Belize 2012!

Yesterday the boys and I traveled to Belize — the first time on our own without Jamma as our guide since she was already there. No worries though, it went off without a hitch. The mad dash in Dallas from gate C-29 to D-16 made things a little exciting.

We started off very early — woke up at 3:00 to leave the house at 4:00. Finn got up at about 3:15 and promptly dressed himself and brushed his teeth. Excited, anyone? Ezra was a little slower and grudgingly got up, but once he remembered what the day held he perked up quite a bit. We got through the hassles at LAX quickly (thank goodness for curbside check-in and a very nice person working the gate counter who got our seats moved together) and went foraging for breakfast. Then we waited for boarding.

LAX

The flights were pretty uneventful. The boys stayed busy with puzzle books, the Sky Mall magazine, the iPad, and, of course, the safety cards. Finn, in particular, is a very safe passenger.

Finn -- the safest passenger ever

They also had a few snacks. (Finn didn’t want to have his picture taken.)

Croissants on the plane

Finn was very proud that he stayed awake the whole first flight and made a point to say that he was still wide awake when we got on the plane in Dallas. Then he promptly fell asleep on take-off.

Sleepy Finn (Dallas to Belize City)

Pretty soon we were over Belize City.

Above Belize

Jamma met us there (yay!) and John drove us all to Municipal Airport, where we caught the little plane to the island.

Belize Municipal Airport

I took some photos out the window, which I’ve done every year but I never tire of the view.

From the plane

From the plane

And soon we were over San Pedro Town.

Over San Pedro

I thoroughly enjoyed this sign at the airport in San Pedro. Things are a little lax here on Ambergris Caye.

Um ... something's missing

Then we took a minivan taxi to the water taxi dock and loaded up the boat for the ride to the house. The boys, Ezra in particular, was in his zen place.

On the boat to the house

And after about a half-hour of unpacking time, we gave in to the begging and Finn got to his happy place.

Finn's happy place

This morning, we woke to a beautiful Belizean day and we’re enjoying this view from the balcony, getting ready to head out to the pool.

Balcony view

Laundry Treasures

Today’s installment of Laundry Treasures is brought to you by summer camp:

Laundry treasures

One acorn
One plastic gem
One pine cone
Someone else’s Chapstick (yuck)

At least the pine cone went all the way through the dryer cycle so everything smells piney fresh.

Grease is the Word

A couple of weeks ago I went to the Grease sing-a-long at the Hollywood Bowl with some friends from high school in lieu of a traditional 25th reunion. (Ugh, 25th, really?) There weren’t many of us there, but it was a very fun evening.

Grease is the word

Here’s the group: Mary, Lourdes and me in the front row; Kendra, Julie, Linda and Christine in the back.

Mini class of 1987 reunion

I really missed Paige, especially given all of the sing-a-longs we did when we were little girls. But she was in France, the lucky duck.

LFL Update

We’ve had lots of activity with the Little Free Library and it’s time for an update. First, the bad news. Someone stole the Lego R2D2 we used as a door handle. It’s pretty lame, but luckily they didn’t damage the door in the process and the little platform he was sitting on was intact as well. So we looked around in the Lego boxes and talked with Ezra about what to use to replace it. Ezra wanted to use Ninjago Jay, but we really liked the Star Wars idea better because it’s more universally known. We tried a Storm Trooper but it just didn’t have the same effect. Finally, we realized that we still had two R2D2s so we asked Ezra if we could use another one. He agreed.

Bruce pulled out the big guns to affix it this time and R2 is back up.

R2 v2

So far, so good.

Before we realized we had extra R2s, Bruce and Ezra made missing posters (Ezra’s idea) and taped them to the library.

Missing R2

He hasn’t been turned in, and we’ve taken down the posters, but I think it was a good idea anyway.

Now, for the good news. We got our sign and we’re officially Little Free Library number 2397.

Sign closeup

We took a few more pictures in order to register on the LFL site, so I’ll share those here as well. They want a picture of the location.

Context

A closeup.

