Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Grandparents in Action


On a not-so-sunny day we went to the ocean for a trip with Ouma and Oupa.  The twins love to explore for bugs and whatever else is in the water like these tiny crabs.  They learned the hard way that even the small ones have strong pinchers.  Learning how to hold one by the back is an essential skill they couldn't possibly learn in AZ so they are figuring it out now.


Miles of shoreline leads to slow walks as they attempt to turn over every rock on the edge where ocean bugs live.  Their rain / mud boots have seen so much action that we'll need to throw them out after this rainy season is over.


Easton found this trout slide and climbed all over it.  He laughed several times about how the slide ends at the butt-end of the fish.  Those jokes never get old for a nine-year-old.


All of us took a hike through the forest trails.  There were some aches and pains for us old people as a result, but the fresh air and exercise was exhilarating.  It's chilly, but if the alternative is being stuck inside, then it makes the decision a little easier to go brave the elements.  Our family hikes include exploration, laughing, and a few aches from sore muscles.


We took a day trip to Whidbey island for one of the most scenic hikes I've ever seen.  The ferry ride there is a short 15-20 minutes.  Barely enough time for the kids to roam around the decks and not even close to enough time for Oupa and Doyle to have a full conversation.


Evelyn came with us and became a good travel partner with Layla.


Evelyn fit in with Easton well also.  They get along famously, which made for a pleasant journey as we trekked 5+ miles along the shore of Ebey Trail.


I made everyone stop frequently for pictures and they obliged.  This is probably my favorite because it shows the whole crew in one picture along with a small view of the scenic ocean and sky line.


Ouma and Oupa cuddled as we paused because the wind was a little chilly.  I like Easton and Layla seeing this type of love expression because I want them to know what it looks like to be affectionate with a spouse no matter how many years of marriage are under their belt.


Kendra's back pain comes and goes, but on this day she braved the pain and hiked with us in spite of it.  Having her go with us on a 5-mile hike seems very normal already, but I will never lose the gratitude and amazement about how incredibly miraculous it is to have her be so physically stabile to do these types of activities.


I set up the camera on a timer so I could join the group in a picture of all of us.  It would be difficult even with a panorama shot to capture the horizon and height of our trail.  Easton and Layla spent most of the hike looking down at the ground for roly-poly bugs.  I kept telling them to look up at the breath-taking scene straight out of movie, but they were indifferent about it.  Maybe this is the first sign of being a native Seattle-ite...


The 4 Webbs are having adventures like we never could have imagined a year ago.  So much has changed about every detail of life.  From something as basic as where we take our dry cleaning to big things like taking a day trip to an island.


Max made the transition better than any of us.  He is truly content no matter what state he is in.  He had a particularly fun time on this trip because we let him roam free, even along the edge of a massive cliff.  two inches behind his tail is a massive slope down to certain death, but we've grown comfortable knowing Max is not an idiot.  He may look like an idiot, but he's the sweetest, smartest, most obedient dog I've own.


When we hiked down to the shoreline the kids were all about running from the waves.  They were big at all, but plenty big enough to have some suspense of racing away from the waves as they come crashing up the beach.


This picture of Kendra is the best one i've taken of her in months.  She loves the ocean more than I knew and I'm glad we are a short drive away from it.


Easton and Layla appease me sometimes by staging pictures.  They are best friends who happily walk along the beach pointing things out to each other.  They both have a passion for the Earth and life in all forms.  The science and math interests are strong for both of them even if they don't want to admit it for some reason.


The two of us walking together on the beach seems more like a fake dating profile than a reality.  I could have held her hand and walked on the sand for hours without growing tired of it.  We took another picture of us kissing, but it didn't turn out well.  We were genuinely kissing like lovers do, but for some reason that didn't come across in the picture.  this one will have to do.


Layla and Evelyn were walking and talking in the exact same manner as their grandmothers behind them.  I turned around and smiled from the humor of the scene.


We stopped at a pie place on the way home to taste the local flavors.  Easton saw a tractor under an awening and jumped up in the seat.  He's always had a love of wheels; Even ones attached to an immobile tractor.


Part of the enjoyment during our trip was having time with Easton while Layla was destracted by Evelyn.  He still calls me over to show me things like the seagulls floating as we pass by on the ferry and the splashing of the water as our boat moves through the water.  I am super excited about going on a Disney cruise as a family.  I am certain Easton will have the time of his life aboard the massive ship.  In 10 months we'll be on taking a cruise for the first time ever.  That's enough of a carrot on a stick to keep me motivated.



