Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Time

Dear everyone,

We're in Ohio and having a great time. While busy rushing around, seeing everyone has been awesome, and the kids are having a great time. They're staying up late and sleeping in late.

Last night, Gamble passed out hard in the car. It's very rare that I manage to transfer him from the car to his bed without him freaking out, and last night we got off his coat and shoes and dropped him into bed.

Random, on the other hand, was up until midnight. She's all diaper rashy red, and has been pooing green, so she's in the Christmas spirit, too.

Just a couple more shopping days until Christmas, but I wanted to say, in case we don't see you, have a happy and safe holiday. Stay warm, and enjoy your family, the way we're enjoying ours.

Lots of love from our family to yours,


The Puck

The other night we took the kids bowling. We had a great time, and Random liked it so much that she would scream every minute it wasn't her turn. They had a little ramp for her to roll the ball down, and with the bumpers up, she beat everyone in the kids' league (lane 2).

While we were bowling, Gamble asked if I could take him to the bathroom. I happily did. I had to use the stall, since the urinal was short enough and he wanted to. Just as I got the door closed, I hear, "Hey Dad! There's a pink thing in the toilet!"

"Gamble, that's called 'the puck'. Are you peeing on it?"


"Good, that's our job. All boys have to pee on the puck. You get extra points if it breaks in half or pieces come off."

"Oh! Ok."

Ah, all part of the ritual of growing up male...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mister Potato-face

The other day Pobbes got a set of christmas cookie cutters in different colors for one of her 12 days of Christmas gifts. Tonight after her bath, I was playing in the loft with her. Nicole said that she's been asking Random to bring her the shapes one at a time, by color.

She's getting it, kinda. She definitely loves the color purple, and brings it pretty reliably, but she's doing okay with the other colors, too.

Tonight she brought me the red heart and the green tree. I put them in my eye sockets, squinting them into place as if they were monocles.

She nearly squealed with delight. She said, "Eyes," and gently reached up and grabbed each one and dropped them to the floor.

Then she picked another one, the blue snowflake, and brought it back to me and said, "Eyes?" I squinted that one into place, and followed it with the green one on the other one. I put the red heart over my lips and squished it up against my nose. I'm sure I looked really silly, but Random loved it.

She continued this game for a few rounds, deciding which shapes and which colors went where. It was only after that I was being her Mister Potato-face.

Oh, what I do for these girls!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Xmas Letter

Gamble writes:

Dear Santa,

I have been a totally good boy. I have been good to my sis. I’ve been a good helper.

I want

· Clone wars collection

· Star wars collection

· Mario toys from burger king

· Red light saber

· V smile SpongeBob

· Christmas tree pjs

· Star wars board game


Gamble Davis

Of course, you're welcome to interpret this however you like. He says he wants everything he sees on TV, but these are the things he remembered on his own. By "collection," he said he meant action figures and vehicles to play with.

Count on Her

Random started counting.

But not like you'd think. Not counting with us. She's kinda done that when I whirl her around in the air, but no. This was honest-to-goodness counting.

Nicole was sitting upstairs working on Christmas cards or something, and Random was up there with her. Out of the blue, she pipes up, "Un, doo, dree..."

Nicole perked up. Random did it again. And kept going, saying first "4, 5, 6" and then "7, 8, 9, 10."

Astounded, Nic called out to me. I watched out for it as the night wore on, and eventually she started counting while I was changing her butt.

As she was counting to ten, I asked her, "Hey! Pabu! How high can you count?"

She just looked up at me and said, "Me?"

Forensic Poop Man

Warning: Readers with sensitive stomachs will look away now, or at least stop eating.

So Gamble has been having trouble going to the bathroom (constipation), and up till yesterday, it’s been mostly a Mommie issue. Of course, over the weekend, there’s always the possibility that Daddie will be called to the scene.

It’s my own fault. I asked him to notify us if there were any changes in color that he was worried about. So naturally, guess what happened.

Last night, he’d gone in, and after a while, I went to check on him. Through the door, “You okay?”

He responded with, “ Yeah.”

Mommie, from the loft, “You know, the other day I gave him the DS while he was waiting.”

Before I could respond, the bathroom door said, “You know, she’s right!”

Shaking my head on the way to get the DS, I mumbled to no one in particular, “When I was a boy, I had to take a book into the bathroom and read.

I take in the DS, and he stands up, points at the toilet and says, “Daddie? It’s red.”

So I’m starting to worry that he’s colorblind, too. It’s not red, but a bicolored lightbrown/green. I spend a few minutes reassuring him that everything’s ok, and that no matter what, he can always ask me. Forensic Poop Man’s on the job.


Gamble is getting more creative with his sandwiches. Sure, everyone's had PBJ, or PBH (peanut butter and honey), and maybe even PBB (peanut butter and banana), but the other night, Gamble requested a PBJB, which is a PBJ add banana.

He thought it was the best sandwich ever.

So with a big win under his belt, he thought he would go for broke. Tonight he asked for a PBJBHS, a peanut butter, jelly, banana, honey sandwich.

It was really really gooey. And even I liked it...


"Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT'S relativity." - attributed to Albert Einstein

In such a similar vein, Nic and I were talking about how Gamble thinks it's taking forever for Christmas to come, while it seems like it's rushing at us like high speed dirt.

My theory is that it has to do with boredom. The longer you have to sit around in a given day and wonder about the future, the longer it takes to arrive. When you're busy, you don't have time to get bored, and next thing you know, Christmas has come and gone, the new year has arrived, and you're already planning a summer birthday party.

So to any and all readers out there, Happy Holidays, before it up and arrives and we forget to say it. May lots of love light up your life, as it does to ours.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

In the Spirit of Competition

Nicole pointed out to me the other day that with Gamble, everything is a competition.  

"How much do you love me?" he'll ask, but then if you don't respond with a number, he'll ask you to.  And then if you give him one, he'll respond with, "Well, I love you seventy quajillion, pabillion, million, thousand terjillion!"  And then if you say, "I love you that... plus one!" thinking you've gotten the best of him, he'll say, "Oh yeah?  I love you that plus a hundred bajillion fazillion million million million!"

He always has to point out who makes the best Mac 'n' Cheese, the best waffles, and the best pancakes.  He's very concerned about who's winning, and when, and how often, and by how much.  

And he hates to lose.

Like the other day, he asked Nic, "Mommie, what's your fourth favorite color?"  She wasn't immediately sure what he was getting at, but she calls them his rants, and knew he was ramping up a competition of sorts.  She avoided the conversation altogether, but as he gets older, that's only going to get harder.


Another from Mommie:

"It's been about a month or so since we weaned Pobbes off of the bottle.  Okay, so we cut it out cold turkey.  She has adapted well but has taken to a new routine.  She loves to have her razzberry pacifier .  We got this early on because of her in-utero name 'Razzie'.  We never realized she would actually like it, especially since she never really used a pacifier.  Anyway, she loves to take this to bed as well as this hard, sharp and ugly crane from Kung Fu Panda.  I have also started rocking her to sleep and boy howdy, do I love this time.  

