Monday, October 7, 2013

More Sounders

Wanted to post a quick update from the Pro Shop visit we had on Wed Oct 2nd.  Kasen was recorded doing a little promo work while we were there.  She ended up being on the Sounders Rave TV.  I've grabbed just the segment she was in (there is an appearance of her hair and bow before her grand ending).  Here is just here segment:

Here is the link to the original file from the Sounders site:

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Sounders events

Kasen at Practice
The last week has been full of Sounders activities for the Pickerbockers.  Karl and Kasen got to go to a Sounders practice on Friday (9/27).  They got a chat from the coach (Sigi) about what the team was doing and what to expect.  They watched the practice and then got to meet the players.  Kasen got around 15 signatures on her jersey.  She was excited to meet all of her favorite players including Mauro, Andy Rose and Michael Gspurning.  Gspurning chatted with us as we walked toward the parking lot (and locker room) and Kasen got state how she was going to grow tall and play goalie.
Sigi giving us the details for practice

Kasen showing off her Jersey

That following Sunday we went to an actual game against the New York Red Bull.  It was just dumping rain most of the game but Kasen was great and barely complained.  She is a true fan.  The photo below was not from that game, rather the one before that on 9/13 vs Salt Lake (yes on Debra's Birthday).  This is her watching the team warm-up with her scarf up.  This was actually taken professionally and appeared on a Sounders blog after the game.
Kasen at the Sounders game - photo by janeg photography
Just the other night we got to go to a limited attendee signing with three players (Brad Evans, Ozzie Alonso, and Michael Gspurning).  It was at the Pro Shop at the stadium and there were like 50 people there.  Again she got to talk to players and get autographs (but they were not allowed to sign her dress, Evans even asked and she said no).  She asked Gspurning if "do your hands hurt when you save the ball" (answer was sometime).  She asked Ozzie "why do people call you honey badger" and he looked around at Brad and Michael and Brad said because he is an animal.  She didn't have a question for Brad, he asked her if she was going to ask him what people call him....he told us B-RAD.  It was really cool and fun for all of us, probably most for Karl 
Kasen with Michael Gspurning
Kasen with Brad Evans

Kasen with Ozzie

You ask, how did we get to do these things...Sounders have a reward program for going to games, buying stuff, and watching games.  You earn points and can redeem them.  Truly a great way to reward fans.

Until next time...

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

First Day of Preschool

Kasen (3.5yrs)
Kasen started preschool today.  While she has been going to a small Montessori school the past year, this is a huge shift.  This school is more more organized, will be a full day and has more kids & teachers.  Hopefully though she will meet some friends that she will know through elementary school (that is the goal).

Today she was super excited to go "to big kid school".  According to her, it marks the day that she is "bigger, bigger".  Honestly, I think it was the Monsters University lunchbox (with matching thermos inside) that was the biggest draw.

"Come on, Mom"
 Should I be worried that it looks like she is already annoyed by this required photographic moment?  Wait till she hears I plan to do this until she leaves for college!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Big Sounders Night

Summer is  in full swing here in Seattle.  Days are still pretty long and the calendar is full of activities.  Last night (8/3) was a big night for the Seattle Sounders and MLS Soccer, we signed the biggest name in US Soccer Clint Dempsey.  He was officially announced as joining the team pre-game (  But that was not all that made the night special, the Pickerbockers got to be on the field for the last 20 minutes of the game and meet goal keeper Marcus Hahnemann.  It was pretty cool and great that we got to see Brad Evans put the dagger in with the PK in the last minutes of the game.  Here is a few post they put up from the night on Twitter

More pictures soon but wanted to post something quick

Friday, July 12, 2013

A few more pictures

Hard to keep up with the posting with summer here in Seattle.  The hibernation has ended and the days and evenings are now packed with activities.  Kasen is off from soccer for the summer but we still get our fill with Sounders and she goes to Karl's games.  She is still doing swimming lessons and getting better and more comfortable in the water.  We have lots of visitors coming (some already have visited) for the month of July.  James and Amber our friends from Virginia were just here, Grammy Barb is currently visiting, and Nana and Pepe will be here in a few days.

