Friday, November 9, 2012

Happy Birthday Boy!

Today we celebrate Joel's entry into this world.  It didn't happen as we had "planned", but that seems to be how life with boys goes. 

We thought he would enter the world (through an induction) on 11/11.  We had a friend all lined up to spend the night with Evan that night.  Steve had his work schedule prepared.  We were all set!  Then we went in for the check-up on 11/9.  I have this weird thing with my body where I don't really feel the contractions until about the time the baby is ready to come.  So, when the doc said that I was already at 4cm but she could stretch me to about a 6, we were a little surprised.  We decided to go ahead and induce that day, which was probably a good thing since I had to be on antibiotics for a couple of hours before he was born.

So, we went home from the doctor's appointment, had lunch, and made some new plans.  We went to the hospital and a few hours later, the little angel made his appearance.  Unfortunately, again things were not to go according to our plans.  I got to hold his for only a few seconds before he was put into the NICU.  At midnight he was transferred to another hospital because he had been put on a ventilator.  Thankfully, his breathing conditions were diagnosed, and his body healed.  He was able to come home after only a week in the hospital.

He continued to show us that he would not easily yield to our expectations.  He had reflux problems that caused him to have choking spells and difficulty sleeping.  This resulted in us having difficulty sleeping, too.  After the reflux got under control, he turned into a more happy-go-lucky, compliant baby.

As he grew, I realized that while he was generally compliant, he also is very strong-willed.  This is an interesting combination, and definitely different from his older brother.  It has provided me an opportunity for great growth as I try to learn what battles to fight and to have more patience.  It's not always a challenge, though.  He has also brought much light and laughter into our home.  He cracks us up with his off-the-wall comments and his different way of seeing the world.  He is creative and doesn't usually mind going his own way.  I hope that he becomes an adult who keeps the positives of these traits - being resistant to peer pressure and a creative problem-solver.

So, today we celebrate the birth of this member of our family - most notably by eating pizza 2-3 times and getting soda from Jones Soda Co.  These were his requests for his birthday, so we are going with it.  Remember, it's all about picking the battles! 
Saturday, October 13, 2012

Evan's 1st Soccer Game - Updated!

***I scheduled this to post, but it didn't.  Aargh!  So, I am updating it now that the season is over and posting it now. ***

The league may not be competitive, but Evan is still enjoying it.  (If you aren't aware of how competitive this child is, he was disappointed to learn that the league wasn't competitive and requested a competitive league next time.)  I am enjoying that it is only 7 weeks long with only a little over an hour time commitment for each week.  Joel might enjoy it more if he takes a game next time.  Steve enjoyed the first game, but would probably prefer that it was not during regular work hours.  Sounds like a "winner" for almost all of us.  (That was a little competitive joke.)

Evan likes to play goalie and spent most of his playing time that position.  He saved 4 goals and let 4 goals through.  I would say that is not bad for a first game!  He also managed to score a goal!  Even if the league doesn't count such things, we do.  ;)

He did not get too disappointed that his team was a little outmatched, so that made me happy.  I appreciate his competitive spirit, but really value good sportsmanship.  He was able to show that and persistence in his first game.  Way to go, Evan!

Evan has now finished the season with this team.  I am so proud of the growth that the team showed in a few short weeks!  They really were playing well together and passing the ball around to each other by the last game.  Given the fact that they only had 2 full practices and a few minutes of practice before each game, I was very impressed.  Evan also impressed us with his ball-handling skills.  He has declared himself ready for competitive soccer, and he is probably right.  But next up will be little league baseball in the spring.
Friday, October 12, 2012

The best day ever!

That is how Joel described our recent trip to Tillicum Village.  In fact he asked if we could go back every Saturday.  We had to explain that while this was a super-fun adventure, it was not something we could do that frequently.

To begin the trip we had to take a ferry ride to Blake Island.  I was a little concerned about Evan since we forgot his motion-sickness medicine.  I needn't have worried because he did great!  Everyone enjoyed the ride, even though it was a little breezy.  We got some good information, but I have since forgotten it.  I do remember that the water we went over stays about 34 degrees year round.  That explains the chilliness!  We also saw some amazing views of the city and Mt. Rainier.

When we arrived at the island, we were greeted with clams streamed in broth or nectar.  I was a little cautious since my only other experience with steamed clams was not very good.  These were really good, though.  We all ate ours.  I was especially impressed with the boys who ate a lot of theirs.

