Monday, October 16, 2017

Sports Season

Howdy fam,

We are quickly wrapping up the most sunny summer in Seattle's history as we fade into fall.  This season appears to last about 2 weeks, then we will slide right into winter.  It's cool enough for us to wear our onesies around the house and even to our neighbors for football on Sunday afternoon.  We walked next door and proudly paraded into their house with food and smiles. 

Easton spends much of his play time on wheels.  He has a bike, a scooter, and a skateboard that he is learning to ride.  I'm happy for him to get all the outdoor t-shirt activities he can handle because winter is coming. 

Layla's cheer leading is going really well.  She cheered for a game and then our neighbor Kain played in the next game.  I caught the brief moment of everyone passing to get a picture of them.  Kain is a year younger than our twins, but he is Easton's best friend and tells Layla he loves her.  and he means it.  I'm not convinced he really wants to play football or that he is even good at it.  Mainly because he is too kind for running over the opponents.  Even so, he fits in well at our house and while i'm happy he is Easton's friend I'm getting a little protective as a daddy over Layla.   

She is by far the best cheer leader on her squad.  We decided not to put Layla into the competition team because she would have to give up figure skating.  She said she doesn't want to give it up so we are keeping her in the 8 week session for cheer and then she'll be done for a while. 

I didn't buy the pics or video of her most recent ice skating performance.  She we out on the ice and competed well, but it wasn't her best.  There are several factors that led to that, but the short version is that we were super proud of her for getting out there and giving it her best shot. 

The best part of the day was the huge cheering section Layla had.  Ouma was in town and our neighbors and friends joined us to encourage her.  Layla was a little discouraged, but she went back out on the ice for lessons the next week and continues to have a passion for skating.   

Kendra is going for long walks and physical therapy and even doing some yoga to help with her back pain.  Her latest CT scan results were negative, confirming she has no sign of cancer in her body!  It's difficult to describe the roller coaster of emotions that happen before during and after these scans.  When she told the news on the phone (since she was in Sacramento) I let out the biggest sigh of relief I've ever experienced.  Part of me wanted to cry and part of me wanted to shout and jump, but none of that surfaced as I hung up the phone.  Just one less thing occupying my mind and I'm completely fine with that.  There are so many great things happening in our lives and i'm grateful for all of it. 

Bring it on, winter.  we're ready.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Amazing Fourth Graders

Greetings family,

I succeeded yet again as temporary single dad while Kendra was in Sacramento.  She celebrated 20 years since graduating high school.  I celebrated her coming home because I hated every moment of being without her.  Yeah, the twins and I had a blast, but this I am fully convinced it is possible to miserable (without Kendra) and ecstatic (with the twins) at the same time.  I took the twins shoe shopping because Easton takes forever tying his shoe laces and Layla's shoes had holes in the mesh material.  Easton has velcro and Layla has purple running shoes.

We spent a lot of the weekend in our pajamas.  I told lots of dad jokes that resulted in this picture, one of my favorites of the month because these are the most genuine smiles I've seen on their laughing faces in a long time.

We took a walk to their elementary school.  Max exercised his stumpy legs and sniffed every bush along the way.  Once there they showed me some of the things they do during recess.  Layla ran down the hill and Max gladly followed.

This is a weird season in Seattle.  Summer was 24x7 sun for weeks and weeks.  now we have a coin toss every morning to determine if we'll be wearing rain coats or short pants.  Last Saturday our neighbors decided to go for a hike they invited us so we joined them. The weather station said no rain until 5 pm.  however, when we arrived, it poured like Noah's flood from the time we started until 5 pm.  We were soaked, but it was such a great bonding experience.  We were in the forest running from one covering to the next while listening to the extremely loud rain.

The twins were happy to have a buddy to hang out with once we arrived at the lake front.  it's hard to see, but just over their shoulders is a short beach and an amazing lake scenery.

Then it was sunny the next day.  Easton and Layla felt the sun break through the clouds and shine on our kitchen table.  Layla gave a sigh of relaxation and Easton cowered like a vampire away from the light.  Their differences are so visibly wonderful.

I forced them to go for a walk on another day down by the local park.  Sometimes they want to, but those are rare occasions.  Easton is working on his scouting achievements and Layla is keeping her legs limber in between cheer leading and figure skating sessions.

