Monday, December 31, 2012

Holiday Recap

     So Christmas has come and gone. Our decorations are still up but that will be remedied later today. It was a really, really good year and everyone under this roof got piles of loot and we all had a great time being together.
     Christmas Eve at my mother's house was a lot of fun. Our tradition has become a few drinks before dinner while socializing and then a big meal at the table together. Every year we have the Greek dish Pastitsio, a big salad and cookies for dessert. After we eat we open these crazy holiday poppers that have a little plastic toy, corny jokes and paper crowns inside. Ruby's came with a whistle so we were treated to her whistle stylings for the rest of the evening. Someone else got a little plastic watch which she wore all night and Christmas day.
     We did have one rough spot that night. Ruby was very upset when she found the letter that Allie Grace, our resident elf, had left for her. I guess despite knowing that the elf was just here for Christmas, she never thought about her leaving. She had a big cry and we comforted her and assured her that she would return next year.
     The next morning my mother arrived at six and kept me company until the girls woke up. It wasn't long before everyone was tearing into the gifts around the tree. The girls got everything they asked for and more. I was stoked with my scores: a Judge Dredd anthology, a camera mount for the bike, some new clothes, a handful of new flashlights...I did really good. olivia got a new camping hammock. She had been wanting one for awhile, too bad she'll have to wait a bit to use it. 
     We got both of our mothers a book version of the first year of this blog we titled "The Sidecar: Year One." It is a an awesome looking paperback with text from the posts and high quality images of all the photos. We were excited about it and were very pleased with how they turned out. olivia got an amazing recipe book from her family which also included some great family history. We got a Blu-Ray player from some friends and we have really been enjoying the upgraded quality of our movies and a ton of online content through the built-in wifi. 
     After everything settled, the girls slept and I had some friends swing by. We just chilled in front of the TV and drank beer egg nog with rum. I even got a little time in out in the garage. We had a relaxing evening just hanging out and enjoying our gifts.
     Like I said before, this was a really good year. Thanks to everyone for everything we received. We appreciate you and your gift of friendship most of all. I hope everyone's Christmas was as good as ours. Again, from my family to yours, Merry Christmas and we wish you the best for the coming New Year!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

From our family to yours, Merry Christmas!
Taking the rest of the week off, see you on the flip...

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Pageant

     The Church Christmas Pageant was a huge deal when I was young. There were sets, costumes, casting, a director...it was serious. I think I played most every part in all my years of participation. When I got older, I played guitar. It isn't quite as big now. The girls haven't gotten in on the act yet. This year they will actually be out of town and won't be in it or even get to see it. 
     If you've ever read "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" or seen the movie, you'll understand what participation in the pageant was like. We never had a Helen Armstrong break her leg or a family like the Herdmans to deal with. All the same, my memories are closer to this fictionalization than to reality. I'm sure it was all probably very tame but for some reason I remember it as if it was a crazy backstage madhouse like you see in the movies. Memories can be funny like that, sometimes so much better (or worse) than reality.  
   

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Advent Calendar

     The Chocolate Advent Calendar has been a tradition in my family since I was kid. This is the second year for the girls to have them. Every morning, after they find the elf, the girls get the daily chocolate. I make Ruby look for the date door. She does pretty good, occasionally needing a little help.
     Thursday of last week, Ruby was sitting on the counter helping me cook some mac and cheese. I stepped out of the room for literally a few seconds and when I came back she had taken the calendar, opened up one of the day doors and taken out the chocolate. She wasn't quite quick enough to eat it so I took it and set it on the cool side of the stove.
     We had a little talk about waiting for the chocolate and what the calendar was all about. I told her not to do it again and we would put the chocolate back in for the right day. While I was looking for the right door, which I never could find, I just told her we would not let anyone have the chocolate and consider it lesson learned.
     I went to grab the chocolate off the stove and it was gone. I immediately looked at Sailor who had been quiet as could be during the entire ordeal. I bent down and asked "Sailor, do you have the chocolate?" She shook her head. I asked her to open her mouth and she turned and started to walk into the dining room. I grabbed her and opened her mouth and I saw and smelled chocolate. 
     I think we all learned a lesson that day. Ruby learned the meaning of the advent calendar and to never be caught with the candy in your hand. Sailor learned that distraction can be your greatest ally. I learned that sometimes it really is the quiet one you have to watch out for. Kids can be sneaky. I say I'll never let my guard down again but we all know it isn't true.
     

