Tuesday, December 23, 2008

SNC is Number 1 - WOW!!!

If you remember a few weeks ago I mentioned the amazing story of Straight No Chaser an a-capella group of 10 guys from Indiana University who were discovered by the president of Atlantic Records after seeing them on YouTube. Well, their album is number 1 for all music on Amazon and iTunes:



They sang at the White House, at a Green Bay Packers game and a bunch of TV shows. And they were on the Today Show this morning:



Their album is really terrific and if you don't have it yet - go out and buy it. You can also order it online and follow the band on their website: www.sncmusic.com.

Amazing!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Toonces went to live on a farm

Meemaw's cat Toonces decided to go live on a farm. Or at least that's the line we're going to stick with when Kiki asks about her cat. You see, she figures it's her pet but Meemaw gets to keep him for her.

Toonces was old. Cynthia found him in college and hid him against the rules. He eventually made it to Meemaw's house where he used to torment and be tormented by Noir, the other cat who went to live on a farm a few years ago.

As opposed to his earlier years when he was a complete spaz-cat, Tooncey Wooncey was a very mellow cat in his old age. He spent a lot of time napping and just generally trying to stay comfortable. He loved to drink water straight out of the faucet and could stand there for hours if you let him, just slowly sipping on the trickle of water from the tap.



So what do you do when a young child asks about a pet who went to live on the farm?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Car Ride (by request)

This is quickly becoming the kiddie car conversation blog, but that is some of the best material I am exposed to on a daily basis. This post is actually by request of one of the mothers/reader of this blog. She actually likes reading this stuff, so here goes, H's mom (she didn't say much this time around although she did kick E a couple of times and he told on her every time):


Last Thursday I had the privilege of driving 4 (yes, FOUR!) children under the age of 4 to school in the morning. We had two in the middle row and two in the back and I was getting ready for some fireworks. It didn't take long for the fun to start. As soon as we picked up H, the kids got into it:

K: You know that my mommy signed me up for ballet?
J: I go to ballet.
E: I go to karate.
K: H, do you go to ballet?
H: No.
E: I'm so lucky that I get to go to karate.
K: I'm so lucky to go to ballet!
E: No, I'm luckier!
K: J and I go to ballet so WE are luckier!
J: Yeah!
K: H, do you go to ballet, too?
H: No.

(This is one of the regular conversations in the car so I wasn't surprised at all)

E: K, when do you go to ballet?
K: I go on Saturday. J, when do you go to ballet?
J: Sometimes I go and sometimes I don't. I don't go to school on Wednesday.
K: I go to school five days a week.
E: I go to school six days a week!
K: No, you don't.
E: Yes, I do!
K: Abba, does E go to school six days a week?
Abba: E, what days do you go to school?
E: I go on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
K: That's silly.
Abba: Um, none of you kids go to school on Saturday and Sunday, that's the weekend.
E (laughing): I played a trick on you, Mr. Amir!
Abba: Oh, you got me there, E, that was a great trick.
K: LO! LO! LO! (that means NO! NO! NO! in Hebrew)
E (singing): I played a trick on Mr. Amir!
K: LO! LO! LO!!!
E: What is LO?
K: I speak a little bit of Hebrew and the only thing I can say is LO! (not true she can say a few other words and understands a lot more)
E: But what is it?
K (ignoring the boy who just played a trick on her Abba): J, do you speak Hebrew? Can you say LO?
J: No, I don't speak Hebrew.
K: Can you say LO?
J: No.
K: Say LO!
J: No.
K: SAY LO!!!
J: NO!!!

I love it when my kid comes to my defense. What would I do without her?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Post Election Car Conversation

Wow, I can't believe I haven't posted anything here for over a month. And so much has happened since then. My parents were here for a visit, then went on a cruise, then came back for a few more days. We had a historic day yesterday with a historic turn of events for this country. By the way, the next person on TV that says AN HISTORIC DAY is going to get a letter to his editor. As far as I know the rule for changing A to AN is when you have a vowel after it. And English is not my first language, but I am pretty sure that the letter H is not a vowel. It's A HOTEL, A HAMBURGER and A HISTORIC EVENT. Not AN HOTEL, AN HAMBURGER and never AN HISTORIC EVENT.

Moving right along.

