Saturday, August 31, 2013

Wrapping Things Up

The Amazon project is to wrap up at the end of October.  Seems like we just got here in some ways but in other ways, it seems we have been gone from Utah for a little too long.  I miss it there.  But I can't deny all the fun things we have got to experience while living here in California.  There really is so much to offer in this state.  So many FUN memories have been made.

I met David at the job site yesterday so he could show me around.
This project is the largest job David has been a part of.  The money (120 million) that has went into this has surpassed all his others as well as the crunch to get this done in such a short time period.  But even with how crazy fast this has all went, I really appreciate how Big D Construction has taken care of David.  They continue to show me that they are not like the other construction companies that David has worked for.  They don't abuse his time, making him stay ridiculously long hours.  Don't get me wrong, he works much longer than the average work day but we are used to that in this field.  Where Big D stands out to me is that they don't make him work weekends, most of the time, and even with him working long hours, he still gets to be with us at home for a good chunk of the time.  We have worked for companies in the past that have had him working such long hours that it was days before the boys would see their father. That just hasn't been the case with this company.
It was fun riding around with him (safety gear in place, of course) on the ATV.  I could tell he took pride in this project as he pointed things out here and there.

And I am proud of him too.  This job has provided for us in ways that we have never experienced in our marriage.  It has been a nice change.  Money isn't everything.  I know this, but I can't deny it has been fun experiencing all that we have, while here.  I am so grateful David has worked so hard for all of us.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


I have been wanting to go to Chinatown for quite some time now and today was finally the day!  No one was as excited as me though :(  The boys thought it would be boring and David only pictured Chinatown as in the movies.  You know, violence and crowded.  Two things he knows I can't handle.  But I also have such a love for different cultures.  They truly fascinate me.

 We parked in a garage at Portsmouth Square where there was some entertainment (singing) as well as the locals entertaining themselves (Chinese Chess).

We found a wonderful shop that we bought some yummy goodies who then gave us directions to Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory.  When you think of a "factory" you tend to think of this huge warehouse but there were only about 3 women actually sitting down and making the cookies.  It smelled so good in there!

Then it was time for us to make our way up and down the streets of Chinatown to see all that they had to offer.  This is my FAVORITE picture by far!  Remember the above mentioned fear of David's?  So I looked at this picture later and just started cracking up.  I showed it to him, pointed out the mysterious van in the background, doors open, ready to snatch up his family, shove us in their van and drive off right after he takes his very last picture of his family.  Yeah, I'm a brat.

This was the coolest fruit we saw there.  It is a Rambutan.  Not that I knew the name of it at the time of seeing it, or even after I asked the lady who was working there at the store.  She just smiled at me politely as I asked her what it was.  I'm sure she gets tired of us crazy white girls asking her all kinds of questions in a language foreign to her.  The Rambutan really wasn't bad.  David thought it kinda had a grape taste.  It defiantly had an odd weird texture, though.

This was the coolest instrument we saw being played on the street.  This man even tried teaching us how to say the name of it; Erhu.

We ended up ALL really liking Chinatown and spent way too much there in all the interesting stuff we found.  Brigham was the funniest throughout the whole day.  He was the one who vocalized how surprised he was that he liked Chinatown.  He was also the one to start acting like he could speak Chinese...errrrrrrrrr!  Yep, we had to have the "politically correct" talk with him.  Surprise, surprise!  It isn't the first time we have had this talk with him!  As we were leaving he said to me, "You know, when we act like we can talk Chinese at home, well, I am surprised at how much we actually really do sound like them."  Oh, brother!

After we left Chinatown, we headed off to Pacifica State Beach.  I wanted to take the boys there because they have an actual Taco Bell on the beach (that is the building in the background).  It is really cool because their "drive threw window" is for surfers!  You can't drive through it at all.  It is for the surfers not to track in sand.  Though, there still was quite a bit of sand on the floor inside. 

It was really cold, but that seems to be pretty typical at the beaches around here...even in August.  But the boys didn't care, as you can see :)  It was just another really fun Saturday in California!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Can Crabs Talk?

Can crabs talk?  Hyrum answers that question in this video.  Man he is CUTE!

Sometimes Getting Lost Leads To Great Family Fun!

I wanted us to go to Chinatown today and then go to the temple afterwards.  But I kinda messed that up.  But a beautiful mess up it was!

