In the words of FLN…

(A bored Finn, claiming “nothing to do” the other night)

F: “Well, I guess I’ll just go ahead and do my homework, then.”
Me: “Wow, kiddo, that’s a great idea!”
F: “As Martin Luther King said, ‘When you don’t have anything to do, just do the right thing.'”
Me: “Really? He said that? How did you know about that?”
F: “Well…Martin Luther King didn’t *really* say that. But it sounds like something he would say.”

Birthdays Milestones Photos

¡Enrique Seis!

Our Henry has hit another milestone – he is officially a 6-year old! He has been so excited to turn six, and we’ve been stretching the celebration out over the past two weeks. Last week, at Henry’s request, we took a family vacation to Legoland California as a special birthday treat. While there, we also visited San Diego’s Maritime Museum and the USS Midway aircraft carrier, and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. At long last, Henry got to celebrate yesterday with singing and vanilla cupcakes, cards and gifts from cousins, grandparents, and our beloved Coco, and of course a new Lego City construction set from us.

Feliz Cumpleanos to our youngest, but no longer little, Henry!


Game Day

A couple weekends ago the Oakland A’s hosted a “Little League Day” at the Coliseum. We got to walk around the baseball field on the warning track, see the players up-close, warming up, and enjoy a game against the Chicago White Sox. We all had a blast. Here’s a fun little collage from the day:



This year for spring break we traveled back to our favorite mountain town, Leadville, Colorado. We’ve spent the week up here enjoying time with my folks in the high mountain air. The first couple of days were sunny, summery, and dry as a bone—spent in shirtsleeves at the park, tossing rocks into the river, and galavanting around town. The boys, especially Henry, were a bit bummed that the snow tubing and skiing opportunities were slim: it’s late in the season, many of the resorts are closed, and the only snow left was in shadowy, unmelted, crunchy drifts.

They still managed to goof around in the snow and even get a little tubing in on the hill across town. Then, much to our delight, Leadville got smacked with an enormous spring blizzard that started yesterday and has carried through today. We’ve gotten at least 18 inches of snow so far, and it’s still coming down. The boys, to put it mildly, are thrilled to see all that snow! Here’s a gallery of our snowbound antics.

We were actually supposed to leave for California today, but the interstate between here and Denver was closed, and driving conditions were so bad we decided against even trying to drive down the mountains. We’ll be here another full day so the boys can get their fill of powdery good times.


Photos St. Patrick's Day

Leprechaun Traps!


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!”


Play Ball!

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.




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.



Photos Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving road trip!


This Thanksgiving we did not plan any long-distance travel, and did not have any out-of-town relatives visiting, so we decided to spend some of our long weekend on a family road trip to explore parts previously-unknown. Our good friend Reen came down from San Francisco to feast with us on Thanksgiving day, and by the time we went to bed that night, we had booked a motel in Cayucos, CA and had plans to visit the beach, San Simeon, and nearby Hearst Castle – all of which are just off the gorgeous coastal California Highway 1, south of Big Sur.

On Friday, the trip took a little over 3 hours, and we asked the boys to draw maps of what they were seeing as we headed south. Both boys did a fantastic job drawing mountains, trees, vehicles, road signs, oil pumps, freight trains, vinyards, and other things that they saw out the window, and the mapmaking kept them engaged and busy the entire trip. Listening to Johnny Cash on the stereo was also a crowdpleaser.

We checked into our vintage motor court motel room that evening, just after stopping at the beach to watch the sun go down. We popped some popcorn and watched a movie before bed, and then got some rest for the big day ahead. Friday we visited Hearst Castle (opulence is an understatement!), and spent some quality time horsing around on the beach before dinner. Sunday was rainy, so instead of spending tons of time on the windy, cold, wet beach, we toured Morro Bay’s famous Shell Shop (Excelling in Shells since 1953!) and then drove up to poke around some of the art galleries in Cambria, just south of the Castle. Then we drove home through the mist and fog.

Here’s a gallery of the weekend’s proceedings.

