Graham was away at camp all of last week, which meant that it was just Sir Nathan and Miss Emily at home. The two of them are the best of friends, and Graham likes to fly solo, but having him physically removed from our home was different. He was missed by all of us.

We passed our time as we always do, by visiting various local beaches. My kids love to jump off of the docks at one beach and I obliged.

Can we jump three times?

Yes.

Can we jump five times?

Yes.

Can we jump ten times?

Yes.

Why would I ever deny them the thrill of a jump, or ten jumps? Or eleven jumps, if you count the one “for good luck”?

Rail jumping

Emily

 

Double Jump

Peace!

Haaaa

Whee!

My kids are jumping, fearlessly. I’ll always encourage them to do exactly that.

Last Thursday I received an email from Ali asking if I’d want to represent YMC at a grand opening of a hotel in L.A. this week. Erica had been invited, but was out of town with her family, and they wanted someone from YMC to attend. It turned out to be perfect timing, as Matt had already booked a few days off so we could go to the cabin. Instead, he took the kids to the cabin and I boarded a flight to L.A. If you know me at all, then you know that I love California. Having the opportunity to stay right downtown in L.A. Live was pretty exciting, as I’ve never been to that part of L.A.

I landed to blue skies and sunshine, and a nice driver named George who was holding a sign with my name on it. My college friend Ross and his boys drove in from the valley to meet me for a late lunch (Hi, Ross!) and then I went back to my hotel room to work for a bit before meeting my group for dinner. I’d never met the girls who organized it, and I had no idea who else was attending, but I put my big girl panties on and headed to the lobby.

Me

Everyone was great, of course, and it was an interesting mix of travel writers and traditional journalists. There were people from as far away as Australia, and some writers who lived and worked in L.A. The dinner was AMAZING. Many pictures were taken because everything was not only beautiful, but absolutely unbelievable.

Yum

Double Yum

After dinner a few of us went up to the pool deck and talked about our work, etc. and I took advantage of the views.

Sunset

Saturday morning was the big reception and ribbon-cutting ceremony. It was my first time being part of the media at an event such as this, and it was a lot of fun. I took notes and photos and then got the full tour of the hotel. I spent some time chatting with my new friends and then it was time for everyone to leave. My new friends were the locals, so they went back to work and daily life. I had the afternoon free until meeting our organizers and the other “Internationals” for another dinner as we were all flying out on Wednesday.

I walked to Target to buy something for each of the kids (It was two blocks away! Danger! Danger!) and then did a bit of photo walking/people watching.
Hotel Figueroa
World Cup at L.A. Live

094

Dinner, round two, was amazing and a great celebration of the morning’s events. It was also fun because a fellow Canadian joined us. She’s from Toronto, and is rather lovely, and we had a great time with everyone else at dinner. We wandered to the old Hotel Figueroa and had a glass of wine next to the pool while we talked (and talked, and talked).

101Hotel Figueroa

The trip was a quick one, and one full of a lot of awesome, which the hotel itself was a huge part of. The rooms are unbelievable and the beds are so fantastic that I either want to move in there, or buy one for home. I’m not one to sleep in, and usually wake up around 6 a.m., but it was hard to tear myself away from those perfect pillows each morning.

I have my full hotel experience posted over at YMC  for those who want to hear more about it. As for me, I’m feeling pretty spoiled, and thankful that I get to do all that I get do do. I haven’t had time to write about my spa day courtesy of my writing job at General Mills, but that story will come soon.

I love the adventures that I get to go on, but there really is no place like home. I wrote the bulk of this post while traveling back home and sitting in airports, all of the while wishing the hours would move a little bit faster do I could be home. I’m home, and I’m happy. Happy for my experience, and happy to be back with my loves.

In the elevator

*More photos on Instagram, of course.

Ready To Strike

Here’s a little-known fact about me: When I was in sixth and seventh grade, I was in a bowling league. That’s but one of the nerdy things about me, along with the fact that I skipped third grade, was pulled out of regular school classes for “advanced” classes after skipping that grade, took grade eight and nine French in one year, and was a peer tutor for Algebra 11 and Algebra 12.

