Momming

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Crabbing!!

   Guys!! I need to make this very clear to you: I lead a super exciting life full of fun and adventure. Even though I have the special little kid, it's not like my life is any less full throttle than it was 5 years ago.
 
   Proof: A few weekends ago, Cara and I spontaneously decided to go crabbing. (Ha!! For a second there those b's in "crabbing" were accidental p's. What fun!) We'd bought a "pot" - which is what the indigenous people call the crab-trap-box - a few months earlier on sale and wanted to try it, so we hopped in the manlyvan for another trip to the coast.
   Spontaneous trips to the coast?! Well that's only all we ever did in college.


Circa 2005
   This was taken in a simpler time, when Cara had a boyfriend who wasn't me and I had a haircut that should've happened weeks ago. You might think "I wonder if Grant is embarassed by a picture with his hair like that?" No. I am not. Because I know there are also pictures like this:

Circa a few months later in 2005
   The scarf definitely makes that thing work. I'm so glad to know this picture, which I pulled off facebook, will be on the internet forever.
       Anyways, crabbing. We loaded up the pot, 4 or 5 random cords and ropes, some thawing chicken, and all the little-boy gear we'd ever need. Then we drove as West as the roads can take you. To our surprise, and I mean we were shocked, it was an absolutely glorious day at the coast. The sun wasn't really out, there was light cloud cover the whole time, but it was warm, breezy, light and relaxing. Days like this at the coast are a treat.

This might not look like much, but imagine all of the paintings it could inspire!
   So, here's the deal. We have no idea how to crab. I've never been crabbing before, I'm pretty sure Cara hadn't either because she was absolutely useless the whole time, and we were to afraid to ask all the other "pro" crabbers around us at the dock for help, so we just tied three ropes together to make them long enough to reach the ocean floor, strung some chicken up (do crabs like chicken?! I'm sure they do, who doesn't?) and then pulled the pot up again a couple hours later.

   And if you don't think having a two-year-old running around the docks above the water for half an hour is stressful, well, um, you'd... you'd be wrong. So, we decided to leave it and play at the water for a while.

   Wyatt did not like the route we had to take to the water, through the grasses.



   Why didn't we just carry him? BECAUSE HE HAS TO LEARN, THAT'S WHY.

   WYATT SURE LOVED TO PLAY ONCE WE GOT THERE SORRY I LEFT MY CAPS ON FROM ABOVE AND JUST NOW NOTICED. We discovered that he likes two things: putting sand on his head and running from the water.


video

   We had so much fun. It's rare to be on the beach in Oregon in November and not have to hide from the brutal, mercilessly cold winds. Also, I think Cara finally has a picture of the two of us that doesn't make her regret marrying me.

Hmm. Grant might need to invest in some teeth whitening.
  We returned to our pots (which, when I write it like that makes it sound like we are drug addicts), only to find that all of the bait was gone, and there were no crabs in it. It turns out we didn't have the traps set up correctly, so the crabs could come and go as they pleased. So instead of crab for dinner, we feasted on some Safeway Chinese take-out, which was our plan all along anyways and in no way disappointing. Still, we had lots of fun and skipped a gross, dark, foggy day back home for a fun day in the sand. Yay us! We're the best and exciting and don't spend all of our time at home okay!!

   My mood: Pleased with our fun day!
   Wyatt's mood: Hates having sandy hair in his carseat!!
   Listening to: Enya

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Wyatt Does Not Love Snow!!



   Okay, let's just fast forward through all the stupid text, where I write cute things and hope you pick up on my sarcasm, but I know you won't because you're not smart. Is it sarcasm if you're just being mean? Anyways. Video.

