Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Golden Gate

Sunday was a pretty special day for the city of San Francisco.  It marked the 75th Birthday of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Because the Golden Gate is the most iconic landmark west of the Mississippi and probably the most famous bridge in the world (No offense to both Brooklyn and London Bridge), there was a huge celebration planned over the entire weekend.  It was capped off with a massive fireworks show on the bridge itself.

We happen to know the family that was shooting the show, so we were invited to watch it from a chartered boat on the bay.  Of course we would never miss it.

Luckily my parents could watch the girls since taking them would have been impossible.  I'd love for them to have gone, but they would have been up way past their bedtime and the boat would have been all sorts of unsafe for them.  So we had to spend most of our normal family Sunday without them.

Ana tried to stop us from leaving without her
 We spent the day with Erin's family and friends which was a blast.  We walked around the city to different apartments and took in breathtaking views of the city.  We also ate at Tony's Pizza in North Beach which was fantastic.  There was one pizza called The Barcelona that had a chorizo sauce, Manchego cheese, eggs and Jamon.  It was to die for.  I honestly was wishing I was hungover and it was breakfast time because it would have been the perfect food for it.

Happy Birthday
 The real good times started on the boat.  Obviously there were many "I'm on a Boat" and Gilligan's Island references as we embarked on our three-hour tour of the bay.  We had drinks and joked.  We heard stories of friends taking their kids to see the 50th birthday.  I couldn't think of a place I would rather be during the show.

The City

Golden Gate

When the show itself started, I was in awe for 20 minutes straight.  I only took a handful of pictures which couldn't really capture just how amazing it was.

Breathtaking
There was also video shot of the show which could never capture just how incredible it really was.  Obviously you should still watch it if you weren't actually there to see it in person.


Before we went to the city, we drove to Pacifica to visit Erin's grandfather.  He is turning 92 in a few weeks and was so happy to see us.  He told us all sorts of wonderful stories including a few that involved the Golden Gate.  This really put everything about the celebration into perspective for me.  For all the iPhones, Computers and HD televisions that have come along, the Golden Gate has remained.  It has been there welcoming people to California and America since 1937.  It has awed multiple generations and will continue to do so for generations to come.  Erin's grandpa walked across the same bridge that we have both walked and driven across, and our grandchildren will do the same.

I told Erin right after the show was over that we can take our girls to the 100th anniversary.  She laughed at me when I said it because it is still 25 years away, but I was totally serious.  It is something I'm now looking forward to sharing with them.  When something like the Golden Gate stands for 75 years, it should remind us that the things that stand the test of time are the things we should share and celebrate.


Speaking of celebrations, have you entered my 200th Post Contest?  Go over and enter to win a BevMo gift card just in time for the latest 5 cent wine sale.  I'm also including two pint glasses you can use to enjoy your beer of choice.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Twitter Machine Tuesday

Part of being in this business is not actually getting holidays off.  So yesterday I was at work when most everyone else was BBQing or spending the day outside.  I can't complain about that because I knew what I was getting into when I signed up.

What I can complain about is the migraine that I endured for over three hours while at work.  It was no fun.  It was only augmented by the fact that most of my job involves looking at a computer screen for hours at a time.  I was useless.  I went home early to sleep it off, but I couldn't even do that.  The girls wanted to play, but I was busy with a blanket on my head writhing in pain.  I hate migraines especially on a day when I should be outside having fun with my daughters.

It did pass eventually and I did get to sick outside with my girls, so it wasn't a completely horrible day.

Anyways you don't care about my migraine; you care about my Twitter Machine.  Read on.

-We didn't watch Mad Men this week and I'm having Draper withdrawals #madmen
-We missed it because of the 75th Birthday for the Golden Gate bridge on Sunday. More to come on that tomorrow. #goldengate #imonaboat
-The Avengers weren't defeated by alien hordes. They were defeated by guys in suits who fight alien hordes #MIB
-Once again proving that Will Smith could star in a movie that no one actually wanted to see and still make money
-Although I would like to see it just because Josh Brolin absolutely nails the Tommy Lee Jones impression
-New Mumford and Sons album is coming in September. More excited than Jesse Spano right now
-I've got another Criminally Underrated post in the works. Some stuff that you should definitely give a try.
-Do we need any more proof that Florida is horrible? Naked cannibalism tells me that we'd be fine with 49 states.
-Apparently Bath Salts are to blame. Which is actually a term used for LSD. Pretty sure they don't sell them at Lush though
-Ana likes to pull the blankets over her head when we try to wake them up in the morning #justlikemom
-I'm now referring to The Bachelorette as a total bro down
-You may call me an idiot, but seeing Barry Bonds at the Giants game yesterday was great
-I can't condone the choices he made. I can just remember that I never wanted to miss one of his at bats.
-I feel like Pat Summit and Bob Dylan aren't really on the same level as the guy who eradicated smallpox #presidentialmedaloffreedom
-How badly did headline writers want to do a "Hatfields & McCoys make history" headline? #historychannel
-Can't wait for Tosh tonight. I've missed him mercilessly insulting people.
-I'm not a big video game player, but just once I'd like to go to E3. It looks very cool.
-You know what makes the Most Interesting Man in the World ads even more awesome? Chuck Norris writes them.
-Ana likes to hit Grace with sticks, bats or anything else she can swing. Probably not a good habit to develop there #iketurner
-moviesimpsons.tumblr is my new favorite website. Beware of slow browsers what with all the gifs

That's all for this week.  Did you go enter my 200th Post Contest?  You should.  Go now.  Also tell your friends and lower your odds of winning.  See you next Tuesday.

