Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Survey Says...

'Normal' isn't easy to define and apparently, not everyone agrees with MY definition of 'Normal'.  Especially my wife.
Last weekend Tanya initiated an informal poll to try and determine what is 'Normal'.

As it turns out, most people believe that their own definition of 'Normal' is 'the norm' when in actuality, that may not be as true as each of us believes it is.

Try this little True/False quiz to see if you know what is Normal and what is Not Normal:

  1. T or F:  It is normal to have four dogs, a hamster, a fish, a frog and a snail.
  2. T or F:  It is normal to yell "JARVIS JEEP" when you hear a car horn go beep-beep.
  3. T or F:  It is customary to take at least one "pee break" if driving to any destination further away than 30 miles.
  4. T or F:  People between the ages of 0 and 15 can continue to use the same plastic 'kid plates & cups' that they used at age five.
  5. T or F:  It is normal to have 35 pairs of shoes.  For winter.  And 35 (or more) pairs of different shoes for summer.
Feel free to submit your answers via 'comments' at the bottom of this post.

Some of you may have received a phone call on Saturday morning with a seemingly random survey question:  How many pairs of shoes do YOU have?

 Thank you all for your responses to that phone survey.  Your answers were very useful (to me). 

Don't be surprised if more than a few of you end up with gift certificates for shoe stores when Christmas rolls around.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Family Vacation To Bend, Oregon 2012

For reasons I haven't been able to figure out, a few months ago T announced that we should visit Bend, Oregon for our 2012 family vacation.

 After my feelings of confusion and denial gave way to excitement and disbelief, I asked if she actually meant to say 'vacation in Bend, Oregon' or if she really meant to say 'vacation anywhere except Bend, Oregon'.

She confirmed that she suggested we take a vacation in Bend, Oregon.

"You mean Bend, Oregon.... like the Inn of the Seventh Mountain, horseback riding and white water rafting Bend, Oregon?"  I asked.

"Of course." she replied, as if we had discussed it as many times as we had discussed going to Disney Land.

My reply was simply something to the effect of "Have you been drinking?"

Of course she hadn't.

Near as I could tell, she wasn't lying, she wasn't mentally unstable and she wasn't joking.

So... with much excitement we planned a family vacation to Bend, Oregon.

Our family of four grew to an extended family of four plus Nana & Poppy.

Then the four plus two grew by two more for the Weigel cousins.

It was too late to turn back -- darn good thing because that vacation was AWESOME!

Day 1:
Drive to Bend... no one threw up (until after we reached the hotel anyway) and uneventful.
Kids went swimming.
Our group between our hotel patio door and the river

Day 2
Tanya's birthday!
Horseback riding @ 7th Mountain Resort

Whitewater rafting @ 7th Mountain River Co.

Cake AND Pie for Birthday celebration

Day 3
Drive up Lava Butte, hike around the crater, visit the lookout, visit the visitor center and take photos of squirrels

Visit the Lava River Cave (more squirrels, no spiders, no zombies)

Hike more than a mile to see Benham Falls (reportedly these falls were used in the filming of a few movies but we never really figured out which movies they might be).

Float down the Deschutes River in inner tubes (pictures not yet available)

More swimming!

Day 4
E & the 4 kids go back to the Lava River Cave with lanterns and hike to the end (and back).
More swimming!

Beer run for a relative who needed a growler of Girl Beer from the Boneyard Brewery.

Day 5
Drive home with special breaks to:
Visit Grandma Weigel
Do a little "No Tax" back to school shopping
Change a flat tire.
Wait for the AAA guy at a convenience store (pints of ice cream for the kids)
Buy replacement tire at Les Schwab at Exit ?? in the middle of nowhere while the kids totally raided their popcorn and hot chocolate supplies.
Rendezvous to deliver Girl Beer
Rendezvous to deliver the two cousins

Finally, home sweet home... to four excited dogs.

It was a great vacation... thanks to all of you for participating and having a good time with us!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Grandy Creek Camping 08-12-2012

No, it isn't April Fools Day.

TEAM Rolfs actually went camping.  The 'sleep in a tent' kind of camping.  Outdoors.

Those of you who know us will understand just how big of a deal this is.

It's been years since our last camping trip (with the Livers... when we stayed in a cabin at Jellystone Campground, and it rained).  We missed all of you this trip.

People on Facebook even know this is a big deal.  Comments like "You mean Tanya actually slept in a tent?" and "Is that Tanya reading by the flashlight?" prove just how exciting this sort of thing is in our family.

The trip started off a little rocky - but that seems to be our modus operandi.  At one point the trip almost became the _EAM Camping trip or the _E__ Camping Trip, but neither of those stories would be eligible for publishing on this blog so I locked the car doors, rolled through stop signs, insisted that Red is the new Yellow and drove east on Hwy 20 to the Grandy Creek Campground.

