A quick video look at a bit of what Nyan gets up to on his weekend days.
There’s his Saturday morning robotics class, of course. He’s getting better and better and starting to build more complex robots, and even starting to program a bit.
This one was, I’m pretty sure, built by another kid; Nyan was just playing with it. He’ll be working at this level soon enough though:
One Sunday afternoon, he came across a cookie recipe in a book he was reading, so he and Mommy decided to do some baking. Here he is, sending a little message to Grandma (with whom he also loves to make cookies):
So how did the cookies come out? Uh…. let’s just say that our oven is not very reliable when it comes to keeping a constant temperature, making it tough to bake anything. We’ll just leave it at that.
Time for a periodic check-in on Nyan’s progress in martial arts. The short version: slow but steady progress.
The long version: here are some pictures and videos.
He has fun, but he also works hard at the various exercises and routines.
Oh yes, they still do the warm-up routine where the teacher dumps balls on the ground, and the kids run around picking them up.
Here’s Nyan practicing his moves, and being a little silly, one week when a substitute teacher was in.
Some sort of running exercise, with a little silliness thrown in for good measure.
Sometimes he catches Daddy taking a video. Oops.
All that hard work paid off when, in May, Nyan went for his grading exercise and passed! Here’s his teacher, Mr. Lee, awarding him with some new badges for his belt. Next stop: Yellow belt! Mommy and Daddy couldn’t be more proud.
Next up: Because Nyan is about to turn six (!?), he moves out of the “kinder” class and into the real intro class. Stay tuned!
Many years ago – about five or so – a young Nyan Thomas went to England (he was living New York at the time) and hung out with his doting cousins, Hetty and Poppy. The three starred in these lovely videos, which you should re-watch right now because they will be very important to understand the rest of this blog post:
With a young Hetty:
With a young Poppy:
Fast-foward many years to autumn of 2016, when all three have put on several years of good living. They all got together again, and decided to recreate those earlier videos. The results? They speak for themselves:
I suppose now we’ll have to recreate these videos every few years for the rest of their lives, maybe? Eh, could be worse.
Our boy loves music. And he loves to dance. And on a lazy Saturday (or maybe it was a Sunday?) morning, there’s nothing better than throwing on some tunes and letting Nyan bounce, twirl and bump his way around the apartment. Enjoy!
One of our favorite recurring characters on this blog is Kyle, Nyan’s former classmate whom he’s stayed close to even though they don’t go to the same school any longer, and in fact get to see each other but rarely – once a month at best. But they definitely make the most of the time they do get to spend together. Like in mid-October, when Nyan spent the afternoon at Kyle’s new home.
Much of the action took place in the lovely swimming pool, where the boys played all sorts of games.
And splashed in the water.
And goofed around using a hollow swim noodle:
It being nearly Halloween, there was of course a skeleton hanging around.
But mostly it was just about two pals hanging out.
We signed Nyan up for some taekwondo classes. We did this with a little trepidation; long-time readers may recall how we signed on for some kung fu classes two years ago; after some initial interest, Nyan quickly grew bored with listening to the instructor. He became a bit of a distraction to the class, and the whole thing was far more stress than fun, so we dropped it. (For a trip down memory lane, click here.)
But then, he was not yet three years old then – now he’s almost five. And he expressed interest himself in taekwondo. So we bit the bullet and signed up at a studio near our apartment – in the same building as his school, it so happens.
First up was a half hour trial session, one on one with one of the instructors to do a few basic moves and stretches. And Nyan was great! He was engaged, he listened and showed proper respect to the instructor; in short, he thoroughly enjoyed it. Some photos from that session:
Clearly he was into it. So we signed up for a month’s worth of classes. The first one was this past Monday evening. Daddy picked him up early from school; teachers and fellow students wanted to see his uniform (yes, we know it’s about a dozen sizes too large), so we changed there at school. After Nyan got done vamping for the camera, he showed off to his friends and teachers; all were suitably impressed.
Then to the class. It was Nyan and four other little boys. It was an absolute success. Nyan had a blast; he listened to the instructor; he made pals with the other boys. He doesn’t have all the moves down pat just yet, of course, but that’ll come quickly.
Daddy peeked through the glass door from time to time and stole some little videos. He definitely doesn’t have the moves down yet, but he’s really into it. And notice how he’s always sneaking peeks at the other boys and mimicking what they do. He’s learning, and so long as his interest level stays high, he’ll get pretty good in short order, we think.
