Sunday, June 29, 2008

Friday, June 27, 2008

THE LITTLE DRUMMER BOY




I'm sure Stevie Wonder & Prince have a video just like this in the archives. There most likely is some poor mother's son named Bubba down in County Prison that has a video like this too. So on the value meter for what it foreshadows, I would give it a 1. With all that being said, this moment still received cheers from the peanut gallery. Lets just say, we're not a hard crowd to please when it comes to this little guy.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

BFF vs BFFL



Having 2 little girls & one sexy mommy in the house, it's not uncommon for one of them to come to me with a need for a hug. Claudia's wisdom (age) gives her the ability to clearly communicate the current need. With Kiana & Mika, it requires some special listening skills to pull out the message. Mika came to me today expressing great despair - as only little girls can. She had just been in a debate with Kiana on what was better to sign a letter with:

B.F.F. - BEST FRIENDS FOREVER

OR

B.F.F.L. - BEST FRIENDS FOR LIFE

These may seem like small things, but there was a right answer to be had for Mika. Not knowing her stance, I had to probe a little to understand how the debate came to be. It turns out that Kiana's penpal signs B.F.F.L. AND Mika felt that B.F.F. was a better signature. I've had the same two best friends for over 30 years (from when I was 4 years old) and I'm not one to minumize friendship. I did find a moment to slip in that maybe a good signature could be:

B.F.F.N - BEST FRIENDS FOR NOW

Mika got a pretty good laugh on that one, which in the end was more than enough to make her forget about the serious debate all together. After a long discussion, we did come to agree that B.F.F. was the better signature due to the fact that the friendship continues 'forever' - using the word 'life' left it open to end at some point. After all was said Mika went back outside to have some fun with her:

S.A.B.F.P. - SISTER AND BEST FRIEND. PERIOD.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

PLANET GREEN

In the modern era of television, where it's less about information and more about lowering the brain stimulation to the lowest possible level, a new station is born. 'Planet Green' has jumped on the scene and with tivo we've been able check out their entire line up. There are some unchallenging shows like 'Living with Ed & Hollywood Green' that I won't get into, but there are shows like 'Alter Eco, Renovation Nation and Wasted' that are filled with eye-openers and useful information. With the current onslaught of bad TV, I figured it couldn't hurt to share a new station that makes you think a little and in the end may assist in making your life better.



DISCOVERY: PLANET GREEN

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sunday, June 22, 2008

ART OF THE WEEK - ALGEBRA OUT

A few weeks ago we introduced our chalkboard wall with a painting from Kai along with the promise of showing a new artist every few weeks. Then, however, the final few weeks of school approached and the chalkboard was kidnapped by geometry, algebra, a California history report, phonics lessons, geology cycles, and a host of other school stuff... I can tell you this much: our brains are mush and I think Claudia and I are even happier than the kids that school is out. Now we can finally go back to our original intent and are hereby presenting the first summer showing:

Kiana - Bouncy Balls

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Friday, June 20, 2008

A TOUCH OF ITALY

We have officially decided not to take our annual trip to Europe this year. It's especially sad since this was going to be the first trip for Matisse-Ciel. With the rise in gas prices and the weak dollar, the cost for airline tickets has almost tripled since last year - having a crew of this size will cost you about 7k. At least Germany's carbon footprint will be less due to the lack of destruction we can cause at times. Claudia & I have our own sadness from the that fact we'll not be able to do our hand-off move that usually takes place with Oma and Opa. The one where we kiss the kids goodbye and make a run to Italy. It's become a tradition of late and one we have grown to really love. Of all the locations, none has brought more beauty & joy than the times spent in Rome. With our recent days of sulking over it not happening, we've made it a point to only cook Italian at home and stick to Italian cuisine when we go out to eat.


Fortunately Claudia is an amazing Chef and constantly surprises us with the tastes of Italy. Since the wine tends to flow heavy on these nights, Claudia questions my high praise all the time. I let her know that good wine never gets in the way but only enhances clarity of the moment. Since my cooking is not nearly as enjoyable, I tend to do my best efforts by driving us to a restaurant. Eating in Italy taught us that good food doesn't have to come with a high price. Some of our favorite nights in Italy came from cozy little spots tucked behind an alley.

So it has come as no surprise that one of our favorite spots is Pasta Pomodoro in Aliso Viejo. The food is always fresh and delicious and the prices are great - as soon as you sit down, you are served warm bread and a pesto olive oil for dipping - we all tear into that like it's our last meal on earth. I love their Salmone Canellini - always perfect - Claudia usually has their Verdure - a fresh and colorful array of roasted vegetables - and the kids eat loads of pasta with butter and cheese. We can never say no to their deserts - the Tiramisu is just out of this world! The food stands on its own, but what has comes to be our greatest joy is the special service we receive while there. Jamie, the general manager, always welcomes us like family and always makes the meal perfect. She giggles with the kids, chats with us and we are always treated to a taste of a new dish or an extra big helping of desert. These little touches tend to happen more overseas and we greatly appreciate the warmth and smiles extended to us... it brings Italy a littler closer this year.

