Monday, March 15, 2010

I said bye-bye blog! Don't you listen?!?

We've moved! Please join us for the girls' third year at

There shan't be any more postings hereabouts. Be gone with ya'.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bye bye, blog.

What a beautiful face
I have found in this place
That is circling all around the sun
What a beautiful dream
That could flash on the screen
In a blink of an eye and be gone from me
Soft and sweet
Let me hold it close and keep it here with me

And one day we will die
And our ashes will fly
From the aeroplane over the sea
But for now we are young
Let us lay in the sun
And count every beautiful thing we can see
Love to be
In the arms of all I'm keeping here with me

What a curious life
We have found here tonight
There is music that sounds from the street
There are lights in the clouds
Anna's ghost all around
Hear her voice as it's rolling and ringing through me
Soft and sweet
How the notes all bend and reach above the trees

Now, how I remember you
How I would push my fingers through your mouth
To make those muscles move
That made your voice so smooth and sweet
And now we keep where we don't know
All secrets sleep in winter clothes
With one you loved so long ago
Now he don't even know his name

What a beautiful face
I have found in this place
That is circling all around the sun
And when we meet on a cloud
I'll be laughing out loud
I'll be laughing with everyone I see
Can't believe
How strange it is to be anything at all

-"In the Aeroplane Over the Sea", Neutral Milk hotel

Click here for the Matt Pond version, which I'm a fan of.

(apologies for the rather crummy video quality)

I need at least a month off. It's a lot to ask, but if you'd like to, please check back here on March 15th, and by then I'll have decided what continued form the Gels News and Herald will take.

A zillion thanks to all of you that read this, twice as many thanks to those that comment and give feedback, and infinite more to Jen, without whom none of this would be either possible or enjoyable.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

False stop.

Okay, this is not going to be the last post. I had a very clear idea in my head about what the last post would be, but many circumstances have conspired against me, and rather than bash my head against the keys in futility, I'm going to defer until tomorrow. My time at the computer started with the shocking (re: out of the blue, for us) news that some friends of ours are to be my head was already not in a great spot. Then I was thwarted time and time again by technology in my pursuit of doing some video, and before long I came to realize that my jaw was aching because I was so tense, and that is one of the worst states of mind to be in. I'd rather not have the last post be something I cranked out while miserable. Recall the old adage: never blog angry.

In the interim, while you wait for tomorrow's post (possibly the last, but at this point who really knows?), please enjoy some leftover pictures from our time in Duluth. Just because they're leftovers doesn't mean they're not quality, though.

Day three hundred and sixty something.

She locomoted pretty well in that bulbous getup.

Wheeee!!! Lily looks miserable, but wouldn't stop asking for more. Abby looked like she was enjoying it immensely, but quickly opted to walk. Kids = no sense

Look at that sled-pulling form. Loose knees...taught buttocks...arched back...quite striking.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Birthdays for serial killers.

And with a mix of both apprehension and earnest buffoonery, our girls plunge headfirst into their third year of life.

Happy birthday, wee little munchkins! Oh what a year it has been. I indulged myself with a reread of the first few bloggity posts, and I'm amazed at what has transpired during this spin around the sun. This time last year, neither of you were walking (though Lily was seriously considering it), barely any English was crossing your lips, and there was certainly nothing resembling the spontaneously-dancing, number-reciting, song-singing, potty-searching girls that I've come to know and love these more recent months.

I almost decided to do a step-by-step comparison of you guys right now with a year ago today, but it seems rather unproductive, and misses the point of all that this blog is about. I don't want to tinker with the beautiful linearity, the common daily thread we've laid out that leads you from then to now. It's been too amazing a process to cheapen it with tricks. Suffice it to say, you guys bear almost no resemblance to yourselves of a year ago, in so many fascinating and irascible ways.

Despite the groaning and grumbling I may have injected into my posts about this accursed blog - and despite the verbal denouncements you might have been unfortunately subjected to while around my person - I consider myself lucky to have started it, for one clear and immitagable reason: every night I am forced to spend a good chunk of time concentrating on the two most ridiculous parts of my life. Surely there are worse sentences in the world.

