Dear j,

You’re so cute. I think I’m falling in love all over again. Has this old man gone soft?

What I realized is the more time I spend with you, the more mellow you get. If our contact is limited to the few moments before I leave for work and after I get home, you’re way more intense. You are sad when I leave and you scream DADDY when I appear. But last Sunday, mama had a client and left me with the two of you over naptime. I wasn’t looking forward to dealing with both of you at once, so I put J to bed and told him to keep his eyes closed until he fell asleep.

An hour later, I went back up to find him standing on the rocking chair, gazing out the window into the clouds. He said he couldn’t sleep. Plan B. I was going to get some use out of our useless dog. I said, “Wanna try to see if Kimi will help you sleep? I remember loving the thought of snuggling with my dog when I was little. But our dog was an outside dog so that was never possible. As I hoped, you were very excited about the idea and you swan dived into bed while I brought Kimi up.

She was confused at first. She thought it was a trap. We stopped letting her in our beds and furniture so she looked up at me in terror. It was like she was trying to say, “Please don’t do this to me. I’m just a dog and I’m too stupid to know what’s right.” She had her tail tucked between her legs and her ears drooped like she was going to pee. I tossed her in your bed and she jumped off. I made her lie down but she stood back up. It wasn’t until we made her a nest that she relented.

I walked away then came back to peek a few times. I caught you trying to stay awake. I said, "If this is not working, you can get up and I'll send Kimi back down." You said, "Noooo I will sleep." So I left to go downstairs with j. You never got out of your bed.

I walked away then came back to peek a few times. I caught you trying to stay awake. I said, “If this is not working, you can get up and I’ll send Kimi back down.” You said, “Noooo I will sleep.” So I left to go downstairs with j. You never got out of your bed.

When I went back up to check an hour later, I didn’t find you staring out the window as I expected. You were asleep, and Kimi hadn’t budged from under the covers. You had the longest afternoon nap in years. When I told mama over the phone, she said, “WHAT? He’s asleep?” She hasn’t managed to get you to take an afternoon nap in forever. Yup. Daddy has tricks.

And so j, we had our fun. You’re a bundle of fun and you’re very loving. For example, the other day when mama was trying to pee you barged in with puckered lips and kissed her. After playing with you that afternoon, I realized that spending that time alone was important for both of us. I felt that you mellowed out because you weren’t afraid of me disappearing. You had me and I was yours. You didn’t have to keep fighting for my attention. I admit I dozed off a little, but when I woke up I was fresh and we really had a blast.

Photos from another lifetime. Abu Vicky sent us mama’s baby pictures this week. She wanted to show us how much j looked like her.

Mama showed you this J one of her alone and you said, "Julie!"

Mama showed you this and you said, “Julie!”

Then she showed you one of her with Abu.

 and you asked, "WHO IS THAT???" Then she pointed at Abu and asked you, "Who is that?" Your eyes widened. "Is that ABU?" She was much younger. Mama helped, "If that's Abu, who is that?" "BABY MAMA!" You made the connection without mama's help. Mind blown.

Then you asked, “WHO IS THAT???” Mama pointed at Abu and asked you, “Who is that?” Your eyes widened. “Is that ABU?” She was much younger. You stared but you weren’t sure. Mama nudged you, “OK, if that’s Abu, who is that?” “BABY MAMA!” You made the connection without mama’s help. Your mind was blown. Mama was a baby too.

New daily routine. I no longer walk the dog alone. In the morning before I leave for work and in the evening after I return, I shout, “Who wants to walk Kimi?” j – you go “Nooo nooo noooo” as you drop everything you’re doing and run to the door. You put on whatever shoes you find and you reach up and say “Bag.” Then you raise your hands and say, “AKEY AKEY AKEY” (carry) and I’ll say but we have to get Kimi first. Then you run to the kitchen and proudly wave her leash in the air.

