Monday, December 31, 2012

Blackberry Spray

There are those special moments in the life of a parent where you feel like this moment could not be any sweeter. ... but most of the time you feel like the recipient of a kids choice award getting slimed in accolades.  This week marks a bitter sweet moment for me, my littlest sister is moving off to western Illinois to go back to school for her Masters in Recreation (she's been a middle school teacher for the past 5 years at a charter school in LA - they told her this year she would be her last one there so she's taking the opportunity to go in another direction).  I'm very excited for her, but also a little heartsick to know she'll be so far away for so long.  Anyway, we had a dinner for her at my mom's house over the weekend and she had written me a beautiful letter which I was reading through teary eyes after just finishing my meal.  Meanwhile, on the other side of the table, Gina was fighting with Genevieve to eat the fruit that was still being pushed around on her plate long after the rest of the clan had finished their dinners and moved on to dessert.  The particularly problematic piece was a rather juicy blackberry which Gina was requiring her to at least "try".  We're not the type of parents who make our children eat things they hate, but we are very much the type that are going to make sure you try everything at least once before you determine you do, in fact, hate it.  So Genevieve has finally been forced to stick the berry in her mouth and is chewing it like a cow on it's 3rd digestion.  I, meanwhile, I'm about halfway through this letter and relatively clueless to the firepower forming across the table from me.  Suddenly, and completely unexpectedly, Genevieve spews the berry (which I want to reiterate was VERY juicy) out of her mouth, directly at me, coating me, the table and the letter in a mist like spray of berry juice and pulp.  I was speechless (fortunately Gina was not) sitting in berry, juices dripping from my letter and my face.  This is parenting folks.  Someday, when she's about 23, I'm going to watch her load up a plate of fruit at some sort of a salad bar and I'm going to notice a particular blackberry sitting atop the pile.  I will simultaneously laugh and cry at the recollection of a long past incident.  One which summed up parenthood quite succinctly.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Last Elf Standing

Santa is a busy guy.  He spends all year bustin' his red hump and then on his one day off he whirls around the world dropping off all it.  So I can't really complain if I have to put in a little effort in the red zone to pull off something amazing.  Every parent has that story. The bicycle with two missing gears at 12:30am.  The life size robot and no AA batteries.  My story involves a four story, Soho towne home that looked really easy in box at Costco.  Not so much spread across the floor at 11:30 Christmas Eve.  It was like some designer at IKEA went off on a weekend bender and designed a Barbie doll house.  It was classic "allen wrench only" situation with color coded screws that had no bit and undersized, predilled holes.  The instructions went way off the normal base of having them printed vaguely in fifteen different languages, opting instead to print them in no languages at all.  Just poorly drawn pictures from about 30 yards away so you couldn't tell what shape each piece was let alone how big  Then they had the instructions printed out of order.  Steps 1 - 4 on page one, 5-8 on page 27.  9 - 12 came in somewhere about page 5 and then jumped back to 2 for 13-16.  You can see how this pattern played out.  I'm pretty sure I put in every screw at least twice (having to undo them all at various points because this was on backward, upside down or not at all).  Then, somewhere around midnight, my Mother-in-Law says "that looks great. ... but how are you going to get those back panels in there?"  SHHHHIIIIIIITTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!  Fortunatly we were able to half way back track while my wife's uncle held the frame in place so we could slide out just a few screws and slip the panels back in.  The rest of the house went to bed while we soldiered on.  We finally finished the house around 1 and started in on the furniture when around 1:30 the girls bedroom door suddenly flew open and we froze in horror as Arianna stared at us through sleepy eyes.  "I need to go tissa (pee)!!!!!"  Gina ran to intercept, I quickly turned out all the lights and we seem to have avoided any questions.  She went back to bed and we went back to our miniature furniture restoration.  By about 2AM we were finally in bed, the penthouse apartment was securely constructed, the mini piano was tuned and the tiny toilet was flushing properly.  I went to bed with visions of dancing little girls geeking out over such a great gift in my head.  Then, on Christmas morning, all the girls decided to sleep in.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

1 Up

And there you have it.  A baby becomes a little girl.  Rosaline turned 1 yesterday.  The big 1.0.  It's crazy.  Two years ago she wasn't a part of the plan.  One year ago she became the new plan and today. ... well, today we realized that our planning sucks and that whoever is running this circus is much better at this kind of stuff.  I always thought I was awesome.  Sounds bad when you say it out loud but that's what I thought.  Me, alone. ... I could do what ever I wanted.  Not like, stay up till midnight eating chocolate covered waffles and watching rated R movies.  But like what ever direction I wanted to go I could conquer the world and become master of my own domain.  Then I met Gina.  That's when I realized how truly wobbly I really was.  I wasn't conquering the world I was providing the tread for it's foot to walk on.  Suddenly I was emboldened.  Here was this stunningly beautiful, brilliantly minded and compassionately unequalled woman who found something in me to love.  If that didn't give me the confidence and a support to start kicking ass and taking names then nothing could.  And I thought, at the time, my god we are truly awesome.  And then Zoe came.  I thought how perfect the world was.  How lucky we were in that moment.  How fortunate.  And then we lost her.  She was gone.  The moment was tarnished.  What happened is not what you might expect.  It should have been a crushing blow.  At the very least it should have knocked me from my pedestal again. ... but it didn't.  It hurt. ... worse than anything I could ever begin to explain through written word. ... but it didn't knock me down.  That support, that brace, that strength. ... she held me up.  And I pulled her up.  And in that moment I knew how truly awesome we were.  A few months later we found out about the twins.  Briefly I thought how maybe we weren't quite awesome enough to handle this. ... but I got over that.  And then I held them.  I realized in the at moment, clutching a newborn in each arm, how much we had really been missing.  Gina gave me all the confidence in the world, but motivation wasn't what I thought it was.  I had swagger, but I had nothing to drive it forward.  In that instant I realized I needed to be more; not for me, not for Gina. ... but for these two little creatures who suddenly depended so much on me.  And in the years that followed. ... you got it. ... I realized how awesome we were as a family.  Some year and change after that, the little pee stick showed two lines.  I cried a little.  I did.  I had obtained awesome and I didn't know how this would effect my awesome.  And then we thought we lost her too.  I flashed to Zoe.  Her loss made me appreciate the twins so much, and now, to think I lost another one (prepared for or not). ... I didn't know how I'd cope.  But there was my support.  There was my strength.  She held me up and I pulled her up once again.  And, surprise!  She wasn't lost.  She was there.  A brilliant little flash of blobbiness on a dark computer monitor.  And I realized, once again, how awesome we were.  Of course, we also realized how little space we had.  So much awesome we had no place to put it all.  So my in-laws, with out hesitation, opened their home to us all.  And I realized, then, just how awesome they were. How truly awesome they are.  That amazing woman holding me up. ... she brought reinforcements along with her that I never really noticed were there.  And they held us up.  And then she was born.  All by herself.  One lonely little baby that seemed so odd.  I felt like I had so much time to just sit and stare at her in that nursery because there wasn't a screaming banshee copy in the cradle next door.  Just her.  Big eyes staring at me.  Little finger clutching mine.  She didn't cry much.  She didn't fuss.  She just looked at me.  And there. ... right there. ... I realized how unawesome I was.  How alone, I'm insignificant.  How on my own two feet I'm just an average nobody.  But somehow, by some act of mercy, fortune or randomness these components, these gifts fell in to my lap.  They brought me strength.  They brought me courage.  They brought me passion and desire and tenacity.  They made an ordinary man extraordinary.  They made me - this simpleton - awesome.  Happy Birthday my sweet Rosaline.  May you some day know the joy I have watching every second of your life unfold before my humbled eyes.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Pic of the Week

"Chilling' out max and relaxin' out cool and all shooting' some b-ball outside uh duh school"

Mmmmmmmama

A lot of people I meet try to convince me how talented I am.  After all, I write a blog.  Just like 172 million other people on this planet.  The truth is, my talents are ordinary.  But because they're so highly publicized (meaning I put them on the Internet for strangers to stumble across when they're looking for something completely unrelated) mine get more attention.  Gina's main endeavor to this point has been her yoga and I think it would defeat the purpose of yoga to go around telling people how awesome you are at it.  Unless, of course, you're Bikram.  Anyway, one of Gina's less known talents is her cake creation.  She's made some pretty impressive consumables over the years.  Recently a family friend with a catering service suggested Gina do cakes semi-professionally and put her in touch with a local football booster club that she was catering the end of year banquet for.  And just like that, they hired her for 3 sheet cakes.  So the past 24 hours she's been bouncing from kitchen to yoga studio to changing table managing an array of hats she puts on through out her day.  The best part of this story is how she told the girls all day yesterday and all day this morning "do not touch those cakes".  They were great about keeping a safe distance. ... that is until they were frosted.  This morning, just after Gina finished frosting the Spartan logo on the two sheet cakes, she hears an ominous "mmmmmmm" come out of the kitchen.  Naturally Arianna could not resist the call of the frosting and took her cute little finger right through the green line.  Shhhhhhh.  Nobody but us has to know. ... ok.  We'll just list her as an official "tester" with the company.
 
