Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What's the Beach without...

Dogs. The beach just isn't the beach without our favorite four-legged friends, the, as Rai affectionately calls them, "dog-dogs". The weather was fine, the sunset was gorgeous but that wasn't enough for our little Rai. He needed more. He sought a pack of hounds to run the sands of the beach with. He took their slobbery licks to the face with a smile. He grabbed their tails, holding fast even as they began to run, dragging him right off of his feet. rai's love of dogs knows no bounds. Sometimes, it's possible to love something too much (watch the video below).

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Another Day, Another Sunset at the Beach

Sure we had a great time at the cabin, in the mountains, in the snow but, Rai, you definitely didn't let us forget that there was another kind of nature waiting for us back home. How many times did we hear you say "beach... beach" while we were at the cabin? At least one hundred times. Per day.


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Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Pig Dance: Invoking a Hearty Appetite

Rituals have been an important part of human history for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. One ritual common across many different cultures is the rain dance. This usually comes in the form of a communal ceremony intended to invoke rain or to ensure a successful harvest. Whether you believe in the power of the rain dance, or not, there is no denying that this ritual has been, and still is, an important part of the lives of people the world over.
This year, the rains fall in record amounts in California so the call of the Central Valley rain dance has been heard. With a bountiful harvest expected, it is time for a very different kind of dance altogether; the pig dance. This dance invokes a hearty appetite, the appetite that will be necessary to eat all that food in our future. Rai, you used to have an appetite that was without equal. Lately, you're not eating much. So, we've put together a little song and video (the pig dance) for you, hoping that our call for the return of Rai-ski "Pig Face" Sequoia will be heard. The sun is going down. When we wake tomorrow, our little piggy will be back, we're certain.
The video is also a tribute to one of our favorite scenes in the film 'Dan in Real Life' where Dan's family convinces him to go on a blind date with a girl from his past, Ruthie "Pig Face" Draper.

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Alpine County: Fall into Total Relaxation

We have just returned from our Thanksgiving getaway to the cabin in Alpine County. It was a week that began tough but ended perfectly. For some reason, all four of us arrived without appetite and unable to sleep that first night, Monday night. For Ashe and I, it seemed that we got only a quarter hour's sleep before one of our boys was calling for our attention... all.... night... long. Needless to say, on Tuesday, we sat around, completely lethargic, wondering if the long journey out to the cabin and the 250 meter hike through fresh, 2-foot deep snow, carrying in all our food, water and supplies had been worth it. That night, we slept much better.
Wednesday reminded us why we love the cabin so much. We were refreshed and had nothing to worry about except spending time with our two boys and looking out at the perfect winter scene outside our windows. We even made it out of the cabin, digging our car out of the snowbank it had turned into and taking a drive into Markleeville town where we admired the two brand new buildings that had been built in town. We also visited our favorite spot, the library, where we received the kind of warm welcome that, in the big city would be reserved only for the closest of family or friends. Later, when the boys had gone to sleep, we put the mattress right by the fireplace and lay there relaxing, reading, and watching movies into the evening.
By Thanksgiving Day, we were thankful for so much. We were warm. We had food. We had nothing to think about. Rai had re-introduced himself to the cabin and had made himself at home. Ko ate and slept all day long. The sun was out and we went for a beautiful walk in the warm afternoon. As always, hotsprings valley was amazing blanketed in snow.
Friday. We planned to leave this day as a storm was coming in over the weekend. With the hotsprings opening later than expected, however, it was very easy to talk ourselves into spending one more night and taking our chances with the weather on Saturday. Ashe was so excited to be 'allowed' back into the springs after almost a year's wait (pregnancy and hot, hot water do not mix) and this is the first time we've seen Rai look quite so grown up, the way he lay back and relaxed in the hot waters was much beyond his less than two years. Soaking in the hot waters, a holiday that had begun with us doubting our decision to come during a cold and sleepless night had turned into one that was too short. Where had the week gone? We could imagine ourselves sitting in the hotsprings every day for the next week, or two, or three...
Enjoy the videos below!

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Post #600: Happy Thanksgiving from Shay Creek!

It's hard to believe that the words I'm typing at this moment are for the 600th post/story on this blog. It's also hard to believe that these words come to you from the wonderful little library in Markleeville. Somehow, despite the 6-week old in our family and the massive 12-inches of snow that fell here over the past two days, we made it to the cabin. The Thanksgiving tradition that began last year with only you, Rai, continues this year for your little brother Kotaru who, like you did last year, experienced his first snow here at our cabin!
Looking at the huge snowbanks on the deck and by the doors kept us inside and on the mattress we dragged over to the fireplace for the first day but, today, we had the energy to brave the snow and made a trip into town. There may be nothing more beautiful than those giant pines covered in snow.
More storms are expected, so we'll keep an eye on the skies and the forecast and hope to get in as many days as we can in this winter wonderland before having to return back to reality.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Story of How the Bay Area was Discovered

