Monday, February 28, 2011

Dr. Cackle and Ms. Cried

For a rare occasion the shoe was on the other foot yesterday and it was Gina rising before the sun to head off in to the darkness. She and her mom did a turn around to Vegas yesterday for a jewelery expo at The Sands. That means she was up by 4am and out by 5 and didn't get back untill almost 11 last night. That left just me and the lovelies on a beautiful Sunday. ... that ended on quite a crazy note. Day started off fine. We made a run to Home Depot where the old cliche that a guy with babies is a chick magnet at grocery stores was proved the opposite at the hardware store. I had at least a dozen dudes stop me to talk about the girls. One guy even came by twice (although in fairness maybe each stop was for a different daughter). We then picked up some coffee for daddy, who'se calves were on fire from Saturday's race, hit up the storage unit to get our infant bath seats so my sister can borrow them (for her baby, not for her) and then went to Granma's for a bit. My niece and nephew were over there playing and, with Genevieve still having a rough time with the teeth, I thought the girls could use some play time to get her mind off it. Plus Papa would probably be watching the Lakers game so win-freaking win for Daddy. After lunch we headed home for nap time. ... or so I thought. About an hour and a half in to "nap time" I finallay pulled Arianna out so she would stop screaming and maybe let Genevieve sleep a bit. 20 minutes after that Genevieve gave up on sleeping too. You know how there are different types of drunks out there? Well there are different types of sleep deprived babies too. Genevieve gets clingy, emotional and needy. Arianna turns crazy. So I spent the rest of the night with Genevieve clutching to me like a baby gorilla, her poor little swollen mouth all puffed out and swollen from teeth, ready to cry at the slightest suggestion and chasing Arianna around the house trying to keep her from leaving permenante bit marks on anything. Even bath time, normally a 20 minute time to relax and hang out in the tub lasted all fo 3 minutes as Arianna literally set upon her sister, hitting and bitting her. At one point I smacked her on the hand for throwing a bath toy at her sisters head, to which she just looked at me and gave me a maniacle laugh in response. Kid lost her marbles. As Gina pointed out, though, the nice thing about a skipped bath is an early bed time. Everyone was passed out by 6:30. Arianna stayed that way all night, sleeping the crazies off. Genvevieve was up every hour or so crying (most of the time in her sleep) from the teeth. I feel so bad for her. She's got Tylenol, baby asprin and Orajel and she's still hurting. Thank god all the garaunteed tramatic stuff (teething, circumcision, self soothing, ect) happens when we're babies and gets filed in the "forgotten" section of our memories. What a rough way to start life out.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Taking their sweet tooth time

These days I'm more concerned with my teeth falling out. Had a filling shatter a few weeks ago and I'm looking at a nice bridge bill coming up. It's been a while since I've had to worry about them coming in. Arianna got her first set of molars a while back, but Genevieve's have been lacking. As of yesterday they've decided to start and are finally making their grand appearance. Problem is that Genevieve is much more sensitive then her sister and she is not handling it very well. Last night she was up whining for most of the time. Normally that wouldn't be a problem, I mean it's much more traumatic for her than it is for us. Of course, Gina and I had a 10k race to run this morning . .... so staying up all night was probably not the best thing for that. We managed to drag ourselves through the course in a decent time though. When we got back home poor little Genevieve was just snuggled up in to my moms chest, slight fever and beyond exhausted. So it was decided that everyone take a few hours to lie down. Now if these teeth would just pick up the pace so we can get on with life that would be saaawweeeeeeettttttt.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Where's the "p"? I'll get to that later. I received my first formal greeting from the girls yesterday. I got home from work and Gina was still out and about, so I changed in to some shorts (I love Southern California) and when she got home she called me to help unload everyone. As I opened the back door two little heads spun around and, in unison, I heard "Hi Daddy!" . .... OK, so it sounded more like "Uhdada" but I know what they meant. Stuff like that just melts your heart. We got the girls (and all the Costco stuff - Momma was busy) in the house and Gina took off for her class. The rest of the evening went smoothly; and then came bath time. I got the girls in the tub, picked up clothes and discovered a living room underneath the chaos of toys in the front room while the girls listened to some Sesame Street on Pandora. I then went to get towels and washcloths to discover we had no clean towels or washcloths (so that's what Gina was doing with that laundry basket of towels and washcloths right before she left). I managed to find one infant towel and one towel from their baptism and decided to make due. I got Arianna out first and, since she's smaller, she got the baby towel. Well, turns out she's not THAT small. Trying to wrap this little piece of cloth, which looked much bigger before I got her out of the tub, around her naked, squirming body proved futile and somehow she managed to flee the scene entirely. I didn't want to chase her, since Genevieve is the tub stander and left alone will not stay seated for more than a half a breath. I called to Arianna and nicely asked her to come back. All I got was a giggle and devilish peak around the corner. I called her again; same response. The third time I made it clear that she needed to come back so I could at least put a diaper on her. Once again she laughed and peaked around the corner. Only this time her face suddenly turned from a smile to a look of concern as she then turned her gaze down at the floor, near her feet. She then looked back up at me with a "what the. ...?" expression. There you go. That's where the "p" went. Right in the middle of my hallway, just outside the bathroom, where it belongs.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


