Thursday, July 31, 2008

What did you call me?

Peter's got a girlfriend, Peter's got a girlfriend. Oooohh - aren't you going to kiss the phone?

Ok, sometimes I have to remember that I am the adult. I just can't believe how early it starts now with the phone calls. I don't mind, though. I am keeping a running total of all the phone calls and will present Mr. Chit Chat with the bill in twenty years. Oh yeah, with interest. I am doing the same with David and the costs of diapers and everything he has destroyed. I am going to be so rich. They may hate me when I present them the bill, but I will be so stinking, filthy rich, they will need to be nice to me. And people say logic is one of my weak points - ha.

Angie took the boys to the river today. Along the way, Peter all but tackled another little boy who was wearing the same hat that David had and somehow lost last week.

'Hey! Give me that hat! That's my BROTHER'S!'

'Uh, no. This is my hat'

'No, I know that hat. My BROTHER has that hat and can't find it and there it is.
Give it to me. Now!'


What Peter did not consider was that the hat is a very common one that is widely sold in our area. I feel sorry for the little kid who was almost beaten for what turned out to be his own hat, but even that was pretty damn funny. Not for the kid, of course. Or for his mother, who came running to rescue him. But funny for me. I don't care, I love the protective big-brotherness of the act.

I have been teaching the boys karate lately and today they volunteered Mama to be the sparring partner. She was sitting by the river, minding her own business, when she heard a fast approaching cry - 'aaaaaahhhhh'. She turned to find Peter in mid-air, trying to execute a flying karate kick to her head. Luckily, Peter missed, but Angie still ended up with a muddy footprint on her shirt. I have a sneaking suspicion that our karate lessons may be temporarily on hold.
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When we go to the Neckar with Dalia.
David: When happy birthday to you.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: One boy slipped and he can't swim, but then he was in the water and he can swim.
David: When doo-tee di-di-do.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To go to Grams & Opa and to play with David.
David: Nani-noo-ni - I pick a good book.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Rain Catcher

We obviously need to let the animals out of the zoo more often.

This is Peter, just outside the train station. We were shopping and on our way back to the car when it started to pour. Instead of running to shelter like most normal humans, Peter stopped in his tracks and decided he was thirsty. He was just damn lucky the pigeons that flock around the station did not pick up on this obvious taunt.

After Rain Man quenched his thirst, we went to Sami and Kika's for a rather wet BBQ to celebrate their new house. Their new place is really awesome and luckily the weather cleared long enough to enjoy their jungle/patio/balcony over the garage.

Peter became fascinated in using the camera and began taking pictures of everything, including Kika's foot, a pine cone, and the empty bottle of Sprite. Thank God for digital cameras. Not only do they work well in rain storms - you can also delete.
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When the raindrops come down - I put my tongue out and get it - that was the funniest that I like.
David: When I drink my water.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When I was and David on my back and my face. He climbed on me and squeezed my head.
David: When Gizma scratch my head.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To go to the zoo, maybe with Dalia.
David: [Uncontrollable laughter]

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Hat Trick

In soccer, if one person makes three goals in one game, it is called a 'hat trick'. Today, I would say the boys had three 'goals'.

Dalia had spent the night, so I needed something to occupy three half-pints and keep them quietly distracted until pick-up time. The logical outcome of that was of course a volcano. Some days, I must admit that I just don't amaze myself, but today was not one of those days.

Operation time-killer worked out great. First, the kids needed to go and collect the materials. The kids divided the tasks among themselves, which I found quite interesting. Dalia wanted to collect the tree bark, Peter was getting leaves and twigs, and David was in charge of finding rocks. The bugs, used chewing gum, greasy hamburger wrapper and soda cap were just extras that David apparently saw as needed for building a volcano. This took 45 minutes - check me out.

Next, everyone had to paint the trees. The trees, if you look closely, resemble empty toilet paper rolls. This is not a coincidence. I almost did not allow Diaper-Dave to paint them, since he has yet to contribute to the existence of empty toilet paper rolls. In the end, I caved in and gave him a paint brush and some water colors. This took 30 minutes - loving it!

An upside down salad bowl covered in newspaper served well as the volcano mountain. Five minutes of arguing over which color the volcano should be followed. 'Pink!', 'Blue!', and 'Bonky-monky orange!' were all shouted. Knowing the obvious choice by David, I should admit that Peter's choice was not blue. The rainbow mountain took 25 minutes - another five and I get the free toaster!

We added the baking soda to the plastic volcano top and went to look for vinegar. Shit. No vinegar. Probably should have checked that a little earlier. I have been getting good at disappointing our boys lately and as funny as that has been, the build up to another let down would have been too cruel. I tore apart the pantry and came back with balsamic salad dressing. It said on the label there was vinegar in it and at that point I did not really care.

The kids stood way back with their fingers in their ears, anticipating what was sure to be the next Big Bang! What came, though, was a few tiny bubbles and a smell that would probably appeal to vegetarians. As a meat-eater, I was slightly let down. Luckily, the kids were not. 'Wow, that was cool!' and 'Man, Papa, you are so much cooler than Mama'. Well, at least the first comment was said out loud. Goal one.

After over two hours of lava-hot excitement, we decided to cool off with a dip in the pool. Barbara and Eisi came over and we got ready to go. As Angie and I were busy packing towels and swim suits, Barbara mosied into the kitchen and began chowing down on our food. In the path of her vacuumesque devouring were two tiny tomatoes.

Now, allow me to pause here and tell you the story of these two small and innocent tomatoes. They started out over five months ago as little baby seeds. The boys would water them and wonder as they continued to grow. 'When are the tomatoes going to come, Papa?' was a frequent question. I explained the concept of patience, which flew over their heads at the speed of light. Eventually the day came when two tomatoes were ripe enough to eat. This day was yesterday. We cut down our immense harvest of TWO tiny cherry tomatoes and placed them in a glass bowl on the kitchen counter. The idea was to let the boys have them with dinner tonight. That is, of course, until Barbara the tomato-eating anticipation-thief came along and plopped them in her tomato-hungry mouth. Thanks, Barb.

At the pool, David stayed in the kiddy section and had an absolute ball running around and pouring buckets of water on the heads of all the other little toddlers. It was really cute and I was really proud that he did not shy away from the kids who were already crying; he made sure to dump out equal buckets of water on any kid smaller than him. Some parents even came up to me, pointed at David and asked 'Is that your son?' Oh, jealousy can be so ugly sometimes. At one point, some of the parents began pulling their kids out of the pool. I thought it was very considerate that they wanted to make more room for David and his fun. Goal two.

After the pool, Dalia was picked up and we went to Heidi's for a birthday BBQ. I knew that Barbara would be coming after us, so I warned Heidi to hide any sentimental agricultural goods she might have lying around. Heidi has a new puppy, Maya, who showed the boys what I called aggressive affection. It freaked the boys out. I, surprise surprise, found the whole puppy-love attack rather funny. By the end of the night, both the puppy and the boys had calmed down enough for Peter to enjoy a nice lick on the cheek from Maya. Goal three.

1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When we go to Heidi's and that dog lick my nose.
David: When I play with some animals with Dalia and Peter and me.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When I by the swimming pool and I tried to go backwards, but I go underwater and can't smell. Not like elephants can.
David: Mine elbow hurt on the car.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To go with Dalia to our garden or playground.
David: When I don't get mommy my room.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Not Kansas

I came home from work to the following disaster area and thought I'm not in Kansas, anymore. At first glance, it seemed like the normal Peter-David special. Broken cars and mangled animals littered the floor; pillows and covers were ripped off of the bed; several games were scattered about the room. Then something hit me. Holy crap! Is that an upside elephant on the table?!

