Sae Jong Camp – 2019

Olivia and Lucas attended Sae Jong Camp for their 4th year last week. I think it was their best week ever for a lot of reasons. First, Lucas’s expectations could not have been any lower, so they could only be exceeded. There’s nothing we can do about the spiders, buddy. Olivia had been keeping in touch with her cabin friends over the year, so there was the anticipation of seeing them IRL.

Doug is still going strong. He said he hadn’t had more that about 65 campers during his most recent tenure, but with 22 new campers this year, there were 78 total. Many thanks to the families who continue to recruit family and friends to help the camp grow.

I was especially happy to see Paul, who brought Micah (and hopefully Kiri next year) from Virginia. Paul was my bunk-mate for my first few years at camp and our families were the best of friends when we were growing up in Michigan. It was also awesome to see Jin Hong and Tommy for his first year. I’m looking forward to more reunions at camp in the years to come.

The staff is incredible and continues to impress. Thanks to Jami for being a great leader and to Doug for his continued adult senior supervision. Camp is exactly the same in the best ways, and also evolving in many important ways. Each year it becomes more diverse, and thus, inclusive, which only redefines our notion of what it means to be Korean-American. SJC is trending way up.

Special shout-out to Olivia and Sebastian Shim, who earned the Chull Victor Kim award for their exemplary citizenship at SJC. I’m super proud of them. I think Grace is slowly getting the SJC spirit down in her heart.

It is a magical place.

Until next year…

 

 

Summer Trip to Michigan with Family

Despite some mild objections (from Lucas), the kids would be going to SJC again this summer. Last year, I took them out a few days early to get them adjusted to the time and to spend time at my parents’ house, which they love. This year, we asked my parents if they could spend a week there. Jen also joined in the fun and brought her new puppy, Blue, from NY.

We discussed several options to get them to Michigan that first week. I felt they were old enough to fly unaccompanied, but Lucas did not. We considered having our au pair, Ala, take them, but they declined. In the end, I chaperoned them on their Saturday flight and returned home the next day.

Ala went to travel, so it was very quiet at home with just me and Grace. The kids had fun with Aunt Jen, Grandma, Grandpa, and of course, Blue. Olivia taught him many new tricks. Grace went to Michigan the following Friday. I have been encumbered by employment and opted to take the redeye that evening instead.

Grace’s parents happened to be in town, so we had lunch with most of the Hur clan in Ann Arbor. We spent a little time downtown and also stocked up on Michigan gear at M-Den. We spent the rest of the day getting ready for camp.

The kids only had an extra day after camp to spend in West Bloomfield. I did a little home maintenance (there was more to do). The main mission was for the kids (and us) to spend time with their grandparents, which is too seldom these days. I think my dad’s mission was to show us his new driveway.

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for hosting us all.

7th Annual Carey Dads’ BBQ

On Sunday, June 4th, Adam, Justin and I hosted our 7th annual BBQ for The Carey School. The first year, Adam hosted a small group of dads to sample IPAs and three different types of ribs. We’ve hosted the last six years at our house as the group has grown to 30+ dads. These guys are taking time out of their busy Sundays, away from their families, to eat meat and drink beer – it’s all for the children.

As Rick said, this is the real Father’s Day. Rick, along with Albert and our emeritus attendee, Mark, have dutifully attended all 7 years. For that, they were given special recognition in the form of a frame-worthy Certificate of Appreciation, as well as a sampler of carefully curated ales.

Special shout out to all of our wives, who actually do all the work (seriously, Grace does all of mine and Adam does zero work). Also, thanks to Tatchu, who came over after Operetta to learn the ways of the Kalbi Jedi from Grace.

Although I believed I had one more year of BBQ to transition, we’re leaving The Carey School a year early. So, for Adam, Justin and I, this was also our swan song. Thankfully, we’ve already recruited Savinay to carry the torch and hopefully recruit some other dads with years of Carey ahead of them (Dr. X!).

Seriously, this has been the highlight and the epitome of the Carey Community. I have no idea if the kids had any fun at school, but I definitely made many great friends and memories with these guys. Thanks to all their better halves for signing them up for our event.

We’ll miss you all! Go, Carey Eagles (and Warriors)!

Spring Break in Maui with The Lees

We’ve traveled before with Julie and Albert, but never for a week. I don’t know why because our kids (and the adults) always have such a good time with our BFFs. We haven’t been to Hawaii in 8 years, mostly because they were usually Grace’s work boondoggles. The kids were too young to have any memory of it, so this was all new to them.

Going to Kapalua on Maui is a little bit of a golf bucket-list destination, so I was excited … until we got the news that the Plantation course was closed for renovations for a year. No worries, we were really just chaperoning these five kids so they could be on their devices in one of the most beautiful places and in close proximity to the ocean. Our au pair, Ala, also came along. Hawaii was a first for her, so she went to Oahu right after we arrived to explore by herself for a couple days.