200

Of course my 200th post would come on Twitter Machine Tuesday.  It is the only thing I write consistently, so the odds were ever in its favor.

I didn't get that many suggestions for prizes on my previous post.  Kim did suggest a case of Blue Moon, glasses and oranges which I thought was nice.  Of course I don't know how well that would go over if the winner of my giveaway was under 21.  I also don't know the legalities behind shipping alcohol over state lines.  I'm pretty sure that stuff is frowned upon.  So I don't want to screw over my loyal readers in other parts of the country or get myself arrested.

But it did get me thinking about a possible prize.  I'm leaning toward a gift certificate to BevMo.  That will get me around the whole sending alcohol to people problem.  Also they sell non-alcoholic stuff there, so someone under 21 can just purchase sodas and such.  At least that's what I'll tell myself.

But this has created another problem: How do you enter?  There are a couple of ways.

  • First if you follow my blog publicly (i.e. you are one of my minions to the right of this post), you will be entered automatically.  Good job those of you who already follow me.  No effort needed. 
  • Comment on this post for an entry
  • Get one of your friends to follow my blog publicly and leave a comment on any post mentioning you or your blog, and you'll get another entry.
  • If you write a blog, share a link to mine on your page for an entry.  Just comment with the link to your page on this or any post.  Maybe someone that reads my blog will start reading your blog too. Win-Win.
  • I'm not one to create a Facebook page or create a Twitter Machine account for my blog, so there will be nothing to Like or Retweet
All the entries will be accepted from today through next week's Twitter Machine.  I'll use a random number generator to determine the winner.  I'll announce the winner on June 10th.  Enter away!

Coming later today: Twitter Machine Tuesday

Friday, May 25, 2012

Daddy Daughter Days

Welcome back for another day in the life of a single dad for a day.

It started like every Thursday does with us spending some quality time as a family in the big bed.  Ana was obsessed with her mom's phone this particular morning.  The case later broke into a million pieces.  Erin tried to pin it on Ana, but I'm going with the fact that Erin is a klutz that constantly drops her phone (including leaving it on the hood of her car and driving off with it earlier this week).


One of Ana's favorite new words is "Monkey."  She says it all the time now.  We just so happen to have a book called Monkey See, Monkey Do that is filled with monkey pictures.  This is her reading it, pointing at the pictures and saying "Monkey."


For no particular reason the girls decided to chase each other around the table.  The also made sure to keep their hands on the leather part the entire way around it.  Funny kids.


Grace has always had her own individual style.  When I told them we were going to put their shoes on so we could go to visit their Grandma, Grace grabbed her mom's sandal and put it on as a bracelet.

No pictures of our trip to Elk Grove.  But we saw our Grandma and Pop Pop and Uncle and Aunt and Cousin.  It was actually quite the impromptu gathering.  We went to Mexican food (Plaza Del Sol which has the best carnitas quesadilla ever in case you were wondering).  The other patrons of the restaurant loved our girls and it was a good time.  It may have even made going to Elk Grove worth it.


Grace likes to share (as long as it isn't with her sister).  Drink up Elmo.  You look parched.


On our way to the park to get some wiggles out.  Ana rockin' the Blue Steel.  Grace being too cool for school.  This is life.


Seriously I want to know when they got so big.  This had to have been overnight because I'm pretty sure I would have remembered when this happened.



Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pretty In Pink

I always thought I wasn't fond of girly stuff like pink outfits, flowers and princesses.

It's funny how your own kids change your perspective on stuff like that.

Don't get me wrong I still hate princesses.  I've made that very clear.  But I've grown to appreciate the girly things that have become commonplace in my life.  Our house is filled with flowers and butterflies and bows and other assorted stuff.

Before you get all "Those are gender stereotypes that you're perpetrating!  Watch it." I get that boys can wear pink and play with flowers and crap.  But those are still girly things.  You show me a boy in a flowery dress with a bow in his hair, I'll show you parents that are just trying to prove a point.  We get it.  You're so much better than us because you view your kid as a person and not a boy or girl.  Hooray you!  Now go back to your commune and make sure you don't trip on your Birkenstocks.

Case in point, I never really feel anything for tutus.  They were pink and frilly and just there.  That was until yesterday when Grace walked into our bedroom holding a pink tutu that she pulled from the closet.  She wanted to wear it, so we put it on her.  The smile that stretched across her face was like the sunrise lighting up the entire room.  Ana didn't want to be left out, so she ran into the other room to grab her own tutu and shouted "TUTU."  We put hers on and they both started dancing.

After I died and was brought back to life, I took a few pictures.  If you're an anti-pink guy like myself, it is moments like this that will change your mind.



Oops I just died again.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Twitter Machine Tuesday

I keep writing introduction paragraphs like I normally do on my Twitter Machine posts, but I keep finding myself saying "That would be better as a full post."  There are times when I can literally think of nothing to write, and today I've shelved three different posts because I want to expand on them.

