Tag Archives: outdoors

Nyan, in the Snow 

We made it to Iowa in mid-December. It was cold, the trees were bare… but there was no snow, much to Nyan’s chagrin. But then… a Christmas Eve miracle! We got a couple inches of light, fluffy snow. Too dry to make snowballs or snowmen, but plenty good for wandering around in and even making a snow angel.

We made sure Nyan was properly outfitted for his alpine excursions, with Star Wars stocking hat, snow pants, sweaters, heavy winter coat and snow boots.

This was actually not his first time in the snow — here he was in Iowa a few years back, and here we are visiting a local indoor snow place in 2016. But the latter doesn’t really count, and he has zero memory of that first brush with snow and extreme cold. And, yes, we had a few light dustings of snow in London, but again, no memory. So we can sort of count this as his first time in snow. So with that, here we go, his first steps in snow:

Some photos of Nyan (and Daddy) in the snow:

He found a stick and decided to go around “whacking” and clearing the snow off of trees and other items.

And he made his first-ever snow angel!

A few days later, it got really cold – like sub-zero Fahrenheit. We didn’t play outside in that, but we did when it was a bit “warmer” (i.e. in the teens Fahrenheit, -10 C). We made sure to be extra bundled up:

It was awfully cold, but pretty. We leave you with a few random scenery shots.

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Posted by on January 15, 2018 in Uncategorized


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Beach Party! 

In late October, Tita — Jayden’s helper, who spends a fair amount of time with Nyan on playdates and walks home from school — had a birthday party down at East Coast Park, not far from our place. We headed over, along with Jayden, Jonnie and Lily.

Kids being kids, they spent a lot of time getting bucket of water to dump on the sand.


The main reason for the buckets: on the beach was the remains of a huge bonfire from earlier in the day. It was still smoldering a bit in places, so the kids were trying to put it out. Nyan someone came up with the name Ash Destroyers, which I think he meant to be related to what they were doing. Sounds pretty cool, even though it doesn’t quite make sense.


The kids also decided they would dig tunnels in the sand. Jayden wanted to dig all the way to Indonesia; Nyan was feeling a bit more ambitious and thought he’d dig all the way to Iowa, and then pop up in Grandma and Grandpa’s kitchen to surprise them. Didn’t quite make it, though.


Bonus: A week before this fun beach party, Daddy and Nyan had taken a stroll down to the beach to play for a bit.


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Posted by on November 18, 2017 in Photos


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A Visit to Telunas Beach Resort

Telunas is a laid-back beach resort on a small Indonesian island. There’s not a lot to do there except swim, eat, hike a bit, and relax. That was just what we were looking for as a way to unwind before Nyan started his new school, and to celebrate Mommy’s birthday. We are quite pleased to report the place exceeded our expectations in every way.  Here is a long report on our trip.

It’s pretty close to Singapore, which meant no air travel – just boats. We started with a half-hour ferry ride to the island of Batam, just across the channel from Singapore. Nice views of the Singapore skyline even from Indonesia:

Then we transferred to a small, low-slung traditional Indonesian fishing boat that the resort sent to pick us up. The ride was about 45 minutes through pretty calm waters, passing by untouched islands and the occasional fishing village, with most buildings on stilts above the water.

The resort is also built on stilts, jutting out over the water. The main building was the eating hall, and each individual cabin was connected by wooden pathways high above the water, eventually leading to a long stretch of beach. It was deliberately rustic and low-key, and it was great.


Here’s the resort:

And our room, a nice-sized place with a queen bed, bunk beds and a little balcony overlooking the sea and the island.

Fun on the Beach

The beach was long and clean, very wide at low tide and pretty narrow at high tide. The whole place was thick with little crabs who would dig holes in the sand and leave little balls of sand everywhere. Great for drawing your name in, actually. We obviously spent the bulk of our time on the beach – swimming, lazing, walking, playing with the other kids at the resort.

Rope Course

The blonde, curly-haired girl you see in some of those beach pictures was Anastasia, a.k.a. Squish. She and Nyan became fast friends, starting with some bonding at the resort’s rope course.

As you can see, it was a clearing on a hill, deep in the jungle, where they had installed a few rope bridges for kids (and adults!) to test their mettle. Nyan was a little nervous but he did a great job!

More Fun in the Water

The resort had some non-motorized water sports equipment to borrow, so one afternoon, Daddy and another parent staying at the resort brought one out into the (pretty shallow) water and threw a bunch of kids on it. A blast was had by all.

The resort also had a couple of platforms for the brave-hearted to jump from and into the water. One was maybe 10 feet, the other more like 30. Both were too high for Nyan, but not for Daddy!


The resort also offered rudimentary fishing — they’d loan you a plastic spindle with a lot of fishing line on it; you’d put some raw chicken on a hook at the end of the line and lower it down from the platforms. We didn’t catch anything but it was a nice relaxing time.


Speaking of relaxing, that’s ultimately what we did a lot of at Telunas. Reading, lounging, drawing, exploring, being silly. Good times.

The Night

Every night they had a big bonfire down on the beach. Kids loved it – especially when the marshmallows came out!

One evening we did a special pizza dinner down on the beach, where we all assembled our own pizzas and then had them bake them in a wood-fired oven. And, since it was Mommy’s birthday week, we asked if they could do something special. They sure could!

We were also there during a full moon. Amazing.


And you know ho the full moon brings out the crazy and/or goofy? Yeah. This:

Time to Go

Sadly, of course, all good things must end. So after a few nights, we had to board the fishing boat that took us back to the ferry that took us home. But we’re already making plans to return to Telunas.

It’s fair to say the trip was an unalloyed success. In case there was any doubt, Nyan started his new school a couple days later. One of the first things the children did was to draw “what I did on my summer vacation” pictures. Here’s what Nyan came up with:


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Posted by on September 15, 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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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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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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