"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."
Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien.
"If you wish to be happy, think not of what is to come nor of that which you have no control over but rather of the now and of that which you can change."
Oromis, Brisingr, Christopher Paolini.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

2009 Holiday Letter

Christmas 2008, Jamaica

This year we traveled to Australia to visit my relatives. We rented a small motor home and made a loop from Sydney out to Warren to see my aunt and uncle and then over to Port Macquarie to see my grandparents. It was a very easy way to travel with the children. My sister Coralie and her family were visiting Port Macquarie at the same time, on vacation from their mission in Kabul, Afghanistan. It was lovely to spend time with them.

We continue to enjoy camping in our popup trailer. This year we spent many fun weekends in the Sierras, some with my ILs, and a full week in central Oregon with my parents. We celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary with a camping trip to Eagle Lake, California.

DS Fall 2009

DS is 9 and is in the fourth grade honors program at school this year. He continues with his piano and weekly swimming lessons. In June he played in his first piano recital. This November DS received a school award for his academic grades and a prize for Art. He is fascinated by space and aircraft, and spends many hours building with Lego and drawing.

DD1 Fall 2009

DD1 is 7 and is in second grade. She is working hard at swimming lessons and has nearly caught up to her brother; they are now in the same class! This is DD1’s fifth year studying ballet. She did her primary level Royal Academy of Dance exam in May, and danced in a wonderful “Snow White” routine in the June recital. DD1 began piano lessons in June and Brownie Scouts this fall. She has fallen in love with horses and has asked Santa to bring her one for Christmas.

DD2 June 2009

DD2 is 4 and enjoys preschool. She is still taking Spanish at school, and continues with art and swimming lessons. She is a very strong swimmer for her age and swims in a class of 6 year olds. This is DD2’s third year of ballet. We all enjoyed her “Rockabye Baby” dance in the June recital. She is not as passionate about dance as her sister, but has a great time, especially since her best friend from school is also in her ballet class. DD2 still loves giant pandas, and has decided that she wants to be a “panda vet” when she grows up.

The kids and the Bonanza

DH added a glider rating to his private pilot certificate this year, and in January bought into a partnership in a Beechcraft A36 Bonanza. He has flown us away for some fun trips this year; up to see my parents in Washington, to Bryce Canyon National Park, and to various spots in California. DH is planning to fly us all to Indio, California for Christmas with both sets of grandparents. He still enjoys playing guitar.

Muddy October 2009

I still help breastfeeding mothers as a volunteer La Leche League Leader. I am also studying Web Development and helping in the classroom at school. I have devoted much of my time this fall to training and socializing our new Chesapeake Bay Retriever pup, Muddy.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Summer Ramblings

Another fun-filled summer!

The older two kids spent several weeks in June and July attending the KidsU summer camp at UNR. There were tons of choices of camps, and lots of kids they knew there. Good fun.

We camped with my ILs at Brown's Owens River campground for the 4th of July weekend. My FIL is on the Mammoth town council, so DS and DD1 rode with him on a float in the Mammoth parade and threw candy out to the crowd. We had a fun birthday party for my MIL at the campground and watched the fireworks.

Hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park

The following weekend we flew the Bonanza over to Bryce Canyon for the weekend. None of the kids had been there, and DH and I were last there 15 years ago. We did some hiking, took lots of pictures, saw a great ranger talk on trees, and basically just enjoyed exploring the park. Bryce Canyon is two days' drive from here, but totally do-able for a weekend with the plane.

Billabong Koala Park, NSW

Our next voyage was our biennial visit to Australia. We tried something new this time, and rented a motorhome. This was our most relaxing Oz trip with the kids! They are already used to that mode of travel, and we didn't have to deal with checking in and out of hotels or a disrupted schedule. We'll be doing it again in the future.

It would be very easy to take the kids to Australia every two years only to visit the same people and places every time. My rellies are fairly far-flung, so we don't have time to see everyone in two weeks. We try to visit different areas each trip.

This year we made a 10-day loop starting and ending in Sydney, with the following highlights:

The kids and the Bonanza

We flew the Bonanza over to the Bay Area and spent a long weekend in San Francisco. The King Tut exhibition was phenomenal!

Like last year, we spent the last week of August camping at La Pine State Park in central Oregon. The kids have decided that it's an annual visit now that we've been two years running. My parents, niece and nephew came down from Washington. It was a great week of camping. Newberry National Volcanic Monument and Crater Lake National Park were awesome.

We were supposed to stay through the weekend to meet up with some people from PUX, but ended up having to leave on Thursday for an important appointment on Friday. More on that later...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

1/18/98 - 6/1/09

I couldn't bring myself to blog this as a bullet-point in yesterday's "catchup" entry. Our dear Molly-monster is gone.

Molly as a puppyDH spoke about having a dog named Molly from the time we first met. Molly joined us around his birthday during the first year we were married. She was an "accident" puppy, one of the second(!) litter from an Airedale mother and the black Labrador male next door. At first she looked very much like a Lab, except for the loop in her tail. The Airedale looks crept in more as she grew. Her temperament definitely tended more towards her Airedale side!

DH and I were both working full-time (plus) when Molly became part of our family. She accompanied me to work as a pup, spending most of the day in her crate, but going out for regular breaks and a long walk/playtime over lunch.

