Tuesday, December 6, 2016
We are in our 2nd yr. of Donald's unaccompanied tour to Japan. He has spent the majority of his time with VAQ 141 on the USS George Washington (now in Norfolk for RCOH) and USS Ronald Reagan. We've been lucky enough to stay her on beautiful Whidbey Island during his absence. We've visited Donald twice this year, and have loved the opportunity to explore the beautiful country of Japan, and learn more about theJapanese people. Donald was able o return home for a week in August and will be home for a couple weeks at Christmas.
Jillian (14) has caught her stride, is excelling academically, and had a great freshman volleyball season. Her biggest interests are music, reading, humanitarian work, and writing. She is an old soul in a young body, and I love our conversations together.
James (13) is an energetic, fun loving, goof ball. He loves music, math, track & field, drama club, and drawing. He's very dedicated, creative artist, and I love seeing a little of what's rolling around in that brain of his. He not only has a hefty role in the | upcoming drama production, but also did the set design sketches.
Claire (11) loves school, running, piano, baking, fashion, and basketball. Whatever she does, she gives it 100%. She is my reliable little go-getter, always willing to help. She is rocking he first year of middle school, with her lowest grade being a 97%!
Hannah (11) is my passionate, introspective, animal lover. She is a talented reader and writer, who loves performing, being outside with her horse, Cody, and playing piano. She's playing trumpet in the school band, and is participating in drama for the 3rd year. Last winter she was Jim Hawkins in the school production of Treasure Island and had a solo.
Sophia (7) is a gregarious, energetic 2nd grader. She LOVES stories; Telling them, hearing them, and writing them. She has never met a stranger, and is curious about everything. Her favorite things are talking, playing games, elephants, math, PE, and recess.
I am staying busy with the kids, house, yard/garden, piano students, accompanying the high school choir and church congregation. I also run regularly to burn off the crazy. Donald will be in Japan a little longer, after which time he'll rejoin us on Whidbey to finish his military career. He is doing great things as a career counselor and was just named sailor of the year.
Friday, March 30, 2012
While Donald was still in
the kids and I celebrated Christmas and rang in the New Year in
We travelled via Space A military flights. See picture below...It was quite the adventure trying to get a flight home. We had multiple delayed flights and finally went to the airport early on a Sat. to catch our 9am flight which ended up being delayed until midnight that night. It was a really long day for the kids and me at the airport…followed by an overnight flight (w/ layover) back to
The kids began dancing with a Scandinavian Folk dance group in Jan...They had lots of fun and looked super cute in their costumes.
In February we reached what we thought was the halfway point of Donald’s deployment. I started swimming again...with my friend Kamie, started teaching piano lessons and we got snowed in.
March Here are some St. Patty's Day pictures....
Jillian turned 9. Here she is celebrating her B-day at Red Robin. She got her ears pierced for her bday.
April The kids and I took a road trip to visit my friends Jessica and Steve Poston…who I hadn’t seen in over ten yrs. We had a great time and the kids got along fabulously. They took us to The OMSI...we could have spent days there! The trip made me grateful for true friends, those who you can enjoy and feel so comfortable around no matter how long it’s been since last connecting.
May Donald was supposed to come home…we found out, 2 days before projected departure (their squadron was all packed up, he’d even boxed up his office and computer) they’d be staying…with no known return day. L It was tough for me, but so much harder on the kids. We always have a countdown chain (which has a few extra rings on, b/c I’ve learned) but telling the kids we didn’t know when he’d be coming home was rough.
I went to CA for my Grandma’s 90 birthday party. It was great to have a few days off from the 4 big kids and get to hang out with family and enjoy the sunshine.
June 2 days before Donald returned home Sophie fell off the bottom bunk of the bunkbed and broke her arm.
July DONALD CAME HOME!!!
August was busy as usual. It started off with the Whidbey Island Tri- I got a person best, but it felt pretty rough. Then the Swarthout Family Reunion:
and Donald, James, Claire and Hannah’s bdays:
Here's an action shot of Hannah and Claire huffing and puffing.
September- Back to school!!!
Donald, James and Jillian went backpacking in
October- Halloween! I made (and decorated w/ glitter) Jillian, James, and Claire's costumes. I was pleased with them, but very glad we already had fairy and butterfly costumes.
December- Always busy with parties, recitals and Christmas. I was in charge of the Christmas program at church. It went well, although there were a few little logistical glitches w/ people getting up/leaving the stand.
Sledding!!! That's Jillian and Hannah on Donald's back, with James giving them a little push.
Donald has changed commands and is in the middle of his shore duty (no deployments for 3 yrs! Yippee!!). He's been doing great at work, he's also taking prerequisite classes to get into nursing school (either while in the Navy or when we get out), and started mountain biking regularly (we live 2 ½ miles from the kettle trails, so it’s fun and convenient).
Sophie and I have started running with the running club on base and I’m enjoying running more than I have in the past 20 yrs. I've been spending as much time as possible working in the garden/yard, getting things ready for the warmer weather. I'm really looking forward to those warmer, longer days.
Jillian turned 10 in March. She loves the 4th grade, her teacher and science club, she’s an avid reader…in fact, one of the few things she gets in trouble for is reading when she should be doing other things. She’s getting very proficient in her piano playing…although she broke her arm a few weeks ago in a downhill bike crash. She’s handling the break well, and hasn’t let it slow her down at all (I’ve had to lay down the law…no rollerblading or running.)
James is 8 and has been doing really well w/ violin and tumbling. He’s a little character. He’s the youngest and smallest in his 3rd grade class…and there were times when I thought maybe I should have held him back a yr., because of those things, but he’s thriving in school. He’s also my little artist (although he, Claire and Jillian all are great drawers). He just placed 2nd in the “Celebrate Writing Contest” in the 3rd-5th grade division.
Claire is my little student. She loves everything about it. Her teacher, the structure, the challenge of it all, the learning. She’s our little math whiz. She’s an intense itty bitty spit fire of a 6 yr. old. She, Hannah and James are all in tumbling right now, and she’s about ready to pass up James skill wise.
Hannah is my little sponge. She's very observant and absorbs knowledge like no one I’ve ever seen. She loves to read and is our little mother hen. She’s also very affectionate, loving, and sweet and always the first to try to help or comfort others when they’re upset. Her teacher told me she was having trouble getting an autistic boy to stop wandering around the classroom. Hannah came up with a game to help the boy remember to stay in his seat while they’re, and it’s working brilliantly. J
Sophia has mastered the art of fit throwing…although they never last long (thank goodness). She is a great talker. It’s very rare that I can’t understand her, which was not the case when my others were this age. She’s a lot of fun and loves music. Sometimes I’ll be singing, whistling or humming while doing things around the house and she’ll come up to me and say, “Tank you, mommy, for doing dat song. I weally like it!” She is enamored with James violin and will hold it and “play” it any chance she gets. She can get a decent tone out of it too, so we might have another violinist in the family.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
And I think Lisa (first time triathlete) was just happy to be done, and will never let us talk her into doing anything ever again. She was a very good sport about it.