Traveling from MA to NY while the kids test our patience; So long social media

If you don’t want to read the whole thing, here’s a recap: kids are nuts and unpredictable and may or may not cause you to drink sometimes…and I’m signing off on social media for a week.

If you’d like to read the long form, here it is.

With Wifester’s maternity leave dwindling down to single digits, we decided it was about time to hit the road to see all the family. We spent a Monday and Tuesday on Buzzard’s Bay (located in Bourne, MA just before you cross over the Bourne Bridge) before making a trip to Martha’s Vineyard for a week (where we biked to and thoroughly enjoyed Bad Martha beer flights several times) and ultimately wound up on Long Island for a few days (where the Unit had a blast at the Long Island Children’s Museum).

beer flights at Bad Martha

beer flights at Bad Martha

the fam on the Flying Horses

family-ie on the Flying Horses Carousel, MV

Alas, we finally returned to our humble abode here in Connecticut. It was a long time coming and was quite a whirlwind but we made it with only a few hiccups.

For the most part, the kids maintained their sleep schedules and despite eating inordinate amounts of treats and snacks and ice cream while being spoiled by grandparents, they refused to gain any weight and continued their torrid pace of physical exertion.

Today marked the first full day back and I plan on wiping out the fridge of all the beer left in it. It’s been one of those days.

The New Guy, who is 11 weeks today, cried for the vast majority of the day despite sleeping in until 7:30 this morning. Upon waking up, he proceeded to greet me by peeing, pooping, and puking on me — all before the clock struck eight.

The Unit, who is in the midst of the peak of the terrible threes, refuses to listen and continues to hit and kick everything in sight all while proclaiming, “NO!,” to everything he’s asked.

The Unit building block towers

The Unit building block towers

A wicked thunderstorm just ripped through here, knocking out the internet and such a few times.

Also, in an effort to be more present with everything, I am turning off all cellular service besides text messaging and phone calls on my cell phone. I rarely use the computer other than to blog, so that’s still on the table, but every other form of social media is out for a week — at least. Texting and phone calls are still in play because I am not going totally Amish (who actually built the Bad Martha building), just making a concerted effort to spend more quality time with the family.

So if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, there will be no action from my accounts.

fresh picked farm apple for The Unit

fresh picked farm apple for The Unit

biking to beer, not to keep fit

Wifester and me biking to beer, not to keep fit

 

But it’s just about time to start in with the beers in the fridge and hope tomorrow is better than today. It’s Monday but I’ve got hope.

Packing the car when you have kids is a geology and jigsaw puzzling lesson

Is there any easy way to pack for a trip of more than a night or two with a kid, or even better, two kids? In my experience(s), the answer is a resounding NO! Whether it be just one child, as it was for three years, or two, as it’s been for two months, it’s like a jigsaw puzzle trying to get the car ready to roll.

Our car is a compact SUV with ample room for storage in the back and behind the driver and passenger seats. Honestly, there is practically no place in the car I won’t try to store or stash something for the road trip ahead. There are layers upon layers of items in the way back but there is an art, at least for me.

If you’re familiar with geology and metamorphic rocks, chances are you’re a good car packer. Why metamorphic? Simple, these rocks are constantly transformed by temperature and pressure from layers above it/them. Basically, everything on the bottom had better be stable otherwise your rectangular duffel bag (or mine in this case) will wind up looking like a rectangular pancake after a few hours on the road. Everything you pack is basically a metamorphic rock.

Here’s my artistic interpretation of how to pack a car:

pack a car

The bottom layer, or inner core for you geology junkies, ranges from a Pack ‘n Play to the bag of clothes I packed for myself (which usually gets flattened) to Nolan’s little cot to a box of diapers if we had to stop to get some, as we did on our most recent excursion. Most of the time, the majority of this layer will remain intact. Except for my bag, but who really cares, it’s got two pairs of shorts, a few pairs (maybe) of underwear, socks, t-shirts, maybe a pair of jeans, toothpaste (not necessarily a toothbrush), deodorant, a pair of sneakers, and maybe a polo and/or pair of jeans.

The second layer — the outer core — contains such items as the kids’ bags packed with all their tiny human clothes and a folded up stroller. This layer remains (most of the time) one of the few constants in packing a car.

