Category Archives: Good Toddler

“Country: Portraits of an American Sound” at the Annenberg Space for Photography

Last weekend, we headed to the Annenberg Space for Photography in Century City to check out their spanking new exhibit, “Country: Portraits of an American Sound” and lemme tell ya, it kicked ass. Seriously, even people who don’t like country music will enjoy the very cool array of photographs on display. And if you love old school Grand Ole Opry stars like Ernest Tubb, Loretta Lynn, George Jones and Patsy Cline as much as we do, well, prepare to be dazzled.

"County: Portrait of an American Sound" @ The Annenberg Space for Photography (2014)

"County: Portrait of an American Sound" @ The Annenberg Space for Photography (2014)

Featuring work from a number of photographers covering the country music scene in Nashville and beyond, the show spans the post WWII period straight on through to today. One of Greta’s favorite shots was a very recent portrait of that little firecracker Kasey Musgraves. Musgraves took home the Grammy for Best Country Album earlier this year for her boot-stompingly good major label debut “Same Trailer Different Park.” And of you haven’t heard her music yet, well…you will!

My favorite pic was the insanely cool Tammy Wynette shot featured on the poster below and an action pic of Loretta Lynn jumping for joy after hearing that she’d been asked to join the regular cast at the Opry. Classic! And if you love Johnny Cash like we do, there are some great photos of him through the years as well. Honestly, every photo in the show is amazing and the documentary the Annenberg produced in conjunction with The Country Music Hall of Fame is positively riveting. Seriously good stuff all around.

"County: Portrait of an American Sound" @ The Annenberg Space for Photography (2014)

"County: Portrait of an American Sound" @ The Annenberg Space for Photography (2014)

And those with wee ones will appreciate the show’s super cool hidden item game which encourages kids to find items from a brochure in the photos on display. Greta loved it and actually, it was fun for adults too. In fact, some of the items were so difficult to find that we had to ask for help.

So, if you live in the area (and even if you don’t!) get thee to the Annenberg Space for Photography and check out this little gem of a show for yourself. The cost of admission is free and parking, with museum validation, is only one dollar. So, how can you lose?

I should warn you though, this show will fuel your desire for country jams like never before, we’ve been playing nothing but Dolly, Emmylou Harris and Porter Wagoner all week…it’s been awesome!

"County: Portrait of an American Sound" @ The Annenberg Space for Photography (2014)

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Filed under Daddy stuff, Good Toddler, Mommy Stuff, Music

Decorating the tree with a four-year-old…

One of the greatest things about Greta getting older is that every year she gets more and more excited about the holidays. Especially Christmas! Already this year, she’s had the chance to decorate three Christmas trees: one at Grandma & Lola’s house in San Diego, one at Uncle Guy-Guy and Aunt Laura’s place on Friday night (while Mrs. Yeti and I saw a screening of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug) and, this past weekend, at our house.

Of course, by the time she got around to decorating our tree, Greta was a little weary of the whole experience, so, mostly what she did was play with the ornaments while I decorated. Which was fine and actually much faster than letting her run the show, so, it was all good.

Greta decorating the tree (Christmas 2013)

Greta decorating the tree (Christmas 2013)

And, as you can see, the tree looks great. So, my tip for the parents out there is to wear your kid out with lots of decorating (preferably at other people’s homes!), lull them into submission by distracting them with lots of cool shiny ornaments and then, and only then, get down to the business of trimming your tree. Trust me, it worked like a charm!

And even though we’re still woefully behind on sending out our Christmas cards and Mrs. Yeti’s usual baking frenzy has been greatly reduced due to her hectic work schedule — she did make something called Hot Chocolate on a Stick and a batch of Candy Cane Sugar Cookies, so, that’s something! — the fact that we got the tree up at all is a major accomplishment. So, hooray, and, you know…Merry Christmas and all that good stuff.

Greta decorating the tree (Christmas 2013)

Greta decorating the tree (Christmas 2013)

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Filed under Good Toddler, Holidays

Questioning our “Elf on the Shelf”

I don’t know if it’s her age (four and a half must be the magic number!) or what, but, Greta is totally Christmas-crazed this year. Everything about the holiday is new and exciting and wonderful and as you can imagine, it’s been a total blast. All she wants to do is bake and decorate and shop and wrap presents…it’s hilarious.

