26 April 2009

Recent Happenings...

I recently had the pleasure of spending a day with Amber and Chris's sweet baby girl Avery Grace. Besides not being able to get her to sleep for her afternoon nap and feeling horribly guilty about passing off a tired baby to her daddy at the end of the day, Avery and I had a wonderful time playing! We went on two walks, both with her in the Baby Bijorn. Amber told me that she likes to face outward to look at things while you stroll, and boy is that true! We walked to Magnuson Park and later walked around Greenlake. Mom and Luke wanted to get together that day, so they met us at Greenlake and were able to meet sweet Avery. We read books, had tummy time, and rocked while I fed her her bottles. So fun! Avery, I am going to miss you and your parents so much!

Breakfast time...


Luke loved meeting Avery

This past Saturday night, while Casey was in Shelton with his dad and grandpa, I went to Chris's 30th birthday party that Amber had put together.... she did a lovely job organizing. It was a great evening!

I love my friends!!!

I suppose I should have at least taken one photo that included Chris, seeing as he was the guest of honor... oops.

And today I met up with Casey, Pops, and Gramps in Shelton for some "catch up" time and lunch at the casino... a Shelton tradition. Pops bought Casey and I each our own Keno card to play during lunch. Casey won $11, and I now can say that I have officially gambled.

Chelsea's Keno card

Gramps' friend Mort (center) is a wonderful and extremely generous man who treated us to lunch. Thanks, Mort!

18 April 2009

Meeting Boaz...

Thanks to my dad for helping me get down to San Diego to see my dear friend Miguel and her sweet baby Boaz. Here we are at Ocean Beach... Boaz's first time hearing waves, seeing stretches of light sand, and experiencing all that comes with a trip to the beach. We documented this "first" with her camera seeing that Jordan, Boaz's daddy, was not with us to be a part of the monumental trip.

How incredible it is to watch your friends become mothers... Miguel is so natural, and I feel honored to have been given a glimpse into their life with their 5 week old son. She spoiled me and let me hold him almost every time he wasn't feeding, change his diapers and clothes, and walk with him in the Baby Bijorn. I miss you already, sweet babe!

And a bonus of the less-than-36 hour trip was that Christie, Carly, and Heidi came over for some chicken tacos and girl time... oh how grateful I am for my awesome friends. Come July we'll be able to make these girl nights more frequent!

15 April 2009

Coach Casey

From 1997-2001 you would have been able to find me at this location for any number of reasons: running for PE class, cheering at football games, pretending to be a "trackster," or playing soccer under the watchful eye of coach McNab.
Fast forward to present day and you can see coach Ward heading up the freshman boys' soccer team for Redmond Junior High, playing against IHS on the very field that I claimed not so very long ago!
The only difference is that I am now obligated to sport green and yellow as opposed to purple and yellow attire...
Go Mustangs!

07 April 2009

Pura Vida!

2 suitcases, 2 backpacks, 4 flights, 20 junior high students, 4 hotels, 3 sick students, 1 lost passport, and several bottles of aloe later....

Thank you Costa Rica for fantastic memories... Zip-lining over the canopy of a cloud forest, galloping on horseback, kayaking in Costa Rica's largest lake (which is man-made), witnessing the fall of lava from the mouth of an active volcano, walking 2 feet from a sloth hanging from a tree trunk, visiting a frog zoo, reading on the beach...

Growing up in the family that I did, travel meant one of two things: a hunt for culture, a search for the ways of another country, an adventure that included actively seeking out diversity, OR four vitamin-D deprived individuals running off to another land with sunshine, heat, and some form of water whether that be a beach or a pool. In the former scenario, for the most part wherever we went, if a group of "tourists" went left, the Pinneo clan went right. You would have never found the four of us on a tourist bus, probably mostly because my parents' knew that their two children with unofficially diagnosed ADHD could not sit still for the duration of the drive. This is why, although I have traveled a fair share, this trip to Costa Rica was a first for me. Imagine experiencing every tourist attraction a country has to offer in 7 days... This is what we actually sought out to do! Or at least it felt that way...

The beginning of our 5 hour lay over in Atlanta

Mr. Ward helped to redirect their energy into a game involving a soccer ball... imaging that!

Finally we have arrived in Costa Rica! Now where is our tour bus?

First things first... learning about the origins of the delicious beverage so many of us have come to rely upon to wake up in the morning.

