Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Normally, the pictures of sunsets that I post are from California, but clearly there is competition.. Missouri sunsets are quite spectacular.


Fun at Grammy and Pappy's

When we arrived in MO, there were great gifts waiting for us, in our bedroom a lovely flower arrangement and delicious truffles, in the boys' bedroom two sets of bow and arrows! It did not take long for the boys to get outside to begin the target practice. The empty lots behind Grammy and Pappy's house made for ideal shooting terrain.
A day later, the boys were gifted a box of decoys that quickly became targets for the arrows. Such great boy fun!

Black Friday tradition

Black Friday - no store shopping, but rather hauling from the attic. Bob and the boys brought down all the Christmas boxes and stacked them in long rows in the garage. It is a good thing Thanksgiving is early this year, more time before Christmas to get all these lovely decorations carefully arranged in the proper place around the house.

Thanksgiving Dinner

A Severinghaus' Thanksgiving Dinner is a truly amazing. There are authentic stuffing, one smoked and one baked turkey, two types of mash, three kinds of cranberry, four vegetables, and at least five different appetizers and desserts to book end a wonderful meal, complete with spectacular wines and great conversation.
Although my regular camera made the trip to MO, the battery did not, so Noah grabbed the IPod and captured the preparations.
After dinner, Noah, Lukas and Barb, eventually replaced by Elisabeth, played a mean game of Monopoly, while some watched the various football games and some gathered for chatting and clean up in the kitchen and Pappy made sure our glasses were filled.

We truly have so much to be thankful for - family tops the list.

Christmas Tree

We had a chance to go and pick up the Christmas tree while visiting Barb and Tom over Thanksgiving. The tree was already picked out, but we brought it home! Seeing the tree tied to the roof makes me think of the Christmas Vacation movie.. Fortunately for us, our Thanksgiving was not as eventful as the Griswold's family gathering, and our food was much better!

Fall leaves

Where we live here in California, there is not much of a change in season. Yes, the days are a bit shorter, there are some trees whose leaves change color, but the lettuce is growing, the beans are climbing towards the sky and everything is greener than usual as we do get some rain. Not exactly typical fall weather. Last fall we had a chance to experience leaves in TN, this year we met our leaves in MO. 
The weather was wonderful, cool crisp air, sun shine and since we were on school break, no studies, just fun family time. We gathered up the rakes and the leaf blowers and set out to return the lawns to its greener color scheme from the current orange blanket of gorgeous fall leaves. A few hours later, many trips to the curb and even wearing out one leaf blower, the boys finally had a chance to jump and enjoy the leaves. We return to Chateau Chez Barb and Tom for a hot shower, a much needed nap and a delicious meal -what a fun day.

Fall means leaves, means raking, means piles to jump in, means tired bodies and blistering hands from holding rakes - and one day of this is quite sufficient to get the feel of fall. Somehow the lack of fallen leaves do not seem so bad any longer....

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Father son love

Noah loves nothing better than wrestling with his Dad. He gleefully runs in to wake Bob up in the morning, tackling a sleepy unsuspecting father; when Bob is peacefully sitting on the couch reading the newspaper, it is not uncommon for Noah to attack from behind; and the before dinner joint wrestle game is the prefer use of any spare time.
The camera was focusing as Bob was seemingly being defeated by his nine year old son, but the shutter was not fast enough to capture the brief momentary weakness in his arsenal of tactics. 
Although it looks like Noah is being beaten, do not be fooled and feel sorry for him - he loves it!

Fresh food

The beautiful raised garden boxes in our backyard are already producing an abundance of food. The lettuce is crisp, bright green and plentiful; the bean stalks are stretching closer to the sky every day; and the carrots growing up between the leafy greens are beginning to command a presence.

Noah picked a large bowl of lettuce for dinner, we brought a huge bag to a friend the other night, and it is hardly noticeable. One thing is for sure, we will not need to buy lettuce anytime soon.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Can you hear me now?

