Thursday, March 31, 2011

And in this corner. ...

I'm not a fan of wrestling. Not "pro" wrestling at least. As a classically trained actor (god I sound like a moron when I say that out loud) and a former high school wrestler I have no respect for a forum that diminishes both of those avenues. But last night, I swear to you, I was in the middle of a Royal Rumble Smack Down-a-thon. Gina came home with the girls and had just enough time to warn me that they were in "some kind of a mood today" before she turned right around and left for her classes. She wasn't kidding. As soon as the door closed Arianna started screaming at the top of her lungs and sobbing at the window. What is this? Since when do we "sob" when mom leaves?! I know you like her better but this was a new (and disheartening) way of showing it. I finally got her to stop about 5 minutes later - 5 good solid minutes of screaming, though. After that she transformed in to the whirling dervish of pain. She latched on to her sister, throwing a mean headlock and pulling some hair. I had to separate them but Genevieve laughed the whole thing off and that only encouraged Arianna to continue. After this she ran around the house pulling things down, throwing things around. ... she was a mini tornado. Dinner went alright, minus a few flying forks and bath time. ... well. ... nobody drowned, so that's a good thing. After that it got really crazy. While trying to get jammies on, the two rabid monkeys latched on to each other with me oddly pinned in the middle. I went to the floor and they come down on top of me and for a good 2 or 3 minutes I was actually the mat in the wrestling match. Try doing a sit up with two 30 pound toddlers wriggling around on top of you; teeth flying and fingers pinching and someone sitting on your face. It was tough. On a positive note (in a addition to the no one drowning plus mark) they seemed to exhaust themselves quite thoroughly during the main event and after reading our bed time stories they both crashed hard. I didn't get a single cry at lights out. ... just a short, muttered conversation between Genevieve and the wall that lasted all of 5 minutes. Probably going over match notes and preparing a strategy for tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I wear my sunglasses at. ... crap!

Add this to the list of why we can't have nice things. Like my daughters I've got the blue eye. ... well, I guess I should say they're more like me since I had them first. Copy cats. Anyway, as a result I've got a high sensitivity to sunlight. Living in California, therefore, requires me to wear sunglasses pretty much all the time. For the last few years I was rocking the semi-mirrored aviators until my father-in-law brought me a pair of throw back RayBan's about a year ago. He picked them up in El Salvador (he's a pilot, not a spy or drug mule - that's important to note as I begin to mention his frequent trips to Central America) and whether they're knock offs of "minorly faulty originals they can only sell outside of the US" is up for debate. Either way they looked cool. In fact, they looked so cool that I worked them into my logo design above. A few months later the look started to become popular. So much so that I noticed Nostrum's had a whole display case of the throw back RayBan's in their men's section. Now I'm not claiming to have started the trend, but I'll more than happily accept responsibility. Anyway. About this time my delicate little flower Genevieve snatched my pair directly off my face and snapped then in half. I swear, sometimes that child exudes a professional wrestler or something. The next time my father-in-law stopped in LA he was kind of enough to bring replacements. ... lots of replacements. He gave me two new pairs in the tortoise shell print, two new black pairs and one other pair of more trendy "Matrix" style glasses that I wasn't real keen on but kept around for the "what if" situations. Well the first pair (tortoise) were lost with in 4 days - left at a restaurant in the confusion of trying to get cranky twins out of their chairs while packing up dinner so I could rush to a Saturday night work emergency. The second pair (black) were again snapped by Genevieve. The third pair (black) lasted until Tony's funeral last month when they mysteriously wound up also snapped and a lens missing. .... Genevieve? The final tortoise pair, which were the main ones I rocked, held up pretty well, but finally gave out about two weeks ago from the stress of going on and off and being tugged at by grabby hands near my face. No complaints on those ones. But suddenly I am with out, and squinting like Mr. Magoo in the spring sunshine. So I pulled out the Matrix pair as a last resort. First day wearing them and I'm trying to load who else but Genevieve into the car at dusk on our way home. The glasses are hanging on the back of my shirt, off the collar. I'm loading her in the car and she starts grabbing at them ferociously - she has started to figure out that she likes to wear sunglasses too so this has only increased her desire to handle them. Not willing to lose this pair I place them on top of the car and finish strapping her in. It is only yesterday, a day later, as I am driving home from work (I drive to work before Mr. Sun wakes up so I don't need them in the morning) that I realize I never removed them from the roof of the car before I drove away. And this is why I stick with the "minorly faulty originals they can only sell outside of the US" merchandise. 6 pairs of sunglasses in 12 months. That's why we can't have nice things.

