Talent show ’09

27 02 2009

In the school that the boys attend the talent show is a pretty big deal.  Last year Isaac was in it for the first time, and he loved it.  This year when the time came to sign up he wanted to play more music from his Legend of Zelda video games on the piano, so we were more than happy to oblige him.  But his teacher also wanted them to sing a song as a class, and so did Jonathan’s teacher.  That meant that for the duration of the show Karen and I would be sitting with just the babies.  No small feat, but undeniably easier than having Jonathan on my lap at the same time.

They went in order of grades, so Jonathan’s kindergarten class went first.  They sang a rousing rendition of Down by the Bay, complete with visual aids.  Then some first graders did some stuff, and then Isaac’s class sang This Little Light of Mine, complete with little flashlights to “let shine.”

see?  they're shining!

After another couple of acts Isaac took his turn at the piano.  He played the Clocktown theme from The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.

he says he wasn't nervous

He played it perfectly (of course).  The crowd was so moved there were cell phones in the air.  And at the end he took a nice deep bow, to the sound of thunderous applause that threatened to send the roof crashing down on top of everyone.  

I'll be here all week.  Thank you!

I’m expecting a call next week finalizing the record deal.  

But something odd happened.  All those acts from last year in which girls danced along to Hannah Montana songs weren’t there.  I was stunned, because there were at least ten of these routines last year.  But there were a lot more acts this year, so I suppose they found other things to do.  In all it was a great evening out with everybody, and when we left (which was a bit before the end) Isaac and Jonathan didn’t want to go.  They’re already making plans for next year.





For my sister, whom I may have offended

17 02 2009

While I moved away from western PA after college, my sister moved BACK to western PA.  This has proven over the years to be beneficial for many reasons.  One of these is that occasionally she sends us items that are of a Black and Gold nature.  A delivery of that sort arrived less than a week after the Super Bowl.  T-shirts for everyone in the family (provided that I’m the same size as my 8-year-old) and that was way cool.  She asked me on the phone if they were going to feature in one of my now-famous Tuesday Twosday posts, and my reaction was something like “Oh, not this week.  It will be at least next week, if at all.”

Hmmm.  That may have been a little rude.  In my defense, two of my children and one of my wives were sick that weekend so I was a little preoccupied while on the phone.  

So this past weekend I decked out the little ones in their new shirts and Isaac helped me with the photo shoot.  It was fun, even if nobody smiled.

Look!  Daddy's doing something silly behind the camera!

Later I gave them a toy to fight over.  

back off buddy, don't make me use this

Taking these pictures is going to be very fun for a few months.





Some love for milk chocolate

15 02 2009

There are levels to being a chocoholic.  Karen has her favorites, but she lies says that any chocolate will do.  I know better. 

make enough for seconds or she'll eat yours too

There was an article in Food & Wine magazine which mentioned that a lot of pastry chefs, as well as chocoholics, only love dark chocolate.  The bitterer the better.  Karen can be counted among them.  She views milk chocolate as unfit for consumption except in case of emergency.  I, however, am one of milk chocolate’s biggest fans.  So I was thrilled when that same article had recipes for milk chocolate that looked awesome.  I know, this is my second chocolate post this year, but I had to.  Click the link and look at that picture and tell me you don’t want it right now:

Milk Chocolate Pots de Creme (or something like that)

At first I thought it was going to be like the chocolate soup I made earlier, but it wasn’t.  It was way better.  It’s got a custard base, so it’s much smoother.  I’m getting hungry just writing about it.  But the picture in the recipe makes it look like it flows like soup, and if you don’t cook it as much as they tell you to, it may.  But I followed the recipe and it was a pretty firm custard.  That’s not a bad thing.  So the picture is a little misleading.  Really, who cares?

Is this a little more romantic than Karen’s Valentine’s Day gift last year?





An old friend

11 02 2009

Ben is almost three.  Looking back on each year it’s inspiring to see the progress he’s made.  And that’s a good thing, because day to day it can seem like there’s not much happening.  But there is.

Long long ago there was a time when Ben couldn’t do much.  He couldn’t sit up without support, he couldn’t roll over.  He could, however, hold a toy in his hand and “play with it.”  By this I mean that he would wave it in front of him.  He could also stand in an exersaucer and bat at toys.  But his three positions during the day (besides on my lap) were in the saucer, lying on the floor, and sitting in the swing.  He napped (and got fed) in the swing, and when he was there he had a favorite toy.  It was one of those toys meant to put over a carrier-type car seat.  Baby pulled on the ring, it came towards them, and vibrated on its way back up.  Ben loved it.  He’d play with it for long stretches of time.  But eventually he became bored with it.  So it got put away.

Nathaniel arrived last summer, so we’ve been getting some old toys out again for him to get bored with, and the old bumblebee was one of them.  Ben is rarely in the swing these days so he hadn’t seen too much of it.  But the other day I set him there while he napped and he started playing with it again.  Pulling it, letting it vibrate, never letting go.  He always liked feeling the vibrations.  

swinging himself and lounging around

So I sat there watching him pull and relax, pull and relax.  He was remembering just like I was.





One week in

9 02 2009

We’ve got some rules in our house that we actually enforce.  One of them is “No video games during the week.”  The boys have come to accept this rule, but it usually means that on Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday they want to do nothing but play video games.  We also have a “no video games before lunch” rule.  So the actual time spent may be relatively small in relation to the week, but the amount of space in their minds occupied by the games is very large.  Time was not kept by the position of the sun in the sky or by the phase of the moon.  Time was kept by marking how many days were left until the three day gaming binge.  Obsession is a dangerous thing, and these kids aren’t even ten yet.  So we decided to prove to them that there are other things to do than sit in front of the TV with a controller.

We designated February as “No Video Games Month.”  When met with the expected protests we explained that at least February is the shortest month of the year.  We could have picked March.  We could have picked JULY, when they’re home from school (we still may do that one).

next year he performs at the grammys

So here we are, one week into our screen-free month (no TV either) and what’s been happening?  I can tell you one thing that hasn’t been happening.  Much to our surprise we haven’t heard one complaint.  There the game systems sit, in full view of the children (and parents), and I haven’t heard one question about leniency on the rule.  Isaac has, however, delved into Zelda strategy guides as if he’s living vicariously through them.  I’ve hid those now, because I find it a bit creepy.  

Jonathan is summarily unfazed by the whole idea.  While he loves the idea of being free to play video games, in truth he could give or take them.  He often plays for a while then puts the controller down and does something else.  In this case he’s gotten hooked on one of their Christmas presents from my mother, the Smart Globe from the Discovery Store.  

actually looking for Carmen San Diego

He’s played with it so much that when they ask him to locate countries on the globe he can do it pretty quickly.  He was even helping Isaac do it (and mocking him at the same time).  So far I’d say that this experiment is a success, and it’s one we’ll have to repeat in the future.





I’m Now Accepting Bids

2 02 2009

It wasn’t the refs, it wasn’t the crowd, it wasn’t the weather.  The difference in the game was my cooking and you know it.  Two years in a row now I’ve picked the Super Bowl winner correctly based solely on my cooking.  If any team would like my services I would be happy to start the bidding at two tickets to the game.

Ben was riveted by the game the whole time, honest.

And one other thing.  I can officially say that the most effective Super Bowl ad was the one for the Hyundai Genesis.  With all those people yelling “Hyundai!!!” a two-year-old in the room started yelling it too.