Sunday, September 7, 2014

BGOC...

It's official. Now that the girls are fifth graders, they are BGOC (Big girls on campus)!  As each dropped off their supplies the night before their first day, they were super excited to greet some familiar faces, as well as meet their new teachers. Jaelyn was excited to learn that her class is in a new portable.  The community is anticipating a big growth spurt as a new squadron is on its way, so the schools added portables in preparation. Both girls classes will be exchanging with another teacher in the afternoon, so they are excited about that too.  In one more week, Jaelyn will be starting band before school.  It's a new opportunity for the fifth grade. She will be going to the middle school in the morning, then they will be busing the kids back to their home elementary school. She is not sure yet what instrument she wants to learn, but I will post progress when it happens. 

As for Mike and I, we often get asked during the first week of school, "How's the school year going?" My answer is always that we are in the honeymoon stage, as reality hits when we start assigning homework and the novelty ends;)  But so far we are both enjoying our classes.  Mike actually has a "super contract" this year, which means he is teaching an extra class after school. Good for a family with two in college!  Thanks for your hard work Babe!

All smiles, except for Cocoa, who will be missing us during the day, now that summer is over!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Woosh....

You hear that? It's the sound of August flying by!  I think I was gone more than I was home this past month. Here's a quick recap since my last post...

I spent a week at camp with these girls. It was great getting to know them and watch them grow on a personal level in just a few short days, but it was nice to get home to my family and own bed!

A few days later, we said goodbye to Josh as he headed back to school.  Jaelyn had her third tournament of the summer, and despite her having blisters on her feet from her shoes, and mosquito bites that turned into blisters, her team took first place! She was pretty pleased....

On the way down we stopped to see my parents and my grandfather...
While in Sun River, we explored the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, something we had never stopped to do before, although it is nearby. It was a very informative and well-done informational center. Kaia was most entertained by the many chipmunks and squirrels though!

Which one of us is a chipmunk and who is the squirrel?
Bike riding was on the agenda every day! Lots of pretty scenery.





As always, the girls loved their time in the water at the Sharc. This was the first time we took advantage of the Tubing Hill, which is also part of the Sharc. Both are complimentary with the condo.

We had some very sad news on the trip, that Mike's beloved Auntie Pat passed away. She was a wonderful woman, worthy of me doing a separate post at another time.  We were glad that we were with Mike's mom when the news was shared, as we were able to be with her at this tough time.  These girls can cheer anyone up in no time....



Next stop, Medford, for Mike's brother's wedding...
Cory's backup air guitarists during karaoke at the rehearsal dinner. Lots of blackmail videos to use later...
Was a beautiful day for an outdoor wedding. It truly was a community event, with several neighborhood yards being used, dancing on the street, and an inflatable for kids to bounce on.
Poor pup didn't realize he had legs! Cory's new bride's nieces made fast friends with the girls.

Cousins....enough said!

Kellen brought Elizabeth down to meet the rest of the family.

Nephew Kyle and Mike walked the mother of the groom down the aisle.

Reese was his dad's best man.

Wedding party on what was later the dance floor. Thankfully the street was closed for the event!

You know the line...

Aren't they both adorable?


As you can see, a fun time for all.  Mike and the girls ended up staying longer to attend his aunt's funeral. I headed back home with Kellen and Elizabeth, as I had in-service all week for school.  We did squeeze in Kellen's birthday, but had to celebrate it around two different work schedules.  We enjoyed a low key celebration at our local music festival, then he headed to Seattle for a day of more music, at Bumbershoot. Hard to believe he is 23 already!

Speaking of school, I start tomorrow! Mike and the girls have just two more wake-ups of summer break. Once again I am thankful for how blessed I am, and all the wonderful experiences I get to enjoy over the summer.  If you don't hear from me for a bit, don't worry, I am just trying to keep my head above the water, and will post when I can!






Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I Can See Clearly Now....

