Sunday, February 25, 2018

Ushering in Greyson John

January 7, 2018
Happy New Year! We all went to bed at the regular time New Years Eve, I think it was the first time in over 20 years I've not stayed up till midnight and it felt . . . amazing. On the first day of the year we took down all our Christmas stuff and did a deep clean of the closet under the stairs - I've finally come to understand and appreciate "that special feeling" Mom used to tell me I would get if I would just clean my room :) After nap time we went bowling and the kids had a fun time hefting the large balls and rolling the down the track. The next day Hinckley came downstairs saying sorrowfully “I hate normal life!” when he saw all the Christmas decorations were down and remembered that all those good times were now history and not in the very near future. 

Exploring "The Valley of the Moon"

Hinckley bought one of those arm extension things that allows you to pick up items off the ground. He calls it his “robot arm” and really loves toting it around to pick up new items. Addie enjoyed following behind him to see what he is going to do with it. They continue to vacillate between mortal enemies and bosom pals, and for the most part get along well. Kassie even braved a grocery trip with them both and they didn't through massive tantrums. Progress! 

Chef Adelaide

Addie is very sweet and says really funny things that keep us all laughing. She loves to tease Hinckley. She is getting more used to sleeping in a bed though potty training is still a work in progress. She wet the bed during a nap and that was sort of the last straw as our washer was broken over the holidays and it took a while to get info from our landlords about what to do. I did a ton of laundry at Zach and Kylees and fortunately work is flexible enough I could work from their home office that morning so Kassie didn't have to deal with that. Then they delivered a new washer this week! So we are very grateful. 

We've been reflecting on the new year, goals, and the life and legacy of President Monson. There is much to be grateful and hopeful about despite all the evil in the world. Here's to a groovy 2018!

Playing with Mommie

January 14, 2018
As we hit 39 weeks of #3 pregnancy I got sick and then handed it off to Kassie just in time for this final week of waiting. Hopefully she gets through it as fast as I did, ugh. Despite my feeling a bit under the weather we had a full week. Hinckley's preschool teacher was in the hospital this week so Christmas break was extended and Kassie worked fast to figure out activities to keep the kids engaged. They went to the zoo with friends and had a great time, and they did some baking too. 

Addie continues to make us laugh with little sayings and phrases. The other morning after I hugged Hinckley when he came down the stairs for breakfast Addie insisted he hug her. He asked why and she just demanded, “hug me Hinckelbee!” The other night Kassie said Addie was saying over and over, “I HATE the magic school bus, I love the magic school bus!” Sometimes she really does seem like at least two characters stuck in one toddler body. The kids saw a movie called Boss Baby so for a few days she was calling things “my fos baby” and then calling Kassie “you are my fos baby”. She loves to get us laughing and has started a new thing at breakfast lately where she launches into fantastical tales about her dream the night before, usually referring to items going into her mouth or belly button. Hinckley laughs like crazy and tries to mimic her. She has picked up on some of our phrases too like "That's a good idea!" and others where I don't know where she gets them like "I'm MEAN at YOU!" and "I hate it!" (often referring to any music I turn on or any action I do that doesn't have to do with me serving her food or playing exactly what she wants). 

Hinckley is loving the legos and other building toys he got for Christmas. He spends more time creating and experimenting with these little objects and this week he discovered the magic of doing a puzzle by yourself and seeing it all come together. He proclaimed, "I'm going to do puzzles all my life." He continues to love building forts and is learning how to do it on his own without someone helping him at every step. Lots of tears have been shed, but hopefully a flame of self reliance has been kindled or at least fizzled momentarily. He continues to love science things such as the Microbes from the Magic School bus and of course his rocks and gems. Inspired by an episode of Bill Nye regarding digestion he asked me for something to eat to see what happened when he was upside down on the couch. I smiled when I heard him lecturing Addie the other day about how she has red blood cells that help her. She of course didn't like him telling her anything, but he was being very patient. He's becoming quite the helper! He loved working in the yard yesterday as we had a sort of fall/spring/something yard work day blowing leaves and picking up around our yard. 

Freshly opened geode! 

January 28, 2018

We had a fun week with Nana and Grandpa here and Greyson coming to stay for good! 

Playing Sequence with Nana

There were many trips to the park, stories read, tears shed, and lots more. The birth story may be forthcoming . . . 

Greyson with his favorite person

Proud big brother

Happy older sister

Greyson John

February 4, 2018

This was a fun and different week for us as I've been home with Kas and the kids as we all get used to having Greyson here. He is doing well, and eating like a maniac and his older brother and sister enjoy talking to him and trying to please him in different ways. Kassie is recovering well, though she is still quite tired.

