Sunday, January 25, 2015


We have very little to report this week, as Kira spent most of it struggling with her illness, and I did my best to be at home with the kids. Kira's been sleeping a little better, but her cough keeps her up most of the time. Luckily, Hakan has been a champ sleeping during the night: Last night he woke briefly at 2 a.m., but needed only his binky. Then he slept until 5! Hopefully this will last once Kira's feeling well again! 
It was the first week of school for me, and I am teaching statistical methods. Because it is a new course for me, I've been working to get a good flow to the material while keeping it interesting. It's a different style of course than I've taught before, but I think it will go well.

I've had a lot of news coming in from Roosevelt about my employment there. I've already signed up for which courses to teach in the Fall, and they have sent me all sorts of paperwork about the position. It's beginning to feel very real and exciting!
Hakan continues to be on the verge of crawling. He can inch forward, and maneuver in other directions pretty well for a little guy, but he still does not outright crawl. As you can see from the above photo, he still manages to explore a good chunk of the apartment. 

The most bizarre part of the week was Thursday. It was lightly snowing when I dropped Avey off at school, but by the time I went to attend her school presentation at noon, the weather was getting very bad. The wind was roaring and the snow was whipping through the streets. I got to the school and found out that they had cancelled the presentation, but that we could take our kids home due to the weather. The roads had gotten really bad by then, and we got stuck a couple of times on the way home. Once we were back safe, we watched in awe as the snow piled up - a rare sight in El Paso. I wish we could have taken the kids out to enjoy it, but the wind was so fierce that it was just miserable.

We will probably not see a storm like that again until we're in Chicago. At least we got a taste of what it will be like! We learned that we don't have enough winter gear!

Sunday, January 18, 2015


Carver's language skills are pretty advanced for a boy his age, but he still faces many struggles with the English language. Lately, he's had a lot of trouble with trying to describe something he wants. For example, the other day he said to me in the car, "Dad, I wanted to play with the thing." In times like this, the burden falls on me to come up with creative questions to discover what it is to which he is referring. It's like a game of 20 questions, but Carver does not seem to understand the point. Today, for example, Carver said, "Dad, I want to watch the Mickey show." That narrowed it down to several hundred possibilities, but I still needed more information. "Which Mickey show?" I asked. "The Mickey show," he replied. "Yes, Carver, but I don't know which Mickey show you want. There are lots of Mickey shows." Carver, getting frustrated, enunciates and punctuates each word. "The Mick-ey Show!" I was forced to resort to other avenues of information gathering. "Well, can you tell me who else is in the show?" Carver, with a frown and forlorn tone, replied, "No, just the Mickey show." Avey pipes in and tries, "Are there songs in the Mickey show?" Carver affirms that there are, but he does not know how they go. Again, we're back to square one. I ask, "Carver, what does Mickey do in the show?" Carver, trying with all of his might to clarify, explains, "He just walks around."

Thanks, son. That helps a great deal.

Eventually we settled him into a show in which Mickey makes an appearance, but who knows if it's the one about which he was talking? At least he enjoyed it. 

Hakan has been so close to crawling this week that it is painful. Avey caught this footage on her little tablet: 
He gets on all fours and rocks back and forth as if he could take off at any second. We put toys just out of reach in front of him, and he does slowly inch his way forward, but it is nowhere near a clean, fluid motion. He'll get there, but it may be a couple more weeks.

Kira has come down with a pretty fierce cold or flu or something. She has chills and aches, and usually a headache. Luckily, I do not start school for another few days, so I've been available to head up the household, and keep the kids in line.

If only I could do something about Hakan's incessant feeding schedule...

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Know Thyself

Carver continues to be a major cause of discord lately. He still needs naps, but never wants to take one anymore, and he is as picky as ever about his foods. On a particularly difficult day this week, I was tasked with nourishing the boy. I ran through a list of things he sometimes agrees to eat, and after much negotiation finally reached a consensus. I spent a few minutes preparing his meal, and when I placed it before him, he turned his nose up at it. I, internally furious, tried to calmly explain our verbal contract - I make food, he eats food. He adamantly refused to so much as taste a bite of what he had me gather for him. I spent several minutes trying to talk him into having a bite, even offering incentives. He refused each one until I finally said, as calmly as possible, "Carver, you are being ridiculous," to which he defiantly replied, "No, I'm being a jerk!"

At least he is honest. 

This week was otherwise fairly routine. Avey is back in school, and I have another week before I begin again. I am spending my days on campus preparing for the course I'll teach. Unfortunately, the construction crews decided to replace all of the gas lines over Christmas, and are still not finished. As such, I've been working in an office that is about 50 degrees most days. Finally last Thursday, after several phone calls, the University had some space heaters brought in to make the temperatures tolerable. 

Avey's been very excited about her favorite Christmas present. She really wanted an iPod of her own, but we could not very well justify that kind of expense for a 7-year-old. Instead, we found her a $35 option that is reasonably close. It has a camera, and Avey has been documenting about 45 minutes of each day with the video feature. She takes a lot of pictures too. Here is a sample video she took today:
She'll certainly be making documentaries on our family in no time. We may have a reality show any day now!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Hostibul & Murphy's Law

For a few days now, Carver has requested that we go back to the "hostibul," which is what he calls the hospital. I can understand the desire to just lay in bed and watch movies all day, but he wants to go back specifically so that he can ride in the little toy car:
We've explained several times that the hospital is a place to stay just when one is sick, and we are much happier to have Carver all better. Our reasoning does not sway Carver, though. He wants to go back. We tried a few other, similar driving toys, thinking that would scratch his itch, but all were to no avail. Yesterday, Carver explained to me again why he wanted to go back, describing the toy car, but this time he added that he wanted to play with it using "two hands." That cleared up the mystery for me a bit. As a student of psychology, it became clear to me that Carver was frustrated at his inability to use his left hand (because of the IV), and that the hospital could have been a much more enjoyable time had he gotten to experience it with both hands. Now, he wants to have that chance, to find some closure to that time, and prove to himself that he is all better.

Unfortunately, the hospital is not going to let a perfectly well child come on the floor just to play with one of their cars for 15 minutes, but we know a place with the same type of car that just might serve the purpose. If we don't resolve this, I worry he may compulsively steal cars to fill that psychological void in his teens. Well, maybe that's a bit too far.

In other news, we got family pictures taken yesterday. That may sound simple, but it turns into a whole-day affair. We planned to spend most of the afternoon and early evening at the mall as Kira pored over the photos and decided which ones to buy. As such, we had to pack up a change of clothes for Carver, whose photo-friendly pants were a bit too big, along with diapers and such. As we pulled into the parking space, it became apparent that we had left behind the all-important diaper bag. Panic struck.

We thought through our options as we sat waiting for our session to begin. We were a good 25 minutes from home. We could survive without Carver's change of clothes, but the diaper issue was far more troubling. These boys are ticking time bombs. Kira peeked into Hakan's diaper, just to see, and sure enough, he had unloaded. I was ready to throw in the towel when Kira saw a mother of another young child walking past. She dashed over and asked if she could spare a diaper. To our delight, the diaper was even the correct size! We all learned a valuable lesson about checking twice before heading across town.

This week was quite the start to our year. Hopefully things just get simpler?