For 10 years I've turned tens of thousands pictures and videos into the longest story ever told. This record of your lives from my perspective as a father of twins is a labor of love. Since I started this, most of the world lost interest in blogs. This method of writing tells stories in volumes, but then Facebook came along and stories were told in a paragraph. Then Instagram narrowed it down to a picture and sentence. Then snapchat brought it down to a picture and couple of words that evaporates in seconds. Your experiences and memories are so valuable that I gave hours of my life to chronicle yours.
I decided to end the blog because you stopped posing for pictures and videos. It became a point of contention every time i pulled my camera up and that is a sign that it's time to move on. Also, you told your friends about the blog and now they are coming to see pics and videos of you all. I don't want to continue posting in such an open, unfiltered manner because it could be used against you in school. From now on you'll have to find a way to tell your own stories.
I never viewed the blog as a way to prove how good of a father I am. It's full of mistakes and missed opportunities and outright failures. Even so, I want you both to understand how I was there for virtually every picture on the blog because I was the one taking the picture. I wasn't just present and in the same room. I was involved and soaking in every moment of fatherhood knowing I only get to do this journey once with both of you at the same time. Although Kendra was also very much involved, she had no interest in writing or picture taking because she is much more focused on being in the moment.
Easton, you are my amazing son! More than any other attribute, I'm most proud of your kindness. You are considerate of others and truly a gentleman who respects women, friends, authority, and strangers. The way you think so deeply and focus intently on the things that matter most to you is legendary. When you get a new Lego set, it is fully built in record time because of your ability to apply your passion in a focused manner on the task at hand. I appreciate our cuddle time with Max where the three boys of the house embrace on the couch and give hugs while Max licks us. If you choose to achieve your Eagle Scout rank or travel to Mars, I'll support you every step of the way.
Layla, you are my beautiful princess warrior! Every morning for years I gently come to wake you up since you sleep in late. As I approach your bed I say, "good morning my beautiful princess warrior" and rub your forearm as I kiss your cheek. Your strength and tenacity will serve you well when directed towards the life-giving aspects of your focus. You lead with confidence and experience genuine enjoyment from competition and success. You've always had an eye for beauty. your ability to see the beauty in the world and people blows me away. Your love for drawing and dancing and figure skating is a joy to watch.
I'm adding two final pictures. This one is our Easter picture taken at the Easter egg hunt. It represents the most recent family picture we have and works well to show all of our smiles and shiny faces together. There is so much love in this family and in our household. I hope you always maintain this as the benchmark to surpass in your own relationships and households.
This one is a close up of you two representing the closeness of your relationship and relative height. You two are best friends and no one can ever take that away. We've been speaking that over your lives since the day you were born and believe it will carry through the rest of your lives no matter where you call home.
We have so many adventures yet to experience as the 4 Webbs, but as time goes on we will spend less and less time together because of extra curricular activities, friends, and school work. Your foundation is already cemented and now it's time for you to build your life, brick by brick. I love you both no matter what. Fully, unconditional with the throttle wide open.
You both dislike going for walks and hikes, but I make you anyway because I enjoy adventuring with you even during the small things like taking Max for a walk. Just being with you two is the highlight of my day.
There is no way this blog will ever mean as much to you as it does to me, but I hope some day you find it valuable. This body of work is not my legacy... you are. The two of you are gifts given by God. You're also the greatest thing I will leave the world when I'm gone. No matter what I accomplish in my lifetime, you two are my best creations. Be blessed, Easton and Layla
After a week at Disney World we met up with Ouma and Oupa to board the Disney Fantasy cruise ship for a week at sea. We waited in line for everything during our week at Disney World and then continued the waiting, starting with going through the cattle herding process to get 4,000 people through a single entrance on the side of the ship.
Just being with Ouma and Oupa made the wait time more tolerable. We had an entire week's worth of adventures to share with them.
We ate for seven days straight. Every meal was all-you-can-eat and we took full advantage of the verity including my bravery to eat snails. mmmm... tasty. nobody else tried one!
The twins happily joined the kids club called the "Oceaneer Club". the ages were 3-12 so there was plenty to see and do for the twins since they are 10. During one of the labs they made a small bucket of slime. the instructors had the kids put their hands on their heads so they could add ingredients without the kids messing around with the contents. Their time in this area ended as soon as they found out they could be let int "Edge", the kids club for 11-14 year olds. I signed a waiver and they spent the next six days making friends, running around the ship (with a purpose) and playing video games on the massive entertainment centers.
Easton said his favorite part of the cruise was free, unlimited ice cream all day and night. We ate ice cream at least three times a day, no joke. The tube behind us is the AquaDuck. All of us rode the raft at least once around the ship's deck.
Activities were available around the clock. I'm not sure what parents allow their kids to be playing games at 1:00am, but there were things to do for all ages at almost all hours. We were all wiped out each day so our normal 8:30 bedtime was fairly consistent for all 4 Webbs. Layla joined a dance performance class where they learned a dance and performed it for the crowd of parents.