Inside the longhouse we had a buffet of salmon, stew, salad, beans, rice, and bread.  While we were eating we enjoyed a show about the history of the Salish coast peoples who first called this area home.  It was a combination of film and live dance.  There was a lot of interesting history.  The boys were completely enthralled by the different dances.  Afterwards we got to talk to some of the performers and see their masks.  We also got to see someone carving a ceremonial mask.

We also had a little time to explore the beach and part of the island.  We saw some deer, some driftwood, some rocks, and Mt. Rainier.

After that it was time to head back to Seattle, and then on to Bellevue.  It was an exciting 4 hours and we were all exhausted, but it was definitely worth it.  Of course, we got a deal and only had to pay half price, but it was worth more than we paid.  ;)
Thursday, October 11, 2012

Celebrating the life of Grandma Devine

Last week we found out that Steve's grandma had passed away.  Her health had been declining, but this was still not expected.  We were able to make it to California to be with the family to mourn her passing and to celebrate the life she lived.

During the service several friends were able to share memories of her, and it was so special to be able to hear those and learn more about her life.  We knew that she was a believer and that gave us more hope and peace during the services.  What made the service even more special was that we learned more about how she shared her faith and her love to those around her during her life.  Of course, even though we didn't live near, we have our own stories to share as well. 

Grandma Vine (as we call her) grew up in Arkansas.  When I joined the family, I had fun discussing life in the south with her.  Since my grandparents passed away several years ago, I enjoyed hearing her stories of life in Arkansas.  One of the things that most southern women take pride in is their cooking.  I don't know if Grandma took pride in her cooking, but she certainly shared her love with her family through her cooking.  One day we were talking about fried pies, and I was saying that I like those but never learned how to make them.  The next day she had made some for me.  She wasn't feeling well before we got there, but she seemed so happy to be able to cook for us.

On the way home from California, Steve mentioned that he wouldn't be getting pumpkin pies any more now.  I was a little surprised since I make a pumpkin pie every year now.  But it was because every time we went to visit Grandma Vine she made a pumpkin pie for him.  She remembered that was his favorite, so she made sure to have one for him every visit.  She did the same thing for everyone in the family.  And everyone looked forward to her homemade peanut brittle and toffee at Christmas.  It wasn't the food itself that was so good (although it was really, really good), but it was knowing that Grandma had made it with love specifically for you. 

She enjoyed doing things with the kids, too.  Steve's mom tells the story of how Grandma crawled through packing boxes with Steve and his brother when they moved as children.  She also took care of her toddler granddaughter when she was in her 70's.  She loved our boys, too.  She read to them when they were little.  She let Evan help her make pumpkin pie when he got older.  When they were in the pool at Aunt Judy's house, she wanted to be out there watching them.  I only wish they could have gotten to know her better.  But I am thankful for the memories that they have and that we can pass on to them.  And I am thankful that we were able to celebrate her life with others who loved her and whom she loved.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Vacation ... and reality

My wonderful husband let me have a week back in Texas to visit my friends!  One of my best friends had her first baby in May, so I got to see her and the baby.  And I got to visit our old church home and the boys' school.  I ate out more than I have in a long time!  And I got to sleep in a few times.  Okay, I was still on west coast time so I stayed up late and slept in a lot.  It was such a nice break!

My first night back in Dallas, my beautiful friend and her family took me to Freebird's.  Freebird's and I go way back.  I remember when there was only one in College Station.  My boys love Freebird's too, and I was a little sad they couldn't be there.  But I wasn't so sad that I couldn't enjoy it.  I especially had fun teaching my little friend the proper technique for eating a Freebird.

The next day I went to my other beautiful friend's house to spend time with her and her new little man (and her husband, too).  He is such a beautiful, sweet, and talkative 4-month-old!  We had so much fun!  We got in some meals too - Chick-fil-a and Freebird's again.  I have probably missed those specific restaurants the most.

After a few days it was back to the first friend's house.  I had a lot of fun with her and her girls, too.  It was nice to just hang out with friends (both houses), and do normal things with them.  The girls and I read together.  They would color pictures for me.  My friend would do laundry.  I got to brush their hair some.  I got to watch their cheer practice.  I picked them up from school.  The dog would put its wet nose on my leg and I would squirm and tell it to go away.  ;)

I got to visit my old church on Sunday morning.  It was so nice to be back.  I saw a lot of people and saw the changes they had made to the building.  It's sad when life keeps going on without you.  ;) 

I had a real Mexican food lunch at Cristina's after church on Sunday with a bunch of church friends.  The next day I had a New Orleans-themed lunch at McAlister's with friends from the boys' old school.  The food was great, but the people I shared the time with made it even better!  I also had a dinner with another friend who couldn't make the group lunch and another lunch with 2 more friends who couldn't make the group lunch.  I am so thankful for these friends making the time to get together with me!  Unfortunately, I missed a bunch of friends, too.  Maybe they can come up here to see me.  ;)

If you want to see pics of the people I saw, you can go here.  It was a lot to try to put into the blog.

