Showing posts with label Palmdale. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Palmdale. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Four years ago: Hiking Ripley State Park

Feb. 12, 2010
Four years ago today we hiked the Ripley Desert Woodland State Park - one of the last virgin stands of Joshua trees in the Antelope Valley, which is where our homes in Lancaster and Palmdale, California were located.

The park was located way out in the desert, about 15 miles from our house. It was very easy to get to but had no facilities to speak of.

You most enjoyed the numbered markers posted along the trail! The numbers corresponded with a brochure that told about Joshua trees and the local ecosystem. You had great fun searching them out and making sure you got the next number in the sequence!

Here's a bunch of photos from our adventure!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Two years ago today: Santa Clarita

Two years ago today, I picked you up for the weekend at Barns and Noble in Palmdale, Calif., for the weekend. At the time, I was dating Jane, and so you got to meet her for the first time, though you had talked with her on the phone a few times.

The three of us then went out to eat at the Texas-themed restaurant in the Palmdale mall. From there, we drove back to Santa Clarita, where we were staying in a hotel for the weekend.

We spent the weekend doing a lot of driving about - on Saturday morning we drove to Lancaster to look at apartments and then headed back to Santa Clarita for the afternoon. On Sunday, we drove into Los Angeles, and then on Monday morning it was back to Lancaster to drop you off at school.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Some new surprises for you

I'm very excited to see your reaction the next time you visit (which is Feb. 8)! Grandma and Grandpa Bignell bought you a new bed, and we modified the playroom in the farmhouse so tht it can be your bedroom!

I also purchased NFL sheets/comforter/blanket set for you! Back when we got our condo in Palmdale, you had said you wanted NFL sheets, but they were far too expensive to get, so we got you a generic football set instead; unfortunately, we never got stuff unpacked so that we could set up your room that way.

With your love of football this past year, you should like the NFL bedding even better than when we had the condo!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Two years ago: Aquarium of the Pacific

Children's playground at Aquarium
of the Pacific, Jan. 28, 2012.
Two years ago today, we visited the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Calif.! This was one of your favorite places to go, and you always were asking me if we could go.

We'd had a sring of gloomy overcast skies and cool temps in Palmdale, and I was itching to go enjoy some sunshine. Somehow I came across a discount coupon for the aquarium, and so off we went!

The temp was a gorgeous 72 degrees under sunny skies. I remember that our faces got a little red from the sun as we walked around the harbor from the aquarium to the shops and arcade on the oceanfront!

Here's a whole bunch of pictures from our adventure!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Recall your Transformers toys?

Do you remember your mini Transformers figures? We got a few of them when I lived in Encinitas and moved back to Palmdale in 2011-22.

The toys folded into vehicles and then unfolded into a Transformer. The smaller the toy, the more likely pieces of them were to fall off! So I often found myself repairing the Transformer toy.

Bumblebee by far was your favorite Transformer character. You might recall he was a bright yellow Camarro. Whenever we played Transformers in the car, you'd want to be Bumblebee.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Your NFL jerseys through the years

In your Phillip Rivers
jersey, 2011.
This past weekend when we were together, you mentioned that you don't recall ever having a Philip Rivers jersey. Probably not - you were just a preschooler when you had it! So I thought today I'd list all of the NFL jerseys you've owned (so far!):
>>Brett Favre (Minnesota Vikings) - We got the purple jersey at the mall in Palmdale, Calif., in 2010, the season that Favre had his big year with the Vikings and they went to the conference championship.
>>Philip Rivers (San Diego Chargers) - We bought this in Encinitas, Calif., in fall 2011. It was the navy blue jersey.
>>Matt Flynn (Oakland Raiders) - Though he as traded to the Green Bay Packers, I got the black jersey for you for Christmas 2013.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Two years ago today at Legoland

Dec. 31, 2011, Legoland, Calif.
Two years ago today, we spent New Years Eve at Legoland in Carlsbad, Calif.!

Earlier that month, I had moved from Encinitas to Palmdale but still had stuff left in a storage shed back in San Diego. So, I figured I could do things at once: Pick up some stuff from the shed (about five totes fit in the car - two in the trunk, two in the back seat crammed next to you, and one in the front passenger set); and make a fun day of it for you at Legoland. I remember telling you it would be a long trip, but if you were good, I'd give you a big reward! And you were good!

