Monday, December 31, 2007

GOODBYE 2007 - HELLO 2008



* New Years in new house (06 into 07)
* Finishing phase 1 of our remodel (phase 2 may never come)
* Birth of Matisse-Ciel
* Kai saying babies come out of mommie's peanuts
* Kai learning how to ride a bike
* Kiana & Mika getting braces
* Making new friends (both for the kids and the old folks)
* Walks to the beach
* Claudia's parents visiting from Germany
* Finding new music
* Nathan & family visiting
* Kiana learning to play the violin
* Decorating for Christmas
* The continued growth of love in our family



* Matisse-Ciel saying Momma & Daddy
* New adventures with the kids
* Going to Germany with Matisse-Ciel for the first time
* Market Changing
* Finding new music
* Mika learning how to play the piano
* Kai making a basket at the YMCA
* My mom retiring
* New questions from the kids
* New Baby Girl (just checking if you're reading)
* The continued growth of love in our family


Saturday, December 29, 2007


Da wir vor ein paar Tagen bei unserem langen Spaziergang so einen Spass hatten, hat es uns gejuckt so schnell wie moeglich wieder in die Wanderstiefel zu steigen. Sind also gestern im Fruehtau (na ja, nicht ganz) losgezogen um den Pfad weiter zu erkunden - es hat sich gelohnt:
Zuerst eine idyllische Holz-Bruecke die ueber einen kleinen Bach fuehrt.

going down

Nachdem man dann durch einen Tunnel den Pacific Coast Highway (die "Traumstrasse") ueber-, oder eher unterquert, wird
man mit einem fantastischen Ausblick belohnt. Obwohl wir mit schoenen Anblicken hier in Sued-Kalifornien wirklich verwoehnt sind, wir geniessen so eine Augenweide immer wieder.

going down

Dann musste natuerlich eine Ruhepause eingelegt werden... Kiana und Mika leisten mir bei der Raubtierfuetterung von Matissimo Gesellschaft.

going down

Auch die drei grossen Raeuber hatten Hunger...

going down

Und um dem gelungenen Tag und dem wundervollen Ausflug ein perfektes Ende zu geben, haben wir auf dem Rueckweg im Baum einen sehr, sehr seltenen Vogel entdeckt. Ein wirklich toller Tag zum Ende des Jahres!!!

going down

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


We live in an era where most of your favorite athletes are letting you down by cheating the game. If I had to pick my favorite steroid free athlete, it would have to be Matisse-Ciel. There is no question that he's clean and only plays for the love of the game. Of course he hasn't signed a huge contract or been influenced by having millions of fans, nor does he really feel pressure from competition (any skill expected at his age that he can't do, we completely blow off as a wasted action). Yes, I could see these things coming into play for most babies but not Matisse-Ciel. This is a natural baby and will remain natural throughout his adventurous life. Feel free to invest in him now - he won't let you down.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


We've always felt our Christmas came early with the birth of Matisse-Ciel. We still couldn't wait to show him what all the fuss was about. He was ready for the party and didn't even mind getting wrapped up.

Most presents tended to sit on his lap for great lengths of time, but every once and a while, we might get lucky with a tear of paper here and there. And, of course we all cheered like it was the greatest act on earth.

In the end, Matisse-Ciel seemed to approve with one key part of the night: New things to put in your mouth is good thing and next time don't wear a hat, so they can't stick things on your head.

Monday, December 24, 2007


We took a nice family hike to the beach on Saturday. This was our first time on the trail and we didn't really know how far the actual journey would take. This picture captures the joy from the kids before realizing this would be a 3 hour adventure.

Matisse-Ciel, even though he didn't have to use his legs, at times made a face as if he was carrying me. Holding on to 20 pounds for 3 hours might be difficult, but holding this guy is the best weight in the world.

We had a few rest points to drink water and let Matisse-Ciel get an al fresco feeding in. No one seemed to appreciate that rest more than the little man. After finishing, he gave a smile to let us know he was ready for as long as we wanted to keep pretending to be a wilderness family.

Friday, December 21, 2007


Due to a limited amount of time in the month of December, KAI*NIEVEL has requested his jump be pushed back until Jan. of 08. He would like to apologize to all of his fans. He feels that a the level of complexity within his stunts he cannot afford to have distracting activities around him. He appreciates your understanding and 'Promises' not to disappoint!

KAI*NIEVEL has agreed for RANSOMSOUL to release some practice shots.

