Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Book Time.

Good morning, it is Tuesday.

This will be my last blog post of the year, so I'm glad I'm actually posting in the morning.  Once done with today's blog, Maren will probably order a book of 2013 Julian's Early Morning Blog.  I figured I would close the year with a picture of each kid from the last week that didn't make it in the regular blog, but should have.
Preston and Connor on Christmas morning.  We played catch with the football for a few minutes.  Connor came to join us in his Christmas Chicago Bears gear.  While not a huge Bears fan, I sure like them more than the Pittsburgh Seelers that the rest of his family roots for.  Connor's family has put their house up for sale.  They have been great neighbors for just over 17 years, and we will miss them greatly.  They are not moving too far away, but we won't be saying "hi" to them every time we go to fetch the mail.
This is Hansen as we have seen him for the last couple of days.  I like this picture because of what you see on the T.V. screen.  Santa brought Hansen Grand Theft Auto Five, and he has been playing it nonstop.  I didn't really think this game would would become a Hansen favorite, but it has.  He usually prefers the shoot-em-up games.  While this seems like a solo adventure, due to X-box Live, Hansen is actually playing with his friends, talking to them over the headphones, and I guessing many of them like this game too.  Back to the screen, if you biggify the picture, you can see that Hansen created his player to look a lot like him, with his Firebird, in his garage, which is near the golf course.  Too cool.  Yesterday Lillie and I were walking by Hansen as he was riding a motorcycle in the game without wearing a helmet.  I tapped him on the shoulder and asked, "where's your helmet?"  He stopped his [virtual] motorcycle, his rider put on a helmet, then kept on riding.  Lillie and I were cracking up!
Lillie helping Preston make snickerdoodles just before Christmas.  Preston did a great job managing this project for sure.  When I first looked at this picture I didn't remember why I had taken it.  If you look closely, you can see that Lillie tried to make a snickerdoodle out of her phone!  No worries, the phone still works, and now it smells like a cookie.

Tonight we will be ringing in the New Years!  Just a few years ago we would wonder if the kids could stay up late enough.  No longer.  Last night Hansen finally went to bed around 3:45 a.m. and none of the kiddos will wake up before noon if we don't help them out a bit.  School will be back in session in a week, so I'm not too worried about these nocturnal tendencies sticking, they're just enjoying time without their parents helicoptering.

See you next year!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Karaoke Lights.

Good evening, it is Sunday.

Yesterday Maren and I attended a fun party in Tacoma for Maren's childhood neighbors.  One of the boys she babysat now lives in Japan and is home for a week, so the family threw a party.  It was great to catch up with everyone, but we left before getting sucked into the karaoke vortex.
 Keith and Kevin are the brothers that Maren used to babysit.  Kevin (right) works teaching English in Japan.  Sounds like he loves his job, and seemed to be enjoying his visit home too.  Yup, they are warming up the Karaoke.  As you can see, this was full on band style Karaoke, and some of the folks at the party had some mad music talent.  The Grange where this party was at is literally right across the street from friends Mick and Susan, so we stopped by for a quick visit before heading home.

I just got back from taking Hansen and Lillie to Wild Waves for a night of holiday lights and rides.  Maren decided to hang at home and Preston went out to the movies with his GF.
You have to walk through the closed water park to get to the rides side and all the lights.  This picture of Hansen and Lillie makes it look not too busy, but the park was pretty crowded.
The kids met up with school friends of Hansen.  Once they were all together, I took off for an hour or so.  Hung out at a nearby Starbucks, then brought all the kids a hot chocolate.  I walked around the park after that for a while, checking out lights and listening to kids and adults alike screaming on the rides.
Tonight Lillie went on a few big rides that she has never gone on before .  You can see her under the "N".  Brave kids for sure.  There were signs all over about how windchills on rides may be colder than expected.  Sure, my phone said it was 36 degrees before windchill, but kids like Lillie were dressed in only a sweatshirt.  I even saw a few in just t-shirts.  Goofballs!
I tried to get all the kids in the picture.  Lillie is in the snowman, can you see the other 4 kids?

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas.

Good afternoon, it is Christmas.

