Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Last day of school 2021

 Yesterday wrapped up another school year ... another one that definitely falls in the "weird and not at all what we would have expected" category!

The school year began as 100% due to the COVID pandemic, transitioned to a hybrid model, and finished with in-person school. We've said it before and will say it again, we cannot be more impressed with our our kids' school has handled the pandemic and made sure the students continued to grow and learn. Kudos to the teachers for being adaptable and being able to pivot on a dime!

Annika finished 7th grade and Conor wrapped up 5th grade with smiles on their faces and excitement for the upcoming summer. (Interestingly, the prospect of entering her final year at CKS is putting a slight damper on Annika's excitement. We thought she'd be over the moon with the idea of high school only a year away ... not so much!

Both kiddos are grateful to have had the opportunity to be at school this year, even for an abbreviated amount of time while maintaining social distancing requirements and wearing masks. They adapted remarkably well to all of the changes that were thrown into life and rose to the occasion. They greatly enjoyed the lack without uniforms this year (sorry kids, uniforms will be back in the fall) and their ability to have a bit more self expression.

We look forward to a summer that will afford more freedoms and grant us more opportunities for "normal" than we had last year. Bring on swimming, fun, adventures, hikes, and more!

Conor's Year-end Interview
Favorite thing to do in your free time: Play video games
Favorite color: Tangerine
Favorite book: Warriors Into The Wild
Favorite TV show: Gravity Falls
Favorite food: Pizza
When I grow up, I want to be: Rocket scientist
My favorite thing about 5th grade was: Ms. Adler
Something cool I learned in 5th grade was: Area is a 3-dimensional way of saying how much something can hold
Something I want to learn in 6th grade is: quantum physics
Something I want to do over the summer is: see a lot of volcanos while on a helicopter

Annika's Year-end Interview
Favorite thing to do in your free time: Draw
Favorite color: Seafoam green
Favorite book: Percy Jackson
Favorite TV show: Dr. K's Avian and Exotics (vet show)
Favorite food: Schnitzel
When I grow up, I want to be: a vet
My favorite thing about 7th grade was: Going back to in-person school
Something cool I learned in 7th grade was: Geography
Something I want to learn in 8th grade is: Animal biology
Something I want to do over the summer is: Overnight trip anywhere

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Throwback Thursday - Super Boy

I took this photo of our little Super Boy 7 years ago. 

He is now 5' 3" and rarely dons a cape, but he is still the same little boy in countless ways. 💓

Friday, May 21, 2021

Our Recent Whidbey Weekend

 Last weekend, we celebrated Eric's mom's birthday WITH HER! (Thanks, COVID vaccines!!) 

We got up bright and early Saturday morning (much to Annika's chagrin) and headed north to the ferry terminal. Lo and behold - the ferry dock moved and there was a new terminal. What the what???? Obviously, it has been quite some time since we've been to Whidbey! (Side note - the new terminal is beautiful. Lots of lumber and a lovely incorporation of Native American artwork.)

We didn't make the original ferry we aimed for, but there are worse things in the world. Fortunately, the ferries run every 30 minutes and we easily got on the next one.

Soon after arriving, Eric's dad and Conor headed out to play golf and soak up a bit of sun together. They played 5 holes and came back with a few great stories about their time on the course together. Apparently Conor's first ball on the 1st tee went rogue. As did the second ball... however it followed the first rogue ball's path, so there was consistency there! A few tees later, from what we were told Conor hit a couple of nice shots that were worthy of praise and mentioning to the rest of us back at the house. (Way to go, Conor!)

Annika is one who enjoys organizing and seeing the results of those efforts. While we were on Whidbey, she decided it was time to clean Bestemor's birdbath. She grabbed a scrub brush and bucket full of water and went to work. By time she was done, she was exhausted and the bird bath looked almost new again. (Nicely done, Annika!)

