Sunday, December 26, 2010

Holiday Report

It was another successful Christmas for us. We were able to spend it with family, give lots of good gifts, receive just as many, and most of all gorge ourselves on anything and everything that contained sugar. We opted for Avey to get her stocking Friday morning to whet her appetite, and then drove to spend the next couple of days with my family not too far away. Here is a little footage of Avey's experience:
Now that the festivities are over, I'm dreading the next four days back at work until another long weekend. I think Kira is terrified that Avey will now believe she is entitled to sugar cookies and candy canes after every meal, and Avey may actually suffer a little withdrawal from the steady supply of sweets and presents.

We are looking forward to 2011 and all that it will have to offer. I haven't even thought of any resolutions yet, but maybe around 11pm this next Saturday I'll start pondering those things. I'm pretty sure one of them will include something along the lines of more sleep.

Thank you all for another year of reading this blog. Here's to new laughs and tears in the coming year!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

B.M.W.

No, unfortunately the title does not refer to Bavarian Motor Works, but Bowel Movement Woes. Avey has been at the potty training age for quite a while now. The reader will recall a post from nearly a year ago in which we related a success story in Avey's attempt to defecate in the more culturally accepted manner. However, that appears to have been a fluke. She has, since this blessed event, taken a different approach to potty training. Her relationship to the water closet is difficult to grasp; she is at once fascinated and disinterested in the same moment. Her favorite bedtime book for a while was about a princess who learned to go to the potty; her Uncle Jesse mentioned there were deer feces in the backyard yesterday and she insisted we dig through the snow to find it (yes, it finally snowed a little bit!); in a pretend phone conversation with a muppet character who wanted to come to a party with her, she denied her admittance stating, "No you can't come - you would poop!"
She apparently thinks about it a lot, but when we gently suggest that she try to use the potty, she flatly refuses. I keep hoping that her thinking about it means that she is also processing through it, and that she will one day be ready and excited to dedicate herself to this new lifestyle, because we'd sure love it if she would make this step. But on the other hand, I also hope that she is this hesitant to drive and date. Hmmm... maybe if I pretend I do not want her to use the potty she would have it down in a day.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

All Bundled Up

Okay look. This has gone on long enough. I have to say something. I know it sounded like a good idea at the time, and, I admit, I smile a little bit every morning too, but the fact is that I think it's time for a change. When December 12th rolls around and there's still no sign of snow in the forecast, it gets a guy wondering about the future. I really don't want to jeopardize our wonderful relationship, but you have to realize, I have my limits too. There is just so much a human being can put up with, and I'm just about there. I have wants and desires just like anybody else. So let me make this perfectly clear; I want 2 inches of snow on the ground before the end of the week, or I'm moving on. I know this sounds selfish, but I have needs, and if you can't meet them, maybe I need to go someplace else. I've heard before that I just need to give it a chance, but you know what - it's been like, 9 months now with all the "sunshine," and "warmth," and "vitamin D." It's been a good run, too. Don't misunderstand me - there is so much to love about your warmth - I'm sure you'll be a really great fit for someone, but I'm just not sure it's me. Those 9 months ago you were really what I needed. I looked forward to being with you, and couldn't stop thinking about you when I was stuck in classes or my office. But I really think that the time has come to cool things down. I need to begin concentrating on other things, like sledding, snowmen, pulverizing the neighbors with tightly packed balls of crystallized water particles. Maybe you could come around every now and then and we could heat things up like old times. But I just need a few months to get my head straight. If this doesn't work out, please understand that there will always be a place for you in my life, I'm just not sure where that is yet.

Love,

Eli

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Preparation for Christmas

Yesterday we put up our Christmas lights! We are pretty pleased with how it turned out:
Many people do not realize how the tradition of putting lights on houses began. Well, actually I don't either. Our motivation was partly to get into the Christmas spirit, partly to get me some exercise, partly to keep up with the Jones's next door (who put up a huge inflatable scene of a snowman family yesterday - I'm just saying), and partly to make sure planes don't fly into our house (it seems to be working so far, anyway).

We also made a special trip downtown to see the Parade of Lights last night. It was quite impressive for such a small town. Avey's favorite part was all the dogs who came to see the parade too. She also spoke to the Santa impersonator, and seemed to be quite impressed that he could talk.
Now all we have left is the Christmas shopping [nervous laugh]. But Avey is easily pleased, as witnessed by her joy from a few random articles of clothing, a stick horse, and a pompom. We'll have a great holiday, I'm sure.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Turkey Day 2010

Annual pie day (or "Thanksgiving" - whatever it's called) came around just in time this year. We've been away from family enough since our move that we were desperately in need of a family fix. We were fortunate to have Kira's brother and his wife join on her side, and all of my siblings were able to be home for the holiday. True to form, Avey dove right into the social scene, demanding entertainment from everyone and occasionally delivering it through the medium of song. Somehow, we managed to get through the whole celebration without any pictures to show for it, so you'll just have to take my word for it this time that Avey was pretty cute and we were pretty stuffed.

