Friday, December 13, 2013

Elf on the Shelf

October is pumpkin spiced life. November is all about being thankful. December? It is all about some Elf. I asked the Wifey what this Elf business is all about and she just tells me that I need to read the book. Read the book? I don't even read instructions much less read some story about some creepy looking Elf doing weird things.

But this is what I gather from my friend's posts:

The Elf gets a name. Typically it's something you would name a dog; most of the time it's just Buddy the Elf. How original. Apparently there is some ceremony and even a DVD that needs to be watched before anything can happen. And then your kids are supposed to be so enchanted  by everything that they just listen. I can barely get the Baby to put pants on much less to not grab the Elf and feed him to the dog. And every day the Elf is in some awkward pose, doing something really weird and the kids love it. I've seen an Elf making glitter angels, another turning an ornament into it's Miley wrecking ball and even one Elf making blue crystal in an exterminator tent. 

We'll probably end up trying it out. The Baby is already calling out all the fake Santas in the area. Unfortunately her limited three year old vocabulary prevents her from explaining why they are impostors. I guess it's just a woman's intuition. We did manage to visit NorthPark Center Santa again. We thought the ice would keep parents away and allow us a minimal wait time but as always, NorthPark Santa is crazy. We showed up an hour and a half before the mall opened and still ended up being the 100th person in line. The Baby did a better job of smiling in this picture but she had no desire to get close to him or tell him what she wanted for Christmas.


Fast forward a couple of days and Santa visited her daycare. Apparently when all of her friends want to hang out with Santa, it's the cool, fun thing to do. Peer pressure exists even at three.



Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Sister Act Movies (spoiler alert!)

I have a guilty pleasure that I have to watch Sister Act when it comes on. And if Sister Act is on, chances are very high that Sister Act 2 is next. Now, there are people who will argue that Sister Act is the only one worth watching and there are those who feel Sister Act 2 was better. But I think both Sister Act movies have their positives and I refuse to pick a favorite.

Let's take the first Sister Act. It's nearly flawless from plot to character development and acting. Lovable Whoopi Goldberg, before she got all View-ey on us, at her finest. A Reno lounge singer put in witness protection at a run-down forgotten convent in the middle of crime-ridden city? Comedy gold. But what can a person posing as a nun do a convent when the only she knows how to do is sing? Lead the horrible choir of course.
Photograph: SNAP/Rex Features
There are the lovable nun misfits who befriend Whoopi, who is now known as Sister Mary Clarence. We have the shy, soft-spoken red head who has a secret talent - she has the voice of angel! Whoopi tells her to imagine trying to hold a conversation in a busy restaurant and just let ol' girl belt out some gospel. Then there is the crazy, husky nun. Chris Farley wasn't available and  he is not a woman so they got Kathy Najimy. I'll be honest, I thought she was the fat Wilson Phillips sister. Anyways, she apparently swallowed a megaphone when she was younger and has this over the top operatic voice so the Whoop tells her she needs to calm down with that mess.

They take old timey Churchy songs and remix it with current pop songs and sound so awesome that the local hoodrats come barreling in off the streets and love it. But the HNIC (head nun in charge), who is named Mother Superior, hates all the non-traditional stuff that is going on in her church and despises the Whoop. Side note, Mother Superior enters the convent in order to escape her dark past as Professor McGonagall. But anyways, the mob boyfriend finds the Whoop and tries to kill her and the nuns save her in Reno and the Pope visits and foot taps his way through the service. Pretty amazing stuff.

Now this is where the haters come in and cry foul because of the sequel. Why make a sequel if it can't be better than the first one? But I enjoyed the sequel, like I said, I have to watch both. So in Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, the nuns are in charge of some trashy school and need the street savvy Sister Mary Clarence to help them whip them into shape. This is a great sequel because the original cast is in it! We have the redhead, the big bone, and HNIC. So many sequels fail when the original cast doesn't appear, like Iron Man 2 when Terrance Howard was replaced with Don Cheadle, or when they tried to make a sequel to The Crow and Brandon Lee didn't show up (too soon?). You need the original cast. Unless it's the sequel to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and instead of using the original cast, you throw in Vanilla Freaking Ice.

