Sunday, July 24, 2011

Spring Choir Concert

The Columbia Heights Elementary School choir. Alexis "Hambone" Troy (in the front middle in green) is enjoying another solo.

Katie watching her big sister--and me to see if she HAS to be in this picture. (needs her bangs cut, doesn't she?)

Alexis and Katie are both members of their elementary school's choir. This requires them to attend practice several times a week before school. It hasn't always been enjoyable for them (especially Katie), but they have toughed it out. Alexis often tries out for solos and has been fortunate enough to have many of them over the last years. Once again, Alexis had a solo and did GREAT! She's such a ham. Katie participated too, but would NEVER try out for a solo. Just a little too shy.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Game and Fish Magazine

After the boys got their bucks, I decided to submit their pictures to an outdoors magazine. After all, how often do brothers get their first bucks only a week apart?! I thought it was newsworthy and sent in the pictures. Imagine our surprise to see that our boys were included in the April 2011 edition of the Game and Fish magazine on page 57! I quickly ran out and got a copy for the grandparents and each of the kids. The grocery clerk said that I must really like the magazine and so I HAD to show him the kids' pictures! He was impressed. Both Derek and Evan thought this was pretty cool too!

Severed heads and hanging horns

Evan's buck looking at him from his bed.

"You kiiiiiiiillllled meeeeeee...."

Derek's horns, sans wrestling garb.

All decked out with wrestling awards.

Shortly after the boys both brought home their first bucks, I brought the severed heads to the taxidermist. Here are the finished results. Pretty nice, but creepy, if you ask me.

Evan thought so too and wondered if the buck was saying, "You kiiiiiiillllllled meeeeee...." in the middle of the night. He hung his mount on his bedroom wall and for the first few nights, was nervous that the buck was looking at him across the room at night. He's since gotten over that, thankfully.

Derek immediately hung his antlers in his room and is currently using them as a display for his wrestling awards. He didn't want to mount the head because he thought he'd get a bigger one later and would want to mount that instead. Wishful thinking! :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bump, set, spike!...

Alexis (in red shirt with black shorts) is waiting in line for her chance to hit it over the net. Two girls on her soccer team are in front of her--same age. Girl behind her is in middle school.

Her first "kill." Went right over the net and she jumped too. So proud...

Alexis tried a new sport this week: Volleyball! Our friend is the head coach at Lower Columbia College here in Longview and is interested in getting Alexis involved in the sport due to her height and intensity. She invited us to the next volleyball clinic she was doing. As luck would have it, we were free that night for Alexis. She did very well for never having played and I think it is definitely something she'll do in the future.

P.S. I enjoy this sport as it is indoors, has seating and restrooms provided and potentially could have a snack bar.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ask not what your candy bar...

can do for you, but rather, what can you do for a candy bar!

Katie was one of three third-graders selected to campaign for the Cowlitz County Voters Association. They were coming in the schools to help children gain an understanding of how the political process works.

Each of the three campaign managers was asked to represent a candy bar. One was M&Ms, one was Milky Way and Katie's was 3 Musketeers. They had a minute or two to talk about why their classmates should vote for their candy bar as the favorite.

We talked about how she should approach it and did a little research on the internet about 3 Musketeers facts. It's lower in fat, fluffy, etc. She even asked her dad to run out the night before and buy all the kids a Funsize 3 Musketeers so they could experience it. She then used this to try and persuade her classmates into voting for her candy bar.

In the end, M&Ms was the favorite (who doesn't LOVE colorful chocolate candies?!) Katie lost by eight votes (of 90 kids). Apparently, Milky Way, didn't even get a vote! Oh well. It was a good experience for her to get out of her comfort zone and speak publicly. I wasn't there, but the school took these pictures and it appears she did just fine with her shyness.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Japan Earthquake

On Friday, March 11, 2011, JD and I were eating our breakfast and watching the news while we waited for the kids to get ready for school and our drives to their schools. We were shocked and saddened to hear about the nearly 9.0 earthquake that had hit the Japanese northern coast overnight and the eventual tsunami that followed. We anxiously watched as the news continued to follow the flow of the tsunami to our own Washington and Oregon coasts because they also were under tsunami watch. So scary, but the west coast was all but spared for a few incidents in California.

