Category Archives: Life

Concert Compare and Contrast:
U2 vs. Mötley Crüe

I have attended 2 concerts this summer. First was U2 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh and the second was Mötley Crüe and Poison at the Idaho Center.

Needless to say, these were quite different experiences. Funny bit of trivia, 2011 marks the 35th year for U2, 30th year for Mötley Crüe and 25th for Poison. That is some symmetry for ya…

U2 – July 26th, Heinz Field, Pittsburgh PA.

Basically the impetus for our taking the twins to Pittsburgh in the first place was that Jess bought U2 tickets on a whim last year while she was still pregnant. Of course, we couldn’t know just how much our lives would change with the arrival of the girls. Nevertheless, we loaded up the family and journeyed across country for 2 reasons… to see family (and show off Alex and Meri) and to go to see U2. Jess and I had had U2 tickets for the previous summer in Seattle, while she was still pregnant. However, Bono threw is back out or something and that leg of the tour was postponed. Thus, this summer rolled around and we had to adjust our plans.

This was by far the biggest concert I’d ever been to. I’d never seen an outdoor arena show (local amphitheaters excepted). Especially not an outdoor show with 70,000 other people. Jess, on the other hand is a bit of a U2 freak. This show would mark her 10th time seeing them. Double digits. Pretty impressive. Even more when you realize they’ve never been to Boise, so she’s had to travel for each and every one of those shows.

We had general admission floor tickets and had planned to eat before the show. Unfortunately for us there was exactly ONE food option for the entire floor population. We ended up standing in line some 45 minutes in order to get a cheesesteak served on a hotdog bun by some young women from an former Eastern Bloc country. Rachel, Jess’s cousin who was with us speculated they might be slave laborers. One unfortunate side effect from our food necessity was we missed being in the Gigapixel Fancam. What a bummer. The other, less unfortunate effect was we missed all but about 4 minutes of the opening act Interpol. None of us could name a song of theirs. I’m sure they must be good if you’re going to open for U2 and all, but we weren’t losing any sleep over missing them.

Eventually, we ate our food, got beers and headed into find our spot on the floor. Despite what that gigapic looks like there was actually a nice bit of space on the floor where we were. Nobody was packed together to tightly, which was nice. I hate being stuck somewhere unable to move. We settled probably 30 yards from the stage.

Showtime.

Bono and the boys just walk out on stage. All shown by their gigantic 360° screen above the stage. I found it interesting that they didn’t even dim the lights before. To be perfectly honest, they strode to the stage like it was out of a movie. I wouldn’t be surprised if they choreographed that. Maybe just because they are so practiced at it, it just looked like a music video.

Speaking of music videos, this entire concert was so smooth and polished everything felt like it was a movie or video shoot. The camera work that they displayed on their screen felt like it was pieced together over a couple of weeks by an experienced editor, not produced on the fly. Amazing work.

This massive  video screen at one point in the show expanded down to almost reach the stage. When it was in this mode, they did more designs and motion tests than pure video. Broke up the show nicely.

All told, I probably recognized a good 60% of the set list, which made things fun for me. I’m one of those fans that really enjoys familiar songs. Sue me. They played the 3 songs that I really wanted to hear, Beautiful Day (with the help from the International Space Station), Sunday Bloody Sunday (with accompanying imagery from the “Arab Spring”) and Where The Streets Have No Name in an encore. I have to say, there is something about being 30 yards from one of the most famous people in the world in Bono. If there was someone who was crafted in a lab to front one of the biggest music groups in history it is this guy. He is at turns ultimate showman, singer, humanitarian, and switches between them effortlessly. I do find it mildly amusing that I don’t believe any of the other 3 guys ever said one word during the show… happy to let Bono do it. Also, I’d like to mention guitarist The Edge. He has crafted a sound which you immediately recognize. It was really something to hear him tear into Mysterious Ways or City of Blinding Lights. Even for a non-die hard fan it can give you chills.

However, by FAR the most fun thing for me was watching Jess absolutely light up during this show. After the tough past 8 month daily grind of having and raising twins, it was worth every single bit of stress it took to get us to that show to see her love it so much. I couldn’t have wiped the smile of her face with a belt sander. She was engrossed in it. I doubt she had a care in the world for those 2 and a half hours. That alone was worth every last penny to me. I now know why she’s made it to 10 of those things. I’ll say it right now, next time they’re on tour, I’m in for another go-round. Let’s do it! You can see my iPhone’s feeble attempt to capture her during the show in that image.

