Thursday, March 15, 2018

Happyish Halloween

Hey, yall - 

For Halloween last year, Laney and her great friend Amya wanted to go as Mal and Evie from the Disney Channel movie The Descendants. If you're reading this and you're above the age of 12, there's no reason for you to have heard of it; you get a pass.

Laney's costume was affordable, easy, and ordered months ahead of time. With a little 99-cent purple hairspray, she was good to go do whatever the children of Disney supervillains do.

Hagen, on the other hand, wanted to be a bat. But NOT a vampire bat, and not a scary bat and DEFINITELY not Batman. A scientifically accurate bat. So he drew me a picture:

And I listened intently and took notes, like we were in a serious costume design meeting, and then I sewed some felt ears and dollar store wings on a hoodie and called it a day. 

The school had a costume parade at the end of the day. 

Hagen's teacher in orange, Laney's teacher in black - all the teachers dressed as Trolls. 

...and then we went trick-or-treating in the evening with our friends the Lindauers. 

Vanika has her hands full with her husband Deadpool there.

Laney and Amya wanted to hit every house in the neighborhood and would have gone all night if we'd let them. Hagen hit his usual 10 or so houses, all the while shouting "YOU DON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT LOSING ME, BECAUSE I HAVE ECHOLOCATION. LISTEN! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!" and then said "That's enough candy for me. I'm done."

I was in a generally good mood all day, because I knew this was going to be the last holiday that your dad would have to miss, because he'd be home in just a few weeks. 


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Bozeman or Bust

Hey, y'all - 

In mid-October, your school was closed for a Thursday and Friday for some kind of teacher workshop / mental health break. Because Sue usually has those days off, I thought it would be fun to plan a little overnight trip somewhere for all of us so we didn't go stir crazy trapped in the house together for a long weekend. 

Let me say a few things about Grandma Sue: she gets that having two kids by yourself can be hard, and she's an excellent sport. For example: midway through your dad's deployment, we discovered that the Buffalo Wild Wings by us has a great happy hour. I was sitting across from you two when Sue sighed and said, "Cheap margaritas. All the food is deep fried. Everyone gets their own electronic device. No one has to talk to anyone else in their family. This is everything right with America." Y'all, I died laughing, and it became our Wednesday tradition. 
I knew that Sue would be up for any adventure I cooked up, so next I thought about what Hagen would like. I knew it had to involve animals, because HOLY GUACAMOLE, Hagen loves wildlife trivia. 

For example:

"Did you know that a moose's antlers weigh as much as the average
8 year-old kid?"

Or here's a minute on the details of the sockeye salmon spawning season he thought I needed to know in the middle of the night. I don't know why he's wearing a t-shirt as a strapless dress, but it's not the strangest part of this video, so let it go.

I swear, sometimes having Hagen in the house is EXACTLY what I imagine it would be like to live with Cliff Clavin:

...And here are a few examples of how Hagen likes to yell "CAMOUFLAGE!!" and then demonstrate how to blend in to your habitat to evade predators:

Keeping all this in mind, I chose Bozeman as our destination, because it's within easy driving distance and is also home to the Museum of the Rockies, which has a kids' wing and a huge dinosaur complex with more fossils than you can shake a stick at. And for Laney, I booked us a room in a nice hotel with an indoor pool, because that's what she cares about. 


I learned nothing, because I don't have a compartment in my brain for Triceratops Minutiae, but I did throw Laney across the pool about eleven hundred times.  

Fun, fun, for everyone. 


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Scooting Through September

Hey, y'all -

The last two months of your dad's deployment were so busy, the time flew by.

Laney handed down her old scooter to Hagen, and he took to it right away, which shocked everyone who had ever heard him complain about things with wheels, having to exercise, and being outside.

The first few weeks on the scooter, his technique was a little bizarre. He probably could have walked faster - he never actually scooted - and it took all I could do not to push him down the street. 

I wanted to shoot a little video of his scootering style, but first he asked me to move out of the way (safety first). 

I didn't subtitle this (BECAUSE I'M BUSY, PEOPLE), but he says:

"...This way, I won't run into you."
(rolls over teeny stick) "AAAAHH!! I just crashed into something! That was close, close, close."

But within a few weeks, he took us all by surprise when he started performing death-defying feats of speed. 

About a week after this, his scooter was stolen from our yard and I cried because my quirky little boy'd finally found something he loved and had it taken away. It's probably good I'm not an all-powerful deity, because I would arrange a special area in hell for scooter stealers. It would be in the same neighborhood as the eternal holding pen for people on airplanes who don't wait for it to be their turn to deplane. IT GOES IN ROW ORDER, PEOPLE. 

I bought him a new one on Amazon, and he's still out there, tearing it up when there isn't too much snow on the ground.

Laney continued climbing, practicing with her ropes and knots and generally being fearless way off the ground.

As we watched the clock run down on your dad's deployment, we filled our days with the normal stuff of life. 

Hagen went through a two-week period of insisting he was part draco lizard, which I had to look up.

The weather turned colder, so Hagen started bundling up, while Laney continued to wear sundresses and complain about the 50-degree heat.

Hagen continued drawing robot circuitry on the fridge in dry erase marker, and Laney continued her "Top Chef" - inspired baking. 

...and then one day, your dad's stuff started arriving on our front porch. We checked: he wasn't in the case. But still, progress!


Monday, March 12, 2018

First Day Of School

Hey, y'all - 

The other reason Thor campaigned hard to come home at the end of August was Hagen would be starting kindergarten, and he wanted to walk y'all to school on your first day.

I took the obligatory first day picture:

Hagen wanting to be a roboticist is not a joke. He talks about it all the time, and the trip to Disney World has him particularly interested in animatronics. Hagen has the same kindergarten teacher that Laney had, and I'd gotten to know her pretty well the first go-round. A few weeks before school started, I invited her out for happy hour and bought her a few rounds of drinks as I tried to explain Hagen to her. "He only wears symmetrical clothing," I explained. "He enjoys manicures, but has a vision for what color each individual nail should be. He starts sentences with 'Well, actually...' and 'Perhaps you weren't aware,' and he goes undercover trying to learn the behavior of a wolf pack, with the help of our dog, Ella. He puts pool noodles on his scooter for extra safety." I think she thought I was telling funny stories, but now SHE KNOWS. 

(Note alternating nail color)

She has a policy at the end of the day when the kids walk out to be dismissed: before they can go, they have to give her a high-five, a handshake or a hug. "Well, actually," Hagen told her, "I believe I would prefer all three." So now they do that. 

Laney wanting to be a veterinarian lasted just long enough for the picture to be taken, I think, because she now wants to open a film production company that makes movies about girls. I'm way more excited about this than I am about the idea of her taking cake of sick cats, but it ain't up to me. 

Laney is big enough now that she could ride her bike to school by herself if she wanted, but she usually sticks with Hagen because she's really an incredible sister. 

We spent our remaining days together going to the science museum, learning to roller skate at the park, and exploring the river. Laney also got certified to belay, so if you want to climb a rock wall, she's qualified to hold the rope that could save your life.

...and then just like that, he was gone again.

It was a lot easier saying goodbye this time, because we knew we only had two months to go.

We can do this, we can do this...