Wednesday, September 28, 2011

City Park

We took the kids to City Park in New Orleans this past Sunday, courtesy of some Groupons Betty bought.  We went smack dab in the middle of the Saints game, which actually worked out well for us as everyone was at the Superdome instead of the park, and the people at City Park were kind enough to provide us with a TV so I could watch the game instead of my kids.

Pic:  Went to City Park to watch TV

The irony of me bringing the kids to a park only to watch TV is not lost on me.

City Park is pretty cool.  It's actually not just a park - it has several parts to it.  One part is like Dixie Landin' in Baton Rouge, and has a Ferris wheel, a merry-go-round, and rides that make old people like me want to puke.  The other part is called Story Land, and it's amazing - it's like a living fairy tale land, but everything is kid-sized.

Inside Story Land, we saw Captain Hook's pirate ship with Peter Pan fighting Hook in the crow's nest, the three little pigs and their houses, the little old woman who lived in a shoe, and Snow White.  We also saw Humpty Dumpty, and I have to say, the wall he was sitting on wasn't all that high.  Either the wall's actual height is being misrepresented here, or Humpty Dumpty is just a huge puss.

Pic:  Humpty Dumpty

My daughter Anne especially loved seeing Snow White.  Not only did Anne give Snow White a couple kisses to try to wake her up, but she also copped a feel.  Needless to say, I was a proud papa.

Pic:  Getting a feel

 Anne found a statue of a garden gnome tucked away in some bushes.  The gnome was short and fat, and if it would have had a unibrow I would have sworn it was one of my cousins.

Pic:  My cousin the gnome

Story Land was fun, but it was kind of risque as well, although I guess you'd expect that in New Orleans.  For example, the three little pigs wore jackets but no pants.  That indicates to me that they knew about clothing, but decided to just let their piggly wigglies dangle.

Pic:  Piggy wigglies!

Who could blame them?  It was hot outside.

Next, on Captain Hook's pirate ship, the figurehead was a naked, golden woman.  I'm pleased to say that Betty's aunt pointed this one out.  Good eye, Auntie!

Pic:  Jugs Aquatic

Last, a mermaid was sunning herself on a rock, and wasn't wearing any clams over her hoo-hoos.  I still don't understand why mermaids have breasts, unless mermaids are basically monotremes (mammals that lay eggs, like a platypus).  If that's the case then that would definitely firm up the case for jugs.

Pic:  Jugs Aquatic, Part Deux

We ended our day having a picnic inside City Park.  Technically you're not supposed to bring in any outside food or drink.  But looking at this picture, you can plainly see that we brought in boatloads of our own food.

Pic:  Picnic!

We were able to do this because City Park is staffed by well-meaning but naive teenagers, and has several entrances and exits.  So when one staff member at one entrance told us that we couldn't bring our own ice chests inside the park, we told her, "Of course we can.  The people at the other entrance said we could." 

Just remember:  to be successful at tricking the people at City Park into letting you bring in your own food, you have to speak with confidence.  If your eyes start to shift or you mumble a lame excuse, you'll have to lug all your food back to the car.  Confidence is the key!  The same is true for when you tell your kids that it's time to leave City Park.  Never let them see you sweat, or you'll be eaten alive.

Thanks for the memories, City Park!  See you next time!

Monday, September 19, 2011

My Weekend with the Kids

Betty went to Houston last week for a bachelorette party for one of our good friends, leaving me home alone with the kids.  It was my first time alone with both kids for an entire day, much less two days.

And I rocked as a single parent!  Who knew that I was Super Dad?

For starters, I told the kids that they could do whatever they wanted and that the only reason why they couldn't normally eat ice cream for breakfast, lunch, dinner and all seven snack times was because Mommy wouldn't let them.  I let them - no, I made them - watch TV all day and stay up until midnight.  During the day I made them run around and play with every toy until they were exhausted, at which point I made them run around some more.  They slept very soundly, let's put it that way.

Well, I would have done all of that had my 3 year-old daughter let me.  But she knows better.  Annie might only be 29 pounds of hair and sass, but she was definitely in charge over the weekend.