Now I'm left grasping at straws in my intro to this post.  Honestly.  The well is dry.

How about this: I'm closing in on my 200th post.  I'm on the fence whether I'm going to do another giveaway like I did to celebrate my 100th post.  And if I do another giveaway, I'm going to need some ideas on what swag to hand out.  I could stick with Icing on the Cupcake since it is so delish.  I should do something that is a little more enticing to those loyal readers living outside of my neck of the woods.  I'll take suggestions in the comments.  I may not actually do anything you suggest, but I'll at least read them.

On to the Twitter Machine

-My wife secretly loves watching The Bachelorette with me. I'm just so angry with its existence and don't hold back any snark.
-I honestly wish I could punch every douche on that show right in the junk. Without question they'd deserve it.
-The problem with The Bachelorette is there isn't anything else on during the summer, so the DVR is taken over by it. #summersucks
-How many people have permanent cornea damage after the eclipse on Sunday?
-Can you put a price on something that you use to tell friends random crap throughout the day? #facebook #38dollarsashare
-The first Anchorman 2 trailer is magnificent!
-In fact there are two teasers, and both are amazing.  Jean-creamin' time!
-In related Will Ferrell news: He'll be in movie with Zach Galifiniakis. Too much hilarity.
-How many people have to be beaten up in parking lots before we just get rid of the Dodgers? #mlb #classyfans
-We need to make more trips to Costco if only to replenish our supply of boxes for the girls to play with
-One good thing about the summer: Our girls are rocking total sandal tans with their Salt Water Sandals
-I got mentioned way more than the car in this article, but I appreciate it all the same.
-Honestly if Don and Joan hooked up it would be too sexy #madmen
-Erin found a 24 pack of Blue Moon at Costco for $22, and they threw in two free pint glasses #yesplease
-I miss LOST. I think it's just about time to rewatch it.
-Sometimes I miss our old life in the condo. Actually I only miss the restaurants.
-We downloaded the Elmo Calls app. The girls absolutely love it.
-Erin got hooked on Smash. I'll hear it from the other room, and all I can think is how atrocious the writing is.
-Any recommendations on good books. I'd like to start reading before bed this summer.
-I won't be taking any 50 Shades of Grey suggestions seriously
-Can we all agree that we don't want to see LeBron James win it all? #nba #miamiheat
-I would literally have no problem with any of the other remaining teams winning the title. #nba
-I'm just kind of going through the motions at this point. Like LeBron in the 4th quarter. #zing

That is all for this week.  Like I wrote before taking suggestions in the comments, so fire away.  See you next Tuesday.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Better Homes and Gardens (Than Ours)

The bulk of our Sunday afternoon was spent in muddy mess.

It all started with my wife wanting to do something with the rock bed that sits at the front of our lawn next to our driveway  Our luck with plants in that area was somewhere between bad and non-existent.  We weren't sure why, but a very young tree that was planted there before we moved in died.  We're pretty sure we had something to do with it's untimely demise, but we weren't sure how.  Since the tree died, we have just left it as a rock garden sans plants.  She decided it was time to beautify a drab part of our front yard with some flowers.

I didn't really have a problem with it in theory.  It would make the front yard look a little bit better.  She already pulled all the weeds out of the area the day before.  So we were left with the simple job of pulling all the rocks out, digging holes, planting some flowers and putting the rocks back.

It seemed like an easy enough project.

Notice that I wrote "seemed" in that sentence.

I didn't really think about it, but I had run the sprinklers in the front yard earlier in the afternoon.  I figured the lawn going without water for two days was enough and that it needed it.  We didn't realize this was a mistake until we started taking the rocks out.  It became clear very quickly that we would be working in a gloppy, slick mud pit.

I don't know if you've ever tried to dig holes in mud.  It ain't easy.  It makes me wonder what the hell I saw in it when I was between the ages of 6-10.  Youth wasted on the young and such.  You slip and slide around because you can't get great footing.  You slowly grow taller and taller because the mud builds up on your shoes and reminds you where you've stepped with a trail of muddy footprints.  Then you have the suction that happens with mud.  You step and it's like you have suction cups attached to your shoes because pulling them back up is damn near impossible.

Needless to say mud sucks, but we pushed on.

Then there were the roots.  I'm not talking about the rap group that became Jimmy Fallon's house band.  I'm talking about tree roots that have made a home under then ground where our baby tree once died.  These weren't the roots of that sapling; these were the roots from a larger, more nefarious tree.  Every few inches we dug, we found a new root that needed to be pulled out.  They weren't connected to anything in particular, but they were still damn difficult to pull out of the ground.

It looked more and more like there was nothing little about this little project.

We finally got the roots out of the way.  We had a system in place for our hole digging and plant dropping.  We figured we had it made.  Then we hit the clay.

This is when I put two and two together regarding the death of our previous resident in the rock bed, why there was nothing before that and why the mud and water accumulated so quickly.  You see clay doesn't mix with water.  You pour water on clay and it just sits there.  It doesn't dissipate or seep into it.  It just rests like clay is a beach in Hawaii and the water is on it's honeymoon.  This leads to plants getting too much water because it has nowhere else to go.  It also means the roots will only grow down so far and start looking for new destinations.

