Friday, April 30, 2010

Coast to Coast

Thursday at 3pm we left for Orlando. Arrived in Orlando around 6:30pm. Stopped at Target to say hi to Aunt Katie since she had to work. Hung out with Uncle Eddie. Ate dinner. Went to bed.

Friday began at 4:45am when Elijah thought it time to get up. Got on the road by 7am due to his early beginning. By 1pm we were home.

Total trip time was 3.5 hours first day and seven hours second day. Not too shabby.

We made two thirty minute stops at rest stops where the boys excitedly pushed around their trucks.

The drive was fairly uneventful. There was lots of singing, book reading, car rolling, video watching, eating, crying, sleeping, yelling, and chatting. Not only did the boys discover it was great fun to throw things back and forth at each other and have yelling contests, but Elijah figured out that if he got too bored, he could always such on his toes.

Had Mom not been with me, many things would have been different. I would not have:

  • had nearly as much fun.
  • drank a Mountain Dew (in fear of having to stop and use the bathroom as frequently as I did).
  • even thought of taking photos. Period.
  • had anyone to talk to.
  • been able to run into the gas station to get things while mom pumped the gas.
  • attempted playtime at rest stops. I would have stuck to somewhere that had four walls.
  • been able to take a quick snooze in the passenger seat (despite Isaac saying "Mommy" throughout much of the daze.) He does not like it when I close my eyes. At all.
  • been able to so haphazardly pack the van. The stroller would have had to be accessible in the back for my times out of the car. With as much "junk" as we had piled in that van, I have no earthly idea how I would have done that.

Mom was very impressed with my incredibly long arms. I didn't realize, until she began bragging on me, that not everyone can get the arms of a child behind you back into their shoulder straps while driving. What? Not everyone can do this? I guess not. I can reach nearly anything while continuing to stay in my lane. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that if it wasn't for my long arms that can reach milk cups and teddy bears and dvd players and pacifiers and hand over books and cars and snacks, I am not sure I would even contemplate making this trip by myself.

Seeing John and Scrubs were the highlights of my day. Having JB hug me and promise me that we won't be apart again anytime in the foreseeable future was a great feeling. Having Scrubs clean up all the excess food under the highchairs during dinner? Can't even begin to put that one into words.

It is, so great, to be home. I have often remarked that I don't know where my "home" is. South Florida? Kentucky? Minnesota? Northern Florida? Turkey?

This trip reminded me that home is simply that place that you can truly let your hair down. It's the place that you cultivate and organize and celebrate. It's the place where you feel comfortable and can be yourself without heistation. The place where you are with the people you love. While my extended family is very close to feeling like home, there was nothing like walking back in the doors of our home here on Eglin AFB. It didn't matter if it was Base housing. It didn't matter what it looked like. It just mattered that it was where I belong.

It is very good to be home.

JB and Scrubby both agree.

Smells like . . .

. . . home.

What a beautiful place to be!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Heading "home"

Yesterday our day was spent getting some of our last hugs from people we love.

Today we will begin the drive back home.

Spent the morning with Joni, post-Europe-return-flight. She was tired. Very tired. Still, she willingly drove a half hour to love on my boys. Went to Butterfly World. Ate lunch at McDonalds. Talked. Looked at pictures. She brought Andre Agassi (her papillion) with her. The boys chased him around until his little dog eyes just pleaded with Joni to please pick him up and save him from four little grubby hands. I'm eight years old. Don't they know this is too much for my aging little papillion legs?

After some naps for the boys, the good bye hugs began. First Bri came by despite her busy exam schedule. Then Aunt Danielle. Mom came with Nate and Grace and brought dinner. Apricot chicken! Yum! Whatamom! I had called her earlier in the day and told her that I felt a bit overwhelmed getting the boys out of the house with our trip scheduled the next day even though we had planned to go over to their house for dinner. So she brought dinner. And many of the Kits. joined us. Uncle Ray. Aunt Gabbi. Uncle Grant and Aunt Elizabeth. Grampa. The whole gang. Even Matt, who was working, called to say good bye via phone.