While we had fun at Legoland, it was cool and cloudy, so that limited us from going on some of the water rides. There also was a heavy fog that evening, which  diminished the ability to see the fireworks, though they still were neat - we wore 3D glasses that turned the lights into Lego Bricks!

Here's some pictures from our day together!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Finger lights to search for monsters!

I bet your remember the cool finger lights we had when at the condo in Palmdale! They came in three colors - red, green and blue - and could be worn on your fingers with a little elastic band that held them in place.

The condo was perfect for the finger lights because even during the day as two back bathrooms were dark enough that we could sneak into them, pretending to search for monsters. Of course, they were even better at night when almost every room could be dark!

You liked to play so much with the finger lights that you actually drove me crazy! I'd have to break up the pay with other activities.

When we moved back to Minnesota/Wisconsin, I got some new finger lights that you, Bryan and Rebekah played with at Grandma and Grandpa's house!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Going to your first concert - 'The Beatles'!

Three years ago tonight you went to your first music concert - by a Beatles tribute band at the park in Palmdale, Calif.!

You always loved the Beatles (One of the many, many loves we share!), so going to the concert was a no-brainer.

The first half-hour was spent waiting for them to come on stage and goofing around with one another. Then they came on, and you tried to guess the song titles (You were fairly accurate, by the way!).

We left at intermission, after they'd played the Beatles hits through about 1965/66. By that time, it was getting way past your bedtime, and you were about to fall asleep in my arms!

Here are some photos from the concert!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Our visit to Disneyland two years ago

In the band at the House of the Future in Tomorrowland.
Two years ago today we went to Disneyland together! That summer, I was living in San Diego, so we often stopped in Disney along the way from Palmdale to Encinitas.

You participated in the Jedi Academy, and around this time that summer, we had memorized the three light saber moves: "To the left the right the head"!

We then went over to the House of the Future, where you played the drums in a band! That aftenroon, we spent a good amount of time playing at the Redwood Challenge Trail in California Adventure.

Here's a whole bunch of pictures from our adventure!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Remember Jack Sparrow and pirates?

On Friday when looking at Toys R Us for some more "Star Trek" characters, I came across some of the old Disney "Pirates of the Caribbean" action figures, and they brought back a flood of memories!

You really like Jack Sparrow and had him and a few other of the Pirates action figures. You also had a super big pirate boat for the action figures that we got one night at Disneyland.

When we were at the Disneyland Pieces of Eight pirate store in New Orleans square, we'd sometimes get the swords and other pirate gear and pretend to be dueling pirates. I'd say "Tell me where the treasure is, Jack Sparrow, or I'll run ye through!"

And when in San Diego, we'd sometimes go to the maritime museum where they had old sailing vessels that you could tour. You called the museum "the pirate ships" (though submarines were there, too)!

I also had a big picture book that I kept in the car about pirates that you'd look at when we made those long journeys between San Diego and Palmdale.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Remember our car's DVD player?

You might recall that when we made all of those long trips back and forth betwen Palmdale and San Diego that you had this wonderful little DVD player to watch videos on. After we'd played some imagined game in the car for an hour or so, we'd take a break from it, and often you'd watch a DVD to pass the time on the drive.

Two DVDs in particular that I remember you liked as one about Imaginext characters who were knights and samurai and the other about penguins. The Imaginext ones came with a set of action figures we got, and the penguins came from the library.

One problem we often ran into was that we plugged the DVD player into the car's cigarette lighter, and the cord was barely long enough! If it got jerked, it would come out, and we'd have to start watching the video all over again!

I loved to hear you laugh as you listened to the DVD with its headphones!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

My email to you for May 11, 2013

Here is my email sent to you on May 11, 2013, in case you did not receive it:

Dear Kieran,

How are you doing? I’m doing fine. I had so much fun with you yesterday! I can’t wait to see you again in just two weeks on the afternoon of May 24.

Thank you for introducing your stuffie penguins to me! They look like they’ve received lots of love and affection from you, and that’s cool. I remember how much you enjoyed the penguin cartoons that you would watch on the DVD player when we made those long drives from Palmdale to San Diego. It was always a great pleasure of mine to hear you laugh and giggle from the back seat!

Putting together the “Star Trek” legos was a lot of fun, too. You did a great job of following the instructions. We still have the Klingon ship and the transporter to build. There were a couple of other “Star Trek” lego models at the toy store, so I shall pick them up for the next time we get together. I think there were some other characters we can get as well. They also had Lone Ranger Lego sets, so maybe we’ll do those when we run out of “Star Trek” kits!