Lately, they both would rather be hanging out with friends instead of me, but I still get time with them before bed.  during my nightly routine a few nights ago Layla told me likes a boy named Brooks.  We talked openly about what it is like to have feelings for someone.  I was proud of her for opening up to me about such a sensitive subject, but I can't believe she is already at this age of liking boys.

Then I realized how I kissed a girl in the third grade so they are a year late when compared to me.  It's easy to rationalize and say, "yeah, but that was me and that was then.  this is my daughter and this is now!"  Even so, there is no getting around the fact that I'm going to need to be even more aware of what's going on with boys and my sweet Layla.  At least I can say confidently that Easton still thinks girls are annoying and odd.

See you soon!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Bye bye, Alaysha

Hello family,

Our housemate Alaysha is no longer with us.  She has gone on to a better place...  Hollywood!  After 18 months of being one of the Webbs she has flown the coop.

We've known her for eight years and enjoyed every moment of watching her mature into the wonderful young lady she is today.  When we were in Phoenix she asked to move in with us and we gladly agreed.  She instantly became 100% Webb with a full inheritance of everything we have.  She lived with us for free.  Not because she couldn't afford it, but because we are generous and wanted her to be financially solid when it was time for her to go.  She's always wanted to live in Hollywood to chase her dreams of being an actress.  She showed up deeply in debt, but left us with $10,000 in her savings.  Her full time job and consistency in being a good steward led to a great platform for her to stand on her own in LA.  She opened her life up to us with full transparency and we were intentional about being emotionally, spiritually, and financially available to her.

This is the last picture of us 5 in Seattle.  I begged everyone for a photo shoot in our back yard for the sake of memories.

She joined us at family events to cheer on Easton and Layla.  In Phoenix she supported Layla during figure skating competitions.

and in Seattle we have some awesome neighbors who are quickly becoming friends.  This is Alaysha's full Seattle family.

In Phoenix she joined us for family dinners and long conversations most evenings.  I haven't blogged much during the past couple of years.  One reason is because we spent many evenings in sincere discussions about church, career, boy friends, and dreams.

Her influence on the twins has been tremendous.  Sometimes it is with fashion and glamour.

and sometimes just with loving and being loved.

She fit in well with our quirky lifestyle where we happily do embarrassing things for no reason at all.

She was a sister for Layla, who always wanted one.

and a friend for Kendra during some dark, depressed times she went through.  Her

This picture shows the depths of our family-ness more than any.  She was one of us during the mundane moments and the amazing adventures.

Christmas was more generous with her around.

when my family, Wayne and Dawn Marie, came to town, she was one of us.  There was no isolation or separation between blood relatives and her as a family member.

Alaysha found time in her busy work schedule to join the 4 Webbs on holidays like the 4th of July at Mission Beach.  Of all the invitations to go to parties and be with friends, she chose us.

I taught her how to install a ceiling fan and strongly suggested she learn how to do these DIY activities around the house.  She'll thank me one day...

I opened her eyes to two decades of music that she missed because she was too young to hear the 80s and 90s.  our trips to the beach and shopping usually included music culture lessons.

She was one of us and always will be.  She moved out of our house but that doesn't change her status as member of the Webb family.  That's for life.  She is confident that we are here for her and with her no matter what.

During the year long stay in Seattle, we only visited her at work one time.  It wasn't a big deal, but we proved that if it is important to her then it is important to us.  I'm glad we were able to see her in her element, being a great employee.

There have been several times where Kendra isn't able to join us for adventures because of her health and back pain.  We go for adventures without her and Alaysha has always been welcome to be a part of them.

We will miss her tremendously.  All of us cried and hugged several times during the last couple of days.  For the twins, it was the first time they've experienced such a loss of our household.  Ouma and Oupa will be back regularly so their departure is a "see you soon".  The departures of our last housemates (David and Morgan) were not as noticeable because the twins were younger and their stay was only a few months each.

We are so very blessed to have Alaysha with us for this chapter in the 4 Webb's story.  We are watching with popcorn and anticipation as she steps into the spotlight and finds her own way in life for the first time.  She will never be alone as long as the 4 Webbs are here.  

