Sunday, June 29, 2008

Visit with Grandpa Ball

This past weekend we had the pleasure of having Ed's dad visit us. It was great to show him our home and work and favorite places, and the girls just loved hanging out with him. Click here to see pictures of the visit and read about the things we did.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

It's Finally Summer!

Wow! What a beautiful day here in Western Washington! It was probably in the upper 70's, only a slight breeze, with a gorgeous blue sky! Elise was able to go in her new little pool for the first time this summer. It was a birthday gift from Grandpa Freeman and is just perfect for her. Becca likes to bounce around in it too, and Sarah & Bethany like to go in the neighbor's big above-ground pool across the street. Pictures from Elise enjoying her pool today are on our web album, so just click HERE!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Relay for Life

This weekend was the annual Relay for Life in Lynden, which is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. The girls created luminaria bags in honor of Aunt Joanne (who is fighting back against pancreatic cancer) and in memory of their Grandma Freeman (who passed away Dec. 12, 2007 from brain cancer). We went to Relay on Friday evening for a while...walked a bit and looked at bags...watched a local magician...talked to people. We went back around 10:00 for the luminaria ceremony. It began with a bag piper playing as he walked around the track and everyone followed behind. All the bags were lit and it was really beautiful. Then there was a prayer, a song, and testimonials by those in the community affected by cancer. We left at that point, but the next thing on the agenda was to read the list of over 2900 names that were on the luminaria bags. Becca had already fallen asleep, so we took off, but we were glad we went to experience the ceremony and honor Aunt Joanne and Ed's Mom.

A few weeks ago we sold Ed's mom & step-dad's bedroom set that we had been using for the last 10 years. We sold it on craigslist and donated the money from that sale to the Relay for Life in honor of his mom. We were grateful to have been able to use the bedroom set for so long and we are grateful for the American Cancer Society and all the oncologists and radiologists and researchers and doctors who treat people fighting cancer and who work for a cure. We are grateful for the memories we have of Ed's Mom and for the time we had with her. Please join us in praying for a cure for cancer and in praying especially for Aunt Joanne as she fights this very difficult battle.

Pictures of the girls and the bags are here. Have a great day!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Metal Mouth


And after...

Sarah got her braces today! She seems OK thus far, though I'm sure her mouth will get more sore before the callouses develop in there. She chose blue rubber bands, which is cool, for LC, but she actually chose that color because the name was "Cobalt Blue" and "Cobalt" was the name of a horse in a book she read. That's typical, I suppose. They gave her a t-shirt and a cool power toothbrush AND an IPOD NANO! But, she already has an ipod, and since I'm paying for the braces, I get it! I'm going to use it for GEMS mostly, though.
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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Two Day Get-a-way!

This past Monday and Tuesday we went on a mini family vacation. There are a number of things around the state of Washington that we'd like to do with the kids and had hoped to do some of them this summer. Becca was scheduled for a follow-up appointment at Children's Hospital for her arthritis and so we figured that since the van was going to Seattle anyway, we may as well take a couple days to do a couple things.

First of all, Becca's appointment brought great news! She has been discharged from the clinic since it has been so long since she has had severe active symptoms. This means her chances of developing Rheumatoid Arthritis as an adult have dropped about 40%! She still has to see the eye doctor every six months until she's 7 and every year after that, since inflammation of the iris can occur without any other active symptoms, and we're still able to call Children's at any time if she has another flare-up that cannot be controlled with ibuprofen. PTL for this great improvement in her health!

Once we found Ed, Sarah, Bethany, & Elise (they were in the sibling playroom, which I could not find; and cell phones don't work inside the hospital) we headed for the vacation portion of our get-a-way. If you click here, you'll be brought to a web album with lots of pictures and an overview of our trip! We arrived home again Tuesday evening and are just about done putting the house back in order after the GEMS camp and this little get-a-way. Enjoy the pictures and thanks for stopping by!


Well, you know how two-year-old's can be...
Hopefully she didn't mess up all of Dad's
technologically advanced VCR programming
for while they were gone to Hawaii...

