Saturday, December 31, 2011

Party Time.

Good morning, it is Saturday.

Yesterday Hansen celebrated his birthday along with his cousins.  We all met at the Ostergard's house at overnight pickup time and celebrated with pizza, pop, cake, and cupcakes.  Sounds like the overnight was a huge success and all the boys had a wonderful time.  Preston and I picked up six Little Caesar's pizzas and within moments five of them were gone!  Here are a few pics:
 Grandpa is lighting candles on cupcakes while Avery is testing out the frosting.
 Hansen and Alex making quick work of the pizza and pop.
Here Hansen and Alex are showing off their mad computer skills to Lillie and Miles.  Hansen received great birthday gifts!  And he is not done yet.

Have a great New Years!!!  See you next year.

Friday, December 30, 2011


Good morning, it is Friday.

What?  Another post without pictures?  Yep, seems my models are out goofing off rather than getting their pictures taken.  Last night Hansen and Lillie both went out on overnights.  Hansen is at John and Carol's house along with his cousins Alex, Miles, and Jack.  I will head out there in a couple of hours with lunch and a birthday cake for Hansen (just one of his parties) to see how exhausted the grandparents are.

So what have I been doing?  I went golfing the other day at Lake Wildness Golf Course.  It is very short compared to the courses I have been playing, but the fellas who play there are very nice, it is close to home, and the rates are reasonable...I just may switch my membership there this season.

I just got in from replacing the shocks on the old pickup truck.  I took of the original ones (like 22 years old now) off and put an new and slightly upgraded set on.  The old ones wouldn't even move back to position once compressed...needless to say the truck rides much better now.  The job wasn't too hard, took a couple of hours all told, and I saved about $200.00 if I had let Les Schwaab do the work for me.  I also painted over SpongeBob, but it is clear I parked the truck outside just a bit too early and then the rain just never it will need another coat of paint get rid of all the cool blotchy rain marks.

Last night Maren and I hung out and watch the Alamo Bowl.  The Huskies played great and had Baylor along with their Heisman Trophy winning footballer kind of scared.  Fun game to watch if you don't care for defense one little bit.

I will try to get a picture or two for tomorrow's blog.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas.

Good morning, is it Christmas!  Merry Christmas!

Yesterday we headed over to the Ostergard's house for our family Christmas Eve fun.
 Right away Jack and Hansen started having fun.  Good times with cousins for sure.
 Grandpa John and Preston...who is taller now?  I'm thinking Grandpa may be standing on his tip toes for this picture?
 Julian (me) and Maren.
 Lillie and her cousin Avery.  Here they are in the basement at the Ostergard's house where they have converted Maren's old room into a little girl get-away.
 Our little family posing in front of the tree.  All the families got pictures taken.
 Preston having fun opening presents with his cousin Abbi.  It sure is great that Preston has cousins his own age now!
After dinner we, along with John and Carol, went to the 7:30 service at church.  This is one of our favorite service of the entire year.  We got to hear Kevin H. sing (he is amazing but we only hear him on Christmas Eve.) and the whole congregation sings Silent Night while holding candles with the lights dimmed.  It is very cool.  

Last night while we were all asleep Santa came to our house!  And left some very nice gifts for all of us.  

In a couple of hours we will head over to Jack and Avery's house to have more Christmas fun and enjoy some left over meatballs from last night.  Yum!

Merry Christmas everyone!

See you tomorrow.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Cinderella with Lillie.

Good morning it is Thursday.

