Wednesday, April 08, 2015

March: Grunion Run, Isaiah's Birthday Celebration!

In March our family got to experience our first Grunion Run at Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro! We really enjoyed this late night outing and hope to do it again next year!
 The evening started off at 8pm with a tour of the Aquarium!
 Here we are inside a tunnel in one of the many fish tanks!
 Pretending to be underwater!
 A picture from inside the tunnel looking out!
 Quick! A shark's got me!:P
 Waterfowl taxidermy....
 A tank of jelly fish! It's amazing to see how intricately God has designed them!
 Ryan got this cool picture of some other neighbors!
 Visiting the octopus tank!
 Here was a presentation just before we got to g out on the beach, around 10:30pm, to attempt to catch the Grunion! Actually, it was only those under sixteen who could catch them without a fishing license.
We were pretty tired, ending around midnight, but it was well worth it! Unfortunately we didn't get to take any pictures during the actual run. Let me just say, there was a green plastic bucket, small blue cooler, and lots of small eager hands that made our final catch of more than a dozen grunion! The rule is catch and release, or enjoy at home. You know what, we like grunion...they are pretty tasty, thanks to Chef Daniel!;)
Later that month, we celebrated Isaiah's 15th birthday! We had a BBQ on the patio!
 Filling up water balloons-50 for each team!
 These are our water bombs but they look more like giant black olives!
 Our dining area......some of the chairs are missing.....
 Here they are! For our first game, we played our own version of "Cat-In-The-Hat" but ours was called, "Burgers-Fries-And-Watergate Salad!"
 Here's the birthday guy! Ready to play!
 Everyone got a name, and when you heard yours, you had to switch seats!
The chairs slowly decreased in number!
After our first game, it was time for dinner! We also took some of the needed chairs from our game with us to the table!
 Guess what we had for dinner?? Burgers, fries and watergate salad!
 Our trusty grill has seen many a BBQ....
These guys are ready to eat!
Our next game, was a tug-of-war! Losers go through the pool! Our team won this one....;)
The final game was a Water Bomb Fight!!!!:D Team 1....
 Team 2!!:)
 The borders were two ropes on either side of the pool. You could get into the pool, but you had to have a water bomb in your hand. Once you threw it at the enemy, you were stuck in the pool until a team mate with a water bomb came and rescued!
 While we started out with rules and goals, when the ammo ran out, it was every man for himself!!!:)

Some of us grabbed pots and bowls!! The driest team was the winner.....
As you can see, everyone was soaked in the end, but we had a blast! They say playing games together builds character!:D Happy Birthday, Isaiah!:)
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.
                                                                                                                    Colossians 3:23-24

February: A Birthday Party, Couples Banquet and Beach Night!

Februaury came quickly and with it, the busyness of life continued! This month was especially busy with Valentines being in the air and there was some secret planning going on!;)
Caytlin and I were invited to a birthday party for Amy Fox on a Sunday afternoon with the young ladies at church!
The candle above has a funny story connected! We were delighted to go and had prepared it, by wrapping the jar it was in with ribbon and decorations! It looked lovely and had been a late night project. The following morning, as I was carrying it out to the car, I accidentally dropped it and the jar smashed into pieces, ruining all the decorations! The guys had to laugh at the situation, making me feel better and then they helped me get all the glass cleaned off and we salvaged the tule and ribbon as it shows in the picture above!:P (It was a good reminder to me of the verse that says, "A man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps! Prov. 20:24;)" Thankfully, we were able to get it looking presentable and it all worked out, as Amy loved the "candle-without-the-jar" look!;)
Amy and Ashlee also gave us some valentines cards with paper tiarras, so here we were trying them on! They were quite the fashion, and we had several good laughs over them!:) Here Hannah (on the couch in black) had dropped by for a few minutes!

