Thursday, June 30, 2011

Like a lightbulb going on

I know it must seem a repetitive theme, but I can't help but express this: my girls are not babies anymore.  Aside from the fact that Gina and I finally watched that Babies documentary that came out during the Hoover administration (seriously, Blockbuster stopped carrying documentaries in it's stores so we put it on our queue and a year later it finally showed up. ... now that we've got toddlers), it's more and more obvious everyday that they're big girls.  Last night while Gina was at class, after explaining to them what "yoga" is and teaching them a couple of moves, we went in the kitchen to have a snack.  Arianna finished first so I cleaned her up and told her she could watch some TV.  As she waddled off into the dark living room I told her she needed to turn on some lights because it was dark in there.  As parents, we're always saying stuff we don't expect to be absorbed or comprehended.  But we say it anyway either to fill the dead air or in hopes that one day it'll be a two way conversation.  Anyway, I turned to Genevieve to get her cleaned up (that kid can make a mess out of anything. ... I almost took a picture because she took the minuscule amount of chocolate on those cookies and made herself look like a recently homeless man with a five o'clock shadow).  In my peripheral vision the world to my right suddenly lite up.  I turned to the living room to see Arianna waddling from the light switch to the sofa to sit and watch her show.  She's not a baby anymore.  She's a big girl who understands the one way conversation I feel like I'm having sometimes.  She can turn on the light when asked.  She can turn on the TV.  She can sit and watch a program all by herself.  I literally sucked back a couple of tears at that moment.  One was a tear of pride, the other a tear of loss.  Every day they grow older I feel like they need me just a little less than the day before.  Thank god we have another baby on the way.  I don't know what I'll do with myself once they start taking a bath by themselves and doing their own hair.  I'll just be the tall guy in the corner with nothing to do.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

And there you have it!

There's been a constant battle in our house that's been raging long before the girls came along.  As with any husband and wife it's about shoes.  I have no problem with the quantity of shoes Gina has assembled; my problem is where they are stored.  She's got 4/5th's of our combined closet space to cram her collection into, but somehow they always manage to end up in the middle of the hallway, or center of a room somewhere.  It's like she comes home and just walks right out of her shoes and keeps going.  I'm very strategic with my placement of things.  I have a routine, a pattern. ... I'm predictable.  I come home, my shoes go in the closet or my flip-flops go in the corner between the wall and the dresser.  My keys, watch, wallet all go immediately in a drawer and my phone goes on the ledge next to the bed.  It takes me 15.5 seconds.  Easy.  Done.  On top of Gina's shoe abandonment she never puts anything in the same spot twice.  How many times have we spent extra minutes scouring the house, late to some appointment, because we couldn't have predicted the car keys were going to be in the silverware drawer!  Anyway, that's off topic.  Back to the shoe thing.  She's constantly defending herself that she doesn't leave them in the middle of the room, that they're safely to the side and I just over exaggerate. ... which is a fair defense because that sounds like me.  But last night, after she'd gone to teach, I was playing with Arianna in the girls room when Genevieve came tromping in wearing some of Gina's sandals.  We laughed about how silly she was, but then I asked her to take the sandals back and put them "where momma keeps them."  This is the best part.  She picks them right up, walks into the dining area and sets them down specifically right in the center of the room. ... middle of the traffic area. ... just where Gina leaves them all the bloody time.  And there you have it.  I'm not exaggerating.  The shoe displacement theory is officially a bust.  Even the girls know that momma keeps her shoes in the middle of the floor.  I win!  Which feels weird.  Not very natural.  I don't like it. ... I forfeit.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Unexpected Day at the Beach

So my plan was to write an entry today about the wedding we went to on Saturday.  The first one the girls had ever been to.  I was going to brag a little about how good they were and then relate how cute they were on the dance floor.  I was probably going to get a bit sappy about the bride and her father and ultimately tell you how I'm concerned about this little boy:

Seriously. ... if he's this cute now, imagine how dangerous he'll be in 15 years!