Yesterday I got to take Lillie the the 5th Avenue Theater in Seattle to see Cinderella.  That's right, just me and Lillie.    Maren planed it out that way because there was just no good day for the whole family to go, and at the price of the tickets, if the boys didn't want to go, we weren't going to force the issue.  And for Maren it was a work day.  
 Showing up at the 5th Ave.  Lillie didn't feel like dressing in a Cinderella dress (not that she didn't have her own flair), but I can tell you that many little girls did!  There were plenty of little Cinderellas all over the place.
 And we were on the floor level!
 At intermission we wandered up to check out the orchestra pit.  This glass slipper was the huge screen saver for the theater.  The play was great.  It stuck to the story that all the kids know very well without loosing its own identity.  That's right, I should be a judge on American Idol.
Afterwards we wandered over to Pacific Place for an early dinner.  We got to pass by hundreds of freezing folks lined up outside of the Nike store as they were camping out for the release of the Retro Nike Jordans.  Watching the news this morning there were even fights and police called in at Southcenter mall as the Retro Jordan crowd was getting a little fighty.  Once into the convention center where I parked the van, Lillie decided to take an extra trip up and down the escalator...with all the lights around it was a pretty fun ride.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Vacation time.

Good morning, it is Thursday.

Yesterday was the first day of winter break for the kids and myself.  Hansen and Preston both had overnights at friend's houses so they were not even around in the morning.  Maren is still working through this week before taking some time off the following week.

John and Carol picked up the littles for a day of fun at Jack and Avery's house.  It sounds like they had a great time even though Lillie started to not feel so well.  She is coming down with a cold, but is doing ok.  Lillie and I have tickets to see Cinderella at the 5th Ave. today, so we're hoping she hangs in there.  Hansen was so tired from his overnight and hanging with the twins that he just fell asleep in his room with all the lights on before Preston even wanted to come up...of course they were up later than the rest of us.

Yesterday after hanging out pretending to do chores, I wandered over to the driving range to hit some golf balls.  I ran into an old friend from like 20 years ago in the golf business.  It was fun to catch up and I hit the ball very well too.  So a nice afternoon.  Before the littles got home with John and Carol, Maren and I went out of diner at a local Chinese food restaurant.  The one we usually go to is remodeling, so I don't even know the name of the place we went, but it was very tasty!

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hanukkah Candles, Whyties, and You're Good To Go.

Good morning, it is Wednesday.

Yesterday was the first night of Hanukkah.  Happy Hanukkah!

I went out to buy some candles for the occasion and tried the wrong store first. I tried Walgreen's and they didn't even sell Hanukkah candles. Then over to Safeway and no luck there either. Then I got wise, I headed over to Fred Meyers and sure enough they had a couple of options. All blue or a mixture of different colors. I choose the colors just because I like different colors. Then I remembered that I had a lens to pick up for my glasses at Fred Meyer's Optical Department. Yup, my left lens was cracking and they replaced it thanks to my buying the protection plan.
Here are our Hanukkah Candles along with our Menorah and a few Dradles that were given to us by Grandpa and Bernice.
Check out these shoelaces!  The little's school has been selling these "whyties?" in all different colors.  You replace your regular laces and then you have slip on shoes.  Perfect for Lillie!  Hansen picked up a pair of purple and gold ones not to be outdone, but I doubt he will ever use his.
And this is Maren's new Good To Go starter kit!  Not very exciting, but a necessity as more and more roads around here are charging tolls to cross.  I call it trolling rather than tolling.  She will get a cute little sticker for her windshield that will just charge her if she goes under the sensor.  I have one too, but will not install it soon as I like to use the carpool lanes with a full van of people and don't want to be charged.  I will just avoid the tolls or sign my license plate up to be associated with Maren's sticker.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Value Village Sale.

Good morning, it is Tuesday.

Yesterday was a 50% off sale day at Value Village for club card members. What did that mean? Well, we shop and shop, then show them this card:

And boom, 50% off your purchase. At first just Preston and I were going to go, but then the others decided to come along too. And good they did, Lillie and Maren did very well. As did myself and Preston. Hansen was happy with one Christmas shirt. Maren couldn't decide on a very fancy pair of shoes while we were there that was priced at $20.00. A bit pricey for V.V. shoes (even at our half off $10.00), but they were in brand new condition. She didn't buy them, so they went with the other discards.

