One of my favorite childhood possessions was & is a tiny boxed set of Mercer Mayer's four books about "A Boy, A Dog, and a Frog." Here my dad delights the boys—as he & my mom used to delight me—with a dramatic "reading" of one wordless tale.
Mom-O had the fun idea of celebrating Finn's birthday with a trip to the nearby Build-A-Bear Workshop. Both lads got to pick out & create a new buddy—and both picked Toothless, scaly star of "How To Train Your Dragon." Afterwards they introduced Grandma & Grandpa to the movie. Here's a peek into the workshop:
Somehow—to our absolute shock—we've done seven full laps of the sun since our once-wee man made his debut. ("The days are long but the years are short.") Happy birthday, our blonde & dimpled treasure!
Stay tuned for more photos & videos from the celebration, but in the meantime check out a gallery of the marvelous Lego-themed cake Mom-O crafted & Finn decorated, on which each member of the fam + Grandma & Grandpa Nack appear. Here, let's have Finn explain it; just don't tell him I shared this clip with you.
How does one work off a couple of delicious sliders & fries obtained at a Movable Feast truck? Like this, of course. And a 1 and a 2 and...
We took advantage of President's Day to make our first-ever visit to the San Francisco Zoo, meeting up with the guys' longtime pal Magdalena & her family. Some fun bits:
- While there we learned that some rhinos prefer to file down their horns (like the guy we named "Stumpy") and that some owls' ears are positioned asymmetrically on their heads (one high, one low) to help them hear creatures above & below them.
- We cracked each other up by noting the absurdity of calling what amounts to a raccoon a “red panda” and then extending that “logic” to other animals. For example, we dubbed a house cat a “furry four-legged land octopus" and a flamingo a “soft-skinned pygmy rhino." The more ludicrous, the better!
- After being thwarted in previous owl-quests (e.g. at the Oakland Zoo), Henry was thrilled to see some real live owls, one of which was named Athena. He happily trundled home with a little stuffed owl by that name.
Here's a gallery from the outing.
I'm so charmed to have gotten some excellent loot for Valentine's Day—from the lads a custom-made bowl, and from Margot a trio of Lego minifigures depicting the boys & me as a boombox-wielding band! I'm the guy with spiky hair & stubble.
While we took our birdmen to the land of the Birdman, I snapped a couple of photo spheres: 360º images that you can explore by clicking & dragging with your mouse below. You can also see a short video clip showing dissident artist Ai Weiwei's giant Lego portraits of political prisoners at bottom.
Last weekend we treated the guys to a full-day adventure in San Francisco, the focal point being a trip to Alcatraz. We rode the train up to SF, then headed out to Alcatraz via boat.
The guys were fascinated with the idea of the island prison. They couldn't get over the tiny, barren cells, and the tales of attempted and unsuccessful escapes. Finn wasn't afraid to go inside a cell and check it out, but there was no way Henry was getting in one! Due to a special art installation (featuring portraits rendered using over a million Lego bricks!), we were also privy to a couple areas that aren't usually open to the public - the hospital ward and one of the old factory buildings. Let's just say the visit reconfirmed our philosophy of remaining law-abiding citizens!
Check out our gallery of the day's adventures.
I came downstairs on Sunday morning to find this sign adoring a pillow-and-blanket fort the boys had constructed for their animals. Now I really want to hear this saber-toothed aria of which they speak!
Years ago in New York, I worked with a coder/heavy metal musician who sported butt-length blonde hair & leather pants at work. He had a charming habit of yelling things like "Nack, you're a wreck!!" and then letting a falsetto phrase or two rip. For some reason Finn & his lion decided to channel him the other evening. :-p
I think I neglected to share Finn's leonine antics from one year ago, so let me fix that now.
You know those people (inevitably from Florida) who claim to see Jesus burned into their toast? Henry's a bit like that, but he sees orange-clad Lego construction workers in his Cheetoes.
I had no idea about all this—did you?—but according to the newly de-incisored Finnster:
- The tooth fairy lives in your heart.
- When you lose a tooth, she flies up out of your mouth to get it.
- Her husband is a strong dwarf who pries your mouth open.
- Once you run out of baby teeth, you don’t see her again.
- It’s unclear whether she reappears if you get old & lose teeth.
- Your fairy is as old as you are. When you’re 80 years old, she’s 80 years old.
- When she goes back into your mouth, a piece of money flies out of her pocket.
- She puts your teeth into a big bag so that when she loses a tooth, she can put in one of yours.
"Sun's out, guns out," they say, but in foggy San Francisco, we have to go with "Sons out, guns out." Here Henry explores the artillery at the Presidio.
Oh hi, don't mind me—I'm just enjoying multiple suckers at once. Why, do I seem different? — From Halloween 2013
No one got doused with chilly water (frozen or otherwise) or lost a digit, I’m happy to report, during our Saturday visit to the San Jose Sharks practice ice rink with Finn’s pal Zach & his fam. The lads enjoyed tottering around on skates with the help of buckets on which they could lean. Check it out:
During our time in Mendocino, journeyed south to the Point Arena Lighthouse, then up to light at Point Cabrillo. Here's a gallery from the outing, as well as (below) a couple of interactive 360º panoramas I captured. (You can click the icon in the upper-right corner of each to make it full screen, then drag to explore it.)
The boys are, of course, insane for trains, so kudos to Margot for discovering the Skunk Train that operates out of Fort Bragg (the town just up the coast from Mendocino). The train winds its way through redwoods en route to an old logging camp that offers BBQ & knickknacks (but not BBQ'd knickknacks). We met some nice families along the way. A 3-year-old kid named Silas ended up lending his name to Finn's little souvenir stuffed skunk (for which we devised the mnemonic, "He makes you sigh less"), and a couple from Fremont helped the boys squash pennies on the rails while keeping Henry from being squashed as well! Despite the cold & wind, Hen insisted that he & I stand outside for mile after mile, so he's a bit overrepresented in the photos.
Here's a gallery from the day, as well as some video highlights: