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Wednesday, April 29th
Yahoo!  Caden pooped in the potty today.  I was getting ready to put him in the shower and asked him if he wanted to go pee, which he happily does pursuant to getting a sticker.  He took a leak and then sat there for awhile saying "more ... more" and then finally stood up and there was a giant turd in the potty.  I couldn't believe it.  I was so proud.  And so was he!  First poop.  Mark this day.  Someone light a candle (literally, please...)
 

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Tuesday, April 28th
I don't mean to sound alarmist or anything, but I'm going to sound alarmist.  This situation with the Swine Flu is some serious sh*t.  Why?  When I was still working as a paramedic before Caden was born, we spent almost a year working with the feds doing planning for a potential flu pandemic.  Back then, the concern was that a bird flu virus was going to mutate and infect people across the globe.  The last pandemic occurred in 1968 and killed more than a million people.  Prior to that, a pandemic occurred in 1918 and killed almost 100 million people.  In all the planning and coordination I was involved in, scientists assumed a pandemic would occur sometime in our near future.  And guess what?  This situation is playing out exactly like they predicted it would.  The only difference is that it is a swine and bird flu mutation, leaving them scrambling to figure out exactly what might happen next.  I think it'll continue to spread across the globe and infect people everywhere.  The good news is that it is happening at the end of the flu season when climate conditions are not hospitable for viruses to live. 

What to do?  Protect yourself by assuming you're already surrounded by the virus (because we probably are), wash your hands often, carry a small bottle of Purell in your pocket, avoid people who are coughing or feverish, wipe off surfaces of public places before touching them, like shopping carts, etc.  They're already closing schools and shutting down public events.  It's all part of the plan that was put together three years ago.  The only thing you can do is keep from getting sick yourself.
 

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Monday, April 27th
The Sharks were eliminated from the playoff's tonight.  One of the worst playoff performances in their history.  I don't even feel that disappointed because I kind of felt like they weren't ready for the challenge.  But I am happy about the regular season and the 80-or-so games that they played great.  It was an awesome hockey season and we watched some of the best hockey we've ever seen. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again: hockey players are some of the most amazing athletes on the face of the earth and yet are the most humble and gracious people you will ever meet.  I respect them for the job they do and the sport they play.  It's a bummer the Sharks didn't go all the way this year, but we still really enjoyed the ride.  We need to think long and hard about whether we can continue to have season tickets anymore.  It's pretty expensive and pretty darn heart breaking sometimes.
 

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Friday, April 24th
We spent the day at Sea World today.  About 90% of our time was spent watching shows, which Caden handled pretty well considering how long this week has been.  He loved the orca's, dolphins and sea lions.  They also had some cool kid rides which he enjoyed.  But I think the highlight of our time in San Diego so far has been going in the hot tub at the hotel swimming pool and collecting acorns on the pool deck.  And then of course running down the halls of our hotel floor or pushing the buttons in the elevator.  You know ...  the mind of a toddler (and perhaps the even more childish mind of his papa).

We went downtown to the Gaslamp District tonight and had a really nice dinner at a tapas restaurant.  It's been a long time since John and I have been able to eat out like that and enjoy a peaceful dinner without worrying about another patron in the restaurant being hit by thrown food.  And we didn't even get a babysitter.  Caden was so exhausted that he slept through the whole meal in his stroller.  There IS a God.
 

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Thursday, April 23rd
Things finally cooled off today and we headed to San Diego.  We're going to stay near the marina and go to Sea World tomorrow.  Below are some photos from the last couple of days at Disneyland.
 

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Disneyland 2009
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Wednesday, April 22nd
We spent the morning at Disneyland and the afternoon at California Adventure.  Caden is having a great time.  Taking a toddler to these parks gives you a whole new perspective on what they're like.  You see things you probably would have never noticed if you weren't travelling with a little squirt.  John and I still took advantage of a few opportunities to go on adult rides though.  The park allows you to switch off in line on certain rides so you can watch your kid while the other parent goes on the ride.  John decided to go on Splash Mountain - the water ride - and so I thought it might be fun for Caden to watch from where the toboggans drop down the chute to see John come out.  After Caden saw a couple of people throw their arms in the air, scream and drop down the chute, he started to cry and immediately said "No, daddy, NO!" over and over again. It was quite an emotional and impassioned plea so I made sure John really talked up how much he "enjoyed the ride" after he got off.  After that, we didn't let him watch us go on anymore rides.