Layla was front and center as always with her exuberance and skill. We all watched and cheered as they choreographed the short routine.
Us adults spent many hours doing this. sitting, resting, and talking. The twins have no way to process why we would do this. Lucky for us, Disney provides a variety of ways for kids to do what they want while we do what we want.
On the rare occasions when the twins would have to wait on us for something, at least they had some incredible views to pass the time. This is Ouma's window in their room. It's a huge round portal with a padded seat to cradle into like Easton is doing. There was nothing but water in every direction. That feeling was surprisingly comforting without any fear.
We dressed up twice for fancy dinners. Our luggage only had room for a limited number of outfits since we were gone for two weeks. The days were warm, but the evenings were breezy and slightly chilly so jackets were prepared and used. Layla and Kendra looked especially lovely in their dinner outfits.
The Animator's Palate was our favorite dinner place because of the technology built into the experience. The ambiance was Disney through and through with the amount of detail expected from them. Ouma had plenty of hugs and loving time when the twins were in our presence. Her lap is available even during dinner time as we wait between courses. Dessert was included in every single meal and that habit was hard to break after seven day's worth of expecting exquisite desserts.
Oupa was so involved during the week that I hoped he had enough decompress time to hang out and relax. I'm so happy it worked out for us to take the cruise together. The difference in skin tone is dramatic in this picture. It shows the kids with their Seattle winter white and Oupa with his daily outdoor California tan. Definitely related though!
Only a few pics exist of Kendra and I together during the cruise because it was rare for us to be together, with a camera, with someone else around to take our picture. come to think of it, that is the exact reason there are very few pictures of us for the past 15 years. More so on the cruise though because we were in our bathing suits with our phones in our room.
Ouma and Oupa and Kendra and I had a super exquisite dinner at Palo without the twins. It was about as fancy of a dinner as I've ever experienced with a view of the vast ocean. It will be really tough to top that in the future.
We arrived at St. Maarten to see a destroyed island that looked nothing like I expected. Oupa and Easton joined me on a scouting mission to check it out. A few ships were docked at the well maintained port, but every step away from the ship felt more and more third-world.
The row of businesses making up the small downtown area were 80% jewelry stores. Never seen that many jewely stores in one place. Oupa was a trooper to walk the length of the streets back and forth so we could check it all out. The water wasn't as clear or blue as I expected, but there was a beach right off the dock.
The ladies joined us for an excursion to another beach about 30 minutes away. We sat patiently on the bus as the driver calmly squeaked through super tight spots where roads and cars were scary narrow. Easton found a cantaloupe-sized Conch shell and Layla found handfuls of sparkly shells. The resort we went to was not special. The pool was tiny and uninviting, but sand on the beach was almost worth taking our whole afternoon. I was so happy to be in the ocean floating with Kendra. That was one of the main goals of our vacation because we both love the beach and ocean so deeply.
Our room service attendant was so great at leaving chocolates, a nicely cleaned room, and even a monkey towel. Easton dressed perfectly for the pirates day as we all did, but unfortunately no pictures were taken of all of us mateys together.
We arrived at St. Thomas to see an amazingly different scene than St. Maarten. This island is US owned instead of French/Netherland owned. The buildings held together much better and it was remodeled much faster. The rainbow and sailing ships made for a picture perfect view of the welcomed sight.
Kendra and Ouma stayed on board while the four of us went exploring. The gondola ride cost about $60 for the four of us and it was the only thing we did here because we didn't want to spend the entire time off the ship during the three days at port. The scene was great, but not much was open at the top. A few shops and a restaurant were all that operates right now. I heard there is a petting zoo and path to hike, but none of it was open.
We celebrated Easton and Layla's birthday this evening. The fruity drinks and extra special dessert made the night memorable. We told them how incredibly fortunate they are to have a two week Disney vacation as their birthday gift. I don't expect we'll ever top this one.
Kendra read how people decorate the metal door to the room. She was right because it was common to see magnets all over people's doors. Here is our personalized design Kendra had made for us.
The Star Wars day at see was a blast. The bed cover was even Star Wars themed. We saw characters all over the ship and even had a run-in with a couple of storm troopers.
The last day was my favorite of the entire trip. Castaway Cay was everything I hoped for in a Disney owned island. Lots of umbrellas and chairs stuck in the well-managed fine sand beach. The food was average, but that's not why people go here.
Easton found some kids digging a hole. He spent an hour or so packing sand against the walls and getting messy. I was happy for him to go play with a group of strange kids while Layla snorkeled around the bay with her friends from the ship.
