Monday, December 25, 2017

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas.

Good evening, it is Monday.

Merry Christmas! It is truly a White Christmas here. We probably have six inches of snow, and while there may not be much more accumulation, this snow may stick around a few more days. We spent Christmas Eve at the Ostergard's house along with Stef, Chris, Mel, Jack, and Avery. This year's gift exchange was hats! There wasn't much trading or stealing going on, but everyone ended up with the right hat for them. Mostly...
This is the guys in their new hats.
The girls in their new hats! After dinner, the gift exchange, and presents, we all took off in a bit of a hurry. Why? SNOW! By early evening the streets were white. Stef and Chris have a story of their drive home taking over two hours! Mel's ride didn't take as long, but anti-lock breaks and shrieking kids were part of their drive home. Luckily everyone made it home safe and sound. We didn't even try to make it to a late Christmas Eve church service like we usually do, instead we stayed home and watched It's a Wonderful Life.
Santa did make it to our house. Even the kittens got presents. They really enjoy chasing laser lights.
A family selfie in the snow.
We were able to walk to John and Carol's house for an early dinner today. Not tons of driving around our parts. Covington and the outlying areas really seem to have gotten the most of the snow. The temps rose to about 35 degrees today, but will be back down in the mid 20's tonight for another similar looking day tomorrow.
The snow was perfect for building a snowman! Preston and Lillie created this fella in the back yard.

Enjoy the snow, Merry Christmas!

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Vacation!

Good morning, it is Sunday.

As of Friday after work, Maren is officially on vacation! No working until next year!
This is what winter vacation for Maren looks like. Couch. Pillow. Down comforter. Kindle. Notebook. Kittens. Christmas movie on the TV. It's all too much awesome for me. I always say that Covington is the best place in the world to vacation!
Preston and I hit the Riverbend driving range. The kid can still hit a golf ball! With golf courses closing all around us, the closest driving range is 30 minutes away. 
Yesterday it was mountain bike riding. Here is a photo of my friend making good choices. While you can't tell in the photo, it is like 35 degrees out and the wooden ramps are sheets of ice. Mountain biking is year round here.
Last night was the first time I've ever BBQ'd in the middle of winter! I wheeled the grill to the front of the deck, and voila. This is also the first winter I've ever owned a gas grill. I could see this being more a regular thing.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Santa.

Good morning, it is Thursday.

This week is flying by! The kids and I are on vacation, and Maren is working. That means I get up early with Maren, then hang out half the day for the kids to wake up. Yesterday I had an eye appointment and ordered new glasses. The glasses I've worn for the last few years are Randy Jackson brand. This time I stepped up to SHAQ glasses.

Tuesday the kids and I went out to see Coco. Lillie and I have seen the movie, but the boys hadn't. It is a very good movie. I think I liked it more the second time. We showed up at 7:46 for a 7:45 showing. purchased our tickets, then realized the Santa house was without line. So we quickly went and visited with Santa. And still made it to the movie on time. Last time we saw Coco there was a Frozen trailer/movie and the actual movie started 45 minutes after the advertised showtime. Advertised showtimes do seem like a show up time, not a starting time anymore.
One reason our visit was so quick was this was a new Santa. The last one would talk to the kids about school and life and was really a great Santa. This one just sat there and smiled. Maybe he was better with little kids? We did miss the old Santa, but the picture is great, and so was the movie.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Last Jedi.

Good morning, it is Sunday.

Because we had school through Friday, we chose to see Star Wars yesterday. At the Seattle Center. On the IMAX big screen! It was awesome! Then it was lunch in at Armory, and a ride on the monorail to do a little window shopping in Seattle.
The Space Needle is under construction! Word on the street is that they are making the entire floor of the Space Needle out of glass. Yeah, no thank you, I will stay on the ground...
The movie is very good. And it left room for many more Star Wars movies in the future.
Downtown Seattle is always busy. There was decent size rally/march starting in response to President Trump's latest stand on the Middle East. The bicycle police guy closest to the camera looks like his front tire is in a puddle. It is. A puddle of his spit out chewing tobacco. He is just looking at people and spitting, nice.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Happy Chanukah!

Good morning, it is Wednesday.

