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The Mushmonster is 3 years old. Well, technically she’s 3 years and a few months old. I’d like to say that those extra months have been insignificant, but they’ve given Mushie a lot of time to develop. A lot. Also, I’ve pretty much forgotten what happened at her 3rd birthday party…some fuss about pizza, cake, beer, etc. The first few kid birthdays are a blur. Kids screaming. Dogs barking. Parents hovering. Noise. Candles. Wishes. Crying. Bedtime. And hopefully we got the good parts on tape video.

My blog posts have been sparse, mainly because the kids are active…not like walk in the park active, but more like do one triathlon after breakfast and a marathon before bed. And if I’m not watching or participating, there’s hell to pay! So I apologize about the late post…but as with all things having to do with the second child, I just don’t care as much…just kidding. I have to get this post out before the Worm turns 5!

She’s lovely. I can’t say that she’s always been this way because she’s very, um, fickle. In fact, I didn’t really like her much early on. And I think she felt the same. Our timing was off from the beginning. I wanted her to sleep. She wanted to play. She wanted to sleep. I wanted to do some chores. When I didn’t time her meals or naps right, she let me know in buckets of tears. When I would forget to leave the house with extra diapers, she’d let me know by squirting chocolate pudding from her baby carrier…and conveniently up her backside.

Worm and I had a groove going before Mushie…you know, a connection. Me and him. Him and me. Then, Mushie basically shot down the proverbial slide hollering “Whee! Look at me!” and proceeded to literally crash every boy’s party we held. And she’s been trying to steal center stage, since.

The Mushmonster is not really quite like her brother. I feel that when she was born, she broke the mold, ate some of it, and then tried to stick a piece or two into the nearest electrical socket. If I were to use three words to describe my daughter it would be: messy, loud, and unpredictable. There’s always a trail of food crumbs when she eats. I can hear her from a mile away (unless she’s up to something mischievous). And when you need someone to think outside of the box, she never disappoints.

All of these characteristics make Mushie, well, my Mushie. My life would be pretty boring if I had two well-behaved children that listened to me and did as I instructed. I know that. Besides, who doesn’t want to be a hero by rescuing their child twice a day for the rest of eternity the unlimited reward of ‘mooches, hugs and kisses!

I didn’t think I’d like a little girl much, but this one’s neat.

She’s rough and tumble, spicy and sweet.

I don’t understand everything she does.

But, man, can she eat!

The girl has heaps of strong character traits that don’t work well for someone uncoordinated, less than four feet tall, and still forming neural connections. “I DO IT!” she’d say. And I’d reply “You can’t reach the gas pedal yet.” “NO, I DO IT!!” And then I’d strap her down in the back seat and explain to her that she doesn’t have a driver’s license.

She’s as willful as they come. What does one do with a toddler that has no sense of fear, pain, or self-preservation? The only option I see is a professional fighting career. We each have suffered a busted lip at the expense of her little hands (well, it was her head, but you get my point).

“Though she be but little, she is fierce.” – Shakespeare

Mushie, If You're Going to be a Fighter, You're Going to Need to Learn How to Cook!

Mushie, If You’re Going to be a Fighter, You’re Going to Need to Learn How to Cook!

The reason is not what you think it is.

I don’t need to shed pounds. With their antics, the kids make sure I burn enough calories every day.

Sure, some of their meals look tasty after I prepare them and I’ve been standing for 30 minutes serving and spoon feeding both kids while my own stomach is eating itself and the thoughts line up in my head of “It would be nice if I got to eat my own dinner before 8pm…Mushie’s arm kinda looks like a chicken wing from this angle. What smells like a burrito? Eww! Did you just fart Worm? Geez, I’m so hungry I can’t smell the difference…When are you guys going to start cooking for yourself?”

Sometimes the kids eat the meals I prepare for them. Sometimes they rub pieces of it over their bodies while chanting in tongues. Occasionally, I can leave their plates in front of them and return much later to see their food looking absolutely untouched.

