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Saturday, August 30th
John's boss was very nice and offered us tickets to the San Francisco 49er game last night.  We thought it'd be fun to take Caden to his first football game.  We had a great time and Caden had fun too.  John and I actually used to have season tickets to the 49ers.  My family has been attending Niner games since I was a kid and back in the Joe Montana and Steve Young glory days, I wanted to try to get my own set of season tickets.  There was a waiting list then but I figured there was no risk in sitting on the waiting list.  I waited for almost 12 years for seats to finally become available.  Of course by that time, the 49ers sucked and the stadium needed to be imploded and rebuilt.  John and I bought tickets for a couple of seasons and then we gave up our tickets.

Attending the game last night was fun but it sure reminded us why we gave up our seats.  Candlestick Park is a dump.  The weather was horrible and the food sucked.  The rules and customer service there are just, well, stupid.  The sound system reminds you of Charlie Brown's teacher (you know ... waa waa waa).  You have no idea what's being announced.  And the fans have gotten kind of creepy.  The guy sitting behind us couldn't stop yelling into his cell phone to his friend on the other side of the stadium ..."Bro, can't you *%@ing see me?!" And so on and so on for two long hours.  Despite these little challenges, we still enjoy watching the Niners.  We just won't pay through the nose to go see them in person. 

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Thursday, August 28th
Ah yes ... can you feel it yet?  Can you smell it in the air?  Kids are back in school, the weather is about to change (ok, not really; it's 100 degrees here today but work with me, will you?), the Christmas decorations are for sale at Costco, and millions of Canadians across a semi-thawed tundra are emerging from their summer hibernation.  It can mean only one thing: the start of HOCKEY SEASON!  Don't forget: we likie the hockey.  First practice is in just two weeks and first game is September 24th.  We have season tickets again this year to the San Jose Sharks.  Caden attended all of the games with us last year and had a blast.  He also gained quite a fan base in the section where we sat.  We moved our seats this season (hopefully to a better view) so let's hope our new neighbors are as amenable to having a toddler in their midst.  Not like they have a choice really.

The Sharks hired a new head coach this year.  They fired their old one.  Even though he'd gotten us to the playoffs nearly every season, well, that's just not good enough.  He was a good coach but as in any sport, you need to win the whole enchilada.  So I understood his firing.  Our new guy comes from the the Detroit Redwings where he was an assistant coach.  They did win the whole enchilada last season.  And they have have often.

The Sharks had an opportunity yesterday for fans to meet the new coach, Todd McClellan.  He was signing autographs and taking photos with fans so I thought we'd go.  He was very gracious but you could tell he just wanted the whole thing over with.  The lines actually weren't too bad so it gave us a minute to chat.  I mostly just welcomed him and wished him luck this season.  After we got out of line, the hockey reporter from our local newspaper was standing there (who I recognized) and he chatted with us for a minute too.  I have serious admiration for the guy because when you spend eight months of the year rabidly following a sport, you need someone like him to be there objectively reporting it for you.  He saw the t-shirt Caden was wearing and sure enough, we got a brief mention in his write-up today.

Anyway, LET THE GAMES BEGIN!  It's going to be a whole new experience this year now that our Little Tornado is mobile and walking.  I hope we can keep him seated for 2 hours every game.  As long as the Sharks do their part and provide the entertainment, I think Caden will have no problem staying out of the penalty box.

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Wednesday, August 27th
At the end of May, I wrote about the vegetable garden we planted in our backyard and took a photo of Caden sitting in front of it.  The garden is doing pretty well but I suspect our tomato production might be a little lower than expected this year because of an unexpected little garden pest - named Caden.  He LOVES picking the tomatoes (which he refers to as "balls") off of the plants while they're still green.  I know it's partially my fault because we've gotten into the habit of picking and eating the cherry tomatoes right there in the garden.  He loves them.  I think he could sit there for hours and pick and eat baby tomatoes with me.

