Priorities

Wait for it…

I’m going to try to paint a word picture that does justice to the outing the boys and I took to the nearby beach park the other day.

We arrived at Dash Point Park with little to no fanfare and I unloaded the boys from the van without incident.

Now, as you might or might not know (depending on if you read this blog, which I guess you do or you wouldn’t be seeing this), M likes to wear stuff on his head*, to the extent that he puts things on by himself and wears them around the house. *refer to figure 1.1

Figure 1.1

Figure 1.1

“The way I wear my hat? No, they can’t take that away from me.”

When we got to the beach, M decided that due to the bright sun, he’d probably better wear some head protection. Actually, I’m not sure if he thought that at all, but he still grabbed one of the beach pails I’d brought and plopped it down right on top of his head.

2015-06-23 12.49.40

“Mother, Mother Ocean, I have heard you call…” Ladies and gentleman, Jimmy Bucket.

OK, sure, whatever. He’s worn buckets in the past, this was no different other than the fact that we were in public and that there was a little shovel on the handle of the pail. Hey, whatever floats his boat, I figured. He’s happy wearing a pail and spade on his head, I’m happy for him.

He wore the bucket through the parking lot, down the beach, and up to the water. He wore it as he picked up pebbles and handed them to me. He wore it while C ventured out into the water just a bit.

2015-06-23 12.56.14

2015-06-23 12.58.48

2015-06-23 12.49.31

He wore it when the first wave hit.

In this part of the Puget Sound, the waves aren’t usually much to speak of, at least not on a clear, sunny day with no wind. I’m guessing that the big-here-small-everywhere-else waves that began crashing into the shore were from the wake from a freighter or something. Wherever they came from, a series of waves started “crashing” into the shore, scaring the absolute living crap out of the boys.

By the time the second wave hit (none of them even reached far enough up the beach to touch us) I was running up the beach, a crying, panicky boy under each arm.

Once we were at the top of the beach and out of “harm’s way,” I played with the boys at the little playground there as they calmed down, then put them in swings facing the water and pushed them for quite a while so that they could see the water calm down and smooth out.

I took the boys out of the swings and did have to coax them a bit…

“No.”

They climbed over and played with some driftwood logs, and I finally got them down to the water again.

2015-06-23 13.16.31

2015-06-23 13.16.37

They were calm for the most part, especially M, surprisingly. C stayed pretty tense and seemed actually mad at the water.

“Curse you, mighty Poseidon!”

“Umm…he said it, mighty Poseidon.”

It was a pretty mundane outing except for one thing: As I was trotting up the beach away from the water, the boys sobbing hysterically and holding on to me, I had to set M down to get a better grip on him. In so doing, I knocked the bucket off of his head, and it bounced about six inches away from us. Without missing a beat, M – who I hadn’t grabbed up again – stopped, turned around, took a few steps back towards the water, grabbed his bucket, slammed it down on his head, turned around and came back to me, arms out, still crying. I was obviously busy and the boys were upset and everything, so I didn’t get footage of M’s risk-life-and-limb devotion to his hat, but I’m including what I think is a pretty accurate recreation:

indy-hat-grab-o

Advertisements

Grandma!

The boys’ grandma (my mom) managed to survive another year standing between a whiteboard and a kloib* of middle-schoolers (not to mention surviving Kansas, in general) to make it out here to Washington for a visit. It had been a year since she last made it out, so from the first visit till now the babies went from screaming poop beasts to screaming poop beasts that can walk. Luckily, besides pooping and screaming, they now also know how to laugh and hug and say “hi” and manipulate their environment and wave and stuff, so that’s nice.

Don't forget looking badass.

“We also know how to look badass.”

No, Skyping just isn’t the same as actually holding your grandkids or, conversely, being held by your grandma, so we were all glad she could get back out here. One of the problems with having family spread across the country is the difficulty in getting together more frequently, so we cherish the visits we receive and that we get to make.

The boys are in that awkward age (read: 0-3) where they’re too old to just kick it in the living room all day, but where it’s challenging to find things we can do with them that meet the following criteria:

  • stay in line with nap/bed times
  • don’t involve over-exertion for any parties involved
  • are affordable
  • don’t require attention spans or comprehension skills greater than those of a cicada

“Hey, that’s not very…um…ooh, a fence post!”

This can be tougher than it sounds. Luckily, for one day Grandma took us to the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium as an early Father’s Day gift to me, and the boys actually had a pretty good time, considering they think every animal is a kitty.

“Meow.”

We also got some time in at a nearby “spray park,” something that was new to me when I heard of them but which are kind of a big thing around here. You know running through the sprinkler in the yard? That, but if it was at Dr. Seuss’ house.

Splooshtambulous!

Splooshtambulous!

M got blasted in the face by water the last time he was at this park, so he was a little hesitant to play in it this time, but C was all about it.

“Yeeeeeaaaaagh!”

“Peace!”

