Saturday, November 29, 2008

Reader Alert!

We have found many of you recently, but only in blogworld. We are getting our Christmas cards ready and would love to send some out to you. However, we don't have your address. So, I am soliciting addresses from you all. Since many of you won't want to post your addresses for all to see, please email me at divingcardinal (at) gmail dot com, minus all the spaces and other silliness. Thanks, and look for your card in the mail soon!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend

We had a great Thanksgiving. We started the day with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Thankfully it was time delayed, so we didn't have to be up at 6:00 to see it. The boys liked the big balloons, Kermit, and Santa. Aaron and I liked the Briefcase Drill Team (hilarious!) and the Second Time Around Marching Band. The only requirement to join is participating in marching band in either high school or college. A few marchers were under 40, but there was a large contingent of marchers over 60. Even some pretty old guys in the color guard/rifle corps. Very entertaining.

We did Thanksgiving Dinner on our own, since all of our family is so far away. (We'll be seeing you at Christmas, though!) We had turkey, green beans, mashed potatoes, stuffing, rolls, macaroni and cheese (thanks to A.J.) and a delicious pumpkin pie. Before dinner we sang "Prayer of Thanksgiving."

We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing;
He chastens, and hastens his will to make known;
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to his name; He forgets not his own.

The boys wore the hats they made at school. We had the "before" turkey and the "after" turkey. A.J.'s was the before, a classic turkey head in the front, wings on the side and several tail feathers in the back. Levi's, however, was two drumsticks on the sides of his head. The two of them looked pretty funny together. I'll have to see if I can get them to take a picture.

Today we saw Madagascar 2, a very cute movie. After the movie we wandered around a mall, having the boys look for things they might like for Christmas. We stumbled into a great little store with scientific toys of all kinds. Puzzles, games, science kits, and all sorts of learning toys. Tonight, Aaron took our old furniture and some other things to Goodwill (and then did some shopping) while the boys and I put a bunch of Legos together. All in all, a lovely couple of days.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Natural rain and history

Both boys were off school today, and since I don't have Wednesday classes, I was, too. Since Aaron was working from home today, we left to give him some quiet and distraction-free time. We went the the Natural History Museum of L.A. County (which A.J. kept calling the National History Museum). A few of the big exhibits are closed, as they are doing a major renovation project. So, no dinosaur exhibit, but there were a few skeletons spread in other areas that were open. Levi breezed through most of the exhibits so fast I had to tell him several times to slow down. We did get to watch some scientists working on newly collected fossils, and the boys liked that a lot. A.J. says his favorite part was "digging" for fossils in the discovery center. I think Levi liked a dinosaur presentation done by some of the docents, one of which was dressed as a very convincing dinosaur. The also had a deep-sea fish that washed up at the marine station where I do my research. It was sort of eel-like, but much bigger. I think my favorite was the gem and mineral room. The had several huge blue topaz stones. They were gorgeous. Most of the minerals were raw and unpolished, though they did have one small room of polished gems that were lovely. I actually liked the unpolished stuff better. Some of them were absolutely brilliant colors.

We've also had a fair amount of rain today. Not pansy California rain, either. Californians like to say it's raining as long as there is ANY water falling from the sky. What the rest of the country either doesn't acknowledge or calls drizzle, Californians whip out the umbrella or don't go out at all. We didn't really have downpours, but it was certainly enough to get you pretty wet between your car and the store. Happily, the traffic wasn't too bad. I've seen worse for less rain.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's here!!!

Finally. We ordered the furniture quite a while ago, but one set was backordered, so the bunny called us to see if we wanted to pick out something else. He said they had a new set in that he would give us for the same price, even though the new one cost more. So last week we went in to see the new one. I wasn't totally sold on it in the showroom, but I'm glad we decided to take it. I really like it now. So, here are some pictures.

A.J. got our old dresser because the one he was using is near death. Understandably so, since it was my mother's when she was little, then moved all across the country with her family and ours (it's been to California twice now!)

