Micronaxx The adventures of Finn & Henry

15Apr/180

Westy’s Maiden Voyage

We've just returned from our maiden voyage with our VW Westfalia camper van, and it was great! We decided to spend the last two days and nights of the boys' spring break on the road, in the redwoods, and atop the bluffs. Thursday morning we set out for Samuel P. Taylor state park, which is just northwest of San Rafael in Marin County, and only a few miles away from the Pt. Reyes National Seashore.

We had a blast tooling up north and then setting up the van for camping. We popped the top, turned on the party lights, cooked up a quick dinner, and then snuggled in for the night. In the morning, we pulled out and headed first for Pt. Reyes Station, a cute little town about 5 miles away. We grabbed some snacks, picked up some new books at the bookstore, and then drove over to the Pt. Reyes Lighthouse, which is at the veeeeeery far end of a small peninsula within the National Seashore.

It was a super-blustery but beautiful day. After a picnic lunch in the camper, we headed down all 300-odd steps to the lighthouse, learned about the history of the area and the lighthouse itself. Then back up all those steps and back into the van for a little more sightseeing, including kite surfers and wrecked ships, before heading back to the state park for night #2. We feasted on tacos and s'mores, snuggled up for some reading, then hit the hay before heading home via San Francisco on Saturday. Here's a gallery of our adventure!

We absolutely love Westy - she's perfect for our family. We already know there are countless more excursions in the offing, and more roadtrip adventures to come!

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11Apr/180

Seal Team Nack

To make the most of our free Sunday with Grandma Nack, we fired up the new Westy and headed over the mountains to Santa Cruz, grabbed lunch in nearby Davenport, and then headed north to meet the giant elephant seals who congregate at Año Nuevo beach. Everyone was game for tromping through a couple of miles of sand & trails to get out there, and you can see a bit of our adventures in this little gallery.

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29Mar/180

The Pearly Whites Emerge!

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The time has come! Our man Henry got his braces off after 15 months. He was a complete orthodontic champ for the entire duration of brace-wearing. He was always on top of wearing the required rubber bands, and he never complained about tooth or mouth pain - kind of miraculous for our little grump! He was pretty nervous about how painful it might be to get them removed, and also anticipating how weird it would feel to not have them on his teeth anymore!

Happily the removal was no big deal, and he is getting used to having more room in his mouth and beautifully-aligned pearly whites. To celebrate the braces' removal, we gave Henry two more of his dad's old Lionel train cars - a flatbed and a crane car, so he was immediately off to the basement to add them to his rig!

25Mar/180

Nack Friday (aka Sweatin’ With The Oldie)

The name of my gym, Cróga, means “Brave” in Irish, so it seemed appropriate that our Green Team dubbed itself “The Fighting Irish” for our month-long friendly competition with two other squads. For the grand finale on Friday, Margot & the lads came to cheer me in, with Finn providing some clutch water boy duties to his thirsty old man. Here’s a handful of pics from the festivities! ☘️💪

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24Mar/180

Democracy on the Move

We were honored to walk the walk—literally—behind our lads today in the March For Our Lives, hoping to bring some sanity to the debate over gun violence and control. When some high schoolers asked for help carrying their sign in this student-led movement, Hen stepped right up, then stepped to the front of the 10,000-strong march. We love our soon-to-be-voters! 💪🇺🇸

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22Mar/180

Finnster, Now & Then

To commemorate our big man’s tenth (!!) full orbit around the Sun, I compiled a little photo tour of him through the years:

Compare that to how grown up he looked this week reading the qualities of a good Scout at our recent pack meeting:

And just for completely random comparison, here he is cavorting with Grandpa Nack right after Hen was born (“Kinda steep!”):

13Mar/180

Turning Ten

A decade, man… a decade of this dude, and I’m at a loss for words. It feels like some blow-out retrospective is in order, but rather than wait on that to come together, I can at least share some fun festivities from Finn’s little party.

Despite often telling us that “Being the center of attention is not really my jam,” the Finnster does really enjoy hanging out with a few pals. Therefore on his birthday we rounded up some of the “M Force” (M as in Minecraft, naturally :-)) for some pizza, Nerf battles, and ‘crafting. Here’s a little gallery from the occasion.

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26Feb/180

Turning 10 at 10,000 ft.

The house in Leadville has seen its share of Micronaxx milestones—e.g. Finn turning four and getting a huge Lego truck; Hen turning two (cupcakes!) and three (fireman backpack!). This year the timing of the boys’ school vacation meant that we celebrated Finnster’s tenth (TENTH!!) birthday a bit early. After a fun day of skiing, we brought home some Pizza Hut “cuisine” (Finn’s request 😌) to enjoy with the mint chip ice cream he & Grandpa whipped up. Like me, Finn enjoys savoring the opening of presents, and as you can see in the photo gallery, we had to restrain Hen from blurting out info prematurely. 🤣 In any case, everyone had a ball!

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24Feb/180

High above Leadville

Sometimes being at 10,200ft. already just isn’t quite enough, so I brought my drone with us to capture some shots of Leadville from above. 🚁

Below you can see Cozy Liggett Manor (second house from the left). Click and drag on the photo (you can do this, Mom! 😉) in order to look in all directions, or click here to view it larger on Google Maps.

Finn got in on the flying, and in the short movie below you can briefly see us waving at the camera.

Later the guys dropped me off downtown so that I could do a little flying on my own. Check out the town’s main drag after it got a fresh coating of snow:

And lastly, here’s another 360º image, this time showing the town bathed in some beautiful late-afternoon sunshine (see it larger):

22Feb/180

Dogsledville!

