Thursday, April 28, 2011

Rooting for your team

I know when you read the title you were probably thinking this was going to be something about sports and my rules for how to root for your team.  While that isn't a bad idea (and I've written it down for later use), this isn't what this post is about.  When I write "team", what I really mean is "family".

How we treat our teams in any given sport really doesn't differ much to how we treat our families.  We actually look at them in very similar ways.  I got to thinking about this when Erin and I had the following exchange:
Erin - I've never had Hamburger Helper.
Brandon - We use to have it a lot.
Erin - I'm not surprised.
Brandon - What the hell is that supposed to mean?

I knew what it meant.  My wife was saying that my family didn't eat healthy foods, and that she wasn't surprised that we had something that she deemed unworthy.  I didn't disagree with what she was saying, but I was still offended by it.  I couldn't really say why it upset me at first.  I mean what she said was technically true, and she knows me and my family well enough just like I know her family as well as anyone.  And it wasn't the worst thing in the world to point out.  It's just Hamburger Helper.  It wasn't as if we were cooking meth.  So why did I care and feel the need to defend my family as if it was some great injustice?

Later that night I started to put two and two together, and I realized that I'm the same way with the teams I follow.  If a Dodger fan badmouthed a player on the Giants, I would stick up for that player.  It doesn't matter that I was probably badmouthing the same guy five minutes before.  I've earned that right to call out the people on my own team because I've been there through the battles and supported them.  In turn when you insult them, I take it as an insult to me.  As if you are questioning how I could be a part of them and support them, and I certainly don't see that as your place.  You aren't a part of this community, so you can't comment on it.

Families are no different.  They're your team that you grew up with from the beginning.  You don't choose your team; your team chooses you.  They shape you and give you joy.  They also upset you and frustrate you to no end.  That is why I'll rip my brother all the time, and he'll do the same.  I'll point out my mom and dad's foibles and razz them lovingly.  My sisters were the butt of an uncountable number of my jokes.  I also support them and want the best for them.  And if you think of doing any of those things with my family, I will come down hard on you because it isn't your place.  I will fight for their honor and won't let anyone talk bad about them.  It may seem schizophrenic, but that's the way families are.

I'd expect Erin to be just as offended if I spouted off about her family.  And I try not to unless it gets to an absolute breaking point because I know it really isn't my place to criticize them.

Erin and I have now started our own family, and I will be just as much of a pitbull defending it.  I would destroy the world of anyone that would speak bad about her or our girls.  I don't care who you are.  It may not make sense to you, and it shouldn't.  You can't understand it because you aren't a part of it.  This is my team, and no one criticizes my team except me.  I've earned it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I have a whole list of topics stored on my iPhone for nights like tonight.  Nights when I don't actually want to write anything.  A lot of good it's doing me right now when I don't want to actually take the time to expand on any of those ideas.

 At this point I'm just going to put the computer down and stare at Grace and Ana sleeping in their crib.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Twitter Machine Tuesday

I'm back again for another edition of Twitter Machine Tuesday.  A place where I cobble together a bunch of my random thoughts a.k.a. cheating my way out of actually writing something.  Any excuse to be lazy works for me.  Once again these are things I would have posted had I an actual Twitter Machine.

-I don't think I've ever used my car horn but I give the death stare often, and I think it is just as effective.
-Sunflower seeds and peanuts are both great ballpark food. I prefer seeds but won't turn down either.
-I used to write poetry in my younger days. I'm just not the romantic I used to be.
-Easter tradition I don't enjoy: Ham. I just hate ham and don't get why it is so ubiquitous.
-I'm going to teach @erinsgirls how to keep score of a baseball game. Helps you follow the game better.
-Cadbury Creme Eggs are always super cheap right after Easter. I love that stores overstock.
-One positive for above-ground pools: Harder for your kids to fall in & drown. White trash=Safer
-Never rode in a helicopter. Seems like they do it weekly on reality tv.
-How has there never been a movie based on the Ender's Game series?
-Why do old people drive so slow? It's not like they have a lot of extra time. It's not about the journey anymore Grandpa.
-TV Characters that I want to be like: Adam Braverman, Raylan Givens & Ron Swanson.
-The saddest songs are always the prettiest.  It's strange how that works.
-Twin girls screaming their lungs out after multiple hours in the car and little sleep is not a recommended Easter activity. FYI
-I listen to talk radio more than music on the radio because I find that radio stations rarely play what I deem to be good music.
-We're debating whether or not to take the girls to their first MLB game next month. I think it will be more fun than leaving them at home without us.
-On a annoyance scale of Fran Drescher to Tom Hanks where does reading someone else's tweets out loud rank?
-BTW, we should rank annoying things on this scale. Obviously Fran Drescher is most annoying & Hanks is the most likable person I can think of.
-I wish I had the ability to sleep in. It is one of life's pleasures that has escaped me.

That's all for this week.  Thanks for taking time to humor me and my random, aimless thoughts.  Check back in next week for another edition of Twitter Machine Tuesday.  Or don't.  Whatever.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Reading is Fundemental

I read an article today that gave the following statistics:
  • 1/3 of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives
  • 42 percent of college grads never read another book after college
  • 80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year
  • 57 percent of books aren't read to completion

These stats were provided by a writers' workshop, so obviously they have a little motivation to scare people into thinking that they need the workshop's help to stand out and get their book read.  But there has to be some level of truth there, and it scares me to no end.  Are we really not finishing almost 3/5 of the books we start?  Has our attention span gotten that bad?  I'm especially surprised by the statistic about only 20% of families buying or reading a book last year.  It is absolutely shocking actually.