My first thought was more of a flashback to the movie Twister and the scene where the cow was flying around in the middle of a tornado. Since that particular scene made me laugh my ass off (sorry SPCA), my initial anger was quickly replaced with chuckling, as well as a smidgen of curiosity. As much as I wanted to know which of my two short ones had the brilliant notion of placing elephants down on the table, cock-roach style, they kept quiet. For a change.

Dalia was spending the night, so the twister brothers continued their path of destruction into the living room. Tonight was Angie's turn to cook, so we ordered a pizza. It was great and the animals were relatively quiet after their feeding. Dalia did not mind sleeping in David's bed, who did not mind sleeping with Mama and Papa, who did mind, actually. Probably more Papa than Mama, but she isn't the one getting kicked in the face, is she?

As I tucked Dalia in, I thought of the elephant and hoped that I would not wake up to find Dalia upside down on the table.
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When we go in the zoo and buy the dinosaur that flies - that Fly-o-rex.
David: When I play that with the ball with Dalia and Peter.
Dalia: That we gave us a hug really big. Me and Peter. That and kindergarten, of course.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When I just had two pizzas and one just not the crust like Dalia.
David: When I bonk a bonk.
Dalia: That we had to eat very early and I was a little slow.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To build with sand and maybe make a volcano.
David: When we make the bobono [volcano].
Dalia: Build the volcano.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

King Dracula

The boys went to Grams & Opa's today for lunch. After eating, they went to the playground, where Grams watched David. By 'watched David', I mean that she watched him as he plopped himself down in the water.

In David's defense, he did ask first. In Grams' defense, she does not fully speak Davidish and therefore did not fully understand David's request.

What happened was David was standing barefoot in a very shallow pool of water at the park. He then asked Grams repeatedly 'I a lion? I a lion?'.

Grams understandably interpreted this as 'Can I pretend to be a lion'. Grams agreed and 'yes' was the point where David dropped down on all fours and rubbed his belly in the water.

See, for David, when he says 'I a lion?', in his mind, that really is asking 'Hey, how about I jump in this water and get completely soaked even though this has nothing to do with lions, being a lion or...hey look, water - can I jump in it?'

With David, it is not so much the wording of the question, but the fact that he is asking a question. If he asks anything, you need to very carefully analyze the entire situation and try to second guess whatever his tiny brain might be asking. When in doubt, the safe and standard answer is always 'No!'.

On my way home from work, as I sat waiting for my train, a bee landed on my hand. Only last week, the same thing happened to Peter when we were outside on the balcony. At that time, I told Peter to freeze and 'pretend to be a statue', assuring him that the bee would then leave him alone and go away. For a change, he listened to me.

Those words of wisdom were going through my head as I fought the urge to swat the little bastard and run away screaming like a little girl. Bees must smell fear and a lack of confidence in ones own advice, for that little b-hole stung me right on my ring finger. The whole 'screaming like a little girl' happened anyway. I was so pissed, I decided to boycott the letter 'B' for the rest of this blog.

The other passengers waiting for the train o viously did not know why I was cursing and cast some very strange looks in my direction. ecause I love drama and confusing people, I followed my cursing with a very loud 'Get these spiders off of me!'. Screw it. Let people wonder a it.

My finger swelled up, thro ed and really hurt. When I got home, Angie had a solutely no sympathy. 'My whole ody is swelled up'. After already going through the joys of pregnancy twice now, I should know etter than to try to get sympathy from a pregnant woman when it comes to pain and suffering. No matter what I ring to the ta le, Angie will have me eat, hands down.

When I got home, Peter wanted to play his new game, King. I agreed and Peter donned his crown and ro e, and I ran to get the camera. The picture here is exactly the point when King Peter transformed into Count Peter. As the droopy eyes indicate, this was close to edtime, so I suggested rushing his teeth.

'Papa, stop that! That with the no saying the 'B'. That's not I like!'.

Ok, sorry, uddy. It's just that I now hate ees and my finger hurts like a itch.
1) What was the est part of your day?
Peter: When I go to Grams and Opa and we go to the water playground.
David: When I onk my el ow in front of the car.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When David get wet everywhere and wetter and wetter everywhere.
David: When Mama and I und Peter mit the other car.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: I want to go with David and Mama to the playground and when you are finished at work, may e you can with me foot all playing.
David: When I onk my head down.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Get your motor running...

Peter and David went to playgroup today and what you see here is Peter on his hog trying to impress the bigger kids. He later interrogated one of the older boys doing flips on the trampoline.

'Hi, my name is Peter and I am four years old and what is your name and how old are you and where do you live and how do you do those flips and can you teach me?'

Normally, this is the point where the bigger kid would roll his eyes and hold up an outstretched and open-palmed hand in the universal 'whatever' sign. Today, however...oh, actually, today the same thing happened. Peter cried. Which is great, because next to run-on sentences, that's what the big boys really like.

I came home to find Grams and Opa watching the boys. Yoga Bear had gone to her pregno-yoga class, where they were going on a 'journey through your body'. Well, Angie's body must bore the shit out of her - she fell asleep. And oh yeah, she snored. Loudly.

I am no handyman and Opa can certainly testify to this. He can also confirm that I am not a mechanic, nor am I a good oil-changer, but that is a separate story. Every time he is over, I have a laundry list of things that need fixing. I take comfort in the fact that he is damn good at it and I am pretty sure he really enjoys it. I don't.

The latest job was the ceiling light in our bathroom, which mysteriously went out a few days ago. As we got the ladder to 'investigate' I was silently praying that it wouldn't be something like 'hey, dummy, you just needed to change the light bulb'. I did check that, by the way. It turned out that the insulation was covering too much of the wire and needed to be trimmed back a bit. I was relieved that at least it was not something moron-simple.

Opa is like Zorro in some ways - he rescues the day and then quickly rides off into the sunset. Ok, other than that, not too much in common. He does not, that I know of, wear a mask. He does not carry a sword. His name does have a 'Z' in it, though. The point was, Grams & Opa left shortly after fixing all of our broken shit.

After the Tool-Man left, I went to the kitchen to begin getting dinner ready. I know from experience that when Angie comes home from a tough Yoga class of strenuous sleeping and rigorous snoring, she gets mighty hungry.

In the kitchen, I notice an ice-cube tray drying in the dish rack. What the hell? I know that the friendship between Angie and the kitchen pretty much stops at the microwave, but ice-cubes? How freakin' difficult are they to make? Forget for a second the question of why you would take the time to wash an ice-cube tray. My question would be - if you have washed it, why are you letting it dry? It is only destined to get wet again, so why not just fill the damn thing and put it in the freezer?
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I played with Davey the Dora, Boots, but I was Swiper.
David: When I went to playground mit Grams.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When David and you give him the Smarties and then put the rest away and make Davey cry.
David: When I put my head down. Down be down go down be down.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: When I'm going to you with the pen to do something on the paper.
David: Ich color mit Mommy and my nuna.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

That's not a halo

I think I have mentioned that David is potty training. Well, this morning, he added physical training by curling his potty seat, while keeping with his long tradition of rubbing disgusting things in his hair. I hope being a 'pot head' is a short lived phase that he will grow out of soon.

As it turned out, David had donned this porcelain halo to indicate he needed 'to go'. Angie got a little too excited after a successful P-run and asked David if he wanted to try big boy underwear without a diaper, an idea David loved. That is, of course, until five minutes later when Angie walked in to find David trying to turn our sofa into a 'water' bed. Mama knows best, huh? Yeah. My ass.

I came home from work to the smell of burnt food, normally an indication that Angie has tried cooking again. She had, actually, and the food was not burnt. The food was sugar filled pancakes, topped with chocolate and powdered sugar, to be washed down by what else other than good old Kool-Aid. And this was dinner.