Even twelve hours later, I kinda can’t believe it: we took the dudes dogsledding today!

Yesterday en route home from a great day of skiing (more on that soon), we happened to spy in the distance tiny teams of what looked to be dogs pulling sleds. Sure enough, Alpine Adventures (“Your destination for dog-powered fun!” ☺️) is happy to host little tours and even let you try driving a sled! We booked a lunchtime session and were delighted to take turns driving, riding in the sled, and riding in a little sleigh behind a snowmobile (as the dogs pull just two people at a time).

We learned a ton from our guide Joe, a transplant from Georgia who’s been working with dogs for a decade. Just in case you were curious, each dog can run up to 20 miles per day, consumes roughly 6,000 calories worth of meat & other food each day, and comfortably lives outside all winter in his or her own little straw-filled barrel—as you can see in the pictures. Check out this gallery from the day plus a couple of quick videos below.

19Feb/180

Foamy Hailstorm: Denver Edition

Our trip to Colorado got off to a rousing start as the boys joined their Nerf-loving cousins Patrick & Charlie for a battle royale at the nearby “Dart Warz” (i.e. a suburban warehouse full of sugared-up pre-teens & flying projectiles; what could be better? 😉). Here’s a brief taste of the action:

17Feb/180

Valentine’s Greetings

Mom-O treated the guys to some really charming cards when they came down to breakfast on Wednesday, and not wanting to be outdone, I whipped up a little drawing of their buds Leo, Ollie, and Bert the Buffalo. Meanwhile they received some great cards from Auntie Laura, Grandpa Liggett, and Grandma & Grandpa Nack (the last of I happened to catch on video). Just for yuks & posterity, here’s what we drew. 🙂

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7Feb/180

Science Fair!

The lads got their learnin' on over the last couple of weeks, conducting experiments with conductivity (Finn) and plate tectonics (Hen). Here's a brief peek at Willow Glen Elementary's science fair, held last night:

18Jan/180

Firing away with Matthias

Being a big German dude with pellet guns, a 4x4, and a cool accent, my teammate Matthias has quickly become something of a folk hero to the boys. (“You’re still #1, Dad,” Finn informs me, “but Matthias is definitely #2." :-))

He recently upgraded the pellet gun he uses to defend his chickens from bobcat attack, so he quite generously passed his older one to Finn & invited the guys over for some backyard target practice. We also enjoyed joining Matthias & his wife Samantha for some clay trap shooting. Though the boys didn’t shoot that day, we ran into their pal Damian at the range, and they’re up for trying it out on our next visit. (Meanwhile born-scavenger Hen took to filling his pockets—and later my car—with dozens of spent shotgun shells. 🙄)

Check out the young marksmen in action:

15Jan/180

Our Mission to the Mission

Finn’s been studying the Spanish missions in class, learning enough to school us old folks on many interesting details about Junipero Serra, Gaspar de Portolà, and more. Having the day off of school & work, Margot suggested that we take the guys down to explore the Carmel Mission today—so off we went.

You can see some highlights in the video below & through a handful of photos (several of which are 360º panoramas I captured inside the Mission; click them to go into interactive mode).

30Dec/170

From Red Ryders to Luscious Legos: Christmas 2017

“You’ll shoot your eye out!” Happily that hasn’t happened yet, and both bandito Hen & Nintendo-lover Finn are happily ensconced in a pile of Legos, wonderful books from Grandma & Grandpa Nack, a Lego-style drone (!) from the Lingle cousins, and more. Here’s a little gallery of the chaps celebrating with Grandpa Liggett. We feel, and are, blessed indeed. 🙂

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26Dec/170

Putting the “Santa” in “Santa Cruz”: Christmas Lights Train 2017

All the way back in 2011, we enjoyed taking the lads on a Christmasy train ride through town (see little gallery & vid). Given that Hen’s passion for trains has only increased, this year we brought along Grandpa Liggett for an evening ride that featured letter-writing to the big guy, visits from Mrs. Claus & then Santa, and finally some requisite “cooling off” at Marianne’s Ice Cream. Check out the gallery and the short video below. 

[Retro bonus trains: See also Christmas Lights Train 2013 (the tiny one in the park), the Chicago CTA Lights Train in 2012, and Oakland Zoo Lights all the way back in 2010.]

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22Dec/170

First Concert! 🎶🎺🥁

This fall the dudes made their first real foray into playing music, with Finn picking up drum sticks & Henry grabbing a trumpet. On Wednesday they treated us to their first-ever concert. Check out this little handful of pics & the video below.

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16Dec/170

Yellowstone: The Young & The Faithful

Having explored the surrounding region (Jackson Hole, the Grand Tetons) on previous days, on the Wednesday of our trip we finally made it into Yellowstone proper—and to Old Faithful! The weather was pretty touch-and-go, but at least the boys heeded our warnings (and those of some friendly rangers) and didn’t fall into any hot springs & get liquified. 😬 In this gallery you can see some of our travels and the critters (both living & stuffed) we saw along the way.

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14Dec/170

Goats Beware!

“Waste not, want not”—true, but you might gain an unwanted reputation!

Around our house I (“The Goat”) am infamous for finishing off others’ chow a little too quickly—something I’ve largely stopped doing, though Finn will never let me off the hook for decapitating his gingerbread man years ago. In any case, this week I discovered that each boy had surrounded his cookie "Masterpiece” with cautionary text aimed my way. As you can see from Henry’s, it was “The opposite of Bon Appetite for Dad today!"

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