As usual, one of my favorite times during the day is listening to the car conversations of pre-schoolers car-pooling to school with me in the mornings. And today was no exception. They were just chatting away in the back so I turned on CNN on my XM radio for a bit and obviously they were talking about the elections. Hilarity ensued:

E: Mr. Amir, I know who the president is.
K: Who?
E: Barack Obama!
K: Is that true, Abba?
Abba: Yes it is sweetie. They had the elections yesterday and it looks like Barack Obama won.
E: My sister voted for Barack Obama. (His sister turns 7 in a few months).
Abba: Oh, really? Who did you vote for?
E: I voted for John McCain. But today I think I will vote for Obama.
Abba: Why are you going to change your vote?
E: Obama looks better than McCain.
K: But there already is a president right now. Right Abba?
Abba: That's right. The president right now is George Bush but Obama will be the new president starting in January.
K: Why do they need a new president when there already is one?
Abba: Well, every four years people can vote for a new president. Doesn't that sound like a good idea?
K: Yes, it does!
Abba: Do you know how old you have to be to be able to vote?
E: I voted yesterday.
K: Mommy voted too!
Abba: That's great, but do you know how old you have to be?
E: I voted yesterday.
Abba: Well actually, you can't vote until you're 18 years old.
E: Yes, we can!
K: No, you can't!
E: YES, WE CAN!

And there you have it. The voice of a new generation. And a catchy campaign slogan.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Car Conversations

The other day I drove Kiki and Evan to school and they just had me giggling the whole time. I meant to post this sooner so I wouldn't forget some of the nuggets, but alas, I am getting old and I forgot. I will try to remember what I can.

It started with the fact that it was a Wednesday, which is 'Show & Share' day at school. Every week they get a new letter and this week we were going with 'E'. So as Evan gets in the car he announces that he has an 'Esch-a-Skesch' and two eels in his book bag. He then corrects himself and slowly enunciates 'Etttcccch-A-Sssskketttccch'. And for the rest of the ride any time one of them wanted to say Etch-A-Sketch it took about 5 second to word it out. That was only the beginning.

Evan: I have an 'Etch-A-Sketch' and two eels in my book bag.
Kiki: It's not called a book bag, it's a back pack.
Evan: No, it's not.
Kiki: Yes, it is.
Evan: No, it's not!
Abba: Well, it could be called both. Evan, what do you have in your book bag?
Evan: An 'Etch-A-Sketch' and two eels.
Abba: Any books in there?
Evan: No.
Abba: Kiki, what do you have in your back pack?
Kiki: Lunch.
Abba: So you can call it a back pack, a book bag or even a lunch bag, right?
Evan: No, it's called a book bag!
Kiki: No it's not!
Evan: Is too!
... and so on.

Then I came up with this brilliant idea:
Abba: Hey Evan, you could just show yourself at 'Show & Share', because you're Evan and you start with an 'E'.
Evan (thinks for a second): No, then I would have nothing to show or share.
Abba (dejected): Oh, OK.

Evan (out of nowhere): The hard part of your leg is called a knee, right?
Kiki: Abba, is that right?
Abba: Yes, that's right. A knee is a type of a joint.
Evan: No, it's not.
Abba: Well, our bodies have lots of joints. A kneww is just one kind of joint. There are joints in your arms, like the elbow (shows the elbow move). Your fingers have joints in the knuckles (shows knuckles moving). Your shoulder is a joint, too.
Evan: No, it's not.
Kiki: Yes, it is.
Evan: IS NOT!

Evan (once again, out of the blue): Did you know you had taste butts on the tip of your tongue?
Kiki (laughing): No you don't. You sit on your butt. Not on your tongue. That's silly. Is that silly, Abba?
Abba: Umm, did you mean taste buds, Evan?
Evan: Huh?

I love these car rides. I should get a tape recorder.

I'm running for president!

No kidding. I've had enough of this mess. So I've started a grassroots campaign and it's really catching on. The response has been tremendous!

Check out the media coverage I already got here.

Don't forget to vote. For me!

Straight No Chaser

The power of the Internets is astounding! One of my buds was part of an a cappella group in college and for their ten year reunion they posted a couple of videos on YouTube. 8 million views later they got a call from Atlantic records and are now releasing their first album at the end of October:



Spread the word! These guys are awesome! Buy their album! Buy it as presents for all the people you don't know what to get! Buy it as stocking stuffers! BUY IT!!!

