Tuesday, June 17, 2014

What would happen if...?

Enzo filled up his digging hole with water.

My son has hair on his legs. He’s a mammal so you are not surprised, I know. But it's getting darker and he is growing up! He was a baby once! And now an energetic four. Oh, my beautiful boy. This is just one more example of a nearly daily occurence where I am enthralled as I recognize the obvious; my children are growing and it is amaaaaaaazzzzzzing.
I'm pretty sure Enzo is trying to play with weapons but knows that we, his parents, are against it, and so is trying to be creative in getting around it. A few days ago he asked me to make him a paper knife. Why, I asked. Pause. So I can cut pretend food, he answered. Hmmmm, I thought.
Recently I over heard him asking his Tata something about death and the answer had something to do with heaven. I don't remember the question or answer exactly but I did note at the time that Enzo has never asked me that exact question though asking me many many question per day including some on the general same topic of life and death, on occasion. Circumstantial, but I think Enzo has realized on some level that people are different and that, even as he works to make sense of this world, he has recognized that it is better in his mind for his interests, whether they be to play with certain toys or to avoid processing conflicting explanations of realities from trusted sources, to modify his questions and words for different audiences. It's neat to recognize this level of brain development. It will be interesting to watch him process the pile of variation his mind will accumulate in the coming years. As I recall, it was a major pain in the... head, reconciling and structuring a world picture out of what was left unresolved and requiring attention in the teenage years. Not sure if that mental torture laced with hormones is a valuable right of passage but I hope he does not suffer too much when it is his turn. Perhaps he will have less to process at that point in his life than I left for myself at that point in mine.
Other updates on The Kid. I heard another cool milestone occur. I don't remember the song now, but I felt certain that I could basically guarantee that Enzo had never heard it before when I played it a few weeks ago. After hearing just a little, he began singing along with the chorus as well as other lyrics that hadn't repeated yet. You know what I'm talking about? This is a major skill! You know, when you are hearing and singing at the same time along with a song you are hearing for the first time? It's doable and the brain must be on high alert activity mode, processing the incoming sound with the known vocabulary and micro-temporally shifted vocal cords. My son is practically a full fledged human! At four! Humans are amazing. My son is awesome-amazing.
Every now and then he will, as will Ana, tell me that he doesn't want me to die. It's happening less as time goes by since we have had to explain death to some degree. But one day he said something to me and I responded that he had to give me besos y abrazos (kisses and hugs) for ever, even when he is an old man. He calmly told me that no, he wouldn't, because when he was an old man I would be dead. Well, thanks kid! I said, yeah, well, I get them for as long as I can ask for them.
His favorite color is red. That's what he has been saying recently. He really gets into imaginative play, talking for different characters that could be cars or planes or cut out paper. Not too long ago he asked Tami to draw him a bee. Then, he asked for scissors to cut it out. Ever since he has been playing with drawn paper toys. He asks me to draw new things regularly including spiders, sharks, dolphins, orcas, fish, rockets, and spaceships. Then he cuts them out. I always ask him if he wants me to draw them from the top view or from the side. He always thinks about it. Then he says from the top. He cuts them out and they swim or fly around the house, speak through his mouth, and sometimes crawl or swim on the paper oceans or spiderwebs that he draws.
He really likes watching Bill Nye the Science Guy. I had to purchase the second season. He is in to the first season but I thought it was time to add more variety. We don't watch them straight through in any order. I let him and Ana choose a topic from memory and occasionally I just announce a new topic and show a new-to-them episode. Then, they have a new topic to ask for. By far the most requested episode, this from Enzo, is “the eating plants one” which is really just called Plants and has a short segment about carnivorous plants like the Venus Flytrap that he is really fascinated by. I just realized this irony. The Kid is being brought up in a primarily vegetarian household and his favorite Bill Nye episode is the one where the vegetation is carnivorous. That's funny!
An update on Enzo would not be complete without these next two items that I have saved for last. His favorite saying lately is “okay ma-maaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!” Ha! He says this so much. Not just to his mom. To anyone. Me, his mom, and his sister the most, I guess, as he sees us most often. I can't help but laugh. It's his equivalent of “what d-ya-know daddy-oh.” A phrase he can throw out regularly but, instead of as a start, it is a response. Ask him to do anything or remind him of something and he just might say “ok ma-maaaaaaaaaaaa!"
But there is nothing he says more these days than “what would happen if…?" And when he is on a role, these come rapid fire, many per 10 minutes on the clock, all over the place in topic. And this happens EVERY DAY. Here are some recent examples that come to mind, many of which are used multiple times over weeks as he sometimes returns to a theme.

