Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Keys of Parenting!!

   Guys, Wyatt is so cute!! Lately he's been hiding things and it's adorable and in no way disruptive. For example, I wasn't able to find my wallet for like two weeks. It turns out it was behind the shredder. Under a desk. Against a wall. Case solved!

This picture pretty much sums up our interactions lately.
   One day our remote was dead. I set it on the couch, figuring I'd change out the batteries once I found the strength to get up and walk over to the closet that might have the batteries. The next day, I noticed the remote wasn't in the living room at all. I asked Wyatt where the remote was. He said "I put it away because it doesn't work." I ask where he put it. He does something he does all the time: Put a finger on his chin, look off into the distance, and say "Hmmm, let me think," like he's young Sherlock Holmes or something. Don't get me wrong, he's smart enough to be Sherlock, just like his dad, but this is just a role he likes to play. He says, a few moments later "Oh! I know! It's under the couch!" He goes under the couch and grabs the remote, where it was safely stored because it was broken. "Here you go! I put it under the couch."

   He's the best.

   Well, it's been about 4 weeks, and I have no idea where my keys are. Like, none. I have torn the house to shreds, checked every drawer, box, cabinet, corner, and under every bed. I know they are in the house somewhere. Remember how bad Wyatt is at hide and seek? He's really good at Hide The Keys. Almost every day, I ask Wyatt if he knows where my keys are.
   Yesterday, when I inquired as to the location of my keys, he exclaims "I know!!" (I get excited). "Let me check my map!" (I groan). He grabs my hand and excitedly runs to the map of Africa in his room. Well, South Africa. Not the country, just, like, a map of not-all-of-Africa. It's the weirdest map. We got it for super cheap at an Oregon State University warehouse sale, when Cara was on a "let's decorate our house with very specific geographical regions that we've never been to" kick. He runs to the map, points to a few places, and says "Here it is!" (Mopepi, Botswana). "Let's go there dad!" We then run to the Mopepi part of the house. It's not there.

This map of Central/Southern Africa hangs above Wyatt's bed. Crookedly, apparently. We're preparing him for that big geography test on the region that he'll take some day, hopefully.

    He says "Oh I need my finder machine." He runs to his DUPLOs and builds a finder machine. It is a bunch of bricks with a window on top, I think supposed to be like a magnifying glass. He says "This will help us find it! (Lincoln is totally enthralled and following us everywhere). "Finding machine says letter "e," Gad!" (He still calls me "Gad" and this will last forever).

Finder Machine 3.0

   If you're struggling to keep up, he built a finder machine that spits out letters.

   He asks "What's "e" start with?!" This is how he asks "What words start with the letter "e?"" I do a good job of parenting and say "KEYS." "Kuh-EEEEEEES." He says "Oh we need Yittle Red Car!" Little Red Car is his favorite car this hour. He grabs Little Red Car. It may or may not be a blue car. Little Red Car drives along the couch and does a few flips. I ask him where my keys are. He says "Wait dad, Yittle Red Car is still doing tricks."

   When the pretty-awesome tricks are done, I ask where my keys are. He decides we need help from "The Pups." The pups are his imaginary puppies that run everything in this household. I have to open the trunk when we hop in the car so they have space. Sometimes, one of them sits on my lap when we drive. Often, they need to be fed or rescued or are tired or are not tired or do something funny.
   The pups are no help. Keys are not found. Spare Keys are starting to become Only Keys.

Here's a picture of Lincoln in his Halloween costume. He was a dragon, Wyatt was a knight. Who didn't want to wear armor or have a shield or a helmet. Wyatt was a kid with a sword. Who had his mom hold the sword. Wyatt was a kid who got candy.

Although, from this angle, it sort of looks like Sarah from the purple dinosaur show. That was her name, right, Sarah? No I will not google this,

   The other day, Cara jokes and says "I am going to change the locks on the house while you are at work." I said "Actually, all you have to do is just lock the doors right now. I don't have any keys. You could even come home, walk past me on the porch, unlock the door, go inside, and lock the door. No need to waste our money on new locks." She considered this at length.

My mood: So very irritated (while waiting for Cara to come home and let me in)
Wyatt's mood: Excited about everything
Lincoln: Thinking hard about taking a step.
Cara's mood: Thinking hard about upgrading at husband.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Wedding Photos!! Sort of!!

