Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Rambling and Distracted Christmas Ditty for You

Wishing you (yes, YOU) a wonderful holiday season. May your Christmas be merry and bright, and may all your snozzberries taste like snozzberries.

Merry Christmas from Our Dumb Blog.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What to NOT get the kids for Christmas.

People (ok, mostly relatives) often ask us to recommend some good Christmas gifts for Ava and Alexander. Trust, us, everyone. They are not difficult to please. They spent an hour yesterday flying around an empty toilet paper roll like it was a spaceship. They thought it was awesome.

While they would have fun with an empty toilet paper roll, that doesn't mean that you can give them absolutely anything. In fact, there are some specific gifts that are on our "DO NOT GIVE" list. We will smile politely if our kids receive one of these gifts. Then the offending toy will be quickly escorted off the premises and burned in a private ceremony, before its wrongness can be mistaken for awesomeness by our children.

Please do NOT give our children…

(1) A Playmobil Security Checkpoint

It’s the Playmobil Security Checkpoint!! Let your child’s imagination run wild with terrorist paranoia and government conspiracy theories. Add to that the delightful experience of pretending to wait in long lines, taking off their shoes, having their mouthwash confiscated, being asked to step aside by a man slipping on latex gloves, and (several humiliating hours later) missing their flight. Weeeee!!!!

(2) A Thumb Wrestling Arena

This is the definition of unnecessary. Thumb wresting is such a simple game - no chafing singlets required! Just two kids with at least one thumb each. That is all you need to thumb wrestle. That is until someone thought “hey, let’s throw a piece of plastic over their hands!”

First of all, it gets in the way. Second of all, 99.8% of thumb wrestling games are spontaneous. By the time the kid runs off and finds this thing in his toy box, the moment will be gone and his thumbs will never even have a chance to taste the sweet phalangesical* victory.

*mostly, a made up word.

(3) Pole Dancing Doll

What the WHAT?

(4) Barbie’s Pooping Dog

OK, I’m just going to state the obvious: WTF. When I was a kid, we’d use our imagination if we wanted to pretend that our toy animals were pooping. And, frankly, the desire to do so was an extremely rare event. EXTREMELY rare. Having a dog poop out little choking hazards for Barbie to clean up might be the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen. And, I know dumb.*

*See title of blog.

(5) Toy Tattoo Gun

I know tattoos are very popular and mainstream now, but so is Dog the Bounty Hunter. Doesn't make it a good idea for children.

I can just hear these two kids talking...

Billy: Hmmmmm…..What would be an awesome tat? A Skull?
Shemp: No.
Billy: “Mother”?
Shemp: No. Hey, what was the name of that pole dancing doll your little sister has? Sassafras or something?
Billy: Perfect! Put that across my forehead!

(6) A "You Can Shave The Baby" Baby

OK, I guess theoretically, YES you can shave a baby. But why? WHY?

Hope that helps with your Christmas shopping. Thank you for your cooperation.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Conversation With Alexander

Here is a brief transcript from an actual conversation I had with Alexander this morning. This talk happened in the car. Yes, strapping my 3-year-old into a chair is the best way to have a real conversation with him. If we are in a car, this method of conversation looks less like questionable parenting and more like a normal car ride.

See? You get helpful parenting tips here at ODB!

(Calling it "ODB" makes it sound like this blog is popular enough to warrant the causal use of an acronym. Instant cyber street cred. Yep, another great tip. You're welcome.)

Anyway, on with the transcript:

Me: Did you have a good Thanksgiving?

Alexander: Yes! I was very busy and I got to play with cousin Harrison.

Me: That sounds fun.

Alexander: Cousin Harrison shared his trains and toys with me. Do you think I'll get to play with cousin Harrison again next Thanksgiving?

Me: Yes, and hopefully many times before next Thanksgiving too.

Alexander: Why is there Thanksgiving?

Me: Well, it's a chance to give thanks for what we have. It all started...

Alexander (interrupting): Why did Uncle Brad make a turkey?

Me: It's a Thanksgiving tradition.

Alexander: Cousin Harrison and I were too busy to eat turkey. Do you think cousin Harrison will play Star Trek with me?

Me: How do you play that?

Alexander: We go vrrrrom, and we play Star Trek.

Me: Do you want to pretend to be Captain Kirk?

Alexander: No.

Me: Do you want to pretend to be Spock?

