Sunday, December 27, 2015

Thanks for All the Laughs, 2015

We had a wonderful and busy week preparing for and taking our trip to Oklahoma. Kira's brother recently moved there with his family, and it was the closest place we could meet up with her side of the family. After hosting our unexpected guest last Sunday, and with word that there was an illness going around with the Oklahoma relations, we opted to delay the drive for a day. That allowed for much smoother prep time but then we spent the first half of the drive in a heavy rain storm. 
We made pretty good time, and it was great to be with more children for Christmas. The kids had a grand time with their cousins, and their brand new baby helped us get an idea of how we will handle our next bundle of joy. Hakan was very gentle and interested, as we had hoped. 
We adults did not get much time together to chat and relax, but at least the kids will have fun memories of their cousins. Carver got along swimmingly with his cousin about the same age. Avey was the oldest, so was a bit bored with some of their games, but she led them on "spying" adventures.
The kids loved their Christmas gifts, and even made some thoughtful ones for each other and us. Avey spent a lot of time on a beautiful Christmas card for us, gave Hakan a coupon good for 20 minutes of playing with her (easily one of his top 3 favorite things ever), and even tried to get along with Carver for a few minutes (a gift for everyone). 

We are driving home as I write this, and it has been raining nonstop for the last 6 hours. It's dreary, but at least the roads are not icy. 

We are excited for another eventful year full of all the craziness we've come to expect. We hope yours is full of joy!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

It's A...

[Drumroll] It's a BOY! We had a successful peek at the new baby on Thursday, and all is where it should be, for which we are very grateful. The due date is officially May 3, 2016, but knowing our track record it will probably end up being late April, right during a lecture when I'm in the city. We are also excited to find out that it's a boy, not that a girl would have been disappointing, but just because now we know. Truth be told, Avey was heartbroken to find out that she will again be the odd one out. Especially with the age gap between Carver and her, but with the boys all about 2 years apart, Avey is feeling a little like a lioness among puppy dogs. Thankfully she has good people skills and makes friends easily. She'll just need to form some lifelong friendships with some girls her age.
Face on the Right
We had a very busy week otherwise. I started to feel a little under the weather on Monday. Tuesday was bad enough that I didn't go into the office, but tried working from the public library, and then Wednesday was completely lost. I slowly felt better on Thursday and have been making strides since, though I'm still not there all the way. For example, yesterday I was very tired and said that I could do just about anything that did not require thinking or jogging, to which Avey replied, "You could do both of those together by jogging your memory." 

Hakan was about a day ahead of me with the illness, and Kira is now a few days behind, although hers seems milder. At least it is all coming now before we travel, and after the semester. 
  video
Yesterday included a random line from Carver, which is usually good for a laugh. Carver was giving me a big hug, and we were in such a position that Hakan could reach him, and Hakan decided that he wanted to hug me too. To express his jealousy, Hakan began to whack Carver lightly on the back. Carver, in response, said to me, "This is why I want Hakan to go to jail." The rest of us erupted in laughter, and eventually came to clarify that Carver would simply like Hakan contained on occasion. 

Lastly, and perhaps most random, yesterday evening, as I was pulling into the driveway after some Christmas shopping, I received a call from my sister. Apparently, her roommate had missed a connecting flight and was stuck in Chicago until this evening, but had no place to stay. After a little coordinating, I picked her up and we had a guest! I had met her before, so it was nice to know who it was. What's funny is that the kids have not left her alone since she woke up this morning. Avey is excited to impress her, Carver wants to show off his singing and superhero pajamas, and Hakan just wants to flirt with her. He almost wouldn't nap this morning because he couldn't stand to be away from her for that long. We'll have to arrange for her to join us another time so Kira and I can get a weekend away. I'm not sure the kids would even miss us!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Consequences