“I am AMPED, braugh! *pant pant* That was a choka macker; thought I was gonna wipe out there *pant pant*, but…oh, I gotta get back in there, those waves are choice!”

“Can we please go?”

She also managed to do on her second day here what we’d been putting off since the boys’ birthday: assemble their Radio Flyer scooter bike things.

bike

We tried them out in the driveway for the first time, and the boys did about as well as you’d expect (or maybe better) for one-year-olds on scooter bike things for the first time. Honestly, every time we get in the driveway or front yard, we spend a lot of time stopping one or both of them from running into the street, which seems to be most desirable place to be ever. They also got to wear their scooter bike thing helmets for the first time. As you may recall, M has that big old round hydrocephalus head of his and we needed to go with a helmet meant for kids twice as old, and it still fits a little awkwardly, but he seems to actually enjoy having the thing on. I think they get a little proud when they accessorize.

2015-06-10 05.58.59 2015-06-10 06.00.03

“Hey girl…”

I had to work one day, so my mom and Kat went to a nearby Wiggleworks franchise. Wiggleworks gyms are basically hybrids of playgrounds and padded cells (or maybe Dr. Seuss’ home gym), and the boys absolutely love it there. The timing also worked out because the place sort of stresses me out, as the boys are little enough that you still have to chase them around, which is hard and awkward in this place.

"Go up to this land that flows with milk and honey. But I will not travel among you, for you are a stubborn and rebellious people." - me about Wiggleworks/God about Israel

“Go up to this land that flows with milk and honey. But I will not travel among you, for you are a stubborn and rebellious people.” – me about Wiggleworks/God about Israel

"This Millennium Falcon is going to be epic."

“This Millennium Falcon is going to be epic.”

We all got out of town on Saturday and headed for Fort Worden State Park and Port Townsend on the peninsula in the upper-left corner of the state, a couple of hours away but worth the drive even with two toddlers. The park’s pretty interesting, a former military base that stood guard over the entrance to the Puget Sound, but which now offers great views of the Sound and mountains, has a museum, marine science center, trails, campsites, woods, “ruins” of gigantic cannon turrets and other concrete and steel kill-structures, and buildings that have been converted into everything from rentable cabins to rec centers to votech classrooms. Port Townsend, the cute little Victorian town nearby, was also having their big farmer’s market that day and the sun was shining throughout our trip.

The boys didn’t care about any of it except for the gun batteries, and only because we let them run free (more or less), so that pretty much made their day.

At a gun battery in Fort Worden State Park.

At a gun battery in Fort Worden State Park.

"I can totally make this. I just need to wait until they're not paying attention."

“I can totally make that distance. I just need to wait until they’re not paying attention.”

"In my new life I think I'll be a haberdasher."

“In my new life I think I’ll be a haberdasher.”

"Tra-lee, tra-la, I love strolling through the grass on a sunny day."

“Tra-lee, tra-la, I love strolling through the grass on a sunny day.”

"Short grass!  Short grass! I like strolling through short grass!"

“Short grass! Short grass! I like strolling through short grass!”

Between distance, scheduling, practicality, and finances, we don’t get to see family as often as we’d like, so it was really special having my mom here for a week, and even if the boys don’t remember, I’ll get to enjoy the memories of watching them squeal and laugh with their grandma.

*Science FACT: A group of middle-schoolers is called a “kloib”.

Things Are Awesome

Been a while since I got any sort of update for the family and friends and anyone else who’s paying attention. I’ll try to keep it brief yet concise and stick to a reasonable amount of pictures.

So, yeah, the boys turned 1 on the 12th of April. One. Wow. It seems like only yesterday that we were exhausted, panicky messes questioning our ability to raise two healthy, well-adjusted boys. Wait…actually, that was yesterday, but it was also a little over a year ago.

We made it, though, 365 days of ups and downs, like ships in a stormy sea of parenthood. We’ve come a long way – all of us – from those early days, when we had no clue what we were doing and sleep was a novelty. We now consider ourselves among the parenting elite, celebrating each milestone the boys reach and waving them in people’s faces like a “Good Job!” sticker on a second grade book report.

Since last we left our heroes, they’ve started waving (sometimes grunting out possible salutations), pointing at things (that’s the finger referenced in the title), getting around almost exclusively by walking, getting down steps, running toward the street the second our backs are turned, refusing to eat, showing defiance, screaming and weeping over their mother when she’s in the room as though she’s going off to war, doing things they know are bad just to get a reaction, and often producing gross giant man turds instead of gross baby slop-shit.It’s la vida dolce, at least compared to a year ago.

Anywho, I think the most judicious way to describe the goings-on here is with pictures and the boys’ own words:

2015-02-14 16.19.55

Swings are awesome.   2015-02-14 16.20.09

2015-02-15 12.13.27

Pickles are awesome.

2015-02-16 12.48.06

Chairs are awesome.

2015-02-16 12.52.20    2015-02-16 12.53.44

2015-02-22 11.05.06

Piggyback rides are awesome.