Alexander: No.

Me: Well, who are you going to be then?

Alexander: A farmer, and cousin Harrison can be a sheep.

Me: A farmer? I didn't remember there being a farmer on Star Trek.

Alexander: Ok, not Star Trek. We'll play Farm Trek.

***insert rimshot here***

THANK YOU! Good night!

Child Psychology

Friday, November 11, 2011

Important Questions

Alexander asks questions... a LOT of questions. Some recent questions he asked:

"What is the sky for - what does it do?"
"Can a bear climb a tree like a squirrel?"
"Do ducks eat flowers?"
"Why is there red?"
"What is hair for?"

Every question is another piece of the 3-year-old universe puzzle.

(I know!! I found the perfect picture in the archives. You can thank me later for such a feat of blogging excellence.)

I estimate I have about 11 more months before he realizes that I am an unreliable source of information. Then he'll start referring all questions to the internets - aka "3rd parent." For now, he thinks I'm a double bacon genius burger.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Da Bears

Trick or treating was a success (in our case, it was 100% treating). The children were dressed up as bears, which was Alexander's idea. They ended up looking like bears closely related to ewoks.

Alexander had his first chocolate bar. He was not impressed.

"I dressed up as a ewokish bear for THIS?"

We're glad Alexander doesn't like the candy. George Lucas will probably be suing us for copyright infringement, so we'll need to fork over our ewok proceeds anyway.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Baby Mullet

This is not cultivated hockey hair, people. It is a naturally occurring mullet.

Business up front:

Party in the back:

Sorry about the gauzy-looking picture. The camera lens is pretty scratched up. Now all of our pictures look they are from a soap opera trying desperately to make their octogenarian hearthrob look like a septuagenarian.

Speaking of inane television programing, look at how insanely adorable the kids are when they are staring the the T.V. together. Yar.

(And with that gauzy-looking picture, Alexander looks not a day over two...and Ava looks like a fetus. The gauze works!!)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

ODB Bestseller List

Alexander took a book that was missing the last page and rewrote the ending. He drew the illustration and wrote the final word of the story, "moon".

It should be noted that he was also the one that ripped out the original page. I guess it's all about making your own opportunities in the world of writing.

Yesterday, some new "art" spontaneously appeared on our refrigerator.

Upon closer inspection, it seemed there were words written under the scribbles. You may be able to see it if you are good at seeing dolphins in Magic Eye pictures or if you have an industrial strength pair of mommy-goggles on hand.

Me: Did you make this?
Alexander: Yes, I made that last week. (said as if he was so over it)
Me: What does it say?
Alexander: It says "Alexander loves his cat." It's a mess.

So it appears that he wrote a sentence and then scribbled all over it in a fit of creative frustration. You know writers.

Anyway, his PR team suggested we use this picture for his "about the author" book flap.

It was either this or the classic author trifecta of turtleneck, dog, and fireplace. The bear ears just felt more "right". They ensure people will take him seriously as a writer (because everyone takes bears seriously). I'm so glad we have a PR team.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Auto Buds

This is a Tumblr page dedicated to finding cars that look similar and are in close proximity to each other. It's called Auto Buds.

I have an Auto Buds submission that I think takes the concept of Auto Buds to the next level. Ava and Alexander! Think about it... They look similar, are frequently in close proximity to each other, and they like to hold hands when riding in the car.

They are totally BABF!

(That's Best Auto Buds Forever... duh!)

Girl, Interrupted

(This is what I thought that Winona Ryder movie was going to be about...)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sign that I am Old

They pump muzak into the lobby of Alexander's preschool. Maybe this is to keep the children calm, or to lull the parents into a trance as they write out their checks and hand over their children. I think muzak should go back to the elevators where it belongs, but I could be accused of being a musicist if I say this outloud.

Anyway, the other day I was getting lulled into a trance and wondering if I should write another nice big check for the school. I suddenly realized that I recognized the piped-in song.

There is was, it all it's glockenspiel glory - Green Day's Basketcase.

I consider this to be a great song from my youth - it was topping the charts the year I graduated high school. It's punkish, it's fun, it's catchy. They also beat it into us as they played it on the radio about 500 times a day. (A "radio" is a device we used to listen to music on.) The song ponders issues of sanity, sex, and drugs. Yeah, totally perfect for muzak! And even more totally perfect for preschool muzak!

