Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fall Business

The craziness of late summer and Fall have kept us busy!  We spent August trying to get settled in to the new house between daily football practices.  The boys both returned to the same teams they were on last year (in Caden's case, the last three years).  It has been a great season for both of them.  Caden ended last season with us thinking maybe he needed to start thinking of a different sport.  This year he is ending on a much stronger note.  He has found the thrill of a great tackle!  We are really proud of the growth he has made!  For the last three years his team has gone to the playoffs and twice on to championship wins.  This season they broke their streak - no playoffs this time around.  Bummer.  

Caden is #82 on the Bears (Dk. blue/white)

Trace is #47 on the Falcons (burgundy/gold)

Trace has had another great year of growth!  He is a coach's dream the way he wants to learn and picks up things quickly.  He has played darned near every position this season because he is so versital.  Anytime a kid is injured they are yelling for Trace to put him in to the position because they know he won't fail them.  He has, however, learned through much trial and error that he is not cut out to play center.  It is a position he likes but just can't take the pressure of having to perform perfectly every time.  We were all shocked to see him get into his first fight on the field this year too!  If you know Trace, you know how unlike him that is.  I think he earned himself a whole new level of respect from his team mates though!  Last year they made the playoffs but didn't continue.  This year they will again be at the playoffs and have a good chance of moving on to the championships too!  Either way there will be tears when the season ends - he absolutely LOVES playing and would play year round if he could! 

Of course all that practice mixed with school leads to one exhausted kid!  He offered to read to Paige at bedtime one night - 1/2 hour later this is what Rick found.  Apparently she read him to sleep instead.

We made our annual family trip to the pumpkin patch.  After 96 days of no rain (an all time record), the clouds opened up on the only day we had available to go!  Ahhh, but what's a little rain when you're from the NorthWest? 

Of course we had both boy's birthday's as well.  Caden turned 11 this year and Trace is now a 14 year old. I have pictures of Caden's birthday also but they are on my computer which has died!  So here is our goofball Trace with his cake - baked by Grandma and decorated by Dad.
So, as usuall things have been crazy!  I don't have very high hopes of keeping this blog up on too regular of a basis anymore - but I still plan to try!  Unfortunately, Facebook has become a far more popular way of staying in touch and no one really comes here any more.  I do love the chance to just type the story of our life though!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Our first pig roast...

The kids and I went out to my sister's place for some summer fun yesterday.  They pulled the pig out of the ground with Paige and I watching in fascination!  I would love a picture of our faces though! LOL  It was "interesting" looking that's for sure!

The kids favorite part of the day was the litter of kittens.  Maegan's cat had them 4-6 weeks ago and man were they cute!  Oh my goodness just as sweet as anything!  We all got a lot of time loving on them before it was time to go.

The kids, Caden's friend Ryan included, had fun out in the field where they found all kinds of materials to "work" with.  Nearly empty spray paint cans, pieces of metal, wire, wood, an old hammer, knife, frying pan...  you get the idea.  Perfect place for boys!

Mama kitty and her brood.  So cute...

It was a great afternoon.  Nice and relaxing and perfect weather too.  A great way to spend our last free Saturday before football games begin!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Moving and "starting summer"

Caden and Paige had a little bit of fun helping to clean up the old house as we were moving out.  They were a lot of help!  We managed to get ourselves moved the last weekend of July.  It was HOT and exhausting work but finished in just two days!

 An evening in the srpinkler!  We got home a little late one evening and as I tried to adjust the sprinkler the kids got a bit adventurous.  They were soaked, but laughing and having a wonderful time!

Hanging out at Aunt Karen and Uncle Phil's pool on a hot Sunday afternoon in August.  Despite a very hot day we had the pool to ourselves.

 After my post-op (from the hysterectomy on June 19), where I found out my blood pressure was way up again, I decided we were going to start relaxing and having a summer!  Our first outing was to Steakburger in Hazel Dell for a round of mini golf and some burgers and fries.  It was Paige's first time at mini golf and she loved it.  The boys were in rare form and had a lot of fun too!

Here's Paige practicing her teenage, pouty, "duck" lips!  It's kind of the trend right now on Facebook so I thought it was pretty funny when I caught a shot of her looking like this!

