Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fun With The Sun!!

Wyatt, sleeping in his rather palatial bed. One of three, really.

   Recently, Wyatt became absolutely enthralled with the rising and setting of the sun. I mean, every day we are aware of the following three things: If the sun is up, if it's getting dark fast, or if it is dark.

   One day, late in the summer, we were at the park. All the big kids were playing, and lately Wyatt has loved making friends with the big kids at the park. (He'll walk up to some big kids that are playing. He'll stand silently, about 4 feet from them, and look at them. He'll look at me, smile, and point to the big kids. Then he'll say "These my friends!" It doesn't always progress to him making friends beyond this stage.) The big kids, all at once, left. We needed to leave too. Wyatt asked why, and I said "It's going to get dark soon!"

   He. Was. In. Awe. How did I know? I could predict the light? I said "Look over at the sun!" (Disclaimer: This is not always good advice.) He saw that it was setting, and immediately understood.

Wyatt's learned how to "cheese" for pictures, meaning his smiles are now more just like dental examinations. Also, he complained about splinters FOR DAYS.

   That night there was a fantastic sunset. I sat in a chair in the middle of my driveway and watched it all, and he ran around me, watching too. He pointed out every color, and how the colors would change every couple of minutes. SPOILER ALERT. Then it got dark.

   He. Was. So. Sad. Where'd the sun go?! And all the pretty colors!? We had to leave the park and the colors left and it got dark. His sadness was palpable. I quickly told him the sun would come up tomorrow. 

   He. Was. So. Relieved. We talked about the sun coming up tomorrow all night long. Bet your bottom dollar. 

   This cycle has been on repeat for well over a month now. Every day it's all about the sun and what it's doing. Luckily, we've had the greatest October in US history here in Eugene, and it's been warm, bright, and dry. I worry about what this kid's going to do when the sky turns grey for the coming winter, which will probably last eleven years.

   But in the meantime, he wakes up every morning happy that the sun is up. Pretty much every day since has started like this:


   He just wakes up extremely happy that (a) the sun is up, and (b) one of his parents is around. It's quite wonderful. Sure, he was sad that mom was going to work, but he waits for her a bit like a lovesick puppy. And he had a great time at church (I think. I just drop him off for some childcare and then go play Keno).

My mood: meh
Wy's mood: it's dark.
Cara's feeling: acid reflux
Listening to: Powerline. No, seriously.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Big House Project!!

   We lost a beloved member of our household last winter. Our 20+ year old pellet stove, that we'd been using for 20+ months finally died. Its burn pot cracked beyond repair. After much weeping and introspection, I hauled it out to the garage, and started to look for a replacement.

When you walked into our house, there was kind of this shrine to the ancient pellet stove. As it should be.

   The Wife really wanted a gas fireplace instead of another pellet stove. The Man Of The House wanted more of that hot, dry heat that the wood burning stove provided. After a long, thorough, spirited discussion, The Wife won. So not only did I have to get a new fireplace, I had a project to do.

   I've done little projects around the house. Flooring in the kitchen and bathrooms, building planter boxes in the yard, mounting a TV and hiding the cords in the wall, and helping Wyatt draw on the walls. These are all pretty simple and just require following some basic instructions. The project I had before me was a whole new beast. Luckily, it required cutting lots and lots of wood with fun saws.

He really wanted to play in the sawdust. For some reason, he really wanted his shirt off, too.

Mission Accomplished.

Now let's see how this sawdust tastes!

Ahh!!! Dad's running a saw!! I need to shut my eyes to completely keep the sound out!!

Oh good, dad's done. Dad's the best.

   The above pictures remind me of one of my favorite Wyatt moments ever. Whenever I was about to run a saw, I'd let him know and he'd try to hide from the noise. A couple times, as I was ready to turn the loud suckers on, I'd warn him and he'd run to a box of pellets and bury his head in them. He'd hide his head in the pellets until I was done cutting, then go about playing. This happened three times. I never got a picture of him ostriching, but sheesh it was cute.

   Speaking of "Sheesh that's cute," here's some videos of Wyatt helping us build, starting with his paint job:


   Here he does some critical measurements, and you get a good look at daddy's tramp-stamp (which - I'm pretty sure that's why you are here in the first place). Hurry! Watch it before my wife makes me take it down!


   Wyatt measuring things is really no surprise. This was taken back when he was just learning to walk (so, I don't know, he was maybe 9 days old?). It's from an early blog post, but I've gained like 8 new readers since then (up to 15!), so I'll share it again:

What a stud. Also, this picture was taken with what appears to be one of those cameras you make in a high school Intro To Photography class.

