Friday, October 28, 2011

Guys' Night

So Allison and Kelly went out to some girls party tonight (still not back at 10:12...which is late for both of must have been good). Well, Bri and I decided to make a good time of our time without the girls. Our first stop was the fitness center. Really, I swim laps while Bri makes due with the kid area, which includes a water slide, river walk, whirl pool, and one of those bucket dump things...he has it pretty rough. I was excited to get front row parking there, we usually have quite the hike to get in, can you believe having to walk to go work out! So, we get into the locker room and I look at Bri, who usually has our stuff in the back back and ask, "Where's the back back?" "Back back? Whoops?" comes the reply. "So it's in the car? Where's our suits then?" "In the back pack," comes the reply from the dad next to us, laughing at us. So...much for the short walk in today.

Good time swimming though. I think I finally have a pair of goggles that don't fill up with water...which is nice because I was beginning to believe, due to past performance of several pair, that I misunderstood the purpose of goggles. So a little sore (at least for me, Bri piped up that he was not) we left the fitness center. I gave him the choice of dinner out or Monopoly (his choice of game lately) at home. He chose that we could pick-up dinner at Wendy's and go home and play Monopoly :) Wendy's was good, but I wouldn't recommend their new Ranch Fries...not exactly a winner on that one. However, after a back and forth game of Monopoly I still managed to prevail and regain some dignity (he won the last one). I'm just thankful for the speed die that keeps the game to a reasonable time, by reasonable I mean two hours.

Half a chapter of Narnia and the kid is off to bed. I thought he would have crashed quickly, but he just responded to my question of, "You still awake?" With a quick, "Yes, dad!", so guess I was wrong. Narnia has been great though. We are on the 7th book (thanks for the gift Ron) on the second time through them. CS Lewis is a genius author. The kids love them and they are packed full of great lessons!

That's about it for now, bug Allie and hopefully she can tell you about her evening!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Crazy Weekend

Ok, so I guess that I shouldn't really complain, my in-laws in Minnesota said they woke up to below freezing temperatures already this fall...but it was 39 degrees this morning. I had not realized how much we had adjusted to South Carolina until these last  few days.

So I didn't get to watch Michigan State play yesterday. I heard that it wasn't pretty, but a win is a it was over Ohio State. So that was good. We were on our way to a picnic with a bunch of people from our neighborhood. Wow was that cold...but it worked out pretty well. It wasn't raining (which it had for the past three days...the Tigers game even got rained out on Friday), but the wind was pretty strong. It stayed that way through dinner and during the message (which was outstanding), but it died down right before the hayride and everything felt a lot warmer then. It may also have been b/c it was a great hayrides...or rather there were two tractors and wagons. They kept leapfrogging each other or even driving in loops and going past each other...which led to some pretty good hay battles between the wagons. They even stopped at one point so we could just get off and throw hay at each other, although that led to a little less comfortable ride on the way back. Brian's comment, "That was fun, but boy is that hay itchy." I believe we will be finding a hay around our house for quite sometime. Too bad the Tigers couldn't pull out the win.

Today was more sports day. First up was Brian's soccer game. The weather was beautiful, the play...not quite so much. Brian's team does a great job when the ball comes to them, they just don't seem to motivated to run any distance to get it. I think the best was when they they made a great stop and the ball got kicked into an open area of the field and not one kid ran to get it...they just stood there. It was comical to watch the coaches and parents encouraging the no run and get the ball. I admit my bias, but I was happy to see that Brian hustled well...which I appreciate b/c that is about the only skill I have in sports. Then I get to watch a crazy comeback by the lions, get beat in Wii bowling by my son, and now am relaxing while watching some goofy offensive efforts by the jets and ravens (4 turnovers returned for touchdowns at this point).

Fun quotes from Kelly, in response to me saying she is getting pretty big, "Yeah, that's b/c I'm almost 7". For those of you counting, and knowing she is five and her birthday isn't til May, she followed this up with, "I'm almost six and then I'll soon be seven."
After a several minute discussion with the neighbors about how old their 9 mo. old baby is, she has now determined that he is zero.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Allie's Adventures

Allie's Adventures:

So to make friends in our new town, I'm trying some different methods. We went swimming at the Community Center we've recently joined and I decided to try and lock my keys in a locker there.  I didn't actually realize I had left the keys in the locker until Kel & I went into the locker room after swimming.  That's when I looked at her and asked "Who has the key?"  She shrugs an "I don't know" and it hits me that the keys are in the bottom of the bag that I nicely placed in our locker & locked up before we went swimming. As a result, I met several of the lifeguards on staff, including one very strong young woman who was able to cut off our lock with a pair of bolt cutters.  Hopefully she can be a role model for my daughter. We also met several people in the locker room as we drew a crowd with our escapades.

