Saturday, January 30, 2010

Playing Baseball

"People ask me what I do in the winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring." - Rogers Hornsby

Baseball season may still be a few months away, but somehow, America's Pastime still saturates my mind. I find myself scouring Cubs news sites to see if they signed another bat for the outfield. I intently read articles and skim box scores for teams I have never heard of before, checking the progress of Cubs prospects as though performance in a Dominican Winter League will equate into instant Major League success. I monitor the prices of jerseys and baseball cards on Ebay, though I am in the market for neither.

Obsessive as I may be, I have thus far found it difficult to pass my passion for baseball on to the kids. Micah is more interested in chewing on his burp rag than learning how to throw a split finger fastball; and Malorie seems to like hearing me sing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" for the one millionth time more than she likes my rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."

Maybe they'll enjoy baseball more once the games begin again. In the meantime, I have found a way to teach my son one of the finer intricacies of the game. A primary qualification for becoming a baseball player, coach or fan is being able to argue with an umpire. In the tradition of Cubs manager "Sweet" Lou Piniella, who earned his sardonic nickname in part for his volatile relationship with the men in blue, I have been teaching Micah to argue calls with me brow to brow. At least it beats singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" again or gazing forlornly out the window for the next few months like poor Rogers.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Baby Business Is Booming

Gerber is for Goobers! You're nuts if you feed your kids Beechnut. If Earth's Best isn't good enough for your babies, then do I have an investment for you! That's right - Rachel and I have gone totally hippie and decided to make our own baby food. OK, before you send us any checks to begin your investment, you should know we're not harvesting wheat, planting rice patties or milling oats to make cereal. But we are steaming, pureeing and freezing vegetables for food for the twins. Last Saturday, in lieu of a date night movie, Rachel and I bonded by making soggy broccoli into mush to feed to our babies, and for just a few dollars a day we can do it for you too. It's just the latest successful product of the Klug Company Baby Business.

The process begins by finely chopping the broccoli, or other vegetable of your liking, then steaming it. The finely chopping part is to make it cook fast, as to not overcook the vegetable and lose vital nutrients. Then, we put the cooked, nutritious vegetable into a food processor and set it to the puree setting. That produces a noise that sounds like a tornado kissing a buzz saw, and some thick veggie sludge. To get the baby food to a consistency befitting a baby, we then add some delectable broth from the pan and mix again. Ears ringing, we finally package the baby ready mush into freezer compatible trays and store for easy use.
Users all over the Jacksonville area are in love with our homemade veggie baby food. Just ask this Klug Company Baby Food user chosen at random from our customer base: "On Sunday, we fed Klug Company broccoli to our babies, who LOVED it. They have really taken to eating lately. Malorie grunts and begins a terribly pathetic cry if we don't shovel the Klug Company food in fast enough. Micah, my son, thinks eating homemade food is hilarious. He giggles, chomps, makes fart noises with his mouth full and kicks like he is fighting Jackie Chan while eating. The twins are now eating the Klug Company produced foods twice a day, at lunch and dinner time."

Baby food is not our only success here, as the two most valuable assets of the Klug Company Baby Business have been going through a period of unprecedented growth. Micah has finally gotten rid of the cough that plagued him for a few weeks. Both babies seem eager to crawl, with Mal starting to scoot backwards and Micah thrashing on his stomach like he is racing Michael Phelps in the 100 meters. Micah got to pet Tyson today, and Malorie has begun to use her hands to hold her up in a tripod sitting position. Both kids love watching Baby Einstein videos, although I am more partial to Looney Tunes and Yo Gabba Gabba. Micah is developing a bit of stranger anxiety, crying whenever a face he doesn't recognize comes close. Mal is as open to new friends as ever, though, flirting like only a descendant of Rachel could. So, send your checks today to get in on the ground floor of this whopping investment opportunity; don't let the chance of a lifetime pass you by, invest in The Klug Company Baby Business today!