And check out their official website here: www.sncmusic.com

You can even pre-order it right now. Do it! Now!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Car full of kids

I drove a car full of kids to school this morning and it was hilarious. We had a 2, 3 and 4 year old, all strapped into their car seats and enjoying some morning chit chat:

H: (2 years old): I wanna get a haircut.
H: I wanna get a haircut.
H: I wanna get a haircut.
H: I wanna get a haircut.
.
.
.
K: (3 years old): My Abba got a haircut.
H: I wanna get a haircut.
H: I wanna get a haircut.
E: (4 years old): I'm getting a haircut on Saturday.
H: I wanna get a haircut.
H: I wanna get a haircut.
K: Abba, she won't stop saying that.
H: I wanna get a haircut.
Abba: Alright H, I'll let your mommy know you wanna get a haircut.
H: OK.
H: I wanna get a haircut.
H: I wanna get a haircut.
.
.
...and so on for the next half hour.

1:43am

That might be something you want to see on your clock when you're going to bed after a fun night out. It's definitely not something you want to see when your 3 year old walks into your room complaining about monsters.

I've written here previously about the sleeping situation we are recently encountering. Last night was really bad, though. She woke me up at the dreaded 1:43am time and would not go back to sleep. After 2 hours of wiggling, going pottie, complaining about a tummy ache, eating a piece of bread to calm the tummy ache, kicking and head-butting me, we finally got up and went downstairs to figure out what it is you can do at 4am that does not involve sleeping.

So she jumped on her trampoline for a bit. Then we went to look for the booster seat I remembered we had somewhere in the basement storage area. Then we read a couple of books. Then we organized her pajama shelf. Then we discussed going back to bed.

But we never did.

It turned into a lot of screaming and wanting mommy. And that wasn't me as you might think at first.

So mommy came in and turned off the light and they fell asleep. At 5:09am.

We're going to make some drastic changes:
1) We will not lay down with her to go to sleep any more. 2-3 books, lights out and good night.
2) We will not let her climb into our bed when she wakes up in the middle of the night.
3) We will put her back in bed and leave. If she comes out we will just repeat until she stays put.

This is going to be hard and she will cry and scream and hate us, but there is just no other way. Sleep has always been an issue with this kid and it's time we suck it up and stand up to her!

Wish us luck...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Breakfast of Champions

Kiki has big swings in her appetite. Some days she will barely touch her food and some days she will wolf it done in minutes and ask for more. We've pretty much given up on 'trying' to feed her. If she eats, she eats. None of that force-feeding-eat-till-your-plate-is-empty business.

Lately she has been asking for pancakes in the mornings. Today when I asked her how many she wanted she said "six, no eight". So I made seven:



Then I stacked them up high in a pyramid and added cherry tomatoes, mango slices and watermelon:



Lucky kid!

The Doll Palace

Not sure if I have mentioned this site before, but all you parents with little girls will love it. It's called The Doll Palace and you can create endless princess, mermaid or celebrity dolls with an easy drag and drop interface. Kiki loves this site and we spend a lot of time discussing which crown matches what tail for our mermaids. Here's our latest creation:



After you're done you can save it, print it, share it, whatever. We have a bunch of these printed and hanging in the playroom. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sleep & Tattoos

We've been having a tough few nights with the Kikster lately. It all started when last weekend there was a power outage in the middle of the night. MeeMaw says she heard a loud bang and the whole house shook. At first she thought a tree had fallen on the house but later decided it must have been an exploding transformer (or decepticon). Not funny, I know.

The loud noise, coupled with the fact that her air purifier shut down and the whole house shaking, woke the child up. It took a long time to get her back in bed and she hasn't been the same since. We got one good night's sleep out of her when I took her to the pool in the afternoon and she pretty much collapsed before 6pm. She woke up after 7am for a solid 13 hours.

But two nights ago she woke up at 4am and had to go to the bathroom. And then could not fall asleep for the next two hours no matter what we did. Yesterday she was a total wreck. Add to that the excitement of afternoon playgroup and she went to bed at 7:30pm. She woke up at around 1:30am and crawled into bed with us. There was a lot of kicking and half-nelsons for the sleeping parents and she eventually fell asleep and woke up at 7am this morning.

Her regular sleep schedule is 6:30pm to 6:30am. Some of you reading this will display emotions of doubt, incredulity, skepticism and perhaps even twinge of jealousy. But this is the only way we can go through the day without a nap. Kiki dropped her naps a long time ago and we found out the hard way that if she stays up past her normal 6:30pm bedtime she will have a tough time falling asleep. That turns into a short night of sleep (because she always wakes up around 6:30am no matter what), which turns into a day of whining, exhaustion or extreme displays of energy (from being overtired).

