Friday, January 16, 2009

Stuff Beatrix Likes - The Pretty Girl In The Mirror

Friday, January 16, 2009 0

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Gratuitous Beatrix Photo

Wednesday, January 14, 2009 0
She is a couple weeks away from a big girl stroller. She tried it out this morning.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Best Tweek Ever - 1/5/09 - 1/11/09

Sunday, January 11, 2009 0
Our tweets this week. It makes more sense if you read from bottom up.

Sunday, January 11, 2009
• briancbray: I bought the same model alarm-clock I had growing up today from Amvets for $3.00. I abandoned original for a better one 5 years ago. 5 minutes ago from twhirl

• briancbray: I'm willing to bet that whoever wrote this week's my view is really ugly. about 7 hours ago from web

Saturday, January 10, 2009

• briancbray: I was 1/2 cup cheese and 1 teaspoon short of perfect chicken quesadillas. Slowly becoming the master of chain restaurant staples. about 24 hours ago from twhirl

• briancbray: Just watched my DVR copy of 30 Rock...they referenced Teen Witch! How awesome is that? 11:51 AM yesterday from twhirl

• briancbray: I'd like to thank my dog Lynus for whining for his breakfast by the stairs at 5:45 AM because who wants to sleep-in on the weekend anyways? 6:15 AM yesterday from twhirl

Friday, January 9, 2009

• cathrynbray: Beatrix has already started the "monkey see, monkey do" phase. Lynus licks Bebe's mouth so Bebe licks Lynus's mouth. A big tongue fest! EW
Jan 9, 2009 08:19 PM GMT •

• briancbray: Has their ever been a song as enoyable and annoying as Kim Wilde's Kids In America? 7:35 PM Jan 9th from web

• cathrynbray: I'm going through all the junk I've saved from my childhood, I know don't need all that crap but I'm still uneasy about parting with ALF.
Jan 9, 2009 06:37 PM GMT • Reply • View Tweet

• briancbray: From Last Friday to today, I have spent a total of 75 cents. Go me. 5:27 PM Jan 9th from twhirl

• cathrynbray: I am about to go into the attic to do some long overdo cleaning/organizing. Until lunchtime world wide web... I'll miss you.
Jan 9, 2009 03:18 PM GMT • Reply • View Tweet

• briancbray: I really ought to learn to wait longer before publishing blog posts...I spend tons of time editing because I have zero writing talent. 12:53 PM Jan 9th from web

• briancbray: I really need to clean my desk at work but feel like a douche if I do it during the workday...Maybe I'll come in early on Monday. 12:10 PM Jan 9th from web

• briancbray: I don't get people who keep a mini-medicine cabinet/kitchen cupboard in their desk...but they come in handy when you need salt or a bandaid. 9:26 AM Jan 9th from web

Thursday, January 8, 2009

• cathrynbray: Beatrix just had a loud burp! Daddy's little girl, fo sho!
Jan 8, 2009 08:26 PM GMT • Reply • View Tweet

• cathrynbray: I think my husband and I need to get our ears cleaned out!
Jan 8, 2009 12:25 PM GMT • Reply • View Tweet

• briancbray: Ever read Buffalo Rising and think "How is it that everyone is an expert in Urban Planning"? 9:30 AM Jan 8th from web

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

• briancbray: I've been crunching the numbers & think we can afford Home Depot quote if we eat only Raman Noodles for the next yr and hitch-hike to work. 9:21 PM Jan 7th from twhirl

• briancbray: So Home Depot's quote was 3 times our budget. :( 7:21 PM Jan 7th from twhirl

• cathrynbray: Just got my 4th call from the Buffalo News!!!!!! LEAVE ME ALONE
Jan 7, 2009 03:34 PM GMT • Reply • View Tweet

• cathrynbray: @briancbray he's not coming until 6pm
Jan 7, 2009 03:32 PM GMT • Reply • View Tweet

• briancbray: going home to meet with home depot re: cabinet refacing - being prepared to be hard-sold gym style. 3:29 PM Jan 7th from web

• briancbray: Rain+Winter+Driving=Frustration 8:34 AM Jan 7th from web

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

• cathrynbray: It's Snowing!
Jan 6, 2009 09:22 PM GMT • Reply • View Tweet

• briancbray: Freakonomics proving once again why they are the best blog on the internets. 6:40 PM Jan 6th from twhirl