   And here's Wyatt working with Papa G.


   With all the construction and finish work done, it looks like this:

This isn't a DIY blog, so don't expect a bunch of perfect pictures of clean houses, okay. We still need to paint it, and by "we" I of course mean "not me." Painting is hard.
   If you look closely, you can see that the inner, decorative walls are falling over. We can't get them to stay up. I've tried Silly Putty and gum and even a whole roll of Scotch tape, but nothing works!! You'll notice we wasted absolutely no time cluttering that mantle shelf. And we still need to find the right picture to place in the white space above,. Probably an oil painting of me with my chin resting on my fist. That I'll paint myself. I'll be looking right at you as you come in to my house. Saying "I'm here and this is kind of creepy, so check yourself."

   I couldn't have done this project without my dad doing some last-minute electrical and wood cutting heroics, Cara's dad helping with all sorts of little things, and all the tools that both of those men have given me over the years or loaned me for this project. Thanks so much. I also couldn't have done it without Cara screaming at me "If you don't get this done I will throw all of your Nintendoses in the lake!" It was too bad that her pronunciation of "Nintendos" as "Nintendozzes" kind of ruined her moment, but she had a point. Although, in my defense, summers are for napping or playing and nothing more.

My mood: proud and relieved and also kinda gassy
Wyatt's mood: wanting me to play with him ALL THE TIME
Cara's mood: got bit by a spider, so, she's about ready to call the National Guard on our drive to the hospital.
Listening to: Sam Cooke

Friday, October 10, 2014

Big Boy Backfire!!

   When Wyatt turned three a couple weeks ago, he had a proclamation to make: He had entered the world of the big boys.

   "Wy three, Wy not two-half. Wy not little boy, Wy big boy." It was easily the longest story he had ever told with words. (You should have seen the story he told with his hands when his star balloon floated away. Tragic.) It was the closest thing he's come to a full sentence since that time he said "Why doesn't dad pay any attention to me when he's playing Nintendo, mom? It hurts my feelings." (Kidding!! He never said any of that stuff!! It was more like whine whine fuss fuss "dad pay me pease?" So there's no scarring of any sort going on in this home!)

   Well, I've been holding the "big boy" card over his head for a long time now. You see, his favorite people in the world are a pirate named Jake, a certain fire-truck driver named John (who he just calls "J" now, because they are on a nick-name level of friendship), and the four boys who live across the street. These boys are aged 5 - 13 or something, and I've talked about them before, so stop making me repeat myself over and over.

   Wyatt wants to play with them all the time, but when they are playing a real game of basketball or soccer or "throw the littlest one in a trash can," I tell him. "No, Wy, that's for big boys."

   Big boys. All he wants to be in the world is a big boy. So when he turned three, he was ready.

Big boys sleep with the sharks.

   But do you know what else big boys do? Poop in the potty. Eat their whole dinner. Go to bed without fussing. Grade daddy's papers. Pick up their toys. Make dinner. The list goes on and on.

   This worked for a while. Sure, he never once pooped in the potty for this reason, and he has no idea how to grade anything, let me tell you, but he went to bed well and put on his clothes and ate all his food and even made a decent roast.

   But now?! Oh no. The magic is gone. I asked him to take a bath, like a big boy, and he said "Wy not big boy, Wy little boy." It was horrible, Then, later we were at a two-year-old's birthday party, and everyone kept saying how the little punk was a Big Boy now, and Wyatt was kind of in shock. His eyes were all like "Wait, what, THAT'S a big boy? I was a big boy when I was two?! You've been lying to me this whole time. I still like you better than mommy, but this hurts." Shut up, eyes!!

   I had to do something. So you can imagine how awkward it was when I screamed "No! Jason is not a big boy! He's only two!! How can a two year old be a big boy!?" Jason wasn't really getting it, so I had to get down on his level and say into his face YOU. ARE. NOT. A. BIG. BOY. Then I turned and winked at Wyatt, grabbed some pizza, and left.

   Saved the day there.

Big boys take artsy photos. Wyatt grabbed his baby cow, put it on the couch, grabbed mom's phone, logged in with the password, opened up the camera app, took this picture. Big boy stuff. Cara still can't manage to get her thumb out of her iPhone pictures.

   Wyatt gets that the definition of "big boy" is very fluid. He's starting to use it to his advantage. He's very smart, which is a direct result of me sleeping with my head really close to his on most nights. It's going to be a problem, how smart he is. Because, if you haven't noticed, he's also really cute. So he gets pretty much whatever he wants, whenever he wants it. And he's also kind of spoiled by absolutely everyone who comes in contact with him. And he's just the best little thing in the whole world, so I guess there's no way this could turn bad.