Angel pose

Fun things we did this past week:
  • Gem and Mineral show of Tucson - they loved it, and even braved the disgusting porter potty. Hinckley thought he surely could find something that cost nothing, so he asked me the price of everything he saw. It was so cute seeing him run around with his learning guide for gems and minerals from the National Geographic
  • Storytime with Addie at the library - she wasn’t too into any of the songs, but she loved the stories and enjoyed people watching. She also successfully navigated her way out of a few naps this week which was terrible for all of us
  • Flying a kite
  • Walking to and from preschool
  • Children’s museum in Tucson - they did ok at taking turns to choose the next room we would go to, and Hinckley really took to the music tracks I played on the way to and from Tucson and even tried singing along with some of the songs

Addie is in full revolt mode for naps and just about everything that isn't dictated by her. She is also getting quite meta as she makes many interesting statements of logic such as "I'm Addie because I'm Addie" or "I'm Owlet (character from PJ Masks) because I am!" and "I'm sick because I am sick". She has also taken to getting reactions from Hinckley by yelling and pointing at him "You are a meanie face!" and then laughing with glee as Hinckley gets upset. When I spent some time alone with her during Hinckley's preschool she made many statements asserting her independence from Hinckley's shadow such as "This is MINE, not Hincklebee's, Okaaay?!" (while pointing at her groundhog day coloring paper from storytime at the library)

Tucson Gem Show - its a big deal

Grinning at the park

Diligent homework scholar

Hinckley has become quite the helper and doesn't seem too phased by having a little brother. He enjoys finding experiments to do and continually pops off hilarious and unique statements/questions like "Addie, you have skin cells." and "You know, this has been a really long life I've had" and "I feel kinda strange without my jamies on (he was wearing day clothes) maybe it's cause I love them so much." 

We loved seeing Ryan, Caleb, and Elsie for a couple hours Saturday! The kids were in heaven, and as soon as the door opened Hinckley was grabbing at Caleb to come see his stalactite experiment we got from Bill Nye's beloved cave episode. Kassie's brother Dan and his wife and baby came in the afternoon and the kids went with them to Peter Piper's Pizza which was great for everyone. We feel so blessed to have such a great family! Thank you all for your calls and checkins. We appreciate you. 


February 10, 2018

These last few days have been full of activities. Monday we went to the group from the ward of moms and kids who play soccer and then play at the park - Hinckley had a blast playing soccer again and Addie had “a great fall” from up high on the playground under my watch. I felt terrible and I think she felt worse. That afternoon we went swimming (yay! swimming in 80 degrees in February!) and both kids had so much fun. Hinckley was in heaven jumping off the side of the pool and encouraging a friend he met there to try getting into the deeper part of the pool. I’ve really been struck with his patience and loving personality as I’ve been able to watch him interact with other kids his age lately. 

Family picture in the glow of 29 candles

On walk with the mini stroller and the roboclaw

Curious Greyson

I had a great birthday, thanks for all the kind messages and calls!
 Hinckley kept asking me if we were going to the arcade (something I promised we’d do), and his argument finally won out when he said “Common Dad, we need to go somewhere fun for your birthday!” So we did. After that there was still time to make it to the Sahuarita library for lego time where he built a rocket ship, a water ship, and a mountain tower with a trap on it — all of which went on display at the library. He presented me with two gifts "wrapped" in construction paper - one of his beloved shells from his collection and one of his rocks he got from his best friend. I felt very special. Kassie and Addie also made the day special and it was a good one! 

Lego time at the library

Exploring Mom and Dad's closet

Saturday morning I washed both the van and the Elantra with Hinckley and Addie. Hinckley said “this is the most fun thing I’ve done EVER.” Might be a slight hyperbole but he certainly seemed to enjoy himself. Addie refused a nap and we all paid for it dearly. As Greyson was screaming in the car as if someone was sawing off his leg she was screaming with her hands over her ears saying “Stop the crying, stop the baby crying!” and “He wants milky, he wants milky!” Ugh. So yes - we did go on our first family outing today with three kids. We went up to a frontier fort where they were doing things like candle-making and having a brass band play in civil war garb. Hinckley made an adobe brick and I hauled Addie around as she said she hated everything. Afterwards we went to the Cashew Cow - a vegan ice cream shop that was pretty amazing and that cheered everyone up for a few minutes before we were back into the car! 

Kassie is recovering well, and this week I head back to work. Her mom is coming in time for her birthday and we are hopeful that Greyson will begin sleeping a little more at night so Kas can at least get one full sleep cycle in . . . Greyson had his 2 week check up and he has gained back his full weight since birth and then some! He is well over 8 lbs and even grow an extra inch and a half -ish. He charms the kids and keeps us on our toes as we learn how to play zone defense. I'm sure it will only get more exciting. 

At the Cashew Cow (or "Cashew Pig" as Addie called it)

Buckled up for our first family outing with 3 kids

Little Critter

February 18, 2018

This week I went back to Intuit and Kas transitioned to life at home with three kids and all in all it went well. It was good to be back at work, though not as fun as being with those kidlings! Kassie's mom came this weekend and that has been fun. We had a fun day for Kassie's birthday including cheesecake to top it off. Valentines was also a hit for the kids as it involved lots of fun crafts, food, and other joyful events. 

Front row seat to wrestling match

A boy scholar, Owlet, and a burrito baby

Victuals from the Valentines Day Kicker

Birthday girl with family and cheesecake 

Grandma gazing

Car racing with Grandma 

Greyson continues to grow and eat and sleep (sometimes). Addie continues to be extraordinarily needy and tortuous while still maintaining a remarkable level of cuteness. It has been rainy this week which is really strange for us, and a little cold (below 70...) so we've had to stay inside a little which has taken some getting used to. 