Now we have plans to Christmasize the house. I received some lights for my birthday this year, and we live in a house, so I am out of excuses - except for the fact that I don't own a ladder - that might buy me some time. Seriously though, I'm excited to be able to express myself through the language of lights. I'm sure pictures are to come.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Missing the Mark

As is the sacred duty of fathers, I attempt to teach good morals and values to my daughter at every opportunity. Ergo, when she requested that we read Fanny's Dream for her bedtime story earlier this week, I seized the occasion. It is a delightful book, taking a different stance at the Cinderella story. As a synopsis: Fanny is not very beautiful or dainty, yet wishes to marry a prince (or someone like that). She sits outside on the night of a fancy ball, waiting for her fairy godmother to come and use magic to make everything right. But she waits in vain, for the fairy godmother never comes. In her stead, a nice man named Heber comes and asks if she'll marry him, work at his side, stay with him through thick and thin, through good times and bad. She eventually agrees and spends the next several years working very hard, with many good times and many difficulties that are commonplace in life. Then one night, Fanny heads out to the watermelon patch to get a melon, when who should appear but her fairy godmother - years late, but offering to make things right and send her off to a ball that very night to meet a prince! Fanny considers for a moment, remembering her three children and husband just inside the door of her small home. She recalls the love and warmth with them, along with the years of sweat and pain that she has put into her little family, which gave her precious moments in return. She decides that she does not want to go to the ball, and turns to go inside to her family. She decided that, although her husband is no prince and her apron is no glamorous gown and her children are not loyal subjects, they are all close enough.

This is precisely the point I was trying to explain to Avey at the end of the book. I thought myself very clever as I attempted to walk Avey through it in very simple terms, first asking her why Fanny didn't go to the ball, and then suggesting some ideas. Avey seemed to listen intently, awestruck by my years of wisdom. After I had finished explaining the moral of the story, Avey's response was, "That [Fanny's] doggy don't have hands, so he can't pick a melon."

Well, that's a good point too, I suppose.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Up to Our Knees in Leaves

It's a bittersweet transition from an apartment to a house. Although I did landscaping as part of my first job right after college, we have not had our own yard to take care of for the first five years of our marriage. Now, we suddenly have a large yard with half a dozen very tall and very leafy trees. As tends to be the pattern about this time of year, the trees are shedding their leaves all over the lawn. Before this week, I had done some periodic raking to simply maintain, but this last week's cold winds pulled nearly all of the remaining leaves from their branches to make a virtual ocean of browns, yellows, and oranges. This video was taken long before the tidal wave of foliage:
As you may imagine, Avey was a huge help with the job; Kira and I handled the raking, while Avey assumed the role of jumping in the piles, stopping us every few seconds to show us a particular leaf she found to be of interest, and occasionally telling us she was bored. We got the job done yesterday, but noticed that there are still a few stubborn leaves in the trees, so we may have to head out again and do it all over.

At least we don't need to worry about mowing right now. We'll get this whole routine down in a few years, I'm sure.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Happy Union

It's been quite the week! Most momentous was that I bought our frog a wife! Yeah, the frog formerly known as Ursula turned out to be a dude. I had a hunch that he was after doing some reading a while back on the subject, and he exhibited several symptoms of maleness (it's sort of like a disease, right?). It was really obvious after he'd been "singing" for several nights in a row. A little research revealed that only males sing, and that he was probably lonely. I decided I'd make a great matchmaker, and swung by the pet store to pick him up a wife.

Of course, we couldn't call him Ursula in front of his new bride - that would be embarassing - so we decided to give them both new names. Avey liked the suggestion "Timothy" for the male, and she came up with "Foovy" for the female. That's right - Foovy.

Oh, and the fish, Jeffery, has made a full recovery from the infection. Thank you all for your prayers and cards, and all the flowers.

In other news, I'm getting even older. Today is my birthday. Kira has made it a wonderful couple of days, including eating out, family visits, sleeping in, and delicious treats. Avey was a big help at opening presents.

Thanks for reading! More news to come!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Spooks

Well, we had a pretty good Halloween. Avey decided that she would wear her ladybug costume, but insisted that she was really a butterfly:The glasses, headband, and bracelets were her idea. She had a great time checking out all of the other kids' costumes, and she was very good at shouting "Trunk or Treat!"After her bucket was about a third full, she announced that she was all done, so we finished it up and went home.

We had a lot of fun carving pumpkins too. Avey picked from several sets of eyes, noses, and mouths we presented to her and chose the combination below on the left. I think she did a really good job. Kira designed and carved the one on the right:
Avey was very well behaved, considering she had been sick with a runny nose and slight fever earlier in the week. Speaking of illness, our home has been stricken this week, apparently. Well, it's not been that bad. I went to feed my frog the other night, and I noticed that my fish's right eye was about three times its normal size, and looked like it would pop at any moment. After a little research, I found out that Jeffery had a bacterial infection. After a few days of fish-version medical treatment, he's doing much better now.

