Even though people like to pretend it’s Monday, the calendar week starts on Sunday, so let us start there as well.

Our friends Leslie and Blake had their baby, Beau, but we hadn’t had a chance to go by and see them. Tristen had talked about going at some point without all the babies, but she never got around to working that out. I texted Blake to see about coming by. He mentioned that a few other people were going to be there, but to come on by.

So we loaded up Nikki and off we went. We were going to pick up some BBQ on the way, but the Smithfield’s by their house was still recovering from a fire.

The other people were Leslie’s sister Shannon and her husband Chad; Fru, Brad, and Sophie, who happened to be in town; and Colette. The Fru crew had to take off back home and Colette left after a bit. The menfolk went to get some things necessary for hot dogs and burgers (sans the meat) and Blake grilled when we got back.

Some of us got in their pool after a while, including Fawkes and Phoenix, who had a great time.

Griffin and Beau were bump buddies, so it was cool that they finally got to meet each other. Not that they’ll remember it or anything. Still, I couldn’t help but think about if Beau does grow up as friends with my boys. I wonder what it will be like for them having friends all being so close together in age and all.

Speaking of my boys, my girl was dropped off at the house sometime after 7. She had been at a pool too.

Amanda texted me, I think it was that night, to express some concern about Milly’s use of Tik Tok. She hadn’t done anything wrong, but she’d gotten an idea of a make believe game to play from it that she was not totally comfortable with. I suppose I can say it, otherwise you might think it was something like pretending to plot a murder or something. It was a game where you pretend to run away. She and a friend had packed a book bag, which disturbed her friend’s dad.

I’ve been a little iffy about Tik Tok. The security settings were decently high, so it wasn’t that, but it was how much time Milly spent doing videos on it and how there’s not really any way to censor what she can see on it.

On the plus side, she was learning a bit about video editing and effects, which I really dug. And she had some really cute, creative videos on it from time to time. There was one that nearly had me welling up with tears, it was so sweet and cute.

I’d share it if I could, but it’s a private account so I can’t. In it though, a clip of the song Snowman by Sia is playing. Milly holds up a hand and these words appear: THE HUMAN WHO SENT YOU THIS 

Then she flips her hand and more words appear above her open palm: WANTS YOU TO KNOW….

Then the song shifts and she tilts her head slightly and gets this beautiful and totally warming delightful smile on her face and she opens her hand again to reveal the words: U IZ BOOTIFUL.

I just love the video so much. The way the music goes all happy right as she delivers her sweet message, and the smile on her face… AH! I love my girl so much.

That video alone almost melted my resolve to delete the app from her phone.

The next morning we chatted about how she didn’t do anything wrong and she wasn’t in trouble, but because there is no way to monitor what she sees or how it could influence her, we were going to take a break from the app. I reassured her that I wouldn’t delete the account. I mean, she had put a lot of work into some of it, and there were some really fun videos of her and her friends. Anyway, after we made sure she had the password to recover it, it came off her iPod Touch. She didn’t complain about it and didn’t bring it up afterwards.

Tuesday is our preset day for family to take all the babies. Fawkes and Phoenix went to Torrie’s and Griffin went with his Nonny.

It was my day to get some work done, but I did allow myself to have a few distractions. Milly’s been feeling left out, so she and I went on a bike ride for a little bit.

Tristen was supposed to take Nikki so she could pick all the boys up after work, but she had taken Dorothy. I drove to her work and she was in the back, so I sat for her in a currently unused waiting room. She walked by and went right past me, so I said (not shouted), “Boo.” She let out a nearly under the breath WTF before she realized it was me. She said she had seen that somebody was there out of the corner of her eye, but she didn’t know why anyone would be there.

Anyway, I talked to her for a few minutes. She told me that Leslie and Blake had just left and were talking about lunch, so I texted Blake. Turned out they were still in the parking lot. Les was feeding Beau so Blake came in for a minute or two then I joined them for lunch at Tropical Smoothie.

Abigail came over and played with Milly for a while. She even ate dinner with us. Well, with Milly anyway. Dinner is a bit of a get it when or while you can thing if you’re not a one-year-old here right about now.