"I never got a chance to rock Gamble as there was always too much stuff in his room and I was so sick.  So now that we are finally settled into our house and R has the room, with the rocking chair, I cheerish this nightly routine with my baby girl.  She now says 'nigh nigh' to the boys and off we go to 'ock.    She is now even starting to sing along to some of our songs, which now include Christmas songs.  She is lovin' 'Silent Night' and 'Jingle Bells'.  Sing them to her, and you'll see.  But you will also see that Random and Mommie are 're-united'."

The Graduate

From Mommie:
"It finally happened.  

"Last Thursday, we learned that our little boy was officially being skipped ahead to the 1st grade starting this Monday, November 24th.  The school thought that with the shortened week and the shortened days (he only had school on Monday and Tuesday and he got out at 1:40 each day instead of 3:30), it would be a perfect time to introduce Gamble to the full-day 1st grade program.  

"Given that Gamble had developed a lot of anxiety about the full-day program, we thought it best to just let him know that he would be enjoying lunch and recess with his first grade friends today and that he would finish out the day with them, on a sort of trial basis.  So, with anticipation and excitement, he went to school Monday morning, ready to get a hot lunch from the cafeteria and play with his friends.
"I picked up Gamble and his two friends, Alex and Tyler, from school today, so I didn't have a chance to ask him how he liked 1st grade.  These friends are in his Kindergarten class and I didn't want to point out to Gamble nor his friends that he wasn't there in class with them today.  So, once we were home, I asked him what he thought and the conversation went something like this:
Mommie:  So, Gamble, what did you think of first grade today?

Gamble:  It was great.  I didn't like gym class though because we had to run a lot, and I don't like running.  I got pretty sweaty.

Mommie:  Well, how about lunch?  (Not sure what I was in for, I thought I would change topics to something I thought would be more amiable.)

Gamble:  That was lots of fun.  I got a cheeseburger and... Oh, Mom, I got Chocolate Milk and so I guess no more sweets today.

Mommie:  That's okay Gam...  It's a special day.

Gamble:  Really?  Why?

Mommie:  Well, because we were trying this out to see what you thought.  What do you think?

Gamble:  Mom, I don't need Kindergarten anymore.  I love first grade.  Math was so much fun and we get Science tomorrow and lunch and recess.  It's so much fun Mommie.  Can we do this every day?
"With these simple words, all of my hard work, stress, effort and frustrations meant something.  I worked so hard to get him to this day.  In my heart of hearts I knew that this is where he belonged and while the path wasn't easy and there were times that I second-guessed things, I am so glad that we kept on the journey.  Gamble does love it and this is, academically, where Gamble belongs.
"I will rest peacefully tonight, but only for a night.

"And then I'll start thinking about the turkey...."

And that, friends and family alike, is that.  It's like a switch flipped in his head, and his behavior has turned around.  He seems lighter in just a couple days.  Happier.  And to hear him say that he's happy with his situation, instead of the things he'd been saying...  Well, that was just music to Mommie's ears.  Music to all our ears.

And for that, we give extra thanks this year.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Zap Happy

I don't know whether it's the new couch. I don't know whether it's the change in weather and subsequent lack of humidity. I suspect it's a combination, since it's a new phenomenon, and it only really happens on the couch.

The kids are electric. I mean, they've always been energetic, and many times I've said they were scintillating. But now, they're shocking.

Each other.

I noticed it the other day, when Gamble crawled quickly across the couch. The snap, crackle, and pop that followed him around was constant. As he crawled over to me, I could feel the gathering static.

when he finally touched me, it was with an audible snap that sounded like a whip crack in the relative silence of the evening.

This morning, both kids were crawling around on the couch. Pobbes' hair, being fine and long, stood up around her head like a halo. And they chased each other around and around, zapping each other and laughing on every contact. They had gone completely zap happy.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Step Independent

Pabu is getting independent.

She really really likes the stairs.

She likes to take them on without help. I get very nervous, but she takes each step with caution, as she always has taken her steps on foot.

But it's not just stairs she wants to take independently. It's everything. She's become most willful, and naps have become great battles. Fun and exhausting, she's clearly growing into the twos.

Pretty in Purple

Okay, so I'm pretty sure that we identified Random's favorite color yesterday.

I had the kids helping me with laundry (Gamble was helping do inside-outing, and separating the clothes into piles by owner. Random, having recently learned to throw paper in the garbage, was more than happy to throw away dryer sheets as we found them in the drifts of clothing). She grabbed at a pair of royal purple pants as I threw them in the pile.

"Pabu? Do you want those on?"

Big grin. She held them out to me, and I put them on her.

I have a pair of royal purple running shorts. They're shiny, the way that some gym clothes material is, and when I say royal purple, I mean *obnoxiously* royal purple. She grabbed for those, too. I used an office binder clip to clip the shorts like a cape around her neck. You'll probably see pictures on the Phanfare website soon.

On top of that, she was able to repeat the word purple. It was so cute to hear her repeating it over and over.

We went outside, and the royal purple pants got wet, but later, we found more purples in the laundry, and when I held out some new lavender pants to wear, she immediately started trying to take off her pink ones. She couldn't wait for it to Then last night before bed, I went to try to put on jammies. It's hard for me to figure out what fits her, so I picked some pink pants that I knew would work, and a purple top. I gave her the purple top to hold, but when I tried to put the pink pants on her, she freaked out. I got them on her and showed her that the purple shirt was still going to be put on. When I put it on her, she sighed and looked down her arms with a smile.

So I guess we'll be retooling the wardrobe...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wake Up Call

Gamble is pretty sensitive about bedtime.  He likes it if we're both able to give him hugs and kisses, and when one of us isn't home, he's at least a little torn up about it.  Even though we usually wake him up and hug him to let him know we're there, he never remembers it.

Last night, I was out with Uncles Johnnie and Chris throwing the darts and drinking the beers.  I got home before Gamble was totally asleep, but outside his door, I found a note, written out in crayon:

"Daddie, please wake me up."

I went in.  He was still on the phone with Nic's folks, so I got to hug him.  And he remembered it today.

So tonight, with Mommie gone, I was clacking away on the computer in the loft, and he was on the phone.  He came out a couple times with toys that were stuck together for a little help.  The second time I took the toy back to him, I nearly stepped on another note, written out in crayon:

"Mommie, please wake me up."

Adorable.  He's such an awesome little guy.

Uh Oh

Nic went out tonight, so I was flying solo with the kids.  That's almost always a recipe for interesting encounters, since Nicole knows the kids so much better than I do.

Tonight I put Random down.  She didn't seem that tired, but she was getting cranky like she always does on days she's been to day care, so I put her to bed.  She did her normal trick of screaming.  Often she does that, and then Nic goes to her when she calms down and rocks her to sleep.  I thought I'd do the same.

But it wasn't normal.  Usually, Random wails for about five minutes straight, and then cools out.  Tonight, she seemed extra mad.  But there was something else.  In between screams, she'd yell "Uh oh!  Uh oh!"  

It went on like this for about 10 minutes.  Scream!  Uh oh!  Screeeeeaam!  Uh oh!  Uh oh!

Meanwhile, I'd started in with Gamble on his homework, but I had the monitor on.  Eventually, I paused the homework and told him I was going to check in on Pobbes.

I walked into her room, and she was standing up at the rail of her crib, crying.  She pointed at the floor.  "Uh oh!  Uh oh!"  And there on the floor was her blankie.  As part of her little tantrum, she'd thrown her blanket on the floor.  And then realized her mistake.