And another one of Greta’s favorite things to do lately is talk the ear off of our beloved Elf on the Shelf Christmas elf, Paul. For those of you who don’t know the story, Elf on the Shelf elves arrive at your home in early December to watch over the kids. Then, every night after everyone is in bed, the elf flies home to the North Pole to give Santa an update on the child’s behavior and every day when the little one’s wake up, the elf has moved to a new perch in the household.

Our "Elf on the Shelf" Paul (2013)

Aside from being a really cute and very fun tradition, the elf is also very useful as a disciplinary tool…especially when your wee one is throwing an epic, candy-fueled tantrum. I simply have to ask: “What would Paul think of that?” and Greta usually shapes up straight away. So, thanks, Paul!

Anyway, like I said, Greta loves looking for him every morning and actually spends a lot of time “chatting” with Paul about her day, what she wants for Christmas, I even caught her showing him some of her superfly new ballet moves one time. It’s very cute.

And then, this past weekend, everything changed when a very concerned Greta asked Mrs. Yeti and myself why Paul (who she had been carefully scrutinizing all afternoon) has a tag on him. “I thought he was real, but he has a tag, like a toy.” Greta said. “Is Paul a toy?”

Stunned by the question, Mrs. Yeti and I shared a blank look and then I quickly replied that the tag was like the luggage tags that we put on our suitcases when we fly on an airplane and that Paul has one in case he gets lost on his way to the North Pole every night. Greta stared at us for a long skeptical beat and then muttered: “Hmmm…OK.”

I think she bought my story, but, Greta is a pretty observant kid, so, I’m afraid the magic of Paul might not last as long as we’d hoped. And I still can’t help wondering why the fudge Paul has a tag in the first place?! I mean, I know there are laws about all that stuff, but, surely the Elf on a Shelf could have a freaking removable tag! Urgh…

And on top of all that, we went to see our usual Santa this weekend and Greta said she needed to come up with something else to ask him for since she already told the low-rent Santa we saw a couple of weeks back at a street fair what she wanted. Thinking fast, we told her that the previous Santa was just one of the man in red’s helpers, and that seemed to work. But, wow, this magic of Christmas business is hard work, man…

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Filed under Daddy stuff, Good Toddler, Greta's Bookshelf, Holidays, Mommy Stuff

First Friends…

Two years ago, probably around this time of year even, I met a dude who really helped me get out of a very dark place. Greta was just entering the terrible twos, Mrs. Yeti was desperately trying to get the hang of the delicate work/kid balancing act that has since become her life and I was literally drowning in my newfound role of primary care giver. And though I never did anything really crazy to myself or Greta (thank God!) there were days when I felt like Luke Skywalker facing the darkness of his soul in a hollowed out tree on Degobah. All kidding aside, it got pretty hairy.

I loved Greta with all my heart (and still do, of course) but, there were days when I’d sit and stare at the calendar and think: this is it. What you are doing today is the same thing you’re going to be doing tomorrow and every other day after that until you kid goes to school. Dishes. Diapers. Bottles. Repeat. I felt like I was on a punishing loop with no end in sight.

I tried talking to people about how I felt (family and friends mostly) and I think a few of them actually understood what I was trying to say. But, even with them I held things back for fear of sounding too whiny or ungrateful. I mean, we had tried for five years to have Greta, how could I even think of complaining about anything now that she was here? Plus, at that stage all most people really want are current pictures and cute little anecdotes about which milestones Greta had reached that week. Which is totally understandable. I mean, I love sharing that stuff too. But, deep down, all I really wanted to talk about was how totally crazy and isolated I felt for like, 90% of my day.

I tried talking about it with Mrs. Yeti many times, but, as I’ve said before, she was on the same sinking ship that I was. Except she got much less sleep and had to work a full time job on top of everything else. Probably the best thing Mrs. Yeti ever did for me was to tell me, point blank that she did not have time for my problems. And while it stung at first, I totally got it. I didn’t have time for hers either. It’s like that thing they always say in airline safety videos, put on your own oxygen mask first, then help the person next to you. I know now that she was way too busy fumbling with her mask back then to even think about helping me with mine.