For starters, she usually watches two TV shows (Curious George and Little Einsteins) in the morning and then goes to play with her toys.  So after two shows she let me know that it was time to turn the TV off.  That was good, I said, since that's what was on Mommy's list.  (Did I mention that Betty left me a schedule that I followed to a tee?  She has this house basically on auto-pilot. She's amazing!)

Next it was time to go outside.  Annie didn't like the clothes I picked out for Peter so she went into his room and got something else.  After I changed him, we played for a while outside while Annie instructed me when to push her on the swing and when to take care of my son, Peter.

Then it was inside for lunch.  "First we have to wash our hands," Annie told me.  I nodded, then passed the word onto Peter.  "Better wash your hands, little dude.  You don't want to get in trouble," I told him.  "She runs a tight ship."

I made peanut butter sandwiches for Anne and diligently cut them into heart shapes, using a heart-shape cookie cutter that Betty bought.  Anne likes that.  Maybe she likes it too much.  "One side is bigger than the other," she said, pointing out the obvious discrepancy where I ran out of bread while cutting the sandwich into a heart.  "I won't eat it.  Make me another."

Yes m'am!  Sheesh!

I found some green bean thingies in a bowl in the fridge, so I heated them up to be her vegetable.  Then I told her to "eat her green beans" to which she replied, "Those are not green beans, those are mah-may." I looked at them and realized she was right - they were edamame.  I had given her two proteins (peanut butter and edamame) instead of one protein and one vegetable.  I was in danger of straying from Mommy's list!

We played for a little while later until Annie told me that she was tired and was going to take a nap.  But first she told me that she was going potty and then told me how many M & M's she was going to get for going potty like a big girl.  Anne is potty-trained, and will basically do anything for treats.  She's like a dog that's been to obedience school - won't do anything unless there's a treat for her involved in it.  But she's so cute (and is really a great little girl) that we can't help but to give her her "Yem Yems" as she calls them.

Peter napped, Annie napped, and sweet little Daddy napped.  Oh, it was so nice to nap!  Peter hadn't taken his morning nap and so was extra cranky all morning, but was a little better after his afternoon nap.  It was tiring (but fun!) taking care of the kids, but it was mentally exhausting taking care of a cranky little boy all morning.

We ate a picnic dinner outside consisting of frozen chicken nuggets, fruit and whatever green thing I could find in the fridge.  I found some sliced honeydew melon and decided that since it was green that it also counted as a vegetable.  Annie didn't fuss at me, so I figured it was OK.

We skipped baths on Saturday night, read books and went to bed.  Daddy went to bed several hours early.  I kept in constant contact with Betty during the day, and even though she was out getting really drunk with her friends at the bachelorette party, she was apparently still sober enough to know that she shouldn't take a picture of her making out with one of her female friends and then sending the picture to me, despite how often I urged her to do so.

I woke up Sunday and realized that I had gone a full day of parenting my own children without anyone else's assistance - no wife (except for the schedule she had left me, plus all the food she had bought to stock up the pantry for the weekend), no parents (except for the food they had left us in the fridge), and no neighbors.  Just me.

It only took me three years to parent my own children for the entire day.  Let's hope I don't have to do it again for another three years.

Joking!  I loved every minute of it.  My kids are so awesome, and we had so much fun together, that I want to do it more often.  I realize more than ever how much Betty sacrifices her own time and energy for our family.  Nobody's better at taking care of us than she is, but I need to give her a break more often.  I didn't even multi-task during the day - I only washed one load of clothes and did one set of dishes over the course of two days.  Betty's done all that plus cleaned the entire house and paid all the bills in the time it's taken for me to write this blog post.

So I want to thank Betty for her selfless act of being a mom.  You don't get enough credit for what you do.  I love you so much.

Thanks, Annie, for keeping me in line while Mommy was gone.  You'll make a great mom one day.  You'll also be a great CEO of a Fortune 100 company one day, probably in the near future.

Thanks, Peter, for being so happy all weekend (except for a few hours when you didn't get your nap).  You were a blast!

