Monday, March 30, 2015

Mostly March 2015 With Some Bonus February

 Maddy at home - 2-13-15

Tilden Park Merry-Go-Round - 2-15-15

 M&M get ready for the school Chinese New Year Parade. Even louder than you might think.

 Milo does his dragon look.

 Milo at the Oakland Museum of Art's Chinese New Year Festival

Even yet still more swim lessons.  They're getting pretty solid in the water!

 Maddy and Ian. 

My literary kids - 3-6-15

Fairyland, Oakland - 3-7-15

The kiddos may be ready to try snowboarding. 

Maddy and the usual pre-bedtime acrobatics. 3-7-15

 A ride with the neighbors. Maddy has become pretty solid on the bike!

Milo's not far behind...

 A visit with Matt and Michelle. 3-19-15

 The usual ice cream evolution. 3-21-15

Milo shows Matt and Michelle how to rock the slide.

 Grizzly Peak Road, Berkeley, CA - 3-21-15

 Maddy helps me lock the bikes during a family ride to downtown. 3-22-15

 I'm going to have her eat purple fruit snacks before her first date. 3-27-15

 Another Happy Hollow visit. We still really like this place, but this is probably the last year the kids will enjoy it. Elaine and I watched Maddy take what's likely to be her final ride in the little police car above.  This was the very first ride she took, four years ago now. The thrill isn't the same...
 They still like the roller coaster though.
 Enjoying the Happy Hollow maze Milo style.
 Milo lost his first tooth recently. Easy money!

Ole's Cafe for Breakfast for dinner.  Notice Maddy is still in her ballet clothes. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Early Summer 2014 to Feb 2015

If all goes as planned, and - hey, why wouldn't it? - I'll be getting back to doing blog posts on a more regular basis. As I mentioned in the last post, the updates going forward will be more of a picture book. I'll still be providing some reflective information here and there about parenting, but I'll be more respectful of the kids' privacy now that they're getting older.

Along those lines, a few months back I was asked to write an article for the NICU Family Advisory Council at Alta Bates (birth place of M&M). There's a lot out there on premature birth, but nearly all the accounts are from the mothers' perspective. Nothing wrong with that, but I thought it would be a good thing to share the dad side of things. It's a bit long, but give it a read (ignore the errata on page 4 - we're a low budget operation). You can find it here.

On with the show.
Milo at Dennis the Menace Park in Monterey - February 2015

 M&M together at the park, Monterey, CA - February 2015

February 2013 - Milo doing his homework.  At this point, I'm still able to provide him some assistance. By next year, the 1st grade curriculum will likely exceed my bandwidth.

Botanical Gardens at Tilden Park. Berkeley, CA - Spring 2014.

Spring 2014 - Train trip to Sacramento with some good friends

Summer 2014

Milo, Maddy, and Nora hit up some sweet trails in Oakland. Summer 2014

The kids just haven't taken to yard work as hoped.  The only way to get Maddy to push the mower around was to allow her to go barefoot.  Even then she had a real chip on her shoulder about.  And Milo mixed my drinks way too weak!

Great Moments in Fatherhood
Chapter 82

When the kids first got their fish tanks, the occasional death of a fish met with a shrug from M&M. So, last spring, when one of Milo's five red platys bit the dust, I dutifully scooped him out, walked down the hall (probably whistling), and gave him the typical gold fish burial at sea. When I emerged from the bathroom, Milo's jaw was wide open and  - between his sobs - he pointed at me and said, "You [sob]! You flushed Robin down the toilet!" He was right, of course, that's exactly what I did.  

I tried to settle him down, I think I told Milo there were "other fish in the sea" (not helpful), and I read him a Berenstein Bears book about the death of the family fish. When you hate the Berenstein Bears as much as I do, that's real sacrifice. Unfortunately, the book involved a complex burial and Milo was pretty upset that we didn't offer Robin the full Berenstein funeral rights. I promised him we would next time, and explained that there are many valid burial traditions. He needed to keep an open mind. After all, daddy was merely using the crappy-insensitive-father-who-didn't-consider-his-five-year-old-son's-feelings ceremony. 

