Posts Tagged ‘kids’

New Goodies At Viva Paso And Other Random Shiz

Things have been pretty busy at Viva Paso this past week. We’ve received a lot of new products. I’d talk about all of them here, but I’ve already done that on the Viva Blog.

Work stuff aside, let’s engage in some random photo time. I’m just going to scroll through my phone to find some things worthy enough to be shared with the world…or the two people that happen to read this. Here we go!

Here’s Elliott with all of his friends. How do kids end up with so much shit? What’s weird is how they’re able to keep such a good mental inventory of it all. If I secretly take one of these stuffed animals Elliott totally knows it’s missing.

Coral and I on Halloween just before hitting the streets for trick-or-treating. It’s hard to see in the photo, but Coral’s eyelid was covered in glittering turquoise to match her sweater. I was in my typical uniform.

Seriously, Postman? You couldn’t walk this one to the door? It took half a jar of Crisco and a Slim Jim to get this out. And while we’re on the Postal theme…

The line at the Paso Robles Post Office on Dec. 19. I think a read about 2 chapters of a book before I got to the front.

When the box of hot cocoa, James, and a ballpoint pen are left alone together.

Pretty random, but that’s just how life goes. A random string of events that sometimes make the most perfect sense or no sense at all.


– Jeff

Sometimes It’s Best To Not Teach Your Kids.

This is an actual conversation I heard the other day between Evy (14) and James (16). So, the situation was James and Evy were downstairs. I was upstairs and could hear that James was singing. I couldn’t tell what song he was singing, but he seemed pretty into it. Also, he wasn’t singing along with music playing. This was straight up a cappella. Evelyn interrupted his singing to ask:
“What dees is that from?”
From upstairs I thought, “What is she talking about it?” while simultaneously fearing that maybe I was too old and uninformed to have heard of some new style of music. Luckily, James asked, “What?”
Evy: What dees is that from?
James, still confused: What do you mean?
Evy again: What dees is that from…you know, like 80’s or 90’s?

And that’s when I almost spit cereal out of my nose and had to rush to my room so they wouldn’t hear me cracking up. This next thing I’m about to tell you is one of those situations where my ability to be a good parent could and probably should be questioned. Naturally, my first instinct is to help and educate by teaching Evy the word “era”. For example, “What era is that song from?” But, I’m also human with a questionable sense of humor, which means I thought it would be more fun to not teach her and hope that she says “dees” for years to come. I especially hope she says it while talking to a boy she’s trying to impress.

Sometimes, as a parent, we need these things to keep our sanity. Now get out there and not teach something to your kids today!

The Weekly Wrap Up: Mexican Wrestling Masks, A Man Date And A Middle Finger

First off, parents are not fans of three day weekends. Having kids home an extra day is no walk in the park. School should probably be ten hours a day, eight days a week. It was much harder for Coral since I ditched out on family duties to spend some time in thee ole’ studio on Saturday and Sunday. Then today I ditched her again to watch my nieces, but I did take Elliott with me, so Coral had one very needy and demanding kid out of her hair for the majority of the day. Last week I started a Lucha Libre series. Or better put, a series of Mexican Wrestling masks. Here are the first two in the series.

“Mighty Miguel”
3.5″ x 5″ – mixed media on wood
$60, plus shipping
Available online.

“Feisty Felipe”
5.5″ x 8″ – mixed media on wood
$80, plus shipping
Available online.

In addition to the Lucha Libre masks I also finished a new blockhead owl.

“Andy The Owl”
3.5″ x 7″ – mixed media on wood
$65, plus shipping
Available online.

Enough of the, “Look at me. Buy my art…wah, wah, wah” self promotional mumbo jumbo. Here are a few other tidbits from the week. But, really, you probably should buy some artwork. I’d be super stoked, plus I have a lot of bills. Anyway…

Here’s a studio shot that I am posting as less of a self-promotional buy my stuff pic and more of a it’s just part of my life photo. This is the first time in a long time that I’ve had enough artwork to cover a wall and I spent a big portion of my Saturday studio time wiring, signing, hanging and pricing artwork.

Again, this is more just part of my life so it’s getting thrown in the “weekly wrap up” because it takes a long time to make 100 magnets.

