Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Is That The REAL Easter Bunny?

I can hear it now. I may as well write it. No, Micah and Mal, that is not the REAL Easter bunny you visited when you were babies. That is a super nice woman with way too much pink makeup and a Halloween costume. Here's how it came to be that you're first encounter with the Easter Bunny turned out like a scene in some corny television sitcom...
Sunday afternoons used to be sacred around here. After a morning at church, I would sit on my duff, watching seasonal sports and usually falling asleep on the couch. Rachel would either catch up on some teacher work or be out shopping for something or another. After nearly eight months of crazy, non-routine Sundays, last Sunday fell right into our wheelhouse. The babies fell asleep at about one-thirty, and by one-thirty two Rachel was racing out the door to go shopping at Target. I, for my part, settled in on the couch to watch March Madness and fall asleep. It was a welcomed blast from the past.

Then, somewhere between a jump shot and a snore, Rachel called the house with urgent news. "Billy, the Easter Bunny is at Peterbrooke," she exclaimed. "The pictures are free. Can we bring the kids?" My nostalgic nap interrupted and the magic word (free) having been uttered, I was left without choice in the matter; as soon as the kids awoke we would see the rabbit.

Once the kids awoke, we fed them a quick bottle, fetched their church clothes out of the hamper, and thrust the kids into the car seats. A quick drive later the family arrived at Peterbrooke Chocolatier, a local favorite for all things delicious. Evidently, though, they are not quite as good with cameras as they are at cocoa. Upon arriving at the store we were greeted by the "Easter Bunny," who was nothing more than a woman wearing Ralphie's Christmas gift from his Aunt and a bit too much blush. Anyway, insert poor lighting, some delectable chocolates in the background, and a couple distracted kiddos and you have our first Easter photo. Maybe next Sunday, I'll get a real Sunday nap. Maybe next year you kids can meet the REAL Easter Bunny too.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Tale of Two Cities

GAINESVILLE, FL: I've been chasing my MBA for about 18 months now, and I have to fulfill a requirement by attending a one week course on the campus of the University of Florida. I chose a marketing class and have all the required books and a positive attitude. Although I will have to spend about 18 hours per day working on marketing, a concept I vaguely remember from my days at Mizzou, I am excited about the class. This student is ready to learn!

JACKSONVILLE, FL: With Billy away in Gainsville for the entire week, I was really concerned. Grandma Finck flew in to the rescue and saved me from spending the entire week alone with the kids teaming up on me. This is her first time seeing the babies since Christmas, and she is staying all week. We decided to go shopping and found out that, true to the stereotype, Micah HATES it. We tried Kohl's, Babies R Us, Publix, the dollar store, even Home Depot, and he had a screaming fit in every store. (Let this be a warning to you, Aunt Chris, YOU WILL BE THE ONE TO HOLD MY 20 POUND SON WHEN YOU WANT TO TAKE US SHOPPING FOR AN ENTIRE DAY!) On the contrary, Malorie seems to truly enjoy shopping. She sits in the little buggie kicking, smiling, and touching the clothes as we walk by. We even caught our little Wynonna Rider taking a dress off the rack and hiding it in her lap. Remind me to teach her that stealing isn't allowed.

GAINESVILLE, FL: SPSS and SAS software... Analytical conjoint analysis and perceptual maps... Multi Attribute Attitude Modeling and market simulations. Who knew marketing was this complicated and why didn't you tell me before I signed up for this class? My brain hurts.

JACKSONVILLE, FL: With the sun shining and the cool spring breezes blowing, the babies were craving the outside, so Grandma and I got the kids out to discover the neighborhood park. The only thing Micah and Mal were really able to do was swing, as they are still a bit too small for hanging on the monkey bars or sliding. Based on the giggles he emits, I guess that Micah seems to enjoy the act of swinging more than his sister. Mal mostly just likes to look around, turning her head from side to side and waving at the other kids at the park. OK, not really, but it looks like she's giving a quick "Hey" to one of her girlfriends, doesn't it?

GAINESVILLE, FL: I feel like a kid at summer camp who is so homesick his stomach hurts and just wants to go home. This is the longest I've had to be away from the kids so far, and it has been tougher than I expected. Rachel sent me pictures and they looked a little different than when I left on Monday - bigger, stronger, and wearing stupid red Cardinals outfits. I have to get home soon to stop the brainwashing! Keep fighting it, Micah, keep fighting it.

JACKSONVILLE, FL: Grandma Finck loves to swim, so the pool has become an every day excursion. Malorie got a beautiful new bathing suit and has really opened up to the idea of swimming, kicking and splashing like a pro. Mal has also discovered how to click her tongue and for some reason she tries really hard while we are at the pool. It is super cute and all the lifeguards and random strangers are already falling in love with her. Grandma Finck also got us another floatation device so that we can play bumper cars in the pool, which Micah loves. It's too bad Billy can't be here to see this.

MBA, Schmem-B-A, now I know why kids skip school.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Back to the Future

Remember the '80's? Back when Aerosmith was making awesome music, New York City was full of crime and people were wearing ridiculous clothes. Wait... that might have been the '70's. Or the '90's for that matter. Well, let's go with Brat Pack films, Bananarama and Mrs. Pacman. Yeah, that's more like it. Anyway, the '80's were cool, and so Rachel and I decided to ditch the kids and go to a 1980's theme party. That's right.... parental responsibilities out the window, we hired our first official babysitter!

In full disclosure, we've actually had our parents and various relatives watch the kids a few times before, but this was the first time we trusted strangers with Micah and Mal, and it felt momentous. The babysitter for our seven month old duo was a 12 year old wunderkind named Virginia, accompanied by her mother Katherine (and a stuffed pig). Rachel and I know Katherine and Virginia from church. In fact, Rachel used to teach with Katherine and we have watched Virginia grow up since she was a first-grader, so we completely trusted the team (except for the stuffed pig, who we patted down at the door).

Rachel and I spent our night without the kids time-travelling to the days of MTV, Wheel of Fortune and the Karate Kid. OK, that could also be now... How about the days of Huey Lewis and Andy Kaufman? Anyway, our friends Rob and Jaime rented out a section of a local watering hole to throw the retro-shindig in celebration of Jaime's birthday. For our '80's costumes, Rachel and I improvised with items around the house. I went as a 1980's cowboy, complete with a pearl button shirt, sweet belt buckle and skinny tie. Rachel worked the side pony tail and neon bracelets to perfection. I'm still not sure why the neon bracelets were in her closet, but she looked great nonetheless.

In the 80's there was a movie called "Adventures in Babysitting," and while the twins first night with a 'sitter wasn't quite as exciting as in the movie, it wasn't without adventure. While Rachel and I were out walking like Egyptians, Micah and Mal both woke up for the babysitters and needed to be rocked back to sleep. Also, Rachel and I stayed out until ten pm, which felt like about 4 am in 1980's time. As soon as we got home, we thanked Virginia and Katherine (never said thanks to the pig) and hit the sack; Rachel and I were whooped. I guess time travelling is tougher than it looks, just ask Marty McFly. Finally, an 80's reference that works!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Today Micah and Malorie woke up wanting to wish their daddy a happy birthday. I had to tell them that he wasn't here because he is learning all kinds of new stuff so that he can get a good job and we can move to St. Louis. They completely understood, but still wanted to give their daddy some sweet birthday wishes...

Mal said, "Daddy thank you for being the best snuggle buddy I could ever ask for. I love you and miss you very much!"

Micah said, "Daddy you make me laugh better than anyone in the world! I love you and can't wait to play with you when you get home!"

Hope you have a wonderful day Billy! Your family thinks you are amazing! Thanks for being the best dad/dog dad/husband in the world!