Friday, September 15, 2017

Sports, School, and Ouma

Greeting fam,

Here's a huge dump to play catch up from the last few weeks.  Summer is still going on according to the weather and calendar here in Seattle.  We set the record for the most consecutive days of sun and highest number of days above 72 degrees.  Now those are records I want to be a part of.  The only thing that doesn't feel like summer is the back to school days.

Luckily the sun is still staying light long enough for neighbors to play.  These are three neighbor boys and my employee's son who came to visit.  We sent them off to play in the neighborhood park and they created some serious Nerf gun wars.  Easton is coming around with his happy heart and really loving the friendships.  Kendra and I are so relieved to see his maturity taking leaps forward while at the same time being a boy who knows how and when to be silly.

On a weekend morning I found the twins watching some tv in the den.  I brought Max with me and sat down right in between them.  Their natural instinct was to cuddle up with me closely and get a group hug.  This is one of the ways I gauge my connection with them.  If they were indifferent or push me away then I would have recognized this as a sign of "work required".  I'm glad to give and receive affection with them so freely.

Ouma came for a week long visit and we loved every minute of her presence.  We went for a walk in the downtown park and discovered the local museum houses were open for tours.  The twins sat at old timey school desks with slate boards and chalk.  They were amazed at how primitive the equipment was back then.

This is the only picture I have of Ouma with the twins.  That is maybe my only let down of the whole trip.  We had a few adventures, but did our best to allow Ouma to rest and Kendra to spend quality time with her.  Luckily, shipping the kids off to school each day gave several hours of kid-free, me-free time together.

This picture was taken eight years ago.

This picture was taken last week.  Easton was cool enough to do a photo recreation just for fun.  I showed him the picture above and said, "we could recreate this...  I wonder where that flower is?"  He said, "it's on my bed!"  I was shocked.  nobody knows why we've kept the stuffed flower, but there is is.  The comforter we had on our bed back then is now the one we keep on the guest bed so we crawled right up on it and captured this gem.

sunsets are usually uninspiring here in Seattle.  However, one evening I took Max out to run a few miles and noticed the sunset was awesomely scenic.  My crumby iPhone camera didn't do it justice, but you get an idea of it.

We took Ouma to Silver Lake to meet Christy and Evelyn on a sunny afternoon.  There were a few days of heat that made our house an oven so we were happy to get out and cool down.  The thing we will remember about this lake is jumping off the dock and dodging duck poo as we walked through the sand.  super busy beach, but we were content to just float around in on our rafts and tubes.

Layla has been overwhelmed with trying to juggle cheerleading and figure skating.  It was a brief few weeks of daily practice for starting cheer and frequent practice on the ice to prepare for her performance.  As you can see by her smile, she loves being on the ice and her coach brings out the best in her.

Easton and Layla are best friends... still.  Even though they bug the crap out of each other and there are still moments of annoyance, kicking and tattling, they still care for each other deeply.  Easton took time to let Layla shoot his helicopter rocket thing.   He showed her how to do it by example, then walked her through it step-by-step.  It got stuck in the tree and I came to the rescue with my long handle something from the garage.  At least I'm still feeling useful!

Easton created a miniature paper fortune teller.  There isn't a fortune inside, but that's what they are known for.  Anyway, he did it to prove his origami skills.  we were impressed!  He's getting to the age where he's starting to believe in himself enough to try new things and figure it out.  before recently I was the catalyst to encourage him and give him ideas and point him in the right direction, but now he doesn't even need that.  Cub scouts started again and he's happy to be a Weblo!

Along with cub scouts, Easton is taking an interest in skateboarding.  I have no idea who gave us a skateboard or when, but somewhere along the way he discovered it sitting in our garage.  He asked me to help him ride it so I gladly gave my attention to him.  First, I explained some basic concepts and elements of the board.  Then, I showed him by skating on the street to demonstrate.  Next, I told him what to do and pulled him slowly on the street while he held my hand.  I noticed the skateboard didn't roll very well.  It was so bad that it wouldn't even roll down hill on its own without some manual pushing.

I took him to Zumies to buy some new wheels and bearings.   He hopped right on the board and has been riding every day since then.  I admire his willingness to try something new and figure it out!

