Sunday, February 26, 2017

Making International Flying Gymnastic Empanadas

Couldn't come up with a clever title to bring this week together, so you get a hodge-podge for a title. Enjoy!

We had Monday off from school for Presidents Day. The kids still had gymnastics in the afternoon. Hallie for a while was the only parent in attendance, and she cheered on all the gymnasts and loved every minute of it. Landon eats up any “day off” he can have where he doesn’t have to go somewhere right away in the morning. Monday was his favorite day of the week.

Tuesday was our Monday. In the morning Hallie did a whole lot of PTA items before she started yard duty. Most of her job was moving lunch tables from one building to another. Yeah for exercising! After helping out some at school, Mike took a long lunch and watched the LEGO Batman movie.

We had a busy Wednesday. Eliza had gymnastics in the late afternoon and Mike had some work to do and he let Landon tag along. The Cubs had their Blue and Gold Dinner, and Las Posas had its Makers Faire on the same night. Hallie baked a German Chocolate Cake and made corned beef as our contribution to the Blue and Gold Dinner’s international theme. In addition, the Bear Scouts were responsible for post-dinner games. Mike and Landon had the kids who came to our booth make paper airplanes to fly at hula hoop targets.

While the boys did their target practice, the girls went to the Maker Faire and then on to Yogurtland to support the school in a fundraiser. Several of our friends were there, and Eliza had a blast running around with all of her friends.

After school on Thursday, Mike took Eliza to the eye doctor to see if her complaints about needing to sit near the TV were valid. She does have a little astigmatism, enough to warrant occasional-wear glasses. Hallie is all set to give Eliza a fashion forward look! Everyone met up together at Landon’s gymnastics practice after the eye appointment.

Mike helped out at the kids’ classes on Friday morning before heading for work. He taught class tonight, and he enjoys his students’ enthusiasm for program evaluation, which can be a dry topic. While Mike was working Hallie and the kids headed to a Lularoe party at our friend Debbie’s house. Hallie bought a smashing dress and promises to show you all a picture soon. The kids loved all of the treats Debbie had out and can’t wait to come back to wash Debbie’s cute dog.

Saturday was quite busy for us all (well, maybe not so much for Mike). Hallie took both kids to gymnastics in the morning, and then after coming home, she took Eliza to Vons to sell Girl Scout cookies. Meanwhile, Mike took Landon to a birthday party for a school friend. After the girls finished their work, they picked up Landon, and then we drove back out to Newbury Park for a meal at MOD Pizza with cousins, Aunt Carly, and Grands. We ended the evening with a birthday party for our friend John at Jen and Craig’s house with grown up and kid friends and fudgy brownies, ice cream, and lively discussions about topics ranging from the LEGO Batman Movie to animation to Stranger Things to the BYU Honor Code. Good times!

Landon had a gymnastics tournament in Van Nuys Sunday morning, so he and Hallie headed out early, and then Mike and Eliza caught up later. He did quite well for himself, improving on his performance on the mushroom apparatus. Hallie and Landon listen to what they call “Pumping Up” music on their way to get Landon in the right mindset. We saw Eliza’s coach and her family who has a son on the team and our friends who switched gyms. These boys are amazing at what they do, and we are so impressed with their hard work and dedication. Eliza spent time filming Landon and his teammates. In the fall we hope Landon will return the favor to Eliza and will start filming her when her season starts.

After the tournament, we made a quick stop at Mercado Buenos Aires for milanesa, choripan and Cuban sandwiches along with empanadas for later. Mike restrained himself from buying alfajores and yerba mate, as he has found he can get what he wants for a decent price elsewhere. Wow! Everything we have tried so far was very yummy!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sweets for Our Sweethearts

A day off from school, class parties for Valentine’s Day, and separate parent-child dates count among the sweet treats we enjoyed this week.

