My superpower

13 01 2009

Hi.  My name is Mark and here’s my superpower.  I can watch the Steelers in the playoffs and still keep quiet enough that two babies can fall asleep on my lap.  Ben hasn’t been feeling well and required a lap to sit on all day on Sunday.  And Nate was, well, he was being Nate.  

he can still wave the terrible towel while sleeping

So I had two babies on my lap while Karen made dinner and helped Jonathan glue candy fish to a cutout of a snowman for kindergarten.  Ask her about that one, I have no clue.

Some good did come out of it.  Nathaniel got his first lesson in waving a Terrible Towel.





Merry Christmas from us

24 12 2008

Dear Santa, all we want for Christmas is for Daddy to stop taking so many pictures.  

Nate says "Don't drop me!!!!"

the tonsils are still there...

Somebody help... he's choking me...





Homage to Christmas Past

22 12 2008

Crash Bandicoot was Isaac’s first video game addiction.  I can highly recommend it for children.  It’s very silly and the kids love them still.  Yes, I caught Isaac playing Crash Bandicoot Warped on my old PlayStation 1 last month.  And this first exposure to video games came with a lesson in marketing for Mom and Dad.  At the mall arcade Karen and a four-year-old Isaac noticed a plush Sonic Hedgehog as a prize for winning tickets.  Isaac was inspired and asked if he could have a stuffed Crash Bandicoot.  “Maybe Santa will bring one” says Mommy.  Later that evening a very worried Mommy looked on Ebay to see if such a thing existed.  It did, and Santa brought it for Christmas.  

That was four years ago, and Crash has seen better days.  As the boys get older they enjoy torturing plush toys, especially ones that are already starting to rip at the seams (You should what Isaac did to the Spiderman at my sister’s house).  One of Crash’s arms was starting to separate, so he became the latest victim of the fearsome Four Cousins of Destruction

CSI PlayStation

I’ve been given no details of the interrogation (and I have no idea what happened to his eyeball), but this is how Crash was found the day after Thanksgiving.  As “Mean Ole’ Auntie Dawn” was about to earn her title I informed her that Crash was not long for this world anyway.  She relented.  Crash is bound for the refuse, and it does make us a little sad because it reminds us of a different time in our lives.  Jonathan couldn’t talk yet.  MMmmmmmm………………





See? It wasn’t my fault.

14 12 2008

Okay, so maybe it was.  I don’t know, but when I made this recipe from Giada for zeppole (I posted about it here) it was a disaster.  Then I saw her make zeppole on a different episode of Everyday Italian, and this time she used half the water as before.  Hmmm…..  I smell something fishy.  I told Karen that I had to make it.

booo-yeah!

So first of all, here’s the recipe.  

Now, this time I was so sure it would be perfect that I had the boys to help me.  They’re always good for a blog post.  Jonathan helped me with the batter.

Jonathan made the batter

And Isaac stirred the bittersweet chocolate chips and warm heavy cream together to make the ganache.  

Isaac made the ganache.  Did I do anything?

But then he got a better idea.

This part isn't in the recipe.

Nate watched all this transpire from the safety of his swing.

Just gimme some of that chocolate stuff.  That's all I'm asking.

I followed the recipe to the letter, and here’s how the batter looked just after I added the eggs.

What kind of peaks are these?

A HUGE improvement from last time.  They were not so runny this time.  I was relieved and set to work cooking them.  Except one thing.  Giada used a mini ice cream scooper to dispense the batter into the oil.  We don’t have one.  So mine were still ugly.

They even skipped across the water.

Karen decided she could do a better job, and she did.  It’s apparently all in the wrist.  Or something like that, she could do it and I couldn’t.

Orangey goodness with sugar on top

So they came out well.  Maybe it was the different recipe, maybe it was the fact that I didn’t do much.  It doesn’t matter to me; they were good.  I keep thinking about Top Chef and how nobody can make a decent dessert.  Why doesn’t anyone make these?





Woah! Look at that!

9 12 2008

It’s very interesting to see just what grabs the attention of babies and small children.  And if you can hold the attention of more than one at a time (and if you’ve got the assistance of an older brother to make sure Ben doesn’t roll away), well then you’ve got yourself a photo op.  

yeah, yeah!  Um, where is it again?

And no, I have no idea what they’re looking at, even though I was that close to them.  But Ben rolled away, and then there was one..

no i don't know where ben went

One little baby lying on his tummy, started to cry and I gave him to Mummy! (To the tune of Five Purple Conkers)

put down that camera and pick me up already!





He’s plotting my demise

25 11 2008

Little boys prefer their mommies.  It’s one of those laws of nature.  It’s why, back when we had one child, I pined for a little girl.  I’m over that now.  Now I’m perfectly willing to say “Honey, the baby wants you” or “Go ask Mommy.”  You get the idea.  Mommy’s home, daddy takes the evening off.

Oh.  Hi!  Of course I'm glad to see you!

