Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sorry eveyone. I kept saying it was Julie's turn to update - but she successfully outwaited me. We have a ton to update. We'll start with Jeff.

Jeff’s Update:

Jeff has had an extremely eventful year. From January until late March, he prepared and worked out for the Discus in the spring. His sophomore year, he was very disappointed with his performance at the State Meet. He had gone in with the furthest throw in the state, but just didn’t seem able to relax enough to pull off a big throw at the meet. This was the very first time that Julie or I had ever seen him nervous and be effected by pressure. He ended up 3rd that day with a medium throw as compared to the throws the rest of the year.

We purchased a 35’ parachute which we hung from the rafters in the gym and threw all winter into the parachute. He opened the season with a meet at Mountain Home. Jeff was the only athlete there from a 1a school. All others were from 4A and 5A schools. They seeded the throwers and Jeff came in with the best PR so he was in the final flight. As he came up for his first throw – the meet official read his name and then said, “Camas County – Oh, you’ve come to throw with the big boys, huh?” Where after, Jeff blew all of them away. He threw 154’ 3”, 2nd place was in the low 140’s.

We are pretty sure that he injured a deep abdominal muscle at that meet, (a very typical discus injury as he struggled the rest of the year to approach that mark again and he demonstrated an inability to straighten up tall in the ring. He went on to lose only one meet (YMCA Invitational which draws athletes from the entire state as well as Oregon and Nevada,) for the entire year and finish up with a first place throw at the State Meet. He then took the summer completely off as we wanted any possible injury to heal itself. (Which his football season showed it did heal completely.)

Late Spring Camas County High School had its prom. Jeff had Whitney Davis fly from Silverton, Oregon to attend Prom with him. It is the next best thing to impossible to get Jeff to dress nice so it was a welcome change to see him looking so handsome. (Sorry if I sound like a father, but I just think he is a handsome young man.)

Anyone who knows Jeff knows that he functions on his own time-clock. Since CCHS is so small, all of the kids from the high school are invited to the prom. They perform a grand entry procession where the parents are invited and the kids make a formal, announced entry to the Prom. The entire community comes to watch. This year, the entire community waited for Jeff and Whitney to show up. They were 45 minutes late. They just took their time at dinner in Ketchum and didn’t see any need to hurry. As Randy Jewett would say, "It's just Jeffy being Jeffy!"

His summer was spent traveling between Oregon and Idaho for the most part with a single trip to Provo for EFY. Julie and I nearly had to hog-tie him to get him to go. He had a lot of fun and asked if he could go again next year. (He can’t; school, Mission, all those things plus he will be too old.)

He and Julie made an incredible visit to the College of Idaho (I had to work and missed it.) The school made a big production out of making him feel both welcome and wanted at the same time. The financial offers they made were beyond what we expected, especially since this was the first visit to the school and the first time we had met the coach. We have since narrowed our search down to the College of Idaho and no others and have communicated with the coaching staff on a continual basis. They even came to Jeff’s last football game of the regular season to see him perform in an athletic situation. They exchanged emails with us all through the state playoffs and we feel like C of I will be a great home for Jeff.

In early August, Jeff began football. He was still at Camas County High School. (Just as a reminder, CCHS has 47 kids total – with six senior boys on an 8-man team.) Something was missing. He didn’t have the speed, the drive, the determination, or the power he demonstrated the year before. Part of the problem was the nagging desire he has had to return to Mount Angel for school. With the recession making my job situation significantly more precarious, Jeff and I finally packed up and left for Oregon leaving Julie, Jason, Lahia, and Jaxon in Idaho. Jeff played three games in Idaho and 13 in Oregon – making a 16 game season for him.

CCHS went on to win only one game. Kennedy High School, (which he had gone to and started for as a Freshman,) lost their first three games and then one other in the regular season, and then came into the playoffs polished and looking unstoppable. The newspapers had Kennedy picked to lose the first round playoff game. They said that the team they were playing, Lakeview, just had too much play-off experience and Kennedy couldn’t handle them. The game was played at Lakeview High School (middle of nowhere next to the California border in central Oregon.) Kennedy won 57-0.

The 2nd round was against Heppner, who was the team Kennedy lost to the very first game of the year. Again, the papers picked Heppner as an overwhelming favorite. The game was a muddy, soggy mess, as it rained hard all week and the game was played on grass. The boggy condition of the field slowed both teams down significantly. Kennedy slopped its way to a 7-0 win. Heppner was emotionally crushed; they had honestly thought this was their year to win it all. I stood out at the edge of the field and listened as their coaches and parents literally threw temper tantrums, complaining that the field was so wet and muddy that it stole their championship from them. I thought to myself, wasn’t it muddy for both teams? Didn’t it slow down Kennedy as well?

