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Posts by pat:

    Goodbye Lunchbox

    May 14th, 2019

    Shit. I wish I had a good way to start this post, but I don’t. I tried about 10 different things, and they all suck. You’d think that somewhere in the last week (or months) a good lede would have come to me, but nothing has. Pretty much as long as Shae and I have been the Lorigans, Lunchbox has been a part of the family. He’s been with us through everything: the good, the bad, and everything in between. And now he’s not. Shit.

    I apologize in advance for the length of the rambling below. Lunchbox has been a huge part of our lives and I have a lot to say. Hard to believe, but Lunchbox is more than just a hilarious name even if that’s pretty much everyone’s initial reaction upon meeting him.

    Back on April 28th, 2007, Shae and I were focused on a little event called our wedding. While we were busy with BBQ, beer, horseshoes, and a margarita fountain (and that whole ceremony thing too, I guess), we had no way of knowing that about 400 miles away there was a completely separate event that would also shape the next 12 years of our lives. We wouldn’t find out until three months later, but while Shae and I were saying our vows and partying, the dog who would be named Lunchbox was being born in Ramona, CA.

    Like so many other things Shae and I have done, the decision to get a dog was made with almost no planning. From the day we’d moved into our house we had talked about getting a dog “someday”, but were never really serious about it. Then, one evening in July we saw a couple walking their dog and said, “Pretty dog! Screw it, let’s get a puppy!” An hour or so on Craigslist searching for Labrador puppies and a couple of emails later, we had an appointment to look at some pups. We drove to Ramona the next day to look at the Lab puppies and, shockingly, they were adorable. The smallest of the pups was ridiculously skinny, and clearly the other dogs took all of his food. Of course, as we interacted with the puppies the little guy was the one who came up to us and instantly bonded with Shae and me. There was no question, we’d found our dog. I wish there was some great story about the dog’s name, but honestly his name comes from a movie where someone called another character a “Tubby Lunchbox” and I thought Lunchbox would be a great name for a dog.

    We knew Lunchie was really scrawny, but it wasn’t until we looked back at photos that we realized just how dangerously skinny he was. It was a good thing we adopted him when we did, or who knows what would have happened to the guy. We started him in training about a week after we brought him home, and our trainer was appalled at how thin he was. Once we explained that he’d actually put on several pounds since we got him she decided not to report us for puppy starvation, but she still made sure to monitor the little guy’s growth. The first puppy class was somewhere between sad and hilarious. Lunchbox wanted so badly to play with the other puppies, but he was also terrified so he hid out under our chair and peed a lot. A week later he realized he was missing out on a great thing and he became the wild dog of puppy class. He’d go on to be a 2x Top Dog and get his Canine Good Citizenship certificate, but I’ll never forget his cowering under the chair the first day.

    For the first year and a half of his life, wherever we went the Box went with us. He was well known at Jitters (our neighborhood coffee shop) and Trolley Stop (our neighborhood deli). He was a huge “help” around the house on all of our projects, especially painting. We even took him with us on our annual camping trip to Death Valley. Because the rocks and ground were so hot, we got him some special hiking boots. He looked completely ridiculous, but for whatever reason he thought they were fun and just went crazy running around whenever we put them on him. Back in those days, Lunchbox was an occasional contributor to this blog (with a pretty foul mouth) and had his own Twitter account. Mr. Box would have been happy for things to continue on the way they were, but then in October of 2008 his life was thrown into chaos by the arrival of two tiny little people.

    From the day we brought Ella and Jackson home, Lunchbox was obsessed with them; they were HIS babies. He guarded them while they slept, and would sleep by their crib if they were crying. He even got to go on lots of walks around the neighborhood with the kiddos riding in their stroller. Sadly for the pup, over time the kids took more and more of our attention and he got less. Lunchie didn’t get to go everywhere with us like he used to, but I think he was happy with the trade to have his kiddos. Jackson, especially, had a special bond with his yellow dog and we could always count on Lunchbox to calm Jackson down if needed.

    We still aren’t entirely sure what happened, but in the summer of 2014 the Lorigan humans made a trip to Disneyland and left the Lorigan dog at his normal kennel. We don’t know if it was bad food, the ridiculous heat, some combination, or something completely different, but when we picked up LB from the kennel he was in awful shape. The kennel spun some story about him being sick when he got there, but that was complete bullshit (we obviously never took him or any dog back there and made sure to recommend against them to anyone who asked). He was severely dehydrated, and had several other issues. We took him to a 24-hour vet and got some fluids into him, but he still wasn’t great. Over the next few days, our pup seemed to get over the initial issues but he was having serious problems. Based on discussions with our vet, we were fairly certain LB had some pretty serious issues and only had a few weeks or (best case) months. We basically decided to just enjoy the time we had left, while also starting the search for our next pup. We thought if Lunchie could hold out until we got the puppy maybe he could pass on some of that great training (did I mention he was a 2x Top Dog?)

    Of course, we had no idea what was in store for us when we brought Whiskey into our home. I have no idea why, but bringing home a new pup seemed to completely revitalize Lunchbox. The second we brought her into the house he started jumping around and playing with her like he was young again. Shae and I were both shocked, it was like he jumped in a time machine. Over the next couple of weeks, LB was still our grumpy old man-dog, but most of his health issues just magically resolved themselves. I still have no clue why he turned around, but we have enjoyed the past five years with him.