LFL

One with people.

LFL Family

And we sent them one of R2D2 as a unique feature.

I also took some at night.

Lit

Lit

Water Wars

It’s been hot here lately and yesterday I let the boys do some water play to cool off. It was pretty tame in the beginning — we gave some of the non-native plants a little extra water (I’m not sure my gardenia is going to make it …) and then the boys wanted to wash their truck.

Washing the truck

Then they pretended to be firemen putting out a fire in the old lemon tree. (They were too late.)

Too late

That led to Ezra spraying Finn and it was all crazy from there.

Water wars

Water wars

Water wars

Moomins

Another craze is currently taking over our house — the Moomins. The boys had a fabulous time making the garden Hattifatteners. Ezra can’t get enough of the comic strip and is starting to read the books. Everyone pretends to be the Groke.

On Sunday, once the Hattifatteners were in the garden, the boys pulled out our art box and made some Hattifatteners of their own. Finn put his in the ground right next to the big one.

Finn's Hattifattener

Finn and the Hattifatteners

Hattifatteners!

Bruce and I went shopping at the local antique mall a few weeks ago and came across a box of hands. Yes, hands.

Can I get a hand?

I walked right by, but Bruce had a vision! Hattifatteners!

So he set about making a couple to put in the garden. He cut out long pieces of wood and had the boys help him paint them.

Painting the Hattifatteners

Finn paints up high

We even enlisted Riley, an old Cottage friend who had come with his mom and brother to see the library.

Painting the Hattifatteners

Once the paint was dry, he attached the hands and got ready to put them in the ground.

Working on the Hattifattener

Ezra was a lot of help.

Ever sit in a bucket of rocks?

And so was Finn.

Finn takes a rest

Ezra had a good time pretending he was a Hattifattener, even going so far as to get in the hole.

Ezra pretends to be a Hattifattener

Finally, in the ground it went. (And the boys really were helpful at this point.)

Putting it in the ground

Oh, did I forget to mention it’s a bird bath?

The bird bath

Pretty fun.

Done!

The second one isn’t a bird bath yet, but it will be. It’s in the back yard.

Backyard Hattifattener

Hockey in July

The boys tolerated (Ezra) and enjoyed (Finn) the fact that I co-opted the TV during the Stanley Cup Finals, but both were excited about the championship and asked for t-shirts. They came in the mail last weekend and a hockey craze ensued. All of our old equipment was dragged out of the basement, we ran to the sporting goods store for more sticks (not easy to find in July), and the boys played for hours.

Hockey

Finn suits up

Driveway hockey

Driveway hockey

Ezra likes to play goalie; he’s got a good crouch.

Ezra's goalie position

This weekend we upgraded from cardboard box goals to wood goals with built in puck blockers to make the driveway chase less likely.

Untitled

I love that they’re so enthusiastic about playing because it’s such a fun sport. And I think they look pretty awesome in our gear.

All suited up

Our Little Free Library

A couple of weeks ago there was a story in the L.A. Times about a “nationwide movement” called Little Free Library. Basically, people put up a small structure in their yard somewhere, fill it with books, and welcome neighbors to take a book, bring a book, or both. We were hooked right away and got started planning our own little free library. We mostly used materials we already had, and it came together incredibly fast — less than three weeks. We put it up yesterday evening. Already, people have come by to use it; several books are gone and new ones have appeared.

Of course, I documented the process.

Day one, making the box.

IMG_3970

We used some of the boys’ old wooden blocks as cladding for the sides.

IMG_4457

Next were some embellishments and a roof.

Left side view

For the front, Bruce used some pieces of mahogany that he got from Janice’s dad’s workshop.

Putting on the front cladding

The metal roof was left over from the playhouse Bruce built for the boys way back when we lived over by the Rose Bowl.

A roof

Next it got a couple of coats of finish.

Putting on a coat of finish

And a red door.

The door

It also got a light inside.

