Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Guess Who?

I was born on September 1st in Denver, CO.
My favorite book is Mark of Athena.
In my spare time I like to read,watch TV, and play video games.
My favorite food is Macaroni & Cheese with sausage.
My favorite pet is a blue and gold macaw named Pancho.
I like cheetahs and dislike camels.
I understand greek mythology but
don’t understand the difference between ancient Egypt and Kush.
I am Hunter R. Lavallee.

At the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island in September

Hunter had to write up a short biography on himself for a class at school.  The only thing he got wrong was his birthday.  It's close, but not quite right, ha ha.  He appears to be thriving in middle school, which is a great relief.  I was determined to homeschool him, as I couldn't imagine him being successful with many classes throughout the day and the required organization, nor could I imagine him not being bullied.  But, we've been pleasantly surprised that he is doing okay.  The sixth grade teachers seem to give them a bit of a break since this is their first year out of elementary school.  One punk in PE has been giving him a bit of trouble.  I advised him to learn the punk's name, and look him in the eye every day and greet him.  He's been doing that, and then goes somewhere else in the gym to avoid the punk.  I guess it is more or less working. 

At the Pacific Science Center in Seattle during the summer

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Dress the Bear

Dean loves having a little girl.  He gets to dress dolls and bears at her beck and call.
At the end of fifth grade, the students were to act out a person from history or now whom they admire.  Hunter chose Rick Riordan, his favorite author.  They were to dress in costume.  For some reason, instead of using his own dress clothes, he let his teacher bring some from home. 
I sure love being able to buy dresses now for our little girl.  She loves dresses and skirts and shoes and jewelry as well.
We survived another Pinewood Derby, and with a professional woodworker to help Hunter make the car, he did alright. 
I've been a den leader since December.

Summer Sojourn

 We finally visited Yellowstone this summer.  It was amazing!  I didn't know what to expect, but we were all delighted.  Of all the glorious sights to see, Old Faithful was the least impressive, at least for me.  Tristan spent his time gathering weapons and searching for dragons.
 I may have told him that the steam from the boiling lakes and the many holes in the ground were from dragons.  That kept his interest for the four days we were there.
 We saw many bison and elk.
 The weather was warm some days, and cold on others.
 Cambria did pretty well, considering.
 Shoes are always an issue.
 There are many more wonders than just geysers, such as waterfalls, a grand canyon, and the bacteria that color many of the hot water features.
 There was some real excitement when a bear came close enough to see (with a zoom lens).  A ranger posted himself nearby, since so many people are lacking in common sense and plenty of such people have died in the park over the years.  There are books on the subject.
 Afterward we drove through Grand Tetons National Park, though didn't have time to stop.  It was at the end of the day anyway, and we had a bit of a schedule to keep. 
 While passing through Paris, ID we happened upon an LDS tabernacle and stopped for a lovely tour.
 The kids sometimes all had to share a bed, and did surprisingly well with that.  I can't see doing that much longer, but it worked this summer.  I don't know how people with large families travel much.  We also met my cousin Cindy in Logan, who invited us to come visit as we were traveling that direction on our way to Salt Lake City .  She treated us to an ice creamery near the Utah State University, as well as swimming, dinner, and accommodations for the night.  We also got to tour the fire station where her husband is the captain, and meet two of her sons. 
 Sadly, we had to part ways with Dean in Salt Lake City, as he had to get back to work.  So the children and I continued our long journey on our own.  I went to the temple while in SLC, which is always amazing.  I got to go again with Jessica S. in Albuquerque, which was a treat.  Dean kept himself plenty occupied while at home alone.
 We spent several days in Sierra Vista, AZ visiting ol' Curtis and his family.  He took us to the border of Mexico here.  Tristan and Cambria like having cousins their same ages and genders.
 We celebrated Tristan's birthday (again) while at Curtis'. 
 Dramatics and emotions abound with our little lady, and I love it!
 We stayed through Independence Day and got to see the fabulous fireworks.
 A few people got sick and passed it around a bit, including poor Trist-man and Kyler.  That helped him to keep quiet except for some moaning when we made the long drive to Ramah.
 Fortunately, my kids generally sleep more when they are ill.
 We finally got to Ramah and spent time with the Hernandez cousins and the Grandparents Merrill
 and of course Ronelle :)
 She went hiking with us on El Morro.  Tristan was reluctant,
 but we pointed out a dragon and he was game.
 We also stopped in St. George, UT and visited more cousins.
 My kids got along well with Kandra's.
 I got to peruse my mom's photo albums and ran across these of myself.