But we soldiered on.  We figured that we would be the ones that would finally crack the code and that our planting skills (in spite of our non-green thumbs) would persevere.  Maybe it was a fools errand.  Maybe it was extra stressful because our girls were all about getting into stuff that they shouldn't.  We're still wondering if clay is edible after Ana decided to try some (Trust me I wish I was in the state of mind to take a picture of her).

Erin did take a picture of the new garden.


It looks great (at least that's what we're telling ourselves), so I have to give props to my wife for her vision to make the space more than a rock pile.  Now we're just praying that everything stays alive.  Fingers crossed.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Daddy Daughter Days

So I have a not-so-dirty secret.  In fact it's a not-so-secret secret.

I don't take a lot of pictures of my kids.

I know that this isn't common practice for people in the blog world.  In fact most bloggers consider themselves semi-professional photographers.  I'm just not that guy.  I don't consider contrast or framing when it comes to taking a picture.  I don't consider much of anything.

In fact I rarely think to whip out my phone and take pictures.  When I have a day off with my girls, my priority is spending time with them and interacting with them.  And I don't do it through a lens.  I'm not saying that people who spend all their time with their kids setting up photos are bad.

Actually yes I am.  Every interaction with your child shouldn't be through a camera.  I'm all for adorable pictures.  In fact about 99% of the pictures on my Instagram are my girls.  I get it.  My first instinct just has never been "Where's my camera so I can document this?"  I think about talking to them and playing with them without a camera in their face.  With how image-conscious we are and the emphasis that has been placed on looks in our society, it's probably for the best.
This of course is a roundabout way of explaining why I didn't post this last week.  I've got some photos for you this week though.  Enjoy.

My day really started the night before.  Erin went out with Kim to enjoy their last burger from The Counter before it closes down this week.  So I was left alone with the girls that evening.  Ana was enjoying her bath time.  Grace was anti-paparazzi.

We went to Target for a few items.  We always seem to find something there that we weren't looking for to distract us.  Are these not the cutest tissue boxes ever?

We purchased new pads for our patio furniture last week in the lead-up to Mother's Day.  When we were at Target we also saw a throw pillow that was a perfect match for the pads.  Unfortunately there was only one, so that was all we bought.  Since I was at Target, I figured I'd stop by the patio section and see if they had any more.  They did.  I bought three more.  I made my wife happy.  Sometimes it's just the little things.
Another great thing about Thursdays with my girls is the Giants usually have an afternoon game scheduled, so the girls and I usually catch the first inning together before nap time.  Here Ana and Grace are showing their team pride by taking off my hat and putting it on themselves.  Grace was also clapping when she saw fans doing it on the television.  I immediately died.


Grace doing her best Banksy impersonation.  She is such a cutting-edge street artist and so underappreciated in her own time.


When Erin got home, we went on a family walk to the park.  The girls love the playground.  Here Grace is going back and forth through the tube.  Ana was doing the same, but she was much more elusive.

Oh if the pictures weren't enough, I also have videos!
video
Ana just dancing away.  My favorite part is when Grace is laughing at her.  Probably because she knows she has better moves than her sister.

video
Grace is so fearless.  Ana has to be coaxed and then essentially pushed down the slide.  Grace just does it without hesitation.

That's all from our Daddy Daughter Day adventure this week.  I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Twitter Machine Tuesday

Before Mother's Day, Erin took the girls down to the Bay Area to visit some family.  She left on Friday and was gone until Saturday evening.

Essentially it was enough time to carry them upstairs and lay them in their cribs.

So I had the house to myself for two days.  Most people would revel in the fact that they had no kids or wife for almost 48 hours, but it didn't feel right to me.  I'm normally greeted with screams of "DADA!" when I get home on Fridays.  Instead I was greeted with a silent, empty house.  Saturday mornings before I go to work are spent in the big bed with Erin and the girls.  This past Saturday I woke up and no one was there.

And don't even get me started on how hard it is to sleep in a bed by myself.

Children fill your house with energy and love that can't be matched.  There may be a time when I welcome the quiet static that is an empty house, but that isn't me just yet.

Twitter Machine rolls on.

-Maybe it's a sign of my age, but Justin Bieber just needs to pull up his damn pants #getoffmylawn
-I don't get political in this space because it's not the forum, so you won't be reading my op-ed on Pres Obama on gay marriage
-I will say that my opinion on marriage doesn't extend beyond my front door. It's the only marriage I have input in. #sheletsmethink
-Time Magazine got exactly what it wanted: Everyone talking about the cover.
-I appreciate the people that tried to steer the conversation back to the actual topic of attachment parenting.
-Really isn't it at least a good thing that the topic of attachment parenting is being talked about? Maybe not on the terms you'd like #butstill
-I honestly didn't know Desperate Housewives was still on the air until I learned of the series finale #seriously
-So 30 Rock will have it's final season next year. I don't know what I'll do without Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy in my life
-Battleship comes out this week. In spite of my unnatural Liam Neeson love, I hope it fails spectacularly.
-Ana now says "Monkey" although it more comes out as Munchy. Still pretty darn cute.
-Ettore's in Sacramento makes a cheese danish that should seriously be illegal. It's that good.
-Going from turkey burgers to beef is like going from black and white TV to 1080p HD.
-Speaking of burgers The Counter in our area is closing which gives me a major sad.
-Haven't had a chance to watch Will Ferrell on SNL from the weekend, but I hear good things
-Apparently we're going to be treated to a Freddy Mercury hologram. #damnyouholopac
-Better secondary Parks & Rec character: Perd Hapley or Jean Ralphio?
-Dealing with a city's public services department is like pulling teeth with a rusty wrench. I need Leslie Knope.
-Mom, John Travolta won't come out of the closet!
-30 For 30 is back this fall. There have been some great ones so far. I'm sure there are still great stories yet to be told.
-I have no desire to see The Dictator because I'm pretty sure all the funny bits are in the trailer. #likeeverytrailer
-There is however a teaser for Anchorman 2 that will play before, so that might be enough to get me to see it. #scotchscotchscotch
-The Bachelorette is back to make me question the taste of every woman I know.
-Ana also pushes Grace and says "Go." I'm blaming this impatience on her mother.
-Some times I have to consciously take a picture of something besides my girls just so my Instagram isn't monotonous.
-Was so excited for We Are Augustines opening for Counting Crows. Closest they are coming to us is Bend, OR #maybenextyear

