Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Twitter Machine Tuesday

The San Francisco Giants were doing a casting call via their website to appear in a commercial for the 2012 season.  I of course wrote the story leading up to their birth and about the fact that one of my daughters is named after Buster Posey.

I received an email yesterday that a producer would be in contact with me to appear in the commercial.  I thought I was pretty special until like three other friends said that they received the same email.  So I think they just wanted people to show up to appear in crowd shots.

Their loss since my kids are adorable and would make for a great ad campaign.  Plus I would have certainly blogged about it and given them the exposure that comes with a readership of literally dozens.

On to the Twitter Machine:
-Are you reading my wife's 30 before 30 series?  She is a MUCH better writer than me, and I love her stories (and her).
-The girls adore my in-laws' dog. Like so much that Ana just walks up to her randomly and hugs her.
-Grace prefers crawling onto the dog bed and laying down. With or without the dog on it.
-I've been brushing hair off them constantly since then.
-What the hell is a Lana Del Rey?
-Thought Super Bowl Sunday would be a good day for snowboard lessons, but the weather hasn't really cooperated #inconvenienttruth
-Pinterest gives wives/girlfriends one more reason to be mad their husbands/boyfriends didn't get them the perfect gift.
-Blake Griffin's dunk was ferocious and entertaining as hell, but let's not crown it #bestdunkever just yet
-I'd still say Baron Davis on Kirilenko was a bigger game and a better dunk
-I say this with a certain amount of pride: I've never watched a second of Glee or American Idol #sorryFOX
-We should be finished with Season 3 of The West Wing by the end of the week. #giftthatkeepsongiving
-I think I'm going to try and get Erin to watch The Shield. May take some convincing but it's excellent television.
-I have a perfect gift for the traditional 5th Anniversary theme, but I don't know if I can wait until July to give it to Erin #wood #impatient
-There's a contest to watch nothing but The Simpsons for 5 days straight in honor of the 500th episode. Can't enter. #stupidwork #stupidresponsibilities
-Seriously 500 episodes! That is staggering.
-I can't get behind a high school kid picking his college being a televised event. Seems exploitative.
-Of course I wouldn't hesitate to appear in a Giants commercial with my girls #hypocrisy
-Trying to figure out which book I should read next on my Kindle #suggestions
-I really have no interest in the Super Bowl. I feel like such a girl because I care more about the commercials.
-I mean David Beckham in his underwear for H&M screams football #ineurope
-Which leads me to 2 questions: 1. Why is H&M buying ad time during the Super Bowl? 2. When will it air?
-I don't know if that last joke translates well without the over-the-top gay voice that I do way too well
-Haven't had Thai food in too long. That absolutely needs to change. Pad Thai and Panang Curry = YUM
-Erin says we can't go see The Black Keys and Arctic Monkeys because it would be back-to-back concert nights. #partypooper
-I need people to convince her why it's an awesome idea.

I'll leave you with a picture of Grace with Molly (the aforementioned dog).  As I wrote above, they love her.

Monday, January 30, 2012

This Place is a Zoo

Our girls love animals.

Well they love dogs for sure.  They call every animal a "doggy", so I'm just assuming that they love animals in general.

We finally had a chance to confirm it yesterday.

Erin's grandma gave us a year-long pass to the Sacramento Zoo, so we can take the girls whenever we want.  Since the weather has been so nice recently, we decided that Sunday was going to be a Zoo day.

I remembered the Zoo being much bigger when I was a kid.  Maybe I thought it was bigger because I loved running all around and seeing all the animals and my sheer excitement blinded me to it's actual size.  Realistically it isn't large at all compared to other Zoos, but I still loved taking the girls there.  Seeing their eyes light up at all the animals filled my heart with so much love and took me back to being a kid again.

My favorite part: Pointing out the lion to Grace who instead pointed out the ball in the lion's pen.  Yes Grace, we know you know the word "ball" and it is very cute.

I look forward to going back there with them every few weeks.  I just don't think it will ever get old.

Their faces tell the story, so I'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

New Design

I know I have a lot of followers who check in through their Google Reader.

Actually I don't know that at all.  I just tell myself that's the reason why I don't get a ton of pageviews or comments.  It's a way to protect my fragile psyche.

Anyways I redesigned my blog with the help of my wonderful wife, and all you Google Reader folks that never come to my actual page should stop in and give it a gander.

As you can tell if you're already on the homepage, I'm really embracing the fact that I'm a Giants fan with this new color scheme.  Erin was the inspiration behind that when she scoffed at me even thinking about including pink.  I think her shaming me into doing something different worked out for the best.

I also added my 30 by 30 list to the left column.  I'll be tracking my progress on the homepage now, and I'll cross them off as I complete them (if I complete them).  For those of you reading this on an iPhone (which is like 25% of my readers), you'll still be treated to my mobile format and won't see all the extraneous stuff.

