Monday, March 30, 2009


So tonight's first practice went very well. It started at 6pm, and we were (of course) about 5 minutes late. All 10 (or so) kids were already doing their warm-up stretches with the coach, so the twins had to join in while everything was in progress. The coach seemed very nice. As soon as stretching was done, he told all the kids he was going to divide them up into three groups so they could work on different skills (running, batting, fielding). At that point, he split them all up and then said (to all the dads in attendance), "Anyone want to help out? I could really use it."

He really did need it. I don't know how he could have gotten through practice without assistance from the dads. If no one stepped up, it would have been chaos. As it was, at least 4 or 5 other dads jumped in and took over some of the smaller groups of kids, which was really nice. They had a batting area, which also encompassed fielding skills because while one child would bat the other 3 or so kids would field the grounders. Then they had a father working with another group on fielding grounders and catching/throwing the ball. The third group worked on running from home plate to first base (I helped out here a little bit when the coach got pulled away). At the end of practice they had all the kids run the bases from home to home (and they were timed).

After that, the coach gave out their uniforms. They each got an official red "Mount Laurel Baseball" shirt with a number on the back (Dillon is "1", Jason is "2"), a Phillies cap (their team is the Phillies), and a pair of red sport socks. The twins were super excited about all of this, and they said they had a great time playing with the other kids. Sometimes I thought they were a little bit too interested in laughing and goofing off with the other kids because they weren't paying attention to the instructions; but then I remembered that they're 5 years old! :-)

I was just a little disappointed, though, because Jason never got the chance to bat. I didn't make a big deal out of it because he was having fun doing everything else and didn't seem to care, and we had worked on hitting at home on Saturday ourselves. But after we got home he mentioned to me that he really wanted to bat. So I told him we'd work on hitting again this week so he'd be ready for opening day...THIS SATURDAY!

Opening Day starts this Saturday at Laurel Acres Park in Mount Laurel. Festivities begin at 8am with a parade (the kids get to be in the parade) and then their first 'game' is played at 10:30am. I hope the weather is nice because it should be fun. We're all looking forward to it.

Jason @ T-Ball practice

Here's Jason (in the middle) practicing his fielding skills.

Dillon at T-Ball practice

This is Dillon running from home plate to first base.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Busy Sunday

We all got up by 8am today (I know, wow, so early) so that we could get ready to go to the twins' pre-school (St. Andrews) for church service. The twins were going to be singing two songs with other kids from the pre-school at 10:30am. Grandmom, Mom Mom and Pop Pop all made it to the church on time and got to see them "perform" You Are My Sunshine and If You're Happy and You Know It. Pop Pop wasn't feeling too well, so he and Mom Mom left immediately after the songs were over. I ended up taking Adrian into the nursery area so he could play and talk because that's all he wanted to do in the pew!

By the time everything was over and we had collected the kids together, it was about noon. So we went to the Silver Diner in Cherry Hill for brunch. Angie wanted to take the kids to see Monsters vs. Aliens so we checked movie times and the 3-D version was playing at 1:45pm. It was already about 1 o'clock, so I called my parents to see if they would let Adrian take his nap at their house while the rest of us went out and had a good time. Not that taking care of Adrian isn't a good time or anything. :-)

Mom Mom said it would be OK. Grandmom had to get back home to Bob, so she opted not to go to the movie. So we dropped Adrian at my parents' house and got back to the theater by about 1:25 or so. As soon as we got in line, Angie read the sign above the ticket counter that said "Monsters vs Aliens 3D, 1:45pm - SOLD OUT." The next 3-D showing wasn't until 4:30pm, so that was out of the question. We ended up buying tickets for the 2:30pm showing of the "regular" version of the movie instead.

I think we all enjoyed it. Angie gave it 3 1/2 snores; I caught her dozing off after the first 30 minutes or so. She says she enjoyed it and was just overly tired, but I'm not so sure. There are a lot of celebrity voices in it: Keifer Sutherland, Reese Witherspoon, Renee Zellwegger, Stephen Colbert, Seth Rogen, Hugh Laurie, etc. And there were moments that had me laughing out loud, so that's pretty good in my book.

After the movie we went back to my parents' house and hung out for a while, chatting. My brother was visiting so the kids got to play with Uncle Ryan for a bit. On the way home, we ordered a pizza and had everyone in bed by 8pm.

Tomorrow Angie has a busy Monday with the kids. After I get home from work, we have to get the twins ready for T-Ball practice at 6:30pm. Lovely. They are Soooooo not looking forward to it!

I'll post some videos of the twins singing at today's church service as soon as I get the videos off the camera and uploaded to YouTube.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Leapster 2

Santa brought a Leapster 2 handheld game system to our house last Christmas. And while we thought that one unit might not be enough, it has worked out fine as far as the twins having to share it. We know we'll get another one (most likely), but for now having one has been OK.