Erin and I were both voracious readers growing up.  We loved books and still do.  We love words and how they can be used.  How stories can be formed and spark imagination.  Erin's dad read to her every night before bed, so that would explain why she grew to love it so much.  I didn't really have the same experience, but I became a reader nonetheless.  I just love the written word, and I can remember reading by flashlight in my room or campfire during family trips.  I loved weekly trips to the library in elementary school.  I read whatever I could get my hands on from comic books to the bible.  In fact my brother was just going on the other day about how I was always content to read in the face of any activities that he deemed more worthy.  Books and the stories within have shaped me as a person.  Heck what would I know about parenting if not for What to Expect (a little sarcasm there but not as much as you'd think)?

I'm not surprised that books have lost their appeal to other forms of media like TV, movies, music, video games and the internets.  Those are so much sexier on paper than books (HA get it?), but it seems so foreign to me that there are people out there that don't read anything.  Books contain our history and all of our greatest stories.  Granted I don't sit down and curl up with a good book nearly as often as I'd like, but that hasn't stopped Erin and me carrying on her dad's tradition of reading to Grace and Ana every night before bed.  That has to count towards that total, right?  Yet there are four times as many families that aren't doing this.

I can't wait until I start reading the leather-bound copies of Alice in Wonderland, Grimm's Fairy Tales and other books that are longer than a few pages to my girls, and I really can't wait for them to read them back to me.  I love movies and television, but I don't want my girls to be force-fed their stories through these mediums.  They deserve better than that.  Their imaginations are so much more capable and shouldn't be stunted.  And I don't want this love of words and reading to be a passing fad.  I don't want the last day they actually need to read a book to be the last day they pick one up.  I want that love to carry on beyond high school and college.

I'll make sure that books will always be a part of our house, and I'm sure Erin will do the same.  We'll always encourage our kids to read anything they can get their hands on just like mom and dad.  We don't want to be in that 80%, so we'll always have books for our girls throughout the house ready to be read.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

1000 Words

I know that you must be clamoring for my week in photos.  I mean you didn't get to see anything last week, and I always wait until the very last minute to post them on Sunday.  "Wait until the last minute" can also be read as "We have twins for God's sake and I didn't even eat dinner until 10pm.  I'm not a blogging machine.  I can only do so much.  I'm only a man!"  This is followed by tears and heavy drinking.  Then I sober up just enough to throw together a few cogent thoughts that go along with random pictures.  And that is what I'd like to call my creative process.

Without further ado, here are my pictures from the week that was (and as always I link it all back to the incomparable Kim at Yeptheblog)...

grab a beer button

I'm not going to deny that I'm more than a little partial, but I have to say that I've not seen a cuter smile than Grace's.

Okay Ana is right there too.

Ana continues to smile while in the big bed.  Grace of course can't be bothered.  Gotta get that beauty sleep.

Ana would just rather put a blanket over her head than to have a sleeping picture be taken of her.

We were on our way to the store to buy things for dinner.  Ana loves adventures.

While at the store my wife wanted to buy Funfetti Cake for cupcakes.  She made some for my team at work.  They may or may not like me, but they certainly love my wife since she constantly is baking things for them.

The "real" reason for the season.  Okay, now that may not qualify me for eternal damnation, but it will at least qualify for a work-release program of damnation.  Maybe damnation house arrest.

Friday night was it's own little adventure.  We have been incredibly lucky that both our girls pretty much have slept through the night since very early on.  I don't know with whom my wife made this deal, but I'm pretty grateful for it.  This wasn't the case Friday heading into Saturday morning.  At first Grace was up crying at 3:30 in the morning.  Both Erin and I tried to calm her down, but she wasn't having it.  After a while Ana woke up and joined the party.  The only difference was she was laughing.  Yes, laughing maniacally at her parents' suffering.  Laughing that we had to be awake when we both really needed the sleep.  It wasn't until rocking Grace in the chair at about 6am when she finally calmed down.  I didn't dare move her for at least 45 minutes, but she did finally sleep until 8am.  Success-ish!


Every year my aunt has a big Easter egg hunt for just about any kid that can carry an Easter basket.  It is huge.  There have been years when 50-75 kids have gone through the fields by her house to look for eggs with candies and prizes in them.  This is what the girls wore to the party.  I really can't wait until they can hunt for eggs.


Erin sent me this picture while I was at work.  Needless to say I didn't actually get any work done the rest of that day.  Too busy staring at my adorable baby girls in their first easter dresses.  Erin made the outfits even cuter with white tights and shoes and sweaters.

Happy Easter Everyone!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fantasy vs Reality

This year is the first time in a long time that I've taken part in a fantasy baseball league.  I have to say it was pretty intense when I was first asked to join.  The league rules read like a team of lawyers put it together which almost scared me off.  I mean I love baseball and have enjoyed fantasy baseball in the past.  I've just
never been so overwhelmed.  These guys seemed way too serious about this whole process.