   No. Seriously. THIS VIDEO.

video

   Wyatt's been in the snow before, but that was before he and Word Girl had visited the planet Lexicon. Now he's able to say words to communicate what he is feeling. Well, when I say "words" I mean "a single word at a time over and over." In this case, the word was "wash," as in "wash this stuff off me," as in "I don't want to have this stuff on me, please wash it off."
   He's a funny kid, in that he loves playing in all kinds of messy stuff, but has specific things he will not tolerate. Specifically: stuff on his hands. He'll play in the dirt for hours, but hates having dirt stuck to his hands. He'll put stickers on anything, but if they are stuck to his fingers he freaks out. He'll play in the snow until it gets on his hands, then he runs to me to clean them off. I kind of think he saw and felt the falling snow and realized "I am never going to be free of this" and was so shocked and afraid, all he could must was the world's cutest "wash" over and over.


   Now, you're thinking "Well maybe if you'd put actual snow clothes on him like, oh I don't know, gloves and a hat, he'd do better!?" Gee!! I hadn't thought of that!! Oh wait I obviously have because I'm the one writing what you were thinking in the first place. It turns out Wyatt hates gloves and loathes hats. We can't get either to stay on him. So, we're stuck with just lasting as long as we can outside, which is usually about ten minutes.

No hat, jacket, gloves or shoes. He's a real tough guy.

I don't know why he likes to bite his lips so much, probably an attempt to feel his face as it grows increasingly numb.

Awww, cute little guy likes to cuddle with his pretty little mom.

Huh, wow, that's much more of a "look into the camera and smile" picture than we usually get.

And that's more of a "look off into the distance in an inspiring manner" picture than we usually get.

      Now you're thinking "were all of those giant pictures really necessary?" No. No they were not.

   My mood: cabin fever!!
   Wyatt's mood: get it off my hands!!
   Listening to: John Mayer.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Thomas Time!!

No, no, Wyatt didn't solve that all on his own. I did. No, no, I didn't solve that, the neighbor boys did and then I stole it and gave it to Wyatt.

   There are a couple things that Cara and I find inevitable. For example, we know that one of these days I'll post something on the internet that forces us to move, because I've alienated all of our neighbors or told the bad guys that we've never once locked our front door, because we never actually got keys to our house. We know that one day she's going to go a little crazy, because every mom ever has gone a little crazy. Yes, even yours. And we knew that Wyatt was going to get obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine.

   Thomas the Tank Engine. First off, I have no idea what a tank engine is, besides the thing in the tank that powers the tank. Now it's just called Thomas, or Thomas and Friends, or, more accurately, Thomas the train that just looks side to side because he can't actually move his face at all!! There are roughly seven trillion episodes and movies on Netflix Instant, and Wyatt's Grandma has little wood train sets that he loves, so we've known that Thomas is coming. One day, when Wyatt kept saying "George George" over and over, we finally realized that he was trying to say "choo choo." (Yes, that's how it works. He says "George" if he wants to watch the antics of the curious monkey, he says "George George" if he wants to watch the trains, and he says "Geo-George" if he sees a dollar bill. Many of his sentences right now go like this: "Abba Dabba Dabba George." It is adorable. I'll try to get some video to show you later, but he changes when he sees, but I can't be getting off ... track).

I tried to find the least creepy picture I could, and I failed.

   A few months ago, Cara and I found an absolutely killer garage sale. They were basically selling an entire nursery, with lots of toddler stuff in brand-stinkin-new condition. Cara and I almost wished we'd needed new stuff, because, well, it was all so cheap. We bought as much as we could with the cash we had on hand, just so we could be prepared for when our friends are having showers for their babies, because nothing says "Congrats on having a baby!!" like "Here's a used pack-and-play we bought from strangers!!" BUT!!! Boy oh boy did they have Thomas stuff.

   You might not have a child under the age of 6, so you might not know that a single Thomas train can cost $13 new, sometimes on sale for $10. Thirteen!! Now, if we go ahead and get a Thomas (the cheeky one) James (he's vain but lots of fun), Percy (pulls the mail on time), Gordon (thunders down the line), Emily (really knows her stuff!), Henry (toots and huffs and puffs), Edward (wants to help and share) and Toby (well, let's say he's square), we're looking at $104, and that's just for the trains that appear in the song!! A set of tracks costs, oh I don't know, millions of dollars? The point is this: I'd never buy him all of this stuff (I'd throw him a birthday party and have you do it). I mean, if we're going to spend hundreds of dollars on toys, you can be sure that those toys are going to be for me.

