Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Friday, December 26, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

THE END IS NEAR

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Polaroid has ceased production & the current supplies will only get them through 2009. Not being able to see the kids blow & shake their hands wildly in the hope to hurry the image along is kinda sad. To think that most if not all of my baby pictures are on Polaroid film and there will be very few images in that style that they will be able to show their kids. Now with that being said, our crew's kids will be so sick of seeing all these digital images of their parents that they may hope for the end of picture taking all together.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

FINAL DAYS APPROACHING

It's always fascinating to see the assertive efforts to do just a little extra as the special Christmas Holidays come to light. Our bar is set pretty high since for the most part each one of the kids succeeds in the normal daily benchmarks that we have in place - this is of course excluding keeping the room clean. I tend to fall short on that one so to Claudia's delight, we give a pass or two on that particular task.

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However with so much at stake we've noticed a conservative shift to walk through these days with caution. Each step only taken once there is clear certainty that it will keep them heading in the right direction. Imagine doing that will helping with a 15 month old and new dog - it makes for some sketchy roads but we must acknowledge that they are making the smart steps on this journey.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

MISSING HOME

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WALKING INTO DOWNTOWN FRANKFURT GERMANY

Monday, December 8, 2008

THE BIRTH OF JAZZERSIZE!



200k+ hits is a lot but why this doesn't have a billion hits is beyond me. I can't see there being a better video ever recorded!

ART OF THE WEEK

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

JOHNSON WEDDING

It seems like the time just zoomed by from when Cory and Michelle asked for Matisse-Ciel to be the ring bearer for their wedding. As noted over the last few weeks, sadly it was becoming clear that the odds of MC actually being able to walk down the aisle were pretty slim. To the credit of Cory & Michelle, they never seemed to worry about the task or at least figured in the end it wouldn't stop them from getting married if he couldn't pull it off.

Driving to the wedding we all took turns telling our version of how the wedding task would turn out. The best one was that when it was time to walk, MC would just crawl out of the church. After getting dressed at the church and seeing everyone look so nice, it was pretty crazy to realize that WE didn't bring our camera. For those that check the site often, that has to be pretty shocking. With the long list of classic moments caught like the girls doing their workout video 2007 or KAI*NIEVEL clips, it would seem we tend to have our bases covered to capture such events. Fortunately, there were a lot of other photographers running around and that we feel eventually we should have some good shots to share. I'll just say that the bride was beautiful, the groom was handsome, the bridesmaids were stunning and the groomsmen stole the show (just take my word for it).

Once assembled outside awaiting our entry, I took a second to tell Matisse how much I loved him and assured him that if he didn't want to walk, that crawling would do just fine. He stared into my eyes with his normal focused look and responded with something like 'Bla Ba Bla Ma Ma'. When I reached my spot on the stairs I looked down at the opening of the chapel doors.

These are the exact events that followed:

Matisse was asked to walk to Papa - he was able to get eye contact with me pretty quickly even though there was some good distance between us. In the perfect Hallmark commercial response, he gave me a big smile and began his journey. Only a few steps into it, he took a moment to stop and pose for a photographer and like a pro turned back, smiled and continued on his way. Even with the room filling with cheers, clapping and happy "awwwww"'s, nothing seemed to throw MC off his game. Once he reached the top of the aisle, he started clapping as if to show his appreciation for everyone's support. He took the last two steps into my arms and gave me a strong hug as I picked him up. In this moment I found myself having a hard time holding back some tears. Understanding the rules of a wedding like: the groom cries, the bride cries, the bridesmaids cry, but the best man crying is just not a normal option and for sure not one before the wedding has even got underway. Once the bride entered the room I was reminded that this was not about our little man walking down the aisle and the fact Cory was tearing up I figured both of us crying could cause some concerns.