And finally, Caden's black eye!  After an injury at the fair that required 13 stitches he wound up with a nice shiner too.  This was the day his stitches came out.  The plastic surgeon did such a great job that his scar will probably not even be noticeable.  He was mostly upset that he can't hit in football for a while!  And the fun just keeps on coming!!!

Friday, July 06, 2012

Growing up!

We finally realized that Paige had outgrown her bike.  She had said so a few times but it went in one ear and out the other until I actually saw her riding a few weeks ago!  So I started looking around.  I realized quickly enough that we were looking at $75-$100 for a new bike.  The I got to looking at used ones on Craigslist.  When I showed them to Paige she got just as excited as she did over the ones in the store.  I finally realized that I thought she needed a brand new one but she had no such expectations.  As far as she was concerned it just had to be pretty!  So when Papa found this one for $25 we decided to go have a look.  Besides a few scratches that would have been there real quick anyway it is in great shape.  And best of all - she LOVES it!

After being up until midnight for the fourth Caden slept in until 10:30 the next morning.  I figured he was the only one of all of us to be caught up on his sleep - aparently not.  This was about 8:30 that night and he was crashed on Paige's little Dora couch!

Good 'ol fashioned 4th of July!

We loaded up the kid's bikes, a little food and enough explosives to start a war and headed over to the Biundo's to celebrate the holiday.  The kids were excited and Caden couldn't get started soon enough.  But before he could blow anything up we did some other things...

A few water balloons

A little swimming

Lots of corn-on-the-cob(!)

And, of course a meager amount of explosives!

The kids set off fireworks until nearly midnight when we finally called it quits.  Believe it or not we actually had a box left over after all of that too!  Paige doesn't remember anything after falling asleep on my lap around 11:30.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Who knew Walmart could be so exhausting?

Two weeks ago I had some pretty major surgery.  I've recovered far better than I expected and I think I'm even doing better than average.  So today when I got my clearance to drive again I decided that a trip to Walmart was in order!  We took it slow and Paige pushed the cart while I steered it but apparently that wasn't quite enough.  After about 1/2 hour I suddenly felt like crawling onto the nearest shelf and taking a nap.  Unfortunately we were only about 1/2 way through the store and I still needed to get some things.  "Hurrying" isn't something I can do these days, so I just kept plodding along trying to remember what I needed.  Then I get to the front where apparently everyone in town was congregated!  I get the clerk who is in no hurry of course.  By the time I got to the car I was seriously ready for a nap.  So, this afternoon I took a two hour nap to recoup from my trip to Walmart!  Whew.  What a day.  It is good to be feeling better but I guess I have to remember that I still have a way to go!

In other news....
We bought a house!!!  Those exclaimation marks are sort of obligatory for that kind of announcement - not too sure my feelings match them yet though.  We have been looking for four + years (since we returned from Chicago) and for a number of reasons finally bit the bullet.  I think the main catalyst was a decision our school district made that suddenly made us feel that our kids might be better off in a different district.  Our current district also rarely passes bonds or levys and as a result most of the schools are in disrepair, Trace was literally using one of my old math books this year (not that math changes, but seriously that's 22 + years old!), and the technology and offerings at the high school are just not competetive.  So, we agreed to let Trace finish out 8th grade next year but the other two are switching in the fall.  If all goes well I will be able to get a job in the new district but that could be tough.  Back to the house though....  It is about the same size as the one we are in now with about 1/2 the back yard.  That's ok though since our kids don't spend much time in the yard anymore anyway.  There is room for the trampoline and there is a nice new hot tub already there. The boys are going to give sharing a room a try so that we can have a room for video games, legos, and my sewing.  I'm a little worried about how it is going to work knowing the boys personalities but I'm trying to be hopeful!  Other than that it is a newer neighborhood with a lot of kids around, it is close to our parents still, a bike ride away from shopping and close to great schools.  We move in three weeks.  Yup.  THREE. 1.2.3.  And I can't lift anything over 10 lbs.  Should be fun.  Hence the lack of excitement just yet!  Stayed tuned...

Friday, June 15, 2012

The end of another school year...