On top of that we have the third layer, the mantle, and this is where you ideally want to put the things you may need should one (or both) kids start screaming and/or you need to stop at a rest area. Maybe a lunchbox for the kids. Oh, and the Wifester’s stuff, so it maintains it’s shape (not her request, rather my decision). Oh, and the breast pump + bag combo, we CANNOT forget that liquid gold-producing contraption. The beach bag also goes here but can be used in the lower crust since it’s towels that will easily change into the shape of anything you place on top not to mention adding a nice soft layer for fragile items.

Once you’ve loaded the car with the “necessities,” it’s time to throw in the (mostly) random crap you forgot to pack and are scrambling to get together since you’ve already strapped the kids in the car and convinced your wife that everything is packed and you did not forget anything. This is what’s known as the crust — or the “oh crap” — layer. Stray diapers, wipes, the kids beach pail, a pair of flip-flops for the beach, a backpack with things you might “need” but will never even take out of the car, water bottles, and snacks.

Anything you can’t fit in the trunk-area, just throw it behind your seat. Also, make sure a baggy of snacks is readily available up front, a stash that will be for bribery or for us to secretly snack on while the kid(s) stare out the window, cry, sing to themselves, and/or ask you 1,273 questions.

Oh, and if you’re going somewhere formal, the garment bag goes all the way on top, above even the crust, in the perfect spot to block your view out the rear view mirror. I’ll refer to it as the block layer.

Drive safe.

Tattoos depicting tiny humans (my kids)

Last week, I went to get a new tattoo (wound up getting two) to commemorate the New Guy joining us in our journey to take over the world.

His name is loosely translated into “gravelly homestead,” so naturally a fort came to mind. The secondary tattoo has more to do with what we often call him – Grahambo. The homestead is on my left shin and Grahambo representation is on my left arm.

Don’t judge, others tend to. Just because I’m a SAHD and have tattoos doesn’t mean a cotton-pickin’ thing. Your skin will wind up just as wrinkly and saggy as mine, but the difference is mine will have different shades and hues of color.

Grahambo -- gravelly homestead, aka old fort (NOT the Alamo)

(l.) Grahambo; (r.) gravelly homestead, aka old fort (NOT the Alamo)

Last year, I finally got my tattoo for The Unit, a few years after the fact, but that’s irrelevant. One of the meanings of his name is “little chariot fighter,” or “little champion,” thus a tiny human in a chariot steering two horses. It’s located on the inner part of my left arm.

little chariot fighter

little chariot fighter (sorry for the graininess)

I have numerous tattoos but I don’t get them to show them off or talk about them (as I am here), but because it’s my way of signifying — albeit sometimes random — things that have happened in my life, things I feel or have felt, or things that I thought of on a whim. In fact, I try to keep them covered as much as I can.

Some people are really insensitive, misunderstood, or just plain ignorant when it comes to discussing tattoos with someone with tattoos. Some questions/comments I’ve been approached with include:

  • Q: “Did it hurt?” No, a needle injecting ink in your skin feels great.
  • Q: “I’m gonna get a sleeve…” No you’re not.
  • Q: “Do you have any more?” Yeah, probably.
  • Q: “How many do you have?” (usually from the guy who kept every single Solo cup at the keg party in HS)
  • Q: “You do know tattoos are permanent, right?” Yes Linds, I do.

I share on my blog because it has to do with parenting (right?) and being proud to raise two cool dudes. And because I know my blog only gets a few hits every day. Let’s step it up people!

Wifester, she just shakes her head, laughs, and pours another glass of wine. Her last comment regarding a tattoo (Grahambo), was, “You do know tattoos are permanent, right?” To which I responded, “So are kids, right?”

I digress, I’ll take it back to the kids. The Unit looks at his representation and knows its him and points to the horses and says, “Daddy, I steer dem!” One day/night, the New Guy and I will watch Rambo, look at my arm, and share a laugh. I hope he doesn’t turn out like John Rambo, in fact, I’d much rather him really enjoying a good marshmallow roast over an open fire.

OK, that’s good for tonight. Watching Wipeout on the Roku as Linds watches Real Housewives of New York (I think) on the computer. With both kids asleep — for now — we cheers’ed to drinking together at night yet again. As my man Eminem so eloquently stated in his song, “Square Dance,” — it feels so good to be back!

Goodnight haters.

