Monday, May 31, 2010

Grandmas, Strawberries and Applesauce

We'll get to the title of this post in a moment, but first let me say what a wonderful day we had today (Memorial Day). Gina didn't have to go work the festival today and I had off work so we got a much needed family day (hadn't had one of those in two weeks) to bask in each others wonderfulness. We got up later - girls amazingly slept until 8 - and walked to Starbucks. ... nice to have coffee because it tastes good and not you desperately need the help of java to get through the day. We then came home for a nap (a short nap) and then headed over to our friend Merideth's house for a little bbq and pool time. Girls went swimming in a non heated pool (so did Karma) and did very well. They were able to brighten an already warm day even more. We went an extremely long time with out a nap and you wouldn't even have guessed it. Water logged and stuffed we piled into the car and headed to Grandmas for ANOTHER bbq and to see our new cousin for the first time out of the hospital. We napped on the way and for a little while after we got there and then were right back in the water. ... this time Grandma's jacuzzi. Well, needless to say, Mom and Dad weren't really rushing to jump out of the therapeutic waters as the girls dinner time rolled around so Grandma and my Aunt took on the feeding chore. We gave them some steamed sweet potato and a little shredded rib meat and told them once they were done they could give them some strawberries, applesauce and cheese if they still seemed hungry. See the title working it's way in here? Somehow, and this is the traditional grandmother move here, we made it to strawberries, applesauce and cheese with out ever touching the sweet potatoes or the meat. ... what can you say here. Grandmas hold this card. They can do what ever they want because they're still your mom, and no matter if you're 8, 28 or 88 you can't tell your mom what to do. You just can't. So grandmothers basically have a free pass on everything. That's why little red ridinghood went over the river and through the wolf infested woods all by herself and probably with out a can of mace. Because once at grandmas she could get a way with murder. Literally. Grandmas are the wild card in the deck - it doesn't matter if you're a queen, king or ace she trumps you. And she earned the right. She put up with me for 28 years. It's ok. If things go well, I'll be a grandpa one day and then it's my turn. And I'm sure there will be a blog entry dedicated to all the things I'm doing to spoil/corrupt my grandchildren. It's the circle of life.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Another Weekend of Just Dad

Gina's working a festival again this weekend - Northridge this time, so I don't have the luxury of having her 2 or 3 miles away if I need her. After Friday night I'm still super pumped being able to handle everything on my own, but the initial thrill has worn off slightly. You see, after the girls have gone down to bed the living room is an awfully quiet place. And as I cook my lone chicken breast and set the single place mat on the table I miss my wife. The truth is that I can handle these girls just fine on my own. ... but that doesn't make me need Gina any less. I think that's the sign of a good relationship. The ability to be independent, but the desire not to be.

Friday, May 28, 2010


Is there anything more spectacular than spending the early evening on the floor watching the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals with the two most adorable little girls in the world climbing all over you? If you can find something that compares I'd love to know, and then argue with you that you are wrong. Dead wrong. Because there is nothing better. Growing up my father was a huuuuuggee basketball fan. He watched every Laker game, post season or summer league. But my dad was also a crazy person. Screaming at the TV as though the coaches had a two way and were seriously taking his suggestions into the huddle. I actually remember a neighbor calling the cops on us. Not because the TV volume but because my dad was screaming so loudly they were convinced it was a domestic violence situation. I'm not at all like my dad when it comes to sports spectating, and the rule in our house is we only watch playoff sports - cause let's face, there's a lot more to life then watching a game live. And as far as "passion" in watching. ... we never watched games with my dad. It was too tense, too terrifying. And I think he missed out. There is something so incredible about having your kids near to you. And when you're watching a game you're stationary - so much of the time we're running around like mad trying to fix dinner or wash clothes or clean up some unidentifiable mark on the floor - and being still allows the girls to implement your body into their exploration. They pull on your arm or prop themselves up on your leg. Genevieve lays back onto your lap, Arianna leans against your side, each constantly glancing up at you as if to make sure you've not left and then flashing you a big grin as if to say "thanks". It's moving. ... I don't know if I can describe it any better. It seems like such a simple scene, but the subtext is amazing. It's truly joyous. ... despite what ever outcome the game might bring.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Fragility of it all