We followed the final festivities with lunch at Burgerville and a trip to the Scholastic warehouse book sale where we got a good headstart on our summer reading!

  And what a year it has been!Trace played football, tried out the Jr. ROTC, unicycled and ran for ASB.  He worked his tail off to bring two low grades up to finish with four B's and three A's.  In the process I think he learned a lot about the benefit of studying and doing his best on everything!  He has grown taller than me and his voice has deepened.  He is turning into a wonderful young man right before our eyes!
Caden played football and wrestled this year.  He learned a lot about managing relationships both at home and at school.  His grades were exemplary and he constantly impressed us with his WWII knowledge!  He is a sensitive soul whose tears started flowing as we waved goodbye today!
Paige went through a lot of change this year.  She started the year as a brand new kindergartner and finished today ready to start second grade.  We are so proud of the way she transitioned to a new grade level and delt with the challenges she encountered!  She too learned a lot about relationships this year and how to be a friend and how to stand up for herself.  
All three kids have made us so proud as we watch them grow and move up through the years.  We couldn't be more blessed!
And now it is time for summer!  We don't have any big travel plans this year.  All three kids have some church daycamps they will be going to.  Paige and I are going to a one day camp for adoptees that our agency runs, and Trace has a week long overnight camp also.  Throw in a surgery for me, wisdom teeth removal for Trace, a family reunion, and football practice and I'd say we'll be keeping ourselves busy!  I hope to get some book reading in, library trips, Hawaiian shave ice, swimming and hiking too!
Paige's end of the year assembly was especially emotional since her school is being closed .

We made it to Caden's school in time to see him run around the school one last time.  This is a fun tradition to send the fourth graders off to middle school.  A few teachers usually climb on the roof to hit the unsuspecting runners with water balloons too!  A little bitter-sweet for Mom to watch - seems like just yesterday Trace did it!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Keeping up with life

It can be a challenge to try and keep up with us some days!  Trace has his weekly Young Life club (when we remember to get up in time!), Karate one day, weight lifting 3 days (thankfully that's done now for a month), marching band and general school activities!  Paige has four hours of gymnastics every week.  Caden has a bi-weekly appointment 30 minutes away.  And me?  Well, I'm just trying to keep it all straight while trying not to miss anything!

No, these aren't ours!  These are my parent's new babies!

Trace moved into full teenager mode with braces!

Some days I feel like I'm keeping all my balls in the air, but most days I'm just running on fumes.  I take Paige with me to work in the morning, then I get off at noon and leave only to have to be back to pick her up by 3:30.  The few brief hours before bedtime are filled with appointments, homework, and errands.  Housework?  HA - who has time for that?  With summer coming, I'd like to say I'm looking forward to slowing down a bit but alas, that is not to be.  The kids are out of school on the 15th of June.  Four days later I'll be having surgery, a week after that Trace starts two weeks of day camp; Trace will be having his wisdom teeth out; after a week off Caden and Paige will have a week of day camp; Paige and I will have one day of Holt Adoptee camp, and Trace will have a week of overnight camp!  And that's only the month of JULY!  August will bring the fair and football which is essentially the end of freedom for us.  We have no trips planned for this summer though we hope to use our trailer more than the one time in August we are scheduled for.  Hopefully we can throw in the ice cream truck, swimming, bike rides and lots of laying around!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Right Perspective

This past week Paige was in a school performance. It was just a brief little event where the first graders sang some songs for their parents before the family night event at the school. She has never actually done anything other than stand there with a frown on her face so, although I hoped, I doubted she would do anything different this time. Imagine my surprise as the music started and her little hands started performing the signs while she sang out with a smile on her face. I watched as she giggled and goofed around with her friends. She was having fun and enjoying what she was doing. It melted my heart.
For a while I thought my emotions were a result of thinking of what could have been. What could have been, for Paige, if things had been different. But I knew that wasn't right. In fact it almost made me mad to think that way. How do I know what could have been? For all I know it could have been a lot better, or just different. I've never felt like we did something for her and I knew that wasn't the right description of what I was feeling. So what brought the tears to my eyes? After two days of working through my emotions, it finally hit me. It wasn't what could have been for her, it was what could have been for us! When people tell me she is "such a doll," or "so cute," while I agree with them, I don't see her the same way. I don't see that she is different. Looking at her up on that stage I saw her smily face at the edge of my bed on a Saturday morning, I saw her twirling and bouncing through the house, I felt her sleeping weight as I carry her to her bed, and I felt those little arms around me in her tightest bear hug. I saw my daughter and I realized what could have been for us without her in our lives! That empty hole she has filled in my heart, that extra sparkle she brings to our home and I can't imagine life without it. I watched her sing about having food in her belly and love in her family and I was overcome with thankfulness that I am the one who gets to provide those thing for her. And the tears fell.