Oh, and if you're in our area and like cake and/or yoga, feel free to call Gina up.  I'll get more to you all as this starts to take off, it's still in it's infancy.  But, hey, we have a logo!
 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Meeting Santa

My In-Laws live in a very unique community, one of those old school places where the neighbors all know each other and people still wave as they pass one another on the street.  As long as I've been around there's been a local realty agent who's strapped a sled to a trailer and towed around the neighborhoods dressed up as Santa behind their SUV.  It's become a tradition, and each year you wait for the Christmas music blaring over the PA of the white Chevy Tahoe to turn down your street so you can see Santa.  Well my Sister-In-Law was perched in her upstairs room and kept running down yesterday with the news that she heard and/or saw Santa on a nearby street.  The girls would work into a frenzy, but each time the man in red turned in the opposite direction, making his way around our street.  Finally the girls needed to nap and there was no sign of reindeer in the nearby vicinity.  A few hours later Arianna came out from hibernation and she and I went for a little walk while her sister knocked out a few more, well needed "z's".  About half way up the street, one of the other streets that t-bones into ours, echoed of carols.  "SANTA, Daddy, SAAANNTTAAA" Arianna screamed.  Before we knew it he had pulled his slay alongside the curb in front of us.  I frantically texed Gina knowing that if we went back and woke Genevieve we'd miss our opportunity.  I was hoping she was up and Gina could rush her out in time.  He invited Arianna on board but, like every parent hopes, even Santa couldn't entice her to get into a strange car/sleigh.  She asked me if I would go with her so we both boarded but, I told her, I was too big to fit on Santa's side of the sleigh so she would need to sit next to him.  She was shy and didn't want to talk until he asked her what she wanted for Christmas.  After that you'd have thought the two were old friends.  She wanted a real castle for her dolls to play in, a new dress for Ariel (doll) and a soccer game so her princess could play soccer, which had Santa and I both looking at each other in confusion on how to pull that gift off.  But it was a perfect moment, a moment in her childhood that I'm going to carry with me forever.  That moment of innocence where a man in a red velvet suit, in the Southern California sun, with a horribly fake beard, being towed by an SUV with AYSO stickers on the back, can be overlooked for the sheer joy of magic.  Because that's what it is.  Believing in something, anything, that projects nothing but goodness in what has long been a rough world.  Santa, like Jesus or Buddha or Gandhi or Abraham Lincoln, carries this image that some of us can be nothing but good.  Unflawed.  Perfect.  As a parent I see my child look at that image with hope for the world around them.  That maybe everyone can be like Santa.  Of course, she I'm certain she just looks at it as "this fat guys gonna bring me free stuff for eating all my veggies and not throwing a tantrum, right?"  It is what is.  Oh, and shortly after we returned home Genevieve woke up and we spent the next 20 minutes roaming the block hoping we could find him again.  A well timed helicopter flew overhead to which I convinced them that it was Santa returning to the North Pole to start building their Christmas order.  Arianna asked me to build a helicopter so we could follow them.  I'm afraid my children think to highly of my qualifications in life.  Just sayin'.
 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Advent-ageous

Oh Advent Calendars; staples of the holiday season.  You know these things - open one door every day in December and get a little candy or prize out of it's hiding spot.  The girls love these, they were big hits last year.  Even more this year.  Now, they're trying to outsmart us by pulling fast ones on the night shift.  Gina left to teach just as dinner was getting underway last night.  A few minutes later the girls starting asking me if they could have the chocolate from there "cammander".  Of course, I replied.  They finished up and off we went to open door number five.  I should have suspected something was up when Arianna seemed to have trouble finding the number "5".  21, 13, 28. ... we were no where near 5's neck of the woods.  Finally I decided to help her and pointed to number 5. ... which was already open and eaten.  Did you already do this?  Yes.  Well we can only do it once a day, number 5 is done for today.  There was a small pause. ... We could do number six!  I finally got wise when Genevieve tried to pull the same exact move.  These kids aren't dummies, they knew what they were trying to do.  Later, as I tucked them in Genevieve (always asking questions) asked her usual "what are we going to do tomorrow, Daddy?"  I don't know honey, we'll see.  "We can open number six tomorrow," she replied.  What she left unspoken was "and try to sneak number seven past Daddy after that.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Talk To Me

Rosaline is practicing with those vocal chords of hers.  Screaming like a Banshee at a sporting event.  It's practice, I know.  I remember how this works.  They start with the mumbling, figuring out the slew of sounds that can be created by complex combinations of tongue, lips and teeth.  Now it's the volume control stage.  How loud can we go? How quiet?  How 'bout NNNOOOOOOWWWWWW??????!!!!!!  I love this though.  I know what's next.  Next we work on words.  I love words.  I was excited for the twins to talk and now that we have full, long winded conversations (often about absolutely nothing) I'm more in love with them then I ever thought I would be.  I can stand there and listen to Genevieve talk about why her carrots are giving her a hard time for 15 minutes.  I can lean against a bathroom wall all day and hear Arianna talk about the movie she was watching earlier while she works on a stubborn poop.  I can lay there in bed, them obviously stalling on bed time, while we discuss what adventures tomorrow may bring.  The responsibility of parenthood often snaps me out of it and forces me, kicking and screaming, to push them in what ever direction they should go.  But secretly I harbor the desire to stay in that moment forever.  Prolong these wonderful conversations I dreamt of when they were in Gina's belly.  I guess I've always been the type of crazy that talks to himself. ... and now I have little crazies who talk back.  And soon there will be one more.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Santa Card

I finally know the true joy of Christmas from the perspective of a parent.  There's finally, for one month of the year, the undeniable presence of the wild card.  The Santa Clause Card.  Don't want to brush your teeth?  Well forget explaining cavities and gingivitis. ... Santa Clause won't bring you presents.  Don't want to eat your broccoli?  Fine. ... Santa doesn't want to make that extra stop at our house this year either.  It's sinister, I know - but let's face it. ... that's why parents invented Santa Clause to begin with.  And let's be real, a lot of parents do the same thing with Jesus year round.  It's particularly effective in our house because my mother in law has a festive wreath that goes up during the holidays with Santa's face right in the center.  It hangs directly above the kitchen table.  Argue with me about not eating the veggies now.  This weekend I was helping the girls get dressed in the morning when Arianna leans in and whispers "You know what Daddy?  Santa is watching us."  Her eyes then darted towards the kitchen like some prisoner planning and escape with the warden in the next room.  I've even gotten to the point where I don't have to say the word Santa anymore.  I just have to ask the girls what it was they wanted for Christmas.  Oh, that's right. ... a real castle for your dolls to play in.  How's that going?  Child manipulation by exhausted parents. ... that's the real reason for the season!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