Still, I won’t touch it. I could be on the verge of starvation and I wouldn’t take food from their plate.

I hate to waste food, but my kids are disgusting. The main reason I’d rather toss the mac & cheese than make my belly happy?


I tell the kids to wash their hands before they sit down to eat. They run towards the bathroom like it’s a theme park ride. Sometimes they use soap. Sometimes they think the toothpaste spittle from the night before serves the same purpose. I’ve witnessed spit bubble boats being happily pushed back and forth in a sink full of water. Yep, even green ones.

And even the washing hands thing wouldn’t be that bad if the kids used their utensils to eat. But cleanliness is boring. Fingers are fun, even if they were just inside a nostril, mouth, or scraping something crusty out of the corner of a bedroom. We’re at the age when picking noses happens as frequently as breathing. Both spelunkers have taken to digging in secret to avoid my disdain.

Now for the best part. I’m always interested in my kids tasting food before they say they don’t like it. That means they have to put it in their mouth. The etiquette for a normal human would be to gently spit the food out into a napkin or discretely slip it under the table for the dog. Instead, mine like to bury pre-digested food back into the plate. Why would a licked cucumber not want to be reunited with its friends? And so it goes.

It’s cold and flu season and even with everyone coughing and dripping with fluids, I’m still not sick. Thus far, I’ve avoided a phlegmy cold and pink eye. I’m hoping my immune system can get me through the holidays unscathed. Now, if I could only get the kids to stop coughing into my face! Ho! Ho! *COUGH* Ho!

Germ Exhibit A and Germ Exhibit B

Germ Exhibit A and Germ Exhibit B

Gavin – 40; Honeydaddy – 25 (Worm, I’m becoming impervious to your bacterial cloud!)

I started this blog as a way to chronicle my children’s lives in the early years. It was a tremendous undertaking considering that I had other things I’d rather be doing (like sleeping, eating, and exercising). But, I was determined to leave a trail of digital memories behind. It worked for two years or so, but the once abundant flood of monthly posts have all but dried up.

The excitement of writing about new adventures with the kids has become less than exciting. (Getting them out of the house to have said adventures is a monumental task in itself.) It’s a lot of work trying to force my children to enjoy themselves at the park, the zoo, Disneyland, etc. Then, I’m propping them up and jabbing them with a long stick so that I can capture at least one looking at the camera before they zoom off in opposite directions.

They’re also at a point in their lives where they feel like happiness comes from the simple things…that they’re NOT doing. So they cry a lot. In recent months, outings as short as a trip to the post office has the potential to leave everyone in tears. It wears me out mentally and emotionally. And I don’t get any good blog material out of the trip to the post office…unless I push the Smush down the mail chute and chronicle the event.

My stats show that I barely release two posts a month now. The hundreds of thousands of folks that months ago would sit in front of their computers anticipating the release of my next blog post are now lost in to Kim Kardashian’s buttocks. Now, the only one that stares at the computer drooling for every Me vs. Gavin blog is my dog. And I’m not quite sure if he’s drooling over my writing, the chocolate bar on my desk…or if he’s telepathically asking for a walk around the block.

Worm and Mushie are busy. No, it’s not like let’s run in circles for an hour. That’s too safe and calm. They run in circles to warm up, then:

  • climb up and down on the furniture
  • smother each other with couch pillows
  • see who can squeeze who between the front door and screen door
  • push each other in the doll stroller until someone falls out
  • play toy tug-of-war til someone has all the toys and the other is sobbing profusely
  • push each other down without a parent noticing and run away
  • go outside to the sandbox and come back inside to pour sand on the carpet
  • jump around in the bathtub screaming until someones ears start bleeding or until someone slips and falls
  • see how many sheets of toilet paper can come off the roll before mom or dad see
  • dig through the garbage bin for useful items (like a crunchy, candy wrapper) until I catch them

And that’s before breakfast. Then they do it again. It never gets old, either. For them. So, I play all-day damage control by chasing them from here to there and shooing them away from danger and demise. When I’m not saving their little lives, I’m swinging them on my various limbs like little primates in the jungle. My neck and arms ache by sundown and I get a killer workout from it. When they’re finally tucked in bed at 8:30pm, I’m not really interested in writing. I’m catching up with a missed meal or two, emailing my adoring FB friends business contacts, walking the dog, doing dishes, or falling asleep at my desk wondering what it was like when I had that precious little gem called time.

