Sunday, July 26, 2015

Timely Scavengers and Disney Fans

This week’s activities were well timed. Part of that timing was happenstance, and part of it was planned. As a result, the kids have two new-to-us school desks, and we all have brand new Mickey Mouse ears.  

The week started off with regularly scheduled and improvised activities. While Landon and Mom were out, Eliza and Dad played Eliza’s unique version of jumping memory and made Play-Doh figures.

We experienced unusually high humidity, which made things somewhat unpleasant given that we have no A/C. Then again, why complain? Eliza kept cool and demonstrated her unique fashion sense.

She also found ways to look after her little family of toys.

She’s every thread the prima ballerina of our home.

Landon and Dad built battle bots, and Later Eliza joined the party with a helicopter/biplane/bus to observe the carnage from overhead.

She appreciates having the bar swing to practice her budding acrobatics.

Landon is now tall enough to have moved from door frame splits to hallway splits, complete with sword.

The out-of-the-ordinary happenings started Thursday morning. Eliza got up bright and early and so joined Dad on his morning walk around the neighborhood. This time he took her over to Valle Lindo Park near CAPE Charter School.

As they were heading back home, a garbage truck arrived at the school, pouring into its maw several school desks and chairs. Mike paused to take in the sight, thinking that it was a shame that the school had not been able to find new homes for all that equipment. Turns out, he and Eliza were themselves being observed by the facility manager. He called them over and asked if Eliza could use a school desk, as the school had been trying in vain to get the word out so the school could distribute them to the community. Apparently, sharing gently used classroom furniture can be quite difficult, and even scrap and recycling companies have guidelines and restrictions for what they can use. Who knew? Anyway, Landon and Eliza got two new-to-them desks chairs. Hooray for scavenging! If you’re local and interested, we know a guy.

The desks were an immediate hit and got put to use right away.

Mike had to work the night of Pioneer Day, so we missed out on the stake barbecue. We are grateful to those who forged the road for us to follow!

Sad to say, that road seems to lead straight to the mall. We made deliberate plans to get up early on Saturday morning to go to the grand opening of the Disney Store at The Oaks mall. We go there early enough that only a few people stood ahead of us in line. We do not think ourselves crazy fanatics or anything, although we do seem to like store openings (the LEGO Store opening at the Somerset Collection back in 2010 comes to mind).

Waiting is the hardest part.

I mean, seriously. Boooring! 

We weren't the only fans out early.

Getting the prize for waiting: . . .

. . . exclusive Mickey Ears! 

Landon answered an obscure trivia question and won another prize as we waited. 

Almost time. Celebrate! 

After we came home (we bought nothing. Can you believe it?!), the kids played out front. 
Yes, the girl is learning how to roller blade. 

Later in the evening they went to a kids’ night out California Cartwheel Center while the grown-ups went on a date, first out to Stonefire Grill and then later back to the mall.
That's one hot mama! 
Look what we found at the mall: Sanders chocolate sauce by the bottleful! 

On Sunday, Eliza showed how she is learning to write her name: One letter at a time!

Mike and Hallie co-taught the third-hour lesson at church based on Elder Hales’ April 2015 General Conference talk titled Preserving Agency, Protecting Religious Freedom. This highlight of the talk speaks to the importance of religious freedom to preserving moral agency:

What is religious freedom anyway? It's the freedom to believe, to share our faith and our beliefs with others, to form a religious organization (i.e., a church) to worship peacefully with others, and to freely exercise faith not just in the home and chapel but also in public places. It is a fundamental principle of free societies:

To protect religious freedom, he advised the following:
“First, we can become informed. Be aware of issues in your community that could have an impact on religious liberty.
“Second, in your individual capacity, join with others who share our commitment to religious freedom. Work side by side to protect religious freedom.
“Third, live your life to be a good example of what you believe—in word and deed.”

Several resources are available to help us become informed, join with others, and be a good example in word and deed, such as the Mormon Newsroom and the J. Reuben Clark Law Society Religious Freedom Committee Website.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Cow Appreciation and More Nostalgia

As we race through the summer, we're beginning to experience a return to some activities we did last year. Having settled into our home, we're also working on clearing out those things we haven't used since moving from Michigan. We're also finally using items we have held onto in the hope they would get some more love from the rising generation. 