The kids had Monday off to celebrate Lincoln’s Birthday. Mike had some CLU meetings, and the kids got to play with Shelby (a fun new babysitter from church) so mom could go to an appointment. Gymnastics was in the late afternoon. Hallie worked into the late evening finishing things for the class parties the next day. Somehow we got so busy doing the party games that we forgot to take pictures. We did see this gem in Eliza's class though:
Aww! She does care! 

Spring has blossomed here, and many of the flowers we would see come into bloom back east are showing themselves off now. 

Valentine’s Day brought sweet success for Hallie, who hit her goal of 100 pounds eliminated. Whenever there are class parties the day seems to be very long, and this Valentine’s Day did not seem to be any different. Hallie worked at the school, Mike and Hallie helped do Eliza’s class party, Hallie worked a bit, and Mike left for work, missing Landon’s class party. After lunch Hallie did Landon’s class party, and then the kids finished the afternoon with Hallie doing crossing guard duty. Eliza had a make-up gymnastics class today, so that meant both kids were in gymnastics today. Mike realized that we had babysitting for a date covered by gymnastics, and so the two adults headed out for a late afternoon bite to eat. Yum!

Wednesday was the 100th day of school! Before school started, one of the teachers said, “I thought of you today Hallie.” “Oh?” “You have lost 100 pounds, and it is the 100th day of school.” So when Landon’s teacher drove in the parking lot, Hallie mentioned it to her, and the next thing you know Hallie was invited to put on a presentation in Landon’s class about losing her weight. The kids were great and asked questions, and it was a good first experience for Hallie. Straight after her presentation Hallie went out to lunch with her friend Debbie from church. Debbie is fun and easy to talk to and brings happiness to those she is around—what a great friend Debbie is to Hallie! Work, gymnastics, and Scouts finished up our day.

Mike went from functional during the day to dragging in the evening for the remainder of the week starting Wednesday night going into Thursday morning. He woke up (or rather, having not really slept, he got up) bright and early at 4:30 a.m. so he could help clean at the temple. He carpooled down with some friends from the ward. This massive mid-20th-Century structure appeared Gothic in the early morning fog when we got there.

He and his fellow cleaners cleaned and moved chairs and tables in the cafeteria dining room (you would not believe how much gum was stuck to the bottom of the tables!). They then became thoroughly acquainted with the stairs upon stairs upon stairs that comprise the stairwells stretching from the tippy top of the temple down to its basement, sweeping their walls and floors before mopping or vacuuming. You appreciate just how big and complex the LA Temple is as a physical plant doing that kind of work there. Lots of stacked chairs and several steps later, Mike came back home to a delicious warm shower and a nap.

Hallie took the kids to school early with Mike gone before everyone woke up; this was a practice for when he will be gone in March to New Zealand. It went rather well, and the kids got up on their own before the alarms and were ready to go when needed. Phew!!! Mike was able to watch Eliza in the evening while Hallie took Landon to gymnastics. Grandpa and Grandma M. met Hallie at gymnastics for a few minutes to say hi and to give Eliza her birthday card.

Friday makes us tired just thinking back to it. Yikes! The heavens opened today and did not stop raining all day. Hallie did crossing guard in the morning then had an appointment and went back to do yard duty. Mike chose not to spread his sick cooties to the students at Las Posas and then went up to CLU later. Good thing he did, as the downpour had made its way into his office through a fairly significant leak. He had this sort of thing happen at his office at Wayne State too. Flat rooves and heavy rain don't mix too well. 

Right after school got out Hallie, Landon, and Eliza helped with decorating and preparing the gym for the Daddy’s Sweetheart dance that was going to be held later that evening.

At about 3:45 Hallie and Eliza ran home to get the little nugget ready for the dance, and then they ran to Oxnard to Chick-fil-A to pick up the little sandwiches that were being served. Hallie got back to the school with about 15 minutes before the dance was to start. Things came together quickly, and Mike showed up from work to be Eliza’s date. 