Monday, March 28, 2011


I can only imagine the great power the ancients felt when they harnessed the magic of fire. Although penicillin and the microchip certainly rank toward the top of human achievement, I think the discovery of fire just might be the biggest. To harness the power of light. ... that is the pebble that started the landslide. I now see, what I can only imagine, is the same look of achievement on the girls faces. We've finally gotten big enough to control the light switches. So all hail the Queens! Bow before their all powerful mastery of electricity. This is why dad's go nuts with the energy meters. It starts here. I never once thought about the electric bill (except when Gina was very pregnant in August and we had the AC set to "Arctic Winter" mode). But now it's like "lights on, light's off, lights on, lights off, lights on, lights off" all the time. The last two days I had them down to nap and I still hear giggling 30 minutes later. I open the door and the light is on, the fans going, Genevieve's half naked, tickling herself and Arianna's got the fan remote from the wall pretending to talk into it like a cell phone. It's out of control. Although, it is extremely cute to see them work together. There's a switch in the hallway that's a slider (up and down) that Arianna can't quite reach. So she stands their struggling and Genevieve walks up, stands on her tippie toes and slides it up for her. Arianna laughs so Genevieve slides it down. This, of course, turns into a pattern for the next 5 minutes. Genevieve as light board operate, Arianna as thoroughly amused audience member. I, on the other hand, am out by the meter watching the hands spin frantically like a helicopter blade readying for lift off. And thus begins the "energy conserving dad mode". Engage.

Karma Update: Gina and her mom were selling at a local Family Fun Carnival this weekend, so we trekked over there on Saturday to hang out for a bit. To our disappointment all of the kiddie rides had a 3 year/ 3 feet tall requirement so they wouldn't even sell us any tickets. We were relegated to playing a few games that involved floating ducks (which is nice when you're helping one kid scoop up the ducks and the other one is busy flipping them over so you can see what prize each one is worth before you grab it). So we walked away with some nice prizes. But this meant we had to leave Karma home alone and wearing her cone of shame. We were only gone a few hours, but we got home a little late so I had to rush through baths and jammies. I left Karma in our bedroom ,where she's quarantined, so I could get babies in the tub and then focus on getting her out to go to the bathroom - which requires carrying all 55lbs of her through the house and into the yard and then back again. I open the door to see Karma standing there (on three legs), no cone and an overwhelming smell of crap. She'd managed - and I don't know how - to move the king size bed over so she could slide past the barrier, then she wiggled out of the cone while defecating all over the room. .... aaalllll over the room. The worst part is there was poop on the inside and outside of the cone so that tells me it got in the cone while it was still on her head. So after cleaning up babies and putting them down I had this lovely project to attend to. I can't really blame her, it's not like she realizes what's going on. This is all so traumatic for her, then add the fact I stick the satellite receiver on her head. So we've now got her set up in the living room using the girls old play pen - this way she's not so cut off from everything. She's got some minor internal bleeding - looks like a bruise - where the bone sutures are, but it doesn't seem like she did any real damage. And to make her feel better, Genevieve even took the initiative to read her a bed time story. I swear I've got the sweetest little girls on the planet. No artificial flavoring. No preservatives. No high fructose corn syrup. Just naturally sweet goodness.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Bionic Dog Returns

OK, so she's hardly "bionic", it just sounded better then "gimp". Karma came home this morning and, while she's very happy to be home, she's definitely feeling down about the whole situation. Not only is she confined to a small little area around her bed (she never thought that baby gate was going to be use on her) but she has to be carried around everywhere. ... even to go to the bathroom. Always fun with a 55lb animal. Thank god we don't have a horse with an ACL. Doctor says it'll take about 12 weeks to heal (not heel, Karma; take it easy) so in the mean time she's got some pills, we have to do 30 leg stretches 3 times a day, and ice it down afterward. Worse part is. ... she has to wear the cone of shame when no one is around. As we say in Italian (one of the many languages floating around this house) "que trajico"! As I was feeding the girls tonight I'd have to pick up the dropped pieces and walk them over to her cause she was whining about not being able to do her job. Then the girls wanted to pet her and kiss her owie but I couldn't let them in because, well, let's face it. ... they're pretty oafy. And she was sad because she really wanted them to come in and play with her. Everyone had to settle for licked fingers through the gate - at least for today.