When I got back into town I was so relaxed and happy to see my family.  Predictably, that did not last long.  The boys who had missed me so much while I was away, seemed to delight in pushing my buttons now that I was home.  We are settling back into a rhythm now, and getting along well.  Evan has started soccer and some after school activities.  Joel is hoping to get into gymnastics.  I am taking on more PTSA commitments.  Steve is finishing the last few repairs and updates to the house to get it all shored up for winter.  I will blog more about those later.  But now I need to get ready for an adventure day.  Stay tuned for another exciting episode to be told soon ...

Friday, September 14, 2012

Back to School ...

so soon?!?  I guess so.  (We started back to school on Sept. 4, so we just finished our second week.  I am just still behind on blogging.)

We started by getting our school supplies ready.  I dumped all the school supplies into a pile and had them race to pull out what they thought was on their list.  Then I called out each list and they re-adjusted the piles before putting it all in their backpacks.

We had made back to school survival kits for their teachers before we left for the retreat.  We just needed to have each child add their name to the note for the teacher and those were ready to go.  We included some snacks, small hand sanitizer, Tide pen, and instant coffee packets since those first few days can be so hectic.  I told each teacher that they were getting a glimpse of my sick humor by the inclusion of the sour patch kids.  If they got frustrated during those first few days, they could deal with it by biting the head off of a sour patch kid.

The kids woke up Tuesday morning in great moods and eager to start the day.  Steve went with us to the school to see the kids to their new classes.  (This school didn't have a meet the teacher night before school started.)  The kids went into the gym and cafeteria to line up with their classes (as they would every day before school).

Both rooms (really one big room with a removable divider) were crowded with students, teachers, and parents waiting to walk with their kids to their new classes.  Before time for the first bell to ring, another familiar ring pierced the chaos - a fire alarm.  Yep, a parent had accidentally set off the fire alarm, but we all had to evacuate to the playground and stay out of the building for 30 minutes.  Everyone seemed to take it in stride, and it gave me a chance to meet Evan's teacher, too.
Chaos in the gym

Less chaos outside
When it was time, we walked with Joel to his 1st grade classroom and helped him get settled down.  He didn't really need us, but we were glad to be able to be there.  Of course, by then we had been at the school 20-30 minutes longer than we had planned and Steve still needed to get to work.  I didn't get to stay for coffee and pastries with the other parents, but that was okay.
You guys can leave now ...
After school, I took the boys to Baskin-Robbins to have the traditional first day of school ice cream.  We missed sharing the snack with our Texas friends, but we were able to meet another family for the quick treat before they had to be at soccer practice.

Looks like it was a rough first day

How does he eat it like that?
It's hard to believe that the boys are back in school already.  I miss having them at home, but I have been sick again, so at least I have been getting more rest.  They seem to be having a good time.  I have heard about new friends and fun times at lunch and recess.  I don't get too many more details, but I don't get complaints either.  Sounds like a good start to me!
Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Family Retreat

Joel had a lot of trouble with the concept of a "church family retreat".  He wanted to know what we were trying to get away from.  Steve and I were really looking forward to it.  I had heard of family camps, but never a family retreat.  And I had never been on either.  This was a welcome way to spend our Labor Day weekend, before the kids had to start back to school.

We went to a retreat center in Auburn - less than a hour away from our house.  It was a beautiful, rustic setting but it had plenty of modern conveniences.  We stayed in a building with our meeting room in the middle and individual rooms in wings off each side.  Each room had a queen bed and bunk beds as well as a private bath.  They arranged the rooms according to ages of kids, so people with babies were grouped at the end, then people with slightly older kids, etc.  It worked really well.  It wasn't noisy at sleep time but the kids had their friends nearby.  Of course, with all of the activities going on, we weren't in the rooms very much.