As if the cultural experience of the past weekend coupled with the absence of Mommy wasn't enough, I had the day off from work yesterday and my policy is and will always be to never waste a day off. With Gina home and up for a day out we joined my mom and my nephew Connor and niece Emily for a day at the Orange County Zoo. It's a nice little zoo and rather then compete with the big zoos in the area (LA or San Diego) it keeps it's residents to strictly indigenous animals who can no longer survive in the wild (Bald Eagle with a broken wing, Cougar who'd imprinted on people, ect.) The girls had a really nice time, except when a goat stole my nieces scavenger hunt project and ate it, then tried to eat Gina's shirt for dessert. There were some things they didn't really care about like the snakes or the sleeping bobcat, but the sure were fascinated by the beaver and the coyotes. I've got to say, the coyotes were much cuter than the ones we have running through our neighborhood eating peoples cats. There was one that even wagged his tail and sat up at the front of the cage so people could see him. Although the best part was not at the zoo but in another section of the county park. There they had a train and some ponies for kids to ride. Unlike the one we get at the yearly fair these were little ponies that you could lead around a track, instead of the ones hooked up to the marry-go-round contraption. It's not quite what we get at Gina's dad's house in Tuscon, but for a first pony ride it was a really nice one. Now they can ride "their" pony, Lacy, at my father-in-law's with out looking like a couple of green horns. Suffice to say the day ran long and by the time we'd gotten some lunch in the girls it was after 2. We got home and into cribs for naps at 3 and Gina had to split to teach a class (normally Yiayia is on duty for this but since I was home I had the pleasure). At 3:30 I went in to see what all the giggling was about. At 4 I went back in to find out why Genevieve was singing (Arianna had just fallen asleep at this point) because she sometimes poops and needs to be changed. No poop. At 4:05 there was a loud crash and everyone started crying so I ran back in (no idea what the crash was) to find Genevieve had now pooped. Amazing what 5 minutes will do. I changed her and put her back in hoping that she would sleep and Arianna would go back to sleep. By 4:45 I pulled the plug and gave up. Gina came home and I went for a run secretly thinking she'd have two crazy, tired babies on her hands. Come home and everyone is happy in the tub. Gina hopes this is not the end of nap time as we know it. She needs that daily 2 hour break. And honestly? I need her to have that 2 hour break. So for my sake, girls. ... please don't let this be the beginning of something new. Go back to napping everyday. Or no more pony rides for you. ... ok. ... maybe a few.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Grot's through and through

I married a Greek woman (although her dad is of Irish decent you'd never know it). I did so by choice and fully aware of the consequences (My Big Fat Greek Wedding actually came out a month or so before we started dating so it was like a blue print of my life to be). I come from a family that is. ... well. ... kind of with out culture. We've been in this country so long that we don't really have those "ties" to the home land. We have, however, taken a strong shining to our Scottish ties and we proudly wear the badge when ever asked; with out donning the kilts or shouldering the pipes of course. As Gina and I progressed in our dating we butted heads a few times about how our children would be raised (many, many years before we had even really thought of actually having them), not wanting to label them and pigeonhole them in to one "ethnicity" when they have such great backgrounds on both sides to embrace - which basically means neither of us wanted to cave in. We coined the term "grots" as part of our agreement on how to raise them. Equal parts Greek as they were Scots. As I rolled this idea around in my head the last few years I even noticed that it was almost destined to be, just look at the flags of both peoples. Blue and white. Even take the cross in the upper left hand side of the Greek flag and rotate it a mere 45% and you've got a beautiful combination of the two. Like it was meant to be. So, after spending Friday night and Saturday day at the Greek Folk Dancing Festival we spent today (Sunday) at the Queen Mary Scottish Festival. Well, I did, with my parents, as Gina actually has to work at the FDF and couldn't come with us. So we traded "Opa's" and bouzoki's for haggis and bagpipes, both of which the girls seem to openly enjoy. Yesterdays dancing was fully entertaining and the bagpipes (50 plus in unison at times) seemed to enchant them like a snake charmers flute. A thing of beauty, really. As for me? I'm just exhausted and can't get the high nasal drone of the zampogna/bagpipe out of my head. One more time; Brave Scotland, away!!!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

