Girl Scouts and the Good Place

•May 9, 2018 • Leave a Comment

We had a girls weekend/boys weekend, and it was a blast.  Molly and I went camping with her Girl Scout troop up in Big Bear.  And by camping, I mean a 4 bed, 4 bath cabin in the woods, which is about my speed for camping.  It was perfect, with decent bunk beds and hot showers and a full kitchen, but no electronic devices, lots of hiking and ropes courses and swings and a campfire pit.  So all the good stuff, none of the bad!  Here’s the girls having a blast:

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Meanwhile… the boys got to go to the Good Place:

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And have lots of FroYo and meet EVERYONE.  It sounds amazing.  They also went for dimsum, had a baseball game, test drove a vintage car, went to VR for Star Wars (below) went for burgers and a long bike ride and saw a few open houses.  Whew!


They highly enjoyed their weekend, too.  I’ll leave you with this picture of Mol, ready for Hogwarts. (They turned 11 this year, you know, and might be starting in the fall?  They’re still half convinced their letters will arrive by owl any moment.)



…And NYC

•April 30, 2018 • 1 Comment

Here we go!  This was such a crazy cool whirlwind, I kind of can’t believe how much we got to see in 24 hours.  I did the same thing here, and set up several slide shows so it’s not too long.  The first one is of both kids favorite thing about NY: Broadway!  We went to see Chicago, and also make a pilgrimage to the site of the original production of Hamilton.


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We somehow happened to be there for the absolute perfect east coast city weather – high 60s and brilliantly sunny.  Warm enough feel wonderful walking around, cool enough to not get all sweaty walking around.  So we spent a lot of time walking around – especially in Central Park.  Probably (well, after the food) their second favorite thing about NY.

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So I said food.  And in the Central Park pics, there’s them with their first ever street cart hot dogs.  But everyone’s favorite food in NY was at Zabars.  Chuck and I couldn’t stop eating the bagels and lox, and the kids went wild for their first triple chocolate cannoli and chocolate rugelach (honestly, the best I’ve ever had, too).


Oh, and Molly went nuts for the cheese!


So happy!  We got a giant hunk of blue for her to gnaw on…


We also hit museums – the Natural History one day and the Met the next.  We got to watch them cleaning (vacuuming) the giant whale.  You can also see that they loved Teddy Roosevelt and sloths.

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Another highlight was the Empire State Building.  We didn’t have time to ride to the top, but we did manage an impromptu photo shoot there, as if the kids were taking the private elevator to the 600th floor – a.k.a. Mount Olympus.  Thank you Percy Jackson – otherwise I think they wouldn’t have been 1/10th as excited about visiting the building.

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What else?  The Plaza and Eloise, Little Italy (for dinner, souvenirs, gelato and mostly breakfast biscotti!), Rockerfeller Center selfies, LEGO shopping & Nintendo World, not-quite-breakfast at Tiffany’s, Time Square and NYC Pizza, pastrami sandwiches and chocolate sodas at 2nd Ave. Deli, subway rides until we felt like natives and finally, homework at the airport on the way home!

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While I’d happily spend a year in NY, the rest of the family agreed that it’s a wonderful place to visit, but everyone was really happy to get home to the sunshine and palm trees in LA…

Cradle of Liberty

•April 27, 2018 • Leave a Comment

I’ve got our PA/NJ pictures!  Off the phone, sorted and downloaded.  So here we go.  I’m doing all slideshows (right click to see anything bigger), and tried to make them into a few groups.  Starting with a whole group of family pictures, since that was the actual point of the whole trip!

So, here’s the kids with Grandma Rose, Aunt Debbie, Matt, Johnne & Steve and us.  We’re at Grandma Rose’s house, out to lunch, in Philadelphia and at Deb’s house…

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First off, we didn’t have the best start to the trip, when we got a 6 am call as we were at the airport, from the hotel.  Telling is that they were closed for renovations.  That would have been great info, say, anytime from when we booked the room months ago until even the day before we were leaving.  But!  They put us up in another one, closer to Deb, with a kitchen and an indoor pool.  And it was cheaper.  So, first stop for the exhausted Roses upon landing was Target, for bathing suits, which we put to good (and cute) use.


