Sunday, April 23, 2017

Spring Tease

Tomorrow school starts again... spring break is over... A week-long teaser of summer break makes it all the harder to return for six more weeks of school, state testing, and projects.

But it was a fabulous break. We left last Friday for Oregon to visit Aaron and Em. On the way to Central Point, we stopped by Sacramento to see baby Ada, all of two weeks old! And I admit, I did chuckle a little as Weston was describing how Ada was so much different "when she was younger..." How much younger can she get there, Daddy?!?  But it is true that our little ones change so quickly, even before our very eyes...

Anyway, after dinner and baby cuddling, we got on the road again and arrived at 2:30am at Rabun Way and plopped our kids--and ourselves--into bed.

And no more than 5 hours later, a parade of Pokemon loving cousins were running laps around the house having battles, trading posts, and quizzing each other on HP and EX's and etc. And a couple hours after that, we all hit the ground running to our first adventure: and... I can't remember the name of the place--will update later... A little drive, a short hike to the right, and we arrived at a beautiful huge waterfall!

And then back to the left, was the Valley of giant boulders (or something like that--update to real name later...) Lots of fun climbing, exploring, and even sliding to do!

The boulders surrounded a little beach by a raging river of death! ... or some beautiful rapids :) There's something about rivers and rocks and sticks that can keep kids entertained for hours!

And on the same day as that beautiful sunny hike through the woods, we continued up the mountain until we hit SNOW!! Lots of snow! Crater Lake was our lunch destination!
Ever since I saw Emily's post on Instragram, I wanted to do this!! I got to roast hot links in the snow!! I LOVE their little portable fire pit! Dream come true!!!!

Something fun for everyone at Crater Lake! Dawna and Adele busied themselves building a snow fort/palace/mansion: 
Jade found plenty of snow to taste (one of my favorite pictures of the day):
Apparently, snow comes in many delightful flavors... much like ice cream! 

Jon, Adele, and I raced little snowballs down the slope and over the ridge overlooking the lake! Super intense racing...

And to top it all off, we harvested the largest icicles we could get off the roof of the resort! Jon won.
And Jade and Malachi will tell you that icicles also come in many delightful flavors...much like Popsicles! 

And after all this, we weren't even done with our first full day of vacation! Once we returned home from Crater Lake, Aaron and Jon went off to indoor soccer and long distance running, respectively, and Emily and I ate more food :) 

Sunday we slowed down... a little... but still stuffed in as many Easter delights as we could. I got to play in a trio with Adele and Emily at church. Adele and Dawna dyed eggs with the kids while we hid plastic eggs in the house. Then we had a delicious lamb dinner. After that, we did the Easter story in eggs and the kids followed clues to find their Easter presents... yeah, that was our "slow" Easter Sunday...In the midst of all that, Dawna and Adele found a few minutes to serenade us on their instruments:

...a more grown up reprise of their original hit:

LOVE THOSE GIRLS!!! Then and Now... 

Anyway, back to spring break... 
Monday dawned bright and early once more for the big kids. Aaron and Jon, who had originally planned on taking the older kids backpacking but changed plans when rain came, took each of their older three kids on a caving adventure. They had a wonderful day, and hopefully my other contributor to this blog will fill in the details of their adventure... Emily and I had a very relaxing day at home with our little ones. It was a little nostalgic of our Lansing Court days, when all we had was little ones. We almost forgot what to do with them... but they reminded us of what they love to do. So we went to the park, read stories, played music... all the little kid things we miss sometimes with the hustle and bustle of active older kids.  

Tuesday was a celebration our our seven-year-old Xochitl! (Even though she wasn't officially 7 until Wednesday... but really, what kind of birthday is driving home from vacation??) We caught an early matinee of Beauty and the Beast starring Hermione Granger... I mean... Emma Watson :) then headed straight over to the Rrrink for some exciting ice skating! Xochitl is a quick study with anything involving balance, so with a little guidance from Aunt Emily, she was swooshing around the ice in no time! Jade and Larry made good use of the plastic "helpers" and Dawna did quite well after having roller bladed a lot this year. And it's always fun to see what Adele has been working on in her ice skating lessons... and try to copy her... mostly Aunt Deeb just ends up looking foolish... but having fun! 

On the way home from ice skating, Xochitl picked out two ice cream cakes from Cold Stone. Yum!
And we all know the Koberstein tradition of car trouble when traveling I-5... running over the moving dolly with the Quest, tire blow out, car being backed into, hitting a deer... so when Wednesday came and our vacation was almost over, Fate had to hurry and squeeze some car trouble in. Eva's battery was quite dead and decrepit on Wednesday morning. We weren't going nowheres. The car wouldn't start at all! So I called roadside assistance and they offered to tow us to a garage... but I thought it would be easier to just have them replace the battery on the spot. Only problem was... we had to get the battery. My manly main man Jon got on a bike and rode to the auto parts store with a backpack, bought a car battery, and biked home again! This is not an activity for the feint of heart. Those batteries are HEAVY!! He made it back to Rabun way just in time for the mechanic to get to work! And with only minor damage to clothing and sidewalks...All in all, it's one of the kinder car trouble experiences we've had.  All the kids were happily playing with cousins, safely parked in front of Aaron and Em's house :)( ALMOST something to smile about... 

