Ocean City Vacation 2011 #2

SunsetBack “down the shore” for our second week as a family this summer. This time round, we hooked-up with the Fabians(+) who traveled 340 miles to visit beautiful Ocean City, NJ, and they were treated to an earthquake & hurricane in one week … do we know how to entertain our guests? 🙂

Had a great time on the beach & in the water, though one day the water was really cold (65°). Even had a small 2-hand touch football game – who would have expected the daughters of a couple die-hard Eagle/Patriot fathers didn’t know anything about the rules of football! That’s ok, they now know the “button hook” and “crossing pattern” in the context of football, not sewing 🙂

On Tuesday, while relaxing on the beach, the earth moved as we felt the earthquake from Virginia which measured 5.8 on the Richter scale.  Mama thought she was getting dizzy & fainting, while I thought some annoying kid (my own) was banging my chair.  We quickly realized it was an earthquake, and then just sat back an enjoyed the ride (while keeping an eye on the water to make sure a tsunami wasn’t coming next).

On Wednesday we had a successful day crabbing, pulling in 9, and Mama treated us to a fine seafood dinner with crabs in red sauce, and littleneck’s in a garlic wine sauce … we ate and drank like kings, queens and princesses! We tried fishing on Thursday, but between the rain, we only caught a few sand sharks, though we were treated to a great lightening display across the bay.

Unfortunately, the trip was cut short due to Hurricane Irene and a mandatory evacuation of the island. We battened-down as much as we could, packed up Thursday night, and were off around 7am on Friday.  Hopefully Irene will go easy on our shore house, and it will still be there when we go back for Labor Day weekend.

Here are a few pics form the trip:

Fishing Pier at SunsetString Band on the boardwalkGirls posing with the MummersOcean City MermaidsOcean City BABE PatrolMore CheesecakeWatch Your ChildrenGina, Caroline & LizGreetings from Ocean CityDeadliest Catch

Now I got you where I want ...




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Ocean City Vacation 2011 #1

This past week was our first week of two that we plan to spend down the Jersey Shore this summer. It started with a dinner for Nonno, turning 82 on Sunday (we had a family party the week before that Gabriella made an awesome lemon cake for). The highlight of the week was para-sailing on Monday that Zia treated the girls to, and then Mama surprised Papa with a ride for their 13th anniversary.  That evening, Mama & Papa had an fantastic meal at Domenico’s in Ventnor, NJ.

The ocean water was so warm and calm … the girls loved it!  Papa wanted to ride some waves, but when they finally arrived on Thursday, the water was too rough for buggy boards, and even too rough to swim.  On our last day, Friday, the waves were gnarly and Papa didn’t come out until his eyes were burning from the salt water.  Elisa spent some time with her new skim board, and was pretty good by the end of the week – next time, she’ll be flying into the surf.  We also spent some time playing tennis (to work on the groundwork that Lucas laid) and rode our bikes for a few miles, highlighted with a trip to Crazy Susan’s.

In a few weeks, we’re looking forward to “Ocean City Vacation #2” when we’ll hook-up with our friends the Fabians.

Gabriella, Zia & Elisa para-sailingGabriella, Zia & Elisa para-sailingGabriella, Zia & Elisa para-sailingGabriella, Zia & Elisa TAKE OFF - para-sailingGabriella para-sailing

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The Forgotten Pics

Looks like I forgot a few pictures from the girls’ trip to Belgium. Here are more from Elisa’s camera.

Kaat & WimJoke & LucasGabriella tooting her hornGabriella RidingElisa & PipaPipa (Opa's dog)Elisa & PipaGabriella & PipaNessy (Opa's cat)Elisa Gabriella and NessyA Tennis SERVEGabriella learning tennisElisa learning tennisElisa and Gabriella on the ropesDoe & FawnsBunnyElisa & Gabriella eating escargot (SNAILS)

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Pics from the Girls’ Trip to Belgium

The girls flew “unattended” to Belgium on June 18th and stayed with family until Joke met up with them on July 3rd. They were treated royally by everyone, had a great time with family and enjoyed a lot of quality time with their cousins!  Below are some pics of their trip.

Tante Liesbet & SebNoahSebNoahSebSeb & ElisaNeil & LiesbetRoller CoasterRoller Coaster 2Roller Coaster 3Elisa & Gabriella MeltingGabriella, Kaat and ElisaGabriella and KaatGabriella's Chocolate Mousse CakeGabriella's Chocolate Mousse Cake SparklingNoah SquirtKaat & ElisaElisa, Kaat & GabriellaLucas, Elisa, Kaat & GabriellaKaat & GabriellaGabriella & OpaElisa Riding at Opa's

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Entertaining Movie

Another short film by Macera Movie Productions 🙂

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Long Overdue Post

One of three baby robins in the rose bush.Well, last post was about Spring, and now we’re well into Summer and we have not posted anything, which is not to say that nothing has been happening! The end of the school year for the girls was filled with softball, horseback riding, dance and music which kept us all running around. Add to that weekends working in Ocean City on our house, and weekend church activities, and there hasn’t been much time to post to the web site. Papa’s been working hard doing plumbing, electrical and carpentry work in both houses, so hasn’t had any free time to post, but now that the girls are in Belgium and Mama is in the UK, he doesn’t have any excuses. Even the robins that nested in Mama’s roses have “flew the coop.”


