Monday, January 26, 2009

We are the Champions. . .and other items

This week was quite a week. Russ returned home from his off-site training at Las Vegas. He had the Will Smith suite. Fortunately, he got to pursue Happyness at home this weekend before flying off to San Francisco to continue the good work that he does.

We drove Zak and one other cheerleader (Davey)to Everett, Washington to the Comcast Arena to watch the WIAA Cheerleading State Championship. It was a long drive and a longer day, but the squad of 25 came away victorious, pocketing another trophy and garnering another plaque for the Heritage High School gym. Only two of the squad are seniors, so it bodes pretty well for next year's competition as well. After one day off from practice, the team is back on the mats preparing for a competition at Jesuit this weekend and polishing their skills for the USA National Competition in Anaheim. Much to Zak's chagrin, he is going to have to go to the "Happiest Freakin' Place on Earth" and be surrounded by cute girls in short skirts. It's a heavy burden he bears. The team peformed flawlessly, and the crowd was awestruck. The Heritage High School squad has at least one other guy as big and strong as Zak, and between all of the rather buff guys, the girls who are flyers get some amazng height. It was an impressive exhibition, and the crowd sat in stunned silence for about 30 seconds with only a collective "WOW" to really do the performance justice. We're quite proud, but the adrenaline cost the lad and he is STILL trying to catch up on his sleep. Note the new pic FROM the event. Zak is in the top row--the dark haired one with the VERY wide grin. Also, the two young ladies to the left of the picture are true Dairy Queens. I believe they were officially crowned by the Washington Dairy Farmers.

David got his first freeway driving experience today. We drove the tank (otherwise known as the TE station wagon). He made it onto the onramp from SR500--which is always tricky--and then onto I-5 from 205. There are no bumps or bruises to the car, and there are no claw marks on the arm rest created by a tense mother. We made the trip up to Longview so I could prepare for Round 2 (second semester).

I am reading like crazy and trying to get caught up on all the YA review books I have stacked on the glass table at the end of our hallway. Since mid-December I have logged about eleven books on the review list, and feel pretty good about that. I am also starting to work out again, though slowly. I doubt I will be fully up to speed for some time; however, between the salads and the half-hour stints on the exercise bike, I hope to be back into fighting shape for the trip to Puerto Vallarte that my parents gave us as a wedding present. There are rumors, too, that IPA may send employees and their spouses to a training in the Bahamas. . .so. . .in spite of the Super Bowl that is to come, I am trying to behave. Okay. . .trying to behave a little at a time. I have just discovered the Bath and Bodyworks Black Amythest and have fallen in love. Fortunately for my sweetie, love is shared, never diminished.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year from the Kruse Clan

What follows is a copy of what we are sending to those who don't get to hear from us as often. However, upon consideration, it also summed up our year pretty nicely.

Welcome to the first installation of The Kruse News. This was originally
intended to be a Christmas letter, but what with all the snow and excitement
(and editing) it has turned into a reflection on the year that was and what we
have learned.

Lesson No. 1- No Wedding is Perfect
But ours was
pretty close. Russ popped the question that changed his life in February, and
the rest is history. Our initial plan—get married at the Skamania Lodge and,
after the ceremony, tee off with Barb and Scott Miller on the 13th hole. Who
would have thought it would snow/hail/pour in April? The ceremony itself was a
stress free memorable event shared with a few close family members. We are now
embarking on the “and they lived happily ever after” part.

Lesson No. 2
- If You Want Adventure, Buy a House on Short Sale
A bigger family made a
bigger house desirable. The first house we put an offer on fell through the day
of closing. Fortunately, there was a Plan B (and eleven months worth of housing
inventory to choose from). We are now in our own home—the first one Jodi has
ever had in her name.

Lesson No. 3 – Dinner Parties Are Fun
hosted her first family Thanksgiving in the new digs. The Hardys came to dinner
and survived the experience—which marked it as a success.

Lesson No. 4 –
Blogs Are Only Informative When Updated
If you want the long, entertaining
version of events in our lives, check out
It turns out there are two Jodi Kruses in the northwest. Jodi will try to keep
it more current, but makes no promises.

Lesson No. 5 – Good-byes Aren’t
This year Grandpa Kruse lost his fight with cancer. Barbara spent a lot
of time at the end caring for him and letting him know how much he was loved.
His death was as private as his life, but still leaves a space for those who are
left behind. Our prayers are with Joan as she begins to transition to a new
phase of her life.

And now. . .the short version of what is going on
with each of us and individual lessons learned:

Russ (49): Still works
for IPA and collects frequent flyer miles at a stunning pace. Jodi is becoming
an excellent travel agent when he gets stuck and needs a hotel and rental car.
Russ has learned that beauty sleep isn’t just a luxury.

Jodi (42): Still
works at R. A. Long High School in Longview. She is teaching Special Education
and continues to coach the Speech & Debate team. She is no longer
threatening to try to find a job in Vancouver. Jodi learned that a Mercedes
SL500 makes the bad commute go away. She no longer remembers what she used to
drive. . .it’s on the tip of her tongue. . .oh, yeah. . .an Eclipse.

Amber (25): Graduated from Sacramento State this December with a degree
in Business Administration and a concentration in Human Resources. “No more
retail,” she says gleefully. Her intensified job hunt resumes in January. She
continues to make incredible pieces of handmade jewelry. She learned that you
can walk in graduation without tripping.

Tyler (20): Is going to the
University of Nevada, Reno. He and some buddies decided to move into a house of
their own. Rumor has it that the house may double as a sled. It has a few cracks
and teeters alarmingly (okay—maybe not that dramatically, but we’re trying to
make this entertaining) on the hillside. T-Man has learned that Engineering is a
particularly good major if you need to figure out a way to prop up your
house—here’s to him successfully accomplishing that for the next two years.

Zak (16): Has become a valuable part of the Heritage High School
cheerleading squad. Under the direction of an incredible coach, Zak and his team
will be attending the USA Cheerleading Competition in Anaheim during Spring
Break. Zak has learned that a hit (in the face) from a flying cheerleader can be
almost as painful as a hit from a football lineman.

David (16): Has
finally found his passion—photography. According to his teacher, he is quite
talented. He is now saving his pennies for a digital SLR camera. David has
learned that there is life after getting stuck in Longview during a snow
storm—it is a quieter, less populated, one, though.

Zane (14): Is a part
of the Chandler High School Marching Band in Arizona where he lives with his
mother. Rumor has it that he will be marching with his band in the Fiesta Bowl.
He continues to be an avid reader and champion Scrabble player. He has learned
that, while puddles can be dangerous to band members, nothing stops a Kruse with
screws (in his ankle)!

Kolby (12): Started his first year of junior high
in Chandler. He is becoming quite a baseball player. He also has an impressive
command of the NFL workings. Kole has learned that stopping line drives with
anything other than your mitt can open up a whole new technicolored world.

Kade (7): Is working hard at being the best youngest brother he can be.
He can play a mean Guitar Hero, but doesn’t let that success go to his head. He
is just as lovable as ever. Kade has learned that tubing behind the Miller’s
boat is a good thing.

As you begin your own new year, we pray that yours
will be as blessed as ours has been.

Jodi, Russ, and the Kids