Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Heat is (Back) On!

With the official start of summer this week, it was hardly surprising that we experienced some heat. We spent the week finding creative ways to deal with it and gear up for the real heat to come. 

Monday brought HEAT! Lots of HEAT! Mike and Eliza walked Roxy early in the morning to avoid what was to be a miserably hot day. The kids and Hallie headed to gymnastics in the afternoon, where it was hotter (in Newbury Park and Thousand Oaks) than it was in Camarillo. (That is why we live in Camarillo.) Hallie made sure both kids had large water bottles full of ice, and Landon (with a three hour practice) had a frozen Powerade to make sure his electrolytes were kept up. Definitely with the heat there were less kids in gymnastics than usual. All of the coaches had squirt bottles to keep the kids feeling cooler. Both kids survived remarkably well and did not complain once. We love our troopers.

We made some LEGO-themed chocolate candy with the molds Grandpa got and the extra chocolate from last week's baby shower. Nom nom nom!

On Tuesday Hallie went to her first PTA meeting. This is Hallie’s first real adventure in PTA, and she will be serving as the secretary. The meeting was a bit long, but Hallie said they were able to get a lot accomplished, and she enjoyed working with the women she will now be serving alongside.

Wednesday morning Mike and the kids headed to walk Roxy and then to Toys R Us to do a little shopping on a gift card that Landon had. He got a great deal on a pretty big set! While the rest of the family was out, Hallie headed to the gym. There are a lot of members of our church that attend Fitness 19, and on this day Hallie met up with two ladies from our ward. Hallie enjoyed walking on the treadmill while chatting with friends – time went by a lot faster than usual. Afterwards, Hallie’s visiting teacher Dale Talley came over to visit. Dale was one of Mike’s ward missionaries in our old ward, and since then Hallie has had opportunities to get to know Dale better. Her companion is Candace Barton, and it will be so great to get to know her too. The weather was cooler today, but Landon forgot to bring in his Powerade and did not feel well after practice.

On Thursday Hallie spent time in the hair chair. Actually, most of the day. For the next 6 weeks or so she will be a blonde until her hair heals a bit and marvelous Kasea does the next bit of magic to Hallie’s head. 

The kids hung out with Hallie for part of the day while Mike spent a bit of time volunteering where we purchase our meat. If you volunteer they give credit on your next purchase. Thanks, Mike!!! We are now set up with 40 lbs of chicken breast. Hallie has to eat 75 grams of protein every day, so this will help a lot and this chicken will last us a long time. In the evening the kids and Hallie headed to Victory Gymnastics where they participated in Olympic Night. While at Victory the kids saw all kinds of Olympic memorabilia (including an Olympic torch from the Los Angeles Olympics), spent time with 1996 Men’s Gymnastic Olympic Silver Medalist (one of our coaches at Victory) Coach Jason, and enjoyed tons of free play and pizza.

Friday morning started early when Hallie hit the gym with her trainer at 7:30 in the morning. After she got home, Landon and Mom headed to gymnastics practice that started at 9:00. Dad and Eliza headed to walk Roxy at 9:00. After the dog walking Eliza headed to a little preschool class at Natalie Cox’s home. Eliza had so much fun and came home with a mouse cupcake and a wheel that shows feelings. Mike brought Eliza up for her gymnastics class at 12:30 on his way to CLU, and then Hallie and Landon went to find lunch. The gym has changed some of its apparatuses around, and now Hallie can see both kids from one location. Awesome!!! 

The afternoon brought a fun outing to the Taylor family’s home in Thousand Oaks. The kids saw two dogs, a miniature horse, and 10 chickens. Eliza even had the opportunity to gather some of the eggs. We are grateful to Scott for the time that he spent with the kids showing them around and answering Landon’s questions about the chickens. 

The trio stopped at Rite Aid for ice cream (of course the hot day called for ice cream!) that we took over to the Maygren/Hopkins house. We spent the late afternoon and early evening babysitting Cru and Sawyer so Aunt Carly could go to the doctor. Living close to family so we can help out is something we love to do. Hallie made little pizza cups as something different for Pizza and a Movie night. Landon picked out an oldie but goodie, Cars.

Mike taught most of Saturday, and the kids and Hallie hung out at the house getting some laundry and cleaning done.

Sunday brought church and a relaxing morning. We are grateful it is hot while we are at church and the weather starts to cool down by the time we get home. Eliza was a cut-up in class, plus she received a LaLaLoopsy dress from Granny Ruth! 
Any guess which kid is ours?

The kids this week are looking forward to sleeping in the backyard of Grandpa and Grandma Owens. Eliza is counting down the days. 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Summertime is Dad Time

Last year, Mike had two Father's Days: One in Japan, and the other in the Good Ol' USA! This year we kept things close to home.

ALDI opened in Simi, and we were there for the soft opening. In fact, Hallie, Eliza, and Grandma O. made it into a news story on the topic!

After our ALDI adventure, we went to Grandma and Grandpa O’s for a visit and playtime in the backyard on the tire swing Great Grandpa had made several years ago and Grandpa hung up a few weeks back. Eliza was absolutely thrilled to get flung around! It was like her own roller coaster.  

The kids were having so much fun at the grandparents that we forgot to walk Roxy! Thank heavens Mian is so understanding and let us come on the way home.

Landon’s first three-hour practice of the summer was tonight, and he was very tired afterwards. He fibbed a bit and said all three boys cried with having to do so much conditioning before and after (according to Coach Shane, none of them did. These kids are tough!). Hallie felt sorry for him, and most of the family ended up with In-N-Out and milkshakes. Nothing like that for Hallie.

On Tuesday, Landon and Eliza’s friends Ayden, Liberty, and Tyler came over to play. Their family is moving soon, we’re sad about that. We were glad to get some play time in before they head away. Hallie was able to sneak away for a bit to the gym to make sure she got in her physical activity. The gang headed to the pool for a bit and a lot of playing outside happened. What they say about play dates really is true. The kids are really not in your hair so much if they have friends to play with. A good day was had by all.

Hallie started the morning by meeting with her trainer Jessica. The 30 minutes they spend together goes by quickly, but she feels the burn for a few days after. Today was the official day Hallie could go back to the pool and take a bath. In the beginning six weeks seemed long, but looking back time sure does fly.

Eliza and Hallie walked Roxy at the normal time, and it is fun seeing Mian’s cute little Levi and her husband Chris before walks. A great friendship is forming, and we truly enjoy their family.

We headed early to gymnastics to deposit cans at the recycling center. Landon is almost all paid up for Boy Scout Day Camp, which happens in July. It is hot, sticky, and stinky when we do our job, but we are so grateful to all who have donated to Landon’s fund over the last several months.

Eliza ends gymnastics before Landon, so the girls headed to the Maygren/Hopkins home to spend a bit of quality time with the family. It is such a treat to be so near to our families. While hanging out Hallie forgot there was a gymnastics meeting until the girls ended up back at gymnastics a bit before Landon was finished. Thank heavens for good team parents who caught her up on the ins and outs of what she missed. Mike had a bit of work in the evening. Having two cars has been a blessing to us, but we don’t always see each other as much as we did over the past two years. Hallie has now been known to text Mike to find out where he is during the day.

On Thursday while Mike worked in TO and finally officially got the title for the Olds and got it registered, Carrie came over to get her nails done, and then her family and ours all went over to the pool. Hallie, Carrie, and Bruce left the pool with reminders of how much fun everyone had. We are grateful for the Taylors’ friendship. The boys’ dad, John, was so nice to Eliza throwing her numerous times into the pool. Eliza was delighted with the experience, asking to be thrown over and over again.

In the evening Hallie attended a Relief Society activity at the stake center with the theme of “Friendship and Chocolate,” not a bad combination unless you aren’t supposed to have chocolate. Mike was kind enough to make the treats Hallie was to take, chocolate-covered marshmallow pops. (In the meantime, Hallie went to the gym to decompress from the kids. Thanks Mike!) The evening was so much fun, and Hallie really enjoyed Speed Dating, Friendship-style. To fit in Hallie, brought a chocolate protein drink. It did the job. One of Hallie’s favorite things to do is laugh, and there were several sisters that helped Hallie laugh. Thanks, ladies!