Uh oh, indeed.

I got her the blanket and rocked her to sleep.  When I put her down, I covered her with that blankie and she fell fast asleep.

It's a beautiful age.  First "no," then "uh oh."  

What's next?

Backpack Buddies

Tonight I was working with Gamble on his spelling words and other homework.

During a break, Gamble pipes up, "Hey, Daddie!  Guess who has the same backpack as me!"

"I don't know, Gamble.  You mean someone else has that same Clone Wars backpack?"

"Yeah, Daddie.  Reno has the same backpack as me."

"Really?  Cool! ... Wait.  Let me get this straight.  The two kids that have the Clone Wars backpack are named Gamble... and Reno?"

"Yes, Daddie."

Right.  What are the odds?  And shouldn't I be playing them now?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Spelling Test

As part of first grade, Gamble needs to do spelling tests.  He has spelling words (super easy), and high-frequency words (intermediate to challenging).  

Every week he has a spelling test, and we study pretty much every night for it.  Most of the time, the only real challenge is to get him to try to write.  He can spell most words out loud, and can sight-read almost anything.  

To give you an idea of how easy the spelling words are, one recent one was the word "we."  

Of course, Gamble got it wrong the first time we asked him.  He said, "Oh, that's an easy one, Daddie.  W-i-i!"

He got it right on the test, though.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


I've noticed that the kids behave differently in the morning. Random wants to go to her highchair right away, but Gamble could really give a toss about eating, at least right when he wakes up.

Funny thing is that Pobbes usually doesn't eat that much at her first sitting. A banana, and a slice of american cheese.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Gamble and I were wandering around Walgreens waiting for a prescription to be filled.  Eventually, I started looking up front at the iPod speakers and docks as maybe an easy way to get some tunes going in the bathroom.  Gamble was sitting in the cart, playing Lego Star Wars on the DS.

He looked up at me and asked, "Daddie, are we *still* in this store?"  He hates to shop, and gets so engrossed in the game, I think he forgets where he is.

Before I have the chance to answer, he sees what I'm looking for and in exasperation asks
 "Daddie, When do I get an iPod?"

I was thinking that it was because Nic and I have phones, and he feels like he wants one too, so I asked, "Do you want an iPod?"

"Of course I do!  Everyone in my class has one! My kindergarten class."

Ok, I was agog and aghast.  iPods in kindergarten?  Everyone has to happen?  Peer pressure and status symbols at his age?  Holy to the shizfit!  

True calm, this Jedi Daddie maintained.

"Gamble, What would you do with an iPod?"

"I'd listen to music."

Ok, so this is really fishy.  He doesn't listen to music, and has never really showed an interest.  My mind races.  What's his class listening to?  PCD?  Nelly Furtado?  Akon?  Nickelback?  Fergie?

Instead, I ask, "Really, what kind of music?"  

I should have known before I heard the answer, "Star Wars music!"  

Of course.  Guess we should get him a - wait for it - Jedi-Pod instead.  Sorry.  No, really.  Couldn't resist that one.  Really really sorry.  Sometimes you use the force, but in Soviet Russia, force uses you!

Daddie's Girl

So Random's never been a Daddie's girl.  Until now.  I think it's because I've been so involved with her lately, taking her to and from day care, playing more with her, and when Nic was so sick, bathing her and putting her to bed.

We have a new bathtime routine now.  We listen to Justin Roberts's "Great Big Sun" CD on the iPhone (still the single greatest device I've ever purchased).  We sing along to the title track first, then listen to "If you got 1", singing along and holding up our fingers as we count up to five with the song.  When we start listening to the third song, "Everything Else Starts with E", we get washed up.

After that, we dress her, take her in and rock her in the rocking glider in her room to get her calmed down.  When she reaches for the bed, she's done.  We pop in her Razzbaby teether, which she's taken to since we took away the bottles, and down she goes.  Cover her up and turn on her crib music.  Most nights, it's as easy as that.

This Mommie can attest that it's not that easy through the night though.  She's been waking up a lot, with all the illnesses.

But still, I'm happy that my little Pobbes is coming to me more and more.  I'm glad to be able to play with her more, and I'm excited to be part of her bedtime routine now and again.


Gamble and I were just reading, and he's doing so well.  Other than pronouncing "Percival" as "Pervical", making me think of both "perverse" and "cervical".

The pinnacle was when I watched on as he sounded out the word brilliant, announcing it triumphantly, as if he were in a Guinness commercial.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pabu Pox

Day care. With a vengeance.

Pabu hasn't had a great day care experience. Since starting day care, she's had 5th Disease, Walking Pneumonia (she still has), and yesterday she came down with the pox. Yep, the chicken pox.

So she's going to be home for a while. In a couple weeks, G will have new spots, and have to be home from school.

I told Nic to lay in the Kool-aid and Mac and Cheese, for all the Pox Parties she's about to have.

As an aside, sorry I've not blogged lately. We've been overwhelmed recently. Last weekend, I ran my first official 5k. You can see my results at www.bucktown5k.com and see my picture at brightroom (search for bib number157). Warning: it's not a flattering picture.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Nuu Word

Random’s got a new word. It came in over last weekend, and it came in, as many things do, with a vengeance.

She learned how to say, “No.”

Except that’s not how she says it. Her little squeaky peach voice, combined with her age and vocal control, squeezes out the word in a constrained, “Nuu” or “New.” If you have ever seen the episode of Winnie the Pooh where Rabbit pretends not to be home, she says “No” in much the same way.

Now in the bathtub, when we have to rinse her hair? "Nuu!" At the diaper changing table? "Nuu!" When she doesn't want something for dinner? "Nuu!"

Cute, but I get this strange sense of "here we go again."

Making the Grade

Well, we had the meeting with Gamble's teacher, the first grade teacher, the principal, and his reading tester.

We all agreed that it was in his best interest for Gamble to be eased into First Grade. Later this week, he will go to the First Grade classroom from 8:30 to 11:30 for reading. It's a pretty intense program, as it's three hours of uninterrupted study time, with no breaks.

In the near term, he'll get a break and come home for lunch with Mommie, instead of eating lunch and going to recess. At 12:30, he'll go back to school and be with his friends from p.m. Kindergarten.

Because p.m. First Grade is where they do all the math, science, art, and music, we all agreed that getting him in as soon as he's ready is the best for him, especially since Math is his favorite.

(an aside: since Random was at day care today, he ran in to wake up Nicole and begged, and I mean begged, for a math lesson. So today Nicole started to teach him Roman numerals. We now have a cute little activity sheet with all sorts of math problems done in Roman numerals. She additionally worked with him on negative numbers, first drawing the whole numbers along a number line and then extending it backward to the negative integers. I believe sky's the limit there. I'm pretty good with Algebra myself, so maybe I'll see if he can tell me what "x" is).

The next step will be to get him to be there the whole day, so it will be a.m. 1st, lunch and recess, then p.m. kindergarten. Then, when he's ready, we'll just bump him up. Based on his scores and abilities, the teachers aren't worried about him being behind.

In fact, the principal said that there was no way he would be able to keep a child like Gamble in Kindergarten.

