Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Years Eve.

Good morning, it is Wednesday.

Yesterday Lillie got to go over to her friend Lily's house and play for a few hours. Lily also has older brothers who have tons of friends to visit and hang with while she is too young for all the fun. So it was good to get the Lillians together. They played Barbie and the Diamond Castle, sisters, and matcher pets.

Yesterday I was introduced to a game called Blokus. It is a fun game where you try to put all your blocks that are kind of tetris shaped onto a board.

Tonight we will be staying awake until next year! We have a few fireworks and sparklers left over from the 4th of July that we will light off...if the weather permits. I enjoy all the dumb "see you next year" jokes this time of year. Lillie has even caught on. She is now ok with waiting until next year for me to get down the extra movie box from the long as next year is tomorrow!

See you next year.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Goodbye gleaning.

Good morning, it is Monday.

Maren is off to work today. We have so much slop and slush in our culd-e-sac that her car could hardly get out of the driveway. All the main roads are just fine, but the back roads that never saw a snow plow are still bad.

Being snowed in as we have been, I don't think Maren minded going into work at the least. We have not gotten to do many things we would do this time of year, such as going to Zoo Lights, spending a day downtown, or even just driving around looking at Christmas Lights in some of the fancier neighborhoods around the area. Quite frankly we are all on each others nerves just a bit...actually, it is more parents vs. kids these days. Preston and Hansen think they should be able to do what they want, when they want as it is vacation. Why not just become a nocturnal human while on vacation? Why not play Nintendo all day? Why not stay up all night? Why not sulk around the house because there is nothing to do? Why not just drive your parents batty? We all need this sloppy snow to melt so we can kick the kids outside! Hansen and I have been taking some refuge in the garage. Hansen rides his skateboard, I fiddle with bicycles. I took my cheap mt. bike apart, will paint the frame and fork, then put it back together as a single speed. When done, it will be perfect for parking in the rain all day long at school. I don't really like parking my good bicycle in the rain all day. This cheap mt. bike was one that I found at a garage sale for $10.00 last summer.

Sunday was our last gleaner day. Maren and I (mostly Maren, but I filled in plenty) have been part of a local food bank gleaner organization. We used to do a pick up every Saturday, but when our Saturday pick up fizzled toward the end of the summer, we were switched to a Sunday pick up. Sunday has never really worked for our family as it interferes with it became gleaning vs. church. When I got my new job, it just made sense to quit the gleaners. All this snow has done wonders to the ordering and bread making at the local stores. Yesterday I did the run (too much snow for Maren's car) and had 3 shopping carts full of bread. The picture below is my van totally overstuffed with 150 loaves of day old bread, 150 lbs of produce, and about 20 pastries to bring the the gleaners. I know Maren will miss the gleaners a bit, but it is nice to have one less thing on the to do list.

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Lillie the Leopard

Lillie has always loved leopard print clothing. She has leopard pants, tights, shirts, gloves, and now shoes. This morning she has most of her leopard gear on. I asked her if I could take a picture of her leopard outfit, and she insisted on crawling on the ground like a leopard.

See you tomorrow.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Day, Artwork.

Good morning, it is Friday.

Christmas Day was a nice day at our house. We woke up early and opened plenty of presents. Around lunch time John, Carol, Mel, Court, Stef, Jack and Avery braved the snow to spend a few hours at our house. We had Left over Swedish Meatballs for dinner, yum. Hansen had Kole over for a long time, Preston went out and played in the snow with Connor, and Lillie just enjoyed hanging out with everyone. The kids did each get a new video game, so the Wii has been on non-stop it seems. When they get bored with the Nintendo, or their rude parents tell them it is time to take a break, they usually go find other ways to be creative. Below are some photos of artwork from the last couple of days.

When Preston gets tired of solving the Rubik's Cube in 33 seconds (he had a good solving method, but he could not get faster than like a minute, so he has been learning a different method that has taken his time down to closer to 30 seconds), he likes do do pencil drawings. This is his Naruto collection from yesterday.
Hansen likes to draw action stuff, but he really enjoys building things. These are a couple of his Lego inventions from the last couple of days. Hansen made a little pot-holder knitted type thing for Jack and Avery, then hand made an elaborate set of instructions on how to use the different loops for holding different toys and such, I don't have a picture of any of it, but it was quite elaborate and Hansen was proud of his work.

Lillie likes to draw on the white board of the easel. Her color choices are limited on the dry erase side of things, but this is her drawing of Belle, Aurora, and Snow White as seen on a princess makeup gift she got for Christmas.
The snow does not look much different from our windows just yet. The temps have gone up above the freezing point and in a few days we may see colors other than just white out the windows.
See you tomorrow.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Good Morning, it is Thursday. Merry Christmas everyone!

This is the first white Christmas since 1990! Maren and I were going to get married just before Christmas in 1990, but the snow closed the courthouse on that day, so we actually do remember the last white Christmas. We rescheduled for Jan 3rd 1991 and the rest is history.

Last night we had a very nice Christmas Eve dinner at the Ostergard's. Mel, Court, Jack, Avery, and Stef were there as well. The twins got a little walker wagon that was the hit of the day, Jack pushed Avery around and around and around. I left my camera at John and Carols (along with the back up batteries) so I can't show you the cool pics I took on the drive of the roads and the trees.

Below are a few pictures from last night and this morning:

This is Lillie with the cookies and carrots for Santa and the Reindeer. Lillie wanted to go to bed early, but then could not fall asleep!
This is a panorama photo that I took with my phone camera. The kids actually slept until about 8:00am. Lots of gifts and fun. A bit scaled back from years past, but very nice none the less. Now the day will consist of watching A Christmas Story (non stop, for the rest of the day) and playing with new toys and stuff.

This picture is with the panorama option on my phone camera as well. This one is standing just outside the back slider looking into the back yard on Christmas morning. We must have had an additional 3 inches last night. We will be heading into a warming trend and in another week I am sure the snow will be gone.
Merry Christmas, see you tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Uncle Corey visit, Hansen saying of the day, more snow.

Good morning, it is Wednesday.

Yesterday we drove Maren into work as she was due to work. She had not been in since last Tuesday and figured it would be good to get some work time in. The roads were not too bad and it was nice to get out. Since we were in Issaquah, we decided to meet up with Corey and wish him a Merry Christmas. He ended up taking us out to lunch and we had a very nice visit. After dropping Corey back off at work, we just wandered from store to store. The kids are slurpee aficionados...even in the snow, so at Target, I bought them slurpees, talk about a few freezing kids.

Today the quote of the day is from Hansen, "That's amazing! How could Lillie hand off her chocolate and still be happy?" Yup, after dinner each kid had a very cool five inch chocolate reindeer that they received from my Aunt Sally. These had been out on the table for a few days and every day we would hear, "can we eat these now?" Finally last night was when they got to eat them. They each started on the solid chocolate head, demolished the hollow mid section, and although full, worked through the solid feet area...that is except Lillie, she figured she had enough and offered the feet area to me. As Lillie was handing off the chocolate feet, Hansen seemed to think that was a very foolish move, thus the quote of the day.

This morning we have another 3+ inches of snow and it is still falling. When will it stop? We have no way of knowing, it does not seem to be slowing, we have no idea where we are going, the danger must be growing! That is our little snow song as taken from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. If any of you have seen Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory as many times as we have seen it, you know the song.

Today we are scheduled to head out to the Ostergard's house for Christmas Eve. The boys don't mind tons of snow to miss school, but the possibility of missing Christmas Eve has got them wishing it would stop snowing. I figure we will have no problem traveling, but our evening may be ending a few hours early just to make sure we are not traveling in the really bad stuff.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Hanukkah, Football, Snow.

Good morning, it is Monday.

Happy Hanukkah. Like Amber (, we also have a nice Menorah and all the liturgy as passed down from Grandpa Sandler. In a fast paced world where Santa is everywhere, kids all have a handheld Nintendo and a cell phone, it is nice to be able to slow down, remember traditions of the past and make new ones for the future. My favorite meal of the year is probably Swedish Meatballs...only two more sleeps as Lillie would say.