    The move to Colorado was an adjustment for Lunchbox. He loved his new yard, but the stairs were not his jam (I’ll miss a lot of things about the Box, but the barking at the bottom of the stairs until he realized he could just walk up them won’t be one). Then there was his battle with a deer. Well, battle may be giving LB too much credit; the deer went after him while he was…ummm…relieving himself…and gave him a nice puncture in his side to go with bruises from being dragged around the yard. And, of course, the snow…oh the snow. Our San Diego dog had no interest in that white stuff. While Whiskey would run around having the time of her life in the snow, Lunchie just gave us his snow look, turned back around, and ran back in the house.

    Several times since the incident five years ago, Lunchbox has seemed like he was on his last legs and then managed to bounce back. About once a year we were prepped for the end and then a few days later he’d be back to his normal grumpy self. This time, he didn’t bounce back. After a rough week or so, last night Lunchie’s rear legs completely gave out and he was extremely uncomfortable all night. This morning, we took Lunchbox into the vet and had him put down. The vet was amazing at helping us deal with things, but Shae and I were still a complete mess.

    So, I guess that’s it. Lunchbox was an amazing member of our family and the perfect dog for us. Today is tough: the kids are crushed, Whiskey is confused, and Shae and I are just trying to hold it together. I can’t imagine life without him, but I guess we’re going to figure that out. I’ll miss him running to greet us with a sock in his mouth, even though the sock was buried under 10 of his toys. I’ll miss the looks from everyone around me when I yell out Lunchbox’s name in a crowded dog park. If I’m being honest, I’m even going to miss his stupid barking at the bottom the stairs.

    Thanks, Lunchbox. Sleep well, buddy.

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    The Lorigans Move (The Shit Show Continues!)

    July 4th, 2017

    Warning: This post is going to be long. Way too much crazy shit happened during our move process and I don’t want to leave any of the “good” stuff out, so if you don’t have some time to spend reading right now maybe save this for the next time you need to spend a while in the bathroom. 

    Spoiler Alert: We made it to Colorado Springs and got moved into our house. Now that that’s out of the way, enjoy.

    Sunday (6/18):
    Well, we’re finally starting our trip to Colorado Springs! First stop: Las Vegas. Of course, being us, nothing could be easy so we’ve spent the last two weeks in Lockwood (Shae and kiddos) and Lompoc (me) because the movers came and packed up all of our stuff at the end of May. Rather than spend weeks on air mattresses with no clothes we decided to move out of our house and start the adventure early.Things actually went relatively well packing up and getting on the road. Shae and I only had one minor spat during packing (seriously, how do you leave a load of laundry to do until 9 PM the night before we leave??), which anyone who has ever watched us pack up a tent should find amazing. Since we have two cars to get to Colorado, we are caravanning: Shae has the kids, dogs, and most of our stuff and I have…well…silence and a calm drive.Of course, we picked travel dates that happened to align with a crazy heat wave. We hit 118 degrees on the way to Vegas! Shae being Shae, she decided that despite the fact people were bursting into flames on the side of the road we had to stop at some artsy thing outside of Vegas where someone had stacked a bunch of huge, painted rocks and go take pictures (Shae says I need to tell you it’s called Seven Magic Mountains…whatever, it’s a bunch of stacked rocks). Since the ground was hot enough to fry an egg on, we had to put our special shoes on the dogs’ feet so they could go out with us. As much of a pain as it was to get them on the dogs’ feet, the ladies loved them. We got tons of comments from all kinds of girls. I may have to remember those things.

    Our hotel is pretty nice, extremely dog friendly, and we have a nice little lawn right outside our room for the dogs to crap on. The kids enjoyed the pool (of course), and I enjoyed a good beer or two at the restaurant/bar (of course). The only problem we had with the hotel was getting all of our stuff from the parking garage to the room. We didn’t plan things out well, so Shae and I ended up carrying all of our crap (including dog dishes/food) from the garage to the hotel in triple digit heat. Not the dumbest thing we’ve done, but not our finest moment of planning.

    Hopefully the rest of the trip/move goes this smoothly. I’m sure it will.

    Monday (6/19):
    On to Grand Junction, Colorado today. This is our longest travel day of the trip, clocking in at about 530 miles and about 9 hours (counting dog and kid stops). The drive was pretty uneventful, kids were really good considering the amount of time spent in the car over the past two days. 

    Even thought it was still over 100 degrees and everyone just wanted to get to the hotel and relax, someone (looking at you, Shae!) decided we HAD to get stop and take a family selfie in front of the “Welcome to Colorado” sign.

    The only issue that popped up today was with the closing on the Niblick house. They were supposed to close today, but apparently there was some “minor” paperwork issue with the buyer’s lender. Sounds like everything will get taken care of tomorrow and we should still be lined up to close on our house in Colorado Springs on Wednesday.

    Tuesday (6/20):
    We made it to Colorado Springs today! The drive was OK, but we found the kids’ car limit. Unfortunately, it was about two hours outside of the Springs. The last couple of hours were apparently filled with fighting and arguing, at least in Shae’s car (my car continued to be calm and silent). The kids are really excited to finally be in their new city. The kiddos also got to see our new home today, too. We did our final walkthrough and the sellers were onsite cleaning the house so we had talked with them quite a bit. They have a daughter the same age as the kiddos, so the kids ran all over the house and found all the best hiding places and got the inside info on the house and yard. Ella may already have a new bestie here. Of course she does. Things are still a little tense though, because we haven’t closed on the Niblick house yet. Apparently, the paperwork issue should be resolved but the lender still hasn’t signed off. Not sure what’s going on, but everyone assures us that it’s not a big deal. I’m starting to have doubts we’re going to be able to close on our new home on Wednesday, but it sounds like we should still get moved in this week. I guess the kids just get more days in the pool.

    Wednesday (6/21):
    Well, as I worried about, things are still held up in San Diego so we are going to have to extend our hotel stay and request an extension on our closing here in the Springs. I’m still not sure what’s going on with the Niblick sale, but I keep hearing it should close any minute now and then we can close here as soon as everything is wired over. I’m starting to get pretty worried because if we don’t close here on Thursday I’m going to have to reschedule the delivery of all of our stuff and we’ll probably have to go the weekend (at least) without beds, toys, TV, etc.On the bright side, Ella made yet another instant friend. She was down swimming at the hotel pool (while I supervised and enjoyed some free hotel beer), and somehow managed to make friends with a girl about her age from Missouri. They played for about an hour, until I dragged Ella away. So far, she’s made two “friends” in our two days in Colorado; I think her worries about making new friends may have been unfounded.

    Thursday (6/22):
    Well, shit. Since we still haven’t closed on our Niblick house, we aren’t going to be able to close here in the Springs today. That means I have to reschedule delivery of all of our stuff because we aren’t going to be able to accept delivery Friday morning if we don’t have keys yet. To make things even better, the next available date for delivery is July 10th. So we are going to get to sleep on air mattresses and live out of our suitcases for two weeks or so. You know, assuming we ever get our house.To make things even better, we had to move hotels because there are no rooms at the place we were staying. Yet another pet deposit. On the bright side, both kids like the pool at the new hotel (Doubletree) even better, especially Jackson (although Ella misses her new friend from the old hotel). I also like the bar (good Happy Hour and good beer!), and there are quite a few good places to eat within walking distance of the hotel. We finally got some clarity on the issues with the closing in San Diego. Huge shout out to our SD realtor (Thanks, Kat!) for doing everything she could (including calling from alternate phone numbers) to get the buyers’ lender to finally get off their ass and commit to getting things moving on Friday. We’ve been assured that they are going to send over the clear to close first thing Friday morning, so things should move on the SD side early. There’s still a slight chance we’ll have a new home tomorrow! That said, I’ve already booked the weekend at the hotel; I’ve learned my lesson by now.

    Friday (6/23):
    And the hits keep on coming. The lender did finally send over their clear to close first thing in the morning, but due to all of the delays all of the paperwork had to be redone and we still haven’t officially closed. Word is that the buyers are signing all of their docs this evening, but then we get papers to sign sent over at 6PM. Looking at the docs, they are all dated from Monday! Why are we just getting these? Even if we send them in now the soonest we can close is Monday, which is also the day the lock on our loan here in the Springs expires. What the hell??? I’m getting a beer. And another one. I give up.

    Sunday (6/25):
    The weekend was pretty uneventful with the exception of the kids swimming so much that Ella got cuts on her feet from the bottom of the pool. The kids also managed to make a new set of friends at the pool each day. We also found a pretty good pizza place, but the kids were sick of pizza after the second trip in two days. We are still at the hotel, but we’ve received word everything is signed and will process Monday morning. Suuuure it will. I’m really confident. We’ve got an appointment to sign docs here at 2PM so if things actually go as planned we’ll get keys and be able to sleep in our new house Monday night. I’m sure this will work out. We’re due right?

    Monday (6/26):
    What. The. Hell?? Even when things seem to go well, they suck. We got word early in the day that everything went through on the Niblick house and we have officially closed. Yay! Sounds like things are all working out, and we’re on schedule to close tonight. We get everything packed up from the hotel (it looks like a federal disaster area after the kids spent 4 nights in the room, and they make us put deposits for the dogs??), and head out to get lunch before the doc signing. The signing goes well right up until the end. The dogs and kids were both outstanding (no one even noticed we had dogs laying under the table until we told them). Things were great, up until we went to sign the last set of docs to get our keys and they mentioned the closing date is Tuesday because they hadn’t received the wire of funds from SD when they setup the closing. Seriously? Even when we sign docs for an hour we don’t get keys? Shit!!! Well, back to the Doubletree (luckily they had a room ready), too bad Ella’s feet hurt too bad to enjoy swimming.

    Tuesday (6/27):
    Woohoo! We finally got keys and have our house! Holy shit! It’s about time. Of course, being us, even today didn’t go smoothly.I finally had to go into work, I could only take so many days off before people forget I exist. Things go relatively well at the new office, although it took me about 3 hours to get my badge properly setup to grant me access to my office. Compared to the past week, that’s the least issues I’ve had with anything. Shortly after lunch, I get a call from Shae that our funds from CA have finally come through and we’ve got the go ahead to go get our keys. I head on over to the title office, while Shae gets stuck in traffic (seriously??). While I’m waiting, our title person comes and tells us that they don’t have authorization from our lender to release our money because they’re still waiting on some paperwork from CA. Again, What the hell? We were told by the lender everything was good and now there’s more issues? In the end, we had to sign a couple more forms and the escrow people on both sides had to talk a bit but things finally got ironed out and we got our keys. YAY!

    So, that’s our saga. I haven’t done the craziness and stress justice, but just know it was pretty ridiculous. We are loving our new house, although it’d be nice if we had beds to sleep on. At least the delay is giving us time to paint and get carpet replaced before everything is here. The neighborhood is great; the kids made a new friend on day one (granddaughter of one neighbor) and hung out in their inflatable pool. There are tons of kids for them to play with, and we even got cookies delivered from the “welcoming committee” family that lives just up the block. I wish we hadn’t had to deal with all the insanity, but things have been great since we finally got keys. 

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    Jack Quotes

    August 16th, 2013

    First thing in the morning:

    Shae: Jackson, do you have to pee?
    Jack: No. My penis is just sticking up. And big.

    After finding Shae’s bra on the chair:

    Jack: Momma! I found your boobs!

