Friday, March 18, 2016

Leopards Take Broadway

What a choir season we had this year! A rush of amazing music and intense work to bring to pass our spring concert: Leopards Take Broadway!

From the first Friday in January to the concert on March 18, the kids worked hard after school on Fridays and Tuesdays at lunch with our individual soloist and group features practice. I couldn't have done it without my mom's help taking the kids one at a time to hit all their pitches on solos while I scoured the playground looking for unsuspecting choir victims! 

 The announcers worked together learning a little dialogue for each song telling something we had to do to get on Broadway, including...
1. Getting up early (because Broadway is all the way across the country), so we sang "Oh What a Beautiful Morning" from Oklahoma
2. Working Hard, so we sang "It's the Hard-Knock Life" from Annie
3. Getting a great sidekick, so we recited "The Naming of Cats" from Cats

(Those songs were sung by my 41 Cubs, the K-2nd grade singers... 
...after which my 30 Prowlers, the 3rd-6th grade singers, joined in)

4. Getting a great costume, so we sang "Masquerade" from The Phantom of the Opera

5. Leaning how to sing, so we sang "Do-Re-Mi" from The Sound of Music
6. Attempting the impossible, so we sang "Defying Gravity" from Wicked

(Time for intermission... the Cubs joined the audience and the Prowlers took the stage for their set... )
7. Having a great imagination, so we sang "Castle on a Cloud" from Les Miserables
8. Getting rich! So we sang "If I Were a Rich Man" from The Fiddler on the Roof
9. Loving every bit of what we do, so we sang "Seasons of Love" from Rent


So... It's one of those things that sounded like a great idea at first: a collection of Broadway songs, each representing something that you have to do to get on Broadway...but then you start to realize that every Broadway song is difficult in its own way. I mean, these are songs written for professional performers with decades of experience, so why not have my kindergartners learn it???  Hmmm....

And most of the sheet music is written as orchestral adaptations or for Piano/Vocal/guitar. In order to cover the difficult music, I had to recruit a team of pianists: Mom and Brooke (with adorable assistant Alex). They were a dream team of piano talent and page turning (the longest song checking in at over 20 pages, not to mention the repeats, codas, and alterations made).
In spite of all that, everything turned out well enough. I'm always so impressed with the drive and determination of the kids to get everything learned. And I think the great thing about this experience was seeing the kids learn excellent music and having the kids and their parents enjoying the music together. I'm glad we all had a chance to learn together.

We had a good time and made great memories... but would I do this program again with K-6 singers? Don't count on it...

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Lucky Trails to you!

This St. Patrick's Day was filled with fun ups and downs.  Some things were great; some things left a lot to be desired, but mixing in those ups and downs made for a more memorable day (I think...)

On the down side, there were no Lucky Charms for breakfast. The Leprechauns had been too busy getting ready for the Leopard Choir concert and forgot to bring them around for breakfast...

On the up side, Dawna had a field trip first thing in the morning. I got to go along as a chaperone this time and we had a lot of fun going to... the Dump!

(Well, technically called the Waste Transfer Station). The Transfer Station sent us a bus to ride which was super cool! Cushy seats, foot rests, and real laminate flooring! In the classroom there, we learned about the four R's: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot. And we got to take a tour of the place, complete with safety gear!
 We got a peek at a HUGE bulldozer that pushed tons (not hyperbolic tons, actual tons) of garbage around!
 I haven't been able to throw away a Ziploc bag since then...grr...

But then, back on the down side, Dawna had an orthodontist appointment right after school, which usually isn't all that bad, but for some reason, they were really behind or forgot about us or something, so we were sitting in the office for over half an hour for our 2-minute appointment. The kids came up with a fun game involving chasing "dots"--sunlight reflected off our watches-- around the ceiling or racing to hit a particular letter on spot on the wall.

But then on the up side, the Leprechauns left a great treasure hunt for the kids when we arrived home: "Hats off to the Kobersteins for planning a great vacation!"
(It's kind of a long video...taken mostly for the benefit of Jon... since the kids would NOT wait until he came home from work to do the treasure hunt...)

The kids followed clues on leprechaun hats until they each found their very own suitcase to take on our upcoming spring break vacation!

I'm hoping they're brightly colored enough to be easily spotted on the baggage claim carousel :)

But then on the down side, dinner was kind of a disaster... because I went on the field trip early in the morning, I didn't get the corned beef in the crock pot until much too late... which means it turned out as the worst corned beef and cabbage I've ever made... the meat was chewy, the veggies soggy and over salted...

