Archives for category: Parenting

If you know me, then you know that I like to play dress up. The more refined nerds call it ‘costuming.’ If you’re not one, then you’ve at least seen one. You know, they’re the grown folks playing dress up, as if any day is Halloween.

Adam and Eve

This costume looks even worse on black people.

I came across a comment made by a friend of a friend (on Facebook, where else?) who said that he wished he could afford costuming. I have to admit – that’s the worst excuse I ever come across when it comes to playing dress up. I suppose what these people were saying is that they really wish they had the money to do a really great, detailed, “screen accurate” costume. But still, I find it disturbing.

First, it’s a bit of a misnomer to believe that expensive costumes are good, and that cheap costumes are, well, cheap. Nothing could be further from the truth.

If you’ve ever been to one of those Halloween shops, you’ll know that they’re shoddy (at best) and expensive for what they are. And yes, I’ve bought costumes at those places (for my kids, FOR MY KIDS!!!) Mostly because I didn’t have the time to make my son an Optimus Prime costume.

Sure, it looks like I'm defecating, but I'm really chasing a bounty.

On the flip side, there are plenty of ‘cheap’ costumes that don’t look cheap at all. I know a girl that made a great Zam Wesell costume and she did it fairly cheap. I don’t remember what she spent on it, but for roughly what she would have paid at a costume store, she got something immensely more ‘realistic.’ Not to brag, but I made my own Vader costume. Yes, it cost quite a bit (around $600 total), but only because I spent $100 on a helmet, $100 on a saber, and $40 on boots. I suppose that still sounds like a lot of money, but it wasn’t all at once. I bought pieces here and there. And in the original version, I used a turtle neck tshirt and sweatpants for the undersuit. I upgraded to vinyl a few dollars later.

My point is that you CAN spend a lot of money on a costume, but why? If you have the time and patience, you can really knock out some good looking costumes for relatively cheap.

The balance is where to put your time and effort, and where to spend your money. If you’re looking to make a Jedi costume, you could make your own saber, but it may be worth the time and money to order something online. Unless you’re a whiz with circuits and batteries and stuff…

A Jedi costume is probably one of the easiest costumes to put together. My biggest suggestion is to shop around at fabric stores until you find the fabric you want at the price you don’t mind paying. I know some guys won’t settle for less than wool lined with silk, and that’s going to be expensive. But you can get some cheaper material and not line it and come out with a tunic that is less than $20! Compare that to the Halloween shops, and you’ll soon realize that this is the way to go for anything resembling a ‘real’ costume.

I’ve done a few Jedi tunics, and I have some suggestions. If you live in an area that’s typically warm and possibly humid, I’d really suggest that you stick with natural fibers. They breathe, whereas the synthetics get stuffy quick – especially if you’re working on your jump flips and saber twirls.

Oh, and look for fabrics with texture. They really add a lot to the look. Steer clear of broadcloth. It’s synthetic, hot, and looks really plain. Trust me on this – my first one was made with some beige broadcloth. But, I spent all of about $10 on fabric, so not a total loss.

Dresses. Jedi's love 'em.

One of the benefits of the Jedi costume is that you don’t have to go with one look. If you watch the Geonosis Battle in Episode II, you’ll see that the overall look is similar, but they’re all different. In fact, that one Jedi is wearing a DRESS!!!

The thing to keep in mind is that Jedi need to stay with neutral, earth tones (I disagree with the greens, but hey, it’s your Jedi.) The main thing is that you have a tunic, tabbards, sash and light saber. It’s also smart to match the colors. Have different colored tabbards and sash, but make sure they go with your tunic…

Pants. This should really be the easiest part of the costume. Grab some khakis and go with it. I have a pair of thin piped corduroys that work well for a Kenobi costume. But just about any khakis should work. I saw a guy at Celebration III who had a fantastic Jedi Tunic, but was wearing blue jeans. WHAT? The kid could have just headed out to Goodwill and picked up some khaki pants! I dubbed the guy “Casual Friday Jedi.” Don’t be that guy.

Now, there are a couple of pieces to this costume that can be done cheaply, but can be expensive as well.

BOOTS: I was able to pick up some Frye boots for $75 on ebay. I’ve worn them a lot, and they need to be resoled (bonus to ‘real’ boots.) But I’ve seen plenty of costumes that use the cheap $20 vinyl pirate boots that typically show up at those Halloween stores. The downside is that they aren’t very durable and will ultimately crack and fall apart after any extended use, but for the price you could get about 6 or 7 pairs for what you’d pay for cheap ‘real’ boots. And then there’s the whole “detail” part. If you look at Anakin’s and Obi Wan’s boots, you’ll see that they have some neat details that you don’t get with the cheap boots. That’s the trade off… Unless of course you’re a boot maker.