A man walked into our office today and I would be lying if I didn't say I sized him up as he walked in. Short, early thirties, backwards hat, tattoo visible on the neck. He was carrying a small, plastic jug. I got up to approach the window ready to go in to my overly recited speach about how we're in a hiring freeze and not taking applications at this time, but he started before I could. He asked me if I was aware of the accident that had happened last week on a nearby intersection. I hadn't. He said if I drive that way I can see the flowers that have been left at the site. The victim was his 8 year old son. He's been out of work for the last 6 months and he is asking for donations to help with the funeral expenses. Now, again, I would be lying if I didn't admit that I have some reservations. I suspect that everything is a scam - it goes back to a really bad parking lot purchase almost 10 years ago - so I know the odds are that this guys son didn't really die in a traffic accident and the money in the jug is not going to a funeral. But what if he's not lying? And if he was he was one hell of an actor (and I of all people should know). He had the look on his face that you see in Newseek or Time on the faces of survivors. Those who've gone through a natural disaster or a catastrophic war. The blank stare of one who has absorbed so much so quickly they can't physically process the emotions that are swelling with in. Like so much wants to pour out so rapidly that it all clogs the emotional drain and you just walk around like a zombie for a while. He had that look. I didn't have cash on me, but had I there would have been no hesitation, even with the understanding of scam potential. As a parent it hit me hard. During Gina's pregnancy it was nothing but excitement - yes there was that horrible feeling in the back of our minds that something might go wrong, but for the most part the feeling is, once they get out we'll be in the clear. Wrong! That's when the real fear begins. Everything is terrifying. They won't go to sleep, somethings wrong. They are asleep, is everything alright? What about SIDS. Every eye gooey, every sniffle, every cut, every bruise. ... it's madness. Then god forbid they start walking! Is the table edge too sharp, the floor too hard? Do they have shoes on, jackets? Now they are playing in the front yard - what kind of sicko is going to do what? They're walking to school - like this child - what idiot is going to jump a curb? They are off to college, are they going to make good choices? It's this endless cycle of heartbeats skipped and inhales held. Of course you're a duck on water for their sake. Keep the surface cool and calm, so everything looks peaceful, but inside, under the water everything is turning like mad constantly. It's the most enjoyable thing being a parent, but it's equally the most stressful thing as well. You don't think about that until you're in it, and every tragedy that unfolds with in our line of site only adds to worry pile in the back of your mind. I love being a parent and I'm so terrified of that being taken away from me, of becoming a zombie, the walking dead, wearing a blank stare of one who has absorbed so much pain that the tears can't even flow. I want to cry for him. ... just at the remote possibility that his story was true.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

New Cousin

Yesterday (5/24) brought the arrival of a new cousin for the girls. Caelyn Whitney Buschmann was born around 2pm weighing 8lbs and 25 1/2 inches long. Not a whopper, but the biggest of our cousins so far. She brings the total grandchildren count up to 6 with a current score of 2 boys and 4 girls. We are very excited to go and meet her this afternoon, and even more excited to watch her grow up. With only 7 months between them I am sure that she will become a prominant play figure in the girls lives, and hopefully a very good friend as well. I grew up an hour away from my closest cousins (San Dimas & Pasadena) with the rest scattered from Alaska to New Jersey so I never had the joy of interacting with any of them unless it was a very special occasion (Christmas, Thanksgiving for the close ones - a wedding or a death for the others). There was also a large age difference (my parents both being the babies of their families) and as I've grown older we've been able to establish relationships, but there was never the closeness that I see among Gina and her cousins and even more so among Gina's sisters and the younger set of cousins. I hope that my girls will experience a different scenario than I. Their cousins are all relativly close in age (7, 2, 9mos & 1 day) and in location (Cerritos, Lakewood & Chino) so the probability is high that things will work out that way. Additionally none of my siblings have come out and said that they are done having children either, so odds are good there are many more cousins to come. I'm sure the girls will find someone to play with out of the brood. And if all else fails, there in lies the beauty of twins. They'll always have each other. Of course, who's not going to want to play with them? They're freakin' awesome! Here are some pictures of the new addition.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Day 3 of Solo Parenting

So the third and final day of 1 on 2 was complete and utter chaos. ... no I'm kidding, it was perfect. We actually got to enjoy Momma for most of the day, we went to breakfast and then took a trip to Kohls to buy more pj's because we have enormous babies who aren't fitting in the 12 month jammies at 7 months old. But Kohls was too expensive (we mainly went there because I needed to get some new jeans as well, but we struck out there too), so we left empty handed. Gina finally went to the festival around 2:30, girls napped until after 4 and a couple of buddies came over and we all watched the Lakers disappoint. My Friends 4 year old daughter came over too and the girls got to play with her for almost 3 hours - which completely exhausted them, but I think they thoroughly enjoyed interacting with an older child. Karma loved it too because there was a new sucker in the house who enjoyed throwing the ball as much as she loves chasing it. We went with out incident. ... and then Momma came home. They must have sensed her and were feeling withdrawal symptoms from lack of Momma because about an hour after we got into bed they both woke up pretty intense. They weren't really screaming or crying it was just more aggravated flopping and a desperate need to be held. Gina fed them, but that didn't work, we rocked them, but that didn't work. It was very strange and very unusual for them. Especially considering how easy going they'd been all weekend. But hey, I can sympathize. It's tough going three days with limited Gina and, despite your best efforts, when you need a fix you just need a fix. On another note we should end Monday with a new cousin. My sister Kelly was induced at 2 am this morning and - although still in labor at the moment - should be delivering before the morning runs it's course. That means our new cousin Caelyn (Kay-Lynn) will join the ranks as the fourth girl in our group of "cousins". ... unless of course the doctors find something they weren't expecting. That'll make the new score 4 to 2.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day 2 of solo parenting

Well we survived day two of "single" parenthood. Went over to grandmas for lunch, did some swimming, came home for naps and then went to see Momma at the Greek festival for a couple of hours. That was actually the roughest part of the day. See, we had planned to come for dinner so we got there at 5, we fed the girls their stuff and Gina and I weren't hungry yet so we walked around for a bit. Well, in my mind I had planned on leaving around 6:30 because I do not want to push them when it was only me putting them down. If there's two of us, it's not a big deal to stay someplace past bed time because when we get home we can tag team them and if they fell asleep on the way home we can get them in to bed and back to sleep pretty quickly. If it's just me, it's going to take a lot longer and if they are up too long then they just consider the car sleep to be a nap and they're up for at least another hour or so. Gina of course had planned to eat with me and, to be honest, she's never had to deal with the separation from them for very long. Every day I have to get up by myself, sneak out the door while everyone is asleep and rarely do I get to do much more than quickly glance on them and that has to sustain me for the next 10 hours or so. Gina hasn't had to do deal with that yet, so it was pretty rough on her to say the least. But despite Momma's disappointment it worked out. We got home and no one fell asleep (including Daddy, which is a good thing) and we made it into bed perfectly. So far, Daddy is surviving the weekend. We'll see how Sunday goes!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Day 1 of solo parenting

This weekend is Gina's first back on the festival circuit with her mom, so that means it's all up to Daddy this weekend to fill some big freakin' shoes. And I mean that, have you seen Gina's feet? We're talking some serious footwear here. Somehow, against all odds and despite the weeks earlier traumas, we made it through Friday night unscathed. Yes, that's right ladies and gentleman - yours truly has successfully accomplished what every mother on the planet is expected to do from day 1! And I only got 7 months of prep time. Now, I'm not saying that a mothers job is easy - I'm not that stupid - but please forgive me while I do some light shadow boxing in the mirror while playing "Eye of the Tiger" on my iPad. Picked up the girls from the church at 2:30 Friday afternoon (loving these modified work weeks). Genevieve passed out in the car so when we got home I made the transfer to the crib. Arianna wasn't quite as easy so she fought me for a half hour, but I got her down by three. Folded some laundry while she drifted off. Thought that was a great time to make a sandwich and eat something - was wrong, because Genevieve thought it was a better time for her to get up. So we got up and she helped me fold more laundry. One of the things you never thing about as the parent that goes back to work is the never ending pile of laundry. ... where does all this come from? Are we picking up extra work on the side and doing our neighbors stuff as well? It seems that machine is always running and I own all of 4 pair of jeans and only wear the same 5 t-shirts! Do I really go through that much underwear?! But I digress. ... Arianna woke up about an hour later so we had some bottles, played a bit, ate our dinners with out any fuss (we've figured out the secret for Arianna is mix a little apple sauce with everything - nothing like spaghetti, turkey balls and apple sauce all in the same bite. ...mmmmm. I think I'll write a cook book after all this "Everything's better with Apple Sauce", see if it catches on). Sorry, lot of coffee this morning, I'm all over the place. The barista made a grande when I asked, and payed for a venti so he gave me both. ... love me the espresso shots! So after our evening walk we got ready for bed, I gave Arianna a bottle on the floor so she could roll around and do her own thing. I fed Genevieve and took her in, rocked her a bit and laid her down. She was gone in about 5 minutes. Came back, got the monster and we watched some TV, played, finished our bottle (which is HUUUUGGEEE for her) and then we laid down in Daddy and Momma's bed and "talked" for a while. We came out, played a little bit more and then went back to Daddy's room where I scooped her up and rocked her for about 10 minutes, she started to nod off so I moved her to her bed and she was gone in about 2 minutes. It's the eye of the tiger it's the thrill of the fight, rising up to the challenge of our rival. And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night, and he's watching us all in the eye. ... of the tiiiggeeeeerr. Daddy made himself some shrimp scampi (never got to that sandwich earlier), grabbed a celebratory beer and watched 2012, which Gina kept putting it off cause she was really not ever planning on watching it with me. Lot of people died. ... like the whole world. Except Tibet - is that that the secret to enlightenment, move to Tibet? Don't think it worked for Brad Pitt thought - 7 years in Tibet was a terrible movie. ... coffee talking. Had a peep from Genevieve an hour in to the movie pressed pause, changed her binkie and came back to realize I had not pressed pause I had pressed eject and since we don't have a remote (thanks Karma!) I had to watch the rest on the computer so I could get back to where I was. Then Arianna woke up around 10:30 because our neighbors were having a flamenco dance off of some kind directly above their room and she was livid. Was not expecting Gina to be gone that long so I failed to have a back up bottle ready and with an angry, squirmy, 20 pounder it's a little hard to find frozen milk, defrost, pour into bottle and then try to administer and putting her down caused her to scream and I was not about to wake up Genevieve and make it 2 on 1. So that's when the text went out "come home now pls!!!!" More exclamations were implied then were used because I had to type with my knuckles. But Gina got the hint, rushed home and she went right back down. See, if I only had mammary glands I'd be set. ... I'd be much more popular with my friends too, but I digress. And recommence shadow box sequence - It's the eye of the tiger it's the thrill of the fight, rising up to the challenge of our rivals. ...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ever Just Need a Smile. ... and/or Coffee?

