Sunday, November 6, 2016

Day 56: The End.

So this is the end.

For those of you joining late, here's a recap:

On September 11, 2016, I had a beautiful daughter named Betty.

My job is nice, and I got 7 weeks (well, 6, then one) off with baby and family.

You can read about the story starting here.

You can also read the story of when Sabrina was born (January 9, 2011) and my time with her here.

I have two smart, amazing daughters and a wonderful son.  Our life is pretty great. The past 50-odd days have been legendary.

At some point just before going to bed last night, we realized that Daylight Savings time was happening, and that we got an extra hour in the process tonight. We didn't change our clocks, but the extra hour was nice.

I spent the extra hour loading up some USB drives with some hard-to-find music for David to take home with him.

In the morning, we all got ready for church and enjoyed the extra hour it took to get us all ready.

At church, I brought a microphone and Jen's loop pedal and had the kids singing thanksgiving rounds with themselves. It was pretty chaotic, and the looper only worked as advertised occasionally, but a fun time was had by all.

After church, instead of Mario Kart, David opted on a fun game of Ticket to Ride and some chips and Queso (pronounced "kwee-zoh") with Jen and I. We had a lot of fun, but the clock said David had to go to the airport soon.

So, we packed up and headed out. There were some dramatic goodbyes-- Sabrina LOVED having David here. He talked to her about PONIES!

So, we did the long drive to the airport. Note that my usual Sunday post-singing-time nap was absent. I'm a martyr, I know....

After dropping David off at the airport, I checked my texts. Jen texted me reminding me that we never changed our clocks for Daylight Savings Time, so David was an hour early to the airport. Grr... I envy David and his Arizonan too-good-for-daylight-savings ways.

Anyways, a very long drive back to Salem later, I came home. Since the kids were occupied, Jen and I sat at the computer and tried our best to make a somewhat educated guess in terms of voting.

I have lots of political opinions, but one that seems to come out these days (aside from all the nonsense in the presidential race) is that the Initiative and Referendum system is very stupid. Referendums-- it's the legislature's job to make and decide on laws. Why would they ask the people to vote on them? That's like asking us to do your job. Come on, people. Initiatives-- let's let ANYBODY write a law! Doesn't have to be well-written or constitutional. None of us voters can tell the difference anyways! basically, if I'm not sure on a measure, default vote is NO.

After filling out our ballots, and finally assuaging a screaming Betty, I sat in the chair to read my book and listen to the latest mixes of our album, and prompty fell deeply asleep.

When I awoke, it was time to put Edgar and Sabrina to bed. Then, it was time to dye my hair. For the third? fourth? fifth? time since Betty was born.
Here's the last of my midnight-blue hair, next to my twin, Ludwig Von Koopa.


Not that you can really tell,but I think my hair is finally black.

Betty managed to go to bed in her bassinet tonight without nursing herself to sleep or crying herself to sleep; This is a big deal, and a big step towards normalcy of sleep for the whole family. We've discovered that she will sleep through constant noise, loud music, etc., but if it is silent, then any tiny noise will startle her. We're still trying to figure out how to work with that.

Jen and I watched an episode of Murder, She Wrote while my hair cooked.

Now that it's way past my bedtime, should I summarize my time off like I did last time? I feel like I didn't learn as many lessons this time, as much as reinforced what I already knew:

1. I still love naps.  (enough said.)

2. Kids get easier as they get older. It was SUPER TOUGH five years ago, when we had two kids under the age of two. Either we are way more capable parents, or it's easier to have one baby plus a 5 and 7 year old.
It helps when you can get them to change diapers.

3. Babies are cute.
Just look at her!
4. Changing your hair color is fun, easy, and rewarding. if only my work would take a less dim view of it...

5. Nope, I still don't miss work. I mean, don't get me wrong. If it weren't for this awesome job, I wouldn't have gotten all this time to spend with the kids. Nevertheless, I could make this permanent, if somehow the funding were to become available...

6. Projects? fuhgeddaboudit. We learned this when Sabrina was born. You can have adventures with a new baby, but don't expect to accomplish anything that you've been putting off.

7. Given enough warning, chocolate, and space, you can avoid the postpartum crazies. Jen still got a bit hormonal and weird around day 4 or 5 this time around, but we surrounded ourselves with friends and support, and made sure not to make any permanent decisions within a few days of childbirth. This may have saved our marriage (=

8. A good marriage is a partnership. We make a pretty good team-- we each support each others' weaknesses and fill in when the other needs a nap.