   We've not had a picture dump here at MKIS for a while. There's actually a tragic backstory to this. Uncle Garrett got married to Aunt Faith back in July. Don't worry, they weren't related before the wedding. Of course, ring-bearer Wyatt had an absurd amount of adorable photos. Some taken by the wedding photographer, but lots by Cara and I. 

   Sadly, towards the end of the big day, the SD card in our camera became corrupted. All the photos were lost. And, I mean, look at what you are missing out on, world:

This was actually the "You may now kiss the bride" part of the wedding. Wyatt thought he should insert himself now or forever hold his peace. 

Look at how happy they are. Too bad it can't last.

Look at how happy we are!! It'll last forever!!
   These pictures were taken by our friend Kaela, over at Kaela Mey Photography. She was the Wyatt photographer. I mean, wedding photographer. We, however, are pretty devastated by the lost pictures from that SD card. I won't go on and on about it, but know that there was good stuff in there. Here are some second rate pictures, that were not lost:

This is Lincoln's first time wearing a helmet!! And first bike ride!!

This photo is titled "About to sunburn."

Is he cross-eyed? 

This was before he consumed seven leaves.

Wyatt is firmly entrenched in the "trying to smile but actually just baring teeth" stage.

Whereas Link is stuck in the "What does this taste like? Oh. Steel" stage.

It took like 600 pictures to get a good one.

Link, however, only needs one shot to bust a move like this.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Musical Talents!!

   Wow, people. We did not see this coming. It turns out that my sons might be musically inclined.

   You've seen Wyatt dance. Should I just post that video again? No, I'll link to it here instead, but anyways, rhythm and coordination and magnificent physical gifts is something Cara and I expect out of our offspring. I mean, come on...

   But singing?! And playing music? And rhythm and coordination?! No.

   Wyatt has taken up the piano. By "piano" I really mean the toy piano that sounds like a tin can underwater. He plays one song and only one song: The X-Files theme. Remember it? Doo doo doo doo DOO doo. That one. He calls it Boulder's Song, because, yknow, Mulder. (He also tells mom she's like Scully when she does something well, and asks "Can we watch Boulder and Scully?" Because parenting.)

   Cara and I also throw little dance parties pretty often. We'll turn off the lights, play some bumpin' tunes, and dance around Lincoln. He gets super curious and has a big grin. All of the above information has lead to him doing a little jig when he hears that X-Files theme:


Here's Wyatt trying to play the horrible piano-toy thing:


   Let me go back a step. There's no reason my kids should have such clear and wonderful musical talents. Sure, Cara loves to sing and make up songs. By this I mean, she sings and makes up songs only around when I am around and they are the most formulaic, predictable songs you can imagine. Let me sing some for you:

   "Hey Lincoln, Ho Lincoln, Where'd you get those rolls, Lincoln?" (this is her favorite lately)

   "If your name is Lincoln put your hands in the air, put your hands in the air if your name is Lincoln."

   "If your name is Lincoln then your name is Lincoln, yeah your name is Lincoln." (seriously)

   "Daddies put your hands in the ai-air!! Daddies put your hands in the ai-air!!"

   She has a particular formula that goes like this: "Noun-Verber, Verbing the Nouns!!" Here's what I mean. I'll say something like "I'm going to go mow the lawn." She immediately sings "Lawn mower, mowing the la-awns!!"

   "Wyatt just ran down the hall." "Hall Runner, running the ha-alls!! (It always has that pause in the last word. I mean, wor-ord.)

   "I need you to make dinner." "Dinner maker, making the di-nner!!" "What?! No! That wasn't even the right noun-verb format!!"""Verb format, formatting the ver-erbs!!"

   This happens anytime in the car, as well. Sometimes she just sings all the signs to me. (Was that a hard sentence to read, "sings the signs"?) "Crosswalker, walking the crosses!!" "Speed Limit, limiting spee-eeds!!"

   You get the idea. She was really the inspiration for TSwizzle's "Shake it Off" where the hater's gonna hate-hate-hate-hate-hate and the verbers gonna verb-verb-verb-verb-verb. Sometimes, Cara will pause and say "Do you think I have a chance to make it in Hollywood?" I say something about one in a million and she says something about me saying there's a chance and I'm stuck with this for the rest of my life but anyways. The point is Wy and Link are getting no musical talent from the Maternal Side.

   (Sorry, that kind of got away from me for a while there. Here's another picture of cute kiddos.)