This is how the Kit. family does things. Last good byes are big to them. They always make a point of having them. What a wonderful family to be a part of. I have been dating JB since 1993. Nearly twenty years. I have basically been included in their lives for two-thirds of my own life. What an blessing they are!

Speaking of "whatamom", today, Mom K. and I will begin our trip back to Eglin. Following afternoon naps we'll head to Orlando where we'll spend the night at Eddie and Katie's before making the remainder of the drive on Friday. I was planning on completing both these drives solo. What a fantastic gift to have someone with me -- not only for the company but for the fact that I will be able to run into the bathroom without unloading the stroller and lugging both boys in with me each time. This means I can drink as much caffeine as necessary without worrying about stoppage requirements.

It is with mixed emotions that I say good bye to South Florida and most of our families and head back to Eglin AFB.

The last six weeks of my life have been incredibly hectic and difficult for our little family. I have been challenged emotionally each day. It began with three weeks straight of inpatient hospital work -- long weeks for JB -- nearly ninety hours of work each week. We had one week of vacation which, while wonderful, was a bit exhausting and insane. This was followed by two weeks of separation while JB was on nights and we were here in Florida. I have felt completely out of my groove, out of our schedule, and just weary of being on the road.

Friday, tomorrow, is a monumental day in our lives. JB will do his last evening of nights. The last "hard" day of work in residency. And this day will also conclude his chief duties. The new chiefs will take over tomorrow. He will be on some light rotations until the end of residency. He graduates June 24th.

God always has our best interest in mind. I have begun to grow restless. JB too. I think this is God's way of making things easier on us. Each time we have prepared to move -- first to Kentucky and then Minnesota and then back to Florida, my heart has been "ready" to go. While overwhelmed and sad and weary, I have always felt the stirrings in my heart to begin our lives again somewhere else -- stirrings to have the move behind us and settle down somewhere new.

This time is no different. I am going to miss those friends we have made on Eglin tremendously. But it is time. I am ready for residency to conclude. I am ready for a new adventure.

This is where the mixed emotions come into play. I am starting to feel the move we are about to make and the fact that we will be leaving our extended family and friends when we head overseas. While I am excited about our move to Turkey, I am also feeling the sadness that will inevitably accompany being so far away from those people we most love.

Either way, today, we will begin our drive back to Eglin. Mom K. will rent a car and drive back to Orlando on Saturday. On Wednesday my Tante Jan and Oom Ed will visit us on Base. Joan and Bri will come in for Isaac's birthday party after that. Lots going on.

Happiness and excitement about our new adventure wait. Mixed with a sadness of leaving behind the familiar.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Joia, have I got a park for you!

Sugar Sand Park in Boca Raton, Florida is like no free community park I have ever seen. Joia, I thought of you immediately! My dear friend Joia, who is always on a quest, and usually a successful one, for a new place for her kiddos to play, would find herself questless after visiting this park. I thought to myself: Wow, if Joia found this park, her search would be over. She'd never have to look for another park again.

My parents took the boys here with Big Keith, AD, and Charleigh while I was out of town. Apparently Isaac went crazy, climbing non-stop and utterly exhausting himself. Yesterday, when I met up with Big Keith and my niece at the park yet again, Isaac was a bit more subdued but still, practically in heaven. "The Science Playground is a tri–level hands–on experience that features many interactive components demonstrating a variety of scientific principles for all ages." It is so cool! I looked at my brother at one point and said, "Where was this type of thing when we were kids?" In one section there were real buttons and wheels and gadgets that made all sorts of noise and made you feel like you were in a space ship. There were rooms full of mirrors and narrow paths that only little people could maneuver through. And slides? Galore! What's even better is that there really isn't anywhere they can fall while climbing and there is only one entrance and exit out of the park! A parents' dream.

