Monday, June 30, 2008

Fun At The Zoo

We spent some mommy and Kira only time at the zoo on Sunday. It was a lot of fun. We went to the petting zoo and rode the steamer train. When occasionally I have only one child to care for, I marvel at the ease of it. Why on Earth did I make such a fuss when I had only Kira? Taking care of one kid is so easy and actually, pleasant and fun. I guess now I will have to have three kids so I can appreciate how easy it is to care for two. Quick, someone call 9-1-1! I am sure someone's having a heart attack as he reads this. :-)

These prairie dogs were being super cute:

Here is a closer look at them:

A shot of Kira on the Little Puffer. She reminds me a lot of my grandma in this picture.

A view of Kira waving at her royal subjects from the train. She did a fine job waving and saying, "bye bye, people".

A tender moment between the little lovers. These two are so funny. One wakes up from nap and runs and cries and says, "I need to see Dylan." The other hears that Kiki is outside waiting for him so he runs out bare feet calling, "Kiki, Kiki!" Very Romeo and Juliet of them.

A picture of Kira saying, "hi goat". She got very friendly with the animals in the petting zoo. She even fed the goats and sheep today. I was too nervous that the animals were going to bite her or run her over to take a picture. I'll try to do that next time.

After she fed the animals, she decided their living environment was not acceptable. So she took it upon herself to clean up the zoo.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Recycled Bag Tutorial

I had some time to sew a while ago and found myself not wanting to do anything too serious. I had a stack of old clothes sitting in my bedroom waiting to be repurposed and a number of little people in my life are starting school. So, I was inspired by them to make kiddie messenger bags.

Here they are:

Here is my excited model:

Here are more calm pictures of the girl wearing the bags. This one went to her cousin in Prague.

This one went to her super cool friend. Rock 'n Roll, baby!!

Do you have old jeans lying around waiting to be given a new life? Download the tutorial here and make one for your little ones. I find the size works as a small handbag for an adult too. You may just want to make the strap a little shorter to make it a clutch. I'd love to see photos if you make one. Happy sewing!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Random play pictures

Kira in her little world.
Checking out the bubbles.  Look at that balance - he is sitting on a waterbed.
Intense look:
I would like to introduce, from the left going clockwise, Kyra, Keira, Keira's dad, Kira and Hayden.
"Who, me?"  Hayden got to play with some manly toys.  He only gets dolls at home.

Friday, June 27, 2008

She did it!

Warning: You need to be a native Cantonese speaker who is also a psychic to understand this post.

Those of you who keeps questioning whether my girl knows any Chinese nursery rhymes can see it for yourselves.   You do need to be somewhat of a psychic to understand what she's saying.  Oh, and what's she looking at?  She's looking at the computer with Photo Booth running so she thinks she is performing on TV. 

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fun with Mac

I am learning stuff about my new computer and am fascinated by the world of Mac.  One of the programs that comes with my MacBook is called Photo Booth.  It is a nifty little program that lets you take pictures with the built-in camera and apply various effects to your pictures.  So, essentially, it lets you set up your own photo booth at home - one like those sticker picture photo booths.  I showed that to the kids this morning and we took some funny pictures.  Brace yourselves, the pictures get sillier and sillier as we explored the different effects.  

A simple sepia picture.

A pencil drawing

This one is called "comic book"
Travel through the light tunnel

Square head mama, mushroom head girl and cone head boy.

That girl has no face.  I think she needs two mommies to love her.

Have a silly day!


Wednesday, June 25, 2008


I often see on other blogs that people find great things for dimes at garage sales and thrift stores.  I have never had that kind of luck... until Saturday.  Come to think of it, Saturday was a really good day for me.  Anyway, before we headed out to the Ghirardelli Square, Brett mentioned that there was a garage sale just at the end of our block and they were selling sewing stuff.  While he was getting Kira ready, I thought I'd take Hayden to check it out.  I saw maybe a couple of chairs and one or two boxes on the sidewalk from a distance and thought they either didn't have anything to sell or that they were all gone.  The sale started at 9 and it was close to 1 by the time I got there.  But then, there it was, a box of sewing books, a bucket full of sewing patterns and a couple boxes of random sewing stuff.  That's pretty much all that was left at the sale.  It was as if they were all put aside for me.  Now, I will show you what I got and what I kept and see if you can guess how much I paid for it.

The bucket of patterns:

Mid-sorting of those patterns... boy was I overwhelmed.