That's all for this week.  I'll see you next Tuesday.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

I can never know what it's like to be a mother.

Part of me is very thankful for that.  I know with my pain tolerance that I'd never be able to handle child birth.  And honestly I don't think any man could pull it off.

There are times when I marvel at the relationship Erin has with our girls.  I know I'll never have the same relationship with them.  They'll always have a different connection with her that I'll never know.  They'll know a closeness that I can only imagine.  I get it.  I'm number two to them at best, and I'm okay with it.

Erin earned that closeness by carrying them for just over 33 weeks.  She earned it by being with them every single day for the first few months of their lives.  She earned it by breast feeding them.  She gave them the life-giving nourishment they needed and at the same time bonded with them and developed the special relationship that every mother should have with her children.

So when I think of Mother's Day and gifts and commercialization, my only response is "Why the hell not?"

All the moms out there have earned it.  I don't care that it has become a "Hallmark holiday" because it's a holiday every mother deserves.  We at the very least should reflect on what makes the mothers in our lives so special.  We should spend every day showing them, but I'm sure they're happy that they get the recognition at least one day out of the year.

So every child spend a moment telling your mom you love her and appreciate all she's ever done for you.

And to Erin:  I can't imagine a better mom for our girls.  They are filled with joy whenever they see you.  It started with the joy that overflowed from you on the day they were born.  The light in their eyes is a direct reflection of the love that you shine onto them.  I know that no matter what happens from now until the end of time our girls have someone in their corner.  They will never be without the love of their mama.  Happy Mother's Day eringirl.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Summer Sucks

I know there are some out there that look at the above title and think "How dare you?" or "Sacrilege!"  In fact there are some that I know that would want to fight me for simply writing those words.  Every year I'm reminded why my fondness for the season wanes almost immediately, and this year with Summer right around the corner I figured I'd post something about it.

You have to hear me out.

I have my reasons why it sucks as I'm sure you have your reasons why Summer is great.

I actually know quite a few teachers that read this blog and will never agree with this particular sentiment, so I know I'm fighting an uphill battle with those readers.  I get it.  It's your one extended time off all year after busting your ass for the past 9 months.  You've earned it.  Trust me.  All I'm saying is that if the 3 month vacation came from March to May or from September to November that it could be that much better.

Most non-teachers think about summer romantically.  We view it through the rose-colored glasses of nostalgia.  Remembering our misspent youth.  Looking back on the long days where the sun didn't go down until the evening.  We weren't forced to come in until the streetlights came on, and summer provided those extra few hours to bond and play with our friends without the constraints of school and homework.  These were the times when your family went on trips to places like Disneyland or across the country to see new, exciting places.

Nostalgia is a strong thing.  Sometimes it can blind us to how awful something really is.  I for one look back at television shows or listen to music that I thought was awesome as a kid and realize how truly horrible it is now.  Granted it still holds a special place in my heart and I can never truly hate it, but I can see it for what it really is now that I have more discerning taste.

Summer is the same.  I think about how great it is until it comes.  The middle of baseball season.  The Fourth of July.  Summer movie season.  Summer concerts.  All these things contribute to my misdirected adoration.  Then a heatwave hits and I remember why it sucks so much.

So here is my list of why Summer can blow me.  If you disagree feel free to comment below.  This isn't some unquestionable list.  I'm trying to start a dialogue here and welcome disagreement.

