"My Son is Inigo Montoya...Prepare to Die"

My son started fencing this year. Surprise, surprise...he LOVES it.

We signed up for classes at the new Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto. No, we're not Jewish, but the facility is very friendly and welcoming to all interested parties. The staff was super helpful in getting us all set-up even though the center hadn't officially opened yet, and they were super nice about my crazy kids running around like they owned the joint. The facility is state-of-the-art, eco-friendly, and very fabulous. Alexi can run around out in the courtyard while Math's in his class. As long as the weather holds out it's a win-win.

The class itself is wonderful! The teachers are very, very thorough and encouraging. They kids are all very collaborative, and advise each other. I love that the older boys mentor the younger ones. There is a huge amount of etiquette involved, and I appreciate that the game melds competitiveness and good sportsmanship together. And, of course, there are swords, right? What's better than that?


Samuraí Exhibit

Yesterday was the last day of the San Francisco Asian Art Museum's Samuraí exhibit. So cool! We both learned tons of stuff and took in the glorious sunny weather. While the Samuri exhibit is no longer going on, the museum itself is chock full of intersting art, programs, and resources. Not to mention it's in a gorgeous building full of amazing architecture at every turn.

My older son and I have been exploring what it means to be Asian, or in his case half Asian, together. I'm adopted and growing up I didn't really think much about what it means to be Asian. I grew up in an Irish Catholic family and was loved and happy...really it didn't occur to me to question my cultural identity till I had kids of my own.

I've explained to my son for awhile now that he is half Korean and half Caucasian, and he is also adopted and he is also American. He's more obsessed with making time travel happen at the moment so this isn't a subject that comes up often. Again, yesterday we talked about how he was of Asian decent and how the cultures and foods and folkways and mores are different than the ones he's grown up with. He seemed to think the whole thing was pretty cool since, in his mind, being Asian makes him half ninja warrior...okay, kid, okay.


Pizza Antica

We were at Santana Row and went to Pizza Antica for dinner the other night. The kids love this place and so do we for several reasons:

1. Call ahead seating up to a half hour in advance. If we know we're on our way here for dinner we call ahead and put our name on the list...it shaves off wait time by a good 20 minutes!

2. The kid food is good! Math scarfs down their spaghetti every time, and for him that's saying something (boy is the pickiest eater alive).

3. Affordable prices as far as Santana Row dining goes.

4. Kid friendly environment. There are lots of families who eat here, so you don't feel like you're ruining anyone's nice meal out. The open room makes for noisy acoustics, but really if you're kid throws out the occasional screech no one's going to bat an eye. There's also outdoor seating if you're in the mood for alfresco dining.

Really, what's not to like?

101st Post

I just blew by my 100th post and didn't even realize it! Feels good, though :0)



Last week the kids and I had the incredible opportunity to check out Zeum located in downtown San Francisco. Joy Daniels, the PR and Marketing manager of Zeum, invited us for a personal tour and, being the last week before school started, we gladly took her up on the offer.

First off, I can't believe I never knew about Zeum. It's a multimedia, art-integrated museum located just behind the Carousel. The Carousel, oddly enough, almost EVERYONE knows about. I did a little back-research on the place before I decided to take Alexi with me. A few people mentioned it was mostly geared for older kids. I also looked at the website and it seems that way as well, though it did mention a toddler zone. Well, just for the record, Alexi went and he had a blast!

We arrived and Joy met us at the entrance. We hit it off immediately, and I can honestly say I'd enjoy hanging out with her without the kids anytime! She was friendly and easy to talk to, and the conversation was fresh and engaging. She told me a lot about the museum and how it offers many cool programs including apprenticeships for high schoolers, birthday parties and field trips. The field trips sounded the most amazing to me! A professional educator collaborates with your teacher before the field trip to create a visit that will integrate with the class' current curriculum or study theme. How cool is that?

The whole downstairs was completely "touchable" for Alexi and Matthew, my 8 year old. When we first rounded the corner there was a green screen play structure with slide (this is where Alexi spent the majority of his time). A special camera loaded with some nifty software superimposed my tot onto a computer screen of fiery flames...that'll teach him next time he misbehaves! Math ran in the other direction toward the nearest computer monitor and set to work. I didn't see him again for another 30 minutes. The whole downstairs floor was pretty open so I could see both kids as they ran around and explored the puppet theater, dress up station, and block building space. Matthew eventually set up shop in the Animators Studio and didn't come out for over an hour.

The Animators Studio was something most kids don't get to see or experience till their first year of film school. There were tables of tools and "gut clay," or trash clay, that Math used to flesh out his designs over wire frames. Then he was given more expensive, colored clay to "skin" his creations. Math decided to make a scary flying ghost so the animator assistant provided him with some fishing line (hey, they thought of everything). After he'd made his ghosts, he chose a set complete with model ghost house and backdrop. A mounted camera was connected to a computer with iStopMotion software, which was pretty easy and intuitive to use. After some simple instructions he put together the short clip that's shown at the bottom of this post. They e-mailed me the clip before we left. All tolled the whole process took about an hour start to finish...and he was totally engrossed the whole time. Kid was on fire, he was so interested and excited!

There were a ton more things to explore at Zeum (a music production lab where you can make your own rock video, a multimedia lab, and lots more). If we'd had the time (and Alexi hadn't hit his breaking point...you see, he needs to eat a lot) we'd have stayed another 3 million hours, I'm sure. While there were a lot of things for the big kids to do, I have to say, Alexi had his fair share of things to play with, too. I'm glad I brought him.

After we left the Zeum, we checked out their store (hey, it's hard to resist). We picked up some great birthday gifts for some upcoming parties that weekend. Then, as luck would have it, the Metreon was right across the street. We had ourselves a wonderful lunch at our favorite Pizza joint, and then took a ride on the Carousel before heading home. In all, a very fun day in The City!

Zeum Claymation Short made by my 8 year old



Next Wednesday, 9-09-09, join in the fun and a help a great cause at Baby Buzz downtown in Willow Glen. A couple months ago I attended one of these events thrown by Karen and Sarah, and it was so fun! Help A Mother Out is a non-profit organization that provides diapers to families in need. Do a little shopping while you check out the cool digs, and partake in some food and prizes. Enjoy a little discount from the store when you contribute some diapers, and show your kids what it means to help other moms and kids out in a fresh, fun way! The event is located at 1314 Lincoln Ave, San Jose, 95126 and is from 3-6PM.