& we’re still kickin’

Sorry, folks. I know, it’s been a while, and you’ve probably moved on from us. I understand. I had to put the blog in the garage for a while—we got busy since my with a whole bunch of stuff. So let me recap and get you caught up with the Sasquatch family.

How do you pack a toddler, exactly?

How do you pack a toddler, exactly?

For starters, we moved. I don’t know if you’ve ever moved with a toddler, but to quote Lady Gwendolyn of Stefania: “That shit is bananas.” The last time we moved, Squatch was about five weeks old, and he was pretty much out of the way. This time, he was all up in everything. If he was around while we were packing, he was taking stuff out of the box as fast as we could get it in there. Packing his room was especially awful. What probably should’ve taken about half an hour was a three-day ordeal. If you have to move with a toddler, just leave your stuff and get new things. It’ll just be easier that way, trust me. Maybe you’ll luck out and the people who were there before you had a toddler—then you can just have their stuff.

Squatch has been growing up way too fast. He got a big-boy bed, he’s doing all kinds of stuff on his own, and he’s talking a bunch. Like a lot. Like ALL THE TIME. I wish I was exaggerating. There have been days where, if he wasn’t sleeping, he was talking. About anything and everything. It’s adorable and exhausting. One of my favorite videos (courtesy of Karli):

This kid. #grahamcrackcrack #mynose

A post shared by Karli Davis (@1001tries) on

It’s that, all the time. Usually a lot louder, though.

So the move and the Squatch are why you didn’t hear from me all summer, and then I started school in August and have pretty much been busy with reading and endless papers since then*. It’s great being back in school, but so much more difficult than the last time I did this. My program is more demanding, for one, but I also didn’t have to do reading in between playing trains and episodes of Team Umizoomi. Totally a different ballgame these days.

*It’s still busy as hell. This is just my way of procrastinating.

So that’s what’s been keeping us pretty busy—moving, toddler, school, work, preparing for the new baby, Christmas decorations…

What was the last one you said? Christmas decorations? Well, it is that time of year…

Oh, before that? The baby. Okay, you got me. Maybe I should have led with that. Internet, meet Sugarfoot:

Arriving under a Christmas tree near you (as long as you're near Kansas City).

Arriving under a Christmas tree near you (as long as you’re near Kansas City).

The due date is December 27*, which means that as of this Saturday, we’re officially in “any day now” territory. Karli’s doing well, but the pregnancy for this one has been completely different—for both (well, all three) of us.

*I know, you’re finding out really late in the game. You can be mad at me, it’s okay.

Obligatory cuteness: Squatch was Bob Ross for Halloween. Commence squealing with delight.

Obligatory cuteness: Squatch was Bob Ross for Halloween. Commence squealing with delight.

For Squatch, it should be fairly obvious how it’s different. Karli’s having a rougher go of it than the first time around—morning sickness was worse, pains and indigestion have been worse, I’ve been worse. It’s not been much of an enjoyable experience for her, with the exception of her doctor, who is infinitely better than the last one. That’s the benefit of living in a city instead of forty-five minutes outside a town nobody beyond Oklahoma has heard of.

On my end, it’s crazier, too. Not as difficult as it is for Karli, but I’m pulling the extra duty of taking care of a pregnant lady and a rambunctious, talkative toddler this time. Plus all that crap I was talking about before. You’re jealous, I know.

So that’s where we’re at. I wish I could stay and talk more, but I’ve got a meeting to get to. This is my life now. I won’t make it so long between now and our next chat, and the next time I show up, we’ll have to talk about new blog names. This one’s about to become obsolete.

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& a review: moms telling it like it is

PeeAlone

I’m going to continue on with another post about cool stuff I got in the mail. Shut up, you love it.

A few weeks back, Kim Bongiorno of Let Me Start By Saying… sent me a copy of I Just Want to Pee Alone, a collection of motherhood essays by “some kick ass mom bloggers.” No, really, it says so right there on the cover.

I had to put off reading it till I wasn’t nipple deep in student papers, but that certainly didn’t stop Karli from picking it up and reading it when it got here. She then proceeded to read selections out loud to me, which seemed to be a good sign. She read me about half of Karen Alpert’s (from Baby Sideburns) essay on taking her family to Disney World, as well as bits and pieces from some other ones.

That seems like a good sign, right? My wife obviously thought it was a pretty funny book, but they didn’t send it to me to get my wife’s opinion, right? I mean, I’m sure the women who put it together would love to hear that she liked their book, but they sent it to me—a dad blogger—to get a dude’s opinion. They’ll just have to settle for me, though.

