Canada’s a “Winter Wonderland” – #mkWWC

Merry Christmas! … and Happy New Year! 2015-06-28 18.05.23 v2

Time for our 14th Annual Christmas Carol! … Captured in a new snow globe ornament with pictures from our trip along the Icefields Parkway in the Canadian Rockies, a true “Winter Wonderland,” even in summer.

But, first an apology: If you only use our website to keep up with us, then we let you down in 2015. Two posts, both this week. Sorry about that. But over on social media (Twitter, Facebook, you missed a pretty incredible year!

Far and away the biggest fun in 2015 came from our three-week odyssey through Canada, culminating with the once-in-a-lifetime experience watching the US Womens National Soccer team win the FIFA World Cup!

David & the Girls started in Montreal and Ottawa, and Karen joined them in Edmonton. IMG_3988

In between games in Edmonton, we drove along the Ice Fields Parkway between Jasper and Banff. We’d been to Banff before — in the winter — so we wanted to see it the summertime, too. And it did not disappoint!

Of course, in our 14th year of Christmas Carol gifts to Karen, we’re not content just to announce a song and leave it at that. “Winter Wonderland” was written in 1934, and has been performed by more than 200 artists, including Guy Lombardo, Perry Como, Pat Boone, Paul Anka, Frank Sinatra, Barry Manilow, Bing Crosby, and Elvis Presley, to name just a few.

But it should come as no surprise that we’re specifically giving the Anne Murray version of “Winter Wonderland,” acknowledging one of Canada’s favorite vocalists from the 1970s & 80s.

We even managed to uncover a whole CD called “A Canadian Christmas, Vol 4″ (yes 4!) that includes many other holiday favorites covered by performers from the great white north. We also found a YouTube slideshow someone put together with pictures of Niagara Falls set to Murray’s version.

Enjoy!


Past Christmas Carol gifts:

2014: Blue Christmas
2013: Carol of the [Mission] Bells
2012: Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree
2011: Most Wonderful Day of the Year
2010: O Tanenbaum
2009: Frosty the Snowman
2008: The Race That Long in Darkness Pined
2007: Away in a Manger
2006: Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!
2005: What Child is This?
2004: I Saw three Ships
2003: One-Horse Open Sleigh (Jingle Bells)
2002: A Sweetie Goose in a Pear Tree (12 Days of Christmas)

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

2015xmas-front Season’s Greetings to all of our friends! Our holiday card is out!

FIFA Womens World Cup 2015 … Of course, we were in Canada!

David and the Girls spent three weeks this summer following the tournament from Montreal to Ottawa to Edmonton to Vancouver, with more family joining in as the games got more important. We had always planned to go the Final along with the Vancouver (WA) Kellers, but it was especially awesome of the US Womens National Team to join us there! And, yes, those early goals were all scored right in front of us! … Relive it on Twitter & Facebook: #mkWWC

The rest of the year was pretty cool, too!

We finished our mission quest, and the girls have now been to all 21 California missions! We also did our first college visits in Boston, Providence, and Connecticut, with a swing through NYC. SoCal and Chicago to come!

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New middle schooler Felicia plays clarinet in Band, and has a new soccer team.

HS junior Jocelyn acts and sings, and is your AVYSL Youth Referee of the Year.

Karen’s 3yr Juniper project may wrap-up this year, as bigger things await there.

As the Development Chair for the girls’ schools, David is intent on raising $1M.

We wish you peace, love, and joy in 2016!

Let’s Have a “Blue Christmas”

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No, not a sad Christmas … a celebratory one with some color-coded memories 😉

Your Christmas Tree tradition probably calls for an angel on top of your tree. So does ours, but our newest “angel” is “blue” … a scale model of a Blue Angels performance F/A-18 Hornet, built by the Girls and decorated for the holiday season!

Our family saw the US Navy Blue Angels perform during our Fall Break trip to San Diego in October. We spent a day at the annual Air Show at MCAS Miramar, and it was an amazing new experience for us.

And if you use your imagination, quite a few of the Blue Angels’ acrobatic formations look a little bit like a Christmas tree.

