Archives for posts with tag: Stay-at-home dad

I’m not the best photographer in the world.  (If you’ve seen my blog photos, you’d never mistake me for a professional.) I’d say that I’m in the lower tier of picture takers, about two steps above “How do I turn this thing on?”

So when I had to take the kids somewhere to get official passport photos done, I put great faith in their abilities to take an excellent picture. I mean, if you have a big freaking sign on your window saying ‘PASSPORT PHOTOS HERE’, I have no choice but to imagine that there’s some degree of competency in this field.  As I would find out later, my imagination needed to stretch a whole lot more….

Store 1 (A fairly popular franchise postal store) –

“Hi, I’d like to get some passport photos done.”

“Ok, come with me.”

“Well, it’s for my kids.”

“Oh, we don’t do children passport photos.”

“Um, why?”

“They’re features are smaller and harder to get on film.”

“Ah, ok.” (Translation: I think they’ve been adequately capturing children on film for over 100 years, but maybe those were baby gorillas. I don’t know.)


Store 2 (An even more popular postal, printing, and shipping store)

“Hi, I’d like to get some passport photos done for my kids.”

“Sure, we do that. Hold on while I get the camera.”

She pulls out a big gray box the size of a bowling ball and leads us to the white screen. It takes her a minute to set up and I focus on trying to get my kids to smile for the shot. They smile beautifully and I’m excited to be done with this before lunch time.

The box prints out the photos 2-3 minutes later. (It was a knockoff Polaroid.) I think about how amazing it is to have the technology of that big camera packed into a cell phone…and then I see the pictures that came out.

“Sir, the images are too light.”

“Well, can you set it up so that it adjusts the white balance automatically?”

“I really don’t know how to use this camera.”

“So, what do I do? I thought you guys did passport photos?”

“Well, you can go to XYZ and have them do your photos. We won’t charge you for these.”

“Ok, thanks.” (Translation: Really? You’re not charging me for photographically removing my son’s nose and daughter’s shoulders. That’s kind of you!)


Store 2 and the mysteriously disappearing body parts…


Store XYZ (The holy f’ing grail of passport photography)

“Hi, I’d like to get some photos of my kids for passports”

“Ok, follow me.”

He pulls out a standard point and shoot digital camera, you know, the kind people would carry in their purse or pocket before the phone cams’ drastically improved. I think to myself “Well, it’s better than the last camera we saw. At least this one uses transistors instead of vacuum tubes.” and we walk over to the familiar white screen.

“Now you sit right there. Great.” Click!

“Now you can come over and sit down here where your brother was. Great.” Click!

Um, WTF? No direction. No smile. No prep. No anything. If I didn’t prompt my kids to smile, it could have been much worse…no, actually it couldn’t get any worse. They both look like they’ve eaten a handful of rotten brussel sprouts.


They’re cringing from so much happiness.

I was pretty damn angry at this point. The dude didn’t even look at the photos he snapped. Nonchalantly, he rang up the total. I paid the $26 bucks for the photos and left, knowing that I shouldn’t have paid a cent for them. But had I stayed in XYZ one more minute, I likely would have grabbed a toilet brush from the shelf and crammed it into this fella’s ass ear. My head was going to explode. It was now lunch time and I had just spent 2 hours trying to get some pro passport photos of my kids realizing that my dog could do better…and he’s got no thumbs.

We finally had to make an appointment with a “government subsidized” postal company and even after the lady’s exacting methods of chin tucking and head tilting, the official shots still look better when viewed in complete darkness.

The bar is now set really low for the kids’ next passport pics. On the bright side, we’re ready for a real family trip out of the country!




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.)



…our candy haul would be huge!