Is your wooden car model holding up well? If the wheels ever fall off, you just have to use some wood glue to put them back together. You did a very nice job of painting the car!

You were very good at playing War! I shall have to find some additional games for us to play. Have you ever heard of the game “Operation”? You have to pick up little pieces out of a “body,” but if you touch the body it buzzes and you don’t get the piece. Whoever has the most pieces at the end wins. I bet you would like that game. Speaking of the body, the next time we get together I also will bring the human body book with the skeleton that we can put together.

I am glad you enjoyed the book about Egypt, too. It had a lot of interesting pictures, didn’t it? One of your favorite places to go when I lived in Encinitas/San Diego was the Museum of Man, which had a whole section of Egyptian mummies and sarcophaguses as well as a great children’s area for learning about Egypt. We’d take the trolley there, and on the walk over from the trolley stop would look around in the sculpture garden and sometimes have lunch in the open air cafeteria next to it. Their gift store was a lot of fun, too – if I remember correctly, we got you some Egypt and Darwin toys, there. Anyway, the museum was one of your favorite places, and you’d even beg me to go there!

We had so much fun that we didn’t have time to do everything, like play with the Hot Wheels car, the map puzzle, or the sticker play book. Maybe next time!

Well, that is all for now. I love you and miss you like crazy. I’ll write again next Saturday and will see you on May 24!



Thursday, May 9, 2013

Our last time together for some time...

One year ago today marked the last time I would see you for six months. I picked you up after school and brought you back to our condo in Palmdale where we had dinner.

I will remember forever our last moments together. After dinner, we were in your room next to the closet counting out quarters. I was teaching you how to divide them out so you would know when you had a dollar and then how to count those groups so that we would have enough "dollars" - we were going to get Jane from her room and walk to the ice cream stand on the corner and get some cones.

Only after a long struggle in the courts would I see you again six months later, on Nov. 9, 2012. As writing this, I continue to pursue your legal and moral right to see me. Because I love you, I promise that I never will retreat from my duty as your father to ensure your rights and needs are met.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Our last morning together...

One year ago today I took you to school on a Monday morning as you'd spent the weekend with Jane and me at our condo in Palmdale. It was the last morning we spent together for a year now...

While I got breakfast ready for us, you played with your toys in the living room and saw that one of the DVDs I had were the cartoon "Return to the Planet of the Apes". You got all excited and asked if you could watch it, so I put it in - It was one of my favorite cartoons as a little boy!

You were mesmerized by the opening scene and couldn't stop watching it! When Jane joined us for breakfast, I put the DVD on pause so we eat together as a family, and you told her all about the cartoon!

Afterward, I drove you to preschool where we played a little with some of the dinosaur toys there! They had some of the dinosaur play action sets that we did.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

My email to you for March 30, 2013

Your Easter basket, 2012
Here is my email to you sent on March 30, 2012, in case you don’t receive it.

Hi Kieran,

How are you doing? I love and miss you very much. I am not certain why our visit planned for yesterday was cancelled, but I want you to know that I had nothing to do with it. I wanted to spend time with you because you are the most important person in the world to me. You always have been and always will be. Hopefully our cancelled visit soon will be rescheduled.

Tomorrow is Easter, so I thought I would share a few memories I have of the holiday with you.

Our very first Easter was in 2007! You received a small basket with a tiny stuffie bunny rabbit and a little book about Peter Cottontail. We lived in Crescent City, Calif., at the time, and though the weather there usually was rainy, that Easter was nicely sunny. We went out to eat for Easter dinner, and you sat in your child carrier on the table and you slept through the whole meal! A lot of people stopped by to look at you because you were so darn cute!

In 2010, when you were three years old, you didn’t get an Easter basket. You got an Easter bucket! It was a Star Wars sandbox pail that we filled with all kinds of goodies. One of the items was a chocolate bunny rabbit. You ate the bunny rabbit’s ears first!

In 2011, when you were four years old, you and I made Easter sugar cookies together! You helped me roll out the dough, stamp the shapes, and frost the cookies! One of the cookies that you really liked was of a baby duck, which we frosted yellow (except for the bill, which we frosted orange) and gave a dollop of black for its eye. We also went to the Easter Egg hunt at Lancaster, Calif., City Park.