See you soon!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

So we did

Howdy family,

I took my first vacation day in six months since I started my new job.  I had plenty of days off during the Christmas and New Year's holiday, but when Ouma and Oupa come around it's time to make good use of those days off so I can join in the adventures. 

On some occasion I can't remember why, Layla and I were left at home while Kendra and Easton were gone.  I asked what she wanted to do and she asked to play battleship... so we did.  and she beat me. I'm not sure why she chose this game instead of the dozens of other board games in the closet.  Here is what I said to her, non-verbally:

Your voice matters and I value your input
I want to spend time with you
Having fun together is important
In order for our relationship to grow we must have quality and quantity time together.


The sun poked through the clouds a few times this week.  I've been waiting on one of these days to make progress on the garage clean-out effort.  The twins found some party gear in one of the boxes and they asked me to put it on and dance.  so we did. I shamelessly silly danced and they dressed me up to match their hula skirts and leis. 


On another sunny day Kendra asked me to get the patio furniture set up on the front porch because it has been in storage since we moved here.  She decorated with a few flowers and wanted to sit on the porch, greeting neighbors as they walk by.  so we did.  We are taking the whole "love thy neighbor" thing to a whole new level.  We are introducing ourselves and finding ways to connect with the people who are literally our neighbors. 


I told Layla and Easton about our adjustment as a family to intentionally connect with neighbors.  We see others who are followers of Christ as brothers and sisters.  We see others as those who need to experience Christ's love through us.  There are only two categories of people.  Layla discovered a new friend who lives a few houses down from ours. This is the beginning of being rightly related to another follower of Christ.  Kendra and I were very excited for Layla to find a neighbor friend like this.


Easton has a dozen or so neighborhood friends.  We are having some great discussions about what it means to be a follower and Christ and what it means to say you're a Christian, as a label.  Some of the local buddies say they are Christian, but their lives don't reflect that.  It's a good time to talk through these lessons of what it means because he has real-life examples to see the actions play out.

Easton dressed up as an immigrant for a school project where they act out what it was like for some people who arrived at Ellis Island back in 1922.  He has a sport coat and a vest on, which is a first in his lifetime.  He's looking older and more grown up every day.


Ouma and Oupa are here!  We've been couting down the days for weeks and we finally get to have them in our house.  Kendra is soaking in every moment and the twins are having plenty of quality time since they are on spring break. We took a leisurely family walk through some woodsy areas and I forced our group to stop for a picture because I am often overwhelmed with gratitude for moments like this because just a few months ago when Kendra was in the hospital it was pure hope and faith to believe Kendra could go for a hike with us.  now i get to experience this.


The twins still like to wrestle and rough house with Oupa.  They get a kick out of poking him (literally and figuratively) until he grabs them and prevents their escape.  I am glad they have grandparent influence and time during these crucial years of development in their lives.


Easter is next weekend, but this past weekend all of the city-wide events took place.  Our next door neighbors invited us to go with them to the local egg hunt.  So we did.  Kendra was not excited about the crowds or the cold or the lines, but I'm glad we joined in with the fun experience for the kid's sake.  The cherry tree blossoms are eye-catching all across the Seattle area.


The twins waited semi-patiently for the coutdown to gather eggs.  It was a site to behold...  All those kids acting like freshly shaken bottles of soda just ready to explode when given the word "go".


The moment came and the eggs where all scooped up in a matter of seconds.  it was like watching a school of piranhas feast.  Layla stuck to the strategy of putting down the basket and using both hands to load it with eggs.  Easton didn't.  He laid down on a section of the field and claimed ownership of all the eggs under his body.


Everybody left with more eggs and candy than they needed.  I have no idea why Layla is throwing up gang signs.  I'm sure it was more of a celebration than a shout out to her 'hood.


There is a common theme of "so we did" because it is the response to "why not?", which is a way of living we are developing in the twins.  I want them to ask "why not?" and learn how to determine whether something is valuable, Godly, and healthy.  if the response to that question doesn't conflict with being valuable, Godly, and healthy, then the response should be "so we did".