Another thing I thought was interesting about the combination was that the reading tester talked about how well he assesses a work when he's reading. She talked about him knowing strategies for reading, being able to sequence a story, etc. Apparently, reading goes from about level 3 to level 20 in 1st grade, and Gamble was tested along the entire spectrum. They discovered he was about level 14, so he'll fit right into the 1st grade classroom.

We told Gamble tonight, and he was just about as happy as can be. He's pretty excited about it, and Nicole said she saw relief in his eyes. I talked to him just a few minutes ago, after he was all tucked into bed. He said he was really happy, and after I told him how proud I was of him, he beamed, almost like I've never seen him beam before. I told him that his new class will be challenging, and that he had our support, and we're there to help him if he needs us. "Daddie, I need a challenge," was all he said.

We did some quick projection. His birthday is in the summer. In the summer before his senior year of high school, he'll turn 16. He'll be a 16 year-old senior. We've now set him down the road I grew up on. From experience, I know that can be a hard road. I hope he handles it better than I did, but I now understand better why I had to walk that road, too. When you have a child like Gamble (who's far cooler than I could have been at that age, by the way), you have to let them grow to the best of their abilities. I have seen how much he dislikes the pace of his current classroom, and how much he dislikes school as a result. Worse, I remember the feeling of being frustrated in the classroom, and I know we couldn't keep him back.

Good luck, little boy. Little man. Little first-grader-to-be.

They grow up even faster than you think.


Tonight, we have a submission from the Bear:

"Tonight, during the chat with Gamble, he was just getting in bed snuggled down for a story.

"Suddenly he said, 'Hold it guys, I have a situation here...'

"Grammie asked, 'Gamble, what's the problem?'

"Gamble replied, 'Well, I couldn't find Bluey, but now I've found him...'

"This boy is a hoot!"

Thanks for sharing, Grand-a-bear!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Last Mistranslation

Gamble used to have a number of things he'd say incorrectly. Bacole is one I recently remembered (from last Christmas), and then there was buggage, which we mostly all remember. They've almost all been corrected.

There's one holdout. Gamble still says "brefkes" for "breakfast."

I don't really even notice it anymore, but today was an exception. One of the books we were reading today had the word in it. I was shocked when he pronounced it "brefkes." I mean really. The printed word is typically sounded out. That means at some point, he figured out that that particular combination of letters meant the morning meal, which then came out as "brefkes."

Kids still amaze me.

Captain Literal and the Perpetual Motion

For those of you who've ever read with Gamble, I know you'll sympathize. For those of you who haven't, I sure hope I can do it justice.

Gamble reads in motion. His body just can't sit still. He will turn around in place mid-sentence, or he might drop his legs off the side of the bed, then jump up and crouch on his knees, face only a few inches from the book, only to lie down on his stomach and put his chin on his fists.

All this in the span of about ten seconds, and I'm not exaggerating.

All of this leads to a very broken read. I've taken him to sitting what we used to call "Indian style", but I'm not sure what today's PC equivalent is. Native American style? Injun chic? Probably I should just say cross-legged, but for some reason I always just say Indian style. He knew what I meant.

It seems very painful for him to sit still. Almost as if he's a perpetual motion machine, and he just can't stop.

As if that's not enough, he takes breaks mid-sentence to ask questions about the pictures. I got a little tired of this habit tonight, and I decided to try to break it. Silly me.

"Gamble, when you read, you're not supposed to take a break in the middle of a sentence. You should only stop to look at the pictures when you hit a period, a question mark, or an exclamation (to *make your*) point."

"Ok, Daddie."

Well, we were in the middle of the one duck that got his feathered tush stuck down in the grassy stinky marsh. This book has the repeating refrain, "No luck. The duck stayed stuck deep in the muck down by the greasy grimy marsh," or something similar.

This young spaceman, this Captain Literal, took me at my word. He stopped not just at the periods and question marks, but at every period and question mark.

"Gamble, you don't have to stop at every question mark."

"Oh, I know," he said. But then he proceeded to say, "No luck." He very pointedly looked all around the picture, lingering on the picture. It was maddening, and just before I could say something, he started humming. "Hmm hm-hm," he singsonged.

Oh, Jeez. "Gamble, can we move on."

"Oh, Daddie. I'm just looking at the picture. You see? I hit a period, so I can look now."

The good thing is that he's stopped taking breaks mid-sentence, but I'm not sure whether I've sped up the book or not. That boy!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Counting by X

Nicole writes in:

"A story from today. Gamble is still so amazing!

"I wanted to share with you another incredible story about Gamble, from just this morning. You see, we like to play educational games that we put to music or fun. This particular scenario started with Gamble giving me "5" and counting by 5's to 100, something that he has been doing for a couple of years now.

"At the age of 2, he figured out the pattern of how to count by 10's to 100, so this wasn't unusual.

"I decided though, to change it up a bit. I asked Gamble to pick a number between 1 and 10. He picked the number 4.

"I told him that we would then count by 4's to 100. He looked at me quizzically, but I had him hit my hand with every number while he listened to me do it first. After I did it, I asked him to do it too. Another funny face, but then he was off and counting by 4's.

"I have to tell you, he did it. All the way to 100, with minimal intervention from me. I then asked him to pick another number. He picked 2's, then 20's. He did both of these without me even doing it for him first.

"I also wanted to share with you another game that we did on the way to school. I, for kicks, wanted to see if he could add more than 2 numbers together. I asked him what 3 plus 3 plus 3 was?

"He immediately responded with 9. 'Wow!' I thought. I went through a couple more numbers to verify that he understood the concept.

"He did.

"Then, I explained that 3 times 3 was the same thing as 3 plus 3 plus 3. After that, I began asking what 2 times 3, 10 times 3, etc. were and sure enough, he came up with the number. All of this was done in the car and without help.

"From there, I started talking about fractions again. If I have 4 pieces in a puzzle and I take two away, what do I have? He would respond with 2/4 and so on."

I, for one, am an amazed Daddie.


So this weekend, Pobbes walked a lot.

We believe that her newfound steadiness is a direct result of seeing other kids walking around her in the daycare. There's no doubt she's learning things.

Today, Nic said they found her climbing the bookshelves.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Last night Random was crying a blue streak. Mommie, exhausted from being up with her a million times already, hadn’t heard her yet, so I got up to try to assist in my own bleary-Daddie way.

When I walked into her room, I saw her sitting in her crib, and as I got nearer to her, I saw she was holding her blanket. She cried as she held the blanket up to me.

As I took it, I realized that her crib music was playing, which she always likes to fall asleep to. As soon as I’d taken the blanket, all crying ceased. She face-planted into her pillow, and I put the blanket over her.

In retrospect, it was evident that she was upset that she could not get the blanket on top of her, though whether for comfort or warmth, I can’t say. She cried until I came to help, and went back to sleep with no fuss.

She’s become so much more interesting in only a few weeks. Or maybe I have.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Amanda Hugginkiss

From Mommie:

"Gamble, thank you for the flower," I said.

"Oh no, Mommie. That isn't for you," he said, shaking his head. "A-man-da gave that to me."

"Oh, really?" I perked up. "Gamble, that was very nice of her."

"Yeah, and if you get a flower from a girl, that means that they lo-o-ove you!" he exclaimed, really drawing out the O.