As far as the new header, that was 100% her because I don't have the style or design talent that she does.  I could have never done anything as good as she churned out in less than 30 minutes.

Take a second and look it over.  I'm no king of web design, so I don't expect to be lauded for it.  In my wife's words "It doesn't look professional or anything.  It looks like you."  Ummm, thanks?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Daddy Daughter Days

I came to the realization the other day that I never sleep in.  Even on my days off I'm still up early with the girls.  This is where my wife says "That's because you sleep through them waking up at night."  I don't disagree with that.  It's a blessing and a curse being a heavy sleeper.  A blessing for me and a curse for her.

So I was up early on Thursday with Grace.  She is still sick with a runny nose and cough.  She never has slept late, and she definitely doesn't when she is under the weather.  In spite of this she remains in good spirits.  Usually this translates to her playing in our room every morning with stuffed animals.  She especially loves carrying around the stuffed cow that I got for her mom.  His name is Ding.  Although she shows her love for him in a strange way.

You see the cow has a little button in it that makes a mooing noise.  Grace loves the moo, but she doesn't really know what causes it.  She was so excited about it last night that she slammed it on the tile near our fireplace thus killing the moo.  It's okay though because she makes the mooing noise in its place.

Erin often gives me a hard time for the outfits I put the girls in.  Either they look too much like boys.  Or the pants don't go with the shirt.  Or they wear a certain outfit too much.  Or they have cuter clothes than that.  It gets a little annoying because my motivation is to make sure they are dressed appropriately for the weather and situation.  I think in spite of stripes and polka dots clashing that I did a good job on this outfit.

Grace loves hats.  She loves to play with them.  She loves to try and put them on.  She loves to take them off of me.  In fact Ana joined in on the taking the hat off dad fun today.  But the moment Ana took it off my head, Grace was putting it on hers.  There just isn't anything cuter than a kid in clothes or hats that are too big for them.  Although you can judge for yourself.

The girls still are climbing onto the fireplace like it's the most fun thing in the world.  I just have to resign myself to not getting it.

Here Ana has found a nice quiet place to read.  They both speak in this random language when they're looking at books.  It's almost as if they're interpreting the story and saying what they see.

I had about 40 minutes of a break right around lunch time when the girls are napping.  I call it my Justified time because that's when I watch the Justified episode I taped on Tuesday.  As an aside you really should be watching that show.  For all the guys, it's witty, funny and is a well-done crime show.  For all the ladies, it's witty, funny and Timothy Olyphant.

What I was starting to say is that I don't really have much rest on Thursdays because nap time is clean the house time.  I cleaned the kitchen and did the dishes.  I picked up the assorted messes they had made throughout the morning.  I tried to straighten out the house where I could.  The naps were short-lived since the girls both sprung back into action after a little over an hour and a half.

Post nap was all about a trip to the store.  Gotta stay busy, right?  I picked up some essentials and stuff for dinner.  Erin's plan was to make Chow Fun which is freaking delicious, so I picked up all the ingredients.  I sent her a picture of a noodle and asked if it would work, but there was a delay in her response.  This caused me to meander to this section:

And not pictured is what I purchased: Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA.  Damn that is a tasty beer, and I only bought it because Erin was too slow to respond.  Otherwise I would have been ready to check out with no beer.  Your own fault Erin.  But sipping on a Stone IPA to close out my day was a great way to unwind after being on my feet or rolling on the floor with them all day, so it worked out for the best.

As always it was another great day with my girls.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I'm not done with my traveling, so let's run

Tonight one of the big items on my 30 by 30 list started in earnest.  I've started training for my next marathon.

It started innocently enough.  My brother-in-law sent an email this morning that he was considering a half-marathon at the beginning of April.  And since we'd probably already be in the area for Easter, he invited Erin, my sister-in-law and me to join him for the run.

It was the motivation I needed to start my training.

The thing is I don't run unless I have something to run for, and I'll gladly put off training for anything until I absolutely have to start.  That's pretty obvious when you consider marathon training was one of my goals before I turn 30, and I haven't run at all since I wrote that out.  So besides a bear chasing after me, figuring out races to train for is the only thing that will get me running again.

Now I'll do my best to knock out 3 miles tonight and get back into race shape over these next 10 weeks.  Except now I'll make sure to keep a race in my schedule for the next few months while I prepare my body for a big boy marathon.

The last half-marathon I did was the San Jose Rock and Roll on October 3, 2010.  Since I have a moral obligation to mention it at least twice per week, this was the day the Giants clinched the division and started their run for the World Series.  You could say they motivated me to run my hardest, or I motivated them.  When I ran that race, I finished in 2 hours and 10 minutes which was about 25-30 minutes faster than my first half-marathon from a few years earlier.

My goal this time around is the break the 2 hour mark.  That would be just over 9 minute miles.  I think I can do it, and I'll bust my ass over the next 10 weeks to make sure I do.  The added side effect is dropping some extra weight and knocking out another item on my 30 by 30 list.  Win-win.