  • It's so damn hot:  You know why all the big movies come out in the Summer?  People are looking to be inside an air conditioned room even if they have to spend $20 and watch a crappy movie to do it.  Cold will always win against heat because you can always put on a coat or grab a blanket when it's cold.  There are only so many clothing items you can take off when it's hot before you're getting reported to the cops.  And even if you were naked, it still isn't cooling you off completely.
  • Bugs:  Summer brings out all the annoying bugs.  Gnats are everywhere.  Mosquitoes are plentiful and hungry.  Even when you want to sit outside and enjoy a warm evening with a cool beer, you're under attack.  I friggin' hate bugs.
  • Sleepless Nights:  This is related to the last two topics and it may be more of a personal problem, but the heat always leads to sleepless nights.  I find it hard to sleep in warm weather.  The girls don't go down as easy when it's hot outside.  This means I'm always exhausted throughout the day which in turn makes it difficult to sleep again the following night.  It's a vicious cycle.  Not only that, but the aforementioned mosquito bites leave you itchy and uncomfortable and thus unable to sleep peacefully.
  • It's more expensive:  We are by no means made of money.  Hence the hot, sleepless nights instead of running our AC overnight for preferred comfort.  But air conditioning can't be avoided in the Summer especially in our area.  It just gets too hot to not run it.  I don't want to put my daughters in danger of heat stroke because I'm too cheap, so the AC will run intermittently throughout the day.  The thing is it isn't just the air conditioning driving up the utility bill every month.  We also have a water bill to worry about, so we watch that spike in the Summer because we have to water our lawn and plants more often or use the hose as a way to cool our kids off.
  • No good television:  We spend most of the Summer watching Giants games in the evening, but there are no great options when it comes to regular television.  Sure Summer is meant to spent outdoors, but I suggest you scroll back up to reason one and two why Summer sucks.  It may be a petty thing to complain about, but it's my blog damnit.
  • Gas prices:  Every year gas goes through the roof right before Memorial Day, and we deal with those insane gas prices until Labor Day or later.  Usually it's the precursor to prices in the coming months.  It sucks when a good chunk of your paycheck (because most of us are still working during these horrible months of suckiness) goes to your fuel bill.
  • Fat people in revealing clothing:  Granted you take a little of the good with the bad here.  There are also fit people wearing revealing clothing, but it doesn't ever seem to offset the other, fatter side of that coin.  I'm sure that you thought that two-piece was a good idea when you saw it for 40% off at Wal-Mart, but you should really reconsider.  It doesn't work on you or for anyone that has to witness it.  This ultimately serves as a motivation for me to get off my own ass and work out, so there is some good to be derived from it.  Although I also hate working out.
Now I know that I don't have it that rough.  For example I could be digging ditches in the Summer as opposed to working indoors.  I count my blessings.  I love seeing my girls in dresses and outfits that come along with Summer.  I look forward to when they're older, and I can enjoy it a little more.  But I still hate this time of year.  I'd love to live in a place where the weather is always 78, but I can't afford to live in San Diego just yet.  So for now I'll just complain about the crappiness that is Summer time.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Twitter Machine Tuesday

I love my wife.

She just gets me and knows what it takes to make me happy.

I didn't make it a secret that I wanted to go see The Avengers on Friday.  In fact I've written about it many times in this very space.  So on Friday see sent me a text in the middle of the day asking if I wanted to go on a date with her.  That she would line up the babysitter and we could go to dinner and a movie.  Of course I wanted to go, and I was very glad she offered.

She wasn't necessarily excited to see that particular movie, but she went anyways because she knew it would make me happy.  We had a lovely dinner on our own.  It turns out the movie was fantastic.  So she was thankful not only for a night out with her husband, but she didn't regret any part of it.

Anyways Twitter Machine is what you came for, so I won't keep you from it.

-So if you're keeping track at home The Avengers saved the world and our Friday night #winning
-Whenever we go to a chain restaurant I wonder what the original looked like
-I imagine Claim Jumper started with a bunch of prospectors surrounded by a fire eating bison steaks #probablynot
-Who was the first annoying server at TGI Fridays and how did they decide that was the one to emulate?
-The Black Keys and Snow Patrol were playing in our area at separate venues on Saturday and I saw neither #singletear
-How little is Dark Shadows going to make this weekend going against The Avengers in week two? #verylittle
-I'm not saying that Ana is as intelligent as a velociraptor, but she can open doors in our house. #justsayin
-She also gets you to focus on her so Grace can attack you from the side #clevergirl
-Where the Wild Things Are was one of my favorite books growing up. I loved the movie and the soundtrack too #RIP
-I love the Beastie Boys. Paul's Boutique is probably my favorite rap album ever. Cancer can kiss my ass. #MCA #RIP
-And then there's Junior Seau #ruleofthree
-We Are Augustines are going to tour with Counting Crows. So DAMN EXCITED!!!
-Rory Gilmore and Mr. Belding on Mad Men? Was Matt Weiner reading my diary or something?
-And Mad Men paid $250k to license a song by The Beatles. #madmoney
-Thomas Kinkade apparently overdosed on valium. Usually I just look at one of his paintings to fall asleep. #differentstrokes
-I think the best Mother's Day gift I could give to Erin would be a relaxing Sunday, but that probably won't be happening.
-Ana actually opened up the bathroom door this morning and fell into the tub. That's how much she likes baths.
-Although she was staring up at the ceiling and crying, but she still loves baths.
-I'm very excited that Ben Folds Five is putting out a new album.
-Play the Perfect Strangers video game. Like right now.
-The girls like to lift their shirts and show their stomachs like they're Usher in every one of his music videos. #greatabs #sovain
-They also want their toothbrushes every time I brush my teeth. Gotta love good oral hygiene.
-Maybe they're a little too into their own appearance.
-I can't decide what's cuter: Grace saying "Bubble" or "Cracker" #parentproblems #roughlife
-I don't understand why everyone complains about timeline. The main Facebook page didn't change. #firstworldproblems
-So Prometheus, Brave, Dark Knight and Spider-Man are the remaining summer movies that have to be seen

And a TwitmachinePic for all you loyal readers:

They're just so happy in the morning

That's it for now.  I hope everyone has gotten their Mother's Day shopping knocked out.  See you next Tuesday.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Lazy Sunday vs Work Sunday

I love Sundays.