Turns out that my fears about the league being super intense weren't really justified.  The guys in the league seem really nice although I only know the person that invited me to join.  This made me unsure of the trash talk etiquette.  Part of the fun of fantasy sports is talking trash on the other teams, but that becomes hard to do when you don't really know who you're trash-talking.  I also don't have the same level of pride since I was taking over for another previous owner, and most of my team was already in place.  I still went through the first auction and draft and like who I have.  I even fulfilled my biggest fantasy rule (you need someone from the actual team you root for) before I even joined up.

My wife asked me a question about fantasy sports this week: what do you do when someone on your fantasy team is playing your actual team?  It's actually a pretty good question.  She seems to think that fantasy sports would make you a less passionate fan of your actual teams because you temper your allegiances.  I don't know how every person handles it, but there are certain things I do.  I never root against my actual team, ever.  But I don't mind if someone has a big game in a loss to the Giants.  You want to hit a couple home runs?  Fine, just make sure it doesn't help your team outscore my team.  I never start a pitcher against my team because that would be like rooting for my team to lose.  I also normally never draft any LA Dodgers because I hate them and want no excuse to root for them.  Unfortunately my team already had a Dodger before I signed up, but I couldn't afford to cut him.  He just doesn't play.

The great thing about a league like this is that you can set lineups at the beginning of the week and let it roll.  You don't have to make moves to keep up with your opponent.  Just let the stats fall where they may.  That way I can check scores at the end of the day and be done with it.  It doesn't have to interupt with me being a dad or a husband at all, but it can still be a good distraction from time to time.

That is officially the last you'll read of my fantasy team.  I know that nobody cares about anyone else's team just like no one cares about anyone else's poker hands

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I'm not a fan of dealing with people when I can avoid it.  In fact I almost border on anti-social.  I hate when people I don't know try to talk to me.  I hate fake smiling and forcing my way through conversation.

My hatred of all people and my desire to avoid conversation with random strangers has led me to absolutely love self-checkout at the grocery store.  It is like the perfect invention for any guy, especially a guy like me.  When I go to the grocery store, I want to get in and out with my items, and I definitely want to avoid the "pleasantries" normally associated with grocery shopping.

I'd like to point out that this in no way is meant to belittle grocery store employees.  I understand their aversion to self-checkout and it possibly taking their jobs.  I also appreciate them trying to establish some level of customer service.  This is more about my hang-ups than anything else.

I like to think I've become an expert when it comes to self-checkout.  Obviously I've established some rules for doing self-checkout the right way because I still want to avoid annoyances while shopping.  Think of this as a public service that is actually only for my benefit.

-If you wouldn't qualify for the 10 or 15 item or less line, don't use the self-checkout.
-Debit card is the preferred payment method.
-Cash is acceptable too.  But you may only use bills (NO COINS) and may not use more than three bills to pay.
-Only scannable items are acceptable.  Don't load up on produce unless you already know the code.
-No small talk with anyone else that is using the self-checkout.
-If you have questions about anything or how to use it, just get in a regular line already.
-Don't buy alcohol through the self-checkout.  You're going to need assistance from a store employee anyway.  Just go through the normal line.
-No coupons (obviously)
-Like the gas station, always pull up to the furthest station.  Don't pick the self-checkout that is closest to you unless all the other ones are taken.  That is just common courtesy.
-Have a bagging plan before you step up.  You should always know how you'd like to arrange and bag your groceries, and shouldn't be trying to figure it out on the fly.  There is a reason why Tetris would always show you the next piece, so you can have a plan and make it fit.
-Get off your phone.  I can appreciate that you are a supreme multi-tasker, but it invariably slows you down no matter how great you think you are.  Plus no one wants to hear your conversation.  This rule actually applies for any grocery store visit.  Don't be that guy.
-Finally when you're waiting for the receipt to print, gather your bags up.  That way you can grab the receipt and leave all in one motion.

These aren't difficult rules to follow, and they'll only make your anti-social shopping experience that much richer.  Also you're avoidance of strangulation by me will greatly improve.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Twitter Machine Tuesday

We're at it again with another Twitter Machine Tuesday.  I still don't have an actual Twitter Machine to post my thoughts, so I've resigned myself to posting my 140-character musings in blog form on a weekly basis.  As always I welcome you to post fake tweets of your own in the comments section.

-You may have noticed no 1000 Words post this week. My week in pictures was too uneventful for it, but I'll be back next week.
-We bought a jumperoo. It makes annoying noises & music, but my girls love it. So this is what it's like to be a parent to a Justin Bieber fan.
-Between baby girls and baseball season, I'm starting to wonder why we keep our Netflix account.
-Erin & I have gone to Outside Lands the last two years. We won't be going this year because of the girls. Must say very disappointed based on the announced bands.
-I can't remember the last movie I saw in the theatre. Toy Story 3? There was a time when I went to the movies EVERY WEEK.
-I recommended that my wife follow @extrabaggs on the Twitter Machine for SF Giants news. I may have created a monster.
-Someone finished the Boston Marathon in 2 hours 3 minutes. Just a tick ahead of my 4 hour 50 minute time. Show off.
-We watched Greenberg and Funny People over the weekend. Talk about unlikeable characters.
-Will Ferrell was actually understated on The Office. I don't know that he has ever not played it over the top, but I liked it either way.
-Really? A fifth Fast and the Furious movie?
-Breakfast food smells good when you're making it but horrible an hour later. No matter the food.
-How do we not have a teleportation device? Get on that Steve Jobs.

