Monday, November 28, 2005

Thanksgiving recap

The AtHomeFamily had a nice long Thanksgiving break. The Boss Lady has been away from work for 6 of the past 8 days, so we had a lot of family time. Thanksgiving day we spent the morning and early afternoon at a family reunion, with 75 of my closest family. OK, it was more like 25 people I know and 50 people I have seen before (most likely at last year's family reunion).

Thursday afternoon we hung out here with my Mom and Dad and Bro and Sis and their families. There might have been a few more people around, too. We all ate ourselves stupid, thanks to The Boss Lady.

But here are a few things that I need to clear up about our Thanksgiving:

1. Yes, I did eat all the icing off of a piece of cake and then I took the cake back to my mom, telling her that I was finished with it. And yes, that is OK. But only when it is called an Icing Cake.

2. The worst part of the family reunion, we don't cook the turkey, so we have no left overs for Friday afternoon Turkey Sammiches.

3. The Talker only got hit in the head once with the football. Of course, it was the first throw of the day. And for him, the last. But the way he tells the story now, my third cousin beat him with a pile of football shaped rocks.

4. A helpful hint: when at a family reunion with an almost four year old, keep it simple. Everyone should either be a cousin, an aunt or an uncle. No sense in wasting half of the morning trying to explain what a third cousin is...

5. 11 and 0. Bring on Colorado.

Who needs Christmas?

The Talker thinks Christmas has come and gone. Thanks to his new cousins. Who are actually The Babysitter's cousins, not his cousins. But you try explaining that to an almost 4 year old.

The boys sent over some of their old Playmobil toys, including this castle set.

We have had this toy sitting on the dining table since we brought it home. And it might stay there forever. The boy was up at 6:15 wanting to play with the castle. Mom sent him back to bed, but he was up for good at 6:50. And the castle kept him entertained until almost 8.

I could tell you about all of the great things I got done around here, while the boy was playing. But no. I was busy playing along. This thing is COOL!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

It's gonna be a good Thanksgiving

It is The Boss Lady's favorite holiday. And we are ready to go. Just look at this spread...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Confession is good for the soda

I admit it. I am a scavenger.

I love finding something that a neighbor has thrown out and making good use of it. But until recently my scavenging has been sort of limited.

A few examples of scavenged things around here:

Almost all of our potted plants are in hanging baskets or clay pots that I have picked up during Neighborhood Big Trash Collections.

The Play Deck. Built more than a year ago out of lumber from an old fence that our neighbor wanted to replace. The deck is still in use.

All of our patio furniture, except one table that I built. But even that has a scavenged table top on it, now. In fact, some stuff we bought a few years ago has already worn out, but our freebie stuff is still here.

But lately I have gotten more brave with my scavenging. The Boss Lady suggested that it might have to do with successfully getting the truck back on the road, and I think she is on to something.

Last night I brought home a refrigerator, something like this. One of those dorm fridge set-ups has been sitting beside the curb since last weekend. It is pretty decent looking, too. Two stainless steel doors, with a small freezer up top. I bet it isn't a couple of years old.

I got a pleasent surprise when I plugged it in. Everything was working, except the compressor. That is a big deal for a fridge, but I kept dorking around with it, anyways. Really now, I would not expect it to be working right, since someone was throwing it out, right? Tonight I found a loose connection in the thermostat. Once I tightened it up, the compressor kicked on just fine.

Woo Hoo! Cool sodas in the garage! I may never come inside again.

Well, after Thanksgiving, anyways. The Boss Lady talked me into bringing my new treasure into the kitchen for the rest of the week. She will be cooking for a herd on Thursday night and our fridge is filling quickly. So my shop fridge is pulling kitchen duty for the time being.

But it is OK with me, because I like cold sodas in the kitchen, too.

A clothes hound? Here?

The Boss Lady sat and folded clothes last night while she watched a movie. By the time she made it to the bottom of the laundry pile, she folded a small mountain of laundry and sorted it all into baskets.

