Monday, June 30, 2008
Sunday, June 29, 2008
In the meantime, although we love and miss our native California, here's the reason I don't live there anymore.
That's the bumper to bumper, barely moving an inch, traffic on southbound Interstate 5, just past the Camino Las Ramblas/Pacific Coast Highway exit in Dana Point. That's at 2:30 p.m. on a Saturday. Is there ever not traffic there anymore?
But there was some fun during our travels south to NCSD. We stopped at the Irvine Spectrum for lunch. Z-Dub had an opportunity to play in the fountains with some kids and ride a carousel and giant ferris wheel. He had a blast.
Of course, we already miss him as we're in a quiet house, packing and preparing for our early morning departure. I think tonight is going to be tough.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Dear Little Man,
You are growing up so fast. No longer are you a tiny helpless infant, but instead a fun-loving and active boy. Your mommy and I are so very proud of you and all of your new knowledge and talents. The fact that you can recite with no mistakes all of your ABCs, and you're incredibly polite with your use of "please," "thank you" and "excuse me," makes us very happy. We're also very impressed with your climbing and acrobatic skills in the playground at the park.
Next week, while your mommy and I are on vacation and you're spending time with your cousins in San Diego, you'll turn 27 months old. That's two and one half of a half years old. Congratulations, you're a big boy now! Along with this new level of maturity comes new responsibilities. And I'm not talking about getting a job and pulling your own weight, although that would be nice given the price of gas these days. I'll give you a few years before I bring that up again, so don't worry. I'm talking about a new level of self awareness and control. To put it simple, you need to really start to "pee pee" and "poo poo" in a toilet, or potty as kids your age call it.
We don't want to pressure you into trying something you don't want to, but as you are somewhat aware, you have a new brother or sister coming soon and mommy and I really don't want to have to buy diapers for two of you. And, let's face it, the little girls in the school yard don't like diaper wearers. Let's show them that you're the kind of guy that wears SpongeBob underwear instead of wimpy Winnie the Pooh diapers. They'll be all over you.
So while we're gone, observe your cousins, overcome your apprehension, whip it out and aim for the center of the porcelain throne. Turn that water yellow and make us even more proud. We know you can do it. We'll be overcome with joy if you're a master at toilet use by the time we return. We know it's not a very long time to train, but given the fact that you've excelled at virtually everything else, we're confident you'll succeed. There may be a nice reward for your effort.
Good luck little man!
Daddy and Mommy
That's an $0.08 increase over last week's $4.21 per gallon.
It's absolutely shocking to see how much it has actually risen just in the past three weeks. When I first started Fill 'er Up Friday at the beginning of the month gasoline was only (I can't believe I'm saying only) $4.06 per gallon. So in just one month the price has risen an astounding $0.23 per gallon. It's hitting my wallet hard, but it has yet to impact us like it has for others. The only real scary prospect is that HotMomma's job is in jeopardy as her employer is forced to make huge cuts. Hopefully she won't be axed like many of her colleagues.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Each year hundreds of children are killed when they are intentionally or accidentally left unattended inside vehicles. Most of the time this happens during the warmer months when temperatures inside vehicles can reach scorching temperatures resulting in death by hyperthermia. These incidents are shocking and horrible tragedies that can easily be prevented through awareness and education.
A highly publicized case here in Las Vegas that resulted in the death of a four-year-old boy last month is a little more complicated. The child, the youngest of eight, was left inside a family vehicle for 17 hours. The fact that the family cooked and ate dinner, watched movies and went to sleep, despite the fact that the child, who also had some special needs, was noticeably absent is rather disconcerting. He was found dead in the car by one of his teenage siblings the following morning.
Since the incident took place, the parents have gone to the media to spread the message that it wasn't their fault. They claimed to have made an earnest, yet unsuccessful, effort to look for him. They've also shifted from placing blame on their 19-year-old son to blaming the kid himself because of his propensity to seek out sleeping spots behind furniture. When that came up the first questions that came to my mind were do they feed the child? Or bath him? Also, if they were really worried about their missing child wouldn't they have searched until he was found?
