Monday, January 30, 2012

New Years Eve

In many ways New Years Eve was the highlight of the holidays. Justin had planned a murder mystery dinner and he gave us all a description of the character we were to play. Each couple got $10 and we went to a thrift store to get into costume. I was the Baron of the castle and Lisa was my spinster sister who was a religious fanatic. Grandma was the maid, Kira and Sharley were gypsy's who happened to be passing through and since a storm was coming I let her them stay in my castle if they provided entertainment. Ben was a local farmer who had lost his little girl to wolves and he was petitioning me for help. Since the storm stranded him at the castle I kind of had to let him stay for dinner. Alycia was a hunter who I had hired to get rid of the wolves that were causing a lot of problems with the locals (like Ben) and Trevor was the local drunk. I think he was supposed to be doctor or something too. We also invited Cameron and Erica over and Erica was the butler and Cameron was some business man passing through who got stranded. He was very curious about what was going on and he rather suspicious to me but he turned out to be innocent.
Sarah of course was thoroughly bummed. All the years she was growing up she watched her older siblings head of to the young adult dances and she stayed home and did  nothing and now that she can go to the dance we have a party without her. I can't say as I blame her but she has actually gone to the youth dances for the last four years and they do make a big deal out of those.

So after getting our costumes we ate at the In-N-Out and then went home and got the dinner ready. The dinner sort of melded into our play where the two rotten Gypsy's turned out to be the evil ones and managed to kill us all off. We might have taken them out if Cameron hadn't died so fast.

After we all died we broke out Mom's new Kinect and danced the night away. I'm not sure how they talked me into dancing but I have to admit it was fun. When we tired of that we played another board game and when midnight arrived we celebrated with a round of Martinelli's.

Sarah and her friends arrived home about the time we were all headed for bed so decided to try and read my book on the couch in the other room while they all played that fun Tellustrations game. I was asleep long before they decided to leave. It was really good to see MacKenzie again and to meet her new fiance. He seems like a very nice guy. Caitlin and her boyfriend (soon to be fiance it looks like to me) were the other couple in the group with Sarah and Oliver and Jace Olsen.

And that was New Years Eve. Thank goodness we started late church this year so we could all sleep in the next morning.

The concept behind Sweet Hearts dates back to the time of Abraham Lincoln. Today they make more than 8 billion (8,000,000,000) candy hearts a year.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sea World

Friday we did Sea World. Once again Ben & Sharley couldn't be there because of work. It was sad he couldn't get more days off work because we really missed them. Sea World is one of our favorite places in San Diego. It is expensive but very cool. 

Everyone loved the whale show which we watched twice. Landon was so into it he about crawled over the rail to get down there. 

 Evan was into it as well. Here he is fascinated with the Beluga's.
As is Landon. 
This kid is all boy.

It was Trevor's first time at Sea World and he was getting in to it as well. 

Here we all are with Shamu. 

If a Diesel Electric train were a car it would get about 400 miles per gallon.

Point Loma Tide Pools

Sadly Ben and Sharley left us Thursday morning to go back to work. Thursday was the day we rescheduled the tide pools for. One of the prettiest places in San Diego is Point Loma. It is the point of land that juts out and forms one side of the mouth of San Diego Bay. The point is quite high up and so you would figure it would be the perfect place for a light house. More than a century ago they built that light house and ran it for some time before they decided that during the fog (when you really want a light house) it was just too high up and people were running into the shore before they could actually see the light house hundreds of feet up above them. The current light house is actually a beacon that is down at the shore line but the old light house is still there and is a very cool attraction. 

Down on the water below the light house are some of the best tide pools you will ever see. Unfortunately for us, all during Christmas the low tide always occurred at night and during the day when we could actually see anything the tide was quite high. That didn't deter us however so we headed to the shore anyway. 

We went to the lighthouse first and it didn’t take us too long to look into the living quarters of the light house and then climb up into the tower, take a bunch of pictures and then head out. What was very cool however is that when we first got to the light house we could see a wall of fog out on the ocean heading toward the land. We literally watched the fog hit the point and spill over the ridge and down the other side. We went from perfectly clear weather to foggy within about fifteen minutes. 

Looking across the mouth of San Diego Bay to Coronado Island Naval Station.
Kira getting lost in the fog. Look at how clear the view is in the photo before Kira's and then look at the fog in the photo with Kira. That fog coming in was quite dramatic. Kira looks like she's walking in a cloud. Kind of like an angel don't you think?
And here is another angel with her head in the clouds
Justin and Landon
Sarah and Grandma
Evan and Trevor

Justin, Trevor and Landon

Me, Mom and Alycia
The fog engulfing the light house as it rolls in over the ridge

When we were all satisfied with the lighthouse we headed down the hill to the beach. The tide was in so we couldn’t see much but there were still lots of rock and pot holes and so we took off our shoes and searched out the crabs, anemone, barnacles and other wild life that we could find. 