I was completely baffled. Had Angie lost her mind? I mean, surely the signs have been there for years, but had the inevitable 'snap' finally come? Just then, Angie shoved David in my arms, informed me that he was 'poopy', and reminded me that I was babysitting while she went to the movies with Peter. I started to say 'thanks' but she was already out the door.

As the door slammed, I stared at stinky Dave. He was visibly shaking and obviously on a total sugar high. I realized at that point that I was still clutching the mail I had picked up on my way in the door. One of the envelopes was actually addressed to David, so I gave it to him. I immediately realized that he needs a little more exposure to our postal deliveries. He snatched the letter, crammed it into his mouth and started to rip it apart like a wild dog would. At least I know what to do with those pesky 'final notice' letters.
[David was on cloud sugar, so he was shaking too hard for Ladder Talk]

1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I saw that movie with Mama.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When I almost tipped into the bathtub.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: When I go tomorrow to Grams & Opa's.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Rainy Mondays

Mondays suck anyway, so it might as well rain. I woke up this morning and left for work with sleepy-butt snoring goodbye to me. At least my Monday started with a smile. And an umbrella.

After work, I came home to a very curious monkey. Peter asked me where rain comes from. 'Clouds peeing' would have been the simple answer, but he seemed genuinely interested, so I explained how water evaporates and the general water cycle.

Next he asked who turns off the sun at night, so I took out his globe and a flash light and continued our lesson. He seemed to understand, saying that at night it's like a shadow.

I have to say, I was relieved when Peter stopped asking questions. They are getting harder and pretty soon he's going to stump me. Of course, then I will just make something up and hope he doesn't double-check with Mama.

As we got ready for bed, I got to play Peter the Repeater, a 'new' game that Peter invented where he repeats everything you say. Over and over. The cool thing about being four is that games don't get old. Not at all. They can just keep playing them and playing them and playing them. Boy, isn't that fun? Boy, isn't that fun. Cut it out, Peter! Cut it out, Peter! I'm stupid. Yes, Papa, you are.
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I saw that it was raining.
David: When Gizma scratch Mama in the hair.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When I slipped by the toilet.
David: When I broke my head.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To play with Davey the King game.
David: I go no owa me Opa Grams.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Pizza Roast

Some people have a nice tradition that every Sunday the entire family sits down to a nice roast. It doesn't matter what - lamb, chicken, ham - for us, it's pizza.

Speaking of nice family traditions, Sunday is normally our 'take out the poop' day. In addition to the cat box, we also empty the diaper bin. Today, I pulled out the big bag of David pooh and could have sworn I saw a walrus poking out of the diapers. Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.

I rubbed my eyes, did a double take and sure as shinola, there really was a plastic walrus hanging out with the diapers. I yank it out and poke around the bag a bit. I soon find a camel, a baby lion and part of a racecar track. Aaaww, isn't that cute? Little Davey found out how to shove toys in the shit can. That's great, though. Really. I had been looking for a way to rummage through the dirty diaper bag with my bare hands each week without looking like a real nut case. Thanks, Davey.

After fishing through David's new toy chest, for some reason I felt like a bath, another weekend tradition. The boys joined me and we were soon flooding the bathroom floor with excess splash water. I love doing anything that I know will later annoy Angie but can still be blamed on the children.

After getting nice and shiny, the boys went with Angie and her girlfriend to a nearby fair that is going on this week. I spent this moment of silence working on another Sunday tradition - the blog and adding pictures to Flickr. Enjoy.

The boys came back completely exhausted, but still buzzing around with energy. It's one of those 'hard to explain if you don't have kids' things. Luckily, I think all four of my readers have kids. I could see that they would fade into cranky monsters soon, so I ordered the pizzas and started the stopwatch. Sure enough, 20 minutes later we were stuffing our faces with cheese, peperoni, and mushrooms.

In the picture, it looks like David is a little bird being fed worms by the Mama bird. This is because David lost his 'hand privileges'. I know, this may sound strange, since most people take using your hands to eat for granted. That is, of course, unless you take a slice of greasy pizza and start smearing it in your freshly washed hair, despite being told very clearly not to FOUR times. Then, you lose the right to use your hands. Then Mama feeds you - and you are just damn lucky it is pizza and not worms.

Since we are sticking with the theme of traditions, I can slowly run through our nightly bedtime traditions:

1. Get pajamas on
2. Brush teeth
3. Pick out a story to read (one each)
4. Say goodnight to Mama
5. Ladder Talk
6. Read stories
7. Lights go out - a blue globe night light stays on
8. Sing the Sleepy Dreamer song. I wrote this for Peter when he was a tiny baby and I have been singing every night since. By the time I am done, both angels are normally fast asleep.

All the sleepy dreamers
are asleep in sleepy town
Except one sleepy sleeper,
who has got a sleepy frown

Can't eat, can't sleep, can't drink,
can't even raise his weary head
Too bad, so sad, be glad, not mad
It's time to go to bed

And all the dreamy dreamers
are in far-off dreamy lands,
dreaming dreams that only
sleeping baby dreamers can

Dreams of hot dogs, ice-cream
and maybe baby girls
Walks in parks and dogs that bark
and cotton-candy swirls

And so my sleepy dreamer,
it's time to dream and sleep
Close your eyes and think of me,
And in our dreams we'll meet

And so my sleepy dreamer,
it's time to dream and sleep
I'll close my eyes and think of you,
And in our dreams we'll meet.
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I go on the carousel.
David: When I make Bonoman.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When I get bumped in the bumper cars - that car is bonky car.
David: When I bonk my head out of the bed.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To play with Davey - to ride bikes with.
David: When I mit Heidi - with the dog.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Picture This

The day started out with David waking us up by screaming at the top of his little lungs 'I stink' over and over again. I think it is great that the boy knows the after effects of crapping his pants; I just wish he would take the next logical step and start using the stinkin' toilet. I fear he has never quite recovered from the butt-pinching toilet seat drama from last month. As I carried him to the changing table, I could only think of that line from Apocalypse Now - 'I love the smell of napalm in the morning'.

We got up and had breakfast and started to plan the day. We were going to a wedding reception in the evening, so Angie began looking for something to wear. This act alone can sometimes be rather frustrating, so I grabbed Peter and we ran as fast as we could.

We went to visit Dalia and check out her new room, which I describe as Pretty in Pink. The last time we had met, Peter had offered for Dalia and her family to move in with us, so I was quite relieved to see that they were not boxing up their stuff just yet.

The kids had a ball playing tennis in the house and actually managed not to break anything. They wanted to move on to playing baseball and at that point, being the wise parents we are, we decided to move the afternoon fun outside.

We grabbed all of the gear and headed downstairs. We finally got the kids in the right position. Dalia was lining up to pitch as I explained to Peter how to hold the bat and swing. Just when we were ready for that first memorable pitch, Peter looks off in the distance. 'Ooh look, a bike' he shouts, dropping the baseball bat and running off to jump on Dalia's bike. I got slightly worried that he might have Attention Deficit Disorder, but then I reminded myself that...hey, have I ever told you guys how I broke my arm once?

We headed home with almost an hour to get the boys ready for the wedding reception. Angie insisted on getting the boys dressed up, which I found to be a complete waste of time. It should be socially acceptable and even expected that kids show up to any public event wearing a plastic garbage bag and goggles. Even then, I am sure our boys would find some way to get chocolate cake in their hair.

Before we left, I checked with Angie to make sure that she had the directions. 'Ye-es' she said in that irritated tone that implies the question 'Do you think I'm a moron?'. I'll let you answer that question in a moment.

We started driving and got to the highway. Angie, the navigator, did pretty well, explaining that we need to follow signs to the city of Wieblingen. When we reached the city sign welcoming us to Wieblingen, Angie got a little quiet. I continued driving and looked over at Angie, who was now looking slightly panicked and starting to get a bit frumpy, a word I lovingly use to describe when she is grumpy and frowning.