The ceremony was both emotional and fun with special moments throughout. The love was so evident between Cory & Michelle. Having such a strong vantage point I was reminded of what an honor it was to be the best man.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

ALWAYS A REASON TO BE THANKFUL

With the kids being off school and us celebrating Thanksgiving, we've been hopping a little too much of late and haven't taken the time to enjoy a sunset from the patio in awhile. Since the sight is equally beautiful everyday, we tend to think we can just catch it tomorrow. However, the feeling should be that the one missed today can't be made up for by the one tomorrow. As we looked out this evening, I was thinking what a shame it would have been if we missed this one.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

RING BEARER EXTRAORDINAIRE

The reason for the RBE sign over Matisse-Ciel's head is that this kid will have to do some serious blossoming in the next couple of weeks. When asked to be the RB, we knew that there would be some pressure to get the whole thing called 'walking' down, but the fact that he's going to be rocking a cream tux adds another special element to the task at hand. If he were to go down (he will) in a black tux and proceed to crawl down the aisle, it would be one of those cute moments in the ceremony. However, going to a wedding sporting the ultimate sinful color of cream and expecting the child not to just annihilate it, is asking a bit much.

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So, if in the end MC is able to walk down the aisle, party to the break of dawn - all the while keeping his 'Super Fly' outfit clean, will easily cause for the history books to name him:

RING BEARER EXTRAORDINAIRE!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

PERFECT DOG OR ACTOR?

Truth be told, I was not the leader of the march when it came to talking about getting a dog. There were enough factors that, at a minimum, gave me reason for pause. It wasn't for the lack of love I have for dogs, or even the desire to actually have one running around the house. It came down to: would the family be able to manage the dog and provide her/him with enough attention? - especially the important attention like picking up poop and potty training. The only other thing on the table was to go small or let me travel back with my time machine and get a Great Dane. It was actually the main factor that delayed the process - even though I feel a Great Dane would have been an incredible adventure for the family, it was in our best interest to go small for the kids (that's the mantra I said as the votes for "tiny" came in so strong).

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Once Michon came to the family, I tried to pretend some of the cute things she would do weren't happening. She is sweet, soft, quiet, gentle, sleeps through the night and potty trained herself within a matter of days. I even mocked the early training successes like sitting, staying and walking on a leash as a fluke. There was no way this little girl could maintain this skill level - or so I thought. It was almost as if Claudia gave her a heart-to-heart and let her know this was not a done deal, but an audition. Michon took that advice and brought her game to the next level. I knew she was a special dog when I noticed how cute and carefully Matisse-Ciel & her played together.

What's great about Michon fitting into the house so well is that I was the one that found her for the family. As Claudia would say, this goes on my long list of things I can take credit for. I don't actually have a list but I'm blessed with a great memory.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

AIR*KAI

Until recently, Kai was the youngest and had to be a little survivor. When you're third in line, you have a way of becoming a survivalist - making do with what's available and staying clear of danger. We have been well aware of this self taught skill but didn't expect it to manifest itself when Kai began playing organized basketball. It wasn't obvious at first, but once we noticed Kai only touching the ball when it accidentally came to him or staying as far away from the basket as possible - we knew his survivalist instinct was getting in the way of his ability to show his star-like sportsman traits.

Leading up to this weekends' game, we sat down as a family and tried to help Kai curb the survivor and unlock the predator within. When you are talking to a 6-year old, it always seems as if they're in the moment with you, but we weren't sure if the speech was getting through. Right before the game started, we cheered for Kai and wished him well - he gave his normal adorable toothless smile followed by his even more adorable patent thumbs up. With everything lining up to the normal pattern, it left little insight for what was to follow once the whistle sounded.

Usually, when your child acts in a way that is unrecognizable, it is something that leaves much to be desired. This experience was the exact opposite with Kai showing the inner machine he has been hinting about, but until now it was almost like a mythical being. Once the ball was in play, we found ourselves in wonderment as Kai transformed. It was almost as if he had grown additional arms and legs as he darted from one basket to the other. He seemed to have also developed a keen instinct to make the right move as he was in on every play from driving the ball up the court to rebounding. There was no greater moment than when he took the ball out of bounds and proceeded to get into a zen-like focus with the rim.