I'm so old.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Highly Flamable PJs and Compromises

I was looking online for some nice warm PJs for Ava. These looked cute...

Then I was reading the "fabric and care" section...

fabric & care
-100% Cotton.
-For child's safety, garment should fit snugly. This garment is not flame resistant. Loose fitting garment is more likely to catch fire.
-Machine wash.

Apparently, if you put a baby in any sort of semi-loose garment, they are MORE LIKELY to burst into flames. Why didn't Dr. Sears mention this in any of his baby books?! You'd think our pediatrician would have at least given us some sort of brochure.

I'm a good mother, so I bought several PJs in XXXX-Small sizes. Am I worried about these ultra tight PJs cutting off her circulation? Sure. But I decreased the probability that she will catch fire. Good parenting is all about thoughtful compromises.

For example, we took a trip this weekend to the "plywood photo-op novelty farm". It wasn't crowded at all, but that was because it was raining. So there was no line for the giant slide, but we also got soaked.

Those are the damp hinders of compromise.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Happy Dance

Ava is going to reenact a big moment... OK. Curtain up.

I received news that first made me go –


And then made me go –


What was the cause of total surprise and then total happiness? One word: REMISSION! HAPPY DANCE!

(OK, the happy dance was actually because she got a "record" on the Wii. That's why she keeps saying "record." *sigh* Method actors...)

End scene.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Life with Alexander

Life with a three-year-old is never dull, and often features backaches and lots of laundry.

Lately, he's curious about the idea of logos and branding. His uncle Dave and aunt Rachel were here for a visit recently, and Dave was wearing a shirt with a Honda Goldwing logo. Alexander pointed at it and said "That's the logo for the company that made Uncle Dave."

His sense of humor continues to grow and he has a whole mess of new stand-up material to try on anyone that is willing to listen. For example, this morning we caught him singing a new version of "head, shoulders, knees, and toes" to the cats. It was "head, shoulders, knees, and paws". Alexander was beside himself with his own comic genius. This could be part of a larger Weird Al phase, because he also has been changing lyrics to other songs... for example:

Alexander: Sing a lullaby, please, Daddy!
Tim: OK. Hush little baby, don't say a word. Papa's gonna buy you a mockingbird. If that mocking bird won't sing, papa's gonna buy you a...
Alexander: (interrupting) Another mockingbird! (laughs)
Tim: OK, then. Another mockingbird. If that mockingbird won't sing, papa's gonna buy you...
Alexander: (interrupting, again) Another mockingbird! (laughs hysterically)
Tim: Really? Another mockingbird?
Alexander: (barely able to speak, laughing so hard) Yes!
Tim: All right. Papa's gonna buy you another mockingbird. If that mockingbird won't sing, papa's gonna buy you a...
Alexander: (again barely able to speak) Another mockingbird!
Tim: Another one?!
Alexander: We have so many mockingbirds, and none of them can sing! (tears rolling down cheeks from laughing so hard)
Tim: *sigh*

Well, I could go on but you'll just have to catch his Comedy Central special when it comes out in 2029. Alexander also recently expanded his comedic repertoire with what I guess was a "prank". A semi-elaborate prank, at that.

Tim and I use "TV Ears" when watching movies in the loft after the kids are in bed. Yes, TV Ears. When we saw the ad in Senior News, the one that said TV Ears could save our marriage, it seemed really irresponsible to NOT get them. I mean, we take our wedding vows super seriously. We couldn't risk passing up on a product that could save our marriage. We didn't even know our marriage was failing, but Senior News said... well, YOU read the ad:

See?? It is doctor recommended, AND patented, AND saves marriages, AND only weighs 1.6 ounces!! I know, right?! Can you believe some people DON'T buy TV Ears? Fools.

Anyway, as you can see, they are basically little wireless headsets. We recently had to replace the charging base because it wasn't working, but otherwise they have worked very well and lived up to every promise.

One night we went upstairs to enjoy an evening movie. I picked up the headset, and immediately noticed the foam ear covers are missing.

This is a bummer, because without the foam coverings they are pointy and uncomfortable. I really wanted to watch a movie, so I put them on anyway. I quickly discovered that not only were the ear foams missing but the headset wasn't working either. There was no power. Hmmmm.... Looking down, I realize that there are TWO bases sitting out. Someone had moved the headphones out of the new working base, and carefully placed them into the old broken base.

