Stolen Rainbow, Gray’s Naked Girl and Decorating – How Was Your Weekend?


While hanging out at my sister’s house Friday night, Ellie, who brought her back pack full of goodies to show her cousin Liam, stumbled upon a small, square piece of paper with a rainbow drawn on it in marker. She asked me if she could keep it. I thought it was a temporary tattoo, so I said no. Not like it mattered what it was, though. Later in the night she asked me again. I told her it was Liam’s and that it needed to stay here. She didn’t ask me again.


The three amigos ran wild as 3-year-olds do. The boys dressed up as The Hulk and Spider Man while Ellie shamefully wore Liam’s bear costume from last Halloween. She forced a smile for the camera but seemed uncomfortable from the get-go in it.



Earlier in the day my friend Sam of posted a preview of a piece he created for POPzilla Gallery’s November 1 “The Burton Show,” which recognizes the films of director Tim Burton in the form of pop art. Sam called it Día De Los Rey Calabaza (Day of the Pumpkin King) as he mashed up Jack Skellington’s face from The Nightmare Before Christmas with the stylization of Dia De Los Muertos art (which I love, I mean who doesn’t?). I think I want this tattooed all over my body. EVERYWHERE.



My wife and I split the kids up Saturday for a couple of date nights. Ellie and I saw The Boxtrolls, which hit movie theaters this weekend, while Gray and my wife went shopping. Weird role reversal, eh? Gray seemed timid of those trolls in boxes. I think Ellie just went because she saw I had a box of Reece’s Pieces.


We both liked it. The visual splendor supports this unconventional children’s movie littered with made-for-adult jokes and a charming group of body-shamed trolls (thus the boxes). Oh, and it’s stop animation. Which in and of itself makes the move freakin’ amazing.

While we waited for our driver, Ellie’s eyes locked on a black limo parked outside the theater. Convertibles and limos. She loves them.



The kids and I played sidekicks to the decorating leading roles of my wife and her mom as they prepped the house for Halloween. Between Gray and Ellie, they said this was the best Halloween party ever about 33 times. At the end of the night they asked if we had to take down the decorations. Gray even wanted me to pass out candy if someone knocked at the door, because he had to go poop and couldn’t do it himself.

I asked the kids about their classmates, and what they were going to dress as for Halloween. Ellie had no idea. Gray said three of the girls were going as Elsa, Anna and the Little Mermaid. I asked what his girlfriend, Hayley, was dressing up as. He quietly said a naked girl.

I have to put in to context what a naked girl means, from his point of view. Ellie’s had a Party City costume magazine rolled up in that back pack of hers. In it is some sort of slutty Rainbow Brite girl who looks ready to drive out to Indio for a rave. Because her belly shows, they think she’s naked.

I asked Gray to show me a picture of the costume Hayley’s going to wear.


She’s just missing a glow stick and a pacifier.

Speaking of rainbows, remember that paper Ellie wanted to grab from her cousin’s house with the rainbow on it? She pulled it out of her back pack. Yep, she stole it. So we’ll be returning that to Liam at preschool on Tuesday. Sorry, Karis.

Oh, and I signed up to Pinterest while looking up Halloween decorations because they realllllllllllly want you to use their app, which requires registration. So for the few that started following me, know you’ll be disappointed. Unless you, too, are infatuated with a credit card sized knife that fits in your wallet.

Here are some shots of our Halloween decorations (I’ll post some night time photos on Instagram tonight). How was your weekend?

halloween20141 halloween20142 halloween20143 halloween20144 halloween20145 halloween20146

(T)GIF – It’s Almost October, Let’s Dance

As I’ve mentioned before, I love October. This weekend we’re going to decorate our house for Halloween. On Monday, Major League Baseball’s postseason starts (Angels play Thursday, people!). It wasn’t 75 degrees at 10 p.m. last night. October is on Wednesday. Let’s fuckin’ party.


(T)GIF is a regular Friday feature at Smiling Through Tearz. Know of an animated gif that makes you tinkle with laughter, cry or cringe that you think should be featured at STT? Let me know at

Card Counting, Final Angel Game and Corona Turns in to Charming – How Was Your Weekend?


On Thursday our Whirlpool washing machine, just eight years old, decided to piss all over our laundry room floor. It leaked from the bottom of it. I don’t know if it’s a hose, or a pump, or giggled its way through Gray Has a Girlfriend. And we won’t know until Friday when a service professional will finally check it out.

So I took some laundry over to my parents with the twins.

My dad’s teaching the twins to count cards. Or at least practice their number recognition. But they totally know the difference between a spade and a club.

elliecountingcardsIn this game, the twins decided that the joker was the Holy Grail. They beg my dad, the dealer, to dish out the card and flip out with excitement when they get it. 

jokerI imagine they’ll both be missing their thumbs before they’re 30. Thanks for the life lessons, dad. 


Gray has a huge imagination. Just look at his girlfriend Hayley. He’s either scripted this detailed back story of a character in his head, or he sees dead people. Some of you may think the latter (Hi, Janell).