"Oh boy," I thought. "Really?" I asked him.

"Yeah, and the big deal is that we are going to get married. If you get a flower from a girl, you have to accept it, and that means that you are gonna get married."

Oh my. Two weeks into school and we already have ear infections, 5th disease, bronchitis and now a marriage pending. Are we really ready for this?

Daddie note:
Shoot, Gamble, you've got to hold out for more than flowers. I at least got a puzzle ring from your Mommie...

The Baby and the Bathwater

Bathing Random tonight, I noticed that she was bobbing her head down toward the water. I didn't know what she was doing, but I was worried that she was going to drown herself.

Then I noticed that she was doing what every kid does eventually, sipping the bath water. Essentially drinking a very weak cup of Random tea. A very light Random soup.

Why do kids think they're so delicious?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pabu Smurf

Nicole's been under the weather, so I got to help Random with her class today.  I'm not sure exactly what the class is called, but it's part structured activity, part chaos.  Even with Nic's tips, I'm not sure I was prepared for the experience.

One thing I wasn't aware was that this was messy week.  I'd come directly from work, so I wasn't really dressed down.  Turns out that the main event was apple painting.

No, not painting apples.

Stamping fruit cut in half into a puddle of paint and then stamping it on a piece of paper.

Despite my initial panic, it wasn't as messy as I thought it would be at first blush, however.  Mostly this was because of Pabu, bless her heart.

First we had activity time, in which she struggled to stay on my lap (she wanted to go and crawl around.  She's usually so complacent, but tonight, the other kids were all sitting still for their parents, and Pobbes wanted oh you tee, you see?

Right after, we headed for the paints.  There was a lot of space at the table, since that's unstructured time.  Many kids went to play with toys, run around, kick balls, and play in the giant pasta bin.  

She loves little chairs, and she very delicately climbed up onto the nearest one.  I helped her pick up the fruit and stamp it in the paint.  I think the instructors didn't have Random in mind when they designed this activity.  There's no handle on fruit, so she had a very hard time trying to palm the fruit in her hand.  When she did finally pick it up, she got paint on her hand.

She looked up at me as if she was bleeding (it was red paint, after all), and I got a napkin to wipe her down.  Then it happened again.  I stamped the fruit on her paper, trying to get her involved, but she wasn't having any of it.

Finally, we gave up.  I took the paint over to dry, and we went over to the marker department.  She's an interesting colorer.  She would prefer more to open the marker and close the marker over using the marker, and she opened and closed every marker in the bin, while I drew faces, wrote color words, and outright colored.  

Eventually, she scribbled on her picture. 

So given how daintily she reacted to the painting incident, I decided to try something.  I took a blue marker and made a single blue dot on the back of her right hand.

She looked at her hand.  Kind of stared at it, really.  Then she looked up at me, and back down to her hand.

So I did what any father in my position would have done.  I did it again.  It looked like a little blue snake bite.

This time, she got a look on her face.  I'm not sure I've seen the look before. I couln't tell whether she was angry at me, or whether she was hurt by what I'd done, or whether she was just getting tired.  Perhaps she has her very own inscrutable look.

Whatever she was thinking, she reached up for the marker.  I handed it to her.  

Just as the marker passed between us, I realized my mistake.  "Uh oh," I thought, and time slowed to a crawl.  My mind raced well ahead.

Before I could really do anything about it, she had colored the entire back of her left hand blue and was on her way up her arm.  Before my eyes, she was turning herself into a Smurf (or Violet Beauregard) I realized in my experimentation, I'd inadvertently taught her to color on herself, a lesson I'd have to get her to unlearn, and quick.

I took the marker from her (gently), and told her that we don't do that (silly hypocrite, Daddie!), and she immediately went back to coloring on the paper.

But if she ever gets a tattoo, I will always consider it my fault for teaching her to color on herself.


Tonight, I gave Pabu a bath, since Mommie's still on the down and out.  I'd seen it before, but tonight I was sure.

She held up her rubber duckie in front of her face.


"Random!  Did you just say 'quack'?"


How cute!  I decided to start singing her an old Wiggles song that has quacking and cock-a-doodly-doo-ing in it.  She flapped her elbows like wings, and before long we were singing together, quacking our elbows like ducks and showing our combs like roosters.  We went down to sing together for a sick Mommie.

She's come a long way in just a few short weeks.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mommie Adoration

There's no question whose girl that is.

Random is Mommie's girl.

It's never been clearer than this week, when she's been so ill.  Well, we've all been a bit ill, but Random got hit pretty hard, and Mommie's still pretty bad.  

Either way, when she's sick, she's all Nic's.  I try to play with her, she cries.  I try to hug her, she cries.  I can't feed her, and she smacks my hand away if I try to hold her hand.

On the other hand, she's Mommie's, non-stop.  Every time they see each other after a nap or being apart, they sing, "Reunited and it feels so good."  That's their song.  Random is now singing it along with her.

Just like I've got my boy, she's got her girl. 

When Nic's cooking in the kitchen, there's Pobbes right behind her to hang on her pants.  She'll cry if she sees her Mommie leave, and sometimes just if she misses her. 

These times may be gone soon enough, but for now, Random is all about the Mommie adoration.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

He Leaks

Aunt Sam writes in to tell a story about Gamble:

"Forgot to tell you a funny story. Thought you might be amused.

"N might have mentioned, but we stopped off at a produce market yesterday. I grabbed a cart and asked G if he would help me pick out some fruit and vegetables for me and Johnnie.

As always, he was super helpful, immediately running up to the apples asking if we needed some. He picked out some red apples, hot peppers (carefully with the tongs), oranges, and broccoli for me. Noticing that he already has a PhD in produce recognition (geesh), I decided to make it a little more challenging for him.

So I told him to find me some leeks. He looked at me like I was nuts and said 'leeks?'

I grabbed a plastic bag, walked him over to the pile of leeks, and told him to dig in and grab one.
It was a huge pile so he first looked to me for some reassurance before digging in: 'Go head, grab a big leek, I don't have all day.'

So he carefully pulls out the largest leek he could find and proudly holds it up high in the air for me to see. Immediately, a large cascade of dirty cold water runs off the leek, down his arm, and into his little arm pit. He was not amused and started to get upset.

Trying to avoid a possibly bad situation, I had to think fast. So I turned to him and said 'Um...
well, G... that's why they call them leeks. They leak! Get it?'

He burst out laughing.

Ok, so I lied to Gamble. Maybe someday when he gets older you can explain to him that they
are leeks and not leaks!"

Thanks Aunt Sam! Glad you had such a good time with him!


A shout out to our adorable baby sister tonight who's in the ER with Mommie. Baby girl, your boys are at home, and we love you! Feel better!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Pabu Mood

Oh, my she's getting interesting.

Walking kinda (few steps at a time still), talking kinda. She's really getting consistent on those things that have meaning.

She's started to have likes and dislikes. She's not quite as easy-going as she used to be.

Put the wrong outfit on her, and she has a meltdown.

Take her up for her bath when she's not ready, or she's over ready, and she has a meltdown.

Give her something she doesn't like the taste of, and she'll hold her mouth open and go, "Eh. Eh. Eh. Eh. Eh." until you tweeze or scoop out the offending food. And she never refused food before.

