The lads' fun, heartfelt correspondence with our Elf on the Shelf, Scout (see previous), continued all through December. The little gent really enjoyed his new house:
In fact, on Christmas morning he announced his plans to sleep there all through the year—which he's commenced doing, though it appears he darts out periodically to nibble down a big marshmallow the boys left outside the door.
Oh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh… You know what’s greater than great? Not only does Cousin Tony help hook us up with a Lego set that includes a miniature Lego Store selling even tinier Lego sets (!), he sends us genuine Lego Store aprons with “Finn” and “Henry” name tags!!
Unspeakably delighted, the boys are now filling their days creating & managing a store in the basement ("The Subterranean Brick Barn"), selling Mom-O & me every manner of daily special, limited-edition figure, and more. They're dutifully keeping inventory, recording deliveries ("John's perchess"), and more.
Check out a little gallery of the action, plus a pair of videos below!
“Rudolph is real!!” declared Henry on Christmas morning upon discovering that the carrots & Cheerios they’d left out for Santa’s team had been nibbled & strewn around the back yard. Though unlike in past years we didn’t find hoofprints out back (I blame the rain :-)), the guys were pretty excited about their findings. Check it out:
This year, the magic of Christmas is shining brightly at the Nack house. Both boys have been so curious and excited about our Elf on the Shelf, Scout, and have been carrying on a lively and wonderful written correspondence with him.
Finn wrote the first letter, wondering about Scout's name, and things took off from there. We've learned that Scout speaks Spanish, that his favorite food is marshmallows (which we often find nibbled in the morning), and in his off-time, he enjoys resting in the custom-built Elf home the boys built for him from cereal boxes, wrapping paper, and ribbon. He even has his own little sleeping bag & pillow made from jewelry bags stuffed with Kleenex.
Here's a cute gallery of the letters and Scout's new home. Finn told me that he really wanted Scout to feel welcome, and I think both boys are doing a terrific job!
Three years ago the lads spun themselves silly on the teacups at San Jose’s winter carnival:
And the year earlier, we railroaded through Santa Cruz with Santa and Sir Topham Hat! (gallery)
Having developed a taste for Lego-based filmmaking at camp this summer, the boys have been enjoying setting up my little GoPro camera & filming all kinds of adventures (what Finn calls "clips") beneath the Christmas tree. Here's a random little set of moments that Google Photos stitched together for me:
Well, December has arrived, and with it, the reappearance of our Elf on the Shelf! Finn was Johnny-on-the-spot the evening of November 30th, remembering to find the Elf's box and set it out with the lid open so he could get out (of course, being super-careful not to actually touch the Elf, lest his magic disappear!).
Yesterday morning, the 1st of December, our Elf appeared, swinging on a ribbon from the curtain rod in the dining room. The boys were ecstatic to find him! When they arrived home from school yesterday, Finn set to writing a very polite little letter of inquiry to the Elf, because he couldn't remember our Elf's name. Here's a shot of his original letter, having subsequently been answered by the Elf, whose name is Scout:
From our family to yours, we wish you much love, peace, and (ideally Lego-fueled) happiness.
Why hello there! You've just caught me drawing a little somethin' somethin' for Grandma & Grandpa...
Greetings from some truly micro Micronaxx, daily lovers of Lego Advent calendars.
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.