Sunday, September 24, 2017

Another week

We're all through the stomach virus we had while on vacation, but now that we're over that, we got leveled by a cold this last week. Edie brought it home (I assume) from school and gave it to Marty, who gave it to Tamsen, who gave it to me, and I can only assume I gave it to everyone I work with. We spent every moment this week that we weren't spending wiping the kids' noses by horking up mucus and spewing out... well, things.

Marty's as grabby as ever. He reaches for pretty much everything he sees at all times, whether it's sticky, fragile, a hunk of someone's hair, whatever. He's a good boy, and we like him, but boy, it's frustrating. He also spends a lot of time smiling and laughing, which makes up for a lot of the other stuff. If nothing else, it keeps us from leaving him to the wolves.

Edie's doing very well at school, and she's saying more and more every day. She had her first Primary program at church today, and while she knew her line word for word at home, when she got up in front of everyone, she got embarrassed and said the words at top speed. She still has a tough time with Marty sometimes, especially when he wants to "share" her toys, but they do have fun playing with each other.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Catching the train

The kids are wonderful and infuriating all at once, as they usually are. Rather than walk you through our week briefly, though, I thought I'd share with you a video I took of them playing last night, just so you can see them in action rather than reading about them.

It's about five minutes long, so maybe you'll find it boring? Although maybe not, since you've chosen to come to a blog about my children?

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Preschool and puking

We thought we were through the worst of the stomach bug that ravaged us on our trip, but we've been home for a couple of weeks now, and Marty was still throwing up regularly. We took him to the doctor early this week to see what was going on. The doctor wasn't sure, but recommended we a) wait it out to see if he improves, and b) switch to a soy-based formula to see if milk is bothering his system. After making the switch and about a thousand soy-milac jokes, Marty seems to be doing better. I'm just soy proud.

Edie's thoroughly in the swing of school now, and she couldn't love it more. She takes the bus every morning to get there, and although she was a little apprehensive the first time, she seems to enjoy it now. She also seems like she'd be happiest if we didn't make her come home at all, so I would guess school is going well for her. We're hoping that means her speech will continue to improve, and that she'll get used to being around other people without having to cower behind one of us in fear.

Tamsen hosted book club at our house this week, and since it's not a particularly big house, she kicked the three of us out for the evening. The library is only about a fifteen-minute walk away, so we made the trek and hung out in the children's section for the evening. Edie picked out a bunch of books, Marty chewed on every toy the library had, and I read a Ta-Nehisi Coates essay and bemoaned the fact that I didn't have the foresight to have gone to the bathroom before I left.

All told, it was a pretty good evening. Edie has asked me if we could go to play at the library every day since, so I assume she had a good time, at least.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Travels, part 3 and back home

We started this week in Idaho, traveled to Utah on Tuesday, then back home to Tennessee on Wednesday. Edie was a champ and made it through everything, but it was brutal on Marty, who kept getting confused as we would move him from house to house. He didn't sleep much toward the end of our stay at the cabin, didn't sleep virtually at all in Utah, and fought and screamed all the way to the airport. It didn't help that all of us were still battling the lingering effects of being sick the whole time. (Marty has still been sick since we got home, to boot.)

As miserable as all of that was, though, it's still something else to see Marty so desperate to chew on something that he starts gnawing on his stroller.

He's happy to be back at home, but I think he's going to be happier still once he's finally feeling well.

Edie got back into town Wednesday night and started her first day of preschool on Thursday. We worry a little about her, since she's so shy and doesn't really like being around other people, but she had a great time at school and didn't want to leave when Tamsen came to pick her up. We'll see how she does when the bus comes to get her on Tuesday.

Edie still loves helping out in the kitchen whenever she can. She and Tamsen have matching aprons, and it's impossibly adorable when they wear them at the same time.

It's starting to get cool here, finally, which is nice for everyone. We don't have to spend every night sweating into oblivion and wondering why on earth we decided to live here. Now we can shiver a little and wonder why we left the green and rainy paradise that is Oregon. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Travels, part 2

We headed up to Idaho on Sunday to spend time with my family. We also headed up Sunday night specifically so we could avoid eclipse traffic, since our family's cabin is just on the outer edge of the path of totality.