But then yesterday happened. 

I was scheduled to take my second year finals for law school at my proctor's house.  Studied my but off all year for this, left Gina and the girls down by the beach having lunch with my Father-in-Law, who is only in for the day, got to my proctor and found out my school had sent the wrong tests.  They sent year 1 exams, not year 2.  Now I have until the 30th of this month to complete or the state is going to require me to take the entire year 2 over again (have to take exams with in 52 weeks and I started the year on July 1, 2010).  So. ... that was awesome.

But in life you have to look at the positives or the negatives will just beat you down.  So I left and rejoined my family and had a wonderful, totally unexpected day at the beach.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Happy Birthday????!!!!

So this sums up an anniversary with twin toddlers.  On Thursday (day before our anniversary) I picked up the girls from my mother-in-laws and stopped by the store on the way home so I could get cards and flowers.  Of course most stores (Costco being the exception) only have single seats in the carts and those blasted signs that show stick figures standing or sitting in the basket with the big "X's" over them make me feel guilty; so we went in on foot.  We got through the flower section. ... of course some of the flowers didn't it make it. ... and on to the cards.  Trying to keep one eye on each of them and read cards at the same time, a mistake was bound to occur.  I found a perfect card that said  everything I wanted it to.  For once I didn't feel the need to add any extras.  So we got home, I arraigned the flowers and got the girls in their chairs for dinner.  While they were eating I got the card out to sign and hide it so I could pull it out in the morning and have it waiting for her.  I personalized the card and read through it to make sure it was perfect. ... but something was off.  All the words were perfect, except for that last one. ... "birthday". ... "Happy Birthday". ... shit.  I bought a birthday card for our anniversary.  Truth is, that is pretty much a perfect summary of our lives these days. ... don't think it could have been more appropriate if I tried.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Pic(s) of the Week - Anniversary Special

Well, today is not just any ordinary day, so I can't abide by the ordinary Pic of the Week structure.  Today is Gina and my 5 year anniversary.  So in honor of that, here's a photo journal of words I've come to understand during the past 5 years.

Wonder:
How  it is that a woman this incredible would say "yes" to a schlub like me.

Comfort:
I'm where I'm supposed to be, no matter where I find myself, as long as I find myself with her by my side.

Hero:
in our darkest hour we each found the hero we needed in the other.

Serendipity:
sometimes the best things in life are the least expected.

Beauty:
it's not about the skin or the hair or the bones. ... it's about the soul that is able to shine through all that.

Home:
didn't know what one was supposed to feel like until you.

Strength:
I can benchpress a lot, I can run far. ... I can never do what you can do.


Love:
a four letter word I finally understand the true power of.

Pride:
bad in one's self, impossible to avoid in one's children.

Growth:
we are a garden, we grow together and we blossom together.

Humor:
if you laugh alone you're crazy, that's why it's important to have someone else to laugh with.

Dance:
the bodies reaction to an overwhelming build up of joy

Accomplishment:
We're in it together; in all things.  We start together, we finish together.

Suprises:
the unexpected can turn out to be brilliant.

Family:
A mans identity when he realizes how insignificant he is alone.

Gina, you've given me everything I've ever wanted, more than I've ever deserved and nothing that I will ever take for granted.  The girls are my heartbeat, and you are my soul.
Happy Anniversary, my love.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Nice Rack Dad!

