One Couple's Stumblings Through Parenthood and Marriage

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Christmas Story

A couple of days ago Annie was out getting some last-minute shopping done, so I had the girls to myself. I decided to use this time to tell the real Christmas story to them.

I had the twins sit down on their couch in front of me, and Julia sat in my lap. I then launched into a dramatic rendering of the nativity story (using three-year-old vernacular). When I mentioned that Mary and Joseph couldn't find a room, Genna piped in, "I know! I'll find a room for dem!" Very sweet.

I then continued by describing the manger scene, complete with an ox, donkey, and some sheep. Kate got a scared look on her face, and asked, "Did the sheep bite baby Jesus?"
"No," I replied. "They were very nice sheep."
Genna then said something that warmed my heart and made all our Christmas efforts worthwhile. "Baby Jesus is so precious! I love baby Jesus. He is so cute!"

Very nice. They're still into the whole Santa/Rudolph thing, but at least they knew that yesterday was Christ's birthday.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Santa's Lap

Each Christmas brings new developments on the Santa front. It's always interesting to see how our girls are going to react to being placed in a stranger's lap. I normally don't approve of such behavior, but I make exceptions for Santa.

The twins were reluctant at first, but Kate decided to venture forth and give the old man her wish list, which was simply "Twelve Dancing Princesses." He had better deliver.

Genna went next. She overcame her reluctance by keeping an eye on me the whole time. She, too, asked for "Twelve Dancing Princesses." For those of you who don't know what that is, it is a DVD from the makers of Barbie. Also a very healthy activity I want them to engage in: straight from a stange man's lap to sit in front of the boob-tube to watch Barbie propaganda. Nice.

Last came poor Julia. She wasn't as brave as her sisters, though I feel she displayed more sense. Her Christmas wish list consisted of "get me outta here."

Annie tried to soothe her (and no, Annie isn't sitting in Santa's lap - that's just the camera angle...or so she tells me.) She tried to point out daddy (who was busy snapping photos of Julia's fright), but Julia would not be placated. I hope she continues to have this reaction to strange men as she enters her teenage years. I won't have to wield my shotgun as often.

Friday, December 15, 2006


Ya, I know a Thanksgiving post is now a few weeks old, but I am compelled to share this photo of the turducken we ate at my aunt's house. This sucker was a cajun-seasoned, deboned turkey, stuffed with a deboned duck, stuffed with a deboned chicken. Layers of stuffing surrounded each meat. It was delicious, and if they weren't so expensive I would want one every year.

It was a bit Frankensteiny, but who cares. I just wonder how they bred a deboned turkey with a duck and a chicken inside it. Amazing. Thank you science.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Racial Relations

During the last half Sacrament Meeting on Sunday, I spent my time in the foyer rocking an exhausted Julia to sleep. Annie remained in the chapel with the twins and was enjoying everyone bearing their testimonies.

An African-american man approached the podium and began speaking. Kate, who was sitting in Annie's lap, chose that moment to open a new chapter in racial relations. She pointed at him, and said, "Mommy, that boy looks like chocolate pudding! He's brown. They match!" She was genuinely excited for the lucky man (boy in her mind) who had such a natural affinity for tasty chocolate pudding.

Annie tried her best to suppress Kate's commentary, and her own laughter. It was hilarious, but we hope no one else overheard.

Friday, December 01, 2006

I Get PAID to Blog

You wouldn't know it from my recent darth of blog material here, but I do get paid for blogging. Yesterday I got my first check ever from Google. $101.32, baby! That's right. Ugly Overload is turning in to a CASH COW!

Not really. I'm earning about $0.50 per hour while blogging. But it's still nice to see some of it paying off. My only fear is that all of you will turn away from me because I'm crazy rich now and you'll feel awkward being my friend. Don't worry, though. I intend to blow all of it on meth and a beach house in Malibu. I'll be back to being a pov in no time. You can visit me in rehab and bankruptcy court.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Climbing and Jumping

Julia remains an undaunted climber and jumper. She puts mountain goats to shame. We thought on Sunday that that might come to an end, though.