I thought of Joia again when after a few minutes in the park I just had to go back to the van and get my camera. I had to capture this thing on film! Here are some pictures of our late morning at the park.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Thighs and buns

Are you even slightly curious as to where I am going to go with this post?

My mother will be mortified I am writing this, but we all need a good laugh sometimes. And I know she would understand if I let us all laugh at her expense.

Elijah has become obsessed with my mother's, well . . . I tried to think of a more discreet way to say this as I prepared to write this blog, but I can't come up with a more discreet way to say "thighs." He's become obsessed with her thighs.

My mom retold an event from this past weekend. While doing the laundry in her t-shirt and shorts, Eljiah came up behind her and attempted to take a fist-full out of her thigh. First one thigh and then the other. Over and over again. I had a good laugh at this visual.

The laughing continued later this evening when Elijah approached my mom while she was folding laundry in the living room. She was wearing a t-shirt and shorts again and suddenly he came up and just started trying to take a fistful of her leg off again. My Mom tried to keep a serious face as she told Elijah this wasn't proper behavior but neither of us could control ourselves as his chubby little hands tried to squeeze her leg over and over again. He then started giggling with us. He was so cute and so determined.

My mom says that she thinks this is because she is "fluffier" than me. She said she thinks this is why Isaac will snuggle with her more than he will JB or me. She said that she thinks that Elijah isn't used to seeing "fluffy" thighs. My mom has lost 30 pounds in the last year so "fluffy" is no longer a fair description.

Either way, Elijah is quite obsessed with my mom's legs.

I've told her she may have to wear pants. Even in this south Florida heat.

Okay so that is the "thigh" story.

As for the "buns", that one actually has to do with Scrubs.

Aaaaah Scrubs. This is the longest we have ever left him for. And I really miss him. JB actually admitted that he misses him too. That the house is just too quiet without him there. He is at dog camp for the weeks we are gone, and today I made my second call to check on him.

Pat informed me that Scrubs had gotten bitten in the leg after he attempted to, ummmm, mount another dog. She said he is fine. The wound is cleaned and he is on antibiotics. He and the dog are friends again.

This behavior by our spotted pal didn't surprise me. Scrubs will often attempt this behavior and fail to heed the warnings of another dog when they try to tell him that they don't appreciate his actions. Yes, he is fixed, but for some reason, he still sometimes feels the need to jump on.

While he doesn't "hump" people often, it does happen on occasion. Pat informed me that it happened last week. A friend of her's came to visit and Scrubs went to introduce himself. The woman was wearing shorts and, well, apparently Scrubs pulled her shorts down!

I apologized profusely to Pat who said that while she tried to scold him, she couldn't help just rolling in laughter. Either could her friend. "It was naughty," she said. "But it was soooo funny!'

Thigh grabbing and pants pulling.

Good times.

Redeeming Love

Based on blog recommendations (thanks Rachel!), I took the book Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers with me to New Mexico, on loan from Joni. I started it on the plane on the way to Santa Fe and finished all 500 or so pages on the flight on the way home.

All I can say is . . . wow. Truly one of the best reads I have ever had the pleasure to participate in. Seriously. Christian fiction at its very finest. Amazing.

Redeeming Love is the retelling of the biblical story of Hosea. It's a heartbreaking romance between a prostitute and the upright and kind farmer who marries her. Rivers wrote the book after she recommitted her life to Christ and it brilliantly parallels God's unconditional love for his people.

The preface warns readers that this is a PG-13 book. I would not recommend it for anything less than adults. There is a lot of adult-content which is understandable being as prostitution and abuse is a major theme. But for you adults out there, I am not sure I have ever read a more amazing love story. I am not sure I have ever felt God's forgiveness for us in a more real way.

