Elfin Chachis

You've probably seen this. Many of you may have done your own when you were supposed to be working (wink). Regardless, it doesn't cease to be really funny to me. For our last Christmas related post of 2007, I bring you The Elfin Chachi Brothers. Just click the link and enjoy.
If viewing at work turn, your volume down. There's accompanying music.
Thanks to Rachel for logistical assistance.
P.S. As a "marketing professional," I'm taking a poll. Does this thing make you more aware of Office Max? Just curious.



One of the interesting things about having kids is seeing how they react differently to annual holidays each year.

Vincent is at the age where he realizes it's Christmas and gets excited for every aspect of it without focusing so much on the fact that he can ask for specific presents and possibly even (gulp) get them! Peter is at the age where he wants to chew on Christmas.

After church on Christmas Eve, Vincent and I scattered some reindeer food (oatmeal mixed with glitter that school gave him) on the front lawn, then Rose helped him pick out cookies and an apple for Santa and his crew. I'll note that over the past month, Vincent has been worried about Santa actually setting foot in our house. He prefers the presents get in and the snacks get out via "magic." That way we don't have to see Santa, thus avoiding fear! He seemed to buy this even though he asked several times if he'd be hearing the reindeers' "jingle bells" from his bed.

Ah to be young, ridiculously cute and kind of terrified. I've been there, kid. Minus the cute.

Both boys slept until 8:30 (!) on Christmas morning before we all headed down for THE GREAT UNWRAPPING. To be honest, it was actually pretty mellow. Vincent opened one present at a time and even stopped to incorporate them into his life. For example - he'd open a package of Disney guys, get excited about them and immediately pop them into the basket with his others. He even took the clothes out of their boxes and held them up!

Peter liked the larger boxes specifically because they provided his favorite new thing about life - leverage. He pulled himself up onto them and stood there for minutes at a time, laughing and screaming at Vincent.

After the paper cleared, we headed on over to Mom-Moms for THE GREAT UNWRAPPING 2, where the boys were showered with more gifts. Round 3 occurred at Aunt Alice's with my side of the family, before ending up at Nonna's where Rose's side had arrived bearing gifts aplenty. It was pretty amazing to see the haul these kids brought in.

What's going to be even more amazing is seeing how Rose and I fit everything into this place. We may sell tickets.

P.S.: Cool byproduct of Christmas from a parent's perspective - NEW INSTRUMENTS! Vincent got a bad*ss electronic drum kit from Mom-Mom and Grampa AND a cool starter drumkit from Uncle George. We've already started writing our rock opera - Clownophenia.


Santa Claus is Coming to Town

In addition to the decorations mentioned in my previous post, Vincent has become the proud owner, courtesy of Mom-Mom, of a brand new Santa Claus is Coming to Town Dancing Fuzzy Figurine. Words can't express how much he loves it. He can watch it 15 times in row and not get sick of it.

It's featured here. Please enjoy the performance. I would like to go on record that no part of this video was prompted. It's as natural a :47 slice as you can get.


We've been Christmased

Over the past two weekends we've sufficiently Christmafied the Chachi House. We popped up the tree (Sorry - not real), adorned places with all manner of holiday ornaments and goodies, and hung the lights from the front porch. Vincent stayed outside with me the entire time we hung the lights! Don't worry, folks. He's pneumonia-free and it was about 45 degrees on Saturday. And he had a heavy coat and hat. Really.

We're fairly traditional in our holiday....um....traditions, so we stopped by the mall for a photo with Santa, but no dice. Vincent took one look at the abnormally tall (seriously) mall Santa and his gloves (a deep fear, rivaling clowns) and said, "I want to go the other way."

So Rose is going to take Peter back one day while Vincent's at school to get a shot. How she's going to explain that to Vincent, I don't know. I'll let her handle that one.

We even helped Vincent write a letter to Santa (shown here). It might be tough to make out so here's the translation:

Dear Santa,
I let Mommy sleep on the couch and I was a very good boy and big brother so I would like some presents please Santa.
*Dorothy & Toto
*Flying Monkeys
*Disney Guys - Pirates of the Caribbean
*Few Games

Man - whoever helped him write this letter sure doesn't know about run-on sentences, does she? Let me explain a few things. The sleeping on the couch thing refers to one day recently when Peter was already napping and Vincent was peacefully watching a show. Rose drifted off for a moment and Vincent didn't wake her. After she woke up, she thanked him for letting her catch a few winks. This + being a good boy and big brother = presents.