Yesterday in the snow we had a big neighborhood football game. Three adults and 5 kids with the youngest being Preston and Connor. My team was me, Preston, Chase, and Christian. We were going against Jim (Christian's dad), Dan (adult neighbor), Sam and Connor. Luckily, me and my team prevailed...I even got to make the last game ending catch! Yeah baby. It is a good thing, because I would hate to be as sore as I am (I can barely walk) and not have won the game!

There is more snow outside at our house than I have ever seen [at our house]. Everything from the roads to the trees to the rooftops looks like a ski resort, not Covington. Maren is totally itching to get out. She has been home from since last Tuesday and is ready to move on. We may drive her into work today, but then again, we may not. Who knows!

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

We surived the storm, and the Nutcracker too.

Good morning, it is Sunday.

I almost titled my blog "The storm was one heck of a Nutcracker.", but that just did not sound right.

It did snow a ton, it was very windy, but we never lost power (knock wood) and now things should calm down a little. They still say snow and cold for the next week, but not in the teens for temps and not in the 40-70s for winds. I just went outside to get the newspaper and it must have snowed around 4 inches last night. The strange thing about the snow is that it was also quite windy and the snow has a strange little crusty top layer. Every step crunches through the top layer then sinks down a few inches.

We also did trek out yesterday so Lille, Maren, and Carol could see the Nutcracker Ballet. On the way to pick up Carol and drop the boys off with John, the roads in Covington were not too bad, there were clear areas for the car tires to drive on. The freeways were no problem, but Burien appeared to have gotten more snow than anywhere else and the show plows had forgotten about them. The roads were just compact snow and ice. Preston, Hansen, and John went to the park to sled, and had a great time. I drove Maren, Lillie and Carol to the see the Nutcracker, and I just walked around downtown Renton checking out the stores. The snow and wind started up about a half an hour before the show was over and the drive home was all white, but no problem. The roads were so cool the way the wind was blowing snow all over the roads, it almost looked like you were driving on snow flames.

Today we will watch the Seahawks last football game of the year from the comfort of our own home. Thousands of fans will head down to the stadium in the snow to freeze and fight a traffic nightmare only to sit in the new uncovered football stadium...I figure many of the fans have been just dreaming of a snow day like today to watch football. The forecast does not show more show falling, so the TV may not show the true amount of snow that is everywhere.

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sledding, Snow, football, power?

Good morning, it is Saturday.

I did not even realize until late that I did not post a blog yesterday. Well, yesterday there was no school and there is even more snow on the ground than a few days ago. The kids were all a bit bummed out to miss school on Friday. Friday was supposed to be party day for all their classrooms, instead it was day two of winter vacation. The big kid played a lot of football in the snow. Preston gets bored with neighborhood football, but the snow added a bit of excitement and they played a lot of football. I taped about 5 minutes of one of their games with my video camera...maybe I will post it later. I brought Hansen and Kole up to the school for more sledding. There were tons of kids once again, not quite as crazy as before, but the hill was faster than ever. Kole ended up getting wiped out by a slider and has a big swollen lip, ouch. I also got about 5 minutes of good sledding footage on my video camera, I may post some of that as well. Lillie decided she just did not need to go up to the school to freeze her booty off, so she stayed home with Maren and baked cookies and rested on the couch...good decision!

Today is a spooky day according to the forecasters. It is just cold (17 degrees) and calm right now, but starting this afternoon along the foothills of the cascades (that usually creeps just to our house) there is suppose to be sustained 40 to 60 mile per hour winds with gusts reaching Hurricane speeds. Also the temperature will not rise above the mid 20s. And on top of that, we could get another 6+ inches of snow tonight. They are figuring on wide spread power outages and lots of fallen trees! How is that for a doom and gloom forecast? I hope they are not quite right and things are just a bit calmer than they think.

Maren, Lillie and Carol are supposed to see a performance of The Nutcracker in Renton today. The performance is from 1:30 to about 3:30 and should be great. With the roads and the upcoming weather, we may or may not go. Who wants to be stuck on the roads during true blizzard conditions? We will see.

Enjoy the day, hopefully will have power the next few days and I will see you tomorrow.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snow day.

Good morning, it is Thursday.

SNOW DAY! This is the first full day off from school we have had due to snow! Last night the snow reports looked like not much and yesterday was much more mild than the weather folk had forecast. The kids all went to bed figuring I would be waking them up early for school. Not today! We have a couple of inches of new snow and the temps are just falling. Who knows if we will have school tomorrow or not. The trees look so cool with show on each and every branch. By the messes on the local freeways, many folks must have left just before the snow started because there are backups everywhere.

Maren is taking the day off as well. She had one meeting that has been canceled and the rest is just vacation. Maren is sprawled out on the new couch watching the traffic messes on TV and very happy not to be going into work today.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

400 posts and the couch is here!

Good morning, it is Wednesday.

Today is my 400th post. Wow. But even more unbelievable than the fact I have posted 400 times is that we did in fact get the new couch delivered yesterday. Maren's parents, grandma, sister Mel and the twins all came out to visit. And they all got to see the new couch first thing. Hansen was in fact the first to sit on the new couch, and he approved. The picture below is the couch with Lillie, Hansen and Maren having no trouble warming up to it. It seems a little bigger than I had thought, but we do like it a lot. Now I have to re-hang the pictures and re arrange the furniture to get the room looking just right.

The schools are on a two hour delay, so I have to start getting ready for work.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

School delay, couch today?

Good morning, it is Tuesday.

Another cold, cold morning around these parts. A two hour delay for our school system and snow in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow. I just woke up and I will be waking the kids next. The kids just may get a few extra days of winter vacation.

Today is the day the new couch is due to be delivered. Since it is scheduled between 1:30 and 3:30, the Ostergards are coming out to hang out and take the delivery. With any luck at all we will have the new couch by the time I get home from school with the littles. Our culdesac as well as the whole neighborhood is still a ice skating rink, but the main roads are drivable. We also ordered a nice leather bench/storage box to fit under the front window, and it is due to arrive today as well.

Today is also the Cedar Valley all star volleyball team vs. the teachers. I get to play this year. I guess the teachers usually win, but the boys team beat the teachers a couple of years ago, and they are very good, so it may be close.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sledding at CV

Good morning, it is Monday.

School is on a two hour delay today. We are letting the kids sleep in a bit. Yesterday we went up the the school to do some sledding. The rest of Covington also thought that was the thing to do and the hill was totally packed. It was a crazy time with all age of kids from 5 years old to high school and beyond. There are mostly little disc sleds like my kids have, but some have longer ones and some have 50 year old metal sleds and some kids just had big signs that are probably missing from some house for sale down the street. Some of the older kids found a steep hill that feeds into the road and were flying into the street hoping that their friends were telling the truth about no cars coming. I was glad my kids thought that those kids were totally crazy, rather than wishing they could do the same.

Here is Preston with his neighbor friends Christian (on left) and Sam (on right).
Lillie and her pink disk. Getting ready to fly down the hill.

Hansen showing off his full speed form.
Maren is a bit nervous about driving in this weather, she will be going in a couple of hours late just like the rest of us.
See you tomorrow.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Pictures and more.

Good morning, it is Sunday.

Lots of pictures below, and the post below...I forgot to upload the pictures first, then I did them in reverse order. I could probably flip things around and such, but I am stretching my computer skills as it is.

This is a very cute picture of Lillie and her drawing/writing. She had Preston help her with spelling. She is making snow hand signals and the computer monitor freaked out my camera, but I still need to post. The saying is "People on the moon sprinkling sugar" That is what Lillie thought snow was, and the picture below the writing is of a curly hair girl on the moon, sprinkling sugar onto our neighborhood. We did explain snow to her, but sometimes she would just rather make things up as she goes. The other day we had a Title Math night at the school that I worked, Lillie was happy to go, but she said "I guess it is OK to go back to school at night, but I won't have to learn anything will I?" The kicker is that she may end up being the brightest of us all!

This is our house with no couches! I am not convinced we will have the new couch anytime soon. This is how we live these days. Sometime Maren and I take the Princess chairs (they will probably go away after the new couch arrives, but it is good we still have them for now. We just bought the chair Hansen is sitting in, and it will live next to the couch. Hansen helped pick it out, then stayed up half the night helping me build it. He has claimed it as his "spot". The cats like it as well.

Picture of the kids with Santa at the Covington Community Center. Free, quick, not much background, but it was great! I saw a handful of students I see at school there as well.