Happy Chanukah! Last night was the start of Chanukah. Every time I type Chanukah, spell check thinks I've got it wrong! Well, this is how my grandpa spelled it every time he sent me a Happy Chanukah letter for my whole life, so it must be correct. As in I'd trust my grandpa over Microsoft Spellcheck Every. Single. Time.
We lit the menorah and read the blessings. Even Winifred was interested in the lights. So how Christmasy is Covington WA? Well, Maren and I went to 4 different stores looking for menorah candles, and none. As in no stores stock them?!? I know that other local cities surely have these in stock. Amazon to the rescue.

The last week before winter vacation is always a busy time. Band concerts. Parties. Tests. For Hansen and Preston this is finals week. Of course that means not much school, but the little amount of school matters. This evening my staff has a party at one of the local golf courses. No golfing, but there will be a gift exchange.
This is a great photo of Maren and me from 7 or 8 years ago at another staff party. I don't know if I could possibly win this quality gift ever again in my lifetime.
We enjoyed the high school's winter band concert. It is great to see these concerts. The last one we went to was back when Preston was in school. And like many things we go to, I did see a couple students from my elementary school at the concert, and at school the next day got to hear all about how they saw me at the concert too.
The Nutcracker! Maren and I went to the Pacific Northwest Ballet to enjoy the show. The last time I went it was different, as in they were still using the Maurice Sendak sets. The new one was very good, but can you really top the Sendak Nutcracker?

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Rainy Day of Golf and Tree lighting.

Good evening, it is Sunday.

Yesterday it pretty much started off cold, rained, and was windy all day long! A perfect day for a round of golf and the Covington Christmas Tree lightning. NOT. But these events went on as planned, so yay!
I participated in a 136 person shotgun start outing at Chambers Bay. It is a sweet deal as this round came with a replay coupon that I will surely use come summer time. You can kind of see the amazing that is Chambers Bay through the rain and wind. Yes, there are like 120 golfers behind the camera.
This was my group. Staff from KL. The tree in the background is the lone tree on the course and this par three is probably the most photographed golf hole in the state of Washington. Maren said she really couldn't see all the rain and wind in the photos, so:
Can you see the rivers of water on the putting surfaces? And going through the bunkers? From about this spot till the end of the round we ware right on the water. The temperature seemed to drop about 10 degrees as the wind was just howling. Luckily this event was just a skins game, and rounds can't be posted, so this was just a for fun outing. And nope, I didn't even sniff a birdie or an eagle the whole round.
I wasn't the only one enjoying the weather. Lillie helped out (with the Key Club) at the Covington Christmas Tree lighting. She was handing out pamphlets and hot chocolate. Maren was out and about with Lillie as well.
There's the Covington Christmas Tree!
Hansen and the cats stayed home the whole day and stayed warm and dry. The kitters are all getting along pretty well these days, so great.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Mary, Winifred, and More.

Good afternoon, it is Sunday.

In about a half hour I will be taking Preston back to college after a very nice Thanksgiving break. Even though he is on break, he has spent plenty of time doing homework. I offered to finish an essay for him on the Golden Rule of mathematics. I thought I added quite a bit, but then...delete, delete, delete! Ha!
The girls went on a Girl's Day adventure into downtown Sumner on Friday. Hansen and I went the the Seattle Humane Society to look at cats. All black cats free on Black Friday. That was the hook, and it worked. There like tons of people there and we didn't get a cat. In fact we got blocked! Hansen was standing in front of a cat we were interested in while looked for an attendant, and someone else cut in front of him and adopted the cat! No worries, there are other cats in the sea.
Girl's day selfie.
Cousins. All the while Hansen and Lillie were texting cat details. But alas, Hansen and I left without a cat, and joined the other guys for a movie.
At the mall we saw Thor. Second time for me, it was a pretty good movie!
Yesterday Maren, Lillie, Hansen, and I went out for another attempt at a cat. Maren spied these two kitten Siamese kittens at the Auburn Humane Society. 
Visiting with Mary and Winifred at the little visiting room.
Do I ask these girls to choose just one? Not a chance. We're adopting both! No sale prices either, but such a better experience.
The kids kept the kittens company as Maren filled out paperwork.
How cute are these two?
That's right, Flareon is no longer a single cat. He now has a couple of sisters. That doesn't keep him out of the Christmas Tree though.
Hopefully Flareon doesn't teach these little kittens too many bad ideas. Hmmmmm...
A Maren and I selfie from the 5th Ave. last night. We saw Holiday Inn at the 5th. Ave. I really enjoyed the show.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

Good evening, it is Thursday.

