Saturday, November 27, 2010

Un-Boxing the Imagination

Ronan checking his gages whilst Nieve enjoys a pre-flight snack

One of our favorite changes we've seen in Ronan over the past month has been the blossoming of his imagination. Rather than simply play with/organize cars he's now taking seemingly innocuous objects and turning them into something fun.

Happy to avoid TSA delays for this flight

Last week, for example, Ronan moved out all of his cars in trucks from the 'Greasy Garage' and proclaimed that the box was now the cockpit of his airplane. Of course Nieve wanted to do the same but Ronan noted she was, "too young to have a license" and would thus have to simply be a passenger. Ronan climbed in, had Nieve join him, and then proceeded to talk to the 'control tower', asking for permission to takeoff and land. Apparently things that he picked up at the Hiller Air Museum have stuck. When I asked where he was going to fly to, he answered, "Chicago. Or maybe Hawaii".

Ronan and the princess on a 'train ride'

Witnessing the flight of a child's imagination is one of the most rewarding parts of parenthood. I'm excited to see what else Nieve and Ronan decide to do with all the various mundane objects currently cluttering our house. Sure, those objects will most likely end up being destroyed, but witnessing that deconstruction process will be delightful!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Rain Ranger

Intrepid Ronan on his quest for water. Bravery comes easy when wielding a ladybug umbrella and sporting Thomas The Thank Engine galoshes.

Following a beautiful, warm first two weeks of November the rain and cold weather has finally arrived. Fortunately for Ronan he loves the water and, save the pre-hypothermia violent shivering, seems impervious to the cold.

Intentionally standing directly under a broken downspout next to our front door

Observing the storm drains and the fallen foliage blocking the grate

Finding streams, falling water, and puddles is Ronan's favorite part of rainy days. Just a romp around the neighborhood (or even our front yard) provides hours of entertainment. Ronan's fun is usually cut short by either Mom or I deciding enough is enough (blue lips, severely slurred speech, increased clumsiness to the point of dangerousness, etc) and requiring him to head back to a warmer, dryer space.

Not sure what this pose is about, but he did like the golden carpet of ginko leaves

Playing with some earthworms

Nieve is not much for 'the elements' so she stays inside where it is cozy, dry, and filled with fun but not too physically taxing toys.

When it's wet outside Nieve is happy to just jump indoors

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ronan Appreciates Art

Ronan reminds us not to take ourselves, or our art too seriously...

Well, maybe not yet. But he did at least pose *near* the beautiful painting we received as a gift from Auntie Mel and Uncle T. It is the third piece in our collection by our favorite artist, Agni Ardi.

A painting we fell in love with almost a decade ago in Ubud, Bali, now comfortably filling our living room

Agni's work is art that we love to live with - it's fun, complex, beautiful, and abstract. It's almost a game to see what people interpret out of the various lines and colors that stretch across the canvas - the paintings inevitably draw out even the most unimaginative viewer's imagination. It also seems comfortable with the chaos and clutter that is a home with two young kids. Both Nieve and Ronan love all of our Agni Ardi paintings. When asked, Ronan said his favorite is, "..the blue one. And the one with the red, too."

Many, many thanks Auntie M & Uncle T!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Standing... with a Prop

Our little girl trying hard to grow up (far too quickly)

Nieve has always had strong legs (with sizable thighs as proof). When we first brought her home from the hospital it seemed as if she was wanting to stand on her own. At the time Mom disapproved of letting her try (the abnormal stress from standing can adversely impact hip development), but now that Nieve is a bit older Mom has allowed her to stand for short periods of time.

A smile that says, "Look at me!"

When we let her try, Nieve will happily plant her feet and keep her balance for a short while under her own strength (aided by a prop). While standing she looks terribly proud of herself - when she eventually plops to the ground she immediately starts complaining. We're impressed with her strength and determination but are a bit concerned about her being more mobile than she already is!

Push off the prop to make it more challenging

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Grammy!

Yep, that's a happy little girl

Even though it was her birthday, Grammy decided to spend her day to help care for Nieve and get our house in working order. As always, it was a treat for us and I think Grammy enjoyed her time with her Granddaughter. Happy Birthday Grammy!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nieve's Hair Goes Big

"Good morning! Like my hair?"

Nieve's hair is almost always a topic of discussion whenever someone meets her. Yes, she has far more of it than most six-month-olds, but what makes it notable is the crazy shapes that it takes.

Insane hair makes Nieve giggle

When Mom brought Nieve down this morning even Ronan and I stopped to admire her coiffure. It wasn't just crazy, it was BIG. Scary big. Sicking up in a strange, wavy, almost wanna-be-60's-beehive done with little to no regard for tidiness. It's unclear exactly what combination of overnight drool and odd head position during sleep made for such a do, but we marveled at the result.

Nieve got the 'do under control just in time for dinner

Fortunately for Nieve, after a bit the whole thing settled down and by dinnertime her hair was manageable. And during bathtime Auntie Sheila wanted to try a mow-hawk like Ronan sported at her age, but alas the hair was too long to stay put without serious additives. She's asleep now but we're eager to see which hairstyle tonight's rest will bring!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Foodtime with Nieve

Good food makes Nieve happy

A month ago Nieve started eating solid food and now family mealtimes have become, well, interesting. Nieve has expanded her palate to include both rice and oatmeal cereal, prunes, avocado, blueberries, banana, chicken, and Tootsie Roll Pop (a quick snatch from Ronan during Halloween).

Ronan adds fun to food time by drinking his water with a straw

It seems her favorite food is now the oatmeal/prune blend (lollypop aside, of course) we give her during breakfast as she willingly eats the entire portion. When we gave her a blueberry/banana/oatmeal concoction she seemed as eager to wear it as much as she did to eat it... she spent the rest of the day with bits of blueberry hardened to her face.

Grammy feeding our newest food lover

We're looking forward to exploring more foods with Nieve as she seems eager to try whatever it is we are eating. Hopefully she'll have the same adventurous approach to food as her older brother does (his motto: when in doubt, add Nutella)!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pumpkin Head - Take Three

"Take the picture, Dad. Now. You good? OK, let's go."

A few weekends ago we took a trip over the hill to San Gregorio to fetch our seasonal pumpkins. It was Ronan's third year in a row and the first for Nieve for playing at the pumpkin patch - unlike the previous two years the weather was beautiful (hot, actually) with very little wind.

Nieve attacking her pumpkin while Ronan and Auntie She fly through the rows

Where's Ronan? Somewhere in the detritus

Pumpkins bring out the nutty in Ronan

Ronan did the usual, wrestling pumpkins, climbing the hay stack, and exploring the old farm machinery. He even sat still long enough to take a few photos with Nieve. Ronan also took to jumping off of the hay stack and his actions encouraged another little boy to join in the not-exactly-safe fun. Auntie She, who joined us for the fun, did her best to get Ronan to do things his mother and father consider dangerous.

Yep. That's Ronan.

Hands out front, knees bent, looking at the landing... pretty good form for a 2.5 year old

Superfly jumping off again

Nieve, ever sensitive to hard environmental conditions, was nonplussed by the exposure to the bright sun and the coarseness of the hay when she sat on it. That said she had fun with some pumpkins and loved watching the kids run around an be crazy for a bit of time.

Patient but uncomfortable Nieve waits for Ronan to finish his crazed jumping

And like always, we outfitted the kids with their hand-knit hats from our friend Linda - both of them looked scrumptious. Thanks again Linda!

A little Auntie She time always perks Nieve up