Sunday, October 25, 2015

Budding Buddies

We have hoped for some time that Carver and Hakan would find some common interests and become good friends. Of course, as soon as Hakan joined the family, he and Carver started out with very different aims; Hakan was just trying to figure out what the heck was going on, and Carver was coming to grips with losing a good chunk of his parents' attention to a little fussball. We figured it would take a while before they got to actually liking each other. 

Fortunately, it seems that the much awaited day has finally arrived. They've been playing together more and more in the last little while. One of their favorite games is to set up their chairs to face each other, and then play some bizarre game where they sort of kick each other's feet. At least they are gentle, for now. We also found just yesterday that when Carver gets on his knees and says, "hug," Hakan will run right up and wrap his arms around his brother. Sadly, the same method does nothing for Kira, Avey, or me. 
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These guys are sure to become partners in crime very soon. We can't help but wonder what kind of mischief they will get into once Baby #4 is old enough to mimic them.
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We are excited and overwhelmed by the thought of having another child join us. There is a lot of work and planning to do before we'll feel ready. It's funny, because just in the last few months when we've been out in the city or wherever, I have caught myself feeling like we were missing one of the kids, until I count them and realize they're all there. Now I'm a little worried that I'll forget one or two when we are out and about.

Luckily, Hakan reminds us what we have to look forward to. He is in a wonderfully adorable stage now where he often tries to repeat the last word of our sentence, but with more excitement. We've tried to catch him on camera saying his siblings' names, but to no avail. When he says Avey's name, he lights up like a firework, and says through an enormous grin, "Aybee." I asked him today to say "lion," and he just roared. Carver asked him to say "cow," and he responded with a "moo." Such a stud.

We are mostly feeling like this next one will be a girl, but that's probably mostly due to our need for symmetry. We would also enjoy all of the sound effects that would accompany another boy. We'll know for sure around Christmas, so stay tuned!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Calling Fourth

Deep in the innermost shadows of their ultra-secret lair in the suburbs somewhere in Illinois, the Terrific Trio were in the middle of a heated debate. Their battles over the last several weeks had made them weary, and tested their resolve. Caped Carver spoke first. He was the bravest, and most combustible of the three.

"Darn it! I hate these stupid bad guys!"

Agile Avey, the brains of the group, said, "Quiet, Carv. We mustn't lose our heads. Bad guys can be defeated. We just need to know how."

Hurricane Hakan, unofficially recognized as the loudest of the group, echoed with delight and much volume, "HOW!"

Avey recalled, "It's a daunting task. There are simply too many of them for us. I use my deadly reading skills against them, but I can speak only so loud before I am drowned out by Hakan's shouting. There, I said it."

Hakan, smiling at hearing his name, replied, "Haaaayyyke..."

Carver, thirsting for battle, added, "Yeah! And even though I am the best fighter in the whole world, I still need to take a break sometimes to eat a snack and watch some shows. I get boring [sic] of just fighting the whole day!"

The heroes had realized their plight. They were fighting an uphill battle against all of the imaginary bad guys that seemed to pour out of nowhere. All appeared hopeless...until,

"Wait!" Avey said. "I've got it!"

Carver, with his finger in his nose, stared into space for a moment (because he had skipped a nap that day), and then said, "What do you got, sis'?"

Avey looked behind her shoulder for a moment to be sure their plans were not overheard by any intruders. She turned back with a sneaky look on her adorable face.

"We are outnumbered against the bad guys, right?"

Carver nodded in agreement, although he did not quite understand the word "outnumbered." He had learned through trial-and-error to just go along with whatever Avey said. Hakan, with the attention span of a newborn puppy, was already digging around in some drawers he located.

Avey continued, "So then we have two choices. We can either be defeated - if not now, then in a few weeks - or we can do something bold."

Carver stared blankly, needing a nap so desperately that he struggled to remember what they were talking about. He also needed to use the potty, but as a rule, refused to acknowledge that fact until it was almost too late.

Hakan, whose hands were soaked from the free-flowing drool (his super power), was getting frustrated that they kept slipping off of the drawer handles. Avey ignored his whines of frustration. She was determined.

After her attempt to guide Carver to the same conclusion had failed, she made it for him. "So...we need another hero."

Carver smiled. "Oh yeah! That's a good idea! We'll get another superhero to be our friend!"

