Mom-O had the great idea to buy them each a little Lego set that we could take with us & build while on vacation. Henry's is particularly perfect as it features a Coast Guard diver & boat. That's perfect until, of course, a tiny part (specifically a translucent blue diver's mask) disappears (against a blue tile pool floor). Henry's loud wails that "I'll never be happy again!!" attracted the attention & help of a nice group of moms & dads visiting from Iowa without their kids—and luckily Dad-O's probing toe saved the day. Balance was restored to the universe, and while the boys play the grown-ups have been enjoying chats with a cool older couple from Southern Cal (Berkeley grads who served in the Peace Corps in Afghanistan).
Here's a little gallery showing the happy squirts in the water.
Check out the gallery from our most recent Pasitos camping adventure! We went to Mt. Madonna with Henry's preschool buddies and their families. Happily, Pasitos "alumni" like Magdalena and Finn were also in attendance - and everyone had a blast. Everyone was excited about hiking, arts and crafts, games, cookouts, sleepovers, singing and s'mores around the campfire.
This weekend marked the annual gathering of super-creative folks of all stripes, called Maker Faire. For those of you who've never gone, it's definitely a must-experience! It's billed as The Greatest Show and Tell on Earth, and it's like a tw0-day science fair crossed with a county fair, with a bit of performance art thrown in. Or for those of you familiar with Burning Man, it's like a smaller, less dusty, less expensive Burning Man. Exhibitors and participants come to celebrate creativity in all its forms, and share all of the fantastic things they've made. Some are there to help you figure out how to make your inventions a reality! There is always so much to see and do, and it is a total blast for both kids and adults. It really gets your creative juices flowing.
This year's highlights included the always popular cupcake cars, a human-powered bike carousel, a high-five machine, a man-sized and man-powered sidewalk-chalk spirograph, serpent vehicles, a fire-breathing amphibious sea-serpent vehicle, lego robots, make-it-yourself kayak kits, cheap and portable DIY yurt kits, El Pulpo Mecanico (a giant fire-spouting metal octopus), a remote-control model boat battle (with real BB's as ammo), and tons of crafts for the kids to make. Here's a little gallery from Sunday's outing
And here's a tiny video showing El Pulpo Mechanico—the mechanical, fire-breathing octopus!
You can take the boys out of Illinois but you can’t take the Illinois out of the boys.
Our friend Donna spotted the dour little gent below in a book today & was reminded of Mr. Henry “I’ll just use my frown as a hat” Nack. I can see why!
Downside of traveling for work: Separation from the fam.
Upside: Crushing the "Best Dad Ever” category by toting a pair of giant ballon A380s.
Finn and I headed to Dr. S's office earlier this week for his 6-year old check-up, which is required for entry into 1st grade this fall. Although excited to avoid vaccinations (no more needed until he's 11!), he was not thrilled about sporting the "paper towel dress" required for the check-up. He kindly posed for a rather nervous shot in the gown before the doc came in to check him out. He also got to rock some awesome little headphones for his hearing test, which he passed with flying colors.
Current stats: 48 inches tall, 51 pounds. 85th percentile on height, 75th on weight, and right on track with his "big guy" teeth starting to come in. He's grown so much this year - both mentally and physically - it's kind of hard to believe. He's reading now, in both English and Spanish, even working out words he doesn't know! He's doing simple math, writing and illustrating his own stories, taking art lessons, and has many good buddies in class and at daycare. We love our blond 6 year-old to pieces.
The lads & I had a ball attending Father-Son Night at Finn's school. Just to send us over the moon, the whole thing was Lego-themed, featuring buckets of Legos to play with, a taco truck, and finally a screening of The Lego Movie complete with root beer floats. Man, I think I'm gonna have a conniption just thinking about it.
Anyway, here are our own "minifigs" hamming things up a bit beforehand:
We returned home yesterday tired, dirty, and happy from another great camping trip to nearby Mt. Madonna with the Pasitos preschool gang. I’m working to pull together some good photos, but in the meantime here are a couple of glimpses into the hike we did Saturday. Finn & Henry really enjoyed taking turns using the binoculars & chattering on the walkie talkies.
Visiting Google again on Sunday, Henry was appropriately perplexed & even a little horrified by the life-sized Justin Bieber cutout that mysteriously shares our office space. We all are, son—we all are. :-p
Four-year-old Finn spent easily six months obsessed with getting what's literally the world's most complex Lego Technic set—namely, a giant German military truck called the Unimog—and me being me, we got it for his fifth birthday (see gallery). Thus you can imagine our delight upon encountering a real live Unimog at Google this weekend. Behold its rusty majesty!
Just your typical Guys’ Night, creatively misusing hardware-store wares while burning off some In-n-Out Burger.
Our lads had a ball helping Magdalena celebrate her recent cumpleaños with games like sack racing. Their physical "grace" parallels my own success in singing Happy Birthday in Hebrew—but hey, we all had fun trying.
