Thursday, November 19, 2015

Hallowinning: San Buenaventure + Best of the Rest

We did something on this California trip we've never done before: visited a mission! The San Buenaventura Mission, to be precise. Honestly, I was a little worried that the kids would run-a-muck and break things, but happily, no muck was run. The Mission tour started with a room full of artifacts from the original mission, which was founded in 1782. The boys were especially impressed with the old wooden bells on display.

After touring the inside, we went out into the courtyard, which was just beautiful. The weather was perfect, too, and we were all happy to enjoy wandering.

At one point, each child occupied his or her own bench.

Ryan and I tried to take a selfie, which Reed felt the need to photobomb.

So of course we decided to have everyone hop in!

Then Asher wanted to take pictures of Ryan and I. Sure thing, Ashie B.

After some outside wandering, we went into the chapel, where the kids were a little rowdy. They were very interested in the lit candles, and the big altar at the front of the chapel. They also thought the little benches for kneeling that folded down from the back of the pews were amazing. I think this experience was their first inside a church that wasn't an LDS chapel, and they were kind of in awe over the differences.

We were at the mission on a school day, so we were basically the only people there, which was awesome. And, as we were leaving, the kids decided to tackle Ryan for hugs.

After the mission, we went to a few thrift shops a few doors down. One of the shops had all their Halloween items marked 50% off--two days before Halloween--and we scored with dress-ups for Jae for only $1-$2 a piece. We also found a fantastic bike for Ryan--his current bike is pretty cheaply made and not awesome--and we even had our bike rack to transport the bike on! Then we found a box of Halloween plastic weapons that was marked $6. It was a HUGE box and was only $3 with the sale--so it came home! We are now heavily outfitted for any pretend battles we encounter.

And now, a few random pictures:

One night, I found them all snuggled up like this in a queen-sized bed. SO CUTE.

Not in California, but I wanted this picture to be on the blog.

On our way to CA, we stopped at Alien Fresh Jerky in Baker. We've driven by this store countless times and had never been in. Now we have!

Hallowinning: Bikes and the Beach

I maybe already mentioned this on ze blog, but a few weeks ago, we went to the Mountain's Edge community yard sale. In addition to a giant box of legos we bought for $18 and a few odds and ends we picked up for around another $10, we got a free glass patio table--the rectangular shape making it a much better fit for our backyard than our previous circular table--and a bike rack that could go into our trailer hitch! We were particularly excited about the latter because, though we *can* fit all our bikes into our car if needs be, fitting all our bikes into our car isn't exactly easy. Anyway, when we were packing up for California, we put the kids' bikes and the bike trailer in the back of the car, then attached the empty rack to the back, with plans to borrow Ryan's parents' bikes (so we didn't have to drag ours along) and go for a ride at the beach!

When we were loading up to go to the beach, we realized that we are total nerds and left the two-inch connector that connects the bike trailer to a bike. It was still on my bike, where it's been for the last two years. Bummer. Summer. We decided to go anyway, letting Ryan and the boys ride while Lila and I played at a beach front playground. Lila and I drove the boys up the bike path, dropped them off, and watched them start.

Here's how Lila felt about being left out.

And as they rode away...

This happened.

A selfie with me cheered her up.

But then she remembered that the BOYS WERE ON BIKES. WITHOUT HER.

So screaming Lila and I drove to the park where, once released from her seat and given a bike, was perfectly happy again.

She rode around the sidewalks for just a few minutes when suddenly, the boys were back! We were shocked at how fast they'd been. Apparently we'd misjudged the distance. Ashie decided to stay and play with us, but Reed and Ryan turned around to ride back past where they'd originally started, with plans for us to pick them up once they got tired.

Asher, Lila, and I did a lot of swinging and playground playing. Then we walked out by the water, long enough to find some really cool, really big shells. Finally, we decided to try out the zip line.

They were huge fans of the zip line. After a few tries, my phone started ringing--it was time to pick Ryan and Reed up! We met up with them and they told us all about their adventure down the bike path and riding out on the pier over the water. They had a fantastic time and were so glad they went.

We returned to the play ground for a picnic lunch. I took all the kids potty. While we were gone, a seagull STOLE Reed's sandwich off the table! From right next to Ryan! After that, he stacked up all the plates to protect the food. When I came back with the kids, birds were literally circling our table. Luckily, once we were all sitting at the table, the birds stayed back--kind of.

After lunch, we of course had to let Reed have a few turns on the zip line. And then it was on to the next activity: San Buenaventura Mission!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Hallowinning: Trick or Treat

One of the great things about being in California for Halloween is that we get to trick or treat with cousins. This Halloween we went with Peyton and Zoe!  The kids were all so cute in their costumes. Zoe was a masquerade person, Peyton was a 50's girl, Reed was Harry Potter, Asher was Darth Vader and Lila was Minnie Cinderella Minnie. 