Lately we have been busy with Zoo Tunes (conerts at the Zoo), the Seafair activities (Kasen saw the pirates at Alki Beach in West Seattle), the Greenwood Car Show in our backyard basically, her fist movie (Monsters University), and fireworks in Edmonds.  Coming up we have a camping trip in Aug we are starting to prepare for.  We setup the tent in the backyard and Kasen loved playing in it and pretending to sleep.

OK, enough on that on to what folks love a few pictures:

Getting ready for a bike ride to the zoo

Kasen's first movie
Ready for her singing career

Food coma after eating Dick's burger and fries

Monday, June 3, 2013

A little catchup

It has been a while and i figured I'd at least get some new pictures out for everyone.  We have been busy with house stuff, keeping up with Kasen, and a little traveling.  Kasen has gotten quite chatty these days and it is a lot of fun to hear her take on the world.  She is now in a swimming class where she is in the pool without Mom and Dad.  Soccer is moving that direction too.  She is definitely becoming more independent.

Enough with details...on to the pictures which is what everyone cares about.  Some of these are little animated pictures from a series.

Kasen playing red light green light

Kasen dribbling the ball

Kasen doing big kicks

Kasen at Mother's Day lunch
Kasen trying out the scooter

Kasen on the merry-go-round at the Zoo

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Birthday and Texas

Sorry it has been a while since we posted. April has been quite busy with Kasen's birthday, Karl's parents visiting early in the month, a trip to Texas to visit family and attend Katie's wedding, and then getting back to the routine.  Finally we have a little time to get a quick blog post up.

Kasen had her birthday on the 3rd and it basically has continued for the month as we've seen family and friends.  She had a great day with some of her friends over, and Nana and Pepe were in town from Virginia.  She got everything she could wish for with more princess stuff than she could imagine.  Here she is with her cake (it was a cupcake cake).

She enjoyed her time with Nana and Pepe.  Maybe the most fun was a day we took the ferry over to Bainbridge Island.  She really enjoyed the trip, here she is on the top deck.

Shortly after Nana and Pepe left, Debra and Kasen left for Texas (I joined them later).  They headed to Corpus Christi for some time on the beach and hanging out with Grandma Barb.  They got to build sandcastles and had a great visit.  After a several days there they headed up to Dallas to get ready for Katie's wedding.  We had a great time visiting family. One night we eat at a pub near the hotel called T&P.  They had a giant Jenga game.  Kasen, Phea, Scott and I set it up like dominoes.  The girls really enjoyed it.  

The day before we left we went to the Stockyards in Fort Worth.  The girls rode in a stage coach, which of course was like a princess in her carriage.

We have a bunch more photos but I figured we'd start with these until we can get time to go through the ones on the real camera and not cell phones.  More to come...promise

Monday, March 25, 2013

"It's a little bee"

Spring is looking like it has "sprung" in Seattle with everything beginning to emerge from its winter hibernation.  Neighbors are out noting how all the kids are older/taller and daffodils are blooming.  A less welcome sight are the little small black ants...  I started to see them near the back door a few weeks ago, but nothing too alarming.  However in the last few days, we are seeing them frequently.  Gone are the 1 or 2 stragglers, they have been replaced with full regiments of soldiers.

As a biologist, I pride myself on trying to see everything in nature as interesting/special.  When Kasen and I see a spider, we crouch at the web.  Talk about the shape and whether the spider has anything to eat in it.  We marvel at inchworms and point out slugs.  I even "catch and release" insects inside our house (for the most part).  Yet, I will admit the ants have been testing my enthusiasm   As a former resident of a tropical climate, I don't see ants as a small problem.  They are in the category with roaches/mice/rats when inside a home.  You just saw one?  I instantly know there are many more (maybe thousands) I don't see.

When we started seeing the ants, Kasen was a little dismayed.  She called them "bees" and was constantly pointing them out (for removal I had assumed).  I may have misread her emotions regarding the ants....