Now that school’s over, I finally got a chance to comb through it all during Squatch’s naps and while he was playing with knives his exersaucer toys. And I got to see what it was all about.

The book was put together by Jen from People I Want to Punch in the Throat, a KC-area blogger (represent!) and participant in the upcoming Kansas City Listen to Your Mother show this Saturday (buy tickets), also featuring Ashley Austrew (shout-out!) and some other ladies.

So, the question I would put to you is this: Do you like mom blogs? Or parenting blogs in general? Because that will probably affect your opinion of the book.

Why? Because it reads like a blog. Which, essentially, it is—albeit one that’s been collected, edited, and put out in a more tactile format (a la Angry Birds Star Wars). So if your morning is spent rasslin’ some rugrats and perusing your RSS feed full of blogs, then you’ll probably love this book.

That’s not to say you won’t like it if you’re not in love with the blog format. Because this book is pretty hilarious in its own right. With almost every anthology, you’re going to end up with a book that’s slightly inconsistent. That’s just to be expected with you have different authors for every entry. This one is no different, so I didn’t love every bit of the book. But the ones that were on were definitely on. Like Karen’s Disney World essay. And Nicole Leigh Shaw’s (from Ninja Mom) piece about the absurdity of measuring a parent’s worth by how many kids she (or he) has. Kim’s essay about getting a massage was pretty hysterical, and I found myself cringing along with her discomfort as I also have issues with strangers touching me (whether I may or may not be naked in that room with them).

As a dad, there were some in there I couldn’t exactly relate to because I didn’t have the requisite parts, but I certainly tried. I might have skipped ones like “The Tale of Two Vaginas” and “My Akward Period,” and I don’t think you should hold that against me, either. I’d expect a good deal of you to turn away if I happened to post something titled “About That Itch on my Left Testicle.”

Overall, it’s enjoyable, even for a dad. A great deal of it is relatable for any parent, and especially parents (like me) who find themselves responsible for the day-in, day-out childcare. Mother’s Day is coming up this Sunday, and if you want something for that special funny-lovin’ mom in your life, this book is probably perfect. If they don’t like funny, I can’t do anything for you. And if you’ve procrastinated long enough that you’re reading this on Saturday and just realizing that you haven’t bought your wife a present yet, don’t fret—there’s a Kindle version, too.


A quick reminder that I’m giving away some free toys, and you have till MIDNIGHT (CST) TONIGHT (MAY 8) to enter. All you gotta do is leave a comment on my May the Fourth post saying you want the Angry Birds Star Wars thing, and you’re entered to win it. Nothing else necessary. As of right now, I think there’s only three people entered, so your chances are pretty good. Seriously, you don’t want free stuff?

Maybe I just gotta stop posting stuff on the weekend. You guys have lives or something, I guess.

& a mediocre host

We made him put on his best get-up for the guests.

We made him put on his best get-up for the guests.

So I finally achieved a lifelong dream I never knew I had until the second I got the email from WordPress—I’ve been Freshly Pressed. Welcome to all of you who’ve come over because of it, and I hope you’ll stick around and see what the internet was made for read some of my other stuff. It’s pretty good, if I do say so myself. And for those few who’ve already recognized my greatness struggled through this crap since the beginning been reading this blog for a while, please be on your best behavior so you don’t scare away the guests. Don’t worry, I still love you just the same.

As a quick little follow up to the Freshly Pressed post, I should probably mention that the dog barfed up a whole bunch of that cake the other morning. I’ll save you the graphic visual, but let me paint a little word picture for you—think melting strawberry ice cream. With mystery chunks.

I figured a little orientation might be in order for those of you who care to take it. You might be wondering what a Squatch is and who the hell I am, so it couldn’t hurt to check those out. You might also want to “Like” me on the Facebook and “Follow” me on the Twitter because occasionally my nonsense spills over to those venues. And, if you really love irony, I’m on the Pinterest.

