Sunday, June 29, 2014

Summer Game Plan, TFW Style

This week we initiated a plan to give each day of the week a fun theme. We didn’t follow the plan, but it did give us inspiration to do a few new things around town (and even beyond). The plan came from a little paper Hallie printed off a year ago, and it is about time we used it.

Make-it Monday: World Cup soccer is in full swing. Mike watched both Mexico and Argentina play their games at the same time while grading papers. Who says guys can’t multitask?

Hallie and Landon went on a hunt for a skateboard. They succeeded at finding one at Play It Again Sports. Landon spent the rest of the afternoon practicing his form. The kid just has a knack for learning how to do physical activities. 

After spending some time on a little walk around the block, we came home for FHE. 

Later on, we finally settled down to make energy bites, which taste suspiciously like peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough balls.

Trip Tuesday: We went to the Camarillo Public Library, got library cards, and checked out some books. What a beautiful building! 

Landon signing his name on the back of his very own card

According to the Wikipedia entry for the library, the children's section was designed by a company that did design work for Disneyland, and other details evoke California Mission and Malibu styles. Fancy!

If the kids read a certain amount of hours they come back to the library to obtain prizes. All day Eliza asked, "Where are my prizes?" At the rate they are reading, they will be able to collect their prizes very soon.

Later in the day, Landon and Mike went over to the park so Landon could get some practice time in on his board.

Wet Wednesday: Mike took Landon to the pool while Hallie and Eliza ran errands. Fergus has become a bit fanatical about getting out of the house. He has pushed through the loose screens in a couple of open windows. Once out, he seems content to roam around the patio.

Thinking Thursday: This is where we changed things up a bit. We had done a thinking-like activity by going to the library that instead Hallie took the kids to Coach Patty’s Gymnastics

The missionaries came over for dinner. Eliza snuck a picture of them.

Fun Friday: Well, every day is fun here. Hallie and Mike went on a date to Mimi’s Café and then to WinCo. Bulk foods galore!

Landon and Mike put together a microblocks Eiffel Tower. 

We had a box with the kids’ bike helmets that apparently did not make the trip with us (or at least we have not found it yet), so Sarah form next door gave Landon an old bike helmet she had. She even stenciled his name on it.

We were able to have our first pizza and a movie night since moving here, featuring Topper’s Pizza and Madagascar 3.

We bought some Wint-O-Green Life Savers to show the kids how they spark when you bite them in the dark. 

The photo doesn't show it, but it really works! Here’s why.

The summer plan we found is only for the five weekdays. However, we extended the fun into the weekend. On Saturday while Mike worked his first Saturday gig, Hallie took the kids to the SantaBarbara Zoo. As Hallie pulled up and sign a line of cars she was nervous about how full this small zoo would be. It was Saturday of course but once inside it was not full at all and most of the parking was due to a wedding and birthday parties being held later that day.

A happy girl is shown above after a bird pooped on her forehead. Hallie does not normally carry baby wipes with her since both kids use the bathroom, so she had nothing to wipe the poop off with. Thank goodness for kind strangers who did have some wipes and a little girl who did not freak out. The incident was cleaned up quickly with no further problems.

At the zoo there is a children's play area where you can slide down a hill with cardboard pieces. There are lot of pieces that people have brought and left. Landon quickly found himself a piece and was sledding away. By the end he was even surfing down the hill. Eliza tried a few times as well but found the spider rope to be much more fun.

After work, Mike took the kids down to the park and then to the pool. Landon commented that he really enjoys having both so close. While the family was away, Hallie took some much needed time to nail down the talk she had to give the next day.

On Sunday, we tried something a little different: Mike took Eliza to church on his bike, and Landon came along on his skateboard. 

Hallie spoke on provident living, and Mike taught Landon’s Primary class. The ward is already finding ways to use us. Tonight after the kids are in bed we are having a special type of hot chocolate (Crio Brü, apparently quite popular in Utah) with the neighbors, who also brought us summer squash and tomatoes from the garden. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Welcome, Summer!

