Monday, December 4, 2017

Turkey day 3-4

Howdy y'all,

After a couple of days around the Ozarks I could tell my accent was already back in action. Three years ago we visited here for my parents 50th anniversary.  We told Easton about the Titanic museum in Branson, but weren't able to go.  In our discussions about taking this trip, Easton made it clear he only has one expectation and that is to go to the Titanic museum.  I drove him there for some father-son time alone.  We arrived and were amazed by the size of the building and the likeness of the ship.

Unfortunately they don't allow any pictures inside the building so all we have is this one above and our memories.  The museum is full of real items from the ship and many others, such as Easton's favorite.  He really like the key to the locker where the binoculars were kept.  The guy left it at home and this is thought to be one of the many fatal mistakes.  Anyway, he was extremely satisfied with the hyped up experience and wants to go again... tomorrow.

Our daily hike out behind Papa's house was another successful romp through the woods with Max.  Easton brought Papa's binoculars to get close up views of red tailed hawks and rabbits. 

Easton had some learning time with Papa as they stood up three bird houses in the back yard.  There was drilling, sawing, and measuring going on to get them proudly mounted on the back fence for all to see.  Within a day, birds were building nests and taking up residence on the Webb property.  I'm glad Easton was able to have some instruction and learning time with Dad.

I didn't see Layla hardly at all this day because she was wrapped up in girly cousin fun dress up time.  Easton is in a gap with the cousins where there aren't any boys close to his age, but Layla and her cousins are right in the sweet spot for making good connections.

I went by my old university where i earned my under graduate degree.  two of my professors, one in math and one in computer science, were still there teaching in the same area.  Hard to believe it's been 20 years!  I took Easton with me for that trip (he took the picture). I'm glad he came because he was able to experience life on a college campus for the first time. 

My best friend for life is Ryan.  We've been friends since high school and will always be friends no matter what.  Lucky for me, he lives across town from my folks so Kendra and I took Easton to meet them out for an evening.  At his house he showed us around the property including some horse petting to make the farm feel complete.

Easton and I stayed the night at his house spontaneously.  I had no toothbrush or clothes, but that didn't matter.  We had a great time with Nerf gun wars, riding the self-balancing scooter, and staying up late talking.

Really made my week to have time with him and his family.  Easton had some much needed play time with his son, who is the same age.  We decided we will plan a trip in the summer of 2018 as a father-son double adventure somewhere.  not sure where we will go, but I set the target as "epic" and "achieving something substantial".  now we just need to get this in motion because summer will be here before we know it.

See you soon!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Turkey Day 1-2

Howdy family,

The 4 Webbs took a little trip to Missouri for a marvelous week of togetherness with my extended family.  I'm breaking this up into each day because there are just too many stories and pictures to capture in a single post. 

The trip started out great with our neighbor driving us in the battle wagon to the airport.  We walked up to the ticket counter and that's when I realized I left my driver's license at home.  Kendra and the twins breezed through and luckily I had my concealed carry license, a credit card, and my TSA precheck approval letter.  They let me on the plane!  The twins were dismayed at the thought of me not getting on the flight, but we kept our heads cool and showed them what it looks like to remain calm and go with the flow even when dad forgets his license. 

on the flight into springfield, the twins sat two rows behind Kendra and I.  It was a test run of what it would be like for them to fly together alone without us.  some day we'll let them go for real, but today is not that day. 

We arrived in springfield to cheers from Joanie's family and Nana and Papa.   They even had a sign made for us.  It was a pleasant surprise with lots of hugs.  We stopped by Culver's on the way home because we were hungry, then ate at Nana's house all together. 

I spent the next morning with Easton being productive and relaxing at the same time.  I went for a hair cut because i knew family portraits were on the agenda. While i was getting my hair cut by a lady named Kendra, she asked if she could fix Easton's hair too because the last place he went for a cut didn't do an excellent job.   

Then we went for Andy's because I set a goal to eat their delicious custard every day. Us two Seattle boys aren't used to so much direct sunlight.   You can tell by his expression how bright it was.   

