Cincinnati Visit

Elliot’s Birthday Party

Elliot, wearing Mari’s gift-wrapping accessories.
Blowing out his candles.

This evening we celebrated Elliot’s birthday, a few days early. The Reagens and Mar-Mar and BeBob came over for dinner.

Elliot turned 13 this year. He is generally a caring boy who likes to help out around the house, sometimes. He is still the best at making Andrew laugh, and also knowing how to get under his skin. He wakes up at 6:30 every morning for school, where he spends most of his day. Every day when I pick him up I ask if anything happened today, to which the reply is always ‘no.’ In his free time he likes to play soccer and hang out with Cam.

Favorite song The Box
Favorite color: Red
Favorite food: Skyline
Favorite band: None
Favorite book: Harry Potter 7
Favorite sport: Soccer
Favorite movie: Knives Out

Mar-Mar & Be-Bob Visit

Mar-Mar & Be-Bob came to visit this weekend. They made it in time for one of Andrew’s track meets and some soccer games this weekend. On Friday I took the day off and we went to Pella Tulip Time with Lucia and Rose.


5 surfers, and 2 future surfers. Photo credit: my dad.

I don’t remember when it started, but as far back as I can remember I have wanted to be a surfer. I have always loved the beach and I think the thrill of surfing combined with beach life has always attracted me. Surfers are the coolest, right? 

Surfing is the only thing on my bucket list, and today I got to cross it off! With my parents in town to help watch the little girls, Susan, Andrew, Mari, Elliot, and I got to spend the afternoon surfing, which was awesome. We signed up for lessons a couple of weeks ago with one of the surf schools here in Santa Cruz. They provided the boards and wet suits, and two instructors. 

After getting dressed and carrying our boards to the beach, which was quite a task, we had a short on-shore lesson. Rick & Gio taught us a few fundamentals (don’t ever look down) and how to stand up, and then it was into the water. The water was flat all day, but just as Rick planned the waves started coming up our of nowhere as the tide went out. 

The waves were just perfect for us to get started on and the cove we were in was great. We could stand with the water up just past our waist about 100 yards out into the bay. We would wait for a group of waves and then Rick and Gio would give us a push and tell us when to stand up.

The first phase of our lessons was learning how to stand up and ride the wave the whole time. The next phase would be learning how to paddle into the wave (get started by yourself). They said that if you start out that way then you can get exhausted very quickly and not have any fun at all. I can see that because by the end of our two-hour lesson we were all pretty much exhausted. 

All of the kids were great at surfing. They picked it up much quicker than Susan and I. I think they were successful about 75% of the time. Rick & Gio were most impressed with Mari, who picked it up quickly and rode very consistently. Elliot and Andrew were right there with her. Susan and I had a harder time, probably being successful just 25% of the time, but we still had a blast. 

It was a great time, and a great blessing for me to have the experience with the rest of my family. 

Mar-Mar and Be-Bob played with the girls at the beach, which was great because my mom took a bunch of pictures for us while my dad played in the sand. I think we were all ready to leave at about the same time and then we went out to eat on the wharf, a pier right by the beach. There was a beautiful sunset.

Mar-Mar & Be-Bob Visit the Mystery Spot

Last night my parents flew into San Francisco and today they made the trip south to join us in Santa Cruz. After getting settled in this morning we went to The Mystery Spot, a gravitational vortex in the Santa Cruz area. We went for a short hike and then got a tour of the place, which centers around a cabin with some strange gravitational anomalies. 

Be-Bob reading to the kids.

The Mystery Spot

On a short hike

Measuring Heights

Measuring Heights

Our Tour Guide, Hope

Standing on a table


Rose had had enough, so she just decided to stop trying.

Be-Bob being silly.

Happy Birthday, Mari!

Happy Birthday, Mari!

Mari turned twelve yesterday! She is definitely looking and acting more “grown up” lately.  We were in Cincinnati for her birthday, so we had the opportunity to do some different things. On Friday, the day before her birthday we headed to Sunlite Pool in the afternoon and then the Reds game in the evening. My cousin Kelly was married on Saturday, her actual birthday, so after a day of wedding we had the Hyland clan over to Mar-Mar and Be-Bob’s for dinner, cake, and presents. 

Mari continues to be a multi-faceted individual, who enjoys reading, soccer, and playing with friends. This past year she learned how to play the tuba and was one of the top tuba players in her 5th grade band. She is sad to take the year off as we hit the road. 

She is still an early riser, usually getting up around 7 or 8, before the others. She enjoys toast and cereal for breakfast. Ham and mustard continue to be staple ingredients for her lunch. I would say that pizza is her favorite food, but we are Skyline for her birthday dinner with the Reagens. 

Favorite song: Superhero by Coldplay
Favorite color: Blue
Favorite food: Pizza
Favorite band: Coldplay
Favorite book: Harry Potter
Favorite sport: Soccer
Favorite movie: Ghostbusters (the remake)