Monday, August 20, 2012

Piano recital

Lukas had a piano recital on Saturday. It is a true joy to hear him practice and play and I marvel at his progress - amazing what consistent practice will do for mastery....

His teacher Ms Chong also performed for all of us and even allowed the children to come up and stand close by as she played the pipe organ - impressive and very beautiful. We are so fortunate to have Ms Chong as Lukas' piano teacher and will treasure her last few months here with us before she moves on to bless students in another part of this country.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Welcome home

Bob is back!!! Yeah! Although no longer on active duty, this 'tour' feels a bit like a half way house, not all military but not all civilian either. The analogy extends to no more deployments but shorter separations so that Bob can fulfill his internship requirement. Well, he just got back from his LAST one, no more long separations in our foreseeable future.
The last hours felt like days, if only I could slow down time like that always, I would get SO MUCH done... Noah and Lukas barely allowed the car to slow down at the curb before they jumped out and greeted the world's best Dad with a bear hug.
That matching was coincidental....
We are all together again!

Car week

The Monterey Peninsula is home to many special events each year, one of the more notable being the yearly Car event in August - Concours d'Elegance. There are cars of all sorts, old ones, new ones, fast ones, expensive ones and plain old strange ones. We ventured down to Carmel to see some of the cars that lined Ocean Avenue on Friday, little did we realize that 250,000 of our 'closest friends' had the same idea. Fortunately, we had an errand to do at the church and utilize the parking that comes with stopping at church. No we did not drive a fancy car, but our parking spot was coveted by many.
note the boys' reflection...

A motorized Radio Flyer

"No it is not a kit car, it is a custom built"

No need for a mirror....

Goofing off

Noah prefers to have his toes up and head down - talking on the phone, reading, listening to read alouds or just hanging out..

Original price - PRICELESS - so nobody get any ideas that he can be had for cheap by any stretch...

Although the calendar said Thursday, there was little enthusiasm for school work but tons of energy for fun - laughter is good medicine and a great distraction when time is slowing down to a crawl while waiting for Bob/Dad to come home. We are now counting hours not days!


This week we met friends at one of our favorite rock climbing sites - Lover's Point. The tide was going out, the sun was shining, the kelp was thick with animals - all in all a perfect day for some rock jumping, crab catching and chatting.

Monday, August 13, 2012


Puzzle is a favorite activity in our household and a great way to spend a non electronic low tech evening. Noah got to choose the puzzle and he predictably picked his geography one. It is great, all the countries -or at least most - is its own puzzle piece in the shape of its country.
I had strict orders NOT to touch the puzzle after the boys went to bed, and today Lukas put in the last piece. What a great way to learn geography and have fun at the same time.
They are of course pointing to Sweden in this picture to impress their Swedish relatives and show that Americans do know some geography.....

Fun learning tool

In preparing for the new school year I came across an idea from another Mom, who had made an electro board to help drill facts. The idea seemed perfect for our family, we do a lot of drilling especially geography, both boys really enjoy any geography game we can play, and electronics are high on their desired activity list.

Most of the supplies we had on hand, and Lukas and Noah set out to solder the many, many, many miniature brads on to wire. This is not a fast project, and precision is of out most importance so I think we are going to learn a whole lot more than 'just' geography in the process. Multi-task learning at its best.  

Fancy lunch

Typically, our lunch consists of whatever we can find in the fridge, ie fruit, cheese, vegetables, maybe some left over from the night before. However, this week Lukas had found a recipe in a magazine that he wanted to try and he was not willing to wait for dinner to roll around. This trait to cut out recipes and try them is one he comes by earnestly, it runs in the genes of both families - he cannot help himself but to cut out things that sounds yummy.
He set out to mix up the turkey meat with various spices and home made teryaki sauce and after a failed attempt at grilling these moist patties on our troubled grill, he settled for a hand me down George Foreman instead. In a few moments he had delicious, moist and perfectly cooked patties complete with grill marks, and along with pine apple slices and heated whole wheat buns. He and Noah enjoyed their lunch and my hope for left overs were quickly dashed - this was too good to save for another meal. Fortunately, they were not very hungry when it was time for dinner, so I squeezed by serving our traditional lunch for dinner, so all in all status quo for the day.

Turkey meat just does not look as good as it tastes...
It is fun to see the boys taking to cooking, now if I could only get Lukas to realize that there is usually a reason for the directions, ingredients and proportions.... and in order to improve it is best to start with the original idea and then enhance..