Monday, April 18, 2011


I had to work a late night tonight to cover for one of the other managers in the office.  Late night is a relative term of course.  It isn't as if I'm doing the graveyard shift or working until midnight.  I'm here from 9am to 8pm which makes for a long day.  It basically means that we'll be going through the girls' bedtime routine right when I get home, and dinner won't be eaten until some time close to 10.  But this isn't me complaining.  In fact quite the opposite.

I normally am out the door at a little after 6 in the morning and get home around 5 in the evening on most days.  Because I was working the "late" shift today, I was able to sleep past my normal exit time and spend a good portion of my morning with the girls.

Let me tell you, these girls are different people in the morning than they are in the evening.  Apparently getting a night's worth of sleep puts them in a good mood.  Who would've thought?  When I get home in the evenings, they are normally a little fussy which is to be expected when you have such busy and fun-filled days.  The morning however is full of smiles, laughs and talking (or at least noises that we refer to as talking).  I know what my wife means when she talks about how fun they are in the mornings.  I also know why she never leaves home as early as intended.  Why would you want to leave when your kids are being so adorable?

I could focus on the negative and think only about all this time I'm spending away from my family, or I could think about Ana laying on the floor smiling at me while I was getting ready.  I could dread the inevitable crys when I get home tonight, or I could chuckle at the way Grace was smiling wryly as I picked her up from her crib.  I could worry about not being up to unwind and eat until later than I normally do, or I could simply think about how peaceful it was when all my favorite girls were in the big bed when I left this morning.

It's good to know that the girls don't take after their mom when it comes to being morning people.  Put that one in the "Taking after Dad" column.

The Girls following their normal morning of excitement

Friday, April 15, 2011

Birth and Taxes

When Erin and I first got married, the only thing we ever really argued about or caused frustration in our house was money.  We both were spenders and had a difficult time adjusting to this new lifestyle where we had to consider each other before haphazardly spending our paychecks on frivolous things.  It was a tough habit to break.  When I lived in Colorado for almost two years, I made pretty good money.  I wasn't wealthy by any means, but I was used to having cash to burn.  And I certainly burned it.  I was addicted to fast food.  On a side note, that translated to me pushing 240 lbs when I moved back to California, and I can't believe I ever weighed that much.  I'm glad to have lost a lot of that weight.  I bought new clothes all the time.  I would drop $50-100 per week at Best Buy on stuff I really didn't need (I mean who needs Legend of Zelda: The Complete Animated Series?).  The point is that I had grown accustomed to not worrying about money, and that changed when I had to consider sharing my life with another person and providing for our future children.

That frustration with money only multiplied every April.  We seemed to owe the IRS a huge sum every year.  It didn't matter how we planned our withholdings.  We constantly seemed strapped for cash, yet we always found a way to owe more.  It cause more arguments since we obviously weren't able to figure out how to do our exemptions at work.  I did the math to no avail, we always owed.

This was a change for me.  I never owed on taxes.  I always erred on the side of overpaying during previous years, but available cash was never a problem for me when I was on my own.  What did I care about too much being held out of my check?  Now we needed to have more money throughout the year to pay for things that I had either taken for granted or never cared about in the first place.  My wife was actually trying to make me be a responsible adult.  How dare she?  It caused bitterness, but ultimately we grew from it.  We've argued less about money even though I know my wife still wishes I made more.  We have become better spenders and savers.  All in all we are leading a happier monetary existence.

When we found out we were having twins, my wife was shocked and scared at first.  She could only think of the negatives immediately afterward.  It meant a more difficult pregnancy.  It meant complications that don't happen with singletons.  It also meant double everything.  Car seats and diapers and clothes and food and AHHHH and MAKE IT STOP and WHY CAN'T I STOP WORRYING!?!  What was the first positive thing she came up with?  Two tax deductions.  We had just finished paying off what to us was a substantial amount of money to the IRS, so it was on the front of her mind.  At least she found solace in something.

As time went on, she started to appreciate more and more the whole having twins thing.  There is a lot to be joyful of when you have two kids.  I can't speak for my wife, but I know that I stopped thinking about the two deduction thing immediately after she jokingly (or maybe not) brought up the point.  There were plenty of other things to to worry and think about that moved to the front burner.  But I remembered that conversation this week as we finally finished up our taxes.  Sure enough we had our double deductions included, and I'm sure it helped in actually getting a return this year.

It was exciting to see an amount without a minus sign in front of it for the first time in a few years.  That excitement lasted right up until my wife reminded me that we had the girls' hospital bills to pay.  So that's why they count as deductions...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Doing the Math

My wife sent me a text this morning letting me know that the girls were especially smiley this morning and that she missed them while she was at work.  I agreed that going to work and leaving my girls at home without me is the hardest thing I have to do every morning.

