Friday, December 31, 2010

A Trio of Builders

Late Friday post today. Took the day off to hang out with family and was too tired to write last night.

This "review" is just one guy's opinion, and has no affiliation with Fisher-Price.

So Gramm-E and Grampap got Big Brother and Little Brother each a set of Fisher-Price's Trio building system for Christmas.

I'll admit that the first time I'd ever heard of this "system" was when the boys opened their present.

But having done some building with Trio playing with the boys, let me just say that I'm now a big fan.

Having grown up on Legos, and having had more fun than an adult should more fun than my kids a great time at Lego Land California, I consider that quite a compliment.

I love, and always will love, Legos, but I think the Trio system is superior for three main reasons:

1. It's easier for slightly younger children to use. Little Brother, who's 3, can put them together almost as well as his (almost) 6 year-old Big Brother.

2. You can build bigger things more easily (but the blocks/sticks/platforms aren't big in a more "juvenile" way) than with Legos.

3. (Perhaps the most important) When you're done building, you can play with your creations without them falling apart. My experience has been that Legos tend to be much more fragile.

Trio also gets the Bab-E Brother seal of approval. He loves to crawl through the giant pile of them, and play with all of the small choking hazzards, rather than his "age-appropriate" toys.

I only have one "complaint" so far. Big Brother got the Bat Cave set, which comes with a special piece that's a rope. That creates a problem because:
1. Big Brother considers the rope HIS because, after all, it was his present.
2. Little Brother is absolutely obsessed with ROPES (or anything that could be loosely construed as a rope).

In this case, 1 + 2 does not equal 3, but equals to constant frequent fighting between brothers and yells of "I want the rope. It's mine. I'm NOT sharing."

So, in summary, if you have young builders, I highly recommend the Fisher-Price Trio building system.

But if you have more than one young builder, I also highly recommend that you buy 2 rope pieces.

Wishing you a happy and safe 2011,


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Your Butt's Too Big

So on Christmas Eve Eve, we were doing some last-minute shopping as a family, and decided to go out to eat because the boys had asked about 99,999 times for a "Happy Meal" because I had used up all of my blood sugar chasing the boys around the shoe store while Mom-E perused.

We went to a restaurant with an indoor playground.

The boys did pretty well during dinner (more the waiting to go to the playground part than the eating part) because we bribed them with dessert. I took Big Brother and Little Brother to play, while Mom-E finished feeding Bab-E Brother.

So we get to the playground, and Little Brother is apprehensive about the slide. He had no problem with the maze of steps that wound around, leading up to the slide, but the slide itself was a thing of terror.

He begged for me to climb the steps to the slide with him, but I explained that adults weren't allowed on the playground equipment and I was afraid that I'd break it, and come tumbling down, breaking my crown.

A few minutes later, Mom-E came to the playground with Bab-E Brother, and of course, Little Brother asked her the same question.

"Mom-E, can you climb up here to the slide with me?"

"No," she replied. "I'm not allowed."

"Is that because you're butt's too big?"

**SHOCK, AWE, MORTIFICATION** (Apparently he'd told Mom-E this the day before).

But wait, there's more.

Little Brother proceeds to turn around, MOON half the restaurant, and explain,

"Your butt needs to get smaller, like this?"


(Admittedly, Little Brother is, well, a little on the little side. His butt isn't much wider than my thigh. So anyone, even Mom-E--who is petite--would be larger by comparison.)

And for some reason, he'll take his pants off at the drop of a hat (or one drop of urine), underwear and all.

(BRIEF PARENTAL DILEMMA DIGRESSION: I'm glad he has a good body image, but we need to work on some basics, like public decency.)

"Put some pants on, dude. There's enough BUNS in the restaurant already."

At which point we proceeded to make sure everyone was fully clothed, and then we made a bee-line for the exit.

(The door did NOT hit anyone on the backside on our way out.)

No doubt our pictures are now hanging prominently on the wall in the restaurant.

I don't think we'll be going back there ever anytime soon.

But I do think Little Brother and I have a few things and manners to talk about, namely manners.

See You On Fatherhood Friday,
Keep your pants on,

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Wrap-Up

Just a few SOUNDS and SIGHTS from our holiday weekend. (Many thanks to Mom-E for tech support.)

"I think Santa got it right!" (Audio only, no picture)

"And who says the best things in life don't come in boxes?"

Have a good week,

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Blessings

The richest blessings in this life are the love and laughter of our children.

Merry Christmas,

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

In Communicado

On Monday I was working on my naughty list, so today, just before Christmas, I'll give you something nice.

I've said before, that books would lead you to think that child development is linear. "By age X, a child should be able to make a tower of 3 cubes, and by age Y a tower of 5 cubes, or some such nonsense."

It doesn't work that least not for us.

Instead, with all 3 of our boys, we see these "quantum leaps" in their developmental abilities over a realtively short period of time:

Yesterday, they were eating only Puffs. Today, they're able to bake a lasagna.

(My stomach is waiting patiently...)

Over the past week, Bab-E Brother has made one of those quantum leaps in terms of communication.

He's been eye-balling and taking notes on everything his brothers, Mom-E, and I say and do for months now, and apparently he decided it was his turn to chime in.

Several things to highlight:
1. He's started waiving pretty consistently. The other day at the See-Eye-Aye, he spontaneously waved at another child and said "Hi-ya".

If you say to him, "Where's Mom-E/Big Brother/Little Brother?" he'll zoom his eyes in on them and often wave

2. He's also started signing more regularly. He made the "milk sign" a few months ago, but this has been somewhat inconsistent. (Which is a little surprising, as "milk" is usually the first sign a baby makes consistently. But apparently for him, repeated grunting and lunging towards Mom-E when he's hungry works good enough.)

Nope, instead Bab-E Brother's favorite sign is "tree". He's absolutely obsessed with our Christmas tree. He can't walk by it without making the tree sign. He definitely has the holiday spirit.

3. The boy has a belly laugh to rival Santa's. I mean it's the Guinness of baby laughs. And not just when you tickle him. The boy just loves to laugh. Little Brother may be the "party animal" who likes to roam the house without pants (more often than not), but Bab-E Brother appears to be the jokester who likes to make everyone laugh.

As soon as he can stand unassisted, he'll no doubt be a "stand-up". (Bah, dat, dah...ching!)

And to combine his love of trees and laughter with the Christmas spirit, we took the boys last weekend to a local Christmas light extravaganza (a hayride through a forest of Christmas lights, roasting marshmallows on an open fire, etc.) All the boys had a good time, but perhaps Bab-E Brother had the best time. Despite the cold and late night, he pretty much sat on Mom-E's lap and chuckled in amazement for an hour as we rode through the lights display.

4. Lots more babble and different sounds. We hope to find a translator soon.

And so, exciting times here at the Busy-Dad-E household. We're looking forward to a wonderful Christmas, and wish the best for you and yours!

Merry Christmas!

See you next week (I'll be incommunicado until then),

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dear Kroger

Dear Kroger,

We've shopped at your store for years now, having spent $1000s there.

The other night, after the boys went to bed, I went to your store to do the weekly shopping. (What takes me about an hour would otherwise take about 3 hours in total if small men came along).

I got to the store about 10:20 pm.

I had one item to return, some Kroger-brand trash bags (apparently, according to Mom-E, they fall apart if you look at them).

I went to the Customer Service counter, where I was greeted by an employee standing at the register picking her lip.

She promptly informed me that there are "No returns after 10pm."


"Then what are you doing standing at the Customer Service counter?" I thought to myself.

Nevermind the 5 employees standing around by the registers doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

(Oh, wait. Apparently they were celebrating the end of returns for the day.)

"Please, m'am. Can you save me another trip to the store and just exchange these $1 bags for me?"


"Thanks so much for defeating the point of going to the store at night. I'm so glad your heart is full of joy this holiday season. @#$%^&!"

(I don't think I said that (or anything). I'm pretty sure I threw the bags back in my cart in disgust and stompted off.)

I thought about playing the "do you know how long it will take my wife to come exchange these in the morning with 3 small boys?" card, but I'd pretty much already played my hand with the little temper tantrum.

So I proceeded to do the shopping all the while skulking at employees who were still just standing around.

"C'mon, I'll restock the bags FOR YOU. In the time you wasted explaining to me why you couldn't return the bags, you could've returned them."

And so, when I checked out, I played one final card: I asked the cashier if she could return the bags for me.

She was kind enough to go ASK the managers (yes, managers PLURAL), who were summoned from their Bat Cave.

After a pow-wow (long enough that we could've just returned the bags), they of course said "no."

Thanks. You did an excellent job making your customers feel valued.

I hope Santa brings you a lump of coal.


P.S. Because sometimes things seem like they can never be easy, it's fitting that one of the eggs I brought home was broken. So, we have to go back to Kroger anyway.



Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lights Out

Happy Fatherhood Friday!

Getting 3 boys under the age of 6 awake, dressed, fed, teeth brushed, and "out the door" by 7-8 AM is often quite the chore.

