Posted by: CJ | November 12, 2012

Visiting the San Francisco Opera

This weekend the San Francisco Opera had an open house with lots of activities for the community – especially kids! My papa and I went on a gorgeous day downtown. We got to see the old Opera House and walk around lots of parts of it. We saw the orchestra pit, the giant chandelier and even climbed up to the balcony level and watched as a chorus and orchestra made music to a packed room.

After we saw the inside of the Opera, we went to many of the artistic activities around the opera. We went to two different areas set up by the makeup team. Above, I’m working on a stamp tattoo. We also tried another kind of tattoo.

There was a lot of drawing activities too! I loved these! We got to draw dresses for Tosca and also color in a Swiss Guard. Papa and I had fun making these.

I am glad that there are so many things to do in San Francisco! I had a great time at the Opera and hope that they do events like this again.


Posted by: CJ | November 11, 2012

Day of the Dead and Makeup

November 2 was Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and the whole family got dressed up for a big procession in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood. Lots of people where black and white for the occasion and paint their faces like skeletons. I learned that it’s a time to honor the dead. And I also learned about doing my own makeup!

Papa got a bunch of makeup supplies and started doing his own makeup. He was looking at pictures of different makeup design and using those to create his own idea of what to paint. So I looked at the pictures too and made up my own design. I asked Papa to help with a couple parts, but I did it mostly by myself! It included a spider, spider web, white face and black nose.

The procession was a bit late for me and I ended up sleeping through it, but I had a great time getting ready with everyone and learning about Dia de los Muertos.

Posted by: CJ | November 11, 2012

Halloween Ninja

For Halloween, I dressed up as a ninja. My papa helped me with a ninja hood and we dressed up together and went trick-or-treating in two different places. First, we went out in our neighborhood. We walked down the bustling Clement St and visited many shops that were handing out treats and goodies to kids. The shop keepers were very nice and happy to see us dressed up and coming by, even as it started to get foggy.

We also went by the Kung Fu academy in the neighborhood. This is where I took a trial class and would like to study Kung Fu (check out my video and fundraiser for my classes on Indiegogo). And they were giving out a free week of Kung Fu! This is great since my fundraiser doesn’t wrap up for a while, it gives me a chance to get started sooner.

After we got back, I counted the treats from our first outing and then we went to another place for trick-or-treating! My friend Lucas was also a ninja for Halloween. Papa and I went with Lucas’s family to another neighborhood and got LOTS more candy. It was also raining at this point so we also got wet!

I came home and counted my candy again – this time up to 45 different pieces! I had fun sorting them by color and learning about what they are.

Posted by: CJ | October 21, 2012

Meet Bayjitsu Spin

On Saturday (Oct 6), I went off to a play date with my friend Lucas. We both love Ninjago stories and like drawing the ninjas, weapons and snakes we learn about. By the time Mama and Papa came to pick me up, Lucas and I had decided we both wanted to be ninjas for Halloween.

To my surprise, Mama and Papa had brought a costume that is part of my ninja outfit! They took me to a street festival called Decompression and I got to wear my new costume. It was fun to run and play, to practice using the sword and to learn about how to use my sword safely.

As part of the day, I also created my ninja name. My ninja name is Bayjitsu Spin.

Posted by: CJ | October 20, 2012

First Day of Kung Fu

Each day we walk or bike to school, we pass a bunch of activity in San Francisco’s second Chinatown along Clement St. One place on the route is the Tat Wong Kung Fu Academy. Mama noticed my interest in Ninjas and asked if I wanted to check out Kung Fu. I went and got a private lesson to learn some basic moves and then was invited back to a class.

At class, I joined other kids from a little smaller than me to a couple years older (and bigger). We warmed up with a follow the leader activity. Then we learned kicks, punches and positions for kung fu. I like how each move has a sound that goes along with it.

Class is recommended 2 times per week for 5-6 months. I am hoping to get started on classes after my trip to Atlanta next week.

I also got lessons in the basic principles behind Kung Fu. We checked out a book on Kung Fu from the library. I’m excited to learn more! It’s teaching me:

  • Respect
  • Patience
  • Determination

so I can have a proper attitude for study.

