Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dancing... a Thanksgiving Tradition?

That's right- Ronan can bust a mean 'funky chicken'

Most families have holiday traditions- when I was growing up there was the fruity jello mold (thanks Cindy!), the post meal walk, and of course a fight over the wishbone.

The traditions give us a sense of time, of importance, and of family. That said, Ronan seems intent on establishing his own new and goofy Thanksgiving tradition- cutting the rug.

Auntie Sheila and Ronan both giving props

Yes, Ronan was the primary instigator of what will likely be an annual post-turkey-meal activity- not snoozing... grooving. This year Grammy took the signal from Ronan, queued up Pirate Radio '60s edition, and the dancing took off. Poppa tried to sit out a few songs but Ronan kept going over, grabbing his hand, and pulling him back into the dance circle.

Nothing but admiration for Grammy's moves

By the time we got the camera ready most of the adults were tired out- only Grammy (aka the Energizer Bunny) and Ronan were still going strong. The next day, during our T-Day+1 festivities, Ronan did the same thing with a group of our close friends. Whenever someone tried to sit on a couch or lounge in a chair Ronan would walk over, grab their hand, and pull them back into the fray. Yep, it's dancing that we will be looking forward to for years to come!

One Little Monkey, Sitting in a Tree

"Look Dad, no hands!"

Every day Ronan does something new- today was his turn to try his hand at climbing trees. Behind our house is a small trail that eventually winds through a long forgotten grove of olive trees.

Showing off the 'lean'

Old olive trees are great to climb- grippy bark, low branches, lots of forks and plenty of shade. And for Ronan the limbs these trees were not too large for little hands to hold.

A happy little boy in a tree

I was surprised at his ability to maintain his balance in the tree (while I snapped a few photos), and relieved that he did not attempt to jump when he got bored. He simply reach out an arm in my direction and said, "down!"

"Huh. Perhaps it is best that I don't jump... yet."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Just a Couple of Words...

Yes, it is a very stylish hat

During a walk this past weekend Ronan said a few of his words for the video camera. We're not really sure how many words he has, but he can repeatably say 'turtle', 'Mama', 'Dada', 'Papa', and 'Nana'. He is deliberately not saying 'grammy' as a way to continue to tease her.

His commands 'up', 'down', 'no, no, no, no, no!' are also clear and, at times, over used!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Coyote Point Museum

View of Coyote Point Yacht Harbor

This past weekend we took Ronan to Coyote Point Recreational Area, a county park in San Mateo that boasts a marina, miles of hiking trails, a mammoth playground structure, windsurfing/kiteboarding, cyclocross racing, excellent views of airliners in the approach path for SFO, and a delightful little museum. We spent our day exploring the museum with the attached 'zoo'.

Are koi tasty?

A giant game of Lite-Brite


Highlights for Ronan included meeting a skink, playing with wind tubes, watching a river otter swim, touching a California Mountain Kingsnake, investigating an indoor bee hive, exploring the heavens, and learning about vortices.

"Hmm... this fan needs more juice"

Fascinated by the otter's swimming dexterity

"Sweet. We could use this for Halloween next year..."

Really, though, Ronan was happiest running up and down the long, smooth, wooden ramps (by himself at first, and then joined by other little children) and then later organizing the little cars sold in the gift shop.

What Ronan loved most- the 'thunk, thunk, thunk' of his footsteps as he ran up and down the ramps

The Coyote Point Museum is a great place to take curious and adventurous kids. Even if they tire of the exhibits, there is plenty of outdoor activities to keep young ones occupied and happy for the day.

Who? Hoo!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ronan, Ronan, Ronan, Ronan

"Hi Ronan! Hi Ronan! Hey Ronan! Hi Ronan! Hi!

What does Ronan love more than seeing his reflection in the mirror? Seeing many reflections!

Yes, our little narcissist cannot get enough of himself- literally. Ronan's discovered how to arrange two mirrors (mounted on our closet doors) to yield multiple images of himself.

This is how happy just one reflection makes him...

It's hilarious to watch him try to interact with each duplicate. He can't quite keep his attention on one image and thus he has rapid head and eye movement, moving from reflection to reflection. The faster he responds, the more distracted he becomes by his reflections movement.

"Sweet! Look at all that 'me'!"

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Kiss for Nanna


This past weekend Nanna made her biannual pilgrimage up to the Bay Area. Ronan, Mom and I had a great time during her visit- several social events, a musical performance, playing at a farm, and a fresh loaf of Nanna's pumpkin bread. Nanna left a few days ago but Ronan still toddles around the house looking for her, and calling "Nanna" to the empty room she stayed in.

Thanks, Nana, for the visit. We miss you!

... and a little goofing around with the camera

Monday, November 9, 2009

Old McRonan?

This weekend we went to Ardenwood Historic Farm, a place Mom and Ronan had visited before. Upon arrival Ronan was quick to point out the train, the windmill, the blacksmith shop, and all of the various animal pens. He was particularly fond of the goats and sheep (petting, and at one point, even trying to kiss).