In fact, when if Mom-E and I are up to 12 or 1 AM, we sometimes joke, "well, we better start the morning routine NOW (without going to bed first) or we'll be late leaving the house in the morning."

And if Mom-E and I wake up late, the whole morning routine is a big train wreck (i.e., we're lucky to leave before noon.)

The other day was one such morning. It was ~6:45 AM and Mom-E and I were showered and dressed, but all 3 boys were still asleep.

(Brief digression: I can remember the days when 6:45 AM was unbelievably early, not late.)

All of a sudden, the whole house went dark.

I peaked outside and the whole neighborhood was dark.

Lovely. Just bloody lovely.

(Sure, the sun was thinking about waking up soon, but when you're late, that isn't much help.)

And so, we grabbed our (one working) flashlight, and started the "modified morning routine."

Imagine trying to get children dresed and fed while hopping on 1 leg; it pretty much felt like that.

The boys, however, had a ball fighting over the flashlight using the flashlight like a light-saber. And they asked lots of fun questions about "Why doesn't the toaster work?" and "Can I watch Scooby Doo?"

Despite the headaches, it was kinda fun to eat Cheerios by flashlight, and it brought the whole family together at the breakfast table.

And we did make it out the door, eventually, albeit ~1 hour late.

Still, we love you, electricity. We're glad you came back. You're always welcome in our home. We'd keep a light on for you, but know.

Have a good weekend,
Stay warm,

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Your Holiday e-Card

The Busy-Dad-E family wishes you and yours a Merry Christmas!
(in 3-D this year, an improvement from last years' 2-D Pac-Man tree).

So sit back, put your feet up, have a cup of hot chocolate, and relax by the fire with loved ones. And maybe even play a game of 'Packer-man' (as Big Brother calls it.)

We'd join you, but we're busy chasing small men around the house and have forgotten what the word 'relax' means.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Fear Detector

So out of the blue, the other night, as we're tucking Little Brother in bed, he points up to the ceiling and asked, "What's that?"

"That's a smoke detector."

"Oh. What's that for?"

"If there's a fire, it makes a loud noise and tells us to get out of the house."

"It makes fire? When is the fire coming?"

"Uh oh."

All logic was off at that point. I might has well have been trying to convince him that chocolate is not a vegetable. He was pretty much sold on the idea that the smoke detector was a living, breathing, fire-making fear detector...that turns your skin green (because of the green light).

Apparently, he did not notice the smoke detector in his room for the first 9 months we lived in this house.

And apparently, it makes no difference that there's one in every room in the house.

So, in a full-blown regression, suddenly there have been nightly requests for "Will you sleep in my room?"

And even after escaping his room, there have been the middle of the night screamings awakenings, complete with a crying 3 year-old pleading to crawl into our bed.

Even lifting him up so that he can touch the smoke detector initially wasn't particularly helpful.

However, after about a week now, I'm pleased to report that things are a little less scary.

There are still the requests to stay in his room, but we're quickly able to leave with "Can I go put on my jammies?", or "I need to help Mom-E with laundry for a minute."

And we haven't had any nocturnal visitors for a few nights now.

I just hope there's no occasion any time soon for a smoke detector to go off for real, even if only for a low battery. Otherwise, we may have an extra resident in our bed indefinitely.

Have a good week,

Friday, December 10, 2010

Underage Jokester

Happy Fatherhood Friday!

Apparently this is Bab-E Brother week here at Busy-Dad-E, between his love for Puffs on Monday, and his deep-sea diving expedition Christmas tree adventure on Wednesday, and now today.

I promise that I'm not being partial; trust me, with 3 boys, spreading the time and love is a constant challenge.

I've always been a fan of the changing pad. Don't think me a fool (or someone with a congenital inability to smell) for saying that. I've loved interacting with each of my boys in that venue. It makes for great eye contact, and opportunities to be just plain silly.

This includes a lot of zerberts, smiles, giggles, faces, and other antics.

A favorite of Mom-E and I is to put "little man pants" on our head and then shake from side-to-side, while we're diapering.

An important function of this effort, is that it's distracting and helps keep bab-e feet out of poopy diapers.

And besides, there's no other good place to store the pants while you're diapering, so why not use yourself as a coat rack and make your child laugh in the process?

Bab-E Brother finds the "pants-on-the-head" bit hysterical, and it always causes him to unleash belly laughs that rival Santa's.

What's funny is that now, if you hand Bab-E Brother his pants, he puts them on HIS head and starts chuckling.

Apparently we have a funny man in the family.

Either he's mirroring us, or auditioning for the role of "family clown" (or both).

Um, excuse me son, I need to see your license, or I might just have to charge you with underage jokestering.

Lord help us when you can walk. And that day is coming soon.

Have a good weekend,

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Christmas Tree Story

"It was like preparing for extended deep-sea diving."

Happy Wordless Wednesday,

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Puffs Dad-E

Okay, so Puffs Bab-E Brother is a more appropriate title for this post, but Puffs Dad-E is catchier.


At least in our house, these things are like crack for babies.

And I mean no disrespect to the fine folks at Gerber; we love this product.

They're like "melt-in-your-mouth" cereal, which is great for babies learning how to feed themselves. (However, when they melt, apparently they cross the blood-brain barrier, and stimulate the "pleasure center" in the brain, thereby reinforcing the need for (continuous) Puffs.

To paraphrase the Corn Pops jingle:
Bab-E Brother's 'gotta have his Puffs'.

To paraphrase the New Kids on the Block:
"You got the right Puffs, Bab-E. Oh, oh, oh-oh-oh. Oh, oh, oh-oh. Oh, oh, oh-oh-oh. The right Puffs."

To paraphrase the movie Rain Man:
I've had to leave a restaurant before to go to a grocery store (fortunately it was next door) to make an emergency Puffs run after leaving them at home. (5 minutes to Puffs. 5 minutes to Puffs.)

If he is sitting in his high chair with no Puffs in sight, Bab-E Brother uses a loud shrieking sound as a gentle reminder to us to "please give me my Puffs appetizer".

Strike that, sometimes just to get him to sit in the high chair, you have to bribe him with Puffs.

And Cheerios are NOT a suitable substitute for Puffs. If you put a mixture of Puffs and Cheerios on his tray, that little booger will (like lightning) pick out only the Puffs to eat.

(Maybe we could put him in charge of sorting all the socks in the laundry.)

Fortunately, we are finally starting to branch out a little from Puffs to bananas and other table food.

Anyone know a good Puffs detox programs?

Have a good week,

Friday, December 3, 2010

Happy Meal Mania

It was only a matter of time.

After countless trips to Subway for chips, veggies, and juice boxes, Big Brother has discovered that there’s a whole world of ‘Kids Meals’ out there.

And after years of subsisting on granola bars, crackers, yogurt, fruit, and veggies, Big Brother has acknowledged that french fries and chicken nuggets might not be so bad, after all. (In moderation, of course.)

In retrospect, it was perhaps obvious that the way to get Big Brother to emerge from his eating shell was to bring to his attention the fact that Kids Meals come with a toy.

And so, this tale starts with a random request for “I’d like to have French fries”, that left Mom-E and I with multiple arm bruises, having pinched each other so hard.

“Uh. Sure. We’ll stop right now.”

To our amazement, he willingly ate some fries.

It didn’t take long for this to balloon into, if I try some chicken nuggets, can I have a Kids Meal.

“Heck yeah. And if you eat it all, we’ll throw in a second one. It’s only a staple food of 99.9% of toddlers/small children. The other 0.1% doesn’t need you anymore.”

And so we managed to eat about 1 whole chicken nugget. Willingly.


Next stop, World Peace.

Granted, he likes fries better than chicken nuggets. And along the way discovered that honey makes a most excellent dipping sauce.

But still, we’re on to something. And sure, the prize in the Kids Meal sweetens the deal, but if it gets him to eat, hey, who cares?

And this change has the added benefit of Little Brother joining the party and eating some french fries, too. (No nuggets for him yet).

I’m so glad that his tastes are changing and expanding. It will make so many things easier for him and us. And his future prom date.

Of course, we can’t eat fast food all the time (I hear my arteries screaming, “Nooooo!), but for now, it’s a good trade-off to encourage his expanding tastes.

Beware sandwiches, you’re next (on the menu)!

Have a Happy (Meal) Weekend,

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Scary Tooth Fairy

As you know from earlier this week, Big Brother recently lost his first tooth .

And despite being at Papa’s house, 600 miles away from home, we assured him that the tooth fairy would still come.

So that night, we got the boys settled down in bed. Big Brother and Little Brother cozily bunked together. Big Brother had tucked his tooth in a bag under his pillow. We told both boys that while they were sleeping, the Tooth Fairy, would take Big Brother’s tooth for her collection, and in exchange give him some money.

There were also lots and lots of questions about: How big is the tooth fairy? Does she fly? How does she know where to come? How does she take the tooth and replace it with money so quickly? How does she carry everything? What does she do with all those teeth?

We tell the boys good night, and all of a sudden, as we start to leave, Little Brother shudders and shakes with a look of utter horror.