Another rough night last night. This time I had the pleasure of two hysterical little ones. Started with Arianna (surprise, surprise) who was absolutely fine up until bedtime. As soon as I laid her down she started to drift off and as I'm creeping out of the room the phone rings (now all the phones in the house have the ringer turned down and the one in their bedroom is on silent, but the stupid base still rings - explain that, and we have to keep the base in their room because it's the only location for the phone jack - the other one was covered up by cabinets when the previous geniuses/owners did the remodel). I frantically dove across the room to answer after one ring, but it was too late. .... the night had begun. Wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't Gina on the other line. I lost it a little bit because I thought we had a rule "no calling the home phone after 7", in her defence 7:15 is a little earlier than normal bedtime, but in this case Arianna was way ready for the sleeping. So now Arianna has lost it and although she is tired she keeps working herself up. The problem is that as soon as she relaxes and drifts off her breathing (you know that stutter breathing that you get after a heavy cry) wakes her BACK up and that pisses her off again. So we enter this ridiculous cycle. I finally come to the conclusion that there is no way she's going to sleep until she can get her breathing back under control so I take her out to the living room to play and I move on to Genevieve. Now Genevieve is equally as tired but she has just sucked down 6 1/2 ounces of milk - which is way more than I thought she'd do. I made a bottle that big because I wasn't going to feed Arianna - that tends to cause problems - but I wanted a little extra from Genevieves bottle just in case it was absolutely necessary to use on Arianna. But I should have known better. Geneveieve is a chow hound. She has no little voice in her belly that says "OK, we're done now, tank is full". She will literally eat until she explodes! So now, rightly so, she's got a belly ache and she's upset. Needless to say two upset babies don't make anything right. I finally resolved to let them scream for about 10 minutes, just to get them good and tired - of course I absolutely hate this method because I'm afraid that this kind of unpleasantness is a bad association for bed time. Bed time should be a good time, not a terrible experience. But the screaming worked. I went back in held each of them close for about 5 minutes and laid them back down. Little stutter breathing, but neither was severe enough. It's now 8:45, bed time only took an hour and 45 minutes. I need a beer and to watch the rest of the Laker game. Laker game started at 6 tonight, not 7 like I thought. Guess I just need that beer then. Woke up this morning totally exhausted, and a little on the depressed side. These experiences aren't just rough on them, they're rough on me. I hate that the last image I have of them is screaming, crying, red faced terror - and they probably hate that that's the last image they have of me too! Fortunately (for me, not Gina) Genevieve was up early this morning. So I told Gina, "I'm sorry, but I need a smile before I go", I poked my head around the door, she rolled over and looked at me - whammy! That's what I needed. Let Thursday begin. Next stop, Starbucks.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Missed Evening

So last night I went to an investing seminar (part of a program I've been playing with since March. ... I know, like I don't have enough on my plate at the momment!) and on top of feeling like a Venution on Mars I didn't get home until after 8, and while Arianna was still putting up a fight they were still well into bed time. So the most I was able to do was steal a few glances in the dark and whisper quitely goodnight. This is the first night that I've not been able to spend some amount of quality time with them before bed, and that means I have to go almost 48 hours before I get another opportunity (7:30pm Monday night until 4:30pm Wedesday afternoon). That's rough. I feel like I lost something. Like I can never get that back. It certainly makes your time more valuable, having children. If you're going to miss out on 3 hours with them then you better be getting the asnwer to what's life all about otherwise it feels like a total waste. Even then, the answer may not be worth it because the answer is really what you're missing at that moment. Those little people. ... those are what life is all about. Everything else is just filler.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Is it drama or just over dramatic?