The only difference between the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25 is what they did and didn't do.  There are many things people do out duty or ritual or historical reasons. Some are even good reasons, but I want our family to be known for our active love that is a result of God's presence instead of a manipulative or ritualistic motivation.  It's a work in progress, no pun intended.

see you soon!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Layla on Ice

Hi family!

I've been blogging intermittently from my laptop, ipad, and phone for the past six months, but I'm finally back at a desk with my comfy keyboard and big monitors.  It'll be even better when my desk is clean enough to sit my Gatorade down somewhere...  for now i'm in a paper mess until tax season is over this week.  Hooray for being an adult. 

I'm way behind on posting the adventures with the twins so let me catch up.  Layla performed in figure skating and took first place!  She's been practicing this routine for about four months.  I paid the extra $20 to get the professional pictures because my only options for taking pictures was through a dense netting or hockey puck-scarred Plexiglas.  Anyway, Layla was graceful and confident in so many amazing ways.  This picture is my favorite to showcase the gracefulness.


this is the first performance where she is doing jumps.  She had both skates off the ice at the same time and landed smoothly.


catching air is not for the faint of heart.  She has progressed through the ranks where they start by practicing the landing first before ever leaving the ice.  There is some spiritual comparison there somewhere...


Her instructor worked with her a couple of times per week and we are fortunate to find her.  Layla's form and spins improved so much in the past few months. 


I loved watching the passion exude from her sparkly smile and the way she visibly is having fun out there. 


Layla inherited the competitive gene from Kendra's side of the family.  She is a winner at heart.  I am most proud of how kind and considerate she was to the other girls.  There was only one winner in each category.  She was composed and thrilled at the same time. 


Easton dislikes going with Kendra and Layla to her lesson every Thursday afternoon, but I made a point to let him know that his sacrifice of time at home is part of what enables Layla to achieve her accomplishments.  and the road is a two-way street.  or four-way, for the whole family.  We each sacrifice in our own way to help all 4 Webbs reach our potential. 


I'll stop here and pick up my next set of pics and stories in my next post because I promised Kendra I'd be in bed before 2:00am. See you soon!



Saturday, April 1, 2017

Waiting out the rain

Greetings family,

I just finished reading a book by George Barna called "revolutionary parenting". It wasn't all that revolutionary compared to what Kendra and I believe, but it provided some good insight about the common factors that lead to raising spiritual champions.  It confirmed a few of our parenting methods and gave some language to what I've been working through over the past few years.  The most shocking revelation is that the majority of parental influence stops around age 13.  That means we have about 4 years left of influential years left to shape and mold them.  ouch. 

The twins are staying up until 8:30 now as their official "lights out" time.  from 8:00 to 8:30 is reading time.  7:30 to 8:00 is bed time routine. so my nights are pretty well spoken for from the time I walk in the door until about 8:30. 

then I do my 30 minute work out video routine and get ready for the next day to do it all over again. I'm enjoying every moment knowing that i'll have plenty of time for hobbies and personal time when the marathon of parenting starts to wind down.

Easton is still very interested in Pokémon books, cards, shows, and gear.  His latest pajamas are Pokémon themed.  He's still into minecraft and Halo though too.  He's reading a book about minecraft as his bed time reading.  He doesn't like pictures much so this is a rare one of him smiling right at the camera.  I'll take what I can get here...


While we were out for dinner some evening I captured this candid shot of Layla and I conversing.  We both look goofy and I don't really care about that.  What I care about is how engaged and connected we are.  This makes me very fulfilled to see the fruits of my time and efforts bearing out results like this. 


I told Easton he is in charge of cooking dinner.  He's seen me grill before, but this time I didn't touch a thing other than the BBQ lid because he is too short to open and close it.  He cooked a great flank steak with my coaching.


The neighborhood park is swarming with kids every sunny day after school.  Here is Layla and Easton and a neighbor kid counting while the others go hide.  Layla is making sure the boys don't peak. 


it is still chilly enough in this neck of the woods for us to wear warm clothes around the house and wrap up in blankets.  Layla has this one that is shaped like a mermaid tail and Easton has one shaped like a shark. They lounge in these as we hang out in the upstairs den because it is turning into the regular evening spot for our devotions, movie times, and game nights. 


Kendra bought Easton a new shirt because he is growing out of his clothes so quickly.  Easton put this one on and told me Ouma will NOT like this one bit.  The tarantula even has a fuzzy patch on the shirt where the abdomen is.  super creepy, but he loves science and nature. 