In short, he’s terrified by the thought of the Tooth Fairy’s pending arrival, and insists on me holding him while he falls asleep in another room, despite reassurances.

(Apparently Santa and the Easter Bunny are okay, because they don’t actually come into your room.)

Not wanting to wake up Bab-E Brother, who’s in a crib in the same room, I oblige. And promptly nod off. Mom-E wakes me up about 2.5 hours later, having napped herself.

It’s almost midnight, but a trip to Walmart is still in order, as we need to stock up on a few items for the first leg of the trip home. While at the store, I find Matchbox cars on sale for $0.77. So in addition to some cash for Big Brother, I get each of the boys a car of their favorite color, a “peace offering” from the Tooth Fairy, which was also explained in a letter.

At about 3am, Little Brother woke up to find himself in bed with Big Brother. Still terrified of the Tooth Fairy, and not noticing the Matchbox car above him on the headboard, Little Brother comes screaming running into our room, and piles into bed with us.

In the morning, Big Brother was ecstatic about his “payday” and Matchbox car. We have plans to go to a participating Target store for redemption soon.

And Little Brother has also been inseparable from his car for the past 3 days.

If you ask him now “Is the Tooth Fairy a nice ‘grirl’?”, he says “Yeah.”

But somehow, when he loses his first tooth, I’m thinking he’ll sleep with one eye open that night.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Busy-Dad-E, DDS (Doesn't Do Surgery)

I’m not a dentist, nor have I ever aspired to be a dentist.

And now I’ve confirmed why.

On a recent trip to Papa’s, we made a trip to Mom-E and I’s all-time favorite pizza place. It happens to be a block away (literally) from the hospital where Big Brother was born.

And Big Brother loves to hear the story about how after he was born, Dad-E and Aunt-E picked up a pizza from there, and it was so cold and snowy that day that the pizza got cold during the 1 block trip back to the hospital.

We were finishing up our meal, when all of a sudden Big Brother looked at me, panic-stricken, and his mouth had a minor gush of blood.

His wiggly tooth had gone from wiggly to “hanging by a thread and needs to come out, lest he choke on it/lost it”. (I’m not even sure if he ate anything).

But Big Brother wanted no part in any dental work.

So we kinda ignored things for a while, until the bill was paid and it was time to go.

Quickly, I diagrammed up a new play from the “Dad-E Playbook”, and broke the huddle with Mom-E and Papa.

On the way out of the pizza place, I took 2 lollipops. When we got outside, I said, “Who wants a lollipop?” This enabled us to get Big Brother and Little Brother sitting down at an outside table.

While the boys started working on their lollipops, Mom-E held Bab-E Brother (Wiggly, loose teeth is like “nails on the chalkboard” for Mom-E. I would think having given birth to them, that wiggly teeth would be no big deal, but apparently not. And that’s okay. She gave birth to them that gives her carte blanche tap out of this.”

And so Papa helped me restrain hold Big Brothers arms, and with a napkin I reached in, and with a combination ‘wiggle-wiggle-pull’ technique, 2 seconds later I had the tooth in my hand. Never mind the screaming bloody murder part that must’ve left the pizza place wondering what the heck was going on outside.

Fortunately, no one called the police.

After a few more minutes of tears (and some genuine concern about how long it will take for the permanent tooth to come in), I wrote Big Brother (and Little Brother) a “prescription” for ice cream, and all was right with the world again.

(I also had a brief talk with Big Brother about how I would never hurt or scare him on purpose. And that while I know he was scared about having his tooth pulled, that I did it because it had to come out, because if we didn’t, it could cause bigger problems).

Like the sea turtles that return to the beach where they were born to lay their eggs as adults, it’s fitting that Big Brother returned to our favorite pizza place, near the hospital where he was born, to lose his first tooth.

This is definitely a story he’ll never forget (just like when Mom-E jumped into that pit of plastic balls at her 6th birthday party 

Congratulations on losing your first tooth, Big Brother! We’re so proud of you, and we love your new grin. You’re so excited to come back to school to show your teacher and friends.

Have a good week,

P.S. We know what you want for Christmas.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy 3rd Birthday Little Brother

A little belated, but with much love.

Dear Little Brother,

I’m filled with pride on your 3rd birthday at what a wonderfully bright, outspoken, charismatic little boy you’ve become.

We had a really nice birthday party with family and friends at the local park. The theme was “Wow Wow Wubbzy”, and we transformed the pavilion into a virtual “Wubb Clubb”. Amongst all of the wonderful food (highlighted by Mom-E’s homemade beer turkey (REF) and Wubbzy cupcakes, complete with melted chocolate tails), gifts, decorations, and a pinata, the biggest hit was definitely…


Not only did you and your friends have fun frolicking with (and breaking) many, many yellow balloons, even other unknown children came up to us asking for a balloon. (Uh, hello, parents, please supervise your children).

Mom-E even hand-crafted a Wubbzy costume for you (and Big Brother), given your love dressing up as your favorite characters. And in typical, fickle, 3 year-old fashion, you’ve willingly wore the costume for a grand total of about 3 minutes. (Fortunately, Big Brother has worn his extensively.)

We also enjoyed a “private” family party at a local Jumping Place. On your actual birthday, I joined up with you, Mom-E, and your brothers after work, and we were the only people there. We had a lot of fun trying out new slides and jumping apparati, which we had all to ourselves, for about $10.

You’ve always loved (and vehemently insisted) that I carry you. I’d guess that when I’m not at home, I probably have carried you close to 50% of the time. Obviously, as you get older and bigger, that just won’t be feasible (especially as I’ve needed to carry Bab-E Brother). And while my Back is thankful for that change, there is a little part of me that will miss not carrying you around as much.

You are a talker. You’ve impressed many an adult with the vocabulary (and understanding) that comes out of your tiny (in the age-appropriate sense) mouth. You are not afraid to state your opinion. Like Big Brother, I will not worry much about peer pressure with you. As with all children, you do have a few idiosyncrasies in your speech. This is normal development as you “learn” English, but still funny (I shouldn’t poke fun, in 3 years your English is WAY better than my French ever was). You always say “her” instead of “she”, and “doos” instead of “does”. I can’t help but chuckle when you combine them into “Her doos that.” You also say “grirl” instead of “girl”, which also always brings us a smile. We can always count on you to ask questions. And ask them over and over and over…

Overall, despite some more clingy moments, you’re generally extroverted around others. (While being held by Mom-E or Dad-E), you’ve had some extensive conversations with complete strangers. This extroversion is carrying over to peer socialization as well. You once told Mom-E that there was a boy you like to play with at the C-I-A (REF). Mom-E asked you his name, to which you said, “I don’t know”, and so she suggested you ask him “what’s your name?” About a week later, while riding in the minivan, you spontaneously and randomly blurted out, “His name is Gabe.” I wish I could’ve been a fly on the wall for that conversation.

I’m glad that as the “middle child”, you have a strong sense of individual identity. Sure, you definitely look up to (and frequently mimic) Big Brother, and you also look out for Bab-E Brother, but it’s clear that you are your own person. I can’t wait to see how your individual interests develop—right now your favorite pastime is throwing ‘bouncy balls’ everywhere. No doubt, some more Youth Sports are in our near future.

You spend more time in costumes (usually Robin) and jammies than you do in clothes. And when we can get you to wear clothes, it takes a special session of Congress for those clothes to be pants (versus shorts), no matter how cold it gets. The moment we get home, you pretty much strip naked in the entryway and exclaim “I need jammies.” And if a single drop of urine makes its way into your underwear, your under-roos and pants instantly fly off—even if it’s right in the middle of a friend’s baptismal lunch—with a cry for “I need new pee-onts.” Lord help us when you go off to college.

You’re a wonderful son and brother, a true gift from God. You fill our lives with joy and excitement every day.

I’m very proud of you.

I love you, dude,

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Why Travelling with Young Kids is Hard

In 100 words or less.

An essay by Busy-Dad-E

After a 3 hour adventure getting the boys urinated, bathed, urinated, dressed, urinated, fed, urinated and loaded in the minivan (and urinated), we were ready to depart on a 400 mile road trip. We circled around to the front of the hotel (a distance of about 50 feet) to check-out. We parked, and as I unbuckled my seatbelt, Little Brother asked—in all sincerity—“are we at Papa’s?”

“Not quite, buddy,” I replied. “only another 2,111,950 feet to go.”


See you on Fatherhood Friday,
Happy Turkey Day Tomorrow,
From my 3 Turkeys to Yours,

Pee.S. A proposed new unit of measure for travelling with young kids: Gallons Per Mile
(gallons being measured in urine). Any number greater than 1 is bad.

Monday, November 22, 2010

On The Road Again

Hi there! Just a quick note that we're recovering from a recent trip, which means (among other things) plenty of good, new blog material for later this week. See you on Wednesday.

Until then,

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pictures Day

Happy Fatherhood Friday everyone!

And yes, I mean PictureS Day. Plural.

DISCLOSURE: The following was NOT a stunt, and should be only attempted by experienced families with multiple small children. Serious injury to body and mind are possible.

