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.

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.