We take the same route every day. You like pointing out everything you know along the way. It goes something like this…
“Gado” (Garage door)
“Aya Aya” (What? Garage Door?) Arya. Oh Arya
“Man. Man” (A statue — you point out what you see by the front door of each house)
“A-Chum” (Windchime)
“Meow” (No, Meow is not on this street)
“Pee Pee” (Good, Kimi)
“Mailbox” (No, that’s not a mailbox, that’s er… what Mr B the realtor puts fliers into to advertise the house)
“Meow” (Cat)
“Kaka.” And I say, “Bag please.” You hand the bag to me and say “UP-u” Yes, I have to pick it up. “BAG” Yes we have to put it in the bag.
Now we start heading back.
“Mailbox, Mauuuuuu”
“Doorbell. Dingdong!”
“Mimi, Mimi”
(Pointing at Kimi as I pick her up to clean her paws…) “Paw. Tail.”

I started noticing that I have more pictures of you, j, because you like me better. J likes his mama. Like last week at the new Farmer’s market. You wandered off and sat on the steps. Then you patted the spot beside you and said, “Kum kum.”

I still think you’re small. But you’re not so small anymore.

Home and school. After I left for work on Thursday mama said you were unusually sad. You said, “Why can’t children work with daddy? I would like to go to work with daddy.” You kept looking at the door. Mama said, “I don’t think you would have a lot of fun there, J.”

But you DO have a lot of fun at your new school. When j and mama go to pick you up, j runs out and says “JACHA! JACHA!” And you say, “NO JULIE NO! Don’t say my mame!”

Your teachers think you’re brilliant. One of them stopped mama to talk about your reading and writing. Another said, “There is no day that he comes where he doesn’t take advantage of EVERYTHING.” You finished all the dinosaur puzzles they put out. They had to get more. They noticed that you looked at the numbers at the back to figure which pieces belonged to which sets. This wasn’t surprising, we showed you that 6 months ago. It’s not like you deduced it by yourself. Still, I guess no other kid did that. They were impressed you knew a lot about insects. Mama explained you borrowed the book the from library. “He knows a lot about dinosaurs. Did you like dinosaurs as a kid?” Mama said, “Not at all. He makes us read the books and now he knows more than we do.”

Mama likes to ask, “Who’s your best friend?” You say, “Ude.” She likes to sneak in early to watch you two playing with each other. You like to make a point to play the piano before you leave each time.

j, you seem to love Bing too. It’s getting harder to drop J off because you don’t want to leave. You’ll do everything you can to make mama stay. Then you throw tantrums when it’s time to leave after picking J up. When mama carries you, you say “All done all done” and mama puts you down. Then you say “Ate Ate (carry carry)”. Then you point and say, “Go” You want to go to the yard they’ve closed off for the day. You point to the main door and mama walks through. The door closes and you point at the keypad, “Door. Abre Abre.” Mama says I know what you want j but it’s closing time. “Abre abre.” The good news is you’ll get to go when you turn 2, year earlier than J.

The sad part is J, you’ve been revealing more about your old school. We always knew something bothered you but you never talked about it. One day you opened up a little. You said, “Miss D yelled at me very loudly. I didn’t like that.” Mama asked, “Sometimes when someone is feeling upset they say some things they don’t mean. Do you know what she was upset about?” You said, “I had nothing to play with. I was bored.” Mama hugged you and asked, “How about Bing?” You said, “I actually like Bing. I have a lot of fun. There are lots of things to play with.” At least we did what we could so you’re in a happy place now. And last we heard, Miss D no longer worked there. If it were up to me, she would no longer live on this planet. Or as Abu says when she kills a bug, “Sorry, I have to send you to paradise.”

It was Mama’s birthday this month and I am useless with birthdays so I have no pictures or anything. So please add it to your calendar and make sure to do something special for her on her birthday. Because she gets enough neglect and abuse from me. I just can’t seem to get over whatever trauma I’ve subconsciously associated with birthdays and celebrations.