I scream, you scream

So there's something you should know about me. Well, about both Gina and me. We struggle with addiction. ... to ice cream. No. No, this is not a joke. In fact, it's so serious that when we were dating and brought our friends together for the first time, they (not us, they) broke in to an argument about which one of us was the bigger ice cream fanatic. It's so bad that we've made friends at Cold Stone's who know our orders by heart (and Gina's got one of the most complex Cold Stone orders you've ever heard of). I've personally given career advice to them after they told me my wife suggested they talk to me the next time I come in. Golden Spoon was following along with Gina's pregnancy and I believe they met the girls before much of our family did. The guest gifts at our wedding were engrave ice cream scoopers, a few of them were tied behind our '39 Packard instead of cans and the tables were designated by flavors, not numbers. Anyway, my point is the addiction runs deep (I'm embarrassed to say our only real tradition is Tuesday nights watching the Biggest Looser and diving into frozen goodness while the people on TV learn how bad it is for them). The gene seems to be one that passes along, and. ... (gasp) our daughters have it. This weekend at the FDF competition they had a soft serve machine, and god have pity on any poor soul purchasing one of these. The girls basically hijacked every cone that walked by. The ordeal is captured in one image that is embedded in my mind forever. My sister-in-law Ilianna running down the convention hall, ice cream in hand screaming as Genevieve chased after her, arms wide open, tongue dangling at full length out of her open, eager mouth. She returned moments later with vanilla residue dripping down her face. Ilianna was never seen again.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Next stop Kilimanjaro

We've run into a minor problem. It seems the girls have started taking their climbing skills from the couch to other. ... shall we say, less climber friendly objects in the house. Like the oven. The baby gate. The bathtub wall. Each other. The one that really concerned me, though, was the oven door. Now before you get all preachy on me and ask "how could you snap a photo in a time like this", you should know that Sly had a stunt double for this shot. Arianna, of course, insists on doing all her own action shots. Actually I had my iPhone out already (still working on that Apple sponsorship) to take another photo when I caught this out of the corner of my eye. I instinctively took a picture. And then promptly freaked out. See the actual pic further below. Of course as I'm trying to get the point across to Arianna that this is not OK, Genevieve walks up and does the same thing. It's like a tag-team. How am I supposed to keep them off this thing? They even placed a stupid little drawer on the bottom of the oven that doesn't practically fit a single thing in it but allows its handle to be used as the first rung of our new toy ladder. Damn you Frigidaire!!!!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Spring Training

Well, as pitchers and catchers start reporting to subtropical US cities to begin getting ready for the upcoming baseball season I find myself also reporting for duty as our own "season" gets underway. ... Greek Festival season. This weekend the season officially starts for Gina and her mom's jewelry business, which I've mentioned in the past focuses mostly on the Greek community and their array of church festivals through out the spring and summer (although they do sell online as well. .. I'm just sayin'). This weekend is one of their biggest of the year as it's the national FDF competition, which is traditional Greek folk dancing and is mostly done by children, although there are a few adult groups that also compete. That means a lot of down time when you're not dancing, and a lot of parents with little to do but shop. So it's one of those "can't" miss opportunities. Of course the girls are too little to tag along still so that means, beginning today, it's just dad. Although I still get my nights when Gina teaches, it's been a few months since I've gone solo for multiple days in a row so I'm a little anxious, but it'll be fun. Plus it's just the first in the coming onslaught of festivals through the summer so might as well jump right back in. I thought last summer I mastered things, but looking back it wasn't hard. They couldn't go anywhere. Now that they're mobile (and I'm not one to be couped up in the house all weekend so rest assured we'll be out and about) it's like moving up to the Major Leagues. To be honest, I'm more worried about Gina. I know how tough it is for her not being there. We're going to trek out to the festival (only a little more than an hour or so away) for a day so it's not too rough on her, but thank goodness we've got our new iPhones so we can video chat as well. You know, I should get kick backs from Apple for all the plugging I do for their products. I'm going to look in to that. Maybe I should even rename our site "iDad". ... kind of catchy.