Then I started thinking about it even more.  I leave for work every morning before they are awake, so I don't get mornings with them.  Basically they don't see me from the time they go to sleep until I get home from work the next day.  I did the math in my head, and I came to the realization that I only see them for four hours every day during the week.  I've been moping around ever since.  From Monday to Friday, I am only a part of 1/6 of their lives.  And that's a combined total.  When you consider that this time is split between them, I really only factor into 8% of each of their days.

Think of something you only do 8% of the time.  That is less than a lunch break during your work day.  There is more time given to commercials during your favorite television show.  It would be like only watching four minutes of an NBA game.  That would only be 18 minutes of the running time of Lawrence of Arabia.  Imagine only being able to do something five minutes of every hour and then missing out on it for the other 55 minutes.  If my life was a foot, my time with each of my girls would be an inch.

It makes me feel like my experience with them and their experience with me is incomplete.  Which in turn makes me feel incomplete.  I know that I have every weekend with them which is my catch-up for the week.  It is almost as if I have partial custody of my own children.  I know I've written about missing them and their milestones before, but I never figured out the math behind it until today.

I hope they recognize me when I get home.  I'll make the most of our time together.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Twitter Machine Tuesday

I'm back for another week of my aimless ramblings that weren't good enough for a full blog post.  If I had a Twitter Machine this is what you'd see.

-Nirvana is the most overrated band of all time. So many bands from that era that are better. #PearlJam (Did I do that fake hashtag correctly?)
-@erinsgirls & I keep debating the merits of Anchorman. She doesn't get why I think its so funny. I don't get how she doesn't.
-Whatever happened to Home Run Pies? Is it a regional thing as to why I don't see them anymore?
-Which brilliant TV writer is more smug and self-righteous: Aaron Sorkin or David Simon?
-The girls ALWAYS get big smiles when they're on the changing table. Can't explain it. I guess they like cleanliness.
-I've never actually met a celebrity, but I once stood next to Bob Saget at a Ben Folds show. Scott Hamilton was there too. Does that count?
-Garlic fries have been calling my name. I'd blame Opening Day, but it is really a constant thing.
-I hate that the Kings are leaving Sac. At least we still have the River Cats. AMIRIGHT?
-I cried during the Giants ring ceremony, and I am not ashamed of it.
-The Giants are raffling off one of the WS rings to a fan and it will be personalized. Probably the coolest thing you could ever win.
-My grandparents celebrated their 50th Anniversary over the weekend. It's staggering to think Erin & I are only getting to year 4. I look forward to 46+ more.
-I can't wait until my girls understand their bedtime books. I also can't wait to discuss the character development in Goodnight Moon with them.
-Waffles>French Toast>Pancakes. This is what we call hierarchy.
-We're dog sitting for Erin's parents this week. All I care about is my new lawn not being ruined.
-Would playing in a softball league & not spending time with the girls make me horrible? Just trying to decide if I should play.
-Another reason to love baseball season: All the great baseball movies playing on a loop. Except Field of Dreams. I'm meh on that one.
-Buster Posey's wife is apparently having twins. Welcome to the multiples club, Buster. He should probably name one of them after me. Only fair, right?
-My wife is keeping her Twitter Machine private. I think its her way of getting me to join. And yes I am that self-centered.

There you have it.  This week's thoughts for my fake Twitter Machine.  Leave your 140-character comments below.  Or however many damn characters you'd like.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Things I'm Thankful For

I'm over five months into this whole parenting thing, and I've grown into a more thankful and appreciative human being as a result.  I know we're nowhere near November and Thanksgiving, but I have to share some of the things I've become thankful for since becoming a dad.

-No one really teaches you how to be a parent.  Sure your parents are an inspiration for how you'll do things, but I can't remember how they treated me when I was an infant.  You just kind of have to learn that stuff as you go.  Family and friends that give you the room to figure it out while simultaneously nudging you in the right direction are the best.  I appreciate the willingness to help me and Erin out and the trust that we can get the job done.  It helps your confidence as a parent when people who have been through the trenches know you're capable.  It's also nice to have the safety net of someone that has dealt with raising kids to back you up or help out.

-My wife is the best mom that I can imagine.  She has so much joy in her heart, and she doesn't hold any of it back.  She is truly my daughters' favorite person, and I have no problem admitting that I come in a close second to her.  The way Grace and Ana light up when they see their mom is really only matched by how much Erin lights up when she sees her girls.  Her excitement and joy is only matched by her love.  She gives the girls all of her heart, and still has some of it left over for me.  It really seems like she loves more than a normal human being.  I'm lucky to have her as a partner in this adventure, and the girls are even luckier.

-Erin has hipped me to some of the blogs that she follows.  Quite a few of them are written by moms with kids that have health issues or have gotten through them.  I have to say they are stronger than I'd ever be if the shoe was on the other foot.  I can't tell you how thankful I am that my girls have been healthy.  We knew going in that twins have their own set of potential issues.  Trust me, reading a few parents of multiples books will ultimately just scare the bejesus out of you.  It's like logging on to WebMD when you have the sniffles.  "Okay so according to my symptoms I have…OH MY GOD!  I have two days to live?!?"  Those books oftentimes put it into your head to expect the worst and hope for the best which is no way to prepare for kids or deal with a stressed out pregnant woman.  You should be happy and antsy but in a good way.  Being in the NICU those first few days really opened my eyes to how lucky we are.  We saw some parents in much more difficult situations, and it really helped me appreciate what Erin & I have.  The worst we've had to deal with is acid reflux for Ana, but it didn't stop us from thinking seizures were the real issue (Thanks a lot books that conditioned us to fear everything).  Thankfully that wasn't the case.  They keep getting bigger.  They keep hitting those developmental milestones.  They keep amazing me every day.  I'm thankful for all these things.