Once we got home, she went online and the cheapest we could find the exact pair was $89.00. So after dinner Preston, Hansen and I ventured back out to see if we could find Maren's shoes. Preston was all happy to go because he wanted to drive. Hansen sits in the middle of the middle row so that if Preston gets us into a crash, he is in the "safe spot"...kind of funny but not really. Who knew how hard night driving is for colorblind people. All the street lights, red lights, green lights, and car lights look exactly the same! Thanks to patterns and smarts Preston will be a fine driver, but yikes! Back to the Value Village story. Yes, we did find the shoes! Maren is a happy girl. In all we spent like $90.00 at V.V. for this half price sale. A quick look at retail prices and I figured we saved nearly $700.00! Now that's something to blog about.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Zion's Christmas Pageant.

Good morning, it is Monday.

Two more days of school till winter break starts! Yay!

Yesterday was The Christmas Pageant at our church. Lillie and Hansen had small parts this year which was great. Preston didn't even have a part...excellent! I think he must have been at soccer when it was time to sign up so he lucked out this year. One of the cool things about our church's Christmas Pageant is that the kids do everything. The high school kids are the readers and the littles are the singers. It was very nice.

You can see Lillie front and nearly center in this picture. The kids sang great. I don't have photo with the littlest of the littles as well. But the preschool age were up in front as well.

Hansen was a sign holder. He didn't have to dress up, talk, or sing. The best job ever!

Last night I went to a quick meeting at the church to vote on a new pastor. Well, to send a call to a fellow who the call committee really liked. We will find out soon if he accepts.

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Grandpa Sandler's Yahrzeit Candle.

Good evening, it is Saturday.

Last night Maren and I were invited to a Bunko party! It had been a whole year since I played bunko, but it all came back in a flash.

As you can see by my scorecard, I am not very good at this game. I did tie for last place, only to loose the last place spot in a roll off. That is about a looserish you can get in the game of bunko. It was a very fun evening.

These four books are books that I have written! Yup, these are books of my blog that Maren had made. One for each year I have been blogging. In just a couple of weeks we will be ordering one more. The layout is exactly like my blog, which is what I was hoping for.

The next picture is a picture of the Yahrzeit Candle that is burning right now in our house. This candle was lit in memory of my Grandpa Sandler who passed a year ago tomorrow. Similar candles are being lit for Grandpa accross the the country. My mom's cousin Carol had a nice blog post about the Yahrzeit Candle and its traditon, here is a link: My blogger has a very strange format today, so you may have to cut and paste the link into your browser.

See you tomorrow.

Friday, December 16, 2011


Good morning, it is Friday!

Yesterday Maren worked a bit late and the kids and I were left to do it all for a bit. Preston had his first drive with his driving instructor. He said it went very well and now he is an excellent driver! Lillie had dance class, her last for the year. She did a good enough job to earn herself some candy! I figured everyone earned candy, but there were a few kids moping around afterward because they didn't do well enough to earn some candy.

Dinner was gourmet...mac and cheese with hot dog bites mixed in. It is what the kids really wanted. What can you do? At dinner the kids were having a crazy fun time with what they call "anti-jokes". It turns out that anti-jokes start like normal jokes, but then are totally outrageous and many times horrible. Let's see if I can remember a couple...Q: Why did the little boy drop his ice-cream cone? A: He got hit by a bus! Or, Q: What did the farmer say when he lost his tractor? A: Where's my tractor?. Q: What is red and smells like blue paint? A: Red paint. These don't sound so good on paper, but if you were there and the jokes were being made up on the was pretty darn fun.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Kind Of.

Good morning, it is Wednesday.

Yesterday was Preston's last day of driver's education. Kind of. He still has four drives with the driving instructor, but his book work is now finished. And to top it all off, Preston passed his last test! Yay! Actually by passing this last test he now will not have to take a written test at the DMV when he goes to get his license on his 16th birthday. Yup, at that point they will look up that he has passed in an accredited class and he will only have to pass the drive portion.

Even though it is crazy cold out these days, I wanted to go for a walk last night. I was able to get Hansen and Preston to come walking too. Kind of. They had a soccer ball and ditched me half way through the walk. But it was just right. Goofed off the first half, then actually walked the second.

