Not only is today Christmas Day, today is the day we publish our thousandth Micronaxx blog post! What?!? Wow! We can't even believe we've cranked out so many posts about our boys in the past 5+ years, but we already know there will be many more posts to come.
We are having a wonderful, relaxing Christmas with the extended Liggett clan - Grandma and Grandpa Liggett, Laura (Liggett) Lingle and her family, we four Nacks, and the Lingle boys grandma Margaret Lingle. We arrived last night, just in time for stocking hanging, spreading reindeer food on the driveway, and reading 'Twas the Night Before Christmas with Grandpa. After Santa visited, all the big people went to bed because we knew we'd be up early.
After a Christmas Eve sleepover at the Lingles, all four cousins were up and at 'em early this morning tearing through their stockings — oohing and aahing over new toys, stuffed animals, candy, and treats. By the time John and I arrived from our hotel at 8:30, they were raring to go on the big gifts. As you'll see from the gallery, there were lots of gleeful smiles as the packages were opened — even from the adults!
Then we were off to the park across the street for a bit of running around in the bright Colorado sunshine in new hats and mittens, courtesy of Auntie Laura's handiwork. The boys are now back inside, playing with their new toys and waiting for Christmas dinner to begin.
This year, since we're heading to Colorado for Christmas, we decided to let the boys open their "big" gifts a few days early. Finny continues to be obsessed with lions - so his gift was kind of easy. I was walking through Costco the other day and they had these enormous animal beanbag chairs, one of which was a lion. Done and DONE! I knew I'd regret it if I didn't get him the chair because it is such a colossal feline.
As for Henry, his latest fascination (in addition to owls) is traffic cones. Whenever he sees them, he's like a moth to a flame. He cannot walk by a construction site, or a playground with cones on it without stopping and moving the cones around in an effort to "block things off for safety." John had the fantastic idea to buy Henry his own real, construction-and-traffic-control grade cones. I logged into Amazon, and wouldn't you know it, they had many sizes, weights, and styles of cone to choose from. We knew Henry would go absolutely mental when he opened the cones, and as you can see from the gallery, he did not disappoint. He was also pretty pleased about the owl pajamas I made him, and is thrilled when bedtime rolls around and he can lounge in his owl peej before hitting the sack.
You know that moment near the end of a very long flight, where your plane is floating over the runway & you want nothing more for it just to touch down so you can get on with your life, and yet it seems to hover endlessly? That's how putting the boys down for the night can feel: So close to relief, yet so far away.
Thus the other night I was right at the proverbial finish line, having deflected the boys back into bed for the last time, when Finn announced, "Wait, Dad-O! I have songs, with hand gestures!!" He was so excited to show off his moves for the upcoming holiday celebration at school, and though the timing of his reveal was pretty terrible, he put on a heck of a late-night, top-bunk show for Henry & me.
Here you can check out the whole class singing Christmas & Hanukkah songs in English & Spanish. Fair warning: It's one of those stereotypically terrible parental videos, shot from the back of a crowded room in which one can barely see the kid. Look for Finn on the right-hand side right by the wall. (Full-screen viewing recommended. Hit the little button in the lower-right corner of the video, Mom & Dad. :-))
For a much more personal performance, check out Finn's reenactment by our Christmas tree:
Saturday night was unusually warm, making for a perfect outing to ride the little train in nearby Los Gatos. As has become something of a tradition (starting in 2010 at the Oakland Zoo, and continuing in Los Gatos a year later), our little friends Bettie & Quade joined us for the ride, this time with their little sister Juliette. Check out the action below, and in this little gallery of photos.
We had a ball checking out Redwood City's winter carnival yesterday with the Wiggii. The guys were delighted to get a pair of free teddy bears ("Oso" & "Teddy," for those keeping track ;-)). We didn't last long in the snow-throwing pit, but we had fun on the teacups & lots of other little rides. Check out a little gallery from the frigid good times.
The Casa de los Cacahuates is suddenly looking quite festive thanks to the Micronaxx tree-decorating efforts. Here's a little gallery of the guys in action last night.
You know what's pretty great? A Christmas Eve visit from Santa Claus himself!
It happens that a certain Detective John Fahrney can pull some strings with the big guy (going back to solving the big eggnog heist of '88, I think), and with his help we got a very surprising knock on the door. (I love Finn's body language in the first photo.) Cousin Jenna was a bit apprehensive, but the Micronaxx took right to Santa, enjoying the cookies he brought, showing him to the Christmas tree, and reviewing the wish lists they'd sent him. Check out our little gallery from the occasion.
