Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Oakland Grand Prix 2013!!!

Well, today was finally the day!  After much discussion and training, the Oakland Grand Prix 2013 finally, finally arrived!

Emmett signs his first race form!    

 There was a smaller field this year, but definitely older.   Emmett was once again asked to join the "little kids" division, but said no, and wanted to race the whole 0.85 mile lap.  He was clearly the youngest racer on the smallest bike, but raced a fantastic race, shaving a whopping 30 seconds off last year's time and earning a mention from the race announcer after his sprint finish (including an announcement of his age)...

The length of the race, and perhaps the disappointment of not winning the overall race despite all his training weighed a bit hard on this little competitor's shoulders...

 (although his parents' and friends' insistence that he "won" his age group seemed to temper the blow somewhat, and he recovered sufficiently to engage in plenty of his usual nonsense and clowning around)...

It takes a lot of energy to be a racer, but Emmett put his heart into it.  Congratulations Emmett, on another great race!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Emmett's Great Question!

Tonight, we stayed up just a little bit late to be part of the Google "hangout" which had as its topic "Black Holes: Objects of Attraction - An Astronomy Round Table Discussion". We did a little bit of research before the discussion started, and Emmett came up with two great questions, one of which was asked on air to the Principal Investigator of the NuSTAR program!! Although the entire hour is fascinating, Emmett's question is asked at about the 45:00 mark. Emmett's had a fascination with space in general, and the NuSTAR program in particular, since we were able to watch the launch stream live over the internet, and so this was a particular thrill for him (even the head bonk he endured from the coffee table just before tonight's discussion didn't dampen his enthusiasm). Good Boy, Emmett!

Emmett's Grand Prix Premiere!!!

Emmett's Grand Prix Premiere!!!

Well, after much preparation and training, the big day finally arrived! Yes, it was the Grand Prix of Oakland! Emmett trained very hard for the race, riding up to 10 miles a day in the weeks leading up to the race. When we arrived on site, the race Marshal wanted to put Emmett in the "little kids" division (for kids on 12" diameter and less wheeled bikes, scooters, skuuts, trikes and smaller riders, with a 100 yard track length), but Emmett really wanted to race the full track (0.85 mi). Emmett raced mightily for the whole lap, heading into excellent position around the first turns. I think the gearing of his small bike finally caught up with him, but he is a fierce competitor, and I'm sure we haven't seen the last of this racer!!!

Congratulations to Emmett, and thanks to everyone for their support!

(especially as he was given a new 16" bike as our prize to him after the race, which he took to immediately!).      

End(eavour) of an era!

Our trip to NASA Ames Research Center!!

We all played hooky and visited NASA's Ames Research Center in order to witness the flyover of the Endeavour Space Shuttle as it was ferried to Los Angeles atop a 747. Although the event itself was brief, it was impressive, and the facility itself had plenty of interesting handouts and exhibits on the contributions made at the Ames Research Center and information on other NASA programs.
Emmett was asked to pose for photographs several times...

and Emmett enjoyed visiting the museum on site, 
making sure to point out a few Mars facts to the museum guide.

Emmett inspects a sample of the heat shielding tiles used on the Space Shuttle, 
developed at Ames Research Center

At last, the moment finally came for the flyover...

Emmett had a great vantage point, and really enjoyed the event.
And so, with a mixture of joy and sadness, we bid "Adieu!" to the Space Shuttle...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Are you ready to Rock(et)!?

Hello Hello Hello - do you read me?    

We are coming to you from Mission Control, Berkeley, CA, where we have (very) recently been introduced to the joys of model rocketry!  Today was our first launch day after our purchasing, assembly, and ornamentation day yesterday.  All in all, things went far better than expected and we have a lot of videos to present, so let's get started!

After some debate (and only a cursory wistful glance around the model train section of the hobby store), Emmett decided that this momentous and wonderful day was the day he would break free from his usual predictable, rail-centered hobbies and venture forth into worlds unknown, hobbi-rifically speaking...