Me? I was working on the truck and reading. But that is beside the point, this is about the clothes...

This morning I put the clean and folded clothes away. And the breakdown of clean clothes went something like this:

The Princess had two stacks of clothes, that took up less than half a basket.

The wife and I had all of our clean clothes together in one basket, that was not yet full.

And The Talker had so many folded clothes that they filled an entire laundry basket to overflowing. But what should I expect when the boy changes clothes at least four times a day...

Monday, November 21, 2005

Chicken Run

The Talker was really well behaved this weekend, so he and I got to go see Chicken Little this morning. He had a blast, getting to do something special, that he EARNED. I had a blast, watching him.

He was mesmerised by the movie. He gives it two Buffalo Wings WAAAAAAAAAAAY up! But my fun was mainly watching him watch the movie. He was the only kid in the place who was laughing at the funny parts.

After the movie we stayed until the end of the credits, because he wanted to breakdance on the shiny floor in front of the screen. Awesome stuff. Almost enough to make me forget the $13 matinee tickets and the $9 popcorn bill.

The boy knows comedy. He loves slapstick. And he has a great laugh. He makes a pretty good movie watching partner, too.

An aside, The Talker has a new favorite DVD. Pops gave him three episodes of The Three Stooges on a DVD. He laughed so hard that last week's milk came out of his nose. Now that is funny...

Yeah for pokes in the eye!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Reds, Blacks, Spots and Sheeps, Oh my...

The AtHomeFamily is now home from the weekend get-away. While we were gone I managed to stay away from the fam most of the time.

Friday night we got into Pop's house at about 8:45. I was fishing by 9:30. Friday's haul, Two Spotted Seatrout. They were not large, but it is nice to bring home some fish on each walk back from the pier. Walking through town with a couple of fish will always get comments from passing motorists. It is a great ego boost! And now these pals are happily chilling in the deep freeze together.

Saturday morning I drove to Pop's property on the far side of the bay. You can see his property from town. It is a mile or less by water, but it is a 23 mile drive. I didn't have a boat and I don't like to swim, so I went the long way. Came back with two nice Red Drum, one 21 inches and one 27 inches. The best part of Saturday's fishing, watching that big Red hit the sailline so hard that the whole 600 foot long rig shifted about 15 foot to the side. COOL!

The small red bit me on the right thumb when I was showing him to the kids. When I yelped and dropped the fish, it scared the kids. Then the other fish bit my left thumb. And it hurt worse. And scared the kids even more. So now they have been filleted and are learning to be nice in the "Time Out Freezer".

The fish. Not the kids. They are in bed.

The kids. Not the fish. They are in the freezer...

Anyways, the reminder for the day: Don't put your thumb in a Red's mouth or it will scare your children.

This morning we all went over to fish at Pop's pier. And with three lines in the water, we had a total of no luck. It was cold and damp and windy, so the fish won. For a while.

After lunch, the family napped and Pops and I went fishing again. This time we went to a place in town, by the commercial shrimp boats. Our first spot was a bust. Our second spot was a bust for me. Pops was reeling 'em in like crazy. He caught a nice small Red, a Spotted Seatrout, a Black Drum and a Sheepshead.

We moved to another spot and I finally got to reel a few in. I caught a couple of Sheepshead and a Black Drum. Between the two of us we kept 6 fish. The Speck and one Black Drum are in the small freezer, waiting for a dinner date Monday night. The rest are in the deep freeze, where fish belong.

Because if you don't freeze them, they might bite you and scare your children. And nobody wants that.

Just like nobody wants any more details about this weekend...

Friday, November 18, 2005

Fishing run

We are taking off for a weekend at the coast. The Boss Lady wants some quality time with the kids and Pops. I bet they find something fun and exciting to do. The last time we were there, the kids got to watch Pops get a new driveway.

