Micronaxx The adventures of Finn & Henry

26Dec/160

Xmas 2016: Blissed Out on Bricks!

It's hard to believe that Christmas 2016 has already come and gone! This year, it was just us four California Nacks, enjoying a quiet, relaxing day at home. Although Henry and Finn tried to wake us up at 3:30 a.m. to open presents, we put them off until the only-slightly-less-unreasonable 5:00 a.m.

Santa and our extended families bestowed many gifts upon the lads this year, especially the much-discussed and eagerly-anticipated big lego sets that each boy was hoping for. Henry got his Lego Airport, and Finn got his Lego Volcano Exploration base station. Certainly not forgotten was Dad-o, who was the happy recipient of a Lego Creator Big Ben set (which he is still constructing!) and a remote control drone! Among other wonderful gifts, I got a terrific Lego Beatles' Yellow Submarine set. Needless to say we spent a great deal of the day working on our Legos, alternating construction time with dinner, movies, naps, and snacks.

Here's a gallery of our day.



6Dec/160

VRNaxx

Back in the high-tech hothouse of late-'70s Galena, IL, my mom used to let me draw with melting crayons on paper over a hot plate. As cool (or rather, hot) as that was, I'm happy that creative experiences have evolved, and on Saturday I took the lads up to SF to try their hands at painting in virtual reality. We dropped in on Adobe San Francisco, where a bunch of my old friends and colleagues have been busy helping shape the future of expressivity.

Here's a quick video plus a gallery from the adventure. (Much more to come, we hope!)

25Nov/160

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hen & Mom-O recently visited our local fire station with the Cub Scouts, learning that the brave folks who protect us don't get to take holidays off. Inspired by this, they decided to whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies & bring them over to say thanks to the guys spending Thanksgiving away from their families.

This proved easier said than done! As we parked in the morning, we joked, "Gee, I hope they don't have to zoom off on a call right now"—but as we walked up, that's exactly what they did! When we tried again a couple of hours later, history repeated exactly, and on our third visit (this time around lunch), they were gone entirely. Fortunately the fourth time was the charm, and the appreciative team treated us to a great mini tour. Check it out:

10Nov/160

Sisyphean Monkey Bars

Ol' Henry can be such a vexing dude: He's plenty capable of many things (e.g. swimming), but boy does he get into his own head and run laps there, never believing he can do it. Yet do it he can a lot of times, and this is a perfect example: He's now a nut for the monkey bars, often traversing a whole set in one go (something I never did!). Here's a silly little boomerang animation that Google Photos made from one of his recent attempts (and yes, he did eventually make it across!).

Monkey Bars

9Nov/160

Hawaiian Goofballs

Put the boys under the world's largest banyan tree, stuff them with some of the world's largest shave ices, and you're gonna get some silliness. 🙂

Goofballs

7Nov/160

Brenny’s Bready Magic

Maria looooves to bake, but in the past years she hasn't had many chances. Happily, the Micronaxx & their bottomless tummies provided a perfect opportunity (and the perfect metabolisms!) to get back in action. One day she whipped up (from scratch) some delicious cinnamon rolls, and the next she brought out smiles with caramel rolls. The boys debated the naming (Hen insists on "Maria's Awesomeness"; Finn favors "Brenny's Bready Magic"), but a roll by any name tastes just as sweet—and we've been enjoying them the whole week since her visit. Here's a gallery of the sticky fun.

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5Nov/160

Halloween Party 2016

For the last several years, our Las Madres friends Phil & Michelle have put on an excellent Halloween party complete with haunted house, tons of crafts, and neighborhood trick-or-treating. This year Maria donned Margot's Rosie the Riveter getup & joined the Crash Test Dummy (Finn), Caution Tape (Hen), Medusa (Mom-O), and Captain Kirk (you know who) for some mask- and lantern-making & more. Stay tuned for more shots of the dudes in their costumes. Meanwhile, here's a little gallery.

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4Nov/160

“Get in my mouth, Butterflies”—part 2!

Back during our pal Maria's previous visit five years (!!) ago, we visited a nearby butterfly sanctuary in Santa Cruz, where Henry made an unusual request that Maria caught on video:

So, when she came to stay with us last week, of course we had to pay a return visit. This time we headed to Pacific Grove ("Butterfly Town, USA") to see & learn about the winged critters. Check out a little gallery from our day.