And of course, as is so often the case we can only stand (again) in awe of Emmett for taking this one small step for fashion, and one giant leap for comedy-  well played, flyboy!

After proper(?) outfitting (??), we were ready to set off to the launch pad, with proper musical accompaniment...

Happily, we had a fantastic launch, and a magnificent time, arboreally interrupted (but only briefly) by some unexpectedly stiff breezes...

And (dare we say it?), by our third and fourth launches, space travel had begun to seem almost routine...

But a rocket launch somehow still has the magic to stir the soul... our fourth launch even attracted our first "groupie"...

and after a total of four successful launches (with four recoveries), it looks like we have a new hobby in the family!

Monday, April 16, 2012

silly kid

We've been flipping through the archives for some examples of what we feel is Emmett's singularly zany nature... something of a visual catalogue of classics, a condensed, Linkletter-esque "kompendium of  kookiness".  Here's what we've come up with:

"Mom, I have a chipmunk in my pants!!!"...Emmett was given an electric chipmunk toy for Easter 2011 (see "Tom-tom" in earlier posts).  Eventually Tom-tom became a prop for this little bit of physical humor.  Emmett called out to Jessica one morning to come upstairs for one of Emmett's frequent, urgent announcements.  The announcement on this day was, "Mom, I have a chipmunk in my pants!", with Tom-tom stuffed down Emmett's sweatpants after some type of yoga exercise gone awry. As Jessica tells it, "I was laughing so hard I couldn't keep the camera steady, but I had to take a picture."

Emmett also has been interested in driving a car, and eventually announced "I am ready to start driving now!" (while standing on the seat and looking through the steering wheel)
"But Emmett, in order to drive, you'll need to see through the windshield and also put your feet on the pedals."
"Oh, OK, I can do that, see? I can operate the pedals and see through the windshield!"
Which, technically, is true.

But he still didn't get the keys.

"Dad, I am so little I can wear one of your shirts as clothes!"

cleaning up is (or can be) glamorous...

Emmett "wearing" Jessica's boots

Dad: "Emmett, we are on BART now, on a subway going under the waterrrr" (spoken in a pirate voice).
Emmett: "Yarrrrr, want to see my treasure?" (Thomas trains in his lunch box)...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

"I could spray this at you!!!" was a cold February day, and Emmett found the spray nozzle that we had packed away for him, and, well...remember the good times?   Since it has been several months since Emmett's used his spray nozzle, this was a chance for Emmett to really grow into the finer points of water fighting...unfortunately for him, his nozzle had a tendency to backfire...
This episode was captured "between rounds" after Emmett had chased Jessica around the front yard with his water nozzle, but before he thoroughly soaked himself...

Ah, but karma is a tough lesson to learn...

Saturday, April 30, 2011

I Love Water!!!

We had a great time at the Stinson Beach BBQ this year, and Emmett displayed a remarkable, almost inhuman ability to stay out in the water... We don't know if he has tiger's blood or not (certainly Adonis DNA, heh, heh!), but he was definitely able and eager to stay in the 52F degree water (those of us charged with minding and recording this episode were also in that water and can only say bbrrrrrr! - even while wearing more clothing and exposing less of our bodies to the frigid surf). He soaked and sanded his way through one entire change of clothing, and later went out again stripped to his skivvies and soaked them through as well (call it a costume change).

After a brief warmup break, Emmett got a sense of the pulling power of the party's resident dachshund, Max.

It was a great kickoff to what we hope is a fantastic summer.

Oh, and we have no idea what "yaxophone" means - Emmett?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter time goodies!

Emmett had a great time at the Windsor Egg Hunt (essentially a large cordoned-off square on the football field strewn with candy-filled plastic eggs). Once he got the hang of the egg collecting, it was hard to keep him focused on not opening each egg in turn and consuming its contents right then and there. Thaaaaat's an awful lot of sugar for a three-year-old. Best let Mommy and Daddy hang on to that stuff.