We headed down to Ashton on Monday morning so we could see the eclipse. We ended up waiting around for a couple of hours, but once it got started, it was, well, otherworldly. It took Edie a couple of tries to figure out how to use the eclipse glasses, but once she got the hang of it, and what she was looking for, that's all she wanted to do.

She kept looking up and saying, "Look, the moon!" At first, I was very impressed that she realized the moon was casting a shadow on the earth, but once I figured out that she was describing the crescent shape of the sun, it, well, it was still pretty neat.

We had a pleasant week, for the most part. Marty liked to walk around and put everything he saw in his mouth.

That, for the most part, did not include my dad, but I think Marty may have chewed on his fingers or toes at some point. As a natural result of chewing on everything in creation, though, he got to take about a million baths in the cabin sink.

Edie wasn't nearly as enthusiastic about putting things in her mouth, taking baths in the sink, or interacting with other humans in any meaningful way, but we got her to relax and play with my family after a while. My mom brought some jigsaw puzzles and Play-Doh, which seemed to be the key to getting her to like you. My parents and sister spent a lot of time working this angle over the course of the week.

Frequent visitors to this blog and terrifying stalkers alike will know that Edie loves to help cook, and my parents were only too happy to oblige. My mom kept asking Edie to help choose eggs for cooking, and my dad let Edie help him make us some cookies.

We also got to see some cousins while we were in the area, which Edie hated and then loved once she got used to everyone. Marty, on the other hand, just giggled and squealed his way through everything.

We had a really great time until Wednesday, when Marty started throwing up a bunch. Edie did the same the next day, followed by my mom, my dad, me, Tamsen, Jay, and Matt. For those keeping score, that's eight of the nine people living at the cabin this week that came down with severe gastric distress. The only one who didn't get sick was my sister, and the rest of us agreed that we all hate her.

If nothing else, we had a fun and certainly memorable week.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Travels, part 1

We've been three days without internet (oh, the horror!), so I'm just now getting caught up from our last week.

We traveled to Utah on Tuesday of this week to be with Tamsen's family as her sister graduated from BYU. The last time we flew with Edie, she screamed and writhed the entire time, so we weren't really looking forward to the trip. However, she was a champ through the whole day. She lugged her suitcase through the airport by herself, and when it was time to get on the plane, she sat in her seat, looked up at Tamsen, and said, "Buckles, please!" She made it through about five hours of total flight time without a single complaint.

Marty slept for a fair amount of the flight, and didn't cry at all, which you would think would be a recipe for a great time, except for the fact that any time he was awake, he was squirming and trying his best to stand up and walk around the plane. It certainly could have been worse, but spending any amount of time, let alone two hours, wrestling a surprisingly burly ten month-old isn't nearly as much fun as it sounds.

Everyone was excited to see the kids, but while Marty was sociable and pleasant, Edie's reactions ranged from wary to out and out terrified. She ran from Tamsen's dad every time she saw him, and generally clung to my leg when she saw anyone else. Freyja made a concerted effort to make friends, and for at least a small moment, it worked pretty well.

She really liked her cousins, though. Here's a video of her playing catch with her cousin Simon.

We went to go visit my grandpa in the VA hospital on Saturday, which was a really good time for everyone. I had a great time catching up, and the kids had a great time getting acquainted with some orange creamsicles.

We had a great time with family, but the trick was that we weren't staying in the same place as everyone else, which meant that we had to choose between going home early to put the kids to bed or staying out late and letting them crash. We, uh, chose the latter.

We headed out on Sunday night to our cabin in Idaho to spend time with my family. And to see the eclipse!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Happy birthday

Edie's birthday isn't for a couple more weeks, but since we're going to be out of town, we decided to give her our presents early. And what are presents without cake and ice cream?

Edie's just starting to get old enough to understand what a birthday is, so she was pretty excited. We sang the song, lit the candles, and let her blow them out. (We only had to help just a little bit.) She liked the cake, but she really liked her presents. We gave her a Daniel Tiger backpack, which I think she's worn virtually every second since. Tamsen's parents gave her some coloring books, a new dress, and a bunch of stickers. Pretty much everything was a hit!

Marty enjoyed the party, too, although less for the presents and more for the cake.

We had a pretty good time, and I'm sure we'll do it again in a couple of weeks when she actually turns four.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Making moves

I shared a video a couple of weeks ago showing Marty walking around while sobbing uncontrollably. You might think that he really hates walking. I promise he doesn't.


He's been very enthusiastic about trying to walk over the last week or so. He's always standing and taking steps, at least until Edie shoves him down when she thinks we aren't looking. He's getting better and better every day. At this rate, he might be able to walk no problem by the time we see our family in a couple of weeks.

Edie has been able to walk for years now, but she, uh, waives that right more often than not. Here she is in her natural habitat, lounging on the couch watching Caillou.

She will start preschool once we get back from vacation, which we're all excited about. We told her that she's going to get a Daniel Tiger backpack for her birthday, and let me tell you, I think she might be contractually unable to talk about anything else.

We have a good couple of kids, I think.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Hats and boxes

We had an activity at our church yesterday. We had a great time, not least because it was the first day in several weeks with a heat index of less than 105.

Edie had a great time because there was a hat involved:

She threw a frisbee back and forth, climbed up in a pioneer handcart, and and tripped several dozen times and skinned her knees pretty good.

Marty, true to form, spent most of the time asleep. His babysitter was there, and she was kind enough to hold him for close to two hours. But what he lacked in church activity excitement, he made up in getting trapped in a big ol' box today:

He's not particularly savvy about looking innocent. He's even less savvy about remaining upright in the box; this picture is about five seconds after he fell over and took all of those boxes in the background with him.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Big steps

Last week Marty surprised us all by standing on his own, then taking seven or eight steps before unceremoniously falling to the ground. Over the last week, he's started to figure things out, and even walks for short distances on his own without us having to drag him around everywhere. It's exciting!

He's generally happier about walking than he is here, I promise.

Edie doesn't particularly care that Marty is walking except in that it takes attention away from her. If either Tamsen or I are holding Marty by the hand and walking him around, she'll immediately shout, "I want to walk too!" and run to grab our hands. My compromise is to let her take his other hand so the three of us can walk around the house together, except Edie doesn't really understand that Marty's top speed is about 0.001 mph, while she likes to run around at top speed pretty much everywhere. (She has a ridiculous number of bruises on her legs that I'm pretty sure are from crashing and tumbling into everything.)

She still loves to play her board games. Here she is absolutely schooling me in Hi Ho! Cherry-O! this afternoon. Let it be known that she beat me twice, completely clearing her tree of cherries while I was left with my full complement of ten. Sometimes, it's a little discouraging having to compete against what is clearly a board game prodigy.

Friday, July 14, 2017

A visit

I promised my co-workers that I would pay them a visit sometime this week and bring the two kids. As today was Friday, I figured we'd better get up and go.

Edie spent a lot of time hiding behind me, plainly terrified of so many kind faces, but Marty was willing to be passed around for a while. One co-worker in particular was especially excited to carry him around. (She's the one who took all of these pictures.) She loves how big he his, and makes a point of calling him "Fat Martin" every chance he gets. Most of the pictures she took and sent me were of the fat rolls on his legs.

She had a great time parading him around until he started whimpering and making very sad little gestures toward me. It was hot, there were a lot of strange people around, and we were all hungry, so we headed home.

We had a pretty uneventful day after that, although Marty really tore into his dinner with gusto, so we gave him a bath afterward. Edie, too, at her insistence. They had a great time in the tub, and Edie even helped to get Marty dressed afterward. She picked out this ensemble entirely on her own.

Yes, that's Marty standing entirely unsupported. He's made a lot of progress even just over the last few days.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Just nothing

I thought we might play in the water outside today, but Edie had a spectacular meltdown this morning when I asked her to wash her hands after sitting on the potty, so I thought maybe more water wouldn't be the best option. We decided to spend the day loafing in our living room, hoping the air would finally get the house cool. (It didn't, not really.)

As long as I wasn't asking her to maintain her personal hygiene, Edie was pretty fun to hang out with today.

And that's not to say that Marty wasn't fun, of course. He's just a different sort of fun, in which he's climbing all over you and trying to grab things out of your hands constantly.

Midway through the day, we got a couple of packages from my mom with leftover school supplies from work. We rummaged through the boxes and found books, Legos, and other fun things. Edie liked the books, but when she saw the color explosion markers, she had eyes for nothing else. We sat down at the table and got into them immediately.