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butterflies2

22Oct/160

Sugar Cane Train

Train-loving Hen was really hyped to check out the once-popular Sugar Cane Train. This narrow-gauge ("Two feet six inches!" Hen would interject) system would take tourists on a leisurely 6-mile crawl across Maui. Sadly, train service is on hiatus, but undeterred, our little train enthusiast wanted to check out the train cars & buildings we could glimpse from the road. Grandma Nack was a great sport (just as she'd been in my childhood, indulging me in so many explorations) and joined us in sneaking around the private property just a bit. Here's a little gallery.

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19Oct/160

Leprechauns & Captains & Mustaches, Oh My!

You know what's kinda great? Having fellow goofball photographers as friends. 🙂 Our buddy Michael celebrated his birthday this past weekend in part by inviting friends to dress up a bit & have him take their photos. Here's a little selection of our silly fam in action.

funkyfam

11Oct/160

It’s “turtles all the way down”… the beach!

Okay, Hawaii is officially 🍌🍌🍌: I mean, where else can you walk outside of your room, clamber over a few boulders on the beach, and come across nearly a dozen giant, ancient sea turtles basking in the sunset glow? And yet thanks to a thoughtful neighbor giving us a heads-up, that's exactly what we discovered. Check out a few pics of the fam getting up close (but not too close!) with these old gentlemen.

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15Sep/160

“Soldiers vs. Tidal Wave!!!”

The dudes have been busy "basementing" up a storm lately, crafting all kinds of Lego maritime misadventures using teams of hapless soldiers, pirates, sharks (real & mechanical), and more. Here's a little stop-motion film that Finn created last night:

Whirlpool 1
Whirlpool 2

6Sep/160

Cub Scouts @ Camp Cheesebrough

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Labor Day Family camping at the Boy Scouts' Camp Cheesebrough is legendary. We missed it last year but made sure we took the boys this year so they could get in on the fun. The camp is only about 30 minutes away, along highway 9 in the Santa Cruz mountains, has a nice big lodge building and kitchen, and tons of tent camping sites.

Many of the boys' friends and their families also attended, so the adults actually had time to chat and get to know each other a little better while the boys honed their skills at whittling, archery, bb guns, rock climbing, blacksmithing, slingshots, and "human fooseball." Here's the gallery of their adventures.

Other highlights from the weekend included campfires with s'mores, running around in the woods (while hopefully avoiding poison oak), "battling" other groups of scouts, and putting on skits in front of the Saturday night campfire. Cami, the 3 year old sister of Cub Scout Colton, offered to count in Spanish: "One, Spanish. Two, Spanish." Cub Scout David (whose dad Sabu was managing the bb gun range) kept in contact with his dad via CB: "Dad, whittling time is over, over." Sabu: "You are free to play, over."

As we prepared to depart on Sunday afternoon (after picking up trash and cleaning bathrooms), we realized somehow Henry's pillow pet "Peendee Bee" didn't make it from the campsite back to the car. We retraced our steps, hoping we'd either spot him or that he'd been turned into the lost and found. As we rounded the corner on the way back to our campsite, Henry spotted Peendee, who'd been set atop the large propane tank near the lodge, and absolutely shrieked with relief and delight. Phew! Crisis averted.

Upon returning home, we spent the next several hours washing the dust and grime off ourselves and doing load after load of laundry. We had a blast but were all excited to be sleeping in our own beds.

19Aug/160

Backyard Vulcanism

No childhood would be complete without a nice baking-soda-and-vinegar volcano, and as part of their super fun times with Grandma Nack, the boys constructed one along with a whole set of Lego mining vehicles. Here's a quick handful of shots (click any one to see it larger):

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11Aug/160

Hey, is your dishwasher running?

How would you catch it, then? 🙂

Idea by Finn, art by Hen.

Dishwasher

19Jul/160

La Famosa Casa Bonita!

 

As if we hadn't crammed enough adventure into our Colorado trip this year, we crowned the whole shebang with a trip to Denver's legendary Casa Bonita.

For those of you unfamiliar with La Casa, it is an enormous Mexican restaurant-cum-amusement park. Not only do you get heaping plates of food, and a potentially endless supply of hot, fresh sopapillas (courtesy of the signal flag on your table), there is cliff diving, an arcade, a cave room, a mine room, magic shows, strolling musicians, and skits featuring pirates and gorillas!