I recommend this whole-heartily. Seriously. If you are someone who has had a less-than-perfect past, you will find this encouraging. If you are someone who has struggled with pride, you will find this a gentle reminder. If you are someone who has loved and lost, you will be pricked. If you are, well, anyone, you will love this book.

Read it.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Hugs all around!

As exhilarating as it was to run a traithlon, it was equally exhilarating to have my little boys in my arms. Isaac, Elijah, Papa and Grama Di greeted me at the airport after yet another uneventful travel day. (I love Southwest!).

The captain on one of the flights attempted to board our flight faster by coming on the speaker and telling us about a phone call that he had just received. "My wife just called me," he began. "She told me that mother-in-law is trying to get through security and make this flight. So if you would all would take your seats as soon as possible, we'll be able to make sure that doesn't happen."

Good laughs. And a great airline. How does a carrier charge so little, give you free baggage check-in, and have such great customer service?

But that isn't what I meant to write about.

Squatting down to hug those two little men felt as good as running the triathlon. They saw me across the baggage area and came running. Isaac with his little bow legs and Elijah getting distracted by this and that on the way there. "Oh, there's my Mommy. And there's some gum on the floor. Not sure what I would rather see."

I had brought a couple of truck books, and both boys, upon receiving their gifts, plopped down on the middle of the airport floor to read a book.

It was comforting to watch as Elijah happily rode in father's arms back to the van while Isaac walked alongside Grama Di. While they were happy to see me, they had obviously been well loved and had grown a stronger bond with not only my parents with Grama K. who watched them on Friday and Monday.

I had the time of my life. That weekend in Santa Fe is one I will never forget. Getting to run a triathlon was a proud for moment for me. But getting to do it with Kristi made it all the more memorable. It was a perfect "mom-break" for me, and I returned home rejuvenated and quite sore. Both Kristi and I are quite sore and according to Lee, tomorrow will be even worse. I am having trouble walking the stairs at my parents house thank to some way sore quads.

There is now a video of race highlights online, and while the official results haven't yet been posted, we did get an email informing us that the run was ONE MILE longer than it was supposed to be. ONE MILE?! One mile in a 3.1 mile run is quite a distance. No wonder Kristi and I were struggling through the run.

I have a few more days here (including some time with Joan, who has been in Germany, mid-week) before returning to northern Florida. The Lord is in the small things as Mom K. has decided to make the long drive back with me. How wonderful to not have to do those 10-11 hours by myself.

For now, some rest and some time with my boys. No exercising tomorrow. Tuesday? We'll see. I'm already eyeing another triathlon in Fort Walton Beach in May. I think I've caught the bug! ;)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Coyote Carrera Complete!

The Coyote Carrera Triathlon has concluded and Kristi and I finished it! Our goal was to finish in under 2 hours. Kristi did it around 1 hour and 35 minutes. I did it in 1:45. These times are even more impressive (for us) because the run turned out to be closer to 4 miles! It was supposed to be a 3.1 mile run, 12.4 mile bike, and 400meter swim. For some reason, and we still aren't sure why, the course for the run was set up incorrectly and we actually did somewhere closer to 4 miles. This may not seem like much, but it probably tacked on about 8-9 minutes to our times.

Anyways, pictures are more fun, so before I get carried way with words, let me back up and start the day with you when we started it. Too early!

Check out the mini basketball hoop in the background. Can you tell by this photo that it is about 5:00 in the morning. We look a bit tired. This is right before our breakfast and car loading. It was about a 1 hour drive from Kristi's house in Santa Fe to the race in Albuquerque.

Lee came a bit later with the camera and the kids. Kristi and I got to the race site at about 6:45 and began preparing ourselves, our bikes, and our stuff, for the race. When Lee got there closer to race time, he snapped this shot of us.

Here is super-Dad before the race with Kristi. Not only did he manage 3 kiddos and a camera during the race, but the stroller broke halfway through the day. I can't say enough about Lee's help. He'll downplay it, but I seriously do not think I would have been able to do this for the first time without his help. He is quite the triathlon veteran.