These are a random sampling of the interactions I have with the twins, but during this rainy part of the season we aren't having many adventures.  We're saving them up for the summer time!  I've been working at my new company for 6 months and haven't taken a single day of vacation yet.  I'm letting it build up for us to have the greatest summer ever. 

See you soon!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Mount Constitution Trip

Hello family,

The biggest news of the year is that Kendra met with her oncologist who gave her the all clear on her cancer-free status.  Nothing new was discovered and she will move to a longer time between scans after the one coming up in early summer.  Kendra's hips and back are still causing her pain and lack of mobility, but it is manageable with some over the counter meds and lots of rest.  I am relieved and thankful.  Every day with her in my life is a gift and I will continue to see it that way for the rest of my life.  

The 4 Webbs decided to take a Sunday and get out of town.  The weather was relatively nice, which means 58 degrees, no wind, and no rain.  That's what counts as opportunisitic weather lately.  We drove the battle wagon up to Anacortes where the ferry docks.  Layla asked why the town was named "Anacortes" so we did some research on the drive.  It's named after Anna Curtis, the wife of the founder of the town.  Not really relevant to the blog, but just showing an example of the conversations we have and inquisitive nature of the twins.  

While waiting for the ferry we took a walk along the ocean to look for shells.  I staged this picture of the twins as they were playing around on the old dock stumps.  


The ferry ride was uneventful and exciting at the same time.  I can't wait to take the 4 Webbs on a cruise sometime...


We brought Max with us because he's a family dog who likes to hike.  Layla and Kendra cuddled up with the fur ball, who is so difficult to capture in pictures.


After disembarking on Orcas Island, we drove to Moran state park.  We stopped to get this picture because it's the official entrance to our day of adventure.


We drove as high as possible on Mount Constitution, but were blocked from reaching the peak by car because the gate to the road that leads to the top was locked.  We hoped out and hiked 1.2 miles to the top.  My favorit part was walking with Kendra, hand in hand, while the kids ran off into the woods exploring.  This is the kind of day I dreamed of during those months she was bed ridden with her fractured vertebrae.  I was believing and praying for this moment.


The sun poked through the clouds several times and our sun-starved reaction as a family was to stop in our tracks and face the sun with our eyes closed.  soak it in!


We passed by a frozen pond that was straight out of a movie seen.  I gave Layla my Canon camera and she snapped this picture.


When she attempted to hand the camera back to me, she bobbled it and we watched it roll down the bank into the water.  I stuck my hand in and fished it out quickly, but it was water logged.  Layla immediately froze in a moment of panic, but I responded in a loving way by giving her a big hug and telling her that she is more important than anything, even my camera.  I haven't always responded that way, but I'm getting much better at it as the years go by.

At the top of the mountain we climbed a stone town to the top of the world, literally.  we could see the curvature of the Earth along with many islands and Canada.  The view was amazing and I'm happy we made the scenic trip up there to see it.


Here are the twins standing next to the stone tower we climbed.  The thing I can't get over in this picture is how tall they are getting.  Layla is catching up with Easton for the first time since the day they were born.  He's always been two inches taller, but now Layla is closing the gap quickly.


One of the few other people on the top of the mountain was willing to take a picture of us.  This panoramic pic shows a little more of what we experienced up there, but doesn't do justice for the 360 degree scene.


We walked back down the 1.2 mile road back to the battle wagon as we kicked chunks of snow across the asphalt like a cheese grater.  We had a bunch of laughs and enjoyed our time out in God's creation.  At the bottom of the mountain is a lake.  A fresh water lake in the middle of an island in the ocean.  We packed our lunch because picnics are fun and cheap, just like me.


I took a selfie because I like to get in a picture now and then without it costing me a camera that falls in the water.  We scoped out the surrounding area because we might try to go camping here some time.


One of the interesting things we saw by the lake was a huge cross section cut of a tree.  In the middle it has pilgrims landing at Plymoth rock.  Layla is pointing to the growth ring area that says George Washington was born. That's an old, old tree...


I am excited about the upcoming summer when we can get out and explore more like we did on this one-day excursion.  There is more to life than just getting all the experiences I can because that is a selfish legacy to leave.  We use these experiences to teach and connect with the twins, which is as noble of a cause as I can think of for a mom and dad.


See you soon!