Dining Al Frecko

Some adorable recent sayings:

– when asked if he would like to eat al fresco, he replies yes, “al frecko” please!

– when looking at his new shirt with bugs on it, from Grandma & Pakka: “MY BUGGY SHIRT!!”

– when asked if he would like a tool to help fix his bike: “how ’bout WRENCH”

This boy keeps us laughing and on our toes with his adorable take on life!

Big Boy Bed, & Swim Class

Today is the first day you are sleeping in your new big boy bed at home. You slept in a regular bed for 3 weeks during our time at Oma’s in Germany; when you got home, you noticed your bed was a “baby bed”. You pointed to it and said “baby bed!” You did so well in a regular bed at Oma’s, and expressed such eagerness to sleep in a big bed, that we figured it was time.

Time for you, but it’s a hard time for me as your mom, to watch you grow up so quickly!!

We laid you in bed, read you a story (“Planes”), and then prayed and kissed you goodnight. We then hurried to our bedroom to watch you on the monitor. We watched you explore your new bed, and exclaim “a HA!” as you looked at your new sheets. You crack us up all the time!!

Today was also the first day that you did swim lessons without me being in the pool with you. Papa took you to swimming lessons (at Houston Swim Club) and let go of your little hand, watching you walk around the pool all by yourself. He watched you swim and then we celebrate when you got home with ice cream!!

Today has been a big day but you’re handling all of the changes like the little champion that you are. We’re so proud of you!!

Biking memories a la Maurice

“Angelique and I would go out here to this little pond on a hill to run the R/C Boat โ€“ of which the one in the garage is the exact same one;)”


Here is my old path to school! [in Sindelfingen] I thought it was like 5 miles one way (maybe because I was only 9) but its more like 2 miles one way :/ย  silly me.ย Cool huh?”


Here is where I went to ride my bike, into the woods in that area :)”

Now we need to go back to Germany and re-ride those routes so Maurice can share even more memories ๐Ÿ™‚

Welding Wednesdays: Midterms

So, today Maurice challenged me to identify the work he did for his welding midterm. Here is my guess:

Turns out, I was right!! The one that is circled is Maurice’s. I knew it by its clean lines, smooth edges, straight alignment, and it’s not full of bubbly over-welded crap!!

Like I said, he takes pride in his work! And I take pride in my man ๐Ÿ™‚

Good job B!

Welding Wednesdays: Prep Work

One of the key steps to turning out good work when welding, is one that is often overlooked: prep work! Attention should be paid to maintaining a clean work station and prepping the equipment & work piece so that the highest quality weld can be achieved.

clean work table

Maurice gets frustrated when other students don’t take the time to clean up their area and work piece before jumping into the welding portion of the job. He cares about his work, wants others to care greatly about quality and craftsmanship, and I love him for that! Future employers will, too, and he can always feel good about doing the best job possible.

welding machine

One of his other pet peeves is when the students misuse or break a piece of equipment – they do not take ownership for their actions and take much of the work space and equipment for granted. Maurice recently donated a heavy-duty table vice to the school, and within one weeks’ time it had been broken. Nobody came forward to admit guilt, or offered to help fix it. So he spent yesterday fixing it. Come on people!!

Anyway, I love that Maurice takes pride in his work. My grandparents would be proud. Our familyย isย proud of him. And his work shows that he too cares very much for the work he produces.

3f stainless

finished stainless 1f tig


A Night at the Opera: La Traviata

Last night was a very special evening; I had the pleasure of taking my good friend Trina to her very first opera! I was hoping she would enjoy it. Let’s see how the night went ๐Ÿ™‚

(I should mention that Maurice was sick and unable to go, but graciously encouraged me to still go and enjoy my evening – thank you B!)

First there was the wine. After the last few days at work, we could’ve used a bottle or two (!!) but we each enjoyed a glass of red and then went to find our seats. I had already let Trina know that we would be in the nose bleed section, so we hiked our way up the grand staircase and prepared to take our seats in a near-the-back row of the balcony. When we reached the balcony level, however, we were given the offer to sit somewhere else, in much better (and much more expensive!) seats:

upgraded seats

Then there were the sets & costumes:

gorgeous stage (photo courtesy of the Houston Grand Opera)

The sets and costumes were very grand and lush last night! This was the second time I’ve seen “La Traviata,” the first being at the State Opera in Prague. That first performance was beautiful but in a totally different way; the sets were minimalistic in color (white and red) and props (only one extremely large half-moon white leather sofa), and the costumes were not memorable. That being said, I think it was a fabulous performance and I’m thankful I got to see it ๐Ÿ™‚ HGO’s take on “La Traviata” was very classic and was reflected in the lavish atmosphere they created on stage.

And then, there was the singing. Oh my goodness the singing. I know I know it’s an opera for heaven’s sake, the singing is supposed to be great. But as an aside, I generally find HGO productions to be very clean, tidy, and…. uninspired. While they are always enjoyable they don’t always feel passionate. Last night was passionate!

Violetta & Alfredo (photo courtesy of the Houston Grand Opera)

And I credit that to the stellar performance by Ms. Albina Shagimuratova who sang the role of Violetta. The 2nd best performance should be credited to Giovanni Meoni, who played “Giorgio Germont” – Alfredo’s father. Everyone was great but I would love to see Shagimuratova in more productions, she has amazing control of her voice and sings clear as a bell whether she’s “whispering” or fortissimo!

passion! (photo courtesy of the Houston Grand Opera)

It was an wonderful evening and I’m so happy that Trina was able to share the experience with me! When I asked her what she thought, she said that she loved it and would definitely go again!! So Maurice, maybe you are off the hook ๐Ÿ˜‰

Welding Wednesdays: Tig…ger?

For your viewing pleasure:

tig "T" plate

1f tig

2f tig with staggered bead

root pass, front

good penetration of root pass

cap with 4 separate stringer beads

corner weld

Maurice’s 36th Birthday: Fogo de Chao

To celebrate Maurice’s birthday a little more, we went out to Fogo de Chao on Friday night. Maurice had never been to a churrascaria so we got a little dressed up and went out on the town!

all dressed up and ready to go out!

We had reservations for 7pm, and when we got there we were given a cute table for two, ordered a bottle of Pinot Noir, and the feasting began. First we hit up the salad bar, and agreed that the artichoke heart was our favorite. They also had smoked salmon, olives, asparagus, and allll kinds of fresh produce. It was delicious but the main attraction (the meat!!) was still coming so we tried to take it easy on the salad.

Then the meat showed up. Oh my goodness, was it good!! We tried all of it! The picanha and the tiny lamb chop (surprisingly!) were my two favorites; Maurice said the Parmesan-crusted pork loin was his. We ate and ate and ate:

happy but stuffed!

They also brought out cheese bread, fried plantains (yum!) and crispy polenta which was also a highlight of the night.

ok paparazzi, can i please eat in peace now?

We did our best to make more room by drinking more wine ๐Ÿ˜€ Sometimes you just have to suck it up, you know? hehehe…

birthday card time

private thoughts ๐Ÿ˜‰

One of Maurice’s favorite desserts is creme brulee. He ordered two ๐Ÿ™‚

how you doin?

make it a good wish, b!

It was an awesome evening together ๐Ÿ™‚ We went home happy and stuffed, and looking forward to the next year together. Happy birthday, B!

getting ready for date night together ๐Ÿ™‚

Monster Trucks!

A few weekends ago Maurice and I spent an evening at the Monster Truck Jam that recently came through Houston. We had been looking forward to it since eyeballing the ad in for it online in December. It did not disappoint! For one night, Houston didn’t totally suck and we had a great time!

When we first got to the arena we could hear some of trucks starting up, and we missed the first 20 minutes or so due to a “cash only” snafu that had us kicked out of the parking lot and sent to the nearest ATM. That’s alright though, we parked and bought our tickets which were really close to the front and completely unobstructed. Score! We found our seats, enjoyed the last 15 minutes of the first half, and then the real fun began ๐Ÿ™‚ Lookie:

preparing the track for super jumps

"crusader" zooming around

"crusader" jumping

another awesome jump by "crusader"

you mess with the bull you deal with the horns! toro loco went all out!!

forget the name of this guy

monster truck classic "grave digger" getting ready to go

"grave digger" jumping

"grave digger" lost a wheel, still did a jump, and finally fell over

Did I mention that we forgot ear protection? And how LOUD it was? (stick a lawnmower in your ear, start it, and listen to the noise for 2 hours, that’s how loud it was). My ears paid the price for the rest of the evening but we had a super time together! It was so much fun to watch the trucks jump and bounce and boing all over the place, and of course I love the idea of crushing things so I got a kick out of all destructive maneuvers ๐Ÿ˜€ Maurice was surprised I liked it so much and says we’ll go back, so I hope so!! Next time: ear plugs, coca-cola, and nachos. Can’t wait!!