2014

Our first post of 2015! Happy New Year everyone! Today I would like to share with you the highlights for our family last year. It was a busy year!

 

January – February 2014:

In January and February we were very busy with Leena’s birthday, rehearsals for Outrageous Fortune, Mock Trial, and snow. Practices for Outrageous Fortune, a play I was in, started in January, making my already busy life crazy. We also had a major snow fall, and received almost two feet of snow.

During these weeks we enjoyed sledding and scary driving. My little sister, Leena, turned nine in early February, and we threw her an extravagant Alice in Wonderland themed birthday party. We had all of the guests dress up as a character from Alice in Wonderland, then they had a tea party and participated in a role-playing mystery game.

Mock Trial classes became much more intense during this time as well. We went from having one class a week to two or three classes a week.

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The birthday girl!

 

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Doesn’t this look like a lovely place to have a tea party?

 

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Some of the interesting characters who showed up.

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Isn’t that cute?

 

March – April 2014:

Wow! March and April were two of the busiest months of my life this past year!

First, we had the regional Bible Quizzing competition for Leena, which lasted a day and a half. Leena did great! She only missed two questions, and got a gold medal! We also had a fantastic time enjoying the Bible-themed games and worship music at the Quiz meet.

After we finished at the quiz meet we went straight to a Mock Trial practice. The next several days were filled with practice after practice for the Mock Trial competition at the end of the week.

Before I go any further I should probably tell you a little bit about Mock Trial. Each year teams of high school students are given fake cases (often based off of real cases) to study. The students are assigned roles by their coaches, such as prosecuting attorney for expert witness #1, a witness, bailiff, or lead attorney for the defense. The students practice their roles for months and study their cases thoroughly, and then in early March there is regional contest. This year was our teams second year of participating. The week before the contest is always intense, and often the only thing anyone can think about. The day before the competition last year I was home alone making brownies, and caught the oven on fire I was so distracted. Oops!

Anyway, the day of the regional competition arrived, an we all arose early to be at the courthouse before it opened, so we could get a good place in line. The day passed quickly and we did really well, in fact we came in first place in our region! That meant we would be advancing to the state competition, which was only two weeks away! The next two weeks were filled with practice after practice, which was really crazy for some us, because we also had a couple of three hour rehearsals for Outrageous Fortune. It was a blast!!!

Two weeks later, ready or not, we were on our way down to Portland for the state competition. Our first round didn’t go very well, as we we’re all tired from driving all day, some of us were car sick, and a couple of us had the brilliant idea to run up 12 flights of stairs before hand. We thought we would stretch our legs and save time by skipping the wait for the elevator, we quickly discovered running up that many stairs is a little more than just stretching your legs and takes longer than waiting for the elevator. Genius. We did okay the next day, but not as well as we did in our region. We came in 16th in the state, which isn’t bad considering how many teams there are in the state.

After Mock Trial ended Outrageous Fortune rehearsals became very intense. Soon we were practicing six to nine hours a week on top of our normal activities. In April the performances began, we performed the play at multiple schools and our church ten times. We had a one week spring break in the middle of it, and I slept until noon everyday. Then it was back to our busy schedule. Whoo! Just remember those months makes me tired.

Alex also turned six in April. He had a small birthday party. Oh, and we started our blog!

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Mr. Zander’s sixth birthday!

 

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Quite a character!

 

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The Mock Trial team. Not quite sure why this picture is in black and white, because I didn’t take it, but it’s the only one I have.

 

May – June 2014:

In May we went on vacation to California. I won’t write very much about it since I already have a long post about it, but I will give a quick overview. First, we drove to the beach, were we spent two days. The first day we spent at the actual beach, a nearby park, and a Marie Callender’s. The next we went to the Hearst Castle, the home of the late William Hearst. We took a tour of many of the bedrooms and the pools. It was really amazing! Many celebrity’s stayed there when William Hearst was alive, including Carey Grant, who stayed in each room twice. That evening we went to a spectacular dinner theater. The dinner theater was my favorite part of the day.

The next day we drove to Disneyland! My absolute favorite place in the world! Our family is very serious about Disneyland. We don’t do relaxing Disney trips. My Dad turns into a drill sergeant on vacation, and it’s been said that our family doesn’t actually go on vacation, we run a marathon instead. Which is probably somewhat true, but what’s the point of going on vacation if you’re just going to sleep in and relax? You can do that at home. The first day we spent in Disneyland, just enjoying the wonder of being there.

The second day we went to California Adventure, which meant that evening we were able to watch my absolute favorite part of Disneyland, the World of Color! My Dad claims I never have actually seen the World of Color, because I’m to busy taking pictures, but that’s how I like to watch it the best. That way I can always remember the show. The remainder of the trip was spent in both parks and we had a wonderful family trip.

In June we started doing Bible Bee. The name may sound cute, but trust me there is nothing cute about it. You can easily spend hours and hours a day on it. Each year the Bible Bee assigns a book of the Bible to study and provides a Sword Study Guide. This year the book was Jonah. At the end of the summer you take a test on the book of the Bible, and if you’re in the top hundred for your age group in your region you get to participate in the National Bible Bee Competition. Neither Leena or I made it, but we got the beneficial experience of studying the Bible all summer, and had a fun time all at once!

I also had my birthday in June. I went shopping in the morning, went to my favorite restaurant for lunch, and had Savy over to spend the night. We watched a movie called “Parental Guidance”, starring Billy Crystal and Bette Midler. It was hilarious!

