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Friday, July 11, 2014

Cool Nunchuck Cooly

Jack and I are pleased to announce the arrival of Cool Nunchuck Cooly, or Chuck for short.

I was intrigued by the aquaponics of this new product called Aqua Farm and thought it would be a win-win-win to have a fish for Jack, a fish tank that I don't have to clean and an herb garden that I don't have water or tend to.

The idea of Aqua Farm is that the fish waste is converted into fertilizer for the plants that grow on top of the tank (no soil needed, just water) while simultaneously keeping the tank clean. It's like a self-contained ecosystem. Very cool.

The Aqua Farm. Fish on bottom. Herb garden will grow on top.
After Jack picked out a fish from Petco, we brainstormed some names. Jack wanted something "cool", so he definitively chose "Cool Nunchuck Cooly" because the fish needed a first, middle, and last name (that was not ours). And evidently nunchucks are cool. His nickname was deemed Chuck.
Setting up Chuck's house was pretty easy and we decided to read our bedtime books tonight by Chuck and celebrate his homecoming with three fish/ecosystem themed books.

CLICK HERE to see more pictures.

CLICK HERE to check out more about the Aqua Farm at their website.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Girl Time

When we came home from the fireworks show last night, we found Stella in the stairway. She seemed really scared to come upstairs and was likely freaked by the sounds of the fireworks. She finally did come upstairs and fall asleep at the foot of my bed.

Feeling a bit guilty this morning about how scared Stella must have been all alone, I decided to spend some quality time with my girl today after Jack was picked up by his Dad.

We went to Stern Grove where we can go off-leash around the park and small lake. Stella found a stick and two balls.

Afterwards we went to Park Chow and sat outside for breakfast where Stella got lots of attention from, well, everyone.

 Lastly, we stopped by a cool store and looked at (me) and slobbered on (Stella) all the t-shirts. Awesome bonding time.

Indepen-dance Day

July 4th BBQ's, shorts, and sunscreen. Nah, this is San Francisco so grab your Patagonia puffy jacket, long sleeve shirt, and let's celebrate Independence Day.

Jack spent the first half of the day with his Dad then we went to Fisherman's Wharf for some some windy, foggy fun in the afternoon. 

Luckily, Williams-Sonoma has an office directly across from where fireworks are launched for a warm front-row seat - and free parking if you get there early enough. 

Jack and I parked and walked down to Ripley's Believe It Or Not. The museum was a little scary for Jack with its sound effects and shrunken heads while being simultaneously entertaining with its interactive light exhibits, mirror maze, and laser maze (think Mission Impossible). In one exhibit there's a hall of computer screens that distort your image like a hall of mirrors. Jack had fun with his dance moves there:

Afterwards, we struggled to find a place for dinner along with the other 200k people waiting for the fireworks. We finally settled on a hot dog and cupcake. On our way back to the office, we stopped by the International Spy Shop and picked up a little toy that hides a small mustache comb "from the robbers" per Jack. When we finally took refuge from the wind in the office, the fireworks show was a great end to our evening.

CLICK HERE for more pictures.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Little Ninjas

Jack started expressing an interest in taking karate lessons last year. Figuring it was a phase, I didn't give it much credence until he didn't stop mentioning it.

So, I found a great karate studio and Jack has been a Little Ninja now for the past six months. The classes are a blend of light martial arts moves and fun physical gamesThe kids run around and do situps/pushups as a warm-up then "meditate" for a minute to transition into more focused activities.

One Martial Arts has it down: caring staff who took my initially hesitant but enthusiastic son onto the floor and encouraged him throughout the class making him feel integrated and comfortable, a rotating weekly focus (e.g. focus, coordination, fitness, manners, family, confidence) where they provide a small patch/badge for the kids to earn (either in that class or at home) and a worksheet of how to talk to your kids about that week's topic. Lots of positive reinforcement and promotion of life skills like leadership, role playing to stave off bullies and strangers, etc. Respect (for yourself, others, etc.), Focus, and Family are big themes throughout each class. Parents get on the floor for the last 5-10 minutes of each class with their kids. The teachers and junior teachers (older kids who are apprenticing as leaders and who help out during class) are amazing with the kids.

We love the karate studio so much, that Jack had his 5th birthday party there, participated in his first tournament (second place in his group!) and went to their camp for a few weeks this summer.

Jack started with a white belt, then graduated to his Yellow belt, and is now on his Orange belt. At the Little Ninja stage, kids aren't taking tests to earn belts and instead graduate to the next belt every twelve weeks.

CLICK HERE for more pictures of Jack earning his Orange belt. The teacher ceremoniously removes the old belt and asks a few questions about what he has learned ("what is respect?" "what does focus mean?", etc.) and then ties on the next belt.

Click below for karate action Jackson:

The Mummy

Recently Jack has been asking questions like, "what happens after you die?" and "who was the first person on earth?" So, we've been discussing mummies and how the Egyptians treated bodies through mummification in prep for the after life (an absolutely fascinating topic, I think!).

We decided to make a mummy and sarcophagus, complete with jewels that s/he might need in the afterlife.

Sculpey is a great clay that's malleable into any shape and then is baked for 15 minutes to harden. Since it bakes for such a short time, we can do other things in the meantime and Jack doesn't lose interest in our activity. We chose white since the idea was to paint the sarcophagus in glitter paint.

Jack formed the mummy and a two-headed dog since mummies often took their pets with them. I went to work on the sarcophagus. We made a dog bowl and jewels.

Once baked and hardened, Jack wrapped the mummy in surgical tape and painted the sarcophagus and decorated it with beads.

CLICK HERE for more pictures.

Click the video below to see the finished product:

Pizza and Guinness

A friend of mine works for Family House - a wonderful local non-profit that provides a home-away-from-home near San Francisco hospitals for families of children dealing with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.

They recently held a very cool charity event that Jack and I participated in one sunny day last weekend.

Family House partnered with Tony's Pizza Napoletana (the undisputed winner of San Francisco's best pizza, and noted by USAToday as one of the best in the nation) which was celebrating their fifth year in North Beach by attempting to break the Guinness Book of World Records record of simultaneously tossing more than 250 pizza doughs into the air. We participated in breaking the record with 263 pizzas tossed that day!

Afterwards we rewarded ourselves with gelato and watched some of the World Cup. 

Check out more pics from SFWeekly (check out slide #5), CLICK HERE

And my iPhone pics, CLICK HERE

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Magic Wands

Jack's preschool day ends at 2:15pm. After that he is in the "Butterflies" after school program. This quarter on Tuesdays he was picked up by another Mom and they carpooled together with her little girl to T-Ball practice. On Fridays, he took a movie making class to shake things up after the school day has ended. Here's a special screening of the final product:

You might remember that last year he also took the movie making class and produced a stop-action short with his friend Zoe:

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

81 degrees at 7:15pm

The City is experiencing a mini-heatwave this week and it makes icecream taste even better!