“Hide” & Seek

Being totally unclear on the concept is no barrier to huge enjoyment. 🙂


Date Night

When Yvonne (our new nanny) and the guys got home from the park this afternoon, she told John and me that Finny told her he was planning on finding a wife, and would therefore need some “date nights.” She mentioned that he might want to start out by first finding a girlfriend. When I was chatting with Finny one-on-one a few minutes later, I asked him about his date night idea:

M: “Yvonne tells me that you need a date night.”

F: “Yeah, but first I need a girlfriend.”

M: “Oh, you do? Where will you find one?”

F: “I’ll look for one on my computer when I get older.”

M: “Oh, ok, that sounds like a good idea. In the meantime, maybe you could find one at school?”

F: “Well, I like Jordan, but she’s big and going to kindergarten, so she won’t be at school anymore.”

M: “Oh, I see. Well, what about Cosita [a 3-year-old at school]?”

F: {furrows brow, looks at me skeptically.}

M: “Oh, too small?”

F: “Yeah, too small.”

M: “Well, when you find one, where will you take her on a date?”

F: “To see a movie. I would like that.”

And so we have a plan for Finny’s first date night.

[Finn tells me, “I’m going to name my wife ‘Off-Of-It.'” When pressed as to why, he tells me, “Well, she’s always going off of things.” Go figure! ;-p See also from last year, “The Marrying Men.” –J.]


A Finn-worthy flowchart

Self-proclaimed “bacon devil” Finn & his little bro have a Jack Spratt-style arrangement when it comes to meat: Finn grabs the protein while Henry carbo-loads via buns. This works especially well on “meat hut” sandwiches as Hen quite willingly (and amazingly) parts with his bacon; brotherly sharing at its finest!

In any event, I saw this image and thought of our big guy. (Click to get the full-size version.) Maybe it could make even Henry see the greasy, greasy light. 🙂

Audio Clips

Soundergarten & The Black Tarantula

A few weeks back Finn took a real shine to Johnny Cash’s version of Soundgarden’s song “Rusty Cage.” I played him the original version and found him captivated by lead singer Chris Cornell’s screeching. That’s led to some Finn-as-Chris-Cornell renderings of popular hits–in this case, Harry Belafonte’s “Day-O (Banana Boat Song)”:

(MP3 link)

Babyslang Transient Witticisms

Transient Witticisms: Chow Hounds

  • Sugar highs:
    • The boys wake up, bouncing around.
      Finn: “We need donuts to be little champs!!”
      Henry: “Yeah, I don’t have ENERGY. I’m a lazy BONE!!”
    • Finn emerges from his nap, whispering: “Remember our plan? [sings quietly] ‘Sugar in the mornin’, sugar in the evenin’, sugar at suppertime!'”
  • My workout terminology intrigues Finn. “‘Flat flies’? Sounds like you’re making fly pancakes.”
  • Henry turns to me: “Dad-O, I’m a pickle.”
    Me: “A… what?
    H: “Yeah: I’m picking my boogies.”
  • Pretzel power:
    • Southwest Airlines must season their pretzels with “bath salts,” given Finn’s reaction. “Aaagh, I want to suck your arm hair!!” (I suggest that he enjoy his own. “But I just have peach fuzz!!” he protests.)
    • I hear the boys singing in the kitchen: “Auntie Laura’s pretzels bring all the boys to the yard/That’s right, they’re better than yours…”
  • Proud Moments In Fatherhood: 4yo nudist streaks past brandishing a beef jerky stick while chanting, “Bang me in the head with a meat stick!”

Of Pretzels & Bosses

Over the weekend I showed Finn a little bird-puppet animation, after which we had a little career chat:

  • Me: I would like to work with Adobe guys to make things like that.
  • Finn: Oh yeah–like a dung beetle?
  • Me: Well… maybe…
  • Finn: Is this with Nemhauser or the new boss?
  • Me: The new one.
  • Finn: Oh. I would like the new one to be named “Pretzel.” (Dad-O, can I have some pretzels?)

And here’s the crazier part: I subsequently shared this with one of my new colleagues who asked, “Does he know that my dog is named Pretzel?” I guess I know who (or what) I’ll now be reporting to!


BBQ Crew

The parenting racket can, on occasion, be a bit lonely: It’s hard to be spontaneous, to go places, to catch up with friends. Every so often, though, it’s great to remember that we’ve got some great friends and, hey, they can come over!

Yesterday we took advantage of the perfect weather to host a little backyard shindig featuring Margot “The Thrill on the Grill” Nack’s expert BBQ stylings & a variety of treats (guacamole, cobbler, and more) from visiting pals. The small fry ran around like crazy, tiring themselves out pretty completely (see the last photo in our little gallery for proof from Finn). Who knows, we just might have to make a habit of this. 🙂

Audio Clips

T.A.L.B.: Bandito Edition

Now listen (no pun intended): I have no illusions that almost anyone would want to sit through 8 minutes of bedtime lunacy involving a bandit-chief raccoon, a banana slug named Bonobo, brother firemen, Kawasaki Ninjas, and Chief McGillicuddy’s “flavor savor”–but just in case that sounds up your alley, press the little triangle below:


And if you’re on a machine (phone, iPad, etc.) that doesn’t have Flash installed, here’s a link to the audio file itself.


