Archives for posts with tag: Parenting

We were lucky. Our kids conformed to a great sleep schedule early.  A few months into this world, they each figured this out. When mommy and daddy looked exhausted, they needed to go to bed. When the sun peered into their bedrooms, it was time to wake up. When we pulled the blackout curtains to darken their rooms, it was nap time! A strict schedule and straightjacket swaddle were essential to their (and our) nocturnal bliss, and we enjoyed our peaceful slumber until recently.

The key word from the above paragraph is “were”. They’re no longer our children. They have become sleep deprivation devices, SDD1 and SDD2. They are small robots that effectively suck the life out of parental units within a 50 feet radius. And they do so by not allowing our adult bodies to reach REM sleep. If I am dozing off in bed, SDD1 or SDD2 will sing loudly, kick the walls, or pierce the air with high decibel shrieks. Randomly. Once we hit alpha waves, they respond accordingly. (Sorry, geek speak.) SDD1 and 2 are not usually working at the same time, as they telepathically communicate with one another so that at least one of them is sleeping (read: recharging) while the other is working to make sweet dreams a distant memory for us.

SDD1 has a brand new technique. Ever since we allowed him to enter and exit his cage bedroom at will, he’s been finding it convenient to waltz into our room at all hours of the night like we’re a 7-Eleven. (I need to turn off the Honeydaddy sign between the hours of 10pm and 7am.) It’s about 5 times a night…and that doesn’t include the amount of times SDD2 wakes us up with her noisemaking antics. (It’s great that she wants to be a singer, but for the love of Tebow, she should be practicing in the daytime!)

His techniques of torture:

SDD1: “Whaaaah!” (Usually around midnight this happens…and it’s a simple way to wake just about anyone. Even the dead.)

SDD1: “Mommy (or Honeydaddy), can you cover me up?”  (as if his arms are too tired to work between 1 and 2am…)

SDD1: “I want some hugs!” (What parent will say no to that?  This is an easy one for him. It never fails any time of night. Never.)

SDD1: “I have to go poopie. I want you to watch me!” (Really? Watch? I can’t participate? Like a well-oiled machine, the poop monster rears its head between 5:35 and 5:50 daily. Take that last sentence however you want. One day, I’m going to shove a cork in him and send him back to bed.)

The other sleep deprivation techniques aren’t that bad, but the poopie one kills me. I usually can’t go back to sleep afterwards. It’s that last hour of sleep that’s so coveted, so precious, so delicious…and I can’t have it. The dogs wake up from the toilet flush. Worm is hungry from the early morning ‘effort’. And we are pretty much forced to get out of bed before 6. I’m dying from this lack of sleep…I feel it in my bones…

They've taken over my eating schedule, and now my sleeping schedule!  Argh!

They’ve taken over my eating schedule, and now my sleeping schedule! Argh!

Gavin – 37; Honeydaddy – 21 (You already eat my food. Now you take away my sleep. How else will you torment me?)

Holy crap, that last post was a rant and rave session! This one’s different, I promise. Plus, I’ve had over 3 weeks to blow off that steam!

I love the fall season. It’s my favorite time of year. The weather gets a bit crisp, like a ripe apple! It’s relaxing and enjoyable to welcome the changing seasons, but really only when you don’t have small children running and screaming through the moment. I have children, so I can’t just sit out on the back patio for hours and breathe in a cool old fashioned while watching (or imagining, as we do here in San Diego) leaves fall from the trees. Because as soon as my cocktail holding derriere hit the patio furniture, Mushie would already be trouncing through the yard picking, stomping, (or heaven forbid, tasting) dog poopies. (I swear she’s convinced they’re truffles…I digress.)

Sorry, back to the apples. We wanted to return to the Raven Hill apple orchard in Julian, CA that we had first visited way back in 2012. (We missed the apple orchards last year due to a complication called a 9-month old baby.)  After perusing the old internet this year, we learned that Raven Hill didn’t exist anymore. But in exactly the same place, there was an orchard called Volcan Valley Apple Farm.  (I know. I know. First our favorite orchard was on a hill…now, it’s in a valley…it’s all about perspective, I guess.) We punched the location into the GPS and early Saturday morning, we headed for the hills, er, valley.

Three things I learned while making the one hour and nineteen minute trip on the winding roads up to Julian, California:

  1. An hour in the car with small children can feel like three.
  2. Having two people in the car with motion sickness is worse than one. (Worm inherited this from his mother.)
  3. It wouldn’t be a normal weekend unless someone is crying inconsolably.

Once we arrived at our destination (and the altitude induced hypoxia kicked in), the smiles and laughter began. Worm and mommy got the color back in their faces and the woozy out of their legs. We walked the rows of tasty apples and hauled in three bags worth of the delicious (not to be confused with the genetically modified and tasteless red delicious) apples! Lucky for us, we showed up early in the season. The recent southern California droughts had left some orchards fruitless.

The day was turning out better than it had started, which is never a bad thing…and all without a flask of hard alcohol! I can’t say that it was the finest trip I’ve ever taken with the family, but it was memorable. Just like the landscape, our orchard experience this year had its ups and downs. But, the highest part was that my camera captured a really touching moment of the kids that is probably my finest work to date. I found it absolutely breathtaking (though, it didn’t quite make up for all of the crying and whining that day…).

This image speaks volumes more than my captions ever could.

This image speaks volumes more than my captions ever could.

Gavin – 36; Honeydaddy – 21 (In the muck and mire of day-to-day parenting, I know I forget to open my eyes and experience the present moment. You and your sister are doing your best to keep reminding me to do so. Please don’t give up on me.)



It was another quiet Tuesday morning…until the kids woke up. I thought I’d be a nice Honeydaddy and fix the kids some slow-cooked homemade apple cinnamon oatmeal with the apples we picked last weekend. (That post hasn’t been written yet! Oops!) That was my first mistake…making a nice breakfast, not writing the apple picking post. Cooking oatmeal means being able to stand over the stove and making sure it doesn’t burn. The little apes ones were on full throttle as soon as they opened their eyes. Once set free from their pens, neither would stay anywhere within eye and earshot of me. Since Mushie is a magnet for trouble, I kept having to run back into the bedrooms to drag her out (kicking and screaming) to the living room, where I could better gauge her wandering curiosity.  (There is a reason why some parents, such as myself, love and cherish highchairs with chains, er..constraints, I mean…safety buckles…)

After 45 minutes of this type of multitasking, the food was done. I was not-quite-so-happy to be able to corral the feral chickens sweeties and give them a tasty, healthy meal. And before he even got the first spoonful, Worm wailed about how much he didn’t like it. I’d never made this apple cinnamon version before, but Worm was certain that my oatmeal was disgusting and worthy of a bucket full of tears. He refused to sample it and thwarted my attempts to pry his raptor claws hands from over his mouth. It was only after I distracted him with moving pictures on the TV, that I was able to shovel some gruel into him. He then asked for more and gobbled up the rest of his serving. Ridiculous. After filling his belly, I asked Worm if he had learned anything from his folly.  I drew a blank stare.

In an effort to cheer up the children, I thought to myself “Hey, wouldn’t it be a great idea to take the kids to the zoo?  We could discuss how eerily similar raising children are to keeping wild animals!” So we tried to get dressed and leave.  Now in our house, it takes anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes to get the kids and myself ready to go anywhere.  This time it was bordering on 60. Lots of whining about putting on clothes.  Mushie didn’t want a clean diaper. Worm forgot how to dress himself. No one wanted to wear shoes. I wrangled one slippery weasel child to get it clothed while the other one paraded around the house leaving a trail of toys behind. (A stun gun would really help maintain the order. My guess it that with a couple of short, but powerful zaps, I could dress the kids, pack snacks, and pile everything in the car in less than 20 minutes.)

The trip to the zoo was less than lovely. I’d hate to give the impression that toddlers cry for no reason whatsoever. So, I believe Mushie was overwhelmed by the whole ISIS crisis. She cried until she was out of tears…which just so coincided with the entire ride there…

I buckle Mushie and Worm to the wagon and by the time we get inside the zoo, it was hot!  So, more whining and crying ensued. I explained to the kids that when it takes almost 3 hours to eat breakfast, get dressed and leave the house that the day doesn’t wait for us. I drew two blank stares.

The third mistake was entirely mine. We had a brief moment of proverbial sunshine when Worm told me he loved me and that he wanted to ride the Skycar. I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. I thought it was a breakthrough and that the tides were turning! We rode the Skycar and it was actually a smiling, 3 minute event for all of us. But then we landed.

