Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ronan's First Ice Cream Cone

A boy and his ice cream cone

Summer has finally arrived, and what better way to celebrate than a nice cold ice cream cone? It was another 'first' for Ronan, and he made the bold selection of a rainbow-sprinkled waffle cone filled with vanilla bean ice cream (it was Häagen-Dazs, of course).

Digging in

Ronan loved it, and even though the cone was the smallest size offered, it took Mom, Ronan, and me to finish it off. Sad that 'child size' apparently includes the child's parents.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Nieve Keeps Growing

"Whatcu lookin' at?" Nieve's bouncy chair sags under her girth

During Nieve's two-month check-up, she weighed in at an impressive 5.613 kg (12 lbs, 6 oz) putting her in the 90th percentile for weight. She also measured a long 60 cm (23.5 in), in the 94th percentile for her age. Though big, Nieve's size is proportional with her weight-to-length ratio being exactly the mean for infants her age (and demographic).

Auntie She happy about providing a nice spot to rest

Grammy napping? I never thought I'd see the day. I suppose even the Energizer Bunny needs a break now and then.

How does she do it? Lots of eating and lots of sleeping. Nieve is different than Ronan, who was a challenge to feed as well and a struggle to establish good sleep habits. To Nieve, any warm body looks like perfect spot to nap, and she's direct and demanding when she gets hungry.

Ya, that's my little girl

She feels big, to be sure, but with her ever increasing size is also a corresponding increase in cuteness. She smiles while cooing when she sees a familiar face and a few of us, with the right encouragement, can get her to "sing". And just this evening Mom was able to get her to chortle a bit by tickling the under side of her neck. We may not be able to lift her, but we are enthralled by not-so-little Nieve and all the charm she brings into our house.

Amazing how happy a Dad this disheveled can be

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tasty Food and a Twinkle

Ready to dig into the kebabs

Ronan is a great eater- for example last night his dinner was pancetta wrapped salmon kebabs (thanks Auntie E and Uncle S for the pancetta!), fresh avocado, brown jasmine rice, and cut mango. He seemed to have a texture issue with the pancetta (leaving more for Mom and me), but the rest of the meal he downed with gusto.

Nieve grinning while having a warm, wet cloth massage her gums

Nieve is a great bather and one of the highlights of my day is watching her coo and smile when we 'brush her teeth' with a damp cloth during bathtime. Mom is right when she says that Nieve has a witty twinkle in her eye- which most likely will translate into trouble when she is older.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Loving Construction @ Stanford University

Ronan taking inventory of the heavy machinery at this site

One ritual Ronan and I try to do every weekend is a bike ride through Stanford University in search of heavy machinery to explore. Thanks to a construction boom on campus we're almost always successful at finding something to keep Ronan entertained.

'Driving' the backhoe loader but eying the larger front loader

This past Sunday we found a dump truck, front loader and a backhoe loader all parked together in a soon-to-be transformed parking lot between Wilbur and Stern Halls. Any time that Ronan can climb aboard the machines means lots of smiles and excitement- the bigger the machine, the better.

Always important to check your mirrors prior to starting excavation

Happy now he's on the biggest machine around, Ronan is ready to start moving dirt

Ronan has now taken to instructing the truck (verbally) to do his bidding- so far none have responded the way he would have liked but nevertheless he keeps trying. Who knows.. maybe one day he'll command a machine to, "Sit! Stay!" and he'll feel vindicated.

"Move! Push dirt this way!"

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ronan's Little Cupcake

A sweet little boy and his (somewhat) comfortable little sister

Ronan has always been a sweet, loving brother to Nieve- even the day after she was born Ronan was gentle and tender while holding her. Nieve seems to take it all in stride and when she hears Ronan's voice she often cranes her head in his direction. It's anyone's guess to just how long this mutual sibling affection will last, but Mom and I will enjoy it while we have it.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

An Evening Stroll

Ronan is nonplussed with being in set photographs

One of our favorite summer family activities is a post-dinner walk; the cooling air and low sitting sun make it the perfect time of day to stretch the legs.

Mom and our little(st) one

This evening we found a field of blooming poppies on the edge of the Stanford campus- Ronan decided to pick one for Mommy (even though he was told not to). Nieve seemed to enjoy the temperate breeze and the simple act of getting out and seeing new sights.

Ronan amongst the poppies. His entranced look was not due to the beauty of the field he was in, but rather an old, loud muscle car that was driving by.

