• Home
  • About

    Happy New Year!

    December 31st, 2011

    With another year about to pass, I see a lot of friends bid good riddance to 2011. However, as I reflect on these last 365 days, I do so with a great deal of contentment. It’s been a good year.

    Thank you 2011!

    I have two simple (well, maybe not so simple) hopes of 2012: for S to find a new gig he will be happy with, and for our families to continue being in good health.

    Happy New Year!

    S + T + O + R + M = Trouble

    December 29th, 2011

    I don’t know how, but somehow S2’s name is really an anagram for trouble (don’t think about the missing letters too much, that’s why I said “somehow”). You see little monkey man is really growing into his monkey-ness and is all about mischief. I put before you the following evidence:

    Exhibit A: Climbing places where he has no business climbing
    I’m constantly impressed by how ingenious he is at getting himself up on surfaces. He uses his upper body to pull up on things. I used to do this as a kid all.the.time. I’m one-part short-stuff mixed with two-parts lazy-stuff, so I never cared to find a surface I can raise myself on, so I would pull up on surfaces all the time. So really, I fully get where he’s coming from. Except that now as his parent, I find this skill, so early acquired more of a nuisance.

    Figure 1: The play-kitchen

    It was clearly a mistake for me to give S2 the little step-stool. We used to put it up for G so that he can open/close the microwave door and get his teapot in and out. For S2 this was simply a utility to get up onto the kitchen. Clearly the dinos are hungry.
    I’ve since removed the step-stool.
    Oh, please note that the image above was followed shortly thereafter by this image:

    Yep, he fell, and like any other parent of the year, I was there taking photos of it, rather than doing my best to prevent it.

    Figure 2: The living room coffee table

    G sits on the coffee table when he watches TV. It’s a battle I’ve chosen not to wage at this time. He watches TV in the living room so rarely, while not ideal, also not worth my brain cells. So it’s a bit hypocritical to tell S2 to stay off it. However, G knows it’s bootie, or knee-only on the table. S2 is still pushing that boundary. Like his table dancing practice?

    Figure 3: Boxes

    This child is I think part cat. I’m not positive of this, but somehow Neko’s DNA got spliced into him. Neko loves him a 4 sided container. So does S2. He spent much of Christmas trying to shove himself into small box containers. Here he is at least finding something of the right size. When not actually IN the box, he enjoying being ON the box. Above, I think he was just admiring how handsome he looks like acquiring some new gray hairs for mommy.

    Exhibit B: The mischief grin
    There are no images of this… yet. However, S2 clearly knows when he’s about to get into something he’s not supposed to, because he has the gall to actually look at me, smile his innocent-sweet smile and reach for the object of forbidden-ness. Like, oh, I dunno – outlets (of course the ONLY ones we can’t secure); the living room standing floor light, which he has since toppled over and broken the lampshade of; TV and light remote controls.

    Exhibit C: The dash
    Another way I know S2 know’s he’s about to get into something he’s not supposed to is his dash. When he realizes you’ve caught on to what he’s up to, and are following to intercept him, the little bugger picks up the pace in attempt to get to his destination. He does this when making a dash for the bathroom. There’s a step-stool there he loves to climb, but it’s also where Neko’s litter box is, so from time to time, to make sure our poor kitty doesn’t have an accident we open it up. S2 uses that to his advantage and sprints for the bathroom too.

    Exhibit D: The tantrum
    Yep, at 13 months he’s got the “I’m mad, so I’m going to throw myself back and yell” tantrum down. He does this whenever we take him away from any of the situations outlined above. He’s not good at redirecting either, so a tantrum is his go-to. Luckily for me, at this stage, these tantrums (when compared to G’s) are still in the “oh, that’s so funny/silly/cute” stage, so I can just walk past him, giggle and be on my merry way.

    In summary, this child is pushing safety-proofing our home to a whole new level. He’s getting into things that G never did, and circumventing existing child-locks we didn’t think we’d have to worry about. I’m so ready for him to outgrow this!

    Siblings: when yours (singular) becomes yours (plural)

    December 27th, 2011

    G asked S a good (and sad) question the other day: ‘why is the kitchen not mine anymore?’

    You see, G’s play kitchen was a birthday gift for him. It’s been a staple in our home getting love at least weekly from him, and now daily from S2. When  G plays with his trains we keep S2 out of trouble by redirecting him to the kitchen. This peanut loves everything about it too (best $139 spent as far as I’m concerned. Thanx, IKEA!), so it’s no surprise that we catch ourselves saying things to him like ‘Why don’t you go play with your kitchen?’ as opposed to ‘Why don’t you go play with your brothers’ kitchen?’

    And today as I was pulling some toys out of the garage for S2 that belonged to G, G was quick to point out they were his. Auntie S got G a wonderful pull-alligator for his first Christmas. We call him ‘Chomps’. Clearly G has outgrown this toy, ignores it otherwise, but it WAS gifted to him.