18 Comes on Swift Wings

You tell yourself when the doctor hands you the little bundle of screaming joy "I've got to keep you alive for 18 years, that's the goal". It's a response that just kind of slips in there. ... as humans we need some kind of goal, some kind of finish line to aim for; the weekend, 5 o'clock, $100k, a house, 3rd base. So when the doctor hands you your first child it's natural to add some kind of end line to that as well. The next few weeks you quickly learn that you don't want an end goal so you push that aside, but the magical number 18 seems to find it's way in to your thoughts none the less, but usually as a negative - "18 is when they leave me", "18 is when they're grown up", "18 is when I'm 46!" Last night we went to Gina's cousin's 18th birthday party. This is why I reflect on the number today. I came into the picture about 8 years ago when she was 10. ... now she's officially an adult. It's crazy how quick that happened. Crazier yet is how quickly it happened for her parents. I see a 10 year old, they see a newborn. And I'm sure it flew by even quicker for them. As the room sang out "Happy Birthday" and I wondered how my little ones were still even functioning at 9:30 pm, another thought snuck in. ... they're already 1 and 1/2. ... in fact, they're already on the backside toward 2. Now THAT was fast! Please tell me I'm not going to wake up tomorrow and have two 18 year olds in my house. While that may have been the original goal I don't want it that badly. I don't want them to grow up, leave me and vote (well, I want them to vote, but not the other two). I know a lot of people supplement by just having more babies, and we'll get there too I'm sure, but it's not just about "babies" it's about them. I don't want to replace them, I want the original forever and ever and ever. It doesn't make me selfish. ... it makes me Dad.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Extension of Self

As I've noted previously we've begun the "hitting" phase of life. It's a sigh of relief that the biting has subsided a bit, but now we're trying to eradicate all forms of battery. Arianna is the worst. She hits when she gets angry or frustrated, while Genevieve only does it when she sees Arianna swing and she thinks she's being funny by joining in. Gina has a knack for thwarting the attack. When she sees a windup in progress she says "Really?! Didn't we just talk about this?" And, magically, the angry face turns in to a smile and the swinging hand changes course. ... often to a silly nose tap or a half hearted tickle. I, on the other hand, rarely see the hit coming so I end up dealing with the fall out more often then the prevention. Last night I was exhausted from the day and a little off my game, so when Gina left to teach I was feeling all but run out. By the end of the night, after I'd gotten them to bed, I literally felt like I didn't even have the energy to sit up. So, after one smack of daddy just before dinner, I found myself trying to draw from a deep well with in to appropriately address the situation with Arianna. (side note: I love that I feel like I have to "appropriately address the situation" with my 1 and 1/2 year old. ... aren't I supposed to be the parent. ... why do I feel like I'm negotiating a cease fire with a world super power rather then telling my kid to "knock it off"?) Anyway, I got the word "no" out but then I just kind of stared at her. And she stared right back. Forget the pretense that she had just hit me and was now "in trouble". .... it was an odd/surreal/beautiful moment. Have you ever stared somebody in the eyes? I mean really stared. We have this propensity as humans to not lock eyes for more then a beat. The intensity of peering into another's soul is overwhelming. Even with your spouse; I'll stare at Gina, but rarely into her eyes for more than few moments before glancing away. It's not intentional it's just a natural human reaction. It isn't there with your kids, though. You can stare into their eyes (and they in to yours) like you're looking at yourself in the mirror. There's no separation of person between the two of you. They're just this extension of yourself. I think it's the same thing as when you wipe food of their mouth and stick it into yours with out pause, sometimes shoving their entire little hand in your mouth to clean off wayward yogurt. Or how you can clean up their bodily fluids with out hesitation. It's no different then your own. I know this relationship exists, it's not the first time I've thought of it; but every time I'm reminded of the power of this dynamic - another person that is of yourself - it just blows my mind out of the water. I need a new word for love. Love doesn't do what I feel for my daughters justice. I don't think any word could. What I feel for them is. ... me. As I stared in to her big blue eyes last night I was looking in to myself. And myself was staring right back into me. Not at me. In to me. All I needed is Keanu Reeves and a well timed "whoa" to make the moment complete.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hoping Karma Comes Back to Bite Us

Or at least give us some sloppy kisses! Gina took her to the "discount" vet which is run by a nearby shelter. She actually preferred it to the VCA. She said it was cleaner, bigger and the staff was much more friendly. It also helps that they're going to do the procedure for about $2000 less than we were quoted by VCA. So they sedated her yesterday to do a physical exam of the knee - we had the x-rays from VCA they were able to use, but they wanted to make sure the did an actual exam themselves before they cut her open. ... that's nice of them. She's schedule to go under on Thursday, but they're keeping her till then (last night and tonight) to get the pain patches applied. They wanted us to bring her back today for it, but because Gina teaches and I've got the girls right after work, driving 30 minutes down to Huntington Beach was a tall order. They offered to keep her and not charge us the boarding fee so that was awesome. Of course after the girls went down last night we couldn't help but note how empty the void in the house felt. No one to lick our emptied ice cream bowls. No one to wait patiently by the back to door to go out for one last pee. No one to snort disgustingly in her sleep. And no one to blame "it" on. ... you know what I'm talking about. The worst part is I know how sad she must be by herself in the kennel, thinking we abandoned her. She's got some serious separation problems as a result of being a rescue dog, so this has got to be really rough on her. I know someone who's going to be happy to see us come Friday, though. Of course then the recovery period begins. So we'll have to wait about 12 weeks to celebrate. In the meantime we'll just wait for Karma to come back our way and then do everything we can to get her back on her feet. ... literally.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

War of the Words: Update

It's been a few weeks since we checked in on our linguistic skills, so I thought it time for an update. Here's where we currently stand. ... or talk, rather:

Animal Noises
Ruff - for dog
Moo - for cow
Meow - for cat
Roar - for lions, tigers and bears (oh my)
Quack - for anything yellow and/or round


Most Over Used Word
Ball. ... they can see a "ball" in just about anything remotely round

Other Objects

Newest Word (and gaining ground on the Most Over Used Word)
Baby - Arianna is using "baby" for anything she can't think of the right word for.