9. Tonsillectomies are hard. Scheduling them with a new baby may work well for the calendar, and for having support around, but it still asking for trouble.

10. Family leave is important. Apparently, this is a political issue. I'm so glad that I was able to be a support system to my family and welcome our new baby into the world. It would have been a hardship for us because we don't have parents or another support system close by. I simultaneously admire and pity the folks who do this without such benefits. I'm glad my employer is kind enough about that. It embarrasses me to live in a country where there are millions of less fortunate folks whose employers are JERKS and won't do that for them. I'm in support of legislating mandatory paid parental leave for both parents. It will make our country a better place.

11. Nobody reads blogs in 2016. I've gotten far less traffic now than I did five years ago. I wonder if our life is faster-paced than 5 years ago?

Well, goodnight folks. Until next time... if there ever is a next time.

You can always check out our band: Kalaloch, our house/venue, The Possum House, and my radio show The Chandelier Swing.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Day 55: Mario Karting

What a fun picture.

So, instead of super adventures today, we slept in and hung out around the house. Much fun in Mario Kart was to be had. We played Mario Kart 64 with David, which is what we used to play in college, and then showed David Mario Kart Double Dash on the Gamecube and finally Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U.  David had trouble getting the hang of the goofy Wii U steering, but a fun time was had by all.

We had meant to go to the coast, or maybe at least to the Oregon Glove company (because... gloves!), but instead? None of that!

Just some fun video games, some naps, some snacks, and some good friend times. We listened to cool music, had good food, and maybe some baby snuggles too.

David and I went to the store and bought the movie Central Intelligence. Jen and I watched it just before Betty was born and it was so funny it almost induced labor. We watched it tonight. David approved. It was a funny movie.

So, the blog is a little small today, but our hearts are full. We all had a great relaxing saturday today.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Day 54: Silver Falls

This morning's adventure? Silver Falls!

In order to get everybody there, we had to take two cars. David and I took my orange vw.  It just baaaarely made it up the hill, but it made it there.

We took some pictures when we first got there.

Just after David and I arrived, I got a call from Jen that Sabrina had gotten carsick and vom'd all over the car. Jen took the kids, cleaned up and went home. A sweet story from Edgar-- Jen asked Edgar if he wanted her to take him (the last 5 miles) to Silver Falls so he could go with us, or if he wanted to stay with his sister. Edgar said "I don't know. I kinda really want to go. Sabrina, what do YOU want?" Sabrina said "Edgar, I want you to stay with me." Edgar said, "Then, it's decided. I really wanted to go, but now I'll stay with you." What a sweet brother.

So, David and I went to south falls.
just two dudes and a waterfall.

"this one's for"
No, seriously.. .this one's for

After the hike out of the canyon, I was out of shape and exhausted. So much for wanting to do the full 9 mile loop.

We headed back home, and picked up some steelhead at Fitts' Seafood. David took a nap, I took over cleaning the vomit mobile (Jen started it and did most of the work), and Jen tried really hard not to burn the salmon. It turned out extra yummy.

At 4, David and I headed to the radio station. David picked out the songs, and we had a lot of fun playing them.

Towards the end of my radio show, I discovered that my wedding ring was missing. I had no idea where I took it off. I looked everywhere at the station, but I just couldn't find it.

We headed up to Portland. We discovered just before leaving for the radio show that the show we were going to see tonight was sold out. So, we didn't have a lot of direction, but we headed north. David was going to surprise his sister who lives in Beaverton, but got worried about whether she'd actually be there, so he called her from the car on the way up. Turns out she was home, so we visited with her, her husband, and five kids. We all went to Burgerville and got some burgers.

After Burgerville, I got a text from Edgar. He'd found the precious!

Apparently, it was in my bed next to my pillow?

I guess Sabrina and Betty got some good snuggling in while I was gone:

David and I headed back to Salem, and went to The Space to see the show, but things were running late, and we were tired, so we watched a few songs from the touring punk band and went home. David immediately disappeared into his chamber, so we'll see what he's up for tomorrow.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Day 53: David in the Mix

Betty says good morning just like her mom!

Wasn't that cute?

