We decided to try to host an exchange student again. I’ve had numerous people tell me what a good experience it was for them and I’ve experienced that in the past as well, so we decided to give it another try, although this time was just for 10 days, not an entire school year. We chose to host Eloise, a 13 year old from France who said she wanted to be a pediatrician. That was the main reason we chose her because I figured she must like kids if she wanted to be a pediatrician. She got along great with our kids and our kids loved her as well. Abbie and her really hit it off and Abbie would follow her all over the place and Eloise would play with her. Ben was constantly asking where she was and when she’d be home. They really liked her and she fit it very well with our family and was so easy to have around. Her English wasn’t the best and my French is non-existent so sometimes it was a little bit like cherades, but we got through it and she is a very sweet girl.
She had a lot of activities with her group and the boys and Mark and I went along to the Cat House which is a big cat rescue place near us. It was neat to see all the big cats. That tiger really was as close as he looks… It was neat to hear all the noises they make that you can’t really hear in bigger zoos.
Eloise wanted to go to Disneyland while she was here, but that is so expensive for a family of 5. It would have been almost $500 for the 5 of us and more for Eloise and we just couldn’t spend that right now. So we went to Ventura and ate near the harbor there and then walked on the beach. Eloise had never had popcorn shrimp so there she is with her first bite! She liked it!
Our next stop was Ventura Beach. (We actually just walked across the street from the harbor.) Our kids love the beach and could easily spend hours there. If they have water and sand to play with, they’re happy.
Next we headed to Solvang, which is a little Danish town close to the coast. It was so cute! I would have loved to spend more time here and it really reminded me of Galena with a European flare.
We rented one of these bikes to ride around, which was fun but scary. It’s hard to wear a baby and have the only way to balance yourself be with pedals that are moving. I should have had Eloise hold him since she wasn’t pedaling, but I managed to not fall out. J wasn’t feeling the best though so he was a little bit crabby.
Solvang was a gorgeous little town. I would love to go back someday, when our kids are older, or better yet, with just Mark.
Our last day trip was to Red Rock Canyon. Everyone else went for a walk, but I stayed to nurse J a little bit. He didn’t have a hat and the sun was kind of intense and he was crabby again because he didn’t feel good and wasn’t getting his naps. I took him for a little walk and took a few pictures, but we didn’t stay out long. Everyone else went for a walk around the loop. It’s a pretty area.
Overall, it was a great experience hosting Eloise and we’d love to host again. It’s harder to host in our CA house because it’s smaller than our AZ house and only has 4 bedrooms vs the 5 we had there. I miss having more space! But Abbie is good about giving up her room and sleeping on cushions in our room. I think I might see if Mark wants to build a loft for Ben’s room and then Abbie can go sleep in the loft in Ben’s room when we have guests. That would be ideal since the baby is still too young to room share with. If he sees someone in his room at 5am, he’s up and ready to play and I’m not up for playing that early… I’ll add that to our list of things to do… =)