Some fun stuff I thought I may try from some books I got:

The "keep pile" includes a bunch of books, some patterns, some notion, some pre-cut fabric pieces (looked like this sewer was in the middle of making a quilt but she never quite finished it) and a giant roll of batting that is not included in this picture. 

How does $5 sound for all this?  

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The New Ghirardelli Square on San Francisco Bay

We went to the opening of the new Ghrirardelli Square on Saturday.  There were some fun activities such as wine and chocolate tasting and kiddie crafts and live music and cooking demos.   Here is Kira participating in the turtle painting:

Hayden didn't really know how to paint but he participated just the same.  He slimed the turtle and chewed on the wrapping paper.  How proud does he look!

It was a fun little activity for us all on such a hot hot hot day.  Did I mention it was hot hot hot on Saturday.  Seriously, global warming.  SF is usually sad, gloomy, foggy and simply cold this time of year but it has been so sunny and hot.  I mean hot by anyone's standards.  I think it was 85F on Saturday!  That's 29C for all my Canadian friends.   Anyways, I am not complaining.  I love the heat.  In fact, I got sunburned and I am still quite happy about it.

We spent most of our time at this posh new kiddie gym where Kira played and I enjoyed the air-conditioning.  This place is called Peekadoddle Kid's Club.  A monthly membership cost something like $110.  It includes unlimited play time for the kids and some exercise classes for the parents and for additional $$, there are various classes for the kids as well.  The place is designed for babies up to 5 years.  We are, like, their ideal target consumers.  Usually, the place is members only but they opened the facilities up for anyone who's interested so Kira and Hayden got their chances at being super hip North Beach diva kids.  The funny thing is they were both dressed perfectly for the part.  

Check out the diva serving tea:

This little kitchen area they have set up is so girly.  I don't think I've ever seen a kitchen this pink.  Of course, there are other more manly playing areas but Miss Kira was not interested.

Oh, she also liked the slide:

There was also a pre-crawler play area:

Finally, they had this contraption that Kira was completely obsessed with:

So, I'd say the kids had a good time.  They were so funny in the car on the way home.  One bonked the other on the head with a balloon and the other one just laughed and laughed.

Finally, to finish our fabulous day, Kira woke up totally silly and we took the kids to the mall and bought me a new computer.   How's that for a random Saturday.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Blogging with a Mac

Yep, I've switched.  As a result, I have no idea what I am doing.  Blogging may come to a complete halt until I figure things out.  In the mean time, let me try some simple things.  Here is a picture of Hayden taken on Saturday before a fun-filled, adventurous day.  Hopefully, I'll figure out how to blog about it soon.

I am so proud of my little guy.  You can hear the excitement in my voice in this video.  Kira NEVER did this.  She went from blob-hood to pulling herself up without any intermediate steps.  So, this was super fun for me to watch.
Naturally, I made him do it about 40 times before I grew tired of it.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Ultimate Fight

Okay, everyone went to Robogames to see something like this:

This is the last Robogames post. I will be putting up a robot post of a different kind tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


These were my favorites. These humanoids could do all kinds of things. They had these dances at the beginning to show off the range of movements these robots have and then, they had sumo fights and kung fu fights. Here are a some of my favorites.

Learning Curve

I know I said I was going to post more about robots but that has to wait.  I got a new computer,  a Mac, which I haven't used in a long time.  I am trying to learn to use it as fast as I can but there is so much stuff and I become very schizophrenic and dabble here and there and end up not remembering a thing.  The most important to me right now is learn to use iPhoto and iMovie which is essential to blogging.  Apple has their own blogging tools and hosting system and all the tutorials I could find revolved around that so I have to figure out how to keep using blogger myself.  I am sure it's easy but I don't know yet.  So, in the mean time, I will blog about whatever I can manage. 

Here is a random picture of Hayden... I am learning to put up pictures.


Oh, and speaking of learning curve... Hayden is learning to move.  It's weird.  He figured this out one day.  Did it a million times that day and hasn't done it again since.  You can hear my excitement in the video.  Now, I am trying to get him to do it again.  Do you think his learning curve is just going to shoot straight up and he'll be walking by next week?  

Friday, June 20, 2008

The quick and little ones

They had this tournament right at the beginning and I didn't really understand what was going on. The gist is that there is a course marked on the floor and these robots have to find their ways from the beginning to the end. It was pretty fun to watch. This video may not look like much but if you've seen all the ones that failed, you'd know how impressive this guy was.