Once you’re all caught up, you’re welcome to peruse the archives over there on the right. It’s easy enough to find stuff. If you’re like me, however, and you don’t enjoy wading through mounds of turds to find the diamond, here’s some help finding the good’uns:

The very beginning of it all [12/23/11] and telling our parents [12/23/11]
Early grandparent antics [12/28/11]
Thinking about names [1/15/12] and Discussing Squatch’s real name [10/15/12]
I guess at Squatch’s gender [2/13/12] and I’m proven completely wrong [6/29/12]
Sleeping is an uncomfortable [3/17/12] dangerous business [3/20/12]
Getting impatient (an attempt at webcomics) [6/21/12]
Squatch’s birth story, as told by Squatch: Part 1/Part 2/Part 3/Part 4 [8/31/12-9/3/12]
First thoughts on actual parenthood [7/3/12]
I talk about picture books  [4/19/12], and again [3/26/13]
Shopping recommendations for baby showers [12/5/12]
I’ve griped about Pinterest (and other stuff) before [12/10/12]
Babies are boring [10/16/12]
Squatch’s first Christmas [12/30/12] and half-birthday [1/8/13]
Squatch tries rolling [10/26/12] and standing up [4/4/13] and getting sick [2/5/2013]
I turn 30 (presents still being accepted) [11/29/12]

If you like a lot of self-deprication and pictures of an adorable baby, you might like it around here. And if you like it around here, you might like checking out some of the other dad bloggers out there, which you can find in the Facebook Dad Bloggers page*. I don’t have a regular schedule of posting, but I try to post as often as my kid and job allow me to. If you stick around, I promise to try to work on almost getting better about it, maybe.

*If you’re a dad blogger yourself, you should join our FB group, if you haven’t already.

Thanks for coming by. Hope you enjoyed your stay, and take a goodie bag on the way out.

What? No goodie bags? Oops.

& one down

Today officially marks one whole trip around the sun where this bloggy space has been a thing. And you totally care.

You might be spending this weekend with your family, which means you’re reading this a few days from now, after the Christmas and New Year’s rush has died down, or you’re on your thirteenth glass of eggnog (out of the adult punch bowl) and taking a break from quality time to surf the internet while hiding in your coat closet and trying not to ralph on Aunt Bernice’s peacoat. In either case, hope your holidays are wonderful.

This time last year, we were just telling our families about their impending doom grandparenthood.

squatch

The release date got moved up to a weekend with a better box office draw.

Now we have a little man who’s about ready to get a job and start contributing to our fast-paced and irresponsible lifestyle.

We don't call him Squatch for nothin.

We don’t call him Squatch for nothin.

In between I wrote a lot of pointless garbage, moved, and “met” some cool folks in the Bloggy-verse. Some I’ve struck up conversations, shared ideas, or arranged marriages with. Others I’ve stalked from afar and have yet to engage in a discourse. But it shall happen. I haven’t been able to take this bloggy thing as seriously as some, but it’s still a thing. And now it’s a year-old thing.

Squatch has made some new friends, too. He’s got a bat:

Totally not creepy.

Totally not creepy.

And Captain America:

Thanks, DorkDaddy!

Thanks, DorkDaddy!

And his best buddy Jack:

Photo stolen from our friend Val.

Photo stolen from our friend Val.

So what’s going to come in the year ahead? Well, I’ll probably talk about planning a one-year-old’s birthday with class and dignity (note to self: jungle animal petting zoo—this has to be a thing). There will be teeth and varying degrees of mobility, and likely some sort of talking splashed in there by this time next year. You can keep up-to-date with all of it on the “& Squatch Makes Three Special Fun-Time Facebook Page” (like it, Hipster) or through the Squatchiest feed on the Twitter. In fact, please do. I have few followers and even fewer page likes. It’s pathetic. Don’t let me be that kid. Come sit at my internet lunch table.

As a preemptive token of our gratitude, Squatch wanted me to pass along a holiday message:

Doesn’t that just give you the warm fuzzies deep down in your gut?

Thanks for a good year, blog friends. Here’s hoping for another.

& shopping for that special soon-to-be-someone

Becoming an expert on parenting is probably the easiest thing ever. Here’s the process:

  1. Have a kid.

And that’s it. At least that’s what people who don’t have kids think. So it must be true. Occasionally we get asked by our non-parent friends about stuff. Especially when they have other pregnant friends about to have a shower and want to find a gift. They want our advice. Because we’re experts. Of course.

And of course, what we always tell them is to get something on the register. If it’s their first kid, chances are they didn’t know what the hell they were doing when they registered. They wandered the store with a dazed look on their faces, zapping everything that sounded vaguely useful with the presents gun*. They were clueless. Doesn’t matter. Get them something they asked for.

*Been there, done that.

