Monday, December 25, 2017


After the kids went to bed last night, we got all of the presents and laid them out under the tree. We haven't been able to leave them out for fear that Marty would utterly destroy them.

It looked nice! This is the last time our house will look this nice for several days, I'm sure.

Tamsen, true to form, got up waaaaay before anyone else did, but agreed not to disturb anyone else until 7:00. We got the kids out of bed, ushered them into the living room, and watched them go completely bananas when they saw all of their presents.

Edie got PUZZLES.

Marty got a rocking horse, which he rode with a wild-eyed frenzy.

Edie got a pair of duckie boots she picked out herself several weeks ago.

Marty continued to figure out his rocking horse.

Edie got a red tricycle that she was over the moon about. We rode outside for about five minutes until her lips turned blue, which we took as a sign that we'd better pack it in for the day. We'll try again once it gets warmer.

We knew there would be some overlap between their toys, but I was surprised at just how much Edie wanted to play with all of Marty's toys. She wanted to ride the rocking horse, she wanted to eat his candy, and when it came time to bed, she had a full-on meltdown when I asked her to wear her new pajamas. She insisted she needed to wear Marty's dino pajamas.

So, I mean, sure. You go nuts, little girl.

All in all, we had a really great day, with a minimum of freakouts. Both kids had a blast Christmas morning, which was more than enough fun for me. And for the first time, Edie was able and wanted to open all of her presents herself, which was especially fun.

Sunday, December 17, 2017


It's getting cold here, even for Tennessee. Tamsen got Edie some mittens she could wear while waiting for the bus. She's been extremely enthusiastic about them ever since, wearing them outside, inside, wherever.

All the cold weather seems to have brought the cold season along with it. Both Edie and Marty were sick this week, dripping snot all over the house and wiping their goopy faces all over everything in sight.

That's not to say that they were completely miserable, though. They still ran around playing tag and laughing their heads off. Sometimes they can be unkind to each other, but as often as not, they play well together, and they genuinely seem to like each other.

Every once in a while, they team up against me. The other day, Tamsen had laid down for a quick nap, and the two of them ran into the kitchen, looked right at me, grinning, and screamed as loud as they could for a solid thirty seconds. It was all I could do to keep from laughing out loud. They're sneaky, but they're my kind of sneaky.

Monday, December 11, 2017


Despite having their own rooms filled with toys and books, our kids spend a surprising amount of the day in our kitchen, running around, climbing on furniture, and generally getting into things they shouldn't.

For example, here's Marty... mixing something?

He's figured out how to push the chairs around where he wants them so he can get up on the table. If he's been quiet for a couple of minutes, it usually means he's made his way up there and knows he isn't supposed to be.

On the other hand, sometimes if he's been quiet for a few minutes, it's because he's fallen asleep in the kitchen, like he did in his chair on Saturday.

Tamsen got the pillow for him so she could start taking pictures, which attracted Edie's attention. She didn't want to be left out, so she got a pillow and "went to sleep" as well.

Edie's interest in the kitchen isn't about destroying stuff so much as trying to walk around and be helpful. She likes to get her stool out and try to mix things and help out whenever we're making food. She can be in the way sometimes, but in general, she actually does a good job. Yesterday morning as I was making breakfast for Marty, she was barking out orders to me when I wasn't doing things right. "No, Marty eats his bananas before his milk! You have to cut them and put them in a bowl! Let ME do it!"

Kitchen times are fun times.

Monday, December 4, 2017


Last week Edie kept saying she wanted to do an "adventure" and refused to eat dinner, brush her teeth, or anything else until she had done her adventure. We weren't sure at first what that meant, but it turned out it just involved playing around the house wearing hats.

Marty has been on his share of adventures lately. Here he is climbing up the stairs.

But what's this, you say? How could he possibly be adventuring without a hat? Rest assured, my friends, he has a hat.