And I hope to get a lot of quality time with the fishes this weekend. I am thinking positively and taking an empty cooler with us, to haul back my spectacular catch. Bring on the Flounder and Redfish. The sailline is getting put to work this weekend. We are leaving in a couple of hours. I bet I can be on the pier by 9 o'clock. And I might stay there until Sunday afternoon.

Have fun, stay safe and if you see anybody messing around our house this weekend, tell them to clean up after themselves.

Ewwww gross... Gimme some...

The baby just came walking into the kitchen eating a Cheeto. Now I know for sure and certain that we ran out of Cheetos a week ago. I know, because I hid from the kids and ate the last of them.

I don't really want to know where the girl got her Cheetos. But I am a little sad that she did not offer to share. Does that make me odd?

Byt the way, I suspect the Cheetos came out of the gap between her booster chair and the dining room chair that it is strapped to. There are usally enough crumbs down there to have kept the Donner Party alive through another winter.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Once in a while...

I remind myself that there are a lot of things The Boss Lady does that I can never replace around here. Yesterday's chaos would be a great example.

The kids and I went to Burger King. The Princess had a Dr's appointment and The Talker was heading to My So Called Aunt's house for a couple of hours. I figured that letting the kids eat and play for a few minutes would be a good plan before we went our seperate ways. And if the boy wore himself out and wanted to nap while we were gone, so much the better.

Within 5 minutes of sitting down The Talker was off playing. No big deal. I packed up some of his food to send with him. He could eat later, when there was not a huge playscape beckoning. And the girl and I could chow down while he played.

And this is where The Boss Lady would have excelled.

I asked The Talker if he wanted fruit punch or lemonade to drink. Red fruit punch won out, after he debated for a while. Making things easier on myself, I filled both kid's cups with watered down fruit punch. The Boss Lady would have been smarter than that.

But of course, The Talker did not drink anything, because he was playing. And I was watching him, not watching her. Because that is when she decided to wear the fruit punch. It covered her pants and shirt. We ran to check for spare clothes in the diaper bag, but no luck. What a feckless daddy.

So I packed the lunches, grabbed the kids and we headed to the aunt's house with a quick stop at Target to pick out a new outfit for the girl. I matched, with the help of a nearby mom, a pair of pants and a sweater to a white onesie shirt and we split.

I was about to pull off the trifecta. Fed the kids, redressed the girl and still on time for the Dr's appointment! And the rest of The Boss Lady's expertise would have kicked in right here.

Auntie and I tag-team dressed the girl and it was obvious that the pants were sized for the wrong kid. The boy could have worn these pink leggings. And the sweater seemed a little tight, but a quick roll of the pants legs and she was dressed.

When we met up with The Boss Lady she checked the girl over. She found pants two sizes too big and a 19 month old girl squeezed into a 6 month sized sweater. But the colors matched really well.

My big mistake? I never looked at the tags on the clothes. I checked the hangar tags. See, a mommy would not have done that. A clueless dad, maybe.

And a smart mommy would have never given The Talker a choice about drinks. Lemonade would have not left a huge stain all over The Princess' clothes in the first place.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Welcome to Texas. Now go home!

This morning the AtHomeTrio went to our neighborhood park. The kids seemed tired and they did not really interact with the other kids. After 10 minutes a mom showed up with a boy almost the same age as The Talker and a girl nearly as old as The Princess. I encouraged The Talker to go over and introduce himself. Within minutes these guys were old pals. The Princess was hitting it off pretty well with the little sister, too.

These guys just moved here and it turns out each of the kids is two months younger than ours. This is exciting because The Talker usually ends up playing with kids older or younger than himself. There are only a couple of boys his same age in the neighborhood. And even fewer who are home during prime playtime.

A little later one of our neighbors showed up with her son, who is one of The Talker's younger friends. And all three boys played well together. A sight to behold, for sure. One of the other boys asked to go on a hike down the nature trail and The AtHomeTrio tagged along.