Yesterday I was finally getting the chance to pick some of our bigger tomatoes that were ready to eat and before I knew it, Caden grabbed it and took a huge bite out of it.  Maybe one of these days we'll have a tomato that will actually make it all the way into the house.

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Tuesday, August 26th
Caden spent the last day and a half at my parents house.  Yesterday was my first day teaching and then John and I went to see Kathy Griffin last night at the Mountain Winery.  It was his birthday present.  She's hilarious.  Some people find her language a little brash but I love her comedy.  It was a great show.  I had a headache afterward from laughing so much.  

Anyway, I gave my parents a call yesterday afternoon to see how things were going with the little munchkin.  The first thing out of my mom's mouth was, "I don't know how you get anything done around the house ... this kid never stops!"  Alas!  Someone experiences Caden Mania with me!  My dad now calls him "LT" for Little Tornado.  Despite them re-baby proofing their house this week (that she already baby proofed 9 times), Caden somehow managed to find drawers in their house that they didn't even know existed.

When I picked him up this morning, I asked how exhausted they were.  "Well, it did take two of us to keep up with him," they said with a smile.  Just five more weeks of babysitting while I teach Grandma and Grandpa.  And I'm sure Caden has plenty more in store for you!  He loves spending time with them and apparently has no problem seeing me turn around and leave.  He's never cried or gotten upset once.  I just hope the Little Tornado doesn't wipe out my parents before this five weeks is over!  And all I want to know is ... how come I'm not skinnier?!

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Monday, August 25th
Will you oblige me in a rant for a moment?  You say... all I do is rant?  Well, just give me another one for a second, will you?  If you have a cat, please don't let it outside.  Seriously.  I know, I know ... I've heard it all before, trust me.  "Cats deserve to be outside."  "It's their nature."  Blah Blah Blah.  The reality is this: cats put outside to live all or part of the time have an average life span of 5 years or less.  Cats that live indoors live 15 years or more.  Our cats have always stayed indoors and they are extremely happy, well adjusted and get plenty of play, exercise and stimulation.  If you adopted or bought a new dog, would you let it out to roam the neighborhood every morning when you went to work or every night when you went to bed?  Of course not.  So why do it to your cat?  It isn't safe and it isn't humane.  In fact, if you go to most any animal shelter today and try to adopt a cat, you must agree to keep them indoors (despite the fact that many people lie that they will). 

Here's why I'm ranting.  We were driving home yesterday and came upon a cat in the roadway that had just been hit by a car.  I'm so thankful that Caden didn't see it because he would have freaked.  I won't go into all of the horrible details but it was awful.  Part of its head had been run over and it was spinning around in the street. Cars were swerving all around it.  There was nothing we could do to help take it out of its misery.  If you've ever seen anything like that before you know how terrible it is.  We called Animal Control and based on how long it took them to call us back, it probably took them over an hour to get out there to euthanize it.

As far as I'm concerned, the risks of death and disease far outweigh the benefits that cats experience of having "freedom" outside.  Keep them inside.  It's easy really.  Here's a photo of our two cats.  Our mama cat Marge used to be an outdoor cat until she was hit by a car when she was pregnant.  Her previous owner refused to pay for any of her care and would have rather she be euthanized.  We adopted her instead.  She's quite happy living indoors even though she still limps a little bit from her car accident.  Needless to say, we got home and gave them an extra long squeeze yesterday.

I'm done ranting.  Thanks.  I feel better.

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Sunday, August 24th
My nephew and his new wife had their wedding reception yesterday afternoon and they asked me to do their photos.  Apparently they have some harebrained idea that my pictures might turn out.  I was more than happy to do it but I didn't like the pressure of it.  It's not like you can do them over or anything.  I took about 400 shots and I kept worrying that I was going to drop my camera or the memory card was going to get jammed or ruined or something.  Anyway, I did get it home and downloaded everything safely without peeing my pants first. 

