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December 30th, 2013 · by map · No Comments

Well, it finally happened. Meet Teddy, the latest — and hopefully last — addition to our merry band.

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That mug

December 18th, 2013 · by map · No Comments

Emmett’s at the age now where it’s damn difficult to get him to do a plain ol’ smile without him immediately lapsing into some ridiculous face. Sometimes those faces are better than a plain ol’ smile. Mostly not. Behold:

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Highly decorated

December 2nd, 2013 · by map · No Comments

Not much breathing room this year between Thanksgiving and December. Leah made the executive decision to do all the holiday decorating this past weekend, and so that’s what we did. The weather was unseasonably warm, which made picking up our tree and balsam roping hardly chores at all. Almost before I knew it, the tree was up and trimmed, the lights were up on the front of the house, and all Leah’s interior decorations were placed.

Perhaps not surprisingly in all this hustle and bustle, Emmett got the idea that December = Christmas, so he was eagerly looking all over for presents to open. We convinced him that he’d need to settle for the little trinkets his mom puts in the advent calendar, at least until Christmas morning. He was a bit crestfallen at the news, but he’s now changed focus to counting out the days on the advent calendar over and over. I sure hope Santa makes all this waiting worthwhile for him!

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The house guest

November 25th, 2013 · by map · No Comments

We watched Tristan over the weekend while his mom went off to Dubuque to take spa treatments with her husband for her birthday. Tristan is an agreeable fellow, nearly always ready with a smile and a laugh and a hug. So it was with no small amount of wonder on my behalf that Rachel and Kevin were willing to leave their precious in the same house with our two kids for a day and a half. I can only presume we were their last resort.


On balance, everything went well. Emmett got his first real taste of what Ava’s been experiencing for the last four years; being the adorable baby of the family is a pretty sweet gig! We still have enough trucks and action figures and Legos and blocks and train tracks lying around the house that Tristan was never at a loss for something to do. And at snack time, he and Emmett enjoyed taking in some Winnie the Pooh on the big screen (pictured).
ECP tld agp when it starts to snowBW

Tristan did a great job going to — and staying — asleep, with only a short crying jag at 2, when he missed his dada. But Leah got him right back to sleep, and all three kids woke up just about the same time on Sunday morning. Even changing the occasional diaper wasn’t that bad (yes, I just said that!). That said, nothing about the weekend made me the least bit wistful for our own two-year-old days.

It was nice to help Rachel celebrate her birthday, if indirectly, particularly since it meant the cousins got to spend some time getting to know each other better. After all, it’s going to be a while now before she and Kevin have a chance to get off by themselves, even just as far away as Dubuque.

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November 18th, 2013 · by map · 4 Comments

Leah’s been gently pressured by a member of her family who shall remain nameless that she should really be recording all the funny, cute, or otherwise notable things Emmett says and does so as to have a record of them.

I encouraged my wife to avail herself of the user account she has on this blog and jot those memories down herself, but it turns out she’s paralyzed by the prospect of releasing any writing into the wild that wouldn’t breeze through the editorial gauntlet at The New Yorker on the first try. I have no such qualms, so, here we go….

Mainly, we’ve been having fun listening to Emmett’s mispronunciations of words his mouth doesn’t yet know how to say. Chief among them this fall has been acorn, which Emmett pronounces “eh-corn.” Also, he leaves the y off year and just says “ear.” Which can be confusing for the listener but still entertaining.

And this morning, the teacher in Emmett’s room at school took me aside to say that the class was having a talk earlier about Native Americans, during which Emmett was the only one to pipe up with the correct answer when the teacher had asked if anyone knew what the name of the apparatus the Native Americans used to carry their babies. I’m only glad he didn’t confuse his answer with the American rapper of the same name. I was at a loss to say how Emmett knew that information, but I suspect it has to do with all the L.I. Wilder his mother has been reading to him recently.