We have spent a relaxing day at home.  We have played with Christmas presents, taken naps, and watched movies.  Maren will go to work tomorrow, the rest of us have the day off.  While today has been great, I do feel just a little bad about how we got started.  Yup, Lillie came into our room at 6:14 a.m. ready to wake the family up and see if Santa visited the Slane house.  And I promptly asked her to go back to bed:)  No doubt, who needs to wake up before 8:00 a.m.?  Lillie tried, and we were able to sleep until about 7:45 a.m.


Santa came to our house!  And didn't disappoint.  A longboard, keyboard, and a new doll!
Lillie and Maren have enjoyed their matching Kermit Christmas shirts.
Santa couldn't forget about the cats.  Actually Lillie helped out here.  She really was a great Santa for the cats.
This is a fun little picture Hansen found online somewhere and e-mailed to me.  You have to think, Christmas on a Wednesday...and Geico T.V. commercial.

Merry Christmas, see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve.

Good evening, it is Christmas Eve.

We just got home from Christmas Eve service at church a short while ago.  Now it's watching A Christmas Story and waiting for Santa.  Santa's coming tonight tonight, Santa's coming tonight!
Hansen was signed up to Acolyte all by himself at tonight's busiest church service.  Lillie was nice enough to team up with Hansen.  They did an amazingly good job.  Rock Stars, both of them.
Before church we spent a great day at the Ostergard's house with family:
Cheers!  Shirley Temples around.  I think I ate half the jar of cherries...oops.
Jack and Avery jumping on Lillie and Preston.
Watching Elf and snuggling with cousins.
Now lets jump on Lillie!  Actually, it is easy to take pictures when it gets just a bit calm.  Kids were running around all evening having a grand time!  I even got to join in some too.
Grandpa John had his Polar Express train set up.  All aboard!
Dinner time!  This year the kids all sat on the same side of the table!  Swedish Meatballs, the best!
Which meant the adults got to sit on the same side as each other as well.  John and Carol had the ends of the table, and I got to hide behind the camera.
Sure, Santa will visit tonight, but it is time to open presents with the extended family!
How cute are they?
Yes, Darth Maul did show up disquised at Jack.  The force is strong here, and Lillie is not afraid.  Hoping my camera still works after this picture.
Avery watching the What Does The Fox Say video with me while wearing her new T-shirt.  I try my best to be a good influence...not sure it's working:)
Oh My!  Lillie's American Girl dolls can now go on vacation by themselves!

Great Christmas Eve with family!  See you tomorrow.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Oliver

Good evening, it is Monday.

For the last several years Maren and I have taken the kiddos to the 5th Avenue Theatre for it's Holiday season musical.  This year it is Oliver.  Oliver is an interesting story, not quite Elf or A Christmas Story when it comes to funny moments, but an amazing musical for sure.  We left plenty early, which is so good because Downtown Seattle was very busy today.
We stopped for ice-cream on the way to the 5th Ave.  We ended up having some time to kill, so Hansen and Lillie spent some time goofing off:

I have told the kids that I will not put any pictures on the blog ever that will cause them future embarrassment.  They insist that these will not.  I don't think they will either, after all, we're just having fun.  That's what we do:)
Hansen took this picture of Maren and I in front of a Christmas tree in City Centre.
In front of the theatre before the show.
From our seats.  There are no bad seats in this theatre, but these were very good.  Great evening for sure.

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Soccer, Snow, and the Nutcracker.

Good morning, it is Saturday.

Today is the first day of Winter Vacation!  That is worth repeating.  The kids and I are on vacation!  Maren and Lillie currently are off on "Girl's Day" with cousins and grandparents and nieces and, well, lots of girls I guess.  I'm happily doing nothing.  I actually have three or four blog posts worth of pictures, but I will just do one very long post...it is easier on my brain that way.  Kind of.  And in reverse order:
Last night I got to hang out at Starfire Soccer Complex.  Preston and I where there for the Candy Cane Challenge.  Preston has played in this event a couple of times now.  This team is a miss-match team of past teams, and friends.  So, lots of fun.  Three short indoor games with tons of friends.  Fun!  Last night was the high school divisions.  They didn't do great, but they had fun.  And I had a good time catching up with parents that I have not seen for a long time.

