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 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 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'!

Put on Notice

From Nicole:

Gamble is very much coming into his own. There have been lots of requests for his privacy when undressing, bathing and going to the bathroom. He has also started inquiring about where babies come from and he is starting to react funny to certain words like "little", "baby" or any other young term. And tonight, he put my parents on notice.

G: Grammie and Grandbear?

My parents (MP): Yes, Gamble.

G: You know that my 5th birthday is coming up, right?

MP: We sure do and can't wait!

G: Well, then you should know that I won't be your little cub or your baby sweet potato anymore.

MP: Oh no, Gamble. You will always be that to us.

G: No, guys. It will be over then. I am sorry. If you need to find a new "little" cub and sweet potato. That will be okay, but it won't be me.

MP: Gamble, why not?

G: Because I won't be little anymore. You can still call me Cub and you can call me Gamble but no little.

Grammie: Okay, Gamble but what will you call me?

G: Grammie Foo Foo or Gram

Earlier today, Gamble referred to my dad as Grandbear and just Bear. This wasn't discussed but things are definitely changin'!

Reading Time

From Nicole:

Thankfully, my parents have been talking with Gamble almost nightly on the phone since about January of last year. The routine has been that Gamble gets through his shower,last call for food, and med time and then he calls my parents. Usually they play games, sing songs and/or just listen to G play for about an hour.

Lately, they have been reading him up to 5 books a night once he is tucked into bed. Through this, Gamble has found a favorite book: Gus and the Baby Ghost, by Jane Thayer. The book is about Gus (who is a ghost), and Mr. Frizzle, the museum keeper, who find a baby ghost in the museum and have a difference of opinion.

Once the books are read and G is tucked in bed, he stays in there, usually with no "curtain calls." Last night, however, was different: I went to check on him well after he was off the phone, before I went to bed, and found that his phone was still in bed with him. Not thinking much of it, I picked it up to find that it was still connected to my parents' line. Yikes! I can't believe it. G had fallen asleep while listening to a story. How very sweet! Hope he had extra good dreams.

What I didn't know was that Mom had fallen asleep to the same book last night as well and tonight? Grandbear fell asleep to it. Man, with books like this, who needs Ambien? Watch out Pharmaceutical companies!

Test Results

So as many of you already know, we had Gamble tested recently. I haven't had much of a chance to blog these days, but I wanted to get it out to the rest of the world that this little boy is bright like we thought.

The punch line: he's mentally just shy of seven years old, though physically just shy of five. We're already thinking of getting him placed in first grade, if we can ever settle on a school district (read: "sell this house").

In the debrief with the doctor, she offered the following:

When Gamble was asked why he was being tested, he stated that he was not sure, but had fun. He enjoyed the snacks and doing puzzles, but disliked being timed.

When asked what makes him happy, Gamble reported cookies.

He gets sad when people yell at him and angry when his parents tell him what to do.

Gamble denied any fears, stating, "I'm not even afraid of ghosts."

If given three wishes, he would ask for 4,400 ice cream cones, the biggest chair in the world, and 1,000 stars to play with.

Now if that's not a kid's innocent wish, I don't know what is.