And just in case you don't think that sitting placidly by a crib and a tiny Christmas tree while absently watching some cartoons isn't adventurous enough for you, then perhaps you should consider that you can go on an adventure every night at dinner, if you dare to.

You can't really tell from this angle, but his whole face and nearly all of the hat are completely covered in chocolate. Marty is what I would call a bold eater.

Edie wears her fair share of hats, too.

This was an adventure in Marty's room, where we mostly rearranged things and got ready for bed. Tamsen came up with a much better adventure the next day, though. Edie saw a scrap of wrapping paper and announced it was her map. Tamsen sat down with a marker and drew everything that Edie told her was on the map.

It was a pretty great map!

Like, a REALLY great map.

Again, hard to tell in this picture, but Edie told Tamsen that there was "some grass" on the map, so she faithfully a small lawn and labeled it "some grass." Edie thoroughly enjoyed it for about two days before she completely forgot about it, which was a pretty solid return on investment, actually.

Every day is an adventure around here.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Holiday weekend

I was looking forward to this holiday weekend, but it turns out the kids were looking forward to it even more than I was.

Edie was looking forward to a weekend of loafing on the couch and watching TV.

Marty was looking forward to a weekend of eating everything in not only our house, but in all houses.

And Edie was looking forward to a chance to dress herself for church today. Can you tell?

Her necklace is a string of beads she put together herself today. Marty assisted by cramming beads in his mouth and drooling a lot.

All told, it was a fun weekend. We spent a lot of time hanging around the house, setting up Christmas decorations, and good-naturedly destroying things. I'm looking forward to doing it all again come Christmastime.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Reading and climbing

I've mentioned it before, but Marty is just out of control with how much he loves to climb on things. More than once I've been sitting in the living room and noticed too late that it was quiet, walking into the kitchen to find Marty perched precariously on the table with a guilty look on his face. I'm glad he's found something that he's good at, but I'd feel a little better if he had any sort of exit strategy for the situations he gets himself into.

Perhaps even less fortunate for us is that his new favorite activity is finding something heavy and pounding it against the table until one of us runs over, snatches it out of his hands, and hauls him away. He does this with books, his milk cup, parts of the Roomba, or even just his hands. (Can't take his hands away from him, alas.) Again, it's great that he's identifying and building talents, but come on, little boy. Be cool.

Edie goes back and forth between being really sweet and really not so sweet. Just today, Marty snatched her Kindle from her, and rather than screaming at him, she picked up a book, handed it to him, and said, "Marty, do you want to play with this instead?" He was happy to make the trade. Tamsen came into the room, and just as I was about to tell her how kind Edie was, she grabbed his binky and started smacking him across the face with it. Two steps forward, one step back, I guess.

Yesterday morning, we were sitting at the breakfast table when Edie pulled out her copy of Goodnight Moon and read it out loud, cover to cover. She asked if she could do it again as soon as she was done. After three times, I figured I'd better get a video of it. She's pretty good, considering she can't actually read!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Hanging around

Edie's been a little sick the last couple of days. She was sounding a little hoarse yesterday, and this morning, when I got her up and asked how she was feeling, she responded with the saddest, wheeziest, "Better."

Tamsen, ever on the ball, pulled our her phone and got a quick recording of her. It's sad, but also hilarious.

What shopping cart is she asking about, you may ask? (I can't remember what she was talking about in this video, but I'm pretty sure she was talking about her shopping cart.) The last time we went grocery shopping, she saw one of the big carts that has steering wheels on it and demanded that we use that next time. Next time was yesterday, and she was very vocal in reminding me that we needed to get a big cart.

We did, and it was wicked.

This shopping cart is virtually the only thing she's talked about over the last two solid days. She loved it. We will be visiting the store again very soon, I assure you, and not just because I only bought cookies and Cool Whip yesterday.

Marty did not get to sit in the cart, but he is making the most of his time at home by climbing on literally everything in the house. It's impressive and incredibly frustrating at the same time. I almost wouldn't mind if he climbed if he just knew the way to get down. So far, he's settled on "falling right on his big, fat head," which hasn't worked as well as we would like.

