I’ve been delayed in posting recent pics of TheMonk and Swee’Pea because the USB cable for my camera stopped working. I finally managed to get the photos uploaded and the new ones are posted to the right. Usually, I post 10 new photos at a time but this time you get 20 pics to ooh and aah at. Just click on a photo and then check out my photostream and you’ll see all 20 pics. Enjoy.
May 31, 2006
May 30, 2006
Now that I’ve accumulated a vast amount of experience in my (almost) first year of being a parent, I feel that I’m qualified enough to hand out some pointers to those who are traversing this slippery slope called parenthood for the first time. I know many people find parenting blogs hoping to gain little nuggets of wisdom in how to handle a seven-pound bundle of pure energy. So, here are few things I’ve learned that might be useful…
1) Lowrider pants for babies? Eyeballing the size of baby clothes is an acquired skill. What I’ve learned is if you go by the age on the label of baby clothes, it will be too small. For example, if your baby is 6 months old, go with the 9 month clothes. I cannot tell you how many times I tried on an outfit only to find that the baby had almost outgrown it. They won’t fit into those clothes for long so wear them early and wear them often.
2) How do I look in this thong? Always have the next-sized diaper on hand. One day, the baby will fit fine into that size one diaper and the next day your baby will look like it’s sunbathing on the French Riviera. Trust me, the thong look isn’t what you want when it’s time for your baby to go Number Two.
3) What’s up doc? We have taken full advantage of our health plan’s advice nurse. We’ve made at least 4 or 5 visits to the emergency room or to the “after-hours” pediatrician. Just resign yourself to the fact that you may have to drop everything and go to the doctor. For some reason, babies seem to know when you have an important meeting at work or when American Idol is on and they pick that time to start tugging painfully at their ear.
4) There’s no I in TEAM. Raising a baby is everyone’s job. Dads, I love you. I really do. But we get a bad rap when it comes to baby care out there and the only way we’re going to beat this rap is for us to rise up and change diapers, do 3:00 a.m. feedings, and play with the kids. Oh, and moms out there, I love you too. I really do. But you have to trust us dads just a little bit. I mean, what are the chances we’ll actually maim the child? It’s really very slim.
5) It’s 1:00 p.m., do you know where your child is? Getting your baby on a schedule is probably the best thing you can do for you and your child. With twins, the schedule got us through the first year. It will get you through your first year too. Nap times? Same time every day. Feeding times? Ditto. Your baby will respond well and you’ll be happy knowing what your day will look like.
6) Sleeping Beauty. Everyone has ideas on how to get a baby to sleep through the night. We used a modifed version of the Ferber method but the important thing is to use the method you feel most comfortable with. Just know that once a baby is ready to sleep through the night, do your best to facilitate it. Why torture yourself any longer than necessary?
7) No one likes a know-it-all. When it comes to parenting, we can never know it all. Keep yourself open to new ideas because when you continue to learn, your baby is the winner.
Well, that’s all I got for now. What about my loyal readers? What advice would you give a new parent?
May 24, 2006
Now I realize that TheMonk and Swee’Pea have many years before they start thinking about who they will marry. But I have given this some thought and I think it might be best if I choose who they marry. After all, I have many years of experience that I can put to use. I can think beyond hormonal attraction and look at extremely important factors that otherwise might be overlooked. In-laws, for example. Not enough attention is given to possible in-laws when deciding whether one should get hitched. I think it’s only fair that I have some say in my in-laws – The same people I may someday share Thanksgiving dinner with and discuss politics, and child-rearing dos and don’ts (wait, that’s just my family?).
So, to expedite the search I have decided to start a list of possible suitors for TheMonk and Swee’Pea. And since my wife and I met via the internet, I see no reason why we can’t find TheMonk and Swee’Pea life-long partners out in cyberspace. With this in mind, I have been scouting the blogosphere and I have come up with some possible candidates. Now, I do have some basic requirements. First, they can’t be considerably older. No Mrs. Robinsons or Harrison Fords in my family. Second, I have to like the prospect’s parents. Were you not listening earlier? This is really my underlying motive but if the kids get a great spouse out of this, then so much the better. Third, well I don’t have a third. So, here are my list of candidates along with the Pros and Cons of a possible marriage…
Brayden and Baylee
Pros: Amy is funny, into education (so her kids won’t be dumb) and Daddy dabbles as a professional poker player when he’s not selling cars. They definitely fit my requirements of cool parents. Little Brayden is a fighter and Baylee is just as sweet as can be.