In case anyone is wondering, the title of this post is a line from a Ben Kweller song entitled "Run" which I love.  You can listen to it below.  It's my motivation for this race.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Twitter Machine Tuesday

For anyone who is a new reader to my blog, the one post that I do every week without fail is my Twitter Machine.  I'm not really all that invested into the internet like so many other bloggers.  I know that I could gain more readers if I opened up a Twitter Machine account.  The thing is: I just don't care.

So instead I put all my 140-character missives here.  Once per week I post them all to my blog.  They aren't always timely because I write them throughout the week, and I'm far too lazy to do any sort of editing.  They also can be offensive because I don't care.

They are rarely about my girls because I have a lot random shit that flows through my brain that has nothing to do with them.  I am more than just a dad after all.

More often than not they are pop culture inspired because that is the only context where me and culture would ever appear in the same sentence.  Well that and bacteria cultures.  And maybe Culture Club if I'm in an especially 80s mood.

So as I do every Tuesday, I present the Twitter Machine:

-That little 10-year-old hardcore singer from Australia kicks ass. Now we just need an 8-year-old Gangsta Rapper.
-Joe Paterno's cause of death: Shame...and maybe old age
-Heidi Klum & Seal getting a divorce. Lame asses and morning zoo hosts prepare your "Now I have a chance with her" lines.
-This may not be scientific, but Newt and Mitt just don't sound like presidential names.
-They do however sound like snacks that little English children would ask for.
-I bet you're imagining a little British kid saying: I'd like a newt with my spot'a tea, mum. Or maybe a mitt, guvna.
-Etta James died...at last #toosoon
-There is a video game based on The Room. Everyone that loves terrible movies is so excited right now.
-Go play it. It contains actual movie dialouge. And if you haven't seen the movie: #YOU'RETEARINGMEAPARTLISA!
-I have no opinion on the Oscar nominations. May have something to do with not seeing any movies this past year.
-I'm rooting for Brad Pitt in every category #justcuz
-The way the Niners lost is just crushing. Kyle Williams be damned!
-Then the whole "There are 52 players on the team. One guy can't lose it" arguments start up. Like they know so much more.
-You can't play up how important turnovers are in a close match-up and then downplay Williams' mistakes
-In happier news, Tim Lincecum is locked in for a set dollar amount. Of course the years were already determined. #sfgiants
-Less than two months away from The Hunger Games hits the big screen #bringiton
-I can't believe how much snot these kids can produce. It's like a self-renewing substance. If we could only harness it.
-Since I won't be watching the Super Bowl, this might be a good day to take snowboard lessons and knock out one of my #30by30
-My wife is doing 30 blogs before she turns 30 and wrote about Game 2 of the 2010 World Series. You should read it. #sfgiants
-Erin didn't know that Frank's Red Hot is what comes on chicken wings. Now that she does, she is obsessed.
-I cannot wait for Casa de Mi Padre. Will Ferrell in a telenovela movie. Who comes up with this?
-Ana was dragging around Erin's bear the other morning. It was adorable. Also she was giving off an Other vibe #LOST.

I'll leave you with the picture of Ana and the bear.  Happy Tuesday everyone!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Kids Without Fear (or Daredevil Babies)

I mentioned in my Daddy Daughter Day post last week that the girls have recently been climbing onto the fireplace.

I don't know what kind of pleasure can be derived from climbing onto a fireplace, but the girls seem to get a kick out of it.  I tried it and felt no joy or pleasure.  Also I was taking up all their new space, so I was left with crying babies that couldn't get where they wanted.

At first I thought it was the accomplishment of getting from the ground to a raised platform that brought a smile to their faces, but I'm starting to think it's something else entirely that elicits such joy.  A more insidious reason why they smile after their climb.

Sitting on the fireplace isn't enough for Ana.  She now stands up every time she climbs onto it and the smile shortly follows.  This usually leads to her dancing on the fireplace because just standing there isn't dangerous enough.

The thing is she always looks in my direction before standing up, and she doesn't start bouncing until she knows I'm looking.  I may be reading too much into it, but I think she is happy because she is pushing her boundaries and has an audience.  She wants to frustrate her dad and part of her knows she is doing something she isn't supposed to do.  The smile is just too Cheshire cat (with a little "Eff you dad" mixed in) for me to ignore.

In related news, Grace has started grabbing things from the floor while on the fireplace.  She isn't the most coordinated (she's 15 months old, give her a break), so she inevitably finds herself back on the floor instead of picking up what she was reaching for.  This morning she actually did a little rolling somersault onto her back.  I was expecting her to scream as she's want to do in situations where she does something totally unexpected, but she just lay there and laughed at the ceiling fan.  Now I'm worried she'll keep trying to do it because it was so much fun.

