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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.
holyhippie: (Corwin)
A while back, I posted something about how Corwin would say to me "I don't love you, Daddy". Well, by now he's mostly grown out of that sort of emotional blackmail. Now, it's Kjersti's turn.

She's telling me, usually in a shout "Daddy, I don't like or love you!". Somehow, I find this easier to deal with than when Corwin did the same thing - and it's all about the timing and delivery. When Kjersti plays this game with me. I know that she's mad at me. After all, she's in the middle of throwing a fit. When Corwin did it, he was holding onto his upset about something else that happened a while ago.

Either way, it's not an insult I take personally, or get upset about - it's just a way of my kids telling me that they are mad at me. And, that they have progressed far enough with their emotional development for the concept that withholding their love from somebody, may upset the target.
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Finally! We managed to get her on video, singing the "Baby Coffee Bean" song.
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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.
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Sung to the tune of Frère Jacques

Belladonna, Belladonna,

Fur of black! Fur of black!

Though you sleep all day, though you sleep all day,

I love you. I love you.

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Sung to the tune of "Brining Home A Baby Bumblebee"

I'm picking out a baby coffee bean,
Won't my daddy be so proud of me?
I'm picking out a baby coffee bean,
Ooh! It's cold!

I'm warming up my baby coffee bean,
Won't my daddy be so proud of me?
I'm warming up my baby coffee bean,
Time to put it in the grinder!

I'm grinding up my baby coffee bean,
Won't my daddy be so proud of me?
I'm grinding up my baby coffee bean,
Now, just add water!

I'm brewing up my baby coffee bean,
Won't my daddy be so proud of me?
I'm brewing up my baby coffee bean,
Daddy! Coffee's ready!

This version written by my Valkyrie, because our daughter kept asking for a "Baby Coffee Bean" every time Daddy made coffee.

There are also hand gestures that go with each verse. I'll have to videotape Valkyrie doing them - that's a project for another day.
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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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  • Stash some sunscreen somewhere in the nice convertible. Days when you want to go tooling around with the top down, you are going to get a lot more sun on your face than days with the top up.

  • Also, find some dang do rags to keep your hair back, and keep them stashed in the convertible.

And a related item - three year old girls can and will fall asleep in their car seat, with the top down, and going 65MPH down the freeway.
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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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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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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.
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Kjersti napping on Daddy Kjersti napping on Daddy
Kjersti gets wiped out with all the activity on Mother's day weekend.

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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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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Corwin and Kjersti in Chinese outfits Corwin and Kjersti in Chinese outfits

Corwin and Kjersti, dressed up in Chinese outfits that Daddy bought them, on Chinese New Year's (Jan 28, 2006).

After this picture was taken, we went to [livejournal.com profile] patsmor's place, and had yummy chinese food. The kids got to watch Mulan.
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Many things went wrong yesterday:

  1. The hard drive in my laptop went CRASH! I managed to get one last (damaged) backup off of it, which I'm using now.

  2. I decided that the old PC running Windows ME needed to be reinstalled, so it would actually work. It was getting to the point where it could never complete the scandisk process, and also would never shutdown cleanly ...

    However, the dang thing has something flaky in the hardware, so the reinstall wouldn't work either. I tried pulling memory out (under the assumption that the problem might be memory) and it stopped responding. ARGH!

  3. Kjersti shoved a peanut up her nose (again!) This time, we couldn't get it out ourselves, so we took her to the emergency room. No more peanuts for her!

And, to continue my computer-related woes, on Monday I had a battle with my Sun workstation at the house - somehow it decided to stop booting. I managed to fix that by getting a fresh copy of Solaris NV, and patching that OS image. Solaris NV now uses GRUB for booting, and the config was intact.

So, three out of four functioning computers in my office had to have major surgery this week. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the fourth won't come down with any maladies, as that would be a major pain to recover from.

Today was much better. It was dry(!), warm, and sunny out, and Valkyrie took the kids to the zoo. My computers are mostly limping along ok, and Apple will replace the hard drive in my laptop. The only down note is that Kjersti started throwing up at dinner time.

A footnote: it turns out that we got the peanut out of Kjersti's sinuses without much help from the emergency room doctor. He suggested that Valkyrie perform mouth-to-mouth and blow the peanut out; which Valkyrie did, and Kjersti found this amusing.
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