Sunday, March 27, 2016

Building to Something

Avey's spring break was full of relaxing and arguments with Carver, and a few moments of joy. Easily the biggest success of the week was when she finally, after offers of incentives (i.e., renting Hotel Transylvania 2), cleaned her room. It's entirely changed the ambiance of the house, and easily increased the property value of every home on the block. 
Hakan has really exploded with speaking even more lately. He is working his way into full sentences, and mimics almost every word he hears, for better or for worse. One of the awkward consequences of that is that he recently copied a little insult game that Carver and I play. Carver and I sometimes exchange juvenile name-calling, and laugh at ourselves. Hakan has picked up on this, and recently began telling me, with an enormous smile, that my "head is dumb." I can't help but laugh at the sound of his soprano unwittingly jabbing me with an insult that barely makes sense anyway, so I may be inadvertently reinforcing his behavior. Luckily, Carver knows that this game is just to play with Daddy, and just when we both know it's just to be silly. Hakan should get there too, eventually.
Carver has been working hard to master doing buttons by himself. This interest was sparked mostly by his need to undo and redo his button before and after using the big boy potty, and also because his pajama shirts have buttons. Combine these facts with his intrinsic drive for independence, and voilĂ , an obsessive compulsive boy is created. It still takes him some time, but he is getting better at it.
Kira tried to take the two older kids to an Easter egg hunt that our township put on yesterday morning, but apparently they were supposed to arrive even earlier than they did. It was scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. They arrived at 9:59, and it was already over. The other children must have swarmed the field much like piranhas amass upon and devour a wounded animal.

Fortunately, we have our own plastic eggs, and Kira was prepared with candy. She and the kids colored some eggs, filled the plastic eggs and the homemade ones, and then we had our own egg hunt in our yard this morning. Hakan had a fun time opening one of the eggs he found and then hiding the candy in the yard for some reason.
Yesterday was a day of outings. I work at our campus in Schaumburg, IL on Mondays this semester, and the campus is right near some wonderful places, including an Ikea. We have been in dire need of some new kitchen chairs for many years. Our old ones had either already fallen apart or were on their way. The rest of those at the table were mismatched from various sources. It was not a huge problem unless anybody wanted to visit us. We then had to debate who would sit on the old stool I used to use as a night stand, and who would sit on the chair that could fall apart if you looked at it strangely.

We visited Ikea with high hopes to find and purchase some decent kitchen chairs, and succeed we did. We are slowly resembling white trash less and less.
The children were sort of patient with the long drive and such because I had also noticed a Lego store on my trips to and from there, so we promised them that we could check it out. It was a lot of fun, and included a life-size giraffe made of the interlocking bricks, and a much larger-than-life head of Albert Einstein.
I'm sure the builders of his image wish that Albert had had shorter hair, and maybe saved them a few hours.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Worst Time Change Ever

This season's movement of the clocks forward has been pretty nice for Kira and me. Now the kids get up closer to 6 and go to bed closer to 7. Still, sometimes Carver's disregard for napping forces us to send him to slumber a tad early. The problem is that that now means that the sun is still out when he needs to go to bed. He quite dislikes this fact, and expressed such to Kira earlier in the week. He mentioned that it was still light out, and Kira explained that it was because we changed the clocks. Carver protested, citing the scene in 101 Dalmatians when Pongo moved the clock forward to try to force Roger to take him on a walk. It's dishonest to change the clocks.

Kira tried to explain that it wasn't her idea to change the clocks, but that everybody does it. Carver, although still unconvinced, eventually went to sleep.

Avey had a pretty rough week. She was a little sick at the beginning of the week, and then her energy, appetite, and mood fluctuated throughout the rest of it. Most days she went late to school. She had an ever-so-slightly runny nose, but no other clear signs of anything serious. I wonder if she was just trying to ease into her spring break, which hits with full fury tomorrow. 
It's been a busy week otherwise. We are beginning to enter panic mode, realizing that little Merritt is only about 6 weeks away. We have our work cut out for us. It seems like we were ready months in advance for Avey's arrival, but this time around we are just now beginning to understand what having a baby means.

I finally realized what was up with my elbow. It turned out to be a textbook case of bursitis, so I decided to go get it looked at. The doctors there jammed a needle in my elbow and removed some fluid, so now it is back to normal - I just need to avoid leaning on it as my boys tackle me.

Kira took the older two kids to the circus yesterday while I kept Hakan entertained at home. It sounds like they had a really good time, and especially enjoyed the clowns. There were no animals to admire, but we can do that at the zoo sometime. The weather is quickly getting nicer, so we are looking forward to emerging from our four walls to breathe in the spring air soon.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

At Lanta

I arrived back home today from a conference in Atlanta, GA. It was a nice trip - just exhausting. With the different time zone and then the time change early this morning, I got up at 6:15 a.m. which felt to my body like 4:15. I am not as young as I used to be, and I am feeling every bit of it.
View From My Room on 58th Floor 
I was lucky in that I did not actually have to present anything, but was still a coauthor on two presentations. One of them was given by a student of mine, which is a great opportunity for her, and some good mentor points for me.

I attended some interesting talks, and had the most fun catching up with old chums from El Paso (and a few from Colorado). I did not get to see too much of the city, but I had some good food anyway.
At home, things were pretty good. Kira was able to manage alright, even without the extra hands for dinner and bedtime. Unfortunately, Avey got a bit sick Saturday and still has not recovered. She's had some headaches and low appetite, but nothing more serious than that. Hopefully she'll be back to her normal self by the morning.

I'm sure there's more, but I'm having a hard enough time keeping from laying down on the keyboaasesafeasdfaefsdfaefaeasfaefawefd.e..

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Four on the Fourth

We are pleased to have celebrated the anniversary of Carver's birth this week. He was looking forward to turning four for most of the year, and is already making plans for turning five. He had a superhero-theme going on, although not entirely on purpose. He requested some superhero action figures for his cake, so that was one of the first things we settled. He is also wearing a Superman® cape that his grandparents sent, and we just finished putting together a superhero block set from his great aunt. 
Avey fought off jealousy after Carver became a member of the ultra-exclusive book-of-the-month club, but the kids were all thrilled to share the first installment, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! It even included a hand-made plush pigeon so that they could act out the whole story! Avey looks forward to reading the books to Carver as they come, and she might have a hard time letting go as Carver learns to read. It's a good thing that Hakan loves to cuddle up with her for a good book.

Carver also scored a dinosaur activity book and a book of mazes. He has never been very interested in coloring, but does enjoy a nice set of stickers, and recently found an appreciation of simple mazes, so we hope that those will keep him occupied for a while.
The older two and I also extended the celebration into Saturday, attending the latest installment of the Kung Fu Panda series. Avey loved it, and Carver got pretty creeped out by the bad guy. Luckily, he is such a solid sleeper that he wasn't up thinking about it last night.

We are so glad to have Carver in our family. As he approached his birthday, he has decided to mature in many ways. He has stopped wearing a diaper for nighttime, and he has been more helpful around the home. Earlier this last week, for example, he found Hakan's pacifier on the floor. Knowing that Kira likes to wash them after floor contact, Carver applied his hand-washing abilities to also washing off the beloved binky, and it was all his own idea! He was wildly proud of his contribution - he presented the pacifier to me, and told me his idea. From the excitement and joy in his voice, one might think he had invented penicillin. We made sure to share in his pride, as that skill will be a great help once baby Merritt comes along. Let's keep his helping momentum going!