Another pic of the kids with Santa. We did not make anyone dress differently than they wanted. Preston (back right) is in shorts and a hoodie sweatshirt, Hansen (front left) is in his standard jeans and a long sleeve tee shirt, and Lillie decided to get all dressed up for Santa with her fancy white shoes, red tights, and red and white fancy dress. She really liked that she made a red/white pattern with her clothes.

Picture of just Lillie and Santa.

It is totally snow covered around here. I saw that both Texas, New Orleans, and Boston got snow a few days before us...but are catching up just fine. We now have about 3 inches on the ground and the temps will not get above freezing for several days. I am blogging a bit late because I did Maren's volunteer food bank run this morning. My wheels did not even touch actual pavement until the drive home just under the traffic camera. Maren does not believe that they would take care of the roads better under the online traffic camera...but I bet the traffic camera locations get taken care of first, middle and last. There were plenty of freaked drivers, I saw probably 10 spun out cars, and one good little crash. But made it no problem. The little Hyundai drives just fine in the snow. Only on one scary down hill did I have to drive to the edge of the road to let the slop slow me down, getting ready to use the curb to stop.
The kids have been outside all morning, Lillie just came in and was frozen like a Popsicle. I put up our Christmas lights yesterday and they look just fine. I don't put up too many due to a "very tall ladder" phobia, but I do have some blinking icicle lights and some strands that don't blink.
See you tomorrow. I am sure we will have a delayed start at school.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Macy's on naughty list, cold, Santa

Good morning, it is Friday.

I just woke up too late to blog yesterday. That sounds better than it is, really I just slept in 15 minutes.

The couch saga continues. We were supposed to get the couch tomorrow, but Macy's called me to let me know that while it was supposed to get scheduled, the couch never made it back to the warehouse in time to actually make it out by tomorrow??? Now it will be delivered on Tuesday. If Maren did not really want this couch, it would be so gone by now...just on principal! It really is a nice couch and the only one we saw that was really what we wanted, which is why Maren if far more forgiving to the Macy's delivery folks than I. I have never had such poor customer service as I have received from the Macy's delivery service. I finally called my sales person to have them reschedule my delivery because the delivery department just frustrates me so much. Looks like John will come out on Tuesday so the couch can be delivered...That is very nice of John, and it is just as well that I am not here. Appleby's is on my list of not going to ever again (they forgot half of our food and then blamed us!), now Macy's is about to be put there as well. I am very forgiving to these stores because I know it is just people working who really don't care, but geepers.

Tonight I have to winterize our house. Make sure the pipes are wrapped and stuff. It is supposed to get down in the teens for the nighttime lows for the next week. We may just wake up to a bunch of snow tomorrow morning, the double doppler is giving different forecasts depending on who is reading the info, but there is a good chance of snow above 500ft, and we do qualify. Preston is due to play in the district Volleyball championship tomorrow morning and a soccer game in the afternoon, we will see how that all unfolds.

Tonight the local community center is scheduled to have a visit by Santa Claus himself. We hope to make it in time. We have made it there the last couple of years and it has been great. You get to bring your own camera rather than paying through the nose for Santa pic the way the mall does it these days. The lines are not nearly as long, and they actually have had little gifts for the kids. I may actually have a Santa pic of the kids to post tomorrow.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Good morning, it is Wednesday.

Yesterday turned out to be a nice day. Maren had to work late, so she was on her own, but she did just fine. Me and the littles got home from school, hung out for a bit, then went to Preston's school to watch his all star volleyball team get beat by the teachers. The teachers do have a real height advantage. Good for the teachers! The CV teacher vs. the all star CV team is next week. I guess last year the students won. CV always has a great volleyball team. GL always has a great track team. If it amazing how these things work out year after year. Afterward the volleyball game, I took the kids out to Arby's for dinner. The kids were totally thinking Arby's. The only fighting going on was when Lillie and Hansen had a mini wrestling match to see who got to ring the bell. Our Arby's has a bell that you ring if you had good service. Every time you ring the bell all the employees turn and say "thank you!". Even if you ring the bell a few times in a row, the employees just do the "thank-you!" for every ring. Gets kind of creepy after all three kids have rung the bell, especially as Lillie has to out ring everyone on the planet. I choose not to ring the bell at about that point...not that I would not have gotten a polite "Thank you!" as well.

Today we have a very busy day. Preston has a Volleyball tournament at Cedar Valley. This will be a fun game, not too sure who I should root for. Since Hansen is too young to be on the CV team, guess I will root for Preston. During that time, Lillie has dance class. Afterwards is the Title Math night at CV, and I am one of the Title workers. I am having Preston skip his soccer practice to stay and help me with math night. Yup, he will enjoy working the table with the math fortune tellers, and I won't have to show off my awesome math skills.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Just hanging out.

Good morning, it is Tuesday.

Yesterday we just hung out at home and did nothing. Preston's soccer practice was canceled and we had no other activities scheduled. We just sat around and listened to classic Christmas music such as Heat Miser and Snow Miser from "Year Without Santa Claus". Everyone was exhausted from the first full day of school in a couple of weeks.

Things do get busy for us over the next few days. Both Maren and I will be working late, Preston has a couple of volleyball matches, Lillie will have dance class and Hansen choir practice. This has been the calm before the storm. The weather folks say the same thing as it is going to be very cold towards the end of the week and snow looms as a possibility.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, December 08, 2008

New shoes.

Good morning, it is Monday.

Last night I took the kids out to buy Hansen new shoes. I knew going into it that Preston needed new shoes even worse than Hansen, and Lillie is not capable of being in a shoe store without really wanting new shoes...let alone having a brother buy a pair of shoes and not her. So we went to Payless to take advantage of the BOGO1/2 off figuring on four pairs of shoes. We found a good pair for Hansen right away (a cool pair of skater shoes), Lillie could not make up her mind, and Preston kept going through the sizes. By the time Preston had a pair he liked, he was up a size and a half to a mens 9.5. He probably could have gone into size 10, but decided the 9.5s worked fine. Looking at the way he wares out shoes, these shoes won't last very long anyhow (Preston only likes running style shoes, but then uses them for Volleyball and skateboarding). Lillie finally found a pair that she really liked. I tried to talk her out of Black Hightops (similar to Converse) with pink hearts or something all over the sides, but I finally decided to just let her get them. We needed one more pair and I spotted a $3.00 box way above the Hansen size (now mens 6.5). This was a very nice pair of shoes originally $40.00. We snagged them and still needed one more pair of shoes as I did not want to waste a half price pair of shoes on a $3.00 pair. I just don't need more shoes just yet, so we looked for a bit and found Maren a cool pair of black semi fancy slip on style shoes (Maren was not there, but the rest of us thought they were cool). Five good quality pairs of shoes that everyone was happy with for just under $90.00. Not so bad. One of these days the kids will probably start thinking that Air-Walks and Champions are not their favorite brands. If the day comes where they all need Nike and Adidas brands, the bill will triple...yikes!

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Couch sega, Lillie's play dough self portrait.

Good morning, it is Saturday.

Preston is already off to a soccer game. The game starts at 9:00am in Sumner, but he left with his coach and friend as to get there an hour early to warm up. I will go to the game, but no need to leave for an hour as no warming up required for me.

We got rid of our old couches yesterday. Oh my, what a deal. I posted them for free on Craigslist. Within 10 minutes I had nearly 50 responses. I chose the first one who said he would pick up yesterday. He showed up an hour later, said he is selling furniture...inspected our couches, and turned them down. Free was not a good enough price for him. So back to the computer, by now there were 15more responses. I chose one from the top 20 that was from our city. Car problems, help problems, they were not able to make it until yesterday. Fine, with 74 messages, I knew someone would take them. Yesterday they came and took them away, they were nice and it worked out just fine. Now for our new couch. AARG. The window their computer gave us for delivery was yesterday from 11:30-1:30. I told the lady that I did not get home from picking up the kids and work until 12:15 (early release for conferences) and maybe they could come at 12:30. I got the "just a computer" song and dance. Well, when I got home at 12:25, I had a bunch of messages about the delivery folks running early and wanting to come by at 11:00. Then more about them waiting at our house at 11:15. Then another about them knowing that I would be home at 12:30, but instead they waited in front of our house from 11:15-11:42, then left, never to return to Covington and I needed to call to make a new appointment. I called at 12:30 and the next time that would work is next Saturday! Oh sure, they could try again next Thursday, but the computer would put us at 10:00am and we could not be home. I was totally not impressed with anyone's attitude or caring at the delivery phone. I was talking to them during my delivery window and the van was just leaving Covington. This is Macy's by the way, and a darn expensive couch and delivery. I came very close to canceling the order, getting my money back and going to Ikea and buying cheaper stuff. I still feel like doing that, but this couch is just the one Maren wants so I am taking deep breaths and venting just a bit on my blog.