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

GEMS Camp @ Camp Gilead in Carnation, WA

Sarah, Bethany, & I returned this afternoon from a weekend GEMS camp at Camp Gilead in Carnation, WA. We had a GREAT TIME!!! It was super-fun, we had good weather, met good people, and loved pretty much every minute of it. Okay, so the rustic cabins and bathrooms left a fair bit to be desired, and we desperately need to catch up on some sleep, but it was all well worth it! To see a few pictures that just don't quite capture the weekend (partially because my battery went dead and I couldn't take pictures for the last evening and morning and partially because pictures sometimes don't say 1000 words), click here. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

How many?

Mom & Dad, how many fish did you have in your tank? This one's your favorite, right? That's good.

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Living Room Re-arranged

I thought I should prepare you, Mom & Dad...when we were at your house the other day, Elise's sippy cup failed. She was drinking red the living room... above the white carpet...But, don't worry, though, we totally took care of the problem. We think the furniture looks good arranged like this, don't you?

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Taking care at Grandma & Grandpa's House

So, we went to my parents' house to do some tasks today
since they're on a big long luxury vacation on Kauai.
Bethany's task was to pick the pods off the fuschia plant.
Oops. It looks like maybe she was confused about
what exactly a "pod" is. Sorry, G&G!

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Monday, June 9, 2008

A historic day

I have to write this blog, just in case my parents happen to check it on their vacation. Mom & Dad - go to or and read about what happened in Lynden today. Apparently a huge fire broke out in the 3rd floor of Delft Square and the building is a total loss. The roof collapsed and as of 3:00 p.m. this afternoon the fire was still not under control and they were just trying to keep the neighboring businesses as safe as possible. They don't believe anyone was still in the building, thankfully.

We did not go to Lynden today because Sarah caught a stomach bug of some sort...don't know if it's a virus or food poisoning or what, but she threw up about 20-30 times in 5 1/2 hours during the night. So, she missed her first day of basketball camp. :( She slept a lot today and is now starting to perk up. I called Grandma to bring in your newspaper from yesterday, but I think the rest of the stuff can wait until tomorrow - considering it rained here about 5 inches today, I think. The report on the fire said that the fire-fighters were aided by the rain.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Happy To You, Leesie!

That is how Elise sings Happy Birthday to herself. It's so cute. And then you ask her how old she is and she says "Two. Almots" (That's not a typo - that's how she says it.) Until yesterday and then she said "Two. TOMORROW!" Until today and now she just says "TWO!" She's had multiple celebrations...last week Sunday with Grandma & Grandpa DJ, Great-Grandma S. and Aunt Nancy & Uncle Jim, and then yesterday we had our traditional meal out/opening present deal with just the six of us. Click here to see some pictures of that! Today we were honored to attend the Bellingham URC church to witness the baptism of our friends' new baby. We had a nice lunch there with them and their family and more friends and everyone was telling her Happy Birthday so much that I think she thought the celebration, cake, and goodies were all for her! Thanks to everyone who sent her cards and gifts and called to wish her a happy birthday! It is good to know she is so loved...because let's face it...sometimes she is not an easy two-year-old!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Take Me Out to the Ballgame...

...or just to the field nearby, anyway. Last night was Logos Family Fun Night at opening night of the Bellingham Bells game (they used to be a farm team for the Mariners...Ken Griffey Jr. got his start there in 1987). It was bad concession food...but hey! It was free! We arrived in time to watch a Logos employee throw out the first pitch. Then we stood in line for a long time to get the free hamburgers and hotdogs that came with our tickets from Logos. Unfortunately the Logos people weren't all seated together and since it was opening night and there was a big new local hitter playing for the Bells, the park was packed. In years past we've been able to just sit wherever we wanted in the stands and mingle about with Logos employees. This was not the case this year! We were seated in the top corner, right where the wind came rushing into the stands. So, as soon as we finished our food, we got up and went over to the lawn seating area.
This is where the kids had a good time! It was sunny and less windy there, plus there was this great hill, which as you can see the kids took advantage of! We lost an earring and almost an eye, but we had fun!

