Sunday, December 12, 2010

Our Blessings

The other day I was thinking and contemplating how blessed my family has been. We all have good health, happy families, and good jobs. So many people we know are without some of these things. As I pondered the events of the year I thought of the wonderful blessings of being protected from the difficulties of life offered these days. My family has not been impacted by the bad economy or job market. We all have good jobs, even though it is hard to go to work some days, but we all work hard and are self-sufficient. Brenda and Mike were blessed this year with baby Landon and it is so wonderful seeing their love and care for this special spirit. Katy and family have been blessed this year with being able to buy a house in Simi Valley. Steven is blessed with a job and the ability to pursue his Master's Degree.

I am thankful for all the blessings I have and greatful that I know they come from a loving and kind Heavenly Father.

Sue and I went to the car show the weekend before Thanksgiving. We went with the determination to select Sue's new car. It was depressing seeing how little we could get for so much money. Sue had been driving the Explorer for 8 years, the car being 10 years old. Friday after Thanksgiving we purchased Sue's dream car. We were pleased after visiting the car show that the car she wanted was about the same price as so many other SUV's, but she got a much nicer car with the Lexus. After spending most of the day in the dealer Sue drove home in her new Lexus, yet another blessing to our family. I will miss the Explorer. For a Ford (Fix Or Repair Daily), the car had been very reliable and such a good friend. So many fond memories of all those Home Depot runs on a Saturday afternoon. If anyone has earned such a nice car it is my dear sweet wife who has been so caring to others for so many years. I love you my dear.

The home is starting to look like Christmas. Rebekah and Sue are hanging stockings. You better believe this overgrown one is mine.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Our New Grandson

Brenda and Mike had their baby boy Friday night at 5:26pm. Landon Michael Sperber weighed in just under 8 pounds. Mother, father, and child are doing great.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Our Vacation

On August 10th we woke up early in the morning to drive to San Francisco. We were celebrating our anniversary in style. We arrived about noon and hopped on our crusie ship, the Sea Princess, for a 10 day cruise to Alaska. Once on board we checked out our room and went right to the buffet for lunch. We set sail about 5pm going right under the Golden Gate Bridge.

The next day was our 31st anniversary. We woke up to the balloons on our door. After the buffet for a big breakfast we relaxed, walked the ship, and rested. Then back to the buffet for lunch.

This was a sea day as it took two days to get to Alaska. We relaxed, enjoyed the buffet, rested, and ate at the buffet. That night was formal night. We shared the table with an older couple that seemed to make cruising (and drinking, for the wife) their life. They had just finished a world cruise and were telling us they had cruised over 500 days. I had the ever popular Love Boat Dream for dessert; however, they are getting smaller each year. I had the same dessert almost every night.

Our first stop was Victoria, British Columbia. First thing was to hit the buffet for a big breakfast. We did not see any side trips we wanted to take, especially with the cost of the others we had planned, so we walked to the fisherman's wharf. Not much there but we were puzzled by the floating homes, smaller than a one-bedroom studio apartment that sold between $300,000 and $500,000. Crazy. After the walk we went to the buffet for lunch.

The next day was another "at sea" day full of buffet eating, walking, visiting the buffet, and relaxing. On the way to Juneau.

In Juneau, after gorging ourselves at the buffet for breakfast, we went on a whale watching trip. A nice comfortable boat that had a pilot who knew just where to look. We saw several humpback whales and one dove down about 30-40 feet from the boat.

We stopped at a nice overlook of the Mendenhall Glacier.

In Skagway, after hitting the buffet, we took our favorite excursion, the White Pass Railway. It starts with a motor coach ride about 60 miles into the Yukon and then the train back into town. Again a wonderful day. The train follows the original path of the Klondike gold miners, with the original trail still visible.

The next day we were sailing into Glacier Bay. We woke up early and went straight to the buffet. What an incredible day. The weather could not have been better and the water was so calm it was like a mirror. So much color in the sky, the water and on the beautiful glacier-capped mountains.

As we looked at the glacier, the naturalist ranger told us about the wildlife in the area. In his words there are "whales, birds, sea liions and what not". I happen to capture the rarely seen "what not".