In our family we're not overly shy about anatomy.  There's no sense pretending like mommy and daddy are Barbie and Ken dolls so it's no secret that Mama has boobies and Dada stands up to pee.  It's just they way things are.  Of course, they're "cutsified" a little more than that. For example, breasts have taken on the moniker "bobos" because that's the closest the girls can get to boobies.  It's well understood that everyone has bobo's from the girls all the way up to grandpa, but we tend to keep our hands contained to our own bobo's - good advice if I do say so myself. ... and maybe something we need to go over in more detail.  As I was finishing up the bath last night I pulled Genevieve out of the tub to dry her off.  I was wearing a sleevless undershirt (a "wifebeater" for all those hipsters who don't take the expression literally) so my chest was pretty exposed as the shirt's not really designed for modesty.  As I drap the towel around her, Genevieve starts giggling sheepishly.  "Bobos!" she shouts.  "What?"  "Dada bobos!"  she responds.  "Yes, those are Daddy's bobo's, thank you for noticing".  She begins this fake, deep laugh that she's been doing lately.  And then suddenly, as her arms become free, she reaches out and full on gropes me.  "Can I help you?" was all I could thing to say.  At that point she squeezes them together and lifts, turning my solid A cup into a nice sized B.  I felt a little like a Victoria Secret's model with an expensive push up. ... maybe that should be their new line - "Baby Hands by Victoria's Secret."  "Ok, ok, that's enough of Daddy's bobos, thank you!"  With that I pry her hands off my "lady bits", at which point I should note that wet fingers are like glue on chest hair, wrapped her arms up again and tried to cover my modesty.  I know she's my daughter and I'm her dad, but seriously. ... I feel a little cheap right now.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Can I have a duck?

Ok, with yesterday's "daddy issues" behind us (and thank you so much for all the kind words; for having never actually met many of you I feel a profound attachment to you and your support is overwhelming) we can move on to more pressing matters. ... like my mom's butchering of the Greek language.  God bless the woman - for as pitiful as my dad was/is/will be, my mother is a saint and the only reason I remained sane long enough to find Gina.  But she's pretty white bread none the less.  That's what happens to a lot of white families transplanted from the Midwest, where they've been rooted for generations. ... they lose their flavor (keep in mind I said "most" not "all". ... keep your shirts on Midwesterners).  But my mom. .... she tries so hard and I love her to death for it.  I can tell that she's a bit overwhelmed sometimes by the culture that Gina's brought in.  There are different foods, different traditions. ...and then there's the whole language thing.  My sister speaks Spanish, the other sister French.  I've got years of Italian and Spanish under my belt, but my mom is an English speaker.  She's really good at it, but that's it.  We teach (and by we I mean Gina - I'm only about a grade level above the girls in my learning. ... trying to stay ahead of the curve here) the girls Greek right along with English, so any words they know, they know both ways.  Kind of like Dora but with less practical applications in Southern California.  So my mother is always hearing these strange sounding words and left with a bewildered look on her face as to what we are talking about.  I remember she once made a joke, spouting gibberish at the girls only to have one of them bring her a bottle of milk in response.  So this past weekend we were at my sisters house for my nephew's birthday party and we were packing up to get the girls home for a nap.  When we leave we either tell the girls to give kisses or "maikia" one of the words for kiss.  Well my mother pre-emtivily struck and leaned over asking Arianna to "give Grandma papakia". ... close, but no.  Basically my mother asked Arianna to give her a duck.  So Arianna just stared at her, eyes questioningly darting from side to side.  If she didn't think Grandma was a little off before this, she does now.  "What the hell does the woman need a duck for?" her facial expression read.  But next time I'm sure she'll be prepared with a water fowl of choice for Grandma, since she's got some kind of desire for a duck.  I hope she keeps up her attempts at Greek though -  for one thing it's always good to learn a new trick, and for another it should provide lots more interesting flubs.  After all, it's all Greek to her.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Reclaiming Father's Day