Layla did her own skating at the figure skating competition performance.  We invited our neighbors and I was pleasantly surprised by the turn out.  so many great supporters for her.  I took other pics on my big camera, but haven't uploaded them to the my computer yet so i'll save that for next blog.

Alaysha is leaving for Los Angeles in one week.  We are sad to see her move out of our house after living with us for the past 18 months, but we are happy to send her off to pursue her dreams in the big city.  Layla requested a special Alaysha day and they had a great time laughing and shopping like sisters.  We will miss her very much!

As for Kendra, she is becoming the connector of our neighborhood.  She is developing some deep relationships with several ladies within walking distance of our house.  One night she had a little get together at our house before they went out dancing.  It's a little dark, but I loved seeing this scene of Kendra and several ladies interacting with so much aliveness.  The night out was a huge success.  I'm optimistic for Kendra to build a great group of friends around her here to make up a little bit for the loss she experienced in moving from Phoenix to here.

See you soon!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Cheerleader and cub scout

Greetings friends,

we have a cheerleader on our hands at the Webb house.  Layla wanted to try it out to see if she is interested.  The answer from Layla and her instructors is a resounding "yes".  Layla attended a week-long camp in Arizona and a 3-day camp a few months ago.  That was her only experience with cheerleading before jumping into the real deal.  She's been at practice every weekday for the past two weeks.  That means Kendra and I have been playing taxi.  This momentous picture is one i'll have etched into my memory forever.  Not because anything significant occurred, but because I see my lovely Layla being passionate about cheer and Kendra smiling brightly with her hair growing out long.  These simple flashes of normal life are the ones I believed so deeply for when Kendra was bed ridden. 

Layla is so good at cheer that she was immediately placed into the big girl's league of older cheer leaders as a "flyer", which means she is the one that gets tossed around up in the air.  God help us be trusting in you and not anxious about anything.

Layla's first performance was a half-time show for a scrimmage game between junior teams.  She was understandably nervous, but came out onto the field shining like the star we know she is. 

There is one dark spot in the sun-shiny summer for Layla.  Her friend from down the street is probably moving out of state soon.  Layla came home one evening acting crazy and stressed. Kendra paused our whirlwind of crazy to get to the bottom of Layla's reactions.  turns out her friend told Layla about their potential move and that made Layla sad because Makaya is her best friend.  We will miss them very much, but I am glad for Layla to develop deep friendships with other kids too. 

Speaking of dark spots... about that eclipse?!?!  Uncle Wayne visited a few days at our house since he is spending much of his time at their property in southern Washington.  He stayed an extra day just to share in the eclipse experience.  In Seattle we had about 95% obscuration where 100% is "totality" where it goes dark.  The darkest moments made the world around us look like dusk or sunset, but it was still a very bright, sunny day.  

We had four pair of $3 eclipse glasses we used in hopes that our eyeballs wouldn't be burned out.  The 4 Webbs + Wayne had such a memorable time watching this once in a lifetime event.

The murder of crows flocking over Bothell is legendary.  Every day more and more crows fly over at dusk, peaking sometime in the late fall when about 10,000 will fly over our house.  It's fun to just sit on the porch and watch them fly over in a never ending stream of "caw".

The 4 Webbs went to the police station.  Thankfully, the purpose was to get passports for the kids.  We are in full preparation mode for the Disney cruise coming up in 5 months.  It is possible to just use their birth certificates, but we wanted to be official with their passports so we can travel internationally over the next few years.

Easton moved up to be a Weblo in cub scouts.  We read through the achievements he must tackle during the next 9 months.  One of those is to change the battery in a smoke detector.  Lucky for him, one of ours started beeping during the day so I told him to change the battery and figure out what it takes to do it from start to finish.  He proudly completed the task and I gave him a high-five after he hopped off the ladder.

Ace is a family friend who is already in boy scouts.  He is a few years older than Easton so I take every opportunity for them to hang out together.  It's great for Easton to have that in common with a good influence.  We went for a long walk with Max through the neighborhood.  We ate an apple and handfuls of blackberries fresh of the tree and vines because everything is in season right now. Winter is fast approaching and the sun is going down earlier every day, but for now this is summer all the way through the start of school.

See you soon!