The party was nice!  Caden - who of course always loves a party - was in rare form all afternoon.  Despite not taking a nap all day, he was Captain Convivial all day long.  We'd never met Amy's family before so it was nice to get to know them for the first time.  We're really happy for Matthew and Amy and we wish them the very best.  Now I've got to get back to scanning through these hundreds of photos and make sure I've got a few good ones to show them.  Here are a couple for now...


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Friday, August 22nd
The Fall class of the paramedic school has started which means I'm on tap to start teaching Monday.  I'll teach all of the anatomy and physiology over the next five weeks.  Physiology was my degree in college and I've been teaching it at the paramedic school ever since.  Despite that, it still takes a lot of time and prep to get ready for every class.  You can actually watch me giving one of my lectures here.  Since the material gets a little intense and dry at times, I think it's important to break things up with a little humor and anecdote, although I try to keep the war stories to a minimum (I kept telling the students about what happened in the big earthquake and none of them had any idea what I was talking about: most of them were toddlers then).  Anyway, whenever I come across amusing photos or videos, I try to incorporate crap like that into my lecture slides somewhere.  I found these videos recently, at least to show them the cardinal rule of working an incident with cameras rolling: be very careful that you and your partner do not have a "YouTube Moment". 

Caden will be staying with my parents each day while I teach.  They are elated of course and can't wait.  I'm not sure they're quite prepared yet for just how mobile he is these days.  He's at that stage right now where anything that is "in" something must be taken "out" and vice versa.  So our house looks like a hurricane swept through half the time.  And we still haven't gotten all of our cupboard latches installed so the kitchen cabinets are pretty much his prime target.  He's been developing a pretty funny laugh lately as you'll hear in the video below.

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Thursday, August 21st
Our friends Saran and Andy from our adoption agency were recently asked if they'd be willing to participate in an interview with National Public Radio (NPR) about their adoption experience and specifically about their ongoing relationship with their son's birthmother.  The story coincides with the release of a clinical study that looked at "open" versus "closed" adoptions and their comparative effect on birthmothers.  Not surprisingly, those that placed their children in open adoptions were better adjusted and happier in the long term. 

They did an awesome job on the interview.  It gives you a real sense of the mixed emotions and struggles that birthmothers face when considering adoption.  And I really appreciated how Saran described the family nature of open adoption.  Take a listen by clicking on the radio.

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Wednesday, August 20th
Do you have Olympic sleep deprivation yet?  The prime time broadcasting of the games has meant for some very late nights around this house, especially last week when we were watching all of the swimming events.  Maybe someday television programming will be interactive enough that you can build your own line-up of events, watch what you want to watch when you want to watch it, and the networks will still make the money they need to make.  By the way, am I the only person in the world who didn't know there was such a sport as synchronized diving?  Weird.  And that diving commentator... oh Lord.  Every time one of the teams would have a good dive she'd say, "Now that's good synchro".  I, of course, haven't stopped saying that for a week.

We've always loved watching the Olympic games, both summer and winter.  I actually attended the summer games in Los Angeles in 1984 and my brother and I attended the winter games in Calgary in 1988.  It's like nothing you'll ever experience in your life.  John and I are toying with the idea of going to Vancouver for the winter games in 2010.  But we'd need to save some serious dough between now and then to afford it.  We know Caden would love it.  He actually gets into watching the events on TV with us.  Since he loves swimming so much, he seemed to really key into a lot of the swimming events and we tried to explain to him that what he does in the pool is kind of the same thing as what people like Michael Phelps does.  (I swam competitively for many years and that guy is a miracle of nature; I predict no one like him follows in his path for decades).  Caden also likes to watch the "kids jump" (gymnastics) and the "kids run" (track and field).  We're trying to expose him early to all kinds of sports and recreation.  It's going to be hard enough to compete with video games and other couch potato temptations as he gets older. 

Anyway, who can argue that these games haven't been an inspiration.  Both on an individual level seeing some of the amazing performances and also on a global level.  At a time when so much crap is going on in our world, it's always refreshing when the Olympic games roll around.