 Yup, that's me.  It's no wonder I was mistaken for a boy when I was drowning in the ocean off California.
 That's still me on the left.

These are all the reasons I have kept my hair long for most of my adult life.
I finally decided to let it go and cut it while in Ramah.  It's grown out an inch or so here from what it was.  I love it, and really enjoy the convenience of having shorter hair.  
We drove back home from Albuquerque in two days - about 1500 miles. We stopped in Pocatello, ID to visit my friend Lori.  I drove over 900 miles the second day, arriving home around 3:30am.  Ugh.  I don't recommend it, and definitely had to rely on Dr. Pepper and a book on CD to do it.  It was nice to get home!  We were gone for a  month.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Terrific Twos

This little lady turned two on June 14th, so we had a little party for her.  Her little friends came, and she and Tristan have had nonstop fun with a bubble machine from them. 
She hardly knows what birthdays and opening presents are all about,
but Tristman certainly does.  So Grandma Dee got him some shark presents  since his big day is coming right up and we'll be gone.  We gave him some shark and dinosaur pop up books which all the boys like. He is interested in sharks and dinosaurs at the moment. 
The Hildebrands came up for the occasion, and Cambria loves the Care Bear.
Pancho even made an appearance and behaved himself.
Bro and Patti came all the way from Portland.  The kids have been dabbling in the sprinkler fun they gave her - perfect for summer.
Cambria got a little help from Uncle Bro to blow out the tealight candles on her cake.
Hunter played Monopoly inside with the Hildebrand girls, so no photos of him.  Josh took all these fabulous pictures, and Cambria loves the puppy puppet from him.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Orcas Island

Dean and I took a much-needed weekend vacation with just ourselves up to the San Juan Islands.
 Taking the ferry is always kind of fun, and the only way to get there unless you take your own boat.  It was also $60 one way, but fortunately no charge the other way.  There was certainly no "fast food" on the island, and we paid a lot for some fine fare.  If we go back with the kids, we'll spend more time at the local grocery store.
 We hit up the farmer's market on Saturday at lunch time and had some Ecuadorian and other ethnic food, super yum!
The community theater happened to be putting on 7 short plays at once, so for $5 a head, we partook.  The acting was pretty good, the story lines were okay.
 The view from Constitution Peak was amazing, but it's kinda like trying to take a picture of the Grand Canyon.  We also went kayaking for an hour, and apparently did several miles in that hour, and found some starfish.  Dean grabbed one from the water.  They are really hard all the time - not just when they are dead. 
 We hiked to some lovely waterfalls, and even got a bit lost trying to find our way back to the parking lot on all the trails.  We stayed in a pet-friendly B&B, which meant we got to listen to people taking their dogs in and out at all hours of the night and morning.  Otherwise it was lovely, and we even lucked out with some gluten-free waffles because of another gluten-free guest.
 We ended up missing the ferry fairly closely each way and had to wait around 3+ hours each time for the next one.  That would have been beyond awful with the kids, but on our own we were able to nap in the car, frolick along the shore and watch other ferries come and go, read, and enjoy the peace!

 We were happy to be reunited with the little people though, and are very grateful to Dee and David for taking care of them for three days so we could do this!
There's my darling enjoying a breezy nap above the water while waiting for our return ferry.