Here he is, determinedly climbing up to read a book yesterday.

Who needs a chair when you can just perch precariously on a bookshelf, right?

Sunday, November 5, 2017


My parents were in town this week, and let's be perfectly honest, they were not here to see me. They came all the way from Oregon to visit the kids, and I'm really glad to say that their visit paid off. Edie is usually standoffish with them, but she was more than happy to play with them, sit on their laps, give high fives, and everything else a grandparent could possibly want.

Marty let my mom give him a bath and hold him in a lobster towel.

Edie explored a historical house in Kentucky with my dad.

Marty did his best to climb a rock wall with only a little bit of assistance from my dad.

Edie sat with my mom and colored a turkey at her school's fall festival on Saturday.

And on top of all of that, we celebrated my dad's birthday on Friday. When I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, he just said "MEAT," so we all went to a nice barbecue restaurant in Kentucky. He got a big ol' slab of ribs that he thoroughly enjoyed. I felt a little left out, so I decided to snack on some baby back ribs of my own.

All told, it was a pretty great week. I'm glad my parents enjoyed seeing my kids, and I'm just as glad that my kids enjoyed seeing my parents. It's no fun that they live so far from each other, so I'm glad that this visit really counted.

Sunday, October 29, 2017


We had a lovely week, playing games and making food and blah blah blah you just want to see the kids' costumes, don't you?

We had our church Halloween party last night. There weren't many kids Edie and Marty's ages, so I feel confident in saying that their costumes were the best of the night.

Marty dressed as the "See My Vest" version of Mr. Burns. You can totally tell, right?

You can TOTALLY tell. No one else who was there knew who he was, but we did, and that's what's important.

Edie, on the other hand, had the sense to wear an easily-recognizable costume.

My parents got this for her when we saw them for her birthday over the summer. She's been fascinated with the Daniel Tiger costume ever since, but only from a distance. She would announce to us that she was going to wear her Daniel costume for Halloween, but if we asked her to try it on, she'd say, "Um, no thanks." But yesterday morning, she surprised us by asking to put it on. She wore it all day, even coming with me to have our car's emissions tested. She was still very reluctant to talk to anyone or do anything at the party, but she enjoyed wearing the costume, at least.

She and Marty still gang up on me whenever they have the chance. I was on the floor in Edie's room helping her find Waldo tonight (she's really gotten into the Where's Waldo? books lately), and Marty took advantage and belly-flopped on my head. Edie smelled blood in the water and jumped on my stomach immediately after, both of them howling with laughter amidst my shrieks and screams.

In other murderous news, Edie and I had the following conversation this morning.

EDIE: I want to take you off.
ME: You want to take off my what?
EDIE: (thinking) Your head.

Monday, October 23, 2017


Marty's learning more and more every day. The other day, he learned, with absolutely no prompting from either of us, how to use Edie's slide in her room. He walked up, climbed up the ladder, sat himself down, and slid right down. He seemed really pleased with himself and immediately went back for another go.

No really, look for yourself.

You might think that he picked this up from watching Edie slide, but she's been largely indifferent to it for a few months now, so it seems like he picked it up entirely on his own. To think that he's sliding on a first-grade level at only one year old! We're just so proud.

He's also learned how to karate kick Edie in the face, which she enjoys much more than you might think.

This is a game that Edie calls "squish," in which she lies on the ground, and then I set Marty on top of her. Marty, completely unaware that there's any sort of game going on, scrambles to get off of her, stomping on her stomach, arms, face, etc. in the process. She loves it, and he always ends up laughing by the end of it. Kids are weird, I dunno.

I don't have any pictures or videos of this one, but Marty figured out how high fives work the other day, and Edie's more excited about it than anyone. I'll hold out my hand to him for a five, then Edie wants a turn, then Marty wants another one, and soon I'm just going back and forth, back and forth, for five or ten minutes, both of them laughing hysterically.