My Favorite Word
Gala - no, not a formal dinner and dance event. This is the Greek word for milk and, if your my daughters, it's pronounced like an Arabic tribal war cry "galagalagalagalagalagala".

Bilingual Words (these are words they understand, but can't speak yet, in both English and Greek. ... keep in my Daddy can't spell Greek words worth a crap so this is my best attempt based on pronunciation)
Milk - Gala
Cat - Gata
Dog - Skilikia
Chicken - Kota
Car - Auftokinito
Spoon - Kutali
"Come" - Ella
"No" - Oghi
(they hear this one a lot these days)
Nose - Miti
Eyes - Mati
Hair - Maliki
Ear - Auti

OK. ... I'll be honest. ... these are actually the words that Daddy knows in Greek. There's a whole lot of conversation in our house that I'm out of the loop on because I can't keep up with their aptitude for language learning. There's even some times where Gina's Yiayia will rattle off a full fledge paragraph in Greek and Gina and I are left looking at each other confused (if she's confused, imagine what I am) but the girls tottle off and do exactly what she asked them too. So there you have it. My girls are officially smarter than I am. Of course they don't know how to read or gain access to the computer yet (specifically this blog) so they aren't aware of this fact. I'm going to try and retain power as long as possible, but it's only a matter of time until they flex their more powerful minds and crush me like the incompetent bug that I am. But for now, I'm still the one who buys the gala, drives the auftokinito and pays for the. ... the. ... ummm. ... the. ... top of the house, part, that keeps the rain from coming in. So yea. Recognize!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Girls and Sports Cars

If you're an avid follower you might remember one of my favorite pictures of the girls from almost a year ago, posing in their bathing suits on Gina's step-dads '69 Corvette.

Well, yesterday, waiting for the rain to subside so we could make a run to our car, I got an updated shot on the '99 that was parked in the garage.

Don't ask how many he has (touchy subject) just accept the fact that he has 2 more Corvettes than any one man truly needs. ... and he's down from having 3 more Corvettes than any one man could need. I, on the other hand, am still -1 1957 Porsche 356A and not any closer to satisfying my quota. ... I have this die cast model that my aunt got me when I was younger that was to hold me over until I could get "my" car. In the past year and a half it's been dropped, crashed, thrown, chewed on and pulled apart. It's missing a bumper, has 4 loose wheels and a "removable" non-removable driver seat. I didn't really mind it since it was done by the people I love most in the world. But last weekend, for my birthday, she bought me a replacement. My 3 year old nephew promptly asked to play with it and after saying "no" a dozen times in 15 seconds I finally caved because. ... well. ... I'm a sucker. All of 3 seconds after I hand it to him he attempts the first recorded flight of a Porsche Speedster. ... didn't go so well. So that model is now in my office, high on a shelf, resting comfortably on a broken wheel and a dinged headlight. This is why I can't get my real dream car. Cause I can only imagine the horror that would be inflicted on a full size version of the car. I think I'll wait until after they turn 16. ... have their own cars to drive. ... move out. ... but then there are grand kids. .... maybe I'll just stick to models.

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Friday Seranade

This is how all my St. Patrick's Days seem to end.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Double Your Luck

Happy Saint Patrick's Day to you! Or, as my Irish brethren might say "H'ppy Cent Pahtrrrrericks De too ya!" Of course, and from experience I know, by the end of the night it's "Hpy Snts Paltx D!" regardless of your country of origin. But those days are long behind me, just a bunch of fond memories with some fuzzy details I left at the bottom of an Irish Car Bomb glass. I find my celebrations now a days much more fulfilling. ... and memorable. ... literally. So here are my little 1/4 Irish lassies. Add them together with their momma's half and you get one whole Irish girl between the three. That's enough to make any man green. And so , in the only Gaelic I know, "Tha gaol agam ort". ... "I love you". And I really do!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

