Karim and David’s Wedding Rehearsal

We were honored to be included in Karim and David’s wedding rehearsal at the Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay. The kids always enjoy being on the beautiful grounds. It was nice to see the entire Hong family and especially meeting Karim and her mother.

We all enjoyed the beautiful sunset dinner at Navio. I got in some good QT with Kyeong-Ah’s youngest. We were hoping that they would have the same gorgeous coastal weather for the wedding the following day and it turned out to be even nicer.

Wishing them both a lifetime of happiness and health.

Carmel Valley Ranch With The Lees

We had planned to skip our annual summer trip to Carmel Valley Ranch because we went to Las Vegas instead. Julie and Albert were going for 4th of July weekend and we got the hard sell to join them, the main argument being that Albert didn’t want to golf alone. Grace and I could not let Albert golf alone.

The kids were all in golf camp together last week, so we all didn’t leave until Saturday. We had a late lunch, which threw a wrench in our pizza dinner plans. The kids ended up eating s’mores before we headed to the pool for a late dinner. They showed us their golf skills as we waited for the bus to take us back.

On Sunday, Julie insisted that she was fine taking all five kids while we golfed. She does this all the time throughout the school year, but we still feel she should have just golfed with us. She has many reasons why she isn’t golfing: needs new clubs, will get frustrated, will get angry, etc. We tried to assure her that we all need new clubs, get frustrated and get angry, so we might as well do it together. It’s our mission to get her out there.

This was the first time golfing there for me and Grace. It was fun, but Grace and Albert need new clubs and everyone was frustrated and angry by the end of the round. We met up with Julie and the kids at the pool and spent the rest of the afternoon there.

I dropped off the kids at minimum security (kids club) while Julie, Albert and Grace got a head start on cocktails. We enjoyed a leisurely adult dinner together. Despite the pace, there was still time for Grace to fetch the kids for one more night of s’mores.

On Monday, we had our usual breakfast together, followed by a photo session. All the big kids were coerced into going on the bee experience. While Julie and Grace took them to face their fears, Albert and I took Theo to the range to face our own fears.

After lunch in the club house, we went to downtown Carmel as Olivia and I were on a mission to get more Mackintosh’s Toffee, which we scored last year at the Cottage of Sweets. When I was a kid, my friends would bring this back from Canada, and to this day, I think it is the best candy in the world.

The Lees were staying one more night, but we were heading home that evening. We said our goodbyes after an awesome trip together on got on our way. Thanks for letting us crash your summer vacation!

Kellogg BBQ With Hayashis, Vivian and Emory Cho

Julia and Warren were making their annual summer trip to the US from Singapore, so we had them over for a BBQ. Vivian happened to be in town from the Philippines and it was very nice to be able to see her.  Finally, Emory Cho made her debut. Esther and Jon have that second child calmness and Ellie is a doting big sister.

Father’s Day 2017

It’s rare that I get to celebrate Father’s Day with my dad. Thankfully, Grace made sure to arrange my parents’ visit to include the holiday. We had a big day ahead, so we went out to an early brunch at Il Fornaio (thanks, Mom and Dad!).

Grace took the kids to the SPCA on Saturday. Olivia wanted to show me some kittens she liked so my dad and I took them again after brunch. I’m sure it’s no coincidence that the kitties (from Hawaii) looked a lot like Snickers. I could have earned about a million Dad points if we brought one (or both?) home, but this was not the day. Sorry, Olivia.

My parents and Albert’s parents met briefly at Operetta and we’ve been meaning to get them together since then. Father’s day was our last chance this visit, so we invited the entire Lee clan over, including Albert’s brother and sister-in-law, Mike and Amy, and their kids. It was a busy day for all of them, especially as Julie and Albert were just getting back from LA, so we appreciate them making time to join us.

Julie and Albert feed us Kobe Fred steaks pretty much every time we go over to their house. Ironically, Albert said he’s not much of a steak guy when going out, but he mentioned in passing that he will order prime rib. Even though I only had one under my belt, I decided that would be on the menu. I had a long conversation with Guy at Pape Meat Co. and even though he said it was too much meat, I brought home a full (7 bones) prime grade prime rib. The last one was four bones and only 7.5 pounds, so I was surprised when this one was rung up at 20 lbs. It was about what I imagine an actual cow would cost.

We had our work cut out for us, but first I had to figure out how to cook it. It all fit onto the Big Green Egg and I gave it a little extra time to cook (about four hours at 250). I determined that I need an extra thermometer because the smaller piece was a lot more done than the other, which was fine because some of this crew likes it a little more done. The biggest challenge was slow cooking on a day of record high temperatures.

Grace and my mom went crazy with lobster roll appetizers and sides. It all came out beautifully. We needed about 3 or 4 more families to finish the prime rib. The kids played some serious HORSE with uncle Dave until it was dark. Ellie is showing a lot of promise at hoops and Theo’s hard work is paying off.

It was a very happy Father’s Day. Thanks to all the moms for making it happen!

Summer Vacation Kickoff in Las Vegas

We’ve been starting summer the last couple years in Carmel. However, my parents came to visit for a few weeks, so we decided to take them on one of our Vegas excursions. Jen was needed to complete team Rhee, so she came out to CA and flew with us.

Our Vegas crew also includes Jea and Eddie. I’ve been asking them for years to bring the kids, which is always harder for our normal Spring or Fall trips. We planned this after school was out for everyone, so Emma, Ethan and Audrey finally made their debut in Las Vegas. This was a first for both families to be traveling together, unless you count our chance encounter in Vail a few years back.