I also completed the training for my job this week, so I begin the orientation at the facility this week! Hoorah for employment!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Visitors

Avey's quote of the week:

"Jesus, I'm havin' a cucumber!"

The reader will recall that one of Avey's favorite pastimes is to pretend her mother and I are characters from her favorite shows. Well, recently we found a couple of animated stories from the New Testament on VHS at a thrift store. Since watching them, Avey has decided that Jesus is a fun cartoon character, and subsequently has us imitate His voice and mannerisms, just as she would have us "talk like Mickey" or any other cartoon character. One night while picking up her toys, Kira was filling the role of Jesus, and Avey was picking up her plastic groceries. She had a toy cucumber in her hand, pretended to take a bite, and the above line spilled out of her mouth. I laughed for a good long while - I sure never thought I would hear a sentence like that!
In other news, we went to a corn maze/pumpkin patch yesterday. It really got me into the Fall spirit, and Avey had a good time - as long as she was in the big pit of corn. She was pretty bored with the actual corn maze, but enjoyed the hay ride and is excited to carve pumpkins later today.
We've had a lot of encounters with wildlife lately too. It reminds us just how rural this area is. We have deer sightings all the time in our neighborhood, and earlier in the week Kira caught a photo of 3 deer in our front yard, hopefully eating crab apples (the bane of my existence, along with onions):
We've also had a feline visitor (or perhaps "stalker" would be a more appropriate word) for the past few days. Avey and I were playing out in the yard one evening when a black cat approached us. We gave it some friendly caresses and it followed us into the back yard. It stayed until we went inside, at which point it stared at us through our patio window and meowed incessantly, occasionally clawing at the window. We know it's a neighbor's cat, but the thing shows up most mornings to watch Avey eat her breakfast, and comes by at least twice a day to beg to be let in. Fat chance says I. It's nice to have visitors, but we prefer the type who do not leave fur all over our carpet and furniture. But feel free to eat our crab apples!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Another Day, Another Dollar

I've been in training for the past couple of weeks before actually beginning my job at the penitentiary. Training has been an interesting experience. Some of the classes are rather dull, covering legal stuff and such, while others are very hands-on - including putting classmates in full body restraints. I shouldn't have to do much of that stuff in my position (mental health), but we're supposed to know it all just in case.

This week I had a very interesting experience, however. I knew that this week the class was going to be exposed to oleoresin capsicum (pepper spray), because those who will be correctional officers will need to know the effects and know if they can function even after some exposure. I had been told that all clinical people would not be allowed to participate in that training, though, because of the whole "do no harm" oath and such. Thus, I was surprised to learn just a few hours before the actual exposure that I was supposed to participate. Apparently it gets used enough at the facility where I will work, that they want to be sure that I understand what it can do if I'm exposed. Good thing I'm salaried, huh?

(Here's Avey after putting all of her "friends" to sleep on the kitchen floor)
So what happened? We all drove to the department's shooting range, where the instructors drenched the inside of a small building with the spray. We then waited our turns to enter the building, shoot a target with a can of spray, and then exit the building and carry out some small tasks.

I caught a breath of it a couple of times on the outside, and it was like taking a deep sniff of some very spicy hot wings (oleoresin capsicum is pretty much cayenne pepper on crack). I coughed a little, but it wasn't too bad. Then it was my turn to go inside. Everyone reacts to it a little differently, and I was pretty surprised to find that it didn't bother my lungs or throat very much, but it felt like a thousand bees stinging my eyes all at once - and not those cute honeybees who just want to be on their way to the next flower, but some sadistic, evil, bee/hornet/porcupine hybrids who live for one purpose: to cause me large amounts of discomfort.

Anyway, after some cold water in the face I was good as new, but let me tell you, that quickly convinced me never to commit a crime, or if I do, never to get caught, or if I do get caught, not to mouth off to anyone holding a can of that stuff.

Oddly enough, I've been craving spicy foods lately. Maybe if I get enough Tabasco in my system I'll be immune to the spray next time...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Idolatry

There's a lot about our new place that I really like. I am a huge fan of our garage, I love the yard, and the space gives us plenty of room to stretch out. But I think my favorite part is something we brought with us:
I've had a bigger TV on my wishlist for a few months now. For the first 5 years of our married life we've been watching our movies on a 20" screen like cavemen. Finally, after saving lots of pennies, we've upgraded to full HD! We tried it out last night with our first Blu-ray Netflix, The Water Horse. It's amazing how clear and sharp it all is.

The stupid thing is that now we've moved far enough into the boonies that we can't get an antenna signal. We're really not big enough into TV that we want to go with cable - the new one is mostly for movies - but I'd really like to be able to watch the news at night. So it's not like we have a nice TV that we can't do anything with, but it's been feeling that way as I've tried out different options and gotten no signal at all. Oh well, the movies look fantastic, and I can still hook up the ol' laptop to watch streaming video.