My next attempt at locking the locker was also not very successful.I bought some glow-dial combination locks on clearance at MC Sports, because hey, they were on clearance.  Well, unfortunately, the U part of the lock proved to be a tad bit too long for the locker, so I had to jam it in there and pry it out, all the while crushing my fingers to lock my lock.  My husband has simply shaken his head and wondering why I didn't just buy a regular ol' combination lock. I tried to explain, "but they were on CLEARANCE."  He just didn't get it.  Maybe next week I'll fare better against the lockers.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

trip to michigan

this is brian writing today about our trip to michigan we left at 10:00 a.m. now my dad made a joke about me driving it was funny and it is 10:34 a.m. i made a light by reflecting the sun off the phone i am hungry we are on the highway and people keep calling and interupting my bloging my dad told me to get the phone charger when we stop we are going to stop in a few minuites now i feel starving my mom and sister are in the car in front of us me and my dad are in the penske truck and are at exit 65 and are getting off at this exit to get a snack it is 10:55 then we went to mickyd's and now we are on the road sorry i gotta go now bye.hi again i had got to the hotel that we were staying in and went swimming and i pushed my mom in as a joke and we ate a continental brekfast then we packed up and no we are on the road it is 1:08 riight now and we wil be in michigan at 2:14 i am wearing the army hat my uncle ron gave me (he is in the army) we are at exit 71 and exiting there

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Classes Update

So Allie and I just finished up our summer classes. For her, she had a quite challenging one, but she persevered well and I think learned quite a bit (I'll leave that for her to share). For me, yes I did walk in May, but I had one internship credit left to do and finished that up on Friday. So that means that I officially have now finished all requirements for my degree! Allie should hopefully follow soon as she has just one more course to complete her certificate. She is thinking of taking a break this fall as we get things together for our next step, but hopefully next spring or summer should see her finishing up as well.

So, again the question about what our next step is... well, how about a kid update first. Kel and Bri had swim lessons last week. They loved them and Kel can now "swim" a good distance with no floats. I say "swim" because it is quite comical to watch as she paddles along with just her eyes above the water and then manages to pop her head up for intermittent gasps of air. But she has a blast doing it and is quite proud that she will now put her head under water. Bri was more excited about the new toe straps on his bike. He has loved them, but they have led to some interesting crashes. His first attempt going up a hill came a little short and he realized stopping was not quite so easy when his feet were strapped in. But he did much better after that... for awhile. Early last week he decided to look down while trying to get his feet in the straps... not a good idea going down a hill. Smack into the guardrail by the creek he went... no major injuries though, just some bruises and a few scrapes that are healing well... thankfully. God really does watch over little kids. Lesson learned - biking goes a lot better when you watch where you're going.

Alright, so onto our plans. We are really hoping to head up to Detroit by the beginning of September to do some work up there before heading overseas. There is a great opportunity for some further training and it looks like things are coming together so that we can do that. We should know early this week for sure, but please keep those plans in your prayers. We will let everybody know some more soon, but, just another reminder that it will work better for us to use email. Allie will be sending one soon... so if you are not on her list and would like to be, just drop her or I an email... or even just leave a comment.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Good Trip

So we just got back from a great trip up to Michigan. It was great seeing friends and family for a couple quick weeks. The kids actually got an additional two weeks as my parents had taken them up early... which also means we got two weeks off with no kids. (Allie wants to add during those 2 weeks she got ahead in her homework & has since fallen behind again.) Although we would always love to have seen more people and spend more time with the few who we did see, it was a great trip overall and a lot of fun was had.

Traverse City was especially nice because Allie's parents were able to come up there as well... so most of the families were together. Bri had a great time playing with... his cousin from South Carolina who was also up visiting. A little funny that we drove 15 hours for him to play with a friend who lives just an hour away. The two didn't leave the lake for the entire week, spending their time fishing or swimming... or swimming trying to find the fishing pole they dropped off the raft...I don't think that was ever successful. Bri's highlight was camping out in a tent (in my parents' yard) with Zach and another friend. They loaded up the tent with toys and snacks and I'm pretty sure I heard them still talking around 4 AM. Not much sleep that night, but they were all up for the Cherry Festival Parade the next day.