My Baby Could Beat Up Your Honor Student

It's been two weeks since I gave Rosaline a bottle before bedtime.  Usually it's a Wednesday night ritual as Gina teaches back to back classes on Wednesdays and can't nurse Rosaline before she goes down for the night.  But last week was Thanksgiving eve so her early class was cancelled.  For some reason, though, last night felt like it had been an eternity since I cuddled her on my lap as she sucked down her bottle while nodding off in my arms.  But at 11 months two weeks is a huge difference.  This kid got giant in two weeks.  She's spilling over my arm and my legs started to go to sleep before she did.  I swear, at one point I thought maybe I should be sitting in her lap and she be putting me to bed.  Twenty four pounds.  That's how much she weighs.  Granted, it's no forty six that the Genebeast.  ... I mean Genevieve weighs, but come on!  And our kids aren't pudgcicles either.  Genevieve is stretching the length limits on size 5, and she just turned 3.  Arianna is not far behind, but Rosaline. ... she's outpacing Genevieve at this rate.  So clearly my 5'9" wife is doomed to be the short one in our house hold.  That being said, if anyone could have Misty May-Treanor get me a quote on private volleyball lessons I'd really appreciate it.  I know she's in my neck of the woods cause she went to college down the street from me and I used to go watch her play when I was a high school middle blocker.  Cause let's face it folks: if these girls can't get volleyball scholarships for college then the only alternative is going to be a life in the world of professional wrestling.  That or modeling size 13 high heels in some big and tall type clothing catalogue for women.  Or men for that matter.  We don't judge.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Blame it on the Cat

Dog is man's best friend, there's no arguing this.  But cat seems to be making a move on the spot.  Last night the girls went down and a rejuvenated Gina went out to grab some ice cream.  This worked out well because I still had a good hours worth of work to catch up on from the day so I cracked open the laptop and got started.  I was a good 15 minutes in when I heard Simba (the lone male, along with myself, that resided here) purring and meowing up a storm behind me.  I spin around to tell him to quiet down when I see Arianna, frozen in pose with mouth agape and eyes wide looking like a burglar who has just had the lights brought up on her.  Her eyes are the only thing moving as they dart around the room wondering if I've noticed her. The whole time the cat is feverishly rubbing himself along her legs and feet (self petting) and meowing as if in heaven.  I never heard her get up.  Never heard her door open.  Never heard her creep across the floor.  Thank god I have cat to set off the alarm and make sure escapees are caught before they get beyond the perimeter.  Dog is still man's best friend, but cat may be toddlers worst enemy for now.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Clean Up on Aisle 4! We've Got a Dad In Charge Here People.

Gina's got some kind of nasty bug suddenly.  Spent a good portion of Sunday night praying to the porcelain god and was just plain wiped all day Monday (actually cancelled her yoga classes for once. ... I recall a time she tried to reschedule a c-section so she could still teach an afternoon class; so that's saying something).  Fortunately my mother-in-law was home to help out with the girls all day and Gina just spent the 24 hours in bed or on the bathroom floor.  I felt it important to leave early (formerly known as "on time") from work to make sure I was there to handle dinner, baths and bed time; and we made it through most of the evening in one piece.  And why wouldn't we?  We do this all the time when Gina's teaching, anyway.  But then Rosaline called a last minute audible and pooped in her high chair at the end of the meal.  This creates a paradox, we'll call it the Daddy Paradox.  Do I change her into a new diaper only to take it off at bath time in, literally, 1.37 minutes?  Or. ... do I try and time it right that I can run up the stairs and get the naked as the day she was born 1 year old in the filling tub before she feels free enough in her nudity to release what ever else she's got in the tank.  Naturally I'm a man, so I'm stupid.  I've also procreated which makes me a father and, by default, has granted me a false sense of confidence in my abilities to parent.  I opted for the more interesting of the choices (and cheaper - men also become cheap when the become fathers).  As I'm bounding up the stairs, giggling streaker safely tucked in my arms like the Heisman Trophy football I hear Gina call after me (in her best "I've been throwing up all day" voice) "You're pretty brave there Daddy!"  Brave.  Ha!  That has nothing to do with it.  I've done a  million baths and know exactly what I'm doing.  Set baby down.  Plug tub up. Turn on water.  Grab baby. ... grab baby. ... baby?  Turns out Genevieve sprinted past us to the toilet in the same bathroom to go pee.  For some reason Rosaline likes to keep her company when she does this. ... it's a regular thing.  So she followed Genevieve to the toilet.  "Come here, baby" I call to her.  She smiles.  Takes one step.  Pee's like a racehorse prior to the Derby and then takes here delayed second step right into the puddle, slipping in her own urine.  Fortunately she didn't get hurt and I got her in to the tub with out so much as a sniffle.  Genevieve, meanwhile, is pee locked on the toilet as she can't get down from her perch until I clean it up.  Arianna is now in the tub, water is filled and turned off and pee has been cleaned up.  Now to wipe Genevieve.  Where'd all the toilet paper go?!!!

How Smart Thou Art

Well hi there, long time no see.  It's become apparent this past holiday weekend that I'm not allowed to stop blogging.  I've been told this at point blank by several outlets.  So, somehow it seems I will need to find a way to eek in a little blogging to keeping the angry mobs at bay.  I was even told by one person that they need my blog to remind themselves they're existence is normal.  I think that's a compliment though it may, in fact, not be.  So here we go, once more into the fray:

A lot of parents, and I believe especially fathers, fear that day when their child exceeds them.  They've grown taller, stronger, faster, more successful - whatever your vice.  For me it's "smarter".  I pride myself on being somewhat intelligent and, though I pray for it every day, I'm worried for that moment they outsmart me.  And here's the scariest part. ... we're not that far from it.  Last night I was herding the girls upstairs for bath and negotiating the terms of tonight's endeavor..  I started at 1 Disney Princess doll per girl in the bath.  They countered at 4, I offered 2.  They re-countered at 3 and I held my ground at 2 to which they claimed Rosaline counted as a body and the total should still be 6.  I nixed the Rosaline argument as you must be able to say the word "Princess" before you can claim rights to representation. They conceded and went to choose their dolls.  I followed behind and started growing suspicious when Arianna told me I couldn't come in her room while she chose her dolls. ... something was going on.  I started to climb the stairs and stopped on the landing to make sure they were following.  Genevieve ran by and bounded up the stairs.  Arianna followed with a sideways gate, hand behind her and front facing me the whole time. ... eyes locked dead on me like a thief on the security camera.  "What's behind your back?" I asked.  "Two baby dolls" she said earnestly.  The specifics gave her away - she'll learn that soon enough.  "Let me see." I requested.  "No." she firmly replied.  "Why" I asked her, waiting for her to give up.  "Because there are only two."  A stair down ensued briefly to which I told her then she could only have one baby.  She agreed on two and returned the stow away.  As she ran back to her room to drop of the extra I couldn't help but laugh.  Laugh, and wipe away the sweat on brow.  I won this round. ... I'm not sure how many victories of wit I have left here.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Since I don't have time to be funny and original, I'll at least share with you other people that are.  Here's the Parent Rap from Bluefish TV.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Miss(ed) Manners

We pride ourself on our manners in the Kopp household.  Our P's and Q's are of utmost concern. But, as with all things child related, things sometime backfire on you.  Last night, Arianna was chocking down the last few bites of her beans.  "One more bite and you can be all done," I told her.  She grimmaced as she shoveled the last spoonful in reluctantly.  "Ok," I said.  "Now where does your plate go?"  I was expecting her to get up and put it in the sink to be washed.  Instead, she looked at me confused for a moment, then spit out the entire mouth full of half chewed beans.  "What are you doing?" I demanded.  "I can't talk with my mouth full, Daddy." She said with authority.  She had a point.  How was she supposed to respond to my question (polite) with a mouth full of food (impolite).  I had nothing in response.  Just a fit full of internal laughter.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Color Me Happy

By now you fully aware of my passion for road races; 5k's, 10k's, halves, fulls, tris, mud runs. ... you name it and I've run it.  Well, except for the zombie run, that was over the girls birthday party. ... but next year.  So when one of my sister-in-laws came to me with pictures from this phenomenon called the Color Run, you bet I was ready to sign up.  As our race day grew nearer it became clear that we hadn't fully thought out what to do with  the girls.  My mom was overseeing an office move, Gina's mom was at a show in Phoenix, my sister was running with us as were all the sister-in-laws.  The run was in San Diego, a good hour and a half south, so any babysitting plan would be an all day event.  Then, a few days before, some of our other friends running mentioned they were taking their two year along in a stroller.  I'd never thought of that.  Sure enough, it said right on  the FAQ's that kids under five were free and only the most awesome of parents would bring their children along.  Well. ... I think we're pretty awesome.  So here it is.  Our color run adventure and the girls first 5k.  Gonna be hard to top this in their future running careers.
















Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sunday, October 28, 2012

PuKING

It took 6 straight hours of midnight puking for me to finally blog again. ... I hope you thoroughly enjoy this.  Let me start with how we envisioned the night would go.  For the past few weeks I've been at work from 5:30 am to 5:30 pm, and Saturdays from about 6 to noon, trying to get a grasp on this new position and vault myself ahead of the chaos rather then constantly feel like I'm playing catch up.  Another back story: we finally bought Rosaline a crib.  She had gone from the bassinet to a pack and play where she stayed the last several months partially because we didn't think the crib would fit in our room and partially because we kind of thought we'd find a house to move into "any day now".  Any day has not come but the day she was too big for the pack and play did.  We pulled the old crib out of storage and - walla - there were no screws or hardware whatsoever. ... just a bonfire worth of non toxic, white painted wood.  So, we bought a new crib which came in last week.  This is the first non hand-me-down Rosaline has gotten, so she kind of earned it.  Anyway, I came home from work yesterday at noon and promptly set up the new crib.  We had visions of her wonderful night sleep in an actual bed and not a collapsible travel device intended for a few days on vaca while visiting the in-laws in Tucson.  In addition to that fantasy I was also, personally, looking forward to sleeping in for the first time in ages.  Maybe rising after the sun for once.  So much so that we even went to bed early to make sure I could get as much rest as humanly possible.  Let me stress that it turns out a human and a dad have very little in common.  Aside from flesh, blood, bone and a 5 o'clock shadow, there is nothing human about fatherhood.  At midnight Arianna climbed on top of me in bed crying.  Crying AND covered in vomit.  Gina took her to the bathroom and I was sent to clean up the bed.  Flashback, two nights prior Rosaline had the same incident and I took the sheets outside to shake them out before putting them in the wash.  You know how you shake out a beach towel and the sand inevitably flies back in your face as the bottom of the towel pops with a snap?  Yeah. ... a little more disgusting when it's vomit and not sand.  The taste of that incident still in heavy in my mouth I balled up these sheets and left them outside for the raccoons to fight over; if they were still there in the morning I would hose them down.  The sheets, not the raccoons.  I came back to our room to find Arianna in the middle of our bed with a vomit bucket - long time readers may remember this bucket; it started out as a mixing bowl last December and hasn't been the same since.  For the next two and a half hours we played catch the puke while trying to squeeze in what minuscule shut eye we could in between rounds.  Finally, my wonderful wife - she really is wonderful - offered to take Arianna  (who had run out of undigested food by now) back to her room where she would sit with her while she dry heaved so that I could get some kind of sleep.  Bless her.  Arianna must have nodded off and Gina came back to bed because a half hour later, right around 3am I woke up to see Genevieve standing in the middle of our room looking at us.  "Honey, are you ok?" I asked.  She made it clear she was not by responding with a heavy vomit on the floor in front of her.  Everything that happened in the last few paragraphs played out again with twin #2 this time.  I swear I went to the kitchen to wash out the puke bowl at least 19 times between midnight and 6 am.  Somewhere around 5 Arianna joined back in the mix and it was a surround sound IMAX kind of experience.  Once again my wonderful wife took them both back to bed around 5:30 and sat with them catching vomit and explaining things like why the cat would smell the foul bowl from hell.  Genvieve, thank god, thought it was gross.  So now, running on few minutes of sleep I blog for you once again.  I have no idea if there is any coherency to this post; but as Gina pointed out we didn't finally exit bed for good until 8:30 this morning so, technically. ... I got to sleep in finally.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pic of the Week

"I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike."

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

554

Five Hundred and Fifty Four. ... It doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.  At least not in the way that 500 or 1,000 does.  But that's how many posts I've entered over the past three years.  Crazy.  On Saturday my first borns turn three.  Three years of their lives have swept over us.  Three years of self improvement has made the man of my past an unrecognizable shadow.  Three years of logging has given me countless hours of joy and reflection and history that would have otherwise been lost to the fogginess of recollection.  Three years of sharing my life. ... our life with you has exposed my soul and filled it in return with confidence and strenght and love.  I've enjoyed the ride.  My regular readers, and I still find it amazing to believe that you exist but sure enough I see your click counts pile up day after day; to you I apologize.  It's not needed, I know.  We never had some sort of agreement that this journey would continue with the depth and dedication it first started.  But I've grown as accustom to writing for you as you have to reading me; and you've noticed, no doubt, that I've been absent a lot lately.  I wanted to take a moment, an official moment, here at 554 to assure you that my absence is not a bad omen.  In fact, it's a wonderful boon for our little family whom you've gotten to know these past half thousand posts.  Out of the blue I've seen my job turn into a career.  I've had a huge question mark filled and with it nearly all of my free time.  As you know my priority when I'm home is my children so you can appreciate that I'm not about to sacrifice my time with them to tell you about my time with them. ... no offense.  And these past few weeks as soon as they've gone off to bed; well, so have I.  The peril of 12 hour work days I suppose.  But tonight Gina is off at a concert and the kids are all quiet and I'm not really sleepy so I thought I'd catch up with you.  So here we are, half way through October.  Rosaline turned 10 months old today.  She's walking, like really walking.   I've counted up to ten steps at a time.  The way she does that pause half way through her journey to regain stability; then she look sat you with that big drooly grin before running the rest of the way into your outstretched arms. ... It's breath taking.  Arianna has become a little jealous of all the attention the baby sister is receiving and at moments we've got her pushing or pulling or trying to block the baby from stealing the spotlight.  It's tough to lose that role of the baby.  But she herself has blossomed beautifully the past few months as well.  I came home today to her riding a tricycle around the living room.  The last time I saw her attempt that her feet were still 2 inches away from the peddles.  But there she was, doing laps.  Last Friday we went to a pumpkin patch and she rode the big swings with the purest grin you've ever seen plastered to her face.  I know they call them toddlers at this age; but when I look at her I see this beautiful woman just growing up before my eyes.  It's terrifying; I'm proud but I'm not ready to meet her yet.  I still want my little tote haired, wide eyed Gerber baby to play princess with me.  And then there's Genevieve.  No doubt you saw the pic of the week, she's 2 inches above the required height line for Knott's Berry Farm's upside down roller coasters.  That's frightening.  But she's not just tall, she's so mature.  Always thinking things through, usually out loud.  Always telling the others how the world works; especially when something is "not nice".  I see Gina in her.  So strong until that last little thing shatters the glass and she crumples into a disastrous heap.  then so easily repaired by something simple like ice cream or a well placed tickle.  They turn three on Saturday.  Have I mentioned that?  It's bizarre for me to think about and you've only had 554 posts to see the changes.  What will the next 554 hold for us?  How far will we get?  How much will we grow?  Because it's not just these little ones that change, it's us too.  I've taken on this career change, this limiting daytime activity which has nothing to do with the the things I really want to do (like blog) because my family needs me to.  Because they depend on me.  554 posts from aimless wandered to driven provider.  12 hour work days are worth 12 minutes of smiles.  Did you know that?  How quickly the pressure and frustration can wear off.  How rewarding life can be if you really live it.  It hasn't taken me 554 posts to come to that realization, in fact it only took about 20 minutes in an operating room nearly three years ago for that to happen.  But 554 posts now stand firm to attest that which I new was true.  This parenting thing. .... there is nothing that the worlds greatest dreamers could imagine that might compare.  If this ends up as my last post ever; that's the point I wish to make.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Pic of the Week

"Does this disturb anyone else? This is an upside down coaster by the way. And she's not even 3 yet!"

