The Rasmussen Harmonica Trio

January 16, 2015 By: erik Category: Family, Music, Offspring, Videos

Rasmussen Harmonica TrioDuring our visit to the States in October 2014, Nora and Ian had a lot of fun playing the harmonica with their Grandpa Paul. Nora is about as good as I am, just blowing and sucking, but little 17-month-old Ian was even better, bending notes and moving the harmonica around to change notes. Their performance was quite impressive, although they need a smidge more practice before they sign a record deal. Still, it was exciting to see them before they become famous.
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Sam the Westie

January 06, 2015 By: erik Category: Photos

Sam Face 1My parents’ west highland terrier, Sam, passed away this morning in his sleep at the vet’s office. He’s been blind and deaf for a couple years now. But he was very loved for fifteen long years.

I pulled Nora into my office today, which is more or less the equivalent of Christmas Day here in Spain, and told her that I had some sad news. When I told her that Sam had died, she understood immediately, and the corners of her mouth fell like stones, nearly breaking my heart. Before she could think about it more, I hugged her and sent her back to watch cartoons.
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State of the Offspring Address – December 2014

December 29, 2014 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Santa NoraYet another calendar year is coming to a close. The offspring are doing well. They have been at their grandparents’ house for the past week, enjoying the Christmas festivities. Nora has totally bought into the magic of Christmas and Santa Claus and the Magi Kings. It sounds like they talk about that a lot at school. She has not even a sliver of doubt that the myths might not be 100% true. Occasionally she will ask how Santa Claus can do X or Y, but we feign ignorance or defer to “magic”, and that is more than enough explanation.
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Karpin Abentura – Basque Mountain Zoo and Dinosaur Park

December 06, 2014 By: erik Category: Offspring, Photos, Spain, Travel, Videos

Dinosaur FootEver since my daughter’s preschool class took a field trip there two years ago, Karpin Abentura has been on our list of places to take the kids for a day. A couple Sundays ago we finally pulled the trigger and went there. It was a lot closer than we thought, only a thirty minute drive away, straight up into the mountains. It’s just across the border in the Vizcaya, in the Basque Country.
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State of the Offspring Address – November 2014

November 30, 2014 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Cute BoyThis month the children have made huge strides towards being mature children rather than babies. Nora has always been very sensitive about sleeping alone. She likes to have someone in the room with her both when she goes to sleep, but also if she wakes up during the night. While Marga was pregnant with Ian, I spent most nights in Nora’s room, so if/when Nora woke up during the night, the pregnant lady was not disturbed. After Ian was born, we switched, and I was with the needier newborn. Ian has been doing a lot better about sleeping through the entire night without needing a bottle, and Nora has been getting braver and better, in general, about sleeping. So early this month, Nora requested that she and Ian sleep alone together in the same room. I was skeptical that such a plan would work, but it did!! [launch the streamers and balloons and confetti] It’s SO much nicer to be a hallway away from a sleeping toddler than in the same room, because he’s got to really want something to wake you up, rather than just his 5 second “Where’s my pacifier? Oh, there attached to my chest!” crises. It’s working out splendidly.
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Pumpkin Carving Party 2014

November 04, 2014 By: erik Category: Offspring, Parenting, Partying, Photos, USA, Videos

Halloween Pumpkin Carving 2014This year the pumpkins we got for carving at home were the smallest they’ve ever been since I began this tradition six years ago. However, on the plus side, the walls of the pumpkin were very thin and easy to carve. It was a bit like playing an electric guitar for the first time after learning on an acoustic.

Like last year, we invited Nora’s friends, Carmen and Claudia. Last year, Nora’s and Claudia’s siblings, Ian and Mara, had to take a break during the party to breastfeed. This year, they were racing around like the little toddlers they are. They know each other from daycare. It was fun to see Ian interacting with a kid his own age. Although Marga is a month or two younger, she’s got several kilos and centimeters on him.
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State of the Offspring Address – October 2014

October 31, 2014 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

'Twas a foggy Saturday morning at the Munich AirportWe spent the first two weeks of October in the US visiting with my family. Several uncles and aunts and cousins, that I only see every five years or so, were also there to celebrate my grandmother’s 90th birthday. After the kids spent nearly the entire summer in southern Spain with their grandparents, I was beginning to worry about how little English was spoken. Pretty much all of Ian’s words were in Spanish, and Nora had to be reminded at the dinner table to speak English. Like most of my parental worries, this one was also unfounded. After an American fortnight, Nora is now principally playing with Ian in English, and Ian knows several English words, like “cookie” and “down”, and follows English instructions where before he only followed Spanish ones. He just turned 18-months old.
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Cueva del Valle – Rasines, Cantabria

October 27, 2014 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain, Travel, Videos

Dad! Can I keep it?After an exhausting Saturday caring for the kids and doing housework, we decided we really needed to get out of the house on the unusually warm, sunny late October Sunday. Searching through some Cantabrian tourism websites, my wife found Cueva del Valle, in nearby Rasines (which I’ve decided to pronounce “raisins” because it’s funny). The place is called a Paleolithic Park, because evidence of human cave occupants has been dated to over 9,000 years ago. To help you grok that number, that’s temporally as far away from Ancient Egypt as Ancient Egypt is from us. Grok, incidentally, was one of the cave’s more notorious occupants back then.
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State of the Offspring Address – September 2014

September 30, 2014 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Ian Sits on BollardThe biggest news this month was the return of the offspring from their long summer vacation and the start of the school year. They came back less than a week before school started on September 11th. To ease the pain of summer vacation ending, the kids have only gone in the mornings so far in September, but in October they will start in the afternoons again, too. Nora was happy to go back to school. She’s a preschool senior now, in what other cultures call kindergarten, even though she’s with the same teacher she’s had for the past two years.
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State of the Offspring Address – August 2014

August 27, 2014 By: erik Category: Extremadura, News, Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Ian and NoraThe offspring have spent the entirety of August on vacation with their Spanish grandparents in Extremadura, an inland region in the south of Spain. For the first half of the month, my wife and I spent a fortnight with them. It was fun to see them in this different environment. At fifteen months old, Ian is progressing very rapidly. He’s very steady on his feet and is getting a lot faster. He’s even sprouting a vocabulary that is almost in the double digits. When Nora was Ian’s age we were worried – hilariously, in retrospect – about her language development. He’s also learned to kiss, which he does by planting a big open mouth on your cheek like he’s about to bite you.
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