Post Christmas Photos

The Sturm household was definitely decked for Christmas this year. We had a Christmas tree in every room, with a total of 6 trees. One full size and 5 miniatures.
It was a lot of fun because Brody really got into opening presents this year. Most of the time before he even saw what was in the box he would say, "Oooooh wooooow, I love it!" He got a new big wheel called the Twist Trike which I highly recommend. It changes from trike to big wheel quickly and easily. Brody absolutely loves it and cruises up and down the side walk. He also got a new drum set which is really fun. We haven't moved it into his room yet, but we'll see what happens when we do.

My awesome wife got me a guitar for Christmas. I've told her through dating and marriage that I wish I knew how to play guitar, so she bought one to encourage me to really do it. She is my biggest encourager and supporter.

Eyes of a Child

We live in an older neighborhood in Santa Barbara and we love it. But, for whatever reason many of our neighbors don't seem to have a problem with littering. I'm constantly picking up trash around our house, street, and neighborhood.

Just before it got dark yesterday Brody and I went to our neighborhood park about two blocks away. I was so irritated when we got there because there were bottles, cups, and cans around the park. There are 3 trash and recycle cans within 100 feet of the park in every direction. As I was pushing Brody on the swing I picked up some of the trash between pushes. I then had this conversation.

Brody: "What you doin' dada?"
Me: "Pickin' up trash Bubba. It makes me sad when people litter."
Brody: "There's a cup dada! And there! And another one!"
Me: "I know Brody, but some of those cups are covered in gross and I don't have a bag for them."
Brody: "Okay dada"
Brody: "I want to swing faster dada." (which means higher)
Me: "Okay, hold on tight." (Brody is now swinging as high as I dare push him)
Brody: Looking up at the sky as he swings, "Dada it's real beautiful out here!"
Me: "It is?"
Brody: "Yeah! The wind makes my breath feel better. Take a real deep breath, Dada!"

As I took a deep breath I looked up and noticed the pink sunset Brody saw as he swung forward and looked at the sky. I then realized that Brody didn't see the trash on the playground. He saw swings, sand, slides, and things to climb on. He was there with daddy, there was a cool wind on his face from swinging, and the sky was a pretty color. What could be better. My irritation melted away as this 2 year old taught me that you can either see trash or beauty.

It is easy to see trash when that is your focus. Brody taught me that it's easy to see beauty when that is your focus.

Brody's view of the sky.

Jammies Party!

Chrystal had this great idea to have a kids jammies party for Christmas. We invited a bunch of kids (and their parents) over to decorate cookies, do a craft, and have some food. The caveat was you had to come dressed in your jammies. All the kids got to eat Candy Canes and cookies before dinner, which went over well. We had four 2 year olds, a 5 year old, and a 5 month old. Lot's of chaos and great fun! Brody was bouncing off the walls at 9:00 pm, so he had fun, too!

Thanks sweetie for being such a great mommy and so creative. And thanks to all our friends that came over."I am crazy plate head boy, gimme some candy!"

"My hand tastes like cookies! Wanna lick!""If you knew I was going to jump from here, you wouldn't be sitting there holding that camera."
"Chug, chug, chug! Quick before they realize this has sugar in it, too."

Somebody Stole Baby Jesus!

We took Brody to the Santa Barbara Mission to see the Nativity yesterday. I was disappointed, though not surprised, to find that someone had stolen baby Jesus from the manger. Brody was pretty disappointed as well, which was really cute. "Somebody took baby Jesus?", he kept asking.
I can't help but make an analogy to how society in general has taken Jesus out of Christmas, just like some sad person stole baby Jesus out of the manger. He is the Reason for the Season!

Take a Chance...Be Outlandish!

My little sister turned 30 on October 31st (which makes me feel old). To celebrate she had a big costume party yesterday with friends and family. We drove to Phoenix on Thursday for the party and were really excited about our costumes (or at least my costume). Brody was a Nascar driver for Halloween (because he loves Cars), so Chrystal and I decided we had to build our costume around his.

This was the first costume party I'd been to in like 10 years, but leading up to a costume party I'm always thinking that my costume is dumb or that my personality is too reserved to make anything too funny work. But just like in business you can't get a payoff without taking a chance and risking. And with costume parties it can mean putting your own comfort level at aside, just like it can with business. Here are some of my favorites costumes that required people to take a risk.