Have you ever been *this* excited about breakfast?

Who knows what got into the dudes this AM? Having gotten up early, I thought I’d sneak downstairs to do a little work—only to be intercepted by G-Man standing in the hallway at the bottom of the stairs. Both boys announced, “We’re ready for brutalizing!!” and demanded a little “sugar fuel” in the form of chocolate ice cream (a tiny dose of which I was happy to supply; hey, I grew up on Bill Cosby). Finn literally pumped his fist (below) over some buttered bread, after which we were off to his room for a solid half hour of wrestling (me: Doug the Dog; Henry: Doug Jr.; Finn: a dog named “Skateboard”). To borrow from the Marines, “We horse around more before 8am than most people do all day.” 🙂

Birthdays Milestones Photos Videos

G-Man B-Day!

Our little Mr. Henry Nack officially turned 3 today! We had a big birthday party for him while we were with the rest of my family in Colorado last week, complete with a VW Beetle-shaped cake, homemade ice cream, and presents; check out the photos. Today we had another, smaller party with our friends the Wiggins at the park down the street. This time we celebrated with a big ol’ pizza and a tiny little cake, and lots of running around!

Although Henry has not really grown much taller during the past year, he has made enormous leaps and bounds in other ways – both literally and figuratively! Figuratively, he’s become so articulate and conversant – especially in the last couple of months. He easily articulates pretty complex ideas and observations, and recounts events and conversations in great detail. He and Finny have extensive conversations and make up elaborate narratives while they’re playing. And literally, he has started hopping and jumping around like crazy, especially when he gets excited about something. For a little guy, he gets pretty good air! He also loves physical horsing around with all of us, and usually starts laughing uncontrollably when we tumble around with him.

His love of vehicles continues unabated, and he reaped many wheeled and winged presents for his birthday – including new variations of his favorites, Lightning and Mater (from Pixar’s Cars). He is also nuts for fire fighting, and was THRILLED to receive his fireman “backpack” – which is a tank you fill with water, then pump out the attached sprayer hose (usually onto his brother).

His fondness for owls is also going strong, and he received a couple of terrific owly gifts. Grandma Nack gave him a beautiful book about an owl flying around at night, and his Auntie Laura made him a super-cute little knitted, stuffed owl with big brown eyes, named “Roy,” just like the one his cousin Patrick has.

We can’t wait to see what Henry’s next year holds in store. He’s off to a terrific start!

July Fourth Photos

Squires in the Hole

Sometimes a guy just has to be a good bad uncle. 🙂

For years we’ve driven past a large collection of rusting, abandoned mining equipment, along with a bunch of huge rocks that get used in each year’s Boom Days drilling competition. We’d never stopped to explore them, though—until now. On Thursday nephew Patrick joined the Micronaxx & me on a little excursion. Because the gate was locked & marked “Private Road!,” we parked nearby, then swung the “minor miners” across a little stream & scrambled up a 20-foot slope made of loose rock. “Brea-kin’ the law, brea-kin’ the law!!”

At this point if you’d imagine I was thinking of Will Ferrell’s hilarious bit about George W. Bush exploring an abandoned mine shaft, you’d be right. 🙂 Happily we avoided all manner of scrapes, tetanus, lockjaw, cave-ins, lightning strikes, and more. (Seriously, it wasn’t dangerous, or I’d never have taken the guys there; it just seemed a bit rakish & daring.) The four of us hoofed it to avoid some impending rain, and the next day we returned with Mom-O. Here’s a gallery that combines shots from both visits.

July Fourth Photos

Fabulous Finns

Finnegan meets neighbor Finley. 🙂 (Click for larger.)

July Fourth Photos

Happy Fourth of July!

We’re here in Leadville for another 4th of July with my entire family – my folks, my sister and her family, and our Nack clan of four. We’ve got 10 folks, including 4 rambunctious boy cousins, staying here at the Liggett casa.

We love coming here and celebrating Independence Day – it’s really a scene out of a Norman Rockwell painting: A few blocks of 100-plus-year-old main street decked out in flags and red, white, and blue bunting, a terrific parade featuring the local firemen, park rangers, rescue personnel, Smokey Bear, baton twirlers, bike riders, military veterans, and the 4-H club (complete with live chicken riding on the hood of the 4-H truck!).

We formed our own little parade as we walked down hill towards main street to watch the real deal. The kids came prepared with empty sacks for candy and wide eyes ready for the festivities. Henry was literally jumping up and down with excitement during practically the entire event.

