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!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Spring is on its way

Hi family,

The first winter in Seattle is always the most difficult, from what I've been told.  I'm still not tired of the rain, but I'm getting to the point where a few hours of sunshine each week would be like Superman rising above the clouds to recharge his batteries.  On my drive home from work I took the time while stopped at a stop light to get a picture of my sun roof with sun coming through the open space.  It's the first time I've opened it since moving here 6 months ago!  Spring is on its way.

Our den gets a lot of use.  most evenings you'll find Kendra cuddled up on the couch watching cooking shows.  Here she is shaking her head in disgust and yelling at the tv while the lady on the "Joy of Cooking" uses a whisk instead of a spatula.  "how could you!?!?"  she says.  and I just laugh...

Layla found a new neighborhood friend who lives only 8 houses down on our street!  she is one year younger than Layla, but when the "Just Dance" game starts up on the XBOX 360 kinect, age doesn't matter.  I tried to jump in on their dance party, but Layla quickly shoved me out of the way.

Easton uses the game table as his personal work shop for Lego building.  He is spreading his passion for Lego building blocks across his newfound excitement of the video game Halo.  He's super excited about all the little rocket blasters and cannons.

We invited our first house guests over this past weekend.  They are our next door neighbors whose son plays with Easton several times per week.  We made them dinner and spent a while conversing while the kids played together.  We are starting to get a real heart of compassion for our neighborhood and it feels like our first steps into reaching out is just over the horizon.

Kendra and I are both feeling that a shift in moment and direction is coming soon.  A shift where we are able to start interacting and having an impact on our sphere of influence.  For now we are content with continuing to unpack boxes because we're not even close to being fully done.  Kendra's rest and comfort are on the top of our list.  With that being our main focus, we are succeeding.

See you soon!

Monday, March 13, 2017

All Getting Along

Hi family,

I'm 42 years old now.  probably should start some sort of mid-life crisis because I could live to be 84.  After dumping virtually every dollar we had into our house and moving our family to Seattle, I'm a little shy on cash for a mid-life crisis.  i'll postpone it for a couple of years...  My birthday has consistently sucked for the past 9 years because my Uncle Dave passed away on the day before my birthday.  Even so, I'm grateful he was able to hold my babies and see how the cycle of life flows.  I'm grateful for my health and unbelievably blessed life I have.  Every morning I wake up and look over to see Kendra sleeping next to me.  that is the best birthday gift I could ever receive.  Kendra made me a special chocolate cake with chocolate icing.  She knows me so well...

Our house is as "done" as we are going to get, finally.  our couch and chairs arrived so we have a place for guests to sit in our living room.  I'm planning for pictures this coming weekend to reveal the work done in the past three months.  Here's a preview of our couch with Max resting on a pillow.  He is super excited about the blinds being open and the couch sitting high enough for him to watch all the peeople walk by.

Here's our living room.  new floors and couch and chairs, but same old dining room table and credenza.  it's feeling a lot more like home now that we have zero boxes in the living room.

Layla and Easton's rooms came out really well and the twins are happy with it.  Kendra added their letter to the door as a finishing touch on their room decorations.  it is nice for them to both have their own space to play and read and sleep.

I've been very neglectful of taking pictures of the twins lately, but the adventures continue, daily.  Easton is slowly migrating his passion from Jurassic World and Star Wars to Pokemon and the video game, Halo.  he completed Halo 3 and found out there is a 4th and 5th game in the saga.  i'll end up buying that for him soon because we are having fun playing it together.  He wants me to buy my own Pokemon cards, but he has plenty for us to play the card game and to talk about.  He knows almost every statistic about every Pokemon character and he quizzes me regularly to see if i'm up to speed.  He's amazingly smart and knowledgable about topics he loves.

