Happy Holidays Family and Friends –
We hope you have enjoyed 2016 and look forward to 2017. We had a great year full of new experiences, creative opportunities, and lots of laughter. See the many photos below at the end of the post.
Our family made some wonderful trips this year. In July, we explored the great State of Washington with a week long trip around much of the eastern and central part of the state. We made stops at Mount St. Helens, Ape Cave, Stonehenge replica, Spokane, Palouse Falls, Curlew Lake, Grand Coulee Dam, North Cascades National Park, Lake Roosevelt, and more. We are so fortunate to live in such an ecologically and geographically diverse state.
Later in the month, we took a family backpacking trip on the Ozette Triangle, a coastal route in Olympic National Park. It was a beautiful 3 day, 9-mile trip filled with excellent weather and lots of play time. We highly recommend you make it out to this part of the state as the scenery can’t be beat.
We made our trek to Oregon in late August for the annual Zemke family outing. We camped for 4 days just outside of Tillamook. It was time spent with family, playing badminton, relaxing in the water, sleeping, reading, and smelling like camp smoke.
Laura and I spent a few days in California earlier this year as we celebrated the retirement of our good friend Kim. He’s been such an influential part of our lives both professionally and personally, it was an opportunity we didn’t want to miss.
We’ve continued our almost nightly family reading routine. We started it last year and have enjoyed the time diving into a good book as a family. Brett sometimes brings the book with him on his business travels and reads to the kids via FaceTime. We completed the Harry Potter series this past summer. As we finished each book, we would watch the movie. Of course, the movies can’t compare to the books. Other books we read include Call of the Wild, Hatchett, The Little Princess, and just started the first book in the The Mysterious Benedict Society series.
Ethan finished 3rd grade and is currently loving 4th grade. His teachers are wonderful and not only challenge him and the other students to be good learner, but to learn to show empathy, how to work together, and think rationally. His favorite subject is geography.
Ethan stopped taking piano lessons earlier in the year but started up with the double bass in his school orchestra in September. Yes, that’s right. He plays an acoustic upright bass that’s as tall as he is. He is enjoying this new instrument. Earlier in December, he obtained his deputy black belt in Tae Kwon Do. His goal is to test for is black belt by the end of 2017. We support him fully in going for it!
Autumn is a 1st grader and loves the experience. She truly loves the challenge of learning. She is a social butterfly and has made a lot of great friends. We’re fortunate that she is in the same class that Ethan had so the classroom and teachers are familiar to her, as well as us.
Autumn just finished her second season in the Nutcracker. She performed as a Bon Bon and learned so much from the experience. She enjoys being on stage, learning new moves, singing songs, and the whole production. She played soccer for the first time this past fall. Her team the Running Raptors did very well. She scored a few goals along the way, learned to work as a team (lots of progress), and was thrilled to play in the mud!
Music continues to be a large part of our life. We rearranged the basement so that we had a larger area for Brett and the kids to jam together. We’re exploring the many creative sounds found in Apple’s Garage Band. Both kids love listening and dancing to music. Ethan enjoys the American Authors and Autumn enjoys Jewel, Katy Perry, and the Trolls soundtrack. Laura and I enjoyed Billy Joel in Seattle last May. So much energy and hit after hit after hit.
Laura was hired as a full time 2nd Grade teacher in September. Wow! The hard work she put in to substitute teaching last year paid off. Admittedly, she wasn’t looking for a full time job, but an opportunity to work with wonderful staff at a local school opened up and, well, it was hard to pass up on the opportunity.
This past spring, she expanded our garden from one large garden bed to three garden beds. We grew tomatoes, pumpkins, peas, sunflowers, different herbs, onions, garlic, peppers, and a few more. She keeps busy with gardening, canning, and enjoying a good book.
Brett received a promotion at work and is now the Regional Mitigation Planning Program Manager for FEMA Region 10. As always, he loves the work that he does each day. More than work, he loves projects around the house. The projects allow him to develop practical skills and use creativity so that the house has a personal touch. Pinterest and YouTube videos are instrumental in implementing the projects. He’s very much looking forward to remodeling the basement.
We may not keep in touch as often as we have in the past, but do appreciate the role you have played in our lives. Life changes so quickly and goes by so fast as we were reminded a couple times this year. It’s always good to slow down every once in a while, be in the moment, enjoy the now, and smile.
Have an outstanding 2017!
2016 Photo Gallery