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,