Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Pixel Cake

It took all the pixels in the camera to capture all the pixels on this birthday cake! Actually, Williams Sonoma calls this a Holiday Explosion Cake and the kit came in a paint can.

The innards come pouring out upon cutting.
Like a ticker tape parade...

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Going to the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo

Which seemed a bit strange as it was a very busy day. Fina was going all over the place for dance rehearsals and performances, Hope and Home was having a Christmas party, the yard was full of people blowing breakers with some regularity. But yet, everyone was quite fixated on getting to the zoo. It was a very nice day, sunny and warm.

Turns out the motivating factor was to reveal Papa's new tile at the zoo! Very cool. And total surprise.

And we got quite a show just down from the elephants put on by a couple of roaring lions!

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Look at the Hills!

While taking Fina to her Praise Dance Team performance, we thought the Air Force Academy buildings had been all lit up for Christmas. Turns out, there were no Christmas lights hung there. It was reflection of the sunrise on all the glass and metal. Stunning. Because Papa was driving we couldn't get a photo there, but when we got to the performance venue, this is what the hills looked like! The Praise Dance Team did a performance at a school early morning and then another after school at a senior home.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Carnegie Hall and NYC

Nana and Papa's trip to New York City turned out to be a dream come true that we didn't even know we were dreaming of. The Chancel Choir of the First United Methodist Church of Arroyo Grande, CA invited us to go to New York with them and sing at Carnegie Hall. What? Wait. Yes! Jamie directed that church choir from 1997 to 2007. Julie Burns took over then and is the current director.

"Is this really happening?" as we  walked onto that stage with over 200 other choir members (representing about 20 different choirs) and a full orchestra under the direction of our favorite choral music composer/arranger, Mark Hayes. And when the echos of the final song ended, the entire audience (nearly a full house!) popped to their feet in a standing ovation. Wow. To say it was a thrill might be the understatement of all time.

The event was produced/organized by Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY). They have this down, and working with Carnegie Hall is not a simple thing, apparently. We had two rehearsals at outside venues, one run-through on stage that afternoon, and then the performance at 7pm that night, December 2, 2019 in the Stern Auditorium (seats 2,800) on the Perelman Stage. Following the concert 200+ of us gathered at Rosie O'Grady's Saloon for a buffet dinner, drinks, and to let down our hair. Rosie's was right across the street from where we stayed, the Sheraton New York Times Square.

And the review is in... From New York Concert Review, Inc. - click here.

For a list of our repertoire and links to where you can hear the pieces (not recordings of our performance), click here.

Click here for the story/photos on the Arroyo Grande Methodist Church website.

Of course, while we were in NYC, we managed to do much other fun stuff as well. The Sheraton was perfectly located for walking access to lots of iconic sites. Here are some of the places we visited:

9/11 Memorial Museum and the underground mall next door. This was the only visit for which we needed a cab.

Playwright Celtic Pub where we met Kaza's friend, Danny.

Times Square.

Patsy's Italian Restaurant.

Frozen at the St. James Theatre.

Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse.

Park Cafe in the Wellington Hotel.

Rockefeller Center. While we had breakfast we watched them setting up for the Christmas Tree lighting which was scheduled for the next evening.

St. Patrick's Cathedral.

A stroll along 5th Avenue with Saks, Cartier, Tiffany, and lots of fabulous window displays.

Central Park.

Beetlejuice at the Winter Garden Theatre.

All the photos are here. A few photos are below.

9/11 Memorial Museum

Our concert badges.

Frozen curtain call (they said it was OK to photo)

Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse

Jamie's view during the afternoon rehearsal in Carnegie Hall.

In the green room before the concert.

Rockefeller Center

St. Patrick's Cathedral

A shop window on 5th Avenue

Central Park


Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thanksgiving: With How Many Kids?!

Yvette: "The big family thanksgiving with our matching family friends LOL. The first picture does my heart good - kids from just two families and there are actually quite a few kids missing from the picture (we have 15 between the two of us). They all get along so well. The meal was the best I can remember in a long time and stepping outside our introverted box on a holiday, was a huge step for us but will become one of my favorite memories. We lost many family and friends when we adopted - our needs changed, our kids can be hard, our parenting has changed. There were many lonely years. In the end God redeemed mightily. ( I only share this because so many are still in the lonely and all I can say - it will come. Mourn the loss but anticipate the marvelous.) Then onto Black Friday with some kids while the daddies cleaned respective kitchens!"

Grandma's Rolls and Rainbow Jello.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Pre-NYC at the Gaylord Rockies

Nana and Papa spent the afternoon and night before leaving for New York City at the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center. They had a fun, very-Christmasy, little time there. It's right by the airport. The resort had a big ICE thing going on for the holidays with the main attraction being the Rudolph story told in life-size ice sculpture. It was pretty cool (9 degrees in the sculpture area, actually, and not much warmer outside)! All the photos are here.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Frozen 2

And it's not even Thanksgiving yet! Second big snow in less than a week. Our neighbors have measured as much as 14" and it's still coming down. Heavily. So we're planning to see Frozen 2 this afternoon, assuming we've shoveled our way out by then.