Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Reel Irish Girls Dance

Yes, I do know that isn't the correct spelling of "real" ... I did that on purpose as a nod to Annika's Irish dancing.

One of the text updates from Bestefar included this little video snippet of Annika participating in an Irish dancing event, which is part of their Dublin stay. Posting it here so Annika can pop back now and then (if she wants to) to spark her memories of this amazing trip!

Before Annika left, I found myself re-reading the itinerary for their tour and when I saw the reference to the Irish dancing, a tear came to my eye. Not because we'd miss her (which we do, of course!), but because I got such a strong mental image of her dancing and smiling from ear to ear... in Ireland. It made my heart so happy to know she'd be dancing in the land this style originated ... with people who still live there and carry on the culture. My grandmother's parents were born in Ireland in the 1800s, and Annika being there seems to connect her to our family's past generations.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Home Town Tourists

While Annika is off jet-setting with Bestemor and Bestefar, the reaming three members of the Olson Four hunkered down for a Seattle-based weekend,

Eric got his shingles vaccine Friday evening and felt the effects of it Saturday. (Fortunately, the "get ready to feel like you got hit by a truck" scenario didn't come to fruition, but he definitely didn't feel great on Saturday.) Knowing that Eric would be feeling cruddy on Saturday, Conor and I made plans to go to Archie McPhee (we are slacker parents and had yet to take our kid there!) and then to Molly Moon's for some ice cream.

As an added bonus, we went on our adventure with another family from the kids' school. Playing hometown tourist is great. Playing hometown tourist with friends is even better!! (Thanks for going along with us, Kate, Sophia, and Ben!)

If you've never been to Archie McPhee, you must go there! It's quirky, zany, and altogether goofy! There are pranks galore, silly hats and masks aplenty, and more "why on earth would I have an excuse to need this" items than you can shake a stick at. (Note: Giggles abound at Archie McPhee ... A-BOUND!!) Oh, and did I mention the rubber chicken museum wall? People, you really need to go!!

Our fierce viking boy

Oh deer!

Has anyone seen Conor?

I've heard of chicken fingers, but duck fingers?????
That's a new one to me!

We followed up our Archie McPhee expedition with some much-needed ice cream. It was sunny ... of course we NEEDED ice cream!! The kids happily sat at the window licking their desserts, completely oblivious to the rivers of sticky melted ice cream running down their chins and arms. When spots opened up outside, the kids bolted to the "grassy" area and swings. (The people who designed this ice cream store, really had kids in mind!!) A perfect summer day experience for kiddos, if you ask me!
Conor slurping up the last of his ice cream while lounging on a swing

Annika's Irish Adventure - Part 1

For over a year, we have known Annika would travel to Ireland with Bestefar and Bestemor this summer. When their trip was "next month", it seemed unreal. When their trip was "this week", we could barely comprehend the concept. Last Friday, I drove the three travelers to the airport and still couldn't believe the time had finally arrived ... even after the sleepless nights filled with "what did we forget to pack/tell her/tell them????" thoughts!

They flew from Seattle to Vancouver, BC, and after a 3+ hour layover, flew on to Dublin. Talk about a long day! From the sounds of things (a big thanks to Eric's dad for sending us update texts!), their trip has gone swimmingly so far and they are having a marvelous time. At the time of this post, they are settling in for their last night in Dublin and will head to County Cork tomorrow.

Ready to depart

Off they go!

Thanks to modern technology, we could watch the progress of their flights

From what we can tell from the texts and photos sent to us, their hotel is quite swanky (including Annika having her own room!). Eric's mom very sweetly offered to stay in the room with Annika (they have adjoining rooms, so not like the rooms are exactly far apart), but Annika was very happy to spread her wings a bit and sleep in a room by herself.

Showered and ready to take on Dublin!

Their first day was a get settled and "get our feet under us" sort of day. Bestemor, Bestefar, and Annika got into their hotel, explored Dublin a bit, and had dinner at a restaurant called "Matt the Thrasher".
Bestemor and Annika at dinner

Bestefar doing Ireland the right way!

The second day of their trip was the first day of the official tour. They rode a duck (the vehicle, not the bird!) and ... how appropriate .... the tour was Viking themed!
Their viking tour guide

The bus full of viking hats makes me giggle

Annika and her new friend Audrey

Bestefar told them to give him their fiercest "arggg!" ...
apparently the girls are very happy arggg''ers!
This morning, I was greeted with a text from Bestefar that showed Annika in a Irish wool shop (hello, Heaven!)

Isn't the neckline on this on this sweater stunning???

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Finally Posting Last Day of School Pics

To say life has been moving at turbo speed since the kids got out of school would be an understatement. It seems that we hardly have inhaled and exhaled twice since their last day of school, which was 11 days ago. Wha??

