Little Gym Rat

16 02 2009
Little Gym Rat

Little Gym Rat
http://vimeo.com/3238611

Our youngest daughter loves to play, as any toddler. I try to participate in her life despite my work schedule. The local Little Gym had a fun toddler class, and I decided to record one of our visits together. Annabelle revels in the full attention she receives from one of us at a time, but she should know, it’s just as fun from our side to focus on one child at a time as well.





Princesses must be housed accordingly

4 01 2009
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Before Extreme Makeover

In the past three years since we’ve lived in our current house, I have managed a painting project, on average, twice per year. I have single-handedly added a bit of color to an otherwise drab-white color scheme. I tend to like wild, solid colors, but those don’t work to well for housing interiors sometimes. Besides, if had left the internals of the house plain white (or the default off white color from the builder) I would have gone mental a long time ago. Some will argue that I already have gone mental: that’s another topic. As far as the house painting goes, I was first tasked with painting the entire downstairs area, visible to visitors and guests. The entire painting job was done by me, myself and I with some help from my then pregnant wife. I managed to go from masking to painting in 24 hours. It was not pretty. I was not pretty after that. I didn’t think I would ever paint again, but, like all things, time tends to heal wounds, even psychologic wounds caused by bad planning.

The next rooms turned out better and better over time as I had gotten the hang of masking to save time later. So, while still not perfect, each painted room in the house looked a bit better than the previous one. The colors help set the tones for each room, and give a bit of variety to an otherwise common house. While most rooms are still in the “mostly done” stage, they are a lot more fun and colorful.

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After Surgery

The last room that remained to be painted was the girl’s bedroom. We had high hopes in transforming their bedroom into something every girl would want. I wanted them to have a bedroom that they would look fondly on in their older years as a room they cherished. So far, it hasn’t happened for one reason or another. Whether it was because we (the parents) were busy with work, or just tired, I think mainly it was because I hadn’t spent the time to put a plan of action or a color scheme together that would be to our girl’s standards. (When did they get so picky?) I had planned on making them some sort of princess themed room, despite my best efforts to convince them otherwise. We ended up with some pretty nice colors from the official palette of Disney colors from the Home Depot. And so, yesterday afternoon, I set forth to complete a task that I had started three years ago: to paint the house for every member of the family. The journey has been long, and wrought with disappointments, trials and tribulations. Its also been really tiring. Every time I paint a room, I find more muscles I never knew I had. But, pain in temporary, and the rooms will at least be that way for a few years. I think next time they want to paint their rooms, they are going to have to help a lot more.





The Polar Express

18 12 2008

Nearly two weeks ago, my wife and I took the kids on a trip to the North Pole. Amazingly enough, there was a train that goes right near Santa’s village. The Polar Express was a fun ride for the kids, and they had a chance, ever so quickly, to see Santa Claus.20081208-IMG_2613

The trip to Williams, AZ was fairly quick from Phoenix. I guess that’s just me getting old. After three hours of driving, we arrived at our hotel only to be greeted with cold air and a long checkin line. Santa set up accommodations for us in his hotel, the Grand Canyon Inn. The checkin line went very quickly, as this seemed to be the normal daily routine.

After settling into the hotel, the kids, excited to see Santa again, put on their pajamas. The rule is, on The Polar Express, you can only see Santa in your pajamas. After dinner, we ran out in the chilly air to our seat on the Polar Express. The silly Dad, me, picked the wrong car to get on, so we had to run back up to the head of the train to the correct car. After a few minutes, the friendly helper elves gave us friendly instructions on being safe on the Polar Express.

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And then we were off to the North Pole.

On the train, we were provided refreshing hot cocoa and a chocolate chip cookie. And, then we read the Polar Express story. And, it happened so quickly, that after a short while, we eventually made it to the North Pole. And Santa was there waiting for us. The girls we excited to see Santa. As the train turned around, Santa had disappeared. Then, the conductor told us that Santa was on the Train with us! Great!

Santa made his way to our car, seeing every girl and boy on the train and making sure they received their christmas present.

On the way home, we sang christmas carols, something I haven’t done in years. I only wish the cold air hadn’t had an effect on my throat.

I think next year, we’ll make reservations on the Polar Express again. Seeing the joy and excitement in the kids is what makes being a parent so fun. The girls, in their excitement do get a little wild, but the world melts away when you’re on the Polar Express. After all, Santa knows when you’ve been bad or good.





Friends

15 08 2008

This morning I noticed that Eliana was being especially perky. I decided at the last minute before I left her at school to take her picture. Just then, her best friend walked into the room. She was quite excited. The other day, when I dropped her off, her friend was very excited to see Eliana. I’m glad that Eliana is making friends.





Annabelle Eats some Salad

29 04 2008

Over and over again, I find myself repeating the same stereotype phrases of parents of yesteryear; and I find it a little disturbing.

Last night at the dinner table, Annabelle was doing her normal thing: eating only what she wanted, and ignoring all the salad and other healthy items on her plate. Don’t get me wrong, most everything on her plate is healthy, but we want to encourage her to eat salads. Her older sister eats them with no issues.

Annabelle, generally will start to chew a salad or vegetable, and then spit it out. Last night was different, but not by chance. As she started to repeat this routine I knew all too well, I, in my fatherly voice, instructed her to finish eating her salad in her mouth. At 2 years old, Annabelle already knows how to play the cute card. I am not immune to it, but any weakness in the “angry armor”, and all that you are trying to do gets tossed aside by a small giggle. As I finished scolding her, she looked at me with her cute face, and just froze. I did my best to be stern, and encourage her to continue eating the salad in her mouth. After half a minute or so, she continued eating her salad. But after that, she started to let her mom feed her salad. Of course, with any food, you have to put a little sweetness in it, and we always try to put some raisins and salad dressing to make it taste better. Amazingly, Annabelle picked up speed in eating her salad, and finished the remaining salad without anymore issues. I was encouraging by moving my stern voice to a more positive tone, so she knew that she was doing what I asked.

In the end, I think Annabelle will still eat and spit out the food she doesn’t find tasty, but this is the job of all parents, and this part of the can not end soon enough.





How to Make Cookies

1 01 2008

Every child loves cookies, so I thought it would be a good family activity to include our daughters in on the making of some cookies. Of course, the ingredients came out of a box with everything included (just to make our lives easier) but it was still a good time had by all. Of course, the girls’ favorite part was when they got to eat the cookies. Yummie.