Sunday, February 28, 2016

Looking Back and Building to the Future

Not a lot of travel or activity outside the usual this week. A major highlight of the week was hearing about the Driven in Detroit: Bridges to Self-Reliance video series on the Mormon Channel website. We were so excited to see how work we played a small part in has continued and flourished among the people we love in the Belle Isle Branch and other areas of metro Detroit. Got a little homesick there! We helped with an Eagle Project that will eventually result in a butterfly habitat. The boys went to a gymnastics meet so Landon could see what one of those looks like as he considers his own future. He was impressed. 

The week was spent with school, work, gymnastics, dog walking – the usual. Eliza got some photos in, the cutie: 
Some original artwork

Ready to get her hair straightened

Mama Bear from the fairy tale

They learned about clowns in school on Thursday. 

On Sunday afternoon the Relief Society sent out an email regarding Landon collecting cans for Cub Scout Day Camp. Later that evening Hallie received two phone calls with can pick-ups for the next day. Now Hallie and Landon need to find time to go and redeem all of the cans they have collected from our generous donors.

Tuesday Landon had a pack meeting where he earned a belt loop and they played relay races to do with fitness. Pack meetings are a little chaotic for Hallie, but with deep breaths the hour goes by. The snacks were warm brownies that Hallie bravely passed up, but smelling the baked goods in the hall almost made her relent.

Wednesday: same old, same old. That sounds absolutely no fun, to be honest. That evening Landon and Hallie took a walk so that Hallie could reach her 10,000 steps. The two of them enjoyed their time together as Hallie hit the 10,000 mark and even jogged four houses. Baby steps.

Hallie did well at her bariatric class; it was her biggest loss to date, and she has made some really good friends who help support each other in this process.

On Friday, Grandma M. walked Roxy with the girls, and this time Hallie remembered to bring Eliza’s scooter so she did not lag behind. Our walks are getting a bit slower when Eliza walks and wants to pick flowers, balance on walls, or do any of the 100 things 5-year-olds tend to do. One night a month we send the kids to Victory Night at gymnastics. The kids love it so much that they are mad when we pick them up, and the parents love it because we get sneak away for a much needed date. Here's a pic of the kids on boys' pre-team and team. 

On Saturday, we helped a Micah, Boy Scout in the ward with his Eagle Project, the first part of a monarch butterfly habitat at Mesa Union School in Somis. The kids’ first task was to clean up the trash from around the school site. Landon collected quite a lot of water bottles for our collection doing that. Thanks for the idea, Laurie! After a bit, Landon and Eliza were out with shovels and rakes and loved every minute of it. The rest of the day was spent at home and with Hallie running errands.

On Sunday morning, the boys went to Van Nuys to see a gymnastics tournament and to see whether this gymnastics thing is something Landon wants to continue pursuing. So far it’s a yes. 

Hallie and Eliza went to choir and then on to church with a ride assist from Rebecca and Bryan. Eliza loves going to their house and playing with Shiloh and Holly the dogs, and the dogs love Eliza. Eliza got a fruit roll as a treat in class, and her teacher took a little video of her trying to eat the whole thing at once. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

An Auction, a War Reenactment, and Outdoor Walks

Warm weather this week gave way briefly to rain midweek with a return to sun in time for the weekend, just in time for this week’s major outings: a Boy Scout spaghetti dinner and auction and a Civil War reenactment.

Our friends from church gave us a box of oranges from their trees in their yard. Gosh, are they good! The family has loved eating oranges this week. Hallie picked up some Meyer lemons from the home of another friend from church. Homemade lemonade on a hot day is always so good, and with Meyer lemons you don’t need as much sugar. We cut the sugar in the lemonade with Splenda so Hallie could partake with us.

Monday it was windy, and we recently came to the conclusion that Hallie is not a fan of the wind. So, Mike, Landon, and Eliza walked Roxy. Hallie figured out other ways to get her exercise in. Good for her! The kids had the day off of school due to President’s Day, and they spent most of the time hanging around the house. Landon still had gymnastics, which he was not too thrilled about. He didn’t understand why the team members did not have the day off and the recreation kids did have the day off. Hallie enjoyed her time at gymnastics watching Landon in a rather quiet gym and talking with the front desk staff, whom our family loves!

Our car hit 100,000 miles recently. The little beast needed a new water pump and an oil change to make sure it could keep running us all over Ventura County. The kids love it when we have a rental to tide us over, and the car we rented this time (a Toyota Avalon) was no different. Landon had Cub Scouts in the evening, where they did physical activity involving an obstacle course. When Hallie picks him up Landon never wants to come home and seems to be really enjoying his time with the other boys who are in his den.

In preparation for Hallie’s surgery the nurse that has been conducting the classes she has been attending every Thursday night ordered labs for everyone. The kids were quite intrigued when they heard and saw about all of the different kinds of labs and tests Hallie had to submit. Eliza was a big help when Hallie had to submit seven vials of blood, she was right there with a Hello Kitty band aid to stop the blood.

The rest of the week followed the regular routines. Eliza brought home new art.

Wednesday brought rain around lunch time which is a nice relief for our landscape. Mike and Eliza walked Roxy while Hallie spent some time at a new hairstylist. Since Hallie was getting her hair done that meant Mike got the opportunity to play chauffeur for the first half of the day. After getting her hair done, Hallie walked down to a cute store a few doors down. This will be a store she goes back to after surgery.

