Sunday, July 23, 2017

Homecomings and See-You-Soons

The first few days of the week were spent on the road from Sweetwater to Deming on Monday, from Deming to Chandler on Tuesday, and from Chandler back to home-sweet-home on Wednesday. Then we packed and packed some more in preparation for the next big (and more permanent) journey.

On Monday, we traveled from Sweetwater through Midland and El Paso to Deming, New Mexico. During the day we observed the changing climate from semi-humid great plains as it transformed into semi-arid flats and finally into hilly desert. After several days on the road, these troopers were in need of a little extra shut-eye before we set out. 

A, um, healthy Texas-sized breakfast starts the day off right, right?

While in Midland, we stopped by Susie’s South Forty Confections, home of Texas Trash and Pecan Freezer Toffee. The latter is best enjoyed frozen and must be kept at least refrigerated. Fortunately we had a cooler holding several bottles of ice cold water (at least in the morning it was ice cold). We kept the toffee as cold as possible, put it in the fridges at our hotels and in the freezer at home, and (once we were sure it was totally frozen again) tried it out. Just perfect!

While at the store, we also got a view of the giant toffee mold used to win a Guinness World Record and the factory floor where the candy magic happens, much as we have seen at the Sanders (Morley) and Kencraft Candy Factories. So much yummy!

We were all excited to see that there were samples of all of the items they make set out all around the store. Hallie’s small banana sized stomach filled up quickly, and she wanted to buy it all but put a break on this since it was so hot outside and we only had the cooler.

This handsome young man will always have a place on somebody's dance card.

From here for now, but not much longer!

Feeling a bit hot? 
A photo does not do justice to the simply massive scale of the thunderheads we passed under along the road. 

We got through rush hour traffic in El Paso and observed the colorful neighborhoods of Juarez, Mexico from I-10 before crossing into New Mexico and ending our night in Deming.

The following morning, we headed out fairly early because we wanted to get into the Phoenix area before the weather got too warm. We did take enough time to stop by the rest stop housing The Thing (cue the trumpets: dun Dun DUUUNNN!) along Route 10 in Arizona between Deming and Tuscon. While we did not indulge in a view of The Thing, we did get a couple of souvenirs: a coveted sling shot for Landon, and a skull and bony hand back scratcher for Eliza.
The sombrero was too big to fit in the car. . . .

We got into Tuscon in time for lunch. We stopped at Blake’s Lotaburger near the university and then followed that up with a trip outside the Tuscon Arizona Temple before heading on to our hotel.
Chili with green chili peppers: If you are what you eat, you are HOT!

We returned to the road to go up to Sweet Republic in Scottsdale. While we enjoyed the ice cream and the brief bit of summer rain, we were not fans of the rush hour traffic on the return to the hotel. Landon’s Real Mint ice cream tasted just like the mint that grew in our backyard in Michigan. One taste of it was good for Mom; she was happy with her Peaches and Cream scoop.
Eliza enjoyed drinking rainwater. 

We were hoping to get the kids to gymnastics on time on Wednesday so we left our hotel that morning earlier than any of the other days on the trip.

We needed gas by the time we got to Chiriaco Summit next to Patton Museum, so we stopped at the gas station and Foster’s Freeze there. As our kids have not had chocolate dipped cones, and as we grown-ups have not had Foster’s in a long time, we opted to get some. With the combination of cold ice cream and desert heat, what resulted for Hallie was an exploding chocolate dip cone when she bit into the hard shell that left a puddle in her lap when the ice cream started to melt before the first lick was had. Yikes! Fortunately, things got cleaned up pretty easily, and we were back on the road in no time.

We arrived at gymnastics an hour late due to California traffic (fast moving, but cars a-plenty) from Indio all the way. Eliza decided she didn’t want to go, so after dropping Landon off, the three others went home to empty the car. Soon after emptying everything out, Hallie headed back to Victory to watch Landon and visit with friends.

There is not time to rest from vacation, and Thursday started early when Hallie headed out to get the tires rotated at Sam’s Club followed by her last appointment with her plastic surgeon, Dr. Kane. Where do we start? Dr. Kane is a great surgeon! Hallie is happy with the outcome of her surgery and it is taking a bit of time to get used to the new her, but one day at a time it will all come together. Hallie met up with friend Marilyn for lunch at a hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant here in Camarillo. They had a great time chatting, and Hallie reported the food was pretty good too.

Gymnastics once again for Landon was the order of the afternoon, and the days are getting harder for our young boy. Saying good-bye to our friends will be really tough, especially when we spend as much time there as we do.

On Friday, we got a lot of packing done and sent the kids’ school desks off to new owners in the morning. In the early afternoon, Grandma M., Carly, and her girls came over to enjoy some pool time with Hallie and the kids. Once again Hallie got a bit crispy; someday she will learn her lesson. Playing with Sawyer and Finnley is so much fun, and it is great watching them grow up and change.

Mike had work in the evening, so he spent the afternoon getting ready instead of lounging poolside. It was his night to pick a movie, but since he had to teach Landon switched him nights and chose to pick the Lego Batman Movie. It was the third time the kids had seen it in two days but the first full time Hallie had seen it (since she had fallen asleep during her first viewing back in the theatre in February). Landon and Anthony still find it quite funny that they had to wake her up at the end of the show.

Saturday Mike worked all day, so Hallie did all the “fun” stuff with the kids. She dropped Mike off and then ran by the Maygren/Hopkins house to give them stuff. Landon asked to stay, and everyone said yes, so Landon stayed and played for a couple of hours. Hallie then took Eliza to gymnastics where Hallie watched for a while and chatted with some new friends.

After pick-up, the trio headed home to eat lunch and hang out for a bit.

At about 3:00 the trio headed out to run errands and then to pick up Mike about 5:00 p.m. Now all four of them made one more stop on their way home before they had dinner. After dinner and a bit of packing everyone headed to Yogurtland for a yummy treat. It was fun to see Brother and Sister Harrison eating at Pizza Rev. Sister Harrison has taught both of the kids in Primary since we have moved to Camarillo.

Today was the last Sunday for our family to attend the Pleasant Valley Ward. Hallie had all kinds of great thoughts about going to Sunday School and Relief Society, but no such luck. One last Sunday in Primary! Her little six-year-olds are so cute, but such a handful; however, they were the best behaved in Singing and Sharing Time that they have ever have been. The donuts she brought them were well-deserved. 

Eliza got her spotlight in Sharing Time. She is proud of her adoption story and now wants to be a dentist, apparently. You go, Girly-O!

Later in the day our friends Debbie and Jade Morris hosted a “See You Soon” party for our family. Hallie coined it this so she wouldn’t have sad tears but happy tears until we “see you soon.” Thank you to all who came. We love you!

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