Friday, October 5, 2012

Monday, October 1, 2012

Gina's Worst Nightmare

So you'll recall I mentioned a few posts back about our car accident?  Well the other driver's insurance (State Farm) has been very helpful taking car of us, and the 4Runner is now in the shop getting patched up.  But what do you do with three little ones and a busy schedule?  Where are you going to put them all while your ride is out of commission?  Gina's worst nightmare since we first started talking about children was the thought of the dreaded minivan.  Personally, I could care less.  My mom rocked the Chevy Astro my whole life, so a minivan is nothing.  Gina, on the other hand, grew up in a Land Cruiser and a Suburban, so a minivan is so. ... minivany.  As the rental car guy is sorting things out for her he shows that he has a Dodge Caravan (minivan) and a Ford Felx (SUV?).  Come on Ford Flex, come ooooooon Ford Flex!  Oh. ... well, it looks like the Flex isn't available any more; here's your new minivan!  D'oh!  Gina called me shortly after cruising away like a fly soccer mom.  "You know the worst part of this?" she asks me, "I kind of like it!"  This whole weekend we've had large, easy sliding doors that allow us to actually get kids in without fully engaging our lats to suspend one child above the other till they reach their seat on the other side of the vehicle.  We've got more cup holders then we've ever had cups.  No one is touching each other with out great effort.  And, here's the best part (sadly): we can't reach the girls.  I know that sounds terrible, but when they've dropped the same toy for the 798th time it's nice to be able to, honestly, say "Sorry, I can't reach it for you till we get to where we're going".  And that's that.  No argument; they know it's true.  So, while we're not quite there yet, we've gotten a taste for the minivan. ... and I don't think we're as allergic as we thought we were.  By "we" of course I'm referring solely to Gina.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Big Sistsers Make the Best Sisters

Just a heads up, this is second hand reporting, shotty I know, but I just had to share the story.  The last few weeks Gina's been teaching a new 5pm class at the new gym in our area.  Because it's so early (and because it has a kick ass kids' club) Gina has been taking the girls with her so I can take some much needed golf lessons (like, it was almost a court ordered requirement to prevent harm to those around me).  For some reason, probably because it's nearing bed time, Rosaline has had a tough time at this club.  She does great at our usual gym on Saturday mornings, but not so much here.  Heading in to the club yesterday Gina pulls the girls in and tells them that they need to be really good big sisters and play with Rosaline with they're at the club because she gets sad when she's by herself.  Gina signs everyone in and immediately the girls take off for the far reaches of the room.  Rosaline starts getting "quiver lip" and Gina calls the two older girls back.  "Remember, you need to play with Rosaline today, OK?"  Both willingly agree and Gina goes to teach.  When she comes back to pick them up the woman in charge of the kids' club tells Gina "Rosaline has the best big sisters ever!  I don't know if they'll always be so good to her but they played with her the entire time they were here."  Apparently they took mom's request to heart and didn't leave her little side; choosing to play in the infant zone for an hour and twenty minutes and forgo the call of much bigger kid toys.  To hear that story makes me very happy.  And it's OK if they don't stay that way forever; they're sisters after all.  But to know that their relationship is founded on such love I will always take solace in the knowledge that, despite what may happen at times in the future, they will return to that root of sisterly love.  That my littlest girl will always be taken care of by her big sisters.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Oh Damnit!

There are moments in life where all of your life boils down to a moment.  Where, in a split second, that which is important becomes fully obvious and that which isn't. ... isn't.  After fifteen years of driving with out a single accident or even a minor traffic ticket (got one parking ticket for street sweeping. ... bastards!) I was in my first car collission yesterday.  It wasn't anything epic, coming to a stop sign a 17-year-old in a small SUV was making a left on to the street I was coming down when she lost control through the wet intersection and spun into us.  But Gina was at a festival this weekend so I had all three girls in the car with me at the time.  I could see her lose control as soon as she hit the water and my only instinct was to get past her as quickly as possible, so I floored it.  Unfortunatly I didn't get quite past her all the way and she took out the back end of the car (which rattle the dog a little bit).  However, if I hadn't floored it she would have t-boned into Arianna.  That's what rattled me.  A bumbper is replaceable, a wheel well is fixable, a tail light can be bought; Arianna is a little harder to come by.  I pulled off to the side and checked on the kids - Rosline was still sleeping, Arianna asked "what was that?" and Genevieve wanted to know if we weren't going to Grandma's anymore.  I then went over to check on the other driver. ... poor kid.  She was hysterical, as I imagine any young driver would be.  In her I saw my own girls sitting there, slumped over the stearing wheel, balling into the palms of her hands.  Gina said she was lucky to have hit me, someone who isn't overly attached to "things" and who, as a young father of girls, could picture my own child here.  I told her to relax, these things happen.  We have insurance, no one was hurt, life would go on.  We took some pictures and exchanged details and went on our way.  As I got back into the car, Genevieve was a little perterbed that someone would hit our car.  "That's not nice; she's not supposed to do that!" She huffed as we drove away.  I told her that it wasn't on purpose and that's why we call it an "accident".  She was a little less forgiving then I was.  We got to my moms and life continued on.  It was only an hour or so later when my sister comes up from the playroom to the kitchen where I was feeding Rosaline.  She looks at me cautiously before informing me "You know Genevieve is saying 'Oh damnit' down there?"  What?  "Yeah I wasn't sure the first time so I followed her around and she's said it five times now!"  Sure enough I go down there and she's "Oh damnit" this and "Oh damnit" that.  I pulled her and Arianna aside and told them that's a daddy word only, and even Daddy isn't supposed to say that word. "Only when lady hits our car?" Genevieve asks as she nods her head in self assurance.  So that's where she picked up on it.  I'll admit, it's not the only time I've sworn infront of them, and it probably won't be the last.  But clearly, even in emotional moments, I need to watch my mouth because they absorb everything.  Oh damnit!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Potty at Midnight

Part of potty training is the large and risky jump from night time pull ups to underwear.  As noted in the past Genevieve had made the jump effortlessly. ... almost too effortlessly.  Arianna, on the other hand, just couldn't seem to hold it and slept too deeply to wake up and handle it.  So she's been relegated to "ladies" (pull ups with Disney princesses on them) every night.  I'm a softy.  I'm pretty sure you know that about me by now.  So a month ago I let her sleep in panties.  Two nights in a row I was tricked into it.  Two mornings in a row sheets were changed.  Well we went back to ladies and for a good two weeks she had no issues so we put her back in panties at night.  It's my head if she has another accident since I'm the softy who pushed for it (how could I say "no" to that pleading face?).   So as insurance I pluck her out of bed around 11 everynight and sit her on the toilet to empty the reserves that have built up.  So far we've had no issues.  And I have to say, there's something magical that happens in these moments.  Her limp body completely at rest on my shoulder, her sleeping face as she sits there, rocking back and forth as her core tries to engage itself with out the use of her brain, the peace in her.  I don't know. ... it's not really describable.  It's just a moment in every day life that makes me smile.  It's the little things, the things you never imagined you'd find so much joy in, that make parenting such a tremendous experience.  It's the head on your shoulder when they're watching TV.  It's the microscopic bite of dinner that they try to share with you.  It's the "I love you Daddy" for the 10,000th time and yet moves you just as much as the first.  It's the slap on the face from a 9 month old in the middle of the night who just wants to touch you so you'll look at her.  It's the last drink of water after lights out.  The pitter patter of running feet in the morning, desperately trying to make it to the TV before someone hears them.  It's the hand slipped into yours even when you didn't ask for it.  It's the song being sung in the back seat.  The delight at cake pops from Starbucks.  The importance of a penny for the M&M jar.  The dandelion picked just for you, which everyone else may see as a weed but to you it's a bouquet of the finest flora.  And yes, it's the midnight pee session that she doesn't even know is taking place, but to me. ... well, it's a perfect way to end my day; staring into the face of such a lovely creature as she sleeps. ... on a toilet.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I Love Little Girls