All of us snorkeled and saw many creatures of the sea. We brought full-face snorkel masks, which was an awesome plan. We rented fins and life vests for a few bucks. Easton and Layla and I went out together. We saw a group of people gathered in an area so we went to check it out. A massive sea turtle swam right under us! It surfaced for air within a few feet of us and we touched it's back. Later we learned we weren't supposed to do that, but it was coming right up by us. The four adults also swam out together. We saw some huge fish and some of the sunken secrets Disney placed out there. I choose this picture as our official Disney Cruise picture because it represents many of the reasons we went there.
Kendra bought these matching Star Wars hats at Disney World, but I finally got a picture of us together as we drove away from our beach day at Castaway Cay. Her hat says, "I love you" and my hat says, "I know".
We all had hopes of playing many card games on the cruise, but we were all so busy and having fun that we didn't have many occasions where we were all together and not doing anything. On this rare occasion we played Spades by the pool. Competition is fierce with this crew and none of us adults showed any mercy for each other or the kids when it came to playing.
Each cabin has the same waiters and waitreses for the whole week. Ours were so delightful and top-notch. The kids regularly finished their meal earlier than the adults. They would leave and go play at the Edge with their friends leaving us to casually enjoy the two-hour meal time every night.
They regularly made origami gifts and played riddle games with crayons on the table.
Easton slept in the top bunk and Layla in the bottom. In our room, the top bunk folds down from the ceiling and the bottom bed folds down from the couch. We spent very few minutes watching TV, but occasionally we watched one of the hundreds of kids movies available for free on the tube.
This was our first cruise experience ever and it was the most awesome way to take one. The weather was amazing. The ocean was relatively calm, and the ship was clean and well maintained. That being said, we will probably never go on a cruise again. It took three days after the cruise for us to stop losing our balance and feeling a little off. No one got sea sick on the cruise or after, but that weird feeling of being tossed back and forth, no matter how slightly, made for a maddening week and days after. Our ideal vacation would include being in one spot, in a house, on a beach. that way we can see the surrounding town on our own timeline and be on the beach any time we want. The twins loved everything about the cruise and they would go on one again tomorrow if they had the opportunity. What an experience of a lifetime for the 4 Webbs! See you soon.
After spending one week at Disney World and one week on a Disney cruise, i'm going to do my best to cram all of that into two posts. These will be my final two posts for the blog after 10 years of regularly writing and posting.
The flight to Florida was smooth and completely forgettable, just the way I like it. We spent our first full day at Blizzard Beach. Other than being surrounded by snow themes and Christmas music while wearing just a bathing suit, I enjoyed the whole experience. One day there was plenty considering how many other parks are around. Not many opportunities to take pictures at the water park because technology and water don't go together very well. Besides, i don't think phones would do well sliding down the summit plummet ride at 50 mph as I bounce off the sides like a pinball machine. Kendra and Layla floated in the lazy river while Easton and I rode the water slides over and over.
Most of my Disney World days can be summarized by this picture where Kendra is leading us through herds of people from one ride to another. Not sure how many miles we got in each day, but Easton and Layla set records on their step counting Vivo Fit Jr. watches.
This is the picture to represent the reason why we saved for two years, planned for a year, and flew across the country. We created many happy memories that will last a lifetime for the twins. Those special moments and experiences were shared by the four of us in ways that couldn't happen in our day-to-day lives at home.
I don't remember why Easton snuggled into Kendra as they conversed, but I had enough time to get my camera out and take a picture. He is definitely a momma's boy who values the connection and comfort between them.
He gives and gets hugs from me too, but we also get to share experiences like shooting things at the Frontierland Shootin' Arcade. I asked Layla to join me for a round of activating animatronic owls, but she was not interested.
The highlight of our week was Pandora - world of Avatar. Of all the parks and attractions, this one captured our imagination and had the best attractions. We waited for the park to open, then ran... i mean walked briskly... to the Flight of Passage ride. The guy behind us in line was too obese to ride so his wife hung out with us through the line and ride. We waited in line for 45 minutes while Kendra took her time getting to the park. The line went by quickly because the scenery is amazing.
After we rode it once, the wait time for the ride was 5 hours. That's not a typo. seriously crazy. Kendra joined us and we used a fast pass to ride it again.
We wore 3D glasses and sat in a motorcycle riding position on the ride vehicles. The wind and mist in the face are very immersive when combined with the movement of the vehicles and the massive screen.
Easton has talked for months about buying (adopting) a Banshee at The Rookery inside Windtraders. He was so excited to finally get one. He picked it out and had it shipped for free to our Kidani village hotel. He had to wait an extra day to play with it, which was tortuous waiting for it to arrive.
Kendra waited in line with us for the Dinosaur ride, but then left before we boarded the vehicles because of the jerky nature described. I'm glad she did because we were whipped around in the jeep-like contraptions. The ride was not anyone's favorite of the week, but the scenery was well done and the dinosaurs were only slightly scary for Layla.
We found a Starbucks coffee at the Animal Kingdom where we treated ourselves to frappuccinos. The kid's didn't contain any coffee, but the unseasonably warm temperatures made these extra tasty.