Monday, December 17, 2012

Newtown

photo from CNN.com
Our thoughts, condolences and prayers go out to the families in Connecticut. May God grant you the will to be strong in the rough times ahead. Know that we, as a nation, feel your pain and mourn your loss. Your tragedy is our tragedy, your children are our children and there is not a single parent in this nation who does not grieve with you.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Seeing Santa...

     It was just supposed to be another routine trip to the Rec Center. The girls did comment on the bright, shining tree visible through the office windows. On the way to the door they spotted a certain winter celebrity sitting in a large red and white chair.
     Ruby started shouting "Santa is here" and pointed at him for Sailor. "Sailor, Santa is here!" We had no idea they were doing Santa photos. This was a much bigger and better experience for the girls than the mall Santa would have been. There were no other kids in line or in the room so they were able to get some quality time with him.
     Ruby talked his ear off about her school and everything she wanted. Sailor was a good sport, a little confused maybe (see the photo) but did not cry or cause a scene. Ruby has told everyone about seeing and talking to Santa. We were fortunate to stumble into this, I think it was an experience they won't soon forget.
Props and thanks to the City of Hoover Rec Center, well done.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Reunion

     It is 3:37am on Sunday morning. I am typing this now so I don't have to think back on it later at which point I am sure I'll botch the details. An awesome friend from high school blew up my phone and made sure I went to my 15 year high school reunion and all I can say is it might just have been the best decision someone else made for me ever.
     To everyone who I saw that I haven't seen in years, it did my soul good to talk to you. Even the briefest moment was awesome. I drank and danced and acted like a total idiot. We partied like it was 1997 and for that time, anything that happened outside of the awkwardness of the pool and hot tub showroom we found ourselves in was completely irrelevant.
     How does this relate? There are a couple ways.
     No joke, people talked a lot about how awesome my wife and kids are without me starting the conversation. If you know them, it isn't hard to imagine. We thought before my snip that we'd have a promising future in producing beautiful babies and selling them on the black market but no kidding...someone else suggested this to me tonight. And all the complements about my wife...forget it.
     Secondly, I hope that one day my children have friendships and relationships that they can look back on so fondly. I worry that the generations after us may become so obsessed with technology and screen to screen vs. face to face communication that any true connection becomes obsolete. I literally saw two teenagers at the mall today and both of them were on seperate calls while they were walking "together." I know it has been 15 years and I am flirting with being an old fart but...really? Is this the future?
   
PS. I don't dance, any photos or video you saw on facebook or elsewhere on the net is photoshopped or done with cgi. Special thanks to the people who made this happen, well done. Also, to all the folks who knew about the party and missed it, you might have just skipped the best thing to happen to our class since '93-'97.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Down With the Sicknes

Everyone in this house is sick...even the dog and the cat. Ok not really, but everyone on two legs is in full blown sick or recovery mode. We have a lot going on this weekend too...here's to hoping we make it.

