Saturday, December 19, 2015

Recital Week...

This past week both girls had musical performances. First off was Kaia's recital, to which I found my camera battery was dead, as was Mike's phone. Good parents we are! Thankfully another parent came to our rescue....
video

Afterwards Kaia made the observation that at her last recital, back in June, she played Jingle Bells in the summer. This time, when everyone else played a holiday song, Kaia played Scarborough Fair (one of my all time favorites)! I just say that's typical Kaia style, doing her own thing.  What I noticed though is how much she has improved. Keep up the good work Kaia!

Now for Jaelyn's concert. I learned my lesson and charged the battery before we left! Since Jaelyn had beginning band last year (see performance in link above) as a fifth grader, she was allowed to play in the advanced middle school band this year with the 7th and 8th grade (beginning band in her new district doesn't begin until 6th grade). The down side is that she is so little, and plays such a big instrument, that I can't get her on screen! If you look closely, she can be seen every so often peeking around her baritone, above her music stand, behind the saxophone, and next to the bass clarinet. Here they are playing Deck the Halls with Old Composers.



Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A Major Award...

Remember this Special Award from A Christmas Story...

Well we're proud to say that Jaelyn received an even better one at school (but the leg lamp would've been really cool.). As a teacher at her school, I can say I witness her showing compassion to every student!


And speaking of Jaelyn at school, here she is from this weekend, marching in the band for the greening of her school's town.  You can pick her out...she's the tiny sixth grader marching along middle and high school students!
video

**and please excuse the poor ending to the video. I had thought I turned it off, but obviously not!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Spirit Week....

Spirit Week and Halloween coincided the same week at school, so lots of dressing up around here.

Twin Day...
Funny thing is they always get asked if they're twins, so I'm not sure classmates even noticed they were dressed alike!  I also dressed up, like the other math teacher. Of course, he has a goatee, so my outfit was a little more involved than the girls. Photos were taken for the yearbook, but I don't have a picture to post here. Probably a good thing for me!

Cosplay Day...
Jaelyn as Mulan

Greek Goddess Kaia

My selfie as Flo
The week was topped off with Halloween. It was the first time they were allowed to go around the neighborhood on their own...

Jaelyn's on the left, Kaia's on the right. Could you guess?






Fifty; it's the new 30!

So yeah, I haven't posted in awhile, but it's not because I'm avoiding talking about my birthday! I'm actually proud to say that I am now 50! When you have both of your children in your class, that means everyone at school knows it's your birthday especially when it's such a big number. One student was so sweet though. When he heard my age, his jaw dropped and he said honestly, "I thought you were around 30!" Then I reminded him that this was math class, and that I have a 24 year old. So maybe he's not one of my A students....

Since my birthday fell midweek, I celebrated with family the weekend before.  We headed off island, and the first stop was to pick out some pumpkins on a beautiful fall day.



We did a little shopping before Mike and the girls treated me to a movie at an iPic theater. If you've not been to one before, check it out here. Let me just say it will be hard to watch a movie again, sitting in a broken chair, feet stuck to the ground!

After staying the night in a hotel, we met up with my extended family the next morning for brunch, then on to Liberty Alpacas, my brother and sister-in-laws place, to hang out and watch the Seahawk game, before heading back home. I can't remember the last time I celebrated my birthday with some many family members. It was nice, but I was missing Joshua and Kellen.

Jeff and his new Gator, hauling the kids around.
The record rain did not deter the kids from playing with the alpacas, which included five new baby crias.
You can see how wet the alpacas are
The newest one in the center. So cute!


Me and my girls.
And the rest of the girls. There were boys here too, but somehow they avoided any photo shoots.


Thanks for all the well wishes! Hmm, the next time I probably have a big birthday get together will be when I'm 60. Yikes!


Monday, October 12, 2015

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Saturday's stormy weather didn't dampen our celebrating Mike's birthday! Our first gift to him was some Candy Crush, a reference to the game he is addicted likes to play.

I think he liked it, but not quite as much as he liked the Obafemi Martins Sounders Jersey we bought him.


It came just in time to wear to Jaelyn's soccer game in the wind and rain. Her team is the same color as the Sounders, so they matched perfectly. Her team won 5-1, and are now 3-1 on the season, and playing strong.

Josh had his own celebration going on that night, as he challenged his fear of clowns at Scarywood. He text this picture of he and his new love interest enjoying their evening together. I'm dying to meet her...


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Testosterone...

You read that right, there was a lot of testosterone flowing through two of my boys this past weekend. First, Joshua participated in the Pullman Highland Games. His team, The Brainy Brawns, took sixth out of 15 overall. They had a lot of fun, and hey, it was an excuse to wear a skirt kilt.

The Bad Boys of Brainy Brawns

In action...


Josh is not in this video, as it's from a couple years ago, but this is from the same games he particpated in.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Media Day...

Today was quite the day around here! Remember the post from a couple weeks ago about Jaelyn's robotic arm? Well somehow word got out to a couple media outlets, so she has been busy freaking out and giving some interviews.