Kendra's highlight of the trip was the Festival of the Lion King show. Kendra explained her cancer journey to the guest services lady and she gave us a VIP experience that blew us away. We sat on the front row that is only four-butts wide. We were so close to the entertainers that it was hard to get a wide enough picture to show how awesome it was.
Then Kendra and the twins were invited to walk with the dancers around the auditorium.
After the show was over we were invited to join the cast out back where we got to ask questions and interact with them all by ourselves!
They posed for this unforgettable picture and gave us a special certificate as the "family of the day" award. such a top-notch experience.
The Kilimanjaro Safaris Expedition ride was pretty epic. Even though we saw many animals outside our hotel window at Kidani Village, going on this ride was a whole new level of up-close and personal with real wild life. Easton's favorite animal was the Wildebeest. I have no idea why other than their odd appearance and large stature.
Layla's favorite was the giraffe because of the spotted pattern and their long tongue.
We did a lot of eating, but not at fancy restaurants. We would grab snacks along the way and park ourselves at a random sidewalk. We ate often and in small doses because fancy sit-down meals are painfully expensive and hard to find seating.
The most nostalgic ride of our week was the Matterhorn Bobsleds ride, seen here in the distance behind us as I kiss Kendra's cheek. We rode the rickety, jostling ride that hasn't changed in the past 40 years. It bounced Kendra around pretty good, but her back and hips didn't take too much abuse. She walked away with a smile on her face and not a grimace or limp, so that was successful.
The famous Cinderella castle makes for the most recognizable pictures that represent family fun. I had to get at least one.
The other one I really wanted was during the Tree of Life Nighttime Awakenings show. What an outstanding display of video and lights and sound.
We took one day at Epcot, which stands for Every Person Comes Out Tired. That's what one of the Disney cast members said. I couldn't agree more. The park is spread around a massive lake. we walked more here than any other day of our vacation. Plenty of opportunities to enjoy food from around the world, like Hawaiian shaved ice.
I talked the twins into posing for this picture because I've done this before in different settings. I just like the way they look hanging out together.
Face painting is something Layla requested long before our trip arrived. Easton didn't really care, but he did it because they had a snake as an option. Layla chose the peacock because of the big palette of colors. It wasn't worth $14 each in my opinion, but the time to be frugal and save a few pennies is not while on vacation.
After a long day of walking forever and back again, we stayed late enough to catch the biggest fireworks show I've ever seen called IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. I didn't bother to video the experience because I wanted to just enjoy it real-time instead of looking through a lens. This is us in our sectioned off, front-row seats with an awesome view. Made the whole evening worth the wait.
We splurged for one big meal during the week at the Be Our Guest Restaurant. Kendra woke up at 4:00am one morning, several months before our trip, to reserve passes and events and seats. The food was not memorable for any reason, good or bad. The decorations and scenes were very well done. This tile art work showing Belle and Prince Adam made for a nice background we could mimic. Easton took the picture because we both wanted to be in one without the twins for a change.
Layla drove me around in a car on the Tomorrowland Speedway ride. Those steering wheels are ridiculously difficult to maneuver. She did a great job considering. Easton was behind us in his own car, but didn't enjoy the experience much at all. I hope they don't have a lasting bad impression of driving by thinking this is the way all cars feel when they bounce around all over the road.
Another special arrangement Kendra set up for us was the primo seating for the Festival of Fantasy Parade. We were in a special section of benches that were roped off right next to the path where the parade came by. The thing behind Layla is a fire-breathing dragon! She liked it, but there were many princesses following the dragon that quickly took her focus.
Every princess and character waved at, smiled towards, and sometime spoke directly to us. It wasn't like a normal experience where there are hundreds of people lining both sides of the parade. This section was like a private show.
Kendra and Easton sat together on the row behind us because the twins were arguing about getting in each other's way. These things happen and it's just real life. The view was just as amazing and Easton wasn't impressed with anything besides the dragon anyway.
We didn't buy much merchandise, but we did lots of window shopping. These two Minnie ears went perfectly with Kendra and Layla's outfits.
We coordinated a few of the days and this was the Mickey and Minnie day for us.
We didn't have much one-on-one time with parent - child outings because we were consistently flocking together as the 4 Webbs. However, Layla and I had fun adventuring together going to the lost and found. Layla accidently left her backpack at the Country Bear Jamboree show, but by the time she realized it we were out of the park. When we went back another day I took her to the lost and found to retrieve it while Kendra and Easton went back to the hotel. On the way there stopped in front of the castle with an awesome sunset view.
Layla did not enjoy the Hollywood hotel ride at Disneyland. She was 5 last time we went and this became known as "the ride that shall not be named" because simply talking about it caused Layla to get upset. Now that she is ten years old we talked her into giving it another try. She did much better this time, but still didn't enjoy the thrills much. Easton is had a blast just like when he was five.
