November 25, 2008

Preparing to go to battle

This evening, two older-than-they-used-to-be men talk about their soccer match that night.

Guy #1: Can you play goalie tonight? My shoulder is still killing me. I think I might have torn my rotator cuff.

Guy#2: I think I can. My wrist is still pretty sore from last week.

Guy#1: If you can’t, I can try it. I just can’t dive to my right.

Guy#2: I can give it a go. My Achilles tendon is feeling better so I can I can run now.

Guy#1: If worse comes to worse, we can have Abel play goalie.

Guy#2: Or we can trade off at the half. You know, if the pain gets too bad.

November 24, 2008

California Dreamin’

We don’t get much snow down here in paradise. In the dead of winter it sometimes drops into the fifties and I have to go find one of those jacket-things in the closet. Up until the past couple of weeks, Swee’Pea was wearing dresses every day and TheMonk was wearing shorts and sandals. When we started putting pants on them this month they both did not like the feeling of cloth on leg. They begged for their shorts and dresses but I held firm. It’s my responsibility as a parent to protect my children from the inevitable frostbite that 68 degree weather will bring.

But last week we ventured far from paradise and ended up in Colorado. We spent the week with in-laws, cousins, clergy and other miscreants and had a really nice time. The kids, in spite of their protests, wore pants every day and actually learned how to zip up a jacket. It got downright cold that week and when it gets cold in Colorado, snow can’t be far behind.

So while visiting cousins, we noticed it was snowing. The kids got excited and after a quick lunch they ran outside to catch snowflakes on their tongue.

After ingesting quite a bit of the white powder wafting down from the heavens (it didn’t stick) I asked TheMonk what snow tasted like. And while he couldn’t quite pin down a particular flavor, he was emphatic that it did NOT, no matter how much a certain Daddy insisted, taste like chicken.

November 21, 2008

This Day in History

1789 North Carolina becomes the 12th state. (One week later the states founders died of lung cancer.)

1877 Thomas Edison unveils his latest invention, the phonograph. (Shortly thereafter he was busted by the FCC for pirating church hymns)

1944 Ghostbuster Harold Ramis was born. (He came out slimy.)

1945 GM workers go on strike. (At least they had jobs…)

1980 Millions tune in to find out who shot J.R. (And I’m pretty sure most were high on cocaine, too.)

1995 The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished above 5,000 for the first time. (I’m sure that those who bought Lehman Brothers stock were thinking, “I’m gonna retire on this in 15 years!”)

2008 TheMonk, after almost five months of trying, finally goes poop on the potty. (With little fanfare, he sits on the potty and goes. Leaving Dad to scratch his head and go, “huh?”)

November 20, 2008

Extreme Makeover: Princess Edition

Last week we went to visit the wife’s family who we don’t see nearly enough. The best part of the visit was watching Swee’Pea and TheMonk play with all of their cousins. Swee’Pea and TheMonk have cousins of all ages (9 months to 15 years old) and they enjoyed playing with all of them.

The oldest cousin, Adelia, was five when I first met her and it’s a real trip to see how much she’s matured and blossomed since then. I mean, she hardly ever picks her nose anymore.

Of all the cousins, Swee’Pea enjoyed Adelia the most. At first, you’d think the vast age difference between Adelia and Swee’Pea would have prevented any real bonding. That was before, however, Adelia forever cemented her “best cousin” status by taking Swee’Pea into her sister’s room and dressing up Swee’Pea in various costumes. Princess costumes. With lots of jewelry. And fancy hairstyles.

Swee’Pea was in heaven and it was really sweet to see her come out of the room with Adelia showing the way and how Swee’Pea just loved showing off each costume. The only issue I had was, “Damn, how old does my baby look?!” I think I can wait for her to start wearing real princess dresses and jewels.

After a week at the in-laws, we got on a plane and headed home. After some prolonged crankiness and actual toddler wresting in the aisles, Swee’Pea calmed down towards the end of the flight. As we made our descent towards home, Swee’Pea rested her weary head on my chest. Obviously reminiscing on the week that was, Swee’Pea sighed heavily. Then, out of the blue, she uttered three simple words as her eyes closed to rest…

“I love Adelia.”

Me too, Swee’Pea. Me too.

November 18, 2008

Hell hath no fury like a mommy blogger scorned

After almost five years of blogging, I have lots of mommy blogging friends. In fact, I think I might even be an honorary mommy blogger based on all of the emails I get from marketers that begin by saying, “Hi, Mommy!”

At any rate, I have a lot of love for the mommy blogging community. They all love their children, love parenting, in spite of it’s many challenges, and smell really nice. Actually, I don’t know about that last one but I like to think it’s true. Another thing about the mommy blogging community: They can mobilize like nobody’s business. The pain reliever, Motrin, found this out the hard way this past weekend.