    Upon finding Shae and I snuggled up

    Jack: Mommy, why are you guys squished?

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    More Swimming!

    July 3rd, 2012

    Well, the kids finished out their first batch of swimming lessons. It looks like it won’t be their last time taking “pike” swimming lessons though, since their teacher recommended both repeat. In summary: they don’t use their arms enough. Also, she didn’t say it, but Jack is not very comfortable in the water. Ella seems extremely comfortable; so much so she keeps trying to take some home in her ears.

    After keeping notes for the first lesson, I decided for the last two to use Twitter to “live tweet” their last lessons. I hadn’t actually tweeted since 2010, so I figured it was time. Here is a reposting of my tweets, or you can click on the titles to go view them in all their Twitter glory.

    26 June (#loriganswim)

    5:18: It’s swim lesson time! Time for my live tweeting!

    5:21: Teach is getting them used to water by floating and saying “motorboat, motorboat”. Wonder if she does that for her man

    5:23: J is totally kicking on the kickboard. And smiling. There goes E, kicking like a rockstar! I think she also just copped a feel

    5:25: I’m not gonna say the other kids aren’t as good as ours, I’m just saying you can tell which two kids haven’t missed a lesson.

    5:28: I think E and the other girl may throw down over who gets to go first. I wouldn’t mess with E in the pool. She’ll drown you.

    5:29: (from Lunchbox) Anyone know where the people are? I’m hungry. Anyone?

    5:31: The other kids are doing stuff. Boring. Back to mine!

    5:34: Right before I got here, the other boy was running and wiped out. J laughed at him. Loudly. That’s my boy.

    5:39: I’m pretty sure E is trying to get water in her ears so she can slam her head into the couch to get it out. WTF!?!

    5:37: Teach just told J she’ll “hold on to the noodle” if he does the arms. Son, it’s not every day a girl offers to hold your noodle

    5:41: Teach just let the other girl go first. Death stare from E. Other girl may mysteriously find herself under water soon.

    5:43: It’s jump time!!!

    5:46: Jumps done. My kids’ “jumps” were closer to falls, but they both jumped and went under. Class done. Last class is Thursday.

    5:49: All done. (pic of cold kids)

    5:41: (from Lunchbox) Seriously…Humans? Food? Anyone?


    28 June (#twinswim)

    5:08: Time for kiddos last pike swim lesson.

    5:19: Teach just asked if they wanna work on jumping in or motorboating. I know what my vote would be.

    5:20: Teach recommended both kids take pike again. Both need to work on paddling. Boo!

    5:22: Green light/red light time. E thinks red light means kick harder. I think she’s been riding in mom’s car too much.

    5:26: E rocking the kickboard (pic of Ella kickboarding)

    5:27: Scoop arms. Teach just asked E to show the other kid how to do it.

    5:42: Both kids did good barrel rolls. Unfortunately, they were supposed to stay on their stomachs.

    5:43: I may have to agree w Teach. Kids swim like they last both arms in an ice cream truck incident.

    5:50: Jumps! Ella totally cut in front of the other girl. (the video starts up right after she cut in line)

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    Swim Time

    June 12th, 2012

    I know it’s been a while between updates (again), but today was the kiddos first swim lesson and I couldn’t resist the chance to write up a recap of the event. Shae and I signed the kids up for the swim class a while back, and have been getting them ready for it ever since. Yesterday, we finally told them that today they would get to go swim and they were really excited (especially Ella). I took off of work a little early so I could tag along and witness the fun.

    As excited as Ella and Jack seemed to go swimming, I kept thinking back to our trip Sedona last summer and Ella’s “swimming”. If you don’t remember (and don’t want to re-read the entire trip recap), Ella kept telling us how much she wanted to swim, and then started crying and refused to budge the second her toes touched the water. As soon as we got back to our room, she’d tell us how she “swam! and kicked! and splashed!”. Sure you did baby girl, sure you did. As excited as Ella said she was, I couldn’t shake the feeling we were going to have a repeat. Sitting there waiting for the earlier class to end, both kids (especially E) got really quiet and seemed a little nervous. Uh oh.

    Anyway, as I was watching all of this I decided to keep a list of notes as things were happening. Here’s my recap (100% accurate with no embellishment, of course):

    5:00: Sitting in the bleachers waiting for the previous classes to finish. Both kids are very quiet. As nice as it is to have some silence, they must be nervous. I just hope we don’t have a meltdown or a nervous poop once it’s their turn. Oh crap (literally), at this point I guess I’m rooting for a meltdown. I do not want to be a parent of the kid that shits in the pool.

    5:10: We watched the kids in the earlier class do a little “wall crawl” where they had to hang on and pretend their hands were covered in glue. A little while later, they all got out, ran to the edge of the pool, and took turns jumping into the teaher’s arms. I watched all of that thinking, “it’ll be pretty cool in a few classes when our kids get to jump in, too.”

    5:15: The teacher who had been leading the earlier class we watched just called Jackson and Ella. It’s go time. Of course, both of our kids run around confused by who to go to. Apparently “girl in red” isn’t descriptive. At least the other girl in their class seemed confused too.

    5:17: Here we go! After some quick introductions the kids hurry over and climb into the pool. After being told to sit on one of the steps, they both do a half-crouch/half-sit thing that looks like they’re squatting to poop. Oh shit! NO! Please don’t poop. Please don’t poop…

    5:20: Whew! No poop! Way to go kids! Keep it up. Now that we made it past that, it’s time to swim. Ella gets to go first. This should be good. C’mon, baby girl, no crying. There she goes, out in the water. No breakdown! She’s blowing bubbles and everything. She likes it, and she’s smiling.