We have been struggling with her sleep habits ever since she was a baby. She would take two 35-minute naps until she dropped one and then completely eliminated them from her busy schedule. Now don't get me wrong, it's not like we want her to take naps so we get some time to ourselves. Oh, no. We just want her to be well rested so that she is calmer during the days and gets the right amount of sleep she needs. Because if she doesn't get enough sleep she always gets sick. And that pretty much sucks.

Well, enough of that subject. She'll eventually grow out of it and it will all be distant history. We won't even remember it until we read this post in 10 years.

On to the subject of Tattoos.

Today in the car, Kiki said she wanted to get a tattoo. Obviously she meant a fake sticker one, but we told her that she can't get one before she's 18 years old and that 14 1/2 years is not too much time to wait. She explained to us that children get tattoos all the time and that she still wants one. And then we got it. But this is not my point.

My point is that my little baby girl is eventually going to grow up. She is going to get a tattoo. She is going to meet some bad boys and get her heart broken to pieces. She's going to wear dark clothes, listen to loud music and hate us from time to time. I have no idea how I am going to handle all that. I just hope I can minimize the impact it will have on me.

How do I keep my precious, golden-curled, always-smiling, twirling, laughing, happy kid the same way forever? I know it's impossible, but an Abba can try. And an Abba can dream, right?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Love, Hugs & Kisses

It's obviously not a secret that I am completely crazy about my kid. And she knows how to play me like a fiddle. Here are a few recent examples:

1) The "Morning Time" Routine: Kiki has an internal clock that was manufactured in Switzerland by Swiss watchmakers. She wakes up at 6:22am every day, pretty much no matter when she goes to bed. She then rushes to our room to wake us up and announce that it's 'Morning Time'. Usually at the top of her lungs. Sometimes she will hop in bed and pretend that she's still tired and wants to sleep with us, but we know it's all an act. Then, as soon as she wants to start her day she will give me a hug and kiss. That's the sign. Best way to wake up, though.

2) The "I'm Cold" Trick: Whenever she wants to get out of doing something, usually eating, she will start saying how cold she is, wrap her arms around herself and ask for a hug. All that to get out of eating some vegetables. Seriously. but it works every time, cause I'm a sucker for it. I 'warm her up' with a big Abba-hug and then sit her back down to finish the meal. I'm tough like that.

3) The Random "I Love You" Diversion: Kiki will come up with all kinds of excuses and always end them with "... because I love you". It's pretty hilarious how she tried to manipulate us and how dumb she thinks we are. For example, she will sing a song at full volume and then say with a sweet voice "I sang so loud... because I love you, Abba". Smart kid.

4) Even More: This is a new one I just encountered recently. Usually after bath-time and a few night-time stories I will turn out the light and try to kiss her good-night and leave her room. But sometimes she will hug me tight and not release my neck, asking me to stay for just a little while more. These are sweet moments when she is adorably genuine and just wants some comfort, so obviously I stick around for a few minutes. The other night I told her to have a good night's sleep and that I loved her. She said "I love you" back. So I said, "I love you even more" to which she replied with, "I love you even even more"! So I went for three evens and then she unleashed a solid minute of "even, even, even, even.... more" with all the emphasis and seriousness she could come up with. We both ended up laughing hysterically. What a great way to go to bed, right?

I love my love, hugs & kisses. I just hope they don't disappear with age.

Big Toe Update & New Blog Alert


I realize that I didn't say what the cause of the rash/allergic reaction was. That's because we don't know. The doc was worried enough about getting me back to normal and said it was probably a reaction to poison oak or poison sumac. But we now have another theory. About a day later I found a strange bit mark on my big left toe. I remembered that while I was trying to move the bush a little bug bit me and since it hurt I quickly flicked it off. It was a tiny bug and looked like some sort of tick at first but could have been a spider.

The bumps are still there a few days later, even though I popped them, washed them with hydrogen peroxide and bandaged the toe with some Neosporin. It doesn't hurt and I don't really feel it unless I actually sit down and look at it. Cynthia thought it was a Brown Recluse Spider, but based on the gross pictures I have seen online (and I will not put up a link, go see for yourselves if you can stomach it), there's just no way.

So enough of that. Let's move on to something a little more interesting.