   But this garage sale was ready and waiting for us:

 
That pink VW Bug is not part of it. You can tell because it lacks a creepy face, and doesn't have its name written somewhere on it.

This wasn't even all the Thomas stuff we bought!! Lots more track!!
   We are only using like half of our track here, and we aren't even showing four or five engines, because Wyatt is clutching those ones at all times. Look over at this next slide!!

All those creepy, terrifying faces. Smiling. Always smiling.
   So it's been established that all of this stuff could easily cost $300, right? I hope I've made that point clear. Now, I'm not one to haggle-and-tell, but I will say that when I walked away, that 10-year-old boy that wanted to sell his stuff so he could buy big-kid toys learned a valuable lesson about intimidation techniques when negotiating. That's really what I gave him: the gift of growing up and seeing the real world.

   We've only let Wyatt see and play with about three or four of these trains, and all the track. The rest of the engines are hidden in his room. We'll probably give him one for Christmas and one for his Birthday for the rest of his life. However - and I want this to go on the record right now - Wyatt will never, ever be aware that a certain purple dinosaur exists and wants to be his friend. Every time that creepy grin and odd voice hits the screen, I'ma say "George!!" and start making sounds like that curious monkey.



   I've learned so much about trains in the last month. Did you know that "shunting" isn't a bad word? Did you know that steamies are great steamies are fast, and that diesels are mean? Did you know that Sir Topham Hat is able to talk to trains!?

   You can tell that my life is super exciting because I just wrote like 5000 words about a creepy train show for toddlers, and am totally pumped about it!!

My mood: trained out!!
Wyatt's mood: george george
Listening to: "They're two they're four they're six they're eight"

Friday, December 6, 2013

There's No Way You're Prepared For This Cuteness

Oh gosh. This cute already!?

   Seriously. You just aren't ready to handle the pictures that are coming your direction. I'll try to space them out in such a fashion that you have some time to cope and recover. But, know this: Wyatt is coming, and he's taking no prisoners. Let's go.


   Sheesh!! That's what we're up against, people!! An adorable kid gleefully petting a tiny horse while in Christmas Garb, including a green down vest. If he were to learn to speak right now and ask me to buy him a tiny horse, I would be unable to say no.

   Let's take a step back and try to regroup a little. Here's a photo where my presence alone drops the overwhelming cuteness factor by a significant degree:


   Yeah, okay, that's manageable. Sure, that little helmet is absurdly precious, but both of my chins do a pretty good job of counter-acting his tiny hands.




   Oh gosh, one-two-three in a row, just like that?! Not fair!! I don't know if this kid could get any cuter. He certainly couldn't have his picture taken anymore than it was on this day of Christmas-Tree Hunting, a sport as old as the earth itself. We walked up to the tree farm, grabbed the first pre-cut tree we saw, and then chased Wyatt around this wagon/hay ride thing:




   Okay, okay, too much fun. Let's pause, for a moment, with this picture of a bird eating some apple in our backyard, just so we can all catch our breath before moving on.


   Wait, that's... that's actually a pretty cool picture too.

   Okay, we're almost done here. A couple more, and then I'll let you get back to whatever you previously accomplishing before this inevitable intrusion of picturesqueness.

Look at how happy he is to be in that... kind of wet? ... sleigh!!

Look at how distressed he is when his mom and dad joined him!! Also, WHOSE CAR IS THAT IN THE BACKGROUND!?
   I know what you're thinking. You're thinking Huh, Wyatt's dressed up in that adorable vest/plaid-shirt combo, Cara's wearing a nice scarf and a Christmasy Jacket, and Grant, you're wearing a plain white t-shirt!? Aren't you the guy that once wore a matching outfit with your son for Christmas? Did you not know you were taking Christmas photos?! I did!! I did know!! I'll have YOU know that I had on a nice all-black fleece jacket over this, but the temperatures weren't actually that cold so I took it off!!
   Also! I'll have you know that this is the exact same outfit I wore to Wy's second birtday party! And it's also what I am wearing right now!! You know what they say: If an outfit works once, wear it over and over again at every possible event!!

