In advance of St. Paddy's day today, the boys explained that they wanted to try and trap some leprechauns. This is not something John or I had done as kids, but apparently building leprechaun traps is a new practice for kids these days.
Finn explained how the traps were supposed to work, and we did some online research to see examples before we started building our own. Critical trap components include Lucky Charms, which Dad-O & Henry ran out to get, fake rainbows, clouds, and of course, the trap. Finn and I stayed home during the bait run to devise cereal bowl and Lego-based traps. You'll see in the gallery what we came up with - paper rainbow entrances with Lucky Charms and fake cotton ball "clouds" to lure the leprechauns into leaving gold at the end of each rainbow, before the cereal bowl trap fell onto them.
We set the traps out on the back steps before bedtime and listened for suspicious rustling on the back porch. John thinks he might've heard something but was too sleepy to go out and check. This morning, as soon as the boys awoke, the first words out of Henry's mouth were: "Dad-O, could you shut off the burglar alarm so we can go out & see whether we captured any?"
Lo and behold, our traps worked! Well, partially... Although the little bootprints left at the scene indicated the leprechauns eventually escaped, they did leave a pile of gold coins (old Mexican pesos), and chocolate coins under each trap. The boys were ecstatic! Henry exclaimed "Now I know that leprechauns are REAL!"
Erin Go Bragh, 2009-style! (See previous St. Paddy's images & videos.)
What happens when the Micronaxx take some Macronaxx to the Children's Discovery Museum for some celebrations of the lunar new year? Why, a little trip through Saigon, of course. (More pics to come soon, I hope.)
Yesterday marked the exciting first day of Little League season. We signed the boys up for T-ball this spring, to give them an opportunity to try something new, learn how to play a team sport, and do a lot of running around. Since neither guy has ever played ball before, we are starting with T-ball so they can learn the fundamentals without any pressure. They've been really excited about going to practice with their fellow Mets (inexplicably represented by the letter "B" and a cartoon bumblebee).
Prior to yesterday's opening ceremony and first game, shown in this gallery, they've been learning base running, "base position", catching, batting, and throwing. They're both catching on pretty fast, and they are really enjoying themselves. Henry is actually pretty fast on his feet when he's focused enough to remember to run! And Finn has a pretty good arm!
They had a blast yesterday, playing their first game against the Dragons, and are looking forward to Saturday match-ups with the Scrappers, Tin Caps, and Sea Dogs. We had an equally great time cheering on all the players and watching the constant tangle of outfielders, all trying to get the ball and throw it back to first base.
One of my favorite childhood possessions was & is a tiny boxed set of Mercer Mayer's four books about "A Boy, A Dog, and a Frog." Here my dad delights the boys—as he & my mom used to delight me—with a dramatic "reading" of one wordless tale.
Mom-O had the fun idea of celebrating Finn's birthday with a trip to the nearby Build-A-Bear Workshop. Both lads got to pick out & create a new buddy—and both picked Toothless, scaly star of "How To Train Your Dragon." Afterwards they introduced Grandma & Grandpa to the movie. Here's a peek into the workshop:
Somehow—to our absolute shock—we've done seven full laps of the sun since our once-wee man made his debut. ("The days are long but the years are short.") Happy birthday, our blonde & dimpled treasure!
Stay tuned for more photos & videos from the celebration, but in the meantime check out a gallery of the marvelous Lego-themed cake Mom-O crafted & Finn decorated, on which each member of the fam + Grandma & Grandpa Nack appear. Here, let's have Finn explain it; just don't tell him I shared this clip with you.
How does one work off a couple of delicious sliders & fries obtained at a Movable Feast truck? Like this, of course. And a 1 and a 2 and...
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.
Last weekend we treated the guys to a full-day adventure in San Francisco, the focal point being a trip to Alcatraz. We rode the train up to SF, then headed out to Alcatraz via boat.
The guys were fascinated with the idea of the island prison. They couldn't get over the tiny, barren cells, and the tales of attempted and unsuccessful escapes. Finn wasn't afraid to go inside a cell and check it out, but there was no way Henry was getting in one! Due to a special art installation (featuring portraits rendered using over a million Lego bricks!), we were also privy to a couple areas that aren't usually open to the public - the hospital ward and one of the old factory buildings. Let's just say the visit reconfirmed our philosophy of remaining law-abiding citizens!
Check out our gallery of the day's adventures.
I came downstairs on Sunday morning to find this sign adoring a pillow-and-blanket fort the boys had constructed for their animals. Now I really want to hear this saber-toothed aria of which they speak!
Years ago in New York, I worked with a coder/heavy metal musician who sported butt-length blonde hair & leather pants at work. He had a charming habit of yelling things like "Nack, you're a wreck!!" and then letting a falsetto phrase or two rip. For some reason Finn & his lion decided to channel him the other evening. :-p
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.