On one of the bath days this week, I took on a little too much. I had bathed Hakan and then Carver, but the water was not draining. As the boys were running around in their diaper and underwear (respectively), I tried to get the drain unplugged. Hakan was most interested in the process, and watched for a while. That boy has a strange fascination with the bathtub whenever anyone is in it, or at least any water. He explored this fascination as I worked by throwing things into the water. Mostly he threw bath toys, which was a little distracting, but no problem. Unfortunately, as I was focused on what I was doing with my hands, he got an idea to add some variety to his experimentation and tossed his favorite blanky in the tub. I grabbed it out as soon as it hit the surface, but the damage was done. The blanky was far too wet for use.
The especially sad part was that it was bedtime, and this boy needs his blanket for bedtime like I need a spoon to eat soup; it may be possible without it, but why bother? Kira quickly threw the blanky into the washer (it was long overdue for a wash anyway), but he needed sleep right away. We got him in jammies and gave him the binky, but naturally the essential piece was missing. I explained in terms he understood, "Blanky wet. Sad." He completely agreed that the blanky was wet, and the situation was sad, but he did not seem to understand why he could not just have his blanky dry now. How does one explain the laws of physics to an 18-month-old? We offered him other, similar blankies, but he wanted nothing to do with those impostors. Thankfully, he eventually nodded off, and we draped his by-then-dry blanky over him. Continuing the nightmare, however, he awoke at midnight screaming for his blanky, apparently dreaming about the drama. I had to take him and show him by nightlight that the blanky in his arms was in fact his precious. It must have felt and smelled just different enough to him that it seemed to be an intruder, but he eventually went back to sleep with his dear blanky to keep him warm and safe. Now it seems that he's soaked it in enough drool, or whatever, that it smells and feels familiar again, and all is right with the world.
Carver had a good one this week too. Yesterday was a breakfast with Kira's ward, where the kids got some candy canes. They were trying them out as we drove home. Carver asked me to help him open the plastic in which it was wrapped, and gave it a try. As I turned my attention to getting us home safely, I hear him shriek, "It's poison!" The look on his face seemed like the traditional holiday treat might really have been deadly. His reaction was quite humorous, but we think he meant to say that the peppermint was a little too spicy for his tongue. He'll get the hang of English eventually.

I am done with grading for the semester, and now am just preparing for the next one. This is Avey's last week at school before the break, and we've got a lot going on. We will find out the sex of Baby #4 on Thursday, as long as (s)he cooperates. If you haven't placed your bets yet, now is the time!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Festivities

We are so busy with the normal routine of feeding, bathing, clothing, and tidying up after our kiddies that we are often wont to nothing else. I have hoped to get to hanging some Christmas lights on the house, and we still have some holiday shopping to do, but every time we get a few minutes of quiet, we find ourselves either doing other chores that desperately need doing, or relishing in sitting down. 

Somehow, we managed to pull ourselves away over the weekend for some events in a neighboring township.
video
There was a free showing of the holiday film, Elf, at the theater, which the older kids enjoyed (although Carver asked me about 40 minutes in why it was so long). And then we got to enjoy a kid-sized train ride, and admire an ice sculpture:
Hopefully the kids will remember these times with fondness, because it was mostly chaos and stress for Kira and me. 

The kids remain in strange phases. Carver still has a rough time getting talked into eating, and Hakan has been keeping us on our toes with his sleeping. For a few nights in a row, he woke up somewhere between midnight at 3:00 a.m. as if he were ready to start the day. To keep his squeals of delight from waking his brother, we resorted to bringing him into our bed and laying him down so that he could get the picture that it is still sleepy time. Some nights it has worked after he lays for a long time with us, but a few nights either Kira or I have had to get up with him so the other could actually get some sleep. He gave us a few nights of rest, but then started up again on Saturday morning, keeping me up for an hour. 

Fortunately, the semester is almost over, so I have little scheduled, but it's certainly not good for our health. We hope this phase passes soon.

Otherwise, Kira is feeling much better with the pregnancy, and has an appointment coming up soon. We are excited to learn the gender in the next few weeks, and are taking guesses!