Archives for the month of: November, 2012

30 days ago today (It sounds better written this way.  Trust me.), I decided to make an unprecedented move towards growing facial hair.  Not feeling like the man I once was, it was time to do something so primitive, so testosteronically charged that in the span of one month I would cement my position as dad, man, and leader of my family.

Movember, the month of mustaches, was my opportunity and I seized it with gusto.

I’ve never grown a mustache before.  Ever.  So when the first week of Movember passed and I had nary a hairy, I got nervous.  I questioned my self and doublechecked my secret compartment for the dynamite and a pair of grenades.  What was wrong?

Then, the type A personality kicked in.  I needed to set some goals and direction for my ‘stache.  Things took off from there.

The ultimate goal:  The Magnum P.I.

The Pinnacle of Facial Hair Perfection

The Pinnacle of Facial Hair Perfection

Lofty, yes.  But Tom Selleck’s perfectly coiffed mustache became the sex symbol of the 80’s.  It was the star of the show, and poor Tom was forever standing in its shadow, both literally and figuratively.

A Distinguished Look From the 1930's.  The Clark Gable.

A Distinguished Look From the 1930’s. The Clark Gable.

Wanting to give my mustache some time to blossom into greatness, I waited another week.  I sprouted a few more follicles and excitement set in.  It was time to break out the tools.  I sculpted my whiskers a little at a time and, lo and behold, a more Clark Gable look presented itself.  Not bad, I thought as I tugged at my soup strainer.  A veritable rebirth of the 1930’s actor…only this time in Indian.

I could deal with that.  I slicked my hair back and completed the dashing look for a week or so.

Then last week, I was feeling a bit frisky.  Too frisky.  I got a little loose with the razor and uncovered a pre-millenium Eddie Murphy mo.  (It came out of the blue and I’m still reprimanding myself for the cuts I did and did not make.  On the plus side, when I need a laugh I just look in the mirror…)

I’ve got to give props to the men that sport a lip curtain.  It takes work and effort to maintain.  You can’t just put a baseball cap on it and roll out the door.  A mustache desires your attention like a supermodel desires a Big Mac.  You must cater to its whims and fancies.  It’s the center of attention and draws people in like a religious cult.  That being said, the added effort is worth the reward.  I got more looks from men and women in the past 30 days than I have all year long.  “Wow, you’re interesting to look at!”, “Stop looking at me.  I’m uncomfortable with your oozing manliness.” “A brown Clark Gable?  He’s way more handsome than the original!” and “Are you one of ‘those’ movie stars?” are the words I read from onlooking eyes.

Since I had such a good time being able to tickle my tongue for the past month, I may just drag this prodigious pushbroom on my profile just a little bit further into the year.  I’ve finally become the man and father for Steph, Worm, and soon Smush, to look up to.

Gavin – 19; Dad – 10 (I’ve reclaimed my manhood and dadhood!)

The Only Thing That Could Make This Picture More Manly Would Be A Mounted Deer Head On the Wall.

The Only Thing That Could Make This Picture More Manly Would Be A Mounted Deer Head On the Wall.

Please forgive me, I couldn’t post this beforehand. The paparazzi would have staked themselves outside our hotel room the entire time and we would have graced the cover of US Weekly without getting paid for it!  (Ah, the life of a celebrity…)

When I think of Las Vegas, the first thing that comes to mind is “Wow, I can’t believe I’m thinking about the shrimp eating capital of the United States.”  And when I have dreams of myself snorkeling from one slot machine to the next in the hopes I could jackpot a lifetime supply of shrimp with just one pull of the lever, it’s time for a shrink a visit.

Las Vegas built a direct road to San Diego.  Scratch that, San Diego built a direct road to Las Vegas.  (It’s part of the reason why our city is broke.)  One freeway, the I-15, whisks you over the hills and through the woods desert to the place where the fourth largest pyramid in the world resides.  (If you’re visiting from space, hover directly over the vertical light beam in the sky and descend.  It will take you right to the center.)

When I was younger and had time, money, and energy, Vegas was a fun place to let my single self cavort and run wild.  “Sleep during the day and party at night” was the motto.  Funny.  Now that I look back, I don’t remember seeing any babies or toddlers in Vegas.  (In my mid-twenties, I probably couldn’t tell you what a toddler was, let alone spot one in public.) Today, I know why you don’t see a lot of young families like mine in a place like Las Vegas.  Would you still view Vegas the same way if the consequences of your sins committed there were standing next to you on the people mover?  Watching a poor sap like me lugging a 50-lb bag of diapers, a stroller full of toddler screams, and schlepping a tired, worn-out pregnant woman from casino to casino would make any sane man question his free-wheeling motives!  So, strollers and babies are forced to navigate the “Strip” more covertly…through the service and maintenance routes.

