Sunday, June 25, 2017

New Home, New Class, and Hanging Out

Both of the boys kept busy this week: Landon had Cub Scout day camp, and Mike made the long trek up to Provo to teach a week-long doctoral seminar at the Y. He also got the keys to our new house and camped out there. Meanwhile, the girls had their own fun hanging out with friends and family.

On Monday morning, Mike and Landon went with Landon’s friend Luke to Westlake for Cub Scout day camp. Mike worked with a couple of Boy Scouts as a program leader, guiding all the boys’ dens through six sessions of Bug Olympics (various relay races and games of tag). His assistants were super helpful, and their great attitude (plus the ample shade of the area we held the events) made for a relaxing and enjoyable day with the cubs.

Once he dropped Landon off at gymnastics and took Luke home, he packed up the Momobile in preparation for his drive to Utah. He thought to pack almost everything he would need—almost. Hallie thought to include some items he forgot, and both forgot to remember other things until Mike was already on the road or at the new house. Such is moving!

Landon continued in camp throughout the week, earning credit toward his advancement and learning how to shoot BBs and arrows. The kid has great accuracy and enjoyed getting out there and having fun. He also sweat and smelled like a pig at the end of each session. To top it all off, he had gymnastics all this week in the afternoon. Let’s just say that he didn’t work quite as intensely as usual, and he missed a day just to rest some.

Mike woke up before 3:00 a.m. Tuesday in order to hit the road quickly and beat both the LA and Vegas traffic (which he did). The Momobile did him well, with the minor exception that it started to overheat every so often (another reason to keep moving at a steady pace). Mike anticipated that there might be an issue and took it easy, making the trip to Springville in about 10½ hours or so. Ugh. The car is comfortable, but he was glad to be done before the day’s heat set in. As he was a bit early to meet with the rental agent at our new house, he got a Beto’s breakfast burrito for lunch (and dinner too as it would turn out. Two meals there—so huge! So good!) and got a library card at the Springville Library. He also made a stop at the giant Smith’s Marketplace on 400 South, just a few blocks south of our new house. Turns out that the store was not quite yet open. Its grand opening was set for Wednesday.

After getting the keys and walking through the house, he rested some before getting a few necessities at Walmart, which also turns out to be quite close. In fact, everything we like or need seems to be tantalizingly close to where we will be living: School and church are less than half a mile north on Center Street, Airtime Gymnastics is just down by Walmart and the DI Thrift Store, and Hallie even has a Starbucks by the new Smith’s. The library and the art museum are along Mike’s route to and from work, as is Sam’s Club. Costco is not too far from Walmart and gymnastics. Hobble Creek Canyon is just a few miles up the road. All we need is family and the beach, and things would be pretty near perfect!

While we have electricity in the new house, we don’t have gas. Moreover, Mike forgot to bring a towel and a pillow. He did think to bring two sleeping bags, a ground pad, an air bed (kid-sized, unfortunately), and other toiletries. So he ate well, ran the A/C, kept his food cool, and slept OK. But oh, what a cold morning shower! After chattering his way through that, Mike went up to BYU campus Wednesday morning to get a haircut, take care of his hiring paperwork, and unload his office boxes in his new digs. He has a corner office on his floor—which is great. It’s just that it’s a dark inside corner with a wee transom window to let in whatever natural light leaks in from the transoms of his neighbors’ offices across the hall. He thinks it’s awesome and keeps chuckling about the situation to himself. It’s not likely that he will have anything like the view he had from his WSU office anytime soon.

Everyone at the new office was super friendly and helpful, which made getting ready for his class at 1:00 that afternoon a bit less overwhelming. All too soon, though, it was time to get to work. This educational leadership EdD seminar on multicultural education is being taught with another seminar on the history of American education. Dr. Ferrin took all day Monday and Tuesday along with Wednesday and Thursday mornings. Mike took Wednesday and Thursday afternoons along with all day Friday and Saturday. Let’s just say that is a lot of intense time for both teachers and students. And Mike thought one Friday and Saturday per month was a lot to do teaching-wise! Still, what a fun class! He and the students had a great time and learned a lot about the topics covered from each other. Unique aspects of the class include the custom of opening with a prayer and of openly bringing church-related concepts and ideas into the discussion, both elements which he appreciated. We had a couple of profound moments of the sort he has not had in the last 10 years of his teaching. Humbling and awesome, to be sure.