They've also taken to climbing into the master bathtub.  At least they've tried to climb in.  I've managed to stop them before they tumble in.

I want them to be adventurous and courageous.  I just don't want them to break their necks while doing so.  The duality of dad.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Thankful for Girls

I was reading this blog post the other day about the clothing options for little girls.  Not that Janelle needs me promoting her blog what with my 33 readers, but damnit she is awesome.  She often writes exactly what I've been thinking.  And more often than not it is put more eloquently than I can ever hope to write.

But, as per usual, I digress.

I was reading the comments on this particular post.  There were a lot I agreed with, and there were quite a few I didn't.  But there were multiple commenters that went out of their way to point out how thankful they were to have boys.

Don't get me wrong.  I'd love to have a son.  I think it would so cool to have a little boy because it can be a totally different experience.  I would love any sons I have as much as my daughters.

Since I've cleared that up, can I just say how ridiculous I found the supposed logic of these commenters?

You're thankful that you have boys because then you don't have to dress your daughter in clothing that you don't like?

Apparently you dodged a pretty major bullet there.  Because we all know that being the parent of a daughter means dressing your kid a certain way.  We all know you'd be beholden to put your kid in DIVA wear or overly sexualize her at an early age, right?  Because apparently having a son is the equivalent of a biological hall pass and having a daughter is detention. 

Either way you're the parent, and you get to make decisions on what your daughter wears when she isn't really old enough to make them herself.  Funny thing is you also get to shape and mold this little human, so she'll (hopefully) respect herself enough to decide to wear appropriate clothing even when she has a choice.

I fear the bad influence of others that don't have my daughters' best interest in mind, but I'd fear those people grabbing hold of my sons too.  I fear them succumbing to peer pressure and doing things they may not agree with simply to impress others.  I also know that my wife and I are the biggest influences in their lives, and I hope that by the time they are faced with these people that are out to ruin or take advantage them that we have taught them their worth.

But I don't fear being their dad, and I don't feel a special burden just because they're girls.  I'm thankful for having girls.  I'm thankful that they exist at all.  And I would never wish they were anyone besides who they are.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Daddy Daughter Days

Grace has been sick the last couple of days.  It really only seems to affect her at night (we'll get to that later) because during the day she is in a great mood.  You wouldn't think she was sick at all until she starts talking and it sounds like an arthritic old man.

Needless to say I'm counting down the seconds before Ana joins her as a little sicky.  Because if one of them is sick both of them are sick.  Its inevitable when Ana insists on taking away anything Grace has and puts it in her mouth.  It really is almost like she wants to be sick like her sister.

We still found a way to have fun.

This is the first in my Safety First Series.  Ana has been able to climb onto the fireplace for some time, but she stopped doing it when we took all the Christmas decorations down.  Yesterday she decided she wanted to climb up there again.  Obviously Grace didn't want to be left out, so she was up there within a minute or two.  They got bored with it in about 5 minutes and were back to the floor again.

Safety First as we have baby races up the stairs.  Ana took this round, but Grace was determined to get her the next time around.

Safety First as the girls look down from the top of the world (or the top of their world at least).  Obviously I should be upstairs with them instead of downstairs taking a picture.  The gate is closed.  No big deal.  Erin is afraid that they will get their heads stuck between the bars.  I think she just remembers it happening on a Full House episode.  I also honestly believe their noggins are too big to ever fit through.

They've been picking up speed recently going from walking to running in a flash.  Grace also decided to wear a Christmas ribbon.  Not kidding.  She actually took it off a still unwrapped present and put it around her neck like a scarf.  I guess she likes to dress up when she doesn't feel well to make her feel better.

Of course Ana wasn't content to let Grace wear the ribbon all day.  She decided that it would look equally good on her, so she just took it.  This led to many tears and tug-o-wars throughout the rest of the day as the girls fought for it.

In order to distract Ana from stealing from her sister, I let her play with my iPhone.  It always serves as a good distraction to pop on the on forward-facing camera.  She being vain like her father can't take her eyes off it.  This is a picture she actually took.

The girls have started hanging out under the end tables next to the couch.  Every so often I have to remind Ana that she shouldn't unplug the lamp or play with the outlet.  But they seemed to enjoy hanging out in their secret fort.

As I mentioned above, the day spent with my sick little one was great.  Bedtime was another story.

Erin had people over from her Moms of Multiples group last night for a Moms' Night Out (or more accurately a night in).  So there were a lot of people downstairs and a lot of commotion to go along with it.  This made bathtime and calming the girls down extra difficult because they wanted to hang out with all these people.  They didn't want their bottles.  They had no interest in listening to a bedtime story.  And they certainly didn't want to go to sleep.

Grace cried and moaned while Ana jumped in her bed.  Grace threw her blankets and pacifier on the floor in a form of non-violent protest.  I tried to close the door to their room, but Ana could reach it from her crib and kept opening the door.  It was an hour and a half before they finally passed out.

