Sunday, September 25, 2016

Pirates, Parent Volunteering, a New Cousin, and a Primary Program

Among other activities, we talked like pirates, hung out with the kids at school, welcomed cousin Finnley to the family, and watched cousin Cru sing and speak at his ward’s Primary program this week. Oh, and we dealt with SoCal’s version of Indian Summer (Santa Anas) to lead us into the fall.

On Monday, Hallie got word that the Krispy Kreme doughnut shop in Oxnard had opened just in time for Talk Like a Pirate Day. After an abbreviated FHE over dinner and a hasty costume change, we set sail for golden treasure! Turns out the news wasn’t exactly accurate, but apparently the employee who saw us walking up and her manager just couldn’t resist our little buccaneers, so we made off with our booty (a dozen Originals). Thanks!

Hallie had her first PTA training, and she went to the gym for the first time in a long time. We are sad not to be walking Roxy anymore, but the school gave Hallie more hours and there is just not enough time in the day to do it all. We will miss our dog friend and will need to go by to visit so we can say Hi!

On Tuesday, Mike started this year’s round of volunteering at the kids’ school. This year looks like it will be busy on Tuesday mornings with reading, centers, recess, and math in three different classrooms! Mike finds the idea of volunteering in the classroom analogous to grandparenting: He gets to have fun working with the kids and then send them back to their teachers for the heavy lifting. Eliza and Hallie both found it fun to have Mike on the playground during recess.  

The kids had gymnastics as usual, and so it was dinner on the road once again and we are so grateful to live in a place where we can find healthy choices and that the kids will eat those healthy choices. Scouts follows right after gymnastics on Tuesday so Hallie and Eliza dropped Landon off at Scouts and headed to sweetFrog for a froyo treat. While there we ran into our friends, the Browns, who didn’t recognize Hallie right off. The change has been dramatic to some, and it is fun to see their reactions.

Wednesday was pretty routine: Work for Mike and Hallie, school for Landon and Eliza. The evening ended with Landon having gymnastics and Hallie at her first PTA meeting as secretary, and boy, what a crazy adventure! Good thing Mike was there to make paper airplanes with the kids who came with their parents. They even had a contest outside to see whose could fly the farthest. Every day seems very busy but full of fun and excitement none the less.

Thursday started early. Mike usually finishes getting the kids ready in the morning while Hallie is crossing guard. This morning Mike had a meeting at 8:00 a.m., so the kids had to leave with Hallie at about 7:40 and hang out at the park while she did crossing guard duty. We are so thankful to have two cars now and that Hallie can work at the kids’ school.

Tonight was Eliza’s turn for gymnastics, and it is so fun to watch her progressing. She really looks up to the older girls. Hallie did her hair in buns for church on Sunday, and Eliza asked if Hallie could do it like that again for gymnastics because that is how the girls on the higher levels wear their hair, and Eliza thinks she will do better that way. Whatever she thinks will work, Hallie will try to accommodate! While at gymnastics, Coach Ray the head gymnastics coach approached Hallie asking her if Landon would be interested in moving up to Level 5. Hallie went to talk to Landon and came back with a resounding “YES!” to Coach Ray. As of Saturday, October 1, Landon will start training 14.5 hours a week.  

Hallie found a really fun leotard online recently and Eliza received it after helping clean up her room. Eliza wore the leotard on Friday, and a lot of people noticed. Eliza said on the way to gymnastics that she was embarrassed to have skulls on her bum. Eliza is really funny! 

The day was a lot like the rest of the week, but this time after gymnastics it was pizza and a movie while Mike taught at CLU. This week it was Eliza’s turn to pick the movie, and she chose to watch Snow White. It was fun to watch such a great movie, and the kids enjoyed it too. The highlight of the day was our new niece Finnley being born in the morning. Hallie had the opportunity to go to the hospital and even got to hold Finnley for nearly an hour before going back to gymnastics. Yay for new babies!

