Archive for the ‘Being Daddy’ Category

In just the last hour or so, I’ve learned quite a lot, which is surprising, considering that I wasn’t trying to learn anything, and the activity I was involved in is not typically considered educational. The things I noticed, though, have been bouncing around in my head, so I thought it important to get them all down on paper (so to speak) before I forgot. So, if you can pardon the personal nature of this, here is my list:

  1. Winter time is not the best time for a pet to die. If you own a pet, you should try to plan their demise so as to avoid the winter months.
  2. Frozen ground is about as easy to dig up as your living room floor (though I don’t recommend trying it to find out).
  3. Shallow graves are not always easy to dig. Sometimes they are just a necessity.
  4. The first 3 inches or so of digging are the worst. That’s where the ground is frozen the hardest. After that it’s just hard-packed clay, pretty typical.
  5. If you don’t have an excavator or other such power tools in your shed, just give up and wait until spring. As far as I understand it, that’s why freezers were invented. Even a pick ax wouldn’t have helped much. But you definitely shouldn’t attempt this with a little three-foot garden shovel. Ever.
  6. If you’re trying to pick a nice, peaceful resting ground for your child’s recently departed and are thinking that a nice shady spot under a tree would be nice, you are thinking like a parent instead of an undertaker. Stop it. Roots grow under trees. Lots of them. Lots of really thick ones. The kind most people buy chainsaws for.
  7. I have a better understanding of the pain that the pioneers must have experienced trying to bury their loved ones in the frozen plains. I was hurting after about 5 minutes, and only had managed to clear the leaves away from the spot and chisel a few shavings of dirt off the surface. There was an extra helping of pain knowing that there was no way to get out of this by whining to my wife about how hard it was or how tired I was. It just had to be done. And they had many more, significantly more profound feelings about the people they were burying than I did about my son’s hamster. It must have been torture. I will definitely look at the pioneer graveyard in Winter Quarters a whole lot differently the next time I am there.
  8. Little boys are not that into eulogizing the deceased, even though it broke his heart to learn that it was his hamster that had died.
  9. Finally, little boys love to dig holes.

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Well, it’s definitely that time of year! Time to go caroling, keep the hot chocolate warm on the stove, help out a neighbor, and tell everyone what they’re getting for Christmas!

That’s right, everyone! In this new internet-driven, free-information-for-all generation, we decided to post our Christmas list here on the Internet!

It’s fun! It’s really freeing, too! Just imagine, never having to use those precious cubic inches under your bed to hide presents anymore! Just throw them under the tree! Wrapping paper? Who needs it!

So, without further ado, your presents: This Friday, the family and I went to Alan Honey‘s photography studio. I’ve been working for him for about a year now, assisting him at his weddings and second shooting for him. It’s been a blast. One of the perks of the job is occasionally being able to use his studio when he’s not there. Chalk it up as experience and practice and we’re all happy. =]

After the practice session, Michelle and I got to thinking that these would make the perfect present for all of our relatives. So, if we share blood, just know: you’re getting pictures!

So, anyone care to give us a drum roll?

The overwhealming prospects of adding a baby subwoffer to our ever aging surround sound system.

The overwhelming prospects of adding a baby subwoofer to our already overpowering "surround-sound" system.

Goofy Mommy

Not all of the models were completely thrilled with their assignments. Don't tell them, but they're not getting paid.

Capturing the natives in their natural element.

I spent hours in Photoshop, working on this one to make sure it achieved all of the awesomeness that it was capable of achieving. To be honest, I think it's just a little more awesome than that.

Another classic...

A true classic, a family heirloom to be lovingly bequeathed from one family member to the next, again and again, down through the end of days.

There! Now you don’t have to lose any sleep at all, wondering if your gift will be the right size, color, or style! They’re perfect, and exactly what you wanted!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, the everlasting gift of beautiful family pictures!

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I went to sleep at 9:30 last night. 9:30! That’s unheard of for me. We got up at 5:45 this morning because we had a rather busy morning planned and wanted to get an early start.

