Saturday, December 21, 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Monday, July 29, 2013

Gazebo Time!

One of the big differences between Northern California and Northern Ontario is the bug population.  Mosquitoes, black flies, horse flies, deer flies, May flies, spiders, moths, gnats...  You name it, it thrives by the hot and humid lake shore.

It wouldn't be so bad if we could peacefully co exist, but some of these creatures take one look at us and the dinner bell rings.  The mosquitoes buzz, bite and cause itching like heck.  

Enter this peaceful place down by the shore.  It is bug free and beautiful in a summer sprinkle of rain. We have been enjoying it so much.  Thank you to my wonderful husband for making it magically appear.  The best surprise ever! 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Porto Fino: 20th Wedding Anniversary

Italian Moonlight: Porto Fino

One night in Porto Fino we had the most amazing moonlit sky.  The full moon rose like an orange ball of fire over the Mediterranean Sea.  The moonlight was so brilliant and the moon itself was so large and luminous in the night sky.  This picture can't even begin to show you how beautiful and amazing it was.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Stormy Days

The long trip from San Francisco was smooth.  Our car to the airport gave us a hassle about the number of bags we were bringing (about 14 plus our dog in her carrier).  I thought this might foreshadow the experience checking bags at the airport or collecting our bags after the flight, but all was well.

We zipped through customs and jumped into our gargantuan Yukon.  For anyone considering purchasing a Yukon with a family of 5, a dog and 14 bags, don't do it.  This SUV has the worst cargo room of any large vehicle we have rented.

Luckily my husband is a packing whiz and has had lots of practice dealing with my over zealous collection of duffel bags.  He had that car loaded in no time.  No one could breathe or put their legs in a normal position, but we all arrived safely at the cottage.

We arrived at the cottage to weather so hot, humid and in humane, that it is only how I can imagine the weather in Hell must be like.  On a side note, I'm going to be extra good so as not to end up there!

The intense heat was mixed with some intense and beautiful stormy weather.  

Everyone settled in quickly.  We are know the opening drill.  The best surprise was the new gazebo nestled in the trees down by the shoreline.  It immediately became the favorite place for everyone to hang out day and night!  Pictures to come later!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Apparently this Plane Ain't Flying to Ontario

It is flying to France! Sneaky husband!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Punch Buggy, No Punch Backs!

Well, I just got the gears from my son, who is traveling in Scotland, that I have not posted for a very long time.  Yes, I gave myself the luxury of a blog vacation lately.  When you are not paid, it is very easy to give yourself a vacation after many many years of posting and posting and posting.  My son is keeping a blog while he is away, so now he knows it's fun, but sometimes it's hard to come up with something witty, wise, interesting or informative to say.

Lately, we've wrapped up the school year.  Here are the recent highlights.

Father's Day breakfast was served by Lizzy and Anna on our bedroom patio.  It was a lovely day.  There was a Father's Day massage, a Zingerman's lunch and a nice dinner at the Left Bank.

We missed Michael, but, he was off at writing camp in Scotland working hard and building stone walls.  You can read more about that portion of his trip on his blog by clicking here.

The girls were in tennis camp.  The best thing about tennis camp?  Shopping for cute tennis clothes, of course.  The camp was demanding physically, so they were tired, but happy.  On one afternoon, we went to the local library where they held "Reading to a Dog" day.  The Humane Society brought a dog who actually listens to the kids read.  It was pretty cute.  We also took this time to revisit our favorite childhood books.  You can see Lizzy below with her friend, Zoe.

At the annual Summer Solstice party, we enjoyed a beautiful night on the beach.  This year's effigy was pretty amazing as you can see below.  It went up like crazy once it was lit.  Out with the old, time for a fresh, start.

Kiki did not get lost this year at the party.  Last year she disappeared and we searched for over an hour in the dark, frantically trying to find her.  This time, we anchored her, and she still had lots of attention and treats.