In the meantime, we've been getting a better feel for the town, and I've been in training with the Department of Corrections all week. It will sure be nice to have the day off tomorrow!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Endless Birthday

For a parent who is in complete and total denial about his daughter's aging, I sure did nothing to discourage three days of festivities this week. On her actual birthday, we were still quite busy with the unpacking, and hadn't actually done much shopping for her, so we all went to the store and picked out some gifts while also buying some nice curtains for the new place. We had a small little party with our own little family, and Avey was graced throughout the day with phone calls from her growing circle of fans.

We felt bad that we had to move relatively quickly, because we had promised Avey that we could go to an arcade near the Springs, but then moved an hour away. We debated what to do and decided that it would be best to have a celebration the weekend we were going to the concert in Denver. We drove up Saturday morning, took Avey to the arcade where she rode on all sorts of kiddie rides, and that night Kira's parents graciously watched over her while we went to our concert in Denver.
That makes two days of celebration, but that wasn't quite enough for us. Today we had the real parties with the grandparents and Avey's uncles. Her Nana made her a beautiful cake:
Then, this afternoon, she had another party with Kira's side of the family! She may get used to birthweeks instead of birthdays, if we're not careful...
The main reason we scheduled the trip in the first place was for the Muse concert. I was very excited for it, as they are probably my favorite band currently. Unfortunately, we came home rather disappointed; the stadium at which it was held was so big that the sound really suffered. While I could hear the drums very well, they all but drowned out the vocals and guitar. And the light show was really impressive, but it was a bit too much for us old people. The band also did very little to interact with the audience - almost no talking at all. I'm used to concerts where I get to know the band a little, but this one left me wanting. Oh well, at least I get to say I went, right?


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Burst Bubble

There's a lot about parenthood for which no one prepared me. I mean, I generally knew what I was getting into as far as losing sleep, changing nightmarish diapers, cleaning up spills and the like. I'm the second of six, so I had witnessed those kinds of things plenty and felt prepared.

But over the past few months, I've become increasingly aware of the worst horror of parenthood: the kids grow up.
Now I'm sure you're saying to yourself, "Well duh, Eli. Of course they grow up. That comes with the territory." I guess I realized that my Avey would grow up eventually, but no one prepared me for how fast, or how hard, it would be.

It all came psychologically crashing down on me about 6 months ago. My dear aunt has been periodically shipping her daughter's clothes to us for when Avey's ready to fit into them. Kira and I were going through them when I held up an item that was particularly big. It hit me in that moment that she is growing - all the time! She is going to be big enough to fit into those clothes, whether I'm ready for it or not. And I am far from ready.
Now, as her third birthday approaches, I am constantly haunted by the realization that too soon, I will be unable to ever hold my 2-year-old Avey again. Too soon, she will be big enough to get dressed all by herself. Too soon she'll decide that sand stars are no longer cool. Too soon she, like the rest of us, will learn to overlook the smallest beauties of the world. She'll walk right by a ladybug without admiring it for several minutes and making me talk for it. Too soon, she'll realize that Kermit, Gonzo, and Elmo are just puppets. Too soon she, like the rest of us, will begin to worry about things that don't matter.
I admit that my distress is almost entirely selfish. I do want her to grow and learn, but even more, I want to continue to experience the world through her eyes. I want to always think of the wind as a chance to fly a kite - not as a nuisance that will mess up my hair. I want to always see a pile of sand as a wonderland - not another hassle to keep out of clothes. I want to go outside and notice the chirping of the birds, even above the noise of traffic. I want to always get a huge smile from a cheesy song. But most selfishly of all, I want to always see myself the way she sees me: strong, wise, competent, flawless, and invincible. What a miracle it is to experience unconditional love from the embodiment of innocence!
Although I am fortunate to have had a lot of time at home with her for the past 3 years, it is pitifully short of adequate. I've missed things. I've been at school when she wanted me. I've been tired when she wanted to play. I've had to work when she wanted to go on a walk. And too soon, I won't get to do those things with her 2-year-old self. Time just slips mercilessly by. And it is not enough. Maybe if I could spend a lifetime with her every week of her life I could be ready for this next birthday. Maybe that would be enough. But as it is now, 365 days to turn a year older is entirely unfair.
I'm sure that age 3 will have just as many beautiful moments and hilarious phases, yet I can't help but feel that I'm being forced to close a chapter in a book that I haven't finished reading. And it is the most refreshing book I've ever opened.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Packing

Can't write - packing. But for a refresher on how I feel about the whole process, click here. Better stuff next week.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

House Finding

Well, it took a lot of searching, and a little more travel, but we found a place to live. It's got a garage and a nice big yard:

Oh, I'm sorry - did you think that picture was it? No, that's Buckingham Palace, silly. I probably shouldn't have put that there, because now whatever place we really got will look pretty lame. Well, here it goes:
Oh, wait - no that's not it either. That's just some old shack. But now whatever we show you will look pretty good! That's psychology!
More pictures to come, of course, but this is the place! It has a large backyard for Avey to explore, a very big kitchen for lots of cookie-baking, a garage, and plenty of space for us to store all of our junk.