    Ok, now it’s Jack’s turn. Let’s make it two-for-two. Yes! We have bubbles!

    Now it’s the other girl. She isn’t ours, so let’s just say she didn’t drown and move on. Fine, she can have a quick summary: our kids blew better bubbles.

    5:22: The teacher just asked our kids a few questions. Both of them just stare at her and give a confused nod. Come on guys, you can say “yes’. Try it. Well, I have no idea what the kids just agreed to but apparently the nods were a good enough answer.

    We have kicking! And bubbles. My kids rock bubbles.

    5:24: Jazz hands! I don’t know how this applies to swimming, but kiddos did awesome.

    5:25: The teacher just grabbed something from the side of the pool. What could it be? It’s kick board time! Yes! This should be fun. The other girl got to first this time, and she did pretty good; I hope my kids took notes.

    Ella’s turn, she did awesome on the kick board. Jack did great too, but he needed a little more help. Both kids are still smiling though.

    5:27: More kicking. The kids have the hang of this and are having a blast. Ella just did her excited tongue hanging out thing. She is the Michael Jordan of pike swim lessons.

    In other news, we’re about 10 minutes in and we haven’t had any sort of crying or meltdown yet.  I don’t want to jinx it, so let’s just move on.

    5:28: The teacher just asked if they knew how to do something, and both of my kids raised their hand. They have no clue what she’s asking, they’re little liars. The teacher believed them and asked them to show her, and of course they had no clue what to do. Busted!

    Oh! Arm swimming! They do know this one. The teacher just tried to trick them by asking them if she was doing it the right way (she wasn’t). E wasn’t fooled, she’s been doing the arm motions and pretending to swim since before last summer’s Sedona trip. You’re going to have to do better than that if you want to get a trick question by her. I’ve found “what did you do today” usually stumps her.

    Ella just had this exchange with the teacher:
    Teacher: “Make scoop arms. Like ice cream. Do you like ice cream?”
    Ella: “I like strawberry!”

    She wasn’t offering you ice cream Ella, just focus on swimming.

    5:29: Right after Shae says, “Our kids are doing way better than the other kid” Jack does a face plant in the water. Way to jinx it, mom. After getting over the shock of having his face in the water, he’s back to arm swimming. Good recovery!

    5:30: Now it’s time to do some “swimming”. Basically, the teacher holds them up and helps them as they kick and swim out to pick up a toy. Jack goes first, and he’s great at the arms but needs to kick more. He must get that from me. Ella rocked this part. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering she’s been practicing in the bathtub for months.

    Now it’s the other kid’s turn. Yup, she’s still there. Ok, enough of her. Let’s get back to Jack and Ella.

    While the other kids does her “swimming”, Ella is practicing her strokes. Good work, E. Way to get in some extra work. Jack is getting cold and spent his little break shivering. Still no crying though, so that’s good.

    5:33: The teacher just told them they’re going to do some “crab walking”, whatever the hell that is. This must be complicated, there is a lot of talking going on. This is a lot of instructions. Better focus kids, I don’t want any drowning.

    5:35 “Crab walking” is apparently what I called wall walking. Both kids are doing great and holding on. I guess they paid attention better than I did. After the wall walking, the kids take turns going out with the teacher and doing a little back float (with some help of course). Jack was pretty nervous, but he did a great job. Ella didn’t quite understand the idea of letting yourself float and kept arching her back up. She loved the part when she got tossed up in the air though. She wanted more.

    It just occurred to me that this is the same stuff we watched the kids in the earlier class do. That means our kids are going to get to jump into the pool at the end. That seems pretty advanced for the first class, but they’re doing great so far so let’s see how this goes.

    5:37: More wall walking. Is it jump time yet?? Nope. Now that I realized they’re going to jump in, I just want to see how they do.

    5:38: The teacher just told the kids to do “peanut butter jelly hands”. My kids eat PB&J sandwiches all the time, so they should rock this, but they only do OK. I think Ella was disappointed she didn’t get a sandwich when she did it right. Jack probably argued that he only wanted jelly. After they master the “peanut butter jelly hands”, they do some more swimming-with-help. They are getting pretty good at this stuff.

    5:40: Jack is freezing, but is still having fun (between shivers). He’s still the best in the class at bubble blowing. After the bubble blowing, it’s time to pick their favorite toy and blow bubbles while they pick it up. If Ella doesn’t pick pink I’ll jump in. The teacher asked if the other girl wanted to go first, and E tried to jump in and take her spot. She seemed genuinely surprised to find out it isn’t her turn.

    Now it’s E’s turn. She picked the pink toy. Shocker.

    5:42: Ella has the shivers now, too. Jack is doing great blowing bubbles again, he’s a bubble’s rockstar. He picked the blue toy, another huge surprise.

    5:43: Is it jump time yet? Nope. Come on! Well, at least we got to witness another fun exchange between the teacher and our kids:

    Teacher: “Have you ever been to ocean before?”
    Both kids: “Yeah”

    They don’t remember the ocean! They’re just saying yes because they want to seem cool! Liars!

    I’m not sure what game they’re playing now, but when asked what animal she saw Ella said she saw a turtle (or at least that’s what the teacher interpreted). Jack saw something, but I didn’t hear what. Knowing him, it was probably a panda. When it was the other kid’s turn (yeah, she’s still around) she said she saw a turtle, too. Ella called turtle, kid! You can’t copy her! Get your own animal! The teacher let this go, but I think she should’ve had to pick a new animal.

