We're at the beach!

After a very, very long trip that included objects nearly (but not actually) falling off the roof of our car and four hours of traffic, we're 85 miles from home in "America's Greatest Family Resort," Ocean City, New Jersey! I have to say that the boys were great on the trip. As for Daddy's roof rack skills - not so much.


The Zen of Peter

"That which flows into the stomach will one day flow out."

-Made up zen saying by Jim


Grocery List

Since about a year old, Vincent has struggled with weight. He's struggled to keep it on. He was born small and is just, flat-out, a lean kid. Couple that with his inherited inability to ever really relax (Sorry, buddy.), and some picky eating habits and you have a child that's consistently in the lowest depths of the percentile sea.

A quick note on "the chart" that these percentiles are measured from. It's about 30 years out of date. It supposedly was created from data collected between 1950 and 1979 in one small area in the United States. Now, you want me to believe that every kid after that, in every state, county and township in this country falls somewhere between 1 and 100 on that scale, all these years later?

I only sound bitter because we've been through the weight issue with 2 different pediatricians and a nutritionist. All have been well meaning but now it's getting to the point in his life where the doctors want Vincent to show considerable weight gain or we're headed to gastroville, which we don't want. He's a phenomenally intelligent and charming child and we know deep down that he's healthy but the doctors want us to prove to them that he can gain weight. Weird, right? We're incredibly aware of his eating habits and know the right things to give Vincent but as of today, we're officially in OPERATION FAT CELLS, 2007. Today the nutritionist gave us a month until the next check up to really load him up. So directly following the appointment, Rosalie headed to the greatest store ever, Trader Joe's, to supplement our already fat-heavy stash of foods. Listed below is our grocery list in its entirety.

Extra virgin olive oil (a staple in every healthy household)
Organic strawberry lemonade (for Mommy & Daddy when beer or water isn't an option. So that means, I'll never drink it.)
Joe's Kids lemonade boxes (for the beach)
Pasta (loaded with butter and cheese, of course)
Gorgonzola Gnocchi (Now we're getting to it. He loves stinky cheeses and he loves pasta. Why not combine 'em?!)
Macadamia Nuts (23 G OF FAT IN 1/4 CUP!!! Why didn't we think of this before!?)
Cooked, natural bacon
Blueberry ice cream (He loves fruit, so why not combine it with TONS OF CREAM?)
Vanilla almond granola bars
1 pint, heavy cream (for mixing with milk, yogurt or just chugging after a workout)
Swiss almond crunch cookies
Cool mint chip & chocolate brownie kids clif bars (lots o' calories, no preservatives)
Trail mix
chocolate peanut butter cups (I mean, who doesn't like peanut butter cups?)
Hash browns, frozen
white cheddar popcorn (surprisingly high in calories)
Garlic (We can't have vampires trying to sabotage Operation Fat Cells)
Hawaiian BBQ Potato chips (Am I reading this correctly? I didn't see these. Wait a second - I'm going to the cabinet....)
Sharp provolone (stinky and delicious)
Boursin w/ garlic & herbs (If the kid's not lactose intolerant now...)
Hummus (Another staple. He loves it.)
Power Muffins (You read that correctly.)
English muffins

So there you have it. Good thing Daddy got paid today. More to come later... Wish us luck! By the way, we're almost positive Peter will not face similar issues. They'll be making new charts that stretch into the 140th percentile for this guy.


Musicians Wanted

Local rocker forming band. In need of like-minded musicians to create original sound.

Influences include: "Yellow Submarine," "Row, Row, Row," "Old MacDonald," "Daddy's music," "A Pirate's Life for Me," Springsteen's Seeger Sessions (recent obsession), trashcan hand drumming, and Black Sabbath.

Adept at the old school echo microphone, Wiggles guitar, odd handheld drum-like thing, and tambourine. Will play spoons if needed. Will rap.

Interested? Contact Vincent at home (BEFORE 8PM!). Must be between the ages of 0 and 3. No synths. No egos. Looking forward to making history.



Check it out. I made myself into a Simpson. I know I've posted two Simpsons-related nuggets over the course of the past week but who cares? This is very cool. Click here to make your own.