Oh shit, check this out. Total swerve here, but follow along. On Wednesday I was digging for info on Hayley when Gray told me she died and went to heaven. I asked when she died, but he couldn’t answer. He did tell me he’s going to get a rope and climb up to heaven, though. He also said he wasn’t sad. However, Jax and Hayley don’t know each other. Weird shit, eh?

Anyway, Gray’s imagination. It’s big. I often catch him playing out some crazy scene with his food. He talks quietly and it also seems to involve intense action. I caught him on Saturday morning.

The night before, Kristina and her friends from work got all artsy at Painting with a Twist. The next morning the twins saw her canvas (you can find it on her Facebook page) and wanted to paint themselves. Here are some photos along with Gray’s spooky-ass masterpiece. Ellie pretty much mixed a bunch of colors and filled the entire space, so I didn’t snap a photo of it.

paintblobs elliepaintedfingers twinspainting graypaintedpicture elliefingerpainting

Kristina and her mom made some treats for an ongoing sale of goods at her mom’s work to raise money for Iron Jax for the 2014 CHOC Walk. So I took the kids, along with my dad to their last Angel game of the season. I only have two season ticket seats, so I bought four from the Angel Ticket Exchange.

Feeling cheap, we sat in the first row of the upper deck. If you haven’t held a 35-pound toddler in one hand and a tall boy Modelo can in another while trekking down those steep steps to your seats in the very front row, just imagine jumping off the edge of the Grand Canyon. Because that’s pretty much what I imagine it to be.

Ellie, blinged out to the bling with her Angel blinging bracelet, called Mike Trout’s home run before he hit it.


And the Angels won 8-5. Gray shook off some social anxiety jitters (large group of people making a lot of noise) and we all had a super fun night.


A kid behind us, maybe about 9-years-old, replaced Angels with Dodgers in the “Let’s go Angels” chant towards the end of the game. Gray wasn’t having any of that crap. He let it go the first time, but when round two started, Gray turned around and said “ANGELS” firmly and directly to the kid. His dad laughed that this 3-year-old was sticking up for his team. But I think he was just correcting the kid. He’s got that part of Jax in him.

I updated my iPhone with iOS8, which now has a time-lapse feature for the stock Camera app. So I tried it out during the fireworks show. Obviously, find a flat surface when you decide to use it. I’m sorry if you puked all over your work computer watching this.

During the game, at 7:51, I got a text from Kristina to find out why there was traffic on the 15 freeway. Oh, it’s just because the Hells Angels and Mongols turned Corona in to Charming five minutes from our house at the El Cerrito Road exit of the 15.


There’s a rumor flying around town that earlier that day, a truck operated by a Hells Angels member ran over one Mongol on a bike, then backed over another. Where’s Wayne Unser when ya need him?


Sunday I took the twins over to my sister’s house to visit their new cousin. I had the pleasure of holding her for about an hour while she slept on my cozy man boobs. Ellie, so anxious to hold baby Claire, backed off a bit once reality set in. She had no idea what to do with her hands.

ellieclaire ellieclaire2

How was your weekend?

(T)GIF – The Dude

It’s Friday. The weather is finally cooling down a tad in southern California (omg it’s under 90, let’s wear scarves). And the Angels won the division.

It’s time to party, people.


(T)GIF is a regular Friday feature at Smiling Through Tearz. Know of an animated gif that makes you tinkle with laughter, cry or cringe that you think should be featured at STT? Let me know at

Gray Has a Girlfriend


Around May, my 3-year-old son, Gray, started talking about his girlfriend. Matter-of-factly, he’d wedge her in to conversation. Like it was an achievement. He was being humble, but wanted us know to know he had one.

As curious parents, my wife and I peppered the boy with questions about this lady friend. Over the course of the last several months we’ve developed a pretty good idea of who this girl is, based on eerily consistent and specific answers to our questions. And now, I present to you Grayson’s girlfriend – Hayley.

Gray met 2-year-old Hayley at B.J.’s Restaurant and Brewhouse. If you take him there he will show you the booth she ate at. She has brown hair and brown eyes. And she lives in a hotel.

She was supposed to meet us at Roman Cucina in Fullerton for a Mother’s Day dinner, but never showed. Gray seem more relieved than hurt that she flaked on him.

While watching a Brewers’ tee-ball game in the spring, Gray pointed out a father from the other team. As we sat on the bleachers, having not discussed Hayley at all, he told me that this father, dressed in a bright orange construction shirt with jeans and tan boots, locked Hayley in a cage. Gray saved his woman when he pushed this man in to a mud pie. A couple of months later he mentioned parts of this same story. With the same details. Stoically. And I have no idea what a mud pie is.

On Saturday, when we left the Harbor House Cafe, a woman in her early 30s with purple hair pulled her Bentley in to the parking lot. Gray told me that he colored Hayley’s hair red and called her Roxy. I was afraid to probe him further on this anecdote.

Now, Hayley has competition.

