Are you familiar with the Woody Guthrie song "Do Re Mi?" As we drove up Beach Boulevard through Stanton, of all places, the boys kept exclaiming "California is a garden of Eden! It is a paradise to live in or see!"
We went to Mimi's to meet my grandpa for brunch; when we stepped out of the car into the sunshine, Willem didn't just walk through the parking lot--he gamboled.
Visiting with my grandpa is always an adventure. He pointed out that that he had not been drinking, allowing for a much nicer time together than we would have had otherwise. I heartily agreed. Even so, he sent his cappuccino back to the kitchen thinking that it was the French onion soup he had ordered to go (and didn't want until we were ready to leave). This despite the fact that he had already eaten several spoonfuls of froth off the top of the cappuccino.
I've gotten pretty used to the clip-on fan my grandpa has taken to wearing on the bill of his cap, so I'm not sure why it threw me so much to see that he's added another one on the other side. As if one fan is perfectly reasonable, but two fans means it's crazy-time.
No visit with grandpa is complete without gifts. His car is stashed full of dollar store items and on its own could almost qualify for an episode of Hoarders. We won't even talk about his house. As you can see above, I received a Kozy Buddi, AS SEEN ONLINE. Also a nice check.
Here's what the boys received:
-Rubber band balls. These seemed cool until we realized they were Styrofoam cores wrapped with a few cracked, well-aged rubber bands.
-Headlamps. Grandpa was chagrined to discover they each already own one.
-Plastic flashlights. These were great while they lasted (about a day.)
-Baseballs. These did not come in any packaging. One looked newish. The other sported a patina of dirt and was initialed "D.C" in green Sharpie in three different places. I rather doubt that D.C. knowingly contributed a ball to the cause. Sorry about that, D.C.
-A packet of cash. These were two identical stacks of new bills, ten $2 bills bookended with $1 bills and clipped together on the ends with tiny colored paper clips. Whoever says money can't buy you love has not met my kids. The sheer novelty of the getting their hands on physical cash was priceless. Plus it gave them spending money for Legoland! Bonus!
The next activity on our itinerary was to visit Shaun's grandma, but Shaun was kind enough to humor me in my wish to visit the Biola campus first. I was hoping to see some of my co-workers from my Financial Aid days, and it sounded nice to walk around with the boys and see all the new construction.
And it was nice. We hadn't warned anyone we were coming, so we had fun catching people like Matthew Weathers totally off-guard as we randomly ran into them. Children on campus are always an anomaly, and I quite enjoyed being accompanied by ours. This picture completely blows my mind:
If only I could go back in time and tell the me who walked into Metzger a bazilllion times both as a student and as an employee that everything was going to be all right. That some day I would be back with my family and my life would be so very good.
We wandered around in the brilliant sun for a bit, letting Willem douse himself in the fountain, stopping in at the SUB, checking out the Jesus mural, and buying popsicles at the bookstore. We went by Dr. Bloom's office (he was Shaun's favorite professor), but he wasn't in. It was the last Friday before classes started on Monday, so there weren't a lot of folks around.
Next we were off to Morningside in Fullerton to meet up with Shaun's sister Kim and her kids and Auntie Nancy to visit with Grandma Cathy.
I couldn't resist snapping a picture (bad as it is with the glare) of this giant enlarged photo we took at Thanksgiving that is now framed on Cathy's wall. For starters, we are all looking at two different cameras. But look at Willem. He was having one of the crabbiest days of his life. He is actively turning his mouth down in a frown and his eyes are rolled almost all the way up. His clenched fists are the icing on the cake.
We walked around the Morningside grounds (lots of moaning and groaning from the boys about more walking) and played some ping-pong and had a nice afternoon together. We decided to regroup and meet up with Cory for dinner at the Panera in Fullerton.
It was a lovely day and evening for driving around. Shaun and I were both a little punch-drunk from the beauty of it all.
It took us a while to decide upon our food and settle in to a spot at the restaurant. But not long after we sat down, Dr. Bloom and his wife walked in and seated themselves at the table next to us! So Shaun got the opportunity to catch up with the one Biola person he cared to after all.
It was a long day after a late night, and Willem especially was done by the time we finished dinner.
And then it was off to Kim and Cory's for a good night's sleep to ready the bunch of us for Legoland.