We took advantage of President's Day to make our first-ever visit to the San Francisco Zoo, meeting up with the guys' longtime pal Magdalena & her family. Some fun bits:
- While there we learned that some rhinos prefer to file down their horns (like the guy we named "Stumpy") and that some owls' ears are positioned asymmetrically on their heads (one high, one low) to help them hear creatures above & below them.
- We cracked each other up by noting the absurdity of calling what amounts to a raccoon a “red panda” and then extending that “logic” to other animals. For example, we dubbed a house cat a “furry four-legged land octopus" and a flamingo a “soft-skinned pygmy rhino." The more ludicrous, the better!
- After being thwarted in previous owl-quests (e.g. at the Oakland Zoo), Henry was thrilled to see some real live owls, one of which was named Athena. He happily trundled home with a little stuffed owl by that name.
Here's a gallery from the outing.
I'm so charmed to have gotten some excellent loot for Valentine's Day—from the lads a custom-made bowl, and from Margot a trio of Lego minifigures depicting the boys & me as a boombox-wielding band! I'm the guy with spiky hair & stubble.
While we took our birdmen to the land of the Birdman, I snapped a couple of photo spheres: 360º images that you can explore by clicking & dragging with your mouse below. You can also see a short video clip showing dissident artist Ai Weiwei's giant Lego portraits of political prisoners at bottom.
I think I neglected to share Finn's leonine antics from one year ago, so let me fix that now.
You know those people (inevitably from Florida) who claim to see Jesus burned into their toast? Henry's a bit like that, but he sees orange-clad Lego construction workers in his Cheetoes.
"Sun's out, guns out," they say, but in foggy San Francisco, we have to go with "Sons out, guns out." Here Henry explores the artillery at the Presidio.
Oh hi, don't mind me—I'm just enjoying multiple suckers at once. Why, do I seem different? — From Halloween 2013
During our time in Mendocino, journeyed south to the Point Arena Lighthouse, then up to light at Point Cabrillo. Here's a gallery from the outing, as well as (below) a couple of interactive 360º panoramas I captured. (You can click the icon in the upper-right corner of each to make it full screen, then drag to explore it.)
The boys are, of course, insane for trains, so kudos to Margot for discovering the Skunk Train that operates out of Fort Bragg (the town just up the coast from Mendocino). The train winds its way through redwoods en route to an old logging camp that offers BBQ & knickknacks (but not BBQ'd knickknacks). We met some nice families along the way. A 3-year-old kid named Silas ended up lending his name to Finn's little souvenir stuffed skunk (for which we devised the mnemonic, "He makes you sigh less"), and a couple from Fremont helped the boys squash pennies on the rails while keeping Henry from being squashed as well! Despite the cold & wind, Hen insisted that he & I stand outside for mile after mile, so he's a bit overrepresented in the photos.
Here's a gallery from the day, as well as some video highlights:
Having really enjoyed our trip down the coast at Thanksgiving, the boys were super amped for another "Roadtrip, roadtrip!!" as they called it. Therefore on Sunday we took a drive in the opposite direction, heading north to Mendocino. I'll post a bunch of other photos & videos soon, but in the meantime here's a little gallery showing off the gorgeous sunset lighting we encountered upon rolling into town & exploring the bluffs. (Vertigo-inducing shots have been omitted to Grandpa Nack's presumed relief. ;-))
From our family to yours, we wish you much love, peace, and (ideally Lego-fueled) happiness.
Following our torrential rains, the dudes & I explored the waterfalls of nearby Uvas Canyon. The boys even took turns rocking my big camera, so this set includes the first Finn-captured photo upload to Facebook! They were also keenly aware of things we could do to images after the fact ("Dad-O, take a picture & then Photoshop me falling off the bridge!" "Dad-O, will your Google friends make this into a little animation?").
Stay tuned for the Photoshoppery, and in the meantime, here's the gallery plus a short video below.
Anyone excited to drop in on Dad-O at Google & pound down some ice cream? Anyone, anyone?
We were delighted to discover this little composition en Español in Finn's backpack. It shows our immediate fam plus Liggett grandparents & Lingle cousins, each performing our characteristic activities (click for larger version).
- Mom-O: Drawing
- Dad-O: Working on the computer
- Henry: Playing
- Finn: Working at school
- Auntie Laura: Being a teacher
- Grandpa: Playing with kids
- Grandma: Guitar (?)
- Uncle James: Going to Safeway (!)
- Patrick: Playing video games
- Charlie: Playing
I've always gotten a goofy kick out of the line in Handle's Messiah that says "We like sheep!" We sure did like some the other night when—thanks especially to Margot's crazy skills with hot glue & cotton balls—our dudes were resplendent in sheep threads. Check out a gallery from their performance in Aesop's Fables.
Special thanks to our pal Magdalena & her dad David for coming out to enjoy the show.
In the clip below, the Willow Glen Elementary sheep take us to the jungle—the mighty jungle!
Why hello there! You've just caught me drawing a little somethin' somethin' for Grandma & Grandpa...
This Thanksgiving we did not plan any long-distance travel, and did not have any out-of-town relatives visiting, so we decided to spend some of our long weekend on a family road trip to explore parts previously-unknown. Our good friend Reen came down from San Francisco to feast with us on Thanksgiving day, and by the time we went to bed that night, we had booked a motel in Cayucos, CA and had plans to visit the beach, San Simeon, and nearby Hearst Castle - all of which are just off the gorgeous coastal California Highway 1, south of Big Sur.
On Friday, the trip took a little over 3 hours, and we asked the boys to draw maps of what they were seeing as we headed south. Both boys did a fantastic job drawing mountains, trees, vehicles, road signs, oil pumps, freight trains, vinyards, and other things that they saw out the window, and the mapmaking kept them engaged and busy the entire trip. Listening to Johnny Cash on the stereo was also a crowdpleaser.
We checked into our vintage motor court motel room that evening, just after stopping at the beach to watch the sun go down. We popped some popcorn and watched a movie before bed, and then got some rest for the big day ahead. Friday we visited Hearst Castle (opulence is an understatement!), and spent some quality time horsing around on the beach before dinner. Sunday was rainy, so instead of spending tons of time on the windy, cold, wet beach, we toured Morro Bay's famous Shell Shop (Excelling in Shells since 1953!) and then drove up to poke around some of the art galleries in Cambria, just south of the Castle. Then we drove home through the mist and fog.
Here's a gallery of the weekend's proceedings.
[Dad-O addenda: We were charmed that for some reason Finn took to referring to William Randolph Hearst as simply "The Hearst." Henry asked our tour guide whether the castle featured a dungeon or a dragon, giving us a chance to learn about the fur-stocked basement & a statue of St. George battling a dragon (as glimpsed in the gallery). Finn named a little stuffed lion from the gift shop & named his shell-based race car driver "Shelby" (transporter of Henry's little shell owl "Shelly"). Mom-O's art history background came into play as we checked out the lion-heavy statuary, and Finn was fascinated to learn about the lion-headed Egyptian deity Sekhmet. Henry, meanwhile, was delighted to learn about The Hearst's wiener dog swimming around in search of goldfish, and to point out the little ramp a gardener built so he could stop fishing the dog out of the pool (see also the gallery). —J.]