Last week, Fergus brought a lizard into the house. As we were cleaning the family room, we found the lizard hiding behind the couch. Mike caught it and whisked safely outside.

Earlier in the day, the kids built a blanket fort as a place to do their studies.

We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows with our neighbor Samson for family home evening.  

On Tuesday morning, Hallie, Carrie, and the kids all went down to the pool. Hallie got a little too toasted.

Later on, we dressed up like cows to get free chicken meals at Chick-Fil-A for Cow Appreciation Day. Good stuff!

Over the July 4th weekend, we got a desk that we’re using for now as a work station for Mike. We made space for it in the master bedroom. Eventually we plan to refinish it for the kids to use (maybe, assuming Mike doesn’t just keep it for himself!). Landon got a new nightstand and lamp out of the deal. 
Note the neat LEGO robot: A Landon original

Hallie went to a Relief Society activity where she exchanged materials we weren’t using from our house for some gently used clothes for Eliza.

We booked Grandma and Grandpa D.’s flight for Landon’s baptism in November. Woo hoo!

The garden is bearing some fruit, but Mike's beginning to think the diapers-in-the soil idea wasn't so hot. Live and learn. 

Landon’s body has had a bit of a rough time this week. All part of growing up. First, he fell on his bike and scraped up his arm. Then he lost his tooth Friday as he was eating breakfast.

The kids continue following Mike down Nostalgia Lane. This week, they discovered some of Mike’s old books that have been sitting in the upstairs bookcase waiting to be appreciated anew: The Daily Blab and Questar: Illustrated Science Fiction Classics. No better time than the present to introduce the kids to the wonders of illustrator Ron Barrett and sci fi masters such as John W. Campbell (er, well, maybe some things should wait)!
Inspiration for the 1951 and 1982 films  

Mike taught Friday and Saturday, and he’ll be occupied teaching at least one Friday and/or Saturday for the coming few weeks. Work is a blessing, even if the schedule is a little less than ideal sometimes. It makes the weekday fun possible!

The kids have worked hard this week at learning how to clean their rooms, and we’ve received some help from a lady in our stake who has come over to do some tidying up.  

We got rain on Saturday, and you’d think we never saw rain before for how the kids responded.

Earlier in the week, Mike had been reminded of a traditional Paraguayan dish called reviro he learned about from a lady he baptized on his mission. With the rain as inspiration, he made it for the kids. He’s not sure whether he did it right, but he followed the directions he found online, and it looked right. The kids seemed to like it well enough.

The rain brought uncomfortable humidity to go with the summer heat on Sunday. Air conditioning was meant for days like today. Too bad all we have are fans to cool us down. We spent the afternoon hoping that the heavy feel in the air would give way to refreshing rain by evening. Blessed relief finally did arrive, bringing welcome showers and breezes to end the day.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Old Toys and a New Baby

The kids played with hand-me-down toys, and Mike’s sister Emily gave birth to our newest family member, Laura Grace. Time to celebrate!

Summer is humming along, and the kids are taking it all in with gusto.

Eliza received some dolls a while back from a sister in the ward who recently moved. She enjoyed playing mommy and nurturing all her little ones.

We also received some colorful origami paper. With help from one of Dad’s origami instruction books, we made some gifts for Mom.

Landon demonstrated his design skills with several original spacecraft models. We’ll have to see where his imaginations takes him in the future!

After wearing him down over several months, Mike finally relented and let the kids play with his stash of 1980s era Transformers. He’s been waiting for the kids to get old enough to play nicely and not break them right away.

Nice cap! 

Later, Eliza practiced her ballet dancing skills.

On Thursday, Hallie took the kids to an indoor play scape.

Then the missionaries came over for dinner.
Elders Toa and Bradley

Hallie took the kids to see Minions on Friday while Mike was up at work. Afterwards, we drove out to see Emily, who had gone into labor in the morning. By the time we got to the hospital, she had just given birth to baby Laura.

Welcome to the world, Laura Grace!

And here’s one more shot of the kids doing what they do on a Saturday afternoon. Enjoy!