'So, where do we go now?'

'What do you mean?'

'I thought you got directions?'

'I did. Wieblingen. We're here.'

'Thanks, Frumpy.'

Needless to say, it took us about 30 minutes longer than it should have to find the place. This included the help of a seemingly nice elderly lady who gave us what turned out to be horrible directions. The place turned out to be a large restaurant that was co-located with an animal breeding farm. This struck me as funny, but I refrained from making too many jokes. The boys loved it, racing around and feeding straw to the goats, apples to the pigs, and cake to themselves.

The band came on after dinner and Peter immediately began worrying about which song he would sing. 'I could sing the ABC song...or maybe Happy Birthday, but it's not a birthday party...' I put his mind at ease by reassuring him quite firmly that he would NOT, under ANY circumstances, be getting on the stage to sing anything.

The day ended with two very tired brothers, fighting to keep their eyes open and both arguing that they were not sleepy. Strangely enough, they both fell asleep within minutes of being put in the car. On the way home, Angie drove and I was the navigator. My detailed instructions to the driver: home - just follow the signs.
[David was out like a light before we could get to Ladder Talk, but Peter woke up briefly]
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I have the rock. That big rock from the wedding.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When I was in the stroller and I tried to jump but I fall.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To go with you, maybe we can play football.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Destructo Hulk

The alter ego of the Incredible Hulk is David Banner. The alter ego of Destructo Dave is also David. Coincidence? I think not.

Today, I was able to capture this increasingly frequent transformation during breakfast, when David was suddenly struck with the urgent need to destroy something. In this particular case, it was the scrambled eggs sitting in front of him. If you think that scrambled eggs already look somewhat destroyed, you should see the damage that Destructo Dave can inflict in just 10 seconds.

I think Angie had a rather stressful day. At work, I got a call around lunchtime. 'The baby phones don't work!'. As much as I wanted to say 'thanks for the update' and hang up, I did not. The boys were going to a party that night (without us) and the hostess of the party needed a baby phone for her little one. For me, it was a very simple solution. Since I could not reach through the phone and fix them, I told Angie to call the woman and simply explain to her that ours are broken. Huff. Puff. Click.

I came home to find Angie chasing David down the hallway. Angie was very angry. David was laughing his ass off. I found the whole situation to be quite amusing, but kept very quiet. I did realize that a pregnant woman and a two-year old child run at almost the same speed. In the end, Angie won and scooped up David. She plopped him down on the sofa and began the finger waving in front of the nose.

'I said No! That means NO. When I tell you something, you need to listen!'

David found Mama's yelling, spitting and hair-pulling to be quite hilarious and began laughing even harder. It didn't help that I was standing in the doorway unsuccessfully trying not to crack up. That is, of course, until she whipped around and reminded me that the baby phones still do not work. Well, it's a damn good thing we don't have a baby at the moment. The fact that I am able to still type these words should indicate whether that comment was said out loud or not.

When Angie calmed down and realized how funny it was that David found her funny, she told me about her day. Apparently, Destructo Dave's wrath did not stop with the egg bashing that morning. At some point during the day, David ran off into his room and apparently had another 'episode'.

Angie described hearing the sound of wood being ripped apart. I do not know how he did it, but somehow he managed to tear apart his wooden play table, which was quite sturdy, I might add. Angie walked in to find a content David playing with the screws and splinters of wood that now littered the floor. The top of the table had been completely torn off of the table stand. And let that be a warning to the rest of the furniture in David's room...

The boys were picked up shortly after I got home. I ran downstairs to move the kid seats to Sami's car and then came back to get the boys. When Peter came down, he looked in Sami's car and turned to me in amazement. 'Papa! Look! They have the same car seats that we do!' Yes, genius waved bye-bye as they drove away.

Angie had invited some girlfriends from work over and we grilled steaks and shrimp on the balcony. After a few hours, there was only so much talk about shopping and urinary infections that I could handle, so I went out to meet an old friend from my university days who was in town for a few nights. It was awesome - we had a great time, but it did remind me that my liver is no longer in university-shape.
[No Ladder Talk - the boys partied too late]

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Knock, knock...

I was out of town yesterday and today on business, leaving Angie to fend for herself against our two adorable, yet slightly devilish, young hooligans. For some strange reason, they tend to become more mischievous when fed only microwave food; an unavoidable situation when I am gone since stoves apparently frighten Angie.

It started last night when the boys somehow convinced Angie that the very strict bedtime routine that I enforce every night could just be chucked out the window with no consequences. Ah, you foolish mortal.

Instead of sleeping in their own beds, Angie had the brilliant idea that they should pile into our bed and take my place. I have to say, that was not so smart.

Next came the wonderful suggestion from Angie that instead of the normal ONE book for Peter and ONE book for David, she would read ten books to both of them. Ok, that was just dumb.

To top off the evening, Angie's brain went WAY past overdrive and began to overheat. She paid no attention to the time and allowed the tiny gremlins to stay up two and a half hours longer than I would ever allow. I'm thinking of a word that describes you. It begins with 'st' and rhymes with cupid...

It would be nice to fantasize that having kids go to bed three hours later than usual would somehow equate to them sleeping an additional three hours in the morning. No. Let me repeat for those with slight reading loss. No.

David woke up this morning at 0' dark-thirty and jumped on Peter's stomach. They then sat on Mama's head long enough to wake her, but not long enough to really motivate her to chase after them as they ran off into the living room giggling. Angie hit her internal snooze button, a subtle mistake that boys like ours can smell a mile away.

Angie is awoken half an hour later with Peter poking her eyeball and gleefully announcing 'David pee on the sofa'. Not a nice way to wake up, but not completely undeserved.

Angie managed to clean up the mess without teaching the boys a few 'new' words, although there are very few they haven't already 'learned' from Papa. In addition to the sofa, David apparently found it hilarious to pee all over his clothes, a pillow, and came damn close to 'marking' the cat. Angie picked up his clothes and took them to the laundry room.

We have a very loud dryer and switching it on normally blocks out any noises in the house, including our children, so I can certainly see the appeal. Angie may have lingered in the laundry room a little too long, though.

David, now dry and frantically looking for new ways to drive Mama over the edge, decided to open the front door, walk out into the hallway and shut the door. With only two plants, our hallway is rather boring, so eventually he wanted to come back in.

Knock, knock.


Mmm...hello. Knock, knock. I seem to have somehow...well, I don't know how to put this. I'm so embarrassed....I'm sure it happens to all of us at one point...Well, ok... I'm locked out.


Ok, I get it. I pee on the sofa and you lock me out. I'm sorry. Lesson learned, okay? Let me in.


Alright, I said I'm sorry. It's cold out here, I can't reach the doorbell, and the timed light just switched off. I'm really starting to freak out here. Now open the freakin' door. Please.

Angie was still hiding behind the curtain of laundry noise masking David, who was now screaming at the top of his lungs in the hallway. Eventually, Angie made her way back to the living room. She paused for a second, wondering where those muffled screams that sounded eerily like David were coming from. To make a short story long, she found David and at the same time scored mega points with the elderly neighbor from upstairs who has perfect hearing and, oddly enough, an intense curiosity whenever a stranded baby is screaming its head off in our stairwell.

Obviously since I was gone at a nice and quiet, although somewhat boring conference, I can only reconstruct the details as described by Angie. What was missing, though, was the photo, since I had the camera with me. After Angie explained this story to me, I promptly grabbed our camera and told David to follow me.

He jumped up, excited at what he perceived to be a new game. I opened the front door and told him to go outside. There was an ever-so-slight hesitation, which I found odd since we are normally fighting to keep him on the inside. He still went out, though, which probably says something about his personality, but you know what? He's two, so go analyze yourself.