Hell is a dim sum with kids. Why do I say that? I’m going to describe to you what happened last weekend and you’ll get it after I’m done. Our neighbor Auntie L invited us for dim sum one Sunday. It’s not the first time she’s asked. For the last 28 times she did, we’ve always turned her down. It’s not just a place for kids. But for some reason, we accepted this time. The drive there was fine. It was crowded but we got our table fine. The carts started coming and the food was great. At first you were excited. j as usual you at everything. And so did you J, at first. But then you weren’t interested anymore. Then j started getting restless and she wanted to hop from mama to me to mama to chair to floor to chair to aquarium. J you saw this and you started laughing and chasing her. Soon both of you were running around our chairs and bumping into other tables and crashing into the carts.

OK. So what makes this Hell? See when something just hurts, it’s pain. But when you see dish after dish getting slid right under your nose. And when you have good friends placing the tasty morsels on your plate because they notice you have your hands full. When you have it so close… under the tip of your chopsticks but you can’t quite grab it because your kid is pulling your arm the other way…

That is TORTURE. I knew what it was doing to me so I took a deep breath and scarfed down mouthfuls every chance I could. But I sneaked a look at mama and she wasn’t doing too good. I saw sighs and jaw clenches. When both of you squealing demons grabbed her hands to get her to run around the restaurant, it was time to go. We said goodbye and apologized as fast as we could so we could walk out without taking another look at the glorious feast we left at the table.

Hell is a dim sum with kids.

Speaking of hell, look what mama got me into… she volunteered me to help with your school’s annual auction. She said, “I know you hate people, and you’re busy, but I hope you’re okay with me signing you up. I thought with this writing thing, you could help them sell some stuff and do it in your own time. Plus I remembered you did something similar for that non-profit last year.” The gig is to write descriptions for items to be auctioned. I noticed that the team called itself, “Creative Writing.” BLEHHHHH. I imagined stay-at-home moms with 2 nannies who do all the work while they fantasize about writing their novels about “How to be an awesome mom like me” or “You too can have perfect children.” They were so excited to meet to chit chat and have tea while they mused about poetry and proper writing style. Of course I did not go. Then they sent me writing guides for style. But as you can imagine, nothing about SELLING, which to me seemed to be the point of an auction. Anyway, they said I could only have 560 characters, so here’s what I did. Below are the before/after descriptions of the items they assigned to me.

Four Monterey Bay Aquarium Adult Passes
Get to know a giant pacific octopus, hot pink flamingos, playful southern sea otters and 7-foot sharks. Give your family a close up view of our local sea life at the Monterey Bay Aquarium which is “just down the road” but a world away.

(Every parent in the Bay knows about the Monterey Bay Aquarium. That’s not the point. The challenge is to give a parent a good reason to drive all the way down there again. So with that in mind, I did some research to find valuable and timely information to entice them.)
Fall’s a great time to visit if you don’t like crowds. Catch the latest Special Exhibit: the Astounding Octopuses. Your little ones can meet the mysterious cephalopods that inspired Captain Nemo’s giant squid. But regulars know that the Aquarium really comes to life at the scheduled feedings. Arrive before 10.30 and pick up a brochure to plan your route. Insider’s tip: text FEEDING to the number on the brochure for secret feedings, without the crowds. This day of fun will probably knock them out for a peaceful and scenic drive home from Monterey. Bid on 4 adult passes – perfect for a family play date or when grandma/grandpa visit.

Circle of Friends gift basket.
Bathtime fun.

(I had to scour their website’s About and Testimonials pages. I had no idea wtf Circle of Friends was and what could be in the gift basket. When I was done researching, I wrote this.)
For kids who hate bathtime
This surprise basket could help. One mom said, “I opened it and he started smelling them all. He was excited about the flag for Hawaii. He usually HATES getting his hair washed, but he asked for a bath tonight!” The secret? Each kid-friendly bottle features a “friend” from a different part of the world. Plus, a short story about life and what he/she does for fun. Kids love the fragrances. One boy said, “Grandpa, smell me. I smell like root beer!” Founded by moms, all products are safe and gentle, packed full of vitamins and proteins, and never tested on animals.

