Sunday, August 27, 2017

Eclipse, New Start at a New School, and an Inter-Squad Meet

Lots of new this week. Under different circumstances, we would have made the Canada/Idaho trip and passed through Rexburg just in time for the eclipse. But, alas, it was not to be. Mike has his eyes on 2024 (or possibly earlier in South America?!). As it was, we had an open house and first day at the kids’ new school. Later in the week, Eliza had her first “big girl” gymnastics meet, and we also had stake conference in our new stake.

Monday was all about the Eclipse. We turned on the TV to the NASA feed and pulled out the lawn chairs. It was kind of lonesome out in front of the house for a bit. Maybe all the enthusiasts had gone north. Hallie used a really interesting word to describe the way the temperature changed as the eclipse progressed. She noted that she didn’t feel the “pressure” of the heat coming from the sun. So true!

While we were out watching the eclipse we met several of the neighbors and shared our glasses with the kids. One of the families has a boy in Landon’s class at school, and Eliza took a full bag of Barbie stuff to play with all of the girls. We also met a couple of the neighbors’ dogs, and Eliza was delighted to get to play with them too.

By 1:00 p.m. we headed over to our new school and met the kids’ teachers, saw a bit of the inside of the school, and signed up for all kinds of activities for the upcoming school year.

The first day of school came quickly on Tuesday, and it makes you think, dang where did the summer go? We the parents walked the kids to school, and before you knew it the kids were off into their new classes. They never even looked back.

Mike headed off to work shortly after drop-off, and Hallie headed back to school to help with lunch duty with the first graders. Everyone was so well behaved, and, man, the food looked better than in California.

By 3:00 it was time to gather up some stuff and to pick up the kids at 3:15. Right after pick-up every day we head quickly over to gymnastics. Landon starts at 3:30 every day, and Eliza starts at 3:45 Tuesdays and Thursdays. The day was a bit of an adjustment for Eliza, and a meltdown occurred (it was a long day for her!). Landon had a great day and a ton of fun at gymnastics as usual.

Hallie's new glasses arrived, so she went down to get them. Foxy lady! 

Wednesday, the kids walked with a group of neighborhood kids to school. It was a bit disconcerting as a parent to have taken them both every day to school for the last several years and to hand over that control to them and other kids, but they did well and made it on time.

Mike and Hallie had appointments for blood tests, and we are trying to get involved with several of BYU’s health offerings for employees and their spouses. The lady got their blood on the first try with each but not without a dang sharp poke. Yikes!

Mike stayed on campus and Hallie headed back to home so she could volunteer out on the playground during the first grade lunch period. What a fun atmosphere this school has! The kids can be kids and play with very few rules. Loved volunteering at the school and seeing Eliza at recess.

Mike learned that the cushy underground parking he had had last week would likely not be available unless he got up on campus at the crack of dawn in the future. On this day he parked over by the ASB, and later in the week he found a spot among the Education Week attendees down by the tennis courts. He’s actually looking forward to finding a spot south of campus and taking that hill on each day. It wouldn’t be BYU for him without the hike up to campus.

Landon had a doctor’s appointment in the afternoon that went well, and then we headed straight to gymnastics. Mom and Eliza headed home to make dinner and to do some work. Dad got home and Hallie headed straight out to get her haircut. It is short, Hallie thinks she likes it, and what the heck, it will grow out eventually.

Not much happened Thursday that was different at home. Hallie volunteered in the lunch room again. Picked up the kids and headed to gymnastics. Eliza had another meltdown, and we tried to figure out what was happening with her, but we came to no conclusion except for that these may be some long days for her. It is a good thing gymnastics is only two days a week.

