Saturday, December 31, 2011

Nobody Leaves this Place without Singin' the Blues

WARNING: This post will be humorous only to parents.

Today we are on day three of attempt number two to potty train Jenna.  I know you don't want the gritty details, but you can catch my sentiment by the blues riff I composed while the kids were in the tub tonight.  My blog (and pride) won't allow me to perform my piece, but go ahead and take your own artistic license with lots of soul and 'duh nu na nu na's.  Hey, we've all been there.

Potty Trainin' Blues

My baby's potty training, and though she's over two

This game has got me loopy,
I don't know what to do.

We've been sitting by the potty with book and games and songs,
Waiting, watching, waiting
For my girl to get it on.

I got the (baby, baby) Potty Trainin' Blues (baby, baby)
My baby loves her diapers,
But this crutch she's got to lose.

Her dad and me are cleanin' her pants and legs and floor
The dirty towels are mounting,
Too bad they'll soon be more.
 I've been trailing behind my tot watching every shift and fidgit,
But I turned my back; The flood came down
And Rex just now fell in it.

I got the (baby, baby) Potty Trainin' Blues (baby, baby)
My baby loves her diapers,
But this crutch she's got to lose.

P.S. If you caught my reference to Adventures in Babysitting in my post title, you can quench your hankering for the original Babysitting Blues here.  Man, I loved that movie.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dream Birthday Party

Marielle and I found a fun website from Scholastic that combines silly ideas into unusual story starters.  She dictates, I type, and then laugh together at the funny story we created. I really quite liked today's result. Our prompt was, "Write a birthday party invitation for an awkward game show host who has to save the world." Here's what Marielle came up with:

Want to come?  Given the early hour, we don't mind bed head, but don't come unless you're brave enough to face "Steals Printers Man!"

As you can see from this gem, I'm delegating all future party planning to Marielle.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Rock Around the Clock

You know how some parents like to pose their kids in the same place every year to show how they've grown?  Well, I've got a great idea.  I think I'll call it "the hands of time." 

Each year I'll bring Marielle to Chuck-e-Cheese to pose on the clock ride and we can watch as her face gets more bored, annoyed, and generally "over it" as she gradually inches her way towards adulthood.   Engagement pictures? The wedding announcement could read, "It's almost TIME to get married!"
But before I get too ahead of myself, let's just pause time to look at these two cuties: one past, one present, and both growing up way too fast. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Terrible Twos?

So far there has been nothing terrible about Jenna as a two year-old. As her dad, I love hearing her garbled commentary on our life.
Skeeball anyone?

For instance, the other night I was tucking Jenna in when she tapped my wedding ring, "What dis?"

"Mom gave me that ring."

"Oh," Jenna concluded. "Top top."

She seemed genuinely confused when I told her my ring came from a store.  I'm sure she was thinking, "Does Mom ever bring home anything not from the swap shop?"

Another morning, Jenna ran into the kitchen for breakfast. She watched MK place Jenna's highly prized Tinker Bell spoon on the counter and exclaimed, "My soon is kean? Das amazing!"

Arggg! I'm even cute as a pirate!

And for those of you who take Jenna at her word, let me assure you, we do buy things from stores outside the Swap Shop and we wash Jenna's spoon regularly. (But let's not linger too long on exact definitions of regularly...)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Cake Walk

I love the internet. I love that every birthday cake I have ever made came directly from someone else's brain to me via google images. And yet, I still feel the need to share. To publish to the world that I have fulfilled my motherly duty of pulling off the themed birthday cake. And to be honest, I've had a pretty good time doing it. So please tweet, pin, stumble, like, plus one, or whatever else you can do to prolong their glory past what appreciation my kids gave them (licking off the frosting and then asking for more ice cream).

Marielle's 5 yrs -- "Mouse Party"

Marielle 3rd "Under the Sea"

Marielle age two

Jenna's 2yr party -- "Pupcakes"

Marielle 4yr -- Fairy Party

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My First Conference

I went to Minneapolis for my first academic conference last month. I attended some 30 talks over 4 days on topics ranging from "reactive molecular dynamics" to the "freezing string method". And yet, I have to say the most important things I learned were all logistical: book early, wear dress shoes that are good for walking, and make reservations for dinner.

On that last point, Thursday night my friend Nathan and I found ourselves facing a 90-minute wait at every restaurant within walking distance of the convention center. "Oh," the host at Manny's corrected himself, "we have a table open. I can seat you now." I was so excited at the prospect of food, I was willing to overlook what must have happened to all the people ahead of us on that 90-minute list. (Did they starve to death in the lobby?)

Then I was handed a menu, saw the prices and groaned. Manny's must be one of these fancy restaurants that charges way too much and serves miniscule portions. At least I wasn't paying.

But then our waiter proved me wrong with the meat cart:

not tiny portions

Only this picture does not do it justice. You need to check out the interactive meat cart. My personal favorite is the bludgeon of beef ("part meal, part weapon"). And, yes, it's slightly eerie to see a lobster move at your dinner table.

I ordered the pork chops - which I later learned came in the same portion size that my wife had cooked that night...for our entire family. And, the small order of french fries filled a dinner plate. This was my side of broccoli

the blue streak is the Hollandaise sauce.

I barely made a dent in my meal. My hotel did not have a fridge, but I couldn't let Manny toss my uneaten food in the alley on the weapon-like remains of all those bludgeons. So I had them pack it up for me. I hoped to see someone on the streets that I could give it to as I walked back to my hotel.

Only I learned that homeless people are hard to find on the streets of Minneapolis in late October at 9 o' clock at night. And if you aren't really sure, how do you bring that up: asking "Are you homeless?" seems like guaranteed way to offend a passerby if I was wrong. We passed one man, walking slowly, but I couldn't tell if he was really homeless, or just wearing casual clothes. He had a nicer jacket than I did, so I stopped to look at his shoes (well-worn, no holes). That's when we made eye contact and I nervously walked on.The next person I passed who wasn't in business attire was a middle-aged woman in jeans (nice purse, no plastic bags). She stopped to talk with Mr. Well-Worn Shoes, so either they were both homeless, or neither.

The third guy had kinda wild hair (sure sign, right?), so I worked up my courage to say something. "Hey..." I said, and he glared at me with what I was sure was a how-dare-you-think-I'm-homeless look. So I smoothly turned my greeting into a song "...hey. Nah nah nah nah..." and sped by.

But then he called out to me. "Excuse me, I'm trying to get some money for a burrito at Chipotle's?" Hallelujah! I thought. You are homeless. I felt like hugging the man. (I didn't.) Instead, I offered him all my food. "Uhhh...okay," he said and we both went home (me: Holiday Inn, him: ?) a little happier that night.