Yesterday was a tough day for me.  While the rest of the world was posting pictures on facebook of the men they admire most I had nothing to say.  It's true, I'm now a dad and the day is equally set aside for my little ones to celebrate me, but a big part of the day is celebrating your own father.  I don't have that.  And despite my dad being, probably the worst person I've ever known. ... I still miss that it, even though I have no idea what if feels like.  11 years ago, on Father's Day, was the last time we really spoke.  My parents had just gone through an ugly divorce (which I was shocked took my mom that long to go through with, considering how emotionally and verbally abusive he'd been their entire 28 years of marriage - oh, he also ruined Christmas' for us when he announced he wanted a divorce while we were opening our presents that morning. ... charming).  We'd moved out in April and he went crazy in the following months.  Let's put it this way, he refused to move out of the house, sabotaging the agents trying to sell it, I had to steal my own dog back and our trash cans at the new house were repeatedly set on fire. ... very mysteriously.  Anyway, after my high school graduation ceremony we returned home to an answering machine message from hell that terrified my younger sisters so much they refused to go with me to see him 2 days later for Father's Day.  So I walked in to the lion's den alone.  Apparently I wasn't good enough alone so he only became more infuriated.  Instead of heading off to diner we had an all out brawl.  My entire life it'd only been emotional battles with him, public berating, name calling, silent treatment. ... stuff like that. This was the first time he'd ever gotten physical with me.  What's more, it was the first time I'd ever fought back.  At one point, with him on the ground, I fled the scene.  He chased me down the street as I drove off, just able to make out the picture frame we'd given him as a gift hurled towards me as a final attempt.  That was the nail in the coffin.  I left for Europe a few days later and headed off to college a few months past that.  About a year later he moved to Thailand and our contact has been minimal since.  I tried to make amends before our wedding.  Even offering to cover his flight and put him up in our home.  A few months before the ceremony he came into town trying to work out a visa problem and he agreed to have dinner with me and meet Gina.  From what I'm told by her, when I went to the restroom at one point, he turned the conversation to insulting me and, more or less, trying to talk her out of marrying me.  Father of the year, huh?!  Shortly afterwards he found some reason to make me the bad guy, refusing to come to the wedding, and we cut off communication once again.  But he's my dad.  There's some sort of unbreakable bond there, some need for him to love me and he's fully aware of this power.  He's hiding in the dark looking for an opportunity to exploit that and make me miserable again.  I start to feel this need to relate to him around holidays, especially Father's Day, Christmas and his upcoming birthday.  I feel this responsibility to make amends, to try and love the monster, but when I do I get bit again.  Like a moron I sent an e-mail yesterday.  I told him about the baby on the way.  Updated him on the girls.  All I wanted was a congratulations.  I'd have settled for a "thank you".  But that's not what I got.  I got the wrath of the lion.  5 years silent. ... just waiting for me to walk by.  What's worse is I let him ruin my day.  I let him hurt me when all anyone around me wanted to do was make me feel good.  I won't divulge the entirety of our communique, but his sign off was "I have no family!" ... Well guess what, sir?!  I do.  I have a family, and they love me immensely.  They love me enough to put up with my crap mood yesterday, knowing that you were the cause because they know that I am a better man then you.  I've learned my lesson. ... learned it more times then smart guy like me should need to learn it.  So here's the deal, I'm taking back Father's Day.  I'm taking back Christmas and Thanksgiving too.  I don't need a father anymore, because it just dawned on me. ... I'm man enough for the both of us.  And I think you know that too.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Pic of the week

"there something dangerous about people who know they are this cute"



Thursday, June 16, 2011

Take a s#!t Daddy

From the mouths of babes, they say.  The girls have gotten to the age where they love TV.  LOOOOVVVEEE tv.  They barely watch more than a show or two a day, but every time we come home "TT?  TT, Dada?"  "No, no TV baby."  "TT?!" They get to watch Sesame Street in the morning, usually, and at night they get to watch Blues Clues, sometimes Wonder Pets or Yo Gabba Gabba.  Last night after dinner I turned on some Wonder Pets and was trying to print out some essays to send off for school.  As I walked out of the living room I hear the sweetest little voice on the planet say "shit".  My first thought was "I'm gonna get in so much trouble for this," because I'm sure I was the source of the word.  I turn around to see Genevieve sitting on the couch, smiling up at me.  "What did you say?" I asked.  "Shit Dada".  I began to run through the speech in my head that this is not a word for little girls to repeat when she says it again, this time patting the couch cushion next to her.  "TT dada, shit."  I could feel the smile spread across my face.  Ear to ear.  She was inviting me to sit down and watch TV with her. ... she just added an unnecessary "h" into the equation.  Suddenly I had flashbacks to my niece at that age.  Her trouble was the word "frog" which sounded remarkably like the "F" word.  Being 23 I thought this hilarious and encouraged her to find frogs everywhere in her life.  I thought it especially funny when I discovered the word "bull" came out as "butt" which is when I started pushing her to say "bull frog" all the time.  Karma's a bitch.  Now I've got a little swear monkey of my own.  So we shat and watched a little TT together.  What a wonderful way to spend the evening.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

