Thursday, September 27, 2012

An Open Letter to the Insanely Rich

To: Insanely rich people everywhere
From: Toby, on behalf of the not rich people everywhere
Re: Let's make a baby (dinosaur)

Dear Rich People,

For as long as I can remember, I've loved dinosaurs. They're big (or not), majestic and a reminder that something much cooler than us used to dominate this planet. There were literally millions of years where these creatures were at the top of the food chain (and the bottom). They had daily routines just like animals today and had to learn to co-exist. When I was three years old, I decided I wanted to be a vertebrae paleontologist just so I could get close to any part of these animals. Later in life, I realized that I wanted a wife and kids and to not spend every evening washing sand out of all my nooks and crannies after laying on the desert all day searching for fossils. But, I'm still pretty amazed by dinosaurs and sad that I'll never actually see one run or eat.

When the movie Jurassic Park was released almost 20 years ago (20?! WHAT THE HELL?!) I watched it countless times and imagined what it would be like to drive in a jeep to a field and catch my first glimpse of a brachiosaur eating its breakfast. I prayed that one day someone would be able to recreate just one dinosaur to see in person.

Well, it looks like somebody is going to try. I caught wind of a story about an eccentric billionaire in Australia who is going to try to make Jurassic Park and my whole day (life) got better. Now, I'll admit, I don't know much about Australia. The only things I'm positive exist there are great white sharks (thank you Shark Week, my other love), kangaroos and this dancing hurdler (courtesy of my wife, who loves this girl). But if this guy really exists in Australia and is crazy/rich enough to attempt a Jurassic Park, then my opinion of Australia just went soaring past my opinion of any other country I have limited knowledge of; which is most every country. 

So, rich people, here's my request to you: let's make a baby. A baby dinosaur. You know what? Let's make lots of 'em. And let 'em get all big and cool.

Like this.
And this.
And this. But, with skin and stuff.
See, you have TONS of money (literally tons if you put it on a very large scale) and if I've learned anything from watching TV or governments, it's that you can make whatever you want happen if you throw enough money at it. 

Let's take a look at what you're doing with your money right now:

Buying yachts: Boring. You all have one. Nobody is impressed. Knock it off.
Buying helicopters/private jets: Again, you all have one already. Stop it.
Buying lots of cars: You lack creativity**. Just because you wanted to buy an expensive car when you didn't have money doesn't mean you should buy dozens of them now that you do. 
Putting the money in overseas accounts so you don't get taxed: Ugh. Really? You might as well stash it under your enormously large mattress made out of baby angel feathers. Yawn.

Just imagine how all your rich peers would react when you rode up to their stuffy fund raiser on an Allosaurus. Think how much more exciting your boring garden party would be if, occasionally, a giganotasaurus walked through and ate all the hors d'oeuvres and you casually commented "Oh that one? He's new. Come around back and I'll show you my others." 

Isn't that exciting? I don't want you to think about whether or not you should do this or if it's "right." I don't want you to think about the science behind it or if it's even possible (from what I gather, most of you hate science anyway). I just want you to find the closest group of scientists and start giving them all your money. After all, this HAS to be possible given enough resources. If you look at the time line of the earth, we're closer to a Tyrannosaurus Rex than he was to a Stegosaurus. Here...


See? This can't be that hard. Make it happen.

Stop buying dumb things. Stop buying lots of things. Just invest all your money into making some dinosaurs. I'll happily be a spokesperson for the project if you need one, given my obvious enthusiasm. Actually, you should probably use that Australian hurdler girl. She seems WAY more enthusiastic than me. Anyway, I'll be here if you need anything from me. In the meantime, I expect to see lots of dollars flowing into startup companies with names like DinoTech, BioDin and iDino.

Also, if you haven't seen Jurassic Park, don't watch the ending. No big deal; just don't worry about it. Let's get that money flowing.


*This post is just an excuse to post pictures from our visit to Fernbank this summer. 
**If you get a chance, you should really watch the entire interview starting at Part 1. Malcolm Gladwell is always amazing.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Double proof that the kids take after their mother in the singing department...

Exhibit A: Our baby-wearing duo singing, "grow little flower, grow."

Exhibit B: Madelyn's debut of her self-written and choreographed song,"I am a diamond, I am a star", while cleaning out the playroom.

How early can we start those singing lessons, Aunt Anna ? ;-)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Pacis and Potties

Apparently Madelyn was tired of being a little girl because one morning she woke up and decided to shed two major indicators of her youth: her pacifiers and her diapers. We had bought some underwear for her just in case and she even tried them on a few times; but it was clear she wasn't ready yet. But on August 3rd, just a few days before she was 2 1/2 years old, Maddy woke up and said she wanted to wear underwear and that she was "all done with diapers because I'm a big girl now." We went along with it thinking she'd have an accident sometime that morning and then not want to wear them again. Instead, she put them on and hasn't looked back since. She had the occasional accident in the first week if she was playing outside and misjudged how bad she had to go vs. how long it would take to get inside, but other than that she handled it like a champ and is in underwear all the time now. She even naps in them!

As if we weren't excited enough about saying goodbye to diapers (can't tell you how weird it is to not have diapers to change after four years of it) Madelyn rode the momentum of growing up right into the decision to ditch her pacis that same afternoon. This one was a little crazier because we were rushing around trying to get ready to go to Aunt Anna's senior recital when Madelyn grabbed her pacis out of her bed and said "I wanna give these to the babies. I a big girl now and don't need them. I wear underwear." Angie and I REALLY wanted to say no because we were in such a hurry to leave but we didn't know when she might give us such an easy out again so we jumped on it. We decided to do the same thing we did with Patrick and have her "send the pacis to the babies." After she sends them, the babies give her a little gift in return which, thankfully, always-10-steps-ahead-of-me Angie, had purchased a month earlier just in case.

Since we were so short on time, the whole ordeal was done very quickly. We decorated the envelope...

Dropped the pacis in the mailbox...

Then left for Anna's recital and happened to spot a gift from the babies on our way out. Needless to say, Tinkerbell attended the recital as well.

Chanting "Anna! Anna!" on their way into the recital while holding the flowers they picked out for her.

After the recital and celebrations we came back home for a movie night (also known as "keep Madelyn up late so she falls asleep easier without her pacifier). We watched her brand new Tinker Bell movie, put the kids down for the night and crossed our fingers. She did awesome that first night but we knew not to get our hopes up after doing this with Patrick. The next day we put the kids down for nap and braced ourselves for the endless crying and story telling of a heroic mailman who rescues the pacis from the babies. Amazingly, Madelyn just sang a song then went to sleep. That was it.

She really made the whole thing very easy on us. She barely even asked about her pacis in the beginning and by now seems to have almost completely forgotten about them. It takes her a little longer to go to sleep but she's always happy. She'll just lay in bed and talk and sing and hug her new Tinker Bell.

We're very proud of our big girl. She took on two pretty major milestones at once (especially the potty training) and conquered them both with no problem. Congratulations on being such a big girl Maddy! We love you!