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Funny Valentine

It was my junior year of college. I'd managed to play my university years in the exact opposite fashion as my high school years. I opted to be the silent, mysterious guy in the back of the lecture hall- as opposed to the guy in front, answering every question, whom everyone knew and secretly wished would shut up. It was easier this way. I had big plans and I didn't want to form bonds I knew wouldn't last when I left. I found myself with a General Ed requirement unmet so I signed up for the only class that would satisfy and that also worked in to my current schedule; Anthropology. About 3 weeks went by and I'd successfully avoided contact with everyone in the class until the first test came along. I was breezing through the thing when a question came up that made me stop and think. I brought my head up, looking toward the front of the hall for some divine inspiration. The only thing I saw were two emerald eyes looking over a soft rounded shoulder, staring straight back at me. You might say this was my divine inspiration. After a quick lock she spun back around in her chair and I was left dumbstruck. I don't recall the professors name, I don't remember what the test was on, I couldn't tell you the exact course title or the lecture hall it was in. But those eye's are burned in to me. The next class I sat a few rows closer then normal, she a few rows further back. The next class I sat three chairs in from the aisle, she sat on the aisle, then claimed it was broken and sat right next to me. She strategically put her Starbucks cup on the desk so the name was facing me; Gina. The best part is when another student sat in the "broken" chair and she had to argue with him that it was broken. ... even though he was currently, successfully, sitting in it. Then she proceeded to peel an orange which she managed to squirt all over me, leading to our first direct conversation. That night I went home and told my mother I met the woman I was going to marry. And three years later I did just that. 6 years later we met our daughters, and in four months and 10 days we'll celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. I did everything I could to avoid this outcome. I had big things planned for life. But life had bigger, better things planned for me, so it came and found me. And I am extraordinarily grateful that it did.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


A very good friend of our recently went in with partners on a vacation condo in Ventura County (about 80 miles north of us and right on the beach. ... like RIGHT on the beach) and she asked us if we wanted to join her and her two kids for the weekend. Um. ... yes please. We headed up Friday evening after work, trying to beat the setting sun, which we did just barely. I will say that Southern California is a difficult place to live. It's overpriced, way too crowded and filled with some "difficult" people to deal with. If we weren't born and raised here with a boat load of family I doubt we would have hung around. But there's something about going to the beach in mid-February and tanning that seems to make all those challenges just melt away. And with the "summer season" over there were no tourist what so ever to fight with over sand. We had practically the whole beach to ourselves. Plus, we were spending some really great time with dear friends we don't see as often as we like. They live about 5 hours north of us and we haven't seen her kids (boy and girl) since before the twins were born. Apparently her 3 year old son is already "destined" to marry one of the girls so we broke the ice with a group bath on the first night and got a couple lovely shots that I'll keep private until their wedding reception slide show. The girls traveled well, as usual, and slept the whole way home so Gina and I took a romantic drive down the coast, through Point Hueneme, Malibu and Santa Monica - which was appropriate since Valentines Day is tomorrow and we have nothing "romantic" on the schedule - Gina has to teach tomorrow night so it's just me an my other "ladies". Ok. That's enough "'s for one post so I'm going to call it quits and just make those snow covered folks jealous with some pics.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Change up at the plate