Grace was up again close to 11pm because apparently she wanted to watch The West Wing with us.  She went back down relatively easy at that point.

But 3am is when the real fireworks flew.  Grace woke up fussy and stuffed up.  She cried and moaned and wouldn't calm down.  This led to Ana waking up and screaming.  We changed diapers.  Nothing.  We gave them bottles.  Nada (in fact Grace threw up for good measure).  I rocked Ana until she started to calm down.  When one was back to sleep, my job was done.  I had work in the morning after all, and I needed to get some sleep.  I was out again by 4am.  I couldn't tell you how long Erin stayed up, but they alarm going off at 6:30 felt like the blink of an eye.

So the day was once again good.  The night?  Not so much.  Now I'm trying to avoid my zombie tendencies.  Not like wanting to eat brains or anything, just drifting my way through an exhausted day.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Twitter Machine Tuesday

I just want to clear up something from yesterday's post.  Erin read it and defended herself that she intuitively almost always knows what the girls want or need.  I agree with this.  There is a connection that we both have with them that allows us to know what it takes to make them happy.  The whole point was that we can't understand everything they "say" or want because they still can't express themselves well enough verbally.

I really wish I knew every thought in their head.

On to the Twitter Machine!

-Have you ever noticed rappers either talk about how shitty their life is or how much money they have?
-Can't we get a rapper that pays his mortgage on time and has a modest but diversified stock portfolio?
-Ricky Gervais was a little reserved on the Golden Globes, but his line about Colin Firth being racist was hilarious.
-I thought the captain always goes down with the ship #costaconcordia #rocktheboat
-Apparently the Golden Boy has greater powers than Jesus #tebow #tombrady
-That 49ers game was the best I've ever seen. And I'm not just saying that because it was recent.
-This from @erinsgirls: How can a silent movie win Best Screenplay? #wellplayed #theartist
-We're worried Ana may have her first ear infection. Not excited about that.
-How will I create fake facts on random Wikipedia pages tomorrow with them going dark? #SOPA
-Alcatraz bothers me because shouldn't people from the 60s be a little concerned about just appearing in the future?
-Paula Dean having diabetes is about as surprising as the Marlboro Man having lung cancer.
-Erin has a stuffed cow that moos and Grace adores it. She walks around our bedroom with it all the time. #loveher
-I'll just assume Brad Pitt was using a cane because he was crushed under his own handsomeness. #noresearchneeded
-Who says: "Napolean Dynamite cartoon?  That's a great idea!"
-Obesity is really a problem in this country when Hostess filing Chpt 11 leads to countless Twinkie eulogies. #perspective
-Betty White's birthday was an actual TV show. There's a reason why NBCs ratings are terrible and America is stupid.
-Justified is back tonight. I freaking love that show.
-One month until the Giants' pitchers and catchers report. Gotta love baseball.
-Grace knows the word "ball" and she also knows how to throw one in her own way. She loves baseball too. #inherblood
-As always I couldn't agree more with Janelle on this.
-I've figured out what I'm getting Erin for her birthday and possibly for our anniversary #planningahead
-She of course wants me to tell her what it is.
-It's about time cold weather has moved into our area. At least before winter ended.

Hoping for lots of rain and snow the rest of this week.  Hope everyone has a great one.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Mouths of Babes

Have you ever seen that episode of The Simpsons where Homer's brother Herb invents a machine that translates baby noises to English?  I never thought much about it, but it really would be the best thing since sliced bread.

As an aside, what did we say was the best thing before sliced bread?  And was sliced bread really so revolutionary that it became the gold standard by which we measure all other inventions?  We really need to consider changing this to something that is more, you know, revolutionary and awesome.  Although I do love me some sandwiches.

Anyway back to my original thought.

Now that my girls are making all sorts of noises and saying indecipherable "words" to us, I've grown to appreciate this fake invention even more and wish it actually existed.

You see Erin and I were either too lazy or too busy to really dive headlong into the whole teach the girls to sign thing to allow better communication.  I'm going to go with a combination of lazy and busy and just leave it at that.  Either way we haven't really mastered the ability to communicate back and forth with our children beyond the intuitive stuff like hungry, sleepy, dirty diaper, etc.  So we don't understand their needs 100% of the time.

This has also led to some hilarious and adorable misunderstandings and them learning words that aren't necessarily accurate.  For example, every animal is a "doggy" to them.  After being told how pretty the Christmas tree lights were for the entire month of December, they now refer to every light they see as "pretty."  They've started calling every man they see "daddy" which makes me feel a little less special.  Although I would like to go up to a guy they call daddy and yell "You sonofabitch!  You slept with my wife!" because that would be high comedy.

But there are still things they say or try to say that I don't understand.  There is one recent example that has led to more questions than anything else.  Ana is now saying "bubby" about nothing in particular.