Happy Thanksgiving! Right now Maren and I are watching National Lampoons Christmas Vacation while the kids are out joining the crowds at the mall for some Black Friday sales.
We had a big Thanksgiving dinner at John and Carol's house. In attendance was all of us, Stef and Chris, Mel and the twins, and the Goodspeeds! We ate very well indeed. I may even go grab some leftovers in a few minutes:) Here is a quick look a the kid's table.
Check out this dessert that the kids made! Maren's like, "WOW!"
It's been great having Preston back from school for a few days. How about a van drive for all of 1/2 a mile to John and Carol's house. Yes, we'd normally walk, but you know, all the stuff we brought, and the all the rain.
One thing to celebrate this Thanksgiving, Hansen has been accepted to WWU! Congratulations Hansen, you will surely enjoy WWU.
Yes, we have a cat. And we hope to have a Christmas Tree for the whole season. Flareon is not sure he will let this tree last the whole season...
In a couple weeks Hansen and I will start up a new winter archery league. Should be fun.
In other hobbies, I tried mountain bike riding again after a few years. We have some of the best trails in the region just a few miles from home. I can see more riding in my future.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

And My Favorite Is...

Good evening, it is Wednesday.

We are all settling in to a dark world. As in ever since we turned the clocks back, it is always dark. We go to school and work in the dark, and get home in the dark. So how do you beat the dark? If you ask Maren, she will tell you: Christmas songs on the radio, and Christmas movies on the TV. All the time. Well, not quite, but you get the idea. So what about Thanksgiving? Hmmm...
We have not been doing Thankful leaves this year, but maybe we will do a few over Thanksgiving break. This one appeared on my FB memory wall from several years ago.
No leaves doesn't mean we're not thankful. We helped with the HOME project again this year, feeding homeless men a host church. The kids and the grandparents have helped a couple times this season.
The girls in the family are thankful that this store opened up just a couple miles from our house a week ago. This photo doesn't show the line around the block on opening day. The first 100 got a gift bag, and while Maren and Lillie showed up before opening, they probably missed the first 100 by a few hundred!
While going through all the hoops of trying to unclog a drain in the kitchen (which may be beyond my abilities as I've already taken everything apart, used a plumbers snake, plungered, and gone to chemicals, yet it is still clogged. At least I got to be Santa for a moment. We have not decided on a tree this year. Flareon will probably destroy any tree we have, but most likely we will have one. Lillie wants to either get a snow covered sparkly artificial tree, or go cut a real one. I feel like we've cut trees every year, but Lillie doesn't believe we've ever had a real tree. Preston probably still remembers the squirrel jumping out of our tree while on the tree shaker! I guess Lillie was probably like 6 years old last time we cut a tree down. Hmm.
Sneak peek at Lille's best ugly Christmas sweater we picked up this evening. It might even have lights! Maybe someday you'll get to see:)

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Stranger Post.

Good evening, it is Sunday.

5:23pm and it's been dark for over a half hour! Setting the clocks back, bah humbug. On the flip side, it did snow here for half the day, and Lillie got tons of photos (none of which I have access to) of the snow!
Did you ever get to see Lillie and Hansen's pumpkins on display? We had a decent number of Trick-or-Treaters, and they all loved the pumpkins.
Mad Magizine! Maren got me a subscription to Mad magazine for free somewhere. The magazine is just as crude as it was when I was a kid. The title to this one is Stranger Things. I've watched a couple episodes of this TV show, and I really liked it. The 1980's setting is great. But the way Netflix releases these shows in a whole season, well, that is not for me. The kids have been binge watching Stranger Things, where one episode a week would be about right for me.
Saturday, after 8 weeks of classes, Maren and I completed a half day emergency simulation at the local fire department. Then we were given these fancy vests, a t-shirt, and a CERT approved certificate. It is a very interesting class that I'd recommend anyone attending.
This parking pass was for my car. I took a 5 hour test at the GRC testing center. The WEST B test is required to apply to a teacher certification class. With alternate routes in the pipelines, I hope to complete one of these year long courses in the not so distance future. That said, my job is changing as well. I found our earlier in the year that my ELL job at the local high school would be ending at the end of the year. So I've been proactively looking for a new job so I land somewhere I'd like to be. It is back to the elementary school for me. My last day of my current job is Wednesday. Thursday I start as an LAP paraeducator at a different local elementary school.

See you tomorrow.