The other thing we did every single day was walk Max in the massive acreage behind Nana's house.  I'm not sure if Max or Easton enjoyed exploring more.  We took my niece Trinity with us hoping to see some wildlife.  We were all delighted, including Max, with the sighting of a fox, a rabbit, a woodpecker, and many other birds.  It was like going to a zoo.

In the evening all of our family got together for dinner and games.  We haven't been here in three years so it was almost like a brand new experience for the twins.

Papa bought a new foam mattress for our room, which made Kendra's body very happy.  We both have a very narrow tolerance for sleeping conditions, which include bed firmness, temperature in the room, number of pillows (7 between the two of us), and thickness of blankets.  just to name a few.  We would never have made it as pioneers on a dirt floor with a pillow made of hay.  I am thankful we live in these wonderfully advanced and spoiled times.

see you soon!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Cheer and Scouting

Greetings, family,

The year is quickly wrapping up and we are in full hibernation mode.  The sunrise happens later and later.  When I take Layla for figure skating practice she is very aware of the darkness and the never-ending stream of crows flying overhead.

Layla and I joined a hundred other ice skating friends at the Disney on ice show as it passed through town.  This was the best one yet because it featured every princess at some point and the performances included acrobatics as well as great skating.   These last few weeks have been busier than usual for my work so I was excited to have a daddy date with just Layla and I. 

Then I joined Easton and 80 other parents and scouts for a three mile hike by Lake Washington.  This was part of the kids who stopped throwing rocks and splashing in mud puddles long enough to snap a picture.  I brought Max who was the star of the hike because all of the boys wanted to pet him and hold the leash as he muscled up and down the trails.  Easton was up in front with the leader the entire time so I didn't get a single picture of just him and I together.  no big deal though because part of the reason we have him in scouting is to learn to lead. 

and to be responsible for things like taking out the trash.  At some point we'll change the chores up and Layla will take out the trash but for now it is solely Easton's.  We are working diligently to get the twins to take responsibilities serious and do them without being told.  just taking the next step in maturing these two fine young kids into valuable citizens.

Seattle is interesting because living things like moss grow on living things like trees.  There are living things growing on living things.  that is a new twist compared to my Missouri roots where moss grows on rocks and dirt.  The 4 Webbs took a bike ride down the street to a neighborhood where their common area is a forest.  We poked around in the mulch and inspected all manner or bugs just to explore together. 

The temps are chilly, but at least it wasn't raining during this window of opportunity.  When I looked back at Kendra riding with the kids I was filled with emotions of gratitude for Kendra being alive and healthy.  I will never take this for granted no matter how many years removed we get from Kendra's close encounter with death and debilitation.

When we arrived home from our bike ride Layla saw Easton's container of dirt and worms he gather the day before for no apparent reason.  She pulled one of them out and started inspecting it.  Her curiosity and comfort with holding the slimy wiggly worm made me proud.  She's not afraid to get her hands dirty.  literally.

but she's still my princess too.  She has figure skating lessons three days a week in the morning.  I get to take her most of the time on my way to work.  We usually get up extra early and share enough breakfast to get her through the lessons.  These are the segments of time where we laugh and talk and work through all kinds of 4th grade situations. 

I usually watch her out on the ice for a few minutes before heading to work.  Her instructor directed her to this little girl who will be Layla's partner in the ice dancing duet performance she has for the Christmas program.  Layla jumped right in with teaching her some basics and the moves for what they will be doing.  I'm impressed with her teaching skills and so is her instructor.

Layla's cheer season is over.  I had the pleasure of chaperoning Layla to the awards banquet.  We both dressed up semi-fancy because we wanted to.  As we were waiting to leave she sat with Max in the living room chair.  I took a picture because her black and white match his colors so well.  The look on his face is so common when Layla gets ahold of him.  She believes Max needs kisses and squeezy hugs just like she does, but we've learned from science that dogs don't like hugs at all because they get that flight or fight instinct.  Anyway, Max just tolerates the affectionate gifts from Layla like a champ.

at the awards banquet Layla sat with her pals.  The three of us dads just happened to be there while wives and friends were roaming around.  I was proud of her for being such a friendly connector who helps include girls in conversations and fun. 