Albert’s cousin lives on the island, so they spent a few days with us as well at the resort with their daughter and brand new baby. The kids had endless ours of fun at the pool and down at the beach. We went and explored Lahaina and Kaanapali and had a lot of great meals throughout the week. On April 9th, Julie and Albert joined me and Grace in celebrating our 14th wedding anniversary at Merriman’s. Julie and Albert could write the Lonely Planet guide to Luaus and took all of us to one at the Westin in Kaanapali on our last night there. One of those fire-spinning dudes was not like the others.

By the end of the week, everyone had their fill of Spam musubi. Everyone was ready to get home to their pets (Max and Luna). It was a sign of a relaxing and restorative vacation. Our families are often like one, and we hope the kids will always feel that way about Olivia, Ellie and Theo. Looking forward to our next big adventure together.

Mahalo.

Spring Skiing in Tahoe

The weekend of March 30th, we went up to Tahoe to get some more skiing in before the end of the season. Olivia has soccer practice on Friday nights until 8pm, so we left right after she was done. Olivia has not been a fan of fast food for most of her life, but for some reason was craving McDonalds. We made a drive-thru stop on the way and she sampled the McNuggets. They are a drug. I had my first McDonalds French fries in a couple years. Also drugs. Lucas didn’t sample the McNuggets, but he is not curious to try them. Fries are the gateway drug to other McDonalds foods.

We didn’t arrive to the hotel until midnight. We’re not a first-chair kind of family, so after a proper breakfast, we hit the slopes. We had just missed some fresh snow a few days before, but were now enjoying the bluebird conditions. I left my sunglasses at the Moons’ house on our last trip up, so I ended up burning my eyeballs before buying a new pair.

The Moons were also up at their house with friends so we met up with them for dinner on Saturday night. On Sunday, we skied for a few hours again after breakfast before changing, packing up, and heading home so as to not get home too late. The traffic wasn’t as bad as our last trip, but I’m still feeling that the drive is not the best use of time. Utah is looking better and better to us.

Addy’s 50th Birthday Celebration in SF

Addy recently celebrated a milestone birthday. While her big celebration was back home in NY, she came out to the Bay Area to celebrate with her old friends here. We were also able to spend some time with her and planned dim sum in the city. Her parents surprised her by flying up and staying with Dave.

Happy 50th Birthday, Addy. We love you.

Ski Week in Beaver Creek and Vail

We had a great time during our first time in Utah after Christmas. The next big decision was where to go during ski week. Had we known Tahoe would be dumped on by an atmospheric river, we would have considered it, but maybe they got too much snow? We settled on our trusty Beaver Creek, which turned out to have just the right amount of snow, especially compared to our last trip there.

The other upside was that Jea and Eddie were going to be there with Audrey and Ethan. They’re often skiing over the long holiday weekend, but they don’t have the whole week off. We’ve had one other chance encounter several years ago when they were in Vail, but this time we were staying at the same hotel.

Coincidentally, Eddie and I went on a couple ski trips to this area just after college. Once, we drove with Bobby from Ludington, MI, stopped at a Cracker Barrel to pick up my buddy, Eric (Grub), in Illinois, and drove to CO. We stayed at the Comfort Inn in Avon, which is a stone’s throw from the Westin. Those trips were the last time I skied with Eddie, which was why it was so awesome to ski with him again. It was just a few runs over a couple days before they left, but still fun like old times.

Poor Audrey wasn’t feeling well, so we didn’t see her on the slopes. We spent some time with their friends from DC, who were their hosts. Olivia and Lucas have apparently been playing too much Nintendo as they seemed to school the bigger kids.

The rest of the week it was just us. We tried a couple new restaurants in town, but mostly stuck with the old routine, including countless runs through Jack Rabbit Alley. One day we went over to Vail and tried to find Arthur and Sophia, but between timing and a big mountain, we didn’t hook up.

This was the kids’ first time skiing 6 days, which isn’t that impressive because we’re not a first-chair kind of family. Some days we got on the mountain just before lunch. It snowed a little while we were there, leaving just enough powder to keep everything soft. It was perfect conditions for Olivia and Lucas to tackle their first double-black diamond runs. They thought it was no big deal.

We were having a great time together until our very last run, we wen’t through some trees we had never skied, which seemed to be endless. Lucas straddled a decent sized tree and got stuck, which required me to hike up a fair way to dig him out. We were all ready to get off the mountain after that.

I knew no one was going to want to ski on our last day, so I went out early by myself. It had snowed about 4-6″ up top overnight and was a bluebird morning. I got in a few hours and called it quits while I was still in one piece.

