Monday, May 22, 2006

Da Boyz!

Tania went out for a run tonight. Yeah! We are becoming normal people again. So I took the opportunity to put the kids together and sneak in some shots that she hasn't seen. Jacob is a proud big brother until Andy put his wet hands all over Jacob's face. Yuck! Suddenly it wasn't so fun to hold Andy any more. And ... another day, another tooth. Tania informs me that Andy has number two coming in. Also on the bottom.

More shots below. And I had to do one more Harry Potter shot. This time without the hat. He is sooooo adorable.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Andy's First Tooth !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, no pictures but had to tell you. Andy's first tooth broke through his bottom gums. 4.5 months is the exact same as Jacob. When asked for his quote, Jacob said (in all seriousness), "Andy is such a cutie pie, I love being a big brother."

Second quick story. Cousin Katie (9 years old) spoke with Tania last week and asked if there was any "sibling rivarlry" between Jacob and Andy. Tania laughed, said "no," and asked if Katie could spell "precocious." 9 year old? Sibling rivalry? Whoa.

Third quick story. Tom, Moni and Rowan weren't able to visit. We were sad not to see them but hopefully they can make it down to Annapolis in late June.

Fourth quick story. Poor Elliott Yamin. We voted for him. Okay, so he looks like an elf. And he doesn't have pizzazz. But he was the most earnest guy and had a wonderful, smooth voice. And at least he wasn't in love with himself like Katharine McPhee. Anyway, we all know that Chris Daughtry should have won anyways. Hopefully the Hunters will be coming over Tuesday night for the finals.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Andy's Back

Okay, so finally some shots of son #2. As you can see little Andy is developing nicely.

Doh! Did you notice that the guy on the left isn't the same as the one on the right? We spent so much time saying how much they didn't look alike, but actually some shots you can really see the familiarity, hey?

Okay, I promise not to fool you again. All the rest are Andy (unless obviously not). So the shots of Andy on his tummy were taken a couple of days ago (4.5 months) and the up close shot below was 2 weeks ago. Ole' blue eyes!

So I thought I would sneak in a shot of Jacob from his 3rd birthday because there is a great shot with him holding the mylar balloons that Aunt Kako sent. Jacob LOVED them and they are still actually around our house on their last breath.

And on the right is a quick pickie of the boys together in the PJs that Joe & Anne sent for Xmas. Mommy has loads of fun when she can dress them up in the same outfit. Thank God we didn't have twins!

I also needed to finally get in all those family shots that were taken with Jacob from all the visitors that we had earlier in the year. We had Zeide and Uncle Matt from my side of the family (below) ...

And one of Aunt Kako who made a very kind surprise visit from Virginia to help out around the house with baby Andy and with recovering Kay.

She's always been so great with the boys and is one of those rare individuals that actually has the patience to talk to a young toddler on the phone when it is hard to figure out what they're saying. I bet she doesn't even realize that's a gift that most people don't have. Maybe that's why Jacob always says, "let's talk about Kako."

"What about Kako?"

"Kako was my sister when I was a little boy. She's my life." And, finally, I thought I'd close on another cutie of the two boys together in Mommy's jogging stroller.

Harry Potter

So I went on the computer to get some good shots of Andy up on the blog site after so many posts of Jacob when I came across this photo that I just HAD to upload. My lovely wife and mother extraordinaire came up with the greatest idea. She decided to buy a bunch of dress-up costumes and a box to keep them in for Jacob for when he has friends come over. She read that it is a great way to get kids playing together. She's soooooo thoughtful. Anyway, I came home from work tonight to the following - it is truly a joy to be a Daddy!


Some people have asked me how I find the time to blog. The reality is that it's always hard to find the time, BUT ... I am usually just borrowing time away from other activities like TV or sleep so it really isn't that difficult. Plus, for me it is a great way to play around with new technology (hobby) and further my thinking about how the Internet is affecting personal and work life (work). So it is worth doing and hopefully fun for family and close friends to keep tabs from time-to-time.

So today's entry is a chance for me to play around with Flickr (www. It's a photo website that I've used in the past but never in anger. Flickr is one of those HOT web2.0 technology companies and was bought by Yahoo! some time ago. It popularised the world of "social photo sharing" and has a lot of cool tools that make sharing pictures much easier. Today I am test driving the feature that allows you to post pictures directly to your blog site. The advantage here is to upload your pictures one time and then post to your blog site (a bit like I do from Bubbleshare). Let's see how it goes.

Updates on the personal side. The curse of the Suster Waverley house continues to do its tricks - this time remotely. Unlce Tom & Aunt Moni and Cousin Rowan were due to visit us this week from Maine on one of those rare occasions where Tom is able to get time off from his medical practice. Unfortunately they came down with nasty flu bugs and weren't able to make it. It really must be disappointing when you anticipate a vacation so much and then can't take it.

