Big Bear Vacation – Day 6

Once again, we start the day with a big, late breakfast.

Jason and Hannah in the kitchen

Josiah was covered with bed bug bites over most of his body. So after the first few nights, we moved him out of his bedroom and informed the owner. Fortunately, he didn’t get any more bites and he gradually recovered.

Josiah with bed bug bites

Jeffrey bought and brought a bunch of meat to grill during our vacation.

Hannah, Jeffrey, and Jason getting the next barbecue ready

A few years ago, Nicole gave Tim his first Lego set. It was of New York City and had the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Flat Iron Building, and the Freedom Tower. So finally Tim (with some help from Jeri) put it together.

Here’s a time-lapse video condensing the two-plus hours into 4+ minutes. A few times, Josiah would come over look at the instructions and immediately start putting the pieces together. Whereas Tim had to methodically identify the correct pieces and figure out how to assemble them.

Watching TV (when we could get it to connect) included food shows, Korean dramas, and (clean) stand-up comedians.

Watching TV

Jeffrey periodically tended the grill.

Jeri, Lizzie, Jason (back), Victoria, Hannah, and Tim in Pine Knot Village in Big Bear
Jeri, Victoria, and Sarah on Pine Knot Ave

For supper, we picked up some food in Pine Knot Village (including a top-rated poke place) and brought it home to eat.

Tim, Justin, Josiah, Jeri, Joanna, and Nicole

Some of the Age of Empire (video game) players enjoyed watching recorded matches of top players.

Some are watching an Age of Empires match

A short video compilation of the photos.


Big Bear Vacation – Day 5

We hung around the house today. Some are playing another game of Sequence.

Hannah, Joanna, Lizzie, Justin, Josiah, and Victoria playing Sequence

Jason must have been pretty tired.

Jason napping

Sarah and Jeri did their nails.

Sarah and Jeri doing their nails

Victoria and Jeri played Pac-man in the much cooler basement.

Victoria and Jeri playing Pac-man

Josiah, Jason, and Hannah watching the Food Network. That station was a favorite of many during our vacation.

Watching the Food Network

That evening, Jeffrey and Lizzie went to town and picked up a carry-out order. They shared some onion rings with all.

Victoria, (Lizzie), Joanna, Nicole, Josiah, and Justin


Big Bear Vacation – Day 4

The weather was hot and dry. The highs were in the 80s. The relative humidity was below 10% during the day. As a result, everyone noses were very dry.

Some even got bloody noses. Here’s Lizzie with hers.

Lizzie with a bloody nose

Several of Tim’s coworkers recommended the board game Sequence. So we bought a copy and played it multiple times during our stay.

Victoria, Nicole, Hannah, Jason, Joanna, Jeri, and Tim playing Sequence

Day four (Thursday) was grill day. Here’s Jeffrey preparing to grill.

Jeffrey getting the burgers ready for the grill

We prepared some chocolate-chip cookie dough before we left home. And then we baked cookies several times during our vacation.

We ate a big, late lunch.

Eating around the table

Downstairs had a pool table, an air hockey table, an indoor basketball game, and a Pac-man arcade game.

Then we headed to Big Bear Lake to try kayaking and paddle boarding.

Group shot at Big Bear Lake. Jeffrey was on the far left and got cut off. (Sorry Jeffrey)

Initially we rented two paddle boards and three two-person kayaks for two hours (5 PM till closing at 7 PM). Although there were 11 people and only eight spots, our plan was to swap people after an hour.

However after Tim rowed out on a paddle board, he realized that no one out on the lake had their cell phones (due to the water). Plus it was looking like a lot of fun for everyone.

So he decided to paddle back and rent two more kayaks. However the guys at the dock said that it was getting late and if I rented two more kayaks that we wouldn’t have much time left. So he gave us two kayaks for free!

Hannah and Jason heading out in their kayak
Victoria (back) and Sarah kayaking
Lizzie and Nicole kayaking
Tim and Joanna kayaking
Josiah and Jeri paddling by
Lizzie and Nicole in the foreground. Hannah and Jason behind them. Victoria and Sarah to the left.
Jeffrey paddle boarding
Jeffrey resting
Hannah and Jason on the lake
Tim in the back of the kayak
Joanna at Big Bear Lake

Later that evening, some had left over barbecue for a snack.

Jason, Hannah, Sarah, and Jeffrey eating some leftover barbecue

Big Bear Vacation – Day 3

We relaxed at the house on our first full day of vacation. Around 4:30 PM, Tim, Jeri, Sarah, and Justin drive back to Running Springs to pick up the Civic with its new clutch.

After picking up the car, the plan was to hike to near by Keller Peak (which we visited during our Lake Arrowhead vacation previously). However we discovered that the road to the peak was closed due to a fire the previous week. So instead of driving up to the peak, it would be a five-mile hike. “No bueno!”