29 and holding. ... hands

Well I had a great birthday yesterday - thank you for the well wishes in my comments, they were much appreciated. I had a great birthday lunch; the girls showed up at the office and took me to the park for a little picnic. It's just crazy to think what big girls they've become. After our sandwiches 1e kicked around a couple of big bouncy balls, picked nearly all the dandelions in the field and checked out the old trains nearby. They even showed off their hand holding skills for me (although it should be noted that Arianna has to always be on the end - she doesn't mind holding one hand, but holding two hands is not going to happen). I even got a taste of it for myself before my birthday dinner. Gina picked up another class - she's seriously becoming the hardest working yoga instructor I've ever heard of - that's at 5:30. But this one is an express yoga class so it's only a half hour long. We were meeting my family for dinner at 6:30 so it didn't make sense to have her teach, come back for us and go back in the direction she just came from (and I didn't want to hassle with two cars) so we dropped her off and then just wandered around terrorizing the nearby stores. Of course, after parking, we had to hold hands across the lot. I've never seen so many people happy about being held up waiting for someone to cross the road. I kept looking up to see beaming smiles in the drivers seats of cars in line, waiting for our little train to slowly make it's way to the curb. But seriously, can you imagine anything cuter?! We then went to dinner at Joe's Crab Shack where I convinced my 3 year old nephew I was eating a sea monster (barbecued crab legs) and the girls chowed down so they could run around the empty restaurant with their cousins as the wait staff dressed me in a grass skirt and made me hula to "happy birthday". I'd have posted pictures of that but I know some of you are still trying to burn the David statue out of your mind so I'll give you a break on that one. The girls were troopers as always. We finally got home at about 8:30 and we zoomed through jammies and teeth brushing and right into bed, where they passed out with little fuss. Genevieve had another 4:30 wake up this morning, though, which she tends to do after a crazy night like last, but she went back to sleep about 40 minutes later this time (which was better than the last episode). Overall it was a fantastic day I can't wait to see what life looks like at 30!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Beware the Ides of March

The soothsayers warning to Cesar of his own demise has long made this day infamous in it's historical context. For me it's beginning to take on its own infamy. Today is my birthday. Once upon a time I'd jump from my bed and run to the kitchen to celebrate my haul. Or I'd squirm in my chair at school, eyes out the window waiting for my mom to round the corner with ice cream clowns for my classmates. Today I awoke to a silent house; a lonely bowl of cereal at a dark kitchen table. Now I sit in my office chair, equally as squirmy, eyes darting out my window as if I'll catch old man time trying to sneak up on me. But, if there's anything from a day like this it's that it's an opportunity to reflect. More than just on a year or two, but on a lifetime. When I was 5 I wanted to be Jacques Cousteau; I'm a certified diver, but I haven't been in the water in 10 years. At 10 I wanted to be a professional football player; didn't make it through my first season of high school ball. 15 I was going to be a vet; I own a couple of animals. By 20 I was going to be an Academy Award winner. ... that was probably my biggest professional goal. I wrote a speech, but I doubt I'll need it. I've even got a nice little body of work stored in my DVD collection. So it'd be easy for me to look at those goals and tell myself that I've been unsuccessful. That I've fallen short. That I failed. And maybe I did. But as I divert my eyes for a moment, from the window to the cadenza in my office I can see the shrine I've built in the last 17 months. Pictures upon pictures of my angels in the flesh. I see a gorgeous woman, wrapped in white with a gigantic pregnant belly. I see the same woman in white a few years early, starring longingly at a familiar looking fellow in a tux. I see two newborns, snuggling each other in a hospital blanket. I see them some months later, laying on their backs and grinning at the camera. I see all four of them, scrunched together, on top of each other and smiling. I see a family. I see happiness. I see love. I never dreamed of these things. I wanted them, for sure, but if you asked me at those ages what my goals were, what my ambitions held, these wouldn't have been in my answer. Yet now that I'm here. ... this is all I want. This is all I need. I get to explore a world with two new, fresh little minds. I get to play any game their willing to play with me. I get to fix them when they break, and hold them when their sick. I get to give a speech some day, telling them how much I love them and how proud they've made me. I want to let them know that this is not what I planned for my life, but that's because I never had a brilliant enough imagination to see how much better this road was than the one I was looking for. Today is my birthday, and I have everything that I could ever want, all that I'll ever need, and more than this one man could ever deserve. Happy Birthday to me!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Chalk it up to experience

The girls got their first art lesson yesterday, playing with chalk on Yiayia's front side walk. Daddy got his first "parent of an art student" lesson yesterday too. When you come to pick them up after work either:
1) have them cleaned before they maul you, or

2) change out of work clothes before exciting the vehicle

Lesson learned. Fortunately I just wore nice jeans today and not something more delicate. Suit pants don't hold up as well to blue, yellow and pink chalk as a pair of Express jeans might.

On a side note, thoughts and prayers with the folks in Japan today. Living in Southern California this kind of thing is on the back of our mind all the time, and I can't imagine having the nightmare actually become a reality.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The difference between a parent and a child?

She got us all up at 4:30 this morning, but she's the only one who get's to sleep during lunch.

Wants and Knees

Ca-ching! That was yesterday's sound effect. After 4 hours in the dentist chair (crown) and $1200 later I got the "great" news about the dog. Her $800 worth of x-rays revealed she needs a total overhaul in her knee. It seems she's torn two ligaments and the only way to fix it is to break her knee, detach and then reattach the ligaments. That'll cost about $3500 and she'll have to be crated for 4 weeks then go through 3 months of rehab. Put aside that we don't have $3500 to spend on me, let alone the dog, 4 weeks in a crate will quite literally kill her. She can't sit still for 5 minutes; put her in a box for 4 weeks and she's going to go insane. The doctor said we don't have to do anything now, there's no difference between an immediate reaction and waiting until the ligs tear off completely. So he put her on anti-inflammatory meds (ca-ching) and said she needs to loose about 8lbs. The irony is we've been trying to help her lose weight by taking her running with us and that's how she hurt the damn knee in the first place. I've no idea how we're supposed to slim her down now. She was moving around pretty good on it last night (doc says it only gets aggravated by over use) so we're just going to limit her activity and see what happens. It's a big dilemma. I'm not sure what's worse for her: 4 weeks in a box or the next 10 years without being able to chase a ball. So that's where we're at with our quadruped child. Just trying to make dollars and sense of everything. By the way, photo is from her last "trauma" when she ripped off her dew claw playing ball last year.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Painfully Obvious

Our vocabulary is increasing every day. Either they're speaking more English or, like the learning of any foreign language, I'm just understanding more gibberish. However you look at it, we're communicating. Yesterday's word of choice was "owie", and it was very appropriate. Gina had gone to the doctors to have a couple of moles removed (nothing serious, just something she gets from time to time) and came out with several bandages. When everyone got home Genevieve spent the night pointing out momma's toe to me and exclaiming "ooooowwwwiiieee. Mommaaaooooowwwiiiee." She'd then point to her toe to see if she had an owie, and then compare it to Gina's. Karma also had an owie yesterday, tweaking something in her hip when she jumped out of the back of the car. I had to carry her in to the house, and to bed later in the night when she couldn't get to a standing position, which makes for a pathetic looking 55lb dog. On her way to bed Genevieve came up behind Karma and wrapped her arms around the dog, laid her head on her back and muttered one final "owie" for the evening. It was a very sweet display of compassion and understanding on Genevieve's part. Every one's off to the vets today to check it out. My gut thinks she's getting arthritis by the way she's been walking the last few weeks, but it may just be a sprain. Whatever it is I hope it's not too expensive. Thankfully Tuesday's is "half price" day at our vet. ... good timing Karma. After that it's off to check out preschools - it's ridiculous that at 17 months old we're already on the preschool hunt. Funny side note, as we were discussing which options were out there we discovered that Gina and I had gone to the same small preschool at the same time when we were growing up. All these years we were living with in the same little bubble (knew the same people, had the same pediatrician) yet didn't officially meet until college. Last night I suggested we may have even played "house" in preschool - to which Gina responded that she didn't play house. ... she played doctor. I'm working on compiling a patient list right now, cause I'm fairly certain I wasn't on it. I distinctly remember perpetually being the family dog in the house game. Except that one time I was a tree. The "mom" was allergic to dogs. Or little boys with glasses, something like that. Little fuzzy on the details. Anyway, we'll see how things go. Hopefully "owie", "pooh-cakka" and "quack-quack" are enough to get us in. I do hope there's an entrance interview, as it's going to make for an interesting conversation. "Genevieve, how do you feel about the current, global economic state?" "Owie". "Brilliant!"

Monday, March 7, 2011

Oh dear God,

I did it. I survived. I managed to get the girls to church (and through the service) all by myself. I prepared myself adequatly with snacks and waters, tissues and toys, and some how we came out on the other side alive. Things were going so smoothly that I was even getting a little cocky. ... right up until communion. After the girls received their sacrament it kind of went right out the window. Arianna was bit by the giggle bug and seemed to laugh the entire way through the priests sermon. Genevieve was hit with the hiccups (little too much blood of Christ) and it echoed through the entirity of the accustically designed building. Add to this their ancy little bodies turned into a mini cyclone twirling around in the pew. Up on my lap, over the back of the other pew, grab hyman and start tearing it, throw it, jump down, on to thea, back again. I could feel the eyes of the various older Greeks bearing in to the back of my skull (fortunatly we sat with Gina's family in the front few rows since we were there for Tony's 40 day memorial, so there wasn't anyone turning around to look at me in the face), and on more than one occassion the priest shot me a glance that seemed to say "really?!" as he struggled to regain his own train of thought. I was ready to take the girls back to the kid room but he kept sounding like he was wrapping it up with "and my final point" or "in conclusion" and "something to leave you with". I just wanted to stand up and yell "let's wrap this thing up already Father, I've got diapers to change!" But it's ok. We survived. And the beautiful thing about it is once the girls go outside and start running around the "cuteness" factor erases their distracting behavior from the minds of the congregation. The mati (evil eyes) are replaced by doe eyed yiayia's handing down cookies and cheek pinches. And rather than complaing I had people coming up to tell me how entertaining they were during the service. ... not sure that's what you want from church as I think the focus should be elsewhere, but hey, whatever works. And more than anything it made Gina happy that even though she couldn't be there (since it was a big thing for her family) that I still got the girls there to represent our little part of the family. And that makes all challanges worth the work. A happy momma is a happy daddy. By the way, had to share this pic with you from yesterday's zoo trip. As you can clearly see we got out of our bubble for the day by getting in to one of theirs.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Saturday gone wild