Here’s what our schedule looked like:

  1. Vote–The polling place near us, the Senior Center, opened at 7 this morning, and we knew we’d need to be there at 7 to be able to take care of all the other stuff we had going.
  2. IHOP–Ok, this wasn’t so much of a had-to-get-done as it was a necessary stop for food. It could have been anywhere, but our friends had a discount card that would get us a free entree, so we decided it was as good as anything.
  3. Ultrasound–This was the real reason we were going to IHOP. We were planning on keeping the kids home from school for the morning so we could bring them to Michelle’s ultrasound this morning. We wanted to make it a special day, so we added a nice breakfast in there. However, since the appointment was at 9, we had little time to vote, make the 20 minute drive, eat, and get to the appointment.

We expected voter turnout to be good, but we didn’t expect it to be this good, this early in the morning.


We brought the kids along, but didn’t expect the wind to be so cool. They made do just fine with a blanket from the car.


Voting took 30 minutes (once we found out that our side of town had a much shorter line than the other side of town) and then we took off for IHOP.

Doing our part:


And then we were off to the ultrasound appointment. It was a lot of fun. The baby was active, moving around, not modest at all (which is helpful for the lab tech), and absolutely adorable. While I don’t have the ultrasound pics scanned in, you might be able to find some helpful hints here.

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A friend of mine recently sent me an email announcement about a new web service that has really made me smile. It’s called HusbandHero, and as the name implies, it’s dedicated to making each husband into the hero that he wants to be, the “knight in shining armor” that his wife may have envisioned when she said yes. Here’s just a sample of their mission statement:

Husband Hero is a simple service that helps remind us to put ourselves and our needs behind those of our spouse and our children. In our (limited) experience, we have found that as either spouse does this, the relationship deepens and improves. There is a certain magic rekindled when a husband does something special (small as it may be) to serve and love his wife, and generally the wife’s inclination is to respond by doing something selfless and loving in response. If this pattern is repeated frequently over the course of weeks and months, it is almost certain that an increase in the strength of marriages and families will follow, and our homes, communities, and society would improve. Consequently, there would be a corresponding decline in the amount of neglect, abuse, separation, and divorce.

When you sign up, they send you a monthly email with simple suggestions of things that you, husbands, can do for your wives, organized into cost brackets. The sample email on the site, some helpful tips for July, includes ideas ranging from no cost (drawing a bubble bath for her and floating a hand-written “message in a bottle” for her to read as she relaxes) or low cost (picking or buying fresh flowers for five days in a row and hiding them where she won’t expect themthe fridge, for examplealong with a note detailing one reason you love and appreciate her), all the way to big bucks ideas (a hot air balloon ride). This allows you to choose an idea that you and your wallet are comfortable with.

None of the ideas on their sample email were shockingly new; I’m pretty sure I’ve heard them all before. However, that doesn’t mean that I think about or actually do them consistently. I could definitely see a reminder email being helpful, especially when it’s something that I’d like to be doing anyways.

If you, as a husband, feel particularly clueless about what your wife would actually like you to do, she can also sign in and head over to the “Better Half Haven” where she can fill out an interests and moods profile and include all the dates she’d like you to remember. These, of course, make their way into your inbox in a timely fashion.

Or, you can keep the whole thing a secret and let your wife think you’re just that amazing all by yourself.

Whatever the case, they’ve got an introductory price going right now that puts all this in your email box for a dollar a month. Sounds like a very well invested dollar to me.

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I stayed home from work on Tuesday.

While this may seem like the beginnings of a tell-all confessional, just be glad that it’s not. I’ve been fighting a stomach bug for the past couple of days, and it’s not the variety of stomach bug that you might be thinking.

And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

One of the benefits of staying home from work on Tuesdays is not having to be in Manhattan in enough time to find a free (i.e., on the street) parking place with plenty of time left to walk up to my building and get to class by 8:05. Typically, that involves leaving my house right about the time that the kids stumble bleary-eyed out of their rooms.

Tuesday, then, was different. Since I had been up half the night already, I was more than happy to help Hyrum get dressed while Michelle was doing Chloe’s hair.