Remember the song from the 70's? Or those of you too young may remember this more recent one. Well this song pretty much sums it up for me since I had LASIK surgery 1.5 weeks ago!

Yep, on August 2nd I had LASIK surgery and no longer need to wear contacts or glasses! When I went down for my pre-op appointment, they recommended I just have my right eye done. My left eye vision was not nearly as poor as my right, and I hate when people preface the conversation with the doctor said "at your age,"  patients usually come out of the surgery needing reading glasses.  By doing LASIK strictly on my right, this would allow my left eye to be dominant for reading, and the right for distance. And voila, the doc was right, I need no glasses at all!  Because of only doing the one, my distance vision is not as sharp as it could be, but I'm not complaining. When I eventually need reading glasses, as most people do, I can choose to have the surgery done on my left eye too.

The down side? Can't think of any!  Here are my top five reasons why I recommend getting the surgery done:

1.     NO CONTACTS OR GLASSES!

2.     Absolutely pain free surgery.

3.     Quick recovery.  My eye felt a little scratchy the first day, but woke up the next morning not feeling anything different at all.

4.     I can sleep in the car without my contacts drying out, swim next week with the girls on vacation, while being able to see, not having glasses slide down my sweaty nose in the smog of China, etc.

5.     I got to wear these cool glasses to bed for 7 nights, or at least I was supposed to...

Following the procedure you are to sleep for six hours (with the help of a sedative). Mike snapped this of me dozing on the drive home.  You are to wear these glasses when sleeping so that you don't accidentally hit or rub your eye while you are asleep.  I let my pride get in the way and only wore them the first two.  After that I was a counselor at our high school church camp (more on that later), so chose not to be seen in them! But now I am posting it on the Internet for the world to see...Mike had me save them for him to wear when mountain biking!

For part of the pre-op, they do a DNA swab for macular degeneration, which my grandfather has. I was happy to learn that my results were "normal" for that screening. On the downside, I was told that my eyes have a yellowish tint, which is an early sign of cataracts.  Since I am on the young side for that, they recommend I always wear good UV glasses while outside.  No, not the pair above! It was a good excuse for me to buy a good pair though. Nothing but the clearance rack best at Sunglass Hut for me!

Friday, August 1, 2014

More DIY...

Remember this? How about this? Well we've been at it again.  What now, you ask?  Well you might not know it, but Mike grew up the son of a logger, so he put his knowledge and experience from summers long ago to use, and brought down two trees in our backyard before one of them came down on their own, like this one back in February. Don't you love his safety gear? That's an old Mariner helmet one of the boys got at a game when they were younger! Good thing he put it on, as a branch that broke off as the tree was coming down, hit his head. Mike explained that in logging terms, it's called a Widow-maker. Glad this wasn't the case.

And I got this shot as the second one went down.  They were tall trees, as they went across the entire width of our back yard (one even more than that, but thankfully the top snapped off on its way down, or else it would have taken the side fence out).
I know, not very exciting pictures, but I was impressed at how well my husband maneuvered the two trees between the 16 tall trees still remaining in our yard! Since we no longer have a wood burning fireplace, Mike and Josh helped a friend cut and fill up the back of his pickup truck. Glad it will be put to good use.

As for me, my latest DIY job was a bit less strenuous, but stressful enough for me. Martha Stewart I am not!  When Mike replaced the molding and doors in most of the house, he skipped the girls room. His excuse reason was that they do not take care of things well enough, so he will do it when they are older.  Here's proof on one of the doors I took down...


I decided to keep only one of the three doors on their closet, turning the one left into a magnetic whiteboard.  I read a lot of reviews, watched how-to YouTube videos, and ran with it.  The first step was to put on multiple coats of magnetic primer.
Next I mixed the two cans of white board paint. The can states to apply three coats within one hour of mixing paint, or the white board will not work.  Well I did five coats, and still couldn't cover all the primer, so some black shows through. 