Part of the wonderful experience of Glacier Bay is approaching the "Tide Water" glacier and hoping to see is calve into the sea. The noise it makes is awesome, they call it Blue Thunder. Mostly we saw small pieces but we did see one piece the size of a bus fall off. My camera was set on speed shots so I captured the entire event. So cool. Many of my pictures were also taken by a crew member photographer and for sale for $20 each. For the Global warming crowd, the rangers noted that more of the glaciers are growing than shrinking. Also, the calving is a natural occurance caused by the fresh water glacier meeting the salt water of the bay.

While watching the ice fall a nice crew member from Bulgaria took our picture. FYI, the glacier is 250 feet tall here. Doesn't look that big, does it?

The next day we were in Ketchikan where, after another big breakfast at the buffet, we took a shore excursion to a rainforest walk. I thought it was quite disappointing. The walk was with a guide, way to short, no wildlife, and much too slow. 1 1/2 hours to go less than a mile. They did have a rescued bald eagle and owl. The eagle is such a magnificant animal. She seemed so pleased to pose for pictures. We did some shopping after the short excursion, then to the buffet to eat.

The second to last night was again formal night. One reason I like cruises so much is to see how much my dear sweet wife enjoys them. We sailed all the next day just relaxing and eating.

The last two days were again at sea with buffet visits and exercise as we became the Wii Bowling champs of the Sea Princess. This was the second cruise where we accidently ended up on the same trip as old friends Rudy and Norma Wehrli. Their family had come along, so we got to have a lovely visit with them and their daughter Lisa Clark, one of our oldest and dearest friends. It was such a treat. We ended our vacation staying the night in San Ramon where Sue's brother Steve lives. We had a great visit with Steve and Nancy and were even joined by Jacob (Lumpy) and his new bride as well as Matt and Karen and their cute kids. Then the 6 hour drive home. We are extremely grateful for Steven taking care of the home front and keeping the dog alive.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Summer Vacation

Once school is out for summer, my job changes from music to cooking. I am fortunate to work for a school that offers so many wonderful things to the children. For six weeks, we try some new foods and learn some cooking technique by being as hands on as possible. It is a tremendous amount of work and quite tiring, but I really enjoy it.
Snickerdoodle cookies are a tradition in cooking dating back about 10 years, way before I started. I couldn't find one child who objected to a repeat of this one.
In an effort to find things I could cook without an oven (see the explanation a little farther down the post), we tried French Toast. It was a huge hit and is requested for next year already. These cute little kids seemed to have bottomless tummies.
I love this picture because of her smile. Really, that's why I do this job.
It certainly made Grandma's day to have Rebekah and Jonah come for a visit. RL made a
"Firecracker Cookie" with the Kindergarten class and then played with them at recess. She had a blast. Can you tell that it was a scorcher of a day by the rosy cheeks???
This little cutie in Kindergarten has the most beautiful eyes, she is a sweetie and wanted to show off her "Firecracker Cookie" that she made for the 4th of July. This project became more "how many sprinkles can I fit on a cooke" rather than "make my cookie look like fireworks". It's all good.... if they're happy, I'm happy.

This was "Donut Day". Every student got to pick a donut, frost it, and decorate it. There were also all you could eat scrambled eggs. It was a huge hit. But really, donuts, frosting and sprinkles??? How could it not be a hit?
When you serve 300 donuts and let the kids decorate them, you have to be organized. We got the entire school through in around an hour. A big part of the success is due to my assistant this year. Asa is in the striped shirt in the middle directing traffic. He has been so much fun to work with and he is a pretty good cook too! He is heading off to college, but hopefully will return next year...???? I hope so.
I work with wonderful people. This is Patrick and Diane, two PE Coaches, who walked into Donut Day and took over scrambled eggs for me and did a magnificent job. All the staff worked to make the event a great one. Note the cabinets behind them...this is a science room. Dead, stuffed animals and bugs. Yuck. I drew the line however, at the live Scorpian... he was relocated.
This little guy wanted to show me his pizza bagel, but had a hard time looking away from the movies we watched in cooking. Watching movies kept them inside, cool and calm while the food cooked. We did not have an oven in our room and so cooking things was a major production.