There was a big neighborhood to-do. A bunch of fire trucks and such filled our little road. Turns out one of our neighbors had a stove fire. It got a lot of nosey people out of their houses. I say that as one of those nosey neighbors. We ended up talking with the Swains a bit. The fire was just about across the street from their house. They’re moving soon and are giving us a few of their things, which is really nice.

Sophie, a cat Johnny and Torrie sort of owned for a while, somewhat made herself the Swains’ cat. They kind of split custody, but I think she ended up just staying over there more. Anyway, she hasn’t been seen in a while and Molly has been pretty distraught about it.

Wednesday marked Griffin’s three-month birthday. We tried to take some pictures, but I didn’t manage to get any good smiles.

As it’s a birthday (of sorts), it’s a good time to mark what’s going on in the developmental lives of my babies.

We’ll start with Griffin since he’s the one marking an occasion. You may have seen that he can roll from his stomach to his back. He can smile pretty easily now and sometimes when you’re looking at him he’ll babble at you a bit. He’s not quite ticklish yet, but I think he’ll be there soon. I make sure to give him tummy time every day, and he seems to not get as annoyed by it if you put a few things in front of him to look at.

It’s not a lot of stuff, but it’s stuff.

Fawkes and Phoenix though…!

Fawkes has been regularly walking for a bit now. Across room, stopping and turning, all kinds of stuff. He’s a toddler now. Phoenix can do all that, but he doesn’t choose to do it as much. I figure he will within a few days.

They’re starting to say all kinds of things. Tristen and I were discussing what their first words were the other day. I think you have to count intent for it to really count. I mean, they were saying “Da” and its direct offspring, “Dada(dadada),” before anything else I think, but I don’t think it always meant “dad.” And I think the second sound they really got was “Mamamama,” and I think at some point they might have meant “Mom” or “Mama” with it.

I do know for sure they got “that” really early on. It sounded a lot like “da,” but it was somehow different from the earlier “da.” The end was sharper, but it didn’t quite have a “dat” sound. Anyway, they would point or grab at something and say it, and I’m sure they got it from us asking if they want “that.”

I’m not sure if I can remember all the things they say or kind of say now. They might be saying “Me” for Milly. I think we’ve gotten some “yeah.” Oh, “go” is a definite. I taught them to say that (although it’s more “ga” than anything) when they would climb on me and want me to pop them up and down, or when I’d pick them up and throw or drop them. I heard them saying it to Tristen today.

I can’t think of any more, but there are some for sure.

They’ve really picked up their sign language too. While watching this morning, Fawkes was singing a bunch of the words from their video. Phoenix was busy playing with Mega Blocks though. They’re pretty good at stacking them together. I was showing Phoenix today how to build it tall then knock the tower down.

But anyway, they came up with their own sign for brushing teeth, which we do right before bed every night. It’s exactly what you’d think it is (and might actually be), where they brush their teeth with their pointer finger.  They really enjoy doing that, although after a minute they start brushing other things. They particularly like brushing the eyes on the stuffed tiger in their room.

They’re getting really good at pointing out body parts. They for sure know eyes, ears, mouth, teeth, nose, hair, toes, feet, and belly. They love lifting your shirt to poke your belly. They’ll often let out a little “Ahh!” when they do it, since that’s my usual reaction to them doing it.

They enjoy using little spoons to feed themselves, although they can’t really do it yet. And they help clean up a little, putting toys in things when bath time is over and sometimes at the end of the day when the playroom is a mess. Hmm, I need to get them to start doing that during the day, too. And speaking of bath time, the try brushing their and each other’s hair.

Tristen periodically makes mousepads with a collage of photos on them and Fawkes and Phoenix were interested in an old one she had. We’d tell them who was on it, so she made one for them with all our family members on it. They enjoy pointing to people and having us say their names.

They won’t usually point to people on the mousepad if you ask them to yet, but they’ll sometimes do it for real people.

It’s an exciting time. Tristen called them her babies today and I told her not babies anymore; they’re toddlers. They’re walking (pretty much at least), they’re talking more and more, they’re picking up so much knowledge. It’s time to really start making sure they see letters and numbers and the like.

Milly hung out with the Swains and ate dinner over there.

Moving on to Thursday.

The big news of the day was my new tattoo. It was set up a few months ago and part of a birthday present for me. You may have noticed my Guy Fawkes fox. A gryphon got added yesterday. There’s already a phoenix. Milly isn’t an animal, but she’ll be represented by a snakeicorn™.

