Monday, July 28, 2008

Baywatch Baby

The Eastside Gang just returned from their longest road trip, with baby, yet. After our last journey out of Scott Valley (six hours, constant screaming), we were, frankly, a little spooked about leaving. So, like Bill Murray in "What About Bob?", we travelled south in baby steps. Three days later, we arrived at Pismo Beach, intact and unscathed.

Speaking, or rather, writing, for Dylan, the highlight of the trip was, hands-down, the ocean. We spent one morning checking out downtown Pismo (the pier, Moondoggies) and when it really started to warm up, we took off Dylan's shoes and turned her loose on the beach. Pismo Beach is loaded with people BBQ-ing, kids playing, and dogs catching frisbees; Dylan thought she was at the best playground in the world. She beelined for the water, shedding her clothes faster than Pamela Anderson on "Baywatch."

Did I tell you that the Pacific Ocean, even in Southern California, is cold? It is. Very. Dylan hit the water, paused, weighed the fun vs. cold scales in her mind (fun is a rock, cold is a feather) and kept on going. I think she planned on pushing a few of the icebergs out of the way to tell the surfers in their 20mm wetsuits that, hey guys, careful, the water's cold. And awesome.

By the time I put her in a pretty dress and took her to the wedding, sitting in the sun and watching people stand in front of a preacher seemed like a big letdown, even if Mommy was one of those up there. So, like all weddings I go to now, I stood far enough away to let Dylan play on the grass, run wild, and splash in puddles. I chased her around until I sweated through my only nice shirt and had to take her up to the room for a deodorant re-application. The only thing that held her attention was a blue Tootsie Pop -- I know, bad idea. It turned her tongue, face, and dress bright blue, but got her to sit still long enough for my Mother-in-Law to scoop her up and take her to bed. I didn't even want to imagine the mayhem in our room once the sugar high kicked in.

We all survived and felt so good on Sunday that we tackled the drive home with vigor. Dylan, still blue, came off her sugar buzz and slept for nearly an hour (a record) in her car seat. And when we pulled into our home on Sunday evening, the ocean was just a memory as Dylan neighed and mooed at the horses and cows on the Hanna ranch, the best playground in the world.

Monday, July 14, 2008


This weekend, Regina went to Las Vegas for a "bachelorette party." I put that in quotes because I think she used the girls weekend as a guise to play in the World Series of Poker, under the pseudonym "Brasilian Ice." Regardless, she didn't have to hitchhike home or get a weird Sammy Davis Jr. tribute tattoo, so I think her weekend was a good one.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Dylan and Daddy were partying hard. Okay, I was working, but Aunty Ju-Ju got two new kitties, and Dylan went bonkers over them. She learned that the pain threshold of cats is pretty high and they don't seem to mind being carried by their necks. She also learned that, in contrast, her pain threshold is much lower and that cats sometimes do mind being carried by their necks.

On Sunday, Dylan and I loaded the truck and went to Medford to pick up Mommy from the airport. I figured Dylan would take her afternoon nap on the drive up and be cute and refreshed when Regina flew in. Stupid Daddy. Of course she didn't nap.

Our first stop was Big R -- ranching supply headquarters. Dylan sat in the cart and waved at all the employees, who all waved back. She earned "good baby" points, so when I released her from the shopping cart -- just to stretch her legs -- no one got too upset when she ran around the women's clothing section (camo, John Deere), ripping off every tag she could get her hands on.

I learned my lesson and kept her in the cart at Costco. I did forget to bring in the ever-so important snack bag, and panicked until I remembered, duh, this is Costco: food sample capitol of the world. We dutifully lined in behind the old and crazy who think Costco is a Home Town Buffet and I filled Dylan up on little bites of taquitos, push-ups, salmon patties, and dried apples. A pretty balanced meal. She topped it off by eating the grocery list. I know this because a nervous looking woman approached me and said, "She has paper in her mouth." I smiled. She eats a lot of paper.

We had a little time to kill, so into Barnes and Noble we ventured. There are no shopping carts in bookstores, and that should have been enough to send us packing. Instead, I let Dylan run free. She bolted like a feral cat and I could only keep track of her by the trail of books and stuffed "Harry Potter" dolls she left in her wake. I put everything back in its rightful place (it's the OCD in me) while Dylan laughed and bothered the creepy readers in the magazine section. I finally caught up to her in the "quiet" section and scooped her up. She wailed and screamed and fought and you'd of thought I'd just ripped a huge fart at a funeral from the looks I got. Look, dorks, you're reading on a smelly couch in a chain bookstore, not a library. Go read at home.

We left before we were asked to leave and spent the last half hour parked at a bank, making sure the bookstore police didn't follow us. I was out of ideas, and Dylan was out of patience, so we both sat in silence, praying for a tailwind to push Regina's flight ahead of schedule.

When Dylan saw Mommy step out of Medford International, she was ecstatic. Sure, her Daddy time was cool, but, man, sometimes he's clueless.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Baby Hercules

I started this entry yesterday, and was a page into it when I realized that it was all about weenies and boobies (those are technical terms). I got nervous that my blog might get "flagged," although I don't really know what "flagging" means; it very well could be a good thing. "Hey, dude, what'd you do last weekend?" "Man, I got flagged." "Sweet. That's flagging awesome."

So, for those of you who are dying to know what a weenie and booby blog would be about, I'll give you the Cliff Notes version: Dylan saw a ding-dong (mine) and thought it was a light switch chain. Dylan saw boobs (not mine) and her dad felt awkward. The end. No flagging necessary.

Now, on to the clean and mundane.

Lately, Dylan has been exhibiting super-strength. It started with breaking sticks in the yard. She'd pick up a fallen stick from our oaks (her favorite toy, by the way. It makes gift giving really easy.), then break it in half. If the stick was too big, her little arms would tremble and her eyes would bug out a little. I'd hold my breath in anticipation until the stick would snap.

Since the number of our backyard sticks has doubled (remember, she broke them all in half. It's math.), and are too small to break, she's moved on to toy-lifting. Dylan chooses the largest and most cumbersome, like the entire Old McDonald's Farm set, picks it up and carries it from room to room. She looks like an athlete on The World's Strongest Man competition who is trying to toss his ninth VW Bug over a wall. She staggers under the weight and Regina and I cheer her on like there is some imaginary finish line in our kitchen. It's fun to watch and has made the "toy corner" of our home obsolete. Now, we have toys in every room, like a FAO Schwarz.

I've got to say, with all this stick training and heavy lifting, Dylan is looking pretty ripped. And if anyone tries to flag this, I'll send over our little body-builder to settle the score.