Note: This blog post for entertainment purposes only. Please do not send money Mom.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Aunt Carol

Aunt Carol is the kind of woman you call Aunt even if she is not related to your parents. Maternal to the nth degree, Aunt Carol is the kind of woman who treats her dog as well as a child. Fiercely outspoken, loyal and devout, Aunt Carol is the kind of woman who wouldn't hesitate to sass St. Peter if she found him wearing a KU shirt at the gates of heaven. Outside of that, I really didn't know what type of woman Aunt Carol was, which perplexed me because she was scheduled to stay with us for a week.

Ever since Rachel forced me to start writing this blog, Aunt Carol has been its most vocal fan. But she hasn't always been a very large presence in our lives. Aunt Carol lives in Kansas City, so outside of holidays or family occasions Rachel rarely saw her after her college years. I had only met her a handful of times. However, Aunt Carol is Rachel's Godmother, and she took a keen interest in the twins even before they were born. So last month we arranged for her to come visit and help Rachel with the kids while I went off to school in Gainesville for the weekend.

As soon as I got home from work last Wednesday, the day Aunt Carol arrived, my worries were instantly gone. The first thing I found out about Aunt Carol was that she was the kind of woman who liked to get down on the floor and play with the kids. I found her rolling around on the carpet making faces and silly noises with the kids; I could tell right away she would fit in well with us.

Over the course of the week, as Aunt Carol bonded with the kids, Rachel and I bonded with Aunt Carol. We learned Aunt Carol is the kind of woman who volunteers her free time to tutor at risk kids. A strong-willed cancer survivor, Aunt Carol is the kind of woman who knits "chemo caps" for others enduring the battle. Never at a loss to tell a story, yet never unwilling to listen, Aunt Carol is the kind of woman who enhances conversations over just about any topic. Ever patient and brimming with love, Aunt Carol is the kind of woman you know will be a great grandmother someday.

By the time I left for work this morning, Rachel and I were afraid we'd be lost without Aunt Carol. The twins lost their morning snuggle buddy, their afternoon playmate and their nighttime confidant. Tyson lost his pal for his evening walks. But Aunt Carol's week long trip and subsequent departure certainly didn't produce only loss. Over the course of a great week Rachel and I gained a new appreciation for our blog's biggest fan. We now know Aunt Carol is the kind of woman who will always be welcome in our home, the kind of woman who will love us and our kids with all her might, and the kind of woman who we will always be sad to see go home.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Can Groundhog's Day Come Early this Year? (By Rachel)

You know the movie, right? The one with Bill Murray where he finds himself having the same day over and over and over again. Well, it seems as though I could have very easily starred in that film. I know a lot about what Bill Murray felt like. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE staying at home with my beautiful babies. Everyday brings new challenges and experiences, BUT every day is very much the same. At almost five months, the kids are on a pretty good schedule. As my mom likes to say, I force them to be on a pretty good schedule. Every day brings laughter, tears and playtime, snuggles, milk, pee and poop. So, most days, I feel as if I'm featured in the movie Groundhog's Day, except for those rare occasions in which something crazy happens. Yesterday was not Groundhog's Day.

First of all, we are battling our first baby sickness. Micah has come down with a cough. It is the saddest, most pathetic little cough I have ever heard. Although Billy and I try to be the most "Babywise Parents" we can be, when your kid is sick, all bets are off. Needless to say, Micah had a lot of trouble sleeping yesterday. So, Micah and I spent a lot of time snuggling in the rocking chair. Thankfully, Micah's cough does not change his "waketime/playtime" attitude. As you know from Billy's last entry, both babies LOVE to roll on their tummies. So, thanks to Grandma Klug, I was able to change up their usual playtime routine with a new game called "Rollie Pollie Ollie." I get out a big sheet and lay it on the floor. I put both babies at one end and we sing, "Who's gonna, who's gonna win this game... Who's gonna, who's gonna win this game?" as they take turns rolling to the end of the sheet. For some reason they have forgotten that they know how to roll from tummy to back, so I often help a little with that part, due to their moans of frustration. Believe it or not, it is a fun game, and it has changed things up a little.

