Saturday, November 21, 2015

Notice

Ryan gave his notice at work yesterday and it is bittersweet.  Bitter for me, sweet for him!!!  We had many knock down, drag out arguments about this job change and in the end this was something he just had to do.
His last year at Molex was hands down the hardest time in our marriage and probably for me as a person as I was basically a single parent.  The demands of his work and the company culture didn't leave time for us.  I am praying like crazy that he learned a lot through the process of leaving, as he realized that like at most companies, you think certain individuals are your friends, but in reality you are an asset and when you leave, they are no longer interested in being your friend or just don't have time for you.  We have been spoiled with the last few jobs and the work/life balance, so this will be an adjustment for all and I am praying he can make us a priority.
Don't get me wrong, there are some great perks for Ryan.  He tends to get bored of a job after about 2 years and they can provide him with the ability to move around within their company (he's had 3 jobs since he left 4 years ago).  They are also very clear about why he left and through the interview process, they are very aware of the work/life balance issue, so I am hoping he can put his phone away for the 2 hours a night he will be with the kids.  He also has a great boss, who is really flexible and hopefully, he can still work from Seattle during our vacations.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Visit with grandma and grandpa/ KOA

My parents, along with grandma Pam came here for a visit in early October. Everyone got to go and watch Ainsley get her first place all around at her meet, so their timing couldn't have been better on that. It was conference week so the kids were out early which was nice because they had a little more time with grandma and grandpa.  

We did our annual trip to KOA which is always a blast. The kids were even more independent this year and keeping track of them was a bit of a challenge but they did a good job of sticking with their buddies.  The kids visited the petting zoo, swam, got their faces painted and Reggie and grandma did tie-dye.  Thankfully, it is a safe place! We did a last-minute theme of the incredible's and it turned out great.  Even mom and dad participated! Grandma Irene was quite popular on the dance floor :). 
 Winners and friends of the costume contest.  It isn't the best picture, but they were on a roller coaster...
 Our good nerd friends!
 Hanging out in the petting zoo:

It was conference week so Ainsley and Khalif had their conferences. No real surprises… Ainsley's teacher had nothing but good things to say. Khalif's teacher was also very positive but wanted him to work on his verbal impulse control as he blurts things out and makes strange noises during class.  This year has gone much more smoothly for him than last year, which is good because that means he is learning!  Reggie had no conferences but had early release...hmmm.
The two weeks went super quick. We had all of our usual activities, swimming, gymnastics, bible Study, life group (Reggie) and dad and I took Khalif to science night. Mom was a big help running around, dropping off and picking up kids as Ryan was out of town.  I was invited to paint night with the girls and I was only able to go because my mom said to!!!  It was so much fun, thank you mom! This is what I painted and the kids were so impressed!  It is good they didn't see the original painting that we were trying to recreate!
 Great group of ladies!

Mom and dad did manage to find some time to lay in the sun, garden/cut down our tree and do some house maintenance.  Dad was up a little too high for comfort and thankfully, he didn't fall!

 Pretty rough in California in October!

I was sick the entire time… Took almost a full month off of all activity to try to recover from a nasty cold. My lymph nodes wouldn't drain and it was painful. Finally, my friend, Shelly, recommended Allegra-D and I was better in one day!  Not sure what is in that but it was my best friend. Khalif is already on his fifth cold for the year and since he is a cougher when he gets a cold the rest of us have been unlucky in trying to stay healthy. At least mom and dad didn't get sick or have any major excitement this trip :o).  I guess it is that time of year!

House projects

Well in the middle of the chaos of life we were in desperate need of finding a stucco person to fix the back of our house. It was painted plywood on the second story and really starting to wear. We started the process back in March, looking for contractors. We had six come over and had prices ranging from 6500 to 14,000 :(.  We finally decided to go with someone in the middle (because the cheapest company did not have time to do our job), but then we read his reviews and checked his license and it was not good. So after six months of trying to get this figured out we were back at square one and super frustrated.  On the three day weekend we went to Laura's for a barbecue and one of her friends was showing us pictures of their bathroom remodel and I jumped all over her seeing that they had some stucco work done.  We got the name of her guy and he came the next day and gave us a bid for $5000 (not including paint) and came the next weekend and it was done!!!  It looks so nice and clean and we don't have to worry about all this rain destroying the side of our house :). He also found us a painter who was super cheap and we had them both clean up some other issues around our house. 
What a great find!  
Before....
After.....

Right around the same time our rear neighbors knocked on our door and said our fence was falling over which Ryan had been repairing to keep their dogs out so the timing was perfect because we could paint the backside of the Casita when the fence was not there. And we met our neighbors who are super nice.  
We also were exploring solar last spring but couldn't make a decision.  I joined nextdoor and they had a big discussion in September on solar and it revived my interest. So we started looking at buying options and decided to go in that direction. They are coming in the next week or two to install!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Halloween

We had all kinds of Halloween activities this last weekend!  It started on Friday with the school parade at the start of the day and then classroom parties.  I have noticed that the teachers at our new school are much more collaborative, so Khalif went to all the kindergarten classrooms for different party activities.  I think making the spider out of pretzels and a big marshmallow and then having hershey syrup on top was the favorite activity! 


 His good buddy, Dean

 That evening we went to the Halloween carnival. The carnival had games, food and a haunted house. The place was packed and the kids had a great time and I found a few parents to visit with. It was a long week for me (Ryan traveled Monday through Friday), so I was happy that he was there to track them down.
We were originally going to have a Halloween party but life got a little crazy so thankfully we decided not to do that. It was nice to have a quiet Halloween and weekend. Reggie had a friend over and we just went through the neighborhood. There were lots and lots of children and a good majority of the houses were handing out candy so it worked out really nice.  There were a couple of spooky houses with fog and amazing decorations.  The kids were a little unsure. We also visited the pig house and she was hiding under some pillows on the couch but earlier that night she was a unicorn. 

We came home and the kids looked through their loot and gave us our favorites and I did some trades. Way too much candy!!!
He looks just a little happy:)

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Gymnastics update

Ainsley's season is almost over. Just state next weekend and then we will have a break from this weekend madness!

She has had a great season, but was stuck placing second all-around in every meet.  She was getting pretty frustrated until the Hollywood meet where she was solid on every event and finally placed first in the all-around. She had the highest score in the entire meet, but it was still a surprise when they called out her name. She has become quite the competitor this year.  What made it even better was that grandma and grandpa and grandma Pam were here to see her at her best.  These meets are sure stressful to watch!

 Her famous handstand.  The girls on her team talk about whether or not they did an "Ainsley" handstand.
 Finally, at the top of the podium!
 Her wonderful teamates

She also did her back handspring on the highbeam for the first time a month or two ago, but she hasn't been able to work on them since they have been doing their level five routines. Things will get pretty exciting/scary for her after state as they work on a lot of the bigger skills. 
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Kirkland house

Our renters decided to break their lease and give notice three short weeks ago which put us in a bit of a bind. We had kind of been talking about possibly selling it in the summertime to buy something closer to us which would make it a whole lot easier to manage. 
Even though the timing wasn't the best we decided to put the house on the market. We've had four renters in seven years and it has been a lot of work!  We knew a realtor in the neighborhood so we called her and she went over there and gave us some ideas to spruce the place up. So we barked and replaced the bathroom vanities (we didn't because we weren't there but Brett did the vanities for us...big shout out!). Our renter was very helpful in getting the yard done, touch up painting and staging the house nicely.  
It went on the market on Thursday and there were 42 prospective buyers that went through over the weekend but no offers. We priced the house a little high (not too much comparable on the market right now) knowing that we could always go down in price which we ended up doing. We got an offer for 480K today, but we will pay closing costs.  We are happy with that and are ready to look for something here!  We are learning all about a 1031 exchange...
Reggie asked if we could keep it since that was the first house he ever lived in.  He has such a hard time letting go-thank you mom and dad for passing on that trait-hopefully, he will not become a hoarder!  We do have a lot of great memories there and it was such an ideal house in so many ways.  We will miss it and I hope that it is enjoyed as much as we enjoyed it.  The young couple that bought it are first time homebuyers and are very excited :o).
Here's the zillow link:
http://www.zillow.com/homes/13314-ne-136th-pl.,-kirkland,-wa_rb/?fromHomePage=true&shouldFireSellPageImplicitClaimGA=false

