Sunday, August 10, 2014

Home Improvements and Family Milestones

Mike's first semester at CLU ended this week, and grades are posted. Landon finished another round of swim class, and Eliza turned 3½. Diamond's crazy in-between semester time is at full throttle at work. Summer is zooming along generally, but we have received our first mail from Landon's new school, giving us the signal that the season will pass all too soon. Time to hop in the pool while the sun is still hot!  

Starting Monday, Landon had two swimming classes this week. Hallie and Eliza met Hallie’s mom and sister at the new Hobby Lobby in Oxnard, and it was fun seeing all of the cute décor. Not so fun was chasing Eliza around the store and telling her to stop touching all of the stuff. The dear girl’s senses were filled to overflowing.

In the late afternoon/early evening, we attended a church picnic for members of Mike’s parents’ ward. While at the picnic Hallie met a woman name Jacobi, who is a birthmom. They hit it off and had a great time chatting. Hallie also met up with an old friend that we knew in Provo when we lived in that neck of Utah. The kids ran and played until Landon said he was too tired to play anymore.

Eliza had to go potty, so she, Mike, Alie, and Grandpa went back up to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Eliza took advantage of the rope swing.

Daredevil. Not a care in the world! 
On Tuesday, Hallie went to the lunch bunch, and Mike took the kids to the swimming pool. Landon practiced his diving and Eliza practiced pushing off the side of the pool and trying to tread water. Hallie really enjoyed the restaurant where she ate lunch with some sisters in the ward. It is out at the Camarillo Airport, and it is called Waypoint Cafe. We are sure this won’t be the last trip there.

Hallie picked up our weekly allotment of produce from Underwood Farms, and we had the coolest fruit, a yellow watermelon. It tasted close to a red watermelon but your brain has a bit of a hard time understanding that it is a watermelon. The kids loved it, and Hallie froze half so they would not eat the whole thing in one sitting like they ate the whole red watermelon the week before. We also made fresh pico de gallo, garlicy sauteed red Swiss chard, and chiles rellenos this week with our haul.

Mike took the kids to the library for Family Storytime. This week's theme was overnight sleepovers. 

Mike hung up several framed photos around the house midway through the week between marathon grading sessions and submitting final grades for summer term. 

The kids are continuing to make fun Lego creations. Landon in particular has a strong sense of symmetry. Eliza loves making buildings and outdoor scenes, while Landon favors building ships. 

No instructions, no guidance, all Landon

This is what passes for summer school around here. 

Landon had his last swim class on Thursday, and he's ready to move on to the next level in one class but needs to repeat the other (both are the same level, so that's kind of funny). 

He had an hour off between his two swim classes, which turned out to be great for the kids. There is a really nice park right next to the aquatic center. Other parents from Landon’s class ended up going, so he had a great time meeting new kids.

On Friday, we went to the Ventura County Juvenile Court to witness our niece Alie get formally adopted by Mike’s parents. His parents’ neighbor and family friend Miriam joined us. Several other families were at court with their own adoptions. Afterwards, we had a late lunch at Marie Callender’s.

As we had a late lunch, we decided to forego pizza with our movie. This kids thought it would be fun to hang out around the house a bit. They seem to take the phrase “climbing the walls” literally.

On Saturday morning, we hit on an effective way to get the kids to do chores (for today at least): Bribery with educational TV. For each show they watched, they had to complete a task of our choosing. In this way, we got the front room clean, the dishes put away, and the back yard set back right. Of course, this solution won’t always work, and they showed why by going loopy in the afternoon once we turned off the TV for the day.

Of course, the only solution for such shenanigans was a trip to the pool, so off we went. Strangely, no one was there besides us for most of the time on a gorgeous sunny Saturday afternoon. Maybe they were all on a drive or at the beach? Anyway, more for us to enjoy! Both children are making great progress in learning their swimming skills. Landon is shaping up to be both a great swimmer and a helpful coach. And Eliza surprised us all by deciding she could dive and tread water all by herself. Having a big brother to show her the ropes has its advantages, in spite of the petty fights and splashes to the face.

We had pizza and ice cream sundaes in the evening to celebrate Eliza’s half-birthday.

Sunday morning started mostly quietly. We played some games while Hallie finished her Relief Society lesson and Landon practiced his Primary talk. We also got to Skype with Grandma and Grandpa Dorey. When can we schedule our next road trip?

Landon performed like a champ on his talk, and he even sang at the end of it. He's learning about being brave, about how being brave is not about not being afraid, but about facing the fear and acting anyway. Right after the talk he said he didn't want to do something like that ever again, but after we got home he seemed pretty happy about the experience.

Eliza decided she wanted to ride her balance bike to church instead of riding on Mike's bike. So the three of us bikers trekked to and from church, which means that little Eliza Jane put a good two miles on her wee legs. That she said, "My butt hurts," and fell asleep soon after we got home is no surprise. She wants to be a "big girl" so badly!   

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