Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Finest Chefs

SwingDaddy and I were invited to a dinner event at a restaurant normally above our pay grade, and we had a lovely time.  The steak was possibly the best I've ever had, which says a lot, given that I've been in Texas three times this year already.  

Interestingly, I realized later that the waiters never asked us any questions once we had indicated steak or poultry.  No questions about preparations - rare or medium? - garnishes or sides. I guess that once you are in their hands, they know how to make it the best way and you should just accept that.

The dessert was amazing too.  Just the chocolate raspberry cake, or just the apple tarte or just the cream puff would have been enough, but darling sized portions of each made the meal perfect.

And now in tangentially related news, I saw a girl with an adorable Domokun change purse.  (Tangentially related because doesn't Domo look like he wants to eat something?  Like dessert, perhaps.)  I think they should have aligned his mouth with where the purse opens.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Family Movie Night

We've adopted a Family Movie Night tradition.  Once every week or two, usually on a Friday, we sit together and have dinner in front of the TV.  (TV time!  And eating in front of the TV!  Almost too much excitement right there.)

Buster likes the "baby pizzas" (Bagel Bites) the best.  He doesn't sit still all that well yet, choosing to stage imaginary sword battles during things that strike him as scary.

Q-ster is enjoying the movies a lot.

We watched Schoolhouse Rock a few weeks ago, which was delightful.  I was one of those oddballs who learned Schoolhouse Rock from Stanford Fleet Street. So, I knew about the grammar songs, like "Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here," but this was the first time I saw the videos that went along with them.  I love the story about how a Bill Becomes a Law.

There's a The Max the Tax Man song with a verse about tax deductions, and a Wall Street song, which includes some lines about dollar cost averaging. 

Even little Buster seems to have picked up one of the multiplication songs, because I heard him counting by fives the other day.

Very educational indeed!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Four Moments of September

Today, in non sequitur theater:

Q-ster, with a paper airplane from his new fancy paper airplane book.

Buster's new artwork.  He explains that the white panel in the lower left corner is an underground pool, and that the whole work represents a city. Which one?  "Goffum City," of course, where Batman lives.  (Gotham.)

We're doing some cleanup of our home office offered Q-ster the chance to earn some pocket money by doing the shredding.  He was eager to help for about five minutes.  Well, it's a start.

Three roses from the garden.  In September!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Equal Access Spaceship Design

Buster was working on a Lego spaceship (later I was corrected - it is a BOAT) and I noticed that there were two seats.

The pilot had a place to sit (you can see his little yellow Lego head protruding.)

And his friend, the red snake had a place to sit too.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Huggable Stadium Blanket

Look what I found in the University Bookstore catalog.  Soooo cute, the tree mascot as a "huggable blanket!"  I wish the micro dude was still small enough to be willing to wear it.  He's never been much for costumes, alas.

Updated: I showed him the picture and he likes it!  I think because it looks soft and squishable.  I might have to order one. . .

Sunday, September 23, 2012


It's been a nice, active weekend, with playground time and plenty of pretend Olympic sports (swimming across the living room, diving off the sofa, some volleyball involving a plush Angry Bird.)

Hope you had a good weekend too!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Brilliance in Toyland

Someone in the toy department is busy being brilliant.  Check this out: a volcano science lab masquerading as the planet Mustafar (where Obi-wan Kenobi defeated Anakin Skywalker, for those less geeky.)

Learn all about forensics with the CSI fingerprint analysis kit.

And for the finale, we all know that Lego headquarters has been filled with genius marketers these last few years, but did you notice who exactly were the heroes in the Super Heroes series?  Both Marvel and DC superheroes, that's who! 

Is there another example in existence where the rival series agreed to partner with the same company?  That's the super power of Lego.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Measure of a Musician

Q-ster is working on a new piano piece called "Cradle Song," a lovely lullaby.

Dude, when you put your brother to sleep with a lullaby, you're doin' it right.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Notching the Belts Again

A couple of weeks ago, the boys had their taekwondo belt tests.  Buster was the only four year old testing for his orange belt, and he broke the board on the first kick!  Mostly I'm still amazed that he doesn't knock himself over with the fancier footwork.

It was kind of hilarious how many times the master instructor reminded the kids to go to the bathroom.  He knows his audience.

Q-ster has been helping to lead classes in form and he takes the responsibility very seriously.  It's fun to see him in action.

There were fewer reminders from the master to use the bathroom for the second batch of (slightly older) students.

Our little dudes with their new gear!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Two Pluses, an Oddity, and Some Extra Fun

I was on the road again last week.  Two awesome things happened on the flight:

My seat had a power outlet!  I'm usually asleep on the long journey to Europe, but this was "just" a four-hour domestic flight where I needed to get a ton of work done.

My airline snack box wasn't cheap, but it featured Jacob's Cream Crackers, which makes me think fondly of my grandmother.

And the oddity - the trend seems to be for hotel soap to be bumpy.  This one has lumps the size of M&Ms on one side.  The Hilton NYC where we stayed for BlogHer provided something similar:

I didn't find it particularly "massaging" (as the label indicates,) but it was kind of amusing.

And for some bonus fun, I got to drive a chrome yellow Camaro a whole bunch.  Some of my colleagues ended up with one as their rental car (long story,) and since I'm the only one who doesn't drink alcohol, I drove us all home every evening after long strategizing sessions featuring beer.