Also, her new favorite thing is climbing stairs. Up and down. Up and down. Up halfway, and back down. Holding your hand and not. She'll even come up and grab the back of your pants to get your attention, reach up for your finger, and lead you over to the gate so she can climb.

Oh, and she loves her brother something fierce. Right now he's trying to play the Wii and she's on top of him, pushing him over to hug him.

Oh yes, she's becoming her own little person. And she's really cool.

Thought Process

The other night the TV was tuned to the Democratic National Convention, and Obama was giving his acceptance speech.

Gamble came pottering down the steps; he had forgotten to give me a hug.

I motioned him over to see me, and he gave me a hug. Then I got an idea.

Gesturing to the TV, I asked, "Hey, Gam! What do you think of that guy."

He looked over his shoulder and looked back at me. "He's cool!"

Unexpected. Gotta find out more. "Why do you think he's cool?"

"Well, he's wearing a tie, and his face is all brown." Here, he swirled his hand in front of his face as if to indicate "brown all around."

Interesting. So wearing a tie and having a brown face makes you cool to G.

We talked a little more about going to bed and staying in your room. Eventually, I just wanted to shuffle him off to Buffalo. But I had one more question.

"Gamble, that guy on TV wants to be President of the United States of America," I said with no further explanation. I don't think he understands the concept of country, let alone what it means to be president. I pressed on.

"Now, do you think you would vote for him?"


"No? Why not?"

"Well, because his face is all brown. I want his face to look exactly like mine. Or like yours."

Ah. He played the race card. Funny thing is, that's the last thing I would have expected him to say. Illinois is a fairly multicultural place, and his day care, school, our neighborhood are all mixed, with many races and nationalities represented.

Out of the mouths of babes, indeed.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Tonight, Gamble and I left the house at 7:45 to find school supplies.

We returned home at 9:35.

In the interim, we went to Walgreens, Wal-Mart, Meijer, Dominicks, Target, Office Depot, Jewel, a different Walgreens. The hardest item to find? A box of 8 fat Crayola crayons. And I still have to take back three boxes of 10 Crayola markers I got in case I couldn't find boxes of 8.

In the end, I think we have everything he needs to start school on Thursday. Next year, we're getting the supplies the day we get the sheet. Fighting sellouts of Crayola is not in our cards again.

Gamble was with me the whole time, and to his credit, he was... perfect. We played Jedi as we walked through the store, or we played "Dry Bones (him) and Boo (me)," two bad guys from the Mario universe.

While we were walking through Dominicks, he said, "Daddie, this is so much fun. I don't want you to go to the store anymore without me."

Talk about making my night, and making the whole effort worthwhile.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Pabu News

Things Pobbes likes:

She loves to ride the bike with Mommie. Mommie bought a center-mount bike seat for toddlers and took her first ride with her. She loved it.

Pobbes also likes bananas. In fact, it's one of her favorite words. "Na-na," she'll say as you put her in her high-chair in the morning. She eats one every morning.

Random also likes playing in the new playroom. She'll walk on her knees all the way across the house to go into the playroom. Then she shuts the doors, and can't get out, a trick she repeats in almost every room of the house.

But the thing she likes most of all is being outside. Her newest words are all ways for her to ask to leave the house. She now says, "'side" for going outside, and "bah-bye" for wanting to leave. She's also very fond of having her shoes and socks on. Show her a pair of either, and she'll name them clearly for you.

So says Homer, "Pa-ba-ma-boo... Pa-ba-ma-boo..."

Friday, August 8, 2008


Today, Nic finally asked the doctor whether there's anything unusual about an 18 month old that hasn't started walking yet.

"Is she cruising?"

She sure has been. All the time, and all over the place. Funny thing, too, she's also been going to standing without having to pull herself up. But she wasn't trying to walk.


"When you hold her hand, does she take steps?"


"Then, Mrs. Davis, you have a very cautious 18 month old. Enjoy that!"

That was this afternoon. This evening, something caught our attention, and Nicole and I both got to watch as she toddled forward four paces.

We jumped up and down and screamed and made a huge fuss. Random
responded by standing up and clapping her hands above her head just like us.

And so, the toddler stage has begun. At least a little of me is sad to say "Bye-bye, baby Pabu," but I'm so happy and proud that she made this milestone. She's so beautiful!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Meeting the Neighbors

Montgomery, Illinois, is a really nice place to live. Where we live, there's a real sense of community, and not just a bedroom community.

From our backyard, we can see Gamble's new school between the houses, and we have met quite a few of the neighbors, who come from all walks of life, and who have all been very welcoming.

Block party for the neighborhood is this Saturday.

But the real kicker was the other night. At nine o'clock at night, the doorbell rings. I go to the door, hoping it's someone to pick up the free boxes we've unpacked and get them out of our hair.


The next thing you know, I'm going to the pantry to get a single slice of white bread to help a couple of kids - a brother/sister team, possibly - with their scavenger hunt.

How cool is that?

That Dream

Gamble's been dreaming more and more, and reporting on those dreams.

The other morning, I was sitting at the computer checking personal email before leaving for work, and Gamble came out of his room to talk to me.

"Daddie, I had a dream last night."

"What was that dream about?"

"Well, in my dream, I played in my backyard on my playset. Except the playset had three slides on it - the ones it has now, and another one, and it was really big!"

"Wow, Gamble, that's really cool!"

"And you know who was playing on it with me?" He looked at the floor, almost blushing. "Jenna. From my preschool?"

Wow. I remember Jenna, but I'm surprised he does. It's pretty amazing, as he hasn't seen her in about a year, I think.

So it was his first girlfriend!



I feel like we're mostly in.

Not that I had anything to do with it. Nicole is the hero here. She not only organized almost all the closing stuff and the movers, but once here, she unpacked a majority of the boxes in the house.

It looks beautiful. With most of the boxes out of sight (though many are still in the garage), the house is functional. Next step, color on the walls. I'm not sure whether it will be me or a pro, but we will soon have some color.

So now that we're in, and everything's calming down a little, hopefully I can update everyone on the kids, one story at a time.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Mommie Jackpot

From Mommie:

The most adorable thing just happened.

I was cleaning the kitchen and the boys were gone, so it was just Pabu and I. We haven't really mentioned it here, but she is known for loving the intro song to the TV show "Reba" ("I'm a survivor"). Whenever she hears it, she will move mountains to get to the TV to see it.

Well, it came on and I knew to look for her. She was far away from the TV, so I ran and met her half way to get her to see the last little bit of it. After it was over, I asked her for a hug.

Without hesistation, she gave me a hug and then with a coy smile, she looked to her left, smiled again, and gave me a kiss... without prompting! Wow!

Those of you that know her knows that she is not free with her kisses or her hugs and you have to almost beg her to get one. To get blessed with a Random Kiss... I just hit the mommie-jackpot!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Getting a Drink

Today, Nic sent on a funny story:

From the Kitchen to the Master bedroom I hear, "Pabu, you are going to be in so much trouble! I am telling Mom on you!"

Me (calling out): What is wrong, Gamble?

Stomp, stomp, stomp. (Gamble is coming to the bedroom.)

