Thursday, December 28, 2006

There has been a coup on Sesame Street

This morning on Sesame Street there was a video showing lots of celebrities dancing to a song sung by Ernie. When the song was over, The Talker told us "That guy that was dancing with the microphone... He is the President of Sesame Street."

But for some reason, I don't think the presidency of Sesame Street pays well enough for Larry King to run for office.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

What do you get

When you pour 18 autistic kids and a few extras into a pile and toss in 10 staff members?

A worn out AtHomeDaddy.

I am going to bed. Good night.

As I sit in a quiet house,

and the family has gone swimming at the YMCA, and the dog is in the backyard, the cats are asleep somewhere, and the only sounds in the house are the radio I left playing in the back bathroom and the clicking of the keyboard, I just realized something.

And it was not that my high school English teacher is having a stroke because of that atrocious sentence I just started this entry with...

I realized that this is the type of morning that I LOVE to just hang out at home. Relaxing by myself in the big blue chair with a Dr Pepper or two beside me. The quiet is nice.

Too bad I can't enjoy it today. I have to be at work in an hour and 8 minutes. Real work. Paycheck and everything. Two days this week, two more next.

I agreed to help out at my old job for a few days during the holidays. The extra cash sounded like a good idea back in November. But now, with this sunny and quiet day started, I don't wanna go.

Now I am wondering: would it be so bad to call in sick on my first day of work this entire year?

Monday, December 25, 2006

Thanks Mom and Dad

The Queen Mother and Dad bought the kids a gift that I think I will love. Anything that wears the kids out this fast is good in my book!

Free James Brown, UUUUUUUUUUUhh!

Back about a million years and a couple of careers ago, I was working between college semesters as a summer camp counselor. The camps I generally worked at served kids and teens who had physical or developmental disabilities or serious medical issues. One particular summer came flooding into back into my memory when I read that The Godfather of Soul died early this morning.

In the summer of 1989 I was working at a camp for kids who were served by the Muscular Dystrophy Association of North Texas. Lots of teenagers on staff (including a young chick I would eventually marry...) and lots of kids hanging out for a week of fun in the sun. Good times all around.

For some reason me and a couple of the other guys thought the fact that James Brown was in prison was incredibly funny. I don't remember why it was so funny, but at the time we thought it was one of the funniest things in the world.

It was made even funnier by the fact that we started yelling in our best James Brown voices, "Free James Brown, Uhhhh!" across the camp at any possible time. Any question that needed a response got a loud "Free James Brown, Uhhhh!" Any decision that we had to make was solved with a "Free James Brown, Uhhhh!" And then there were the times that we just yelled it out for no reason. "Free James Brown, Uhhhh!"

After a day of this, the kids in our cabin started doing it. So we had an army of 10 year old boys following us around giving out "Free James Brown, Uhhhh!" all day and night. The louder the better.

Another day of that and our insanity spread through the whole camp.

"What's for lunch?
Free James Brown, Uhhhh!
Hey, when do we go swimming?
Free James Brown, Uhhhh!
Free James Brown?
Free James Brown, Uhhhh!"

The highlight of the summer came for us when one of my campers said nothing but "Free James Brown, Uhhhh!" for more than two days!

For that fun in the summer sun, I say thanks, James Brown. And also you are welcome. After all, our civil disobedience must have worked. You did get paroled 4 years early.

"Free James Brown, Uhhhh!"

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Hey Santa, just look for the house with the cool blue truck in front of it...

The kids are tucked in. Santa is on the way.

Hope you all have a Merry Christmas. I know it will be a lot of fun around here.

The kids left milk and cookies for Santa and a pile of dog biscuits on the porch for Blitzen and the boys. So I think all of the bases are covered...

Too tired to type any more. Plus I expect that I will have to get an early start in the morning.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Road tripping

We hit the road this afternoon to go see The Boss lady's family. Back home in a day or so, with the first load of Christmas presents from The Mother of the Bride and the rest of The Boss Lady's family.

Stopped on the way up at Sis' new old house. 125 years old and a cool place to hang your hat. The old garage makes me jealous for a place to build a workshop. But Sis' hubby has a good idea too. I think it could make a really great place for mothers-in-law to hide out.

A couple of years back I kept a count of every piece and part of Christmas toys the kids got. Went over 500 pieces if I remember correctly. I am thinking about doing it again this year.

From a pile of parts...

Comes a kick ass ride!

In less than 45 minutes!

Yes, I tested it out.