This win put Kennedy in the State Semi-Finals against Knappa High School. Knappa was the returning State Champions and the team that had beaten Kennedy in the 2nd game of the season 56-18. Again, the papers overwhelmingly picked Kennedy to lose this game. Knappa’s parents had already purchased State Championship rings for their boys – so they would have them at the Final when they won. Kennedy played one of, if not the most exciting game I have ever watched and won 21-14, placing them in the State Finals against Scio. I stood next to three sets of Knappa parents at the end of this game as they discussed what to do with the rings they had already purchased. What avarice.

This put Kennedy in the State Finals against a tough Scio team. Kennedy had lost its regular season game against Scio, 14-7. The Final was a great game, but, unfortunately, Kennedy lost, again, 14-7. Placing 2nd in State is something to be proud of, but the loss hurts none the less. We are proud of the football season Jeff had and extremely glad that he and I relocated back to Oregon.

Compared to Jeff’s junior year, he did not have the stats. His junior year, he rushed for 1,268 yards and 14 touchdowns. This year he rushed for a little over 600 yards and 8 touchdowns. His junior year, he was the offense. This year, he was merely a part f a very powerful offense and he played a blocking and short yardage roll instead. We wondered how he would adjust to not being the focus, but he had no problem with it. He said it was a small price to pay for winning and going to the State Finals.

This past football season also allowed Jeff to escort Abby Bochsler as one of the Homecoming Princesses. Abby and Jeff have been best friends since the third grade. We love Abby and are so happy she got to be one of the princesses. I think both he and Abby look wonderful and they had a lot of fun. We couldn't be more proud of Abby if she was our own daughter. (Editorial note: Sorry for spelling your name wrong Abigail - it won't happen again.)

With Jeff and me living in Oregon with Stefani and Jeremiah, Jeff has a lot of time to play with his nephews and they literally worship the ground he walks on. He is a great uncle ad spends time down on the floor with them playing with, sharing his time, and loving his boys.

Monday, December 15, 2008

My Turn:

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper - Gifts bags if you're in a hurry.
2. Real tree or Artificial? Real, However, I am seriously thinking of an artificial because I can't have an Oregon Nobel
3. When do you put up the tree? When we can - usually around the 10th but it is now the 15th and no tree in sight yet.
4. When do you take the tree down? After New Years
5. Do you like eggnog? Yes, yum
6. Favorite gift received as a child? My horse when I was 12.
7. Hardest person to buy for? That's alright Lahia - it must be common. I love my father in law but he is hard to buy for also. However, Jeff gets harder and harder each year. He is SO picky about clothes worse than a girl!
8. Easiest person/people to buy for? Stefani, Doug and for Lahia and Jason who give lists! YEAH.
9. Do you have a nativity set? I used to but Doug broke them when he didn't wrap them after Christmas.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? I'm really not good at sending cards.
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? A juicer - Doug thought that I really wanted one - he didn't listen to me. We were laughing about his grandpa juicing everything and he thought that I wanted one. [Doug] - Here is a small editor's note: She did, in fact, tell me that she wanted a juicer, along with an ice crusher. It was for Mother's Day - not Christmas.
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? It's a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, and Elf.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Usually in November
14. I don't know because I'm not sure what the question was.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Sugar cookies with frosting, fudge, eggnog
16. Lights on the tree? White and lots of them
17. Favorite Christmas song? Lots of them - Oh, Holy Night and Santa Baby and everything in between (almost)
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? I go where my children are. Staying home because they will be here this year.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixon, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph
20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Both - one present Christmas eve, the rest early Christmas morning-unless the children are too young (let them sleep) or older (make them sleep in.
21. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? When you can't find the gift you want to buy!
22. Favorite ornament theme or color? Silver with about any color and I like a lot of different kinds of ornaments
23. What do you want for Christmas this year? My grandchildren with me all the time and new slippers, wallet, jewelry Stef makes, kisses & hugs from my grandchildren, laughter with my children and did I say fun with my grandchildren?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Here you go Lahia....

Boy's Name: Jesse James
Girl's Name: Jennifer Joan
Occupation: Judge
Color: Jade Green
Something you wear: Jewelry
Beverage: Jamba Juice
Food: Jam
Something Found in Bathroom: Jergen's Soap
A Place: Jerusalem
Reason for Being Late: Jury Duty
Something you Shout: Jump!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Important Announcement!