The gryphon was a lot bigger than I expected, but that makes it pretty badass. The whole arm (aside from the phoenix, which I’ve had for a few years) will be done by Drew Susi. I specifically picked his style for it, a lesson anyone getting a tattoo should heed. Research artists and their styles and pick the look you’re going for.

So yeah, it’s big and it wraps from the inside of my arm to the back of it and it hit almost every pain spot on the arm: the inside elbow, the skin near the armpit, the shoulder. We did miss the elbow, the pain of which I experienced with the tattoo on my right arm. I’d say it was the most painful one I’ve gotten so far, unless I just tend to always block that aspect of getting tattooed out.

We got the lines and shading in, but not the color, so that’ll be fun. That, and possibly the snakeicorn™, will come next visit. The snakeicorn™ head will be in the open area between the gryphon and the Guy Fox and will wind around the rest of the arm, probably filling in a lot of the gaps. I’m looking forward to getting it all done.

Tristen and I watched the first episode of the third season of Stranger Things last night.

In other Thursday news, Amanda called and told me she had discovered live on Milly. No idea where it came from or anything, but we spent a good bit of last night cleaning things she’d been in contact with.

I talked to Milly this morning and she said that she had thrown up last night, but she felt better right after it. Poor thing.

Today was a pretty rough day for me. Griffin slept in spurts and was upset a lot of the time. I lost track of how many times I fed him, which is what he seemed to want, but he kept spitting it back out. I don’t know if I was feeding him too much or what.

On top of that, Fawkes and Phoenix were pretty clingy and wanted to be picked up a lot. They were also quick to fuss about things. At one point I put Fin Fin in his car seat and put that in my office area and just went out front to get away from the cacophony of screaming and crying. I just needed to collect myself a bit before I lost my shit.

Tristen had made plans with Sam and Torrie to have a ladies’ night out tonight. After reading about my day on Twitter (you can follow my Work at Home Dad account, unlike anyone but Blake and myself, here), she felt pretty guilty about going out and said I’m the one who should go out tonight. I told her I had too much to do and probably wouldn’t be able to get up with anyone on such short notice anyway. And besides, Torrie and Sam would never forgive me- they’ve all been looking forward to going out tonight. She agreed that they’d probably abduct her if she canceled on them.

Tristen then promised me a guy’s night out, but I told her though that I don’t really care to do stuff like go out downtown without her. For the most part, I feel like unless you’re going out with a group, the point of going to bars and stuff always felt like it was to go out with your lady or to find one. I’ve been out a few times without her since we’ve been together, and I just like being with her better. (No offense to anyone.) So she said we can do a date night.

We put Fawkes and Phoenix down together then she handed off the Babiest Baby so she could get ready. She got to wear some wedges tonight since I wasn’t going out with her. She’s not much shorter than I am and is usually noticeably taller when she wears heels.

I told her I was okay if someone hit on her and bought her drinks to save us some money.

My back’s been bugging me today, probably from picking up and carrying all those babies a bit more today, plus I was trying to keep them off my left arm, so instead of carrying Griffin around until 7:30 I put him down a little after 7. I went back once, but he’s been out since.

And that brings us to now.

I should do some work, but I think my keyboard is about to die (it’s solar powered so I need to remember to eave it in the sun tomorrow) and I’ll be driving Sam home to save her from having to Uber halfway across town, so maybe I’ll get some rest.

Oh, on the work front real quick, I’ve got Erin working for me, mostly doing social media and publishing the blog posts. She started Monday. I’m really trying to start delegating more so I don’t go crazy. I’ve got a contractor who can do a lot of content updates, the ones that aren’t too hard, but take a lot of time. I’ve got Colette writing for me. I found another contractor I might start using for some general web design work. I tested him out on a couple little things and he’s done well so far.

All of this will cost me some, but it’ll be worth it to free me up to not go crazy with stress. I do have three websites I’m working on right now. One is very nearly done, but the other two are a bit more complex and I need to just really sit down and focus on them. They’re kind of niche, so I don’t know if I can really hand them off to anyone. Once I got past those three though, it’ll unload a lot of stress for me. Maybe I’ll be able to not fall asleep around 9, wake up at 1, then work until 3 or 4 soon.