Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Redwoods in Oakland?!


When one thinks of Oakland, redwood trees are probably the last thing that comes to mind. Actually, forests of any kind never came to our minds when we thought of Oakland. We know that those Oakland Hills folks live pretty large, but this is still a city that we pretty much avoid at all costs. There's just not much there that interests us. Or, so we thought.
A few months ago, while at the Bay Area Discovery Museum, I was flipping through a book devoted to wilderness in the Bay Area. In one chapter, I came across some amazing photos of trails through some beautiful redwood groves. "Ah, Marin..." I thought. "Or maybe the Coastal Range..." I corrected myself. Then, I looked at the photo caption. 'Redwood Regional Park, Oakland' it read. "What?!" I did a double-take, making sure that that caption was actually for that photo and the city name that I was reading beside the word 'redwood' was actually Oakland. It was.
Most of the ridge above the East Bay cities is preserved as parks and open space. Oakland is no exception. A few regional parks connect in the forested hills above Oakland and one of them is this park with its stand of 2nd and 3rd generation redwood trees along a year-round creek. Unbelievable as it may sound, this forest once had mighty redwoods that were so enormous that they were used a navigational landmarks by ship captains sailing into the Bay. Those old growth redwoods are gone but the young redwoods that have replaced them are still a sight to behold.
Eager to see this relatively inland grove of redwoods for ourselves, we visited Redwood Regional Park this afternoon. Rai was excited -- this was his first hike in a long, long time! We used to go hiking with him all the time but little Ko has worn us down so much that we haven't been out hiking since he was born. So, for Ko, this was his very first hike and there's no better way for the littlest Sequoia boy to begin a lifetime of hiking than to visit a park devoted to protecting sequoia trees. We were impressed. This is a park that we will be sure to visit every time we find ourselves in the Oakland area!

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Monday, May 30, 2011

Ko Firsts: Mohawk and Teeth

Just as Rai did at about the same age, at almost 8 months, Ko has started to exhibit some signs of rebellion. The little hair he has gives him few styling options, yet he has made a very clear statement by choosing the mohawk as his first hairstyle. We call it the Kohawk. And, what would rebellion be without some bite to go with that bark. Ko is also now sporting his first teeth!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Private Beach

In our old apartment, we were only minutes from Ocean Beach but, to get there, we had to walk 5 blocks of home after home after home. Walking past hundreds of homes, Ocean Beach never felt as peaceful as it could have.
Now, Baker Beach is just a few minutes walk from our place. To get there, we pass only a couple of our neighbors' homes, then continue along a forest trail until we get to the sands of Baker Beach. Something about the nature trail makes it feel like our own private beach. This is especially true in the morning when only a handful of people can be found the entire length of the beach.
We always loved Baker Beach but didn't come often enough as it meant loading everyone up in the car and driving over. Now that it's only a 3 minute walk from our front door, we know that we'll be spending a lot of time there. Rai and Ko will grow up at this beach.
Like this morning, Rai and I couldn't resist walking down and spending two hours at the beach doing three things and three things only: building a sand castle, playing baseball, and playing with every dog that came running by. These are the the kinds of mornings, afternoons and evenings I can get used to!

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

More Bideo!

In the Korean language, there is no sound equivalent to our "v" sound. The result is that many English words with a "v" end up being pronounced with a "b" sound instead. A classic example is the word "video" which is pronounced like something much closer to "bideo".
Since space inside homes and apartments is so limited in Seoul, every neighborhood has something called a "Video Bang" (or "bideo bang") which simply means: video room. At your local "bideo bang", you pay a flat rate a the counter, then proceed to a tiny room with only a couch and television inside. As you sit down, the movie you ordered comes on.
Rai and Ko, your Mom and I had many, many date nights at our local video bang so it's no surprise that Rai now can't get enough of watching videos. As a tv-less household, our videos are limited to online videos so the videos that Rai has fallen in love with are videos of himself. Every day, we spend 10-15 minutes watching videos of Rai on this blog. As each video ends, Rai says "More bideo, please..." (yes, Rai may have some Korean in him, after all).

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Chewbacca

We're one month into the "terrible twos" without incident. Sure, Rai is more emotional (that is the cause for the "terrible" behavior, right?) but, applying deflection techniques learned from years as teachers, we easily deal with his mini meltdowns, tantrums and whining fits. Rai's whining sounds kind of like an "mmm, mmmm, mmm" sound. Listening to it, I can almost see Rai turning into the furry beast known as Chewbacca. Even whining/mock crying can be turned into something humorous...