Part of me wonders how she learned a Yiddish word.  I wonder if she plans on becoming a power agent in Hollywood when she grows up and she's just getting the lingo down.  Maybe she is trying to say "buddy" although that really isn't a word we use too often.  So many questions because of this one little word.

I just want to know what is going on those little heads of theirs.  If anyone out there has a Baby-to-English translator, let me know.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Daddy Daughter Days

Another Thursday with my daughters, and it really crystalizes why it's my favorite day of the week.  I literally have uninterupted time with them all day (really uninterupted when they don't want to nap).  I cherish these days.

One of Grace's favorite things is grabbing hats and trying to put them on.  She was all about her bird hat today.  It didn't last long as you can see by the hand coming in from the left because...

Ana decided that she wanted to wear the hat.  And why wait for dad to find the other one when she could just yank it off her sister's head?  Also she is looking more and more like her mom every day.

Something that the girls and I like to play is the blanket game.  Basically it consists of me hiding under the blanket until they try to crawl underneath or pull it off me entirely.  Erin gets frustrated by this because they just walk away when she hides under the blanket.  This of course is a view from under the blanket.

This tent currently resides in our family room.  We're teaching the girls all about roughing it so they can be ready for camping trips this summer.

I have no problem admitting that I'm not great at taking pictures.  Mostly I have great subjects in my photographs (i.e. Ana and Grace).  But I also don't claim to be some great photographer like so many of those moms out there.  Sorry I'm not a faux-tographer like you.  But even those uppity folks have to agree this is a pretty good picture.  Even a broken watch is right twice a day.  Also how cute are these kids?  I'm not actually fishing for compliments here, I want to know a measurement that can actually identify just how damn adorable they are.

Seriously...love them.

Who needs coffee to wake up when you have Grace's smiles?

They will see us waving from such great heights...

This was the only moment Grace wasn't crying when I took them to the park.  Glad to have caught it on camera.  Apparently she is so over swings.

I admit that I'm exhausted at the end of just about every Thursday with watching them and cleaning up the house during every free moment.  I just don't care because everything they do makes it worth it.  Can't wait until next week.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Twitter Machine Tuesday

I really wanted to stop putting pictures of cartoon birds on my twitter machine every week.  In fact I wrote this in my post last Tuesday.

The first thing my wife said "I like the pictures of birds.  Why did you stop doing that?"

I stopped because it really is a pain to find a topical cartoon bird every week.  Or any cartoon bird without repeating myself.  I don't see why they're needed in every Twitter Machine post, so I'm sticking to my guns and not including them from here on.  My wife will have to get over it.

Welcome back to the Machine.

-I forgot how addicting Streak for the Cash is on ESPN.
-@erinsgirls is on-board with it too. She just wants me to get to 27 wins so we can win $50k
-30 Rock is back this week! With Parks and Rec, 8-9pm Thursdays may be the best hour on TV
-We've knocked out the entire first season of The West Wing in just over 2 weeks #dedicated
-Grace loves hitting Ana in the head with plastic hangers. I told her No and she smiled and kept on hitting her #violent
-Spoke to my old boss the other day about an unemployment hearing. Don't miss that.
-People who play made-up words in Hanging and Words with Friends have earned a special place in hell
-That last one was a little harsh. Maybe a special place in purgatory.
-Ana has been pretty anti-sleep over the last week or so. She likes to yell from upstairs for 30-45 min after bedtime. #fun
-Probably too old for it now, but damnit I want to go to Coachella #blackkeys #arcticmonkeys #radiohead #theshins #dreandsnoop #florenceandthemachine #COMEON
-I didn't even know the Golden Globes were this weekend, and I'm okay with that
-One band that didn't make my criminally underrated list: Fleet Foxes. Maybe a little too well known.
-I also have quite a few more movies that are relatively unknown to share down the road
-Our girls are quite fond of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons #whowouldathought #jerseyboys
-Pre-sale for The Hunger Games go on sale just in time for Erin's birthday
-Maybe she'll like that instead of massage #notlikely
-Reading Mercury Falls on the Kindle. Pretty good book that reads a little like Douglas Adams.
-Saw some commercials for the movie Chronicle with Wallace from The Wire #intrigued
-I got invited to Google+. I just don't think I need one more piece of social media to distract me.
-New Snow Patrol album. Yes please.
-Ana likes to bite when she gets excited. We'll be playing or tickling and out come the chompers.
-Bud Selig needs to be shown the door not offered an extension
-I think I'll be starting to read longer bedtime stories to the girls very soon. Maybe tonight.

Hope you all have a wonderful week.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Criminally Underrated 2.0

I wrote a post in the past about music that I find criminally underrated.  I feel like it's time to breach that topic once again and expand it to all of pop culture.

So below is my list of bands or movies or books or whatever that should be enjoyed by so many more people.  If you've already given these a chance, good for you.  If you haven't, do yourself a favor and give these a shot.