Bri had a blast at the parade. Kel would have loved it, but she left the day before with Allie's parents for some extra grandparent time in Livonia. Although Allie and I were certain that we saw her twin (in behavior at least) on one of the floats. We were toward the end of the parade, so the kids on the floats were pretty tired, but this one cute little girl was dancing away to the songs and doing all the hand motions... definitely a girl after Kel's heart. Bri's favorite part was getting all the things people were handing out as they went by in the parade (candy, coupons, magazines, toys... you name it). He collected two full bags, one for himself and one for his sister, complete with green stuff (her favorite color... for Michigan State, sorry HK). These handouts became Allie's and my least favorite part when Party Giant came by. Most groups handed out stuff sporadically, but this group had a handout for each and every kid... noise makers. You could hear a wave of sound following this float as hundreds of kids gleefully put these handouts to immediate use... 10 minutes later... still going on... Party Giant, worst float ever. Allie had a good moment at the parade when Pool World came by with giant sized (like 5 ft) beach balls. As one came toward her she tried to knock it back in the street, but instead it knocked her out of her chair... oops.

I'd say the highlight of the trip came on our last Sunday when Laura convinced Will, Mike, and I to join her in a Triathlon (sprint distance: 500m swim, 20k bike, 5k run). This was my first triathlon and I had a blast, I think I did the best on the biking, despite being on a mountain bike. But I now know why Laura wanted us to do it... because she kicked all three of our butts and placed second in her age group. Will sadly had bike trouble for the third (out of three) triathlons in a row. Mike was a great sport in joining our insanity and was pleased to finish. I was pretty happy with my performance overall, especially coming off a broken/sprained ankle which is still bothering me. Although I was not too happy the next day (quite sore) or today (first day I tried to exercise again... I'm hurting a lot right now). Bri followed up our performance with a triathlon of his own that evening: swam to the raft and back, biked around the driveway, then ran around the driveway (my parents driveway is pretty long by the way) and now he wants to get a road bike. He did quite well on our ride today, making it about 13 miles before Allie picked him up on our way to the lake, leaving me to finish the ride. Kel also got some good exercise in today... at least according to her. I'm pretty sure she just sat in the backpack and I did all the work... but what do I know.

That's about it for now. We are just down here trying to figure out our plans for the next year. As some of you know we are looking at staying in Columbia for another year or doing some work around Detroit. Much of it depends on what happens with our house, so we appreciate your thoughts & prayers in this. :)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Kelly Update

So Kelly had a busy last week. Last Friday she had her 5 year old birthday party. Her venue of choice... Chuck E. Cheese of course. As crazy as things were with the normal crowd plus two other birthday parties and the slightly disturbing animated Chuck E Cheese band, it was a great time. They really do a good job there. The kids of course liked the game tokens, but Kelly also got a crown, a special show from Chuck E. and a trip into the Ticket Blaster to grab for tickets. She really just spent all of her time in there laughing rather than grabbing tickets, but no problem. The girl who was helping gave her a handful of tickets and everybody was happy. As a bonus for us, we even had the girl helping us serve all the pizza and cake... and the pizza has much improved in quality since our last visit.

Thursday Kelly had her "graduation" from pre-school. Lots of dancing, singing, and much fun for the kids. She is funny because she will do all the dances and songs for us at home, but she is too shy to do them in front of the other parents at school. Her teacher gave each of the kids an award and Kelly received a prize for being full of peace and not having a mean bone in her body. Very nice, but not quite sure her brother would agree as one of her favorite past times is finding new and unique ways of torturing him :) Sadly for her, she has now lost one of her most useful excuses for getting things she wanted of "My teacher told me I had to do ____ for homework..."

We've also been working on Russian. She has been doing great at understanding it, but hasn't wanted to speak it very much, but I think I have found the key. I told her that she could understand it better than me, but if she didn't practice I was going to be able to speak it better. This seemed to convince her at the time and she worked on a few phrases. The next morning she had been eating breakfast with her mom and came running into the bedroom to wake me up saying, "Maslo". Confused from waking up I asked what she was saying and she responds, "Maslo...that means butter...I'm better than you dad!" and runs away laughing.

Today was still quite busy for her. She went to the 93rd birthday party for one of the ladies at our church at which she had, "Cake for lunch and macaroni 'n cheese for dessert!" Then it was off for another attempt at riding a two wheeler. Today was much better (i.e. much less back ache for me holding on to the handle bars) and after a few short attempts on the baseball field (thanks for the tip Chris) she was riding fine and we rode around the asphalt track for awhile. Our little girl did about 5 laps (over a mile) and is proudly showing off to anyone who is willing to watch (hopefully Allison will soon upload some videos/pictures to Facebook).