I can summarize the rest of the zoo trip below. This is immediately after we landed the Skycar on the other side of the zoo:

  • Worm screamed in tears “Hold me! Hold me!” until I carried him. There was no other choice.
  • Mushie screamed “Ho we! Ho we!” which means the same as “Hey, lanky asshat! I’m not interested in walking around anymore. Hold me now!” So now I was carrying both kids and the diaper bag. (In case you were wondering, the kiddie wagon was parked at the other side of the zoo, where we got on the Skycar. It was too big to fit inside.)
  • We stopped to see the elephants. I put both kids down. Tears. “Hold me! Ho we!” played in the background as I mentally twisted the words into a lovely melody. The song lasted until other people started staring. I picked them up and walked on.
  • We stopped to see the tapirs. I put the kids down. I could barely feel my biceps, but the Worm didn’t care. More tears. “I’m hungry! Eat! Eat! I don’t want that! Noooo!” I explain to Worm that I left my magic wand at home and couldn’t make his requested foods jump out of the diaper bag.
  • We stopped to see the camel. I ask Worm to walk a bit because my arms needed a break. He said HIS legs were tired and proceeded to scream, cry, and jump around me in circles to get me to carry him further. It was the oddest display of toddler fatigue I’d ever witnessed. I picked him up again and trudged on.
  • I decided to go for the trump card and offered both children lollipops, but ONLY IF THEY WALKED PART OF THE WAY back to the wagon. It worked for the Worm. But I spoke too soon and retrieved only a single pop from the diaper bag. Smushter felt like she got the short end of the stick. So now it was her turn to scream and cry.
  • I flipped that damn diaper bag inside out hunting for a second lollipop all while questioning why I left the house, why I try to care for children without my liquor flask, and why I had children in the first place…
  • I found a second lollipop and all became right in the world with each of them…and I began to feel the sensation in my arms coming back to me.

Children have a way of ruining experiences that leave an indelible mark on your psyche. Now when I hear the words “Do you want to go to the zoo?”, I cringe and think to myself “I wake up inside the zoo every day. I just open my eyes and I’m smack dab in the middle of the chimpanzee exhibit.”

I can’t believe you read this far…or maybe you just scrolled down to see the pictures. (Mom, I’m talking to you.)

A Picture of the Beau...Um...Special Children in My Life.

A Picture of the Beau…Um…Special Children in My Life.

Gavin – 35; Honeydaddy – 21 (Why do you want me to suffer, Worm? Why?)

As the kids get older, I’m starting to work more. Hold on. Let me step back for a second. It’s difficult for me to work more than I do as a parent. What I mean is that I’m doing other activity besides changing diapers and cooking toddler food. Yes, I had a life and job before they came and I’m very interested in resuming some of those activities again. Very.

So this past weekend, I went off to a business event.  I left early on Friday morning and returned in time to pick up the kids from daycare the following Monday afternoon. I was missing in action for almost 4 full days.

I didn’t tell the Worm that I was leaving and I didn’t tell him when I was coming back. He’s at an age where he understands quite a bit, but the man-made concept of time doesn’t trigger much neuronal activity. So what did I do? I made the choice not to tell Worm about my trip. I mean, why would I want to stress the little guy both before I leave as well as while I’m gone, right? Right? Please tell me I’m right.

The situation didn’t pan out as well as I had hoped. It turns out that Worm arose Friday morning to find no one resembling the chiseled, dashingly handsome and debonair Honeydaddy anywhere. He missed me. Deeply. And his world fell apart every day that he didn’t find me hiding in the closet, under the couch cushions, or behind the coffee table.  (I missed him too, but I played with my cell phone all weekend to distract myself from the emotional roller coaster of reality.)

Worm and I are best friends. Every day, he tells me that he loves me. Every day, I hug him and let him know how proud I am of him. Every day, I tell him that I love him in a way that he could never question. Except for last weekend. And Worm wasn’t quite himself. Sure, his mother was there to hold him, and squeeze him, and love him.  But that’s her relationship with the Worm, not mine. She can’t take the place of me, just as I couldn’t take her’s. The human heart just doesn’t allow us to replace one another that way.

So this week when I returned to my normal daddy duties and doodies, I was reminded of how much a part of that little boy’s life I have become. I’m a fixture to the Worm.  Not like a lightswitch, but more like a TV with Curious George episodes playing on it.  I’m important.