Our neighborhood isn't too big on tons of Christmas Lights, but every block or so a house is done up pretty fancy. This house is a couple of blocks away. It looks just as fancy in the daylight as there are snowmen, reindeer, and a cool display from Peanuts with Charlie Brown and the crew.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Girl's Day.

Good morning, it is Monday.

Maren, Lillie and a bunch of other girl relatives got together for their annual Girl's Day. I was not there, but I heard some stories and received some pictures so I can blog about it. The evening started at Stef's house and then headed straight into downtown Seattle.

The littles got to have a make over at Sephora! I'm not sure who did this make up make over, but it looks good. I also heard stories about a very flamboyant girl/boy who was doing makeup makeovers as well.
The Christmas carousel was a big hit as always.
Here is a pic of the whole gang. Look out Seattle!
Well, kind of look out! My favorite story is how the girls all piled in this glass elevator to head upstairs...Why doesn't this elevator go upstairs?!? Too many viewings of Willie Wonka's glass elevators or something:)

Anyhow, the girls of all ages had a great time. And now for something you won't see everyday:
Yup, Preston and Maren with matcher holiday jammies. Maren always has this dream that everyone wears matcher jammies on Christmas morning, but it never really happens for more than her and Lillie. These were purchased after Christmas last year. Hansen wouldn't wear them and I don't have a pair, but Preston is a good sport.

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A New Car!

Good morning, it is Saturday.

Yesterday was quite a busy day. Lillie dressed up as a rock star...we tried to do fancy stuff with her hair, but in the end she liked her new haircut so much she just wanted it to be normal. She added shades, fancy dress-tights-shoes-jacket combo, and plenty of bling to complete the rock star ensamble. Hansen just was himself, I am sure he and his friends had plenty of rock star jokes about themselves just the way they are.

The staff at my school played the student's all-star volleyball team yesterday to the delight of most of the student body. We were extremely handicapped this year as we were not allowed to serve overhand or spike the ball. We could only bump and set...bye bye advantage. We lost to both the boys and the girls team. Without handicaps, we would have creamed them and maybe caused injury at the same time, so it is all good.

In the evening I went to check out a car I had noticed online for Maren at one of the more local dealerships. While Maren is not a big fan of automotive change, I really felt it was time. She had been driving a 2002 Hyundai Accent with nearly 120,000 miles and plenty of quirks. She now has a Certified Used 2010 Hyundai Elantra. The new car is pretty darn slick if you ask me. No more roll up windows for Maren! And she even has a little clicker thing to unlock the doors, not to mention all the modern airbags and traction control/anti-lock brakes and such. Beyond all that cool stuff it has build in XMraido, which Maren is a huge fan of and had in the old Hyundai but as an add on kit.
Here is her new car! Just what she wanted. A used car for a good price that doesn't stand out but should be a good car for a long time.

This morning was a solar eclipse. I wandered out to see if there was anything left to see this morning, but we have zero view from our house. We can only see cold and trees:
The view from the back of the house is only trees and cold!

Off to a busy day!

See you tomorrow.

Friday, December 09, 2011

So What?

Good morning, it is Friday!

As you know the boys got haircuts a week ago or so. Lillie has been wanting a haircut, but didn't want to go with the boys back then. But to say a haircut has been on her brain would be a true statement. Then yesterday I showed Lillie the fun blog about her cousin Aurora cutting her own here. Well, we had about an hour after dance class before Deck The Balls Wipeout! Can't miss that show. So we raced over to Great Clips. The place was empty and Lillie got right in.

Her hair is still long, but now more one length and in good shape. For a while. Today is "dress like a rock star" at her school and Lillie has big plans for her hair. I'm hopeful that I can actually help in the manner she is hoping I Lillie can be a happy rock star.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, December 08, 2011


Good morning, it is Thursday.

You are all probably wondering how my new dance class went. Well, firstly I am the only students, and my teacher is too hard on me!