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November 18th, 2013 · by map · No Comments

I went to pick up Emmett for an appointment today. After strapping him into his seat and getting underway, I asked, “So, how’s your day been going?” To which I got, “It’s a long story. And there’s no short version.”

Precocious little scamp.

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October 28th, 2013 · by map · No Comments

If I were better versed in child development, I could tell you the name of whatever stage Emmett is in at the moment. It’s characterized by fugue-like fits of hyperactivity and, alternately, periods of intense creative focus. Lately, the creative periods are filled either with coloring or completing puzzles.

In Decorah over the weekend, Emmett and I found a sale on Melissa & Doug items and picked up a 100-piece puzzle for $11. It’s pretty cool. The main selling point was that the completed puzzle would be longer than Emmett is tall, a promise that spurred us into action the minute we got back to G.G.’s house. It’s a lot of fun to work on puzzles with Emmett; he really gets involved in putting things together, and you can almost hear his brain working away as he surveys a floor covered in pieces. We’re only up to 100 pieces so far, but Emmett insists he’s ready for the jump to 1,000 pieces. Maybe I can talk him into a 300- or 500-piece puzzle along the way.

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October 25th, 2013 · by map · 2 Comments

Ava wants a dog. Between getting home from school and my arrival home from work yesterday, Ava plastered every door upstairs with small posters depicting sad puppies and including phrases like, “Daughters need dogs!,” and “Puppies need love too!”

AGP wants a dog

I was not swayed. Which, of course, resulted in another of Ava’s tantrums. I reminded her that the trial run with her hamster wasn’t exactly turning out as I’d hoped. Also, dogs need a lot of attention and care, food, medicine, exercise, etc., etc. I told Ava that she could start saving money now if she wants a dog, and that maybe she should let her grandparents know what she’s up to so they don’t bother getting her any Christmas gifts this year. She quickly got on the horn to Grandpa Chuck and let him know what’s up.

Leah and I both had dogs growing up, and I owned a dog for 13 years as an adult. But now that I have kids, I find myself disinclined to also live with another creature in the house. Not to mention imposing on someone to watch the thing when we go out of town (or paying for a kennel during those times). Dogs are fine, really, but I’m exasperated at the thought of bringing one into our home.

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Big boy

October 9th, 2013 · by map · No Comments

Last night was the first night Emmmett didn’t sleep in a pull-up. Really, he probably could’ve done away with them a couple weeks ago, but last night’s milestone represents his parents’ willingness to strip his bed in the middle of the night and clean his sheets as often as they need to rather than buy more diapers. In honor of his achievement, I present to you Emmett’s smile of pride this morning as we left for school:

ECP big dude

Trust me. It’s a smile of pride.

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First of fourth

August 21st, 2013 · by map · No Comments

Our little AGP was all dolled up and eager this morning as she headed off to her doomed elementary school for another year of the Three Rs. She got the teacher she wanted (he disciplines through niceness, apparently), and she even has a couple friends in her class of 24 students. I’m hoping her enthusiasm carries through at least until this Friday.

Agp first day fourth grade

agp ecp first day fourth grade

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…and the livin’ is easy

July 3rd, 2013 · by map · No Comments

Leah recently took the kids to the pool for the first time this year. It’s still early enough that the water is a tad on the chilly side, but even a chilly day at the pool is better than a warm day sitting at home on the sofa. Amiright? Photo by LMK.

AGP ECP poolside

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July 1st, 2013 · by map · No Comments

We headed up north to Decorah last month for a rainy, yet fun, visit. G.G. and Poom Poom even turned on the AC for us! Thought I’d take a moment to share some select photos from the weekend, for your viewing pleasure.