2.9 Members of the MVG clan!

I’m on the other side of the Stratosphere now, and I’ve had to begrudgingly change my Vegas habits to a more G-Rated, all ages version. Wake up at 6:30am.  Nap time at noon.  Breakfast, lunch, and dinner time scheduled around pregnancy munchies and Worm’s occasional desire to eat.  Squeeze all that in by 8pm and everyone’s happy…almost.  During our three-day stay, I saw more of my hotel room than I have in all the other times I’ve visited combined.  Not the most fun for me, but I sacrifice my own joys in life to be with my family.

During Thanksgiving, Vegas gets much fewer visitors.  This time of year isn’t hard to find a great hotel package deal for the whole clan.  We haven’t been on a vacation since before Worm was hatched.  It was a perfect opportunity to test out the little guy’s portability and travel manners during the “terrible twos” period.  Besides, the thick walls of these hotel rooms can muffle sounds from the most unhappy toddlers.

I found Vegas to be surprisingly kid-friendly.  There’s a ton to do.  If your kid is bored in Vegas, consider the clergy for them.  The mobsters running the Boulevard (just kidding, please don’t shoot me) know that Vegas runs in two shifts (day and midnight) and never the twain shall meet.  Every day well before the witching hour, we hit the pool, the buffets, and the Strip.  On the last day, we blazed through the Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium in about 10 minutes.  (We were overstimulated, ready for nap time, and our brain had shut down…we were out of sins and ready for home.  We = Worm.)

Though I had plenty of misdeeds left in me, Worm was right.  Out of time and Thanksgiving turkey, we left Paradise (Clark County) and headed for home.  It was a nice detour from reality, if only for a few days.

Looks Like Someone Was Enjoying the Mandalay Bay Exhibits

If you’re wondering, Worm racked up the 11 hours of driving in excellent condition.  He was a great travel companion.  When strapped down, he was easy to talk to and didn’t once try to escape my lecture on “Why Vegas is Called Sin City”.  We managed without shoving a TV, iPod, iPad, or laptop computer in his face.  (Yes, I’m amazed too.)

Finally Able to Catch Some Z’s! Vegas was Awesome!

Gavin – 19; Dad – 9 (From the pictures, it looks like you got the Vegas thing down pat, Worm.  Good job!)

Babies R Us RightHeight High Chair

I’m not certain that we needed a new high chair for Worm.  The one we had worked just fine.  It was without bells and whistles but it did the job it was designed to do, provide an eating surface for the little man.  One fateful day we stopped by our local Babies ‘R Us to get a few other things and a plush new high chair found its way into our basket.  Maybe it was the store’s bright lights or the giant sale tags that coaxed us…or it could have been grandma’s magic purse.  Either way, we bought a Babies R Us RightHeight high chair and put our old one out to pasture.

The RightHeight can be assembled fairly easily.  Parts just snap into place and there are only two screws in the whole design.  After assembly, I gazed at my achievement and “kicked the tires” so to speak.  The whole chair wobbled.  The RightHeight high chair never feels stable, even without a little person in it.  It’s not like the chair will tip over or anything.  It just never inspires confidence.  I’m always checking to see if any part of it is broken.  Luckily, the 5-point harness will keep Worm safe inside should the thing just crumble to pieces.  (I think a 5-point harnesses would be more applicable on things that actually move, such as a car seat or stroller, not on a high chair.  But I guess if you’ve got a fast eater, you may need the extra restraints.)

The folding feature is one nice thing about this high chair.  With two hands, you can move the sliding locks down and bring the legs together.  It makes the unit take up a little less space in the house.  The only problem is that the wheels are very poorly designed and I end up just dragging or lifting the whole high chair to move it.  If you have any carpet whatsoever, the wheels will give you a hard time when you try to transport the RightHeight anywhere.  We’ve got berber carpet and I have to drag the RightHeight across it due to the poor wheel design.  Not good.

I like the ability to remove the tray with one hand or two.  I also like the ability to clip the tray to the back of the high chair when not being used.  (Although, if I don’t clean the tray before storing it on the back of the RightHeight, the dogs will do it for me.)  When installed for use, the tray never feels like it’s ever secure in the chair.  It has 4 adjustments to go from “in your face” to “get me the binoculars” distance.  Or if you’ve got one skinny kid and one portly one, you can find at least one comfortable tray position for each of them.  There’s no doubt that Worm will be able to comfortably grow with this high chair, but none of the settings makes the tray ever sit “right”.  I’m constantly wiggling it to make sure the tray won’t become a projectile if my son grabs hold of it in one of his berserker moods.