I was super stoked to go on a man date with my buddy Justin who I haven’t seen for a few months. We are probably the first people to spend 2 hours having lunch at a Mr. Pickles. Hey look, I know I called it a man date, but don’t let your pervy imagination turn “lunch at Mr. Pickles” into something it’s not.

And, of course, you can’t pull a camera out in front of Neal without him offering up his good side. And by “good side” I mean his stubby middle finger.

Well, there you have it. I can’t recall writing a weekly wrap up before, but it might be something I try to make a habit out of.

I hope you had a great weekend. If you’re not a parent I’m sure you did. If you didn’t then you are a jerk and need a little perspective. For example, Coral got yelled at by Evelyn (our thirteen year old daughter) for asking Evy to wash a dirty cup of soup that has been in her room for at least 6 days. The conversation went something like:

“Evy, please take that cup downstairs and wash it. I’ve asked several times and it’s been there for days, which is just gross.”

To which Evy responded, “Ughhh! You guys expect us to do everything ourselves!”

And really, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Anyway…

Tune in next time for…
who knows what. I’ll be babbling about something and I can assure you it will be babbles you won’t want to miss.

– Jeff

An Actual Conversation I Had With Evy

As a parent of teenagers you often ask yourself, “Why do I even try?” Do I have an undying curiosity about the ins n’ outs of Ultimate Football? Not really, but I do like conversations with my daughter that don’t involve telling her, for the 100th time, to clean her room. And honestly, I did have a vague curiosity about Ultimate Football and had assumed it was the same thing as Ultimate Frisbee, but with a football, because I’m not a total idiot. The thing is, I couldn’t, and still can’t, remember for the life of me how to play Ultimate Frisbee so I asked. I may not have gotten the answer I expected, but I did get a conversation worth sharing with you. Nobody else in the car seemed to see the humor in it, but based on the conversation you should get a sense of the people I’m dealing with here. If it doesn’t go over their head than it goes in one ear and out the other.

Moral of the story: Who knows…I guess it’s don’t pick Evy to be on your Ultimate Football (or frisbee) team.

– Jeff

Elliott Upgraded His Playpen

Elliott finally upgraded to a new playpen. It’s much more roomier than the one you might remember from last summer. The only thing I can think of that would improve on this new set up is if we crane lifted it upside down and set it over Elliott. It would be like when we used to put the laundry basket over my sister’s cat and called it Kitty Prison, except this would be with a trailer and human.

Lazy James, The Origin Of Cashews And Something I Don’t Understand

The title says “something I don’t understand”, but when it comes to James, I don’t understand any of it. I might be going a little too far by posting a photo of his underwear, but oh well. This kid kicks lazy up to a whole new level. Actually, kicking takes too much energy. This kid drops lazy to a whole new level. It’s literally been years of telling him to remove his belt from his pants before putting them in the wash. I didn’t even realize this was something I would ever have to tell another human being. The underwear intertwined in the pant legs is just a bonus for all of our viewing pleasure. Speaking of bonus, there was a Starbucks and Taco Bell gift card in his pocket. Which is now going in my pocket, cha-ching! I’ll admit, occasionally I forget something in my pockets and Coral fishes a screw or bent staple out of the washer, but I literally found the same Starbucks card in yesterday’s wash. I told James he forgot it in his pocket when I handed it to him just last night. You’d think that a Starbucks and a Taco Bell card would be like gold to a 14 year old, but James seems to dismiss it like yesterday’s dirty laundry. And today’s dirty laundry. Did that joke land? I’m not quite sure, but I’ll leave it.

Anyway, Here are a couple of “Jamestories” I’ve collected this month.

Jan. 2
James: I don’t like peanuts/peanut butter or cashews or almonds.
Me: I don’t like cashews either. (In my head I’m thinking, “Awesome, father-son bonding over the hatred of cashews.)
Then Coral walked in and I said, proudly, “We don’t like cashews.”
James (to Coral and I): Do you know where cashews come from?
Me: They grow on a tree.*
James: No, they come from papayas.
Coral and I shared a look we often share with each other when James is being James.

Jan. 14
Me: What are you doing in our room?
James: Using the mirror.
Me: Use the mirror in your room.
James: But I can’t see my socks in my mirror.
Me: Seriously?
James: You wouldn’t understand.

