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They learn so quickly!

Yonghee is standing himself up all by himself now and practicing holding it for a few seconds until he, inevitably, falls back down to his butt (or sometimes his hands). I remember when Mattie started doing this and she used to have a grand old time standing herself up and then plunking herself back down over and over and over again. I wonder how long before he starts trying out steps on his own?

Mattie has been gradually expanding her repertoire of skills down at the pool as well as her strength and stamina. So much so, that when we arrived at the pool this afternoon, she was confident enough to swim to me in the middle of the pool from the wall in the deep end. We were having a blast. But then it got even better!

There's a little girl named Tessa who frequently visits her grandmother who lives next to the pool. Mattie's maybe seen her there twice and last time, she saw Tessa jumping into the pool by herself before she left. By the time we left the pool that day, Mattie was jumping into my arms and exploring what it was like without a lifejacket (though still hugging the sides a bit). This time, She and Tessa played a little bit together and by the end Mattie was swimming around on her stomach with her face in the water and submerging herself entirely so she could count the number of fingers I was holding up.

Mattie's been working hard to be ready for this, but sometimes peer pressure is a good thing!

On the way home, we remarked that she had learned from watching Tessa even though she is younger than her.

Maverick is nine months old!

Today Maverick is nine months and a day! It seems that he's cutting new teeth though, because he has been both excessively drooly and cranky for the past day or so. His first teeth (about a month ago) didn't seem to give him such problems and I feel bad for both he and Misun (who gets no sleep as a result).

He loves pulling himself up to a standing position now and then he'll let go and slowly drop himself down to his butt. He's also making clearly different sounds for mom and dad. I love that he follows me around throughout the house, but it also means we've got to watch where we go. He's even getting more and more interested in our dog, Kimchi!

Mattie saved my life today!

Mattie and I play a game over at the pool where I do a deadman's float until she notices and she reaches out to turn me over. She is getting better at reaching across to flip me over with as little effort on her part as possible. Then, when she gets me over, she swims me over to the stairs where I will be safe. It's tougher than it sounds for a five-year-old girl to do this for her overweight daddy, but she manages it (occasionally choking or dunking me a bit in the process). She seems to enjoy it and I hope she never has to use it in a serious situation, but I'll be happy to know she is prepared in the unlikely event that she does.


I fought against it when Misun insisted on getting a lifejacket for Mattie last summer. I felt that it would give her a false sense that she needed it and that she'd swim with it forever. Anyone who's married will know that I lost that battle (like most others).

Mattie's been using it for two summers now and she loves the water. She is happy to go in at any time and I can always count on her to beg to go whenever I get home from work (or wherever I've been). At first she played on the steps and slowly ventured out beyond, but even with the lifejacket, she'd only go into the deep end with daddy.

About a week ago, all of that changed. She fought herself through big fear and a few tears and finally broke away from daddy and she's been making huge strides ever since! She's been swimming in and out of the deep end without me by her side and without any hint of fear. She's also learned to relax a bit and tread water (in her lifejacket). She got comfortable changing directions (to chase daddy) and just generally loved it!

Then, the other day, she took off her lifejacket and experimented a bit on her own, but I wasn't watching closely. She's pretty cautious and doesn't tackle new things without a high degree of confidence. Today, though, she asked if I wanted to see her swim without her lifejacket – of her own accord – and she doggie-paddled across the shallow end of the pool to me. She put her feet down after every few strokes, but still, I was amazed! Then, to top it off, she jumped into the pool without her lifejacket and, ultimately, all by herself (i.e. without me catching her)!

So proud.
Today was Mattie's fifth birthday party and we held it at the Splash Pad at Karst Farm Park. This time, we had it in the morning from 10.30 to noon because that's what was available for weeks, but we couldn't have made a better decision if we'd had it to make! The weather was perfect at that time of the morning: it started off comfortable and kept getting warmer as the kids ran from water sprinkler elements to the adjoining playground and back. Misun put together bagels with eggs (that she cooked this morning before the party) and cream cheese and lox… all sorts of great stuff! The kids had a blast and ran around everywhere. It was great! Then, Misun broke out the water guns and that only enhanced their fun and excitement – as one of the other parents said: when my son saw the bag with the water guns, his head nearly exploded! I carried Maverick around in the Ergo the whole time as he needed sleep and was having a hard time taking it, but eventually he did. It was fantastic!

