Maia’s first trip to California was such fun! The kids were all amazing on the plane. Donovan spent the entire long flight putting stickers on paper, or passing stickers back and forth with Serenity, or putting stickers on Daddy. He was sitting in front of her but they still managed to play together =) Maia slept, ate, and smiled brilliantly at anybody that saw her. Serenity introduced herself, her brother and her baby sister to anyone that gave her any kind of encouragement. She’s so proud of her siblings =) And she told everyone that we were going to visit her Vanaema and Farfar. She even went on to explain that Vanaema was her Grandma and “She likes me a whole lot.” =)
We arrived in the early afternoon, which was perfect because the kids got to play with Ann and John and run off all their energy before bedtime. Donovan and Serenity love playing in the backyard in California. They climbed onto a little structure John built to cover the cat’s litter box. They climbed the ropes that were temporarily fencing the yard like monkeys. Ann told them all about the herbs and flowers she grows, and let them pick various things to add to their nature boxes or to make pretend food with. They pick lemons and oranges and made lemonade and orange juice. They even raided a pile of bricks in the back corner to make treasure chests to hide various treasures. Oh, and the back corner was the location of the “Everybody Club.” Serenity, Tina and Donovan were the first members but they encouraged everyone to join. =) On two occasions, Farfar led Serenity, Eric and Donovan down into the creek on an adventure. Once in each direction. We found all kinds of jungles and interesting flora.
Tina spoiled us this visit by making us Swedish pancakes TWICE. Donovan was in heaven. He called them pancake burritos and filled his with cream. Whipped cream is one of his favorite things. John teased him by saying, “whipped cream for the nose” which sometimes made him giggle and sometimes made him protest such a use for whipped cream. Serenity finished two and Eric ate five, so Tina didn’t get any leftover pancakes the first day, but I think she succeeded in that goal the second time =) We also got to spend a whole day with Tina, and Colen playing DND!!! John joined us for the first part of the day, and then helped Ann with Donovan and Serenity the rest of the day.
The kids loved their days with Vanaema. She kept them again while we played Descent with Johnny. They painted beautiful watercolors, and Donovan became obsessed with notes. Ann wrote him a note on a post-it and he loved it so much he ended up getting about fifty notes that he taped in a very organized fashion to papers. John said he’d probably be an engineer, he loves to very carefully align things. He did the same with the stickers on the plane, going all the way around the edge and then filling up the middle of the paper. He taped notes and drawings all around the card table.
We got to attend Evan’s birthday! He had a Super Why party, and Marilyn made so many cute things! The kids got toolboxes with Alpha Bits as a goodie bag, and Donovan insists that all his snacks be served in it still =) He hasn’t used it for tools yet but he obviously loves it. And we got new hooded towels that are actually big enough! Yay!!! Donovan said the best part was the pinata though and he would like a dinosaur one for his party. The funniest moment happened when we were playing at the park with Henry. Henry has decided that he’s going to marry Serenity. He informed me of this very seriously, and later Serenity said, “We’re getting married for real. It’s not pretend.” When his Mom asked “Exactly why do you want to marry Serenity?” He said, “Because she’s the prettiest.” Patricia said, “But I thought you said I am the prettiest. (he says that to me like every day) He said, well, you are, but you are already married ” Patricia said, “So you are just going to marry someone because they are the prettiest? What if you meet someone else prettier?” He said, “No, she’s the prettiest of all.” Patricia said, “What about the other girls at your school? Like your friend Sarah?” He said, “Well, she is pretty too. But Serenity is still the prettiest. Besides, I think I know who Sarah is going to marry- Charles.” (LOL.. he’s got it all figured out.) Patricia said, “I think you should marry someone who is fun, and smart and nice and you like doing things together….” He said, “All of those things? (Pause) And Serenity is all of those things.” Then he said, “She lives so far away though. It was a long time since I saw her.” Patricia really thinks it’s also because she actually listens to and understands his lightening speed talking. We also got to meet Pierce and Evie! They are sooo adorable. =)
One of the activities we all loved the best was going to the beach. Serenity really wanted to collect seashells, so we drove down to Santa Cruz. Juan and Veronica loaned us their large vehicle, so we could all go together! I wrapped Maia up in my jacket since it was pretty windy, and we mostly snuggled up in the beach chair while the others went on adventures. They built an enormous sand castle city decorated with shells and feathers. They went walking on the cliffs to look for tide pools. The kids loved every minute! It was such a beautiful day, listening to the ocean and watching them play. We went to our favorite bakery in Santa Cruz for a snack before heading home.
Some of our other favorite moments included swimming at Kona Kai, heading to the park so Serenity could beat her swinging record (760 swings I believe. Farfar is an extremely patient swing pusher =), and adding to my Yogurtland spoon collection. It had become sadly depleted. Ann took us shopping at Valley Fair for new clothes! The kids got cute things at Hanna Andersen that she had wisely scouted out online before we went to the mall. I found new shoes that actually fit! So much better than ordering online. And DZ got his first pair of crocs later in the week. Serenity got to play Dominion, and Ann learned to play just because she loves her granddaughter.
Epic Duels. Jack won for the third time! I think the Star Wars Lego prizes are a great motivator =) Tina managed to get into the finals, even though she got stuck with Jango Fett. The kids played really well together. Serenity wanted to plan her days around Henry. If he was going to be available, she didn’t want to do anything else. Donovan and Evan played really well. And I’m excited to think about Maia playing with Evie and Pierce. =)
Hi Lydia!!! It’s so nice to hear that you read our website =) Love you!