We had a speaker for the adults who discussed apologetics with us.  His name is Hank Hanegraaff and he is the host of The Bible Answer Man Show.  He had some topics that he presented like lectures, but there were several sessions of Q&A, too.  He was also available for questions during free time and meal times, too.  He also brought one of his 12 children with him.  His 8-year-old got along great with our kids, and they were almost always together.

The kids had their own program during the adult lecture times.  The people who ran the VBS the boys attended came to the retreat to lead the kids in lessons, crafts, and games.  Everyone seemed to have a great time and the boys came home with the cutest tie-dye shirts and picture frames.

There was also lots of free time built into the schedule and a family campfire night.  So, we got to have lots of fun together, too.  The guys enjoyed the swimming pool while I napped.  We all rode go-karts together.  The boys spent a lot of time on the playground.  There was even a few minutes of disc golf fun one day.  Most of my pics from the weekend are of our free time.  Some of them can be seen here.

This retreat weekend was a first for our family, but one that we are looking forward to repeating next year!
Monday, September 10, 2012

One final summer adventure day

Realizing that summer was quickly coming to an end, and that I had not made the most of it, the boys and I loaded up one Wednesday morning to set off for Tacoma.  That may not sound like the most obvious choice, but I had a plan - looking for tide pools animals and going to the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium.

The zoo put on the tide pool exploration at Owens Beach, near the zoo.  The boys were skeptical at first, but got into it as we started finding more and more animals.  We found some cool (live) animals and then they played on the cold beach.  
Joel with a shore crab

We saw lots of sea stars, but this was the only we found by ourselves.
It wasn't my idea.  Don't give me that look, Buddy!
We had not been to Point Defiance Zoo before, and I found it to be a lot of fun.  We got to see lots of animals and learn from some of the zookeepers and volunteers.  It's also a beautiful setting, so even walking around the zoo was pleasant. 

We briefly visited a living history museum also in Point Defiance Park.  But, there was a charge to go into the fort (from the small museum/gift shop) so we just checked out the museum/gift shop.

After the zoo we were hot, tired, hungry, and thirsty.  Our first lunch attempt didn't pan out, but it was for the best.  I was able to use their free wi-fi to find a Sonic!  We hadn't been to a Sonic since we left Texas, so we were excited to find out there was one only a mile away from the pizza buffet that was closed.  And it was so late by the time we left the zoo that it was happy hour!  After slushes, burgers, and tots for the boys and a Route 44 Vanilla Dr. Pepper for me, we were re-charged and ready to drive home.  It was a great ending to our last summer adventure day!

Quick (?) summer recap

Apparently our summer was quite full!  At least, it was so full that I didn't blog about it.  ;)

We did have some fun adventure days.  We had a lot in one week when our friend, Holly, came to visit from Texas.  We took her to check out the salmon coming back to spawn.  We toured a chocolate factory with her.  We found the Fremont troll with her - all in one day!  Another day we took her to Snoqualmie Falls.  Afterwards we tried a restaurant that would qualify for an episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives (and that makes its own root beer and serves a mean dish of chili cheese fries).  She and I explored downtown Seattle by bus and foot and took in a Rangers v. Mariners game.  It was a jam-packed week!

The boys spent two weeks in a full-day VBS at the Chinese Baptist Church in Seattle.  They started out with one friend from our church attending with them, but they ended with lots of new friends.  In the mornings they did Hero Training Camp VBS.  In the afternoon, they took classes.  The first week they both took inventions and creations, which also included Lego building.  The second week Joel took a science class.  He made bouncy balls, bubbles that didn't break, slime, and a lava lamp.  Evan spent the second week in a rocketry class where he built and launched a rocket.  They both had a great time and have been talking about what they will take next year.  Here are a few pics from their final day program.

We got to visit the bast of Mt. Si for Amazon's company picnic.  We had so much fun walking around, eating free food, playing games, eating food, etc.  It was beautiful and warm weather and a great setting.  If you want to see some pics, you can look here.

Evan also spent a week at a baseball camp where he learned some of the fundamentals from a former professional player.  And we got together with friends a few times, too.

The most exciting part is that we survived our first summer here!  It was a particularly dry summer, so the boys got to spend a lot of time outside playing.  It got up to 90 a few times, which was a nice break from the triple digits of previous years in Texas (and MS for me).  It got a little warm a few times with no A/C in the house, but Steve worked hard to keep the fans going in the optimum way to make the house as  cool as possible.