I looove Halloween.  It’s my favorite holiday.  The candy is the best part, but I’m too old (and have been for some time) to seriously knock on doors for any of that stuff anymore.  Last year, Steph and I took the Worm (and a still-baking-in-the-oven Smushie) out.  I went as a businessman-turned-worn-out-stay-at-home-dad.  My disheveled hair, unkempt beard, stained gray sweatpants and sandals garnered me zero treats, even though the idea was original and my garb, tres authentique.  (A bum on the street did feel sorry for me, though.  He tossed me a nickel and half a jelly sandwich to raise my spirits.)  Our stroll around the block (without our generous friend) brought me back to the good old days.

I miss my prepubescent Halloween excursions where I’d hang out with friends all evening and come home just before midnight with the fruits (yeah, ‘fruits’) of my labor, a pillowcase full of yummy, gummy, gooey, chocolatey, fudgy sweets.  I still remember getting the post-Halloween sugar rush that gave me powers to bounce off bedroom walls, leap over creeks in a single bound, and pedal my bike through my neighborhood for hours with no rest.  I was a superhero every November.

I want that feeling again. (Is this my mid-life crisis?)  And this time, I am prepared to use my daughter as a pawn in my plot to relive some of my childhood!

Kit-Kats!  Reese’s!  Blow-Pops!

Airheads, Nerds and Pop-Rocks!


I don’t cares!

Gimme all you got!

If I can get the Smushels to stand all by herself in front of a door wearing a cute costume, she’ll score some serious loot.  That’s certain.  Who wouldn’t want to treat a sweet little baby showing off her best trick?  On the other hand, if I’m holding Smush as we go up to knock on doors, she’ll get worthless smiles and a bunch of un-belly-filling “Aw, what a cute baby!” looks.  People will think she’s too young to eat junk food and withhold their delectable bounty.  I think any of us that went trick-or-treating on Halloween knows that the amount of candy you get is inversely proportional to your size (and/or amount of facial hair).  Smushie is at the prime size to rake in some serious junk food for us, but only if she’s in a vertical position.  So I’m working on her balance skills, Bela Karolyi style, which means 8 hours a day on a balance beam.  (Wobbling is fine.  It will actually enhance the candy receiving effect.)

If you’re thinking that I’m taking advantage of my daughter, you’d be wrong.  We have a deal.  She poops.  I wipe.  She pulls my neck skin.  I scream.  This is just an addendum to our current contract:

CLAUSE 49 – Smush works for Halloween candy.  I eat it.

Besides, what candy can she eat with only two teeth?  The single possibility is the “candy that melts in your mouth and not in your hand” (and that’s a choke hazard for her age group).  Everything else requires some choppers (or dentures), neither of which she has quite yet.  So, to make sure our hard-earned chocolates don’t go to waste, I’ll do the honors!

Is this going to be the greatest Halloween in 20+ years for me?  Hell yes.  I’m only telling you guys this because YOU CAN’T STOP ME!  Halloween is back for Honeydaddy!  And for at least the next two years (hopefully three), Smushter will work hard at the end of October, only to wake up in November and not remember a thing.  All I have to do now, is convince Smush that the ground is a stable platform (unless there’s an earthquake).  She just has to stand there in costume and look pretty.  We’ve got less than a week before I’m literally taking candy from a baby…mu hu ha ha ha!

Smush, You Better Bring Your A-Game on Halloween!

Smush, You Better Bring Your A-Game on Halloween!

Some stay-at-home parents get me hot and bothered.  It’s mostly mothers, but it’s not in a good way.  (Maybe some of my female readership can help me understand why??)

We’re out somewhere and I happen to start a conversation with another parent about kids.  The standard opening line is, “Boy, you got your hands full.”  Yep, I do.  Worm still wants me to carry him everywhere and Smush can’t walk yet.  I literally do have my hands full whenever we go out in public!  (Worm specifically asks me to “hode bose babies” often and I usually comply.)  Half the time, I’ve got a dog leash dangling from my fingers as well…

Then the talk veers toward our respective kids and how they’re so difficult at this early age, etc.  But actually, mine are not.  And I say so.

