Saturday, November 30, 2013

Black Friday Shopping Lukas' style

Lukas is in the middle of another robot project, one that he has received partial funding for via his most recent educational grant. The first two phases of the project have now been complete and he is ready for a motor, wheels, and other parts - first phase that requires actual funding. He has spent much time scouring adds, and the internet for the best deals for parts and this morning the three Severinghaus guys headed out shopping in support of Local Saturday. The hunt was successful, and after some further investigation and research on the internet, they returned to the store and are now home with a large contraption. Part of the requirements were being able to be transported in our car, without need for a trailer, and since this came home in the Honda, the requirement has been met. The funding manager is content, the motor came in under budget. So far, so good, stay tuned for more updates!

Getting Ready

Lukas is doing his first scout overnight backpacking trip next weekend, and yes it is cold outside, and yes they are sleeping in a tent. Fortunately, he is not required to backpack with all of his gear, only what he needs for the day - ie food and water. In preparation for this fun weekend Bob is taking him for for shorter hikes around the neighborhood.  Scout motto: Be Prepared!

Much to be thankful for

The true meaning of thanksgiving is to take time and remember to be thankful for the many blessings bestowed upon us. Each year, we spend the month of November writing out our blessings on leaves that we hang on a tree branch - this year, we had an imaginary tree and posted them all on the wall in the dining room. Over Thanksgiving dinner, we read the blessings and talked about the many things we are grateful for. It is impossible to stop and say thanks and not think of faithful friends and fantastic family - we are truly blessed beyond measure.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Mount Clemens Parade

Since Noah was participating in the Mount Clemens Parade, Lukas responded to the call for volunteers for the parade. He wanted to use his ham radio skills, but no, the mode of communication was to be walkie talkies. How about staging? No, that job requires a lot of bossing people around; clearly they parade committee has not met Lukas responded Noah. Going for broke, he volunteered to be a costume character and BINGO he was in. As a thank you he was invited to a big breakfast before the parade, so Mamma and Lukas braved the 14 measly degrees in the pre-dawn hours. Once his belly was full, it was time to choose a costume, and Lukas immediately gravitated toward the Lion. A few moments of indecision, thinking and scanning, the panic set in - if I do not choose quickly I may end up being the Tea Cup or the Little Piggy.... so he grasped the lion head and called it his.
He walked up and down the parade route, handing out candy and hugs to anyone who wanted one. Lukas had a fun time and Mamma enjoyed hearing the little ones calling out wanting to hug Simba, knowing it was my little sweet Lukas sharing a moment of tenderness with chilly parade spectators.
Two days, two parades, one as spectators one as participants; parade season complete!

Underneath the Snoopy costume is a prospective Eagle Scout from Lukas' troop

maybe a candidate for a Diet Coke Commercial... Lions prefer Coke!

Thanksgiving Day Parade

Detroit is known for many things, most less than favorable, however there are some positives, such as the Thanksgiving Day Parade, the second oldest in the country. This must be experienced, so we set out early on Thursday morning, before the sun rose, as the snow fell to take part in the festivities.
Fortunately, we found a fantastic parking spot not far from the parade route and sat in our car until just before the parade started to stay warm, the snow was falling quite heavily by the time we got out of the car and marched over to Woodward Avenue. Our fortune followed us, we got 'front row seats' at an intersection and settled on the reflective insulation mat.
The poor Uncle Sam balloon was dragging, not enough hot air - maybe a political statement? Kermit on the other hand was flying high. We had several balloon teams spin their balloons right in front of us as the audience cheered. The paper-mache heads are for many synonymous with this parade, and their friendly smiles brought joy to even the coldest spectator. We laughed and giggled, and the boys schemed how to replicate the motorized Lazy-boy and the Briefcase Drill team was too funny for words - men in black, choreographically moving their briefcases. As soon as Santa passed by we headed back to our car, cranked the heater up high and settled in for the ride back to the burbs - Detroit thank you for the fun!

love the big head behind the boys..... looks like he is going to tell Noah something"-)

Pinewood Derby Car and Christmas Parade

Noah and fellow Cub Scouts are participating in the Mount Clemens' Christmas Parade the day after Thanksgiving. The boys are all wearing Pinewood Derby Cars - so this week Noah with the help of his brother is constructing a 'cool' car out of cardboard boxes.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Let the baking begin...

Lukas and Noah are starting the holiday baking. The first creation: salted apple cider caramels. This batch is intended to be a gift, the next batch will be for keeps here at the house. Let the cooking and baking begin!

All in a day of school

Noah is doing geometry in math right now and had a lot of fun drawing, cutting and piecing together this pretty star, which when held up to the light reveals another star.
He also had to diagram a sentence - another activity with a lot of puzzle feel to it - perfect in Noah's mind.

88 keys - please do not lose any..

Lukas has been playing and practicing piano on a small keyboard, one that we purchased for when he initially began to take lessons several years ago. Although it would be great for him to have a full size piano by now, however our transient lifestyle and piano is not a good match. The next best thing is a full size key board. This past weekend, we found a good one on Craigs List and after Lukas touched it he was sold. Now we need to find a home for the little keyboard :-)

Boy time

Lukas and Noah's favorite thing to do with Dad is to wrestle... wonder how much longer Bob can take both of them on simultaneously, they are getting pretty big and strong.

Wednesday - culture day

This past Wednesday, we headed downtown to attend a Youth Concert performance by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. The boys really enjoyed the various pieces of classical music. Noah in particular finds it interesting to observe the violinists. One of the pieces performed was written by a young composer, and he came on stage to talk about his music.
Music made us hungry and based on a friend's recommendation we headed to Good Girls Go to Paris for crepes. The menu offered upwards of 30 different crepe fillings and the boys had a bit of hard time choosing. Noah opted for safe choice - Nutella and banana, whereas Lukas tried the crushed Oreos, chocolate sauce and cream cheese filling. The plates were so clean when they were done, not a morsel left.
We then spent an hour at Detroit Institute of Art, and realized the many treasures this place offer, and agreeing to return soon. We only managed to see one part of the Ancient section and a temporary Photography exhibition before it was time to head to music lessons.
Wednesday was all about culture and fun.

The Lounge and Chocolate Tasting

We are thoroughly enjoying our increased family time here in MI. This past weekend, we decided to have a small chocolate tasting party - white, milk and dark, three or four of each kind - to determine the best of the best in each category.
The boys have turned their Lego/Computer/Art room into a exclusive club and offered to host the party in their special space. Since it is member only, there is not much that can be divulged about this space, but I can say that the view is of the Pacific Coast, and the lighting is indirect. Only an invitation provides access and full enjoyment of the ambiance.

The chocolate tasting was paired with a sparkling wine and sparkling cider to tickle the taste buds. The winners - Lindt chocolate took home the most prizes, and the blind tasting proved that price is not always a good determinant of the best taste. Mamma no longer need to head to Whole Foods for white baking chocolate.

Operation Christmas Box

It is our tradition to pack two boxes for Operation Shoe Box. Lukas and Noah spent a lot of time in the store choosing items that would fit in a box, and that would be fun to receive. Lukas reused his hiking boots box and decorated the sides with sticker, and Noah added a few stickers to his plastic storage container. Since the boxes were a bit larger this year, size 13 boots do not come in a small box, they were able to add a few more items to the box at the last minute to completely fill the container.