We also went to the hockey game last night at the Honda Center in Anaheim.  It's always interesting to see how the home fans will react to visiting fans being in their arena.  For the most part, all of the Anaheim people were pretty friendly.  There were, of course, a few total dumbasses who acted like they had an IQ of < 14.  I also think people were being nicer to us because we had a toddler.  The thing we kept cracking up about were the gobs of trophy wives.  Everywhere you looked, there were Housewives of Orange County with bleach blond hair, giant fake hooters and more make-up than Bozo the clown.  It made it worth the price of admission alone.  Oh, and the Sharks won!  It didn't make for a very comfortable exit from the arena, especially since Caden kept saying "Gucks Guck" (ducks suck).
 

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Tuesday, April 21st
We had an awesome day today!  Caden had such a blast at Disneyland and we seemed to maintain just a reasonable-enough schedule so as to not burn out anyone.  Unfortunately, it's been blazing hot down here the last two days, so that's been challenging, but the park experience has been really fun.  We bought a book called "The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland" and I would highly recommend it for two reasons.  First, it gives very insightful information about every ride and attraction so you can make good judgments about what to take your kids on and what to avoid.  There were some rides that we probably would have taken him on, not knowing they were dark or scary, had we not read about them in the book.  Second, the book provides you with a set of what are called "touring plans."  These are awesome.  The authors basically did tons of research to determine the best way to tackle the park over one or two days and according to what you want to see.  If you follow their plan and go in their order, you save gobs of time and avoid waiting in long lines.  It worked really well.

Today we went on a bunch of kid rides like Dumbo, Peter Pan's Flight, and Nemo's Submarine.  We even took him on Pirate's of the Caribbean after we felt like he'd become a little ride-worthy.  We knew it might be a bit of a risk but he did pretty well, aside from the patch of hair and skin he tore off my arm when the boat went down the first and second water chute.  His favorite ride by far was the spinning Tea Cups.  As soon as it was over, he was saying "MORE ... MORE!"  We had to repeat it several times.  We rode on Small World several times too despite that vicious song getting stuck in your head for the rest of the day.  He even took part in the (silly) parade and danced with the pretty performing girls.
 



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Monday, April 20th
We made it to Southern California by about noon today, went swimming for awhile in the hotel pool this afternoon and went to Disneyland this evening.  Caden's reaction to the whole thing was a little muted because by about 8:00 pm we realized that he was ready for a melt-down.  After all, he'd gotten up at 5:30 am, napped only about 30 minutes in the car, had hardly eaten anything all day, and then was plopped right into the middle of the "happiest place on earth" where his two dads constantly peppered him with "look at that" and "did you see that?" and "do you like that?" and "what do you think of that?" and ... well, you name it.  The poor kid.  I'm sure he could hardly think straight.  By the time we were ready for dinner, he did have a melt-down.  It was actually a good wake-up call for us because we needed to reset our expectations (more than we already did) about how to schedule our days and how much we think we can accomplish.  Tomorrow we'll be more realistic.
 

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Sunday, April 19th
We're going to Disneyland!  It was kind of a last minute decision because we've been waiting for the hockey playoff schedule to come out, but we wanted to plan a short vacation in between Sharks home games.  It turns out we'll have a break this week with no games at home from Monday until Saturday.  Even better is that the Sharks are playing in Anaheim this week so we got tickets to watch them play down there.  I've always wanted to go to an away game, so this will be interesting.

Anyway, we're getting up at the crack of dawn tomorrow and driving down to Southern California.  Three nights at Disneyland and two nights in San Diego. 
 