Since it was Henry's actual birthday, we decided to hit the Casa after a fun afternoon at Elitch Gardens Water Park - a perfect way to wind up our day. We were seated in the magic show room, and our man Henry got up and planted himself smack dab in the middle of the first row so that he would be picked to get up and assist the magician - and boy did he have a good time doing it! He hammed it up like crazy and proclaimed the magic show the BEST part of his birthday. Here's a video (below) and a gallery of highlights from our evening.

MagicHen

13Jul/160

Minor Miners

This year, at Henry's request, we finally toured one of the old mines that Leadville, CO is famous for. Much to our delight, it was fascinating, and far exceeded our expectations!

We were led by Bob the Miner, who owns the Hopemore mine a few miles out of town. The Hopemore was established over 100 years ago, and produced gold, copper, silver, and iron, in addition to lead. Bob told us the Leadville area is one of the most richly mineralized areas in the world—a literal goldmine for prospectors!

We got to watch Bob demonstrate all sorts of mining equipment and machinery, including drills, a tunnel mucker, the cage that took us down the mineshaft, pulleys, and ore chutes. The boys were absolutely rapt. He pointed out the vein of ore slicing through the granite on either side, and showed us pictures of a huge ore pocket when it was being mined out - it was dozens of feet high and a hundred feet deep!

We all had a great (and very cold - 42 degrees!) time 600 feet below ground. Henry and Finn even got to push around an old ore car on the narrow tracks. On our way back to the shaft, Bob shone his flashlight on the ceiling of the tunnel, where we could see a bright vein of gold gleaming in the light. ("I never show dentists until the end," Bob chuckled.)

Check out our photo gallery from the adventure.

We could really tell the boys soaked it all in, because once we got back home to San Jose, the boys immediately went downstairs to the basement and built their own Lego mine, including tools for blasting through veins, an entry chute, and a mine car riding on tracks!

12Jul/160

All aboard: Visiting the Colorado Railroad Museum

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Part of Henry's birthday present from his Colorado family was a visit to the Colorado Train Museum in Golden, CO. If ever a kid loved trains, it's Henry Seamus Nack, so it was a perfect gift.

We spent the entire afternoon (gallery) looking at, wandering around, and venturing inside various types of rail car, locomotives, cabooses, and even a push-me-pull-you! We also got to take a ride around the property on a coal-powered steam train. Oh - and there was a spectacular model railroad (featuring Legos!) in the basement of the museum that the boys really enjoyed checking out.

Thanks to the Lingles for the tickets! Our newly-minted seven year-old was beside himself!

Snowplow

27Jun/160

Chef Finnster across the years

Lately the boys have been really taken with cooking competition shows, in particular anything involving kid contestants (e.g. “Chopped Junior," “Man vs. Child”). Inspired by all this, Finn’s been cooking up a storm, often preparing his signature “tuna crumble” for Henry, who happily serves as his waiter. Check out "Finn’s Famus Cafe” that they set up a few weeks back in the gazebo.

Of course, none of this is really new: Six years ago today Finn was helping out in his first chocolate chip cookie-making session. Keep it up, kiddo, and long may we savor your creations. 😀

El-Chef

13Jun/160

Annual Madres Family Camping Trip 2016

This weekend marked our 5th annual Las Madres family camping trip. (I think there've actually been six, but we didn't go the first year.) It's become a much-anticipated event every summer - the guys get to run around all day and late into the night with their friends, and all the parents get to hang out, socialize, and relax (mostly!). We leave on Friday afternoon and stay through Sunday morning. The boys were so excited this year they were literally leaping and dancing around the kitchen on Friday morning asking me how soon we could leave.

JrRangers

This year we had a total of 44 kids and adults spread out over several camp sites at Portola Redwoods State Park - a real gem deep in the redwood forest of the Santa Cruz mountains. Here's a gallery of our adventures, which included gorgeous weather, giant trees—including one dubbed the "man cave" by the Nack boys—hiking, a crystal-clear stream with swimming hole, Ranger-led Junior Ranger programs, s'mores (of course!), delicious homemade cookies courtesy of our friends Lorraine and Dina, making sunprints with found items, counting the scores of banana slugs dotting the ground, and religiously reapplying bug spray (LOTS of skeeters this year).

Man cave tour:

And just for fun, here are the galleries from prior years' camping trips.

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