Two years ago today, kindergarten vocalist Finn demonstrated his new knowledge of the Spanish alphabet, sung in the style of Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell:
Ingredients: One cackling Hen...
...one free-wheeling looen...
...and one claw-wielding Doctor of Doom & Destruction :
Being a brave dad (aka KOBI, King of Bad Ideas), I volunteered to take our dudes plus their buddy Colton to the Salinas Air Show while Margot stayed back with Colton's mom Mara & younger siblings. We ended up having a ball, returning home with the same number of kids & fingers as we left with. It was particularly fun to see my old friend Hughes & his kids (a first air show for all three of them!) and to borrow his big camera lens. Here's a little gallery of the proceedings.
This weekend brought an unexpected treat: My old Notre Dame friend Bryan Mason, whom I hadn't seen in probably 20 years, paid us a visit as part of his West Coast sojourn down from Alaska (where he'd spent the summer working on a fishing boat). "I have to warn you," he jokingly told Margot and me upon arriving, "I'm pretty great with kids." And so he was, quickly immediately himself as "Tío [Uncle] Bryan," master builder of everything from Legos to sand castles.
We all had a ball taking him to a perfect beach day in Santa Cruz, and the boys were kind of blown away at all the help they got in building some epic volcanoes in the doomed "Financial City" (so named due to Henry plopping out a dozen little "banks" with a little sand mold). This morning Finn remarked, "I thought that with another adult around, it was going to be just 'talkity-talkity-talkity,' like usual at my birthday party or whatever—but it was super fun instead!" Henry enthusiastically concurred.
Here's a little gallery of the sandy goings-on.
From the archives:
“Henry, Grandma’s coming tomorrow.”
“WHAT the—? YOUR mom? She’s the BEST!! (She really plays with me!)”
The dudes were not disappointed when Grandma Nack rolled in two years ago today. Here's a little gallery of that day's proceedings.
We've long been big fans of the big men who toss around cars, refrigerators, battle axes, and more in strongman contests, so it was a treat to meet Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson—the World's Strongest Man & the actor who plays notorious head-squashing character "The Mountain" on Game of Thrones—at this weekend's Highland Games in Pleasanton. We'd promised Henry a chance to see the big guy "toss a Henry-sized object over something the height of the garage," attempting to set a world record in the process. We didn't stick around quite long enough to see whether he succeeded, but we were just happy to meet him & get away with our heads un-squashed.
Our man Henry has finally mastered two-wheeling on his own! We've been pretty inconsistent with practicing, and therefore it's taken a lot longer to get him riding solo than it did with his brother. But last weekend we spent a TON of time with him, coaching him as he rode many (only slightly-assisted) laps around his school building. Then last night, John took the boys to Hummingbird park to cement Henry's confidence.
Hen, as usual, was a tough customer. He went into the training with his typical "I can't do this, this is too hard, I'll never learn how to do it" attitude, and it took every shred of positivity and parental encouragement to get him to believe he could do it. As I ran around the school next to him, I kept chanting "You can do it! You can do it! You are doing it! Pedal pedal pedal!!" He asked me to keep it up, and finally, after what seemed like a million laps, I could hear Henry chanting along with me, believing he could do it.
Last night, at the park, Henry's self-confidence finally kicked in, and as he rode around the park, he was saying to himself "I can do it...I can do it!" (which you'll hear at the beginning of the video above)
And he DID! We could not be more proud of him, and it makes a mama's heart glad to hear her little guy really truly believing in himself. Now, of course, he wants to bike everywhere all the time!!! So the fellas are going out for a ride after Dad-o gets home from work tonight, which I'm sure is the first of many, many family rides to come!
Update: Alternate techno remix!
The lads keep cool modeling some great shirts that Grandma & Grandpa Nack got during their recent trip to Ireland. (Thanks, guys!)
Back in May we enjoyed Family Fun Night with the dudes at school, and they greatly enjoyed the cotton candy machine (in front of which Henry had anxiously parked himself ages before anyone else lined up). This little video montage got stuck in my camera until now; enjoy!
Our shovel-lovin' lads Finn (armed with Root Chop) and Hen (armed with Seymour) teamed up with Dante, Vienna, and a whole squadron of random lakeside kids to turn the shore of Lake Tahoe into an elaborate system of canals, jumps, and other earthworks. Here's a little taste from the shoreline:
The lads recently got zesty in their pal Marina's back yard, furiously pulping a whole tree's worth of oranges:
Rolling up the driveway this week, I discovered a new bridge to cross. I'll let the artist explain things from there:
On Sunday the guys & I lived it up at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. With the wholly unnecessary help of their goggles, they braved the daunting log flume with me. Check it out:
And here's our splash down captured in ultra slow-mo:
Up in Tahoe I rang in the start of my 40's just two days after our friend Hans started his 50's. Just as last year we shared a cake, and this year Margot & the boys took the sting out of mortality by giving me "Benny's Spaceship Spaceship SPACESHIP!!" from The Lego Movie—a loving throwback to the 80's-vintage sets I had growing up. Amazingly (miraculously!) despite our cabin being darker than Carlsbad Caverns, we built the beast and got it home without losing any parts.
Here's a handful of photos from the festivities—including impatient Henry realizing that yes, he will actually get to eat some cake .
Q. Who's got four thumbs and is (almost) ready for the first day of school?
A. Theeeese guys.
I like to go beyond what a simple photo can capture, so I really enjoy capturing 360º spherical panoramas of our travels. (The fam is nice to indulge me as I lag behind on hikes, etc. in order to make these.) To look around some of the Lake Tahoe-area sights we encountered last week, you can click and drag on any of the photos below, or—better still—you can click the "View on Google Maps" link on each one to view it much larger.
Easy Sunday Morning
Fallen Leaf Dam
Few people really want to age, but getting to spend the final sunset of my thirties with these chaps on the shores of Lake Tahoe—well, that wasn't too bad. Here's a little gallery of the boys digging their giant earthworks project, returning a tiny clam to the water (Henry was quite sentimental about this), and "Ninja Warrior" Finn clamoring up the pier & leaping into the sand.
Greetings from Lake Tahoe! Despite facing some unseasonably cool & blustery weather, we've been spending a good amount of time down by the lake. We've become paddleboard "lords" only in the most ironic sense, but it's been fun zipping around the long, very shallow stretch in front of our cabin. Here are a few pics.
We had a ball checking out Berkeley's Kite Festival last weekend. The boys were especially intrigued by the enormous octopodes stretching their tentacles out more than 100 feet. Check out a little gallery of the proceedings.