Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sleep, Round II

Sleep. What a wonderful concept. Yet it sounds so foreign to me now. Kira and I have been craving sleep for a good long while now, but never as much as in the last few weeks. When we were in Colorado at the end of April, we stayed at her parents' house, sleeping on a queen bed in the basement. We don't know exactly what it was - maybe the elevation, the cold crisp air, or the gloriously soft mattress - but we slept like we hadn't slept in years. 

The experience shed new light on the problem with our own mattress - it's hard as a rock. We had inherited it a few years after we were married, to replace our cheap futon mattress. After the Colorado trip, we knew the madness had to end. We purchased a better mattress, and it came this week. 
Unfortunately, our attempts to test it have been thwarted by our children: more specifically, the boy.

It really isn't his fault, though. The poor child was down with a high fever for about 3 days, and now is battling a stuffy nose. He wakes up every couple of hours exhausted and miserable, with little to be done for his ailments. Maybe some day there will be a baby-friendly version of Nyquil®.

As we wait for Carver to fully recover, we take turns napping on our new mattress. Those naps are wonderful, but I can't help but feel like I'm being teased. At this point, I'd probably be thrilled to lay down on a bed of nails if it meant I could doze off for a few seconds. Sooner or later, our kids will have to get better, and then we can give our new bed the true test.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Economics

With summer upon us, our fellow El Pasoans have pulled out their many methods of coping with the heat. One of those is the use of vehicles with convertible tops, allowing for maximum airflow while driving. Avey has been most interested in these unique vehicles of late, and mentioned to Kira a few days ago that she would like it if we were to own a convertible some day. Kira shared her interest, but also added the caution that such cars often come with greater cost than others. Avey pondered that for a moment and then said, "But if there's no roof, it should cost less!"
At dinner a few nights ago, I was teasing Avey (a common occurrence in our home). I jested that she should put me to bed and she could stay up and do the dishes (rather than the other way around). She responded that she was the younger of us and, therefore, should be the one going to bed. I challenged, saying that she were the older one than I. Now clearly frustrated, she growled, "Dad, listen. 1-2-3-4-5! Have you heard 31 yet?!?"
Scarfing Down French Fries
Carver has made leaps and bounds in his development these last couple of weeks. He's sprouted two top teeth, and possibly a third, and just yesterday after changing his diaper, I set him on his feet and he took about 5 steps unassisted. He's getting bolder, and will probably be walking all over us very soon!
Concerned Carver
I finished up finals on Monday of this week, utterly destroying my Categorical Data Analysis final with a 98.8%, and awaiting the results from my other courses. I was very disappointed to find 3 of my undergraduate students had plagiarized their written assignments, forcing me to turn them in to the University's authorities to face disciplinary action. I also finally learned that I will be teaching Sensation and Perception this summer! Hopefully I will also get two papers submitted for publication, and my dissertation proposal ready for approval. It will be a busy summer for me.
"Graduation" from Pre-K
Avey's preschool had their end-of-year celebration on Thursday (I have a hard time calling it a "graduation"). I spent most of it chasing Carver up the aisles, but Avey did a wonderful job singing with her classmates. We are so proud of how she is growing and learning! The printed program noted on it that she is in the future graduating class of 2026, nearly giving me a heart attack. That seems so far away, and she's our oldest!

Kira has been very busy with her counseling lately, spending most of her Mother's Day working through a crisis with a client, and now with a caseload of four - the most she's ever had for private practice. She made arrangements for us to go on a date yesterday - yes, a real date! We went to a morning showing of the new Star Trek movie (which was fantastic), and then enjoyed a lunch where no one was screaming for a bite of our food (e.g., Carver) and we were not distracted by the need to prod anyone to eat their own (e.g., Avey). We will need to do that more often!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mommies' Day

On this Mother's Day 2013, my children and I celebrate their wonderful, patient mother and my beautiful, talented, virtuous wife. Kira deserves more praise than I can fit onto this blog, but I will try and summarize a little bit here.
Aside from holding a Master's Degree from a major private university and being licensed to practice psychotherapy in two states, Kira is a dedicated, patient, and skilled counselor to her clients. She is an ideal person for her field, as shown by her selfless and warm nature. She thrives on meaningful interaction, and is especially skilled at understanding others' emotions. How fortunate our children and I are to have her close by when difficult times arise!
Kira also runs a successful business on top of her other responsibilities. She is the marketing department, book keeper, administration, board of directors, and work force all at the same time.
I argue that her greatest accomplishments to date are our beautiful children. Avey is bright, caring, and outgoing, very much a product of her mother. Carver loves music and dancing, and is energetic and warm - all traits he shares with Kira. They will love and respect her for the rest of their lives, as we love and respect our own mothers.
Happy Mother's Day to all!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Jesse George Ricks

On the night of Monday, April 22, I received a phone call. It was a police officer informing me that my little brother, Jesse, had died in a car accident on his way to a job interview in Montana. After the initial shock and emotional cycling between disbelief and grief, we packed and made the arrangements to head to the funeral.

The sadness came in waves for me. At times things felt fairly normal. As long as I could stay busy working on things, I could get along just fine. And there was plenty to work on; the van's alternator went out on us just 2 hours from our destination, so that we had to deal with that and then spend the night in a motel, but at least it served to keep my mind occupied.

The funeral was Monday, April 29 (see the program here). My mother asked me to give the eulogy (read it here), which was therapeutic for me. I spent several hours preparing for it, but there's really no way to really prepare for that kind of thing. Jesse will be sorely missed for years to come.

It was nice to be around so much of the family, at least. Carver and Avey put on a good show, and make it hard to be sad for very long. 
Thank you all for your kind sentiments and help over the last two weeks.