We had hoped to go camping, but since it was our first year here, we let the summer slip away from us.  Maybe during some cold, rainy days I can plan for some trips for next summer!
Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ahhh ... summer days

The boys (and I) are enjoying the first week of summer break.  The last week of school was fast and furious, with lots of end-of-school activities.  On Thursday, the kids had field day.
I was working the Otter Pop table, so I didn't get many pics, but this one makes me smile.

On Friday they had their last day of school, and Joel got to join Evan for the ride home on the bus.  We went to the mall to enjoy some frozen yogurt and buy some Legos.  That was pretty much a perfect way for the boys to start summer.


On Saturday the whole family went to the Bellevue Strawberry Festival.  The highlight for us was probably the strawberry shortcake eating contest.  That was the only thing that made the boys want to go, and we weren't sure if they would even compete.  But they could!

They just found out that they have to eat it with their hands behind their backs.  First one done wins.

Eat, eat, eat!!!
How did someone finish already?!?  At least they got spoons to finish it up.
Since then, they have been enjoying time together at home.  We have discussed things we want to do this summer, but they haven't really wanted to do any of those things yet.  They are quite content to stay home and play with each other.  They haven't even argued or hurt each other's feelings - too much, anyway.  They have been playing Legos, Monopoly, Wii, and reading.  Today I encouraged them to go outside and play in the beautiful sunlight for about an hour.  While out there, Joel made up a new game.  He is so creative!  I can't wait to see what God has in store for his future!  So, Joel took an empty milk jug and filled it about 1/3 of the way with water.  First he used a stick to bang it and make music.  Then he decided to use the stick as a target line and try to cross the line with the jug by throwing it backwards between his legs.  He and Evan had fun trying it out.

After that game, Joel found some more toys to make into a new game, but Evan was ready to get out of the "heat" (which might mean it is 70 degrees).   Right now they are watching Aladdin.  I started reading a version of the story to Joel and thought this movie might be fun for the afternoon. 

So, that's the beginning of our lazy summer.  Hopefully we will have more adventures later, but for right now we are just enjoying being together and using our imaginations.  I will enjoy it while I can!
Thursday, June 21, 2012

T-shirt update: fitting and ribbon shirring

I have never attempted a tutorial like this before, but as I was working on this project I started getting excited about my ideas.  I am not guaranteeing that these ideas are original, but as far as I remember I didn't see these ideas anywhere else, unless otherwise stated.

I like having team t-shirts when I go to games, so since I moved to the Seattle area, I needed a few new shirts.  The cute women's shirts are more expensive, of course, and since we are trying to economize with the move I bought a cheap men's shirt to wear to a Mariners game.  It was fine, but after seeing several t-shirt redesign tutorials on pinterest, I decided to give it a try.  Today seemed a good day since I was wearing the shirt to the boys' school for sports day/field day.

I started out by sewing the side seams of the shirt to make it slightly fitted.  I followed this tutorial.  Then I thought I might like a little shirring on the side and was trying to figure out how to accomplish that.  This is the idea I had for adding ribbon shirring by using the existing seam I had just made.

First, I made a little snip in the seam just above the bottom hem. 

Then I started threading the ribbon through.  I took a 2-foot length of ribbon and folded it in half.  (Use more or less depending on the size of your shirt and how much of a tail you want to be visible.  Mine is not very long.)  Then I made about 3-4 stitches in the top of the fold with a larger needle, but did not tie off or cut the thread. 

I used  the needle to "thread" the ribbon through the slit and up the seam. 

I decided I wanted my ribbon to start about 9 inches from the hem of the shirt.  So, I measured up 9 inches and once the needle reached that point, I pushed the needle through the fabric.  I pulled the needle and thread until the top (or fold) of the ribbon reached that point in the seam.  (It took a little work to get my ribbon through the slit but one I got the fold through, it was quite easy.) 

Then I stitched through the seam and the fold of the ribbon several times.  I tied it off once I was satisfied and trimmed the thread. 

Now I was able to pull the ribbon and decide how much shirring I wanted.  I simply tied a bow in the ribbon and adjusted the shirring to make it even.  Not much of my bow shows, so next time I might make the ribbon longer.  Or, I could cut the hem off.  Or I could make the slit a little lower.
You can't really see the bow in this shot, but it does give you an idea of the extra shaping it adds.
You can see a little of the bow in the right side of this picture.

I am still thinking about cutting out some of the neck to make it more of a v-shape.  I am not quite happy with the sleeves, either, but I am not sure what to do with them.  I need to reinforce the side seams on my shirt, too.  But it worked for today and it was really comfortable.  I felt a little more feminine in it, too. 