BELT: I’ve seen belts on ebay go for over $100! Which is insane, considering it’s just some leather strapping with some detail parts. I made my first belt. I looked through women’s belts at various stores until I found something that would work. One side had a suede texture, and the other was a marbled leather look. So I separated the front and back and then cut the belt to the size I needed. And, I was able to make pouches with the left over material. I used a buckle I found at a fabric store, and never got around to putting the food capsules on, but no one’s ever noticed. Except the guys thinking I should join one of the bigger costuming groups.

Hopefully you’ll be on your way to making a Jedi costume soon. If you are and need some advice, ask and I’ll be glad to help out.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money, you just have to know where to spend your time, and where to spend your money. I suppose if I were to make a Star Wars analogy, I’d say that buying your costumes is like the Dark Side – quicker, easier, more seductive. Making your costume from scratch is like the Light Side, patience, my young apprentice.

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Superwhy did I volunteer for this?

Quentin likes watching PBS in the mornings. He loves starting his day off with the “Abby’s Flying Fairy School” on Sesame Street. He loves watching “TCITHKALAT” and “SuperWhy.” Today’s episode of Superwhy started out with the three pigs fighting over how to build a house. The message at the end of the episode is “work together.”

This got me to thinking about things. Those three pigs reminded me of David and Zada. They fight and argue all the time, as if in some sort of power struggle. Overall, they behave very well, but far too often it seems they argue and fight. It’s a real challenge, because I can rarely ever prevent it, and usually it ends up with me yelling at them and sending them to their rooms.

Two positive things about Roy. This was one.

Both have gotten into this bad habit of correcting each other, which is usually how the arguing begins. And it usually ends up, if I’m around, with me giving the correct info followed by one kid pouting and one kid gloating. Then it ends up with two kids pouting. And me thinking of Roy.

Roy was a chubby toe head who wore glasses. I met him through Cub Scouts. I went over to his house one day to work on some projects. I don’t remember the projects, but I do remember playing Boxing on the Atari.

The only lovable Jerk in the entire world.

Roy lived with his mom. I think his parents were divorced. I don’t think his dad had died. Or maybe she was just a single mom. I was 7 or 8, and didn’t pay too much attention to these things. What I did remember about Roy and his mom was that she let him get away with quite a bit. He talked to her in a way that I’d never talk to my mom – if I did, I’d pay for it, not unlike Atari Boxing. I think I only spent one afternoon there, but that was enough.

Some amount of time later, maybe a day, maybe a week, I corrected someone on something. Either I corrected my dad, or corrected someone in front of my dad, but my dad pointed out that Roy corrected people. He pointed out that it made me feel bad – it did, when Roy corrected me – and that I shouldn’t do that to other people. He also pointed out that Roy was rude and a bit of a jerk. At that very moment in time, I made a vow to never be like Roy. And it has stuck with me ever since.

I’m not sure my dad would remember Roy (he didn’t even remember the cake, and that was more recent), but I do. He has been etched into my memory, forever to stay. Funny how one afternoon can have such an everlasting effect on a person’s overall personality? I’m betting Roy probably never even thought of me after that day. He probably didn’t even think of me when I was there, to be blunt…

These two probably needed a Roy in their lives as well.

Now I’m in the position my dad was in – trying to teach my kids how to behave, and how not to behave. Unfortunately, I don’t have a ‘Roy’ to introduce my kids to. I can’t say, “Hey, you don’t want to be a jerk like Roy, do you?” Because they’d look at me funny. No one names their kids Roy now (skip to the 3:00 minute mark).

I suppose now I’ll have to ask at the parent teacher conference who the real jerk of the class is, so I can point out these kids to my kids with the insightful message passed on to me from my father. “Hey, you don’t want to be like that kid, do you?” I’m just hoping that it isn’t my kids who are the “Roys.”

Chicken?

Almost had this for dinner.

Shortly after posting the last blog, I wandered to the cafeteria to see what was for dinner. BBQ chicken. Smelled great, but I wasn’t feeling chicken twice today.

They’re doing painting in the one section of the hospital where it’s just a dog leg trip around the corner to the cafeteria. So that meant I had to go through the “restricted area” to get to the cafeteria. Not a big deal, but the door to go back the same way locked when it shut. Great.

Walked around to the ER, where two security guards were. They asked me a question, and I told them I was going to the women’s center. The lady told me that she was working that area and would escort me. What was odd is that she had a tracheotomy. I didn’t understand at first why her voice was all raspy. Then I got it. She told me I could park out front – which I told her I had. I suppose she was under the assumption I just got there. Nope. Been here all day, thanks.