Four 1/2 hour Adult Piano Lessons
With over twenty years experience, Yara enjoys working with adults as they develop piano skills. Beginning or returning to the piano is a great thing to do as an adult. Lessons to be held at the student’s home.

(I looked up this lady and found out that she taught music in a few universities. I also found out that her students hated her. So I tried to make it about something better than her, and I made sure to emphasize that she’s for adults only. And since she had a couple of restrictions, I made sure to raise those right up front.)
One Month of Adult Piano Lessons – Four 1/2-Hour Sessions at Home
Do you live in Palo Alto or Portola Valley and have a piano at home? This holiday season is the perfect chance to pull out the seat and fill your home with music again. Learn a few new songs just in time for the holidays. Enjoy some laughs with your children, family and friends. Holiday classics are great pieces to learn because they’re fun to play and everyone loves them. And Yara Sellin is a good teacher to learn from because not only is she patient, clear and will visit you at home, she is also a music professor. So whether you’re a beginner or a former child prodigy, your hands will be in good hands.

Eat at Sam’s Chowder House, Palo Alto
Dine at Sam’s Chowder House, Palo Alto…voted “Best Seafood Restaurant in the Bay Area” by San Francisco’s Bay Area A-List. $100 gift certificate.

(I looked them up on Yelp and the place SUCKS. I would never go there myself. Especially not when it’s such a hassle to get your kids out and have them behave in a public place for 1 hour. Reviews were 3/5 stars on average. The typical “creative writer” would feature the pros and hide the cons. But that would lying. The truth was: pricey, small tables, rubbery lobster, undercooked fish, watery chowder, bad service, burnt bread… I didn’t feel good misleading someone to bid on this and then have his/her whole family disappointed when they actually eat there. So I used the Joe Sugarman trick. Highlight the flaws. Turn the flaws into features. Reveal the flaws and tell the story about why the flaws are there. The side benefit is they make you seem honest and trustworthy. And if you’re seen as someone who’s willing to expose your flaws, everything good you say will be 1) more believable, and 2) more powerful because they’re contrasted against your flaws.)
“Best Seafood Restaurant in the Bay Area” comes to Palo Alto?
Fans of Sam have trekked to their Half Moon Bay Chowder House and hounded their Chowdermobile. Because for years, there was no other way to get their fix. That changed when they opened their Palo Alto location. Now you’ll find them here even though waits can be long, the food can be pricey, the tables are small and there is no ocean view. Why? For their lobster rolls. Not everyone likes them, but the ones who do swear by the generous heap of fresh lobster, with just a touch of butter and celery (but no mayo), nestled in a buttery toasted roll. Pair it with a side of steamed Manilla Clams for sharing. And ask for more bread to soak up the garlic-butter-wine sauce from the clam bowl.

Artist’s Mecca
Need to paint? Want to draw? Looking for the perfect frame? Browsing for a special gift? Use this $50 gift certificate from University Art to fulfill your artistic urge!

(ARTIST’s MECCA? Are you serious? Tell me more about how delightful your farts smell. I tried to imagine who the average parent at the school is. Stressed, affluent, older, busy as f*** with work and kids, probably not an artist but maybe loves hands-on artsy projects with kids, etc. So I tried to make something a little more relevant. Plus, the big problem is that all parents prefer the convenience of ordering online and getting your stuff the next day. Why would anyone want to bother with going all the way to the store? Joe Sugarman trick again – bring the biggest objection right up in their face and turn it into a benefit. Visiting an art store is not a hassle. It’s an adventure…)
Supplies for your Fall + Halloween art projects
One day, the Internet might replace local art stores. Before that happens, why not make a trip out of it? Bring your child along to enjoy the magical adventure of wandering through an art store. It’s a great learning opportunity. Explore how different materials can be used to bring different projects to life. Your little artist might leave excited to get started with your next project together. And he/she might even get a few new ideas of his/her own! A perfect chance to support Bing while stocking up for your Fall and Halloween art projects.

One Case of Wilson Daniels Wine (more detail needed)
Looking to have that perfect house red that pairs well with many meals? Then this case is for you! Enjoy this delightful, full bodied case (12 bottles) of 2009 Badiola San Giovese blend. This wine is known for its youthful body, fresh red berry flavors, and a vibrantly bright taste. It will pair brilliantly with cold cuts, tomato based pastas, pizza, oven roasted fish, and sushi.

(I took a look at the website and I knew that this was another shitty item trying to market itself as upscale. There was no bullshitting this crowd. I also couldn’t find any more info about this wine with a made-up fancy name. So I did the Joe Sugarman thing again and made it about something other than wine.)
12 bottles of 2009 Wilson Daniels Badiola Sangiovese Red Wine
This may not be the kind of wine you buy as a gift to your wine snob friends. But, to keep for yourself and to give to your real friends. Because it’s a delightful red wine blend that you’ll find pairs well with many simple meals. Try its bright taste, youthful body, fresh red berry flavors with cold cuts, red sauce pastas, pizza, roasted fish and even sushi. They’re a gift to yourself for surviving yet another day of being an awesome mom or dad. You deserve it. Enjoy a glass at night and it’s okay because each sip supports the amazing school your child loves.

SimplyBe Pedicure
The classic pedicure with the finishing touch of Bella Lucce’s silk and honey moisturizing creme along with your five minute massage.

(Geez. I had to go to their website to see what exactly someone would get for their money. Then I went to pick out their most interesting reviews. I was getting tired of this by now.”)
40-Minute Classic SimpleBe Pedicure
Escape for a gentle but meticulous 40-minute pedicure with the finishing touch of Bella Lucce’s silk and honey moisturizing creme. Then enjoy a complimentary five-minute massage with just the right pressure. The place is cute, clean and unpretentious. It’s run by Rose (the mother) and her team. They take their time so you can relax, but you might want to watch the clock if you’re on a lunch break. And make an appointment in advance so you don’t have to wait.

Eugene Schwartz said, “Copy is never written. Copy is assembled.” Did you notice that in all the examples above, there was nothing “Creative” about the writing? In every case, 90% of the effort was in doing the research. Just plain ‘ol elbow grease to dig out the fascinations from otherwise dull, mundane and toothless products. Half of these were gift certificates. Like $100 gift card. You can’t advertise a $100 gift card at an auction and expect people to bid more than $100. So it’s less about creatively describing the $100 gift card, and more about finding ways to hit someone in the feels and get them emotional about something greater than the $100. But that’s dirty work. So I console myself saying that it was good practice. Because otherwise I would cry. They’re going to edit out everything good that sells out from what I wrote, I’m sure. I’m sure they’ll replace them with more hype and more flowery language. They’re going to take out everything non-positive I said, for fear of upsetting their donors, not realizing that they are what make it WORK. They’re going to think “For kids who hate bathtime” could be an offensive title, not understanding that it will hit a nerve with every mom who struggles with getting her kids to bathe.

Sigh. It was good practice. It was good practice.

Interesting developments:

j almost too long for 18 month old jeans, need 24 month ones.

Your favorite boots

You don’t want to wear anything other than your dino rain boots since the day you got it.

You tried to converting an existing train loop with two single-level bridges into a double decker bridge. It didn’t fit, naturally. So I tried to massage my side to make it work. You observed, then frowned and said, “Hmmm… I have an idea… HUH! Hmm.” You figured out what I was trying to do. Then I said, “I need a curved piece” without looking up. You said, “I HAVE ONE.” You picked one out from your side. When I looked up, I saw that you already collapsed your side of the tracks where you took the curved piece from. And the curved piece you gave me was exactly what I needed to complete mine. That impressed the heck out of me. You observed me, deduced what I needed to solve my problem, found the only curved piece from your side that fit my side WHILE allowing you to reconnect your side.

Mama: “j’s officially the same age when J pushed back his bedtime. She’s doing the same. Goodbye sleep, goodbye me time…. I’ll see you after she turns two .”

j is at the size like when I started taking J to the end of the wall in the evenings. But we can’t do that when I come home anymore. The usual story is J hasn’t napped, we now have to get dinner going for 2, bedtime, potty, bath for 2… etc. It’s not the same as when we had 2 parents giving 1 child all their time.

Funny conversations:

While under your dino comforter in your dino bed:
J: “I like to be like a pile of books sometimes.”

Mama kicked J in the lips with j’s foot. J started crying like crazy, all the way back to the car, even while strapped into the seat. Then you said:
“Mama, can you give me a snack? A snack will make me feel better because you hit me in the mouth”
Mama gave you your leftover sandwich.
“Mama, if I do nice things, you should buy me a toy because a toy will make me happy and if I’m happy I will do nice things.”

One day we were all out of pajama shirts because we hadn’t done laundry. You were walking around in only pajama pants and the only shirt I could find was a dragon shirt. You wanted the dinosaur shirt that went with the pants.
Me: “I don’t have the dinosaur shirt. This is the only shirt we have. It’s either this shirt or no shirt.”
J: “But that is a dragon.”
Me: “A dragon is a dinosaur.”
J: “WHAT?”
Me: “Yes, a dragon is a pretend dinosaur. When they first found the bones they didn’t know what it was, so some people called it a dragon.”
J: (unconvinced)
Me: “But when the dinosaur scientists learned more about them, they called them dinosaurs.”
You put your shirt on.
J: “It’s holding a bus.”

Gymnastics coach: “OK everyone let’s share your name, your age and your favorite food.”
Many kids saying cute and normal things.
J: “my name is J, I’m 3 and a half…”
Coach: “what’s you’re favorite food?”
J: “people!”
Coach: *pause* *uncomfortable laugh*

J, in your room watching Dinosaur Train before bedtime: “DADDY COME!”
Me, running: “What? What is it?”
J: “I want you to watch this with me.”
J: “It’s about fire.”
Forest fires are good, they said.

Mama: “J… No taking out your penis when we’re eating at the table. If you want to see it, go to the bathroom or your room.” And so it begins lol!

J: “Mama, I’m just sitting here enjoying the air.”
Then you proceeded to kick your sister.

A text I received from mama one afternoon:
“J just pushed j up and over the armrest of the couch while I was making lunch. She landed on her head, I swear she almost snapped her neck. She seems ok but the doctor said she should be looked at so we’re going. Seems like no school for J today. Just wanted to let you know.”

J: “Mama I love you I never want to be far away from you.”

You were sick and throwing up two days ago. You really wanted to drink water but you didn’t understand why you couldn’t. And why you kept throwing up. So I explained that because you were sick, it was like you had a volcano.

Sipping coconut water. "My volcano is not shooting anymore."

Sipping coconut water. “My volcano is not shooting anymore.”

J mama says you interact with all the kids at school. Except Zoe. You stalk her.
J: “I follow her.”
Mama: “Did you talk to her?”
J: “I said hi. She kept walking away.”
Mama: “That’s probably because you said it too quietly. And she’s walking away because she doesn’t know you’re following her.”

j’s new word: “okey.”
You never say “Yes.” Just “No” and “Okey.”

This week in pictures

“It was like Saturn spinning as a planet”

The “Aehrman” house.

Friend’s birthday:

“Let’s see why he likes this book so much”

One of your friends from your old school invited you to his birthday party. It was at the bouncy house place. Actually it was more like a bouncy warzone:

As we left, you took two balloons with you. One was yours and the other one was your sister’s but I said you could have it.

time to go home

It was looking to be a perfect happy evening. I was looking forward to a fast and early bedtime because you played hard. That was until mama let one of your balloons fly away as she put you in the car. First you were speechless. You watched helplessly as it floated higher and higher, until it disappeared above the building. Then you realized what just happened. You cried like it was the ending of Old Yeller. I said I’m sorry. You cried louder. I wanted to show you there was nothing we could do. I said want me to try to get it? You cried, “YAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaa!’ I jumped as high as I could. You understood but you couldn’t stop feeling sad. You cried all the way home and every time you calmed down, you tried to ask, “Where did my balloon goaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAA” but you’d break into a fully cry again.

