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Those of you who follow me on twitter may have noticed that the family took a trip across the country, and I posted about once a day about the trip. We drove about 4250 miles over about 16 days. Went from California to Iowa, spending nights in Nevada, Utah, and Nebraska on the way. Then, went to Minnesota, did a festival in Decorah, IA. Visited my father-in-law and his brother in Red Wing, Minnesota; Maiden Rock, Wisconsin; and LaCrosse, Wisconsin. During the trip, we decided that we had a chance to see parts of the country we had never seen before - so we went back through South Dakota (saw Mount Rushmore and some of the Black Hills area) and Wyoming (drove through Yellowstone and saw Old Faithful).

The kids were overall pretty good during the trip. I can't say that they really enjoyed it, since all the sitting in the car was quite boring for them. They started wanting to see the "Bee Movie" over and over again - maybe seeking one familiar thing with constant change going on around them. They ate lots of cheap Kraft macaroni and cheese at all the diners we stopped at. I won't say it was all bad for them - they did get some good play time in hotel swimming pools, and both seemed to really enjoy the cave in South Dakota.
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Here is the family, showing off a couple of Christmas items.

The wooden track is from [livejournal.com profile] drarwenchicken. The marbles I got for Corwin. The camera is a present from me to the family.

We've been having a lazy week, staying in pajamas all day.


Dec. 24th, 2007 01:13 am
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Kjersti seems to be prone to sudden visits to the doctor. First, when she was three months old, there was the yeast infection. Then, at about one and a half, there was the peanut up the nose. Now, she managed to bash her head against the chest in the family room, and the gash she got as a result took two staples to close up.

It's very strange to look at the back of her head and see staples there.

I figure in a couple of years, it's going to be broken arms from falling out of trees. Meanwhile, Corwin will have had his fill of hospitals, having spent his first week of life there, and won't go back.
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Yet another milestone in my little boy growing up - two weeks ago (Aug 13), Corwin started first grade.

So far, he seems happy about it and is doing just fine.

I'm not sure I'm doing as well. This means a few changes for us. For one thing, class starts at 8:00am. Those of you who know Valkyrie and I well, know that we are not morning people. We like to be asleep at 8:00am.

Oh well. We are adjusting. So far, I think we have been no more than 5 minutes late.

Another big change - where we drop Corwin off and pick him up. For his Kindergarten class, we would walk him all the way to the door of the class. Now, we are supposed to drop him at the curb and let him get himself to the classroom.

There's a part of me that is rebelling at this - No! He's too young! He'll get lost! - but the more rational part is saying This is necessary. You must give him more responsibility and freedom. He's old enough, and he's doing just fine.

Sigh. Being a parent is hard. I think it's not going to get any easier for a while.

I suppose it's a positive sign that the principal knows him by name? Last friday, I dropped Corwin at the curb, and the principal walked him partway to his classroom.
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Just something about Corwin's smile really appeals to me.

This was taken with Mommy's camera phone, a Motorola Krzr.
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My little girl does any number of things which boggles my mind. One of them is that she will adopt as a pet (for a day) a coffee bean.

Valkyrie and I are coffee drinkers. She likes a pot of brewed flavored coffee, I like vanilla lattes. We buy the whole beans, and grind and brew our coffee at home. The Espresso maker is right next to where Kjersti sits at the kitchen table, and for reasons that only make sense in her little girl mind, she started grabbing a coffee bean from the unground coffee. She then would carry it around with her, cluched tightly in her little hand, calling it her 'Baby Coffee Bean'. By the end of the day, it's lost somewhere around the house, or thrown out by one of us - and another day she will demand her baby coffee bean again.

This led into this conversation today:

Valkyrie: Corwin, do you want to go to the playground today?

Kjersti: Me too! And my baby coffee bean!

Why yes, I can see how it would be very important to a Terriffic Two that her Baby Coffee Bean goes the park with her.
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Yes, I haven't been posting much of anything here. There's a bunch of reasons for that, that I may write about sometime - or not. We'll see.