When I got back to the room, I got a text message from Christy. Doc had just broke her water and she was at 3 cm. So, since I didn’t get dinner at the cafeteria, I headed to Carl’s Jr. Which, I noted, I was the thinnest person in the place. Anyway, I ate, and went back to the hospital.

It was about an hour after I got back that the anesthesiologist showed up. Christy was happy. After the epidural, the nurse checked and Christy was at about 5. Now more waiting.

Reach

Yeah, I'm just putting these in here now.

Apparently, 8pm is about the time everyone checks facebook, because that’s when all the messages started flowing in. At some point, the baby bed started going off with a ding dong carnival sound. Then almost immediately afterwards, something else started beeping. And the phone got text messages. SHeeesh. Lots of noise!

It’s almost 9pm now. Grey’s Anatomy is wrapping up and Christy’s watching. I’m typing this up and waiting for the final stretch, which should be soon.

I hope.

I went to bed about 12:30a this morning. Mostly because I stayed up playing Halo: Reach. Hey, we had a good team and we were dropping opponents all over those maps. Big Team Battle, if you’re curious.

HaloReach

How can you sleep when there's so many kills to get?

I fell asleep almost immediately. Next thing I know, it’s 6:30a and it’s time to get the kids up and rolling. Christy got up and got ready to head over to the doctor’s office.

Quentin was especially grumpy this morning. He didn’t want his cereal. He didn’t want to get up. He didn’t want to get dressed. He didn’t want to go to Nana’s. He did, however, want to play Xbox. As much as I would have loved to sit next to him and make that happen, it just wasn’t the time.

Spider-Mug

The only way my mug could get cooler is if it spit webs.

David and Zada did well. I had to prod Zada a bit – she’s always a little slow to make it happen in the morning. She’s actually been a little groggy in the morning, not sure why. But by ten after seven, we were all ready to head out.

But I couldn’t find my coffee mug. CURSE YOU MISSING MUG.

We got to the school, David and Zada got out, and they were both excited because they knew they’d see their new sister this afternoon. David was talking about how he was going to tell his whole class. Zada told her class yesterday. Makes me feel good, because I wasn’t the only one who didn’t catch that it was supposed to be today. Apparently there is something to the miscommunication between men and women.  Hopefully we’ll be able send some pictures to school with them tomorrow. Pretty sure we won’t be sending Macy tomorrow.

Bom bom bada bom bom.

Quentin may one day dance as great as the Late King of Pop.

I dropped Quentin off at my mom’s, but he wasn’t too pleased about it. I’m not sure where he wanted to go, but it was not Nana’s at that point. He got out of the car and put his backpack on (diaper bag). Then he just froze. He stood there. I tried to pull his arm to get him to walk up the steps, but he wasn’t moving his feet. It was rather humorous, really. Think Michael Jackson in “Smooth Criminal.” Eventually I got him inside and I grabbed my mom’s keys to put the booster seats in her car. She’ll be picking up Deezo and Chickie this afternoon.

When I was getting Q’ball out of the car, I spotted it. My MUG!!! Sweet. Caffeine will be mine!!! Needless to say, I was pleased.

I pulled up to the hospital and headed to Christy’s room. She was already set up and ready to make things happen. The nurses hadn’t hooked up the IV and they were still doing the blood work. I was still sleepy, so I tried napping in the rocking chair. No go. Then the nurse pointed out that the arm of the couch slides out and makes a cool little bed. So I took a little nap. About 30 minutes worth. A little longer than I normally do, but refreshing.

Puzzle

This game is fun, especially when you're waiting on a baby.

Christy’s been hanging out, just watching TV. Waiting. I got some coffee, came back. Played on the iPod (which, by the way, the hospital’s verification thing doesn’t like Safari), went and got some more coffee and called my sister in law to give her the heads up. She said she wanted to call, but because she has a bad habit of calling as the baby is coming out, she’d wait until we called her.

When I got back into the room, Christy told me they started the Pitocin. That’s good, means we’re progressing. The nurse popped in to see if the doc had stopped in. He hadn’t. Apparently he’s performing a C-section right now. So, we waited.

chicken dinner

Almost exactly what I ate for lunch.

I looked up and realized that it was almost one o’clock. I realized that there was a chance that the cafeteria may close soon and I didn’t want to have to leave the hospital to grab a bite. Seems like last time I was here, I tried to get to the cafeteria but missed it. And I didn’t miss lunch. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, mixed veggies and a soda. MMMmmm good. I didn’t tell Christy, though. Didn’t seem right. They’ve given her broth, jello, and water. Yum.

No, no, NO!

I may forget to bring diapers, but I usually don't substitute fruit.

Just before 2p, my mom called. She was running out of diapers for Quentin. I thought I had enough, but who knows. Apparently she either changes a lot of diapers or she changes no diapers. There’s no rhyme or reason, apparently. I usually get about 3 or 4 a day, sometimes. But I’m not sure how many were in the bag. I do know that I had gotten some out to take with us but forgot to take them… oops.