I would normally expect him to race out to the middle of the hallway. This time, though, he slowly and hesitantly strolled out, looking nervously back at me in the doorway. I did not want to disappoint his expectations, so I slammed the door shut. The picture featured here is from the inside of our apartment, looking out through window pane in our door, at a very unsure David who has now run back to the door to see why it has just shut. Probably even more confusing is why Papa is standing there with a camera, grinning. Knock, knock...
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I watch my two or three shows and then when Sami come home early.
David: When Papa first my book.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When David says everyday he's Spiderman and then he goes on MY ladder. That I don't like.
David: When my head hurts on my bed.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To build up the animals and maybe we can play 'King'.
David: My book

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Oh, My Sweet Swipers!

These are my little doggies, but those aren't bones. That is candy. More specifically, that is my candy. The little swipers found my candy stash and began running around the house chanting 'Papa's candy, Papa's candy - yummy, yum-yum'.

Angie found this amusing enough that she decided to have the boys call me at work to brag about their thievery.

'You stole my WHAT? You better put back my candy. Don't you laugh at me! I will hang up this phone this instant and ... STOP LAUGHING!!'

I should probably explain that I sit in a relatively quiet office with my team of fifteen people. I am pretty sure they thoroughly enjoyed hearing me make a complete ass out of myself, although they should be used to this by now.

I hung up the phone and turned to the interested eavesdroppers. 'That was the vice-president' I explain calmly. 'He stole my candy'.
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I had called you when you was by work and said I'm eating your candy. That I like. That was so funny.
David: When I make Bownoman [Spiderman].

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When I said I'm in the middle of playing a game and you said dinner and I frown. Then you make me leave and come back with not frown.
David: When I scratch Gizma that red my finger.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To go with Mama and you are finished for work on the playground.
David: When I...bonk my head...bonk my head...bonky bonky bonk.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Knight in Shining...Black Hawk?

'Hey, Peter!'

'I'm not Peter, I am a knight.'

'I see. Well, sorry, Sir Peter. Where's your horse?'

'I don't have a horse. I have a helicopter.'

'Of course you do.'

It is not so much the words, but how they are said. The way Peter justs shakes his head and looks at you like you're dumber than Bush for thinking that a knight might ride anything other than the UH-60 Black Hawk medium-lift assault helicopter. Sorry for thinking like a normal human, Sir weirdo.

I am now quite certain that IKEA has secretly launched some kind of subliminal ad campaign targeting pregnant women. I have heard sex is a good substitute for chocolate - or is it the other way around? It doesn't matter. The point is, IKEA is obviously a good substitute for seeing your toes, since Angie ended up there again today, along with Peter, David, Grams and Opa.

Peter stayed in the playcenter, but not for long. The loud speaker announced to all shoppers that little Peter would like to be picked up because he was hungry. Thanks, Peter, for pointing out to everyone how little we feed you.

I came home from work to a pile of IKEA boxes blocking the door. Angie blah-blah'd about her day, including the story about how Peter devoured an entire hot dog at IKEA after being picked up from the playcenter. Only, Angie explained it to me that Peter must have been 'hungry as a horse'. Hungry as a horse? I'm sorry, was Peter craving a carrot? I think she probably meant 'so hungry, he could eat a horse'. I never found out for sure, though, since I got 'the look' and chose self-preservation over poking fun. I just pray she never finds this site.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I played computer - Max and Dora and Diego and I think that was it.
David: When I play that one new game.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When David said..., um... he said I was 'super super super super super BAD'.
David: When I owa and the zebra owa, too.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To go to Grams and Opa.
David: When I play computer mit Peter.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

...and I just can't hide it

It's good to teach your kids disappointment. Not just to teach them about disappointment. No, I mean actually disappoint them.

What you see here is Peter, visibly bursting with excitement just minutes before going to the cinema to watch Kung Fu Panda, the latest cartoon movie that Peter has been dying to see. But more on the inevitable sadness later.

For breakfast this morning, David had a sandwich covered with Nutella, a spreadable chocolate that can be quite messy. David proceeded to smear chocolate on his lips, cheeks, forehead, hair. If he were not my kid, I would have laughed my ass off.

At one point, David slipped quietly away from the table. I was working on the computer, but I heard everything. David giggling in our bedroom, followed by a very annoyed Angie - That's nice. Just wipe it all over our covers. Then more giggling and the pitter-patter of little feet as David tore down the hallway with Angie right behind. Thump! Crying.

I got up to see if David was ok. He had tripped while racing into the bathroom. Angie had picked him up already and was dunking him under the sink to scrub the chocolate out of his hair. I took a look at the floor and saw the most awesome smudge mark from where David landed. It was a chocolate smear that included a partial handprint and half of a lip-mark. So of course I ran to get my camera, took some pictures of the bathroom floor and went back to work on the computer. A few minutes later, Angie pokes her head around the corner. 'Yeah, don't wipe it up. Just take a picture of it.'

Anyway, back to disappointment. Peter and I raced up to the cinema, threw open the front doors and made our way to the back of the line. We chit-chat about what candy we will get to supplement our popcorn as we wait for our turn. The time finally comes and the lady asks how old Peter is. 'Four' I tell her, thinking she is being nice, simply curious or, as is often the case, trying to flirt with me. 'You have to be at least six to get in', she explains in a dead-serious tone. Shit. Yes, I said that one out loud, in case anyone is wondering about Peter's new word.

I argue with the lady until she gets her supervisor, who then gets her manager. In Germany, it is against the law, they explain. Driving 200 miles per hour on the highway, drinking alcohol in the streets, smoking marijuana - legal. Cartoon movies involving a fuzzy panda bar - illegal. Whatever. Screw you, cartoon cops. We found a different cinema and this time, I think you can guess how I answered when asked how old Peter was.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I like seeing the bad witch. That movie.
David: When Opa come and Grams.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When you yell at me and tell me to go into the other room to talk to mommy.
David: When I bonk my head on the bed.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: When I. We do tomorrow for that watermelon for us to eat.
David: To get a bath and make ladder talk.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Ice-cream Kid Escapes Again

For those simpletons who cannot grasp the immense wit and cleverness behind the title of this particular blog, it is a fictitious breakout of the four letters featured in this photo. Don't get me wrong; I don't mean to be condescending (that means talking down to you like you're a moron). For those of you who do not know IKEA, please post a comment and let the rest of us know how life under the rock is treating you.

We didn't start the day with the plan to go to IKEA. We actually planned to go to a BBQ sponsored by the rugby club. On the way there, Peter and David decided to test my hearing and my patience, both of which have been failing in recent years.

With lightning-fast intellectual brilliance that never ceases to amaze Angie, I came up with a game to both distract and neutralize the backseaters. 'How about we play a game. Nobody can say a word until you see a red car'.

Traffic was fairly light, so this afforded a few brief moments of well-appreciated silence. Perhaps a few too many. I was smiling to myself, silently congratulating my enormous brain and completely oblivious to the red Ferrari, which was now zooming past us. 'RRREEEDDD CCCAAARRR!!! RREEDD CCAARR!! RED CAR! Papa, RED CAR!' I don't scare easily, but I was so preoccupied with my cranial self-praise that I almost drove the car into a nearby field.

We get to the clubhouse around 12:00, which looks eerily quiet. I make a joke that the party is being sponsored by the Rugby team, and those guys don't wake up until lunchtime so the party would probably not start until happy hour. Funny. Angie laughed.

At some point, it dawns on me to ask Angie if she actually knows what time the party should start. Blank look, mixed with a hint of embarrassment, topped with sprinklings of defensive anger. I know this look, actually, so I wisely remain silent as Angie calls our host. 'Oh...Ok, I see...Yeah, sure....No problem...See you at five, then.' I make another joke that in some countries, five o'clock is also known as happy hour. Not funny. Angie did not laugh.

