Fake Baseball Playoffs, Gettin’ Halloween-y and Daddy Can’t Dress the Kids No Mo – How Was Your Weekend?


Ian and I didn’t leave Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights until 2 a.m. That’s what happens when it takes 2 1/2-hours to get there from Orange, the place is packed with college kids and lines take two hours. After traffic leaving the venue and dropping him off, my head didn’t hit my pillow until 4 a.m. I woke up at 6:30 a.m. And that’s late for me.

So I slugged on at work. Minus the foggy spells, occasional nausea and yawns, I held up okay. I don’t know how my wife and other night workers do this. You craze.

My wife worked so I ordered Papa John’s. My kids get so friggin’ excited anytime a pizza delivery person comes. It’s like it’s their new best friend.


Trying to soak up Halloween time, I thought it’d be fun to show them the Disney animated short film The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. I was obsessed with this as a kid. I made the mistake of laying on the couch to watch it with them. I woke up two-thirds into it after Ellie kicked me in the stomach. Here’s a link to the flick if you haven’t seen. And please, read the comments. Please.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big baseball geek. Our Strat-o-Matic league began the playoffs, and since I won my division, I got to play in the Divisional Series. My team, which won 91 games, beat the best team in my league, which won 116, Friday night thanks mainly to Mark Trumbo’s two three-run home runs in Game 4 of the series. His second home run came in the bottom of the 9th with two outs as I was losing 5-4. So yeah, I’m pretty in love with him right now. We are looking to fill some openings in the league, so hit me up if you’re interested.

So, so phalic.

So, so phalic.


The kids wanted to play with blocks. Apparently they went to the Architectural School of Dr. Seuss.


With my wife asleep to prep for night two at the hospital, I needed to get the kids out of the house, so we went to Party City to shop for my Halloween costume. Which they didn’t have. After lunch at Wendy’s (I made Ellie try a french fry dipped in a chocolate frosty. And she liked it. It thought it was bleh.) we tried the local Halloween store. Gray was fickle about going, because he gets scared.

We parked, and both kids wanted me to hold them. I explained I couldn’t, but they didn’t want to go home. As we approached the entrance I picked Gray up, because he was panicking, and held Ellie’s hand. Turn up the volume in this video to sense the fright.

We entered the door and immediately zombies, skeletons and monsters surrounded us. Gray dug his face into my shoulder as I hurried down an aisle of kids costumes. We found the adult section, and again I couldn’t find the costume I was shopping for.

I let them look around a bit, then got them outside to leave. Ellie and I were heading for the car and Gray turned around and wanted to go back in. I told him he was scared and I wasn’t going to carry him, and that if he wanted to go back in he’d have to walk like a big boy. He thought about it for a few seconds and then headed in. Alone.

Watch how Gray just OWNS the store now with his new-found courage.

Gray is fascinated by skeletons playing guitars. And he came across this dandy, although it’s a banjo. And then Ellie broke out in some sort of jig.

With Gray’s fear gone, he went crazy. We searched every aisle, cautiously aware of the zombies, but not freaked out by them like before. He found an ax he fell in love with. Then he planted an Indiana Jones hat on his dome, called it a cowboy hat, and then hacked away at zombies, the floor and innocent store patrons.

Gray was pissed we didn't take these home with us.

Gray was pissed we didn’t take these home with us.

Ellie sassed her away around the store, now uber comfortable as well. She’d yell at me from across the store, prance in a mirror and then threw on this cowboy hat. We spent an hour and 15 minutes in that store. And it took a ton of convincing to get Gray to leave.

Hand on the hips???? ***facepalm***

Hand on the hips???? ***facepalm***

At dusk we strolled through our neighborhood to find homes decorated for Halloween. It took us down a perpendicular street to two toddlers playing next to one of the more lit-up houses around us. The boy in the Batman shirt was 3 and the girl, Brooklyn, was close to 3. Gray walked up in his Superman shirt already into this. They ran around and played awkwardly, as toddlers do, for thirty minutes. Brooklyn’s mom loaded my kids up with juice boxes, which they rarely ever have, and we walked back home for dinner.

Kids digging our neighbor's Halloween decorations.

Kids digging our neighbor’s Halloween decorations.

After the kids went to bed my Strat-o-Matic team started the next round of the playoffs, the League Championship Series. I lost the first game 5-4, and the second 4-1. So ya. That Friday night high from Mark Trumbo was fleeting. Oh, and the big jerk got hurt grounding out and is now out the rest of the series. I’m screwed.


In another effort to get the hell out of the house and let my wife sleep in silence, I took the kids to Tom’s Farm to check out the pumpkin patch.

“Where’s Tom and his farm?” Gray asked on the drive there.

I thought it’d be fun and easy to throw some wife-beaters on the kids and go. I mean, it’s a frickin’ pumpkin patch in deep Corona, right? My wife thought it was horrible as she scrolled through the photos on my phone later that night.

Ellie getting to work.

Ellie getting to work.

“We’re not white trash and we’re not homeless,” she said. I laughed. She didn’t.


Ellie picked up like 10 pumpkins before I banned her.