At the end of the month we had our church’s annual Vacation Bible School. This year the theme was International Spy Academy: Agents of the One True God. I led a group and was in the drama. VBS is always my favorite week of the summer, and this year was no exception! I had an awesome time with all of the kids in my group! We played games, did crafts, had teaching time, and ate snacks. I even got to use a water gun on kids while blindfolded. (I love water guns!) I may have accidentally tried to get my Dad with the spray too. Ah, summer!

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A warm Californian beach.

 

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Okay, maybe it wasn’t so warm. Alex is shivering.

 

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Isn’t that an awesome view from Hearst Castle.

 

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Waiting for the Disneyland Express.

 

Bible Bee!

 

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My birthday!

 

Agents of the one true God!!!

 

July – August 2014:

At the beginning of July we went to the Sisters Quilt Show. I really enjoy looking at all of the quilts made by talented seamstress each year, and so this year I begged my Mom to take my little sister and I. She agreed, but when we got there she only wanted to look at the flowers lining main street and the shops. I did get to see a few quilts, but not as many as I would have liked. My Grandma had booth at the Quilt Show and they came over for dinner the next day. It is always a pleasure to see them!

Later in the month my other Grandparents, Uncle, and cousins went camping at Detroit Lake, and we joined them there for a day. We went boating, inner tubing, and swimming. The lake was beautiful, and I always love seeing my cousins.

In August, we had a our big Bible Bee test. It was very challenging, although not as hard as I thought it was going to be. It didn’t help that I had a really bad cough at the time. That evening we had a lot of people over to our house for a “Ticket to Ride” party. Ticket to Ride is a strategy game our family loves. We had multiple rounds, and multiple games going at the same time. Finally, we had the championship round. I got to participate in this round, because I had won an earlier round, but I lost the final round. My sister and nephew were also visiting that day, and we had a nice visit with them.

Later that week we went floating down the river, which was fun but cold. I was on a tube with another girl, and we ended up way behind everybody else, because we got stuck on rock. (And a certain two boys left us stuck there, even though they could have easily helped us off.) It was a fun way to end our summer break.

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Look at all of the colorful quilts!

 

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This was by far my favorite quilt. I have no clue who made it, but I love how realistic it is.

 

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Leena enjoying frozen yogurt during the Quilt Show.

 

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Detroit Lake was gorgeous.

 

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From L. to R.: Leena, Ally, Savy, and my cousin Ella.

 

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My nephew.

 

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Isn’t that cute?

 

September – October 2014:

We didn’t do very much in September, because school started. We visited my Aunt Judy and my great-grandma, Gam, for Gam’s 93rd birthday. We had a delightful visit with them, and enjoyed a yummy lunch.

Then in October we went to the pumpkin patch. We picked out three large pumpkins, drank warm cider, and ate soup. Then, of course, we had Halloween. My little brother and sister dressed up as a knight and Snow White, and went trick-or-treating. I wasn’t able to go, because I had mono, so my Mom and I stayed home and watched a movie.

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I wonder which one is the Great Pumpkin?

 

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Somehow, Alex talked my Dad into pushing him in a wheel borrow.

 

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Guts! Guts! Guts!

 

November – December 2014:

I slept, and slept, and slept some more. That’s basically what I did in November. At least my little brother wasn’t allowed to wake me up by singing, “Wake Up Little Ally!” at the top of his lungs. (It’s supposed to be set to the tune of “Wake Up Little Susie” by the Everly Brothers, but somehow it never sounds like that.)

My parents birthday is in November, but I’m not allowed to tell you how old they are. Let’s just say my Dad is old.

We had nice, quiet Thanksgiving. We ate dinner and then we had friends of ours over to play Reverse Charades, a fun game we just discovered.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving Leena and I were in our city’s parade, which was a great way to kick off the Christmas season.

The first weekend in December we got our Christmas tree, which is always a lot of fun. We’re very particular about our trees. We picked out a seven ft. noble, and we decorated with small, twinkling colorful lights and an assortment of ornaments that don’t match, but all have a story. We have one ornament that’s a real candy cane decorated to look like a reindeer that my Dad made when he was a kid. We joke that it’s the worlds oldest candy cane, because it’s from the early seventies.

Between hand bells performances, school, and desperate attempts to make Christmas money, the Christmas season passed quickly. The day before Christmas Eve we went ice skating and then that night we did kidnap caroling. We had a blast!

We had a peaceful Christmas Eve and Christmas. On Christmas Eve we went to the Original Pancake House for breakfast and to the movies afterward, because it’s tradition. That evening we went to our church’s candlelight service, it was short but sweet. Then we went home and enjoyed a delicious dinner of steak, caramelized onions, and mashed potatoes. That night Leena, Alex, and I stayed up late watching Elf and Shop Around the Corner on my laptop, because staying up late on Christmas Eve watching movies is tradition too. The next morning we got up early and opened presents. I spent the rest of the day reading.

The day after Christmas we drove down to Portland to celebrate with extended family. We opened presents at my Grandparents house, then took my older sister birthday shopping, because her birthday was on Christmas Eve. The next day we went to my sister and brother-in-laws house to give them their Christmas gifts. I gave my brother-in-law a potty basketball I received in a white elephant gift exchange, I figured he’d probably get more use out of it than I will. It was a wonderful Christmas!

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Somebody’s a little excited to decorate the tree.

I hope you have a fantastic 2015! Our goal for this year is to have 300 followers by the end of the year. What goals have you set for yourself this year?

 

Wishing you a superb year! ~Ally

 

 

 

 

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