The kids finished school on Thursday morning, and by that afternoon we were on our way. Our flight was a little delayed, so we went straight to our scheduled dinner at the new Momofuku in the Cosmopolitan, which hadn’t opened yet when we were there in December for Jen’s birthday. Eddie’s family were not arriving until the next day, so it was just us.

Bobby, who does not love Las Vegas, happened to be be in town for one last bachelor party. He came in a little early so we could golf together on Friday morning at our usual Bear’s Best. He came and had lunch with the family, who were out at the pool. We haven’t really been to Vegas in the summer in a while, so it was nice that it was warm, but it was unexpectedly windy.

The Lees finally arrived right before dinner, after a very long day of flying to LA and driving to Vegas from there. We were happy to finally all be together and enjoyed a great meal at our usual Mon Ami Gabi. Emma, Ethan and Audrey were already getting the full Vegas treatment. Because it was their first time, we crossed the street to watch the Bellagio fountains for a while.

Ed and I played golf at our usual Royal Links early Saturday morning. Everyone else had breakfast at the Wynn and went straight to the cabana. The Wynn pool is a lot better for the kids and the Lee kids were now very deep into the routine. We all got a little rest and had the kids eat before seeing Blue Man Group, which they all loved. Afterward, the kids stayed together while all the adults had dinner together.

We had an early flight on Sunday, so we enjoyed one last meal together at a new restaurant at the hotel. Our kids had a great time with the whole Lee family. We hope they’ll be a regular part of the crew next time (i.e., this Fall).

2017 Carey Graduation

Olivia and the other 4th graders had a role in the graduation ceremony at school, so I attended along with Lucas. It was my first time. The 5th grade class selected a couple kids to speak on behalf of all of them. A faculty member spoke about each child and each child was given a chance to speak.

I was blown away by all of their reflection, gratitude and optimism for the future. It is indeed bittersweet leaving the safe confines of a school and place you love. Best wishes to all of them on their journey ahead.

5th Annual Carey Dad’s BBQ

On Sunday, June 5th, about 30 Carey dads joined us for our 5th annual pay-to-play fundraiser for the school. Some things were dialed up a notch, including Adam’s beautiful new beef brisket. Justin needed three grills to cook his amazing pork ribs (his Weber and two BGEs – thanks, Posse). Grace again did almost all the work on our end. She had to fly to Singapore the night before and crushed as much as she could before she left. My mom gets the assist for finishing the sides day-of. I did personally massage each piece of Korean Kalbi, so I’m not completely useless.

Thanks, everyone, for another great event. We still have a few more good years in us. Until next year.

U2 – The Joshua Tree – Thirty Years Later

I’ve seen and posted a few times about U2 and it’s no secret they’re my favorite band. The Joshua Tree happens to be my favorite album and concert, so when they announced this tour, I was very excited. I loved our GA tickets for the last tour, but I feared Grace wouldn’t be up for it again, so I just got us seats with the other adults.

I had two extra seats, which I pretty much couldn’t give away. As a backup, I considered taking the kids. My thinking was that Bono turned 57 this week and if and when Olivia and Lucas wanted to see U2 when they were adults, well, you can do the math. I quizzed them on a couple U2 songs and Joshua Tree and they failed miserably, so the show would have been lost on them. Grace and I made a date night out of it.

It’s pointless to debate what album is their best. For me, The Joshua Tree isn’t so much about the music (which I still think is among their best), but more about a time and place. I’m sure music is like that for a lot of people.

On April 30, 1987 (almost exactly 30 years ago), I went to the original Joshua Tree concert at the Pontiac Silverdome with my best friends. To be exact, J.C.’s dad, Jack, and Chris’s dad, Al, took J.C., Chris, Nick, Mike, Steve and me to the concert, which we enjoyed from a box. Earlier our junior year, J.C. was diagnosed with cancer, and a result, lost his leg followed by his beautiful hair (which the girls had loved since 6th grade – feathered, of course). As such, watching from the box was more out of practicality than privilege.

Looking back, I feel those dads wanted us to experience this together as the future at that time was so uncertain. A little over a year later, J.C. passed away, which was the biggest loss I had experienced in my short, sheltered life. Now thirty years later, Jack, Al (an important figure from my childhood) and even the Silverdome are gone. But, I feel fortunate that these guys are still among my closest friends and that night remains one of my most cherished memories.

This blog is a testament to the fact that I’m the most nostalgic person you’ve ever met. Part of that is because like memories, some of our most important people exist only in the past. This blog is also mostly for Olivia and Lucas. They know their uncles Chris, Nick, Mike and Steve very well, but only know a little about J.C. If they wonder why The Joshua Tree is my favorite album, when they read this, hopefully they’ll understand why.

Thanks to Chris, who sent me a copy of our concert photo.

Mother’s Day in Napa and Tiburon

We spent our 7th Mother’s Day with the Moons yesterday in Napa. Brunch was at Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc in Yountville. The chicken and waffles were amazing.

We went to the park for a bit. The benefit of brunching with a professional photographer is that we get one good family photo every several years. Thank you, Clara!

Clara and Grace went to the spa at Bardessono. Mike and I took the kids back to their house in Tiburon, took the kids to town for sugar, and then terrorized the park in Belvedere. We had Pho for dinner before heading home over our 3rd Bay Area bridge of the day.

Happy Mother’s Day to Grace, Clara, and all our moms!