Monday, June 29, 2015

Before the Trek

Today was another whirlwind day, as we made our final preparations for the move. A series of unfortunate events resulted in Hakan accompanying me on a 30-minute drive to New Mexico to retrieve our moving truck a day early. Luckily, they gave an extra day at no charge. Once we arrived at the place, everything was going well until the gentleman behind the counter disclosed to us that the carriage for my personal vehicle was not going to be available until the following day at another New Mexico location. That meant that I had to leave my personal vehicle at the store, bring home the moving vehicle, load the truck the next day, and hope that we had enough time to still drive the thing to pick up the auto transporter. To make matters a little more interesting, the gentleman returned from the inspection of the truck to inform me that the vehicle had a bald tire, so I could not use it. He offered me the next-closest size to the one I ordered, and it came with an additional 6 feet. The extra space is nice, but the thing gets more difficult to drive as it grows in length. As an added bonus, one of the dashboard lights came on as I was driving the truck home.

The silver lining to all of this was that I was able to load our things that were in storage (my grandmother's shed) a night earlier than I expected, giving us ample time to load the truck on the day we had planned. With some excellent help from family and friends, we had our kiddies supervised, the truck loaded, and the apartment clean in almost no time. I was able to get the vehicle transport with no difficulty, and Kira and I had a fun time finishing the last few chores before my dear grandparents treated us to breakfast for dinner at their house. And the dashboard light turned out to be no big deal - the truck was just about a gallon short of coolant, which is easily fixable.
All things considered, today was a very smooth day. We will forever be indebted to my wonderful family here, for all of their detailed consideration for our comfort. My aunt and uncle not only babysat the kids and helped load the truck, but also treated us to a spectacular Sunday dinner, and then loaned us their air mattresses to sleep on for our last night in the apartment. We had a cleaning crew that would put professionals to shame, so the place looks like a palace now. It's a little annoying that this is the cleanest it's been in 4 years, but we won't get to enjoy it.

We are excited to begin our new adventure, but very saddened to leave the family and friends here. After dinner at Grandma's this evening, Avey sobbed and sobbed the whole way home at the thought of leaving. I'm grateful that she has so many wonderful memories of El Paso, and the people here, and I'm glad that I got to become more familiar with the city where I lived as a young boy.

Tomorrow begins our trek. Wish us luck! The next post will be from Illinois!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Can't Blog...Packing

Hey all,
Sorry I can't write a post today. I'm way to busy getting ready to load the truck tomorrow for our move. I have quite the mess to write about, but no time at the moment. Please stay tuned and maybe I can get some written before Friday.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day Tribute-By Kira

My annual blog post on Father's Day might all start looking the same, but here goes:
This year I have a deeper gratitude for my own father, as he was diagnosed with cancer, and the fragile nature of life was brought close to home. My dad is very actively fighting the cancer, and I am proud of him. I am also proud to call him my dad as I reflect on how the "old dog" that he is, really has learned "new tricks" in the last 5-10 years. I have seen positive growth and change in my dad's management and expression of feelings-the good and the bad (I know, here goes the therapist talking). I'm grateful for all he did to teach and love me as a child, and for his support, example of positive growth, and continued love for me as an adult. I love you dad!
Then there's Eli-the nearly perfect man. My better half that brings balance, humor, novelty, good music, learning, play time, but also productivity into our family. Truly, Avey, Carver, and Hakan are blessed and lucky to have Eli as their superhero, "Dr. Dad", and "Professor Poopy Pants", as we like to call him. I am VERY proud of his consistent, HARD work, and dedication to sticking it out as a student into his 30's with 3 kids in tow, to become a PhD! I am grateful for his patience, kindness, endless games, and constant helping hand with the kids. I am a little baffled but grateful that he puts up with me, despite my shortcomings. And, I am excited to begin our next adventures in Illinois together! I love you Eli!

Unconscious Weight

Tuesday was my last day on campus (although I had to head back on Thursday for a brief meeting), after which I have been trying to concentrate each moment on getting our crap in boxes. Packing while also trying to keep up with feeding the children is already challenging, but most especially when Daddy at home means playtime. Carver wants to play games the whole time I am trying to pack, and so I end up juggling the two and making very little progress. My most productive windows are when Kira takes the children to visit somebody they want to see before we leave, and then when the children are sleeping. 