The Wifester and the Real Housewives; SAHD thoughts

Unfortunately for the Wifester, it’s not looking like she’ll ever live the life portrayed by the Real Housewives of New York/Atlanta/Orange County/New Jersey but don’t get all, “Oh, you deadbeat, go get a job and let her become a housewife.”

There are more Housewives’ shows but the names elude me, but Linds, she’s a fine-tuned machine when it comes to keeping up with these TV jagaloons. Because we no longer have cable, we no longer gets Bravo, which is the network all those shows air on. We’ve subscribed to Hulu Plus (for $8/month) but unfortunately (for her) they don’t make the seasons available until the next one has begun, so she needs — and I emphasis the word NEEDS — to keep up-to-date on her Housewives. She’s gone so far as to compile a list she refers to that includes the particular show that’s currently on-air and the most recent episode numbers so she can go to Bravo.com and watch. It’s an addiction but there’s worse things out there.

Back to real life. Does she deserve a chance to stay at home and raise the boys? You bet your ass she does, she’s a great mother, an awesome wife, as caring and generous a person as I’ve ever met. However, the cards we’re playing involve me at home raising these two dudes — in August the true test will begin as she’ll head back to work. Now that we’re closer to her job, she’ll be able to see them more during the week. At our last stop, her commute was about 75 minutes each way so she missed a lot; at least now we’re 12-14 minutes from work so I can make impromptu and unannounced visits at random.

Do I enjoy staying home? Hell yes. Some days I want to get back out there but it usually fades when I calculate the cost of day care. I might look into a part-time thing nights and/or weekends so supplement some income, but it’s a blessing to be able to be a stay-at-home parent, let along a stay-at-home dad. When I used to be out with the dude (soon to be dudes), I got looks like, “What’s this guy doing, doesn’t he work?” No one ever actually said that to me, but the looks by some of these stay-at-home moms suggested that sentiment.

My response (would be): “You do you, don’t worry about me. I got this.”

I’m not on a mission to badmouth any one group or person but it really seems SAHDs don’t get enough credit and aren’t taken seriously. Just because I have a Y chromosome doesn’t mean I’m not capable of raising a kid. I can cook, too (thankfully, since Linds isn’t the most adept in the kitchen — pasta and cereal are her specialties).

Time to watch some of this NBA Draft crap so I can listen to these ESPN goons not named Jay Bilas spout off about inane bullshit. Don’t get me started on Bill Simmons, dude referenced his YouTube research of several players already drafted. Next thing you know he’ll learn to be a coach by reading a book or something.

It’s humid and I’m getting all worked up, time to cash out.

Do any three-year-olds listen?

Today’s post is brought to you by the word “no.”

Hurricane just turned three – well it was over two months ago – and one thing Wifester and I noticed towards the end of his twos was that he was becoming a little more defiant, more oppositional, more “independent,” if you will.

Every parent of soon-to-be parent has heard of the “terrible twos.” The Unit showed no signs of this from months 13-22, but it showed up eventually. It was weird because I saw an article written by Sarah Fader right around the time when he began turning into an a-hole. The article’s title can be seen in it’s entirety by clicking the link.

“No” became a staple in his vocabulary and he certainly did whatever the hell he pleased despite being asked not to do something or another by me and/or Linds. It’s kind of spilled over into his threes, which brings us to present day, June, 2014.

the Unit trying to calm down the New Guy

the Unit trying to calm down the New Guy

He still acts like a bull in a China shop quite often but he’s getting better at listening. When he doesn’t listen and we try to get his attention, he throws a tantrum (or whatever he’s holding at the moment) and even lets out a hell-raising, ear-piercing scream. It takes everything I have not to bust out laughing at his reaction, but I keep it together so he knows we’re serious.

Right. Right?

He’s not not listening because of the New Guy, he’s actually starting to pay some attention to him, which is good to see. He says name a lot and talks about him more than, “uh-oh, he’s doing it again!” (“it” being crying).

I just crushed a two mile run (it’s hilly as hell where we live, cut me some slack) and am watching the previous episode of MasterChef while Lindsay catches up on her Real Housewives on the computer with a glass of wine in bed.

Drinking in bed, a fete last attempted when we were DINKs (dual income, no kids). Those were some good days but I wouldn’t trade in being these two dudes’ dad for anything.

Time for me to call it a night.

