Monday, May 31, 2010

Anacapa Island

As I mentioned on Spencer's birthday blog, his present was snorkeling with Dave at the Channel Islands. They went this past weekend, and I think they had an amazing time. Dave took him out of school a little bit early Friday (to avoid Memorial Day weekend traffic) and drove down to stay with friends in Thousand Oaks. They had to be at the dock in Oxnard (half an hour away from Thousand Oaks) at 7:15 Saturday morning for the 8:00 boat to Anacapa Island. Their boat is the one directly behind Spencer. It sat about 20 people on top and 20 on the bottom, and there was a little snack bar inside.

They were the first ones on the boat, so they got the best seats; although Dave said that Spencer didn't sit much at all. He was running all around looking at things while everyone else just sat there.

They saw a dolphin as they were leaving the bay.

Then about halfway to the island they were met by a large pod of common dolphins. The captain estimated there were about 1000 of them! The boat slowed down and the dolphins swam all around them. It looked just like Blue Planet. They also saw a mink whale.
Approaching Anacapa, the closest of the Channel Islands to the California coast. It's 12 miles from Oxnard and takes 1 hour by boat.

They chose Anacapa because friends told them it was the best one for snorkeling and scuba diving. However there isn't a beach there - just a sheer cliff.

The boat dropped them off at a platform and left. There were steps to go up to the top of the island and steps to go down to the water.

They went snorkeling in the cove, but it was very cold - even with their wetsuits on. They brought frozen peas to lure the fish, but they didn't see as many fish as they did in San Diego last year. Dave was talking to a guy whose friend went to Catalina recently and he said there weren't as many fish there as usual either. And the water was colder than usual for this time of year, too.

Then they climbed up and explored the island. There was a lighthouse and a building used by the Navy years ago, but otherwise there wasn't anything up there. Not even trees or bathrooms.

The land in the distance is the California coast.

Apparently there were a bunch of nesting seagulls, and they were very protective of their chicks.

They even saw a chick cracking out of its shell.

The boat came back to pick them up at 12:00. Then they sailed around the island. The captain said there were a lot more seals than usual - perhaps that's why there weren't as many fish.

Then they headed back, ate calamari at an outdoor cafe and drove back home. Spencer excitedly told me every little detail as soon as he walked in the door. Dave gave me a kiss and immediately fell asleep on the couch. Tyler's already asking when he gets to go to the Channel Islands. I think 10 is a good age for a trip like this - they're old enough to take care of themselves yet still young enough that they're super excited about everything. It just might have to become a family tradition.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Bubblegum Alley

I bravely took the kids downtown last weekend. Brave because Dave couldn't go, so it was just me, making sure everyone crossed streets together and didn't get lost between stores. And brave because Brennan had MORE tummy problems and even threw up while we were walking down Higuera St. But it was okay because I got an extra bag at Barnes and Noble when he first started feeling sick (he had gone 4 1/2 days without any problems, so I really did think he was over it). Then we went to Bubblegum Alley. My boys have always wanted to go there. They loved it! First they all chewed gum and put it on the wall. You just have to do that when you go there, so it's a good thing I had some in my purse. Then they ran up and down the alley, taking pictures and looking at cool designs and money and wrappers stuck in old gum.

Even Levi thinks it's yucky!

Spencer having a zen moment. That morning was the Taco Bell track meet (note his shirt) and primary activity at church, so it was a very full day. I knew Dave would be busy getting ready for the seminary Family Feud activity he was in charge of, and I had felt stuck in the house with Brennan on and off for weeks, so I had to get out and do something.

In fact it was such a busy day that Tyler won the class contest of who could write the most sentences about their weekend. He wrote 15 sentences - the next highest was 9. Here he is pretending to eat gum off the wall. Don't worry, it's just a leaf. And he didn't eat it.