February 25, 2018
In Tucson there is an interesting tradition of having "Rodeo Days" in which there are a bunch of Rodeo festivities and the schools shut down for two days, it is pretty amazing! Also with President's day I enjoyed a 3 day weekend with the family. 

Eating junk at Intuit

Roping the immovable Bull

We went to two events, one at Intuit on Thursday and another at the clubhouse of our community, where the kids were exposed to a variety of "fair foods" such as deep fried Oreos, large pretzels, and cotton candy. They also enjoyed some of the games and activities. Addie brushed a goat and sheep and Hinckley rode a robo-bull of some kind which threw him off onto the bouncy ground after about 3 seconds :) 

Greyson continues the newborn cycle of eating, sleeping, producing waste, and crying. There were a few better nights this week where we logged some hours of rest and few that weren't as good. We love the little guy! Addie and Hinckley continue to dote on him. Addie has been more kind and herself this week thanks to the medicine we got from the doctor - hopefully we can get rid of that ear infection once and for all. The decibel level in our house continues to rise to new records. 

Little Bro Chalupa Child (recovering from a walk in the carrier)

Dreaming 4 year old and "his" tree

Addie in her favorite seat in the entire world

Kassie returned to church today and Greyson made his debut visit, doing quite well by sleeping for most of the time. This next week is the first full week of regular schedule and so we are moving towards establishing a new "normal" with three kidlings. 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Closing Out 2017

August 27, 2017

Hinckley started preschool this week! He explained it this way, "we played on a pirate ship, slid down the slides, learned our letters from animal pictures . . .  If you ever want to go potty there, just go right down the hall. My teacher is Ms. Amber, she likes us and we love her. Her favorite color to wear is red, and her favorite color just not to wear is brown. My favorite thing to do at preschool is to make crafts. I like to eat at preschool, they have juice and popcorn. I miss Addie too, but I still like my preschool friends, and that is it!" 

First Day of Preschool - Hinckley with Addie

Friday night we went to the Ward “dance” which was essentially a ward dinner of pizza and rootbeer floats. Zach and Kylee Halvorsen were the DJs and it was fun to see them plugging songs in to see what sort of reaction it would get from all the kids. Hinckley had fun running around with glow sticks and some young boys. One teenager turned on the hall lights where they were playing, citing the fact that its dangerous for young kids to play in the dark. Hinckley nearly got in his face sputtering that the boy didn’t want them to have fun. I danced around with Addie and she really enjoyed YMCA and a few others on my shoulders. 

Hinckley is learning about letters. The other day he asked Kassie what makes the “wa” sound, she told him “W” and then he “wrote” a note with some scribble and a W and said “It says ‘I love you’!” That is when Kassie realized he was asking about the “L” sound! Cute boy. Addie hears us counting all the time and she loves to try and count along too, she usually gets to four before saying random letters and words. She has been enjoying the extra time with Kassie during Hinckley's school. 

First Tucson Temple visit

Yesterday Kassie and I went to our first session at the Tucson temple. We got back later than expected after we went to a mediterranean restaurant (which was amazing) but it took so long to drive home! When the baby sitter left, Hinckley told me “I have a crush on her”. “Who, Grace the babysitter?” “Yup!” "What does it mean to have a crush?” I asked him. “It means you love someone really really much”. “Oh” I responded. Is it possible for a 4 year old to have a crush already? 

September 3, 2017

Friday I had an unofficial day off and we drove up to Mt Lemmon to camp with the some families from the ward. We set up our new massive tent and enjoyed s’mores and visiting around the fire. In the morning Hinckley had a blast with his friends playing with sticks and rocks and so forth. Of course he found some BBs to take home as well. We had a “treasure hunt” which I hid some cosmic brownies and drew a treasure map for the kids to follow. They all had a good time it seemed. It was beautiful up in the mountains and thanks to extremely low expectations of actually sleeping we had a very good time overall. 

Books before bed - in the tent! 

John and Naomi Burnside are visiting this week as we are driving up and back to a baby blessing in Goodyear today for Dan and Sam's new baby girl. Our big news is we found out we are having a boy in January! Hinckley is pretty excited. We were initially thinking of names Grant and McKay (going with the prophet theme) but Kassie had the idea of Greyson. Get the significance? :) 

September 10, 2017

On Labor day we all got up and walked around the lake and played at the Safari Park before John and Naomi left for the airport. The kids were so sad to see them go. Hinckley was sitting with his head down like he often does when wanting to display his extreme sorrow. Addie kept saying “Grand Dad?” and looking around. They are blessed to have so many caring adults in their lives. In the afternoon we had our last day at the clubhouse waterpark (Labor day closing) and I had fun going down the slides with Hinckley. I'm amazed that he just went on them all summer without any encouragement or direction from us, they are pretty serious waterslides for a 4 year old! Addie was overjoyed to see her nursery leader and his kids there, saying coyly "Brodda Jones!!" 
Addie is talking more and more, putting together words into sentences and being adorable with everything she says. Lately she will randomly start quoting from Green Eggs and Ham saying things like "Would you in a boat? Would you could you? "Would you house? Mouse?" and then smiling really big, regardless of what we are talking about. 