We should be moving in in the next couple of weeks, so if anyone is around Colorado, I'll have doughnuts ready to trade for a little elbow grease!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

House Hunting

You may recall from the last post that we will be moving in the next few weeks to be closer to my new place of work. Kira has done a wonderful job researching places to look at, and yesterday we set up to see several options in Canon City, just a few miles from the prison. It gave us a good feel for the size of the town, and we saw quite the range of homes. The first one was humongous - much more space than we needed - and the second was teeny tiny. Then we saw several in between: old, new, trashy, classy, etc. Avey had a blast checking out all of the potential stomping grounds, and was a great sport being in and out of her car seat all day.

Alas, after all of the time and hunting, we think we should take another trip to see a few more before deciding. Maybe we're just spoiled, but we want it to have everything, but also not cost too much. And the biggest hurdle is, I still haven't seen one with a racquetball court.

Reality still has not fully sunk in for me. Even picturing us living in a new place has not motivated me enough to start packing. Eventually, I'm sure the thought of commuting every day will.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Employment

Biggest news of the week is that I was offered a job! I've been working since graduation as a consultant for a research firm in Denver, and that's been paying the bills just fine, but my contract ends in the next two months, so I was feeling a lot of pressure to get something full time (compounded by the state of the economy). I will be working in the department of corrections with mental health, so it's perfectly within my field, and it's the same population I've worked with for the last year. I've been thinking that the law aspect of psychology is probably where I want to end up, so this is a great fit!

The downside of all of this is that we will need to move soon. We're debating on how soon and how close to the job, and just starting to wrap our heads around the thought of packing. Ugh...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ink Blots & Benches

A few weeks ago, Avey and I were out on one of her favorite pastimes - a good old fashioned walk - when we happened upon a bench that had been neglected for some time. It was missing one of the planks that made the area to sit upon, and one of the supporting metal bars was dangling below, making it a precarious place to rest one's hindquarters, to say the least.

Avey was quite insistent that we both sit upon said flimsy furniture, however, and so I, being the complete and total pushover of a father I am, took a deep breath and slowly entrusted all 175 pounds of me to its care. Luckily, it held as I sat on the far left side, closer to the supporting legs and Avey sat to the far right.

She was in quite the blissful state, mostly kneeling and looking at the metalwork. She referred to it several times as the monkey bench, which I did not understand for a few minutes. At the zoo earlier this summer, she enjoyed sitting upon the benches that had been crafted in the shapes of animals, such as a rhinoceros, gorilla, giraffe, etc. For this reason, I searched the structure of the bench trying to understand what characteristics it shared with a monkey. Finally, Avey helped to paint the picture she was seeing by pointing out the monkey's eyes. In a moment, it struck me too. She saw the face of a monkey in the design. The spirals are eyes, the wooden oval is the monkey's mouth:
I chuckled to myself after realizing the connection. I found it interesting that I may never have looked at the bench and seen the monkey if she had not pointed it out to me. It's a lot like Rorschach's ink blot test. He believed that by showing a person neutral stimuli, the person would project things on his or her mind into the pictures. In essence, a person sees what he or she wants to see. There must be some truth to that, because Avey usually has animals on the brain, and saw one in what I might have thought the least likely of places. But now, I can't look at the bench in any other way. It is and will forever be the monkey bench.

I'm so glad to have another little perspective on our surroundings, and to have the theme be something so innocent, optimistic, and sweet!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Two Weddings and the Recovery

Kira's side celebrated two weddings in the past 8 days, which meant lots of family in town and chances for Avey to dress up. Unfortunately, we weren't able to spend as much time with the family as we'd hoped, due mostly to colds that have slowly spread to all three of us. We had planned to go water skiing with the gang, but Avey woke up with a fever after a rough night struggling to breathe through her nose. Kira caught it a couple of days later, and it hit me hard yesterday. Luckily, Avey was able to ride horses with her cousins in a little window where she was almost fully recovered and before it had really knocked Kira out:
After a very lazy Saturday and earlier bed time, we're feeling like the worst of it has passed. A day of naps is definitely in order though. Maybe I'll have something more entertaining to blog about next week. In the meantime, don't anybody try to kiss us.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Phases

Members of our little family seem to go through phases fairly often. Avey, for example, has a new favorite movie every week. She's recently gotten into my socks - literally:
She's always liked to play dress up, but I'm not sure what the appeal is of my socks.
She recently has also decided that she and I should switch roles. After exhausting all of the characters in her shows to have me mimic, the other day she told me, "Daddy, talk silly like Avey!" So I have taken on her role, and she tries to take on mine, sometimes feeding me pretend bites during meals, and putting pretend bandages on pretend owies.