Here are Kristi and I showing off our numbers. They write your number on each arm and on one leg. On the other leg they write your age. Kristi was obviously thinking about something else when they asked her her age. She told them 30! Try 33 Kristi. Mine still says 32, but only for a few more weeks. I also think I am going to have these numbers written on me for quite some time. They aren't going anywhere anytime soon!

Here are Kristi and I at the starting line. Somehow we ended up in the front with all the intense race people. We didn't stay there for long!

Here is another picture of the first wave of participants. The race had two waves of people. The first group included Kristi and me. The second group started ten minutes later. This is the only thing about the triathlon that I wasn't crazy about. You could finish first but not actually be the winner! You also, really have no idea how you did in your age groups until later. We will wait for them to post the results on the website to see how we finished and what our official time was.

Here is Kristi finishing the run. Doesn't she look fantastic! The run was very hard for both of us. I think elevation did factor into it for me a bit. But I think a bigger issue was the fact that we paced for a 3.1 mile race and did about a mile more. That felt like so much! We stayed together for much of the run. (I am in the yellow vest behind Kristi.)

Here I am about to end the run and go into the transition area to get on my bike. (Well Lee's bike but my bike for this race.)

Here is Kristi in the transition area. While she got there before me, I ended up leaving a bit before her as I didn't have to change my shoes. Kristi wore bike shoes. I didn't. I have learned the importance of the bike shoes as I struggled with cramps in my feet during the second part of the bike.

Here is Kristi looking awesome on the bike! While Lee didn't get a picture of me on the bike, I must admit that I did much better on it than I thought I would. The hardest part for me was not knowing how to pace myself. There weren't markers up and as a result, I had no idea if I had done 5 miles or 10. I know distance in running from doing it so much but don't know biking. I passed Kristi when she made the loop to head back, and she told me I was doing great. I realized she was right when I looped only about 20 seconds later. I wasn't actually that far behind her.

All right. The swim. It was INSANITY! You had to do one lap up and back and then go to the next lane. There were so many people. You were getting kicked and pushed and just banged around. There were so many waves, I couldn't even attempt to work on my breathing.

Even worse than the beating though was my foot cramping. I had some bad cramps in the water and had to stop a few times (like in the picture) to get the cramps out of my feet.

Me swimming. Breathing to the side was next to impossible for me due to all the waves and fear of getting socked in the nose.

Another picture of the swim. Yikes! This was definitely the scariest part of the race.

Kristi bringing it in!

Kristi right after she finished, about ten minutes in front of me! She is in such great shape now. I am so blessed she encouraged me to do this as I am in great shape now too.

Here I am just after finishing the swim. Kristi and I braided each other's hair in the morning. Having it in the two braids was fantastic.

I am including this picture as proof that Elijah got his eye shutting technique from me! Ha!


Friends forever!

In warm clothes! It was cold when we started (about 41.) And I think by race end, it was only about 50 degrees. The pool was heated but once you got out, it was cold!!!

After the race we had brunch with a couple and their children, friends of Lee and Kristi, who came to cheer us on during the race. Then we headed back, rested and showered, and Kristi and I went out for a dinner and dessert time with just us girls.

I cannot even begin to tell you how much fun I had today. It is a memory that I will hold close for the rest of my life. I am so blessed to have been able to do this with such a fantastic friend. And to have her husband help us not feel completely lost. I definitely plan to do this again and soon. And I think JB is going to do it with me. I think I have found my post-basketball activity. I just can't run that far. But when you divide the exercise between three activities, it is reasonable and not to boring or long. I loved it!

If you are even contemplating doing this, PLEASE consider it. There were many people who were novices like us. Many people were decades older than us or obviously not in the best of shape but they did it anyway! Anyone, really, can do this. The attitude is one of encouragement and support and just pride for being there. There are some intense racers, but the majority of people were just like Kristi and me. There to have a good time.