Peter Pan Gone Wrong: Tammy (my sister) as pregnant Wendy, Jon (brother-in-law) as washed up daddy-to-be Peter Pan, and Malena (niece) as Tinkerbell.
Bugsy and Trixie - My parents as gangsters
Ulysses(U.) Daman: Andy as a former junior high basketball phenom who now lives at the YMCA in Harlem. Always ready for a game! And this really didn't require Andy to move out of his comfort zone...this is pretty much how he is.
Magnum PI: Mark showing some skin
He shaved his beard and glued it to his chest to sport the signature chest hair. It was all spotty and kept falling off.
Lightening McQueen Fan Club: Lighteing McQueen (Brody), McQueen's pit crew (Chrystal), crazy trailer park trash fan (me).
The short shorts boys
I had a ton of fun because a bunch of people didn't know who I was. My parents came back from getting ready at the neighbors house when I was in the garage. I was bending down behind the car looking for something and when I stood up they had no idea who I was. My dad's first thought was, "This guy looks crazy and am I going to have to take him out." And yes I am holding a 24oz Old English '800'. I tried to drink it but it was so gross I dumped it out and filled it with apple juice. It was funny though because everyone thought I was really drinking Old English. I even went and found some beef jerky chew (had to go to three stores) so it really looked like I had tobacco in my lip (but it ended up burning my gums which was a bummer side effect). Oh, and the mustache is totally real!
And I won most popular costume and got a $25 Starbucks card. So take a chance and be never know.

Family Matters

When it comes to family matters, family matters. It's easy to get caught up in work stress, traffic, to-do lists, bills, money, and the stuff in life that keeps you from enjoying life. This week has been such a blessing. I've the had the opportunity to work remotely from my parents place in Phoenix and I have had such a great time. Having the freedom to schedule my day as I want to spend it, still work a full day, and see Brody a lot more really has me looking forward to having a home based business. Four weeks and counting!

On Sunday I bought an underwater camera for eight bucks and got the film developed for five bucks. Check out the pictures of Brody and family swimming! For 13 bucks I'd say that is an awesome deal! I'm so impressed by this 2 year old Aqua Man!

Check him out...totally under water and loving it!

He gets the biggest grin on his face every time he goes under. Holds his breath and everything!

Brody with cousin Nicole.

Brody and cousin Greg. This is one of my favorite shots!

He loved all the bubbles right after he would jump in!

Me and my buddy.

Taking a shower (as Brody called it).

Brody, Malena, and MorMor (Grandma for those non Swedes).

Proud Daddy

We're at my folks house in Phoenix for the weekend and since it's blazin' hot we go swimming twice a day. Brody discovered today he could hold his breath under water and that when he kicked his feet he would come to the surface. It really freaked me out at first, but under water he has his eyes open and a big smile on his face. I was so proud of him!

Five Years of Wonderful

Five years ago yesterday I married my best friend!

For our five year anniversary I surprised MyLove with a trip to Santa Ynez. We stayed in a quaint B&B called Meadowlark Inn and went wine tasting for the first time. Both of us thought it crazy that we have lived in Santa Barbara so long and never gone wine tasting.

When we arrived I was a bit disappointed because the B&B was not what I expected. I was expecting something a bit nicer, but the old adage “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” definitely applied. Upon arriving, the inn keeper welcomed us by name and was so friendly we immediately felt at home. We stayed in the Cabernet suite, which has a funny hot tub on the patio (check out the video). There was a mix up with our wine tour schedule where I thought it was Saturday, but it was Friday. The tour started at 11:00 but we were not able to get there till about 1:30. The staff was super accommodating, and adjusted our wine tour to start at 2:00 by picking us up half way through the tour and then took just the two of us for another two hours to complete the tour.

The best part about the tour is that the inn owner does the tour personally. We were told that she was a former restaurant owner, so she new all of the places to go that had great wine versus just popular wineries. To our delight, our tour guide was Brigitte (pronounced bri-gee-ta) of Brigitte’s restaurant fame in Santa Barbara (now Opal). We heard wonderful stories of her move to the United States from Germany and how she has been involved in starting multiple restaurants in Santa Barbara (Brigitte's, Downey’s, and Norbert's).

My favorite tasting room was Artiste, which is a tasting room and art gallery. The featured artist’s medium was wine! MyLove and I both thought it was so interesting. All the wine labels are featured artists, and the name of that wine is the name of the painting.

At the last winery which was my favorite, Rusack, we just sipped wine and talked with Brigitte about the restaurant industry. The winery manager finally had to come and kick us out because they were closing.

What really made our stay, other than it being with my best friend, was that we were treated like family. It is not the nicest B&B I have stayed at, but it is definitely my favorite experience at any B&B. Brigitte and her staff staged a great experience that we will forever correlate with wonderful memories. As a business owner Brigitte really understands that hospitality is about staging a memorable experience for the guest.

We definitely plan on doing future wine tours with Brigitte, and hopefully she will be a future client of kevin sturm Consulting as she is going to open a restaurant at her other B&B Story Book Inn.

If you would like to contact Brigitte directly to inquire about a customized wine tour you can reach her at