Archive for July, 2011


30 July, 2011

Swim classes started up again this morning. MsSqueaky was happy to jump into the pool. MrCuddles had fun swimming with his mommy. MrGrunty, for some unknown reason, did not like his new teacher, and refused to get in the pool.

On the way home, I was asking MrCuddles questions, and he had the cutest “nope” pronounciation I’ve ever heard. I asked him if his name was MrCuddles, “nope”. I asked what his name was, he laughed, “Pippen.”

After lunch, it was Papa & MsSqueaky Time. We went for a walk through the woods, then played at HamlinPark. She did lots of climbing/balancing on the toys. Then we collected sticks to build a house. On way back, she wanted to go on a different trail than me, showing her independence. (My trail was only five feet away.)

We took the rest of the family back to Hamlin, to show off our house of sticks. There, MrGrunty and I practiced hitting baseball, and he got hit in the face. (Wiffle-ball.)

And now, it’s time to sleep in the tent in the backyard.

Harry Potter

24 July, 2011

so…last night, I slept in the tent with the three childrens. Everything seemed to be OK, they each had their own flashlight, they settled down. And then, MsSqueaky climbed into my sleepingbag. As I was explaining to her, the bag was too small for two kids, MrGrunty climbed on top of me. And then MrCuddles tried to squeeze in. Well, I wasn’t gonna get cold…  Eventually I coaxed them back into their own bags, though MrC kept climbing out of his. After his siblings fell asleep, MrC said something, and then added, “you want one?”  What do you have Cuddles? “I have a pineapple,” and he put his fingers to his mouth and pretended to eat, making crunching noises. Then he asked, “you want one?” I said sure. He swiped the side of the tent, and gave me an imaginary bite to eat. We did this for a few minutes. I’m so proud, already he knows that camping is all about eating treats after bedtime.

I learned, the freeway is still noisy at 3AM, the dawn is a little before 5AM, and the birds start the day before dawn.

Today, we took the childrens over to James’, MyBetterHalf and I went to see Harry Potter Part 8. It was alright. But here’s what I’m thinking. They shouldn’t have split book 7 into two movies. They could have released it all at once, charged double, had an intermission. For the flow of the movie, I would recommend a person to see part 1 the day before. Because I basically knew what had happened, but the emotional kick from movie #7 had dissipated over the past year.


23 July, 2011

we started this morning, MrCuddles was crying, I was going to bring him to our bed, but MrGrunty and MsSqueaky were already there! So he and I went to the couch for another hour of sleeping.

We went to Richmond beach, where the big kids threw rocks into the water, I built rock castle, and MrCuddles was very cute, copying his mommy, laying down in the sand and reading a book. And we saw a train!

Then, after naptime, we went to MeridianPark for a party hosted by a local church. There was a giant inflatable slide that we all went up several times. MrCuddles enjoyed climbing up it. MrG and MsS got a turn in a bounce house.

And now, the childrens are in a tent, very excited to be camping, though I have told them a tent is NOT a bounce house.

Chicago Bulls -v- Atlanta game 5

17 July, 2011

It was an alright game. Considering there might not be a 2011-12 NBA season, I’m glad I have a few more games recorded to hold me over. And no, I do not play on watching college basketball.

July 8-12

16 July, 2011

Friday, July 8th
We journeyed to Spokane to visit MyBetterHalf’s family and we stayed with her aunt. She has a huge crafting area above a two car garage. The place was spacious, open, clean, well lit, …much better than several apartments or hotels that I’ve paid for. And it was free! When we first got there, the two dogs Brandy & Nikki, a pair of small dogs, were very excited to see us, and jumped up on us, barking. At first, this freaked out the childrens, they were certain they were being attacked by a dog that weighs as much as they do. But, quickly, MsSqueaky had led the way in learning how to play with the doggies, and for the rest of the weekend, whenever we were there, MsSqueaky and MrGrunty were out playing catch with the dogs. MsS was very cute, “Come here boy, drop it, drop it…you’re a good doggy” (the dogs were reluctant to drop the ball). Yes, I am nervous that the childrens will soon realize that they can ask/beg/plead with me for a dog of their own. The short answer: No. The slightly longer answer: When we have a farm. Because dogs are so much work, so loud, poop all over…and we can barely keep up with our two cats, and one of them is lazy…I mean, relaxed, very, very relaxed.

Saturday, July 9th,
The day of the family reunion. For most of the reunion, I was on a hill with MsSqueaky and/or MrGrunty. They liked exploring and climbing, with me or with one of their cousins. I got a chance to talk with niece-K, who just finished her first year of high school, and deduced, that even with all the cool technology that kids today have, kids today are pretty much the same as they were twenty five years ago, contrary to the impression one might get watching a special report on the evening news.

Saturday night, we were at the grandparents, and we were all out in the front yard playing baseball. Cousin Mo was knocking them out of the park. And we saw a hot air balloon, (or as MrCuddles says, “ah Bah-lah-lune”) landing in the neighborhood. I tried as quickly as possible to pack up my three kids, and cousins Mo & Co to go find the balloon. We never did. So, as consolation, we went and got ice-cream.