Hallie left with Landon and Anthony (our PTA president’s son) to go and get dinner and to watch the LEGO Batman movie. Everyone had long active day, and it was great that everyone turned in early and had a good night’s sleep.

Saturday morning gymnastics practice came early for Landon. Eliza stayed home with Dad as she wasn’t feeling so hot and may have picked up Dad’s cooties. Hallie spent time watching Landon and running a few errands while up in Newbury Park. After coming home a bit of chores were done and the kids played outside with our neighbor.

Hallie picked up her friend Becky from the airport, and they ventured to Tito’s Tacos in Culver City. They can say they have been there, and may not go again, but it was fun getting to know each other more and taking Becky around parts of LA. (P.S., Hallie had never met Becky in person until Saturday night.)

Sunday was another day of busyness. Mike had his ward council meeting, and after he got home Hallie and Landon went to church early to practice with the choir before Sacrament. Mike and Eliza stayed home with their cooties. Hallie taught Primary then dropped Landon off at home before she had to pick up something from a local mom. Hallie picked up Debbie for ward choir where we had lots of fun singing, talking about attending the upcoming Time Out for Women and looking at prom dresses for our cute friend Shelby. Hallie turned in Girl Scout Cookie money and picked up more cookies for our neighbor to deliver to her coworkers. Thank you, Naomi, for taking the order sheet to work!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Milestones for the Girls

Mom had a follow-up appointment at her bariatric doctor and is making great progress! We also celebrated Eliza’s birthday! Yay for milestones!! Eliza is still selling Girl Scout cookies, Yum-O!

On Monday, Hallie went to see Dr. Billy, and she has continued to reach her weight loss targets. By the end of the week, she was within 0.3 pounds of her ultimate 100 pound target. The kids did their regular routine of school and gymnastics.

Tuesday seems to have been a pretty boring day as we look back at the calendar. The kids had school, Mom worked at the school, and then Landon had gymnastics.

Hallie loves Mondays and Wednesdays as those days she has most of the day off. She spent a bit of time picking up the meat out of the back of big rig (Zaycon Fresh Foods). Seeing she was good on time, Hallie ran into Costco for some essentials to vacuum pack the meat and then headed to our friend’s house to drop off her portion of meat. A few minutes later Hallie picked up Eliza, then there was lunch, crossing guard, getting Landon out of school, and finally gymnastics for Eliza. Because there was no practice on her birthday, Eliza shared cupcakes with her teammates and friends. Landon finished off the night with Cub Scouts.

Eliza turned six on Thursday and had the chance to video chat with Zoraida in the morning. Later on, Dad brought some cupcakes Mom had ordered to Eliza’s classroom to share with her classmates. She wanted ladybug cupcakes especially because she knows how much Zoraida likes ladybugs. The cupcakes were a big hit with her friends, and Mom scored big points with green frosting that ended up all over the face and hands of the cute little 6- and 7-year-olds.

Party time on the playground!

After school Eliza went with her friend Ellie and her mom to the tide pools at Leo Carrillo Beach where they learned and played with the other Girl Scouts.

Right after Eliza got home, Mom and Eliza headed to Sky High in Camarillo where we met up with Aunt Carly, Uncle Shad, Cru, Sawyer, Finnley, Uncle Bryce, and Marty. What a great way to end a birthday! Mike and Landon returned home from gymnastics shortly after the girls returned home. Phew! A long day.

The kids had the day off from school on Friday, and Grandma and Grandpa and Alie O. came over for a fancy steak lunch. Alie loves following and playing with Landon and Eliza. We had a great time with everyone and we are so glad we can spend these special occasions with family.

After lunch Hallie and Eliza went to pick up more Girl Scout cookies to deliver to those who had already ordered from Eliza. While at the school, a teacher approached Eliza asking her for her favorite number between 1 and 5. She wisely said 5 and with no change on him Mr. Pryor bought 6 boxes of Girl Scout cookies from Eliza. Wah hoo!