So we called back to the house to tell them the change of plans. After some indecision, Jeffrey took charge and said that he was going to Castle Rock Trail. We were concerned that there wouldn’t be any parking and that we would have to walk along the busy highway for a while.

However we were all able to find parking spots very close to the trail head (the place where the trail starts)!

The goal was to get up high enough to get some good sunset pictures. That didn’t happen. But we did (mostly) enjoy the hike. Josiah was suffering a bit with his sore foot. Although she was over seven months pregnant, Hannah made it.

The hike was over a mile up with an elevation gain of over 800 feet.

Here are some pictures.

Sarah on the Castle Rock trail
Joanna and Hannah on the Castle Rock Trail
Tim helping Josiah hike with his sore foot
Hannah, Josiah, Jeri, and Tim on Castle Rock Trail overlooking Big Bear Lake

Sunset was a little after 8 PM. Now at the top, we had to hike the mile plus back down. By the time we get to the bottom, it’s getting pretty dark.

Jeri helping Josiah down Castle Rock Trail
Joanna and Sarah taking pictures
Sarah taking a picture as the sun sets over Big Bear Lake
Flower on Castle Rock Trail with Josiah and Jeri in the background
Tim and Jeri coming down Castle Rock Trail

We finally made it back to the house after 9 PM. So we place our online order for Domino’s Pizza (around 9:40 PM). And wait. And wait. And wait.

The supposed 30-minute delivery turned out to be about an hour later. Apparently the delivery guy confused our address on “San Martin Circle” with the one “San Martin Street”. The pizza didn’t arrive until about 10:45 PM. So needless to say, we ate late.

Dominos Pizza at home after the hike

Big Bear Vacation – Day 2

We relaxed at the house on our first full day of vacation. Because it was hot and dry outside, we waited until later in the day to head out. Justin didn’t feel up to going with us.

Our first stop was the boardwalk at Big Bear Lake. The girls enjoyed dressing up and taking pictures.

Lizzie taking Sarah’s picture on the Big Bear Lake Boardwalk
Jeri and Tim at Azteca Grill
Lizzie, Sarah, Nicole, and Joanna on the Boardwalk
Jeri and Tim near the Big Bear Lake Boardwalk
Selfie of all of the ladies
Jason, Hannah, and baby near the Big Bear Lake Boardwalk
Lizzie and Sarah on the Boardwalk

After the boardwalk, we went to Azteca Grill in Big Bear. Because they were busy, we had to wait about 20 minutes for a table. Fortunately they were able to seat us all together.

Because we were there on a Tuesday night, they had live music featuring Mike Cross. We found him very entertaining (and left some cash in his tip jar). And although the food took forever to arrive, we didn’t mind the wait. And we certainly enjoyed the food!

Victoria, Hannah, Jason, and Joanna at Azteca Grill
Jeri and Tim at Azteca Grill

They were very accommodating. Jeri and Tim asked for a veggie burrito to be fried like an enchilada. Half red sauce; half green sauce.

Veggie (Burrito) Enchilada at Azteca Grill
Josiah, Lizzie, and Victoria at Azteca Grill
Sarah, Nicole, and Jeffrey at Azteca Grill

One of the songs that Mike Cross sang was “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond. The official lyrics include these lines: “Hands, touching hands, Reaching out, touching me, touching you.”

He changed it to a PSA (Public Service Announcement) version: “Hands, sanitized hands, Reaching out, don’t touch me, I won’t touch you.”

Mike Cross performing at Azteca Grill

Here’s a short one-minute video of the day.


Big Bear Vacation – Day 1

We drove four vehicles to Big Bear. Jason, Hannah, and Josiah went in Jason’s truck. Jeffrey took Sarah and Lizzie in his car. Nicole drove Joanna’s car and took Victoria. Tim, Jeri, and Justin drove the Honda Civic.

During the drive up the mountain (Big Bear is around 7,000 feet elevation), Tim noticed the Civic was sometimes hard to up and down shift between third and fourth gears. At one point, he had couldn’t get it into third and a line of traffic started building up behind. One car even honked.

Fortunately he was able to finally get it into third and decided to leave it third gear. Around 4:30 PM as we approached the small town of Running Springs (population less than 5,000), we needed a bathroom break. We pulled off and coasted into a parking spot of a small grocery store.

We couldn’t get the car started. Jeri went to the NAPA Auto Parts store that was next door and asked about auto mechanics. The guy said that there were two in town but that they closed at 5:00 PM. Now it is about 10 to 15 minutes until 5.

One of the garages is just a block away. So Tim runs over and asks about our car. The mechanic said that if we could get it there that he would take a look.