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Tuesday, August 19th
Did you see this in the news yesterday?  The presidents of 100 American colleges are suggesting that the nation's drinking age should be lowered from 21 to 18.  They think it will reduce the incidence of binge drinking nationwide and especially on their campuses.  At first I didn't really think much of it but then I listened to an interview on the radio this morning with a person from MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving).  Obviously they're having a stroke about this idea.  And I agree.  It's really stupid.  The problem with minors drinking in college is a problem the colleges should manage, and many have.  I think too many of them turn a blind eye to what's happening in their own facilities.  When I was a freshman in college at UCSD, we finished off 26 kegs in the first week of school.  It was apparently a record for our dorm.  We were quite proud of it.  And none of us were of drinking age.  Everyone lived through it but did it make sense?  Of course not.  Several years later, the school cracked down on that level of drinking and the rules are much tighter. 

After having spent so many years taking care of people injured and killed by alcohol related incidents, I think the last thing our nation needs is to promote more use of booze.  I'm not naive enough to think that kids under 21 don't drink (a lot), but legalizing it for them will just worsen the incidence of those tragedies.  I have no doubt.  It comes down to public tolerance.  Remember when everyone had a tolerance for public smoking?  Then laws started to change and peoples attitudes started to change and there is no longer a tolerance for public smoking.  The same thing needs to happen with underage drinking.  Kids die everyday because of it and we (including college presidents) turn a blind eye and tolerate it.  We should be smarter than that.  Every 15 minutes someone dies in an alcohol related vehicle collision in our nation.  That's the equivalent of a 747 jetliner full of people crashing every 11 days.  Crazy.  

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Monday, August 18th
We went camping this weekend in Lake Tahoe.  We stayed at a beautiful campground right next to Fallen Leaf Lake near the south shore of Lake Tahoe.  We always love camping and for the many years we owned a ski boat, we used to camp near lakes in the summer.  For some reason, this time, it felt especially good to me to be outside and away from civilization.  I think maybe I'm letting Caden and I get too cooped up in the house or something because it felt really really good to just be away from everything. 

When we first got there, John and I scurried around and got everything set up and settled.  When we were finally done, we cracked open a couple of beers and Caden enjoyed a cold beverage too.  We all plopped down in our camp chairs and just sat and took in all the beauty of the big pine trees and pretty mountains.  And what happened next?  Something that proves to me that (1) Caden will be a good camper and (2) he fits quite well into our family.  He lifted up a butt cheek and cut a big fart.  Ahh... nothing like the mountain altitude to get those gases moving, right?

We camped with our good friends Chris and Patsy (Caden's Godparents) and their two girls.  It was really nice spending time with them.  Lake Tahoe and Fallen Leaf Lake are so beautiful.  We spent one afternoon at the beach and took Caden in the lake.  It was actually pretty warm and he got to swim in Lake Tahoe.  We chilled on the beach and even rented a paddle boat for a little while.  It was fun and relaxing.  We enjoyed good food all weekend and generally overindulged. 

So with all that said... we did experience just a few camping challenges this weekend.  They say your perspective about everything changes when you have a kid in tow, right?  And perhaps more fickle people might look back on this weekend and say something like "WE'RE NEVER GOING CAMPING AGAIN!"  But not us.  We're die hards!  But just in case we're thinking about making more camping reservations this year, it might be a good idea to review this Top 10 list of the weekend's camping challenges...