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He shifted from one side of the court to the other until he found himself in the promised land. As we all stood with unbelievable anticipation, Kai seemed to have a calm come over him - it was as if he knew this was the moment he had been waiting for his whole life. With a quick look back at us to assure this was witnessed, Kai launched the ball in the air - as one could expect it was the slowest shot taken in the history of shots. We stood there watching the rotation of the ball until it did the unthinkable - it hit the rim, then the backboard, followed by a little more rim until it fell into the net with a grace even Baryshnikov could appreciate. Even though the game was far from over, and Kai would actually score again, this single moment was one we will all cherish as the moment Kai became a basketball legend.

P.S.: The NIKE AIR*KAI shoe and apparel line is set to launch spring 2010.

ART OF THE WEEK

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

GET ME OFF THIS THING

Finally getting my head above water and after going through the blog over the last weeks, I couldn't believe how slow it read. I felt a need to get back on track before this ride down gets out of control. It's funny how my OCD works both ways - when I'm into something I really get into it and when I step away from something it's not the easiest thing to get back to.

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Even though the normal output of images and stories has been lean, there have been just as many adventures as usually. In the coming days stories to look out for:

We Discover Kai Is A Survivalist.

Michon - The Greatest Dog Ever!?!

Matisse-Ciel... So Over That Walking Thing

This tease won't have a long delay - you can expect these stories in the near future and I'll get back to getting weekly images up of Ransomville. I should mention that there's a good chance I might be getting a new toy that will enable me to provide some solid quality video pretty soon. If this gadget is as cool as it seems to be, I should be able to post enough video that I'm sure you'll ask me to stop or beg for more.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

TOLL ROAD

We didn't have nearly enough time to mourn the single road highway before Kai opened dual lanes. He is most impressed with these lanes because it allows him to drive food into his mouth without opening the garage. We just love the fact that he looks so cute and even though he's an older brother, it seems as if time has gone in reverse for a moment. Unless you're 70 years old, you can't help but look like a little kid with no front teeth. Matisse even seems a little older than Kai since he's currently rocking some teeth in the front.

morning*doo

We're all looking forward to the beautiful set of beavers that is sure to follow soon. Until then, the girls have propped Kai on the couch so they can all talk turns going...'Awwwwwwww'. Not one to normally like silly affection, he has actually seemed to enjoy the new look enough to let the girls have their way.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Update.....

The blog has been a little bare as of late and I've felt bad with the number of hits we've had coming in. There has been so much happening... new job, dog and some heavy weight coming from the poor health of my Grandma. Fortunately, the job and dog have been falling into place and I couldn't ask for much more in its current progression. Contacts are building and the business opportunities are coming together. Michon (dog) has been as cute and loving as any family could hope for when bringing in a pet. The kids have been adjusting to the dog nicely and the dog is slowly understanding that yes, it actually falls even below Matisse in the chain of command (MC is happy about this revelation).

This brings us to my Grandmother - she has taken a turn for the worse... it has seemingly happened overnight when you take into consideration that her health was pretty good just a couple of months ago at Matisse-Ciel's birthday party. One thing about my Grandma's health that I tend to take into account, is that she's 93 and has lived an incredible life. She would be the first one to agree that she's not left wanting anything more or that she missed out on following a childhood dream. One could only wish to have experienced all that she has within her life's journey. In the last few years, she has often told me that she felt complete and thought it was time for her to go. There is never a time when you hear something on those lines and receive it well. In these recent days with her health failing, I tend to recall those talks and know that she had peace before peace was even required.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Thursday, October 2, 2008

SHADOW

Something happened this week that brought back good memories from my own childhood. A constant that I remember, and most of my friends recall often too - my brother wouldn't call me Jason, but 'Bubba' when he wanted to hang with me. And, as you could imagine, him being the little brother, he tended to want to hang all the time. It took me some time to understand the importance of my time to him, but eventually I came around and it was to my benefit as much as his. The quality time we spent during those years layed the foundation for the unbreakable bond we carry today. I mention the 'Bubba' reference to highlight the new trend Matisse-Ciel has been displaying when when it comes to calling for Kai or when his sees Kai. Yes, the clues are leading you in the right direction - the words 'Bubba' have been implanted in his little head and he uses it to call Kai exclusively. Kai, just as I did many years ago, thinks very little of it at this point. But just like I did, he will one day remember this as a special expression of love shared with his little brother.

morning*doo

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

DOG OR DOOOOOG?

morning*doo


STORY TO FOLLOW......