One of the features of the RightHeight high chair is a 3-position recline.  I have no idea why you would NOT want your child to sit upright and eat.  But, I guess 3-positions sounds more dazzling than 1-position and so now, baby can lie back and eat, simulating perfect couch potato posture.  Reclined eating at the dinner table is now an option.  (Back when I was a kid, slouching was bad manners at the dinner table…)

There is a 6-position chair height adjustment.  This feature is very useful.  The aptly named RightHeight does deliver a wide range of height adjustments to work with various table sizes.  It also gives us the option to have Worm eat off of the table instead of the tray.  We really like this feature as it makes Worm seem much more adult-like and proper.

The Babies R Us RightHeight high chair gets average marks all around from me.  Some of the features are good and others make you scratch your head in wonder.  I’m not sure that this chair was tested in multiple houses before it was put out on the market.  On the other hand, the Worm does like to climb into and sit in it, so there is a major comfort factor that applies to my specific case.  Getting Worm to sit and eat is less of a chore than it used to be and that is a huge benefit of the RightHeight in our household.  So, in short, it will probably remain with us until Worm’s out of college (or at least out of pre-school).


Overall Rating:  5 Worms

Ease of Use: 5 Worms

Performance:  5 Worms

Features:  5 Worms

Durability:  5 Worms  (We’ve only used it for about 3 months now.)

Manliness:  5 Worms

Retail Price:  $99.99



Washable seat pad, dishwasher safe tray liner, one-handed tray removal, tray storage on unit, towel drying rack, 6-position chair height adjust,


Wheels don’t roll over carpet well, every part of the RightHeight wobbles, two flimsy screws in the entire design (which is a bit too minimalist in this case), 5-point harness (overkill for eating)

Things I would modify:

Make wheels that actually roll on surfaces other than hard floor, use screws instead of rivets, add a more convenient handle for transport it from room to room.

Where to find:

Babies R Us

Now that I’m a SAHD, I’ve got to strap on an apron and get into the kitchen, otherwise the Worm is going to starve (or we’ll have to get take-out)!  This part of the house is mostly my wife’s arena as I barely know where anything is.  I can find my blender and toaster oven, but most of the appliances we have in the kitchen look like medieval torture devices.  But, I’m back in front of the stove and this time I’m taking no prisoners!  (I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean, but it spilled from my fingers and I’m leaving it here.)

I came across a contest online called the ReadySetEat Dad’s Cook-Off.  Now I don’t usually participate in contests where I’m not the pre-determined winner, but this one looked interesting.  Prepare something with 7 ingredients or less.  Prep it and make it in under 30 minutes.  And do all of that without chopping off a finger.  Hmm, very interesting.  Having made soup using only one ingredient, I knew I was up to the task of the Cook-Off.  (To enter the contest, you must be a dad blogger, or play one on TV.)

Below is my recipe entry.  It’s named in honor of my -10 week old daughter (yes, that’s a negative sign.  She hasn’t been born yet.) Smush.  It’s a cupcake analogous to my baby girl.  Hold the cupcake as gently as you would a baby, otherwise you’re going to squeeze all the gooey brown stuff out!  Now that I’ve worked up your appetite, here’s my original Smush Cakes recipe:


  • Frosting:
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip (thawed in fridge for 4 hours prior to use)
  • 8 oz. Peter Pan Honey Roast Creamy Peanut Butter  (At room temperature, please.  Only nuts refrigerate PB…)
  • 1 box Duncan Hines Devil’s Food Cake Mix
  • 1 12oz. can of Sprite soda  (At room temperature please.  You may have to go overseas to find an unchilled soft drink dispenser.)
  • 1 4-pack Snack Pack Chocolate Flavor Pudding
  • Optional:
  • 24 Cupcake baking cups



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Get a large bowl.  Mix cake mix and can of soda together until no longer lumpy.  Now you’ve got cake batter.  I know.  It’s crazy.  It’s the miracle of food science.  Fill cupcake compartments 2/3 full of batter.  If you’re trying to impress the moms on the playground, use the baking cups.  They’ll think you’re Martha Stewart with a mustache.  For the empty cupcake compartments, fill each halfway up with water.  (Using holy water will exorcise the Devil out of the cupcakes and may lead to reduced flavor.)

Bake cupcakes for 18-20 minutes.  Pull from oven and let cool slightly.

