Saturday, June 20, 2009

Top ten moments moving into Clayton, Ca

So as you know we have moved to California. We are in a little town north of Oakland, which by the way is Northern Cali, north of San Fran in fact, (We are finding a lot of people think us close to LA, so that is just to clarify). We ended up in this little town with farmer's markets, and music in the park at the old historic pavilion every Saturday night. It is beautiful, and stemming the tides of sadness we feel in leaving behind so many good friends and neighbors in South Carolina. Here are our top ten moment's since moving into Clayton.

10--Tavy being quite distressed because, she wasn't able to help Kaleb lift the couch up because she hadn't eaten her veg-a-te-bulls.

9--Kaleb meeting a little boy his exact age across the little common area from us--who has a wii.

8--Tavy, with a rather malicious grin, blowing hot dog smells toward her Dad, who was trying to fast.

7--Sitting out side blowing bubbles while the breeze from the ocean keeps us cool.

6--Fruits and veggies from the farmer's market--fresh Squash and green bean stir fry over noodles--and cherries that still taste like the sun Yumm.

5--Kaleb fervently praying for us to find a house with a swimming pool and not a day later, Dad found the town house we are living in with a pool included.

4--The statue of kids in the park next to us has a little girl with a CTR ring on her finger that nobody but us Mormon's know about.

3--Kaleb being brave enough to pray beautifully in front of his new friend when we had his family over for a BBQ. Then Gabe, his friend asking as politely as possible if we had to pray when we went to Burger King--prayer in your heart buddy, prayer in your heart.

2--After three weeks we finally got rid of the ants all over the place--wahoo.

1--Uncle Davy and Aunt Suzy being able to come right over for Birthdays and Sunday dinner because they live so close.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Road Trippen accross the USA...