On to happier things. This picture below is a just a great picture. Lillie spent 20 minutes making this self portrait out of play dough. She was very happy with it and added play dough words "ME" on it later. It was more detailed in real life, but the picture shows it pretty well. I especially like the fingers!

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Step for P, phone for me.

Good morning, it is Thursday.

Preston is back on antibiotics, but this time around a much more powerful dose. The doctor figures he never actually got rid of the strep last month and now it is back even stronger. Hopefully Preston will be back to good in a day or two. One more bout with strep this winter and the doctor recommends tonsils out for poor little Preston.

Last night Lillie had dance class and I was just hanging out in the waiting room. Well, not really just hanging out, I was playing with my new phone. It is so cool! I could read the news, text people, answer e-mails, and listen to music all at the same time! And if I had forgotten how to get home thanks to all this mindless technology, my phone could have given me directions. Wow. The most amazing thing is that I even get reception at the dance studio. The phones we had for the last bunch of years never got reception at the places I hung out. Big improvement in the phone department.

Out of time, time to get Hansen and Lillie ready for school.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Christmas Cards, Slug.

Good morning, it is Wednesday.

I am not sure it is really politically correct to have the title of today's blog be "Christmas Cards, Slug.", but since that is what I wrote about, that is just the way it will be.

Yesterday we put together the first 40 Christmas cards. The ones we don't need to double check will be in the mail today. If you don't get one in the next few days, it is because we don't have your address correct, you are on the "hand deliver" list, you will be in the second 40 Christmas cards, or we just don't know you. But since only about 15-20 people look at this blog on a daily basis, most of you will be on one of the lists. If you are not on any of these lists, let me know. I can add a new list...actually Maren can add a new list, she is our list maker. I am just the blogger/day dreamer.

Here is a gross thing that just happened to me. Maren usually leaves at 7:00am, I walk her out, then grab the newspaper. I grabbed the paper, brought it over to the sink to shake the water off the plastic bag (yes, the PNW is wet every morning these days) and when I grabbed the back part of the bag, I grabbed right into a decent size slug. Yuk. Usually the slugs that cling onto the paper are only about a centimeter in length and you just shake them off, but I some how missed this one and it was like an inch and a half. I figure that is just a sign that there is no good news in today's paper.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

conferences, advent calendars, reindeer.

Good morning, it is Tuesday.

Yesterday we had very good parent/teacher conferences with Hansen and Lillie's teachers. Both kids are excellent students...and a pleasure to have in class.

We also stopped by the book fair in the CV library and the littles chose a few books. Hansen chose a fancy book about Dragons, while Lillie found a couple of small books about Barbie And The Diamond Castle.

Last night we brought out all the advent calendars. Each kid has an advent calender to work with, Hansen has a Lego calendar while Lillie and Preston have Playmoble calendars. Each of these make a scene in the snow or something. We also have a little singing Christmas tree and some felt ones as well.

Lillie has been pretending to be a reindeer ever since she found these reindeer horns attached to a head band. In the picture below, I actually got her to stand up on two feet, as opposed to just crawling around on all fours, or flying off couches and chairs.

Another early release day for us today.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Back to school, new couch.

Good morning, it is Monday.

Back to school and work after a nice long weekend. The catch is that this week is conference week so the kids all get out of school about two and a half hours early each day this week. Maren is getting off work early so she can attend conferences today for Hansen and Lillie. I am sure their teachers will only have good things to say about them. Preston's conference is on Wednesday. The kids have early release this week, then two full weeks of school, then they are off for winter break. It must be great to be a kid.

Saturday we ordered a new couch. It should arrive on Friday. This is only the second new couch we have ever purchased. The first was the futon couch we bought in College and gave to Amber and Chuck when they moved to CA years ago. The new couch is a sofa sleeper with a left chaise thing. It is red leather and will look very nice in our living room. Next will be a couple of chairs, then figuring out how to get rid of our old couch/loveseat and two chairs. I will show you a picture when it is all in place. The kids were asking how we got the old couch and loveseat if we did not buy them. Well, about 8 years ago, some friends of ours from Preston's pre-school days were moving to Arizona and had these couches and needed to sell them. We did not have any money to buy, but they were leaving the next day, so I offered them a decent set of golf clubs. Moving to Arizona and not owning any golf clubs, the trade worked and we have had these couches ever since. The new one should be nice for many years.

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sleeping under the Christmas Tree.

Good morning, it is Saturday.

My back is stiff and my eyes are heavy. Yup, I slept (kind of) on the couch, on the floor, on the love seat, and back on the floor by the time the night was over. Sleeping under the tree works much better when you are a kid. Lillie and Preston stayed in their chosen spots on the floor, but Hansen switched from the love seat to the couch. Maren hung out with us for a bit, but was smart enough to head up to her real bed. In fact, she is still sleeping. Before going to sleep we kind of told stories. Lillie told a few good stories, Preston had some good stories. Hansen never really finished a story because once it got too gory...his turn was over. Maren and I had our turns as well.

This is Lillie helping decorate the tree.

Preston and Hansen playing scrabble at the Ostergard's house on Thanksgiving.

Hansen, Lillie and Preston at the park on Thanksgiving.
Today we don't have much planned, we may hang out, we may shop for couches again. The red leather couches Maren wants from Ikea are never in stock, every two weeks we are told to check back in two weeks. Who knows if they will ever be in stock. I am happy to switch to a dark brown or a black, we will see.
See you tomorrow.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday.

Good morning, it is Friday.

Black Friday as the shopping world has come to label the Friday after Thanksgiving. In years past I have woke up at 5:00am to go out into the madness and shop for great deals. This year I decided to sleep in...if you consider sleeping until 8:00am sleeping in. Once everyone wakes up and has breakfast and stuff, I will go out and see if one or two things are still in stock at a couple of stores with sales until 3:00pm, but waking up early did not sound so great. Besides, Maren thinks that with the poor economy, the great prices of this morning may not be so different than what is advertised in the next few weeks.

Today is the day we will put up our Christmas Tree. We will spend the day putting up the tree, decorating, going through the Christmas boxes, eating left over Pecan Pie (maybe just me on that one), then getting restless and going out to the driving range to get some fresh air (me and the boys). Tonight we will be sleeping under the Christmas Tree. I don't know exactly how long ago we started that tradition, but every year we sleep under the tree the day we put it up and decorate it. Should be a fun day.

Yesterday we had a very nice Thanksgiving day. I took the kids to the park for scooting on scooters, playing a little soccer, and goofing on the play ground. Lillie just loves the "salt and pepper" bars. At school recess a ton of kids play "salt and pepper" or other variations of the game where you chase another kid around the parallel bars while jumping over one every time you go around. Even though the bars are only up to my waist (up to Lillie's neck) Lillie has a much easier time swinging over the bars than I do. She just has a much farther way to fall once she gets tired. After the park we played a few grueling games of Scrabble. Luckily I was able to beat both Preston and Hansen...somehow every board game I ever play I get blamed for cheating. How do you cheat in Scrabble? So I don't spell well, that is not cheating! The kids got to make wooden projects with John in the basement, Hansen made a very cool ramp designed for sending marbles crashing into dominoes. We also had a wonderful dinner of everything you would expect from Thanksgiving dinner and more. We had a very nice Thanksgiving.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving.

Good morning, it is Thursday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today we are going to the Ostergard's house for our Thanksgiving feast. Turkey and all the trimmings, yum! Should be a nice mellow Thanksgiving for us. Mel, Court and the twins are in Montana with Court's family and Stef is in Austin this year. So it will just be the seven of us. I may bring the boys to the skate park or the bmx track depending on the weather. So we may end up having an Extreme Thanksgiving. For everyone in Florida, New Orleans, Boston, Texas, Arizona, Washington, or where ever you may be when you are reading this, I wish for you a Happy Thanksgiving.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Maren still sick, rock band.