After battling these cold bugs for the past few weeks the girls are finally back to their normal selves which, at least last night, meant eating great again. I picked the girls up after work from my mother-in-laws because Gina is teaching a new Thursday afternoon class. I'd gotten a text from my best friend that his softball team was playing an early game last night and I thought that might be fun for the girls to go to (outside, park, people running around making noise) but it was going to require a them to eat dinner fairly quickly; a struggle the past few weeks. Side note, I used to actually play on a team with Rob but I've only got one good eye and that limits my depth perception immensely in sports. Turns out it's kind of important in a game where a tiny white ball goes really far really fast. After a line drive to the throat while playing second base we came to the mutual agreement that it was best if I not actually play the game. By mutual agreement I mean the next season they just "forgot" to invite me and I took the hint and didn't push it. But I still like the enjoyment that comes from an adult league, so I was excited to go. I put dinner together and braced myself for Arianna's tantrum but it never came. Instead, hand over hand she shoveled food into her mouth. At one point she looked like a chipmunk anticipating the apocalypse and storing accordingly. We even ran out of dinner and I had to keep finding extras to toss on because I wasn't going leave her wanting (who knows the next time she eats a full meal). Genevieve, on the other hand, is never a problem with dinner; that girl loves her food. Maybe they were just really excited about seeing Uncle Rob in action. Anyway, we finished up, got on some warm cloths (because 60 degrees is just freezing for us Southern Californians) and headed to the park where Gina met us. ... in her yoga outfit. ... and promptly stole my sweater. We only lasted about 4 innings, but it's adult softball. The score was already 11 - 5, so we got in enough action for our first visit.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Stop at Weigh Station

Girls went in for their 15 month check up today - pushed back twice already because of this cold they've been fighting the last few weeks (hard to do a "well baby" check up when you don't have a well baby). Official stats are Arianna 34" and 26.4 lbs. Genevieve 36" and 28.5lbs. Genevieve remains off the charts but Arianna has slipped a bit, down to the 90th percentile. I hope she's not trying to loose weight to become a model or anything like that. Last night they wouldn't eat anything so Gina zoomed down some chicken noodle soup with avocado and made a tasty little shake. Genevieve pounded it, Arianna refused it pretty much flat out. Gina went to the gym so it was left to me to figure out. The plan had been to let them just run around and sip on these things ,rather then put them in high chairs because they were still kind of sick at that point. Well, the plan sucked - mostly because they didn't like it - so I sat them in high chairs and gave them a half of an apple. Arianna went to town on that so I just gave her the mush and a spoon and almost an hour later she'd finished about half, which was enough to get her through the night. The eating habits of kids this age are crazy. One day they eat like a horse and can't get enough of something, the next they want nothing to do with and seem to be on a hunger strike, holding out for later bedtimes or longer stories. Gina said she even turned down hot dogs for lunch yesterday. Hot dogs!! If they didn't have the doctors appointment scheduled for today already I'd have suggested she make one; our child is obviously ill if she's turning down hot dogs. We'll see how tonight goes. They got shots today and they're always unpredictable after shots. Plus Gina has to teach so I'm sure they'll take full advantage of being 2 on 1. Surviving tonight might even earn me a few shots of my own.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Life at a funeral

Yesterday was the day we said goodbye to Tony. Funeral's are such a rough experience; for me it was seeing Gina's Yiayia in so much pain. It seems the worst end of death goes to the living rather than the deceased. Fortunately the girls were there to offer a little ray of sunshine. Genevieve, who seems to be very in tune with the emotional air around her, had a quivering lip and a concerned stare the whole time, as though she could sense that everyone was sad but didn't know why. At the grave site she stood next to Gina's Yiayia and just looked up at her with a hand placed on her knee as though she was consoling her; which I'm quite sure is what she was trying to do. Arianna wasn't as upset, but still took in the energy and reverence, understanding that she needed to be quite and reserved through the proceedings. There was one point that I had to take her out of the church because she was crying, but once I got her in the kids room I realized she was struggling with a poop so I gotta give her a pass on that one (no one wants to fight a poop while wearing tights and an itchy dress). We're so lucky to have such well behaved little girls. I could not have asked for better behavior from 16 month olds. Hey, I wouldn't even expect better behavior from a 5 year old. More than anything, though, the girls were a brilliant visual that life on this rock goes on, despite our departure. The world doesn't start and stop with our breath. As one passes away, another rises to fill the void; keeping the cycle spinning. It's a little disheartening if you look at as though your life doesn't matter because the world doesn't stop revolving just because you leave. But I find it uplifting in the sense that we're all connected, so despite my own demise, those I care about, those I love, those I worry about leaving behind will continue to breath; continue to grow; continue to love. At the end of my winter new life will spring up through the snow to beautify the world once again.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A razor sharp tongue