Layla is still going strong with her figure skating.  She's going to private lessons twice per week and a group lesson once per week.  I'm am so very glad we live less than 15 minutes from the ice skating arena.  On Saturday mornings I get up early and we have some doughnut time together before she gets on the ice.  I'm excited to see her individual performance coming up in two weeks.  She's been working hard on and off the ice to get the routine down.

Kendra and I are doing well.  We took time for a day date while the kids were in school and it was one of the best times we've had in a while.  Just her and i sharing a meal and taking a walk together through some scenic places.  The sign on the wall caught my attention so i took a picture of us to describe the feeling of the day. I'm looking forward to Kendra feeling more at home in Seattle, but until then I am perfectly happy being strong enough for the both of us in this area.

See you soon!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Winter Scout Camp

Hi family,

For my birthday I got Layla a stuffed animal and Easton a Nerf gun.  That's what happens when you get older.  instead of getting gifts, it's more about ignorning the facts of getting old and continuing to be a provider for the family.  I gladly received a few gifts and cards, but as far as birthday celebrations go, this one was about as average as I've experienced during the past decade or so.  I'm just happy to have a healthy Kendra and growing twins.  They are the best gifts I could ever ask for.  The real celebration was for Kendra's bone scan results that showed no signs of cancer.  She was concerned because she's been dealing with pain in her hip and back for several months.  Whatever it is, we can work through it together.

My birthday celebration was pushed out from my actual day because I was busy interviewing a potential candidate for position on my team.  Then, I spent the weekend at cub scout winter camp with Easton.  We drove out East up to the mountains where about 200 cub scouts and fathers had a great time together.  We had no cell phone reception or wifi from our cabin.  that was one of the highlights for me.  The views were like something out of a post card with the snow covered trees and rock cliffs.

The cabins were dirty and rudamentary at best.  24 bunks with seriously old pads to sleep on and flickering lights.  It was better than sleeping in a tent on the cold snow, but just barely!  The first night there we were the only ones in the entire cabin.  We went a few weeks after Easton's pack because that week sold out before we joined the organization.  The pack that reserved two cabins filled the other one up first and left ours for the "saturday night only" crowd that filed in during the next moring after we had the whole place to our selves.

Easton's favorite memory of the cabin was waking up at 3:00am, walking out to the back patio, and peeing off the deck into the white snow.  There are some experiences you just can have in Phoenix and that's one of them.  He also had a great time sledding and tubing.  There was a hill just behind the campground where a continual stream of kids raced down the slope. 

One of the crafts was a wooden cross bow that shoots straws with a rubber band.  It was the best $3.50 I've spent in a long time.  The great part of the weekend was how involved the dads were with the boys.  I thought it might be more hands off where the dads are sitting around reading books in the cabins while the boys have their adventures, but it wasn't like that at all.  every single class and gathering was full participation with the dads. 

I took a few pictures of our time together and I call this one "frozen webs" because we were both way under-prepared for the two feet of snow and freezing temperatures. 

One of the classes was for search and rescue. Easton didn't really know what that was until we got into the lesson.  he was very into it when they strapped the guy to the board and learned how to pack him on there. 

and the BB gun shooting was a big confidence booster for him since he's already shot .22 rifles and pistols.  He nailed the tiny target with every BB and felt like the king of the camp. 

The two of us went exploring up in the mountain alone during one of the free time slots.  We jumped in snow banks and scrambled up mossy rock ledges to get a breath-taking view of the mountain across the way from us.  I let him lead the way since that is part of what we go to camp for:  to help him learn to lead.

Easton earned his "whittling chip", which is a business card with his signature and the scout leader's signature.  It indicates he is authorized to carry a pocket knife.  I'm really glad we went through the safety class and explanation of how to handle a knife.  He is on his way to being a real outdoorsman. 

Probably one of the most enjoyable weekends for he and I that we've ever had.  we'll definitely plan more frequent trips alone.  I only have a few more years before he heads off to college, but we're just getting started with the kind of adventures I've been dreaming about since the day he was born.

see you soon!