He’s been struggling recently with doing his own pants. He conquered the hook-and-clasp type pretty handily, but those darn snaps have proven just a bit too tough for him. That all changed on Tuesday. On Tuesday, as I was walking over to him, offering to snap his pants and already reaching out to finish the job, he took a step back and fixed a mighty eyeball on that snap. He maneuvered the snaps into position, flexed his muscles, and pop.

His eyes came straight up to mine, bright and victorious. I started in on the praise, laying it on as thickly and sincerely as I could for what was a victory a long time in the making. I raised my hand to give him a high five, his most favored celebration, and he reared back, ready to once again attempt to pound my hand into something resembling a fine cut of tender steak.

Just before releasing the cocked hammer, he looks me in the eyes and says, with the air of someone who noticed the hand buzzer right before shaking someone’s hand,

Hey, you’ve got sickies!

His mother has trained him well.

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I recently found a wonderful set of instructions for new parents that are just fantastic: clear, concise, very difficult to misunderstand. They may also serve as a helpful refresher for seasoned veterans as well. Or as a preview for single folk not even ready to think about settling down.

Heck, just click the link already.

Just one caveat, though: when you read these, just make sure that you’re not drinking anything. Or attending a funeral. Or a disciplinary hearing. Or in a library. Or are around people with violent reactions to laughter.

Does that all count as one caveat?

Whatever…go learn something.

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Yeah, I knowthem’s fightin’ words.

But it’s true. I mean, most kids’ music is in no way fit for adult consumption. As in, it will make them pull their hair out, scream in anguish, and quite possible drool.

In an effort to reduce this possible source of stress in your life, I want to introduce you to quite probably the coolest band to produce kids’ music, and it’s probably not who you might think: They Might Be Giants.

That’s right: the geek-rock band born in the 80s is still alive and kicking out some incredible music. The thing is, they’ve grown up (a little). Sure, they still have their 18+ only concerts, foul language included. But now, they also have kids, and so they started writing songs that they felt that kids and adults could listen to together without either of the other going into fits.

It started in 2002 with their debut family album with a familiar title: No! My review: It rocks. The songs are musically very catchy and thematically very in tune with the juvenile psyche.

After pairing up with Disney Sound, they followed that family offering up in 2005 with Here Come the ABCs, another fantastic album musically that, if you haven’t guessed already, focuses on the alphabet. This CD was paired with a DVD featuring fun animated music videos of all the songs on the CD. Many of these songs deserve heavy rotation in anyone’s favorite playlist. The very catchy song “Alphabet of Nations” has even been taken live to Conan O’Brien and Craig Ferguson.

Just this month, again partnering with Disney Sound, they released another CD/DVD gem, Here Come the 123s, and I am honestly refreshed by the sound. I should probably admit that I was hopelessly won over by their marketing campaign long before the album was released. Around the beginning of the year, TMBG announced that they would be running a free, “Friday Night Family Podcast,” in which they would post a music video each week from their new DVD. I was instantly hooked. After the first couple weeks they expanded this by adding a music video from their previous family album at the end of each of their soon-to-be-released ditties, and that just sweetened the deal.

In an effort to win you away from the Dark Side of Kiddie Rock and into the light, may I present a few copyright-infringing videos lovingly hosted by the many minions over at YouTube (in numerical order):

The funk-i-fied disco stylings of “High Five!”:

“Seven Days of the Week (I Never Go to Work)” gets major bonus points for inclusion of the phrase “and Sunday’s the day of rest” (plus, the animation here kills me. It’s way too fun):

“Figure Eight” (an animated kid rockin’ out on a figure-eight shaped guitar? pure genius):


And finally, the most rockin’ song on the album, tragically short though it may be, “813 Mile Car Trip” (again, the animation had me sold from the get-go. A bouncing car and happy family? The animators deserve loads of cash for that one):

Can you just see my kids jammin’ on air guitar in their car seats with me goin’ nuts on the air drums, all while my wife is simultaneously trying to drive and hide under a rock out of embarrassment? It’s that good.

So, check it out. Your sanity will thank you for it.

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