Thursday, August 30, 2012

1st Day of School

It's Jack and Lucy's turn to start school!
They were both super excited. 
Jack had a half-day yesterday and loved it.
Of course, he's nervous about remembering his locker combination and changing classes, but he likes his classmates and the teachers. 
Lucy went yesterday to meet her teacher and drop off her school supplies.
She also met some new friends.  There are only 6 girls in her class and they are all adorable!
I am so hopeful this is going to be a great school year. 
We LOVE our new school!

Lucy and her teacher

Miss Olivia started school on Tuesday and then left on Wednesday for a 2 day camping/backpacking trip with her freshman class.  The freshman class has 45 students. 
The school does this every year for the high schoolers as a team building exercise.  
The teachers told the kids to bring camping supplies and a toothbrush...that's it!
No electronics!  
I can't wait to hear all about her trip and her new friends!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

High Schooler

It's official....
Olivia is a high schooler.
I can't believe it.  Where did the time go?
Olivia was really nervous this morning about starting a new school.
Please, keep her in your thoughts and prayers today.
I can't wait until this afternoon to hear all about her day.
I have a feeling it's going to be great year!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Saying goodbye to summer

This is our official last day of summer...
Olivia starts school tomorrow, Jack on Wednesday and Lucy on Thursday.
The kids got up early and we headed to our local Krispy Kreme for some yummy donuts.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Last year, we had many changes in our lives.
We moved from Colorado to Washington state, Jeff started a new job, the kids started new schools, etc.
I'm not going to was HARD! 
The kids were both nervous and excited to start new schools and meet new people. 
I can honestly say, throughout the year they struggled in making friends.  
They didn't really seem to make the connections they longed for and it made them miss Colorado even more. 
To top it off, I wasn't feeling "connected" either. 
Don't get me wrong.....I knew it would take time to be/feel connected, but by the time the school year ended and we still weren't feeling it, I started losing hope. 
In Colorado we had a strong since of community....we knew lots of people and we were connected at the children's schools.  
In contrast, I never felt like volunteering at the schools here.  There is definitely not a warm and fuzzy vibe.
The school year seemed to drag on I thought summer would never get here.
I knew I wanted to keep the kids busy over the summer months and I was hopeful that maybe things would turn-around and they would make the friendships they were longing for. 
We sent Olivia to the Startalk Chinese program and she made some great friends...finally!  
The only problem was, these kids go to a private school and not our local school.
These particular kids kept telling Olivia ALL the great things about their school and how much they loved it.
Olivia asked us if she could go there, of course, we said it was out of the question...there was no way we could afford a private education.
Olivia was persistent (as always) and I started looking into it....
the more I researched it, the more it seemed like the right fit for her. 
The school is small and offers 4 years of Mandarin Chinese. 
As we toured the school campus, the admissions director asked about Jack and Lucy.
My thoughts were...."are you kidding me?"  
We will be lucky to send Olivia here, not all 3!  
We prayed about it and the doors started to open...
We applied for financial aid and waited...
Friday we got the news....
All 3 kids have been accepted and will be starting school there next week!!!!!
Don't get me wrong, we still have to pay and it's going to be a HUGE sacrifice, but we are determined to make it happen.
I am getting business cards printed to start my photography business and I'm looking for a part-time job. 
I think it's a great thing for all of us!
Looking forward to the 2012~2013 school year!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

All 6 of us!

I received two photos yesterday of us with Sali.
It seems I'm always behind the camera, never in front of the camera.
These photos make me smile....
This first one was taken at the park, just a few days after Sali arrived. 
Yes, Jack, Lucy and Sali are wet....there was a great water feature at the park and it was a hot day. 

This photo was taken during the community performance that Sali and her group orchestrated. 
We learned how to do a traditional Japanese dance that night.  It was so much fun!
Sali is wearing her beautiful Yukata dress.
The kids are now very interested in Japanese culture and want to travel there. 
Hopefully, someday!  

Friday, August 17, 2012


We went Huckleberry picking earlier this week.
Huckleberries are similar to a blueberry, but sweeter.
Huckleberries are only found in the Northwest. 
They are often hard to find and very expensive.
We picked for about 2 hours and ended up with 1 Cup...  :)
Olivia made huckleberry jam and it's delicious! 

 My silly Jack grabbed a branch and starting running down the hill.  
"Look,  I'm a deer."  

Gorgeous view from the top of Mt Spokane.  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Goodbye Sali

Last Friday we said goodbye to Sali. 
It was so sad...
I know she was only here for 3 weeks, but I can honestly say she became a member of our family.
We all cried when she left and we miss her already.
She has become our "Japanese daughter"
It was such a great experience. 

We had a little "goodbye" party the night before she left.
Of course, it included a fire,  some S'mores and a little Macarena dancing.  :)

Goodbye Sali!
We love you!
Come see us again!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Olivia and the Blue Doors

Last week I posted about the "blue doors" a friend had introduced me to.  
I had taken Olivia and Sali for a photo shoot last Sunday.
Here are the photos of Miss Olivia.  
I have even done some slight editing on these.
I'm practicing away....I have a "senior session" scheduled soon!

I'm in awe of these doors.
Best photo backdrop !  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sweet Sali

Sunday night, I asked Olivia and Sali if they wanted to humor me and let me take them on a photo shoot.
I recently found out about these great turquoise painted doors in a back alley of downtown. 
This backdrop is amazing and I knew I wanted to take photos here, lots of photos. 
The girls agreed and downtown we went....

My settings were completely off here and this photo is overexposed, but I love it!
I think the "haze" adds an artsy element. 
I'm so glad I talked Sali into bringing her violin.

Sali has a smile that lights up a room.

Sali's time here is almost done. 
We have fallen in love with this girl....  
She is so talented, polite and funny. She is a delightful young woman.
Olivia and Sali have become such great friends. 
We will all miss her. 
We hope to keep in touch with her for many years to come.

Lake Cabin

We were able to spend Saturday at a friends lake cabin on Lake Chatcolet.
It was so relaxing.  
I blew up a raft and floated most of the day.  

 Miss Lucy looks like she's in Hawaii instead of the lake. 
She is all about her accessories. 

 I always love the candid photos I get of Livs when she's trying to avoid me and my camera. :)

 Jack and Jeff jumping off the dock together.

 I grabbed my camera to catch the beautiful sun flare coming through the trees.

 Beautiful, sweet Sali

We ended the day with a great dinner on the deck and this was our view.
I cannot wait to go back. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Japanese Feast

Sali and two of her classmates (the same classmates we went camping with) told us they would like to make us a Japanese dinner.
Of course, we said, "YES"
My neighbor, Betsy offered her home for the girls to do their cooking.
Sali and her friends were busy for almost 2 hours, cooking away.

 Betsy was there showing them were they could find the pans, plates, and utensils they needed. 
The girls didn't want any help, they really wanted to treat us and show us their appreciation.

 WOW!  We were all completely impressed with this delicious meal.
They made enough to feed all of us...13 total!

 It was a Japanese feast.  
I tried everything and went back for some more.  :)

After dinner, we sat out on the deck and watched this gorgeous sunset!
It was the perfect ending to our day.