Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Things Dora has taught me

This will only make sense to Dora the Explorer fans and parents thereof. The rest of you can deal :-)

1) Stealing is bad, but thieves are remarkably easy to deter. Swiper the Fox is a little klepto, but he will immediately stop trying to take your stuff if you catch him in the act. If only home burglaries could be resolved by the homeowner walking in and saying "Jailbird Joe, NO SWIPING!" Of course the character of Swiper seems to solely be defined by his penchant for stealing stuff, so we're also learning about career criminals. He never gets away with anything though, so the label of Swiper seems harsh. Isn't that like branding someone a "murderer" when they've only attempted murder? I want to see a bio of Swiper to see what he swiped that branded him for the rest of his life. There must have been one caper he got away with...

2) The gap between "vamenos" and "vete tu" is clearly defined in children. K2 loves Dora. She'll sit engrossed and play along with episodes she's seen 5 times. She knows the map, can direct you to the next location, helps fling the poor fallen star back into the sky with her hands...she's there to help! K1 is so totally over it. K2 was watching the Easter episode at one point and K1 lost it when Dora was asking where the eggs were. "Geez! It's right by the bush! You're not a good looker Dora!" "Why can't you EVER find things?! You're a terrible explorer!" I laughed quietly from the other room before asking him to not ruin his sister's viewing pleasure.

3) ANYTHING can fit in a backpack! This is aided by the fact that everything Dora owns is an identical size. The lollipop is the same size as a tennis racket or tape or rope. Wouldn't that be handy?

4) Talking maps will always get you where you want to go! I almost wonder if this is a campaign originated by the makers of TomTom or one of those...if kids grow up with the idea that maps should say things like "Go past the Big Spooky Forest and around the Tall Rocks to get to The Witch's House," they're more likely to require that technology in their car down the road, right?

I think I need to go intervene before my brain gets Dora'd out. Time for a new DVD for the sickie!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Moving (?)!

It's been weeks since I posted about moving in here, so it must be time to think about moving again!

We have been discussing the purchase of a home for quite awhile. Apartment living has advantages, but throwing away money monthly kind of sucks. We would like to have a place to call our own. Not to mention that we currently live a minimum of 20 minutes from any of the significant destinations in our regular schedules (jobs, daycare, and school). After considering Aurora to be closer to jobs, sense was talked into us by several people who pointed out that it is much better to live where you want to be on the weekends and such, rather than purchasing for a job that may or may not change in the time you plan on being in the same house. With this in mind we are now looking over in the North Arvada/Westminster area. After getting approved on a home loan* we toured a few places today. 5 in all, narrowed rapidly down to 2 that are nice houses in our price range. 4 bedrooms are required in any house that we buy, so K1, K2, and the aptly named "Number 3" will all have their own bedrooms down the road. It's fun to look at homes with Stephanie and think about where the next 20-50 years will take us... :-)

*I'm about to say something positive about Bush. Hold your breath and plug your nose...Thanks George W. Bush for so thoroughly trashing the economy that interest rates are ridiculously low and nobody else is buying houses! It really helps this process that the economy is shot to hell, and I appreciate your part in that.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Moving and New Years and skiing

Wow what a week.
I officially live with my wife and kids now! What a concept. I had moved in spirit quite a while ago, and my apartment was pretty much neglected for most of the time I lived there. Once Falkor found a new home my only reason for ever putting in an appearance there disappeared. Now I don't have to pay rent any more and none of my stuff lives there either, and that's the real change. My worldly possessions are mostly in a garage waiting for us to buy a house so we will have a need for it again. The necessities have followed me indoors, but with 3 people already living here in a 2-bedroom apartment there wasn't a ton of room to begin with. Much thanks are in order to Wendy, Payal, and Ritika for the packing assistance, and Jarrod, Kathy, Tim, Erin, and my new family for helping get my stuff out and safely stowed where it needs to be.

New Years Eve was everything I wanted it to be. For dinner we took the kids to La Fondue, where the highlight was definitely the Chocolate Fondue for dessert. K1 enjoyed dipping things and cooking them but wasn't so much into the "eating" part. We had fun though, and then it was 8:30 and time to head over to the 16th Street Mall for fireworks. Denver is very considerate of people with early bedtimes: there are 2 showings of the New Year fireworks display, at 9 and midnight. So we wandered for 30 minutes, bought a light-up sword for K1, a trumpety noisemaker for K2, and waited for explosions over our heads. We seriously misjudged where the fireworks would come from, so we were quite surprised when they started going off RIGHT ABOVE OUR HEADS, and not 2 blocks away like we had thought. It was loud and beautiful and a great moment to share with my new family. When it ended we headed home and were all in bed asleep by 10:30. I haven't failed to stay up until midnight for a long time, but this year we were all exhausted and it seemed quite appropriate!

Yesterday we got to go up skiing. A quick recap...my last time skiing was February 25 last year, when I went up with this girl from work named Stephanie. We barely knew each other, but we got along well and both enjoyed skiing so we spent a whole day alone together. That day was enjoyable enough to lead to more hanging out, hiking, marriage, that type of thing.

So we went yesterday with the kids and the Myers family. They're fun folks- they have 2 kids at daycare the same ages as our 2, and a newborn (who has croup, so mom couldn't come along yesterday.) Skiing had mixed results. K1 did fine on the bunny slope, but panicked when we got to the top of a big green run. I ended up going alone with him due to lift ticket issues and I've never 1) taught anyone how to ski or 2) skied with a child. After falling once he wouldn't try on his own anymore, so we went down most of the way with him between my legs doing the best I could to make it an enjoyable experience. I don't know that I did well at that at all. He fell a couple times, we got run over once (by a jackass skiing straight ahead while looking uphill), and he ended up taking off his skis and wanting to walk the rest of the way down, crying uncontrollably towards the bottom because he was cold and tired.

I think that one ski run is the first time I really felt like I was completely failing as a father. K1 was miserable and I was incapable of making it fun for him or getting him off the hill to warmth and comfort. Some ski patrol folks saw us after awhile and one of the guys picked K1 up and skied him down to the bottom, so we made it off the mountain, but I feel like I ruined skiing for him forever. K1 swears he will never go up a big lift ever again and that's pretty much my fault. It went exactly the way Stephanie told me beforehand that she didn't want it to go.

K2 was a different story and that brightened up the afternoon. She loved skiing, laughed off most falls, and generally kept her no-fear 3-year-old attitude intact throughout the day on the bunny slope. That was definitely a bright point in an otherwise frustrating day. After skiing we went to dinner with the extended Myers family (all friendly folks) and then made the long trek home. Steph and I are plenty sore today, but that's to be expected after any day skiing. I just hope K1 will try the whole thing again sometime.