So we got home. And on Friday to finish off our spring break fun, we all enjoyed Larry's "field trip" to the Monterrey Bay Aquarium! Paul and Becca joined us and now we all have annual passes to the aquarium! Many thanks to the thoughtful people there who made the "Family Pass" include two adults and ALL their children! All too often a "family pass" is for two adults and two children, which is pretty much useless for us...

Maybe the Jellyfish are cousins too!
Squids will be squids... We loved the "Tentacles" exhibit!
Playing with light settings on my Pixel XL. I liked this picture of Zyna!

Happy Spring Break!

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Monday, March 13, 2017

Dad's Book Club: The Great Gilly Hopkins and The Higher Power of Lucky

This year, one of Dawna's goals was to create a "Read it-see-it" book club with some friends.  The first book the girls picked out was this:

To be honest, I'd never heard of it before the Ringleins suggested we read it. So we checked it out and Dawna read it... and Jon read it... and then I read it... and it was a good read! A moving coming-of-age story as one young foster child learns how to be part of a pieced together family. And then learns how her own selfish and hasty actions could change her life forever...

The movie was also very enjoyable.  It's set in a more modern time frame than the book was, but still carried the message well. We watched it over at the Ringlein's house and had a very good discussion with the girls after, comparing and contrasting the book and the movie, discussing thematic elements... next time I'll have to take notes so I can blog better about it...

Bottom line: recommended!

But Dawna's Read it-See it club isn't the only place we're getting story time these days... You see, Dawna was recently moved up to the competitive climbing team at The Peak, which means practices three times each week... sigh... I feel like a real commuter now... between Dawna's climbing and Xochitl's gymnastics, I'm driving about 40 min. to and from practices 4 out of 5 days a week... So I thought I'd make better use of the drive time by checking out books on CD from the library (yes, I know about Audible, but my old '07 Odyssey has a great 6-disk CD player, and no Aux input, so books on CD it is...)

In the last two weeks driving around town for sports, we've listened to an entire book:

...the Newbery winner from 2007.  Also a fun book to read. Lucky, the main character, is just 10 years old, Dawna's age right now, and Lucky's mannerisms and behavior were perfect for that age, I thought! Lucky lives in a little town called Hard Pan, CA, with her guardian after her mother died. Lucky is smart, always doing her homework so she can be a world famous scientist someday.  Lucky is brave, chasing snakes out of clothes dryers and staying calm in dust storms. Lucky is thoughtful, considering questions such as "What is my higher power?" But most of all, Lucky is still just a little girl who needs to feel secure and loved, which makes me think of my baby Dawna... who is not much of a baby anymore, but just like Lucky, needs to be picked up and snuggled from time to time so she can remember how much she is loved!

Bottom line: recommended... but be advised there is a somewhat lengthy chapter involving a dog's scrotum...parental discretion (or better yet, discussion...) is advised :)

SO... we're on to a new Read it-See it assignment and new discs in the car...


Friday, February 10, 2017

Shootin' Hoops

We now enter the world of team sports! Took us quite a few years to get our first taste of this as parents since our oldest didn't have much interest in sports involving balls... but Lawrence decided to try it out this year! 
He plays with the City of Newark's CoEd recreational basketball program. There's not even any practices to go to, it's just come and play on Saturday morning. There's a group of about sixty kids split up into six teams; Larry is on the Bulls!
He wasn't so sure about being on the Bulls... that is, until we read about Michael Jordan. Now he's all about the Bulls... I've loved seeing how he really gets into the game, running back and forth across the court, posting himself under the basket and trying to remember all the rules! We've also been having fun practicing at the church after scouts on Thursdays and at Paulecca's house on Wednesdays.
And yes, I've discovered I'm one of THOSE moms... the ones who cheer too much... and too loud! But Larry doesn't mind having a silly mom there :) So GO 11 BULLS! THAT'S MY BOY!!!


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Birthday Boy!

Happy birthday to my dearest Jonathan! Many happy returns of the day! We enjoyed many good wishes from family and friends via text, phone calls, Instagram, and even snail mail (my mom always gets it to arrive right on time! I don't know how she does it!).

But we did have one unhappy return of the day after all the rain over the past two weeks...  

I guess our fence just couldn't take it anymore... yay for being homeowners and the surprise projects that responsibility sends your way...

Anyway... back to the fun of Jon's birthday...

We had a most delightful supper with Paul, Becca, and their kids on Sunday afternoon.  I fried up some Opal Eye that Jon caught on our dive trip last October; we baked some butternut squash from Norm Prince's garden; and Becca brought some fresh sour dough bread from her own starter! We felt all rustic having hunted and gathered most of our meal!