(10) We brought so much crap that it didn't all fit inside John's truck.  We resorted to putting some stuff on top even though it's not really designed for that.  We worried the whole way there that it was going to fly off and kill the driver behind us.
(9) Within the first hour of being in our campsite, Caden fell forward out of his camp chair onto his face and crammed his mouth full of dirt and little twigs, breaking the skin on his lip and nose.
(8) Within the second hour of being in our campsite, Caden was bitten by a yellow jacket on his right eyelid, causing it to swell up.  He looked like Mike Tyson all weekend.
(7) The campsite was composed of a fine, powdery dirt that basically coated everything including the baby.  Don't you just love having filthy feet?
(6) The yellow jackets were so bad that anytime you were trying to prepare food you felt like one of those people you see on TV in the bee suits.  Only thing is we had no bee suit.
(5) The first night a bear entered the campsite and despite us having all of our food locked up, he still managed to get our coffee and some other items.  Fumbling around like Keystone Cops, we couldn't find our flashlight so Dave decided to just run out there in the dark and scare it away anyway.  Miraculously, he managed not to get mauled or killed (it probably took one look at Dave in his sleeping underwear and will never return to a campground again).
(4) The public showers were strangely set to at least 175 degrees so taking a shower with Caden (or even by yourself) was practically impossible.
(3) While we were sitting playing cards, we didn't notice that the chipmunks (aren't they cute?) were boldly helping themselves to John's birthday cake even though it'd been wrapped in beaucoup layers of plastic wrap.
(2) On our second night Caden awoke at 3 am screaming and crying for no apparent reason and was inconsolable.  I think the rest of the campers in the campground might have been inconsolable after that too.
(1) For some reason Caden's bowels decided to rebel all weekend and we were changing poopie diapers every two hours.  Must have been the mouth full of dirt.  Lots of fiber.

Sound fun?  It was.  Really.

You can see more photos on the August photos page.

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Friday, August 15th
We're going camping this weekend.  You know... packing up more crap than you can possibly imagine for two nights, obliterating our carbon footprint by burning wood in a fire pit all night, leaving behind two bags of garbage from our gourmet meals and drinks, and coming home feeling like we "connected" with nature!  Ahhhh... American camping.  It can't be beat.  Ok, it's not that bad but definitely better than people who travel in those colossal motor homes and run their generators all night so they can watch Fox News 24/7.  But then again, after seeing how much crap we're taking, now I want one of those motor homes.

John and I used to camp quite a bit after we first met.  In fact I remember a couple of summers when we had weekend after weekend planned with camping or skiing trips to a lake.  And we both grew up camping so we'd like Caden to grow up doing it too.  We do try to rough it a little bit and tent camp without electricity.  We're going with our friends Chris and Patsy and their two kids to Fallen Leaf Lake near Lake Tahoe.  It'll be Caden's first experience sleeping under the stars.  Why do I have the feeling that we'll be renaming him Cadirt before the weekend is over?

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Wednesday, August 13th
You have to watch this video.  I triple love it.  I remember when he came to San Francisco to tape part of this.  It is so cool to see the final result. 

If this doesn't make you stop and smile and forget your daily worries for just a moment, well then nothing will.  It demonstrates how great the human spirit can be: pure, simple and silly.  We should all try to be more like this and more like our kids.  Enjoy.

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008)

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Tuesday, August 12th
We got to go on a play date with some friends yesterday.  We met up with our friends Duncan and his dad Shannon, and Eoin (pronounced Owen; it's the Irish version of the spelling) and his mom Saran.  We all know each other from the adoption agency.  Duncan is almost two and Eoin is 9 months.  The kids seemed to have fun but hardly interacted with each other at all.  It seemed like they each had their own agendas for the day (just look at their expressions in the photo to the left).  I've really wanted to get Caden on some play dates so that we can start to teach some basic manners about being gentle, sharing, etc.  I guess Saran is working on the same "being gentle" stuff with Eoin too so I was looking forward to having the kids play together.  But it ended up being more of a play date for the adults while the kids meandered around and entertained themselves. 

Caden had his first "time out" today.  Or should I say... I "tried" to give Caden his first time out today.  We're pretty clear on the type of discipline we're going to use with him; we think it is pretty straightforward and mainstream.  It follows what Supernanny teaches and what other books like Toddler 411 recommend: to use a naughty mat or chair.  They are required to stay in that spot for one minute for every year of their age.  After the time is up, you're supposed to explain why it was necessary and then always end it positively with a kiss and hug.  Some experts say that kids as young as 9 months of age can understand this technique.