Bono and the boys did play for 2 and a half solid hours. As you can see from the set list, 25 songs. Many of those contained snippets of other songs in them which stretched them out. You certainly can’t claim we didn’t get our money’s worth. If my aching feet were any indication, we most definitely did.

Seeing U2 at this point is almost a cultural touchstone. Even if you’re not a fan you probably should take in a show of theirs just to say that you’ve done it. Well worth every bit of effort it took to get there.

Mötley Crüe & Poison – August 13th – Idaho Center, Nampa ID

On the other end of the spectrum from U2 would be Motley Crue. When I was 13 I was a GIGANTIC Motley Crue fan. I have never seen them in concert for whatever reason, but this was my chance to relive my childhood. And, as much as I hate to admit it, I was probably an even bigger Poison fan when I was 14. I was young and dumb… what can I tell ya?

Ma and Pa Haberman came to watch the Habertwins for the night, so Jess and I packed up a few beers to drink in the parking lot and headed out to the Idaho Center. As we sat there drinking our beers, we watched other fans arrive. I gotta say, the people watching was OUTSTANDING at this show. You had all types. The dudes who look exactly the same as they did in 1988. The chicks all sexed-up in their miniskirts and heavy makeup. Metalheads in their denim jackets over old tour t-shirts. Bikers. People obviously in costume. Rednecks. Even boring old normal people like me. Great stuff.

We got into the arena and got us a couple more beers. After walking around a bit, we hit the merch counter to take a peek. Jess talked me into getting a Motley Crue t-shirt just for the comedy of the whole thing. It is the first bit of anything I have ever purchased at a concert. Probably worth the $25 it cost.

It wasn’t long before Poison started their opening act. I told Jess that after watching a few seasons of Rock of Love, I was pretty tired of Bret Michaels’ shtick. And he was in full “Bret Michaels” mode in this show as well. But, since they only had limited time to play, he didn’t have a lot of time to talk to the audience. Instead, they busted through all of their biggest hits. Only mixing in “We’re An American Band” originally by Grand Funk Railroad to change it up. 45 minutes of music later they were done. I have to say, I think I enjoyed Poison even more than I thought I would. Of course, I knew every word to every song they sang. It almost took me back to the days when I would put their tape into our big stereo at home, grab my headphones to listen and read the latest issue of BMX Plus magazine. Good times. They ultimately finished up with Talk Dirty To Me and Nothin’ But A Good Time. It certainly was.

Between shows, the crowd thinned considerably. Ostensibly to empty their bladders and to get more beers. Jess and I among them.

Our seats for this show were in the front row of the arena seats, just one step off the floor. Basically we had floor tickets, but saved $20 a piece. The most amusing part of our seats was that we were right next to the stairs heading up the aisle of the stands. Being that they were steps and many tipsy people walking by, we got to see a number of good stumbles from people. I love the ones who played it off like they meant to trip. Too funny.

On stage, the crew was busy swapping the stage around for Motley’s main act. From our distance, we couldn’t really see what was going on, but they were really working up there.

The way the Crue started was sorta like the way U2 started, in a bizzaro universe. House lights were still up, and people were still milling around… then BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM! Six or eight very loud pyrotechnics went off, the curtain drops, lights go out and they immediately tear into Wild Side. The crowd went nuts and hundreds of people tried rushing back to their seats in the dark without spilling their beers.

Seeing a metal show is really unlike seeing some other type of music live. You certainly don’t go to a metal show looking for quality audio. Going in, you know it’s going to be loud. I mean like really loud. Like pushed way past distortion loud. And the Crue was definitely that. Throw in the, let’s say “sub-optimal” acoustics of the Idaho Center and you get otherwise awesome songs sounding like they are being played through crappy speakers at full volume with your head in a beat up aluminum garbage can. But, you don’t care.

