Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Texas Two-Step

For Labor Day, Ava made her first trip out to Texas to visit College Station and Houston.  College Station is home to Texas A&M and Kyle Field where the hometown Fightin' Aggies hosted our UCLA Bruins.  Our hotel was even decorated in anticipation of the big game.
Despite a very off day from UCLA's young receiving corps, and an an overtime loss for the Bruins, we will have lasting memories of Kyle Field, the Corps of Cadets, the local hospitality, and the 100,000 screaming fans.
After the game we strolled through campus with friends and ended up at Bottlecap Alley and the Dixie Chicken for dinner. 
Driving from College Station to Houston, we made the requisite pitstop at Buc-ee's. 
In Pearland, our friends had staked out a place in line for us and we were able to enjoy the smoky goodness that is Killen's BBQ, but we weren't able to run into JJ Watt.  Maybe next time.  
While Hania was still at soccer, Ava joined Amelia and Adela at the Houston Museum of Natural Science where they learned about gems and minerals, visited the butterfly exhibit, and goofed around with the dinosaurs. 
That night, the whole family was able to come along to see the local minor league team, the Sugar Land Skeeters.  
The girls got to meet both Skeeters mascots, play in the outfield splash pad, and on the inflatables.
The girls took some time to actually sit down and watch part of the game, and got to meet former Detroit Tigers pitcher Robbie Weinhardt after the game.
On Monday, Ava said goodbye to her friends and headed home. 
Until next time, Texas! 

Friday, August 26, 2016

End of Summer Shenanigans

In the past Abby has made cakes for Ava's birthday.  This year, Ava baked and decorated the cupcakes for her birthday party from scratch.  They looked and tasted great.
Ava's birthday party was held at SkyHigh - basically a large warehouse with tons of trampolines, trampoline dodgeball, and a laser maze (think Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible).  
The girls had a blast and topped off the party with pizza and cupcakes in the glow room.
Ava's actual birthday was a week later when she turned 9.  In the morning, Grandma and Grandpa - fresh off their camping trip with Ava - joined Abby, Chris, and Ava for mini golf and video games.

Grammy and Poppy joined us in the afternoon and we all had burgers for dinner.
Ava's last camp of the summer was with friends Sadie and Savannah at the Newport Aquatic Center where they canoed, kayaked, and paddleboarded each day. 
Back in our neighborhood, Gavin and Bryn invited Ava over to celebrate Ava's and Bryn's birthdays, and Ava received one of the best gifts ever, an inflatable pizza!
Joining Catherine and Edward in Palm Springs during the final weekend before school, Ava and Catherine put the pizza to good use, and also spent time just hanging out and relaxing.
School is back in session and that means more new adventures for Ava.  Stay tuned. 

Football and the Other Football

Ava's favo(u)rite sport has long been football, er soccer - the one where you use your feet - and has been fortunate enough to see our beloved club, Chelsea, on two trips to Stamford Bridge (three if you count the time when she was still in utero).  This summer, Chelsea made the trip to our own back yard to take on Liverpool as part of their pre-season tour, so Ava had to partake in all the fun.  Before the match we hung out at the Chelsea in America tailgate with friends and with former Chelsea midfielder Gary Stanley.
At the match, Ava sat right above the tunnel where the players entered and screamed for the boys in blue throughout the match.
Despite the late hour, we stuck around after the match and Man of the Match, Gary Cahill, walked up to Ava and handed her his sweaty jersey.
Ava's main summer (and fall, winter, and spring) activity is continuing to play soccer with her Slammers team.  After just a few months, the girls have quickly bonded both on and off the field, and they love their coach.
After 22 years, the other football (aka throwball, hand-egg, gridiron) is back in LA.  LA apparently includes Orange County as the Rams have been holding training camp at UC Irvine.  This has given Ava a chance for free peek at the area's newest (and oldest) professional sports team.  The Rams had a great set up for kids with an enormous slide, and obstacle course. 
They even had combine activities for kids including a broad jump, vertical jump, and shuttle run. 
No event would be complete without some junk food.  Don't worry.  Ava didn't eat that funnel cake topped with strawberries and chocolate sauce on her own.   Chris helped her and they still couldn't finish it.
While not all the kids in the crowd paid attention to the practice on the field, Ava enjoyed watching the quarterback battle between incumbent Case Keenum, and #1 draft pick Jared Goff. 
After practice the kids had the chance to meet some of the players and get some autographs.