Monday, February 11, 2013

Back to the routine

It has been over a week and we are getting back to the routine.  Sleep is happening at a more normal time frame, although Kasen has not been taking regular naps since we got back, she is at least no longer getting up in the middle of the night.  We have had a bunch of work done on Kasen's room lately and that has not helped the getting back to "normal" (more on that in a future post).

This weekend was pretty packed with soccer, visiting the local firehouse for an open house, the zoo, the farmers market, and a couple dinners out just to name the highlight.  Here are some pictures and video from the adventures.

This video is of Jake (first) and Kasen showing off their big soccer kicks.  Kasen is great at the dribbling part, or little kicks as coach calls them, but the big kicks....well you'll see

Photo day at soccer, Kasen is making sure it's OK to touch the ball with Coach.
Her friend Jake is the other one in the grey Sounders jersey

Kasen sitting in the drivers seat
Kasen on the back of the fire truck,
looking up at the ladders
Hope everyone is doing great, we'll post more as we can. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

"One Night in Bangkok" - Not Enough!

Hello, my name is Debra and I LOVE Bangkok.  Sometimes there have been places that I love almost in spite of themselves.  When finally declaring my love for these cities, it makes me feel like I am admitting some deep truth (especially when other people don't see the place as I do).  Mexico City was one of these places.  No matter how many people told me it was awful, I couldn't help myself.  I loved the architecture, I loved the rich cultural life, I loved the food and I loved the juxtaposition of new/old, traditional/modern.  Bangkok now belongs to this list of places. 

I will admit Bangkok gave an awful first impression.  She was hot, she was loud and whoa, was she dirty.  Still, as we began to get over our jet lag and experience the city, I began to recognize it's beauty and charm.
Spirit house (this one at our last hotel)
A Hidden Oasis

Morning in Bangkok
Walking Everywhere

Now, don't get me wrong.  There were parts that were less than beautiful, but maybe that's what I loved about it.  The beauty was more beautiful when intermixed with normality (like smog, garabage, rats, etc.) 

Here a few pictures near our last hotel (Urbana Langsuan - great location).  One side of the street had a completely abandoned building.  No obvious new work, just a beautiful building beginning to crumble with trash in the front.  On each side of it and across the street, cared for and NICE businesses, hotels, restaurants. 
Totally empty building
Directly across the street
A few buildings down
So while Bangkok startled me at first with some of the realities of a large, foreign city:

Street wiring was a rat's nest (sometimes literally)

Traffic was RIDICULOUS!
I am already tempted to go back.  After all, I never got to finish my fabric shopping... 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hong Island

We really had not had a full day adventure since arriving in Thailand and seeing Hong Island was high on the list.  It had good snorkeling, a lagoon, and some amazing scenery.  We decided to see how Kasen would do on a full day excursion and since this had a boat plus sandy beach (both things our girl loves), it seemed the best test.  Not to put a spoiler in the first paragraph, she did great - definitely great for a 2 year old.

The trip started off with the tour company picking us up at the hotel.  The start was interesting as the first truck (a converted pickup with a bunch of covered benches in the bed) was full and they were thinking they could fit 6 adults and 2 kids more (there was another couple with a 1 year old from a nearby hotel coming as well).  They finally decided that wouldn't work and flagged down the next truck, an even smaller pickup that didn't have much room (to make room people sat on laps).  We managed to cram in with: Debra and Kasen sitting in the front seat; Kat grabbing a spot on the crowded bench in the bed and Karl and John holding onto handles while they stood on the tailgate.  While they waited for the back to fill up with passengers, Deb took this photo to show the (hopefully) only time toddle Kasen will sit in the front seat with no car seat:

When we got to the pier (the same one we arrived at from Ko Phi Phi), we organized into tour groups and got stickers.  Later we found out the yellow (the sticker we got) was no kayak and orange included kayak...more on that later.  After roll call was completed, we split into two groups for different boats and headed down to the long tail boats.  We had been given an itinerary for the trip, but it was subject to tides and weather (i.e. if weather/tides weren't perfect we would skip some things).  Luckily the weather was great.  The tide schedule meant we headed to the lagoon on Hong Island first.