The set list for Motley Crue contained exactly 1 song released after 1989, and that was their Grammy nominated song from 2008 Saints of Los Angeles. That is exactly the way I wanted this show to go. None of that “now here is a few songs from our new album!” Nobody cares. We’re there to hear the songs we know and love, and Motley Crue delivered the goods.

Also, a staple during a metal show is a few “solos” by the guitarist and drummer. Of course, the Crue obliged. Mick Mars did a wailing guitar riff that lasted a good 5 minutes… fingers flying around the strings.

The big spectacle of this show however was the apparatus that was Tommy Lee’s drum kit. “Roller Coaster” we were told. Always the innovator and a hell of a drummer, Tommy Lee really pushes the envelope with his live shows. In 1987 he broke out a spinning drum kit. At this show, his entire kit rides a giant circular rail system while he pounds out a massive drum solo. At one point, he brought a woman up on stage to go for a ride with him. He really comes across as a giant kid who is just having the time of his life.

Even lead singer Vince Neil still had his pipes available and hit all of the requisite screams when need be. Very impressive. Thinking about it, it really is incredible that all 4 original members of this band are still alive… still coherent enough to play a killer concert night after night. I read their book The Dirt and the amount of partying and drugs they did is astronomical. I would wager that if normal humans had tried to live that way, a good 50% wouldn’t survive 2 years, let alone 30. The only thing we can surmise is that they aren’t human. They are super-human metal gods put on this earth to bang the heads of the masses.

After blasting out all of my favorite Crue songs (Home Sweet Home, Same Ol’ Situation, Looks That Kill) they finish off with Kickstart My Heart, replete with huge pyrotechnics and boom, they’re done. No encore. They played fast and loud for an hour and a half and that was it. You kinda have to admire their not playing the phony leave-the-stage-but-come-back-for-the-encore-that-was-always-planned-anyway routine. They just quit, took their bows and walked off. That’s metal.

Ok, on to the comparison. I think we should break this down tale of the tape style… here goes.

U2
Motley Crue
Heinz Field, Pittsburgh PA Venue Idaho Center, Nampa ID
Advantage: U2
Lots of beer stands… one single food option with a 45min line for 3000 GA patrons Concessions Plenty. Easy to access, and not outrageously expensive.
Advantage: Motley Crue
70,000. Loud, but generally normal people (various continuous pot smokers excepted). Aged young to old Crowd Maybe 7,000 made a lot of noise for the size and completely packed with a plethora of kooks. Epic people watching
Advantage: Push
Interpol Opening Act Poison
Advantage: Motley Crue
Crystal clear. Beautifully mixed and very smooth. Very loud (possibly louder than the Crue, but was also outside), but so well balanced you caught no distortion Audio Quality Still very loud. Every dial pushed to 11, damn the torpedoes. Sometimes devolved into a cacophony of unrelated noises and distortion. If you didn’t know the songs, you weren’t learning them there.
Advantage: U2
Entire concert played like a movie. Flawless. Something to behold. 360 screen put to awesome use. Production Quality Rough… but with pyrotechnics. No constant video of the band in background. Did have a drum kit roller coaster.
Advantage: U2
60% – 15 of 25 songs I was pretty familiar with. Not bad for a band that I’ve never really listened to. Song Recognition 100% – granted, I’m not totally hip to Saints of Los Angeles. But knowing every lyric of every other song makes up for that, I believe.
Advantage: Motley Crue
Lugged two 8-month olds 2000 miles across the country. Ease of Attendance Mom and dad babysit
Advantage: Motley Crue
30 Years as a band 25
Advantage: U2
Current tour grossed over $700 million. Dozens of stadiums sold out around the world. One of the biggest bands in the world. Cultural Relevance Aging hair-metal band. Once huge, now playing in glorified rodeo barns. Still rock though.
Advantage: U2
Bono wore leather pants and at one point a leather jacket with red lasers sewn into it. Leather Everywhere… Band… Opening band… backup dancers/singers… audience
Advantage: Motley Crue
Wore earplugs. At one point I thought the crowd sounded pretty quiet compared to the band… then I took my plugs out and realized they were NOT quiet. Quickly put them back in. Post Show Ear Damage Level Also wore earplugs… Damn I’m getting old.
Advantage: Push
Strong. Would travel to make it happen. Desire to see again Maybe… probably wouldn’t go out of my way to.
Advantage: U2
Made Jess inordinately happy. She knew every word to every song. Danced the whole time. Attention rapt with the band. Intangibles Made me grin like a fool most of the show (especially with the spinning pentagram). Felt like 6th grade again. Knew all the lyrics.
Advantage: U2
7 — Totals — 5

There you have it. With a total of 7 to 5 (with 2 pushes) the U2 concert takes home the title of best concert I saw this summer. Motley Crue put up a good fight, but the enormity of U2 was too much to over come.

