Thursday, January 30, 2014

Punch and Kick

I haven't gotten to see the boys in action at taekwondo for a couple of months, because SwingDaddy's new office is close to the studio and he is usually the one who swings by.  Yesterday, not only did I get to see their class, but Q-ster was actually positioned somewhere I could see him.

Buster was a little distracted by my presence and kept posing adorably.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

It's Official

My first patent!

Most of the work was done by my mechanical engineering team, but I started off with the idea.  Our team was issued the patent earlier in 2013, and it was really fun to get the official plaque in December.  It only took three years for the proposal to work its way through the US patent office - much shorter than the five years it took for SwingDaddy's latest patent.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Four years ago, my parents gave the boys a fabulous slide that we've kept in our furniture-less living room.

At first, they would slide down it.  It didn't take long for them to climb up it, slide down backwards and upside down.  They sat underneath, when the slide took the place of a spaceship. It was turned over sideways to serve as a barricade for Les Miserables.  It's been great, but now that they were launching themselves from the top and hurling their bodies through the air a little too often, it seemed like it was time to pass it along.

We gave the slide to a family with a rambunctious two year old this weekend.  I was a little wistful for our little boys growing big, but just for a moment.  Big boys now!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Star Student

This week is Buster's turn as "Star Student" in kindergarten. He filled out his poster with pictures and drawings, and he gets to bring in an item for Show and Tell each day.  Today, he chose to bring a Rainbow Loom bracelet, which he later told me he gave to one of his little friends.

His favorite place is home.

and when he grows up, he wants to "be a police."  We assume police officer, but couldn't convince him to add extra words.  He was able to copy the spelling from his Lego box and felt quite proud of being self sufficient.

His favorite color was listed as yellow.  Yellow?  I thought it was green, dude.  Well now, he likes gold better, but he couldn't spell gold, so he wrote yellow instead.  That one, we convinced him to erase and helped him spell gold.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

More Little Rubber Bands

I'm glad that the boys are having such a good time with their Rainbow Looms and that they and their friends haven't marked the toys as "girls only." They do take a different bent to their designs though.

For instance, handcuffs.  Q-ster wove some nifty items in 49ers and Broncos colors.

Buster carefully explained that this was his Marvel superheroes collection. From left to right, Iron Man, Captain America, Ice Man, Spiderman, and Falcon.

He has a separate set for the DC superheroes, starting with Green Lantern's ring.

It's a fairly inexpensive, quiet, non-destructive fad, as far as trendy toys go, so I'm all for it.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Happier at the Bookstore

My sister and I have long been fans of Gretchen Rubin, and she came to town for a reading of Happier at Home, which is now in paperback.

She was funny, smart and insightful, just as you'd expect. I especially like how she transitioned from being a lawyer and clerk for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor into researching and writing full time. She's also kind of obsessive, like someone I know.  (ahem.)

Looking forward to her next book, which will be about habits.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The First Quarterly

I love the latest incarnation of subscriptions, or at least the idea of them.  The highly popular Birchbox send monthly boxes filled with the latest in makeup, and there are subscriptions for accessories and even clothes.  The idea is that you're choosing curation - someone whose taste you trust is choosing things that you'll probably like, but have not run across before.

I've really been tempted by the idea of getting pretty boxes of makeup in the mail, but realistically, they'd sit unused on my dresser forever.  I already have plenty of "Clinique Free Gift with Purchase" bags that are unopened.  I'm just not that adventurous with makeup.

Then I ran into the perfect thing.  An organizer's subscription series!  What's not to like! (At least for  me.)

I'm a regular reader of the Unclutterer blog, which gives all sorts of suggestions on organizing one's life, and they put together a Quarterly subscription.  When SwingDaddy asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I actually had a suggestion.

The first box arrived yesterday.  It included a colorful collapsible colander that I'd eyed at the store a few weeks ago (practical! space saving!) and a set of matching collapsible and adorable measuring spoons. There was also a tool for stacking cans or bottles in the refrigerator, and a multi-level unit useful for seeing all the cans one stores in a pantry. 

I think we'll use all of these, with the exception of the multi-level tool - we have sliding drawer/shelves for the pantry, so it's actually pretty easy to see in the back of the pantry. There may be something else we can do with it, or I'll pass it along to someone else.

I'm looking forward to the spring organizing package!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Oddball Weather

While the east coast is getting hammered with snow, we've been having amazingly gorgeous weather (cue guilt for severe drought conditions - we've started taking Navy showers,) but the mornings are chilly enough for cute mittens.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Getting Creative

  It started off small, with Buster building a few little models. We had watched the direct-to-DVD Lego movie "Clutch Powers," where the animated Lego minifig hero "gets creative" and saves the day by building things out of nearby Lego bricks, so he told us he was "getting creative."  Hooray, sometimes media sends kids in good directions too!

This one is some kind of police tower, with siren and security camera.  Really, the micro dude is talking about security cameras like he is part of the surveillance nation already.

