Sunday, February 27, 2011

I've Caught It!

Bieber Fever!

Yea, I know I'm a little too old - I mean, he's a little too young - but I can't help it!
The kids and I saw "Never Say Never" last night with our friends and now we have the fever!

This is a most talented kid!
The movie was very motivational and...dare I say...moving!

I loved his female fans!
They were absolutely possessed with something beyond their control.
A true testament to the power of hormones.
I remember it well in my Shaun Cassidy/Andy Gibb days.

The best part of the evening was when the movie ended.
Ivan was the least excited to go that night.  In fact, had Donald been home, he probably would have just stayed at the house.
But, he was forced to tag along.
At the end of the movie I leaned down to the seat in front of me and asked him how he liked the movie.
The boy couldn't speak.
He was sobbing.
He loved the movie, the music, the story, the background of Justin Bieber's life...all of it!
He couldn't understand why anyone out there would be a Justin Bieber hater.

I love that boy of mine!

We got home no one could stop talking about the movie.
I played some music on my itouch and Ivan decided it was time to break out some dance moves.
He had been inspired by JB even though he won't admit it!

We should probably just continue on with the karate lessons.
And, uh...
...let's keep this little post between us okay?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Hurry Up Daylight Savings!

This is my life these days.
With carpool and swim team and karate and study hall and other school events, I drive.
A lot.

Its a necessary evil.
We are not overly scheduled and I think the kids need the activities - and they enjoy them.
But it does take a lot of drive time.

Its not so bad when its light out.
But when its 20 degrees outside and dark, my mind and body scream, "Get some cozy pants on and stay in the house!!"
Yes, cozy pants.

It won't be long now...March 13 we spring forward!
What will I complain about then?

P.S.  Please notice that my speedometer reads "zero".  I am not driving and taking pics at the same time.  I'm about to turn.
P.P.S.  This is Photo 11/365.  So far I'm sticking to it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cowiche Canyon

This is our local hiking trail.  There's plenty of places to go outside of Yakima, but Cowiche Canyon is nearby (a 10 minute drive) and our favorite spot to head to when we need to stretch our legs and get some fresh air.

We've seen the canyon in spring, summer, winter and fall.  There are times of the year it looks less barren...
(May 2009)

...but its always beautiful and a wonderful place to see firsthand the way the landscape of much of the Yakima Valley was formed.  By volcanoes!  All throughout the hike in Cowiche Canyon, you can see beautiful basalt columns!  They are amazing!

These guys are seasoned hikers on this trail, but they still like to pose for pictures.

I am learning to take pictures like a ninja these days...

...or I'll end up with this happy expression in all my pictures (see person behind big rock!)...

One thing I'll never get tired of seeing are those three figures on a trail in front of matter how big they get...
 Ivan and Hannah on Cleeve Common, UK - March 2005

Jenelle and Ivan in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire - April 2005

In Sherwood Forest, Notthinghamshire - July 2005

Jenelle in the Yakima Canyon - April 2006

Oregon Coast - July 2007

Chinook Pass - September 2007

White Pass - December 2009

Cowiche Canyone - February 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Missing Gold

Sounds mysterious huh?

It's the title of this year's play by the St. Joseph Drama Club.
The drama club is open to K through 5 only (middle school has their own drama classes) so Ivan and Jenelle had parts this year.

Last year it was Ivan and Hannah in The Tainted Twinkie!

This year Ivan played the role of Pete Kitchen.  A modest rancher who finds gold on his property that - you guessed it - goes missing!

The final act takes place in a saloon where you will find Jenelle acting as of 4 cute waitresses who serve sarsaparilla to their patrons.

Burping is encouraged in this saloon, hence the unusual expression here...

Very cute production and they are both looking forward to next year!

Do you want to see who used to wear the pink hat about six years ago?'s cowgirl Hannah!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Swimathon!

Thanks so much to all of you who gave a donation to Ivan and Jenelle for their swimathon!  They were each able to raise $100, of which, 95% goes right to their swim team at the YMCA.  The remaining 5% goes to the national swim organization which they are a part of!

There are times when your kids amaze you and today was one of those days!
Their goal was 200 lengths (100 laps in a 25 yard pool) or 2 hours...whichever came first!

Ivan swam for 152 lengths...that's over two miles!
Jenelle swam for 110 lengths - over a mile and a half!
This is not something that I could!

They were so exhausted!  The momma in me wanted to give them a reason to stop, but I just kept encouraging them!
I don't think they had  any idea what swimming for two hours would be like!
Yet, they never gave up...just pushed themselves to get in as many laps as they could before the time was up!

We are proud of you!!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Kids in the Kitchen

Anyone who knows my homemaking style knows that I am always trying out new ideas or techniques (real meaning:  biggest impact with least amount of work).  I have ideas about how to clean my house that are ingenious...until I come up with another plan.  Super ways of tracking kids chores...until a new thought comes up.  And it goes on and on and on...'s the latest.  I really like it and hope it sticks!