Best day of the week as far as I'm concerned.

Some people lean towards Fridays or Saturdays, but that is just so short-sighted.  Nothing beats a Sunday when the weather is nice.  Saturday comes with too many expectations of having to go out or have a blast to make it worth it.  And Friday comes at the tail-end of a work week when you're beat.  Sunday has no expectations.  It just wants to be enjoyed.

The trick to a good Sunday is mixing in the right amount of laziness and hard work which is exactly what we did yesterday.  Most people just go all lazy on a Sunday, but that's a mistake because you just can't appreciate the lazy without a little work to emphasize how awesome doing nothing really is.

That's exactly what we did yesterday.

I woke up with the girls at 7:30ish in the morning.  I took them downstairs immediately, so Erin could sleep a little later.  But we all ended up back in the bed around 8:30.  There was much snuggling and tickling.

From there we went out to the front yard to work on the lawn, rake leaves and pull weeds.  The girls were distracted by sidewalk chalk.  Although Grace got a little over-zealous...
We like to think that her look was inspired by Braveheart.  They did watch the Smurfs that morning for the first time, so maybe she just wanted to Smurf it up.  They also chalked my car in pink and blue.  And they tried to chalk the dog too.

After the front yard was done, we went to Home Depot to look at bark, patio furniture pads and anything else that would inspire us.  Home Depot on a Sunday afternoon/late morning is the best kind of inspiration.  "What above pavers?"  "We could do this kind of mulch."  "Let's remember this when we put a swing set or slide in."  There are so many possibilities when it comes to a Sunday at Home Depot.  I tried to not-so-subtly move her thoughts away from the patio furniture since I was planning to buy her the pads for Mother's Day.  I had to just flat out tell her it was going to be her gift when we went to Target since there were ones there that we definitely wanted.

After playing with girls, working and going shopping, I was ready for a little lazy to creep into my life.  I went and picked up some Mr. Pickle's sandwiches while the girls ate lunch and vegged out to the Giants game while the girls napped.

But the working Sunday demanded more attention.

We had to put the new pads on the seats which led us to more clean-up, bush and tree trimming and the desire to get the bark project started and finished right then before the weather started heating up.

So it was back to Home Depot to pick up the bark.  After we had poured out four bags, it became very clear that the eight I had purchased was not nearly enough.  So I was sent back to Home Depot to buy ten more bags.  The thing is I didn't even mind going back and forth because I just enjoyed that we were getting a project done, and I could still listen to the game on the radio.

As an aside, I think one of the best things in the world is getting yard work done while listening to a baseball game on the radio.  It makes me remember when I was a kid and doing work in the garage with my dad while we listened to a Giants game.  I can't help but feel a kinship to the generations that came before me.  My grandfather listened to baseball on the radio while doing work around the house and yard.  My dad did the same.  One of the many reasons why I prefer baseball to any other sport.  It is timeless.

We cleared out all the leaves and old bark that was in our back yard and spread out the new stuff which made it feel like an entirely different space.  It just feels more clean especially with the bushes and trees trimmed back.  We no longer had a secret garden.  It was now a usable space.

After the girls ate dinner, Erin and I cracked open a couple of beers and sat on our revitalized patio furniture.  We watched our girls run around on the lawn and revelled in all we had accomplished over the day.  We earned that last bit of laziness.

It was perfect.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Daddy Daughter Days

Not a lot of commentary for my day with the girls this week.

But I will start with a story about the girls going to Mother Goose on the Loose.  I don't take a lot of pictures when we go to story time at the library.  It really isn't the time for it.  It is more about interacting with your kids and enjoying the nursery rhymes and stories together.  So I don't even take my iPhone out of my pocket when I go.

The people that run it are fantastic and really make it a point to encourage the children to move around and have fun.

At one point Ana walked to another part of the room with the jingle bell that we were using for our nursery rhymes.  Apparently she got too close to another ladies kid with it, so the lady was grabbing my Ana's arm and reprimanding her.

Not cool.  She is only 18 months old.  Also you don't put your hands on another person's kid.  Nothing she was doing would harm your 3-year-old.

So I went over, picked Ana up and put her back in my lap.  I didn't want to make it an issue, but I wasn't very happy about it.  Chill out lady.  Part of this time is to not only enjoy stories and being active but also about interacting with other kids.  If your kid can't handle a 18-month-old toddler invading his personal space, then you really need to reconsider why you're coming to an activity full of toddlers.

Anyways on to the cute pictures that you came here for.

I don't understand the fascination with the dog dish.  Ana can't help herself and has to play with the water and grab the food.  Gotta keep your head on a swivel when the dog is visiting.

I love her so much.  There really isn't anything more to say than that.


Grace loves the self portrait.  You'll notice Ana's hand coming into to frame.  She is once again trying to photobomb her sister's picture.


Grace is such a diva.  Not really.  But she does love to where her sunglasses.  At one point she even put them on top of her head like dad does.  So stylish.


The one on the left is not so good with a spoon.  The one on the right is excellent with a spoon.  This leads to one messy kid and one not so messy kid.


