Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Caltrain to the Burgess Park Pool

Taking in the sights on the train, ticket in hand

Ronan loves trains, and he loves playing in the water, so we thought a fun outing would be to ride Caltrain north a couple of stops to swim at the Burgess Park Pool in Menlo Park. Ronan knows the place well as he often rides his bike at the Skate Park and Mom's cousin Noreen (who is a proud new mom of a fantastic little Finn) is the Director of Recreation for the West Menlo Park system.

Checking things out in the loading area

He loved it. Everything about Caltrain, buying the ticket, walking down the underpass to get to the Northbound tracks, waiting with anticipation behind the yellow line, clutching his ticket in case the conductor asks his for proof of fare, to exiting the train, Ronan took in attentively. He just wished that the ride was longer.

Watching longingly as Caltrain departs after his ride

At the pool Ronan reveled in jumping in and making as large a splash as possible. He would do a little bit of kicking and on occasion I could get this to try floating, but really all he wanted to do was jump in, get his head wet, and do it all over again.

Ronan's takeoff...

... and the post plunge smile!

Trains and pools- a great combo to make a little boy's morning fun!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Crazy Hair and Fun Toes

The 'do

Nieve has perhaps some of the craziest (natural) hair ever for a baby. It's long, wavy and stylish in the front (Mom puts a clip on it to keep it out of her eyes), short on the sides & back (from being rubbed off during her sleep), and capped by a large wistful tuft on top that shoots straight up and curls over towards her back like the lip of a wave. A little action figure could get barreled quite nicely in that tuft.

Our little girl, so proud to have grasped her toes

She has also found her toes- she loves grabbing them and grinning at you with a look of great satisfaction. On occasion she can master the pull-with-the-hands-but-keep-legs-loose coordination and get those toes into her mouth. The toes must have a little funk to them (Mom confirms this) as Nieve pulls a scrunched-up face and will only gnaws on then for a few seconds (as opposed to my finger, a toy, her bib, teething ring, etc. which she'll chew on with vigor for a good 30 mins).

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Grandpa's Awesome Slideshow

My favorite YouTube video... I wonder why?

Grandpa came up the other week for a quick overnight visit- while he was here he captured some beautiful photographs of Ronan & Nieve. I love the video slideshow of those images he put together and posted on YouTube... I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

And don't fret about copyright issues- Scott McKenzie is getting promotional value from having his song associated with the video... you can download an mp3 of San Francisco from Amazon/iTunes (just by following the links).

Thanks Grandpa, beautiful work. And a very happy birthday from all of us!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ronan's First Visit to the Dentist

Sleepy Ronan in the dentist's chair... there was a television in the ceiling that was playing Ratatouille (Ronan's choice, of course)

Ronan, who barely woke up in time to wave to the recycling truck driver, had his fist dentist appointment this morning. Any new space is always a bit disconcerting for Ronan, but his toy school bus and Kawasaki made the visit easy.

The dentist said that Ronan's teeth look great. Ronan's last two 'baby' molars are pushing through right now, there are no signs of cavities, and the alignment and large spacing between his upper teeth are all good signs for keeping orthodontic costs to a minimum. Ronan also did great with the scraping (not much was needed), polishing, and flossing, though he was a bit wary at first. When the appointment was over Ronan was able to choose a toy to take with him... and of course he grabbed a monster truck as his prize for cooperative behavior.

Today is also Ronan's first day in 'young preschool', meaning a new classroom, two new teachers, and double the number of friends. Drop off went great- he found a friend's train (Harvey, from Thomas the Tank Engine fame) and gave it back without protest (I was amazed). When I left he was snacking happily on fresh wholewheat bread and home-made apricot/agave jam. I'm hoping the rest of his day goes smoothly!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Adventures with Nana & Uncle Todd

Is it worse to be born into nutty or to marry into nutty? A lesson for the singles... choose your in-laws carefully

Last week Nana and Uncle Todd came up to visit Ronan and Nieve; we had some fun days together exploring the local (kid friendly) scene.

Nieve gives Uncle T a smirk

This is what nanas and their grandsons do

We wanted to do something outdoors and Ronan asked to go to one of his favorite spots to hike- Arastradero Preserve and the adjacent Portola Pastures. We found tractors, raptors, and of course all kinds of horses- draft horses, thoroughbreds, a burro, and even a very small horse ("little tiny horse" as Ronan would say).