Here’s a great way to welcome the Philadelphia pictures:


and this one, too:


Plus a chance meeting with Ben


and the Phillie Phanatic. (I just spelled both those words incorrectly, proving that I am a Boston girl to the core.  Which was obvious throughout our whole trip as Chuck would say something about Philly (birthplace of the nation) and I couldn’t stop myself from saying (over and over) “Actually, Boston…”


Ok, so, here’s the other slideshow of all the historical gallivanting we did.  Betsy Ross’ house, the American Museum of the Revolution, Independence Hall, City Tavern, Ben Franklin’s Print Shop, parks, cobblestone streets and more!

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And I leave you where we left Philly, with the kids experiencing their first cheese steaks!


Both liked them (Jacob actually loved), but Molly was not thrilled to realize that on the east coast, mushrooms on a cheese steak or pizza means canned.  I totally forgot that!


Still getting a couple more pictures from Chuck and will update with NY pictures next!

Quickly catching up before the deluge

•April 26, 2018 • Leave a Comment

We just flew back from NY, and boy are our arms tired.  Ha.  Actually everything is tired!  But I did download all my pictures today, except for a stubborn dozen that won’t get off my phone.  And all the ones Chuck took.  But at least I have some 600 I can sort through and get started with…  and I’ll try and get then up in two separate posts for NY and PA/NJ.  It just might take me a few days to get organized (and find the time to do a little photo editing…).

Meanwhile, while downloading pics, I found a couple from the weekend before we went off gallivanting.  Jacob had opening weekend for baseball:


Here’s our favorite Marlin!  And here he his with his buddy, Seamus.


And rounding the bases on opening day:


Molly had a Girl Scout caring event.  Here’s her troop from the front:


And also from the back (as they’re turned for the friendship circle – I tried to take a picture of them all as they twisted out of it, but those are blurry messes).


Oh, and two more!  They’re taking an after school class with the California Science Center, and day one they did rocket building and launching.  I happened to get there early enough to see the launch.


Jacob was excited. Molly was anxious.


Now on to our amazing trip.  It was a total whirlwind with family and food and sights in two major cities.  I think I can safely say a fantastic time was had by all, and everyone’s clothes fit a little tighter. (Think cheesesteaks and bagels & lox and pizza and hot dogs and cannoli and chocolate and biscotti and rugelach and more…)

Spring Break! Passover! Easter!

•April 5, 2018 • Leave a Comment

So, seriously, I have to catch up a whole month, so here we go, down and dirty!


Starting with the day they did a panorama class photo for this year’s Micheltorena Elementary School’s 5th Grade graduating class.  They each dressed themselves so them.  Jacob in comfy clothes and his vest.


Molly in leggings, a tshirt and the dress that we bought for our birthdays this year to share (it’s a lot tighter on me… but barely shorter).

Then, also memory lane time, we decided we needed pictures with Jollibee.  It’s a Philipino fast food place we drive by every day when we carpool, and their ads always crack us up.  So we had to head there with our carpool buddies before school ended.


Closeup time:



Before spring break, Jacob was selected to be on the Math Team to compete in the city math championship.  Here’s the team:


(Hee, hee – Girls are taller than boys at this age!)

Now for Spring Break!  We headed up to Portland and were TERRIBLE about taking pictures.  I didn’t remember to break out the pics for any of the times Nathan and Lisa visited!  Stupid me.  Pretty much, I took a couple pics when we went to the Robots exhibit at OMSI and on the last morning when we walked up to breakfast at Toast.  So… here you go (oh, and I think one pic of Mol meeting the goats, the outing I went on instead of heading to the arcade with the boys). AND the kids got to be special guests on Uncle Nathan’s podcast, which was a real treat!  (You can hear it here, but you’ll have to be a contributor to hear this very special edition…)

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We got home just in time for Passover…

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And for Molly to spend a day helping me make bunny bread and then make her own chocolates with the kit Uncle Nathan gave her for Christmas.