Gamble: Pabu tried to drink my water and now we are both soaked. There was no lid on it. She now has it all over her head and my clothes are soaked. I am so mad at her!

I started laughing hysterically

Gamble: Mom, it is not funny!

I went to have a look at the situation. Sure enough, Random was standing at the kitchen table with water all over her head trying to reach the cup again for a sip of water. Because I was still laughing, Gamble was growing even more frustrated. "Gam," I said, "It's funny. She tried to do something and ended up with water all over her head. C'mon, you gotta see how funny that is."

Gamble: Okay, I guess it is kinda funny.

Shirts were changed, the floor was cleaned, Gamble finished breakfast and all was again right with the world... even if it was a little wet.

Same Tall

The other night, Gamble and I called Nic’s folks on the phone, the way we do many nights. For some reason, despite having on reasonably warm jammies, he decided that he wanted some socks, so he pulled out two white socks.

They weren’t quite a pair; one was a calf-length, and one was an ankle sock. After putting the ankle sock on, he scrunched up his face in disgust. Then he took the short sock off and went back to his closet for another. He found one that was also a calf-length sock.

The evening’s light was waning, and we’d not yet put on the light in his room, so I wasn’t sure the socks were different colors.

“Gamble, that sock looks grey. Is it grey?”

“No, Daddie. It’s white. See?” He held up his foot. The color still wasn’t clear to me. It’s amazing how color-blind we are in dim light.

A couple minutes passed, and we were playing on his bed when I held up his two feet. “Gamble, these socks are two different colors.”

He scrunched up his face, and he held his feet up in the waning sunlight, where he could see them more clearly. He shrugged, “That’s okay, Daddie. Because they’re the Same Tall.”

This resonates, as I remember the old Stephen Wright gag (found on Wikipedia):

I went into this bar and sat down next to a pretty girl. She looked at me and said, "Hey, you have two different colored socks on." I said, "Yeah, I know, but to me they're the same because I go by thickness."

Still. I prefer “Same Tall” as a punchline. But then again, I prefer Gamble to Stephen Wright.

They’re not the Same Tall.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Welcome Home

Woohoo! The kids are home.

G gets a little more mature, and R gets more beautiful every day, and it's never more evident than when they're away.

With Nicole and I packing up the house all weekend, the kids got to spend the fourth away in sunny Wauseon with Nic's folks. Thank goodness. We got to get so much done, and now we're ready for the close on the 18th.

Oh man, I can't wait for the new house. Moving sucks. Selling a house sucks more.

But we did get a lot done. And we got to go out. Nic had the best prime rib we've ever collectively had at Entourage in Schaumburg, and that's definitely a plug. Some of the best meals we've had have been there, and even though we'll be moving about 45 minutes away, we'll still consider going up there for date night.

Either way, we're super glad to have the kids back. Gamble and I played Mario tonight, and played with his new Kid K'Nex (Kid K'Nex : K'Nex :: Duplos : Legos, if ye ken). Pabu was super happy to see her Daddie, and we rolled around on the floor playing.

Welcome back home, kids!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Wisdom of Five

Gamble’s been in summer pre-school for a few weeks now, and we’ve noticed an odd effect. Momma and Pabu take Gamble to school every morning, and all goes well. Swimmingly, in fact. He’s so excited to be in school that he rushes in, and he runs down the halls to his classroom.

No, it’s not getting to school that’s the issue. He knows right where to put his backpack, and today, on his birthday, he was allowed to feed their guinea pig, Fluffy.

No, it’s all about coming home. When they pick him back up, generally Random gets really mad, and typically cries for the entire ten minutes it takes to get home.

Funny thing is, she loves her brother. They play together all the time, and often when they’ve been apart for a while, she squeals with delight when he resurfaces. She’s usually not upset to see him. But every day, this happens.

I got a call from Nicole today saying that Gamble’s taking it in stride. He got in the car today, and of course, she started crying.

Gamble looked up at Nicole and said, “I think she’s just upset because she doesn’t have a weiner.”

Oh-h-h... Is that what girls are always so upset about?


Our little boy is five today. Five. Five. Five.

Amazing the way the time flies.

For those of you who don’t know, five is a big age for him. He gets to do three new things at this age: He gets to chew gum, watch Star Wars movies (yeah!), and ride the bus to school (when applicable). He’s so excited about chewing gum he could about pee his pants. He wanted to take it to school with him today.

Well, after I got home from work, we got some Taco Bell for him (one of his favorites; Pabu's too), and then afterwards, he got to chew gum and watch the first half hour or 45 minutes of A New Hope.

I figure it came out in the summer 1977, so I was just a little younger than he was when I saw it for the first time. Very exciting to see a little reflection of me in his eyes.

No, wait. That was C3P0...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, our awesome boy!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

How I Roll

Gamble wanted to help me take the stuff out to the car tonight. I rarely get bags at the store if I can avoid it, and since we only bought three things (a strap for some loose ductwork, and two packages of condensation line insulation for the air conditioner), I didn't get any bags, and Gamble was more than glad to help out.

He took both packages of insulation. I grabbed his other hand (always and still when in the street, parking lot, or anywhere a car might come out and smoosh a body), and commented on how great it was that he could carry such large packages.

He said, "See? I carry this one in my armpit, and this one's in my hand. That's how I do it."

"That's how you roll?" Then I got the idea that it would be cute to hear him say it. "Hey, Gamble. Say, 'That's how I roll!'"

But he had his own ideas.

"Daddie? That's how I rock-and-roll!"

He cracks me up.


They say it's fleeting.

Time, I mean.

I've seen all the movies in which the dad works late at the office for years and then something happens that wakes him up, and he realizes that he should have been spending more time with his family all along.

I know all that. I'm actually really sensitive, or sensitized, to that fact. Nicole reminds me all the time that I'm Gamble's hero, and that it won't be that way forever. That he just wants to play video games with me. That he just wants to spend time with me. That he's going to school soon, and at that point, all bets are off, the cords are cut, and the horse (as they say) is out of the barn.

Heck, he tells me himself. After not being able to play with him for a couple nights, I took him to Menards tonight, and even though he played his DS the whole time, he was happy to be there with me.

What those movies don't tell you, however, is that even if you know the lessons of the movies, even if you cherish the time, even if you push to spend every minute with your family, even if you understand that the time is fleeting, it doesn't matter.

Because there's still houses to be sold, inspections to be had, cars to have oil changes, repairs to be made, dishes to be done, laundry to be folded, and yardwork to be done.

We're so lucky that Nicole can stay home with the kids during this time. I can't imagine trying to sell and buy a house if we were both working. For now, she gets the time with the kids, and I'll keep fighting for every minute I can get.

I just can't wait until the time we're in that new house. We can't get there fast enough. And when we do, we're decking out his room, and we're going to love our summertime, because that time, too, will be fleeting.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Royal Treatment

I miss my family, and they're coming home today! I can't wait to see every one of them: Nicole, because I miss that conversation and together time after the kids go to bed; Random, because I bet that in just two weeks, she will have changed enough that I'll get to see the magic transformations that the passage of time seems to perform on kids so young - even in pictures she looks older; and Gamble, my little buddy, Gilligan to my Skipper, man Friday to my Crusoe, Watson to my Holmes - I can't want just to hang with him.