I hate feeling that today, their actual birthday, was a bit anti-climactic, because I feel wholly responsible, and am pretty sure this will lead invariably to some serial killer tendencies later in life. But we'd made the decision a while ago that it was a busy weekend, it's only their 2nd birthday, they'll never remember it, so we just had some more cake tonight after dinner, tried to get them to say, "I'm two!" (didn't work), and that was about the extent of it. Jen let them watch a little extra Curious George during the day. When they wanted to be held upside down for a long time, we did it a lot longer than we normally would have. The small extra things. I hope they won't judge us too harshly in the years to come ("My 2nd birthday was terrible! I hate you guys!")

Or, if we play it just right, we can instill in them a very important life lesson, which is this: sometimes two day old cake with your parents is going to be your best option. Learn to like it.

Day three hundred and sixty four/five (don't miss tomorrow's exciting cliffhanger!) (crap, now i have to think of an exciting cliffhanger)

ps. I can't let a really cute moment of Lily's go unmentioned. She wanted to go up to the potty tonight, so she climbed the three steps onto the landing, looked back at me and kept yelling, "Potty! Stairs! Daddy!"

"Yeah we'll go to the potty in just a second. Hold on, " I told her. Apparently she wasn't in the mood to wait. She craned her neck to peer upstairs and yelled, "Pootttty! C'mere!"

Both kids blew the candle out. They're getting the hang of this birthday thing.

Mick Jagger loves cake.

Abby eats her cake like a squirrel. That pastry is squeezed in between her paws.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The play doh must die!

The girls got some play-doh for their birthday (in the little tub she' s holding). I fashioned a little anthorpomorphic person out of it; Lily's response was to stab it repeatedly with a fork. Most people save up for kids' college; we're saving for psychotherapy.
This morning I tore into the Sunday paper, eager to do what damage I could to the NYT crossword while the girls were up taking a rare midmorning nap. I opened up to the engagements/weddings notification page, and took a moment to stare at the couple dozen toothy faces. I pondered on how I used to like perusing the nuptials page while in Duluth, since I almost always recognized somebody on there, even if it was just the hint of knowing a name, or seeing a friend of a cousin that I barely knew at all. I thought about the fact that I'm too old now, that I won't ever recognize any smiling faces from that page anymore. Of course this thought had only just taken hold of me when I recognized a guy from high school that I knew pretty well (Mitch King, for those that from DLH wracked with curiosity). Duluth never fails to surprise me.
Today we had two parties for the girls' birthdays, and since there's two of them, this technically equates to 4 birthday celebrations. There was a whole lotta "happy birthday"s sung. First was in Duluth with the Stalker side, where we had some delicious breakfasty-brunch and cupcakes. The cupcakes were a smash.
We then headed down south on I35, unscathed through some very snowy bits, to see the Gels side and sing H.B. again, and eat some cupcakes, which turned out to be a hit. Again. There is not a welcome that cupcakes can wear out, it seems.
So after many miles, hordes of family, cupcakes a-plenty, and more gifts than our house can even hope to hold, we are back home and the girls are safely tucked into bed. It was a whirlwind weekend, I would hope they sleep in tomorrow for Jenny's sake, even though deep down I know they won't.
Day three hundred and fifty three. (two days left. I should mention that I did the math a couple weeks ago and came to find that my counting is off. Tomorrow (their birthday) should technically be the last day. But since the math mistake was mine, I'll go until Tuesday, making this unofficially 366 Days of Twins)

Abs and Moms.

A crystal blue day in Duluth. Yesterday.

Kyla taught Lily how to jump off the single step at the Stalker's place. It turned out to be an hours-long activity of amazing happiness. Cousins are great like that.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Birthday, Nana!

Aunts Linda and Betsy (Marj's sisters) watch on as Abby flees the scene.

Busy day. Tiring day. Here's how tiring: when we came home after dinner, I called out to Lily to see if she wanted to put on some sleepwear, and it came out, "Do you want some jammies, Phil?" It was supposed to be Lil. Instead it was Phil. What a great nickname, I hope it sticks.

This morning we braved the cold air and brought the girls out for some frivolity. Cold as it was, were you to turn your face to the sun you could easily discern the tingly warmth radiating from it. Spring is on the way, a fact impossible to ignore even when the temp is 7 degrees.