At BYU, Mike got furniture situated in his new office. He has a wee transom window in one corner, which means that he has tons of wall space to work with. He considered painting one wall with magnetic white board paint but instead opted for a white board that the facilities folks would build for him on one wall and possibly putting up a vinyl mural (or maybe a Fathead?) behind his pictures on another. Books and LEGO sets will occupy the shelves on the other walls. Michele, our department secretary, was most impressed with the VW Bus and Beetle. Wait until she sees the AT-AT and the pirate ship! Mike enjoys having an honest-to-goodness sit-to-stand desk for the first time ever (he’s used boxes, podiums, or stacks of books for over 10 years—whatever works!), plus he has a desk layout that looks out toward the door, which for him is ideal considering the fact that he’s waaay down at the end of the hall. Now to decorate the door.

After gymnastics Eliza and Hallie headed to Sonic Drive-In for 50-cent corn dogs for the crew for dinner. Landon only wanted the bread off the dog and Eliza only wanted the dog. We recited the nursery rhyme Jack Sprat to them. They make quite a pair.

Right as bedtime started we lost power, so some of the neighbor kids were out running around with flashlights. These mean parents said no and made the kids head to bed unsure as to why they had to go to bed and others did not. Man, life is sure unfair.

Friday, Mike walked the kids to school, and Hallie helped with recess. No more volunteering until she is contacted by someone again. More boxes have been emptied, slowly, and more laundry done. Do we every catch up? After Hallie’s volunteering, we headed to a café that is by gymnastics that receives good reviews on Yelp called Sidecar Cafe At Legends Vintage Motorcyles. The food we ate was quite tasty; the staff wasn’t quite as friendly as people professed, but I am sure we will be going back to try some other stuff. Many things sounded good on the menu. What a great little escape without the kids!

After school, Landon told Hallie he thought he had pulled a muscle in or around his hip and wasn’t sure if he should go to gymnastics. After talking about it for a bit and texting his coach we still went, and by the end of practice he was feeling a lot better. Friday is pizza and a movie night, and Hallie ran to the local WalMart Supercenter to find a pizza for dinner. On her way out of the store Hallie recognized our family friend Delores Gunn. The last time Hallie had seen Delores was when Eliza was born 6 ½ years ago. It was so great seeing Delores, and Landon was a good sport when Mom was late picking him up from practice.

Saturday morning we had a city-wide emergency drill. Our job consisted of putting a sign in our window that said everyone was okay. Mike made alphabet letter pancakes in everyone's names. Landon took some selfies of himself enjoying the goods. The kids did a few chores in the morning as we try to figure out a new schedule for things as we settle in to our new digs that we actually like quite well.

After lunch Eliza had something called an inter-squad meet at AirTime. It was a great practice for the girls as they have a few meets coming in the fall and their coach had been on maternity leave and is now back. Eliza did well and worked hard. We are proud of her for sticking it out in gymnastics even though she doesn’t always want to go.

Soon after we got home Hallie took a nap until Mike was about to leave for the adult session of stake conference. As Hallie woke up she couldn’t hear the kids. Mike said they were out playing with the neighbors. What a great feeling it was to a mom to know that her munchkins have already found kids to play with! We had one of the boys, who is also a classmate of Landon’s, over until 8:00 p.m. He was so well behaved, and the kids all did a great job together.

Sunday we all went to stake conference. It is a great short walk to the stake center. We didn’t leave the house until just after 9:20, and we were still able to find a soft seat in the chapel.

Hallie and the kids started an Eric Dowdle puzzle (Niagara Falls) on Sunday afternoon to add another craft to the one Mike and Hallie started Friday evening, a LEGO R.V. that they received for Christmas. In the late afternoon Mike and Eliza made some super yummy banana chocolate chip cookies and Hallie and Landon read Harry Potter Vol. 5. Diamond and Caleb called, and we visited with them some. The kids lost their minds while Hallie tried to carry on a civil conversation with the newlyweds.  We tried to have a quiet evening at home in preparation for the first full week of school starting tomorrow. 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Settling in at Home for Reals

The early part of the week brought a change in our original plan to go to Canada this week. We instead opted to return home and get settled in before the new school year starts.

On Monday, Hallie took Porter, Landon, and Eliza to Kids Club Fun and Fitness. Hallie didn’t see the kids once she set them loose to play in the jungle. Mike worked on grading papers and doing other school-related work (not much of a vacation) and occasionally took a break to visit with the twins and Breanne.