Back over the Christmas holidays, we took a family trip to Bali for five days or so. This Indonesian island is, in a lot of ways, the quintessential tropical island vacation spots, with beaches, hotels, nightlife, watersports, mountains and other beautiful scenery. And it’s only a two hour flight from Singapore! We were, to be honest, a little put off by the rampant over-development and traffic in some parts of the island – typical, of course, of any popular tourist destination, sadly – but other parts of the island were just stunningly beautiful.
Plus we had a nice hotel on the beach, with lush grounds and a great pool. Let’s check out a bit of what Nyan (and Mommy and Daddy) got up to. With lots of photos and videos!
Nyan played his first ever game of ping pong. Let’s just say that he needs a bit of practice.
We spent a lot of time away from the resort too. Ain’t Bali beautiful? (click on any photo to enlarge)
Mommy’s Aunt Jessica used to live on Bali. She lives in Japan now with her family, but they still own property in Bali, and happened to be on the island at the same time as us. So we got to hang out with them, including Nyan’s cousin Grace. They got along great.
They had fun drawing and coloring together:
More photos from around the island (and one from Changi Airport in Singapore on our way out):
Maybe the highlight of the trip was all the time Nyan got to spend in the resort swimming pool. And Daddy had borrowed a waterproof GoPro camera for the trip, so there’s plenty of video footage.
Goofing in the pool with Mommy and Daddy:
Doing something he called the ‘alligator slap’ and ‘whale swim’:
More splashing, plus making friends with a random woman:
Bali is known for its art and design, though we didn’t take too many pictures. Here are a few:
Music and dancing are also important parts of Balinese culture. Our resort put on a dance show one night. Nyan was suitably impressed:
Here are some shots from around the resort. Plenty of koi ponds, which gave Nyan plenty of chances to feed the fish:
Another night, they had a cocktail reception for guests, with live music. Nyan enjoyed it:
And finally, we leave you with this bit of brilliant nonsense. I think he wanted to send a video message to Grandma. Instead, we got this.
(Note from the editor: We’re back! We’re not sure why we missed a month there — well, there were some more travels, and a birthday party, and this and that — but we’re back! More regular blogging to resume immediately. First up, a look back to our summer trip.)
Iowa City has lots of great parks, including City Park — not a creative name, but it’s got a lot going on, including some amusement park rides. They’ve been around since Daddy was Nyan’s age, and they’ve somehow survived all the years (and all the cold winters and all the floods) in pretty good shape. Nyan’s been there before (check out this entry from 2012 – look how little he was!) but he still had fun every time we went this summer – which was at least three separate occasions.
His favorite ride was probably the train, which rides around in a slow loop:
On one of our visits, the train wasn’t running, so Nyan just took a stroll and a jog along the tracks:
And what little kid doesn’t like to pilot his own plane?
Of course, as this video makes clear, it’s a rather rickety-sounding plane. But hey.
The ferris wheel looks a bit like a prison but safety first, I guess. And Nyan enjoyed it.
And finally, a Merry-Go-Round ride with Grandma. What could be better?
Nyan got a lot of birthday gifts and wishes, including an excellent one from Uncle Mike, Aunt Sarah and cousin Mia: a tour of the Iowa City Fire Department’s headquarters! The little guy was over the moon happy (Mia was pretty glad to take the tour as well). The firefighters showed us the pole, their living quarters, the administrative offices… and of course, the fire trucks.
And yes, as you can see, they let him sit in the driver’s seat:
The highlight of the visit, though was when the speakers came to life and our tour guide said he had to go out on a call! Nyan got to watch them climb into the truck and take off:
It was just a medical call; someone fell and hit their head; the firefighters handed the victim off to the ambulance and returned to finish the tour. We hate to say we were lucky to see a call – someone was hurt, after all – but still.
BONUS: A few days later, Grandma, Grandpa, and Daddy walked with Nyan to the neighborhood fire station. It was a hot summer day, and the firefighters there welcomed us inside and gave us yet another tour. This station is HQ for the county Hazardous Materials team, so Nyan not only got to sit inside a fire truck; he got to get behind the wheel of a huge HazMat truck too! Pure bliss for this four year old boy.