Thank you Jess for getting us there. If it was up to me, we would have DEFINITELY skipped it and would have been far worse off for it. Having toted them girls across country now makes every day seem easier by comparison. There isn’t anything we can’t do. I mean what I said about next time U2 tours… we’re going someplace fun to watch ’em. Maybe even visit some friends in Chicago.

Twin Pix – Months 5,6 & 7

You know how when you get busy and time just slips away from you? AKA, why you’re getting 3 months of photos in a single post…

A short Habertwin update. They are growing quickly. They are grabby as all hell, especially with things they aren’t supposed to have. They are eating a ton of baby food and still sucking down bottles of formula. Their dexterity is amazing. They are now able to grab a binky and put it correctly into their mouths. Of course, they are also just as apt to chew on some other part of the binky… can’t tell if that’s intentional or not. Meri is now combination army crawling/rolling across the floor to get to where she wants to go. Alex isn’t quite as mobile, but can still roll and scoot backwards a little bit. They’ve both got “monkey feet” which they curl their toes to grab things.

They are sleeping in their own room, each in their own cribs for about the past month. Which is a good thing, since they were rolling and knocking heads sleeping together. They generally only wake once per night. Unfortunately, that is only a generality. Last night they both were crabby and awake from 1:30am until about 4. Not good times. Meri has slept through the night a handful of times already. Alex is not there yet. That’s the thing with twins… Even if one perchance sleeps through the night, the chances of the other one doing the same thing are not great. So, we’re still getting out of bed anyway. The frustrating thing is we know they know how to do it now… they just choose not to.

We’re still crying on the commute home every day. That’s not fun. Nothing we attempt to do appeases them. So, they cry the entire 45 minute trip home. As soon as we get there, they stop. Go figure. Good thing that’s not stressful.

Anyway, without further ado, here are the pics. As always, more pictures reside on Flickr.com to view. Click the link or the individual picture to view them.

5 Months Old on Flickr

Feeding Time

Meri

Meri

Alex & Meri

Alex & Meri

This is what it is like attempting to hold 2 babies who’d rather be doing something else:
Mom with girls

6 Months Old on Flickr

You’ll notice that only Meri is wearing the sticker on her shirt with the “6 months” on it. That’s because we misplaced the other set. Still haven’t found ’em, nor really had much time to look. Oh well.
Alex & Meri

Meri & Alex

Alex

Meri & Alex

They aren’t getting any easier for mom to position…
Girls

7 Months Old – 4th of July on Flickr

Alex

Meri

Alex & Meri

Alex & Meri

Alex & Meri

So, there ya go. Hope you enjoyed.

Perhaps next month’s will be published before November, but I make no guarantees.

Lessons for my Daughters – #2

Meri & AlexSecond in the series of imparting my life’s lessons to Meri and Alex to follow as they grow older. If you missed the first go ’round you can find it here. I think my plan is to provide a dozen items in a post. Lot’s of good things come in sets of 12… donuts, juries, days of Christmas, beers, etc.

So, without further ado…

Life Lessons for Alexandra and Meredith.

13. Your mom and dad will always love you no matter what.

14. Search out belly laughs. Laugh so hard you can’t breathe. It’s good for you.
I’m not going to tell you that “laughter is the best medicine” because chances are, you know, medicine is the best medicine… However, if you laugh I guarantee you will feel better. If you laugh so long and hard that your stomach muscles hurt, even better. I can still remember times in my life where I laughed so hard I thought I would pee my pants. Those are some of life’s best times.

15. There are 2 types of people in this world. Those who return shopping carts to the proper location and those who don’t. Always return your cart.