Anyway, Caden was really pushing the limits this afternoon and I think I know what made him mad.  We stopped by the Little Gym this morning to sign up for the Fall semester and I think he thought we were there to stay.  After we left, he was royally pissed.  When we got home, he was doing everything he could to get himself in trouble and test his limits - and my patience.  Among other things, he kept going in the laundry room and playing with the cat food and water bowl (already well established in our house as off limits).  After the third warning and him blatantly defying me and walking right back in there again, I decided he needed to experience his first time out.

The only problem is that I hadn't yet thought of a good place to put him.  So I put him in our big family room chair, explained why he was there and told him he needed to sit there without getting down for one minute.  I could tell that he was ready to laugh (and so was I), but I tried to keep a straight face and act grumpy about it.  He whined for a second and then realized that he could just play with all the remotes sitting on the table next to him... this would be fun... button heaven!  "Uh... No!  This is time out time.  You need to sit there and think about what you did," I tried to say in my lowered and stern voice.  So then he decided to stand up on the arm of the chair and watch the fish in the aquarium.  Needless to say, one minute goes by in a flash, hardly enough time to feel punished if you ask me.  I explained to him again why he was there and asked him to apologize.  He didn't say "sorry" but he did give me a hug which I figure is just as good.

I think in the future we're going to need to find a better naughty spot.  Something tells me the cat food will be on Caden's radar for many more days to come.

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Monday, August 11th
We went to the Fair in San Mateo on Saturday night.  I guess I'm kind of a sucker for county fairs because I grew up in 4-H and used to help take care of animals during our local county fair.  I always enjoy seeing the kids show their animals.  We thought Caden might get into seeing the animals too.  He loved it and was infatuated with all of the livestock.  They had just about everything you could imagine, including some camels!  I think it was one of those moments of truth for Caden when he put together two and two: seeing a real cow in person and comparing it to his fake plastic toy cow at home. 

We watched some pig racing, ate some gross fair food and walked around the carnival for a bit to see the rides and lights.  I had no one to go on the Zipper with me because the last time I made John go on it with me he said he was dizzy for a week.  I need to get Caden to be tall enough... soon.    Some more photos of our day at the fair are here.

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Saturday, August 9th
Meet Mr. Independent.  Next thing we know he'll be swinging from the monkey bars by himself.

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Friday, August 8th
For at least six months I've been trying to teach Caden some baby sign language.  It's a great way for kids who aren't speaking yet to express themselves and tell you what they want.  I mostly wanted him to learn it because it helps during mealtimes and the baby can tell you if they're still hungry, all finished, if they want milk or water, etc.  He just didn't seem to want to do it though and so I kind of gave up on it.  And then the other day he was sitting eating his lunch and he gave me the "all finished" sign (and no, it does not include holding up your middle finger).  I was surprised!  So now I'm all into it again and want him to learn some more words/signs.  He'll only do one other one right now: more.  He does the "more" sign every time we get out of the swimming pool (which is downright adorable, and I'll take it over screaming any day!) and he also uses it when he's eating.  Other than that, we're not getting too many other signs out of him.  He seems more interested in trying to say the words which, of course, is our ultimate goal.

So you might be wondering, does teaching a baby sign language delay the development of their speech?  Experts say no and in fact, they say it might even help because they associate the word with an action and are therefore quicker to speak it.  He is actually developing a pretty good vocabulary these days and says a lot of words - on one condition.  There has to be a context for saying it.  In other words, he won't just say "flower" unless there's a flower around to look at.  Otherwise he looks at you like you're crazy.

P.S.  Happy 8-8-08.  The  number 8 is thought to be very lucky in most Asian cultures, so this day is like a jackpot of potential luck (if you are superstitious that way).  I've never been a person who believes very much in luck.  Although I did get this message in my fortune cookie the other night.  Nothing could be more true.

Here's a video of Caden signing some words with a few shenanigans thrown in for fun.

