Whale Watching

My parents came out for a visit in Seattle here in July.  One of the coolest things at this time of year is to head north a bit to check out the local Orca whales.  Before when we did it, we were able to watch from shore, but this time we booked a whole cruise to see them.

Emma and the Creepy Hour - Ella's First Book

As part of Ella's 2nd grade writing curriculum, all of the students wrote a short story.  Ella really got into it and wrote quite the little piece, complete with illustrations and everything.  Click on Read More to see Ella's manuscript completely unedited.  I should turn it into a real book on one of those websites, but I need her to redo all of the illustrations for it.

Here is the description that she wrote for the back of the book to prime you up for it.

A creepy case is on the chase!

A girl named Emma has dog she lets her brother borrow the dog.  The brother does something bad.  Will they find the dog?

Max's First Baseball Season

Max wrapped up his first season of t-ball just a couple of weeks ago, playing for the Marlins.  He really enjoyed playing here, and we had a pretty good spring and were not rained out too often.  It was a bit cold for a few games, but playable.

Hawaii Vacation at Aulani

We recently got back from our Spring vacation to Hawaii, which in the words of Max, was epic.  Plenty of words and photos below.  Why was it so good?  Because it was the perfect Wynn vacation, no plans, no agendas, just lazing around in a beautiful place having a great time.

We headed to Disney's new resort on Oahu, Aulani, which just opened recently, for Ella's birthday.  We moved our trip back a couple of weeks because we had a whole bunch of friends coming to see us just after Ella's birthday.  We always go to Disney World for Max's birthday, so for our spring vacation we thought that it would be nice to go somewhere for Ella.  And Aulani just opened and is one of the Disney Vacation Club resorts (we actually own part of Aulani), plus it is pretty easy to get to Hawaii from Seattle, so it seemed like a grand plan.

In and around Seattle

We just got done with a whole host of visitors that stayed with us for awhile.  Sarah's parents came out a few weeks back to visit because we had a whole group of people from Brazil coming as well.  The whole Butler clan still has a lot of friends down in Brazil from their time there.  One of the families that they were very good friends with have had a couple of opportunities to come visit and were able to make a trip here in April to come see the States.  So we had a family of 4, Tainah, Gildo, and their 2 boys (3 and 4 months) along with Tainah's parents Milton and Marcia.  Then all 4 of us plus Joe and DiAnne and we had one full household, 12 people in total, was quite the scene.

With everyone here we were able to get out and about a bit to see some things in Seattle.  The first thing that we did was get out to the Tulip Festival.  This is an annual event where a Dutch immigrant starting growing tons of tulips here many years ago.  So now they figured out how to really cash in and get people to drive several hours to see the Tulips.  Was pretty cool though.

Ella's 8th Birthday

Just about a week ago, Ella hit the big 0-8.  Big milestone for her because she no longer needs a booster seat in the car, she was pretty excited about that, I had to drive her to school in the morning so that she could try it out.

We kept things pretty simple this year because we are headed to Hawaii in another week as part of her birthday.  We just had dinner at home (she wanted Sloppy Joe's), and her friend Tayla and her family came over for cake afterwards.  Grandpa Joe and Grandma DiAnne are also in town to celebrate with her.  The dessert of choice was an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen.

Easter Time

Easter time is always nice around the household.  Sarah's parents were in town for a visit so we were able to spend Easter together.

For us, we started a new tradition last year where we eat cake for breakfast.  No real good reason for it, but I have never let the lack of a good reason prevent us from doing anything else.  A nice bunny cake is in order, although this year's was not as tasty as last year's.  Didn't stop us from eating it, just lessened the enjoyment.

After church, it was time for the obligatory family photo.

Ella's 1st Basketball Season

We just put a wrap on Ella's first season in basketball.  I ended up coaching the team after there was a desperate plea for someone to volunteer and coach.  Coaching kids in basketball that have never played is actually pretty complex.  It is no wonder that soccer and baseball are so popular for kids, they are really easy.  Trying to teach 1st and 2nd graders about travelling, double dribbling, how to setup on offense and defense is really tough.

Ella did great, she really put a lot into practice and by the end of the season she was the team's best dribbler and defender.  She definitely wants to play more, we will probably look for some summer clinics and stuff so that she can continue to get better.

The team did great too, while we don't officially keep score, we for sure won more than we lost.  Looking forward to next season.

Ella's Writing

Ella is really getting into writing in school, she really enjoys writing about all kinds of things, but usually writes more non fiction than fiction.  Here are a few samples unedited to enjoy.  Sometimes she included a quick drawing to go with it, so I scanned those in when I could and included them below the writings.

I am going to start with our favorite one, which happens to be the most recent.  The class really put a focus on writing after getting back from Christmas, so this was her main story in a whole book of "Persuasive Letters" that was sent home recently.  Jump down to some of the letters beginning in January of 2012, and you can really see a big improvement in her writing very quickly.  I copied these verbatim, italics are her words exactly.

Not Title - 1/27/12
Dear owners of shelter,

Perhaps you know that poor NEED SHELTER?!  I want to tell you a few reasons to GIVE SHELTER TO THE POOR!  Every day the poor are FEERZING.  They have NO FOOD at all.  All they have is curmbs.  The kids that are poor don't have any toys.  They would want toys like other kids that are not poor.  They also have to live on SIDEWALKS.  I, Ella Wynn, declare that we Washongtin help the homeles with NOTHING.  P.S. I am not the govurment.  GIVE SHELTER TO THE POOR!

Do it for happiens!

We have had some conversations about how we can help the local homeless so that Ella learns to become part of the solution and not just complain about problems without doing anything about it.  She seems pretty encouraged to try and raise some money that we can take to a few local shelters to help out.

Christmas with the Wynns

With the holidays behind us, and us starting to get settled down and back into a routine, I finally found some time to get caught up on the site.  Small update on Christmas, which was great as usual.  While it is always hard to not be with our friends and family in Michigan around this time of year, we had a very enjoyable relaxing day on Christmas.

Both Ella and Max got way too many presents, which happens each year.  Ella snagged a guitar from Santa (arranging some lessons for both her and I right now), and Max scored a whole slew of brand new Lego sets from the fat man (that I then spent hours and hours building with him).

Sarah has made me promise that we will get to Michigan this year sometime between Christmas and New Years.  Looking forward to getting home and seeing a lot of people that I have not seen in several years now.
That is a serious amount of presents

2011 Florida Vacation Report

Finally getting around to writing down how we spent the rest of our vacation before Christmas.  In case you didn't know, a cruise was a big part of that trip and you can read everything about that here - http://www.the-wynns.com/2011/12/disney-cruise-review.html.  This will be another long post with a bunch of photos, hope that you have a few minutes.

After we finished the cruise, we were able to go to Disney to stay for about another week to have some fun together and see some friends.  My parents and Aunt Laurie were even to make it down for some time with us too.