpieces for the whole house!
Great little chef- loves to concoct her own sauces, cakes, etc! She is actually very good at this! makes some tasty treats all on her own!
great big sister. loves jagger so much and is always eager to help out with him when I need it!
Needs something sweet after {almost} every meal. must take after yours truly.
loves to answer the house phone, especially when it's the taxi driver calling up and speaking Japanese.
Has more sassiness than any of us know what to do with.
Has a bigger heart than any of us knows what to do with.
Pink & Purple are her favorite colors.
Mr. Dog is her favorite book.
Strawberries are her favorite fruit.
Goldfish are her favorite snack.
Joe Bajenaru is her best friend.
Martha Speaks is her favorite cartoon.
Loves Jesus.  
She wants a kitten so bad I can almost taste it :(!
She wants to be a vet when she grows up!
Playing outside with Chica is her favorite thing to do!
Loves to be silly and Loves to wrestle and rough house with daddy.

Jagger West Barden
10 months 1 day 
Total mama's boy. But Loves his daddy just as much.
Army Crawler. Has yet to lift that tummy off of the ground!
Loves to be praised. 
Waves Hello or goodbye. When he feels like it.
Finally refused a food. Blueberries.
Loves pancakes for breakfast.
Always wakes up Happy. Always.
Drinks Water like it's going out of style. Prefers it from a cup and straw.
Belly laughs for Sister.
Has 6 teeth| 2 on top, 4 on bottom.
Doesn't sleep well in my bed.
Still sucks on his blanket to go to sleep.
Awesomeness. How I everyone describes his hair.
Has an extra roll on his forearm.
Wears 24 months in clothing.
Loves big sister. Looks up to big sister.
Has blisters on his feet from the way he crawls on the wood floors.
Plays Peek-a-Boo.
Loves to read books.
Dances.
Gets down to biz in his walker.
Loves taking baths. Especially with big sis.
Always wants to feed himself. 
Follows Averie around Everywhere.
Toots like a Man.

My kids. My heart. My life.

May 7, 2012

Jagger 10 months| Japan

Hi! Today my little baby boy is TEN months! What in the world is going on? We are on the verge of a 1 year old and I am not very happy about it! I want to keep him my "baby" forever and I am not loving the thought of him growing up! These past ten months have gone so fast which could only mean one thing- We are having FUN! It's true folks, we do have a lot of f.u.n. in our household! So much that Averie is taking right after her own mother and dropped out of Kindergarten. She will start American kinder at home, so we didn't mind that she stopped going here in Japan. The day was a bit too long for her and she wasn't crazy about the food. She said every day she would get so sad because she missed me:( We figured, she's only a kid once so what the heck, lets enjoy her all day, every day for as long as we can! I mean, we are pretty lucky that we have such a cool daughter, we want to be with her all the time!!! And, to tell ya the truth the lunches they served didn't sound too appetizing to me either- Here's a sample lunch off the schedule-
Simmered tofu and seaweed
 bacon and cabbage salad
 miso soup
 rice
green tea
It's an international school, but I don't see any international food on that menu!! (maybe the bacon)!
 So, goodbye YMCA! We enjoyed you while you lasted!! Here's some pictures from the park! Like every other park, it was old and the paint was chipping off! If nothing else, we will have found a new appreciation for our parks back home!!! Kampai {Cheers} to a great week and time slowing D.O.W.N.!!!
xo Ash

May 2, 2012

getting around a {westernized} Japanese Kitchen| part 1

The kitchen/laundry room.
View from the other side.
this is our Japanese oven. Notice how the pan provided to us is too large? hmm, I wonder if
people actually bake with the oven door open? What do you think?

I guess it would work if you are broiling bread or something. (my mom
always left it cracked, cuts down on burning the toast)

Took me awhile, but i have perfected the betty crocker brownie!
{bake at 167 degrees (centigrade) for about 14 minutes}



Of course with these white cabinets, we had to add a pop of color!
I am too cheap to buy frames in Japan (I mean, i'd probably have to leave them here
when we leave anyways)! So its scotch tape to the rescue.


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