Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Falk Talk 2016


Welcome to Falk Talk 2016

Even though 2016 has developed a reputation as a kind of a stinker of a year, it's been kind to the Falks.  We pray that it has been kind to you, too!

The Falks at the Lions' Thanksgiving Day game

Princess had a great year.  She started 2016 by getting her braces off!  Woo hoo!  Her diligence in following instructions and taking care of her teeth paid off with a beautiful smile. 

No more braces!

16th birthday dance party at Imagine Art studios
This year has been a big one for her.  In the spring she turned 16, got her license and got her first job.  Over the summer she served as a volunteer for two church camps and participated in her own youth group's summer retreat.  As a Junior in high school this year, she is the manager for her high school's girls soccer team (state champs!), on the Student Congress as an Ambassador, is rocking two AP classes and still finds time to be incredibly social with many, many friends.

Buddy's year has been about sports and friends.  He played in the Upward basketball league last winter and was able to play one of his last games of the season in the Frank Erwin Center - home of the Texas Longhorn basketball team!

Hook 'em!

Ouch.  Not fun.
He started out his 8th grade year playing football for his middle school.  He was one game in when he broke his pinkie playing football with friends on the weekend.  The cast came off in time for him to play the last game.  Ever a team player, he worked out with the team for the whole season (non-contact drills per doctor's orders) and the coach rewarded him by playing him a good amount that last game.  He really enjoyed himself and it was a blast to watch him!

Go Cougars!

Milaka wasn't on stage this year, but was very active behind the scenes.  She currently serves on the board of directors for the kidsActing Foundation, the executive committee for the Austin Jewish Repertory Theater, volunteers with the Greater Austin High School Musical Theatre Awards, and (of course) still teaches 8th grade Drama and high school Basics of Film at Veritas Academy.  This year she was especially proud of the 8th graders' Midsummer Night's Dream showcase.

Gordon celebrated ten years as a franchisee of GradePower/Oxford Learning.  He also serves as a volunteer for a local Trail Life chapter.  Per his request, that is all the updates for Gordon.  (He also had a big birthday . . . but we won't talk about that.)

This spring we took a family trip to the beach for Easter.  We had a lot of fun combing the beach at all hours for anything that we could find . . .

And, because it was a little nippy near the water, we rode go-karts!

And went to the Texas State Aquarium.

Who's observing who?

Petting zoo - aquarium style

In May, Gordon and Milaka celebrated 20 years of marriage by taking a trip to New Orleans.  It was a wonderful trip! On the way, we stopped to catch up with a lifelong friend and Chopped champion - Christopher Thames.  He made us a scrumptious meal at his restaurant, and we got to meet his business (and life) partner, Leon.  A perfect start to a perfect weekend.  
At the Grand Coteau Bistro with Christopher and Leon

We still talk about this salad.  For real!

Then for the Big Easy.  We stayed right off of Bourbon Street. 
Just FYI - Bourbon Street is . . . . not really for those old enough to be celebrating 20 year anniversaries.  We came, we saw, we ducked into a swanky jazz joint, and then we left Bourbon Street quickly.

Irvin Mayfield's was a wonderful sanctuary from the madness of Bourbon Street!

However, the rest of New Orleans was magical.

We were served absinthe by a pirate in Pirate's Alley.
Pirate's Alley Cafe - our pirate gave us a very interesting history of absinthe. 

Ate beignets at Cafe du Monde (well, Gordon did - Milaka had coffee with a LOT of powdered sugar).
One MUST experience Cafe du Monde at least once in a lifetime.

We were told by several locals that the place where THEY (the locals) like to congregate is Frenchman Street.  The consensus was that Bourbon Street was for tourists, but if you just wanted to experience live music, good food and the New Orleans vibe, head to Frenchman.  We LOVED Frenchman.

The Frenchman Art Market

We saw this fantastic group at The Maison.  Not sure the official name of the group, but we bought the CD titled "Brad Walker Quintet" so . . . I'm thinking that's it?  Regardless, this is what the NOLA experience is all about.

And, the pinnacle of the weekend (for Milaka) was the trek to complete a bucket list item.  (At least, it was Milaka's bucket list.)  While we were at the artisan's market, we discovered that we were not far from an original Banksy.  Immediately, Milaka was on a quest.  Not much more than half a mile from the market, we found it.  

Which led to the discovery of the three phases of Banksy hunting:

1.  I walked half a mile in these shoes and now I'm standing where Banksy stood when he created this art.
2.  I walked a half a mile back (in these shoes) from where Banksy stood.  I may not have thought this through.
3.  Dear God, I promise I will never walk over a mile in these shoes again just please make it stop!
(But it really was worth it.)

This year we had a health scare with Milaka's dad.  He was hospitalized for a time and we were counseled to find long term care.  But prayer and persistence pays off and we are happy to report that Grandpoppy is at home again and able to participate in all of our family outings!

Grandmommy and Grandpoppy on July 4th in Marble Falls

Later in the summer, Milaka and Gordon kept the festivities going with another trip to Palm Springs for the Flock of Grouse.


In October, Milaka and Princess on a girls' weekend to Lake Tahoe to officially celebrate Princess' 16 years on the planet. 

Our first hike and first look at Lake Tahoe.
Fallen Leaf Lake hike.

We saw a bald eagle in the wild!  (Another bucket list item for Milaka.)

Parasailing over Lake Tahoe - a bucket list item for Princess!

Our last hike - up Mount Tallec.  She's an outdoor girl for sure!

 We topped off 2016 with a trip to Michigan to see Gordon's family for Thanksgiving.

Go Blue!

We end the year with high hopes for 2017.

Please let us know how YOU are doing.  The year 2016 has been trying, but there is always hope.

Much love and peace to you.

The Falks