As you can see, I wrote her name at the top. She's getting good at recognizing her name, as well as those of everyone else in the family. When I pointed to her name and asked her what it was, she said, "That's my Edie O.!" She then spent the next few minutes carefully coloring over every inch of it so it couldn't be seen. I'm sure it made sense to her.

Marty observed the scene carefully from his high chair, but he didn't let any of it get in the way of enjoying his Goldfish.

I ordered myself a harmonica a few days ago, which coincidentally arrived the same time the packages did. I was sitting at the table feeding Marty some fish and browsing the internet for tips on how to get started with the harmonica, when Edie got my attention by saying, "Daddy, you aren't helping." I guess I should have been paying more attention to her markers.

We'll probably actually do something tomorrow, assuming we're able to get over the hump of getting clean in the morning. Who knows?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


I had some ideas for things we could do today, but I asked Edie if she was interested, and she said no to everything. (Marty doesn't get a vote.) So I asked her while she was sitting on the potty this morning what she did want to do. "I want to go to the store," she said.

Well, I mean, sure. Why not?

We ate our lunch, got everyone (me) dressed for the day, and headed up to Kentucky to go visit Target. I figured there were fun toys for the kids to look at, and it was 30 minutes away to boot, so that would give Marty extra nap time. He obliged, sleeping all the way there and all the way back. I figured I'd buy a little something to justify our walking around for an hour or so.

We got there, and while both Edie and Marty loved looking at the toys, we had to get through the clothing section to get there.

This is a very stylish baby.

Marty spent all of his time in his stroller, which came as a bit of a disappointment to him, since there were so many toys crying out to be shoved in his mouth.

Edie was better behaved in terms of chewing on merchandise, but she was very enthusiastic about trying everything out.

You can't see it, but this ball lit up when you bounced it. Edie enjoyed it, but would only bounce it once and then hand it back to me so I could put it back on the shelf.

She loved identifying everything on the shelves, and then explaining them to Marty. Here she is saying, "Look, Marty! Goldfish!" just moments after I told her, "Look, Edie! Goldfish!"

She especially liked walking through the grocery section and identifying everything we saw. She got really excited when she saw the kind of bread Tamsen usually gets. "Look! Mama bread!"

We were prepared to buy a loaf of Mama bread and a package of red cookies, but I got up to the checkout counter and realized that I hadn't actually brought my wallet. Oops. We put everything back on the shelves and quietly slunk out of the store.

Still, a reasonably fun day. I guess Edie knew what she was talking about.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


After foolishly telling Edie about our library plans last night, we finally got everything together this morning and set off. They're resealing our street this week, and since our street also doesn't have any sidewalks, it was a challenge finding a path getting there. We soldiered through some deep grass and hills in the stroller before finally getting to level ground.

I've only really been to our library a couple of times, so this trip was as much fun for me as it was for Edie and Marty. There are plenty of books, sure, but Edie was much less interested in those than she was in the wall of toys. She found a little house that she could walk in and play kitchen.

Marty found plenty to occupy himself, too, or at least plenty to chew on.

In fact, he made his way inside the little house and was very contentedly chewing on a couple of toy carrots. Edie even let him stick around and play while she was in there, which is a big deal for her, since she normally freaks out any time Marty is anywhere near her while she's playing.

We had a pretty good time, and Edie was very sad when we had to go home to eat lunch. We made our way home across the resurfaced street and through the hot sun and back to our hot house, since I'd forgotten to turn the air on.

Everyone was pretty worn out once we got home, so that must mean we had a pretty good time, right?

Monday, July 10, 2017

Berries, bubbles, and board games

Tamsen's on vacation this whole week, so as proof that I am competently taking care of these children, I'm going to update every day this week. Please don't send the authorities to take the children away from me. I am trying, honest.

This morning we got up, ate breakfast, got dressed, and headed out to the backyard to pick berries from our blackberry bushes. We filled up this cup in just a couple of minutes.

Edie was very interested in the berries so long as they were in the cup, but really did not like touching them, since the first one she grabbed from the bush was softer than we realized, so it squished in her hand. She's in a phase where she can't stand any sort of anything getting on her (even water), so berry juice in her hand didn't sit well with her. Fortunately, the grass was still wet, so I showed her how to wipe her hand clean, but unfortunately, since the grass was still wet, her shoes got wet, which caused a whole new set of problems. She was screaming at me to get her new shoes while I was crawling around the bush picking berries as quickly as I could. I wasn't quite the delightful family adventure I'd imagined it would be.