Fun night last night. ... fun, fun fun. Gina taught her Monday night class (it being a Monday and all) so I had the girls for bed time last night. My mom was over to help and everything was going well so as soon as baths were done Gina left early so she could get a run in before class. Got the girls dried off, lotioned and changed for bed. I cleaned out the earrings and got vitamins administered all with out incident. Then came actually going to bed. Now Arianna has been a pill lately when it comes to eating. She likes to eat, she just wants to eat, she just also wants to be in control of everything. Example - she won't breastfeed easily during the day because it's too confining for her so we've taken to giving her a bottle and letting her roll around the floor and drink it at her own leisure because it's the only way it'll get done. So in anticipation of this I'm prepared not to fight her if she won't take it and just put her to bed if need be. If you've seen pictures of our kids lately you know they aren't starving so it's not like she can't go with out a bottle at the end of the day. Anyway, we hit the wall with the bottle and she started to get worked up so we moved off to bed (pretty standard stuff). But something was in the air last night. I don't know what it was and I sure didn't see it coming but "worked up" took on a whole new meaning. After lying down for about 30 seconds her whine turned to a scream and the scream turning into a ball and that ball turned in to something I have never heard or seen before. I got her up quickly, thinking maybe there was a burp in there, but that just pushed her even further. With tears and snot flowing down her face she started to toss her head back and forth - not like the "no, no, no" motion she's been doing lately, much more jerky and shorter swings. I honestly started to think she might have been having a seizure. The drool was flying out of her mouth, she was now making this growl, grunting, screaming noise, she was shaking so bad. That's when I started to really become concerned. I ran the gamete, I administered Tylenol, I stripped her down to see if there were any cuts or sources of pain, I ran cold water and cooled her down with a compress - you name it I tried it. All of this went on for almost an hour - mind you Genevieve fell asleep with my mom and has now been moved to her crib in the same room and is sleeping just fine through all of this. Finally I decided I needed to take her to the hospital. She's 7 months old and I've never seen anything like this (this is the first time I've ever thought we needed an ER visit). My worst fears are playing out: she's having some kind of allergic reaction to something, she's internally bleeding, she's having a seizure, she's somehow broken her leg when I wasn't looking - you name it I thought it. I bring her out of the room and pass her off to my mom so I can collect myself, call the gym and let Gina know that I'm taking her to the ER. I literally pick up the phone and turn around as my mom is walking her to the living room and I see Arianna lift her head up off my moms shoulder, look directly at me and start grinning from ear to ear. ... excuse me?! I set the phone down slowly and I walk toward her and I literally ask her that "excuse me?" The grin breaks into a giggle and she coyly snuggles herself into my mom's chest with a "ha, ha daddy" movement. I thought you were dying?! I thought you were falling apart?! I thought the world was coming to an end before my very eyes?! And you just didn't want to go to bed?!!!! These kids are going to give me a heart attach. So we sat and watched the Lakers trounce Phoenix for about 20 minutes, she started to rub her eyes, I laid her back down to bed and I didn't hear from her again until 4 am. Where's that in "What to Expect..."? An hour later Gina walks through the door, "Everything go smoothly tonight?" ... There is no proper response here. ... I believe my face says it all. And the award for best dramatic performance goes to. ...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Super Troopers