My siblings and I have been in a new phase of putting puzzles together. We just finished one last week and began another last night.

I was in another phase last month. After our Lake Powell adventure and lack of normal hygiene, I had the beginnings of a decent beard. I decided that I'd see it to the end and find out what I looked like in a beard. Here I am right before I shaved it off:
Yep. Phases come and go around here. I guess they keep life somewhat entertaining at times. At least Kira has been patient with us.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Darn Hand

A couple of weeks ago, as I was struggling to come up with new ways to keep the breakfast routine exciting for her majesty, I thought I'd try one of the oldest daddy tricks in history. It's been known by several names through the ages: "the Claw," for example; I'm pretty sure Plato referred to it as an "animal spirit hand." In any case, I tried it. I would bring Avey her food, cut it up into small bites, and then my left hand became suddenly possessed - its only purpose to find and exploit Avey's most ticklish ribs. It caught her off guard, as it intended, and I naturally had no control over it, but was able to subdue it with some effort with my right hand. After another few attacks, Avey quickly learned that she needed to keep an eye out for what she has come to call "The Darn Hand." The Darn Hand has become quite popular since its first appearance, and Avey often solicits its antics.

A few days ago, I wanted to quiz Avey again on her left and right, just to keep it fresh. I pointed to her right hand and said, "Avey, which hand is this?" She said, "This is my darn hand," and then proceeded to tickle herself with her right hand while trying to overpower it with her left hand. She eventually succeeded.

In another strange turn of events, her uncle and aunt who live nearby have also recently developed darn hands. We may soon have a localized epidemic.

In other news, my dear wife gave me a day off yesterday, taking Avey for a long walk in the morning so I could sleep in and then exercise. I had forgotten how amazing it feels to wake up when my body is ready to. For the past few weeks I have been commuting all over southern Colorado for my job as a consultant for a research firm, and I often get home quite late. The driving also wears me out, so it was very nice to get to do a little self care. It's so nice to have a caring spouse!

Also, as of yesterday, I am going to see Muse! I can't tell you how excited I am for that - they're probably my favorite current band, and I missed a chance to see them about 3 years ago. I'm counting down the days!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Picture Post

A picture is worth a thousand words, or in this case, at least one: "Cute!"




Sunday, July 18, 2010

Reunions

My dad returned home from overseas with his new wife this week. He'd been gone for about 7 months, so it was nice to finally have him back and meet his wife too. They brought with them several gifts from Europe, mostly for Avey, who has been playing with them every chance she gets:
Kira and I will also attend our first high school reunion later today! We're curious to see who's done what, married whom, lives where, etc. We're also interested to see the reactions by people who don't know that we got married, and show off our beautiful daughter!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Celebration

We had an enjoyable week, first spending Monday in celebration of the birth of our nation, and then celebrating the birth of my wife and Avey's mother! We spent the first at some local festivities where Avey got to enjoy her favorite pastime of riding on a little train, and the rest of us got to celebrate in the traditional American method of gorging ourselves with fried foods and sweets. If only we had more excuses to increase caloric intakes... Alas...

Kira's birthday was a small but rich celebration with family, while getting away from some of the burdens of everyday routine. We spent the evening in Manitou at a massive arcade, coming home with spoils of tiny blue and purple rings, 10 tickets each.
Avey really got into the celebration. She "helped" me bake Kira's cake, mostly meaning that she kept asking for a taste at every step in the process. After it was done and frosted, Avey inquired about when we might partake of it probably every 10 to 30 minutes. After assuring her that she would get to try some after Kira blew out the candles, she seemed satisfied, but still made sure I remembered our arrangement by reminding me every hour or so.
It's hard to believe how the years pass by. We have our 10-year high school reunion this week, and in less than 3 months, our little Avey will have another birthday too!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Lake Powell

I apologize to all of Avey's fans for the lack of a post last Sunday. We were on a little family vacation with Kira's side at Lake Powell in Utah. It was quite the experience. We stayed on a houseboat on the lake, slept on the roof under the stars, hiked up the cliffs, and swam or skied to keep cool. Here are a few highlights:
Avey seemed to enjoy the later bedtimes and wide open swim time. Interestingly, she didn't really get in the water much after the first day. She enjoyed floating on it, but didn't really get wet past her waist for the rest of the trip. To our great delight, she's been catching up on sleep since we got back: some nights getting 13 hours of consecutive sleep! It was quite the adventure for us all!