See!! I wasn't kidding!!

   What do I tell him next year? That he's a super big boy? That he's a huge boy?! How many superlatives can I tack on to the front of the word "boy" to keep him maturing and growing as a person over the next 15 years?! This is going to be hard. Crazy, enormously, gargantuanly, insanely, immensely hard. Okay, maybe not that hard.

My mood: hoping I didn't ruin a pretty good friendship with Jason's parents. Or Jason.
Wyatt's mood: not wanting to poop like a big boy
Cara's feeling: bigger and pregnanter.
Listening to: Future Islands

Monday, October 6, 2014

New Skills!!

   Wyatt has been doing all kinds of fun new things lately. He still loves his walks and his cars and playing at the park and renaming all my files on the computer to "aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasd", that hasn't changed, but this stuff is going on too:

   He's doing that fake-reading thing. Nick Miller once said "I'm not convinced I know how to read. I've just memorized a lot of words," and that's where we find our hero in this adorable little video:


   Ohmygosh that's adorable. Probably the cutest thing you've seen in days, right? Well, he also went to the dentist for the first time!! Since I am a great dad I don't miss important firsts like this, so I can tell you all about it.

Hanging out. Like a boss. You know how they say you are never more than eight feet from a spider? First: Gross. Second: Wyatt's never more than two feet from a car.

   We walked into the dentist's office at 6:00am and went up to the desk and said "Here we are!" and the dentist behind the desk was like "whoa okay great let's get right to it!" and Wyatt sat down in the chair and the dentist checked his ears and took his heartbeat and then brushed his teeth and then brushed Wyatt's teeth and gave him a shot of fluoride in the shoulder and wyatt didn't even cry! and then the dentist put on his dinosaur costume and made the "rawrr!" sound and Wyatt just loved that. Soon another dentist came in and was all "these are the best teeth I have ever seen on a kid." and I said "Well we brush them every week!" which probably isn't true and then they gave us our little ice-pick-for-your-teeth like they give everyone and OKAY FINE YOU CAUGHT ME I WASN'T THERE. YOU HAPPY!? I MISSED WYATT'S FIRST DENTIST APPOINTMENT BECAUSE I WAS TOO BUSY AT MY JOB WORKING FOR THE MAN. IT LOOKS LIKE I WILL NOT WIN "FATHER OF THE YEAR THIS YEAR" AND NOW I'LL NEVER HAVE A STORY TO SHARE ABOUT WY'S FIRST DENTIST TRIP. WHEN ALL THE OTHER DAD'S ARE LIKE "OH LITTLE AEDEN WAS SO BRAVE" OR WHATEVER I'LL JUST HAVE TO TRY AND MAKE SOMETHING UP AND WE CAN ALREADY SEE I AM NOT GOOD AT THAT AND I'LL PROBABLY JUST START YELLING LIKE I AM RIGHT NOW.

   So, yeah, Cara took him to the dentist. And Cara is the one he reads with. And Cara feeds him and does art projects with him. Great, Cara, we get it. You'll probably get a nomination for "Mother of the Month This Month" or something and we are all impressed. The worst part is, while she is collecting trophies, I still can't even get nominated for a "Best Mommy Blogger" award that I am sure is a real thing. They keep telling me I "don't have the right equipment to be a mommy blogger," and I'm like "what do I need an iPhone 4 or something?" Then they say "Grantina isn't even a real name - much less a girl's name - please leave us alone!"

   What else... what else. Oh, he loves to look for things he can't find, and walk around in circles saying "Oh no we went in a circle!!" Watch this boring video:


   There's one other skill that Wyatt has learned. For some unknown reason, Cara taught Wyatt to scream all his favorite noises in my face to wake me from my peaceful sleeps. It's the worst game ever, and yet it probably only endears her even more to the anti-dad voters on the board of Mom Of The Month This Month. Look:


   So there you go. That's my life, now. Getting screamed at and stepped on whenever I try to sleep at the wrong time, or in the wrong place. Now you know why I sleep during church. Or when I am driving. Or at work.

My mood: underappreciated and overworked!!
Wy's mood: don't let dad sleep!!
Cara's feeling: sore and cranky
Listening to: Red Hot Chili Peppers

Thursday, September 25, 2014



   My special little kid just turned three years old, everyone!! This is huge news and will have a great impact on your day because of the importance that my child holds in the world!! I can already imagine how you are planning on incorporating this information into your plans for the near future!!