We were getting ready for church when Julia began crying. She hardly ever cries in pain, so we knew this was a doozy. Sure enough, in the process of leaping onto her pink futon she had slammed her forehead on her rocking chair. There was an immediate black dent where rocking-chair-arm had collided with julia-forehead. It looked awful. Annie iced it, and we consoled ourselves b by saying that she would be fine, and that maybe she had finally learned that not all things are made for climbing and jumping.

We were only half right.

She turned out just fine, but she is back to her same antics. In fact, she healed so well that I am wondering if she has a genetic mutation ala Wolverine. I'm keeping her out of Canadian government hands, that's for sure.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Anniversary Weekend

Annie and I just celebrated our six year anniversary this weekend. We had a wonderful time in Dillon Beach. But there was one problem. Since we celebrated it without our kids (thanks, mama and papa), I don't have any photos of them. So, you'll have to do with some nature shots.

This first one is of a doe that was hanging out in the beach house's backyard. She was a bit weary of us, which reminded me of Genna. See, there's a tie-in!

Our encounteres with wildlife didn't stop with a deer, no sir! We befriended a playful seagull, which reminded me of Kate and Julia (that's another reference to our kids who aren't in this post, for those of you who failed to notice).

Annie and I were busy enjoying some clam chowder and watching the sun set at Bodega Bay. This seagull was hanging around us, so I decided to throw an oyster cracker to it. It caught it mid air. I then went on to throw at least 20 crackers at it, and it caught every single one. This second photo is an action shot, entitled, "Seagull Catches Oyster Crackers on a Railing in Front of a Beautiful Sunset at Bodega Bay, California."

The last shot is of the actual sunset, sans seagull. We had a wonderful time.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Bear in the Refrigerator

The other day I was digging through my fridge for a snack, when I stumbled across this scene. Earlier, Genna had complained of not being able to find her bear. Well, we found it. The girls are always stuffing their 'friends' into odd places, but Genna has no idea how appropriate it was for her to place her polar bear in the refrigerator. Such subtleties are lost on a child who still insists that throwing her baby sister to the ground is a good idea.

Been Gone for a While ...

Sorry for the lack of posts ... I've been a busy little monkey.

I wanted to post on this photo.I have been wondering what story to tell along with it, and what title to use. One idea involved calling it, "Sisters Don't Let Sisters Drink and Drive." In the end, though, I think I'm going to keep this filed in my blackmail folder (which is always growing ...) for use against Genna at a later date. It was a cute moment in sisterhood when it happened, but the picture makes for a different story.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Happy Birthday

Today is the birthday of the United State Marine Corps. It is a special day, not only for the country and for our veterans, but for myself as well because my grandfather served as a Marine in in the Pacific Theater of WWII.

We love you grandpa, and we thank you for your service to this country.

This weekend be sure to take a moment and thank the veterans you know for what they have done for all of us. The world is a better place for their sacrifice.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Our Dilemma

Poor Genna. She really enjoys her new 'big girl bed', but for three nights running she has fallen out of it. Last night I moved the tinkerbell rug beside her bed to catch her fall. It did lessen the impact, but it still woke her up.

Should we go ahead and put the sides back up? You can see in this photo that she was perfectly happy in it when it was still a crib. Just look at all of her animals lined up in what she calls a 'train.' What good times!

Since she has fallen out of bed every night, we can only assume that she will continue to do so. The next time we show up at a party or gathering, she'll be so badly bruised that people might begin to suspect Annie and I of bad parenting. Our explanation of "No, really, she has fallen out of bed onto a hardwood floor 14 times," might not suffice as an explanation. I can use this blog as evidence.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Riding in Cars with Girls

We've had a number of troubles with our van recently. The litany of problems include: a busted power steering pump ($800), a broken water pump ($180), and a cracked radiator hose ($280). With our van out of commission, we have had to turn to Annie's parents to use their spare car, or use my Corolla to haul the kids around.

Here are all three girls in their carseats in the back of my car. My Toyota wasn't really designed for this use. But then, most cars aren't meant to have three carseats in them. They sure liked how close they were to mom and dad, since they are used to their place on the back bench of our van.