    So I’m feeling a little stuck. It’s one thing for toys he’s received over time to become shared toys. But those received for special occasions: where do we draw the line at what can be passed on?

    We don’t have the money or environmental callous to get 2 of each toy. It’s just not practical. Especially things that come and go in phases. So I’m feeling a bit stuck.

    I don’t want G to NOT form any attachment to his things, thinking that at some point they will be taken away from him. I want him to WANT to share them with his brother, but for things that were purchased as a gift for him, quite honestly, I want him to feel like he CAN deny sharing.

    Hence my conundrum. What’s appropriate here?

    Christmas recap

    December 26th, 2011

    Yesterday was a good day. Long, but good. The kids slept in until almost 8 which was the big people’s Christmas miracle.

    I stayed up arranging G’s new train tracks on his train table. While it was the right presentation, the one thing S and I overlooked was the fact that the train table is visible from the second floor stairway, and as soon as G was out of his bedroom he saw it in it’s new glory. We almost had to pry him away to look at the other packages. So future lesson learned: don’t leave the big gift out on such obvious display.

    S2 had a fun day climbing on top of and into boxes and ripping paper off of packages. His favorite toys are the ones that belong to his brother. Not so much on the who possesses them part, but on the “hey — he’s playing with them, therefore I want to get in there too” part. I can really understand families that get two of everything now.

    G’s spirit kicked in and was wishing us Merry Christmas throughout the day. And at one point, as we were wrapping up dinner he said “I want to give Rayna a gift”, which made my heart feel really happy. He said he wanted to give her a crane. Since cranes are something he is really into right now I can’t tell if this is a self-serving gift, or an indication he wants to share in his most favorite toy right now. I’m gonna pretend it’s the latter.

    Our 2011 ornament

    Neko… before the craziness of awake kids kicked off.

    This year’s tree. If you noticed the yellow sticky notes on boxes and gift bags, that’s me being classy this year (and lazy). If you didn’t: well, pretend I didn’t say anything 🙂

    G’s first attack of the day: the enlarged train tracks. But wait… that’s not all

    THIS is all

    S2 couldn’t wait to start digging in there too

    We had to convince G to come into the dining room, where he spotted Cranky.

    After which he pretty much spent the rest of the day in this pose

    S and his new Chicken Joe shirt. I’m grateful for places like Cafe Press that enable shirt creation. So sad that all the merchandising around Surfs Up is no-where to be found.

    “Hey look, I see Home Depot!” – G. S2 was a fan of the tools for sure. They make great chew toys…

    And he is very safety conscious when getting into trouble. He’s sure to take the goggles with him (though wearing them is just details)

    If G wasn’t going to open any more gifts, S2 was more than happy to take over and help.

    Has anyone figured out why getting toys out of their boxes is such a pain? I’m pretty sure everything was wrapped, tied, stapled and super glued into the original packaging.

    Tiny Pteranodon needs some iron in her diet.

    Hi Grandma & Grandpa, check-out my new harness buddy.

    Mommy has to look at it too. REALLY close-up.

    This hat is a little big on S2, so I’m modeling it instead.

    The desolation after-the-fact.

    My favorite two gifts were a holiday album daycare made of S2,

    and a match-it memory game auntie K made for G. It has family photos laminated with little magnets glued on the back. So awesome!

    Merry Christmas!

    What does it mean to believe in Santa?

    December 24th, 2011

    I’m feeling a little Grinchy this year, but I’m working through it.

    Since I’m still adamant about not telling the boys that Santa is someone that lives at the North Pole and drops off gifts one day a year, I’m confronted with the idea that I’m not sharing the “magic of the holiday” with them. And that my kids could “ruin the magic” for the kids that are told that story.

    And this is where I take pause, and wonder if this is true. I ask myself “What does it mean to believe in Santa?”

    Does “believing” mean to believe in someone who will deliver you a gift on Christmas day? Where the focus is on receiving. If so, then I’m glad to not believe in that and pass it on.

    Does “believing” mean to believe in someone who will gift to others, out of the goodness and willingness of their heart, regardless of who they are/what they do? Where the focus is giving & altruism. If so, I believe. I believe deeply, and it’s a belief I struggle each year on how to pass on to the kids.

    So then, what is the magic associated with Santa? The magic that gifts miraculously appear under a tree overnight?

    I think back on my childhood, and this time of year is magical to me? But you know what I remember with the most warmth in my heart? Sitting at the kitchen table at my mom’s apartment while my grandmother kneaded bread. She would break off some dough for me to knead my own. And baking it. And eating it. It never tastes as good as I imagined, but the time spent listening to my mom and grandma talk was magic. I remember the brown coat my grandfather would dawn on, and the beard he would fake out of cotton balls to pretend he was Santa Claus. I remember the dressed up suit my dad’s dad would wear to dinner. I remember the home-made popcorn-adorned survachki that my grandpa would create, and how much prettier I thought the store-bought, tinsel ones were. I remember the chill in the air; the crunch of snow under my feet and the tree ornaments stores adorned their windows with. I loved seeing the pretty displays of bakeries and flower-shops, as I rode the train.