   But, as you'll see in a moment, I can sure make it look good:
Nothing Says "Classy Man" Like a Chevy, jeans and a white shirt, a good stare off into the distance, and a porta-potty in the background. Thanks for framing this one so well, Cara.

My mood: over cutifieid
Wyatt's mood: relentlessly cute
Listening to: Kings of Leon

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Daddy's Assistant

   I am coaching an ultimate frisbee team at the high school where I teach. Wyatt came to practice one day and caught on pretty quick:

"My daddy's so awesome, he wears a cape when he coaches!! Also what's up with my tongue?!"

"I can coach everyone from up here!!"

"Ooooh. Daddy gets serious when things aren't going well. He's so intimidating."
"I can do this too!! Go over there!! You're awful!!"
   The kid's a natural. At everything he does, btw. Like, the other day I was all "Hey Wyatt, hand me that pillow!!" and instinctively, he just knew that I wanted him to kick me. He's probably the smartest kid in all of Eugene Oregon 97408.

My mood: disgruntled, like every good coach is
Wyatt's mood: gotta get those kids running drills!
Listening to: Pumped up kicks

Friday, November 8, 2013

Today, I Spell "Redemption" T-R-U-C-K

Look at the little guy, just hanging out, chillin, in the back of a truck. Like he was meant to be there all along.

   You remember the manlyvan, right? It was the nadir of my existence. When I from being a cool, independent, strong you man who could easily be believed to own a motorcycle, and turned into a guy with a car that his high school students point and laugh at. No, that actually happened once.
   Never again!! No more!! For I, Grant, have a truck.


Look! Hauling garbage cans AND strollers, just like any manly dad would. Which I am. Obvs.

   What kind of truck, you ask? Gosh, I don't know, I don't know stuff about trucks or cars or machines. It's a Chevy 1990-something 1500? Quad Cab? 12 Liters? Those are all things, right? The point is, look at that bed. As you can see, it's already being used to haul garbage, strollers, yard debris, probably some bear meat too... It would have gone hunting with me if I hadn't gotten incredibly, absurdly sick. Like, go-see-the-doctor, temperature-of-104.8 KDUK, nurse-literally-yells-"Holy crap!!"-when-she-sees-the-thermometer sick. I've taken three - three! - trips to the dump since getting this slab of iron on wheels. You can tell that I am a man who was in need of a truck.
   You might recall that I've taken the manlyvan to the dump. And was summarily judged by everyone there. Not this time!! Well, I was judged, but not for having a minivan. I was judged because A) my truck squeaks incessently (I think it has mice... that only squeak when the engine is running because they are all scared), and B) I only had $6 cash on me, and the dump costs $7, so I was the guy in the squeaky truck with a kid in the passenger seat trying to bum $1 off other people in line. This is still better than being judged for driving a minivan.

   Here's the most important part. Wyatt, also a man, loves trucks. Every time he sees it he says his word for "truck" which I cannot type here for fear of getting fired. When he's in the truck, driving, he's super happy. When he's in the back of the truck, playing, he's beyond super happy. Why did we ever get the manlyvan in the first place?

So much space!!

He sure loves that little flower pinwheel thing.



Remember when the sun was out? This was taken just a couple weeks ago...

   I, Grant, MAN, have a rusty beat up old pickup truck. The battery is about dead on it. It squeaks when it drives. The dome lights don't turn on. The back, driver's side window can't latch. It barely fits in my garage (we're talking about 4 inches of space). Much like Zoolander, it cannot turn left. One of those previous things is not true. I could not be happier.
   Yes I could. The Ducks could've beaten Stanford.

   My mood: proud to be king of the nerds
   Wy's mood: loves the adventures in the truck!!
   Listening to: that "Like a rock!!" song. You know the one.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

"This Reminds Me Of An Episode Of Curious George..."

Cara painted that picture of The Curious Monkey from looking at a picture online. Pretty impressive, you ask me.
I picked out that shirt after looking at the shirts in my closet and thinking "Am I leaving my house today? No." Equally impressive, you ask me.

   There are six seasons and sixty episodes of the cartoon Curios George on Netflix. Now, if you were Wyatt, you'd probably be okay with four episodes playing on repeat until the end of time. For Cara and I, it's nice to have some variety. George is an absolutely wonderful show. It's clever and lighthearted, has great music and very enjoyable voice acting. I will never complain about having to watch so much George, when purple dinosaurs and annoying French kids are the alternatives.

   But Cara and I were at a dinner party with two other couples. (I know!! A dinner party!? We never get invited to those, even before we had Wyatt! Truth be told we weren't invited to this one either, but we knew what time it was and where it was, so we went for it. They actual invited guests and hosts were so happy to have us, and there was almost enough food for everyone after I ate half the lasagna!! I love lasagna.) At this DP, as the kids are calling them, a story came up that reminded me of something in my life that happened recently. I started to tell the story, then realized I was just giving the plot and events to an episode of Curious George.

   "Oh, man, that's just like that time The Man In The Banana Suit needed to run down to the museum and told George not to play with the muffins but he did anyways and then everything was awful but in the end it all worked out okay and we all laughed!!" That's literally a description of what basically took place. I was so embarassed. I was mortified. Has all of my life experience in the last 6 months really just been a cartoon monkey and a fence I had to stain? There are no interesting stories about staining a fence.

Little guy is a little snotty. Also, I'm there again!!
   This same thing happened in class yesterday. I was teaching my adorable little freshman some adorable little math, and thought "This is exactly what The Man In Those Coats You See People Wearing On Fishing Boats At Sea was telling George a couple of days ago," and then I proceeded to explain the whole episode to my classes. Two periods of this nonsense. I will never be the cool teacher.

   When I was young, my mom would sometimes tell me "Grant, if you aren't doing anything, you wont have anything to talk about with friends." She was telling me this because I didn't have friends and knew that I wasn't able to talk to anyone about anything that wasn't the latest episode of Dragon Ball Z. Well, after a few successful years of doing things and making friends, I am back to sitting at home, watching cartoons, and having nothing to say at DPs. It's middle school all over again.

   Luckily, I love cartoons.

My mood: curious
Wyatt's mood: sick and sleepy
Listening to: Neon Trees

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Happy Second Birthday Wyatt!!!!


Wyatt turned two!! So we gave him a doughnut. 


I dare you to find a cuter kid. Seriously. If you find one, send me a link and I'll be the impartial judge. Go ahead!

My mood: happy!!
Wy's mood: spoiled!!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Nap On The Back!!

   Wyatt is able to hold himself up around my neck, which is a new thing. He's actually got a pretty strong grip. He even swings on the big kid swings!! Those are too scary for me...  He loves climbing on my back, and then directing me to run around, usually into walls. Today, he climbed on my back, and slowly but surely fell asleep...



   Taking this picture was actually pretty tough. But! Doesn't "Nap on the back" kind of sound like a Dr Suess book? I should write that book. Lots of words rhyme with "back," like... uh... abstract? Maybe later.

   Let me try to make parenting a little more glamorous:

This lasted like two hours.

I don't know why, but Cara gets pictures that are like this:



Not fair.

Actually, Wyatt won't even sleep or cuddle with me like that. Usually he is spending his time pushing, kicking, or pooping me out of whatever position I am in. Not fair!!

My mood: feeling unfair
Wyatt's mood: tired all the time!!
Listening to: awful, awful sportscaster

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Comprehension!!


   I'm working on a project. Something manly and intense and all that sort of stuff you'd expect from me. I'm in the process of screwing in a screw, and Wyatt comes up with his own screwdriver (I have no idea where he got it), grabs a screw and tries to help. I need him gone. I need to focus on the construction project in front of me. Of course, Cara is nowhere to be found. Typical.