Happy 4th everyone!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Tribute to Avey's Dad

I have often heard that in general, mothers are the nurturers of children. The parent that listens, offers support, teaches, and what I sometimes call the person who offers the “mushy-gushy feelings”. However, in our family, this is not accurate. In memory of Father’s Day, I proudly proclaim on the worldwide web that Eli provides Avey with excellent support, validation, empathy, patience, respect, and dignity. Yet, he does this without losing his manly identity. If the truth were told, I feel much closer to him in the moments I see him being the tender, kind parent he is. He teaches me daily by example of how to treat a 2-and-a-half year old with respect by listening to her endless requests, and about patience by repeating the same phrases again and again, or talking in a requested character voice. He teaches me further about patience when he offers her several ways of accomplishing a task, or waiting and giving her every opportunity to comply with a request. In fact, if Eli had a possible fault as a father, it might be that he is too patient and generous. By Eli’s daily interactions with Avey he reminds me that she deserves and requires just as much respect, validation, and needs to be listened to as much as any adult would require to feel loved and supported. So, thank you, Eli for your great example to me of what a father, and parent should be. Thank you for being my equal companion in bearing the heavy, but completely fulfilling responsibility of being a parent. Here is to many more fulfilling years in our journey of parenthood. Love, Kira

Then....
And now.

Fathers' Hats

As another Father's Day comes around, I have begun to reflect upon the many different types of work that are associated with fatherhood, at least around our home. Here are a few of the "hats" I have worn over the past few years, in no particular order:
  • Chauffeur
  • Interpreter
  • Salesman
  • Hostage Negotiator
  • Diplomat
  • Law Enforcement Official
  • Sanitation Technician
  • Hair Stylist
  • Fashion Designer
  • Pedicurist
  • Manicurist
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Actor
  • Voice Talent
  • Life Coach
  • Personal Therapist
  • Bodyguard
  • Dietitian
  • Phonetician
  • Crayon Art Critic
  • Movie Screener
  • Imaginary Food Taste Tester
  • Singer/Voice Coach
  • Physical Therapist - specializing in walking development
  • Teacher
  • Mentor
  • Confidant
  • Teammate
  • Storyteller
  • First Responder in Crises (mostly kissing "owies")
  • Speech Pathologist
  • Punching Bag
  • Personal Chef
  • Janitor
  • and, my favorite role, Playmate
For time's sake, we sum all of these roles into one word: "father." With all of the many roles a father must play, and the thousands of "hats" they wear day to day, I tip my hat (pun entirely intended, and probably awkwardly worked in) to all of the men in the world who have been any one or more of these things, or thousands of others, to me. Happy Fathers' Day!

As a part of our celebration, we went to the Wishing Star Petting Zoo on Saturday: something I've been waiting to do for a long time! Here are a few highlights:
When we got in the car and asked her what her favorite animal was she said, "The cow statue." It was a little plastic cow head stuck on a bale of hay. Oh well... at least I enjoyed petting the bunnies...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Heroes

Earlier this week I spoke with a father of two. His children are now 25 and 16 years old, and when he learned that mine is nearing 3, he reflected aloud on what a wonderful age that is because the child still believes her Daddy is Superman. "You're enormous to her at that age. You're the strongest, most admirable person in her world. She really believes you're invulnerable."I reflected upon his statements later in the week after Avey watched The Great Muppet Caper for the first time. With her habit of assigning names of characters to the rest of the people she knows, I assumed she would do the same with this movie, an old favorite of mine. True to form, she fell in love with the muppets and was about to assign me a character. "What's Isaac's [an uncle's] name?" she solicited my input. "Gonzo?" I offered. She agreed. "And what's your name?" she tempted. I went out on a limb with, "Um... Kermit?" I was met with laughter. "No!I'm Kermit! You're Miss Piggy!" This was the moment that the gentleman's words rung in my mind's ear - Daddy is Superman. For several minutes I tried to find some way to liken Miss Piggy to Superman, and then hung my head in shame.
This was quite the week otherwise too. Kira was at Girls' Camp most of the week, leaving us with plenty of daddy-daughter time. Turns out our modem was the culprit in our inability to upload pictures, so I got a new one (hence the pictures). We're loving the nice weather, and doing our best to relax a tiny bit this Summer.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Too Much Fun

Our financial institution loves us. Just to show us their appreciation (and promote the grand opening of their new building), they had a big party on Saturday. We received an invitation in the mail a couple of weeks ago and it didn't really sound terribly appealing, but Avey and I were home alone for several hours and it was a lovely day, so we decided to attend. It ended up being much bigger than I expected! Avey got a balloon animal - a tiger jumping through a ring of fire - and a little spray-on tattoo of a flower. She and I also sat and ate popcorn, hot dogs, and tried a snow cone!
There were four of those inflatable slides, bouncing rooms, and an obstacle course. I thought Avey would love those for sure. We went to the first slide, where she looked around for a couple of seconds before reaching for me and requesting to get down. I thought maybe it was because there were some bigger children on it. So we tried the next one - just a place to bounce. She didn't even want to crawl through the small door to get in! So we tried the next one - another bouncy room. The entrance was bigger, so she entered, and then just sat down and sort of rocked back and forth. She didn't even try the fourth one.
Even if I thought it was a bit odd, she insisted that it was lots of fun. I suppose that's all that matters.
(We're still having bizarre internet problems [we can't upload anything], so we'll have to save pictures for another time. Sorry)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Evening Away

