Sunday, April 03, 2016

Nature in Motion

The kids had spring break this week. They spent a lot of it outdoors enjoying nature and the amazing spring weather. Anything to keep them (and their parents) from bouncing off the walls! 

We received a new game from Grandma and Grandpa O. called Kerplunk. Dad enjoyed getting Landon’s goat as the marbles came closer, and Closer, and CLOSER to tumbling down. The two boys thought it was most funny that Mom lost every game.

On Tuesday morning, Hallie met up with Carrie Taylor and her kids at Community Center Park. Our kids had never played there before, and they had so much fun! They even convinced Mom to do some exercising with them. The kids and Hallie then drove to T.O. to pick up Mike from work, and then we headed over to Simi Valley to eat at Fire Island Grill. Hallie LOVES it and doesn't mind telling everyone about it. Hallie's friend Shirley met us there and was introduced to the rest of the clan. The kids were super well behaved, and that makes Mom and Dad happy.

After lunch, we took a hike up Mt. McCoy. Unfortunately (depending on your perspective), we took the hard way up. Hiking up the side of a mountain after a meal, even with mild temperatures, is not easy, but Landon offered Mom lots of moral support as we trudged up the trail. Mom tells everyone she thought she was going to die, and Eliza has a great scab from a scratch on her leg to prove she made it to the top. Landon volunteered to pray for Mom, and she said no, it was okay, but when they pulled over in the picture below, he chose to pray for her anyway. What a sweet blessing Landon is to our family.

Mike and Eliza made it to the summit, witnessing a grand panorama and getting battered around some by gusty winds that threatened to bring stormy weather. What a view!

We all found the easy way down, and the kids got a kick out of finding the “short cuts” (cross-throughs) between the switchbacks.

Once we finished the hike, we went over to Grandma and Grandpa O.’s to celebrate Grandma’s birthday and check out the new play area in the back yard with Cousins Ali and Haydn.

Hallie picked up her parents from the airport late Wednesday night. They’d been up in Washington visiting Uncle Riley, Aunt Breanne, and Cousin Porter. Mom got a Cafe Rio salad for her efforts. Yum!

The following morning, we looked after Alexis (a friend from church), and along with Cousin Cru went to Kids World in Oak Park, an indoor play area a lot like our old favorite, Jungle Java in Michigan.

On Friday, April Fool’s Day, Mike convinced Landon that children’s TV programs had been removed from our Roku. That worked until after we came home from his doctor’s appointment. Later in the day, Landon discovered the joys of riding on a motorized scooter. He said he knows what he wants for his birthday. Maybe, many years hence.

Mike had one of his all-day classes to teach on Saturday, so Hallie took the kids to Kasea’s to get her hair done. The kids behaved themselves very well, and Kasea’s daughter was a real trooper to put up with Eliza’s grooming efforts.

After picking up Mike from work, we got home in time for Mike and Landon to attend the Priesthood Session of General Conference. Landon has been Mike’s Priesthood Session buddy off and on since he was a wee infant. Mike sure enjoys having Landon come with. Landon enjoyed getting some sweet treats from Trader Joe’s along with a little tablet time.

In the meantime, the girls went over to Freedom Park so Eliza could go for a long-overdue ride. We could make riding her thing and gymnastics Landon’s at this point.

After the boys walked home and met up with the girls, the kids got sent to bed. To bed with you both!

We spent Sunday morning watching General Conference. Between the morning and afternoon sessions, we went to Santa Rosa Valley Park and hiked with Aunt Carly and Cousins Cru and Sawyer along the Hill Canyon Trail. Quite the pleasant way to spend a couple of midday hours. What a blessing to have natural areas like these just a few minutes from home! Of course, it isn't all paradise. Now that the weather is warming up, we were warned to be on the lookout for rattlesnakes. 

Happy trails to you! 

Then it was back home and back to conference. Afterwards, it was time to get ready to get back into the regular routines of school. While we’ve enjoyed this bit of a stay-cation, we look forward to having the kiddos back on a normal schedule. Even with all the time out and about, a body can get to feeling a bit antsy for quiet time.  

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