Months before Halloween, Lila decided that she most definitely, without a doubt, was going to be Minnie Mouse for Halloween. I was whole-heartedly on board, mainly because we already had an adorable Minnie costume. Lila never wavered from her desire to be Minnie--until the LVMPD trunk or treat we went to. That night, she decided she wanted to be Cinderella (another dress-up we already had). A few days later, we went to the Haunted House at the library, and she wanted to Cinderella again. And on her date with Daddy to the Fall Festival, she wore her Cinderella costume. So when it came time to pack for California, Ryan and I decided to go the safe route and pack the Minnie costume AND the Cinderella costume. After maintaining all afternoon that she wanted to be Cinderella for Halloween, when it finally came time to get dressed she chose Minnie. Go figure. Unfortunately, though she wore her Cinderella costume on three separate occasions, I never took a picture of her as a princess. You'll just have to trust me when I say she looked cute. She also looked cute as Minnie:

At every house she chimed in with "tick-were-teet!" And at every house, after she got her treat, she'd run down the driveway and yell, "I got THIS!" She'd also let us know if she scored: "I got TWO!!!!!" She was so exuberant. I was worried she was going to trip on the driveways pretty much every trip down, but luckily she was okay! As the night wore on, she got tired and would hang back by the adults while we walked between houses. Once she saw the kids headed up the driveway, though, she'd take off in a sprint to catch up, which was super cute. She also decided that she and Uncle Steve are friends and often grabbed his hand between houses.

Reed looked magical as Harry Potter. When he dressed up as Harry for spirit week last year, we just made pipe cleaner glasses. This time, we bought glasses from the dollar store and pushed the glass out. The real glasses made him look so different and so much older! (Side note: He and Ryan sprinted through the first 20 chapters of HP 4--and we also listened to large portions in the car on our trip--so Reed would know why his robes said "Potter" on the back! Luckily, we made it far enough into the book by Halloween and Reed was even more pumped on his costume.)

And of course, Ashie Vader. I love this little dark side fan. For his birthday, he got Storm Trooper converse, which were the perfect match for his costume. He force choked me too many times to count. And having a mask was awesome for him because he didn't even have to smile or really look for pictures.

I made them pose by the pumpkins again :)

Lila's face!!!

Peyton was the most adorable 50's girl. And she gave Reed her shirt after Halloween, because it was a boys' shirt and hard to button up haha. I don't know how I didn't get a picture of Zoe alone, but she was stunning in her costume! (Side note: Kamdyn went trick or treating with friends so is not pictured. They were wearing super creepy masks from some movie I can't remember the name of!)

We ended up with more candy than ever before. We ate at least a gallon-sized bag before I gave everybody their own sandwich size bag to fill. We then donated two gallon-sized bags to troops overseas! The kids have been slowly working through their individual bags and as of today (11/18) they still have about 5 pieces left, each!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Hallowinning: Pumpkins

The plan was to have one Halloween post. Then I added the just pumpkin carving pictures and I realized that there was no way Halloween was going to be one post. So please enjoy the first installment of Halloween posts: pumpkins.

The weekend before Halloween, we ventured to the Mountain's Edge Fall Festival after Reed's soccer game. A friend had told me that free pumpkins are handed out at the event, but because we had Reed's soccer game and the primary program practice, we wouldn't get to the festival until the last hour it was running--and I was pretty sure we wouldn't get a pumpkin. As it turns out, I was wrong. 

Ryan and Lila had gone on a little date to the festival during the morning while the boys and I were at the church practicing for the primary program. The festival was super crowded, even though they went right at the beginning, but they did get to ride a few rides, have Lila's face painted, and decorate a pumpkin. Lila had so much fun with Ryan and was quite eager to take us all back to the festival. When we did all go, there were still quite a few people there, but apparently no where near as many people as when Ryan and Lila had gone in the morning! The lines for the rides were super short, so we got to do several rides in our limited time. There were no kids trick-or-treating at the trick-or-treat booths, so we got to set our own pace and get all the candy we wanted. And because the festival was almost over and there were still many, many pumpkins, the organizers were telling people to take, and I quote, "As many as you want. Do you want more? Please, take pumpkins!" We took five, which I schlepped to the car while Ryan and the kids played, then as we were leaving decided to grab five more because, well, why not?

We schlepped all our pumpkins to California with us. (Before this blog post, I have never actually use the word "schlepped." Now I've used it twice.) And, when pumpkin carving night came, we were glad to have so many! Janelle's girls already had their own pumpkins, but Peyton and Zoe ended up carving two each. Ryan carved a stack of three pumpkins. And there was even a pumpkin left for Steve to carve.

Reed wanted a Harry Potter pumpkin--is anyone surprised by that? He drew the basic idea, then I went to work with the knife.

Asher wanted a Darth Vader Pumpkin--also not a surprise. He colored a glorious Darth Vader picture he didn't want carved. Then, when Grandma pulled out the candles, Asher started crying--he hadn't realized we were lighting the pumpkins. Happily, I was able to carve his Darth satisfactorily. I especially love the hand and the lightsaber he drew--they circled around the back of the pumpkin.

At first, Lila only wanted her cat pumpkin. But then she changed her mind, as she is wont to do, and had Ryan carve her a tiny jack-o-lantern.

One of Zoe's pumpkins was an owl, and one was a cute face. Peyton did an upside-down bat...and maybe another one I can't remember. And Kamdyn made an adorable little ghost!

Steve was at work when we carved, so he carved his pumpkin the next day. And Asher sat next to Steve for at least a solid hour, just watching the carving process.

Halloween in Simi this year was exceptionally warm, and within a day or two our pumpkins were quite droopy. Luckily, we carved them right before Halloween, so it was okay to throw the pumpkins away :)

And in case you're wondering about Reed's outfit...we'd gone thrift shopping earlier in the day and found super cheap dress-ups to add to Jae's dress-up station. We had the boys try on a few as a joke, but Reed ended up loving the Chinese dress-up because it was so cozy. He even wanted to wear it to bed! Silly boy.