Music: We Are Augustines
I listen to We Are Augustines' first album and hear so many emotions coming from the lead singer, Billy McCarthy.  Mostly a lot of pain and uncertainty comes through.  Come to find out that the concept was inspired by his mother and brother both being diagnosed schizophrenic and his brother later committing suicide.  Now I really get it.  McCarthy bares his soul on this album.  His lyrics only hit home that much more because of the incredible voice belting them out.  He is incredible.  I hope this is just the first of many great albums by this band because I plan on being a huge fan for many years to come.

Music: Telekinesis
Telekinesis reminds me of all the things I love about The Cure.  Catchy hooks and pop chords that grab hold of your ears like they're holding them hostage.  All the while the lyrics stem from a bad relationship or losing out on love.  But isn't all great pop music a result of some relatable pain?  Powerful and catchy all from a one-man-band.  His second album (12 Desperate Straight Lines) is all I've heard to this point, but I'm definitely ready to give anything he's put out there about 50 listens.

Movie: The Iron Giant
There are a lot of people that have seen The Iron Giant, just not nearly enough.  Everyone I know that has seen it, loves it.  It doesn't dumb itself down just because its an animated movie.  It respects the intelligence of the audience and understands that a kid's movie needs to appeal to the parents too.  It has themes that work for kids: friendship, not fitting in, respecting those who are different, etc.  It also has some very adult themes: fear-mongering, respect for life, war, paranoia, etc.  The voice acting and animation is fantastic.  You could see that Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouille) was headed for greatness when you watch this movie.  I'll just warn you that you should be ready to shed a tear or two when you do finally give it a shot.

Movie: The Salton Sea
The description of the movie via IMDb reads: After his wife is murdered, a man drifts into a world populated by thugs and speed junkies.  To tell you anymore than that about the plot would ruin it.  I guess that's part of the reason it failed at the box office.  Just know that it has Val Kilmer in a phenomenal performance.  It features Vincent D'Onofrio in a crazy role as a manic, tweaker, drug dealer.  Luis Guzman, Adam Goldberg and Peter Sarsgaard also give fantastic supporting performances.  I know what you're thinking: "All these great actors are in this movie?  Why didn't I see this one?"  Exactly.

TV Show: Sports Night
There are many shows that don't find an audience that they truly deserve and get cancelled long before they should have been axed (see: Freaks and Geeks, Firefly, Arrested Development).  But few are as good as Sports Night.  The West Wing was Aaron Sorkin's greatest work, but Sports Night isn't far behind it.  It's a show about the inner-workings of a fictional sports show like SportsCenter on ESPN.  The dialogue is hilarious and very smart.  It also comes at the viewer at breakneck speeds.  All the Sorkin-isms are there from the walk and talks to banter you'd expect in a Howard Hawks movie to perfect pitch dramedy.  It also has a wonderful ensemble that you'd expect from a Sorkin show.  Everyone brings their A-game throughout the run of it's 45 episodes.  I never understood how it didn't stay on the air, and you can wonder that yourself since it is available on Netflix Instant Queue.

That's it for now.  Go out and listen or watch.  If you give a chance to anything I've listed here and enjoyed it, let me know.  If you hated it, let me know.  At least they'll get some sort of audience.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Daddy Daughter Days

It seems as though I haven't written one of these in quite some time.  Must be because I've gone in to work almost every Thursday for the last couple of weeks.  Well I'm back for another installment this week.

Let me first apologize to anyone that follows me on Instagram since you'll be seeing all the same pictures that posted throughout the day.  Also get over it.

The day started like every Thursday does.  The girls snuggling on the bed/floor in our bedroom with me.  It may be the best part of my life.  That isn't hyperbole.  I actually think it is the best part of any day and therefor the best part of my life.

I mean wouldn't wake up to this be the best part of your day too.  Ana loves to play.  Even when she is having her morning bottle (as you can kind of see in the bottom right corner above).

There also seemed to be a theme of Grace being obsessed with clothes throughout the day.  Also she was in a very helpful mood.

Here she is "helping" reorganize one of the dresser drawers in her bedroom.  Diaper covers and pajamas apparently go on the floor now.

Here she is wearing a hat that supposedly came from Peru.  She cannot get enough of this hat.  She digs into baskets to find it and tries to put it on when she does.  Her idea of putting it on is just throwing it on top of her head until it falls off.  Then she throws it on there again.  Normally her and Ana will pull off whatever we put on their heads immediately, but this hat is special.  Grace will keep it on all day.  Also how am I ever supposed to say "No" to her about anything?

Here Grace is helping with the laundry.  Very good folding kiddo. Erin already thanked me for posting a picture of her underwear to the internet.  Of course that was on Instragram where my pictures are private.  Now it's really on the internet, and you're welcome.

We loaded up the car and I drove extra carefully to Target to avoid any puke-splosions.  We had some normal shopping to do, but there was one special fun item for the girls.  New slippers for them to wear around the house.

