"Joke," Nolan says, "Joke!" It started with our Google Home. Caden and Brooklyn discovered they could walk over, "Hey Google. Tell me a joke!", and it went from there. Then Tyson told them the classic "Why did the chicken cross the road?". Since then they come up with their own versions, all ending with the punchline "to get to the other side." Caden's are usually something like "Why did the chicken cross the road and fight the car and then fall into a tree?" If you ask Nolan what his joke is, though, he responds with, "Cross...tree!" or "Cross...cheese!" or "Cross...water!" or "Cross...*insert noun of something in his immediate vicinity here*!" He thinks it's just hilarious.
At the end of January - a mere month ago, though it seems much longer - we traveled to Arizona to visit Tyson's brother and his family. It was the first time we flew with the kids and they did great! We filled their backpacks up with snacks, Target dollar section goodies, and, most importantly, their tablets. Caden and Brooklyn did just fine on our 3+ hour flights, though Nolan tended to bounce around between Tyson and I, to Tyson's mom, to Tyson's dad, who traveled with us.
Our flight back home was late, we didn't land until 11:00 at night, and while everyone was certain the kids would fall asleep on the plane I knew better. Caden conked out during the last hour, Brooklyn literally fell asleep as we touched down on the runway, but Nolan was active on his tablet until the bitter end, until we were taxiing to the runway and he gave up while I rocked him on my shoulder. "Bed! Go to bed!" he sobbed and the entire airplane laughed in solidarity.
It was nice to escape to the sunshine for a few days in the midst of this long, cold winter. We visited the beautiful and amazing Phoenix Zoo, explored the concrete structures and fed the ducks at the Riparian Preserve, and ate some delicious, local food at Joe's Farm Grill. We also learned that Tyson's brother and his family will be moving this summer to join us up here in Minnesota! We're very excited to have them nearby, and glad we took what was probably our last chance to visit them in the Arizona sunshine.
I'm sure you've seen that we celebrated a slew of birthdays recently. First the twins', then Nolan's. I curse February every year, especially birthday week since it all feels like just so much, but as soon as it's all over I think, "Hey, that wasn't so bad. And now we're done for the year!" Basically I spend two weeks in February overwhelmed with all things birthday and am thrilled about it for the other 11 1/2 months out of the year.
Something less fun during our mega-super-birthday week was getting rear-ended while we were sitting at a red light. On Caden and Brooklyn's birthday. We're all just fine, but our van...
not so much. Caden was more curious about it all than anything else ("It was really loud and then our window broke.") while Brooklyn was upset once the police showed up ("Are we going to jail?") but they really haven't talked about it since, so I guess they're over it? We're waiting to hear back from the repair shop before moving forward with anything (And at just what point do they total out the car? Seriously, how much does an entire rear power door to a van, and then some, cost, anyway?) but since the driver who hit us was charged with a DWI, well, they're in a lot more trouble than we are right now.
The Parkland shooting has been weighing heavy on my mind. I plan to join the Minnesota March for Our Lives taking place on Saturday, March 24th (Local? Join me!) and have been waiting for our local Moms Demand Action group to have a chapter meeting near me (South and East metros...you're just not doing it for me).
I've toned down my news consumption and social media usage since the 2016 election had me reading ALL THE THINGS for too many months and I found it obsessive and ultimately not good for me. Of the few things I have read, Emma Gonzalez and her fellow students are giving me life, this article by Washington Post's editorial board was both direct and insightful, and these parents are my heroes for standing up and asking the intense, direct, right questions of both their senators and the NRA.
We've had quite the winter this year. Some years are cold, some years are snowy, this year we've had more than our fair share of BOTH. As I type this it's snowing and we're in the midst of yet another Winter Storm Warning. We've had snow since before Halloween, making this our fourth month of full-blown actual winter. It's safe to say I'm over it.
One way I've been tackling the winter blahs is to really create a schedule for us. Not only for activities outside the house but also for when we're at home. Art Time has been a major life saver these past few months. At 4 or 4:30 or so we put everything away for the day. I pull out some sort of art supplies or project, (as well as my own coloring book and pencils), turn on some music, and we wind down.
Caden has been working on this piece for weeks now. He calls it his "beast's castle" (we have a slight Beauty and the Beast obsession) and it's something he pulls out almost every day to work on. He usually values quantity over quality, cranking out page after page after page in his coloring book, construction paper, etc., but this is something he continues to come back to. I'm impressed by his attention span and the level of detail he's put into it. I also can't recommend ginormous pieces of paper enough, since the sheer size keeps them occupied far longer than your average piece of construction paper.
Nolan has hit full-blown two-year old independence in recent weeks. "I do it" has become his life verse. Except he says, "I did it!", even before he's even done anything. Garbage to throw away? "I did it!" Me grabbing the remote to turn the TV off? "I did it!" Putting the lid on his sippy cup? "I did it!" This is often accompanied by lots of jumping up and down and stamping of feet, of course, for sheer emphasis.
We've also been about all things OLYMPICS! The kids have gotten into it a little this year and you better BELIEVE the birthday party theme four years from now will be a winter Olympics one. Nolan cries out "Hockey!" whenever we turn the TV on, whether hockey is actually playing or not. (That's my boy.) I've been particularly into the women's skating events, the pairs free skate, skeleton (y'all are bananas), bobsledding, and the snowboard cross racing. I didn't watch, but I'm also thrilled the women's hockey team picked up the gold medal. Now that everything is all wrapped up, our lives can go back to normal, and we can resume catching up on everything from the shows to the podcasts to the household cleaning we've missed from being camped out in front of the TV from 7-10:00 pm (at least) for the past two+ weeks.