We ended up at Ocean Beach in San Francisco.  I put the address to a parking garage in Chinatown...well, I thought I put an address to a parking garage in the TomTom.  Woopsie!  On the sheet of paper that I brought with addresses on it, I mixed up the Oakland temple street address to the San Fransico, thinking it was leading us to Chinatown.  Yeah, we just ended up really close to the beach, so what the heck!  The boys will play in the sand at the beach anyday so they were not complaining!  Plus, I think they were afraid I was going to make them eat Chinese food :)

We didn't stay too long since we were hungry, ok, I was hungry.  We found a little restaurant about a mile away by the ocean.  As we were looking for parking we saw these beautiful, tall cypress trees.  They were right next to the ocean and just perfectly picturesque.  So we ate and headed down to see the trees finding out we were heading for Lands End (Sutro District area).  
It was a wonderful walk down to the ocean as we were surprised to learn that we were heading down to the Sutro Baths.  I had never heard of them but they were built in the late 1800's.  It was huge for that time period!  It had 6/7 saltwater swimming tanks ranging from ice cold to hot.  It was extremely unique with how large it was (it could house 25,000 people with its pools, exhibits, restaurant, etc...  Though, I'm sure safety codes today would never allow that many people.) and how the water was flushed by the tides.

Unfortunately, this is all that remains.  
But it made for a great place for little boys to explore!
We spent most of our time down on the beach and made a friend with Tom (Daddy gave him the name....I would have went with Mr. Crabs, myself ) the crab.  Hyrum told us the crab was "talking" as the crab made bubbles with his mouth, when we would put him in some sea water and then take him out.

As beaches should be, it was very relaxing.  We had no intention of going to the beach today (actually 2 different beaches!) and of course were not dressed for it or had beach toys, but who needs beach toys when you have imagination, right?!
Even though we didn't want to (and we really didn't) we thought we should start heading to the temple just in case we ended up wearing ourselves out at the beach and then backing out.  David went in the temple and did some initiatories while the boys and I enjoyed ourselves outside the temple and in the visitors center.  My favorite had to be outside as Brigham was laying on the grass, stomach down with his head resting on his arms.  He said to me, "You know what I love about the temple?  That it's always so peaceful."  I tried not to show too much emotion but that really touches the heart of a mother of such a hyper young boy.  But he is right, just being outside the temple on their grounds is enough to be at peace.  And this whole day seemed to be about that: Peace.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Beginning of 2013-14 School Year

Today was the first day of school for the boys at South/West Park Elementary School.  But Hyrum has been ready for a while.
Hyrum is still at that age where he loves school.  Most of the time, he didn't even complain when I had him do homework this summer.  He did complain today, after school though, that it was too long today.
 (Mrs. Hardebeck and Hyrum)

 (Brigham and Ms. Haidet)
(Levi and Mrs. Guillen)

I loved that Brigham has Levi's teacher from last year.  I already know and love her personality and can't wait to start with volunteering this week (Fridays).  Levi said he thought his teacher was really "cool."  I also love that all of the boys moved up with the same kids they had last year in their classes.  At this school, they have 3 programs.  The GATE program, which pulls all the kids who have been tested (throughout Tracy) and tested really high to this location and provided classes just for them.  The other program is for the bilingual children (Spanish/English speaking) and the other is the traditional class.  Because so much space is used for the GATE program (our school is the only school that has it, which means all the kids from other schools are coming here) and bilingual, it only leaves one classroom, per grade, for the traditional class setting.  Which means, my boys get to have the same classmates each year...well, until we move again.  But considering my boys were in 3 different schools last school year, I think they deserve to have some normalcy in having the same kids in their classrooms this year :)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Friendly Sabbath

Today we slept in; a wonderful perk of not having church until 1:00 p.m.  Funny, that we still are always late though.  Ok, pathetic.  But I refuse to be stressed out having to get to church on time.  David taught me that early in our marriage.  I used to freak out when we weren't out the door soon enough until he pointed out how stressed I was every Sunday.  I made up my mind then, that if it meant I would be late every Sunday, it would be worth it as long as I enjoyed my time at church.

