Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas from the Wallravens!

Merry Christmas!


Since we did not send out a Christmas letter last year, I've got a ton of ground to cover to fill you in on our last 2 years, so buckle your seatbelt and get ready for this wild ride…




We moved and Ethan did stuff.




Yeah, that's pretty much the last 2 years in a nutshell.  However, since I can't end a Christmas letter with just 2 sentences, I'll elaborate a little.J

In July 2013 (after 8 years of living in Plano) we decided it was time for a change of scenery.  Much like my high school friend Jayne who sold everything she had and moved her family to Hawaii to live a life of luxury on the beach, we crammed everything we owned into the back of my suburban (and a gigantic moving truck) and moved 8.5 miles north to a slightly different part of the DFW metroplex.  OK, so that's not quite the same as what Jayne did.  Look, I said I needed a change of scenery.  I wasn't looking for some grand adventure.  I'm not a hobbit! (Not that you are a hobbit, Jayne.  You just live a fuller and more exciting life than I do, and I want you to know I'm not jealous at all...also, I hope you get a sunburn.)


We did end up moving into a wonderful neighborhood with a great local elementary school.  Unlike our old neighborhood where there were almost no children Ethan's age, this neighborhood is bursting with them.  (Like seriously, if you aren't paying attention you might step on one.)  There are parks and fishing ponds and pools and walking's amazing!   Unfortunately, we did not see much of that the first year because we spent pretty much the entire first year here doing repairs on our house. I'm pretty sure the previous owners idea of “preventative maintenance” was to “prevent themselves from doing any maintenance.”
We did do a few fun upgrades but most of the projects were boring and expensive projects that nobody really gets excited about.  (“Hey, did I tell you I got 2 new attic fans today?!?  Yeah, we got some insulation too.  It's so awesome.  It reminds me of that time we went to Hawaii where Jayne is lives”...said no one ever.)  And then once we got the inside of the house pretty much squared away, the outside was pummeled by one of the worst hail storms we've seen in years and “construction mode” started all over again.
Now that the dust has (literally) settled, we are very happy with our new home and are looking forward to spending the rest of our lives here together.  Like seriously....I'm.never.moving.again.  It was WAY too much work!  I plan to die right here in this chair.  My wife says I fear change.  I think it's just a matter of perspective.  Sure, Jayne may be having a blast with all her “parasailing” and “going to luaus,” but you know what else is fun?!?!  STABILITY!  While Jayne is enjoying her waterfalls and volcano tours, I'm over here partying because my house now has “the proper amount of insulation” and our pool equipment NO LONGER has the potential “to kill someone or catch the house on fire.”  Rock On!

As I mentioned earlier, Ethan is a busy little boy.  I swore when he was younger that we weren't going to be those parents that let our kid's activities control our lives.  I often time to think about how wise my perspective is as I'm carting Ethan to soccer/cub scouts/LEGO club/Tae Kwon Do/robotics camp.
Ethan lost some teeth.  That sounds cute but in reality it's quite horrific.  Before teeth finally fall out, they often dangle in highly abnormal directions like the teeth of a demented rotten jack-o-lantern carved by a 7 year old (not that we have any experience with that around here).  Ethan had one tooth that would almost spin in a complete 360 degree circle before he finally pulled it out.  Ethan actually swallowed his first tooth eating an ice cream sandwich.  He cried, but felt better after he wrote a note explaining the situation to the tooth fairy who both paid for the missing tooth and left him a note in return.

And that's another thing, Gladice the Tooth Fairy is entirely too creative around here.  When I was a kid the Tooth Fairy would simply take the tooth and leave money on the bed side table.  These days the tooth fairy leaves colorfully decorated cards with artwork with diagrams showing which teeth was lost and and helpful little notes reminding  Ethan to brush his teeth often.  I think Pinterest has really helped the Tooth Fairy up her game.
The Tooth Fairy's husband is very concerned that one of those teeth is going to come out when the Tooth Fairy is out of the town for work.  It could easily happen...Now that Ethan knows the Tooth Fairy brings money, teeth are popping out of my kid like babies from Kate Gosselin (yes, I know it's a dated reference, but I don't get to watch much TV these days...I have a 7 year old with activities).


This year was our 20 year reunions.  Jayne was there.  You would think being in Hawaii would make it hard to come back to Little Rock, but they made the trip.  I presumed the trip was not cost prohibitive because they found gold underneath their other ocean front vacation property in Maui.  Either that or they don't need money anymore because they rode in on sea turtles they befriended while living in Hawaii like in “Finding Nemo”.  Either way, it was lovely to see her and meet her husband...who is also kind of awesome.  By the way, Jayne is a great sport and is going to love this letter.