I woke up with the kids to get them to school, but I had a really short night, so I almost immediately turned to a puddle of goo. Jen nicely put Betty on my chest, and we snoozed through the morning.

We woke up about 10:30 or 11 finally.  It was fun to hang out with David and catch up on everything that has been going on in our lives for the past 8 or 9 years. We played a bunch of Mario Kart 64 and spent a lot of time planning out tomorrow's radio show.

This afternoon, we went to Eric's to mix. We mixed our most complicated song from our next album, so it was nice to have an extra set of ears in the room...

 ...other than Betty's, which are cute, but she doesn't give us good feedback on mixes.

Anyway, with about 6 hands on the control board, we got the sound just how we wanted it.

fun times,.
After a game of Mario Kart 8 (very different than 64) with the kids, we played a game of Ticket to Ride while listening to tracks from tomorrow's radio show.

Excited for more adventures tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Day 52: An Arrival

I forgot to put this up yesterday when I got it. Sabrina handed me this envelope saying "Mom said the mailman forgot to give this to you."

Translation: To Alex From...Surprise





Dad, thank you for fixing the pencil sharpener. And look what I can do now!

Oh by the way, (something?) From Sabrina

(turns out I can't translate the whole thing)

So, I had fixed the mechanical pencil sharpener by squeezing it (you can see a picture of my skeletal hand squeezing a pencil sharpener next to her surprised face)

What a cutie. Pretty good for a kindergartner. She's almost reading and writing.

Well, between Jen and I, we got the kids off to school today. Jen had a morning doctor appointment, and Sabrina had an afternoon one. For the morning appointment, Betty and I fell asleep in the recliner in the living room and dozed, listening to American Analog Set (better than Ambien!) until well after Jen returned.

We did a bit of cleaning in anticipation of our friend David's arrival, and then we went out for lunch. We drove all around Salem with me at the wheel and Jen catching pokemon. Ostensibly, we were looking for cheap drive-thru mexican food, but really, we were just trying to drive to calm the baby down. We found this sign in our travels:
Clothes and hoes. All a playa knows!
(p.s. as a public service announcement, please don't donate to these green boxes. they're evil.)

We got our food, and found a place to park where we could play pokemon. The food was good, but Betty was too fussy and Pokemon too glitchy, so we called it and went home. All three of us fell asleep in a food coma.

Jen took Betty and picked Sabrina up from school and took her to her appointment. Edgar came in the door shortly thereafter and woke me up. Edgar and I were tasked with doing some major cleaning around the house. We put on a record and did good work.

After cleaning, we got in one epic battle between Edgar's and my pokemon. I was overmatched again. (One day... one day, I'll win.) Then, Jen came home with two sleeping girls in the car and a mission to clean the car. She enlisted Edgar's and my help, although I had previously promised Edgar that he wouldn't have to clean the car because he did his job inside. Ah well, Dad is sometimes wrong.

Once we cleaned up all the kid detritus from the car, we loaded the kids in it to head to Edgar's soccer awards ceremony at Donatello's Pizza (aka the Kiddy Casino). I got $20 worth or tokens to dole out during the evening, and the kids set about to spend tokens.

Edgar's soccer coach has 6 kids and coaches 3 soccer teams (kindergarten, 1st/2nd grade, 3rd/4th grade). All 3 teams were there. It was chaos.
coach, plus three soccer teams
But, it was good to get closure on another season of Soccer. Edgar told Jen the other day "Soccer is my passion! I may play other sports, but I will always want to play soccer!". This is interesting (and difficult) for us as parents, who may not see Edgar as the most committed or attentive kid, but apparently he really does like it.

After soccer, I was supposed to run up to my parents' house, but I got sidetracked by the very exciting World Series game that was on. I don't claim to be a big sports fan, but Jen and I love watching the big games-- World Series, Super Bowl, whatever. So, this was a fun one to watch. It was a nailbiter that went into extra innings. The game was tied after 9 innings when the umpires called a rain delay, so at that point I hopped in the car to go.

I listened to the game on the radio on the way up to Portland. It was on 3 or 4 different channels, but they all kept fading in and fading out, so I had to keep switching channels to hear the game. I missed a couple of big plays but caught most of it.

I got to my parents' house, and they were still up and glad to see me. We played a quick game of cutthroat pinochle and my friend David called. His plane had arrived at PDX, so I hopped in the car and picked him up.

