Devon’s Vietnam

Here are Dev’s thoughts about Vietnam in her own words.  I did add a few punctuation marks this time and lead her a bit with the ideas, but the rest is all Dev!  She had to do a power point for school too :-)

Hi I’m Devon. I would like to share my story about my experience in schools in a different country.

We flew in to Ho Chi Minh City.  We taught in Can Tho and explored the cities in red :-)

We flew in to Ho Chi Minh City. We taught in Can Tho and explored the cities in red :-)

Well, my family went on a educational trip to Vietnam.  It was our first time going.  While we were there we went to a University to teach English.  It was fun and inspirational. I was at the university for the first day with my mom, sister and brother.  My dad was teaching medical stuff.  My mom and I went into several classes to teach “conversational English”  Mainly we asked and answered questions, getting the students to speak English.

My Dad and brother taught this class.  I with I had a picture of the class I taught :-(

My Dad and brother taught this class. I wish had a picture of the class I taught :-(

This is my sister teaching English.  I do not have a picture of me teaching :-(

This is my sister teaching English. I do not have a picture of me teaching :-(

The next several days my mother and I went to a school for kids and teens with Down syndrome.  They showed us different stuff they did to teach them.  My mom talked about me and my education to teachers and students with their moms. They also gave us a tour of the school it was really helpful to see. The students gave us special gifts that they made by hand.  They sew things to sell and carve key chain charms.  There is only one school for the whole area.

Items sewn by the students are sold

Items sewn by the students are sold

The students carve charms out of coconut

The students carve charms out of coconut







After lots of play and relays we were able to get a photo ;-)

After lots of play and relays we were able to get a photo ;-)

The last day I was back at the university with Nana.  When the last class came in I was pulled out of that classroom with Nana,  into a another classroom! t  That’s when I taught a whole class english all by myself.   It was so much fun!

Conversational English at it's best!  Over dinner :-)

Conversational English at it’s best! Over dinner :-)

The next week we spent learning about Vietnam and having fun with my grandparents, yup, they went with us :-)

War sites were actually a small part of our wonderful trip to Vietnam.  Dev's grandfather had been here in 1974.

War sites were actually a small part of our wonderful trip to Vietnam. Dev’s grandfather had been here in 1974.

I hope we get to do that again!



Wow it is hard to believe, we will be in Vietnam in less than a week.

We will be having some fun, teaching some medical stuff and some conversational English.  We will also be leading by example when it comes to INCLUSION and ACCEPTANCE.

The new story about the teen with DS that made the climb to Mt. Everest base camp stated that 90% of the worlds cultures do not include/accept people with disabilities.  While in Vietnam we will be talking with educators and families about the value of all individuals and the fact that your expectations can make a tremendous difference in the abilities of a person.   Be watching, we will be posting about our experiences!



“Pushing Myself”

Dev just started a ski team here in Seattle called “SkiHawks”.   We have skied for awhile.  First just Sean and I, then on vacations.  Now here in Seattle we can ski almost every weekend!  It has been a lot of fun for most of the family….  Dev has always been our “reluctant” skier.  She would go, and be in a class in the morning then ski with me in the afternoon, but she has never been a “big fan”

Dev and

We knew about the “SkiHawks” through a friend that works with Sean.  We were hesitant because the team races…  Dev has amazing control on skis, but she has never cared for speed, be in skis, on a bike, on a boat, in general.  So we did not think it would be a great fit, but the work mate encouraged us.  We gave in with the thought if she did not like it we would let her out of it…

As with so many things, Dev surprised us.  She LOVED her coach (an amazing person and skier). After her first lesson she was looking forward to the next weekend with a fever!  She would mention skiing at dinner, on the way home from school, just counting down the days.  The next week (just last weekend) the race course was set up.  She has never been near gates let alone want to go down them.  But…  when we met up at lunch, she said “I did the race course twice!”

We asked her coach how it went and she said there was an invitational coming up and if Dev wanted to be in it they could try the course again, but she might have to push herself a little to go faster…  We told Dev it was up to her and her coach and we would support what ever she chose.  They headed out for the afternoon part of the lesson.

We met her coach at the end of the day.  She was impressed with the change in Dev, but did not get the chance to say more before Dev interjected, “I went FAST!!”,  “I’m going to race next week”.  We were excited for her and glad she was having such a great time with her coach, but did not give it too much more thought.

Then, Dev and I were in the car heading to gymnastics practice.  She had clearly been thinking about things.  She said “you know mom, I had a great time skiing with Galynn.  I think I’m going to push my self in gymnastics today, just like when I was skiing…”  She thought again for a while then added “and in Cheer practice“.  I thought this was great and remarked that when you push your self it may be difficult, but it is a way to get better at what your working on.  Again she thought for a second or to then added “I’m going to push myself in long division too”

I love this kid.  She is determined, persistent, and usually happy about it.

Here is the video of her first Race with the SkiHawks program.  She did 3 runs and improved her time on each one!  Sean was snowboarding while filming too!


Thanks for watch, I’ll let you know about the improvements in long division too :-)


First Cheer Meet!

Just a quick up date: the Evergreen Shooting Star’s Cheer team will be attending their first competition this weekend!  It is in Tacoma at the convention center.   I’ll take a full video this time and post it on Monday.  If all goes well maybe some of you can join us at the next one in Bellevue on January 29th!

Here is the Video!

They had so much fun!  They have been working on parts of the routine for a while, but just got the pom pom’s the day before!  It was also extremely loud.  We were/are so proud of all the kids doing so well in such a new and crazy setting!

Thanks for watching



Northern Exposure: Vancouver

Being new to the Pacific Northwest, we decided to explore the last week before school started.  What a great decision!  We drove up to Vancouver; kids, puppy, bikes and all.  Braved the border crossing (actually it was no real wait either way) and enjoyed!

What a non stop week!  We stayed downtown, renting a 2 bedroom condo, what a view from the 26th floor!.  We put the bikes to good use riding through Stanley Park.  Dev and Ian loved the pool (heated) and the water playground (not heated).  We rode along the water front many times.

Our main event was going up to Grouse Mountain, just across the water in North Vancouver.   We decided to try the Zip lines and windmill.  WoW.  To start with, the gondola up to the lodges is amazing, it feels vertical at times!  You almost forget that there are 50 people sardined in to the metal and glass ball.  Once at the top the views are breath taking, facing west looking out over the Straight of Georgia. This amazing view was even more dramatic from the windmill.  But the most fun for every one in the family was the Zip Lines!  Here are the videos we took!  Sean and Brenna were the brave ones willing to hold the camera!

The following day Brenna and Sean scaled the “Grouse Grind” on Grouse Mountain and rode their bikes back to the condo after!!  I lounged at the Stanly Park pool with Dev and Ian….  If all that was not enough for the trip, the next day we went to Lynn Park for a little hiking and to walk the suspension bridges!

So why include this vacation in the Raise Expectation blog?  It think the more we can expose our kids to the better!  Dev loved all the the adventures, what a sense of accomplishment at the end of the Zip lines and across the hanging bridge.  More experiences, more fun, more was to engage other people.  The other reason is to compliment Vancouver on it’s amazing diversity and acceptance as a city.

Vancouver is worth the trip, I’m sure this was just our first!