The light

Then we needed a door knob. We didn’t have any laying around and didn’t really want to buy one, so I asked Ezra if he wouldn’t mind making one out of his Lego. I explained he’d be sacrificing the pieces because they’d have to be permanently glued together. He was very excited and came up with this.

Ezra's contribution - R2D2 door handle

So they glued R2D2 together with this platform.

Gluing R2

It looks great!

R2 the door handle

Bruce built a stand for the box, dug a trench to wire in the light with the timed lights in the garden, and dug a big hole.

The base

Once he’d attached the box to the stand, we were almost ready to go.

Securing

My contribution was the sign.

The sign

The boys were pretty excited about our little project.

Yay!

Done!

And here it is on the first night, all lit up.

All lit up!

There are more pictures here.¬†We’re waiting to hear back from the Little Free Library people to get our official sign and number and get added to their map of libraries.

This has been a super fun experience!

Crazy Sleepwalker

Ezra was sleepwalking the other night (not unusual). He wandered around the house a bit and then I said to him, “You can go back to bed now.” (He can hear and understand and usually does as asked.) This is where he went.

Crazy sleepwalker

I thought it was very funny and ran for my camera. In the morning I showed him the picture and he also thought it was pretty funny (and weird that he didn’t remember doing it). Then I told him the story about how I slept-walked at a friend’s house one night when I was a little older than he is now. I walked around their house until I made it to the family room where her parents were. Then I sat down in an ice chest that was in the middle of the room. After a while, I got up and went back to bed. Needless to say, he thought that was pretty funny, too.

Luke and Linkin’s 4th Birthday

We went down to Temecula last weekend to celebrate Luke and Linkin’s fourth birthday. After the official party, we all got some extra time to hang out at Eli and Nick’s place. Fun ensued. There were fireworks (the tame kind) that Ezra and Finn thoroughly enjoyed. Here are a few pictures.

Fireworks with cousins

Fireworks with cousins

Fireworks with cousins

Finn's sparkler

Cutie pie

Always fun to see all seven Moision/Beck cousins together!

Eek! It’s Been Ten Days!

Not sure why but I didn’t add anything to the blog this week. Got some catching up to do! Here’s my first post o’ random shots of this week.

First, old-school cool off in the sprinklers during one of our very hot afternoons.

Cooling off old school

Cooling off old school

Ninja poses.

Ninja pose

Tree trimming.

Tree trimmers

Sword posing.

Strike a pose

Ezra and Lamby, still together after all these (7-1/2) years.

Ezra and Lamby -- still together

Knot tying with linguini. (Gotta get them started tying their shoes somehow …)

Knot tying

Knot tying

After camp playtime. First, Ezra and Lucy.

Ezra and Lucy

And Finn and Charlie on the iPad.

Finn and Charlie

A Quiet Place

The boys are not fans of the fireworks — especially the local, illegal kind that our neighbors have been shooting off for a couple of weeks now. Tonight was, of course, particularly loud. The boys requested their ear mops during their reading time, and I couldn’t help but snap a couple of pictures.

4th of July reading

Trying to find a quiet place to read

Independence

So, what did you do after the neighborhood party? Ezra sat on a ladder in the front yard, poking holes in styrofoam with a drill bit, while wearing “ear mops.”

Ezra on a ladder

Finn swung a rope around.

Neighborhood 4th of July Party

Our neighborhood has a 4th of July party, which we missed last year because the boys and I were braving tropical storms. This year we’re here, so the boys (all three of them) decorated their vehicles (while I made a dish for the potluck) and headed out for the parade.

Heading out for the parade

The event was well-attended and fun. A tractor led the way for the parade around the block.

Parade pause

Finn and Bruce await the start

Ezra's off

After the parade, we enjoyed the potluck lunch. The boys really liked the blueberry muffins that came with little drink umbrellas.

Lunch

I didn’t take very many pictures, but there were games, a raffle (we didn’t win) and lots of kids loving the fact that the street was blocked off so they could ride their bikes anywhere they wanted. Ezra and Bruce also did some chalk drawing — an X Wing Fighter and a dragon.

X Wing Fighter

Dragon