I had the time of my life. Tomorrow I will fly home and see my boys, refreshed and blessed. Thanks Lee and Kristi for time of my life. Truly the only thing that could have made it better was to have my husband and sons here with me. What a weekend! What a day! What fun!

And a HUGE THANK YOU TO EVERYONE for all you encouragement, comments, support, and prayers! You are wonderful. If I don't tell you individually, please take this as my thank you!

We did it!

Race Day Update...

Wendi asked me to write a quick post for her.
I can think of nothing witty or funny.
I just woke up.
I'll just stick to the facts.

Temp: 41 degrees F
Sky: Clear
There are about 300 racers today today in Albuquerque.
Wendi and Kristi have arrived and are warming up for the race.
They just got numbers written on their arms/legs with a marking pen.
They sound giddy.

More to follow.


Race Day!

Slept badly. Way nervous. Kristi too.

So excited to be doing this. So blessed to be doing this with one of my very best friends in the whole wide world. So fortunate that her husband Lee knows all about these things and can help us.

Eating now. Leaving soon!

Not sure the last time I was this nervous about an athletic event.

Stay tuned!

P.S. Oh and I talked to God today. He said it was okay we skipped church to run this race. But he told me to tell the rest of you to go! :)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Pre-Race Day

Today Lee took Kristi and I out and gave me a quick 101 on how to ride a bike. Well, I know how to ride a bike but all the gears and the brakes and those types of things, that, I am clueless about.

Lee has been so wonderful. He spent nearly the entire day working on our bikes and helping get us ready for the race. And he and Kristi have been preparing long before I came into town as well. He does Ironman races (and actually wins them!) so he is a pro at these things.

We will leave the house at 5:30 tomorrow morning for the one hour drive to Albuquerque. Our race is at 8am. Many poor pictures and details to come. The weather looks like it is going to cooperate. The elevation, well, that is still to be determined.

I am so excited to do this with Kristi! I am so much less nervous with her and Lee showing me the ropes. Yipeeee! Race day is almost here.


Here I am with Logan (5), Raylee (3), and Ryan (20 months). I had a fantastic day of flying yesterday. I so enjoyed just listening to praise music on my Ipod and reading the day away. My first flight was a quick 30 minute flight to Orlando and then I had a nearly four hour flight into Albuquerque where Kristi picked me up. I returned to her house to a fantastic salad and fruit dinner (perfect after a day of travelling) made my Lee. I also got to spend some time with Kristi's three wonderful children, whom we all think look more like me than Kristi.

Rya is so similar to Elijah in personality which is so fun to see. Actually, I can't even put into words how wonderful it is to be with Kristi and her family. While I miss my boys, I am so enjoying getting this opportunity to be with this family before we leave for Turkey in a few months.

5,500 feet!

Woke up this morning with a dry nose and sore throat. Slept a bit restless. As I way lying in bed in Lee & Kristi's little "casita", I started thinking. What is the elevation here? Elevation will dry out your nose and your throat and cause sleep not to come as easily.

I showered, changed, and walked over to the house where Lee was riding his stationary bike and Kristi and the kids were watching Chuggington.

My first question upon walking through the door was this one: "Hey guys! What's the elevation here?"

It was a simple enough question that caused Lee and Kristi instantly shared a knowing glance. It was at that moment that I knew I had been duped.

"Yeah," Kristi said, snuggling up closer with Ryan to avoid my tense stare. "We wondered when you were going to ask about this."

5,500 feet!

That's the answer for you.

How could I not remember this when I agreed to do this triathlon.

"We didn't think it would do any good to tell you," Kristi said, her sly smirk hidden behind Ryan's juice cup. That sly smirk I know all too well.

"Yeah," Lee chimed in. "And it least the race is in Albuquerque. Santa Fe is over 7,000 feet."

Of that brings me great comfort.