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Thursday, August 7th
I've wanted to get Caden started on writing and drawing.  It's pretty early for this kind of thing but I figure just teaching him to sit still and concentrate on something in front of him is time well spent.  We got him a little school desk where he can sit to draw and write.  So far, he's gotten more ink on himself than he has on the paper, but he seems very impressed by the fact that he sits up at his desk to "do school".  We're going to try to spend a few minutes every day working on our pen-holding skills and hopefully learn a few letters and colors in the meantime.

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Wednesday, August 6th
Caden and I went to a "Diapers Days" movie today with our friends Shannon and Duncan.  Shannon is a stay-at-home dad too that we met through our adoption agency.  Duncan is almost two.  Anyway, this is the first time we've tried it out, but here's the concept: a couple of theatres in our area offer movie screenings specifically for folks who want to bring kids along to the movie.  There's a website you can go to and vote for which movie you want them to show next time.  Most screenings are during the day, but once a month they screen a movie in the evening for people to go to after work with babies and kids. It's kind of understood that - if you don't have kids with you - why in the hell would you want to see it on one of these dates and times (so they don't even advertise it to the public). Shannon and I thought we'd try it out with the boys today.

As I expected, we were the only dads in the crowd.  The theatre was pretty full and it seemed like the kids in the crowd ranged in age from newborn to 4-5 years old.  As you might expect, it is pretty much semi-controlled chaos in the theatre with the occasional scream or tantrum.  Kind of a low rumble overall.  You quickly learn to tune it out and watch the movie while little toddlers run back and forth in front of the screen down below.  But you'd be surprised how little you notice after awhile.  Both boys were really good except for a few short bouts of restlessness.  Caden actually sat and watched about 60% of the movie and then fell asleep with about 20 minutes left.

So what did we see?  Mamma Mia!  It was pretty good.  I enjoyed it.  It's always a little sketchey when they make a stage musical into a movie but I have to say this is one of the better ones.  You just have to get past the whole notion of people suddenly "breaking into song" in the middle of their conversations.  And I had a hard time with 007 (Pierce Brosnan) singing... anything.

I think we'll try one of these Diaper Days movies again someday, perhaps one of the evening screenings that John can attend.  After all, I don't think we've been to a movie since Caden was born.  Maybe this is our chance to get back into mainstream dinner conversations again.  But that would mean we'd have to actually be having dinner conversations somewhere...


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Tuesday, August 5th
They've decided to replace one of the slides at our new park.  For some reason, none of the kids wanted to go down this particular one. 

Speaking of slides, Caden is really getting brave about the using the new play equipment at the park.  He decided the other day to go down the corkscrew slide all by himself.  I was pretty surprised but he seems to have figured out how to control his speed by holding onto the railing with one hand.  Of course he wants to do it over and over and over again.  It's pretty darn cute to seem him coming down that chute with a huge grin on his face.

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Monday, August 4th
Here's a short video for John's sister and brother-in-law showing Caden using his new rocking chair that they gave him for his birthday.  John (John's brother-in-law... yes, there are a lot of John's in our family) built it for Caden.  Anyway, it's pretty cute because Caden crawls up into it all the time and immediately grabs a book and starts "reading" it.  But I've been thinking... this would make a really good "naughty chair" someday.  Or maybe we should just commission John to build us one of those too!

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Sunday, August 3rd
We went to a picnic today at a really nice local park in Los Gatos and met some new friends.  They had some activities for kids but Caden mostly spent the afternoon hanging out with the diaper clan.  They had a piņata for the kids, which we stood back and watched the older kids line up to whack.  After the first kid took the initial couple of smacks at the thing, Caden immediately started to cry.  I knew it was probably going to bother him.  Since his very earliest days, he's been very sensitive about violent actions like that.  I'm not sure why because he's never had any exposure to anything violent ever in his life.  Even when John and I are joking around and might beat each other on the head in a silly or joking way, Caden usually - at first- thinks it is no laughing matter.  And how do you explain to a little kid that smacking, whacking and beating a pretty, colorful streamer ball is supposed to be fun? 