(*click photo to enlarge)

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Tonight was our first evening away from Matisse-Ciel since his birth. We had some new friends invite us to dinner, and we gladly excepted. Fortunately my mother was able to come after work and watch the kids. Getting a sitter for three kids is hard but add a fourth and you only have family members as options. I could tell while getting dressed that Claudia was excited about dinner, but was a little sad thinking of being gone from the little man.

The evening was filled with great food, nice wine and some good conversations. Once we returned home, it was cool to see my mom putting her skills down. She had the older crew in bed and Matisse-Ciel full of smiles. As long as you have help like we do, there's never a need to worry. Now I wonder if Claudia will agree to a full night away??? Who am I fooling, we know I couldn't handle that. I'm the same one not ready to let him out of our room for sleeping.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Went to check on the kids last night in the backyard and walked into this shot. Between the ocean and then this, we're having a pretty good week of views.


Matisse-Ciel has finally moved on from his favorite sight (a green elephant) and now can't take his eyes off of the fruit on the counter (especially the honeydew melon). The melon isn't a sight that brings smiles but one that requires deep concentration as you can see.

There's very little that can break this moment once it's underway. The one sure fire break always comes when Claudia walks into the room. He's fully aware of the coolest sight in the house.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Matisse-Ciel was all but born at the beach. It seemed that we saw countless sunsets while he was in the belly. Since the birth, between work and his sleep/eat schedule, it's been some time that we've enjoyed the reason to live in Laguna. While looking around at the beautiful sites, I wanted to take a photo at eye level for Matisse-Ciel. From the looks of it, standing up might be overrated.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


What babies do better than anything is teach you to appreciate the little things. Some of the biggest moments have been watching Matisse-Ciel discover something new in the world.

It's been fun to put on a shirts & pants but nothing has caused as much thought as the first time having shoes on the feet. He looked at these colorful 'things' for some time before giving the stamp of approval.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

MC (Mommy & Ciel)

I tend to get a lot of nice compliments on Matisse-Ciel's eyes. Whenever I say 'thank you' it cracks me up a little. No matter how much this kid looks like me or not, there's only one 'Eyes Champion' in the house.

One reason I fell in love with Claudia was because of how she looked at me. It wasn't always just the beauty in her eyes, but the love filled within them. When you add the beauty, I must admit, it doesn't hurt!

Friday, December 14, 2007


When Mika put her combo on this morning for school, she felt pretty good with the outcome. Even though she wasn't able to wear the hat to school, she walked out of the house with her head pretty high. I had the camera ready when she came home today and she was more than ready to take a few 'candid' shots.


Easily some of the best moments with Matisse-Ciel come in the morning. He just has a very thankful disposition about him when he opens his eyes. It must come from the peace of knowing someone is going to be staring at him with love. It's so cool watching him get his bearings and then focus on us - once he does that, this heart filling smile comes across his face. Witnessing this, brings enough joy to stack your plate full for months. People ask all the time, how do we manage with 4 kids - the bigger question is, how did with manage without. Never has a piece fit so well in the puzzle of life.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Our version of Winter is slowly creeping into the winds of Laguna. In early preparation we pulled the boxes of cozy clothes out of the garage. From the looks of it, someone is having a little too much fun playing dress up. With Kai leading the way, Matisse-Ciel is starting to feel that sporting a hat is the coolest thing on earth.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


There comes a time for each kid that taking a picture is the last thing they want to go. Over the last couple of years Kai was easily my champion in pictures. It didn't matter the hairdo or pose he was ready to do. He's still my champ but I have noticed a recent change of focus. While most of the shots are classics like this one:

We spend most of the time with me saying "Super Funny Kai...But Lets Take One For Real". Since we tend to take a lot I just shoot away and see what falls into the pot. The best parts comes when we sit down to check out the pictures and watching Kai laugh at himself. He feels he's pretty funny and we tend to agree with him.

Monday, December 10, 2007


With 3 loving ladies in the house it would be impossible for the men to claim they didn't get enough affection. Claudia & the girls baked some cookies, that could have made any stomach happy. Kai & I poured a glass of milk, and tried to do our best vanishing act on them. The sugar high effected us so much, we had to go to sleep around 7pm, just to claim control of our minds again. The girls said that watching us sleep was thanks enough.