• briancbray: There is no better words a young father can hear than "Can you make me 6 oz." It means I get at least 20 minutes to myself. 6:15 PM Jan 6th from twhirl

• briancbray: I went the day without spending a penny. Go me. I rock. 4:27 PM Jan 6th from web

• cathrynbray: I just cleaned out the pantry!
Jan 6, 2009 03:41 PM GMT • Reply • View Tweet

• briancbray: @cathrynbray yes you did. 2:20 PM Jan 6th from web in reply to cathrynbray

• cathrynbray: I did a great job measuring the kitchen cabinets!
Jan 6, 2009 01:39 PM GMT • Reply • View Tweet

• cathrynbray: I just got my 3rd call from The Buffalo News!!! I DON"T WANT ANY SORT OF SUBSCRIPTION!!!!
Jan 6, 2009 02:07 PM GMT • Reply • View Tweet

• cathrynbray: I'm listening to classic music. I think I enjoy much more than Bebe does.
Jan 6, 2009 01:46 PM GMT • Reply • View Tweet

• cathrynbray: @briancbray but u look hot!
Jan 6, 2009 09:45 AM GMT • Reply • View Tweet

• briancbray: At some point this morning, it seemed like a good idea to wear a I feel like the world biggest tool. 8:30 AM Jan 6th from web

• briancbray: Beatrix just had a bunch of spit-up on her back. No idea how that could have happened. Unless she is a witch that is...that would make s ... 6:50 AM Jan 6th from twhirl

Monday, January 5, 2009

• briancbray: I managed to spend only 25 cents today...I'm trying to keep it under a dollar for the week. 7:51 PM Jan 5th from twhirl

• briancbray: I was talking with @klaub about a conversation he had with @ MunchingZombie about and still can't believe. 3:06 PM Jan 5th from web

• briancbray: I just got a granola bar at the store downstairs that was 75% tasty goodness, 25% win. 2:58 PM Jan 5th from web

• cathrynbray: Squash was more successful than green beans, but not a home run.
Jan 5, 2009 01:51 PM GMT • Reply • View Tweet

• briancbray: There is a Church Lady reference in one of today's Everybody's Column. It's 2009 - not 1989, right? 9:26 AM Jan 5th from web

• briancbray: Life is back to normal today. Holiday Season - you were fun while you lasted. I'll see you next year 8:44 AM Jan 5th from web

• briancbray: I have to work 5 whole days this week :( 7:13 AM Jan 5th from twhirl

Beatrix in the Tub

This sitting thing is changing everything...Beatrix can now sit in the tub by herself for her bath. She enjoyed kicking her legs and splashing the water around.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Dogs and The Cookie Jar - A Cautionary Tale

Thursday, January 08, 2009 0
As anyone who has viewed this post can attest to, Cathryn enjoys adorning our home for the holidays with decorations. Among the many ornaments we have obtained over the years are a pair of snowman cookie-jars. In previous year, these were used for decorative purposes only as we tend not to eat cookies. Because we wanted to get functionality out of the cookie-jars this year, we filled them with doggy-treats. We placed the cookie-jar upon the kitchen counter, which is located near the door that exits to the backyard.

Whenever the dogs came inside, we handed them a treat from the jar. The dogs quickly got wise to the fact that their treats were being stored near the door and that they were being rewarded with one whenever they came inside. Using the knowledge, they started whining near the back-door. Previously whining in that location was an indication that they wanted to go outside, but now meant they wanted a treat.

Whenever we heard a whine in the kitchen, we got up, walked to the door and let the dogs out...even though what they really wanted was a treat. After inadvertently training them that coming inside was cause for reward, they would take two or three steps out of the house, immediately turn around and come back inside - all within a duration of 5 seconds. They then stood near the cookie jar and proceeded to insistently whine for the cookie for which they now felt entitled to. They had come to expect a doggy-treat for meeting the requirement that we had set up that coming inside after being outside was rewarded with a cookie out of the snowman jar. They had found a loop-hole in the cookie reward system.

We recognized this problem but decided not to take action. We assumed that once the cookie-jar was put away with the rest of the holiday decorations, the dogs would stop whining near the door because it would no longer be in sight. This proved not to be the case as now, a week after we returned the house to normal, the dogs are still going out and coming back in quickly expecting a treat for this minimal effort.