Hinckley is excelling in preschool and always has something to show me from his creations in class. It is really exciting to see him have a productive way to use all that energy. He went home teaching with me and my companion today so he could play with the kids and that was a win-win-win I'd say. 

September 17, 2017

Another week gone! Last Sunday when we were going home teaching Hinckley told me he wants to be a missionary “to the Amazon river”. I’ll take that as a good omen as this is the first time he as told me that he actually would go on a mission. In the past he has always said he would never go. 
Addie is in a phase where she repeats everything she hears and it is hilarious. She is very fond of Hinckley and the other night when it was time for hugs she said “I wanna my Hinckley hug!” and stretched her arms as wide as she could fell onto of him. Kassie has been helping Hinckley practice is line for the upcoming primary program (his first!) and yesterday out of the blue Addie delivered nearly the whole line herself! It was terribly cute. See this video if you want :)

H had a blast going to the fire station with his preschool class. Addie and Kassie went too and the kids got to go inside a fire truck and an ambulance. I think they had a really fun time. Hinckley’s wall and bed are quickly gathering lots of art that he tapes (or has us tape) up from his Preschool work. It is really cute. He continues to be fascinated by creatures of the sea, and he stated yesterday that despite his love of sea animals he still wants to be a geologist. He was asking us all about the moon and rocks that are up there, he wants to study the rocks on Mars he said. He gathers rocks nearly at the rate of BBs, often calling them "geode!!" 

Hinckley and Addie with Preschool friend and Fire Truck

Loaded with Apples

Kassie took the kids to Apple Annie’s (which is like 1.5 hours away) and they picked a bunch of apples and had fun. Kassie made and canned a bunch of apple sauce from the apples they picked so that was a big task! Hinckley "helped" with peeling and cutting, and overall it was a large success. Yesterday morning we had a cartoons and cold cereal day, and introduced Hinckley to the Magic School Bus which he loved. The kids both enjoyed a knock off brand version of Marshmallow Matey's and we ate an entire box of Honey Bunches of Oats. 

September 24, 2017

This week Addie really started to talk more in her prayers. Often when it is time for prayer she’ll launch into a version of her own saying things like “Have Fadda . . . bless me . . . . Hinckley safe . . . bless Sadie . . . grandma . . . . nana “ and so forth. The other day Kassie said that Addie got scared by a dog so she said a prayer asking to be safe from the barking. The dog stopped and Addie exclaimed “Answered prayer! Answered prayer! Dog barking!” It is really something to behold. 

Hinckley's first soccer practice

This week was  Hinckley’s first soccer practice! It was amazing to watch him run around and kick with the other kids. I guess what was nuts for me was thinking about how it all started like that for me at one point, so long ago I can’t even remember it. And here he having his first ever scrimmage. He was having lots of fun, but when it came time for the scrimmage game he was more reluctant. He kicked the ball to start it off, but when a boy "pinched" him (I don't know how that happened) Hinckley exploded into tears. Fortunately they played a game of duck duck goose at the end and as we left Hinckley said "I love soccer!" His first game is next Saturday. 
Friday Kassie and I went on a date to Lovin’ Spoons (a WFPB friendly restaurant) and then to Unscrewed Theater - an improve comedy show with family friendly options. It was a fun date and we both laughed a lot. Laughing at myself is something I really want to improve on. So much of my 28 years have been stoked with self-importance and an undying drive to grow up faster than is natural. I need to stop that before I really am grown up and can’t ever go back!

Yesterday we went to Tucson Symphony Orchestra “Just for Kids” event where they put on Peter and the Wolf. Addie and Hinckley were SUPER into it for the first two songs, and then they basically shut down. We had to leave early. That being said, I am really glad we made it. I want to ensure we continue to make it to events like that. This afternoon I took them swimming and then we had dinner together while Kassie went to the Women’s broadcast (general conference next week). 

Potty training? Not quite yet. 

October 1, 2017

The other evening Addie and I were at home while Kassie and Hinckley went to cub scouts. Addie and her baby “said the prayer” and as I helped her I asked that she bless Grandpa Halvorsen. She bumbled a few other words first but eventually said “Bless me Grandpa Haveson”. I thought about Grandpa and the pain and confusion and extraordinary troubling time this seems to be for him, and how difficult it must be for Mom (and all) to see him like this. It was sweet to hear Addie's prayer. 