David Shelley is an old college roommate. We have been friends a long time, and share musical tastes among other things. David lives in Tuscon with his two daughters, and we haven't seen him in maybe 8 or 9 years.

Last summer, Jen and I flew to disney world for a vacation-slash-work conference. United Airlines lost our luggage somewhere in Dallas. Lost. completely. We completed a week in disneyland wearing the same pair of underwear, and United gave us a small travel voucher as recompense. The voucher would pay for about one nonstop flight anywhere united flies, and had to be booked within a year.. Since United doesn't fly nonstop to Utah, Jen couldn't use it to visit her family. We held it in case we needed to go for a funeral or emergency somewhere, but ultimately decided it was best spent flying our friend David up to visit us.

So, here he is. I had an enjoyable time driving him back from the airport, and we stopped and got some fourthmeal. We chatted a bit at the kitchen table when he got in, but it's well after midnight. We're on for adventures for the next several days. What a fun way to spend the end of my parental leave. Jen is the best for agreeing to (and allowing) this.

Oh-- one more thing-- our homeless guy showed up.

Living on a busy street, we have a lot of strange characters walking by, but this guy has come a few times and actually had the guts to knock on our door. It's a little scary, but we were kind to him a few times several years ago. After a while, we got sick of him coming around and we actually told him to go away once.

Anyways, it must have been three years, and he came back, just before we turned on the World Series. I was in a generous and forgiving mood-- he said it's his birthday, and he has a new job lined up but needs funds for getting a state ID. Who am I to disbelieve him? We can be generous occasionally. Next time, we might have to chase him off, but this time? Happy birthday, man. Good luck with the new job.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Day 51: The Zoo

Our lives are full, fun, and wonderful.Today was another great day full of adventure.

If you've read my story of Sabrina's infancy (here) and (here), you can see that we love going to the zoo as a family, and think it's a great place to take Baby. Well, it took us a while, but we finally got there today.

Yes, we had the kids skip school today. We're those awesome parents. Jen spearheaded the morning, as I was pretty muzzy from last night's trying-to-do-too-much-in-one-day.

Once at the zoo, Betty was my bjornling nearly all the time. We had good fun and good snuggles.

There were lots of fun animals both real and imaginary.

We hada fantastic time. We've been to the zoo enough with these kids that they were pretty chill. We got to visit the animals we really wanted to visit, we didn't feel disappointed if certain animals weren't out, or we missed them. We spent an extra long time with our favorite-- the crocodiles. We also spent some time with the Naked Mole Rats while Jen fed Betty.

and got some cute smiles.
We had fun.

pictured: having fun.
Sea life in its habitat.

a zoo bat.

..and of course, I had to visit this display in the Lion habitat.

I'm not lazy. I'm an apex predator!

Great day.

After coming home, downing a whole huge bottle of Mountain Dew to try to keep from keeling over on the road, Edgar and I set up downstairs and had some EPIC pokemon battles between his Game Boy pokemon and my Game Cube pokemon.

We had yummy homemade dinner, and a nice little party at the FroYo place downtown for Sabrina's soccer team. The kids created some pretty weird Frozen Yogurt concoctions.

Then, it was home, a few more epic pokemon battles, and time to put the kids to bed. What a fun day.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Day 50: Hallowe'en

Oh wow, we tried to pack way more into this 24 hours than would reasonably fit.

I was up too late last night, so when the alarm went off, Jen (who was more awake than me) fielded the kids and got them up. I did get up, eventually, and did dishes and made the kids' lunch.

So, double standard time: Apparently at the kids' school, the Kindergartners are encouraged to wear costumes and parade in front of the other classes, while the other classes are forbidden from wearing costumes. No I don't understand it, and I didn't really get any details.

Anyway, this morning, Sabrina did not want to wear her costume. Her suspenders had been left on the floor and stepped on and broken. So, she was one of the few kids in her class without a costume. I guess that was OK. Edgar, on the other hand, wore most of his Ash Ketchum costume, minus the hat, to school, since it could pass for normal clothes.  Kind of ironic. At least in the if-you're-not-the-pedantic-sort-that-complains-about-Alanis-Morrissette kind of way. I always get a little defensive using the word "irony" on the internet.

Got the kids off to school, and tried to do some chores around the house. It was fun and rewarding to get a day off to spend with my best friend Jen. I did eventually figure out how to fix Sabrina's suspenders.