And then, since everyone else got a new dresser, Levi thought he was getting one, too, so we painted his red. It was a boring brown before, and he says red is his favorite color.

As for the table, it is the one we ordered, and you can see that Levi doesn't like to put his dishes away after lunch.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

School Pictures!

We got the boys' school pictures last week, but we didn't have them scanned until a couple of days ago. This is Levi's first time getting his own pictures done, and I think he did really well. Here is his photo followed by his class picture. (Make sure you click on his individual photo to see his eyes, they look amazing.)

His teachers' names got switched, so Miss Valerie is on the left and Miss Nicole is on the right.

A.J. got to choose his background color and his pose this year. Don't know what's up with the smile.

This is first time his class has gathered for a photo. In the past they have just put all the kids' individual pics on one sheet. I kind of like this better, but it makes him look a little short, I think.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Student of the month

A.J. was voted student of the month for November. The theme was citizenship, so maybe he did something, or is just a nice guy (which I think he is) and they decided that he best embodied citizenship. Anyway, his little kindergarten buddy Peter was student of the month, too. He's standing in front of A.J. They had white flags, and many wore white shirts, because the spirit day theme was peace.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lots of pictures

We've been busy lately, and I finally have a few pictures to post. There are some videos, too, but they haven't been fixed up, so you'll just have to wait for those! Levi's preschool had a Halloween party. All the classes made their own costumes, Levi's class went as skittles.

We went on a mini-vacation over Veteran's Day weekend, and this is what we awoke to on Sunday morning.

And there was a lot of wildlife around the pond, egrets, herons, and these cute ducks.

Back at our campsite, Levi had just helped with the fire by adding that light colored log.

We went to SeaWorld, and got soaked by Shamu! Here's the after photo of the boys. We wore our raincoats, so we weren't really all that wet, but Levi was thrilled. After we got splashed, he yelled (because he can't use just a regular voice) "We just got all wet and now we are WHALES!"

SeaWorld even has a few rides, and the children's section is associated with Sesame Street. This is the boys on Oscar's Eel ride.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

We survived

With Veterans' Day on Tuesday this year, both the boys were off school Monday and Tuesday, I don't have classes on Mondays this quarter and also had Tuesday off, so Aaron took Monday off and we went camping. Our summer vacation ended up being a little crazier than relaxing and we really needed some quiet, non-stressful family time this fall. We went to a great campground in San Diego and roasted s'mores and hot dogs. Our tent withstood wind and rain (we didn't really even notice, but other campers weren't so lucky.) We went kayaking in Mission Bay and no one fell out of the boats. We've kayaked before, but those were more like canoes, these didn't really have sides, so I was a little nervous about Levi.

We even got to go to Seaworld, which the boys absolutely LOVED. They got sprayed by an orca, fed sea lions and dolphins, got to touch bat rays and dolphins, and Levi even got to hug Elmo and Zoey from Sesame Street. It is hands down better than Disneyworld. Fewer rides, but shorter waits that end with 25 minute shows rather than 2 minute Dumbo rides. Disney claims to foster a sense of wonder, but when you hear a little boy that has just been soaked by a whale's tail exclaim that he is now a whale because he is all wet or watch them snuggle with their whale and manatee at night or hear them tell the same stories again and again...and again, it becomes obvious that the best sense of wonder comes not from animated characters, but from the awe of God's creations. We had a great time.

We're all tired (I don't really know why I'm still up...oh, yeah, laundry) but I think we'll all be ready to head back to our routines tomorrow. I'll put up pictures whenever I get them off the camera, but I have to charge it first.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Interesting developments...