Saturday, December 8, 2007


One thing that we didn't know before moving here is the great sense of community and small town charm that Laguna Niguel has. This shows in various fun events that the city puts on - we recently had a Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony with candles, choirs, cocoa and cookies but the greatest showing of date was the Annual Holiday Parade we attended yesterday. We were expecting a corny little parade with a couple of cheesy floats and went just to entertain the kids on a Saturday morning.

To our surprise, the parade boasted 3,500 various performers, bands, floats, horses, celebrities, cool cars, candy and the streets were lined with tons of spectators... it was awesome! The kids had a blast and the coolest thing was actually knowing a bunch of people in the crowd and in the parade.

Friday, December 7, 2007


All we've heard of late is that Matisse-Ciel is getting big very fast. That fact that he seems to be so aware of things and at time even understanding a conversation (all parents think this but this kid is 'special'...all parents think this too). He's grown so fast that Claudia & I have been talking of moving him into his own room. With most parents getting up multiple times in the night, this could be a great relief. Matisse-Ciel has pretty much slept through the night from the second week on. You only tend to notice he's there, because you have to whisper when in the room.

I sat Matisse-Ciel down and discussed a possibility of him leaving our room. While going through the details of the move, he gave a look as to say " Am I Too Loud? Do I Snore? I Can Be Better!". After the talk, I told Claudia I wasn't ready to write up the eviction notice.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


We're fortunate that Matisse-Ciel is a pretty happy & now smiley baby. With that, taking a picture of him comes pretty easy when wanting to capture a moment. Now trying to capture such moment when he's ready to eat is not always so easy. Double the picture task, with having 3 older siblings wanting to watch a kids movie playing in the background, while trying to take a picture. Kai was having so much trouble staying focused that he would make these funny faces straining to keep his eyes on the camera and not the TV. I could have just turned the TV off but it was fun watching Kai, have maybe the biggest struggle to date in his life.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


As you can see from the last ride, the fame has gone to his head. He does want to reassure his fans that this new ride will be at another level.

Stay tuned for the next phase of KAI*NIEVEL The Great One!!

Coming Soon.....


One of the things we're most proud of, is how much the kids love each other. One comment we tend to hear from other parents, is how evident the love they share is. It's easy to see why Matisse-Ciel is such a calm kid - with his heart so full at a young age, what is there to worry about.

Monday, December 3, 2007


This afternoon between playing with Barbies & playing 'Dress Up', Kiana managed to create her first oil painting. Kiana has decided art is her lead choice for the future. We're already looking to trademark her company's name.



Enrollment starts Jan. 2015.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


You can always tell that you're loved by how the person responds to your singing. This doesn't apply to a great singer, since it's easy to express joy for them, because it sounds good. Real love is when you enjoy bad singing because you just love the person completely. I crack up when Kiana tells me I'm her favorite singer in the world. After hearing things like that, I know she 'Really...Really..Loves Me'. From this video, it looks like Matisse-Ciel is joining the crew. From the laughing, I think he looks at me more like how Weird Al Yankovic fans appreciate his singing.

**Just wanted to make a note that Ciel isn't in a Snoopy Gang - we actually were about to 'Go Outside In The Rain'.

Saturday, December 1, 2007


Let the competitions begin. Just like Halloween, the decorations for Christmas in the neighborhood are going to be special. The bar has been set by one house on the block, that I can't see anyone beating. The kids after seeing this house, felt it had to be one of Santa's helpers who lived there.

Friday, November 30, 2007


Wir haben in den letzten paar Tagen unsere Garage aufgeraeumt und dabei viele Bilder und Souvenirs von Deutschland gefunden. Die Kinder reden sowieso sehr oft von Oma und Opa und was sie alles im Urlaub gemacht haben, aber dadurch kam alles wieder ganz frisch in die kleinen Kinder-Gehirne und es wurde viel ueber die letzten Ferien gesprochen. Kiana erinnert sich ganz besonders gerne daran, dass sie mit Opa eine Kokosnuss geschlachtet hat und dann die Kokos-Milch probiert hat - so eine richtige typisch deutsche Sache :)

Schoen, dass die Kids so schoene Erinnerungen haben. Was noch schoener ist, sie zaehlen schon die Tage bis zum naechsten Mal und freuen sich schon auf die Fahrrad-Touren mit Oma, aufs Schwimmen und Malen mit Tante Sabina, auf Kartoffeln und Ueberraschungs-Eier, Kinder-Schokolade, frische Erdbeeren aus Kriftel, das leckere Essen aus Oma's Kueche, und auf Gummibaerchen von Opa.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Each member of the house negotiated their own deal when the blog started. How many photos needed to be posted each month (Ciel's agent was good), and what content was allowed. Mika has asked for full veto power on which photos would be allowed. To know Mika, is to understand that she would want all images exposed to be ones that showed her outer...I mean...inner beauty. I remember as a kid, getting in trouble for looking at myself too much in the mirrored toaster. So I can appreciate this stance a lot. With the many photos that just didn't make the cut for her, here's one that gets Diva approval.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

