Micronaxx The adventures of Finn & Henry


Hen Four, Good Buddy!

"Equal parts grumpy old man and delightful, snuggly, hilarious kid," says Margot of Henry*, and I fully agree. Amazingly it's been a full four years since our crazy little "El Segundo" barnstormed into town. What a crazy ride...

We're a bit pooped from taking the lads out for some celebratory sushi, but here's a little gallery of the terrific party we had on the Fourth with our wonderful pals, plus some delightful present-opening with my folks & then this morning.

And from memory lane:

* She also says this about me 😉



Well, our first (pseudo)academic milestone has come and gone. Our man Finny "graduated" from preschool last week, and is now officially on his way to Kindergarten in the fall. The Maestras at Pasitos put on a really fun little ceremony and potluck dinner for the graduates and families. All the kids got to make gold cardboard mortarboards and decorate them, and they each got to walk up and receive a little certificate while the Maestras said something nice about them. It was very cute and Finny was very proud. At the end, all the kids and Maestras danced to "Guantanamera."

Henry, on the other hand, had a complete and utter meltdown just before the ceremony started. Tons of shrieking and crying to the state of hyperventilation. (Of course, this happened front and center next to all the waiting families...) "No one is paying attention to me, Mom-o! No one is playing with me! Why don't I get a present?" I think we finally got a big ol' glimpse of sibling jealousy. I got him calmed down enough with a little lap time, and then he was off riding a tricycle behind the ceremony until it was finished and the rest of the kids could play.

Here's a gallery of the afternoon's proceedings, including a fantastic surprise visit by some Mexican heritage dancers in full costume. As Henry noted: "Mom-o, they're not wearing pants, or shoes and socks..or shirts!" But they had some mighty cool feathered headdresses and rattles on their ankles.


Fantastic Five!

On Saturday my Finny turned five. I can hardly believe it's been five years since this dimpled, smiling, blond little person made us a family. Before we tucked in for the night on Friday, all four of us shouted "Adios, four!", and when we awoke on the big day, we all said "Hello, five!" before wishing our guy a happy birthday.

Then it was off to breakfast in the hotel for a much-anticipated birthday waffle (seriously, he'd been talking about it for weeks!), followed by a very slow, traffic-jammy drive up the mountains for an afternoon of snowball fights and snow tubing. The combination of all that partying and the high altitude wore us all out, so we saved cake and presents for Sunday.

Here are some photos from our adventure so far. Happy birthday, Finny! We love you to bits!

[Note the triumphal unveiling of the giant Lego Unimog. 🙂 Finny went tearing around the room yelling "Iloveit Iloveit Ilove it" before doing "donkey kicks" of joy on the stairs. Now, if we can just finish building the thing before he's eligible to vote, the success will be complete! --J.]


Big Guy Style

This morning the guys went to visit Dr. S for their annual check-ups. We'd given them advance notice, so they were pretty excited to go, and hoped to camp out in the "firetruck room". Instead, we got the "undersea" room with the whale-shaped exam table. You can see from the photo how thrilled they were to strip down and wear "paper towel dresses," as Finny called them.

As expected, Henry did not enjoy having lights shined up his nose/eyes/ears, and he hated wearing the little hearing test headphones ("too tight!"). However, he was totally calm and cool during the entire exam. Finny, our more even-keeled guy, also did really well, and was unfazed by the blood pressure cuff, poking, prodding, and hearing test. Also as expected, Henry shows signs of allergies, so we are going to get a blood test to determine what, exactly, makes his nose run. For now, the doc says Claritin once a day is fine while he's sniffly.

Now for the stats. Finny: 44 lbs, 43 inches tall, 90th percentile for height and weight. Hearing and eyesight both good. Henry: 38 inches tall (hooray!), 35 lbs, 50th percentile for height, 70th for weight. Hearing probably good but he couldn't sit through the whole exam, and eyesight probably good but he was kind of fidgety/uncooperative so it's hard to say. The doc thinks Finny will ultimately hit 6'1", and Henry 5'10", which sounds about right to me!

Dr. S enjoyed hearing the guys spool up narratives about the cars they'd brought along, and Finny's new bike. Physically and mentally, their development seems right on track (she had them do little hopping and balance tests, too). She also liked hearing about Finny's ability to help out around the house and get himself dressed. And finally, since I promised them no shots today, we have to come back at the end of the month and get vaccinations/boosters. That will give them plenty of advance notice.


