Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Just in Case

You think my son is perfect all the time, here's some proof.

He has just started really throwing a fit when he doesn't get what he wants. Half way through the video, he starts with some animal noises for you (the fish and the lion are my favorite).

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Clothing Modifications

First off, let me breeze through the updates on what's been happening around our house the past week or so. We've all been sick, in one way or another, but that appears to be lifting. The perpetual snot trail streaking from Grant's nose to cheek appears to have receded, and Erin and I are both pretty much over our colds as well.

The only other item of note is that I played chicken with a snow plow on an icy road. (Hence my "Impacted a non-moveable object" comment previously. Apparently to an insurance adjustor, the Earth is a non-moveable object. Seems reasonable.) I veered off the road to avoid hitting the plow, and as I returned to the roadway, I slid across the opposite lane into a ditch. It was a harrowing few moments, but it only tore up the front of my car and not me, so all is well. My car drives a bit like a bike with a bent wheel now, but hopefully that will soon be repaired.

Now to the point of this entry. This morning as I was folding our laundry (which is my assigned task around our house), I took note of a pair of Erin's sweat pants that she frequently wears while cleaning, bathing Grant, cooking, writing "thank you" notes , feeding Grant, feeding me, etc (all of which are HER assigned tasks around our house). This particular pair of sweats has, for no apparent reason, the cuffs at the bottom of the legs cut off. And they weren't cutoff cleanly. They were cutoff using a steak knife or sharp rock, leaving them looking like a wardrobe piece from The Flintstones. When Erin wears this pair of sweats, I frequently think to myself, "Oooh, baby." Actually, no, I'm lying. I usually think "Why is she wearing sweats that look like leftovers from Gilligan's Island?"

Even more interesting is that this sort of wardrobe modification is common in Erin World. She has a white blouse that she frequently wears under sweaters which has the sleeves torn off in a similar fashion. Without the sweater, she looks a bit like Bowzer from Sha Na Na.

While we were dating, she went through a phase where she wore overalls frequently -- not the full length kind, rather the kind that are actually shorts. They were cute, although I must admit, I eventually tired of them. At some point, I noticed she always wore a sweat shirt with the overalls. I inquired as to why, and she showed me that the top half of the overalls had been removed, leaving only the shorts. Except that the shorts had no waistband, since they were meant to hang from the top portion of the overalls. What was left was simply two legs and a raggedy, hand carved ring around the top.

To this day, I have no idea why these things happen with Erin. I love her all the same, but it does lead me to wonder whether we need to make more frequent trips to the mall.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Mad Skills

At least he is creative.

Sorry so slow...

Sorry for the delay between posts. It's been "one of those weeks."

1. We're all sick.
2. "Impacted a non-moveable object." That's what the claim says.
3. Work.

In the next couple of days, I'll elaborate.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

FFFF: Motion

Here's a bit of a video that shows how cute and crazy our little guy is.

The first part of the video is him playing peek-a-boo with Daddy. But, Grant's graduated from the standard, eye covering form of the game, and he now does the "look away" move. You'll know what I mean when you see it.

From about a minute on, you'll see crazy man IN MOTION. Sometimes, he moves so fast that his limbs blur. No kidding. You can find other kids in motion at Loving Lydia.

At the end, Bret asks Grant to do his "strong boy" impression, which in person is to die for funny. On the second round, listen for the substantially loud toot that Grant lets out. If you wonder why Mommy and Daddy are laughing like mad in the background, you know now.

On a side note, yesterday, on the way home from Costco (where I managed to stay on budget--who would have guessed?), Grant asked me 34 times (I actually counted) what the yellow, toy star in his hand was. I answered him, but I don't think he believed me until the 34th time. The kid's got patience.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I am so tired of winter. This happens to me every year. The California transplant in me loves winter through the holidays (a warm Christmas just doesn't cut it anymore), and I even like the cold days for a few more months. But, right now, about mid-February, I lose it. The cold weather makes me angry. I almost swear at I don't wear a coat in protest that it should be warmer. I want to go for a walk--outside!!

Grant is showing signs of having a little cabin fever as well. Yesterday, on Mommy's day off (thank you very much old president dudes), we headed to McDonalds (just for an ice cream cone for Mommy... we do have an extra tight budget, after all), and Grant waved at EVERY SINGLE PERSON who walked in... and out. He was so excited to see people. So, you can imagine the trip to the library that followed was a sure success.