The devastation to the country and loss of human lives has been incredible. Thousands lost their lives (mostly in the tsunami), tens of thousands are homeless and millions are without electricity, adequate water and food. As of today, there is great concern over the safety of their nuclear power plants and whether they may eventually overheat and melt the nuclear cores, producing radioactive emmission to the survivors.

Our prayers go out to the people of Japan and all those affected. Such a tragedy. As always, we are gladdened to know that our Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is already assembling assistance and has been in contact with the Church leadership in Japan how best to help the people there. All the missionaries and 95% of the members of the Church have now been accounted for as of today.

If they weren't already at the forefront of my mind, my food storage and 72 hour kits are now....

Jump Rope For Heart

Katie's poster. Her heart's jumprope lit up from behind! Fancy...

Alexis and her poster. Her poster is hard to see, but the girl is paper-mache that "pops" out 3D style.

Sarah, Alexis & Katie dressed and ready to jump!

Have their game faces ON! (good thing we have an ample supply of face paints)

Once again, the girls participated in the Jump Rope For Heart campaign to raise awareness and funds for the American Heart Association at their school. Part of the event involves the kids decorating posters to promote it. Alexis won the Grand Prize in 3rd and 4th grades. Katie has not won anything until...this year! Katie took 1st place in the 3rd grade and Alexis won an unprecendented third time for the Grand Prize! There was some talk that Katie would beat Alexis this year, but it was not to be. Congrats to BOTH girls. Love to have everyone win something. :)

Wrestling Banquet 2011

160 lbs

At this year's wrestling banquet, the coaches gave out the awards. Last year Derek received the Outstanding JV Wrestler. This year he won the Coaches Award for his leadership and work ethic. That's quite a big deal and he was very happy. We were very proud! He also earned his varsity letter (last year he didn't have enough wins at Varsity to get it). Good year for him even with all the difficulties in the program itself.

Evan's Band Concert

Here's the band. Evan's third from the left in the back seats.

Close up!!

Evan's time in the musical instrument business is dwindling down to the final concerts because we are only asking him to play until he reaches high school.

That being said, we had, er, GOT to attend another middle school band concert where we listened to various interpretations of hymns and modern music. He plays the trumpet. It's always a little cringeworthy and I often think how patient my own parents must have been to endure all those concerts for me too. He did a great job, as usual!

Another Troy in braces

Evan recently got his braces on. Doctor says about a year and a half until he's super-model ready. He complained to NO END about the spacers being in, but never mentions how the braces feel. Here's to no more caramel, hard candy, corn on the cob or nuts for a while! :)

Neighbor Crime

We woke up last Sunday morning to a lot of commotion on our street. Apparently in the early morning hours, our neighbor's wheels were stolen off her car! They didn't take all four, just two, and left the car on blocks. The sheriff said it wasn't that uncommon since her car was often stolen or scrapped for parts.

Anyway, we felt badly about it and Alexis wanted to make a cake. I helped to make her first multi-layer cake (as opposed to a 9x13). She frosted it and even decorated the top of it with shaved Hershey's bar. Yum!

Our neighbor was happy to have a little something to make her night brighter.

Bad van! Bad!

As I pulled into the WinCo parking lot space, I noticed someone had spilled a seeming entire bag of dog food. The rain had begun to wash it away and generally just saturate it until it was a wet, goopey mess. It was a great spot though, so I just maneuvered my van across the top of it and pulled in. When I came out of the store, I couldn't help but think that it looked like my van had a bit of an "accident" and snapped a picture of my van. Alexis and I laughed about this picture all the way home.

Derek turns 16 -- OY VEY!