16. Our rules exist for a reason, even if you can’t currently understand why.
Your mother and I will not invent arbitrary rules for you. There will always be a reason. Those reasons will usually fall into one of 3 categories: 1.) For your health and safety. 2.) For familial harmony or 3.) To make you a better more responsible adult.

17. Make your own money. Pay your own way.
If you are secure financially on your own, nobody can hold anything over your head.

18. Let sleeping Dads lie.

19. Bees don’t really want to sting you. Don’t be afraid of them. They give us vegetables and flowers.
Wasps on the other hand…

20. Having the right tool for the job always makes everything easier.
Trying to replace a screw with a butterknife will drive you insane and make things 10 times harder than they need to be. It took me a long time, a lot of frustration and gouged fingers before I learned this.

21. If you communicate on whatever technology exists, please at least attempt to spell words correctly.
If I see you writing, “thx 4 riteing me cuz ur 2 kool!!!” I will lose my mind.

22. There were only 3 Star Wars movies ever made.
Someone someday will try to tell you that there are actually 6, but they’re trying to fool you. Just believe me on this.

23. Courage is not the lack of fear, it is acting in spite of it. – Mark Twain
It’s ok to be afraid. Everyone get’s afraid, even if they don’t show it. Don’t let fear keep you from doing anything you want to do.

24. If you’re reading this, call your mother. She misses you.

 

You both are about to turn 7 months old. Never thought we’d survive this long but we’ve made it. You girls are even sleeping better now. Your mother and I are very thankful for that. I hope I didn’t just jinx us. One of my favorite parts of my day is when you’ve finished your bottle, and are settling in to fall asleep in my lap in the recliner. In your room, nice and dark, you swaddled up and giving in to sleep. Thank you for that.

In 3 weeks we begin our grand adventure taking you to Pittsburgh. Still not sure what to expect, except like I said… an adventure. Your family back there could NOT be more excited to meet you.

Until next time.

Love,

-Dad

My First Father’s Day

Now that I’m in the club, I get to have one more day of celebration a year. Of course, 6-month olds don’t really subscribe to this philosophy. Here’s what my day was like.

Jess said that she would get up with the girls and let me sleep in on my day. Hey! That’s about as good a gift as one could want! Unfortunately, some other people in our house didn’t think that was such a good idea. So, when the girls started squawking around 5:30am, Jess rolled out of bed to deal with them. On a normal day, the girls will usually quiet down once someone gets up to acknowledge them and get them out of bed. This day, not so much. One, and/or both of them decided that they wanted to cry/scream/shout. I laid in bed and tried to block it out, unsuccessfully. First problem was the baby monitor was still on, so it sounded like they were in the room with me. I rolled over to Jess’s side of the bed to kill it, but by then I was mostly awake. I stayed in bed and tried to force myself back to sleep, but I could still hear the cacophony from the next room.

Eventually, Jess gave up and brought the girls into bed with me and we started the day.

After some goofing around trying to keep the girls distracted and not crying Jess brought in my card and gift. Oh yeah… I nearly forgot. In addition to a great card, Jess got me a sweet video camera. Now we can shoot real video of the girls as they grow. It will definitely be fun to play with going forward. Thanks again, babe.

And with that, we started the day. We all got out of bed and got going. Jess said she had designs on making me breakfast, but Alex and Meri weren’t really into sitting quietly by themselves this fine day. I told her to not worry about it and had leftover cake and a cup of coffee for breakfast. Works for me.

My other gift for the day was not having to change a single diaper, which was also pretty sweet. So, as I entertained 1, Jess took the other to get changed and dressed for the day. Swap and do it again.

Time to feed them and figure out what we were going to do for the day. Like I said, the girls were extra fussy, so we knew we had to get them in the car at some point and go somewhere. They will usually sleep in the car (unless it’s 5pm and we’re coming home from daycare. That is a guaranteed cry-fest, but that’s a story for another time). Jess asked if we maybe wanted to drive out to the Birds of Prey area, but that seemed like a long ways to go. So, instead I suggested we go to Costco. So, we loaded up the car and left the house about 9:30am. Sounds early, but I’d already been awake for 3 hours…

The girls are usually really good at stores, and this was no different. They just chill out in their car seats in the Snap-N-Go stroller as we get to do some shopping. This time around we did get some fun stuff… some 8gig SD cards for the camera(s)… a new digital weather station deal… a new pair of shorts. We also got some not so fun things like diapers. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the Nampa Costco at 10am on a Father’s Day Sunday but it’s nice. The place was pretty empty. Unfortunately, we got there before they got most of the samples up. Oh well.