But on the up side, by dinnertime, the Leprechauns had brought the Lucky Charms that were missing at breakfast, so much of dinner was magically delicious anyway :)

I think overall, through all the ups and downs of this St. Patrick's Day, we came out on top!


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Kobersteinville Newspaper, Issue #003

Dawna, being inspired by the American Girl Kit Kittredge, has enjoyed writing a "Kobersteinville Newspaper" from time to time. Here's today's issue (some of which has been covered on previous posts, some of which is covered exclusively in the newspaper):


Kobersteinville Newspaper

Let It Rain!

Rain has been pouring down on Kobersteinville these past few days. The wonderful rain will hopefully continue next Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Thankfully, Mom purchased two new umbrellas at Costco and Liz Tuitama brought us two fine rain jackets to use. Larry passed down his shark boots to Xochitl and uses his new snow boots in the rain. The duck puddle on the west side of the house is full and ready for some stompin’, splashin’ fun! Get on those rain boots and coats and open up those umbrellas to enjoy the rain!

Kobersteins Sweep Young Authors’ Contest!
    Dawna Koberstein, Naomi Koberstein, and Lawrence Koberstein all placed in the Lincoln Elementary Young Authors Contest! Dawna won 1st place in the fourth grade category. Naomi won 1st place in the kindergarten age group, and Lawrence took home 2nd place for the second graders. These winners worked hard and we would like to congratulate them for their hard work.  Their books are available for checkout at the Lincoln Elementary School Library or the Newark public library. Or, write in to the editor to schedule an in-person reading from the award-winning authors of Kobersteinville!

Snow is Falling

Dawna, Larry, and Dad went snow camping last Friday and came back on Saturday.They had so much fun! They made a snowman together after sleeping in a well made snow cave. Snow angels were abundant in the morning. They also got very cold and wet. Luckily, Dad thought ahead and had them bring extra dry clothes to stay warm. It was a long drive and a long night of snowfall, which made for some long lasting memories of love.


Scripture Reading

    Kobersteinville has begun a new tradition for scripture reading.  Each morning at precisely 7:45, one lucky Kobersteinville kid chooses a picture from the newly completed Gospel Art Kit. All enjoy a reading of the scripture story and talking about the picture. So far Kobersteinville has read scriptures each day in the month of March. We have been doing a pretty good job. Keep it up!
We had a fun time delivering the newspaper to Nana and Papa :) Thanks for the news, Dawna!

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Friday, February 26, 2016

New Heights

"On Belay?"

"Belay on!"


Dawna and Lawrence have recently embarked on a new adventure: they have joined the recreational rock climbing team at The Peak (City Beach recently changed ownership). 

As you can imagine, daddy is super excited and proud of both of them. On the first night on the team, Jon left work early to come watch... unfortunately, his bus driver was... creative, and somehow took a detour past Stanford Campus from Mountain View in order to get to Newark (trust me, that doesn't make sense...) and poor Jon ended up spending 2 1/2 hours on the bus and missed all the climbing. 

Fortunately, I was there with them and took a couple pictures to send him: 
 Lawrence has really stepped up to the challenge and completes top rope routes and boulder problems every week.
Dawna is always sore and tired after practice and proudly sports calloused and torn up hands! She recently became belay certified also. 

I love that their coaches teach the kids the importance of being responsible for their own safety and the safety of their friends. Of course they have a great time, but all the kids know when to be serious and safe.  All the kids on the team are confident and empowered 
The climbing fun has overflowed into other aspects of our daily life, like building with Legos. Here, Kai Lan is belaying her friend up the treacherous Duplo route. It's at least a 5.11. :) Though I'm not sure that dental floss is rated for their weight ;)


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Thursday, February 18, 2016

They get it from MY side!

Naturally, the person you marry will have many wonderful traits that you hope will be passed on to your children. In our family, I love to see many good things in my children that I can attribute to their daddy.  Dawna's intelligence, Lawrence's good looks, and Naomi's grit and determination, to name a few.

But tonight... Tonight I celebrate one great trait that I take all the credit for giving to my kids: my way with words (although those of you reading my blog are like, Wat??)