After the parade, we walked up the street to the fire station’s annual cookout, where we investigated the fire pole, toured all the vehicles, and ogled the boots, coats, and helmets. We feasted on hamburgers and chips (Finny wolfed down 2 cheeseburgers!) before heading out to the open house at the Leadville airport. Once there, we saw several vintage planes doing fly-bys, sat inside the life flight helicopter and met the paramedics, and also toured several other small craft on the tarmac. Here’s a photo gallery from the day out.

We all returned, pooped from all the excitement (and lack of oxygen!), and are now taking it real easy while Grandpa gets the homemade peach ice cream base mixed and ready for the freezer. Happy Fourth of July from the high country!

[Just for fun, here’s last year’s gallery.]


Morbid times

Finn’s explaining some grim tales to Henry regarding their “family” of plastic dump trucks:

The mom died last summer. The dad will probably die on a trip, so they’ll have to live with the grandma & grandpa. Instead of blood coming out, it’d be oil and gas. She went to Moffett Field when they were working on that big hangar, and it still had the skin on, and she got some bad chemicals. She ate a lot of chemicals, like fuzz & grass and stuff. Probably people will find her & make her a mummy & toss her in the air, then put her in a hole to bury her up. And the kids will say, “Waaaah, where’s our mommy??”

This isn’t the first time mortality has come up. A few months back poor Finny got tearful talking about death. Things got pretty heavy until he blurted, “A-a-and, we won’t get to eat any dinosaur meat!”

Camping Photos Videos

Big Basins, Camp Fairies, and Banana Slugs–Oh My!

We survived! Our guys are officially seasoned campers, chomping at the bit to go again.

Margot & I brought the boys over to Big Basin the Friday before last, rendezvousing with another 15 (!) or so other kids & their parents. Because she had Pilates training on Saturday & Sunday, Margot didn’t sleep over with us, but she did a brilliant job packing & helped us set up the tent. Without her I’d still be out in the woods—if I even got there to begin with!

We borrowed camping gear from my friend Dani at work, but it didn’t occur to us to get air mattresses until we saw all the other families pumping up theirs. The first night was more than a bit bumpy, literally & figuratively. (Note to other parents: When introducing kids to camping, maybe don’t pick the longest day of the year!) The guys bounced around the tent for hours like a couple of popcorn kernels. I was the old maid.

The next day, however, our friend Shay showed up with some good news: “I’m the camping fairy!” she announced, then went to get something from her car. Finn turned to me: “Is she really a camping fairy?” No, she claimed: she was just a “mattress mule,” having been recruited by Margot late the night before to carry a brand new set of air mattresses to us!  As I had no phone coverage at the camp site, this was a terrific surprise!

Can I claim we then slept like kings? Well, not exactly. Ensconced in our tent, I thought of the Passover scene from The Ten Commandments: I kept hearing periodic wailing arising from other tents & just thought, “I don’t know who that is, and I don’t know what’s happening, but man we’re just staying behind our door and riding this thing out!” In any case, our backs sure appreciated the “close air support.”

Oh, by the way, parents: When it comes to kids in sleeping bags, it seems there’s about a three-inch window that separates “cozy” from (on one end) “hypothermia” and (on the other) “asphyxiation.” I kept waking up to find Henry totally exposed & turning blue, and then (having remedied that problem) completely missing, having slipped entirely into the bag. Yeesh!

Here’s a gallery of the goings-on. Other random bits from the adventure:

  • During our hike to a nearby waterfall, Henry quickly migrated to my shoulders, but he hung onto his “walking stick.” The net result was that he held it in front of me, making me feel like a donkey chasing a carrot. Normally it’s the parent who get to dole out the carrot-and-stick routine!
  • The guys were fascinated that bold raccoons kept infiltrating the campsite, even making off with a bag of marshmallows.  They liked hanging out in and around the metal containers meant to protect food from raccoons & bears.
  • Finn got a very quick & intimate familiarization with banana slugs, accidentally laying his hand on one of the big creatures in a log. He freaked out (hey, I would too), demanding that I wipe off the stickum. Soon, though, we incorporated a banana slug named Bonobo into our T.A.L.B. ritual, alongside a charismatic raccoon named El Bandito & “Ranger Mary” (pictured in the gallery singing to the guys at the ranger station).
  • Our friends Doug & Jodi occupied the tent right next to ours, and Doug remarked on my patience dealing with the guys’ “20 questions” routine. It was a nice bit of encouragement. Your can see their son Dillon sporting an eyepatch with Finn in the little video clip below.
  • Seeing all the kids coming & going from tents reminded me of the German phrase “Nein fisimatenten.” It means “no foolishness,” but it’s said to derive from a French occupation of Germany during which French soldiers would call to German girls, “Hey, visitez ma tente!” (“Come visit my tent!”) You can see how Henry’s Graham-cracker-powered solicitations would be hard to resist. 🙂


Headspin For The Win!

I think G-Man’s aerodynamism is a bit impeded by that spare tire. 😉