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Last weekend

I am a little too far behind.... I will blog about this last weekend and then try to catch up later. 
Khalif went to aunt Ashley's and Ainsley had a meet in Fairfield (about an hour from our house) and it was the longest meeting ever so it was good Khalif was not there. Ainsley is human… She finally fell off the beam after almost 3 full years of competing. I was kind of hoping she would make it to the end without ever falling but that was not meant to be.  It was a little bit humbling and she was clearly not very happy with the outcome but we went out to dinner with her teammates and that seemed to cheer her up a bit.
From there we went to the Marriott (Ryan used his points) in Napa to stay the night since we were heading to Santa Rosa early in the morning to see Bethany Hamilton. I had been trying to figure out a way to see her but the tickets were so expensive everywhere except at this church where they were $20 each. It was awesome… She told her story and reminded us all that this life will have trouble and if we trust God and lean on him He can turn bad into good. She is actually thankful that this happened to her because she has such a platform to reach so many. And we got to see her baby who is a doll!  We decided to pay extra to meet her.  Originally I thought the tickets were $80 each but it turned out they were $80 for four people, so we actually got to meet her. 
Since we were only about 10 minutes away from where my cousin Ben lived we went over there to have a nice visit and check out their new house. We had a great meal and a great time!  Hopefully will be able to visit with them more :).  
We made good use of our two hours in the car studying Spanish (the thorn in our side). We stopped to pick up Khalif in Brentwood on the way home and then everyone went to bed. It was a fun, but long weekend. 


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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