Seriously, I do.  For some reason when ever someone finds out I have three daughters, most of them either ask if we're going to try for a boy (like "keep working at it, one of these times you'll get it right") or say something along the lines of "I'm sorry", shooting me the same look you give to the sweet looking pitbull in the euthinization cage at the SPCLA.  While not ruling out another kid down the line, and in no way saying that we wouldn't love to add a little boy to the mix to change things up - because we would - let me make this clear: I love having little girls.  And nothing reminds me how much I love my daughters more then seeing little boys their same age; it's exhausting just watching them.  On Sunday I took all three girls to the zoo.  Gina was working a festival down by San Diego so I set out with juice boxes, pb&j's, and a 6 pack of patience.  But all I really needed was the food.  The girls were so easy; they walk nicely and hold hands and listen and act like little people. ... not whirling dervishes of chaos.  I know you can't lump all boys into the same dog pile, so I won't.  I know plenty of good little boys, and I was a little boy once (not a good one, though) so you'd assume my bias is tainted in their favor to begin with.  But the ones at the zoo were all crazy.  Screaming and hitting and running and climbing and hitting and climbing and running and screaming.  One poor dad, chasing after his lone child, passed me by in slow motion.  He did the whole "once over" of our little family and you could see a pleading confusion in his eyes as we locked gazes for a moment.  "What the hell?!" he seemed to ask.  "I'm desperately pursuing 1 and you're calmly walking with a stroller and 2 holding on and as instructed."  We then sat and ate our lunch while another little boy nearby impersonated a wine sommelier, chewing each bite before intentionally spitting it out on the floor next to him.  His poor mother looked exhausted and out of ideas.  Then the girls went and played on the playground while this grandmother chased a little boy (she was underneath the structure, he was on top) as he tried to find any possible means to jump off and kill himself.  Backwards down the slide, over the security railings, on top of the little slide "house".  Her screams of "Christopher" wore down her voice to a horse whisper by the time she finally pryed him down and carried him away screaming.  I do want to note on that one that the grandfather just sat on the bench the whole time eating a bag of chips and watching his poor wife struggle with their progeny.  And these are just three examples of many.  Yes, part of it is my girls are very well behaved - we got lucky with that.  But I did not see one little girl there giving her parents a rough time. ... not one.  And not all the boys were difficult; there were several who seemed very well mannered.  But the problems were overwhelmingly little boys.  So here's the deal: the next time someone says "Three girls, huh?  That's gotta be rough."  (which happened at my sister-in-law's soccer game on Saturday. ... word for word) I'm going to say, "It could have been worse. ... I could have had sons!"

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Planning Parenthood

I was never a soldier or police officer or a cowboy, but I imagine those who've dedicated their lives to such careers look at children pretending to be them through sideways eyes.  Seeing some child pretend to be in the heat of battle when you've just returned from war, or playing cops and robbers after you'd just had a tweeker try and shank you must be. ... difficult to say the least.  Wow. ... I was looking for a good entry analogy for my post and I believe I overshot my mark by a large amount.  I'm about to liken parenting to life threatening careers and that's not at all accurate.  Well, the delete button is all the way up there so there's not much I can do about it now.
Anyway, I was sitting in the sauna at the gym the other day (see how unlike a war hero my life is already) and there were two young women in there chatting it up.  They were probably in their early twenty's but couldn't have been much more then that.  They were talking about having children, neither of them pregnant or even near that stage in their life, they were just fantasizing about how it would go.  They were planning it to a "t".  This is the gender, this is the month they'll be born, this is how I'll help them to walk and this is when we'll potty train.  They'll only eat these foods and bed time will be promptly when I say it is.  I didn't laugh out loud, but internally I was busting up.  I have a policy at the gym, and it's not the best but it helps me get through my workout and back to the office efficiently: I don't talk to people.  Making friends only increases the number of conversations you have to have and takes away from the time you have to do what you came to do. ... nice, huh?  But, if I were into making friends I would have jumped right in with "ladies, plan all you want, you'll still find yourself plucking a sleeping three year old from her bed at 1 am and plopping her on the toilet to avoid changing the sheets at 5.  As you place her back in her room and snuggle her in with a stuffed tiger you didn't buy her but will move heaven and earth to find when it's lost you won't have the slightest memory that you were only going to feed her organic vegetables and free range dairy products, because sleep deprivation robs you of all memories prior to leaving the hospital with that newborn.  And after struggling with breastfeeding for two weeks, your nipples cracked and bloody, that defiant stance on formula will weaken slightly.  Nick Jr will break your resolve of not letting your little one watch TV when you realize you can have 20 minutes during Yo Gabba Gabba to fold that pile of laundry that has quadrupled since the poop machine arrived.  And cloth diapers?  You'll laugh that one off shortly too.  The 7 o'clock bedtime you guaranteed will hold firm until you realize that no one falls asleep till 11:30 anyway, and by this time you'll have no memory that you caved and went for the epidural during labor.  That fancy stroller you demanded will have no resale value after the horrors it's seen, which only the remaining stains will attest to in public.  Half of the cloths you bought will sit in storage for eternity with price tags still affixed because the winter was unseasonably warm or your little one didn't grow according to your fantasy growth chart.  Your dog, your best friend and your "furry child". ... did you feed him last night?  The day before?  You'll let a swear word slip once and this will be the first word your child says.  You'll tell friends she's saying "truck" but everyone knows "tr" sounds nothing like "f".  But, at some point in all this madness you'll find a rhythm, a rhythm that works perfectly for you.  A rhythm that works perfectly for your child.  A rhythm that looks nothing like what you planned all those years and months earlier.  And this is the reality of parenthood.  It can't be planned, it can only be discovered as you go along.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Snore

I think the hardest part about being a parent, the thing nobody teaches you about in a baby prep class and no one writes about when you're expecting, is keeping yourself from laughing hysterically when you need to be serious.  Last night I took advantage of my Father's Day gift and started my series of golf lessons.  As laughable as I may have looked that's not the funny part.  I got home just as the girls were going down and then Gina and I went into the kitchen to make some dinner.  We're talking for a while, enjoining a nice lass (OK, glasses) of pinot grigio when we hear a faint whisper during a lull in conversation.  Gina bellows in her "I'm not yelling I'm just being serious" mom voice for Genevieve to stop talking and go to sleep.  It's beauty is in it's ability to bounce off the walls and power its way into that back room, where we can now hear a forceful whisper attempting to quickly end the conversation they were having before mom actually comes back there.  I take the cue and journey back (I think dad coming in is like the warning shot; you know when you see dad you're gonna be fine, but don't push it because mom comes next).  I crack the door a little more and as I poke my head into the darkness, in perfect unison, both girls break into a Looney Tunes quality snoring sound effect.   I wish I could type how comical it actually sounded. ... it was perfect.  I had to yank my head back out of the room before I erupted in laughter because, like dogs smell fear, children smell entertained and if they sense they've got you on the ropes they'll come for the kill.  I run back to the kitchen and I tell Gina "you've got to go back there.  Just stick your head in; don't be mad.  Just stick your head in and tell me that's not hilarious!"  She does, and she agrees, though she's much better about handling herself then I am.  "What's going on in here" she questions.  "We sleeping" whispers Arianna in response as Genevieve amps up the volume on her snore to make the case in point.  This is why dad's need mom's. ... there's no way I could have gotten through that with a straight face.  I was completely and utterly useless.   I think the best part may have been the play by play of Arianna.  "We sleeping", as if you couldn't tell from the snoring, my telling you what's happening should clear the matter up.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Roar in the Night