-I've said this to Erin many times, but I'm also thankful that we didn't have ugly babies.  You may think I'm a little cruel writing this, but we've all met a baby that we didn't think was cute.  We've all lied our way through it and told the parents he or she was adorable or breathtaking (thank you Seinfeld).  And we've all immediately commented to our significant other or whoever would listen that the kid wasn't winning a beauty contest any time soon.  Maybe I'm just another blind victim of people being polite, but I think my girls are beautiful and appreciate the people that say the same.  Like I've said many times before, they get the cuteness from their mother.

-Mostly I'm thankful I get to experience all these wonderful things.  I love being a dad.  I love these little wigglers.

I'm also thankful to come home to these smiling faces every day

Sunday, April 10, 2011

1000 Words

Another week, another installment of my pictures worth a thousand words post.  My week in photos for all my readers.  And I'm once again the last person to the linky party over at Kim's blog, but better late than never as I always say.

grab a beer button

So without further ado...

This is me working on my blog this week.  Luckily I have a helper named Hans.  We have another stuffed monkey named Frans.  One is upstairs and the other is downstairs.  He seems to be enjoying what he is reading.  Hopefully that is an indication of others enjoying it.

Ana is also very helpful.  If by helpful I mean that she is a huge distraction from my writing.  Of course wouldn't you let that cute face distract you too?

Grace is silly.  I believe that before she turned to the camera, she was trying to eat my face off.  That or she was just slobbering on me.

Erin spent almost a year studying in Spain.  While she was there, she became great friends with an entire family.  She was closest to the sisters that were around the same age.  She became so close that Ana Cristina is a combination of their names.  We received a package from them this week with a bunch of cute clothes along with these adorable mice with their names embroidered on the arms.  It is such a thoughtful gift, and it serves as a testament to how friendship isn't limited by oceans and continents.

I saw this while in line at the store this week, and I had a couple of questions about it.  First of all I didn't know Tom Selleck had so many movies out.  Secondly why does he have his own row of movies at the grocery store?  Thirdly was it an accident that all this serious-looking movies are in the comedy section?  Or is this based on unintentional comedy?  No matter what, thank you Safeway for introducing even more questions into my life.

I think it is so cute that Grace loves to snuggle up to her sister.  Although it is raising quite the dilemma in our house.  We don't want to start putting them in separate beds because we think they'll miss each other and won't be able to sleep.  I doubt this will be the case, but it will mean less pictures like this once we start doing it.

Obligatory Saturday morning in bed picture.  A tradition unlike any other.

This was the big project of the weekend.  I was pulling out all the crappy grass that was in our back yard when we moved in and replacing it with sod.

I have no idea what the family that owned the house before us did with their lawn/landscaping.  I've come to the conclusion that they must have just grabbed handfuls of seed and chucked it across the yard.  Obviously they didn't care too much about an even distribution of grass.  And the grass seed that I dropped on the bare spots never took.

Basically I had to till all the ground and pull up all the grass.  We're calling it grass because it is the most appropriate term to use in this case.  Tilling isn't fun.  It is a necessary evil when you want your lawn to actually grow.  Immediately following this step, I had to haul all that top-soil to the back yard.

And here is the finished product.  I have to say I'm very proud of myself.  I basically did it all on my own with a little help from our friend Kevin.  People asked why I didn't ask for help.  I can't really say for sure.  I know that I wanted to do this as a gift to my wife and even more as a gift to my girls.  It isn't a huge area, but at least Grace and Ana will have a place to play.  We'll be able to kick soccer balls and roll in the grass.  We'll have a place to camp out during summer evenings.  We can lay on the grass and look up at stars.  I can't think of a better gift to give them, and I can't wait for them to start enjoying it.

Have a great week.  You'll see me next Sunday.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Let me first say that I know what Easter is really all about.  My wife and I aren't overbearingly religious people.  Sure my wife was a religion major in college and taught religion at a high school before it closed.  But we are more the laid-back faithful types.  We go to church.  We'll be baptising the girls.  I get the religious background to it.

What I came to talk about is the other reasons to love Easter.

I am so excited for Easter dresses!  Before Erin and I knew we were having twin girls, we actually both kind of wanted a boy.  We loved boys' clothes.  The dinosaurs and baseball and trucks along with the dress-up clothes were what we both loved.  Only after we started receiving dresses as shower gifts and seeing them at stores did we realize the potential when it came to girls' clothes.  Part of me really appreciates boy clothes, but now I'm 100% on the girly clothes bandwagon.

I look forward to the spring/summer dresses.  I love bows and flowers to put in their hair and on their heads.  I can't wait to put big hats on them.  Mostly I love the dress-up clothes for girls.  Cute little dresses with polka dots and big bows on them.  I'm really looking forward to seeing my girls in those clothes while holding Easter baskets during an Easter egg hunt.  So exciting!  It kind of sucks that I'm not going to really see the full potential of that until next Easter.