Driving to the Candy Cane Challenge was no Challenge as the rain had started, but earlier in the day...driving armageddon around here.
All the neighboring school districts put school on a two hour delay, then the closest school districts canceled school all together.  They were smart.  Kent School District...not so much.  The KSD decided that no delay would be best.  This picture is taken in the dark of the snow falling at the time Preston would drive to school.  Yes, dark and snow.  We didn't let him drive...good decision indeed.  He got a ride from a neighbor parent, and that worked out just fine for him.
Hansen walks to school, so it worked out OK for him.
By the time Lillie was leaving, the roads were really bad.  This is her bus stop.  Pure ice.  Cars couldn't stop or go.  We waited for the bus, but it never came.  As in never the whole day.  Buses and cars were in ditches all over the district.  One of Lillie's friend's dad, with a huge 4X4, offered to drive her or she would have just stayed home with Maren.  Maren's rule is simple:  if the school districts around her work are closed due to snow, she doesn't drive in.  Lillie was happy to go to school for the partying.
While the pictures of the van didn't look too bad, this is what happens to the roads around here with the right type of snow.  Ice and hills don't go well together.  The KSD made a huge mistake.  Teachers and student's cars littered the ditches and there were numerous accidents.  I could go on and on.  The district sent out apology letters to parents and staff for this huge blunder.  Most viewed it as too little too late.  Groan on the whole situation.  Thankfully I can (and did) walk to work.
Thursday evening Maren and I took Lillie to the Nutcracker at the Seattle Center.  This is the big one.  We had great seats!  Just the stage curtain is amazing.  Twenty years ago I fell asleep at this show, this time it could have lasted longer.  But the little boy next to me was sleeping by the end...
Maren and Lillie before the show in the picture spot.  The lighting was a bit much, but they were there, and looking festive for sure.
I asked Lillie, "Why did you give this Rat King so much space?"  She said, "He is holding a sword!"
Sorry folks, I just couldn't resist.  This Nutcracker has a giant nose!
Maren and Lillie choosing a ballerina ornament for the Christmas Tree.  While we were at the Nutcracker, Preston was performing in his winter band concert.  John and Carol brought Hansen to the show.  I was sorry to miss the concert as the school band puts on a great concert for sure, but schedules just work out like that sometimes.  I'm glad John, Carol and Hansen were there.
Thursday was ugly sweater day at school.  I don't want to ever wear an ugly Christmas sweater, but I did find this t-shirt at the thriftstore.  Here is how my day went:  "Mr. Slane, are you really Santa?"  Me: "You never can tell, kid!"  Yeah, that's a quote from Elf.

Speaking of Santa, here is our family Santa picture:
Ho, Ho, Ho...See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ditto.

Good evening, it is Wednesday.

Yes, we have been busy just like everyone else out there.  Hopefully you have received a Christmas card from us.  I don't know how fast the USP is these days, but I can tell you that I waited for nearly 45 minutes the other day in line at the post office just to pick up a package that couldn't be delivered.  If you don't receive one, let me know.

This evening I took the littles out shopping for some gifts for their school mates and such.  Here they are at the dollar store shopping away:
On the way home we drove by a house with amazing lights.  I twisted Maren's arm, so she went on a walk to check them out once we were home.
This is the view from the street, in the car.  I really need the panoramic shot.  On the walk I took a few more:
Husky Dawgs chasing a Couger and a Duck:)
Frosty the Snowman and crew.
Maybe the best part, the whole Peanuts gang!  Just looking at this I have the Linus and Lucy piano music dancing around in my head.
This is hard to read, but it is a "ditto" sign on the next door neighbor's lawn.  Too much!
Yesterday I got to hang out at the school music performance for my school.  Lots of fun song for sure.
And lastly, a few gifts (books) I purchased for a family that our school is sponsoring this Christmas.  Our school sponsors a family or two every year that is struggling.  These are great kids and I hope they can have an enjoyable Christmas.

See you tomorrow.