Seeing Hinckley’s first ever soccer game yesterday was awesome. He had a blast running around, chasing the ball, scoring 2 goals and blocking another, and learning. He got a new jersey for it and in the middle of the game he called out from mid field whether he could take it home or not. His facial expressions and manner of celebrating after a good play were downright hilarious. He would point his finger in a number 1 and smile and then high five with some of his team mates. Once he and a team member were trying to high five but kept missing and as they kept attempting the opposing team carried the ball right past them and nearly into the goal! Ha ha ha

The other morning Hinckley was saying he wanted a Stir Fry smoothy and I was so confused. The more we talked through it I realized he was trying to say “Surf Rider” - the flavor from Jamba Juice! We made a smoothie and he really enjoyed it. He is learning to adapt to Addie who is talking more. She walks around chattering, saying anything he says including things like "actually" :) He was trying to count in the car today as we drove home from the Tucson temple grounds. He would start counting and she would launch into all the numbers she could think, it was too much for him. Speaking of counting, H and A played together the other night, hide and seek. It was hilarious to hear Addie counting - “1 . . . 3. . . 5 . . . 2 . . .” and then squealing with insane delight at seeing Hinckley behind the chair. As I cleaned up the kitchen and listened to them playing I was grinning ear to ear. What a blessing those kids are, though it isn’t easy being a father, I feel deep gratitude for being able to catch a glimpse of how Heavenly Father must feel about all of us. 

Visiting the temple between General Conference Sessions


October 10, 2017

We got back from beautiful San Diego this afternoon and as we pulled up into garage the super tired/grumpy/cute Addie said, "we at Uncle Ryan house?" When the answer was "no" she changed to a higher key and went to double forte with her tantrum. We are all feeling a similar sadness to be done with our short visit :)

Grandpa, Greg, Addie, Nana (in that order)

At the aquarium 

Searching for shells with cousin Annie

Eating in Old Town San Diego

Ryan and Nicki and their kids were great hosts. We enjoyed a variety of activities and I think the highlight for Kassie and I was seeing how much fun Hinckley and Addie had both with their cousins and also with the unique activities San Diego offers. It was a grand trip and wonderful to see Mom and Dad too for a little. 

October 15, 2017

Hard to believe October is already half way over, woah. It feels like fall time between the hours of 7:00 pm and about 9:00 am, it feels great to have a little coolness in the air. 

Hinckley is learning to read! The other day I sat with him and for the first time I saw and heard him read through a full book on his own! Granted it was a level one book and could hardly be called a book, but still - what an accomplishment for a pre-k kid. I know I wasn’t that advanced at his age. He was pretty excited about it. On Friday I left work a little early so we could go to Hinckley’s soccer game. It was so nice to go in the evening with the shadows covering us and a nice cool breeze. He ran quite a lot but seemed to be repelled by the ball through some magnetic force! It is so funny to watch them play, and at times frustrating too. At least he is having fun.

Addie's vocabulary continues to develop as she parrots everything any of us says, it is pretty funny. Common phrases are, "Not again!", "Where's my Hinckley? (or Mommy or Daddy)", "It's alright, Hinckley!" and my favorite, “I love Daddy, very much!” She also loves to sing and pray, and goes bananas when she sees animals or babies of any kind. Lately she has also been pointing at any sort of picture (including signs on the side of the road) and trying to identify where each of our family members are in the picture. For example, there was a sign for pedestrians walking dogs and she pointed at it and said "Daddy!" then she said, "Where is Mommy? Where is Hinckley?" it is pretty cute. 

October 22, 2017

Hinckley is becoming more helpful and easier to manage. Kassie made the comment the other day that for the first time it seems Hinckley is actually getting less difficult to live with than ever before. This may be a temporary hiatus, but we’ll enjoy it while it lasts! There are certainly still lots of tears and strong opinions. He got two little sticky rubber skeleton guys from pre-school and he LOVES them. He named them Jelly and Blue, and he tucked them into bed this evening (the plastic Dracula jaws on his dresser is the bed, and they have a "gravestone" next to them) and even kissed them goodnight. They were helpful too, he “flew” them around the room making helicopter sounds as they “helped” pick up toys this evening. Hilarious. 

Addie got a little window sticky decal stuck in her nose ( I think it was Frankenstien’s eye?). They were chewing on cinnamon sticks that Kassie was grinding up, and Kassie thought that Addie had got a stick up her nose! I’m glad it worked out, Addie ended up sneezing out the thing so she wasn’t in any major danger. Kassie lost her wedding band only to find it later. They had said a prayer and the kids were so worried about it, and when she found it Addie said “Jesus found it!” Addie has recently exhibited some strong opinions and words, perhaps due to sickness?... She frequently yells “stop!” at us when adults talk to one another on any subject. However, she does get into singing moods and likes to launch into her rain song which hasn’t deviated from the single word “Rain” which she sings over and over again, only to pause and demand, “Hinckley, listen to me!” 

Kassie's Mom came in to town late Thursday night and the kids had a wonderful time playing/reading/crafting with her every spare minute. Grandparents are sure great!

Sabino Canyon with Grandma

Count Hinckley

Yesterday we went to Hinckley’s soccer game and watched him chase the ball with his team. The other team had a kid who looked to be about 6 or 7 years old. He got like 2 hat tricks and it was another punishing defeat. Fortunately Hinckley and his team mates had a blast regardless, running around tripping on each other and getting distracted by bugs and all sorts of other things. Watching 3-4 year olds play soccer is one of the most hilariously frustrating activities I’ve ever engaged in. The kids will just keep kicking and running with the ball forever unless an adult catches up to them and picks up the ball. There really isn’t any sense for what “out of bounds” means. 
After the game and nap time we buckled up and went to the pumpkin patch. It was the biggest event of its kind I’ve ever seen, with jumping activities, multiple train rides and events, a zip line next to a touring mountain of hay. Addie liked the petting zoo and Hinckley suffered some drama thanks to kids cutting in line and a stressed out employee who snapped at him and grabbed his leg. Overall it was a major success. We road a tractor wagon to the actual patch and picked out some pumpkins to keep. Dan and Sam met us there and brought Delilah who was asleep for some of the time. The kids were extremely tired after we finished but it all worked out. 

