Friday, December 30, 2011

Last post of 2011

Wow, what a blur this year's holidays have been. At times like these it is hard for me not to count my blessings.  This year flew by and in reflection, I think it has been the most positive and productive for our family yet. Looking ahead, thoughts of a new year always make me think about change and resolutions. Most of mine this year deal directly with my wife and children. It is tough at times like these not to be too hard on myself.

It is easy to critique and judge others, it is infinitely harder to turn the magnifying glass back on yourself. I will try to grow as a member of the human race, become a better husband and provide the best parent for my children that I can.

From my family to yours, Happy New Year! See you in 2012!

PS. I normally try and avoid stock photos but Ru is currently enamored with penguins, the photo is for her. It might have proven difficult for me to get my own shot of a Happy New Year penguin...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Eve Expedition

So we were among the rest of crazy folks who chose to brave the Galleria on Christmas Eve. Not only were we at the mall, we were there to see Santa. This is what we get for waiting until the last minute: an hour wait in a line that wrapped through the guiding gates and ropes and to the end of the Santa cul de sac behind a painfully un-festive mother and grandmother. I was not happy about the situation but I was ok with it because I knew what we were in for and that it was our own fault for waiting. These people acted so put out, like they expected to walk right up to Santa's lap and then be on their way.  

Here is a shot of our 2011 photo from the sidelines. Ruby talks a big game about Santa and didn't show an ounce of fright or hesitation in line. As soon as she got close she would not let go of olivia and was screaming her head off. All of "Santa's Helpers" were trying their best top get her to smile until olivia, in a raised voice, said "I don't care if she's not smiling" at which point they scattered and let the flashes pop. Sailor was a champ, most likely because she didn't know we were handing her off to a bearded stranger for a photo-op.
A ride on the carousel solves all. The past two times we've gone she has forgotten that the normal animals are gone and the only choices are reindeer and the sleigh. First it was the non-moving giraffe, this time she wanted to ride the cat. She's understanding and a good sport. I'm keeping score, we owe her two rides: one on the giraffe, one on the cat.
After Mom read the Ruby has become obsessed with paying for things, she gave Ruby a little purse with $5 in it. She thought it would be fun to let Ruby choose a toy and pay for it herself. This was an excellent concept but a lengthy process during which the choice changed and changed and changed again. Finally she settled on some Melissa and Doug washable markers and two little rubber penguins. She carried her bag and purse throughout the mall and to the which point she dropped them both falling asleep on the ride home.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas in Review

These are the three items Ruby asked for this year for Christmas: a sucker, yogurt and a chicken. The first two were easy. If you've ever had to shop for a stuffed chicken, you know that there is not much of a selection. The other options were a rubber chicken which I don't quite think is what she had in mind or a pack of breasts or strips from the supermarket which we knew would not survive the night in wrapping paper under the tree's hot lights. Sailor is still at the point of random babbles and coos so we had to just make our best guess.

Ruby ended up doing a bit better than her three requests. Castle tent, babydoll bed and high chair, an abacus, a chalk/paper easel...she made out like a bandit. Sailor got some baby mum-mums, a bead rollercoaster, a weightlifting tiger stuffed animal, stacking cups and joint ownership in the tent. 
olivia and I did good for each other as well seeing as we both went off our wish lists for gifts. I got a thermometer/compass/flashlight key-chain, a CD and the Pick Punch. olivia got Nicki Minaj's Pink Friday Deluxe Edition and O'Reilley's "Killing Lincoln." Mom was at the house most of the day. We ate and drank like maniacs and had a blast.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Eve and The USS Flagg

So it's Christmas Eve, the kids are asleep and the first of many beers have been opened. It is time to start Operation: Fit Plastic Into Plastic aka Operation: Shit, We Don't Have Enough Batteries. There is a decent amount for for me to assemble this year but it could never compare to The USS Flagg.

Yeah, that SOB is longer than the couch.

The Flagg was the GI Joe Battleship playset. The retail cost was $109.99 in 1986, roughly $215.00 today. This was the largest playset available at the time and was over 7.5 feet long. I was eight or nine according to a credible source who was interviewed for this entry (thanks Mom) and I wanted it for Christmas. My parent's hope was that I would lose interest over the span of a year but when I asked for it again, they caved. What followed was a harrowing experience...

The picture at the beginning of this entry is of my father early on in assembly. He started the night before Christmas and continued until it was evident that a single night would not get the job done. The process continued into the following day and covered a span of over eight hours. From my online research, the instruction manual was six pages long with thirty-one steps, each of which may have had as many as four steps unto itself. Two of these pages were dedicated to sticker instructions. You can see the sticker sheet in the photo above. There were two additional sticker sheets of this size to apply.

Mom remembers that my father complained about the quality of the directions. I've looked that them online and they don't seem too bad but I also realize that is easy to say twenty-five years later when I'm not sitting in front of literally hundreds of little plastic parts that I have to make a seven foot aircraft carrier out of. My father also had to work on Christmas, the last thing you would want to do after a night and morning like this one. Dad said if he knew the trouble it would have been he would not have bought it for me. He listed this as his worst Christmas ever...

