Our big guy had a blast all day long. In this little gallery you can see him enjoying a cake topped with his Lego doppelgänger; getting The Dangerous Book for Boys from Grandpa Liggett; blasting Mom-O with a "High Eight"; and getting Captain Underpants from Grandma & Grandpa Nack.
This past weekend, I escorted our young scouts to their first official Cub Scout overnight campout in the Santa Cruz mountains. It was held at the gorgeous Camp Campbell, which is deep in the redwoods and offers tons of activities, amazing and modern cabins (hot showers! electricity! heat! bunk beds!), and a really fantastic staff. This ranks as my favorite kid-related camping trip ever! All we had to do was bring ourselves, our sleeping bags, and some clothes. Everything else was taken care of!
We arrived Saturday after lunch, and immediately the boys started their activity rotation: Rock climbing, arts and crafts, archery, the Mole Hole, and the Nature Lab. The Mole Hole is an extremely large corrugated tube that runs down a hillside. You grab a plastic toboggan, strap on a helmet and elbow pads, then shoot yourself down at high speed. It's completely dark in there until just before you hit the end, so it's a pretty thrilling ride. Henry went down five times, Finn twice, and I went once. The Nature Lab was full of both live and taxidermied native animals, fossils, rock, and plant specimens to examine. We saw live snakes, birds, and salamanders, and taxidermied Horned Owls, bobcats, and other creatures.
After activities, the lads had some time to horse around with their friends (instinctual prime directive: find the biggest stick you can and start swinging it around) before we ate dinner. After dinner, more horseandalo, then a campfire with skits, songs, and s'mores. Henry was pooped out after all that action, so he and I went back to our cabin to sleep. Finn stayed up super-late with his den buddies in a separate cabin, telling ghost stories, playing games, and goofing off. Here is a gallery of their exploits. (That's a banana slug-crossing sign to the left, by the way!)
Sunday, after we ate breakfast and packed up, we went on a 1.5 hour hike around the campground, high up into the forest. The kids got to take a nice long break to play amongst giant redwood stumps and Redwood fairy rings. It was a blast. Then we hiked out and headed for home after pit-stopping for a quick lunch in mountain town Ben Lomond. They boys were completely exhausted and barely made it until bedtime last night! They were thrilled to come home, sit still and veg out in front of a movie for awhile before dinner. Our young lads are excited for many many more campouts, sleepovers, and adventures in scouting!
On Saturday evening the lads participated in their first Blue & Gold banquet. The theme was flight, and we had the pleasure of hosting a friendly (and incredibly patient!) real-live fighter pilot. They enjoyed trying on his gear, then participating in an “Angry Birds” sketch (see the flight theme?) for which Margot created fun pig noses, and of course scarfing down some amazing plane- and bird-shaped cakes. Here’s a gallery from the evening.
For the better part of twenty years, my dad has been rocking a jacket he picked up at Quail Lodge in Carmel. Looking for a little outing on Friday, we found ourselves down there, so we dropped by for lunch, then hit the gorgeous beach in Carmel-by-the-Sea. The boys made a little friend from China, whipped me with kelp, collected all the burned driftwood we could find, and built a couple of fine forts. Check out our little gallery from the day!
On Monday my folks joined us for a Caltrain ride to our first climb up Coit Tower. We followed the tower visit with a walk to Lombard Street, some refuelling with North Beach cannolis, a quick trip to City Lights Booksellers, and a quick jaunt through Chinatown (firecrackers! smoke! dragons!!). Check out our little gallery.
Henry was feeling really entrepreneurial last weekend, so he & Finn set up a little lemonade stand in front of our house. Despite awfully low foot traffic, we got some business, nice visits, and even tips from a bunch of neighbors. Long & his daughter Maddie schooled the boys in the art of haggling; Finn created & distributed some coupons; and both boys lured in small customers with the prospect of test-driving a few Legos as they drank. 🙂 Here's a quick vid from the day:
G-Man was pretty taken with the 5-plane combo that tapped out messages over the Super Bowl on Sunday. It was especially neat to hear the Blue Angels streak overhead as the national anthem was starting, then to see them appear on TV a minute or two later.
The boys had a ball designing their Pinewood Derby racers, having them carved at a woodshop, applying paint & graphite, and then finally letting them rip last Sunday. Though we didn't set any track records, we enjoyed the 3-second bursts of adrenaline. 🙂 Here's a little gallery of the event, featuring their cars plus some of our favorites from other scouts.
Five years ago today, we introduced der kinder to Klaas the Duck. 🙂 Here's the little gallery.
Throwback Sunday: G-Man splish-splashes around the sink, six years ago today.
The boys have long loved weird homemade YouTube videos in which Lego characters get into all kinds of adventures. At last summer's Steve & Kate's camp, both boys tried their hands at making similar vids. Here's one from Finn that I just remembered to share. Fair warning: I have no idea what's going on here, although it seems to involve periodic decapitations. 🙂
The lads' fun, heartfelt correspondence with our Elf on the Shelf, Scout (see previous), continued all through December. The little gent really enjoyed his new house:
In fact, on Christmas morning he announced his plans to sleep there all through the year—which he's commenced doing, though it appears he darts out periodically to nibble down a big marshmallow the boys left outside the door. 🙂
With "El Chivo" (The Goat, aka Dad-O) always on the prowl for tasty leftovers, the boys & their animal team get serious about defending one of their remaining croissants. I can't say that I blame them. 🙂
Lately the boys—Henry in particular—have been especially hungry for our attention & have resorted to all kinds of button-pushing to get it. (Henry takes this literally, poking us & his brother until we react.) Smartly, Mom-O has opted to respond by giving them what they want—and then a whole lot more! Here she, Finn, and I bury Hen in all the attention a kid can take. 😀
Or if you prefer a version made even wackier by Google Photos, well, we can do that, too. 🙂
Feeling a touch stir-crazy by the end of vacation, we decided to take the lads down to Monterey on Friday for a quick overnight adventure. Highlights included:
- A little time at the beach;
- Our best trip yet to the aquarium, which featured Leo meeting lionfish, Finn doing a barnacle impression, and some whale-/otter-watchnig from the observation deck;
- A trip to the nearby (and previously totally unheard-of!) Monterey Zoo, where we fed carrots to the 11,000-pound elephant Butch. Henry helpfully noted, “If we get to feed peanuts to Butch, we won’t feed him you guys, even though you call each other Peanut." Oh, and Leo got to meet an actual lion (Jacob), too. 🙂
Oh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh… You know what’s greater than great? Not only does Cousin Tony help hook us up with a Lego set that includes a miniature Lego Store selling even tinier Lego sets (!), he sends us genuine Lego Store aprons with “Finn” and “Henry” name tags!!
Unspeakably delighted, the boys are now filling their days creating & managing a store in the basement ("The Subterranean Brick Barn"), selling Mom-O & me every manner of daily special, limited-edition figure, and more. They're dutifully keeping inventory, recording deliveries ("John's perchess"), and more.
Check out a little gallery of the action, plus a pair of videos below!
“Rudolph is real!!” declared Henry on Christmas morning upon discovering that the carrots & Cheerios they’d left out for Santa’s team had been nibbled & strewn around the back yard. Though unlike in past years we didn’t find hoofprints out back (I blame the rain :-)), the guys were pretty excited about their findings. Check it out: