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.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Remember That Dad That Used to Blog?

What happened to THAT guy?  Where did he go?!  Well, the truth is, I'm asked all the time "how do you find the time for work, fatherhood, law school and still manage to blog?"  Clearly that answer is "I don't."  But after a crazy couple of weeks I'm finding a second to breathe and write something truly awe inspiring inspirational entertaining cheap filler. So let me fill you in.  We went camping. ... oh how we went camping.  I was hoping to give my family the same wonderful memories I gathered as a child in the shadow of Yosemite's Half Dome.  Instead we stayed at a camp site run by the folks in Deliverance and the girls came down with Hand Foot and Mouth on Monday of the week long vacation.  So yeah.  That was awesome.  Apparently they contracted it before we even left, it just takes a few days to manifest in the fever, swollen gums and mouth sores that wouldn't allow them to eat anything and had us giving them water out of a medicinal syringe.  We made one fond memory at the campsite breakfast when Genevieve throwing up forced Arianna to throw up which made their four-year-old cousin Conner vomit as well.  He looked up at me and says "Someone just threw up on me."  It's was you buddy. ... it was you.  Good trip.  Gooooooood trip.  Fortunately, before the plague struck we did get to go on a couple of really nice hikes and do a little kayaking on the lake.  After that, though, it was pretty much just misery. ... and bowling.  Later we stopped by our friends house in Turlock for a few days and enjoyed the 104 degree temps and her mothers pool.  Then we came back home and spent a week trying to regain our appetite and our enthusiasm for brushing teeth.  We couldn't do any oral hygiene during the stretch because their mouths would just start bleeding (not to mention the crying and screaming that brought) so they both kind of smelled of weeks old road kill when you kissed them good night.  But we're back to normal.  Eating.  Drinking.  Fighting.  It's like old times.  Then, on Sunday, we had Rosaline's baptism.  It turned out beautifully.  Turns out it was also her new Godmother's "baptism".  She walked in the the service holding our naked little baby with out any towel or sheet and Gina leans in to me and says "you know she's getting pee'd on." 3-2-1. ... the face said it all.  Our newly minted Godmother (Nouna) simple tells the congregations with perfect dead pan "Oh yeah. ... this is happening."  Not exactly Holy Water.  She's going to be a first time mom in October though, so this is just a warm up.  Anyway, throw in there law school finals, a couple of unsuccessful house hunting trips and a month from hell at work and I think I've got myself a pretty good excuse for being MIA.  Hopefully it won't be too long before we chat again.  Oh, and did I mention I wrote a novel and am currently working with an editor in New York on securing an agent?  So yeah, there's that too.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Monday, July 9, 2012

Campin'!

Excuse the typos and the brevity but we are on our fist camping expedition as a family. I grew up doing this kind of stuff all the time. Gina... Not so much. So we are braving the flies (miga!), the cold water, sleeping on a declining hill, the stink bugs in our bed, the drunk camp manager, endless puking sessions and having a ball. Well, Gina... Not so much.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Land of our Fathers, Land of our Children

I'm an average American citizen.  I feel a deep sense of fortune for the land I was born in and the opportunities I have been given as a result; but I'm not getting an eagle tattooed on my chest or patrolling the boarder any time soon.  I do love my country but I've never been inclined to sign up for military duty and I feel a little ridiculous joining the "U-S-A, U-S-A" chant every time Taco Bell has a two for one taco give away.  I think there's a very large line between patriotic pride and ignorant nationalism.  Quick example: all the people on comment boards for news stories claiming "this is unconstitutional" or "that's a prime example of socialism" - yet, as someone who is just wrapping up a year of studying constitutional law it's painfully apparent how few of them even know what the constitution says or it's intended purpose in our society.  And ask a single one of them to define socialism and they can't. ... most of them can't even spell it with out spell check.  But that's actually made me love this country a little more.  Yes, there are ignorant assholes - but that's allowed.  How many countries make it a god given right to be an asshole?!  With no hint of sarcasm intended, that's pretty awesome.

Anyway, I got off on a bit of a tangent there.  What I really wanted to talk about was how much my pride has expanded since the births of my children.  They are the people I would do battle for.  They are the reasons I would chant mindlessly.  And I think how lucky, not just that I was born here, but more importantly that they were.  Medical care.  Clean water.  Abundant food.  Spacious (if not expensive) housing.  The top public protection services in Police and Fire.  We're only an hour or two north of Tijuana, Mexico where we live.  I've seen how close we are to a tragic system.  That's not to say the whole country is that way, or to imply that parts of the US are not just as bad, but its a stark contradiction between the two images.  And I'm grateful that my children were born 2 hours to the north.  I can worry about things like what college they'll go to, what boys they'll bring home, to sign them up for soccer or softball.  I don't have to go to sleep at night worried about where they'll get their next meal, what disease they may pick up in the sewage strewn street, will some bloodthirsty cartel catch them in the crossfire of their ever increasing gun battles?  My children are safe.  My children are happy.  My children are free.  Free to be what ever they want to be. ... even assholes.

Trying to make them aware of what a great country we live in we've taught them about the American flag (they call it the "United States Flag" though and it sounds much cuter) a few months ago; now they point out every one they see.  And as they went to bed on July 3rd I talked to them about what the next day was.  I told them it was the birthday for the United States and we were going to have a big birthday party.  When they woke up they were super excited and told my mom later in the day about the United State's birthday and that's why they were "dressed up like the United States Flag!" Genevieve also mentioned fireworks very enthusiastically.

There was a face painter at the block party and he asked Arianna what she wanted.  "United States' Flag please."  He looked at me and I convinced him I had not put her up to it.  "I've never had a two year old ask for a United States' Flag before," he said.  "Usually it's unicorns or rainbows."


Genevieve opted for a firecracker.  I'm a little worried about this one; all she talked about were explosives for much of the day.
Unfortunately a few of the cities around us stopped their big displays due to budget cuts; tragic but understandable.  We went home hoping we could see the big display at the nearby Air Force base but, even from the balcony, they were just below the treeline - even for me.  So instead we climbed in to bed with the girls and watched a dazzling fireworks display on the iPad.  It's the 21st Century right. ... that's what the world has come to.  Anyway, thanks America.  For all you've given us and all you promise us we are truly grateful.  Even if I don't get 8 weeks vacation like Finland or 12 months paid paternity leave like Sweden.  At least I can wear shorts and flip-flops year round.  So suck it Scandinavia!  U-S-A!  U-S-A! U-S-A!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

New Policy

Gentlemen, please take note of the new suitor application and abide accordingly.  Failure to follow this and or any other protocol will result in implementation of item 10-a, b, and/or c as well as full denial of item 11.