It was a crazy weekend to say the least. Friends of ours from Northern California were staying with us because our other friend was having her at home wedding reception (she's the one that got married in Cancun a few weeks ago). The Super Bowl was yesterday and we were trying to help get things together for Gina's Great Uncle's funeral service today. Needless to say by the time we got home last night we were fried and running on very few brain cells. The girls needed a quick bath and then to get right in to bed because they had to get up early this morning for the service (an hour from now). Gina started up the bath and I stripped the girls and herded them in to the bathroom. I then went to get my suit in order so that at 5am I could get dressed in the dark and not show up for the funeral later in a mismatched outfit (you don't want a black suit jacket with brown, pinstripe pants and a pink tie). Gina tossed the girls in and then went to get beds ready. Now we don't have the luxury of multiple bathrooms so we use the same tub/shower as the girls. We've given the girls a bath in this tub nearly every day for 16 months, so let's say about 400 baths. This one time - one out of 400 - Gina forgot to take her razor off the ledge of the tub. The girls were in the water for all of 30 seconds before I walked in to start washing and in those 30 seconds, surrounded by 3 dozen bath toys, Genevieve went for the razor. I walked in and my heart exploded - there's my daughter with the razor side in her mouth. I freaked out. Frreeeeaaakkkked. ..... Ooouuuttt. Fortunately nothing happened (that's one nice razor) but it could have been a total disaster. Gina felt horrible, like I said this was one time in 400+ and we were all running around frantic, so it's not like I blame her for being a bad mom or anything; what mother hasn't lapsed on something running around all crazy like trying to get life in order. But I'm sure that's what's running through her mind at the time. And upon further inspection there were teeth marks in the guard padding on either side of the blade so I have no idea how she avoided getting cut. It just puts in to perspective how much of parenting is luck sometimes. This incident could easily have been a catastrophe as it was a non-occurrence. So I thank the powers that be, and pray we don't tempt fate a second time. From now on I hope the only sharp things residing in her mouth are words. I'd much rather ground her then visit the ER.

Friday, February 4, 2011

My Daughter is a Genius

Strategy is a complex idea. To take the time to assess a situation and then devise a plan that will effectively attain your end goal is something many full grown adults have difficulty mastering. Well move over General Patton, my daughter is a natural. You can deduce from previous blogs that Genevieve is more of the trouble maker of the girls. She doesn't listen well (not sure if it's intentional yet), she tends to wander and she has a "destructo" side to her; we often call her the bull in the china shop. Arianna (as far as 16 month olds go) is much more calm and predictable. For instance, she loves putting the bath toys in to the water as I'm filling up the tub. The word "bano" gets her all worked up and she runs in to the bathroom and starts reaching for the toy bucket. Sometimes she gets so worked up that she throws non bath toys in as well; stuffed animals, electronics, books. Well last night after dinner I'm getting the girls ready for bath; I've got them stripped down to diapers and the water is running. Arianna starts in on the toys just as Genevieve high tails it out of the bathroom. This is when 1 on 2 gets tough. It's nice when the other parent is home to help you chase naked babies around the house. I tell Arianna that she has to wait, we can't start our ritual until Genevieve gets back. A look of frustration and concern comes across her face. I suggest she go get her sister and she suddenly spins on her heels and runs out of the bathroom. I follow behind and poke my head around the corner to see her walk in to the living room, stare at Genevieve and then look around. She spots something and waddles in to the kitchen, returning with two stuffed tigers (their favorite stuffed animals). She shows them to Genevieve, who gets intrigued, and then takes them in to the bathroom with Genevieve following right behind her. It was like watching a master fisherman bate and hook a prized fish; a 5 star General spot a weakness in the enemy and exploit it to take the battle; an athlete knowing just how to get the reaction he wants from their opponent. It was beautiful. Arianna was very proud of herself, too. And then she tried to throw the tigers in to the bath tub. BTW, this is what the tigers looked like drying in the hall way after they got a much needed bano of their own (we had to sneak them out of the cribs as the girls slept, of course).