We ended spring getting into a groove that combined settling into new routines with continuing to explore the area's attractions. Couple all that with some amazing World Cup Soccer, and we were sitting pretty going into summer.

On Monday, Hallie took Landon to try out a new gymnastics place. 

Mike found out he could get the first round of the 2014 World Cup on the Watch ESPN channel on our Roku. Yes!

Even Eliza and Fergus are excited!

On Tuesday, Mike managed to get enough boxes removed and shuffled that we can put the Kia into the garage.

We had promised Landon that we would get the fire pit out to have a s’mores roast, and we finally made that happen.

Wednesday and Thursday revolved around routines of getting to know our new home and job. We took some time on Wednesday to go with Mike's parents to Red's BBQ in Simi. Always a treat!

This kids started the day Friday with some time outside. Mike and Landon rode their bikes around the neighborhood. As they arrived at home, who but Eliza shows up rounding the corner? Scary, but this is a good neighborhood for escape artists. Next time, though, she’s getting locked in the house or coming with. Once we got home, the kids played nice while building with their LEGO bricks in the big front room.

Mike had to go up to school earlier than he has been. Carly and her kids came by to visit Hallie and the kids.  

Mike now has his office keys, his technology, and a name placard, so he’s all official.

On Saturday, Hallie got up bright and early to do some grocery shopping, and she brought us home yummies from Rolling Pin Donuts to share while we watched Argentina play Iran in an intense game.

"You're nice and all, but get out of the way!"

After the game, we went over to Freedom Park to play at the Ventura County Greek Festival.

Later still, Sarah from next door braided Eliza’s hair while Hallie and Liz from next door (Sarah’s mom) went to WinCo Foods and Costco. 

We had heard about WinCo from our Utah friends, and Hallie went there while we visited Riley and Breanne in Washington, so having one nearby is a treat. It will be a literal treat for Mike too once he finally gets to go and purchase some needs from their bulk items section.

Later in the day, Mike supervised the kids as they rode around in front of the house.

Sunday morning, the kids made some art in the back yard in the patio, which we are using as a room unto itself.

Mike spoke at church. Speaking of church, what a blessing it has been to be in this ward. It has only been two Sundays, but the members have pulled out all the stops to make us feel welcome. So many people have come up and introduced themselves to us, and we even received some yummy treats on Saturday night from a member in the ward who found out we know her daughter. Landon and Eliza have taken to Primary quickly. We are grateful for that and for those who teach them each week. We missed the US-Portugal game for the “Dine and Dash” (potluck) activity after church. The theme was Mexican food. Hallie brought a Mexican Caesar salad that was quickly eaten up. Folks stopped by our table to introduce themselves, and we talked to a family who lives in our neighborhood about all of the schooling choices we have. It looks like we have some choices ahead of us.

We ended the night with a walk around the block. Bring on the summer!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Settling In, Making Friends, and Celebrating Our Dads

We spent the week getting settled into our new home, becoming acquainted with our new church congregation, and celebrating Father’s Day.

Monday, June 9 – We're continuing to camp out in the front room waiting for our PODS to arrive. We made arrangements to get the Internet turned on and utilities set in order. The kids are entertaining themselves with items that made it in the car with us, including sidewalk chalk. Our back patio makes a perfect canvas. 

We bought a refrigerator over the weekend, and Mike, Merle, Dwight, and Shad moved it. The refrigerator had a hard time leaving the owner’s house, and (after quite a bit of working together) the “fancy” refrigerator as Landon calls it made its new home with our family.

Prior to retrieving the fridge, we went over to G&G M's for a visit and meal. The kids found the blackberries in the side yard too tempting to resist. However, they paid for their sloppy eating by having to scrub the mess away. We tried to be as discrete as possible.

Hallie received belated birthday presents to open.