It's a tradition carried over from my childhood- when Ronan and Nieve are old enough they too will likely need to be bribed with ice cream cones to continue to partake in this family event.

Heading home

Friday, June 11, 2010

Recycle Truck

Waiting with great anticipation

Every Thursday morning Ronan has his breakfast on our deck that overlooks the street. He eats his oatmeal and berries while sitting in an Adirondack chair, waiting for the telltale squeak and grumble of the recycling truck.

Ronan loves recycle trucks

It's one of Ronan's favorite times of the day; he loves watching the truck make its way down the street collecting the week's recyclables. The man who drives the truck always looks for Ronan and gives him a big smile and wave as he passes by. Ronan shows his appreciation by taking his little Matchbox recycle truck out with him and shows it enthusiastically to the driver.

Ronan proudly showing off his model recycle truck

Surprisingly, love for garbage/recycling trucks is not uncommon in toddlers. A friend at work also has a two-year old infatuated with trucks that collect stuff. Apparently there are quite a few engaging videos on YouTube (like this one, with over 1.2 million views!) that Ronan needs to watch.

"Up... and duhmph!" goes the recycle bin

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

To Appease... Some Photos of Nieve

Just to satisfy those wanting some more recent photos of Nieve... here you go. Enjoy!

Our smiling little chubaroo

Nieve's eyes are becoming increasingly blue

"That's my name, don't wear it out!"

Monday, June 7, 2010

Reconnecting With Dear Friends

The smiles speak for themselves

Last week Ronan was in for a treat- our good friends Jeannie & Christian brought their two amazing daughters, Oona and Kira, out to the Bay Area for a visit.

'incapable of remembering to hold his breath' Ronan thought going head-first into the water was a good idea...

... and it turns out that he does love, "head first!" slides into the pool

It has been more than two years since Mom and I have seen Oona- she has grown from being an adorable one year-old to a beautiful and patient (with Ronan, and Kira too) pre-schooler. She's wise beyond her years and already a remarkable, independent young woman. Just being with her makes us smile. She's very special to us- we've been fortunate to watch her grow.

Oona seeing what the big fuss was all about

Kira getting ready to take the plunge

And Kira is a unrivaled charmer- her hearty laugh and bright smile instantly won our entire family over. She was by far the most social of all of us in the house. Charisma and charm aside, I was most impressed with her determination and will. Less than two years of age she already knows exactly what she wants (usually it's whatever Oona has) and is unafraid to make it clear that she will, in fact, get it.

One of the world's most beautiful smiles

Kira showing she has what it takes to be just like her big sister

Ronan loved them both. He typically gravitates to older kids, so he spent his time following Oona around, trying to impress her with his toys and his dancing skills. He also showed both of them some of his favorite spots and he brought out his kiddie pool for the three of them to splash around in. Now that Oona and Kira have returned home, Ronan is a bit sad to no longer have his buddies around.

Ronan checking to see if Christian was getting Oona higher than Mom was pushing him

Mom and I are also bummed that they have left- Jeannie and Christian were fantastic house guests who did far too much work on what was supposed to be their vacation. Thank you guys for making the past week so easy, and for bringing your lovely family with you!

This is how the three of them roll

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Two Kids at Bathtime

Our soggy but happy boy

We're finally giving Ronan and Nieve concurrent baths. Sure, Ronan has the tub and Nieve is still washed in what is essentially a highly designed, glorified bucket, but at least they are splashing around in near proximity to each other.

Nieve relaxing and listening to Ronan make a ruckus

Nieve now loves bath time- as soon as she hears running water she starts craning her head in that direction. When we wash her tongue with a soft rag (yes, we omit the soap) she giggles and coos with delight. She's happy, content, and alert during the entire process- the only squawks of displeasure come when she's being dressed after we've applied her moisturizer.

Our happy, chubby baby who loves water... cleaning out the folds of her neck is an effort-intensive process

Ronan has improved on his wave creation and splashing capabilities; I typically have Ronan wash duties and I always need a change of clothes when he's finally read to dry off.

Yes, Ronan slyly waits until just the right moment to start the water splashing

Couple this devious grin with the sound of maniacal laughter and you get the idea...

It's funny how something so simple as bath-time has become a full half hour event- from drawing the bath, getting the kids undressed, the process of washing (including hard-to-clean spots like Nieve's impressive chub 'rolls'), shampooing, drying, and stuffing the little ones into their footie-jammies.

Ronan's moniker during the drying stage is "Kronprinz" with him pretending his towel is a crown and flowing robe