Another weekend with out momma, and another weekend of daddy biting off more than he can chew. So it's a good thing I write a blog rather than record a podcast, cause my mouth is pretty full right now. Papa Jon's company had a family day at the LA Zoo today, so we jumped at the opportunity to tag along. Of course the girls decided to get up at 6 this morning, so a groggy and reluctant dad got up with them. We had some waffles and pineapple (random combination but I didn't realize we had no other fruits in the house so it had to do). Since we were up so early I didn't worry about it too much, knowing that we'd get to my mom's earlier than expected and we'd get a second breakfast their. Of course I didn't plan on Papa sneaking them chocolate donuts instead of the fruit I hoped for. ...but I should have known better. We got to the zoo and it was hot and crowded, but it's so much different than the other zoos the girls have gotten to experience. They had seals and lions (but no sea lions), a prairie dog exhibit that you could pop up in side of, gorilla's and chimps and elephants. And I swear some of the people there could have been their own exhibits too. It's kind of like going to a county fair. You really feel good about yourself when you're leaving. I mean, some of the parenting tactics on display at this place were atrocious. Does child services never go to the zoo?!! There was one guy pushing a stroller with the F-word graffitied across his shirt. And that was one of the more tame ones. I saw a woman allowing her 12-year-old to throw a tantrum by slamming her head in to the flap door of a trash bin and screaming. All the mother kept saying in a calm relaxed voice was "now, now. ... that's a little too loud." Then there was the hoards of screaming, swearing, smacking (and I'm sure other adjectives that start with "s") parents. It was family day at the zoo. Like, that was the official day: FAMILY DAY. ... it was kind of alarming. Then there's us. 4 kids total under 5, just walking and laughing and occasionally "oohhh"ing and "aaahhhh"ing. Maybe we were the odd balls. Maybe one of those other parents is simultaneously writing a blog about that terrible father with the twin girls who was having a pleasant family moment. I've got to rethink my parenting style. Tomorrow it continues. I've got to get the girls up and to church for their Great, Great Uncles 40 day memorial (it's a Greek thing) and then over to Gina's Yiayia's for a lunch afterward. Yiayia told me to just come to the house and not worry about trying to get to church, but I'm ambitious. It's important to be there so we're going to make a valiant effort. And if the girls get up at 6 again we should have plenty of time. ... ugh. I need to got bed. The zoo makes me tired.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Hello Dave.

So Tuesday night I get the worlds longest text message from Gina's cousin, Nina. Let's forget the fact that their names rhyme for a moment and move on. She's done a lot of work for the Pageant of the Masters, a big event in Laguna Beach each year where they use real life people to recreate famous works of art. If you're not from the area, or you've never heard of it before, you should google it. What they do is beyond incredible. Anyway, through this channel she's met some people who also provide similar work for private events, like corporate parties and what not. So she's lined up to do this "living statue" event for a corporate party in Newport Beach taking place last night (Thursday). Problem is, their "David" either bailed or back out. ... not sure the exact story. They were racking their brains thinking of someone who fit the build and lacked the shame to stand around in nothing but a speedo and body paint for an hour while a bunch of strangers sipped on cocktails and wandered around them. Naturally my name jumped in to the void. She was fortunate she texted me late on Tuesday and I'd already gotten a glass of wine in me so the idea sounded like an adventure. You know how I feel about adventure. Plus they were going to pay me nicely and you know how I feel about getting paid. But more then anything I look at it this way: I'm a dad now; it's my job to lead by example. Life is full of interesting opportunities and at the end of the run you want to look back having taken advantage of them. I'm not suggesting they go down to spring break and take off all their clothes, but if someone hands you a "I've never done anything like that" moment and it's tasteful, don't be afraid to see what happens. Your heart may race and your blood may boil to the surface, but those are just reminders that you're alive. Also, in today's age both Gina and I are worried about body image. We both are extremely fit people, but our condition stems from poor images of self in our own mind that cause us to get a little obsessive with health and fitness. I want my girls to grow up comfortable in their own skins, whatever that ends up being. I don't want them to feel ashamed or concerned with how they look to the point that it's all they think about while they're standing on a beach. So, to do my part, I've got to silence my own self depreciating monologue. And part of that involves standing on a pedestal in a pair of speedos for an hour. And you know what? I've never felt so good about myself. I had people staring at me, telling me I was "incredible". It was outdoors by the ocean (cold) and one women even said she'd rather stand by me then the heater because I was hotter. Thank god I was painted white 'cause that one made me blush. There was even this older women (going to guess early 70's) who told me she loved me and then started taken a series of pictures with her cell phone of my butt. So, look for those on flikr sometime soon. The point is I could have easily said no, sat at home and studied until "the Office" came on. Instead I went outside of my box. I became a work of art. I got a great story. ... and an even better picture.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Lord of the Dance