2015-03-14 17.56.11

Tupperware is awesome.

2015-03-15 18.40.20 2015-03-15 18.37.34

2015-04-12 15.11.31

Riding toys are awesome.

2015-04-12 18.14.11-2

2015-03-17 09.06.29

2015-03-29 18.53.57

Mommy’s sippy cup is awesome.

2015-03-30 18.26.44

Mommy’s awesome.

2015-03-30 18.27.26

2015-04-19 11.30.30

Water tables are awesome.

2015-04-29 10.23.41

Hiking is awesome.

2015-04-29 10.29.53-1

Killing it at peek-a-boo is awesome.

Killing it at peek-a-boo is awesome.

2015-04-30 17.04.53

Lawn chairs are awesome.

Rocking horses are awesome.

Rocking horses are awesome.

IMG_8278

Tulip festivals are awesome.

    IMG_8297

IMG_5974[1]

Mega Bloks are awesome.

2015-05-12 13.38.33

Sharing is awesome.

2015-05-06 12.41.19

Snack cups are awesome.

2015-04-12 11.54.37

Cupcakes are awesome.

2015-04-12 12.06.21

Not really, no, they’re not.

2015-05-07 13.27.18-2

Blowy balloon cage things at Wiggleworks are awesome.

So are these things.

So are these things.

2015-03-15 11.23.00-1

2015-05-05 14.04.20

Never mind, chairs suck.

2015-05-07 07.06.24

I’m going to sit on foot stools instead. Foot stools are awesome.

2015-05-10 13.00.13

Getting to wear dad’s hat is awesome.

Wrasslin' is awesome.

Wrasslin’ is awesome.

2015-05-12 06.06.20

Mega Blok storage bags are awesome.

Family is awesome!

Family is awesome!

Building Blocks

The boys turned one year old a couple of weeks ago.

Holy crap.

I’ve already talked about my evolution as a dad, but it’s even more startling when I look at them and see how much they’ve evolved, from gross noise-beast pupae to intelligent, walking, talking* mini-mes. Gobots to my Transformer. Micro Machines to my Hot Wheel. Tiny capsules soaking in water to my already fully-formed sponge dinosaur.

No, you’re dating YOURself.

No, you’re dating YOURself.

These guys have opinions, likes and dislikes, habits, skills, and annoying individual traits.

I have been watching them grow over the last year, delighting as they told developmental roadblocks and hurdles, one by one, to suck it. Since one boy or the other usually did something new first, we’d begin watching and prodding the other to start doing that new thing. Then we’d bring up all the stuff this baby did first, and remind ourselves that we shouldn’t worry that he isn’t doing this or that yet, constantly reassuring ourselves that the boys are each where they’re supposed to be at developmentally. Confused? I am. I had always expected a much more orderly, predictable progression of development for babies.

Turns out I read the wrong guy's baby books.

Turns out I read the wrong guy’s baby books.

That said, I have this new perspective. See, we (Humans. Every single one.) look at growing kids like Lego sculptures, getting more and more fleshed out as each block is added.

They say God is something of a...*puts on sunglasses*..."maniac".

They say God is something of a “maniac”.

There’s a quote (attributed to Michaelangelo but probably not by him) that I’ve always enjoyed which goes something like “When carving [a sculpture] I just chip away everything that doesn’t look like [the subject].”  Now that we’ve come along a bit, that’s how I see the boys; they have everything they need to become the men that they’re going to be. They each learn things when they need to learn them, and their genes are locked and loaded. The things that aren’t them – like hourly projectile vomiting and falling face-first into every [insert noun] they go by – are slowly but surely being chipped away. Assuming I don’t screw them up, they’re on course to be pretty well-rounded people.

My best unicorn impression!

My best unicorn impression!

Our kids might be in trouble…

*babbling incoherent nonsense**

**still more coherent than a lot of people I encounter on any given day

Three Pictures and Some Pants

A few months after the boys were born, I wrote a piece about fatherhood from my perspective that the awesome site for awesome dads, dads.co, was kind enough to share. At the time, I was still coming to terms with the changes that were happening in my own life and hashing out how I felt with regards to the two new lives that I was responsible for.

Now, looking back from their first birthday, it’s amazing how much I’ve changed since not just since the boys were born, but even since I wrote that post.

Yes, I’ve decided to make their first birthday all about me.

I don’t want to talk about the past several months by yammering on about growth and the triumph of the human spirit or whatever. To that end, I am going to sum up my feelings with three pictures and two pairs of pants.

Babies are babies. Our babies are like your babies are like their babies. For a large part of their first few months they are basically dazed-looking, crying balls of human excretion, resembling a Play-Doh playset filled with swamp mud. Babies are, by and large, loud, gross and dumb. Get mad if you want to; you know it’s true.

Our babies certainly fell into this generalization, and the farther we get from their birth, the louder, wrinklier, spewier, sleeplessier, and generally ickier we remember them having  been. I’m not trying to insult the lights of our lives, but I guess I have to call a poopy spade a poopy spade; they were mostly cranky and squirty, regardless of how much love and adoration we had for them.