When Gina and I first got pregnant - ok when Gina got pregnant and I stood to her side like a proud 5 year old with thumbs pointing strongly towards my puffed out chest declaring "and IIIII helped!" - we decided that we were going to take an approach of implementing the child into our lives as opposed to the approach of rearranging our lives around the child. Some people have a problem with that mentality but our thought was that the child was coming into our world and, eventually, would need to adapt. The best course of action would be to do this from the beginning rather than wait until you've got a five year old who's never sat through dinner at a restaurant and expect them to behave accordingly. When we discovered there were two coming we wavered slightly in our thoughts but quickly reaffirmed our decision that this was the best course of action. We felt that shutting ourselves in for the next few years would drive us insane and would hinder the girls so we decided to jump head first and go for it, and so far it's worked out quite well. We've gone just about everywhere and done just about everything and the girls have not only handled things well, I really think that they've benefited from it. They are great in new situations and around new people, they handle change very well and, for the most part, just go with the flow. But I have to remind myself constantly what a tremendous weight that puts on the girls and how grateful I am for what they put up with. This weekend alone the girls went to the mall on Friday, then to lunch at Red Robin, the Cystic Fibrosis walk on Saturday morning, a going away BBQ for our HOA president at 1pm, an open house for one of Gina's fitness clubs at 3, to Gina's uncles house from 4-7:30 so we could see Iron Man, and then home to bed. Then on Sunday they went to Grandma's for a swim and then directly out to Rancho Cucamonga so we could have dinner with my cousin's family finally getting home well after bedtime. And, although it was rough, the girls put up with all of this. They nap in the car or at someones house or in their own crib all depending on what is asked of them. Then they wake up, they smile and laugh and permeate the air with their happiness as if they were all to thrilled to accommodate such busy schedules. I am so grateful to them. They make parenting so easy - not to say that it's easy being a parent, but all things considered we have it very easy. Then again, maybe our strategy worked. Maybe we can proudly stand to the side of them, once again, our thumbs pointed inward declaring "and weeeeee helped!". Maybe. Then again, maybe we just got very, very lucky. In fact, add a couple more "very's" in there. Like seven.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Great Strides Walk for Cystic Fibrosis

Busy morning today! The girls and I participated in the Cystic Fibrosis "Great Strides" charity walk today. Despite her deep desire to go, Gina decided to be the responsible teacher that she is and teach her class. She really wanted to play hooky and come with us, but she knows there are a lot of people who look forward to her class and she did right by them. So today was important for two reasons. 1) I love any opportunity I get to do something with the girls on my own. It's important to me to prove to myself that I can go solo with two of them and come out fine. Gina does this day in and day out so I like to know that I've got the chops. 2) This is the first opportunity of, I hope, many for me to involve my girls in something bigger than ourselves. My mother raised me to understand that there are others different than I am and that it's my responsibility (not someone else's) to respect that difference and to be compassionate towards it. I know it's just a bunch of "liberal crap" to some people, but to me it's important to look at the bigger picture. As a nation, as a community, we are only as strong as our weakest links. Overused cliche, maybe, but sound truth as well. I want my girls to grow up compassionate. I want them to care about other people. I want them to be a shinning light in a dark world. That is one characteristic I really want to instill in them. That will be my mark on them. It was quite a powerful walk too. If you don't know Cystic Fibrosis is a degenerative condition, mostly affecting the lungs, and there is no cure. Treatment is limited and most suffers don't make it past their 20's or 30's - which is actually great because only a few decades ago people didn't survive to puberty. Now I don't know anyone with this condition but my company sponsors the event so that's how we got the opportunity to join in. Most of the people there are part of smaller teams. Team Sam, Team Hayden, Team Bryce. Each of these teams is a group of people who center around a sufferer and are there for the bigger picture, but mostly because of the one individual who has affected them. Not having such an individual it's hard to personalize the experience, so it doesn't hit you as hard as it might. We started walking early - there were a lot of festivities and with 7 month old's you've got a small window before happy-go-lucky turns to nightmare on elm street. So we were walking amongst a very small group of scattered people. And with daddies long legs it wasn't long before we were by ourselves - I should mention that Grandma, Pappa and our cousin Connor were there also but Grandma's an equally fast walker so she was with us the whole time. ... Pappa. ... well, he tried. Anyway, on the way back we came head to head with the bulk of the group headed in the opposite direction. This is where you really got to see all the different "teams". Different colored shirts with home made logos - kind of looked like an adult softball league competition, minus the booze of course. This is where it hit me. One group with the name "Team Sam" on their green shirts past us. About 20 yards behind was a few stragglers with a stroller. As we past the stroller I heard the mom lean over and ask the 3 year old blond boy "how are you holding up Sam?". I could have lost it then. Suddenly there was the face that I was missing in all of this. This three year old boy was why people where here. This three year old will never grow up and play sports, never grow up the way my girls will, if anything he'll be lucky to grow up at all. This is the compassion that my mother instilled in me, and this is the characteristic I want for my girls. Yes, your heart aches for this boy, but that's the point. I feel so much compassion for him despite having any attachment. It seems so many people in the world today miss that. They can't see past their own little bubble. Who cares about the family who died in a mass shooting, or the community ravaged by a storm. Who cares about AIDS in Africa or a Tsunami in Malaysia. I care. And hopefully I raise two more people who care too. OK, stepping off my soap box now. Shortly after this I get the call from Gina. Just checking in, seeing if they were going to nap and how they were holding up. "We're fine, hon! Almost finished." "Great, well I'll talk to you guys after class then." "Bye". Phone rings, "Yes". "You should probably give them a bottle before you leave cause they'll be hungry." "Ok, will do." "Love you, bye!". Phone rings, "Yes?" "Actually, don't give them a bottle. They'll just nap and I'll nurse them when I get home". "Ok, sounds good." "Love you guys, bye!" "Bye!" Phone rings - sweet lord! "There are extra binkies in the diaper bag." "OK". "That's all, bye!" Phone off. I know she's a mom, but my goodness, I feel like Stuart from MadTV "I do it!" "Nooooo, IIIII doooooo iiiittt!" Got to love it. On the surface she trusts me to do anything, but deep down I'm still a man and therefore I can never be trusted to do ANYTHING. Se la vie. By the way, girls were great, they're napping now and we had no issues. Just remind Gina of that next time you talk to her.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Weekend Review