At one point Sarah nearly gave me a heart attack. She came walking down this one rock and slipped on some moss and landed on her backside. She was right on the edge of a little drop which would have dropped her about four feet onto another ledge of rock. Four feet might not sound like much but if you landed on your head it would hurt. I tried to run over and catch her as best I could but she had caught herself by the time I got there so all I could do was comfort her and kiss her owey better. She really hurt her hand. 
Not long after Sarah's acrobatics Justin, Sarah and I were intently checking out a pool of water when a rogue wave about washed us off the rock. It was a rather chilling shock. It looks like Justin took the brunt of it.

Trevor trying to keep Alycia warm.

After we went home and warmed up we made a family trip to the temple. Thursday is my normal day to work at the temple so we picked that day for the family trip. I went in for my shift before everyone else but they all showed up later and I joined them in the cafeteria for dinner. After dinner everyone except Sarah attended an endowment session. Sarah isn't able to do a regular session at the temple but she can go and do baptisms so she did that while we did a session. I love it when we can all go together to the temple. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Big Balloon Parade

On Wednesday (December 28) we went and watched the "Big Balloon Parade". This is not something we would normally do but as it turned out, the group that Sarah volunteers for was in the parade. Sarah has volunteered for a couple of years now with "Sports for Exceptional Athletes". I guess for some reason the Special Olympics left San Diego and these are the guys who filled the void left behind. When they learned that Sarah had a nephew in a wheel chair they invited him to be in the parade with them and so how could we not go and watch Evan in the parade?

The parade was actually quite good and Kira of, course, loved all of the bands. For those who may not know, Kira actually marched with her band in the Rose Bowl Parade one year. My skinny little girl carried a humongous Sousaphone for the entire distance.
While Kira was getting Evan to where he belonged before the parade started they happened to run into Captain Jack Sparrow. While Evan was thrilled to see him, he was just a bit scared of him too.
And finally we saw the Sports for Exceptional Athletes arrive and we anxiously looked for Evan.
And there he is with a very cute girl walking right behind him. 
 It looks like he's a natural at this doesn't it? I guess he was like that the entire parade, just waving at everyone. When the parade finally ended Sarah told us that Evan looked at her and said, "why are we stopping?" He was ready to keep going. The guy with Sarah is Oliver. He also volunteers with the group.

After the parade we all headed to Old Town for lunch and then the Mormon Battalion visitors center.

Our favorite place to eat in Old Town is the Old Town Mexican Café. Unfortunately when we got there they told us the wait was like two hours or some dumb thing like that. We weren’t really up to a two hour wait so we headed across the street to “Fred’s Mexican Café”. With a name like that how can you go wrong? I think it is the atmosphere at the Old Town Mexican Café that makes it so cool more than it is the food. 

After a wonderful lunch at "Fred’s" we then headed up to the visitors center. A year or two ago the Mormon Battalion Visitors center was completely redone and if you haven’t seen it yet you really should go. I love it every time I’m there. Evan has been excited to go to the "Mormon Italian" long before e arrived in San Diego. He has called Mom several times just to let her know.
Landon liked it too. He's riding his horse.
And pumping water.

Evan, on the other hand, is helping his mother do the laundry.

And helping his Dad make some bricks.

And I'm panning for gold in the nearby stream.

Wednesday night we had a surprise planned for our kids. Last year a friend of ours, Rick Daynes, invited us to a song and dance show called “Mixed Tape”. As you may know, I’m not much into popular music but this show was a lot of fun and brought back all kinds of memories from when I was a teenager. 

Rick has a friend who is in the Mixed Tape caste and she had tickets waiting for us at will call. So we got the kids loaded up (always a challenge), got the baby sitter set up and then we piled into two cars (I'm thinking we need to rent a bus for the next time we're all home) and headed for down town. About the time we're decending into mission valley we get a panicked call from Rick. Apparently for the first time in over a year the show has sold out and there are no tickets available for us. Not even at full price. We were quite bummed but we turned the cars around and went home and played games into the we hours of the night. Justin had a new game called Telestrations. While I don't think it was quite as fun as Settlers, the girls liked it more and twelve people could play so it was definitely more fun to get everyone involved.

The Mormon Battalion made the longest infantry march in American history. 
They also constructed the first brick building in California.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mount Woodson

The plan for Tuesday was to climb Mt. Woodson. It is fairly steep in places but only four miles up and four miles back. There are three trails up the Mountain but by far the prettiest one starts out from Poway Lake. I was hoping we could all go on the hike but as it turned out Ben had to work and kind of at the last minute some friends of Trevor's showed up in town and he and Alycia decided to spend the day with them. That left Justin, Kira, their boys, Sarah, Lisa and myself.