To me, this was the most awesome Christmas ever! Other kids in the neighborhood could have cared less about what was under their trees...we wore this thing out. It was so big we kept it on a bed in a spare room. That's right, this toy had it's own bed in our house. It's kind of a bragging right to say that you had it, some people don't even believe me (kind of like when you say you beat Ghosts 'n Goblins on NES, but that's another story). A cook at a restaurant near the house I grew up in has made reference to the Flagg when talking to Mom about times he came to the house to hang out as a child.

At some point the fun wore off and the playset, which broke into sections, was moved to the basement. It was later sold at a garage sale for $25.00. Mom says that Dad joked that there was a thousand dollars of labor thrown in for free. It had to be loaded into the buyer's station wagon in pieces, an event that a part of me seems to remember after talking to my mom about it. On a side note, this toy has become a Holy Grail of sorts for collectors. A bad example with missing pieces and no box will sell for $500.00. A complete set, in the box, may go for a thousand or more.

Parents will do damn near anything to make their kids happy. I'm not looking forward to the assembly I have to do this weekend but I know how much it meant to me as a kid to have those things on Christmas morning and I want to give that feeling to my children. I also want them to know the REAL meaning of Christmas and the feeling of love and family. I hope you are able to share all of these things with your children and loved ones this weekend.

 Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


 Sailor held her own bottle, it happened once. Has not happened again for me since...
The weather has been unseasonably warm, we are taking full advantage.

Ruby loves "go crazy" photos...

Monday, December 19, 2011


Paci's, a blessing and a curse. They can take a screaming child from freak out to utter calm in an instant...but they can be tough to wean your child off of. Ruby is 100%, without a doubt a pacifier addict. We tried once, when she was much younger, to eliminate them. It did not go well. It reminded me of the scene in Trainspotting when Renton's parents locked him in a room and made him try and quit heroin cold turkey. It wasn't pretty.

In my house, we have all varieties. There are clear ones, colored ones, big ones, little ones. Baby, infant, toy, etc. Ruby is real particular about hers, a real connoisseur. She will chew a hole in one and then it is no good to her anymore (which is fine because it is a danger once they are coming apart anyways). It always seems to be feast or famine around here too. Either there are fifty of them laying around the house and she could care less if she has one or I couldn't find one to save my life despite scouring all the locations we keep them as well as between couch cushions, under the bed, etc. 

Our goal now, and we have told Ruby this, is to be paci free come January 1, 2012. We have sought advice online and read tips and techniques. The best idea we have seen is to fabricate a story about a Paci Fairy and make it a grand affair. Get the paci's together for the fairy, have a big send off and end it all with a little toy that the fairy leaves overnight. They don't tell you what to do five minutes later when the newness of the toy wears off and the child starts needing their fix.

I've had to quit things before and it sucks. Never mind that she is two and not equipped to deal with change and loss or understand the reasons why. My child is smart and my hope is that she doesn't quickly realize that she had two little pacifiers attached to each hand. Sailor is already in this habit: no paci, the thumb goes into the mouth. I'd like to think in my head that this will go smoothly but I am lying to myself. In the back of my head I worry about some sort of permanent harm this could cause but I also try and think about the fact that I have at least 16 more years to undo any psychological damage before we release her to the wild.

Heaven help us...

Friday, December 16, 2011


Ruby likes coloring. She is just now getting to the point where she can stay (almost) in the lines. For a long time she would just make scribbles and furious lines in varying colors all over the paper. When paper got old she started coloring on other things, like the fridge or the couch or her toys. Nothing was safe from her waxy touches of self-expression.

I woke up Wednesday morning and was going about my normal routine. Things were going well, nothing out of the ordinary. Hot coffee, breakfast, computer on, olivia was out the door and Ruby was content with her cereal. Maybe I am partially to blame for what happened. I get distracted by e-mail, facebook, twitter, blogs, etc. I'm going to tell the rest of the story through the text messages that went back and forth between me and the wife. I apologize for the lack of pictures...I was a little distraught and it slipped my mind. For clarity, my texts are in yellow, my wife's in red.

     Me: Ruby colored on the f#%*ing tv...

     olivia: Oh no. 


     olivia: Deep breaths.

     Me. Going

     Me: To

     Me: Kill

     Me: Her.

     olivia: Do I need to come home.

     Me: No, you'll need to be as far away as possible so you don't go down with me. 

     olivia: Remember she's only two. 

     Me: She's about to be zero...

     olivia: You better not hurt my baby. 

     Me: She hurt mine...

     olivia: lol. I'm gonna hurt you.

Thankfully it came out with a paper towel, water, and a little elbow grease. I'm glad we buy the washable, non-permanent crayons and markers. Never a dull moment... 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Vanilla milk and a sweet from Starbucks. The hat came from The Command Post which is sadly going out of business. Go see them before they close, everything is 50% off.