   "Wyatt, can you turn on that light?" (Don't ask why it wasn't on already!)
   I've never given him a direction like this. He runs to the light and tries to flick it on, but can't reach it.
   "Go grab your boxes!"
   He nods and scampers off. When he runs, he only really swings one arm at a time, and is very unbalanced. Just like his dad. He returns with two boxes small cardboard boxes. He looks at me, waiting for instruction.
   "Stand on your boxes!"
   He stands on one, but can't reach the light switch.
   "Put one box on top of the other!"
   He shuffles them around in a circle and tries again. Close enough.

Part of his new comprehension is expressed through scratching horror  marks on chalk doors.

   Do you know what this means?! It means Wyatt can understand what I am saying. I have entered a new realm where I can do more than just tell him what not to do - don't touch that, don't eat that, don't make your uncle feel uncomfortable, don't poop ever again - and can start telling him more things that he can do! Open that door. Bring me my phone. Shut that refrigerator door. Go pick out clothes for me to wear to work.

   I am so excited about this new stage of my life. It's almost as good as that stage I entered back when I finally figured out how sandals work.

My mood: super pumped
Wyatt's mood: starting to carry his weight around this place
Listening to: Kings of Leon

Monday, August 26, 2013

My Life Is A Series Of Grunts, Nods and Points!!

I said "Go get ready to go to the park!" He grabbed a pail, and filled it with toddler necessities: a toy police truck, 4 crayons, a bouncy-ball, and a bink. He had a bink in his mouth already, so this was a spare.

   I feel like this little story encapsulates my life right now:
   At the park, there were 4 little toddler boys with 4 little toddler dads. Wyatt was probably the second youngest. They were all playing in the sand, which has a fun little water feature. Not a single word was said. By the kids or the dads. The little ones would play with each other, which means they'd grab sand and dump it in the same place. Sometimes one of them would point to the faucet and one of the dads would pour some more water. Sometimes one would leave to play somewhere else, and eventually one of the boys would follow. But I have no idea what any of the other boys sound like, or what words they can say, or what their names are, or how they feel about diapers.
   After about 7 minutes of this, two girls showed up. You could hear them a mile away. Just chatter chatter question answer chatter chatter. Ugh. Makes me sick. They were a bit older than our frat party, but it was outrageous. They are never going to sneak up on a bird that way (which is Wyatt's main goal in life at the moment).

   Wy is able to communicate what he wants, and where he wants to go, very clearly now. It's just, he doesn't like to use words to do it. He points, grunts, says "no" or "oh no!" or "uh-huh," and then he points some more. (Here's how we ended up at the park in the first place: He said "Up?" So I picked him up. Then he pointed forward (hallway). Then he pointed left (front door). Then he knocked on the door (open). Then he pointed out, left, forward, forward, forward, left, forward, right, forward, forward (walk to the park). Then he pointed down and said "up?" (down?)) I think he is learning this from Curious George. Ironically, "Curious" and "George" are two of the only words I heard all day.

Grunting, pointing AND watching George. What more could he want?
   Sometimes, if he wants a thing, he will point and grunt at the thing even if it is like 4 inches away from him. What laziness!! He gets it from his mom, who is known to come in from the kitchen, sit on the couch, and then ask me to get her some juice from the kitchen where she just was. She usually asks by grunting.

   It's so great!! I love it so much!! Sometimes there are days when Cara is at work and I am home and I have ABSOLUTELY NO CONTACT WITH SOMEONE WHO HAS A VOCABULARY OF MORE THAN A DOZEN WORDS!! What fun! It's like, if I could do this forever and ever, I totally would because being a parent is that important.

   Then Cara comes home and, since she's a girl, it's all Talk Talk Talk Question Answer Feelings Feelings Make Me A Sandwich. It's tough for me to make the transition sometimes.

My mood: chatty
Wy's mood: grunty
Listening to: that song that goes "doop doop doot, wha-da-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo" in the background.