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

MORNING*DO

We've already grown accustomed to the bedhead hair from Kai & Mika. For some reason, Kiana just doesn't wake up with that wild adventurous look. For a while we had thought that maybe, just maybe, Matisse-Ciel would be as fortunate as Kiana and escape the wrath of the comb that Kai & Mika fear so much. However, he is pacing not to be so lucky and has already been practicing his blocking technique whenever such combing devices come near him. He's even gone so far and tried protect Kai from undergoing this horrible ritual we do in the morning. I think this is why Kai, Matisse-Ciel & Mika like wearing hats so much - it allows for the hair to be wild without hearing even a mention of the 'C' word.

morning*doo

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

U.F.O.s







We were able to take a break in the action and enjoy a free day at the National Air & Space Museum. It made for a pretty cool history lesson with the journey of aviation.

SO LONG TO LONGHORN



I was finally able to catch one of those planes I would see flying nightly over the Longhorn restaurant. This shot was taken on my last run before getting back to the hotel to pack for the flight home. Chantilly was a nice place to visit but there's:

'No Place Like Home'!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

OVERDUE

Jason has been gone way too long... we are all quite blue and have very sad faces:


I can't wait for him to come home and have some wine together...


and put up our feet together...


The kids can't wait to have their juggler-jokester-hugger-do anything-superman back:



Because, after all...

Friday, September 12, 2008

DECISIONS, DECISIONS



Lest Jason call me incapable to work on the blog, here is yet another post... in less than 24 hours! With this being a year that the kids get to buy a new costume (see yesterday's post), the crew is not taking the opportunity lightly and they have been in discussions and meetings and web surfing sessions for weeks, just to make absolutely sure that each of them chooses the perfect costume. Kiana and Mika came to their final decisions rather quickly - their costumes will be revealed at a later point. But Kai has been struggling with the weight of the possibility to have his dream fulfilled - which dream, which fantasy, which persona to choose? His first pick was a Clone Trooper, but I messed up and got him the first Clone Trooper costume I came across at Target a few days ago - BIG MISTAKE! Apparently, there are many different Clone Troopers and I just have "noooo clue". So this one is back to the store - which opened up a whole new universe of possibilities for Kai... if there were a couple of choices on the table before yesterday, the visit to Costume Castle broadened his horizons and he now has a list of more than twenty characters he is pondering. And when I say pondering, I am being incredibly nice: the little guy talks about nothing else than all the pros and cons and ifs and butts and whys of each and every choice he may or may not make. Earplugs! We will keep you posted...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

HALLOWEEN IS NOT SCARY

Although Jason and I aren't the biggest Halloween participators, we always make a big hoopla out of it for the kids - decorating the house, dressing up, going to the Boo Blast and trick-or-treating for hours, or at least until we have enough Lemon Heads for Jason and enough Milky Ways for me. The kids only get to buy new costumes every other year, and 2008 is a lucky winner. With this in mind, we visited Costume Castle today. This is no mere Halloween costume shop - it's huge and they have everything from any movie, any era, in every color, size, and variying degrees of scariness, goriness, weirdness and authenticity - just like out of a Hollywood movie. The kids were blown away and walked around with eyes as huge as saucers, and, because of the aforementioned authenticity, they were also a little freaked out. The only one oblivious to the haunted house surroundings was our little pumpkin - he blew raspberries at a rat:



Played ball with a skull:




and snuggled with a giant tarantula:



After trying on a gazillion costumes while constantly looking over their shoulders, the kids were starving and ready to go. I was more than glad to oblige, because, even though I'd never admit it to the kids, "Mr. Zorban" was freaking ME out big time.