Sunday, February 10, 2013

FREE Minecraft Valentines!

I recently had a ‘proud dad’ moment when my daughter recently asked if I could make some Minecraft Valentines for some kids at her school. 

We’ve been playing the Minecraft Pocket Edition on our iPads the past few months now and she just loves it. 
And I can’t get enough of it either - it’s strangely addicting.

Here they are to share with friends this Valentine’s Day. And in a true CTD fashion, there’s one with a little Lionel Richie nod…
(click to print)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Day Santa Died

While waiting in a crowded line to see Santa, my daughter casually turned to me and said, “Hey Daddy, you know that Santa isn’t…”

It was just about then that everything went into slow motion.

The words jumping off my daughter’s lips, the shock on my wife’s face, the other kids within listening distance with the baffled looks; the expression on the other parent’s and grandparent’s faces.

Even the small dog wearing a sweater in a nearby pet stroller had the look of disgust.

As my daughter continued going on about “the 4th graders on the playground”, I quickly picked her up and moved her away from the area – for her own safety of course.
When we settled on a far enough place, we had a small conversation about those other children at school and the now low probability of them ever getting and iPad Mini for Christmas with that kind of talk.
At the same time a part of me died a little inside knowing my little girl is growing up way faster than I ever imagined.
Those years spent with excitement over meeting Santa and telling him how ‘extra good’ she’s been are pretty much over at the age of 7! How does this happen? When did 0-6 become the golden years of childhood?

Oh yeah, 4th graders on the playground. They’re to blame.

If I were the sheriff of this town, I’d have those kids locked up and then I’d put the key around the neck of that little dog with the sweater to guard it. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Whole Lot of Random Life Bits

Where does the time go? Seems like most of my life these days is recorded more on Instagram (@TonyCTD) or the hundreds of drawings/paintings my kids put up on the refrigerator, which by the way, can get a little overwhelming since something always seems to fall off if you just look at it.

Siblings: They’re Born to Annoy Each Other

A few things have changed now that my son is now 2 and a half. He’s mastered the art of annoying his sister. Two of the biggest problems going on right now:

•    When my daughter doesn’t “share” all of her food or dessert, he’ll cry and say “She HIT me!”
•    A few times she’ll come running to me practically crying saying, “He won’t stop pointing at me!” and then he’ll calmly walk into the room, while pointing at her.

Santa: Just Send Money?

There’s a part in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” where Sally has Charlie write a letter to Santa that I remember vividly. What I didn’t know is that I would experience that conversation nearly first-hand with my daughter’s recent visit with Santa:

Santa: So what do you want for Christmas?
Daughter: An iTunes gift card.
Santa: An iTunes gift card?
Daughter: Yes, for at least $25.

Grandpas: Their Dramatic Love Lives…

This has been a bit of a tough year with my daughter, as she doesn’t have a living grandmother like all of her friends.  My wife’s mother passed nearly 10 years ago and my grandmother, the one that raised me, passed away soon after my wife and I were married 13 years ago. It’s something that’s really been upsetting her the past few months, but we are fortunate with one amazing godmother that she sees multiple times a week and who has gladly been an amazing grandmother-type to both kids.
She does have a grandfather on each side of the family and both are under some weird circumstances where they’re both now living with their “lady-friends.” 

My daughter had asked me the other day, “So when grandma’s die, grandpa’s get lady-friends to live with them?”
I never, in a million years, thought I would have that kind of conversation with my 7-year old.

Dad Moment: Learning to Ride a Bike

There are certain moments with my kids that I know I going to remember forever. One of them happened recently when we finally took the training wheels off my daughter’s bike.
I ran up and down the street behind her, which by the way was exhausting! Obviously, I haven’t done any marathon training in awhile. Anyway, all was worth it as she was balancing on her own.
Then came the realization that my little girl is growing up way too fast.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Most Random And Questionable Halloween Costumes…

Now that Halloween is getting closer, we finally broke down and took the kids costume shopping.

My son is pretty easy; any superhero character for him is fine. In fact, most of his pajamas are some type of superhero costume complete with capes and all. I can honestly say that the kid has been ready for Halloween for the last 6 months.
We ultimately settled on “The Hulk”, primarily because he likes to punch and destroy things and I think green muscles on a 2-year old is pretty funny.

And as a bonus, it’ll make good pajamas for him until Thanksgiving.

As for my daughter, that task was much more difficult as she doesn’t want to wear anything that even resembles a Princess or what could be portrayed as a ‘baby’ character. What a difference a year or two makes.
And what makes it even more difficult, as I’ve mentioned in the past, girl costumes can be pretty borderline with being too adult.