Each girl is paired up with an older buddy to help them along.  Layla's buddy won the coveted golden bow award given to the best cheer leader of the whole group.  Layla received some nice gifts, complements, and a certificate she can be proud of.

Because she isn't in competition cheer, she is still able to ride the fence of participation in cheer and figure skating both.  Not sure how much longer she can do that, but for now she is loving the social aspect of cheer as much as the talent and challenge of skating. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

We're frozen

Greetings family,

Kendra was gone to Phoenix for a week and we had a miserably great time.  We missed her very much, but it went by really fast.  I was happy for her to have sleep-in time, friend time, doctor visit time and all the other ways she spent her week away.  On the day before she returned I had a cleaning service come to our house.  This was the first time in my life to pay for someone to clean my house.  I'm still not sure it was worth the cost, but Kendra happily came home to a clean house.  This is by far the best our house has ever looked.  Our master bedroom isn't always this perfect, but it's very well kept, thanks to Kendra. 

We celebrated our first snow.  it didn't stay long, but Easton built a two-foot tall snowman with our neighbor friends before school.  We bundled up for a few days in a row from the unseasonably cold weather, but the twins are so acclimated already that they didn't even flinch about the frosty temps.  They both still wanted ice cream, so that's a good indication it wasn't that cold.

Layla performed her last cheer session of the season.  Easton and I bundled up on the front row and clapped along with the cheer squad.  Layla was front and center as the leader the entire season.  This last game was not one she wanted to attend because it was chilly. 

as soon as the game ended the girls gathered up their things and ran to the vehicles to thaw out.  I brought her hot chocolate from home, but that wan't enough to keep her toes warm.  It's interesting to go from the hot summer at the beginning of the season to frozen cold by the end. 

On Sunday afternoon we attended a church service at the request of our friends.  Although we are experiencing frequent, valuable connecting time with our neighbors through the week, we haven't figured out how to bring them into the conversations in a meaningful way.  until then, i'm willing to be bored and disappointed for an hour each Sunday while the kids get to interact with kids their age who share the same values as we do.

Anyway, after the time with the church, it snowed so i took the twins and our neighbor Kain to the local rock climbing gym.  They had a blast and I did my best to teach them how to boulder. 

The place was packed because not many climbers are out on the real rocks while snow is falling.  We found plenty of routes to climb and I was proud of them for taking on the challenges. 

I even had some one on one climb time with Easton where he followed me as I scrambled across the wall.  I would like to make this a father-son thing we do together, but it sure was expensive.  real estate and services in Washington are ridiculously pricey.  and the rock gym is a little too far away to make this a regular occurrence.  i'll take the moments as they come and squeeze every last little bit of goodness from our time together. 

Easton read the first six books of the Warriors series about cats.  He moved on to the second set of the series and Layla started on the first.  Easton used his money from chores to buy a character guide book.  He was so excited for Layla to join him in reading the series that he explained in great detail about the characters.  I came up stairs to say goodnight and found them reading together.  makes my heart warm to see them get along and enjoying being around each other.

See you soon!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Halloween and seasons

Greetings family,

Happy belated Halloween!  That's how late this post is.  I've been a little extra busy positioning my career path to navigate a reorg and running the household while Kendra is in Phoenix doing a tour of doctor visits and outings with friends.  Halloween this year was excellent in many ways.  Easton was Master Chief from Halo and Layla was a rainbow vampire cat.

I was a Christmas tree.  Not exactly original or flashy, but it kept me warm and didn't require me to go shopping or spend money.  I call that a win for everyone.  We walked through our neighborhood and the adjacent neighborhoods around us.  Kendra stayed at our front door handing out candy as I went with the kids and our horde of friends.

Then I stayed at the house handing out the last bits of candy that quickly ran out.  we will be more prepared next year!  Kendra was bad girl.  I never got a full picture of her, but here's the best 4 Webbs picture we took that night among the chaos. 

Layla finished up cheer finally.  She loved every minute of it and every aspect.  The choreography, the social interactions, the learning and the physical activity.  She is a rock star.