Both Gabriella & Elisa played softball this spring (when the weather cooperated) but Gabriella choose not to finish the season. Here are a few pics of Elisa.

Elisa pitching in the final game of the season Elisa makes a play at first.


The girls started last fall in two dance classes each, but both dropped one – which gave more time for horses, and babysitting jobs. Papa didn’t do such a great job getting pics of the performances, but a fuzzy pic is better than none 🙂

Gabriella dance recital 2011 Gabriella dance portrait 2011 Gabriella dance portrait 2011

Elisa dance recital 2011Elisa dance portrait 2011Elisa dance portrait 2011


Elisa started the oboe this year and really took to it while still devoted to the piano.  Though she started by sounding a little “duck-like” after she switched to a real reed, and countless hours of practice, she now has a beautiful tone.  Gabriella has been continuing the trumpet, and doing so well, she’s taking private lessons in hopes to make the ‘elite’ jazz ensemble next fall. She is also continuing the guitar and has a renewed interest now that we purchased a cool old electric guitar at a garage sale.

Elisa playing the oboe in the Edgewood band, 2011Elisa playing the oboe in the Edgewood band, 2011Elisa in the Edgewood band, 2011

Gabriella & Sylvia in the Charles Boehm Band, 2011Gabriella in the Charles Boehm Band, 2011


The family has become very involved in our new church (UUFLB), with Mama working with the music and teaching the youth, and Papa helping with the “Welcoming” committee (for LGBTQ issues), the tech committee and now the Board.  Everyone tries to get involved in the outreach efforts, and especially enjoy working in the kitchen for Aid for Friends. We all had a great time at the New Hope Pride Parade this year … we are very proud of our daughters’ social activism!

Gabriella, Mama & Elisa @ Aid for FriendsElisa @ Aid for Friends

The kids lead the group at the Pride ParadeSitting on some beast after the Pride ParadeWe make a new friend at the Pride Parade

Ocean City House:

We’ve been spending lots of time at our house at the beach (even if Papa spends most of the time slaving over one project after another), but this past weekend all the projects came to an end. The house is now ready for renters (and us), and not a moment too soon since the day Mama & Papa left, a last minute rental came in.  Among the many things Papa is happy to have accomplished are; new wiring & installation of ceiling fans in every room; a closet to stow away our clutter; new bathroom fans and lights; an outdoor shed; various painting projects (including Elisa’s bedroom); an new mirror to match Gabriella’s room; and the pièce de résistance, a NEW outdoor shower.

New mirror in Gabriella's roomGabriella's roomNew closetNew closet (open)

2710 Asbury shower BEFORE2710 Asbury shower AFTER

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Spring has Sprung

Spring was welcomed in this weekend with some beautiful weather and a very busy itinerary!

Elisa & Papa spent a sweaty afternoon going through some softball drills while Gabriella spent the afternoon with her classmates, and Sylvia’s new dog, Rosie.  On Saturday morning, the girls attended their softball evaluations, and did really well.  Gabriella did great, especially considering the little time she got to prepare and the age group she is starting in and Elisa stood out as one of the better players, as long as she kept her glove up 🙂

We then rushed from there to see Zia preforming “Bugs Bunny at the Symphony” with The Delaware Symphony Orchestra. It was a great performance, and Zia worked her “bow” off from the first down beat.  After the performance, we stopped by to visit Nonno for Saint Joseph’s day on our way to cheer a friend on at a carbo-loading party before her 10 mile run/race the next day.

Gabriella at Work

Gabriella at Work

Sunday morning was spent at service (UUFLB) which started with a stirring performance by two talented youth, Sylvia & Gabriella (check out the video below). For service we had a special guest minister, Craig Anthony Rubano, who treated us to a wonderful service, full of fun, song and a wonderful message.

After service, Gabriella, Mama & Papa went to help Aid for Friends, along with several other UU’s for the afternoon.  Gabriella really impressed us, not only with sacrificing her Sunday, but with the hard work she put in cooking eggs for almost 2 hours straight!  It was an honor to work side-by-side her and Papa really enjoyed “working the line” and wouldn’t shut up about “the old days” at HoJos. :) 

We’re looking forward to another busy weekend next week, when we travel to Franklin to visit our friends the Fabians, and our Tae Kwon Do family in New Bedford, where Joke will be evaluated for her preparations towards her 3rd Dan test, next Fall (September 10, 2011). Look for another post next week!