The kids didn't want to go to sleep last night. I left both of them in bed, crying. Kjersti had a bit of a tummy bug, and slept alot during the day yesterday, so wasn't tired enough to just go to sleep. After me rocking her and puting her down three times, and her mommy rocking her twice, I finally said "Enough!" - and she laid down crying. Corwin has been acting very anxious lately, with lots of trips to the bathroom, demanding company in his room at night, and saying that he's scared of everything. I finally had to tell him "Enough!" and leave him in bed, crying.

I'm convinced that I did the right thing. But I still don't feel great about it. Damn it, being a parent is tough.
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We picked Corwin up on time, and he had a big grin on his face, and said he had fun.

He drew something that looked vaguely like him as a dinosaur with a green and orange backpack.

When we dropped Corwin off, Kjersti came with us - Valkyrie and I both wanted to be there, so it became a family expidition. I carried Kjersti back to the car, and when we got there, she said very somberly "Kjersti miss Corwin".
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Kids at family camp

Kids at family camp

Aubrey, Kjersti, Colm and Corwin

This year, my brother StoneCarrier set up a camping trip near Loon Lake. The lake is lovely, and the kids enjoyed taking a dip in the lake. They all came back with nice pale skin (we got them sunscreened up well), but my face got burned, and my arms look a little toasty.

My kids did a great job charming everyone present, and the lovely [livejournal.com profile] tetralogy took Corwin skinny dipping. I wasn't there, but the reports are that Corwin got his clothes off and talked her into carrying him out into the lake. Apparently [livejournal.com profile] tetralogy stayed dressed.

I took the family back to that same spot later, but didn't let Corwin take his clothes off ... more like it, I insisted that he wear his life vest and swimsuit. The fun part of wearing your life vest while swimming, is that it turns "swimming" into "floating", and it means a safer time in the lake, and a less worried daddy. Corwin has a strange love/hate relationship with the water - he wanted to go out to the rocks sticking up out of the lake, but wanted to stay mostly out of the water in the process. I, however, wanted to teach him that floating was fun, and that with daddy to hold on to, and his life vest on, he didn't have anything to worry about.

The picture with this entry was an attempt to trick the kids to being all together in a picture. Colm ([livejournal.com profile] tetralogy's half-brother) saw me trying to do this, and ran away before I could get their faces. Corwin enjoyed playing with Colm, who is only about a year and a half older.

The "noisy loons" refers to all the people running noisy vehicles down the Rubicon Trail. Friday and Saturday nights, there was noise all night.

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Originally uploaded by capitanholyhippie.
Yesterday, in our little excursion to Old Town Sacramento and the train museum, I bought Corwin a very cheap kite. It came in a hard plastic circular pouch about two inches in diameter. This made him very happy and excited, and he was carrying it around calling it his "Badge".

Today, we went to the nearby park, and flew our kites. I have one similar to Corwin's, only a bit bigger, and with a long tail. There wasn't a lot of wind, but enough to hold these kites in the air.

Corwin did great with the kite. I was very pleased. He held on to the little winder with the string, wound and unwound the string, ran to get it into the air ... ran quite a bit, too. And had a lot of fun flying the kites. I had fun too, and Valkyrie grabbed the camera to get this snap of us playing together.

After we finished up with the kites, we headed back to the playground on the other side of the parking lot. I noticed a patch of ground between the parking lot and the soccer field smouldering, and the couple who was playing soccer standing by it, kicking at it. They claimed that it was started with a cigarette, and seemed to have a plan to put it out ... so I went on to the playground and watched Corwin play there for a while.

When we were ready to leave, I noticed that the fire was not out, and that the guy who was playing soccer had dissappeared, leaving the girl kicking balls into the goal. They had apparently tried to kick a circle of dirt around the smouldering fire, to act as a firebreak, without really putting it out. Not wanting to leave the ground smouldering (and noticing besides that the firebreak wasn't working very well) I fished around for a way to put it out. Nearby was a water fountain - an empty water bottle would get water from there to the fire. Also nearby was a trash can with empty water bottles - check, all that is needed. Three or four round trips to the water fountain later, I'm pretty sure the fire is really, completely, out.