First of all our local newspaper interviewed her last Saturday, and was on the front page of yesterday's paper. I particularly like that they included the following from Mike, rather than overstating that this arm helps this poor girl do what she couldn't do before:

“She could really do anything she wanted,” he said.
The difference is in other people’s perceptions of Jaelyn: how the E-Nable arm has changed that first look.
"Other children gawked or touched Jaelyn’s arm. Adults asked insensitive questions. Fed up with the ogling, she would sometimes stuff her arms into the pockets of her sweatshirt."
“She’s not afraid of it, but people gave her pity and she never asked for that,” said her father.
“Now it’s ‘Look isn’t that neat,’ instead of, ‘Oh, that’s sad.’”
For Jaelyn, that’s made all the difference.

You can read the article here.

Then yesterday, King 5 news out of Seattle came to our school for an interview. After that they headed to Oak Harbor HS to interview the robotics team. Was a bit of a circus at lunch, with all the middle schoolers wanting to get on TV, but the piece turned out great. In case you missed it....
I can't figure out how to embed it here, so click here to watch the clip. I love that Kaia got on camera too (she was hoping), and that Jaelyn mentioned the cat tail Kaia asked for!

Her 15 minutes of fame are now officially over, but we still have our amazing girl!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

China Follow Up....



My apologies for not following up on my China trip earlier. To sum it up, the trip was good. For the most part agendas went as planned (other than our hotel in Beijing being shut down by the government, so getting to stay at a nicer one), team members stayed healthy (okay, maybe one tummy issue, but at least that didn't hit until after the children, in Beijing), and lots of love was given and received.  In fact, positive changes were seen. However, I can't help but notice doors slowly closing in on some opportunities for transparency. One of those being that we didn't have freedom in taking photos and video taping like we usually do, and there were signs posted reminding us of this. The photos that we took were when we requested and in public, so since I had less to choose from, the quality for my video was not as good as usual. But as always, the video speaks much more eloquently than I can express...


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Can You Hear That???

Shhh...can you hear that sound? Neither can I! That's how quiet our new dishwasher is.  My super hubby installed a new sink and dishwasher during his last week of summer, while the rest of us were back to school (which ultimately led to a new garbage disposal too). Being the last dishwasher we bought was before our kitchen remodel back in 2000, not to mention the fact that it was getting loud and periodically leaking, we decided it was time to suck it up and buy a new one. Of course, since we would be switching over to stainless steel, we might as well switch out the scratched and chipped porcelain sink to stainless steel also. Being we were so pleased with at the long life of the Kenmore dishwasher we had, we stuck with the brand, and found a hard to pass deal at Sears. Sadly, our local Sears lost business when they wouldn't match price or give free delivery like the online Sears would. Doesn't make for good business to me, but who am I to judge?

Not sure why the photo makes my cabinets look like they have blue trim, but they are definitely all white.  The sink is one big single bowl, which I love because it makes the sink seem so much larger without the divider in the middle. It also comes with a rack inside so that larger items don't leave scratches.

Two of my friends recently replaced their dishwashers too. Unfortunately both of their's leaked underneath their flooring. Thankfully my stud husband got it right the first time! Now honey, about the refrigerator....

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Robo-Jaelyn

Check out Jaelyn's new super power! The Robotics Club at Mike's high school has been working on this since last spring. It's made by using a 3-D printer.

She was pretty stoked to get it today, and can't wait to show it off. They are already talking about making her one a step-up from this one. I'll let Jaelyn and her smile tell the rest of the story....




And look how not excited her sister is to shake her hand...
I'm sure this won't be the last time you see me post about this...

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Busy Time of Year...

Well it's that time of year, between Kellen's birthday, a new school year, and Joshua's birthday, where life goes from zero to sixty for our family, in no time flat. 

Kellen's birthday was rather low key.  Mom and Dad paid off a medical bill as a gift, and sisters shopped for candy at the Dollar Store. Isn't growing up fun?  Dinner at one of Kellen's favorite restaurants with family and friends was on us, so not all was lost.


The beginning of school came way too early this year for the girls and I. Since Labor Day was so late in September, the start of the year was moved up a week for us. Yep, I said us. The girls are now going to school with me, so three of us are in the sixth grade together! Despite many nerves and questions, they are off to a great start. I think their math teacher is one of their favorites;)


Since Joshua is on a BIG birthday year, and the weekend right before the big day was a holiday weekend, we decided to make the trek to WSU to celebrate. Three of the four times I have made the trip over to Pullman it has rained. And this time it actually poured, and thundered and lightninged, and poured some more. I thought the east side was in a drought?  The girls and I hung in there til halftime of the football game, but then we had to warm up. Mike and Josh were troopers, lasting the entire game, only to witness a loss in the final two minutes.

Since there weather was so uncooperative, it seems most of the time we spent eating! We hit great restaurants for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and had lots of laughs over dessert.