Let this be a lesson for all you dog-owners out mindful of where you put your doggy-treats and what behaviors you reward. It would have been smarter on our part to have left the treats out of sight. In addition, giving the dogs a reward for entering the house also gave them an incentive for exiting as well. While this behavior is not harmful, it just is really annoying.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Hankaroo - 5 Year Anniversary

Wednesday, January 07, 2009 0

We acquired our first pet five years ago today from the SPCA. When we adopted Hankaroo (whose name at that point was merely "Hank"), he was only a 9-month old pup. The paperwork at the SPCA claimed he was a Treeing Walker Coon Hound mix. Based on his temperament and look, however, we believe he is predominately a Boxer.

During the drive from the SPCA, Hankaroo sat on Cathryn's lap in the front seat because the back was filled with the doggy-crate we had just purchased. When we arrived home, he immediately started to run around and sniff everything in our Lafayette Ave. apartment. He proceeded to then pee all over our Living Room floor. We both yelled "Noooo," and quickly took him for a half-hour long walk around our West Side neighborhood. We had to take him for two more walks that night after similar incidences. When it was time for bed, we put him into his crate...where he spent the night whining and keeping us awake.

The first couple months with him were extremely tough (to say the least). His previous owners did not properly train him. He had leash aggression and severe anxiety issues. He had more energy than an Energizer battery and we only had a small 500 sq. ft. apartment (without yard access as well). We quickly learned we had limitations as loving parents of an energetic pet and he had limitations as a faithful companion. While we believed we were equipped to handle a nice friendly pet, we were not as confident we ready to handle Hankaroo.

We ended up taking him to obedience class where he improved. After that, we scoured the internet and read books to find solutions to other problem behaviors that the obedience class did not help in. We paid for an obedience specialist to work with us one-on-one. We worked hard (and continue to work hard) with him on making him a happier and more well-behaved dog. We became loving parents to our dog who needed special attention and help.

With time and patience, we found a very happy place with him where we learned what we were capable of as owners, and where we accepted his limitations as a pet. We learned that some battles were just not worth fighting (like Hank on the couch). We learned that sometimes we misinterpret acts of kindness (like everytime Hankaroo jumps on someone so he can give then a kiss). We learned that every creature has irrational fears (like Hankaroo not wanting to eat next his waterbowl if it is too full out of fear he might somehow get wet). While we are not sure that he might have turned out more well-behaved with an owner who had more experience training dogs, we are sure we did the best we could - and believe it is more than 95% of the people out there as well. He is a happy animal, and we could not love him more.

While we don't know if we would ever adopt another pet from the SPCA (nor recommend a President do it - regardless of what a poll may show), we do know we do not regret making Hankaroo a member of our family for one second.

In honor of his celebrating 5 years with us, we would like to share with you his many nick-names.

Breakaroo - When Hankaroo is being destructive.
Gooey OR Rooey - When Hankaroo is being ultra cute.
Hankapoo - When Hankaroo is going, ah...., look at the name again.
Hankaroo - The name on his collar.
Lickaroo OR Kissaroo - When Hankaroo is trying to lick us.
Roo Roo Roo Roo - When Hankaroo is being barky.
Roo-Cifer - When Hankaroo is acting like the devil.
Spankaroo - When Hankaroo is being particularly playful.
Spanks - See Spankaroo.
Stinkaroo - When Hankaroo smells particularly bad.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Stuff Beatrix Likes - Bat & Wobble Penguin

Monday, January 05, 2009 0
Beatrix loves playing with her Bat & Wobble Penguin.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Beatrix Sitting Like A Champ - The Video

Sunday, January 04, 2009 0
Beatrix sitting - caught on tape.

In case you wondered why we were saying "Big Whoop" all over the place, we are BIG fans of this video.

Stuff Brian Likes - Rockabye Baby! Music

If you are anything like me, what keeps you up at night is not if my child is smart or happy, but will she grow up to like good music. If you are not careful, you could end up with a child who is into mainstream pop like Avril Lavigne or Justin Timberlake. Worse yet, they could get hooked on some Dave Matthews Band at an early age, and by the time they are in their late teens, be following around jam-bands around the country selling T-Shirts in stadium parking-lots. It was Nick Honsby who put it, "It's not what you're like, its what you like." I want to ensure my daughter likes the best.

At 3 months, I wondered if it was too young for my Beatrix to listen to the complex music of Tool or Radiohead. Would the hard-rock of AC/DC or Metallica upset her. When I played her Smells Like Teen Spirit, she started to cry. I was at a loss. How could I play my infant daughter music she would enjoy and still raise her to be a music snob who would look down on the musical tastes of her peers.

