Sunday, July 29, 2012

Bedtime Fashionista

Only Little Brother could concoct such a get-up.

And yes, that is Scotch Tape holding up his gloves.

Don't worry, he did voluntarily remove the mask before going to bed.

Have a good week,
Sleep well,

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sodor Drug Bust?

We've long been Thomas the Tank Engine fans.

At some point, each of our boys has been completely obsessed with Thomas (currently Bab-E Brother), and they all still like to play with the toys.  We've spent countless hours of fun building tracks.  We've even travelled to see Thomas in person.

Recently, we bought Bab-E Brother some new Thomas books.  Actually, it's fair to say we bought Mom-E, Dad-E, and Bab-E Brother new Thomas books, because every now and again, after reading the same story 97,000 times, we enjoy something "new."

One of them was the above book about Diesel 10.

Now don't get me wrong, Thomas is pretty wholesome, with many life lessons, but a few things strike me as a little weird about this book.

For starters, one of the main characters is a conductor who travels from place to place in a "shower of gold dust."  "Shower of gold dust?"

Huh.  I wonder what "gold dust" is?  Mr. Conductor looks like maybe he shouldn't be operating a train in his present condition.

And then he loses his "sparkle", and becomes unilaterally focused on getting more "gold dust".

Sounds to me like somebody is jonesing for some "gold dust."

So if you're missing "gold dust", of course you must puff your way to the "Magic Railroad" to find Lady, the source of all the "gold dust".

Really, Thomas, really?  Magic Railroad with the source of the "gold dust."  Look at Lady's dilated pupils.  I'm worried that this "gold dust" is either heroin or PCP, and Lady is running a big time illegal operation.

Either way, perhaps it's time for a tip to the narcotics division of the Island of Sodor police.

(If they even have police on the Island?  Come to think of it, not sure if I've ever seen them in any of the episodes.)

Or maybe I'm just reading too much in to this.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,

Sunday, July 22, 2012

New Artwork

I have new artwork for my office!

This is an original Mom-E.

The boys love to draw pictures for my office, and I treasure their artwork.  In fact, they've provided me with so much that one of my walls resembles this scene from "A Beautiful Mind."

But until now, I didn't have any original works from Mom-E for my office.

The other day, she and several of the other moms from Big Brother's Cub Scout den went to one of those "Paint and Pint" events.  When she brought her canvas home, she said, "The only problem is I'm not sure where we should put it."

"Can I have it for my office?"  "Sure!"  "I love it!"


Now we just need a name for the painting.

So please, dear readers, leave a comment with your suggestion for a title, even if you haven't commented before.

My first thought is that it reminded me of a Bob Ross - style painting and Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata", so I'll kick things off with "Happy Little Moonlight"

Have a good week,
Can't wait to hear from you,

Friday, July 20, 2012

I Like Big T-Shirts

And I cannot lie.

No Bab-E Brother can deny.

Oh, wait.  Better stop there, lest I start sounding like Ross and Rachel singing to Emma.

But seriously, apparently Big and Little Brother's newest craze is "Don't wear your own jammie top."

What started with Little Brother wearing one of my shirts to bed has spread to Big Brother.

So now both boys are wearing my old, oversized t-shirts to bed (you know, like the free XXXXL shirts that Delta gives you as a 'thank you' for being stranded overnight.)

But the each child opts for different styles.

You decide your preference.

Little Brother is a "tuck it in" kind of guy.  He literally tucks (okay stuffs would be a more accurate) the t-shirt into his jammie shorts.  And the results are quite striking: rail thin torso, badonkadonk butt (literally no better way to describe it), and rail thin legs.  He looks like he swallowed a tire and it got stuck at his hips.  Either that, or he cushioned his tush by wadding a whole roll of toilet paper into his shorts.

Big Brother is a "don't tuck it in" guy.  He likes the fact that he can pull his head and arms inside the shirt (like a turtle), draw his legs up, and his whole body is inside the shirt.  "Look, I'm in a tent."
(Wow, thanks dude. I promise I'm not that big.)  He does NOT like the fact that when he stands up, we tell him that it looks like he's wearing a dress.

Either way, my t-shirts for sleeping in seem to be in short supply.

But, nonetheless, their desire to "be like Dad-E" warms my (normal-sized) heart.

