I’m a little ashamed to say that we haven’t taken nine-month pictures on the couch in the boys’ room like we did the first six or seven months of their lives. (No, it’s not the first one we let get by us.) Maybe we’ll get on it tomorrow. Maybe. Probably not.

So what’s new with the boys lately? The biggest news is that I found a tooth on Friday. Being babies, Fawkes and Phoenix like sticking just about anything in their mouths and so I have used that fact to check for teeth every morning.When I let Phoenix gum me (and he can gum pretty hard!) onFriday morning I felt what almost felt like a fingernail. There was definitely something hard and sharp, though it was very hard to see. After finagling him a good bit, I was finally able to look into his mouth enough to find a small crack in his gum, although it looks like it’s not one of his front teeth, seeming to be a little to his right from what I would expect. We’ll see as it comes in more, I suppose.

Fawkes’s first tooth is a bottom one, and it was discovered the next day when the Romeros were out for a walk and stopped by.

I can’t remember if I mentioned it yet or not in previous posts, but the boys have started eating real food a bit. We started with puffs and yogurt melts and quickly escalated to eggs and peas. They’ve been sucking on fruit for a while, but we’ve given them small bits of banana now and out of desperation they got small pieces of sweet potato fries and shredded barbecue today. I’m pretty sure there are other things, but I can’t think of them at the moment.

They’re getting around really well, fully crawling now. They can sit up and they can pull themselves up on anything they can reach. For a little while they would stand up on things then get pissed off because they couldn’t get back down, but they’ve gotten better at that.

I’ve expanded their general area during the daytime. I currently have my computer set up in the living room since my usual office area is somewhat of a construction site due to repairs from HurricaneFlorence damage, and it will be like that for a little while still. I had about half the living room cordoned off for a while, but recently moved the boundaries out to the full kitchen and the rest of the living room including the entrance part of the hallway. 

One thing I’ve enjoyed doing lately is letting them get themselves where they need to be. Sometimes after a nap or first thing in the morning I’ll let them follow me from their room to the living room, and most of the time when I’ve got bottles for them I’ll show them the bottles and set them by their car seats (which we put them in to have the bottles). They get very excited and take off after them as well as a crawling baby can.

A lot of times, and definitely for the first bottle every day, I turn on a sign language video. It’s the same Baby Einsteins one that Milly learned from when she was little. They aren’t picking up on anything just yet, but we’re trying to remember to mix sign language in when we talk to them.

We started giving them baths now and then last week.I don’t think they can sit up in the tub very well yet, but we put them in Bumbo seats and that keeps them generally in place. Fawkes started splashing the very first time we did it.

Sleep hasn’t gone like it should. We had eleven straight days of them sleeping through the night without us having to go into their room at all, but in the last week or so, Fawkes in particular has been really bad about it. He’ll usually wake up at 1 or 1:30 and want to stay up like it’s normal daytime awake time. It’s frustrating because he used to be the better sleeper. Sometimes Phoenix will wake up too, or they’ll take turns, but by and large it’s mostly Fawkes giving us trouble with it.

That’s about it as far as life updates for the boys go. On to other life happenings.

College basketball season has officially started. The marquee games were from the Champions Classic on Tuesday. These are games that feature Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, and Michigan State with the opponents changing every year. This year it was #1 Kansas against #10 Michigan State in the earlier game and #2 Kentucky against #4 Duke in the later game.

Kansas looked pretty good against Michigan State, although Michigan State came back and made it close late in the game.

But then came the UK-Duke game. Duke’s squad this year features the #1 recruiting class, headlined by Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish, RJ Barrett, and Tre Jones (little brother to 2015 Final Four Most Outstanding Player and national champion Tyus Jones). Kentucky has the #2 recruiting class, but they also have more returning talent and a bit more experience. Personally, I thought those tow factors would give them the edge in the game. Vegas had the Wildcats as one-point favorites.

Vegas and I were both wrong.

After the game, Jay Bilas and Scott Van Pelt were talking on SportsCenter and they barely had the words to describe the performance Duke gave. Now, my dad, a UK fan, said he wasn’t sold on Kentucky being so highly rated yet based on their play in some pre-season games, and maybe the Wildcats aren’t as good as billed, but it’s still not normal to beat another highly-rated team like Kentucky to the tune of 118-84.

Duke came out on fire and hit back-to-back threes, including one from Zion Williamson (which was a bit of a surprise). Kentucky closed to within three points… with 16:39 left in the first half. After that I think the closest Kentucky got was being down 13 with a little over two minutes left in the first half, but the halftime score was 59-42. I just realized that they both scored the exact same number of points in the second half, as the final score was 118-84. I wonder how often that happens.

