Sunday, January 25, 2015

Flying Through January

Almost one month into the year. Wow! We didn’t have many photo-worthy moments this week, but we did have a good time. Such a good time, in fact, that we also don’t have a lot to write about the last week. The kids had Monday off for Dr. King’s birthday. Mike’s new semester unofficially started with the spring faculty retreat on Tuesday. Both parents went up to school to help out on Wednesday. Mike helped his dad install a TV on Thursday. 

We do have some photos of Landon's written communication to us. He's very earnest. 

Hung on his door. Basically: Keep Out (unless you want to cuddle)!

Friday we had more of a celebration: 16 years ago Mike and Hallie got married. Happy Anniversary! Where has the time gone? Grandma M. came over to watch the kids while Mike and Hallie went out to dinner and made some short and long term plans for more fun times to come.

Earlier in the week, Hallie received an invitation for our family to attend an advance screening of the upcoming Minions movie. Unfortunately, Landon had a hard time following directions Saturday morning, so Mike and he cleaned up the garage while the girls went to the theater. Eliza turned out to be too young (target demographic was age six and older), so they didn’t see the film but got free passes to see Paddington. This film, however, proved to be too much for Eliza, so the girls ended up coming home early, and no one saw a movie today.

After he helped clean the garage, Landon earned the right to go over to the park on his own. He was pretty thrilled to have that privilege. We appreciate that the park is far enough away to be “scary” but close enough to be safe. After Eliza got home, she joined Landon. Dad followed along in secret just to see how our independent spirits fared on their own. They played nicely together even after Eliza caught Dad spying.

Later in the afternoon, our neighbor Samson came over, and the kids played outside. They thought fabricating a zip line would be fun. We tread a fine line between observing these crazies at their antics and intervening.

Attempting to make a zip line. At least they're wearing helmets/ 

After church on Sunday, Mom and Landon had a pajama and movie party while Dad and Eliza baked some bread. Thanks to Grandma and Grandpa O. for the bread maker and to Grandma B. for the flour enhancer. Each week we’re baking a new loaf and improving our techniques. We haven’t bought a loaf of bread since Christmas, and Landon seems to enjoy his sandwiches on Dad’s “special bread.”

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Fizzy Rockets and Lazy Blimps

The title pretty well describes what brought the week's excitement.

On Sunday after church and sundaes, Mom and Landon tried their luck at baking cookies Grandma M. had brought over the week before. 
They seemed to be a little low on flour, but they tasted good! 

On Monday, Eliza had an impromptu playdate with Max while Max’s mom took his little sister to the doctor. The two played very well together, independently as three-year-olds will do.

We kept Landon home from school on Tuesday to experiment with the idea of homeschooling. Mike tutors a child who is homeschooled, and his parents have had a mixed experience. We know other families who really enjoy homeschooling, so it remains a possibility in our minds. He passed the experiment, but we'll keep playing wait-and-see for the next little while. We may see about getting him into one of the local magnets. 

On Wednesday after picking up Eliza from school, we all went to the original Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop. The Camarillo location is the one that started it all. The store reminded us of the Halifax Freak Lunchbox with the exception that (in addition to candy galore) the store was stocked with Rocket Fizz sodas in a rainbow of varieties along with novelty pops from all over (including Detroit’s own Faygo). Hallie picked up some Cheerwine to go along with assorted candies of unusual and unique flavors.
Just a nondescript storefront on Ventura Boulevard

Salt water taffy in dozens of assorted flavors

Check out the sodas inspired by the likes of Wink Martindale, Mighty Mouse, Judge Wopner, and The Wizard of Oz! 

"I sentence you to drink my soda!"

And then there are the tin signs with the nostalgic/cheeky/sarcastic sayings, all suitable for kitchen or rec room.

And then, there's this.

And this. Who wouldn't want pincers for hands? 

With the nice weather, the kids and cat have spent a lot of their afternoon time outside,
something that has preserved our family’s collective sanity (a borderline proposition under the best of conditions). Of unusual note this week, we saw a MetLife blimp (Snoopy Two, evidently) float over the house. Living fairly near to the local airport, we do get some interesting flybys, but what made this one unique was how the blimp flew quite low and kept circling our neighborhood instead of just curving around and going down to the airport. Do people hire the blimp just to go on leisurely rides over their fellow neighbors’ homes? 

Landon helped Mike move a couple of different families on Saturday. Mike appreciated having a work buddy, and Landon appreciated getting donuts for his efforts.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Hit the Ground Running

The kids had school on Monday, but we kept Eliza home. Landon struggled to get up and moving. Of course, this time last year in Michigan, he had an extended vacation due to the Arctic Vortex.

Mike and his mom spent the day prior to their flight touring along the I-15 corridor between Provo and Salt Lake. After visiting Mike's old Alma Mater, BYU

There's a block letter Y there in the snow. Can you see it? 

we went to Dowdle Folk Art in Lindon,
This was our rental car, by the way. A Fiat 500L. Miserable little car ill-suited to winter driving. Made tight little turns though. 

