Categories
Christmas Photos

Colosseum!

Our story begins when Henry showed us a video of the Lego designer and the architect who created the most colossal Lego set ever, the Roman Colosseum – over 9,000 pieces! Upon seeing the video, I completely flipped out – I had no idea Lego had created a Colosseum set, and I knew right then that’s what I hoped to get for Christmas 2020.

My loyal and big-hearted boy Henry immediately went to work on making some Christmas magic with John, and they secretly set out to find the set (limited edition!) and give it to me.

Within a few days there was an extremely large wrapped box underneath the tree, and Henry worked hard to cover his tracks when I started playing Twenty Questions. He spooled out an elaborate story about a new Japanese store at the mall called “Clown Town,” telling me that he and John had obtained an amazing hat made of shards of glass, and a huge clown wig. I kept my fingers crossed that it was really the Lego set, and not a giant pair of clown shoes!

You can imagine my glee when I opened the set on Christmas day and it really was what I had hoped. I sent out an SOS to borrow a neighbor’s card table so we had a place to build, and soon enough, Henry and I were set up in the master bedroom with task lighting, two chairs, and dozens of bags full of thousands of Lego bricks. Hen was my right-hand man all the way – after I completed the base, we took turns building the Colosseum itself – which is ingeniously designed into vertical slices that snap together with ball and socket joints.

This set really activated all my nerd buttons: archaeology, Roman history, architecture, and Lego! It really is the best set they’ve ever made, and we had a ball putting it together. You can get a sense of the intricate details and overall design in the photo gallery, which also features Henry’s minifig Egyptian archaeological explorers checking out the ruins. (They are from a different set but had to come check out the scene!) We worked for 5 days in a row, reading up on the Colosseum’s history, and the Roman Empire in general, while also enjoying dumb TV game shows in the background, and just chitchatting the afternoons away. Now that it is finished, Hen and I have had a few “appreciation sesh’s” (as he puts it) just to marvel at our accomplishment and the neat details of the set. It is 2 feet in diameter and warranted its own display table (seriously, we had nowhere to put it that was dog-safe or big enough!). Best. Christmas gift. Ever!

Categories
Christmas Photos

Merry Christmas 2020

Christmas this year was different, but we tried to bring as much Santa Claus magic as possible to the boys. As they’ve gotten older, the gift requests have become very short and very specific, and happily we were able to deliver on the specifics, as well as throwing in some excellent surprises.

Even Seamus got in on the action, helping to tear open the wrapping paper (a gift in itself!), and reaping a few gifts of his own.

Each human got a much-coveted Lego set – Star Wars & Mandalorian sets for John and Finn, a vintage pirate set for Henry, and the quite literally colossal Roman Coliseum set for Classical history-nerd mom. Santa also brought fun novelty socks, books, games, handmade stuffed animals, candy, and some incredibly soft and fuzzy new jackets for the boys. Seamus got a new leash and toy, new portable food and water bowls and a doggy water bottle for hikes.

The best surprise gifts came in the form of Seamus portraits. Grandpa Liggett had a friend do a beautiful pencil portrait of our boy, and I commissioned a custom illustration of Seamus in a Venetian Doge costume (dog, doge…get it?). Finn absolutely flipped out upon opening them – and now he has both portraits hanging above his bed where he can admire them anytime he likes.

Here is our Christmas Day gallery, where you can see the shock and awe Santa was able to deliver this year. We surely missed sharing it in person with family, and hope that 2021 permits us to travel and celebrate together!

Categories
Christmas Videos

Zipping the Lights Fantastic

Continuing our efforts to bring the party to the people, we keep driving the blinged-out Westy around San Jose & points beyond. Last night was no exception as we headed over to Los Gatos to take in their Fantasy of Lights—one of our favorite Christmas traditions. Like last week & last year, my co-pilot Hen hung himself out the window to get the best look, but this time he was content to put down his camera & just enjoy the moments.

Check out our rather trippy video from the event:

Categories
Christmas Photos Videos

Little Saint Nick

2020 is, of course, all about adaptation & flexibility, so San Jose has converted its traditional Christmas in the Park into a driving tour for this year. The five of us (Seamus included!) piled into the car on Friday evening, and after a long wait in line we were rewarded with a gorgeous & festive spectacle. Braving the (relative) cold, Henry hung out the window & captured a nice gallery of images while I made this fun little time-lapse video. Check it out!