Two Hundred bucks lighter it was time to go. We get home and try to feed the girls again and then take turns distracting them so we can eat lunch. Then it came time for naps.

For some reason, these girls are horrible nappers. They don’t want to sleep, and when they do, it’s never for longer than an hour. It is usually a battle with them, which isn’t fun. This day, it was an even bigger battle. We tried to swaddle and bottle them and put them down, but they were not having any of it. Both of them were just fighting the whole process and driving Jess and I nuts. Aggravation. So, we abandoned the nap idea and put them in the jumperoos to burn off some more energy. An hour later, we tried again. They’ve got to nap or we’re in for a world of hurt later. We swaddle them back up and try to rock them to sleep. After 30 minutes, they have apparently fallen asleep, so we put them in their crib. Not 5 minutes later, the screaming begins again. *sigh* Back to the rocker and try again. Alex was NOT having it. She was making me crazy by being so stubborn. You could tell she was exhausted but would just not sleep.

Eventually, I’d grown weary of it and instead loaded her into her car seat. We were going for a drive. Jess stayed behind with Meri, who was asleep in her arms and I hit the road. From our house at Chinden & Meridian roads, I went to Ten Mile, then down to the freeway. By the time I got to the freeway, Alex was asleep. So, I drove the freeway all the way to the outlet mall exit, then back up the freeway to the Idaho Center exit in Nampa and up to Chinden and back home. Almost an hour in all. Worth it, just for her to sleep.

When I got home, Meri slept for about 5 more minutes until she was awake. Ok… it’s bath time. We bathe them one at a time and then try derail fussiness and get some food into them. As Jess shoveled peas into them, I decided I needed a cocktail. So I made myself a vodka tonic and a gin & tonic for Jess. We then got them changed and dressed and it was time to head to my parent’s house for a combination Birthday, Father’s Day and Birthday celebration. It was my Dad’s birthday on Saturday and Jess’s birthday on Tuesday, so we were rolling all 3 into one big event. Since it was my day, we dressed them in matching Boise State blue and orange denim overalls things. Really, those things are more of a pain in the ass then their worth. Not very flexible. Tough to keep them on. The girls just chew on the straps and buckles. But, they looked cute. I think we got some good pictures.

Dinner was great. Even better was there were other hands to occupy my children for a little while. They can be exhausting. After dinner and gifts and dessert, the girls started to lose it (even more) so it was time to head home.

Upon getting home we immediately made a couple bottles of formula and changed and swaddled the girls. Fed and rocked, they fell asleep in about 30 minutes, which is pretty good. Apart from Alex waking up in a screaming fit about 20 minutes later (gas bubble) they were down.

Jess and I collapsed into bed about 9:30pm.

Whew.

All in all, I know I’ve had worse days, even with the girls being difficult. Thanks for everything Jess. One things for sure, no two Father’s Days will ever be alike from here on out!

Lessons For My Daughters

4 Months OldThis is what is planned to be the first of a series of posts I will be doing for Alex and Meri. I want to jot down life lessons and other words of advice for them as they grow up. And since placing things on the web is what I do, I might as well do it here.

I haven’t worked out the exact format these will take, so they may not be very consistent to start, but eventually I’ll find the sweet spot and will get a rhythm going. Some may be single lines. Some may be whole paragraphs. It’s all about how the mood strikes me. There will be no chronology. Kid lessons will be mixed in with adult lessons. You’ll figure it out. Let’s see where this goes…

Enjoy.

Life Lessons for Alexandra and Meredith.