I hope this tutorial made sense.  If you have any questions or constructive comments, please let me know!
Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Birthday Festivities

It's so hard to believe that my first born is having his last single-digit birthday this year!  He has been planning his party for about a month, and we were excited to have it all come together this past weekend.  We were thankful for the beautiful weather since this party was a flag football party in the park near our house.

We had a few activities for the early arrivers.  The kids got to apply some "eye black" tattoos and make some football keychains.  There was a football toss game, too, but they were most interested in playing the real football game!

Some of the kids had never played football before, but they all did really well!  They learned the game and really got into it.  Steve stayed on the field with them and tried to make sure that they all got some playing time, and got to try out different positions, too.

After some hard playing time on the field, it was time to replenish with food.  After lunch it was time for cake.  Evan had requested a lemon-lime cake, so I searched around and found a recipe for a light summer cake. 
Then it was time to open presents.  He got some fun presents, including some soccer balls.  The guys then all went back onto the field to play soccer.  They had a lot of fun, but I was watching and talking to the parents, so I didn't get any pics of the soccer.

After we got home, Evan got to open his present from his grandparents.  They gave him a badminton set and we have all been having SO much fun with it in the backyard!  Unfortunately, we need to replenish our supply of birdies soon.  The bushes seem to be eating them. 

Tomorrow will be his actual birthday, and I am trying to plan something extra-fun for him.  He gets out of school early, so I am trying to find a cool diversion for us for the afternoon. 
Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Mother of All Days

or, Happy Mother's Day!

Since we have moved I have been thinking about my mom more.  Really, I think about her a lot so I am not sure that it has been more, but it does seem like it.  I still miss her like crazy and wish that she was here ... to know my boys, teach me how to can, spend time together, let me sit in her lap, etc.  (Yes, I still sat in her lap even after I was "grown" and married.)  Recently I have been remembering all the times that I and my nieces and nephews sat in her lap or laid our heads in her lap while we were in church.  Since my children have been raised in churches that have children's church I haven't really done that with them.  But our church here has the kids stay in the service with the parents a few times each year.  Once a month they stay out just for the singing.  About 4 times a year they stay for the whole service.  Today was one of those days.  And I had both of the boys laying on me or sitting in my lap for most of the service.  And it was nice.  And I thought of my mom and smiled instead of crying.

Joel woke me up this morning to give me my present.  It was shaped like a purse, and you opened it up to see two pages he had made.  I am sharing the second page since it is where he really wrote. 

I am irritated that this pic got flipped, and I can't flip it back.  But anyway, can you make it all out?  Apparently the only "work" that he knows that I do is "working" out.  And some days he has to go shopping with me when he gets out of school.
Evan gave me my presents at breakfast.  He had decorated a mug, made a flower, and made a card for me.  I am sharing the flower because that's where he wrote. 
You may have to click on it to read it, but my favorite is "Without you I'd be dead."

Steve got my favorite breakfast for me - an egg mcmuffin, hashbrown, and coffee.  He also gave me some tulips, ordered a new coffee carafe (since I broke mine last week), and is currently grilling some burgers and hot dogs for me.  He was telling a friend at church that he was grilling burgers for me today and the friend was a little surprised.  He didn't expect that a woman's favorite grilled food would be burgers.  But I do love those burgers.  And I made chili to go with it.  Yum-yum!

Well, I am going to call this post done, and get back to the family.  After I say again, Happy Mother's Day!
Sunday, May 6, 2012

Staying busy

I thought I had blogged more recently than I have, so I guess I have some catching up to do.  We have been pretty busy the last few weeks with science week, a visiting Flat Stanley, working on the yard, and exploring our new surroundings.

Science week started with an egg drop at the boys' school.  The students who wanted to participate made a devise for holding a raw egg as it was dropped from a 70 foot tall firetruck ladder.  Joel chose not to participate, but Evan did.  He worked on a design, tested it, re-designed, etc, etc.  His final design worked from the second story of our home, but not at the school unfortunately.  It was a fun event and I am already looking forward to seeing what he comes up with next year.

The next night we went to the science fair assembly at school.  All of the projects were on displays, and students who had signed up were able to present their projects.  Both of the boys did projects, and Evan presented his.  He practiced a lot and did a good job of speaking loudly and talking about the project.  Way to go, Evan!