I know you can't see their cute little faces, but it made me real happy to see the play at the work bench like this,

   From the paternal side, there's not much either. As a kid my parents had me in piano lessons for a while and guitar lessons for a few hours, but I wasn't interested in practicing anything that didn't involve a Pikachu, so I have no instrumental talent. And in terms of singing, my voice is described at worst as "passable" and at best as "stupidly glorious," but we can't evaluate Wyatt's singing yet. The songs he sings are primarily the two theme songs to Strawberry Shortcake. One of them he sings like this: "Strawberry Shortcake come," to the tune of that church song "Come Lord Jesus, Come." It's cute and sacreligious all at once. Also, theme songs.

My mood: glad to be back
Wy's mood: watching the pups
Link's mood: Standing and thinking of walking!!
Cara's mood: more x-files.
Listening to: theme songs,

Monday, September 7, 2015

Little Liar!!

Guys, don't worry, he likes it. Wyatt, I mean. Lincoln isn't so sure. Wyatt does this when he wants Link to transport him somewhere. Because Wyatt is lazy.

   Wyatt is a lot like his dad. He's handsome and charming and all that, but more than anything. He's lazy. Just like his mom. He absolutely detests cleaning up his toys. Which is somewhat odd, because he loves to be helpful. When I am working on a chore or in the yard, he will do all of the little "go get that rake" and "turn on the hose" jobs I can possibly give him. Even the "get dad a cold one" can be done, now that he can open the fridge, identify alcohol, use a bottle opener, and cut a lime into the correct sized wedge.

   A few days ago, Wyatt was in trouble. So as punishment, I had him clean. (As I am writing this, I am realizing that he only has to clean when in trouble, so of course he hates it! Also, cleaning is the worst, no matter what age.) He came up with every excuse he could think of to avoid putting away a single block, including running a lap around the house with each block because he was going so fast. At one point, he put a belt around his head and pretended to be Jake the pirate. This happened:

No, Wyatt, you're clearly a ninja turtle and not a pirate.
   Is... is that true? I feel like pirates probably do have to pick up blocks somewhere in the line of duty. However, I spent so much time analyzing pirate duties and pirate booties, that Wyatt's ploy actually worked for a while. When I realized he wasn't cleaning, I told Wy to pick up blocks. He walked a slow circle around me, and whispered "Pirates don't pick up blocks." Good gravy I laughed so hard on the inside, while maintaining "scary dad face" on the outside. I'll try to find a picture of SDF to include.

   In addition to his clinical, maternal-driven laziness, he's becoming quite the little deceiver. He's trying to hide things from us, writing on walls again when under a table or behind a chair, throwing his food under things to act like he's eaten. I tell ya, I don't know where he gets it from. I don't think I've told a lie in nearly seven sentences.

   Really, parenting is getting kind of tough. (Oh, shoot, that's the sort of line that pro bloggers but in all caps and bold. Okay. REALLY, PARENTING IS GETTING KIND OF TOUGH.) Wyatt has lots of new neighbor kids to play with on our street. We are suspicious that one of them might be a little liar. I wonder if Wyatt's picking these new deceptions skills up on the street, like how I picked up my fighting techniques. He's started to play a little bit differently when home by himself, after spending lots of time with all his friends from the street. Less, of pretending to be a fireman, "help me hero save me!" when a car is about to fall of the couch cliff, and more fighting and bickering among the cars themselves. On a positive, however, there's less of the cars saying "Dad do you want to play with me?!" "No, I'm busy." "But you're watching Duck football games from the past three seasons on repeat." "Right. Busy. Get me a cold one."

This is about as much work as Wyatt ever does, pulling Link from the toys.
   The thing is, Wyatt loves people. Friends and kids are his favorite thing. He'll stop whatever he's doing if he thinks someone under 17 is outside, ready to be his friend. It's tough to tell him he can't play in the street with a bunch of kids around his age, when really, if he played outside all day I'D BE ELGIBLE FOR #DADOFTHEWEEK (nailed it!), but sometimes the kids out playing are ages 7 - 12, and he's three. There's a lot of room for influence there.