You tell her, sister

Got in to our big girl beds for the third night in a row last night, after a thoroughly exhausting Yo Gabba Gabba dance session that left the girls hanging over me like wet towels.  Part of this whole "big girl bed" process is to ensure that they're completely drained when they go down, lacking any energy to try and explore their newly found night time freedom.  It worked the first two nights, and it worked fairly well last night - but Genevieve sort of crossed that line to too tired.  Instead of passing right out like she normally does when she's beat, she just kind of flopped around like a landed trout for about an hour.  She wasn't crying, it was more like a moan.  You know that moan.  It's the same one you did your freshman year of college after your first kegger.  That "dear god, let me sleep, I've got finals tomorrow" moan.  I was busy finishing up some work on the computer so I just left all the lights off in the house and let her work it out while I basked in the glow of Microsoft Word.  What was cracking me up was every time the moaning would get a little on the loud side I would hear "ni-ni" from Arianna.  "Ni-ni" being the equivalent of "night-night" or "go the f to sleep".  As her moaning persisted the "ni-ni'" got louder and more frustrated.  "mmmmmmmm, mmmmmmm, mmmmmmm" - "ni-ni". .... "mmmmmmmmmmmm, mmmmmmmm, mmmmmmmm" - "ni-ni!". ..... "mmmmmmm, mmmmmmm, mmmmm" - "NI-NI!"  See, nothing for me to do here.  They're self regulating children now.  My job is done.  I guess I'll just put the ship on autopilot and take a nap.  I'm sure they can handle making themselves some breakfast in the morning.  I'll tell Gina she can just sleep in.  She'll only need to get up if she smells smoke.  Or coffee.  There's nothing good that will come of these children on a caffeine high.  Nothing good I tell you.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Bar. ... none!

I can already tell you that we're those parents that push a little. Not the ones that start seeking a football scholarship while our kids are still in diapers, but certainly the ones that expect "A's" on the report card instead of rewarding them for it and leave summer job applications on their desk starting sophomore year. So we test the waters a little bit earlier then some and fully expect our kids are capable of rising to the occasion. Well, in this case it's more like laying down for the occasion. After starting potty training (I use the word "starting" loosely. ... all we've managed so far is to get the Elmo potty seat on to the toilet and sit on it for about 20 seconds before we can't handle it anymore) we decided it was time for an upgrade at bedtime to. That's right, we brought down the walls and moved on to toddler beds this weekend. The first night was a little rough - but only on us. Gina was awake with every whimper, and every bump in the night (aka cat jumping off the table in the living room) I was convinced was a kid crashing to the floor. The truth is the guards that go up run almost the entire length of the crib. ... ahem. ... bed. ... so the only problem will come if they stand up and purposely TRY to get out of bed. We tell them as we put them down each night that they "are big girls now and that means that they cannot stand up in their big girl beds or get out of their big girl beds until Mommy or Daddy comes and gets them." Amazingly that's worked so far. We're talking a streak of two nights is all, but I remember when we were trying to get them to sleep through the night last year. Two nights in a row was worthy of a champagne celebration. So as I knock on my faux wood desk made of some sort of composite substance I raise my imaginary champagne glass to our official move to big girl beds. After two successful nights there's no going back now. ... that and I can't remember where I put those screws that reattach the crib side. Hooray!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Works of art become a masterpiece