[Dad-O addenda: We were charmed that for some reason Finn took to referring to William Randolph Hearst as simply “The Hearst.” Henry asked our tour guide whether the castle featured a dungeon or a dragon, giving us a chance to learn about the fur-stocked basement & a statue of St. George battling a dragon (as glimpsed in the gallery). Finn named a little stuffed lion from the gift shop & named his shell-based race car driver “Shelby” (transporter of Henry’s little shell owl “Shelly”). Mom-O’s art history background came into play as we checked out the lion-heavy statuary, and Finn was fascinated to learn about the lion-headed Egyptian deity Sekhmet. Henry, meanwhile, was delighted to learn about The Hearst’s wiener dog swimming around in search of goldfish, and to point out the little ramp a gardener built so he could stop fishing the dog out of the pool (see also the gallery). —J.]



Big G Photos

Chicago Adventures!

Whenever we visit John’s family in Illinois, we fly to Chicago, then drive to Galena. We’ve now made it a tradition to spend a day in the city before heading out on the 3-hour drive west, so that we can soak up some urban sights and adventures with the boys. This time, we led our own Nack Family Blitzkrieg on Chicago. We kicked off our day on the 103rd-floor SkyDeck of the Willis (Sears) Tower before heading over to the amazing Museum of Science and Industry.


While Henry was fascinated looking through the floor of the observation pod in the tower, Finn was somewhat…um…less enthused. He was, however, really excited to see and learn about the captured WWII German U-Boat, the U-505, at the MSI. We also visited their coal mine experience, and spent some quality time touring the famous Burlington Pioneer Zephyr train, which set a diesel train speed record in 1934 traveling between Denver and Chicago.

Loath to go back to our suburban hotel, we rounded out the day by heading back uptown for a water taxi ride to Michigan Avenue, and then a “cheezborger” at the famous Billy Goat Tavern, a local Chicago landmark. Here’s a little gallery of the day’s events.


Rocking Out!

Henry has been inseparable from the small guitar at his preschool, and decided he wanted to use his birthday money to buy one of his own. Needless to say, he is loving it!


Birthdays Milestones Photos Videos

Henry is 5!

14653314642_605479cddf_zLast week our Henry turned 5 years old. Five! We can hardly believe our “little guy” is five already. We celebrated his actual birthday on the 9th, with family gifts and a sushi dinner at our favorite sushi restaurant, where Henry’s friends “the sushi ladies” presented him with the long-anticipated and much-talked-about green tea ice cream with umbrellas in it. He was thrilled!

His favorite part of the day, by far, was opening his new Lego Cargo Train set, his special gift from Mom-o and Dad-o. He’d been talking about it for a long time and was really hoping he’d get it for his birthday. He spent the next couple of days building the engine and cars with some assistance from his equally Lego-crazed brother and father. Now we’ve got the set up and running in the basement, and in Henry’s own words, he’s “obsessed with it”!

Yesterday we had his big birthday party in the backyard. He was really excited about its construction theme – we had caution tape streamers, a dump truck mylar balloon, real orange safety cones, hardhat party hats for the guests, safety signs, a bulldozer piñata, and a box-tower building relay race. Oh – and a bouncy house! There is no kid who enjoys a bouncy house more than Henry Nack. As soon as it was delivered and inflated he was in there hopping around and doing somersaults. All the kids played so hard they were dripping with sweat and red-cheeked by the end of the party. We decided to do a post-party cool-off at the Elks pool, with a little poolside takeout Bibo’s pizza to go with it.

Here’s a gallery from the big party!

Camping Photos

Seymour: An Introduction

This weekend marked our 4th year of camping with many of our Las Madres friends and their families. Instead of our usual Big Basin forest camping trip, this year we headed to Sunset State Beach near Watsonville. We camped in the trees on the leeward side of the big sand dunes, and could take a quick walk down the road and over the dunes to the beautiful beach.

SeymourHenry made a new best friend this year, and his name is Seymour the Shovel. Our friend Jake brought an enormous shovel along for things like fire-tending, and giant-beach-pit-digging (said pit provided HOURS of fun for the kiddos at the beach). As soon as Henry caught sight of that shovel, he was hard-pressed to ever let it out of his grasp. He spent the entire camping trip happy as a clam, dragging Seymour around the campsite, digging hole after hole in the soft, sandy dirt. By the time we left the campsite, it was as pocked with craters as the surface of the moon! Here’s a gallery of the action.

