Sunday, August 24, 2008

Here vs. There

Just this week I've wondered what we'd be doing right now if we still lived in Louisiana. We miss the friends we made there, our fun dinner group, and being closer to Grammi and Grandad, but we feel pretty blessed to be here now too. One thing is for sure, we'd probably be cooling off with fun summer snacks like fresh fruit and of course, FUDGSICLES!This Thursday, Brooklyn had literally been asking for a popsicle since breakfast. Finally in the late afternoon when she asked yet again, I figured I could at last give in. Can you tell how much she enjoyed it? I made quite the photo shoot out of the 5 minute snack, but I'll spare you the other 20 pictures.

On Tuesday we attended library storytime for the first time in our new neighborhood library. The building itself is really close and really new. I couldn't help compare it with our former beloved library, the Shreve-North branch where we attended weekly story times. Here our community is filled with young families, many of the young parents are students at UCSD (University of California at San Diego). Below is a picture with Brooklyn and a couple friends from church, Amelia and Jonathan. Brooklyn and Jonathan are jumping around and Amelia is probably thinking, "Who are these wild animals? Do I have to pretend like I know them?"

So storytime here at the University City North Branch library is huge. There is a gang of kids all in the middle of the room. The moms are on the perimeter, many holding other younger siblings of the children in the middle of the room. There are of course stories and songs, but really how structured can we be with 20-30 kids under the age of 4? On the other hand, we had an exclusive group of Southern Bells at storytime in Louisiana. All of them are known affectionately by name by Ms. Virginia, the children's librarian. Every week, they had their hair neatly coiffed with large bows matching their well-coordinated outfits. They could be their own exclusive group called something like "Sisterhood of bright pink bows." Did I mention that one week they all fought over a pink flower that was part of the activity?
Ms. Virginia has a theme for each storytime, which is beautifully brought to life by posters on display along with the books that will be read and other accessories to illustrate the theme, (stuffed animals, trinkets, manipulatives, etc.). Each storytime follows the same routine. First, a wiggle song, (the same one, every week). Then, one to three books, then another activity song related to the theme. Next comes the well-organized craft. For Brooklyn and I, it was usually me doing most of the work while she'd try to put glue-stick over everything. She did make the big decisions though when it came to choices of color or sticker decorations. After that is a short movie or cartoon based on a picture book. At the end of storytime, the children thank Ms. Virginia one by one and hugs are exchanged. In our hands as we leave the room is our craft, several theme-related coloring pages, flyers about upcoming community events or children's activities, and sometimes, free children's magazines that are being purged from the updated collection. Manners are very important here. Each child has at least one adult with her who is watching closely to make sure her child cooperates with the other children, follows directions, and uses her manners.

We miss you, Ms. Virginia, and all the gals with the big bows and all the me-maws and gram-paws that came to storytime at Shreveport North!

As a side note, these photos are from the end of January, this year. Isn't it crazy how much Brooklyn has grown since then? She totally looks dwarfish compared to the other girls. She was the youngest one there, but still!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Our Week

"Where going today?" has become a regular question out of Brooklyn's mouth many a morning lately. It's easy to see why - we have been on the go for the past couple of months now. Every day is a new adventure. Though we have called our San Diego apartment home for about a month now, things haven't really calmed down. There are still plenty of places to go and people to see. Here are the highlights of our our week: Moonlight Beach, Encinitas; creating sand castles and splashing around with cousins Drew and Alyssa.
Is it a dead-give-away that we are not San Diego natives with Brooklyn's Dodger cap? (Thanks aunt Pip!

For the first few minutes after seeing her cousins and the shore, Brooklyn screamed at the top of her lungs in pure excitement. She has no fear of water or waves. Nor does she mind bigger cousins hugely splashing around her or trying to carry her while wading in the ocean . I even let Brooklyn get toppled by a couple of waves to show her that they are powerful and dangerous. This did not stop her constant fearless frollicking in them. After being tossed under a big wave, she'd just stand right up again, rub the salt water out of her eyes and nose, then stand ready for the next round of white-water. She is not at all detered by the cold temperature of the water either. This is unlike her gutless mother who cautiously creeps ankle-deep into the water and slowly lets her body "adjust" to the temperature while backing away from any excessive splashing. By the time her mom is wading into the tollerable shallow waters, Brooklyn has bounded yards ahead, waist deep and loving life. She doesn't mind the splashes, the tempurature, the wild and unpredictable waves. She's thrilled with the wonder of it all. Here is Brooklyn and Charlie Koch. Nora (Charlie's mom) came from Huntington Beach to visit us on Friday. It was so cute how Brooklyn would try to "mother" Charlie around. She called him "Carly" because she can't make her consonant-blend sounds yet. "Ch" is out of the question, no matter how hard we try. One thing these two have in common (besides crazy moms who have been best friends since about age 2) is that they both LOVE to eat. Can you tell by the creamsicle mustaches? I'm sure the next words out of Brooklyn's mouth were "MORE PO-SI-COE!" It was so cute too because after Nora and Charlie left, Brooklyn said "That was fun." Priceless. I've always thought Nora is pretty fun too, Brookie!
This last picture is a Badger sandwich!

