Safety monitor

Posted in Molly, School on November 2nd, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Molly’s school selected some of the more responsible 5th graders to be safety monitors, and she was happy to get the job. So, now we have to get to school early every morning so she can stand at her post (outside Kindergarten) and make sure kids are being safe. She takes her job seriously.

Safety monitor

Safety monitor

Even on Halloween, all dressed up, Molly was ready to be a responsible safety monitor. She wasn’t even thrown by Leah’s photobomb.

Halloween safety monitor

Harry Potter Halloween

Posted in Celebrations, Family outings, Leah, Molly on October 31st, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment
Harry Potter Halloween

For Halloween this year, we all went with Harry Potter costumes (which I am very excited about). I am Remus Lupin (possibly my favorite character), Molly is Luna Lovegood, Leah is Hermione Granger, and Jen is a Quidditch fan.

Harry Potter costumes

Harry Potter costumes

The girls really got into character. They even had a wizard duel.

Wizard duel

And they cast their spells. I don’t think they’re trying to hurt each other, given the smiles on their faces.

Cast your spells

On Halloween day, the girls had a Halloween parade at school as usual.

Halloween parade

Halloween parade

Then they had their class parties. And perhaps even took some time to learn something afterward.

As evening approached, it was time for some serious trick-or-treating. This year, Molly’s friend Grace joined our crew of trick-or-treaters.

Trick-or-treating crew

We trick-or-treated for about an hour.

Trick-or-treating

Jen handed out candy this year while I walked around with the girls. We didn’t have very many trick-or-treaters visit us early on, so we thought it might be a light Halloween. But eventually they showed up, totaling 139 trick-or-treaters this year.

Trick-or-treating

After returning home, Grace really wanted to keep going. Leah was done, but Molly agreed to go back out after thirty minutes of warming up and eating candy. So, Grace, Molly, and I headed back out to a street further than we've been before. This was later than we’ve trick-or-treated before, and Molly learned that late-night trick-or-treating can be awesome as folks are trying to unload candy. Every time someone said “just take a couple handfuls” she was very happy. She ended up filling up her pumpkin twice by the end of the night.

Pumpkin carving

Posted in Leah, Molly on October 31st, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

We’ve been really busy of late, and failed to get to carving pumpkins until our last chance. So, Monday night (October 30), after homework was finished, we finally tackled them.

The girls started the pumpkin carving off by cutting open the tops.

Pumpkin carving

After scooping the guts out, the girls both applied their designs. Leah opted for a unicorn printout which she transferred to the pumpkin by poking holes through it with an awl. Molly had a Harry Potter pumpkin photo she found that she free-hand drew on her pumpkin.

Designs

Poking

Drawing

Molly had to be really careful with the Harry Potter glasses, as they have large pieces that are only attached by a small bit.

Cutting

Leah had lots of zig-zags in her unicorn’s mane.

Cutting

Cutting

Cutting

And here are their finished products - Molly’s Harry Potter pumpkin and Leah’s unicorn pumpkin.

Finished product

Pumpkins

Six Flags again

Posted in Family outings, Leah, Molly on October 30th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

It may have taken us a long time for finally go to our local Six Flags, but it didn’t take long before we headed back again. Six Flags had a Bring a Friend Free day, and Zach and Stacie were kind enough to offer to bring us. So, after church we headed there for fun again. After lunch, our first stop was the Ragin Cajun.

Six Flags again

The dads got to ride as well, though we were relegated to the car after the kids.

Dads too

The ride Leah most wanted to ride again was Wonder Woman. Jen and I were again happy to stand by and not ride this high spinner.

Wonder Woman

We rode lots of other rides, but I didn’t get pictures of them as most of them were the same ones we rode before. Molly continued loving roller coasters, and even added one beyond what she’d rode before. She was worried about riding Apocalypse (it’s a standing coaster), and said she didn’t want to ride it. Then Stacie bet her a dollar to ride it, and she of course did. She ended up saying it was her favorite ride of the day, and we ended up riding it a second time on the way out.