We took a trip to Hayward the weekend before school started to visit Kelly (our past Respite provider) and have a wonderful breakfast and visit.  The kids really enjoyed the juice and hashbrowns, visiting with their dog, Angel, and UNO attack.  It is has been neat to see who God has brought into our lives through fostering, people we would have never otherwise met!  
The Foster Parent Association had a back to school BBQ not far from there, so we went there for lunch.  Can I just say, it was a little too much food for the day!  The kids picked out backpacks and got school supplies and a few toys.  I ran into quite a few people I knew and it was fun to hear what they were up to.  One family was in our training 5 years ago and that was very interesting sharing stories!
We survived the first week of school at our new school! Khalif settled down in his behavior and has been really sweet and helpful. Amazing how we can get all worked up about something and then it happens and it wasn't worth all the stress. I think he realized that he'll be just fine at school and he's already made a new friend. Although he has told me that the kids are telling him he's mean so I'm not sure how popular he is going to be and since he didn't want to talk about it I'm not really sure what he was doing to make them feel that way. Let's hope it works itself out. Ainsley also had a lot of nerves but was able to keep herself in check before school started. She has an amazing Christian teacher who was very open about that and she has enjoyed his class very much. He is a very good artist and she has enjoyed doing art at school. Her teacher also had them apply for a job in his classroom (had to actually fill out an application) and she found out that she did get her requested job of pencil sharpener! He gives them Walker money and she has earned quite a bit of that for good behavior. She has also written a check so it appears she is learning a lot of life skills :). There seems to be a good group of girls that she has connected with and one of them has already told Ainsley that she is her best friend, so she couldn't be happier. Reggie has had a whole lot to learn this first week. They have a block schedule, so they have four classes one day and different classes the next, so they have to track what day they're on to determine which classes they go to. He went to the wrong PE class and really enjoyed it until they figured out he was in the wrong class and then he decided he did not like the other teacher much, but that's part of life. He also made the mistake of going into the girls restroom but thankfully no one was in there! He also realized after the second day and a killer headache that carrying everything on his back all day was not going to work. So we scrambled to find a roller backpack and he is much happier (although we are on our 3rd one...one had a wheel break, another ripped after the first day, so we're hoping 3rd time is a charm). It is amazing what they have to bring every day because they don't have lockers anymore :(. 
The school has grown by 200 over the last couple years and their drop off and pick up process has been a little crazy. Lots of cars everywhere and doesn't appear people really know what to do. It has been really nice being able to walk to school and not have to deal with a lot of that although Ainsley almost got hit twice using the crosswalk :(. A few of us Rancho moms are brainstorming solutions and hopefully the school is open to change. 
I certainly have enjoyed getting back into a routine and having some free time to get some things done. I have been crossing all kinds of things off my list but I keep adding to the list! Last weekend Ryan and I spent all of Saturday reorganizing the garage and taking down the insulation. But, before we did that we cleaned out a nook off of the guest bedroom and turned it into a fort/play area which occupied the kids all day!  The garage is so nice, clean and orderly and I just hope we can keep it that way. It feels good to get rid of stuff and de-clutter.  Ryan went in there last night and said, "I love the garage."  That's when you know you are old!
Reggie is in heaven...I just wish we would have done it 3 years ago.
Saturday night night Ainsley and I had a mother-daughter event with her gymnastics team. We went out to dinner and then the girls went on a scavenger hunt. Thankfully, the older girls had their phones and watched out for the younger ones. We were at the Blackhawk mall and they had all kinds of tasks to accomplish and things to find (autograph of a stranger, selfie with another team, singing a group song, getting a perfume sample, etc.) and Ainsley had so much fun. She has never done anything like that and it was good for her to have that experience. I had a great time getting to know the other moms. 
Sunday night we got invited to dinner with one of Ryan's work friends. He somehow had heard that we like to Posole (A Mexican soup), so they made that for us. It was delicious! I think I could eat it every day. Unfortunately the two people we know who make it don't have a recipe for it since they just go from memory, so I asked her to write it down next time. It was fun to get to know them :). 
We also had some raccoon excitement last week.  Three of them decided to visit.  So far, they have not been able to break in with this new fancy cat door!  Ryan was out with his BB gun trying to make sure they didn't come back.  It was pretty comical and they could've cared less!

Monday, August 17, 2015

We had a little surprise in the house when we got back and it took a little investigation to figure it out.  We had a bunch of perfectly round white spots on the floor, some on the counter and a few on our windowsill in our room.  They didn't wipe off easily and as I looked closer I realized it was bird poop!  But, nothing was flying around.  I found some feathers in our room, so I knew my suspicions were right.  Thank goodness it didn't take long to find the dead body.  She must have had all kinds of fun chasing it around judging by all the poop everywhere, it was flying around for a few days.  Elsa was also a bit of a mess.....she was biting and scratching and I finally took the flea comb and combed her and she was infested. I was a lot surprised since we have been putting flea stuff on her regularly for about five monthsPouting face. We gave her her first bath with Dawn dish soap (since that kills them), but since she goes outside and sleeps in the dirt they jump right back on her. It is much more manageable now but she still has them and I need to do some more research to figure out what is a good product. I tried making a lemon concoction but she doesn't like it when I put it on her and I would have to do it every day and I want her to like me. We will definitely be giving her baths more often since she was really dirty. 