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lemon Baby

Our friend Cassie is back from Jordan for a week so we hit the beach and Mandalay for some great food. While at the restaurant, we remembered a Youtube video (the Best of Lemon Babies) and decided to film Ko's reaction to eating a lemon. I guess he's not as dramatic as those babies in the video...
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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

One Month to Go!

We mentioned a few months ago that Rai's height is something that was on our minds a lot as his second birthday approached. We had heard that one's adult height is often about double their height at 2 years old. If that is true, Rai would barely make it to 5 and a half feet! Then, the good news arrived. Uncle Bart let us know that for boys, this rule is more accurate when considering a toddler's height at 26 months. So, we now have one month to go and Rai is getting a bit taller every day. We're keeping a close eye on his height. Can he grown another inch this month? Keep on eating, Rai -- you can do it!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Old Apartment vs. New Apartment

Yesterday, I did a quick comparison of our old place and our new place. Today, we go further in comparing the two apartments. Other than the fact that we've lost an Ocean view, we feel that our new home comes out on top in almost every way. Check out the comparison below and judge for yourself!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Rai: Moving on his 25th Month Birthday !

The world did not end yesterday. Babcia was able to celebrate her birthday without the stress of a cataclysmic earthquake interrupting the family dinner. Meanwhile, in San Francisco, we also celebrated the fallacy of Prophet Campings claims by enjoying a dinner out and by packing up the rest of belongings into cardboard boxes.
Today, a new day! Rai celebrated his 25th month birthday by spending a day at the zoo with Grandma and Grandpa. Ashe and I? Well, we packed some more and then watched the myriad possessions we've managed to accrue in under a decade of life in San Francisco get carted into a moving truck and carried away to a new home, our fourth home since settling down in San Francisco together.
As we took one final look at our bare apartment, nostalgia kicked in. We've been here for 2.5 years already and it's the only home that our two boys have known. Some many memories have been made inside these four walls. Were we having second thoughts about this move?
Definitely not! The Presidio National Park. What a place to call home! The moment we settled into our new place later this afternoon, we knew that there would be no looking back.
Sure, we gave up a great kitchen and bedroom view out to Golden Gate Park and Ocean Beach. Instead, we now have a living room and kitchen view out to Presidio forest. Sure, we gave up a 5 block walk down to Ocean Beach. Instead, we have a much quicker walk down to Baker Beach. What else? Goodbye hardwood, hello carpeting (Rai and Ko love it!). Goodbye to one tiny, crammed storage closet, hello to three immense storage spaces (more than we know what to do with!) Farewell, long, rectangular dining/living room, welcome immense, 15 foot ceilinged living room. Wow! This is certainly a step up for us. Finally, we can have the forest living we've always dreamed of without giving up life in San Francisco.
Rai, as you turn 25 months old, we begin a new chapter in this family's life. We'll never forget the place on Balboa Street but here's to years of wonderful memories in our new home!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The End of the World is Nigh!

May 21. Judgment Day. The Second Coming of Christ will occur at 6p.m. today. On a side note, we also begin our move to a new apartment today. We're moving into the Presidio National Park. Living in this Park has been a dream of ours for quite some time and sitting on our deck that overlooks the forest, Baker Beach, and the Ocean down below is as good a place as any to be when the Rapture begins.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Graffiti Art

I'm a big fan of graffiti art. When done right, spray can murals are an incredible thing. For a couple years, I've even been putting ideas together for a 20 by 15 foot mural to be done on my classroom wall. Finally, I've managed to get the ball rolling on the project. A group called 1a.m. will come into my classroom and lead a group of students in creating the mural. At home, I've even got Rai started. Once he's mastered crayons, I'll get some spray cans into his hands. I want Rai to grow up knowing the difference between tagging and art.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ko Isn't the Tidiest of Eaters

Rai was always a clean eater. No spills, no spitting, no smearing and crushing. Kotaru, on the other hand is a different story. It seems that I come home every day to find Ko's high chair covered in food. His face and bib, too, could not avoid the onslaught of food from jars. It's all over the place. Who's there to clean it all up? Rai, of course.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

South East Asia

Our friends Nikki and Todd just returned from 2 weeks in Thailand. Hearing just a bit about their experience brought back lots of memories from our backpacking years. One day soon, we will be that family of four, like many we met during our travels, out there traveling on a shoestring budget, showing our boys that San Francisco is just a tiny part of our planet Earth.