Sunday, October 26, 2014

What I Learned in D.C.

I had the chance to go to Washington, D.C. this week, and took it. Overall it was a good trip - it was nice to see how our research contributed to the body of knowledge in the field of interrogations, and it was great to network with some of the big names in the field. 
I got to do a little bit of sight-seeing, but did not venture out very far. This was my third time in the District of Columbia, and so I'd seen most of the monuments and memorials before. It was still fun to enjoy the history and significance of the area, though. The second day of the conference was held at the National Academy of Sciences, so that was pretty neat to see the building.
I have two regrets about the trip: (a) I tasted the tap water, and (b) I got in way too late my first night there, so I had zero energy my first full day there. 

The tap water in D.C. tastes like dirt - and not that high end sort of dirt that you might buy for a garden or potted plant, but that cheap dirt you'd find on the bottom of your hiking boots. I think I came home severely dehydrated because the taste of the water was so traumatic I couldn't bring myself to drink it except in cases of extreme need. Awful. 

I also needed to fly in Monday night, but I teach my course Monday afternoons and didn't want to cancel two classes. I ended up getting to my hotel at about 1:30 a.m. the day the conference started. That was a huge mistake because I spent the first day of the conference struggling to keep my eyes open, gleaning very little from the presentations. 

In any case, it's good to be home! I missed the children horribly, and Kira did a wonderful job managing things. Carver even learned a new song about a witch:
video
It's hard to understand, but there's something about hearing a witch tapping on his window, but when he looks, he can't find her because she's flying on her broomstick. Adorable in any case.

We've another busy week ahead! Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Perspective

Things have been very busy for all of us, leaving poor Carver to make do at home rather than go out on adventures. To try and make up for it a little bit, I took him out on a little walk earlier this week. We headed to a little grassy area with a picnic table and sat down to enjoy a little snack. Carver was looking around and commenting on everything (as is his habit now), when he interrupted himself mid-sentence and announced that there was a plane flying overhead. I looked, and, sure enough, there was the smoke trail of a jet high above us in the sky. I exclaimed to Carver that it was really high, to which he replied, "Yep. I probably need my stool!" 

He was referring to his little 8" step stool that he uses to sometimes reach things on the counter or table. Apparently, he figures that anything he cannot reach by standing on his tippy toes is still accessible with that tiny boost - even a jet.
video
I will be heading out to D.C. this week for the third time, attending a conference on interrogations. The research I spent last Spring and Summer working on will be presented. It ought to be a nice trip, but the closer I get to it the more I think I could better use the time here. I still have plenty of work to do before this semester is out, and leaving Kira with the kiddos borders on cruel and unusual.

Avey finished reading her latest series of books, Horrible Harry, and will soon begin a new one. We'll need to be sure to move near a library when the time comes. She has been getting excited for Halloween this year. She has decided to be a "damaged person," which apparently means she is going to act like one of those cartoon characters right after having some mishap. She plans to walk around with some trouble and talk nonsense, or something like that.

Hakan figured out how to scoot a little bit on his back. Kira placed him on the floor to play and, rather than rolling over, he started arching his back and slowly scooting in the direction of his head until he was off the blanket. He was awfully proud of himself.

More news next week...

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Precious Moments

I love my kids always, and I'm proud of them most of the time. Yesterday was a particularly rewarding day for me as a father, for two small but meaningful reasons I want to document.
Avey's Clay Creation
After a long week, it was clear that the kids needed to get out of the house and Kira could use some much-deserved quiet time. The problem was that I had several errands to run that included a lot of driving and very little fun. I enticed the kids to come along with promises of cheeseburgers and the possibility of a park visit. They cheerfully came along and waited out the 30-minute drive to the first stop.
Hakan Happy to be Anywhere
When it came time for cheeseburgers, there was a tiny dilemma for me. Neither child usually has the stomach to finish a whole burger alone, so sometimes we buy one meal and split the burger. But another problem is that the meal comes with only one chocolate milk. I sometimes buy a second so that each may have one, but because we had to eat while in the car I couldn't see how Carver could drink without getting it all over himself. I thought I could sneak the chocolate milk past him to Avey, but as soon as the drive-through worker handed me the beverage, Carver asked if he could have one too. I hesitantly explained how I bought just one this time. Carver had not even voiced a complaint yet when Avey spoke up from the back seat and said sincerely, "It's okay, Dad. He can have it. I get them all the time."

I was surprised by the gesture as that is usually around the time when the gloves come off. Carver thanked his sister, and then I carefully explained to him how to avoid spilling. He came away with a happy tummy and not a drop on him.
Carver Deep in His Show
Not to be outdone in impressing his old man, Carver stepped up to the plate a little later. We finally arrived at a small park after another stop, and got out to explore and play for about half an hour. Carver ran, swung, and slid like nobody's business, and then it was time to leave. Without complaint, Carver followed behind as we headed back to the van. I looked back to keep an eye on him and saw him walk past some litter in the grass. He paused to inspect the juice pack for a moment, then picked it up and tossed it in the nearby garbage before running to catch up with Avey and me.

It's the little moments like these that make this whole parenting thing worth it. They help me to realize that, even though there are tough times, my kids are going to be just fine.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Rollin'

Hakan is one rollin' boy. Each time we lay him down on his play mat, he will entertain himself with whatever toys we hang over him until he gets bored, and then he rolls right over onto his tummy and tries to crawl. He doesn't get anywhere, but that doesn't stop him from trying. He's even started to roll once he's on his changing table. Luckily, he rolls toward the wall instead of the straight drop to the floor!
One of Avey's favorite games for the last several months is Go Fish. Carver has watched with wonder how the players ask for a card and then either share with one another or tell each other to "go fish." This morning he decided to play with Hakan. He gave Hakan a card, and while Hakan tried to swallow the card whole, Carver asked, "Hey Hakan, do you got a swordfish?" I spoke for Hakan and said "yes." Carver, disappointed, said angrily, "No, Dad. Say 'go fish!'"
Avey's Cake
Avey is digging being 7 years old. She had a great day at school, throwing an impromptu party when Kira invited her classmates to the nearby doughnut shop. She received dozens of books as gifts, which is exactly what she wanted. She's been burning through them quickly - finishing four this last Friday alone. I'm lucky to read 4 pages for pleasure in a day.
I completed collecting the pilot data for my dissertation this week - now on to the analyses and then I get to start the real project. Stay tuned.