The Unit will NEVER play in the World Cup

While everyone in America seems to have the itch for soccer (self included), there is one person who is just the opposite. The Unit. He hates soccer.

He enjoyed it before it started.

Here’s his first day’s outfit as he posed with the then-pregnant Wifester: gray New Balance sneaks, mesh shorts, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shirt. (Our hindsight was spot on as we decided not to buy him soccer specific cleats/shoes.)

IMG_2946

This fall, Linds and I had a brilliant idea: let’s try to get this kid to socialize and see if he enjoys something other than hanging out with his cool parents. We signed him up for the U5 “league” which, in reality, was more like 60 kids split into four groups led by two parents each.

You guessed it, I was one of those parent “coaches.” Me, with exactly ZERO days of organized soccer experience under my belt in 33+ years on this great Earth. The other “coach” had twins in the group, one participated and was clearly the best kid there and the other who opted not to.

We bought him a soccer ball a few weeks before the “season” started to try to whet his appetite a bit. He loved when we went to the park, I mean loved it! He’d run hundreds of yards dribbling/kicking-the-crap-out-of the ball.

IMG_2936

We got him a haircut soon after this photo

Enter other kids with their own soccer balls, some who’ve played, some who haven’t. Nolan, he wasn’t impressed by any of it. He enjoyed the warm-up, which consisted of chasing the coaches in a circle for three small laps around the “field.”

Six weeks is all it took to realize we will no longer be signing the Unit up for soccer unless he asks, which is highly unlikely.

Back to the World Cup. How devastating was that last-second goal Portugal scored? I mean I am as fake a fan as probably 86% of the rest of America but it’s always nice to see your country succeed – it wouldn’t be normal to think the opposite, would it?

There are plenty of scenarios that could play out should the United States fall to Germany on Thursday afternoon. Here’s a look courtesy of SB Nation. Bottom line is win or draw and they’re moving on.

I plan on watching the game with the anticipation of our USMNT (every time I see this I think United States Mutant Ninja Turtles, which is kind odd since that’s the shirt the Unit wore on Day 1) advancing to the knockout stage.

GO USA!

For the record, his “favorite” Ninja Turtle is Raphael, who was my least favorite due to the two stupid sais. I was more a fan of Leonardo with his katanas.

I’m back…at even strength (for now)

It’s been a while since I last written here on SAHFA – we bought a house and have been in the process of making it a home and we’ve added a new addition to the family on Mother’s Day – another boy, Graham, to be referred to as G, Grahambo, or the new guy on the blog.

Here’s a pic:

G-Unit and Babado (Nolan's made up word of which we've yet to figure out the meaning)

G and Babado (Nolan’s made up word of which we’ve yet to figure out the meaning)

So for the time being, thanks to the wifester being on a nice 12-week maternity leave, we’re at even strength doing the man-to-man defense thing. THANK GOD!

Everyone here is doing great though G has been a little challenging (lots of crying) from the get-go, but she reminds me that Hurricane was the same way early on and now he kicks ass (I was away a lot due to coaching). It took both of us (Grahambo and I) a few weeks to warm up to one another but we’ve finally established a connection.

When we moved, we rid ourselves of an astronomical cable/internet bill – we’re currently streaming using the Roku Stick. For Linds, she misses Bravo and the Real Housewives of Wherever thought she’s adjusting quite well. For Nolan it means that only a few episodes of each of his favorite Disney shows are available but he can care less, he’ll watch the same one over and over and over (not in one sitting, mind you). He gets one show either before or after his bath prior to bed each night and he typically picks either a Handy Manny or a Little Einsteins. The same damn episode for either show. For Handy Manny, it’s Bingo Night and for Little Einsteins it’s Rocket Soup.

 

cheese, peas, musical jumping beans

Rocket freakin’ Soup – Leo and the gang need to find cheese, peas, and musical jumping beans to make rocket soup so Rocket can regain his energy. After 100+ times watching it, it still blows my mind that a rocket ship needs actual human soup to fuel itself. The beans are quite elusive and somehow jump all the way to Jupiter, but fear not, Rocket gets Leo, June, Annie, and Quincy there thanks to their endless clapping and patting. Reality television. Linds and I read or tend to G and pay little to no attention to the show since we’ve seen it so many times. Anyway, she looks up and asks, “have they gone to Jupiter yet to get the beans?” Yep, that’s where we’re at.