So yesterday was our stake's temple day, which was canceled after "No on 8" protesters showed up thinking that the administration of the church somehow had anything to do with the passage of Proposition 8. Thankfully, they were not allowed on the temple property, but circled it on the sidewalk/streets. Hopefully the temple missionaries/workers staying in the apartments behind the visitors' center were relatively unaffected by all of it. For the record, not one red cent of tithing was spent on pushing prop 8. However, millions were donated by members of the church at the urging (but not requiring) of church leadership. Yes, members participated in phone calling events, passed out and placed yard signs, held signs on street corners and in parking lots. There was no yelling at or protesting of people, simply support for the millenia-old definition of a marriage. Having been subjected to hate speech while growing up, I know what it's like, and I won't engage in it. I sincerely hope A.J. is not affected by all the media coverage. He was given two invitations to pass on to friends, inviting them to his Primary Presentation on the 16th. I will let him give them out of course, but I can only hope that he doesn't get any negative feedback about it.

You can read the church's position here and some of the less than helpful articles here. I linked to the most neutral article, though it's still rather skewed. It does at least point out that 52% of Californians who voted on Prop 8 were for it, and that number is much larger than the number of members in the state, as well as some of the other contributors and the fact that they are not being targeted with protests. The church wasn't even the first group to pull together support for Prop 8, they were invited by the Catholics and protestant churches already involved. It's just that our church is significantly more organized when it comes to spearheading movements than individual congregations could ever be.

Sorry for the rant, but it hurts to see angry people surrounding the most sacred building on earth and have no one else stand up for it. Here's a picture of the lovely temple when it is not the subject of attack.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

God moves in mysterious ways...

I have read many blogs in the last day or so whose writers are variously horrified, sad, scared, etc. because of the results of the national election yesterday. Let me give you a slightly different perspective, and you may feel less anxious. Let's call it the California perspective.

California is a very diverse state, in ethnicity, nationality, religious beliefs (or not), and political perspective. It is widely known that recent immigrants and minority groups often vote for Democrats, and the minority status of Mr. Obama brought these groups to the polls like never before. These groups are often also very cognisant of the importance of family and of keeping families strong. So, while they voted for Obama, many also voted for Proposition 8. It is quite possible that the minority vote is what passed prop 8. I'm not saying that what happens in California is more important than what happens in the rest of the country (Californians just think it is,) but Obama has a finite amount of time he will be in office, while if prop 8 had failed, the consequences would have no end, either in time or in land it affects. Remember, too, that though the presidency and legislature is held by democrats, the supreme court helps to keep those groups in check. And, this court is currently approximately split along conservative/liberal lines. As many of you have mentioned, God is still really in charge. I have no doubt that He will allow us to make our own mistakes, but I do not believe He will forsake our national safety in the interest of keeping our standards.

So, I hope that we don't give in to the whims of this (or any) administration, but that, like Tami, we continue to let our voices be heard. Just remember that there may be reasons which are hidden to us for events in our country.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My thankful list

On Saturday my friend Laurenda passed on a gratitude challenge. Every day of November, make a list of three things you are thankful for, trying not to repeat any. (That's 90 blessings to count!) I thought I would post mine today.

1. I'm thankful the election is (almost) OVER.
2. I'm thankful for the opportunity to vote (though I'd like to have something better to choose between than stinking mold and stinking fungus.)
3. I'm thankful I live in the promised land and that God will not sacrifice this land even if there are only 10 righteous souls (and I know WAY more than 10!) Whew, I guess California won't fall into the ocean just yet.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

About my bee sting

Hi, I'm A.J. I got a bee sting today. I got it on my pinkie. When I got home from church I got an ice pack. And after a while, I felt better. It was my first time getting a bee sting. Some of my friends were stung before, too. My bee sting was small. When I was in the car it was kind of bleeding.


Levi is getting bigger!

Levi came to us with yet another drawing. He draws people a lot. It's the classic circle with arms and legs, along with facial features all in the same place. Today, there was a difference. He said he wrote his name, which is the first time he has done it on his own. Only it didn't say Levi, it said LiE. Pretty close, but we might have to let his teachers know that any paper that says "LiE" is probably his.