Sunday, September 27, 2009

Happy Birthday at the Fair

What!?!
Another blog post about the fair?

Yep.

By now you might be thinking that all I have to talk about is 1) dogs, 2) the fair and 3) the family.

You'd be right.
Well, at least during August and September.

So, you may recall that we spent Alexia's Birthday at the Puyallup Fair. It just so happened that her birthday coincided with the day that Mikayla was competing in an Agility course with Josie that day. If you missed that post and related video, it's available here (click).

Here are some pics of Alexia, and her numerous visitors, from that day at the fair.

Nana and Poppy:


Alexia opening one of her presents: Her own digital camera.


Aunt Rachel & Uncle Steve:


Grandpa Dave & Grandma Margie:


More Presents (being opened in the dog/horse arena):


Alexia getting ready to enjoy some Roasted Corn:

Not Pictured: Alexia eating a Cow Chip Cookie (note the sticker on her shirt, partially hidden by her coat, announcing she ate a Cow Chip Cookie) and Alexia eating a Carmel Apple.

Family Group (plus Sarah who was part of the family for the day, and Josie is filling in for Tanya)


It was mentioned earlier in this post that Alexia received a digital camera for her birthday. She spent the rest of the day, and numerous days since then, taking pictures of everything (and nothing, at the same time).

In an attempt to keep all of you interested, let's make this into a short game. Let's call this game "Guess Who Took That Photo". Write down your answers on a separate piece of paper. Answers will be revealed at the end of this post (no cheating!!).

Picture #1: A photo of Mikayla and Josie in the Dog Agility Ring


Picture #2: A photo of Josie in the Obedience Ring


Picture #3: A photo of Mikayla and Josie in the Obedience Ring


Did you write down your answers?
Really? Hmmmm.

Here are the answers:
Picture #1: Photo by Tanya
Picture #2: Photo by Tanya
Picture #3: Photo by Tanya

Now, don't get me wrong. We all take bad pictures sometimes and taking pictures in the dog barn is a tricky task. Tanya does take some great pictures and you'll see a few of them in the next post.

The other reason these are all pics by Tanya is because we need more memory for the kids computer before I can download all of Alexia's 4GB of pics and videos onto it. Let's hope that happens in the next week or so. Then we can finish up the Fair blog posts and get back to 'regular' life with the Rolfs.

~E

Monday, September 21, 2009

Team Skagit County (Dog Lovers Only)

This post is intended for:
a) people who love dogs
b) people who like dogs
c) people who have families or kids that like (or love) dogs
d) people who spend 15 hours at the fair and only get to see the dogs
e) people who came to the fair to see dog agility competition but had to leave before it started because they had to pick up their own dog from the dog sitter by closing time.

If you don't like dogs then you should probably browse the links at the left for something a little more interesting. Maybe you should spend some time on this site. Then come back here and see if it's any more interesting.

This post is only here to share some videos that I took of the 4-H Dog Agility competition at the Puyallup Fair on Sept 19, 2009.

This is all video... pics will probably follow in a few days (or weeks).

First off, here is Mikayla and Josie. Mikayla ended up winning a red ribbon for this event.

As a side note, Mikayla also won a red ribbon for Judging and will be back at the Fair on Thursday for more dog competitions.

This next video is a short compilation that shows how things could go wrong, despite all your hard effort and diligent training.

I don't think any of those people were from Skagit County, but the following two videos are of friends who are part of the 4-H club we belong to: Kids-n-K-9's.
This is Brianna and Sparkles:

Finally, here is Kayleen and Kona:


Everyone held up well, despite the fact that it was a very long day.
Mikayla, Tanya and Sarah were dealing with dogs at the fair, all day, from 8:00am until 11:45pm.

Alexia and I played three soccer games at home before coming down to join in the fair festivities. Since it was Alexia's birthday, Nana, Poppy, Grandpa Dave, Grandma Margie, Aunt Rachel and Uncle Steve all came to the Fair to wish her a wonderful Happy 9th Birthday. She ended up opening presents on the bleachers while the dogs were running the agility course. She was excited to get her own digital camera, so you can expect to see some images fro her in the near future.

Thank you to everyone who came to see us at the fair. We really do appreciate it.

That's all for now.
More to come, as time allows.

~E

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rolfs' Got Talent

Let's hear a little Kudo's for the Rolfs' family.

Alexia is starting Choir twice a week.

Mikayla earned a spot on the Concert Choir Group.

Eric has some pics being used by the American Alpine Institute on their snowshoeing web page.

Tanya was nominated to be included in the prestigious Who's Who Teacher Directory (although a google search just taught me that it's no longer in publication).

Well, regardless of that, everyone knows that Tanya is the glue that keeps our family on track and able to do all that we do.  The fact that I caught her singing rounds of 'The Drunken Sailor' earlier this evening don't have me too concerned... we'll just pretend she's practicing for Talk Like A Pirate day.

Despite the aforementioned singing, Tanya deserves to be nominated Mom of the Year (click here for link).

Although she might be just as happy with Volunteer of the Month.