We left the park right as Fright Fest was starting, and our girls were ready to get out of the park then. Lots of zombies and other scary folks start wandering the park terrorizing guests, which was not their idea of fun. Next time we may have to leave a couple minutes earlier to avoid them entirely.

Thanks so much to Zach and Stacie for bringing us along.

Church 5K

Posted in Sports on October 29th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

While our visitors were in town, our church held their annual 5K. It was a beautiful day (much better than last year, when it started pouring rain half-way through the race). I had hoped to get others in my family to join me in the run, but no one wanted to take on the very hilly course. So, I headed off by myself.

That doesn’t mean the kids didn’t get involved in the race, though. The 5K runs right by our house. The kids decided to make signs and come out to cheer me (and the rest of the racers) on.

Cheering section

I got a nice boost of energy from my cheering section as I ran by.

Here comes Dad

My family didn’t run, but some of their friends did. Simon and Ben ran by too quickly to be photographed (they actually ended up first and second in their age group), but Jen did get a picture of Matilda, Stacie, and Julie.

Friends running

I had my best result in this race so far. For the first time, I won my age group. Thanks to all the other 30-something real runners for not showing up today. It was a great race, so all of you who didn't come should come next year - assuming you're not a 30-something male serious runner. In that case, you should come in 2 years when I move up to the 40-something bracket :)

Putt-putt fun

Posted in Family outings, Family visits, Leah, Molly on October 28th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

In September we had visitors from a far away land. Emmie, JJ, Aunt ‘Chelle, and Uncle J flew up to spend a couple days with us. While they were here, we went for a fun outing of putt-putt. We split into two foursomes, with the girls requesting me to accompany them while JJ and the other adults made up the other foursome. There was some intense concentration.

Putt-putt

Jen putting

The girls had fun golfing, but also got a bit of time to relax while waiting on the other group to catch up.

Relaxing on the green

It was fun!

Golfers

Silly golfers

The putt-putt course is right next to Rita’s, so we had to stop in for a treat.

After golf treat

Rainbow unicorn party

Posted in Celebrations, Leah on October 27th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

The day after Leah’s actual birthday, she had her birthday party. She had no doubts about the kind of party she wanted - a rainbow unicorn party. Yes, not just a unicorn party, but specifically a rainbow unicorn party. Throughout the summer, Leah typed up an outline brainstorming the details of her rainbow unicorn party. Yes, she is her mother’s child.

Happy birthday banner

Rainbow unicorn decorations were everywhere - even outside.

Mailbox decorations

As guests arrived, they were given a unicorn horn and tail, then headed to the table to color a bit until everyone was there.

Coloring

Coloring

The girls then painted a canvas with rainbows. The canvas had a unicorn sticker, that was later removed after the paint dried.

Painting

Painting a rainbow

Here are the girls' rainbow masterpieces after the sticker had been peeled off (picture taken after the party).

Final product

After painting, the girls all made unicorn balloons. They picked a balloon, stuck everything on, and decorated the horn. We had a little trouble sticking things on (glue dots didn’t work the way we’d hoped), but made it through. Leah clearly likes her creation.

Unicorn balloons

We had a couple of activities that were not on the original plan, including tail braiding. The girls had all been given unicorn tails when they arrived. After the balloon craft, one of them decided to braid their friend’s tail, which led to everyone braiding each other’s tails. They loved it.

Tail braiding

Another unscripted activity was the tail shaking dance party. They had the best time shaking their tails and dancing to the music.

Tail shaking

Jen made a fantastic 3-layer funfetti rainbow unicorn cake for Leah’s party.

Cake

And we sang Happy Birthday (with a little extra unplanned fire).

Jen also made a great rainbow piñata for the party.

Rainbow piñata

The girls all got to swing at it several times.

Piñata swing

Piñata swing

Piñata swing

Piñata swing

After several rounds, the piñata was defeating the girls. So, they called in a big strong hitter to take it down. Jen only needed one swing.

Big hitter

Candy

Thanks to everyone for coming!

