Ezra’s 14th Birthday

Ezra’s birthday was a scattered affair this year. We got him a new monitor for his computer and decided to give it to him on the Saturday morning before his birthday (which was Monday) because he only gets screen time on the weekends and that way he could use it. Needless to say he was very excited about that.

He chose to do a family birthday dinner at our local ramen place over the weekend, and then on his actual birthday, after Finn’s hockey practice, we had cake.

Ezra’s First Sandwich Bread

In March Ezra moved on to his first loaves of sandwich bread. Spoiler alert: they were very good. Finn requested that he make some every week. Here are some photos of the process.

We all enjoy the rising process — it’s like magic!

Miscellaneous February 2019

February flew by in a whirlwind of hockey practices and travel, but we always need a couple photos of Emmy and Sophie at the end of the month. I’m not sure how Sophie gets up to the top shelf where I put all the things I don’t want her sitting on, but she does. All the time.

Emmy usually prefers to remain in lower places, and she never skips the opportunity to sit in a box.

Of course we need one photo of silly Papa.

And here’s one of my friend Maria and me at the Mother’s Symposium. It was a great morning spent listening to some inspiring women speak about their experiences of motherhood. It made me miss my Pasadena crew tremendously. There’s something irreplaceable about the group of moms you bond with when your kids are in preschool and early elementary.

Presidents’ Day Tournament

In February we packed up the whole family and went to San Diego for Finn’s hockey tournament. The timing worked out well — the kids had Thursday, Friday, and Monday off so no one had to miss any school.

This was a great tournament for lots of reasons. In past tournaments, Finn’s team had been entered in a division higher than their skill level and the scores reflected that. I don’t mind them losing games, but when they aren’t even able to compete it’s no fun. This time, they were in a BB division as they should be and it was much better. Also, since it was in San Diego we were able to meet up with the lots of family and friends. It was great to have a Moision/Beck get together and to spend some time with Peter, Laura, Eric, and the Banning clan. The Bannings rescued Ezra from a long day of hockey on Friday when they invited him to join them at the Wild Animal Park. He bonded with the animals.

Friday was a great day of hockey — two games and Finn’s team won both. First, though, was the boys’ favorite part: breakfast at the hotel. The food was mediocre at best, but the kids love being able to get what they want from the buffet, and the novelty of eating breakfast with friends is slow to wear off.

Here are a couple of shots from one of Friday’s games. I don’t tend to take many pictures during the games.

And one of the handshake line.

After the second Friday game we went for a late dinner with the Bannings. Despite the “meh” Mexican food, a good time was had by all. At the end of the night the kids noticed this sex appeal monitor in the lobby and hysterics ensued.

The next morning we met up with Laura and Eric, stuffed ourselves with pancakes and coffee, and then took a quick trip to the Birch Aquarium at Scripps. It was a gorgeous day.

We all enjoyed seeing a reference to an Oatmeal comic in an exhibit about the mantis shrimp. Ezra, especially, is obsessed with all things Oatmeal.

Finn was nervous about getting to his game on time (that’s my fault; I’m also too much of a worrier about getting places on time) but it all worked out. They lost the game, but continued to be in good spirits. After the game, Bruce and Peter had the chance to hang out while the boys and I went to lunch with Finn’s teammate Arthur and his mom.

That night was the Skills Competition. Finn and three of his teammates, Robert, Drew and Bubba, were competing. It was a madhouse of activity, but the boys did really well. In fact, they won the prize for their age group. There was only one other team competing, but still.

Finn stopped all of the shots he faced. We couldn’t see very well, but his coach sent me videos. (I love seeing his teammates cheer for him!)

Here’s the whole Skills Competition crew and Coach Mike:

On Sunday Finn’s game wasn’t until 4:00 so we had time to take a leisurely visit to Balboa Park. The museum we planned to see (the Mingei) was closed for remodel, but we had a fun time at a photography exhibit, the train museum, and a stop at the Finnish house on the way out. Here are a couple of photos from the photography exhibit.

And here’s all the photos we took of ourselves at the station Finn is at above.

They ended up losing Sunday’s game, too, but still made it into the finals.

And they had a team dinner on Sunday which was super fun for the kids. Bruce and Ezra skipped that and went out with the San Diego/Temecula Moisions and Becks.

Back at the team dinner, there was cake and a very festive atmosphere. It’s a pretty fun bunch of kids.

On Monday, the Black Stars played in the finals against the team from Canada. There had been some parental conflicts at the previous game against this team, and the bad attitude of a couple of the Canadian parents continued on Monday. Really there were only a couple of parents pushing the limits of youth sports decorum, but they sure managed to dispel the myth that all Canadians are nice.

Our boys ended up getting the silver, and the team quickly scattered as people rushed off to the airport to make flights or start the long drive home. Our flight ended up being delayed, so we were not in a rush but had a very late night.

For us, it was definitely a successful weekend. And I think our very tired goalie would agree.

Finn’s Egyptian Sarcophagus Project

Finn has the same core teachers for sixth grade that Ezra had and thus, he also did a hands on project for the Egyptian unit. Whereas Ezra made a chariot, Finn and his group made a life size sarcophagus. They used a cardboard base shape and then covered it in paper mache and lots of paint. They worked mostly independently both at school and at our house, so I don’t have many pictures.