That said, Mrs. Yeti did say something else that ended up really helping me out a lot. “If its really that bad, start a blog. Write about it.” She said. “Or better yet, join a Daddy Meetup group or something.” I ended up doing all three but the thing that really saved me from my crazy-ass self was joining that Daddy Meetup group. As I’ve mentioned before, I had a hard time finding the right fit (yes, I’m talking to you, Burbank/Hollywood Dads!) but once I did, it was awesome.

I joined a group called the West L.A. Stay-At-Home-Dads and even though the Meetups were clear on the other side of town, the guys in the group were the most real, down-to-earth dudes I’ve ever met. There was no bullshit, no egos or Hollywood posturing, these guys were regular working dudes (animators, musicians, stuntmen, graphic artists, even fellow writers) who’d been banging around the industry for a while and were now tackling the hardest job of their careers, being a full time stay-at-home-dad. And even though we rarely talked about anything other than movies or Star Wars — or, more recently, the intricacies and hidden messages embedded in My Little Pony cartoons — the fact that we could all find some time every couple of weeks to hang out with people who truly understood what we were going through was invaluable. Hell, two years later, it still is.

Actually, the meetups today are even better because our kids grew up together, they’ve been friends for almost their entire lives. And the friendships the dads have formed over the past two years are stronger too. We might not have known each other for our whole lives, but, definitely our whole lives as parents, which, often times feels like a lifetime in itself. And though none of us ever really verbalized it, deep down we were all eternally grateful to our “founding father” Corey for starting the group. Most of us were way too busy treading water to even think about stating a Meetup group, but Corey wanted to start “the kind of group he’d want to join” so he built it, and, as the saying goes, we came. In droves!

So it was with a heavy heart that the group said goodbye to Corey and his beautiful daughter Katana on Monday. Corey and his family are moving to the Philippines in a couple of weeks, and though we’re all hoping they come back to L.A. real soon, I’m thinking it might be a while before we share a lazy afternoon chasing after our daughters in our favorite park in Westwood again.

So, thank you, dude. You really did save my life and I will always cherish the many hours and days we spent hanging out in parks all across the Southland with our sweet baby girls (who now insist on calling themselves “big girls”). Katana was and always will be Greta’s first best friend and, despite the miles and timezones between us, you, amigo, will always be mine. Keep on adventuring, brother!

West L.A. Stay-At-Home-Dads (March 25, 2013)

And in case anybody reading this is looking for a stay-at-home-dad group to hang with in the L.A. Metro area, Corey asked me to be in charge of the group now that he’s leaving (here’s hoping I don’t destroy all the good that he’s done!) and you can reach us at our new Facebook Group page here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/WestLAstayathomedads/

So, if you’re interested in joining or know someone who might be, check it out! And thanks again to Corey for starting all this awesomeness…you will be missed, dude.

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Filed under Daddy stuff, Good Baby, Good Girl, Good Toddler, Terrible Twos

The Walking Dead…

Greta’s birthday party was almost a week ago, and while it was awesome, it was also completely exhausting. Anyone who has ever planned a kid’s birthday party themselves knows what I’m talking about: a lot of work, a lot of money, way too much to do and very little sleep. It’s like going to war. Well, OK, not that bad, but, pretty damn close. And from what I hear it gets worse when the kids get older and start inviting whole classrooms full of kids. Yikes…

Anyway, the party went off without a hitch (although Mrs. Yeti and have decided to jokingly refer to Greta’s birthday parties as “divorce makers” from here on out) and I think everyone had a lot of fun. Most especially the kids. So, yay! I’ll post pics soon. I promise! And I know I’ve said that before, but, this time, the pics have made the jump from my camera to the computer and some of them are even up on Facebook already. So, hang tight, pics really are coming this time.

The other no-so-fun thing about staging a big-ass kids party is that one, or all three of us, inevitably ends up a little sick after it’s all said and done. And this time, it’s Greta and myself who caught the bug. It’s really just a cold, but, coupled with this insane heat wave we’re having — it was 91 degrees outside for most of the day today! — it’s been a really long and nasty week for both of us.

And though we did manage to make it out to the library yesterday, Greta’s runny nose peaked today and going anywhere went right out the window. No need to spread our zombie virus any further.

So, we stayed home today and drove each other crazy instead. Seriously, indoor activities lose their luster pretty quickly when it’s hot as hell outside and both of your noses are draining all day long. Urgh…talk about a germ factory. I’m surprised Mrs. Yeti hasn’t taken to sleeping on the couch!