We're just happy to have our van back. We're looking forward to the additional troubles it will present us with. Life would be too easy if your cars simply worked, right? Thanks for keeping us on our toes, Ford Motor Company.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

New Sleeping Arrangments

Our twins just experienced their biggest change in their sleeping arrangement in over three years. When they were two months old, we moved them from their shared crib in our room to separate cribs in their own room. And that is how it has been ever since.

Until last night.

While Annie bathed them, I went about the task of removing the sides from their cribs. We had told the girls about it last week, and they have been so excited ever since. After they emerged from the tub and got jammied-up, they came bursting into their room - into a Whole New World (cue Aladdin soundtrack ...).

They squealed with delight. Even Julia, who still remains in her fully functioning crib, was excited. For once they didn't fight to stay up. We couldn't keep them out of bed. They were almost as eager to sleep with their new princess blankets as their new set up.

Annie and I weren't looking forward to the inevitable wars we would have to wage to keep them in their beds. But our fears were unfounded (at least for now). They stayed in bed the whole time! We were amazed and much impressed.

At around 3:50 in the morning Genna began crying out for mommy. After Annie came back to bed, she told me how their conversation went:

Annie: (walks in to room, only to find Genna on the floor, having fallen from bed)
Genna: "Mommy, my bed is broken."
Annie: (after scooping Genna up) "No, honey, you just fell out."
Genna: "No. My bed is broken!"

The first night, and she fell out of bed! Maybe the honeymoon has already ended. It was good while it lasted.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Stupid Contest & Sour Grapes

This year's company Halloween Costume competition was a joke. I'm the goblin standing in the back. I spent over a month crafting that mask for myself, molding each piece of it from memory foam. It takes over eight hours to put on. I also made that robe from scratch, creating my own pattern and then spending hours at the sewing machine. I even filed down my teeth and stained them yellow so I would have good goblin fangs.

But guess what? I lost.

The guy in front of me, dressed like Magnum P.I., won. How lame is that!

Actually, I didn't even know there was a competition until about an hour before it was held. I had my costume with me for use later that night, so I thought I would compete. But, as always, I lost. Woe is me. I do think, though, that out of a company of over 200 employees that more of them should have turned out for the competition. Where are their priorities?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Disney Trivia

Everytime I post on a picture of our girls watching TV or a movie, I feel compelled to say that they really don't watch that much. And they don't, it's just that they are so cute when they do. Here they are lined up on their popcorn-eating blanket, eating ... well, popcorn.

I'll give several pieces of candy corn to the first of you who can identify what movie they are watching. Here's a clue: Kate (on the left) is wearing this particular character's skirt.

Monday, October 30, 2006

New Bathroom Features

I came home the other day to find that our family bathroom had undergone a complete redecorating. Our girls have been potty-trained for almost a year now, but I guess it was time to make the bathroom truly child-friendly. Very different from the days when we tried to make it child-proof.

The bathroom now features a permanent Dora toilet seat, a step stool to access said seat, and a side-of-tub mounted, easy-access toilet paper dispenser. To encourage proper hygiene, Annie purchased a step stool (it doubles as TP storage) to access the sink, which is now equipped with an easy-to-use pump action soap dispenser.

It is so nice! When we hear the call of "I need to go potty!" from one of our girls, we simply lift them over the Julia-gate and let them do the rest.

Below is a photo of the bathroom in action. Kate has just flushed her unmentionables, and Genna is demonstrating proper hand-washing technique. Our girls are all growed-up.

Friday, October 27, 2006

In the Bean Pool

We visited our 50th pumpkin patch not long ago. Chris, Brian, and Sophie turned us on to this one in Clayton because it has an entire play area just for the little ones. The fun includes a large hay tunnel, a bean bag toss, a tic-tac-toe game, and castles to play in. Our girls' favorite, though, were the several pools full of dried lima beans (a nightmare scenario for a Canadian I know).

This may be the only time our girls have enjoyed any bean aside from the pinto. Hey, you take what you can get. Brian had the genius idea of burying the kids in the beans. The girls were happy to participate

First we have Kate. She laid down for a while, enjoyed the opportunity to be covered in beans, and then took off.

Genna, though, was much more into it. She laid there for quite some time, through several such immersions, and just contemplated the ... I'm not sure. She sure had a pensive look about her, though. She was really into those beans (literally).