We took "Puppy Manners" classes in the evenings her first year. There were five Bernese Mountain Dog littermates in our first series of classes. Those pups were giant teddybears, doing anything their owners asked. Molly, on the other hand, was a wild child. On the last day of class we played "pass the puppy." Each human took a turn running every puppy through their paces. The only other human who could get Molly to do anything had an Australian Shepherd. She climbed all over the Berner owners! We didn't feel quite so incompetent after that. (Looking back, this would have been a lesson to keep in mind when we became parents. It's not that those other people are better at parenting, but that they are working with a naturally more compliant temperament...)

Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park (NV)We took Molly car-camping a few times her first spring, and then on a backpacking trip when she was six months old. She had a blast! Every patch of snow we passed was an excuse to roll and scrabble around. "Molly-the-snow-dog" was one of her many monikers.

boatingMolly was a bundle of energy. When we still lived in WA we took her to the Marymoor Dog Area at least once a week. (There was even an espresso- and dog-treat-mobile in the parking lot!) She ran and ran and ran, keeping up with the whippets and greyhounds. We came to call the dog park "Mollymoor."

bubblesMolly was a star with the kids. High-energy, but gentle. Fun-loving. Patient. Her jaw was so soft that she couldn't keep a ball in her mouth while she ran. The nearest she ever came to biting was putting her open mouth on my forearm when I was pulling a thorn from her foot. (You can't blame her; I'm sure it hurt!)


Our poor puppy-friend succumbed to pelvic cancer. She went downhill very quickly. We were totally unprepared, especially so soon after Marilyn's death. DD2 told us that she couldn't play in the back yard anymore without Molly. Camping without her is weird. We expect to hear the jingle of her tags every time we open the back door. Three weeks later, her ghosts are still everywhere.

Leavenworth, WA
We will get another dog, but not quite yet. Kennedy has been given a stern talking-to about giving us some time before he goes (and about just not waking up one morning, rather than having some great health crisis that forces us to make the hard decision!).

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mid-year Update

Wow, it's been a long time since I updated this blog!

The ski weekend was great fun. The kids were fine at home with my ILs, and made it everywhere they were supposed to be while we were gone. We enjoyed the skiing and the companionship of good friends. My worries about not having skied for years were all for naught; apparently I'm in good enough shape to pick it up again without any problems.

We had so much fun skiing that we put all three kids in ski school; twice at Mammoth and once at Alpine Meadows. They had a blast, so we're looking forward to next season!

DD1 did her Primary level RAD exam in May. She had a great time, and was a little sad that she doesn't get to do another exam for two years. Both girls had their ballet recitals a couple of weeks ago. They were wonderful.

DS played in his first piano recital the day after the ballet recitals. It was a great experience; an intimate recital hall at the Steinway Gallery, friends there to hear him play, and cake afterwards. He was told to dress up, so he wore the suit we bought for his James Bond Halloween constume!

We flew up to Jefferson County, Washington to stay with my parents over Memorial Day weekend. This was our first family trip in the plane. We had a fun weekend and beautiful flights both ways. The cousins had a great time together. We stopped in Bend, OR on our way home to get lunch and visit the High Desert Museum. Central OR is a favorite area of ours, and we see the High Desert Museum on a fairly regular basis.

So far this year we've spent 9 nights in our popup camper. We usually stay at a KOA for Mother's Day weekend when they do their free night of camping fundraiser for camps for kids with cancer. This year we went to the Stockton Delta. We won a free weekend in a raffle, so ended up there two weekends in a row. We've also been to Eagle Lake a couple of times. It's rapidly becoming our favorite camping spot.

I haven't read many books lately. It's spring, so I'm caught in the grips of PCT journals (on postholer and TrailJournals). There are a couple of great reads I should mention: The Long Walk and Cactus Eaters.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Alone at last!

DH and I are on our way to Jackson Hole for a long weekend sans kids.
A friend has a house there, and several people are going for a week-
long ski trip. We're not quite ready to leave the kids for that long.
My ILs are holding down the fort. Writing down the kids' schedule for
four days made me realize why I'm always so tired! Between school
dropoff this morning and bedtime Monday there are swimming lessons,
swim club practice, piano lesson and ballet (not to mention homework
and daily music practice)!
I'm a little nervous about the actual skiing. I have new boots and new
ski clothes, but I haven't skiied since before DD1. And then only one
time since before DS. My last real ski season was 98-99. Ten years
ago! Ack!
I'm now two weeks into the semester in my Web Development class. It's
online, but we had a lab in the first week to get us up to speed with
the software. There's a kid who takes swimming lessons at the same
time as DS and DD2 who goes to their school, and his father is in my
class. Small world. Anyway, I'm really enjoying the "work." Moderately
lame class webpage at http:/www.tmcc.nevada.edu/~mccarro5/.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

New Year, New Adventure

As of yesterday, DH owns a one-third share of a Bonanza. He's looking forward to flying more (although he's been soaring a lot lately, and is almost ready for his checkride), and the rest of us are looking forward to the travel opportunities that will be open to us. He has some work to do to get up to speed in the Bonanza first.

DH has been preparing to buy into the partnership for a while now. He had a mechanic look things over, checked the title and logs, had some lawyers help with the partnership agreement, all that good stuff.

Over Thanksgiving weekend we borrowed the keys to the hangar, and went and made airplane noises. Our new partners are two very interesting retired couples. We're looking forward to getting to know them better.