Friday, March 30, 2012

I guess I'm a failing blogger!

But dang, if life just doesn't get in the way! So here are some snippets of what's been going on...

Paige experienced her first Spirit Week and particularly liked mismatch day!

She also proudly earned her button for completing 5 book reports! This month she is trying for her 10 report button. Way to go Paige!

I discovered that miracles do happen when I found the boys sitting shoulder to shoulder on the couch. They weren't there by force or bribery AND they weren't fighting! Wonders never cease.

I also found a great reason to never dust again. Look closely - see the little handprint? I'm not sure if it is Paige's or one of my little nephew's but it doesn't matter, those precious little hands only stay that way for a very short time!
When I went out in the garage the other night I found proof that the bikes are definitely quite prolific! Rick has been swearing it for many years and, well the proof is in the pudding! There are three extra bikes parked right there in line with all of the others.

And finally, Trace had his last unicycle performance of the year at Jump for Heart for the elementary school. It is a huge event at the boy's school every year. Last year they brought in over $10,000 for the American Heart Association! Pretty good for a school of about 400. Trace is on the 6 foot giraff in this picture.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

My Little Helpers

Caden and Paige helped me make flatbread last night. I put them in charge of flipping the bread while I rolled the dough out. It was a learning process but they both caught on and were pro's by the time we got through 24 pieces!

Paige was particularly frustrated with learning to flip them. Caden was so patient and encouraging though (sometimes he is capable of that!).

She was so proud of herself when she finally got it!

Then we had a little flipper high fiving going on...
Once we were done we made little individual pizzas followed by improvised elephant ears. There can never be enough flatbread at our house!

Six years old!

Our baby girl is six years old! I told her she wasn't allowed to be six and she giggled and told me "too bad!" As all parents say, I don't know where the time has gone. Seems like yesterday I was sitting in the rocking chair in her room trying to memorize her little, sleeping face. Now she reads a chapter to me before practicing spelling words and doing homework! Our beautiful baby girl is growing up right before our eyes. This past year has been a year with a lot of changes for Miss. P. She graduated pre-school, started kindergarten and moved to first grade all in just six months time. She learned to ride a two wheel bike. Went to Hawaii and Disneyland for the first time. She started gymnastics and rapidly moved up to pre-team where she is excelling! I'm sure the coming year will bring even more changes. Hopefully her sweet, giggly, sparkly personality won't change too much! Love you to pieces my little girly girl!

Dentist Barbie for our future dentist! Couldn't resist encouraging her now could we?

San Francisco

Rick and I were able to get away for a couple of days in February. We decided on San Fran since it is fairly close and we only had 2-3 days. It was so wonderful to be able to do whatever we wanted and just hang out together! We probably walked 10+ miles in two days!

The Alcatraz tour was awesome! We were really blessed to have the rare beautiful day to go out to the island. The audio tour was very informative and walking around in the sunshine was so refreshing! (I'm sure it wasn't nearly so refreshing for the prisoners!)

We were trying to get a picture of us with the Golden Gate bridge in the background. Well, it's a great picture of us but where's the bridge? LOL

One of the places I really wanted to go was Chinatown. Since we lived in Chicago we really haven't been able to go to a "good" Chinatown. It didn't dissapoint either! We got all of the kids little gifts, including a new New Year outfit for Paige. But for the few more "American" stores one could easily think they were in China. Made me almost wish the kids were with us to see it!

We had a great couple of days away and I can't wait until we get away again! Next time maybe we'll take a little longer and hit Texas?!