Worm’s been afraid to take his afternoon nap, and though he hasn’t said it, I believe he’s fearful that I won’t be home when he wakes up. During what should be his nap time, he pokes his head out in the living room every 10 minutes to check on me by saying “I just want to give you a hug.” or “I want to give you a mooch.” This has been going on for over an hour a day. He fears that if he closes his eyes for too long, I’ll disappear.

Worm’s still not quite recovered from my trip. (Neither am I, by the way.) So I’m working to repair the damage I did by supplying extra hugs and kisses to him.

I don’t know where to go with this one. This is a tough spot. I know that I’ll be doing more weekend events, but I’m still not sold on telling Worm that I’ll be gone since he only understands two forms of time: right now and not right now. Maybe I’ll just give up on working and retire now.  Maybe I’ll take the Worm with me to events to run the cash register or something.  Or maybe I’ll help Worm disconnect from emotional suffering by getting him a cell phone.

Worm, That's an Interesting Sleeping Face...

Worm, That’s an Interesting Sleeping Face…


It’s official. The Worm has wiggled his way out of his wormhole and into the still of the night.

I’m assuming that the majority of crib escapes happen under complete darkness.  As a parent, I imagine rolling over in the middle of the night and opening my eyes to note the time on the bedside clock.  Instead of numbers, I see a set of piercing eyes hovering 3 feet off the ground. I jump to the other side of the mattress and huddle behind my wife to protect my body and limbs from attack.  I look harder and see disheveled hair and a shiny object.  I yelp…in a manly way…as a signal for everyone in the house to wake up and run for safety. Then I realize that it’s only the Worm, who is standing there clutching a night-night book with a reflective mirror cover.  It’s not Chucky coming to take my life, but my own child who has broken out of his cage crib.

Worm’s clever.  He’s been milking this crib thing for all it’s worth.  The dude’s so big now that if he leaned over the railing, he’d probably fall out.  I tried to teach him how to climb out about 6 months ago, but he wasn’t having any of it.  He feigned weakness and lack of coordination.  It was a very believable, Oscar quality performance.  I bought it hook, line, and sinker.  I left the idea alone afterwards.

Realistically, there’s no reason for him to leave, once he’s put to bed.  Every beckon call is immediately answered with a “Yes, sir? More ice for your water? Could we bring you some games for your evening pleasure? Or perhaps a night time book? A song? 10 touch-me’s? A foot rub? Maybe we could offer you some freshly peeled and sliced apples?”  When he calls to use the potty, he’s answered within seconds.  Sometimes, he’ll get carried straight to the bathroom toilet, his feet never having to touch the floor.  Some people will pay big money for this kind of room service…and I think he knows he’s getting it for free!

He’s 3 and a half now. It’s probably about time for him to move out of the crib and into a bed. Some people think we waited too long, others think we should wait until he’s 18.  I’m just happy I got to be the first to see him climb out. He just called me into his room to take him to the potty, and I was standing there talking to him. He flashed a wry smile and began to survey his surroundings. Then all of a sudden, he hoisted himself up and out.  As I said before, this is something that I think most parents don’t get to see when it happens the very first time. So, I think it’s pretty cool.  Seeing the pride in his face as he successfully swung both legs over the top and plunked each foot down on the carpet of freedom was awesome. We exchanged high fives, cigars and discussed other techniques should he ever find himself trapped inside a crib against his own will.

I got video of the encore presentation, as I was clapping and screaming for more!  He did not disappoint. BTW, we are still working on doing pee pee and poopie on the same potty visit.

Gavin – 34; Honeydaddy – 21 (I think we each should get a point here.  Worm gets one point for taking advantage of his free crib service.  I’ll take a point for being in the right place at the right time! It’s time to convert the crib to a bed…)

Keep Drinking Green Juice Worm, and You’ll Get Those Bumpy Muscles You’ve Been Asking About!

Green juice is all the rave nowadays…well, with the health conscious crowd anyways.  I’ve been drinking my own personal twist on green juice for a couple years now and have perfected the recipe.  It’s chock full of vitamins, minerals, and calories.  Yes, calories.