Now we leave, with my concience clear. However, just to be on the safe side, we stop by the fire department (it's on the way to the grocery store) and tell them that there was a fire there. They say "oh yeah, we know that place, it happens all the time" and that they would send a engine right over.
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Yesterday, we met up with SuperPat and his family at the California State Rail Road Museum. Valkyrie has taken the kids there before, so was prepared, and dressed the kids up in clothes that look like they belong. Kjersti was the cutest little thing, and got lots of comments, plus a bunch of "Can I take a picture of your daughter?" questions.


Jun. 28th, 2006 01:19 pm
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It's a cliche we all know oh so well - toddlers can't speak as clearly as adults, so there are some words they mangle in very, very cute ways.

My favorite Kjersti-ism is "Gupple". Any guesses as to what that means?

The word she is trying to say is "Buckle". Toddlers have to deal with buckles in lots of places, since us hyper-protective parents want to keep our kids safe. There are buckles in the car seat, stroller, booster seat, high chair, shopping cart - and probably dozens of other places I've forgotten. I've gotten confident enough with Kjersti that I don't bother buckling her in most of these places. But she loves to buckle herself in - so I'm very used to hearing her say, very proudly: "Daddy, Daddy, Kjersti gupple in!".

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Corwin, being a kid, doesn't necessarily track what is going on off in Adult world.  I'm sure he has been hearing Valkyrie and I talking about the theft of my backpack, and how this one simple act has been looming over my life since it happened.  But I'm also certain he doesn't understand it, or pay attention most of the time.

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Tie-Die family Tie-Die family
Daddy and Kjersti at BayCon 2006 Masquerade.
Kjersti was very, very patient. She was (by far) the youngest entrant in the Masquerade this year, and she played with me very nicely for the hour and a half and more from when we arrived at the greenroom, until we got our chance to walk across the stage and show off our lovely costumes.
Both costumes are originals, made by Valkyrie. My jacket is what I wore to get married, and the dress is something Valkyrie made, just because. Kjersti looked lovely in it, but wouldn't let us show it off that well - by the time this picture was taken, she was very tired, up past her bedtime, and was quite unsure what to think about the crowd of strangers with cameras.

Norway day

May. 6th, 2006 11:40 pm
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Kjersti and Kai Kjersti and Digitalsidhe
Digitalsidhe falls for a charming young lady
Today we had a family expidition to San Francisco, and did the Norway Day thing. The kids got restless, and we didn't stay long. Afterwards, we went downtown and met up with [livejournal.com profile] digitalsidhe and [livejournal.com profile] feyandstrange. Dinner was good, even though Corwin fell asleep as soon as we got there, and Kjersti ate just about nothing. The picture is from close to the end of dinner, when Kjersti went over and started playing with [livejournal.com profile] digitalsidhe. More pictures are here.
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The family and I are taking a week off, up in the snow at Lake Tahoe.

Today we are getting snow! Lots of snow! It's sticking!

This is exciting because the last couple of days we were getting rain. It just wouldn't stop. Last night it started hesitantly changing to snow, now it looks like just snow is coming down hard.

The kids seem to be having fun, although getting prepped to go out is a bit of an ordeal. Pouring a 2-year old into a snowsuit isn't something the 2-year old usually likes, but Kjersti is putting up with it quite well. (I know, her birthday hasn't happened yet, but she's very close to her b-day, so I am starting to think of her as being two.) And, the snowsuit enables her to roll in the snow and stay warm.
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Kjersti in her toddler bed Kjersti in her toddler bed

Kjersti, the first night her crib was converted to a toddler bed

As of now, we are going to try her sleeping in a toddler bed. The bed is her crib, with one side removed, so she can get in and out on her own.

So far, she seems pleased, and she went to sleep in it without too much fuss ... although, she clearly was excited, and Valkyrie had a harder time than usual getting her settled.
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We have been trying to have lots of lazy days lately. Valkyrie and I have been sick and coughing for waaay too long, and the kids have coughs too. So we haven't gotten out of the house much.