Pasta Pomodoro Menu

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

EVERY DAY IS HAPPY DADDY DAY



Couple of days ago fathers were celebrated all over the US... there were cards, brunches, tools, hugs, beer, sports and TV. Everyone put their best foot forward and there was lots of love in the air... We are lucky enough to have a daddy that's happy every single minute of every single day... I don't know how he does it, but nothing gets him down and he always sees the good and the humor in everything. He's the coolest, hottest, bestest, happiest, most handsomest and smartest daddy in the world and we love him like crazy. Did I mention how hot he is? He fills our lives with silly fun, magical stories, wild adventures and zany games. He always knows just what to say when the tears are falling and his hugs make everything better. It's not easy giving equal love and attention to 5 people, but he does it all day long and then he's still ready to watch a kids movie... in the jacuzzi no less! And looks superhot in his trunks!!! He's given us love and laughs to last 1,000 years and he lights up all our days... You will never know how much we love and appreciate you!

P.S.: You are HOT!!! :)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Friday, June 13, 2008

MODERN DAY DRIVE-IN

Having 4 kids (and my honey) makes coming up with new activities that all can agree on pretty tough. Luckily the beach and watching the sunset at the park are sure winners when ideas aren't flowing. Lately we have been maxing out on those so it was time to put on my '10 & Under Thinking Cap' for a plan of action. The kids don't get to watch TV or a movie very often, so when it happens, I try and make it an adventure. We've watched from a tent in the living room and the 6-in-1-bed is always a fave.



With my cap in place came ideas I had never thought of before. I can't list them here because I may pull on one in the future - but I'm confident the well won't run dry for a while. I ended up going with one that was easily going to be declared a winner. Once everyone was gathered in the kitchen I announced that we would have a 'Movie Night'! The proclamation was met with excited shouts of 'You are The Best Dad Ever'. Claudia & I both laugh at these moments because we're well aware that our shining star will falter over time, but until then we take all the accolades.



Once the room settled, I continued: ' But There Is More' - again screams, shouts, I even think Mika started to cry tears of joy. I began to speak in my 'whisper story time' voice and said ' We're Going To Be.......Watching The Movie......In The Jacuzzi'!!!!!!!!!! Mika & Kai just fell to the ground while Kiana immediately started the Robot Dance. Claudia of course looked at me and mouthed ' Are You Serious'? I was and once the labor of setting up the computer, speakers, and extension cables was finished, the fun was underway. So with popcorn on the sidelines and everyone in the jacuzzi European style (hence no photos of us), this was easily proclaimed the greatest movie night ever!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

THIS LITTLE PIGGY



With our youngest student morning class always consists of magical stories of how each family member would risk life and limb to protect his little body. Kai tends to tell the tallest tales of how he would slay a dragon to protect his little brother. During these stories Matisse-Ciel listens closely while flicking his tiny toes back and forth. Since the words are yet unable to come out of his little mouth, it's his way of cheering on the story and I'm sure saying thanks for all the acts of bravery.

Monday, June 9, 2008

TAG*TEAM

HIDE AND GO SWING

video

Check Matisse-Ciel at about 24 seconds in. Keep in mind Kiana played this game with him for about 30min and he still managed to be surprised when she touched the swing.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Saturday, June 7, 2008

SATURDAY LOVE



With gas prices rising daily, we've been maximizing our less pricy adventures. One of the key ones is taking trips to the park and enjoying the fun of being outside. Loading 6 people, 2 scooters, 1 bike & a jogger stroller in the car makes for an event but somehow I manage to get them all in. Just to be sure, I circle the car a couple of times before take-off to confirm we actually have all the kids in the car. 'Home Alone' was funny in the 90's but it has lost some of its humor in 2008. After all is checked off we take the long journey of 8min - we would walk/ride/jog but once you park the car, there's still about a mile and change to go before you're actually at the park. Once there, the kids are doing tricks on scooters, hanging from the Monkey bars or navigating a new obstacle course. Even though Matisse-Ciel is unable to join the adventures he seems to have plenty of fun just hanging out. Just as each kids has ventured off on these kind of trips, one day MC will too - until them we're going to milk him for what he's got.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

KIANA*LINIST

video
Kiana (in yellow dress) had a little violin concert with her school this Monday... since she didn't practice at home even one time all year, we didn't even have a clue that she knows how to hold that thing. And just as we were oohing and aahing at our cute little virtuoso, she told us that next year she'd like to switch to singing classes...

Sunday, June 1, 2008