The Dorothy, Toto, Munchkins, and Flying Monkeys he's referring to are Wizard of Oz character guys/dolls he's been into since discovering the movie. The Disney Guys are self-explanatory...I think. He has since rescinded his wish for Pirates of the Caribbean ones in favor of Toy Story - fyi.

As you know, Peter can't really write yet so I've taken the liberty of writing his letter to Santa, with the assistance of his publicist.

Dear Santa,
I've been a really funny, sweet, and cool kid over the first seven months of my life. I think this alone warrants gifts, don't you? Howzabout we get right to it? Here's what I want:

*Not to have a cold anymore
*To be able to eat Vincent's popsicles
*To be able to eat Vincent's granola
*To be able to eat Vincent's toes
*Not to have so much damned saliva pouring from my mouth while at the same time getting some of these teeth on their way out
*More chewy blocks
*Less whiskery kisses from Daddy
*More boobs

And - whatever else you'd like to send down. Thanks so much.

Your pal,

That's really the gist. Decorations, lights, run-on sentences, flying monkeys and boobs! It's Christmas in Chachiland!


The Faces, Pt. 3

We haven't done one of these in quite a while. I call it Peter Wallace, Seven Months, With Old School Ski-Hat.


Peter is Mobile/R.I.P. Jumparoo

It was only a matter of time. Peter has started to crawl. Now what he's doing isn't technically the same thing as crawling. He starts in a sitting position, sees something he wants to grab (read: eat) lunges his upper body at that object, then kind of drags his lower body behind. It's the 7 month old's version of the Marine's crawl.

Technically speaking or not, it's really funny and super cute.

On the down side, we've had to retire Peter's beloved jumparoo. Now that he's mobile, he doesn't have much time for it. On top of that, our house is getting so cramped with stuff that it doesn't hurt to have the thing stowed.

Still, it makes us think about the lifespan of the infant activity center (IAC, for short. That's my word. I own the copyright.). I'm eulogizing this thing after only 3 or 4 months in our lives but how many childhood toys can we say we played with every single day for that period of time. Peter just packed all of his use for it into one small chunk of his days.

Is it that it's 11:00 on a Sunday night or do I sound really crazy? Ah, whatever. LONG LIVE THE JUMPAROO!

P.S. Vincent is doing much better. He's done with the nebulizer treatments and the doctor said the pnemonia is just about gone (as of last Thursday). Poor Peter on the other hand has a wicked cough but the doctor said pneumonia like Vincent's isn't super contagious, so we're hoping for the bestest. Now that he's crawling, he can conquer anything.


Pneumonia = Fun

Poor Vincent has a case of pneumonia. It started as a cold and just got worse over the weekend. He’s not happy about it one bit. He’s kinda tired and annoyed and not eating a whole lot (although he's responding to the medication well). He’s gonna be fine but it’s just so pathetic when a child is sick and doesn’t know why or when he’s going to get better. It must seem like years to him. On top of that, he's got plenty of awesome-tasting medicines to keep him occupied, along with a super cool nebulizer treatment!

From what we understand, it's not super contagious so Peter should be ok. So far, he's his usual chipper self. We're keeping him as far away as possible from his big bro, though.

Not much else to report. Things are....pneumonic. Instead of a depressing photo of a sick Vincent, howzabout a happy self portrait?


Happy Thanksgiving

Chachi Milk and it's staff would like to wish you all the very best this Thanksgiving. We'd also like to remind you, through song, to clean up once you are finished. Even if there's a crazy man yelling "YAAAAAAY" when you do it.

Thank you.


The Negotiator

I don't know if it's the fact that he's now three or if he's always had it in him, but Vincent has become quite the persuasive speaker. There are tons of good examples but I'll elaborate with a transcript of a conversation he and I had recently.

Jim: "Vincent - we have to go to the mall to buy Mom-Mom a birthday present. Are you ready?"

Vincent: "Yeah. Then we'll get some Disney guys."

J: "Uh... I don't think so today, buddy."