   You've seen how we really did up his first birthday, as well as the absolutely wonderful video that came with it. Then, last year we pretty much just gave him a doughnut (but it still produced a funny video). This year, since Wyatt is probably the most important kid who has a name that isn't a color or a plant or something, he's really had a birthweek instead of a birthday. Celebrations started on Friday with Cara's family (including the special little cousins).

Here's cousin Elsie with her pretty earrings, all ready to move in on Wyatt's present. It looks like ... is he getting a cuisinart?

   Festivities continued into Saturday, where my great friend and True American John took Wyatt and the cousins for a ride on his fire truck out at Camp Harlow.

Yes. Wyatt got to sit in John's lap and drive the firetruck, making Grant the best dad in the world and John the new favorite person in Wyatt's world. Yes, John kind of looks like Grant when they are both wearing the exact same shirt, but John is in his 30's so they are in super different stages of life.

Absolutely perfect.

   We were all set to go swimming at Amazon Pool. We'd fed the kids, changed them, and psyched them up for the slide, fountains and splashes at the pool. When we got there, however, it was closed because a pipe had burst. I really think this is code for "all the lifeguards were hungover," which is unsettling because they are like 16, but whatever. We were super depressed. Birthday ruined, right?! Wrong!! All-Around Hero and True American Grant said "Let's just go to the wave pool at Splash!" and the day was saved.

Wyatt's favorite thing at the pool is of course his dad. This is no surprise, because dad's the best. But his ACTUAL favorite thing is the slide. The whole way down, he laughs, smiles, says "oh whee fun" and then says "again?" before we even hit the water. It's such a blast.

   Wyatt was loving all the fun, attention, and presents, and a huge grin on all day. Cara and I gave him some little flashlights and a couple of cars. Whenever he gets a new car he says "Oh poop car!" because we give him cars when he goes poop, which is like twice a month. No, seriously.

   A few days later, we celebrated with my family.
Wyatt, Papa G, Ash and Kirk Beast. Wyatt's playing with the elevator that Ash and KB gave him

Wyatt, KB, Mama, Some Girl Who's Not Sure Why She's There, and Grmma. Uncle Bear was there too, but was offscreen playing with the lego set he gave to himself Wyatt.
   We're all sure blessed to have such great family around Wyatt. Wyatt's also blessed to have his birthday last for like six years. Wyatt and Mama get birthweeks instead of birthdays, and Dad gets a great birthhour.

   I will say, time hasn't "flown" over the last three years, and I don't think he's "grown up so fast," but already I can see that he's going to start really getting older fast. He's talking more, starting to fake read, like's to act things out in his imagination, and is learning new things all the time. He repeats whatever he hears and loves big kids. I think time is going to start flying now, so I'm going to try to hold on.

   I am sad that he's three, because things are free for kids that are under three at a lot of places. I wanted him to always say "twohalf" whenever he was asked his age. But alas, yesterday after successfully pooping in the toilet, he said "Dad! Two cars!! Two poop cars!! Wy not little boy, Wy big boy. Wy not twohalf Wy three." He then said "Hulk smash!" over and over.

   At least he's not yet too old to cuddle with his mama. He will be someday. I hope. Oh gosh what if he's always cuddling with his mama!?

My mood: happy and proud.
Wyatt's mood: will think it's his birthday every day, I fear.
Cara's feeling: like the little one in the belly is kicking too much and needs to nap more.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Summer of 2014!!

Our first camping trip took us to the coast. It was a little cool, but it was like a billion in Eugene so we didn't complain.

Every new-ish parent is used to hearing the same three or four pieces of advice:

They grow up so fast.
Next think you know they're in high school.
Treasure these days.
Seriously, just lock them in the closet for a few hours and they'll learn.

On the one hand, I don't feel like these last 3 years with Wyatt have flown by. (He turns three in a month, so go ahead and start planning your party for him now). When you are a teacher, each year is pretty compartmentalized into two categories: "Summer," and "Sucky". So as a year goes by, I have a good feel and pace of it.

However, I did go into this summer with an understanding that Wyatt's only going to be two for a little bit longer. Right now, everything is new and wonderful and exciting for him. He gets wide eyed and takes big gasps when he sees a snail or a new type of bird, and his imagination is really starting to get a hold of him. I know that next year it won't be quite the same, and that he'll have tons of relentless, back-breaking questions and his words will be more formed and less cute and he'll have a better idea of what he does and doesn't like, and that next summer we'll have a little baby that will keep me from adventuring a bit more, so I really wanted to make this summer count.

For example, I had a goal of taking him camping every other week, during the summer. We went tent camping 4 times, in 4 different places, with 4 different groups of people, and we slept outside out grandpa's house and we'll probably sleep outside one of these nights too. But we did other things too.

The river spot we biked to at least 20 times.

We hiked and biked and swam in lakes and pools and rivers and threw rocks and saw waterfalls and ran races and built obstacle courses and read books and slept outside and slept in our hammocks and wrestled and wrestled and wrestled and we watched a snail cross the sidewalk and we tried to play cars with cats and we tried to learn about being a brother and we got him potty trained and got him sleeping through the night in his own bed and he pooped on my shoulder one time and we picked apples and we pressed cider and we picked berries and made cobbler and we went to like 12 different parks and we found waterfalls and we did so much more stuff.

It was a blast. It was a span of 10 weeks I will treasure forever. Really, we had so much fun and moved so fast I didn't get too many pictures of them all, which I am okay with.

Wyatt had the tow truck ready in case the snail broke down.

My two favorite people in one of my new favorite places.

Wyatt and Papa with Kambiz.

If you are a dentist and want to give us a free checkup, I assume this is the only picture you'd need? Just write me an email at to let us know of any cavities.

You can't tell from his expression, but these are Wyatt's two best friends, and the people who get mentioned the most in his prayers outside of mom and dad.

Wyatt's favorite neighborhood cat, who isn't very good at playing cars.

The best picture I have of him at campfire, with his favorite accessory on his head and what I am going to assume is a box of matches in his hand. No, wait, that's a graham cracker.

I do love my job, actually. Teaching is wonderful because it is challenging and exhausting and it's never the same thing twice, really, and young people have energy and excitement. I like to pretend like summer ending is the worst thing that could happen to me, but only because squeezing a month between July and August sounds so appealing. But I've learned that I need to reach this mystical point where I am ready for school. Where I feel like I've done enough fun to enable myself to look out the window when I am sitting in my classroom, and see the sun and the breeze and be okay with the fact that I am not playing in that right now. This summer, I did that, and in a few hours I'll gladly go to my first day of work.

The summer of two-year-old Wyatt is over, can't wait for the fall.

My mood: Ready
Wyatt's mood: He actually spends about a week waking up in the morning and walking around the house looking for dad. He's used to having me home, but I am usually gone before he wakes up. It's cute and sweet and maybe a little sad.
Cara's mood: Sad I am going to work, but glad that I have a job and am not a total loser for 12 months of the year, just three of them.
Listening to: Ocean Avenue by Yellowcard

Friday, August 8, 2014

Boy or Girl Announcement!!

Alright, little man! Today we tell everyone if you're going to be a big brother or a big sister! Crazy how that works!

   Here's the deal: we know if we're having a boy or a girl!! This is super exciting and the tension is building!! How long can I keep typing before I reveal!? We just learned today! THIS IS SO FUN!!

   Actually, I've already talked about how much pressure there is to be all fancy and cute with these types of reveals. You need clever pictures if you are going to tell the world you're pregnant. You need colored cake to tell the world if you're having a boy or a girl. You need a special dance when you find out you're not the father on an episode of Maury.

Have you heard about this new trend? People have parties to announce the gender. The parents have someone else find out and bake a cake with blue or pink frosting on the inside. You cut it open to find out, and then realize how incredibly self involved you are!! Cara and I are planning on doing this, because it seems like a good scam to get presents. We'll have a "gender shower" where everyone brings two presents, one for a baby girl and one for a baby boy, or just two for the baby's dad. Then we open them and eat cake and you leave and we keep all the presents. Maybe I should just write another blog post about this and not put it in a caption.

   So let's skip all the failed attempts at being adorable and just skip to the facts. Here's the only image you'll need:

   There!! I can't imagine anything else you'd need in order to know the sex of our new little baby! I can't wait to start getting cute, appropriately colored onesies from all of you!!

   Hmm. On second thought, that might not be obvious enough to all of you non-doctors like my wife, or non-masters like myself. Here's a second try:

   Gah! I think Cara has some splaining to do.

   Ok no but seriously we are having a boy. A boy!! Wahoo!! Here's an actually somewhat useful picture of Cara's actual, somewhat useful belly:

   Pretty cute already, right? I mean his ears are kind of big and his forehead is suitable for sledding, but that's one adorable little nose, just like this guy's:

I feel like I deserve some kind of award for having never actually taken a bite out of his cheeks.  Circa 7 months old.

   A boy!! I'll check back in later to tell you just how happy I am about this, but it sure is fun to get the word out!

My mood: Things got real today. I'm ecstatic.
Wyatt's mood: Concerned about losing his throne.
Cara's mood: Outnumbered instead of even.
Listening to: Tom Petty