Every now and then we like to have a completely unproductive week; it tends to be good for the soul and sanity. It's usually nice if we intend it to be unproductive though. For some reason it just does psychological damage when the week is completely unproductive despite our best efforts to make it worthwhile. I suppose it all started last week when Avey was up 2-4 time per night with a cough. That left Kira and me with a hefty sleep deficit for this week. It caught up with me on Tuesday, when I couldn't get back to sleep after Avey's 3am consoling session. I realized that I too was getting what she had, and felt achy and sore the rest of the day.

Wednesday was spent running around town on errands for other people, but then that evening I had committed to facilitate a make up session for a class at a prison an hour's drive from here (I've been working as a research consultant for about 4 months now). I had never been to this particular facility before, and when I got there, they had me wait for an hour in their lobby while they tried to figure out if it was okay to let me in. Apparently, somebody didn't sign the paperwork so that they knew I was coming. At least I got paid for waiting there...

Friday we had planned to drop Avey off at Kira's parents' house for the night so that we could have a "getaway" at a bed and breakfast in town. While it was fun, and included a lot of binging on chocolate, we may have awoken more tired than when we fell asleep. It's dangerous to get one's body used to functioning with less than 8 hours of sleep, and to then remind it what 10 hours can be like. The body seems to get greedy and think it deserves even more. It may take us a few days to get back that balance of being just tired enough to function. Maybe when the kids are all out of the house we'll actually be well-rested.

(Sorry - I had pictures up, but Picasa didn't actually post them for some reason. Our internet has been having uploading problems, so I'll try and make up for the lack of visual stimuli later)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Gradjamation, Round III

There's no better way to celebrate the end of 2 years of grueling hard brain work and inadequate sleep than to dress up in a dorky, ridiculously hot robe and sit hip to hip in a crowd of hundreds of people waiting to hear your name mispronounced so that you can dash across a stage for 3 seconds and pose for 2 pictures while trying not to trip over the edges of the robe.
I'm sure that I'll look back at the experience with fondness some day. I must admit it was marvelous to have so many family nearby who made efforts to attend and commiserate with me. Avey was a good sport through the whole thing, and seems to have felt it was worth the wait to get to play with my tassel.
I'm not sure how Kira ever did this 4 times (High School, Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's). I still don't feel like I've recovered. Now seems like a great time for a little vacation.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Toddlerisms

Avey constantly surprises us. Sometimes that's a good thing, sometimes that's a bad thing, and sometimes that's an hilarious thing! The other night at dinner, for example, Kira noticed a little scratch on Avey's wrist. She, being the conscientious mother that she is, closely inspected it and inquired as to the cause by asking, "Where did you get a scratch?" Avey, apparently feeling that her parents were getting senile, pointed to the scratch on her wrist and answered, "Right here."
Also this week, Avey and I went to visit my mother. Avey saw a candle on the stove and asked if we could light it. She has blown them out before, and enjoyed it, so I indulged her and we lit the candle. She then said, "Should we sing a song?" Nana and I agreed, so we let Avey decide what we should sing. She began singing Happy Birthday, and chose her own name for the celebrated. After the song, she blew out the candle and suggested, in her sweetest voice, "Should we have cake?"
She thinks like I do.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mommies' Day

A happy Mother's Day to every woman out there who has shaped the life of a young one! Once again, we have a day dedicated to the wonderful women in our lives. While the actual pregnancy and birth are nothing less than heroic, I think what really sets a mother apart is her willingness to sacrifice for the little ones who depend upon her so much. It takes a lot of courage, effort, and pure charity to spend countless hours in dedicated, concentrated service of little children. We are all in debt to the women who influenced our lives for the better, and I am glad to have a fantastic mother of my own, and a spectacular mother for my child!
As a small part of the celebration, we all went to the zoo in town! We'd been talking about going for months, but the last time we had planned on it was over Spring Break, where it ended up snowing all day! It was windy yesterday, and cold at times, but we did have a splendid time. Avey's favorite animals were the giraffes. She got to feed them crackers and see their long, purple tongues. She got slobbered on a couple of times.
The most difficult (and, in retrospect, funniest) part of the trip was that she rode a little train about 15 minutes into the zoo visit, and then asked about every 3 minutes of the rest of the visit to go back and ride it again. We told her every time, "We're going to see a few more animals and then we'll ride it one more time before we go home." She still asked us several times in between animals.
In other news, it turns out that I'm not going to do more school just yet. A few job possibilities have come up which sound very nice, and the possibility of making some good money before returning to school yet again sounds exciting! I'll still be working for the prison and the university for the summer, but will let you know what and where we end up!