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category archive listing Category Archives: Breck

Walking on Water

Our weekends are fun. And sunny. And usually low key. Lovely to be able to say that in the middle of February!!

So the kids came up with a new game last weekend. They figured that since so many of their cousins were skating and skiing and having so much fun on frozen water, they would try to see what they could do on top of liquid water. And this is what they came up with.

  1. Take 3 plastic box tote tops, arrange in a straight line in the pool.
  2. Set up mom or dad with the camera set in “sports” mode.
  3. See how many tops they could run across before sinking into the water.
  4. Laugh, give each other grief.
  5. Repeat.

That’s all. Nothing super special. Just a fun game. At least until the tops cracked and Alea cut her heel.

Breck’s a teenager!!

Breck with the Tundra comic book he got from his uncle and auntBreck shares his birthday with India’s Republic Day (so he always had a school holiday when we lived in Mumbai) and (as I learned yesterday) Australia Day. So happy birthday to all of them.

He’s having a Guy Party this weekend – he made up invitations that invited friends to “explore their inner guyness” as they play video games and watch PG-13 movies – so that’s pretty exciting. Bookended between baseball games on Friday night and Sunday afternoon, he’s got a full schedule.

For his birthday evening, we ordered in McDonald’s, ate the birthday cake his sister made, opened presents, studied for his math test, and watched War of the Worlds. Not too shabby for a Thursday afternoon!

Breck @ Baseball

Apparently we have to move all the way to the far east for Breck to be able to play baseball. There was nothing in Serbia, nothing in India (unless you count cricket), and we always got back too late/left too early in the summers to participate in the USA.

But here in J-Town, there is a thriving baseball league. Populated in large part by Indonesians (of course) and Japanese (which makes sense), the league is a well-structured ways for players to both learn the basics and hone their skills. Breck’s birthday determined that he was in the majors, so he is a first-time player on teams with much older boys (and a few girls).

After a practice on Thursday, the Phillies (ugh) had their first game on Sunday. Yeah, there wasn’t really a whole lot of “prep time” involved, but for many of the kids that didn’t seem to make much of a difference – they are good!! In a Thrilla Near Manilla, Breck’s team won 7-6 at the bottom of the last inning. Breck got in to play 2nd base, and his older teammates were very helpful in guiding him along.

Susan was a little overwhelmed at the length of the game (we arrived around 3:45 and left at 8:00), and Breck took a little dinger to his hand, but all in all it was a very successful afternoon of the “American Pastime” – in Indonesia!!

Halloween 2011

Not much going on in Jakarta, other than a middle school social, but WOW!! Did Breck ever go all out as an Orc Zombie:

Breck Halloween 2011 - scary zombie!

Too tired to blog

Sleeping with the kittensBack from Bali – all wiped out.

In case you want to see some pictures, and you haven’t looked at Facebook, you can follow this link


Track Meet

What javelin facial concentration!The middle school had its annual track meet, and Breck has been practicing with the team to get ready for things. There were over 300 students in attendance from 5 international schools, so to say there was a lot going on is a huge understatement!

Since I’d volunteered to run the javelin competition, Susan and Alea were holding down the Stutz cheering section duties (and they apparently did a great job). Breck ended up getting 5th overall in both long jump and javelin, and Susan got to taste Jakarta’s infamous Fatburgers!


No, not “breakdancing” as you might think…

So here’s the story: we were in a lunchtime meeting, and we could hear all this music being played outside. No big deal, right? Then other teachers started coming in saying that all the kids were on the Bali stage dancing, they were having a great time, and there’d never been anything like it before. Whatever.

Then, I started getting emails from people, and instructions to go the the front page of our MS website. And there it was:

Apparently Breck had climbed up on stage and started busting out with some boogie-Bollywood moves that people wanted to follow
At first, it was just him with a bunch of girls - the guys were off to the left doing their own thing
And the stage filled up, with crowds in the stands all around!
Actual quote: “Your son was the star of the Bali Stage dance floor today at lunch.  He had about 30 kids out there dancing with him.” Our boy was gettin’ down! It was like a scene right out of an Indian movie, where spontaneous dancing breaks out and makes everyone happy. It was certainly a fun way to see the kids spending their time!

Waterpark mania!

Besides the malls and the traffic, Jakarta has a plethora of water parks. OK, maybe only three that we’ve heard of, but still…

We got an overhead view of the Snowbay park during our visit to the mini Indonesia park the other day (see previous post), and decided to visit Waterbom – the biggest and ritziest place in town.

We hopped a taxi out there, and had a great day in the sun. The highlight of the visit was when Dave’s swimsuit tore completely in half on one of the rides. Thanks goodness he was able to slip on his boxers under the suit and parade around for the rest of the afternoon like that. Wardrobe malfunction aside, the place reminded us a lot of the water park we’ve been to at the Mall of America (except that it was all outdoors).There was even cold beer and hot satay to enjoy, so we could relax in style.

