Ellie is a Cat

I don’t remember when it all started. But for at least the last 18 months, Ellie has expressed her love for cats. We aren’t a cat family. At all. I mean, we don’t have any pets. But if we did, it’d be a dog. And my wife would make me sleep outside with it. I’m not ready for that, yet. So we don’t have pets.

If Ellie had her way, we’d have a cat. I asked her how many cats she wants when she moves in to her own place, and she said four – two orange, one white, one black.


Lately, she’s exhibited more and more cat-like behavior. It’s so incredibly obvious that she was a cat in an earlier life, or the fertility clinic spilled a drop of cat DNA in the Petri dish during the in vitro process. Here’s what I’m talking about.

She climbs everything: Jax wasn’t very daring, and Gray is a bull in a China closet, so we’re not used to this. Ellie is strong and agile with little fear. At 19 months she climbed stacks of hay to reach the top when we were at the pumpkin patch. A couple of months ago I went in to check on her and Gray playing in their room. Their toddler beds make an L shape if you turn that L to the right 45 degrees. She was standing where the two beds touch, as if she was Jimmy Superfly Snuka from the old WWF days. And then jumped, just like Snuka, on to the bed.

Lays like a cat: She likes to perch herself on the back pillow of the couch and lay on her side. Or, she’ll get on your lap, roll over on to her back and stretch out, as if she wants her belly rubbed.

And then she does stuff like this…

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Claws: Just the other day Ellie and Gray were play fighting. Ellie, who only knows 0 or 100 percent (there’s no in between) scratched his face with both hands. It left marks.

She loves tuna: Gray won’t even try the stuff, but Ellie will eat it straight from the can. When I’m prepping a sandwich, she comes over for a bite. No mayo. Just straight tuna. And she asks for it often.

She hisses: When she’s mad she sometimes hisses. Seriously.

On a Saturday about three weeks ago Ellie hit for the cycle with cat-like behavior. I sat on the couch and she laid on my lap and rolled around, stretched out. A little later she found a small ball my wife had out for a craft/project she was working on. It’s smaller than a quarter, light, but not felt. I have no idea what the material is. She was patting it around in her paws, I mean hands, back and forth. LIKE A FUCKING CAT! My wife and I laughed. The cat thing has been an ongoing observance for us, but this ball thing is new.

My mother-in-law was over, and she brought Ellie a Christmas charm bracelet (nothing expensive, 3-year-old appropriate). So later, on this same Saturday, we heard jingling. A few seconds later Ellie came running in to the living room where we were hanging out. She may as well be wearing a collar with a bell on it. As some cats do.

And to wrap it up, all on this same day, mind you, she asked for tuna for lunch and hissed at her brother over a toy. I made a joke about having a tongue like sand paper. And to be honest, I haven’t touched it, so it COULD exist, right?

I haven’t heard her purr yet. But I’m sure it’s in her. I haven’t tried petting under her chin yet.


My Kids are Thankful For….


My wife asked the twins what they were thankful for as part of a Thanksgiving project she’s making for family members. She tends to bring some sort of craft or art project to family at Christmas and Thanksgiving gatherings. And she always incorporates Jax.

Anywho, their lists gave me a chuckle, as I’m sure any list a 3 1/2-year-old creates, so I figured I’d share. Not all of these made the final list. Ladies first.

Ellie is thankful for:

  • Grayson
  • Movies (particularly Frozen and Cars)
  • Baseball
  • Turkey
  • Eating some food
  • Mom and Dad
  • Bears
  • Go Fish (the card game)
  • Shoes and crowns

Gray is thankful for:

  • Xbox (he doesn’t play it…ever)
  • Chicken
  • Liam (his cousin)
  • Going shopping with mommy
  • Having a turkey for Thanksgiving
  • For Santa’s hard work
  • Toys that fly like super heroes
  • Dad and Mom having a good time
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Batman
  • Baseball

And for Jax:

We are thankful for every moment with you.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.


Tootin’ My Wife’s Horn

The last ten days have been full of photographs in our family. Two weekends have been spent at some parks scouting photo locations as my wife is shooting friends ours for their family photos. Yesterday a friend of ours shot our photos in downtown Fullerton, which we’ll use as our Christmas card. Assuming she knows how to Photoshop away my extra chins.

I just wanted to brag a bit about my wife and her talents. A registered nurse professionally, her passion is being creative, and photography is one of those outlets for her. Below are some shots she took at Bommer Canyon Community Park in Irvine during a scouting trip. Just messin’ around.

You’re rad and talented, wife.

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Ellie Dumped Alex the Lion

breakup pic

Ellie broke up with her furry friend, Alex the Lion from the Madagascar movies. It seems the last straw occurred about three weeks ago, when we ate lunch at Super Mex following our trip to the pumpkin patch.

Somehow my wife, her mom and I ended up down the road of playfully teasing Ellie about Alex. I don’t remember the specifics. But she kind of shut down. After a couple of weeks I noticed she stopped begging to watch Madagascar. When she brought home friends from school (stuffed animals), she not longer brought Alex, but instead a dog or a mouse. Anything but the feline.