Cons: Daddy dabbles as a professional poker player. Not that I have anything against playing poker, it’s just that I envision myself losing lots of money each Thanksgiving. Distance from where we live is also a concern. But what’s a Daddy to do? Sometimes we do crazy things for love.
Now, technically I have already promised Amy, Brayden and Baylee’s mommy, that TheMonk and Swee’Pea will one day marry her cute kids. But just in case Amy wimps out and refuses to follow through on our little deal, I have some equally promising candidates… Not all are twins so I have separated them into prospects for both TheMonk and Bri.
Pros: Definitely cool in-law potential. The Peanut and TheMonk would make a really cute couple. We’d always have a reason to go to NYC and since MD knows all the great restaurants, we’d eat really, really well.
Cons: We’d never see TheMonk again. No doubt he’d be living the high life in NYC while hanging out with MetroDad and the Boss Lady and vaguely remembering that he has real parents 3,000 miles away. Not to mention all of the cool pop culture references that would go straight over my head when hanging out with MD.
Pros: My son would be married to blogging royalty. I mean, Heather would have to blogroll me then, right? Oh, and c’mon, holiday dinners would be sooooo interesting.
Cons: My son would start a blog that would make fun of his old man. I’d be the “Grand Poobah of the Y*M*C*A” or something like that. He’d live in Utah and the only reason I’ve been to Utah is because it was in the way on the way to Colorado.
Pros: Really cute grandkids. Also, both Dutch and Wood have definite cool in-law vibes. They are both smart, witty and great writers. It would be fun to just hang out and drink coffee with Wood or talk music with Dutch.
Cons: I get the feeling we’d be eating tofurkey for Thanksgiving. Not to mention the grandkids would be confused when they received wooden cars lovingly carved by a guatamalan elder from Grandpa Dutch and the latest remote control car made in Taiwan from Grandpa Matthew. Plus, I’d never hear the end of it that I once thought Dutch & Wood were a gay couple raising their daughter in San Francisco.
Pros: Bah-bie is going to be the most well-adjusted, in-touch-with-her-feelings girl ever. She’s super cute and she lives within driving distance. I’ve seen what MIM and her husband look like. Let’s just say the gene pool on that side of the family will more than make up for any deficiences that I contributed to the grandkid milkshake.
Cons: I might have to go motorcycle racing with Bah-bie’s father in some sort of male-bonding thing. That would not be a pretty sight. I don’t trust anything that doesn’t have a seatbelt and airbags.
First, let me just say that no one is going to be good enough for my Swee’ Pea Swee’Pea. I don’t care how well I know you or how cool your parents are, you mess with my daughter once and you have to deal with me.
Okay, now that I have pledged my fatherly duty, here’s a list of possible contenders…
Pros: Albert’s dad is in the music industry. Swee’Pea already has the talent to go far in show business and she could use a good manager. And since Albert’s dad and I have actually become blogging buddies, this would just be another excuse to get together and play golf.
Cons: Apparently Albert likes to put his hands in places one shouldn’t ever put hands. It makes me a little concerned for his future.
Pros: Well, there’s Mrs. Dubya to keep Big Dubya in line. I can appreciate a strong mommy type. Big Dubya was in the Army so Lil’ Dubya will know all about hard work and dedication.
Cons: Grandpa Dubya is in the non-profit field just like myself. That means a life of poverty and lots of school loans for the newlyweds. Apparently, Big Dubya’s still got all his hair. ‘Nuff said.
Pros: Let’s see, the boys got a Caucasian father and a Mexican mother. Hmmm. That sounds familiar. Also, Sweden looks like a fantastic place to visit.
Cons: Well, Sweden does look fantastic but it’s a long frickin’ way from California. Also, I have a feeling AD would be dragging my butt up some mountain on a 21-speed mountain bike or hiking through fjords in the dead of winter.
So, those are the early contenders. I realize I may have left some worthy suitors off my current list. Now, if you feel like your kid is worthy of an arranged marriage with TheMonk or Swee’Pea, I would certainly entertain any offers. Just submit your resume and your family history in the comments section and I will consider all offers.