So earlier this week, Mom-E took Little Brother for his 3 year-old pictures.

Because Mom-E and I (I sometimes go, because you really need two parents) like to make things as difficult as possible on ourselves we actually travel about 90 minutes--each way--to the same photographer who did our wedding. I know that sounds crazy, but it's DEFINITELY worth the trip. This photographer is truly "filet mignon", and makes anyone else seem like "roadkill." Okay, maybe that's extreme, but he's awesome.

We've been making the long trek for years now, and we've come to expect that no matter how horrible the trip there goes, small children will smile and the pictures will be amazing.

This week was no different.

There was a 6 mile stretch of vehicular crawling traffic jam on the interstate, and Mom-E was about 40 minutes late. (Fortunately, the photographer was late, too.)

And Little Brother fell asleep on the way. In this case, that's a bad thing, because in contrast to his usually happy little self, Little Brother is a screaming, fussing, incosolable snot ball for about 20 minutes after waking up from a nap (I don't get it).

Apparently he threw a fit in the studio, including, at one point, throwing the pants he was to wear in a trash can.

But then they started blowing bubbles, and soon all was right with the world.

And lots of wonderful pictures ensued.

If you're not tired yet, you're in luck, because there's more.

We decided to have a family picture taken for Christmas cards this year at a store at the mall, rather than take our own and make the cards via Snapfish. In part because last year it took us about an hour of screaming to get a family photo in which most everyone was sorta-kinda looking at the camera

Mom-E looked at the calendar, and between work, child, and other schedules, the only two possible dates were the same day as Little Brother's 3 year-old photos OR the day before Thanksgiving.

Having a death wish hoping to avoid holiday traffic, we opted for a picture "two-fer".

So after work, I met up with Mom-E and the boys for Round 2. Ding-ding.

The boys like the picture place, because they either get crayons or balloons.

We ended up getting a nice family picture with 5 smiles and 5 pairs of eyes on the camera. And we got 50 Christmas cards plus an 8x10 for about $23, after coupons (i.e., cheaper than SnapFish). And, to boot, the whole family was color-coordinated, outfit-wise.

After the pictures, we had Subway (of course) at the mall, and then as promised took the boys to the playground at the mall afterwards. They all had a grand time.

Since it was getting kinda late for small men, at about 7pm, we decided to head home.

But as we were leaving, we noticed that Santa's workshop was up and SANTA WAS HOME!

Even better, there was ABSOLUTELY NO LINE!

Big Brother and Little Brother, to our amazement, both expressed excitement about sitting on Santa's lap. (Last year, Little Brother was terrified and Big Brother wanted no part).

Mom-E and I looked at each other and instantly shared the same (brilliantly) delusional fantasy:

3 boys, all with color-coordinated outfits, no line, and willingness to sit on Santa's lap?






In short, we completed the THIRD photo session of the day (condensing what would otherwise take 27 days into 1), with smiles and cheerfulness (and two trips to the potty while trying to get everyone into the van to go home.)

And so now, while all the rest of you are spending your Saturdays getting everyone ready and battling the long lines at the mall for Santa, we'll be home cleaning up the giant messes made by 3 small men relaxing, with our feet running all over tarnation kicked up, enjoying a cup of hot cocoa that's gone cold because we didn't have time to drink it, because someone had to pee, then the dog ate a sock, then someone else spilled something

Well, you get the idea.

Have a good weekend,

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Rare Wild Turkey

I'm not sure if he was inspired by my beer turkey recipe post, but Big Brother has created his own recipe for Thanksgiving.

Yesterday, I took Big Brother to school. Since it was his day to bring snacks, I got to carry the heavy bag with 20 water bottles and bags of cheez-its escort him to his classroom.

Outside the classroom, each student had written instructions for how to prepare a Thanksgiving turkey. They were learning about "steps": First, Next, Last, etc.

I noticed most of the children wrote, "First, you buy a turkey at Store X".

Big Brother's "essay" started a little differently, and I share his recipe with you now.

First, you catch a turkey outside.

Next, you put salt on it and cook it in a frying pot for 1 minute.

Last, you eat it with your mom.

Hmm...sounds like a very interesting recipe for "Rare Wild Turkey".

A number of questions follow, including: 1) Do you kill the turkey first or cook it alive?, 2) Does it still have feathers?, 3) Can I get an antibiotic prescription for Salmonella since it only cooks for a minute?

I'm relieved glad that Mom-E was selected for the "taste test".

That's okay, honey. You can have the neck.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Superhero Down

Hey, even Robin's gotta nap sometime.

Don'tcha wish you could just fall asleep anywhere, comfortably?

Have a good week,

Stay tuned to find out if he woke up, or if the Joker is running rampant around our house,

Da-Da Shake Your No-No

Happy Fatherhood Friday everyone!

If you thought I was introducing the next hit single by our very own "Corn House Boys", I'm afraid you'll have to wait.

Bab-E Brother continues to grow and develop by leaps and bounds.

He has officially broken his vow of silence, and is now suffering from oral diarrhea. And despite being called "diarrhea", it is quite pleasant to the (aural)senses.

He is now babbling ALL DAY LONG. Da-da-da-da...Ma-ma-ma-ma...Ga (the latter being his term for sock). Perhaps it takes his mind away from teething pain.

I can't wait until the ma-ma and da-da become "specific".

Bab-E Brother has also learned the "No-No" head shake.

Fortunately, he has yet to learn the word "no", although we all k"no"w that's coming soon.

Instead, he seems to be mimicking Little Brother, who suavely shakes his head in said fashion while grooving to cool jams.

(Great. Note to self. Learning of (potenitally bad) habits from older brothers is in full-swing.)

This is quite funny, because you can ask him "Bab-E Brother, do you want some Cheerios?"

And he'll shake his head "No", which is promptly followed by shovelling in a hand full of Cheerios to the point of almost choking.

In contrast to "ma-ma" and "da-da", I can wait until the "no's" become specific.

And if all that wasn't exciting enough, Bab-E Brother is also on-the-move.

He can make about 2 shuffles in "regular" crawling position, before he collapses into a full-blown "commando crawl."

But even "commando crawling", the boy slithers like a speedy snake, particularly if a choking hazzard has caught his eye.

(Note to self: additional "baby-proofing" has just received a complementary upgrade to first-class.)

Keep up the good work, buddy. We'll have our third small ambulatory man in no time.

Lord help us.

Have a good weekend,

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wubbzy Brothers

Dad Blogs Wordless Wednesday

Pure childhood joy, innocence, excitement, and brotherhood, all in one picture.

Happy 3rd birthday, Little Brother! You boys are the best!

See you on Fatherhood Friday,

Monday, November 8, 2010

Beer Turkey

So we celebrated Little Brother's 3rd birthday this past weekend (more details to follow in a future post).

On the lunch menu, we had turkey sandwiches, using a crockpot-style beer turkey recipe (courtesy of Aunt-E and family, I believe).

We've had this turkey recipe before, but I'd forgotten just how good it is. If you've ever had fried turkey, it's similar--tender and juicy, and the leftovers stay moist--but easier to make (less time, no need to buy oil).

And so in a break from the usual (hey, variety is the spice of life), I've decided to share this recipe

1 (or 2) boneless turkey breasts
1 24 ounces of (your choice of) beer
2 14.5 ounce cans of (low sodium) chicken broth
Garlic salt, (dried) rosemary, and fresh cilantro to taste

1. Put turkey in the crockpot (we like to use those plastic liners, which make clean-up a cinch)
2. Pour in beer and chicken broth
3. Add seasonings to taste
4. Cook on low for 8 hours.

That's it. It only takes about 15 minutes. We put the turkey in to cook before bed, and it was done by breakfast.


Have a good week,

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Da-Da Shake Your No-No

Happy Fatherhood Friday everyone!

If you thought I was introducing the next hit single by our very own "Corn House Boys", I'm afraid you'll have to wait.

Bab-E Brother continues to grow and develop by leaps and bounds.

He has officially broken his vow of silence, and is now suffering from oral diarrhea. And despite being called "diarrhea", it is quite pleasant to the (aural)senses.

He is now babbling ALL DAY LONG. Da-da-da-da...Ma-ma-ma-ma...Ga (the latter being his term for sock). Perhaps it takes his mind away from teething pain.

I can't wait until the ma-ma and da-da become "specific".

Bab-E Brother has also learned the "No-No" head shake.

Fortunately, he has yet to learn the word "no", although we all k"no"w that's coming soon.

Instead, he seems to be mimicking Little Brother, who suavely shakes his head in said fashion while grooving to cool jams.

(Great. Note to self. Learning of (potenitally bad) habits from older brothers is in full-swing.)

This is quite funny, because you can ask him "Bab-E Brother, do you want some Cheerios?"

And he'll shake his head "No", which is promptly followed by shovelling in a hand full of Cheerios to the point of almost choking.

In contrast to "ma-ma" and "da-da", I can wait until the "no's" become specific.

And if all that wasn't exciting enough, Bab-E Brother is also on-the-move.