I've written before about the girls love of Yo Gabba Gabba.  There is one song in particular that gets a lot of play.  It's the Hold Still song.  Anyone familiar with Yo Gabba Gabba knows that song is all about getting your wiggles out.  Grace wiggles and shakes her head so much that she oftentimes ends up on the ground.  It always brings a smile to my face.


Ana started the day with her dog dish fascination and ended the day on the dog bed with Molly.  Which makes for an adorable moment...if you're okay with your kid being covered in dog hair.

That's all for this week.  Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Ana vs The Fireplace

We've been very lucky when it comes to our kids.

They didn't get sick (i.e. colds or flus) until after their first birthday.

And we haven't really dealt with injuries to either of them in the 18 months since they were born.

This changed the other night when Ana decided to get in a fight with the fireplace.

Our girls are surprisingly careful.  They crawl up the stairs one step at a time making sure both knees are on each step.  They go down the stairs or any step/ledge backwards.  They actually get on their hands and knees and crawl down each step.  Now that they're walking, they make sure they are holding onto something secure to balance themselves as they climb things.

Basically they're a parent's dream when it comes to safety.  Which obviously can't last forever, so I'm savoring it while I can.

So when my wife texted me this picture I was quite surprised:

Yes that is blood on her cheek.  Yes she is eating a popsicle to calm her down.

I asked what happened.  Apparently she ran into the house when they got home from a walk.  She ran right into our living room because that is where all the toys are, and she tripped into the fireplace.

They may be careful, but they're still toddlers and have the coordination to match.

Before you ask why we don't have the padded corner guards on our fireplace, we actually do.  We put them on there the moment they started standing.  The problem is they also like to pull those guards off and carry them around, so they no longer stick very well.  Ana just pulls them off at will.  She also climbs onto the fireplace, sits down and kicks the guards off.  So she did it to herself if you really think about it.

There was much crying.  I'm glad I wasn't there because I don't do too well with my girls being in pain.  But I'm also sad that I wasn't there to comfort her.

Besides the scrape on her face, you wouldn't have been able to tell that anything happened.  When I got home she was still standing in her crib having a grand old time and talking to her sister from across the room.

This happened two days before their 18-month doctor appointment, so Erin was freaking out about what the doctor and nurses will think about us as parents.  The doctor didn't judge (at least to our faces) and said that her scrapes and bruises were normal for her age.

The good that comes out of it: new nicknames.  Scarface or Tony Mont-Ana are both totally acceptable as far as I'm concerned.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Twitter Machine Tuesday

Last week I took a blog vacation.

It wasn't so much a vacation as I just was busy and didn't really want to sit down and write anything.  I lacked inspiration and desire.  Those are necessary ingredients to do anything, so I did nothing as far as my blog was concerned.

I also did something I don't normally do: I didn't write a Twitter Machine post.

I'm sure you were all sitting by your computers hitting the refresh button on your Google Reader page until you went to bed last Tuesday.  As equal parts disappointment and sleep washed over you that night, I was basking in the glory of doing nothing.  And it felt pretty good actually.

But it couldn't last.  I like my own opinion too damn much to stop writing.  And I especially like parsing it out in bite-sized nuggets for all to consume.  So I'm back to share my random musings with the world.

You're welcome America.

-This is the worst season of Biggest Loser that has ever been produced. There isn't one single likable contestant.
-I'm actually rooting for the fat to win #underdog
-Why didn't Roger Sterling drop acid sooner? He's back to being a cut-up. #madmen
-Roger's reaction and laugh alone to the "spread your legs and fly" comment was priceless.
-Derrick Rose tearing his ACL makes me so sad. He is one of the most exciting players in the league. #NBA #chicagobulls #sucks
-It also reminded me of when Chris Webber crumpled to floor back in 2003 #sacramentokings
-Al Qaeda encoded their plans on porn. The one place no one would look.
-I hate the Dodgers. Using the word HATE hear. But Matt Kemp is playing as well as anyone ever has.
-I want to see the shit out of The Avengers.
-Watched Iron Man and Captain America again this past weekend. RDJ really is the man.
-The girls are now obsessed with bubbles #inevitable
-Ana says "bubbles" all the time.
-They're building a Titanic 2. When will we learn?
-How long before James Cameron makes a terrible movie about it?
-I can't believe the LA riots happened 20 years ago. Makes me feel so old.
-My new obsession: MLB Beat the Streak
-When you say "wiggle, wiggle" Grace dances and shakes her head back and forth until she falls over #adorable
-Why does Whitney Cummings exist? And why does she keep getting work?
-She really is my least favorite Muppet. But she's my most favorite burn victim.
-I didn't know they turned Once into a Broadway musical. I love that movie and that soundtrack.
-The Dark Knight Rises is going to be ridiculously awesome.
-The newest trailer is amazeballs
-Amare is such an idiot. Punching glass seems like a great idea to vent your frustration. #NBA #stupidpeople
-I have a donor sticker on my license. No need to post it to Facebook. #thanksbutnothanks
-Bin Laden was killed a year ago. Doesn't it seem like it just happened?
-RIP Amarillo Slim. #legend
-Ana had a run in with the fireplace. More on that tomorrow.

It feels so good to be back.  Thanks for reading all my fake Tweeps.