Saturday, June 30, 2012

Books, books, books

One of the summer chores is to sort the books, clean out the book shelf, re-shelf by category all the books and take away those that we have read. It sounds like a pretty easy job, but for a bunch of bibliophile it is not. Old friends, ie read books, bring back wonderful memories, and may be worth a second read. New books, well there is a certain anticipation, excitement and anticipation when one begins a new book, so maybe that time should be right now?
Hence, sorting, piling and organizing took a backseat to the impromptu readings and browsing until someone broke the spell by reminding of task at hand, and then back for a few minutes to sort, stack before a new book captured the attention and mind.
We did get the task done and the shelves are nice and tidy - and there is even some empty space ready to be occupied with new yet to be discovered books... you see we are off to Detroit to visit Bob and there are bookstores in Detroit!


We have great strawberries here, as a matter of fact, it is likely that if you purchase strawberries in a US store, they hailed from around here. The climate here permits almost year around strawberry growing, so we are very spoiled.
In our most recent box, we found one that weighed in at over 100 grams or for those on US system, 3.4 oz...

Lukas thoroughly enjoyed this almost meal size berry.

Cheap dentist

I think we need to find a cheap dentist with these kind of teeth... any suggestions?

Monday, June 25, 2012

California the land of fruits and nuts

We are truly spoiled by the great produce we get here almost all year around. Today, we hit the jackpot with special pricing on raspberries, strawberries, mangoes, cherries, apricots and watermelon. Noah knew what he wanted for lunch.
We are filling the freezer with treats - there is no better snack than a frozen cherry according to Lukas.

Music to my ears

We are not taking music lessons this summer since it did not fit into the schedule. This does not mean however that the boys are not playing. Each is committed to play for 30 minutes a day and I am so enjoying the sweet sounds that is coming forth as they improve and progress...
(The careful observer will note the new tie dye shirt. )

All eyes

This is how Noah greeted me this morning - I am all eyes, Mamma!


Bob left for his 8 week internship in Detroit early Sunday morning. Although we have been through this before, it is never easy to say good bye and the three of us left behind were all a bit somber on Sunday, really feeling the void of Bob not being here.
To take our minds off our longing, we headed to the beach - this time the Pacific side. Lukas and Noah hauled their tools, and it did not take long before another group of kids approached them and asked for Lukas and Noah's assistance in digging.

Back home, all a bit worn out, making it easier to head to bed without the sweet embrace of Dad.

Father's Day

There ought to be a special day for special Dads, so that they do not get lumped in with all the ordinary and not so great dads - but until that day comes, we celebrate Father's Day in honor of the best Dad two boys could ever have.
Bagels for lunch, and after a well deserved nap, we headed to the beach for some body surfing. The three guys took hot showers while the grill heated up for our special Father's Day meal, which came courtesy of a generous anniversary gift sent to us from family.


Noah loves watermelon and was thrilled when we found the little mini ones in the store - it meant he could eat the entire thing. Being handy and resourceful, he quickly realized that he needed a better grip on his ball, and employed the apple corer as a handle. Mamma really like multi-purpose tools.

Tie dye Thursday

A while back, I re-dyed a bunch of dark blue clothes that had turned grey after many washings. Noah wanted to try tie dye so we threw in a t-shirt in the lot. This t-shirt he has worn every week since, and would probably prefer that we would go to twice weekly laundry schedule so that he could wear it more often.
On Thursday, we decided to make a few new shirts, since the first one can no longer be classified as anything but periwinkle blue or light purple... yet, it does not seem to deter Noah, the careful dresser, one bit.
Thanks to friends who moved, we had tie dye kits with gloves, bottles, rubber bands and dye. Noah and his good friend Davis set out to make 'cool' shirts. Davis' brother Mitchell joined in the fun, whereas Lukas excused himself to the garage and his work bench.
Noah wrapped and tied his shirt, making a small and compact package and then set out to pour on color. At the end, I was worried that the entire shirt would be a muddled black as a result of the many layers of colors that he poured on.
The next day, we washed his shirt, per instructions, and we could have added twice as much color to the shirts.. little did I know.. Regardless, Noah is very happy with his shirts, and he now has three that he rotates through each week until next tie dye event. Maybe he needs some private lessons from his Aunt Bev.. some tips and techniques of the trade..


