Buffalo Sucker, Ants and I Got Domesticated – How Was Your Weekend?

In case you don’t follow me on Twitter or Facebook, I finally wrote again at Bugs & Cranks. You can find it here.


Papa John’s Pizza wants me dead. My wife worked this weekend, so I figured I’d be healthy and eat peanut butter and jelly with the kids. But then I got an email from those murderers offering a $10 large buffalo chicken pizza, and dinner was decided. It’s supposed to feature chicken poppers, ranch sauce, bacon, onions and spicy buffalo sauce. If there was any buffalo sauce on it, they were very conservative on my pie. It tasted mainly bleh. I’m a sucker for anything jalapeno or buffalo. And Papa John’s sucked me and my clogged arteries right in to disappointment.

Gray’s been on a Halloween kick (I wonder where he gets it). While flipping through Netflix to find some fun Halloween-related, kid friendly show, he noticed The Nightmare Before Christmas. So we watched that, which pushed Tangled to the side and kind of irked Ellie. She’s been asking to watch it for days, and I haven’t seen it yet.


Gray woke up calling me Oogie Boogie and my wife, who just walked in fronm her night at the hospital, a witch. He must have dreamt about Halloween Town all night.


Oogie Boogie from The Nightmare Before Christmas. I can see a resemblance.

While my wife slept the kids and I played some games up until lunch and then a nap.

I made last-minute plans to meet a friend for some drinks and talk about life. Life’s hard. Like, it’s a bajillion times harder than I ever expected when I was 24. Thank you mother-in-law for taking me up on my late offer to watch the kids so I could go be with a friend. We both appreciate it.


“We go Disneyland today?” Gray asked right after I opened the door to the twins’ room to get them up. The hell? Between Disneyland and Angel Stadium, one of them asks to go to either place six of seven days.

To get them out of the house and let my wife get at least a few hours of quiet, I thought a trip to the Disneyland Hotel would be fun. It’d satisfy their thirst for Mickey and Minnie for the oh so low price of $0.

We walked around the hotel, they got their fix and we grabbed some lunch. Then we made our way over to Downtown Disney and eventually I was stupid enough to go through the bag check and towards the front of the park to tease their little hearts out. 

Disneyland Hotel rose garden. Hey, I've been there for a wedding.

Disneyland Hotel rose garden. Hey, I’ve been there for a wedding.

In October we are going to Mickey’s Halloween Party, a special event that you need to buy a separate ticket for. They kick everyone else out of the park that doesn’t have a ticket, have trick-or-treat stations, the villains walking around the park and it’s just a huge Halloween party. It’s awwwwwwwwwesome. Tickets are about $60 and include free parking, so that in itself is a deal. And all the regular rides are open. Anyway, I wanted them to see the pumpkin decorations for Halloween time at Disneyland.

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My tease turned into this pathetic shot.

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Gray was telling me we needed to get in the line behind him. I suck.

The kids were exhausted and I alternated carrying them back to the car, which never happens. When we got inside the house, Ellie said “Look at the tiny lady bugs.” I looked closer. Ants. FREAKING. EVERYWHERE. I threw the kids in their room, gave them a snack and started spraying. The trail ran from our front door, through the front room and into our living room. We’d only been gone for three or four hours. My wife woke up, I got the kids into their cribs for nap and we spent the next hour spraying, wiping, cleaning the floors. Ants suck. 

Since my wife worked we went to our first evening service at Saddleback. It was a little scaled back than the morning service. Most noticeably, Gray and Ellie were the only 2-year-olds and they had to share a room with the infants. When we picked them up, they were both jumping around in a baby walkers. And they loved it.

At night I helped my wife in her baking quest and got all domestic. Her mom works at a hospital and apparently the entire staff are diabetics. She’s on her fourth round of baking goodies to help raise money for team Iron Jax and the CHOC Walk. I helped make the pretzels. Which pretty much meant slathering them with melted chocolate and sprinkling goodies on them unevenly.

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Today is the last day to request an Iron Jax t-shirt ($10). If interested, let me know what size you want. It features this image, created by my great friend Sam Carter.