Have a good weekend,

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Garden 2.0.3

So just 3 weeks ago, we pulled up the remnants of the corn and squash plants, and Mom-E planted what was left of the seed packets.


Granted, we've had some monsoon-level rains recently, but the results have been amazing.

Just like the new and advanced Terminator from Terminator 2, apparently this second round of seeds got the Nintendo "cheat codes" for how to grow really fast.

Perhaps they are a new race of cyborg plants called Germinators?

Either way, it's exciting to see the next round of corn and squash sprouting up so quickly.


I know my tummy is certainly happy!

See you on Fatherhood Friday,

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Table

This is our playroom table.

As I was watching the boys battle Beyblades on that table tonight, I was (admittedly strangely) reminiscing about it.

We bought that table about 9 years ago at Target, just after Mom-E and I were married. I don't think we paid more than $60 for it.

When Mom-E was started on bedrest while pregnant with Big Brother, she came home from the hospital on Thanksgiving Day. We had originally planned to travel to Gramm-E and Grampap's that year, so we had absolutely nothing prepared. While Mom-E chilled on the couch, I went down the street to the grocery store and "made" a feast of rotisserie chicken, sweet potato casserole, bread, sparkling grape juice, and some kind of chocolate dessert. We proceeded to enjoy a very memorable Thanksgiving feast on that table.

We have propped up our feet on that table and laughed together over countless movies. And fallen asleep on occasion, only to wake up at 2am and exclaim, "What just happened!"

Mom-E and I have played many games of cards on it. (Which one of us has won more games depends on who you ask. :)

And now, our boys use the table as their breakfast tray. They sit on the couch (the same one Mom-E chilled on during bedrest), legs crossed, and have their breakfast while watching morning cartoons.

(And Pupp-E has snagged countless Eggo waffles from that table.)

All of the boys, Bab-E Brother most notably, also love to climb on the table, stand on it, and jump over to the couch. "NO! Stop doing that!"

We've spent countless hours with the boys playing board games, building Legos and Thomas tracks, and playing with other toys.

Yep, that table sure has a lot of miles on it. And it shows (just not so much in the picture). But it's full of memories, nonetheless.

Have a good week,

Friday, July 13, 2012

Wanna Be Big Boys

Happy Fatherhood Friday!

So, Little Brother and Bab-E Brother have really been bit by the "big boy bug" this week.

Bab-E Brother has started spontaneously talking about wanting to wear big boy underwear.

Wanting to attempt to capitalize on his interest (and NOT AT ALL swayed by the dream possibility of not having any children in diapers for the first time in 7.5 years), Mom-E got him some Thomas underwear, and the frog potty pictured below.

He promised Mom-E that he would sit on the potty (fully clothed, of course), but to my knowledge he has not.

And last night he told Mom-E that he wanted to wear Thomas underwear to bed (OVER his diaper, of course).

But hey, interest is interest, so we'll work with it.  (However, I definitely see a "throw the diapers away" full onslaught potty training weekend in his future.  See previous posts on potty training.)

Random aside - something funny I want to capture by writing it down - is that Bab-E Brother has a new habit of how he refers to himself.  He won't refer to himself in the first person, "I do that", and not even the Bob Dole style third person singular, "Bab-E Brother does that".

Instead, he's opted for third person plural.  So, "Sometimes THEY fall" really means "Sometimes I fall."  Too cute.

Little Brother also has the big boy bug.

He's recently discovered that some of Big Brother's jammies fit him, even if a little baggy.

And taking everything to excess, for several days he pretty much would only poach wear Big Brother's jammies that he poached.  Such that Big Brother became a little distraught when he noticed, "Hey, those are the Iron Man jammies I wanted to wear."

So, getting some resistance there, Little Brother did the next most logical thing.

He started taking MY jammy shirts.

The hilarious part is that he INSISTS on TUCKING THEM IN to his jammy shorts.

As you can imagine, my short sleeve t-shirts are pretty much long-sleeve t-shirts for him.

And the shirts are so long that when he tucks them in, it looks like he's been wearing a diaper for about 36 hours straight.  (Not that he wears diapers, or we've ever left a diaper on that long, but you catch my drift.)

If this keeps up, no doubt I'm going to walk into my room to find the floor completely littered with t-shirts that he has strewn while searching for just the right one.