   Wyatt is going to start pre-school here in a few days. Don't worry, billions of pictures are coming your way. More new kids and families. It's encouraging that it will be kids the same age, with a hopefully-wonderful teacher - and I am glad that he is going to be spending more time at his grandma's house, because she teaches and trains him well - but I feel like we are crossing the threshold from where parenting has been fairly easy (because it's all been in-house: "don't touch that," "eat eleven more bites," obey my dog" type stuff), but its going to take a big shift into other relations ("don't play with that boy at school," "don't say "butt" even though other kids do," "obey my dog."). I am a bit apprehensive about this whole thing, but we'll figure it out. There is just so much to learn. After all, PIRATES DON'T PICK UP BLOCKS.

My mood: getting ready for school
Wy's mood: so many friends
Link's mood: thinking about standing
Cara's mood: who cares
Listening to: R.E.M.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Home Cookin!!

An artistic picture of leaves and stuff.

   Guys!! I have such a great life, and you should be jealous of it. So I am going to blog about just how great it is, so you can improve yours!! You're welcome. For example, my Facebook posts get almost 8 likes on average (some as high as 15!!), my wife and I have never once said a cross word to each other, or even done a crossword, and lately we've been eating food we pulled from the ground!! Let's talk about that last one ad nauseum for the rest of this post.

   We were pleasantly surprised when the house we bought four years ago had producing fruit trees in the back yard. We thought they'd give a few lousy apples and be done, but we get a large supply of apples and persimmons each fall. (If you don't know what a persimmon is, don't ask. Only because I will talk about them for hours, driving you crazy, but also because I can't really describe the things. I will, however, bring persimmon bread to every party I go to from November through March.)

   A few weeks ago, Cara bought a bread maker. We eat like 2.8 loaves of a bread a week around here, mostly because I adore sandwiches like a spider adores all those spots under your chair. So this thing should pay for itself in about 7 hours.

   And our garden is ever growing as well, with tomatoes and onions and other things you don't care about so I won't keep listing them.

   The point is, I am working really, really hard to convince you that we are great parents living a simple, idyllic life and providing only the best for our children, and also lots of chicken nuggets. Here are some pictures to support this:

   This is some homemade bread with some homemade raspberry jam. I've found that having warm bread and delicious jam around all the time has made me want to eat only warm-bread-and-delicious-jam all the time. I finally understand the British, and I don't just mean their language.

   If you look closely, you can see some orange looking syrup. That's plum syrup, made from the plums off a friend's tree. We've also made plum jam, and both are phenomenal. Great camping food. Also, those pancakes were made from scratch, using only water and some pancake mix I got at Costco.

   Do you now see how great my life is?! It's pretty great. I will continue to blog to inspire you to live more like me!! And I have two kids and also my house is always clean so don't bother looking into it!

There have been a few pleasant surprises from our recent feeding fad:

1) We don't waste as much food. Working hard to make it and prepare it causes me to be more diligent about eating it.

2) I don't eat as much. The time and prep causes me to pause before I make that third sandwich. It's not like that bread came easy. This is not a good thing.

3) I want to tell everyone about my food sourcing all the time. Because I am obnoxious and like to brag.

4) I have become much more likely to make numbered lists about food.

5) Sliced bread is actually quite nice. You know that lame line "The greatest thing since sliced bread"?! I get it now. Also, I've been watching a lot of Cheers lately, so if you want to say "They have a real Sam and Diane thing going on," I'll get that one too. The crumb production in this household has skyrocketed, outpacing quarterly projections by a billion fold. I am working out a system to harvest the crumbs and either use it for breaded chicken, or glue it all together to form a new piece of bread.

   How do the kids feel about this? Well, one thing we've grown is spinach, and recently when offered some salad, Wyatt said what all of us have always been thinking. "Um, I think that I don't like leaves." Brilliant. A great encapsulation of the American Condition, really. Also, he doesn't really pronounce his "l's," so it came out "Um, I think that I don't wike weaves." Even better.


Monday, August 10, 2015

Buckle Up!!

Wyatt has learned both how to spell his name, and how to do it in a cool, Wayne-Enterprises fashion. Like, Bruce Wayne. Nevermind.

   Every time Wyatt has learned a new skill, it's been celebrated. I think I cried the first time he picked up a bink and put it in his mouth. Of course his first steps, first lie, and first time on the potty were big deals. But, one thing you learn as a parent is that these things aren't exciting because your child is growing and developing. No, they are exciting because your life just got a lot easier.