Often, we celebrate extended family birthdays in the general timeframe of the birthday, but not necessarily ON the actual birthday. Fortunately for us, the stars (and days of the week) aligned, so we were able to celebrate Karen's birthday on her actual birthday. Win! Jack made amazing lamb chops on the grill for dinner. I mean A-MAZ-ING. I could have eaten twice as many as I did ... if I wasn't being kind and sharing with everyone else. For dessert, we made a strawberry/rhubarb crisp. Nom nom nom.

We gave Karen two photo-themed gifts for her birthday. The first is a digital frame that we can add photos to from afar. It's kind of perfect for a family that is scattered all over the country, if you ask me! We also gave Karen a canvas print of our recent "in the box photography" project. (She had asked for an updated family photo, so I took the idea and ran with it.)

Bestemor looking at her gift

Her gift!

Speaking of running, Finn decided to take a jaunt through the forest when a door was accidentally left open. That dog can RUN when he wants to. Of course, he thought it was all fun and games. The rest of us were in a panic that he'd get lost or hurt. Fortunately, we were able to wrangle him with the help of some bribery (aka dog treats). Unfortunately, our path to getting him back on a leash went straight through stinging nettles (SURPRISE!). Side note: Stinging nettles are no joke!

On Sunday, Jack took both of the kids fishing (1 at a time) on Lone Lake. It is a catch-and-release lake, so no fish came home, but there were definitely lots of nibbles on their hooks. Jack and Conor headed out first (so Annika could sleep in) and were on the water shortly after 7 AM. Karen and I took Annika to the lake around 9:00 for her turn on the lake with Bestefar and to retrieve Conor. Lone Lake is truly gorgeous! 

Conor and Bestefar on Lone Lake

Annika and Besefar on Lone Lake

In addition to birthday celebration fun, fishing, and golfing, we also played a new card games and even learned a new one called Rook. Talk about a fun weekend!!

A special thanks to Eric's parents for hosting us. Being able to spend time together again is truly wonderful. We can't wait to see you again (hopefully) soon!.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Annika's 1st vaccine dose

 Earlier this week, the powers that be gave the green light for kids (12-15 years old) to get the Pfizer vaccine. WOO HOO!!! (Naturally, we'd have preferred that 11-year-olds were included in that group so we could get both kids vaccinated now, but no one asked us ... rude!)

Annika got an appointment for 7:45 this morning at the UW vaccination clinic. (Honestly, we have never seen a kid so excited to get a shot EVER!) She didn't love having to wake up earlier than normal to make it to her appointment, but that's a small price to pay if you ask us.

It goes without saying that prior to getting her injection, Annika was a bit nervous. She was a real trooper, but still... it's a shot, people!

The Shoreline firefighters at the vaccination clinic were top notch. They explained things to her in a very respectful, age-appropriate way. 

Before we knew it, the injection was done and she was ready for her post-vaccine 15-minute wait. After giving her the shot, the firefighters asked how she was doing. She said, "I'm fine. That was rather anti-climactic." (ha!)

In three weeks, we'll be back for her second dose. Woo hoo!

Brave girl

Officially on the road to returning to "normal" life

In honor of her big day, I (of course) made a t-shirt for her!

Monday, May 10, 2021

Annika's Virtual Feis

Last month, Annika participated in her first virtual feis. She worked really hard to prepare for it and was thrilled to be back in competitive dance mode after a year of none. 

Because this was a virtual feis, her dances needed to be recorded and submitted to the feis' website by the deadline. Fortunately, she was able to work with one of the dance studio instructors to dance in the studio, which meant she was in a space that met the minimum requirement for the feis and the instructor was able to make some last-minute suggestions before she filmed Annika's dances. Win all around!!

She did amazingly well at this feis! She placed in ever single event she participated in... FIVE! The judges were great at complimenting her dances and offering suggestions on things to work on. Such a great learning opportunity!

She placed 3rd for her reel and treble jig, 2nd for her single jig, and 1st for her slip jig and light jig. 

To say she was over the moon with her results would be an understatement. Prior to this feis, she hadn't placed above 3rd before. Her hard work and constant dancing definitely paid off in this instance!

