Saturday, September 26, 2009

More Canada pictures!

We had a great time in Canada. Here are some more pictures of our activities there.

First up, some of the wildlife. This is a banana slug hanging out on the window of our dorm. Pretty cool, huh?

Then, Jon called for A.J.'s birthday, and Levi got to talk, too. Does he look a little too grown up for his own good?

Here's A.J. looking too grown up. His big birthday present was an MP3 player. His favorite song? "Mr. Roboto."

The boys were fabulous helpers. All my labmates went on and on about how well behaved they were, and how much fun they were to have around. This is A.J. helping Luis weigh and measure some seastars.

Then, Levi helped by carrying boots after they got rinsed.

The boys also liked checking out some of the other experiments going on at the research station. In this tank are some dogfish, a small shark.

We spent a lot of time at the cabin where my labmates were staying. It's nothing fancy, but it does the job.

The boys loved playing soccer out in the "yard." Notice the high-waters both of them are wearing. We took the worst pants they had, knowing that they would probably get destroyed. And, we were right.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

In the midst of chaos...

We had a baptism. Yeah, things were a little crazy. Here's the timeline:

Monday, August 31:
8:15 am School was supposed to start, but all local schools are closed.
11:00 am The boys and I head out to run some must-do errands. There are no cops at the end of our street, so we assume we will be able to return home without incident. I am so wrong about that.
2:45 pm Blockade three streets south of ours, not letting anyone through. No matter what. I have frozen chicken in my car. Ack!
3:00 pm. I arrive at the bishop's house. They are kind enough to share their fridge and freezer with us and entertain the boys.
8:00 pm We all (finally) manage to arrive at the O'Bryans' house. The boys are buddies with their boys, and everything gets settled.

Tuesday, September 1:
8:15 am No school, again. The boys are thrilled.
10:00 am Start to worry about visitors coming and having nowhere to stay. Aaron starts contacting beach vacation home rentals.
11:00 am Head to the evacuation center at the local high school to see if we can get any information. Get interviewed by a German television station about how we're handling all of it. Levi gets REALLY jealous. He keeps telling me, "you're so lucky! You get to be on t.v.!" Even getting filmed while walking back in doesn't console my little performer. He felt like he wasn't close enough to the camera.
2:00 pm Leave the evacuation center without the info we wanted, because Levi had a check-up. With shots. He was mad again.
4:00 pm Return to evacuation center, we figured the fire marshal had come by then to give the update. We can go home! A.J. is bummed. "I wanted to go back to the O'Bryans'" he said, in a very sad voice.
4:45 pm Offer to get pizza for everyone, but find out that another family has invited all of us over for dinner.
5:30 pm Hang at the Masons' for the next FIVE hours! Thanks, Masons!
11:45 pm Finally arrive home.

Wednesday, September 2:
8:15 am School starts for Levi! Hooray! A.J. is still on "summer vacation."

Levi's first day as a Dragon!

2:55 pm the boys start swim lessons and gymnastics. The first of many days we spend at the Y. Every Monday and Wednesday, we're there until 5:30!
5:45 pm Arrive home to find...Grandma Joy and Grandpa Al! Hooray!

Thursday, September 3:
8:15 am A.J. FINALLY starts school! My big 3rd grader. He is at a new school this year, but finds he's in the same class as a girl from church. Everyone acts like this teacher is the one you want to get, so we're pleased. She seems really great.

Yeah, they didn't change the date on the sign. Their mascot is the Eagles, so they use SOAR as an acronym to help them write better. See, organize, assess, revise.

1:00 pm Sarah and Brenda arrive at LAX, Grandma and Grandpa pick them up.
5:00 pm We swim for 2 hours before getting too cold. Levi scares Brenda with his fearlessness in the pool. He loves to swim! I, meanwhile, get seriously congested from all the smoke, in combination with swimming. Shouldn't have gone underwater.
10:30 pm Most of the Sudholts arrive at LAX. I pack them into Aaron's car, and we try to get home. It takes a little longer than usual, because in Los Angeles, most road work is done at night. And I didn't know that some of the exits were closed! Manage to find everyone a place to sleep. Jared in the boys' room. Brenda in the living room, Sarah in the "art" room, Joy and Al in the office, Bob and Jan in the sun room, with Hallie at the other end. Whew. That's a lot of people!

Friday, September 4:
11:30 am Pick the boys up from school (yes, we took them out early. To go to the beach!) Sing Happy Birthday to A.J., and recognize the other THREE August birthdays, Aaron, Brenda, Grandma Jan. Have lunch, and go to the beach!
2:30 pm Ahhhhhhhhhh, sandy beach. Jared loves the ocean, and doesn't want to get out. Ever. The boys build a sand castle and decorate it with kelp (seaweed). A.J. decides they don't need the piece Levi has and tells him to put it back. Levi walks toward the ocean, and just keeps on walking. He's REALLY going to put it back!

See the lovely kelp forest? It surrounds the castle and makes it extra nice!

5:30 pm Dinner at Bubba Gump's, there on the Santa Monica Pier. The brave ones rode the Ferris Wheel at sunset. So beautiful.
7:45 pm Jon arrives at LAX. We're all here now!

Saturday, September 5:
morning Shower in turns, save some hot water for the others! Clean the house, hiding all air mattresses in the office.
1:30 pm Arrive at church, get A.J. dressed, take some cute pictures.

A.J. and his friend Hayden. Baptism buddies.

2:00 pm A great baptism.
3:00 pm The "reception to follow" has fewer guests than we anticipated, but we had a great time anyway! Congratulations, A.J.!

Sunday, September 6:
11:00 am (Thank goodness!) Get to church. A.J. is confirmed and receives the gift of the Holy Ghost.
1:00 pm Aaron takes most of the Sudholts back to LAX. I had to teach a class.
2:30 pm Finally start relaxing a little bit.

Monday, September 7:
5:00 am (Yikes!) Aaron takes Brenda, Sarah, and Jon to LAX. Only two guests left!
9:00 am We head to Knott's Berry Farm for a little fun. Surprisingly, it's not very busy.

Tuesday, September 8:
4:30 am Joy and Al get themselves to LAX. No more guests. Just clean up now.

We had a great time, but now you know why there haven't been any posts! I, for one, am really glad to be getting into a regular routine. I know we all need it. I am still trying to catch up on my sleep!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Finally a chance to catch up! First, fire pictures

We have a lot of pictures of the fire, but some are hard to see. All of these were taken on various days between August 29-31.

Taken from the backyard:

Fire-retardant dropping aircraft.

Water-dropping helicopter. These went RIGHT over our house for several days.

Remember, all the ones in the backyard are taken in mid-day. When the sun is nice and bright. Does that help put the darkness in perspective?

Taken from the sunroom window:

Later in the evening.

All is calm now, the kids are back in school, and I'll be there soon. We're finally getting back into a routine (though a VERY busy one!) We are so thankful for all the prayers from around the country. I have no doubt that they supported the firefighters, and helped to keep homes and people safe.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

it has begun

The craziness of A.J.'s baptism weekend, that is! Four people are here already, another four arrive in about an hour, and Jon comes tomorrow night. And, they're all staying at our house. Hope no one minds controlled chaos!