This notion of the boys was mercifully retired one day when the boys were a hair over a month old and I took a few pictures as they lay next to each other in a Twin Z pillow. There was nothing extraordinary about it; just some more baby pictures among the thousands I’m sure I’d taken by then, but this picture really impacted me.

Partly this pic had such an affect on me because of the look C is giving his brother, and to the fact that they’re holding hands. I know, I know, at their age in this picture, it takes a bit of anthropomorphizing to read much into this. The hand-holding was coincidental, and C was glancing all around him with that same look; he could have been staring at a teddy bear or potted cactus for all it mattered. No thoughts in those heads but the entrance and egress of food.

Bros.

“You look like a very young Winston Churchill. Oh, and I just pooped.”

Yes, the boys are adorable here, but what really struck me was the juxtaposition of these two kids. M is mellow, sleeping, peaceful. C is wide-eyed, alert, awake, and anxious-looking. Before they were born and continuing to today, that has been more or less their respective “personalities”; M is the more calm, relaxed, thoughtful of the two, while C is more the go-go-go, alert, excitable, and “look before he leaps” type.

That said, it was in this picture that I first saw our sons as people; real, honest-to-God, fleshed out people. It’s hard to explain, but there was something in me that switched from viewing these babies as just babies, or as screaming crap dispensers, or as the reasons sleep was becoming a distant memory. Suddenly I saw them as “people”, as my boys, as individuals who didn’t just need to be taken care of, but that needed to be nurtured and raised to be good men.

If the boys’ personalities hit me in that photo, they clobbered me in this one:

4 months

“Your naiveté is silly, Daddy!”

There was no epiphany this time, it’s just…look at those smiles! I had never in my life seen (or at least noticed) any person look as overflowing with pure, unadulterated joy. I fell in love with these guys all over again. There’s a difference between seeing a person as a human and seeing a person as a person. Smiling and laughing because their old man was acting the fool behind their mommy while she took so many pictures the camera’s memory card was praying for Judgement Day, I saw these guys as full-blown little boys, and reveled in what was (and is as of this writing) the only example of anyone ever laughing at me when I was trying to be funny.

Because chronological order can go screw, this last picture is from the very early days after we brought the babies home.

Kat and I have known each other since 1997. We’ve moved in together, gotten married, been on adventures, overcome struggles, and gotten pregnant, but this, THIS, is the happiest I’ve ever seen her. She’s not grinning ear-to-ear or holding her sides from guffawing, but trust me, she is at the maximum threshold of human happiness. After our ordeals with infertility, miscarriage, and the deterioration of my emotional and physical health during her pregnancy, here she stands, holding her new babies and old husband. Her smile in this picture is beautiful and sweet and.it totally says “Screw every single other thing in the world. Screw all the struggles and problems, screw worries about the future, this is all I’ve ever wanted.”

Or she might just have fallen asleep...

Or maybe she just fell asleep…

Winding back the clock even further, while Kat was pregnant I was having some health issues, and they made it hard to know exactly how to feel about – or at least how to deal with – the pregnancy and impending role as a dad. When I found myself in an REI one day, I looked at children’s stuff and came across little convertible (zip-off lower legs) hiking pants. They were tagged as being for six-month-olds, they were more money than I should have spent at the time, and hiking pants are basically useless for babies. But we love hiking and I wear convertible pants when we do, so against all logic I bought two pairs:

Look at 'em. Yep, takes an awesome looking guy to make convertible pants look good.

Pacific Northwest slacks

The boys are a year old now, yet those pants still fit in what is apparently a sort of “five-small-barley-loaves-and-two-fishes” deal. On paper, I shouldn’t have bought them, but they stand as one of the only “wrong” decisions I made during that time that ended up being OK. The boys have been wearing them double the stated age, and, like their old man, they look awesome in hiking pants. I bought these pants in a sincere if ill-advised moment of impulse shopping, but they wound up being a great purchase from a practical standpoint and one of the few “silver linings” that came out of an otherwise pretty terrible time.

It’s such an oversimplification to try and sum up this past year with a few photos; we’ve had so many ups and downs, we’ve watched the milestones come and go, we’ve been humbled, we’ve been empowered, and we’ve both been given purpose in some different ways. Our boys won’t remember this year, but we’ll never forget*.

Bonus picture:

Pictured: personalities at 1

Pictured: personalities at 1

*Except actually we’ve forgotten big swaths of the first few months.

A Brief* Update With Photos**

*really long   **all the photos ever

It’s been a while, so I’m going to spare you the “update” and just cram a big fat sack of adorable down your throats.

Seen the boys lately? Nine-months old

Seen the boys lately? Nine-months old, almost 10 as of this writing.

C

C.

M being somber...

M. Wait for it…

There's the smile!

…there it is!