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DSC05653The holiday song “Blue Christmas” was first recorded in 1948, and was famously performed by Elvis Presley in 1957. It is part of the Elvis Christmas Album, which remains the biggest selling Christmas album of all-time in the US. We’ve added the album to our collection, too!

Coincidentally, Elvis Presley entered our family playlist this year, thanks to the Girls seeing an Elvis impersonator perform in Maui with their grandparents.

Blue Christmas is also the song that saves everyone from The Year Without a Santa Claus. On the verge of a well-earned (and kid-approved) vacation, Santa gets a letter with these lyrics, inspiring him to take to his sleigh, just in time.

Blue Christmas” (or “Longest Night”) is also the name for the longest night of the year during the Christian Advent season.

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Separately — for those of you keeping score at home — we have added the two San Diego Missions to the Carol of the [Mission] Bells garland from 2013. We hope to finish our Mission Mission with our final 5 visits during in the summer of 2015.


Past Christmas Carol gifts:

2013: Carol of the [Mission] Bells
2012: Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree
2011: Most Wonderful Day of the Year
2010: O Tanenbaum
2009: Frosty the Snowman
2008: The Race That Long in Darkness Pined
2007: Away in a Manger
2006: Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!
2005: What Child is This?
2004: I Saw three Ships
2003: One-Horse Open Sleigh (Jingle Bells)
2002: A Sweetie Goose in a Pear Tree (12 Days of Christmas)

Wishing You Amazing Adventures in 2015

Our 2014 adventures included cruising California’s Gold Country, surfing on Maui, riding hippogriffs in Orlando, chasing alligators in Miami, and riding ziplines in San Diego. And because that wasn’t enough, Jocelyn also spent two weeks in Costa Rica.

Merry Christmas from Booksin Band

First the whole Booksin Band plays “Jingle Bells,” and then the Advanced Band brings it home with a few more favorites.

See if you can find Felicia and her clarinet! Enjoy!

Recorded Friday, December 12.

San Diego in September (and October)

We’re off for a full family vacation in the southwestern corner of our fair state! That’s right: San Jose Unified just won’t drop this “Fall Break” nonsense, so we’re playing along for a week in San Diego.

Follow along on Twitter, and keep an eye on Storify!


Among our plans, a visit to San Diego Zoo Safari, Sea World (yeah, I know), Coronado (and the Silver Strand), and the Miramar Air Show!

We’ll also knock down our 15th & 16th California Missions, leaving only the five northern missions left after our Mission Mission of 2013.

Underway: Our Family’s Last Year of Elementary School

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What Jocelyn started (below) in 2004, Felicia (above) will end in 2015! Our family’s final year of elementary school has begun. Oh, and so has sophomore year.

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Booksin 2004-2014 (2015)

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The crazy summer of travel (Hawaii, Florida, Costa Rica, plus some less-far-flung visits around the state) has come to an end, and academics are the new buzzword.

Jocelyn has begun a very rigorous schedule of advanced classes at Willow Glen High School, while Felicia is gearing up for middle school with our last hoorah at Booksin School.

Florida! More than just a plane flight away from Costa Rica

It was a plan so crazy — it just might work!

Cash-in three airplane tickets from an abandoned trip to Cancun to go to Florida mostly so Jocelyn could fly direct to Costa Rica for her two-week Outward Bound adventure, that itself was rescheduled from her planned trip to Peru. Got it?

Full Twitter feed and Storify recap after the break!

Continue reading Florida! More than just a plane flight away from Costa Rica

Booksin Band 2014 Concerts

120 Kids from three elementary schools can’t be wrong! The 2014 band show was pretty awesome.

Friday night featured the Booksin Band in concert with elementary school bands from Trace and Willow Glen, performing as one big group. And it was pretty impressive. Look closely, and you’ll see Felicia in a number of songs, performing as a group and as a clarinet soloist with the advanced players.

Check out these links to see more from shows the band did at Booksin for their fellow students, also on Friday.

First daytime student show
Second daytime student show