Die zwei Schelme

Kiana und Mika kuemmern sich unheimlich viel um Matisse - das ist einfach das muetterliche in ihnen, und natuerlich sind sie ja auch schon ein wenig aelter... und ganz klar ist der kleine Kerl die allerbeste und lebensechteste Puppe. Was ein tolles Spielzeug!!! Kai dagegen hat seinen kleinen Bruder total lieb, ist besorgt wenn er weint, und knuddelt auch mal mit ihm, aber ansonsten ist es fuer ihn im Moment noch viel interessanter mit Papa zu raufen, Basketball zu schauen, seine Schwestern zu piesacken oder mit Autos durch das Haus zu rasen... aber ich freue mich schon so sehr darauf Kai und Matisse's Beziehung weihen und gedeihen zu sehen. Genauso wie Mika und Kiana einander haben und miteinander so richtige pinkfarbene, glitzernde, kichernde, tanzende Maedchen sein koennen, wird es fuer die beiden Boys so cool sein einen Bruder zu haben mit dem sie in der Jugend Unfug anstellen koennen, und dann spaeter miteinander zu Maennern werden koennen. Jason und ich freuen uns (fuerchten uns :) auf alle Abenteuer die die beiden miteinander in Angriff nehmen werden und hoffen, dass es mehr zum Lachen als zum Aergern geben wird. Mit Jason als Vater und Vorbild habe ich grosse Hoffnung dass die beiden so toll werden wie ihr Papa.

Friday, November 23, 2007


Visiting my Grandma since the birth of Matisse-Ciel has had some interesting moments. The first was watching the struggle (fight) between my mom and my Grandma to hold Matisse-Ciel. Second, was the careful watch of everyone while my Grandma holds him. She's in total control, but Matisse-Ciel early on wasn't always on the same page. There is much greater ease now with Ciel closing in on 3 months, and there being a better base of control on his end. My Grandma understanding there was some uneasiness, has longed for the current phase. While holding him today he gave her a great smile (wish I could have caught that in an image for her) and while smiling back, I saw she started to tear up. It was an incredible moment to witness and has to rank as one, if not my favorite moment of interaction with Matisse-Ciel. My Grandma has wondered how & sometimes why she has managed to live so long (93 years in Jan.) - moments like this make it clear for me.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Just wanted to take a second and wish everyone a great holiday weekend. Our family has a lot to be thankful for and none more than the great friends we have.


When asked to write a story entitled, "What I'm thankful for on Thanksgiving," a student wrote, "I am thankful that I'm not a turkey."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Our trees are getting that deserted look with very few leaves left. Looking back about a year, we moved in with little leaves showing, and here we are watching them all fall down. It's amazing how fast a year can fly by when you have a few things on your plate. What's great about being a kid is that it doesn't matter what time of year it is as long as you get to go outside and play.

Wie ihr alle sehen koennt, ist auch bei uns der Herbst gekommen. Der grosse Unterschied ist natuerlich, dass Kai auch Ende November auch noch ohne Jacke draussen auf dem Boden liegen kann :) Ich finde das kuehlere (15 Grad) und nebelige Wetter ganz toll... die Advents- und Weihnachts-Zeit ist dadurch viel gemuetlicher. Aber ich werde mich mal nicht zu frueh freuen, denn an Heiligabend knallt bestimmt wieder die Sonne... wir werden Euch dann die Bilder von den Kids im Bikini beim Weihnachtsbaum schicken!!!

Monday, November 19, 2007


It's interesting how you can have such an enormous change in your life and then there comes a point when you can't remember how life was before.

Here we are now closing in on 3 months (1 week to go) and each member of the house functions as if this little guy has always been here. With Kiana being like a mini mom, Mika coming in each morning for her brother's special kiss, to Kai trying to teach his brother how to make lego figures.

Even with all this in front of me it's most amazing that there are so many times in the day when it's hard to remember life before Matisse-Ciel. It's almost as if he has completed the puzzle which unlocked us from our sleep.