Disneyworld is just around the corner for us! I can't wait to take a vacation from everything. I'll be unplugged from work and life and doctors and responsibilities for a short time with the 4 Webbs on the biggest adventure we've taken so far.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch... Easton and Layla are learning to code. There is a product called a code car that ships a USB connected integrated circuit board that is shaped like a car. The software online allows you to use code samples to make the lights and noises do different things. They both did really well, but it only took about 30 minutes to work through all of the examples. Now they will need to get creative with the code and edit it manually. That's when the fun will begin. I told them both, "as long as you can code, you'll always have a job.
I took Easton and Kain out for community service project just because. our neighborhood pond was looking a little trashy so we took a trash bag and a long stick to clean up it up.
I was proud of them for figuring out ways to reach the trash even after repeated saying, "i can't...". sometimes it's the little accomplishments that build confidence.
Easton used his chore money to buy a laser gun game. He convinced Layla to join in. They ran around the house playing the modern version of laser tag. it's a great indoor game on these cold, rainy days at home.
Layla is getting ready for her next performance in March. She is improving so much lately. The olympics are fun to watch with her because she calls out the moves and knows which ones are truly impressive.
We have been watching the winter olympics almost every night. Easton's neighbor friend comes over frequently and does whatever we are doing as a family. dinner time, watching a show, or playing board games. Tashinga is happy to join in.
Layla has her own pal, Max to share a chair with as we cheer for the figure skaters. Kendra sits next to me on the couch since she is the most interested person in the house when it comes to olympic events.
That's all i have time for today, but I'm starting to write out my final blog post already so the curtain is about to close on the 4 Webb's blog soon.
Hello family... and classmates of Easton and Layla,
The twins informed me they brought up this blog site on the computers at school and showed their friends. I'm really happy for them to share the pics and videos and stories, but this is a milestone I've been waiting on for a long time. For the past 10 years I've been blogging regularly. I've been planning to end this when they turned 10 or whenever they started to share their own story. It looks like those two milestones are going to happen at the same time.
With their 10th birthday and the Disney World trip coming up soon i'm committed to end this blog on a high note after our vacation is over.
Six weeks into the new year and we are still going strong with our nightly reading of the New Testament so that we complete it by the end of 2018. First, we do math by dividing the number of scriptures by the number of people who are reading. Then we decide who will read which section. Then we do reading and grammar as we read aloud through the chapter. Those benefits are just an added bonus for the real reason why we do this. The main goal is to develop spiritual warriors with Biblical literacy. We spend about 15 minutes reading and 5 minutes talking. They still see this as a "do we have to" kind of thing, but i'm confident by the end of the year they will have a healthier desire to spend time in the Bible.
Layla's figure skating is primary, but occasionally she gets a chance to cheer, which she enjoys almost as much as skating. She went to an evening camp for two days and then half-time performance with the high school cheer squad during their basketball game. She was front-and-center with her high intensity spirit.
The 4 Webbs are full of anticipation as we prepare for our Disney trip. Pirate costumes are not required, but we are going the extra mile to have a full experience on the cruise ship.
Our semi-coordinated shirts will be nice and cool as we run around Disney World in the 83 degree heat and sunshine. I can almost feel it on my face already.
In the Seattle winter we have to find ways to get our activity badge for the day. I took the twins and their friends to my gym for family night. Easton and Kain spent most of their time in the nerf gun room, shooting random strangers.
Layla and Makya bounced around the jump houses and danced to the big screen videos.
I took the crew to Red Robin because I was crazy enough to let them choose. I hope they continue to see me as the "cool dad" who gets to be included in their fun.
Sometimes we go on outdoor adventures whether it is raining or not. I took the boys and Max out for a hike because when the sun peaks through the clouds I want my face to be there to catch it. I'm secretly doing some cross training with Easton to prepare him for our boys trip this summer.
Easton and Layla are 10 years old. It's a fact, but Kendra and I are having a tough time coming to grips with this. Not because we don't want them to be 10, but the realization is that we have pre-teens in our house and we must adjust our parenting to fit their stage of life. We celebrated their official day at Red Robin because they chose... again...
Layla was most excited about the staff singing their happy birthday song for the whole restaurant to hear. and the sundae. that was significant too.
I'm planning for one more post before we leave and then one or two after we return before I pull the plug on the whole blog. I'll use a program i have to capture the entire blog into a large e-book just for posterity sake. After that it will be up to the twins to tell their own story. See you soon!
January proved to be a difficult month for the 4 Webbs. not exactly the way i wanted to start the year, but I don't give much power to time segments of life. Some people have already written off 2018 based on a few situations or setbacks, but I've never been one to forfeit a year, month, week, day or even hour of life based on circumstances.