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!


Finny’s Fourth!

We feel so happy & lucky to have gotten to celebrate the Finnster's Fourth with so many excellent pals (both large & small), and with my folks who trekked all the way from Illinois. We couldn't have asked for more gorgeous weather--72 with not a cloud in the sky (rather different from last year's slightly shivery fun). Everyone seemed to enjoy packing away greasy pizza & Margot's brilliant fire truck cake before taking a whack at the piñata. Thankfully neighborhood "big kids" Dom & Charlotte were able to liberate the candy at last.

Thanks so much to everyone for coming out and partying with us! Here's a little gallery from the festivities.


“Finnegan Nack, Now with Cuatro!”

Happy B-day to our Fantastic Four-Year-Old!! We've had a great day celebrating the Finnster's cumpleaños with his Nack grandparents, and we can't wait to dive into tomorrow's party, piñata, and fire truck cake. He was so excited about his Lego birthday present that he literally spun out of control, doing a donut by the couch! 😀 We'll share more photos and videos soon; for now, here's that moment of ecstasy (click it for larger):


Welcome Baby Jenna!

Speaking of birthdays, we extend a hearty Micronaxx welcome to our new niece/cousin baby Jenna Marie Nack, born yesterday to Ted & Stephanie Nack. Lookin' great, kiddo; can't wait to meet you at Thanksgiving! 🙂


Happy Birthday to Hen!

A birthday wouldn't be complete without singing and (cup)cake, so thanks to nephew Patrick for documenting the proceedings:

We neglected to mention that just before the festivities, Henry had been forcibly awakened from an epic nap (lest he be up all night). That left him pretty lethargic & unsure what to make of all this fuss. (In the previous gallery you can really see the effect of the cupcake sugar hitting his bloodstream!) It's also funny to observe Finn's oversight of the candle-blowing operation. He really had to work at not jumping in and doing the honors himself!

Nostalgic bonus roundup:


Numero Dos for El Segundo!

Henry Seamus Nack turned 2 years old today! Since we were flying back to SJ from our weeklong trip to Colorado, we celebrated Henry's big day on Wednesday in Leadville. His cousins, aunt, and grandparents were there for the festivities--candles, singing, cupcakes, and presents! Here's a link to the party gallery.

We can hardly believe our little Henry is already two. In many ways, it seems like he's been with us far longer than a mere 2 years, but in other ways he is still our little bitty guy. It's been terrific to see his personality bloom this past year, especially when it comes to his ability to use so many words to express himself instead of being thwarted by a lack of vocabulary and constantly seeming frustrated. Although he can be a bit slow to warm up to new acquaintances, once he does, he is a joy to be around--he's slyly goofy, often breaking into a wry grin when he's up to something. He's kind to his big brother, loves all kinds of physical horseplay, and loooooooves his Dad-o. We love it when his blue eyes sparkle and he verbalizes his observations, often asking us questions to help figure things out. Hooray for Henry! We couldn't love you more, little squirrel!


¡Escuela de Verano!

Yesterday was the boys' first day of preschool at Pasitos! Clearly our soft-pitch sales job this past week worked, because they were up earlier than usual this morning and raring to get to school.  Bags and lunches were packed, paperwork was in hand, hats were donned, buddies were grabbed, and we were off by 8a.m.

I had planned on 2 things today: 1. Hanging around the classroom for quite awhile this morning to ease the guys' transition from home to school and downplay the drama, and 2. receiving one or more phone calls that Henry or Finny were crying inconsolably and one of us needed to come get them (we were warned this is fairly common during the transition period). What a surprise that neither plan came to fruition!

As I finished up the paperwork and stashed the boys' belongings in the appropriate cubbies, both boys were already very busy playing and chatting with the teacher. I stuck around for maybe 10 more minutes, then gave each boy a smooch and took off--it was clear they were doing just fine! The phone never rang with a call from Pasitos, so we figured the day must have gone well. I think John and I were actually more nervous/worried about school than the boys!

When we arrived to pick them up, they were playing outside, and Finny ran to the gate, so excited to see us. His voice wavered quite a bit when he said "I'm so happy to see you!" It was a thin line between crying and smiling, but I think he was just really overwhelmed with how relieved he was when he saw us. Henry was holding Ollie and playing ball, and was also very happy to see Dad-o strolling in.

