- Two young dudes
- Innumerable cardboard scraps pulled from recycling
- $3 worth of random hot tub tubing
- Assorted memories of James Bond's “Moonraker”
- One sleepy dad
- One rainy Saturday
- Mix well, serve cheerfully.
While I dozed on Saturday following the march, the dudes took a break from screen time and surprised me by constructing a really elaborate launch pad, jet packs, helmets, communicators, and more for Leo, Tim, and other members of the animal posse. Here’s a little gallery of some space-age cuteness.
I felt so proud & privileged today to march alongside Finn & Hen (and in spirit alongside Mom-O in DC) in the record-setting Women's March. Numerous marchers smiled & took pics of the sign Hen thought up and made by himself (well, with a little questionable spelling assistance from Finn). I'll translate: "You fried circus peanut, you're not going to rule our state, you'll rule the dungeon. Boo Trump!" :-p Here are a few shots from the day.
Poor Finn simply wanted to look nice in a portrait.
Henry, diving into the shot, wasn’t having any of that. 🙂
Auntie Laura's Christmas gift just about made a one-way trip to purgatory (i.e. Neighbor Todd's sketchy yard), but fortunately we were able to rescue it just after I stopped filming. 😬🚁😀
Following in Finnster’s footsteps (see previous), Hen reads aloud Jon Klassen’s magnum opus, “We Found A Hat.” 🙂
After attending a very nice service at the Stone Church at which the lads joined us in singing Silent Night outside, we all enjoyed surveying Christmas lights. Here's a super short video glimpse:
It's hard to believe that Christmas 2016 has already come and gone! This year, it was just us four California Nacks, enjoying a quiet, relaxing day at home. Although Henry and Finn tried to wake us up at 3:30 a.m. to open presents, we put them off until the only-slightly-less-unreasonable 5:00 a.m.
Santa and our extended families bestowed many gifts upon the lads this year, especially the much-discussed and eagerly-anticipated big lego sets that each boy was hoping for. Henry got his Lego Airport, and Finn got his Lego Volcano Exploration base station. Certainly not forgotten was Dad-o, who was the happy recipient of a Lego Creator Big Ben set (which he is still constructing!) and a remote control drone! Among other wonderful gifts, I got a terrific Lego Beatles' Yellow Submarine set. Needless to say we spent a great deal of the day working on our Legos, alternating construction time with dinner, movies, naps, and snacks.
Here's a gallery of our day.
With the help of eyewitness reports from Scout and (I'm just going out on a limb here here) the calligraphic stylings of a certain little elf, the boys have just received this year's beautiful letter from Santa. Check it out!
See also Santa's letter from 2013:
Oh, and here's the boys' letter to Santa from back when they were just 2 & 3 years old.
Our friend Dave is a bonafide kid-whisperer. The boys fondly remember chasing him endlessly around a park during Dave's son Cameron's birthday party years ago, trying to grab & hide his hat. Now that Cameron is a kindergartener, he was able to join in the silliness this past Sunday. Check it out:
Bonus vintage Dave: a lightsaber battle with Finn three years ago:
Witness the boys' joy at receiving my old cache of Lego road plates (which normally cost an arm and a leg), courtesy of Grandma & Grandpa. 🙂
Back in the high-tech hothouse of late-'70s Galena, IL, my mom used to let me draw with melting crayons on paper over a hot plate. As cool (or rather, hot) as that was, I'm happy that creative experiences have evolved, and on Saturday I took the lads up to SF to try their hands at painting in virtual reality. We dropped in on Adobe San Francisco, where a bunch of my old friends and colleagues have been busy helping shape the future of expressivity.
Here's a quick video plus a gallery from the adventure. (Much more to come, we hope!)
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.