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Winter is in the Rearview Mirror. I, for one, miss it Already!

As sad as it is for me to accept, winter is in the rearview mirror. Unlike most people, who prefer warm weather (or even hot weather, gasp) winter is my favorite season. Granted, winter in California is likened more to spring or fall by most people in our country, who reside in areas with more inclement weather. However, to us, it is winter.


I apologize for throwing my fellow Californians under the bus, but most are such wimps when it comes to winter weather. I can't tell you how many people I hear complaining in the wintertime. "When is this rain ever going to stop," I recall a friend saying recently. Never, I hope, I replied, in my mind, without daring to utter a word. "It's so cold, when is it ever going to warm up," I overheard a few moms saying at school drop-off one morning. Come on ladies, it's only 45 degrees, get a hold of yourselves. I, on the other hand, can't get enough of our frigid winter weather. I say let's have winter 365 days a year!


Speaking of sad, another thing I'm sad about is how long it's been since I've paid one bit of attention to my blog. My poor neglected blog.

My absence is certainly not attributable to a lack of material this winter, as you will see. My flagrant disregard is more likely due to a lack of time, although I never have time and have somehow managed to publish 364 blog posts thus far, so that can't be used as a legitimate excuse either. Getting to the bottom of this blog avoidance might require the skills of a professional (yes I am referring to a therapist). Oh, that's right, I don't have time for therapy. I suppose I'll have to leave the self-analysis for another time and get to writing instead.


Warning: When you peruse the words and photos below you may notice that Garin's is somewhat underrepresented in this blog post. This is because he spends far too much time on the computer in his room, which like many parents, I find highly annoying and not worthy of documenting in a blog. That said, he continues to do exceedingly well in school and has started back with his in-person chess class, which thrills me because it gets him out of the house and off the computer.


Also, lest you think the entire winter was about Miles, do have patience and read on. You will see that Catherine and Graham have starring roles this season as well.


Valentine's Day is as good a place to start as any for a winter update. What's not to love about Valentine's Day? This year we dined on Santa Maria-style tri-tip, mashed potatoes, a mixed green salad, and a delicious homemade lemon cherry cake with whipped cream. Not to mention all those scrumptious chocolates. The highlight of the day was the exquisite homemade cards from my children, which touched me deeply (not pictured here as they would require a dedicated blog post).


Miles' birthday, which falls on 2/22, always seems to stretch on forever, as it should. Since it usually falls on or around President's Day weekend, he is allowed to set the entire calendar for that weekend, each year. Some of his choice activities are: going to see the prolific collection of camellias and the yearly camellia show at Descanso Gardens; visiting Granny at the cemetery and bringing her flowers; dining on prime rib at the Tam O'Shanter and on pesto pasta at Rosti; and ice skating. It is a fun-filled, but exhausting weekend.



We celebrated Miles' actual birthday late the next week (since it didn't happen to fall on the weekend this year) with a baseball-theme party at home. After pleading with me, since our return from Portugal in the summer of 2022, we finally prepared his dream dinner, Pasteis de Bacalhau. He had this particular dish in Portugal and to this day it is still his favorite dish of all time. He never stops talking about it. Loosely translated, they are cod fritters made with mashed potatoes and dried salted cod. This particular type of cod is quite difficult to find in the US, but plentiful in countries like Spain, Portugal, and Italy. After driving across town to purchase the imported cod, we all spent hours in the kitchen preparing the fritters, as they are quite complex and time-consuming to make. We served traditional Portuguese tomato rice (as suggested by cousin Angela who lives in Portugal) and a green salad with them (including homemade pickled beets). Miles was thrilled, as was I. They tasted nearly identical to the ones we had in Portugal. For dessert, we picked up his favorite black forest cake from Viktor Benes's bakery.


Miles' spring baseball practice started in January. Due to the plentiful rain we've had this year, many of his practices seemed to get canceled. However, that cannot be said of his full game schedule that commenced in late February. Sometimes he has as many as four events in seven days. It continues to be a significant commitment for our family, but Miles is thriving and excelling at the game, so we agree that it's worth every bit of sacrifice. Miles' team, the Cardinals, is number one in the division and remains undefeated 7/0, as of today. His favorite position to play is catcher. I have become a crazed baseball mom, never missing a practice, game, or a single play, for that matter. I recount all the highlights of each game to whomever in our family is not able to be in attendance and review all the various plays with Miles after the game to help him learn and improve. I don't get into disagreements with umpires or coaches from the opposing team (yet), but to say I am highly involved, is an understatement. Never in a million years did I picture myself becoming the kind of mom who discusses sports incessantly, but wonders never cease.


Catherine and Graham have had a fun, busy, and productive winter. On February 20th, they celebrated their 11 1/2-year birthday (of course we had a special dinner and cake to commemorate the big day). Also in February, both were inducted into the Honor Society. I was so proud to see them rewarded for their hard work and academic diligence. Graham maintained a 4. 0 GPA and Catherine a 3.95. Additionally, at a separate ceremony, Graham was honored for his excellence in reading, being one of the most read students, not only in his grade, but the entire school. Graham continues to excel at and enjoy the piano while Catherine started her art classes again. One of her first projects was this sketch of Taylor Swift (yes, she is a Swifty). Finally, the twins attended Astrocamp in Idlywid, a sleepaway camp, in early March, with their classmates and had a great time!


St. Patrick's Day is always a big deal at our house. We listen to traditional Irish, music which is one of our favorite parts of the holiday, not to mention the meal. This year we dined on traditional corned beef and cabbage, homemade Irish soda bread, and not one, but two cakes! We had leftovers for a few days, which I always appreciate as the designated chef of the house, and then more for corned beef sandwiches (on rye of course) for the rest of the week. Delicious!


Now for an early spring update. We celebrated Easter early this year (last Sunday), since we'll be in Washington DC this year for spring break (we depart tomorrow). Since I'm generally diligent about creating travel blog posts, you'll probably be hearing from us soon with some updates on our time in our nation's captial. Until then, happy spring, happy Easter, happy Passover, and happy everything!







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