For those of you who aren’t in the know, this past weekend they posted an on-line video ad about mommy’s who carry their children in slings or baby carriers. It’s condescending and makes flippant remarks about baby carrying being “trendy” along with a young, “Like-oh-my-gawd” 20-something woman’s voice that makes parenting sound like a chore. You can see the original ad here.

But this is where the story gets interesting. Using twitter and their blogs, mommy’s got pissed off and did something about their anger. They got Motrin to apologize and remove the offending ad within a matter of hours. The lesson? Don’t mess with mommies.

Mommies even started creating YouTube videos that spelled out their anger at Motrin. But today I found my favorite parody of the ad and just had to post it here. It’s about boob jobs so if you’re not used to seeing that here on my G-rated blog, then I apologize. But I got a good laugh out of it and I hope you do too.

Now, I’m off to take some generic ibuprofin for my soccer-related injury. Enjoy the video.


November 16, 2008

Reason #2302 parenting gives you gray hair: Traveling with children


TheMonk, seeing an obese woman in the airport, shouts in awe, “Look Daddy, that woman is big!

TheMonk, seeing an elderly gentleman getting wheeled down the airport hallway in a wheelchair, announces, “Look Daddy, that man can’t walk!”

After getting on the airplane…

“Are we flying yet?… Daddy, are we flying yet?… Are we flying yet?… Are we flying now?… Daddy, when are we gonna fly?… After the ladies talk about safety?… Where are the ladies?… Are we flying now?… When are the ladies gonna talk?… Are we next, Daddy?… Are we gonna fly now, Daddy?… Are we flying yet?…”

“I want waaaa-terrrrr. I’m thirsty. I want waaaaa-terrrrr. I want waaaaa-terrrrrrrrrr, Daddy. I’m thirsty. I want waaaaaaa-terrrrrrrrrrr.” [Told he has to wait for the beverage cart to come] “But I want it nowwwwwwwwwwwwww. I want waaaaaaa-terrrrrrrrrr. I’m thirrrrrrrrrrsty.”

“I want to sit with Daddy. No, I want to sit with Daddy. No, I want to sit with Daddy. No, I want to sit with Daddy.” [Daddy really wanted them to sit with Mommy at this point.]


This is just a small taste of what we encountered on our two plane, four hour jaunt home last night. On top of the whining, we also had two trips each to the bathroom, including being squished inside a 2 foot by 2 foot box with a pooping toddler. Wiping took some acrobatics I didn’t know I had.

The kids were tired from a long week at Grandma and Grandpa’s and we erred by thinking they’d sleep on a later flight. No, they just took out their tiredness on the entire cabin. No amount of sticker books, magna doodles or vanilla wafers were enough to calm the beasts within. If you were on our plane or directly underneath our Denver to So Cal route (for I’m sure you heard us from a measly 35,000 feet), then I apologize profusely.

Although if that lady in front of us had turned around to look at me wrestling with cranky, crying toddlers one more time, I would be writing this from jail.

And I only briefly considered jumping from the plane but decided against it when I realized I’d hear them screaming all they way down.

Anyway, after sleeping in today, a three hour nap and some serious painkillers (for me, not the kids), Swee’Pea and TheMonk are almost back to normal.

I, on the other hand, will need a bit more alcohol time.

On an airplane
Being angelic on the trip out to see grandparents.
The return trip on the other hand…

November 12, 2008

Beauty Marks the Spot

As a kid, whenever I’d point out a dark spot on my skin, my mother would refer to them as “beauty marks.” (It turns out, this is really what they’re called. My mother just wasn’t making stuff up… for once.) Over time, I’ve developed quite a few of these spots. So many in fact, over my entire body, that I am now possibly the most beautiful person in the world. I will pause a moment to allow jealousy to sink in.

Since the kids were born almost three and a half years ago, they have begun to develop a few beauty marks of their own. TheMonk, for example, happens to have a beautiful rib cage and a beautiful ear lobe. And until recently, Swee’Pea had only a beautiful shoulder to show off.

But a few weeks ago, I noticed that Swee’Pea had what looked like a small scab on her upper lip. Not wanting to scrub the scab off and risk scarring, I let it be. I carefully washed her face at night so as not to pick the scab that had developed and I was proud of the fact that I was being ever so cautious to protect the beauty of my little girl.

It turns out I was also being stupid.

You see, after all that time being careful, my daughter did not have a small scab on her upper lip after all. No, she had, in fact, developed her very own beauty mark on her very beautiful face.

I just thought it was a scab. (I’ll bet you’re done being jealous of me now, right?)