Many, many, many years ago, there was a group of children. They played with toy trains and toy boats. They played with stuffed animals and wooden blocks cut into shapes. They climbed in play structures and swung in nets and swings. They splashed at water stations and worked on simple art projects. Then -- all of a sudden -- the San Francisco Bay was discovered ! That is the story of how the San Francisco Bay and the Bay Area were discovered hundreds of years ago.
What?! Does that even make any sense? Something about that discovery story didn't seem right to me. Where were important names like the Ohlone, Drake and Portola? I was left wondering if the Bay Area Discovery Museum was actually what I had always thought that it was. Was this actually a museum devoted to the discovery of the Bay Area? Looking again at all the toddlers running around in a space that is nothing more than an entertainment park for young kids, I had to conclude that the conclusions I had made about this museum (if you can call it that) based solely on its name, were all wrong.
It's a good thing we came here as a family. I didn't get my Bay Area history museum, but Rai got his giant playground. I'm trying to imagine the shock of tourists who may end up here expecting the same thing I did. It's definitely an out-of-the-way journey across the Golden Gate Bridge, to Fort Baker to visit this museum. To avoid any confusion or disappointment, I think I'll write to the museum folks to consider a name change. The 'Fort Baker Giant Playground' or the 'Marin Children's Play Zone' or the 'North Bay Play Center' may be more appropriate names. Somehow, I don't think my suggestion will be taken too seriously.


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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Huh.. huh...huh...huh.

One of the most important items in our home is the huh...huh...huh...huh. For those uninitiated in baby talk (or is it just Rai talk?), that translates to 'blanket'. For as long as we can remember, Rai, your myriad blankies have all gone by the same name, huh...huh...huh...huh. Readers, if you can't quite sound that out, imagine Rai grabbing a blanket, stuffing it in his face (or his face into it) and making a panting kind of noise. To this day, when requesting his blankie or simply when seeing a blankie lying around somewhere, Rai emits that panting noise. Not a day goes by when Rai doesn't get 10-15 minutes on a bed, rolling around in and smothering himself in a pile of blankets.
So, it's been tough for Rai to see little Kotaru claim some of his old blankies. In Rai's world, it's completely acceptable to tear a blanket off of a sleeping newborn, leaving the trembling newborn exposed and cold. That type of behavior may not go over well in other homes but this is a home filled with humor, sarcasm and prank. Ko, Mom, Dad, and Rai all get a good laugh, we all get a good look at Ko's cute little chicken legs, then put the blanket back on the baby and give Rai some other huh...huh...huh...huhs that he can play with.

Friday, November 19, 2010

So What Can We Do in the Park?

We love our park, our Golden Gate Park. We'll never get tired of our walk down the hill, into the park, around the lakes, through the forest, and out to the beach. We've spent so much time in the park together that you probably thought that anything is possible in this park. In this park, there are no limits to what you accomplish, the future looks clear and bright.
Well, that was how you felt about the park until the other day when you came across a sign of activities that are not allowed in the park. No biking. No skateboarding. No in-line skating. No scooters. No dogs. No sports. No picking flowers. No trampling flowers. No feeding squirrels. With a list like that, you were left wondering just what you could do in the park. Walking and running may be okay, right? Actually, probably not because those could fall under the 'no sports' rule.
Lucky for us, before this sign of restrictions got us down, we noticed that it applied only to the the flower garden under the windmill and despite all the the forbidden behaviors, there was one that definitely was allowed: weddings. You seemed pretty excited about the wedding that was taking place, Rai. Maybe your wedding will be held there 30 or 40 years from now.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Just Lying Around

For many months now, it has been increasingly difficult to get our fix of baby parts. It used to be so easy to grab you, Rai, and to kiss your little feet, your legs and arms. Once you started running around, though, that became a near impossibility for us parents who love to grab you, hold you, and kiss you. That's not to say it's entirely impossible, though. We can still pin you down and smother you when you're on the changing table or right before bed.
With Ko, though, we're reminded of just how easy this was before you started walking, Rai. Ko is giving us another chance in this life to hug and kiss a little baby to our heart's content. While he's just lounging around, on the bed, on a table, on the couch, he's an easy target. We can inspect all his tiny little digits without worrying about him complaining or running away. He has no choice but to lie there and just take all that love. He's helpless and we're taking full advantage. Does that make us bad people?
And, you know what? On second thought, let's not sell Rai short. Rai, you love being held and hugged and, as Grandpa always says, "You certainly take a lot of kisses without any word of complaint." Thank you boys for giving us two little ones on which we can throw all our love.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Two Sons Named Ko

Somehow, Rai, you have gotten it in your head that your name is 'Ko'. Where you got that idea from, we just don't know but we suspect that it may have something to do with the fact that you have a little brother named Ko. Whatever the cause, we're happy to have two Kos in the house but miss our little Rai.
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Still Obsessed

In case you were wondering, Rai hasn't yet grown out of his two biggest obsessions: dogs and the beach. The good news is that we can easily satisfy both those just by heading a few blocks down the hill to Ocean Beach. It's a beach and there's always some dogs running around. You tagged the beach hoping to mark it as your own 'Rai' territory.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

A Son at Every Turn

I can't take two steps in our home without running into one of my sons. I go into the living room and there's Rai, running around, tugging at my pant legs. I step into the dining room and there's Ko, on the floor by the bookshelf. I go to the bathroom and open flies the door, Rai laughing at the other end. I sit down to do some grading and there's little Ko, right on the dining room table.
If any of this sounds like a complaint, it's not! In fact, could life get any better than running into your beautiful sons at every turn? I think not.