Brennan's zen moment. Thankfully he felt fine after his incident and was able to enjoy the rest of our day, which included Avila Barn and beach. I have since taken him to the doctor, who ordered a bunch of tests. Brennan's all excited to poop in the cup. But he hasn't had any problems since, so we're not sure if we need to do them still or not.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fathers and Sons

The fathers and sons campout was a couple weekends ago. As you know I always look forward to this event. They went to the lake this year, and Dave said the kids were in and out of the water the whole time - swimming, kayaking and going out on the boat. They didn't come home quite as dirty this year b/c they washed off in the water. And no poison oak, so that was good.
Unfortunately Brennan came home early with tummy problems. He had been sick during the week and we'd really hoped he was better. My dad was planning on coming home Friday night anyway, so he just dropped him off around 10:00. Dave will have to take the boys camping another time to make it up to Brennan. And me.
But the other boys had a fabulous time.Levi and I had a quiet evening together. I was hoping to go out shopping, but he fell asleep really early.

So I tried to go shopping Saturday morning, but I had 2 kids with me. Then Brennan felt sick again while we were out and we had to come home. Like I said, they'll have to go camping again, like as soon as we get Brennan's tummy issues figured out.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Double digits!

Spencer turned 10 today! We all met at the bay for fish and chips. The restaurant wasn't very busy, which is good because, dang, there's a lot of us (20), and we took up half the tables.

We figured cupcakes would be easiest to transport and serve in a restaurant, so Spencer had the idea of putting them in the shape of a dolphin. He's so clever. And I always have fun making birthday cakes.

Good food, casual atmostphere, gorgeous view. We love this place.

Most unique gift: 200 ft of bubble wrap from his cousins. Spencer's main gift, which is tentatively scheduled for Memorial Day weekend, is snorkling at the Channel Islands with Dave.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Helping Hands

Last Saturday we participated with the Mormon Helping Hands service project. There were 3 different parks in our town to choose from, and we went to the one closest to our house. There weren't nearly as many helpers compared to the park we went to last year, but we felt like we got a lot done in 2 1/2 hours.
We picked up trash and pulled weeds, and everyone was able to help out. Then when they got tired, they just played at the park. So that worked out well.

Levi was happy the whole time, which was amazing because it was during his morning nap. Then he slept all afternoon, like 5 hours.
It was a beautiful day - sunny with just a slight breeze, so we didn't get too hot.

When we came home we wanted to work on our own yard, so Spencer mowed the lawn while Dave and I trimmed all the bushes and even took out an ugly, overgrown rosemary bush that's been bugging me. I'm not used to manual labor, and I was wiped out that night. And super sore the next day.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tyler's baptism

3 Nephi 11:38 And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
Tyler was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints last Saturday, May 1st. We've spent the last few family home evenings preparing him for this big step.

He was so excited, literally bouncing off the walls. Then he didn't want to get out of the water. He tried to start swimming around until we let him know that wasn't really appropriate. Plus there was a little girl waiting to get baptized after him. Then while he was changing out of his wet clothes he told Dave he felt "warm and peaceful inside."

My parents were able to come up for the baptism, and Tyler asked my mom to give the talk on the Holy Ghost. Unfortunately Kristen and Ellen were still in Utah, but the rest of their families were there. Afterwards Dallin said, "Now I want to get baptized. I thought it would be scary, but after seeing Tyler do it, I want to do it too."

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Dallin, what a character

Dallin's kindergarten class put on a play of the 3 Little Pigs last week. The boy on Dallin's right was going to be the big bad wolf, but a few days before the play he decided it was too scary. His teacher asked a couple other students, but they refused. Then she asked Dallin, who eagerly said, "Yes!" He was grateful he didn't have to wear pink, like everyone else.

He really got into the part, and it was so cute. He even ad libbed a bit, and his teacher told me afterwards that I need to put him in show biz. His favorite part was holding onto his tail, running around the stage and yelling, "Owwwwww!" Several moms came up to me later and told me Dallin stole the show. That was a lot of fun.

Speaking of Dallin, here he is training to be a goalie. Dave put this tape up in the garage a few months ago for the kids to practice roller hockey. Spencer's convinced Dallin is going to make a great goalie someday, so they've got him blocking their shots. He has no fear and just throws himself on top of the pucks flying towards him.