~E

PS: Don't forget Alexia's Birthday is the same day as Talk Like A Pirate Day. We'll be at the Puyallup Fair that day... stop by and see us!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Early Birthday #9

This weekend Alexia celebrated her 9th Birthday.

Her actual birthday isn't until this coming weekend, but I worry that it will always be overshadowed by Talk Like A Pirate Day (TLAP), so we celebrated a week early, lest we be landlubbers forced to walk ye plank.  You too can talk like a pirate on TLAP day (Sept 19th)... learn how on the web!

Plus, we'll be at the Puyallup Fair on her actual birthday.
Much like last year. 
Speaking of last year, if you have a few minutes, you may want to revisit these two posts from last year:  Dog Shows and Whirling Dervishes since this year looks like it may be pretty similar.

As I was saying, we celebrated Alexia's birthday a week early.

Our day started out with three soccer games in Burlington as part of the season kickoff jamboree.
Tanya has been nominated as the Team Photographer since I'm too busy coaching to get any photos.
Here are a few of my favorites from the day:





Mikayla spent the morning in Mount Vernon, volunteering with her 4H group at the Dog's Life Festival where she was thrilled to win a number of raffles and ended up with a new favorite shirt:


Finally, guests arrive for the birthday party.


We pile into vehicles and end up at the local Build-A-Bear store where everyone got to make their own bear (or dog or cat).



For those of you who haven't been to a Build-A-Bear store, you get to pick out a stuffed animal 'skin', they fill it with stuffing and you get to pick out a heart to stick inside before they sew it up.


Here Alexia is rubbing the heart on her head before putting it into her stuffed dog.  Either she's trying to make sure her dog is smart... or she's making sure it smells like soccer sweat.

Just kidding of course.

Girls don't sweat.

Since this was a birthday party, all the guests get to pick out an extra heart and they all go inside the birthday girl's animal.


On the way back we made a detour to McDonalds to let the kids burn off more energy before returning home.  Here they are, ready to enjoy a gourmet fast food meal.

So far so good.
No dramatic Rolfs' stories.
Relieved?
Bored?
Oh wait... someone is crying.
Here comes Alexia with reports that she's been bitten.
Here comes the birthday crew... all witnesses to the incident.
Some "stinky ole boy" bit her on the back and was reportedly pulling on other kids clothing and generally acting in a manner that doesn't meet Ronald McDonald standards.

Tanya promptly went over there and dealt with the rabid child, the apologetic father and the 'are you sure it was him' mother in denial.
They promptly left the scene.

We left a short while later to enjoy cake and ice cream at the house, followed by opening presents, watching a movie and then, eventually, sleep.


Thank you, everyone, (except Mr. Rabid Boy) for making this such an enjoyable weekend.

Happy early Birthday Alexia!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Grandparents Tea & The Dog Party

Today was the first annual "Grandparents Tea" at Alexia's school.

I knew this because Tanya told me (three times). She even claims that Alexia brought home an invitation for me but I don't think I've seen it.

Since all the Grandparents are currently whooping it up around the country in exotic places such as Arizona and Minnesota, it was up to me to "be represntin'".

No one at my house was able to give me any details about the time or specific location for this event so I took it upon myself to call the school and find out the facts. 1:45pm in the Great Hall, expected to last about 30 minutes.

It became my plan to leave work early and then work from home for the afternoon.

I arrived 5 minutes early and most of the seats were already taken. Since this was a "Grandparents" Tea, I just took up some wall space in the back and left the seats for those people who probably needed them more than I did.  Plus, I had been snacking on some garlic bread.

Soon, student after student came filing out of the hallway and into their spots on three different bleachers. I watched closely, but didn't see Alexia amongst them.

I looked again.

And again.

Nope. Not there.

I looked at the guy next to me.
He didn't seem to be focusing on any one kid.
Maybe his kid was missing also. He wasn't any help.

Maybe she was in the nurses office. Maybe she was in detention.

Quite a conundrum.

Finally the Principal came on the microphone and introduced the fourth grade classes. He informed us they would be singing two songs for our listening pleasure.

This was interesting because I'm pretty sure Alexia is in 3rd grade.

Once the two songs were over (and still no sighting of Alexia), it was announced that the Grandparents (or others in attendance) were welcomed to visit their grand childs classroom.

I called Tanya to confirm a) that Alexia is in 3rd grade, b) that 3rd graders were supposed to be at this function, c) what the heck is her teachers name and d) where the heck is her classroom.

Tanya was a) annoyed that she was getting a phone call during class and b) more annoyed that the 3rd graders weren't in the performance.  She demanded to know more.

A short while later the Principal and I had a short chat where it became evident that Grandparents (or those in attendance in lieu of Grandparents) were invited to go to all the classrooms, not just the 4th graders.  He even gave me the secret classroom map so I knew where to find Alexia.

Once in Alexia's classroom, the class initiated a Grandparent Scavenger Hunt in which the kids had to talk to all the grandparents (or those posing as grandparents) to find out which of us met certain criteria.

Some of the criteria that I met included:  likes to ride bikes, has two computers, has traveled outside the U.S. and had a black and white TV when growing up.