In our search of constant “No’s” and “I don’t think so's”, I couldn't help but to notice a costume trend going on this year -- extremely strange costumes that had me saying to myself, “Seriously??"

Princess Leia Angry Bird
"Girls Oscar the Grouch" - is she suppose to be trash or eaten...?
"70's Lounge" - I'm pretty sure that's a kid pimp costume...
"Peanut Butter & Jelly"
"Plug and Socket"
"Kid Pageant Dress"
I guess one could accessorize this with a Mountain Dew/Red Bull and be Honey Boo Boo...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Martha Stewart: American Made. Just Like a Texas Truck built in Mexico

America is pretty innovated.

We’ve created such life-changing inventions here like iPhones, Airplanes, Jazz Music, Chicken in a Bucket, Prozac, The Internet, and Lionel Richie. 

It’s all pretty amazing when you think about it. And if you take a Prozac you can really sit back and think about it some more. 

So imagine my excitement when I find out Martha Stewart is encouraging new inventive creators by running a contest honoring those entrepreneurs who are making just plain cool products?

Then I discovered that one of my favorite designers-turned-mom, turned-mom-designer makes it into the top 100 finalists out of thousands of applicants with her super swanky, Eco-friendly mobiles and wall art.

Can you vote for her to win this (please?)
You can vote once per day through Sept 24th.

Her shop of Modern Modular wall art, bunnies, robots, kittens, and robot kitten bunnies…

Maybe one of these days she'll make a Lionel Richie mustache one or a bucket with floating chicken pieces - both perfect for any nursery or home office.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Problem With Cookie Monster…And Coloring Pages

I’m not sure when it happened, but my son has somehow developed a downright fear of Cookie Monster.

I never really put much thought into it, but for a 2-year old Cookie Monster is pretty scary. He’s extremely violent when eating cookies, has a pretty scary raspy voice, has those crazy cross-eyes, and his name literally has the word “Monster” in it.

Come to think of it, Elmo would be much different if his name were “Elmo MONSTER.” I don’t think kids would like him as much.

Just yesterday my son was misbehaving and I said to him, “Don’t do that or else…Cookie Monster is going to pay you a visit...”

His near immediate reaction was, “I sorry! I be good!!”

Now if I had said, “Don’t do that or else Elmo is going to pay you a visit.” He probably would have punched a hole in the wall, set it on fire, all while smiling the entire time waiting for Elmo to come out and give him a great big hug.

See – not the same.

The more I think about it… Sesame Street could really capitalize on his scariness to teach good with some simple coloring pages:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

7 is Practically a Grown Up!

(It's that time of year! My annual letter to my daughter on her birthday...)

Happy 7th Birthday Miss B!

I couldn’t contain my smile as you told me this morning, “7 is practically a grown up!”
It did brighten me up after our conversation last night just before you went to bed when you told me, “Daddy, this is the last night I’ll be 6 years old, forever.”

A few things you did this past year that I’m going to remember:

•    Telling me you now know what you want to be when you grow up: a teacher during the day, a waitress at night, and a veterinarian on the weekends.
•    After your first day of 2nd grade, asking if you could please change your name to “Jennifer.”
•    You waking up and getting your little brother up too. And sometimes making him breakfast and/or starting a parade through the house right at dawn.
•    Riding rollercoasters, specifically your favorite one, Thunder Mountain at Disneyland 4 times in a row.
•    That biggest smile in the world you give when I let you drive the Duffy boat in the bay.
•    Wanting to learn how to play a cigar box guitar made by a guy named “Mr. Bob.”
•    Our negotiations for a dog. The one that you promise that you’ll feed, clean up after, walk, and brush hours a day that I won’t even have to even touch…(rolls eyes)

Your favorite things at this moment:

•    Your iPod Touch and all of the games and music on it.
•    Sleepovers at your best friend’s house.
•    Watching that movie “Xanadu” over and over, and over again.
•    YouTube vides clips of old musicals.
•    Favorite restaurant is still “Souplantation” after all of these years!
•    Playing games on the iPad with your little brother.
•    Making the most unusual but interesting crafts.
•    Playing restaurant waitress at home, in the car, and at real restaurants.
•    Going to the beach, playing in the sand, our family hikes, picnics, and bunk beds.
•    Tweety Bird, Snoopy, Totoro, Hello Kitty, and a collection of stuffed animals and pillow pets. 
•    Taylor Swift, The Band Perry, Lady Antebellum, Adele and some song called “Dynamite” that you play a little too much…

I’m going to miss that 6 year-old forever, but can’t wait to make some memories with this amazing 7 year-old that’s practically a grown up.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Something Special for Mother's Day

Apparently my original plan of flowers, some crafty coloring pages made by the kids, and brunch at the local KFC followed by a trip to see "The Avengers" isn't going to cut it.