The biggest reason to love Easter (besides Jesus) is the candy.

I have an almost irrational love of Cadbury Creme Eggs and Cadbury Caramel Eggs.  Reese's eggs are the best of all their seasonal offerings.  Starburst jelly beans.  Chocolate bunnies.  Snicker's eggs.  I mean it is a veritable smorgasbord of deliciousness.

Yet Easter isn't considered the predominant "candy" holiday.  Halloween gets that honor, but that is simply based on quantity and not quality.  Easter candy dominates Halloween candy in almost every facet.  Easter embraces fruit-inspired candy.  It steps its game up whereas Halloween just scales back the portions.  Granted both holidays have their own black sheep: candy corn and peeps (both of which are like poison).  At least peeps are trying to be fun in spite of their awfulness.  Candy corn has no redeeming qualities.

I really can't wait for the girls' first Easter because it means cute dresses and stealing from their Easter baskets teaching them not to eat food that is bad for them.

Easter Bunny Try-Outs

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Twitter Machine Tuesdays

If you don't read my wife's blog, I pity you.  Actually it isn't pity.  More disappointment that you aren't getting her awesome perspective and humor.  If you have been reading her blog then you know that she has been on the fence about whether she should join the Twitter Machine.  She feared hashtags and @ symbols.  She didn't know who to follow besides Brian Wilson of the Giants and Rob Lowe.  She also thought she might be missing something by not being on the Twitter Machine, so she finally caved this weekend and threw herself into one more social media endeavor.

I've come to the conclusion that I can't do the same.  I actually had a Twitter Machine account set up for me when I was writing and podcasting for, but I literally never tweeted (or twated or twit or whatever) anything.  I'm far too long-winded to ever post cogent thoughts in 140 characters or less.  I already do enough of that via Facebook, and that really just devolves into constantly posting about the Giants.  I'd probably just re-tweet inappropriate things that would get me in hot water or get caught up in the latest meme that was sweeping the internets.

My wife did have a great idea that I have no problem stealing: Do a weekly post in a Twitter Machine-esque format.  I could gather all of my 140-character thoughts from the week and post them in one place.  I could also reach out to others to contribute with their own 140-character comments, people you should be following, re-tweets that they'd like to share or any other Twitter Machine related items.

So follow my wife's Twitter Machine @erinsgirls and here are my "tweets" for the week:
-Baseball, fresh cut grass, warm days and cool nights, flip flops, BBQing. Isn't Spring great?
-You can't spell cLAssless without LA. No one should be beaten into a coma because of their fandom.
-How is there not a Count Chocula-esque cereal available year round?  I'd buy it all the time and get so obese.
-Is there something to be said about the duality of man when I hate fondant except when it is in a Cadbury Cream Egg? Or am I just food schizo?
-My wife cut dairy out for the girls. No pizza. I miss it. I actually salivated at a Dominoes commercial yesterday and I hate their pizza.
-If there was a Music March Madness my #1 seeds: Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Marvin Gaye, The Clash
-If there was a Music March Madness my #2 seeds: The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis, The Beach Boys
-If there was a Music March Madness my #3 seeds: The Rolling Stones, James Taylor, Michael Jackson, Pearl Jam
-No baseball team drafts better named players than the Giants: Matt Cain, Buster Posey, Brandon Belt. All top-notch.
-I can't respect anyone that prefers cake to pie
-As bad as the second Transformers movie was, I have to admit that I'm still very excited for number 3. Damn you Michael Bay!
-After The Shield and Justified, can we all just agree that Walton Goggins is the best actor working on television right now?
-Summer/Spring break is great when you're a kid. Better in college. Missed as an adult. Hard as a parent. And daily when you're retired.
-My daughters wake up smiling all the time. I'd like to think it has to do with me, but they probably just know they're getting fed.
-Things I'm good at: Words with Friends, singing in Rock Band, talking on the phone, arguing and knowing when to end a blog post

What are your 140-character thoughts or re-tweets?  Who should people be following on the Twitter Machine besides my wife?  Comment below.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Saturday on my own

I love the weekends.

Saturday and Sunday are the only days when I can spend uninterrupted time with my wife and daughters, and I cherish it.  I'm also a homebody.  I'd prefer to spend any off time that I have from work in my own house as opposed to driving to someone else's home or finding excuses to go out.  The weekend is also the only time my wife can get out of the house without the girls in tow or going to work, so I never have a problem with her running errands on Saturday or Sunday.  I gladly take on the mantel of stay-at-home dad for those stretches because it really is the least I can do to save my wife's sanity.  It fulfills her need to avoid cabin fever and my need to stay home.  Win-win, right?

This past Saturday Erin had a hair appointment in the morning that she forgot about until the day before.

Do you mind staying home with the girls?  No problem at all.

Sorry it isn't more notice?  It isn't like I had any plans.

Are you sure you'll be okay?  I'm pretty sure I can handle it.

