Friday, October 26, 2012

Rockin' Friday: Halloween Redux

It's almost time for Halloween and thankfully this year I (hopefully) won't have to carry the Little Dude nearly as much as in the two years prior. One thing that I know we will do is listen to his favorite Halloween song.

It was actually the song I chose for my very first Rockin' Friday feature way back in March. At the time, I asked myself what I would do at Halloween time, since it's quite an appropriate tune for the season. So since I'm sleep deprived with a 1-month-old baby, I know you'll understand re-posting the link for you to check out.  It's also worth checking out so you can learn why I hate kids' music so much.

What's your favorite Halloween-esque song?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Two-Line Tuesday: Pumpkin

In this context only,
you may call me Little Punkin. 

How would you caption this photo?

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Battle of Turkey Pasta

He’d eaten it a million times.  Well, that’s exaggerating. He’s eaten Kraft Mac & Cheese and/or turkey dogs a million times. He’d eaten this many times and always liked it. What’s not to like about pasta with marinara sauce and ground turkey? Though it had been a while since he’d had it, that shouldn’t have mattered.  

My Little Dude is a picky eater, that's no secret. He always has been. Even with the baby food in jars he was given at six months old, he rejected most of them.  Usually all over me and my clothes.

But one exception to the rule has been Mrs. Dude’s famous “Turkey Pasta”.  She’s made it for years and he’s always been a big fan, just as I am. And in some weird coincidence, he usually wears a white or light-colored shirt on the days that he eats it.  That’s partly why we buy kegs of stain remover at Costco.   
"Big Tubes" & "Worms" pictured.
But a few months ago, my sister came to visit and introduced the Little Dude to a new culinary treat: “Butter Pasta”.   I can’t really argue that in most circumstances items topped with butter usually taste better than items mixed with turkey, but this dish may be an exception to that rule.  My sister made butter pasta for my nieces and the Little Dude immediately took to it. So much so that he started requesting it multiple times a week.  If he gets excited to eat something we get excited, though in this case I wish it had a little more protein in it.

Given his affection for his new favorite dish, and the ease of preparation, he started eating it a lot. Also since it was over 100 degrees for most of the summer and Turkey Pasta can be a heavy meal, we didn’t make it much over the last couple months.  But I figured it was time to bring it back. Just as people clamor for the McRib every time McDonald’s puts it back on the menu, so should the Little Dude enjoy his beloved Turkey Pasta once again.

Mrs. Dude took him to the grocery store to pick out pasta, as he is very intrigued by the various shapes. He picked out butterflies (farfalle), corkscrews (fusilli), tubes (penne) and more. Then he helped pour them into the boiling water, watching excitedly as they danced around the bubbles.  He waited as the shapes were mixed with sauce and put in his favorite bowl on the table for him.  

And then he refused to eat it.

He wanted something else to eat.  Butter Pasta. Which is OK sometimes, but that’s not what we’d prepared and it’s time for him to get on the same page as us. Making two separate meals is annoying. 

The next hour was not a fun course of events, with many tears shed and a failed bribery attempt, but in the end he opted to go to bed hungry and mad.  Which is a truly heartbreaking thing for a parent to watch but was entirely his choice.

Punishment came when he bounded into our room this morning at 5:30am, cheerful and happy. Acting as though nothing had occurred ten hours earlier.  “I’m hungry!” he giggled.

Perfect! We are having Turkey Pasta for breakfast...

How have you or would you deal with a situation like this?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Rockin' Friday: Monkey and the Engineer

One characteristic I look for when choosing music for the Little Dude is lyrics that he can easily pick up and remember.  One recent addition to his playlist does just that, while incorporating two of his favorite things: animals and trains.
Jesse Fuller
Monkey and the Engineer was written by folk legend Jesse Fuller in the 1950s. It’s a funny song about a monkey who had been a very faithful companion to a train engineer. They’d spent so much time together, in fact, that the monkey learned how to drive the train and one day decided to take it for a spin. Or a roll. Or whatever they call driving a train. Fortunately he’d learned how to drive it from an experienced engineer and did a great job controlling locomotive #99 all the way down the track.

Though many artists have covered it, I first heard a cover of this song by the Grateful Dead who probably learned it from Jesse Fuller while he was living in the San Francisco Bay Area while they were growing up.  Though they didn’t often play it live, it was a staple of their acoustic tour in 1980. Here’s one of those performances from Radio City Music Hall:

I discovered that someone recently published a children's picture book based on this tune. I might have to check it out for my Dudes. 