Luckily, their is a solution.

Rockabye Baby! offers a full line of instrumental lullabies put the music of some great modern rock musical acts. Imagine the most soothing music for your baby, but in your head you can sing along to your favorite songs. While other children are listening to Mary Had A Little Lamb, my baby will be following asleep to an instrumental version of I Wanna Be Sedated. When Beatrix turns 3 or so, and I play her the full version of Karma Police, it will be a different rendition of a song she already knows. When I play her Nickleback, she will not know it at all and not be entertained by it in the least. That is a victory I will be proud of.

Some of the great musical acts that are available is Radiohead , The Cure, Nirvana, The Ramones, Nine Inch Nails, The Smashing Pumpkins, Pixies and lots more. Even for your less rock-snobby parents, you can get Coldplay or No Doubt.

I highly recommend this to all parents concerned about their babies musical tastes.

Crouching Tiger / Sitting Bee


Beatrix can sit! (For a couple seconds anyways.)

6 Years and still Going Strong

Six years ago yesterday, Brian and Cathryn went on their first date. That night, they ate here, got coffee here, went to Regal Cinema to watch this Oscar-buzz movie and ended the night watching this movie on DVD.

1 immigration, 1 marriage, 1 apartment, 2 houses, 2 dogs and 1 baby later...

Last night, Brian and Cathryn went of their first date in a while. We ate here, went to Regal Cinema to watch this Oscar-buzz movie and ended the night kissing this. All in all, I think we did a tab bit better with entertainment and food this time around.

This picture was taken at their wedding in 2004.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Ethnic Dolls

Saturday, January 03, 2009 0

We want to raise Beatrix to be an open-minded individual. For Christmas, Santa brought Beatrix "ethnic dolls". These were a set of four dolls, each with a different ethnic background. We hoped that by playing with these dolls, we hoped she would be exposed to different backgrounds at an earlier age than we ever were and realize we are all equal. When she goes to school in a few years and meets people who have different skin-color, religions, etc., we hope that she will not think twice of it and knows that despite looking different, we are all really the same and special.

The ethnic dolls are very cute. They are made of fabric and have yarn for hair. Playing with the dolls can be dangerous, however, because Beatrix could pull out the yarn, stick it in her mouth and choke on it. All the dolls have hair...except for the white girl (who has a hat instead of yarn for hair).

Because of our fear of Beatrix will choke on the hair made out of yarn, we are now in the position of only allowing her to play with the white doll. If she reaches for one of the other dolls, we cannot allow her to play with it out of concerns for her health. What type of twisted lesson is that teaching her?!?

So in our attempt to teach Beatrix to be an inclusive individual who accepts all people, we are teaching her the complete opposite. Ironic, right?

New Years Resolutions - 2009

  • Quit letting the dogs bully me around.
  • Manage my time better by getting into some sort of sleep routine.
  • More tummy time...and learn how to do this crawling thing I hear so much about.

  • Reserve the phrase "Baby Want Mama" during instances in which baby actually wants mama, not when dada wants computer.
  • Learn how to be a "Real Man" and be able to put something together that was not purchased at Ikea.
  • Teach my daughter how to be a Junior Rock Snob.

  • Use the phrase "Baby Want dada" more.
  • Lose all the weight Beatrix made me put on during 2008.
  • Teach my husband how to replace the toilet-paper roll before Beatrix starts potty-training.
    Brian's response: Ouch

Friday, January 02, 2009

Happy New Year

Friday, January 02, 2009 0
OUT: 2008
IN: 2009

OUT: Procrastinate doing something to the Living Room.
IN: Procrastinate doing something to the Kitchen.

OUT: TV on DVD marathons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
IN: Marathons of Family Playtime.

OUT: Clapping loudly to make sure Beatrix isn't deaf.
IN: Talking softly to make sure Beatrix doesn't wake up in middle of her nap.

OUT: Never going out.
IN: Going out occasionally and worrying about Beatrix the entire time.

OUT: Knowing the names of all the songs by Radiohead.
IN: Knowing the names of all the songs by The Wiggles.

OUT: Looking forward to watching Harry Potter and the Half-Blooded Prince - due out November 11, 2008.
IN: Looking forward to watching Harry Potter and the Half-Blooded Prince - due out July 17, 2009.

OUT: Power-naps.
IN: Sleeping through the night.

OUT: Yelling at the dogs not to lick Beatrix.
IN: Yelling at Beatrix not to pull the dog's tails.
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