Mike bought us a puzzle based on this painting of Comerica Park by Eric Dowdle. 

and then to Thanksgiving Point,  
An oasis of green in wintery realms.
before going to Temple Square and the City Creek Center. 

They got to the airport in plenty of time for a relaxed departure. Upon arriving in LA, however, delays multiplied. LAX is a madhouse. It took them longer just to get out of the airport than the entire length of their flight.

We broke out the puzzle and started to work on it for Family night.

We also enjoyed sun, clear skies, and temperatures in the low 80s on Tuesday and Wednesday. For people who grew up with this then moved away, such weather at the beginning of January was almost disturbing. Almost. We’re sending warm wishes out to our friends and family back east. Send some precipitation, will you? The kids spent lots of time outdoors this week both playing by themselves and with the neighbors.

While the warm weather continued through the rest of the week, it did cool some as we moved into the weekend (why are we writing about the weather, anyway? It’s only news in places that get actual weather).

On Thursday, Dr. Tracy Bennett gave a class at our church on keeping kids safe on the Internet. Her website has more information. 

On Friday, the girls took a trip over to the mall while Landon was in school.

It took us a while, but we finally got the Christmas decorations put away and the food storage distributed.  The car can go back into the garage. Woo hoo!

On Saturday, we got rain. Hopefully our friends back east will get the warmer weather we promised in exchange. After we cleaned the house in the morning, cousins Cru and Sawyer and their folks came over to play.

Rain continued into Sunday, making the air feel humid and adding a bit of dampness to our quiet reverie at home. We revived our sundaes on Sunday tradition, and Landon was thrilled.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Till We Meet Again

We ended the year taking in some of our favorite parts of LA (and reminding ourselves that we need to get out to La-La Land more often). We started the New Year on a more serious note with departures of short and longer duration. 

The best time of year to go around on LA’s freeways has to be during the week between Christmas and New Year’s when all the commuters are home on vacation. We encountered minimal traffic by Southland standards. On Monday, we went down to the California Science Center to tour the Space Shuttle Endeavour exhibit and play with all the hands-on displays.

It's hard to describe the scale of the ship.

Afterward, we went to the Coliseum,

and then to Philippe’s,

and finally to Olvera Street

¡Pero que chula estás!

On Tuesday, we went out to Westwood in LA to get our teeth cleaned where Mike’s sister Emily works. We then got them dirty all over again by getting ice cream sandwiches at Diddy Riese.
Sharing a game with another little girl who was also waiting

Kudos to Aunt Emily for getting Eliza to sit still like a big girl! 

The boys got haircuts, and then we went over to Grandpa M’s house to celebrate his birthday. Well, most of us. Eliza had a tantrum so she and Mike had to stay home. 

Diamond, Mike, and his mom flew up to Salt Lake on the same flight on New Year’s Day. After some delay, the flight landed late, and after some more delays, Diamond was on the road back to Rexburg, and Mike and his mom were on the road to Peoa.

On Friday, Hallie and the kids hung out at the house and started to put things back together after the holidays. During the day Hallie found out that a member from where she served her mission who now lives in Alberta was going to be passing right by our neck of the woods. The two families were able to meet up for lunch at In-N-Out, and the kids clicked and had a lot of fun hanging out for a bit. 

The early evening was spent with the kids playing with the neighbors riding bikes, scooters, and skateboards. Eliza had some quality time with Hillary making necklaces and being painted with pixie dust. Pizza and a movie night ended their day.

Aunt Karen was laid to rest in Marion on Saturday. Family members gave her a beautiful memorial, and we are grateful for all the well wishes and remembrances. We felt a real appreciation for the impact she has made on so many as a friend, work colleague, and member of the family. We’ll miss her!

Back home in Camarillo, Hallie reported that chores were done and cartoons were watched. A full-out pajama party was had by the three. Hillary came over in the late afternoon, and the girls painted nails while Landon played with Legos. After dinner, Grandpa Boulter read Eliza a book while Hallie and Landon started a craft project for his room. Landon was ready to paint, but when he found out what was happening he was a bit bummed and disinterested in the project. Hopefully tomorrow Hallie can get him interested in working on the project.

On Sunday, Mike and his mom visited friends from Utah. Many thanks to the extended Andrus family, and especially Irene and Riney and their brood, for so many kindnesses and accommodations extended to us!

Hallie and the kids went to church at our new time slot of 9:00 AM.

After getting to church, Eliza complained of a tummy ache. Hallie took her home, and then our little Energizer bunny got sick. Good thing Mom and Fergus were there to comfort her.

Good thing too that Grandma and Grandpa B. could take Landon over for a while and make Hallie a yummy dinner. We're very grateful and can't wait for everyone to be back home!