Friday, February 29, 2008

Note from Nico to Nolan

Note from Nico to Nolan
Originally uploaded by Chiubacca
Nico is interested in writing letters these days. He wrote one to Nolan that was touching and funny: "I still love you even win [sic] you scratch me and win [sic] you cry!"

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Nico earns a white belt

White belt
Originally uploaded by Chiubacca
On Monday, Nico was awarded a white belt in his kuk sool won class. He was so proud!

Since getting his uniform, Nico has been taking his martial arts class a lot more seriously. Before we bought him the uniform, he would goof off in class and get distracted easily.

Now that Nico has earned a white belt, he has been setting his sights on getting a black belt. He has also been practicing his moves a lot. He is especially fond of doing "knife hands" on me.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Vic and Nolan RAWK out at Rock Party

Vic and Nolan RAWK out!
Originally uploaded by Chiubacca
Our friends Bethany and Jeff threw a super fun rock 'n' roll party that featured karaoke, dancing and Guitar Hero. If you knew my friend Bethany, you'd know that she is an impossibly creative person who goes ALL OUT when she throws a party. This was her best party yet!

This party was for adults only, except for Nolan, who was allowed to come. In the invitation, we were instructed to fill out tech riders that outlined our backstage needs. I demanded a number of items from Whole Foods, along with precise room temperature guidelines and a specific brand of toilet paper for the bathrooms.

When we got to the party, a bouncer checked our IDs and made sure we were on "the list". Apparently, Nolan was on the VIP list. Then, we were given all-access passes to wear around our necks. Nolan even had his own miniature-sized pass, attached to a pacifier holder.

A green room featured all the items from the guests' tech riders. These included Twizzlers, M&Ms (minus the blue ones), chicken wings, Cheetos, Cool Ranch Doritos, beer, Coke, diet Coke, caffeine-free diet Coke, caffeine-free Coke, fresh veggies, fresh berries, hummus and pita chips. The food was adorned with fresh red flowers (as I specified in my tech rider).

The living room was transformed into a karaoke parlor, with an actual stage. The dining room was made into a dance floor, with a strobe light. The guest room became a Guitar Hero haven, where Vic and Nolan rocked out.

Everyone came dressed as a rock star, including Nolan, who wore a baby Harley Davidson t-shirt.

We had a ton of fun. I don't know how Bethany and Jeff will top this one next year.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Soul Food Dinner and Multicultural Night

Nico and kindergarten pals
Originally uploaded by Chiubacca
Nico's school had a Soul Food Dinner/Multicultural Night event tonight that was a lot of fun. It was a combined event that featured soul food dishes in the lunch room and cultural displays throughout the hallways.

The event drew a lot of families. Nico was delighted to see his kindergarten teacher there, along with some of his classmates.

Vic and I set up a booth that honored our cultural roots. Since it was the last day of the Lunar New Year celebration, I set up a display of red envelopes, along with some almond cookies and moon cakes. My mom also gave me an abacus and some artifacts from Taiwan to decorate the table. We also displayed an Italian flag and gave away coloring book pages from an Italian coloring book.

Nico had a great time hanging out with his kindergarten pals. I had fun too. One of the best things about Nico's school is that it is so rich in its cultural diversity and tonight's event highlighted that.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Nolan rolls over!

Nolan surprised himself last night by rolling from his back to his stomach. At first, Vic and I thought it might have been a fluke move, but Nolan has been doing it over and over. He is delighted with his new mobility. It's just a matter of time now before he starts crawling. I guess we should start babyproofing the house.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day with kindergartners

This afternoon, I went to Nico's kindergarten class to help out for an hour during their Valentine's Day party. It was so fun! Nico had a great time. In the photo to the right, he is hugging one of his classmates. (I think they make an adorable couple.)

The kids were awesome and Nico, like last week, was thrilled to have his mom visit his school. Today, he shyly waved to me when I first entered the classroom, but then became bolder as his classmates remembered me and greeted me with "Hi Miss Lisa! Hi Nico's mom!"

Along with a few other parent helpers, I assisted the students in passing out Valentine's Day cards and treats. I also sat down with them and had a great conversation with the students at my table. We talked about our favorite foods (Pizza! Spaghetti! Cake! Cookies!) and then one of them asked me if a killer whale would kill a shark or if a shark would kill a killer whale. I love kindergartners!

The kids were so excited during their party and were surprisingly well behaved the whole time. Nico's teacher is amazing. Mrs. Miracle (yes, that's really her name!) is really organized and has a great command of her class. The students seem to really love and respect her.

Next week, I'm helping out with the Soul Food Dinner/Multicultural Night. It should be awesome.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Lunar New Year with kindergarteners

This afternoon, I went to Nico's kindergarten class to give a little presentation on Lunar New Year. It was so much fun!

When I talked to Mrs. Miracle about the idea last week, she was really enthusiastic. She even mentioned me in her weekly newsletter! Nico was so excited about me coming to his class that he talked about it all week long.

When I arrived at his class today, the students were all sitting quietly listening to Mrs. Miracle. I sat next to her and Nico asked if he could help me. He sat in a little chair next to me and read the book "Dragon Dance" to his class. Then, I read "Red is a Dragon" to them. Nico was so happy and proud, especially when Mrs. Miracle let him call on his classmates who had questions for me. We talked about the lunar calendar, Chinese New Year traditions and the significance of the color red. We talked about the Chinese Zodiac animals and that this year is the Year of the Rat (or mouse). We talked a LOT about dragons too - everyone seemed to be interested in dragons. Then, Nico helped pass out lucky red envelopes with play money to all of his classmates and taught his class to say "goodbye" in Chinese as I left the room.

It was the first time I had visited Nico's class for something like this and now that I've done it, I am looking forward to getting more involved in his school activities. It was such a heartwarming, affirming experience.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

My Husband, My (Guitar) Hero

Guitar Hero Vic and his #1 Fan
Vic is a Guitar Hero maniac! He beat Guitar Hero 3 over the course of two nights - at the easy level, sure, but it's way better than I've been doing. After he beat it, he watched me play and was horrified to see me get booed off the stage. "Wow! That can happen?" he asked. I thought he was mocking me, but he really was genuinely surprised.

It's taking me a while to get the hang of it. "I thought you were a classically trained pianist," Vic said. "It's not the same," I growled. It took me a little while to get past Heart's "Barracuda", but I finally did. Now I just need to beat Tom Morello in a guitar battle.

Incidentally, Nico has no idea that we own this game. He has seen our XBox 360 console, but doesn't know what it *does*. Nolan, though, has been privvy to many late-night Guitar Hero jam sessions. He loves rocking out to Santana's "Black Magic Woman".