Good morning, it is Wednesday.

Yesterday Maren was sick again. She missed the entire day of work and life. She slept the entire day and says she is feeling a little better today. This has been Maren's sickest season yet. She has been on every med, but still can't kick the flu/cold/crud/temp stuff. The rest of us are hanging in there (knock wood). Since Maren is the only one in our family to get a flu shot this season, and she has definitely been the sickest, I think the rest of us will be skipping that wonderful immunity boost this year.

Last night we broke out the Rock Band game. Nothing like jamming to the Rolling Stones and Ozzy Osborne. Preston rocks at the game, Hansen does very well, the rest of us just plain suck. I can't imagine what it must sound like to hear me singing "Tom Sawyer" over the microphone. Did not keep me from trying, or Lillie from crying...yeah, she wanted to just sing whatever, and drum crazy. We gave her the Guitar Hero guitar and let her sing when the word were not up. She will be the best at the game someday, just not yet.

Today is like Friday at school, no school for the next couple of days. I hope it is not too crazy!

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Volleyball win.

Good morning, it is Tuesday.

Yesterday Preston's volleyball team won their match. The girl's team won their match as well. Lots of happy Grass Lake kids running around after the match. The girl's team finished their matches first, then came over and watched as the boy's team wound up their last match. Preston and one of his buddies almost missed the line to shake the other teams hands (the kids all line up, and slap hands under the net with the other team) because they were over bragging about their great shots to the girls.

I don't have much else to blog about and I have to wake the kids for school, so I will see you tomorrow.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Preston's goal, Hansen plays the Flute.

Good morning, it is Monday.

I mentioned that I would not blog Sunday if the Huskies lost...and they did. Darn. They could have won, they had their chances, they really are just a team with a big fat 0 in their win column for the year. The Seahawks are not any better, and we don't even have the Sonics, what!

Preston wants me to tell you about his awesome goal in his game Saturday. He had a free kick from about 25 yard out. The other team was all in a line in front of him and he kicked a rocket that went over their heads, then curved into the corner of the goal. It was a big league goal. Preston's team still lost 2-1, but Preston was thrilled with his goal. I am glad Preston enjoyed his goal because some on his team and some of the parents are big whiners. I was embarrassed to be on the sidelines with some of the parents who were yelling at the refs, and at the other team's parents. Talk about pathetic. The team consists of 11 and 12 year olds, and they are not that good in comparison to other select teams they play. They do play tough, they try their best, but they loose to better teams, then they blame the refs. Every week...Hmm...sounds like I am whining, and I guess I am, but not about the team or the refs, but about the other parents who just engrain looserness into the kids.

Yesterday Preston went to a birthday party for a friend of his at Noobs, a modern gaming arcade and had fun. I took Hansen up to the North Bend Library to participate in a Native American Flute class. The guy who was the amazing flute player at the program we attended a few weeks ago, was teaching how to play the flute. Each person in the class got to use a very fancy flute and learn how to play. These flutes are hand made from cedar. They are quite expensive and no two are exactly the same. It was very fun and Hansen enjoyed himself. The picture is of Hansen playing a lullaby on his big flute. Of course the flute was just a loaner, but we did get to go up and pick flutes from a big row. The instructor said the the flute picks the person, much like the wand picks the wizard in Harry Potter...So me and Hansen just tried to figure out what flute was trying to pick us. My flute was very nice, but it could have picked a better person if it actually wanted to make nice music, guess that was not its main objective.

Today is back to normal. Preston has a Volleyball match after school, the rest of us have no big plans.

See you Tomorrow.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Go Huskies!

Good Morning, it is Saturday.


Apple Cup today. The talk shows call it the "Crapple Cup". Maybe U of W can get one win this season!!! Beat the Cougars, and the year is all good.

I don't have much time to post this morning due to Preston's soccer game, so this is quick. Yesterday did go very smoothly. Preston did a great job at his jazz performance, he was even the MC for his group and got to go on the microphone to introduce his group. I did not see any other school kids get to do that! Hansen is having fun at his overnight, and everyone had a fun time at the party for Alex. We all got home at the same time, which was nice.

See you tomorrow...that is is the Huskies win.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Computer crash, report cards

Good morning, it is Friday.

My computer has been freaking out and was taken apart yesterday, that is why I did not blog. I had added an extra memory card from my older computer, and it all worked fine, for a while. Once it started to go down hill, it got to where it crash every time I went online. I tried to buy more RAM, but my computer uses an older type and I need to go to Fry's or a big store to find the right stuff. Until I do that, no playing with music files and extra fancy stuff, just simple slow stuff. Preston has been freaking out not being able to check his e-mail or play computer games. He will be happy this morning as I got this old computer working last night, this weekend I will try to find the time to buy more RAM.

Yesterday Hansen and Lillie got their report cards yesterday. They both did great. Yes, we always think they are doing great, but it is nice to see that reflected in a report card. Hansen thinks he should get tons of money and stuff. Preston will get his report card next week, then we can do some type of celebration for all the kids.

Tonight Hansen has a birthday party at his cousin Alex's house. Lillie will also be at the party, but only Hansen will be spending the night. Hansen has been counting down the days. Tonight Preston is playing Jazz music at Kona Kai Coffee with a few other kids and his band teacher. One of us parents will be taking Preston, the other Hansen. Should be busy, but fun.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

One Crazy Raven.

Good morning, it is Wednesday.

Every once in a while, something totally unexpected happens, and it turns out to be great. This kind of thing happens to me all the time. I don't really know why, but I am always walking into places just before cool programs and stuff. Yesterday we were just hanging out at home with no plans for the evening. I decided I wanted to go to Office Depot to buy more RAM for my computer and a new memory card for my phone. I had just filled in L and H's reading charts and they had read enough to win a new book from the Covington Library. So on a total whim, I asked the littles if they wanted to go to the Library and to Office Depot. They said yes, and we headed out the door. When we got to the Library, they were about to have a program called One Crazy Raven, Presented by Gene Tagaban. We decided to stay as the Library was packed and everyone was raving about this story teller. The program was excellent. Started with some cool Native American flute playing, then Gene Tagaban took over, he is an excellent story teller and along with his drum, flute, and audience kids, he told stories of the Raven, of being honored by his elders, and other positive stuff. Hansen and Lillie had a good time, it was very educational as well as totally entertaining. By the way, Lillie chose a Magic School Bus book, Hansen a Series Of Unfortunate Events book for their free books. And no, we never made it to Office Depot to buy more RAM or a memory card. But with my luck I will find a deal or two in the next couple of days that far exceeds what I would have paid last night.

This Picture is Lillie playing instruments with the performers. Lillie is on the far right.
This is a picture of the Raven Dance. I could not get a great shot, but this works.
These pictures are with my new phone. It has a 3.3 something, something camera and it take as good pics as my normal camera. I may just stop carrying my camera and just my phone. These photos were then e-mailed to myself, but it think they would be even better if I download through the USB ports?
Today Preston has soccer, Lillie has dance, and Maren works a little late.
See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fighting technology

Good morning, it is Tuesday.

It seems that I am fighting technology at every turn the last couple of days. At home I am trying to figure out my new phone. Not so easy for me. It took me a couple of tries just to find the stinking menu! Once I left the menu to adjust the sounds, I could not find the menu again. Now whenever someone texts me, my phone says that there is a text and from who in broken computer English. I thought I just programed it to vibrate! I just figured out that a qwerty keypad just means a keyboard set up like one on a computer. Yesterday I tried for way too long to install a music program called Rhapsody. The problem was that my computer would not let it load and after I was done, the computer did not even know how to connect to the Internet. This morning I just set everything back to default...and it worked. How frustrating. Maren thinks I just want everything to work and work now, and I should know it will just take me awhile to learn a phone with a 127 page user guide. Lack of patience, whatever, lets get on with it I say.

Keeping on the same thread, I just found out yesterday that when I log onto computers at work and all my stuff pops up on the screen, if I save anything it just goes to that computer, and you have to do special stuff to save to a "T" drive. Now I have not saved more than a couple of things, but I have to figure what computer those are on, save them to a "T" drive, then delete them off the local computer. I don't have a computer at work, so I just use a vacant one in the library when I need to use one. So by the time this week is over, I will either be way more computer savvy than I have been in the past, or simply become a customer services, wifes, kids, co-workers, and you fill in the blank, worst nightmare.