May 21, 2006
TheMonk and Swee’Pea have a little musical table which has a million little buttons and dials and nobs that all elicit music when pushed, rotated or moved. Some of this music is better than others. For instance, I could do without the Cello-sounding thing. On the other hand, I’m quite fond of the little lid that opens up to jazzy scat singing.
Bri, is quite the muscial prodigy and loves to listen to music. You give her a beat and she’ll start swaying in beat to the music. She has soul and rhythm that could only come from her quarter Mexican, Quarter African-American genes. TheMonk, on the other hand, has not taken to music so quickly as his sister. He enjoys it, but has not quite mastered the art of rocking to the beat in quite the same way as Bri.
Now, in addition to being a quarter Mexican and a quarter African American, TheMonk is also half white. And not just any white – it’s redneck white. My white roots go back to Kansas while Andrea’s go back to Texas. So, maybe we just weren’t playing the right music. You see, one of the dials on the little musical table plays banjo music. It is probably the last place on earth (at least the last place in Southern California) one could actually hear banjo music. It also happens to be the only music to date that drives TheMonk to boogie. As soon as he hears that banjo strumming, he’ll rock his head violently front to back – not to the beat, mind you, but it’s a start. In fact, his dancing is so bad that he reminds me of Kevin Bacon’s best friend, Willard, in Footloose who doesn’t know how to dance.
So I’m afraid that TheMonk might have inherited my redneck gene. The good news is that TheMonk doesn’t know he can’t dance and if I’m doing my job right, he won’t care what other people think when he gets older. And there is still hope. Willard eventually learned how to dance.
May 18, 2006
She stalks her prey like a seasoned hunter. As she maneuvers herself into position, she is coy. She keeps an eye on her prize while pretending to be engaged in more serious matters – trying to lull the beast into a false sense of security. All the while, she is ready to pounce. She is ready to test herself like never before. She knows it will take all her skill and guile to finally catch this long-sought-after tormenter. As long as she can remember she has been trying to grab this elusive prize and has yet to succeed.
As she eyes the animal in the near distance, she marvels at the beauty of this creature. She knows from fleeting, chance encounters that while docile and sweet, she is quick and powerful – much like herself. Perhaps this is the allure of her life-long quest to catch this animal. She admires this magical creature so much that she must have it for herself. She is determined to feel the lushness of the animal between her fingers. She longs for the day when she can bury her head into this creature and inhale deeply all the mystical smells that only such beauty can produce. But it won’t be easy.
No, she knows this from experience. For months her only goal has been to catch this creature. At first, her skills were woefully inadequate when matched with the skills of her prey. Over time, however, she has made great strides. She has been working hard to improve her own agility, knowing one day it will allow her to realize her life-long dream. However, she senses her rival knows her skills are increasing as well. As a result, the object of her desire has been more and more reluctant to come near. This is not something she had thought of when putting in all those hours of training. All those pull-ups. All those five-yard sprints. She even changed her style of locomotion to match that of her rival – a quick, four-legged stance that seems to have increased her speed dramatically. Physically, she is ready like she’s never been ready before.
But now she needs a way to lure her prey closer. What can she do to tempt this cunning creature? Surely, the creature must have moments of weakness. Surely, the creature must have an Achilles heel that can be exploited for the greater good. But what?!
Then, it comes to her. Of course! She has seen other hunters use this before! She scans the area looking for the familiar but slightly foreign object. Is it still around? If it is, will she be able to get it? Then, suddenly, her eyes find what she is looking for. She sidles over to the object and looks down. It is green and yellow and slightly metallic looking. She knows from experience that this will surely help her lure the beast closer than she has ever been. Some cryptic symbols on the front of the object are foreign to her. She studies it carefully before picking it up. On the front the symbols look like this:
F R I S K I E S
She smiles as she picks up the object. The object rattles slightly and she looks over at her prey to see if the creature has noticed. Yes, the creature has noticed. The creature looks at her with an inquisitive and curious gaze. She smiles again and takes her first steps toward fulfulling her life-long goal. In her mind she yells out her primal warrior cry as she rushes after her prey, with the alluring green and yellow object still clutched tightly in her little hand. “NUTTY KITTY! HERE I COME!”