Because the silly Johnson family was expecting to eat at the BBQ at 12:00, we were rather hungry and opted for the obvious nutritious and healthy alternative- Burger King. We got the food to go and drove on. The smell of grease and fat got the better of us, though, and we pulled over at a rest stop to devour our bags of cholesterol.

As always, Peter has an inconvenient way of timing his nature calls. Today the urge came just as I took my first bite of a juicy Whopper smothered with cheese and bacon. Shut up, arteries! My stomach cursed Peter's bladder as my eyes scanned the rest stop. I quickly identified a rather large bush as the only viable option. I escorted Peter over and helped him by holding him at just the right angle that his shoes would stay dry, but he would not somersault forward and headbutt dirt.

At exactly the most inopportune moment, the police drive by. Peter loves the police (give him a few years), so he begins waving frantically at them with his one free hand. I wince, shrink, and just try to avoid eye contact. Luckily, although to Peter's disappointment, they drive on without 'responding'.

We make our way to IKEA, because when you have five hours to kill before a rugby BBQ that was supposed to start at 12:00 but doesn't really start until 17:00 because your wife did not think to check with the organizers to find out what time THEY would like to start the party and just assumed that everyone's concept of a BBQ means lunch, what else is one supposed to do?

Somewhere between office desks and baby beds, we run into Dalia, Peter's 'bestest' friend. We dump them in the kiddy playcenter that IKEA has smartly organized to better enhance the overall shopping experience. It works; I just wish IKEA was open until 2 AM on the weekends so that Angie and I could get our party on.

We ended the IKEA credit card drain with an ice-cream for David. Not for Peter - he was still swimming laps in the pool of plastic balls at kiddy-land. This made it even more special for David, who made a point afterwards of explicitly telling Peter how great his ice-cream was. David's vocabulary is not that far along, so allow me to translate and possibly embellish on his primitive grunts.

Oh, Peter, you didn't get an ice-cream? I am so sorry. I just assumed, you know, since I got one and it was soooo delicious, that you would have got one too. You didn't, though? No ice-cream for you? Boy, that's too bad. That would make me mad, because OH MAN!! That was yummy.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I played with Dalia and the big boys who played basketball shoot the ball to me and when I get that Tapir from Brian - that I like.
David: When lila nuna.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When I whined and you said I shouldn't whine.
David: When Dalia play my ball.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: When I can maybe watch the movie and the film with Panda and Dalia.
David: When Mama and David and Dalia.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Summer Assault

I envy the pure joy that children can get from the simple things in life. For adults, such fun normally involves a handful of cash, breaking the law, or in my case, both.

This is David, shortly after discovering the thrill of somersaults. What he hadn't discovered yet was that there are only so many times you can continue flipping forward on such a tiny bed. Two flips after this picture, he discovered the thrill of falling on his head. He cried. Peter laughed. I continued taking pictures. Check out the Flickr link.

I came home from work today and Angie told me the earth-shattering news that her feet hurt and felt flat. Well, no shit, Preggy. That's a little thing I like to call 'gravity'. The closer to Nonameyet's zero'th birthday, the more Angie's body starts to do weird things. As provocative as that might sound, it's not. Today, Nonameyet decided to kick around Angie's organs and try his damndest to convert her belly button to an 'outy'. He failed. This time.

Gizma, our cat, normally likes sleeping on Angie's belly. Today, though, she freaked out and began swatting at Angie's belly like one of those carnival games where the weasel pops up and you have to bonk it with a rubber hammer.

Angie was supposed to go to a girlfriend's birthday party at some local chick bar, but had to cancel out of sheer exhaustion. It's probably for the best, since asking a pregnant woman to go to a pub is a lot like having a vegetarian go to a steak house. What's the point?
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I...Papa, I thought we could draw something...[Quit stalling, Peter] ...Ok, when I scared Mama with the dragon. That was the best part.
David: When I played Peter and then in bed play.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When the wagon tipped and it got my knee. Caught, cause when I have a wagon and my foot under it, that means caught.
David: It hurts. My nose.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To go and make a picnic.
David: When mobaaaahe. Peter play in bed.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Big-mouth Pirate

This is right after Peter's bath, where he once again made the offer to buy Mama a penis so she would look like the rest of us. I think it would take more than just a penis, but to be honest, I have avoided giving it too much thought.

The costume is actually a towel and if you think this outfit is cute on Peter, you should see it on Barb. When she puts that on and slaps on the red clown nose - oooooweee.

Look at that boy's mouth, though. Jesus! You could catch flies with that contraption. Now you start to understand how loud our Saturday mornings can be.

Go google Satchmo and tell me he does not resemble Louis Armstrong. Just white, of course. And smaller. And I am pretty sure Louis never donned a pirate towel, commando style. And Peter can definitely not sing. But they both have big mouths.

Peter had an art class today and his work was awesome. Really. His finger paintings have always sucked, but these are pretty cool. And, for the first time, he was able to write his name, completely on his own. I guess Peter is somewhat of a writer as well.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I had green and orange Kool-Aid.
David: When Mama found Mama fall down.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When David get scratched by the cat.
David: When dadu ga no Papa. David funny.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: I want to play with Mama.
David: When I bla-da.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Hunchbelly of Heidelberg

Poor Angie. Lately, she has been bumping around the apartment like one of those wind-up toys that go in a straight line until it runs into something; then it spins around a few times and off it goes again in a different direction. I do not envy pregnant women. Or big fat faties, for that matter. I like my toes. I like seeing them.

Angie hates feet normally. She finds them disgusting, but I think she is starting to miss the view. This morning she completely bashed her 'ring' toe into the base of David's baby chair. Now, if you have never seen an upset pregnant woman hop around, trust me - it is hilarious. I highly recommend it.

Angie had already planned a day of walking around a trade fair with her mom, so she hobbled down to the car and somehow managed to still give it gas.

At the fair, her foot really began to throb, so she began limping around. I just have this image in my head of Angie, slightly hunched over and struggling to keep up with her mom. Her smooth stride is broken by her gimp foot, which drags behind her like dead weight. An odd sliding noise mixes with the sound of her good foot clicking on the floor. People stop and stare. Mothers pull their children in closer, but they still point at the Hunchbelly and wonder about the misplaced hump.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I play with Sebastian and Marie with football with him.
David: When fun on here...kupa ba dee...

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When the boy at the pool picked me up my neck and I hit him and then I go somewhere else and hit that too.
David: When Peter fall fast unter. No, David, no.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: When you come back at work I want to learn my bike to ride with you, when you finish with your arbeit. And to go to Toys-R-Us.
David: When Opa Grams.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Gimme 5

5 was the magic number today for some reason. David woke up at 5 o'clock (in the freakin' morning) and was suddenly gifted with the ability to count to 5. Six, actually, but we are sticking with the theme of 5. Stay with me.

Angie was absolutely amazed and thought I would appreciate being shaken awake to listen.

I wanted to go back to my dream of 5 cheerleaders, so I called Peter in to be impressed for me.

Peter was apparently not so thrilled either and decided to put on his goggles and work gloves for what was sure to be the biggest beating David has received in his two years of existence. If 1 had been the number of the day, I am pretty sure I know which finger Peter would be holding up.

At work I had 5 meetings and left for home promptly at 5 o'clock, where I started drinking my first of what would turn out to be 5 beers. After dinner, Angie sent me out to get ice cream - 5 scoops.