They're learning new things every day, and it's a real kick to watch. (Ha! Kick! I made a joke there, you guys.)

Sunday, October 15, 2017

A boy, and also a girl

Marty has gotten really good at climbing lately, to the point where it's really starting to become a problem. He can get up high enough to where he can't get back down. That doesn't mean he's not willing to try, though, but his usual technique is to fall down face first. He's also really good at wedging himself into tight spaces, like this one.

Why, who is this? And for that matter, where is this?

Oh, it's just Marty the baby boy, climbing up and into the dishwasher! You clever and horrible child!

He's also taken an interest in my harmonica, just like Edie did a few weeks ago. I still haven't learned how to play it, but I think I've gotten more than my money's worth from watching these two weirdos blow into it.

Edie has decided that maybe, just maybe, she is done wearing pants on her legs and that she really ought to consider wearing them on her head instead.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Happy birthday, Marty

Marty, our beautiful, disgusting baby boy, turned a year old this week. It's simultaneously hard to believe it's already been a year and it's only been a year since he was born.

Edie wasn't really that interested in the presents and cake we gave her on her first birthday, so we entered the birthday part with a bit of trepidation. How would Marty react?

Well, he seemed to enjoy the toys we got him. Edie did too, trying to snatch all of them out of his hands as soon as he opened them. Here she is giving him a "sorry not sorry" kiss to make up for it.

He really enjoyed the coat my parents got him.

He really really enjoyed the juggling scarves/endless Kleenex box we got him.

And he really really really enjoyed his birthday cake.

He didn't get much on him because he made sure to eat every last crumb of it. I think he ended up eating more of the cake than I did, which is really something, considering he also ate a larger portion of dinner than I did. He gained two pounds last month, and bearing in mind that he weighs a total of 25 pounds, that's incredible.

When she saw me taking cake pictures of Marty, Edie very loudly insisted that I take pictures of her eating cake too, and I mean, sure, that's fair:

You might think that we completely ignored Edie this week in favor of Marty's birthday. I'd like to set that to rest by showing you this video of her "playing" the harmonica.

She's wearing an apron here because it was spirit week at her school this last week. They asked her to dress up as her future career. I can't imagine any four year-old has any idea what their future career will be ("I'm gonna be a firefighter!" "I'm going to be a garbage can!"), but she loves cooking and baking, so we let her wear her apron to school and said she was going to be a baker.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Autumn leaves

It's finally fall here in Tennessee, but you wouldn't know it from how warm it continues to be. It's been four years, but I'm still not used to temperatures in the eighties in October.

Marty will turn one this week, so he's savoring the last few days he has of being a baby. He still grabs everything as soon as he sees it, thoroughly enjoys falling down while walking, and had a span of something like twenty consecutive poopy diapers, causing him to lose his pants privileges for about a day. He's a good boy who loves to laugh, though, so it all evens out.

Also, this boy can eat, provided you put pasta in front of him. I'm pretty sure he can outeat both Tamsen and me when it comes to rotini.

Edie still loves school, and really enjoys spending time with her friends at school. That doesn't mean she enjoys all of her classmates equally, though. We saw one of her classmates on Thursday night at a school pizza party/come and learn about how report cards are scored night, and while this little boy got really excited and kept saying to his mom, "It's Edie! It's Edie" over and over, she didn't look like she could even be bothered to turn around to look at him.

We bought her a BYU Cougars shirt this summer that she finally discovered, and now she doesn't want to wear anything else. I don't have the heart to tell her that they're 1-4 and don't look likely to turn it around anytime soon.

They're both wonderful kids, despite everything, and they're growing up so fast. It's hard to believe that it's already been a year since Marty was born, and it's really crazy to think that it's been four since Edie. She's been around for nearly as long as we've been here in Tennessee, and it's hard to believe we've been here for four years, either.

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.