A Tale of Two Finnys

We can’t say we weren’t warned…

Although Finny is really enjoying his newfound status as a kindergartener, and loving his after school daycare, the transition into the new reality has definitely been a bumpy ride. His days are long, and full of new activities, new kids, a new teacher, and of course, tons and tons of stimuli. As is his nature, he’s a very positive, happy kid. He does really well during the week and is super-enthusiastic about going to school. He’s also very chatty about what he does at school, and is proud of sharing his worksheets and art projects from class.

That said…man, at the end of the day, and especially on the weekends, he goes completely Jekyll and Hyde, and the nuclear meltdowns over minor incidents are intense and numerous. The past two Saturdays have been ROUGH. It seems to take him about a day to completely unwind from the week at school, and during those 24 hours, there is a LOT of complaining, freaking out, and grumpiness. He’s got a hair-trigger, and when Henry runs afoul of him (for instance, by playing with one of Finny’s previously-ignored toys) or when he gets frustrated, he just turns into a crying, screaming wreck. And it takes him a looooong time to work it out of his system.

We’re all doing our best, and John and I both let Finny know that it’s ok to get frustrated or feel tired/sad/angry, but it’s not OK to just let it rip on everyone in your path. And we know that Finny doesn’t enjoy these episodes, either…and that he’ll work his way through them eventually. So goes any transition to a “new normal,” right? Right?!

Transient Witticisms

Transient Witticisms: Micronaxx Feasts

  • Finn’s stuffed, but he swears he’ll find room for a donut: “My tummy has a garbage truck crusher-blade in it!”
  • “Dad-O, when we grow up, we’re only going to eat pasta, bacon, and Nutella!” I’m way ahead of you, boys—way ahead! #livingthedream
  • I guess we can forget about the boys getting that big Crest endorsement deal: “This tastes like being electrocuted!!”
  • Henry eyes a giant tank of horchata (super sugary rice milk), then presents me with a batting helmet: “Fill this up with it!” Best/worst idea ever.
  • “Krispies are for closers!!” — me, trying to bribe the boys into finishing their sandwiches
  • Finn befouls our sheets with crumbs, sucks them up: “I’m a street sweeper!” First time I’ve kicked someone out of bed for eating crackers.
  • We call our food-distended tummies “food babies.” Henry pats his: “I’ve got a whole food preschool in mine!”
  • “You’ve gotta lay off that Coke, Dad-O,” Finn informs me. “You’re gonna end up allergic to water!”
  • “I’m not making a mess,” explains Henry, sprinkling Oat Squares on the carpet. “I’m making dinner for the ghost in the basement.”

Little Kahunas

Heh heh—check out this totally fun Photoshop work from my friend Michael Jahn:


The Good, The Bad, and the Tiny

“Dad-O, why am I so tall?” asked shadow-gazing Henry in the driveway. “I look like a 10-year-old!!”


First Day of Kindergarten

Last Thursday was Finny’s official first day of Kindergarten. He was definitely prepared: new backpack and lunchbag (with water bottle!), new school clothes (Willow Glen Elementary is a uniform school, which makes getting dressed in the morning a breeze!), and a very positive attitude. We had visited the school the day before for a 90-minute orientation with the teachers and helpers, so he already knew where to find the classroom, his teacher, and the daycare room.

Henry and I dropped him off with a big hug and smooch and wished him a great day. I then proceeded with the low-grade, all-day fretting that must be typical of all parents of a freshly minted Kindergartner: “I hope he’s ok, he doesn’t know anyone, I hope he remembers to go to the bathroom and eat his lunch, I hope he’s being polite, etc. etc…”

Well, turns out I had nothing to worry about. When I picked him up from after school care and asked him how his day went, he looked me straight in the eye, pumped his fist, and said “AWESOME!!! I LOVE KINDERGARTEN!” Phew! That couldn’t have gone any better! I remember loving my first day of Kindergarten, too. I guess it runs in the family :).