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Christmas Holiday, 2010

The family had a fun, action-packed, holiday this year and Papa decided to pack it all into one post!

Joke & the girls spent Christmas eve day, preparing Sushi for dinner – not quite the traditional Seven Fishes. On Christmas morning we were awoken a little earlier than we would have liked (6:30am), to the crash of our tree falling.  Mama and I spent an hour righting it (plus tying it down) and cleaning up the mess, but soon it was time to bring the girls down for gifts. Later in the day, we had Christmas dinner at Nonno & Nonna’s with Uncle Sal, Aunt Susan, Jessica, Elena and Zia.

Our new take on the tradition of the Seven Fishes.Mama & Papa enjoying Christmas Eve dinner.Kuzco was happy to have the family all together.This tree aint going anywhere until it ends up on the curb!Gabriella & Elisa on Christmas morning

Though we didn’t have a White Christmas, we did have a white day-after Christmas, when it snowed over 12 inches (it was hard to measure since the wind blew it around quite a bit). But that didn’t keep us from getting to work – painting Gabriella’ s room “Asparagus green.” It was her Christmas present, and though we had some reservations about the color, once it was up, Gabriella’s vision was clear, and the room looks great! Now, after a trip to Ikea, she’s accessorizing it with curtains, linens and baubles.

The rest of the week was spent down the shore (where they got even more snow than we did).  We had to shovel our way to the front door, but the beach was beautiful with a blanket of snow on the dunes. Papa was very happy with his productivity (installing shower fans and running new wiring for new light fixtures) and was only heard once making proclamations that needed some Orbitz gum cleaning 🙂

Ocean City beach at dusk in winterSunset over a blanket of snowDecember snow on the dunes

New Year’s Eve was spent at Ocean City’s First Night celebration. It started at 4pm, but we started our time there at 6:00. We went to performances of Japanese Drumming, Broadway Show Tunes (by request), a Goth Juggler and a set and a half, of Trout Fishing in America, who played our requested song, “Proper Cup of Coffee.” From there we went outside to watch the fireworks display at midnight over the north end of the boardwalk.  Luckily, our car was very close by, and we quickly got the girls home and in bed for they were almost turning into pumpkins, they were so tired!

Sculpting the MolluskJapanese DrummersJapanese DrummersDrum fashioned from a wine barrelThe finished MolluskGabriella & Elisa on the Carousel

Needless to say we slept late on New Year’s day, but we capped off the action packed week with our first dip in the Atlantic Ocean for 2011 when we participated in Ocean City’s version of the Polar Bear plunge.  Elisa opted to document the event, but Gabriella, Mama and Papa went in the 33degree water with the hundreds of other crazy participants. Papa thought it all went too quickly, so he went in for a second go 🙂

Watch a video of our First Dip, 2011 and Papa’s Second Dip, 2011.

Marty the Mollusk and the MacerasCrazy Santa SwimmersBefore the Plunge (and undressing)Before the PlungeAfter the PlungeAfter the Plunge w/Elisa

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Christmas Tree Search, 2010

Our 2010 Christmas tree.On Saturday, the family went on it’s annual search for the perfect Christmas tree, and unfortunately, this year the Jensen family was not able to join us.  The search was especially difficult with a strong divide of the family between two different trees.  Eventually, the half of the family with the biggest eyes won out, and we picked an enormous fir.  It just fits in the family room, but you’ll have to wait a week, or so, to see it there, fully decorated.  For now, here it is in the field.

In search of Christmas 2010Elisa has been enjoying using Papa’s old D70, and got this very nice shot of Mama & Gabriella wandering through the rows of trees. (Don’t point out to Mama that Gabriella is almost as tall as her 🙂 )

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Halloween 2010

Pumpkins, 2010

Another great Halloween at the Macera/Bradt house.  This year, we got a great ‘deal’ on pumpkins at None Such Farm, so we (Papa) carved 3 to decorate the house for trick-or-treaters.  As a result, Mama has been ‘treating’ us to pumpkin soup, which we’ll be eating for months to come!    The girls invited some friends to walk the neighborhood, and we capped the night off with warm pumpkin soup and hot chocolate, for Papa, and the girls, respectively :)  Earlier in the day, the girls had a Halloween themed event at their riding school.  Gabriella (and her horse) dressed as Michael Jackson, and Elisa was a cowgirl, riding a spooked (by all the costumes) ‘bull.’  Both girls brought home ribbons, but more importantly, had a great time.  Earlier, on Friday, Elisa sported her cowgirl costume, minus the horse, at her Elementary School parade.

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