Sunday, January 29, 2017

Fun Run and Not-So-Fun Peeling

This week the kids continued with ApexFunRun and the changes in weather caused the paint to fail on the Momobile.

We traded rain for wind and wind for warmth this week. Early in the week, Mike actually saw snow on the Topatopa Mountains to the north.
Thanks to Tereska for the pic! 

Mike and Hallie celebrated our 18th anniversary on Monday with breakfast take out from Waypoint Café. Eliza stayed home with a fever, so it put a bit of a cramp in our day. The day finished off with Mike working and Landon having gymnastics; Eliza stayed home with Mom to rest.

Tuesday was a lot the same, which included Hallie working out at 3 Elements while Mike kept an eye on Eliza. Hallie has really enjoyed working out, but boy does functional fitness really do a number on your body! Hallie says she is sore for several days after. No pain, no gain!

Here's a random pic of the cutie pie with her fedora.

On Wednesday Hallie ventured to a doctor’s appointment in Woodland Hills with a new bariatric doctor. The appointment was very successful by way of the doctor telling Hallie she can now start maintain weight if she would like and commented she has been quite successful. How exciting to hear after one year of hard worked Hallie has accomplished her goal! Hallie is three pounds shy of the 100-pound mark and hopes to get to that point in the next few months. Gymnastics ended our day.

The kids had their fundraising run with Apex on Thursday. Both kids made it around the 1/16 mile track more than 36 times (over two miles!), so they slept very well that night! 

Hallie even ran 19 laps while running with all of the grades; she had a lot of fun and got 14,000 steps by the end of the day, so no working out at 3 Elements tonight. Landon worked out at gymnastics for a bit less time than usual because he ripped open a blister under a callous in his palm that would not stop bleeding. Good thing Mike and Eliza were already on their way to go and get him. Hallie made a taco soup for dinner based on a recipe from Aunt Carly. Everyone loved the soup including the family we shared it with the next day.  

The wind picked up on Friday, so the day started off chilly. The kids had both a lockdown and a fire drill in the morning during the time Mike volunteered in Eliza’s class. Kind of surreal to be there with the kids contemplating the kinds of situations that would lead to a lockdown. The afternoon was relaxing with nothing to do, and in the evening Eliza went and hung out at Victory Nite while Mike worked with some doctoral students and Mom and Landon watched TV at home.  

Saturday was a bit busier than most. Mike took the kids to gymnastics, and Hallie headed to Ventura to hear Kathy Headlee Miner from Mother’s Without Borders speak. Timely considering the current refugee controversy.

Meanwhile, Mike came back home to give the Momobile a little TLC. The combination of elements has finally caused the car’s 21-year-old paint job to fail. It started with paint bubbling once the rain started in late December and early January. Monday night Mike noticed that paint flakes actually had started coming off the roof, and by Friday the wind had sheets of paint off in chunks that flew right off the car. Now paint is coming off in multiple places, and getting a paint job would cost close to what we paid for the car, so he opted to do essentially enough to keep the roof from rusting: white primer and a clear coat. Of course it doesn’t match, and yes, it looks terrible. But it has low miles, the interior is in good shape, and the tape deck works (even if the radio antenna won’t lower). Poor little hooptie ride! L

(No pictures have been/will be taken of the fix-it job. It's just too sad.)

Everyone joined back together around 1:30, just for Mike to leave again for a bit more work. Hallie is having a Lularoe party at the house this coming Friday, so we started sprucing up the place a bit so we can have a fun time.

We started 9:00 a.m. church this year, and it is hard to get us all going on Sunday mornings. We made it in time for church, and it was a nice service. Hallie had planned a movie for her kids about Joseph Smith and the Restoration which ended up being perfect because at the last minute three young women showed up to teach Hallie’s lesson so Hallie and the other adults could all meet together for the third hour. Mike was happy that he got to sit with Hallie for once. Wah hoo for movies and fifth Sunday meetings!!!!

After church Hallie and Eliza went to choir and the boys went on a drive through the hills and along the 118 in Somis. Now that the Santa Anas have run their course, we've settled into a warm spell. Today hit 75 degrees! We as a family have been watching a fun show called Just Add Magic, and we spent some time watching a few episodes together in the evening.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Bubble Gum and Mr. Handstand

Eliza brought home a new furry friend from her classmate’s birthday party, and Landon had his first real gymnastics meet. Thanks to Google Photos Assistant, we discovered that exactly 6 years ago to the day Landon had his introduction to gymnastics. Fun stuff!

Eliza’s friend from school Ellie celebrated her sixth birthday at Build-a-Bear Workshop, and Ellie and Eliza each got a new companion to take home. Eliza’s new friend, a horse currently named Bubble Gum (subject to change), comes complete with a hat, saddle, bridle, and blanket along with a lavender scent sachet and the Star Wars theme song that plays whenever its hoof is pressed. Thanks Marina, Mark, and Ellie for the generous gift and fun time!

