60 Years of Single Malt Perfection

Max's boss has taught Max many things, one of them being to appreciate single malt scotch. Whenever Pops comes for a visit Max is always pleased to have a comrade to join him in this new appreciation.

For Monty's birthday we thought it would be fun to give him 60 years of scotch. Just for fun I checked how expensive a 60 year old bottle of scotch would cost. I found that a 60 year old bottle of Macallan was the most expensive scotch ever sold by Christie's auction. It went for $54,000. I found a bottle on eBay for $17,000. While we love Pops dearly, that just wasn't in the budget. So we opted to get 5 bottles of different 12 year old scotches. I wanted to wait until his actual birthday but Max figured Pops would get the most out of his gift he opened upon our arrival. Might have been a little self interest, but who am I to judge?
Monty has a way of calculating the cocktail hour by checking the time of loved ones near and afar. As luck would have it, London is 9 hours ahead of California time. It was always cocktail hour. :)
After the guys got back from a bike ride, the bottles started opening. Before too much scotch had warmed their bellies, I conducted a blind taste test. They ranked their favorites and described them. Jeanette described one of the scotches as I would describe all scotch, "Razor blades with a hint of nails." :)

Max then tried to name them by label. He mixed up the Glenlivet and the Glenfiddich but nailed the rest of them. I am thinking this is a bad thing. Interestingly, the one everyone ranked last in taste was actually the most expensive bottle. I can only imagine what that 60 year old scotch would taste like. Needless to say, this activity got the party started.
One of the highlights for the kids are snail races. They just love hunting for their snail, picking a number and marking the shell and watching them "race." This was as ritualistic as the scotch tasting over the week.
There is really nothing cooler than having your backyard open to water! We were able to go kayaking and canoeing whenever the tide was in.
We took a little birthday boating trip.
Hank was in his element. He could be outside playing as much as he wanted.
I think Pops and Gramma Nette should consider renaming the Villa the Garden of Eden. It is so lovely, beautiful and magical.
Paella was the perfect ending to a great day.
Anna had the funniest sign made for Pops. It reads, Go Gro or Go Home. If you know Pops, then you know about his tendency to go Aggro or getting a little aggravated with a splash of aggression tossed in during stressful times. Before big trips, or if things don't go as planned, or when time is running tight, Pops can be found racing around. He tends to bang things and in general have a wee bit of a freak out. We like to tease him that it is an adult temper tantrum. The sign will be a nice asset to his office that I am sure his fellow employees will appreciate.
Pops is such an important guy in our lives. We love him dearly and are so thankful for his 60 years.

Bay Area Discovery Museum

We did so much and had so much fun while we were visiting Pops and Gramma Nette that I will have lots of post to share.
On day we went to the Bay Area Discovery Museum. This was the perfect place for our age range of kids. They had activities for all of them. It was another very cold day in the Bay. As the old saying goes, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."
At the space exhibit they learned all about space, including sitting on a toilet similar to one is a space ship and how astronauts sleep and eat. They tested their ability to perform under stress.
Playing dress up.
They had a few art centers. The girls enjoyed painting while Hank and Gramma Nette built towers with blocks. Hank liked knocking them over the most.

They had an outdoor mini golden gate bridge and ship wreck to play and construct on. If it had been warmer we would have stayed at this area much longer.

They also had a train table and sea exhibit. Hank was in heaven with the trains while the girls ran all over the ocean. It was a great place for our little explorers.

We realized what an amazing place the Villa is to visit. There is so much to do in a 30 minute radius that we will have years of fun visits ahead of us!

California Girls and the Little Man

I think the music helps set the mood.

It was a gorgeous day at the Villa, however fog and wind greeted us at the beach. I thought Colorado was cold.
The kids were determined to play in the ocean, even if it was in the 50s.

Nope. She's not cute or anything.
Hailey lasted the longest. I was frozen in a sweatshirt with a towel around me and she ran in the waves for sometime.
Hank was happy rolling the sand and being allowed to throw it.
The seaweed was pretty fun to throw too.
This was our camp up against a bluff. For our birthdays this year Monty and Jeanette got us all Cal Bears sweatshirts. I am not sure, but I think there is a subliminal message going on here. :0)
Kaitlin had fun playing in the sand. We must have just missed the sun because the sand was still warm on our feet.
Well, the water was a tad cold, so the kids decided they were just going to climb the bluff in their wet suits with huge gusts of wind. Much warmer.
Wait for me.
Me too!
Max had to calm my fear about what was on the other side, so he climbed up too.
While it wasn't the day at the beach we had hoped for, it was still pretty beachy.