We hope to take our traditional lights tour in Los Gatos again soon as well. Just for fun, here’s last year’s gallery from that excursion plus my New Year’s Train ride with Hen.

Categories
Christmas Photos

Christmas Lights On The Move

Finn is very sentimental about the holidays. He loves our annual rituals, which we add to each year. The pandemic has certainly done its part to hamper our normal activities like going to the Nutcracker, Christmas tree lightings and parties, and the like, and to prevent us from traveling to see our families.

To that end, we are trying to create some safe, local joy that will keep our Christmas spirits up. I saw a photo recently of an old VW microbus that was decorated with Christmas lights, and I thought it would be fun to do the same with the Westy, and drive around spreading some Christmas cheer. I asked Mr. Christmas, Finn, what he thought, and he loved the idea. Last weekend, we headed out to Ace Hardware and picked up some colorful lights, and some small suction cups with hooks that we could safely stick to the van. We already have a big rechargeable battery in the Westy that we can plug the lights into.

Needless to say, we got the lights strung, plugged in, and did our first Christmas Lights Cruise around the neighborhood on Sunday night. A few observant passersby noticed our moving light show and seemed charmed. Most of all, though, Finn and Henry both love it, and they’re all smiles when we light up Westy and hit the streets, playing Christmas music on the radio. Seamus seems to enjoy it as well, cuddled up on his boy’s lap, watching the world go by. We plan to cruise around in our portable light show as often as possible over the next few weeks. Maybe we’ll even hand out candy canes!

Here’s a little photo gallery of the proceedings.


Categories
Christmas Photos

Season of de Lights

Happy New Years, gang! I thought I’d share pics from a couple of sparkling nights out we recently enjoyed. First, as is our yearly tradition, we drove through the lights in Vasona Park in nearby Los Gatos, and a few nights later Henry & I cruised the streets of Santa Cruz in style via the New Years Lights Train. I hope you enjoy our galleries:

HenPeace

HenSpacePean

Categories
Christmas Photos Seamus

Merry Chrismoose

Hey everyone—Merry Christmas!

We had a ball celebrating our first nativity with the Sea-Moose, hanging around Chez Nack and opening a bunch of terrific gifts before wolfing down the googley-eyed cookie trees we made. Since we’re in Carmel for a couple of days, I’ll keep things brief for now & just pass along our photo gallery to check out.

All the best to your & yours from all of us!

Categories
Christmas Videos

All Aboard The Jingle Bell Express

Awaiting Christmas Day loot is a delightful burden, but sometimes one just has to jump the gun (or is it tracks?) a bit. Mom-O found a great little HO-scale engine & cars for Henry, and we surprised him with the gift a bit early so that it could liven up our tree for the next few weeks. Check out this quick tour Hen made to celebrate its inaugural run:

Categories
Christmas Photos

Merry Christmas 2018

I feel so deeply fortunate to say that this year our little gang is once again healthy & happy & having a ball. Although we couldn’t be together in person with our far-flung family, it’s been great to trade phone calls and some pretty excellent gifts—not to mention a little good-natured long-distance trolling (e.g. Ted sending me pictures of our mom’s shrimp dip, and me replying with shots of hot tubs in California sunshine) 😌.

We’re off to the Grand Canyon (!) bright and early tomorrow (sporting our custom Westy caps from Mom-O), so I’ll keep things brief for now & share a few shots from yesterday. Keep an eye out for, among other things, Finn reading his amazing letter from Santa (more on that soon); the leash for our future dog Séamus (!!); Henry getting the currency proof set Auntie Laura got as a baby; Finn “fishing” via a clever Nintendo add-on from Grandpa Liggett; the boys dueling in geography via a globe from Grandma & Grandpa Nack; and more.

Much love to you & yours from Nacks Micro & Macro!

Categories
Christmas Photos

From Red Ryders to Luscious Legos: Christmas 2017

“You’ll shoot your eye out!” Happily that hasn’t happened yet, and both bandito Hen & Nintendo-lover Finn are happily ensconced in a pile of Legos, wonderful books from Grandma & Grandpa Nack, a Lego-style drone (!) from the Lingle cousins, and more. Here’s a little gallery of the chaps celebrating with Grandpa Liggett. We feel, and are, blessed indeed. 🙂

NewImage

Categories
Christmas Photos

Putting the “Santa” in “Santa Cruz”: Christmas Lights Train 2017

All the way back in 2011, we enjoyed taking the lads on a Christmasy train ride through town (see little gallery & vid). Given that Hen’s passion for trains has only increased, this year we brought along Grandpa Liggett for an evening ride that featured letter-writing to the big guy, visits from Mrs. Claus & then Santa, and finally some requisite “cooling off” at Marianne’s Ice Cream. Check out the gallery and the short video below. 