One of the features of the system is that you can connect it to your computer via USB and track your children's progress and download additional games (saved to an SD card). We downloaded the only two games that we've ever seen listed within the LeapPad Connect program that came on a CD with the handheld: Letterpillar and Number Raiders. They like both games, and they were free, so I can't complain. But today Jason was asking about getting some new games, so I thought we would check online to see if Leapster had any new games available.

Of course, they still only list Number Raiders and Letterpillar. I would be willing to purchase some new games and download them just to avoid having to go out and hunt down a new cartridge (which would either get lost or broken anyway). I've got a 2GB SD card installed in the Leapster 2 just waiting to be filled up with games... Are they dropping the ball on this thing? I guess we should have gone with the Nintendo DS or something (Angie would never go for that!).

I guess this is mostly a 'complaint post'... :-)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Today's Lesson

When in need of going Number 2 in a house with young "potty trained" boys, always check the toilet seat before you sit down.

Friday, March 20, 2009

CSI: Cleanup Crew

The crime scene clean-up crew went into action again tonight. Dillon woke up around 9:30pm, basically sleepwalking all the way downstairs to the family room, sobbing. I walked with him all the way back up the stairs into his bedroom and put him back to bed. He never once spoke a word, but he would nod his head when I'd say things like, "Let's go to sleep and think about good things like playing with our friends and going to the Please Touch Museum..." He went to bed and seemed to be OK. I left the room for about a minute, and then I heard him sobbing again. He was asking for mommy. I went in and saw that he had just lifted his head up, but was still in bed. I spoke to him softly again and he went back to sleep.

All was fine for about 20 minutes until all hell broke loose upstairs. We heard loud crying and multiple footsteps thundering around. Angie leapt into action and I heard her talking to Jason at the top of the stairs, "What happened with Dillon, J?" I heard Jason mumbling and Angie running down the hallway. Then, "MARK! There's vomit all over the place! Can you get up here?!"

Grabbing our usual crime scene clean-up supplies (bucket, plastic bags, spray cleaner, the Swiffer WetJet), we went to work. Again, the stench was almost unbearable. I keep expecting a recreation of that scene from, was it "Stand By Me"? Where the one person pukes at the pie-eating contest and then everybody started puking, too! It was that bad. Puke on the bed, his pillow, his pajamas, the sheets, the floor, the bed rails, the mattress.

I bundled everything up into a pile and threw it into the wash. Angie held the plastic bags up while I sopped up the disgusting mess and threw the soiled paper towels away. Totally disgusting.

Ironically, Dillon said he was feeling much better today and was even having "normal" Number 2's today. But something obviously didn't sit right with him.

"These are the moments that make life worth living." - Meryl Streep's character, "Death Becomes Her"

The kids at Please Touch Museum

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Throwing Muses at World Cafe Live 3/10/09

Great show in Philly the other night. They played a nice mix of old stuff and material up to 1996's Limbo.


Woke up this morning around 6:10 to the sound of Dillon crying in his room, loudly. I got there as quickly as I could (within a minute, I'd say), but I was too late. I literally walked into the room, and he muttered something through his sobs like, "I don't like..." and then WHAM! He puked all over the floor. Stupidly, I tried to rush him to the bathroom so he could continue throwing up into the toilet, but we barely made it to the doorway of his bedroom before BLEARGH!, another blast spewed forth.

The stench was tremendous.

The vomit clean-up crew then went into action. Angie, stifling back her urge to puke, went and grabbed some baby wipes, paper towels, and the Swiffer WetJet. She stayed out of the room while I sopped up the bile and chunks with the wipes and paper towels, and then came in at the end with the WetJet. Dillon sat in the bathroom while most of this was going on, and then Angie changed his pajamas and put him back to bed. He seemed fine once it was all over.

We had gone to Friendly's for dinner, but even though I think that may have contributed to his episode, I don't think it was the cause. What I mostly saw in the chunks were bits of fruit. I asked Angie if he'd eaten any fruit that day and she said, "Yeah, he had some canteloupe after school." I'm not blaming the canteloupe outright, but given the acidity of it, it may have aggravated his stomach when he added mac & cheese, a hot dog, and ice cream later. Yow.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Welcome Home

My dad was discharged from Our Lady of Lourdes this morning, so mom and Ryan went to pick him up. He was home by 10:30am or so and is very glad to be out of the hospital! He's already planning vacations for this year (Ireland, back to Disney with the grandkids, etc.). Thanks to everyone who asked about him and sent well-wishes. It was most appreciated!

Friday, March 6, 2009


My dad suffered a relatively minor heart attack on Tuesday morning. He was admitted to Virtua Voorhees Tuesday night, but was transferred to Our Lady of Lourdes on Wednesday so he could have a "cath test" done. This is the test where they inject a colored dye into a vein/artery in your thigh area and monitor its progress through your heart. Luckily, the test results were fairly good; he only has a 50% blockage that needs to be cleared up and they can do that through medication (no surgeries or stents necessary).