    5:45: Jump time? Jump time!!! Yes! This is the one I want to see. C’mon kids, let’s rock the jump. Basically, the kids line up along the edge of the pool and then jump into the teacher’s arms and get to splash around a bit. The other kid went first and did good. Ella was hesitant, but she jumped in pretty well. Jack, well, he needed a little help jumping in but he got nice and wet.

    5:46: That’s it, the kids’ first swim class is done. Time to dry them off and get them warmed up. As we were wrapping them up in towels, the teacher came over and filled us in on Jack’s quote of the day (during the wall walking instruction):

    Teacher: “What happens if you let go of the wall?”
    Jack: “You die!”

    I think he’s got it. Can’t wait until the next class.

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    Potty Time

    December 3rd, 2011

    This is a little overdue, but Shae and I realized we never wrote up a post about our adventures in potty training. My take on the experience is probably much different from Shae’s, but I’m writing this post so you’ll just have to make do with my version.

    About a month before their third birthday, we made a quick trip up to Disneyland with the kiddos. Since we didn’t want to deal with running to the bathroom the whole time we were there “we” (aka Shae) decided that we’d start the potty training the day after we got back. For about a week before the trip, we kept telling the kids that after we went to see Mickey we weren’t going to have diapers anymore. I’m pretty sure all they heard was “Mickey blah blah Mickey”, but they were warned.

    Anyway, the day after our trip to visit Mickey the potty training started. I have to admit that I wasn’t overly optimistic. I didn’t think the kids were quite ready (they weren’t giving us any indication when they had to go), and I wasn’t sure about the method we were using (no pull-ups, basically the kids running around naked/in underwear all day). However, Shae had decided the kids were going to house broken by their third birthday, so I voiced my concerns but then got on board.

    The first couple of days were pretty rough, especially on Shae. The kids were not comfortable using their potties, and would hold it until they were in pain. Even the offer of marshmallows wasn’t enough to entice them to go. We basically spent the weekend with both kids sitting on their potties in the living room crying while Shae and I begged them to JUST GO ALREADY!!! It got to the point where they would hold it until nap or bed time so they could go in their diapers. Eventually they started to figure it out, and by Sunday night they were already figuring out ways to get as many marshmallows (or “maws”) out of us as possible.

    Well, after two days of the fun I decided that I’d had enough and ran away. I gave everyone hugs and kisses, told Shae I expected both kids potty trained by the time I got home, and hopped on a plane to DC. Shae will tell you that there was a lot of work, but I’m pretty sure that the kids woke up Monday morning pretty much potty trained. When I got home, both kids were using their potties and earning their “maws”: 2 for pee pee, 4 for poo poo (and believe me, they told us exactly how many they expected). They were still wearing diapers for their naps and at night, but other than that they were doing pretty good. We had to cut back their marshmallow rewards (to 1 and 2) because they were going through our supply too fast. About three or four days later, I had to go out of town again and when I got home the kids were using the real toilet. Again, I’m sure Shae would say she had something to do with that but I’m pretty sure the kids just figured it out on their own.

    I can’t tell you how nice it was to go to Costco and not have to buy diapers. I really had no choice but to buy more beer to fill up the extra space in the cart. The kids are both doing great, and outside of the occasional nighttime accident after one of them drinks too much juice with dinner there have been almost no problems. The biggest issue we have is that now nap and bedtime have become times for the “Potty Game” where the kids take turns getting out of bed and using the bathroom. It’s extremely annoying, but a small price to pay for no longer having to buy diapers.

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    The Kiddos Go To Disneyland

    August 8th, 2010

    Sorry for the lack of updates lately. It’s been crazy around here with work and the kids. Also, there just hasn’t been anything exciting to share lately. The kids are doing great, but there’s not much new to report. They eat, they poop (and then rip their diapers off), they run around, and they don’t talk (I’m sure once they start we’ll regret ever asking them to start, but come on already guys). Well, last weekend we finally had something worth writing about: Ella and Jack’s first trip to Disneyland.

    Back in June, Shae and I pawned the kids off on Shae’s parents and took an overnight trip up to Disneyland. It was definitely great to get a break from the kids for a couple of days and have some fun, but we also kind of wished they had been there too. Well, as luck would have it, our tickets were good for three days so we still had one day left to use with the twins. We decided that July 30th was the day our kids would get to meet Mickey (more on that later). We even lucked out and picked a weekend that Erica would be visiting San Diego that weekend, so we had someone to go with us and help us take care of the kids.

    As we started to get close to the day of our trip, we started getting excited, especially Shae. That, of course, led to lots of Internet surfing to get advice on dealing with toddlers at Disneyland. There were all kinds of tips, but the “best” one was to get some luggage tags and attach them to the kids with names, parents, and phone numbers. So the morning of the trip each kid got a huge, orange luggage tag hooked to their belt loops to wear around all day. Of course, the first thing they did was chew on them. Good thing Shae got the chewable tags (they should really market them that way).

    Once the kids were tagged, we loaded everyone up in the car (Erica rode between the car seats), and headed to Disneyland. Our drive was pretty uneventful, and we got parked and unloaded without incident. Our first “ride” was the tram from the parking garage to the park entrance. As would be the case on pretty much every ride, neither kid was very comfortable on the tram; Jack cried, and Ella was just kind of uneasy. After a few minutes of riding, we got to the entrance, rented our strollers, and introduced the kids to Disneyland.

    First thing on the agenda once we got to Disneyland was to get Jack and Ella all pimped out in Disney gear. Erica got them some Mickey and Minnie shirts, and I picked up some “1st Visit” buttons from City Hall. Once the kiddos were properly dressed, it was time to get them on some rides. We decided their first ride should be Pirates of the Caribbean (and by “decided” I mean that was the first ride we came to that we thought would be OK for them), so we got everyone loaded up on a boat and began the fun. Everyone did OK for a while, but after a couple of minutes Jack was not sure about the dark. By the time we got to the canon shots, Jack was really not a fan of Pirates. He did OK, but was definitely scared. Ella did better, but she wasn’t exactly excited either. Oh well, at least I had a good time.