 This hat, on the other hand, is a little too big. Sailor got a kick out of it...she was laughing her little head off.

 Working on our colors again with the markers...which means tattoos. Today she picked a kitty, a bumblebee, her name, the book Pat the Bunny, Santa and the Angel from the top of our Christmas tree.
 From her belly to her back and all over the lay&play. Just like her sister, loves smiling for pictures. 

Just like mommy, kicking it on the laptop.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sweet casserole, dude.

It's Monday morning and I am struggling more than normal. The weekend's pace was brisk and sleep last night was great but I got far to little of it. Loading the washing machine this morning, I wondered if snorting a couple lines of detergent off the top of the washer would propel me through the day. I quickly realized what a crazy thought this was. It was so much easier to do a couple lines of coffee in the kitchen...the counter doesn't have a spin cycle.

Most of the time throughout the week I lose track of what day it is. I have to keep up through my odd homemaker ways, like whose clothes am I washing or what am I cleaning. Dirty burp cloths, small shirts and stuffed animals...yes, it's Monday.

Crazy how things have changed and what I get excited about now vs a couple months ago. Before it was a movie I saw, a good burger I ate or motorcycle stuff. Last Friday I organized our stack of coupons and was depressingly stoked about it. When I say organized I am not talking about some half-assed stack somewhere in the kitchen. Oh no, alphabetized in a box subdivided by category. Lately, this is about as action packed as it gets.

I am glad I have a couple male friends who are also dads. Unfortunately, none are stay-at-homes so there is limited common ground. I tend to talk to them more now because my friends who do not have kids can't relate. Even my male friends with kids haven't quite reached my level of domestication yet. Guy talk is quite the opposite of girl talk, lots if one word answers between sips of beer. Usually it reverts to sports which don't interest me at all so I fake it or just walk away while the other guy is still talking. What am I going to respond with, "Yeah, good game. So I made this tater-tot casserole the other day. The recipe was solid but I added a layer of baked beans to the mix to change it up. It was gnarly, high five!"

Friday, December 9, 2011

Poopy, pee-pee, baby toss, and flash cards

Sometimes, during the average day at home I think "Dear God, what have I gotten myself into?" The rest of the time I'm sleeping...

Yesterday Ruby had an obvious poopy. I use the word obvious because there is a very distinct walk associated with said poopy and today the smell hit me before I even knew she was in the room. As I changed her, I came to realize she was wearing pants and three pairs of panties, which I thought was pretty cute. After removing the last pair of panties, I discovered there was not a diaper or pullup under all of it...which was not cute at all. Sometimes all you can do is laugh. This is because we save the crying for late at night, next to each other in bed, curled comfortably into the fetal position.

It is a pretty typical parent thing to do to hold your child above your head and give them a gentle toss. Sailor thinks this is the greatest thing in the world. I enjoy it too...up until the point that she vomits on me and then I tend to lose interest in this activity. The doctor told us when a baby vomits, the volume of said vomit is not as much as it appears to be. I think he is a liar. In fact, Sailor is a miracle of nature. I am fully certain that when I feed her 6 ounces and she decides after the feeding that the meal was not to her liking, at least 10-12 ounces ends up on my shirt..and the carpet...and sometimes the family dog.

People have been asking me a lot lately how I like being at home. I love it, it is simply the best job I've ever had. Most of the time it beats working in an office. I will say that none of the corporate jobs I've ever had required me to fish a sippy cup out of a urine filled toilet. I catch myself doing other crazy things from time to time, like tucking in dolly or arguing with Ruby about what an item on a flash card is. "Hey, I'm in my 30's. I am pretty sure I know the difference between a clock and a watch. You can even read it right here...oh wait. I guess you can't." Her flash cards are a little dated, we usually skip this one.

I bought these cards about a year ago. I am pretty sure nobody has used a "disk" like this in...way longer than a year ago. I have a twisted desire to add this one to the mix in the hopes that one day she'll see one and totally bust it out on someone. In my head, it would make them wonder if we were constantly revising old term papers we wrote in the 90's or maybe if we just played The Oregon Trail a lot.

Even the worst days are pretty awesome. Maybe it is just me but it seems to be getting easier and easier. I have become immune to bodily functions, fluids and solids. There is a scary calm that comes over me now. I can't count the number of times I've had baby crap on my hands and I can type that without even being disturbed. It is a little crazy, in retrospect that I used the word poopy a couple of times earlier and didn't think twice about it...

Monday, December 5, 2011

Railroad Park

Took the girls to Railroad Park for a playdate with a friend. This was my first time at the park and it is awesome. The weather was perfect and the girls had a blast. Short legs do not equal slow, these girls are fast! We ate Indian at Sitar afterwards. Ruby is a huge fan of ethnic foods...Chinese, Indian, Mexican...she loves it.

All in all, a great day. If you haven't been to this park yet, go. There are wide open spaces to run and play ball, a fenced playground, walking/bike paths and a climbing wall.

And though I heard the desired Dora Ice Cream was never secured, I'm glad Tweety Bird was an acceptable substitute.