Girls had a good time, thanks mostly to the fact that we played sleddog to their musher/sledder inclinations. There was a fair bit of walking too, which is quite calm and peaceful on the winding slickness of Parson's Point Road. Very Minnesotan. I taught Lily how to kick a chunk of ice down the road as you walk (I am a veteran kicker of things while I walk, a fun yet annoying habit I employ mostly in the pursuit of scattering pine cones willy-nilly around the globe).

After a brief nap that was either truncated or non-existent, depending on how you interpret 45 minutes of mostly silence punctuated with a sharp and diabolical laugh from Lily, we got the girls gussied up and brought them into Duluth proper for Nana's 90th birthday bash. I would hope I get half as many people out for my birthday if I'm lucky enough to see 9 decades; it was a good showing. Nana was in fine form, cane slung from her hip and a tasty beverage in her hand.

We did a quick trip back to the house for a "real" nap, then piled back into the car for dinner at Blackwoods. Somewhere on Rice Lake Road we turned to the south, and Lily said, "Wooooowww!" very loudly. We looked, and she was obviously taking in the sunset to the west, a sunset that was certainly not unpleasant, but was nothing remarkable. "Is it pretty?" we asked. "Yeah! Pretty!" This is a strange milestone, her remarking on something that is almost subjective in it's observation. What makes a sunset such that a kid would notice and verbalize their excitement about it? It drives one to ponder questions like this, questions about how kids visualize their world and what they think of it. So much is taken for granted (I've spoken about this on numerous occasions, I know) about the world they live in; the fact that we're rocketing down a road at 60 miles an hour in an object that has no visible source of locomotion does not appear to ignite any curiosity or awe in them. Which makes the acknowledgement of a sunset that much nicer, I suppose.

Day three hundred and sixty two. (3 days! I would certainly hope you've found another blog to follow by now...)

Jen looks 7 feet tall here. The girls were ambivalent to our foray into the out-of-doors, but the day was quickly salvaged with the timely use of the sled. As happens so often, the cure was worse than the disease, as they (Lily especially) wanted that sled to be pulled forever. Our lungs could only take so much.

Now Abby looks really tall! Is something wrong with my camera? I feel like it's the credits reel of bad 80's movies, when the aspect ratio would suddenly be completely strange.

Grandpa was showing Lily some nifty movies on the computer, when I turned the light on for a better picture. Thus, the distraction.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Slackers and stats

I hate to make one of the last posts a subpar effort, yet here I am, about to sling a few lines of crap into the great ether and hope nobody sends any hate mail. This is all the fault of the olympics, who made me watch their opening ceremonies, and now I'm tired.

We're in Duluth, up here to celebrate Jen's grandma's 90th birthday. It was a whirlwind day for both of us: I for a work day that started a little after 6am followed by the drive up here right after, and Jen for a day of crazy kids and their 2nd year doctor appointment.

Uneventful drive, the girls were good and I am ashamed to admit that it is due in large part to the playing and enjoyment of two DVDs. We barely heard a peep from them, except when the Wiggles finally ended a mere 3 minutes from Grandma and Grandpa's house. Of course I had to fill that 3 minutes with random singing and showmanship, because god forbid they could simply look out the windows for a spell.

Jen, intrepid and thoughtful person that she is, took statistical notes at the doctor's for the explicit purpose of publishing here on the bloggity blog. So for your consideration:


Weight: 19 pounds 3 oz. (0.03%) She has still not - and may never, if she has her way - broken the 20 pound mark.
Height: 29 1/2 inches (0.11%) (shorty!)
Head Circ.: 47 cm (37%) (shoddy, compared to her Dad's healthy 1,047 cm noggin)


Weight: 28 pounds 6 oz. (73%) She's getting up there...
Height: 34 3/4 inch (77%) Despite these stats, she will never be tall, the genetics are just not in her favor.
Head Circ.: 49 cm (87%) Amazing that the 2 cm difference between the two equates to a 50% difference on the scale. Small bell curve.

More tomorrow, with pictures and extra love.

Day three hundred and sixty one (4 days! I like the number 4. There should have been 4 pillars of fire during the torch lighting ceremony tonight, but there were only 3. I'm sad for Canada.)