Christmas Eve, December 24th, at 7:00pm we will have the 1st Annual Ellingson/Barkley Family Christmas Skits. (Remember the Nutcracker? Along that line guys.) Each family is encouraged (please read, expected, or maybe even ordered,) to come up with a family skit. Everyone that wants can come up with their own as well. For clarification, Jason, Lahia, and Jaxon are one family unit. Jer, Stef, Kohen, and Jonas are one family unit. Julie, Jeff, Mette, and I are another family unit. And any other combination can be put together, after the initial skits have been completed. Remember, we are looking for quality here - top the nutcracker - no average, middle of the road stuff now - serious effort has to be put into this. The proud sponsor is seriously putting up a $150.00 prize to the top skit. This is real!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

5 New Updates - That should keep many of you happy for a while.

Snow is here!

Here's what was waiting for Julie and I when we got to work this morning. There was just a little skiff of snow on the cars in Fairfield and no snow at all on the ground. But at about Bellevue, we started seeing snow and everything was covered when we got here. Winter is here and the cold is on it's way.

Here are the trees outside the front door of our office. Notice the leaves have not fallen completely off. Fall came late and then winter decided to not follow suit and just dumped snow while the rest of us were not ready yet.

Halloween, 08 Murder Mystery!

I stole many of Stef's pictures as mine didn't come out very clear.)

Here's the entire cast (Top Left:) Stef, Laurie (behind Stef,) Stephanie, Mike, Jer, Jeff, Mark, Doug, Jason (I love how somber and serious he is - reminds me of the old photos taken of the real west.) (Front Row, seated:) Lahia, Angela Kay, Dana, Connie, Julie, and Sally.

Jeff (ala J.T. Stroder,) played a deputy dying to have athority and dying to be in charge. He was rather dim-witted (which he did incredibly well - so well, in fact, that Stef felt the need during the play to let everyone know that he wasn't really that dumb, he was playing a part,) but honest character. At times, Jeff stole the show.
This is me - I played a washed-up, semi-lunatic, "genuine Civil-War hero!! I mean, I was a decorated hero and a Founding Father of the town of Catcus Gulch." That is, until my property was stolen for nickels on the dollar by that no-good theif of a railroad representative and his tramp of a wife.
Julie played a local Indian drunk who owned a trading post. (A little side note here - I am daily amazed at how beautiful my wife is.) She spent hours and hours on this costume. It was detailed, intricate, and beautiful. She won best costume for this. (Spoiler alert - never share a flask of cactus juice with her.)
Jason was the semi-honest (just don't play him cards, sheriff trying to solve this complicated murder. His costume called for a duster overcoat, a cummerbund, a vest, and thena shirt (followed by his garments,) he was about to melt on us. He beat us all at cards and sorted the details out great.

Lahia played a "Good-Time Girl" at the local casino. She grew up not quite acepted by the white community and not accepted by the indian community. Her plight as an outcast made her desperate, so she took measures into her own hands to secure her own survival.
Stef was the owner of the bar we were standing and drinking in and the narator, (as well as the wutho of this year's mystery.) She did an incredible job pulling all the peices together and making it all fit.
Jeremiah was a traveling Preacher/Bible Salesman (or was he?) He won this years best actor. This part was writen for him. Should he ever decide to become a criminal - he would make a great conman.
Mark and Dana (along with Mike) were easily the most sleezy, underhanded characters int he mystery, and they played their parts great. Mark was smooth and oily - it would be easy to believe he would steal a man's property (for nickel's ont he dollar mind you,) Dana was great. She has had three years worth of underhanded, despicable characters and she has nailed each one. Is there a pattern here? Maybe we should look into this.
Stephanie was a barmaid and helper to the bar's owner. She played the part well and added fun to the overall mystery.
Angela Kay was "just passin' through town," but she was certainly involved in everyones business for a stranger to town and she just happened to be in the middle of everything. Coincidence or not?
A lady of breeding and quality stuck, due to the unfortunate murder of her late husband, inthis little backward town. She would love to bring class and dignity to the town, but the citizens just won't let her. She morns the loss of her husband, but enjoys the money he left her. she woiuld love to find out who killed her husband, but she witht he meager clues she has gathered, she is no closer today then when he died.

Sally is the town florist and gosip. She did a great job of spreading rumors and droppig inuendos. She is a true belle stuck in this dirty little town.
Mike was the infamous gun-slinger lawman "Doc" Holliday. This was MIke's first year with us. He was spectacular. As stated above, he played the part of the oily, sleezy gun-slinger fabulously. (Hint: Next years part is nothing like this one - however, it should be fun.)
Laurie played last year with us. Her personality is just so fun that she makes the entire mystery fun to be a part of. She was the daughter of the deceased and was bound and determined to save her inheritance as well as not jeopardize her engagement to the infamous "Doc" Holliday. One thing was certain, she had no patience for her poor uncle that was shorted by that deceptive, conniving railroad man.