1. Your mom and dad will always love you no matter what.

2. Learn how to lose
You will undoubtedly grow up in this era where everyone gets a trophy for participation. People don’t “keep score” any more. People don’t want their precious snowflakes to have hurt feelings. You know what? Real life is not like that. Life does not give you awards just for showing up. Like it or not, life is about winning and losing. And if you are always made to feel like a winner, even when you didn’t actually do anything, you never learn what it really means to win. Winning is important. Losing is important. In my life, I have learned FAR more from losing than I ever did from winning. Losing teaches you what is essential. Losing can bring focus and drive and desire. Losing can help you figure out what is really meaningful in your life. If you compete and lose but don’t feel bad about it, it wasn’t that important to you to begin with. But, if you lose and it hurts like hell, then you know more about your desires. It will teach you to do what is necessary to achieve a victory. And because you worked for it, that victory will be all the sweeter.

Every single successful person in life will tell you one thing. They have lost more than they have won. But, because they knew losses were temporary setbacks that can be overcome, they didn’t let themselves become discouraged by them. You can be great… if you want it.

3. Righty tighty, lefty loosey.

4. Please and thank you go a long way
This one is for your mother. Nothing makes her crazier than not saying please and thank you. I still make this mistake with her, though I try not to. You should make it a habit to thank anyone who provides you a service. I don’t care if it’s the cashier at the grocery store, the waiter in the restaurant, the driver in the cab. Everyone works hard in this world, and simple courtesy of “please” and “thank you” can really brighten someone’s day.

5. Sunblock is not optional. It is required.

6. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
I know there will come a time in the not too distant future where you both will pepper your mother and me with nonstop questions. Why what why where why? I promise to do my best to answer them for you. Even when I’m having a bad day and don’t feel like answering “what is the dog thinking?” for the 27th time.

7. Spend time reading every day
There are so many good books that you could never read them all in your lifetime, but you can sure try.

8. In history class, don’t be the person who asks, “do we have to know the dates?”
Even if your teacher doesn’t say so, dates are important. You should remember when the Civil War was. You should know when the Declaration of Independence was signed. You should know when Columbus landed in the new world. That is part of being an educated person.

9. If something is worth having, it’s worth paying cash for. Be very careful with credit.

10. Learn to drive a stick shift.
I will help you do this.  I know most cars nowadays are automatics, but someday you will be in a situation where the only available means of transportation will be a vehicle with a manual transmission. It’s not as hard as you think.

11. Make a big deal about Mother’s Day for your Mom. You wouldn’t believe how hard she works for you.

12. Be wary of anything you post online.
Before hitting “submit” think to yourself, is this something I want my parents, teachers, grandparents or boss to see? Nothing is “private” online. Know that anything you post online will be there forever.

 

That’s all I have for now, but I’m compliling a list which I will post periodically. You can find them all by clicking the “Lessons” category at the top of this post or in the right column.

I can’t wait to watch you grow up.

Love,

Dad

 

 

 

More Pictures

Someday, there will be a blog post that does not revolve around the twins.

Just as I suppose that someday there will be a time that Jess and I are well rested and able to accomplish more than tending to these girls every beck and call. When that day will be? Anyone’s guess.

For the record, in the past week we’ve been dealing with both teething as well as dueling ear infections. I’m sure you parents out there know the joy of which I speak on both of those subjects… now, just combine the two and multiply that by 2 and you’ve got what we’ve been dealing with. I’d come up with a joke about it, but I’m too damn tired.

So, without further ado, some pictures of what we’ve done lately.

As always, there are more pictures on Flickr, so click on an image or a header to go there and view ’em.

4 Months Old!

4 Months Old

4 Months Old Alex

4 Months Old Meri

4 Months Old

4 Months Old

First Solid Food!

Meri takes the first spoonfull

Hmmm... I might like this, mom.

Alex, patiently waiting her turn

Alex's first spoonfull

Meri aftermath

Alex aftermath

Ride the iron horse?

As you may or may not be aware, Jess has been thinking/planning/wondering if it is possible to pack up the girls and make a trek to Pittsburgh this summer to show off the girls to family and use the U2 concert tickets she bought on a whim last year. I’m of the mind that this would be a huge undertaking and I’m not sure if I’m up for it… and that’s putting it mildly. Despite the fact that I love Pittsburgh and would truly enjoy another trip out there, my fear is the travel itself. The amount of crap we’d have to lug around with us would be immense. I fear the girls, cramped in a metal tube at 36,000 feet with no escape for 6 hours. I don’t want to be “that parent” that everyone else on the plane secretly loathes.