He can make about 2 shuffles in "regular" crawling position, before he collapses into a full-blown "commando crawl."

But even "commando crawling", the boy slithers like a speedy snake, particularly if a choking hazzard has caught his eye.

(Note to self: additional "baby-proofing" has just received a complementary upgrade to first-class.)

Keep up the good work, buddy. We'll have our third small ambulatory man in no time.

Lord help us.

Have a good weekend,

Thursday, November 4, 2010

An Election Day Story

Happy Fatherhood Friday everyone! If you didn't vote in the midterm elections, it's obviously too late. But it's not too late to show your support for the great bloggers over at (assuming that they still have this after missing last week).

So on Election Day, we told the boys as we were leaving that Mom-E and Dad-E were going to go vote. Mom-E dropped off Big Brother at school, and I took Little Brother and Bab-E Brother with me to the polling place.

As we're driving there, Little Brother, in his usual loquacious fashion, begins a line of interrogation/comments. (Sometimes, it reminds me of the nephew in Uncle Buck who, unrelentingly, asks consecutive questions, often without a chance to respond.)







(I quickly got in, "Stay away from sharks.", here).


For what?



(Moment of clarity. Oh, we're talking about fishing. "You can buy one at the store.")

The inquisition continues for a good 5+ minutes, even as we're getting out of the van.

I have no idea what the heck he's talking about.

As we're walking in, BAM! It suddenly dawns on me why he's been asking these questions.

"Little Brother, do you think we're going BOATING?"

(We went through a phase where Curious George Goes Fishing was a nightly read.)


"No, we're going Voting, not boating. Can you say 'boating'?"


At which point, the whole thing becomes completely hysterical.

And it becomes even funnier when he continues his line of questioning while we're in line.


"No, we're voting, not boating."

It continues, even as we're about to leave.


That Little Brother is something else.

"Curious thing, the mind of a child is" - Jedi Master Yoda

Have a good weekend,
If your candidates weren't elected, you can always go boating,

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Toothpaste Afficionado

Hello there!

So, Bab-E Brother had his two lower front teeth erupt a while back, and has been enjoying excessive drooling, chewing on everything, and generalized ouchiness all the fun that comes along with teething.

And, of course, having teeth means needing to brush teeth.

(On an semi-related note, it's amazing how much time it takes some mornings to brush the teeth of 3 small boys)

It took Mom-E and I a few weeks, but we've figured out that Bab-E Brother is a toothpaste afficionado.

We initially tried just brushing him (his teeth, that is, not the baby) with water, but you're more likely to see Palin vote for Obama than for Bab-E Brother to open his mouth voluntarily, without screaming.

Then, Mom-E found out that the "magic trick" to successful tooth brushing for him is to add a little trainer toothpaste. And voila...a willing participant. And a budding connoisseur.

That is, I recently found out that the brand of toothpaste apparently matters. I tried some Thomas the Train(er) toothpaste, and my hand was almost bit off slurped on, he closed his mouth so fast.

So, I guess he's a Colgate kid. For now.

But least we know how to get access to his teeth for brushing. That's gotta save me a few minutes...somehow. So long as I can find the right toothpaste. Colgate. Red tube only. Made in 2010. 400 Oak St. Cincinnati, Ohio. While listening to 97X

See you on Fatherhood Friday,

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fake Subway

I hope everyone survived the Halloween weekend.

We did barely.

I've mentioned a few times before that Big and Little Brother's favorite place to eat is Subway.

But for them, it should be renamed Chipway, in honor of their limited eating repertoire.

(Although Big Brother recently did take a bite of a real sandwich. He spit it out, but it actually crossed the threshold of his lips.)

Yep, the boys pretty much eat 5 things at Subway: Sun Chips, chocolate milk, apples, cucumbers, and green peppers.

So, the other evening, we decided to get some take-out for dinner.

The boys, of course, wanted Subway.

Mom-E and I, of course, did not.

(Please note, we like Subway. We just get a little tired of it.)

Instead, we wanted deep-dish pizza.

So it turns out that the pizza place is next to a grocery store.

And with our unified mind, Mom-E and I both had the same diabolical idea:
To pass off items from the store as take-out from Subway.

Fortunately, the store had the exact same bottles of chocolate milk as Subway. Throw in a (big) bag of Sun Chips, a cucumber, and an apple that Mom-E had at home, and, voila...

Fake Subway.

Amazingly, the boys "bought it", and were tremendously excited about their dinner.

And Mom-E and I got to enjoy our pizza.

My only worry now is that the boys will ask for the "big bag" of Sun Chips the next time we go to Subway.

But right now we're too busy basking in the rarely seen glow of parental victory.

Have a good week,

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Origami Buddies

Happy Fatherhood Friday everyone! Be sure to fold your way over to the other bloggers over at

So recently the boys and I have been enjoying some "telescope time."

Of course rainy weather and Old Man winter will eventually put a damper on that, so we needed to come up with a parallel indoor activity.

The other night, Big Brother noticed an origami book/starter kit on the bookshelf, and got quite interested.

Ever since, we've been doing origami at the breakfast table and again after dinner. And by "we", I mean that I am told what to make while Big Brother "looks on"/plays with other toys/occasionally helps me make a crease.

By these standards, Little Brother likes to do origami, too (except for the "creasing" part).

So far, we've made planes, cars, and a fish.

Mom-E likes to do some sewing in her "free time", and she often gets frustrated by patterns that don't make sense.

Apparently, these same people are also in the orgami instructions business.

The instructions go something like this:
1. Fold paper in half.
2. Then a miracle occurs.
3. Your paper is now a replica of the Brady Bunch's house. Groovy!

Okay, so it's not quite that bad. But some of them are pretty hard. And trying to fold paper with a 2 year-old on your lap, while feeding a baby, earns me a Brady Bunch level of household chaos/difficulty.

As with "telescope time", it's all about spending time with Big Brother anyway.

Of course, we pay attention to all of our children, but sometimes he (naturally) gets a little less direct attention than his younger brothers, because he's older, and I know this is hard for him.

And so, doing origami at the breakfast table, before the other boys get up, has provided a venue for some nice individual time with him.

Not to mention that "Do you want to go have breakfast and do some origami?" has become an amazing way to get an almost 6 year-old to wake up and get dressed, PLEASANTLY, at 6:15 am.

I really enjoy the time with him. It's definitely something to "fold up" and keep safe in my pocket.

Have a good weekend,

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sock Monkey

Hi there All!

One of my favorite all-time movies is "A Christmas Story."

Beyond all of the bb gun drama, one of my favorite scenes is when the boys get socks for Christmas, and immediately catapult them over their shoulders.

If Bab-E Brother ever saw this (not for awhile), he no doubt would gasp in horror.

You see, Bab-E Brother is OBSESSED with socks.

Perhaps because they're soft and fit comfortably in his hands.

Seriously, the boy is content to hold and play with socks (not all day, but they'll entertain him for awhile such that you can get dinner started, for example.)

I mean, in a series of natural experiments, 1 out of 1 Bab-E Brothers preferred holding socks to other coveted items such as spoons (so long as they're without a bite of food), straws, car keys, and even the tube of oragel.

It's quite amusing. At least for me, the last thing I want to do after a long hard day is take off my dirty, smelly socks and cart them around in my hands.

But to each his own. And apparently for him, socks are like limburger cotton gold. (Sorry for the smelly feet gene, dude. My bad.)

You rock my socks, Bab-E Brother. And your own socks, for that matter.

This makes for an interesting dilemma about what to get him for his first birthday. His older brothers both got "big ticket items" from Mom-E and Dad-E: Big Brother got a red Flintstonesque foot-powered car that they still play with, and Little Brother got a Winnie the Pooh ride along.

Is there some rule that the more kids you have, the harder they are to shop for? The only thing Mom-E and I can think of to get Bab-E Brother for his birthday is one of those jumbo bags with 18 bazillion pairs of socks.

(Don't worry, we'll get him something nice despite being tempted by the socks.)

See you on Fatherhood Friday,
Hold on to your socks,

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Weird Stuff We Do

If there was an instruction manual for parenting, it would be about a bazillion pages long.

This past weekend, we went to a birthday party of a good friend of the boys (and us).

The gift to the attendees included a balloon.

For small boys, balloons are like gold, in gaseous form.

Little Brother is particularly fond of his (green) balloon.

The boys have played with their balloons pretty much non-stop since the party, and Little Brother was very disappointed when he woke up yesterday to find that his balloon had deflated some.

So, last night, Mom-E and I were cleaning up after dinner when we saw Little Brother streak (not literally) through the kitchen with his balloon, and Big Brother called out, "Dad-E, Little Brother's balloon went in the toilet."

I paused briefly, dumbfounded, before asking, "You mean, the balloon he just ran through the kitched with."


Deep breath, Dad-E. Deep breath. One more important question.

"Was the potty clear or yellow?"



So, I quickly tracked down Little Brother and wrestled the balloon away from him.

Then I did the only thing, as a parent, that I could think of to do.