Due to a time crunch, I did not take pictures of the assembly of The Princess' play kitchen. And I did not get to spend much time testing it out. But it went together without missing, broken or extra pieces. So it must be right. Right?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Longer nights, longer days

I really don't like this time of year, when it is dark about 75% of the time. Makes me really miss summer, when you can play outside in the daylight until 8:30.

But even more I am missing the days of 3 hour naps and 9:30 wake up calls. Recently some unholy alignment of the planets has taken hold of our children. And there ain't enough Dr Pepper in the universe to keep Daddy awake all day long.

The Talker has finally outgrown daily naps. No real surprise there, he is almost 5. But the real pain is that he went from regular 3 to 4 hour snoozes to none. Nada. Zilch. Daddy don't likes missing naptime.

The Princess has discovered life before Sesame Street. She used to sleep away half of the morning. No more of that. Suddenly she has decided that 6:11AM makes a much better wake up time than 9AM. Now my day is a couple of hours longer on the front end. No muy bueno. Daddy likes him some sleep until 7AM.

Then there are days like today. The Boss Lady left even earlier to get some work done in a quiet office. The Princess bounced out of bed at 6:10. I was too groggy to realize where she was headed before she made it all the way in to The Talker's room and onto the top bunk bed with him.

No, he did not sleep through the early morning visit. Yeah for losing ANOTHER hour of sleep. That should make for a happy boy this evening. Thank your sister when you are elbow deep in time outs tonight, OK?

Luckily for me there is a cure to this curse. When The Boss Lady finishes work this afternoon, she does not have to go back until after the first of the year. At least I'll have her around to share the pain. Plus, she is already used to these early mornings, what with leaving for work at 5 in the morning.

Besides, it would not be very nice of me to intrude on Mommy time with the kids, now would it?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Just another December in Texas

Six days until Christmas and the kids and I are stuck in the house because of a nice drizzle outside. But it would be a lot worse if we did not have air conditioning. 'Cause it's hot out there...

The kids and I headed over to our YMCA this morning so that The Talker could join in on his new favorite activity, KidFit. This is a game and exercise program specifically for 3-6 year olds. The Talker has really enjoyed the last couple of times he attended, especially when he realized that he is the oldest kid in the group. I am excited about that, because age wise he is stuck right in the middle of all of the kids in our neighborhood.

While he was getting fit, The Princess and I went swimming. Which happens to be one of her favorite activities and NOT one of mine. Still, it is nice to have some one on one time with her during the day. Now that The Talker is not napping, he and I get lots of time to play together while sister is snoozing.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Another busy weekend

Saturday morning Racecar Man and I dropped by the building site to watch a huge crew work on an Extreme Makeover house, a couple of miles from our neighborhood. It was pretty amazing to see the huge crew working and to know that just a few days earlier that beautiful house was not standing there, but tonight the family is getting to enjoy the new house.

Saturday evening we had a nice family play time in the backyard. The kids played on the playscape and I got most of the leaves cleaned up and added to the compost pile. There are still plenty of leaves on the trees and in the flowerbeds for the kids and I to make one more leaf pile this year. That is always a good way to kill an hour and a half, making a big leaf pile and letting the kids jump in it to scatter it back out. Big fun!

This afternoon The Talker and I loaded up the row boat and our fishing gear. We went to a quarry lake nearby to ride around in the boat and to do a little fishing. We caught a good looking smallmouth bass. It was also the only nibble we got. Since this was out first fishing trip in the boat, the boy was fishing without a hook. Next time we will double our chances to catch the big one.

Now I need to teach The Talker how to tell a fish story. He is telling everyone our bass was a few inches long. That fish was at least 11 inches long. And I bet it weighed a pound and a half.

The boat ride was fun and catching a fish was cool. But I am afraid The Talker will remember the trip because of the big goose that chased us around while we snacked at the picnic area. That dude was insistent that we share our snack with him. We ran back to the boat while he was eating our leftovers.

After the fishing trip we stopped at a neighbor's house and he played while I helped/watched the beginnings of a playscape construction project. Turned into a lot of fun when most of the neighborhood guys showed up to help out and to cheer on Law Talking Guy.

The Boss Lady and The Princess ended up down there watching the chaos. So assembling a playscape turned into a multi-family event. Man we love our neighborhood.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Truer words ain't been spoke

Tonight's discussion at the dinner table:

The Momma: Girl, cut that out!
The Talker: Mom, what did my sister do?
The Momma: Honey, it isn't your job to worry about what your sister does.
The Talker: But Momma, I want to know about EVERYTHING!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Dinner out or a trip to the ER?