We came home Sunday to avoid Labor Day traffic, and also so that Mike could get some last minute school prepping done before his start on Tuesday.  Big brother Kellen headed over to spend a few days with Joshua to celebrate Josh's birthday bro style.  Love the brotherly love! Now a short breather before the October celebrations hit us...

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Baptism X2

Following kids camp this summer, both of our girls said they wanted to get baptized. So today they followed through with their commitment. Dad was tickled to do the job, just as he had with both of the boys. So before family and friends....


Both girls were nervous to be baptized in front of a Sunday morning in crowd. In fact, they asked if they could do it privately, to which we responded that that was counteractive to the purpose of being baptized! But other than Jaelyn getting out of there as fast as she could, they overcame their fears and we're really proud of them. 




Saturday, August 22, 2015

Crebbin Camping...

Earlier in August, five out of six of us went camping...in three different locations!

Josh came home from his summer Elevate experience and four days later, took off on a two day camping trip with friends. They went to Staircase Campground on the Olympic Peninsula, where they fished and bathed in a waterfall.
Mike was the most hard-core of us campers. He and two of his brothers had their gear hauled in 16 miles by horses. There they set up base camp and hiked multiple peaks in the Wallowa Mountains in Eastern Oregon. A little more than my idea of camping, so glad he had his brothers to do it with. A week without showers and a bunch of stinky boys!
The view from Eagle Cap. Cory and Pat on the left, Mike on the right, along with Cory's friend.
Lastly, the girls and I went with friends to our favorite camping spot, Lake Chelan. We hadn't ventured out like this since our crazy camping trip a few years back. Other than some nearby forest fires, a trip to urgent care for Jaelyn with a diagnosis of strep throat, and a bicycle mishap, things were great! Check it out for yourself...
2011
2015


Can't believe how much they've grown! So cute. I mean them, not me. They had a lot of fun and made new friends at the beach...

 

 And at the waterslides...


When we got back home, Josh had already left for college, and Mike returned a day later. That Friday I took off for the East side of the state again, which was even more on fire by then. I was in Wenatchee for a softball tournament for the weekend. Here's the sky on Saturday. That's looking up the Columbia River towards Lake Chelan, about 30 miles away.

The campgrounds we had just stayed at were now evacuated. The sky on Sunday was even worse, completely covered with smoke. After taking fourth place, we headed home Sunday. The area is still on fire now, as is much of Eastern Washington. Hopefully next time we go camping, there's a campground left to stay at.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

China Bound...

Heading out to see my favorite kids in China today! Mind you, I won't be able to blog, but will do my best to beg get my husband to post some things.  I will do some follow-up posts when I return and can be more wordy.  For now, time to Go.Be.Love!

Along with praying for my team, would you please keep my niece Hayden in your prayers? Yesterday she had a tumor on her cheek and 3 lymph nodes in her neck removed, due to a rare cancer. She has radiation and more to come. You can read more about her journey at her Caring Bridge Site named Merkel Miracle. I wish I could keep up with it when in China, but I'm not positive it will make it through the iron wall.  She will have prayers going up from Asia though!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Fourth...

The beautiful weather continued into the first week of July. My parents came up for the holiday, so we spent some time at the beach, and went to the parade and carnival on the fourth. If you ask me, the carnival is a little anticlimactic following Disneyland, but the girls still had fun.
This is how Kaia fishes at low tide!

Kellen hanging with the grandparents.

This is what we came back to following the parade; note the car next to us is perfectly clean! Not sure if this was a flock or one very ill seagull...

Claimed our spot on the hillside, waiting for the fireworks that will be set off over the water.

Hanging out still...the wait was worth it though!



Finishing out June...

So I left off at the end of the school year. Picking it up at our anniversary and Father's Day.  Father's Day should have come first, but instead, we celebrated our anniversary almost a week early. Since we are both sports fanatics, what better way to spend it than an afternoon watching the Seattle Sounders, followed by an evening cheering on the Mariners! Since the two stadiums are only a block apart,  it was doable.  In between the two games we walked up to China town for dinner. It was a beautiful sunny day, and we thoroughtly enjoyed our time. The only disappointments were that the restaurant didn't have the eggplant I was craving, and the Sounders lost.
27 years and still smiling!
The next day Kellen drove the girls to meet up with us to celebrate Father's Day, starting with lunch in La Conner. We had a delicious lunch at Seeds, then off to see Jurassic World.
Just missing Josh...
Yeah, a new Sounders beanie!
 Other recent activities worth mentioning; robotics camp and volleyball camp for the girls, Jaelyn's 3 vs. 3 soccer tournament, and a day spent beating the heat at Double Bluff Beach. So far having an extremely busy but oh so amazing summer!
Jaelyn's Islander team split into two teams for the 3vs.3 tournament.

Watching the girls from the beach. You can barely see it from the photo, but you could see Mt. Rainier and the highrises in Seattle from here. Love this beach because the girls can go a long way in the water, yet it still only comes up to their knees.

Still loves the sand!

Mike's shirt matches the blue sky!

First time flying a kite for Jaelyn. Background shows why this area is called "Double Bluff"