We just gave the new guy a bath, Linds fed him, and we put him to bed (for hopefully 6 to 7 hours) which means one thing – I am losing out on valuable sleep in order to keep my faithful following abreast as to my life and whereabouts.

It was good to be back, I was reinvigorated by one of Linds’ coworkers Becky (Unbecomingmom), who recently began blogging as she looks towards life without a child in the house (her only child/daughter is off to college in 400-something days). Also, Alana (Butlerish) kicks some serious tail with the musings on her site, so I figured since they’re some of our closest compadres, I needed to keep up with the Joneses.

Off to bed.

New House Hysteria

I have not been absent without good reason. We bought a house — well, Lindsay bought us a house — and it’s been non-stop since we moved in a few weeks ago. The furniture just showed up yesterday so we were living out of our suitcases.

Despite our excitement, Nolan doesn’t seem to like the new house as he often says “it’s too big.” In fact, it’s significantly smaller than the last house, which he loves.

Regardless, we’re not going anywhere for a while so he better get used to it.

Here are a few photos.

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We celebrated his 3rd birthday here. Clearly he is hating the house.

DSC_0001

the sunset from the back deck

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at the Essex Steam Train’s “Day Out with Thomas and Friends” for part of his birthday present

walking the tracks

walking the tracks after our picnic lunch

OK, that’s all the time I can afford to waste right now, gotta get to building/painting/cleaning/unpacking.

 

 

 

 

 

Hurricane’s March Madness: Results, Championship Monday

 

Was there every any doubt we’d eventually get to the end of this tournament? OK, maybe a little. In any event, we’ve got a winner — and it’s exactly who you should’ve taken from the get-go: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Ella the Elephant put up a hell of a fight but ultimately Mickey and Friends ceased and destroyed, as they did with every opponent they faced throughout the tourney.

The tournament MVP was none other than Goofy.

Here’s a look at the final bracket as your 2014 champion has been crowned.

Nolan TV Tourney Day 11

Congrats to the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse!

Brackets are pretty entertaining, it’s hard to believe they only really make an appearance once a year. Maybe I’ll make it a frequent thing here, but this Disney Junior television tournament is definitely a once-a-calendar event.

Give me your thoughts/ideas for another tournament.

 

Good for the Mets’ Daniel Murphy for taking paternity leave

As a stay-at-home parent, I am appalled how the New York media is criticizing New York Mets‘ infielder Daniel Murphy for taking three days away from the team — a shitty team, at that — to be with his wife.

The reason? SHE JUST GAVE BIRTH!!

Hell, even if I weren’t a stay-at-home parent, it’s still bullshit.

According to the MLBPA’s 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement, Murphy — and any other player — is allowed 1-3 days off for paternity leave. Here’s a click-through of the CBA in place for 2012-2016 (scroll down to page 70).

But leave it to New York sports talk radio to deem this a bad decision on the part of a new father who just so happens to be play in the big leagues.

According to the New York Daily News, WFAN’s blowhard Mike Francesa said:

“One day I understand. And in the old days they didn’t do that. But one day, go see the baby be born and come back. You’re a Major League Baseball player. You can hire a nurse to take care of the baby if your wife needs help.”

Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy listening to him on-air from time to time — though his Twitter parody account, @MikeFrancesaNY, is far more enjoyable – but his stance on this is ridiculous. And this first caller is a fucking moron as well. Here’s the audio, take a listen for yourself.

Then you have Boomer and Carton sounding off on this during their show as Carton downplays the entire child-birth experience saying, “but you’re not breastfeeding the kid,” but then Boomer interjects, saying, “I know, but he has legal rights to be there if he wants to be there.”

Boomer eventually spews more poo when he says something about how, “this is how we make our money, this is how we’re gonna live our life,” but is three days off the end of the world?

Here’s the audio for that shit show:

I understand since both the Yankees and Mets have combined for as many wins as me this season, they need some extra fodder for the airwaves, but making a guy who wants to be with his wife after the birth of their child the butt of a joke is fucking ludicrous.

Pardon the language.

Sorry to sound off, but isn’t that what us lesser-known shmucks do by blogging since our thoughts aren’t broadcast over the radio waves?

So good for you Daniel Murphy, good for you. And seriously, if you need a good laugh, check out that Twitter handle I linked up above.