Saturday, July 26, 2008

It's Over....

Spring Baseball for Sammy is done. His team went to the State Tournament, won 1, but lost 2, so they are out.

It was a fun ride while it lasted and we are so proud of Sam. He found his niche at 3rd base and threw some great pitches as well.

Apparently Fall Soccer is out... so we are looking forward to Fall Baseball. We'll keep you posted....

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Trojans March On....

One of my first posts back in May highlighted Sammy's first baseball game of the season. Amazingly enough, Sammy's baseball season is still on going. Last weekend was completely dedicated to Sammy's baseball team, the Wilson Trojans. Their team is a Senior (oldest group before high school although most of the team is made up of 7th graders, with one 6th grader and three 8th graders) National (level) Clackamas County team and they came in first in their division (13 wins, 2 losses, 1 tie) and second overall for their league. They were seeded 2nd in the County Tournament which was held this past weekend in Molalla, OR. They played two games on Saturday, winning both and then they played West Linn on Sunday afternoon for 1st place. After a pretty brutal game that was poorly officiated (by West Linn officials), they lost (6-9)--but they did take 2nd place (which is phenomenal) and will start State Tournament games on Thursday. It is quite amazing that they have come this far... they started with 15 players and then lost 2 players the first week of practice. Late in the season, they lost another player who moved out of town. Down to 12 players, their star broke his arm pitching in the last regular season game. They were devastated. But, they pulled it together and are still going strong, although a bit beat up. Here's a few highlights:
The dugouts were like brick ovens

National Anthem

John & Sammy--pitchers talking strategy

This inning... 11 pitches, 1-2-3, they're outta there!

Big hit--run Sammy run....

Receiving their trophy for first in their division

Another game, more pitching... this is the 3rd game for 1st place
A couple of our parents almost got thrown out of the game this inning

Receiving their 2nd place medals

And the season continues....

The not so Dark Knight

So, the new Batman movie came out last Friday which prompted many Batman discussions with friends and family. Batman seems to be a phenomenon that brings out obsession in some... especially young boys. Yes, Joey was our obsessed little Bat Man. For quite a few years, Batman costumes were regular every day attire. Sometimes it was as simple as a t-shirt with cape attached. Sometimes Joey's outfits included full on chest plates and bat ears. Costumes ranged from cloth to plastic to rubber. I wish I had more pictures... I am surprised I don't have more because this was not a short-lived obsession. Some days the costume went from head to toe, other days the outfit was minimized for comfort and fast running. The first time my friend Dana visited our house on 31st Drive (maybe 12 years ago?), we were chatting at the dining table and Joey, dressed in Batman underwear, t-shirt with cape attached and bat ears, was making his bat circle--running like the wind around the living room, dining room, kitchen and hallway--over and over and over again. At first Dana was taken aback, then amused, then she took it in stride like everyone else. This was not an attention getting activity for Joey... it was training, and it was daily. So, years have passed and although he does have a pair of Batman pajama bottoms, the costumes and bat caves, bat mobiles, bat planes and bat men figurines are all gone, but the old Batman cartoon VHS videos remain and every new Batman movie prompts a Batman video marathon and some fond memories.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Fruits of our Labor

I finally got Joey and Sammy to help me out in the yard today.
During our weeding session we had the pleasure of finding
enough blueberries to fill a bowl....

Joey's handmade pottery makes a nice vessel for
our blueberries
We also found our first tomatoes of the season. We love
the sweet 100's, they get fruit early, ripen quickly and
taste delicious. We planted cherry tomatoes, roma tomatoes,
heirloom tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes... we are going to
have plenty of tomatoes!

Although I have yet to see a pumpkin blossom on our
hillside plants (I'm still keeping my fingers crossed that
we have pumpkins by Halloween), we do have some
nice blossoms on our zucchini plants

and the Apple Trees look good....

This is about the last of the peas. I am surprised they have
lasted this long in this heat. We tried to keep them in the
shade and watered, but they just do not like summer.
but the sweat pea flowers apparently do like summer...

And so do the figs.

It's so much fun to find treats in the garden.
And it also makes a nice distraction from weeding.

4th of July

We spent 4th of July with the Lubitz Family in Bellevue.
We paraded through David's neighborhood, watched the downtown
Seattle Fireworks, took in a Mariner's Game, visited Pike Place
Market and had brunch at Salish Lodge, Snoqualmie Falls.

4th of July Night Sky, Seattle

Michael, Kari, Sammy, David, Star, Joey, Stuart
Lindy & Sarah... waiting for the Somerset Neighborhood Parade

Star Lubitz, son of David & Sarah Lubitz
(note: they are expecting a human child in February, poor Star!)
Waiting not so patiently outside the original Starbucks at
Pike Market Place while Sammy & Joey argue with Grandma
Lindy about what is in a Cafe Mocha (since I don't drink coffee,
I could care less what is in it....)

A random plant on the patio--obviously I was
getting pretty bored while waiting for the fireworks

Julia and Joey waiting for fireworks

My 3 Musketeers.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Valentine's Day in London

Fortnum & Mason Shortbread Biscuits

I know this seems like odd timing, but I will explain. Summer vacation has arrived with no vacation plan in sight for our family. That makes me sad--well, and frustrated. We always do a really fun family vacation, but this year, it seems there just isn't any time (not to mention the price of well, everything). The big problem: I want to do a vacation with all four of us and our kids schedules have become busier than ours. Sammy has baseball, and then basketball camp and then soccer practice. Joey has backpacking trips and art school. I'm sure I will figure something out. To make matters worse, Michael is on a business trip to London and Paris right now. I know--not fair! So, when Michael told me his London hotel is right on the Piccadilly Line of The Tube and he is going to stop in to Fortnum & Mason (great specialty food/home interior store), I wanted to just transport myself there (with floo powder or a portkey or something--in honor of our Oxford Tour where we got to see portions of the campus where Harry Potter was filmed). Michael and I spent Valentine's Day in London this year--it was fantastic. I went back to my pictures and started reminiscing and decided to do a London post. I have never been to Paris, so I won't even discuss my feelings on that one.

I spent the first day in London (Michael was in meetings)
touring London on the Double Decker buses. I did three
different routes. There was a lot of overlap, as it turns out, but
I didn't care because it was the most beautiful day. I sat on
the top (open) and it was sunny and 60 degrees--unbelievable for
London in February. As it turned out, the sun stayed with us
most of the trip, but the warmth did not. As the week progressed,
the temperatures dipped down into the 40's, but not a drop of rain!
You can't go to London without watching the changing
of the guards, right? Interestingly enough, I actually enjoyed
the changing of the guards in Copenhagen a few summers ago a little better.
Possibly because it wasn't frigid cold and we didn't have to walk a mile
trying to keep up with the procession, and then fight a huge crowd,
but it was an interesting experience, none the less.

We absolutely loved the street market at Portobello Road.
It was crowded, but so much fun!

Another thing I fell in love with from the get go, was The London Tube underground train system. I hate driving and traffic and all, so having a public transportation system as fantastic as this one was such a treat. It is easy to maneuver and everything is in English, yay! Our hotel was located in Canary Wharf and we had our own very convenient tube station.

This is the view from our hotel room on a very foggy morning. Most days started out foggy, but it all burned off by noon. Our hotel was a bit remote, but still in a great location.
Marriott Canary Wharf hotel behind me on the right.

We took a great bus tour out of the city. First we stopped at Oxford University. What a wonderful place. So many different buildings, so much history. We really enjoyed it. Michael is standing at the top of one of the staircases used in one of the Harry Potter movies (or all) I can't really remember. Only a handful of scenes were filmed here. Most were filmed at a studio.
We also stopped at Shakespeare's birthplace. This is the house he was born in. The beautiful little town is called Stratford-upon-Avon. We also drove through the Cotswolds (with beautiful old thatched roof houses, maintained and lived in to this day).

Michael in front of one of the Oxford Buildings.

We had such a great time in this beautiful old city. We also saw the plays "Wicked" and "Billy Elliot" in the theatre district and had a delicious Indian Food Valentine's Dinner. We toured Westminster Abbey and saw the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London. Well, okay, so I  got that out of my system...

now it is off to work :-(