That Friday after school we took Flat Stanley into Seattle and West Seattle for some sightseeing.  We started off with getting some free Friday afternoon sodas from Jones Soda Co.  I have been wanting to do that since we moved here and finally made it when they were open!  We had fun trying lots of flavors. 

After that, we went to the waterfront area and visited Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe.  We were supposed to go there over Spring Break, but that was the day Joel got sick.  The boys were a little "freaked out" (to quote Joel) in there.  It has even been renamed "the freaky place" by Joel.  They saw mummies, shrunken heads, stuffed animals (including a 2-headed lamb) - to name a few things.  This place is a store and a museum of sorts.  It was the first time we had been, and I don't anticipate the boys asking to go back any time soon.

Then it was time to walk around Pike Place Market.  We saw lots of fun sights there, and even enjoyed a Texas-sized donut.  It was big enough for the whole family!  Of course, we visited the gross gum wall, too.  I thought the kids getting Flat Stanley back would be very interested in that.

After Steve got off work he joined us in the market and we took off for West Seattle and Alki Beach.  Our first stop was Spud's for dinner.  It was very yummy and we all enjoyed eating at "the oldest fast food restaurant in Seattle"!  After we ate, we walked across the street to the "beach".  Joel pointed out that it wasn't a real beach since it didn't have sand. 

The next day was Saturday, and it was time to head out for the Tulip Festival!  We went to a farm (with vegetables and animals), a tulip farm, and Padilla Bay for a bike ride.  It was a long day, but a lot of fun.

This week was a bit of a recovery week.  Evan and I did head out to a Mariners game last night.  It was our first game at Safeco field and we had a blast!  We went with a group from their school, so he was able to hang out with some friends, and I was able to talk to the moms.  And the Mariners won! 

In our "spare time" we have been working on the yard, too.  It's really been more Steve, but I have decided that I like working in the yard more here than I did in Texas.  I would assume it is because it is cooler here.  And the ground is easier to work with, too.  The yard is looking pretty good now and we have some beautiful flowers blooming.  We both have visions for what we would like the yard to look like in a few years.  Hopefully we can have fun together working to achieve that.
Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Apparently Super-Busy Day

Evan and Joel brought home some potted seeds this morning from church.  I forgot to ask them about it until tonight.  Joel was already in bed so I asked Evan what they were, and he told me they are wildflower seeds.  I asked him if there was a significance to them, and he said there is but he forgot what it was.  I said, "You forgot?"  He said, "after the day I had ..."  So, I guess this day deserves a recap in the blog.

Before we headed to church this morning, the boys and their dad got in some Zelda-playtime.  At church the boys attended a kids' worship service and Sunday school while we attended adult Sunday school and then worship.  We had a guest speaker today for both services who talked about the current state of affairs in the Middle East and how they relate to Biblical prophesy.  It was really interesting!  And the guy is a radio host from Dallas, Kerby Anderson, so that was kind of fun, too.  After church, the boys had their usual snack and play time with the other kids from church. 

This is the school where our church meets.  Their mascot is the Sockeye - as in, salmon.  I think that's funny.
We came home and worked on Evan's science fair project some more (the one we started on Saturday).  We played a little outside, picked up a little inside, worked on the project some more, and then headed out for an adventure.  We joined an athletic and recreation club yesterday, and today we went back to enjoy it all together.  We started by playing some tennis together.  That was pretty fun until we (quickly) lost all of the tennis balls.  We were able to get two of them back, but we decided it was probably best to call it quits then.  After tennis we headed inside to an indoor pool.  Evan practiced swimming the length of the pool, which he successfully did many times.  He also practiced treading water for 60 seconds, which he also accomplished.  Looks like he should be able to pass the swimming test to be able to swim in the pool independently (while his dad and/or I are working out). 
Playing "Mr. Shark"
The boys playing tennis together while I hunt for one of the lost balls.

Once we got home from there, it was time to shower up, eat dinner, and work on the science fair some more.  There was a little more Zelda-time in there some where.  After dinner we worked on another project for scientists week - an egg drop launcher.  He started it yesterday, but got really motivated to finish it tonight.  After he got one model ready, the guys all took it outside to test it.  Unfortunately, the egg did not survive a 5-foot drop, so we are pretty sure that it wouldn't survive the 70-ft. drop that is the challenge.  He has some more ideas, so we will try to implement them tomorrow. 
There was more to the launcher, but this part held the busted egg, so it needed to be dumped out.

