Hen & Mom-O recently visited our local fire station with the Cub Scouts, learning that the brave folks who protect us don't get to take holidays off. Inspired by this, they decided to whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies & bring them over to say thanks to the guys spending Thanksgiving away from their families.
This proved easier said than done! As we parked in the morning, we joked, "Gee, I hope they don't have to zoom off on a call right now"—but as we walked up, that's exactly what they did! When we tried again a couple of hours later, history repeated exactly, and on our third visit (this time around lunch), they were gone entirely. Fortunately the fourth time was the charm, and the appreciative team treated us to a great mini tour. Check it out:
Henry is well known for his stubbornness - which has shown up in force every time we tried to enroll him in swim lessons. This kid HATES getting his head wet, hates getting his hair washed, hates getting splashed in the pool, and has run down the clock during countless swim lessons by simply refusing to participate and trying to talk his way out of actually doing anything.
After yet another progress-free summer at the Elks pool, having to constantly keep an eye on him, while he clung to the side of the pool, resolutely refusing to get his head or face wet, and refusing to even try to float or doggy paddle while his peers were splashing and swimming away, I decided to try, once more, to get him to learn to swim. He started weekly classes a little over a month ago at an indoor pool nearby.
Finally, slowly but surely, our man Henry is making progress! He has done more swimming and splashing in the past 6 weeks than the entire previous 7.5 years of his life! Each week on our drive to the pool, I give him a little pep talk, we talk about what he's learned so far and how great he's doing, and wonder what sorts of things he'll be learning. We chat about his nervousness, and the fact that even while nervous, he exceeds his own expectations. He's gotten a lot more comfortable with floating on his back, he can hold his breath, he puts his head underwater, he tips off the side of the pool and swims to the instructor, and he can alternate from back to front floating on his own.
He did so well last week, and was so excited to report his fantastic lesson to Dad-o and Finny that he requested that the whole family go to today's lesson so we could all witness his progress. So we all headed out to the pool, and the Nack Family Cheering Section was in full force while our man demonstrated his prowess. He did great, and Dad-o and Finny could hardly believe he was voluntarily putting his head and face in the water without complaint. A great day for Mr. Henry, capped off with a family lunch and ice cream for dessert.
Aww—just a little time capsule of our once-little man, courtesy of Google Photos.
Ol' Henry can be such a vexing dude: He's plenty capable of many things (e.g. swimming), but boy does he get into his own head and run laps there, never believing he can do it. Yet do it he can a lot of times, and this is a perfect example: He's now a nut for the monkey bars, often traversing a whole set in one go (something I never did!). Here's a silly little boomerang animation that Google Photos made from one of his recent attempts (and yes, he did eventually make it across!).
Maria looooves to bake, but in the past years she hasn't had many chances. Happily, the Micronaxx & their bottomless tummies provided a perfect opportunity (and the perfect metabolisms!) to get back in action. One day she whipped up (from scratch) some delicious cinnamon rolls, and the next she brought out smiles with caramel rolls. The boys debated the naming (Hen insists on "Maria's Awesomeness"; Finn favors "Brenny's Bready Magic"), but a roll by any name tastes just as sweet—and we've been enjoying them the whole week since her visit. Here's a gallery of the sticky fun.
For the last several years, our Las Madres friends Phil & Michelle have put on an excellent Halloween party complete with haunted house, tons of crafts, and neighborhood trick-or-treating. This year Maria donned Margot's Rosie the Riveter getup & joined the Crash Test Dummy (Finn), Caution Tape (Hen), Medusa (Mom-O), and Captain Kirk (you know who) for some mask- and lantern-making & more. Stay tuned for more shots of the dudes in their costumes. Meanwhile, here's a little gallery.
Back during our pal Maria's previous visit five years (!!) ago, we visited a nearby butterfly sanctuary in Santa Cruz, where Henry made an unusual request that Maria caught on video:
So, when she came to stay with us last week, of course we had to pay a return visit. This time we headed to Pacific Grove ("Butterfly Town, USA") to see & learn about the winged critters. Check out a little gallery from our day.
Train-loving Hen was really hyped to check out the once-popular Sugar Cane Train. This narrow-gauge ("Two feet six inches!" Hen would interject) system would take tourists on a leisurely 6-mile crawl across Maui. Sadly, train service is on hiatus, but undeterred, our little train enthusiast wanted to check out the train cars & buildings we could glimpse from the road. Grandma Nack was a great sport (just as she'd been in my childhood, indulging me in so many explorations) and joined us in sneaking around the private property just a bit. Here's a little gallery.