My wife has been dropping not-so-subtle hints over the last few weeks talking a lot about my iPad and how she "needs" one. And how much easier it would be to not have to turn on a laptop to search on important topics like "what's Lionel Richie up to on Twitter."
She even forwarded me a marketing email from Apple last week saying something like, "Forward this to your husband so he knows you want an iPad for Mother's Day" with a picture of a mother and daughter hugging and laughing.

I personally think they're happy because they just went to see "The Avengers" and had a meal at KFC.

Oh well...

As for the card, I'm going with the classic I made a few years ago--

Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Another Drop in the Bucket List

Do you have a bucket list? I do. And one of the many items on my list was riding a mechanical bull, preferably somewhere in Texas.

My first attempt at this dream was about 9 years ago in San Antonio while the wife and I were visiting some good friends out there. But unfortunately things didn’t quite end up as expected as we both came down with some really bad food poisoning from a Tex-Mex restaurant.
Although, all was not lost as I was able to visit the Alamo and ask a friendly guide where the basement was (another check off that bucket list.) That was also the day I saw a transvestite with a cowboy hat, big blonde wig, and really hairy legs help open the bathroom door for my sick wife (not on the bucket list.)

He/she was really considerate despite the bad choices in western wear.

For my birthday this year, my (amazing) wife surprised me by taking me to a place called “Big Bubba’s Bad BBQ” in Paso Robles, CA. and wouldn’t you know it – they’ve got a mechanical bull! A REAL one, not one of those fake ones found at the 20-something hipster bars out here in West Hollywood or Universal CityWalk.

Some facts I’ve discovered about mechanical bull riding many may not be aware of:
  1. Minimum age to ride is 6-years old. Yes, “6”. No, I’m not joking. I asked my daughter if she wanted to try and she replied, “Hells No!” Well, not really. She just cried and ran away.
  2. They make you sign a waver saying that if you get sent to the hospital or die, it’s your fault because riding a bull, real or fake, is really dangerous and should NEVER be attempted by humans, ever.
  3. You get quite an AB workout. Seriously, after my 8 second ride, my abs felt like they were totally ripped. Until I actually checked them and discovered they weren’t.
  4. Mechanical bull riding looks much EASIER on T.V. I think actors do it in slow motion and then they speed up the film.
  5. Nobody can hear you scream in space or when you’re riding a mechanical bull. I’m totally convinced of that because they didn’t turn it off when I screamed “STOP” multiple times like a little girl just before I was thrown off onto a padded floor that smelled like beer and BBQ sauce. I actually got up and had BBQ sauce in my mouth.
My wife took a video of the whole incident on her iPhone. She was laughing the entire time until the moment I flew off, then yelled, “Oh my God! Please don’t be dead!!”

Obviously she was aware of the waiver form.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Random Thoughts at the End of March

It’s surprising to me how quickly the year is moving along, especially given all of the things happening around my end of the world these past few months.

My son is nearly two now and my daughter is already planning which summer (day) camp she wants to attend after she finishes 2nd grade. I still can’t believe she’ll be in 3rd grade next year and I don’t understand how she got so tall all of a sudden!

Work has been an unbelievable amount of stress lately; definitely the most I’ve ever encountered my entire life. I now oversee a business segment and manage a group of over 30, and that number may grow given my boss just resigned. I find myself waking up several times regularly during the night thinking about who I have to email or who I forgot to email, or what follow-ups I have the next day or week. I question if I really enjoy my job anymore as a lifetime ago I use to actually design, draw and create “art.” It all seems so foreign now. My only real drawing these days is playing that game “Draw Something” on the iPad. Years of Art School for that?

I wonder if circumstances would have been better if I would have just taken other job over a year ago and moved the family across the country, and if I should consider that again.

I guess that’s the kind of thoughts that enter the mind when a birthday is close at hand and 40 seems closer than ever.

The Second Kid Syndrome
The nanny that’s with our son during the day is Mary Poppins. I’m completely convinced of it. I’m not sure how we got so lucky to have found her but we did and that’s all that matters.

She often hangs out with the wife and I at the end of the day just chatting for a while. Tonight she asked about our daughter and all of the places she’s been and the things she’s done in a mere 6 years.
raveled to Hawaii at 1, Fiji before turning 2, Paris at 3, Caribbean, 5 trips to Disney World, and all sorts of plays and concerts – primarily for kids but she did go to see Tom Jones once. We lied about her age to get her in. She was 4, but had to be 6 (she really wanted to go!) And she's been in a few photo shoots at around 3 and has even been on a T.V. commercial.

My son – he’s been to Disneyland.

But, he's with Ms. Poppins so that evens things out, right?