It's a KOA.  Some people call it "Car Camping".  I call it "Glamour Camping".  Tanya calls it "Barely Acceptable".

Pool (solar heated), hot tub, bathrooms with running water*** & showers, mini-golf, playground, an actual creek***, fire pits, s'mores, cold chicken, a 'jumping pillow', minnows, newts, yurts, cabins, pot-smoking Hells Angels, 78 foot long motor homes with Direct TV satellite dishes and even a big hill to hike up.

All that, plus tons of sunshine and hot weather to go with it.

While it wasn't anything like a Disney Vacation, it was still a good time.

Mikayla exploring Grandy Creek, less than 100 feet from our tent:

Mikayla on the "Jumping Pillow".  Really, the pillow isn't jumping whatsoever.  Plus, it looks like fun, but it's hard to get any air when you jump on it.  A better name for this thing might be the "Walk Like A Drunk" Pillow.
 Our Campsite (#63):
The campsite was really nice (in my personal opinion).  It was all grass with shade in the morning and shade in the evening.  That means we weren't tracking dirt and dust into the tent all day, the tent had time to cool off at night before bed and we didn't have to wake up sweating for a 6:30a.m. sunrise.  Instead, the kids fell right asleep and didn't wake until after 9am.

We didn't have neighbors on either side so there was plenty of room to spread out our family sized tent that claims to sleep 6 or 7, although our family of 4 fit just perfectly.

Here is Alexia exploring the creek:

 Here is Mikayla after we scrambled up this 150 foot tall cliff following a boot path.  The was was really steep, especially for those of us in flip flops and tread less sandals.  We followed the ridge for a short ways and the trail led back down to the campground just a few sites away from our tent.
 Here is Alexia who is being bounded off the Jumping Pillow by a bunch of other similar aged campers just the the left side of this photo.  The building in the background is a private residence for the campground managers.
 A view of an open field in the campground with Sauk Mountain (leftish of center) in the distance.  I'll always remember Sauk Mountain as one of our Family Hike destinations that led to the demise of our bucket-of-bolts Ford Windstar.  Tanya and the kids will always remember it as 'the hike where mom was so scared on the steep road that she cried'.  Nah, we haven't been back since then.
 Mikayla sitting on the playground swing, possibly pondering how to beat her dad in the next round of mini-golf (or possibly just wishing he'd just put away the dumb camera).
 Alexia playing Zombie Tag on the Jumping Pillow with other campers. 
 Alexia befriending yet another camper in the pool.
 Shark Attack!

Anyway, we had cold KFC for dinner, followed by roasting marshmallows and s'mores before bed.  In the morning we had a cheater-breakfast of cinnamon bread, granola bars and juice before going swimming and packing up for home.

Home in time for lunch and a shower before the kids were off and running to gymnastics.

Resume the normal chaos, and stay tuned for our next adventure.


*** The bathroom with running water and the actual creek are not the same thing.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

2012 Olympics (TEAM Rolfs Style)

Like many families across the world, our family has been watching the 2012 Olympics.

The kids are really into watching the gymnastics events. Why they don't show them until after 10pm is beyond me.

Being the smart, fun and resourceful father that I am, it seemed there had to be a way to bring the excitement of the Olympics to our house.

So, promptly at 8:00pm tonight, we held the Opening Ceremony of the first TEAM Rolfs Olympics.

This was an exclusive event with limited seating. It also had limited video production and directing resources.

In attendance were the announcer (anonnymous), two competitors (Mikayla and Alexia) and the spectators which consisted of about four dogs... sometimes it is hard to keep track of them all.

Tanya wasn't able to participate in this event. She was busy training for an upcoming event (to be announced at a later time, maybe).

Without further delay, here is the short video of the Opening Ceremony, followed immediately by the first competitive event.

Tonights event: Competitive Dishwasher Unloading!


I hereby award myself a Gold Medal for spontaneous creativity (and getting chores done).


Sunday, May 27, 2012

New Dog On The Block

Last month we made a family trek down to Portland and brought home a new puppy.  He has been named "Charlie".
He is a Golden Doodle.
Here he is:
I thought it was a litle early to give hime a snobbish title like "Golden"... that's something he'd have to earn, in my opinion. However, the girls insist that isn't an adjective... it's the actual breed. Whatever. I no longer really give a shih tzu.

What concerns me more is that this dog is bigger than our other dogs; and he's only 3 months old. Much like cats are different from dogs, big dogs are different from little dogs. This is a whole new dog world.