When we last left our heroes, we were wrapping up the holidays:

IMG_3928

The fam came by to visit me at work one day. The sign was coincidental, advantageous, and awesome.

As families go, we're the best one ever.

As families go, we’re the best one ever, so just stop deluding yourselves.

IMG_3932

Between mobile babies, company, and all the hullabaloo during Christmas, Jack had to get resourceful when it came to naps. He’s normally a sleep-in-designated-sleeping-areas cat.

IMG_3931 IMG_3930

IMG_3807Between mobile babies, company, and all the hullabaloo during Christmas, Jack had to get resourceful when it came to naps. He's normally a sleep-in-designated-sleeping-areas cat.

ICYMI, the boys are advancing every day. Part of the reason for the delay and format of this post is because it’s hard to keep up:

We keep moving further from purees as we introduce more and more people food:

"You know how you hate that 'more of it on you than in you" joke, dad? Think it."

“You know how you hate that ‘more of it on you than in you’ joke, dad? It’s stuck in your mind like an earworm, isn’t it?”

"You've been feeding me the freshest milk ever when aged milk is so awesome???"

He likes cheese. He can stay.

Not everything's a hit.

Not everything’s a hit.

IMG_3760

"What about comfort food?"

“What about our comfort foods?”

Of course familiar items remain on the menu, like hoodie drawstrings...

Not to worry! Favorite and familiar items remain on the menu, like hoodie drawstrings…

...spoons...

…spoons…

...each other...

…each other…

...play mats...

…play mats…

...and can Koozies.

…and can Koozies.

Sometimes, distracting babies by pretending the spoon is a plane or car, or by dazzling them with a display of grade A daddery is necessary to get them to eat.

Sometimes a little sleight of hand is required to get them to eat. Pretending the spoon is an airplane or choo-choo, or holding a spoon in your mouth, for example.

Take a good look, pediatric psychologists; this is what killing it as a parent looks like.

Take a good look; this is some grade-A daddery.

Sometimes we bust out the heavy guns: U.S.S. Enterprise spoon. Do the nacelles light up? Uh, yeah. You don't want to look like a loser with non-lighty spoon nacelles.

Sometimes we bust out the heavy guns: U.S.S. Enterprise spoon. Do the nacelles light up? Uh, yeah. You don’t want to look like a loser with non-lighty Enterprise-spoon nacelles.

Both boys have been standing with support for a while now, and C is starting to let go and stand for a few seconds.

They've been pulling ourselves to standing for a while now, but it bears mentioning again.

They’ve been pulling ourselves to standing for a while now, but it bears mentioning again.

See "cat sleeping in duffle bag," above.

See “cat sleeping in duffle bag,” above.

As hard as we’ve tried to keep the boys contained to one room at a time, the layout of our house makes it difficult. Many of their escape attempts are at least somewhat successful.

It started with shaking the gates, smacking them, checking for weaknesses...

It started with C shaking the gates, smacking them, checking for weaknesses…

...and before we knew it, he had found gaps and sprung himself.

…and before we knew it, he found weak points and started to spring himself with some frequency.

When stronger barricades were installed, they were simply toppled.

When stronger barricades were installed, they were simply toppled.

2014-11-21 16.15.27

Adorably toppled.

2015-01-20 10.37.36

Sometimes a little teamwork is needed…

Fun babies having fun:

Of course, sometimes they're more about the production side of food.

M likes to help in the kitchen…

2014-12-13 11.01.28

She’s laughing here, but she stops when she realizes they lifted her rings and credit cards.

We discovered laundry baskets not too long ago.

They discovered laundry baskets recently.

2014-12-14 09.49.19 2014-12-14 09.57.57 2014-12-17 06.52.18

2015-02-07 18.19.34 2015-02-07 18.20.35

If making paper pirate hats and playing on the floor with infants is wrong, I don't want to be right.

If making paper pirate hats and playing on the floor with infants is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

The fun of cardboard boxes was discovered around the same time...

Fun with cardboard boxes was discovered around the same time as the laundry baskets.

2014-12-31 10.06.02

I thought C was narcissistic, but turns out reflection-smooching is a thing.

2014-12-31 11.49.05-1 2014-12-31 16.32.55-1

Our anniversary was pretty low-key this year. The boys picked B.J.'s, and I think we all had a pretty good time.

Our anniversary was pretty low-key this year. The boys picked B.J.’s, and I think we all had a pretty good time.

IMG_3946

I spent way too much time writing and deleting dialogue between these two in this pic. Let’s just say there was some disagreement about pizza toppings. Oh, and the appropriate hoppiness of IPAs.

2014-12-30 12.15.18

She: “Cheers, yes, thanks, OK, let’s go.” They: “You mentioned a frozen cheesecake pla-oh MOM, c’mon!”

Sometimes a bamboo wok spatula is just a bamboo wok spatula.

Sometimes a bamboo wok spatula is just a bamboo wok spatula.

Wrestling over this walker toy thing. I wish that more photos had come out...