The good ol' days...(1st grade)

Sophomore in HS.

(That's Yiddish for "Oh my," if you didn't know that.)

Yup. My baby boy, Derek Allen, turned 16 this month. He is quite tall, freakishly strong, somewhat stubborn and very handsome. It is an utter shock to think that he is 16 though. We had a nice family party for him where he received a Kindle e-reader and various weightlifting and exercise equipment since he's really into that right now. He wants to do a friend party in the spring when it gets a bit warmer and he can use the pool. We had a great time celebrating him. We love him so much and are excited for all the adventures he now gets to embark on (please interpret this to be "Dating and Driving").

He wasted no time in getting right into the driving part by taking his written exam and getting nothing less than 100% on it they day of his 16th birthday. He was ready to go for the driving test, but they were backed up with all the snow closures and he couldn't take it until March 11th.

He did manage to go on his first date the Friday night after his birthday and had the best time. They are now "Facebook Official" for those in the know. That is all I will say about that subject for fear of the backlash one may receive from disclosing too much information. Ahem. 'Nuf said.

As far as the driving, somewhat needless to say, he passed (90%) and is now is a driver taking himself to school and seminary alone. *heavy sigh*

#15 - Evan's school basketball season 2011

Evan played basketball for his middle school again and for the second year in a row went undefeated in league play. He didn't start every game for the team though and it was a little disheartening for him, but he was a good sport about it and was a great 6th man for both his school and tournament team. He's always ready with energy and defense and really worked on his offensive game. In the past, he's been very tall and always played forward, but he's just not as tall and strong as the other kids right now. It isn't surprising since they are all at least six months older than he is. That darned puberty! He'll catch up over the summer and come back in force! He's got lots of basketball planned for this summer and will be ready for the high school season.

Daddy Daughter Ball 2011

Official Alexis/Daddy photo

Official Katie/Daddy photo

Katie all dolled up for her date with Daddy.

Katie showing off her fabulous hair jewels and fancy flower. No makeup for her. She told me, "I like the natural look."

Katie and Daddy off to the ball! JD is pretty cute too...

Alexis is finally ready. She will meet Daddy at the restaurant and switch places with Katie for the 2nd session of the ball.

Showcasing her hair glitter and jewels in her self-described "messy" bun.

So grown up. *sigh* (Doesn't she look like my mom, Monica?!)

Each year the girls dress up in their finest formal dress, do their nails, hair and makeup and then set out for a night with their dad. Of course the girls love it, but so does JD. It's quite a big deal around these parts and one we always plan for. This year's theme was "From Sea to Shining Sea--Across America." The D.J. and dancing was great as were the refreshments and decorations. Can't wait 'til next year.

The Theatre

Introducing: Katie and Alexis...actresses! Katie uncomfortable in her short dress.

"But what do you MEAN you can't come to my party?!..."

Screenwriter Alexis working out the script.

The girls got bored and decided to put on a show for me and JD. The script was original and the actresses were top notch. Alexis did the play to pass off something in her Faith in God book. It was about a girl (Alexis) who was invited to a party on Sunday by a girl (Katie) she really liked. Katie wore a short dress that she thought was a good costume for a girl who didn't understand church yet. She prefaced the play with the disclaimer (yes, really), "Some images may be disturbing to viewers...." It was very well acted in my very own bedroom. Pictures are a bit raw from my phone camera, but the acting was DIVINE! :)

Crazy Hailstorm

Derek and Evan yukking it up watching Buck.

"Yum! Hailballs!"

Katie gathering a hatful of delicious hail. What?!

Alexis waiting for the next wave of hail.

Just when the snow had melted and we thought we were in the "clear" we were given a huge hailstorm. The kids thought it looked like the Dippin' Dots ice cream so they ran out to play in it. Since the weather was fairly warm, they mucked about in that for a while. Buck thought it was great and spent a lot of time sliding on the deck and eating the hail balls.