Wednesday, June 06, 2018


After a few years in the states, we were ready for Memorial Day Weekend this year. And then we had a ton of snow days and the long holiday we enjoyed in years past turned into just a Monday off. But a nice Monday off nonetheless.
We drove up to the Poconos and stayed in a ski hotel. So reminiscent of Germany! We walked the trails beneath the ski equipment and tried to figure out how big a capital investment it would be for the Americans to install sommer rodelbahn! A very nice quiet time. Parents hiked, girls swam and Adam played basketball. We reconvened for live jazz at dinner and were happy (though restricted from eating outside as the weather was cold and rainy).
The cold and rainy weather paid off the next day when we attempted an amusement park day. We went to Dorney Park, a smaller scale amusement park, just a bit bigger than our favorites in other countries. No lines, so the kids could repeat any ride they wanted to. Adam won a basketball in a basketball shooting game and was happy. Tori went on various drops and turns and was happy. Royce liked the water rides, got soaking wet and was happy. Everyone was big enough to go on rides without me of course so I was happy.
We were feeling pretty good about getting the kids to an amusement park, which is not the parents favorite thing. We liked the memories of it all, Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park, perhaps a bit more than the actual experience. It is all a bit nostalgic when the kids don’t need to line up to see if they are big enough for the rides, when they don’t want to eat the junk food, when they are done after a few hours (though this may have been from about ten rides every hour due to no lines). I said that that was probably it for awhile in terms of rides. Tori said no, she was going on Wednesday to Six Flags with her physics class. Yes, she did another full day of rides that same week but also took her calculator!

Monday, June 04, 2018

Birthday Weekend

Another birthday weekend behind us! Three birthdays in two days is a lot but we managed a little fun despite teen work schedules, AP tests, a sailing regatta and pouring rain. We kept saying we will celebrate now, we will celebrate this afternoon, we will celebrate this evening…We will celebrate when Royce gets home from work. As it turned out, we were never all together but we celebrated in groups of four, with a few friends thrown in to make up the difference.
Adam and a few boys went out to dinner on Friday. Tori and I made a cake entitled “Chocolate Chocolate Birthday Cake.” They came home, ate cake, played video games and were goofy. Royce invited a few girls to join her for brunch. Tori and I again made the “Chocolate Chocolate Birthday Cake,” this time still warm from the oven as we were rushing to finish it between church and the girls’ arrival at our home. (Tori gave the twins their top birthday present: she took over acolyting duties so they could sleep in on their birthday). We insisted on singing with candles on the cake but that was the most involved we got in these parties lite. I have to say I enjoyed taking a break from crazy themes and coordinated games and food but I started to miss it all by the end of the weekend. I am already promoting a joint boy-girl Sweet 16 party for next year.
While birthday parties were low key, the royal wedding was not. Tori and Adam and I watched a little- on the Saturday of our birthday weekend. Royce was off early for sailing. We watched for awhile, remembering the Will/Kate wedding we watched at the American Club in Hong Kong. I remembered that Kate Middleton looked like a girl on our swim team back then and all our kids were convinced that this girl married into the royal family. But the best connection was that Tori and I had toured Windsor Castle not so long ago and did a private tour of the Chapel. While there for a swim meet, we had a few hours for sight seeing and wandered all through the chapel. The wedding added perspective to our growing up weekend; growing up but only with a birthday at this point…yeah!

Friday, April 27, 2018

Twins' Confirmation

We recently celebrated the twins’ confirmation into the Episcopal faith. As is always the case, the rector in charge of confirmation told the confirmation class at the start of the year that the decision to be confirmed or not was their own. Their first real decision about faith, as most were likely baptized as babies. She said if the teen did not want to be confirmed that was his/her decision but she asked that they attend the year’s course. Our kids attended but we are often unsure of whether or not they would opt in or out at the end of the year. Tori joked that if one of the twins did not get confirmed, that one would be the control sample. We can now laugh- both are confirmed!
We had a lovely spring day (the first of its kind this year) with a bit of sunshine for the twins’ confirmation. The confirmation was held at a nearby church (not our own) and had kids participating from all over the diocese. It was large but encouraging in so far as so many kids were getting confirmed in this day and age. The Bishop gave a moving sermon about confirming but not conforming. The twins marched up to the altar with the other kids from our church. When the Bishop put his hands on each twin, as well as two much loved clergy members from our church, I prayed the blessing stayed with them. Then for the rest of the service the twins’ godmother and I cried through the hymns and took many many pictures. Everyone was together and dressed up!
On the picture note, a friend here in town (via California, Paris and Hong Kong and with twins!) took pictures of the day for us, when we all came back to our house. Her artwork is lovely and informal and sweet but a big challenge to bring those qualities to bear on the photographing of teens! But she did it and all the effort is much appreciated. I recently started looking for pictures of Tori’s confirmation in Munich and am not finding them. I remember getting them on a disk, which was packed in a blue box…Yes, they are gone! They were classics too- not just because Tori was so sweet and sincere and the same godmother mentioned above was there but because our minister wore an African shirt beneath lederhosen!
As we move here and there and as the kids grow up, we have less photographs. Perhaps we are not as cute as we once were but honestly that is not it. I have to say I find these teens just as cute as the toddlers- just as eager to try new things, just as eager to tell me no, just as headstrong about their fashion choices. The simple fact is that the kids are not home enough to take pictures. This Easter Adam was away on a boy scout trip (sailing in the Bahamas!). We’ve been known to travel on birthday these days. We see them less and when we do see them, we don’t take pictures. We don’t want to spoil the mood. We let them be- and occasionally ask them to send us a picture they took on their phones that has them in it!