Friday, March 30, 2012

Long Overdue

Here is a recap of 2011 (since I didn't blog once last year) and a little bit about how we're doing.


While Donald was still in Iraq

the kids and I celebrated Christmas and rang in the New Year in Rochester, NY with my brother and his awesome family. The cousins got to spend lots of time playing and the mommies got to visit and share in the parenting/housekeeping responsibilities which Jen and I both enjoyed. We enjoyed the snow and went to the Museum of Play, which was awesome!

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 Tacoma and a 3 hr drive home. But the time spent with family was well worth the hassle of getting home!

This was the plane we flew in...the seats fold out from the sides. After take off we all laid out blankets and slept on the floor.

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....

Nothing says St. Patrick's Day like a good game of Twister!

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.

The Mayne and Poston clans minus Jess (taking picture) and Donald (deployed).

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.

Randy, Cynthia, Me, Sophie, Grandma, Mom, Sara, Lisa and Dad.

June 2 days before Donald returned home Sophie fell off the bottom bunk of the bunkbed and broke her arm.

Here's a picture of my little trouble maker and a Costco container of grape tomatoes.
She'd taken a bite out of almost every single tomato. :-/


Luckily I got one decent picture of James. :-)

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:

Lisa, Sara, Me, Mom, Dad, Cynthia, Wendy, Chris

Here we are at Ape Caves near Mount Ranier.

James Baptism:

Glad so many family members could be there for his special day.

and Donald, James, Claire and Hannah’s bdays:

Here's an action shot of Hannah and Claire huffing and puffing.

Enjoying some Kapaw's Ice cream by the Coupeville Wharf...
almost time to go back to school.

Jillian and I chopped off our hair and donated it to Locks of Love.

September- Back to school!!!

Donald, James and Jillian went backpacking in Colorado for a week, and had a blast...despite a bad storm that forced them to hike out sooner than planned.

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.

James with his throwing star.

Jillian and Piper
Two cutie patooties!

November Donald’s parent came to visit for Thanksgiving week. It was so great to have them here.
Here is the Gratitude Turkey.
The kids told us what they were grateful for and I wrote it on feathers which they decorated. The only poster board I had was hot pink on one side and yellow on the other, hence the neon years past he hasn't been quite so flashy.

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.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Day
The girls are wearing dresses that Grandma Mayne made for them.

Sledding!!! That's Jillian and Hannah on Donald's back, with James giving them a little push.

This year:

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.

Powerful Birds
by James Mayne

Is that an eagle soaring high?
With bristling wings and bright green eyes.
Its yellow beak,
its great black chest,
its frightful face,
its golden nest,
The nice white legs,
The loyal
Powerful bird,
It's here! It's here!
The nest is here!
Beautiful things,
The creatures of wings,
Their claws of