Right before Eliza’s birthday Shave It sent Hallie a coupon text, and it was just about to expire this week. So, after we picked up Landon from school we all headed over to Shave It for a little afternoon treat. Shave It offers a great sugar free option with no calories and no fat, which was right up our momma’s alley. Everyone enjoyed their different flavors, and we will definitely be back again. 

Mike taught online from home tonight which meant no babysitter for the kids while Hallie went to her class, and that made Hallie so happy.

Friday morning Hallie and Eliza walked Roxy, and the weather was amazing! After our walk Hallie and Grandma M. headed over to the Camarillo Outlets for a little window shopping, and then they picked up Landon from school. Landon could not understand why grandma would be at his school. The kids had gymnastics in the afternoon and then in the evening we had a spaghetti dinner and auction at church. The kids enjoyed getting a bit wild with friends.

The food was yummy, the company was amazing, and the auction was fun especially when we and the Beckstroms ended up in a bidding war over a BB-8 painted by Craig Mackay, who is our Scout Master and a visual development artist with Disney. We gave up the bidding war and ended up winning the painting Craig did of the San Diego Temple where we were sealed. 

Lots of fun items came up for bid, including fancy food, photography and art, and services. Mike donated two hours of tutoring.

On Saturday, the day began early as Mike had to spend some time at CLU doing his professorial duties. After he got home and changed we drove out to Simi to see the Civil War Days, an encampment and reenactment that took place at the Strathearn Historical Park.

We witnessed Abraham Lincoln give the Gettysburg Address, watched the surrender at Appomattox Court House, and enlisted to fight.

Eliza got a big splinter in the palm of her hand from her sidearm. Dad took her to get some first aid, and the brave girl scrunched her eyes tight shut, gritted her teeth, and let Dad remove it without too many complaints or any tears. By the end of the day she had gone through four Band-Aids, and we are hoping the Neosporin, Hello Kitty Band-Aid and medical tape that is on there now will last until morning. We ended our afternoon out with a stop at Fire Island Grill, a yummy local restaurant that Mike had never been to that was both yummy and healthy, and then we stopped by Costco for a few goods and to fill up the beast.

Eliza fell asleep on the way home, and Landon spent some time watching YouTube videos on how to make a Lego grappling hook. Ultimately, he just tried to make his own and seems to be happy with his outcome.

In the evening we watched a show on TV called Pirate’s Passage. This was a cartoon we found on Netflix that tempted us when we read the description about a young boy in Nova Scotia. It was a pretty good show and it always makes for good learning experiences when we watch the shows together as a family.

Eliza gave a talk in church on Sunday.

Later, we went for a walk down at the beach. Ventura in February: Paradise!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Pampering Our Princess

Eliza passed another milestone this week. She celebrated with plenty of pampering, as befitting the princess she is. In addition, she and Landon both had Valentine’s Day celebrations at school. Plus we spent time at the beach. Ah, California in February: There’s nothing like it!

Celebrations of Eliza’s birthday continued this week with gifts in the mail from Grandma and Grandpa D: A gymnastics warm-up suit and “Canadian car candy” (hard mints).

The kids had school off on Monday, and it was spent mostly around the house until the typical scheduled things started in. We walked the dog and went to gymnastics and university meetings. The best part was free yogurt at Yogurtland for dinner.

Eliza went to school on Tuesday dressed in her princess Merida gown and a tiara. At school she shared Queen Elsa Frozen cupcakes.

She received the Elsa’s Sparkling Ice Castle LEGO Set from Grandma and Grandpa O. Elsa is her new favorite Disney princess. Hallie is bummed because she loved that Eliza used to like Cinderella. Oh, well.

After school, she and Mom went to have a girls’ afternoon of pedicures. Eliza loved her afternoon out, and she has not even picked off the polish, which is what usually happens after Hallie paints her nails.

Her toes turned out so cute! The ladies who ran the shop were so kind and treated Eliza like a princess.

On Thursday, Eliza’s class had its school party, and she dressed the part.

Landon had his party on Friday. Hallie and the family were once again in charge of the class festivities. Folks from church helped Hallie collect 25 milk containers so the kids could decorate them and then collect their valentines in them after they were handed out. The kids did a great job and had a lot of fun.

For pizza and a movie night, we stopped by Pizza Man Dan’s, where we got the kids a heart shaped pizza, and then watched Return of the Jedi, a true sci-fi romance if there ever was one.

On Saturday, Mike tutored in the morning, and while there Hallie and the kids picked up caramel apples for their Valentine treats. In the afternoon Hallie went to Ventura to get her nails done. We all came along, and while Hallie was being pampered, the rest of us spent some time at the beach. While the weather could have been sunnier and warmer, the rough surf revealed a treasure trove of smooth polished stones.

In the early evening Hallie and Eliza spent time running errands in Oxnard. Eliza was a big help at Lane Bryant and Whole Foods.

On Sunday, we participated in the multi-regional conference broadcast at church. We appreciated the council we received from leaders about member missionary work, self-reliance, and sharing our values in a spirit of love.

After the conference, we went up to Grandma and Grandpa O.’s for lunch and Valentine/birthday visits. The kids sure do love playing with their cousins and going swinging in the backyard! Eliza was so tuckered out that she fell asleep soon after we got in the car for the ride home.