I sprayed every square inch of the balloon with Windex Anti-Bacterial, rinsed it off, dried it, and gave it back to him.

What, you thought I was going to pop it/throw it away?

For those of you who thought "yes", you've probably never had to listen to an almost 3 year-old scream his head off for 30 minutes when he finds out his balloon is "dead."

If you would've told me 6 years ago that I'd be Windexing urine off of a balloon in the sink, I would've laughed. Heartily.

And yet, here I am.

The things we do.

I'm sure many of you out there have had related experiences.

Please use my blog as your confessional. We won't pass judgment here. Tell us about a weird thing you've done as a parent.

The group is waiting for your response.

Have a good week,

Friday, October 22, 2010

Movie Buffs

Happy Fatherhood Friday everyone! Be sure to drink your Ovaltine check out all of the Oscar-worthy bloggers over at

I had another post written in mind for today, but my "Managing Editor" vetoed the post--appropriately so--before I'd finished reading her the second paragraph, so it will forever remain an "inside joke." Thank you, Mom-E, for being my sounding board and for calling me out when I cross the line into obnoxious.

Today's post is for my boys.

Dear Big Brother and Little Brother (and Bab-E Brother, eventually),

I love going to movies with you at the theater. And I know how excite it makes you, too.

Yeah, yeah, I know, too much tv probably "rots your brain." But in this case, I think a little bit is good for you (us).

I've always liked going to see movies at the theater. (I quote movie lines way more than I should.) But it rekindles special times--as a child and as an adult--that I spent with my parents. In fact, I can probably remember most of the movies that I saw with them.

My parents would periodically take me to see a movie, either just my Mom and I or my Dad and I. I guess it always made me feel special to have that one on one time with them.

And I hope the same is for you. I hope our "dates" at the movies create memories that you'll always remember.

I love huddling with you in the theater. When you are really small, you like to sit on my lap. As you get older, we sit close together. We laugh and laugh. And then we always talk about the movie in detail afterwards. (Often for several days afterwards.)

It's just a nice escape from the frenetic pace that so often governs our lives. Going to the movies forces us to take that time to just sit and enjoy each others' company. The dishes, laundry, housework, yardwork, cooking, cleaning, etc., can all take a number for 2 hours, because you boys are our top priority. It really helps me "recharge my batteries."

And we always get to play 1 video game before we leave the theater. Usually some form of driving/racing game, where again you have to sit on my lap to reach the steering wheel, and I have to operate the pedals.

We make a good team.

And so, I wanted you boys to know all this, and that as a rememberance, I carry the ticket stubs from those movies--Wall-E, Madagascar, Alvin & the Chipmunks, Horton, Princess & the Frog, and Alpha & Omega--in my wallet.

I love you,

P.S. Have a good weekend, all.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What to Say?

So I'm having a very difficult time at work right now.

And, of course, it's my family that sees me through those times, with their unwaivering love, laughter, and the just plain funny stuff that kids say.

Bab-E Brother has yet to crack his first joke, but his talky-squawky baby babble is just so darn cute it melts your heart.

Mom-E and I had lunch together on what has been the worst day so far. My favorite thing about having lunch with her is that we can't help but make each other laugh, no matter how much things uck-say. And we have this weired "unified mind" thing where we both think of the same thing simultaneously. I know that to all of you the fact that carrots you peel and cut yourself taste better than the pre-packaged peeled mini-carrots probably means nothing to you, but when Mom-E and I simultaneously arrive at that conclusion, it's kinda funny and you know you married the right person.

Between our conversations in the bathroom getting ready in the morning and our lunchtime rambles about whether you can lick cupcake off of a pipe cleaner, you'd think we were stand-ups. Very bad stand-ps.

Litte Brother remains his usual hysterical self. The other morning I picked him up out of bed and escorted him to his closet to help pick out clothes. He started to look and then said:

"Dad-E, I can't pick a shirt right now. I think something is going to come out of my butt." (He thought he had to #2, but ended up only doing #1, although he uses "butt" to refer to both). That's my boy.

And not to be outdone, Big Brother came rushing into our room at about 1:45 the other morning, and pleaded me to tuck him back into bed. Apparently he had a nightmare.

Initially, he didn't want to talk about it, but as I covered him up, I asked again, "what happened in your dream?"

He replied:
"I was being chased by bad guys...





...on Bad Guy Island."

I managed to comfort him before letting the giggle slip as I walked back down the hall.

I also managed to avoid asking him why he traveled there if they put all of the bad guys on an island. Of course, the answer is he inherited his Mom-E's "weird dream gene."

Thanks boys and Mom-E, I love ya, ya keep me going.

As does ice cream. Lots and lots of ice cream.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,


P.S. I was named "runner-up" in the "Mentally Sexy Dad" Contest. Apparently, however, I still qualify for the World Competition now.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bab-E Brother's A-B-C's

To sing or not to sing, that is the question.

You may remember that Bab-E Brother isn't the biggest fan of riding in the mini-van.

Although he tolerates riding in the van much better than a few months ago, he's still not much of a fan.

And when he's not in a van-riding mood, he'll "tell" you about it.

And, of course, by "tell", I mean scream incessantly at the top of his lungs.

However, Mom-E and Dad-E have found one pretty good "antidote" for the "i-don't-want-to-ride-in-the-vans": singing the ABC song.

And it's not the "Twinkle, Twinkle" melody (tried that with disastrous results).

Singing ABC's is almost an immediate cure for van riding-induced screams. The only problem, is that the screaming returns the moment you stop singing.

There's only two problems with this arrangement.

1. The song is really short. You may not have realized this fact. But after about 15 minutes (and 26 times through the alphabet), one grows a bit weary of the song.

(Mom-E and I once tried to sing it as a round to "liven things up." Again, this met with disastrous results. Apparently he only digs the original cover version.)

2. When in the mini-van, Little Brother ABSOLUTELY E-HATs the alphabet song. The moment that Bab-E Brother stops crying, Little Brother chimes in with a yelling chorus of "STOP SINGING THAT!"

(This is part of my larger theory of the "law of conservation of screams", whereby in families of 3 or more children, at least 1 child is always screaming about something.)

So, there you go. The choice is now yours:

A. Screaming Bab-E or
B. Screaming toddler.

I choose "C. Ear plugs."

Have A(-B-C) ("STOP SINGING") Good Week,

Thursday, October 14, 2010

3 Cranky Boys (and a Hypoglycemic Mom's) Pizza

Happy Fatherhood Friday everyone. Just click on to "deliver" yourself to a bunch of other great bloggers.

So last week Mom-E and I launched a pizza delivery service.

We've since retired from the business after one day, 4 pizzas, and no profit.

One of Mom-E's most endearing qualities--and one that probably adds to her stress levels--is that she always volunteers to do nice things for people.

(I joke with her that she's charged with making hand-carved wooden boxes for everyone in the world. You should expect yours sometime soon.)

So last Friday night we'd agreed to bring dinner to not one, but two of our friends who recently had babies.

And, for some reason, we told one friend we'd bring dinner about 5:30 and the other about 6:45.

Mind you, I usually get home about 5:30, and at 4:30 Mom-E told me she had to go pick up Pupp-E from the groomers, and had not made the homemade pizzas yet (dough was made, but still in the fridge).

So, I came home a little early, just in time to meet Mom-E, the boys, and

I filled my arms with small children, and Mom-E started making pizzas.

Mom-E was going to make 4 pizzas: 1 for one family, 2 for the other (larger) family, and 1 for us. Unfortunately, the pizzas end up being small enough that we needed 2 pizzas for each family, meaning that we no longer had dinner for ourselves.

By about 6:15 we're ready to leave.

The boys, however, are not. They'd recently made one trip in the car, and were ready to jammie it up and hang out at home.

So, we load up our pizza delivery van with 4 ready-to-bake pizzas, 3 very cranky screaming boys, 2 of those pizzas in my arms in the back seat of the van, and 1 rapidly becoming hypoglycemic Deliver-E Driver (Mom-E) who's a little concerned that we're about an hour late for our first delivery.

We actually decide to make the second delivery first because they're closer to our house.

Only problem is that I didn't have the directions quite right. This required me to make a phone call, while holding two pizzas on baking sheets in the back seat of a van with hungry, screaming children who do not want to be in said van, and a wife who--despite being a very sweet woman--in her own words becomes evil when she gets really hungry.

I proceed to try to convince the boys that this is our new family business, and every night we're going to deliver pizzas out of our minivan.

It's not delivery, it's 3 Cranky Boys Pizza. We bring you your hour late...with screams a smile, and then you have to wait another 25 minutes while it bakes.

So we make delivery one, and proceed to delivery number two.

Fortuntely, things got better from there. The boys were exciting about visiting that family (they're part of our "dinner group", and the kids have a ball together). We're able to use what blood sugar we had left in lieu of spontaneously combusting.

And since we essentially delivered our dinner to our friends, we decide to call it a night and grab a bite to eat.

The next time we consider making and delivering dinner for two of our friends on a weeknight, we'll take a deep breath, and then exhale "Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!"

And then do it anyway, because that's how we roll.