To make the frosting, add Cool Whip and peanut butter to a large bowl.  Whip the mischief out of Peter Pan…or until your arm gets tired.  You’re done when the mixture is consistent.  Hopefully this didn’t take you 18 minutes to do.  Put frosting in the fridge until cupcakes are out of the oven and cooled a bit.

Peanut butter frosting. Mmm!

Using a melon baller or a tsp measuring spoon, scoop out the middle of each cupcake and feed it to the annoying dog across the street, or stuff it into someone’s tailpipe.  You don’t need this part anymore.

Remove the center of the smush cake.

Now fill each cupcake middle with a teaspoon of chocolate pudding.

Fill the smush cake hole with pudding!

Get the frosting out of the fridge and top each cupcake.  Voila.  Smush cakes!

The original smushcake.


Related Links:

ReadySetEat: The Great Dad Cook-Off: Dad Bloggers Tackling Dinner



We just had our 30 week ultrasound and we are excited!  There’s a little girl in mommy’s belly (and coincidentally, Worm tells us he has a baby in his belly, as well) and she’s doing great.  According to the statistics, her head is normal size (50th percentile) and more oval-shaped than round (a good thing for women birthing the boring way), her arms and legs are freakishly long (95th percentile), and she’s rocking a mini-mohawk (8th percentile).  The bubbling cauldron of ultrasound images stirred up by my distorted mind form a baby as tall as Worm with blue-dyed hair and piercings.  So indelible is the vision, that anything other coming down the chute and “Oh, I don’t think that one is ours.” may be my insert-foot-in-mouth response to the doctors holding her up for me to see.

I love her already, curved barbells and all.  For the past 8 months that I’ve been bearing the wife’s empathetic baby weight, the nausea, the tiredness, the dancing on my bladder and ovaries, my baby girl and I have bonded as only an emotionally unstable gifted and caring father and daughter would.  And yesterday after the ultrasound, I had a fatherly revelation of sorts (this time it wasn’t one of the many that come after “Shit, I probably shouldn’t have done that.”).  #2 now has a nickname to one day despise, like when she’s walking across the stage to pick up her college degree and mom and I are in the audience screaming it out at the top of our lungs and the crowd is erupting with laughter and jeers…We will tell her afterwards that she should be grateful that we didn’t nickname her “bubby wubby pants”.

The pet name of the newest member of the family will heretoforth move from “#2” to “Smush”.  As of this day, 2012, Thursday (I think) November 15th, I now pronounce you husb…I now christen thee Smush, mother of none, daughter of dad, sister of Worm, and the female-version of the master of the Universe!

From today until eternity (or until Steph the Supreme Commander says otherwise), you shall be the Smush.

Other nicknames in the running, but ultimately NOT chosen:

  • Wormette
  • Slug
  • the Cuddly Wuddly Wompa Monster
  • Cutiest Patootiest Lovie Bear Sweetsie Muffin Dandy Candy Pansie Rose Petal…I couldn’t even type that without vomiting…twice.
  • Chainsaw Massacre slasher chick

When you look at the ultrasound pics below, think Empire Strikes Back “Han Solo Frozen in Carbonite” scene.  Ah, you can see Smush’s face now, can’t you?

With Nose, Lips, and Chin Pushed Up Against the Womb, What Other Nickname Would She Have?


…other than the lottery!

Liebster Award!

In case you don’t know, the Liebster award is a blogger to blogger award to share the love of the blogosphere.  I received this nice shout-out from:

In order to accept it, I’ve got to nominate 3 other blogs so that my readers can visit and connect with other blogs that I find dear.  I’ve also got to answer 10 very, very personal questions and make a list of questions for the next winners.

I’m terribly humbled as well as surprised at the same time.  I really thought that people accidentally stumbled onto my daddyblog when their babies poked the right keys on mommy’s iPad.  I’m still shocked that people actually visit MVG…on purpose!

Without further ado, here are answers to the 10 questions asked of me:

  1. What do you think makes a good blog?  I think a good blog touches the heart and tickles the fancy.
  2. What made you start blogging?  I needed a way to let family and friends see my son Gavin grow up…as well as find something to keep my unyielding type A personality content.
  3. Cat person or dog person?  I’ve got two dogs and one of them would eat cats daily if we let him.  To reduce the bloodbath, kitty treats are restricted to weekends only.  That should be all you need to figure out the answer to this question.
  4. If you could change anything, anything at all, with the world as it is, what would it be and why?  I would wish for more tolerance in the world.  Tolerance for one another’s differences would make the world a better place for cute little puppies and stuff.
  5. What’s your favourite thing?  Driving my Land Cruiser barefoot.  Umm, I mean it’s a tie between my wife and my child.
  6. Popcorn and snack eating in the cinema, yay or nay?  Sure, why not?
  7. What, if anything, do you wish someone had told you about life when you were young?  I wish someone would have told me that it’s ok to make mistakes and that no one knows the answer to everything.  But since no one said anything like that to me, I set the bar really high for myself…and I cleared it!  Now I’m a posterchild for perfection!
  8. Best book you’ve read?  A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle.  I don’t read much, but when I do, it’s deep!
  9. If you could be the best at something what would it be?  I would like to be the best at showing compassion.  Or the best at checkers.  It’s a toss up.
  10. What’s your favourite recipe to cook? (And please do share it.)  I married a chef to keep from having to cook anymore.  I’m an eater, not a cooker!

10 questions for the next 3 bloggers:

  1. What part of your blog would you like to improve upon?
  2. If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be?
  3. Do you put the peanut butter on the bread first or the jelly?
  4. Name 3 famous people that you would like to meet?
  5. Since you’re a writer, what’s your alcoholic beverage of choice?
  6. What do you wish you had more of?
  7. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
  8. Do you have a ritual to inspire your blogging?  If so, what?
  9. What is your least favorite body part on a person?
  10. What is the meaning of life?

For the 3 next blogs, they all share a dad’s point of view.  If you’ll notice, the 3 blogs below are a mix of funny, inspiring, and real.  Just like “The Lion King” movie…

The Six Fingered Monkey

Gen X Daddy



By the way…

Gavin – 18; Dad – 9 (For every award I earn, I should get a point too! Right?)

Yap, yap yap.  The Worm is mimicking noises and words unlike ever before.  It’s like his brain went into hyperdrive shortly after he began placing one foot in front of the other.  Now, the only time our house is quiet is when he is napping or sleeping.  Otherwise, it’s jibber-jabber and pitter-patter time!

I’ve decoded some of his new toddler babble:

“Me Me!”  (Sure, let’s pick 3 more and make lemonade!)

“Dak!”  (Yes, it is.  I’ll turn on the light for you.)

“Ah Ta?”  (You can’t have Otter Pops for breakfast.  Or.  Yes, I’ll make hot dogs for lunch.)

“Na Na.”  (Your nana loves you.  Or.  You want a banana?)

I take full credit for helping Worm increase his vocabulary.  He’s still a little unsure about my techniques, but he should rest assured that my “Proven” and “Revolutionary” method of taping headphones to his ears and looping the audio recording of ‘Encyclopedia Brittanica’ is going to genius a child make.  He’ll hate me for it later when he’s scaring off girlfriends with diatribe about the migratory patterns of the elephant whale.  ‘Brains before broads’ as my parents used to say!

Unfortunate problems arise when the headphones are removed.  Like the fact that he can hear me speaking.  Rarely (of course), certain situations will transform some of my more intellectual spouting into a string of 4 to 5 obscenities.  I used to think my mutterings were incomprehensible to those under 3 feet tall.  Until now.

“Shit!” erupts from a little mouth in the room.

Geez, he’s got ears like a bat!  I crack an imperceptible smile at the gusto behind his emphatic swear.  Then I kick myself for saying it first. (You see, my college football team gave up another touchdown.  It was a perfectly valid reason for swearing.)  I try not to make eye contact with Worm or acknowledge any of the past 30 seconds.

“Shit!” as he points at the football players on the TV.

Again?  WTF?  Does he have to do EVERYTHING daddy does?  I can’t even get my son to enunciate “Hi!” and the word shit just rolls off his tongue like a sailor’s.

I just taught a 19-month old his very first curse word (there goes my ‘Dad of the Year’ prize) and I really thought it would be his mother that would write that chapter of “How Not to Parent”.  I’m embarrassed and dumbfounded and slightly proud in a “my son has taken another step closer to becoming a man today” sort of way.

I don’t usually have a problem with curse words, especially when used in the right context.  It’s not like Worm used the s-word inappropriately either.  I applaud him for that.  I just imagined the dirty words would begin well after Worm was finished with dirty diapers.  I know we may face some parental backlash when Worm decides to finely articulate the more vulgar term for feces in a public setting.  But if we get shunned at the playground, we’ll just have to go somewhere we’ll fit right in…like the local sports pub.

You Got Daddy’s Dirty Mouth Too, Son.

Gavin – 18; Dad – 8 (I’m giving myself a point for this one.  It’s because of my specially formulated brain-boosting techniques that he can even say the word “shit” at his age.)

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