We got to spend ten wonderful days in California this January! It was so much fun! The first morning we got there, Aidan, Henry and their parents came over for a playdate. Serenity was sooo happy to get to play outside, as we had left an extremely cold Oklahoma behind. We had her in just a light jacket, and she was very contented to dig in the dirt, moving it one handful at a time to a wheelbarrow. Henry, on the other hand, got a sweater and two coats. =) It’s funny, it felt so warm to us! Aidan played soccer with Eric. He is so athletic already, it’s amazing! He kicks balls and throws really hard! The kids didn’t really play together as much as play in the same vicinity, but it was wonderful to get to visit.
Serenity sorted spoons! It was so cute, Tina had given her a bunch of bowls and spoons, and she put green spoons in the green bowl, blue spoons in the blue bowl. Then she had a white spoon but no bowl to match so Tina had to find her one. The honey spoon was her favorite and became a bathtub toy. The orange bowl didn’t have any spoons in it. Henry came over and wanted to play spoons, but Serenity objected to sharing. He was so cute, when she whined about him taking a toy, he gave it to her and started looking for other things to give her. Such a peacekeeper =)
On Sunday we visited Vasona park with Ann and John. We took a nice little walk down to the lake. Serenity ran around the geese with Vanaema, and dropped leaves off the bridge into the creek. The happiest moment was definitely when we got to the lake and she discovered she could throw rocks into it. I think she would have stayed there forever if she could have! I had the thought that if Aidan had been there we couldn’t have encouraged rock throwing because someone would have gotten a concussion, but Serenity’s throws usually went plop around a foot into the water. =) She got into a good rhythm with Farfar, he’d hand her one rock and she’d toss it in one after the other. Then he tried to trick her by handing her a paci instead of a rock, but she wasn’t fooled! It went pop right into her mouth and she held out her hand for the next rock, not breaking the rhythm. =)
Serenity started asking “Go to park” every morning after her breakfast. She reveled in the relatively warm weather (although it was a bit chilly for those not coming from winter snowstorms). She loved Wilson park especially, with its slide mountain and tunnel slide. She also really enjoyed playing in the sand. We had softball one day, and Patricia had brought sand toys for the kids to play with. Serenity loved digging and filling up buckets! Again, she usually ditched the shovels and moved the sand one handful at a time. She played more directly with Henry and Aidan this time. She was really good at sliding, I got to the point that I let her go down by herself, she doesn’t need me to catch her at all or set her up. I just waited by the stairs as they are concrete and made me a little nervous still when she gets in a hurry. The steps at Papa’s house are carpeted. =)
We went to the beach at Santa Cruz with Ann. Serenity was very patient on the drive! We didn’t even need SuperWhy, just a couple of books. When Eric first put her on the sand, she did not like it a bit. He put her down on wet sand, and it was cold! We set her up with a towel and some borrowed beach toys, and she transferred sand to her towel quickly. Then she was good to walk around on the sand. I lured her a little closer to the water by building alphabet steps. She followed the abcs down to the wetter sand. She liked looking at the bubbles, but the water was too cold to really enjoy. She loved it when Daddy wrote her whole name in the sand. Then, we asked her what she would like to build. After some discussion, we settled on a turtle. We built a huge turtle, bigger than Serenity! She even helped, putting handfuls of sand on the turtle and helping me pat it into place. She got to ride on the turtle for a few pictures when it was done. Vanaema and Daddy ran down the beach, and then Serenity and I followed and played with our footprints. Later, we had lunch on the pier and looked at sea lions. Serenity ate clam chowder, the first seafood she’s really been a fan of. She was so good at the restaurant!
We went to see Avatar! It was amazing!
Vanaemma read lots of nursery rhymes with Serenity and taught her to say, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Serenity really liked “Little Jack Horner” and she and Vanaemma spent a lot of time finding different corners to sit in. She also read Snow, one of Eric and Tina’s favorite children’s books. John pulled out several Dr. Seuss books for her to try, and she enjoyed Horton Hatches an Egg, even though it is quite a long book!
Tina took us to meet her horses! It was instant love for Serenity. Tina gets to ride two horses, Dream and Cassie. We got Dream out of his pasture first, and Serenity got to pet his nose. She said “kisses!!!” when he sniffed her hand. It was so cute. Then, he ate some grass when Tina went to get Cassie. Serenity asked to pick some grass, so I put her down. She plucked a handful, and then stuck it in her mouth and said “yummy!” =) It was hilarious! Then we got to feed and brush the horses a bit. When Tina put Serenity on Cassie’s back, her whole face lit up! She got to ride her several times, and loved every minute! Tina told her to say “giddyup” to make the horse go, and she did. She still remembers riding the horse, and if you ask her what her horse’s name is, she’ll say Dream! Serenity loves playing with her Aunt Tina.
We had our Sixth Annual Epic Duels tournament. We had 24 people, 6 tables again, which is just a perfect number. Vanaemma and Tina kindly played with the babies while we played our games. This year, we had semi-finals and finals, so some people played five games! There were several extremely exciting games for Chewbacca! Veronica does really well with him! I’ll let Eric write the rest of the details for Epic Duels =)