She tries with all of her might. For a second, everything seems to be going according to plan. The creature seems distracted by her shiny green object that rattles when she moves. Unfortunately, while coming closer than she has ever come, the beautiful yet elusive creature – realizing that she is about to be captured by her life-long nemesis – once again manages to escape.
Swee’Pea sat there, contemplating what had just transpired. She was a bit tired from the effort that she had just put forth. She knew that achieving her goal of capturing the beast would be difficult. But she also knew that she had just come closer than ever before. She smiled at her success, confident that one day she would catch the creature, and vowed not to stop until she finally reached that goal. “That day is not too far off,” she thought. “Especially since I have this little yellow and green object. ”
As she sat there, a resolve only matched by that of her mother, sparked a thought within her. “One day, Nutmeg the Cat. One day soon, I will feel the softness of your fur and I will squeeze you to my body and never let you go. You can only run for so long. You will be mine.”
And with that she went about her day, plotting her next move in the constant game of Cat and Baby.
May 16, 2006
I don’t remember what the blogosphere was like before Sarah and the Goon Squad arrived on the scene. I’m sure it was rather drab and a bit boring. Certainly it didn’t have enough twin mothers who love football and writing about the trials and tribulations of raising kids. Good thing Sarah came along! Anyway, she’s a girl after my own heart. She loves sports (the co-creator of Draft Day Suit, the sports blogs to end all sports blogs that I contribute to) and totally rocked the 80′s. She also has twins that are older than mine so I depend on her to show me what I’m in store for down the road. I had to laugh when she came to the realization that she needs more family traditions. But you’ll just have to hear her say it for yourself. Please welcome the talented and lovely Sarah.
“Hey Mom, do we have any family traditions?”
“Why do people keep asking me that?”
“Other people have asked you if we have family traditions?”
“No. Just you. But you keep asking me that.”
“Did you ever answer me?”
Hmph. A while back, Matthew asked me to be a part of his series on family traditions. I’ve been thinking about it for about a month, and I’m really having trouble coming up with any. Is it possible we don’t have any family traditions? What kind of lame-o doesn’t have family traditions?
My Mom said (on my fourth try asking her) “Well, what about getting together on Thanksgiving? Or dyeing Easter Eggs? Or going to church on Christmas Eve?”
Doesn’t everybody do those things? Can I consider getting wasted with my cousins on Thanksgiving a family tradition? Who is my Mom trying to kid about the Christmas Eve thing? We go to churches for weddings, funerals and paying singing gigs. (Okay, the singing thing is just me, not the whole family – but that would be cool if we all did).
When we are with Gabe’s side of the family on Thanksgiving they have a traditional game of Pictionary that has ended with father/son wrestling on at least one occasion. The first time I participated in the game of “Extreme Pictionary” my partner (Gabe’s cousin’s husband) and I won an “all play” when I yelled “PARENTHESES!” Everything would have been totally cool, except Justin drew this ” “. Maybe some day the two of us will live that one down, but it hasn’t happened yet.
I guess on the Easter Egg front, my brother and I usually use the white crayon to write the names of characters or phrases from the movie “Deep Cover” on the eggs. For example, every year there will be a “Felix Barbosa” egg, or an egg that says “Jumbo BBQ Shrimp…”. I guess you would have to be really familiar with the movie to get that last one.
Do you ever type something and then think – I can’t believe I just told that to the whole interweb?
I guess now that Gabe and I have our own family it would be a good time to start up some family traditions of our own. If I come up with any good ones I will try to remember to let you guys know. We’re open to suggestions if anyone has any recommendations.
To read more of Sarah and the Goon Squad, visit http://www.sarahandthegoonsquad.blogspot.com
May 15, 2006
Melissa asked: Who is your favorite blogger?
My favorite blogger? Well, even though I have many favorites that I stop by and read two or three times a week, there are only two that if I see a new post on my bloglines feeds I will stop everything and go read. They are MetroDad and Morphing Into Mama.
I found MetroDad early on in my blogging days and I am amazed at how each of his posts are such amazingly crafted, funny, in your face, pieces of art. I’m lucky if I’m hitting .300 when it comes to posts I really like. MetroDad is batting a 1.000. I also consider MetroDad my blogfather, if you will, because he threw me some love soon after the twins were born and my readership rose significantly. Word is, he’s considering having another baby soon, so I’m looking forward to those posts!
