Sunday, May 28, 2017

Hannah graduated!

Hi Friends,

We have exciting family news.  Hannah graduated! She worked hard for this in spite of not feeling well most days, she persevered through it to the end, and Eric and I are so proud of her.  

She decided that a simple celebration at home was what she wanted.  She and I had fun planning and shopping for the day.  She wanted a theme of pastel colors and sparkles.  
She adores the Latin phrase "Carpe Diem" so that had to be part of the day too, of course.

We printed various pictures of her and with her siblings and special friends.

The menu was simple too.  Chips and salsa, crackers with cheese and salami, mini lemon cupcakes with vanilla frosting, fruit loops, water, and coffee.  Nothing nutritious, but all fun.

silly snap-chatters.

It meant a lot that Roger re-arranged his work schedule and Caleb drove up from Portland so they could be there.  Sarah was able to be there too, but sadly, I didn't get pictures of her.

Grammy and Uncle Bill came too.  We were so happy they could come to celebrate.

Hannah made these cute tissue paper flowers (thank you, Pinterest.)

We found these artsy bistro lights at Target.

Eric said a few special words and presented Hannah with her diploma.  I am not an eloquent speaker, in fact, it rather terrifies me. I also knew that I would likely cry, so I kept mine short and sweet and told her how much I loved her, how proud I am of her, and how much I admire her for the beautiful, young woman she has become.
Hannah decided that for her "speech" she would give her testimony.  Unbeknownst to many, including Eric and me until recently, she came from a very dark place of depression and despair, but our Heavenly Father, who so tenderly loves her, intervened.  If you would like to read her testimony, she posted about the graduation day on her blog and included her testimony.  You can visit her blog here.

Best friends

Long time family friends

Once everyone left, and just family remained, Hannah opened gifts and read all the cards with the sweetest of sentiments.  

It was such a lovely day.  Not only was it sunny and mild (always a plus) so that the guests could meander outside, if they wanted, but the show of so many people meant a lot to Hannah.  We live far away from most of our friends and family so the effort they all made in order to honor Hannah was very touching.  To say "it meant a lot" doesn't really express how special it made her feel.

And now... some more adventures await.  She and Matthew will be traveling to the East Coast. They'll visit family in various places and end their trip with a visit with a special friend in Boston.

She hopes to attend community college in the fall.  She isn't sure which avenue to pursue, but hopes by taking some classes she'll find a specific interest.

High School graduation is such a mile-stone in a young person's life.  It's a time when they are on the verge of leaving childhood and advancing into adulthood.  Not that parents aren't there to help any longer, but it's a different season to be sure.  We are just here to support and give advice when asked.
I am thankful I've been able to homeschool our children, not because I am a great teacher, but because of the time I have been privileged to spend with them daily.  Adult children have schedules of their own - jobs with lots of hours, and school study with even more hours.  I rejoice in the grand accomplishment of high school graduation, but at the same time, I grieve just a little knowing that I probably won't have the luxury of extended time with them very often.
I am so blessed to be their mom...and friend.

- Carol    


Friday, May 26, 2017

So Cal

Hi There! 

So - we went to CALIFORNIA!  😀
The original reason for planning the trip was for the skate race - The Catalina Classic. 
We found out about that race a couple of years ago, and since then have wanted to go. 
AND...Eric and I spent our honeymoon on Catalina Island so we are especially fond of that place. 

We packed a lot of fun into 6 days.
We arrived to sunny and 80.  The perfect kind of pool weather. 
I think they had their swimsuits on in five seconds flat!

Floating and splashing, catching up with Karen, and then walking the neighborhood in the warm evening air were the perfect ways to spend our first day.

. . . . 

Of course, a trip to Cali calls for a beach day!
We went to Point Dume Beach (Malibu area.)  It was sunny and beautiful.  Amazingly we saw some dolphins. Abbie and I were standing at the water's edge when we saw three of them inside the wave surfing with the surfers.  Eric walked the beach with Dan and they saw a mama whale with her baby.  

Stephanie and Duke joined us too.  We soaked in the sunshine and chatted about life's happenings. Such a sweet time.