So first of all, let me lament by saying our printer has died. That's putting it nicely. Our printer hasn't just died, it gave up. It quit. It refused to fight the good fight and took the easy way out by rolling over, exposing it's soft under belly and taking the journey into the light. Burn in hell HP CL500 series. Ok, now that I got that out we can continue - you see our printer is our only way of downloading photos since someone (not going to name names here - cause it was probably me) lost our connector for the camera to the computer. And this weekend had some reeeeaaaallly cute photos. So with any luck we'll figure out a quick fix and I can put those up because they are really great. It was mothers day this weekend (if you didn't know that then your mother probably hates you - or vis a versa) so the girls and I made it a whole weekend event for Gina. We took her to sushi on Friday night, then we took her car to get washed on Saturday morning with a quick walk to Starbucks while it was drying. Then we cleaned the whole house (even the oven and the windows) while she was teaching her morning class. On Sunday we got up early while Gina was sleeping and put on our special Mothers Day outfits which we made on Thursday while she was teaching. Super cute (we'll show pictures later. ... damn printer)! We got here some new goblet wine glasses - since she broke the others, and we got her tickets to go see the live Glee stage show later next week. Then we went over to Grandma's house for brunch where the girls got to go swimming with grandma in her gigantic new jacuzzi (I hate you hp). After that we went to the park where Yiayia and all of our thea's and the rest of the family was hanging out. Super cute picture (aaarrrrgggg) of the girls in a swing. And I literally mean A swing as they were sitting back to back in the same swing. It was hilarious. It actually worked quite well too because there wasn't all the extra room that normally makes them fall back and to the sides. There was another grandma there with her young granddaughter, maybe 15-18 months old. She was trying to figure out which way to put the girl in the swing. The mother walked up and was explaining the that girl (our girls) was sitting the wrong way and as she got closer to explain was totally taken a back when she realized there were two of them. From straight on you couldn't tell there was more than one baby.... so funny. You know what would be nice. ... a picture to show you exactly what it looked like. But I digress. Anyway, the girls were amazing - little tantrum at sushi. I walked out to put something in the car and I the whole 2 minutes I was gone turned in to a screaming match. I walked back in to find crocodile tears and an anxious Gina. But, we fought through it and came out victorious. Other than that they were angles as always. It's an insane reality, this new world for us. I've never been happier to have nothing be about me anymore. And I know Gina is the same. She takes so much pride in every smile, every milestone. Every person who fawns over them or takes note of their accomplishments. And she should. She does so much with them, and for them. They should really have a day that is just dedicated to mothers like here. ... oh wait. ... they do. We should really have a camera or something to document such a celebration next time. ... watch your back HP.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

