Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Nana's Vespa

Nana going over all of the controls with an eager grandson

As noted in the previous post, Ronan's favorite motorcycle manufacturer is Ducati. His favorite scooter manufacturer is Italian as well - meaning lots of bright red - and that scooter manufacturer is Vespa.

The Fonz has nothing on Ronan

Trying on Uncle Todd's helmet

Ronan's love for Vespa's is clearly Nana's doing. In Jan of this year Nana bought a, you guessed it, bright red Vespa LX 150. Since then she's been sending photos to Ronan, reminding him of just how cool and fun this little machine is. Ronan has bought her story and enjoys pointing out these highly stylized vehicles, be it on the road or in a book.

Nieve elated to ride side saddle with her big brother at the controls

For what it's worth the Vespa is a very fun and capable machine. It's sprightly, well proportioned and easy to ride. It's a bit quicker than I thought it would be, and Mom enjoyed riding it. It oozes fun and that's really the point of owning a scooter in Southern California.

Mom enjoying the test ride

A lovely lady - Mom daintily crossing her legs, Italian woman style.

It's not the most masculine vehicle on the road and I felt a bit silly putting about on it. Ronan does not seem to be bothered by the less-than-manly persona of the Vespa, though I'm hoping he chooses a Ducati when it comes time to make a motorized two-wheel vehicle purchase.

Not exactly macho... but fun

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Uncle Jeff and Aunt Kathy!

A happy little Nieve and Aunt Kathy

Ronan always remembers a kindred spirit and Uncle Jeff was no exception. They share a love for motorcycles (Ducati is Ronan's favorite make at the moment, thanks in large part to our neighbor's new Monster 1100S), bicycles and cars- I'm sure as Ronan gets older he'll be consulting with Uncle Jeff on all things machinery.

Ronan's new Mini Cooper, courtesy of Uncle Jeff

Nieve, of course, charmed both Aunt Kathy and Uncle Jeff after only a few moments of flashing her smile. She seemed to enjoy them as much as they did her. It was a treat for Mom and I as well as it had been a while since we were able to catch up with Uncle Jeff and Aunt Kathy.

Shoulder ride!

Though the visit was short (with kids all social visits seem to be short and frequently interrupted!) it was great- thanks Uncle Jeff and Aunt Kathy for making the time to visit! Hopefully in the near future our little ones will be well behaved enough to make a visit to your place. Say, in 2025?

Nieve giving a big hug goodbye

Monday, September 27, 2010

Taking to the Sky

Ronan pulling his suitcase, with the veteran weary traveler stride

On Saturday we made our annual pilgrimage south to San Diego. Mom and I were a bit concerned about traveling with two young ones- it had been a year since Ronan was last on an airplane and this was Nieve's maiden flight.

Being cutsie on the escalator

The day of travel (save an unpleasant experience at the rental car agency) went smoothly- the kids were great, the lines bearable, and everything went to schedule. A benefit from taking Virgin America is that their gates are based out of the new and spacious International terminal at SFO. Ronan had a blast exploring the space after we made it through security.

Nieve's first flight

A few key things seemed to make the difference. First, my colleague, who has a two-year-old of his own, lent us a portable DVD player to keep Ronan anesthetized. Second, giving Ronan his own little suitcase (which he called, "luggage") made him feel like he needed to behave like all of the other adults at the airport. Finally, making sure the infant has access to food and a warm body makes hour-long flights a breeze, even if they are a little stuffy.

Ronan scored the window seat. Unfortunately during takeoff & landing he could not see the ground below as the window was too high for him.

We all made it to Nana's house safe and sound and are loving the warm (hot!) weather and Nana's wonderful hospitality.

Monday, September 20, 2010

DJ Nieve

A prelude to record scratching

Nieve has a little 'activity center' she goes in to keep her entertained if Mom and I need a moment to do a chore around the house (or eat dinner, etc). She loves it- she can happily stay in it for up to fifteen minutes playing with all of the various stations designed to captivate infants.

"Yo... from the crowd... any requests?"

Her favorite station (aside from the dragon that she routinely attacks) is the noise maker - brightly colored plastic tiles that, when pressed, make the noise of the animal pictured on it. If you hit the tiles enough times in quick succession a little song plays as a reward. Nieve has mastered making the song play and every time the tune starts she looks up from her determined whacking with a broad 'I'm so proud of myself' grin. Her joy from playing the song is so apparent that we've dubbed her "DJ Nieve" whenever she is in the excersaucer.

A grinning girl, mixing up a fat beat for the fam

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ronan's Rocket Ship

Love at first sight... perhaps Ronan's first tattoo?

OK, it's a car, not a rocket ship. Sadly it's not Ronan's 'rocket ship', but that is exactly what he called it. It's certainly not my 'rocket ship' and it's not even our friend's 'rocket ship', but Uncle S did borrow a Tesla Roadster (by borrowed we suspect he left a fake id at the Tesla dealership and drove it home... I'm sure the sales guys are still looking for him) and Ronan was eager to check it out.

"What kind of tall lanky driver are these pedals placed for? Move 'em closer to the seat so I can reach!"

Ronan desperately *wished* it belong to at least one of us... but we were all surprised that it was Mom who smiled & giggled the most (although unlike Ronan she got to drive it). An understandably common response after piloting a car that can go 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds.

"Sweet! This thing's got charge, baby! Charge!

To Ronan's keen eye there were several interesting features:
  • A cool new head badge (he had never seen the Tesla insignia before)
  • A coolant reservoir above the large rear batteries & the PEM (Power Electronics Module)
  • An interesting air intake behind the doors (to cool the PEM/batteries)
  • A cozy cockpit with low-slung seats
  • A Back-to-the-future styled power port (in place of a gas cap)
  • No tailpipe! (He searched hard for it... I think he was a bit disappointed not to find one)
  • No tow hitch! After installing one on Mom's Prius, Ronan thinks all vehicles need a solid tow hitch.

"So *that's* where they keep the flux capacitor..."

It is a unbelievably fun little car. If you ever need a crazy fast all-electric coupe that is buckets of fun to drive (and you've got over $100k budgeted for your auto), Ronan highly recommends the Tesla roadster. Especially if you get it painted like Lightning McQueen. Oh, and he recommends installing a tow hitch.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A First Soccer Match

A rare moment- Ronan paying attention to the game

Last weekend Ronan attended his first football game and enjoyed it, so last night all four of us went to see if Stanford soccer would be as entertaining.

Ronan looking around for things to do, with Mom and Nieve making each other chuckle

I was surprised they charged for admission ($7 adults/$4 for Ronan/Nieve was 'complimentary'); this may be in part why the crowd was only a few hundred people. Ronan seemed to enjouy running around the bleachers and meeting other kids- he found this more interesting than watching the game. However, he did yell, "GOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAL" a few times after a booming kick (neither team scored when we were there) and asked, "what's that?" when the ref blew the whistle. He also liked to show people his ticket.

Mom, Nieve and Ronan enjoying the game from the stands

Nieve, the social butterfly, loved looking at all of the people in the stands but was frightened when the crowd noise became loud. Her hunger made her cranky and temperature was getting chilly- like many of the other families in the crowd we called it an evening by 7:30.

Front row seating under Sunday night lights

Volleyball is next on the list of sports to try out- it's probably too noisy for Nieve but Ronan will likely love the fast action, the frequent whistle blowing, and the indoor PA system.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ronan's First Football Game

Watching the Cardinal take the field after halftime

Last weekend Ronan attended his first college football game, watching Stanford beat Sacramento State on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.

I loved Ronan's enthusiasm to try something new- the guards at the gate thought it was great how eagerly he displayed our ticket. Inside Ronan enjoyed the crowds, especially the buzzing and always-standing student section.

Partying it up in the student section

It was clear though that his favorite part was watching the Tree (Stanford's mascot) dance around after Stanford scored (which happened quite a few times... the final was 52-17). Ronan also liked Stanford's fight song (All Right Now) and the 'whoop!' and jump the crowd performs at the end of each refrain.

Looking for himself up on the Jumbotron

True to being a two-years-old Ronan was happy to chow on kettle corn while watching the action. Also being true to his age he tried mightily to jump off the upper deck onto the seats twenty feet below.

Always climbing... at least this drop was less than six feet, and onto grass

It was a great afternoon- we're looking forward to seeing a soccer match or two @ Stanford in the near future!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sleep Struggles

Ronan struggles when going to sleep- like many problems his challenges mean difficulty for the whole family (in this case, the four of us are sleep deprived). We often have to 'gate' Ronan in his room and sometimes he spends more than an hour of crying, yelling, or fussing before he finally gets to sleep.

This afternoon was particularly bad; after he had finally settled I went upstairs to check on him. He had torn apart his room with everything inside strewn about the floor... including his diaper and clothes. He was half on the floor and half on the mattress with his exposed backside facing the door.

Clothing removal in protest of naptime

For all of our sanity we hope this poor sleep phase passes quickly. But, while it lasts, we'll try to enjoy the humorous parts of it.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Nieve Hard at Work

Nieve intently studying the finer points of using a mouse

Mom and Nieve stopped by my office this afternoon- it was a blast to see them in the middle of a work day, especially right before a three day weekend. Nieve liked meeting some of my colleagues and loved banging away at my keyboard. Like Ronan, Nieve seemed to approve of the fun working environment... and she did not even get to see Stanley our T-Rex!

It was a welcome treat- thanks Mom for the surprise!