The travel time was about an hour to the island.  On the boat trip over, Kasen quickly fell asleep.  She seems to love to sleep on boats no matter how bumpy the conditions.  Maybe it's the comfortable seat she always seems to score.

Line up of long tails waiting for passengers at Ao Nang pier
Kasen in her usual sleeping position on a boat

When we got to Hong Island, we immediately went into the lagoon with the long tail.  The guide said at low tide, the boats can't get into the lagoon.  The entrance is small and really only wide enough for a single boat to fit and the lagoon was not much deeper than 3 - 4 ft.  There were some amazing views of limestone cliffs all around.  After a quick swing around the lagoon (maybe 10 minutes), we headed out and over to the beach.  The first order of business was to find a place to put the boat (there must had been at least 20 long tails already there).  Somehow the driver got us setup on the end and we finally got off the boat and onto the beach.

Here the group was to split into a kayaking group and a beach group.  I wanted to kayak, so Debra scored me a spot (for a "discount" even) and the rest of the group hung at the beach.  They were 3 person kayaks, but I went solo on the trip.  The route took us around the island, including into the lagoon.  Around the island was quite breath taking, just seeing the huge limestone cliffs coming straight out of the ocean was amazing.  Along the way there was a cave where a few people were camping (one was in a hammock when we showed up).  These people were stationed to keep tabs on the swallows that nest there, the area is a national park.

Cave that swallow watchers stay in, the red is the hammock

View looking up at the cliffs

more cliffs
Most of the paddling wasn't too bad (there were only a few areas that were a little rough), but the trip into the lagoon made it all worth it.  I was able to be in the front of the pack, so cruising in with very few people around was great, quite amazing.  While the pictures don't do it justice, hopefully you can get some idea of the experience.
coming up to the entrance
A little washed out light wise but wanted to get the cliff detail of the entrance
A view of the entrance from the mangroves

Once we got to the lagoon, we hopped out of the kayak and cooled down.  It was much needed!  The ground was covered with brown starfish, you couldn't take a step without hitting one.  Luckily, they are tough little things.  I grabbed one and took the photo below.  While we were in the lagoon, the guide talked about the tsunami and the fact that all the people who were in the lagoon were fine.  However, about 40 people died that day on Hong Island (mostly tourists).  There were even boats in the jungle about 20 meters up (still there from 2004).  We never made it up to see them, but saw a tsunami memorial that had pictures on a nearby message board.

Starfish from the lagoon

After a 10 minute rest and cool down, it was time to head back.  The trip back to the beach was a little windier/choppier, but went by quick.  Before I knew it, I was back on the beach and reunited with the crew in time for lunch (included in the trip).  Not bad for 1050 Bht ($35 - entire trip).  After lunch, we had about 30 minutes to explore around or hang at the beach, which we chose beach.

While I was on the kayak, Debra, Kasen, John and Kat hung at the beach, snorkeled around and fed some fish.  They would basically swarm you in the water in a feeding frenzy (I witnessed this later after lunch).  Kasen tried it, but got a little spooked when they tried to nibble on her finger.

We all piled back onto the boat and headed to Paradise Island for more snorkeling, beach, and relaxing.  The trip over was about 30 minutes and Kasen took a power nap while we looked at the scenery.  When we got there, we took shifts snorkeling around and watching Kasen.  She tried on the mask (she called them "goggles") but they just didn't seem to fit :)

View of some islands on the trip

Panoramic Kat took of the beach at Paradise Island
After a few beers and 45 minutes of beach and snorkeling, it was off to the last stop for the day, Dang Island (the only island with red rock in Thailand according to the guide).  There we got to snorkel from the boat (there was no beach but Kasen was napping).  Debra and I took turns (well really I got most of the time) to snorkel around.  The guide mentioned we could find "Nemo" here and we did (there were like 4 spots to find him).  I also saw Gill and Dori here as well (two other Finding Nemo characters).
And here is Nemo

From that snorkeling spot, it was back to the pier and back onto a truck to the hotel (this time no one had to ride on the tailgate).