Anyways, these troubled high school kids are made up of Jennifer Love Hewitt, the cool guys who rap and beatbox, some other random chicks, and Lauryn Hill. You read that correctly, Lauryn Hill. Another sidenote, her MTV Unplugged 2.0 show is one of the better Unplugged shows, up there with Nirvana's. The school is going to get shut down and the only thing that can save them is some singing competition - which happens to be the blueprint for all future singing movies/shows. Thank you Sister Act 2 for giving birth to this story line. These kids have talent but they need that missing piece - and that missing piece is Lauryn Hill. Except her mom doesn't want her to sing because she tried singing when she was younger and doesn't want to ruin her life like she almost did. Because that is the only reason in the whole world why you would tell someone they can't sing. Outside of that struggle, Lauryn sneaks out to help her school compete against rich, white kids. The Whoop soon realizes her students can't beat out these rich, white kids with rich, white people songs so she....wait for it.... tells her kids to remix that shit. And they sing and dance and - they win! It's a thrilling ending.

Why hate the sequel when you can appreciate it for what it is: just another movie with a similar story. Sure it's not the original but it still makes me laugh and I still enjoy it immensely. The songs are just as catchy and you still end up thoroughly entertained. A sequel doesn't have to be better than the original. It can be excellent in it's own right.

So, in summation, the Wifey is pregnant with number 2 and both kids will be my favorite.


Baby #2

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer the Musical

If it wasn't for a friend posting that he would be starring in the local stage production of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, I probably wouldn't have gone. And if it wasn't for the Wifey finding a Travelzoo deal, I definitely wouldn't have gone. Don't get me wrong, I love musicals. I wish I could sing and I wish I could act and I wish I could dance. And there is no better way to do all three than a musical. That takes talent, which I lack.

Being the avid play goers, we figured the best night would be opening night and went on Black Friday. The performance was at the Majestic Theater. It's a historic theater with a fancy chandelier and intricate designs. The type of theater, as my friend suggested, that would be the home of a classy act like Lisa Lampanelli. Since Dallas Downtown is never an easy task to navigate, we decided to park a block over at a meter. Meters are free after 4pm on weekdays. I picked a central location to the Majestic and dinner, which we decided would be at Wild Salsa. It was a pretty good Mexican restaurant, some of the best salsa I have had, and decent tacos. They even had this salted jalapeno as a garnish. It was like a poor hombre's Shishito. Wild Salsa lacked a kid's menu but they did have kid friendly options - a chicken taco with beans. The Baby ate the beans but the chicken was way too salty. Dinner was moderately priced; it would have been cheaper if I knew about the happy hour specials but I think it was more kid friendly alternative than Dallas Chop House, which is right across the street. There is also a Campisi's that was further down Elm Street but I think Wild Salsa was closer.

The restaurant happened to be across from the Main Street Garden Park and they happened to have an outdoor showing of a Christmas Vacation. If it wasn't so cold, I wouldn't have been opposed to laying out a blanket to partake. There was a Santa at the park but the Baby would have nothing to do with him. We took a few pictures and made our way to the theater.

We had aisle seats, which for us, seems to be the best option just in case the Baby has a meltdown and we can quickly escape. The Travelzoo deal got us in the fourth row, which was a really good deal. The seats are very plush and lean wayyyy back, so be careful. Since the Baby only had beans and chips for dinner and all kid's suddenly are hungry when they go to a show, we had to buy a snack. A bag of pretzels was three bucks. Which I guess isn't terribly awful but it kept the Baby occupied. Since this was a classy show, no flash photography was allowed.


The show was excellent. Basically a live version of the movie. All the animals were adorable and I kinda wish they had some for sale. The Abominable Snowman was huge and looked just like the movie. I think I was more entertained the Baby. The singing was top-notch and I liked the acting. The first half the show was a little long for my taste but it made for a quick second half. We took advantage of the intermission by letting the Baby run up and down the aisle to let off some of that bottled energy. The second act had a sing along for the audience but since we could only sing the chorus, I wasn't impressed. I would have preferred a solo.

Overall it was an entertaining family outing; definitely worth taking advantage of the Travelzoo deal. I also got to see my friend prance in a reindeer costume. I probably would have paid full price for that.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer the Musical will be showing until 12/29. If you don't take advantage of the Travelzoo deal, you can get a cast-signed poster with a premium ticket purchase. I know the Baby would love one of those fancy posters (hint hint Bragg).

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Why Did This Leaf Fall?

I guess it's time to blow the dust off this thing. All apologies for being gone a good 8 months. If you want to know what's going on, you can check out http://www.tehwifey.com/.

But I am going to randomly start this back up as if I hadn't missed a day; luckily not much has changed in our lives since March so it won't be too difficult to catch up.