What would happen
If an adult couldn't walk
If a baby didn't grow
If someone never went pee
If someone didn't have arms
If a fish didn't go back in the water
If someone picked up a starfish
If a person didn't have ears
If a person didn't have the hole in their ears
If there were no trees 
If there were no plankton
If their were no people 
If someone couldn't walk 
…etc. and so on

Awesome. And after each thoughtful answer I give (sometimes, instead, I ask what he thinks and sometimes he answers and other times he says "no, it's your turn!") in answer he responds with “why?” After the thoughtful answer to that "why" comes either a follow up “why,” or, if satisfied, “Papi.... What would happen if.....!"

Eventually he moves on to a toy or, when it is late and he is in bed, I remind him that it is time to sleep. “Ok, Papi.”

Saturday, June 14, 2014

New Project

The entire Joseph Gomes Park in one picture.

I have started a new blog project.

You can visit it at: http://bayareaparks.blogspot.com

There are a couple of blog projects I have in mind and this is the first of the new ideas that I am actually starting. Basically, I am creating a false need for myself to visit all of the parks in the area and make a short post about them. I imagine this means that I will get to know the area better, have another good excuse to go on new local adventures, and find cool new places to spend time with the kids, family, and myself.

I am also trying to make the blog posts for this new blog completely on mobile devices like my iPhone. Yes, I did go get a new iPhone 5s. I couldn't wait any longer for a new one to come out, I needed a good camera. And it is a good camera. My replaced phone was an iPhone 4 and had an impressive camera. But in the years since it came out, the iPhone cameras have become even better. And lighter and faster and over all nicer.

So, I came up with a template for the Bay Area Parks blog that I will cut and paste in for each new post. Then, I will make the applicable additions and changes using a few apps. That's the plan. I have been testing the apps, adjusting the blog settings,  and trying things out. I think I have it mostly the way I want it.

Starting small for a new blog, I chose the smallest park I know of and spent some time in it. It is the Joseph Gomes Park in Campbell. I have long wanted to stop by and never had. For years I have driven past and thought that I would stop by some day. That's a long time. And now I have literally stopped and spent time in the park exploring, taking pictures, and sitting on one of the two benches.

Below is the template I am starting with. Perhaps it will go through some revisions. I am trying to keep it simple and interesting.


Photo Collage
Park Name - Type
City, State
Latitude, Longitude
I would go to this park to...
Think, read, walk, nap, eat, cook, or...
I would take kids to this park to...
Run around, ride bikes, explore, play ball, play in the playground, play in water, fly a kite, have a birthday party, or...
Visited by the Bay Area Parks Guy on...

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

MAVEN Spacecraft

The MAVEN Spacecraft is well on it's way to Mars. It is supposed to arrive to orbit Mars on September 21, 2014. It launched November 18, 2013. A while ago I mentioned that anyone could send their name up to Mars on a DVD that MAVEN would carry through space, by submitting their name through a website. I sent mine, Tami's, and the kids' names up. They are hurling through space as I write this.  There was also a Mars haiku writing contest through the same website. I submitted two:

Beautiful and cold
You are watched and roved and probed
Spinning there in red

Holding ice inside
Cold, imagination warmed
Reflecting red far

It was fun to encapsulate a thought within a haiku's structural limitations. Here were the winners voted on by the world:

It’s funny, they named
Mars after the God of War
Have a look at Earth
-Benedict Smith
, United Kingdom

Thirty-six million
miles of whispering welcome.
Mars, you called us home.
-Vanna Bonta

Stars in the blue sky
cheerfully observe the Earth
while we long for them
-Luisa Santoro
, Italy

distant red planet
the dreams of earth beings flow
we will someday roam
-Greg Pruett, 
Idaho, USA

Mars, your secret is
unknown for humanity
we want to know you.
-Fanni Redenczki, 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Kansas City

Cousin Martina was getting ready to graduate in Kansas City, Missouri. Tami and the kids really wanted to go but I could not leave work for those days. Somehow, they convinced me, yet again, to be OK with them all going on vacation without me. It's not even a sob story for me anymore. They've now gone to Southern California, Puerto Rico, Hawaii (for a few days before I joined), and Kansas City without me. I guess I'm going to have to get use to it. 

But before they left, I bought myself a new toy with the VW Bug money to keep me occupied. If I was going to get something anyway, may as well get it before they were gone.

This is the latest member of our garage of toys. A 2005 Harley Sportster made in..... Kansas City, Missouri! It was actually made in the same plant that Tami and I toured years ago when we first went to Kansas City together. And as it turns out, I am really enjoying this bike. It's all I've ridden since. Tami said the other bikes are going to get jealous. I told her that the other bikes remember what it was like to be the new bike.

Well, it did come to pass that I took Tami and the kids to the airport to say good bye.

The kids ran up to the sign that said ANA on it after I pointed out Ana's name on it.

And eventually, sadly, I said bye and they all went in past security. Here are some of the pics Tami sent to me.

Enzo accidentally stepped on this snake when they were out walking. Both were fine as a result and Enzo was excited to tell me that the snake slithered away after.

They got to play with cousins.

And visit a few airports.

I sat around the house and moped.... But when I could get myself together, I had a blast riding my Sportster in the hills.

Thankfully, the time went fast enough and the family was home, playing in the yard, cuddly as ever.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Park and Beach in One Day

Still writing catch-up blog posts! I think the following happened about three weeks ago.

I took the kids to Vasona to fly our kite. I was determined to get that kite up in the air as I had been carrying it in the trunk of my car for weeks and having no luck with wind.

Thankfully, we got a little wind that day. Ana held the kite while Enzo chased the kite's shadow.

Tami was at home and I was tasked with entertaining the kiddos so that she could get homework done. A pretty good task. Kite having been flown relatively early in the day, it was time to take the kiddos a little further...

...All the way to the beach. Not bad. Flew a kite at Vasona, ate pizza in Aptos, and then played in the water at Seacliff Beach by the concrete ship.

The kids were so funny. They played with the waves, you know, taunting them, running up to them and then laughing as they ran away, only to come back to the water again.

The beach makes me happy.

Someone had left this seesaw made from drift wood. Ana and Enzo had a great time with it and would probably still be playing and balancing on it today if I hadn't finally convinced them it was late and time to head home for dinner with Mami.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Ana's Birthday Party

Several days after Ana's third birthday, we had an Ana B-Day party.

Many distinguished guests were present such as Baby Avonlea.

Baby Jack joined as well.

Baby Alex, however, is getting to that point where we won't be able to call him Baby Alex for much longer.

Ana and her friend Rachel decorated the birthday cake this year.

Grandma brought over a cool game that they made where the kids picked a card, matched the number on the card to the big decorated wall, punched their hand through, and pulled out a prize. A cool surprise.

The bubble surprises were quite popular.

The piñata worked this year! Yay! The pull strings worked. The last year of pull strings but they worked well and we enjoyed the piñata.

Both Grandpa's took naps.

After the cake was gone and most of the kids had left to take their naps, Enzo and Ana decided to play in the water a bit.

Baby Avonlea got some attention.

And Tata humored the birthday girl.

Another great birthday party and celebration.

Happy Birthday to Ana.