Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick or Treat

Not entirely thrilled with the fit of his work helmet

Halloween is always fun for kids - the costumes, the pumpkins, and of course the oodles of candy. This year Ronan dressed up as a construction worker complete with a little Igloo cooler to collect sweets in. Nieve used a costume Ronan wore when he was six months old - a little leopard outfit.

Nieve the leopard in the Bjorn

Highlights of tick-or-treating this year included walking the neighborhood with friends Lorenzo and Kiara, having Auntie Sheila map out the route for maximum candy collection, and visiting an amazing display at a neighbor's home that included a fog bubble machine, a homemade canon that shot smoke rings (Ronan fired it twice), and a 1/10 scale model of the Black Pearl. We even got to stop in at our friends dinner party to show off the kids in costume.

Holding, rather than wearing his helmet makes our little builder happy

It was a great night with Ronan being remarkably well behaved. Nieve was afraid of the dark but after a little feeding-on-the-go she fell asleep and took a 30 min nap in my arms (the highlight of the evening for me). It was a great way to wrap up the weekend, but now Mom and I have to figure out how to dispose of all the excess candy in the house.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Del Mar - It's All About the Beach

A slideshow from some of our September '10 Del Mar beach memories

There are lots of fun children-centric things to do in San Diego, including the most heavily marketed places like Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, and Legoland. For all the fun and convenience (and hit to your pocketbook) these theme parks bring, nothing beats the timeless fun of playing at Del Mar's pristine beaches.

That probably explains why sometimes we make two trips a day (pre and post nap) to the waves and sand. The kids love it - all parents really need to do is keep a watchful eye on energetic toddlers and make sure an ample amount of sunscreen is applied. Ronan is rightfully cautious with the ocean but at times will forget that the water's edge advances and recedes. Not only does he love playing in the water he also likes to stretch his legs an run along the water's edge. When tired he loves to be buried (up to his neck!), especially in the warmer, dry dark sand.

Nieve, on the other hand, is shaping up to be an urban girl. She was intrigued by the beach but if the wind was too strong or the sun too intense she became a bit fussy. She seemed to like best all of the action at the more crowded spots - people watching was her favorite thing to do.

Besides exposure to the elements, sand-in-everything is the downside to beach trips. Nana's house was filled with the grainy stuff - a huge thank you to her for unparalleled hospitality and patience for our beach going habit!

A beautiful Nana, dazzling @ Gina and Jason's wedding. Just thought I'd include it as a part of the 'grazie' to Nana!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Go Giants!

Nieve giving her support to the Giants as they start the World Series tonight in San Francisco

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Nieve and the Doorway Jumper

A happy little girl with a spring in her step

Nieve enjoys many things - competing for Ronan's attention, eating her toys, regarding wall hangings, and playing in her exersaucer. One activity she has recently taken a liking to is bouncing up and down in her doorway jumper.

Ronan at six months, 'seasoning' the jumper so that it's nice and soft for Nieve

When Ronan was Nieve's age he was crazy about the jumper and even morphed his bouncing up and down into a not-half-bad Irish jig. He did so by fluttering his feet back and forth quickly as soon as they left the floor. Nieve's solid at the basic jump but she's got a ways before she can replicate Ronan's skill and flair.

Alternative uses of the jumper, now that Ronan's too big to jump in it

Now that Ronan is a 'big boy' the doorway jumper has become interesting in a different way - he uses it to do 'fire drills' by wildly swinging in a big arc until he hits a wall (or whatever object may be in his path). He'll also dive into the jumper face-first and get his head stuck in one of the leg holes.

A video from the 2008 archive - Ronan jumping to Mom's Celtic singing

Hopefully Nieve will continue to have (safe) fun in her bouncer. Here's hoping she does not pick up on Ronan's reckless habits!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Nieve's Foot Tapping

Keep an eye on that right foot...

When Nieve is in her booster seat during meal time, she unfailingly ends up tapping out a rhythm with her right foot on the chair's center post. It's funny to watch and almost certainly a soothing mechanism for her, but Mom and I are becoming concerned that she'll end up with a monster callous on her heel.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

A reflecting pond with lilies at Balboa Park

When growing up I used to love the days that we would go to Balboa Park, the cultural center of San Diego. In addition to the Spanish Colonial architecture and the San Diego Zoo, the Ruben H. Fleet Space Theater (as it was called decades ago) was a favorite part of the trip.

The magical effects of dry ice

Observing the effect of wind on the sand

I enjoyed it because the exhibit designers did a good job of making various science principles/phenomena interactive, fun, and easy to understand. The Reuben H. Fleet may be, in part, responsible for my interest in science & engineering later in life.

Making "BIG" smoke rings... without the tobacco

Making bubble rings

I'm by no means certain that our visit sparked Ronan or Nieve's interest in science, but I am sure they had fun exploring the place. There is a 'toddlers space' of primarily toys age appropriate for 3 year-olds, but Ronan spent most of his time with the exhibits intended for older children. Nieve spent most of her time sleeping.

Playing with acoustic experiments

Friday, October 8, 2010

San Diego Rail

Boarding the trolley with Mom

Ronan loves trains so naturally when we visited San Diego we had to check out the local rail entities. San Diego has the Metropolitan Tansit System's trolley with routes that run from the border to downtown and the major sporting venues. One trolley line runs right by the New Children's Museum and every time a train would rumble by Ronan would stop what he was doing and make us watch it pass. That led to all of us (Bhavesh Kaka and Auntie Sheila were with us) purchasing tickets and riding the trolley a few stops, just for fun.

Mom, Ronan, and Bhavesh Kaka on the San Diego trolley

The new American Plaza trolley station

Near Nana's house in Del Mar the train tracks run along the coast and right by the beach that we visit. In addition to stopping and staring at the passing trains Ronan was fascinated by the noisy and flashing crossing gates that would come down. Now when Ronan plays with his Thomas the Tank Engine he notes the railroad crossing sign and pretends red lights are flashing and an imaginary bell is ringing.

So exciting, Ronan has to hold onto his hat

Ronan really us infatuated with trains (as are most boys) - now that we are back home we'll have to take him on the narrow-gauge steam train through the redwood forests of the Santa Cruz mountains.

Amtrak at sunset, overlooking Del Mar beach

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

October 1st, 2010 - A Most Excellent Day

10/1/10 was a wonderful day - little Sage was born to our friends Ery and Tim. Nieve is looking forward to have a fellow fashionista to hang with, especially given us parents are all 'stylistically challenged' (at least Tim, Mom and I are).

Sage, just learning how to keep her eyes open

Separately our friends Gina and Jason tied the knot at a beautiful ceremony in San Diego - they both looked dashing and the party was a blast. The newlyweds are likely enjoying some well earned rest together on their honeymoon.

A radiant bride and a "he's looked worse" groom

Congrats to Ery, Tim, Gina, and Jason!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Nieve's First Solid Food

Not exactly an enthusiastic reception

This evening was Nieve's first introduction to solid food. The oatmeal cereal we offered her was poorly received, though Nieve did manage to keep down a few heaping spoonfuls.

The first taste is always a bit shocking

Trying hard to power through that undesirable taste

I imagine it was a disappointment for her given they way she would watch us eat 'adult food' with envy for past few months. If she was ever on one of our laps at meal time we'd have to be extra cautious of her fast, grasping little hands that would continue to reach for our food.

Fighting the spoon to keep from having to eat any more of that bad tasting mush

We will keep trying with other baby foods and hopefully something will be well received by her. I can't say that I'm surprised at her reaction- that mush really is unappealing.

Ronan too was less than impressed when he tried cereal for the first time two years ago