Anyway, despite it being a lopsided victory (and the worst loss the Wildcats have suffered under John Calipari), it was fun to watch. I mean, Duke was just in sync and unselfish. There was one sequence where Zion ripped the ball away from a Kentucky player in midair, dribbled down the court (which a guy his size isn’t supposed to be able to do as well as he does), and connected with a skip pass to I think Barrett for a bucket. It was just such a beautiful play that I woke Tristen up because, as she said, “I was giggling like a schoolgirl.”

It’s just one game, obviously, but I’ll be kind of shocked if Duke doesn’t make the jump all the way to #1 after that game. Sure, there could be some hiccups along the way this season, but Duke has shown the world how well they can play. Marvin Bagley set a freshman scoring debut last season with 25 points. He got moved to third place after Tuesday, with 28 points from Zion and 33 points from RJ. Cam Reddish was right behind with 22 points. This could be a really special team.

Milly’s school had a fall festival this Friday. It’s usually right at Halloween, but it got pushed back this year because of the hurricane and how much time the kids were out of school. The whole family went and we took the Davis girl along with us. We borrowed Torrie’s van (it was her birthday, by the way) so we could fit all the kids plus a stroller. I had initially thought we’d just strap the boys on, but Tristen pointed out how hard it would be to feed them that way.

When the school does this, they have a couple things outside (including a mini-golf course this year), but the main thing they do is convert a bunch of the classrooms for games and activities where the kids can get candy and trinkets. I think there’s usually a pretty good turnout, but it was unbelievably crowded. We ended up letting the girls wander around the school together (Milly also saw some of her other friends) while Tristen, Fawkes, Phoenix, and I meandered around, mainly hanging out by the entrance and chatting with people.

On Saturday, Tristen took Torrie (and the boys) to Target to go shopping and get her something for a birthday present. I watched the Duke-Carolina football game. Duke won, but nobody played defense for the first half, so it was touchdown after touchdown for a while.

Amanda picked Milly up right at 1:30 to go to Richlands to celebrate GP (Milly’s great-grandfather)’s birthday. She dropped her back off at 8:30.

I made breakfast this morning (pancakes and eggs). The boys hardly napped at all, and we all went to lunch for Nonny’s birthday. It was actually yesterday. but she spent most of her birthday flying back from Cozumel.

We were going to eat at Flaming Amy’s, but they were packed so we tried Mac’s.It took them forever to seat us because they were going to give us two back-to-back booths, but the couple in one of them decided to hang out a little while. Not that they knew we were waiting for them, but it was a little frustrating. Some of us finally decided to sit in the booth that was already open and when Laura was standing there holding one of the babies and the rest of our crew started getting seated further down they picked up on what was going on and left so we could all sit.

I couldn’t hold that against the place. The only complaint I had was that they had a bunch of TVs all showing football, which is fine of course, but when I asked if they could put one of them on the Duke-Army basketball game I was told they were only showing football. I accepted that, but then one of the TVs ended up on a Creighton-East Tennessee basketball game. I get that it probably came on after a football game, but that irked me a bit.

Duke won, by the way. I haven’t had a chance to watch the replay, but from what I gather it was a bit sloppy and lacked some focus and intensity. Probably a bit of a come-down from the Kentucky game. They still won 94-72, but it was only an eight-point game at the half when Duke was favored to win by 30 or so.

Torrie and I ended up in a booth with all the kids at first until some of the boys started getting grumpy and got distributed around. It was funny because while we started out with all the kids, we ended up with the fewest, just Milly and Phoenix.

Fawkes and Phoenix both got to try out high chairs. Fawkes satup better than Phoenix did.

Tristen and Torrie went to a thing after putting the babies down and I played a bit of Minecraft with Milly since she’d been asking me to do that for a while, but I didn’t play long because the babies started crying. They may have gotten a total of an hour of nap time today. I hope that’s not a new trend; I’m not ready for that yet.

Milly had been set to spend the night at her friend Sophie’s house since they’re out of school in observance of Veteran’s Day, but Sophie got sick, much to the bumming-out of both girls. She had started watching Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy a couple weeks ago and asked if she could finish that. so after she ate some leftover lunch for dinner we watched it from the point she had gone to bed. I fell asleep before it was over.

Milly put herself to bed. Not that she’s not old enough to do that, but we’ve got a bit of a routine that I like to do and I feel a little bad when we don’t, because it’s not going to last forever. There’s not much toit: She gets in bed and we snuggle for a minute, givekisses then do an eskimo kiss. Then I say, “I love you, Meliamae. Good night, little girl.” I’ve said that to her ever since she was a baby.

I fell asleep a little after 7:30 and woke up a little before 10. This past week I’ve gotten into a schedule of falling asleep around 8 and waking  up around 12. It’s kind of nice because then, baby sleep willing, I get to focus on work until about 3. I know uninterrupted sleep is healthier, but at least I’m getting about seven hours of sleep a night, which is what my body tends to naturally like.