Anyway, just for shits and giggles, I decided to look into taking a train. I’ve never traveled on a train. I know nothing about where they run, or how much they cost. But, perhaps it could work. At least you can move around on a train. You could get a private room. The girls could get out of their seats and we could stretch our legs as we leisurely traveled cross country. Images of the golden era of train travel danced in my head. This could be fun, I thought.

So, I jumped onto amtrak.com and started poking around. This is what I found…

First off, despite the fact that we have a train station in Boise, Amtrak does not stop here anymore. The nearest stations to actually get on a train are in Spokane, Washington and Salt Lake City, Utah. Obviously picking SLC, I just went with everything Amtrak gave me (ie. I know we could drive ourselves to SLC, but that’s not the point of this exercise).

  1. Get on a bus and travel 7 hours 25 minutes to Salt Lake City
  2. Have a layover in SLC from 5:50pm to 3:30am (10 hours)
  3. Board train for Chicago, total duration to get there: 34 hr 20 min. Yes. 34 hours.
  4. Luckily the layover in Chicago is only 3 hours
  5. Take train to Pittsburgh, 9 hr 25 min.

We would leave Boise at 10:25am on Sunday and arrive in Pittsburgh at 4:35am on Wednesday. Total travel time: 64 hours. Oh wait, round trip… The schedule says only 57 total hours to make the return trip… Let me get out my calculator… Just a short 121 hours total for the round trip. Just travel time. For comparison, we could fly round trip, from Boise to Sydney, Australia THREE times in that amount of time.

Ooooookay…

Now, the price. The cost for the privilege to give up more than 5 whole days of our lives? Over 1,300 bucks. Yes, you read that right. And that is just for 2 seats and the girls riding on our laps, apparently. If we were interested in a private room, say for one of those 34 hour legs, the cheapest/smallest one they have (still just 2 seats) would add $600 to the total. If we wanted a private room for both of those 34 hour stretches, that bangs the total price up to just north of $2,500. Not to mention the 15 meals we’d need to buy ourselves along the journey. I’m going to go ahead and assume that food prices on a train are probably a lot like those in a movie theater or sports stadium… you know, super reasonably priced. On the plus side, some trains now have WiFi!… however, not any of the ones we’d be on.

Or, we could fly. Direct from Boise, 1 stop, 7 hours each way, round trip of 14 hours and a total cost of $825.

Needless to say, the train is much less attractive an option than I was prepared for. Maybe to those of you more familiar with train travel this isn’t as shocking to you as it was to me. But I was kinda blown away. So, you’re telling me it takes 8.5 times longer and is more expensive to boot? Gee, where do I sign up?

Anyway, back to square 1. We will continue to weigh the pro’s and con’s and see where we end up.

Pittsburgh family, maybe we’ll see ya in July… or maybe we won’t.

Break on through to the other side

See if you can guess what we’re looking at here:

If you guessed 2 teeth forcing their way into existence in Alex’s mouth, you’re the big winner.

Jess and I were each feeding a respective baby this evening when Jess says to me, “Um… I think Meri is teething.” “Impossible,” I reply, not wanting to believe on top of the non-stop feeding we’ve been doing that it was time for this as well. “Come here and stick your finger in her mouth,” she insisted.

Instead of getting up from my chair with Alex, a bottle, a pillow, the iPhone and TV remote, I figured I’d just do a little test on Alex instead. What I felt filled me with dread.

Teeth. Little, bumpy, nubby teeth. Two of ’em. Son of a…

So, we got that going on now. Time waits for no man, and all that jazz. Maybe it was those teeth that caused me to get a whopping 4 hours of sleep last night. At least 3 of those hours were in a row. In my world, that’s almost a victory.

All in all, this has been a pretty eventful few days. 4-month appointment last Friday where the girls both got excellent bills of health and the go ahead with solid food, rice cereal, from the doc. They’ve taken to it fairly well, but get angry if you don’t shovel it in fast enough. They’re still burning through breastmilk and formula like it’s going out of style. Then the other morning, Alex was laying on the bed next to me as I struggled to get myself up and going for the day, when she decided to do a barrel roll and go from back to front. Great, they’re mobile.

Now this.

Does this mean we can now ply them with shots of whiskey like our parents did?