Micronaxx The adventures of Finn & Henry


Turning Ten

A decade, man… a decade of this dude, and I’m at a loss for words. It feels like some blow-out retrospective is in order, but rather than wait on that to come together, I can at least share some fun festivities from Finn’s little party.

Despite often telling us that “Being the center of attention is not really my jam,” the Finnster does really enjoy hanging out with a few pals. Therefore on his birthday we rounded up some of the “M Force” (M as in Minecraft, naturally :-)) for some pizza, Nerf battles, and ‘crafting. Here’s a little gallery from the occasion.



Turning 10 at 10,000 ft.

The house in Leadville has seen its share of Micronaxx milestones—e.g. Finn turning four and getting a huge Lego truck; Hen turning two (cupcakes!) and three (fireman backpack!). This year the timing of the boys’ school vacation meant that we celebrated Finnster’s tenth (TENTH!!) birthday a bit early. After a fun day of skiing, we brought home some Pizza Hut “cuisine” (Finn’s request 😌) to enjoy with the mint chip ice cream he & Grandpa whipped up. Like me, Finn enjoys savoring the opening of presents, and as you can see in the photo gallery, we had to restrain Hen from blurting out info prematurely. 🤣 In any case, everyone had a ball!



High above Leadville

Sometimes being at 10,200ft. already just isn’t quite enough, so I brought my drone with us to capture some shots of Leadville from above. 🚁

Below you can see Cozy Liggett Manor (second house from the left). Click and drag on the photo (you can do this, Mom! 😉) in order to look in all directions, or click here to view it larger on Google Maps.

Finn got in on the flying, and in the short movie below you can briefly see us waving at the camera.

Later the guys dropped me off downtown so that I could do a little flying on my own. Check out the town’s main drag after it got a fresh coating of snow:

And lastly, here’s another 360º image, this time showing the town bathed in some beautiful late-afternoon sunshine (see it larger):



Even twelve hours later, I kinda can’t believe it: we took the dudes dogsledding today!

Yesterday en route home from a great day of skiing (more on that soon), we happened to spy in the distance tiny teams of what looked to be dogs pulling sleds. Sure enough, Alpine Adventures (“Your destination for dog-powered fun!” ☺️) is happy to host little tours and even let you try driving a sled! We booked a lunchtime session and were delighted to take turns driving, riding in the sled, and riding in a little sleigh behind a snowmobile (as the dogs pull just two people at a time).

We learned a ton from our guide Joe, a transplant from Georgia who’s been working with dogs for a decade. Just in case you were curious, each dog can run up to 20 miles per day, consumes roughly 6,000 calories worth of meat & other food each day, and comfortably lives outside all winter in his or her own little straw-filled barrel—as you can see in the pictures. Check out this gallery from the day plus a couple of quick videos below.


Foamy Hailstorm: Denver Edition

Our trip to Colorado got off to a rousing start as the boys joined their Nerf-loving cousins Patrick & Charlie for a battle royale at the nearby “Dart Warz” (i.e. a suburban warehouse full of sugared-up pre-teens & flying projectiles; what could be better? 😉). Here’s a brief taste of the action:


Valentine’s Greetings

Mom-O treated the guys to some really charming cards when they came down to breakfast on Wednesday, and not wanting to be outdone, I whipped up a little drawing of their buds Leo, Ollie, and Bert the Buffalo. Meanwhile they received some great cards from Auntie Laura, Grandpa Liggett, and Grandma & Grandpa Nack (the last of I happened to catch on video). Just for yuks & posterity, here’s what we drew. 🙂





Science Fair!

The lads got their learnin' on over the last couple of weeks, conducting experiments with conductivity (Finn) and plate tectonics (Hen). Here's a brief peek at Willow Glen Elementary's science fair, held last night:


Firing away with Matthias

Being a big German dude with pellet guns, a 4x4, and a cool accent, my teammate Matthias has quickly become something of a folk hero to the boys. (“You’re still #1, Dad,” Finn informs me, “but Matthias is definitely #2." :-))

He recently upgraded the pellet gun he uses to defend his chickens from bobcat attack, so he quite generously passed his older one to Finn & invited the guys over for some backyard target practice. We also enjoyed joining Matthias & his wife Samantha for some clay trap shooting. Though the boys didn’t shoot that day, we ran into their pal Damian at the range, and they’re up for trying it out on our next visit. (Meanwhile born-scavenger Hen took to filling his pockets—and later my car—with dozens of spent shotgun shells. 🙄)

Check out the young marksmen in action:


Our Mission to the Mission

Finn’s been studying the Spanish missions in class, learning enough to school us old folks on many interesting details about Junipero Serra, Gaspar de Portolà, and more. Having the day off of school & work, Margot suggested that we take the guys down to explore the Carmel Mission today—so off we went.

You can see some highlights in the video below & through a handful of photos (several of which are 360º panoramas I captured inside the Mission; click them to go into interactive mode).


From Red Ryders to Luscious Legos: Christmas 2017

“You’ll shoot your eye out!” Happily that hasn’t happened yet, and both bandito Hen & Nintendo-lover Finn are happily ensconced in a pile of Legos, wonderful books from Grandma & Grandpa Nack, a Lego-style drone (!) from the Lingle cousins, and more. Here’s a little gallery of the chaps celebrating with Grandpa Liggett. We feel, and are, blessed indeed. 🙂



Putting the “Santa” in “Santa Cruz”: Christmas Lights Train 2017

All the way back in 2011, we enjoyed taking the lads on a Christmasy train ride through town (see little gallery & vid). Given that Hen’s passion for trains has only increased, this year we brought along Grandpa Liggett for an evening ride that featured letter-writing to the big guy, visits from Mrs. Claus & then Santa, and finally some requisite “cooling off” at Marianne’s Ice Cream. Check out the gallery and the short video below. 