The kids had problems finding any grandparents who would admit to "Likes to do the Limbo".

Alexia and I headed home afterwards and found the dogs running through the house instead of being penned up in their usual quarters.

We also found out the dogs had quite the party during the day.

One of them even yakked on the couch.

Based on the chewed up packages here and there it appears they may have overindulged in Liver Treats.

My theory is that the dogs are probably hosting raging parties during the day while we are all at work/school. We just happened to catch them in the act this time by coming home early without warning.

Now that I think about it, their mutt friends were probably still hiding in the closet waiting for us to go upstairs so they could sneak out undetected.

Mikayla arrived home a few minutes later and immediately went into "Vet ER"  mode to make sure the dogs weren't getting bloated or sick from eating too much of whatever it is they may have eaten all day.  All in all, the dogs seem fine.  Maybe just a bit hungover.

Tomorrow Mikayla will be volunteering at the Dog's Life festival with her 4H group all day while Alexia and I are off to Burlington for our first three soccer games of the season.  We'll top that off with Alexia's Birthday/Slumber party.

The weather forecast for tomorrow simply says:  Awesome!

~E

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Weekend 2009

As mentioned in the previous post (click here if you missed it), things were a little hectic here last week, but Alexia offered Tanya some valuable advice to help her stay calm.

video

In case you didn't understand here, or can't figure out how to turn on your computer speakers, here is the transcript:
"Smell the soup." (Demonstrate inhalation through the nose).
"Cool it off." (Demonstrate exhaling through the mouth).

Now that school is underway we could get down to enjoying a three day Labor Day weekend.

Friday night started off with Tanya scrap booking while I planned and packed for a Saturday hike to Park Butte Fire Lookout (click here for trip report) and the girls both had friends over for a few hours.

Saturday included a fantastic hike for me while the gals did their usual Saturday outings which included visits to the Library, the doctor's office and Costco.

On Sunday we decided to meet Aunt Dawn & the Cousins for lunch in Northgate and then go visit the Seattle Aquarium. The last time we were at the Aquarium, the girls were both in strollers.

After locating the Aquarium in downtown Seattle we set about to find parking. Not an easy task in Seattle. After driving through 33 floors of a claustrophobic parking garage filled with SUV's in Compact Sized spots and not finding a single opening we were thrilled to get out of there and immediately find a spot in a small parking lot right next door.

Off to the Aquarium for some fun.








Does anyone else think it's a little bit too coincidental that Ivar's is so close to the Aquarium? Hmmmm...

Monday was spent with Tanya doing some Birthday shopping for Alexia while I spent most of the day outside dismantling the pool and putting things back in order on the back patio.

Once the patio was cleaned up, Alexia asked me to be the videographer for the next segment of her Amazing Animal series. She's authorized me to post it here for your viewing pleasure.


After that we ran off to soccer practice, followed by grilling burgers in the backyard for dinner and then getting things in order to for school/work before sending the kids to bed.

All in all, it was a very nice three day weekend.

We hope you all had an enjoyable three day weekend also.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Back To School Buzz

If you:
a) are a teacher
or
b) are married to a teacher
or
c) have kids
or
d) were once a kid,
then you know that the last week before school starts is typically busy.

Our household is no different.

The good news is that everything ended up working out. Both kids made it to the correct school, on the correct day and at the correct time.

Getting home wasn't quite so easy.

It seems that we told Mikayla the wrong bus number to ride home.
It also seems that this has happened before.
If it happens again next year then I'm pretty sure we can call it a tradition.

This year, Alexia is in the 3rd grade and Mikayla is in 7th grade.
Here are the mandatory first day of school photos.


The pictures turned out ok... I tried to do a better job based on the constructive criticism that was offered last year.

There was a little excitement just before school started in the Sedro-Woolley School District when the Teachers union decided to go on strike. This was the first time that this district went on strike. Luckily for all of us, the issues were quickly resolved and school was only postponed by one day.

The Mount Vernon district was close to going on strike, but they resolved their differences without delay, so I rushed the kids down for another haircut. Tanya issued a number of haircut rules to each of the girls, so I felt compelled to make sure we had before and after photos in case there was some kind of dispute to follow.



Darn good thing the strike didn't continue for an extended period of time because Tanya would have been furious about having wasted her annual "Back To School Haircut" by getting it too soon.

Sorry folks... no pictures of Tanya's haircut as per Blog Rules. You'll have to come see her in person to see it.

Stress levels were a bit elevated due to the strike concerns, nervousness about new teachers, new schools, wasted hair cuts and Mikayla's Osgood-Schlatter diagnosis, but Alexia rolled right along through all this.

What is her secret to keeping calm?
Well, I can't remember at the moment but I'll see if I can't get her to explain it to you on video in the next few days or so.

So... here comes Labor Day Weekend.
What are we doing?
Probably a little scrap booking, a little hiking, a little interior painting, a little Aquarium visiting, a lot of pool disassembling, possibly some furniture rearranging and who knows what else.

Beyond that, soccer games start Sept 12th, followed by Alexia's Birthday and multiple days with the dogs at the State Fair in Puyallup.

~E