Interesting fact: Costa Rica has to send its coffee to Germany for the decaffeinating process.

On the bus again... off to our next destination.

Casey and Dante posing in front of a crater that we hiked up to.

And of course our trip to see the crater would not have been complete without seeing its neighboring lagoon... beautiful!

Meal time became very important, as these children are always hungry! Unfortunately many of them tired quickly of the rice and beans that were offered at most meals, and trying food items that were unrecognizable to them seemed out of the question for almost everyone. Somehow each day the kids managed to find a small store with candy, chips, and soda, or a Burger King that had weaseled its way into the country. What ever happened to experiencing and embracing a new culture with all of your senses, including taste? These kids are missing out...

Our second hotel greeted us with a friendly pool. Notice who is in the middle leading a raging game of Marco Polo...

Even Casey had to get his occasional fry in...

My charmer... Mr. Ward mid-belch when I was attempting to capture a nice photo of the two of us...

Casey and Dante hanging out at the bar at the local Hot Springs Spa. (We took the whole group here... there were several different pools of hot water, and even a few water slides. The kids of course loved the slides, and didn't seem bothered in the least bit that workers were repairing the very slide they were using while they were using it! Hmmm... does Costa Rica have a Harborview equivalent?)

Why not begin the day with a zip-line tour of a cloud forest?

Ahhh... these activities are exhausting. Good thing we had scores of bean bags to lounge on... (and later put into a circle for a roaring game of musical bean bags!)

Our first experience in a Costa Rican "Cine" (movie theatre). $5 US will buy you one ticket to a movie (of your choice... the group was able to vote on the movie that was shown), a cup of soda, and a choice between pig rinds, tortilla chips, or some other form of cracker that I was not able to make out. The group voted on Seven Pounds staring Will Smith... an excellent film, but a tad heavy for a group of 14-16 year old teenagers.

We were privileged to be able to visit a local school and each plant a tree in the spirit of being environmentally responsible
At the same school, some of our boys snuck in a game of football with a few Costa Rican studentsNothing like a stroll through a beautiful rain forest... .

Casey... are you tired, frustrated, or so incredibly in awe of the plant that our guide was pointing out?

Each Redmond Junior High student was told that they could bring school supplies (or toys) for a student in Costa Rica. This photo is of a school house that we were able to visit, with students ranging from age 5 to 16. Their teacher was delightful and allowed our group to interrupt class to introduce ourselves. Each Costa Rican student also introduced themselves, stating their name, age, and what types of animals they had at home.

Casey contributed a soccer ball and pump... perfect for a recess toy!

One student brought small race cars to share... instantly the boys were drawn to these!

All of the children loved the brightly colored jump ropes

This experience, being with the children of Costa Rica, hugging them and playing with them, was the absolute highlight of the trip for me. Seeing them smile, hearing them laugh in a way that only small children can, and hugging them goodbye...

Casey did a great job of playing with the kids in the ocean and keeping a close eye on them...

... while Jill and eye kept an eye on the sun and our books. A word about Jill... I feel so privileged to have gotten to know a little about this wonderful woman who loves children and absolutely radiates the love of Jesus that so evidently fills her. She was in charge of putting this whole trip together, and absolutely blew me away with her level of organization and calm attitude when it came to crazy times with the children. She is a teacher that works with Casey at RJH, and I feel honored to be able to call her my friend. Thank you Jill, for being the light that you are!

Lukey... look familiar?

On our way to find some much needed Pina Coladas, Jill and I came across this sign... I had to take a photo for my father-in-law... this one's for you, Pops!

I have to say that hands down my favorite part of the trip, besides meeting the darling little kiddos at the school, was watching my awesome husband play with the 20 students that we were chaperoning. His calm attitude, incredible energy level, and willingness to do whatever necessary so as to ensure the kids were having the best possible experience was a privilege to watch. Thank you, Casey, for setting such a wonderful example for the kids... how to act selflessly and love unconditionally. You are great!

Again, thank you Costa Rica for the warmth, the sunshine, the smells, the sounds, the feel of warm salt water and the rush of waves, and for the few interactions that we did have with your beautiful people.

My hope is that this trip will spark an interest in the hearts of the children who went, that they will desire to know people of other cultures, to respect and embrace diversity, and to seek out understanding of different ways of living.