I started another blog. This one focuses on my new found hobby of genealogy. While Kiki and I were in Israel I got bit by the family history bug (hmmm, seems like a pattern is starting to emerge) and I have been spending a lot of time trying to uncover our family's ancestors. So go check it out.

Friday, July 25, 2008

True Story

Here's a wonderful story for you all to enjoy. True story.

Our back yard is carved out of the side of a hill and held together by railroad ties. Above the wooden wall are some huge bushes that require no maintenance or watering. Big green bushes that encounter some sort of growth spurt during the summer months. Two of these bushes kind of died. I say 'kind of' because only half turned brown and died while the other half is still green and spurting like the others.

Now stay with me folks. Here's where the fun starts. One of these half-dead (dare I say zombie bush?) tilted itself over and was hanging by its roots over the railroad ties and over my lawn below. I decided that I would just go up there and put it back in its place and attach it to some tree with rope. Since I have no rope I took a movers' roll of plastic wrap and twisted it into a rope. That's because I'm McGyver.

So all was good and the bush was sitting back in place with it's roots still partially intact. I dusted myself off and went on to grill some pork loin rib racks for dinner. Since this is a slow cook on indirect heat it takes about 2 hours to be ready. So I had time to kill. But that's when everything went horribly wrong.

Little did I know, that whatever half-killed the bush was going to half-kill me too. About an hour after setting the damn bush in place I started itching. Badly. First my arms. Then my legs. Then my head. Then all over.

I thought it was just my head messing with me since I did get bit by some small bug and that tends to make me itch all over. You know the feeling. Like when an ant walks on you and then you think thousands of ants are crawling all over your skin. Right? It's usually all in my head. But this time it was really bad. I decided to go take a quick shower to try to sooth my skin and rinse off anything that might be on me. Bad idea. Apparently, taking a shower opens up your pores and makes it easier for whatever it is that was on me to go everywhere.

I got out of the shower and looked in the mirror. I guess it's kind of startling to look like a leper. I had a rash on about 75% of my body. Neck, armpits, belly, groin, thighs. Nice red rash with lots of bumps. I had already told Cynthia to head over to the pharmacy and get me some Benadryl, so I called her up and told her I was breaking out in hives. By the time she got home, my lower lip was swollen and my face was all red. My forearms were twice their normal size from all those bumps and I was tingling all over.

After a short discussion I agreed to head to the hospital. My main reason for not wanting to go was that my ribs would be ready in half an hour. A man has to have his priorities straight, you know? As soon as I got to the ER and went through triage the nurse took me to my room and told me to take off my shirt.

After seeing my body I also showed him my pelvis and that's when he kind of freaked out. He told me to take my pants off, put on the robe and get in bed. He started an IV, put me on 100% oxygen since I was starting to feel my throat swell up and rushed off to get the doctor. They determined that I needed a Benadryl IV (on top of what I already took at home) as well as some steroids. The last option was to shoot me up with adrenaline, but since there are a lot of side effects (including small ones like possible cardiac arrest) we decided that was only a last resort.

The stuff worked and I was starting to feel a little drowsy and a lot better. I watched some crap on TV as I had to wait a couple of hours to see how I progress. About an hour into it my IV arm started to hurt. And hurt. And hurt more. Until I couldn't stand it and called the nurse. Who didn't come over immediately. So I called again. On the third try a big black woman showed up, saw me writhing in pain, took one look at my bicep and saw that it was all swollen up. As if someone had shoved a small apple under my skin. Seems like the IV decided to send all the saline into my arm instead of into my vain. Yeah. Ouch.

She immediately took out the IV and got another nurse to put some heat packs on my throbbing bicep. At this point the pain was so bad I was getting restless and HAD to go to the bathroom. Of course, being the father of a three year old and being recently pumped with medication and steroids all I could say was that I had to go poop. Yeah, a grown man asking to go poop. Brilliant.

The nurse was puncturing holes in my other arm to try to get the IV going again and this just added to my aggravation and pain. I told her that if she didn't want to have to clean the bed she better help me up and point me to the toilet. I got up and she came over to tie my robe and the next thing I know I was on the floor with about 4 nurses around me. Seems like I started to pass out and the nurse just slid me down her leg onto the floor instead of letting me collapse like an imploding Vegas hotel on New Year's Eve.

I was totally out of it and starting to sweat profusely. They brought a bunch of towels to dry me off and they were immediately soaked. Then they brought some cold towels too and I started to feel a little better. Luckily enough, I didn't poop my pants during all this. So my male nurse came over with a wheelchair to take me one door over to the toilet. I now totally understand how to use a handicapped toilet. Those bars on the sides are priceless.

