Sunday, April 29, 2012

How Far We've Come

This week Kira and I celebrated seven years of marriage. We left Avey with a sitter, and mini-man crashed our party as we went out to a little Italian restaurant.

We've been married now for nearly one fourth of our lives, and have been through several significant (and often life-changing) events. We've earned three degrees from two universities between us, moved five times, worked diverse jobs, and gone through financial, emotional, and even spiritual highs and lows. At the restaurant, Carver served as a hovering reminder of what has no doubt been the most significant journey we've taken together: becoming parents.

I'm glad to have shared and continue to experience all of these things with Kira. Eventually I will graduate. Some day we'll settle down and unpack everything. Before too long we'll both retire. Perhaps the peaks and valleys will be less frequent. And the children will certainly grow. But at least through all of the life events that are sure to come, Kira and I will face them together.

Avey Took This Picture!
I'm excited to see what the next seven years will bring!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Kitchen Job

When kids feel challenged by the arrival of a new sibling, they sometimes cope with the changes in unpredictable ways. Avey has dabbled in several methods: screaming, usurping parental authority, smothering her younger sibling with love, and rising to the occasion. Her most recent coping mechanism has become routine; she has settled into a life of crime.

It began on a warm, sunny Easter Sunday. The fates had introduced a plethora of chocolates mixed with caramels and crisped rice into Avey's possession. The clash between her sweet tooth and nutrition-minded mother was destined to follow. With a stash of sweets in the cupboard, and a pushover of a father tall enough to reach them, it was only a matter of time until the Century's most cunning four-and-a-half-year-old made her move.
Carver and Daddy Spy Something Shiny
She began a habit of what she calls "sneaking" a treat from Mommy. Usually, it works in the following manner: Avey will finish her meal and ask to whisper something into my ear while Kira is in the other part of the room. She uses the code word, and we both peek over our shoulders at Mommy to see if she's wise to our dastardly plan. Once we've negotiated the terms of the scheme, Avey will play lookout. She does a wonderful job of it, 9 times out of 10 explicitly telling Kira "Do not come in the kitchen. We're just rinsing off our hands [suspicious giggle]."

We've learned that Kira is not nearly as naive as Avey imagines, but that does not deter Avey's resolve. Luckily, Kira usually plays along. 

Perhaps in a few years Carver will take my place as the fall man, and Avey will have perfected the lookout role. Still, as long as they give me a piece, I'll keep my mouth shut.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Somehow life goes on. Even with a new baby in the house, we somehow manage to get food in our tummies and clothes on our backs every day. 

Avey wins the award for "most improved" since Carver's birth. You may recall that she was having some behavioral issues, verging on prodromal oppositional defiant disorder, but has since made nearly a full recovery. She now occupies herself with many healthy craft activities (most are quite inventive, I must say), and is Mommy's little helper. She is notably better about cleaning up toys when it's time, and has made it a point to use patience and self-control more often. 
Avey After Applying Her Own Makeup

I am managing to muddle my way through more graduate school while still attempting to spend more time helping out at home. I'm on track to end the semester strong with a new research project underway, and making preparations to teach Sensation & Perception to undergraduates over the summer, while still working part-time at the Juvenile Probation Department. 
Carver Proofreads Daddy's Homework
Kira is slowly becoming more mobile as well, occasionally venturing out from our four walls to catch a breath of fresh air before another person under 5 demands her services. She's held some phone consultations with clients, worked through email and phone with her church duties, and hauled the kiddos out and about for various errands and appointments.
Kira Gears Up for a Trek to the Outdoors
We could not have made it this far without the generous help from neighbors, friends, and (especially) family! Now, the real test for us will be if we can survive a trip back home in May...