Evan got to stay up a little late tonight to finish the second trial of his science fair project.  Now we have one more to finish before the project is due Wednesday.  But we also have to finish the egg drop launcher by Tuesday morning.  So, it looks like tomorrow will be another busy day.  Maybe it won't wear him out quite so badly, though.
Saturday, April 14, 2012

Not the Spring Break I had planned

That's the way life often goes.  I make plans for all of the fun things we will do, and then we don't do them.  Sometimes we find even more fun things to do, and sometimes we have bad attitudes and stay in our rooms.  Thankfully at least we didn't have a bad attitude week.

Monday the boys played at home a lot.  They had an impromptu playdate with some of the kids in the neighborhood.   And I met a couple of other moms in the neighborhood, too.

Tuesday we played at home again.  We made some "mock rocks" for Evan's class at school.  We tried to start Evan's science fair project, but I didn't read any directions for it and did it incorrectly.  So, I have found a new project that I have to talk him into trying. 

Wednesday was the game-changer.  Joel woke up feeling really bad and running a fever.  I got him in to the doctor that afternoon and found out he had strep.  Thankfully we caught it pretty early.

Thursday was the day that went about the way I had planned it.  I had an upper endoscopy just as a re-check for the one I had several years ago.  I was really looking forward to a frappuccino and a looooong nap afterwards.  I was feeling a little more awake (and a lot hungrier) than I anticipated after it was over, so we all went to Pizza Hut for their lunch buffet.  I was pretty tired (and stuffed) by the time we left.  I did get about a 6 hour nap once we got home, and it was lovely!  Unfortunately I didn't sleep too well that night.

Yesterday we worked in the yard mostly.  We started by weeding the flower beds and the yard.  That was exciting since the plants are different up here.  We weren't always sure what was a weed and what was "supposed" to be there.  We also weren't sure if some of the plants were dead or dormant.  So, we did what seemed right to us.  Then we went to get a few gardening supplies and picked up some new plants.  I am so excited about our purchases because they included roses!  I love roses and was sad to leave some special plants behind in Texas.  The houses here didn't have any roses planted, but did have some bare trellises.  We found some climbing roses on clearance yesterday and picked up one for each trellis.  We also got some herbs for my planter that Steve had made for me a while back.  The herbs we bought were already pretty healthy-looking.  I could even start using them now!  I was also missing the large rosemary plant in Texas, so I am glad that I have a little bitty one now to sort of replace it.

Today ... well, hopefully we can get in some park time or maybe even a trip to the Ballard locks.  Joel seems to feel 100% (or close to it) today.  He even pulled a loose tooth this morning by himself!  (Loose teeth have been traumatic for Joel so this was a major development!)  For right now we are just hanging out and enjoying the gorgeous weather.  It hasn't been the Spring Break I planned, but we have had some good family time together and that's what matters.
Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter activities for a week

This year, we had things to do with the boys all week long.  The church we are attending had a devotional schedule for the kids, so we started it last Sunday night and followed the history of passion week. 

Thursday we celebrated a Christian Passover at home.  It was the first time we had tried to do this ourselves.  I think I need a more thorough guide next time, but it was a start! 

Friday we cleaned and organized the house.  That night we went to a Good Friday service at our church.

Saturday we hosted an egg hunt at our house for some neighbors and a couple of friends from school.  I made a lot of southern food for our guests.  We had a family from China, one from the U.K., and one from here (though the dad is from California).  It was a lot of fun to watch some of the kids eat peeps for the first time.  I got to share banana pudding and sausage balls with the adults, too.  I didn't know sausage balls were southern, but apparently they are!  And they were a hit, too.  We didn't do any of the crafts that I had thought about, but it was because the kids were having so much fun playing together.  They enjoyed the egg hunt, too.  We rested in the afternoon, but that night we made resurrection cookies.  We love working on these together every Easter eve.
Yes, he is barefoot.

Today we got up (but not so early) and attended church together.  We had a nice time celebrating our risen Savior with our church!  And we enjoyed a nice "light" lunch with them after the services.  We are enjoying getting to know this body better.  And we enjoy eating with them.  We have a different definition of "snacks" and "light lunch" than they do, but we are not complaining.  (Their snacks are a light lunch for us.  Their light lunch leaves us stuffed, and sends us home with food for dinner, too.)  The guys have been having fun playing egg hunts, too.  They love to hide and hunt, so this continues for a few days after Easter.

Next week is spring break for us, so I hope that we will have lots of fun adventures report throughout the week.  But that we never lose sight of God's love for us, His resurrection power, and the glory of the cross and resurrection.
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