Sunday, 25 December 2016

Christmas 2016

Christmas is all about family ... and running through them to score a well-worked rugby try.

White Christmas. Though I've never dreamed of it, Utah does a pretty decent job of making sure it happens.

plus a couple more photos taken this festive season.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Micah's Eighth

We were fortunate to be able to have a number of members of extended family and friends join us for Micah's eighth birthday. Traditionally, in our faith, eight is the age at which children are baptised -- formally joining the faith -- and thus, a significant event for them and family. Though we had moved further away from some family (but closer to others), with enough planning family -- including Rochelle and her family, my parents, Martin and his family, as well as Elijah -- were all able to converge for a few days to help celebrate both events.

We held a loosely-based-on-Star-Wars brunch party for Micah's birthday on the day itself, settling into a favourite spot in Balboa Park. The party itself was a more traditional Australian fare, with homemade food and games that Gaynor and I had enjoyed as children and that we had done at many of the other children's earlier parties. Gaynor baked up cinnamon rolls (a-la Princess Leia's iconic New Hope hair), fruit platter, lolly lightsabers on the cupcakes, and Jabba the Hutt meringues. Ariana and Bryna were great at taking the lead in running the games, including egg and spoons races, pass-the-parcel, lightsaber battles (half pool noodles were a great hit, literally), a water bomb fight, and a homemade Jedi training remote piñata.

Bryna & Micah teach the American children at Micah's 8th birthday party a traditional British/Australia children's game of Pass the Parcel (parcel itself is mid-child, upper left).
The children's homemade lightsabers (blue-painted broom handles with a grip-wrapped & decorated end) were put to good use, beating the snot (or at least candy) out of a homemade Jedi training remote.

The baptism itself was a week later with some local-ish and not-so-usually-local friends (Oliver and Vanessa!) joining us for the service. We try to have this as a seperate event from the birthday as it's significant in it's own right but also so that the out and out fun of a birthday bash doesn't become convoluted with the more solemn but joyful time of the baptism.

It's always good spending time just hanging out, chatting with family, generally catching up, and being in each other's lives again in a more immediate way but attending the LDS temple together draws out another important, spiritual aspect of our relationships. Having the San Diego Temple only twenty minutes drive (plus traffic!) from our home is a marked benefit to living here. Occasions such as these remind me how grateful I am for family and friends and all that they bring to my life!

Some family members who made the trek for Micah's baptism (& 8th birthday celebration) gather outside the LDS San Diego Temple.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Travels and Farewells with the Children

Part of the deal of moving back to the US was that Gaynor -- who I had to do a lot of negotiating with -- would get to see her children at least once a year. For those that we brought with us, that was never going to be a problem. For those that had their own lives already running in Australia, it would be more of a challenge. Josh & Mara flew over to spend some time with us from Thanksgiving through to Gaynor's birthday in mid-January. It coincided with end-of-academic year and summer holidays for them, so it worked out well. Apart from the usual sparkling banter, we enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with some family on the same continent ...
The also now traditional Thanksgiving Day Dinner. Glad to be had with family!

... played some cricket ...

We couldn't find a nearby cricket field and so a little used baseball diamond with 'natural' wickets was the order of the day.
Micah has a go while Ari is prepared in case he really connects with it. Josh tidies up behind the stumps.

... enjoyed a tour of the Anza-Borrego Desert with friends ...

We tried to stand there and enjoy the grandeur of nature but just couldn't stomach it for very long. We are shallow people.
Just like the Mormon Battalion may have tried, everyone has a go at getting out of the box canyon vertically.

... and spent time together at the beach.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, even daylight. Gaynor's birthday wish was a bit of time together watching the sun set at the beach.