V: (getting upset) "But I want tooooo!"

J: "I know you do buddy but you just had a birthday and you've got plenty of Disney guys already."

V: "But I liiike theehhmm!"

J: "So do I but we have to get Mom-Mom a present today."

V: (taking charge, as if planning the trip instead of just asking allows for the acquistion of Disney guys) "First - we'll....go get Mom-Mom a present. Then we'll go to the Disney store, look at the new guys they have there and....buy some....aaaaaand bring them home."

J: "Vincent. We're not going to get any today..."

V: (interrupting with actual whining) "Daaadeee. Iwanttooo. Iliiiikethemmm. (laying head down on the couch)"

J: "You just had a birthday, buddy (trying this tactic again). Maybe we can ask Santa for them."

About 2 minutes pass while Vincent plays with stickers and I read a bit. I'm weakening slowly because he wasn't really whiny during the exchange until the very end. On top of that, Rose took Peter with her overnight to a family baby shower in New Jersey, so this is Super Fun Daddy & Vincent Time. Part of me feels I have to get him something special to commemorate - as silly as that sounds. But I'm really paranoid about spoiling him so it's an internal struggle.

J: "Okay buddy. Let's get our coats on."

V: "......so we can go get some Disney guys."

J: "C'mere buddy. C'mere for a second."

V: (obliging) "Whut?"

J: (opening the figurative door) "Why should we buy you some Disney guys today?"

V: (thinking slowly) "Because. I'm a good boy."

J: (realizing he's just been beaten not only by his three year old son but by his own inner conflict) "Okay. We can get some Disney guys."

Kids: 346, Parents: 0


First First Cousin (Photo)

As promised. See what I mean about the hair? It's astounding.
Photo credit: Auntie Kate


First First Cousin

More babies in the family! On Nov. 6, my sister Maria and her husband Joe welcomed Caroline Louise into the family. She was born with the most hair I've ever seen on a newborn's head in my life. She was 7 lbs., 5 oz. and is doing fantastically well. She officially marks my first time as an uncle, Rose's first as an aunt, and the boys' first times as cousins.

Rose took my camera with her on an overnight trip so I'll post a photo or two in the coming days. Instead, I'll leave you with a good one of Maria with Peter.


2 Kids, 4 Shots

Both of the boys had doctor's appointments last week, which was really, really fun. Good news was that both are doing great. The doctor was even happy with Vincent's weight progress. The bad news was that they needed four shots between them with Peter getting the brunt with three himself.

Afterward, he showed through theatre, what he would like to have done with the administering nurse.



Good times were had by all. Vincent started the day with a parade at school attended not only by Mommy and Peter, but by Mom-Mom and Nonna! He had a posse! We all had a great time trick or treating up and down our street as the Pirate Family. Yep - Rose and I (kind of) dressed up, too. Us = nerds.

*Vincent tapping on people's doors with his hook, then when asked if he's having a good time, going stone cold silent.

*The neighbor giving out "adult treats" (Beers) to all the thirsty parents. He had a cooler at the top of his steps and cups in his mailbox. I know what it sounds like but it was actually pretty subtly done.

*Peter going with us from house to house for a solid hour, which was a solid hour past his bedtime, and not complaining one bit.

*The house that gave out full-sized bars. There's always one and you always remember which one it was.

*Seeing a dude sitting on his front lawn with a super scary clown mask on and darting away before Vincent could see. (WHY MUST YOU PEOPLE DO THIS!!!?? -Ed.)

Regardless, we had a ball.


Daaaaahhh Fall.

Chachi Milk enjoyed pre-Halloween autumn and all it had to offer this weekend. First off, we carved a Mickey Mouse pumpkin for our front porch. Rose and Vincent did the brunt of the work and I have to admit, I was impressed. Usually these things, when not done by trained professionals, look less than spectacular. (Ed. Note: the shine on the pumpkin is from the cooking spray Rose read helps keep it preserved while outside for weeks at a time. Rose = Mrs. Wizard.)

