Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Years!

Catherine's mother is visiting, it turns out she has friends that live in the San Juan Islands. We made the trip to visit them, which has been a nice trip.

There is plenty to see here on Lopez Island, as long as you are willing to get out and see it. This here is the last sunset for 2011. It it looking towards the lighthouse on Cattle Point at the southern edge of San Juan Island.

I hope everyone has a happy, healthy start to the New Years. Best wishes!


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas World!

From our family to yours, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

PS. It's good to be me . . . we're leaving Monster Cookies out for Santa tonight!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Nothing new or exciting today. I just thought Leah looked cute with a ribbon in her hair, so I decided to grab camera and flash and took some photos.

It also gave me a chance to look at the focus and sharpness of my files. That was a big reason I moved away from the Sony. I'm pretty happy with what I'm seeing. Have a great day everybody!


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Letter 2011

Merry Christmas everyone! We are too late to send out letters in the mail, so we are doing our Christmas letter via our blog once again. Last year, when we did this, we were packing up for a trip to England and Wales. We got lucky and dodged some nasty weather - London-Heathrow had many flights cancelled, and London-Gatwick was closed for at least three days, but somehow we got in. We had a great time taking in the pre-Christmas festivities in London and Wales, with a quick to stop to Stonehenge thrown in for good measure. We travelled locally in Germany, France, Belgium, Holland, and Luxemburg for the first half of this year. In late May we hopped a long, direct flight to Seattle, and we've been enjoying the Pacific Northwest ever since! We've camped and explored fairly extensively on the Olympic Peninsula, taking in the coasts, the rainforests, and the mountains. We've also done some initial exploring of the Mt. St. Helens area. We'll do some more of that this upcoming summer, as well as Mt. Rainier!

Our big trip this summer was to Miami to visit with Catherine's family. It was nice to visit someplace truly warm again. I enjoyed the weather, the storms, the fresh mangos and avocados - and of course seeing all of Catherine's side of the family too! I didn't terribly enjoy the sunburn. It turns out that after a couple of years in Germany that I burn fairly easily - who would have guessed? From there we flew to Ohio to visit with my family. We had a nice visit with my Dad and Pam, then it was on to my brother David's wedding to Jenna. It was a great time, I got to catch up with cousins that I hadn't seen in close to 20 years (Hurricane Bob, Cape Cod)! Both trips represented the first time in at least two years that I had seen most of our immediate families! It was good to be back.

This fall, I went back to school. I'm officially a Temple University student pursuing my Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. I have finished my first semester, and have signed up for my last semester starting this January. Three classes in addition to work and the Cub Scouts with Ian means I'll be pretty busy the first half of this year.

Merry Christmas everyone! As always, we have been truly blessed in our health and happiness. We wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year! Cheers,


Hmmm.  Where to start?  I've had writer's block for a couple of days on what to put here.  This year has just flown by!  Marc has covered out travels and our big move stateside.  One of the big things I did before we moved from Germany was I had sinus surgery.  I have mixed feelings about having it, but it seemed the right thing to do at the time.  I also am on different allergy medicines now, and it seems to have helped.  This was the first fall in years that I haven't had a sinus infection.  So, I'm making progress.

The other big thing I did before leaving Germany was try to get rid of and sell as much stuff as I could so we didn't have to unpack it on this end.  Some of this was successful, some not so much.  I have been good about starting to go through everything again and taking a bag or two to consign every time I head to the thrift store, along with some donations.

Then came our move with a search to finding a new place to live and then heading to see family in Miami & Ohio for a few weeks.  It was great to see everyone after we had been gone for so long!  Then it was back to the new place and unpacking and getting the kids headed to school.  The kids seem to be enjoying their new school with only a few hiccups along the way.  Both have been making some new friends.  They also have been taking swim lessons and Ian is a boy scout.  Leah is dying to be a girl scout & sell cookies, so watch out for that!

I spent some time towards the end of this summer doing some canning and freezing of the summer produce from our local farms.  I canned salsa, peaches, and pickles.  I froze blueberries, raspberries, roasted marinara sauce, and some other random produce items (pureed nectarines, pureed strawberries for ice cream, blanched squash, carrots, green beans, leeks and more).  The kids could eat a jar of peaches every day, so I've been rationing those.  Probably will try to do a few more jars of that next year.