Fundraisers from ApexFunRun came to school this week and taught the students about leadership while getting them motivated to be active and help raise funds for Las Posas School. This is a two-week-long school fundraiser, and we are doing really well as a school. Mom even danced a bit at the kick off.

We received an unusually high amount of rain throughout the week, resulting in some flooding at school and slick road conditions. Almost feels like a Michigan spring! We even turned on the gas fireplace to cut through the chill on Sunday. Hallie is happy to have her new bright blue rain boots to keep her feet dry.

Landon had some jitters the night before his gymnastics tournament, but after a blessing and a good night’s sleep, he was all set the following morning to get out there and have fun! He did very well at his tournament. In our region, Level 4 gymnasts are awarded by colors that match a score range, with green ribbons awarded for the highest achievement. Landon earned green ribbons in five of his six events with an orange ribbon for the mushroom (pommel). We found out today that the mushroom is his favorite event, and so he was a bit bummed with a lower score, but hey, practice makes perfect. Landon also won Mr. Handstand for his level and age range. He will defend his title in April at the State Meet in Carlsbad. Unfortunately we have no video of Mr. Handstand because at home Landon doesn’t normally hold the handstand for long so we were all quite surprised by his win. Go, bud!!! Many thanks to grandparents, cousins, and Aunt Carly for coming out to offer their support!

Not a whole lot else to report, so enjoy the photos!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

First 2017 Road Trip Part 2

We spent most of the week in Utah enjoying mostly mild winter weather and warm welcomes from friends and family. We were dumb and forgot to take pictures of most of them!

On Monday, we spent time at the BYU Store in Provo. Mike said he doesn’t think he had ever spent that much time in the store. Just in case he has forgotten over the last nearly 18 years, his wife likes to shop. In the basement, we ran across this amazing Salt Lake Temple built of LEGO built by David Jungheim of Inspired Bricks

Almost 35,000 bricks and close to 9 years' work. Wow. 

Hallie is in search of a BYU sweatshirt that is smaller than her current one, and she didn’t find one at BYU, so we had to run in to Costco. No sweatshirt there either. L We then went to Orem and visited with our friend Jordan, another former Belle Isle missionary. It’s great seeing these guys growing up and having lives after their missions! We forgot to get a picture! In the evening we took some time to see how gymnastics is done at AirTime Training Center in Springville before having dinner with Hallie’s cousin Brett and his family in Lehi. Landon quite enjoyed AirTime, and Mom and Dad enjoyed meeting Wanda Fredericks who is the Boys Team Director. Wanda did not know we were coming and spent a bit of time with us talking about the program she runs.

Tuesday Hallie and the kids spent time poolside at the hotel while Mike worked. Later they got lunch, and then in the evening the kids got some time away from Mom and Dad at the Wilkinson Student Center with our friend Katelyn from Belle Isle Branch while the parents dined at La Jolla Groves in the Shops at Riverwoods. The salmon that the parents had was super yummy, and the service was just right! The kids had a great time with Katelyn, and the night was topped off with yummy ice cream in the Wilk from the Creamery. No photo of Katelyn though. . . . 

On Wednesday Hallie and the kids drove to look at the area, and it rained the whole time! So much for the snow that we were expecting to have in Utah. Ugh! Meanwhile, Mike did some more work. Later in the afternoon, they all went up to Salt Lake City and visited with our friend Elizabeth and her kids at Temple Square. Hallie hadn’t seen Elizabeth in 12 years, and it was so nice to catch up and watch the kids play and learn in the North Visitors Center. We got so caught up that we forgot to take a commemorative photo! 

Then we drove up to Bountiful and had dinner with Christy Young and her family. Christy was Hallie’s very first mission companion outside of the MTC. It is hard to imagine that 20 years have gone by since these two were sharing the gospel out in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia! The kids had a magical time together, and as we were leaving Landon asked if we could come back again tomorrow. One day we will come back again. This time we remembered to get at least a few pics. 

We then met up with our friend Christine at The Dodo in Sugar House and had the restaurant’s famous toll house pie. Sorry to have missed Brian and the three boys. For the lateness of the evening our kids rocked the good behavior. Small favors. Christine is a true inspiration to Hallie, and we love being taught by her. Apparently we don't love taking photos of her though. 

All too soon our time in Provo was over, and on Thursday we hit the road for home, just in time for the snow to start back up. Huh. Fortunately, a few hours down the road, the snow cleared up and the precipitation turned to rain. On Wednesday, Eliza's birth mom, Zoraida, had contacted us on Facebook. Eliza made her a cute picture.

We stayed overnight in St. George. Hallie and Landon had the chance to visit her relative Glenda. Hallie loves Glenda, and Glenda has always been so supportive of Hallie. Landon again was very well behaved and we are so grateful!!! We had dinner and dessert from Culver’s (which was a favorite in Michigan), and brings joy to see it in Utah.