The moms were already acquaintances, so they chatted and I eavesdropped while toting The Princess down the trail. The new mom griped about everything from the heat to the number of ads for guns on television. OK, I'll grant you, it has been hot this November, even for Texas... And even if it is warm, it is hunting season, thus, the sporting goods stores are advertising their wares. She complained about the trail and the fact that snakes might be lurking anywhere. She whined about the house they are renting. She bitched about the lack of affordable private schools in the area. And she groaned about the way the streets are laid out in our neighborhood.

And somehow, she managed to note after each complaint, she had never encountered anything like this until moving to Texas four months ago. Every single thing.

While we were hiking with the kids, the other mom had to leave. So I got to enjoy a 40 minute rehash of all of these complaints and many more. And without fail, according to the whiny lady, they were all problems unique to living in Texas.

But after listening to all of that, this lady REALLY annoyed me with one simple thing. After letting her kids play with mine for almost two hours, she would not call either of my kids by their names. It was always "that boy" or "that girl". In the end, The Talker was annoyed, too. When we were leaving the park he said bye to everyone and he reinforced to the new mom "My name is The Talker, my sister's name is The Princess. Now you won't forget again."

I bet if he could have he would have given her a map and pointed the way back to Kentucky.

Friday, November 11, 2005

What's next? His own poinsettia?

The Talker has been asking for some new bedroom decorations for two solid weeks. Really, he has been begging for one specific item.

"...A nutcracker. Shaped like a skeleton. For my room. PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZE Daddeeee...."

I have no idea where he got this idea. I don't know if he saw a skeleton nut cracker somewhere, or if he just dreamed it up. But tonight his dream mostly came true.

He is sleeping soundly, with his newest prized possession on his dresser, right next to his bed. A Christmas soldier shaped nutcracker. No skeleton this year. We will have to check next year, when the Halloween decorations come out. But he did get to pick this one himself from an entire shelf of nutcrackers at the Dollar Tree store.

$1. To make our son's dream come true. A good deal all around.

May all of The Talker's dreams be so easily fulfilled.

I must add, that none of this would have happened if we had gone shopping at Target, like The Boss Lady wanted.

At the last minute I begged to go to Harbor Freight Tools. After The Boss Lady told me to quit crying and she turned toward the tool store, she decided to take the kids into the Dollar Tree while I drooled on the tools.

So The Talker should really thank me and Harbor Freight Tools for his nutcracker. Not his mom. She just took him shopping and let him pick his prize out. And she paid for it. And my tools, too. And she drove us there and back. And she listened to me yak about the truck the entire time....

Migranes on Parade

This morning my brain decided it needed a day off. So it called a general strike. Bring on the migrane.

And the kids decided that going downtown for the Veteran's Day parade was a great idea. Me? What is the difference? Cooped up in the house with two kids and a broken brain, or standing outside watching old cars, high school marching bands and my busted thinker.

So we split for the city. A quick stop by Krispy Kreme turned the wait for the parade to start into a sidewalk breakfast picnic. The kids had a lot of fun before the parade, picking up leaves out of a vacant lot. The Talker was getting very good at realizing the differences in the leaves he hauled back to show me. Some were pointy and others were round. One even had bird poop on it. Exciting stuff.

The parade was nice. The kids got candy. What else matters at a parade? And luckily, the kids were worn out. So now my brain is getting a little rest during the kid's simultaneous naptimes!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Let's pile on a little more excitement

This morning the kids decided that being up before 7 would be great fun. The boy was up and going before me, but it was OK, because his mom was still home. As the wife walked out the front door, I peeled myself out of the bed and found The Talker sitting in the middle of the dining table playing with the barber's clippers. Lucky for his three day old haircut, he had not figured out how to turn them on.

The Princess knew something exciting was going on, so she decided not to miss out on the fun. But her real fun came a couple of hours later, during her trip to the Pediatrician's office. All in all, it was a good visit for the 18 month old. Mommy was there and no shots were given. Brother got to play with toys the entire time and he still came away with stickers and suckers. He thought it was not a bad trip, too.