So, our guys have at last experienced snow!
Galena was blessed with a great mixture of snow (let's say 8-9" plus periodic reinforcements throughout the week) and freezing-but-not-freezing temperatures that kept things clean & fluffy throughout our stay. Thanks to our old neighbor Christy, the boys were outfitted with snowpants & boots, and they relished helping Grandpa shovel & helping me craft a snowman ("Beardo," Finn dubbed him). We tore up the hills, too, packing in three separate sledding trips. Check out the frosty gallery!
We spent the first couple of days of our holiday travels in Chicago - to do a little sightseeing, and visit with family before heading west towards "Big G" (Galena, IL) to visit John's folks. We managed to pack in quite a bit in under 48 hours!
We started with an L train ride from Lincoln Park out to Skokie (past Wrigley field, among other things) - a big hit with our train-loving dudes. In Skokie, we got to hang out and visit with several of John's aunts, uncles, cousins, and their kids (gotta love the Irish, cocktails and beer available at 11:30 a.m.!). Poor Henry was feverish with a cold, and conked out in one of aunt Jane's bedrooms, but managed to rally enough to be strolled around downtown Chicago. We got to see the famous "bean," and the beautiful lions at the Art Institute, both of which they'd read about in the I Love Chicago board book Grandma Nack sent us before the trip. We even caught a glimpse of the Zamboni on the ice before the skaters hit the rink!
And last but not least, after triangulating and re-triangulating our location and the time of day with the CTA Holiday Lights Train schedule, and then waiting and waiting at the station for the famous Holiday L train that was running about 30 minutes late, we saw, boarded, and rode the Holiday Lights Train! The guys were beside themselves - and the train was fantastic - decorated and lit inside and out, with Christmas music on the P.A., an elfish conductor handing out candy canes, and Santa himself in his sleigh, riding on a decorated flatbed car. It was worth the wait and all the effort John put in to figure out where we needed to be and when in order to catch it.
Before we headed west, we went to Lincoln Park Zoo and saw lions, red pandas, owls, sea lions, wolves, bears, and pumas. The lioness roared and roared for quite some time, which was a big thrill for Mr. Finny, our resident lion enthusiast. It was a totally great way to start our trip - and here's the requisite gallery illustrating our adventures.
We had some snowy delights with the lads today in Galena's Grant Park. More (pics/vids as well as sledding) to follow soon!
I'm delighted to say that the will-they won't-they saga of our trying to ride Chicago's Holiday Lights El Train ended in success last night!
Our friend Samantha had told us about the train a couple of months ago, and ever since then we were hoping we could catch it with the guys. It runs only on certain days, and the CTA doesn't publish the exact times it runs until a few days ahead of time. We'd hoped to catch the train after our visit to the Murrays yesterday, but Henry got sick & we had to leave early. We thought our plans might be toast, but fortunately within a couple of hours he recuperated enough that we could drive to a different station & try again. We were all set to catch the 6:32 train (the last one of the night!), but then trains came & went with no sign of it. We were just about to give up hope when a nice family appeared alongside us & said that the train was running half an hour late. Thus we held our ground, and you can see the results below.
Long before we had the lads, I started eyeing our long driveway and (cue chin-stroke) planning. What better landing pad for The Big Guy & his team? I just had to wait a few years to put my plans in action!
On Christmas Eve the boys put out a big bowl full of Cheerios to feed the reindeer. After they hit the sack, Margot & I got busy carving a potato into a hoof-shaped stamp. I grabbed the guys' water-soluble* brown paint from downstairs, dunked the stamp, and got busy stamping away, then drawing some sleigh marks for good measure.
The next morning we trekked outside for a little "CSI" ("Christmas Scene Investigation"). Here are a few shots of the scene we discovered.
An inexplicably mustachioed Finnster got wistful realizing that our present-stash had been fully depleted. (And boy, the poor guy cried today while Mom-O started packing away the Christmas decorations.)
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.
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.
Over the holiday break I had fun shooting little pics of our guys, then processing & sharing them with the iPhone app Instagram. Here's a little gallery.
Seeing the image at left just now, our friend Julieanne said, "It looks so old that it could be you in the photo." I said, "Yeah, except that if it were me, my dad's finger would be covering half the image."
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.
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!"