Papa asked me about my Kung Fu identity. I’m a Kung Fu Frog (that eats pollen and bananas!).

Posted by: CJ | October 10, 2012


One of my favorite things to do these days is draw. My parents tried to get me to do this a long time ago, but I just wasn’t interested then. But I have a new favorite group of characters that I love to draw! The characters are the ninjas of Ninjago. They all have weapons, cool costumes, and fight bad guys (mostly snakes).

Each day I like to use pencils to draw colorful pictures of the ninjas, their spinning weapons, their badges, and the colorful bad-guy snakes. I use scissors to cut them out into individual pieces. Papa and Mama help me carry them home from school when I make them there and we have a big collection (below is a picture of some of these). They have been so exciting that my Mama even got me a Ninjago book so I can see the characters better for help with my drawing! Thanks, Mama!

Last weekend, my papa wanted to go to a festival called Art in Nature. It sounded OK, but I wasn’t too convinced. When we go there, we walked through the Dragon Gate to get into the festival. That was pretty cool. There were trails through the forest of redwood trees where people built temporary sculptures out of sticks, ice blocks and other materials. We had a snack in the forest and then walked a bit more. I found a slack line strung between two trees where I got to go and practice my balance. After that, I had another snack. And then we went to the playground!

I love playgrounds, especially with equipment. I ran around and played and then my papa helped me with the monkey bars. I could only do two bars then. After the playground we went to look for other things that would be fun for me to do. And we found balloons! Nobody told me that there was going to be balloons! I love balloons.

I stood in line with my papa until I finally got to the front of the line and met Magic Dante. He made amazing creatures for the other kids – a dragon, a goose, and a giraffe! He asked me what I wanted and I told him I wanted a sword! I got to pick the color and if it had a belt and he quickly made it for me.

When it was done I was SO excited I could hardly stand it (I even let my papa take my picture!). The silver sword was just the right size for me and fit into a black belt. I headed back to the playground with my sword.

This time when I went back to the playground, it felt different. I went and did the monkey bars all by myself. I made it part way across but I went back and did it again and again. And after a few tries, I made it all the way across by myself!

I did the monkey bars many more times that day and I’ve even tried monkey bars at other parks since then. It feels great in my body to be able to do them all by myself. Like my papa, I’m a monkey!

Posted by: CJ | October 1, 2012

San Francisco Adventures: Superhero Street Fair

At first I was sad about being in San Francisco, since I don’t know many people. But my parents are helping me find new friends and take me on fun adventures! Last weekend, I went to the Superhero Street Fair. I’ve never seen so many superheroes in one place! It was really exciting. I saw robots, batman, catwoman, and all kinds of superheroes I’d never seen before!

My papa and I went in green and used our super powers for good – vision, flying, seeing in the dark, and warding off people with cameras. We did let our friend Heather take one good picture of us using our super-powers.

I was so excited to be at the fair that I was jumping up and down! I can’t wait for the street fair to come back next year and to spend more time checking out the fun things to play on there!

Posted by: CJ | September 30, 2012

New Era of Life: Allowance

My family’s been busy lately and hasn’t blogged a lot. I’m now in school in California, my third year of Montessori education, and getting used to new friends, city, and parks here. As I get older, I’m also learning LOTS of new things! While it’s been a long time since updating stories here….we’re back!

In coming to California, I learned about the importance of money to purchase things. I started to see things I wanted to buy plus wanted to understand how my parents got things in the world. My parents decided I was ready to start earning an allowance for doing my chores. It’s so exciting to be able to start getting money and using it!

Each day I have responsibilities in the morning, in the afternoon, and before bed that help me keep my room and body clean. I also earn allowance for making my bed and for completing an enrichment activity each day. I was already used to keeping my room clean, brushing my teeth and the like, but now I’ve got the added incentive to do these things.

In learning about my allowance, I’ve also gotten into lots of learning about math and money. My papa has been working with me each evening to help me learn how it all works. So far, I’ve gotten lessons on:

  • The different coins and what they are worth
  • Cents and dollars
  • How to add up coins
  • How to add up small bits of money to make more moeny

I’m quickly learning and loving both the math and money lessons! I even used my own money to buy a toy I wanted. I worked with Papa to add up the bills and coins I had until I had the $5 to buy the toy. I was so excited that I wanted to mark the lesson (you can see where I wrote “How to make $5” with Papa’s help in the picture below).