We got home late that night. As I carried Genna into her crib, she handed something to me, saying "Here, daddy." It was dark, so I couldn't see what it was. After singing her a lullaby (my dulcet voice can lull anyone to sleep), I walked out into the light and saw this. She had been carrying that bean with her all day.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Stupid Subconscious

My brother and I were asked by officers at my work to fight off the bears. In preparation, we practiced by jumping off diving boards into several different pools and then donned a new type of cloth-armor. We headed out to the fields by my house where we knew the beasts were. They were horrifying bears, not unlike the monsters that plague the castaways on Lost.
Our strategy was obvious: we needed to defeat them by playing soccer. And play we did. Though I had never played in my youth, my brother and I were both surprised at how good I was. We made for a great duo. In fact, such was our skill that we were challenged by a passing team of Iraqi soccer players. In the end, we defeated both the bears and the Iraqis. Not only were my employers happy, but I enjoyed telling Annie of my exploits.

Then my alarm clock woke me up.

What kind of mad dream was that? I got ready for the morning and then snuck back into room to say good-bye to Annie. She said, "You were talking in your sleep last night."
"Oh, I was? What was I saying?" I expected her to then tell of how I shouted "GGGOOOOAAAALLL," or "Take that, you foul bears!" But, no.
She said, "You said, 'Hello? Hi, honey, how are you? You want daddy to come home? Aw, mmm hmmm." Evidentally, I had had a very pleasant dream in which I was having a sweet conversation with one of the girls. Why couldn't I have remembered that dream instead? Stupid subconscious.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

There's a New Blog in Town

You've come to love her. Perhaps you know her as Uncle Chrissy, or Sophie's mom, or simply Christine. Whatever you call her, go check out her new blog. That's right, my sister-in-law has her blog up and running, and I'm very jealous of the name she chose for it ...

... drum roll ...


When she's on scene she dominates. Her zaniness always appeals. Though her humor may lean to the scatological every so often (actually, that is true with most parents who comment on their children's doings), it is guaranteed to delight.

Go there now. DO IT!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Grooming Coworkers

Kate and Genna have worked hard to develop their grooming skills. You'll recall that they first plied this new trade on goats. Well, you'll be happy to know that they have since upgraded to ponies. Yup - animals that could easily trample them, just how I like it.

Our favorite part of all this, aside from the additional income it brings us, is that the girls are able to work side by side with little fighting. True, they may bicker about who has the pinker brush, and sometimes they throw manure-stained hay at one another. But on the whole, they make for great coworkers. It makes us proud as parents.

Recently, though, we had a bit of a melt down. You'll see in this photo that Kate was quite distraught when she was told that the farm doesn't match her 401(k) contributions. She was really counting on that money to flesh out her retirement funds.

Here is her grandmother, consoling her with the wonderful news that the DOW had just set a new closing high of over 12,000!

Kate wiped away her tears, put on her happy face, picked up her brush, and went back to work. What a trooper.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Who Is That?

I was perusing the photos Annie had taken and enjoying the shots she took at the Impossible Acres pumpkin patch. This one struck me as very cute, with Annie holding Genna and Jen holding Kate. But then I looked lower and saw the extra person. Who is that little blonde girl with blue sunglasses? What is she doing in this photo of brunettes?

Further along in the photographs I come across this photo. Someone must have fed the girls after midnight, or put them in water, because they began multiplying like mad. Such a troop of little girls, and not one of them over the age of three! That blonde girl chose center stage. I need to question Annie about these. I just don't get it.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Kate of the Many Faces, Part II

During dinner the other night I tried to get a picture of the Mrs. Potato Head earrings that Genna was wearing. She wouldn't oblige me with a good shot (as always), but Kate stepped up to the plate.

Naturally, she defaulted to her favorite - the famous Princess Pose (patent pending). She's going to make a career out of it, I'm sure.

Brace yourself, because I am going to demonstrate how feminized I have become - but isn't that such a cute outfit she's wearing? The tee over a long-sleeved white shirt is a good look. Also, the wavy hair (thanks to her braids from earlier in the day) are adorable. (Now placing my Mask of Masculinity back on).

