Saturday, January 19, 2013

Big Bear

It's been so cold outside, so why not make the best of this time of year?!  We went with a group of friends to Big Bear on Friday.  It's always fun to go snowboarding, and the more the merrier!  A lot more people were invited, but the ones that went had a great time.  We headed up nice and early, had breakfast, and then time to rent equipment and hit the slopes.  For several, it was the bunny slope, but I think they had fun too.  David was able to help Dave, Nick & Ian teach JR, Kaylee and Katie.  Jason helped Lillian, and everyone just hung out there for awhile. I'm not up to the task to snowboard this year, so I sat at the tables at the bottom of the bunny slope and took pictures and read.  It was beautiful weather and I had a lot of fun watching and  visiting with everyone as they took breaks.  The sun was of course in front of me, so it's hard to see the people's faces.

Everyone had a great time, even though they are all a little extra sore today.  Can't wait to go again!!

Part two of this post:  Where Not to Stay in Big Bear
Alpine Village Inn and Resort

We had this trip planned for quite awhile, so David and I decided it was time for another weekend getaway.  We found a "condo" type place to stay online and booked it about 2 months ago.  The pictures online looked like it was an okay room to stay, and it was super inexpensive compared to some of the places you can book there.  So we went for it - why not, cuz it's always worked in the past.  But this time...not so much.  The lady at the desk said to park around back and look for the two decks, and that our room would be the one with the deck on the left.  We were taken back a bit, walked in the room, and thought, oh no!  It looked a little seedy (red carpeting SCREAMS seedy to me).  We walked in the bedroom and David said, "I think we're going to get bed bugs."  It took awhile to get accustomed to the room. We took naps, and got up to go to dinner.  I wasn't sure we were even going to stay there until I was ready to climb into bed.  I studied it and determined it did look clean and I was tired enough that it just didn't matter.  (If it really was dirty, there would've been no way to keep me there.)  Helpful hint...if the paperwork you sign says "No refunds after checking in", well, that's a big red flag.

Top left, the front of the "hotel".  Bottom left, our "deck" and door to the room.  SWEET! Across the street from the place we stayed was a nice Mexican restaurant.  They had great food and it was nice to get out of our room.  No, I didn't take any pictures of the inside of the room.  Just didn't want to relive it - ever.  haha

We ended up having a nice getaway, even though neither of us were feeling so great - he fell snowboarding and broke a rib - but it was nice to be together and have quiet time to talk and reflect on our lives.  Next time we go up there, we'll have to write down places that look nice enough to stay.  Guess you do get what you pay for.  Lesson learned.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Missionary Homecoming

 My second favorite Tongan elder returned home from his mission on Friday.  Sunday was his homecoming in Downey.  Boy I really wanted to go!  I had to BEG David to miss his own ward and go with me.  But I pulled out the big guns, begged & pleaded, batted my eyes and won!! We weren't sure we would be able to even make it until we got up and showered to see if we were well enough for the trip (after the flu episode mentioned in the previous post).  Although, I did have to leave to kids who apparently still need their mommy to rub their backs when they're kneeling over the toilet.  It was cute to see how they missed me and were a little bummed I left them.
Elder Michael and Troy were never companions, but they knew each other from being in the same mission, and knew that their moms talk to each other often.  Doesn't Elder Michael have the cutest smile?  He's so happy.  And he's such a good young man.  He would say, "Oh, I love your son.  He's so great - and funny."  And then would bust up laughing.  Interesting that that's what Troy's companion did while we were Skyping on Christmas Eve. Huh!  And while we were Skyping Troy & Elder Michael were together.  I had Troy hug Jacob and told Jacob I wanted that hug on Sunday :)  2nd hand hugs are almost as good, right??!! 
Jacob's homecoming talk was great!  But then again, I'm pretty biased.  He talked about the 6 months that he was on the poorest island, Nuia, (where Elder Groberg was) where there was no electricity or running water.  They ate coconuts and mangoes most days because the members had no food of their own to share.  It was a humbling experience for him for sure! We always wanted Troy to experience that island, but it wasn't meant to be.  Not that we're mean parents and want our child to starve, but because he is learning so much about being thankful for what he has and has had to become resourceful as well.
There was a wall hanging that the Tongan elders signed for Elder Michael's (Maikolo's) departure.  I immediately found Troy's message so had to take a picture.  (Troy's nickname is Elder Simba.) 

I am so glad that we were able to experience this extraordinary missionary's homecoming.  The disconcerting part was when Martha said that they hand the missionaries pills before they get on the plane and told them to take them to deworm.  GROSS!  She also said that there are a lot of things we didn't know.  I asked her if I wanted to know yet and she just said "no".  OKAY, well, guess that's best.  Three more months and I guess we'll find out.  Maybe we need to make that doctor appointment pretty soon, though.  I really am thankful for the opportunity that the young men and women of The Church get to sacrifice much to be taught, humbled, converted and serve our Heavenly Father in such a manner.

After Christmas Desert Trip

We planned on going out to the desert the day after Christmas, but David had to run some unexpected errands, so we couldn't leave until Thursday.  Our friends The Johnstons, Mark, and Lillian came with us. David and I took the little boys for a drive in the car - aka nap - while the mom, dad and big kids got to go for a nice ride.  It worked out perfectly! 
 We ate, visited, rode, and played with RC cars. 

It was all great until nighttime when the vomiting started :(  When we woke up our friends had already left.  Around 2:30 am Patrick threw up on Ian and the bed they were sleeping in.  Ewww!
The rest of us had a really nice day Friday and took a long ride to the Chocolate Mountains.  It was so fun to go camping in our "new" RV.  So much more relaxing and easier than tent camping for sure!!
We got home around 8pm.  The vomiting started about 11 :(((.  For the next couple days we had a lot of that going on till everyone got it out of their system. It was definitely a memorable trip.  Hopefully the next one won't be so rushed before, and gross during and after :)