I meant to post this last May when Finn & his bilingual amigos dropped some science on the San Jose district staff. As team leader of the group focusing on igneous rocks, Finn was really dedicated to creating a great poster & presentation—to the point that he skipped Take Your Kid To Work Day at Google so that he could ensure they finished the job properly. Here's a little taste of how things turned out:
You know what's kinda great? Having fellow goofball photographers as friends. 🙂 Our buddy Michael celebrated his birthday this past weekend in part by inviting friends to dress up a bit & have him take their photos. Here's a little selection of our silly fam in action.
Hot (or maybe cold?) on the heels of seeing Hawaiian turtles, Finn here reads our latest storybook, "We Found A Hat." He did it for our friend Sam, but I thought you might like it, too. 🙂
Okay, Hawaii is officially 🍌🍌🍌: I mean, where else can you walk outside of your room, clamber over a few boulders on the beach, and come across nearly a dozen giant, ancient sea turtles basking in the sunset glow? And yet thanks to a thoughtful neighbor giving us a heads-up, that's exactly what we discovered. Check out a few pics of the fam getting up close (but not too close!) with these old gentlemen.
Our Henry is a quirky little dude: Sometimes he's super fearful in cases where Finn would rush in (e.g. snorkeling), but in others the boys' positions reverse. Here's an example of the latter, where Hen got right up on stage with Mom-O to learn some hula moves at our Hawaiian luau:
The dudes have been busy "basementing" up a storm lately, crafting all kinds of Lego maritime misadventures using teams of hapless soldiers, pirates, sharks (real & mechanical), and more. Here's a little stop-motion film that Finn created last night:
What would a campfire be without some terrifying tales? Check out the boys' skit from last weekend's scout camping:
Labor Day Family camping at the Boy Scouts' Camp Cheesebrough is legendary. We missed it last year but made sure we took the boys this year so they could get in on the fun. The camp is only about 30 minutes away, along highway 9 in the Santa Cruz mountains, has a nice big lodge building and kitchen, and tons of tent camping sites.
Many of the boys' friends and their families also attended, so the adults actually had time to chat and get to know each other a little better while the boys honed their skills at whittling, archery, bb guns, rock climbing, blacksmithing, slingshots, and "human fooseball." Here's the gallery of their adventures.
Other highlights from the weekend included campfires with s'mores, running around in the woods (while hopefully avoiding poison oak), "battling" other groups of scouts, and putting on skits in front of the Saturday night campfire. Cami, the 3 year old sister of Cub Scout Colton, offered to count in Spanish: "One, Spanish. Two, Spanish." Cub Scout David (whose dad Sabu was managing the bb gun range) kept in contact with his dad via CB: "Dad, whittling time is over, over." Sabu: "You are free to play, over."
As we prepared to depart on Sunday afternoon (after picking up trash and cleaning bathrooms), we realized somehow Henry's pillow pet "Peendee Bee" didn't make it from the campsite back to the car. We retraced our steps, hoping we'd either spot him or that he'd been turned into the lost and found. As we rounded the corner on the way back to our campsite, Henry spotted Peendee, who'd been set atop the large propane tank near the lodge, and absolutely shrieked with relief and delight. Phew! Crisis averted.
Upon returning home, we spent the next several hours washing the dust and grime off ourselves and doing load after load of laundry. We had a blast but were all excited to be sleeping in our own beds.
Each year brings a return of the giant (and growing!) Lego brickstravaganza held at the convention center in nearby Santa Clara. Here's just a glimpse of this year's gathering, in which the boys scored a few fun little pieces while seeing various friends:
No childhood would be complete without a nice baking-soda-and-vinegar volcano, and as part of their super fun times with Grandma Nack, the boys constructed one along with a whole set of Lego mining vehicles. Here's a quick handful of shots (click any one to see it larger):
Last night's pack meeting focused on physical fitness & challenges, including performing various long jumps, push-ups, and jumping jacks. Later the pack split in two to duke it out in a tug-of-war in which Team Micronaxx prevailed! (see below) That was just a warm up prior to all the kids teaming up to beat down the adults, though we suspect that their end of the rope just might have been tied to a pole outside. 😉