I don't recall ever being so closely attached to an inanimate object when I was a child.  You know, the binky or the lovey or the tattered remnants of a stuffed bunny you call floppy.  I probably did have something, I think most kids do, but I certainly can't recall it some thirty years later.  I remember some friends of my parents who's daughter had "dolly".  Dolly was such a crucial part of their child's id that they'd stocked back up's in the garage so that they could be replaced if and when they were needed.  I thought that ridiculous at the time.  At the time.  Not so much anymore.  Arianna's attachment of choice is a stuffed tiger from the Tucson zoo that her Grandpa bought her when we went out there for Christmas about two years ago.  We call him "Roar" and he's already been replaced once.  With the stripes wearing off and making him look more like a cougar then a tiger, Grandpa offered to buy her a new stuffed animal when we were out there last November.  Naturally, out of a wall of 100's of animals, she chose another Roar.  She's tried to sleep with other animals, usually adamant about it until the lights go off; that's when she back tracks and cries for or Roar to come back.  If she has to make a choice on which toy to bring, it's usually Roar and this weekend, with Gina working a festival, it was no different when we went over to my mom's for lunch.  Of course, Grandma threw us for a little loop once we got there.  You see, Arianna has made it through the night with a dry bed (in big girl panties) for a week now so Grandma got them both a little reward for being so grown up: new purses that look like poodles.  Flash a fancy car in front of your eyes and you temporarily forget about the horse that brought you there.  Needless to say, in the shine of a new toy we forgot Roar when we went home that night.  And, to be honest, we didn't think anything of him/her (I'm a little confused on the gender of Roar) for the rest of the day.  Arianna wanted the poodle purse to sleep with and that's when I noticed his absence.  I immediately figured out where he was but I knew better then to say anything out loud. ... maybe she wouldn't notice. ... maybe.  ROOOOOAAAAARRRRRRR!!!!!  Then again, maybe not.  Upon discovering him gone you might have well removed a foot.  She screamed bloody murder so loud that it woke Rosaline sleeping on the other side of the house.  I tried to calm her but she demanded I go to Grandma's right now and rescue him.  I explained I could not; I was the only adult in the house.  Then she demanded that Grandma bring him home now.  I told her that was not possible either; we'd get him first thing in the morning but she'd have to sleep with out him tonight.  Then she wanted to know where he would sleep?  With Grandma and Papa in their bed, I explained.  Not good enough.  She wanted him to have his own sleeping bag.  Perhaps she didn't want Papa to rub off any of his snuggle.  I don't know.  I just know one thing for sure: we're going to Tucson at the end of the month. ... and this dad is stocking up on a couple more Roar's.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Not As I Do

Putting the girls down to bed last night and Arianna, who usually runs through a laundry list of attempts to thwart bed time, starts in that she's hungry.  You're not hungry, you had a huge dinner; you can have breakfast when you wake up.  "I need to go tisza".  You just got off the potty 12 seconds ago. ... you're fine.  "I'm thirsty".  "Me too", chimes in Genevieve.  Fine.  This one I'll usually allow.  So I get one of their little Dixie cups and fill it with water and let each one take a small sip to satisfy their parched and apparently dehydrated lips.  I then place the cup on the nightstand between their beds so I can tuck them in.  "You leave the water there for me?" Arianna asked.  "No," I told her.  "Why not?" Genevieve chirped.  "Because if I leave it here you'll accidentally spill it in the middle of the night." I explain.  I then turn out the light, reach for the water cup, knocking it over and spilling it all over the night stand.  "That why we no can have it in our room Daddy?" Genevieve responds without missing a beat.  "That is exactly why.  Exactly why."

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Where My Peeps At?

Gina picked up a new class on Tuesday afternoons as a brand new 24 Hour Fitness in Lakewood.  This is one of the really nice ones they're opening up so the girls really wanted to check out the giant kids club, which by all accounts was awesome.  Anyway, she took them and I stayed with the baby when I got home from work, since she still needed her late afternoon nap.  She woke up and we played a little bit, then I put her in her walker so she could run around.  First thing she does is zoom over to the girls room door and start yelling inside.  After a few times of now response she zooms over to another doorway and yells in there; nothing.  She then runs a big circle around the house yelling and yelling but receiving no response.  She goes back to the girls room one more time and yells in then waits patiently.  Nothing.  At this point she gets really upset and turns to me with a look on her face like "where did my sissies go?"  It was so sweet.  All she wanted was to play with her big sisters and she was so disappointed that they weren't around.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Playing Doctor

As the father of all girls I'm a little terrified of that moment in life when the girls start playing "doctor".  I don't think I need to expound much more on what that game is or why it may have me concerned.  But I'm suddenly even more concerned that maybe they'll actually one day grow up to be real doctors.  Yes, I want them to be as successful as they possibly can be in life, but based on observations yesterday I'm a little worried about malpractice suits.  After getting Rosaline up from her afternoon nap I walked into the girls room and found them play surgery - although they don't know that word yet so that's not what they were calling it - with their baby dolls and a Handy Manny tool set.  Apparently when you're sick it's a screw driver to the nose and if that doesn't work a swift couple of strikes with a hammer on your temple ought to do the trick.  "All better!"  Genevieve was fixing an "owie" with a hand saw and Arianna felt the pliers were good tool for making her babies "butt feel better."  I'm not sure if she was constipated or suffering from hemorrhoids but, whatever it was, it must have been serious.  Note to all readers, if in 25 years or so you find yourself scheduling an appointment with a Dr. Kopp. ... you might want to seek treatment elsewhere.  That is, of course, unless you think a pipe wrench is useful in eye surgery.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Taddle

There's something about a snitch. ... it's almost worse then the offending actor.  You can see the point of the taddler; they're thinking they're reporting the evil doer and that they'll be rewarded for "helping".  But it's so uncool.  Last night Arianna got up from bed about four times to repeatedly tell me that Genevieve was still talking.  I couldn't hear Genevieve, but when ISN'T she talking?!  After telling her the first three times to just go to sleep and not worry about Genevieve, the fourth time I started to think this was less about stopping the talking and more about getting her sister in trouble (or doubling her own stock by drawing comparisons).  Genevieve does the same thing.  If Arianna gets in trouble or is told not to behave a certain way "I no do that" comes flying out of Genevieve's mouth like angry hornets from a nest.  I'm not talking to you, I'll respond, but she always presses the point further.  I guess it's human nature.  We feel compelled to report the wrong doing of others, but rarely to stop the action.  Most of the time it's just to bring ourselves some sort of benefit.  For the record, Rosaline has yet to taddle on anyone.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Two Roads Diverged

You can probably tell I've been out of it lately.  It's like I have to force myself to write an entery and, literally I do.  I have been so swamped at work I can't even begin to explain.  Add to that I've got 3rd year law school finals tomorrow morning at 7; so blogging has been an afterthought.  Yesterday I watched as they built up the paper stack on my desk like expert masons constructing some sort of fortress wall.  I spent 3 1/2 hours in the morning just building orders for 32 schools and 4 hours in the afternoon putting those constructed orders through to vendors (not to mention the rest of my job that has nothing to do with this part).  Gina called in the middle of the chaos to tell me the girls had just bought new swim goggles and were looking forward to practicing their diving when I got home.  Our new thing - especially Genevieve - is diving under water to find toys that have sunk down.  They're really quite impressive.  In fact, I think I may have found my new scuba partner in Genevieve; she can do that all day.  Unfortunately my mind was on my desk, not on the phone call and so I just kind of skimmed over it.  About twenty minutes later I came to the realization that there was no way I would get home in time to swim, so I picked up the phone to make sure one of my in-laws would be home since Gina teaches Wednesday nights.  As the bland hum of the ringer in my ear persisted something hit me. ... what are you doing?  I'm miserable all day long.  The only thing that gets me through a monotonous day of office work is the knowledge that at the end I can go home and play with the three little girls I love most in the world.  And here I am canceling that?!  I'm sorry if you don't like foul language but there's only one thing I can say here: Fuck that!  Seriously.  Fuck that!  I made the decision long ago that I would work to live not live to work.  Not one single person will give a rats ass if I finished that paper work that day or came in early the next to finish.  Not one.  But three little people would care a great deal if I blow them off for our daily swim lessons.  And those are the only three people that mean anything to me anyway.  I have a choice to make at this juncture in my life.  I am the dad who works all the time, or I'm the worker who father's all of the time.  I'm making the decision, no one else.  I am going to be a dad first and an employee second.  And you know what?  Genevieve dove beautifully.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