These hockey robots were also small and quick.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Okay, this was maybe the cutest robot at the show and definately Kira's favorite. His name is Pleo and since we'll never buy Kira and Hayden a dog, he is officially on our wishlist.

Kira was so attached that she went back to it again and again eventhough Pleo was not really on display. One of the guys running the tournament happened to have one and brought it along. After being mopped by kids, the guy picked up Pleo and wanted to put him away. While he was hugging Pleo, Kira got around to the other side of the booth where he sat and since she couldn't reach Pleo, she just patted the guy. I had to remind her that he is a real person, not a robot.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Things that roll

Well, not strictly speaking. Here are a couple of videos of Robo-hockey and that weird round spherical robot.

Robo-hockey was more exciting than robot soccer. There were definately more action going on.

I don't really know what the purpose of this weird thing is, if there is one. But it was at Maker Faire as well and people seemed to be fascinated by it. I guess I am, too.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Soccer with the Bots

Robogames 2008 was fun. The main event was of course the battle bots. Unfortunately, neither of my kids wanted to sit still for 6 hours and watch the games. So, I walked around the convention center with them to find more interactive things to do. Fortunately, there were a few.
First up is "Hot Shot" here. I think he is Kira's second favorite thing. He is actually quite smart. Unlike most of the other robots, he is not controlled in real time by a person. His AI allows him to converse and he does so quite well. He learned Kira's name and when we returned later in the day, he remembered her. That made Kira quite happy.

I think he is programed to talk differently with different people. He commented on Kira's nice backpack and asked her if she likes the colour pink (she was wearing pink). When a bunch of boys showed up, he asked them if they saw the game and asked for a high five. Then, a few giggly girls came along and Hot Shot asked them to take a picture with him and he asked if he could put his arm around their shoulders.

After chatting with Hot Shot, we went to watch Robo-soccer. They are cute but nothing like the real sport. The robots kept falling over because the floor was so uneven. The guy who was there with the bots was very very nice though. He was all ready to pack up and leave when Kira wandered up to him asking to play with the robots. He took one back out of its case and let Kira push the remote and walked the robot back into it's box to go night night.

Here are the kids waiting for the games to start:

Monday, June 16, 2008

Kiddie Crafts

Happy belated father's day. I hope you all had a wonderful time. We went to the Robogames which was quite interesting. I have quite a few videos so it will take some time before I can sort them out and put them up. I am planning a robot extravaganza week. Brace yourselves!

In the mean time, I want to talk about kiddie crafts. The first thing I think about when I plan a kiddie craft for Kira is the mess factor.

One of the messiest things that is often needed in a craft is glue. Kira is not strong enough to smear the glue from a glue stick onto paper and when she does, she has no control of where the glue actually goes. In the end, everything gets sticky and if I had glitter or anything like that around, they will be around for a long long time. So, I've discovered the beauty of double sided tape! Check this out:

I cut out a bunch of felt hearts and mounted double sided tape all around this paper frame and let Kira loose. She did quite well putting the hearts on the frame. All I had to do was the make the frame and fill in a few of the holes she left at the end. She needed me around to keep her working on the project but other than that, she really did most of the work herself. So, this is what I call neat craft. Another thing that is just as ingenious double sided tape is contact paper. I am going to plan a contact paper collage for her soon.

Now, on the messy side is of course paint! Oh My God is it ever messy. You've seen some of Kira's messy paint pictures. Well, since it's so messy, I thought maybe Hayden should have a go at it. Makes no sense, eh? Well, I had help. I brought him to a paint your own pottery studio and my mom and the shopkeeper were there to help. It was messy but he was so happy.

Look at how proud he is of his "work":

Here is what he did... what he allowed us to do:

This is the bottom of a butter dish. Here's the whole thing:

How are these things related to the opening "happy belated father's day"? Well, these are the kiddie crafts that were given to Brett. You've been a great dad, dude!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Copy Cat

Kira is getting better at playing with other kids. She went through a phase of "NO!" and push other kids away. Now, it still takes her a long time to warm up to new people but she usually does in her own time.

She likes to copy what other kids do. Apparently, they think it's the funniest thing ever. I think it's also cute to see how she is almost having conversations with her little friends. I doubt they really know what each other is talking about but they certainly do talk.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

What a hunk!




Yummy fingers.

"Mommy, what's daddy doing with that camera when I am naked?" (ans: mommy asked him to)