I got back in bed, got a new IV set and watched 'Good Will Hunting' for a couple of hours until they were ready to discharge me. At first they did not agree to let me drive myself home, but eventually they came around and said that if I wait long enough and show the nurse that I can walk around the ER on my own, they would consider it.

My rash gone, my head clear and fully alert I left the hospital at around 1:30am. I got home just fine. My yummy ribs had already been put away for another occasion (lunch today?) and I was ready for bed. I fell asleep in a second and that's the end of the story.

Lessons learned?
1) Gardening is tough stuff. Leave it to the pros. I was going to trim those bushes this weekend but now that plan is out the window.
2) Don't put your health at risk just because you have half an hour before the delicious ribs you cooked for so long are going to be ready.
3) Don't ever watch 'The Girls Next Door' if you want to keep being a little bit optimistic about the direction the human race is heading.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

More vacation videos

Kiki and I have been having an absolute blast on vacation. We pretty much divide our time between the pool and the beach. I have been taking hundreds of photos and will put up some posts at some point. For now I am just going to do a quick video dump. Here we go.

1) Fun at the Beach:

video

2) Beach Jump Rope:

video

3) Mediterranean Sunset:

video

4) Tickle Attack:

video

5) Kids Gone Nuts:

video

Monday, July 7, 2008

Abba-Travel: Still jet-lagged & Trip to the aviary

I am posting this very late. We've been here for a few days now and I am still a bit jet-lagged and can't fall asleep properly. Kiki is doing just fine though and has been pretty much since we got here. She was extremely excited about her special bed at Savta's house and outside of one wake-up incident has been sleeping amazingly well. This pic was from the first night:



And this one is from the day we went to the aviary and she crashed hard as soon as we got home:



Oh yeah, the aviary. It was my sister's idea to take the kids there yesterday since it was not going to be too hot outside and it is very well shaded. As soon as we walked in we saw a bunch of Cockatoos and African Grey Parrots. Which we got to hold. Yeah, that right. Check it out:





Kiki also got to hold and pet a few hamsters (I have no idea why they had hamsters at the aviary, but I also don't know why they have a terrarium. Maybe the hamsters are the snake food?):




There were A LOT of bird to look at. Here's a small sample:







We even got to feed some beautiful blue parrots (yeah, that my hand he's munching on, they feed on human flesh! No, not really):



We ended up going to the parrot show and all the kids got to participate including my mom. It was a lot of fun seeing what these birds can do. After that we spent some time in a huge play areas for the kids called Junga Junga. There are two girls in the following picture (Kiki and my cousin Roni). Can you find them?



Well, now I am really exhausted. Just like the kids were at the end of that day. I will have some more pictures and posts up later. We are having the best time on our vacation and have been to the pool, the beach, visiting family and loving every minute of it.

The only thing that would make it better was if Cynthia was here with us :-(
We miss you sweetie! We'll see you soon!

Kiki at the beach

I have a few travel posts I need to get to at some point, but for now here are two videos of Kiki having a blast at the beach this afternoon. In the first one, she is trying to make herself a little pool. I think she did this for about half an hour. And even though the water kept seeping back into the ground, she didn't give up:

video

In this one she is desperately trying to play the traditional Israeli beach game of "Mat'Kot" with Yaron (my bro-in-law who has the patience of a saint):

video

Oh, how she loves the beach....

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Abba-Travel: 14 hour across the Atlantic

Not sure how many people out there have had the pleasure of traveling on a non-stop direct flight for 14 hours with their kid. Our next trip will be the 5th time in a little over 3 years that I will attempt this feat. Kiki and I are heading to Israel to visit everyone back there. We'll be seeing my parents, sister, her husband, their kids, uncles, aunts, cousins and last but not least my savta Riva.

Kiki is extremely excited and has basically been counting down the days to our trip. It is a great negotiating (blackmail) tactic for me whenever I need her to do anything. If she doesn't want to go to bed when she's supposed to, "I guess you don't want to have any energy to fly to Israel, huh?". And off to bed she goes.

So how do you take an active, overtired kid on a plane for 14 hours. Careful planning is key. Since the flight is much later than her normal bedtime, we're going to try to get her to nap, so that she is not in complete meltdown mode early in the evening. We might even try going to the pool late in the afternoon to wear her out.