One reason that he's got that special place is the royal treatment. Before he left, he quite literally treated me like a king, saying things like, "Daddie, we can do whatever you want because you're the king!" and "Mommie, we have to do what Daddie says, because he's the king."

But the real capper is when he sweeps one arm across his body and says, "Yes, your majesty," when I ask him to do something, like cleaning his room. Silly as it is, I find this highly amusing.

Come home, family! Come home! I miss you all - queen, princess, and little prince, all!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Four Hundred

The other day, Gamble and I went to Best Buy. He still had some change from exchanging the gift that Uncle Johnnie and Aunt Sam had got him for Christmas (it was a duplicate). I had bought him a game, but there was some money left back, and I saved it until he found another game he really liked.

This one's called Boom Blox, and it's really cute. There are stacks of blocks, and you throw baseballs, bowling balls, shoot with laser beams, etc. to knock them down and achieve objectives. It's very creative and challenging for him. The physics engine is really good, so it's a sensibility he can use in the real world.

We had rented it at Blockbuster for a week, but at the end of that week, when we had to take it back, he was devastated. So off to Best Buy.

While we were there, I was shocked to see that they had a supply of Wii, PS3, XBox 360 systems. Now, I've already got the Wii, but the Wii won't get Grand Theft Auto Iv, already hailed as one of the best games ever. I've seen conflicting reviews of the PS3 and XBox 360 versions of the game, but when it comes down to it, I figured I'd get one of them just to play this game.

Never mind that Uncle Johnnie and I are going to spend a significant fraction of the next week playing it on his PS3, I'm sure I'll be wanting to play it more, and having a copy at home never hurt. There's a bit of a barrier to entry, though. These systems are expensive, and I've been agonizing over buying one given all the money we've tossed at the house to improve it. The rule of thumb is, if I'm going to spend money, I should invest it in getting this house sold, even if it's to bribe the buyer's agent with a bonus.

That said, I've never been one to wince much at charging a game system, so there I was, in the middle of Best Buy, holding up a PS3. I had it in my hands. The price tag was $400.

"See this Gamble? It's a Playstation 3. It's only $400." I had half set myself on it. When I was in grad school, Uncle Johnnie would have told me to walk around the store for a while. That I'd already sold myself on it, and that I just had to get comfortable with the deal.

Well, that little boy, innocent and sweet, looks right up at me. He's a little puzzled, and looking at me through his glasses makes him look owlish, so that when he tilts his head, it looks more tilted than it is.

"But Daddie... You don't have $400!"

I deflated. I was at the same time proud of him, and kinda mad at him. Who was he to kill my buzz? What did he know of money? And credit? And Grand Theft Auto IV, for God's sake?

I did what any good Daddie would do. I sighed, looked him square in the eye, and said, "Well, Gamble? You got me there." I put the PS3 back down on the stack and went immediately to pay for his new game, feeling at least a little sad, but definitely proud of my boy, and to my surprise, not a bit mad at him.


So we're at Buffalo Wild Wings. I think that's what it's called anyway. I always call it BW3's or just "BeeDub". Isn't that what we called in in "BeeJee"?

So we're there, and we've ordered. Random is alternating between struggling to get out of the high chair and scribbling with a crayon on some pictures that the restaurant gave us.

But it's been a while since we've ordered, and Gamble's getting kind of excited.

"Where's my chicks?" he pipes up, over the din of the place.

I know right where he was going with it, but Mommie doesn't see it right away.

"Chicks?!?" she questions.

"You know, Mommie! Chicks!"

When she still looks puzzled, though really she know by then, Gamble says, "Chicks! You know, Chicken Wings? Chicks!"

He was very happy eating all his chicks at dinner. He loves them.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


So tonight, I completed my first road race. I did not run the whole JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge, but I did cross the finish line.

And I did it in less time than I'd ever done it at home. 3.5 miles in 46:40.

Like most other things I've done in this vein (jumping out of a perfectly good airplane comes to mind), the decision to run a race was made over a beer, this time with co-workers about a month ago. I started training, and have used my treadmill in the past month like it was going out of style.

So for a month, I have been training. Starting from only being able to run a quarter mile at one time, to making the 3.5 mile run in a little over 45 minutes.

It took dedication. On my part, for sure. But more importantly, Nicole was dedicated to helping me reach that goal, and I love her for it. She cleared my calendar and made sure I had time to practice, time to get on the treadmill.

This time was taken from other things we could have been doing, but my family supported me. Most of all, it took time away from time I would have otherwise spent with Gamble.

So when it came time to pick out shorts for the race? I chose my green shiny shorts, because his favorite color is still green.

It's my way of dedicating some of my dedication to him.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Funny Time

Another from Nicole:

So, we had finally gotten back into the house after the showing today when I noticed that my new bedding set was on the front porch. Yay, something to make this day not so crazy but crazier yet. I could either wait for K to come home to help gimpy me or I could do it myself. Yup, by myself. So, I did. I took the mattress of the bed and stripped everything off, including the bed skirt. Then, I got out the iron and ironing board so that I could iron the new bed skirt. My once clean room was a mess but I was okay with it until G came in.

G: Whoa, Mommie. You made a huge mess.

M: Whoa, Gamble. I'm the Mommie. It's okay.

G: Well, Mommie, I'm not helping you clean up this mess so don't even ask.

M: I wouldn't dare think of it, but could you go change Sissy's diaper? (giggling)

G: Mommie. You know that I can't and she stinks.

M: I know, but please take her in your room and play with her. I need to get this iron put away...as R rolls around in all of the pillows, blankets and mayhem that has become my bedroom.

And so, together they played - for the first time in G's room - with the door shut! A new era indeed. And a new bed set for me! Yippeeeee!

Far out of Synch

So what typically happens, since Nicole's home with the kids, and I don't get to see them as much, I'll get stories from her, too. Sometimes I ghost-write the stories, and sometimes I post them with almost no change.

If I'm very busy, I always flag the email for followup, and figure I'll get to them later, say, when I'm on vacation or have some extra time.

Sometimes these blogs fall through the cracks. But when it comes to being over a quarter of a year later, the blogs lose relevance. For example, Random's near walking now. She actually wants to walk everywhere, but still needs some help for confidence.

With no futher fuss, I give you... a glimpse into our world three months past:

1) G knows

So K and I were talking tonight when I asked him if he would clean off R's high chair. Frustrated by the amount of food left on the tray and in the seat, K wasn't excited about doing it and G sensed this. "Oh Daddie, you have to listen to the girls and do what they say". HA! HA! Yes, Gamble. You got it. (Some girl is going to be very lucky).

2) Mobility x 2

So K wrote a blog the other night about R getting around more and more. Well, to our surprise, she got up on her knees last night and didn't even need to hold onto anything- see pics on website. And today...today she was holding on to her crib rails and contemplating steps. It won't be long now. Go Random, go!

3) R

Currently, R can pat her tummy, touch her head and touch her ears. She can get up on her knees and crawl (army-style). She can also say quite a few words: Mom, Ma-Ma, Hi, Ba-Ba, Da-Da, Ga, Baby and she says something that sounds like "bounce". With her current diet plan and favorite food being Banana, I am guessing that we are just days away from her saying banana. nitely changin'!