Then things went from bad to worse. After stories, Milo went to use the potty and sitting there in the bottom of that lousy, low flow California toilet was that dead fish. Not good. I spent the next hour constructing a small coffin out of a cardboard, digging a grave, and ensuring a proper headstone marked the spot. Of course, within a couple days, a raccoon dug up the grave, tore open the casket, and ate whatever was left of Robin. I discovered this as the kids were walking out our back door toward the grave to pay their respects.  Naturally, I quickly kicked the remnants of the match box coffin under the grill with one foot, and then pushed sand back in the hole with the other. Somehow, the kids never noticed. 

Batman, Cat Women, and Joker all died a short time later. Those "burials" went much smoother.

Maddy gets tatted up. Summer 2014.

Milo and Dad built this sweet tower on a visit to the Lawrence Hall of Science.

Maddy makes a friend.

Milo and Nicola playing at the Oakland Museum of Science during First Friday. Spring 2014.

I don't let my son drink from just any toilet. Milo at the San Francisco Exploratorium. Summer 2014.

Visit to the Steep Ravine Cabins. Stinson Beach, July 2014.

Breakfast overlooking the ocean at Steep Ravine.

One of many summer visits to Happy Hollow in San Jose. Summer 2014.The kids were big enough to ride the roller coaster alone.

And merry-go-round.

Maddy cruises the Bay Farm path with dad. She's gotten to be a pretty solid rider. This was one of her last rides on a her little 16" bike before stepping up to the 20" cruiser.

Elaine and Maddy at the Oakland Pedal Festival. July 2014.

The annual visit to New England.  Milo, Maddy, and Grandpa getting silly at Mystic Seaport. August 2014.

Milo & Zakk hanging out in Orleans, Cape Cod, 2014.

Maddy and Nova.

Maddy & Mom.

M&M & Uncle Nate

Uncle Armin and Maddy.

Even more Cape Cod.

Maddy demands payment. Kid City, Middletown, CT.

M&M hook up with Ella for a visit to Storyland. Jackson, NH. August 2014.

Maddy & Ella at Cinderella's Castle.

Maddy & Ella as Uncle Jeff looks on.

Maddy and Nana. Manchester, NH. August 2014.

Castle in the Clouds, NH. August 2014

The whole mishpucha gathers for lunch at Castle in the Clouds.

Milo with Cousin Jacob

Maddy and Nana.

Maddy gets her new bike.

Fall on Ocean Beach. Looks kinda' like summer, eh? Yeah, that's how winter and spring look too.

Tilden Park Steam Train. Berkeley, Fall 2014.

Hiking in Joaquin Miller Park. Fall 2014.

San Francisco Academy of Science. Fall 2014.

Thanksgiving Feast with M&M. November 2014.

Maddy. Academy of Science - Fall 2014.

Elaine's 48th Birthday Celebration at Rockwall Winery. Alameda, November 2014.

Milo gives me the finger. Perhaps it was unintentional or maybe it was the booze talking. Rockwall Winery. November 2014.

Maddy at gymnastics. February 2015.

One of many trips to Tucker's Ice Cream. Alameda, January 2015.

Christmas visit from Grandpa. Aboard the Niles Canyon Railway, Christmas Train. December 2014.
Bay Farm Island, Alameda. Christmas 2014.

Christmas Eve 2014.

Golden Gate Park. December 2014. 

New Year's Day Bike Ride with Maddy. 2015.

Milo and Dad hit Tuckers. January 2015.

Maddy at swim lessons. February 2015.  She's solid in the water!

One of many Joaquin Miller Hikes. February 2015.

Hearst Castle. San Simeon, CA. Despite the outfits, it's actually January 2015.

San Simeon, CA. January 2015.

San Simeon.

San Diego Zoo. January 2015.

Legoland, Carlsbad, CA. January 2015.

The Breakfast Club. May/June 2014. M&M hanging out with friends Rob and Emma.