My father came to visit. It was a nice day just the weekend no more than two weekends hell, let's make it a full month visit. It wasn't too bad, I was at work for most of the time. I would come home and he would have dinner ready and the house cleaned. He did get on my nerves when he got upset when I came home late from work; it's not everyday I get yelled at for coming home late to my own home. The Baby took a little time to get warmed up to him but once the shyness wore off, she was bothering him more than she was bothering us. My dad was also adamant he would take her trick or treating - he ended up hanging out with his friends instead. I think that ended up being a good thing because apparently Halloween is no longer celebrated in my neighborhood. Just parents driving their kids door to door instead of making them walk and earn those calories. I did end up taking the Baby to office for Halloween:. She surprisingly wanted to be a generic witch but she ended up be a generic witch. She thought about being a princess or even Dora or Doc McStuffins but we somehow convinced her that a witch was the way to go.

The finale of my dad's visit was a wedding in which the whole family was invited. It was a typical Asian wedding: lots of food, lots of Hennessy. We sent him off the next morning back to Florida and have been preparing the family for the holidays. Thanksgiving went by without any issues; I probably made about 40lbs of mashed potatoes for the various potlucks and family dinners.





 
The Baby got to hang out with her adorable cousin. They ended up stealing my phone to take some obligatory selfies with each other. I am pretty sure it was the Baby's idea.

Leaves have fallen in the neighborhood and the weather has been quite nice so I figured it would be a good time to rake some leaves. Either I have the tree with infinite leaves or I just suck at raking but it looks like I barely made a dent. The Baby was gracious enough to lend a helping hand but it seems raking the leaves couldn't keep her attention span. She found her grabber toy and pretended she was a robot and picked up a single leaf to put in the trash bag. And then she would pick up each leaf and ask me "why did this leaf fall?". It was a very deep and thought provoking question and if I took the time to actually ponder, I would probably be self-enlightened. But since I wanted to get things over with I just told her it was because it was winter and leaves fall. Apparently that answer sufficed and she kept asking "is the leaf pile ready for...JUMPING?" I really don't know where this kid learns this stuff but she inherently knew that leaf piles were made for jumping. But being the old curmudgeon that I am, I told her no. So she then decided she would stuff the mailbox full of leaves and when I asked her why she would do such a thing, she said she wanted to send the leaves to somewhere it wasn't Winter. You have to admit, that's a pretty adorable thing to say.

Anyways, hopefully this bridged the time gap from my last post.










Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mom Time

It has been asked many times; when does a guy actually become a father? The parenting books will say it's as soon as he holds his child for the first time. Of course, when I say books, I actually mean what Jennifer Garner said in Juno, but I will take her word for it.

But has anyone ever asked when the woman becomes a mother? In all technicality, she's a mother while she's pregnant. She takes the necessary precautions to make sure her child is born healthy. She stops (hopefully) doing anything that might harm her child; even if that includes quitting her love of belly flops on a Slip N Slide during the hot summer months. She should also be deemed a mother if she decides that taking stupid maternity photos with crap painted on her stomach is not a good idea.

Some will argue it's not until after the baby is born that a woman becomes a bona fide mother. Those people are the ones that completely ignore the 40 weeks of straight bitching that their partners endure. And unfortunately I've seen a few episodes of  TLC's "I Didn't Know I was Pregnant" and even those women displayed some sort of maternal instincts before their baby fell out of their vaginas like your laptop does when you don't zip your backpack all the way. It's that abrupt feeling of panic when you can feel your backup slowly unzipping and your MacBook inching it's way to destruction. Luckily you remembered to put on that random velcro step so your computer only dangles out haphazardly.

I knew the Wifey would be an amazing mother six years before the Baby was born. She was actually hired as my niece's swim instructor and luckily the relaxed sexual harassment laws back then allowed me to pursue her without recourse. She just had this natural ability to calm children down; that motherly ability to do...mom things. She made sure my niece could swim but in a fun way. And she also made sure she didn't drown. That's probably the ultimate mom thing to do. Don't let them drown. If she had let my niece drown, I am pretty sure I would have fired her as her swim instructor.

There have been times when her motherly intuition has better diagnosed the Baby's illnesses quicker and more accurately than our famous pediatrician. The Wifey has also done an excellent job of identifying when I've had too much alcohol and prescribed the right amount of Whataburger.

