Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wild Fires in Southern California = Unhappy Toddler

We're surrounded by wild fires! There are currently 4 fires in the area. La Canada, Azusa, Rancho Palos Verdes, and Hemet. My 2 1/2 year old has been cooped up for the last couple days because of the smoke and the bad air quality outside. I finally broke down and took him outside for 30 minutes to walk down the street and mail a letter in the mail box.
We've done the basic things like read books, play games, color, etc but that doesn't really tire him out. If anyone has any good ideas for indoor play please share them!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What Can YOU Do with Your Toddler in 3 Hours?

After the work day ended, what started out as a regular Monday, turned into a whirlwind of activities for my son and me. During the week, my wife or I will take our 2 1/2 year old for one or two activities. Somehow, today was different and I tried to pile on as much as I could.

I'll start by saying that my wife went to the doctor today and she was not feeling well, so I knew I needed to pick up the slack. I got home and I started the turkey tacos. I packed up some snacks for Max and then we took our nanny to the train station.

I wasn't sure, but I thought the post office closed at 5pm, and I wanted to rush and get some stamps. It was close by, so after the train station, we found a parking spot and walked to the post office. The line wasn't long, but the people getting help, needed more than just postal help in my opinion. Luckily there was a 2 year old girl in front of us and Max made some small talk. We got some Simpsons stamps, Hawaii stamps, and some polar bear post card stamps, then we were off.Max loves going to the car wash and I thought it would give me a good chance to give him a snack. We went to the gas station and then waited in line for about 20 minutes to get the automatic car wash. He had watermelon and ducky crackers.

Down the street there is a Crown Book Liquidators store and a Halloween store next door. I figured I could get a jump on things and check out the Halloween costumes and maybe buy a couple kids books at 1/2 off. We narrowed the costume down to Diego or a train conductor. Next door, we bought some flash cards and a birthday gift for someone for under $18.

Next up was the local library. We returned about 10 books and picked up 18. Yes, 18 books. Max recited the titles of all the books that he deposited into the book return slot.

Music class at Gymboree started at 6:15pm and we were only a couple minutes late. Each child does a dance move and Max's dance move is the robot. Today he was excited and kept yelling that he wanted to go first. If you think watching a toddler do the robot is a funny site, it is, but watching the adults try to do it, is even more funny!
After class, we waited outside and watched two trains go by, then headed home. All of that was done in 3 hours. That was a personal best as far as activities in a short time span go. I think it's taken longer to write this post! Please share your experiences... if you think you can hang!

Friday, August 21, 2009

You Scream, I Scream, We all Scream for Ice Cream!

When my wife and I married we knew we wanted to have children, but until we had our son, we weren't as active in our neighborhood as we could have been. We attended block parties, helped out when anyone needed a hand and actually knew all of our neighbor's names - at least on our block. However, we did not actively invite or engage our neighbors in our activities. Who would want to hang out with a young couple when they had kids and baseball practice and soccer and t-ball? As such, my wife and I spent time seeing movies, going to dinner and enjoying our time together in our town, but not really on our street. Enter our son. He has single handedly brought back pears (neither my wife nor I had eaten a pear in years until my son began eating them) and corn. He also has brought back the idea of just sitting on our front yard, drawing with chalk on the sidewalk and simply hanging out with our neighbors.

We were doing just that two weeks ago when we heard the sounds of America circa 1975. "It's A Small World" came closer and closer until the Ice Princess arrived on our doorstep. I had read about ice cream trucks in my son's books, but until now, we had never been able to actually share the experience in real-life. I screamed to my wife to bring out some money and explained to our son what was happening. He could not believe he could get any ice cream he wanted from the nice ice cream lady. After we bought our ice cream we sat on the step eating it together. Seeing my son's smile as he ate was priceless and so each Saturday, we return to our front stoop, waiting for the Ice Princess to pay us a visit. It's a reminder of Americana and a memory of a lifetime.

Surprise Root Canal Part 1

For about a week and a half I have been having a lot of pain with my teeth. I had a crown put in about 6 months ago and I thought everything was fine. The pain was so bad that I had to take a couple Advil to ease the pain. I finally was able to get into the dentist today and he referred me to a specialist to see what was wrong. Both confirmed that I needed a root canal.
It is a two step procedure and today I completed phase one. For this phase, they gave me some local anesthetic and drilled down into the roots of my tooth. He used a carbide and diamond drill tip to do the work. Then, they clean out the root like the picture above and then they fill it with a temporary compound.

For my next visit in a month they will go back in and take the camera and dig a little deeper and clean things out a bit more. Then they put some rubber material and fill the hole. Hopefully it won't be too bad where they need to put a stainless steel rod. The nurse was explaining the procedure and she said that there are still some dentists that will use a paper clip instead of a rod and that it actually does work. It strengthens the tooth like rebar in concrete. She reassured me that this doctor did not do that.

My mouth is still numb but I'm not feeling any pain. I actually felt good enough to go to the original Topps and get the new habanero hot dog. I could barely chew it, but it hit the spot. Stay tuned for part 2 of the root canal which will happen in a month!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Toddler Hair Cuts Aren't Always Easy

The other day we took our 2 1/2 year old to Little Kuts to get a haircut. We knew it was time because he was starting to grow a mullet! Max has never been a fan of getting a haircut but this time we were prepared. It's sad, but we had to bribe our child with a chocolate chip cookie in order for him to sit in my lap and get a hair cut. We paid the price by having him all hyped up on sugar, but at least he got his hair cut.

I must tip my hat to Little Kuts for the set up they have. They had a tv and they were playing the movie Shrek. They also have a play area that has trains and other various toys for kids to play with. After the hair cut, they walk away with a nice balloon. I'm sure it will be another 2 months until we go back, but when we return, we'll be sure to bring some cookies!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Five Guys Burgers - Good for Obama, Good for Me

I'm out with one of my sales guys today and it's about 1pm and we need to stop for something quick to eat. We were in Carson, CA and my rep suggests Five Guys Burgers. I told him that the place sounded familiar, but I couldn't put my finger on it. He told me that was the place that President Obama went to in May and ordered a burger.

I looked it up on the Huffington Post and found this excerpt:
"The president ordered a cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, jalapeno peppers, and mustard as well as several other cheeseburgers to go." - Rachel Weiner

There are only two locations in southern California. One in Carson and one in Cerritos and apparently, business has been very good. I am a bacon cheeseburger fanatic and this one was top of the line! The beef was of good quality and it had a real piece of bacon on it. The Fries were thick and very good. They also serve peanuts in the shell while you're waiting.

Two thumbs up on this restaurant and I wouldn't be surprised to see more of them popping up in Southern Cal sometime soon. Check it out!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Newspaper Headlines from Across the World

My wife forwarded this site to me and I thought it was very interesting. The site is Newseum, and it is the World's most interactive museum. Just put your mouse on a city anwhere in the world and the headlines for the newspaper pop up. Extremely cool! From there, you can click thru the newspaper or read the pdf version. It starts off with a picture of the United States, but you can also click on different parts of the world and read newspapers from different countries.

What a great way to catch up on what's going on around the world. Check out the paper from places you used to live or explore a little around the world and see what's going on in Argentina!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Funny Toddler Chewing Gum Story

So, I'm in the kitchen with my wife and we're getting lunch ready and our 2 1/2 year old runs in and says, "Mama, I want a drink of water". My wife got him a small plastic cup of water, but was suspicious of his behaviour because he was sticking out his tongue. She inspected his mouth and smelled wintergreen on his breath. She asked him if he was chewing gum and he said yes. Now keep in mind that we do not and have not given our son any gum, but he has seen us chewing it in the house from time to time.
I looked in his mouth to see if it was still in there and it wasn't. I asked him where the gum was and he said, "In the potty." I marched back to the bathroom with him in tow and looked at the closed toilet, nothing. I peeked over to his small portable training potty and the lid was up. I peered inside and at the bottom I found a slightly mangled piece of wintergreen Orbit chewing gum.
My wife and I had a big laugh. We realized that we were extremely lucky because had he picked one of the bubble gum flavors or something tasty, then he would have been all over the gum, but fortunately enough for us, he picked one with a very strong taste. I think we're in the clear for a while when it comes to chewing gum. Now, cookies and cupcakes, another story...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Save Money by Testing Your Internet Speed!

I finally added my home phone line to Charter Communications to get a bundled price. Now I get my home phone, cable, and high speed internet from the same company. When the phone guy came out, he tested the speed of our internet and it was at 2 Mega bytes but we have been paying for 10 Mega bytes for the past couple years. No wonder our internet has been slow.

We went to to verify the connection speed and it was really slow. They dropped a separate line and did some things to increase the speed and now I'm getting what we have been paying for.

My wife called Charter and told them that we have been paying for 10 Meg and have only been getting 2 Meg. They put us on hold for a while and they finally said they would give us some credit. They went back and forth and they finally gave us 1 month free or a $36 credit on our account.

It doesn't hurt to ask!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Spamalot Review - Find Your Grail

My wife and I finally had a date night the other day and we saw Spamalot . For those of you Monty Python lovers, it's a must see. And for those of you who aren't familiar with Monty Python, but want a great laugh, it's a must see.
The musical is based on the original movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail which was made in 1975. The story is a spoof about King Arthur and his knights who are on the search for the holy grail.
We had so much fun and it was great to have some quality time together. I highly recommend this show! It's currently playing at the Ahmonson theater in Los Angeles, CA. Even better, enter the word "Arthur" and you'll get a great discount for tickets!

Monday, August 3, 2009

You can always bargain!

For about one month now our ice maker has been broken. Not ideal when dealing with 100 degree temperatures! We've intended to get it fixed, but time just continued to pass and before we knew it, it was August. We called Sears and was told it would be $70 just to come out and look at the problem. I then went online and scanned the Better Business Bureau for local appliance repair companies. I found one that came out the same day - for $35. Of course, he told us the ice maker was broken and that it would be $280 to fix it. I excused myself for a minute to check out the cost of the parts on line. Found out it was $180, not including shipping. As desperate as I was for an ice cold coke, I said, "all I have is $230" and the repair man said "okay!" I've negotiated before, but not usually that much. Lessoned learned - bargain, bargain, bargain!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

New Bicycles equals Good Exercise!

So, for my birthday my lovely wife gave me the best gift ever! A brand new forest green three speed bicycle complete with Dreamer Design Executive Trailer. We have been talking about getting them for years and she finally pulled the trigger and now we all have a bikes.

We went for our first ride last weekend around the neighborhood for about 30 minutes. I was skeptical at first that Max would not go in the carrier, but after putting a kangaroo and a cat in there and a nice refreshing beverage, he was lured into the cave. He was like a king on his throne, just watching the world go by as we cruised around. It was nice to have a few speeds to play with on the bike, especially when we were going up hill. Next time we'll be a little more adventurous and go to the farmer's market or the Rose Bowl for a nice jaunt.
For those of you looking for a nice family activity, I highly recommend getting some bikes. Good times!!!