He also kept Seymour busy at the beach, shoveling sand into and out of the giant pit that Jake had dug. All day and long into the evening Henry just dug and dug and dug. I thought we might find him asleep, curled up with it beside him in the tent! Jake spent quite a bit of time calling out “Henry! Where’s my shovel?” when he needed it! Henry has now asked for a shovel for his birthday, so it looks like John and I are off to OSH to dig one up 🙂

Photos Videos

¡Geek Fiesta!

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!



gibberishTrue to form (and genetics), our lads coin a lot of new words and phrases while going about their daily business. Here’s a little sample of what they’re talking about these days:

Side Managers: noun. Each guy chooses a side of the shopping cart to hang off of, while (of course) reaching out and touching EVERYTHING in our path as we wind through the aisles.

Frescals: noun. Somewhat indeterminate. Applied to lots of items at the grocery store, and pronounced with super-zesty rolled R’s, while being the most interesting side managers in the world.  “Frrrrescals! You’re a frrrrescal! That’s a frrrescal!”

Scalliptions: noun. Also indeterminate. Applied to many items, people, behaviors, and actions. “These scalliptions are making me thirsty! Watch out, I’ve got a scalliption reserved for you!”

Itsy-bitsy-bitey-bo: phrase. Finny’s re-styling of some of the lyrics from Lorde’s “Royals” song. I believe the real lyrics are “it don’t run in our blood.”

Hom noms: noun. Crackers or cookies. Onomatopoetic – this is the sound a kid makes while eating delicious snack food.

Banana butts: noun. Describes the very tip at the bottom of the banana which sometimes has a grayish/black spot inside. These remain uneaten by Nacks under the age of 6.

Onesies, Flatties, Granules: nouns. Descriptive names of various small Legos. Onesies are the cubic Legos with one raised bump. Flatties are the ones with no bumps that are used to finish off a surface smoothly. Granules are the zillions of small, round Onesies that populate my carpet.

Safetying-off: verb. Erecting a barrier to prevent someone from getting too close to a dangerous area. The boys like to use yarn, traffic cones, and cardboard blocks to “safety off” suspected danger zones in the backyard, basement, or living room.

Standpoles: noun. the vertical piers that support bridges.  Mom-o, my bridge is going to collapse because I can’t find a tall enough standpole!



MOGI It’s not news that John is known as KOBI in our house (King of Bad Ideas). For example: “Hey kids, let’s use yarn and duct tape to make ‘tripwires’ and not tell Mom-o until she hits one and lands flat on her face in the living room!” or “A fistful of cookies right before bedtime? What could possibly go wrong?”

[Hey man, they *start* this stuff; I just greenlight it. 😉 –J.]

And now the boys have gleefully adopted their own KOBI moniker (Kids of Bad Ideas): Using a glue stick to hang posters on the wall? GREAT IDEA! Jumping up and down on the nice couch? You bet! Bringing sandy, muddy toys and sticks into their rooms for playing? Bring it on! Peeing in the trashcan? Why, certainly!

I am the lone, battle-hardened MOGI (Mom of Good Ideas), up against three hearty, persistent KOBIs. The fact that everyone remains alive, relatively unscathed, and our house is still standing tells me I must be doing something right. Right?

[Yeah, and the house continues to pulsate with hilarity, so we all play our parts, eh? 🙂 –J.]


Care for Some Breadsticks With That?

rarnchiboneFinny described a new salad he’d devised for his leonine buddies yesterday morning, called “Rarnchibone.” Of course, young Henry had to follow suit with an owl-appropriate salad called “Hoonchibone.” Recipes follow:

Rarnchibone consists of “A bunch of grapes, a hamburger patty on the top, lettuce, lots & lots & lots of berries. It’s the same for hoonchibone, but instead of a hamburger patty, it’s a mouse patty.”

#TheMoreYouKnow 🙂

Christmas Photos

1,000 Christmas Blessings

Not only is today Christmas Day, today is the day we publish our thousandth Micronaxx blog post! What?!? Wow! We can’t even believe we’ve cranked out so many posts about our boys in the past 5+ years, but we already know there will be many more posts to come.

We are having a wonderful, relaxing Christmas with the extended Liggett clan – Grandma and Grandpa Liggett, Laura (Liggett) Lingle and her family, we four Nacks, and the Lingle boys grandma Margaret Lingle. We arrived last night, just in time for stocking hanging, spreading reindeer food on the driveway, and reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas with Grandpa. After Santa visited, all the big people went to bed because we knew we’d be up early.