[We’re lucky that way, as it apparently doesn’t run in every family: Finn’s been telling us about a kid named “Ruffy” (go figure) who keeps getting yellow warning cards to the point he’s been dubbed “Señor Amarillo.” He was sent to the principal’s office on the first day, and according to Finn, “they decapitated him!!” He likes to elaborate that “just the head hopped back into the room,” and that later Ruffy got reassembled. Rough indeed! :-p –J.]

Transient Witticisms

Transient Witticisms: Microtunes Edition

  • Mischievous Henry starts edging out of the crosswalk: “Dad-O, I’m ‘Break-in’-the-laaaaw, break-in’-the-laaaaw!!'” (Judas Priest, Age 4. :-))
  • The Barenaked Ladies come on the radio. “This is a dork singing!” declares Henry.
  • “I don’t think these guys are Talking Heads, Dad-O,” says Finn. “I think they’re just Talking Scalps.”
  • Finn: “Why are they called ‘U2’?”
    Me: “Well, I dunno. The U2 was a cool airplane…”
    Finn: “Was Bono homeless & did he sleep in the airplane?”
  • Listening to “Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing” with the boys. “Why did the baby do that, Dad-O? Why is he so naughty?”
  • Finn’s singing Styx’s “Renegade”: “The meter maid, who had it made…” #misheardlyrics
  • The lads are listening to The Clash:
    Finn: “Henry, the casbah is a desert castle, and the jet fighters rock it with bullets.”
    Henry: “Yeah, from their lungs!”
  • Finn’s relating to “I Shot The Sheriff”: “It’s like when Jacobo attacks me at school & I kick him in the face. That’s self-defense for me!”
  • On an airplane: “Dad-O, I thought I saw Johnny Cash out on the wing,” reports Finn, “but it was just the winglet.”
  • Listening to the boys’ a cappella duet of “Crazy Train” as they play Lego trains, I feel kinda great about my parenting. 🙂
  • Finn’s morning musical request: “How about the banana song by Barry Elefante?”
  • Blasting “Sledgehammer” while your 3yo jumps around, “dancing” & randomly hammering things, is a terrific morning kickoff.
  • The boys keep donning underwear outside their regular clothes. I explain that’s only for crazy old ladies, like Madonna.
  • The boys have renamed themselves “Lynyrd Skynyrd” & “Billy Idol.” In related news, I really need to expose them to better music!
Photos Zoos

Zoo Crew, Panda Hullabaloo

The last leg of our summer vacation in Southern California was a trip to the San Diego Zoo. We arrived bright and early in the morning, with strollers, camera, and snacks in tow. We had already discussed the various animal exhibits at the zoo with the boys, and unsurprisingly, our man Henry decided we should see the panda bears first. So, off we went to Panda Canyon. Henry could barely contain himself! We got to see two panda brothers eating their bamboo breakfast, and we heard the zookeeper mention that there was a third, one-year-old panda lounging at the top of a pine tree. That little guy was only visible from the sky gondolas, so after we spent some close-up time with the big guys, we hit the sky ride to view the little one from above.

We spent the rest of the day wandering around the beautiful zoo, checking out almost all of the other exhibits (minus the reptile house, which none of us were too excited about). We definitely got our fill of elephants, big cats, birds, hippos, giraffes, koala bears, and native Californian species (including the human spectators!). Here’s a gallery from our day.


A Teriyaki Salami Carnival

Little G-Man’s been taking his vocab to new levels lately, but not without hitting some rather amusing potholes. Recent developments:

  • The boys have learned about omnivores, herbivores, and carnivores at Pasitos lately. Now when Henry sees a temporary gathering of rides & attractions, he says, “Look, Dad-O, a carnivore! [carnival]”
  • They’ve heard that our friend Juliana is a talented singer. “Dad-O, I think she’d be good at singing teriyaki [karaoke].”
  • Near the beach the guys note warning signs that explain how to flee a giant wave. “See, this is the way we’d go to evacuate from a salami! [tsunami]”
Photos Videos


Last week’s main event was a 2-day trip to Legoland, which strategically coincided with John’s birthday. I think Dad-O was even more excited than the boys about our visit! We went all out and stayed at the Legoland hotel, which, as you’ll see, was great fun and perfectly suited to families with young kids. Our pirate-themed room came with bunkbeds for the dudes, a bucket of Legos to play with, a treasure chest whose combination we had to determine via a scavenger hunt, and a view of the park entrance. The hotel lobby contained several “Lego pits,” a giant Lego castle to play in, Lego sculptures, and an entrance to the park. The 3 Nack men were in heaven!