I'm a twinkle toes. I've always been. I get in to a groove and I can't help myself. We went to a wedding earlier this year and I heard, through the grapevine, that the mother of the bride thought I was drunk at first. It was only because I was still standing (and dancing) at the end of the night she realized I was sober. I blame it on my mother. She taught me the basics of swing when I was a kid and I just built on that. I taught my wife and together we've been known to light a dance floor or two on fire. Not literally, of course, that would be arson. So naturally our daughters have the dance bug coming from both angles and spend a lot of their time getting down. Genevieve was dancing when she was still in utero, Arianna has taken a little longer to find her coordination, but now the moment something reminiscent of music fills the air the two of them can't control the boogie vibes surging through their bodies. Naturally Gina and I join in, so if you were standing outside of our window you might think we were having a group seizure in our kitchen. So dancing is great, but here's the problem. When the girls take their bath I always pull up Pandora on the iPad (I swear I'm not sponsered by Apple) so there's some music playing in the bathroom. Side note, it's ironic that the kids' station always seems to play songs with Ernie serenading the rubber duckie in the bath during this time. ... seriously, there are like 12 different rubber duckie bathtub songs. We get it Ernie. You love the duck. Moving on. Now the girls hang out in the tub playing for a good 20 minutes or so. Usually during this time Gina is scarfing down a meal because she's got to go teach or she's already left to do so. So I'm usually drawn to the bathroom like a moth to the flame because there's music playing and I can hear the girls playing; what better place to be. The problem is that once I'm in there it seems I subconsciously start to dance a little. I shake, shake, shake my crazies out, or I reinact monkeys jumping on beds. I even have a baby beluga dance. Now Arianna sees this and she wants to dance too. She can't seem to do this sitting down so that leads to her standing up in the tub (problem) and getting her to sit down again is difficult. It's only recently that Gina pointed out that I was the reason she keeps standing up. My dancing inspires her to dance and how can you ask a dancer to remain seated. It's like asking a penguin not to fly. .. um. ... swim. So it's seems that I'm on probation now. If I can't contain my dancing during bath time I may be permanently banned from the bathroom. ... the lone penguin sitting on the shore, watching the others fly away. .. um. ... swim away.

Side note, you're going to want to check in tomorrow. I'm doing something completely out of my "box" this evening and the picture alone will be worth the price of admission. ... which is free.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March Madness: Supercuts Give Away

Regular readers have already grasped that I'm a big UCLA fan. BIIIIGGG UCLA fan. As evidenced by the jersey I make my dog wear and the cheerleading outfits I bought the girls 3 months before they were born. As irony would have it the tag said 12 months but they outgrew them around 4 months. ... a good 8 months before the 2010 football season kicked off. Speaking of football it's kind of a painful subject for us Bruins. Just as painful to watch as it is to talk about. Basketball, on the other hand, is another subject. And this year we're in striking position to take the PAC-10 and make a nice little tourney run here at the end of the month. That's why I was pretty excited when Supercuts got in touch with me yesterday to offer me my first reader giveaway as part of their Hunt For Houston promo. If your not a college basketball fan, Houston is where the Final Four is going to be. You can enter their contest to win a trip for 2 to Houston (April 1-5, 2011) including airfare, 4 nights of hotel accommodations and $500 spending money by going to their facebook page.

For our giveaway, though, we're giving out a package with a $20 Supercuts gift card, a $20 Sports Authority gift card, an office basketball set (hoop and ball) and, wait for it, a foam finger. I know, I know!!! Saaaahhwwweeeeetttt. All you have to do is tell me who you think makes it to the Final Four, the Championship and who cuts down the net at the end of the tourney. If there's a tie I've got a gem of a tie breaker trivia question. If not, the foam finger is all yours. Let me know your picks in the comments section for this post. You have until March 15th (opening day of play) to make your picks. 1 point for a correct final four team, 2 points for a correct finals team, 4 points for the overall winner. Highest point total wins.