Landon and Eliza have coinciding gymnastics times on Mondays and Wednesdays this month, but on Fridays Landon has gymnastics in the morning, and Eliza goes in the early afternoon. With two cars, we were able to spread the load. Eliza accompanied Mike in the morning for errands, Roxy-walking, and gymnastics, and Hallie took Landon to the gym and then on her errands. They even happened to cross paths at Victory. Not bad! It sure beats Eliza waiting around 3 ½ hours for her turn. Or going back home and driving back up the grade. Who knew having the two vehicles would actually make us more fuel efficient?

Summer heat has begun. Ugh. Mike’s car has no A/C (yet). Ugh! Mike is a trooper and hasn’t complained.  

On Saturday, Hallie helped put on a baby shower for Carrie at Laurie’s house, which has beautiful views of orange, lemon, and avocado groves (lucky!). Hallie enjoys seeing friends and spending time with them and it was a beautiful day! Carrie was spoiled by all of our friends! Thank you, Laurie and Judie, for all of your help!

Meanwhile, Mike looked after the kids while simultaneously participating in an international conference call for a course he is co-teaching this semester. Fancy!

We (well, mostly Landon and Mom) have been reading Anne of Green Gables together, and now that we’re finishing up that book, we checked out the first film of the 1980s mini-series from the library, which we watched over the weekend. Anne, Marilla, and Matthew are each amazing in their own special ways, and both the book and the film are winners in our opinion. We love how Landon recognizes he is a lot like Anne Shirley. We love that boy of ours.

Later in the afternoon on Saturday, we went to Grandma and Grandpa M.’s for slip-n-slide, hot dogs, and s’mores. The cousins had a marvelous time playing together, and Hallie got to see her favorite two-year-old, Sawyer. What will she do when #3 arrives?

Trying to get the kids to sit still for a picture is like herding monkeys. Grandpa and Grandma didn’t find it funny, but the parents did because this is what happens all the time when we take pictures. The best line was from Eliza: “I don’t know how to smile.”  
Only took two dozen pics from three different cameras. . . .

Mike gave a talk in sacrament meeting on Sunday about how fathers can teach in the Savior’s way. In a nutshell: A good example is the best sermon. If you mess up, forgive yourself and keep trying. We feel grateful for the wonderful fathers and father-figures we and our children have had in our lives!  

We ended the day with the missionaries coming for dinner. It was cooler outside than inside, so we ate outside. It was Hallie’s first truly homemade dinner since surgery, and it was nice to have all of us around the dinner table once again. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

One More School Year on the Record Books

Eliza finished preschool and Landon completed 2nd grade this week. Winding out the school year, both kids brought home a final set of art and schoolwork to share and put on display.

Both kids will have a busy summer at play and getting set up for success in the fall.

Hallie rocked her new sunglasses that she had bought for her birthday. She also rocked a new ‘do later in the week.

Landon’s departure from 2nd grade was pretty low-key. They had a party on Thursday (Hallie’s last, for a while at least, as room mom) and games on Friday. His friend Camerron will be moving over the summer, so the end of the school year is kind of bittersweet for him.

As for Eliza, she is moving on from preschool into the big leagues, and her teachers gave her and her classmates a little graduation ceremony and party to send them off. 

We appreciated having extended family able to attend her big day. Mike still (very vaguely, mostly thanks to photos) remembers finishing up at his preschool nearly four decades ago. Yeesh! Where does the time go? Hard to believe these big kids were once our little infant babes.

Carly and her kids came over on Friday so she and Hallie could get their nails done. Mike took all the kids on a walk with Roxy. They found some wonders of the insect world on their travels, including a beehive an unfortunate meter reader happened upon a few minutes before we walked by (Mike did not expect that to be one of the hazards of that kind of job) and a monarch butterfly.