Monday, December 3, 2012

It's Beginning...

to look a lot like Christmas. We got the tree down from the rafters yesterday and cracked open the gigantic Rubbermaid bin that holds all of our ornaments and decorations. Our tradition has become decorating on a Sunday afternoon while listening to a Bluegrass Christmas CD.
     The girls were stoked and had a blast helping us put the ornaments up. Ruby refers to them as "toys" and spent time with each one before hanging it on the branches. Sailor is old enough now to appreciate and enjoy it all. Now we'll just have to see how long they stay on the tree and we've already had to get onto them for taking the ornaments off. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Wall Art

     It's funny to me how much has changed in the past year. When I first started this crazy stay at home gig, I was very intolerant of things like this and had a fuse so short you'd hear the bang before your foot got down on the first step away. Now, well I wouldn't encourage the kids to be drawing on the walls but I'm not going to flip my lid either.
     I've come to realize that kids are kids and they are going to be kids despite my best efforts. Things like this will happen. Walls will be written on, carpet and furniture will be stained, things will get broken, etc. They are my most prized possessions so as long as they are intact, I don't have much to worry about. I do understand that due to our laid-backness that we will likely find ourselves living with the girls on a pile of demolished rubble by the time they enter the teenage years.
     I took the magic eraser into her room the other day to clean the art off and I couldn't bring myself to do it. Something about it, oddly enough, just made me happy and proud. I think we'll leave it for awhile. Part of me thinks it will be a form of delayed punishment. I imagine that in her teenage years it will be kind of embarrassing for her, almost like we won't have to bother pulling out the baby photos.   

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Something Different...

Just a couple videos today.


Ruby made a witch at school. We attached it to the grab bar in the back seat and put the windows down...good time ensued.


A video of the girls in their natural habitat destroying the playroom with coloring pages.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Keeping Time

Ruby's Dingbats Pink Puppy Watch next to her great-grandfather's antique Elgin. It is amazing for me to think about the spread of time and technology here. I think that watch was made in 1924, just a little over a decade short of being 100 years old. In great shape and still running like a top, it will probably outlive all of us.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Photodump issues...

So Wednesday morning I go to upload the photos for the Photodump and I get this message:

"Whoops! You're out of space. You are currently using 100% of your 1 GB quota for photos. Upgrade storage. Photos are stored in your Picasa Web Albums account and are included in your 1 GB free quota for photos. Additional storage you purchase is shared between several Google products and is in addition to your free quota. Learn more."
 
Funny that I've never had this issue on my other blog despite the face that is has been around longer. Oh well. I've found a workaround for now...let's hope it lasts. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Too much fun?

Man...I think we found out this weekend if it was indeed possible. Friday we had some friends over and discovered the only thing more fun than a house full of two awesome girls is a house full of four awesome girls. Laughter was almost constant and everyone had a killer time. The pairings were different than I expected, two pairs of older and younger vs direct age pairings...but hey, it worked great!

Saturday we attended a birthday party at Jump Zone. I am pretty sure I have more fun at these than the girls do. I was hitting the bouncy house, the slide, etc. I took Sailor up the slide with me and she loved it. Ruby didn't stop for the two hours we were there.

That night we had dinner with another couple who don't have children but Ruby and Sailor adore them and I am pretty sure the feeling is mutual. We played with a ball in the back yard and ate some of the best lasagna I've ever had. They wanted some pictures for their Christmas card so olivia agreed to take some. Of course the girls wanted in on the action so there are a couple shots with them holding the girls.

The weekend was great, made us want to do it every weekend...so if you haven't seen or hung out with us in awhile...it's coming!



Friday, November 16, 2012

Gangnam Style

video
The one on the left is already over it and the one on the right is to young to know that she's jamming to the new Macarena...

Friday, November 9, 2012

Blue

The ladies that run the Rec Center daycare were nice enough to give the girls some ink stamps to take home to play with. They had a blast with them, inking all over paper and then their arms. Well Sailor thought she would do with the stamp what she does with everything else: put it into her mouth.

We should have known something crazy was going on because when it get too quit, you know you are in trouble. olivia came in to check on them and found blue ink all over Sailor's hands, on her lips and covering her tongue. Thankfully everything for kids is non-toxic these days and we don't worry too much.

For a couple days, you could see it when she would open her mouth, laugh, etc. Kids are awesome.