And he walked out of the room. Kind of unrelated, but the next day he wore a Rasta shirt with matching Rasta earbuds. I should mention that I have never seen him wear earbuds to school before. And I should mention that he hasn’t worn them since. This is where the sock conversation comes into play. I know he has a pair of Rasta socks somewhere. I guess he just couldn’t find them in time to wear with the outfit he orchestrated for the day. This reminds me of one of my earlier posts from when James was 12. It’s called, “James Prefers Fashion Over Function” and, although I’m biased, it’s totally worth a read.

See ya!
– Jeff

* As it turns out, cashews are very interesting in that they are actually a seed to the cashew apple. Personally, I think they’re kind of weird looking because the cashew nut is on the outside of the cashew apple. So yes, they do grow in a tree, but they are attached to a fruit. As much pleasure as it brings me to make fun of my kids, I have to say that in James’ defense, although the cashew does not come from a papaya, it does come from another fruit.

Working With A Monkey On My Back

(photo by Coral)

This kid. He’s such a monkey. Ready for real talk? Here’s the truth about having a kid. I have never loved something so much yet been so incredibly annoyed with a person at the same exact time. It’s a strange feeling, which is made stranger because while he’s being annoying he has no clue at all that he’s being annoying. And he looks at me with the happiest eyes I’ve ever seen. He’s so full of love and just wants to play. It’s one of the hard things about being a parent and working at home. If I didn’t have to work I would be wrestling and having tickling wars with Elliott all day. Normally, my work at home days are spent in the garage while Coral watches Elliott in the house and that’s a nice set up. As of late, it’s been freezing in the garage, so I’ve been setting up shop on our kitchen table. Yes, my seat is right over a heater vent and it feels great. Ok, now let me give you a little play by play.

Elliott is in the living room with Coral while I’m in the kitchen working on a painting. Elliott runs to me yelling, “ELMO!” while shoving an Elmo plush doll in my face. After hugging Elmo I hand him back and Elliott runs back to the living room. One minute later he’s running back to me saying, “McQueen! McQueen! McQueen!”. I hand him the Lightning McQueen car that’s on the table. He grabs it, saying, “Welcome!” as he turns away because somewhere he picked up on the phrase “you’re welcome” and he uses it instead of saying “thank you.” It’s cute and endearing and he’ll figure it out eventually. A minute passes and he’s back in the kitchen pointing at our bunny, Pascal, who is enjoying his out of the cage time by munching on a cardboard box in the corner of our kitchen. Elliott fishes a bunny poop out of the cage and tries to feed it to Pascal. Then he motions to me to pet Pascal. After I pet the bunny Elliott grabs a bungee cord that he’s attached to Elmo’s leg and runs back to the living room yelling something in that special Elliott speak that we can’t always decipher.

Ok, let’s review. In a three minute span of time I…
– stopped painting to hug Elmo
– stopped painting to grab a McQueen car
– stopped painting to explain that Pascal does not want to eat his own poop

That’s all in a three minute span of time, people. And this goes on ALL DAY. I allow myself to watch something on YouTube while I eat lunch. Today I chose a 12 minute long interview with Mike D. In the twenty minutes of stuffing my face with more quesadillas than I can count, I managed to see 5 minutes of the interview because Elliott “needed” something every minute or two which involved setting down my food, pausing the video and taking off my headphones.

Sure, every once in awhile he will get totally engrossed in something, which is awesome for two reasons. One, I love to see his little mind at work while he constructs a block tower or hooking a bungee cord up to two cars so they can tow each other around. And two, it creates a little pocket of time in which I (or Coral) can work without interruptions.

By the 15th Elliott interruption today I looked at him and said, “Elliott, you are so annoying, but so stinking cute.” Then I picked him up and gave him a big hug.

What else can I do? I love the little pest.

Elliott, Hitting Daddy With Things Is a No No.

Elliott gave me a fat bloody lip with a crocodile flashlight. That is one of those things I never thought I would have to say, but when you have a three year old there is no limit to the ridiculous statements that become possible.

This would have looked way more badass if I would have thought to photograph it before rinsing all the blood out of my mouth.