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Thursday, April 16th
Tonight begins the second hockey season.  We just finished watching 82 games of the regular season and our beloved team, the San Jose Sharks, finished with the best record in the entire league.  But now that the playoffs are ready to begin, it's almost like a whole new season starts because nothing that's happened up to this point matters.  In the first round, we're playing our most hated rival of all: the Anaheim Ducks (isn't their name a reason to hate them)?  I don't have a good feeling about this playoff run.  I've watched the Sharks kind of taper down in their play over the past few weeks and I'm worried they're going into the playoffs more ready to be beaten, than to beat.  Should be interesting nonetheless.
 

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Monday, April 13th
This is pretty cool.  A "nearly 48" year old woman who lives alone with her cat Pebbles.  Never had a boyfriend.  Never even been kissed.  Fun to watch.
 

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Sunday, April 12th
One of the fun things about parenting is you get to dress your kid up in cute, fancy little clothes on holidays like Easter.  And of course the fun thing about having a boy is argyle! I would generally look like an idiot wearing much argyle but Caden looks cool.  So we found a hip Easter outfit for him to wear to church today and afterward we planned to go over to my parents for brunch and an Easter egg hunt.

Everything went great at church.  They had some activities for kids and an egg hunt.  Caden seemed to be having a great time.  We took some pictures of him in his Easter clothes with his friend Alexis.  Then we got in the car and headed to my parents.  Caden got kind of quiet but we thought maybe he was just tired.  About a minute away from arriving, Caden turned about the same color as his sweater and barfed his entire stomach contents all over himself.  We pulled him out of the car and tried to salvage the outfit but it was too late.  Vomitus maximus.  Poor guy.  He had to make his grand Easter entrance in just a diaper and vomit in his hair.  Oh well ... a quick shower and some extra clothes and we were back in business.  Despite remaining a little queasy the rest of the day, he was in good spirits and our first hurl experience was behind us.   
 

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Saturday, April 11th
Without a doubt, one of the "paybacks" of parenting is that you get to experience first hand all of the things your own parents had to put up with when they raised you.  And a perfect example is coloring Easter eggs.  As a kid, I always thought of it as a fun, peaceful, creative experience where we could get a little messy.  I remember there being lots of newspaper, coffee cups and spoons around but don't ever remember being particularly worried about anything.  Well, as a parent, the experience is diabolically different.  Especially when you're doing it in your kitchen.  And especially when you're doing it with a 21-month old toddler whose reflexes are two times faster than yours.  We don't typically sweat stuff too much, but this was a near-chaos experience.

By the time it was all over, John and I had high blood pressure.  But what's important is that Caden had a blast.  He was so proud of his Easter eggs that we couldn't take them away from him afterward.  He just wanted to sit and admire them forever.  He never quite got the concept of the eggs being fragile, so all we heard for an hour was "CRACK" after "CRACK" but they were beautiful nonetheless.

Next year we're coloring them outside.  Naked.
 



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Friday, April 10th
This is amazing and hilarious.  It's called Extreme Sheep LED Art.  Thanks Sarah!
 



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About three weeks ago, the speech area in Caden's brain suddenly woke up and decided to take over his world.  He's been talking and saying words for quite awhile now but just lately his language has really improved a lot.  And there is nothing more fun than watching a pint sized human being talk.  He's quite a chatterbox.  I was changing his diaper the other day and he looked up at me and said, "Bapa ... I Uyove You."  Oh my God.  I almost fell on the floor because my heart melted.  His favorite expressions right now are "Oh Man!" and "What a mess!"

His pronunciation of words is getting better and better and we're trying to work with him on sounding out parts of words so they make better sense.  But some words just come out weird.  For the longest time, we thought he was calling fish "bears" but it was actually the way he was pronouncing it.  It's kind of like "beeish."  Not sure where he got that.  And there are other words that crack us up every time he says them.  He calls sheep "deeps" and says it in a high pitched tone of voice, so we bust out laughing whenever he says it.  Of course he tries to make us laugh whenever he can.

It's great to see his language skills progress.  We know he's going to grow up so fast and we're trying to savor these little toddler moments every chance we get.  He's at that great stage where he's so little right now and yet so bright.  But he'll be a big boy before too long.
 