We spent most of Friday on the road to California. We caught up to the rain outside of Las Vegas, and it continued with us off and on through to the Antelope Valley. We were glad to be home after a long seven hours, and the kids couldn’t wait to get on their scooters or skateboards. Thank you to Carrie and family for taking care of our Fergus while we were gone.

Saturday marked a return to our normal routines, at least in the morning when the kids went to gymnastics. Because there was a meet in Las Vegas this weekend, practice was cut short. Mike and Landon went up to Mike’s office at CLU to work (Landon has quite a bit of homework to make up), and Hallie and Eliza went to CLU to participate in the Girl Scouts’ Cookie University.

We dropped the kids off at Chuck E. Cheese’s so they could celebrate their friend Anthony’s brother Braden’s birthday. The grown-ups went on a date to Costco (woo hoo!), where we bought a wagon to haul of those Girl Scout Cookies Eliza is going to be selling. Contact us starting February 4 if you want some. The kids had so much fun at the birthday party, and we are grateful for the Custers and their invitation. Marilyn is so good to keep Eliza on a lot of days so Hallie can run home and grab lunch before she has to do crossing guard, and Braden and Eliza have become fast friends.

We topped the evening off with pizza and a movie, which we switched to Saturday this week. The kids watched Norm of the North while the parents Skyped with Diamond and her boyfriend Caleb. We love being able to catch up with her and to see her beautiful smile on the screen. Cute couple!

Today was our first real Sunday since the start of the new year. Mike had Ward Council at 7:00 a.m., Hallie had choir at 8:30 a.m., and the whole time in between Hallie spent trying to convince Landon to get dressed, eat breakfast, and get ready for church. The morning was a bit chaotic. Church went well, and Hallie met two kids in her Primary class she had not met two weeks ago. The six, six year olds have a lot of energy.

Hallie had choir again after church but missed it due to a phone call from Diamond right as she was walking out the door. Diamond beats out singing hands down, and that says a lot because Hallie sure loves to sing!

In the late afternoon we went to Grandpa and Grandma O.’s house where the kids played with Alie and had a lot of fun. We are happy to be able to go and spend time with them when we can. Alie loves having the kids over and the kids love being able to play with Alie. 

Sunday, January 08, 2017

First Road Trip of the Year

The kids went back to school this week, then we took them on a road trip that effectively means they’ll be out of school next week. Life’s tough! Hitting the road marks a welcome return to an activity we enjoyed a lot more frequently in Michigan but haven't done as much while living in California. 

Eliza brought home some fun art she made before break.

Landon went back to Cub Scouts, now on Wednesdays. They’re learning about critter care.

Before that, while Eliza was at gymnastics, we had leftover heavy cream going to waste, so Mike and Landon made ice cream in a bag – you know, for science.

"Don't even THINK about touching my ice cream!"

All too soon, it was Friday and time for our road trip. We have come up to Utah for a few days. Leaving late Friday afternoon, we made it to St. George by midnight.

Saturday morning we went to the Home Depot to make tool boxes. The kids geeked out over the ice covering the ground.
Eliza turned hers into a bed for her Siamese cat.

From there we drove up to Salt Lake and attended the University of Utah Women’s Gymnastics home opener vs. the U. of Michigan. As the kids saw more and more snow and ice, they got more and more excited. By the time we got to the Huntsman Center, light snow had begun to fall. Hmm. 

Prior to the event itself, we went to the Kids Zone to get our Ute look on. 

Bobber the Clown added to the fun by making kids Thing-a-ma-Bobbers,
a roller coaster for a little rubber ball made out of a clear balloon
twisted around a colored balloon twist. 

We had a blast watching the Red Rocks beat the Wolverines in a pretty close matchup between two highly ranked programs. The Utes’ team included an alternate for the 2016 Rio Olympics US Women’s Team, MyKayla Skinner. While Landon, who was getting pretty tired and crabby from time on the road, didn’t seem as into the event, Eliza seemed to enjoy herself.
As he gets older, he may learn to appreciate watching the gymnasts in action. . . .

We drove back down to Provo through a smattering of snow, where we stayed for the night at a local hotel.

Mike woke up Sunday morning with a migraine. He wasn’t surprised what with the change of altitude and other known triggering factors, but still. Ugh. Fortunately, Hallie went to the rescue, and with a bath and some Excedrin, he was back in good form in time for us all to go driving around looking at how much the area has changed on our way to meeting up with our former Belle Isle missionary and cross country travel companion Loretta Beaty at Scheels, a newer sporting goods store in Sandy, where the kids were able to blow off some steam.

A 65 foot tall Ferris wheel and a 16,000 gallon tropical fish
tank along with several taxidermied animals adorn the store.

Not too sure about this Ferris Wheel thing

The kids are crack shots! Landon in particular had great aim. 

As we left the store, we were treated to southern skies full of peach and rose colors. Quite the change from yesterday’s inversion!