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:


2) Beach Jump Rope:


3) Mediterranean Sunset:


4) Tickle Attack:


5) Kids Gone Nuts:


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:


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):


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!

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