I am torn between knowing that I need my kids to learn to be useful (and ultimately independent) in the kitchen and preferring to handle dinner preparations alone.  I needed a plan that allowed the kids to cook and learn how to plan meals, but at the same time, allowed me to do most of the cooking myself.  Because I stay home, I am able to get a lot of dinner prep done during the day and would prefer not to wait until they are home from school to get started.  Besides, their homework, after school activities, and chores make it nearly impossible for them to be in the kitchen each night for any length of time...unless we wanted to eat dinner at 8pm...which we don't.

So, once a week, preferably on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday night, one of them cooks a meal with me.  The week before they decide what main dish they want to cook and what they want to serve with it.  I help with how to balance their meal so that its well balanced and will be eaten by most of us.  Hannah is able to do most of the work herself, Ivan needs a little more help, and Jenelle is essentially helping ME do it, but that will change in time.

They like it a lot and are already starting to keep a running list of what they would like to make next.

Two weeks ago it was Ivan's turn.  He chose homemade pepperoni pizza and fruit salad.  Jenelle decided to document some of the kitchen events and here's a glimpse!

The chef

and his sous chef

The pizzas

What's up with the open mouth look Chef?

Self portrait of the photographer

What happens to us if we tell anyone about the purple apron!

Hannah will be cooking this weekend.  
She chose to make Cottage Pie and Yorkshire Puddings...with a vegetable that is yet undecided.  

Thursday, February 17, 2011

He's Home!

Donald arrived home last night after a week in the UK on business.
He brought a load of goodies with him...mostly things that we enjoyed when we lived there.

The kids each got a bag of Teeth and Lips.
You heard me right.
Hannah remembered these.
I can't even imagine how the idea for them ever started.
The picture on the bag doesn't help at all.

Two of my favs!
Hovis biscuits and the Daily Mail paper.

Digestive biscuits are very popular in the UK.  They are a slightly sweet wheat biscuit (cookie to Americans) that absolutely crumbles apart in your mouth.  Definitely worth the purchase if you ever run across them.
While Hovis are my favorite, McVitie's is a nice second.
You can even get them covered in chocolate.

When I was in the hospital after giving birth to Jenelle, I was desperate for a Diet Coke and very hungry!
Those fantastic nurses from the NHS brought me a freezing cold Diet Coke and entire package of McVitie's biscuits, which I devoured completely.  
I know that doesn't sound like a very good start in life for a nursing baby...
But she turned out alright!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My 3rd Picture

Day 3 of my 365 day photo project/objective/goal/whatever...and I'm sad to say, its not very exciting!
BUT...did I not say that part of this project was to capture the "mundane" of life?
Well I'd say that a cleaning a filthy dirty kitchen floor definitely falls into that catagory!
My friend Renee is so sweet to tell me that I keep my house "immaculate"...
...I'd say this photo is proof otherwise!

I know.  Random.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day AND belated Birthday!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone and yes...I forgot to wish myself a happy blog birthday on the 8th of February!  I turned one!

Donald and I also had our 14th anniversary on that day as well!  Yea us!

So, in addition to today being Valentine's day, it's also the day I decided I want to start a 365 photo project!  I want to take at least one picture a day for 365 days!  Not sure if I'll stick with it, but it will certainly encourage me to take more pictures than I have lately.
I like the idea of capturing the mundane as well as the special occasions.

So, here's today's picture...with a Valentine's theme of course!

Heart pancakes for breakfast with pink sprinkles!

And just for fun, here's a couple of pictures from Valentine's 2005 at our home in England.
Hug your sweeties today!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Mexico in January (in February)

Yes!  It's true that we went to Mexico in January!
Maybe you don't believe it because you've never seen proof!
Well, here it is...better late than never!  Get ready for a lengthy entry full of pictures!

To start our trip, we drove to Seattle the day before our flight so we could visit the Seattle Art Museum and see their Picasso exhibit.  Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to photograph any of Picasso's art, but here are a few from the night...

Now Mexico!
I'll start with some scenery shots...

This was our view from the condo and down the beach...

Just a few more shots of the gorgeous ocean.  This afternoon I couldn't get over the beautiful shine of the sun on the water.

We took a trip into the town of San Jose for some souvenir shopping and sightseeing and of course - eating!
One of my favorite things to see was all the beautiful Dios de los Muertos art everywhere.  The colors are amazing!  I took this particular picture of La Catrina for our art teacher at school.  In 4th grade, the students learn about the Mexican tradition and art of Day of the Dead and their teacher always dresses up as Catrina.

Love the colors...and the boy!

Mexican flag

The elusive family photograph!

Lunch at the Baja Brewing Company -
The kids LOVE it when they get their own table...

So do we...

In downtown San Jose (which means St. Joseph) we find...St. Joseph's Church

Of course there was plenty of time in the ocean...

(watch Ivan disappear)

...and in the sand.

Preparing to bury children alive!!!

(Colin as a muscular superhero)

Hannah working on creating a dribble castle village.

There was also time for relaxing and hanging out
(sometimes with delicious adult beverages...again!)

At the end of most vacations, I am usually feeling ready to get back home to our "regular" lives.  I guess that's a good thing.  This vacation was no exception, but it was hard to leave this beautiful place behind.  What a treat for our family - we are so grateful to our wonderful friends who's friendship provided us with the chance to come to a place so fantastic!
Bye San Jose!!