Monday, February 28, 2011

Just the Boys

On Saturday, Mom had one of her final classes at the Exploratorium. What that meant, Rai, is that we had a boys day out. I was excited to see that the months and months of restoration at the Palace of Fine Arts had been completed and that the chain-link fence surrounded the place had been taken down. We were again free to wander the grounds.
I was excited to show you all the statuary and detailed facade of the Palace. You, however, had something else on your mind entirely. Mom had mentioned the Chaat Cafe before we dropped her off and it was obvious that you were interested in nothing more than getting over to the Cafe for some tofu curry. As always, you won. We left the Palace and were at the Chaat Cafe within minutes. I wasn't complaining.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Better Than Pink Flamingos

We took a drive north today. Way, way north all the way to the town of Sebastopol. Sebastopol is one of those towns that has been discovered and transformed by your typical San Franciscan looking to bring their ideals and politics to the country. Other towns just like it dot the countryside within an hour or two of San Francisco.
It is towns like Sebastopol that are like an oasis for the starved San Franciscan after driving through the coastal hills and realizing that one doesn't have to get too far from the city before your only radio choices are country and christian rock.
The hippie/progressive feel of Sebastopol permeated from storefronts, cafes, and used bookshops as we drove into town. Ahh... it was like being back in the city without parking and crowds to worry about. A few blocks down, we mistakenly turned down Florence Street to find that every second home had an incredible piece of art on its lawn. Of course I took photos! Checking at home, we found out that the artists Patrick Amiot and Brigitte Laurent live on the block, and have produced all this art for their neighbors! Their website is: http://www.patrickamiot.com/index.html
Cool street, cool town. We like it. Watch the video below to see the wonderful sculptures!

video

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Micro Climates

San Franciscans have long recognized that this is a city of micro climates. While those in the Avenues are wearing parkas in the fog on Ocean Beach, the hipsters in the Mission are wearing tank tops and playing in the sun.
Today, I witnessed something even more dramatic and bizarre than that! Rai and I were playing under that giant bow and arrow along the Embarcadero, right by the Bay Bridge. Looking south, foreboding, gray clouds hung over the Bridge. At that very same moment, looking north, nothing but blue skies! The photos here are taken at the very same spot, just seconds apart, just looking in two different directions. Wow!
I guess it's as they told us while we were in New Zealand. "If you don't like the weather, just wait five minutes!" True that.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rai: Is Ko Useful to Me in any Way?

Rai now recognizes Ko as a living being, a part of the family instead of some inanimate object that is to be alternatively hit or kissed. Now that Ko has "come to life", Rai is left wondering: "How is he useful to me? He can't sit, stand, or walk. He can't hold things very well. He has a short attention span. I'm not sure how to make this being useful in my life."
Rai, we've come up with a very good use for Ko. You're approaching two years of age and potty training is something we've been talking about with you for some time now. A potty sits idly around in our living room, getting little action. Rai, you are still pretty resistant to receiving potty training from us. But, when you saw Ko sitting in his foam chair, you couldn't help seating yourself beside him in... your potty! So, we'll leave the potty training up to Ko. Rai, Ko is now your mentor. He's useful, after all.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Smoothies

It's a good thing that we don't have a Jamba Juice around the corner and that closest smoothie shop is actually 20 minutes walk away because if either was any closer, we'd spend all our savings on smoothies. Instead, Mom hooks us up with her super secret smoothie creations (don't ask her what's inside!) and we can't get enough of those, can we Rai?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rai is 22 Months Old Today!