At first I thought I may have lost a tooth, which would have been a bummer, but at least I would be able to show it off when trying to convince people that I am really a hillbilly. Anyway, after cleaning all the blood off my teeth and gums I discovered that it was the inside of my lip that was bleeding and not my gums. I figure all my teeth will remain safely in place.

Lucky for Elliott, this was an accident and not an act of frustration where he picks up whatever is closest to him and throws it. We were having a fun morning wrestling and tickling and laughing and then WHAM! Crocodile flashlight in my face! It was the closest I had ever come to yelling, “MUTHA FUCKER!” in front of one of the kids. I actually did yell “MUTHA…” and cut myself off. Everybody has their go to curse that comes out uncontrollably when they get hit in the face with a crocodile flashlight and that’s mine.

Elliott apologized. We kissed and hugged and all is good in the world again.

And what is your go to curse word?

Amazing Factoids From James

Since James started high school he’s been bringing home a myriad of random tidbits and factoids that are both funny and worrisome. Here are a couple of my favorites.

There is a huge tree in the center of a small parking lot on campus where I pick James up after theater rehearsal. As we were pulling out of the lot somebody in the car made a comment like, “Why is that big tree there? They should totally cut it down.” I’m no hippie, but I responded with “I’m sure the tree was there before the parking lot was?” which was my way of saying the tree has more of a right to be there than the two parking spaces it’s blocking. This is where James came in with, “Well, did you know the school was built before the town.” I’m guessing that was his way of saying…well, I really have no idea, but I am pretty sure the high school was not the first thing the settlers built 100 years ago. And it probably wasn’t the first thing the Indians built 100 years before that.

The next one is also tree related. According to James it is illegal to cut or trim any tree in Atascadero.

The crown jewel of these tidbits is about Spain. So, the other night I am filling a cup with ice and Evelyn commented that I love ice. It’s totally true. I put ice in almost everything I drink. Then James said, “Did you know that in Spain they don’t give you ice at restaurants?”
Intrigued, Evy asked why.
“I guess it’s hard to make there.”

Yeah, that’s our James.

* Remember that time James microwaved ice?

Elliott Loves Plant Shopping And Eats Pizza Like A Beast

I know some consider these cheesy, but I love reflective garden spheres. Elliott, surprisingly, did not break any. He certainly grabbed every one that he came across.

Strong willed and independent, he did not want any help at all with the wagon. Until he faced it downhill and it ran him over. Also, don’t go anywhere without your Lightning Mcqueen backpack.

“What are you lookin’ at? Like you’ve never seen a dude buy plants before. Now step aside so I can find me some basil.”

Pizza does not come from a plant, but after watching Wall-E ten thousand million times, Elliott probably does believe in pizza plants. And hey, that’s not a bad idea. It might even get me to show some interest in the garden.

I Know The Cookies Are Here Somewhere

One of the many difficulties of parenthood is not being able to congratulate your offspring when they accomplish feats like this. Seriously, I’m proud of the little guy. How could you not be? This is not a rebellious act. The dude simply wanted some cookies and through a focused determination, razor sharp ingenuity and an undying persistence he accomplished his goal and met his stated objective. When I walked in on this I wanted to give him a high five, tell him how proud I was and hug him until his cheeks burst, but that would only encourage more of it, which is a struggle for me because he’s sort of a badass and I like that. On the other hand, I have to protect him and I don’t want him to fall off the counter in a crazed cookie sugar high. So, inside my head I have a silent victory party for my little spiderman and to him I said something like, “Dude, seriously? Get down from there!” This is also a good time to mention that if Coral caught me giving him a high five for this I’d be sleeping on the couch for a week. Here’s a secret though, I am pretty sure Elliott can see the look of proudness I have for him in my eyes. Afterall, I did let him eat a cookie and that’s like rewarding him for climbing on the counter. So basically, guys shouldn’t be parents.

Now let’s all eat a cookie and pat ourselves on the back.

– Jeff

Drawing 101: Keep It Between The Lines

Of course, one of the things that I like about art is that there are no rules. Elliott, obviously, feels the same. I mean, look at that. Total disregard for anything.

Elliott is more like, “Draw between the lines, pfff! I will draw everywhere EXCEPT between the lines. Take that”

And, of course, I couldn’t be more proud.

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