Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Our Taxes, My Friend, Are Blowing -er- Standing In The Wind

On our little vacation to the dry side of the state last week, we went straight at Ellensburg, rather than turning right like we do when we go to the Tri-Cities.

A few miles later, something unexpected popped up on the horizon...

I'd heard about this big wind farm. In fact, a couple weeks ago they made local news as the very long blades were travelling through town on the back of a truck, going through our neighboring streets in Lakewood to wherever it is that they build them into windmills.

It made sense to me, actually. The thing with Central Washington is that sure, they have good warm temperatures, and typically sunny weather... but they also have near constant, always annoying WIND. I hate wind. But if they can harness this nuisance of nature and ultimately lower my power bill, who am I to complain?

As we drove on, it was really quite amazing how many of these things there are!

There were so many of them, and the overall sight was so cool, that I thought about switching to video mode and getting some action shots.

But one small detail kept me from doing that...

You see, the video would look exactly like these still shots.

Here, between Ellensburg and Vantage, where the wind is pretty much ALWAYS blowing, not a single one of these high tech green power generators was generating green power. Or any other color power.

As a massive art project installation, it was - as I mentioned earlier - very impressive. But my first face-to-face introduction to this big, environmentally friendlier way to power our communities, left me VERY impressed curious intrigued troubled by the amount of hype these things have generated verses the amount of power I witnessed them generating.

Hopefully I just witnessed an anomaly, and the winds were abnormally calm that day... Otherwise, that's a mighty big public art project.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Happiness Is A Big Brother

Danee loves all of her family, and that definitely includes Tyler... Though he's only here a couple weekends per month during the school year, they have a very cool bond, made even cooler by the fact that Tyler's always willing to help out with her.

The other morning while everyone was crazily getting ready for the day's activities, Danee was being Super Cranky Baby - so Tyler rose to the occasion and sat in the chair with her while watching one of her favorite educational DVDs - I think it was "Colors".

Before long, Super Cranky Baby became Super Catnap Baby, because her big brother was so comfy!

Thanks Ty!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Occupational Hazard

Yesterday I put up pics of Tyler's "So Long, Elementary School!" ceremony. (NOTE: I will NEVER refer to it as a graduation... saving that for 12th grade!)

Anyway, during his ceremony, his teacher read his goals for the rest of his life. They were:
  1. Get good grades in middle school and high school

  2. Be a professional roller blader
Yeah, that's right! Our Tyler is aiming HIGH!!!

Of course, you don't reach the pinnacle of the roller blading world without a few skinned knees here and there, so Tyler's paying his dues early.

For the sake of continuity-of-thought I won't mention that these particular wounds were acquired on the slide of a big Bounce House, not at the skate park. Just sayin'... but they were exacerbated by activities related to his career goals, so on we go!

After removing a bit more skin from his already skinned knees, it was time for some first aid.

Fortunately for Tyler, we have a fully trained, certified and currently employed Lifeguard in our family - and she was eager to help!!

Would you trust first aid from that face? Just askin'... For Tyler, it wasn't like he had much of a choice. He needed aid, and she was gonna give it to him! She pulled out her sterile gloves and assembled the tools of her trade...

See that bottle at the bottom-right corner? Yeah. Rubbing Alcohol. Can you say "EPIC SCREAMZ"??? Tyler almost did...

Luckily, Cindy overheard what was about to happen and saved Ty from a pain worse than death. She also told Ellysa about a wondrous product generically known as Bactine - and after a thorough investigation of the label, it was deemed fit for cleaning the wounds at

With the knee-meat all cleaned out, Ellysa carefully applied a couple big-honkin' bandaids..

And Tyler lived to blade another day!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Moving On Up

We are seriously stunned at how old our kids are getting.

So stunned in fact, that it took us over a week to publicly acknowledge it here!

Andy and Ellysa are now officially Seniors in high school, with a mere 180(ish) school days standing between them and graduation. Being big independent teenagers, they didn't have any big, "invite the parents and their camera" things, so you'll just have to take our word for it. It's true. And it's kinda freaky.

Kaylee was ALMOST as independent as her older siblings, but we did manage to get a couple pics at her year-end concert, celebrating the end of 7th grade, and a fond farewell to "Intermediate School", a crazy contraption in these parts that consists of grades 5, 6 and 7. Next year she's off to Junior High for grades 8 and 9, then up to High School for 10-12.

Meanwhile, Tyler said goodbye to Elementary school - a traditional K-6, and is heading to Middle School. He went to the same school since Kindergarten, so it was a pretty exciting goodbye ceremony...

Now they're all determined to make the best of a "Summer" that so far is "Summer" in name only. The last couple days have shown signs of hope that we may get some nice weather, but all in all, it's been a very dismal Spring. And Ellysa's already complaining that they have to go in August, even if it is the last day of August...

...cue the melodramatic orchestra...!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

In Spite of Ourselves...

I'm still amazed by the change in our lifestyle over the past two years...
Two years ago, I had a traditional full time job and we had four kids who were pretty much big enough to take care of themselves. Life was pretty easy, and we had plenty of time to do things like plant a garden...

Now of course, both Cindy and I are self-employed, and we've added an 18 month old who is just certain that the world revolves around her - and she'll do whatever it takes to make sure the rest of us accept that!

As a result, as of today our garden remains unplanted. We've done little steps along the way - tilled it all up, bought some plant starts (since we knew we were too late in the season to work from seeds) and talked many times about actually getting the plant starts placed in the ground so they can flourish.


Here's an example of a tomato start we INTEND to get in the ground... We bought it will the full intention of putting it directly in the ground within 24 hours. (a month ago)

But all is not lost!

The front corner of our yard, which has been a gradually-improving eyesore ever since we bought this house, is simply overflowing with a purely accidental - perhaps divinely appointed? - crop of strawberries!

I'm heading out to pick them right now, and am thinking a nice batch of strawberry ice cream will be enjoyed by the end of the day!

Oh, and hopefully that poor tomato's will to live will be rewarded as well, and we'll finally give it a taste of more than 3 square inches of dirt to enjoy...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Summer in the Puddles

Tacoma Schools got out yesterday, and today the official Puddle Jumpers Summer 2010 T-Shirts arrived!

Maddie and Kennedy were the last two kids here when the happy box came, so they got to be the glamorous models!

The front features the familiar PJs logo with an added HappySun and sunglasses resting on the hat...

And the back adds a beach ball for added Summer fun!

Wednesday is field trip day, and this year all the PJs will be easy to spot!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Leaving the Nest

...probably not what you were expecting...!

Danee just LOVES the Point Defiance Zoo, especially the Kids Zone play area!!

And she's definitely blessed to have such a great Big Brother who loves to play with her!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Prom 2010

Ellysa accompanied her boyfriend Dan to his Senior Prom. Aren't they cute? She looked like a classic beauty to me. I sure love this young lady!