Since their little media tour a number of reports since 1988 were released by the Child Protective Services revealing allegations of physical abuse, neglect and sibling sexual abuse. Though none resulted in charges, the fact that 21 reports were made against the parents over a 20-year span is shocking. So when the parents were arrested yesterday for second degree murder as well as other child abuse charges, it was no surprise to me. In fact, I celebrate the fact that the District Attorney has worked so hard to build a case against the couple. Though they are partly responsible for the death of this child for not acting on previous reports, I also appreciate the fact that Child Protective Services finally removed the other minor children from the home and a judge has refused the couple's recent attempts to regain custody of the children.
Of course, the family does have sympathizers, as usual, that believe that their acts were honest mistakes and that the death of their child is punishment enough. They also site the fact that the family has too many kids to keep track of. That's a pathetic excuse if I ever heard one. If you can't handle multiple children, then why have so many. What do you think?
On a side note, HotMomma and I would never, ever go about our routines without considering the whereabouts or safety of Z-Dub or any of our future kids. It's our number one priority 24/7.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Part of me wants Z-Dub to come with us so he can add another destination to his list of places visited during childhood. But HotMomma and I both agree that he won't remember the trip anyways, so there's no point in subjecting him to a long flight. Also, we really, really need some "romantical" time to ourselves. This vacation will probably be our final opportunity to take a "parents" vacation for quite some time as The Fetus will will be arriving before we know it. I still can't believe that next week HotMomma will be 20 weeks pregnant. Time sure flies.
At least during our trip my Blackberry will keep us connected to Z-Dub. That provides me some peace of mind.
I also want to thank Gail at Squared Off for my award. I will be bestowing the award upon others, as is customary, but at another time. I have a lot of work to accomplish before leaving on our trip. Thanks again.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Alligator Eats Teen's Arm During Late-Night Swim. What an idiot! Lessoned learned -- don't go jumping into Florida canals when you've been out drinking with your buds. You may loose a limb.
Student Suspended Over Noogies . I thought students were shooting teachers, not giving them noogies. Lesson learned -- Hands of the teach.
NASA Climate Scientist Says "We're Toast." As in wheat, lightly buttered with a spread of strawberry jam? Lesson learned -- I can stop paying taxes since we're all goners.
Deputies in Reno Think They've Collared "Naked Burglar." So what were those certain physical attributes? Somebody sounds a bit small. Lessoned learned -- naked burglary only leads to embarrassing line ups.
What's the best headline you read today?
Monday, June 23, 2008
There were other winners too. They include Judy Haley from Coffee Jitters who wrote 5 Things I Learned from My Dad; Daniel De Guia from Deguia.net who wrote 10 Important Lessons My Dad Taught Me; Chris from Dad of Divas who wrote Pre-Father's Day Thoughts and new Discovering Dad subscriber Viv from Cool Moms Rule!
Congrats to all, including me! And thank you to Jeremy!
I also have to add that we didn't go to our regular theater that offers a completely digital movie experience. Regrettably we went to the Regal Theaters at Green Valley Ranch Station Casino instead. For some reason the right side of the picture screen seemed to be out of focus. It was annoying to say the least.
To sum up, we learned two things this weekend. First, no more Shyamalamadingdong movies, and two, no more movies at Green Valley Ranch.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
We decided to make the big move over the weekend just in case there were a lot of late night crying episodes. Luckily there was only one and it was early in the night. This was awesome considering that he's been sleeping in his twin sized bed in the corner of our bedroom since February. We had held off moving him because of construction of brownstones outside his bedroom window. It was a bit noisy.
Now if we could get Z-Dub to fall asleep without one of us laying beside him in his bed for an hour life would be great.
Though his walls aren't painted yet and nor are all of his pictures hung, here are some pics of his new room.