Even Elise tried to roll down the hill. She didn't quite understand the concept, however, and proceeded to get lots of grass stains on the backside of her jeans. After they got tired of rolling, we went and sat by some friends from Logos for a bit (on the steps inbetween the bleachers) until Elise got sick of that and almost went tumbling down. We went home at that point, but it was a good evening out together.

Oh. And the Bells got stomped on, 11-1. The fancy new player did manage to have the first hit of the inning when they managed to lump together 3 hits and score their one and only run. The coach's excuse? "We haven't been outside for a month because of the rain." And what about the other team? They're from Everett...rains there more than here.
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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Sarah's last day in the elementary school!

During Sarah's class' end-of-the-year party, her teacher asked each student to say their favorite part of 4th grade and what they were looking forward to this summer. Sarah's answers: "Art and GEMS camp."

Sarah with her great & challenging 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Kramer.

Last day of school!

Today was the last day of school for Sarah, Bethany, & Rebecca! Becca was supposed to have a picnic at Hovander Park (which was supposed to be Tuesday but was postponed due to rain) but it was cancelled due to rain again! I asked my mom how often that has happened, and this was only the second time in 20 years that she's had a class miss their picnic...and there are four classes every year so that's 2 out of 80! That's a pretty good percentage! I was really looking forward to it, too...I've heard about the preschool picnic to Hovander for 20 years and thought I was finally going to get to go. But I guess I have to wait another year. The kids were fine, though. They got to have lunch at school (twice in one week!) and then they played games and blew bubbles IN THE GARAGE!

Becca loves her teacher! And she would even if teacher weren't also grandma!

Bethany and one of her best friends, Kylee. They enjoyed their ice cream party today!

Bethany's 2nd grade class...(1 of 3, but this one is the best one!)

Bethany with her fabulous 2nd grade teacher, Jennie Meenderinck. We love her! Sarah had her and we pray both Becca & Elise will have her some day too. She's not allowed to quit teaching until then...then maybe I'll attempt to fill her shoes. ;)

Tub Time!

Aren't they just so cute?
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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Go Blue!

This past Friday was Field Day at Sarah & Bethany's elementary school and it was loads of fun! Grades 1-4 are divided into 3 teams: Red, White, and Blue. Each color is divided into 8 teams, so you have Red #1, White #1, Blue #1, Red #2, and so on. Sarah & Bethany were both on Blue #6 and I was able to be a Team Coach for Blue #6! We had a great time doing things like tug-of-war, the sponge relay, an obstacle course, team pyramids, etc. The teachers run the events and turn in scores after each round to an "official scorekeeper" and one color is declared the winner! This year BLUE won, which is odd, because RED has won every year for at least the last 3 years, but that's because the Hollanders like to all be on the same team, and well, if you know that family, you know that they're very competitive and very tall and they always win. I guess this year we either had some on the BLUE team or too many of them are now out of elementary school and on to bigger and better things in the middle school. It was a great day, with good weather, and lots of smiles!
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Elise is (almost) TWO!

This past Sunday we celebrated Elise's birthday with her grandparents, Julie's Grandma, aunt, & uncle. It was a little early, but since G&G are headed to Hawaii soon, we had to have the party! Elise was thrilled with her "Ee-Ee" cake (that's what she calls Monkeys because that's what monkeys 'say').

Elise also enjoyed opening her presents, and of course her sisters tried their best to get their hands on everything she got. This is a doll she got from Aunt Nancy & Uncle Jim, which laughs when you push her tummy. The cutest part is that it sounds just like cousin Josh's laugh!
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And also Bethany

Here is Bethany playing "The Two Grenadiers" from Susuki Book II.

More recitals!

Last week Thursday evening was the piano & violin recital for Sarah & Bethany. They did a super job, as usual, and we are very proud of their hard work over the past 9 months. We thought you might like to hear their performances! Here is Sarah playing "So There!"