Morphing Into Mama is someone I’d like to be friends with in the real world. She’s a psychology person like myself (only much better at discussing psychology) and I love her sharp wit and tell-it-like-it-is attitude on her blog. Very cool person.
Becky asked: What are your five favorite movies of all time?
When it comes to movies, I may as well be a chick. I can’t explain it, but I’ll take a nice romantic comedy over some action packed blow-’em-up movie anyday. So, in no particular order…
Mormon Daddy asked: I’m into music so… if you had to pick your top 5 songs of all time, what would they be? Backstreet Boys songs don’t count.
Well, if I can’t choose Backstreet Boys, it’s gonna be tough. I’m not one of those obscure songs people. You can listen to my favorite songs over at Because I’m Your Father as I was a part of his Blogger’s Choice series.
Lately, I’ve been listening a lot to the Jack Johnson CD that features songs inspired by Curious George. I really like his easygoing style. Great CD for parents and children alike.
Sarah asked: What are your five favorite books of all time?
Another tough one. Most of my favorite books are from childhood. I’ll list a handful of all-time favorites.
1. Any Harry Potter book
2. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
3. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
4. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
5. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Honorable Mention: I loved the Da Vinci Code and I can’t wait to see the movie!
L. asked: If you could be stranded on an island with either a very ugly woman or a beautiful man, who would you pick? (Assume that personalities are equal. Yes, it`s a weird question!)
Oh, this is no contest. Give me the ugly woman! I just relate better to women.
Stay tuned for more Q&A!
May 14, 2006
To the mother of my children,
I didn’t know. When we first met so many years ago, how could I have known that someday our love would blossom into something as wonderful as what we have now? Back then, I was mesmorized by your legs and that million-watt smile and those smoldering eyes. And while all of those still hold true, what captivates me now is the love you have for TheMonk and Bri.
I fell in love with you within moments of first meeting you. I held your hand as we walked along the beach and my life seemed complete. How wrong was I? At that time all I wanted was for someone to spend the rest of my life with and I didn’t even know how much better it could get than that. Now, as I gaze at our son and daughter and see pieces of you gazing back, I realize how much you and I have accomplished and how much more we have to give and share over the coming years.
This is your first Mother’s Day. One year ago, you were waddling around with two soon-to-be six-pound babies in you and we giggled in anticipation of what was to come. I don’t think we were as prepared as we thought we were (who can prepare for that little sleep?) but we’ve done pretty darn well. You, especially, have shined in a way I have never seen in you. It makes you even more beautiful (if that were possible) when I see you playing with our little ones. When I come home at the end of the day and I hear you upstairs playing, I’ll stand at the bottom of the stairs and listen to the love in your voice. I’ll listen to the happiness in the babies’ giggles and I’ll breathe a sigh of contentment before I head up the stairs to embrace you and the little ones after a long day. You are a wonderful mother, Andrea. You never falter from what is right and I admire that so much in you. You are so strong in character and so strong in spirit, that I sometimes find it difficult to match that intensity. But we’re all so much better as a family because of you.
One day, I will take time to tell TheMonk and Swee’Pea how much you have done for them. I’ll make sure they know how much you sacrificed so that they could flourish. I’ll make sure they know how much love went into creating them and I’ll make sure they know how much their mother loves them. I don’t think I’ll have to explain too hard on that last one because they’ll know just by being around you.
I’m so glad that you are the mother of my children. I’m just as happy that you are my wife. I love you. TheMonk and Swee’Pea love you. May that love last for forever and a day. Happy Mother’s Day, Sweetheart.
With all my love,
May 11, 2006
If a mommy was President…
-The country would be forced to nap daily so mommy could get some work done.
-The deficit would be reduced by using double coupons and buying things wholesale.
-Countries who didn’t obey would be given a timeout but would later get milk and cookies for being good.
-Starbucks would be nationalized for the good of the people.
-Not only would the deficit be resolved, healthcare, immigration and drug issues would be solved by 5:00 p.m. – just in time to cook dinner and help the kids with their homework.
-Countries from across the globe would toe the line just from hearing the phrase “Don’t make me come over there!”