The magnet is not the strongest, and everything I have read about the white board says don't leave the marks up for more than 48 hrs., or they will be tough to get off.  With that said, the girls are loving it, and it does make the room look much neater and brighter.

The photo looks yellow, but in reality it is much brighter.  Even knowing neither magnets or white board works as well as claimed, I would do it again.  I have decided to write a different scripture on the white board everyday, to encourage the girls. I hope it is something they look forward to and that I remember to do.

Not sure we are going to get to the bathroom DIY project we had thought we were doing this summer. It may turn into a fall project, as we are running out of summer break, and we have some off-island time ahead.  Stay tuned...

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Season Begins...

So last Friday I picked up Jaelyn from church camp and whisked her to Jeff and Lorrie's for the night. I did not want to drive nearly two hours to pick her up, drive her home, then drive 2.5 hours again the next morning to get her to her soccer tournament.  Since Josh was a counselor at the same camp, he drove the rest of the crew north, while we went south.  We had a nice visit with family and alpacas, then had a short drive Saturday for Jaelyn's 6 aside tournament. The weather was perfect, warm with a slight breeze, and her team ended up taking second! I only had my unsmart phone, so please excuse the photo quality.

If you can't find Jaelyn, she's the short one;)
This tournament is the first of a few more to come, then regular season. Kaia was also back to her sport this week, as she had tryouts for her competitive gymnastics team. She made the team and should be moving up in at least two of the three categories she competes in.  They also have had swimming lessons every day.  So why aren't they sleeping better???

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Smokin' Hot Anniversary...

Now that I have your attention, let me explain myself. First of all, if you have been following my blog, you know that my anniversary was last month, but since I was heading to China that day, we held off on our celebration. With the girls heading off for a week of camp, and Josh being a counselor there too, Kellen took care of the dogs and we headed for Leavenworth this past week, a beautiful Bavarian styled town, nestled in the Cascade Mountains.

Smokin' hot you say?  Well before you think that is TMI, I'm talking about the forest fires in Eastern Washington right now. Some of the highway as you descend the pass into Leavenworth was and still is closed. On the upside, the traffic was nearly obsolete, best we have ever encountered heading east.  This photo doesn't do it justice, and this was shot from a moving car, but the smoke caused quite the haze.

But making the trip over was totally worth it. It was warm and beautiful, and again, on the upside for us but not for business, the crowds were smaller than normal. You can see how all the buildings are reminiscent of Bavaria, and the flowers are gorgeous. The ice cream's not too bad either!

Mike had made reservations at a quaint family ran hotel, Pension Anna, right downtown and within walking distance of the action. One of my favorite shops is the Christmas store, Kris Kringle. It reminds me of a Christmas store we shopped at when we went to Oberammergau, in the heart of Bavaria, back in the 1990's.  Since I did not take my camera, this selfie, from Mike's phone in front of the store, will have to suffice.
Day two was much cooler, but that worked for us, since we were going mountain biking. We biked on a newly made trail that had some beautiful views of the area.  Despite the falling rain, we stayed fairly dry under the canopy of the forest.




Our warm summer weather definitely was on a break.  After our bike ride and a quick shower, we opted for a brats and Bavarian pretzel lunch, next to some warm coals.

That night we watched a live performance of The Sound of Music in an amphitheater situated on the same hill we had biked that morning. What a perfect setting for the musical, if it wasn't for the rain! Yep, shortly following the intermission, buckets of rain came down, but the show went on!  Fortunately we had checked the forecast, and purchased the $1 poncho they sold at the entrance. They did their job and kept us dry. Not so much for the performers though, as they were soaking wet. A worker even came out and mopped the stage during a scene change, after one actor slipped and fell. It made the evening even that much more memorable though. No pictures of us in our ponchos, as it was dark by then, but here we are in yet another selfie, at the start of the show...

The following morning, as a much needed rain for the fires continued to fall, we headed home. Thanks babe for a wonderful 26th Smokin' Hot celebration! Looking forward to our 27th...