We keep telling ourselves we'll stop counting your age in months someday but, for now, it's just too much fun to celebrate a birthday every month to stop!
Thinking ahead to this important 2-2 birthday, we made a plan way back when your hair started growing in fully. The plan was this: by 22 months, you would have a mullet and that mullet would extend 2.2 inches or more below your neckline. And, it's a success!
Rai, you've got some great hair and a great mullet. Once it gets even longer, we may even consider cutting the sides nice and short to take it that final step to mullet perfection. Can't wait for that! If you're one of those thinking: "you guys seem to poke too much fun at Rai. You're taking advantage of this toddler, growing mullets...", let's settle this now. Rai loves it. Just look at him with that group of mullet men below. Just look at him running his hand through that luxurious mane. He told us personally that he wants his to look just like the two guys to his right. Nice!
Happy 22 months, Rai! We can't imagine a life without you. We love you so much!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Food

Eating out is turning into a bit of a Friday night tradition for our family. Actually, make that a Tuesday night, Saturday afternoon, and any other day we're too tired to prepare a meal (so many days!) tradition.
Well, it was a Friday night and we were tired. We decided to try out a vegan Chinese place we've heard about for a long time. Shangri-La is the name but don't let that fool you unless, of course, you believe you'll eat bad meals for eternity in Shangri-La. No wonder the accolades on the wall of this restaurant seem to mysteriously end in 2001. I guess what happened after that was that the food got bad.
We may not have been impressed but, luckily, for Rai the word "FOOD" on the front window was enough. It doesn't take stars, Zagat ratings, reviews, or "Best of the Bay" nominations to impress Rai. All he needs is the word "food".
Inside, Rai did what he does best: he ate. Then, he ate some more. Even when we tried to get a nice photo of him with Dad, he kept eating. After the photo, more eating. We've got leftovers to last Rai this whole week in our fridge. We certainly aren't touching them.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Back to Nature

We made a visit to an incredible home in Mill Valley a few weeks ago. Our friends were staying in a basement unit that had been converted into a B&B. High in the foothills of Mt.Tamalpais with sweeping views across the forested hills, towns, and the Bay, the home is an incredible place. Not only that, this hundred year old A-frame home is somewhat of a landmark in Marin.
Ever since that visit, Ko hasn't stopped talking about nature and getting our family back to nature. "Why don't we move out of the city and into a small town where we can feel more connected to nature?" he's been asking us. Good question. Why don't we?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ko's Personality is Starting to Show

With Kotaru at 4 months old, we are reminded of our time with Rai when he was that age. It's at about this time that the personality begins to show up and, from what we've seen so far, Ko's personality may be similar to Rai's, in some ways. Ko is a very happy baby. He smiles a lot and is even beginning to have infectious laughing episodes. He looks up at us fondly and is very talkative when we hover over him. All this smiling, laughing and talking warms our hearts more than we can express. Our two boys bring immeasurable joy into our home.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mr.Mxyzptlk

My imagination often gets the best of me. Tonight, Rai was taking a bath. There was Rai, standing in knee deep water in front of me. Yet, it wasn't Rai that I saw. What I saw was Mr.Mxyzptlk, a classic Superman villain. Oh, no! What was this villainous character doing in our home? A better question may be, how had a fictional character from the pages of a comic book appeared in our tub?
Rubbing the visions from my eyes, I realized that it wasn't Mxyzpltk, but Rai in front of me, after all. However, on his head sat a small bowl, a bath toy turned hat. It's diminutive size on Rai's big head would have convinced even the most sane observer that Superman's rogues gallery had begun its invasion on our home.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Still Single

Valentine's Day (or Singles Awareness Day as some may call it) is here again.
For you, Rai, this is your second Valentines Day and your second one as an eligible toddler. You certainly have options, yet you seem to do so little about it. Yesterday, at the Valentines party with our Moms (and Dads) group, you were surrounded by the sweetest of girls. Madelyn was hosting and had her eyes on you. Claire, headstrong and independent, but definitely interested when you showed her some flair and self-confidence by wearing that pink hat. You ignored their advances completely, showing more interest in the food then in them. Hey, I can't blame you, though -- that was some great food, wasn't it?
Even while you stuffed your face, little Ko was enjoying his first experience with the ladies, too. Lucia, just one month older than him but twice his size, kept rolling over and going for his hand. He didn't quite know what to do about that. Poor little guy.
Back at home, today, you looked longingly out the window and across the street. Grabbing Mom's flowers and letting out a sad, "La-la-la-la" (translated to: Lalima), we knew why you had hardly given Madelyn and Claire the time of day yesterday afternoon. Your heart is spoken for. How could we forget. Lalima is your one true love and you're a faithful guy. Maybe Lalima will accept flowers one day late...

video

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Kotaru - 4 Months Old Today!