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Ground control to ECP

May 30th, 2013 · by map · No Comments

The other day we received a fairly large box that contained some items to adorn Emmett’s room, now that it’s been painted, and his new bed has been installed. As usual, the space in the box not containing our adornments was filled with rolls and rolls of bubble wrap. If there’s one thing I hate only slightly less than I hate Styrofoam packing peanuts, it’s bubble wrap.
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Whole lotta love

May 23rd, 2013 · by map · No Comments

The big news at the house this week is that ECP is moving from his little Big Boy bed to his big Big Boy bed (with robots!). I spent most of the week patching some water damage in one corner of Emmett’s room and re-painting the entire thing in preparation for the arrival of his new furniture. In case I’ve never mentioned it here before, I hate painting. Absolute least favorite thing to do. That said, I think the room turned out OK, even if it looks just like it did before I started. I’m glad it’s done.

I’d also like to present a couple pics of the kids from the last couple weeks. If I had to get saddled with two kids for the rest of my life, I suppose I could’ve done a lot worse than these two.

ECP MKP porch1

Agp and Hana

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Assorted shots

May 6th, 2013 · by map · No Comments

Spring is springing, at last. It’s been awesome to be able to get outside and work in the yard and even just sit and enjoy an ice cream cone. This past weekend we helped Tristan celebrate his second birthday. I think it’s safe to say a good time was had by all. And especially Tristan. It was a bit rainy, but the water didn’t dampen the boy’s spirits.

This coming weekend we’ll be off to Decorah for Mother’s Day, if all goes according to plan. And why wouldn’t it…?

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MN paints

March 25th, 2013 · by map · No Comments

Over spring break this year, we took a couple days and traveled to Minneapolis with Leah’s mom. Rachel, Kevin, and Tristan came, too. The trip was, ostensibly, to help celebrate G.G.’s birthday, but we spent the bulk of the time carting the kids around to various kid-friendly venues for their entertainment. One such venue was the Minnesota Children’s Museum in St. Paul, which is cool and, like children’s museums everywhere, packed to the gills on a cold Saturday morning. But packed to the gills means nothing to kids, so long as there’s easy access to the face painting station. Ava was eager to do her own thing:

Agp paints

While Emmett requested his mom’s assistance to create a T Rex on his cheek:
ECP face paint

We also made it to the Science Museum of Minnesota and, of course, the Mall of America, where Ava visited the American Girl store, and Emmett picked up some sweet kits at the Lego store.

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ECP @ Three

March 20th, 2013 · by map · No Comments

Leah likes to say that she was never sure whether she could love a boy child like she loves Ava. As a boy, I understand. There is something sugar and spice and all that’s nice about Ava, as difficult as she can be sometimes. And Emmett’s different.

ECP scrunch

Of course, he has the advantage of being in the midst of three. And it still makes sense in his world to lean over in the middle of book time and plant a kiss on his mother’s hand and say, “I love you.” There is no pretense. As yet, no dissembling.

Which is no claim that he’s perfect. In the midst of his not-infrequent fits of pique, I find myself wondering what I’d think of a child I did not know who was behaving similarly. And I judge Emmett harshly.


Mostly, though, I find myself scooping him up off the floor and looking into his face as he tells me the story of his day. I look for myself in him as he reels off his tales of dinosaurs and classmates and snacks and the art projects he insists we keep safe for him. And I see myself, briefly. Amidst glimpses of his mother. But mostly I see Emmett. Sweet, earnest, talkative Emmett.

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I can’t get enough

March 7th, 2013 · by map · No Comments

I sort of halfway resolved at the beginning of the year to take more pictures of the kids. So far, this has meant taking more pictures of Emmett. Here’s a shot of him from this morning, when he wanted to show off the contraption he’d made out of Tinkertoys (well, OK, he was *encouraged* to show off the contraption he’d made out of Tinkertoys). Really, it didn’t take much coaxing.

ecp constructing

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ECP’s new ‘do

March 5th, 2013 · by map · 4 Comments

Emmett recently got what I’m calling his first real haircut. Prior to this, Leah had taken him in for a series of “trims” that required him to visit the salon every other week. Untenable. I requested that his next visit result in a more substantial cut, and so we got what we now have, which I like. He looks like a real little boy now!

ecp post cut

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Moment of cuteness

February 18th, 2013 · by map · No Comments

Agp tree

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