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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Saturday, December 03, 2016

Breakfast with Santa!

 Our elementary school has an annual Breakfast with Santa. This year is the first time the Kobersteins have attended, mainly due to the fact that they asked our Leopard Choir to sing :)

Even though I was a skeptic at first, I was overwhelmed by how much fun it was and even joined in the festivities by getting pictures with Santa (something I've never done before...)
After the choir sang, I stood in line to take pictures... the line was REALLY long--and you can see why... McLoy Photography offered their services to the school and we got some really cute pictures! Sadly, Larry wasn't there (he was at his first day of basketball) so I only have my girls in the pictures with Santa.
This is my favorite picture of the bunch.  Jade's 3-year-old Christmastime has been magical for her. She lovingly embraced the idea of Santa Claus and told him exactly what she wanted: A Rainbow Dash pony... and that did indeed appear on Christmas morning!  I love the feeling of magic around Christmas!