To celebrate Halloween in more adult fashion, the two Chachi parents dressed as two other fantastic parents - Britney and K-Fed! Vincent saw us decked out for a minute or two before we left for "Uncle Kevin & Aunt Julie's Mommy & Daddy party" and was predictably nonplussed. I think he was just glad we weren't clowns. (Ed. Note 2 - I believe this was the first time in my life that I purchased and wore a wife-beater. Quite comfortable but revealing.) The cool thing was - both of us got to wear sweatpants as part of our costumes. Comfort and style!

And lastly, Peter spent his waking hours trying to summon all objects near and far to his mouth. I just tried to post a great video of this but for some reason it's not working. I'll leave you with 2 great Peter photos from this past weekend. In a few days: Chachiween! Can you guess what the boys' costumes will be?


Babies Everywhere

Just a couple of quick congratulatory wishes to some friends of Chachi Milk on additions to their families.

Our good friends Mike and Erin, along with their daughter Maeve, welcomed new baby boy Wyatt Michael (9 lbs., 9 oz.!) on 10/23!

Additionally, our pals Ben and Angela have welcomed not one, but two new babies into their lives - Emmet Paul and Joseph Stanley (about 15 total lbs. of kid!) a couple of weeks ago. To see their exploits, visit http://www.stuckourfootinit.blogspot.com/.

Congrats friends! We leave you with a photo of Vincent's celebratory baby dance.


Pirate Party!

What better way to celebrate a 3 year old's birthday than to glorify seafaring thieves! Well, that's just what we did. We went all out with the centerpiece, the inflatable swords, the tattoos, the invitation written in piratese, ("Vincent's 3aaaarrrd Birthday")...the whole bit. He even received an original piece of pirate art for his room thanks to Auntie Kate! Thanks to Mom-Mom and Grampa for hosting and for those who came from near or distant lands (Long Island! Ft. Lauderdale! Phoenixville!) delivering booty. Vincent is still trying to figure out what to play with next.


Vincent is 3!

We can't even believe it. I know it's a cliche but it's true. You can't believe how fast three years can pass. We got him his first real guitar. See his introspective indie pop pose above? He's a natural.

I thought I'd finish this post with a small batch of Vincent images from the past 3 years.


Teeth, Fever, and Sickups

Boy did we feel like we earned more parent merit badges this weekend.

On Friday night when I got home from work, I picked up my smiling, drooling younger son only to have him promptly projectile spit-up down the front of me. (WARNING: THIS NEXT PART IS GROSS.) This included a few drips directly into my kisser. I don't gross out that easily with stuff like this and this time was no different. It's just that everyone else I told reacted like this:


Vincent and Rosalie thought it was hilarious.

Vincent came down with a fever on Saturday afternoon (DAMN YOU PRESCHOOL!!!!). He slumped on the couch under 2 blankets and watched "Andy" (Annie -ed.). It stuck with him through Sunday and by bedtime was pretty high. He too joined the Upchuck Express which if you're keeping count, makes 2 kids, 2 throw-ups. He hadn't ever been that sick before so it was new for all of us. The fever broke overnight and after a few touch & go moments Monday morning, he's doing fine. Good thing we don't have a weight check this week. I don't think toast and watered-down grapefruit soda have a lot of calories.

Not to be outdone, Peter cut not one - but TWO teeth this weekend. Not surprisingly, he doesn't seem too phased by it either. "Teeth? Oh - these things busting through my super sensitive baby gums? No biggie."



It's all coming back again. Our little 5 month old is starting to teethe. He's even got the accompanying fever today. Other than that, he's been pretty upbeat about it..... Rosalie just chimed in with a "Hm. Easy for you to say." She also reminded me of his day of rage at Mom-Mom's yesterday.

He seemed upbeat to me.

Since the editors of Chachi Milk are so fond of lists, I figured I'd provide you with a list of things Peter has tried to put into his mouth over the past week.

1.) His feet

2.) My nose

3.) Numerous spoons (He kind of grabs hold of it while eating and locks on.)

4.) A beer bottle (Not mine. I swear. It was Vincent's.)

5.) At least eight different blankets (He LOVES chewing on blankets.)

6.) Fingers, knuckes and the like

7.) Other peoples fingers, knuckles and the like

8.) Straps and buckles (on toys, his car seat)

9.) An ice cream soda glass (Mommy got it a little too close.)

10.) His clothes (You get that onesie too close for a split second and CHOMP.)