After we got home it was time for afternoon naps.  Not according to Grace.  It was time for her to stay awake, yell and play with dad.

We purchased magnetic letters for the girls for Christmas.  It didn't take long for things to get inappropriate.  I'm sure everyone is very surprised by this.  You know since I'm such a mature adult and will serve as a constant and positive example of decorum and good taste for my girls.  That second one was all for Erin, Kim, Dani and Janelle.  Yes, it was an inside joke so inside that it was on my fridge.

As always it was my favorite day of the week.  I'm glad to share a piece of it with all of you.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Awaiting Further Instructions

I am dumb.

Actually let me clarify that.  I am not good at reading instructions.  So me being dumb isn't because of a lack of intelligence.  It has more to do with me not doing appropriate research.

So more accurately I am lazy which can easily be confused with stupidity to the untrained eye.

You may be wondering what the hell I'm talking about which is fair because to this point I've presented a very poorly laid out post with no background information (Once again lazy).

I've written a few times about Grace and her new carsickness issue.  It's pretty gross what with the vomiting and such.  You'd think I'd be used all the bodily functions by now, but we've been lucky with our girls when it comes to throwing up.  It just hasn't been issue until now.

After this issue came up before, I figured the obvious solution was taking off the cover on the car seat and throwing it in the washer and dryer.  I mean it's fabric.  Fabric can go into a washing machine.  That would clean it and kill the smell.  Win-Win.

Not so much.

Apparently the instructions on the car seat go out of the way to tell you not to machine wash them.  As I covered earlier, I don't read instructions, so I of course didn't know that Britax recommends to hand wash their covers.  After removing them from the dryer I found out why.

The cover is completely frayed and falling apart.  It looks like two dogs thought there was roast beef hidden inside and decided to fight over it.  I never thought my washer and dryer were such a destructive force.

Now we can either crudely stitch it back together or buy a new cover for a staggering $60.  Obviously we're leaning toward the former.  But all this could have been avoided if I simply read the instructions.  Or if the kid didn't throw up in the first place (yeah that's me blaming Grace in a roundabout way).

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Twitter Machine Tuesday

I don't get the whole New Year's Resolution thing.

I mean I understand trying to be a better person or lose weight or eliminate all your vices, but why does a day on the calendar have to precipitate this?  It may be a little Pollyannaish of me to say, but wouldn't it be much more of an accomplishment to give up drinking and eating poorly during the holiday season?  That would really show some resolve.

My resolution is to stop putting pictures of cartoon birds on my Twitter Machines.

Twitter Machine time!

-I think my frustration about resolutions stems from trying to go to a gym the first week of the year.
-Grace is getting car sick on regular basis which worries me. Possible inner ear issue?
-Erin and I talked about doing a cleanse to start the year #nothappening
-Instead I'm drinking more V8
-I'm just going to say it: See's Candy is a little overrated. It's like panning for gold and only getting nougat.
-Give me a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup all day long over anything See's offers.
-46 days until pitchers and catchers report #sfgiants
-I suggested to my wife that we do a beer cleanse where we drink nothing but beer #BRILLIANT
-Anyone that doesn't giggle every time they say caucus is entirely too mature for their own good
-Celebrating the new year with a cold.
-Erin keeps telling me mind over matter. I'm pretty mentally strong, but I can't think my way out of a runny nose.
-I hope the girls don't get sick
-Mutterings of Eringirl is coming back in 2012!!! I love when my wife blogs.
-Reading Moneyball on the Kindle thinking how much smarter everyone in that book is than me.
-It's funny to read about these prospects that were drafted that actually didn't amount to anything
-Maybe they aren't that much smarter than me after all
-It's funny to see reactions from people when you put on a tie and you don't normally wear one.
-I'm reminded every time I watch The West Wing that I don't have to like the politics to love the show.
-Also Josh Lyman is one of my all time favorite TV characters. #thewestwing
-And I think in spite of my politics that I'd still probably vote for Jed Bartlet #thewestwing
-I keep thinking The Hunger Games is so far away until I realize it is about 2 months from now
-Ana refused to go to sleep the other night, but she enjoyed watching The West Wing with us. #goodtaste #getsitfromherdad
-Did the Mayans have a track record with predictions? Why do we just trust this end of the world one?
-That being said you better believe I'm looking for John Cusack when this all goes down. #2012 #endoftheworld
-Saw pictures of the Acura NSX made for The Avengers movie #wow #beautiful #wantone
-We had an entire conversation the other night about Garrett's popcorn and how wonderful it is.
-Popcornopolis is good too, but I don't know that it ever stood a chance #cheesecorn #FTW
-It's times like these where my grandad would insist that I "need a steam" to fix my sickness. I'd go for it.

I'm going to drink a gallon of theraflu now. Yay for my first 2012 post!