Yes, I had to do a few stretches to get warmed up. I am not very flexible. I couldn't do a bridge or any of the other strength exercises. But it all works out fine because Lillie really just wants someone to stand still and catch her when she twirls and dips and stuff. She made a whole routine where I kind of got to stand still. My kind of dancing:)

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Dance Class?

Good morning, it is Wednesday.

The weekdays kind of run together these days with all the activities we have going on. But it looks like I need to make time for one more activity. Yesterday I was given this flyer, then pressured to sign up! At least it is free:
With any luck I won't be Lillie's only student:)

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011


Good morning, it is Tuesday.

Yesterday Hansen had his last volleyball game of the regular season at my school, Cedar Valley. I didn't get to watch too much of the game because Lillie had to be at dance class, but I saw a little and Maren saw the rest. The girls team for GL played great and won their first match. The boys got steamrolled the first game, but came back to take game three into extra points only to be beat at the bitter end. Hansen played well, I hope he gets chosen for the all-star team.

While Lillie was at dance class, I wandered around Costco looking for gifts for the kids. Between Costco and's lightning deals, you really have to be careful to not just spend and spend. And that is nothing compared to the kids and their wish-lists and constant wanting of expensive things. And Hansen has a birthday just a week after Christmas!

I don't usually care for all the advertising and such around this time of year. But the one TV add that I actually really get a kick from is the Best Buy adds that show the mom buying better than Santa possibly could, and then saying, "GAME ON, SANTA". Just cracks me up. Around our house, we are hoping that Santa wins this contest.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Fun Times.

Good evening, it is Sunday.

What's this? Two blog posts in one day? Well, since I don't like Amazing Race, New Orleans is 50 seconds away from a win, and I won't have time tomorrow morning...Here you go: Good morning, it is Monday.

After church and lunch with John and Carol, I took Hansen out mountain bike riding on some pretty tough trails in the woods near Black Diamond. This is the first time we ventured off paved and went to the dirt trails.

The sun was out and it was a beautiful day. We were not the only bikers out and about to be sure, but we didn't see any others during our actual ride.
The sun didn't reach to the woods below the ridge. I have ridden these trails plenty over the years, but it had been probably 3 years since the last time I was here. We will definitely be back.

When Carol and John were over today we showed them the video of Preston that I described in yesterday's blog but wasn't going to post. We had a few laughs and I have decided to post it...
This is just a picture if Preston and Lillie getting ready for some fun. If you don't really like tons of laughing, strange food combinations, and possible reversal of fortune...don't click on the following video.

See you tomorrow.

You Smell Of Meat And Cheese!

Good morning, it is Sunday.

Yesterday Maren got to go to the outlet stores with her friend Judy. They did some Christmas shopping for whoever they could. Maren sent me some pictures of shoes and such for the boys, but these boys are next to impossible to shop for! So no shoes for them, but Maren did pick up a few nice things! While she was gone it was just me and the kids. I put up some Christmas lights on the house and refilled the bird feeders, the kids acted as if boredom would overtake them. We did make a very funny video of Preston gathering up some disgusting foods, mixing them together, then attempting to eat it. Attempt is the key word, and while the kids really want this video on the blog, I am thinking about it for another day or two...not sure anyone really wants to see it that is over the age of teenager:)

In the evening our local community center had a visit from Santa! As Elf is one of our favorite movies on the planet, the kids enjoyed saying, "You aren't Santa! I know Santa! You smell of meat and cheese!" Luckily they didn't actually tell this to the nice guy playing Santa.

They took some pictures for a very small fee, but I was able to take one with my own camera too.
There were arts and crafts set up. Even Preston got down and did some coloring. Hansen was too busy visiting the coffee and cupcakes area to even notice there were crafts.
Lillie making play-dough candy canes.
Lastly, this is our group leaving the Santa area. The littles are checking out their gift bags and it looks like Santa is taking a well deserved breather in the background. Actually I think he is getting ready to greet the next little person, but this picture cracks me up. I thought it would be our only picture taken on my camera of Santa. You see, the kids insisted that Maren and I be in the Santa picture as well. It was on the way out that I talked the kids into the picture you saw first in today's blog.

