Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Another Haircut

There are certain people in Rai's life that like to see him well groomed and well dressed. In order to keep those people happy, we sometimes have to take Rai to the barber. We made one of those trips last weekend. Back to Snippety Cricket's it was. Rai knew the place well and sat patiently through the cut knowing that some time at their train tables awaited him afterwards.
Now, those same people who demand a clean cut Rai are making suggestions that poor, little Ko also needs a haircut! We're putting our foot down with Ko, though. He's just getting all his hair in so we're not about to see it all cut off. In a year or two. Maybe.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Rebel

They say that 2 year olds use the word 'no' not so much because they disagree with what is going on around them but because it is one of the few ways that they can assert their individuality as their personality begins to emerge and form. Little did we know that this miniature form of rebellion would lead into full on disregard for the law. Rai is starting to show that he has little respect for the law and I'm happy to welcome him to the ranks of those who have little regard for the popo. I love that libertarian spirit!
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Monday, November 28, 2011

Let the Games Begin

Last week, Rai discovered that the cabinet in our living room is filled with games. He's opened it plenty of times and, I'm sure, he's noticed all those boxes in there. However, last week he started to pull the boxes out and investigate their contents. As soon as he heard that they're called 'games' he wasn't satisfied until we had thoroughly sorted the contents of every single box. 'Playing a game' meant handling each and every single piece, card, and board. My definition of 'playing a game' is quite different, but this is a start, I guess.
Grandpa, hearing about Rai's interest in games, was quick to respond. The next day, he arrived with three brand new games that he had bought at Gamescape. It's almost impossible to find board games designed for 2 or 3 year olds in mind, so the games that he brought over were for 5+ year olds. Still, Rai insisted that he's ready for these games so we broke them open, read the very short rules, set them up, and started playing. First was 'Race to the Roof' where players race to the roof of a house, floor by floor. The game is simple. Dice are rolled. Steps are counted. And, once in a while, images pictured on cards have to be matched on the game board. Rai played by the rules for about 2 minutes then, he made his own rules. Racing to the roof now meant just grabbing his piece and moving it right to the roof. Dice? Who needs 'em! They just slow you down! Waiting for other players to make their moves? Unnecessary. That just slows you down, too, right?
It was more of the same with 'Enchanted Forest', a slightly tougher game. Rai's flagrant disregard of the rules could be likened to a a Poker player grabbing the entire deck and claiming to have a royal flush by pulling out the cards he needs or playing Scrabble with someone who selects letters as they please.
All this gaming was great fun for Rai -- he won every time! For us, not as much fun. Especially for a serious gamer such as myself, the frustration level was through the roof (I won that race to the roof, that's for sure!). We'll keep working at it, however, and before you know it, Rai will love games as we do. As we played a game of backgammon, I couldn't help but notice that Rai had his free hand resting protectively on the box for 'Space Alert'. That game is about as serious as they get. That is real gamer's game requiring at least a dozen hours for the first round. Rai, I am ready when you are.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Cuteness That is Ko

Yes, at 1 year and 1.5 months, Ko continues to wake us up several times each night. I guess he knows that he's so cute and so precious, that we'll continue catering to his every need. We love this little boy too much.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Going to See Santa

Rai is old enough now to understand different seasons, holidays, and times of year. With that in mind, it's no wonder that he's currently obsessed with Christmas and Santa Claus. To give him some sense of peace this afternoon, we had to make our annual visit to the mall. We drove down to Stonestown Galleria to visit Santa there. He was there (but he looked suspiciously different than last year) but Rai never had the courage to get within 20 feet of the man in red and white. We did, however, get to see a performance of the Nutcracker ballet performed awkwardly (but adorably) by a very young ballet troupe. But even the giant tree, elves, ballet and Santa were nothing compared to the transformation that is just beginning in Grandma and Grandpa's home. No one else does holiday decorating like they do. Even in these early stages, there is already a giant snowman in the breakfast room, and other trinkets here and there. The joy and wonder of the season can certainly be found in their home!

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Cloudy and Cold

It's great to have a week off for the Thanksgiving holiday and although the weather hasn't really co-operated, it's still great just to relax at home. It's a good thing that we have lots of toys to keep the boys entertained...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

What are we thankful for? Family, health, food, shelter. Most of all, we are thankful for our wonderful little boys. Oh, one more thing: we're thankful that Godzilla has spared San Francisco (so far) and that the only giant lizards we have to worry about are those controlled by Rai.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bird Watching

Living in a National Park has its perqs: the trees, the beach, the trails, the solitude and... the birds! The Presidio offers some great bird watching opportunities. We often spot herons hunting for rodents in the forest behind our place. On the beach, sandpipers are a favorite of ours. At night, it's not uncommon to hear the call of an owl and we've been lucky enough to spot owls in the trees a few times. And, we can also add hawks and falcons to that list. They can always be seen circling high above the bluffs but the other day Rai and Ko, while out on our deck, spotted one sitting on the telephone wire across the road. That was a welcome bit of excitement on an otherwise dreary and rainy day. Keep your eyes open, boys, you never know what you can spot in our National Park!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Rai is 31 Months Old Today!

Today, Rai turned 31 months old! Month by month, he inches closer to the big 3rd birthday! Maybe then we'll stop tracking his age in months. Maybe. To celebrate, today, we had Rai and Ko write out Rai's age using their bodies. The result, not too bad, if I do say so myself! Can you see the "31"?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cirque du Soleil:

Many years ago, my dad took my brother and I to see a Russian circus troupe. That single performance easily remains one of the most memorable events that I've ever attended. I've always been a bit of an adrenaline junkie and watching those death-defying feats is enough to even get the spectators adrenaline flowing. On Friday night, Rai attended his first circus. For a week, we showed him videos of the Cirque du Soleil online and, every day, he would remind us that we were "going to the circus" on Friday. Then, the big night arrived and it was everything that our little boy had imagined it would be. The look of astonishment never left his face and, despite the spectacle on stage, we couldn't get our eyes off our spellbound boy. Did we mention that we had FRONT ROW seats? Rai even got a couple high fives from some performers. We later heard that the minimum age recommended for children attending the Cirque du Soleil is seven in the U.S. The age recommendation differs from country to country but America has the highest minimum age because our kids are considered a little more babied than others. All the more reason that we're proud that Rai made it through the two hour performance without incident. Years from now, I hope this single night stays in his memory as vividly as the Russian Circus has in mine.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

X-Factor

Rai's still working on that x-factor...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Yes, We Have Fall Colors Here

San Francisco itself may be a place that doesn't really experience a change in seasons but that doesn't mean that we can't find fall colors or winter snows nearby. We drove up to Healdsburg this weekend to find the town cloaked in Fall reds, yellows and oranges. It was beautiful. Before leaving home, however, we told Rai that we were driving north to see some Fall colors. His response: he went out and found a helmet. I guess if you're going to fall, it's better if you're wearing a helmet. Good thinking, Rai! As for the snow, we're hoping to see some of that up at the cabin when we go there for the Thanksgiving holiday!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Snake Charmer

With a Kobra in the house, it's absolutely essential that Rai watches his step wherever he goes. We've already shown that Rai has been trained on jumping over a pit of snakes but, is there more that he can do to avoid getting bitten? Sure there is! This week, we taught Rai the art of snake charming. By playing the correct tune on his banjo, Rai can now get the Kobra to rise from and disappear into a basket at his command!

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Monday, November 14, 2011

A Typical Dinner

It may be no different than any other home with little kids, but dinner time in our place is a bit wild. Of course, Rai and Ko like to get involved when dinner is being prepared. Perhaps they like to get a little too involved so, more often than not, Daddy has to entertain them for a while in the living room while Mom gets dinner prepared. The excitement is far from over once dinner is served. Rai likes to poke and prod, mix, and pour from container to container. Ko likes to smear, crush and throw. Noises are frequent and loud. To top it all off, Ko is impossible to keep seated. He now spends 80% of his dinner time standing in his high chair. A bit scary? Yes. Always entertaining? Certainly! Messy? Was there any doubt?! And, would dinner be complete without a brilliant sunset? Definitely not!

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Kotaru is 13 Months Old Today!

One month has passed since Ko's big 1st birthday bash and what a month it has been!
Early this morning, Ko and I tried to find a way to celebrate his birthday although we tried to keep it quiet and subdued as we didn't want to invoke any bad luck as Ko completes his 13th month in this world. Without party hats and noise makers, we had to improvise.

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

World's Greatest Mom

Only the world's greatest Mom could produce the world's greatest Sequoia boys!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Rai's Graduation

We've heard that even pre-schools and kindergartens organize mini-graduations for their students these days so when Rai started using his step-up seat for the real toilet instead of his small, sit-down potty, we thought it appropriate to throw a graduation party for him. Congratulations, Rai, you've graduated to the toilet.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011

Playing Hookie

Some mis-communication led to me taking a day off of work today. When things were cleared up and I realized that this day off was unnecessary, I had no regrets about it at all as it meant that I had a full day to get some one-on-one quality time in with little Ko. It's pretty rare that Ko and I have time together, just the two of us, so this day was one to be treasured. Without getting into the details, let me just say that this was a day that will live in infamy, a day neither of us will soon forget. Wow.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sundays are the Best

Apparently Rai and Ko didn't know that the time change last night meant that we could all get an extra hour of sleep. We anticipated that they would get up at their typical 6 a.m. so that would mean 5 a.m. after the time change. That, we could live with. However, just to let us know that there was no way we could get that extra hour of sleep, both Rai and Ko decided to get up at 4a.m. this morning. Rai is usually pretty easy to get back to sleep, but not this morning. We tried the 'ol family bed but Rai and Ko just thought that meant they could play and scream while jumping all over us. Eventually, Ko, after lots of coaxing, went back to sleep but Rai was up for good. So, it was a sleepy (for me) hour or two of reading to him in the Raibrary.
Despite that start, the day was great. Once Ko woke up, him and Rai had a great time at home before we took a short trip over to the Golden Gate Bridge where we cheered on some runners in the Half Marathon going through the Presidio. After that, we took our traditional Sunday visit to Judah Street for lunch and groceries. At the restaurant, Rai said "hello" to every dog and became instant best friends with a huge St.Bernard. Later, we attended a wonderful baby shower and got home in time to see another amazing Presidio sunset.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

It's Never Too Early

It's always interesting to see the age ranges given on toys and books when we visit kids' stores. We know that a lot of research has gone into developmental psychology and that the recommended ages are usually correct, but we're also often surprised to see Rai interested in things that are suggested for older kids. Is it ever too early to learn about more sophisticated topics. Is it ever too early to learn about Newtonian physics? I think not. Today, a green pepper on the head. Tomorrow, a bow and arrow.