A girl in his preschool class has taken a keen liking to our boy. She has black hair with a fuzzy caterpillar for eyebrows. My wife said yesterday when she dropped the twins off in their class, said girl rushed to welcome Gray. We’ve asked if he still has a girlfriend, and who it is. And he firmly says it’s still Hayley.

But to be fair to this girl, really, how could she compete with Hayley? She lives in a hotel, she likes one of Gray’s favorite foods (pizza), she colors her hair and even goes by different names to spice things up. And she’s never around. Sounds like marriage material to me.

Water Play, Snapped and a New Niece – How Was Your Weekend?



Ellie is a natural athlete. She has good hand-eye coordination, fantastic motor skills and excellent balance. She’s pretty strong, too. Whereas Gray needs hard work and a passion to reach his goals, Ellie picks up new things naturally and gets it. The most obvious illustration of this is baseball.

Typically Ellie would rather watch Gray swing off the tee or play catch. She’s indifferent to the whole thing. Meanwhile, it’s Gray getting in the extra hacks as he roleplays as Mike Trout with the Angel game on in the background. His clunky swing has shown some improved results, but it’s better designed to wield a sword.

So when Ellie grabbed the tee, set it up in the kitchen and said she was going to hit a home run like Mike Trout, I felt warm fuzzies all over. Gray cheered her on from the couch with a red foam finger and an Angels knit cap.

Between swings she’d read the score, which has become a hobby of hers over the past couple of weeks. Most of the time she’s correct. She even knows the Angels’ top three hitters, in order: Kole Calhoun, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. Josh Hamilton’s been hurt since forever, or else she’d probably know him, too.

Below is a clip of our night.


To beat the heat while my wife slept off a hospital shift I took the kids to my parents’ house for water play. Gray and Ellie bounced around from different inflatables filled with water while rocking out to the Frozen channel (it’s all Disney songs) on iTunes Radio.


We just hung out, got wet and enjoyed a few hours in the sun. It was nice. Gray had a good time, I’d say.


“This is a real fun party,” Gray enthusiastically said. Four different times. Ellie agreed.

“This is the best party of the year!” she shouted. No idea why they thought it was a party, but they had a blast.


Our plan was to go to the beach all day. But the thought of crowds, sand and constant heat kept us at home. Instead, my dad and I took the kids to the beach for dinner.


We grubbed at Harbor House Cafe in Sunset Beach. Our shakes melted within minutes of hitting the table and my burger, requested as medium, came back black. Once past the edges it wasn’t as bad, but the taste of the meat itself completely lacked. It tastes way better at 1 a.m. after a night of drinking. Or breakfast. Get there before noon and you’re likely to be okay.


Afterwards we drove up to Seal Beach and walked on the pier. They got their feet in the sand a bit, we snapped some sunset photos headed home.





From what I can only assume was the result of an exhausting Saturday, Ellie woke up with rage. She started off okay before losing her shit.


I was in the bathroom getting ready and Gray was laying in a toy doggy bed pretending to be a dog. He got up and Ellie swooped in. Eventually they shared until Gray knocked her on the head or something. It wasn’t anything serious, but he wanted the doggy bed back. While he rest on his right side, head on the ground, Ellie got up on her knees, her Hello Kitty wrist wallet in hand, lifted it over her head and viciously brought it down to the bath mat just to the right of Gray’s head. She missed.


But she didn’t miss the second time. She did the same thing, clocked him on the forehead and sent Gray, normally a pretty tough kid, running crazy. I put Ellie in time out and went to comfort Gray. Blood ran from his head. Oh shit she beat him good. Kristina patched him up while I tried to deal with Ellie. Inside the wrist wallet was a plastic hot dog, a key chain and a toy baby bottle. Whatever it was that got him got him good.

graycutGirls are insane.

My sister manufactures bowling bowls designed as babies, and she delivered her second at 3:21 p.m. Claire Anna, my niece, weighed 10 pounds, 8 ounces and is 21 inches long. Her son, Liam, was about 9 1/2 pounds. I spent most of the day at the hospital waiting for chubs to visit the world while my wife made sure Ellie didn’t boil Gray’s Pluto stuffed animal for dinner.


It’s hard being at that hospital. I mean, I’m soooo happy for my sister and her husband and I’m excited to have a niece and a girl for Ellie to grow up with. Thrilled that mom and baby are completely healthy. But Jax died next door at CHOC. and we should have had one baby in April (miscarriage in 2013) and should be due for a December delivery (miscarriage in April). But as you recall, I’m pretty good at pushing my shit down, so I did that, focused on happy times for my family and waited for my own melancholy and infinite sadness for my ride home. And hoped our chance would come again.

(T)GIF – Best Gif Everrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Hat tip to my buddy Will who found this on The Chive and brought it to my attention. There are no words to describe it. And I have no idea what movie it’s from. Just enjoy the glory.

Best Gif Ever

(T)GIF is a regular Friday feature at Smiling Through Tearz. Know of an animated gif that makes you tinkle with laughter, cry or cringe that you think should be featured at STT? Let me know at