Still, we couldn't resist raising our glasses of store-bought sparkling cider in celebration of this strapping young man! Jon, you've been by my side for more than half my lifetime. I can't even begin to express the depth of my love and appreciation for all you've given me, all you've taught me, and all we've experienced together. Your energy and enthusiasm for life is a blessing to everyone who has the pleasure of knowing you!

Last but not least... Jade helped end the day on an adorable and relaxing note... her renditions of the "Squids will be Squids" tales.

Happy Birthday!

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Sunday, January 08, 2017


A big rainstorm was coming through this weekend!

So, naturally, we slept outside :) 

Dry, cozy, and toasty warm all night while raindrop lullabies pitter patted me to sleep. Oh! And there were lots of awesome frogs sounds, too! Now we know we're ready for wet winter camping adventures!

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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Snow way!

Our 12th anniversary was spent in the company of our favorite people: Dawna, Lawrence, Xochitl, and Jade. Traditionally, Jon and I have ditched the kids for anniversary fun, but we were feeling generous this year. 

On Christmas, Santa left a suitcase full of new snow clothes, a little toboggan, and a giant card explaining that we'd be spending 3 days in beautiful snowy Yosemite! Day One was really just an evening tour of the valley, with one short stop to touch the snow and admire the view and the previously assembled snowman (see above...). 

Day Two dawned beautiful and icy! We even got to use the snow chains we've been storing for a decade! Nice that they felt useful! We drove up Glacier Point Road and found a little turn-off where we could get some sledding in! We were out in the snow for over four hours running up, sliding down, throwing snowballs, playing games... lots of people came and went in the time we were there, but one particularly memorable person came sliding down the hill, stood up, looked at my oldest daughter, and said, "Hey there!" in a somewhat alluring tone. I was about to punch the kid in the face for flirting with a 10-year-old... but then, to my surprise, Dawna said, "Oh, hi Jonathan!" Wait, what?? Turns out that this kid is on the climbing team at The Peak with Dawna. How incredibly random that we ran into him and his family on an unmarked turnout up Glacier Point Road in Yosemite... 

On the way out that night, we enjoyed pizza at Half Dome village (who knew you could get pizza at 8pm in the middle of a national park??) and went to bed dreaming of our next-day's adventure... 

Day Three dawned bright and early as we headed back up Glacier Point Road to the ski and snowboard area. While the downhill slopes were still closed, the cross country and snowshoeing trails were open and groomed and ready for adventure! 

I could write a book about our day out there, but I'll spare you the length and just give you the table of contents: 

The Kobersteins Go Cross Country Skiing! 

Chapter 1: In which there is much giggling and excitement in renting cool equipment! 

Chapter 2: In which it takes a REALLY long time to get ready (snow clothes and bathrooms don't mix...)

Chapter 3: In which Mom and Dad set a way-too-ambitious distance goal 

Chapter 4: In which the skis go on and it takes half an hour to get to the trail... 

Chapter 5: In which we find ruts to put the skis in and actually start moving!
Chapter 6: In which most of the snow clothes go into mom's backpack

Chapter 7: In which we stop for lunch

Chapter 8: In which we go downhill for a while... NOW it's fun!

Chapter 9: In which we have to turn around... and go back uphill

Chapter 10: In which Jade can run faster uphill than the kids skiing uphill

Chapter 11: In which is shouted "I Quit!" 

Chapter 12: In which skis are removed and carried over shoulder back to rental office. 

Chapter 13: In which mom and dad decide to come alone next time...

Epilogue: In which, on the drive home, all the kids decide it was fun after all :) 

(Total distance skied: 2 miles... )

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Monday, December 12, 2016

The Handy Man Can

From down the hall, I heard a thwick, flump thump.  Oh dear. Upon entering my closet, I found that the hanging racks had suddenly decided to quit and ripped right out of the drywall. And yes, in the exciting tradition of jobs poorly done, we find yet another example in our house with closet clothes racks installed just into drywall. Studs are overrated, apparently (although I must admit I'm a little impressed that they've lasted these 7 years...).

Anyway, lucky for me, my handy husband Jon jumped into action, watching quite a few DIY YouTube videos and scheming and planning some new, sturdier shelving for our closet.

Saturday was the big day! Off he went to the "Hard Work Store" as my kids so lovingly call it, with our dainty little Crosstrek Perry, only to realize that he needed the Big Mama mini van Eva in order to get all the large pieces of wood home. So, after a little car shifting, he and the supplies were all home and he was starting the project. But any project that requires only one trip to the hardware store is hardly worth mentioning.  Saturday's portion of the project took 3 trips, ultimately finishing off with the addition of a new member of our power tool family:

Isn't she beautiful?? (Weston will be so proud...)

Once installed, Jon demonstrated his strength and the strength of my new shelf and rack by doing several manly pull-ups on them (but sadly would not repeat the feat for my camera...but trust me, it was amazing!) I'm convinced these will NOT fall off the wall :)

And now, an ode to my Handy Man:
Who can fix my closet?
Buy a saw or two?
Happily completing yet another "honey-do":
The Handy Man...
Oh, my Handy Man Can!

Thank you, Jon! I'm so ready to move our stuff back into the closet!!!

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