When he wasn’t teaching, Mike ran a few job-related errands on campus and went to the BYU Store and the Herald B. Lee Library. After getting home in the evenings, he ran some home-related errands and unpacked the boxes we’d brought up for the house (the Momobile held a massive amount of cargo: boxes upon boxes along with several pictures, the sleeping gear and luggage, and so on). Mike continues to marvel how we live in a magical time, technology-wise. Just with the data plan on his cell phone, he could not only prep for each day’s class and answer emails but could watch TV and otherwise keep entertained with everyone else so far away.
I spy a BYU bowtie! 

Posted speed limit? Where? Oh. . . .

He went to the Smith’s Marketplace grand opening on Wednesday (along with everyone else in Springville, it would seem) and then again later in the week when it was a little less overwhelming. He also did some walking around in the long twilight hours to gauge the distance to stores, schools, and church. Seems pretty nice all around. He even made it to church on Sunday (to the 9:00 a.m. ward. No sense babbling about our moving in given that we won’t really be here until August, right?).

Still, with all the adventuring, Mike was more than ready to get back to Hallie and the kiddos and to hear about all their activities while he was away. 

Tuesday, while Mike was headed to Utah, Hallie and Eliza took the boys to camp. As they arrived they saw Grandma M and chatted for a bit. Then Hallie saw her friend Libby. They have been friends for over 20 years, but it has been a while since they have seen each other in person. How fun to chat! Eliza and Hallie decided to go visit the Maygren/Hopkins and play for a while. Sawyer and Eliza played so well for nearly 3 hours, and Hallie got to hold and play with Finnley while she chatted with her parents. What a great time! The girls headed over to get Hallie’s nails done and set up an appointment for them to be all glammed up before Diamond’s big day in just about three weeks!!!

After taking the boys to camp again on Wednesday Hallie and Eliza took our cute as a button neighbor Annabelle with us to see Ice Age Course Collison at the local movie theatre. The girls had a great time.

Both kids had gymnastics, and let’s just say this is where Landon started losing his steam. It has been quite warm every day, and then gymnastics has no air. Poor guy. Coach Wu didn’t quite understand what was happening and why Landon couldn’t push himself more. We appreciate each coach's dedication and love seeing him give our little ones those extra pointers to improve. 

Now that Hallie’s portion of transporting the boys was over, it was time to rest. At the end of last week Hallie started feeling really tired, which is a bit of a turn since surgery. So, Hallie emailed her doctor and asked some questions. The answer was take your iron and rest. Grandma M. came over to visit for a while, and we went out to lunch. They had a very nice time and ran an errand afterwards to buy sandpaper. A while back Eliza decided to put green handprints on the newly installed fence in the backyard and now that we are moving we are trying to get it off. No luck with the sand paper. Everyone hung out the rest of the evening.

On Friday morning the girls headed to Sam’s Club for a few items and then it was time to do some chores around the house. Grandpa M. came over with an electric sander to take his shot at the fence. His shot worked!!! It was so exciting to see it clean and to know that little thing was off our backs. Grandpa also helped Hallie empty three large water containers that they will be getting rid of; no heavy lifting for two more weeks.

Landon came home a bit later in the afternoon and laid around after a long week. For pizza and a movie night we watched a movie called Magic Ice Skates which was quite cute.

A late start was had Saturday when Hallie woke up with only 20 minutes to get to gymnastics. Everyone went really fast, and we were only five minutes late even with getting some gas on the way. Hallie went back to Camarillo for a little bit and attended the Farmers Market where her friend from school was selling homemade bath products. Then it was back up the hill to watch the kids at gymnastics. Landon is learning how to do giants on the high bar, and Eliza is perfecting her skills on the beam.

In the late afternoon we headed to our friend Jack’s surprise birthday party at Valle Lindo Park. All of the kids had so much fun playing. Their energy always amazes Hallie. Moreover, how do the kids always make it on top of the playground structure?

Shortly after getting home, Carly sent us a text about meeting her and the family at Panera for dinner. We try never to miss a chance to meet up with family! The kids had a great time hanging out and walking around the Outlet Mall.