For this second shot I asked her to be the Beast. Here's her take of what he looks like. Yep, tremendously scary.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Killing, Burning, and Forks

It began as any other night at home. But it turned sinister. As we prepared dinner, Genna said, "Daddy, I'm going to kill you."
"What?" I asked, not believing my ears.
"I'm going to kill you," she repeated.
"Genna," I said, assuming my low daddy voice, "that is not nice to say. Don't say that again. Would you like it if someone said that to you?" I picked her up, bibbed her, and placed her in the chair for dinner.
"If someone say dat to me, I would burn dem," she said.
"What?" This was getting darker and funnier.
"I would burn dem if dey say dat to me," she clarified.
"How would you burn them?"
"Daddy, I just do dat! I would push dem."
"How would you push them?" I asked. I glanced over at Annie, who was caught somewhere between amusement and calling 911.
"I would push dem like dis, with a fork," she said as she brandished her fork.

Thanks for the death threat, Genna. This photo is of her getting chastized by mommy. Genna turned her fork (still in hand) against Kate. I took this picture to create a paper trail. If I suddenly stop posting for a few days, assume that Genna has killed us and call the authorities.

All this talk of killing, burning, and pushing with forks really worked up an appetite in our bellies. The girls went on to enjoy their pasta, while I programmed our neighborhood exorcist's number into our speed dial.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Kate of the Many Faces, Part 1

All familiar with Kate know her to be an exceptionally expressive girl. She has the makings of a silver screen star in her.

Unlike her twin, when the camera comes out, so does her inner actress.

In this first photo I asked her to pose like Gaston (q.v. Beauty and the Beast). "Give me Gaston, love, give me Gaston!" Her response was to make a scared/sad face. Very appropriate. She is like puddy in my hands. Easily molded and shaped - ideal for a budding starlet.

In this next pose I asked her to be a ... can you guess it? Those who answer correctly get a cookie. That's right, I said, "Now give me princess, PRINCESS!" That was a pose she was able to assume with no hesitation.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Alpha Men

As I scrolled through the photos Annie took during her time with Dr. Phil (here he is on stage, gesturing about something), I was struck by a common thread that is woven throughout the various photos she has taken over the past few years.

Annie appears to be drawn to alpha males. There is no doubting that Dr. Phil is one. Though he got his fame through Oprah, which knocks him down a peg or two on the masculinity scale, he has garnered more wealth and power than most people dream of. His waylaying his guests with questions such as "How's that working out for ya?" can only been seen as the aggression of your classic dominant male.

This next photo is of the silverback gorilla who runs the compound at the San Francisco Zoo. Annie was transfixed by this specimen (she took this shot). Though the gorilla is quite a bit hairier than Dr. Phil, they share one thing in common (aside from the gesturing): they are King of the Hill, the alpha male.

This final shot seals the deal. Keeping all of this in mind, can there be any doubt as to why she chose me as her mate? She demands a strong, masculine man - and that is why she succumbed to my courting her.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


The other day I got a call from Annie. She was squealing with delight. No, she hadn't won the lottery, and she hadn't found a 75% off sale at Old Navy. Instead, she informed me that she had just seen Dr. Phil, live and in person at the Downtown Plaza! Joy! Jubilee!

I'll admit to not understanding her excitement, but I wasn't about to question it.

Dr. Phil's staff were handing out Dr. Phil masks-on-a-stick and Dr. Phil water bottles to the whole audience.

Annie kept both of hers, and I imagine they will end up in an air-tight shadow box and on our wall before too long.

In this second pose I asked Annie to look at Dr. Phil's face and express to me exactly what she felt about him. I think the look of utter adoration on her face says it all.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Genna in Heaven

It was a crazy morning, with Annie rushing around to get a few things done before packing the girls up and heading out the door. So crazy, in fact, that she didn't have time to give Julia her morning bottle (her only bottle). In a stroke of brilliance, she turned to Genna, Julia's most enthusiastic, eye-pokingest fan. "Genna, do you want to feed Julia her bottle!"

"Yes!" came Genna's exuberant reply.

And so this picture was born. Annie didn't have time to feed Julia, only enough time to snap a quick shot. Genna is in heaven, and Julia is content. Can't ask for a better combination.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

My Humble Opinion

This is the last year to year comparison from the pumpkin patch, I promise. In fact, I've pretty well tapped this spread out.

