Monthly Archives: July 2017

Still a Great Traveler

As we’ve seen, Nyan racked up a lot of frequent flier miles this summer. He’s been traveling across continents and oceans since he was literally four-and-a-half months old, so he’s very much old hat at it. Let’s check him out as he showed off his expertise on this most recent trans-oceanic voyage.

He knows his way around an airplane, whether he’s watching a video, having a meal or a snack, or passed out:

He’s also adept at navigating airports themselves. He still loves watching planes on the tarmac,  goofing around at airport cafes, pulling luggage, and – when he can – hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa

And sometimes, there’s nothing to do but wait. And be silly.

We also did a fair amount of driving. He’s good at that too, whether he’s drawing, napping, or – once again – being silly.

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Posted by on July 31, 2017 in Uncategorized



Fun Times in Iowa, Part Two

As we wrap up our photographic look-back at our time in Iowa, here’s a final sampling of various little moments of fun.

He spent a lot of time down in the basement with Grandpa, working on the model train:

That list you see there? That’s a notebook Grandpa gave him when we left; he immediately started filling it up with ideas for things to add to the train layout.

I can hear you asking: did Nyan have any time to play while in Iowa? Oh yes. Yes he did.

We did a little shopping too, including for his snazzy new backpack:

And he showed off his silly and creative personality:

Here’s just a few miscellaneous pictures, including a robot fish he drew, and a birdhouse he painted:

Whew. So much fun! Between jetlag and all this activity, he must have gotten a lot of sleep too, right? Right.

That’s it for this season of Nyan’s visit to Iowa. But have no fear, we shall return.

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Posted by on July 27, 2017 in Uncategorized



Fun Times in Iowa, Part One

As we’ve seen, Nyan had a blast during his summer trip to the US in June. Train museums, pedal boats, household chores, picnics and playgrounds…. the list goes on.

But Nyan’s the kind of kid who can have fun pretty much anywhere and anytime. Let’s take a look at some of these random spots of fun he managed to have.

There was the time Daddy got him a beginner’s science kit, and Nyan made crystals, globules and all sorts of other science-y stuff.

Or the time we visited some friends of Grandma and Grandpa, and they showed Nyan their pet rabbit.

What about drawing dinosaurs on the sidewalk in chalk? Check.

Probably the most fun he had, though, was just hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa. Working on math homework, reading, just chilling.

We think Grandma and Grandpa were happy to have Nyan stay with them for a couple weeks. Check out all the gifts and goodies that were waiting on Nyan’s bed when we arrived:

Oh, and how could we forget? Nyan ate quite well in Iowa too.

Up next: even more random photos of random fun in the heartland.

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Posted by on July 25, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Hot Fun in the Iowa Summertime

Sometimes the simplest pleasures are the best. Like the day when Nyan, Daddy, Grandma and Grandpa went for a casual hike in the woods. Or at least through a meadow. Grandma and Grandpa wanted to check out the site of a future residential development, and Nyan was happy to go along. He even got into the rural life, happily chewing on a grass stalk. (Nyan wore his camouflage shorts especially for the occasion; the black and white striped shirt, he added, was so that he could be a zebra. A camouflaged zebra.)

Another day we headed up to a place a little ways out of town called the Devonian Fossil Gorge. It’s an area of ancient rock that was exposed a decade or so ago when a nearby river burst out of a dam and gushed for weeks, scouring away millions of years of topsoil and rock. It left behind what was the ocean floor some 375 million years ago, and now is home to lots of clearly visible fossils. We had taken Nyan there a few years ago, but this visit is hopefully one he will actually remember. He certainly seemed to enjoy it.

On yet another beautiful and warm summer day, we visited a place called Trueblood Recreation Area, just south of town. It’s an old quarry that’s now filled with water and has been developed as a place to fish, hike, or take pedal boats out on the water. So that’s what we did. Grandpa and Daddy pedaled while Grandma and Nyan chilled and luxuriated. It was a lovely ride at a beautiful site.

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Posted by on July 23, 2017 in Uncategorized


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A Picnic in the Park

One pleasant June afternoon, Aunt Maggie announced she wanted to take Nyan on a picnic. So off they went! with Grandma and Grandpa in tow.


The picnic was at a lovely park that was chock full of fun things. Like a sand pit…

And a water play area that almost made us feel like we were back in Singapore:

And plenty of playground equipment to climb on and slide down.

Best of all, maybe, was the simple, the classic, the swing.

What kid doesn’t love to swing?

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Posted by on July 21, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Galesburg, Illinois

We saw a notice of some sort of railroad festival going on in a small railroad town called Galesburg, Illinois. It’s about a two hour drive from Iowa City and when we asked Nyan if he was interested, the answer was – of course – a resounding “Yes!” So off we went.