The toxic gold paint was really the only thing that I was worried about. It worked out pretty well though with only a few globs ending up where they weren’t supposed to be. Here are some shots of the final product.

And here’s Finn bringing it to school for the big unveiling.

And here’s Finn and his group on the night the class presented all of their projects.

Miscellaneous January 2019

A few random things from January. Ezra gets a little snuggle from Sophie. Not sure if that’s just resting cat face or if she’s screaming to be released.

We made a cake and celebrated Rob Banning’s birthday from afar. Maybe next year we’ll be close enough to share his cake with him.

My friend Erika opened her own sewing studio in Palo Alto and invited some of her friends to test out some classes. I was lucky enough to snag a spot in the two-part Intro to Sewing class. We made a sunglasses case the first night and a pillow case the second. Being the least crafty person in the world (and someone whose sewing machine sits unused in the garage), I was very proud of my pillow case. And I love the bike themed fabric she chose for me.

Hockey Bling

About halfway through the season, Finn’s team started a Player of the Game award with some homemade bling. Finn was the first recipient on January 13th for holding on for a 2-2 tie against the division-leading Tri-Valley Blue Devils.

Ezra’s First Pizza

Ezra moved along in his ROPEs project to pizza making on January 12th. It’s another two-day process with a starter and then lots of folding, resting, and rising time.

Then there’s dividing, shaping, and actually making the pizza.

Finally, it’s ready for the oven and the new pizza steel that we got per Uncle Bob’s recommendation.

And the proud baker shows off his first pizza.

It was really good! It may be beginner’s luck or maybe just that we were used to store bought pizza dough, but this pizza was astonishingly delicious. He made it several more times over the next couple of months and it was always great, but I still think the first time was the best.

New Year’s Eve 2018

We had our normal low-key New Year’s Eve with a year-end Instagram wrap up both personal …

… and Little Free Library related.

After dinner we did our traditional read-through of our Week’s Best from each week of the year. We all get a kick out of looking back on the year in this way. This time we made a tally of everyone’s most consistent topics. Not surprisingly, Finn’s was hockey, Ezra’s was video games, Bruce’s was work related, and mine was bicycling. I think we could all stand to branch out a little more!

Bruce and Finn Go Snow Camping

To celebrate the end of 2018 (and because there’s a break in hockey during the holidays) Bruce and Finn went on a snow camping trip. I’m hoping Bruce will fill in the details at some point, but for now I can say that they were in Carson Pass, California and Lake Winnemucca, Nevada. It looks gorgeous and extremely cold.

Christmas 2018

We got started on Christmas pretty early (for us) this year. On December 8th, we had a tree, complete with the train.

And the boys had built the annual gingerbread house already. (They ate it all the next day.)

The ornament was up on the library on the 10th. (The house lights have been up since 2016 so that was easy enough.)

Ezra made another gingerbread house (well, graham cracker house) in his cooking class, and that came home on the 20th. They actually managed to wait on eating it until Christmas Eve which was pretty impressive.

For the cats, all the hullaballoo is fine so long as there are some empty boxes to hide in.

We missed having Janice with us for Christmas this year, but things just didn’t work out. We’d planned to go visit her after Christmas but the tickets were just so expensive that we didn’t make it. We did have a little bit of her with us though — she sent the annual set of ornaments for us all.

Christmas Eve was just the four of us, but we went all out with the table — candles, the special Christmas dishes that were my mom’s, and the good crystal. We had a lovely dinner.

The boys woke us up at 5:30 (!) on Christmas Day. My pictures are not very good because it was still so dark even with the lights on, but here are a few.

Bob, Vanessa, Thomas and Reba joined us for brunch, presents, games, and a walk by the Bay. I only took a couple of (not very good) photos.

It was perfect weather, sunny and brisk.

In the few days following Christmas, Ezra and Bruce put together his new gaming computer and Finn figured out how not to fall off his new electric skateboard.

I still need to get some photos of Finn on the skateboard! He’s practicing a lot so that I’ll let him ride it to school. Oy, how did I lose that battle?

King Tide Walk

On December 23rd, Bruce and I did a King Tide Walk put on by a local nature center. It was a little low information, unfortunately, but we did have a lovely bike ride there and back. And the weather was perfect. I got a few nice shots of the bay.

The trail was flooded in a couple of spots … due to the King Tide.

3 on 3 Christmas Tournament

Finn and four of his Black Starts teammates played in a just-for-fun 3 on 3 tournament on December 20th in San Jose. Their team was The Angry Elves, and one of the dads got elf hats for them and made “uniforms” out of t-shirts. They played three half-hour, cross-ice games and were thoroughly exhausted afterwards. It was a cute group of kids and the parents are all nice so it was a great evening.

Here they are in between the first and second game. From left to right, Robert, Finn, Mikala, Bubba, and Jack. (The moms of the two boys on the end were much more on it with the hats and stuffed them to make them stay up.)

Mikala’s mom bought them a pizza after the last game, which they inhaled.

It was a nice send off for the Christmas break before games and practices start up again after the first of the year.

Ezra’s First Focaccia

Ezra continued on his bread-making roll and made a focaccia on December 16th. It’s a long process because of the starter that needs to be done the day before and then all of the folding that takes about 7 hours. It came out pretty good but stuck to the pan a bit and Bruce had a grand time trying to pry it free. Nevertheless, it was quickly gobbled up!