Christy suggested I go get some and drop them off. So I headed to the house, picked up the ones I pulled out originally (still neatly stacked on the coffee table) and headed out. I pulled up to my mom’s, knocked on the door, and went in. Quentin was sacked out on the floor, as he normally does. I put the diapers on the table, grabbed a soda, and then helped my mom get him into the car. She was about to head out to pick up D and Z. I headed back to the hospital, and she off to the school.

snoozin

Despite the decor of the delivery room, the seating arrangements were no where near as comfy.

I came back and everything was the same. No doc, no baby. No nothing. The lights were out/dimmed, which made me want to take a nap. I did shut my eyes for a minute. Who knew waiting would be so tiring?

And for the next two hours, we just waited. Christy’s contractions were coming about every 3 minutes. No real change, and no doctor. It’s rather disappointing. I was hoping to have been celebrating by 5pm. Christy was really tired of being stuck in the bed.

It’s 5:30p right now – and there’s no baby…

I’ll post more later. Sorry no baby yet. 😦

Vader's kid

This isn't me.

My wife’s been pregnant for quite some time now. I forget when it happened, but it was obviously earlier this year. February? Who knows. I stopped paying attention after she told me we were adding another member to the family that didn’t eat out of a bowl on the floor.

Everything’s been progressing normally. She’s gone through the typical things she always goes through. She has had some issues with her legs cramping and her ankles swelling, but it’s because she works retail and she’s been on her feet for 9 or so hours a day. Other than that, everything has been pretty similar to the other three pregnancies. So normal, in fact, that I really haven’t been paying much attention to how far along we’ve gotten.

Baby be reading, dog

Daddy, it says here you have a knack for not paying attention.

With the other kids, we induced. They were all ‘big,’ and they were anywhere from 9-12 days early. Apparently the hospital has changed policies on induction. I suppose some doctors have been ‘abusing’ the induction thing – because the hospital won’t schedule inductions more than a week from the due date. That would be fine, I suppose, but there’s some issue on the due dates. The date the hospital likes is Nov. 7th. There’s also a Nov. 3rd date that’s out there and depending how you calculate it, there can be some discretion. Based on the baby’s growth, we were looking more towards the 3rd.

On Tuesday, my wife went in early for her normal appointment with her doc. Afterwards she called me to let me know we were going to induce after all due to some ingenuity of the doc. The way she told me sounded like she was going to go in for her appointment next week at the normal time, and then on Thursday they would get things rolling. That’s the information that got processed in my tiny little bald head.

But that’s not the real info.

I thought I had a full week and two days to get things handled. I thought it was rather odd that my wife was pressing me to do things when I had a while to get it all taken care of. Oops. In the car this morning, I said that I was planning on getting over to the Velveeta Room tomorrow night to record comedy. She looked at me like I was the most insensitive jerk she’s ever known. That’s when it came out that we were not only on different pages, we were in completely different books. Yeah, slight change of plans.

WHO IS THIS?

My mom looks nothing like this. And really, who has corded phones?

I went into overdrive, making those calls and trying to correct things. A quick status update on Facebook and a few emails changing the plans I’d made for things. Everything is still sort of in limbo – I haven’t gotten in touch with my mom. I need her to watch Q-Ball for us. He can’t really be running around the delivery room. Mostly because he’s going to be yanking crap and breaking things. Adorable as he is, he’s not really going to be instrumental in bringing Macy into the world. Plus, he may remember some things, and truly, there are some things that only need to be seen by a doctor…

So what now? Well, there’s still a lot of things that need to be done. Christy pointed out that we should re-arrange the bedroom, which was cool with me when I thought we had a week. Not so cool when it’s just a day or so. Ugh.

I have some things that I have to do work wise. No Thursday night, obviously, but Friday I need to go to Austin with a client to pick up gear. Friday night is taping comedy in San Antonio. Saturday is some time out doing some foot work for the client. I think Saturday night is free, but Sunday is all about knocking out these spots for the client. I’m sort of sad, really. I’m more excited about knocking out these spots on Sunday than I am having a kid. I know. I’m going to the land of fire and brimstone. Which is quite nice this time of year, from what I’ve heard.

Today will be spent making sure everything is ready for tomorrow. I was really hoping to play some good games of Halo today, but I suppose that’s not going to happen. I am sad I won’t be making another “Daily Challenge” today. But that’s fine, I suppose.

Also, if you enjoy watching kids, let me know. Added bonus if you don’t mind watching kids while I’m playing Halo.

Halo Reach

If Halo:Reach had been out earlier this year, I probably wouldn't be posting this blog right now.