Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Happy Halloween! (Oct 31)

Graham and Charlie got to dress up for Halloween at school.  They were both very excited!
We are going with the Superhero theme - Graham is Ironman and Charlie is Captain America.  A little handiwork with face-paint on Charlie first thing in the morning :-)

The kids had to grab the chairs from their classroom so they could all sit during the Halloween Parade.  Nothing Ironman can't handle:
Daddy got to show up for the parade too. Yay!!!
There's another kid in Charlie's class with a buzzed haircut too.  I keep thinking it's Charlie when I see this kid from afar at school.  Too funny!
Once school was over, it was time to prep for the Trick-or-Treating later at night.  Too bad our boxes from Abu Dhabi did not arrive yet, otherwise the boys could have changed into different costumes/outfits.  Charlie did use his Dinosaur outfit which we bought recently for his ABC Fashion Show. All set!
We walked up the hill near our apartment complex and crazy enough, there were no homes lit or decorated with Halloween decor.  So... I had the boys hop into the car and we drove towards the school area.  Jackpot!!!
We had to actually cut our fun short as our boxes from Abu Dhabi were arriving that night!  Finally!!! But of course, it had to be on Halloween night.  Didn't stop Daddy from trying to score a few pieces of candy and chocolate before leaving to the storage unit :-)
Boys are obviously happy with their loot:
Graham and Charlie did donate more than half of their candy and chocolates back to the school, where it will be sent in care packages to Treats for Troops.  So proud of my boys!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Quick weekend trip to Phoenix

Seems that with the little space we have in California, we are going to use our home in Phoenix as a dumping ground.  Here we go, loading up the minivan (Oct 28).  I have to say, minivans are the best!!!
Graham is trying to learn how to read the map.  I just noticed Charlie's feet behind my seat.  Stinky!!!
We arrived Saturday around 5pm and realized that we didn't have our key!  Thankfully we were able to locate our spare.  It would be funny if we had driven all that way and had to stay in a hotel room. Ha ha ha!!!
This is what happens when Bobby tries to clean up the dry leaves in the backyard.  Perhaps he thought he was actually doing me a favor but in reality, it was actually more difficult trying to get that delicate ash off the rocks/fireplace.  Charlie actually took this photo.  It wasn't me, honey! :-P
Charlie also spotted this butterfly and his first thought was, "I need to get the camera!"  Glad he was able to get a few photos of the butterfly:
Maybe he sees me taking photos constantly.  Here is an interesting looking one - I can't seem to remember the name of this cactus now:
Love the different shades of color along the mountain ranges:
We decided to take a different route on the way home, along I-8 towards San Diego.  At the end of it, I think we probably should have started our journey a lot earlier as we knew going into it, it would be longer.
Thank goodness for DVDs on these road trips!  I have to say, both boys do quite well on these trips.  And I'm not sure if you can see, but we have a whole bunch of things we are bringing back from Phoenix to California!
There's a section along I-8 (in AZ) with rows and rows and rows of solar panels. Amazing!
And just as you cross the border into California, it's sand dunes!  Reminded us so much of Abu Dhabi:
Looks like so much fun on a dune buggy!!!
And then, we see a sign for Mountain Goat???!!
Amazing how quickly the landscape changes from sand to rocks.  I had the boys look.  Nope - no mountain goats!!!
As if solar panels were not enough, we are driving along wind mills now - very similar to those along I-10 although these were a lot closer to the road.  So you can really see how MASSIVE these wind mills are:
Perhaps next time, we will need to check out this little brick place up on the hill.  Almost looked like some sort of restaurant.  Hmm... actually no, just reading up on the internet, it is called the Desert View Tower - a stone tower that was built from 1922 to 1928 as a roadside attraction.  It stands at 3,000 ft in elevation, in the In-Ko-Pah Mountains.  The internet is amazing!  How did we do it before? Go to the library to find out that information???!
I digress.  Another spot to check out next time too perhaps - a Hot Spring??!!
After many longs hours... civilization!  Here is a glimpse of San Diego State University.  Looks massive!  I almost went to college here but ended up at Arizona State instead.  I wonder what life would have been like instead.  Probably wouldn't have met Bobby!
It was getting dark not long after driving by the college. Didn't make things any better when we got a little lost and almost ended up on The Queen Mary in Long Beach!  I am reading this now where it says "The RMS Queen Mary is a retired ocean liner that sailed primarily on the North Atlantic Ocean from 1936 to 1967."  And I am also learning that RMS stands for Royal Mail Ship, a designation which dates back to 1940. It is the ship prefix used for seagoing vessels that carry mail under contract to the British Royal Mail (from Wikipedia).  Very interesting!  There was an event going on in the ship so there was this massive queue, I mean line, going onto the ship.  Thankfully there was a quick U-turn.  Phew!
We finally find the correct way home, over this really high bridge with the port to the right.
What a long night.  It took us almost 9 hours to get home!!!  Well, we did stop for dinner and Graham almost fell asleep at the table.  Definitely starting our road trip earlier in the morning next time!
We are down to 13 boxes in storage so perhaps there is a tiny light at the end of that tunnel. I am already putting more things aside in anticipation of another trip to Phoenix :-P