Thanks to my parents and Betty's parents for letting me do this all by myself.  Even after 31 years, they're still parenting.  And sometimes being a parent means letting your kids figure things out for themselves.

Spending time with the kids was so much fun.  And now that Mommy's back home, I get to be one of the kids again.  Hurray for Daddy!

Monday, September 12, 2011

It's All Greek To Me

I haven't been blogging much lately, and I blame that on Ancient Greece.  Specifically, the TV show "Greek" and the Percy Jackson book series.

Betty and I just finished watching all 74 episodes of Greek on Netflix. Greek is about a brother and sister in the Greek system at their fictitious college, Cyprus-Rhodes University.  The sister, Casey Cartwright, is played by Spencer Grammer, who is interesting for two reasons: her name is Spencer, and her father is Kelsey Grammer.

Casey's brother, Rusty, is an incoming freshman majoring in Polymer Science, lives in the Honors Engineering dorm, is a huge nerd, and has just joined the best fraternities for parties.  It's fun to watch his character grow throughout the series, especially since I have a lot in common with Rusty's character, being a Computer Science major and yet a party animal in my fraternity. (Trivia answer:  My "party animal" spirit is a cow.)  It's like I was watching myself, but not how I usually do it, which involves mirrors, video, an intricate pulley system... really, you probably don't want to know about all of that.

Greek is comprised of 74 episodes at 43 minutes a pop. We never thought we'd get through the entire series when we started, then were really sad when it ended.  But when it did end, I moved onto my second reason to blame Ancient Greece for my lack of blogging:

The Percy Jackson book series.

If you haven't heard about the Percy Jackson series, it's sort of like the Harry Potter or Twilight series (as in, geared towards a younger audience that adults can also enjoy) but each chapter introduces the reader to a new Greek god, goddess, titan, monster, etc.  It's very well written, and what I love about it is that it makes the Greek pantheon and mythology really accessible to young readers.

By the way, if Zeus was the son of Cronus and Rhea, and Cronus and Rhea were both titans, why is Zeus considered a god and not a titan? Ten Tantrum Points to anyone who can answer that one.

I'm halfway through the Percy Jackson books, and we're completely done with Greek, so hopefully I'll blog more. But I can't promise anything, as I just got crushed in my first fantasy football game and need to spend the next week doing extra sit ups and push ups to get into better shape for the next match.

If you know of any other good TV, book or movie series regarding Ancient Greece, let me know!

Saturday, September 03, 2011

The Vacuuman!

I have a new superhero identity: The Vacuuman!

Or the Vac-Human, if you prefer. And what are my superpowers? Only one: I suck.

As in, I can generate a vacuum's suction, using my vacuum arms.

I terrify all dust bunnies on dry land as well as any dirt or food particles hidden away in the carpet!  And I blast hot air as I move throughout a room, keeping evil-doers at bay.  I contain my enemies in a bag-like prison until it's time to bring them to the Trash Can prison.

OK, so... I vacuumed today.  Vacuuming is supposed to be my job around the house because it takes absolutely no skill or concentration - basically, tasks that I am perfectly suited for.  But I hadn't vacuumed in several months and decided that it was time for me to do my husbandly duty.

But vacuuming is boring.  Like, really boring!  So I had to make up a game to keep myself entertained.

At one point I passed by the piano while vacuuming, and decided that I could play piano with one hand while vacuuming with the other.  That worked until Betty saw me and gave me a stern look.  I left the vacuum to suck the same plot of carpet for a few seconds while I played piano with both hands, then went back to cleaning the carpet.

I also Cajun-ized my house while vacuuming.  For instance, "carpet" became "car-pay" by making it a French word, "tile" became "till-aye", and "trash can" became "trash can, sha!"  (Adding "sha" or "cher" to the end of anything automagically makes it Cajun.)

And a vacuuming human became the Vacuuman.

As you can tell, I have nothing else to do except hunt dust down and destroy it while I also watch ESPN Game Day and wait for the LSU vs. Boregon game.

Look out, dust.  The Vacuuman is coming for you.