The first photo is from last year, the second from this year. The biggest difference, aside from the lighting, is that Julia is no longer strapped to mommy. She is now a free range child. No steroids. No antibiotics. Her ingestion of Cap'n Crunch Cereal, however, prevents her from being classified as All Natural.

If I may offer my humble opinion, my girls have gotten even cuter in this past year. Actually, we all have. My only complaint is that I am still wearing the same worn-out shoes. Maybe I can convince Annie to take me to the store for another pair.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Wow, this is my 300th post. I have spent a lot of time on this blog. Too much? Only time will tell.

I thought pictures of the twins standing victorious and triumphant on top of a large stack of hay a fitting tribute to this momentous occasion. They're actually pretty high up. This shot is zoomed in and then cropped.

Julia was pretty jealous, and she was thwarted by her parents as she tried to follow them up. Yet another in a long litany of her being shut out of her sister's activities.

I was pretty photo crazy this day. I took too many, at least that was the impression I got from the girls as I kept calling for their attention and making them pose. I remember as a kid that few things were as frustrating as having your parents cajole and coerce you into posing for photos. And here I was, doing the same.

This was one of the last photos I took, and you can see that the girls have reached the end of their tolerance for, "Kate, look over here," and "Genna, smile," and "No, no, stand right there."

Like the troopers they are, however, they humored me one last time. Such good little girls. Such an obnoxious father.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Pumpkin Patch Imp

This was Julia's first time in a pumpkin patch where she was able to explore it freely. We would have let her last year, but four-month-olds are ambulatory-challenged.

She was drawn to the pumpkins like a bear to honey. Naturally, she tried climbing a few, but they didn't provide enough height to maintain her interest for too long. She settled on trying to remove their stems. This activity also proved useless.

Julia then tried picking them up, but they each weighed almost as much as she. What's a little girl to do when the objects of her desire are impervious to her destructive powers?

The answer is easy. Turn to dirt. It never fails to bring joy to a toddler.

Julia's discovery of the dirt clods made for a joyous occassion. We couldn't redirect her attention back to the pumpkins no matter how we thumped them and placed her in front of them. You can see her here, with Kate in the background, as she prepares for a double toss. She could throw them a good two or three feet.

It's the simple pleasures in life, my friends, that bring us happiness. Let's take a page out of Julia's book and get back to basics.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Sippin' on Jamba Juice ...

I got up nice and early this morning and was on the road, when at 5:55 am, my front passenger-side tire went flat. Feeling up to the task, I popped my trunk only to find that I didn't have my car jack's lever - thereby rendering it useless. Lame. Thankfully, Annie had just placed our GEICO roadside service card in my wallet the night before (was that perfect timing, or a jynx? You be the judge). I placed my call and they dispatched a tow truck from Johnny's Auto.

Since it was still dark out, I left my headlights on so the driver could spot me on the side of the freeway. About 10 minutes later, my radio died, followed by my dashboard clock, and then my headlights. Dead battery. Nice. I sat in the dark until the driver could arrive. He changed out my flat with my spare, after having to snap off one of the lug nut studs, and jumped my battery. I had been back on the road for less than a 1/2 mile when 'splat', my spare went out.

I called Johnny's to get the same tow truck driver to pick me up, but their dispatch said I had to call GEICO back and set up a new service ticket. I was just calling them when the driver passed by, saw me, and pulled over. He ended up not being able to help me, due to a doctor's appointment he had, but he saw another driver passing by us in the other direction. He got on his radio, told the guy where I was (he had already spotted me), and then took off. I called GEICO, but they said it would be 30 minutes before Johnny's could come back. What? I had just seen the guy's truck!

After a half an hour, he came by and picked me up. Once we were inside the cab of his truck and on the road I saw that he was sucking on a brand new Jamba Juice! Instead of coming straight over to pick me up, he had grabbed a Jamba! Now that is customer service.

I can't complain, though. In the end, the towing to Les Schwab was free, and my new front tires cost only $77. It turns out that the one was so badly balded that you could stick your fingers though the tread!