After a Christmas Eve sleepover at the Lingles, all four cousins were up and at ’em early this morning tearing through their stockings — oohing and aahing over new toys, stuffed animals, candy, and treats. By the time John and I arrived from our hotel at 8:30, they were raring to go on the big gifts. As you’ll see from the gallery, there were lots of gleeful smiles as the packages were opened — even from the adults!

Then we were off to the park across the street for a bit of running around in the bright Colorado sunshine in new hats and mittens, courtesy of Auntie Laura’s handiwork. The boys are now back inside, playing with their new toys and waiting for Christmas dinner to begin.

Cutie Hug


The Revelations of Henry

Fister-karma-300x183Little G-Man’s mind has been blowing a lot recently:

  • Spotting some icy grass, Henry got breathless: “Dad-O, a man named Jack Frost visited our school, and he made everything icy!! For real!”
  • Poor Hen was kinda busted up after he grabbed a cat tail and shoved it into a foam tube, thus stripping it to the stem: “Aaaagh, all my cat feathers are gone!”
  • When I pointed out a beautiful Fisker Karma (like the one pictured above), Henry remarked, “Dad-O, flat cars are the coolest! If we drove a [Lamborghini] Aventador, how would we even sit in it? Would we have to put the steering wheel on the ceiling?” Let’s cross that bridge the next time I have four hundred grand to drop on a car, kiddo. 🙂

The Twelve Days of Christmas: Micronaxx-Style!

ConosWe’re the kind of family that likes to make up our own goofy versions of songs, and the Twelve Days of Christmas song is no exception! So, minus the “a-swimming, a-leaping, and a-milking”, and without further ado, here is the Micronaxx version of the ol’ holiday favorite:

  • On the first day of Christmas, Dad-o gave to us: One elf on the shelf
  • On the second day of Christmas, Auntie Laura gave to us: Two Lego advent calendars
  • On the third day of Christmas, our friends gave to us: Three Christmas parties
  • On the fourth day of Christmas, Mom-o and Dad-o gave to Hen: Four traffic cones
  • On the fifth day of Christmas, Grandma & Grandpa Nack gave to us: Five packages from Galena
  • On the sixth day of Christmas, Mom-o gave to us: Six strings of icicle lights
  • On the seventh day of Christmas, Netflix gave to us: Seven Christmas videos
  • On the eighth day of Christmas, Mom-o and Dad-o gave to us: Eight penguin ornaments
  • On the ninth day of Christmas, Mom-o, Dad-o and the Sturtevants gave to us: Nine passengers on the Holiday Lights train
  • On the tenth day of Christmas, Mom-o and Dad-o sang with us: Ten Christmas carols
  • On the eleventh day of Christmas, Finn and Henry decided to make: Eleven salt dough Christmas ornaments
  • On the twelfth day of Christmas, Mom-o helped make: Twelve slices of pumpkin bread!

Seamsters and Bears in Disguise

Finn has been keenly interested in learning more about sewing, after having witnessed me make his Halloween costumes the past couple of years. I told him that a man who sews things for a living is a seamster, and he’s now decided that he wants to be a seamster! He’d been begging me for a sewing lesson for about a week now. Unfortunately, my old sewing machine (which I’ve had since I was 17) bit the dust the other day as I was finishing up Henry’s Christmas PJ’s, so I couldn’t give Finny the “sewing lesson” he’d been asking for.

Luckily, Amazon saved the day with a screaming deal on a basic sewing machine and 2-day shipping. So tonight after dinner, I broke out the new machine and Finny and I sat down to sew. Even little Henry was interested and came over to watch, too. I showed them how to wind the bobbin, thread the machine, and pick different types of stitches. I showed them how the foot pedal works, how to pin fabric together and then how to sew. I made a little bag out of scrap fabric to show them how it all comes together, and they were super excited to see the finished result.

Then it was time to really deliver – after letting Finny wind the bobbin, I quickly stitched up a couple of little “disguises” for the boys’ new teddy bears out of felt scraps left over from Halloween. Of course, Finn’s got a lion disguise, and Henry’s got an owl disguise. Here’s little gallery of the evening’s proceedings.