Sunday, July 31, 2016


Another busy week came and went. We started off the week with a professional photo shoot at the mall. You may recall that the last time we tried to get family photos was a complete disaster, so my blood pressure was rising since the moment I was awoken by the boys at whatever ungodly hour they chose. 

This trip, to our surprise and delight, was fabulous compared to the last. Our first wise decision was to photograph just the two youngest because they have changed the most since last time. Our second wise choice was to do the photo shoot on a lazy Monday instead of a manic Saturday, so that we had virtually zero wait time, and there were few other patrons with whom to share the waiting area. 
In the future, it may be worth it for me to take a day off of work just so that we can take our photos on a weekday. 

What sanity we saved from the Monday photo shoot was quickly lost on Thursday, unfortunately. The town in which we live puts on free concerts during the summer, and Thursday night was supposed to include a fireworks display. Some friends of ours testified to the quality of the show, and we thought it might be a fun thing for the older two kids to see. That was our first mistake. 
We informed Carver of the late-night event, but made clear that he could attend only if he took a nap during the day. He agreed to try by accompanying Avey and me on a trip back to the mall (where she could purchase an item that caught her eye during our photo trip). He promptly fell asleep on the drive, and Avey and I waited in the car for a while to let him rest. He awoke in good spirits and all, but the nap was probably too brief to last him through the 9:00 p.m. show. Still, we pressed onward. 

It had rained through much of the afternoon, so we checked on the website to look for any indication that the event was canceled, but everything appeared normal. The rain had died down quite a bit by the evening, so we figured it was still on. Kira timed Merritt's feedings just right so that he should not need to nurse after the show, and the kids packed up snacks. 

Merritt's feeding did not go quite as planned (he was distracted and did not eat very well), so as soon as Kira left with Avey and Carver, Merritt started screaming at the top of his little lungs. He seemed awfully tired, too, but after several minutes trying to get him to sleep, his screaming only worsened, so I ended up needing to give him a bottle, after which he promptly passed out. Kira informed me several minutes after they had left that there was no concert and nobody at the event, so it appeared to be canceled, but they heard a few other people around mention that they thought the fireworks show was still on. So they waited and waited...all for naught. They came home exhausted and disappointed, and spent the next day cranky for lack of sleep.
At least they got some fun yesterday. I figured it was high time we get them out of the house again, so we went to a nearby forest preserve and had a little picnic lunch, then went exploring.
They had a grand old time pretending that they were all sorts of things. We muddied up our shoes really well, too. Hakan kept asking about "see the animals," apparently thinking that we were at the zoo again. Fortunately, we did find three frogs, several butterflies and dragonflies, and a few birds to satisfy his itch.

My mother comes to visit us tomorrow, and we are all so excited to have her!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Cooling Down

We had a much better week in many respects, owed mostly to the fact that Avey made it a point to be friends with Carver. They still had their moments, but mostly they cooperated and played well together.

We had a couple of boys over during the week who are Carver's and Hakan's ages. That was at least a change of pace for the household as everybody was occupied with the guests. They were good boys, and there were only a few scuffles that were quickly resolved. 
The three older kids and I spent an afternoon at a nearby park with a little splash pad. That was a lot of fun for its novelty, and especially in light of the heat we've had. It's certainly nothing compared to those El Paso summers (the memories of which still traumatize us), but they still are uncomfortable. The water was cool, and it was not very crowded, so it made for a delightful change of pace. The kids requested another visit there just this morning, which I had to turn down, but perhaps tomorrow will have us there again.
Merritt had a couple of rough days where he just would not be soothed. He caught a little cold that had made its rounds through the family, but he seems to have had the worst of it with a runny nose and hoarse (but still adorable) voice. He was acting normal through most of it, but something seems to have snapped the last couple of days when he is fed, and has a clean diaper, but just won't be soothed for several minutes at a time. We remind ourselves that this was normal for most of Hakan's first few months, so we are at least glad that Merritt is a much easier baby overall. Hopefully whatever is bothering him will soon pass.
Otherwise, I am trying to squeeze in a few hours of work here and there to prepare for the coming semester, and Kira is working to get her practice set up to start taking clients in the next couple of months. The experiment continues...

