Merry Christmas 2014!!

Another great year is near the end.  It was a quiet Christmas with just the 3 of us but it was such a nice time.  Light, tree hunting, Santa visit with friends, and a lazy weekend to follow. 

 New Christmas Eve pj's

 Spoiled rotten boy!
 A new cape with his own logo from Aunt Lori
 A worn out Charlie

 Additional track from G&G Hadley...Charlie was very curious until he bumped it with his foot and the car went off the track and across the carpet...

 then he decided to take a couple of naps.

 Minecraft art with the Sketch Wizard he got from G&G Berg.

 Two kids cooking classes from The Merry Kitchen with spatulas, a whisk and kid-friendly knives.
 Minecraft Legos from Uncle N & family.
 The minecraft lego set was his favorite

 Pokemon cards from Uncle D.
 my silly attempt at having Charlie wear the lighted antlers...lots of laughing but this was the clearest picture.
 Christmas Eve tradition of Tacos for dinner and making and frosting Sugar cookies.

 I got socks, make-up brushes, a fitbit, new pots/pans & a large cast iron dutch oven
Jeff biggest score was Foo Fighter tickets for him and I, as well as old school games, a puzzle and gift card and a xbox car game.


M.I.T.C.H Charter school

Back in April we filled out several charter school applications trying to get in on the lottery for a new school for Ethan, as the tuition at St. Therese was more than we were willing/able to pay for the 2014-15 school year, which started this past September.  We were disappointed that were were unable to win any of the lotteries so our only option at this point was to put Ethan in Sacramento Elementary, the public school down the street from our house.  I had read several reviews on the school as well as viewed the "below-average" rating for the school through the Oregonian, and was very disappointed that it was our only option.  We started the school year off with meeting Ethan's teacher, Mrs. Foreman, who was very nice, however, had a baby the same week that school started and therefore would have a substitute teacher for the next few months.  Coming from his past 3years at St. Therese my expectations were a bit high but I was hopeful that this may work.  I asked Ethan daily if he had any homework or information from the teacher and everyday there was nothing in his backpack.  At the end of the second week I asked the teacher as they were leaving for the day if there was information that I could get from her regarding expectations, homework, etc.  She told me about the student binder that he was sent home with that day and I would be able to find all the information I needed there.  While the binder is a good idea in theory, it was severely lacking in the information I was hoping for.  A few weeks later Ethan came home and while chatting he asked me how to spell "because."  I asked him to sound it out and he got very frustrated and said that he had a spelling test today and he didn't know how to spell the word.  I proceeded to ask him about their spelling tests and how come he doesn't come home with spelling words to practice.  He said that they can only do them at school and cant bring anything home.  Myself being confused, I contacted the teacher the next day to ask for information on the spelling words, other homework and expectations and was told that homework would only be one page of math and 20 minutes of reading nightly as the school did not want kids to be doing any studying outside of school but wanted them to be able to play and do other activities at home.  I asked several questions and then asked if she could send the spelling list home with Ethan each week so that we could practice at home.  She seemed unsure of this and said she would have to ask if that was possible.  Finally after a few more questions, she said she would send the list home with him each week.  After that phone call my frustration with the lack of communication and the school in general was even higher.  We had Parent/Teacher conference a few weeks ago and she said that he was a joy to have in class and that he was right where he should be as far as the other 2nd graders in his class.  Jeff and I both walked out of the conference feeling a little better and hoped that the experience with the school would improve once his teacher came back from maternity leave after Christmas break. 

Then out of the blue....today I got a call from M.I.T.C.H. Charter School (which stands for: Multi-sensory Instruction Teaching Children Hands-on) stating they had an opening on their waitlist and we had 24-hours to let them know if we wanted the spot.  I was so excited!  Jeff stopped by the school on his way home from work and had a tour and we decided that it would be a great opportunity.  One of the downfalls is that the school is in Tualatin, which is the complete opposite side of town from which we live.  However, it is on the way to Salem, and Jeff drives past it every day on his way to work.  I contacted the office the following morning saying YES to their offer and went after work for a tour and to meet his teacher.  It is amazing compared to Sacramento.  They have art, music, P.E., and computer lab and the school is K-8 and half the size of the K-5 at Sacramento.  Christmas break begins next week and this Friday will be his last day at Sacramento.  He will start with M.I.T.C.H. on January 5th.   

His class wrote him some very nice notes for going away.  While he is sad to no longer see some of the friends he has made, he is excited to start at the new school.


Doug came to visit

I love having family come visit....it is hard a times living so far away.  I am really excited to get to hang out with my brother, Doug, for a few days.  He came to test for the Portland Fire & Rescue Department paramedic position and to have a couple days of relaxation.  Some of our adventures were Multmomah Falls and Oregon Zoo lights.   


Christmas Tree hunting we will go...

Yay for Christmas at home this year...Tree hunting, decorating the house inside and out, zoo lights, and Merry Christmas!

It was a beautiful December day to hunt for our Christmas tree.  We went out to Mt. Hood Tree Farm in Estacada and had a beautiful view of Mt. Hood while we hunted.

Ethan picked out the perfect tree and home to decorate we went.

 Gingerbread house making was somewhat of a disappointment since the icing packet wouldn't work and so I had to cut it open and E had to use a knife to frost but he had fun anyway.


Light up the neighborhood candy cane style and let the Christmas season begin.


Justin Timberlake Concert - 11/20/14

Tonight was AWESOME!  Nicole, Amy, Sherri (Amy's SIL) and I went to see Justin Timberlake in concert.  We had such a good time dancing and singing and were all hoarse when it was over but one of the best concerts I have been too.

Nicole and Amy mean so much to me and I appreciate them and their families being in our lives!


Filling someone's Bucket & Ethan's first love note

Through Ethan's school they have notes that they can write to someone else to "Fill their Bucket."  Ethan has come home with a few notes that his classmates have written to him for being helpful and being kind but one especially made us smile....his first love note.  I have no idea who Julia is but cute regardless.



Today was our last game for Fall 2014 soccer.  We have had a fun season practicing with another team and all the boys seemed to have a great time.  Most of our games we lost, however, the last few games we were able to win and today Ethan scored 2 goals.  It was very exciting.  It is a huge commitment to coach sports, and I am not the best for sure, but Ethan really likes that I am his coach and that makes it worth it.