“My kids are really well-behaved most of the time.  They’re just great kids.  We’re lucky for them.”, I tell the other parent.

All of a sudden, we’re no longer commiserating together.  I get the “you must be kidding me” slightly-drop-jawed stare as they’re wondering how I’m carrying 50lb of kids, 40lb of gear and a 27.5 tooth grin.  The other parent quickly ends the conversation with a backhanded, “Well, I hope they’re great kids as teenagers!  JOHNNY, get your ass over here right now!”, or something to that effect, and scurry off towards their brood.

I’m standing there thinking to myself, “WTF?  That was awkward.  Do I have vomit on myself?”, and I check my shirt, my fingernails and slyly whiff my armpits.  I’ve upset yet another parent from something I’ve said.  It happens way more often than I’d like, but this particular scenario really irritates me.  I’m not bragging or trying to be pompous about my son and daughter.  If you want me to show off, watch me toss my kid 20ft  in the air and catch him behind my back.  I’ve got two wonderful babies and I shouldn’t be made to feel ashamed about it.

Now I need to get this off my non-lactating chest and I’m sorry if I offend anyone.

First off, this isn’t a competition.  The fact that my kids are well-behaved and yours aren’t, shouldn’t shatter your probably unrealistic idea of motherhood (or fatherhood. But I’ve never, and I say never, had a father try to make me feel like a putz for mentioning I have happy, pleasant tots.)  We’re two different people raising different children.  It’s like comparing your apples to my coconuts.  (I’m really into coconuts right now.)

Secondly, I’m not saying that you are incapable of handling your own kids.  I don’t think you’re doing a poor job and I won’t report you to child services for your inability to properly care for a dependent…maybe (unless, of course, your kid steals my wallet.)

Thirdly, don’t believe that I don’t have to work hard because my kids are well-behaved.  And don’t assume that it’s all balloons and birthday cakes with me.  I work damn hard at listening to my children and understanding their needs.  Paying attention can be just as exhausting as getting angry.

Fourthly (if it’s a word), I find it upsetting that some women are still surprised that a man can raise children just as well, if not better than, a woman.  (The internet is a vast ocean of knowledge.  Thank you, Al Gore!) Stay-at-home dads are not as much of a rare bird as they used to be, and fathers can step up to the proverbial child-rearing plate as much as moms, producing some damn fine progeny.

Fifthly, I’m not judging you as a parent.  I’m dealing with enough issues in my own life to worry about anyone else.  We parents all have our struggles and no situation is black and white.  I don’t understand your entire position, so don’t talk to me for 5 minutes and assume you understand mine.  Besides, the worst parent is one that doesn’t want to be there for their children.  As long as that’s not either of us, we’re both probably doing ok.

I find it sad that some people think their offspring are more trouble than fun.  I think it’s too bad that they have a hard time parenting them and enjoying it.  But please don’t try to make me feel embarrassed because my children are agreeable and I look like I got my stuff together.

My sippy cup is not half-empty, not half-full, but completely full.  My kids are lovely human beings.  All the time.  And I’m not going to apologize for that.  I will continue to be thankful for them.  Good or bad is not the important quality here.  Worm and Smush are mine and I love them for being my children.  I’m doing the best I can and trying to make lemonade out of the lemons tossed my way.  (No, really.  Try our MVG Strawberry Lemonade recipe this summer!)  And I hope that lemonade continues to fill my sippy cup to the top.  Cheers!

Look Happy, Dammit!

Look Happy, Dammit!

The old adage goes, “Of all the thing I’ve lost, I miss my free time the most.”.  (Yes, that’s a period before an end quote followed by a period.  I’m rearranging the rules of punctuation to make sense to myself.)  In the parenting world, the phrase rings true for many.  I was recently smacked with an oar and hauled into that very boat.

The wife and I talked about all of the personal things I would be giving up to stay home with the children.  Things like my career, my extra paychecks, my hobbies, my exercise routine (hello daddy dumpling!), my sanity.  I didn’t believe her when she said it two years ago.  And I was able to fend off the truth up until 4 months ago when the stork dropped little Smush onto our doorstep.