Sometimes, though, people go and make their registries online and nothing they picked is available in the store and you waited till the day before the shower to shop and damn if you’re going to spend $78 for overnight shipping on a 2-pack of baby bottles. So what do you do?

Well, friend, I’m here to help you out. Or if you’ve found yourself carrying your first parasite and don’t know what to put on that registry, I’m here to help you out. Or, since it’s Christmas shopping season, I’m here to help you find a gift for that special rugrat in your life. This is a full-service blog for everyone. Tell your friends.

Over the past five-plus months, we actually have figured out a couple things about parenting. And we’ve come up with a few items to suggest to people that Squatch can’t live without. Enjoy.

ShowerGifts

Squatch’s Baby Gift Guide

I’ve tried including a range of things no matter your budget, and I even threw in a few to stay away from at the end.

Rock n Play Sleeper—This is the one thing we suggest to people the most. Squatch slept in it the first six weeks of his life. He still occasionally takes naps in it. He hangs out in it. It’s been an amazing life-saver. This is probably the smartest thing we included on our registry and definitely the greatest thing invented by God and bestowed upon mankind. Half swing, half bassinet, half rocking chair, all genius.

Target sells them for between $50-$60. They’re available other places, too.

SwaddlesAden & Anais Swaddle Blankets, Burp Cloths, and Security Blankets—They’re kinda pricey compared to other stuff, true. But they’re pretty cute for one thing. And they’re pretty handy for another. For instance, the blankets are nice and lightweight. Karli was extremely paranoid about Squatch smothering himself in the middle of the night, so she put every one of the blankets we got over her face to see if she could breathe through them. These were the only ones that passed her test, so Squatch has spent most of his life wrapped in one of these bad boys up to this point. The burp cloths are huge (and can handle a lot of baby puke), and they even have snaps on the back so they can double as a bib. The security blankets are Squatch’s favorite thing ever. But yeah—pricey.

Swaddle Blankets—$35 for a four-pack; Burp Cloths—$10 apiece; Security Blankets—$16 for a two-pack.
OrganizerKoala Baby Closet Organizer Set—Any brand is cool, really. We got this kind because it came with an over-the-door thingy, too, which has come in pretty handy. You can fit a whole lot of stuff into the closet with this stuff. If your friends and family are anything like ours, you’ll need that space. You’ll be amazed how quickly kids can go through clothes, bed sheets, blankets and everything else that can’t just be wiped down. Especially those first few weeks when you haven’t quite gotten the hang of diapering them. Don’t judge. It will happen to you.

Babies R Us has them for about $50. If you don’t get the whole set, individual parts are cheaper, obviously.

SwaddleMe Wraps—Holy crap, these things are infinitely easier than trying to wrap a blanket around a screaming, flailing poop machine. The SwaddleMe wraps were one of the keys to getting Squatch to sleep through the night. They’ve got velcro to keep the kid bundled up tight and there’s no guess work as to where things go. No need to be an origami genius or Chipotle employee to get them together. I can say, without irony or exaggeration, that all three of us have survived to now because of these.

They run between $12-$16 at Babies R Us. More than one is nice because—y’know—pee.

Books—All of them. Books are just awesome. Squatch has a ton now. And it’s still not enough. Infant books. Board books. Soft books. Bathtime books. Picture books. Chapter books. New books. Used books. Doesn’t matter. Books are good*.

*This paragraph brought to you by literacy. And five cups of coffee.

Prices vary. If you didn’t know that, it’s probably taken you about an hour-and-a-half to read this far because you’re five years old. Good for you, buddy. Keep going.

Homemade Stuff—It really is pretty nice to get things that you spent time working on yourself. Even if you suck at it. Really. Chances are, though, that if you’re sitting down to make something, you probably don’t suck at it. We’ve gotten a cool blanket from one of Karli’s law school friends and another that my mother-in-law knitted. We got quilts from different people and a play-blanket thing made from vintage clown cloth that’s pretty cool, despite my irrational fear of clowns. My cousin’s wife sent us some burp cloths she made that we’re almost too ashamed to use for their intended purpose because they’re so nice. Karli’s cousin made a sling for carrying him around in. We like them all. The personal touch is nice. Beware clothing, however. More on that later.

Price depends on what you’re making it out of. I don’t recommend diamonds or ivory. Unless you’re loaded.

Karli would also probably like me to mention BabySteals.com. She signed up for the emails and gets all kinds of helpful stuff sent to her inbox every day. Not all of it is crap that we’ll buy, but sometimes she finds a pretty good deal on cool stuff. You’re welcome, Internet.

In addition to several good ideas, there are also some things to stay away from. Some are because they’ll never get used, some are because they’ll be returned on the way home from the baby shower, and some are because you don’t want to drown them in 20 of the same dame thing.

Disclaimer: This applies to stuff NOT on the registry. If they have these things listed, it’s fair game. Get it. Otherwise, restrain yourself, genius.

That leads us to:

The Don’t List

Pacifiers—This may seem like a brilliant idea. Pacifiers, however, are the single most useless baby shower gift out there, even for parents who aren’t against their kids using them. Why, you ask? Well, we bought some for Squatch before he was born. They were adorable and wonderful and supposed to be good for their dental growth or whatever. He hates them. Won’t use them. He likes the brand that the people at the hospital stuck in his gob when he was a day old. Won’t use anything else. So all those other ones are worthless. Might as well have tossed the money out on the highway. We have friends whose kid only likes the kind you can stick your finger in. Every kid is different and you don’t know. Don’t fall into the pacifier trap.

Bottles—Pretty similar to pacifiers. If they didn’t register for it, don’t buy it.

Clothing—Clothing is tricky. If you don’t know the parents’ taste, chances are it’ll end up back at the store. If you don’t know the baby’s gender, you’re playing a guessing game with most stuff these days. On the one hand, it almost seems like you can never have enough clothes those first few months. On the other hand, that’s because a lot of the ugly clothes you got from well-meaning folks are things you dress the baby in if he looks like he’s about to blow. If you’re buying stuff for someone else’s baby, just do them a favor and skip the clothes section.

Toys—I know, I know. They’re fun. You want to get a fun gift. But really, you want to help the new parent out more, right? For the first several months, toys are just keeping the furniture from floating away. Squatch gets more joy out of his blanket than just about anything else. Babies don’t need a vast selection of toys to keep them entertained. One is probably fine. None is probably fine, too. If you want to buy toys, wait till the kid’s birthday.

Bath Stuff—Seriously, we got about 243 effing washcloths, 44 hooded towels, and 17 bottles of soap and shampoo. Most of it got taken back. It’s not that babies don’t need bath stuff. It’s that hopefully not all parents are cleaning the Baby Army* five times a day.

*Would that be the Infantry? Sorry, I couldn’t just let that sit there. I feel dirty.

This Thing—That voice will haunt my nightmares forever.

How about other parents out there? Any other suggestions that made your first few months easier? Anything that was a gift-giving disaster waiting to happen?

& rememberating

It’s still October 15 where I live, so this is still valid. I didn’t know till this evening it was National Pregnancy, Infant, and Child Loss Day. Didn’t even know that was a thing. And why not give you two posts in a day when I’ve been gone for so long?

Here’s the thing about Karli and me: We were married for nine years before Squatch came along. That’s quite a while, especially compared to some people we know. Karli watched her friends from high school and college—friends who got married after we did—have kids and enter the world of poop, crying, and insomnia way before we did. She wanted it, too.

The other thing about being married that long and still not having any rugrats is that people notice. They start asking, “So when are you having your own little one?” Family starts dropping hints about grandkids, nieces, nephews, cousins, what-have-you. Pressure builds. They don’t realize that if you’ve been married that long, and if you’ve talked about having kids, and if you don’t have any yet, there’s usually a reason.

What these well-meaning people might not know is that you’ve tried. We tried several times. It didn’t work. Till one day it did.

We were excited about the prospect of being parents. We’d been trying, after all. Who wouldn’t be? And the hardest part about those early days of pregnancy is containing that excitement so you don’t spill the beans before it’s time. Well, that and the puking—but that only applied to one of us, and not the one writing the blog.

There’s a reason many people don’t let others know until twelve weeks. Chances of a miscarriage go way down after that point. The first time, Karli made it seven. The couple weeks after, where Karli suffered the physical pain of passing the embryo and the emotional pain of losing a baby, were probably the worst weeks of our marriage. When you’ve been looking forward to it for so many years and trying to make it happen, you get attached pretty quickly. We got attached. It’s a pain you don’t even realize till you get there.

Luckily, we were able to succeed later. I consider it a success, anyway. But today, apparently, is a day to remember the ones who were lost. So we remember, and we feel for those who weren’t able to make it to the magical parenthood land of poopy diapers and sleepless nights. We’re lucky in that way.

This was a long time coming.