Anyway, we have some bright sunshiny days ahead even though we are in the depth of the winter cycle here in Seattle. We limit the screen time for the kids because otherwise they would be zombies. Easton plays Minecraft on the weekends with anyone who will join him, including me. We play cooperatively and competitively against each other with great success. I measure success based on how Easton still includes me in what he likes to do. We have fun and laugh often so i'll continue to be included in his playtime as long as he will invite me. If Kain is available then he hangs out with at our house where Max gets more pets, games have more players, and I get some time to do things on my own.
Over Thanksgiving I spent some time with my nephews who are extremely musically talented. I was inspired by them and picked up my guitar again regularly for the first time in years. Each finger is forming a callous from the strings and I'm enjoying using the internet for guitar chords. The last time I was playing back in college there were no sites with full listings of songs and music. so much to play! Layla and Easton have a computer next to mine so Layla joins me in singing along when she knows the song. There is something special about singing together as a family.
A break in the rainy season gave us a weekend gift of being outside without being soaked. The playground is still wet, but that doesn't stop Washington residents from playing. The tire swing was the biggest hit as Clay and I swung the kids around to the point of dizziness.
On the hiking trail we took a detour off the path to a creek. The mud and sand were so deep that it almost swallowed their rain boots as they squished into it. The scene looks like another planet or at least a well-designed movie set.
Easton took a break from the tire swing on the second time through the playground because he didn't want to lose his lunch.
Layla took a solo spin on the puke machine, proving she's a little more excited about adrenaline experiences than Easton.
Not many pictures of Kendra lately because she's been in bed or sometime around the house, but rarely outside or in any state of picture readiness. For the past month she's been at the hospital way too much with gut issues. She's still not in the clear, but we are at least confident she is cancer-free still. The variety of issues, including back pain, are keeping her from increasing her stamina and strength. Our upcoming Disney trip is a big motivator, but we are praying and believing she will be healed before then. In the mean time, we have some awesome neighbors and friends who are taking care of Kendra and us to supplement my full time job of employee, father, husband, maid, taxi, and the 100 other titles Kendra and I usually share.
vacation is coming soon and I'm holding that as the carrot on the stick in front of my face to keep this donkey going. See you soon!
I'm rarely aware of exactly what is being passed down from me to the twins. Sometimes it's mannerisms, sometimes vocabulary, sometimes the very things Kendra and I detest in character, habits, and communication. Once in a while I intentionally pass down something to them like snow ice cream. With the last snow we made sure to have two full batches of the good stuff. I showed them the ingredients and how to make it. then I cut them loose to make their own and it turned out great. We pigged out during a good bonding moment and i'll probably never forget it even though it was unremarkable to most people.
Kendra and I went out for a few hours alone while Ouma was in town. We drove up to Christy's Mom's house while she was out of town and sat on her back deck overlooking the Sound. In the middle of Kendra's recovery from whatever this is going on in her bowels, we found a few minutes to just rest and exist side-by-side with a beautiful view. There were many days before this picture and many after where she has felt terribly sick and struggled through pain, but there are these moments where the rain stops (literally and figuratively) and the sun breaks through. I love these moments.
i've been filling many roles lately that Kendra has done historically, but can't right now. I've made breakfast before, but not all the time. i've taken the kids around like a taxi, but not all the time. i've managed the bed time routine often, but not all the time. The last few weeks have allowed me to spend high quality and lots of quantity time with the kids. I'm excited for Kendra to get back to a teamwork level equal in this, but i'm content and seeing the positive benefits of focusing every waking minute on our family other than work time.
Kendra gave the twins their own Starbucks mini-coffee mugs for Christmas. They are supposed to be ornaments, but i use them for fresh-squeezed juice shots in the morning. Of course, Layla is pink and Easton is blue. what's new...
The value of our family time together is never more visible than when we read our chapter-per-night from the Bible. On this night we made full use of our king-size bed where all four of us were side-by-side.
Our Sunday morning turned into church at home as we crammed onto the living room couch together. This was the first time we really spent time in prayer and teaching how to hear God. We prayed for Kendra and planted some seeds for going after some big time dreams and goals. We'll look back on this day as the start for some significant outcomes. For now it just looks like we dug a hole and threw some seeds in it.
While the neighborhood watched NFL playoffs I rounded up the neighbor kids and took them on a hike in the woods. in the rain... with two dogs.
The scenery was amazing, as always. I was proud of the kids for tackling the 2 mile mud trail with only small amounts of whining. Some of these kids may end up as trail running champions. if so, i'm taking credit for it now.
Most couples, married and single, go on dates that are normal. movie and dinner, driving adventure, shopping, and all manner of picture-worthy fun. We'll get back there soon, but for now we spend our alone times at the hospital. We're both so tired of doctors and hospitals. My eye rolling is exactly how i feel about spending a day-date with Kendra as she gets a colonoscopy.
We are 25 days out from taking our family Disney World trip. We have to get a few things squared away first with Kendra's help, but we are seriously looking forward to this. After a year of planning and thousands of dollars paid, we are at a fever pitch around the Webb house just itching to go have some serious fun together. See you soon!