A loud, but indiscernible vote of approval came from Hakan, who had now gotten one hand stuck in the drawer while trying to retrieve a button from within.

Avey ignored her brothers as they struggled to keep up with her plan. She was already light years ahead. A "friend" was not enough, as they could never exercise the level of trust required within the Trio with a mere friend. They needed something far closer. They needed, a sibling.

Mild-mannered parents, Eli and Kira, were just the sort to help out. They immediately began drawing up names and costumes for the new superhero. Before long, the Terrific Trio would become the Freaking-Awesome Four.

Training of the fourth member has commenced, and (s)he should be ready for battle in late April or early May. Watch the skies...

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Bands and Baptisms

With three family members coming to town this week, we spent most of our "free" time preparing for their arrival. We cleaned in between work and feeding children, and Kira did laundry every time she could make it to the laundry room. Avey worked hard to get her room in decent shape, and Carver and Hakan played extra hard to get their toys warmed up for performances.

Hakan has been thrilled with the extra time and audience for flirting. He adored my younger brother each minute he was near, and just last night, Hakan sat up to the table and charmed his way through Grandma's french fries.
Avey had a good baptism. The biggest hurdle to clear was that the water was too hot, so that she took some coaxing to get in. We'd heard that the previous time they used the font the hot water had not been working, so perhaps we voiced too much concern that the missionaries who filled it thought to go to the other extreme. Still, after a little work it was all done, and not a moment too soon, because the boys were getting awfully bored. I feel like I spent half of the program just chasing Hakan around as he tried to get into the cultural hall and swipe a basketball. Carver had been asked to give the closing prayer, and assured us that he would be brilliant at it. When the time came, he froze in front of the little crowd, and then started praying so softly that I'm sure not even he could hear it. Avey, just a few feet in front of him, tried to encourage him to speak up, which set him off. He interrupted his prayer to whine at her and then mope. I was standing with him, trying to give him courage, and finally just got him to end the prayer. Had we waited for Avey and he to settle their differences first, I'm sure we'd still be in the room with our heads bowed. 
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After the ceremony, we came home to change, and then Avey, my brother, and I all ventured into the city to show him some sights before he left this morning. We wish that he could have stayed longer, but alas...

Thursday night was a real treat for me this week. I cashed in my birthday and Christmas gifts for the year and went to see one of my favorite bands of late, Franz Ferdinand. Kira was kind enough to let me stay out past my bedtime, and manage the kids by herself. I'm not sure how I'll top that for her gift, but I can try.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Avey 8.0

We finished celebrating Avey's 8th birthday this week. She was thrilled with all of her gifts, and really enjoyed the many elaborate treats she had us make. She'd had her eyes on a recipe out of a Halloween goody recipe book. They are cupcakes that are made up to look like eyeballs. That was a lot of work, and a lot of sugar, but we survived.
Otherwise, it's been a typically busy week. I've been plugging away at work while the kids push Kira's buttons at home. Carver is in a relatively new phase where he wants to eat almost nothing. He used to have at least 5 or 6 main dishes through which he would shuffle, but in the last week or so he's been refusing nearly everything we offer. I understand turning down broccoli and green beans, but peanut butter on bread? He has basically limited himself to yogurt, and sometimes nachos. On the plus side, he has really excelled at entertaining himself at the same time. If left to his own devices, he will sit in a room and play for hours at a time with his cars or blocks or whatever else he can find. As long as Hakan isn't trying to interfere with his play, Carver just keeps at it.

Hakan has been in a weird phase too. Starting a couple of weeks ago, he's been staying up until our bedtime, even when he should be exhausted. He goes right down for naps otherwise, but when the other kids go to bed and the sun goes down, the inner vampire in him wakes up. He mostly just runs around and climbs on stuff, but even when it's clear that he's ready to sleep, he screams like a banshee when we approach his bedroom. The only thing that works so far is lying down with him in our own bed with the lights off while he screams for a few minutes and passes out. Then we move him to his own bed as gently as we can. I'm not sure this can go on much longer. It wears us all out. At least the good thing is that he sleeps in longer in the mornings. If only Carver could stay in bed past 6, that would be something.

We have another busy week ahead as we prepare for visitors coming for Avey's baptism. We are looking forward to it.