Seriously...I have the best job in the world!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Another picture of Rebekah at her first pony ride, or is it Katy? Hmmmmm. Hard to tell. Same pony ride place, same smile.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Being a Grandparent

Being a grandparent is so cool. This Friday we had Rebekah come over and sleep the night. It broke our heart when we left Katy's to see Jonah grabbing his shoes and running to the door. Jonah will get to sleep over later. Rebekah is so cute and fun. One of her favorite items now is the marble tower. A great toy building different paths every time. Rebekah calls them Narbles.
She sleeps real well in her own little bed. Not a peep until early morning. then she wakes up, climbs in our bed and hugs and hangs on to grandpa. Brings back memories from 25 years ago.
As a special treat on Saturday we took her to the same pony rides on Tampa where we took our kids growing up. The place has not changed much. This little mother-to-be reminded us of Brenda, not that she is a pig but big with child. At least Brenda is not dragging her tummy on the ground.

At first Rebekah was a little scared of all the goats but quickly got over it. This little buddy never left the tractor. It was his (or her - I did not check) special spot.

And finally the reason we went there. Rebekah was a natural. No hesitation to ride the pony. A big smile on her face the entire time. Again, reminded me of Katy from years ago.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I LOVE BEING A MOM (& Grandma too!)

I have the 3 most wonderful kids in the world. I can hear you saying,"How can that be?" Well, let me share a little about each one. They each have their own special talents that amaze me over and over again.

First let me tell you about Steven. He started out life pretty rough. A complicated birth, life-threatening illness, eye surgery as an infant...I could go on. He was our little man. He loved OshKosh overalls and his Little Tykes red and yellow car he drove. Always a sweet disposition despite some first class teasing and pranks by his older sisters, they now all have a great relationship as adults. A hard worker, driven to attain what he has set his sites on. An eagle scout, return missionary and soon to be college graduate. He is a tremendous repository of historical facts especially in the ancient world. Steve also has a gift for classical music and composers. He helps me out when I am looking for a particular piece, he knows who wrote it, when, where, who were their contemporaries, etc. He will be starting grad school soon working on his Masters. He is caring and helpful to all. I have lost track of how many times he is a little late because he stopped to help a sister in a bind or a stranger in need. How many guys are totally comfortable with little kids? He loves his niece and nephew. He and Rebekah had a blast building a gingerbread house together. I have to admit it is nice having him around, but I know he will be happier when he finishes school and moves out again.

On to Brenda -

Brenda has always made me laugh. She is the keeper of all the good family stories, and no one can tell them the way she does. When she gets started I laugh so hard I hurt. It doesn't matter how many times I hear them. Brenda was born 3 weeks late, hmmm, I should have realized that she was going to have a great sense of humor. Always the most independent of my children, she is a confident, caring, and intelligent mom-to-be. We both love to cook and so she started a family recipe blog. She is married to Michael Sperber, a wonderful son-in-law, who keeps me laughing also. They are both hard-working college grads with a beautiful home that was a real fixer upper until they took control. They love Dodger baseball and their dogs, Jetta and Kita. Brenda is someone I can confide in and ask for advice, I love spending time with her. We love to go to Home Goods and look at all the great stuff!

Katy and I have spent the most time together by virtue of her being the oldest. We share some of the same interests and talents. She and I are both musical and play piano, we love to sew and craft and be creative. The difference is...she is SO MUCH BETTER! I had to stop scrapbooking because my pages I worked so hard on paled in comparison to hers. Just ask her about the chalk thing. Creativity just comes naturally to her. She is not afraid to tackle anything. She and her husband Dan are both college grads. Katy is planning to student teach this year and finish up her teaching credential. Doesn't take years and years except when you have two babies during that time. Katy is a great mother, she is very wise when it comes to knowing what her children need. I am consistently impressed by how much she teaches them. You ought to see her reason with Rebekah, an incredibly cute but stubborn 3 year old, and not lose her temper. Katy always wins. Now, Jonah (18 mo) is beginning the temper tantrum phase, I know she will handle it just fine. Katy has started her own business (because school, 2 kids and managing a big apartment complex was not enough to fill her days...). It's called KdBuggie. She hand makes and sells baby items on

I want my children to know how much I love them all and appreciate all the years we have spent together so far. When they were small my biggest fear was them causing problems in school or becoming juvenile delinquents. Now that they are adults and those things, of course, never happened; my fear is that one day they will take their families and move to a better place than Los Angeles. This has a much better chance of happening than the delinquint thing. If it happens I know I will survive, but will miss them terribly. Thankfully I have a wonderful husband who probably deserves more credit for children who turned out so great. He will just keep booking cruises and doing all the things that keep me so happy! We both know that Katy, Brenda and Steve and their families are and will continue to be the best part of our lives. We love them so much!
Thanks for all the great Mother's days!
Love, Mom