Eyes on the trail as horse poop is everywhere

Petting a 'little tiny horse'

Petting a 'beeeguh horse'

The next day we decided to get some urban flair so we headed up to San Francisco where we visited the playground at Golden Gate Park, checked out the progress being made on the eastern span of the Bay Bridge, doddled around the De Young Museum/Academy of Arts & Sciences, and did a quick stroll through Crissy Fields and portions of Fort Point.

Ronan getting 'inverted' while Nana pushed him on the swing

Rocky BalRonan... chasing the birds

Loving the concrete slide @ GG Park

The days together were great- Mom and I had a lot of fun, the kids loved it, and I suspect Nana and Uncle T enjoyed it enough to come back in the next, oh, five years or so. Thanks for coming up, we had a blast!

Uncle T capturing SF under the fog

Monday, August 23, 2010

Yosemite from Ronan's POV

Goofing around with Nieve on vacation

What made a trip to Yosemite memorable for Ronan? Here is Ronan's list, in more-or-less chronological order:

1. Playing in the Merced River until he was almost suffering from hypothermia
2. Watching Ratatouille (at least a good 50 minutes of it). Ronan went straight from almost freezing from playing in the river to a fever of 102.5 F- we thought the Pixar film was just the thing to make him feel better.
3. Finding a scorpion in the sink

A not-so-friendly looking resident of our kitchen

4. Riding the shuttle buses at the valley floor

A happy boy on a bus ride

5. Getting a 'lucky bag' while visiting Lower Yosemite Falls as a gift from a Korean tourist

The "lucky bag" in front of Lower Yosemite Falls

6. Watching a bobcat with a squirrel in it's mouth leasierly cross in front of us on path from Lower Yosemite Falls

A bobcat with it's lunch

7. Checking out heavy machinery, from a snow-cat to a very large excavator, all found on the side of the road

Mimicking Einstein on a snow cat's track

Eagerly exploring an excavator

8. Sharing fun moments with friends, both old and new at the Tunnel View turn out

The crew, minus one Uncle S @ the Tunnel View, just after sunset

9. Looking up at El Capitan and telling us, "Stop the car. I want to climb it."

Climb it? I'd normally say sarcastically, "Good luck", but with Ronan he would probably give it a try

And many warm thanks to our kind friends for sharing their vacation with us, and being patient with the constraints that come with having young ones in tow!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ferocious Nieve

Showing Auntie She that she means business

Perhaps 'ferocious' is not the appropriate term, but Nieve certainly leads with her mouth agape when she engages with people and toys alike. She typically starts with a smile and then quickly morphs her grin into a open mouth, her nose crinkled, barring her toothless gums for all to see.

Our little St. George, boldly confronting dragons

Leaning forward with her asp-like strike

If she does make contact with, for example, a knuckle, she will gently bite down and proceed to thrash her head back and forth quickly like a dog with a plush toy. I think she's teething (the excessive drool supports my theory) but I cannot feel any teeth beneath her soft, oft shown gums.

Nieve will even bite at the camera, given the chance

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Soothing Aides

A small but desirable prize

Last night Ronan threw away his pacifier. It was entirely of his own prompting; right before his bath he dangled the pacifier over the trashcan and looked at us with a nervous smile. Mom and I did not know what to do; we asked repeatedly, "Are you sure?" and informed him, "If you throw it away, you will not see it again."

After a minute of standing there and acknowledging our comments, he plopped the pacifier in the trash, jumped in the tub, and said, "I want my present." Mom had told him that when he decided it was time to get rid of the pacifier he would get a gift.

My co-worker called it bribery. I prefer "incentive-based parenting". Either way, it's been 15 hours without the pacifier and Ronan's doing great. In fact, he seems whine less without it. It looks like our little boy is growing up.

Nieve and her new-found soothing aid

Coincidentally, this morning when we awoke, we found Nieve, asleep and happy, with her thumb firmly planted inside of her mouth. Getting rid of her soothing prop is going to be a bit trickier than it was with Ronan.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Ronan Rolls a Tandem, Nieve Charms Alysia

Nieve practicing the power of her grin on Auntie Alyshia

Last weekend Ronan and Nieve had a treat- Uncle Mikey, Auntie Alyshia, and Bhavesh Kaka came down for some food, and to help sample some Ribera del Duero wines in a 'taste off' for Jason & Gina's upcoming wedding.

Testing out the stoker seat on a tandem

While we didn't reach a decision on the wine, we did have a great afternoon together. It's always a blast hanging out with old friends and it's even more touching to see your children enjoy it too.

Sure, he's not able to reach the pedals, but at least he's getting the knack of the hanging-on part

Thanks to all three for a great time together!