Well this year is getting off to an eventful start. Kendra spent 4 days in hospital after dealing with excruciating abdominal pain and flu-like symptoms. Because of her history and doctors being cautious they did a full CT scan and discovered she is still 100% cancer free. Then they ran several other tests and discovered she had colitis, which is some sort of intestinal virus. Anyway, our world was turned upside down for a while, but we managed well. our neighbors stepped in to help with the twins. What a huge blessing that was for us to have such dependable friends right around our house. She came home and we've been slowly nursing her back to full health.
Easton came down with a fever and I turned on the batman search light to call for help. He didn't come, but he sent Ouma, which is way better than batman. She generously sacrificed her time to be here with Kendra and the twins. She also did some sewing lessons with Layla. I am happy for that skill to be transferred down through the generations.
in the middle of the chaos I still had chances to have one on one time with Layla. She was dressed up in her new coat for our daddy date. we ended up at the ice cream shop because i'm a sucker. Her smile is still bright even with all the braces covering up part of it. Our conversations are starting to shift towards boys in her class who have a crush on her and how she manages herself through the playground drama of 4th grade.
Easton's best friend is Kain and Layla's best friend is Makaya. Rowan is the little sister Layla never had, but we treat all of this crew as our own.
As we read our way through the new testament book-by-book in a year, i'm discovering so much that I never saw before. It's becoming a part of our nightly bed time routine and forming the new habit just as I hoped. We are two weeks in and still going strong. only 50 more to go! Here we have Easton reading, Layla in my lap following along with my Bible, and Kendra's foot, proving she is present and participating in our joyous time together.
Our time during the new year holiday was memorable, but not super adventurous. We had invitations to do things, but declined almost everything. We spent the days off at home mostly. We slept in, worked around the house, and spent time together for one of the most peaceful weeks of our lives in the past few years. Nobody came to stay with us and we didn't go out of town. I can't remember when was the last Christmas we spent like that. Easton is still in play mode every chance he gets. The neighbor boys hang out almost daily. I asked to take a picture of them and here they are... normal, awkward elementary aged boys who have no idea how to take a group photo.
With Layla's figure skating instructors taking off the holiday season, Layla had a much needed break from the ice. The only time she laced up her skates was for a family outing with our neighbors. The twins are still best friends even though they are growing more and more independent. They are still as close as ever and learning even deeper what it means to love one another.
and look who else was on the ice? Kendra! This was the first time since before cancer that she joined Layla on the ice. I don't know why having her mommy on the ice with her is such an emotional marker, but Layla hasn't been convinced on Kendra's healing until now. She's mentioned a few times how Kendra hasn't skated with her so we made sure this moment was captured on camera and widely discussed.
It's been almost three years since that fateful day of the start of Kendra's cancer journey. I don't take a single moment for granted. Seeing the 4 Webbs together never gets old for me. It's overwhelming joy just being able to experience these moments.
Our new year's eve was shared with our next door neighbor's Clay and Suzanne. We had a feast of a dinner, played some cards, set off some fireworks and turned in early to bed. It was anti-climactic, but super valuable for us to enjoy neighboring together and wake up refreshed the next day.
I took the twins and Max out for a hike one day. It was cold and cloudy, but we need to get some steps in for the day so I drug them begrudgingly out to the trail. We found a new geo-cache so that made the trip more exciting. Kendra didn't come along because she still has a limited amount of energy to exert each day so we went without her to keep the cabin fever away.
I committed to reading through the New Testament in 2018. I know there are many programs to read through the whole Bible in a year, but that is overly aggressive for where the twins are at right now so we are sticking with just the new testament. one chapter per day, five days per week. That will get us through the whole thing in a year. It's a lofty goal, but i'm tenacious and consistent enough to pull this off. Each night before bed time we all grab our Bibles and read out loud each verse. After one week they are already getting more comfortable with this routine and more interested in Biblical truths we discuss.
Plenty of comfy pajamas and blankets as we work our way through the book of Mark. Before now, they didn't know if we are reading our Bible on our phone apps or just swiping our life away on social media. I'm really excited about their excitement for having a paper-based book to hold and read through on their own. Devices are awesome and audio books are a daily part of my studious diet, but there is something special about them seeing me setting aside time for reading the Bible.
It was raining and 45 degrees today, which is perfect weather for a hike in the woods, if you live in Seattle. I asked our neighbor if he and his son wanted to join us and Kain for a hike. They jumped right on the spontaneous idea and within a few minutes drive we were deep in the lush forest splashing in mud puddles and deep in conversation. I stopped long enough for us to let out a big yell for no reason other than a celebration of using our outside voices.
The scenery around this city is straight out of a movie set. Although Easton would rather be sitting indoors building lego structures or playing video games, i'm continually bringing him into nature to keep him grounded and fit. Just a little 3-mile hike to get Max muddy enough for a bath. These are good days...