Also, if you read the previous blog about our cosmic twins it is interesting to note the following. About 2 months ago I enrolled Jacob into a group swimming class that was due to start this week. There were several classes available (each divided so that just 5 children can attend) and I just picked the one that seemed most likely for Tania to be able to attend (the weekend classes are booked, of course, months in advance). No prizes for guessing, but Galia (the love of Jacob's life and the girl whose parents I spoke about that moved to Palo Alto from London) was in his class! Weird.

Small picture attached at top left is from when Papa and Zeide were visiting for Andy's bris. Cool to be able to link it to the blog but unfortunately I can't figure out how to link other photos so I will have to upload those directly. Okay, now typing again from blogger software. Had to upload the two on the right separately. What a pain in the arse. I had to delete the Flicr photo wince it was too small. Next time I will use a larger setting, but there is no way to change once it is set up - not very user friendly! Anyway, we have some good Andy shots on Tania's camera and as soon as I can figure out how to upload I will. Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Water Mountains

First there were Quetzels (Pretzels). Then there were Ping Pies (French Fries) and their cousins Fish Ping Pies (Fish Sticks). And Hangaburgs (which need no definition). Slowly Jacob corrects his really cute names for things and prefers to use the real term. But Tania and my new favourite name variant is "water mountains" (fountains). Playing in the water mountains is Jacob's new favourite activity. (Like the action shot to the left? Thanks to my Canon Digital Rebel that can actually catch all the shots that my slow, old digital camera couldn't)

The ones we go to are about a 5 minute walk from our house - right next to Jacob's playground and his soccer class. There are some great advantages to the suburbs. These particular water mountains are a gas. They stream out water for a period of time, which eventually stops running. The kids are tempted to walk up to the place where the water was coming from and then they turn back on with no warning. It is heart warming to watch the delight of the kids as they get sprayed with unexpected water. As you can also see from the pictures there are also puddles that they jump into and splash. And because it is a posh neighborhood the material is some sort of soft, synthetic rubber like material that is totally safe to fall onto.

After 2.5 years of living in London I think that Jacob isn't used to having so much sun all the time. I know that his skin certainly isn't used to it - we have the whitest kid on the block by a long shot - so we always have our sun block prepared. But we are clearly out of practice in protecting ourselves from the sun as Jacob came home the other day with the tops of his feet looking like tomatoes. Doh! Mommy won't soon forget that spot. More blog posts next weekend. If all goes to plan we should have Uncle Tom, Aunt Moni and Cousin Rowan with us next week. Over and out.


Saturday afternoon is Soccer practice with teacher Pam. It was a beautiful sunny day out and I hadn't yet realised the pain and suffering I was going to cause myself. I snapped these photos in perfect bliss, unaware that the freshly cut grass and pollen were seeping there way into my system and preparing a 10-hour assault on my system.

But watching Jacob kick the ball into the goal (captured on film in action!) and shouting GOAL! afterward with his arms raised in the air made everything worthwhile.

If you haven't already seen the Shabbat pictures after these pictures be sure to scroll down or find it in the archives as I uploaded this morning. More pictures and blog later today as I upload the photos from our afternoon playing in the "water mountains".

Shabbat Shalom !

Arrived back into the Bay Area from the UK on Wednesday evening so I worked from home on Thursday in order to see the family for the first time in 10 days. Easy to get lots done on the phone and computer and the huge advantage is that I was able to make it to Jacob's school at 11:15 for Shabbat. For anyone Jewish or with any knowledge of Judaism you will, of course, know that Shabbat (Sabbath) really starts on Friday night. But for a Tuesday/Thursday JCC class we celebrate it on Thursday afternoon. (picture left: Jacob grabbing as many pieces of Challah as he can)

The class starts early by making Challah together to use for the celebration later in the day. As you can see from some of the pictures, this is Jacob's favourite time of the week. In fact, Tania & I are convinced it is the only time that Jacob actually properly eats. And what a little piglet he becomes (yes, I know, bad Shabbat reference ;-). Every week Jacob goes up to the Challah basket and grab AT LEAST 5 pieces of bread or as much as his grubby paws can hold (see pictures for proof). He then proceeds to shove as much of it into his mouth as he can at one time. (picture right: Jacob stuffs his mouth - notice how many pieces squished into his hands)

But before eating the Challah the class sings songs and does the prayer over the wine and bread. Each week there is a nominated "Shabbat Helper" and the week that I attended it was Jacob's new most favoured little girl - Galia. You can see her seated with Mommy Nourit who also (out of unbelievable coincidence) just moved to Palo Alto from London after living there for 10 years (just like us)! But that isn't freaky enough. Her husband, Gerardo and she grew up as Jews in Mexico City - their family having emigrated from the Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania. My dad grew up in Columbia with a family that emigrated from the Ukraine and Romania. My mom's family is from Poland and Lithuania. Not freaky enough. Gerardo went to UC San Diego - the same place as I went. Not exactly the largest or best known school in America (but academically highly rated if I don't say so myself). (picture left: Nourit, Galia (Shabbat Helper) and Teacher Michael (from London!)

Freaky enough? No. He went there 1986-1991 - the exact same 5 years that I went there. He graduated and went to work for Andersen Consulting as did I. Alter ego? After that he decided to move with Nourit to London (presumably stalking me!). He then worked in investment banking (reporting to a guy that I personally know) and then the technology sector. He lived in Bayswater and then West Hampsted. We lived in Bayswater and then looked in South Hampsted but decided to stay in Bayswater. We had our first baby (Jacob) in April 2003 they had their first baby (Galia) in March 2003. Stop there? No. In November 2005 we moved to Palo Alto to be part of the heart of the technology sector. In January 2006 they moved to Palo Alto ... to be part of the heart of the technology sector. We enrolled our children in the same school (JCC) on the same days (Tuesday/Thursday). We moved right near the corner of East Meadow and Waverley. They moved near the corner of Bryant (2 streets over) and East Meadow. And ... we both bought the exact same Volvo station wagon. Ours is a much cooler color, though! ;-) Freeeeeeaaaaaakkkkkkkyyyyyyy. (picture left: Jacob covers his eyes for the prayer over the candles, picture right: Gerardo and baby number two - Auriela ... note that they have two daughters to match our two sons)

Whoops! I clearly digressed. Here you can see the fun we had a Shabbat. Jacob is holding is hand above the head symbolising squeezing the grapes to make the wine for Shabbat. And then he covers his eyes to do the prayer over the candles. Then they sing, "it's a mitvah to give Sedaka, to give Sedaka it is a mitvah ..." (Sedaka being charity that the school collects for poor people Israel). Anyway, in the entire time I was in London I never made it to Jacob's school so it was special to be able to go to school with him. And our cosmic twins came over to lunch with the kids after school. (picture right: squeezing the grapes for the Shabbat wine)

Peekaboo! See you!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Jacob's Third Birthday

Treasure Hunting ...

In case any of you don't know, Tania's favorite thing in the world to do is to go to party supply stores. So having kids at an age to actually buy stuff from these stores is a field day for T. And her creative juices really flowed. Tania planned a wonderful party for Jacob's third birthday filled with little kids in pirate hats who hunting for a treasure chest full of pirate booty.

We thought about having a clown, a magician, a pinata or playing pin the tail on the donkey, but we realized that at 3 years old kids have such a short attention span that we would really just be doing that kind of party because we thought we were supposed to. So off Tania went to the party supply store to come up with some adventure that would keep 3-year-olds occupied for their 5 minute attention span.

We had loads of fun. Many of Jacob's girlfriends were there (Galia, Maya, etc.) and he even let a few boys come as well (Sam, Oren, Benjamin) and my favorite name for a friend ... Tomo Goldstein. If you manage to click through any of the Bubbleshare pictures below you'll see a picture of him. Mom is Japanese and dad is, well ... you guessed it.

Jacob's birthday was on a glorious, sunny day for Palo Alto. We finally got to make great use of our backyard as all the kids stayed outside on tables and playing on the swingset. So those are the advantages of Suburbia that we have been holding out for! Tania, party-planner extraordinaire, bought a bubble-blowing machine that was the hit of the party. Then it was time to search the treasure map and find the hidden treasure with goody bags and CHOCOLATE! If you don't have 3 years olds or don't remember when they were 3 I can tell you that the game of "hotter / colder" doesn't really sink in as I found out at both Passover (finding the Afikomen) and treasure hunting. But they eventually found it and dug in.

Once all the kiddies had cleared out we had about an hour's break until my family arrived from Sacto. We had Mom, Dad, Mari, Uncle Ron, Aunt Jenny and Uncle Bill and Blanca and we were joined later by Aunt Eileen and Sophia. Olivia was AWOL and I'm told was disavowed from the family fortune for not turning up. You can see from the picture above that Jacob not only enjoyed EVEN MORE chocolate but he also enjoyed the attention and ability to ham it up. Much chocolate + no nap = totally hyperactive followed by total crash.

Anyway, it was great to have everybody around. 2 weeks later as I write this from the not-very-glamorous executive lounge at the London Paddington Hilton, Jacob is still talking about his birthday party and presents so it was clearly a success.

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