Sunday we went to church. Hallie taught her primary class and had an interview with the Bishop so she can apply for school. Wah hoo! We called and sang our nephew/cousin Porter Happy Birthday and talked to his parents for a few minutes. We are trying very hard to find a time to go and visit the Maygrens in Washington. Hallie has continued to be very tired, and so the kids watched TV L most of the afternoon as Hallie drifted in and out of sleep. Mike won’t be home soon enough in Hallie’s mind.   

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Last Week of School, First Lost Tooth, and Father’s Day

This week marked Landon’s last as a third grader and Eliza’s last as a Kindergartener. In addition, Eliza lost her first tooth! We also celebrated our dads on Father’s Day.

The kids’ last week of school went by like a whirlwind. We’re not sure how much work got done, but the kids seemed to have fun! 

Hallie stopped by her surgeon’s office Monday morning to make sure her drains that fell out over the weekend were okay. The nurse peeked and everything looked good enough until her appointment the following day. Mike picked up Eliza from school while Hallie had her weekly therapy appointment. Both kids had gymnastics this afternoon, so we headed up the hill to Newbury Park after school.

Tuesday brought a great follow up appointment for Hallie with Dr. Kane. After just slightly over two weeks since surgery, he was shocked to see how well she has healed and to hear about all of her adventures. Dr. Kane still does wants her to avoid lift anything and to take things easy. Ha ha ha! Maybe she should listen to him, as you will see later on in the week. Landon had gymnastics in the evening. With four-hour practices, the days are very long for a mom who sits at practice.

On Wednesday morning Hallie and her friend Yackie headed to Sam’s Club for items for the upcoming class parties and 5th grade picnic and promotion. After lunch Hallie and Mike headed over to the school for Landon’s class ice cream party. The kids received their yearbooks today, and Eliza and Hallie got in on the fun in signing yearbooks. During Landon’s party Hallie went to the other two 3rd grade classes and took pictures with some of her favorite students. All the kids are so kind to hug Hallie gingerly and ask how she was doing.

Hallie and the kids walked home, and it was quite a pleasant walk. Only Eliza had gymnastics due to Landon’s class being canceled. Some parents are quite frustrated lately with the way coaching is going, and we are hoping that if we stick it out that things will change.

After watching the documentary Dear Mr. Watterson this week, Mike decided that the kids needed to be exposed to Calvin and Hobbes and other 1980s-era comics like The Far Side. As a kid, he routinely read the funny papers, only stopping once he stopped living at home and getting his parents’ regularly delivered newspapers when he went to college. The comics section is still his go-to newspaper section when he does happen to get a paper. Occasionally he will seek them out online. Sadly, our kids do not have that same daily experience, so Dad aimed to remedy that situation with the help of our local library. He checked out a copy of The Calvin and Hobbes Lazy Sunday Book, and he and Landon spent the last few days perusing its contents and chuckling. Eliza may still be just a little too young to appreciate the humor, but both kids love the over-the-top visuals.

Thursday was the day we helped with Eliza’s pajama-themed end-of-the-year party. After morning recess the kids in Room 5 worked on a present for their teacher and a craft of the American flag. We came to class only to find out that Eliza’s first wiggly loose tooth had finally come out (with a little help from Ms. Jill)!  

When it was lunch time the kids came back in for pizza, veggies, and drinks. All the kids seemed to be very happy with the pizza party. We also met Ms. M’s mom who is also a kindergarten teacher. It is fun to realize Eliza’s teacher is a 3rd generation kindergarten teacher. 

Hallie was supposed to go back after school and help sell yearbooks. Unfortunately, her body told her it was time to take a nap instead and woke her up 90 minutes later in time to take Landon to gymnastics.

After dropping Landon off, Hallie went with the PTA president to pick up the 300 cupcakes for the 5th grade graduation party. Marilyn is one of the friends Hallie is bummed about leaving come moving time, but hopefully when we come back to visit we will have chances to get together.

Friday started out early for the whole family. Mike, Hallie, and the kids headed to the school a bit before 8:00 a.m. where the kids headed to school and the adults helped set up for 5th grade graduation. Mom and Dad came home for a bit before going back to the school, picking the kids up, and saying good bye to some of our friends. Hallie tried not to say too many good byes as her eyes wanted to fill with tears.

Hello, Hottie! 