 And then with his brother's input, it turned into a whole assortment of models.

Buster built a drum kit, re-using some Batman pieces.

Q-ster built a whole band, complete with singer and microphone in the front, next to the guitarist, and keyboardist and drummer to complete the team.

They added price tags on sticky notes and turned their work into a "Model Shop."  Enterprising!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

I Know, I Know

I shouldn't encourage it, but I just can't help it. Making (or enabling) bite-snowflakes out of tortillas is a weak point for me.  ( I find myself saying, "Hey, if you take another bite, you could make a mask out of your lunch!" and then of course, he does.)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Christmas Sugar

Back in December . . .

SwingDaddy and boys made fudge (chocolate, butterscotch and white chocolate) to give to family and teachers for the holidays.  I found clever little containers for it and the boys made labels.  The sweets were quite popular at the office too!

I went to school to help for Kindergarten Gingerbread House Day.  They didn't actually use gingerbread, which made things more manageable for a large group of five year olds.  Everyone got a kit of foam pieces to mount on a "house."

The adults were in charge of applying Elmer's glue to whatever pieces the kids wanted to apply.  I was really impressed with how I could hand Buster a tiny foam candy cane with glue on one side, and he could take it from me, carefully holding the edges and attaching it to the house, all without getting any glue on himself.  Those fine motor skills from hours of Lego are really coming in handy.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Makin' Music

Sounding out some tunes on the synth.

Composing on the laptop, rocking a hoodie.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Chinatown and City Highlights

Just after Christmas, we drove up to San Francisco to see the holiday decorations and watch a show.  First, we walked around Chinatown a bit.

Admired the architecture, street signs in Chinese, and wall art.

We picked up a few things in preparation for a Chinese-themed party in the planning too, including a set of (reproduction) vintage 1930's postcards of elegant Shanghai gals in chi-pao gowns.

The highlight of the day was seeing the stage show of "Beauty and the Beast."  The boys were not super enthusiastic in advance, but had a pretty good time once we got there.  It was Disney's first attempt at all-out musical theater back in 1994, transitioning from little 20 minute plays at Disneyland to full length shows on Broadway.  They really hit it out of the park with The Lion King, a few years later, but Beauty was charming and fun.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Birthday Flashback

Last month, another birthday, this one for me.

My sister brought the most amazing red velvet bundt cake. I love the frosting and giant flower decoration.

Thoughtful presents from family, the perfect bouquet of roses from SwingDaddy.

A great day.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Letter of the Law

Kindergarten instructions: Illustrate one of the facts about bears that you listed on the previous page.

Buster explains, "This is the polar bear's cave in the ice.  He left to go catch some fish, so he's not in the picture."

Expedient.  This is also the child who drew some trees with tails hanging out of the leaves when asked to draw monkeys.  "The monkeys are hidden behind the leaves, so all you can see are their tails."

P.S. We did ask him to add a small bear to his cave picture.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

New Year's Day (Again)

 Before we were all properly awake and dressed for this photo, our New Year's Day looked like this.

I had to explain to SwingDaddy that while he sleeps peacefully on one side of the bed, this giggling is going on the other side.

Hot chocolate with marshmallows!  Buster asked if he could just have a cup of marshmallows without the hot chocolate.  No, not for breakfast, but nice try.

Rose Bowl!  Sadly, we didn't win, but it was a good beginning to the year anyway.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

The Legion of Little Rubber Bands

The boys received Rainbow Looms from SwingDaddy's folks for Christmas, and they've been weaving away.  Buster manages the little rubber bands pretty well, and Q-ster has made some impressive creations, with the help of some YouTube tutorials.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

The Big Chill

All this chatter of the polar vortex, made me think about my weekend in New York City in December.  After innumerable trips to icy Scandinavia, my winter boots touched American soil for the first time! I texted this photo to my Nordic friends early in the day, before the snow really started pounding.

I told them I brought all the gear I usually take when I go to Europe in the winter, so for a Californian, I felt very prepared for the weather - Warm jacket with perfectly shaped hood over a down layer; thermals under my jeans and wool legwarmers over them; waterproof boots.  As my colleague replied, it was nice to squeeze out some extra return-on-investment from the winter clothes on this trip.

Stay warm!

Monday, January 06, 2014


As the boys play increasingly complicated music, it only gets more fun.  I play the left hand for all of Buster's pieces still, since he's just starting to learn it. With us sharing the keyboard for each piece, practice time is all snuggled up, especially now in his new extra-fuzzy coat.  Sometimes I see him hugging himself because the coat is so soft.  I hug him too.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Catching Up, Soon, I Think

Wow, time flies!  I have about three weeks of stories to catch up on - a whirlwind trip to New York, Christmas, a birthday, New Year's, and all kinds of silliness.  For now, an image of the boys and their Rainbow Looms, which were this year's elementary school runaway success story (and created by a Chinese American entrepreneur too!)