Hallie has started mentoring a young lady on her weight loss journey. What an exciting adventure for both of these women! Much success to the teacher and the pupil.

Later on in the evening we met up with Grandpa and Grandma M., Uncle Bryce, Uncle Shad, Aunt Carly, Cru, Sawyer, and Finnley for dinner at Baja Fresh. The kids did a pretty good job eating out, and then we all headed to our house to spend some more family time. This was the last time we would see Uncle Bryce for a while, but he finally got to return home to his family in Alaska Saturday morning. Hallie loved spending time with her little big brother and is grateful she got to see him as much as she did.

Saturday started with Hallie taking Landon to gymnastics, Eliza did not have practice as several girls had a meet, and all of the girl’s coaches attended the meet. So Eliza and Hallie ran to Target and then home to play with some birthday presents.

The girls headed back up the hill to pick up Landon several hours later and then met Mike, who had been working, for lunch. Mike then took the kids back to CLU where they hung out with him while he had to work and do a short presentation. Again the kids were well behaved. Wah hoo!

Hallie headed over to Kasea’s to get her haircut and colored, where she always enjoys the final product but really loves the time she spends with Kasea. Hallie is in the process of growing out her hair, so not much was cut but the color definitely departed from where it was before she stepped into the salon.

Sunday was pretty much like most Sundays with Hallie teaching Primary and Mike attending to his Sunday School duties. Hallie had fun at choir practice!

In the afternoon our home teacher came, and we are grateful for him and his diligence. This month he stepped up his game and brought an activity for our very active kids. We spent the rest of the afternoon playing with Eliza’s birthday Legos and spending time together as a family. Mike caught the kids being creative when they thought they were alone. Eliza rocked out with her broom guitar on the patio table, while Landon improvised some mods for his Ninjago robot. 
"Born to be wiiiiiild!"

"Hmmm. Rifle or giant fist?"

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Cookies, Cake, and Assorted Junk Food

Quick post this week, as we neither took many pictures nor did much beyond the routine (that we can recall). We did have cookies and cake, both thanks to Eliza! And Hallie, too, if you count the cookies Mike made for the LuLaRoe party she co-hosted.

Our neighbor Dave surprised the kids with glazed and finished pottery tiles that they had started with him all the way back in October 2015. Where’d the time go?

Hallie and her friend Carrie co-hosted a LuLaRoe party Friday night. The ladies all enjoyed playing dress-up, and Hallie got some new threads out of it!

Mike baked his variant on Anna Ellsworth’s amazing molasses cookies, and of course they were a hit. Who knew something so simple could make so many people so happy?

Mike and the kids watched Babe for pizza and a movie night upstairs cuddled up in bed with the laptop. At first the kids weren’t so keen on Dad’s choice, but they got drawn in soon enough. Landon commented on how good the movie made him feel inside, and that he was glad they’d watched it.

Between pizza, jelly beans, and cookies, Landon got pukey in the middle of the night. He made a royal mess all over his covers, the side of the bed, the floor, his clothes. Gag. Not for the faint of heart.

Saturday morning, Mike took Eliza to gymnastics and watched her for a while, and Hallie and Landon mostly stayed home. Mike took the long way back and enjoyed a scenic country drive along the back roads among the rolling emerald hills. Ventura County in February is his favorite!
Thanks to Ken Lund for picture! 

It’s that special time of year for another reason too: Girl Scout Cookies are here! Eliza received her very first batch of Girl Scout cookies on Saturday, and she’d love your support.

Hallie represented our family in support of a couple of girls in Primary who were baptized Saturday afternoon.

On Sunday after church we went to the Maygrens’ to eat some savory junk food, have some birthday cake, and watch some funny commercials on TV. Oh, yeah. And there was this ball game on that turned into a real thing in the fourth quarter. Good times!