Anna bravely let Roxy off the leash and let her wander around the beach.  It was pretty cute, Roxy stuck to Anna like glue.  Rather unusual for the dog who is apt to run off to greet any dog.  Any dog.  She loves other dogs so much, she must be the friendliest dog ever.  She loves to sneak in a French tongue kiss, so watch out!

Lizzy's friend Reynolds came along and enjoyed a giant roasted marshmallow.

This is not a very good picture, but last night was the "super moon."  It was bright and gorgeous.

Today, the girls left for camp.  They are off for two weeks of fun in the mountains.  Anna says that she has CPD.  Compulsive Packing Disorder.  We had to remove a giant stuffed animal, her entire comforter and pillow set, and thumbtacks and a poster from her back before she shipped out.

Mom and Dad were sad to see them go, but we are heading to the wilderness of Canada for a few days. Lots of posts to follow under the heading Canadian Chronicles.

Lizzy and her friend, Catherine, are off to be Counselors in Training (CITs) this year.  This is Lizzy's 8th summer at the camp.  Hard to believe that!  It's the 5th year for Anna.  Yikes, we are getting old, see picture above!

The big bus, getting ready to roll out!

Well, that's it for now.  More to come later!  Summer has officially started for everyone.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Almost 6th Graders...

But still a little bit 5th graders!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Greetings from California: April 2013 Edition

Dear Friends,

We've slipped into spring in the Bay Area, which really feels like summer. The days are warm, the nights are lighter longer, and we are tired of the school and sports routine. We are ready to kick up our heels and run for our freedom from this hectic scheduled life full speed into summer.

Coping with 3 different school schedules meant that a spring break family vacation was almost impossible.  Our oldest went on a service trip to Chile with Voluntary Horizons for 10 days.  The group went to Los Coipos and helped build a new playground and teach children English.  He enjoyed a home stay with a 100 percent Spanish and 0 percent English speaking family.  When asked about the highlights, he said that he now knows how the turkey trotting around the farmyard becomes an entree.

The rest of us were able to get away for a weekend to Santa Barbara and Alisal Ranch for our friend's 50th.  The weekend included a rodeo, horseback riding, swimming, biking, dancing (including a ladies' flash mob) and a fabulous celebration of our friend.  It was the first serious road trip that we've had in years.

With the oldest in Chile and the youngest in school, it was time for some serious STAYCATION with our middle daughter, Ruth.  After she saw the doctor, got x-rayed and splinted (turns out the prior evening's roller skating accident did in fact produce a broken finger!) we were on our way to the city for Urban Camping.

What is Urban Camping?  Well, originally it involved taking the ferry into San Francisco, but with our broken finger delay, we went in the car, via Rustic Bakery.  See, we were Rustic with our Urban Camping from the start.

Urban Camping was the idea of heading to an overnight in the city with just the clothes on our backs.  The kids keep growing, and it was time for some spring clothing.  So, we checked into a hotel and hit the shopping scene for pajamas and underwear.  Oh, and a new toothbrush, deodorant and finger splint supplies!

After a little shopping, we ordered room service and watched the movie, Identity Thief.

In the morning, it was time for a delicious, decadent brunch.

Meanwhile, back at the home ranch, Birk was playing baseball!  And boy has she been playing baseball!  Yesterday she got the team ball for knocking the tie breaking, winning RBI, for the walk off win in the last inning.  She got the game ball for that one.  On the very same day she came in 2nd overall for the school science fair...and she got an A++ on her math test.  She called this her best day ever!

Roxy is still the most cuddled one in the family a little over a year later.  She's grown from a little 5 pound puppy to 16 pounds.

Liz enjoying a day on her STAYCATION.  This rock climbing was done pre broken index finger.

Time with Grandma and Grandpa--a special day at the zoo.

Friday night in the stands, rooting for our team.

Our oldest is back on the mound.  He is also working on becoming an Eagle Scout and beginning the college search.

Well, that's it for now.  We have recitals, tournaments and finals coming up...along with SAT 2s and ACTs.  We are truly on the downward slide to summer, as soon as this calendar hits May, we are on our way!