My sister-in-law has developed into quite the little artist over the years. Next week she graduates from high school and we caught a glimpse of her final piece for AP art. Let's just say we're very familiar with the subjects of her masterpiece. I wanted to share it with all of you because I can't get over how amazing she's become. She's truly turned my works of art into a masterpiece all her own. What do you think world? Any room in the Louvre?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

And we danced

I called it several months ago. I was writing about holding one of the girls and rocking her to sleep and I mentioned how I had to enjoy this moment because such opportunities were dwindling. And I was right. In the months that followed they became mobile and assertive and a little independent. I can manage a quick hug or a flyby kiss every once in a while, but they're big girls now, they've got things to destroy and animals to harass. No time for sentimentality dad. No time for sitting and rocking in your arms. It's joyous to watch them, but I miss that. I'm thrilled I'll get it again with the new baby, but love is not a replicable emotion. That baby will bring it's own love, but I'll still miss such moments with my girls. So last night I got the girls to bed and the house was quiet - a rare moment in the day when there's not even the sound of the dogs toenails on the hardwood floors. I sat down to get some work done (finals in less than a month. ... yikes!). I got about an hour, maybe a little more in before I heard Genevieve start crying. It was a groggy cry so I figured it would die off in a couple moments. But it didn't. It got more frustrated and pressing. So I saved my work and headed in to check it out. In her sleep she'd managed to get one of her feet stuck between the slats on her crib. She was now stuck but too out of it to figure out how to get her foot displaced. So I freed her and then I picked her up to settle her down a bit. When I die, if I've done everything right in my life, this is what heaven will feel like. Little hands clasped around your neck. A soft warm check against yours. A rush of breath in your ear. Security. Love. Dependence. I turned their music back on to help calm her down and we danced. Just a slow rock back and forth in the middle of the room. A moonlit dance floor in a quiet world. If and when she gets married some day, this is the dance we'll have again. This is the image I'll have of her. This is the moment I'll flash too. I dare say, there is nothing in life more perfect than a father's chance to dance with his daughter. I'd trade a thousand lifetimes for this one moment. If that were the cost, I'd gladly pay. It would be a pleasure.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

"Uh-Oh"

I'm drawing the girls bath last night as they sit enraptured by their new DVD "Elmo's Potty Time" - which I won't even get into what that experience was like. ... let's leave it with the song lyrics of "now you do that doo-doo that you do so well." Anyway, over the rush of the water I hear a soft but confident "uh-oh". "What 'uh-oh?'" I ask. All I get in response is a much more firm and pressing "uh-ooooohhhhhhh!" I turn around to see Arianna staring back at me holding the cat's collar. ... with out the cat in it. Once again she affirms "uh-oh". There are things I want to know, and things I would rather remain in the dark about. How exactly the cat came to be with out her collar and what role Arianna played in it's removal. ... that's one of those things I'd just rather not know. However it came to pass I'm sure the cat had some more colorful words than "uh-oh" to describe the event.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Stuffed Animal Rescue 911

I love dogs. In fact, the year that Gina and I first lived together in an apartment was the only period of my life that I was dogless. We actually adopted Karma a week before we got the keys to our condo and then stayed with my parents until we could move in and sleep on the floors while our furniture was still in transit, just so we could have the dog. But, while I love dogs, puppies can be a real pain in the @$$. Karma's first accomplishment was eating our wedding album. She followed that up with our entire backyard for dessert. Although Karma has long grown out of puppyhood, my parents, who the girls stayed with this past weekend, have themselves one of the biggest puppies I've ever seen. Grainger is a Great Pyrenees. ... and he's still only about 9 months old. But a puppy who outweighs most other adult dogs can be a problem. For example, he's quite literally eaten my mom's sofa and sitting chair in the family room. Like, literally eaten and digested them. So here we come for the weekend with all of our prized possessions. I suppose we are lucky that the only casualties were the stuffed tigers. ... of course these are the girls most favorite stuffed animals. We can't leave the house or go to bed or even venture out to dinner with out the tigers in tow. Fortunately, I just receive the call and the tigers look like they might survive. The orange tiger managed to come out of surgery with a repaired ear. ... white tiger, on the other hand, had to have an ear amputated. But that's OK. All that matters is that he's alive. And, to be honest, he was never much of a good listener anyways. No doubt the entirety of tonight's conversations with the girls will revolve around "owies" and kisses to make tiger feel better. It's all part of the healing process. Rehab is a rough road.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Rain drops keep falling on my head