I asked her about it, but she instantly shut down and provided the simplest of answers. No, he is not her boyfriend anymore.

sad alex the lion

I’m thrilled she doesn’t have a boyfriend, real or fake. If I had may way, she wouldn’t date until she turned 30. But this whole thing makes me kind of sad. She LOVED him so much. She loved the movie. She loved dancing. And now that spark is gone.

My wife and I continued to ask her a few more times about Alex, but she constantly stone-walled us. We left it at that as we didn’t want to push the issue.

On Monday, as we sat on the couch before bed, I tried one more time. I asked her if we embarrassed her about Alex too much. She put her head down, her pony tail shot up like the other end of a seesaw. And she shook her head yes.

My heart sank to my stomach. For just a second. It was so sad. I apologized and rubbed her leg, hoping it’d magically make her feel better. It never does, though. Does it?

She’s different from Gray in this way, and a lot more like Jax. Gray has a pretty thick skin compared to his siblings. We can jab and poke and he’d just smile or wince and play along. Ellie internalizes it all. She takes it personally. It’s something I have to remember as she grows. I want her to talk to her mom and I when she’s struggling with feelings, and not bury or hide them deep within. If we embarrass her, she’ll shut down and be afraid to show her true self. Something I’ve struggled with my entire life.

Resting on a shelf above the computer I’m pecking away at is a sign:

A Dad is a son’s first HERO and a daughter’s first LOVE

Alex the Lion was her second love. And while, selfishly, I don’t mind having that love to myself, I hate that I/we were the cause of that love ending.

Tim Burton’s “Vincent” – Happy Halloween

First, thanks to the blog Broadcasting Sunny for bringing this to my attention. I loved it.

Secondly, my great friend Sam Carter and Popzilla Gallery have put together a Tim Burton collection based on the director’s films, and opening night is tomorrow! The Tearz family will be there in full force. Check it out if you can!


Finally, here’s the Tim Burton clip. It’s short, and totally worth watching today. Happy Halloween everyone!

Pumpkin Patch (Photos)

Work is beyond hectic this week. In lieu of a How Was Your Weekend, enjoy these photos from our excursion to Tanaka Farms last week to pick some pumpkins. We’ve made it a tradition to pick a pumpkin for each of us in the family. While picking their own, I believe it was Grayson (I’m probably wrong) thought picking a white pumpkin for our family in heaven was a good idea. And he was right. They picked one for Presley, Jax, Addison and Harrison. I bit my lip at the patch to fight off tears. No 3-year-old should know any of this.

Click on a photo to enlarge the image

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Ellie Has a Boyfriend

Once Gray’s story of his girlfriend, Hayley, began to flourish, Ellie felt left out. Not to be excluded, she told us about her boyfriend. He loves to dance. I think that’s all she really likes in him. And for Ellie, that’s all she really needs.

Having seen him, I can tell you he has flowing, brown hair. He has a solid group of friends, a good job and enjoys steak.

Ellie studied his dance moves and now executes them well for a 3-year-old. My parents had him over at their house one night a few months ago, to Ellie’s surprise. When she saw him, she blushed. A smile cemented her face. Here’s a photo of her beau.


Yes, my daughter’s boyfriend is Alex the lion from Madagascar.

I grilled Ellie, trying to find out why she likes him. Is he cute? She shook her head in disgust. Three questions later, with the attitude of a teenager, she told me she didn’t want to talk about it.

Her favorite flick is Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. She asks to watch “Madagascard” as she pronounces it, with a “D” at the end, just about every day. She replies with an “Awwwwwww” that tails towards a higher pitch when I tell her no. In the movie, Alex comes to find his parents. They call him Alekay. It didn’t take long for Ellie to start calling her king of the jungle by the same name.


Ellie’s preschool teacher talked to me about Ellie’s beast-of-a-man yesterday when I dropped the kids off at school.

“She is really into him,” she said with a sprinkle of surprise. Because, after all, it is a cartoon character.

But she is. Really into him.

The teacher lets her students to take home a stuffed animal/friend. The line leader, apparently designated via round robin, gets to pick their friend first. When Jax died, the preschool gave us Trixie, a maroon Triceratops Jax loved. This was his go-to selection from the class room. On Jax’s birthday my mother-in-law presented some stuffed animals as a way to give back to his teacher, who also happens to teach Gray and Ellie, to use in her class. One of which was Alex. The teacher, however, named it Jax. Coincidentally, Alex is Ellie’s favorite thing in the world. And she brings Alex (Jax in the class room) home at least once a week.

Last week she brought home a black dog with brown accents named Bailey instead. Someone else took Alex before she could. It was the girl who has a crush on Grayson. When I asked what happened, Gray said it wasn’t a nice thing to take Alex when Ellie wants him. Ellie genuinely seemed pissed. Not hurt or crying, but mad. Like, if this girl ever finds her own lovable furry friend, Ellie’s going to rip its head off and use it to paint a picture of Alex.

The next day at preschool, the teacher named Ellie the line leader. Alex was back in her grasp.

I’m kinda hoping this Alex the boyfriend thing lasts through high school. Then I won’t have to buy a shotgun.