Iron Jax

Iron Jax

How was your weekend?

Habits of Happiness


Sunday surprise. Last week I mentioned that Rick Warren of Saddleback started his new series the Habits of Happiness. There were some points that I wrote I don’t do any of, and a few of you asked what those were, so I figured I’d share.

Laws of Happiness

To start, Warren said there are five laws of happiness to remember as he breaks down the series:

  • Don’t look for happiness, create it.
  • Happiness is not a goal.
  • Habits create happiness.
  • Happiness based on habits is long-lasting, where happiness based on happenings is short term.
  • Happy habits are just as addicting as bad habits.

Growing Healthy Relationships

Last week he focused on growing healthy relationships and identified four ways to do that. The idea here is that because relationships are so important to our lives, creating habits that result in positive relationships goes a long way towards being happy.

  1. Be grateful for the people in your life.
  2. Pray with joy for the people in your life.
  3. Expect the best from people in your life.
  4. Love the people in your life like Jesus does.

And finally, Warren provided several hints towards happiness:

  • Remember the best and forget the rest (develop selective memory, don’t well on negatives)
  • The quickest way to change a bad relationship to good is to start praying for the other person(s). Pray that they will grow in love, make wise choices, live with integrity and will become like Jesus.
  • Celebrate how far people have come rather than judging how far they still have to go.

I do like, two of these. I dunno. Just a random guesstimate. The point I’m pretty passive when it comes to controlling my happiness. I rely on others to make me happy. I let on circumstances to make me happy, or unhappy. I wait for good fortune to make me happy. To create your own happiness, to actively try to create positive relationships and not bitch about the people in your life you feel are doing you wrong is something I’ve never done. But I need to. I sit on my hands too often and wait for the universe to be good to me. Obviously, that’s not happening. It’s time to create.

Nice Little Saturday, Dexter Unplugged – How Was Your Weekend?


In our final Friday night Angel game of the year, the Angels beat the Seattle Mariners 3-2 in 11 innings. We didn’t stick around that long.

Speaking of Angels, I have plenty of games available in our season ticket pool. The seats are in section 240, Row A, seats 3 and 4. In simple terms, it’s the first row of the outfield seats towards right-center. If Mike Trout is roaming center field, you can yell at him and stare at his butt all game. So ladies, get in on this! Here’s a view from our seats on Opening Night.

panoramaopeningnightIf interested, comment below, email me, send me a message on Facebook, send a raven – whatevs.


We didn’t do much of anything. Really. Um…I took a nap. And it was glorious. At night we went to dinner at Macaroni Grill, along with half of every 14-17-year-old dressed up for Homecoming or whatever crappy high school dance they planned on attending. My wife hated her pasta, I loved my chicken parmigiana and Ellie and Gray dug coloring on the paper table cloth.

After a trip to Home Depot shopping for a new kitchen faucet…

(My life feels like this clip from Old School. “I don’t know if we’ll have enough time.”

…we hit up Yogurtland before heading home. I’m feeling Halloween-y so we tried to take the kids to one of those pop-up Halloween stores, but they’d just closed.


Rick Warren began his Habits of Happiness series, which I so desperately need to hear. Today he talked about your relationships, and how you view others is a first step in creating habits that lead to happiness. There were four main points, and I don’t do any of them. So I have lots to learn.

Gray started his period or something at lunch time, which bled (pun intended) into getting our haircuts, and then flipping out on me on our way home because I wouldn’t let him hold my phone in his car seat (which I never do). Earlier, he balled his eyes out and made me carry him throughout the house (which he never does) after my wife scolded him for not listening. It’s exhausting.


O’Hara’s Pub, Orange Circle.

Due to my wife’s work schedule, my parents are watching the kids over night. After I dropped them off I met up with a friend at O’Hara’s in the Orange Circle for some beers, football and catching up. If I were ever to have my own Cheers, it’d be at O’Hara’s. I friggin’ love that place on Sundays. Prices are reasonable, bartenders are cool and the crowd is always pleasant. Again, this is Sundays. It seems to get pretty crazy Friday and Saturday nights.