11.) The chain I wear around my neck

12.) Mommy's hair

13.) Plush toys

14.) Vincent's nose

15.) Any and all cheeks (On people's faces, Kevin).

I could go on. I know, I know - we have teethers. They get equal teeth time. The list above comprises the objects he goes for if said teething ring is unavailable. The best part is that he dives at everything with both hands extended, mouth agape. There's no mixed intentions here. He wants to grab that object, pull it toward his mouth and bite down. You gotta love a kid that knows what he wants.

P.S. - Through his publicist, Peter would to add that, "Yes, we are keeping the Made in China stuff in mind. No lead paint has been consumed in the making of this blog."


CSI: Feline Unit

10:30PM: The call comes in. Mother-in-law. She's leaving work and hears "meowing" coming from her car. She just loaded the back with laundry from her business and knows it couldn't be in the car itself. That leaves one place - inside the guts of the car. Engine block, wheel well, carborator (can something actually be stuck in a carborator? Did I even spell it correctly?) She'll call back.

10:55PM: She arrives in front of our house. She's as frazzled as I've ever seen her. Sweating, nearly shaking.

Mother-in-law (MOL) "I...I'm just so freaked right now. I feel so bad for this thing. I don't know where it is."

Me: Do you still hear it?

MOL: Not in a while.

Me: Go ahead inside and I'll check it out.

11:00 PM: I've searched the outside of the car with a dimming flashlight and found nothing. I fished around the back hatch, looked under the seats, dashboard, elbow-rest storage compartment....nada. I hear nothing. I see nothing. I know what I've got to do.

Open the hood.

11:03 PM: I can't find the friggin' hood release. I mean, really. How hard could it be? They're usually in the same place on every car.

11:05 PM: I'm sitting in the car, under the dome light reading the manual for a 2006 Nissan Murano, trying to find "Page 3-9" to uncover The Secret of the Hood Release. I haven't drunk nearly enough for this.

11:07 PM: I find the hood release but just before I go to pull it...."Meow." Then again, "Meow." I hear a cat. This isn't a weird car sound or air conditioner making a noise that my mother-in-law interprets as catlike thus getting nervous. This is a cat. 100% positive.


11:09 PM: I'm actually shaking a little. Just a little. I'm thinking that once I pop this hood 1 of 2 things will happen:

1.) A cat will spring out.

2.) A dismembered cat will be struggling for its life. I totally can't handle this one.

Then I reason with myself. If this cat were hurt, I'd know it, right? It would be screaming or something. Do cats scream? I would smell hair if it was burnt, right?

11:11PM: I pop the hood. I fish underneath the hood for the 2nd release (for Christ's sake...) and catch it. I slowly open it up from the side and....

NOTHING. I shine my flashlight everywhere I can possibly shine it. I don't hear or see anything. Did it escape? Is it sleeping? Surely the sound of the hood opening and my general incompetence at motor vehicular operational techniques (not to mention my constant "What the...s and "Oh sh*ts") would've awakened the thing.

11:15 PM: I go inside with the news. Rose grabs another flashlight (Vincent's firetruck light) and heads out with me. Same results. She's on the ground deducing that it's probably in the plastic overhang that extends from the bottom of the bumper - a place no flashlight or human can go without the assistance of a mechanic's lift. At this point, we still don't hear the cat. My mother-in-law suggests starting the car.

11:18PM: I start the car. I immediately see my wife nodding her head outside and pointing at the bumper. We both hear it. She hypothesizes that it's warm and comfy and most likely resting in there until awakened by the engine - thus the meowing.

11:25 PM: After 7 minutes of the three of us trying to find an alternative...in the Yellow Pages - All-night automobile cat-removal? Fire department (I quashed this after 1.7 seconds)? SPCA? Father-in-law? My mother-in-law decides to leave the car at our house overnight because she can't drive it home. She'll take it to the dealer in the morning.

To make a long story anticlamactically short, the dealer's 1st service guy refused to put the car on the lift saying he "didn't want to get bitten by some damn cat." The 2nd service guy looked for "the usual fried kitten found in situations like these" but luckily didn't find anything. The little thing probably snuck out in the middle of the night to find a nice comfortable 2008 Escalade to creep into.