Tonight, all of my awesome academic kids were also award-winning articulate and artistic young authors!
 In the kindergarten age group, Xochitl took home first place for her story, "In a Pickle," in which one small jar journeys through fear and uncertainty, but finally finds her place and purpose.
 In the second grade category, Lawrence scored second place for his story, "Xavior Explores the Moon," in which one young earthling teaches moon aliens about what it means to be friends.
 And in the fourth grade category, Dawna raced passed the competition with her story, "The 5k," which tells of a grueling distance race run by a young girl (if that story sounds familiar, you may be having a Deja-Vu moment from this post from last Thanksgiving).
 Yeah, it was make-your-mama-proud time tonight! Not only because of the winning (which is always nice) but also because of the great effort all my kids put into their books. They were careful and meticulous, paying great attention to detail in the wording and in the illustrations. Many extra weekend and vacation hours were put into these books. I highly recommend them; particularly if you can get a live reading from the author :)

You can find autographed copies of all these books at the Lincoln Elementary School library, or at the Newark Branch of the Alameda County Library (cool, right?? Now three of my kids have made it into the library before me... perfect!!).

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Monday, February 15, 2016

Oh what do you do on a Four-Day Weekend?!?!

The better question is: What DON'T you do on a four-day weekend! NUSD gave the teachers a work day Friday, and Monday was president's day, so we had a fun stay-cation style weekend, including...

Friday at the Children's Discovery Museum in San Jose!
Xochitl walked the most laps of any kindergarten student in this year's Walk-a-Thon, so she won herself a pass to the museum (the rest of us had to pay...big time... not my favorite kind of place in that the parents have to pay the $13 entry fee to watch your kids play all day, but it is a nice place anyway...and PS, my kids would not TOUCH the "organic" ketchup at the food shed. Please bring on the emulsifiers)

I digress... we spent a fun-filled five hours there exploring every inch of the place! Overall, the favorite places were the water play area and the giant bubble place. Other enjoyable moments included face painting (the kids paint their own faces while looking in a mirror) the play food pizza restaurant, complete with menus featuring pizza with broccoli (Congratulations, San Franciso, you ruined pizza!), and an early childhood development intern from Stanford doing research on language acquisition! Poor daddy had to go to work, but we got to play!

Which brings us to...Friday night sleepover! Nana and Papa offered to take the kids for a sleepover! Sweet! We dropped off the kids in Fremont and then went to set up for our massive stake event, then went out for a massive steak at Texas Roadhouse! We were going to go out to a movie, but ended up renting Bridge of Spies and watched at home (Great film, by the way...).

After a great sleep-in with no kids around in the morning, we spent Saturday getting ready for the stake 50th anniversary kickoff party. (I know it's not a great picture up there, but that's a 3ft. 5-0 outlined with Christmas lights, filled in with cupcakes. So cool!) Jon and I are on the planning committee and were in charge of some entertainment for the dance... I mean... party with dancing. We created a pretty awesome crossword of stake presidents and wards of the Fremont stake, a giant word search hiding the names of 100 bishops over the last 50 years, and also brought along our giant Jenga game we made last Thanksgiving.
All things considered, it was a great party. Around 200 in attendance, plenty of yummy goods and live music. I provided a "historical anecdote" and a song from each decade throughout the night. There were not very many young couples there (as I expected). I tried (and failed) to get a babysitter for the night. But at the very end, Becca and Isaac showed up. I don't know why, but I was SO happy to see them--my stressed spirits just lifted when Becca let me pull her around and show her all the stuff we made for the party.  Anyway, they made it in time for a couple dances and a great game of Jenga! 
 My awesome ninja kids stayed out of sight for the entire evening, watching movies in my mom's seminary room. Dawna had her Chrome book and texted me from time to time asking for snacks and desserts... it was fun.  They got to come out at the end to help "clean up," aka, build with the giant Jenga blocks.

For all my stubborn antagonism about the "50th Anniversary" of the stake, I have really come to appreciate the saints that settled this area and worked so hard for the early Fremont Stake. In preparing for the activity, I read (several times) the book: Let This be Zion.
I learned how much the saints had to sacrifice and work to build their own buildings with their own hands and their own resources. They were tough. 

 My family is well represented in the book, since my parents moved to Fremont over 30 years ago. One of the earliest memories of church service is my dad being in the stake presidency. I got to know President "Grandpa Turkey" Taylor and Bro. Stewart very well over the decade my dad served with them. Pres. Taylor later sealed Jon and I in the Oakland Temple and and Bro./Dr. Stewart is still the only dentist office I've ever gone to. We were and are greatly blessed by my dad's service; and I was blessed to have the assignment to learn about my family's place in the history book of our stake.
 Monday, Jon and Lynn headed out to New Melones to go climbing and the kids and I cleaned up the house and then went to the brand new NewPark AMC theater to see King Fu Panda 3! Whew. Good times on the weekend... Time to face up to school.