Now, if she’s anything like me, she’ll probably get a million more of these. But this is the one that’s gonna make her famous. I mean, if it happened to Cindy Crawford, it could certainly happen to Swee’Pea, right?

Swee'Pea beauty mark

Swee’Pea showing off her beauty mark.
(And not yet aware of that pimple on her cheek.)

November 8, 2008

So maybe I’m a sloppy kisser

Over the past several months, as I have written about before, TheMonk has been making it harder and harder for me to kiss him on his cheek.

This has caused great emotional distress to this here father as I have been kissing those cheeks on a daily basis for the last 3 years and almost-five-months. In a sign of desperation, I have tried many methods to get at those cheeks. I have pretended to go for one cheek and while he buries that cheek into his shoulder, he leaves the other cheek exposed and my lightning-fast pucker plants a big kiss. I have also resorted to telling TheMonk that I have a secret to tell him. As I lean in to “whisper in his ear” I change course and plant tons of kisses on his chubby little cheek. I’m not proud that I lie to my son to get at that cheek. I’m an addict and us cheek addicts will stop at nothing to get my daily fix. (“Hi, my name is Matthew and I’m a cheek-aholic.”)

But now TheMonk is going to drastic measures to show me how much he dislikes my kisses. Rather than just the ordinary wiping of the cheek that I have been subjected to in the past, this week, after planting another kiss onto his cheek, TheMonk laid down on the carpet and began rubbing the cheek I had just kissed onto the carpet while saying, “Yuck.”

*Sigh* Perhaps I should just plan my kisses with a little less slobber.

November 4, 2008

Yes we can.

To my little ones,

Tonight we elected a new President. Tonight I witnessed Barack Obama become the first African American to hold the highest office in our land. It was a historic evening and as I watched the returns I couldn’t help but feel… hopeful.

And that was what this election was – to not only me but to so many people across this country – a chance to have hope. A chance to dream of a better life. A chance to hope for a stronger economy, a safer world or a brighter future. To me, for the first time in my adult life, this wasn’t so much a choice of just two men for public office – both who were highly qualified and both who would, no doubt, do a fine job as President – but, rather, a choice of how we want to feel about ourselves and our country.

And my choice was also for you. For so many reasons, this election seemed larger than any I have seen. But the main reason for my vote was what kind of country do I want you to grow up in. Not only in relation to the issues of the economy, the environment and all the multitude of problems we face, but in the very tangible feeling of hope and optimism that has been missing for quite a while now. And while history will be the ultimate judge, on this day and at this time, I feel that President Obama will help this country believe in itself in ways that we haven’t seen since President John F. Kennedy over 40 years ago.

While I am always proud to be an American. Tonight, I am actually excited to be an American. I am excited at the possibilities of a President who has a real chance to unite this country in ways that few people can. As he promised tonight in his victory speech, this country is not a collection of individuals or red states and blue states but, rather, this country truly is The United States of America and my fervent hope is that President Obama helps unite us in ways we haven’t seen in my lifetime.

This election is much more than party alliances. This election was much more than right versus left or, even, right versus wrong. It was about having the opportunity to feel emotionally connected to the future of our country and so many people are feeling that way tonight. And this is not to take anything away from Senator McCain, who is a national hero and deserves respect, but rather says so much about a man born from a black father and white mother who was raised by his grandmother who has risen meteorically through the national conscience because of his ability to connect to so many.

So, on this night, I sleep well having more hope for the future of your country and I pray that this election truly was the beginning of a country united. You deserve that.

With love,


November 2, 2008

Return of Kitty (and how I need to do my laundry more often)

Just as some of you predicted this past week, when I posted about how Swee’Pea had lost her kitty and how I found her replacement on eBay, the prodigal kitty has returned.

I was, I admit, a bit surprised that we found Kitty 1.0. After all, we turned this house upside down. I was so serious about finding that cat that I even cleaned under the coffee table. And while I did find some candy from Easter, I did not find a kitty.

The one thing I had put off, however, was laundry. I am not a big fan of doing laundry. I have about 30 pairs of underwear and enough dress shirts and slacks to make it easy to put off doing laundry for a very… long… time. This weekend, however, I realized I was down to the emergency underwear. You know, the ones that the elastic is starting to go and the cotton is getting fairly thin in certain areas. It was time.

So, in between plays of the Green Bay vs. Tennessee Football game, I sorted my clothes. As I was separating my whites from my lights, I felt something heavier than usual bundled up In one of my dress shirts. I shook the shirt and out flung one multi-colored kitty.

Luckily, Swee’Pea is currently unaware that Kitty 1.0 has returned. I think Kitty’ll sit safely tucked away until she is needed some day in the future. If nothing else, I have at least saved the original for posterity’s sake.

Okay, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go fold some clothes now. That underwear won’t put itself away.

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