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Just as I'm getting the girls in to their jammies last night, there's a knock on the door and Karma (by the way I'm trying not to call her "fat dog" anymore because Gina says I'm giving her a complex. ... and her diet/excersise plan seems to be working because she looks taller these days meaning her belly is further from the ground) goes balistic. I open it to see a shaggy young man and a clip board. Now, I'm skeptical of everything. I think every phone call, every knock on the door, every e-mail is a scam of kind and so I tend to go in to shut down mode. But as I've got one kid in my arms and the other wrapped around my leg (other leg trying to keep Karma at bay) he says something that triggers my weakness: "I'm trying to go to law school". Damnit! He found the chink in the armor. So I read through his form and the fine print and I told him that I want nothing to do with the blasted newspaper and I'd rather just sponsor him outright. As I let him in (on top of telling me how cute my kids were, which only earned him more brownie points) he said "you must like Apple." He was referring the the iMac I had fired up while I edit our friends wedding video from Cancun last month, the iPad playing Raffi songs in the living room and the iPod charging on the table. "It's an understatement," I told him. In fact, after he left and the girls went down to bed, Gina came home from teaching and we made our plans for the night. Verizon is launching the iPhone and as Verizon customers we got a first crack at it beginning 12am pst this morning (3a est). She was still on the up from class so we agreed we'd just wait up rather than go to bed and get up again at midnight. So we trudged through bad television and few glasses of wine (by the way, basic cable gets pretty raunchy around 11:30pm) until the time came. Giddy like a kid on Christmas morning I ran through the order process, making sure I netted myself one of the first shipments. Then something funny happened. It told me my ship to address was incorrect. Then it told my my mom's address was incorrect. Then my mother-in-laws. I ran through every address I could think of, stopping short of putting in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C., and they all errored out. I tried the 800 number for customer service and it had crashed. So a little after 1 am I called it quits and went to bed iPhoneless and dejected. My frustration during the process had gotten the best of me and I'd acted like a jerk so Gina had abandoned me long before. So all alone, in the dark, as the rest of the world was snug in their bed I hung my head and moped my way their too. Alarm went off at 5am, I pulled up the site and ordered the phones in about 2 minutes with a bowl of Cheerios in the other hand. That's how easy it was. So this morning I have an iPhone on the way, a Starbucks in hand and an idiot label securely attached to my forehead because iSuck.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I want to hold your hand

We went over and had dinner with Gina's Yiayia last night, just to make sure she had some baby lovin' to lift her up after the passing of her brother. As the only great-grand kids they have a kind of magic with her, just having them in the same room seems to give her a boost of life and happiness. This of course put us off our schedule, though, and we were running a little behind bedtime as we made our way home. With both girls still working through a cold, Arianna was not thrilled about life. She was getting upset like she wanted something, but nothing in the car would satisfy. Finally I just turned around in the passenger seat and rubbed her leg for a second. As I pulled my hand away she snatched it up and pulled my hand back in to her lap. She then laid her head back and narrowed her eyes, staring out the window in quiet. I held her hand for a bit but, as you can imagine, it wasn't comfortable. So, with her now quiet, I went to pull my hand back and turn around. Suddenly she squeezed tighter and pulled it harder in to her. It was quiet obvious that I wasn't going anywhere, but I was happy all twisted around holding her hand the whole way home. I know that in the pecking order Momma is leaps and bounds above me, but it's nice to know that when nothing else in life is comforting, Daddy's hand will work as well. Of course, that means she also knows that she can (quiet literally) twist Daddy around how ever she pleases, wrapping him around her tiny little fingers. Don't ever tell her this, but I wouldn't want it any other way. She may have thought that she was the one who wanted to hold my hand, but the truth is I'm always looking to do just that.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

In Memoriam

Gina's great uncle Tony passed away last night after batteling degenerative demintia brought on by a series of strokes the last few months. It is a sad thing but after 92 years on the planet it's hard to say he didn't have a good run of it. He'd been in a home since the main stroke that triggered things back in October and, for a Greek man who loved to eat and dance more than anything, it was like a wild bird in a cage. I can only say that it's hard to mourn a good man whose time has come, I mourn instead for those who he left behind. Gina's Yiayia is going to take it hard as her brother had been her responsibility the last few years. Gina's mom and her aunts and uncles are also losing a staple in their lives since they were born. For my girls I know they won't remember him, but I'm glad they were able to bring him a good deal of joy in his final 2 years. As he would sit in Yiayia's recliner they would play at his feet, learning to walk by pulling up on his walker, and he would smile and laugh like he was a child right along with them. Never having children of his own he would take more pleasure than most in being around the girls and just basking in the purity that is a baby, his trembling hands always out stretched hoping to brush his ancient flesh against new and perfect skin. He would often turn down the opportunity to hold them, his face conveying his concern that he might not be able to hold on to them, his eyes showing his desperate desire to be able to do so. He was a good man. And like I said, I don't mourn good men as I have faith in their journey after this life, I mourn those of us who will miss him. Rest in peace Tony, you can finally dance again.