Besides volunteering at the church and thrift store, I've also been working part time.  I have been working as an assistant at one of the local cooking schools, and hopefully will start teaching classes in the spring.  I also joined The Pampered Chef as a Consultant.  If any of you are looking for any items for your kitchens, or would like to have a web/catalog party, my website is:  Finally, I've also started to take pictures and write down some recipes so I can start blogging again.  It's been awhile, but so many of my facebook friends have been asking me for recipes of what I've been cooking I just decided to get the blog going again.  The web address for that is  Probably won't be an everyday thing, but it should be fun and it will allow me to share some recipes & pictures easier than at facebook. 

So, overall life is good.  Turns out I had more to say than what I thought I would!  I hope each and every one of you has a Merry Christmas, and to my Jewish friends a Happy Hanukkah. 


I've been having lots of great Christmases and I've been getting lots of toys & I can't wait until next Christmas.  This one is only 3 days away! My special year is going to be this year. I love how Jesus has a birthday. 


This year  I  started kindergarten, and I met someone in the second time and her name is Taliah.  My teacher is so great, I love her in all my heart.  I love the gym teacher (at the school) because she does all fun activities like balloon lollipop bounce.  Merry Christmas!  The special thing about Christmas is it is Jesus' birthday.  And I also want to say Ho, Ho, Ho.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

We went for a walk today, actually a couple of walks today. We all bundled up a bit for a nice walk prior to lunch. We had some gorgeous sun and blue skies and just had to take advantage of the awesome weather. It was in the high 30's, so chilly...but oh, so awesome in the sunshine.

This is a trail that runs very near the house, about a five minute walk to get there. There wasn't moss on the trail this past summer, but it did add to the greenery.

After lunch we packed up and drove 15 minutes into Olympia to the Tumwater Falls Park. It is a city park along the Deschutes River with three natural water falls, one man-made water fall, and interestingly enough a Salmon chute to bypass the falls at the bigger falls.

We walked along both sides of the river, which was a pleasant walk. Afterwards there is a playground there that the kids got to play on. I took some photos - here is Catherine in the last of the afternoon sunlight.

And Leah...

And Ian...

This bridge here is at the bottom of the man-made falls. You either cross the bridge at the beginning of your walk or at the end if you make the loop. I'm still trying to figure out the best vantage point for this, I just couldn't get a good shot from the other side, which is visually more appealing. However the sun was so bright that the water just wasn't playing nice for a good photo.

And here is me being slightly evil. Yes, these will come in handy many years from now (cue the "mwa-hahaha" evil laugh)!

Leah got in on the fun too.

After this the kids went to the Hands-On Children's Museum for a Kid's Night Out. Catherine and I got to enjoy a nice movie (New Year's Eve) and dinner (greek) with just each other. It was a nice minimally belated birthday present.

Have a wonderful day everybody. We plan on it!


Saturday, December 10, 2011

getting out in Tacoma

Nothing exciting today. Catherine was working at her cooking school, so I decided to take the kids back to the Point Defiance park just north of Tacoma. Unfortunately, it started to rain while we were there, but that didn't stop us from walking about for a bit and enjoying some fresh air and a nice walk.

Afterwards, we drove down to the little park near the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. The kids had a nice time playing on the beach, watching some kayakers come in, and burying them in questions and unrelated comments. The kayakers were good sports about it :)

Have a great day everybody!


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Fair at Fort Nisqually

We had a nice day out as a family yesterday. We drove to Tacoma up to Point Defiance Park to take in the "Hyas Sunday" Christmas Fair that is basically a re-enactment of a typical Christmas season from 1855. There is an old timber fort there with several cabins and a house inside the walls where settlers came.

The kids had a nice time exploring, playing with the old-timey toys, churning butter, and making ornaments. We found someone to take a nice photo of us as a family.

After that we made our way back to Joint Base Lewis McChord for a Christmas festival where Santa was making an appearance. Ian was sitting across from me while we ate lunch, so was made my photo target by default.

And Santa did finally show up. Leah and Ian were both very excited to see Santa.

Enjoy your day everybody - we plan on doing just that!