Two pumpkins and a baby bump

Riding cars with Hinckley and Dad

Grandma, Addie, Cousin Lilah, and Hinckley

On the a tractor 

October 29, 2017

Hinckley has been entranced by Hotel Transylvania 2 and likes to pretend to be a zombie. He is super into Halloween this year. Kassie said Addie has been acting extra cranky lately, even demanding that the pictures in her room be taken down and coloring on the table with markers. Once I returned home from a work trip this was verified on multiple occasions. I arrived home from Reno in the nick of time to get in the van and go to the ward Trunk or Treat gathering at the church. We had chili and rolls in the cultural center first, and then went out to the parking lot after. Hinckley and Addie were decked out in their pirate customs and were as cute as ever. I handed out little bouncy balls and other Halloween trinkets. The kids were in heaven.

Trunk or Treat

Hinckley and his friend James

Kassie realized that the last time we went geocaching was before we owned smartphones, and for some reason we thought we would need a high tech GPS before being able to do that again…well that was wrong! Downloading the app opened the new world to our family and we went out this afternoon and found 2 caches. Hinckley loved it of course! Addie wasn’t as much of a fan, but with me entertaining and distracting her I think it was good enough.

November 5, 2017

With Mom and Grandpa H in town this week we've enjoyed seeing them a few times! On Monday evening we carved pumpkins and enjoyed some apple cider. During scriptures near the end of the night we read the story of Jesus teaching his disciples to pray and we shared some experiences and helped the kids remember times they have had prayers answered. Mom shared a time about losing a few coins as a young girl at the store and Hinckley and Addie were really interested. It is a blessing having Mom here to visit, and I’m glad Grandpa H could visit Lorraine too. I loved seeing Hinckley and Addie’s total joy at lighting up the carved pumpkins. They were literally jumping up at down on Halloween eve as we did everything, and Hinckley even made up a few songs and sung them to us which is highly unusual. 

    In the car and now at home Addie has been demanding "goblin music" which just means orchestral music with me narrating stories. If I stop talking as the music plays she’ll yell out “What is happening?!” and I have to report what the goblins are doing now. The other morning I played The Hall of the Mountain King for them, some Mahler pieces, and finished with a tune from Gladiator and The Village and they got a kick out of that. The kids had a fun day by going to Hinckley’s preschool Halloween party with Addie, Kassie, and Nana. They had a blast! Zach and Kylee along with Mom, Grandpa and Lorraine came for dinner and between answering the door to trick-or-treaters and bites of delicious soup we were able to enjoy a good visit. The great pumpkin came on Halloween night and took the rest of the kids candy and left them some big bouncing balls to play with . . . . we’ll see if they regret sacrificing their candy or not! 

    Yesterday we had Hinckley’s soccer game in the morning which Mom was able to attend. The weather was downright amazing! I hope this is what we are in for for the next 6 months or so. After nap time we buckled up and drove out to the desert museum. It was really fun to see the variety of animals, cactus, and so forth and to be there with Mom and Grandpa H and Lorraine. The kids loved the activities there, especially the rocks and dino digging areas. We saw a black bear which Addie loved, and the kids were especially amazed and delighted by the ground hogs as one of them actually seem to wave back! I got to go eat dinner with Mom at Manual’s (Grandpa H's favorite place he always recommends to me) in Green Valley. For the first time in I don’t know how many years, I had a meal alone with Mom. No interruptions, or particular occasion to celebrate. It was remarkable! The fajitas were really good too :)

    Javelina riding

    Conquering the turtle

    Hinckley's vulture wingspan

    November 12, 2017

    Early this week we bid farewell to Nana. It was a special treat to have her here many of the evenings these last many days. Friday I had off due to Veteran’s day. We went up to Madera Canyon in the morning and enjoyed the beautiful somewhat fall-time weather. We saw some butterflies, birds, and other creatures. Hinckley brought a little checklist from preschool (they had gone up the canyon the day before) and he marked off things as we saw them such as trees, birds, clouds, and so forth. It wasn’t very crowded and it was really peaceful up there. In the afternoon we went swimming while Kassie went to the temple. Hinckley spent most of the time trying to find seedpods in the pool as some had fallen from nearby trees. It is pretty odd to be swimming in the same afternoon as going up a mountain canyon where we needed to wear jackets in a few spots of shade. Not our typical November experience, but I suppose it is now! 