As I sat in the Les Schwab lobby, eating popcorn and watching CNBC, I was reminded by the talking head that today is Columbus Day. I was struck at once at how much the explorer and I have in common:

1) He sailed on the Santa Maria.
I drive the Corolla.
2) He had to deal with unruly Spaniards, hostile natives, and the high seas.
I had to deal with Johnny's Auto, GEICO, Les Schwab, and balding tires.
3) He was exploring uncharted waters and lands unknown to Europe.
I was on my way to work.

The parallels are staggering. I expect to be called 'Admiral' from now on.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Pumpkin Patch Galore

Our first trip to the pumpkin patch provided us with many a photo. Be prepared for high doses of pumpkin and child oriented adorability.

This year was a good year for pumpkins. The heat allowed for the growing of monster, child-proof beasts. We tested their durability by placing our girls on top of them. Sure enough, their structural integrity was high enough to support the weight of 30 lbs girls. Well done, science.

But the growing of huge pumpkins didn't deter our agricultural sector from producing the time- honored mini pumpkins. The girls were entranced by the many vats full of these little guys.

They were only $0.25 each! I almost felt bad buying them. So cheap - how do they make a profit? Certainly not off of overseas manufacturing in China (so I know my former foreign exchange students aren't being exploited). I can't understand it. It must be a Halloween miracle.

I admit it. We staged this last one. We wanted a photo of all three girls running towards the camera, so we had to give Julia a head start. It turned out pretty cute, so I don't mind the pretense.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

So Much Change

Our little family is growing. Two years ago, we were a one wagon family (courtesy John Deere) at Bobby Dazzler's Pumpkin Patch.

The twins were so small that we could even squeeze in a couple of pumpkins without displacing the girls.

But two years bring a lot of change. Not for the pumpkin patch necessarily, but certainly for our burgeoning clan.

The addition of Julia has made the possibility of navigating the rows of pumpkins in a single wagon a thing of the past. There is simply no room for pumpkins. In fact, this second photo was staged simply to recreate the first photo. Immediately following taking the shot, we transferred the twins to a larger wagon.

I wonder what the photo in two years will look llike. I wonder how long Annie will tolerate my blogging. The future is so uncertain.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Paying Homage

Save for the occassional Disney flick that we all watch as a family, our girls don't get in much more than 2 hours of TV viewing a week. It's important to us that they don't come to enjoy paying homage to the glass idol too much.

However, that said, some shows and DVDs we have seem to be manna sent straight from heaven - possibly even worthy of worship.

The girls love the Baby Einstein series, especially Baby Noah, which features animals and classical music. Not only are these pleasant to listen to and even watch, but they keep our children entertained and out from underfoot (and in each other's hair).

The quality and educational value of these productions are good enough to stave off waves of guilt we might otherwise feel. Plus, its fun just to watch them watch it. With each new animal Kate and Genna shout its name. I love the part when they shout, "Wombat!" Oooh. Warm fuzzy feeling inside.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Essential Personalities

I thought these two photos (taken in front of that same fire engine) displayed the essential personality of our twins. Mind you, I know full well that they are only three years old and that they've got plenty o' growin' to do. But that's too complicated. It's much more fun to project their current selves into the future and see what they might become.

First we have Kate. She is always willing and able to smile for the camera. In fact, she seeks it out. When I pull the camera out, she demands that photos be taken of her, and then she is eager to see the result in the LCD. She loves attention, crowds (if they are watching her), and performing. She was made for the stage.

Then we have Genna. She won't smile for the camera unless I offer her Princess snacks or some other sweet. It's a good day when I can even get her to acknowledge the camera's presence. But when she does, it is worth it. Check out her sassy stance and enigmatic expression. Her eyes and smile hint at mysteries and deep understandings - or plans to torture her little sister. What that might become as she enters adulthood, I don't know. Something very good or something very bad.

Both of them know how to pose, when properly inspired, and this may lead them down the path towards modeling (my unbiased opinion is that they have the looks for it). I contacted Tyra Banks to get Genna and Kate on next year's America's Next Top Model. Her staff began some spiel about 'age of majority' and 'child protective services' and 'I hope you have legal counsel.' Whatever, Tyra, just get my girls on that show of yours.