These days, I’m chasing children from 7am to 10:30pm.  (Smush caps her night with some warm milk and late night news.  If she could put herself to bed, the rest of us wouldn’t wait up.)  During a standard day, I don’t get more than 10 minutes overlap where both children are napping and those wistfully silent minutes are used to wipe my own behind.  Every day is go-go-go with only the random pause to look down and examine a fresh shirt stain.  As you can probably guess, outside of those kid-friendly hours, my ‘free’ time is spent snoring into and slobbering onto my lucky pillows.  Probably not the most productive way to spend my time, but I can’t think of anything else that prepares me as well for the following fast-paced day.

I don’t look much past the present moment anymore.  I take one day at a time.  It appeases my zen side and teases my type A persona.  (Much of the reason for me to start this MevsGavin blog was to assuage my overly demanding, self-critical, workaholic tendencies.)  And as I’ve surrendered almost all of my self-defining practices to my two time vortices (or vortexes as they say in Sedona), I’m doing my best to hold MVG together.  It’s the only real way that I can peer at the stars of my day without letting their light disappear into the black hole of child rearing monotony.  Because in my current state of mind, if I don’t write it down, it will be lost and never recalled again.  (Besides, writing keeps me off the streets and out of the bars at night.)

I’ve taken a breather from MevsGavin, not by choice, but by necessity.  Trying to find a clear head at midnight to write about the new developments of Worm and Smush has been difficult, even when I’ve soaked my neurotransmitters in spirits.  (It just puts me to bed sooner!)  I seldom can spare a few minutes to sit at my typewriter (it sounds more bona fide than laptop) let alone feed myself adequately.  And being a slow thinker, a few minutes amounts to a puff of smoke from my ears and a sputter of hand twitches in the general direction of my keyboard.  My time would be better spent pounding my head against a wall as that would offer a tangible result for my effort.

Though, in my unexpected hiatus, I realized how much this blog vocalizes my laughter and sheds my tears.  It’s an extension of myself in words and images.  It’s an expression of my life with kids.  My definition is that of a father now.  (I still haven’t completely wrapped my mind around the idea that Steph and I made people!)  And I’m a father first, before anything else in my life.  Maybe a few years from now, when we’re all a little older and moving a little more slowly, I’ll have some free time to look back and see what was happening at the time my babies were babies.  But for now, there’s just no time to fit anything else in.

They Don't Even Have Time to Take a Picture With Dear Old Honeydaddy...Go, go, go.

You Guys Can’t Even Sit Still For a Half of a Second?

This is the face he made when I told Worm that he could catch a “case of the Mondays”.

Relax, Worm.  Mondays Only Lasts 24 Hours.

Relax, Worm. Mondays Only Lasts 24 Hours.

June 2011

Can I Wipe My Nose on Your Shoulder, Dad?

Can I Wipe My Nose on Your Shoulder, Dad?

We’re all incredibly sick this week,    (9)

Save for the two with the canine physique.    (10)

One with a hack and a cough so loud,

That the force of it stirs a small dust cloud.

Snot from a nose so tiny, it’s odd

To see such outpouring. Wad after wad.

Another has fallen, now his dad.

No strength from his arms, nor stamina had.

Sickness of both sore throat and green phlegm,

Plus stuffy nose to accompany them.

Mother has had a fever of late.

A temperature rise that wouldn’t abate.

The suffering mom, in a woeful state,

Rested all day long to get herself straight.

And the youngest of all, a wee tot

Sprung a leak in her eye, I kid you not!

It’s not so bad yet, though it is red.

Please stay well.  We’ve no more room in our bed!

Worm, you’re the one that brought the germs in,

And shared them so gladly with all your kin.

Your mouth should not lick everything dear.

Else we’ll suffer again like this.  You hear?

%d bloggers like this: