Sunday, July 28, 2013

Family Photos

I got up with my son at 5:04 this morning. At this moment he and I are wrestling for control of the computer's mouse and keyboard. I am barely holding him at bay while I attempt to churn out a few pitiful sentences to summarize the goings-on of the week. 

Both kids have been coughing like chain smokers, apparently still recovering from a minor cold they inherited from their cousins last week. Luckily for us, they are both in good spirits even with the occasional hacking fit.

Kira completed all of the work she needs to renew her license in Texas this week, and was asked to teach the lesson in Relief Society today. That serves her right for being so awesome.

I took my guitar to campus this week to demonstrate some of the aspects of music perception to my students. I tried it out last summer with this course, and it went over really well, so I did it again this year. When I opened up the ol' guitar case to tune her up, I realized just how long it had been since I'd played. Not only did the thin metal strings tear into the pampered flesh on my fingertips, but I discovered several little "treasures" hidden in the body of the guitar. Avey had apparently stored a few items there back when we lived in Canon City. After playing a little for my students, I have decided to play for fun more frequently. I picked out a song I've wanted to learn for a while, and practicing it a little every day! Once I get my fingertips calloused again, I'll be on easy street.

Now, nap time.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Loneliness & Togetherness

There was a Cope reunion this last week, which had been planned for some months. The problem is that I found out only several weeks ago that I would be teaching a summer course during that time. After a lot of figuring, we decided to get Kira and the kids up there the weekend before the reunion so that they could get maximum time with the rest of the family. Naturally, that left me home alone for 5 days. As is usually the case during those times, I relished a few hours of quiet when at home, and the promise of uninterrupted sleep each night. But, as is also always the case, the fun lasted only for a couple of days. After that, I found that coming home to an empty home was... not much of a home. I found myself waking up at 6:30 in the morning automatically, even though I didn't really need to be up for a couple of hours. Instead of hearing Carver's singing from his bed, there was only the sound of the air conditioner turning on. Instead of excited shouts of "Daddy's home!" when I'd get home from school, there was only the buzz of the refrigerator. Needless to say, by the last day, I was aching to see my family.
Carver Sharing a Book with a Cousin
I certainly got my wish, and then some. I finished teaching class Thursday morning and drove to Colorado, where I met a warm welcome from my children. I was exhausted from the drive, so was eager to hit the sack. A few minutes into my slumber, Carver awoke screaming. He started coming down with a cold, and a tooth was on its way, so I was patient and understanding... at first. Then Carver woke up screaming an hour later, then again an hour after that, and the hour after that. He continued the pattern until sunrise. As I stared at him with my bloodshot eyes and pounding head, I tried with great difficulty to recall that feeling of longing to hold him again. 

For the rest of the trip I had no idea what loneliness felt like any more. In total, there were 24 people at the reunion, many of them very small children looking for as much attention as possible. Whatever sounds I had missed during my 5 days of solitude were now back with a vengeance. I suppose the grass is very often greener on the other side, as the old adage goes. Now that I've experienced the two extremes though, I am very much satisfied with my small family, and the moderate levels of noise coupled with ample showing of love and affection. Now that we're all together again in our own space, I remember what family is all about.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Anniversary of a Birth

We celebrated Kira's birth this week, with all the fanfare possible. Carver did his part by getting a fever and sleeping only a few hours at a time before waking up screaming. That gave Kira and me maximum time to party. I then contributed to the festivities by spending all morning on campus and the entire afternoon at work, so that Kira could have the kids all to herself. Avey, on the other hand, thought that being very helpful and cooperative would be a nice way to show Mom how much she's appreciated. 
Note the Haircut!
In brief, her actual birthday was kind of a mess. She did, in fact, fill it up with things she enjoys, and we celebrated as a family over the long weekend before. With the generous contributions from friends and family, she purchased a pair of shoes she had been hunting for a while. I baked her cake request, painted her toenails, and tried to let her sleep in as much as possible. Avey, after much thought and deliberation, gave Kira something she knew she wanted: She gave $2 of her own money so that Kira could go down the water slide at our favorite pool.
I began teaching for the summer on Monday, so have been busier than usual. That also means that I was unable to head home to Colorado for the Cope reunion this week. I drove the family halfway up, where we met up with Kira's dad. We then parted ways until I am free to leave later this week. I'm trying to fill my time with getting things done that I've neglected, like sleeping. I hope to dedicate a little more time to schoolwork this week too. 
video
Carver has been choosing to walk more frequently, and his vocabulary continues to grow. Avey impresses us with her creativity and artistic abilities every week, and her vocabulary is also growing. Her favorite phrase lately is "give me a second". She enjoys coloring her sentences with other phrases like, "as you know...", or "no offense". It's fun to see her experimenting, working out the subtle meanings and appropriate contexts for her new phrases. We are sure she'll get plenty more material from school this year.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Independence Play

We really need more holidays. I've been cooped up in my office on campus for too long, meaning Kira's been managing the children on her own for too long. The 4th this year gave a great chance for a break. We had a blast visiting the same spray pool we enjoyed so much a few months ago, inviting my cousins who live in town. They made it especially fun, because that gave us 4 extra hands to manage the kiddos, so we all got to take shifts. We then ate out at our favorite fast food place, where my receipt turned out to be patriotic also:
What Are the Odds?
We came home to eat and play some board and card games, then Kira and Avey were off to see the fireworks while I got Carver to bed. 
Friday was Kira's day to work, so the kids and I made it another day of fun. I cut Carver's hair (my first attempt), we went to party at the mall, and got a birthday gift for Avey's friend, whose party is tonight.
video

I start teaching on Monday, while still trying to get my dissertation proposal in good shape. I am officially in my last year of graduate school, and expect to be "Dr. Ricks" within the next 12 months (assuming that my dissertation participants cooperate). Avey is excited to begin kindergarten in a few more weeks, and Carver is thrilled to be doing anything at any time. He'll be crashing into walls very soon. We are gearing up for Kira's birthday this week, hoping to make it a memorable one.