Later in the day, I noticed that Mal was sitting her chair awfully content. She had been in the chair for quite a while because I was feeding Micah and I unable to move her. She kept flashing me these cute little flirty smiles. When Micah was done eating, I went to move her to the mat. As I unhooked the clasps on the chair, I smelled something. Of course, I did what any Mom would do, I picked her up, turned her butt up towards my face and sniffed. The trouble was that I did it so fast that I brought her butt to my face, and my nose (and mouth) ended up making contact with one of Mal's juiciest, smelliest poop's yet. GROSS. I'm pretty sure I ended up tasting a bit of Mal's poop. So much for Malorie flirting with me, it turns out she was just full of gas and dookie.

So, after a sick little boy, a new game and a taste of poop, I am SOOOOOOO ready for Groundhog's Day again.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Confessions of The Worst Ninja in the World

Ninjas are quiet. Stealth. Unseen. They can do all sorts of flips and jumps and never make a sound. Most ninjas know karate, or some sort of kung fu too. They get cool missions and have to perform them in the cover of night. Recently Rachel gave me a night mission to do, and by doing so I learned I am easily the worst ninja in the world.

The tale of the sucky ninja goes something like this: Malorie has decided that she will only sleep on her stomach. We can put her down on her back, dead asleep, and within five seconds she is on her tummy. Rachel and I are all right with this, as she seems to sleep better face down and the doctors say it's OK if the twins roll that way on their own. But, the belly sleeping baby has one problem to deal with: Diapers. Diapers are made to absorb liquid as it runs from front to back. But when Mal rolls over, sticks her butt in the air and goes to sleep, all the liquid runs the other way, eventually overpowering the diaper and causing a leak. This leak wakes Malorie up in the middle of the night, and she then wakes everyone else in the house. This was clearly a job for a ninja. Get in, roll the baby over, ensure absorbency, get out.

Since neither Rachel nor I know any kung fu moves, I was chosen to be the ninja for the next best reason - I stay up later at night. Since ninjas work under a blanket of darkness, I figured I would be better at it then Rachel. I mean, who has ever heard of a ninja that is in bed by 9 pm? So, I dressed up in my sneakiest house pants and puffiest socks and began my first stealth diaper changing mission.

The mission got off to a good start as I silently opened to door to the babies room. However, things quickly got hairy when I looked to my right and saw Micah staring straight at me and smiling. I made it 0.2 seconds before being detected, puffy socks and all. For the rest of the mission, Micah continued to watch me, sucking his thumb and smiling the whole time.

Once I arrived at Mal's crib, I expected things to go better. I flipped her over without a sound, and then one by one quietly unsnapped her pajamas. However, disposable diapers are not a good tool for ninjas as they are super loud. When you first unfold at new diaper, they crinkle and crack, and as soon as you undo the flaps any child in a mile vicinity will instantly perk up. Of course I didn't realize that until I pulled the flaps from the replacement diaper and Mal awoke. For the next thirty seconds or so, Malorie Rose didn't cry one bit. She just screamed "nnn-GACK, nnn-GACK" at the top of her lungs and squirmed to try to return to her preferred sleep position on her stomach.

I desperately tried to get the diaper on while maintaining my cover. I wrestled her back onto her back. "nnn-GACK" she yelled. I worked at getting her used diaper off like a starving man trying to get into a bag of gummy worms. "nnn-GACK, nnn-GACK." I was using one hand and an elbow to hold the baby down as the other hand fumbled in the dark to unlatch the used diaper off the twisting child. "nnn-GACK" Finally, as I was just about to resort to using my teeth, I got the diaper undone and stuck the fresh one into place. "nnn-GACK, nnn-GACK" Malorie protested, but I was into the home stretch.

"What's going on?" I heard Rachel say from in the other bedroom, but no ninja is foolish enough to blow his cover and reply, so I continued on in silence. Malorie answered for me..."nnn-GACK" she shouted to her mom. Micah giggled in his crib. Undaunted, I continued to work feverishly, praying I was not snapping a button from the leg portion of the pajamas to a button from the midsection. As I finished my job, Mal's protestations started coming more rapidly. I used the hand that I had not used to touch the pee-diaper to put her pacifier in her mouth. She spit it out and yelled. Gathering up what dignity and courage I had left, I heaved the dirty diaper somewhere in the vicinity of the Diaper Geenie. It was dark, so it was hard to tell, but I probably got it either in the garbage or behind the dresser. Either way, my ninja instincts told me there would be no trace of me ever being there. Without making another sound I made for the door. Mal yelled one last time for good measure, Micah continued to stare and smile. I closed the door and crept away, trying not to smile because I don't think ninjas smile. As disheartening as it was, I could not even do this, as I began to laugh as I stood outside the bedroom door.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Baby New Year