Epilogue: Vincent, Peter and I were outside playing this morning and we saw an unfamiliar cat pop into our neighbor's garage. I actually thought I saw the thing wink at me. Oddly enough, it actually whispered across the lawn, "Psst. How hard can it be to find a hood release?"


"Daddy wants to watch his special baseball game."

At the risk of turning this blog into a Phillies blog, let me continue with my exuberance over the fact that our hometown club is headed to the playoffs. The last time this happened, I was drinking Red Dog in Steve Berger's basement.

When they clinched this time, I was drinking water and nervously eating sunflower seeds while Vincent played with puzzles and Rose tried to help Peter through another bout with his unborn teeth. The moment Myers got the 3rd out and Harry Kalas almost erupted into tears, I yelled something unintelligible and kissed the other three very patient members of my family. Vincent followed suit and started yelling "YAAAY PHILLEEEEEZ" and I think Peter even starting screaming as well. His may have been teeth-related, but we'll just say it was his own little "M.V.P." chant for his idol, Jimmy Rollins. I know - he's only 5 months old and already has an idol. Weird. I told Rose that I should've popped open a beer and sprayed it all over the room but that probably would've been inappropriate.

Still - I feel a little bad that the boys had to endure me watching an entire game without the interruption of The Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins, Barney Goes to the Zoo or Little Bear. I appreciate it, fellas. Take solace in the fact that the games in the Division Series are either at 3pm or 10pm. You can also feel good that your Daddy's complaining days are over.

Go Phils.


1st Place

My Philadelphia Phillies haven't been in a situation like this since I was 16. Tied for first place with 3 games to play. Throw your good karma this way. Down with the Nationals. Down with the Mets!
Life is good.


Know When to Fold 'Em.

A couple of weeks back, I mentioned that I was growing a beard. Well those days are officially over. I guess it lasted about three weeks. Recorded responses that may or may not have led to it's demise:
  • Vincent: "After his shower Daddy will go and shave his beard."

  • Peter, through his publicist: "This is getting absurd. First I'm teething and now this. Do you see what it's doing to my cheeks? Does anyone have any moisturizer?"

  • Mom: "You definitely look older." (In the nicest possible way, though.)

  • Mother-in-law: "So still with the beard, huh?" (Also in a nice way...I think.)

  • Rose: "It hurts to kiss you."

That pretty much wraps it up. To see the only known photograph of my achievement, see below. I'm pictured with frequent Chachi Milk Comments contributer and owner/proprieter of http://www.robbloom.com/, Rob Bloom. He's shown feigning drunk after one Amstel Light on his 30th birthday. Or was he really drunk? The world may never know.



After a long overdue 6 weeks, I bring you Part 2 in Chachi Milk's Vacation Photo Essays. In our last installment, we visited Ocean City, New Jersey. Well, just a few short hours after we got home from that trip, we turned around and drove north for our first trip to Aunt Theresa & Uncle John's new Lincoln, Vermont chateau. I was only able to stay for about 30 hours (some little fella's birth ate up a large chunk of my vacation time....) but man were we active. Luckily, Rose and the boys were able to stay on for about 5 days and take it all in. The photos tell the story.

Just a few hours in, we walked a few hundred feet to this awesome creek. Vincent's desire to walk amongst the giant stones and uneven (but fairly shallow) water sent my patented Over-Protection Meter into a frenzy but it was such a cool place to be.

We visited a great cheesemaking (2 yr. old Vermont cheddar = ridiculous) farm and got our fair share of animal contact. Chickens roamed freely around your feet, cows could be milked, and they actually had a small "Guess That Poop" exhibit. I poop you not.

And you could sit on a giant, old tractor. What's not to love?

This family photo serves three purposes: 1. It's a cool family photo. 2. We wore Phillies clothing in Red Sox country. 3. It serves as the LOOK !PETER WAS THERE TOO! photo. When you can't walk around and touch animals, tractors or foliage, you just don't get in that many Vermont photos.

And lastly, what better way to cap off a chilly 57 degree August night in the mountains than by roasting marshmallows in your firepit. By the way - when we get our next house or ...even in this one, I'm getting a firepit. I mean c'mon. It's a firepit.

And that was Vermont. We can't wait to go back. We're probably gonna fly, though.