Mark flew into San Diego Saturday morning so that he could drive home with Tracy on Sunday. So, Brooklyn, Stephen, and I piled into the car Saturday morning to pick Mark up, then drive up to Vista to join Tracy, Drew, and Alyssa. (Side note: We did not know we were staring at Mark when we first saw him at the airport! He was wearing a hat, sunglasses, and a full-on two-week 'stach and beard thingy! WHAT?! Who is this stranger posing as Brooklyn's uncle?!) We hung out with the Mark&Tracy clan at their gammy's house in Vista all day. Brooklyn loved watching Cinderella with Alyssa, playing dress-ups, feeling all the soft wax-candles in the fancy sitting room, exploring the toy selection, going potty with an audience of cousins, and generally running around with "Doo" and "Lyssa." Brooklyn loves being right in the center of the action, no matter what the age of the other "little people" and loves any form of rough-housing or dog-piling. I just don't know where she gets her love of physical closeness and affection. Is it because she's a McKendrick or a Badger or a MacBadger?

Friday, August 8, 2008

No Place Like (Our New) Home

Brooklyn loves the beach! She JUMPS over the waves while singing "Jesus Wants me for a Sun-BEAM!"

My mom, Brooklyn, and Stephen chillaxin' in the pool on the 4th of July. Good times!

Our first outing to the La Jolla Shores as a family. Brooklyn and I will try to go weekly with the "play group" from our ward, but we had to bring Stephen so he could experience what we do all day while he's at work - HA!

I decided to skip day two of our journey to Utah because it wasn't that exciting, and the point is we made it there safe and sound, finally! Also, I wrote about Eric's wedding in a previous post, so we'll skip ahead to the present time...

We finally made it to San Diego after staying a week in Utah at Kath and Mike's house. However, our journey was not yet complete because we hadn't found an apartment. We stayed at Helen and Eric's house in Del Mar for Stephen's first week of work while we looked for an apartment. I found one pretty quickly, to my great relief, but our move-in date was not until July 12th. So, for the 4th of July Weekend, we went up to stay at my parents house. Stephen came back to San Diego for work on Monday, but I stayed the rest of the week there until our move in date the following Saturday.

Our move-in was... exhausting, tiring, and overwhelming! I am really glad that Stephen is handled it so well because I was so overwhelmed trying to figure out how to get everything to fit in here, and I wasn't even the one doing all the moving! Here's the problem. In 6 1/2 years of marrige, we have acquired way more stuff than we realized could fit into our 1,100 sq. ft. apt. This floorplan seemed very spacious and accomodating compared to other apartments we had looked at in the area! It is larger than our previous apartment in Louisiana, but there's a whole bunch of stuff that we did not take to Louisiana. About 1/3 of our furniture and other random things did not come with us to Louisiana, but was left in a 10x10 storage unit it Covina. So, we had stuff in two different storage places, one in L.A. and one in San Diego, plus we had a baby grand piano that we left with some friends in Covina. All of these things were supposed to end up in our apartment here on our move-in day. The other challenge was that I was virtuously useless, (pregnant,) and we had no help from our new ward. (We were unable to contact the Elder's Quorum or Relief Society) We actually had one guy that we had met from the other ward previously who came for a little while. Besides that, it was my dad, brother, and Jeff (Pip's husband) who did all of the hard labor! Did I mention we brought a baby grand piano with us? Our aparment does have stairs outside and inside, which adds a slight challenge.

Also, we had an interesting situation with our fridge. I thought it would be a great idea to swap out our own fridge that was stored for 6 months in Covina with the one that Stephen described as "old" or at least "older" than our own that came with the apartment here. We still had no plan for the swapped out fridge, so Stephen took it over to the Del Mar Storage. ANYWAY, when we opened the door to check out our little frigidare, it was SO SMELLY and had tons of tiny flies in it - GROSS! I guess Jeff knew all along that fridges are supposed to be stored with the doors open or off. Obviously, we had not listened to Jeff. So besides the lack of space problem with our millions of boxes, I had a stinky, unusable fridge. I felt like I really should clean it out after all the trouble we went to store it and bring it over here. But, in the end, I nixed it. Poor Stephen! I was now creating more work for him. In the end it worked out. Stephen brought it out to the dumpster and took the doors off of it. Interestingly enough, he said he later saw it back behind the maintenance closet! The janitors here are keeping it and will probably use it in someone's apt. How sad for the unknowing tenant!

So the long and short of it is... we're finally moved in! We have our own apartment and are loving the weather and new friends we are meeting here! There is so much to do! So many cool places to visit that are really close to us! The best things are that the temple is less than 5 miles away, our ward has lots of little tots (3 nurseries!) So Brooklyn has a bazillion friends, and the beach is about a 15 minute drive away, only because of traffic lights. It's probably about 8 miles.

Our new address is: 8943 Lombard Place #324, San Diego, CA 92122. Please feel free to come visit, write our call us! (Although we are still working on getting a home phone!)