See you tomorrow.

Friday, December 02, 2011

The Tree!

Good morning, it is Friday!

I have been trying to learn my new computer and all its quirks. Windows 7 won't let me publish any blog stuff in my Windows Explorer which is wacky, but a general quirk with the blogger program from what I read. To combat that I downloaded Google Chrome. I think I like Explorer more, but what can you do? I also have a new e-mail with google, but I am not switching over to it fully because you can't search google mail as well as MSN mail. Computer stuff...can't really complain because my new computer is so much faster and better!

I have been spending a few days writing and creating our Christmas Letter! It is fun, short, and doesn't contain anything of any substance whatsoever. In other words, it is perfect! We will be getting them out in a week, so if you don't get one, let me know and I can make sure we have your correct address:)

The Christmas Tree went up last Sunday. And yes, per tradition, we did sleep under the tree. Kind of. I slept on the couch, the kids on the floor. Maren choose her bed. We told totally goofy stories and had lots of laughs. About half way through the night I wandered back to my room and Preston took over the couch. Lillie would be happy to sleep on the floor under the tree every single night.

This is Lillie getting ready for a crazy night of sleeping under the Christmas Tree.
Last night Hansen and I were off to pick up his new glasses and get him a haircut. As we were leaving Preston ran out, said he wanted to get a haircut too...and he wanted to drive. Safely home with two new haircuts!

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving, Downtown, and Motorcycles too!

Good morning, it is Tuesday.

We had a great Thanksgiving break! I will just jump into the weekend for you. Thursday we headed to the Ostergard's house along with Mel, Court, Jack, Avery, Stef, Derek, Ben and Abby. It was just the right sized crowd and we had tons of yummy food. It is funny because yesterday in the staff room I was listening to bickering and complaining about Thanksgiving this and Thanksgiving that, but I really enjoy the holiday and I think the rest of the family does too. We do our Thankful leaves and have a yummy feast. Sure, I don't have much to do with anything but carving, eating, and entertaining, but it works for me:)

This year after dinner and when everyone was leaving the Ostergard's house, our family headed into downtown Seattle to spend the night in a hotel. We were in the Roosevelt on the 11th floor on a corner. It was perfect. The room was nice and for the most part we were all happy and having fun. In the morning we woke up and went to the Macy's Holiday Parade. It didn't disappoint!

Here is my crowd (except for the guy on the left who was smiling for the picture too) getting ready for the parade. The police didn't like our feet on the street, so I was risking it just to take the photo!
Lots of marching bands, mini-floats, Christmas stuff, parade everything, and even Santa!
This princess got her very own snow globe!
After the parade we wandered around Seattle and ended up at the huge Gingerbread houses. The lighting in here was weird for my camera...but never fear, even thought I didn't do crazy Black Friday shopping in the middle of the night, I did make it into Costco later in the day for a new camera and a new computer! I'm still figuring it all out, but I was able to transfer all my pictures and documents and everything without too much trouble!
The kids in front of a Christmas tree in the Weston along with the amazing gingerbread houses.
This is one of many huge was like Five feet wide! It was quite a long line, but well worth it.
Saturday I headed out and couple of hours east with Courtney to try out her new motorcycles! I had not ridden motorcycles for probably 25 years! She has two late model Honda CRX 250s. They are plenty fast for me, and totally fun to ride!
This picture is taken near Vantage. We were like 3000 feet high and there was a dusting of snow around. The windmills all over the valley are very cool. There was tons of great riding trails that we kind of had to share with pheasant hunters:) We steered clear of the hunters! It was great to be back on a motorcycle. Can't wait to go riding again.
I rode the bike on the left. If you bigify this pic, you can see all the windmills in the background. We parked 1500 feet lower than these pictures, so it wasn't snowy everywhere. In this world of desertish hills, it was good we had a GPS that could "breadcrumb" our ride, or we may still be out there somewhere!

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving too!

See you tomorrow.