The Boss Lady has been planning a night out with some of her friends for weeks. I think I first heard about the plan to dine out tonight back in late October. Anyways, plans have been brewing for a while.

120 minutes before she was supposed to meet one of the neighbor ladies to head out, The Princess realized mommy had plans that did not include anyone under the age of 30. So she did what any self-respecting kid who does not want to eat another of dad's diners would do... she fell off of the playscape. We decided to head to the ER because she landed wicked hard on her left arm and chest. Yes, the local ER IS getting to know us pretty well.

Anyways, we were in and out in 90 minutes! No broken bones, no sprains, no X-rays and no shots! By the end of our stay, the patient and I were playing a "Peg the Mommy in the Head" with a blown up rubber glove. Turns out it is a hilariously fun game. Though I am not sure the woman waiting for X-rays on the other side of the ER curtain would agree.The Princess was laughing so hard I was worried that she would fall off of the exam bed and break her arm or something. But laughing in the ER is OK, especially if it annoys mommy!

The Talker spent the time with some neighbors, entertaining them by retelling of all of the recent family news. Evidently I am a super hero in my spare time and I fight crime with laser vision and ice... Needless to say, he was sad to see us home so soon.

But The Boss Lady was happy. She managed to wait out the entire ER visit and still make it on time to her dinner with the neighborhood women.

Me? I would rather go back to the ER than to have gone on that dinner trip.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Lights Trip

Some photos from our trip to The Trail of Lights.

Turns out it is pretty hard to get decent photos with a digital camera, so I decided to have some fun.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Trail of Lights

The Parks and Recreation Department hosts The Trail of Lights for a couple of weeks each year. It is an event that we never miss. This year, no exception. Since the weather was perfect today, we headed over to the trail after dinner.

While there I shot lots of photos that I will share later. For now, I'll let you check out one of my first YouTube videos. This is a little longer look at one of the displays along the trail. It was a cool set-up.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Family Day

After everyone was sick Friday and Saturday, we were feeling like we had missed out on the weekend. So Sunday we skipped church and went to see Happy Feet.

I won't spoil the movie here, but here is my $18.50 Matinee Movie Review...

  • The plot was hard for The Talker to figure out. Heck it was hard for me to follow.
  • The animation and visuals in the movie were great. Especially the landscapes.
  • The dancing was fun and kept us all tapping along. OK, The Talker was dancing in the aisle...
  • The highlight of the movie was the music! This movie has an awesome soundtrack that the kids and I will be hunting down this afternoon. Never before have I wanted to buy a movie soundtrack before the opening credits finished rolling.
An interesting side note to our movie adventure, the showing that we attended was Open Captioned - It had the dialogue written and major sound effects described along the bottom of the screen. Big bonus, I never had to ask The Boss Lady to clue me in on lines I missed while The Talker was asking me one of his 452,456 questions.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Notorius DAD

Thanks to the guys at and Kevin at I'm Not a Slacker for turning me onto this YouTube video.

It would be even funnier if it did not hurt so much when I laugh.

Reports of my death have only been slightly exaggerated

Everyone is truly on the mend now. Unluckily, we are at the point where the kids have bounced back to full strength and The Boss Lady and I are still not feeling that great. She must be closer than me, though. She just volunteered to take the kids to her office for a couple of hours this morning. Not a chance in hell I want to spend any solo time with the progeny today.

Especially after my wrestling match with the toilet last night.

No. I wasn't sick again. I was trying to be a good daddy. See,I have been keeping any laundry that might be contaminated with barf bugs contained in the garage and I have been washing stuff as fast as the machines would allow. So I had picked up all of the towels and rugs out of the bathrooms and I started spraying disinfectant all over the place. Now one bathroom is sparkly clean. Not contagious. And SLICK!

I walked back in the bathroom to scrub the potty when I wiped out on the wet tile floor. Smashed my left wrist on the bathroom counter, my knees on the floor, twisted my ankle into the side of the bathtub and smashed my face right into the toilet bowl. At least my big nose kept me from drowning.

All in all, it hurt like heck, but I can limp into the bathroom without fear of germs. So I guess it was an OK trade.

But now I am just a little afraid that the potty might attack me again.

Friday, December 08, 2006

At least I had a better day than this guy

So we were not quiet done with the family sickness when I blogged Thursday evening. All four of us were still feeling pretty lousy until this afternoon. I am pretty sure we set a record for the number of times someone puked last night.

But, at least we did not run from the cops through downtown in a Porsche Cayenne and get the beat down from the men and women in blue. Way to go APD. Kick a yuppie's ass for me, too.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Glad that is over...

The Princess seems to be on the mend. She had a "sharing moment" with her mommy before bed time but has been back to her usual self since then.

I know she feels better because her aim is back. She just pegged The Talker in the head with a toy from 23 paces. He cried. She laughed.

It's good to have my girl back.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I know it wern't the pizza

'cause she would not touch it...

But The Princess is barfing like a puke flavored fountain this morning. The body count so far:

Barf on Clifford the Big Red Dog toy, and the sheets and blankets on her bed. Barf in the hall, on the way to the bathroom. Barf in the bathroom. Barf on our bed (and The Boss Lady's pillow - sorry about that one, Honey).

The leather couch? Barf squared. She has already nailed it a few times. The new IKEA footstool? You betcha. The new living room rug? Yep. There is now another shade of brown on the area rug.

An worst of all, barf on Daddy. Great for effect if you are a kid, but bad if you are worried about barf-back. Yep. Every time I see, smell, hear, touch or God forbid, taste barf, I heave. Luckily, this time I did not repay the girl. Not yet.

Right now the girl is watching The Backyardigan's, sitting in a plastic tub and wearing a trash bag robe and NOT barfing. Me and big brother? We are trying to stay away from the puke-a-saurus. And wearing our most puke resistant trash bag clothes.

Anyone want to come over to play and mop?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Off on a pizza adventure

Wish us luck.

The kids and I are making home made pizzas today. Home made crust and all. Should be an experience. Possibly an experience in how NOT to get a kid to eat pizza, but an experience, none the less.

We used the bread machine to mix the crust dough earlier. While it was mixing and rising we ran to the grocery store to pick up some mozzarella and pepperoni. I am going to try and make two pizzas, each one half cheese, half pepperoni. Then we can freeze one pizza for later in the week. If this works, and the kids eat our pizzas, we will get a little more adverous with the toppings in the future.

The dough recipe said that it could be doubled, so I did. While it was rising it overflowed the pan. I had to knead it down a little. Hopefully I did not mess anything up...

Saturday, The Talker and I made some cinnamon rolls. The dough did not rise very well. Either because the milk I used was too hot or because the house was too cold... An hour ago I heated the oven for a little while. Hopefully it is warm enough to help the crust rise.

Either way, after an hour of letting the crust rise, we will be assembling our pizzas and baking them for lunch. A picture before the baking. Just in case we don't survive.

Monday, December 04, 2006

What I wanted to get done this weekend:


What I did get done:

A four hour nap on Saturday and a couple of more hours spent napping on Sunday.

I think that is how it went, but the weekend was kind of a blur as you can tell...

Friday, December 01, 2006

You know you are baking right, if the recipe starts with a trip to the attic

Yesterday The Talker started asking where things are made. Mainly he was interested in the foods we had out in the kitchen. Apples, soda, water and bread all made the inquisition list.

When he asked about bread, I told him that we "could bake some bread soon". I meant that in the parental sense of the word (also known as possibly never). The boy heard it in the 5 year old sense of the word (meaning SOON!).

He called my bluff this morning and I had to climb into the attic to grab the bread maker. True, my mom did it the hard way, with a mixer and her oven. But she had three kids, so obviously I am smarter than her. Plus, she did not have a bread machine and I do. So nannie nannie boo boo.

We ran to the grocery store to grab some yeast and bread flour. I may have hit the high spot in my day at the store, when I found a coupon for free bread flour with the purchase of yeast. I love freebies!

The Princess helped me mix and measure all of the ingredients. Then we put everything together and started the bread machine. In three hours we will be chowing down on fresh, warm cinnamon raisin bread.

Unfortunately, our labor of love may taste like crap. I set the butter in the window sill to soften up a little and I forgot about it until the bread dough was already mixed in the machine. But not wanting to give up and start over, I added the butter and restared the machine. I don't know that this really accomplished anything except to melt butter on the outside of the dough ball, but we shall see. In fact, you can have the first bite.

Edit: 4 hours later... Never mind. It tastes fine. So get your own cinnamon raisin bread. The only problem, The Talker wanted to bake bread, too. So while little sister napped, we mixed up some old fashioned white bread. It'll be ready tonight when we get home.