Have a good weekend,
Cheif Paternal Officer, 3 Cranky Boys Pizza

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


So Mom-E and I have been a little worried about Bab-E Brother's verbal output.

He loves to make the "raspberries" and a clicking sound, and he says "mmm...mmm..." when he wants milk, but other than that, really doesn't babble. He just smiles a lot and looks real cute.

The pediatrician mentioned when Little Brother was born that sometimes the second child has some (relative) speech delay, because the older sibling tends to "talk for them."

(Boy did he ever get that one wrong.)

But we wondered if the same thing was true for Bab-E Brother. (Let's face it, between Big Brother and Little Brother, it can sometimes be hard to get a word in edgewise.)

The pediatrician was reassuring, especially given other aspects of Bab-E Brother's development.

Just like the best way to make car trouble to go away is to take it to the dealership, sometimes the best way to help your parental anxiety is to ask the pediatrician.

Because we no sooner did that, then one day last week--out of the blue--Bab-E Brother started babbling.

Actually, oral diarrhea is the more appropriate term. We now hear ba-ba-ba-ba-pluhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh--ba-ba-pluhhhhhhhhhhhh all day long.

It's the most amazingly sweet train of nonsense that I've ever heard. I'd share a little snippet with you, but videotaping him is the only way to zip his lip.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fall Festival

Happy Monday! Well, okay. Monday.

This weekend our family went to a fall festival.

Mom-E absolutely LOVES fall, and the words "hayride and marshmallow roast" (okay, even just 'marshmallow roast') are enough to get small men out of jammies and into actual clothes.

So, this was a recipe for good old-fashioned family fun.

The website said the festival was from 5-10 pm.

That was a good thing for us, because despite the excitement, it was one of those days that it took us ALL DAY to get everyone clean, fed, and clothed.

(Bab-E Brother took a long afternoon nap.

Then we decided to fix a "quick dinner": squash casserole.

And by "quick", I mean it took about 4 hours to cut up and saute all of the squash and onions. And then another 4 hours for it to bake. And then 4 hours to clean up the after-dinner mess"

So, about 6:30 am pm, we set off for the fall festival.

30 minutes later we arrive. As we're getting out of the van, we can see a fire truck (cool), a bonfire (really cool), a tractor pulling folks on the hay ride (fun), and the music is jammin' (cue Little Brother boppin').

And then the fun begins.

Turns, out, there's a schedule posted that did not appear on the website.

Apparently, marshmallow roasting was from 5-6:30.


You gotta be kiddin' me. You've got a bonfire roaring (and the fire department standing by).

Are you telling me that the marshmallows have to go to bed by 6:30?!?!?!?!?!?!

Oh well, at least there's still a hayride.

Oops. It's 7:15 pm, and they proceed to tell us that the next available hayride tickets are for 8:45 pm. That'd work great, if Bab-E Brother's bedtime wasn't 7 pm. Did the other 10 people at the festival each buy 5 round-trip tickets? (Okay, so there were quite a few people there).

That's okay (the boys didn't know yet), at least they have sno-cones.

So we proceed to wait in line for about 10 minutes...only to get to the front of the line to learn that they're out of sno-cones. Priceless.

Fortunately, they have not run out of lemonade, which kept the tears over no sno-cones to a minimum.

But despite these setbacks, we still managed to find stuff to do.

They had a storyteller, which Big Brother really got into.

They also had a bean bag toss game, and the prize--whether or not you actually made a basket--was a bag of cheeze-its. Jackpot!

And in between these events, I got to take the boys on the 1-mile hike (in the dark) from the festival site to the bathroom. (That's what you get for giving someone with a 4-ounce bladder, 32 ounces of lemonade.)

We had enough fun that it was almost 8:45, and so we tried to again score hayride tickets. Only to find out that now the next hayride was now 9:45! Ouch.

So at that point, we called it a night and headed home.

But not before taking pause to look up and get an amazing view of the stars "out in the country."

It may not have been the most well-organized fall festival, but we still managed to have a good time together.

Have a good week,

Friday, October 8, 2010

Funny Stuff Little Brother Says: TV

(Hi there! Sorry, this post was written a few days ago and so was "buried" down a few posts when I published it earlier today. Thanks for chatching this, Mom-E.)

Happy Fatherhood Friday everyone. Just click your remote to all of the other great bloggers over at

If you haved tuned-in this week, we're celebrating all of the funny stuff Little Brother says, all before the ripe age of 3.

Click here for Part I and Part II (LINK).

The other day, I walk into our "playroom", and Little Brother (and Big Brother) are sitting on the couch, watching cartoons.

Little Brother is leaning way back, with his hand passed completely through his jammie pants, such that his elbow is at the level of the waistband and his hand is on his thigh.

Mind you, he's just chilling on the couch, mesmerized by the visual "crack", with an arm passing through his pants.

My first question is (obviously), "Little Brother, what are you doing with your hand in your pants?"

His response, "I watching tv."


Thank you, my young Frank Barrone.

Have a good weekend,

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Funny Stuff Little Brother Says: Bed

Welcome to the second installment of "Funny Stuff Little Brother Says."

Part I is here.

So, Little Brother is one of those kids who repeats pretty much anything that is said in his presence, whether or not it's intended for him.

Big Brother has figured this out, and loves to take advantage of his "parrot."

I mean, if Big Brother says, "Go call Dad-E a poo-poo head", Little Brother will do it. With a smile. And enthusiasm.

(Hey Little Brother, go tell Big Brother I booked him a one-way flight to time-out.)

So the other night, I sit down to read to the boys.

After a small fight amount of bickering, we settled on Little Brother's room.

Little Brother wanted to sit on my lap.

Big Brother made a bee-line for Little Brother's bed, and I could see the apple grow in Little Brother's throat.

Mind you, Little Brother has not mastered reciprocity. When we read stories in Big Brother's room, Little Brother does pretty much everything but lick Big Brother's pillows.

But in parenting, you gotta pick your moments, and it wasn't the night to fight that one.

So I said, "Big Brother, Little Brother is going to get upset if you climb into his bed."

Big Brother, with complete and utter disregard for my warning, cozied up in his brother's bed.

Little Brother's reponse was one of parrot mode:
"Hey Big Brother, Little Brother is going to get upset if you climb into my bed."

Hmm, methinks you're a little late, Little Brother. It would seem that you could go ahead and cue "upset", since he's already in your bed.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,
Think before you speak,

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Funny Stuff Little Brother Says: Pizza

Who says it has to be vulgar to be funny?

That's always been on of my favorite things about the Muppets; that they could mix-in adult humor while still keeping it clean for kids.

So, this week is dedicated to Little Brother, and all of the funny stuff he says. (And for those of you who know Little Brother, you know for a kid under age 3, the boy can talk.)

Last week, a virus went through our family like a hurricane.

After Mom-E was pretty much confined to bed for 24 hours, I decided it was my turn to come down with it, too.

I held out as long as I could, but eventually I up-chucked into a wastebasket, pretty much as the boys came in to check on me.

Being curious boys, they of course had to sneak a peak at the wastebasket.

Little Brother took one look, and reflexively uttered:

"Dad-E, that looks like PIZZA!"


I would've settled for "Dad-E, are you okay?"

(My thought was that it looked like pig slop.)

At least now I know why the kid won't eat pizza.

To all you pizza chains, I suggest you give up any R&D on liquid pizza.

Have a good week,

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Kappa Gamma Nu

Happy Fatherhood Friday everyone. Join the "rush" to visit of all the other great bloggers over at

At the age of 5, Big Brother is already pledging a fraternity: Kappa Gamma Nu.

But you probably know KGN by it's other name, KinderGardeN.

Now, I wasn't in a frat, but it sure seems like Big Brother is being "hazed" in a way, so far this year.

And by "hazed", I mean Mom-E and Dad-E are asked to buy or send something about every week.

The school is always sending notes home, "Please have your child bring in..."

This has included things like:
-50 cents for ice cream on Friday.
-2 apples for Johnny Appleseed Day
-Some kind of item for an Animal Rescue project
-Donations for the teacher's Christmas present (already)
-A "sweet treat" for teacher appreciation day
-An afternoon snack for 20 children once a month
-$20 for school field trips

All of this is coupled with the fact that Mom-E volunteered to sew seat covers for each child in the class (to store pencil boxes, etc.) The teacher told Mom-E to buy the materials, make them, and she'd reimburse her for what she spent. No other specifiers or instructions.

Mom-E bought the fabric (40% off), stayed up to all hours on many nights, and in total spent about $70 ($3.50/child). I didn't think that was too bad. There's no way you could buy something in a store for that price.

And then when Mom-E turns in the receipts, the teacher takes up a collection (of course: Please send in donations for seat covers), and we get an envelope for $40 with a note saying "is that okay?"

Well, it would be if you said you'd reimburse her up to $40.

(Guess what the teacher is getting for Christmas from us...SEAT COVERS. :)

When it's late and Mom-E and I are really tired, we can't help but extrapolate these requests. If they're asking for this stuff in the first 6 weeks, what's it going to be like next spring?