 I must be gettin’ old

I’m at the drive-thru
And I’m making my face
All fat fat fat fat fat
A Big Salty Tears

I first heard this song from Sublime, but they covered it from The Ziggens. And every time I go through Jack In The Box at night alone this song pops in my head.

So I did that, and then watched Dexter’s series finale.

Dexter Season 8

It was okay. Just like the rest of the final season. Fittingly, there are no warm fuzzy feelings at the end. And they didn’t show enough of Dexter’s nanny. I’ll keep it to that. I know not everyone watched it last night, and I’m sure it’s sitting on several DVRs. Feel free to reach out directly and we can nerd it up about the ending.

How was your weekend?

(T)GIF – Dancing Fool

Every night before bed Gray and Ellie sit on the couch with us, drink their milk and watch a little TV. Usually it’s America’s Funniest Home Videos. But when Dancing With the Stars is in season, it’s that. Gray has a serious man crush on host Tom Bergeron.

Last night, while Gray sat next to me on the couch, we witnessed Ellie dancing along to the show. Note the slight booty wiggle towards the middle.


(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 seth@smilingthroughtearz.com.

Xmas Wish List Begins and My First Trojan – How Was Your Weekend?


My wife was scheduled to return to work following some time off, but the NICU count is low now and the hospital is overstaffed, so she got the night off. Dinner transformed from likely peanut butter and jelly to “Let’s go to dinner!” We ended up at Claim Jumper for the first time outside of a Happy Hour in a while. Gray dug the checker board table.


Then we stopped by Costco to grab some supplies. Crammed for time, my wife hustled through aisles on a search while I strolled through the toy section with the twins. Triggered by the Christmas decorations already out, Gray started his wish list.

“I want that,” he said, pointing at a box of cars. “And that. And that. And that and that andthatandthatandthatandthatandthat.” He wanted it all.


I snapped photos on my phone as Ellie joined in our creating her wish list as well. She’s intrigued by Doc McStuffins. I’m still trying to figure out what the heck it is.


At dinner Friday my buddy Sam called and invited me to the USC football game. My wonderful wife put a call into her mom who awesomely agreed to watch the kids (thanks sooooo much, Judy!). For a noon game, I met Sam at his house at 8 a.m. I threw back a Jack-and-Coke before we left for pre-game festivities. So what if it wasn’t even 9 a.m. yet. JUDGERS!

I’m not a USC fan. In third grade, when I started to like sports, the UCLA Bruins caught my heart, and I’ve rooted for them ever since. But Sam is the head of the Design Studio at USC and I’ve never been to a college football game so I figured I’d go and support the Pac-12 against Boston College.


The only time I’ve been on USC’s campus was when I covered a swim meet at the USC pool while interning for the Orange County Register. This time, I was able to take in the beauty of the place. And with Trojans fans scattered under tree-supplied shade and green patches of grass, grilling, playing catch and throwing back some brewskis, this seemed like a beautiful thing. It made me regret not going away to college. I went to a commuter school and lived at home. Our school didn’t have a football team.

I set my phone to alert me of the UCLA vs. Nebraska score (Bruins destroyed the Cornhuskers after getting down 21-3) and we found our seats to bake in the sun. I really didn’t care if USC won or not. All I wanted was to chant FIRE KIFFIN, but USC found some game and beat up on a poor Boston College team, 35-7.


The experience as a whole was fantastic. Much love to Batchy for the tickets, Sam for the invite and his wife Rose for the company.


Rick Warren wrapped up his series “How to Get Through What You’re Going Through” with a tight bow – how to use your pain for good. At some point in the future I hope to expand on how others, and maybe myself (if I can get there), have used their loss experience to help others going through the same hell. Warren announced next week he’ll begin a four-week series “The Habbits of Happiness.” It sounds like it’s another sermon directed at me.

After a nap, Gray climbed (yes, climbed…he’s been doing this consistently lately, despite dropping his mattress to the floor) into Ellie’s crib where they gleefully played for 30 minutes. I came in to ask them to stop screaming when I found this.

They’re freaks.

How was your weekend?