Sunday, August 03, 2014

Here’s to the Unexpected

A lot of what we do each week is planned out, while a fair amount comes in unexpected ways. This week we had more of the unexpected, both bad (flat tire) and good (visitors and date itineraries), than usual, making the last half of the week especially spicy.

Monday, July 28 – Hallie went walking with Liz and ended up in less pain this time out. Landon started in on a new two-week swimming session.

As Hallie and Eliza were running some errands, Eliza saw a man on a motorcycle. He caught her staring and waved, and here was her response:

Tuesday, July 29 – Landon has mastered the art of riding two Razor scooters at once.

Eliza has mastered the art of primping in the mirror.

On the recommendation of a neighbor across the street, Hallie took the kids to gymnastics at Delano Athletica in Ventura.

Later, Hallie picked up our first box from the Underwood Farms CSA, chock full of fresh produce to supplement our newly-prepared freezer meals. Let the feasting begin!
(These carrots are supposed to look like this.)

Landon created an airplane for himself out of a cardboard box and tape.

Hallie also attended an information meeting about Ventura County foster care.

Wednesday, July 30 – Today Hallie had a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. It started with knocking the tire off the rim as she made a U-turn out of the park where, during a play date, Landon spat at Eliza (grrr!) and ended with her getting mustard on a new shirt in the evening. Rather than going into morbid detail about the rest of the day, we’ll just let it die. The cute side of the day was Landon being quite concerned about leaving Mom behind while Hallie waited for AAA to come and put the spare on. Love that boy!

Thursday, July 31 – The kids showed off their artistic skill in the morning.

Lego tablet and cell phone. She's ready to go! 

Make a wish at the wishing well! 

After going to swimming with Landon, Hallie came home and met with Sister Sonnenberg of the ward Relief Society regarding Hallie’s new calling.

Mike had a lunch meeting with his department chair. Exciting times are ahead for the department, and fall semester is fast approaching.

Later in the day, he got started in earnest on hanging up our wall art. It’s still a work in progress.

Friday, August 1 – Sadly, as with June and July 1, we did not start the morning with our traditional Kinder Surprise Egg for the third month in a row. We either need to find a way to get a new supply or start a new tradition. We’ve been doing this thing for almost a decade now, so we’ll find a way! Anyone up for a trip down to Tijuana?

Grandma and Grandpa O. stopped by for a visit on the way back from a trip to Oxnard. For lunch, we had an enchilada casserole that Hallie found a recipe for off of one of those webites that gives ideas for meals based on ingredients you have on hand. She baked it in the morning while the house was still cool, and it was ready just in time for company to come by. Score!

Mike took Hallie on a date up to Santa Barbara tonight. Before he started his 99 day Facebook fast (Yup, still on it, with minimal cheating when he posts something from the blog or Instagram. Social media in whatever form is an addiction!), Mike had read a blog post where the author described how, inspired by a post by Greg Trimble, she started a his/her dream date night with her husband where the one setting up the date makes it into a fantasy date (i.e., a date that the planner would do without consideration for the other person. No more “What do you wanna do?”). We have wanted to do more things together as a couple since moving out here, so doing the fantasy date thing seemed like a good way to start.

Sarah from next door came over to watch the kids right before the kids’ pizza and movie night, and Mike and Hallie hit the road. Mike’s idea of a fantasy date is extremely low-key: What he wanted was something simple, spur-of-the-moment, and completely relaxing with minimal planning and plenty of room for improvisation. What this meant was that the two of us took ourselves where the road would lead. For those of you who need a plan to have a fun date, stop reading here and skip to Saturday.

He knew he wanted to watch a gorgeous sunset with his stunning lady. Hallie had dressed up, and Mike wasn’t going to waste that beauty waiting in line for a restaurant on a busy Friday night. He had vaguely thought off and on during the week leading up to our date that a sunset beach picnic would be perfect. The idea only began to crystallize once we had left home. For Mike, the quiet suspense that comes with not quite knowing himself what would come next was its own source of pleasure.

