Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Beginnings and Ends

Greetings family!

The 4 Webbs are in a bit of a blackout period on social media and blogging while we assess our life and future.  So many great things are happening that it's hard to keep up with the developments, but we are experiencing the full range of emotions as we work through what's about to happen. 

Neill and Jenny spent a week with us and it was awesome, as always.  Neill met with the men of our church fellowship separately, then Jenny met with the women, then we had a full family gathering on Saturday night. On Sunday, Alaysha and Kendra went with them to minister at a local church.  I stayed home with the twins because they were sick, but it all worked out in the end.  I'm grateful for the chance to discuss questions I have and watch as they disciple.  I've learned so much from them over the years.  I appreciate their influence and willingness to openly discuss the things of life and Godliness.

In other news...  Kendra is cancer-free!  Her second round of MRI and CAT scans show no new areas of concern and her body continues to heal.  We met with her oncologist who gave her the great news and then she sent us away to go live life to the fullest.  Kendra will continue to be on maintenance medications and IV drips and rescanning every 6 months, but as far as the hospital is concerned, she's done!

Kendra and I took a trip out of town for 4 days.  Alaysha took care of Easton and Layla while we were away.  That was her first time to be responsible for kids for so long.  She did very well considering the mischief and attitudes she endured.  When we arrived home they had a sign for us with cupcakes they made. 

We had a van.  It broke so badly that it would cost half the price of the vehicle to repair it so I sold the van.  now we are car-less.  There are worse things in life...  :)  I bought a brand new Honda Odyssey, but the electrical wiring couldn't be fixed before I took possession so I cancelled the contract and now we still have no car.  So long, old battle wagon! 

Having only one car is the lest of our concerns right now.  The next six weeks will definitely be the most adventurous of our entire life.  Prepare for take off!

tomorrow I start my 4 week paid vacation sabbatical.  That's all i can say right now, but it's a start...

Monday, August 15, 2016

Figure Skating and School

Greetings friends and family,

Two things happened around our house in the past few days.  Layla competed in figure skating and the twins started 3rd grade! 

Kendra helped Layla get dressed up with makeup for the competition.  I got to chauffer her and spend the day taking care of things only daddy can do, like holding purses, cheering often, and lacing up her skates. 

The song she chose was "Butterfly fly away" by Miley Cyrus.  It's from back when Miley was a wholesome, blooming country singer instead of the outrageous disturbed individual we see in the news lately.  Anyway, Layla was amazing and earned a third place medal with her graceful routine.  Here are a few pictures of the performance.

All her work on flexibility is paying off as she's able to do more strength moves.

She ended with a curtsy towards the judges with her winning smile.

This is the crew who came to cheer with us.  Stephanie and her boys, the Webbs, and Alaysha, our friend and roommate. 

Here is her coach, Jamie, who takes most of the credit for Layla's success.  The hours of personal lessons really paid off!

I had to get a family picture because that's just what we do at events.  It shows that Alaysha is one of us.  Everything we have is hers for as long as she wants to live in our house.  We treat her like a sister and auntie instead of a tenant. 

I am super proud of this girl and her achievements.  She's growing so quickly that I might not need to bend down on one knee for these pictures too far in the future.

I paid way too many dollars for the 150 digital images of her performance, but I decided against buying the ones of her on the podium because I have limits on how much money I am willing to spend here.  She is like a ballerina on ice!

The twins are back to school and this time they have backpacks on wheels.  It might not be important to every parent, but we don't want them to develop back and shoulder issues from lugging around 30 pounds of books and stuff on their back all day.  They look great and roll well!

This is the standard "front door" picture we've taken for the past four years. 

I said, "show an expression of how you feel on your first day!"  They both nailed it.  Layla is super happy and Easton is dreading it.  There are only 5 boys and 20 girls in his class.  The other 4 boys aren't very nice so he is having a tough time fitting in, but I'm proud of him for not joining the inappropriate conversations the other boys have.

I convinced them to give me a happy look even if they weren't feeling it.  This is as close as it gets.

The outside pics turned out well too.  I take these to show the location and their surroundings.  ten years from now they will ask, "were we in Phoenix when 3rd grade started?" and I'll show them this.

Layla loves to wear dresses and undershirts and skirts.  The knee high socks are a new addition to her wardrobe.  She's growing up a little too fast for my taste.

Easton would wear a trash bag to school if we told him to.  He could care less if his collar is straight or hair is combed.  Luckily, Kendra cares. 

I added one more with them on the opposite side of each other because I can't remember how I took the door picture in the last few years.  I'll continue to compile these front door pics through the years and play a slide show when they reach graduation from high school.

Let's get the third grade life moving forward!

See you soon.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Summer Desert Life

Greetings family,

After returning from the most epic summer vacation ever, we had only two weeks to get ready for the school year. We are savoring the last bits of summer and resting well.  There are several videos of the south mountain rain dump, but I captured this from my car while it was happening because I knew enough to know it was a rare weather phenomena.  