But a new wrinkle has developed in this little drama.  It’s this.  Since our babies nurse they sleep in bed with us.  (Any comments debating the pros and cons of this practice will be deleted.  You are not allowed to argue on my blog.)  All is well up until this point, or should I say this child.  Nathaniel has decided he doesn’t like me.  If he’s sleeping peacefully alone in our bed and I get in too he wakes up.  It doesn’t matter how quietly or gently I lie down.  First he stirs a little, then he starts fussing.  But Karen shows up and all is right with the world.  It doesn’t matter what time of day this is.  Early morning, late at night, whatever.  Last night Karen was updating her blog and I had to call her in just so I could go to sleep.

If you’re having difficulty following me, let me summarize.  I have been banished from my own bed by a four-month-old.

The funny thing is this.  Karen will come home from work and pick up Nate.  But he’s still staring at me.  This has been giving Karen a complex of sorts, and she’s terrified that Nate is favoring me over her.  The truth is this.  He’s sitting on her lap staring at me thinking (in Stewie’s voice) “She’s mine!  You hear?!  I’ll soon be rid of you!”

Is he still there?  He's ALWAYS there!

I’m going to be watching this one very closely….

Happy Thanksgiving!





Game on

18 11 2008

This is a special guest edition of Twosday Tuesday.  Today Karen documents in a series of images the first official turf war between Benjamin and Nathaniel.  I am assuming it is the first of many struggles in the never ending battle to lay claim to baby toys.  It started innocently enough, with the two of them on the blanket.  We were going to give them each an Oball (that is what they are called), and take some cute baby pictures.

see, we're getting along now

Ben had other things in mind.  As soon as he saw the ball given to Nate he dropped his and positioned himself for a takeover.

hey kid, wanna buy a watch?

For those of you who were wondering if Ben is mobile, this counts as indisputable visual evidence.

why should I be worried?

Funny, Nate doesn’t even look worried yet.

Hey, whatcha doin'?

OK, now he looks a little worried.

O. Hai.  Diz ball iz minez.

I actually heard the words “It will be mine.  Oh yes, it will be mine.”

I can has Oball?

At this point Nate is asking me “You just sat there and let him do that?  Nice.  Yeah, you go put those on your blog.  Good idea.”  At this point we gave Nate the discarded Oball to play with, and he was very happy to have it thank you.

I haz an Oball.





A lesson in playing

4 11 2008

Ben shows Nathaniel how it’s done.  Yes, this means I left Ben in charge of Nathaniel.  

And I was trying to use my Jedi powers to move them.

We’ve had this play mat since Isaac was a baby.





It was an educational trip

27 10 2008

Last year in October I took Isaac to see the Steelers pound on play the Seattle Seahawks, and we had a great time.  We didn’t, however, watch a lot of football.  It was 95 degrees out there and we didn’t spend a lot of time in our seats.  This time around the weather was much more favorable and the teams much more evenly matched.  Plus, Isaac is a year older now, and more educated in the ways of the Burgh.

Just like last year we parked across the river and took the boat over.  It saves a lot of walking and I’m a big believer in it.  Isaac asked to get his face painted again.

We got to our seats before the opening kickoff (Shocking, isn’t it?), and Isaac performed well.  He sang along with the Steelers cheer when the music played (“Here we go Steelers, Here we go!” Clap Clap), and he even stood up and waved his Terrible Towel when everybody else did, even though he couldn’t see what was happening because everybody was standing up.  He did ask in the fourth quarter “Daddy, why are we yelling so the other team can’t hear?”  When he asks it like THAT it does sound a bit unsportsmanlike, but then life isn’t really fair, is it?

I made Isaac sit through  We sat in our seats through the first quarter.  I could tell Isaac was bored with sitting still that long so we went for a walk to – where else – the gift shop.  We also went through the Great Hall again and while we were there he found the one place in the stadium where a boy of eight can play video games.

Midway through the third quarter Isaac said “Let’s go back to our seats.” so we did.  And we got to watch the terror that was the fourth quarter.  

That was when things got interesting.  In the stands, that is.  When the Steelers snapped that punt through the back of the end zone for a safety, one Giants fan in a hard hat got into a War of Words with about 200 people in our section.  There were all sorts of words. “F” words, “S” words, “A” words, “M-F” words, “G-D” words, “D” and “H” words to name a few.  It was quite the vocabulary lesson for Isaac.  And when the Giants scored that touchdown I learned a lesson.  When it’s time for somebody to leave, security will most likely remove the fan supporting the visiting team.

As we were walking back to our car I thanked Isaac for coming with me.  My favorite thing in the world is doing cool things with my kids.  I’m sure that had I watched this game at home on TV I’d have been all angry about it, but not on this day.  Isaac was there with me, so the score didn’t matter.  The Steelers lost but I won.





Playful feet

30 09 2008

Sitting in the double stroller facing each other, the boys find a way to occupy themselves.

Okay, it was mostly Ben.  But he had a blast and Nate seemed to be thinking “What is that odd sensation at my feet?”