After the movers took all of our stuff from our house on Friday May 15 we said good-bye to South Carolina. We then drove up to Richmond Virginia to stay the night. The next morning we spent in Jamestown the first English settlement to survive in the new world. This is the area Pocahontas lived. Turns out Disney made a few exaggerations. Pocahontas was only a young girl when she saved John Smith. It wasn’t until later when she was taken captive and after her father failed to trade for her she married a tobacco farmer named John Rolfe, and she converted to Christianity. She changed her name to Rebecca. She did go to England and was received as an Indian princess by Queen Anne at John Smith’s insistence. Pocahontas was a huge reason the English were able to succeed in the new world. We really enjoyed walking around the remains of the Jamestown settlement, and the church that still stands today. Kaleb got to wear one of the re-enactor’s metal hats. The kids got to see a man blowing a glass vase and we learned that those first English settlers had a 1 out of 7 chance of living through the winter. It is amazing to think that this country really was vulnerable when it started, and now it’s a super power. After Jamestown we went across Maryland on this little highway 13 instead of up staying on I 95 and going on the NJ Turnpike. We did this so we could take a really long bridge that crosses the Chesapeake Bay. At one point you go under the Atlantic Ocean in these really long tunnels so the ocean liners can go over top of you. When we went down into these Tunnels grandpa John told the kids that if you roll down the windows and honk the horn you hear it echo all the way through the tunnel. As we were on an adventure of course we had to try it. The only back lash was when we were in a very busy tunnel in NYC, the kids kept saying honk the horn, honk the horn. We didn’t think it was a good idea, so Grandpa John just slowed down under the speed limit and someone honked for us. It was NYC after all. We were so extremely amused my dad felt he needed to collect honks after that. But alas I am getting ahead of myself. After we drove up the coast of Maryland, we stayed Sunday in New Jersey, so we could go to the Spanish ward’s stake conference—okay we were hoping to meet some Hungarians, because I had been reading about them being concentrated in that area, but the ward time had been changed and the internet hadn’t been updated—what you going to do? We felt the spirit, it was lovely. We drove around New Brunswick NJ, we saw Rudgers U, the Hungarian Church and athletic club down town. I met a lady who had immigrated when she was 17 from Hungary, and she told me all about herself. It was really cool. Then we drove down to see Princeton—which has a golf course in the middle of it--in case you had a few hours between classes? Lest anyone be concerned we found all the smart kids--they are walking around Princeton waiting for the next star trek convention in silk jackets. The old buildings were beautiful.
Monday we went to Washington DC. This was Kaleb’s favorite stop. Why ask you? Because we saw the capital building, and got close enough to see which wing belonged to the Senate, and which belonged to the House? Or perhaps because we saw The White House and Arlington cemetery? Could it have been the Lincoln Memorial Monument that so intrigued Kaleb? No, no, alas because he got to ride in a fighter pilot simulator and while Grandpa John rolled them around like they were in real flight, Kaleb shot the clankers down—yeah Star Wars. While in Washington we ate astronaut ice-cream and saw how big a nuclear war head is--Yikes. Go America!!
Tuesday we drove back up to NY and went to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. It was very sobering to understand how America became a nation by the people who came here. It was made even more interesting because I had been doing research about the Hungarian people who had come over to work at the Johnson and Johnson factory around 1905. These people came over for an opportunity that was suppose to improve their lives, living for six weeks on an illness infested ocean liner, then finally making it to the statue of Liberty and then rounding to Ellis Island. On Ellis Island we learned about the process they would have had to of gone through to get that extra few miles into the US. How sad for the people who didn’t make it, and had to turn right back around and live another six weeks on the boat. I think that we need to remember all of these people who were so brave to leave their homes and everything they knew for an opportunity that I know I don’t appreciate enough.
The kids were kind of restless going through Ellis Island, but Kaleb was extremely taken with Lady Liberty as she was crafted out of copper that is about as thick as a couple quarters. Tavi thought she was pretty and started pretending she was her giant mother. And that is my kids in a nutshell.
That evening we drove through New York, and yes my Dad collected honks. I can’t remember how many he got, but I think it may be the first time in history someone was disappointed they hadn’t reached a solid ten. We went across the George Washington Bridge, and then headed up to Connecticut--poked around Farmington, and ate in Hartford. Then we went up to New Hampshire and spent the night. My Dad saw some fishermen and was tempted to go out with them, but alas, the beaches of Maine where waiting. We drove up to Old Orchard Beach in Maine and the kids played on the beach. Kaleb learned about the water table and how far he had to dig down to get to it. It was at that point my Dad informed us that we had driven so far north that if we had been driving west we would be in Utah. What fun would that have been though?
That afternoon we drove past Walden Pond. It is a swamp now, but it was cool to see where Thoreau spent his two years away from the world immersed in nature. That was also the time frame he spent his famous night in jail for refusing to pay $7 to support the war with Mexico. We drove until pretty late that night and made it to Palmyra NY. Then the next morning we went to the Sacred Grove and saw the Smith family home where Joseph lived at the time of the first vision. It was really interesting to go into the home--so humbling to hear all that Joseph and his family went through to bring the true church back to this earth. It was a beautiful morning and we wandered through the Sacred Grove. After we found a little nook we read the story of the first vision. Then we went to the Hill Cumorah. The kids were pretty restless by then, so we skipped the visitor’s center and just went up to the hill and talked about Moroni and the Golden plates. It was a nice morning. We then drove to Niagara Falls, and saw the massive amounts of water coming down over cliffs.
We spent a long night driving and we made it to Kirtland Ohio. The next morning we got our own personal tour of the Kirtland temple by this nice lady from the reorganized church. We met Elder Groberg who wrote the other side of Heaven, and Karl Anderson who wrote Joseph Smith’s Kirtland just coming out of the temple. Whose distiction must be observed, as they took a picture of all four of us. Our tour was cool-- we got to see every nook and cranny of the temple, including a place where you could see how they had stacked the rocks. It was really interesting to learn about the temple and more than once she referred to the LDS town around the NK Whitney store as “down the hill” and we where amused. Then we went down the hill. We watched a great movie about NK Whitney and how he prayed Joseph to Kirtland. Then about the urgency the saints felt to build a temple. It was sad in places and talked about the persecution the saints endured, and about how Joseph lost his infant son.
Then we got into the car and drove to Chicago. We didn’t have a lot of time at this point, so when we stopped for gas we talked to this older gentleman and he told us about this third generation Italian pizzeria. It was so tasty, and can I just say Chicago style pizza is really different, I know understand why they call it a pie, it kind of is, but so tasty!! The restaurant was kind of a hole, but they seriously know what they were doing.
We made it to the middle of Iowa that night, and the next day we drove from eight in the morning Iowa time until one in the morning Utah time. Yes, I said Utah time because that is where slept that night. After a few days relaxing at Grandparents house the kids and I finished the rest of the way to Oakland without Grandpa John, he was missed. We were relieved to get out of the car, and Daddy was very happy to see us.