In today's little gallery, you can see the covetous Finnster admiring some red velvet cake; the guys building Lincoln Logs with Grandpa; goosestepping Henry being "Dr. Bucketfoot;" the guys enjoying "Emergency kit" puzzles from Auntie Laura; and more.
Santa delivered exactly what the boys asked for - Thomas engines, trucks, and more Legos. Needless to say, there have been many derailments, traffic jams, pile-ups, and modified vehicles. For instance, Tow Mater was turned into a Christmas tree-trimming truck! The guys also scored a set of Lincoln Logs, and are keen on learning how to build a top-notch log cabin (following the lead of their resident expert, Grandpa). Here's our first little gallery of the Christmas proceedings.
John and I went out to the mall a few days ago to wrap up our Christmas shopping for each other. I really wanted to get him his own elaborate Lego kit, because there are not many things John loves more than Legos (me, the kids, and his camera, to be exact). I was gun shy, though, because I didn't want to get him a gift that he couldn't really enjoy with the kids, because they're still a bit too small to manipulate and build with all those tiny pieces (or so I thought!).
So, I left the Lego store empty-handed. Turns out John had also visited the store, and was drooling over a model Chinook helicopter. "Or as Henry likes to call them," notes Finny, "'hello-copters.'" He too walked away empty-handed, and a little bit heartbroken, for the same reason as me. As we talked more about it, we both reached the same conclusion, which was that he should go back and get that darn helicopter kit and see if it was something Finny would be able to enjoy alongside him. Worst case scenario, Finny wouldn't enjoy it, but John would still be left with a Lego helicopter! (Henry, surprisingly, is a fan of the instruction booklets, a.k.a. "constructions.")
I think the pictures in our little gallery will tell you everything you need to know. I remarked to John that seeing the joy on his face while observing the two of them build the chopper was the true gift. I got to see one of his dreams of fatherhood come true.
Back in April Henry became a bit obsessed with the subject of Thomas (the Tank Engine) and the seaside. How great, then, that we discovered that Thomas was coming to our very own seaside! The four of us cruised over to Santa Cruz where we met Sir Topham Hatt & even Santa and his elves! G-Man was predictably standoffish, but Finny warmed right up and delivered his wish list. Afterwards we had a ball riding the huge boardwalk carousel & playing on the train tables. Here's our little gallery, plus a very brief clip:
In this year's Christmas decorating, we've been ably assisted by two very enthusiastic "manger arrangers." Check out our garland-slingin', sleigh-bell-ringin', elf-hat-flingin' amigos in action.
I fondly remember my dad delighting me with bedtime stories, devising ever more elaborate tales of "Mrs. Mootsy" the rabbit, our colorful neighbors the Mosers, and more. We never recorded or transcribed any of them, of course, so the details are lost to history.
Finny & I carry on the tradition via something we've dubbed "T.A.L.B.," short for "Talk A Little Bit." This nightly ritual started as a recap of the day, but Finn quickly morphed it into a chance to get a bonus (and custom-made) story. Over the last year+ we've covered an insane amount of ground (War and Peace? short & simple compared!). Lately the stories have centered on Mr. Elefante (the elephant who lives in an apartment in the bathroom wall) and his friend Rooster, plus the neighbor cats (Tuxie & Samantha) and their endless attempts to turn Rooster into a delicious "chicken sandwich." Putting posterity way ahead of dignity, here's just one little slice of the story. Click the little gray arrow to play:
If for some reason that doesn't work (e.g. you're on an iPhone), here's the direct link to the audio file.
Q. What's possibly our most fitting Yiddish word ever?
A. "Naches" (pronounced "NAKH-es"), meaning "Emotional gratification or pride, especially taken vicariously at the achievement of one's children."
We might have to rename the blog "Micronaxx & Meganaches." L'chaim!
Our friend Maria once gave us Tickle Monster plus a pair of "tickle mitts." On her recent visit, though, bare hands--with an assist from Henry's "Bushy-Tailed Menace"--got the job done:
I have such fond childhood memories of partying with my Murray cousins, roughhousing on air mattresses (which we pretended were giant butt cheeks--don't ask) and so much more. I was therefore especially delighted to get our lads partying with Sarah Murray, her friend Chernoh, and little Patrick Mahoney (Liz's son). We all worked up a real sweat "brutalizing" the guys, turning Patrick & Finn into burritos, and trading aerial attacks (Crocs, Thomas hat, slipcovers--you name it). Here's a little taste:
Later, back at Grandma & Grandpa Nack's, the guys climbed the staircase and said, "We want to fire stuff down, like we did at Chernoh's house!" Here's to many happy returns.
During her recent visit, our friend Maria told us about her backyard being overrun by "squeasels" (squirrels & weasels). Finn got into showing off the squeasels in his shirt--then going after Maria's. Check it out:
The bad: Getting stuck stuck on a frozen tarmac in Germany.
The good: Opportunity to make a video for the lads!
Now, please be forewarned that the following clip is going to be totally uninteresting to anyone over the age of 4 or so. I share it, though, just as an example of the experiences one can now capture & share while away from the fam. I love that I can shoot footage of ships in the Hamburg harbor, or of myself skiing, or whatever, then share it so that Margot can show the guys over breakfast. "These are the days of miracles and wonder," sang Paul Simon; I couldn't agree more.
Finn uses a little wagon in the basement to transport his big cardboard blocks back and forth to the "quarry" in the far corner.
We read a lot of Babar books, which contain fascinating, arcane details like getting "vigorous rubdowns with alcohol and soft brushes" when one is cold.
Baby cousin Jenna has been discussed as being too small for quite a few activities.
We overheard Finn sticking up for his little brother at Bouncyland the other evening, when a 5 year-old was trying to tell him that Henry was too small to jump in one of the bounce houses.
Now, the story, verbatim, that John overheard Finny reciting in the basement yesterday morning while playing:
"I have a son who's about 20 months. He keeps wanting to come to the quarry with me, but he's just too small. Maybe he can come in 5 months, or 7. His name is Alcohol. He's at my home with the mom. Her name is Beagle. My name is Sir Bobbiter."
I'd hardly call G-Man a bold kid. He's the guy who, for example, fears that house cats are going to eat the PJs off him. This explains my surprise & delight when he spied Danny the Dragon walking around Happy Hollow, cried "Danny!," hopped down from my arms, and chased down the big green guy. Go Hen go! Check it out:
During our Galena trip we were delighted to meet our new niece/cousin Jenna Nack. Here's a gallery of her hanging out with the Micronaxx plus various Murray cousins.
"That sign means 'No Coyotes'," declares Finn. "And 'No Fries'!" adds G-Man.