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.)

Monday, June 26, 2017

Party time

My co-worker's son turned two last week, so we all went to his birthday party on Saturday. We all had a good time, as much as anyone has a good time at a party for a two year-old.

Edie played it cool so none of the dinosaurs thought she was trying too hard.

She didn't seem interested in any of the other kids there, but she was excited to see that there was a plate of grapes and cheese and that she could have as much as she wanted. Eventually, she got so excited that she squeezed the bottle of water she was drinking from and spilled on her shirt. She got really upset and started saying (a little too loudly), "I need to go home! I need a new shirt!"

Marty seemed completely indifferent to everyone, so long as people were feeding him.

He liked being held, and since most of the people there hadn't seen him in a while, he had a lot of people willing to hold him. He was also keenly interested in eating directly from the garbage can, which was less exciting for us.

Not much new to report this week. Both kids continue to fall on their faces repeatedly, but we still like them.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Father's Day

We have a tradition in our family of not making a big deal about Mother's and Father's Day. Not for ourselves, anyway; we still get nice, lavish gifts for our parents. Our agreement is that we each get a treat from the grocery store. This year, Tamsen got herself some gummi bears, and I got myself some potato chips. (Cheddar and sour cream! It's a bigger deal for me than you'd think!)

So imagine my surprise when Tamsen revealed to me on Sunday morning that while I'd been gone all Saturday at church meetings, she and Edie had made me a Father's Day cake.

Granted, Tamsen did the baking and icing, but Edie added all of the ingredients, mixed them, and poured the batter into the pan. She also picked the colors and added the food coloring herself. The yellow and green are Oregon Ducks colors, but the inside is red for no other reason than that it's Edie's favorite color.

She even signed it! Or Tamsen did for her, whatever.

After we celebrated by stuffing ourselves silly with cake, I gave both of the kids baths. We have enough Edie pictures in the bath, but it's still a new experience for Marty, so Tamsen took a few shots.

I love the vague finger pointing he's doing here, as if to say, "Can you get a load of this guy, peeking in my drawers? Who does he think he is?"

Marty really doesn't enjoy baths lately, but it turns out that if we give him a rubber duck to chew on, he calms right down. And in a pinch, they work well as strategic covering for highly inappropriate baby nudity.

All in all, I think it was a pretty good day.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Trading places

Edie is a girl, but she doesn't really do anything that would set her apart as an especially girly girl. She likes to build things with Legos and blocks, she likes to play with her train set, and she enjoys making shapes with her magnets.

Today, before church, she was playing with her magnets and told me, repeatedly, "I'm making a hexagon."

You can't really see it here, but she was absolutely making hexagons, complete with 120 degree angles. STEM, here we come?

Meanwhile, Marty was crawling around this week and found an old hairband that Edie refuses to wear. He didn't seem to mind if we put it on him, though.

Marty: quite possibly the prettiest princess?

Sunday, June 4, 2017


Not much new to report this week. Edie is improving in her speech, and she still regularly falls on her face walking around the house. Marty's working on standing and walking, and he regularly falls on his head, too. He's working on vocalizing now, throwing out CVCVs like it's his job. (You know, mamamama, babababa, etc.)

And that's all good and well, but I'm guessing the only reason you're reading this at all is because you heard that Edie and I pinned Marty down a few days ago and made him into our own personal set of bongos. Take a listen! I think we got a pretty good sound out of this kid.

Monday, May 29, 2017


We went to our church Memorial Day cookout today, and it was alternately fun and miserable, depending on when you talked to Edie and Marty.

Marty wore a hat.

He was right to do it, too. The sun was out, and it was plenty humid besides. He spent a lot of the day sitting in his stroller, squirming around until someone picked him up, at which point he would squawk that it was too hot to be held and demand to be put back down. He fell asleep for about an hour, which was a small slice of heaven. (I was eating several small slices of pie at the time, so maybe I'm thinking of those.)

Marty's getting better and better at standing, though he still doesn't have the balance to stand on his own. He climbs on everything, and he only has several dozen bumps and bruises to show for the resulting falls. He's not quite eight months old, but it feels like he'll be walking any day now, which is exciting and terrifying all at the same time.

Edie didn't wear a hat today, but she did go down a slide.

