Archive for the ‘Offspring’

State of the Offspring Address – October 2017

October 31, 2017 By: erik Category: Offspring, Parenting, Photos

Great ApesDon’t get your hopes up, long-time readers. I don’t think I’m going to find the time to write these monthly posts again, but I had some recent parenting and offspring anecdotes that I wanted to record for posterity.

They are eight and four now.
(more…)

A Maze and The Creepy Women of Torrelavega

July 09, 2017 By: erik Category: Art, Family, Offspring, Photos, Spain, Travel

Torrelavega SaturdayAfter 12.5 years of living in Cantabria, I must ashamedly admit that today was the first time that I visited Cantabria’s second city, Torrelavega. It was on a brief, last minute, detour after visiting another local attraction, the Villapresente Labyrinth, a pine hedge maze that has gained touristic significance of late. More to distract the kids for 30 minutes than for strategery, I had figured out how to download an overhead map of the labyrinth, invert the photo, so that the paths were white, and printed out two copies to give the kids.

Nora figured the way in to the center by herself, but my a-mazing abilities were required to find the way to the exit. She then drew over the pencil in colored marker, which turned out to be helpful.
(more…)

Preschooler Parsing Spanish

July 06, 2017 By: erik Category: Family, Offspring, Spanish

Colindres Town Hall

One of the hardest parts of learning a foreign language is learning to parse a string of sounds to determine where words stop and start. Whenever you hear a foreign language that you don’t know spoken, it sounds like one continuous stream of phonemes. When you hear a language you know spoken, the word breaks are obvious.

It has been fun watching my children learn my second language natively. I have the special insight into their minds in that they generally speak to me in English, but when they don’t have an English word, they will use the Spanish word, which I immediately translate for them before they complete the sentence. That’s what usually happens, but with both kids, there have been nouns that are always spoken in one of the two languages in our household. With my eldest, I think one was pañal (diaper/nappy), and with the youngest, another is biberon (baby bottle).

Two perfect examples of word parsing mistakes have happened in the past two days with my four-year-old, that I thought I’d share.

(more…)

Basque Tourism – San Sebastián Science Museum

May 01, 2017 By: erik Category: Offspring, Photos, Spain, Travel

Nora Plasma Globe GifWhen planning our Sunday with rain in the forecast, we brainstormed several ideas, including the San Sebastián Aquarium, but in the end we settled on the Eureka! Science Museum, or Eureka! Zientzia Museoa, in Basque. Having driven two hours east to San Sebastián, we had a slight head start on the also-eastbound rain storm. We decided to visit the beach and see a strange mangled-metal art piece jutting out of the rocks, aptly named el Peine del Viento (The Comb of the Wind).
(more…)

Ian is Four!

April 25, 2017 By: erik Category: Offspring, Partying, Photos, Videos

Four years oldMy youngest little baby turned four years old today. It’s hard to believe that only four years ago our family was incomplete. It feels like there have been four of us since forever. Even though it’s a Tuesday night, we invited over Ian’s best friend, Gael, and his other friend, Mara, who has an older sister who is Nora’s best friend at school. Nora’s best neighborhood friend, Carmen, also came to our little soirée. Carmen is exactly six years older than Ian, so she also got to blow some candles.
(more…)

Nora and Ian’s first time in the snow

January 22, 2017 By: erik Category: Offspring, Photos, Travel, Videos

Nora and Ian's first snowIn the twelve years I have lived in this town, it has snowed once such that it stuck for a few hours. It very rarely gets down to zero degrees Celsius here at sea level. Unlike their cousin, Xander, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, who needs a snow shovel to even leave his house for 5 months of the year, our kids have never really experienced snow.

In past years, we have seen photos of Nora’s classmates playing in the snow. Because we live right next to the mountains, it’s possible to drive a bit into the mountains and find snow, but we never have. Mainly because the kids never had any appropriate clothing for rolling around in frozen water. This year, we were determined to do it, so we bought the kids snow clothes. This weekend was the first weekend after a week of cold precipitation (rain here, snow in the mountains), so we decided to do it. Unfortunately we still didn’t have appropriate shoes, so on Saturday we went to the mall to buy the remaining shoes and gloves, and on Sunday morning we left for the hills.
(more…)

Itchy Eyes

May 17, 2016 By: erik Category: Offspring, Parenting

Spring BeeStarting about two weeks ago, shortly after his third birthday, coinciding with a nasty bout of gastroenteritis, Ian’s eyes starting itching, particularly his right eye. He was rubbing the heck out of them. It got really bad this weekend, to the point where one of them got hugely swollen, almost swollen shut. On Sunday we took him to the ER and they gave us two bottles of eye drops, one was an antibiotic in case the swelling was from an infection, and the other was an antihistamine in case the cause was allergy. He hated having them applied, but they did the job.
(more…)

Nora’s Seventh Birthday Party

March 19, 2016 By: erik Category: Offspring, Partying, Photos, Videos

Nora's Seventh Birthday PartyToday we had a birthday party for Nora’s seventh birthday. She has been going to classmates’ birthday parties for a couple of years now, but this is the first one that she has thrown. She filled out little invitation cards with the date and her mother’s mobile phone number and gave them out to her classmates and her best friend three floors down. As a result, she is the only living human who knows her mother’s new phone number by memory; the number recently changed, and I have not memorised it yet, and her mother never learned her previous number of nine years.
(more…)

State of the Offspring Address – November 2015

November 30, 2015 By: erik Category: Offspring, Parenting, Photos, Videos

Maybe if we put our heads together we can figure out how to have fun in an airport!Our November was primarily dominated by the run up to and execution of a whole-family trip to the United States to visit my family for Thanksgiving. However, plenty of other things happened first, so let’s get to those. On November 1st, All Saints Day, we took a lovely long walk on a nearby beach (we actually walked there from home) at Golden Hour.
(more…)

A Visit to Mimosa Hills Farm

November 24, 2015 By: erik Category: Offspring, Photos, USA, Videos

Mimosa FarmsDuring our visit to the United States for Thanksgiving, we took a little day outing to a local farm, called Mimosa Hills Farm. They give riding lessons and even have a special program to help people with mental disabilities from the local state institutions. We had a wonderful time.

When we walked into the barn, Ian pointed at each and every horse, declaring “I want montar that one! I want montar that one!” Nora was quite a bit more timid. If her brother hadn’t gone first, she might have chickened out about riding the horse.
(more…)