The other day we took the boys to Woolaroc, a former ranch/wildlife preserve of an Oklahoma oil baron, which is now a local attraction. There are plenty of indigenous and exotic animals to see, a fantastic Western art and artifact collection, as well as some vintage oilfield vehicles like fuel trucks and aircraft. Here's a little gallery of our adventures. Henry, of course, went running after the big orange fuel truck on display and was just dying to climb aboard, while Finny was fascinated with the oil pumps, the 3-story high observation tower, huge stoic buffalo, and kid-sized old-west style playground. His enthusiasm for the old west has now resulted in him "jailing" us (the "bad dudes") for offenses such as stealing lion blankies and stuffed monkeys, even though we've been framed by our local pint-sized sheriff!
Although the kids' petting zoo was not officially open, our dudes did manage to get a little face- and fur-time with a few goats, sheep, and chickens. One of the great things about Woolaroc is that the wild animals are just roaming around freely on the grounds, and so we got some great close-up views of buffalo, deer, and elk from the car as we drove through. We even got to see some zebras, an ostrich, some llamas, and a zonkey (zebra + donkey, which looks like a zebra that just hasn't bathed in awhile!).
We have a lot of fun goofing around with words at our house, and Finny is not only a willing participant, he's often the instigator of new phrases and word games. Utterly out of the blue, he renamed himself Chinny Jipasaurus while we were horsing around one afternoon. The name has stuck, and Chinny Jipasaurus has come out to play several times over the last few weeks. He even named his brother Hinny Jipasaurus!
Other personas and characters are often adopted by Finny. Lately he's been a quail, running around ululating behind us, or from under tables or behind furniture. His favorite game right now goes like this:
-- F: "Can you say 'Where did that quail go' Dad-o?"
-- Dad-o: "Hmm...I seem to recall there being a quail running around here. Have you seen him, Finny? Where did he go? I haven't heard him in a while."
-- F: (a little bit put out) "I'm the quail! doodle-oodle-oodle-oodle-oodle!"
-- Henry: (getting in on the act with a fainter, higher-pitched tone) "doodle-oodle-oodle-oodle-oodle!"
-- Dad-o: "Hey! There's the baby quail, too!"
He's been downing a lot of unusual "birdseed" as well: square birdseed (mini-wheat cereal), meat birdseed (self-explanatory), and round birdseed (Cheerios).
One last bit of language fun: Yesterday, when John and Grandpa Liggett took the boys to a big aquarium, they saw sharks, stingrays, crabs, turtles, otters, and beavers. When John asked Finny what he liked best about their visit, Finny replied "I liked the stingraisins!"
We've been having lots of tiny "OK" adventures. I'm typing this quickly between visits to the Oklahoma Aquarium & a Mexican restaurant. With the help of some new puffy jackets, we've been exploring the yard and neighborhood, after which we cooked up s'mores in the fireplace. Here's our gallery.
By the way, I'm trying something new with our galleries: instead of creating Flash & HTML versions that live on this site, I'm hosting the photos on Flickr, meaning that they should be viewable everywhere (including my parents' TV). If you run into any problems with the new setup, please let me know.
Merry Christmas, everyone! We're chilling (literally, the rare times we venture outside) with Margot's folks. Both guys were brilliant travelers (note to self: leg-stretching layovers are kind of a great thing), and as you'd imagine we all had a ball opening presents today. I especially enjoyed an early morning exchange with Finn:
"Do you have to go to work today, Dad-O?"
"Nope, I'm hanging out with you guys!"
Ah, what beats unconditional appreciation from one's child? Being kind of zonked, I'll keep things brief and will just share our photos from the day (HTML). More to come, I'm sure, as our adventure continues.
Our man Finno is a born wheelman--at least when it comes to holiday carnival rides. Little Henry has to put on some inches before joining in the action, but boy will he be ready when the time comes. The video below combines two rides--one at the Zoo Lights in Oakland, the other at the SJ winter festival. Enjoy!
Okay, I have to admit two things up front:
- One, this video could easily appear in a collection called "Portraits in Unwatchability" or "Experiments in Motion Sickness."
- Two, despite all the spinning, not all that much really happens.
So, you can't say you weren't warned. The other night we took advantage of some (rare) clear weather & took the lads to San Jose's Christmas in the Park, a little set of carnival rides & holiday displays. The guys remain too little for ferris wheel rides, giving Finn a chance to practice his "glower" face, but we had a good time on some carousels, "bumpy cars," and the spinning ballon-car ride you see here. Hen was a cool customer as usual, and Finn did well until then end when, Margot reports, he remarked "I hope it'll be stopping soon!"
"Neither rain nor cold nor gloom of night will stay these cherubic buddies from the swift enjoyment of their date with the zoo..."
After our first attempt got rained out a week earlier, on Sunday evening the Nack Pack rallied & met up with pals Bettie, Quade, and their folks Tara and Andy at the Oakland Zoo. Here you can see us enjoying the groovy nighttime zoo train, sighting a wallaby & a Macy's-float-sized Henry face.
Nice: Playing Gulliver to a pair of Lilliputians.
Nicer: Getting a smooch from one of them.
At our little neighbor Charlotte's birthday party on Saturday, Charlotte's four-year-old little bro Dominic had fun romping around with Henry. Let the good-natured scaring begin!
Our guys are working on sharing, and inevitably we hit some bumps in the road. Earlier today they were in the sandbox, and after filling up a bucket, Finn lifted it onto a flat spot on our grill--near head height for him. Henry made a beeline for it, and when I attempted to help him reach it, Finn said, "No! I put it up there so that little guys wouldn't get it!"
Later in the day, Finn was playing with Margot's curling iron--a practice she's nixed as he's liable to break something. I explained the situation, and thinking I'd cleverly reference the earlier bit, I said, "I'm putting the curling iron up high so that little guys can't reach it." Finn shot right back, "But I can reach it very easy!!"
Okay, little Knievels, time to smash, right about... hang on... wait for it... now!!