You didn’t stop crying even after I tucked you in and turned off the lights. I asked if you’d like to listen to the Harold and the Purple Crayon story that you like. You stopped crying and said yes. Big mistake. Because one scene in the story is about Harold’s balloon. You cried the moment you heard “balloon.” You woke up at least 10 times for hug. So much for a fast and early bedtime. All because of one balloon.


Scooter @ Farmer’s Market. We brought your bike the next week.

Morning Sequence


j: “Mimi?” Me: “Downstairs.” j: “Jacha?” Me: “Downstairs.” j: “Akeh.”

"Scout. Kum."

“Scout. Kum. Aky.”



Oh. Scout.

Oh. Scout.

"Aky! Aky!" (Carry)

“Aky! Aky!” (Carry)

It’s always something different every morning. One day you woke up cranky but you saw Mau and smiled, “Mauuuuuu.” Today the first thing you said was, “Helmet. Helmet. On. On.” You made mama put J’s bicycle helmet on you.

Running around TT

Seems like TT is a weekly thing now. Mama’s been getting at least 8 moms every week. Her group usually fills all 8 spots in their parking lot. And sometimes all the empty spots in the train station parking lot across the street too.

I brought a Bug Flyer to make this time. But soon you two started to get restless so I took you across the street to watch the trains:


Reading – skipping over words but not getting discouraged, and able to read enough to figure out the story


I was surprised how you were not protective of your toys at school at all. You set them down and didn't care even as other kids swarmed around you, picked them up to observe and even almost over your Bug Flyer.

I was surprised how you were not protective of your toys at school at all. You set them down and didn’t care even as other kids swarmed around you, picked them up to observe and even almost stepping all over your Bug Flyer.

j was popping magnet balls on the board

j was popping magnet balls on the board

These boots are made for pooping

These boots are made for pooping

It's raining bubbles

It’s raining bubbles

Birthday party pizza

Birthday party pizza

The girls

The girls

Sharing the wheel

Sharing the wheel

At the new farmer's market: "I ate all my summer rolls."

At the new farmer’s market: “I ate all my summer rolls.”

"I have wings"

“I have wings”

Hi from squishy nose

Hi from squishy nose

"Come sit next to me"

“Come sit next to me”

Samosa smiles

Samosa smiles

Goofing around without mama

Goofing around without mama

Mama had a client and left me with you too

Mama had a client and left me with you two

I love Meow

I love Meow

Hotpot at Auntie L's

Hotpot at Auntie L’s

Mama: "Give me your best science smile"

Mama: “Give me your best science smile”

Getting ready to go out

Getting ready to go out

Finger puppets

Finger puppets

I woke up before you for once

I woke up before you for once

Early Halloween costume

Early Halloween costume

And tomorrow... the world!

And tomorrow… the world!

Cutest scientist ever

Cutest scientist ever

Darwin fail?

Darwin fail?



... with style

… with style

It's amazing how children survive in the wild being so curious

It’s amazing how children survive in the wild being so curious

"Did you see that?"

“Did you see that?”

Whatever you do, do not do what you saw your brother do

Whatever you do, do not do what you saw your brother do

Do you like the new signs I made for mama's support group?

Do you like the new signs I made for mama’s support group?

Sometimes reverse type is a good idea. An example of why it's always a good idea to research how your ad will look where it is placed.

Sometimes reverse type is a good idea. An example of why it’s always a good idea to research how your ad will look where it will be seen.