Kiki and I have a flight routine which she's looking forward to. When she gets tired, I lay down a bunch of blankets on the floor right in front of our seats. She then lays down and tries to go to sleep. It's worked very well the past few times we did it and I hope it works again tomorrow night. My only concern is that she's getting too tall to fit into the width of two seats. We'll just have to figure it out.

One thing I am happy about is the fact that we don't have to worry about diapers and diaper bags any more. I am still going to pack an extra set of clothes, just in case we have an accident, but I doubt that will happen.

Wish us luck!

Kiki-ism: Pottie Tale

Kiki just cracks me up sometimes. I wish I could remember everything she comes up with. Not only does she have hilarious things she says, but the delivery is perfect as well.

One of the things she is very proud of is her ability to go pottie. Ever since she was pottie trained, she makes a big deal out of the fact that she's a big girl and can go poop and peep. I don't know how it is for other parents, but I am also very proud of her.

This morning she woke up and had to go peep right away. Since we had some time to kill (she wakes up at the crack of dawn, which is around 6:15am right now), we sat downstairs and read 3/4 of the complete works of Curious George. All of a sudden, it was time to go pottie again. She asked me to come with her to keep her company. Or as she likes to say, "come in and close the door, I need privacy." I swear I am not making this up.

I help her up on the seat and I know a poop is coming, because she's really concentrating. And then the following dialogue ensues:

Kiki: Abba, I tink I got a tail growin' outta my butt.
Abba: Whaaaaa (ha ha ha ha ha)?????
Kiki: I said, Abba, I tink I got a poop tail growin' outta my butt.


It took me about 5 minutes to regain my composure. I swear, you can't script stuff like that. It's now almost 14 hours later and I am still smiling.

And yes, it's a poop story and she is going to be embarrassed later in life when she's old enough to read this, but I'm her Abba and I'm probably going to embarrass her lots of times, so she better get used it now.

And it's a poop story!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Doh! Comment notification is now on!

I completely forgot to set up comment notification when I set this thing up. So thanks for all the previous comments. I'm sorry I did not respond in time.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Abba-ism: Marriage

I actually got this one from my mom, via e-mail, as the quote of the week:

Marriage is a relationship where once side is always right and the other side is the husband.

Nice. Also, very true.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Abba-Music: Hamster Dance

We listen to a lot of music in the car. Driving to school, to the pool, grocery shopping and pretty much everywhere we go. It's usually a bunch of The Music Class CD's, Disney princess songs or XM Kids. Sometimes Kiki will say she wants no music and that's fine as well. Sometimes she's upset about having to drive somewhere and sit in her car seat. She'll just sit the frowning until something good comes on.

Today, while running some weekend errands she told me that she was smiling from the music and she loves this song:



Yeah, that one will pretty much get stuck in your brain for the next few days. Well it was either that or this:

Abba-TV: Yo Gabba Gabba

Not sure how many of you have seen this show yet, but if you do, the songs will not come out of your head. This is a relatively new show, targeted at a young audience, that teaches good concepts like sharing and trying new foods. That's the one that's stuck in my head: "I tried it and then I liked it!"

Anyway, here are a couple of sample clips.

1) Opening sequence:



2) Party in my tummy:



So you can see how this stuff can get in your ear and never come out. And doesn't the host, DJ Lance Rock, look an awful lot like all the folks from Dee-Lite?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Abba Day & The Hampton Ritz

This was my 4th Fathers' Day! Or as we like to call it at our house, Abba Day. Sadly we spent a large part of the day in the car driving back from a wedding in Charleston, SC. But once we got home it was awesome. We timed our arrival just right and headed to the community pool to meet a few of the other families we call dear friends for some BBQ and water slide fun.

But before we get to all that, I have to take a detour in the story. Let's go back a few evenings to the time we left our house to head out to Charleston, shall we? MeeMaw (my mother-in-law and the best Kiki-sitter we could ever hope to find) showed up in the afternoon with Toonces the cat and we might as well have been invisible to Kiki at that point. We decided to quickly pack and head out. The plan was to get some dinner and drive as far as we could before crashing for the night somewhere along the way. Or as Cynthia put it, "we can just stay at some Hampton Inn, somewhere".

Well, I should have known better. I've known my wife for quite some time and she still manages to pull a fast one on me from time to time. By the time we packed, left the house, found an open place to eat something decent and were on the road it was already getting late. About half past midnight, we're both getting tired and she innocently says "hey, you know, we're not too far from the Ritz Reynold's Plantation. Why don't we see if they have any available rooms". Sure thing sweetie, go for it.