Wrestling over this walker toy thing. I wish that more photos had come out…

2015-01-02 07.29.25

Reading/singing from/with "Frog Trouble", a sing-along book of original kids' songs by real artists.

Reading/singing from/with “Frog Trouble”, a sing-along book of original kids’ songs by real artists.

I think it speaks for itself.

Hard to believe…

Outings:

We’ve begun taking the boys to play areas that seem to be in every shopping mall these days, as well as to parks and other places where they can get exercise and play. C is very much about crawling all over, climbing, and taking other people’s stuff. M is more about finding one spot to play and chilling, which means he is often under my arm as I chase down his brother.

Upon first realizing that he is free...

Upon first realizing that he is free…

"Ima go crazy."

“Oh yeah…”

IMG_4104

IMG_4105

He climbed higher (note the grown man's hip) but by then I was in a crouched baby-catching position.

He climbed higher (note the grown man’s hip) but by then I was in a crouched baby-catching position.

IMG_4108IMG_4110

They chased away another little kid so that they could play with this spinny wall thing that they didn't even know how to work. Jerks.

They chased away another little kid so that they could play with this spinny wall thing that they didn’t even know how to work. Jerks.

IMG_4121

Anne Geddes has really lost her touch...

Anne Geddes has really lost her touch…

IMG_4159 IMG_4160

Again with the fake ferries...

Again with the fake ferries…

IMG_4166

mandatory "whale of a good time" joke

[mandatory “whale of a good time” joke]

IMG_4173 IMG_4176

"Do I follow you around ant take pictures when you're at your job?"

“Do I follow you around ant take pictures when you’re at your job?”

IMG_4226 IMG_4232 IMG_4233 IMG_4234

We had nice enough weather recently to take them to a nearby park for some sun and fresh air.

2015-01-25 15.46.46

Unfortunately we were there on Opposite Day, so don’t read too much into the smiles.

2015-01-25 15.38.22-2 2015-01-25 15.42.05

Even the kitchen has been baby-proofed and opened for exercise and exploration:

The kitchen was also recently opened up for exploration, with their very own cabinet of unbreakables to not break.

They even got their own cabinets and drawers of unbreakables.

2015-01-29 15.47.49 2015-02-03 17.02.27

2015-02-04 11.39.14

2015-01-29 15.52.05 2015-01-29 15.52.14

Baby Proofing 101: Don't leave floor-level major appliances open.

Baby Proofing 101: Don’t leave floor-level major appliances open.

Coincidental: The first witnessed standing of C without pulling himself up on furniture or something.

Coincidental: The first witnessed standing of C without pulling himself up on furniture or something.

Speaking of furniture, C also started climbing on that...

Speaking of furniture, C also started climbing on that…

...and even getting himself down without falling (sometimes).

…and even getting himself down without falling (sometimes).

2015-02-04 14.58.26

Just cute babies being cute:

Some of these are repeats, but I’m not sorry.

2015-01-06 11.42.05

They’re right to look concerned; this two-seat shopping cart didn’t seem all that safe. Convenient, though!

2014-11-21 09.35.14 2014-11-27 14.30.11 2014-12-11 14.48.40 2014-12-13 11.04.09 2014-12-16 11.21.04 2014-12-17 10.16.47 2014-12-17 10.28.07 2014-12-19 06.17.29 2014-12-30 18.12.22 2015-01-01 06.15.44 2015-01-01 11.58.10 2015-01-05 08.59.29 2015-01-05 08.59.42 2015-01-05 09.04.10 2015-01-05 09.19.45 2015-01-07 16.12.35 2015-01-10 06.17.49 2015-01-10 07.25.39 2015-01-10 07.25.43 2015-01-11 17.49.30 2015-01-19 18.36.23 2015-01-25 14.54.58 2015-02-02 10.30.26 2015-02-03 12.51.26 2015-02-03 13.16.43 2015-02-03 17.06.04 IMG_3490 IMG_3792 2015-02-06 10.39.28IMG_3808 IMG_3817 IMG_3887 IMG_3905 IMG_3947 IMG_4243IMG_4043IMG_4044

IMG_4208

A moment for M:

If you look back at a lot of the posts on this blog, I talk about and/or you can see in pictures M’s bent neck and big round head, both as a result of torticollis. He’s come a long way since birth, and even though they both have, I’m very happy because he had an extra hurdle to jump. Although each boy has developed different abilities at different rates, M has mostly caught up to C on physicality and was even climbing stairs first. He’s also starting to hand things over when asked, deliberately stack and unstack (not knock over), is a proficient clapper, and I’m pretty sure I saw him flipping off someone at Target the other day.

"If my dust gets in your mouth, don't worry, it's edible."

“If my dust gets in your mouth, don’t worry, it’s edible.”

IMG_4207

"I'm happy. I know it. Well, I know what to do next!"

“I’m happy. I know it. Well, I know what to do next!”