They consume so much of my day now. But, I’m determined to get back on the wagon and rejuvenate this blog! I’ve also got some reinforcements now….ha ha ha!

Kids! Hey! Wait a minute! Let's Talk About This Over Lollipops, OK?

Kids! Hey! Wait a minute! Let’s Talk About This Over Lollipops, OK?

Gavin – 38; Honeydaddy – 21 (Worm. If you and Mushie destroy my blog, then no one wins…I think.)


Worm, I promise you’ll get to love your baths.  Right now though, just try to imagine you’re on the sunny sandy beaches of Jamaica with the warm ocean water lapping at your feet…

Where's My Damn Mai Tai?!

Dad, If This is Jamaica, Where the Hell is my Rum Punch?!

May 2011

Fall is my favorite season.  Once a young lad, I spent many an autumn raking the fallen leaves, sipping chai tea in the brisk evening air, and baking apple pies for my family.  Just kidding.  I was shooting rabbits with my bow and arrow, planning out ‘Mischief Night‘, calculating my trick-or-treat route, and making traps in the woods and covering them with leaves for unsuspecting victims.  I lived in New Jersey.  The bar of morality and righteousness wasn’t very high and I was damned if I was to trip over it.  So, I crawled under.

Now that we live in San Diego, we don’t get the big weather changes that strongly signal the closing half of the year.  So to imitate the fall season here, we decorate the house in orange and brown, turn on the air conditioning, and parade around in turtlenecks.  Hooray!

To further the charade…at this age Worm will believe anything…we drive out of the city to pick pumpkins from a fake patch on the side of the freeway.  Just like the pilgrims used to do!

A little bit northeast of us (you can’t really go anywhere except for north and east of San Diego) is a little town called Ramona.  Yeah, that one.  The former “Turkey Capital of the World”.  It’s been a long time since the feathered kind of turkeys have been spotted there, but you’re sure to run into a few of the human variety.

If 70 Degree Autumn Weather Disgusts You, LOOK AWAY!

Ramona is home to Mountain Valley Ranch, a nice little stop off the 67 highway, near the edge of town.  Mountain Valley Ranch delivers the goods with pumpkins by the truckload!  Pumpkins as far as the eye can see, which from Worm’s 34″ of elevation, is only about 20 feet off into the distance.  So, the Ranch was perfect for him, and for us!

Worm decided the patch was a bit too ‘natural’ and went for the easy kill, the peck of pre-picked prepared pumpkins in presentable propriety.  This was an area where white collar children could pick the pumpkin (or supervise a parent picking the pumpkin, as in our case) without expending too much energy or leaving the comfort of his/her dry-cleaned and pressed clothing.

Mom, I Think This Is the One!

Then it was daddy’s turn.  And I wanted to do the real deal.  Let me forage through the patch and find myself a pulchritudinous specimen.  For this, we needed a wagon.

Worm, I Feel Like I’m Doing All The Work…BTW, Does The Earth Seem More Tilted To You?

A few hours later and deep into the isqoutm squash patch, I found the cucurbit of my dreams!  It was the finest pumpkin 2012 had ever delivered and I laid eyes on it first.  Quickly, I kicked the little monkey out and used his shirt to provide a cushioned wagon ride for ‘Pepita’ all the way to the cash register.  (In case you’re going for a visit, Mountain Valley Ranch only takes cash!)

Where Fore Art Thou, Pepita?