We got ready and then headed to David's job sight (the Amazon project) to watch some helicopters lift up some huge air conditioning units on top of the building.  One of those things where I was reminded how different boys and girls are.  The boys thought it was really cool to watch.  The only thing "cool" I thought worth watching was how excited they got over a helicopter doing the same thing over and over.  However, I may have changed my mind if it was tons of chocolate being lifted....
 We came back home to have lunch with the Brennan family before church.  They were visiting family here in California and stopped by (from Utah).  Sure do love this family.  Very rare when you can feel so in sink with both spouses.  Bin (Ben) makes me laugh and Laurel is the patient mother that I want to be to my children.  Their family is just fun, good examples to David and I, and I love them for that.
(Hyrum, Laurel, Becca, Bin, Dora, Alisa holding Olivia, Levi, and David)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Today we were suppose to meet some people, for a ward social, at New Brighton Beach.  The TomTom (GPS) had a different plan, however.  We ended up at one of the beaches at Santa Cruz.
 The boardwalk area is very popular, with their amusement rides right on the beach, but I have never wanted to go.  I knew it would be way to crowded for my liking.  But when we ended up there, it was already much later than we had planned to get there, we didn't know where to go from there, and the kids were begging to get I sucked it up and just agreed.
 Man, was that a mistake!
 It wasn't just crowded, it was also really gross.  All the crud that washed up on the beaches (I guess, it was suppose to be seaweed...wasn't like any seaweed I was used to) attracked sooooo many flies.  It seriously was stressing me out.
As usual, David was way to good to me and let me take off and explore the boardwalk because I just couldn't handle it anymore.  And I am so grateful he did because it was a wonderful walk.
One of the things I saw was a sea lion under the boardwalk.  He was stinky and loud but worth watching him :)
By the time I got back, even Daddy was ready to go.  We had our lunch that we brought and headed back to the car...only to find a ticket!  Nice!  Just love when cities don't put signs up indicating you CAN'T park there!

And yes, I'm crabby.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

San Francisco Giants

With Levi and Brigham playing for the Junior Giants this year, they got free tickets to see a real San Francisco Giants game.  I was able to get tickets that other children and parents weren't going to use so we could make a family outing of it on Monday night.

But first we took a wrong turn...and a beautiful one it was!  San Francisco is really amazing to look at when the fog comes in like that, hovering over the city.  It really was a memorable sight.

(Brigham, David, Levi, Alisa, and Hyrum  in front of the Bay Bridge and San Francisco)  

Not only did they get free tickets but they also got hot dogs and a bottled water.  I was real grateful for that considering we had to pay for Hyrum's hot dog at $4.00.  Geez!  But really it was so worth it.  I didn't even complain about parking price.

The AT&T park, where the Giants play, is right on the ocean - which makes for an amazing feel.

This was all of our first time being at a real Major League game :)

This was my favorite part of the WHOLE night!  The kissing cam was hilarious!  So, if you don't know what that is, at a certain point of the game the cameras will go around the stadium focusing on couples.  When the couple realizes they are on camera, they start kissing.  Brigham is at that stage where he H A T E S any kissing.  It doesn't matter if it is Mom and Dad kissing or if it is on his favorite cartoon.  It is all disgusting to him.  Well, he was cracking me up because he kept covering up his face with his glove, so he wouldn't have to see the kissing on the big screen but then he would peek over it just enough to see if the newest couple on the screen was done kissing.

(Some very tired boys on the way home)

So, as we were at the game, I texted Uncle Chuck that we were at a Giants game and that I was thinking of him.  Chuck is such a baseball guy, so I shouldn't be surprised that he quickly texted back talking about "Levi's Landing" and watching for us as he watched the game from Oklahoma and how they were known for their garlic fries.  I told Brigham that Chuck was watching the game and he started freaking out looking for a camera trying to let Uncle Chuck know he was there.  It was cute and I really wished Chuck was there to see it.  He would have been proud of his baseball loving "nephew."

I am not a baseball person.  I'm not any type of sport person but I have to say that going to this game was really neat.  There is something about being at a stadium full of people who love this game so much.  Their energy was contagious and it honestly made me really excited to be there.  We Americans are funny with our passion for sports but I was really proud to be a part of it.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Hyrum's 6

My Hyrum turned 6 yesterday.  He starts 1st grade this year.  He now is old enough to be out of the "baby side" of the kid's club at InShape.  I love the stage that all my boys are in right now.  It just feels right.  Right for the type of person I am.  I think I do better with these age groups than babies sometimes.  I still don't want him to grow up too much though....

So the birthday boy wanted to go to Chuck E. Cheese's.  We hadn't been there in a long time and luckily even the older boys are still really into all the games there.

I love Levi's face in this picture!  He and Daddy were really getting into it.

Chuck E. Cheese's was really a perfect way to spend some family time with Levi and I being gone for so long.  Hyrum was thrilled with his gifts and just loved being reminded that it was his birthday throughout the day.  I sure couldn't have asked for an easier kid...most of the time.