The park itself was phenomenal, and perfectly designed for families and kids under 12. While parents stood in line at various rides, there were play areas chock full of Legos for the kids to play with until their turn on the ride was up. There were rides of all sorts – rollercoasters, ride-on vehicles, boats, pedal cars, squirting cannons, firetruck races, and a pirate ship ride with water cannons. We spent an entire day just taking advantage of the water attractions in the pirate area and the Lego water park! [Poor Henry found the “lazy river” not so relaxing as he slipped through my hands, through our double inner tube, and completely under the water! Fortunately he recovered & excitedly joined me in collecting the giant rubber Legos that floated alongside us. –J.]

There were also tons and tons of Lego sculptures of all sorts — life-sized Darth Vader & Chewie, the biggest Lego-model ever created (of a Star Wars X-Wing fighter), tons of miniature scenes from Star Wars movies, and miniature Lego cities like Las Vegas, Washington DC, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Henry enjoyed the miniature cities the most – and returned over and over again to observe all the little moving Lego vehicles, boats, trains, animals, etc.

Here are some vids and a gallery of pictures of all the things we got to see and do!


Hola from the Cone Zone

The dudes (now happily slumbering) are having a ball so far. 🙂 More news to come, but first we’re off to Legoland!

Photos Videos

SoCal Greetings!

Family Adventure Week has begun! This week we are planning visits to California Adventure at Disneyland, Legoland (for Dad-o’s birthday), and the San Diego Zoo. We’ll also be tucking in visits to various beaches and even the La Brea Tar Pits (thanks to pal Samantha for that suggestion!).

We set out for Los Angeles yesterday morning, and after a not-too-long car ride, we arrived at Santa Monica around 5pm. We figured after a day in the car, the guys would appreciate some good beach time. And boy, did they ever! Braving the gusty and cool conditions, the guys horsed around in the sand and surf until we tore them away for some dinner and a car trip to our hotel in Anaheim. Here are some fun shots of their antics plus a little video at the bottom:

Transient Witticisms

Transient Witticisms: The Return!

Boy, it’s been ages since I updated this category. Without further ado, here’s the first of several installments of the lads’ sayings from the last year (!) or so.

  • Animals:
    • “Dad-O, I’m a new superhero called Bat Saber—like a bat lightsaber! He crushes old people who don’t like bats!” (Henry adds, “Yeah, and I’m Rain Man!!” #VerySpecialPowers)
    • “Dad-O, do pirates sometimes have to get blasted by otters?” Um, otters? Took me a while to realize he meant SEALs (specifically, Navy ones).
    • “Dad-O, those cats want to fill up our sandbox with poop,” says Finn, “which I call ‘butt presents.'”
    • I dreamt that our boys—like bats—navigate by echolocation. They were ceaselessly repeating “Mom-O, Dad-O! Mom-O, Dad-O! Mom-O, Dad-O!”
    • I let the boys watch nature videos unattended on YouTube this morning. It’s all fun ’til a croc bites off an antelope’s hoof!
  • Legos
    • Finn describes his birthday wish: “Well, it’s a really expensive Lego set for teenagers…” He tells me that to save up, “stop buying food”!
    • In the fall Lego time spontaneously turned political: “Dad-O, this is Obama. ‘Come here, Romney, gimme your butt cheeks to kick!'” (Unprompted!)
    • I offer Henry some Lego-ing help. “No, I can do it,” he says. “It’s a little be complicated for dads, but not for kids.” (Maybe true!)
    • “Dad-O, this is my Lego chase truck. It was chasing a bird, which turned out to be Henry’s hand, which made off with a Lego sailor hat…”
    • “The hand-bird was carrying the hat on its thumb.” Good to know!