In other news, as I type this, Bret is stomping around the house with an old school mp3 player plastered to his ears trying to listen to the IU vs Purdue bball game. Nothing says "old school fan" like the radio listening guy who doesn't have ESPN. The budget is hitting him hard. Just ask him about the conversation we had about new surround sound speakers. Ouch.

Just kidding. Kind of.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Birthday, Wifey!

Yes, it's that time of year again. Not only is it Valentine's Day, but it's also Erin's birthday!

If you get a chance, be sure to send her your well wishes. It's somewhat unfathomable to both of us that we now qualify as "in our mid-30's." As a kid, I was pretty sure you were dead if you were "in your mid-30's." Now I keep telling myself it's not so bad and that I'm only "half dead." I'm not making this any better, am I?

Happy Birthday, dear. I wouldn't want to spend the rest of my life with anyone else...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Grant wished you a Happy Valentine's Day last year. And he wants to wish you another day-o-love this year. He told me to type: I love all of you. Really, all of you. No one is on my naughty list yet, so all of you are my special valentines. Some of you are close to the naughty list, so start pickin' it up in time for V-Day 2009. You have a year. Peace out.

Ohter Valentine baby love found at Loving Lydia.

Cutie Pie Log-o-Stuff

New things Grant does that make me marvel (and get giddy):

1. He does all the hand motions to "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." He even tries to make a "diamond in the sky." We sing it every week (with these motions) at Gymboree class, and last night he melted my heart (and impressed the socks off of Daddy who struggles to keep up with any thing that deals with choreography [even dancing which he swore he "loved to do" prior to marriage]). We tried to get a video of Grant last night, but once the camera is out, all bets are off.

2. He's started pulling up in his play pen, which in itself is cute but not extraordinary. Today, I watched him put a toy under him so that when he stood up, he could be several inches taller. Smart cookie.

3. He's got passion. Video proof.

4. He's quirky, though. I'll let you try to guess what he's going for in these pictures. His mouth is open, and everytime he sees one of these things, we get the same "get in my mouth, now" response. More to come.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Yesterday I was watching a golf tournament being played at Pebble Beach on the California coast. Everyone was dressed in shorts and golf polos. This got me to thinking about that part of our family that lives in Monterey that we don't often get to see and who we miss so much. Then this got me to thinking...YOU SUCK.

It's 6 degrees here this morning with a windchill of negative "who cares, you're going to freeze to death if you stay in it longer than 30 seconds anyway." Can't you people pass some of the good weather along to those of us who are diving from our cars into our office buildings, futilely attempting to keep our chapped lips from bleeding onto our sleeves as we wipe our noses onto the sleeves of our parka? This is ridiculous. First I nearly freeze in China, and now it has followed me here.

In other news, we did indeed visit my grandmother, Grant's great grandmother, this weekend. She commented multiple times on how handsome I suddenly look. I apparently have looked like Gary Busey for the past 30 years, but now, I'm quite dashing. Erin noted in the car that this is probably due, in part, to the fact that of all the cousins, I look most like our dear, recently departed grandfather.

In any case, if you're one of said cousins, I'm definitely getting more Christmas and birthday gifts than the rest of you next year. You lose.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

All Grown Up

He's not a baby any more. Not even close. He cries when he doesn't get his way, demanding that the world pay attention to him. He has a will. He knows what he wants. We used to have such a quiet, contemplative baby; I used to think he'd be a great theologian. Now, he's screams, yelps, constant jabbering. He punches, pinches, and kicks. He's not a quiet baby; he is a full-fledged, card carrying member of the little boy club.

But, he's still such a sweetie.

Here's Grant with his great grandmother, who we visited this weekend. He threw up all over her carpet, but she'll never see this blog post, and anyone who will see it knows better than to tell her.

Here's Grant crackin' up. No one can make Grant laugh like Daddy, and this video is proof. Grant got a haircut again today, so if he looks a little different it's because he is sporting a new hairdo--the "mommy cut my hair" hairdo.

Keeping the budget real.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Happy New Year!

So I'm a day late, as usual, but yesterday was Chinese New Year! In my current work environment, this is cause for celebration. So one of our Chinese coworkers invited us to her favorite local Chinese restaurant for a lunch to celebrate.

The selected restaurant, called Sichuan (they don't appear to have a website anyplace), is well known by yours truly. It has long been the favorite Chinese buffet for me and my coworkers. Erin delights in telling people that one of the owners once seated me and three other gentlemen and informed us, "$5 for you, $5 for you, double for you," the last part stated while glaring at me. Apparently he felt he was losing money on me each week. The guys at work used to start chanting "third plate" or "fourth plate" in an effort to get me to take in another 2000 calories at the end of each lunch.