After lousy naps all around, the dog needed to be at the vet's office. And I forgot to set up the minivan, so he had to cram in behind the rear seat. Lucily it is only a mile or two to the vet's. $88 and really painful hour of keeping the kids entertained later, I was wondering why we have a dog. And kids. At the same time. What were we thinking?

This evening The Boss Lady had to work late. 14 hours after she walked out the front door she is finally home. And AtHomeDaddy is off the clock.


Monday, November 07, 2005

Cleanliness is next to godliness, right?

The family went out of town this weekend. The pets and I stayed behind. Once again I could have done lots of fun and daring things. Instead, I worked on the truck, skipped church, steam cleaned the carpets and scrubbed most of the rest of the floors in the house.

Clean tile and carpet may not do my eternal soul much good, but it sure is good for my soles, to be walking barefoot on shiny floors.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

We could open a shoe store...

I just picked up 30 shoes off of the living room floor. Thirty.

The Princess had three pair and three mismatched shoes. Why does an 18 month old need at least six pair of shoes? To go with the other three pair in her room, of course.

The Talker had the most creative mix. Five pair of shoes. Two pair of tennis shoes, one pair of hiking boots one pair of sandals and a pair of cowboy boots. Shoes for all occasions. He looked at his pile and grabbed the toy shopping cart to move them back to his room.

My pile was the most consistent. Three pair of brown Birkenstocks and a pair of grey running shoes. Once again, why three pair of almost identical sandals? I have a good answer, but it involves me getting another pair of Birkenstocks, black this time.

And The Boss Lady, she wins and award for getting her shoes closest to the closet. One pair, white tennis shoes, was all she contributed to the living room pile.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

We will have no more of that. Ok?

This evening's excitement was brought to you by The Princess and the letters E, M and S. And the numbers 9, 1 and his identical twin, The Other Number 1.

Yep. 36 hours after taking the kids on a tour of the downtown fire station, the big yellow ambulance came to our house. The Princess was pissed off, and she made herself pass out. The Boss Lady was the one who found her, face down on the living room tile.

By the end of the visit with EMS, The Princess was talking and smiling at the paramedics. Mainly she was really glad to be sitting on the couch in mommy's lap and not going for a ride in the big yellow ambulance.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Halloween Fun

One of the families in our neighborhood pulls a flat bed trailer behind a Suburban for trick or treating. That way the kids don't have to waste time walking long distances between houses. I guess they get to cover more of the neighborhood and get loads more candy this way, too.

Our family provides the alternative transportation for kids who are too young or parents who are not letting their kids trick or treat for hours on end. This is a picture of our low budget version.

At one point I counted six kids riding on our garden wagon. Luckily, the kids are all still pretty small. And the other dads helped push on the hills. What you miss seeing in this picture though, is the additional wagon that is tied to the back of the garden wagon. The kids crammed treat bags back there, so that more bodies would fit on the wagon.

We only hit about 20 houses, but the candy haul belies that fact. Between The Princess and The Talker, we brought home at least 5 pounds of candy. Never fear, I spent some time today sorting out the chocolate and setting the rest aside. The kids can fight over that pile. No sense in wasting good chocolate on them, though. They would not enjoy it as much as a guy with a big purple sombrero.

It's funny, until someone pukes

The Princess and I are running through a pile of candy the size of a watermelon while The Talker naps. And she found a new low level of humor when I burped.

I burped. She laughed harder than ever.

I burped again. She was laughing so hard that her eyes were watering.

I repeated the performance and she threw her head back and let out a huge belly laugh.

After 10 minutes of this, I was red from burping. She was red faced from laughing so hard. And I think both of us were nauseous.

Think she would die laughing if I barfed?

Web Sudoku

A friend of mine has gotten me hooked on Sudoku puzzles. They print them every couple of days in the local paper, but the website is the way to play!

My best time, 11 minutes, 55 seconds on an easy puzzle. According to their bell curve, I am well below average. Still, I feel good that 19% of the players are slower than me.