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Big Boys and Beds

Several weeks ago, when it was time for Hakan's morning nap, he requested to lay in Carver's bed rather than his crib. I worried for a moment that he would just jump around and get in and out several times (that is the whole point of the bars on cribs, after all), but figured it wouldn't hurt to try it out. To my surprise and delight, he stayed in Carver's bed and also had an especially long nap! 
Hakan, by Avey
Naturally, he has requested to sleep in Carver's bed nearly every day since then, and it has worked out quite well. We were most worried about how Carver would react when he found out that his bed had other clients, but when we broke the news to him he took it very well. Carver is easily our best sharer so far.
Hakan kept using Carver's bed for naps, but when nighttime came he often still requested it again. It was clear that Hakan was ready to transition out of the crib, so we bought him his first big boy bed, including superhero sheets and everything. He is thrilled. Maybe this step will help him end his binky addiction...
Merritt Smirks at Daddy
There is little else in news over here. Everyone in the house seems tired. Kira and I are certainly lacking in the sleep domain, but it seems that our older three bicker and argue over the pettiest things lately. When they make a concerted effort they can be the best of friends, but it seems like they rarely make the effort in the last couple of weeks. I blame some of it on the heat, and most of the rest on the refusal of the older two to nap. Merritt's disruption of the normal routine bears some of the blame, though we can't stay mad at him. It also seems that Avey is quite bored without the demands of school. Perhaps we should get her to learn Chinese over the summer, if just to keep her busy.
Our Patriotic Kids
The big news of the week for me was that I had an overdue dentist appointment on Tuesday, and came back with no cavities. I think that has happened one other time in my life, so I am pretty excited about that. Now to celebrate with mountains of ice cream...

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Happy Birthday to Kira!

The biggest happening this week was the anniversary of Kira's birth! I doubt that she is any older, but she did complete a rotation around our sun, so that was call for a celebration. With the hectic schedule we have, it was difficult to squeeze a little celebrating in between all the bum-wiping and feeding. Still, Kira found a conservatory relatively nearby, and thought we'd all enjoy it.
And enjoy it we did! Hakan did not quite understand the scope of the place, and kept requesting to see the elephants, but still he had a good time playing in the kid area and running around making us try to find him.
The other kids had a good time too, but it still did not seem to quench their thirst for an outing. Hakan in particular wanted never to leave the place. When Kira and I threaten to leave the kids behind and go home without them, Avey and Carver usually snap out of their playing and come running. Hakan, however, is not at all bothered by it. Even when we head out of sight hoping he'll come trotting after, he shows no sign of distress. He'd be content to just wander around unsupervised, I think.
What's most important is that Kira enjoyed the trip. The weather was pleasant, we needed only one bandage, and lost none of the kids, so that's a pretty successful outing. I wish we had the means to take her on a cruise for a couple of weeks, but perhaps when there aren't babies to nurse... 
The kids were quite helpful for part of Kira's birthday. I knew that one thing that makes her smile is a pathway through all of the piles of toys, so the kids worked together to tidy up the house. They did a smashing job of it. It's mostly stayed tidy, too, but we'll see how long it lasts.
Carver has had some hilarious one-liners lately. I've still got my head shaved, but shortly after I did it for the first time, Carver inspected it closely behind me on the couch. He rubbed my scalp with his hands and then declared, "It's part human, part not." That is certainly how I feel as a balding middle-aged man, so at least Carver and I are on the same page. 
A few days ago, he was playing one of his favorite games. He pretended to be a dad who was getting ready for work. After he was all set, he came to me with a smile, and in a chipper voice said, "Hey son, I am just going to the freaking city." I have no idea where he got the phrase - I don't think I say that word much, but apparently he picked it up from someone... In any case, it was hilarious that he said it without a hint of disdain, apparently missing the meaning.