I have a sixth sense for knowing when a moment is special or unique or memorable.  I've strengthened that muscle significantly over the past couple of years with everything that the 4 Webbs have been through.  Sunsets are not rare in Phoenix, but having eight-year-olds standing in the street in their pajamas?  Now that's rare and one of those moments that will become less frequent as the years go by.  These two silly kids are joyful in ways pictures can't describe, but it's the best I can do for a blog.

The last several months allowed for very few mountain bike rides because, well, life goes in cycles and I've prioritized other things over it.  Anyway, I woke up early one Saturday morning and decided to hit the trail while the sun was down and the temperature was below 100 degrees for a few more hours.  I get to do lots of thinking while I ride and it's amazing what becomes clear when there are no distractions or distortion of my vision.

Easton came in our bedroom and Max followed.  They both flopped down and I couldn't resist taking a picture of this boy and his dog.  I'm glad we have Max in our family!  The twins love on him and take care of him very well.

Layla's figure skating and Easton's Taekwondo are their primary extra curricular  activities.  There are many other things they enjoy like dancing and video games and swimming, but this is where they are improving and focusing.  I took them for tacos one night after practice and they both kept their outfits on because their eight and don't care.

Easton's been asking to go to the dinosaur museum for months now.  We used to have a membership here a few years ago, but haven't been since then.  There were some new exhibits and this animatronic Tyrannosaurus was the biggest hit of the day.  

The T-Rex skeleton is the most intimidating thing in the museum because it makes me sweat just thinking about running from this big thing.

Easton said, "wouldn't it be cool if we lived when dinosaurs were alive on Earth?"  NO. no, it wouldn't be cool at all. Thank God we are not living during that time.

See you soon.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Seattle Vacation - Wrap up!

Greetings family,

These past few weeks have been a mushroom cloud of interesting things happening.  I've had a hard time finishing my Seattle vacation post because the 4 Webb's adventures here are not over yet.  I'll go ahead and wrap up our trip in the final few days, but just realize it's not the end...

Kendra and I had a date night out where we met my former boss from 15 years ago for a night on the town.  We went for dinner, then ice cream, then a view of downtown Seattle.  We had a great evening because we knew the kids were safely cared for by Ouma, Oupa, Christy, and Doyle.  Between the four of them, Easton and Layla had a hundred times more love and help than they need for a night at home.

The next day Kendra was feeling up to par so the five of us left her at home to rest while we took a trip to Friday Harbor in the San Juan islands. The ferry ride was enough to make Easton's day.  The cool breeze picture-perfect scenery was enough to make Layla's day. 

Ouma has been here before so she was our chaperone.  She recommended the whale museum where we learned more about whales in one hour than I've learned my whole life.  The massive skeleton seems more like a dinosaur or dragon than a whale...

We took a taxi across the island to Lime Kiln Point state park.  at the tourist area there is a tiny lighthouse, seen here in the picture of Ouma and Oupa with the twins.

inside the lighthouse is a whale sighting report.  It shows only 13 whale sightings in the past 63 days!

They even have microphones piped down to the water so they can know exactly when whales come cruising by.  I sat out on the lighthouse surveying the scene while the other took a bathroom break.  One of the many strangers sitting around said, "look!  Orca whales!"  I thought they were joking because what are the odds that ten minutes after I sit down, suddenly Orca whales appear.  Well, that's exactly what happened!  I didn't know how fast whales traveled or where they were going, but I freaked out because I was the only one there.  the bathrooms were far enough away that I couldn't shout at the twins to come quickly.  luckily, they all slowly came down the path.  as soon as I saw them I motioned to hurry up and said, "whales!" as calmly as possible. 

We were fortunate enough to see a pod of whales swim by coming out of the water every few seconds for air and a show. 

After the excitement died down, about ten minutes later someone shouted, "whales!".  Then a second pod of whales came swimming by. 

what a great surprise.  We saw TWO pods of whales go by within the hour we were there.  What an amazing experience.  Now Easton and Layla think whale watching is as easy as sitting down at a show at SeaWorld. That was the highlight of my trip.

Then we took a hike down to lime kiln point just for fun.  While we were there I explained to the twins just how far away from home we were.  I took pictures of us holding our thumbs up at each transportation stop.  We were a...


and a taxi ride

and a walk to the ferry

and a ferry ride

and a van ride

and an airport tram ride

and a plane ride

away from home.  That's a serious trip of getting away from everything for a bit. 

The last adventure we had in Seattle was called "Judy's beach".  Judy is Christy's aunt who owns a beach house where the tide brings the water level right up to her back porch.  This is all of us at Judy's house.

and this is Judy with Christy, Ouma, and Kendra. 

The twins built sand castles and decorated them with broken sea shells.  I have no idea what Easton is doing with is stance, but their smiles show enough happiness to know they were having the time of their lives. 

Kendra and I took a random selfie with the ocean behind us.  There are too many pictures of us just smiling normal so this one should be framed because I am recognizing the silliness we have inside to let out. 

See what I mean... we have that same photogenic smile working for us, but even looking so smiley gets old after a while without a curve ball of craziness to shake things up.

Life moves really fast and these next two months are going to be a whirlwind no matter how the forks in the road lead us. 

school starts
Kendra gets her CT scan results
lots of other big things...

See you soon!