Last year, when you were five years old, we were living in the condo in Palmdale, Calif., and we had spent all day Saturday together. When you woke up Sunday morning, I mentioned that the Easter Bunny had left something for you at the front door! The Easter basket was a good mix of toys, candies and clothes I had picked up for you just the week before on our drive from Wisconsin to California.

After a little breakfast, we went to the Easter Egg hunt and festivities at City Park in Lancaster. At the end of the egg hunt, one child had just a couple of Easter eggs in his basket and was afraid that he wouldn't receive a reward for turning in the eggs (All the children received some candy and a little toy for turning in the eggs.), so all on your own you offered to share some of your eggs with him! I was so very proud of you for being so kind and generous.

I will miss you tomorrow during Easter. I hope you have a good day, though, and that the Easter Beagle brings you everything you wish for! We are next scheduled to get together on April 26, but hopefully we will see one another once before that date as well.



Friday, March 8, 2013

Today we moved into our condo

One year ago today we moved into our condo in Palmdale...unfortunatley, our stay there was a short one.

You might recall that I didn't have any furniture as Jane planned to move in, and she was going to bring all of her stuff. So while we waited for Jane to arrive, the whole house was empty! I set up a table and chairs for me to work and us to enjoy our meals, and then moved in our toiletries, clothes and a few kitchen items. That made for a great playground! We had lots of space and used the whole condo as a giant playroom.

The place was quite pretty with some gorgeous trees outside, with the one by the stairwell to the main entry having purple blossoms. And who can forget the ice cream stand that was within walking distance!

Here's a whole bunch of photos of our condo!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Remember Palmdale's airparks?

At Joe Davies Airpark
Two years ago today, we went to the two airplane parks in Palmdale, California: Joe Davies Heritage and Blackbird airparks.

The Joe Davies airpark exhibits planes connected to the neighboring U.S. Air Force Plant 42, a sprawling facility where a number of the nation's premier military aircraft have been developed or manufactured during World War Ii and th Cold War. The Blackbird Airpark displays aircraft tested at the Air Force Flight Test Center on nearby Edwards AFB.

You always enjoyed going to them, though later when we moved to San Diego and could play in the aircraft on the Navy carrier and at the Marine base airpark, you kind of thought these two little airparks were a downer because you couldn't inside any of them!

Here's a whole bunch of pictures from our adventure!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Moving to San Diego and Palmdale

The night of April 1, 2011, your mother moved out of the green house in Lancaster. I had to go to court to get the right to see you, which I accomploshed on April 22. That allowed me to see you a couple of days a week unil I could get back in court on May 25 for it to order joint custody between your mother and me of you.

In late May of that year, I moved to San Diego for a new job. I worked at Business Leader Media, editing a suire of business magazines, and moved into the house in Encinitas. Thus began several months of us travling back and forth between the two towns on weekends and holidays.

By December, I'd finally got my business launched and went full time with it. At the same time, I moved back to Palmdale so that we culd spend more time together. That autumn, you entered preschool in Lancaster.

Then in March 2012, we moved into the condo into Palmdale, which Jane shared with us. That lasted until May, and brings you up to date on what has happened in my life!

Monday, December 17, 2012

My birthday wish

Today is my birthday, and I have only one wish: That I could see you. Even a phone call or an email would be okay. Unfortunatley, several people who have very sick minds have prevented us from being together today or even being able to communicate with one another. I do not feel angry toward these people, though, and I hope you do not either, for the sickness of their minds prevents them from knowing right or wrong, prevents them from understanding the deep hurt they have caused. In any case, we shall prevail, and should dedicate our energies today to realizing our wish for the day that did not come true.

Last year on this day, we drove to San Diego together to pick up some of my belongings at my trailer. I had moved earlier that week back to Lancaster/Palmdale so that I could be closer to you. After we filled my car full of totes, we spent a few hours at Legoland and then on our drive back, stopped at Chuck E Cheese's in a suburb north of San Diego - I think it was Vista - where we had a great time playing games and eating pizza. I even have a picture of us taken where you sit in a booth and a machine draws us.

For me, the past 12 months truly lived up to Charles Dickens' oft-quoted words, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." But I hold a strong belief that during the year ahead we will be reunited, and then it truly will be a time "of wisdom...a season of Light...the spring of hope" in which we have "...everything before us."