Ellie picked up like 10 pumpkins before I banned her.

Getting her coloring on.

Getting her coloring on.



From behind, it's a mini Jax Teller.

From behind, it’s a mini Jax Teller.

As we left Gray kept asking to see his new friend Brooklyn. Neither kid wanted to go home yet, so I negotiated some play time with their new friends if they were outside playing at their house. As we approached their houses we creeped by like an ominous vehicle in South Central neighborhood in the ’90s. They weren’t out playing so we went home and took a bath, then a nap.

At night we went to church, dropped the kids off at my parents for a sleepover and went on a date. To Lucille’s for dinner, and then home. My wife was exhausted, I was still sluggish from my two hours of sleep early Friday morning and really, just being together without kids is a big enough win for the both of us at this point.

Mickey’s Halloween Party is coming up this Wednesday, along with a trip to the pumpkin patch at Tanaka Farms. Also, keep your eye out for Jax’s second year of Halloween this week.

How was your weekend?

Unemployed, Ellie Knows My Name and Rick Warren Comes to Corona – How Was Your Weekend?



I’m officially laid off. Those of us left in the office spent our last hours clearing out our desks, turning in keys and idling around while we waited for our flexible time off checks to arrive. I didn’t notice any tears, except for the customer service rep from sales that seemed to take it really hard. Their jobs are safe, for now. She wept for us while we wore our “it ain’t no thang” faces. I think we were all more focused on getting our drank on.

Down to the parking lot we moved, where one festive co-worker brought a flavored Malibu Rum bottle. Another grabbed a Coke from the vending machine and plastic cups from the kitchen. We stood in a circle sipping on a taste of summer. In essence, this was our collaborative sigh. All the stuff that we’ve endured for the past five months, five years or decades, for some, is behind us. We’re free to move on. To what, we don’t know. And that part’s scary. But we’ll all find our paths. And we’ll look back on this as a forced blessing.

A yard of Bud Light, from the Yard House.

A yard of Bud Light, from the Yard House.

We moved the party from the parking lot to the Yard House where I got the small beer pictured above. Remember the famous scene from When Harry Met Sally? I think the lady in the background is planning a remake.

My wife worked so the twins and I hung out with the family of one of her co-worker’s. On the way there, I flipped the radio to the Angel game to catch the final frames. During a commercial break I switched back to music, and Gray was not pleased. He’s really good at whining, so that started as he moaned “More Angels.” I tuned it back and as the game returned, Gray began a “Let’s go Angels” chant. This was new. He kept repeating it to the point of annoyance. I tried to mix in some clapping for him, and showed him how.

“LET’S GO ANGELS!” clap clap clapclapclap. He told me that was silly. A few minutes later he slapped his leg in a display of “Okay, I’ll clap, but I’m just using one hand, and it’s still silly, Dad.”

At the house our friend made us and his five kids a breakfast dinner. Ellie loves her some pancakes and Gray, while pretty picky, can’t deny him some sizzled bacon, so it was a good fit. We chowed. The kids played. And it was an uneventful night at the hospital for our wives. It was a good night.


“Are you Seth?” Ellie asked me during breakfast. I stared at her blankly.

“Huh?” I replied.

“Are you Seth?” she repeated.

“Yes,” I answered. She shouldn’t know my name. The hell?

“I’m Ellie,” she said. “That’s Gray.” She tilted her head to her right. That was the whole conversation. Twilight Zone shit.

My wife's party favors.

My wife’s party favors.

We celebrated my brother-in-law’s success in school and a recent job working in the field of environmental science. My wife and her mom, never the ones to simply blow up some balloons and order a pizza, threw together a school-themed party featuring brown-bag covered books, globes, lined brown paper (found only in elementary schools) as place mats and a photo booth filled with props.


I was getting Ellie dressed to head off to our second trip to Saddleback Church. As I pulled a summer dress over her head and straightened it out, I saw too much exposure up top. Since my wife didn’t like my idea to tape the top like the celebs do on Oscar night, we switched dresses. Which is increasingly becoming a problem.

“I no want to where that dress from Target” Ellie scowled. She’s 2. Almost 2-and-a-half. Her grammar blows but she sure knows her fashion. I don’t even know where the dress came from. Somehow I got it on her and we got out of the house.

Rick Warren, Saddleback’s lead pastor, decided to attend the Corona campus today. And he brought a whole mess of other people with him. Last week there were 500 attendees between two services. This week that number catapulted to 1,200. He jumped on stage to worship, spoke to us before the video sermon aired and dawned some board shorts after the service for baptism. It was cool and all, but it’ll be nice not to have to hunt for a seat next week.

After naps the twins and I met my sister, her husband and my nephew at Tom’s Farms to let the kids explore and munch on some tasty burgers. We found them finishing up a train ride which was right next to a raised stage. Gray and Ellie feel super at home on stage and spent most of the night running, jumping and dancing on the platform.

My wife’s grandpa built them a stage last Christmas to feed into their love of performing The Lumineers songs. Enjoy this video from Christmas night.

Man, they look little.