Shortly after getting home the kids and Mom quickly got the car ready to go pick up our friends the Guerreros. Five kids and two moms headed to Hollywood to see Cars 3 at El Capitan. As we headed south we stopped by Chick-fil-A so we all could get lunch and the kids could blow off steam in the play area. We got to the parking garage in plenty of time and headed out on to Hollywood Blvd with all of the other crazies. All of the “cast members” were dressed in garage overalls. We took pictures in front of a fun back drop, and there was a great show before the movie started. After the movie we headed to Diddy Riese, a first for the Guerreros. The line on a Friday night moved fast, and the kids all enjoyed their treats. Mike (who had work) beat us home, and mom hit the bed not long after we got home. A long fun day was had by all.

Hallie dropped Eliza off at gymnastics on Saturday morning, then Hallie stopped by Eliza’s teacher’s house to give her our end of year present. Then Hallie headed to her parents house to chat and rest. Hallie is hoping her scratchy throat is allergies and not a cold. While Hallie was out with Eliza at gymnastics, Landon and Mike engaged in an epic pool noodle sword fight in the back yard. Good times!

After the girls came home Hallie and the kids worked on cleaning up the garage so we can continue to fill it full of boxes. Meanwhile, Mike was upstairs filling boxes. Our new neighbors came over to invite Eliza to play with their little girl, and the two girls played for hours together.

Father’s Day Sunday found Mike in bed with gifts from Hallie and the kids. Mike was particularly excited about one gift in particular that is both a throwback to his mission (and Japan) and just plain useful: a washlet (AKA a bidet attachment for the toilet). A couple of months ago, he’d heard a Freakonomics podcast about the Miki Agrawal, creator of the Tushy bidet, and he appreciated what he heard. He thought it would be nice to get something like that someday, and apparently Hallie and the kids decided that that someday was today. 

We went to Grandma and Grandpa O.’s for a visit and lunch. We were so happy they had the A/C on as it was a much needed relief from the heat at our own house. The weather has begun to heat up. We look forward to having air conditioning in our new home! The kids love to visit the Owens house, where they play with Alie, Shep, and the “famous” Haydn. Grandpa became very popular by giving each kid three fidget spinners and a Cuby (AKA a Rubik’s cube).

We headed home to start getting Landon ready for Cub Scout Day Camp that starts tomorrow. Mike will join Landon for the day before heading to Utah for a week to teach his first BYU course, get set up in his new office, and walk through our new home. 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

She May Have Overdone Things Just a Wee Bit

So the surgical drains that Hallie has had since her surgery came out on their own—not a great thing. Maybe she has partied a little too hard after being under the knife. . . . Nah!

Monday and Wednesday brought a new person into our home. Hallie contacted the service A Time To Be Organized to help us get organized and cleaned up for our upcoming rental showings that were on the calendar. Rhonda (the woman who came) helped for six hours this week, and she was great! Between Hallie and Rhonda a lot of work got done, and we feel a lot more prepared for all of the things we have coming up. 

Mike looked after the kids at gymnastics on Wednesday and caught Eliza and Ella playing together. Earlier in the day, as she was watching Eliza practice, little Ella (all of nearly three years old) told another girl, "Eliza is my best friend." Aww!

On Thursday morning Hallie dropped the kids off at school and then headed with her friend Marina to the Oaks Mall. At 11:30 they headed their separate ways. Hallie ended up at BLVD BRGR Company with the ladies from the ward for Lunch Bunch. It is a place I don’t think we will go back again, but it was worth a try. The company of Deanna and Ruth was great, and that is what is important.

Hallie picked Eliza up from school and then the two girls headed to the school’s multipurpose room to watch the 4th graders perform a play/musical about the Gold Rush. After school, the kids played for a bit, and then Landon and Hallie went to purchase their new-to-us Wii.

Per usual, our weekend was busy, starting Friday night. We went with our friends the Guerreros to Padaro Beach Grill in Carpinteria where we met up with several friends from Las Posas to celebrate friendships and to say goodbye to our friends the Bermeas as they move to Virginia. The weather was perfect, the food was yummy, the company was outstanding, and the kids had a blast!

Upon our arrival back in Camarillo, Hallie realized that one of her surgery tubes would no longer hold suction. Uh oh!

