Category Archives: General

Goodbye, car seats!

Travis turned 8 years old last week, and with that milestone the state of North Carolina deemed him qualified to ride in cars without a carseat. Kelly’s been dragging her heels on making this switch but I’ve known for a while that T has been ready for it.

I didn’t know the right time to introduce this carseat-less adventure but it presented itself to me anyway. Travis’s birthday party was at the newly-opened Buffalo Road Aquatic Center and I was tasked with taking him and his two friends, Patrick and Jacob, to the pool. When both of his friends told me they didn’t use carseats that was all it took for me to take Travis’s out of the car.

T made the trip like it was no big deal and, so far, it hasn’t been. It is an end of an era, though. From their very first days, the kids have seen the world from a carseat. The day we did away with the seats brought me back to those earliest days, and how our lives have grown since then. It’s pretty amazing how quickly we’ve gone from then to now!

A year of no posting

It’s sad that Travis’s 7th year (and half of Hallie’s 9th and 10th) has gone undocumented here. It’s not like our kids haven’t been as important to us. In fact, we’re more engaged as a family than we have ever been. I suppose you could say we’ve been so busy living life that we’ve not found enough time to document everything. I hope to change that.

Consider this my reintroduction to the Hallie and Travis site!

Travis’s wishes

I was making lunches for the kids this morning when Travis walked in.

“Daddy, if I could have wishes I would wish for:

1. Peace in the world
2. Enough food for everyone on the planet to eat, and
3. The environment to be protected.”

Wow. That is some pretty heavy stuff from an 8 year old. I would’ve expected something like “unlimited Legos” or something but this really touched and surprised me. That’s our guy!

Travis’s Happy Place

I pulled Travis out of school a little early yesterday to get in a doctor’s appt. before Mark’s insurance runs out. T’s had a wart on the bottom of his foot, probably courtesy of swim team this summer, and it’s started to bother him. We happened to get an appt. with Dr. Bodenstine, T’s regular doctor, who I really, really love. Dr. Bo really “gets” Travis and they have good scientific Q&A sessions with each appt.

Dr. Bo decided to freeze the spot on T’s foot. He was really good about explaining the whole process and really engaged T. He was clear that it would feel very strange/hurt but that it would feel better soon. About halfway through the dabbing process, Travis started to get uncomfortable. Dr. Bo suggested he go to his “happy place.” This distracted Travis enough to start talking about where his happy place might be. Before T jumped in with his own suggestion, I was going to guide him towards kayaking on our trip. But once Travis understood what Dr. Bo meant by “happy place,” Travis immediately announced, “I’m going to the Lego store!” I should have seen that one coming!

Travis works on growing up

It’s really amazing to look back and see how much growing up Travis has done in the last year. Some of it has come as 1 step forward, 3 steps back. Much of it has been very loud. And there continue to be contradictions along the way. But there’s lots of movement in the right direction and it’s fun to get to know the young man who is emerging.

For the past year or more, Travis has been desperately wanting to be heard, to have control, to be independent–to be treated like a big kid or a grownup. But more frequently than not he demonstrates this need for autonomy through whining, being demanding, and throwing “temper fits.” Continue reading Travis works on growing up


Hallie and Travis have acquired quite a few nicknames over the years. I think I’ve captured many of them in their various birthday letters. Two more have come up that I don’t want to lose track of.

Mark’s called Travis “T-Bustle” for a while but I don’t know if we’ve ever posted about it. Or, for that matter, if that’s how you spell it.

Yesterday at breakfast Mark called Hallie “Boogle Magoo.” I’m not sure where that came from but it tickled all of us, and I’d bet it’s likely to stick around a while!

Maturing Hallie

I’ve had a big post to do about each of the kids for months now. They both promise to be long ones, so I keep putting them off and adding notes to them. Maybe I’ll finally get them both finished in my “the kids are in camp at the same time for exactly one week this summer and I hope to be working in the fall and if I don’t catch up on posts now I’m never going to” burst of writing. Just two more to go! Continue reading Maturing Hallie

Someone please take the high ground!

Overall, Hallie and Travis get along beautifully. They spend hours of time in creative play together, and I can’t imagine how different all of our lives would be if they didn’t have each other. They do, though, know how to push each other’s buttons!

There are so many spats and conflicts that could so easily be avoided if one of them just refused to engage. Often one will be in a bad mood or misinterpret something the other said or did. Or there will be an accident and either the “victim” will be less than forgiving or the “perpetrator,” often embarrassed at having been careless or reacting to the victim’s reaction, will get sulky and defensive and fail to give a sincere apology or try hard enough to make things right. Then begins the downward spiral. Continue reading Someone please take the high ground!