We packed baby up in the car early and drove around town to try to replenish our supply of Pokeballs. It was at this moment that I realized that I had about 30 minutes' worth more work that I was going to go back and do Friday night and procrastinated over the weekend. No, I didn't go to work, I procrastinated it further down the line. Instead, we were running too late to get lunch, so we showed up to Eric's house early. He was having technical difficulties with his various vintage gear (an unfortunately common occurrence), so Jen and I got to go get lunch. Once we had returned, the gear was up and working, and we mixed another song.

It was super fun again to be in the recording studio, and Betty was great. Recording and especially Mixing is something that I've discovered that I love, and I wish I had spent more time/money/education earlier in my life to learn so that I could do it more than as a hobby. I think I have a natural talent for it. The bad thing about being me, is that I seem to have a mild natural talent for about 500 different things, but nothing that I'm the best in the world at. I'm a jack of all trades and a master of none.

Anyway, after mixing one more song, (done!), we headed home and I got a smallish nap before the kids came home from school.

With the kids home, we all got decked up in costumes and did a photoshoot.

Edgar was Ash Ketchum, and Sabrina was Misty, the two main characters from the pokemon TV show. Betty was a cute little Pikachu, and Jen and I ordered T-shirts of Psyduck and Snorlax, respectively.

Here's the pictures:

Ash and Misty, upon finding Snorlax blocking the path.

Edgar's pumpkin
Sabrina drew and DRILLED this one herself.
After a grueling photoshoot, we followed our family tradition of visiting just a few friends and neighbors and then heading to Independence (the next town over) to spend Halloween at Vince and Christi's.
Trick-or-treating at the neighbors.

Vince and Christi live in one of those new subdivisions where there are a million houses that all look alike and are 2 feet away from their neighbors. This makes for lots of kids and easy trick-or-treating. The neighborhood was abuzz, and the trick-or-treaters were already starting when we showed up at 6. I took Edgar and Sabrina around while Jen helped Christi with dinner, and Betty napped.

The kids were really cute. Sabrina in particular was wound very tight. This was the first year that the kids really knew the trick-or-treating routine and were really confident (last year they were confident too, but it was a downpour last year, so it was a bit of a washout). Anyway, Edgar and Sabrina would march confidently up to door after door. Sabrina would yell Trick or Treat! Edgar would compliment them on their decor. They'd get candy. Edgar would show the people his stuffed Pikachu. Sabrina would try to explain to the befuddled grownups who she and Edgar were. Then, with a hearty "Thank you, and have a very happy halloween!", the kids were on to the next house.

Filling their buckets going up and down Vince and Christi's street, we finally arrived back at their house and the party was in full swing. We had yummy pizza and punch, and Edgar and Sabrina bounced off the walls.

After dinner, a rest, and some conversation, Sabrina was ready to go out again. Edgar was tired, and declined, so I took Betty in the Baby Bjorn and Sabrina, Betty, and I went out again.

By this time, it was nearing 8 PM, and Sabrina was one of the youngest kids out. Most of the houses had turned off their lights. After a while, the combination of dark houses and screaming Betty made us return. Sabrina was still wound up and wanted to go back out, but it was time to go.

We got some final pictures with the friends:

Judge Vince and Spider Christi
A happy, tired, family.

We piled in the car and headed home. We may have taken a bit of a diversion to catch some pokemon, but Edgar and Betty had sacked out in the back by this time.

So tired.

Once we were home, I started taking stock of all the things I wanted to get done before tomorrow. I figured I had about 24 hours' worth of extra stuff I wanted to do. Because I'm more of a night person than a morning person, I buzzed down to work and finished that 30 minutes of work I had been putting off.

After that, I meant to swing by the park and have a pidgey party and come home... but the park was FULL of people and pokemon. There were a whole bunch of cars in my favorite spot (that can reach 3 pokestops from the parking spot), and lures in every pokestop in the park. So, I sat and caught and caught and caught and caught pokemon until my pokeballs ran out. By that time, I had so many pokemon that I needed to do a pidgey party just to get rid of some. So, then I sat and wrestled with Pokemon Go and its glitchiness. I only got 29 pokemon evolved, but it was at least something.

Now, after a long blogging session, it's to bed much later than I wanted to be. Oh well. More adventures tomorrow. The party don't stop, yo.