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Harvest Festival

The little town next to us hosted a Harvest Festival the week before Halloween.  Bobby said it reminded him of the town he grew up in.  It was busy but not over-crowded, which was really nice.
Graham and Charlie were able to enjoy a little petting zoo:
That chicken is definitely spoiled being able to sit on a sheep all day!
The local supermarket donated some pumpkins.  Time to decorate!
Graham was done within minutes:
... and wandered off to the next booth for an air-brush tattoo:
Charlie is still working on his pumpkin:
Fire-soccer ball tattoo done!
Charlie is finally done decorating his pumpkin. Lots of details, as the artist he is :-)
Now we have to lug this pumpkin around the rest of the afternoon. Ha ha! Probably should have done that activity last. Oh well, that's what Mommy and Daddy are for, I guess:
Time for Charlie's airbrush tattoo - a multicolored snake.  He is obviously still influenced by their friend Jasper that lives in Abu Dhabi who LOVES snakes:
Next activity for the boys, trampoline jumping with bungee cords:
Graham got so high up, he was up in the trees!
Charlie was a bit scared but still was able to enjoy most of the experience:
Next event, a pumpkin race!!!  I don't think I have seen this before. Charlie was so SO upset that we were not competing. Maybe next year!
These race pumpkins look awesome!!!   We will need to figure out what to name ours for next year :-)
One more fun activity before going home - rock climbing.  Graham was so fast!
He was up to the top within seconds!  He climbed a different/more difficult section and had no issues either.  Our little monkey!
Poor Charlie tries so hard:
And obviously tired himself out.  When we got home, he actually tucked himself in or should I say UNDER all those cushions.  Too funny!
Charlie DEFINITELY tired himself out!!! :-D

Monday, November 6, 2017

Recent happenings (from 2 wks ago)

I was looking for some shelves to frame our fire place and in the end, I ended up buying some cheapy ones from a store that starts with "Wal" and ends with "mart":
I hope these shelves are able to take all that weight.   Also bought a smaller one as well.  This seems to fit all my cooking books and magazine quite well:
Also bought a couple more other little shelves on wheels.  I had an idea of buying "old style" library carts.  Wow, I couldn't believe how expensive those can be!  These will have to do for now.  And can't figure out where to put that vacuum cleaner.  It needs to be charge so I can't hide it in the closet. Maybe once I hang some drapes, it will "disappear" somehow!
We don't have pets but this vacuum works really well!!!  The only thing I realized now is that it doesn't have a hose to use with those Space Saver vacuum bags.  Nonetheless, it's versatile and the boys are able to handle it too :-)
"Momma's chair" and our kitchen table finally arrived. Hooray!!! We opted out of a recliner this time, even despite having electrical outlets in them now.  Seriously??! Anyhow, very happy with this style of chair and print, especially with the matching ottoman. Can you see me smiling??? :-D
And hooray to no more standing during dinner time!
I love LOVE this table!  It is a bit higher than a regular dining table.  It can actually double as a kitchen island - with a removable leaf in the middle. And there are lots of extra shelves, drawers, and even a section for wine bottles and wine glasses. So far, no stains on the chairs.  Fingers crossed it stays that way but that's really wishful thinking, isn't it?  I am just glad our dining room doesn't look like this anymore.  YIKES!!!
Speaking of love, discovered this popular Chinese restaurant in a mall.  Thankfully the boys love the food too:
It means even more when Graham will eat it!  And Charlie will eat almost anything I eat, except for noodles.  How can anyone not like fresh, homemade Chinese noodles??!!!
We also discovered this French crepe restaurant about 15-20 minutes away from the apartment.  All the servers speak French and they have the yummiest latte! And breakfast was delish too:
We decided on the waffle instead of a crepe for the boys.  As yummy as it looks, Graham and Charlie were not exactly thrilled with it.  Guess we should ordered the crepe!
It's a nice street to walk along.  Lots of good deals on clothing :-) Thought we had moved away from cacti/succulents as we are no longer in Arizona, but seems that there are lots of them here too in California:
And lizards.  We spotted this one on one of our other walks on a trail near the apartment.
Charlie kept saying how he wanted to try and catch it, but he would scream as he tries to catch it.  So of course, the lizard would run away!  We obviously need to work on his technique :-)

Here's a view of the resort that is close to our place in the backdrop:
Who knew the location of the resort was actually a place called "Marineland" years ago.
It's a steep slope down! Graham is so fast where as Charlie was a tad scared so I made him go on his bum down the hill:
I thought it was funny how I looked like I am living back in Abu Dhabi with this scarf.  It was cold so I sort of wrapped it over my head during our walk that evening. And coincidentally I had a black sweater one.  Too funny!