I remember as a girl, spending the day at the beach with friends, and then heading home in a hot car, all sweaty and sandy only to jump into the cool pool once we got back.  And our kids are no different. 😁

. . . .

We decided to check out some coffee spots the next day.
The Paramount Coffee Project rotates featured roasters so we wanted to know what we could do to get into that line up.  (More on this in the future.)
I applaud whoever dreamed up coffee art.  It's brilliant (and so fun!)

milkshakes for the girls.

The vibe was totally artsy-coffee.

It was right by the original Farmer's Market (Fairfax area) so we strolled through to check it out. Walking outside in the sunshine was like a balm for me.  

Favorite store for the girls?  The American Girl store.  I thought these dolls were darling.  They are called Wellies.  I like Camille.

The flowers were so fragrant and pretty.  Spring is a beautiful time to visit.

and then on the way home...
Did you know that they have a secret menu?  Eric and Dan ordered 4x4s with animal fries.
The three little girls had their first In-n-Out burger and fries.

And then... more swimming.

 . . . .

The long awaited and anticipated Catalina Classic...
We left the house bright and early - driving to Newport so we could catch the Catalina Flyer over to the island.

Since our arrival the days had been sunny and hot, but the temperatures cooled.  It was partially sunny and just about 65.  (actually that's pretty nice weather for sitting and watching - otherwise we could have baked.)

This was a bitter-sweet day.  To actually be at the Catalina Classic, but...not to race.  Eric tried to soak in all the details in hopes of maybe returning another time. (next year?)

The emcee was quite funny and had lots of little bits of information to share.   Maryhill doesn't have anything like this so this aspect made things a little more fun and interesting.

What's better than tacos on the beach?  Tacos on the beach with your best friend.

The race is all weekend, but we only went over for Friday.  Back on the Newport side we hung out for a bit to wait out the traffic.  They had Balboa Bars, of course.

Hannah and Dan raced up the palm trees in the Fun Zone.

Before we hit the freeways, we stopped in at Kean Coffee.  Oh my!  #coffeegoals.
Loved this coffee house!  No photos, sorry, but if ever you are in Newport Beach and want a coffee, you should go.

. . . .

Our next day was a slow day.  Here are some highlights...
Pool time.

wild peacocks

heavenly smelling jasmine

and the friendly neighbor's horse

. . . .

We were able to squeeze in a day with Mom and Bill.  They had just returned from a trip to Spain. We were so glad that our trips weren't at the same time!  We decided to spend the day at the Griffith Park Observatory.  We weren't sure about the weather - the forecast was for major thunderstorms and rain. We know a little about rain - so we decided to go anyway.
We found some street parking, and took the Dash bus up to the top. (That is the way to do it!) Rumor had it that since the filming of La La Land, admission was no longer free, but that was just a rumor.

The panoramic views were amazing.  And it's always so fun to see the Hollywood sign.

The little girls used Dan as a May pole.  He was only slightly amused.

The exhibits are very well done.

The planetarium show was great. (this isn't free, but worth it.)

The brightest of blue skies and the biggest, puffiest clouds ever were in one part of the sky.

a bit grayer and more threatening in other parts.

we felt only a sprinkle while waiting for the return Dash bus.

Such a fun day spent with our special people.

We passed by Blue Bottle while walking back to our cars - so of course, coffee was enjoyed!

Mom and Bill had concert plans that night, and we had church plans, so we hugged and said our good-byes. 😢

Enjoyed a great church service at Grace Community and some coffee from Steeple House.

and then the continued Monopoly game resumed.

These two are hard-core Monopoly players!  They show no mercy.  (not really - they are super fun to play with!)

. . . .
Some of my favorite things about So Cal that I really miss are palm trees

and the blooming jacaranda trees

 the beach

and some of my favorite people.

. . . .

Before we knew it we were hugging and saying Good-byes again and headed for the friendly skies.

This is Mary as the plane lifted off the ground.

I love to see all the swimming pools.  So long Sweet California.

Hello Seattle.  We came home to sunny and 70!  YAY!

 We came home and hit the ground running.   Back into work and school and... life.


Happy almost weekend.
- Carol