    Since the kids put up with Pirates, we decided we should take them over to Fantasyland and take them on some rides they might enjoy a little more (after the adults took a couple of rides on Big Thunder Mountain of course, can’t let the kids have all the fun). The first ride we came across over in Fantasyland with a short line was the Snow White ride, so even though we thought Jack might be scared again we jumped right in line. Both kids actually did very well on the ride, and I think Ella even had a little fun.

    We figured after two “scary” rides, the kids deserved something nice and calm. The carousel seemed like a perfect fit. Everything was going fine on the carousel up until the thing started to move. Ella and Jack both did OK at first, but once the horses started going up and down they were not happy. Ella calmed down pretty quick, but Jack could not wait for the ride to end. He was very brave and didn’t start crying/screaming, but he didn’t jump back in line to ride again.

    Since the kids didn’t seem to be enjoying the rides, we decided it was a good time to head over to Toon Town to meet Mickey. Before heading over to visit Mickey we made a stop at Goofy’s house. The kids had a great time playing around at the house. They ran around in the front yard, played the piano, and Jack played with the cabinets inside for at least 10 minutes. It was great to watch them just have fun and play. As much fun as they were having, eventually it was time to go visit Mickey. I remember going to Disneyland and seeing Mickey and Minnie walking around. Now, you have to go over to their houses if you want to see them. After walking all over Mickey’s house and waiting in two separate staging areas, it was finally time for Ella and Jackson to meet the mouse.

    I think things would have been a lot different (read: better) if we weren’t the first family in our little grouping, but of course we were. The way things are setup, you go through two staging areas, and then finally into the room where Mickey is. As you walk in, they line you up on the side and it’s very clear where you’re supposed to pose and stand to take a picture. Well, at least that’s the case if you aren’t first in your group. We walked into the room to see Mickey standing on one side, a photographer on the other, and a cast member instructing everyone else to line up. We had no idea what we were supposed to do, so Erica grabbed her camera and stood by the photographer while Shae and I took the kids and headed toward Mickey. You’d think that watching Mickey’s Playhouse every day would have prepared the kiddos for their meeting, but you’d be wrong. As we approached, both kids started screaming. Jack threw himself as far away from the mouse as he could get while still holding on to Shae, while Ella ripped free from me and ran screaming toward Erica. I couldn’t wait to see the picture, and I was not disappointed. I think my favorite part is Mickey’s huge grin and Shae yelling for Ella.

    After deciding they weren’t big fans of rides or Mickey, the kids decided to get back to something they are good at: napping. About five minutes after we got them back in their strollers, both kids were passed out. Jack even fell asleep with his hand in his snack cup. While the little ones slept, Erica and I went over to the Haunted House. As we were standing in line, we saw a boy of about eight being carried by his mom and looking terrified. Up ahead, his sister was running off on her own and her dad had to pull her back by her ponytail. Erica and I joked that we were looking at the future of my kids: Jack terrified and clinging to mom and Ella off running ahead of dad. Of course, no sooner did we say something that I heard the dad call the boy “Jack”. A while later as we were getting off the ride we saw the family again. This time it was bright enough that we could read the name on the back of the boys ears-hat. Sure enough, it said “Jackson”. I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure I looked into my future.

    When Erica and I got back to Shae and the kiddos, Jack and Ella were just waking up so it seemed like a good time to go get them some mouse ears. We picked out the classic hats (pink for Ella, obviously) and Shae got their names embroidered while Erica and I watched the kiddos. Don’t worry, the kids looked very cute in their ears. Like there was any doubt.

    We made another trip back to Toon Town to play on Donald’s boat (which the kids loved), grabbed some ice cream, and then it was time to call it a day. The kids did great, but they were pooped. It took about 10 minutes in the car before they were both out. They slept the entire way home and we had to force them to stay awake long enough to eat dinner when we got home.

    That’s about it for our first trip to Disneyland. The kids were really good and the trip was a lot of fun. My favorite part of the trip was watching the kids have fun playing at Goofy and Donald’s houses. It was great watching them have so much fun. I’d have to say their meeting with Mickey was a close second. The kids get in free until they’re three, so I’m sure we’ll have another trip or two in the next year or so.


    Happy Birthday Shae

    January 28th, 2010

    Today was Shae’s 30th birthday. The kiddos thought they should make her day extra special. Here’s the email I received from her this morning:

    Well, our first nap attempt is not going well. First, Jack took off all his clothes, including his shirt. Then he took off his diaper and threw poop everywhere. Then, he peed all over the floor again. He is gross. This was followed by Ella falling out of her crib again. This time there was no help from brother.

    Well, at least her day wasn’t boring.  Happy birthday babe! Welcome to your 30’s.

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    January 9th, 2010

    It was pretty crazy around here, but we made it through another Christmas with the kiddos.  Since we’ve been so bad about updating lately, I guess I’m going to have to cram all of our Christmas happenings into one post.  Here are the highlights of Jackson and Ella’s 2nd Christmas.

    The Babies Meet Santa
    A few weeks before Christmas Shae’s mom group had a Christmas party, complete with Santa Claus.  The munchkins were having a great time playing with other kids, at least until Mr. Claus showed up.  The combination of nap time and all of the other kids crying at Santa set of Ella and Jack.  Shae made sure to get a picture of them with Santa, but it looks like something straight out of “A Christmas Story”.