Saturday was a bit of a lazy day, especially while Mike was working. Hallie and Eliza cleaned a bit in Eliza’s room before the day got too hot. In the late afternoon Mike picked up Cru and Sawyer so they and our kids could come play. We played outside with water, and then we headed over to the park. We love being able to play with the cousins!

On Sunday, we went up to TO so we could watch Cru at his ward’s Primary sacrament meeting program. We then came back home for church in our ward. The heat made the idea of grilling outdoors much more attractive that cooking indoors, so we had some tasty marinated chicken.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

School Days and Birthdays

Maybe we need to invest in a new camera or (smart phone!) because here we are at the end of another week with few photos to show for our activity. What we do have are pictures of the kids’ school work and school-related activities.

Monday – Mike took the kids to school and Hallie headed off to walk Roxy. Mike trekked up to work and Hallie attended her first official PTA meeting. There are so many rules and regulations in this PTA that it can be a bit overwhelming.

It wasn’t really warm enough to go swimming, but the kids wanted to, so Hallie obliged the two until bickering ensued – then they headed home. On the way home Hallie remembered she was supposed to meet someone at the BMX track at 4:00 to sell Eliza’s bike. The kids still love BMX, but there is no time in the day to do that on top of gymnastics. Next time we go we can rent a bike for the kids. We ended up getting to the track in good time and made the transaction.

On the way to Back to School Night we grabbed some food and met Mike at the school. Hallie performed some PTA duties at the school and then headed to each of the kids’ classes. The year seems to be off to a good start, and we are excited the kids have the teachers that they have.

PTA Secretary drumming up support

Scared? Huh. Who'da thunk it? 

Poor sad Clifford! 

His is the one with the skateboarding ninjas.

Ninja with a Mohawk. Niiice! 

Tuesday – Hallie played crossing guard and yard duty, while Mike took the kids to school and then headed up to work and did not come home until after 9:00 p.m. After school the rest of the family headed to gymnastics and Cub Scouts before we called it a night.

Wednesday – Mom needed a minute to herself, and so she started off the day visiting her friend Angie for a manicure and pedicure by the beach. Living in Southern California has its perks. There was enough time after to run by Costco and fill up the car and the grocery cart. Shortly after, it was already time to pick up Eliza from school. Back to school we went after a fast 30 minutes to play crossing guard again two more times, and then we headed to gymnastics. Mike was not seen by the kids until nearly 8:00 p.m. with work and church meetings.

Thursday – The kids went to school, the adults went to work, Hallie set up a table to sell shirts for the PTA, and after work we headed to gymnastics. After gymnastics the family met at Panda Express for a school fundraising activity. The kids loved seeing teachers, adults, and friends that they know at a place outside of school.

Friday – This was a pretty typical day for the most part. However, today was the last day that we will be walking Roxy. Our family, especially Eliza, is sad about that, but the school wants Hallie for more hours and Eliza goes to school all of the times she could walk the dog. Hallie attributes a huge part of her weight loss to walking Roxy three times a week.

Both kids brought home Friday folders, but only Eliza had work to share. 

After school we headed to gymnastics and it is really a pleasure to hear and see how far the kids have come, especially Eliza in such a short time.

Mike met us at gymnastics and then the family headed to Tommy’s for dinner (protein for Hallie is our excuse to eat gut busting chili burgers) and then on to Grandpa and Grandma O’s for a belated birthday celebration for Grandpa. The kids sure do love hanging out there and playing with all of the fun gadgets.

On Saturday Hallie and Eliza started the morning early at a Sample Sale at Petunia Picklebottom in Ventura with a very pregnant Carly and Grandma M. Eliza loved shopping for things and insisted on carrying all the purchases. We all were busy in the afternoon with various activities. Landon went to a birthday party at Sky Zone Tampoline Park in Ventura. Hallie went shopping at Aphrodite’s on Ventura’s Main Street, and while she was getting fitted, Mike and Eliza went window shopping. Eliza had chosen a simple yet attractive outfit, and Mike noticed how many people looked at this beautiful girl walking down the sidewalk. Sharon at Aphrodite’s noted that Eliza has “a perfect heart-shaped face.”  

The night ended with pizza and a movie (Star Wars Episode 3) and early to bed for everyone due to an early day on Sunday.

Hallie and the kids went to ward choir practice while Mike attended ward council this morning. The weather was perfect for a casual walk home from the stake center. Even with the one-mile walk home, Hallie will not make her 10,000 steps for today. Hallie taught the kids in Primary today about Choosing the Right and dang, wouldn’t you know it? Someone chose the wrong in class!
Eliza self-portrait along with another from our friend John

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Full Throttle into Fall

This week was the first full week of our fall routine. We kept busy and had fun. 

Labor Day Monday we spent not laboring, and that is the way it should be. Hallie ran an errand to Oxnard, and Mike secretly mopped the floor her. That makes for a happy wife.

Tuesday is the crazy day of the week. Hallie starts at the school at 7:45 a.m., and Mike meets us at home at close to 10:00 p.m.  Everyone was definitely tired by the end of the long day, and sleep came well for everyone.

Wednesday Hallie’s visiting teacher came over in the morning, and she always enjoys it when she comes.  Later Hallie met her friend Shirley for lunch at Fire Island Grill.  Shirley had surgery with Hallie, and they enjoy getting together and chatting about life.  Both women have been very successful with their weight loss.

Hallie only does crossing guard in the afternoons on Wednesdays, and then it is off to gymnastics for the trio.

Thursday entailed, work, school, and gymnastics for everyone. The evening ended with Hallie attending an activity put on by the Relief Society.

Friday everyone did a lot of the same as Thursday, but Hallie walked Roxy for 30 minutes. Oh, no. Now that we think about Friday, Landon has a nice big bruise on his leg from the mushroom at gymnastics, and in the evening while he was at Victory Nite he did an amazing trick and kneed himself in the mouth. Victory called us to let us know what happened, and Hallie headed out to go get him. Landon put a brave face on, but the moment the two walked out the door he cried for his mom.  Mom knew a Slurpee would make everything all better, and it did. 

While Landon was at Victory Nite, the other three of us had a little date together at Pizza Rev followed by The Force Awakens at home. Our big girl has had a big week of her own in Kindergarten. Both kids have jumped right into their academics, and Eliza brought home evidence of the material she's reviewing from preschool. 

Saturday Mike was gone all day teaching and attending a potluck in the night for work. The kids and Hallie cleaned parts of the house to rid Landon’s room of fleas and dust mites. We’re not such big fans of wall to wall carpeting throughout the house.

Sunday Hallie was asked to drive a woman from the ward over to the church building in the meeting since both of them had an appointment with the bishop. We all attended church at 1:00 p.m. Eliza kept herself busy during sacrament meeting creating new art. 

After church Hallie enjoyed running into Bishop Sonnenberg (our old Bishop), who paid her some nice compliments with her recent weight loss and hair change. After their chat Hallie ran into two families from the Valley Vista Ward, and it was so fun seeing familiar faces.

Today is Grandpa Owens birthday, and we called to say Happy Birthday to him. We are making plans to go camping in their backyard again this next week. 

Sunday, September 04, 2016

First Week of School 2016

The first week of school went by in a flash! Everyone had something to do: Mike’s fall semester started, Hallie started work as a campus supervisor at Las Posas, and Landon and Eliza started their new grades. After a few days of school, we had to make sure our very last weekend of the summer had a fun surprise for everyone.

Monday, the last day before the school year started, Hallie had a few meetings for her new job as a part time campus supervisor at the kids’ school.

Mike headed up the hill for some work in the afternoon, we were able to Skype with Diamond as part of an early birthday celebration, and Family Home Evening ended our day with father’s blessings to start the new school year.

Diamond turned 26 Tuesday. Wow! Where has the time gone? We are so proud of her and where she is at in life. We sent her fun Hello Kitty car accessories for her new ride that she bought herself last week.

