Two firsts – Luka’s school and NYC date night

Today was a day of firsts.

We woke up on a much more normal schedule, and got Luka to his first day of school. In NYC, the last year of preschool is part of the public school system. So Luka is now in Pre-K. He got in, wrote his name, and had a great start.

This evening Micky and I had our first date night in NYC. I’ve been jonesing for Italian food. Micky found us a cool spot on 12th Street and 6th Ave called – Mariella. The waitress was a great character – we learned all about Irish accents. The food was good – but next time I’m going for a pasta dish.

We’re getting more and more used to our new lives. Tomorrow we’re back to a normal schedule. And Amelia starts her first day of school. It’s all getting real now.

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Walking up the Brooklyn Bridge

Today we walked up the Brooklyn Bridge.

We live in an area called Prospect Park. It’s very much the Richmond meets Pac Heights for my San Francisco people. We’ve really fallen in love with the neighborhood, the playgrounds, the restaurants, the grocery stores. We haven’t had a car for 2 weeks, and we’re doing just fine!

And so today we went on our first big Brooklyn walking adventure – up the Brooklyn bridge. It’s a solid 2.5 miles to the bridge from our house. With three kids that means bringing the stroller, and expecting it to take a really, really long time.

In reality, it took a really, really, really, really long time 🙂

We swung by a coffee shop in Cobble Hill called Konditori. It’s a Swedish Espresso shop. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as Swedish Espresso. So I did what anyone would do in the situation… I had hot chocolate 🙂

The architecture of the bridge is quite amazing. So is the architecture of the city. It’s like living in a movie – even more so than San Francisco was.

You can see the Statue of Liberty from the Bridge as well. I don’t quite know where things are yet, and I don’t have any sense of direction either. So it was really surprising to see the Statue of Liberty. But quite cool at the same time.

Instead of walking all the way back, we hopped into a taxi, got home, and lounged the rest of the day.

Our first Brooklyn walking adventure – a success!

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Moana – The review for adults

If you haven’t seen the new Disney film Moana, then turn away. There are spoilers in this post.

Ok, I’m assuming that if you’re still with me, that you’re ok with knowing what happens in the movie, and jumping in on the conversation my brother and I had in the aftermath of seeing the film.

This lady probably thinks that the movie is about the Climate Change agenda. I could see why she would believe that. But that thread in the movie didn’t really make a huge political statement in my opinion.

In the movie, a young Chieftainess decides that her destiny requires she go outside the small island and reef her family has called home for generations to undo the curse imposed on man by the demigod Maui’s decision to steal the heart of creation.

I remember talking with Byrne Reese (one of the most interesting thinkers that I know) that the “bad guy” in Frozen was in fact the 1%. Sure it was actually Hans and the Duke of Weaslton in the physical form, but underneath the surface it was that insatiable desire to hold power even when it wasn’t yours to hold. In the shadow of the Occupy Wall Street movement which was happening down the street from the Pixar offices as the movie was being made, this made a ton of sense to me.

Equivalently, in Moana, the bad guy is the human ego and its insatiable desire to be worshipped. The physical manifestation of this is the demigod Maui. He’s the one who starts the curse, avoids the problem as much as he can, and then attempts to actually kill the entity who needs to be saved.  But underneath it all is his origin story. Thrown away at birth by parents who didn’t want him, Maui needed to be saved by the Gods, and repaid this favor by constantly giving to man so that man would continue to worship him. He had to feel wanted because he started off life by being rejected.

He’s such a fun character. You want to love him. Having Dwayne Johnson voice him is perfect, and I think he does an incredible job giving the character an outsized personality. But as much as you want to root for him, you actually have to root against Maui. Because he represents everything that’s wrong about that handsome, likable, hometown hero figure. The bullying nature. The misogyny. The condescending tone. Running away in the critical moment.

It’s a good enough movie for kids. My trio all paid attention for the full 90 minutes. It was Theo’s first movie in a movie theater. There are two or so catchy songs you’ll hum when you see the movie advertisements around town.

But at the end of the day – the formula for the kids is pretty predictable and generic.

It’s the commentary on the hero worship culture that I think is worthy of conversation and analysis. When the guy you wanna love is really the bad guy in the room – what are we supposed to do?

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What are your singing in the car songs?

In high school, my buddies and I (well really just Nora, Shelby, Maria, Gottshall, & Ashley) would obnoxiously sing in the car, no matter the song, windows down, and as loud as we could. And in the vein of being a good father, I’m trying to pass these values – never be embarrassed in public to sing and dance, never be embarrassed to not the know the words to a song, make sure you laugh at yourself as much as possible – onto the kids. So far, the two big ones have their favorites, but I’m trying to expand their repertoire.

Luka’s favorite is – Uptown Funk (Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars)

Amelia’s favorite is – All I want for Christmas is You (Mariah Carey)

And I added these two the list, but they’re not picking up just yet…

Walking in Memphis (Marc Cohn)

The Shoop Shoop Song (Cher)

What’s your sing out loud in the car song?

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Self-worth – a toddler’s point of view

It’s fascinating how much of the reflection we see in the mirror is a reflection of what others have told us about ourselves. In this case, it’s more of a metaphorical mirror, and also more of a metaphorical reflection.

But it has a bigger impact than the physical one that I can actually look at. And taking control of it is also much harder.

But I think I’ve done it 🙂 And it feels amazing. Obviously Theo helped. You see, he doesn’t have that problem, and somehow he showed me how to approach it the same way he does. By not approaching it all.

And then there are those dance parties, curtains wide open, with two screaming, happy babies. They care a lot. Which friend said what. Whose feelings got hurt by inclusion or exclusion. But man they shake it off fast.

And then a kiss. A hug. A sneak ice cream that mommy doesn’t notice. It just fixes everything.

It’s awesome. And I don’t mind at all if I just copy their approach. It’s much better than the one I was doing.

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When 3 year old wit strikes

We were dropping Micky off at work today. Driving up Mission Street, we saw a bunch of Academy of Arts kids walking to school. As they’re all designers of one sort or another they’re always wearing something quirky.

One girl walked across the street wearing bright green Ninja Turtle pajama bottoms.

Micky, as the pajama bottoms walked across the street, said, “Wow, those are hideous.”

And Luka, without missing a beat, said, “You can’t fix stupid, ya know.”

The whole car started dying laughing, and then had another fit of laughs when Amelia asked, “I didn’t hear what Luka said. Why are we laughing?”

Oh man, in those moments… you know they’re definitely related to me.

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There was a play about a squirrel with a special plum…

Amelia and her Leaping Lizard’s class did their end of year event today. They’ve been studying squirrels all semester. Micky even went on a field trip with them to Golden Gate Park to find squirrels and draw them.

The end of year event was an adaptation of the classic children’s book, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle into “The Very Hungry Squirrel” by the Leaping Lizards.

Here’s my little plum making her on-stage debut:

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Talking about hummingbirds…

After setting up the treehouse for the kids, I decided to add a hummingbird feeder off of the end to see if we could become friendlier with our hummingbird neighbors.

It’s worked!

They love our yard for its flowers, and they love our yard for its hummingbird feeder. While we’re in the yard playing, they’re buzzing around us almost as if they don’t fear us at all. Today, the main fellow (or maybe the sneaky fellow – I can’t tell the difference yet) buzzed just out of arm’s length away from me, suspended in air as we watched each other.

He then went and chased, got chased, and I lost track of where he went.

The kids started playing pirates in the treehouse, and as they were bringing the treasure into the pirate ship, I said to Amelia, “Look, the hummingbird is back”.

Mr Hummingbird in the backyard
Mr Hummingbird in the backyard

I think her expression takes care of the rest of the story 🙂

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You know it’s a good morning when

The kiddos and I went to work/school without Micky today. She was at home to make sure some deliveries were properly setup (come check out our mack-daddy backyard & deck!!)

And so in our way that we do, we talked most of the car ride about what we saw, words that start with certain letters, and what we were going to do that day. And then when the inevitable lull came in the conversation, we popped on the Bluetooth player, loaded up YouTube, and jammed to:

Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars. Amelia says to me, “Daddy, point to me when it’s my turn, and I’ll sing my part” which amounts to singing “Hot Damn” as loud as she can during the chorus (with a few “OOOHHHs” thrown in as well). Luka starts wiggling his butt, and gets his funk on. That boy has hips. That comes from my side of the family. Uptown Funk was my choice.

Then it was Luka’s turn. He decided to go with an instant classic…

Idina Menzel has nothing on us. We can belt this song like there’s no tomorrow. And I’m pretty sure that we don’t get a single lyric correct. That is true Onvural singing in the car magic.

And finally, Amelia went way past her years, and chose one of my all time favorites…

And as she sang, “Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah” we got to school, hopped out, and started our own individual days.

It feels like you’re doing something right when you can have mornings like these

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