Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year

We wish everyone a very Happy New Year!

Noah's notes of 2013

My favorite part of 2013 was the cross country trip from California all the way to Michigan. And we didn't choose to travel the direct route, but rather a route curving up into Montana and South Dakota, and all the way down to Tennessee and Kentucky. Not to mention stopping for the sites along the way, like the Jellybean factory, our first stop. We also drove to Mount Rushmore, where we stopped to look around. One of my favorite things to see on the trip was all the wildlife. We saw many different animals, bears, elk, deer, bison, prairie dogs, and even a wolf.

The bad thing about moving was that we had to move from Monterey. Away from the beach where we could sit and relax, away from friends that we had fun with, and away from our tree house that we could play in.

Some of the good parts about moving to Michigan are that we get to spend more time together. We get to travel a bit more, like going to Sleeping Bear Dunes. We also were able to get involved in scouting, which we couldn't do in Monterey. We got to go canoeing on the river. We found out about the Robot Garage. And I got a new bike. Another thing I like here in Michigan is the snow, something we haven't had for a while.

But Michigan also has some hard parts, like finding a new church, finding new friends and looking for a new house. But I still wish the year would be 2013 again.

Lukas Letter of 2013

Lukas' Thoughts on the subject of 2013:
2013 was a fun filled year. Here are my 12 highlights of 2013 starting with January:
Our Swedish family came to our house for Christmas and New Years. We also had a fun time at a resort on the tropical island of Maui!
All throughout February we attended our homeschool co-op and we ramped up practicing our memory work for Memory Masters!
Pages of History was definitely my highlight of the year!
My brother's birthday was most assuredly the highlight of
I got to travel with my Dad to Carl Junction, MO to see our grandparents,while my brother and my mom stayed back in Monterey!
Packing packing and more packing. Then driving out of Monterey to Detroit.
Spending the fourth of July with some dear friends in TN. Starting to look at houses was also a big step forward towards finding a house and moving in.
Moving in to our new house and unpacking all the things I thought I could not live without except to find out otherwise!
I really enjoyed the numerous building projects that we were working on, such as a desk for the office and my bed!
My birthday was a highlight of October along with getting involved in Boy Scouts.
Finding an old electric wheelchair to try to modify to use as a robot!
I cherished the trip we made to see our Grandparents and family for Christmas, it was an unforgettable pleasure!
I hope that 2014 is even more fun than 2013!

Monday, December 30, 2013

No, this is not Europe

All good things must come to an end, and on Friday, Bob once again loaded up the car and we headed East. To break up the trip and to get us out and walk about we made two stops - Ft Leonard Woods Museum and the Cathedral Basilica of St Louis.
At Ft Leonard Wood we saw part of the Berlin Wall, and in St Louis we walked around in wonder at the amazing mosaics of this cathedral, had it not been for the car being parked right outside, we certainly would have thought we were inside a European cathedral. According to the docent, this cathedral has more mosaics, 41.5 million, than any European counterpart. It surely rivals many European cathedrals in splendor and beauty.

Christmas gift

Grammy and Pappy received from Lukas and Noah, for Christmas, an invitation to a specially produced concert by these two young musicians 'all the way from Mount Clemens, MI' Since family was still in town, the concert audience was quickly expanded and Grammy and Pappy were happy to share in their gift.

Christmas, again

In the afternoon, we celebrated yet one more Christmas gift giving gathering with the rest of the family. Late afternoon cocktails, appetizers and more gifts. All the festivities culminated in a fantastic Christmas dinner complete with crackers, gorgeous crowns and after dinner music of all kinds and quality. The Severinghaus whistle group should not quit their day jobs any time soon. However, years of piano lessons are paying off as we heard several grand children entertaining us.

A Little Lull in the Festivities

After all the gifts were unwrapped, the papers and bows gathered up in a sack, there was a short lull in the festivities. The boys took full advantage of this and set out to explore their new gifts.
I wonder how many Lego creations Noah has put together under the piano over the years?

Christmas Morning

Christmas morning is a slow affair. Reading the paper, eating breakfast, waiting for family to arrive - all before even the first gift can be opened. Bob made eggs Benedict with homemade Bearnaise sauce and Noah scanned all the comics - it was well past 11 when we finally moved into the living room and stocking opening. Glee and laughter filled the room as we unpacked bubbles, balloons, wind up cars, candy, and of course the essential note pad to record the gifts in. Tom's immaculate record keeping is being passed down to the next generations.

The Stockings were Hung with Care

After everyone went to bed, stockings appeared brimming with gifts and carefully hung from the fire place mantel.

Twas the Night Before Christmas

One of the many lovely Christmas traditions is the reading of the "Twas the Night Before Christmas." We all gathered around as Tom read the familiar story to young and old. Christmas is here.

Happy Birthday, Tom

I am blessed by the best father-in-law that one could ever ask for. Tom is kind, generous, thoughtful, honest, and always smiling. It does not matter what happens, or what is amiss, one can always count of Tom's smile to brighten up even the gloomiest of day. I can honestly say that in the 15 years that I have known Tom, I cannot recall one time that he was not smiling. He is a great husband, fantastic father, amazing father-in-law and kind Pappy - we are all so very blessed by Tom.

Tom's birthday is right before Christmas, and the family gathered around for a birthday celebration complete with barbecue and pineapple upside down cake.


Despite traveling in December, we were fortunate to not encounter any snow and ice on the roads. Once in MO, we were welcomed by the nature's beauty as the trees were encased in the clearest of ice. Photos just do not do it justice, but it sure triggers the memories.

Unique Fun in St Louis

We left MI early on Saturday morning and reached our destination St Louis in the mid afternoon. The boys, 'exhausted' from travel plopped down on the hotel bed and watched TV while Bob rested a bit. After a quick dinner, we headed to the City Museum for some fun, and some fun we had.  Not an ordinary museum in the typical sense of museum but rather an enormous interactive playground for young and young at heart. We climbed, shimmed, slid, and crouched throw tunnels, underground passages, slides and stairs - all constructed out of re-purposed materials in this former shoe factory building. Half way through we took a quick drink break and also watched a juggler perform, enough to rejuvenate everyone for some more fun and run. The evening ended with a bag of mini donuts, the last sugar rush of the evening. Everyone slept well that night - a perfect antidote to too many hours in a car. 
In celebration of Christmas the museum was giving out free hats, so Lukas and Noah are now the proud owners of some fancy head gear.