The throne of cuteness

The throne of cuteness



Sunday bootcamp

Sunday bootcamp

Crossfit backpack

Crossfit backpack

We showed mama how we've been walking Kimi every morning

We showed mama how we’ve been walking Kimi every morning

I finished Richard Armstrong’s God Does not Shoot Craps novel. I enjoyed the cute twist at the end to wrap the whole story up. One little gambit made the effort of reading the whole book worth it. Made me think that every good pop novel just needs to have that simple formula. A theme, setup, build up and a cute twist to wrap things up. Of course, Save the Cat and Joseph Campbell and all that too. Anyway, psychology shows that the most important parts of the experience are the start and end. We forget all the in-betweens. So a book only needs a good opening (theme, promise), and a good falcon punch at the end to seal the deal.

It was also an interesting read because it’s the first novel I’ve read by a A-level sales copywriter. They say copywriting is the severest form of writing because you have to pay for every word you use, so every word in the sales piece must yield the greatest profit on your investment. Or you’d replace it something that works better. The writing is successful if it sells, and it fails if it doesn’t. There is no middle ground. So it was interesting to see how someone with those talents loosened up to write a novel.

Anyway, I’m now reading the classic bible Scientific Advertising (and My Life in Advertising) by the legendary badass Claude Hopkins. I’m still amazed by how on point his thinking was in his time, such that everything he says is still relevant today. It’s also interesting how all the crimes of advertising he mentioned are still flagrantly committed today. And how all the best have said that they can always find something to learn from his wisdom. It’s one of the few books I plan to re-read. I his style curious because it’s deceptively simple and artless. But that’s because he overloads his sentences to imply things he doesn’t say. So he leaves much gold hidden between the lines, which you can only pick up on re-reads.

So, there’s a new anti-Facebook social network called Ello that recently became popular. Since I’ve been working on my Secret Campfire, I was curious to see how people received it. I love seeing competitors rise to try to attack the same problem, and reading feedback from their users. It helps me focus and it helps me make clear decisions. Because whatever anyone does, I know I just have to NOT do that, or do the opposite. So each time a new competitor appears, it’s a wonderful chance to trim the fat, reshape and sharpen.

“I totally understand why women say they want another baby.” Me: WHAT? Mama: “I know logically what we decided, and I still think it’s not feasible, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have the feeling.” So I asked why. She said whenever she watches someone give birth or see a picture of a newborn, she remembers the feeling. I never experienced it, so I asked what is it about it. She said, “I never felt so much alive in one moment in time than right after birth.” She said it was the combination of how difficult the journey is, but then the feelings at birth instantly erase everything before it. The only thing I could think of was, “So it’s like climbing Everest and doing drugs at the peak?” “Maybe. I want the experience again without the part about caring for another kid.”

Man, are my letters even readable anymore? I’m not proud of this one. Writing is hard. I’m trying…



Something interesting

P.S. I’m wondering when to teach you two submissions so you can start playing with each other but not so soon that you’ll hurt each other. I remember reading about a case where an uncle taught his nephew the rear naked choke. Also known as the “Lion Killer.” When they were playing and wrestling, the kid locked it around his uncle’s neck. He held it on a little too long and when he let go, it was too late. Blood chokes (strangles) only need a few pounds of pressure. So little force that a kid could execute it on an adult. And if the adult doesn’t know how to defend against it or if he lets it get too deep, it really is all up to the Tori to know to release. Because Uke won’t be able to talk. Scary. Maybe I’ll wait til you’re at least a few years older. You guys wake up before us and I don’t want you two to get any funny ideas and try stuff while I’m sleeping and defenseless..

P.P.S. Back at home, my mom won a senior golf competition after six years off the greens. Dad stayed at home with his injury.

She said last year's winner had a lower handicap but she as having an "off" day.

She said last year’s winner had a lower handicap but she as having an “off” day.

P.P.P.S. My brother will be here on Saturday (tomorrow). That’s why I’m trying to finish writing this letter to you today. He’ll be hanging out with us with his gf for a week. Then they’re going to South America. I haven’t seen him in years. Actually, I haven’t gone back home since you were born. We don’t have it in us to go on a 24 hour flight with you kids.