[Retro bonus trains: See also Christmas Lights Train 2013 (the tiny one in the park), the Chicago CTA Lights Train in 2012, and Oakland Zoo Lights all the way back in 2010.]

NewImage

Categories
Christmas Photos

Goats Beware!

“Waste not, want not”—true, but you might gain an unwanted reputation!

Around our house I (“The Goat”) am infamous for finishing off others’ chow a little too quickly—something I’ve largely stopped doing, though Finn will never let me off the hook for decapitating his gingerbread man years ago. In any case, this week I discovered that each boy had surrounded his cookie “Masterpiece” with cautionary text aimed my way. As you can see from Henry’s, it was “The opposite of Bon Appetite for Dad today!”

NewImage

Categories
Christmas Photos

Xmas 2016: Blissed Out on Bricks!

It’s hard to believe that Christmas 2016 has already come and gone! This year, it was just us four California Nacks, enjoying a quiet, relaxing day at home. Although Henry and Finn tried to wake us up at 3:30 a.m. to open presents, we put them off until the only-slightly-less-unreasonable 5:00 a.m.

Santa and our extended families bestowed many gifts upon the lads this year, especially the much-discussed and eagerly-anticipated big lego sets that each boy was hoping for. Henry got his Lego Airport, and Finn got his Lego Volcano Exploration base station. Certainly not forgotten was Dad-o, who was the happy recipient of a Lego Creator Big Ben set (which he is still constructing!) and a remote control drone! Among other wonderful gifts, I got a terrific Lego Beatles’ Yellow Submarine set. Needless to say we spent a great deal of the day working on our Legos, alternating construction time with dinner, movies, naps, and snacks.

Here’s a gallery of our day.



Categories
Christmas Photos Videos

Scout Heads Out

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:

Scout's-Note-sm

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. 🙂

Categories
Christmas Photos

Their Legonic Majesties Request…

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!

Legonic-Majesties

Categories
Christmas Videos

Reindeer CSI: 2015

“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:

Categories
Christmas Photos

Grate Scout! Elfin Christmas Correspondence

This year, the magic of Christmas is shining brightly at the Nack house. Both boys have been so curious and excited about our Elf on the Shelf, Scout, and have been carrying on a lively and wonderful written correspondence with him.

Finn wrote the first letter, wondering about Scout’s name, and things took off from there. We’ve learned that Scout speaks Spanish, that his favorite food is marshmallows (which we often find nibbled in the morning), and in his off-time, he enjoys resting in the custom-built Elf home the boys built for him from cereal boxes, wrapping paper, and ribbon. He even has his own little sleeping bag & pillow made from jewelry bags stuffed with Kleenex.

Here’s a cute gallery of the letters and Scout’s new home. Finn told me that he really wanted Scout to feel welcome, and I think both boys are doing a terrific job!

GratetScout

Categories
Christmas Photos

Throwback Thursday: Christmases of Yore

Three years ago the lads spun themselves silly on the teacups at San Jose’s winter carnival:

TBT3

And the year earlier, we railroaded through Santa Cruz with Santa and Sir Topham Hat! (gallery)

TBT4

Categories
Christmas Videos

GoPro Lego Show

Having developed a taste for Lego-based filmmaking at camp this summer, the boys have been enjoying setting up my little GoPro camera & filming all kinds of adventures (what Finn calls “clips”) beneath the Christmas tree. Here’s a random little set of moments that Google Photos stitched together for me:

Categories
Christmas

Letr To The Elf

Well, December has arrived, and with it, the reappearance of our Elf on the Shelf! Finn was Johnny-on-the-spot the evening of November 30th, remembering to find the Elf’s box and set it out with the lid open so he could get out (of course, being super-careful not to actually touch the Elf, lest his magic disappear!).

Yesterday morning, the 1st of December, our Elf appeared, swinging on a ribbon from the curtain rod in the dining room. The boys were ecstatic to find him! When they arrived home from school yesterday, Finn set to writing a very polite little letter of inquiry to the Elf, because he couldn’t remember our Elf’s name. Here’s a shot of his original letter, having subsequently been answered by the Elf, whose name is Scout:

ElfPen_sm