Finished product.  I can vouch for tastiness.  Just look at how shiny that perfectly tempered chocolate is…


Then Easter!  Again with me forgetting to take hardly any pictures, but a couple of first thing basket and egg hunt, and then Jacob putting those eggs to good use…

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Now we’re caught up!  Baseball starts tonight (Jacob’s on the Marlins).  Girl Scout Caring Day is this weekend and we’re getting ready for that.  And that’s about all that’s on the docket until we leave for PA/NJ/NY in 2 weeks!

Double 1s

•February 12, 2018 • Leave a Comment

I can’t believe it – the kids are 11!  For almost a whole week now, and now that we’ve knocked out 2 birthday parties, their actual birthday, my actual birthday, my birthday celebration and a bonus World of Dance celebration day I can take a deep breath, update some pictures and then rest easy with the birthday month crazies for another year.

First off, right before birthdays, Cory and Tina came for a visit.  It was so great to see them before their amazing travel adventure all over Asia.  I only really snapped one good pic while they were here, but it was a nice Hollywood Hills hike day:


Then it was right into birthdays.  First up was Jacob’s Robot Building and then Robot Fighting party.  They built VEX robots in teams and then put them in the ring to duke it out.  It was pretty awesome.  Jacob’s menu of choice (so someday he’ll remember what his favorites were at this age): blue sugar cookies, Heath Bar Crunch Brownies, Doritos, BBQ Chips, lemonade and watermelon.  That night 2 buddies came home with us for a sleepover, Playstation playing, and his favorite dinner of bacon risotto.  Whew.

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The next morning Molly and I got up (while Chuck took the boys golfing and for burgers) and got fancy and picked up 2 of her best friends for a Chocolate High Tea at the Langham.  Wow.  All of us love chocolate, and all of us agreed we had finally met our chocolate match.  Then we strolled around the grounds and come home to sniffle over the Pats loss and then make Molly’s favorite dinner at the moment: Day after Thanksgiving Sandwiches.

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Then for actual birthday on Tuesday, we did gobs of gifts (seriously, relatives, you’re all too generous!) and then took them out to dinner and to see Aladdin on stage.  It was insanely silly and fun and the best way to spend a birthday (if not the best way to spend a school night).



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So, for my birthday we had a lively dinner and celebration at home, and then Saturday everyone went without a fuss to the Norton Simon, which is currently having exhibits on Degas and Rembrandt, which is heaven for me.  Jacob isn’t a museum creature (Molly totally is!), and he very sweetly came up and took my hand and asked why I like art, and what I find interesting about it.  Clearly implying he can’t fathom it.  And I talked with him, and told him, and he said, “Mom, all I see is paint on canvas, surrounded by wood.  I just don’t get it.”  But he was very sweet about not complaining that we were there for a long time, and then went to a healthy restaurant on top of that!

Sunday it was one last outing for birthday celebrations, so we did brunch on the way to see a taping on World of Dance.  Chuck got us VIP passes, so we got to sit in the friends and family special hidden viewing platform, hang out in the VIP lounge (with awesome snacks, to the kids’ delight) and then sit right next to the judges table.  It was pretty cool, and while it was for the kids, I think Chuck and I enjoyed and were floored by the dancing nearly as much as they were.  Well, maybe not as much as Mol, who spent the whole thing with her eyes about to pop, and bouncing up and down.  We don’t have any pictures, because they yondr your phone, but Jennifer Lopez has such glowing skin in person that I commented on it.  Molly asked why I was impressed and I said, because she’s older than I am, and she looks fantastic.  And Molly was shocked that she was *that* old.  When I pretended to be offended that she thought that was old, she said, “Really Mom, it’s that you both look 30!”  And then she said, “Also, you shouldn’t feel bad, because she probably looks like that because she can get facials every day.”  I feel much better…

While that catches us up to last night, I do have one more set of pictures.  I get some pictures from the teachers of the kids on their CIMI (Catalina Island Marine Institute) 3 day camping expedition with the whole 5th grade.  So here are the kids, snorkeling, hiking, and disecting squid.

