Sunday, April 26, 2015

Decade

Today marks the 10th Anniversary of Kira's and my union in marriage. It's hard to believe that so much time has passed already - I still half feel like we are playing "house," probably because we are always winging it dealing with new life experiences that come our way. Kira is just as beautiful as she was in 2005, and I am still in school. 

Yet, in more important ways, it is amazing to see what we've accomplished in these few years. In another 3 weeks we will have earned four degrees between the two of us, gone through four vehicles, and by the end of the summer we will have moved six times across four states. I've gotten 10 years older, though I can't speak for Kira in that regard. What is most telling of the last decade, however, is certainly our three children. They are the product of our work together, our affection for each other, and they represent our dedication to one another. 
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Looking at them puts the past 10 years into perspective as a relatively brief, but unfathomably meaningful time. Kira and I spent those years creating a family - the most transcendent and worthwhile thing we could imagine.

It's a little frightening and exciting to think about the next 10 years: frightening because Avey will be 17-years-old by then, Carver will be 13, and Hakan 11, and who knows who else will be joining us? But mostly, it is exciting to think of all that we will experience together.

A few years ago, a line from a movie struck me, and I've thought about it from time to time. It said something to the effect that the reason we want to marry is to have someone witness and share our life. This isn't just a relationship of convenience where we both offer helping hands to each other in reaching common goals, but this is a shared life. We experience life with one another. I'm grateful for the last 10 years that Kira and I have shared with each other, and I very much look forward to what the next 10, 20, 30, or whatever we can have, bring with them.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Animals

Because we will soon be moving across the country, we need to prioritize what all to take and what will need to be left behind. We're pretty attached to the kids, so they are on the "bring with" list. Other than that, we are trying to be pretty open to what might stay in El Paso. One item that made it onto the "leave in El Paso" list was my African dwarf frog, Foovy (so named by Avey when she was 2 or 3). I figured it would border on torture to have the poor thing in the car for the long drive, with all the vibration and noise driving her insane. Last week, I found someone who wanted to take care of her, and gave her a new home. It's been nice to take a little responsibility off my plate and to not worry about Carver knocking the frog bowl onto the floor with one of his many ball games. We do miss her a bit, but it was all for the best.
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In other news, we had another close encounter with nature last Sunday. We were at my Grandma's house, and Carver was in the mood to explore. During our expedition, I noticed a little ball of something on the ground. Upon closer inspection I discovered that it was a little bird that appeared to be injured. I spent some time trying to figure out where the injury was so that we could decide the best course of action. With my terrible veterinary knowledge and nonexistent skill with diagnosis, it looked to me like the bird had some kind of head injury; it was twitching its head back and forth, and did not seem to notice the food we put in front of it, 
Yes, she washed her hands thoroughly.
We debated for a while about what, if anything, we could do to help. Leaving it where it was would certainly seal its fate as cat food, but we were not satisfied with that. I thought maybe I should just put it out of its misery, but we finally settled on keeping it warm for the night in a box in our bathtub and then I could just drop it in front of a vet in the morning to see if there were anything to be done.

After no change for several hours, I found that the poor thing had passed on very early in the morning. We arranged a funeral for the next day after school.
It was a bittersweet experience in that Avey was thrilled to take care of a bird for a short time, and we could at least say that we did all we could to make the bird's last few hours a little more comfortable. But it was sad that the little bird did not recover. 

The entire experience made a nice segue into speaking to the kids about the upcoming second anniversary of my younger brother's death this week. Carver was just barely a year old at that funeral, so he had no idea what was going on. We spent a few minutes of family night talking a little about what it all means and talking about how we feel about it. It was a good opportunity for Avey to express herself, and Carver seems to understand a little bit more. 

Otherwise, Kira had a busy day yesterday - she gave a 45-minute presentation at a Stake Women's Conference. After hours of preparation, she reportedly did awesome! It was nice to have it all done, and she spent the rest of the day relishing in the relief of having accomplished something and not needing to spend her evenings preparing for it any more! 

I turned in my dissertation to my committee members this week, so that they can review it before my defense at the end of the month. That feels like a big weight temporarily lifted off my shoulders. I still don't get a huge break because I have lots of preparation for the defense, but it is a great feeling to be a bit closer to the end. 

That's about it for this week, but stay tuned for more adventures!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Gradual Progress

Avey lost another tooth this week - one of her front two. It had been ready to come out for at least a few days, but Avey couldn't stand the thought of pulling it out until it was hanging by a thread. I think she was most excited to go to school the next day and show off her new smile. 
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We spent most of yesterday clearing out a big eyesore from our living room. We bought an entertainment center from some neighbors about 5 years ago. It did its job, but it looked very sad, so when a classmate of mine offered to sell a nice set of cabinets that would make a fantastic TV stand and place to store toys, movies, etc., we took it! The project involved a few hours of moving furniture from my classmate's to storage and our living room and then taking the old piece to a thrift store, not to mention all of the chaos of rewiring all of our electronics. The work was completely worth it, though; we love the new setup.

A few minutes ago I offered Carver lunch. He did not think he wanted any food, so I offered him some options to see what sounded good. One item I offered was a "grilled cheese sandwich," to which he replied, "No Dad! I want boy food!" Apparently he thought "grilled" sounded like "girl."

Hakan has gotten more adorable than ever in the last week or two. He's really showing his personality. He has learned to wave, clap, and point at the sky whenever we go outside. He doesn't look at it, but he raises his little fist over his head and says something like, "Ahduh." He calls just about everything "Ahduh" right now, so we have to use our imaginations a little bit to hear "sky," but it's in there. Hakan has also become a food fanatic. Remember our stories of Carver screaming in between his bowls? Hakan is doing a very good impression of that. He gulps down his sweet potatoes, and if we have nothing ready after he's done swallowing, he gets mad. He screams and then cries like he's being subjected to the worst torture ever conceived. You would think that he would put on some weight, but you'd be wrong.

We are slowly getting a few boxes packed, and my dissertation defense is scheduled! See you next week!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Scooternomics

You may recall that Avey has been wanting a scooter for a few weeks now, ever since she rode one at a nearby play area. Kira and I discussed it, and felt out whether this was just some passing fancy. It was pretty clear that Avey was serious, as she would carefully work the scooter into any conversation we were having, and made sure to say the word "scooter" at least every 30 words. We devised a plan where Avey could earn half of the money it would cost, and we would pay for the rest. I came up with a long list of chores along with the money she could earn for each one, and then Kira or I would initial next to each one she completed. She finished that up on Friday - the very day that her coveted scooter arrived. 
She was so proud of herself for earning the money - as are we! She was very helpful doing chores like feeding Hakan his baby food, and entertaining him for 15 minutes at a time when Kira needed a few minutes. Hopefully the trend will continue, or we may need to come up with her next obsession.
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She's been on that scooter just about every second she can get away. As she was working toward it, she came up with all sorts of projects she could do with the scooter. One was to somehow attach a chair to the back of the scooter so that Carver could sit on the back while she rode around. Another was to tie a string to the handlebar and around her waist just in case she jumped off - that way the scooter couldn't get too far away. She thought of tying another string to Carver's little bike so that she could tow him around. Some of these ideas have worked better than others, but it is sure fun to see her trying them out. She's been very nice to let Carver play with the scooter too.
For an extra special treat, I took Carver and her to UTEP campus yesterday for a wonderland of scooterable road and abandoned buildings (weekend) where she could roll to her heart's content. It was a blast!

Happy Easter!