Then, as it turned out, Maverick was preparing himself. When we got home and Mattie was opening up her presents, Maverick climbed up to a standing position and then noticed something interesting on the floor. He reached down and picked it up before he realised that he'd let go of everything and was doing it on his own! His first stand (to our knowledge)!

Oh, I remember!

This morning we did the search for chametz, an annual preparation for Pesach where the parents hide bits of bread products throughout the house for kids to seek out in a final sweep to clean the house of bread for the holiday. Basically, they sweep it all into a paper bag which we then burn. As it turns out, a snowstorm has left us with many inches of snow on the ground, so I went outside to do the burning alone. However, once the bag was lit, I heard Mattie yell: I remember!

That makes it all worthwhile…
Samsung's latest Android phone, the Galaxy S4 really highlights the major problem with android as a platform. They've obviously spent a lot of time and money on building neat hardware with all sorts of cool features (like Air View and gestures, their S Health stuff, Smart Stay, etc.). The hardware looks as if to provide a peppy experience. That's great if you want to stick with the built-in apps or others provided by Samsung, but how many of these features will automatically just work in apps from third parties? As a developer, I don't see any Android device having nearly the sort of clout or installed base to warrant me spending extra time checking for their hardware to see if I can take advantage of it. It's hard enough to build an app that works and that people might find useful, but to then try to hit some sort of specialised API that may work properly for those that happen to be on the latest Galaxy phone?

It's a shame, because some of the features really seem to have some interesting potential…


Mattie is named for my dad, Martin, who passed away a bit less than a year before she was born. She knows this and she knows that he is dead. Periodically, when she is desperately trying to put off going to sleep, she asks about him. However, she only ever asks one thing: how did your daddy die? I used to answer each time, but now I ask her to answer instead. He died of a heart attack and was on medications for a bunch of things when he passed, and I explained that he was sick and one day his heart couldn't keep working right. The inevitable questions evolved the answer into:he didn't exercise enough and he didn't eat a balanced variety of foods. Yes, he probably ate a bit too much candy and cake  maybe not enough vegetable

I'm comfortable with the answer and I'm happy that Mattie is asking good questions like this, but why this same question over and over? This goes in spurts, too. She'll ask nearly every day for a couple of weeks and then nothing. When my grandmother, Bess, recently passed in November, naturally, these questions increased as we talked about what happened and why gramma was gone for a few weeks, and I expected that. However, sometimes it seems to come out of the blue. Sometimes she talks about missing gramma and even my dad, who she never met and we talk about it for a while. Occasionally there are questions about heaven (which are met witth: yes, that's what some people believe).

I'm pretty confident that this is normal curiosity and she doesn't seem to dwell or anything, but how do other people respond to their kids?

That's what I was thinking!

Mattie has developed a habit of  saying things like I thought so or I was just going to do that whenever we tell her something new or ask her to do something. This is frustrating because in most cases, this is simply not the case. When we surprise her with a playdate we've just arranged earlier that day, she could not have known and yet she seems not to want to show that there's anything she doesn't know. Maybe she thinks she should know everything? We try to reinforce that we all learn things all the time and that's what makes life interesting. She accepts this, but keeps on. I imagine this is something that helps her cope when she's working and playing with her friends, but it is frustrating. Any recommendations?

On the other hand, I clearly remember having been the same way when I was her age — or, more specifically, I remember grampa often getting upset with me for responding with I know to things I clearly did not know. I remember that what I was trying to communicate at the time was that I could (or should) have figured that out on my own. I'm also pretty sure that I've beat that habit.

On another note, we're taking Mattie to see Peter Pan tonight!

these boots were made for walking...

Earlier this year, in the beginning of the fall, Misun found these knee high, hot-pink boots at Once Upon a Child. Knowing ourdaughter, she naturally snatched them right up and brought them home to Mattie who could not wait for an opportunity to put them on. Now that winter is here in full force, she wears them all the time! They have everything a little girl could want: slight heels, hot pink, fur on top… did I mention the hot pink?

They make her so happy and therefore I'm really torn, but I think they are mostly horrendous! She wears them with everything: black dresses, white dresses, pink dresses, blue dresses, black dresses with red trim, green pants, jeggings… everything! What did I do to deserve this? I guess I should count myself luck that at least she is willing to wear pants now instead of just dresses, but I want my little girl in little girl shoes or sneakers not… these!

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