In any case, the food on the Sichuan lunch buffet is as close to what I eat while in China as anything I've ever had in the U.S., so it seemed fitting to eat there for the New Year. When we arrived at the restaurant, our Chinese coworker began having a lengthy discussion with one of the servers. In the end, she informed us that she had ordered lunch for us from the menu so that we wouldn't eat the same things we always eat off the buffet. This seemed like a good plan to me, and it had been rumoured that the real Chinese food at Sichuan is only found on the Chinese language menu. Interestingly, the ordering process took several minutes and there was much discussion between the waitress and orderer. This is always true in China as well. The items on the menu appear to be somewhat negotiable, and it seems that you can haggle to get items prepared the way you like them.

After being served the usual green tea (which to me always tastes a bit like boiled dishwater), out came the initial dishes, served family style as is the Chinese custom. At first there were sesame noodles, which were great. They were cold noodles in a chili and peanut sauce. Then came the jellyfish. This fell into the "Yeah, I could eat this if starving, but would I choose to under normal circumstances?" category for me. My coworker later informed me that she didn't think this was "good" jellyfish. "Good" jellyfish, in my mind, is being shoveled off the beach and into a trash can. This felt like eating the seal from a toilet tank.

The main courses included a super spicy beef dish, some fried pork, and some sort of fish boiled with vegetables (sans bones). It was all very good, and it was almost exactly like what I've been served in China (except in China, bones would abound). Throughout lunch, our coworker taught us some phrases in Mandarin and explained some of the customs we see while working in Shenzhen. I will take pride during my next trip in my new found ability to swear at my coworkers in Mandarin. I'm sure they'll be delighted.

I'm going to have my coworker write down what she ordered so that the next time Erin and I eat at Sichuan, I can order more traditionally. And perhaps by doing so, the restaurant owners will forgive me from wiping out their buffet on a weekly basis for the past five years.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


I returned last week after spending two weeks in Asia -- 5 days in China, 3 days in Singapore, and the rest strapped in an airplane seat approximately 2 inches too narrow for my body -- to find my wife on one of her "we need a budget" kicks.

As it turns out, one of the malignant side effects of my wife working part time is that the Dave Ramsey show is on during her drive home in the afternoon. If you're unfamiliar with Dave Ramsey, he's a guy on the radio who is single-handedly taking the fun out of making a decent living for those of us who enjoy randomly buying electronics, music, DVDs and basically all other forms of entertainment.

Every few months Erin gets the notion that since she hasn't heard otherwise, I must be carelessly tossing our hard earned shekels out the window of my car on the way to work (or more likely out the window to iTunes or Best Buy). In reality, I think I do a fairly decent job of managing our money. It's all tracked in Quicken, and it would be a completley transparent process if I gave Erin the password.

Her solution to this problem is to create a budget that she feels allows us to continue to enjoy the finer things in life that we hold so dear (like Taco Bell and an occasional new pair of socks) while saving off money for lesser things (like Grant's college fund and our retirement).

Upon my return, she presented her budget to me. It was carefully timed on her part, as I was still suffering from formidable jet lag, and I accepted her plan. She informed me that she had already begun trying to stick to her own limits during trips to the grocery store. All fine and good I told her.

Last night following a bowl of chili, I made my way to the bathroom in our house. Upon completion of the task at hand, I reached over only to find what appeared to be a roll of tissue paper hanging from the wall posing as toilet paper.

Now I have no problem with making some cuts in the name of good budgeting, but do we really need to start with low cost essentials like toilet paper? This stuff actually crackled when you waded it up and left innumerable lascerations when used for its intended purpose. It was the kind of toilet paper you'd expect to find in a locked, outdoor bathroom at a Texaco on I-40, not in your own bathroom. It featured the absorbency of wax paper and clung together with the approximate tenacity of ash. I would have been better served by using the Lifestyle section of the newspaper.

Is this really the way to welcome your husband home?

Sunday, February 03, 2008

The Peek-a-Boo Kid

Daddy calls him the peek-a-boo kid because Grant plays peek-a-boo 5 trillion (maybe not an exaggeration) times a day.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Grant Sighting Half Way around the World

Our friends Eric and Emily (along with baby Ash) are in Singapore right now... and look at what they found!

Shockingly similar.