We were going to decorate the room in a Disney Cars theme, but he's no longer obsessed with the characters. He's very fond of fish and all things ocean, so an underwater theme my be just right.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Souvenir shopping started upon arrival.
Making our way to our seats.
It started with an open stage pre-show.
The elaborate production begins.
Popcorn is a must, but at $7.00 a box.
There are six motorcycles in that ball. Very impressive.
Tigers. One pooped during the performance.
Watching the tiger poop.
Performing elephants. One of them also pooped...a lot.
Here's video of Z-Dub enjoying the elephants.
The motorcycles were cool.
Friday, June 20, 2008
So without further ado, here's the price I paid for this week's fill-up. Actually, I paid it twice because HotMomma's car needed gas and since I'm a nice husband I filled her's up too.
With this lower price compared to other gas stations nearby I only experienced a $.04 increase from last week's $4.17 price per gallon. Not too bad, but still unacceptable.
And since we're talking gas, here are some great tips sent to HotMomma from a friend in her mommies' group. It was sent to her by a guy that works at a major petroleum company.
- Only buy or fill up your car or truck in the early morning when the ground temperature is still cold (ground really doesn't get cold overnight in Vegas though). Remember that all service stations have their storage tanks buried below ground. The colder the ground the more dense the gasoline, when it gets warmer gasoline expands, so buying in the afternoon or in the evening....your gallon is not exactly a gallon. In the petroleum business, the specific gravity and the temperature of the gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, ethanol and other petroleum products plays an important role. A one-degree rise in temperature is a big deal for petroleum business. But the service stations do not have temperature compensation at the pumps.
- When you're filling up do not squeeze the trigger of the nozzle to a fast mode. If you look you will see that the trigger has three stages: low, middle and high. You should be pumping on low mode, thereby minimizing the vapors that are created while you are pumping. All hoses at the pump have a vapor return. If you are pumping on the fast rate, some of the liquid that goes to your tank becomes vapor. Those vapors are being sucked up and back into the underground storage tank so you're getting less worth for your money (I'm always in a hurry and use the fast setting. I'm going to stop doing that).
- One of the most important tips is to fill up when your gas tank is HALF FULL. The reason for this is the more gas you have in your tank the less air occupying its empty space. Gasoline evaporates faster than you can imagine (I'm a procrastinator. I wait until the gas light is on. Not anymore).
- Another reminder, if there is a gasoline truck pumping into the storage tanks when you stop to buy gas, DO NOT fill up; most likely the gasoline is being stirred up as the gas is being delivered, and you might pick up some of the dirt that normally settles on the bottom (I actually never thought of this).
All of these tips sound simple. I'm going to try them.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
I heard about this on the radio during my drive home yesterday and I couldn't believe it. There is a company out there that actually sells fully functional high heel shoes for babies and toddlers.
Hmmmm...I don't have a little girl (yet), but if I did I don't think I'd want her looking like some 10 cent street walker or brothel worker. How about you?
We may live in a state with legal prostitution (not in Vegas though), but I don't think it's a good idea to start training kids for that line of work when they're that young. We'll leave that to our pathetic excuse for a school district.
In case you're wondering about this company (or interested in whoring out your child), it can be found here.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
If it's all possible, please feel free to send some of that water our way. We're running out. It's pretty serious.
Seriously, is it possible to build a big pipe across the country? Just thinking out loud.
Here he is getting into things he shouldn't be.
Meanwhile, HotMomma called to tell me that she just met Mike Rowe from Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs and Deadliest Catch. Sometimes her job is way better than mine.
Update at 8:42 - He pooped a second huge load. Now I think he's doing it on purpose to leave a permanent smell in my office.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Father's Day was for playing the important role of a father. It was about caring for a sick and cranky child and entertaining him until the sun loosened it's relentless grip on our day. Despite the misery of a stuffy nose, malaise and occasional mood swing, with the help of miracle medicines, Z-Dub managed to crack a few smiles. He danced and sang to the songs of his Backyardigans iPodesque music player, played with his miniature African safari and ocean animals and read books.