Things were looking very good up until Thursday morning, but they have since also detected an irregularity in his heartbeat in addition to an atrial fibrillation. So he'll have to stay in the hospital under observation until at least Saturday, maybe Sunday.

Angie's going to take the boys and Mom Mom to see him today, so that should cheer him up a lot. Though if they over-stay, it could elevate his blood pressure! I'm kidding... but not really! :-)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sheer heart attack

I just got off the phone with my mom. She told me that my father suffered a heart attack this morning while cooking breakfast. He was in denial for most of the day and didn't go to the hospital until the afternoon even though he was complaining of tightness in his chest, numbness in his left arm, and was burping a lot (apparently this is another sign of heart attack). He was admitted to Virtua Voorhees tonight, but will likely be transferred to another hospital tomorrow for some stress testing. He's doing OK, but they wanted to monitor him over night just in case.

More as it develops...

Monday, March 2, 2009

Snowy Day Off

Parkway was closed today so I spent the morning shoveling snow and helping the twins build a snow mountain that we eventually tunneled through in three places. We also went tubing in the back yard again, but not for too long. By the time I finished shoveling the driveway and walkways, building the snow mountain, and tunneling through it, we had been outside for at least 2 hours. I think we came inside around 12:30 or 1pm, and Angie had hot chocolate and mac and cheese waiting for everyone. After that, Adrian took a nap and I watched some TV with the twins (something called "Prehistoric Planet" on Discovery kids - it was pretty interesting).

We got lucky the last two times it snowed - our neighbor across the street, Ron, used his snowblower on both occasions to clear our driveway and sidewalk for us. Today I didn't see him outside until mid-afternoon and I never noticed if he had the snowblower out. I only saw him with shovel in hand.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Everything and the kitchen sink

Angie and I still own our house in Maple Shade. Our good friend Don is helping us out by renting it until we can sell it. During this past week, Don called to say that the kitchen sink was leaking whenever you turn the faucet on. Water would spray out at the base and leak down underneath. If you ran the water long enough, the leakage would reach the kitchen floor.

Don tried to take off the nuts holding the faucet plate on from underneath the sink, but was only able to get leverage on the one on the right. My dad went over a day or so later and ran into the same problem (on top of the fact that my dad just can't contort himself into crazy positions to squeeze under a small sink anymore). So our options were either call a plumber and see if s/he could fix the existing faucet; or we attempt to remove the old one ourselves and replace the faucet with a new one. I was leaning toward option A, but my dad (and Don) convinced me to at least take a stab at it ourselves first.

The following events take place between the hours of 02:00pm and 06:00pm on Saturday, February 28th. Events occur in real time.

Saturday afternoon was the earliest I could get over to look at it, but Don was up in NYC to play a gig and wouldn't be back until Sunday. I left Mount Laurel in the minivan with all three kids and remember thinking "I should grab my toolbox. Nah, my dad has tools and his house is only one block away." Always go with your first impulse.

I dropped the kids with my mom, and then my dad and I went over to my old house with a couple of wrenches and a pair of pliers. Three or four trips to my dad's house later, we ended up with a small stockpile of tools: screwdrivers, battery-powered drills, a hammer, vise grips, more wrenches, a ratcheting screwdriver, etc. The biggest hurdle of all was getting the old faucet off the sink. We had to remove two lazy susans from underneath the cabinet, and I had to remove one side of a shelf just so I could squeeze my upper body inside the cabinet to see what I was doing.

The key to the whole works was removing an old rubber thing from the faucet's handle that was hiding a small screw that we needed an Allen wrench to remove. After that, I discovered that underneath the sink there was yet another nut holding the center post to the counter top. Once I had that off, the entire faucet assembly came off (finally). With faucet in hand, we went to Lowe's to buy a replacement (a Price Pfister model).

When we got back and hooked everything up, the hoses beneath the sink that connect the main lines to the new faucet began to leak. All over. At first we assumed that I just hadn't tightened the connectors well enough, but after a few more turns (and some Teflon tape) they were still leaking. The only possibility was that the hoses themselves were bad and needed to be replaced (though they were not leaking before we disconnected them!).

So back to Lowe's again. For about $10, I picked up two new hoses and connected them to the lines and new faucet. Turned on the water... and watched nothing happen! This was a good thing. We turned on the faucet and had running water again with no apparent leaks anywhere.

The last thing to do was to replace the soap dispenser, which was a minor pain in the neck. With some elbow grease (and vise grips), we got the old one off. The new one went on fairly easily and works way better than the old one.

We cleaned up as best as we could and finally got out of there. We spent a little over four hours replacing the darn thing. Total cost: about $140. $120 + tax for the new faucet and $10 + tax for the new hoses. And this doesn't include the cost of gas from making repeat trips to my parents' house and back, plus two trips to Lowe's.

It was a nice way to spend a Saturday.