Sunday, August 30, 2015

School Rules!

The kids returned to school on Wednesday. Eliza has the same teacher and goes mornings four days a week this year. Landon has a new teacher but many of the same friends in his class. He loves being back in school. Mike had his annual faculty retreat to start off his new academic year too. We hope for great things to come for everyone!   

We don’t have a lot of pictures, but here goes.

At last week's Brick Fest, we saw for sale some earrings, cuff links, hair bows, and bow ties made out of Lego. Mike figured he could do something similar with what we have at home, so he and the kids crafted their own bow ties. Eliza especially liked one Mike made.

We wore them at church (no pictures). Kinda fun to see the double takes, but we won't make a habit of bringing distractions of this sort to Sunday worship services. . . .

The kids made it to school with a commemorative photo this year.

Among other activities, Carrie came over to do papier-mâché, Hallie entered the kids in a contest to be featured on the Pediped shoes webpage (vote here and here. Contest closes 8/31/15), Hallie went to an essential oils presentation, we went swimming to beat the summer heat, and Hallie and a couple of other ladies sang at church.

Eliza's impression of Dad. As she drew, she kept coming up to him to make sure she had the eyes and eyebrows right. 

In spite of the heat, we had lovely evenings and a couple of beautiful sunsets!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Well, That Went By Too Quickly

Last year the kids enjoyed something of an extended summer with the move from Michigan—almost a full three months—making this year’s 10½ weeks feel short by comparison. Phineas and Ferb need to learn how to count. The kids wound out the last full week of summer with fewer away-from-home activities, but they kept up their characteristic intensity.

The kids started out the week on Monday with watercolor lessons in the back patio courtesy of our friend Carrie.

Samples of their work. This bottom one looks quite a bit like a dragon, ay?

On Tuesday, Hallie and the kids went to see Drew Daywalt, author of The Day the Crayons Quit, at Mrs. Figs’ Bookworm in Las Posas Plaza to celebrate the launch of his new book, The Day the Crayons Came Home.  

So cool to meet and greet with the actual person who wrote a book we so enjoy! We look forward to many more readings of his new book.

Completely different question unrelated to Drew's funny face: What's with the perfectly positioned Mickey Mouse ears on the lady on the left of the picture? And what kind of miniature black sheepdog does she appear to be carrying? ;)  

Mike spent much of the week cloistered up in the bedroom grading papers and preparing his second year review materials. Not a good time to be Mike. He’s rediscovered his trusty mate gourd and thermos, and he does get out for morning walks. On Thursday, he met up again with the elusive orange tabby that has been giving Fergus a bad name in the neighborhood. This time he got a picture.
Bad kitteh: Unaltered tom, outdoors, light-colored paws

(Mostly) Good kitteh: fixed, indoors, more uniformly tabby

On Thursday, Hallie babysat Cru and Sawyer, and she took all the kids to the splash pad at Rancho Tapo Community Park in Simi, where they met up with Granny O. and Ali.

After they all came back home, Sawyer got to spend some quality time with Fergus. 
Soft kitty. Sawyer doesn't quite know what to do with all the cuteness!

Later on, Hallie enjoyed a Relief Society activity at the home of one of the sisters in our ward who lives out in Somis. 
Views over the golf course

Mike posted his grades Thursday night, so we saw more of him on Friday in between other paper revising and going to and from other work-related activities. Cru and Sawyer came over again on Friday and had pizza and a movie with the gang.

It’s still light enough at night that the kids could go out riding for a bit. Eliza decided to show off a new skill she learned. She’s going to make us go prematurely gray.

Later, Hallie and Eliza went to Landon's school to see his new class assignment for the fall. He'll be in Mrs. Tran's class. We know that Eliza will be in Ms. Tammy's class again. We're looking forward to amazing learning this coming school year!

Grandpa O. had bought the boys tickets to the Brick Fest Live event in Pasadena on Saturday, so Mike and Landon took to the road bright and early. We had gone to a similar event officially sponsored by LEGO called LEGO KidsFest almost three years ago in Novi, Michigan. There were a lot more vendors at the California event and fewer MOCs and miniature cityscapes. Kind of disheartening, actually. Mike hopes that the move doesn’t represent a larger trend away from using Legos to build mind-blowingly detailed buildings and other creations.

A Lego VW bus transformer. C'mon, now! 

Animated old school MOC clown band

And these were the cheapest ones. Minifigs went up to $40 each. Each! 

Here's a trend for you: Sell pre-built parts of sets as separate components. 

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! OK, some MOCs for sale were pretty cool. 

Stormtroopers from the Southern California Garrison of the 501st Legion even made an appearance.

After the fun and some lunch, the boys stopped by Aunt Emily’s on the way home to wish her happy birthday and have a visit with Laura Grace, who is getting to be strong, chunky, and vocal!

Once home, we spent the rest of the afternoon hearing and occasionally seeing vintage airplanes from the Wings Over Camarillo air show fly overhead. 
Specks above the roof lines: It's astounding that they can sound so loud from so far away!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Out and About in the Summer Heat

In spite of the mini heat wave we had this week, the kids spent a fair amount of time out and about in the sun, mostly along the coast where we felt marginally cooler.

On Monday afternoon, both kids went to Freedom Park again. Eliza’s getting too big for her princess bike. The kids spent about three hours looping and leaping up, down, over, under, and through the course.

We spent Tuesday morning at Silver Strand Beach in Oxnard. The morning started off cool and overcast but quickly warmed up when the clouds burned off. We managed to get sunkissed without getting burned.

On our way home, we witnessed a fire south of the freeway near the Dallas Cowboys training camp.

Our friend Carrie and her boys came over on Wednesday to visit and play. Fergus made himself a pest, but we managed to keep him indoors. 
He has a hard life.

Hallie got her hair cut on Thursday. She wasn’t happy with the result.

We found a bike for Eliza at US Bike Co. It’s bigger than her princess bike but lighter. She took to it right away, and she was off to the races when Hallie took the kids to Freedom Park in the afternoon.
The new-to-her bike came complete with purple chain, grips, and tassels!

We forgot to teach her about the hand grip brakes. She went sailing into a chain link fence at the end of her first run (better that than the street!). Characteristically, she picked herself right up and declared, “I’m OK,” before continuing to ride non-stop for another couple of hours.

On Friday, Mike was gone from home all day for work. Mom and the kids went swimming with Grandma M. Even in the shade, the heat sapped a lot of our energy. Ugg.

Mike had his last class of the semester on Saturday. While he taught, Hallie and the kids escaped the heat by going up to Turtle Park in Santa Barbara. They fed the ducks and turtles oatmeal, which both types of animals gobbled right up.

Later on, the kids went to California Cartwheel Center for kids’ night out. The parents had themselves a nice dinner at California Pizza Kitchen. The hostess complemented Hallie on her hair, which boosted her spirits. Short hair is a bold look, and Hallie pulls it off well! 

This afternoon, Mike and the kids built dragons with our Legos.