It was a perfect day for hiking. It wasn't too cold so you didn't overheat and as long as you stayed in the sun you didn't get too cold. In case you don't know Landon (Justin and Kira's youngest) he is a ball of energy. If he is awake he is constantly moving and I mean moving fast. I rarely saw him run out of energy the whole time he was here so I was watching to see just how long he would hold out on this hike. It wasn't too long but it was fairly steep in places.

As it turned out, he almost made it to the top. I'm not sure where the stroller was but this must have been a tough way to do a hike. That boy is heavy.
Mom at least made it further than Landon did. She does have an excuse though. She's been sick since August and while she is on the mend, her Fe levels are still quite low and without iron it is a lot harder to get oxygen to your cells. She did well and Justin once again was a good man and stayed with her most of the way up.
Just before you get to the top of the mountain there is this sharp rock ledge that sticks out from a cliff. Of course you have to stand on the end of it.
A lot of people are quite hesitant to stand on the end of the rock and while I couldn't talk Mom in to going I did get everyone else out there.
This is about as close to the rock as Lisa was about to get. 
Ever since he got here (and I think even before he got here) Evan has been asking if he could have a fire. After we got home and recuperated a little bit we lit a fire in our fire-pit in the back yard. As a special surprise for Evan Lisa bought these humongous marshmallows. They are seriously the size of tennis balls. Evan had a ball using them to make a torch. He thinks it is much more fun to burn marshmallows than it is to eat them. I think I might have to agree with him. 

And then, just like any other night, we played games until well into the wee hours of the morning.

Our DNA proves that every living human being descends from one woman.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Christmas Day

 Christmas Morning in our house was a bit different than it normally is. With it being a Sunday and church at 9:00 we did not have time to open our presents. It takes us a good 5 or 6 hours to open our presents because we only allow one person at a time to open their gifts. The gifts from Santa however are left unwrapped under the tree so we decided to let the boys (and Sarah) enjoy their Santa gifts and then we all got ready for church.

Church was beautiful. I love to sing Christmas songs and with Kira and her Oboe it made it even more special.

After church we commenced with the gifts. I have to admit that Evan was a bit happier with his gifts on Christmas Day than he was with his gift from Christmas Eve. Santa was good to everyone.
Even the big kids were excited.
Ben pulled a very funny trick on Sharley. For Christmas they bought each other I-Phones. They'd been using them already for a few weeks so Ben stole Sharley's phone from her after she'd gone to sleep and wrapped it up. As we're all settling in getting ready to open gifts he uses my phone to call Sharley. He couldn't call from his own phone because she has a special ring tone for him that she would recognize. It was so funny to see everyone's faces when one of the presents under the tree started to ring. You should have seen the look of confusion on Sharley's face when someone handed her the ringing present. It was really funny. 

Of course, Sheba has to be right in the thick of it all. 

Lisa and I got all of the kids a pizza stone and pizza paddles to go along with them. We found wooden ones with long handles or metal ones with short handles. We really liked the wooden ones so we got them and cut the handles off for anyone who didn't want to pack the long handles. We also made the kids books about Waldemaar Christian and Ella Dora Lybbert. Lisa was able to get to the Lybbert reunion this summer and saw that Marsha (Smith) Nelson had put the book together using Heritage Makers so Lisa copied it for our kids. It is a very cool book and if anyone wants a copy contact Lisa, she will tell you how you can buy one.
About the time the presents were winding down it was time to get our Skype call from Alex. It was of course the highlight of our day. We plugged our big screen TV into the laptop and there was Alex larger than life. What was also cool was that we could also conference in Brandon from Texas. 
It was also pretty cool because for both Alex and me it was the first time we got to see little Rosalie. 
Hayley has also grown a lot since Alex lost saw her. I love that little girl. I sure miss those girls.
We even got to meet Alex's companion, Elder Carcamo.

Monday we had scheduled the tide pools but it didn't quite work out that way. Kira went for breakfast with her friends, Alycia went to breakfast with her friends, Ben, Trevor and Justin went and played football with their friends. By the time we got everyone back home it was too late to do the tide pools so we went to a movie instead. We figured "I Bought a Zoo" would be a cool movie for the kids. Wrong. It was a very adult movie and not at all what we expected. It was still a good movie but Evan and Landon did not enjoy it.

Following the movie we did Christmas Card Lane. Normally we walk the entire thing but it was late and we were tired so we rolled down the windows in the van and drove slowly. 

Scientists have designed a nanoparticle that will stab a microscopic knife into bacteria but will leave human cells alone. It appears to work on those nasty drug resistant bacteria like MRSA. Human trials will start in a few years.