Sunday, July 10th
MrCuddles asked his mommy, “play with me”, and that cute little way that he does, his eyes wide open, eyebrows arched, head tilted slightly, each syllable a bit faster and higher pitched than the previous. It’s impossible to refuse his cuteness. So he and MyBetterHalf played with puzzles in the living room whilst I had coffee & bacon and the twins were playing fetch with the dogs.

Bedtimes in Spokane went better than anticipated. The childrens were very tired from only short afternoon power naps, and all the running around they were doing. And, they didn’t even wake at dawn, like I feared they would since there were no curtains on the windows. I woke at dawn, grumble.

Tuesday, 12 July

I happened to wake before everyone else, and after giving a “starving” Sophie-kitty some breakfast, and make myself some coffee, I went into the loft to quietly play a bit of guitar. After a bit, MsSqueaky made her way up the stairs, with a big smile on her face. Either she liked the two-bar walking bass-line chord progression I was practicing, or she was happy to have some solo papa & Squeaky time. I found a cheap ukulele that a friend loaned to me years ago, and sat her down. I had her pluck each string, counting each string as she plucked it. Seemed alright for a first lesson. She seemed to enjoy it. A few minutes later, MrGrunty joined us, and he wanted to play. MrG did not follow musical instruction as well as his sister did, I’m afraid. They both wanted to play with the ukulele, they didn’t want to play pan-pipes (and who can blame them?). But when MsS found some wire drum brushes, they both were happy to play with those.

Later, when MrCuddles woke, he wanted me to hold him, and walk around. Then he saw MyBetterHalf was still in bed, and he smiled, “Mommy’s sleeping.”  He lunged out of my arms, onto my bed, and when he was laying next to his mommy, he had a huge smile, and was so excited he had to just kick and dance.

Tuesday night, MsSqueaky had some mommy time while the boys stayed with me. MrCuddles played with the magnetic letters on the fridge. MrGrunty played the ukulele for us, holding it flat on his lap, varying where on the strings he would strum, telling us when his song was over, so we could clap. MrCuddles was playing with coins, transferring them between a tin-cup and a piggy-bank. Later MrG wanted to play catch with me. One of my first childhood memories was trying to play catch with my father, we were sitting on the linoleum floor in a kitchen, and I was getting very upset that he was bouncing the small rubber ball towards me, I wanted him to slowly roll it. I must have been afraid to fail, or I wanted to be able to do something that I was good at. I must have been four or five, a slight bit older than MrG is now. MrG however, is much better at catching than I was at his age. He wants the ball to be thrown, he chases it down when he misses it, he keeps trying to catch it when it bouces, and last night, we used three different types of balls, just for variety’s sake (or maybe because a ball got lost under the couch.) I figure in a year or two, he’ll be better at catching than I am now. That makes me happy.

this evening

7 July, 2011

I got home, MrCuddles ran to me, wanting to be picked up. (The other two, well, at four, they evidently are too cool to be excited by papa coming home.)  He gave me hugs. I love his hugs, he’ll squeeze, then pull back, and look to make sure I’m the right person, smile, and then give another big hug. Tonight, he gave me kisses. He put a little hand on each side of my face, squared my face with his, and leaned forward / pulled me towards him, and planted a kiss on my lips. Then, since his mommy was standing next to us, he turned my face towards her with one hand, pointed with the other, and commanded, “Kiss this”. I gave MyBetterHalf a kiss, MrCuddles smiled, and then he leaned over backwards so that he could give his mommy a kiss. We repeated this a few times.

Later, MrGrunty & MsSqueaky were with their mommy, on her bed, reading one of my anatomy text books. Asking questions about each picture. “Does everybody have bones? Does __ have bones? Is that kid have a big owie?….”


fourth of July weekend

6 July, 2011

Don’t worry, MyBetterHalf had solo mommy time with each of our childrens this weekend. And, most of the time, the two that were left with me were cool.

Saturday, the childrens got haircuts, and then we got donuts after that! Then we took the 41 bus “to down the town” and wandered around for a bit.

Sunday, I taught Bible class. There didn’t seem to be a pre-school teacher, so I invited the four year olds (MrG, MsS and their friend KD) to join the two kids in my class. We talked about Psalm 23. We made a treat. Everyone was well behaved. One of my students said, “I shall not want…that doesn’t make any sense.” So we got a different version, “The Lord is my sheppard, He gives me everything I need…”  Everyone participated. And I have to say, four-year-olds are way easier than 4th graders!

After church, we went to Tacoma to visit my parents. They took us to a farmers market, and each of the childrens got to pick out a bag of fresh fruit. and the childrens got balloon animals. Then we went out to eat.  (MsSqueaky & MrCuddles seem to like pickled beets. But they don’t like fresh apricots.)  Then they went and got their belated b-day presents. Perfect! It was jugs of bubble mix. So for an hour, we made bubbles. And dude, my mom has a way better garden than me. Jealous.