After everyone got home and Riley returned from work, we had BBQ chicken salads and mint brownies with ice cream for dinner and dessert. Because Riley had to go to work early in the morning, he said his goodbyes in the evening. The Maygren family sure is lucky because Breanne is a great cook!

Tuesday morning Hallie got up early enough that she could say goodbye one more time to Riley. Hallie held strong do that the tears didn’t flow but she always has a hard time saying good bye. Over the last week Hallie laughed so hard at times that wheezing happened. Those times are the best! After everyone else got up and had breakfast, we headed out from Riley and Breanne’s, bidding the kiddos a fond farewell grateful to have gotten to know them a little better.

From there, we got a quick treat at Dutch Bros. The kiddie drinks are very sweet, and the staff gave us free drinks for our first visit. Great customer service!

We continued along the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon, stopping first at Vista House . . . 

. . . and then briefly at Multnomah Falls. Lots of cars and very little parking, so only Mike and Eliza got out. Nice pics, Girlie-O!

After some lunch, we set back on the road in earnest, spending the night in Meridian, Idaho, where we saw the new temple being completed there and got rice bowls from Flame Broiler and some local ice cream from Reed’s Dairy.

On Wednesday, we finally made it home after stopping off at Pettingill’s Fruit and Produce in Willard. We brought with us a half bushel of fresh peaches, several ears of sweet corn, and other veggies to enjoy. Look at those giant peach shakes! We only bought two and didn’t even finish those.

At home we had box upon box to unpack. Eliza really wanted her new bed put together, so Dad set to work on that and then on Landon’s bed too, which was much simpler in comparison. Frankly, Eliza’s bed may become a permanent fixture. Eliza, however, loves that her bed can be a couch too.

We went to BYU on Thursday morning so that Hallie could get her spouse ID card. After being a professor's spouse for 10 years, this is her first perk. Kind of cool. Then Mike and the kids toiled at home while she got her nails done. We thought that Landon had gymnastics at 12:30, but the afternoon brought with it a return to one of the routines that will become the new normal starting next week with Landon’s new gymnastics schedule at 3:30. Mom took him and ran errands with Eliza, and Dad unpacked boxes and did school work. We may just rent here for the rest of our lives. This unpacking thing is for the birds!

Friday morning had all of us unpacking boxes and trying to get the house organized before Hallie took Landon to the gym in the afternoon and ran errands.

For pizza and a movie, we watched a gymnastics-themed film called Raising the Bar, which the kids enjoyed for obvious reasons. Hallie loves that Papa John's is right on the way home from gymnastics.

Saturday morning, Eliza had the chance to be a gymnastics example during a coaches training. Eliza was paid handsomely with a bag of giant Sour Patch Kids (her favorite candy). Afterwards Hallie found out the girls' head coach is moving right next door to us. Yeah for lending an egg or two.

Meanwhile, Mike organized the garage. He has misplaced some plastic brackets for the metal shelving units. Oh, boy. Too many boxes and too little time.

Hallie had an errand to run in the afternoon, and there was a Slurpee promotion going on, so the rest of us tagged along and got Slurpees. The owner of the 7-Eleven was so into it that he even took the trio’s photo. No Slurpee for Hallie, boo hoo!

We went to our new ward for the first time on Sunday after spending a (mostly) quiet morning at home. This early afternoon church thing isn’t bad at all!

Our new ward is quite different than any we have attended since being married. There are 180 children in Primary (50 in Nursery). The demographic of the adults in the ward skews pretty young too. This will be an interesting experience. Everyone was very friendly, and we look forward to getting to know the families in the ward. It has been a while since Hallie has been in Relief Society, and it was good to be there.

After dinner we took Mike to see the “land” or the “cricket field” where Grandpa and Grandma M. are moving to, and then we headed to the Payson temple. We waited for quite a while for the lights to come on, and Hallie got tired of waiting so we left. As we got about a block away we saw in the rear view mirror that the lights came on, so we turned around and went back.