Tuesday, June 10 – Mike took Landon for a walk to get to know the neighborhood. After playing at the jungle gym, they got donuts and milk at the local store. 

Later in the day, Hallie and Eliza found Lowe’s, Sam’s Club, and Costco. They will definitely have to try those trips again to get used to where everything is located. In the early afternoon our two PODS arrived. 

By the end of the day Mike, his parents, and Hallie’s parents emptied both PODS into the garage and house. From the time the kids found their scooters and bikes, they rode all day and into the night.

We found out that our next door neighbors are members of our church. What are the odds? They are really friendly, which makes moving to a new area really nice.

Wednesday, June 11 – We finally brought Fergus home after his extended stay with Mike’s parents. While at Mike’s folks’ house, the kids horsed around in one of their favorite new backyard spaces.

Thursday, June 12 – The PODS, now empty, have left the premises. Now to the work of putting all our stuff away. In addition to moving all our stuff out of the PODS and into the different rooms in the house, Mike has been teaching and trying to get settled in at his new job. He now has an office up at CLU and will hopefully have his equipment before too long. He took the back roads to work with the car windows rolled down, basking in the breeze and relishing the gorgeous views. After he got home, Hallie and Landon ran a couple of errands and got dinner, so we ate a little later than usual. While we were having dinner, our bishop came by to visit, tipped off by our next-door neighbors that new members of the ward had moved in.

Friday, June 13 – The weather has been ideal, and we know why people never want to leave or are trying to move here. We eat all our meals at the patio table in the backyard. Landon and Eliza don’t understand why we eat so often outside. Considering that our kitchen table is covered in items needing places to go and considering that we effectively have another whole room by using the patio, why the heck not do it?!
Dining al fresco. So Mediterranean. 

Eliza has not taken a nap in a long time even though she needs one, and today she fell asleep on Hallie’s lap at 5:00 PM. Normally it is pizza-and-a-movie night, but with Eliza asleep, Hallie and Landon took off to get his haircut and to find some food. Our cute boy said he wanted a hamburger, so off to In-N-Out they went, and they had a fun time. 

Meanwhile, Mike fiddled with potential furniture arrangements. 
Our new home, by the way. Be it ever so humble. . .

New slipcovers, not new couches

Eliza ended up waking up before we went to bed, and after letting her play for a while Mike was able to eventually get her back to sleep.
What to do with a wired girl? Let her run herself ragged. 

Saturday, June 14 – Carly and Cru invited us to the Conejo Recreation and Parks District’s Touch-a-Truck. We saw a helicopter land and then had a chance to sit in it, and we went inside lots of other fun trucks and vehicles. 

After lunch, the kids played in the sprinklers at Grandpa and Grandma M’s house. 

Happy Flag Day, by the way!
The rest of the day was spent putting stuff of away. Funny how you forget what you owned in just 3 weeks. Dorene called Hallie in the evening, and they caught up on people and events back in the old neighborhood. Earlier in the week someone had made an offer on the house, so it will be out of our hands before too long. We will be getting considerably less than what we paid, so we’ll have to weather that storm for a while. Dorene’s call reminded us how much we miss those special friends and places we left behind, and each of us has experienced that sense of loss in our own way this week.   

Sunday, June 15 – The kids greeted Mike in the morning with Father’s Day wishes, then we made cards for the grandpas. It’s been a long time since we had church in the afternoon, so we didn’t quite know how to spend our morning. After lunch, we attended our new ward for the first time. We received a warm welcome from the other members and hope to make new friends here. We’ve already been hit up to speak during sacrament meeting. The kids made presents for Mike during Primary.

Pretty entertaining and insightful!

After a quick return home, we drove out to Simi to have dinner with G&G O. before having dessert with G&G M. The kids really get a kick out of playing with their cousins, and we are glad they have ready-made familiar friends as they transition into life in SoCal.  
Stuff like this matters.