Back at the car, Tim figured out that the clutch wasn’t releasing. So we rolled back out of the parking spot. He started the car with the brakes off…the car lurched forward and started!

Once at the garage, our car was diagnosed with a busted clutch. We unloaded our luggage and called Jeffrey who was already at the house. Jeffrey made the 45-minute drive through windy roads to pick us up. And then he took us back.

Our Honda Civic needing a new clutch in Running Springs. Click for full size.

The Airbnb house was very nicely furnished. Here is Tim and Jeri with two “towel bears.”

Tim and Jeri with two bears. Click for full size.

Here is Hannah and Josiah playing air hockey.

Hannah and Josiah playing air hockey. Click for full size.


Josiah’s Lego Gun (plus some limericks)

Starting with a book that has Lego gun designs, Josiah built a gun that shoots rubber bands. However the design in the book required a certain spring that Josiah didn’t have. So he used his creativity and modified the design to get it to work using pieces that he did have. So now he has a semi-automatic rubber band gun that can shoot up to five or six rubber bands.

Josiah had to write a limerick for school. So Tim wrote a limerick.
The lad was the youngest of nine.
His Legos were a favorite pastime.
To shoot rubber bands,
He built with his hands
A Lugar, not a rifle or carbine.

One more limerick by Tim.
Made masks on our sewing machine
As they work to find a vaccine.
So we maintain our six feet
And take walks down the street
Until we say “Bye” to Covid 19.


Josiah Building the Marble Parkour

Time-lapse video of Josiah building a kit called the Marble Parkour by ROKR. It required no glue. Total time was over two hours. The phone ran out of battery and stopped recording for a while.

The video runs a little over five minutes and shows it working at the end. Plus Jason and Hannah are included for a bit.

Click to view full size.

Victoria Sings with the Orange Coast College Symphony

On Leap Day of this year, the Orange Coast College had a concert called “The Sound of Broadway”…featuring orchestral medleys and songs from classic American Musicals. The evening included two vocal performances; one of which was sung by Victoria! Her name was even listed on the poster! She looked wonderful and sang beautifully!

Sarah, Joanna, Jason, Hannah, Jeffrey, Lizzie, Nicole, Josiah, and Jeri before the OCC Symphony concert . Click photo for full size.
Victoria singing with the OCC Symphony. Click photo for full size.
Close-up of Victoria singing with the OCC Symphony. Click photo for full size.
After the OCC Symphony Concert. Click photo for full size.
Concert poster. Click for full size.

Note Victoria’s name on the poster.

Here’s the biography that was included in the program.
Victoria Pau is a mezzo-soprano studying voice at Orange Coast College under Dr. Susan Ali. She started pursuing music in earnest four years ago when her older sisters convinced her to join the college’s opera production. Last year Victoria won third place in the NATS musical theater category. She is also a member of OCC Chamber Singes, with which she performed Mozart’s Requiem at Carnegie Hall. When Victoria isn’t singing or working on papers for school, she can be found playing the piano, crocheting, knitting, or baking cookies.

Here’s a short video montage.


Valentine’s Dinner 2020

On Friday, February 14th, 2020, Warner Avenue Baptist Church had a Valentine’s Day Dinner. The young people did an EXCELLENT job planning an enjoyable evening for 14 couples. They transformed our fellowship hall into a romantic, candle-lit restaurant. They had a western theme complete with western decorations and entertainment.

Using card tables, each couple had a table to themselves. It came with a candle, menu, cloth napkins, silverware, and flowers.

Table Setting for the Valentine’s Dinner

Here’s the menu. Because some people (including Tim and Jeri) had special dietary restrictions, some additional items were prepared.

Jeffrey singing “I’m My Own Grandpa.”

Josiah told some jokes and riddles for meal-time entertainment.

Jeffrey and crew led the audience in “Deep in the Heart of Texas”…complete with hand clapping.

Jeffrey sang an old love song.

Katie and Lizzie led the singing of “You Are My Sunshine.”

At the end of the evening, the entire kitchen staff joined the musicians in singing “Happy Trails.”

Jason, Hannah, Jeffrey, and Josiah after the meal.

Jason, Hannah, Jeffrey, and Josiah after the Valentine’s Dinner. Click photo for full size.

Here’s a picture taken of Lizzie, Victoria, Jeri, and Tim in the kitchen after the meal.

Lizzie, Victoria, Jeri, and Tim after the Valentine’s Dinner. Click photo for full size.

Here’s a picture of Nicole, Joanna, the three Thomas girls, and Lizzie in the kitchen after the meal. Clean up has begun!

Nicole, Joanna, the Thomas girls, and Lizzie in the kitchen after the meal. Click photo for full size.

Here is a digest of the evening.