As you know it's festival season for my mother-in-law's jewelry business, and things are in full swing (by the way, if you have any interest in what they sell there's a button for her online store on the left hand side and down a bit. ... Beyond Bella). This weekend they found themselves double booked at opposite ends of the state, one in San Diego and one in San Luis Obispo. Gina was sent north while her mom went south (lucky) and my mom watched the girls so I could go and help Gina out. The festival we were working was much shorter, closed at 7 instead of 10pm like the others, so we thought we'd have a weekend alone with a hotel room and restaurants and a beautiful little town to meander through. ... and then we found reality. A few days before we saw the reports that a once in a decade June storm was rolling into the area. San Diego would be beautifully sunny, San Fransisco would be nice, but right in the middle where we were? .... not so much. Felt a little like a scene from Tommy Boy; "not so much here, not so much here; but right across here." As we drove into the area and the ominous clouds got darker we knew it wasn't exactly going to be the vacation we were looking forward to. Surprisingly, despite the rain, we found the people there were incredibly adventurous. Many still showed up with out umbrellas, just hanging out in the rain and making the best of it. Perhaps they hadn't done laundry or taken their morning showers, and thought they'd kill two birds with one stone. Either way they showed up. Turns out the year before, on the same weekend, it was a 106 at the festival. ... they just can't find a middle ground. It was a little disheartening to get the calls from down south where it was a beautiful weekend in the high 70's. San Diego was gorgeous and the girls at home went swimming both days in the wonderful sunshine. I, on the other hand, see it this way: If rain soaked, freezing and on my feet selling the whole day is the only way I can get my wife alone for 48 hours. ... I'll take it. Like the old fishing adage goes "a shitty day on the lake is still better than the best day working."

Friday, June 3, 2011

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ode To My Partner In Crime

Aside from questions about the twins themselves, I'm most often asked "how do you do it". If I'm not already equipped with a smart ass response, I usually just grin and shrug in an "I'm not sure" kind of way. The truth is, I know exactly how I do it. ... I've got an amazing wife. For some reason this beautiful woman with a heart as big as they come took a chance on the guy in the back of the lecture hall in a ripped pair of jeans and a well worn t-shirt. She saved my life by giving it meaning and then she gave me this amazing one you see now. When ever I feel the weight of the world bearing down, she saddles up next to me and shoulders the load. When ever I feel lost in the fog, she takes my hand and leads me to clarity. When ever I feel I'm too awesome for words, she gently pulls me down to earth again. She's my voice of reason; my angel; my best friend. Why, you ask the sudden floodgate of emotion? It's the little things. The little things that build up and finally rip the damn down and flood the town in a swelling wave of sappiness. This morning, like all mornings, I got up in the dark alone. I ate my cereal, shaved my face, dressed in silence. I dragged my gym bag over my shoulder and plucked my lunch out of the fridge. I soldiered to my car as the sprinklers kicked on. It was a Thursday that felt like Tuesday. ... nothing to be excited about. I would listen to law lectures for the next 40 minutes as I drove to work. ... woohoo, now that's something to be excited about. So I tossed my gear in the trunk and sat down in my seat, adjusting it back since Gina had borrowed it for class the night before. I sat down, and there it was. A note. Stuck to my steering wheel. Inside, a 10 dollar bill. "Starbucks on me". It's the little things that make it work. That get you through it. Give you strength and build you up. It's the little things that make a Thursday, that feels like a Tuesday, just another day to smile. And that, my friends, is how I do it.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

How our "oops" baby became our "miracle" baby

Well this post has been a long 5 weeks in the making. And you know me, I have a tough time keeping anything to myself. But I got the "go ahead" after yesterdays ultra sound so I can scream it from the mountains now: we're having another baby!!!!!!! Of course, as with anything we do, this has a hell of a story to go along with it.