We played on the floor.  I made funny faces and blew raspberries.  We played with a stuffed monkey and toys.  Ana passed out for a little bit because the sheer excitement of me shaking a rattle was just too much for her to bear.  Grace refused to do the same.  She is going to be a sleep-over wunderkind by the way.  I'm convinced that she could stay up for 48 hours straight if given the proper motivation i.e. someone paying attention to her.  Erin was gone just long enough for them to get upset.  It is a little bit overwhelming when you're not sure when their mom will be home, and you know feeding time is coming up on you like a car going 90 mph.  It always comes more suddenly than you'd ever anticipate.  I hate when they cry or are upset.  It bores a hole in my heart knowing that they both need me, and I can only help one at a time.  In fact at this point in my life as a father of twins, having to choose to tend to one or the other is the hardest thing for me.  Erin came home just in time to be Grace's hero.

After they ate and settled down, Erin planned on going to my sister's house to check out one of the bridesmaid's dresses for her wedding and then possibly to the mall.  She tried to talk me into going with her and taking the girls along.  She doesn't want to put the burden 100% on me if she can avoid it, and I appreciate that about her.  My wife is always concerned with my well being too.  But in truth I didn't want to get out of the house for a few reasons.  First of all it was just about nap time for the girls, and Ana was already starting to doze.  I didn't want to disturb that for the sake of getting out of the house and not being left alone.  Secondly I still hate leaving the house unless I absolutely have to do it.  And most importantly, the Giants were playing an afternoon game, and I really didn't want to miss it.  I love listening on the radio, but I certainly prefer watching the game.

Easy decision as far as I was concerned, so I stayed with the girls.  They napped for a little bit, but the amount of time they slept was nothing that would interest Guinness World Records.  They once again got fussy at the exact time when Erin was on her way home.  Let me tell you what causes a stressful situation to ratchet up a bit: Someone calling and trying to talk to you while you're dealing with crying babies.  Not fond of that.  Should I just ignore the call?  What if she thinks something is wrong and that is why I'm not answering?  I'm not going to hear over the crying anyways?  I swear I'm just torturing myself when I answer those calls, but I can't tell you why I don't just avoid them.  It sure beats the stress and dealing with a stunted conversation.

The thing is that even though it was a little stressful in the actual moment, I still wouldn't hesitate doing the exact same thing next weekend or the weekend after that.  You have a short memory for the manic or frustrating things as a parent.  You have to or you wouldn't keep doing it.  It also helps that you can't forget the good stuff.  I can't tell you what Grace and Ana sound like when they're crying, but their laughs and squeals of joy play back in my head constantly.  I couldn't describe the look on their faces when they're upset (although they do have some epic pouty faces), but I could probably draw their smiles from memory.  This is why I love the weekend.  I get to multiply those great times by a thousand percent in exchange for a little bit stress that I'll forget within a few hours anyway.

If it was up to me, that is how I'd spend every Saturday.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

1000 Words

I've settled on the title of my week in pictures post: 1000 Words.  Clever, right?  I thought so.

As always we're joining the linky party over at the incomparable Yep the Blog.

grab a beer button

I had to laugh when I saw Kim's blog this morning since her first picture was basically the exact same thing that I was planning on posting.  Great minds I guess.  But we were both going for the same point.  Spring is here!  The weather in our area has been gorgeous this week after about 10 straight days of rain.  Bring on the sun.

Great weather means getting outside with the girls and going on walks.  One great thing about where we live is the number of walking paths and parks that are all within a stone's throw of our house.  Springs and summers are great in our neighborhood.  Lots of kids playing.  Parks with little league in full swing.  Everyone taking their dogs for walks.  I love this time of year.

The other reason to like this time of year is baseball season.  The girls and I were ready for the Giants season this year.  We had our Giants gear ready for Opening Day.

I know these next two pictures are super blurry, but I couldn't help but post them.  As I've discussed before, putting adult-sized things on babies is something that is super cute to me.  Her is Ana rocking her daddy's Giants hat.

And here is the inevitable picture of the hat falling over her eyes.

I love this picture for two reasons: 1. The bottle doesn't seem so big until you take a picture of it up close with Ana, but it looks ENORMOUS in this picture.  2.  Ana is holding her own bottle.  Maybe it was dumb, blind luck that she is holding her own bottle now, but I'd love it if it is more than that.  That means I can play Words with Friends while feeding her.

I can't explain why Grace is so hypnotized by this thing.  I'd call it a toy, but it isn't really a toy.  I'd call it a rattle, but it isn't quite a rattle either.  Basically it has hypnotic effects on my girls.

So hypnotic in fact that Ana passed out.  You are getting very sleepy.  Your eyes are getting heavy.  Now if I could just get them to do things while under my hypnosis.

One of my wife's closest friends from college has a birthday next week.  We love hanging out with them, so we invited her and her husband over for some delicious Mexican food.  Before they came by, I went to a killer cupcake place in our area and picked up some specialty cupcakes for dessert.  Mostly I think my wife just wanted some, and we used a birthday as an excuse to have them.  Sad I know, but they were delicious no matter what the motivation.  In case you're curious that is (clockwise from top left) Raspberry, Confetti, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip, Mint Chocolate and Red Velvet.  Yum!

This is how we spend Sunday mornings.  I absolutely love it.  Could it cause bad habits with the girls wanting to sleep in bed with us?  Yes.  Is that stopping me from bringing them to bed every Saturday and Sunday morning?  No.

Ana is a little laugher.  This in turn makes Daddy act very silly.


Have a great week everyone!