So I've been training in, like, negative altitude. And they live in, like, not even close to negative altitude.

Extra prayers required. A lot of extra prayers.

Here we go.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Email from Kristi

This morning I opened up my email to find the following message from Kristi.

Well.... it is snowing the ground is covered and it 30's! It is suppose to be low 70's on Sunday. I hope so!!

Here was my reply to Kristi:

SNOWING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Are you CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What the heck?!?!?!!?

I emailed her back again to ask her if the pool was indoors. Thank the Lord it is. The water should be 80. I was having some major shivering attacks thinking about jumping into pool water when the temperature outside was 30.

Then I checked the weather. Kristi was being generous. It says a high of 63. Yikes! Doesn't Kristi know I have defrosted? I'm no longer a Minnesotan in even the slightest sense.

I am leaving in just a few hours. I cannot wait. Please pray for safety and health for me and my boys.

The next time you hear from me I will be in New Mexico.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A word from the I-man

"Hey everybody. It's me. 'Idac Don Kidstiner.' It's been awhile since I wrote a blog so I thought I would take some time to shout out a quick hello to all my peeps. And since I am writing the blog, I figured I would take a moment and smile for the camera. I've been sort of against this lately, but if this is my own blog, I better put my best foot forward."

"Can't understand me? Oh. Sorry. Maybe it's the fact that I have a 'gween' lego in my mouth."

"So in case you are way behind in my world, let me introduce you to my little brother 'Cijah.' His real name is 'Elijah' and sometimes I sort of call him that. But mostly I call him 'Cijah.' My parents have gotten in on the act now too. In fact, a lot of people call this little pile of chub to my left 'Cijah.' now."

"Cjiah likes food. A lot. He likes milk. A lot. Here I am sharing my milk with him. I'm a good sharer. In fact, yesterday, when I went to the water park, I wanted the graham cracker AD had. So I took the granola bar I had in my other hand and yelled, 'I sharing.' Then I shoved it in Cijah's mouth. Cijah was happy 'cuz he got granola bar, and I was happy cuz I got some graham cracker. Cijah will eat anything. I give him all my food that I don't want to eat, and he eats it. What a great little brother, huh?"

"I have been teaching Cijah where his body parts are. Here I am showing him where his mouth is. He thinks this is quite funny."

"Here I am showing Cijah where his nose is."

"And ... here I am showing Cijah where his tonsils are. He didn't think this was quite so funny."

"Cijah often closes his eyes for no good reason. This causes him to run into things. Like a table when he has an inner tube around his neck. (Now THAT was funny!) Daddy says this reminds him of Mommy. When Daddy and Mommy went scuba diving, if Mommy got nervous, she'd shut her eyes. Then she couldn't see Daddy, and he couldn't communicate with her. Daddy said Mommy did this a lot. Just like Cijah."

"Cijah is quite a goofball. While I am pretty serious and down-to-earth, Cijah is quite passion. People call him a tank. Or they call him a bulldozer. Or they call him a bull."

"Cijah likes to give kisses. Here he is trying to give me one. But I am too fast for him! Speaking of fast ... when Mommy changes my diaper after my bath, I am pretty squirmy. She always says that she will do it 'super fast.' Today after my bath I ran away from her while she was trying to put my diaper on and said 'I super fast' back to her! Pretty smart of me, huh?"

"Here I am blocking a kiss again. This time I using the elbow technique instead of the dodge technique."

"You can't understand what Cijah says to me sometimes. But I know. In this picture he is asking me nicely to please let him have a kiss."

"And here I am agreeing to the kiss. I think when we are older, this won't be very cool. But for now, it's cool. I love my Cijah. He is my best friend. And my worst enemy. But I think that's normal for Irish brothers like we are."
"Anyways, I hope you enjoyed getting to hear from me today. I'm a busy kid so I don't always have time for all this computer stuff. But I figured my fans deserved just a moment of my time. See ya' later!"