Here's my favorite pic of the cheer leading season.  She was always front and center, leading all the girls and being the loudest one of the group.  We watched the Seahawks game together as a family, which is a rare occasion.  Layla noticed the professional cheer leaders and her first instinct reaction was, "their outfits are way too revealing and not appropriate."  I sighed and nodded my head in agreement.  I told her I'm proud of her for knowing what modesty is and her desire to be appropriate with the way she dresses even in sports.

The only thing Layla is happy about being done with cheer leading is that now she won't be doing cheer leading and figure skating six days per week.  It was a bit much, but she handled it ok.  Now she's back to only three days per week in figure skating.  I get to take her on my way to work in the morning.  We have breakfast and spend quality one on one time together.  She was telling me a story about her schooling in a very animated fashion.  I took this picture of her to capture the expressiveness and her intensity.

These are the three amigos.  Easton has his best friend, Kain, and his second best friend, Tashinga.  The three of them play almost every day.  They play in the park, nerf guns inside the house, riding bikes, and occasionally playing video games.  He is blooming so well lately, partly because he is loving life with best friends.

Easton and his buddies raked up huge piles of leaves to play in.  Easton has been talking about this for weeks now.  This is one of the fun experiences he's really enjoying that he could never do in Phoenix.  It's interesting and fun for me to watch as he recognizes the good things about living here and embraces our surroundings.

Max has a best friend too.  His name is Bo and he's a newborn puppy adopted into our neighbor's home.  He and Max are getting along like champs.  They play fight and run around Amber's yard every time they get together.   I made Max share his bed for this picture.  You can see he is not amused at all...

Speaking of friends... Layla has a friend named Armani who lives just down the street.  this is her second best friend only because they don't get together as often as her other friend.

Makaya had a sassy few months where she wasn't all that friendly towards Layla, Then one day she just came over and wanted to hang out.  Now they are besties and have a healthy friendship.  Kendra and I took the two of them for a walk with us around the neighborhood.  I treated it as a photo shoot and captured several pics of them being friends.

We passed by a neighbors house on our walk. Kendra complimented him on his garden.  He cut Layla the biggest pie plate dahlia rose I've ever seen.

and he cut a bouquet of other flowers for Makaya.  The fall colors around her are vibrant.

We spent every sunny day outdoors for the past month because we never knew when it would be the last time we would get to do that before winter sets in here.

While Kendra was in Phoenix we went to a traditional institutional church at the recommendation of our friends.  The twins enjoyed the friendliness of the new acquaintances and I had a good experience being with a new group of like-minded followers of Christ.  We are still discovering what it looks like to be the Church, but it certainly can included attending a Sunday morning gathering.  We'll see what Kendra thinks next weekend...

See you soon!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Falling into puberty

Greetings family,

Things are getting even more interesting by the day as the twins get close to the double digit age in a few months.  Layla is starting to get some visual queues as she develops and both of them are starting to stink, which means deodorant is becoming a daily chore along with the dreadful showers.  Easton would wear the same old ratty high-water pants with holes in the knees and cheeto-stained shirt every day if we let him.  He has zero interest in fashion, cleanliness, or girls.  Layla, on the other hand is our style queen who asks me about boys all the time.  such different experiences raising one boy and one girl side-by-side as they walk into this thing called puberty.

They arrived home from school and I asked them to pose for a second while I capture the dazzling yellowness of the tree in our front yard and the happy after-school kid looks they have going on.  The scenery around here is amazing this time of year.

I took this random picture of a lighthouse in Mukilteo after a work function ended.  Probably one of the best pictures captured by the lame camera on my iPhone.  has nothing to do with the 4 webbs other than representing the surroundings of our little corner of the world up here in Seattle.

We make the most of every sunny day because it's hard to know when it will be our last one.  we took advantage of a sunny, relatively warm Sunday morning to walk Max at Marymoor dog park.  I decided not to take any family pics because it was one of those rare times where I just wanted us to enjoy the time together without turning every situation into a professional photo shoot.  The one pic I took was when Easton found this huge leaf on the ground and came up to show Kendra and I.  We both make an extra effort to be excited about the things he shares with us because we want to encourage him to continue throughout life.  I want him to know how important he is to us and whatever he thinks is interesting is worth our time to affirm him. 

see you soon!