2020 was a famously unpopular year. People had high hopes for 2021 turning the corner, and there is a lot to be optimistic about. There are multiple vaccines for the coronavirus (although 3,000 people are dying a day from it). Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump and will take office on January 20 (although Donald Trump continued to fight the election outcome, more on that later).

Of course things going on in the world don’t usually change just because you start a new calendar, and 2021 is suffering from a 2020 hangover. But let’s do the stuff going on in the personal life first.

New Year’s Eve

Erin and Daniel hung out with us on New Year’s Eve, a Friday. We had a few pizzas and drinks. The boys didn’t stay up past their normal bedtime, but Milly, who was with her mom, had her friend Callie over for a sleepover.

Back here we spent the night playing boardgames. I won a game of Ticket to Ride, didn’t win a couple games of Splendor, taught everyone how to play Carcassonne. We played another of the latter the next day, trying to squeeze it in during the boys’ nap time, which we were partially able to do.

Of course we all stayed up until midnight and watched the countdown and kissed out significant other, but we were all out pretty soon after that.


That Monday, the fourth, Griffin was scheduled for a final x-ray. We had to do a bit of coordinating with Torrie. She had agreed to watch Fawkes and Phoenix, but she had to drop Gabriel off at pre-school, which would make the timing to make the appointment pretty close. The preschool is a bit to the northeast while the doctor is in Leland, which is across the Cape Fear River to the west.

We decided I’d drop the twins off, pick up Gabriel, take him to school then go to the appointment. There was still the possibility of cutting it tight, but this way we didn’t have to worry about switching car seats or trading vans or anyone waiting on the other person to get back, and there wouldn’t be any need to go out of the way to drop back by a house, although that wouldn’t be far off the path.

Anyway, I did get to the doctor on time. The doctor was very pleased with the progress of Griffin’s clavicle and said we could handle him pretty much normally now. “Cleared for spring sports,” as I told Tristen. He’s been acting like nothing was bothering him for a while anyhow, and he’d been accidentally picked up under his armpit now and then without him fussing, so it wasn’t a surprise.

The x-ray still shows a knot where the break was and it’s not totally aligned and straight yet, but the doctor said she couldn’t feel the break and that after a while if you were to x-ray him again you probably wouldn’t see a thing.

He was a little ham while we were in the waiting room, by the way. He liked saying “Hi” a bunch to the front desk lady and to other people in the waiting room. He brought a lot of smiles.

The Hoverboard Attachment

School was out for the first full week. Milly was supposed to come over Tuesday, but right as I got the boys all packed up in the van and had gone back into the house to get them some juice cups, I got a call from her mom telling me she might have been around someone who had tested positive for Covid and was getting a test. After talking with Milly we decided to forego visiting that day, but we did get together the next day.

Milly got a hoverboard from her mom for Christmas. Dismissing that I’ve always had an issue with them being called hoverboards, because when we do come up with Back to the Future II-style hoverboards that actually hover, the name is going to already be taken.

Anyway, Milly had brought it over with her for the time she stayed here between Christmas and New Year’s Eve and we had some fun with it. She even helped her brothers stand on it for a bit. Supporting them, of course, not holding them while she was standing on it. I got on it a little too, and it is fun.

Anyway, Milly got a check from my parents for Christmas and used it to buy an attachment that includes a seat, handlebars, and a single wheel with bars for your feet. It essentially turns it into a go kart. That arrived on that Wednesday and I helped her put it together. Unfortunately, the hoverboard wasn’t charged very much, so she didn’t get to play with it much that day.

She was super helpful that evening. Tristen had a hair appointment to fix some things she didn’t really like from a recent styling and Milly entertained all three of her brothers to allow me to get some work done. She came up with… what did she call it? Evil Dr. Blanket or something like that. She was putting a blanket over her head like a cloak and chasing her brothers around and they loved it.

What made it particularly helpful was that it had been particularly hard to concentrate on work given the news of the day.

The Fifth Anniversary

Milly sent me some drawings she had done Friday morning. They were really impressive. She based them on some  pre-made sketches of scenes and put in her own characters. I was very impressed. She really has become a talented artist.

Tristen had me open a gift she had gotten for us the night before. They were two wooden frames with “Take my hand/Take my whole life too” on the canvas. Can’t Help Falling in Love is kind of a theme song of ours. Bonus: The fifth anniversary is wood, which I thought inspired the frames, but she didn’t know that when she ordered them.

Danielle was watching the boys that morning, so I was able to order some flowers and deliver them to her myself. I didn’t think about how they’d be screening people, so my plan didn’t work out quite the way I envisioned. I wrote “The most beautiful woman there” on the card and was going to go up to her like I didn’t know her and say, “I’m certain these are for you.”

As it was I told the lady at the door the flowers were for Tristen and she stood up and called to Tristen. At first I was trying to sort of hide behind the door frame, but I had to poke my head out. She thought it was sweet anyway of course, and apparently all the ladies she works with were singing my praises.

Phoenix, for our anniversary, pooped in the potty for the first time. I had just come back from delivering the flowers and he said something about poop, so just for the heck of it I pulled down his diaper and sat him on a little potty I set down by the kitchen door. I then went on about my business, and a couple minutes later Danielle exclaimed that Phoenix had pooped. As a reward all the boys got a Mike & Ike, but Phoenix, for doing the deed, got two.

Big props to a set of books Nonnie got the boys for Christmas. One of them, called Potty, is about going to the potty. They really like the books, so I can’t help but think it influenced him.

Just as it was five years ago, it was raining a bit today when Tristen and I went downtown to celebrate our love for each other. We ate at Mana, which is kind of a swanky place. They didn’t have the steak Tristen wanted, so she ordered some pork. She was very impressed with how tender it was while the outer park was almost crisp. I ordered meatballs that I didn’t realize were an appetizer and they were really good too. All the bread we had was great. We had some wine to toast our anniversary.

Our waitress was wonderful. She brought us what she called a “couple’s wish,” which was a candle in a ramekin that you make a wish on as a couple. She was very personal and got Tristen emotional.

Feeling lucky, we stopped at a store to pick up a Mega Millions lottery ticket, since it’s up to close to half a billion dollars. Spoiler alert: We didn’t win.

Torrie had been watching the kids and we chatted with her for a bit when we got home. Tristen finally got around to doing an anniversary Instagram post and I responded to it by telling her to put her phone down and kiss me. She didn’t see it right away, so I told her to check her Instagram then scuttled off to our room before she did.

The Rest of the Personal Stuff

Phoenix pooped again on Saturday. Both boys have peed in the potty since then, but there hasn’t been as much eagerness since then. We did let Phoenix wear undies for a good bit Saturday and I think there was only one incident. We didn’t let him nap in them, of course. Fawkes is less enthusiastic about trying them on, so he’s opting to stay in “baby diapers” for now.

Fawkes has started playing with Griffin a lot more lately. They chase each other around and on Sunday Fawkes was hanging from the end of the dining room table then dropping on his butt (it’s only a couple inches), which Griffin finds hilarious and tries to imitate. Phoenix got in on it some today.

Phoenix is catching up to Fawkes in the talking department, though Fawkes is still saying more and speaking more clearly. I got him to (mostly) count to ten on my fingers on his own the other day.

Duke played two games this week. Against Boston College, Coach K was out and Jon Scheyer made his coaching debut, which was cool to see as he was on one of my favorite duke teams, the one that won the championship in 2010. Duke only won by one, though that was because of a late three made by BC. To their credit, Duke hadn’t played in three weeks because of canceling their non-conference games to allow the players some family time and a few opposing teams having Covid issues. On top of that, one of their top players, Jalen Johnson, has been sidelined with a foot injury.

The next game was against Wake Forest, which Duke won by 11, though they didn’t pull away until late. They did look better though, and it was good for the team, which hasn’t really had a chance to get consistent playing time, to warm back up against some lower-tier ACC teams. Hopefully they’ll mesh better and get off to a better start in their next game against Virginia Tech. They are a young team though, and it looks like they might take some lumps this season.

So that’s what’s been going on in my life, but then there’s the national news…