It's very convenient to have a car of that color when you're trying to locate it in the parking lot.  Surely that's the reason to have one.  ;)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Candyland in a Whole Other World

Over the last month, Q-ster has gone crazy for Magic: The Gathering, which is the granddaddy of all collectible card games, home plate for geek credibility. I have less than zero interest in the cards, except for learning about the character who he might want to portray for Halloween, since I'd be designing the costume for him.  This is SwingDaddy's domain.

On a not entirely unrelated note, Buster occasionally has a rabid desire to play Candyland.

One afternoon while I was cleaning up the kitchen, I noticed that things were very quiet.  Uh-oh.  I walked around until I found the boys.

And miracle of miracles, they were playing together nicely, playing "Magic" with the Candyland cards.  Creative little dudes.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Cuteness that Stayed in the Store

Seen in stores in the last few months and yet I resisted buying any of them.  A cereal bowl in the shape of Pascal, the chameleon from Tangled.

A plush Peach, the starfish from Finding Nemo.  I already have two from when the movie first came out (below.)  Note the design change - I like the new one, but really, how many starfish does a girl need?

Can you recognize the creatures below?  Totoro with dust sprites.

There were actually pencil cases.  The elongated bodies are pretty weird looking, but I suppose a dust sprite can come in any shape.

And someone finally took the prickly dryer ball idea to its natural conclusion and made hedgehogs out of them.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Workout Technique, Kind Of

The micro dude was explaining the importance of good form in closed fist push-ups.

It probably does not involve resting your entire body on the ground in between pushes, but it's pretty cute.

I asked him to display his hands, since it was hard to see them in the fluffy carpet.

This is very serious business.  We must not giggle.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Scenes from an Average Weekend

Climbing the artichoke in front of the library.

Making another soft Batarang (yellow for Batman, red for Robin.)

Having some kind of event where people's names are written on little slips of paper in a giant bowl.

Q-ster won't explain what this is about - I don't think he knows enough about the Hunger Games to be re-enacting the reaping scene, and he says that it's not the Goblet of Fire, even though he's re-reading that book.  I bought this party sized plastic margarita glass to be the "house cup" at his Harry Potter-themed birthday party, but it seems to have morphed into something else.  (Lego minifig pictured for scale.)

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Catchy Tunes

Our favorite from seasons past of So You Think You Can Dance - Alex Wong - has a new music video.

Music video link.

Check out this  article at Asians On Film too.  There are a whole bunch of links on the page, including an interview of him, the video director Lauren Gottlieb and assistant director Legacy (both also from So You Think You Can Dance). 

The fourth link, "Alex Wong on Dancing," shows him discussing why he chose to join a ballet company.  He said that as a young teen, he didn't see Asians in commercials and music videos, but ballet is more color-blind, so he felt that he'd have a better chance at a good career.  After seven years with the company, he saw the industry changing, which is why he auditioned for So You Think You Can Dance and got back into the commercial side of dance and performance.

Further down the page, there's also a link to the trailer from "The Ballet Dancer," a short film opening later this year where Alex stars as well, a ballet dancer.  The dance clip is Swan Lake - it's interesting to see him in something classical, since most of the ballet he performed on TV was more contemporary.


I don't usually talk politics here, but if you're a Les Miz fan, you might want to check out this video of some amazing voices performing "One Term More!" in support of Obama, to the tune of One Day More.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Yaccidental Fun

Buster has made steady progress with the little Bob books.  He occasionally gets the sound for the letter "u" confused and says "yuh" instead of "uh."  When we got to the book where it uses "umbrella" to help the kids sound out the letter, we joked that "it isn't YUMbrella!"

And now the micro dude loves to say YUMbrella.  YUMbrella!  YUMbrella!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Almost but Not Quite

. . . worth having another child just so he can wear this tiny lobster Halloween costume.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Day One, Part Two

I took Buster to his first day of school this morning, to the pre-K classroom.  He was in the 3's program one room over last year, so in the moment it too me to sign him in, he strolled through the door, took off his jacket, placed it and his backpack in the cubby marked with his name, acquired a dab of hand sanitizer, and walked to the circle time carpet, rubbing his hands.  Total pro.

As you can tell, I didn't plan my posts in advance, so we have three days of Buster pictures in a row.  I think we'll all survive.  His big brother is busy being entertaining and charming, but he's getting older now, and some things shouldn't be posted on the blog.  Feel free to ask me about the tooth fairy's labor practices though!

Monday, September 03, 2012

The Batarang Commission

The micro dude has been flinging various household objects around while pretending to be Batman, and it seemed time to sew him a nice soft Batarang that would do less damage to our walls that the Hot Wheels track segment or toy wrench.

First we did a little research.  Most images were from the brooding and forbidding Dark Knight movies, which were all sharp, pointy, and totally gleamy black, making them less than cute. Fortunately, Buster is most fond of the Lego Batman game, where the Batarang  (think "boomerang for Batman") is bright yellow and black.

The dude loves his Batarang.

He also won't keep still long enough to strike a non-blurry pose with it, but I did manage to capture it on the floor at one point.

Squishy, friendly, very throwable.  The tradition of plush armaments continues!

Sunday, September 02, 2012

All Hail

The boys are still on their Olympic bent, with Buster playing "Trackandfield" by running laps around the house and Q-ster setting up hurdles in the living room.

I cut a quick circle of yellow felt and tacked it on a ribbon for a gold medal.  Buster threw it on his neck and immediately said, "I need flowers!"  We searched the house until we found the plush flowers to make a bouquet, and he took his position on the medal stand like a proper athlete.