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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Baptism Boy

"I've been waiting eight years and one day for this!"
 "I'm ready. I've spent all year memorizing all the Articles of Faith. Ask me anything... except maybe number 10..."
 "Let's see... Uncle Aaron will give the talk about baptism. He knows I love cars. He says baptism is like a car: you must keep it running smooth with obedience and repentance as we travel down the highway of life."
 "And Uncle Dan will give the talk on the Holy Ghost. He also knows I like cars.  He says the Holy Ghost is like a stoplight: sometimes it gives you a green to go ahead and do the right thing; sometimes a yellow warning, and sometimes a big red STOP if there is danger or temptation nearby."
 "And my cousin...Isaac's sister...the one with the flute... All her family will sing my favorite primary song: A Child's Prayer.  They play and sing so well that you can't help but feel the spirit."
 "Daddy did a great job Baptizing and Confirming me, but I accidentally put one foot too high up, so the witnesses said I got to go under again."
 "I look pretty handsome, right? I picked out this tie because it reminded me of BB-8 from the new Star Wars."
 "Mom dragged me to TWO stores to get this outfit! TWO STORES in ONE NIGHT! It was rough."
 "My family tree was well represented at my baptism. I had uncles, aunts, and cousins from both sides of the family, all my grandparents, plus a great aunt and uncle, a great-great aunt and uncle, and cousins once removed."
 "Thank you Uncle Weston for getting married so close to my baptism day! I think that's really what they were there for, but I got a bonus baptism benefit!
 "Wrong way, Dad!"
 "When Dan asked all my friends in attendance to stand, nine people stood..."
 "...but when he asked all my relatives to stand, 51 people stood!"
 "And after the baptism, they all came to our house for pizza!"
 "Don't worry, Dad! You're halfway done with baptizing your kids. The difficult ones are behind you."
 "All my friends and family that came wrote me letters or drew me a picture while I was getting dressed, kinda like this..."
"I've been preparing for this moment for eight years and one day. Now it's done. Now I'm preparing for my next important steps as I keep growing in the gospel!"

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Happy Minecraft Birthday

Poor Larry has had very few proper birthday parties in his life, considering the busy time of year that his birthday falls... but this was a big year for him. Eight is great! And along with his baptism, I actually made something of a themed birthday party for him. There was a lack of school friends in attendance, but an abundance of cousins from both sides of the family! 

Lawrence kept changing his mind about what kind of party he wanted, so when it came right down to it, we planned and shopped for the party in a matter of a couple days. Many thanks to the many previous families who have done Minecraft birthdays and posted their ideas and pictures for us to get ideas and inspiration from. After all the research, this is how it went down in the Koberstein home (unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures on our good camera, so we'll have to settle for phone snapshots to tell the tale):


On the wall in the living room, Dawna and I designed and put up some Minecraft decorations. My favorite was the sword:
With each piece being a 3x3in. square, the whole sword measured about 4.5 feet long.
If you're familiar with Minecraft, hopefully you recognize this torch... but most of my family that came wasn't familiar with the game.  Most of them thought it was a cigar... whoops. 

Of course I had aspirations to create several other "pixel art" style wall decorations, but alas, I ran out of time. 

Across the dining room arch, I strung a banner that I printed from ThePartyAnimal which was super cute. I added one extra creeper between the two words... and if you look closely, you'll see that I accidentally punched and hung the H in birthday upside down...whoops...

The Food
For the "cake" Emily made rice crispy treats with Cocoa Crispies and then I cut them into cubes and topped them with green frosting to make grass cubes. I tried to build a little block tower thing... but clearly I need more practice with Minecraft :) They were very tasty though! 

I also made Jell-o jiggler cubes in blue for water, red for lava, and green for grass.  Lunch was a build your own sandwich bar.

The Activities

Creeper bowling! We wrapped up six blocks with green paper and drew the faces on them and since it was such a last minute event, we just used whatever green cups we had in the house and rolled a green ball down the hall towards them. Lots of fun!
Pin the tail on the piggy. Classic game with a cubist twist! The thing I love most about the Minecraft theme is how easy it is to make anything from Minecraft... all you need is the right colors of paper and a chopper!
And of course the main activity that all the kids worked on the longest is the one that I took zero pictures of... We used Perler beads to make a variety of Minecraft gear. Items created include swords, boats, health hearts, even a couple of the characters.  Even if I didn't get any original pictures, here's something to give you an idea of how cute they all turned out:
At the end of the party, each kid got a crepper goodie bag with a minifigure. Yay!

So that's the party of Minecraft, as celebrated the day after Christmas and Larry's 8th birthday!

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