As a result, the batteries were dead. Noooo! There goes our marriage. At this point I was so annoyed that I was getting hot. I bent down to turn on the fan and the fan starts making a horrible sound. Clack clack clack!

Um... yeah. Guess what was in there? Yep. It took tweezers to remove the earbuds from the fan.

So either Ashton Kutcher has run out of D-list celebrities and has moved on to D-List normies, or Alexander has found a new way to amuse himself.

This is life with Alexander.

Laundry, backaches, and toddler comedy.

It's a pretty all right life.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Related Much?

After making the last post, I realized how much Ava and Alexander look alike in recent blog pictures.

It's almost as if they are brother and sister. Luckily for them, they are based on an adorable template.

Future Data Nerd

It's good to know that the data nerd genes were passed on.

I tried to grab a video of Ava randomly counting to herself, but of course it didn't start recording until she was already at 4 or 5. Turn up the volume for maximum cuteness.

So she counts to ten and then repeats "good counting" over her shoulder as she stumbles away in a homage to the Ministry of Silly Walks. That's our Ava. Already ahead of the curve in math and Monty Python references.


Monday, August 15, 2011


Alexander turned three this weekend. I think that makes him either a very young boy, or an elderly toddler. Today, we are all suffering from a sugar hangover that can only come from partying too hard with a three-year-old.

Rule: Don't play with your food.
Fact: I just gave you cake with a toy truck plopped on top of it.
Conclusion: There are ridiculously complex rules for when certain rules apply. Also, I am a terrible cake decorator.

Now that Alexander is three, we promised him a set of keys for the boat. He was psyched.

Of course, it's a paddle boat. So, the joke was on him.

As it turns out, his legs are too short to reach the paddles, forcing the adult to do all the work. The joke was on us. He shoots, he scores!

Well played, son. Well played.

I can't believe I just used a sports metaphor. Oh, man. I think I pulled something. I knew I should have stretched first. Now I need some literal Icy Hot for my metaphorical sports metaphor injury.

Anyhoo... happy birthday, Alexander. We love you like crazy.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ava: Close-up-and-shaky-style.

Here is the alphabet...sort of. Ok, it's the avabet.

Ava assumes the everyone is always thanking her. You give her a cracker, she says "welcome!" You give her a big kiss, she says "welcome!" We tried to teach her to say "thank you", but... well, you'll see.

You're welcome.

Monday, August 1, 2011


If a picture is worth a thousand words, then how much is a picture of making a picture worth? Before this mathematical conundrum literally blows your mind, please enjoy the following:

Alexander responds to Ava's artistic outburst of "NOOOO!" with a profound question.

Why not, indeed.

Our kids are so deep. They should be wearing black turtlenecks and writing confusing poetry 24/7.

Friday, July 22, 2011


Watching Alexander and Ava play together is almost too much yar for me to handle. Alexander loves to teach Ava new words, Ava loves to laugh at Alexander's jokes. They are a pretty good team. Who knows what the future might bring.

They might become…

An acrobatic team known for daring sit-n-spin maneuvers.


The first brother-sister Latisse models.

(Latisse is a new pharmaceutical being advertised with insanely-long-eyelashed models. Latisse is supposed to increase eyelash volume for those that suffer from – as the commercial states - “inadequate or not enough lashes”. Apparently, their target demographic doesn’t know what the word “inadequate” means.)


Alexander may have some crazy idea brewing that none of us can even imagine right now. Not even Ava.

Who knows?

But just as sure as tape on the nose is always funny

and ruffles on a baby hinder are always cute

exuberant sibling hugs are always free.

(And sometimes dangerous.)

I hope you’ve enjoyed this hearty slice of yar cheese.

Fear of Irony

Hellenologophobia: Fear of Greek terms or complex scientific terminology.

Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia: Fear of long words.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

When Comfort Food Goes Too Far

Sometimes, grandma feeding you comfort food can be too comforting.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


There has been a lot of shenanigans, literal and figurative parades, various happenings, and milestones. There has also been a profoundly lazy blogger. I do have a doctor's note, though.

Please accept my sincere apologies for this blog pause, or "blause".

In the meantime, enjoy a these pictures of the children looking at something interesting. Probably a parade of the literal variety.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Well, what do YOU do when you can't sleep?