Maybe I should hold off a few months before buying a Nav system for geo caching. I am not quite ready to learn about longitude and latitude coordinates and how they relate to finding a specific location in the real world.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pizza, skating, football.

Good morning, it is Monday.

Saturday Preston had a soccer game against a team that beat them soundly in the past. Preston's team kept them to a 0-0 tie, which felt like a victory. Afterwards the team went out for pizza. I brought Hansen to the game because he wanted to go to the pizza place (we went to Goodfather's Pizza in Auburn, they still used the glass pitchers that were around when I was a kid). We also brought Preston's friend Josh. The entire team enjoyed the arcade, pizza and fun.

Preston has been begging to bring his new skateboard (and skills) to the skate park. Yesterday I offered to bring the kids, yes Lillie and Hansen wanted to go. We decided on the small park in Maple Valley as it is usually not as busy as the bigger newer parks. And we guessed right. We were the only ones there for about 20 minutes. Hansen was using his scooter to jump and crash. Lillie was going very fast on her scooter, just cruising down the long gradual ramps, and Preston was a little surprised at the learning curve of skateboarding on a ramp. I showed him a few moves like dropping in, stalling and coming back down, and just going up a ramp and 180ing back down. I try not to do too much as the concrete ground seems to hurt adults more than kids. Preston was just a bit too shy and scared to do much. When a few 16 year old kids showed up and started doing cool tricks, it was over for Preston. Too embarrassed to be a beginner. In a couple more years when his peers are the ones hanging out at the skate parks, he will be the one with all the moves.

Yesterday Lillie was playing football with the big kids. A few big kids were out playing football, and Lillie was tired of doing nothing, so she went out to watch the game. They let her throw a few passes and even kick the ball off the tee. Lillie thought it was great. In the NFL, I was hoping the Washington Redskins would beat the Dallas Cowboys last night. Now that Jim Zorn is the head coach of the Washington Redskins, they are my new favorite team.

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

overnight, new phones, M still sick.

Good morning, it is Saturday.

The little girls (Lillie and Claire) got off on their overnight adventure with Nana no problem. Lillie packed her bag all by herself, so I hope she actually has an appropriate change of clothes. We never heard from them after they left, and don't expect to see them until after dinner time. When Lillie and Claire were driving away in the back seats of John and Carol's car, they were yelling out the window to me, "good night Dad, don't cry!", then laughing their heads off.

We got our new cell phones yesterday. We switched to Verizon and got pretty darn cool phones. Our phone numbers are not changing. Preston is very happy that texting is now part of the family plan and he no longer has to pay for his texts. Preston had his working in a matter of minutes. I think it may take me the whole two year term to figure out how to work my phone. Maren and I got kind of fancy phones, while the kids get plain phones. I am guessing that next time we get phones (hopefully not for a long time) the kids will get the fancy phones and Maren and I will be happy to be back to basic phones. Preston really wanted a fancy phone, and offered to pay any extra $$$ himself, but with news stories about kids getting beat up over cell phones, he is just lucky to have a phone at all. Actually, I really like him having a phone. He goes to a different school than me and the littles and is old enough to roam around with his friends a bit, so it is good to be able to get in contact with him.

Maren is still sick. She had to cancel on her friends last night, they were having a girls night get together at one of her friend's houses. She also had to cancel a visit with a friend today. As of yesterday she is on a whole new set of meds to see if she can kick what ever it is she has. The rest of us are still hanging in there (knock wood) and hoping that once Maren is better, we will all be healthy for a while.

Preston has a soccer game today, then the team is getting together for pizza afterward.

See you tomorrow.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Good morning, it is Friday.

$1.979 is how much per gallon of gas I paid last night at the Costco Gas Station in Covington. A few months ago I did not ever think I would see gas for less than $3.50 per gallon ever again in my lifetime, and I thought it would be steady around $5.00 for years to come. Now gas is back to under $2.00, at least for a while. Crazy. I am still glad I ride my bicycle to work most days.

After school Lillie will be picked up by her Nana and will be joined by her cousin Claire for a girls night overnight at Nana's house. Sounds like Dinner, a Tinkerbell movie, games, maybe some sleep, then errands and nails done will polish off the first half of the weekend. Lillie is excited.

Preston has Volleyball practice this morning before school. Maren will be out having dinner with her girlfriends this evening. I don't know what me and the boys will do tonight.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

50 Nifty days of school.

Good morning, it is Thursday.

Yesterday was a very busy day for some of us. Today is the 50th day of school for the kids, so the Kindergarten and preschool classes in conjunction with SOAR (a committee that Maren is on) put on a program at Cedar Valley last night. Lillie had dance class last night from 4:30-5:50, then to the Program at the school from 6:00-7:30. We also took Hansen with us to dance class then to the 50 nifty program. I could write a whole blog about the two 3rd grade girls at dance class that know Hansen from school who were giggling on the other side of the wall about liking Hansen. One girl finally came around the wall while the other girl shrieked and said very quickly, "she likes the boy in the yellow shirt", then disappeared with a bunch of giggles. Hansen (the only boy, and wearing a yellow shirt) was playing backgammon with me in the waiting room and had no idea anyone was talking about him. Some of the other moms were cracking up, I am not sure what was funnier, that the girls were being so goofy, or that Hansen did not have a clue. Anyhow, we made it to the program just fine. Maren had been there helping to set up since 5:00pm (Preston was off to soccer practice, he had the choice to hang with us or go to soccer) At the program there were hot dogs, crafts, books, Maren presented a little story time, the kids dressed up in 50's clothes and had a photo of them (Lillie in a cute pink skirt and a scarf), and more crafts. Lillie was so funny when Maren was telling the cute story about 50 pigs playing hide and seek. Maren was being quite animated and making the story funny, Lillie at one point said just loud enough for everyone to hear "Mom, you are so funny!" There was a bunch of giggling with the story. There was a big enough crowd that Maren used the Smart Board with the help of Ms. Mann. Maren was not so sure about using to Smart Board to read a story, but it worked out perfectly. The Smart Board is very cool. The program was very fun and very well attended. We got home about two minutes before Preston did, so it worked out perfectly.

Today Maren works late again, Hansen has choir practice, but Preston and Lillie are off the hook from extra stuff.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New bicycle, leaf jumping.

Good morning, it is Monday.

It seemed like we just did not do anything the last couple of days, but when I think of things to write, we did quite a bit. I will keep things short so you don't spend your entire day on my blog site.

Preston got a new bicycle. Yup, he was looking at Freestyle bicycles. The cheapest decent ones at Joes were $200.00. The cheapest Redlines at the bicycle stores that would do the job started at $300.00. We love Redline bicycles around here, so we were just mulling over the options. I checked Craigslist for fun and happened upon a Redline, barely used, exactly what Preston wanted, for only $125.00. I took Preston to West Seattle, and he bought a new bicycle. This Redline is a few years old, and not hardly ridden at all. I had to do a little tuning up, but this is a better bicycle than the Joes bike. Quite a find! Now Me, Preston, and Hansen all have Redlines (Hansen got Preston's old Redline, his old bike is getting too small). I wish they made bikes like this when I was a kid, it is so cool.

I finished our 2008 Christmas Letter. No will get one in the mail in a few weeks. Maren says she liked our Reality Show Christmas Letter the best, I think I liked the Super Hero Christmas Letter the best. This one is just fine, and quite unique.

Yesterday we spent Veterans Day shopping at Value Village. Half price everything. Found plenty of good things. Afterwards we went to McDonalds around the corner for some Ice-cream. Yum.

I enjoyed leaf jumping with Lillie. In the rain and wind we decided to go rake leaves as today is yard waste pickup day. I raked a big pile and Lillie was going to jump in even though it was soaking wet...until she saw it! A big SLUG. No jumping on slugs for Lillie (not that dry leaf piles don't have slugs, she just never saw one before in a leaf pile). So instead she just jumped over the pile of leaves. I raked up about 7 more big piles of leaves and we raced from one side of the back yard, hurdling the leaf piles, to the other side of the yard in the poring rain for about 15 minutes. After we were done leaf jumping, I had to get all the piles in the yard waste container.