Somewhat more wholesomely, the Easter bunny also visited the house, where Emmett received a few new trains for the "Thomas" collection/obsession, and a new "pet" chipmunk (which Emmett graciously re-christened "Tom-tom" after "Thomas" was rejected by his parents; and so in that sense, there were gifts for all).

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bikes and chicks (it's not what you're thinking...)

Emmett had a good time recently riding his trike next door (and later beyond) to our gracious neighbors Ross and Ursula's house, where he likes to chase the chickens around. Perhaps as a compensatory gesture, (but more probably just 'cause it's fun), he then likes to feed the chickens waaaaaay too much (some effort is spent explaining that chickens only need a little bit of food spread on the ground, as there is a whole feeder full inside the coop).

A recent visit was capped off with a very fun tractor ride around the property (the look is just for show, he really had a great time).

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Well good night, Chico bon-bon!

Maybe we should have expected it. I mean, the kid has grown up living in construction sites. In a sense it's (snif) all he's ever known... But still, he seems to take it in stride. Like when he not only wants to read "Monkey With a Toolbelt" as one of his bedtime stories...but to do so while wearing his toolbelt. It's fine, right? Shouldn't be a problem. As long as he isn't dismantling his bed in the middle of the night.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Babbling in Babylon - a "towering" good time

After an exciting (if brief) stay in Manhattan, we set off for Shelter Island, New York, with a stop on the south shore of Long Island to visit relatives we hadn't seen in far too long.

While visiting scenic Babylon Village (Aunt Ginner, Uncle Berk, Cousins Cindy and Billy), Emmett seemed to "run out of gas" briefly in the afternoon, his usually sanguine personality tempered by a, a scowl of sorts... well, maybe not a scowl exactly, but a stern countenance, a seeming need for ...distance from new people (Ginner and Berk's cat excluded). Was this an affect picked up in Manhattan, a sort of pint-sized "Whattayoulookinat?" reaction to the crush of the City? Were we looking at a new "you talkin' to me?" attitude for a new, hardened, Gotham style 18-month old, a Travis Bickle in diapers?

Happily, the facade cracked and the usual Emmett was back in short order, and after Jessica mentioned that she'd seen it lately, and had even been calling it Emmett's "Zoolander" look, then Cindy quipped "Oh, right, the one he called "Blue Steel"- it was his 'signature' look from the movie". This immediately (a month or so later) sent us sifting through the archives for more instances of this fascinating, fascinating occurrence, now collected for review. Herewith, a small sampling, (sure to be appended) of instances of...Blue Steel

Zoolander's palette of 'signature' looks from the film...

And Emmett's impressions...

"Blue Steel" while playing

"Blue Steel" while dining!

A pensive "Blue Steel" ("Deep Blue Steel"?)

"Blue Steel" for the road with Cousin Cindy
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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fabulous fashions!!!

Now, posted here for audience enjoyment and sure to cause embarrassment in years to come, Emmett Shaddock models his Grandfather Charley Huffine's baby clothes...

Best. Fourth. of. July. Ever!!!!

Working our way (slooooowly) through our photos from our recent July vacation...

While Emmett and Jessica were in Seattle, they took some time to sit for various family portraits,

then Jeff arrived in time for Seattle's annual 33rd St. Fourth of July parade...

Emmett and his cousin Arlo dressed up as "Thing One" and "Thing Two" as part of their group costume (along with Phillip, who served as the Cat in the Hat)

and Jeff as "Ersatz Groucho Marx" (aided by a sheet of "groucho-isms" from the web)

one clever viewer detected the ruse (or just grew tired of the poor delivery) and took matters into his own hands...

Other activities included fine dining with a frequent companion...

taking in an "off - off- off - off Broadway" show (Muppets at the Experience Music Center)

(pay no attention to the man behind the counter...)

Jessica Joplin...

Steadfastly sailing the Seven Seas with Sadie (sadly, solely a simulacrum)...