The teacher assured us the boys had a good day. Both had napped and played well. She also remarked that Henry didn't like having his diaper changed (no surprise to me, I guess I should've mentioned that!), and that he ate a lot (I guess he really took advantage of snacktime!). At some point Henry started crying pretty hard for Ollie (we tried to talk him into only having Ollie at nap time, but I guess he didn't want to give him  up upon waking). Finny stepped in and told the teachers what Henry wanted, and once they handed Ollie to him, he was fine. "Ollie saved the day," she said.

So all in all, a very good first day of school, and I think the boys are looking forward to going back. Just now as I was putting Finny to bed, he said "I don't understand Spanish yet. I think I will learn Spanish when I grow up to be a man. In about a week or so, I'll be grown up and will learn it then."

Update: Here's our little video recap with the lads:


Preschoolhouse Rock

The times, they are a changin' at the Nack household. One of our nannies, Tiffany, will soon be leaving us because she's due with her second baby, which means she won't exactly have time to drive 50 miles to our house twice a week and kick it with the Nack boys during the day. Since Finny's 3 and potty-trained, we'd been talking about getting him into a preschool soon. Tiffany's due date has been great motivation to kick the preschool (and daycare for Henry) search in high gear. (As Finny might say, "Step on the gas, Mom-o!")

We've got many friends with kids who are already in preschool, so it's been easy to find referrals to preschools with flexible schedules and options for pre-preschool little guys like Henry. I'd waded through tons of flyers and brochures, and surfed lots of websites before narrowing down our search to a few options. We've now toured two facilities with the boys in tow, to see how they might like the idea of going to "school" a couple days a week.

I think they're both going to enjoy themselves. During our visits, they've taken plenty of initiative--exploring the various play/craft/reading and outdoor play areas, and watching what the other little kids are doing. Finny is really excited about the idea of having his own lunchbag and plastic tupperware box for food. We made a big deal of going to Target and picking out bags and boxes. As we were leaving for this morning's preschool tour, Finny asked me if he could take his new bag and box! I hated to disappoint him but since it was only an hour-long visit, I told him we didn't need them today. ("But we'll need them in a few weeks, buddy!") As we headed out towards the car, Finny said excitedly "Come ooooon preschool!!!" like he just couldn't wait to get there. Hen was similarly pumped up, dancing with excitement.

Every time we talk about preschool or I even think about dropping the guys off for the day, I get that clutchy feeling in my chest and a little voice in my heart says "They're growing up!" I just can't believe we've hit the preschool milestone already. Now I just need to make sure Finny understands that Dad-o and I won't actually be hanging out with him and his brother while they're at preschool all day!

["I'm going to *pee* school, Dad-O!" proclaimed Finn. "I'm gonna pee in the school!" You stay classy, kiddo! --J.]


Non-Abstract Expressionism

Boy oh boy, has our little Henry started to bloom! Before I get to the good part, I will back up a little bit...For the past few weeks he's been one heck of a cranky tot--crying and shrieking at the drop of a hat, even throwing himself on the floor, prostrate, kicking his feet about the most minor incidents. He's always been a little, shall we say, demanding, but he'd really been taking it to a new level.

Now, I am happy to report, we can see that our little G-Man has really turned a corner, and maybe all the drama and cranking around was just a way for him to show his frustration about what he wanted to be doing and saying but couldn't quite put together yet. He's really talking up a storm these days, using nouns, verbs, and even adjectives and adverbs! A few weeks ago, if he wanted something, he might have just said "Ollie!" and started crying. Now, he says "Dad-o get Ollie, please!" or "Get Ollie now?*" This is so exciting for us, and I can't adequately convey just how much. The fact that he's able to string words together and express himself is so much nicer than the constant whining and crying that we'd been dealing with. Henry seems to be so much happier, too. He's smiling a lot more, he's noticeably more relaxed, and he's enjoying communicating with his big brother (exclaiming "Toe Party!!!" in the bathtub as he grabs Finny's toes).

Another fun development is that of Henry entering the realm of the abstract. His little imagination is starting to fire up, and results in him claiming "I'm a squirrel! I'm Thomas! I'm Penny (the Pig character in one of his books)!" Even when Finny's trying to get him to play along with one of his games, Henry stands up for himself. For instance, Finny will try to make us all quails, and give us quail names**, and when he says to Henry "You're Chump (the quail)", Henry replies "I'm a squirrel!"