Today is a busy day as well,

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day

Good Morning, it is Tuesday.

Happy Veterans Day to my Grandpa Sandler. Happy Veterans Day to Maren's Dad, John. Happy Veterans Day to all other Veterans. Both Cedar Valley and Grass lake elementary schools held very nice Veterans Day assemblies last week, and today the kids have the day off of school.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Auto Show.

Good morning, it is Monday.

Yesterday I did run off to the Auto Show. Since Maren was not feeling well and wanted to stay in bed the entire day, I called up John and Carol to see if John was interested in going to the Auto Show, and to see if any littles that were not up to the Auto Show could stay with Carol. As it turned out, I had John and Hansen with me at the Auto Show. Preston and Lillie decided to hang out with Carol. The Auto Show was more crowded than I have ever seen it...except for the Chevy and Dodge sections. Not too many folks checking out the latest from those two bail out benefactors. Lots of folks dreaming of what a Lamborghini or Porsche would look like in their driveway. Lots of people looking at the latest from Honda and Toyota. The Smart car was the only car I had to wait to sit in. I liked the new Subaru and the new Honda products, the Toyota's are still kind of boring IMO, but their hybrid get better mileage than the Honda. The first time Hansen sat behind the wheel of a Hybrid car, he quipped "What, is this a cross between a 5-iron and a car or something?" Hansen saw a person with a very cool little fan that said "Suzuki, a new way of life." as it spun. In order to win a fan for Hansen, I had to volunteer to be asked a question when the Suzuki girls were using the microphones to embarrass the public. I said sure, and was asked some question about Suzuki's profitability since 1956. Since my answer options were 1. Yes, and 2. Yes, I answered the question correctly and Hansen had himself a new fan. We picked up brochures from tons of folks, even a $500.00 coupon if I want to buy a Subaru in the next four weeks. Hmm...sounds good to me! There were tons of electric cars and surprisingly a bunch of electric bicycles that were fun to look at. I also got to check out the latest line of Kawasaki and Harley Davidson motorcycles. All in all we had a good time. Hansen never did get a $5.50 hot dog or a $7.00 mocha, not that he did not ask several times. John got to visit the Qwest Convention Center for the first time, and I enjoyed looking at the new cars even though I am not really in the market.

Maren did sleep away most of the day and thinks she is getting better. We will see how she is doing when she wakes up this morning. Preston checked out Freestyle bicycles at a couple of bicycle stores on the way to John and Carol's house, and he is itching to go buy one today.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


Good morning, it is Sunday.

Last night Lillie got to go to her friend Adi's house for Adi's birthday party. When Lillie got home all she wanted to do was play Charades. Apparently they had a good game of Charades at the party and Lillie did not want the partying to end. So we rounded up the kids, yes Preston and Hansen wanted to play. Maren, who is now sick, was kind of just crashed on the couch, but she did get up and participate every few rounds. The way we started out playing is that whoever guessed correctly what the performer was performing, would get to be the next to perform. Well, Lillie thought she should win every single round. And she turned into a violent loud sore looser when she was beat.

The game of Charades went was something like this: Lillie is performing as a ballerina. We all guess ballerina at the same time, but decide that Hansen won. Hansen thinks for a minute about what he will be, while he is thinking, we are all yelling out things that he is being, from the Thinker to Abe Lincoln to a Dork. Finally he comes out and is just kind of turning from side to side. Preston and Lillie yelling different things. Finally I guess he is a door. Lillie hears me say "Door", so she starts yelling, "Door, Door, Door, your are a Door!". Hansen says that Dad got it correct and Lillie falls on the ground crying that she guessed Door! I take my turn anyway. I think for a second and as I am thinking, the boys are yelling out stuff like bald guy, thinker, dork. I pretend to be a fish, so Preston guesses Fish. Lillie hears Preston guess Fish and yells "Fish, Fish, you are a Fish!". I say that Preston guessed first and Lillie falls on the ground crying that she guessed Fish! As Preston is thinking about what to be, we are all yelling out stuff from Thinker, to Abe Lincoln, to a Dork. Preston decides to be a gymnast...and finally Lillie guesses correctly. It is Lillie's turn to perform, so she decides to be a ballerina*. *At this point you could go back up to the top of this paragraph and reread it 20 times from where Lillie is performing as a ballerina, and you would get the feeling for the evening. It was really a pretty fun evening game, but it did not end pretty. Lillie did not ever want to quit. The rest of us never want to play again. Just now, Lillie came downstairs and needed to show me her Charades acting for a Giraffe (she was pretending to have a long neck?!?) and her imitation of Skunk Fu. Oy vey.

We will have to find a different game for tonight. Maybe I will just run away and go to the International Auto Show at the Qwest Convention Center...that does sound good.

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

No alarm clock!

Good morning, it is Saturday.

No alarm clock for four days! I have Monday and Tuesday off from work as Monday is report card day and no school for kids, and Tuesday is Veterans' Day. Maren also took Monday and Tuesday off from work so we are all just going to be hanging out.

I will spend some time today shopping for a new cell phone plan for the family. Qwest is switching over to Verizon and they have their *special* deals online and such, only the deals online are not necessarily better than the deals at the stores like Costco and Walmart, so I am going to have to just spend some time on the phone trying to get things figured out. Unfortunately cell phones are going to cost this family a bunch more than the old plan we were on, but I don't think we actually want to go without cell phones, so we will just bite the bullet and pay more.

Preston is on the road to recovery. He had strep throat and is on antibiotics. He missed school Thursday and Friday but is feeling much better as of last night. He will miss his soccer game today, hopefully his team can pull off a win. Preston has discovered soccer, bicycle and skateboard highlights on On Demand, so he has been watching too much TV. So far the rest of us are staying healthy [knock wood] and we should have a fun weekend.

See you tomorrow.

Friday, November 07, 2008

McTeacher's night at McDonald's

Good morning, it is Friday.

Last night was McTeacher's night at the local McDonald's. I have to give the staff at Cedar Valley a big kudos because there were so many staff members there that every kid who came into McDonald's for the evening got to see a teacher they they either had or have. The office staff was there, the Principal was there, and a bunch of teachers were there working away. The lines were huge and we were very lucky to find a table. There were kids from Lillie's class and kids from Hansen's class. I saw plenty of kids from my word study classes and from the classes I help in during the day. I don't know how much money was raised for the school, but it had to be a ton. We (me, Lillie, and Hansen. Preston was sick, and Maren was working) got there about 5:30 and stayed for about an hour. We went thought he lines first for our dinner, then a second time for ice-cream and some take out for Maren and Preston. McTeacher's night was a ton of fun.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Good morning, it is Thursday.

Yesterday Lillie ran up to me after school with a huge grin on her face and totally excited. "Guess what! Guess what!" she yelled as she crashed into me. "What, what?" I said, "and don't crash into me so hard." I thought maybe she got an extra cookie for a friend's birthday or an invitation to a party or something really cool. "I have homework!!!" she said, grinning from ear to ear. Yup, homework. I don't know what planet this girl is from...who gets that excited about homework, not Hansen and certainly I never did. She was just so excited to have homework. By the time we got home (we rode our bicycles and Lillie was in the trailer) her homework was in her hand and she was first to the door just itching to get inside to do her homework. Five minutes later, her homework was done and things were back to normal. After dinner, Hansen did his homework, but things are different. He seems to think that the fact that he is even attempting his homework should draw celebration from his parents. "Can you get me a pencil?", that is what we hear from Hansen. As if he says he is going to attempt his homework so the entire world should now cater to his every whim. Preston usually does his homework no problem, but last night he was sick and just crashed on the couch. He is not expecting to be well enough to attend school today, so the did not even do his homework. If he wakes up healthy, he will be stressing out.

Yesterday was also the Veterans' Day Celebration Assembly at Grass Lake. Preston got to sit with John, then Preston played his clarinet in the music portion. The rest of us did not make it to the show, but I am sure Preston and John had a fine time.

Tonight is McTeacher's night at McDonald's. The teachers serve the food and stuff with a percent of the proceeds going to the school. Should be fun.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Good morning, it is Wednesday.

The title of my blog was the huge headline on today's Seattle Times newspaper. How many different ways will that be said in print around the world this morning? Did you actually think you would go to bed last night with Obama winning by a landslide and hearing the speeches of both McCain and Obama before 9:00pm? It was the very minute that the west coast polls closed that the the race was officially called. What a change. Amazing. And the candidate's election day parties pretty much summed up the whole race. McCain at a rich private hotel in Arizona without a hint of diversity vs. Obama in Grant Park in Chicago with a crowd of hundreds of thousands of diverse people just wanting to be there. Obama's party was like an opening ceremonies for the Olympics, much bigger than what a political party has ever felt like as far as I can remember. Wow!

We still don't have results of our state's mayor or senate races. Some of these races are just too close to call and it will be some time after hand counts and stuff that a winner is actually awarded. The Dems certainly have the momentum, but no winner just yet.

Today is the Veterans' Day Assembly at Preston's school. Lillie has dance class, and the rest of us are just hanging out.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day.

Good morning, it is Tuesday.

Election day is finally here. Tomorrow there will be no more political adds on TV. I enjoy toothpaste and auto adds far more than the standard political add. There was one ad against Gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi where he morphed into George Bush that was kind of cool. Also one of our favorite teachers, Ms. Hickey, was on a ad for a local named Geoff Simpson. But all these horrid ads about how if so and so wins, then you will have more sex offenders in your neighborhood stalking your children, or are just not appropriate for anyone.

Maren is voting as I type, I will vote on my lunch break. This evening we will have every TV on to a news channel to see who won what. If you are like us, and vote at a polling center in King County, enjoy yourself as this is the last time we get to vote in person. Starting next year all voting in our county will be by mail. Kind of like loosing the ability to meet your friends and family at the gate when they arrive at an airport, loosing the ability to vote at a polling center is kind of a bummer.

Preston is wearing his Barack and Roll shirt to school today.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Lost tooth, legos.

Good morning, it is Monday.

Saturday evening, Lillie lost her 4th tooth. Now she has a big gap on each side of her lower middle teeth. The photo is her getting ready for bed, with a letter and the tooth to the Tooth Fairy. At about 7:00pm, Lillie decided she needed to go to bed immediately! She did not want to miss the Tooth Fairy. We kept her up a couple more hours (it was the end of daylight savings time, and no one wanted her waking up at 5:00am) then off to bed. The Tooth Fairy did come and leave her $1.00, which has already been spent.

This photo is of Hansen with a Lego creation that he invented. Yes, he was supposed to be cleaning his room, but his Legos some how got in the way. We actually boxed up a huge amount of Legos to go in the attic, as well as a big box of toys, and the room is still not clean enough to handle both Christmas and his birthday. We will get there eventually.
Back to a rainy work week. My bicycle trailer did not keep the rain out during the day on Friday, so Lillie had a wet bum on the ride home. Hopefully it will work better today. I put some Scotch Guard on the cover, and maybe it won't rain quite as much.
See you tomorrow.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


Good morning, it is Saturday.

Yesterday was a fun day. My last half an hour of work was spent helping in the kid's classrooms helping at their parties. I visited Hansen's class first. I helped pass out goodies and just hung out and watched the kids party. After a while I went to Lillie's class. They were making some fun spider crafts and playing bingo. They also got plenty of treats. Preston said his party was fun, but being at a different school, I just did not make it over there.

In the evening, we went Trick or Treating. Preston went with his friend Connor, they got tons of candy. Preston brought his candy over to Connor's house and spent the night. I will be curious to see how much of his candy he ate. He and Connor have a soccer game at 2:00 today, so I figure his parents kept them in check a little. I took Hansen and Lillie out around the neighborhood. I saw some kids from school. The kids saw some friends. We stayed out until about 7:45 when Lillie decided she was just too tired to trick or treat any longer.

The kid's costumes were the same ones they had on at the Waterfront, except for Preston decided to be a soccer player. Boooring, but effective for running from house to house gathering candy. This year there were not nearly the amount of kids trick or treating as usual. I don't know if the kids are just getting older, that seems to be the case in our neighborhood, no kids out of elementary school were out trick or treating, or if more kids go to functions at schools or church. Anyhow, the last few bunches of trick or treaters got a ton of candy. You should have seen Lillie dishing hand fulls of candy into jr. high school girl's candy bags at 8:30pm.

Hope you had a fun Halloween. Here is your joke for the day. What kind of music do mummies like to listen to most? Wrap music.

See you tomorrow.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween, picture.

Happy Halloween!

A most anticipated holiday for many a kid. Parties and craziness at school, bags of candy at home. How could it get any sweeter? I don't go to my regular classes on Friday for planning, and as I left one second grade class yesterday, the class said bye to me, I said bye, and have a good party tomorrow. The teacher told me later that it took her a few minutes to get the kids back to reality after the mention of the "P"-word. I guess I still have to learn what I can and can't say in a classroom?

I don't know if the kids will change their costumes from what they had at the waterfront, and it looks like it may rain, but there will be tons of fun, sorting of candy, trading of candy, and eating of candy.

A couple of weeks ago we had family pictures at Mel and Court's house. Mel has posted some of the photos on her blog. We will be getting our own disk one of these days, but I lifted this one from Mel's website. It was actually the last picture taken. We were crossing the street back to the cars and the photographer had us get in order. There are of course plenty of great photos of our family and everyone, this one turned out fun:

From L to R: John (holding Jack), Carol, Preston, Stef, Maren, Julian (holding Avery), Hansen, Courtney, Melanie, and leading the way is Lillie.

Have a fun Halloween.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Carving pumpkins

Good morning, it is Thursday.

Last night was pumpkin carving night. We bought two medium sized pumpkins and let the arguing begin. What to carve, who to carve, when to carve, buy or sell, m&m's or skittles. Lillie and Maren chose a fun cat that I thought I could carve, and Hansen chose a wolf that he thought he could carve. Preston opted for soccer practice. Lillie and Hansen were a very good audience of grossness when I was emptying the guts of the pumpkin. Then we used a template, then drew on the design, then carved away. I helped Hansen with the drawing, but he did all the carving of his pumpkin. The pictures were too bright with the flash, too dark without.

Hansen carving out his wolf pumpkin.

Lillie giving kissie faces to her cat pumpkin.

Hansen posing with his wolf pumpkin. Lillie's feet off to the, we can't just get a normal picture in this house.

Both pumpkins on display. Tomorrow night they will have candles in them and they should look very cool.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hansen's soccer banquet

Good morning, it is Wednesday.

Last night was Hansen's soccer banquet. The coach had very nice things to say about each kid on the team and everyone had a very nice banquet. Hansen really enjoyed playing soccer this season and I am sure he will want to play again in both the spring and the fall. The picture below is taken at Godfather's pizza. Hansen received a medal and a certificate. If you notice the gumball machines in the background. I figure between these, the other set, and the arcade, Godfather's may do just fine on those machines alone. I have never seen so many kids begging for "just one more dollar" as all the kids, mine included that were at the least not since the last banquet. Way to go Hansen on your good soccer season.

Tonight should be a calm night around the house. Since Preston has started Volleyball on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, he will not be attending Wednesday late night soccer practice. That means that once he is done with his homework he will probably be out on his skateboard trying to prefect a toe flip or a kick flip or some other cool trick. His next purchase will probably be a portable grind bar that he can keep next to the house. Hansen and Preston were out in the garage (until just late enough to get on my nerves last night) doing skateboard tricks.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pics and stuff

Good morning, it is Tuesday.

Below are some pictures from this weekend. Not a single picture of Hansen without his "Jason" mask on. Hansen was Return of Jason, Lillie was an Ice-Princess, and Preston was Napoleon Dynamite. There are more pictures from the weekend on Mel and Court's website, there is a link on the lower left of my blog that I have titled (I think incorrectly?, the blogsite is titled Jack and Avery) Ostergard-Cunniff Family .

Hansen, Lillie and Preston in the Seattle Aquarium.
Lillie checking out the starfish.

Preston and Lillie and a big wooden pose thing.

Lillie throwing leaves in the back yard.

Lillie loving her big pile of leaves. The boys were to busy playing Nintendo to be bothered.
Today is another busy day. Maren works until like 9:00pm at night. Hansen has his Soccer Banquet. Preston has his first Volleyball practice.
See you tomorrow.