The poor kids also need outings every day (lest they turn to eating each other alive), which is yet another burden on the schedule. We've tried to combine the outings with the errands we need done, and that usually works. For example, we were running out of packing tape, and needed a few groceries earlier this week. We made a quick stop at the library, and then visited our local Target. By the time we pulled into the parking lot, Carver was on the edge of a deep slumber (he's been hit-and-miss with naps for several weeks now, needing a nap too late in the day to make it a good idea, or he won't go to bed until very late). I picked him up and carried him through the store, and he slept on me the whole time. 
"What are we feeding this boy?"
My arm is still sore. Checkout was the most difficult part, but luckily he awoke as I was trying to reach for my wallet. 

With Avey out of school, and everybody sorting through all of our possessions, Avey and Carver have been finding new ways to entertain themselves. One of them has involved the dress-up tote. We've slowly accumulated all manner of costumes and props over the years, and the children have rediscovered their wonder. Avey has been a mermaid, a superhero, and a bride, among others. Carver has come up with all sorts of interesting combinations, but my favorite is this one:

He's some kind of scary little demon, apparently, donning a mask from his uncle Isaac in Japan, a Batman costume from his cousins in Utah, and a black cape from somewhere we can't remember.
This time next week we will be in full panic mode, loading up the truck the next day. If you are in the neighborhood and have a good back and a few muscles, please stop by!

Sunday, June 14, 2015


As Carver continues to master the English language, he also makes some funny mistakes. Lately, he's said "actually" about once every other sentence. Sometimes he'll use it three times in a single sentence, making for some interesting sentence structure. 

For the last several weeks, Carver has been using some hybrid of the words we use to present him with options. We will say something like, "Carver, would you like to have a bath, or would you like to eat some food instead?" Carver has come to merge these words into "orstead." Most often, he uses this novel word when he is angry. For example, it may be time for bed and he'll say, in a very whiny voice, "No! I don't want to go to bed! I just want to play games orstead!" Lucky for him, it's so cute to hear him use the word that we just chuckle rather than becoming angry with his obstinate attitude. 
Hakan and the Dog Looking at Each Other
As far as news, we've got very little that is worth documenting, it seems. I've been preparing the courses I'll teach in the Fall, and packing a few boxes here and there when I get a little hiccough of energy. Avey and I are taking advantage of the heat here in Texas by going to the pool about every other day to do swimming lessons. She opted not to take a class, but agreed to take orders from me. We're having a grand time, and she's getting braver each day. I'm sure she'll be swimming circles around me in no time. 
We are getting more excited than ever to move. The more we pack up, the more we realize how little space we have. We moved into our current place with only 3 of us, and now we somehow increased our numbers to 5. We catch ourselves daydreaming about having more space in our new home in Illinois. It sure will be nice to have the place feel empty orstead of having it feel like a fire hazard!

Sunday, June 7, 2015


We had a week full of lasts. Avey's last violin recital of the year was on Wednesday. We are very impressed with the progress they've made just since the beginning of the school year. Avey put on another little show this afternoon at her Great Grandmother's house. Her new school does not have orchestra until the Fourth Grade, so we may need to get her some private lessons in the meantime. 

It was also Avey's last week of school! I don't know whose excitement is greater; hers for the hours of free time, or mine for not having to make her lunches anymore! She got to say goodbye to her school chums, and missed the chance to see her favorite teacher (from Kindergarten), but went back on Saturday (a teacher work day) to visit with her for a long time. Friday afternoon we went to a pool party put on by some friends of ours, and all had a very good time punctuating the end of Avey's school experience in El Paso. 

Kira went to her last Relief Society activity, visited the Juarez Temple for the last time, and she and Avey also went to their first and last outdoor movie at UTEP. They were showing the new Cinderella movie on the track field, but it started so late and was so well attended, that it was a bit more hassle than it was worth. Luckily, Avey had fun.
For this week's little gem, I recall an incident midweek. We've been working on helping Carver to blow his nose, and so we've come up with the terminology "chunk" for what he often finds up there. We were driving somewhere when Kira noticed Carver's finger searching for something in his nose. He then pulled out a "chunk" and Kira asked him, "Did you get it?" Carver replied, "Yep, I got it. I didn't eat it!" We celebrate the small successes in this family, as well as the big ones. 

We officially have the house squared away and waiting for us in the Chicago area. Now all we have to do is pack the remainder of our worldly possessions, load them snugly into a truck, drive them all out to Illinois, and unpack them again. We are not looking forward to the trip, but we are ecstatic to move into our new home and begin a new adventure!