It’s not the most vibrant town ever, though it has a very active railway, a couple of adjacent museums and some old train cars on display. Some scenery from the town:

As it turned out, most of the festival activities were on another day. But the museums had special tours and activities going on. So we checked out the kid’s museum, which wasn’t very train-centric, but was still fun. It was full of dress-up-and-play areas (grocery store, fire house, vet’s office, etc) and various activities, like building ramps to slide balls along. And there was a tractor simulator!

And a little table with jets of air coming out, and you put the ping-pong ball into the jets of air so they seem to be floating. Nyan enjoyed that too.

As mentioned, Galesburg has a very busy railroad running through it, and we happened to catch a really long grain train rolling through.

The train museum was maybe the highlight though – inside was full of memorabiliia from a hundred years of trains. And outside were a Pullman car, a mail car and a steam engine, all of them real, all of them open for walk-throughs, and all of them having special guided tours this day. The steam engine was huge, impressive, and a big hit with our young engineer.

All in all, a very pleasant day. Let’s wrap up with some random pics: Nyan and Daddy being silly, Nyan signing the museum guest book, and all tuckered out on the drive home.

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Posted by on July 18, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Slime and Soccer with Mia

Nyan got to spend some quality time with cousin Mia during his trip to Iowa. What did they get up to? Well, they tried their hand at making slime:

They goofed around with their hair and glasses at a restaurant. Well, to be precise, Mia (and Aunt Maggie) did while Nyan giggled.

They hung out on the couch while Mia played with her new iPhone:

And, maybe best of all, they hung out in the backyard. There were some (attempts at) cartwheels…

And there was soccer. Mia’s been playing for years; Nyan’s been playing for months. We thought some of her skills might rub off on the lad. That remains to be seen, but at least they had fun.

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Posted by on July 15, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Chores Around the House

During our summer trip to the US, Grandma somehow got Nyan to help out on any number of household chores. Like loading the dishwasher:

And watering the plants:

Also washing out some old planting pots, for some reason.

Obviously he’s having a blast there. Maybe that’s the key to chore-doing. He certianly enjoyed baking:

And sewing too:

Now if we can just get him to clean up his toys without being asked…

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Posted by on July 12, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Return to (Iowa) City Park

After a few days in California, it was off to Iowa for a couple weeks with Grandma and Grandpa. One of the many places we hit up was… Iowa City’s City Park.

Yes, we have been here before. And yes, the name is just as creative as it’s always been. Whatever; it’s a lovely place right along the river, with trees, playing fields, open space, and an area with a few kid-sized rides like a merry-go-round, baby ferris wheel and a working (miniature) train on a quarter-mile oval track. Nyan’s always loved this park, and this time was no different. In fact, we went there a couple times on this visit to the homeland.

Did I mention there are ducks? There are ducks.

And rides too. Every kid loves the rides. Especially the plane.

Don’t forget the merry-go-round.


But of course, the crème de la crème is the train. Here we had to wait patiently as it finished a run:

And a few runs around the track, with Grandma, with Grandpa, even with Daddy.

Nyan loved the train so much that he took several walks along the entire length of the track.


The park, the train and the rides have all been there since Daddy was a boy – even before that, surely – and we hope they’ll still be there for many years to come!

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Posted by on July 9, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Up Among the Tall Trees in Northern California 

Nyan had never seen a redwood tree before. We had thought about going to Muir Woods National Monument on previous visits to the Bay Area, but the fear of crowds kept us at bay. (That, and jetlag that always seemed to mean we slept more than sight-saw.)

This time around, we zeroed in on Big Basin Redwoods State Park, about an hour and a bit south of San Mateo, just to the west – along some climbing and winding two-lane roads – of Cupertino. We headed out early one morning (thanks, again, to the jetlag) and got there not long after they opened, around 8ish. It was quite chilly, especially for us equatorial residents who lack much warm clothing, but it was not crowded, the morning sun was glorious, and the trees were superlative.

Let’s just check out some pictures and videos. Words don’t do it justice.

And some videos too.

We were all suitably impressed. Then, while driving on from the park, in the middle of the redwood forest, we suddenly chanced upon…a Burmese monastery! What? How random. We stopped, of course, and checked out the stupa. Didn’t see any people at all; it was peaceful and seemingly deserted. Then we found the monk – yes, there was just one monk – and then we found some other Burmese folks who come up every weekend to cook up a week’s worth of food for the monk to eat. They promptly offered us a huge Burmese spread for lunch, which we gratefully accepted.

Totally random, but totally special.

Our final stop on this busy morning was at a NASA museum, not far from Google headquarters. It was a small affair, but kinda neat. It had some replicas of modules from the International Space Station, displays about various satellites and space missions, and an actual moon rock brought back by one of the moon missions. It actually wasn’t as awe-inspiring as we had hoped – it was just a little rock, encased in a glass display. It was so uninspiring, in fact, that we forgot to take a picture of it. Oops.

Then it was off for a drive through the nearby Google corporate campus before heading back to our rental apartment. Nice day overall.

Let’s end with some more photos of those majestic redwoods.

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Posted by on July 6, 2017 in Uncategorized


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