She calls them up and their rate is something outrageous. She tries to talk them down but this is the main reservations center and they recommend calling the hotel directly. Once she gets someone on the phone at the hotel she quickly explains that an empty room makes no money and since we will only be sleeping there for a few hours, they might as well let us stay there for half the going rate. And they agree. So we stayed at what I will from now on refer to as the "Hampton Ritz". Good job, honey!

Sure, we slept in, had breakfast in bed, watched some TV and relaxed. We were staying at the Ritz for half price for crying out loud! So we took advantage of it and had a great morning.

Anyway, the rest of the weekend was a blast. The rehearsal dinner and wedding were a lot of fun, although a little bit on the hot side weather-wise. You can go check out Cynthia's complete wedding report here.

So back to Abba Day. First thing we do when we walk in the door is hug and kiss the Kikster who leaps into my arms and gives me one of those terrific squeeze-the-neck-hard kind of hugs. Then it's time to open some cards and presents. First off, I get this:



Yeah, that's right. That is one cool grill cleaner. Double head with loofah and metal brush. Exactly what I needed as my old brush is just disgusting at this point. Then some cargo shorts and a very nice shirt. I also got a beautiful picture frame with a great quote on it:

A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it. ~George Moore


So true. I love it!

We put on our bathing suits and packed up the cooler full of drinks and headed to the pool. All our friends were already there and after about an hour of swimming, splashing and riding the water slide, the guys headed over to man the grill:



We got a good charcoal fire going and quickly got all the meat cooked. We had hot-dogs, chicken and vegetable skewers, plus everyone's favorite - Susana's famous Mititei, which is some kind of delicious Romanian kebab.

We eventually had to head home because it was getting late, we were exhausted and it was way past Kiki's bedtime. We quickly got her ready for bed and with a single book and kiss goodnight she was of to dreamland. As soon as I left the room, she started crying that she was afraid of the dark (first time ever) and that I need to sleep in her bed to make sure she's not scared. So I cuddled her until she fell asleep (which didn't take too long).

Those five minutes were probably the best part of my day.

Inspiration

Two days ago was Father's Day and I have finally decided to step up to the plate and start my Abba-Dad Blog. Just so we're all on the same page, Abba means father (dad) in Hebrew, my native language. But more importantly, Abba is what my daughter calls me. As do all her little friends and their parents. Pretty much anyone who knows me on a social level calls me Abba at this point. So it's quite a defining name for me. Hence, here you have it, The Abba (Dad) Blog.

I titled this first post "Inspiration" because I have been truly inspired to write here by a few people. First and foremost, Kiki (AKA Kikidudu, Kikster, Kiks and so on). My amazing daughter. If not for her I would not be the Abba I am today. Obviously. So without further ado, everyone, meet Kiki:



Second, I get inspiration from my wonderful, beautiful, amazing wife. She is an awesome mom and writes her own family blog here. She's witty and smart and has a great writing style (in my opinion). She has taken to her blog with enthusiasm and always has something interesting to say. Thanks for the inspiration, sweetie.

Third, I absolutely would not be the Abba I am today if it were not for my own Abba. Or as he is better known nowadays, Sabba (grandpa). My father has always been the voice of reason, the smart quiet one who guides and teaches in a gentle way. A true model for imitation. Toda Abba!

Now some of you might think it's kind of weird for a grown man to write a blog like this. But I am definitely not alone. I got the courage to do this by reading a lot of other daddy blogs. There are also some amazing mommy blogs out there, but I seem to connect more with the dads in the blogosphere. I will start linking those other dads up in the future. For now, you can all head over to Dad Gone Mad, written by Danny Evans, which is a great read.

So what is THIS blog going to be about. I guess it will cover my adventures in Abba-hood. Kiki is just an amazing source of stories, laughter and fun. I will try to cover some of the day-to-day hysterical stuff that goes on in our house. I will touch on some on and off-topic subjects. I will review some books, music, toys and other stuff I encounter on a regular basis. I will post pics and videos. We're going to have some regular features, like Abba-isms, Abba-blogs, Abba-rants and the aforementioned Abba-reviews. Wow, this stuff just writes itself, doesn't it.

Anyway, enjoy the ride. If you like or dislike what you read here, don't hesitate to leave a comment. If you like it so much you have to tell others about it, don't be scared to link me up.

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