Some ideas:
1. Please have your child bring in a goat (already trained).
2. Together with your child, please choreograph a ballet for Monday.
3. Please send $250 for a plane ticket for your child (field trip with the goat).
4. A Dolce & Gabbana handbag for the teacher's birthday.
5. Lobster dinner for all children in the class (flown in fresh from Maine).

Can't wait for "rush" to be over. And neither can our wallets. But I have a funny feeling we're just getting started.

Hey, anybody want to by some Otis Spunkmeyer cookies? Big Brother has those for us to buy is selling those, too.

Have a good weekend,

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Telescope Time

Not long ago, Mom-E and I were rocking on the front porch after the crew was asleep, and we noticed a particularly bright "star".

A little reading revealed that the "star" was actually Jupiter, which is closer to Earth than it's been in 50-some years.

I couldn't help but think that the boys might get pretty excited about looking at the moon, Jupiter, and the stars with a telescope.

Apparently, I thought right.

We bought a small, "starter" telescope.

And now every night that's not cloudy or rainy, we go outside and play with the telescope before bed.

"Dad-E, can we have 'telescope time'?"

Not only has it been a great motivator for small men to promptly bathe, jammie, and brush teeth, but it's been nice bonding time.

And we have been successful in getting the Moon and Jupiter into focus. Albeit briefly.

Of course, every time Little Brother looks in the telescope, the first thing he does is grab the telescope and move it away from whatever I spent 10 minutes trying to focus on.

But when it's Big Brother's turn, Little Brother likes to go around and stand in front of the telescope, blocking any view.

But I don't care.

It's more about just spending time with the boys.

Of course, we have had some good questions.

"Dad-E, is Jupiter bigger than our house."


I opted for the explanation of "If the entire Earth is a marble, then Jupiter is the size of a basketball."

"So does that mean that Jupiter is bigger than my school?"

"Yeah, something like that."

I doubt we'll have any astrophysicists in the family, but I really enjoy this down-time at the end of the day with the boys.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Here at Busy-Dad-E, we've been quite excited with Big Brother's recent progress in the new food department (it's on Aisle 5).

It's increasingly apparent that his taste buds are changing (either that or he's completely sick of granola bars, goldfish, crackers, yogurt, fruit, green peppers, cucumbers, and the occasional fruit snack).

You may remember our excitement over the "discovery" of peanut butter crackers. Big Brother has actually continued to eat them on a pretty regular basis.

This go-around, we capitalized on Big Brother's penchant for cinnamon.

Mom-E finally "broke him down" a while back, when she made some deliciously iced cinnamon rolls for Saturday breakfast. This was pretty much the first non-cracker bread product the child had consumed "in 100 years" (to borrow one of his own terms).

So the other day, we were dining at Panera Bread (pretty much the other restaurant we go to when we can pry the boys off of Subway), when I suggested to Mom-E that we buy the boys a cinnamon crunch bagel to try.

Little Brother couldn't have cared less about trying the bagel, but Big Brother was tempted by the crunchy cinnamon goodness atop the bagel

One bite, and the kid underwent a metamorphosis into a cinnamon bageloholic.

He sat there, and nibbled at that bagel throughout the entire meal.

Mom-E and I sat there, stunned, and watched him eat the bagel (don't worry, we paid attention to the other boys, too).

And by eat the bagel, I mean, the ENTIRE bagel (that was as big as his head).

Okay, so maybe it wasn't the most nutritiously-sound idea to let the boy eat the 4,000 calorie bagel, but when he triples the number of lifetime bread-products consumed in one sitting, it's hard to direct his eating efforts elsewhere.

Fortunately, we didn't have to buy stock in Panera.

Instead, we opted for some Lender's mini bagels, which Mom-E gussied up with butter, cinnamon, and splenda.

He actually announced, "bagels are my new favorite food."


I'm thrilled that we've expanded our prom date dining options from Granola Bar Hut to any place with bagels or PB crackers.

Now we just have to convince him the PB bagels are awesome, too. Just give me another 5 years.

Keep up the good work, dude

Thursday, September 23, 2010

ChiLd UnawarEness LESSons

Happy Fatherhood Friday everyone. Unless you're "CLULESS", be sure to visit all of the great bloggers over at

Mom-E and I are (members of) CLUELESS.

I wish I could say we're the founding members, but we're not. Although I did just make up the acronym.

CLUELESS stands for ChiLD UnawarEness LESSons.

Essentially, I'm talking about the work parents do after their kids go to bed.

As much as my children pay attention to detail, I'm amazed that they've never asked questions such as, "How do my clothes magically get clean, folded, and/or hung in the closet?"

It's something (I imagine) all parents have done--put laundry away in their kids' rooms while they're asleep.

But Mom-E and I took CLUELESS to a new level this past week.

You see, Little Brother is going to have a Wubbzy-themed 3rd birthday party.

And Mom-E is making him a Wubbzy costume (because he LOVES to go around in costume--Batman, Robin, Wolverine, Dale Jr--and will do so for hours at a time)

But she's had to do some of the sizing "on the fly."

This meant sneaking into Little Brother's room well past midnight. I sat him up in bed and held him upright, while Mom-E put the costume over his head.

And we had to do this twice.

We couldn't help but have a good laugh over the matter.

I mean, we have no doubt that Little Brother will go totally ape over the costume. Probably won't take it off until 2011. At the earliest.

Which makes it so funny (at least to us) that we actually tried it on him while he was asleep, and he's absolutely CLUELESS that it ever happened.

Makes me wonder what kind of stuff our parents did to us when we were little.


Have a good weekend,

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Little Brother is working on his A-B-C's, and blessed us with this rendition.

Gotta love the:
1) Voice modulation (he does this ALL the time). It's hysterical.
2) The "reference" to the See-Eye-Aye


See you on Fatherhood Friday,

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Catch The Wave

If your first thought with this title was

Then you must be about as old as I am (or older).

No, today we celebrate a major milestone for Bab-E Brother.

Last Friday, I came home to find Mom-E and the boys hanging out in our room.

Bab-E Brother was sitting on the bed.

When I came in to the room, I said "Hi, guys!"

Without hesitation, Bab-E Brother flung both arms up in the air, smiled from ear-to-ear, and started jiggling such that I was glad Mom-E was right behind him, in case he fell over backwards.

But the best part was that he blurted out a great big "HA!"

Besides my heart-melting from his response, Mom-E and I were overcome with excitement with his vocalization, which was closer to a "Hi" than when Ross and Rachel's baby on Friends said her first word, "gleeb."

And over the weekend, it appears that his attempts to say "hello" are intentional.

He's definitely started waving at family. Sometimes. When he feels like it.

But, of course, Mom-E and I can't stop eenthusiastically waving at him.

"Wave" to go, buddy!

Have a good week, :-h

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Security Sunglasses

Happy Fatherhood Friday everyone. I won't tell if you suck your thumb or cuddle with your blankie while visiting all of the great bloggers over at

Although it's Bab-E Brother sporting the sunglasses here, the pair in this picture belong to Little Brother.

And it's a very rare occurence these days for Little Brother to go ANYWHERE without them (he must've been passed out taking a nap when this pic was snapped.)

It's funny how attached to the glasses he's become. We must know their whereabouts at all times, beware the wrath.

And he pretty much refuses to take them off.

He'll stumble into a dark playroom first thing in the morning wearing them, complete with unsteady gait and "I drank too many Capri-Suns last night" kind of appearance.

If you try to turn on the lights, he yells "that hurts my eyes!"

(Isn't that why you're wearing sunglasses, dude? What did they put in your Capri Sun?)

If we go inside, say, to the store, he still keeps them on. I'm sure people think he's either a movie star or a special security agent.

He even sports them in the bathtub, and occasionally falls asleep while still wearing them (while Corey Hart is playing.)

And Labor Day weekend, you can bet he brought them to celebrate Gramm-E's birthday.

(We almost didn't get to go. In what started out like an apparent encore performance of last year's Labor Day weekend, Little Brother got sick 12 hours before we were planning to leave.)

And by sick, I mean woke up in the middle of the night screaming in our room with a fever of 103 (he was neither hot blooded nor chicken at sea) and then proceeded to puke.

Fortunately, as paradoxical as this will sound, he got a lot more puke on me than on our bed (I'm much easier to clean than our bed and linens).

But this was one of those "therapeutic pukes", where after puking he seemed to feel much better, was able to go back to bed, and woke up pretty much himself in the morning.

BRIEF DIGRESSION--If only many other of life's problems could be solved by one good therapeutic puke.

But we made it to Gramm-E's and had a nice time. On Sunday we went swimming at the pool in Aunt-E's neighborhood.

And, of course, the one time he really needed them, Little Brother REFUSED to wear his sunglasses.

In true almost-3 year-old fashion, he couldn't stand the idea of his sunglasses getting wet in the pool (why that's fine in the bathtub requires an independent study course in toddler logic that I have yet to take.)

Oh well, such is life these days.

Have a good weekend,
Protect your eyes from the sun,