On June 14th, Conor wrapped up being a 3rd grader and Annika completed 5th grade (and her elementary school career). The kids learned so much over this school year. Conor's class studied things like fractions and division, plant growth and the environment, cursive, and Native American history. Annika's class dove into the history of the U.S. colonies and the Revolutionary War, literature (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and prose), performed Macbeth, graphing mathematical stats, and wrote their own novels as part of the Nanowrimo program. Talk about a full year!!

Both kids had AMAZING teacher this year and while we are excited to see what's next for them, leaving those teachers' classrooms is bittersweet. Ms. Fairbanks (3rd grade) and Ms. Adler (5th grade) are both dedicated teachers who practically ooze patience and kindness. When Annika finished 3rd grade, we were consoled knowing Conor would be in Ms. Fairbanks' class in 2 years. We have the same consolation with Ms. Adler ... Annika is done, but Conor is right around the corner of being in her class. (OK, two corners...) To both of these fine ladies, we are grateful for all you've taught our children and the support you showed to them. Ms. Adler was a key component to Annika's recent dyslexia diagnosis, and was nothing but supportive and creative when it came to working around Annika's academic challenges.

Next fall, we'll have a 4th grader and a middle school students. (Excuse me for a moment while I wipe away a tear or two.) Needless to say, the kids are thrilled to have summer ahead of them and a bit of R&R to recharge their batteries... not too much, but a bit.

Goodbye 5th and 3rd grades!
Stay tuned for summer updates! The Olson Four has quite a lot going on this summer (no shock there) and I'll keep the blog updated with details about our adventures as I can. 

Friday, June 7, 2019

Funny Morning Conversation

The kids, while making their lunches for school this morning had the following conversation:

Annika: My sandwich is as snug as a roly poly in a bowling ball.

Conor: What does that mean???

Annika: I dunno. It is probably a cowboy saying and nothing they say makes sense.

Conor: Oh! OK!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

2019 "Get Things Done" Update

In case anyone is interested in an update... I've recently completed one and a half projects! Look at me go!!!

Now, you may be wondering why on God's green earth am I listing a half of a project in this post... and (let's be honest) I can see why you might wonder that very thing. In some cases, a half project is also a complete project. (Is your mind completely melting yet?) SOCKS! I'm talking about socks!!!!

I finished one sock .... it's friend is now underway and will receive its honors when it is also complete. In the mean time, I want to celebrate my ONE sock.

I took a bit of a knitting detour and also made this cute-as-a-button baby hat. I absolutely adore making baby hats out of Fixation yarn and hadn't made one in quite awhile... probably because I've turned my attention to bigger hats for Annika and Conor ... and to socks! Unlike socks, I can make a baby-size Fixation hat fairly quickly. The hurdle I hit while making this hat was my bamboo circular needle snapped mid-decrease. Snapped clean off while I was riding the bus home from work. It was quite the knitting emergency! I salvaged the hat's progress with a hope and a prayer ... and some stitch markers.Not many people understand knitting can be so exciting! :D

Sadly, my favorite fabric store is closing. After 40-something years, they lost their lease and opted not to relocate. (RIP, Pacific Fabrics - Northgate!) I stopped by the store a few days ago just to go one more time before they lock the doors one final time. While it is counter productive to my "get projects done" theme, I did buy a few yards of fabric that will become skirts for Annika. I've just make my project pile a bit taller, but I just couldn't help myself! I do love good fabric and making things. It's my Achilles heel!

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Annika's 1st Irish Dance Recital

Annika had a rather big day on Sunday... her first Irish dance recital with Tara Academy. Not a surprise, she loved EVERY minute of it.

Back in kindergarten, her teacher (hi, Meghan!!) made a comment to me about how Annika was born to be on the stage. She wasn't kidding!! Annika loves an audience and entertaining people... she always has and (probably) always will. She's my girl, what can I say???

Getting ready to leave for the performance space

Annika was incredibly fortunate to have quite the cheering section in the audience. She had Daddy, Conor, Bestemor and Bestefar, Auntie Suzanne, Uncle Troy and Auntie Staci, Kat, and Ian. WHEW!! Talk about it taking a village to raise a performer/dancer/child!

One neat takeaway from the day was how the dancers put a decorative pin at their shoulder on the cape. Her teacher generously shared many of her pins with the dancers, and I suggested that Annika look for a pin to use in the future when she goes to Ireland later this month. (Side note: Bestemor, will you please help her find one or two as souvenirs??)

Ms. Erin attaching Annika's cape
The students danced their hearts out ... and showed what hard practice and kind teachers can help them achieve. Thank you to her teachers for their kindness, patience, and willingness to share their knowledge.

Annika was recently told that she has been promoted from the beginner level to the 1st intermediate level class. Talk about a feather in her cap! I can only image that Annika was jig even more than she does now ... which means she will probably dance in her sleep before much longer!!

Post-show with her flowers and certificate