The biggest news of the month is Easton and Layla getting braces on the same day. The orthodontist has been preparing them for the past few weeks and now it's finally time to get this party started. many kids get braces in 2nd or 3rd grade so the twins are a little late to game by some measures. They were brave troopers as the ortho glued and shoved all manner of metal in their mouth.
The new and improved bed time routine just added about 30 minutes to the already long timeline. Now they have to floss with the super floss and have their expander clicked over every night. Only three more years or so and we'll be done with this process that we are already want to be over.
Easton and I finally had the chance to experience crabbing. To be successful you need: 1) crab pots 2) skills to use the equipment 3) the location of where the crabs are 4) a license for the certain crab at a certain time of year. We have exactly zero of those, but luckily we met a cub scout dad who has all four. We met the two of them out at the pier and froze our noses off as we observed. Only one crab was caught and it was too small so we didn't take any home, but we learned so much and had fun. Maybe next time we'll go during the summer? yes, please.
These pics are not in chronological order so i'll have to bounce around a little in the stories to get it all done. We went to a Christmas light show at a local church with our neighbors. lots of lights to look at and hot cocoa to drink. I guess this is our official Christmas photo this year since we weren't around a huge family gathering or much of anyone to take a proper Christmas picture of the 4 webbs.
We went indoors to get cookies at the light show and the twins found some school friends who were there also. Was fun to see them interact with their friends and watch them be social in a way they don't normally act when we're just hanging out at home as a family.
Easton asked me often when we could go whittle with knives. I've been putting it off because of the rain and snow and cold, but finally we had a non-rainy day. We sat on the front steps and shaved some sticks down to nothing with his new knives from Papa.
One of those cold, rainy nights we took the twins to get a banana split. There is no stopping these two when it comes to frozen desserts. Kendra wanted them to try a banana split because they never had one before this night. Still fun to experience a "first" once in a while.
a few days before Christmas we let the twins open one special present each. We gave them their own Bible. They were excited and grateful, which made me proud. They've been reading from my phone regularly for the past many months, but it's time for them to get into their own groove when it comes to Biblical literacy.
Poor Max is a casualty of the cold, rainy days because he sits on the couch looking out over the neighborhood. We took an early afternoon to go to our favorite dog park where Max ran his legs off.
We stood facing the sun whenever possible to soak up the vitamin D. They are not old enough to stay at home alone yet so the twins come along with us for every outing. we are making the most of these moments because there is coming a day very soon where we will have less and less family outings. For now we are living the dream in many ways.
Here is our fireplace and TV playing Christmas music with a fireplace and tree. We played Christmas songs for many hours over the month of December. So many classics to pass along to these two...
Our real tree held up well this year. Presents were few this year because we agreed that that upcoming Disney trip is our present. Luckily they have grandparents, friends, and cousins who sent more than enough gifts. Their Christmas morning wasn't lacking one bit. We spent several days sleeping in, playing with neighbors, and resting.
We had a white Christmas! On Christmas eve we went to sleep with light rain, but woke up Christmas morning to a few inches of snow covering the entire city.
The 4 Webbs have been bundled up in our winter gear for weeks and there isn't any sign of tshirts and shorts in the near future. If we have to be cold, then at least we are having some outdoor fun and family time. We went to the kid's school to sled down the hill, thrown snowballs, build a snowman, and meet new neighbors.
This holiday break involved many hours of reading for the twins. They are reading the Warrior series about cats. Layla jumped in late so she is doing her best to catch up with Easton, but they are both plowing through these as fast as I can buy them on Amazon. Easton is on book 13 and Layla is on book 5. There are 30 books total, which means i'll be buying the other two sets soon.
Easton doesn't like swimming at the local pool because it is heated, but the air is the same temperature as the outside. Layla likes swimming, her mermaid tail, and socializing with friends and strangers. So that's why i have a picture of Layla swimming like a mermaid with her friend and Easton is nowhere to be found. I froze my buns off for an hour, but the girls had a blast.
Our neighbors invited us to join them for a winter hike up in the mountains. This was the day before it snowed in Seattle so we thought it might be our only chance to sled. My favorite part was being with Kendra making memories. She is adventurous enough to drive our front-wheel-drive van into the mountains with a snow storm warning.
Everything worked out well and nothing scary happened in the driving experience. We were so bundled up that we could lay down in the snow and eat some without getting cold. We finally have the right gear to properly enjoy the cold weather fun.
Layla wanted to go sledding one more time before the snow melted so we walked down the street to a small hill with Max. She whooshed down the hill and Max chased her. During my few days off work this year I looked for opportunities to have one-on-one time because these are the moments that mean the most to me.
Our house on Christmas morning was like a scene from a movie. It was also really cold so i sent Easton outside with the camera to get a picture. His photography skills are coming along nicely! even though the calm, snow-covered neighborhood only lasted a couple of days, we made the most of our time together with no regrets.
See you soon.
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