On Saturday, Mike had his first class of the summer term at Cal Lutheran, one about writing literature reviews. Let’s just say that even after teaching about and writing reviews himself, it’s an almost overwhelming task not just for the students but for him too! He felt bad leaving Hallie to fend for herself with the drain issue.  

Meanwhile, Hallie held court with the kids. Hallie dropped the kids off at gymnastics and then headed to Oxnard to meet up with Paula, a teacher friend from Las Posas, where they went beauty supply shopping. Afterwards Hallie headed over to the after-hours care because of her drain concern, but the doctor said everything looked fine and her tube would stay in until Tuesday. She came home and rested and supervised the kids as they delighted in playing Mario World and Wii Sports.

Hallie fell asleep during their playtime and even had a little feeling-faint spell at Target when she ran an errand in the evening (um, stop and rest, please!). While brushing her teeth in the evening one of her drains just plumb fell out. Aahhh! What to do? Thank heavens Mike is such an awesome nurse maid and helped Hallie fix things up.

Sunday morning Hallie decided to stay home from church as she realized that the other drain was now leaking and coming loose as well. Mike and the kids headed to church and Hallie rested.

After Mike and the kids got home the family walked around the corner to our neighbors to celebrate their boys’ birthdays. By the time Hallie got to the clubhouse, the other drain had fallen out. So we left the kids, and we came back home to fix Hallie for a 2nd time. The adults headed back for a bit and then Halllie and Landon headed off on another adventure. Hopefully Dr. Kane will be able to sort this drain issue out on Tuesday. The kids enjoyed their time celebrating with Nolan and Conner and their family! 

LEGO party favors! Woo hoo! 

A great family from Victory Gymnastics Academy had an end of year/graduation party for all of the team boys. There was yummy food from Stonefire Grill and cake to celebrate Joe going to Cal Berkeley and Brandon going to the Air Force Academy. Landon had a blast with his friends from gymnastics in the pool and playing pool, and he even found a level opponent in chess.

Rhonda (who Hallie had in our home earlier in the week) recently moved and had boxes to give away. On the way home Hallie and Landon filled the car with boxes that we will definitely be able to use.  

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Memorable Victory Games and Banquet

During the week, Hallie rested while Mike and the kids—with ample help from family and friends—went through the week’s routines. Amazingly, she had recovered well enough by mid-week that she could drive and by the weekend that she could cut a rug on the dance floor. 

Hallie got good news at her visit with Dr. Kane. He said she was healing up nicely and was OK to drive.

Mr. Softee came to the neighborhood Wednesday evening. Yumm-O!

Mike’s car hit 70,000 miles this week, which says he drove about 10,000 miles this year.

Las Posas Elementary had a fundraiser at Wendy’s, and participants raised a good amount for the school. Thanks to all!

We celebrated Ms. Marzalek’s birthday on Friday with gifts and cupcakes.

Eliza had one last practice before her big day.

Saturday found us all very busy. In the morning, Mike had new EdD student orientation at Cal Lutheran, and Eliza participated in a Moana-themed Victory Games. We were grateful to see so many family and friends out to support her!
Of course, prior to competition, one must get ready . . . 

. . . toes and all! 

In the afternoon, the four of us met up to attend Coach Shane and Coach Dee’s wedding reception at a home nestled up in the hills in Westlake. The kids (well, Landon) gorged on donuts and ran wild in the yard (you can see the aftermath of it all in the first picture at the top of this post).

Eliza has had this thing with bees lately. On a related note, it is eerie to see so many dead and dying bees around of late. Colony collapse?   

Sunday wasn’t much less busy. After church (yes, Hallie taught Primary if you can believe it), we had a brief visit from Grandpa and Haydn, who was getting some driving practice in (later Grandpa and Shep came back by to retrieve Great Grandpa A.’s rocker). Hallie and the kids went to Grandma and Papa M.’s to say good bye to Aunt Elise and the cousins, who are all returning back home to Alaska. We sure enjoyed seeing them while they were down here! Now to see if we can manage an epic road trip to visit them up there. . . .

We topped off the afternoon/evening with the annual Victory Gymnastics Academy Banquet at the Spanish Hills Country Club here in town. The children were recognized for their achievements, and then we partied! Many thanks to the coaches and owners for all their hard work on our children’s behalf.