Maybe you can't tell here, but this kid dropped or tried to drop each of the little wooden milk bottles back into this vintage truck when I would hand them to him. He's done the same thing with other toys. No word on when we'll stop having to pick up after him.

Maybe you can’t tell here, but this kid dropped or tried to drop each of the little wooden milk bottles back into this vintage truck when I would hand them to him. He’s done the same thing with other toys. No word on when we’ll stop having to pick up after him.

IMG_7930

“My work here is done.”

Coming Back to Christmas

I think it’s been a combination of factors that have led me to what at best can be called a disinterest in and at worst a loathing of Christmas and its entire affiliated season.

First and foremost, I have been working some form of customer service/retail job for the last…well, every day I’ve ever been employed for my entire life. In particular, for the last – oh my God – seven years, I have been employed with a high-end grocery store. Something about having wealthy people get pissy because you’re sold out of organic mulling spice packs can really chip away at my holiday spirit. Add to that year after year of looping Christmas music (courtesy Muzac) bombarding me for 8+ hours a day, lack of time with family, and first-hand experience with people at a level of holiday narcissism and gluttony that would make Linus vomit into his blanket.

On top of this you can stack age, a growing lack of disinterest in holidays in general, and the shadow of depression looming over me even darker when I’d rather be enjoying the season with my family. It has all added up to what amounts more or less to a resentment of holidays in general and Christmas in particular.

A robust and sincere tip of the hat to my brothers and sisters in retail, food service, hospitality, and other service jobs who don’t flinch during holiday times and especially to those who enjoy them. Kudos, and I even get it. The holidays are more intense, seem to fly by, can be exciting, and even I get a sense of enjoyment when I contribute to making someone else’s holiday/s great. What I particularly dislike, though, is the disregard with which one in our profession is often treated, a disregard that increases during the periods surrounding the various holidays.

I might as well be an Amazon page for all the consideration I get.

This is part and parcel of the service industry, and one typically becomes numb to or at least used to it. What I’ve never been able to reconcile, though, is the increased disregard and even contempt leveled at employees in various customer service jobs.

I’m sorry your family is stressing you out and that you forgot to order your turkey until it was too late and that your credit card bill is growing and that I have offended you with my inability to help you in these or any other matters. Truly.

As the years have passed, and my displeasure with what I do in general growing, I have lost more and more interest in, concern over, and enthusiasm for the holidays. They (all of them) have become just more work challenges to get through, no more fun or exciting than inventory or budget meetings or Weasel Stomping Day. Grab your bootstraps and get through it.

My real problem with this is that it’s really an area of work I can’t help but bring home. I deal with holiday stuff – music, food, etc. – at work all day. Coming home to more holiday music and food isn’t a lot of fun anymore. Placing my own holiday stress second to that of total strangers makes my stress that much tougher to tolerate. I largely dislike Christmas music anymore, or at least any of the common stuff. I look forward to Christmas morning and Halloween night like I look forward to doctor appointments. I’m too frazzled to pick good gifts for people, and although I always plan big holiday meals, I wind up regretting the choice about 30 seconds into taking food from the fridge.

For the first time in ever, I have something really, truly exciting to look forward to this Christmas: a couple of babies.

Last year, when K was pregnant, I actually had some serious optimism about this. I want these boys to renew my excitement in holidays. I need them to.

I know that’s a lot to dump on babies. Asking my children to restore my enjoyment of holidays? They are not real life Rankin/Bass characters.

I don’t care. This year might not make much of a difference, and even next year might be a little tepid.

At some point, though, I will watch these two little terrors start to actively enjoy Halloween, Thanksgiving, Easter, Christmas, and the rest.

Fireworks?! Eggs?! Turkey?! PRESENTS?!” I want my babies to look forward to and enjoy holidays the way I used to, and I’m praying that they bring me back to at the very least optimism about them. I admit it; I plan on living vicariously through these guys. I’m not even sorry.

I think that at a certain age, you accept that the bulk of holiday fun is for kids. So you let the little ones have their fun. That, in itself, brings more than enough happiness to many adults, and I’m eagerly looking forward to being one of those adults.

I know pinning the enjoyment of holidays – especially Christmas – on our little boys seems a bit unfair. My justification is that they brighten up my regular days so much that I can only imagine what they’re going to on Christmas.

 

This is M's "official" first crawl. All it took was a singing, light-up novelty Christmas decoration from Hallmark.

This is M’s “official” first crawl. All it took was a singing, light-up novelty Christmas decoration from Hallmark.

Winter time!

Winter time!

OK, Santa didn't scare them; it was the three grumpy teen girls in elf costumes and the other two women helping shaking jingle bells and cajoling the boys to face the camera. Fun, but a bit intense. Oh well. It was free (at P.T.'s office building) and they got to keep those bears!

OK, Santa didn’t scare them; it was the three grumpy teen girls in elf costumes and the other two women helping shaking jingle bells and cajoling the boys to face the camera. Fun, but a bit intense. Oh well. It was free (at P.T.’s office building) and they got to keep those bears!