Party people

Silly one

Leah’s actual birthday

Posted in Celebrations, Leah on October 24th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

The celebration continued on Leah’s actual birthday. Leah shares a birthday with one of her best friends (Grace), and their birthday fell on a Saturday this year. So, we made sure their parties wouldn’t conflict, and decided Grace would have her party on their actual birthday and Leah’s would be the next day.

We decided to go out to lunch for a family birthday meal rather than dinner, and Leah surprised no one in choosing Ledo Pizza for our destination. After lunch, there was no time for presents because Leah headed off to Grace’s American Girl tea party. After she got home, she was eager to open them up. Molly made a great card for her.

Actual birthday

Star Wars is still a big hit, and the new Forces of Destiny toys are a favorite of our girls. Molly already has Leia and R2-D2 (which she got in Disneyland), and now Leah has Rey and BB-8.

Star Wars

Leah’s wanted Heelys for a long time, and was very excited to get them. Now she just needs to figure out how to skate in them.

Heelys

The girls really enjoyed playing with a marble run toy that was at the beach house in California, so we gave Leah one for her birthday. While Leah was enjoying her other new toys (that’s Rey in her hands there), Molly was quick to open up the marble run and construct a fun run.

Marble run

After dinner, Leah got to blow out a candle. The cake had to wait for her party the next day, but no one complained about the homemade chocolate ice cream Jen made for us.

Homemade ice cream

Leah turns 8

Posted in Celebrations, Leah on October 23rd, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Shortly after school started, it was time to celebrate Leah’s 8th birthday. This started a week early at Grams’s house. There were of course presents.

Early birthday

These perfect presents combined two loves of Leah - Minecraft and plush toys.

Minecraft plushes

Good things come to those who wait. Hatchimals were impossible to find at Christmas, but now Leah’s got one of her own.

A Hatchimal

Minecraft, Lego, Roominate. Do you get the idea that she likes to build?

Lego

Roominate

Thanks to all for the presents and the fun celebrating early.

Old friends

Posted in Family outings, Trip on October 22nd, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

After spending Friday at the beach, it was time to leave L.A. However, rather than head back east, we chose to head south to see an old friend. Bill’s my best friend from high school, and he now lives (with his wife, Lauren, and daughter, Sloan) in San Diego. So, we though we could spend an extra day in California to see him. This was tough, as the girls started school that week and Bill’s family was flying in from Hawaii Friday, but we were determined to make it work.

We planned to leave very early Saturday morning, hoping to get to San Diego in time to go to the zoo around when it opened. Sadly, Molly didn’t feel well before we even got in the car. She felt sick the whole way, and we had 4 vomit stops along the way. Given how hot it was, we decided taking her to the zoo was a bad plan. Instead, we headed to Bill’s house to hang out and let her rest.

Amazingly, after we arrived and she got some time out of the car, she was fine. We hung out at their house for a bit, and got to meet Sloan. Since Molly was doing better, we decided she could handle going out and doing something. They live right off the beach, and the girls were begging to go back to the beach, so that’s what we did. We figured if Molly relapsed, at least it wasn’t far to get back. She didn’t though, and we had a lot of fun at the beach.

San Diego beach

The girls enjoyed playing with Sloan. They may be much older than her, but Sloan has much more beach experience than them, making her the beach expert of the bunch.

Kids on the beach

Kids on the beach

Sloan on the beach

After the beach, we got cleaned up and headed to a local pizza place (which our girls were really pushing for).

Pizza time

Old friends

We had intended to get a hotel room that night. Since hotels in San Diego are expensive, I’d been trying to grab a deal last minute on Hotwire. But Bill and Lauren were very kind and offered for us to stay with them instead, despite the fact that they’d just gotten back in town the night before. Bill and I even got to go on an early morning run together for the first time since high school cross country.

Then we got ready and headed to the airport, ready to get home Sunday night after a long but very fun trip. The girls at least got the next day (Labor Day) off before starting school on Tuesday. The timezone change right before starting school wasn’t ideal, but we managed.