Palindromes are the hottest trend in wasted college educations today! So I’ve jumped on the (nonexistent) bandwagon and written a few myself. Enjoy!

(1) Context: Guy driving in the car with his wife. He swerves to miss a squirrel. The car goes “ker-thunk!” and he looks in his rearview mirror trying to see if he just ran over the little guy.

“Hey! Did….”
“We did?”

(2) Quote from a husband whose loathing of traffic noise is only trumped by his loathing of hearing his wife (who suffers from IBS) loudly clink her knitting needles together.

“Stinky traffic is… um… MUSIC if 'Farty' knits!”

(3) Coverage of Sesame Street basketball game translated into Spanglish.

“El B Bird dribble!”

That is all.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Self-Rescuing Princess

This is the new feminism and Ava is on the cutting edge.

Speaking of Ava, here is Ava speaking:

“Sleepy” – she sometimes tells us when she is tired. She rubs her eyes and says “sleepy.” It’s just as yarry as it sounds.

“Alla Dan Der” – her big brother

“That not nice” – Alla Dan Der sometimes says to her “Ava, that’s not nice!” when she grabs his toys out of his hands. So she repeats back to him “that not nice”. Then they wrestle to the ground, which she thinks is hilarious. It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye. Yes, I tell them that. It doesn't work. They continue to horse (sometimes monkey) around so I have to try to conjure up more parental aphorisms. Kids these days...

“Great job” - she’s already self-congratulating at a 1st grade level! You think she is clapping? No, those are self-high fives.

Her walking skills have gone from sad to mad. (OK, nobody has used the term "mad skills" with sincerity for over 10 years now. The kids don't yet know how uncool I am, so let's just keep that between us. They will learn soon enough.) Ava has a technique that I call "The Drunken Toddler". She leads with her belly, zig zags, then falls. She would never pass a field sobriety test, which is why we made her hand over her car keys. But here is a shot of her walking pretty well:

Sorry about the sound. It was a really windy day in our house. Sorry it is so dark. There was also an eclipse. It was a weird day.

Joke or Million Dollar Idea?

Here is a new joke, written and performed by Alexander:


Tim/Dad: What do you want to drink?

Alexander: (thinks) Pie! (bursts out laughing)

Tim/Dad: You can’t drink pie!

It’s a joke. (this clarification is added just in case dad doesn’t get it. laughter continues)


Drinkable pie: Joke, or million dollar idea?

Answer: Joke. But, just in case, patent pending.

PS: I apologize for the excessive use of colons in this entry. The Colon Counsel has be riding me and says that if I don't make a (totally arbitrary!!!) quota they will drop their sponsorship of this blog. Sucks, right? They gave me a surprise audit (or "colonoscopy") and a written warning. So: are you happy now, Colon Counsel?? : : : : : : : : : : !!!

Uncle Dave and Uncle (sic) Rachel

Thank you so much for coming out and helping with the kids! Ava and Alexander loved having you here, and we did too. You guys are AWESOME!

Monday, June 13, 2011

I Always Take the Worst Vacations

I’m back! The surgery went well with no complications or scalpels left behind. They cut a 4 mm tumor off my pituitary and removed some “suspicious tissue” too.

(note the eyes... dead giveaway for suspicious tissues)

I was in the hospital for 4 days and home within a week. Or, so I am told. I was pretty heavily medicated. I'm operating under the assumption that this is still 2011 - right???

So I am now home and on Load Mode. This may be the loadiest mode I’ve ever been in. I am not supposed to lift anything that weighs more than 5 pounds for the next 6 weeks. Ha! FIVE pounds??? That’s nothing. This blog weighs more than five pounds and it doesn’t even exist.

The kids are awesome. Grandma and Grandpa have superior parenting skills, so their care was actually much better in our absence. Ava learned a gadzillion new words (real ones, unlike “gadzillion”) and is walking around like crazy (literally, she looks a bit insane in an adorable baby kind of way). Alexander has new jokes to tell and a new found appreciation of baseball - which I am told is a “sport” played by “athletes” and watched by “fans”.

I don’t yet know if the surgery was success. Initial labs don’t look great, but it can take a while to be certain on whether or not I land on the “winning side” of the 65-70% cure rate. Time will tell. And then I'll tell you.

In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy Load Mode and do everything within my power not to sneeze. (Yes, I was told to not sneeze for 6 weeks. My brain could very well fall out. For reals.)