Worm, exhausted from the extra walking effort on unpaved ground, fell asleep on the hour long ride home.  And I spent that quiet car time basking in the thrill of the hunt and relishing in the glory of my find.  It was as if Tebow shined brightest upon ‘Pepita’ for mine own eyes to see.  Now that I’ve found you, I cannot wait to gut you, carve out your eyes, and light a match inside of your head…


As a side note, Mountain Valley Ranch also has: petting zoo, corn maze, corn cannon, and more!  It’s a fun, memorable place to take little ones!  You can check out their website for more information.

It’s sushi and tacos and Cracker Jack!

It’s a San Diego Thing…

It’s baseball season and the San Diego Padres are our home team (until some businessman buys them and moves them to Hawaii).  I must admit, I’m not a huge baseball fan.  I don’t watch it on TV.  I don’t have a fantasy team.  I don’t even understand half of it.

But, that doesn’t stop me from going to a game or two during the season.   Especially when we get free tickets!  Petco Park is a great place for families, kids, and kids with families.  It’s a fairly new venue and dare I say that the Park is classy for a baseball stadium.  You can get the standard stadium fare (beer, pretzels, peanuts, cotton candy, slushees, etc.) and you can get gourmet fare (local brewed beer, shrimp burritos, fish tacos, sushi).  There’s even a gluten-free stand for those that wish to partake!  Plenty of food to choose from for your picky little eater!

Also, there’s a little field at the back of the stadium called “Park at the Park” with a kid’s sized infield and lots of space to picnic and just hang out.  It’s geared for families with kids that can’t sit still long enough to watch an entire baseball game.  Parents can set their kids loose in the 2.7 acre space and then kick back and watch the game on the big screen.  Just bring a lawn chair.  There’s enough space (about 2.7acres) in “Park at the Park” for the young’uns to run bases and wear themselves out.  These tickets are $5 each and if you’ve got a toddler like I do, he’ll probably like this much more than being confined to one seat for 3 hours.

Worm enjoyed his first visit to Petco Park.  It was a warm, sunny San Diego afternoon.  I think the immense size of the stadium structure with all the people amazed him.  He even let out a few drops of saliva on my leg in his excitement.

Worm ate nachos!  Worm ate burritos!  Worm I drank beer!  Some nice Padre girls even came over to make sure Worm was happy!  He even finagled some free schwag from them!  (Is ‘free schwag’ like saying ‘space meteor’?)  A fun time was had by all, for almost an hour.  Luckily, it was a short game.

Worm, You Gotta Look at the Camera!

If you’re looking for Padres information:

Padres Home Page

The problem with adults is that we place too much emphasis on stuff that doesn’t matter.  We’re free to dole out punishment against kids for a ridiculous number of things that have nothing to do with the big question “How does this affect my life?”

In the news today is an article about a young lad who is a basketball fan, Patrick Gonzalez.  Patrick is a huge fan of the Spurs’ Matt Bonner.  So much of a fan that he had a picture of his favorite NBA star Bonner shaved into his head.  (By the way, the picture is awesome!  Check it out here.)

Gonzalez faces an in-school suspension by Woodlake Hills Middle School in San Antonio, Texas, which he attends.

Matt Bonner himself chimed in on the controversy:  “Couldn’t you just move him to the back of the class?” said the red-headed 3-point shot ace. “Then nobody would see it; it wouldn’t be a distraction. Otherwise, the nicest thing a fan has ever done for me is ruined.”

So, obviously Bonner is touched with the gesture from a fellow redhead.

The part that bugs me is where the school decides that punishment for a haircut is worth taking away a child’s education for a week.  “It’s distracting.”  says unnamed foolish school official.  Oh yeah, you mean more distracting than the pregnant girls, drugs, and weapons that circulate through the halls.  Right!

But, don’t you think that making a big stink about a haircut is more distracting?  Maybe we should force every school-aged child to get a crew cut to attend classes.  There wouldn’t be any distractions then.  Right!

Just another day in America, where haircuts, pictures of girls kissing, and art are more dangerous than guns.

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