I don't know if it's our 20 year reunion or the fact that I'm about to turn 40, but I feel like I've aged about 10 years in the last two.  A while back, I hurt my shoulder taking a nap.  Be that as it may, I'm seriously making a good-faith effort at taking better care of myself and 2015.  It's “Christmas card official.”  I must look older too.  On her way out the door the other day, my wife gave me a loving smile, a kiss on the cheek, and the suggestion I make another run it things with the nose hair trimmers.  What can I say, after 11 years of marriage, we keep it real.  I'm still madly in love with her.


Gladice and I are doing well.  The little cancer-research company Gladice works at is going through some exciting changes, and she has a ton on her plate right now.  She's very good at what she does, and I am very proud of her.  In addition to playing chauffeur to Ethan and overseeing home repairs, I've become a co-den leader of Ethan's cub scout troop and I volunteer and serve on the PTA at the elementary school.  (I'm the only guy there, but the ladies are awesome and it's been a lot of fun) I've never been much of a volunteer type guy in the past, but I'm really enjoying it.  Norton Elementary has some of the best employees, kids and parents I've ever been around, and I've enjoyed spending time with all of them.

I don't really have a clever or funny way to close this one so I'll just stick with the straightforward “Merry Christmas.”  We love you guys and wish you a wonderful 2015.

The Wallravens

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Happy 7th Birthday

Crazy Hair Day

Red Ribbon Week.  Daddy coordinated the week and got to be watch dog on Thursday.

Ethan's class with their student teacher Ms. Lam

Running some laps during recess
I got to surprise Ethan during lunch on his birthday.

We also surprised Ethan by pulling him out of school an hour early to enjoy the day.  Here he is with Belle as Minecraft Steve.
Mary King shines again with a great minecraft cake.

This was the first year where we let Ethan make up his birthday list.  I think they had a great time!
And he is still working on opening all of his presents. To say he got 'some' loot is an understatement. Thankful for old and new friends

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Cub Scout EXPO aka CUBE

We had a great time at CUBE this afternoon.  It's a time for the family to participate in all types of things from tug of war, making rockets, learn about disabilities, learn how to hammer, shoot BB guns and archery. Here are some pictures of the events

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Fun weekend...and we're not done yet

We were supposed to go to a high school reunion and wedding this weekend in separate cities but instead stayed in town busy with Ethan's schedule. Last night the school had their fall festival, this morning we did a fun run for Carson's crusade, and finished off with a win at Ethan's soccer game.  Exhausted by the schedule but love the memories made.

First time getting his face painted. Didn't realize till today that the reason he hasn't had his face painted is because he was afraid it would tickle. Now, he is a huge fan of the rocket on his cheek that he didn't want to wash his face during his shower this evening:-)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

First Lock-In: Cub Scouts

After a day at the pumpkin patch, Ethan went to his first lock in. It was for all the cub scouts in the area. Like any other 6 year old who gets to stay up past his bed time, he had a blast. They ran around the gym playing tag, ate pizza, watched a karate demonstration, had a pretend campfire, watched The CROODS, and fell asleep sweaty and smelly on the church gym floor. I'd call it a success!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Field Trip: Big Pumpkin Farm

While I am in NC for work, Justin was able to chaperone Ethan's class to the Big Pumpkin Farm. It looks like they had a great time. Thank you Justin for going when you are in the midst of getting over your cold.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Tae Kwon Do

Someone's been working hard to get to get to the next level in TKD. Last night, Ethan earned tape on his blue belt. We are so proud of him and he was so proud of himself.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Cub scouts

We had our first den meeting last night.  Justin has been so gracious to volunteer as assistant den leader.  The den is a group of really fun boys that we look forward to hanging out with. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

First Day of First Grade

The summer has blown by and we are back into the school routine.  Mommy and Daddy held it together this morning and Ethan strolled right into his classroom and desk.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Back to the Castle Night

Aka meet the teacher night. Though we are all dad that summer is coming to an end, we are all excited about Ethan's 1st grade year. Here he is at his currently assigned seat. He currently faces out the window, so I'm pretty sure that his seating assignment will change sooner than later :-)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Road Tripping..

We took a long road trip this weekend to Tuscola, Illinois to see the last in the Shirazi kiddo (Jahaun) get married.  It was a short visit, but we had a great time visiting with family that we don't get to see often.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Dirty Face

Me: "You need to take a shower."

Ethan: "I don't want to take a shower."

Me: "Well, you at least need to get in the pool. Your face is really dirty."

Aaaand that's how we got here...