I've never been good at getting The Wifey an amazing Mother's Day gift. It's usually a, "well, I planned on getting you this..." and hoping the 'it's the thought that counts' would work. Let's hope it works again this year.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

61

Today would make eight years since my mom passed away and as much as I want to say it feels like it was only yesterday, I can't. Eight years is a long time. If the Baby were born then, she'd be almost done with 2nd grade. Eight years is to the point that I can barely remember the sound of my mom's voice; yelling at me for doing something wrong. Sometimes I get lucky and have a dream where I can pinpoint her vivid laugh in a crowded room but those dreams are getting more and more rare each time I fall asleep. Seems that inception doesn't always work; so I am forced to watch 'shit Asian moms say' even though it reminds me more of my dad than anything.

But I don't have any worries that the Baby would experience the same issue when I die. Technology is so prolific now that documenting your life is second nature. We have a few pictures of my mom but rarely any that depict her personality. It's always a nice, photogenic smile for the camera but the real memory is the dirty look she'd give afterwards because she had to pose for another picture.

Sometimes I worry that the Baby is 'overexposed' since my Instagram and Facebook uploads are all about her. My friends tell me it's fine because she's cute so it's okay. I feel sorry for the parents of ugly kids. Those pictures are annoying. So freaking annoying. But we have a lot of pictures and videos of the Baby doing random things but not that many of me . I really don't care to be in any videos or pictures and I have a weird voice but I know it would mean a lot to have that memory documented.

We will end up doing the same thing for my mom's birthday like we do every year: get some yummy food and then take the Baby to stare at a patch of grass in the cemetery. Maybe I'll Instagram it.

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Beautiful Little Fool

The Baby is finally coming around to appreciating what is going on in the movies and shows she watches. She knows when the hero wins the girl or the villain does something dastardly. I have seen her display a wide range of emotions just from from watching The Lion King. She has even found extreme delight in slapstick comedy - and she will just let out bellyful giggles when a character gets the random smack in the head.We were enjoying a lazy Thursday night watching Ice Age; the Baby and I were sharing the loveseat and crunching on chips when the Baby discovered a scene she truly enjoyed:

video 

Now my question is when do we realize that our kids are going to be geniuses or if they are just going to be average? Parents freak out when their kids do something new and it's always, "I think that's early for their age!" or "They are ahead of schedule if they are doing that already!" But I guess I am aware that kids develop sooner than others but that doesn't make the ones that take their sweet time doing things on command any less intelligent.

Some kids are going to recite the alphabet, others can write their name; my child counts the numbers of turds she leaves in the toilet.

The Baby is approaching her third birthday and I couldn't tell you if she is advanced or behind. She knows her numbers but for some reason can only count in order to 4 or maybe she doesn't want to count to 5. The Baby knows her letters but for some odd reason wants to combine the alphabet song with 'itsy bitsy spider.' 

But I'm not worried. She has always been one to do things on her own terms; sometimes I wish she'd do them sooner than later.
"I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool." - The Great Gatsby

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ballerina Kitty Cat

Lately, the Baby has been coming up to me and asking me a very simple, but profound question: "daddy, are you happy?"

I guess it's a feeling that doesn't get evaluated too often; we spend our days just going through the motions and fail to take the time to actually analyze our moods. Some of us are quick to react, get angry, upset or frustrated. Why can't more people be quick to laugh or smile or be quirky?

And then I take a step back and just listen to the Baby - listen to her talk to herself, listen to when she talks to me, listen to her laugh. Most of the time she doesn't even know what she is laughing about, she just knows laughing is fun.

Let her tell you a 'knock, knock' joke:

The Baby, "Knock, knock!"
Me: "Who's there?"
The Baby: "Orange"
Me: "Orange who?"
The Baby: "Ballerina, kitty cat,!" then she proceeds to laugh hysterically.

What the hell is going on in her brain. How does that joke make sense? Ballerina? Kitty cat? What about the orange?

But who cares. She's two. Almost three. And right now all she really knows is that I'm one of her best friends and she wants a purple themed birthday party.

That's simple. And that makes me happy.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

My freshman year at Texas A&M, I hosted an anti-Valentine's Day internet radio show with my resident adviser from our dorm room using Winamp. We played songs about break ups and hating your girlfriends and stuff like that. My stream got up to an astounding 18 listeners before my computer would crash and I had to reboot and start all over. That was my last Valentine's Day as a single person. It turns out that I had one listener all the way up in Denton who would grow to become my groupie. Here's to my number 1 fan, the Wifey.

The Baby really wasn't feeling Valentine's this morning as she snubbed me of a kiss and a hug; she'll come around. I'll have ice cream.

The Wifey has raised the hypothetical question on how I would feel if the Baby decided that she wanted to be a lesbian. Right now it would be hard to grasp just because the Baby is too busy wearing princess gowns and putting on make up - but I guess that's how we stereotype gays and lesbians and try to cut them from the same cloth. But in the end it doesn't matter what you do or what you look like, who you love is who you love. Except in college when it's cool to experiment.