    Swimming in November

    Hiking in the mountains the same day

    Yesterday Kassie's brother Dan and his wife Sam arrived around lunch time and we walked around the lake with them. The kids adored their baby Lilah and were very cute in cooing and talking to her. Dan and Same took the kids to dinner and an activity at the Museum of Curiosity while Kas and I went to a U of A Football game with tickets from Intuit. We had a fun time seeing the local tailgate parties, which take on a whole new meaning from anything I ever saw as such a thing. I guess alcohol makes most of the difference. 

    Jimmy Johns Food during the pregame
    Addie got some sort of sickness and she hasn't been sleeping well. It is amazing what a non-sleeping kid can do to remind one (such as myself) the significant blessings of a regular uninterrupted sleep. I'll need a few more of those reminders before baby #3 comes in January I suppose :) Hinckley had an epic soccer game yesterday, he really got in there and kicked the ball a few times which was so exciting to see. On Wednesday it was raining a little and the coach cancelled practice with some of the kids being sick, so Hinckley and I went to the field and practiced together anyway. It was so fun! And I think that was my first time playing soccer in the rain in over 10 years. 

    November 19, 2017

    This week for FHE Kassie led a lesson on bearing testimonies. It was extremely cute to see Hinckley and Addie practice bearing their testimonies in front of us. They took turns holding a toy flashlight as if it were the mic and they said a few words of testimony. Also this week our doula came for our first appointment to go over everything. Kassie is doing pretty well and the little fellow inside her seems to be getting eager for life each day (lots of kicking and jumping around into uncomfortable positions). 

    The week flew by and I enjoyed fun moments with both the kids. They are learning to deal with Daddy's odd singing habits (yes, I can't stop even as as father with grave duties and all that). Hearing Addie and Hinckely sing the wrong lyrics to songs that I taught them (or collaborated on with them) is a delight. The other day we were singing the Taylor Swift song “I don’t wanna live forever” and instead of saying "Give me something, but you give me nothin'" I sing “Tell me somethin’ and they respond with gusto "belly button.” Hearing the kids sing this is beyond hilarious.

    Hinckley had his final soccer game of the season Saturday and did great! He was goalie for most of the time and had some saves. He really learned a ton this season, and it was a blast watching him. After the game (and some cupcakes for him and Addie provided by team parents) we went up to Tucson to see a trio from the Tucson Symphony. The kids did pretty well, Hinckley especially was more in to it compared with last time. Addie averaged about 3.5 meltdowns for the the total experience which I can't say if that was high or low but she has certainly begun acting the part of terrible 2. At 2:30 a.m. this morning she shouted out with glee, "ready to wake up!!" ugh. 

    November 26, 2017

    This week we went up to Phoenix for Thanksgiving and enjoyed some wonderful time with Granny & Grandpa as well as Mom and Dad and other family. It is fun to have the kids sleeping in the everlasting bunkbed room, and we enjoyed a short walk to see the animals that are just East of 6148 (thought about Ryan and Nicki taking Sophie on Sunday walks). The meal itself was at Steven's house and it was wonderful to see all those good people and catch up with a few that I haven't talked to in a long time. On Friday we went up to North Mountain and enjoyed the sun and walking with the kids. In the afternoon we met Bekah and her daughters at the Scottsdale train park with Mom and Dad. After some fun train rides and more swinging we met Granny, Grandpa, and Karen at the Mesa Cemetery and saw where some of the Williams are buried (Alma, Orval, David Daniel, and others). It was pretty neat! 

    At the train park in Scottsdale with cousins

    In good company

    Games at Granny's with Nana

    The kids had a wonderful time with 4 grandparents doting on them, and we had a good time too. As soon as we got home on Saturday we pulled out all the Christmas stuff and despite the estimated 90 degree + weather today . . . it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Hinckley and I went to see Coco during Addie's nap time and I really enjoyed it. He thought it was ok, his main interest was the skeletons. I highly recommend the movie to everyone, it was a really moving story about the power of remembering our ancestors. Kassie commented to me that she learned a lot about my family history during our visit to 6148, and it really was a wonderful time to hear stories that Granny and Grandpa have. We come from a very rich heritage of people, and it is great to be reminded of that. 

    Gratitude tree

    4 grandparents and lots of love

    December 3, 2017

    This week Addie began potty training. When I came home from work on Monday she opened the door to the garage and was standing in only her undies and a shirt jumping up and down with glee and a huge smile on her face. She has been doing really well with only a couple accidents thus far. Hats off to Kassie for the planning, time, and energy for this endeavor. Hinckley loves it because every time Addie uses the potty they both get a "potty treat" and it is a bit alarming at his demotion to this ritual. Often she doesn't remember or even seem interested in a treat, but he is always there at her elbow whispering to her "need to potty Addie? We get a potty treat!" 

      We are into Christmas mode full throttle. The Christmas decorations are going up in our neighborhood, the radio is filled with the regulars, and we have the Christmas books out and are reading those most evenings. The kids loved the Grinch (thinking of you Millie!) and the other day in the car out of the blue Addie said “I’m a Grinch! I stole Christmas! ha ha ha” with her evil laugh she and Hinckley picked up during Halloween season. She is certainly a very cute Grinch. Yesterday we drove up to Marana (town just north of Tucson) to their city Christmas festival and enjoyed bounce houses, Christmas crafts, some kettle corn, and . . . real snow! They had a little area with snowblowers and kids could walk around in it. Someone erected a tiny mound and there were two sleds so kids could "sled" about 3 feet if they wanted. Hinckley had a blast and got himself drenched, Addie had fun looking for little bits of ice. It was 81 degrees :)

      Addie is potty trained! 

      We also had our ward Christmas party on Friday. Hinckley had a wonderful time running free with the wild pack of children ranging from the ages of 3 to 8 as they terrorized the back half of the gym, Addie sat on my lap and tried not to fall asleep. At the conclusion of our new bishop's remarks and some singing of Christmas songs, we made the mad scramble for Santa. The line turned out to be the crucible of patience I've been needing (but not wanting) and after about 45 sweaty scream-filled minutes the kids sat on the Jolly old elf's lap. They loved it!

      Hinckley in the "snow"

      Addie in the "snow"

      With the Jolly Old Elf

      December 10, 2017

      This week the kids really got into the Grinch after watching the movie. Hinckley turned to me the other night and with great excitement said, “There are two Christmas monsters! The abominable snow monster and the Grinch!” This morning they each pretended like they were one of these creatures as they played on the couch making snow caves and traps for the whos of Whoville. Last night we took the kids to a hay ride (basically riding in a trailer behind a truck) through a small neighborhood in Green Valley to see lights and decorations followed by hot chocolate. They really enjoyed it! 

      Addie's potty training continues to go pretty well as she is learning to recognize when she has to go and to prompt us to take her. She has been a little sick this week which has disrupted her sleeping a bit but we think she will be good enough for church today though she is currently in open revolt to napping... Yesterday she was being so cute with her teddy bear. In the morning she held him up on the table so he could see out the window saying, “Look Teddy, look at the sunrise!” She also made sure he had a place to sit at the table and had food to eat.  Hinckley enjoys playing with friends and finding new ways to convince us to give him treats and junk food (including his strong feelings that he is entitled to Addie's potty treat when she successfully uses the toilet). He is developing his imagination more by coming up with stories and with toys which is fun to watch. 

      December 17, 2017

      This week was busy with lots of different activities. On Monday I went with a group of college students from Santa Clara university and the Tucson organization Borderlinks down to the Mexico border. We parked in the bush and walked for what felt like a very long time (3.5 miles) up a wash area till we got to the spot. It was surprisingly simple, just a wooden fence with barbed wire, very small. We learned about some of the issues migrants face as they try to come to the US. It is a very complex issue with many points of view from all sides, but I agree with this organization that we don’t need to allow that complexity to get in the way of at least helping people stay alive (over 7,000 corpses have been found in the Arizona desert in the last decade or two). I brought my video equipment and am making a small video for Borderlinks' website as a part of my volunteer hours Intuit gives me to use each year.

      Another big thing this week was an two day conference with my team and another team that we work with often. With 4 new designers on the team, including me and my manager, there have been lots of issues come up between our two teams in how we work. It was a highly charged environment but ultimately I think it was successful. 

      On Friday, we had Dad with us as we drove around the Living Nativity program that a local church puts on. It is a neat event where you drive around the neighborhood, listening to a CD with Christmas music and narration. You make stops at different houses that have the garage door open with people acting out a scene that is narrated on the CD (so you never have to get out of the car). The kids really liked it despite that it was hard to for them to see out of the car and they had to go potty (the complementary hot chocolate and apple cider at the beginning kicked in fairly quick). 

      Yesterday we went up to Sabino Canyon and went hiking. It was wonderful weather though the open air trolley that drove us up to the trail head was a little chilly we had a great time. In the evening a babysitter came and Kassie and I went to the Intuit Christmas party. We saw some of my peers and enjoyed the extremely classy food. We had a fun night!

      December 31, 2017

      We had a wonderful and memorable Christmas. The kids slept in later than ever before, and by the time they woke we were all ready to get started. Hinckley went nuts over all the presents, especially the gem digging kit Kassie gave him and the robotic bugs Dan (Kassie's brother) got him. It was hilarious though how much he just wanted to eat candy. He would stop all he was doing just to grab some candy the caught his eye. He had a blast. Addie also enjoyed opening presents and loved her wooden doll-dressing kit Kassie got and the baby gear and tutus. They both really enjoyed everything they got (a ton of stuff) and it was really fun watching them play with it all and be so excited. 

      Family Christmas 

      Daddy's girl

      Holding hands in the car

      Poor Addie had a double ear infection and she has been droopy and down for most of the holiday. All she wants is to be held, and she nearly falls asleep when I do hold her. We finished up the main holiday with the Burnsides and we played some games, went to the A mountain and did some geocaching, and then Kassie and I went to Star Wars before picking up some Chinese take out. 

      We went to the children's museum in downtown Tucson on Saturday, and the kids had a lot of fun. We purchased a year-long pass there and I expect to be going many more times in the future. With Christmas over the fact that baby #3 is almost here is much more real! We plan to take down all the Christmas stuff tomorrow (Monday) and get out the baby stuff such as the car seat and so forth. Happy near year!