When Kids Fly

One of my favorite relationships of the past decade has been the one I've shared with the youngest of my sister-in-laws.  She was two when I arrived on the scene so she's been kind of like my practice kid.  When I'd walk in the door she'd climb up on me like a jungle gym.  When she had soccer games I was there taking notes on the sideline.  But my favorite was/is the pool.  I got to be the launching device that would send her skyward towards the deep end of the pool, flipping, splashing and belly flopping into the water below.  Fortunately, thus far, I've managed to keep in good enough shape to accommodate her size swing from toddler to pre-teen.  But lately, even though we swim almost daily, my attention is focused on the girls; working on their exercises and then keeping vigilant watch on their doggy paddle's as they free swim, with only the aid from their flippered feet, afterwards.  The point of all this work in the water is simple: I want to get to the stage where they can just play effortlessly and I don't have to worry so much about them remembering to come up for air.  This takes practice of course.  Practice and time.  But I got a little teaser yesterday of things to come.  Toward the end of our pool time my sister-in-law sheepishly asks "Can Thea fly today?"  Like I could say no to that request.  I had the girls sit on the side of the pool and spectate - they can't be swimming around if my focus is elsewhere - as Thea climbed upon my shoulders and I pressed off the bottom of the pool to send her flipping down the length of the water.  "Again, again" they cried to both of our delight.  Then, the request changed.  "Me turn!" Arianna shouted.  "Me turn!"  This is what I was waiting for.  Obviously I didn't launch her skyward, but she climbed on my shoulders as I held her little hands and slowly stood up, pulling her off and simulating the jumping motion.  "Again, again!" she squealed through the broadest of smiles.  There are some aspects of being a dad that are tough.  I'm never the first choice when they're not feeling good.  When they pick out prom dresses or (god forbid) wedding dresses I won't be consulted, just handed the invoice.  Five days a week I'm here in the office blogging instead of working while they're off on some jealousy inducing adventure.  But there's one market I've got cornered. ... the human playground.  And fortunately for me, I enjoy this much more then dress shopping.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Me, Myself and I

We headed over to Gina's aunt's house yesterday for a swim and a barbecue.  They'd moved about an hour away from where we are so, while Gina had been there a while back, a few of us had not yet seen the new digs.  After splashing around for most of the day and scattering our collection of toys around the house, Gina took the baby inside to be fawned over by everyone and I settled into a hammock with the two big girls and we counted airplanes (Grandpa Steve's as they call them; since their Grandpa is a commercial pilot).  As we laid there - well, I laid there, they bounced and flopped and squirmed and wrestled and did everything BUT just lay there - I had this nearly indescribable moment of serenity.  My wife filled a large hole in my heart when she came into the picture, it's like she completed me.  But simultaneously she's still a separate entity.  It's like the round peg in the round hole, you still have a peg and a hole, they're just together.  But my children aren't separate from me.  At least, that's not how it feels.  Sitting with them, being with them is really just like being alone.  Not in the "I'm sad and alone so I need to wallow and eat comfort food" alone but in the "let's sing at the top of my lungs and dance around in my skivvies because no one will judge me" alone.  They are me.  They're not pegs that fill up the void they're part of the object itself.  It's a very strange thing.  And it's not a new feeling, it's just one that hit me as unique and notable.  I don't think there's anyone that makes you feel more "you" then you're children do.  There were three of us in that hammock, but really was just me.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Pic of the Week

"Don't turn around kid. What ever you do, don't turn around!"


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Pissin' the Night Away

Well, now that I have Chumbawumba's Tubthumpin' firmly planted in my head (and hopefully yours too - I get knocked down, but I get up again, no you're never gonna keep me down) on to today's post.  Potty training. ... oh it seems so easily conquered in the beginning.  Both girls took to it very well and we've had, literally, zero accidents (aside from the occasional trying to get out of the swimming pool fast enough but only make it to the patio when the stream starts, then turn and sheepishly ask "Is this ok?").  But night time. ... well, we just sleep too heavy.  The truth is Genevieve has been wearing underwear to bed for months now.  She has no problem.  I think she's also half camel, though, because she can go like 8 hours with out a drop.  But poor Arianna.  She chugs everything like a little frat boy and then passes out like one at night, so she just can't get up to take care of business.  The past few weeks she's done very well, waking up in the morning with dry pull ups like 75% of the time.  Then, at night, when we're getting ready for bed she looks up and desperately asks to be in underwear like her sister.  That's got to be awful, and it's part of the difficulty of twins.  They're not always at the same stage and it's really hard to treat one differently then the other.  If they were a year apart I could say, well, sissies older - when you're older you can do that too.  But I can't.  So on Tuesday, after four straight days of dry mornings, we put her to bed in underwear.  Before we went down, around 11, Gina took her potty and she emptied her bladder and went back to bed.  Unfortunately that wasn't enough.  Gina woke up in the morning and Arianna was passed out in a cold puddle of old pee.  So sheets were washed and I was told (Gina teaches Wednesday nights) to go back to the "ladies" (pull-ups with princess on them) that night.  But I couldn't do it.  I couldn't look into her big, blue, baby doll eyes as she asked for "Khakis. ... please daddy?"  So I devised a plan: I would take her at 11, then I'd get up when the baby had her midnight nursing and take her again.  That should do the trick.  So right before bed she unloaded a gallon's worth of pee, then at 11 she went like thoroughbred before the derby, so around 4 am when the baby was nursing I popped up ready to help her get through this night dry.  By 4:30 I'd finished changing the sheets and she was back asleep in new pajamas. ... sigh.  Once again she was passed out in a cold puddle.  As I tried to wake her she was shivering.  I told her we needed to change cloths because she had pee'd.  "No me tsiza, I'm just cold Daddy!" she refuted.  So congratulations Pull-Up's, you get to keep us as loyal customers for a while longer.  I hope you're happy.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympic Dreamin'

So in case you rely on my blog as your main source of news and information (which you probably should rethink) the Olympics are now well under way.  This is my first summer games as a parent and, incredibly, I have yet to sit down and watch anything with the girls.  It's not really on their list of viewing requests. ... pretty much anything but Pocahontas can suck it as far as they're concerned right now (we're slowly working our way through the Disney princess catalogue in two week periods of obsession. ... apparently Mulan is next).  But it does get you thinking; you read about these amazingly coordinated and determined physical specimens who would make you blush just standing next to them in a speedo, leotard or short-shorts and you wonder: does my kid have what it takes?  I know the girls are going to be tall. ... like, really tall; but will they have the hand-eye coordination that I lack to make them any good at basketball.  I was a volleyball player (pretty good) in high school, but I'm not sure I'm cool with them wearing bikini's and diving on the sand in front of a bazillion spectators - same goes for the so called "shorts" they wear on the indoor floor.  There's a point when short is not descriptive enough of the lacking material they wear.  They did extremely well at swim lessons this summer, Genevieve can even swim the entire length of the pool with out assistance. ... of course she forgets to come up and breathe so I'm not sure that bodes well for the 4x100.  Arianna, meanwhile, doesn't like putting her face in the water so she's really great at just treading in one place.  Water polo?  Well, she talks too much while she's doing that so unless the strategy is to distract the opponents with conversations on your favorite Disney princess I'm not sure she's got the chops there.  Both of them prefer to look at ponies rather then ride them so equestrians out, and I'm not giving either one of them a weapon just for my own safety let alone yours, so let's scratch archery and rifle. .... riflery?  Rifling? Rif. .... gun shooting off the list.  At my moms last night all the kids were running around "racing" down a hill and Arianna still has the "butterfly run" where her arms flap behind her while she prances.  It's not turning out to be some sort of seceret track weapon I had hoped when she was younger.  She came in third behind her much younger cousin, only because there were only three of them running.  Shot put and javelin might be options, and their great grandpa (Gina's step grandpa) actually competed for Greece in the Olympics in both those events - as well as basketball - so maybe he can Mr. Miaghi them.  Gymnastics is right out.  Not only did Genevieve get my lack of equilibrium gene, but she's projected to be somewhere in the six foot range. ... I don't know if you've seen female gymnasts but they're not typically on the tall side; unless their standing on each others shoulders.  Even then they might not reach the six foot mark.  The way I look at it, this really only leaves us with one category of events, but it's one I think they both have natural instincts and great ability in: fighting.  Judo, wrestling, boxing. ... I've seen Arianna pull off a textbook headlock and she's almost perfect the fireman carry.  Genevieve on the other hand throws a mean right cross (I've taken a few).  It's not what you hope for in your kids, but you got to work with their natural gifts, right?  Maybe Rosaline will be my delicate lotus flower gymnast. ... nope, probably not.