It is not hard to motivate Lukas and Noah to get their chores and school work done - they know that freedom beckons in the garage, outside in the tree house and amidst boxes of robotics and electronics parts. Lukas spent time working on his robotics project, and he is to be commanded for all that he is doing given the 'direction' he gets from Mamma...

Noah found an old nerf gun, and quickly devised a new, better, faster, more accurate gun out of the old one - he is persistent and does not easily give up in the face of adversity; sawing through hard plastic is not that easy...

Sunday evening favorite

Weekends are hard when Bob are away, time seems to slow down a lot and the hole that his absences leaves is more visible in the slower weekend hours. Fortunately, we are surrounded by wonderful friends who 'get' what weekends are like without Dad home, and extended us an invitation to join them at the beach for marshmallows and wine, ie something for everyone.
Noah quickly found a rock that he just had to not only climb but then descend in the most expedient manner possible, not thinking for a moment what the impact might be on his action on young impressionable five year old that watched him....
As usual, our boys began to dig and dig and dig. The digging was only interrupted by the discovery of small jellies right there on the beach.
It was a wonderful way to spend a leisurely Sunday evening - and I was glad we had not completed one of our many to do's - vacuum the car out, because we brought a bit of sand with us home in the dark...

Someone else brought a camera and took our picture!

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Is your mailbox feeling a bit anemic lately? How long was it since you found a handwritten enveloped tucked in between flyers for carpet cleaning, fast food and pet service, invitations to sign up for credits cards you did not know you needed and the occasional bill from a company that has yet to 'see the light' and auto bill via automatic withdrawal from checking account? This family is VERY fortunate! We frequently find large packages addressed in beautiful cursive writing, sometimes adorned with foreign stamps and often filled with lovely treats, sweet notes and thoughtful gifts.
This week, as we drove up to the house, I saw two small plastic animals by our front door. I was a bit confused, it has been a while since we were at a circus or toy store to purchase such item; nor had we recently brought something like that resulting in us leaving it behind or forgetting them some place.. Our curiosity peaked as we unloaded the car, and the squeal of delight uttered from lips of surprised boys was sweet music to my ears. These were mailed to them by their very special Grammy. There were funny sayings written in indelible ink all over, and the stamp was secured with tape as to not fall off.
My history in mail processing and delivery quietly wondered how such an item was handled in this day of automation,, but that was not my problem to worry over.
The bright green frog and his companion the brown moose are now seated on Noah's display table in our hallway garnering all kinds of interesting comments from visitors, the joy is spreading like rings on water. Maybe I need to stop blogging and sit down to write a nice note to make sure someone else's mail box is filled with a bit of joy this week. 


The beach beckons us regardless of weather and it is the perfect place for a get together with friends. Mammas sit on the blanket chatting while the children dig aiming for China or at least the core of the Earth.  This time, Lukas and Noah devised a different kind of hole - one that was deceptively narrow at the opening but underneath opened up to a vast cavern. Since the sides were a bit delicate, the fashioned a simple machine out of kelp and a plastic bucket powered by biceps. 

I am afraid that we will soon be on Monterey Most Wanted List for removing far too much sand from the beautiful beaches - it is all here in our car, our house, our clothes, our washing machine and our bodies, so please feel free to come and get it!

Our two fish

Lukas and Noah have always enjoyed swimming and playing in the water. This summer, our goal was to graduate from simple ability to swim and move into proper technique and form. Both boys thoroughly enjoyed their lessons and were frequently caught saying "it seems like just a minute since we got in, Mamma" despite being in an outside pool that was not always heated and swimming under cool, gray skies and fog. Their strokes improved, their form is getting there and both can handle multiple laps without problems = goal achieved and ribbon to prove it.

Peanut butter

Peanut butter is pretty much a staple in our house and there are many good brands to choose from in the store. However, my chefs in training thought home made would be better, so we set out to try. The enthusiasm vane a bit as they realized it takes a lot of work to crack enough peanuts to make even a small amount of peanut butter, yet they were determined and kept on going.

The new blender worked wonders and we now have home made peanut butter for our bananas, apples and even for the occasional sandwich. True to form, Lukas has already verbalized his enhancements to the recipe for the next time we make this... and has put plain peanuts on the shopping list.