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Thursday, April 9th
It's been an unprecedented couple of weeks on the marriage equality front.  There was a judicial decision in Iowa on Friday - a unanimous one - that found that denying the right of gay people to marry violates their constitution.  And then Tuesday the Vermont legislature overcame their Governor's veto and became the first state to legalize marriage equality through legislation.  Four states now recognize full marriage equality for same-sex couples.  And the District of Columbia just voted to recognize those marriages as well.

The more this happens, the more everyone will see that this is all about ... nothing.  Yes.  NothingReally.  It changes nothing for people who are already married.  It does nothing to end our civilization.  It does nothing to undermine our children.  Our marriage means nothing more or less to society than Mildred and Harry's marriage from Podunk, Iowa.

Sadly though, civil and moral progress like this just brings out the the crazy bigots even more.  They've got new and scary advertising all ready to go.  But don't believe everything they say; apparently the audition tapes for this ad were leaked and the "actors" are shown here* trying to sound as believable and scary as possible.  Makes you wonder if there is a real California doctor or Massachusetts parent?  Hilarious.  Won't it be so nice when this crap stops and our society gets past this kind of small-minded intolerance?

* Update: these became quite a hit on the Internet - and source of embarrassment - so the bigots pulled them down on Friday.  Here's a fun article.
 

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Tuesday, April 7th
I almost ran over a pig today.  A pig is not something you expect to see standing in the middle of the highway when you come flying around the bend, but that's exactly what I encountered this morning after I dropped Caden off at my parents house and was headed back home.  It was raining, slippery, my tires started screeching and I thought for sure we were going to have ham for Easter.  The pig, to his credit, started screaming and tried to run.  Have you ever seen a pig try to run on wet pavement?  Let's just say that he made it less than a foot, slipped and promptly bounced right out of the lane of traffic.  Luckily, we didn't collide but the rest of the traffic nearly did.  I pulled over and stopped because the stupid pig got up and just kept running around the lanes of the highway.

Who do you call in such a situation?  Well, swine-one-one of course.
 

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Monday, April 6th
From the list of Things You Do When You Have A Toddler comes item #131: have a birthday party for the cat.  Not only that, but we made a tuna-fish cake and sang happy birthday.  Caden enjoyed it and LuLu didn't vomit or get diarrhea afterward.  It was a win-win.
 



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Sunday, April 5th
It was a good day to fly a kite.
 

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow:
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Saturday, April 4th
Something you don't necessarily want to show your kids or the person in the next cubicle. 


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Thursday, April 2nd
John's work does a lot of sponsorship with the San Jose Sharks, er ... our beloved hockey team, so I guess the Sharks thought they should show their appreciation in return.  So the team's mascot, Sharkie, made an appearance at Cisco today.  I'm not sure it was even open to families and kids but Caden and I showed up anyway.  I felt kind of sorry for Sharkie as it was; can you imagine his reaction when he got his appearance schedule for the month?  "I've got two hours with computer nerds in the company cafeteria?  Just shoot me now!"

Given Caden's history with Sharkie, we weren't sure how he was going to react or whether this would turn out to be another cold reception.  When I asked him whether he wanted to go, he gave me an emphatic "NO".  But when I explained that Sharkie might be giving out toys, then I at least got agreeable silence. 

When we arrived and Caden saw Sharkie, he stiffened up a bit but remained pretty brave.  We took it slow and watched him entertain the crowd for awhile.  Sharkie is actually pretty funny around computer nerds!  Then it came our turn:  3 ... 2 ... 1 ... CONTACT.  Caden had a temporary look of horror on his face but then he gave Sharkie a high five and got an autographed picture in return.  Amazingly, Sharkie remembered us.  Because the massive faux fish doesn't speak, he wrote down our seat location with a ?? on a piece of paper after he approached us.  I thought that was pretty cool.
 

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Wednesday, April 1st
We went on a fun outing today with Caden's buddies Layton and Kayla at a local park and farm.  There were chickens and roosters roaming around everywhere and they had some cool farm animals.  Aside from one of us getting goosed by a goose, they were all very friendly animals and the kids enjoyed looking at them.



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