    You know what I don’t remember? The gifts. Ok, I’m lying. There are two gifts that stand out in my mind: a set of ice-skates my parents gave me when I was 10 (mostly because I never in the world thought they would do something like that for me), and a set of mother of peal earrings (which I still have).

    The magic that I want to pass down to the boys are all the things I remember. Family. Traditions. The little things.

    The belief I want to pass down to the boys, is believing that they can help make someone’s day, week? month? a little happier. A little easier. A little more loved. The year that I hear them be excited over what they can gift to someone, vs. what they can get for themselves, is the year that I will know I’ve “made it” as a parent.

    A little over 4 years ago…

    December 23rd, 2011

    A little over 4 years ago S and I had this difficult conversation, S standing exactly as he is in the image above, and me sitting where G is now. At that time we were pouring out our hearts about how badly we wanted to have kids and how we were going to manage getting the money to make it happen. Now 4 years later, one of the products of that conversation and S were talking about seeing tigers at the zoo.

    It makes me tear up. Because life is good. And because above all else, this was all I could want for any holiday.

    Foto Friday

    December 22nd, 2011

    We were the incredibly lucky recipients of a Razor scooter for G. It has 3 wheels, it’s stable and it goes fast! Well… fast for a preschooler anyway ;p

    Behind our house, at the bottom of the canyon is the start of a mean hiking/biking trail. But before things get serious, there is a nice long run of paved roadway where we’ve been taking G a couple of times a month to ride his scooter or trike. Lemme tell you : you’ve never seen a kid petal as fast, or nap as hard at the end of that activity. We’re resorting to this now as a nap inducer. Aka Sunday morning activity, to make up for a long Saturday ;p

    Here are some pics of G having fun.

    One poopered out 3-year old

    Although he’s never too tired for mischief.

    Why? Evolved

    December 12th, 2011

    Apparently as kids get older, their “Why?” questions become more mature too. Poor S was subjected to the following interrogation this evening.

    Let me preface this exchange with the fact that G is really into cranes. Every night he asks us to let him browse crane toys on Amazon (we turned off one-click ordering, don’t worry). Last night S had the brilliant idea of looking for YouTube clips of cranes in action.

    G’s in heaven.

    S, on the other hand is regretting that decision. Let me tell you why…

    One of the clips was of a crane flipping upside down into a ditch. Ensue hilarity below. (My tummy hurts from laughing through this all)

    G: Who knocked it over?
    S: I don’t know!
    G: Who knocked it over?
    S: I don’t know!
    S: Bob!
    G: Bob?
    S: Bob.
    G: Bob the builder?
    S: No, a different guy. Bob the knock-over guy
    G: Why he knock it over?

    Ok, maybe it’s not all that funny to you. But it was awesome!

    Foto Friday (Aka Train Day)

    December 9th, 2011

    We drive by the Caltrain tracks every day on our way to daycare. From time to time we get to the tracks right when a train is pulling up to the station. We have a little routine with G where he asks where that train is going, and based on our fortune it’s either bound North for the city, or South to San Jose (although if you ask G, every train is going South to San Franks-isco). Lately he’s been asking that “maybe sometime Daddy and Mama and S2 can all ride the train”. So we did. We had a massive tantrum on our first train day attempt, to we deferred our visit for awhile, but just like that it happened two week-ends ago.

    Going all the way into the city was risky. It’s a fair enough of a ways that G might end up being over it, and us stuck on a train with a volatile 3yr old. So we opted to go to Palo Alto instead, which was a much shorter ride. We got off, walked over to the other side of the tracks and were on another train heading home within 10 minutes. It was awesome! G was a great sport too, which made the experience pretty rad. This wasn’t his first Caltrain ride, but the first he actually remembers 🙂

    Getting tickets.

    S2 waiting, impatiently for his ride

    G wasn’t exactly sitting still either though

    Here it comes!!!

    On the train.

    G spent much of the ride resembling something like this

    And S2 like this


    Waiting for our ride home.

    The attack of StormZilla!!!

    December 8th, 2011

    Ok, I’m really not a huge fan of prop photography, but I had to do this. I’ve been patiently awaiting S2 to walk with a bit more determination. But maybe I waited too long, because he breezed through the town like it was nothing. And I gotta tell ya’ — he is the friendliest monster to pass through your local village. It was only with some prodding that he was interested in causing some destruction.

    I honestly don’t love how they turned out, but I won’t be getting a second chance at it, so it is what it is.