Rhonda, Ky and Malia Visit from Seattle

It’s been a while since we’ve seen the Vu clan. They’ve been busy traveling the world with Malia. Ky had a conference in SF and brought the family a couple weeks ago and we’re thankful they decided to stay with us for a couple days. It’s also been a while since we’ve seen the Kellogg gang, so we had everyone over for dinner on Friday, March 31st.

Esther, Jon and Ellie were the first to arrive. Esther is a trouper as she’s about to drop anchor on baby Cho #2. Natalie hauled all the way from Marin, but the boys had fevers so they and Noah stayed home. Likewise, Amanda wasn’t well, so only Ben and Matthew were able to make it (missed you, Dora). The Rantas get the award for living the closest but seeing us the least (need to fix that). Erich, Dali, Tony and Allison rounded out the crew.

The kids had a great time with Malia and hope she and her parents come to visit again soon.

Spring Skiing in Tahoe with Kimuras and Lees

We’ve been trying to get to Tahoe with the Kimuras and Lees for a few years now. This year, we finally made it happen. We rented a great house in Northstar last weekend, which was perfect for all the families. The Lees were only planning to ski one day, and unfortunately their Olivia stubbed her toe in the morning and fractured it! Bummer.

We had some great home-cooked meals thanks to Torsten and Grace. We had some fresh snow and generally very spring-like conditions. The kids just don’t care and I was pleased they were eager to go down the hardest trail (for Northstar). Lucas might have bitten off more than he could chew, but he made it without complaint.

Next year, I think we’re going to try to go somewhere out of state. Wherever we end up, it will be fun with this crew.

Birthday Dinner at Madera

Grace and I celebrated another trip around the sun together on our joint birthday. The kids and I met Grace at the Rosewood on Sand Hill for dinner at Madera. The food was delicious and the service was even better. It was all topped off with a beautiful sunset and dessert. We’ll definitely go back.

Happy Birthday to Grace (and me)!

Colorado Ski Trip with WB Guys

After missing our annual ski trip last year, the WB guys reconvened in Colorado last weekend. This was the first time we’ve been to Colorado together since Chris was living there a couple decades ago. We’ve been going to Utah for several years. Steve graciously hosted us in a couple of his timeshare units in Beaver Creek.

We’ve been asking Nick to join us for years and he’s always politely declined. This year, I conspired with an influential person (Melanie), who surprised him with a plane ticket to join us over his birthday weekend (surprise!). Both of us were a little worried about the fallout, but he was a good sport about it.

I think Nick’s hesitation might have come from the misunderstanding that this was a hard-core ski trip. It didn’t take him long to realize the truth about old-man skiing is that the entire trip is planned around eating. Each day, we get up later and later and go to bed earlier and earlier. The trip is measured in calories vs. vertical feet.

On Thursday night when we got in, we headed over to Vail for dinner at La Bottega. Friday, we skied over at Vail in very Spring-like conditions. Friday was also Nick’s birthday. To celebrate, we had an amazing dinner together at Grouse Mountain Grill in Beaver Creek. I’ve been wanting to go there for a while, but we were never able to get in on our family trips. Melanie very thoughtfully arranged for some champagne and appetizers and every person in the restaurant seemed to know it was Nick’s birthday. The evening (and possibly the trip) culminated when the resident musician came over with his accordion to lead a rousing “Happy Birthday” to Nick. All this was topped off with bread pudding for dessert.

One other thing that Nick and Chris might not have bargained for was the Big 10 basketball tournament. Every day, lunch was planned around catching the end of the Michigan basketball game, which really meant the 2nd half (and sometimes included half time). They were good sports and cheered along with us Wolverines as we won every game including the championship.

We all skied Beaver Creek together on Saturday, followed by dinner at Maya at the Westin where we usually stay. Nick and Herb were both leaving on Sunday morning, so the rest of us didn’t get on the mountain until close to noon. Monday was the only day we got up early. Steve, Scott and I were there as the lifts opened as Chris had to work.

Everyone really seemed to enjoy Beaver Creek, so I expect we’ll return again. There’s already talk about going back to Whistler, where this trip all began over 10 years ago. I don’t think it matters much where we go as it’s always a good time, with good food and great friends. Until next time, fellas.

Ski Week in Tahoe with Moons and Uncle Dave

The last couple of ski weeks, we went to Colorado in search of snow. However, this year’s wet weather gave us more confidence that Tahoe would work out and we got even more than we bargained for. We rented a house with the Moons in Martis Camp. Their brother, Ed, joined us and then Dave came up for the second half of the week. We ran into friends from home and school, including Mrs. Zirelli, who was both kids’ first grade teacher, and Mrs. Lawson, Olivia’s teacher this year.

We arrived on Saturday just as a storm was coming in. It started snowing and basically didn’t stop for the week we were there. The first couple days it was dumping heavy, wet snow. It cooled down after that and the snow turned light and powdery. It was the most powder I’ve skied just about anywhere. The first day was a little tough for Olivia and Lucas, but when the snow lightened up, they got the hang of it.

We skied six days straight, which is a record for us. By the end of the week, Olivia was crushing some legit black diamonds and skiing the glades. On the last couple days, Lucas also opted for some real black diamonds. He struggled a bit with a full steep mogul run, but got back on his fast groomer and skied about a third of his last run through the glades.

Grace cooked a lot during the week, so we only made it into the village on the last night. Everyone was pretty tired, but Lucas got hooked on Settlers of Catan and really wanted to play. He stayed up until 12:15am to crush me and was quite pleased with his domination (with Grace). We had a great time together with our friends and look forward to our next adventure together.

Olivia’s 10th Birthday Celebration at Hakkasan in NYC

On Thursday, December 29th, we had one last family gathering in NYC to celebrate Olivia’s 10th birthday. She and the rest of the family had been to Hakkasan before with Dave’s boss and she really enjoyed their macarons, so she requested that restaurant. This was my first time eating at any Hakkasan and the food was great.

What a special occasion to spend our last night in New York before heading home. We can’t believe Olivia is double-digits. Happy Birthday to our beloved Olivia!

NYC with Family and Friends

After Christmas, we decided to spend a few days in NYC. We enjoyed meals with all the Parks and Rhees Bottega and Quality Italian. With met up with Clarence and his kids at the Time Warner Center, which was where we were staying. I had wanted to watch Rogue One, but the kids insisted on seeing Sing and Moana first. My dad joined us for the former on his 80th Birthday.

On the way back from Moana, we looked around Times Square for a bit and decided to take the subway home for fun. We popped out right at Columbus Circle and I saw this dude wearing my coat. Then I notice that this dude is Danny, one of the only people I know who lives in Manhattan. What a small world.

On our last morning in NYC, everyone slept in a bit, so I went out for a walk in Central Park, which we never do. We met up with Ana, Bobby, the boys and my sister and parents for lunch in Koreatown for one last meal before heading out to the airport.

The holidays are always nice in NYC. We’ll be back again soon, I hope.