Sunday, April 8, 2012


As with most newborns, Carver tends to focus visually on contrast between light and dark. This has led to a rather interesting ritual in our home. We have a dark brown ceiling fan in our living room, and it is contrasted against an off-white ceiling, so we naturally expect that it might catch Carver's interest. But it seems to go beyond interest for him sometimes. He seems to have developed an unhealthy relationship with the fan. We can tell this by the facial expressions he has when he's inspecting it. The other day he was beginning to drift off to sleep, as he often does, when he suddenly caught himself and resisted the urge to close his eyes. As soon as he did, he shot a look at the ceiling fan that seemed to say, "Ha! Thought you had me there, didn't you?"
Little Dude Spitting Out His Binky
We catch him giving the fan these bitter, suspecting glares nearly every time he catches a glimpse of it. Half of the time I'm certain that the reason he doesn't drift off to sleep at night is for fear of the ceiling fan catching him off guard. He probably spends most of his awake time plotting to get the ceiling fan as soon as he can get a hold of a long stick. I don't dare show him that the fan can rotate; he might interpret that as an attempt to draw first blood. If he ever burns our place down, I'm pretty sure it'll be to get the ceiling fan before it gets him.
Avey Hunting for Easter Eggs at My Grandma's
...At least it provides some entertainment for us. We're so sleep-deprived that we'll settle for just about anything these days. In fact, I'm running on so little sleep that I sometimes wonder if the ceiling fan is out to get me too. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Little Mix-up

This was, by far, the oddest week Kira and I have ever experienced in our lives. Early Friday morning we received a phone call from the hospital. A very apologetic nurse asked us if we could please come to the hospital that day, and be sure to bring Carver with us. She wouldn't really say what it was about, so we were unsure what to think about it. We figured it might be some blood work that had come back with an issue or something, but tried not to worry about it too much until we found out. We loaded up the kiddos and drove over that afternoon. The nurse at the reception desk directed us to wait in a room down the hall, but she didn't seem to know what it was all about.

We got settled in the room and waited for about 10 minutes before the knock at the door came. A doctor opened the door, and before coming in asked if we are the Ricks'. We said we are, and he gave us a solemn, and rather embarrassed expression, before opening the door all the way and pulling in a hospital bassinet, with a little baby in it. Kira and I looked at each other, more confused than ever at what was going on, when the doctor began to explain.

He said that the day Carver was born there was a nurse working in the blood lab who had left her glasses in her car. She retrieved them a few minutes into her shift, after it had become too difficult for her to read some of the doctors' handwriting. Although she had gone only about 30 minutes without her glasses, two baby boys had had their bloodwork done during those 30 minutes, and she had accidentally mixed up the tags. Apparently, the baby we've been taking care of for the last 4 weeks wasn't our Carver at all. The pictures we've been posting on the blog are of Gregory Rehbein. The doctor explained that Gregory's parents have been taking care of the real Carver, and noticed that something was out of place when the baby that baby began to sprout hair that was obviously blond. The Rehbeins apparently come from a long line of brunettes. When they noticed that the baby had an obvious cowlick sprouting at the top of his forehead, they began to look more closely at the pictures they had taken immediately after Gregory's birth. They must have noticed some other signs, because they voiced their concerns to the doctor, who brought them in, checked the baby's blood type with theirs, and after a little more detective work, there we were at the hospital with the wrong baby! 

Well, after a lot of tears and laughs, we were reunited with the real Carver:
The Real Carver Cope Ricks
Avey has taken this the hardest. She had grown really attached to Gregory. But the real Carver is really cute too. 

In retrospect, the whole thing makes a lot more sense. You can see the cowlick in the picture clearly, and that is something he clearly inherited from me. His hair color matches Kira's and mine much better, and I did find it rather odd that the first baby's hair was so dark. 

We're just glad that the whole thing is over and we can now get back to our lives with our real, biological son. To think what might have happened if the Rehbeins hadn't have caught the mix-up by now! I'll get more photos of Carver soon, so that we can all get to know him all over again!

P.S. I hope you've realized by now that this is an April Fool's joke! That is a picture of Avey at 3 weeks!