Although, Marty didn't seem to mind being hauled around the backyard.

He could sit in that stroller forever, I think. Edie was the same way.

I parked him there for a little bit while I blew bubbles for Edie.

Edie absolutely adores bubbles, and I made the mistake of telling her last night that we would play with bubbles today. I don't think she talked about anything else until we finally got them out, which was a solid 16 hours. Here's a quick video of her popping them.

Marty couldn't possibly care less about the bubbles, but we put him in the porch swing and pushed him around for a bit, which he really liked. I would have stayed out for longer, but Tennessee in July, y'know? Five minutes was plenty.

We came in to cool off for a bit, and thankfully, Marty went to sleep before long. Edie knows that once Marty goes to sleep, though, she's allowed to play Candy Land and Hi Ho Cherry-o, since he won't be around to try to eat the pieces. Edie got her copy of Candy Land about three weeks ago, and I would imagine we've played at least once every day since then. Considering the game is determined by nothing but sheer chance, she wins way more than I would expect (viz., always).

I told Edie that we should play with our Play-Doh at one point, but quickly realized I had no idea where it was. Tamsen was traveling all day out of range of cell reception, so we just had to tear apart the house. Luckily, she called around 6:30, so we had a bit of time to play before bed.

Marty isn't allowed to play with Play-Doh, but he seemed content enough to chew on necklaces.

We had fun today! Now I just need to think of ways to fill five more days and I'm all set.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Another week

Weird things happen around our house all the time, but sometimes I forget to write them down anywhere.

Weird things, like Marty walking around the living room and spontaneously deciding he would step out of his pants. You can see them on the ground right behind them.

Weird things like Edie sobbing this morning because I cut her sandwich into two pieces, not four, followed by her grabbing a placemat off of the table and proudly announcing that she was wiping her tears. (She did this seven times during breakfast. That poor placemat.)

This is Edie just after her bath last night. I had just given Marty a bath and had planned on relaxing for a bit before their bedtime (giving a kid a bath is exhausting), but she insisted that she have one, too. After the bath, we took two or three dozen selfies. I would have waited until my hair was dry before taking pictures, but, I mean, you do you, little girl.

Monday, July 3, 2017


I had both Monday and Tuesday off for the holiday weekend, so we spent some time as a family together today doing errands. Running around town with two little kids in tow may not sound like your idea of fun, and I completely agree, but Marty is pretty docile as long as he isn't hungry, and Edie genuinely enjoys being buckled up and pushed around in a cart. In fact, she usually doesn't want to get in the car and go anywhere unless I tell her we're going to a store, whether it's the grocery store, the burger store (getting fast food), the lollipop store (getting a haircut), you name it. 

So we headed down to the grocery store, which here requires you to put in a quarter before it releases a cart to you. We realized as we were getting close that we weren't sure if we had a quarter, which was a problem because Edie was in the backseat singing "I'm going to the grocery store, I'm going to the grocery store" over and over. Fortunately, we didn't have to disappoint her. 

The carts at the store are double wide, so we got to take this adorable shot:

Marty seemed to enjoy being pushed around, too, and Edie was having a great time pointing things out to him. ("Look, Marty! Cereal!") At one point, she told me that she saw ice cream on the shelf, which confused me until I realized it was a box of ice cream cones. So we bought them and brought them home to have ice cream cones after dinner. It wasn't until we gave one to Edie that we realized she'd never had one before. It was, well, not as bad as it could have been.

You may notice that we finally got her hair cut, since it was entirely covering her eyes. I took her to the "lollipop store," and she was really excited right up until she sat in the chair and realized she was getting a haircut. She sat still and did a great job, though, which was a pleasant surprise. And she looks real nice, too! At least, I think so!

Marty is still a grabby little boy. He spent a good twenty minutes grabbing at the steam coming out of Tamsen's humidifier the other night and having a ball doing so. He likes to grab Edie's toys, which isn't a problem unless she sees him, which makes her scream to everyone that will listen, "Marty's sharing my toys!" He's a good boy, and we like him, except for all of the times that he screams at us. (We still like him then, but he's not a good boy when he's screaming.)