What's your favorite animal-themed song?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Two-Line Tuesday: Lounging

What do you mean this seat is for infants up to 20 pounds? 
It fits me just fine.

How would you caption this photo?

Monday, October 15, 2012

What Are You Up To This Weekend?

“What are you up to this weekend?” she asked with an ambivalent smile as she grabbed some cheese puffs from my cart.  I’m sure she was expecting me to say something like “watching the game” or “mowing the lawn”.  I’m also sure it was a canned question she was instructed to ask everyone who reached her cash register as the work week came to a close.  From the look on her face, I knew that my response was one she’d never heard before.

I was battling the clock as I raced to Trader Joe’s after work to pick up some of the Little Dude’s essential items.  I had to be home at 5:00pm sharp and it was already just past 4:30. It would take me 15 minutes to get home which left me barely 10 minutes to get into the store, find everything on Mrs. Dude’s list, and get back in the car.  It was a steamy 99 degrees outside, which made everyone drag a little more than normal, but I had no time to spare.  

I pulled out my iPhone and searched my notes for the needed items. Even though the list contained only a dozen or so items, I could barely remember my name that day let alone what flavor of yogurt I needed to find. My mind was understandably elsewhere.

I headed up the first aisle, grabbing the strawberry yogurt and some fruit snacks, then made a U-turn into the frozen aisle. Grabbing a few items without stopping the cart, I made another quick turn to find a few of the Little Dude’s favorite items were out of stock. The clock was ticking so I headed to the last aisle to find the last two items on the list were also out of stock. I could feel my palms moisten as the anxiety caused by realizing I was out of time kicked in.  The Little Dude would have to get by without his carrot applesauce for a few days.

I raced home for our last family dinner as we knew it. Everything seemed normal, but there was stress in the air.  And Egg Drop Soup. We tried to keep things as normal as possible for the Little Dude that night. He knew what was going on, at least technically, but the extent to which he was able to process it is a mystery. After dinner, we took the dog for a walk, gave our almost-3-year-old his bath, read him some stories and put him to bed. 

Mrs. Dude and I had a lot to finish and the clock was ticking. Would we have enough time?  As I noticed a mountain of unfolded laundry, I realized that we never quite do. We did our best to get everything in order before finally falling asleep around 1:00 AM.

When the alarm clock buzzed just shy of five hours later, I wanted to hit snooze so badly that I would have given my first born for another 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep. But that couldn’t happen, we had an appointment and had to be on time. I felt nervous but excited as I looked across our spacious bed at Mrs. Dude and said “Let’s go have a baby”.

And so we did.

After a few weeks away, I'm excitedly rejoining the YW crew this week.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Two-Line Tuesday: Car Shopping

If I can't get a deal on the Ferrari,
I'm going with the Porsche.

How would you caption this pic?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Blog-ternity Leave

Flying blind can take you interesting places. It can also lead to complete disaster. In preparation for the arrival of our second son, I tried to plan out my blog schedule so I'd have enough ready to publish during the weeks after the birth. Then life with a toddler happened, my plans fell apart and I wasn't prepared. And somehow among the 20 hours or so I've been awake each day over the last couple of weeks, very little has been at the computer. And I’m glad.

I appreciate each person who reads this blog. Truly every single one of you. Even more if you leave a comment or tell a friend. And I wanted to share the experience with you in real time. No, not as I was watching Mrs. Dude get sliced open, but close enough.

Two weeks ago, when the baby was born, I was beyond excited and still am over the moon. I had so many stories bouncing around my skull to share with you. But my family needed me. Mrs. Dude, the Little Dude and the Littler Dude* came first, as they should. Between schlepping back and forth to the hospital, preschool, doctor visits and more I haven’t had time to write. And I felt like a part of me was missing. 

The blogging community, of which you are all a part, has been so kind to me for the last 15 months, but I needed some Blog-ternity leave. I took two weeks, which is longer than I took from my real job, but now I’m back.  I’d say I’m reenergized, but let’s face it, I have a 2 week old kid. I have basically no energy at all.

You may be wondering if things will be the same as before, with me publishing new posts 3 or 4 times per week? Stay tuned. Is there anything you want to see more or less of on this blog? Be honest, I can take it.

I’m still flying blind, but it is even sweeter with another passenger along for the ride. As a wise man once said “I sure don’t know what I’m going for, but I’m gonna go for it for sure.”

Your Pal,
The Dude
With my new pal
*Still trying to decide on a name for him. Do you like “Littler Dude”? What about “Mini Dude”? Any other ideas?? Leave a comment below.