Lukas and Noah have been swimming for a long time, spending time in a pool is high up on their list of fun things to do. However, they could use a bit of refinement in the technique area, so this summer they had a few swim classes. Although Monterey is known for its cool, foggy summers, so far the time spent at the outdoor, not heated pool has been fine, and I am hoping our good streak will remain for the last few classes. Thanks to a great teacher, they made huge improvements. Lukas definitely prefers back stroke, whereas Noah is a wiz at freestyle.

Diving is still a skill in the acquiring stage, Noah had a sore belly after his first dive lesson but took it in good stride. 

Fun in the sun

Since most of our friends are associated with the military, we say good bye to dear friends every quarter, as they move on to new assignment. Yet, we also say Hello to new friends. On a sunny weekday, long before school ought to be out, we had an impromptu play date on the beach. Lukas and Noah's shorts weighed so much when we came home, I thought they had rocks in the pockets, but not it was 'only' sand.

Lucky 13

On June 5th, we celebrated 13 years of marriage. We had a wonderful celebration at home with our two boys; a special meal and then sipping champagne and eating ice cream while watching the video of the wedding ceremony. I am still amazed by the support we had from friends and family who willingly gave up an entire pretty summer Saturday to see us promise 'to love until death do us part.'
Little could we have imagined where we would be 13 years later, but I would not trade a minute of these past 13 and look forward to many more champagne toasts in early June. As I reflect on marriage, I would be remiss if I did not mention the role models that both Bob and I have in our parents' marriages, both couples have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, thank you for modeling for us what it looks like.


Noah really enjoys wood working and his most recent projects is making fish - wood fish. He is thinking he will send these to the missionaries in Honduras so that they can use them for teaching aides as they share the love of Jesus with the children of Honduras.

Once the shapes were cut out, Noah carefully sanded off all the rough edges and the finishing touch was to paint each fish - on both sides.

What was Bob doing?

While Lukas, Noah and Christina enjoyed themselves in Europe, Bob stayed behind to continue his work on his dissertation, walk our dog and in his 'spare' time create a beautiful patio for us to enjoy in the cool evenings that Monterey offers almost year around.
A year ago, this spot had an unsightly metal shed on it, today it is a wonderful spot for family gatherings around the fire pit. Do not let the finished product deceive you, it sure looks simple - it was anything but. Sifting out the lava rocks, digging down half a foot plus, flattening the ground out, rocks, sand, bricks, more stamping, more sand, more stamping and more sand. And if that was not enough, the area for the patio was not a square, so Bob also had to cut bricks! I have a whole new appreciation for anyone who has a brick patio now that I know how much work is required.

Clearly, one has to wonder if there is anything Bob does not know how to do?? I am sure this was not part of required course work for his PhD, nor any of his many other degrees and certificates.. He is truly amazing!

Friday, June 15, 2012

No tea with the Queen

On our way back to the US, to break up the very long flights, we stopped over in London for a few days of sightseeing. Clearly, we were not able to see all that London has to offer, it is such a great city, but we did see a few of the 'musts.'
Because we arrived the week before the Diamond Jubilee, the Queen was not available for tea, so no High Tea for the traveling threesome, and since Mamma does not drink beer, no pints either - yet despite these shortcomings, our time in London was fabulous.
We visited the British Museum, and the boys spent hours drawing the various artifacts they saw on display, at one point I had to remind them that we did not have days to spend in the museum and had to keep on going. The British Library left us in awe over the many old documents still in existence - what would have happened if Mozart, Handel or the scribes of Magna Carta were as eager to purge and not save as this family tends to be? We visited the National Galleries and once again had to cut the art studies short in order to see the St Paul's Cathedral, where we did get some serious exercise climbing all 532 steps to the very top. We hoofed across the famous bridges, ate lunch in the shades of the Lion statues at Trafalgar Square, got really good at navigating the double decker bus system and often had front row top of the bus seats allowing us to sight see while resting weary feet. We learned a lot about World War II while visiting the War Rooms and were happy to walk out alive from the Tower of London. To recap our three whirlwind days we ended up doing the 360 London Eye tour, and excitedly being able to identify and locate Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, St Paul's Cathedral and other landmarks we had passed by on our city tour. We enjoyed the finest of pub food and the best of Italian ice cream, and walked through the large toy store to marvel at the Lego models ready for the Jubilee. 
We happily flopped down in the airplane seats for the 11 hour flight back to California - finally getting to rest our tired feet for more than 10 minutes.
Although we had a fantastic time, the boys could not wait to see Bob and despite 18 hour plus of traveling and jet lag they could not stop talking, telling Bob EVERYTHING, and before we headed to bed, we had to unpack the largest chocolate box ever, and of course try a piece. What a fun trip; however there is no place like home.