I’m active.  I workout a lot.  It’s mainly because I need the strength and stamina to carry babies, bags, and dogs day in and day out.  And sometimes I need a quick way to consume calories because someone’s screaming, someone needs a diaper change, or someone’s trying to jump off the coffee table without a cape…or sometimes all three.

It was only a couple months ago that I said to myself “Self, wouldn’t it be awesome if Worm loved Green Juice as much as I do?”  So I tried it on him…and he drank all of it!  I gave some to Smushie too.  She loved it too!  (For her, it doesn’t mean as much since she eats anything within arm’s length.)  I figured I was on to something.

I could finally get my kids to eat kale, spinach, flax, chia, and more?!  And they could get easily absorbed nutrients and healthy fiber from real food instead of gummy vitamins?

Here is probably the finest green juice recipe for you and your children, especially those picky kids that could use the calories to grow, grow, grow!  Oh yeah, it’s dairy free for those with lactose intolerance.

You’ll need a blender and a coffee grinder.  Calories are in brackets.


  • 1 cup organic carrot juice   [70]
  • 2 cups organic unsweetened almond milk or almond/coconut milk   [80]
  • 1/2 cup organic oatmeal [75]
  • 1 large handful organic greens (kale, chard, spinach, mizuna) [20] (You can use your favorite greens!)
  • 1/2 Tbsp ground black sesame seed [10]
  • 1 Tbsp organic chia seed [60] (Put in coffee grinder with flax seed and grind until fine)
  • 1 Tbsp organic flax seed [45]
  • 1 cup Serious Mass weight gainer [600]
  • 1/2 organic apple [50] (Remove the seeds and core)
  • 1 medium organic banana [110]
  • 2 Tbsp organic hemp protein [60]  (I like the cocoa flavored one!)
  • 1 Tbsp organic unsweetened almond butter [90]
  • 1 Tbsp organic unsweetened peanut butter [100]
  • 1 Tbsp organic coconut oil [100]
  • 1/2 Tbsp organic molasses [30]
  • TOTAL CALORIES = [1500]


Put 8oz carrot juice and 16 oz milk in blender.  Add 1/2 cup oatmeal and huge handful of greens.  Blend on high for a minute.

Put 1/2 tablespoon of sesame seed and 1 tablespoon of chia seed, and 1 tablespoon of flax seed in coffee grinder and grind until fine.  I buy the whole seed because the natural oils don’t degrade as quickly as if you bought pre-ground stuff.  Add ground seeds to blender.

Add 1 cup weight gainer, if you so choose to.  Blend on high for a minute.  (For me and my skinny little son, the extra calories are awesome!)

Add 1/2 apple and banana.  Add 2 tablespoons of hemp protein.  Add 1 tablespoon each of almond butter and peanut butter.  Add 1/2 tablespoon of molasses to sweeten if you wish.  Blend everything on high for two minutes to get a nice thick frothy drink!

NOTES:  It must be kept in the refrigerator, preferably in a closed container!  The MVG Super Green Juice only lasts about 48 hours.  After that it starts to go bad…yes, that’s what happens to real food.  It goes bad quickly.  So drink up!

It’s not quite green in color, but its still pretty darn good!

It just oozes healthiness!  It's like Richard Simmons and Arnold Schwarzenegger in a cup!

It just oozes healthiness! It’s like Richard Simmons and Arnold Schwarzenegger in a cup!

I loved the round belly on my baby Smush (11)

It used to be bigger to match her plump tush. (11)

But then she stretched out, and so did her tummy.

Hugs became puny, not nearly so yummy.

One thing had remained, though.  Her huge appetite

Still flourished and shined like a beacon of light.


The question I ask “Would it be fair for me

To stuff those sweet cheeks and grow back that belly?”

I gave her a burger today with some fries,

Believing the meal was too great for her size.

She hoisted the burger with one hand, then two.

I pitied the cow when I heard it go “Moo!”


“Calories!”, the reply, of the question “What

Could recapture my glee when tickling her gut?”

Bring burgers and fries, with some hotdogs and cheese

‘Til my Mushie’s a Meatball again!  Oh, please!


Am I nuts for wanting to squeeze baby pudge,

Before Smush grows up and gets lanky?  Don’t judge

Me for relishing and savoring this time.

She’ll mature so quickly, then show me that I’m

a silly old man holding on to memories.


Usually one would make that face after the first bite, not the fifth one!

Usually one would make that face after the first bite, not the fifth one!





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