Later, a quick trip to the grocery store allowed him to skip up and down the aisles while driving his miniature school bus across the boxes neatly lined up across the shelves. They weren't so neatly lined up after he passed through.
Driving home we saw a young teen sleeping in the hot sun on an old dirty mattress next to a trash bin behind a 7-Eleven convenience store. At first we thought he might be dead, but then he shifted his position, trying to conceal himself from the sun's rays in a tiny bit of shade covering a corner of the mattress. HotMomma and I wondered who he was, why he was there, where was his father, his mother? It was a truly sad sight to see. We debated calling somebody, but who do we call?
Seeing a child in such a deplorable situation created serious dialogue for the ride home. We vowed to never allow that to happen to Z-Dub and any of our future children. Raising a child can be tough, but we should never let it come to that.
After we arrived home, HotMomma continued to work hard too to make Father's Day a great one. Chicken Parmigiana for dinner was certainly a treat, as was a pass on having to do dishes, although I did help.
After a lot excitement crammed into a short day coupled with his body trying to fight off whatever new illness he contracted, Z-Dub falling into a deep sleep on my lap was a perfect cap to the day. As was the sudden realization that next year I get to do this with two kids.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Saturday, June 14, 2008
As for Z-Dub, his first movie in a theater was neither successful or disastrous. It was somewhere in between. He watched most of the movie, but only about 50 percent while sitting in his seat. Luckily the huge theater had plenty of room because he liked wandering. He spent a great deal of the movie roaming our aisle or sitting on the stairs and eating popcorn. And M & Ms. What's a first movie experience without a bunch of junk food. He indulged, as did HotMomma and I.
A yelled out a couple of times during the movie. Once it was, "uh oh, a monster!" and the other was "look, the sky!" It was funny.
Overall, the first trip to the theater was a good one.
I thought I'd try for a tie breaker. I went over to Z-Dub and asked," Z-Dub, what do want for dinner?" Of course with his attention focused on Spanglish education, I had to repeat myself, "Z-Dub, are you hungry? What do you want to eat?" He turned to me and replied "chocolate." No surprise. He was recently introduced to it and now it's all he wants.
In addition to his chocolate obsession, he's discovered some other new foods lately. The most unusual one was calamari. Yep, our two-year-old loves fried squid. He's also been snacking on edamame (soy beans). It's a healthy snack. He views it as an eating project because he's got to work to get the beans out of the pod. They're like tasty rewards for the effort.
We absolutely love the fact that Z-Dub will eat just about anything. A lot of kids his age are quite picky eaters.
Friday, June 13, 2008
If you like the food of the Pacific Islands (authentic Chamorro/Hawaiian/Filipino) and you're in Vegas or planning a trip, you have to try True Island BBQ. It's located on South Eastern at Richmar, between I-215 and Silverado Ranch Blvd.
From BBQ Beef Skewers to Nana's Sesame Chicken to Mongolian Beef to Chicken Kelaguen, True Island BBQ's menu is spectacular. Making the restaurant even more appealing is the fact that their customer service is superb and the prices are right on. The owners know us by name. You don't get that at a big chain restaurant.
After your meal, if you have a sweet tooth you must have their Pancake ala Mode. It's incredible.
(This is not a paid post.)
Like it is for many Americans, the price of gasoline is impacting our family's finances. The price of gasoline affects the price of everything, including food. While we're not struggling like many families, it's definitely curtailed our driving and spending habits. It also means less money for Z-Dub's college savings.
Now I know many of our European friends pay much more for precious fuel, but here in American we're not accustomed to paying such high prices. And with the lack of a viable public transportation system here in the desert, we have very few alternatives to filling our gas tanks and driving around town. Way to go Government for planning ahead, but that's a whole other post.