Later I used the same skills I practiced to make $5 to add up the money in my savings. This is great practice for me!

Posted by: CJ | April 19, 2010

School Week 4/12

Hello Parents, We had a really great week. I was so nervous considering the week long break but everyone seemed to transition right back into our routines. There is a lot of news so I hope this email doesn’t seem too disorganized. We are supposed to be getting our own chickens tomorrow (Sunday). It is hard for our class to take walks to the farm as often as I would like so why not bring some of the farm to us? The children will be responsible for feeding the chickens and collecting the eggs. If you need an idea for an outdoor activity, try having your toddler dig for worms to feed the chickens. We will still take our occasional walks to the farm for exercise. We will also be getting goats soon. Brandi has rescued two male goats so as soon as we can build an enclosure they will be at our school (sometime next week). We made it down to the farm on Friday. That was very exciting for the kids. We will let you know when we go down there so that you can prepare yourselves for tired kiddies. They get so worn out. They also need extra water on those days so be sure to offer it to them when they get home. After we came inside everyone had 5 rounds of water before eating lunch! It is definitely getting hot. This leads me to my next point. Please bring sunscreen. We usually go through one tube at a time because it is easier. I have been using water babies and aveeno babies. If you have a specific brand that you have purchased for your child, please tell us so that we don’t use a different type on him/her. Just FYI, we lather before going out in the mornings and once before going out in the afternoons. The weather is supposed to cool off this week so that should give you all a chance to buy some if you can’t get to it this weekend. Once the weather gets unbearably hot, we will have shorter outings and more water play i.e. sprinklers and wading pool. There is just no way around it in Atlanta. I am not sure how to work out the details of what we will need (extra towels, etc). We are not starting the weekly laundry service just yet. I have not heard from everyone so I am waiting until I have more parents on board to try to organize this. We will be holding an info session towards the end of May. We have several children that will start to transfer out of the class into Primary. We want to give priority to friends and family so if you know someone that is interested, please let us know so we can mark their application as needed. Lastly, I’d like to schedule more observations. The best days for us to do them are on Mondays and Fridays. For the parents of the children coming two days a week, we can either have you bring your child on a Monday or Friday or we can discuss a different day of the week to do the observation. Please email me and let me know when you would like to come. I’ll do a first come first serve system so if your desired date is taken we will just keep trying to find a better date. Thanks, Ellie

Alon: He has been changing his clothes constantly lately. Jodi and I will go through his cubby to check and see of clothes are really dirty or if he was just ready for a wardrobe change. There may be a pair or two of shorts with a dirt mark in his cubby but we have been trying not to put them in his dirty bag if they aren’t truly dirty. As you already know, Alon is pretty much ready to start visiting primary. He is extremely independent these days. He is so busy in the classroom that I rarely give him lessons anymore. He is always in the middle of something and has been able to transfer a lot of his knowledge of the materials to the new materials I put out. I had given him a couple lessons on spooning and transferring and he just tears through those activities in the morning (I mean that in a good way). He shows a lot of concern for the maintenance of the room as well. He picks up after the younger children and will carry around materials that have been left out asking the other children if it was theirs. I know he had a rough couple weeks about a month ago but this is usually a sign that the child is about to have a developmental leap. Night waking is another sign of these advancements. He did really well with toileting this week. I saw him run to the toilet several times without informing me that he has to urinate. I can always tell that he has just gone to the bathroom because right afterwards he walks through the classroom adjusting his underwear and pants. He is also fiercely independent outdoors. He always has a shovel or some garden tool and is in the middle of a project. He absolutely loves to garden. I can tell you all include him in the gardening at home.

At home:

Alon wants to be where the work is.  He wants to “help mamma” or “Find papa, help papa”. He is active and if we do not get hime out of the house by 10:30 we are just asking for messes. He speaks in full, complete and well annunciated sentances “My pants are falling down”  ” Mama is washing her hair”.  He also comes up with pretty clever ways to use his relatively limeted vocabulary.

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