We went up to The Collection at RiverPark in Oxnard and wandered around, window shopping and people watching. Here’s where the date got interesting. It was Mike’s fantasy date, but Hallie couldn’t hold back and let go of the experience. This comes from having to be the strong Mom and take control of the unexpected all the time. Mike, inspired by the cute road signs in the shopping center, could already feel himself in the unwinding mode and wanted to bring Hallie with him.

So, after seeing the options available and seeing that take-out from one of the restaurants really wasn’t going to be an option, he finally settled on some specifics. He took us back to where he originally thought would be the ideal place to find items for a high-quality picnic dinner: Whole Foods. He ordered a couple of empanadas, and she ordered a fresh sandwich. We got pasta salad, ripe cut-up fruit, and organic mango lemonade to share.  And then we were back on the road, continuing north to Ventura and points unknown.

A marine layer had begun to blow in, threatening the prospect of a pretty sunset with gray overcast, so Mike kept driving north, hoping to get past it or above it. At the last minute, rather than turning off the 101 to go north to Ojai, he took a break in the clouds as a sign that he should keep following the 101. He had wanted to take the State Beaches exit off the 101 to the 1 and follow the coast, so we did that when the exit came a few miles further along. Being the start of the weekend, many a surfer and many an RV sat parked along the shore. Gradually, the marine layer faded and the sun did come back out.

We had gone far enough north by this point that another 15 minutes to Santa Barbara seemed the right thing to do. They exited at Cabrillo Boulevard and followed the palms along the coast, stopping at the parking lot next to Skater’s Point off Garden Street. They spent a serene hour on a (mostly) private beach watching the sun slowly set over the palms and listening to the waves splash against the shore. 

(We'll leave the rest of what transpired on the beach up to your imagination, per Hallie's request.)

After the sun had set, we went back to the car and drove up State Street. It turns out that this weekend marks the 90th anniversary of Old Spanish Days, so the crowds were out in force. Along with the crowds were several stands spaced intermittently along the road with women selling dyed eggs. Hallie saw a guy crush one over the head of a lady, showering her with sparkles and color. Turns out the eggs were cascarones made as part of the celebration. All too soon, we had to return home, passing the brightly lit midway of the Ventura County fair along the route back. We even experienced a few fireworks! All in all, it was a fun, spontaneous, fantasy date full of surprises.

Saturday, August 2 – Mike had his last day of work for the summer, so Hallie and the kids were on their own. In the morning the three spent cleaning the kids' rooms, and they did a great job! They went to the Camarillo Police Open House, an event similar to the one we attended last week, where the kids saw law enforcement and public safety vehicles and officers up close. 

After picking Mike up, we returned home by way of Kohl’s. Hallie found a new Fit Bit, fun presents for Diamond's birthday and Mike found a great Halloween tie.
Black with a skull-and-crossbones pattern. It would work as a pirate-themed tie too! 

We took a walk around the block after dinner and were treated to a spectacular light show from Mother Nature. Mike saw the signs in the oncoming rain clouds and waited for the whole spectacle to unfold.

As Mike reveled in the sunset, Fergus got out and into a neighbor's yard. This is getting to be a problem that we're going to have to stem before animal control gets involved. The neighbor's observations on our ability to look after the cat or our kids didn't help matters.

Sunday, August 3 – We woke up to clammy conditions after rain had fallen overnight. Hallie felt really bothered by the humid air, and Landon noticed how everything felt sticky. Mike and Eliza didn’t seem as bothered. She even decided to wear a sweater, although she did say something about a funny smell (wet dog?). It’s funny because it’s not as if we haven’t experienced humidity. We did have air conditioning in Michigan, so we may have felt drier back there on days like this, ironically enough. California may be less humid overall, but we are learning that Camarillo has slightly different weather than we had been used to over on the east side of the grade. 

Fergus got loose, again. This is not good. After sitting the kids down to talk about the potential consequences for the kitty if he continues to get loose, we think that Landon may, for the morning at least, finally understand why we can't let the cat get out of the house, even for a minute. So it goes. 

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