After my fourth beer, my thoughts drifted to the periodic table, as I am sure is the case with us all. The atomic number 5 is assigned to Boron, which made me think of moron, which made me think of this blog. I logged on and checked and sure enough - 5 new visitors today. Welcome, Borons.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I ride with my bike on the playground with Sebastian was there too. I like that.
David: When I not saw you.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When my forehead hurts.
David: Bonk, me head. Down.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To play with Sebastian.
David: When Opa come zum mir.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Playboy Bunnies, Watch Out!

When Peter was born, he received a cute little stuffed bunny from Grams before leaving the hospital. For the past four years, Peter has tugged, pulled, ripped, even chewed on this poor bunny. It's been sewn, taped, glued, stapled - you name it. Anything to keep this guy together. Peter was so attached to his little bunny, we recently got a spare in case anything ever happened to the original one. Can you guess which one is which?

Waking up this morning without the boys was very strange. By very strange, I mean that it was unusual not to wake up at dawn to the sounds of two boys winding up for the day. By unusual, I mean that it was actually kind of nice. By kind of nice, I mean Oh, my freakin' WOW! That was great! That was sweet! That was chocolate-covered habit-forming! It's, uh...nice to have the boys back, though. Of course. Yeah.

Angie went to pick up the boys and I spent an hour or so working on the blog. You may notice the new link on the left to Flickr, where I have now added a lot of new pictures - enjoy. Or don't.

When Angie came back, I ran downstairs to find Peter snoring away in the back seat. Oddly enough, David was the one awake. I carried Peter up to our apartment and couldn't help wondering how many more times I would be able to carry Peter anywhere. He is getting so big. Not big, as in oh my God, everybody stare at the fat kid. More in the context of growing up, which he is doing way too quickly.

Peter and David spent the rest of the afternoon playing their latest game that they invented, called Happy Birthday. It is a close competitor to Uppsala in terms of complexity and intelligence. It starts out with removing all covers and pillows from our bed and throwing them on the floor. Thanks. Then Peter and David climb up on the bed and jump around in circles, singing the Happy Birthday song until one of them falls down. I am not sure who wins at this point, but I don't think they really care.

Peter really knows when he can get away with something and tonight he played on this fact when going to bed. We went through the normal routine - PJ's, brush teeth, Ladder Talk, read a book, club a baby seal, sing a goodnight song and then lights out. Peter was still awake when I was finished, so I told him I would check on him in 10 minutes.

5 minutes later, I heard Peter half crying, half whining from the other room. Angie and I went to go check on him and found him in the bathroom, sitting on the toilet and mumbling to himself. He looked up at me and then the accusations flew.

'You said 10 minutes, but that was 10 minutes not. I know. I wait and you come not. You just don't care! I am hungry!'

Apparently, Angie and I need to focus on teaching Peter how to tell time and eat all of his dinner. The 'you don't care' comment obviously got to Angie, who caved in and brought Peter out for a bedtime snack of noodles and quesadillas.

For some odd reason, Dora the Explorer was on, one of Peter's all-time favorites. He laid down on the sofa, looking quite content until he dumped his drink all over himself, which made me laugh. It made him cry, but it made me laugh. For ten minutes.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: I like it today when I sleep by Grams and Opa's.
David: When by Opa Gram. Opa slept in bed and did Ladder Talk.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When I wake up and you not there was.
David: When I bonked my foot down.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To go with David and you in our garden there and play football.
David: Play mit Peter.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Five Years for Good Behavior

Our 5th anniversary started out like any other. Angie woke up first and leaned over to gently nudge me awake. She smiled at me and whispered softly in my ear 'stop farting in bed'. Even after five years, that still cracks me up.

We took the boys to the Luisenpark today. They loved it! Boat rides, ice-cream, and an awesome outdoor swimming playground. In the pool, Davey nervously stayed close to the edge until he realized the whole pool was only knee deep. He then ventured out into the middle, turned to me and smiled. Not a 'I'm happy' smile or a 'Boy, this is fun' smile. It was more like a 'I'm going to do something bad' smile.

With shoes on, I could only watch in silence from the edge of the pool, waiting for his next move. His hands slowly raised to his head and I started to realized his plan. 'No, David! Leave your hat on'. There was a slight shaking of his head as his smile widened. He plucked his hat off of his head and looked straight at me with his signature 'what are you going to do about it?' look. Shouting was useless, so I simply watched as he slowly lowered his hat into the water and began to splash around in some kind of weird victory dance.

Despite several attempts to get David to pick his hat up, his attention was too focused on stomping on his hat and laughing at me. Eventually, I gave up, kicked off my shoes and went in after him. Being the smart kid he is (good genes), he ran over to the other side of the pool, where he continued to laugh and point at me. As I reached the center of the pool, David's idea light bulb obviously turned on for he climbed out of the pool and took off running. Shit.

I raced over to where David had escaped, hoping the trail would not be cold, but he was nowhere in sight. With my shoes now on the wrong side of the pool, I was forced to run barefoot down the gravel path, cursing like a sailor and listening for the innocent gigglings of a conniving little two-year old.

I had been avoiding the area where Angie was sitting, simply because I did not want the eye-rolling and 'you lost the baby again?' lecture. After searching the entire park, though, I had to make that slow walk of shame back to Mother. As I approached, I was relieved to find the little rascal jumping around in front of Angie.

She looked at my bare feet and the sopping wet hat in my hand and smirked. There was a certain recognition there, indicating that David had already spilled the beans. Damn his new-found ability to speak!

The train ride home was fairly uneventful, other than some guy throwing a conniption fit right in front of us. We were waiting on the platform when a young kid drove by on his bike. This apparently irked the man, who turned beet red and stopped the kid. The veins in his neck strained to the breaking point as he screamed at the poor kid to walk his bike when on the platform. Ok, psycho. Switch to decaf.

Opa picked up the boys to spend the night, leaving Angie and I with a very quiet apartment. We got dressed up and went out for a nice dinner to celebrate our anniversary. Now I am not sure what lover-boy decided this, but wood is the ever-so-romantic gift to give for the fifth year. Originally I was planning on a box of tooth-picks, but in the end I opted for a nice wooden picture frame with room for three pictures. With our new creature coming to the zoo in a few months, I am sure we will fill this one with pictures of the boys.

Dinner was great, up until the point when the waitress started yelling at me for ordering wrong. It was after the meal and silly me asked for the Dessert Menu. The waitress disappeared and came back five minutes later with a tray full of tiny dessert samples. I told her I wanted the menu and she explained that in this particular restaurant, there is a dessert called 'Dessert Menu' which was what was now being shoved in my face. I explained that I really didn't care what retarded naming conventions they had for their lovely sweets, I wanted a 'menu' so I could choose my dessert. When I asked for the drink menu, she did not come back with a wet bar, so I was thoroughly confused at how this could not be confusing. The point where she huffed was exactly the point when her tip went bye-bye.

After dinner, we went to the pub where Angie and I first met. We saw old friends who were shocked to see us out. One lady asked us where our kids were and I explained that they were at home. 'They sleep through the night, now and we left the windows cracked...' Apparently that was not so funny to her, for she immediately ran over and began chastising Angie for our parenting methods. Angie gave me the you didn't look and set the record straight with Ms. Mom.
[The boys spent the night at Grams & Opa, so no Ladder Talk]

Friday, July 4, 2008

Break out the bubbly...

Happy 4th, Uhmarika!

Now some of you might be a little too quick to criticize my spelling. Let me respond by clearly stating I am an American. It is completely acceptable and even expected that I not fully understand the English language. My colors do not have a 'u' and I go to the city center, not centre. We may not have the Eiffel of Pisa, or the Great Wall of Berlin, but we do have the Statue of Liberace, so I think I know what I am talking about, thank you.

I woke up this morning to David's foot in my mouth. As appealing as that might sound, I found it to be quite disgusting. There was none of that 'oh, he's my son and I love him, no matter what he does'. Bullshit. I draw the line with feet. Sorry, Davey. Keep your toes to yourself and I hope to God that is chocolate.