If I gave you ten tries, you would never guess what Rachel and I did for our first New Years' Eve as parents. Go ahead. If you are thinking a nice, quiet night at home, you are sadly mistaken. Did you guess a babysitter and a night out on the town? Sorry. A few friends watching a giant mirror ball and Ryan Seacrest on the streets of New York? Try again. If you guessed a bar, a house party, Korean food, video games and tequila shots - babies in tow, you get the prize.

Rachel and I spent the day at The Orange Park Ale House watching the Texas Bowl football game between our beloved Missouri Tigers and the Naval Academy. We Klug's were pretty stoked for the Bowl game this year, since most of the people we know here in Jacksonville are graduates of the Naval Academy. Plus, barring references to David Robinson and Roger Staubach, most would not think a service academy could beat a Big XII school at much of anything, let alone football. Mizzou recruits kids to play football; The Naval Academy looks for guys who can navigate a nuclear submarine - throwing a spiral is just icing on the cake. But alas, my friend and fellow Lieutenant John Cocca, knows exactly how to turn the tables in Navy's favor. John noted that the Academy, his alma mater, is undefeated when he does a shot of Patron tequila. Rachel, the kids and I met John and several other friends to watch the game and put John's superstition to the test. John did the shot of tequila, I scoffed at the tradition, and the rest is history. The Naval Academy didn't just beat the Tigers, they embarrassed them. I have heard several times that sailors are only good at three things: cursing, drinking and fighting. Apparently some of us are moderately proficient at playing football as well.

Later that night, Rach and I fed the kids and put them to bed like any other night. However, about thirty minutes later, the kids were jolted awake to visions of their parents dressed in fancy party clothes hovering above their cribs. We packed the half-awake kids into car seats and headed for our friends Rob and Jamie Woodards house. They threw the most non-traditional New Year's party ever, entertaining a small group of friends with Korean food and the video game Rock Band until just before midnight.

Ten years ago on New Years' Eve I was on a beach in Miami, partying like it was 1999 - mostly because it was. But the party scene for a new parent is a bit different from the hooting and hollering days of my earlier years. My grand entrance to the party consisted of quietly shuttling our children upstairs, pulling them out of their car seats and laying them down to sleep in a play pen and on a futon. Every ten minutes for the rest of the night one of the two of us crept up to the room and pressed an ear against the door. The highlight of the party was when another couple announced their pregnancy, with the new mother expecting her first child in August. It took all I had not to smile and shout, "Ha, sucker!" at the top of my lungs, but I remained composed and offered congratulations like a civilized person.

At midnight we watched stuntman Travis Pastrana jump a rally car over a lagoon in Las Vegas - I told you the Woodards throw a non-traditional party. The evening had passed fast, 2010 had begun and the revelry was just beginning. Rachel and I were having a great time, but then something crazy happened. Amid the blur of blow horns, fireworks, televised flying cars, hands shaking and shouts of "Happy New Year," someone whispered, "You wanna go home?" I still don't know if it was Rachel or me who instigated the conversation, but soon my mind was no longer at 12:01. I imagined myself at 3:30 am with a mad, hungry baby. Then I was at 4 am with a terrifyingly cruel, sleep deprived wife. Next I envisioned the 5 am crawl to the babies room to replace a pacifier that had fallen out. Soon my mind travelled to 7 am with a headache the size of the lagoon that Travis guy just jumped in his neato car. My nightmarish trek ended and my decision was made. By the look in her eyes I could tell Rachel had just made a similar journey through space and time into that alternate universe. Without saying more than a few words to each other, we had the car packed and the kids inside by 12:10. We were home sleeping by 12:30, our idea of spending a good night together now consisting of a warm bed and six to eight hours of sleep.