"Baa, baa, white sheep, have you any wool?"

Petting a soft nose

When at a farm, always remember to kiss a goat.

He also spent some time watching the blacksmiths work; one smith was making a knife blade and tang, though it was in the very first stages of manufacture. The farm machinery was also a hit and Ronan spent some time sifting through the soil to find old nuts and washers lost by those machines years ago.

Loving the old school John Deere

Finding discarded tractor parts in the soil

There was also a chicken/turkey coop as well as a small aviary for more exotic birds; while Ronan typically enjoys clucking at fowl he seems more interested in our neighbors chicken pen than the ones at the farm.

Contemplating which brine to use...

We saved the water pump for last, knowing that Ronan would be soaked by the time he would be done with it. Sure enough, our prediction was true, though we were all glad he was unsuccessful in his attempts to jump into the reservoir!

Quickly moving from "learning to pump water" to "a shower while fully dressed"

Family Photo

The Teetzels, November 2009

Just wanted to share this photo taken by Nanna yesterday- it's one of maybe three total that we have with all of us a) looking at the camera, b) smiling, and c) doing a & b intentionally.

We love it- thanks Nana!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Good Morning

My adorable family

Last night Ronan had a coughing fit after which all three of us tried to settle ourselves back to sleep. Ronan typically will only do so in his crib, but somehow he managed to comfort himself in our bed.

How did he do it? By kneading Mom's eye with his little fingers and kicking my head with his feet. Neither action was aggressive or violent, just little rythmic movements that eventually lulled him into a slumber. Mom and I joined him in sleep shortly thereafter.

About as cuddley as Ronan gets

When I awoke, I was greeted with the sight of the two of them, heads together, both slightly snoring. Ronan must have been dreaming about being tickled or chased because he would occasionally laugh between breaths. It was a beautiful sight- fortunately a camera was nearby and I was able to get a couple of pictures during the rapidly changing morning light.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Code Name: Chickapea

Chickapea @ 15 weeks

Many companies employ code names for products in development; they do so for secrecy, ease, team identity, and production product naming flexibility. These code names/acronyms are typically easy to remember and many times whimsical; I've worked on products named after sharks, birds of prey, gunslingers, candy, explorers, monsters, tribes and cities; a name that got one team into trouble with HR was a project called, "Your Mom".

So why give a code name to our little growing fetus? We're keeping the gender secret, we don't have names chosen, and it's easier to refer to "Chickapea" than "it" or "he/she". That, and if Chickapea's a boy, I get to give him grief when he's older about his pre-birth moniker.

How was the name chosen? We're not really sure. I think we were marveling at Ronan's love of hummus (typically made from chickpeas) and, by proximity/association/cutesifying-a-legume/whatever, 'chickapea' just popped out. Chickapea's due date is April 10th and ultrasounds have confirmed a nice strong heartbeat.

Mom's bump has come earlier than with Ronan, here at 17 weeks

What was Ronan's codename? It was "Tipard" (from [ti]ger and a leo[pard]), a goofy play on the Napoleon Dynamite reference of "liger". As Napoleon states in the movie, ligers are, "like a tiger and lion mixed... bred for its skills in magic".

Yes, we are very excited to have our little Chickapea on the way!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Two of Ronan's favorites... celestial bodies and "boo ghosts"

This year, for Halloween, Ronan went as The Red Barron's nemesis, WWI Fighter Pilot Ace Snoopy. Mom used her creative talents to add a beagle tail & ears to Ronan's pilot hat and jacket. We loved the way it turned out and Ronan was delighted seeing himself in full costume.

Approving of what he sees in the mirror

And the ensemble was well used. Thursday we attended an event at my work- the place was packed with hundreds of kids in character, enjoying the festivities and excellent food. While the party was fun, Ronan's favorite part was getting behind the wheel of an electric cart used by facilities to get around campus.

Happy to be "piloting" something...

On Friday Ronan participated in a parade at his daycare. One of his teacher's remarked that Ronan was the only child in his class that made it through the parade without taking off his costume.

Happily wagging his tail

For Halloween night Ronan toured the neighborhood, doing his best to fit in with other kids like a seasoned candy-fetching veteran. I was happy he left the eggs and toilet paper at home; instead of the "trick-or-treat" threat he employed the "treat, please"-and-"thank you" approach. It seemed to work- people got a kick out of his silent-yet-determined, very polite disposition.

Ronan and Dad in search of loot

Showing Auntie Shelia some impressive props

It was a great time- after more than an hour and a half-dozen blocks traveled Ronan called it a night. Some of our neighbors invested a serious amount of time and effort into making their homes fun for visitors- a big thank to those who did, you delighted many, many kids this Halloween!

Mom and Ronan enjoying a fully decorated front yard that included a 1/12 scale pirate ship and faux firing canonsh