Mark vs Cancer

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Winter Fun

(At the Blossoms of Light show at the Botanical Gardens)

As some of you may know, we have two very cute kiddos. I thought I'd devote this post to them, along with a few fun (and random) photos from our Christmas break in Denver.

First, the Joybear (aka, Ski-Girl): Yesterday she and I went skiing, and we're both ecstatic about the results. For years, I have harbored a dream of skiing down the slopes with my diminuitive daughter by my side, and for the last four winters, we've made a significant commitment (time and money) to put her in ski school. In the end, this has taught her some basic skills, but mostly has helped her to not be afraid of (and to actually enjoy) skiing.

Yesterday, that dream came sharply into focus. When we first hit the slopes, I was worried that she wouldn't want to ride the lifts, that she'd break down crying, that the run would be too steep, or that she would get too cold too quick. But no! She braved the cold, rode the lift like a pro, and hit the runs with gusto. In fact, after I held her back on the first run, she wanted no more of that, and I spent the rest of the morning cautioning her to stay under control. (Over-protective Daddy's are such a drag!) By the end of the morning, we took the big lift to the top of the mountain and skied all the way down, including a couple of blue runs. She fell only four times all day, and didn't cry once. (I'm succeeding in convincing her of the glory of a good biff.)

(Joybear on the mountain top . . . in front of Mom and Dad's house)

Joy also has written and illustrated two "books" now, one about "Numbers and Names" and one about our goldfish, Foxy. They have recognizable plots and meticulously colored pictures. We're helping her with spelling, but otherwise she's doing it all. For being only 5 1/2 years old, we find that pretty amazing. So look for her in Borders soon! (We may have to get her her own blog, too . . .)

Next, the Grant Guy (aka, Monkey Boy): This is one funny boy, and for the most part, he knows it. We (I) allowed him to watch a few clips from Nacho Libre, and now if he doesn't want to do what you ask him to, he responds by crossing his arms and saying in his best faux Mexican accent, "I'm not listening to you. You're crazy!" This started as pure defiance, but has evolved into a surefire way to get Mommy and Daddy to laugh, and thus defuse the situation.

Streaks of his old man (that would be me) frequently surface as well, particularly his intentional annoyingness and humorous pesterings. For example, after a recent difficult day at work, I came home and needed to cuddle with Elizabeth on the couch for a bit. But Grant would not allow it, as he wanted Mommy and Daddy's full attention. He resorted to every trick in the book--whining, making messes, being silly, etc. When those didn't work, he settled on his oldest trick: relentlessly climbing over, onto and around us (and if it were possible, through us). I was distractedly repelling him with my off hand, sharing the day's drama with my patient wife (who is also my wife-patient), when his climbing suddenly mutated into furious head-butting of my shoulder. Stunning in its ferocity, this escalation got him what he wanted, his daily wrestling match with Daddy on the living room floor. The house reverberated with our growing collection of manly epithets, such as "Are you a man or mouse?", "Fight like a man!", and "I will squeeze you like toothpaste!" Mommy, realizing that both of her attention-seeking males had engaged their pestering behavior on each other, wisely utilized the commotion and fled the room.

(Sledding in Denver)

Like all parents, we love our kids and have a special bias towards them. As I watched them playing together this afternoon, I reflected on what our family is . . . and what it will be in the near and distant future. (We had a vivid ultrasound this week that showed a rapidly developing fetus . . . looks like a boy.) It seems like their spirits have been a part of my life for forever already. Can I remember what life was like, what I was like, before Joy and Grant came along? These are two (three) special kids that we've got, and they are going to keep life fun, exciting, busy, challenging, sometimes annoying, and ultimately fulfilling for . . . well, eternity.


Jeff said...

You have great kids. When I listened to the commentary on Nacho Libre, Jared Hess mentioned that now whenever his son Elliot(I don't know how old)doesn't want to eat something, he responds "get that (blank) out of my face, Daddy." Kids should be shown Nacho with caution.

Goose said...

What a blog. I have to say that you got quite a family. You are one lucky man. Thanks for setting an example(both you and Liz) for Kristen and I.

I must say that I am very impressed with Joy and her skiing ability. I have to say that right now a blue makes me a little scared. Now I come to find out that my 5 1/2 year old niece can hit the slopes harder than I can. She has got quite a future ahead of her.

And Grants saying that he got from Nacho "I'm not listening to you, your crazy," might sound a little familiar to Kristen as well because after we watched it I couldn't stop saying it for a few weeks. Actually, it was until I could see on her face that I was rising on the annoying scale. I had to stop. I agree with Jeff, watch Nacho with caution. Not just children, all of us!!!!

Adam said...

When you guys were in Denver for christmas, I was playing with Joy and we were trying to think of something to do. She gave me this little smile and then whispered in my ear, "I could write a story for you." she went on to write a story about a monkey and christmas, and it was fully illustrated. she is an amazing girl.

Tyler and Danalin said...

We wish that we lived closer to you guys! We are looking forward to seeing you again in June - it will be here before we know it. And your new babe will be here as well! Was that 'HIM' an announcement?! If so, that means Wendi and Matt need to work on a girl version. :) Joy needs someone to help even out the playing field. You really do have such great kids! We loved spending time with them...was that just last month? Hard to believe, time goes by so quickly!

Wendi said...

Great photos, Mark! As for Nacho Libre, I haven't seen it but for me a little Jack Black goes a long, long way. The guy is always on "10"!

Dad said...

Speaking as a Grandpa that dearly misses being able to see your kids on a regular basis, I throughly enjoyed your post.

You do have amazing kids and I commend you both so much for the way you parent and the attention and love and amount of time you spend with them.

I remember thinking the same of all of you guys. You were the brightest, neatest most polite and funny guys I had ever seen. Without a doubt I felt you were all exceptional. There were exceptions and his name starts with Goose but that is a whole other post!! It is wonderful to see the day to day growth in your children. Joy is exceptional bright and precocious, not question. Grant is just a tough little boy that is a ball of energy.

I miss them both. (Mark and Liz also, but it is a different kind of miss) Every day you two kids are changing and doing things that we would love to be able to see and enjoy with you. I have serious withdrawal pains. It will be just as true of Cal and Max when we get to know them a little better. I think most of the time Cal was here, he was getting used to my size. I must look like a beast to him, but hopefully he will get accostumed to my size and will warm up to me. Max will too, I hope some day.

Grand kids are great. I recommend to all and hope we have many more.

Love you guys,