Finally, as Avey and Carver were getting ready to go on a brief outing to the library with me, I teased them by calling it the wrong word, "librewery," "librawny," etc. Carver giggled and kept correcting me for the first few mistakes, but after I still was not getting the word correct, he got more serious and said, "Dad, let me talk into your ear." He pulled my head closer, thinking apparently I just could not hear him correctly, and he enunciated as clearly as he could, "It's the LIBLARY!" Avey and I giggled even more after he got it wrong himself, and we corrected him and all had a good laugh.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Shedding the Winter Coat

Happy 4th to everybody out there! I'm sorry I can't offer you presidential candidates who would do justice to our Constitution and founding principles. Even so, we are so grateful to live in this country.

Aside from our routine feedings and nappings, we have been busy with summer things. Avey and Carver had their last swimming lesson on Friday. We decided that we would all go to see how they did on their final day. I went ahead with Avey, Carver, and Merritt, while Kira stayed behind with Hakan, who wanted to dawdle. I dropped Carver and Avey at their respective locker rooms and then headed to the observation area. To my surprise, I turned to look for Kira, and who was standing at the stairs, but Carver! He had apparently decided that he did not want to participate in his last lesson, claiming to be scared. We encouraged him and bribed him, but he would have none of it. Because he had done all preceding lessons so willfully, we finally let it go and he goofed around in the bleachers with Hakan. 

Avey did great on her last lesson! She built up the endurance and courage to swim underwater to a goal, so that she could move up to the next skill level before the time was up. We are so proud that she has been pushing herself out of her comfort zone, and doing so well when she does. 
Hakan "Nurses" His Baby Doll
I made a pretty big move this week, too. I have been toying with the idea of doing something drastic about my continually receding hairline, but never had the guts to do it during the school year. I worried that my head would have some strange dent in it or something, so now that I have no students until August, I buzzed my hair to see what I had to work with.
My "Creepy" Look
I don't know that it looks "good" exactly, but at my age and with my genes, I figure I should cut my losses and focus on looking presentable. My head seems to be an okay shape, so I shaved it and am working on getting it tanned to match the rest of my skin. I figure I'll give it a few weeks, and if it's really not better than my sad balding hairstyle, I'll try it out for a semester. I also am growing the beard back, so now I look sort of like a guy in prison. Maybe I'll put up another picture of the experiment in another week or so.
 Avey has been bored around the house lately. She lamented that she could not see her friends every day, and so Kira tracked down Avey's best friend (a BOY?!?!?!??), and arranged a play [non-]date. She was looking forward to it for days, and then the time finally came! She had fun, but was disappointed that her friend's little brother (Carver's age) bothered them so much, trying to get in on their fun. I think half of Avey's desire to go play was to escape Carver, but it wasn't much of an escape. All things considered, Avey and Carver have made great progress getting along this summer, it's just that they should see other people.
Seems like every week I note how much more interactive Merritt is. That remains true this week also. As long as he is fed, rested, and has had a bowel movement, he is a smiley guy. 
He is also working hard on making adorable vocalizations. He has come close to laughing a few times. Right now, it seems like he has the breathing down right for a laugh, but he just can't quite figure out what to do with the breathing and the wide grin. Hopefully he'll have it down by the time his Nana comes to visit next month.
He is also kicking like nobody's business. I just started laying him on his little mat on the floor that has a place to hang things above him. We found that the other kids enjoyed kicking around at the poles from which the toys hang, so that they could watch them bounce and swing in the air. Merritt caught on pretty quickly last night with his little legs buzzing up and down like the needle on a sewing machine. I'll try to catch that on video soon.
Thanks for reading! We'll keep the updates flowing.