Ainsley had her intrasquad gymnastics meet last weekend. They brought in judges to score the girls routines so they would have an idea of what they need to work on before their first real meet. Beam was her first event and it was hard to watch since she has struggled so much on her back walkover but she nailed her routine! The two events that she thought she wouldn't do as well on were surprisingly her best. She got her first 9.0 on vault and she was really happy about that. I asked her what surprised her most about the day and she said floor… That she got such a low score. Overall she did great and I think she was pretty happy with how she did. After that, she had a pool party with her friends and enjoyed hanging out with her teammates. She has made a lot of progress over the last few weeks and is working on some pretty hard skills and absolutely loving it. 
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We had Khalif's birthday party on Saturday at the park and we had a good time flying kites and throwing water balloons! It fun to catch up with the parents since we haven't seen them since school got out. There's a few of us going to other schools so we're hoping to meet up at the park a few times after school starts. Khalif has had some behavior issues because of his apprehension about his new school. When things get out of his control we start to see regression and oh how challenging it is! There is some good news though… Court was on Friday and parental rights were terminated so he has been freed for adoption. Now we just have to hope that there is no appeal. The Social worker said given the complexity of this case that it could take up to two years. If there is no appeal it could take less than three months. Please pray!


We went to the kids new school today and Reggie got his schedule. He didn't have very many classes with his friends except for he is in Core with Rachel from his last school, so at least he'll have a familiar face. He's also in accelerated math which was a surprise to us. Way to go Reggie!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Washington!

The Williams made the trip to Washington for the Fourth of July weekend. The weather could not have been better and we did a lot of water activities. Still couldn't get our kids to do anything but tubing, but Kayla showed everybody how to water ski! We didn't do much other than enjoy the lake, the party boat and fireworks. 

 Baby Kingston!

 Not sure if she likes fireworks...
 Look closely....that's me and Liha

I biked around the lake with Maggie, Ainsley, and Reggie for their first time (Maggie had done it before). It was a long trip and we took many stops along the way to eat berries and check out various things. It seems to be important as Reggie gets older to give him some physical activity (much improves his moodiness) so this year we did Boot Camp. I had the kids doing bear crawls, Burpee's, crab walk, jumping jacks, push-ups and various other activities. This was followed by our running in the woods with our "guns" trying not to be spotted by cars. This turned out to be a very popular activity that was asked for almost daily. Ryan joined us on the last one where we went on a bear hunt. I finally saw one at the lake this year crossing the road! We saw many, many tracks of deer and bear, but nothing live. We started our trek when there was a break in the rain but it caught up to us as we were in the forest. It was a complete downpour and we didn't have a dry part on us by the time we reached the house. A very memorable outing :). 
 Bear hunt...

Halfway into the trip Ryan, Ainsley and I headed back to California and the boys stayed with grandma and Aunt Liha. Ryan left a few days before us to have a weekend with Anthony. They golfed and golfed some more and went to Tommy T's comedy club. Sounds like they had a blast. I decided to do Ainsley's birthday party while we were back since the boys were not around. She had five friends that I took to the movies and then they all played for a bit at our house. Having one child is sure easy and since she was at gym almost every night, Ryan and I had a lot of free time together. I could be a really good parent with only one child, no yelling, no frustration :).

We did our usual trip to Lummi to celebrate Ainsley and khalif's birthdays. The kids did a lot of climbing, rock collecting and Seaglass hunting. 


Peggy took the kids for an overnight and stayed at Grandma Gloria's and the kids had a great time. They always get spoiled… Going to the movies and "shopping". They really enjoyed her little dog Muffy too. I ended up having lunch with my friend Jill while they were gone. And the following week I got to meet up with another friend, Ann, for dinner. And then we went to Camano Island to visit Jane and her kiddos. It was a blast to catch up with everyone. 
On Ryan's birthday we had a barbecue with his side of the family. We played a friendly game of softball on the golf course and enjoyed visiting and eating way too much (If anyone has the group picture or softball pictures, I would love them)!  
Ainsley enjoying teriyaki after practice...we don't have good teriyaki where we live :o(.
Ryan, dad and Reggie had a boys night out at the races again this year.  
On our last day at the lake we bribed Reggie to water ski (he will do almost anything for Pok√©mon cards!). He did great and actually enjoyed it this time (much different from the last time where he was screaming like he was going to die). Maybe next year will get to use the boat a little more. 

The drive back was long. It went by a little quicker thanks to Harry Potter... Eight hours of book on cd! We've been going like crazy since we've been home...