   The worst thing about parenting is easily the carseats. Constantly putting kids in, digging for buckles, moving them from car to car, having no space to haul your motorcycle or Total Gym, the crumbs and stains and stickies. It's dreadful. The occasional pinch of precious little Aeden's skin in the buckles is obscene as well. So today, when Wyatt finally was able to buckle himself into his carseat, all on his own (both top and bottom buckles!!) you'll understand why I high-fived the lady in the passenger seat of the car next to me at Costco. She felt accosted, especially when I demanded she roll her window down so that I can slap her, but she also rejoiced right along with me.
Lincoln is learning the skill of shirt-eating

   I can't imagine a better milestone. Sure, I like that I don't change Wy's dipes anymore, but life still has its accidents. And struggles. And yes, he still can't unbuckle himself, so getting out of the car remains as complex as a military operation, but at least in those cases he is tethered to one place, unable to cause problems, and wanting to cooperate.

   Is today the greatest day of my life?! No, that was that one day when I went to bed and realized I hadn't worn pants at all. But it's top five, without a doubt. Should we list them?

1) No pants
2) Accidental free guac on that burrito that one time
3) Seriously, one time as a kid I walked up to a vending machine, pushed a button without putting in any money, and out fell a Squirt.
4) Kids being born or marriage or something.
5) Buckle Day.

   So now Wyatt can buckle himself in the car. He can kind of ride his strider bike super well. One day he'll tie his own shoes and one day he'll make me cookies. Things will continue to get better. In the mean time, I will patiently explain that 7 is not bigger than 30 until he gets it.

My mood: accomplished and relieved
Wyatt's mood: secure
Listening to: Destiny's Child

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Glacier National Park!!

     Cara and I are wild adventurers. Just the other day, for example, we went to Costco on a Sunday around 1:00. Two summers ago we loaded up our minivan, and with her parents headed off to Yellowstone National Park. We decided this summer to hit Glacier National Park, so Myself, Cara, Wyatt, Lincoln, and Duane and Connie (Cara's parents) all squeezed into a minivan and started driving. Here are some words and pictures:

Wyatt loves to camp. He loves sticks and rocks and streams and dirt. It turns out he loves to pee right by the picnic table too.

And he seems to love sticking his tongue out.

Here's a picture of not Wyatt's tongue, and this picture was taken moments before Link slid out the bottom of his jacket.

Fun hike to a cool mountain lake.

Some bighorns in their natural habitat.

Duane gets Lincoln absurdly close to that one.

Me on a hike, packing Link and carrying Wyatt. Like a boss. Cara is sipping a cool beverage I'm sure.

We took a fun boat tour of a couple lakes. This boat was called the drowning eagle?

Here's the fun story. Why did I wait until the end to share it!? I am bad at this.

On a trial about 400 feet from our car, Connie, Wy, Link and I were heading back when we saw a bear. A small grizzly bear, like the one you see above. In fact, it was that one. We stopped, it was crossing our path. Cara was walking towards us from the other direction, probably with a cool drink in hand, and doesn't see Smoky there. I tell her to stop, she doesn't. She looks at me like "why on earth would I ever listen to anything you have to say?

She keeps walking. If she doesn't stop, she'll smack into its bottom. Connie yells "Bear!!" and Cara stops, with a look that says "Yeah, you're my mom, I'll listen to you." That women needs to work on her submission.

Luckily, the bear didn't care about us (cara bout?) at all. It went about its business, meandering along the trail. So we followed it and Cara snapped the above photo, along with others. It doesn't look very big here, and that's because it wasn't very big. We actually saw four bears that day, the other three from our car. One of them walked alongside our car for a little while, in fact. I am pretty sure it respected me.

People ask me if I was scared at all. It wasn't scary because the bear literally couldn't have cared less about us. It didn't once look our direction. Had it, I would've wet myself, thrown the mother-in-law towards it, and ran with the kids. She would've wanted it that way too.

This is the longest caption in caption history.
   We had a wonderful time. Cara's parents are great to travel with, and not just because they pay for everything. Lincoln got a little sick of being in his carseat, so the lest leg of the drive home was a bit fussy. In fact, when we got to a hotel and he had space and carpeting, he had an enormous grin. The tent full of gear and back of the car just weren't enough for him, I suppose. The driving is where Cara was the hero. She had to take care of the hungry baby, entertain the bored 3-year-old, and deal with her fussy husband. What a trooper.

My mood: going to clean the house
Listening to: Stevie Wonder