Have a good weekend,

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Matrix


The boys decided to take the "blue pill".

So Big Brother and Little Brother (and Bab-E Brother, by indirect extension) have been (blissfully unaware that they are) in "The Matrix" for the past few weeks.

You see, things kinda came to a head this summer, between 3 boys at home (all day) with different schedules and the same Type A temperament and the heat (amongst others), things were not going well behavior-wise.  Although there were trends of things going south towards the end of the school year.

And sadly, for both Mom-E and I, but especially Mom-E - by virtue of being home with the boys - parenting was becoming less fun and more of a chore.

And that "just ain't right."

But when even the most mundane of requests had the potential to be a WWF (I know it's WWE, but when I was watching it growing up it was WWF) Royal Rumble, it kinda makes it hard to enjoy yourself.

So Mom-E and I instituted a new behavior chart plan, called "Busy-Dad-E Bucks."

Because the truth is that children do better with structure and accountability.

(Don't get me wrong, we weren't letting them pillage the house like Vikings, but we needed a more formal system.)

And particularly with Big Brother, who is pretty logical and has an emphasis on fairness, this structure has allowed him to feel "in control", when in fact it's Mom-E and Dad-E who are in control.

Hence, the Matrix analogy.

Ah, the challenge of parenthood - to be warm and friendly while still maintaining control.

So, Busy-Dad-E Bucks works like this:
1.  Behaviors we want to reinforce earn you Busy-Dad-E Bucks.  Most things, like making your bed, putting clothes in the hamper, getting dressed without having to be nagged, earn $1.  "Bigger things", like trying a new food, earn $2.

2.  Behaviors we want to go away cost you Busy-Dad-E Bucks.  Again, most things, like yelling or hitting your brother, cost you $1.

3.  The boys can watch a morning cartoon for "free", but after that, any additional TV or other "screen time" (i.e., computer or iDevice) must be "purchased" with Busy-Dad-E Bucks.  So, an extra TV show or a block of computer time costs $5.  Any outdoor activities - swimming, riding bikes, etc. - are, of course, free.

4.  We also keep track of "good behavior days", in which the boys lose $2 or less of Busy-Dad-E Bucks.  Good behavior days can be redeemed for bigger rewards.  For example, 2 good behavior days, can be redeemed for your choice of things like going bowling, playing Putt-Putt, or a kid's meal lunch treat.

5.  The boys have a say in adding things that can either earn or cost you Busy-Dad-E Bucks.  As Little Brother pointed out, "You forgot to list 'poo-poo' as words that we shouldn't say (outside of the actual need to go potty)."

6.  All Busy-Dad-E Bucks are kept track of on a behavior chart, rather than using something like play money, which could much more easily get lost or stolen.

And the boys, particularly, Big Brother, bought into the plan, "hook, line, and sinker."

As soon as I explained the "program" to him, Big Brother said, "Dad-E, can I go make my bed?"

"Heck yeah, buddy!"

And so, a couple weeks into the program, it's not uncommon for Big Brother to reflexively get dressed, put his clothes in the hamper, and make his bed in the first 10 minutes after waking up.

But it ain't all roses all the time either, I can remember one tantrum where a certain child lost about $18 in a span of 10 minutes, thanks to repeated use of the words "stupid" and "dumb".

But what we've found is that when the boys get upset, the tantrums are less intense and shorter, because they don't want to lose more "Busy-Dad-E Bucks."

So, anyway, while this is still a work in progress, and doesn't change the fact that it's still chaotic with multiple small children, the air at home is much more peaceful.

And parenting is more fun again.

And, yes, you can have a Busy-Dad-E Buck for reading this post, IF you share the blog with 3 of your friends.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,

Monday, July 9, 2012


So the boys really like waffles, although admitted as of late they prefer Eggo to homemade.

And I'm willing to admit that the homemade ones definitely come out of the waffle maker a hair on the dry side.

The other day, I had this mad scientist idea to cross waffles with one of the boys' other favorites - muffins.

Basically, I made waffle batter, but instead of the waffle maker, I just poured it into a muffin pan and maked baked waffle muffins, or "wuffins" as I've dubbed them.

And, surprisingly, they came out pretty good.  They tasted like waffles, but were moist and chewy like muffins.  Big Brother ate 3 (the other boys wouldn't touch them, but Big Brother assures that his brothers would like them if they'd just tasted them.)