Lukas was introduced to the world of Ham radio enthusiasts this spring, by a dear friend, who brought not only encouragement but books for Lukas to peruse. This fall Lukas decided it was time to pursue this hobby. He read various books, gathered data on testing and then started to in earnest study for the exam. Whenever he had a spare moment, one could find him at the computer taking yet another practice test, or curled up in a corner reading another chapter in the manual.
This past Saturday, he woke at the crack of dawn, ready. He dragged his blurry eyed father along to the hall where the exam awaited. A few short hours later, a very relieved Lukas along with his proud Dad came back home. He had passed. Now began the really hard work - the work of waiting for his call sign. Every day, he logged in to the site, checking in anticipation of finding his name and his new radio name - what could it be? The waiting was challenging, and the federal government did not disappoint, it rarely under-promise and over-deliver, so not long after the promised deadline, Lukas was given his 'new' name. KK6AXQ.

The same generous friend and her family lent Lukas his first radio, and walking the dog is no longer a chore - it is a chance to rag chew as they say in radio speak, ie chat with others.

Growing up

Noah has played the violin for almost two years now. He started out with a tiny violin, although the carrying case made our little man look so official as he jumped out of the car confidently in his way to his lesson. The little violin was later replaced by a bit bigger one, and this week Noah received yet another new violin. This one is special, it is brand new, he is the first owner, and it was made in Romania with an English bow. It is a full size violin so this is for keeps. We can all hear the difference in the sound, it is deeper and louder.
Noah parades around the house, serenading us with the many pieces of music that he has committed to memory. What a joyful noise it is.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Veteran's Day

Today we honor our Veterans, those who have unselfishly served our country, who sacrificed so much so that we can live in freedom. There are not words that adequately express the depth of gratitude for our Veterans. I am also so thankful for those who still serve, for the ones who leave loved ones behind to fight on foreign soil, for the families waiting and counting the days until they are united again  - the cost of freedom and our many privilege in this country come at a great cost. The men and women in uniform give up a lot - thank you!

Whale Watching

It is Monday, but not an ordinary Monday, because today we celebrate Veteran's Day. This meant no Classical Conversation and no sitting at home doing school kind of school day - but let's get out and do something. A good friend organized a group discount for Whale Watching for the afternoon. Although it was sunny and blue sky, we donned our heaviest jackets, hats and gloves to stay warm.
Lukas was on the trip, although I did not manage to get him in any of the photos. The proof that he was on the boat may just have to come from the addition of some of his video footage...
On the trip to the Monterey Canyon, the 2 mile deep part of the Monterey Bay, the tour guide provided lots of interesting trivia and facts about marine life and the ocean. It is truly amazing that a whale can carry up to a ton of barnacles on its skin, and the whale has the most powerful muscle of all animals - the tail that with a simple flick can propel the entire 50 ton whale out of the water.
We spent quite some time watching and trying to capture on film a large 45 foot whale. Despite valiant attempts by the captain, the whale had no interest in checking us out, and for that I am grateful. Watching from a distance was perfectly fine with me.
We saw a lot of jelly fish, many that we up to this point had only seen in the Aquarium, many Sun fish almost floating on the surface and scads of birds circling over apparent schools of anchovies. Closer to shore the sea lions and otters played happily in the kelp and some even showing off.  It was a great trip, and thanks to our many layers we were almost comfortable. Hot showers and steaming soup for dinner was just the right ending to a fun day.

It is not only crazy European tourists who sun bathe in packs on the beach when the sun is out....

King of Smoothie

Lukas and Noah take turns claiming the title "Smoothie King." Today, the title went to Noah who not only mixed up a delicious and nutritious smoothie but also added garnish to make it look pretty.

Not too cold for the beach

Yes, we did have to turn on the heater again, but only in the mornings. The afternoons are still beautiful, clear blue sky and the beach beckons us anytime we have some free time on our hands. It is our desire to honor the Sabbath by not doing any regular work, so a walk on the beach seemed the perfect activity to end a leisurely Sunday here in Monterey.

Look, this is really our beach, it even has our monogram in the sand!