Subscribe: Jen and Derrick: Just Life
Preview: Jen and Derrick: Just Life

Team Teal

"Yes. Wait a minute... no." Our life in a nutshell.

Updated: 2017-06-23T20:48:08.364-04:00



These two have so much fun together, it's ridiculous!


Graham swam in the timed heat (most competitive) for both 8 and under 25M Backstroke and 8 and under 25M Freestyle today. He won the Backstroke and placed 3rd in the Freestyle, coming in right behind his own two teammates. It was a lot of fun to watch!

He's lane 4 (count from the right of the screen). He's behind for the first half and then pulls ahead.

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He's lane 6, at the far left of the screen.

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Happy Father's Day 2017!


Jen has been working with her closest friend Carrie (center) for 17 years, and now Carrie is headed to Ann Arbor public schools for a new job opportunity. This was a great last-day lunch pic taken during the last week of school with a couple of their colleagues.  

Last day of school fun for Russell's class

Last day of school fun for Graham and Benjamin


Ridiculous? Yes. But SO CUTE!

Graham has been begging for weeks to have a lemonade stand, and since it was supposed to hit 90 degrees today, we gave in. They were so excited! They sold two full pitchers of lemonade and made $5 a piece in two hours. Not bad!


Spring Soccer 2017


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Today was Graham's very first piano recital. His teacher, Mr. Nick," had each student choose two of his or her best pieces to play in front of an audience of parents, siblings, and grandparents. Although he was a bit nervous at first, Graham did a terrific job. Be sure to check out the video to hear him play "It's Halloween" and "Horse Sense."

Russell's Preschool Graduation


It's hard to believe, but Russell is done with preschool and headed to Kindergarten. His graduation was bittersweet; on the one hand, he is so incredibly excited for next year, but on the other, this is a farewell for us to the extended family we have known for seven years.  We are so proud of Russell and all he has learned these past five years. 

The lovely Mrs. Adams, beloved by our entire family! 

And a final preschool picture with the dynamic duo. Liam is headed off to Kindergarten in another school next year, so this too was a bittersweet moment.


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Descriptions yet to come... enjoy the pics for now! [...]


Celebrating after Russell's music concert!


Russ has been so excited to join the swim team this year, and he made it through his first practice on Monday. His coach is great, being very patient with the group of younger kids who can't make it the full 25 yards in one go just yet. Russ was all smiles when he got out of the pool!

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Russ's spring music concert

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It's ART SHOW time! The piece below is titled Fun. In the thought bubble above Graham's head, he has included Snooch, dinosaurs, Legos, and more. Graham drew this free-hand! Graham calls the next piece The Maze of Nature. This was made with oil pastels and paint. Below is Graham's light-painting piece.  It's not a great photo because of the camera flash, but you get the idea. And here is his ceramic cupcake, which he would like to point out doubles as a keepsake box. Finally, each of the kids had a framed piece of art this year as a fund-raiser for the art program. Graham titled his still life painting Silent Forest. As always, we were BLOWN AWAY by the art show. We are so fortunate to have programming like this, especially for a kiddo who loves it so much. [...]


Recess fun in the sun

Graham baked bread from scratch...yummy!

Russ and his buds at the nature center

Russ's teacher is such a good photographer.


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Happy Easter! Beautiful weather, lovely church service, Grandpa for Easter dinner (he joined us; he wasn't the meal!), and fun outside as well as with Legos.


Happy 8th Birthday, Graham!

Graham got to celebrate with his youngest cousin, as Charlotte's 1st birthday is on Wednesday. She REALLY enjoyed her cake!

Graham and Russ were happy to help her open her present from us.

And here are the birthday cousins after an afternoon of celebrating together.


At a friend's birthday party!

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Batman and his lesser-known side-kick, Batdog

Graham on the high ropes course at a friend's birthday party



Yes, "compost" gets an exclamation mark. We have been wanting a tumbling composter for years, and Jen just got one as an early birthday present that arrived on Friday. It is AWESOME! We should be able to get two batches of compost a year, and it means that we will be recycling even more of our waste than before. The kids are also excited and helped Jen add the first collection of leaves to get it started after we all cleaned out the flower beds today. Hurray for composting!


 Last week, Graham asked us why the hot lunch service at school gives kids bottled water to drink. Having been raised by two people who vehemently complain about plastic water bottles, he was clearly confused. He added that most of the kids in his class just throw them away when they are done, and he was really bothered. So, we asked what he wanted to do about it. He shared that while there are big recycling bins in the main hall for plastic, aluminum, and paper, their classroom only has a paper receptacle. Graham explained that most kids just don't bother to take their water bottles and tin foil to the hallway containers. We offered the suggestion that he make some for his classroom, and he excitedly realized he could then volunteer to take them down once a week from their room (let's be honest, he loved the idea of being in charge of recycling!). Yesterday, he spent a couple of hours designing and making these boxes, including recycling facts and pictures for the front. He is super excited to help his friends learn about the importance of plastic recycling in particular next week. And who knows, maybe they'll get excited, too! Russell also wanted to get involved. We needed a new recycling container for the paper in our house, so Russell carefully designed this box for us. And it fits perfectly in the cupboard under the sink. Thanks, boys! A boy and his dog Since we're on spring break this week, we met up with Stefanie and her kids in Lansing at Impression 5 Science Center today. It's a great place, full of hands-on, science-y activities. And what could be better than finishing the day off with Jimmy John's? [...]


For those who want to see a WHOLE book read by a beginning reader, this is your 7 minutes to enjoy! For those who want to see a few super cute minutes, watch from 3:00-4:15.

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