Driving home from Easter last month, Gina mentioned that she was a little late with her period. My heart fluttered slightly, but not too much; this wasn't the first time we'd had that happen. What's interesting to note is that Gina had just been to her doctor and requested to go on birth control again. Her doctor said she'd rather not since it took Gina almost a year and a half to get her cycle back when she went off of birth control to try and conceive the girls. Anyway, we bought a pregnancy test at the dollar store because we thought there was no way she really was and we weren't going to blow more than a buck on a crap shoot. She did the deed and let it sit a while while we got back to life. We kind of forgot about it getting the girls fed for dinner. I went in to the bathroom a little while later and asked "what am I looking for here?!" "Two pink lines" she said. All I could see was a pink equal sign from hell that said "this equals f#@ me!" In fact, I audibly spoke the last two words and Arianna came running in to see what was the matter. In trying to assess the situation she managed to knock the cup of urine that the stick was sitting in off the counter and on to the both of us. So know I'm terrified and covered in my wife's urine. And that's the start of the story.

We calmed ourselves down. Decided that we weren't ready, but it's obviously not up to us this time. We weren't doing anything to prevent so, shame on us. She scheduled an appointment with the doctor and the next few weeks we got more comfortable with the idea. We would love our little oops just as much as the girls and life would be fine. We didn't have any place to put oops. ... but we had a few months to figure it out. Anyway, a week before the appointment Gina started getting a light brown discharge. She was a little concerned so she called the doctor to check - she asked to come in early to take a look.

The doctor fired up the ultra sound machine and began looking intently. I tried to sneak a peek but she told me to wait my turn. Finally she looked up at us and spun the monitor around. "There's no heart beat here" she said sympathetically. She explained that the conception took place, but the fetus never grew after that. Gina's body was still under the illusion of pregnancy, but there was no baby any more. She was right, there was nothing in there. Just an empty void. No flash, no blob. ... just space. She gave Gina a week to try and flush the pregnancy out on her own. If the body didn't cooperate with a miscarriage then she'd need to have a D&C to remove everything before infection set in.

She left the room and we sighed. It was better this way we decided. We didn't have space. We didn't have energy. We didn't have. ... a baby anyway. We talked ourselves in to being OK. Each of us putting on a smiley face for the other and taking solace in the upbeat nature of the other. That's how we work. We've always likened ourselves to the letter "A". Two sides leaning against each other and holding the structure up.

The week went by and nothing happened. Gina was not looking forward to the procedure and, what's more, she still felt really pregnant. Like. ... really. Crazier yet, I had a dream on Saturday night at the end of the week about a PeeWee football player being shot and killed then coming to life shortly after the funeral. It creeped me out, but as we talked on Sunday we both felt like this wasn't over. She went to the appointment on Monday to schedule the D&C, I went to work. At 10:40 AM I got the most amazing call: there's a baby!

I freaked. I flipped. I ran out of my office and started pumping my fist, kneeling down, jumping up. I went crazy. I also forgot that my building has giant windows in the front, so when I turned around after hanging up I had a full audience watching me. They were just glad to know that no one had died and I wasn't about to go postal on the office.

The doctor said in her entire career she's only seen this happen once before; a diagnosis of a blighted ovum producing a viable pregnancy a week later. And that's just what we got, a miracle baby. Because despite telling ourselves that this was better, we didn't feel it was. We'd grown attached to the idea of having a baby, even if it wasn't planned for. And maybe we needed that. We love our girls more than words can express, and a lot of that comes from having lost our first daughter. Gina questioned how she could ever love another child as much as she loved our girls, and this showed her she can. This baby will never be called "an oops" again. Not by us. Not by anyone. He or she is not an oops. ... they're a miracle. And I can't wait to hold my miracle some time in December. Of course that means we're going to need to change the title of the blog. ... we'll get to that in due time.