Hoping to get in a few more days of skiing this season. With all the snow in Tahoe, it could be in June!

Skiing in Whistler with WB Guys

Last weekend, the annual West Bloomfield ski trip went international, as we met up in Whistler, BC. We had a pretty good turn out this year, as Mike joined the regulars and Chris returned after missing last year. Steve, Herb Chris and I last came to Whistler together in 2006.

Looking back, not much has changed with us since then, including Steve’s coat. Yellow snow still follows Chris wherever he goes. We’re mostly there for the food.

We were lucky to receive 19″ of new snow over a couple of days. However, the low altitude and warmer temperatures meant rain at the base and knee deep mashed potatoes up top. Still, nothing to complain about. Mike obviously came prepared for the cold temperatures he’s used to back east. Scott continues to leave us in search of double-black runs. Eventually we always find him.

Herb’s specialty in Urology means he gets the most questions throughout the trip. Thankfully, he’s not performing any surgery in the room and no one needs a prescription from him (yet). Mike might have needed something to relax him for the glass-bottomed peak-to-peak gondola.

After a big mountain trip like this, I’m equally happy to see these guys as I am that everyone went home safely and in one piece. Thanks to all the SOs who continue to support our reunions. There may be something big in the works for next year, which is a milestone year for all of us. Looking forward to it regardless of where we meet up.

Skiing in Tahoe with The Moons

Clara and Mike invited us up to Tahoe for the long weekend. This was our first trip to their new home during the winter. Everyone was excited about the five feet of snow they got the week before, but it was very warm on our first day of skiing with very soft conditions.

On Sunday, it was raining hard all day at the house, but you could see it blowing hard up on the mountain. We ventured out around 1pm to make the most of it and once we were above the snow line, it was pretty good. The great news was that snow lasted all night long and we woke up Monday to fresh and dry powder.

We weren’t quite first chair, but got out very early for our crew. It was one of the best days I can remember in Tahoe and we took advantage to explore some of the glades. We got a little low, skiing right around along the boundary at Northstar. Eventually we made it out and Mike had to scoot with his board on his front side because the snow was so deep.

The kids rode the chair by themselves most of the time, so it seems like they’re pretty close to being able to go off on their own (it’s the adults who lead them into uncharted territory). The drive home was horrific, but we didn’t let that ruin our great weekend together with the Moons. Looking forward to self driving cars!

Skiing in Deer Valley Over New Year

We’re always looking for new places to ski with the family. Although I’ve been to Utah a bunch with friends, Grace nor the kids have been there for skiing. We looked at a lot of options for our 2nd week of the holiday break. Coincidentally, Ann and Jeremy were going to be in Deer Valley and invited us to crash with them.

This was fortuitous on an epic scale because they were staying at the Montage. I’ve only had lunch there before with my WB buddies and fell in love with it the minute I stepped inside. I never expected to ever stay there, but we were beneficiaries of Ann and Jeremy, who were beneficiaries of another friend whose plans changed. That left available a beautiful 3 bedroom unit, the kind of which makes you not want to return home.

Sunday, the day we arrived, was Olivia’s birthday, so we wanted to celebrate somewhere. Our plans were last minute and the only place I could find was the Seafood Buffet at Deer Valley. If I had a better memory, I would have remembered that while the food was good, the ambiance was a little lacking for the price of admission. Next time I will not forget. Most importantly, we celebrated Olivia’s milestone with friends and she was happy.

Monday, we skied at Park City because the Ikon passes I got at the last minute were blacked out that day at Deer Valley. It was a cold but great day on the mountain. I hadn’t skied there in forever. Starting Tuesday, we got into our ski-in/ski-out routine at Deer Valley, which was a lot easier. The snow was infinitely better than the start of the season last year, though coverage was still a little thin in areas. We definitely made the most of it.

The Champions Club at the Stein Eriksen was one of the best finds on this trip. While the food is not as epic as the buffet upstairs, every game in the arcade is free. I guess they’re making it up in pizza. We spent New Year’s Eve in the room and had room service for dinner, which was fine with everyone. We had some so-so dinners in town, though Riverhorse on Main was notably excellent again. Some of our best meals were at the Japanese restaurant in the hotel (two nights in a row).

All the kids were great sports all week and we had fun skiing with Emme and Elsen. The little and big kids enjoyed an après ski of tubing and hot cider. The kids added rolling around in the snow between the pool and hot tub to their routine. I didn’t allow myself to get roped into that, but Jeremy joined right in.

We didn’t venture down to the bowling alley until right before we left. Otherwise we might have had some high scores by the end of our awesome week together. It all went by so fast, but we’re so thankful for being able to finally travel with their family, especially after our Airstream caravan got aborted a couple years ago. Until next time!