On the plus side, Mikayla is doing a great job in training the new dog and he's already learning the basic commands and is generally well behaved (provided you keep an eye on him).

Current Dog Count: We are down to only 4 canines.

The service dog had been promoted to the prison training program (omg, what does that say about living here?) but then didn't feel comfortable with the environment (go figure) so she's back in the T_AM Rolfs training program.

Someone promised me that another family was adopting her 'any day now' for the next phase of training but talk of that has quieted and it seems no one wants to fill me in on the backup plan.

Hopefully we'll soon be down to only 3 dogs; although it will take a lot longer before people stop refering to us as 'the family with all those dogs'.

We hope you are excited for summer to arrive soon... we all are!

~E of TEAM Rolfs

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Winter Gym Rats

I might have had my 21x2 birthday recently, but we'll chat about that later.

In the meantime, kick back and enjoy these four gymnastics videos from the last two gymnastics meets. Tomorrow we aree running off to our third meet in three weeks... maybe the kids will review them in mental preparation for tomorrow's Bunny Hop meet in Kent. :)

Two of Mikayla and two of Alexia.

Feel free to comment on this post to give them encouragement! They'd love it - even if it's after the fact.

Alexia / Level 4 / Moses Lake / 2-25-2012:

Mikayla / Level 5 / Moses Lake / 2-25-2012:

Alexia / Level 4 / Mt. Vernon / 3-3-2012:

Mikayla / Level 5 / Mt. Vernon / 3-3-2012:

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Winter Fun In The Sun

Early in February we had a couple of really beautiful blue sky days that coincided with a day that wasn't already full of committments.

This was a perfect opportunity to take the kids up to play in the fresh snow on Mount Baker.

We left at a leisurely 9:00am and were back home by about 3:00pm.
The car was packed with warm winter clothes, two pairs of snowshoes, three sleds, snacks and sunscreen. We put all of them to good use.

It takes about an hour and a half to drive to the upper ski area from our house. For those that have never been there before, the ski area is accessed through Bellingham via Hwy 542. The ski area is at the end of the road.

Upon our arrival at Heather Meadows we made our way toward Austin Pass. Both the kids were able to make use of the snowshoes - they were a bit large for their size, but much more appropriate than the 'toddler' snowshoes (shaped like a bear paw) that can be bought from REI.

The kids enjoyed the snowshoes, but not quite as much as they enjoyed discovering an igloo, a snow cave and a perfect sledding hill.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Progress in the gym

Last weekend the girls both participated in a gymnastics competition at their gym in Mount Vernon.

Knowing this was a big event, we were all pleased to have both sets of grandparents available to come and watch the show.

Both kids performed well and they both scored high enough to qualify for sectionals (scheduled for early March).

Here are two videos, one for Mikayla's Level 5 routines and one for Alexia's Level 4 routines.

We are all looking forward to another fun competition this weekend... wish us luck!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Good Clean Fun at HHHH 12-28-2011

There's no other way to end up another fun year of 4H than to have a club sleepover in the dog barn.

Dogs weren't invited to this shindig, but I have reason to believe that they organized their own soiree. It's just a matter of time before one of them lets the secret out by posting a picture on facebook. Or one of the neighbor cats posts about it on his blog.

The activities involved during the 4H sleepover included soap making, a spaghetti feed and a bonfire + smores (despite the rain storm). Plus lots of kids enjoying good friendship (and plenty of goofiness) into all hours of the morning.

Thank you Christy for all your dedication and effort you put into this club. We all greatly appreciate what you do!


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Christmas Images from 2011

We enjoyed spending Christmas 2011 with our closest family members right here at home.

Here are a few of the treasured images from those days.

Mikayla, Tanya, Margie & Dave:

Rachel, Alexia & Eric

Alexia and Aleigh

Mikayla and Gavin

Back row L to R: Gavin, Nana, Poppy
Front Row L to R: Aleigh, Mikayla, Alexia

Back row L to R: T & E
Front Row L to R: A & M

Back row L to R: Dawn & Tory
Front Row L to R: Aleigh & Gavin

I'm not really sure what dog this is, much less whose dog it is. Heaven only knows.

You may find that hard to believe, but honestly, look at what I'm dealing with.

That's not a fluke either. It's considered 'normal' in our house.

Would you believe me if I told you those pics were taken at the same time?

N, P & G... and no L.

A & A having breakfast, or a snack. At least it has milk in it.

With four dogs that look almost identical, someone thought it would be a good idea to add in some dolls (with pets) that look identical to their owners. Can you guess which doll goes with which kid?

Learning to knit. Or crochet. Probably they're going to make a dog. Or a scarf.

Thank you to all the family members who were able to come spend some time with us this holiday season.

Merry Christmas!