It was also the first day of school! We now have a 3rd grader and a Kindergartner. Both of the kids were quite excited to start the day. After dropping Landon off at his class, we headed to Eliza’s room for an orientation. When it was time for Mom and Dad to go, Eliza never looked back, and she was off having fun.

Dad had work to do and headed off shortly after we left the kids at school. Hallie picked Eliza up shortly before noon. The girls made cookies as a new tradition for the start of school. Recently, Hallie found out that Landon’s favorite cookie is oatmeal raisin. To appease everyone Hallie made oatmeal raisin chocolate chip. They turned out super well, and we will definitely use the recipe again.

At 1:30 p.m. we got a call from the office of the school asking if Eliza would like to take the last spot in the K/1 split at school. Hallie said yes, and (after a whopping three days) we feel it has been a great decision for Eliza. Hopefully, at the end of the year we feel the same.

There wasn’t a lot of time to relax after school as it was time to head up to gymnastics. Landon had asked if he could quit, and Hallie told him yes. Landon was singing a different tune after practice and wanted to stay in gymnastics afterwards.

Wednesday, it was school and work for Mike and the kids. Mike was kind to walk Roxy with Hallie. Since school has started it seems like this may be the adults’ new gig, and they are glad for an excuse to get in such a good walk three days a week.

Eliza loved her first full day with her new teacher Miss M.

After school we relaxed for a bit and then headed to gymnastics. Today was Eliza’s last day on recreational gymnastics. We have loved Coach Dee, and we are so glad that we get to keep seeing her around the gym.
The local paper did end up running a brief story on the fun-raiser at Victory and running a picture of the kiddos. 
Photo courtesy of JIM BASS/Bass Images

Hallie received a text asking if she was ready to start work the next day. She responded with a resounding yes.

Hallie reports to the school shortly before 7:45 a.m. three days a week. Crossing guard is a great job! Everyone is happy for the most part and is excited for the day that lays ahead of them. The highlight of her time working at the kids’ school is seeing her family arrive at school and watching the kids play during snack and recess. Everyone that Hallie works with at the school is really nice, and it is fun seeing the looks on the kids’ faces when they realize that she really is Landon’s mom. Nothing like losing 75lbs and changing your hair to throw off eight-year-olds.

Today there is a bit of a change in the routine. Eliza has watched Landon practice gymnastics for countless hours. The tables have turned, and now at least one day a week Landon gets to watch Eliza practice gymnastics. Hallie is excited to be able to focus on one child at practice and not two at least one day a week.

Friday, Hallie headed off to work, Mike brought the kids to school, Mike and Hallie walked the dog, Mike picked up Eliza from school, and then Hallie and the kids ended up at gymnastics. Exciting, we know.

Good thing Mike walked Roxy with Hallie. That dog is strong, and there was a couple of times that Hallie is pretty sure that she would not have been able to control the dog.

Tonight was pizza and a movie night, so we got Valentino’s and watched Harry and the Hendersons. The kids liked the movie, and the parents forgot how much swearing was in a PG movie from the ‘80s.  

On Saturday morning Mike and the kids started the day out with a building project at Home Depot. Landon saw a friend from school there, and both kids had a lot of fun making their dry erase boards. Hallie ran to Target to get a few things purchased, and magically we all met up at the end.

Eliza was invited to a tea party birthday party by her cute friend Elianna from gymnastics. The girls were darling in their fancy dresses drinking tea and eating sandwiches. Eliza said, “Today was the best day ever!”

Landon went and spent some time at Cru’s and had a lot of fun like usual. We are so glad that they live close to their cousins.

The rest of the day ended quite lazily which was nice after such a busy week.
Fergus is a fan of his new (if somewhat too small) cat tree.

We ended the week with a surprise road trip to Medieval Times. None of us have ever been there, and Hallie has always wanted to go, so we figured we’d strike while the mood had us in its grasp! We didn’t tell the kids where we were going, so they got a pleasant surprise to wind up their summer.