Without further delay, here's this week's price per gallon:
That's a shocking $0.11 increase over last week. Let's hope the price levels off before next week.
For the record, I drive a fairly fuel-efficient car that yields an average of 33 miles per gallon.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
With this blog written from a dad's point of view and the fact that we're approaching Father's Day weekend, I thought it would be fitting to write an inaugural post about fatherhood and what it means to me. I'm also writing about the subject as part a contest over at Discovering Dad. Although it would be great to win, the experience of being a father is truly an award in itself. I feel privileged to be a father.
I never imagined how challenging and rewarding fatherhood could be until I had the opportunity to first experience it with the birth of Z-Dub a little over two years ago. The night we brought him home remains one of the most memorable. Needless to say, we had no clue what we were doing and sleep was unattainable. But the challenges of those first experiences were, and continue to be, greatly surpassed by the tremendous joy our son has brought to my life, as well as HotMomma's. My love for him has never wavered and never will.
During HotMomma's pregnancy I envisioned what it would be like. I'd have this little person to care for, making sure he's protected, nurtured and loved until he eventually becomes an independent and self-sufficient young adult. Needless to say, I was a bit frightened by the whole thing. Would I be good at it? Luckily I've managed and the role of father has turned out to be so much more than just the care of a helpless being. It has been a tremendous learning experience not only for Z-Dub, but also for me. That is why learning is exactly what fatherhood means to me. It may seem too simple or obvious to others, but I never realized how much learning potential having a child creates.
One of the most important things we've both learned is patience, although with similar personalities, we both slip up every once in a while. For me it's letting him stop to observe an ant on the sidewalk during our afternoon walk instead of rushing him around the block. It may be just a bug to me, but to Z-Dub it's a remarkable creature to be studied until he's compelled to stomp on it and yell "the ant's dead!" For Z-Dub it's learning to calmly wait his turn when sharing toys with his friends or when he's yearning for a refill of juice in his sippy cup. We've both made great strides in learning to overcome our propensity for impatience.
While patience is important, learning to help others is too. I'm completely committed to playing an active role in the caring of Z-Dub and his future brother or sister (AKA The Fetus). Whether it's changing a crappy diaper, supervising shower time or taking Z-Dub to the doctor, I've always participated and often taken the lead with these not-too-glorious jobs. I'm sure HotMomma appreciates the support, but more importantly, I feel it's important that Z-Dub knows that helping others can be rewarding. I also believe that it's important that he knows that both of his parents are devoted to helping him grow and flourish. He learns by example and hopefully will be just as devoted when he has the opportunity to become a parent in very distant future.
Being a father also means learning from others. Blogging as afforded me the opportunity to meet and develop friendships with other dad (and mom) bloggers. They are great sources for information, advice, humor and encouraging commentary that have helped me overcome obstacles. For example, one of our greatest challenges so far has been in the area of discipline. While overall Z-Dub is a well-mannered child, he does have his moments like any other two-year-old. He likes to test our authority, mocking every punishment thrown his way. Timeouts have become the most effective tool, but lately he's laughed at the prospect of time in the corner. It may be a joke to him, but it's definitely not for us. I've read a lot about the issue on other blogs and have received a lot of advice in the form of comments. We're applying what we've learned and trying new things, such as positive reinforcement, to solidify our authority over our mischievous toddler. I think we're gaining ground in that area.
While learning is an important aspect of fatherhood, it requires an open mind and a willingness to confront what may be deemed as uncomfortable or unmanly. Fathers should be determined to try new things and view them as extraordinary opportunities for self analysis and improvement. Our actions and attitudes towards tasks, responsibilities and roles have a lasting effect on our children. We have an opportunity to help shape them into individuals that are not afraid of taking on challenges and achieving success. I'm confident that my shared learning experiences with Z-Dub will help him become a better human being.
I'd also like to congratulate Jeremy from Discovering Dad and his family. Their daughter Caitlin is finally home after spending the first 23 days of her life in a NICU. We wish them the best.