The Faces, Pt. 2

Peter Wallace, 10 weeks...or so. I could take 30 photos a minute and get 30 different expressions. It's truly one of the best things about parenthood - seeing your kids learn their faces.


Let's all go to the movies.

So a few months back I was wondering when we'd get to take Vincent to his first movie. Well my friends, today was the day. Since Daddy's company just gave everybody 2 extra days off after the 4th of July out of the blue (Unprecedented, right?), we decided to make the most of the extra time. So after building it up for a few days, today we dropped Peter off at Mom-Mom's and caught a matinee of Ratatouille.

As far as first movie experiences go, ours was pretty mild. Vincent's mood for the morning wavered between unbridled excitement ("ARE THE MICE GONNA SING?! ARE THEY GONNA TALK TO YOU?! WHO'S RATAT AND WHO'S TOOEY?") and subtle apprehension ("Let's just stay home. You (meaning I) don't want to go to the movies. Let's just go to Mom-Mom's."). I can't blame him. His father (read: me) who used to throw up before going to the movies when he was younger because he was so excited/nervous. All things being the same, he did a great job.

We got popcorn and snowcaps and after a few minutes of checking things out in the lobby, got to our seats. I had to take him out to the hallway during the previews but once he was assured the actual movie was starting, he was good. He loved the Pixar short that started things off (as did Rose and I) about an inept alien trying to pull a sleeping child out of his rural, midwestern room via tractor beam but not quite knowing how to operate it. Pixar really knows how to pull of those simple, physical jokes.

We all enjoyed the first 40 minutes of Ratatouille but sadly, that's about all Vincent lasted. He liked watching the little devils scurry around and cook and evade shotgun blasts (not kidding) but having not been inundated with the characters beforehand on Sprout/Noggin/Playhouse Disney or through coloring books, sunglasses, sneakers, figurines, flatware or plastic cups, he had no point of reference. With that in mind, 40 minutes of sitting virtually still is pretty damn good for a kid who's not even 3. Rose and I have talked about going back on a date night because it was so against our guts to leave a good movie.

So we left and went to a nearby park, then back to Mom-Mom's to pick up Peter. All in all it was fun. For two parents who love movies and don't get to go much, 40 minutes was too little but obviously, it was perfect for Vincent. And to put it in perspective - I coulda been at work.

Photo captions: Vincent Simpson in the giant display for the Simpsons movie, Rose and Vincent (looking a little nervous) before the show started. Yes - I brought my camera to the movies. I only took pictures before the previews. I'm not thaaat bad.


Vincent - The Musical!

As someone who has always been obsessed with music, I've wondered if my kids would pick up that trait and how it would develop. I think I have an answer. It seems that at the ripe old age of 2 1/2, Vincent may share the unhealthy obsession (Unhealthy, Jim? Yes - I'm currently importing my CDs into iTunes. I've been at it for almost 2 years now.).

It's great. He's always running around the house yelling out a tune he can't seem to shake. This month it's been "Yellow Submarine." I mean, it's like 40 times a day. I'm not kidding. He could be playing, eating, walking up the stairs - whatever it is, it's accompanied by song. And it never gets old.

He even picks which car we're going to take by the musical choices. Mommy's car has the Beatles (Revolver, of course), the latest borrowed Wiggles CD from the library and some of Daddy's band's old music (Not my idea, I swear.). Daddy's car has the iPod, so the selection is vast ("Daddy have Row, Row, Row??"). In fact, I've created a playlist just for him because he's gone through so many musical phases and moods in his short time on this Earth. Here are some exerpts from the 50-track VJB Dance Party!!:

"Yo-Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)" - from the Disneyland Soundtrack

"Hot Dog!" - Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

"Toot-Toot Chugga Chugga Big Red Car" (and about 15 other Wiggles selections)

"Fibber Island" - They Might Be Giants (Daddy's personal favorite childrens' musicians.)

"Grey Squirrel" - an old folk song Mom-Mom sings to him when they see a squirrel outside (iTunes!)

"Hold on Tight" - Backyardigans (Greatest kids' show on TV)

"I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas - Gayla Peevey (Surprisingly enjoyable when listened to year-round)

And a really, really bad version of the Hokey Pokey that must be vanquished.

We're currently taking suggestions for new kid-friendly artists. The Dead Milkmen don't count, Kevin.