the Midnight Serenade

There's something to be said of the Midnight Serenade. There's a defiant romance when John Cusack holds the boom box above his head to the chagrin of neighbors and parental figures. There's a chilling beauty in the wolf howl and the coyote yip. Even the cat on the fence brings a warm fuzzy feeling. ... after you've launched the boot at him and he's moved on to someone elses fence. We have our own songstress these days. Some of you know that Genevieve has become quite the little singer the past few months. I don't want to take credit, but I'm going to. I like to sing to the girls, especially when I'm getting them ready for bed. Several weeks ago I found that Genevieve was singing back when I would do it. Now I'm sure Gina noticed this long before I did and she probably feels that it's something she did that caused it, but she's not writing this blog, is she?! So there. Anyway, she quickly moved from response singing to spontaneous singing and now she breaks out in song all the time no matter what the circumstances around her. Let me be clear, she's not really hitting notes and scales so much. It's more of a high pitch squeal dragged brutally between octaves. But it's not done out of malice and it is obviously a reflection of her happiness with the world around her. I wouldn't say it's beautiful. ... but damn is it cute. The last few days she's realized how loud she can make it. And it's very, very loud. And she is very, VERY satisfied with the volume level. All fine and dandy at 9 in the morning or 6 at night. No so much around 2:30 AM on a Wednesday. But what do you do? As a parent, how do you respond? She's happy, that's the only time she does it. So do you go in, quite her down and risk ruining that happiness? Any parent would agree that a happy baby at 2 AM is waaaaayyy better than an angry baby at 2 AM. On the other hand, as cute as it may be, it's 2 AM on a Wednesday. I've got to get up at 5. So how long to we wait until we make the transition from happy to angry? Cause angry is much easier to get to sleep than a happy baby. During this time period angry is solved by a boob and a rocking chair. Happy, happy is solved by play time which leads to very awake baby which leads to sleep deprived mom which leads to grouchy morning mom which leads to dad in trouble for some how being responsible. I don't like that second scenario. We decided to let it go and see what happened. Amazingly, we (and by we I mean me because, based on her morning mumbling when I was getting dressed, I'm pretty sure Gina was stuck awake until about 4 because her body needed to nurse but her mind told her body to shut up and go to sleep, she wasn't about to mess with their sleep patterns that have finally started to come under control) drifted back to sleep despite the vocal explorations in the other room. And even more amazingly, so did Genevieve. So everyone was sung (back) to sleep at 2:30 via Midnight Serenade. Is there anything more heart warming than that? Well, a good solid night sleep of course, but I mean BESIDE that.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

What a Weekend

What a weekend indeed! So we started out Friday night with the dog park. The girls love Karma, absolutely loooooove her. They laugh at her more than anything else, especially when she's chasing a ball or catching a toy. They just can't get enough. So we thought, let's go to the dog park. There they can really see Karma in action plus 20 other new dogs doing different silly stuff. And we were right. The girls thought it was hilarious that Karma would run away and then run right back at them as fast as she could. ... I don't think they realized her enticement to do so was a tennis ball, I think they were convinced that she was playing with them and doing everything intentionally for their benefit. What we didn't anticipate was crazy dog people. Crazy dog people are always there, but they rarely bother you - unless you've got a very rare dog breed or some other quirk. Well, turns out twins are a quirk so crazy dog people flocked to us. It was pretty much the same thing "Oh Roscoe love's babies. Roscoe, come here and look at the babies. Roscoe. Roscoe! Roscoe babies! Roscoe, no! Drop it. DROOOP ITTTT!! Now come give the babies kisses." ... um. ... no thank you. Fortunately our trip was cut short - UNfortunately that was due to Karma ripping her dewclaw off. ... again (yes again). So we had to take bloody, gimpie mess back home and bandage her up. Now she's sulking around the house on three legs and a sock covering an ace bandage. So that was Friday. Saturday Gina had her morning class to teach so the girls and I hung out and cleaned up a bit, then that afternoon we went to a baptism for Robert (Gina's cousin, Nicolette's, finance). It was a nice preview of what we have coming. By the way, we officially scheduled the girls baptism for June 26. Kind of cool that it's 2 days after our anniversary. ... kind of like an assessment of the past four years. We're being brought to our annual review and we've got a great project to show for our time here. Anyway, we then went up to Pasadena (Robert and Nicolette's house) for a little party to celebrate. Angels as always we kept our smiles and laughter up the whole time and conked out on the drive home. Then, we slept until 3 (almost 5 hours straight of sleep time for Mom and Dad) and then again until 7:30. Gina and I have never gotten a more solid sleep than Saturday night. ... it was Be-a-utiful! Sunday morning we got up and went to breakfast at the Fireman Cafe (an old morning hang out for Gina and I pre-babies) and the girls did splendidly. We tried pancakes and bananas and melon. Then we went with their Theas to the Rossmoor Community Festival. We got to see the dog parade (which was right up there with the dog park), unfortunately Karma couldn't come. We also go to see Theo Billy's (Gina's uncle) Devin in the classic car show. We got some pics below. We wanted to sit in the driver seat but turns out a beautiful day makes black leather a little toasty. So, as you can see, we had quite a weekend. ... I think we need a nice relaxing week to recover. Mothers day is next weekend and I think we'll find ourselves equally as busy.