Thankfully, my most taxxing plans this weekend involve plopping a giant slab of corned beef into a crockpot full of boiling water. And lemme tell ya, Sunday can’t come soon enough.

God bless ye, St. Patrick!

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Filed under Daddy stuff, Good Toddler, Mommy Stuff

Subaru’s “Cut The Cord” ad

This has been a very challenging week for Mrs. Yeti and myself. Greta is turning four on Saturday and though it’s been super fun prepping for the party and picking out plates and cool stuff for the goodie bags and everything, it’s also been crazy emotional for both of us. Our little baby is going to be four and neither one us knows where the time went.

I actually started crying when one of Greta’s Tinkerbell songs came on the radio in the kitchen the other day. Greta just walked in and stared at me, like: “WTF, dude? This song isn’t that good.” It was hilarious. And while I know it’s good that she’s growing up and getting older and possibly starting pre-school in a couple of months, it’s also really hard to face the fact that time is flying by at a merciless clip these days. Things are just happening too fast and it sucks.

I’m not sure what it is about this birthday that makes it more poignant than the previous three, but, something about four just feels old and, honestly, I’m a wreck. And then I saw this car commercial the other day, it made things even worse. Man, Subaru knows how to hit a SAHD where it really hurts…I cry every time I watch this sweetly beautiful little commercial. Oh, God, here I go again…

Anyway, enjoy the clip and if you have infants or toddlers at home, love the shit out of them because, trust me, time flies!

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Filed under Daddy stuff, Dads in Ads, Good Girl, Good Toddler, Mommy Stuff

Oscar Night Breakdown

Sorry for not writing about our Oscar party earlier, but, have spent most of this week recovering from what was a very busy weekend. Went to see a friend in a play on Saturday night and then spent Sunday cleaning the house for our annual Oscar party. Then we had the party, which was great — the Frankenweenie pigs in a blanket, French cheeses and bread for Les Miserables, and the blood-spattered Lincoln cake seemed to be the crowd favorites! — and then spent the rest of the night re-cleaning the house. Good times.

Actually, it really was. An old friend of ours was at the party and I haven’t watched the Oscars with her since Marisa Tomei won back in the day, so, we had a lot of fun. And despite the fact that she was probably desperately over-tired from the events of the weekend, Greta was a dream child through the entire show. And then, just as Michelle Obama was about to announce the Best Picture winner (by the way, what the hell was that all about? I love me some FLOTUS, but, that shit was just awkward…yikes!) Greta suddenly flipped out and DEMANDED attention. It was the weirdest thing.

Lincoln Oscar Party cake (2013)

And though I tried my best to shuffle her off to her bedroom to silence the demon (seriously, she was shrieking!), even with the door closed, I knew everyone at that party was getting an earful. What really killed me was that if she’d just held on, like three minutes longer, the show would have ended and I could have showered her with attention. As it was, I ended up watching the tail end of the show later and comforting Greta instead. A small price to pay when my favorite movie won. Go, Argo!

Of course, once all the singletons and childless guests left — the type you hope will not fixate on the ten minutes your kid was bad and focus instead on the three-plus hours when she was a party host’s dream! — Greta was back to her old charming self. Guess she just needed to let off some steam. Oh, and speaking of, Greta also inherited a gigantic foot locker full of Thomas the Train trains and enough wooden tracks to cover our living room floor in, well, wooden tracks. So, that was great too. And it kept her super busy during the show, so, thank you upstairs neighbor, Ed. You rock!

As for the show itself, I was very pleased with all the winners. I hate when one movie dominates the night (yeah, I’m talking to you, The Artist) so, it was fun to see the wealth so evenly distributed throughout the show. And though he’s getting slammed in the press, I actually thought Seth MacFarlane was an awesome host. He was hip, funny, and despite a few off color moments — the Boobs song bothered me much less than the frat-boyish jabs at women never letting things go — he was never boring, which is the greatest sin an Oscar host can commit! So, if you ask me, moving forward the Academy needs to decide what they really want in an Oscar host: someone edgy, out-there and possibly offensive? Or someone who’s stately, traditional and totally boring. Because, as the past few years have proved, you can’t have it all, baby.

Anyway, love to hear what you guys thought of the show, so, comment away…

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Filed under Bad Baby, Daddy stuff, Food, Good Toddler, Movie Stuff, TV Stuff