(Nerds unite!)(?)

We signed our kids (And us!) up for free bowling coupons (American friends, you can use them too), and yesterday was the first time we cashed them in. We tend to spend most afternoons at the beach, but the afternoon consisted of more clouds than sunshine and we headed to the bowling alley.

I am not a competitive person by nature. Competing makes me nervous, as exhibited by every racing post I’ve written. I was there to have fun, and to teach my kids that even just knocking pins down was something to be celebrated. They’d each been a few times between birthday parties and such, but this was the first time the five of us bowled together.

They not only hit pins, they each got a few spares and strikes. (YAY!) The last time I bowled was before we even had our kids and I won every game. It’s been twelve years since then and I … knocked it out of the park.

Bowling!

(I scored 182 and then 198.)

The afternoon was hilarious because Matthew is a natural athlete (He can run 10K once a year, with no training, and kill it. He’s also a local legend when it comes to basketball, and rocks every sport)(That’s where Nathan gets it from) but he’s not the best bowler. His body wanted him to knock down one. Pin. At. A. Time. He would hit a pin, turn with a WTH? face as he grabbed the next ball, and we’d all laugh. (With him. Not at him. Okay, sometimes at him.)

He was a good sport about it all, as was I, especially when he chose to follow/mock my technique. You see, I take two steps, do some kind of hippity-hop, and then the bowling ball rolls off of my fingers and I knock down many pins, if not all of them. I cannot help my little skippety-skip dance, and have been doing it since I was ten. His rendition is much more dramatic, especially with his six-foot-two wing span. His rendition didn’t help his score, but we all had a good laugh while he skipped down the lane with his arms flailing. I’m sure my natural technique was humorous to other bowlers, as it should be.

We all had a blast, and the kids cannot wait until we bowl again. In Sunday school this morning, when asked what they were looking forward to this summer, they each included “bowling” in their list of activities.

Maybe I’ll even let them win a game or two.

My life is horrible

While driving to the beach today, we had one of the many random conversations that we have every day. This one was not about farts or poop, so that makes it a win before we even got what we were talking about.

We got talking about our initials and I had NO IDEA that my kids had already thought about their initials and had made acronyms based on them.

Nathan: Not Much Done

Emily: Extra Dangerous Damsel

Graham: Great Job, Dykstra!

(I laughed so hard at Graham’s, partially from what he chose, and partially from the way he did a fist pump, Popeye-style.)

We talked about my initials — ADD — and how it’s pretty ironic that I’m an accountant. My initials are ADD. But I guess that’s positive?

I asked what their Dad’s initials should be and Graham killed it.

My Job’s Done

(His job is so not done, unless we’re talking about siring children, then his job is done. So, so done.)

What do your initials stand for?

Home Base

We’ve gotten into the summer groove over here. It started two weeks early, thanks to the B.C. teacher’s strike, which just means that we had a jump start on the rest of Canada on getting through the adjustment of having school and friends to occupy the kids for six hours a day to…zero hours of school and friends. There were a few days of the I’m boooooored laments, which saw us mapping out activities and while I like plans and lists, I also like to go with the flow.

The kids have adjusted their waking up times to better match their bedtimes (Both are later) and they’ve adjusted to our new routine. The “no electronics before 9 am” rule helped them not to wake up in hopes of having extra Minecraft time and I now wake up and come downstairs to find them making LEGO creations or reading. Win!

Our routine in the summer is pretty basic, but we like routines over here. I work in the mornings while the kids play, we eat lunch, and then we head to the lake. The kids play with each other, and their friends, and they swim (I’ll swim in August, when the water isn’t ice cold), and they wrap themselves in towels while they eat the popcorn and other snacks I brought to the beach. Then they head back into the lake or build another sand castle, or go to the playground, while I read a book or chat with friends.

Some evenings we meet friends for a potluck dinner where there is always a gaggle of kids, way too much food, and a lot of great conversations. We all come home tired, full, and happy.

Summer is my favorite, forever and for always.

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