Regarding Henry's latest achievements, as Finny might say, "Hooray for Henry! Extra huggies and smooches!"

[* It's so helpful that he's started clarifying things by adding "Now." Oh really, Hen? Your flopping down & screeching were so ambiguous. 😉
** For posterity: The quails are Pump, Dump, and Chump. Chump is the welder who has a little mask & torch. (Yes, there's a *very* elaborate backstory there...) --J.]


Birthday action!

We had a terrific time celebrating Finno's Big 3 a couple of weeks back, and now that the sugar crash has worn off, we can post our little photo gallery and a video from the birthday train ride!


Birthday! Birthday! Birthday!

Our blond, sunny, hilarious little Finnegan turns 3 years old today! We can hardly believe he's gotten so big, so talkative, and so imaginative. His head is always filled with characters and made-up stories, and he couldn't be happier to share them with us. He's also a terrific big brother to little Henry--offering him toys or books when Henry's upset or grouchy, and working hard at sharing and taking turns with his toys. As Henry gets older I hope he realizes what a nice, caring big brother he's got.

I started the day by greeting Finny with the Happy Birthday song, then we opened presents from Grandma and Grandpa Liggett. He is already in love with his new toy lawnmower and weed wacker (specifically requested by the birthday boy!), although he and Dad-o had to make a fast trip to the hardware store to get batteries and a tiny screwdriver so the weed wacker would fire up and make all the appropriate noise. (We have umpteen tiny screwdrivers, and all of them lost the minute we need them!) Henry was not thrilled about not getting to play with the new lawn toys, but we're hoping he'll either get over it, or eventually Finny will decide that sharing them is ok.

Tonight we'll take our boy out to have pizza and open some more presents. His birthday party was this past Sunday, and with Grandma and Grandpa Nack here, every day has been an adventure!

Happy birthday to our wonderful firstborn boy. We couldn't be happier to have you in our lives!

[The OSH staff seemed delighted by the presence of a PJ-clad tot dragging milk, banana chips, and a toy weed whacker through their hardware store at 7:30am. And as for sharing, Grandma & Grandpa report that Finn was great about letting Henry terrorize the grass with the new toys. When I got home they couldn't wait to show me "how nice the yard looks!" --J.]



Our little Henry is 19 months old today, and not really so little anymore! He's grown to 32.5 inches tall, 27.5 lbs, and his head is 50cm around. He's also inherited the chatterbox gene, and is busy talking up a storm these days. He's working hard at stringing words together into phrases. For instance, at the kitchen table, he will point at everything in sight and start labeling them: "yogurt! cheerios! spoon! cup! milk!" and then follow up with "want some!" He can also clearly articulate "hungry" and "all done" or "finished!". John commented today that he's very interested in calling out colors, regardless of his accuracy...so he might be pointing at a tree and say "orange!" or brandishing an orange and announce "blue! green!".

He's also working on "please" and "thank you," and tends to pre-emptively say "hankEWW" when handing something to us. It comes across as very pre-emptory and puts the kibosh on further discussion, like when he spied a sack of M&M's and shoved the toy he was holding into John's chest with an emphatic "hankEWW!" so he could get at those M's!

Hen's favorite new activity is "flying", where Dad-o (or Mom-o, when pressed) scoops him up like a little airplane and flies him around the house before coming in for a landing on Finny's bed. He absolutely loves it and is just devastated when we have to take a breather from lugging him around!


Hen Party!

What a nice birthday party we had with our little buddy Henry! A posse of niños, including Harper, Charlotte, Dominic, Ken, Julian, and Madison, along with their respective parents & of course Grandma & Grandpa Nack, were on hand to help us celebrate. Carrot cake, juice boxes, and other treats were flowing near the guys' new sandbox. Mom-O & Dad-O remain kind of bushed, so without further ado, here's our gallery (HTML).

By the way, with the Flash galleries, if you happen to be using a large monitor and like high-def images, try pressing the little square in the lower-right corner to get a full-screen display. Press the ESC key to exit when finished.


El Segundo Es Uno!

Oh my goodness. Henry is one year old today! We can hardly believe a year has flown by since he arrived on the scene last year after only 1.5 hours of labor.