-There would be twice as many women’s restrooms than men’s restrooms in every building in the country.
-Formula would be $1.99 a can while Malt Liquor would be $20.00 a bottle.
-All cars would be equipped with navigational devices so Daddies wouldn’t have to pretend they weren’t lost.
-She’d find a lot better ways to spend 280 billion dollars.
-The streets and highways would be spotless – because you never know when visitors might come over.
-It would be against the law to wear underwear with holes in it.
-Ms. Manners would be Secretary of the Interior
-Congress would debate law over a Saturday Play Date in the park.
-Guns would be outlawed by saying “You’ll put an eye out with that thing.”
-A National campaign would be started to address the horrors of kids who made a funny face and it froze that way.
-The FCC would stop fining Howard Stern and instead wash his mouth out with soap.
-Chocolate would be added to the new food pyramid
-The Presidential limo would be a mini-van.
-She’d finally fix that crack in the Liberty Bell that all the male Presidents said they were going to fix but never got around to doing.
-The White House would be remodled in a Spanish style bungalo, complete with stucco, Mexican Ceramic Tile and palm trees.
-Mother’s Day would be a National Holiday.
Happy Mother’s day to all of you mommies out there. You make the world go ’round.
And to my own Mommy – I love you (even if you do make fun of me on my blog).
This was a part of the “bloggect” by Kara at Cape Buffalo. Click here to see the other posts.
May 10, 2006
Nat asked: What should parents of single children, never say/ask (to) parents of twins/multiples?
Well, you’d be surprised what people do ask parents of multiples. Here’s a list of the most common questions and things people have said to us that make me shake my head…
–Did you have them naturally or through IVF?
–A boy and a girl? Are they identical?
–Boy, you have your hands full!
–I’ll bet you don’t sleep at all!
txhorns93 asked: This is a boring question, but…what stroller do you recommend for two children?
This is a matter of preference. There are basically two options. A side-by-side stroller or a front-to-back stroller. Andrea and I opted for the front-to-back stroller because of the ability to put our infant carriers in the stroller. We also liked the maneuverability that the stroller provided. The stroller we chose was the Graco Duoglider Travel System that included one of our infant carriers. As the babies get older, we may switch to a side-by-side to allow for ease in getting them in and out, but for now this works for us.
Surcie asked: Do you plan to have more kids?
Aaaah, the million dollar question. When Andrea and I first got married, we were pretty much in agreement that we wanted two kids. But when we found out we were having twins, we began to question that number. The only downside to having two at once is that we won’t be able to go through the cute baby stage again. For a while, I was campaigning to have a third baby. Andrea, having just carried two huge babies to full-term was, understandably, a bit more reserved about this. Now that we have both weathered a year and I reflect on how tired we are, i think we’re most likely done. Financially, we are probably not in a position to have another baby and still be able to do all the things we’d like to do as a family. The one thing we have considered, if our circumstances change in a few years, is the possibility of adopting a third child. This appeals to both of us as Andrea, herself, was adopted and I would love to give a child a loving home.
Samantha asked: As someone who desperately can’t wait to have children (gotta wait till the hubby gets a job), is it really as expensive as they say it is?
Yes. And no. It’s hard to answer this question because what one person might “need” another person will look at it as just the opposite. Daycare is the #1 expense for us, but some people may not have to pay for daycare because one of the parents stays home or they have a relative close by willing to do the job.
We Andrea has breastfed the twins and that has saved us considerably on food costs during the first year. Now that we have started solids, I have made almost all of the baby food they eat. Clothing can get expensive but we have an angel in my mother who has bought virtually all of the clothing that TheMonk and Swee’Pea have worn to date. Having said that, you really only need 10 to 12 outfits and a bunch of onesies and pants for the first year. They grow out of the outfits fairly quickly so having tons of clothes makes it hard to wear them all a bunch of times. Some other expenses that we have encountered that some people don’t think about, is added health insurance expense and the co-payments for doctors appointments and medications. Saving for college is also an expense that can’t be put off for too long. So, yes it can be expensive but, actually, I’m rather surprised how far we’ve been able to make our dollars stretch. The tax break at the end of the year was nice and the ability to deduct some our childcare expenses also helped. My advice? Be prepared budget-wise and then brace yourself in case you have twins!