    Choppin’ Wood
    After waiting for the weather to turn rainy, it was time for us to go find and cut down our Christmas tree (seriously, I’m starting to think it’s impossible for us to get a tree unless it’s raining on us).  To make things even more fun, Ella was sick and cranky.  We found our perfect tree pretty quickly, but of course we had to check the rest of the lot just to make sure.  Once Shae was sure our tree was the best one, we relocated it (no easy task) and I got to work sawing.  Jack tried to help me, but he was much better and running around in the mud than actually cutting down the tree.

    Christmas Time
    Once we had our tree, things were pretty uneventful until the parents (Shae’s parents and my mom) came into town.  We had a pretty nice time with the ‘rents.  We got some Christmas shopping in, and Shae and I were able to get out of the house and go see Avatar one night.  We were both so impressed by the movie that our parents went to see it the next night.  They loved it, too. Other than that, things were pretty slow.

    Christmas Eve with the kids was a lot of fun.  It was nice that they could actually sit at the table with us during dinner.  They really liked the ham and potatoes (almost as much as Lunchbox loved all the bites they threw on the ground).  After dinner, we put out some cookies for Santa (yum), read “The Night Before Christmas”, and then we put the munchkins down so Santa could bring them their presents.

    Christmas morning was interesting this year.  The kids were really into the wrapping paper and packaging, but they aren’t quite old enough to really get into the present craziness.  They were excited by all of the new goodies, but the boxes are still their favorite.

    After the present opening excitement, a nap for the kiddos, and some crepes for breakfast we headed over to Mission Trails Park to go on a Christmas hike.  It was a Christmas present for Mr. Box and a good reason for Shae to use her new camera.  It was a beautiful day in San Diego, and we had a great stroll.

    About halfway through the walk, we decided to let Jack and Ella get out of the stroller and stretch their legs.  They both had some fun toddling around, until another walker went by.  As soon as Ella saw this random guy go past us, she got excited and started “running” after him (as close as she can get to a run).  We had to chase her down and catch her or who knows how far she would have run.  Something tells me we’re going to have to teach her all about “Stranger Danger” pretty soon.

    We spent Christmas night packing for our trip to Texas and getting ready for our plane ride with two toddlers.  More about that trip (and LB’s trip to the kennel) in our next post (hopefully tomorrow).  Until then, here are some pictures.

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    Catching Up

    December 10th, 2009

    Sorry for the lack of updates lately.  Things have been crazy around here, but I’ll do my best to recap the last month or so.  I’ve been traveling a lot for work the past few weeks (I was in DC the weeks before and after Thanksgiving, and I’ll be heading back again in January), and Shae has been busy editing photos almost every night the past month or so.

    Jack and Ella’s second Halloween was not very exciting.  They still aren’t old enough to go Trick-or-Treat-ing, so we pretty much just hung out around the house and handed out candy.  Our porch light is burned out, so even after putting up some Halloween lights around the window it was a pretty quiet evening.  I have a feeling next year will be pretty exciting.

    I can’t speak for the rest of the clan, but Thanksgiving (and the weeks before and after) was exhausting for me.  I fell into taking over a project that requires a lot of travel to Washington, DC, and between trips to DC and our trip to King City/Lockwood I spent about 12 hours in San Diego from November 18th to December 3rd .  Somewhere in there, we had a nice trip up to KC/Lockwood for Thanksgiving.

    I’m not sure if it was having some extra room to move around or if they just got tired of crawling, but about 5 minutes after we got to King City the kiddos were walking all over the place.  They had been doing a little walking at home, but nothing like this.  After a couple of hours it was pretty clear we had full blown toddlers.  That’s right, Ella and Jack toddle.  They spent most of the trip walking and crawling around and getting into all kinds of stuff they shouldn’t.  This whole walking thing is going to be super.  I’m in a lazy mood, so rather than a full recap here’s some highlights.

    • Our first night in KC, Ella and Jack put on quite a show.  Ella was crawling around screeching, and they took turns chasing each other around the living room.  It was great watching them play with each other and have so much fun.
    • For this trip (and for our trip to Houston later this month), we got some small travel beds for the kids to use.  They are basically little baby tents that we can zip the babies in at night and for naps.  We were a little worried about whether or not the munchkins would be OK in their new beds, but after one night they did just fine.  The best part was the effect of the static electricity on their hair.  Ella’s stood straight up and Jack’s curls flattened out.
    • Jack is really focused on figuring out how things work.  He spent about 45 minutes one night studying a magnetic door on one of my mom’s small cabinets.  Every 10 minutes or so he would run off, but then he would turn around and go study the latch for a while again.  He was also interested in how doors bounce off door stops.  He may end up being an engineer like his dad.  Of course, he also spent 20 minutes throwing Tupperware all over the kitchen so I guess he takes after his mom, too.
    • Out in Lockwood, Jack and Ella had lots of fun swinging in their new swings.  They also had a great time playing in their wagon.  Ella started to get a little cocky and tried to ride the wagon with no hands, but after a few bumps she lost a little bit of her courage and went back to her death grip.
    • Thanksgiving was great as always.  Jack ate a bit of everything, but Ella was only really interested in the cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes.  They both LOVED the pumpkin pie, especially the whipped cream.
    • The twins got to meet a whole new set of cousins.  Jeff, Val, Lindsay, Jennifer, Josh, AJ, and Chris came down to King City a couple of days after Thanksgiving.  It was great to see them, and Ella and Jack had a lot of fun.

    That’s about it for now.  We’ll try to be better about providing updates, but it’s still pretty crazy around here.

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