Today, Kotaru (our little Ko-Ko-Bean) turns 4 months old!
We didn't think it possible but it feels like little Ko has been part of our lives much longer than it did with Rai at 4 months. Why? Probably because with both our boys seeking our attention at all hours of the day, this has been a more hectic and wild time than it was back when Rai was the only little one in the house. From our travel experiences, we learned that it's in times of adversity that bonds are made and that the joy that shines through in trying times is the joy that creates sharper images in one's memory. All the ups and downs of the past 4 months have established a bond, not just for us and Ko but for our entire family. We have firmly established ourselves as a family of four. Even Rai agrees. Happy Birthday, Kotaru!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Passing the Baton

One of many personal past times that has disappeared from my life in recent years is ultimate frisbee. Back in the day, ultimate was one of my passions. Many a summer evening in Winnipeg were spent tossing the disc and this continued in Seoul where your Mom and I joined an expat organized ultimate league.
Alas, with two little ones at home and a real job, ultimate has nearly disappeared from my life entirely -- just another sign that I am no longer as youthful as I try to believe I am. The only trace of ultimate frisbee left in my life are the three or four ultimate discs that hide in a couple of our closets and in the back of our car.
"It's not too late," I told myself today. As we prepared for a quick outing to the beach, I made the last minute decision to bring along the disc. "I'll teach Rai," I thought, "impress him with his old man's athletic prowess!" As is always the case, the young student quickly surpasses the old teacher. Before I knew it, Rai had left me in the sand alone and had joined an ultimate game taking place on the beach. "Dad who?" he must have been thinking.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Walking up Steps

It's interesting how quickly toddlers go from their first wobbly steps to steady, balanced walking but how slowly other activities emerge. When will Rai climb confidently? When will he jump, skip, ride his tricycle? Recently, he did surpass another big hurdle in the physical activity department: he began walking up steps instead of crawling up them. Next, we hope to get him to face his fears by sliding down slides independently, something that is tough for him with memories of his broken leg still holding him back.

video

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What's on Rai's Mind These Days?

We get asked a lot about the "jealousy factor" in our household these days and our answer is simple: Rai loves his little brother. Sure, at first he didn't know what to make of it, but it took only a month or two for him to turn jealousy into love. There's still the occasional secret hit but, overall, little Rai loves little Ko. They will soon be best of friends.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sunset with Lalima

Sunsets are great, but they're even better when you have the love of your life by your side. Tonight, in Sutro Park, Ashe was by my side and Rai, well, he had Lalima at his side and this rendezvous was not by chance. Ashe and Asha had carefully orchestrated this sunset meet. Rai needed his Lalima fix and, apparently, Lalima needed her Rai fix, too. We'll make sure to keep this fact from Rai, though, because he already thinks he's pretty cool, especially with those new sunglasses of his...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Future Musician -- It's Written in the Stars!

Grandma and Grandpa are great patrons of the arts in San Francisco. With all their memberships and season passes, not to mention all the shows they attend, they are single handedly sustaining numerous city institutions. This patronage does not end with the symphony, the ballet, or art museum memberships. Actually it extends to your life, Rai.
Grandma and Grandpa are the generous donors behind your own budding musical career. They are responsible for those wonderful music classes that you've been taking. This early start on your musical career has been good for you, music class is a highlight of each week for you!
However, even without this early intervention, Grandpa tells us, Rai, that you're destined for musical greatness no matter what! Considering the great musicians that our family shares birthdays with, there is no way that you won't turn out a famous musician!
Rai: 4/22 shared with Glen Campbell and Peter Frampton
Maciej: 9/9 shared with Otis Redding
Kotaru: 10/13 shared with Paul Simon
Ashe: 11/3 shared with Adam Ant (who's that, you say?)
Even Ko, with his tiny little hands, but long fingers, is sure to share in that musical heritage!