Today, we decided to venture out to the coffee shop. It's a nice, sunny day; we are feeling better; and some time relaxing over coffee is always fun.

We get there, and are settled in. At this point, I notice a mommy and about 4 to 5 kids coming in together. The youngest is a little boy, who can't be much older than Kjersti, carrying a bright orange toy gun. I notice that he notices us, and the kids, and contemplates us for a few seconds before returning to the gaggle of his family, who are ordering at the counter.

Kjersti needs to use a napkin for some reason, and like the good sweet girl she is, after it gets dirty she decides it needs to go into the trash. She sets off on a mission, uttering "trash" in her sweet, cute voice. Her path takes her right through the gaggle of people at the counter. Sensing potential for trouble, and wanting to help Kjersti anyway, I follow.

Sure enough, the scene I had been dreading has happened - there's Kjersti, stopped, puzzled - and the little boy with the big orange gun in both hands, pointing it right at her.

Out comes my authoritarian voice: "Do NOT point a gun at my daughter!" I follow with "I know it's a toy, but I don't care! You do not point guns at my daughter!"

I think everyone in the store was shocked. The little boy looks stunned and scared, and starts to cry - and he promptly gets the gun taken out of his hands. I herd Kjersti on to the trash can, help her put the napkin in the trash, and return to our table, ignoring the family at the counter. On the way back, one of the ladies who works at the shop says to me in a low voice "Sorry about that."

Crisis taken care of, Kjersti and I return to our seats, and to our scheduled family relaxing. A few minutes later the mother of the gaggle walks by and apologies, and I try to gracefully accept the apology.

Me being who I am and questioning my choices .... I wonder, should I have opened up and thundered like that? Or should I have let it slide ... even though it was pretty obvious that the other family was not very concerned about the threat a gun posed, since they had allowed their toddler boy to play with it.

Seriously, I don't think I had much choice. A threat to my kids is guaranteed to bring out of me the full rage and thunder of a momma bear protecting her cubs. The scale of the threat was miniscule - but I hope the kid learned a lesson anyway.

See, I think toy guns are not acceptable toys for kids. One aspect of playing with toy objects that kids do is mimicing what adults do with those objects, and learning how to deal with those objects, in preparation for the real thing. I firmly believe that a place and time exists for guns - but if you have one, and you point it at another living being, the only reason you are doing so is because you are about to shoot and kill that other living being. So if you give a kid a toy gun, and allow them to point it at other people, you are teaching them that it's OK to casually point guns at people. And if they learn this from a young age, they will have an easier time using the power a gun represents to intimidate or harm others in the future.

Now, I'm wondering if I have to get rid of the nerf guns and super soaker I have in my closet.
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Valkyrie and I are not fans of the current political administration of this country. We occasionaly rant to each other about this.

So, this night over dinner, we are ranting. And one or the other of us says "George W Bush". I'm not sure who, and it isn't important, but Corwin hears us and parrots us in a low voice ... "George W Bush".

So Valkyrie and I continue ranting at each other. But, I'm at least partially listening to Corwin too, and the next thing I hear him say is "Watch out Monkey About".

The rants come to a screeching halt, and I break down laughing. Valkyrie didn't hear Corwin clearly, so I have to explain what Corwin just said to her. She breaks down laughing. Corwin is looking at us like we are crazy, wondering what the heck we found so funny.

The thing is ... I didn't expect political commentary like that coming from my son (yet), saying "George W Bush", then "Watch Out Monkey About"; like the president is the monkey we need to watch out for.

What really happened in there is that Corwin was bored, so parroted part of what Mommy and Daddy were talking about, lost interest in that, then started to read his T-Shirt. He didn't know that he'd end up making a comment (that his parents agree with) about the president.
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I am using Skype to call home while overseas. The cost is amazingly cheap - about 0.02 Euro/minute, compared to $0.99 per minute for my cell phone. So, a nice long phone call home, costs me a mere 0.40 euro; and hearing my daughter say "Hi daddy" is priceless.
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