You and Me Together

Nobody says it like Dave. Together we can do anything.

Want to pack your bags something small
Take what you need and we disappear
Without a trace we'll be gone, gone
Moon and the stars will follow the car
And then when we get to the ocean
Gonna take a boat to the end of the world
All the way to the end of the world

Oh and when the kids are old enough, we're gonna teach them to fly

You and me together
We could do anything baby
You and me together yes, yes
You and me together
We could do anything baby
You and me together yes yes

You and I were not tied to the ground
Not falling but rising like rolling around
Eyes closed above the rooftops
Eyes closed we're gonna spin through the stars
Our arms wide as the sky, we're gonna ride the blue
All the way to the end of the world
To the end of the world

Oh and when the kids are old enough, we're gonna teach them to fly

We can always look back at what we did
Always remembering how you and me did
Right now it's you and me forever girl
And you know, we could do better than
Anything that we did
You know that you and me
We could do anything

You and me together
We could do anything, baby
You and me together yeah, yeah
Two of us together, we could do anything baby
You and me together yeah, yeah
Two of us together yeah, yeah
Two of us together, we could do anything baby

It's so small
Till we reach the end of the world

Thank you for 12 years full of memories, love, babies, and life together. We can do anything as as long as we are together my love.

California or Bust!

Hailey's 9th Birthday

Hailey requested creamed eggs over toast for breakfast.
Then we were off for manicures with Grandma.
The little ladies thought this was so much fun.
After the manicures Grandma watched the kids so Max and I could take Hailey to get her ears pierced. I have told the girls they can have their ears pierced when they have proven they are responsible enough to care for their ears and earrings. They also have to be brave enough to get it done. Hailey reached the responsible criteria some time ago, however, she hadn't been ready to go through the pain until recently. I think the fact that all of her girlfriends but one have their ears pierced summoned the courage in her. :)
Trying so hard to grow up. This rite of passage wouldn't be complete with out H Bear and yellow.
I am not so sure Daddy was ready for it. Should have brought his bear too.
Marking the spot and checking it twice.
The big moment.
She handled it great. Not a tear or wince. My big girl with beautiful pierced ears! She chose her birthstone.

Max and I then took her to her favorite fast food, Subway, for lunch. After that, the family was off to our neighbor's birthday party at a water park.

We soaked up the sun, went down water slides, ate cake, and came home to make dinner.
Her birthday dinner consisted of lobster, artichokes, and mashed potatoes and gravy. Originally she wanted spaghetti included too, but I had to draw the line somewhere.
The birthday girl requested brownies and ice cream since she had cake at the party and she will be having her own birthday party with cake in a few weeks.

Pretty big doings.

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to the two most important men in my life.

I love you so much Snork. You will never know how happy it makes me that you chose to be my Dad and all that you have done to guide Max and I along. Thank you for loving us the way you do!

Max, you exemplify everything it means to be a father. You make each one of the kids feel special and loved. You sacrifice your own time and give it to them. You teach them and help them grow spiritually, emotionally, and socially. I am so thankful to have you as my children's daddy. Few fathers treasure their family the way you do. I love you.

Happy 9th Birthday Hailey

Happy Birthday Hailey! You are growing into such a delightful person. You are beautiful from the inside out. You are kind, considerate, intelligent, loving, respectful, and basically wonderful. You love horses, books, playing the piano, and playing with your girlfriends. You are a great big sister and a blessing to have for a daughter. We love you so very much Jo Jo Bean.

VBS 2010

Our church always puts on an amazing Vacation Bible School in the summer. Kids from many other churches come to check it out along with kids who have no home church. This year they had 500 kids participate. The church encourages the kids to bring as many friends as they can. Hailey brought her girlfriends and Karlie got to have RJ in her group this year. This was the only time I have ever wished I had a bigger car. We call our Yukon XL the black bus. It is a beast to drive and park, but I would have gladly driven a real bus. There were more neighborhood kids that wanted to go, but we were completely full every night.

I felt like I was on my way to a teeny bopper concert each night as we blared the VBS songs and the girls danced and shouted, "throw your hands to the roof, roof!" This years theme seemed to particularly engaging. They all had a ton of fun and memorized their verses each day. As one of the songs went that I have drilled into my brain from the nightly concert went, "It filled me JOY, JOY" to see the girls loving and sharing God with their friends.