Sisters...what a blessing they are from the Lord!
After eating lunch and visiting some, we snuggled up in blankets and enjoyed watching a movie together!:) Here's the whole group minus Hannah, and Susanna who we missed having!:)
After the party was over....we did some more of that secret planning, I mentioned.;)
The following Friday, found us working like crazy to prepare for the Couples Banquet (secret planning;) we had been working on throwing at our house! The original plan changed several times as did it's date, attendees and staff for the event, and we had a  few bumps here and there, but the Lord worked everything out! The invitations were sent, confirmations received, and Michael John's Family Restaurant began to prepare for the occasion, all without Mommy suspecting anything!
Getting Mommy ready for the evening!:) Aunt Drana "happened" to stop by for a visit and was able to help mom with her hair...;)
Ashlee had come to "hang out and visit" earlier in the day and a few hours before the dinner, she was working hard at decorations and signs in the back room! She has a much better knack for things like that than I do, and was happy to help, so it was a huge blessing to have her!
Dad requested a photoshoot before the dinner, so Ryan took them off to the backbay for a few hours...
How grateful we are to have our parents!:) Aren't they a beautiful couple!
It's so neat to look at them and see us kids and how we take after them!:)
Meanwhile, the patio had been transformed into a dinning area, ready for the evening! (The reason Daddy had requested the "photoshoot.") The guys had worked hard to set up the lights, table and chairs, while Ashlee finished up the banners and nameplates.:)
A beautiful banner...:)
It was neat to see how everything came together despite my worrying!:)
We provided childcare for the couples invited, here Aunt Drana and Janelle were helping with that!
Everyone arrived around the same time and mom came home to find the most of her relatives in the garage, to her surprise!:) Unfortunately the Estradas couldn't make it, so the Westons were able to come in their place!:)
After being entertained by some ventriloquism from Daniel, the couples were seated and drinks were ordered and served.
In the kitchen, Emily, Uncle Paul and I worked on dinner...:P Boy was that an adventure, and they were very patient with me as I tried to keep my head.;)  As much as I tried to have everything just right, the dinner didn't go as well as hoped and it was rather late, and I put too much salt in one thing and not enough in something else, but everyone was gracious and it was a humbling, good,  experience to learn from for next time!;)
Playing a game "How Well Do You Know Your Spouse?" This proved to be very entertaining as the answers were read!;)
Serving the dinner plates, and checking the list.....Oven fried chicken, mashed potatoes or cheesy cauliflower, and green beans were on the menu for the adults!
In the busyness of the evening we only got a few pictures of behind the scenes, but Ryan and Daniel did childcare, while Caytlin was our photographer/videographer for the evening! Here the kids were enjoying their dinner of macaroni and cheese.
Checking on game rules.....Isaiah and Ashlee were the host and hostess for the evening and did a wonderful job!
After dinner we enjoyed watching the couples play a unity building game-A Blind Feed!  It was a relay race of sorts where the wives had to find their husbands blindfolded, and feed them an allotted amount of whipped cream, with their husbands voices guiding them! This was the highlight of the evening and a lot of fun!!:)
Uncle Johnny and Uncle Dan bracing themselves...;)
Trying to get all the whipped cream IN their mouth, not ON it!;)
Finding the way back!
Poor Miguel!;) Guess he's ready for a shave?:)
We were one couple short for this game as it needed a pair of couples in each round, so Isaiah and Ashlee stepped in!
Relaxing afterwards and eating our dinner, while the couples enjoyed more visiting in the livingroom. As much as I would love to say the evening went off without a hitch, that simply would not be true.:P We had several adventures in the kitchen, outside in the dining area and with the childcare, that made the evening a bit wild! Overall, though, it was a success and with the passage of time, we may yet again find ourselves planning such an event, but better prepared!
Of course, once the work was done, the phones came out!;) This was a posed picture.....;)
The Michael John Staff for the evening: Left to right: Isaiah (Head Waiter), Ryan (Childcare), Daniel (Childcare/Entertainment), Ashlee (Ass. Waitress), Emily (Assistant Cook), Me (Head Cook), Caytlin (Media Manager), and Janelle (Childcare)! It was an adventure having so many people helping and we were thankful for their help in pulling off the evening! We missed having Uncle Paul in this picture because he left early but, he was out faithful dishwasher and we would not have been able to accomplish much without him!
The last week of the month found us at the beach for a church bonfire! We went to Balboa this time, and over there, they have large mounds of sand which the kiddos really enjoyed playing in!
Playing some volleyball before we lost the light!
Timbo wearing his Prince of Dothwyn cape! ;)
We were a small but happy group!:)
Nathaniel Smith teaching us how to get the coals going......:)

Nice and hot, and ready for hot dogs!
Hanging out with his "second-favorite-Ashlee.....;)"
We came to this beach because we thought we could burn wood, and although that was true, it turned out we were in the wrong area, so we stuck to burning charcoal!
The fare ranged from regular hot dogs, sausages and shish kabobs!
Daddy found this neat grill that fits our family's size!:)
And of course no bonfire is complete without singing!
Micah and Amy are such a fun couple to be with! No one ever feels left out!:)
A group picture!:)

Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
                                                                                     1 John 3:2-3