We didn’t bring the phone/camera in with us when we were at the pool, so we didn’t take pictures of some of the full-body-covering swimsuits that we saw, but we did sneak back in at the end of our visit to snap some “we were there” pictures. It was a super follow-up to our cultural outing the day before!


Ahh, the cat saga continues. We had quite the visit to the vet this weekend, one that will probably live in family lore for quite some time. We wanted to get the kitties’ first vaccinations, and so made plans to get into our school-provided minibus and go. Unfortunately, we made a series of mistakes that morning that were to weigh heavily on our adventure:

Mistake #1 – Breakfast for the cats was some kitty food mixed with some leftover rice and chicken from our dinner. Nice and bland, perfect for a couple of ex street cats, right?

Mistake #2 – I asked the kids to look up the address of the place we were going, but didn’t check on Google maps to make sure we knew (although, in my defense, even if I had looked online, the maze of twisting streets probably would have totally confused me anyways).

Mistake #3 – Susan asked if we were going to put them in a cardboard (beer bottle) box or something, since we don’t have a cat carrier. I thought that it would be no problem to just hold them in the van, and even let them explore, so long as we kept them away from the driver.

So off we go – and within 3 minutes of leaving, one of the cats is experiencing explosive diarrhea as we are weaving down the road. Because of mistake #3, we have no place to put her, but we still want to keep the flying feces off seats and clothing, so we empty out a canvas bag that Susan brought, and stick the cat – butt first, I might add – into the bag.

Now, cat crap is a pretty stinky affair. Loose bowelled poopers are even worse. So there the 7 of us are – the driver trying to drive, me holding the cat’s rear end in the bag, Susan cleaning the poop that got on her and Breck (and trying not to gag from the smell), and Alea keeping track of the other kitten (who is having a great time exploring the van and is totally unfazed by everything). We can’t really open the windows much because most are sealed shut and the others would present a great “jump out” opportunity, so we are stuck in a sealed metal tube, bobbing and lurching through Jakarta traffic.

And then we get lost. Not really lost, but when we finally get the building at #17A, it is a tattoo parlor, not a vet shop. We call the lady who brought the kittens, and she says that we are at the wrong 17A – the one we want is at the far other end of the road (and yes, she’s had people come to the animal shelter looking for the tattoo shop). So we turn around, make two more attempts to get down the road (with stinking cat, who is by this time pretty upset about having to stay in the bag).

But we finally make it. And get chastised in no uncertain terms for feeding people food to the cats. Apparently they can’t digest carbohydrates too well, so that’s why we had “Jakarta juice” all over the van.

And the surprise? Well that was finding out that, instead of two sisters, we actually have a sister and a brother. Oops. Susan is not happy about that oversight, as she is really concerned about male cats spraying things. Breck got very teary-eyed when we told him, and asked if we were going to have to sell NiDorianna and get a female. The decision was made to keep the cat, rename him to NiDorianno, and hope that he behaves himself when he gets older.

Then we all went home, jumped in the pool, and had a series of cold drinks to recover from the afternoon.

First Day of School in Jakarta

Here we go again!!

Breck and Alea by the new morning glory we planted in front of our Jakarta homeNot too much to post, just the yearly picture of Alea and Breck heading off to their first day of school at JIS.

We’ve planted a morning glory in our front yard, and Susan’s big plan is to take a picture of it each year – let’s see how it grows!

And as always, our previous school photos can be seen over on the webpage

Wildlife update – and the current score is…

Frog from Breck's "habitat"Dad 2.5, Rats 0.

The kids came home from school today and found a dead rat – with the sticky trap still affixed – out on the front lawn. While communication difficulties prevented them from getting a final answer from our maid and gardener as to whether they killed the rat or it had died on its own, I’m guessing they had something to do with the rodential expiration and thus am only taking an assist on this one.

The kitty hunt continues, with two neighborhood candidates being spotted the other evening. This weekend will be the “kitty litter and potty pan” shopping trip, and then we’ll try to entice them out with yummy treats. Wish us luck.

I suppose that if we don’t get any cats, Breck’s frog-hunting expeditions will take care of us. He made a “habitat” on the back porch out of the old TV box, and caught some local residents (pictured) for it. We’ll have to see how everything settles down as we spend the last evening before the last day of summer vacation…

Last (full) day of school in Mumbai

The sun is setting on another school year, and things are crazy all over. Because this is our “moving” year, we have to make sure all the little details of leaving and going are taken care of, in addition to the normal hecticness of this time of year.

Today is our last full day of school, and as is tradition I talked the kids into a picture. Here they are with the Gandhi picture in the hallway, looking all ready for the world!
Breck and Alea (with Gandhi) on the last day of school, June 2011

If you’re of a mind, it is always fun to check out their school pictures from years past on our webpage as well…

Festival of Nations

American FamilyWell, India pulled it off last night, and so Saturday is the big final match between them and Sri Lanka: in Mumbai – whoo hoo! For better or for worse, we will not be around, as our spring break starts Friday, and the Stutz family is off on our fourth (4th!!) trip to Rajasthan.

As is the norm, our last day before break is our school’s celebration of all the nationalities and cultures that make us a community – our Festival of Nations. And, as is the norm, we came decked out in our USA best. Here’s our picture of the day from our family, and we’ll be back blogging after the break. Adios!


Perfect teachers

We all certainly try to be, but sometimes kids’ expectations are a little unrealistic.

Doing some homework with Breck last night, he started wishing out loud that Einstein was his math teacher. I found this interesting, and asked if he had any other preferred teachers for his subjects.

Here is his list of who he’d want to be his teacher for each class:

Some of them are obvious “experts in the field”

  • Math: Einstein
  • Science: Newton
  • Music: Beethoven
  • Art: Leonardo da Vinci
  • English: William Shakespeare

Others are people who might not immediately leap to mind

  • French: Joan of Arc or Napoleon
  • Drama: Harrison Ford or George Lucas
  • PE: Carl Lewis

And my two personal favorites –

  • Social Studies: Genghis Khan
  • Tech: that guy who invented computers – Michael Soft

Swingin’ with the Stutzes

Alea and Breck with their instrumentsSo here they are, at the (maybe) last band concert of the year – Alea and Breck with their instruments in tow!

All the bands played great, and it was a super way to end a Wednesday. There’s big pressure on now to buy instruments for them this summer; we’ll have to see what the break brings.

Their band director is a fun guy from Minnesota (he actually taught at the same middle school the kids would attend if we lived in the apartment in Lakeville!), and you can see a goofy picture of him by clicking on the existing shot!

Pizza and Paintball

That’s what Breck wanted to have for his birthday. Since we missed his real birthday (travel plans for a job recruiting fair – that we ended up not needing to attend – precluded celebrations on his actual date), we’d promised to make it up this weekend.

Gathering 8 buddies from school in a rented van to traipse them all around town, we headed up to the suburb of Powai (which is built around a lake that is home to man-eating crocodiles. For real.) While we had no plans to swim in the lake, we did chow down on pizza and then head over to an outdoor paintball arena. For those of you who have never experienced paintball (in 90 degree weather) with a bunch of 12 year old boys, let me tell you that you have missed out on living! I thought testosterone was the source of all the machismo, but these guys – who are not anywhere close to shaving – would give any tall taler a run for his money!

After about an hour and a half of play – and the requisite rehashing of all the kills and strategies and all – we jumped in the bumper cars for a spin and then finished the afternoon at the video arcade.

I think I wore them all out – and me tool. If India can just finish off Ireland in this silly cricket game, then I’m hitting the hay as well!

Mama Mia, it’s an Eclipse of the Twilight Moon!

That was the name of one part of “Stars on Parade,” the middle school production this year. It was made up of 13 mini-plays put on by students, and included a Stutz performer (just as it had last year).

This time around, it was Breck’s turn to take part, and he worked every Thursday afternoon with his groups preparing their performances. The first bit was a play on the song (and movie) Mama Mia, where instead of the love interest being a person – it was food! Very cute, as they sang and danced their way through tales of diet woe and junk food trauma!

The second piece he was in was called “Eclipse of the Twilight Moon,” of course in mocking reference to the vampire books and movies that everyone (in the middle school, at least) has read and seen. Breck plays a zombie who convinces Bella that neither the vampire Edward nor the werewolf Jacob are the ‘man’ for her, and he lurches off arm-in-arm with her, presumably to un-live happily ever after.

They showed the plays 5 times in the span of 2 days, so the cast really got a feeling for what it was like to put on a production multiple times. While cameras and video were not allowed at the performance (“No real theater allows recordings, and we won’t here either. A play should be remembered in the head and in the heart”), I was able to snag a few pictures that the yearbook photographer took during a practice run through!

Breck’s excuse

Welcome to India.

Breck’s band teacher caught me in the hall today, laughing about Breck’s reason for not having his sheet music in class: “My maid threw it away.”

Have we been out of the USA too long or what !! 🙂

Breck in basketball

Breck has been participating in an intramural basketball program this spring at school, and the teams held their internal tournament this weekend. He was one of only 2 6th graders to play, so going up against all those big 8th graders gave him a chance to “toughen up” a bit.

His team wore black, and ended up winning 2 out of their 3 games. He scored a bit, made some good defensive plays, and had a very good showing for his first ever experience with a basketball team. Good time!!

Breck’s birthday

Breck and the Tron game!Breck had been all bummed out because we were going to miss his birthday, as mom and dad had planned on flying to London today for the start of the recruiting fair. But, since we finalized things with Jakarta just 2 days ago, we got to spend this special day together as a family (and, because today is India’s Republic Day, we got to spend it at home!).

Breck started out the morning with a bit of a sleep in, and then it was off to the presents! He got a bunch of Nerf darts for his guns, a Clone Wars DVD, a Tron game for the Wii, and 3 (three!!) Star Wars PC games!! Holy electronic birthday, Batman!

Breck's cake(It will be interesting, however, to see what happens when we move to a Mac platform school next year, however. I wonder if he’ll be able to get as much play with the games there as he does here…)

After a full day of video game playing and pool splashing, we finished off the evening with a bit of homework and then the cake and ice cream finale. After he got re-dressed to look appropriate for the pictures(!), he blew out his candle and even practiced wetting his fingers to douse the flame.

Then it was early to bed, since he (and dad) are catching a ride to basketball practice at 5:45 in the a.m. Yee-haw!

Indian inflation fears strike the Stutz household

So apparently the ill effects of the economy are now striking our family. Let me explain:

Breck’s hair was getting really long (bear with me – this will make sense in a minute). Susan volunteered to give him a trim this weekend, citing a couple of very rational reasons for getting the cut at home: most Indians have straight hair (so barbers would be less familiar with his curls), she speaks better English than most barbers (and thus would listen to what he said about what he wanted the hair to look), etc.

When he showed up at school today with a nice neat haircut, one of his teachers commented on it, and he replied that he’d had it cut at home “because Indian barber shop prices are rising, and we couldn’t afford to go there.”

Well, yes, Indian barbershop prices are rising, it is true. But I’m pretty sure we can still afford to go, seeings how the current (white man’s, inflated) price is Rs 50, or $1.10.

Hopefully the teacher doesn’t really think money woes are the reason we didn’t take him to a salon! I can only wonder what other stories people hear about us around town…

(I posted pictures from the haircut ‘saloon’ I go to a while back, if you’re interested).

Christmas morning!

Presents under the tree!Breck decided, based on a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon he read, to let us sleep in “until quarter to six this year.” Actually, he was very responsible, getting up quietly, looking around, and getting into his stocking (Santa neglected to put up a sheet this year; obviously the beer ‘n cookies bribe worked). The rest of us – with the girls both fighting colds – rolled out of bed around 7:30.

We got the tunes going and the lights on, and busted into the goodies. By the time all was said and done, there were some definite trends in the gifts received. Breck had an “all flying” year, with Star Wars legos, 2 model airplanes, a dart set, and a Wii fighter pilot game. Many of Alea’s gifts were construction-based, with jewelry making, rock tumbling, and dollhouse furniture putting together all making an appearance in her pile. Dave had a heavy metal Christmas, with a set of steel plates and bowls for the cabin, a Ganesh bell set, and a pair of silver candle holders. Susan was picturing the perfect year, with a shot of her and Dave at the PTA gala and an Omani trip.

What a great Christmas morning – now I’ve got to go play Wii with Breck!!

Susan and Alea reading the instructionsBreck making LegosSusan and Dave at the gala

Christmas Concert

The Middle and High School bands and choirs held their Christmas Concert this evening, and we had kids playing twice tonight! Breck’s 6th grade band got things going with an especially rousing rendition of the Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s 9th! See him in the back row on his trombone with the other low brass?

Alea demonstrated beautiful embrasure as her band rocked out to “Legends of the Ghost Dance.” OK, while not really a Christmasy song, it was still pretty cool, with all the thumping percussion and swinging saxophones!

Both kids have worked really hard this year and made huge growth as musicians. Maybe we’ll have to invest in instruments for the family this summer!

And what kind of concert would end without a Stutz wave to the audience? 

Breck and the circus arts

Here’s the latest thing Breck has been spending time on: in PE, they are doing a unit on ‘circus arts,’ encompassing everything from unicycles to juggling to flicking around those sticks you see people playing with on the beach (obviously there is a more accurate name, but it is Friday afternoon and I just can’t think of it).

In any case, he has spent a lot of time practicing his juggling (and is getting good at it!), but decided to show off his stick skills in the school presentation. Because the theme was the circus and clowns, he put on a wig and had makeup on his face – and really did a spectacular show!

Breck with the sticks #1Breck with the sticks #2Breck with the sticks #3

2010 school photos

Well here they are – the official portraits of this school year. You can enjoy them all here and pop over to the webpage for a look back at all the kids’ (and parents’) school shots over the years.