But that leads me to possibly the best song I have heard in quite awhile - it's from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis called "Same Love" and it's refreshing to have an artist use his talents as the vehicle to promote his moral beliefs and stand true to them. As much as I would love to torment and judge my daughter's future boyfriends, I think I can easily do the same to her girlfriends as well.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Expanding the Vocabulary

The Baby has recently incorporated two phrases to her ever-growing arsenal: "but..." and "do you remember?"

The latter isn't as prominent but she does use it in tandem with the former.

On the drive home from day care, the Baby asked me, "I can have ice cream. " to which I responded, "after dinner."

She then promptly replied, "but...but..." and I simply said, "no buts. after dinner."

The Baby grunted and quickly responded with, "but... you said I can have ice cream. do you remember?"

Now I have no idea what in the hell she was talking about but there is no winning an argument with a two year old. They will just repeat the same thing over and over again and eventually start crying. And five minutes later will start randomly singing songs and laughing. Pretty much sounds like the Wifey on her 21st birthday.

In other news, I think we have officially conquered potty training with only a few minor accidents. The Baby woke up in the middle of the night over the weekend and just started saying she had to go pee and off she went.

The only downside is that I have to physically inspect her shit in the toilet and applaud her. I even do a celebration shit dance. It's getting kinda annoying but I guess if it keeps the crap in the toilet and not her underwear, I shouldn't complain too much.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Scared Shitless

I guess it would be easiest to bluntly start off with the basis of this post. The Wifey had a miscarriage.

It was only last Thursday when the Wifey told me the Baby was going to become a big sister.  And the last week has been a whirlwind of emotions. But the most prominent feeling was that I was scared shitless.

I guess we could say the pregnancy itself was a surprise. If I could literally lay out everything that was on my mind, being a father again would be the extreme last thing. It would be the fat, un-athletic kid that gets picked for football. In fact, if someone were to put a percentage on the possibility of raising another child, it would be .01%.

The Wifey had an IUD (Mirena) implanted back when the Baby was born. Basically it's supposed to be this awesome form of birth control where it definitively eliminates the chance of me ever yelling the phrase, "what do you mean you happened to forget to take your pill this week?" And for almost three years, it was perfect.

But when the Wifey told me she was pregnant, I didn't know what to think. Maybe it was the initial shock but I wasn't angry. I wasn't sad that my social life was over again. I guess I'm such a strong believer in that everything happens for a reason, I took it as a sign. Maybe my indifference towards having another kid again solidified my acceptance by fate intervening and making the decision for me.

And over the weekend, the Wifey and I adjusted our life plans to accommodate the fourth. We even dubbed the little thing 'the Fighter' since it defied that .01% possibility and pulled a Danny Ocean and broke into the vault that held the Wifey's eggs. We discussed room arrangement, we went over how/when we would make the announcement. We even analyzed how the Baby would react. We prepared ourselves that the Fighter would be the exact opposite of the Baby. We braced ourselves for the Baby's extreme jealous rage for her mom and her toys.

It also happened that on Monday two of my co-workers announced they were expecting as well. And I guess I took that as a sign that everything would be okay. But the improbable fact that the Wifey was pregnant with an IUD implanted, it was an even higher improbability that the pregnancy would even be feasible. But yet we planned for the best. Or at least I did.

I could tell the Wifey was planning for the worst. I could tell her excitement was merely clouded by my excitement. Maybe she was only excited because I did want another kid. But I knew she was aware of the risks. The Wifey has always been a feverish researcher and I just blindly trust her. And I knew she was only cherry picking the good news and sugar coating the bad news. The Wifey went to the doctor every day to check her levels and due to the rarity of the pregnancy, her doctors proceeded with caution. And then today the Wifey texted me with the bad news, a simple " :( ".

I asked her how she felt and she simply said "sad." The same person who has never been short on emotion or never been afraid to tell me how she feels whether I care or not was just simply sad. And then I knew the extent of the emotional bond that was already established after only a few days; after only a few weeks of the Fighter existing.

I have had friends who have been much, much further along in their pregnancy and experienced the tragedy of a miscarriage so I can't fathom the magnitude of their depression. I've only known about the existence of the Fighter for a few days. But it's sad. It's tremendously heart wrenching. But it's merely an ounce of what my wife is actually feeling. And yet we sit on the couch watching television like nothing has happened. We sit here both knowing how scared shitless we truly are.