Monday, there was a birthday party for one of their friends from school. At a local park. A big park, lots of trees, baseball fields, soccer field. Two playgrounds. And no one else was at the party. We had the park to ourselves, the weather was sunny and seventy. Perfect. My childrens were too busy playing to eat, so I got some strawberries to feed them through the fence (they were on the soccer field). And the other kids liked that, and lined up, so I had to run to get more strawberries!

Monday night, we watched the NYC fireworks display. MsS did not want to see the opening musical acts, or talking, or commercials. She wanted fireworks. And when they finally showed them, MsS was sorta bored by it.

4 years old

4 July, 2011

well…just in case anyone was curious, we have proof that I am a bad parent, since I’ve written more about the NBA recently than my own babies turning four.

So…we had a party for MrGrunty & MsSqueaky at the Birthday park. Usually, the weather turns out nice. This year, it was drizzle and clouds and cool wind all day. I was stationed next to the grill so I kept warm. We invited some of our friends, and their friends from church and school. Since the weather was icky, no one else was in the park. So the kids were free to run to the other side, because it was easy to keep track of them. And the children were all pleased about the ample puddle stomping opportunities.

MsS had a Dora pinata… (she calls “pe-ah-tuh”)… I don’t really understand “I like Dora, now I’m gonna go beat her effigy”, but that’s what she wanted. MrG had a Thomas pinata. After all the kids got a few swings, we pulled the strings to let candy fall into the wet ground.


Mr Cuddles stories

3 July, 2011

The other day, MrCuddles was hanging out with MyBetterHalf and they were singing “Happy Birthday To You”, but MrC was using a monster-staccato voice, and laughing at how funny it was.

Friday  morning, when he was crying, because I wouldn’t hold him while preparing his breakfast he said, “I’m crying, papa. I want my mommy.”

…and papa time

3 July, 2011

Tuesday, when I arrived home, MsSqueaky was crying, because she was not allowed to have a treat because she had not eaten her dinner. MyBetterHalf and I are a bit flexible, but the childrens must eat their fruit, at least half of their veggies, and some protein before getting a treat. I picked MsS up, carried her away and we had a little chat. Whispering, I asked her, “do you remember what we were going to do tonight.”
She stopped crying, and smiled, “papa and Squeaky time.”
“Yes, we will. But first my sweetie, can you please go finish your dinner and then we will have papa and Squeaky time,” and I gave her a kiss.
She smiled again, and went to finish her dinner. When we left, MrGrunty cried because he wanted to go to.
MsS and I went to HamlinPark, and I asked her if she wanted to go for a walk in the woods or playground. Happy for me, she picked walk in woods, and I asked her which direction we would go. When we got to the top of the steep hill, we looked around at trees, and looked for worms, “I’m a good finder of worms,” she reminded me. After our walk, she wanted to play on the playground, practicing her climbing skills. And then, she turned into a bear and chased me around the playground. Then we went to the baseball diamond, and she ran the bases four times.

Wednesday, MrGrunty was very excited for Papa & Grunty time, and barely waited for me to get out of my work clothes. Since, I told MsS that morning of the plan, she was OK, and as she promised, she didn’t cry when we left. MrCuddles cried when we left.
MrG wanted to go to Hamlin to watch baseball, but I told him I had a better idea. When we got to the store, he asked, “Papa, what do we need.”
“MrGrunty, we’re gonna buy a baseball bat.”
MrG had a huge grin. I asked if he could share the bat with the other kids, and he suggested that each kid get a bat. So we got three bats. Then we went to try them out. He originally wanted a big kid bat, which is thicker than the plastic PVC pipe he’s been using, but still, I wanted it to be easy for him to hit. With the PVC, he usually hits less than 10%.  He quickly found out that a big bat helps your batting average, and connected on more than half. He cried when we left the park at dusk. At 6:30 this morning, he wanted to play baseball. We did go out for a bit, MsS tried out her new bat, and she was having fun too. (Previously, she didn’t seem that interested, because it was so difficult to hit, but with these big bats, I think she’ll want to play a lot more.)

Thursday night, Papa & MrCuddles time. I wasn’t really sure what he wanted to do, I didn’t take his ball & bat. But as we were driving, he pointed, “I wanna go see that park” and we went to a nearby elementary school. When we were walking there, I asked if he wanted to go running, he laughed,  and said, “yeah, running!” he started running and called back to me, “ready, set, go!” There was a slide, that he really liked going down with me, but it is too small for me, so I tried to encourage him to do other things. He would point, “I wanna go there” and we went to the other side of the playground, sometimes walking hand in hand, sometimes running. When it was close to time to leave, I asked if he wanted to go get ice-cream. Yes, he did, but when we got back to the car, he protested that he didn’t want to get in. So we went back to play. I showed him the bark, moss and lichen on a tree. He even got it correct a couple of times when I asked him what it was, (though usually, his favorite answer is “firetruck”). We drew circles, shapes, letters and lines in the dirt. And then, I got him back in the car, and we went to go get some icecream.