Sunday, May 27, 2012

Brevity

Vacations, it seems, are always far too short. This one is no exception. We've been horribly spoiled by our parents and siblings, who have allowed us to sleep in (as much as Carver permits, anyway), shared food, cooked for us, entertained our children, and otherwise offered support. We should really do this more often.

Carver delivered the smiles, Avey played every second she could squeeze in. Kira renewed old connections, while I mostly hunted for my favorite foods around town. Yes, it was a successful trip for all.

We hope to have a repeat of our drive here tomorrow as we head back to our home away from home. Keep your fingers crossed.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Travels

We made it to Colorado! We were both dreading our first road trip with two children, preparing for the worst combination of whining, spit, and poop that the world has ever known. We were, however, pleasantly surprised to find that Carver, like his sister, inherited the "good traveler" gene. The child slept nearly every minute that he was not eating. Stopping to nurse, eat, and gas up the car, we made a 9 hour venture in just over 12. To describe the experience as "too shabby" would be less than accurate. 

To see our faces upon arrival, you might think we were entering a foreign country. To be surrounded by green on all sides is quite the ordeal after our Texas experience. At least our little section of the Lone Star State has left us wanting as far as foliage is concerned, although we've seen just about every variety of the color brown since moving there. 

We do so love the company here too, and look forward to spending a lot of time with them. We'll make it a point to take some more pictures while here. Maybe I'll have some interesting stories to tell next week. In the meantime, tonight at dinner, Kira's dad asked Avey if she would prefer vanilla ice cream, or vanilla ice cream turned into chocolate. She decided she would like chocolate ice cream turned into vanilla. Some clever marketing delivered what she believed to be the goods. You may not believe it, but you couldn't even taste the chocolate. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Ocean Blue

Avey has been expressing herself through art a lot lately. Her media of choice are marker, printer paper, and masking tape. Yesterday she came up with the idea of making a book, entitled Ocean Blue. Here is the cover:
Ocean Blue by Avey Ricks
And here are the illustrations on the inside:
A Sneak Peek
Avey told me the story, and then Kira asked to hear it again so that she could write it down verbatim. It goes like this:

Once upon a time, there was a blue ocean, named Ocean Blue. And then a pirate ship came in it. The pirate ship was so big and fat that the Ocean Blue just turned into just little blue dots. The pirates didn't know what happened.


After several readings, and exaggerated sobs on Ocean Blue's behalf from yours truly, Avey added the epilogue:

Then God made a new Ocean Blue where the old Ocean Blue was.


Since yesterday we've read the story about 2 dozen times. Avey is beaming with pride that she made her own story, let alone created a book about it. She's currently working it into a screenplay to pitch to her uncle Jesse who "knows how to make computer movies". She was so pleased with the first one, in fact, that she has started Volume II of the chronicles of Ocean Blue. The next installment (SPOILER ALERT!) includes the introduction of a turquoise fish. No, that really is a spoiler, because that's the story. The fish swims into Ocean Blue and that's all she wrote, literally.
Carver Auditions for Baby Gap Commercial
Carver is officially cute as of this week. He's been smiling like it's his job (and it kind of is), and has slept in 7-hour stretches twice in the last few days! He made his debut at Relief Society today, giving Kira one of the nicest Mother's Day gifts he could come up with. If he can go another 7 hours tonight, he'll make this the best Mother's Day I've ever had anyway.
Happy Mother's Day 2012!
Avey filled out a Mother's Day card in Primary today. She did very well on many of the fill-in-the-blanks. We were quite tickled to see that for the question, "What does your mommy do in her free time?" Avey answered, "She likes to feed Carver."

Although a little sad that such a thing seems like all the fun Kira gets these days, it is a fairly accurate portrayal of the dedication and perseverance that it takes to be the mother of these two. It is beyond a full-time job. How she manages to keep the two fed, clothed, semi-entertained, and still have a little bit of time left over to take care of herself is a feat by itself. Avey and Carver do and will cherish her for the rest of their days (okay, maybe not through the teenage years), and will pass the love and guidance on to their children. After working with prisoners and now working with juvenile probationers, I am more aware than ever of the importance of stable, caring, mindful mothers in children's lives. I am fortunate to have a wonderful wife as a partner as we raise our children.

I cannot say a positive word about mothers without mentioning my own. I am a better man and father thanks in large part to my mother's endless patience and charity with her 6 children, and the example she continues to set with her grandchildren and students. I shudder to think what my life might be like had I been born to any other.

Happy Mother's Day to all who have listened to, kindly guided, complimented, comforted, and loved a child!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Carversations

As the second of six children, I had several years around babies while I was growing up. One tradition my mother carried on through each of my siblings was acting as the infant's voice. Thanks to my mother's quick wit, this made for hours of entertainment. 

I've attempted to keep the tradition going with our children. What's been most interesting to me is learning more about how Avey views the world. For example, just this morning Avey was telling Carver all about how she will teach him everything she knows. "They" got talking about how we learn, through school and such, and Avey told Carver that I still go to school because I never finished. I laughed and probed a bit to find out what she meant. We then had a moment explaining that I'm doing more school than most people, and I tried to come up with some explanation as to why (I ask myself that same question every morning).
Carver's been interacting more every day - usually in good ways. We're excited and terrified to make a trip home to Colorado with the kiddies in a few weeks, and I am close to finishing the semester! Sometimes I feel like our lives are a reality show, but with fewer sponsors and fans. We love the ones we've got though!