Our littlest dude has got a lot going on these days--so busy growing, growing, growing. He's getting ready for many more teeth to arrive--they're making themselves known in big bumps and lumps in his boca. He's been working really hard on practicing his walking, forcefully leading his hapless escorts around the house and getting very upset when we want to take a break and sit him down on the floor!  (I am prone to calling him "Stampy" because of his disproportionately heavy footsteps!) And he's really starting to chatter away. Lots of babbling and even some honest-to-goodness words like Dada, Mama, ball, cool, go, Coco, and uh-oh. He loves his little sleeping buddy Ollie, and has warmed up to his stuffed cat (an Xmas gift from Grandma Nack).

More Henry-based action includes "rock stance": standing with his feet wide apart and jiggling one leg up and down (think David Coverdale in the 80's). In addition to assisted walking, he's able to pull himself up to standing unassisted, and has even stood (stock still) on his own for several seconds at a time. Dad-o has introduced Henry to "fountain inspection" both at our newly repaired fountain as well as neighbor Richard's kid-magnet front yard fountain.

I'm only half joking when I call Henry my bossy baby. He wants to do everything himself, and when he needs your help he's very clear about what he does and doesn't want you to do. If you try and feed him, he grabs the spoon or piece of food and puts it in his mouth--he doesn't want us doing it! He's gotten into some serious chug-a-lugging, grabbing both his and Finny's milk cups and jamming in both sippy lids at once. He'll also let us know if and when he wants to be held (or not!) and is remarkably strong for his size (evidenced by pushing himself off me when he's had enough of my lap).

This week he's gotten in plenty of playtime with Grandma and Grandpa Nack, and was introduced to his very own sandbox (a wonderful gift from them) this evening. After his initial uncertainty about sitting in the sand, he got pretty engrossed in scooping and pouring. Every day this week has been an adventure--trips to Happy Hollow, Blackberry Farm, and other parks, along with shopping trips and picnic lunches. He was yawning his brains out by 6:30 this evening--I've never seen him that sleepy! But now that he's in bed he's having kind of restless sleep. Maybe he knows his birthday party is tomorrow! Happy Birthday little G-Man!


Henry 2.0

"Where is the G-Man and what have you done with him??" --J.

John was up in Seattle for a few days this week, and upon spending some time with Henry when he returned, he asked me whether I'd swapped Henry out for a new model! Our littlest dude has undergone some major internal and external development this week. Even I noticed it. He's much more tuned in to what's going on around him, he smiles more readily, he's getting really absorbed in the toys he's playing with, and even his face looks different...older and more like a little boy than a baby. Oh, and he's babbling a lot more! He definitely knows who "da da" is, and I swear he tried saying "banana" tonight as I was feeding him one. He said "na na" a couple of times as I was talking to him about it.

These are truly welcome changes. He went through a really rough phase for the past couple months--very clingy and fussy and averse to changes in his environment. But happily, those days are over and he's really quite a pleasure to be around and to observe. He saw his brother making "fish lips" the other day at the dinner table and made them right back! He also seems to understand when something is silly and laughs right along with the rest of us. And his demeanor, which is far calmer than it was before, is fantastic. It's just so nice to see him fiddling with toys and keeping himself contented with far less intervention necessary from Mom-o and Dad-o.

Oh, and last but not least, today was the first day that Henry has not tried to eat the book I'm trying to read him--he was actually interested in looking at and turning the pages himself!


Henry OchoNuevo

Today Henry turns 9 months old. Wowee, how time flies! Little Mr. H. has been working on lots of milestones lately. Two new teeth emerged last week after a long, painful, whiny stint of teething, bringing his tooth-count to 8 (ocho!)! He's also been rolling from back to front (finally!) and back again. I honestly thought he'd never master the back-to-front roll, since he seemed so content to stay on his back once he'd rolled off his tum.

He's started migrating around the crib during the night, has graduated from baby food to table food, and is learning how to transition from sitting to lying on his tummy. He's not too happy once he's stuck lying on the ground, but he does enjoy the process of leeeeeeaning forward until he can stretch himself completely out. Henry seems to really dig standing up in his excersaucer, which we've dubbed his "disco" thanks to its music-themed doodads and the music that it emits.

All in all, he's a happy little guy with an adorable, puckish grin, which usually emerges as he's watching his big bro's antics in the tub or at the dinner table. The two brothers really seem to get a kick out of one another these days.