Here's the recipe.  Enjoy!

1. Mix the following in a bowl.
-2 cups baking mix
-1 1/3 cups milk
-1 handful of quick oats
-1 egg (or 1/4 cup egg substitute)
-2 tablespoons oil (or 1-2 tablespoons of flax seed)
2. Pour into a greased muffin pan
3. Bake at 375 for 14 minutes
4. Serve with syrup dipping sauce
5. Enjoy!

Have a wuffiny good week,

Friday, July 6, 2012

Deluxe Fort

This past week, Big Brother and Little Brother have been all about building forts, and IMO, they've done a pretty cool job, as evidenced by the picture above.

In making their Deluxe Fort for two, the boys were sure to include some practical amenities.

In particular, Little Brother, being the Sanitation Engineer at our house (if he goes potty right before bathtime, he has to wash his hands in the sink - absolutely refuses to just wash them in the tub), wanted to keep the fort clean.

And so, on the beach towel pictured above, he brought over a bottle of hand sanitizer (which they call "hanitizer"), and a pretend potty, in the form of an empty container of Kandoo wipes.

Or so we thought.

You see, after oohing and aahing over their fort-building skills, I went to the kitchen to help Mom-E with dinner prep.

Suddenly, Big Brother comes over to me and says, "Uh, Dad-E.  Little Brother is going potty in the fort."

"He's WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?"

Sure enough, I come around the fort to find Little Brother standing in the middle of the great room with his pants down around his ankles, blinds completely open.

Apparently, he'd filled the Kandoo wipes conatiner with water (to make it more realistic as a potty), and then proceeded to relieve himself in the container.

I'm not sure if I was more shocked that:
1.  He actually peed in the container in the fort.
2.  That it didn't overflow or leak.
3.  That his aim was good enough to do business in the container without spraying everywhere.

(Little Brother, I expect the same high-quality aim when you use the real potty.)

I asked him what he would do if he had to go potty again, now that his fort potty was full.

"Oh, I'd just use the regular potty."

"That's right you will.  Every time, forever and ever, Amen.  No more fort potties."

The horror and disbelief that ran through my veins (and Mom-E's) only lasted for a few seconds.

Then, pretty much all I could do was laugh.

Because, strangely, this pretty much sums up Little Brother's likeable personality.  He's the only 4 year old I know at our house who's cool and casual enough to do something this absurd and disgusting, and act like it's no big deal. 

I love you, you booger.

Have a good weekend.

No peeing in the fort,

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th!

Happy 4th, from the Busy-Dad-E family to yours!

I hope that you are able to enjoy this day with family and good friends, and maybe some good food and fireworks, too.

Today, we celebrate our INdependence.

And yet our great nation is sliding down the slippery slope of more and more DEpendence.

This November, we face THE most important election of our lifetime.

We're faced with a choice between 2 very different visions of America's future.

And one of those visions is, quite frankly, hostile to (unborn) children, religious freedom, our healthcare system, family values, and the inalienable rights of men and women to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

No less than the American Dream for our children and future grandchild is at stake.

And so today, we pause to show respect and to remember all those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, at home and abroad.

Freedom is never free.  Thank you for giving me the freedom to enjoy my family.  Today, and everyday.

We pray for Americans everywhere.  We pray for America, and for the upcoming election.

Because there's only one choice to keep the American Dream alive.

Otherwise, these words from Star Wars will ring true:

"And so, this is how democracy dies...with thunderous applause."

May God Bless America,

Monday, July 2, 2012

Life Abounds

(Technically, this is Garden: Week 15)

Whether it's a garden growing or children playing (or screaming and throwing toys in a tantrum), life and growth spring forth all around us.

It's simultaneously resilient, and yet extremely sensitive.

Take a moment to pause, reflect, and appreciate it.

Corn, Version 2.0!  Already starting to sprout up, despite attempts by storms to wash away new seeds.

With patience (and a lot of water, and a transplant to a  separate container), the first green pepper.

Dear carrots, please advise all of your friends to thicken up and sprout upwards.

Oh cucumbers, you virus of our garden...oh how the takeover of your vines hath brought forth offspring of strange shapes and locations.

Have a good week,