She mostly had a good time at the cookout, as long as no one tried to remove her from the playground. She sobbed endlessly when we first got there until I realized that she didn't want a hot dog, she didn't want chips, she didn't want watermelon, she just wanted slice after slice of cheese. She loved the swings and slides, though.

Edie continues to get better at talking, but she's graduated to the point where she's learning phrases that have stock responses to them, only she doesn't know those stock responses. Here's a sample exchange that she and I have about fifty times a day.

EDIE: Hey, daddy?

ME: What's up?

EDIE: Yes.

(four second pause)

EDIE: Hey, daddy?

The really frustrating thing isn't that she gives a nonsensical response, it's that I fall for it literally every time. I always forget that she's not actually asking me anything, and I always respond as though she is.

I recorded her singing again. You can listen to it if you want to, I dunno, whatever.

Sunday, May 21, 2017


Edie has a brush and a comb for her, but she doesn't really like to use them, because she's a vigorous brusher, and they always get caught in her hair. She doesn't mind doing that to Tamsen, though, although Tamsen has similar complaints.

I don't have long enough hair to get tangles, so I offered to let Edie brush mine. Except that since it's so short, she finished in about ten seconds and went to bother Tamsen again. So I had to get a little, creative.

She brushed my face, and then my arms, and then my legs, and then my face again, and then her own face. She had a great time doing it, although her beard isn't nearly as impressive as mine. Yet.

Marty continues to be focused on standing up, which comes at the cost of his continuing to sustain head injuries as he topples onto the floor. He's getting pretty good at it, though. (The standing, but also the head injuries, sadly.) He's a champion crawler, and Edie continues to encourage him. The two of them were racing across our kitchen floor tonight, with Edie shouting, "Come on, Marty!" and Marty responding with a spirited "Mmmmmpf!", since he hadn't bothered to spit his binky out yet.

They're both pretty well-behaved lately and reasonably comfortable with people who aren't us, enough so that we left them with a babysitter on Friday so we could go to the temple. (It's an hour drive each way, so it's a significant undertaking.) They were both wonderful and even went to bed on time, so I think I'm justified in saying that my children are better than yours, no matter who you are.

Saturday, May 13, 2017


Every year in May, our electric company has a free hot dog day, so when it rolled around this week, Tamsen packed up the kids and came to my work to pick me up so we could all get our hot dogs. Since they were all there, we brought everyone inside to say hello to my co-workers.

They all loved Edie and Marty, and the kids loved them right back. We took about a thousand pictures, especially when both kids crawled up in my lap.

(Yes, Tamsen made that onesie, and yes, it's my company's logo.)

Edie, who is normally shy and quiet around people she doesn't know well, was chatty and vivacious, which was wonderful to see. Speech therapy has made a world of difference for her. She kept walking around saying things like, "I love your black shoes!" Marty was charming and adorable, although he burst into tears whenever she saw any of my Asian co-workers. Way to be racist, little guy.

Last week, I worked with Edie on recognizing my siblings and parents. We took a video, which maybe isn't the greatest or most interesting, but here it is, just the same.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Sitting, strawberries, singing

Marty's gotten much more mobile this week. He can pretty reliably sit up on his own, as long as it interests him to do so. He can move around freely by crawling, so he prefers to do that, although, sometimes he's content to crawl around our living room sobbing uncontrollably for no reason at all.

He's a champ. He's also improving when it comes to sleeping at night, although now that I've said that out loud, he'll wake up five times tonight, puke down my shirt, and give me a black eye.

This is a full week ago now, but Edie and I went strawberry picking last Saturday. She picked out these clothes herself.

I recognize that she looks thoroughly unimpressed in this picture, but she was beyond thrilled to pick all of these strawberries. Every time she saw one, no matter how big, what color, or how rotten, she would point at it and shout, "WHOA!" She eagerly picked the strawberries and put them in the bucket. All of the ladies at the patch loved her "strawberry suit." And she found the one mud puddle in the entire patch (about one square foot) and jumped right in, which meant we had to take off her shoes and socks before getting in the car and endure 25 minutes of screams of "CLEAN SOCKS, CLEAN SOCKS" from the back seat.

Remember how I told you last week that Edie is singing now? Of course you do, there's no reason to suspect that you think about anything other than my children. I recorded her, and you can listen to her sing in the clip below. (DISCLAIMER: you have to listen to me sing, too)