IMG_3785

Awesome Santa in Kent, WA.

 

Daddy needs Christmas cheer too.

Daddy needs Christmas cheer too.

2014-12-13 06.12.10

GQ pose!

GQ pose!

First Christmas, first pile of electrified strangulation hazard studded with gass.

First Christmas, first pile of electrified strangulation hazard studded with gass.

8 months old!

8 months old!

8 months!

8 months!

Catching You Up On the Adorableness

Nothing to see here, only

RIDICULOUSLY CUTE BABY PICTURES!!!

 

On our hike down to Dash Point State Park Beach.

On a recent hike down to Dash Point State Park Beach.

Dash Point Beach

Dash Point Beach

Dash Point Beach

Dash Point Beach

Dash Point Beach

Dash Point Beach

C used to have trouble falling back asleep in the mornings. Solution? Snuggle with daddy.

C used to have trouble falling back asleep in the mornings. Solution? Snuggle with daddy.

I *was* asleep when she started to snap this. I think it still counts as a "napping dad" pic.

I *was* asleep when she started to snap this. I think it still counts as a “napping dad” pic.

Speaking of napping...

Speaking of napping…

2014-09-26 05.42.28

Purchased: A bunch of toys and this seat/tray. Best toy? The tray

Purchased: A bunch of toys and this seat/tray. Best toy? The tray.

Yup. Tray.

Yup. Tray.

Never say they have nothing in common.

Never say they have nothing in common.

Three studs.

A stud trifecta.

2014-10-04 23.31.19 2014-10-04 23.31.21 2014-10-06 18.30.53

We're being stern today.

We’re being stern today.

Because literature.

Because literature.

2014-10-08 17.15.14 2014-10-08 17.15.44

"I haz teeth!"

“I haz teeth!”

Yes, he's really biting my nose. Yes, it really hurts.

Yes, he’s really biting my nose. Yes, it really hurts.

2014-10-13 07.39.49 2014-10-13 07.40.14

"Kitteh?"

“Kitteh?”

The cat's actually a pretty good sport.

The cat’s actually a pretty good sport.

2014-10-22 09.04.19 2014-10-22 09.05.40 2014-10-22 09.09.08 2014-10-27 05.46.08 2014-10-27 05.48.21

Cartoon puppy cute.

Cartoon puppy cute.

2014-10-29 14.42.50

The day he learned to pull himself up in his crib.

The day he learned to pull himself up in his crib.

First time riding in a shopping cart like a grownup.

First time riding in a shopping cart like a grownup.

2014-10-31 12.32.37

Grocery shopping is a serious affair...

Grocery shopping is a serious affair…

2014-11-01 10.41.51

M holding himself up (mostly) on the Jumperoo while baby bro tries to jump.

M holding himself up (mostly) on the Jumperoo while baby bro tries to jump.

M, my little Seahawk.

M, my little Seahawk.

"Batman" for story time. Again.

“Batman” for story time. Again.

Not C in a roller-coaster. Just C having fun.

Not C in a roller-coaster. Just C having fun.

C is pretty proud of himself, learning to stand with the couch.

C is pretty proud of himself, learning to stand with the couch.

And what's on the couch?

And what’s on the couch?

Kitteh!

Kitteh!!!

Again: Alike.

Again: Alike.

Grinny and Smiley, the Polar Bear Boys.

Grinny and Smiley, the Polar Bear Boys.

2014-11-12 17.24.43

Pictured: milk coma

Pictured: milk coma

2014-11-13 10.57.39

He learned to crawl backwards first, taking the fence with him.

He learned to crawl backwards first, taking the fence with him.

"Well, I took care of that drawer you wanted pulled out."

“Well, I took care of that drawer you wanted pulled out.”

2014-11-15 16.57.06 2014-11-16 10.23.26 IMG_6668 IMG_6680 IMG_6715

Sometimes jumping makes us tired...

Sometimes jumping makes us tired…

IMG_6805 IMG_6854 IMG_6868 IMG_6884 IMG_6932 IMG_6973

They were thrilled with their Halloween costumes.

They were thrilled with their Halloween costumes.

The spirit of Halloween lives in our house...

The spirit of Halloween lives at our house…

IMG_7039 IMG_7087 IMG_7142 IMG_7171 IMG_7225 IMG_7231

Aviator scarves and headgear knit by a friend.

Aviator scarves and headgear knit by a friend.

IMG_7297 IMG_7260

Five Months

I can’t believe it’s been five whole months since the goo-extruding cry beasts I call my sons were born. Looking at the collective monthly birthday pics my wife has taken really drove home the whole “the days are slow but the weeks are fast” theory. Watching the boys slowly/rapidly catch up to and then dwarf their Build-a-Bear friends Huckleberry Hound and Ricochet Rabbit puts things weirdly into perspective…

1 month

1 month

2 months

2 months

3 months

3 months

4 months

4 months

5 months

5 months