Opa picked up the boys today and went to the river to ride paddle boats. I am not sure what Angie did while Opa played captain, but I imagine she scrubbed the bathroom, mopped the floors and starting cooking a nice chicken stew for dinner. Only those of you who really know Angie will get how outrageously funny that is. For those of you who don't, chocolate bars and crappy soaps are a more likely agenda.

When I came home from work, the boys were operating at a frequency that normally only dogs can hear. As they buzzed past me at least five times without even realizing I had made it home from work, I began yet again to curse the makers of Kool-Aid. Damn you, Pitcher Man, you big, fat, red distributor of sugar water.

After dinner, Angie and I had a momentary lapse in parental wisdom. It happens. We decided to usher the boys to the balcony for some nice calming bubble-blowing to help wind them down. Yeah. That didn't work. Note to self: Blowing bubbles excites little children.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I go with Opa riding boats.
David: Opa bicycle fahren and Peter.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When I had...had...nose bleed.
David: When bonk my head. My head bonk. Owa.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: When I go to Grams and Opa and sleep there.
David: When go see Grams.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Destructo Dave

David has long ago earned the title Destructo Dave. It's an amazing transformation that always starts with a slight squinting of the eyes.

Then, his eyes shift focus to top left, as if searching that portion of his tiny brain for the answer to the question 'should I?'. It is only a brief flicker that can easily be missed if you are not trained to spot this early warning sign.

Next, a grin starts to slowly form on the left side of his mouth and you know immediately the answer has come - 'yes, Davey should'. After that, lightning fast destruction and demolition are sure to follow.

Today, Destructo Dave decided to unleash its fury on Angie's elbow and our front door. Let me paint the scene.

Angie is on her cell phone (surprise, surprise) when the doorbell rings. It is our neighbor from upstairs, who has come to drop off plants for us to plant-sit while they are on vacation.

Angie opens the door and is too busy talking to our neighbor to realize that David's eyes have suddenly squinted.

Angie takes a plant in each hand, completely oblivious to the emerging smile on David's left cheek.

As Angie turns to walk back into the apartment, Destructo Dave charges the door with a silent war face on and arms outstretched. Their eyes lock as they meet in the middle, but DD is just slightly faster and able to reach the door first. It starts to slam shut and out of reflex, Angie raises her elbow to stop the swinging door.

In the Angie's elbow vs. the window, I think it is obvious from the picture to see who won.

Peter comes running, barefoot, to see what has happened, only to find Angie cursing and holding one bloody elbow. He tries to run up to comfort Mama, but she shouts 'No, STOP! You stay right there'.

Peter, who does not realize the floor is now littered with shards of broken glass, is thoroughly confused and begins to cry.

David is still laughing gleefully, pointing at Mama's elbow and repeating his mantra over and over 'David like red, David bike red'.

The neighbor, who does not really know us that well, is doing what I like to call the awkward backpedal.

'Ok, well. I see you're a little busy now, so I will just come back later.'

I am sure at that point, she was mentally calculating how much it would cost to just let her plants die and buy new ones after her vacation.

Angie spent the rest of the day calling around to find someone who could fix the broken window. In the meantime, at least five of her girlfriends came over for coffee or cake or whatever the hell it is she does while I am at work. All of them took one look at the door and assumed that Angie had locked herself out and had broken the window to get in. Apparently, they know her pretty well.

In the end, Angie found someone to fix the window. After first asking if Angie had locked herself out, the repairman explained that the temporary putty surrounding the glass pane would take about four weeks to dry, and that we should not move the pane in any way. Either he does not have kids, or he is a moron. Possibly both. I can explain with a few simple facts.

The replaced window pane is within the reach of our children.

They love playing with putty.

The entire window is now framed in gray putty-like material.

Our kids tend to gravitate towards things when they are told to leave them alone.

Shall we take bets now?

Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I have the new marbles. Maybe, Papa, one time you could tell me you go to work, but you don't go to work. Then go and come home with new marbles. That I like.
David: When Mama sleep.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When Mama go into the glass, but I don't go in it - that's the bad part.
David: When Papa and David and Peter and Mama. Me in Peter. I like up here.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To eat Lion cereal.
David: Down, down. I want down.


Nonameyet became a predominant segment of the blog. Check out the story where he first hit the scene.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Buddy #3

Buddies number one and two are going to have to make room for...Holy shit! Is that Skeletor??!!

I worked from home today since Angie had one of her prego-checks today. At one point, I heard her calling for me from the other room. This is not unusual, but normally I can tune it out and ignoring it normally makes it go away.There was a certain urgency to the tone, though, that drew my attention.

I walked back to Peter and David's room to find Angie laid out on the floor, completely flat on her back. As I walked in the room, her hand shot up and mixture of embarrasment, annoyance and anger spread across her face. Help me up!

Had I been on my second cup of coffee and a bit more awake, I would have rushed for the camera and today's blog might have been called Flat as a Prego or some other title that would have surely annoyed Angie. Somehow, I think I may have reached that objective anyway.

The titles in general tend to annoy her, though. One of the previous entries was called Bing! Turkey's Done and at first she thought I was making fun of her irrational fear that her belly button might suddenly pop out, taking away her inny-hood and converting her to an outy. Well, only two things to say to that: It is not that irrational. It might still happen.

After verticalizing Angie, we went to the doctor's and found out the baby is doing just great. He was very active, but I find these ultrascans to be anything but ultra. They are a lot like those 3-D pictures where people shove their nose right up to them for 6 hours and then turn to you, cross-eyed, to claim jubilantly that they GOT IT! Yeah, ok. Great for you, cyclops.

On the way back from the doctor's, we stopped to get some toilet paper. As we passed by the candy section, I grabbed a candy bar and asked Angie if she wanted one. She didn't respond to me, though. Her eyes had gone glassy and were somehow focused on a spot behind me and to my left. I was getting a bit nervous because she wasn't really moving at all. Chocolate...she muttered as she slowly shuffled by me in a zombie-like state. I turned to see her grab this gargantuan, life-size chocolate bar off of the shelf. I was sure this thing was for display purposes only, but the lady at the register didn't say a word. Smart woman.

The boys were picked up by Grams & Opa and spent the day at the pool. Angie, now strangely afraid to sit or lay down after this morning's ordeal, went to get her hair cut and dyed. Several hours later I got the call that the boys were on the way back. I went downstairs to meet them and found them both completely racked out in the back seat. I woke up Peter and carried a very groggy David upstairs. A couple heavy shakes and a few gummy bears brought them around long enough for dinner.

Angie came back from the hair dresser just as we were getting ready to nibble on the chocolate wall that was now dividing our apartment in two. Peter was fascinated that Mama's hair had magically changed from blonde to brown. Peter is going through his why phase right now and eventually Angie explained that it was because she had yucky hair. Before, her hair was mixed - some brown, some blonde, and she wanted to have just one color.

At this point, Peter's lip did the shiver-quiver and then he completely lost it. Crying, sobbing, name it. It took us fifteen minutes to calm him down and finally realize his interpretation of what Mama had said. Blonde hair - yucky. Now it's all brown - not yucky. Peter's hair is blonde and apparently he is a tad sensitive to it being called yucky.

Ok. Now we know. We really didn't mean to hurt your feelings or make fun of your hair. Sorry about that whole silly mixup. Blondie.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I, maybe we. I go to Opa & Grams and had a choco-croissant.
David: When Papa lese a book.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: You know what. When Mama's hair is not blonde.
David: When Mama come. Brown.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: Maybe we can play the crocodile game.
David: Mama and Peter and David and Papa. Get down. No. Boogarnobadoobeee.

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