Great job, sis! We are proud of you and excited for you.

And now, for your viewing pleasure....

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

March Birthday Boys - 2021 edition

 My apologies for this post being a bit late ... time continues to feel very wonky as life in a global pandemic continues. The March birthday boys (aka Eric, Conor, and Bestefar) have now celebrated two consecutive birthdays under quarantine circumstances - you lucky guys, you. Unlike last year, this year we got to see Eric's parents to celebrate the March birthdays thanks to Eric's parents being fully vaccinated and Eric/me being partially vaccinated.

On the 27th, Eric's parents came over for b-day celebrates that included playing dice, enjoying homemade fish tacos, dining on sundaes (ok, everyone else had a banana split, I had a sundae), and relishing in the fact we were actually in the same place for the first time in a LONG time.

Bestefar needed lots of help figuring out
what THIS present could possibly be - ha ha!

Conor and Bestemore making a banana split 

Conor turned 11 on the 28th and said he definitely felt different as soon as he woke up in the morning. His day was pretty ideal: he played video games with his friends (remote, of course), had MOD pizza for dinner, and got presents. What more could a kiddo possibly want??? (Except an end to the whole pandemic thing so he could have an in-person party with his buddies!)

Celebratory pancakes

Robotic hands are SO COOL.
Thanks Auntie Kajsa/Uncle Jeff!

His new dog head golf club cover from
Auntie Suzanne/Uncle Randy

Yes, he is level 11 and awesome!

Trying out his new putting return system from
Uncle Troy/Auntie Staci/Kat/Ian

Birthday pie

On the 29th, the festivities continued with Eric's birthday. It wasn't on a weekend, so real life creeped in a bit, but we did our best to make the day relaxing and fun for the birthday boy. We had to come up with a plan B for dinner because we forgot that plan A (aka Red Mill) wasn't open on Mondays. So, Eric's bday dinner shifted from burgers to fried chicken from Ezells. Not a bad plan B, if you ask us! 

I'd like to point out that I managed to keep all of Eric's presents a secret this year. No, I'm not a bad secret keeper - he's just good at noticing receipts I may accidentally leave out or opening Amazon boxes that he isn't supposed to open. The most impressive part of my secret keeping, one of his gifts required me to measure his foot and he STILL was surprised by the gift. BOOM! 

Reading his card from the kids

But only on his bday! :D

Eric's new fancy shoes from Spain

To our March birthday boys - we hope you had wonderful birthdays and feel properly celebrated. You are cherished and we are beyond blessed to have you in our lives. Here's to another great trip around the sun.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Winter Finally Arrived

 Last week, we started being teased with the idea of lowland snow in our area. It is fair to say that we snow-lovers in Seattle are a bit skeptical when snow is in the forecast... we've been burned too many times. Well, this past weekend, the snow-loving Olsons were over-the-top happy with the weather! Over a 3-day period, we accumulated almost 11 inches of snow in our yard, with a couple of drifts in places that measured over 2 feet. WOO HOO!

The timing of this series of storms really couldn't have been more perfect. It was a long weekend thanks to Presidents' Day and the kids' school being on mid-winter break. Plus, due to the pandemic, we were home anyway! 

We had snowball fights, built a couple of snow people, shoveled the walkway and sidewalk, made snow angels, went sledding, and just enjoyed the beauty of the snowy landscape. All-in-all, a fairly perfect few days of winter. 

Snow: Day 1

Conor, Huck, and Finn checking out the snow

Not sure if the dogs or Conor had more fun

Ready for sledding


Snow: Day 2
Snowy fun

Nothing to sneeze at here

Conor and our baseball cap-wearing snowman


Snow angels for the front yard

Snow: Day 3
Ready... aim... fire!

Annika taking cover behind the snowman

Snowball incoming

Exploding snowball

Snowball action

Happy campers

Snow fun

Snow fun is exhausting

One mighty happy kiddo

Thank you to Mother Nature for sending this chapter of winter weather our way. We thoroughly enjoyed it and appreciate you taking us into consideration.