[Retro bonus trains: See also Christmas Lights Train 2013 (the tiny one in the park), the Chicago CTA Lights Train in 2012, and Oakland Zoo Lights all the way back in 2010.]



First Concert! 🎶🎺🥁

This fall the dudes made their first real foray into playing music, with Finn picking up drum sticks & Henry grabbing a trumpet. On Wednesday they treated us to their first-ever concert. Check out this little handful of pics & the video below.



Yellowstone: The Young & The Faithful

Having explored the surrounding region (Jackson Hole, the Grand Tetons) on previous days, on the Wednesday of our trip we finally made it into Yellowstone proper—and to Old Faithful! The weather was pretty touch-and-go, but at least the boys heeded our warnings (and those of some friendly rangers) and didn’t fall into any hot springs & get liquified. 😬 In this gallery you can see some of our travels and the critters (both living & stuffed) we saw along the way.




Goats Beware!

“Waste not, want not”—true, but you might gain an unwanted reputation!

Around our house I (“The Goat”) am infamous for finishing off others’ chow a little too quickly—something I’ve largely stopped doing, though Finn will never let me off the hook for decapitating his gingerbread man years ago. In any case, this week I discovered that each boy had surrounded his cookie "Masterpiece” with cautionary text aimed my way. As you can see from Henry’s, it was “The opposite of Bon Appetite for Dad today!"



Tough Crowd at T Time

These days, by the time we get around to T.A.L.B. at 8:30pm, chances are that Ol’ Dad has been blowing & going since before dawn. Consequently, recent story quality has been… well, let’s say uneven. I was kinda proud of the new characters I invented recently—Mr. Robert Cat, a bobcat, and Moe Hunculus, a homunculus—although Finn just shook his head and said “I often wonder whether you’re having a stroke.” 😝

By contrast, when our friend Maria is in town, she really pulls out the stops. Whereas I just try to invent stuff on the fly, she starts mapping out characters & events ahead of time using a pen & notebook. I’m pretty sure that somewhere she has a wall that looks like this: 


Anyway, Finn noted the other day that “T” quality has varied widely lately—largely depending on who’s doing the telling:

Happily, I’ve been working to up my game recently, and we’ve been having a lot of fun incorporating Finn’s Yellowstone buddy Bert the (stuffed) Buffalo—who, it turns out, is quite the dancer. A few collaborative sketches of Bert in action are below. 🐃😊





Yosemite 2016: *Now* It Can Be Told!

A year ago today, we found ourselves shivering all night in a stranded, barf-coated VW van clinging to the edge of a Yosemite canyon. Although we captured some cool photos that Thanksgiving weekend, I think the whole experience (which you’ve no doubt heard about many times already!) left us just shaken enough that we weren’t eager to dwell on the pics.

A year later, however, it’s fun to look through our gallery and see the before & after shots of the canyon (from blue sky to two feet of snow in a matter of hours!); the boys exploring our pop-top camper; Finn slipping into the freezing river; Hen photo-bombing his bro; our epic snowball fight; and more. Enjoy!—and if you’re really feeling nostalgic/bored, check out other Yosemite adventures from when the guys were tiny.




Happy Nack Friday

This Thanksgiving we’ve kept things pretty quiet, enjoying a feast at home with the guys (despite the gas on our oven having gone out; thanks, neighbors Scott & Karen for letting us borrow yours!), then heading north on Friday to enjoy California beach beauty at Point Reyes. En route Finn filled us in with tons of interesting details about the place’s history (featuring privateer Sir Francis Drake plundering Spanish galleons, coming ashore, and burying the booty!). He also couldn’t stop jabbering about his Christmas wish list, leading (as you’ll see) Margot to take matters into her own hands—literally.

Here’s a little gallery from our adventures so far. Now Go Irish!



Yellowstone: Teton Adventures

Following our chairlift ride & snowball fight in Teton Village, we headed out to explore Jackson Hole & the nearby Tetons. We were thrilled to spot a bear rustling around maybe 50 yards away, but he scampered into the woods before I could capture his photo. Fortunately the mountains couldn’t run as fast, so we were able to get them on camera along with some pronghorn, deer, and historic buildings before enjoying some local Mexican chow. Check out our gallery.



Halloween 2017: I sing of horns & the claws…

Well, another great Halloween is in the books & in our bellies. Gone (for now) are the days of the dudes rocking Mom-O’s awesome homemade costumes, but they still looked cool in their viking & werewolf getups. Finn cruised around another neighborhood with his pals while Hen patrolled near our house with neighbors Henry D. & Sadie. Check our our little gallery!



Balloon & Goon

Amidst all the fun the guys had visiting Grandma & Grandpa Nack in Big G this past summer, I neglected to share photos of our evening out exploring hot air balloons in Galena Territory with our Murray/Mahoney cousins. So, taking a little break from Yellowstone pics, here’s a little gallery. Note that this was during Hen’s unfortunate but mercifully brief “roll eyes to ruin every photo” phase, so at Finn’s urging I added a little something extra to the final shot. 🙂