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And lastly, on their birthday, I was looking at some old pictures of them, and these two cracked me up.  Rock stars from the beginning.


Thank you, and good night!


Underneath the Banyan Tree

•January 23, 2018 • 1 Comment

Hawaii!  We still haven’t actually gathered all our photos from various cameras and phones, but if I wait any longer, there will be birthday pictures and we will be so far behind that I’ll never catch up.  So, here’s a smattering of Hawaii!

We left the morning after Christmas and flew into Maui, picked up our car and drove to Kapalua, our favorite part of the island because it’s so green (and near the Ritz, which it turns out we could walk to, and is our favorite hotel on the island – or it was, and now it’s a tie with the Montage, and since the condo we stayed at was actually on the Montage property, that worked out quite well!). So, I’ll start with pictures of us, at the condo, getting ready to play tennis on the courts (we were the only people who used them!), on the lanai having breakfast, in the pool, or on the beach directly in front of us (which you can see, we had entirely to ourselves one morning).

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Well, I see that I’ve uploaded 76 pictures, so clearly the only way we’re getting through this is with a series of big slideshows.   I’ll try and explain pretty thoroughly what is in each, and remember, you can right click and enlarge anything.

Next, here’s a couple of slide shows with our trip to Hana.  I’ll start with the first half of the drive, which included the Garden on Eden and several waterfalls.  Not to mention a roadside stop for freshly macheted coconut water and chicken curry served in banana leaves…

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The end of the drive to Hana included a visit to the underground lava tunnels (you go down underground and explore the caves with flashlights and it’s pretty amazing) and a maze in the bushes (you can’t tell it’s a maze from the pictures, but it was very cool) and then the red sand beach.  Spectacular.

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How about a Luau?  Because of course we had to take the kids to one, and it every bit as cheesy as you’d think, and a whole lot more fun than we imagined. It’s also where Molly learned to stop hating it when men don’t wear shirts (she freaks out every time anyone isn’t wearing a shirt, even at the beach) and learned to appreciate well toned abs.

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How about a whale watch?  It was a very Rose family whale watch.  Lots of excitement.  Then… Molly realized she gets violently sea sick and Jacob remembers he hates boats.  But, still, it was amazing, because I’ve never seen that many whales come so close to a boat.  Even the crew was amazed and said they’ve never seen anything like it.  So between getting sick, Molly did adore the whales, and to occupy himself, Jacob made buddies with the captain and the bartender, had lots of fun and learned many interesting facts.  Success?

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Next up, the cliff dive at the Black Rock at sunset.  It was gorgeous, and we took a long walk on Kanapali Beach before getting seats at the beach bar to snack and watch the run up the rock with torches and the dive.

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Here’s a look at Kapalua: both hanging out at the Montage (the one with the telescopes and koi), the Ritz (wind and hammocks!) and going up to the blowhole (which of course the pictures I got were between blows) and the dragons teeth and the gorgeous little forest walk on the way there that looked like you had been transported to the Amazon which was filled with chickens and ended at a beach great for snorkeling (and chickens).

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And that’s about it!  We also ate at Morimoto’s restaurant, which delighted our little Iron Chef watcher

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and our trip ended right around the night of the Super Moon.

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The last thing we did, on the way to the airport, was get one of our favorite meals there in a gorgeous spot, the Mill House at the Maui Tropical Plantation.  Somehow, I think all the pictures from that are on Chuck’s phone or Jacob took with their new polaroid, but here’s one he took as a panorama (Jacob spent this trip obsessed with taking pictures either with the polaroid or as panoramas).


And that’s pretty much our trip in a nutshell!  Aloha!