So anyway, the second kid gets up there and whacks at it even harder and Caden starts to cry again.  "Really son... this is the one case where it is OK to take a stick and beat something to smithereens... we're all happy about it!  Really."  He wasn't buying it.  Once the candy dropped out, we scrambled up to get some (for daddy to eat) but I still don't think he quite appreciated the need for such violence.  I could see him thinking... "Geez, just hand the stuff out for God's sake!"  Our little peace activist.

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Saturday, August 2nd
John's company had a work picnic yesterday at a nearby park.  He's actually on a committee to plan stuff like this; I think it's one of those things that the low man on the totem pole just gets appointed to.  Anyway, he was busy planning food and activities this week.  His boss has even nicknamed him "Captain Fun".  I think he realized, as soon as he told me that, that he'd made a huge slip.  I'll just run with it of course.  And he'll never hear the end of it.

We have guests coming tonight so I spent part of the day yesterday cleaning house in between chasing around our marauding toddler.  John (you know, "Captain Fun") had been at his picnic all day.  Around 5pm, I got a phone call from him.  "Would it be OK if I brought a few people by the house for a glass of wine after the picnic?"  Given the background noise on his cell phone, I could tell he was already in his car driving.  "Um, where are you... exactly?", I asked.  "Just getting off the highway."  CRAP.  So I probed further... "And how many is a 'few' people, John?"  "Oh, eight or ten", he replied.  DOUBLE CRAP.  I immediately took stock of the state of our household.  A mess!  I have less than five minutes to fix it and I haven't even taken a shower yet.  I flashed on those old episodes of Bewitched when Darrin would spring a last minute dinner party on Samantha, usually at the insistence of his boss Larry Tate.  She, of course, could just blink and make it all happen.  I have no blinking powers.  But I figured there was one thing in common here: I bet one of John's guests would be his boss.

So, I scrambled around as fast as I could, threw things into closets, ran the vacuum in the last un-done spots, and threw on a baseball hat and a fresh shirt.  "Helloooooooo" was being hollered from downstairs before I could even wipe the last booger off of Caden's face and comb his hair.  Trying to be the gracious housewife I'd been trained to be by 70's and 80's television sitcoms, I greeted the guests with baby in hand and, sure enough, John's boss was among them.  I don't think any of them were feeling any pain as they'd been enjoying some adult beverages already at the picnic.  It sounded like the picnic, games and activities went swimmingly and Captain Fun lived up to his reputation.  I'm glad he got the opportunity to have a little bonding time with his co-workers here at the house, but in the future I either need (a) a little more notice, or (b) some help from Endora.

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Friday, August 1st
If you don't like to read about bodily functions and gastrointestinal drama, maybe it's best if you click away now.  I'm not sure exactly what's going on, but this little kid has had what could be best termed a "hostile colon" lately.  He's not in any discomfort or pain, but what comes out the other end might as well be an automatic response for the HazMat team or the fire department.  I'm not sure if we're still clearing out swanky food from our vacation or if he's still adjusting to the switch from formula to milk.  His diet hasn't been that much different lately.  However, this past week's diaper changes  practically require the use of a self contained breathing apparatus (for parent and baby), a post-poop treatment with Oust, and windows opened for half the day.  Caden has even learned how to wave his hand in the air in front of his nose as if to say "ooh, stinky". 

He's developed a pretty good case of diaper rash too (of course in our house, being the "mature" adults we are, diaper rash is actually called Buttatitis).  Funny because we've had almost no issues with this so far.  We have every kind of ointment known to man in our medicine cabinet, but he's never really needed any of them.  Until now.  We first started treating it with some all-natural ointment we got as a gift from a friend who swore by it.  It sucked (sorry Christine).  So we switched to Butt Paste.  It works wonders and the diaper rash is almost gone.  But these toxic poops are still coming.  I think we'll try pushing lots more vegetables over the next couple of days to see if we can get his hostile colon to start being a little more friendly.

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