We hope you & yours are having a ball today. Here's a little peek into the egg-seeking missiles known as our sons, enjoying the tomfoolery with Tom Hogarty & fam:
For his sixth birthday, Finn got a cool Crayola lightboard & marker kit, which I've started using to leave fun messages for the guys at bedtime.
Coincidentally, John found out about a completely kooky kids' book called Crabtree, about a deeply disorganized man who has misplaced his false teeth and proceeds to reorganize all of his belongings in an attempt to find them. Inspired by Crabtree's collection, and illustration, of broken items, I created a night-time message for the boys that consisted of bedtime items broken into pieces, which they then had to mentally reassemble. Hilarity ensues:
Our most excellent and super-creative friend Maria came up with a great idea for the Micronaxx: Playdate business cards! Since we often don't bump into other kids' parents at Pasitos or Finny's daycare, it can be challenging to get playdates scheduled, since we don't have contact information for the guys' school buddies or their parents.
John usually gives one of his own business cards to the kid at school that our boys want to have a playdate with, and that works fairly well - in fact, this is how we've met and become friends with a few families in our neighborhood! Maria had the fantastic idea to create playdate business cards for each guy that he can hand to his friends at school. She asked the guys what they'd like to be called, and what sort of picture they'd like on their cards. With a little editing and help from Mom-o and Dad-o, here they are. We loved the initial idea and we love the finished product even more!
- Rookie dad-move: Acknowledging a bad word heard on the radio. Immediate aftermath: “Hey Finn, let’s chant ‘Badass.’ BadASS, BadASS…!!”
- Finn’s decorated our street-facing window with math equations—in Spanish! So proud.
He’s also added the word “mofo.” So, ehhh…
- Finn appeared by our bed this AM with a clipboard, marker, & inexplicable Freud accent. “Do you vant your day to start vith ‘no’ or ‘yes?’”
- Finn cocks his head in curiosity at saline sinus spray. “I would call this ‘Nose Champagne.’”
- Finn introduces his new red lion to my childhood Red Kitty: "It's your brother from another mother!”
- "Dad-O, what about 'ridunkulous'?" asks Finn. "It's more ridiculous than 'ridonkulous!'"
- Asia intrigues Finn: “Those planets have a lot of ‘knees.’ Japa-knees, Chi-knees… And Germany has only one ‘knee.'”
- "Dad-O, you shouldn't draw graffiti on things," admonishes Henry. "That's called 'fertilizing.'" (Er, "vandalizing," son. :-))
- Our friends' 2-year-old calls fish "glub glubs." Finn's intrigued: "Does he call sharks 'killer glub glubs?’"
- At 7:38am Margot is teaching the boys the proper use of the term “buzzkill.” I love my family.
- Finn: "Why is it 'pee' and 'pull'—'people'?”
Henry: "Yeah, what do people pull?"
Finn: "Your leg!"
- I catch Henry holding his sandwich over the warm vent. "I'm making a grilled cheese," he explains.
- “Dad-O, I’m giving you an example,” says Henry. “Like when you walk by the food court & they give you a chicken example.”
- I'm trying to explain Easter being a "movable feast" when Finn breaks in: "Yeah yeah, a movable candy feast, I get it.”
- After listening to a war photographer, Henry tells his sock monkey, “Bruce ate a BBQ monkey leg—but don’t worry, it wasn’t your family.”
- Finnster, emerging from raiding the snack cabinet: "Look, Dad-O, I've got a Finny-positive chocolate chip Z Bar!"
- I told the boys about KitTea, a (real) proposed tea house full of gatos. "No, Dad-O!" said Henry. "We don't want to eat cats!!”
- The boys have set up a lemonade stand out front to sell homemade “puke” for $3. (“I can’t believe no one is buying our puke!!”)
- "Mom-O, you know what's fun about your dad?" asks Finn. "He's fun to be around, and he makes SUPER delicious buttered popcorn!"
- “We get to eat the pot tonight!” a preschooler just told me. Er, that’s potLUCK, son.
I love Jack Handey's “Deep Thoughts”—especially this one:
One thing kids like is to be tricked. For instance, I was going to take mylittle nephew to Disneyland, but instead I drove him to an old burned-out warehouse. "Oh no", I said, "Disneyland burned down." He cried and cried, but I think that deep down he thought it was a pretty good joke. I started to drive over to the real Disneyland, but it was getting pretty late.
Man was I thinking of that the other day when we & the lads walked (and walked, and walked) through the mall en route to the super-pneumatic, hyperkinetic promised Bouncy Land—only to discover that it was closed & padlocked!
Poor Hen cried & cried. We felt terrible, but don’t despair: We almost immediately located another “jump-around place,” drove there and had a ball (actually 300 balls, as the boys tried to force-feed me the contents of a ball pit). Henry was delighted, gleefully announcing, “I’m making myself a new chair, and it’s gonna be called ‘Your Face!!’” All’s well that ends with Dad-O at the bottom of a well.