Sunday, November 29, 2015

Season of Thanks!

We had an eventful start to our Thanksgiving week as Mike finished his conference and we went to the Tijuana Temple open house. Later we celebrated Thanksgiving with family, soaking up the warmth both figurative and literal.

Both children have the week off from school, so on Monday we ventured down to Tijuana to see the open house for the temple that was completed there recently. After getting turned around a little bit just past the border crossing, we found our way onto the right road (thank you, GPS!). All those we stopped to ask help from were more than helpful. The temple is a beautiful structure (here is an album with photos we didn't take), and we hope the members of the church living in the area will enjoy the new building. Hallie was touched by the fact that members of the church sat at our feet and put booties over our shoes. What a humbling experience!

We took advantage of our trip to rekindle our Kinder Surprise tradition. Judging by the Wikipedia page and news reports, we may have to resort to eating the eggs outside the US. Legitimate choking risk notwithstanding, with all the real threats at the border, you’d think that something like toys in chocolate would get a pass.  Mike and Hallie loved the mango smoothies they found at the Costco food court – much better than the berry smoothie they have here at our Costco.

With Mike’s conference done, we made it back to Camarillo on Tuesday, but not before making a few quick stops along the way. Landon was not keen on going to get gas, stopping by our friend’s house one last time, going to City Lights in San Diego, Deseret Book in La Jolla by the San Diego Temple, and then getting lunch. Both kids would have been happy to be glued to the DVD player the whole way home.

Goodyear Blimp off the freeway
Hallie's old house

The kids played for the rest of the week.
Nice photobomb, Girly-O.

Landon went to gymnastics on Wednesday, and it was just him and another boy. When there are two in class, so much one-on-one happens. It is great fun watching Landon’s progress and seeing how he loves going to gymnastics.

We celebrated Thanksgiving with trips to both sets of grandparents’ houses, visits with relatives, and yummy food.

On Friday, the kids started the morning building a gingerbread turkey we received as a festive gift from Sis. Barton in the ward. The kids definitely got into the spirit of the occasion, the little turkeys.

Later, after some Thanksgiving-themed videos, we bid farewell to the fall and welcomed winter with a change of décor. Hallie and her mom did venture to the mall in the morning, just for a bit. In the evening, we went over to Freedom Park for some track time.

Grandma and Grandpa M. stopped by later on their way to the outlets. 

Saturday brought more decorating and storytelling around the Christmas tree. One of our family traditions is to get commemorative ornaments from the places we have traveled, so we have added one or two ornaments each year. This year Grandpa and Grandma Dorey helped add a bit more of Nova Scotia by leaving us with a beautiful Amos Pewter ornament that we had to open early.

Hallie did some Christmas shopping today for the kids and scored some amazing deals. When Hallie scores a great deal she becomes so excited, and today’s finds were no exception. No more renting a bike at the track for Eliza. Shhhh!

Mom and Dad taught Eliza’s Sunbeam class today. The experience of being substitute teachers always makes us grateful for the kids’ full-time teachers. Many, many thanks! 
Sometimes the kids need to take a little walk . Sometimes that walk needs to be a "walk like an animal" walk. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

San Diego Bound

Mike presented at a conference this weekend, and as it was just down the road in San Diego, the rest of the fam came along for the trip.

It actually got (relatively) cold enough to justify turning on the fireplace. There’s a perverse irony in this considering that we did not have a fireplace in Michigan and probably would have happily used it all winter long. We may not have needed it if our heater worked. Once the landlords found out it didn’t work they replaced the thermostat and we now can take the chill of when needs be.

Landon attended his first pack meeting on Tuesday after Mom and the kids went to McTeacher Night, a fundraiser for his school. Eliza also wanted to participate in pack meeting, much to Landon’s annoyance. We’ll have to look into the Girl Scouts/Activity Days once she gets old enough.

On Wednesday during gymnastics, Hallie went over to drop off some things at Grandma M.’s, and the Eliza rolled around in the grass with their cousin. Eliza’s skin was a bit sensitive afterwards, and you could definitely see the difference on her skin where her shirt covered and where it did not.

Landon is mastering new skills on the bars. Coach Shane said Landon is close to getting his back handspring completed, and he let Hallie know some of the things he needs to work on.

Eliza showed off Thanksgiving-themed artwork. So much fun! 

We wish we had more to show from Landon’s 2nd grade endeavors. Maybe it will all come in a lump packet. He definitely enjoys whatever it is he is doing there.

Landon’s shoes have given up the ghost, but he was very sad to see them go – so much so, in fact, that tears were shed. Landon was willing to still wear his Vans with a giant hole across the toes.

Leading into Mike’s conference weekend, we went to Legoland California on Friday. With only a few thousand people attending, we were able to have our pick of activities. Hard to believe that the park has been around for over 16 years! The weather was an amazing 77 degrees (sorry Midwest)!

While the kids definitely enjoyed the roller coasters, they seemed to get the most out of the activities where they could climb and play and build.

They also really enjoyed walking through all the Miniland exhibits. Some were showing signs of prolonged exposure to that warm California sun, but they showed very many details and special touches that are hallmarks of LEGO creativity.

Another highlight of Legoland was the basement set from the LEGO Movie. The model citizen there had us play “I Spy” to find funny and amazing little details throughout the basement.

Mike had his presentation on Saturday, and while he was at the conference, Hallie and the kids went to the mall and watched Hotel Transylvania 2. There were not many folks in the theatre which was good, because Eliza was very antsy and kept walking around. Hallie also liked a theatre that showed a movie at 9:30 am. No treats were begged for! During the lunch break of Mike’s conference we all went to Coronado and enjoyed pizza at High Tide Bottle Shop & Kitchen.

The kids put together some sets they bought at the LEGO Store to round out their day.

On Sunday, we spent time exploring local history in the area, including visits to the San Diego Mission, the San Diego Temple, and the Mormon Battalion Historic Site. There we met up with the Turners, who have recently moved to the area from Camarillo. We had dinner at their fun new house, and the kids played in the back yard.