Once in a Leap Year

How could I not write today? Today doesn’t even exist for the next three years. It will be impossible to write on February 29th until 2020. Happy Leap Year!

Does it warrant a party? I think so. Know what else deserves a party? Surviving Monday. We’re going to celebrate by getting the house back in order. There’s lots to clean and the kids are not going to be happy about it.

Which reminds me, I haven’t done a chore chart update in a very long time. Want to know how they’re doing? Has the chart helped? Nope. They still moan about having to clean. They still try to get out of it. Crash said he wants to save up for a FitBit. I was all over that like stink on poo. I even made him a chart… 100 squares to represent each dollar he’d have to earn to get said FitBit. Then he could watch his money grow. He had $10 to start with (money he hadn’t spent). So we colored in 10 squares. Then he spent $8 on a book. Then he argued with me about doing chores so I told him, “Then you can do them for free”. His response? “I guess you don’t want me to get a FitBit then.”

Huh? Apparently it’s my fault he’s spending his money and can’t save it. He’s the opposite of me when I was that age. I hoarded money. I kept a birthday check an aunt wrote me for 6 months (I claim ignorance on that one) until my mom found it and told me I need to cash it, then I could save the money.

So there’s your chore chart update. He does chores roughly twice a week. It’s like pulling teeth. I take that back. I think he’d rather have teeth pulled.


I just looked outside. I know for sure that no cleaning will get done today. The sun is shining. It’s 8 (46) degrees. They’re going to be outside playing and I will let them because being outside playing trumps inside cleaning every time.

Every time.

Cleaning will just have to wait.

It’s like that cartoon I saw once: pick two

We don’t get to have our cake and eat it too. Unless you have an actual cake.



Sunday Share 18

Our house is a total mess. But the kids are clean, even if just barely. We survived a the weekend. It was nice enough to take them to the park, so to the park we went. Then had tacos. Whoever made up Taco Tuesday apparently never had tacos on a Sunday. Just as good. I had a Coke. I gave it up for Lent. While I crave it all week long, come Sunday cheat day, I seem to only drink it because I think I want it. I could have just had a bit of it and been okay. But no, I went ahead and drank 2 glasses (one at lunch and one at supper). No more until next Sunday.

I know I’m late with the Sunday Share. So here are some good things to read while you veg out on a Sunday night dreading that tomorrow is Monday. Happy reading!

Glitter in the Ashes
Taking sorry to a whole new level

Dramatic Momologue
A giraffe and a butt

Revisions of Grandeur
When pets become family

Mathemagical Site
A curious pattern

Grubbs n Critters
Sunday humor with Zootopia

Bradley Wood
Help my brother reach $1,000 donated to The Roswell Cancer Institute. This year he rides in honor of Melina Selent who, at the age of 10 months, had retinoblastoma, an eye cancer.



PHOTO PROMPT – © Al Forbes

Catch up with chapters 1-7 (I fixed the links so you can follow the story back to here)

Chapter 8

“Anything for you. Which one do you want?”

“Bring me the green one,” (I’m horrible with names) “the one with the steering wheel on the right. And bring the one you like best. I’ll mail you my key to the garage. He works all day so feel free to stop by anytime.”

I knew Dempsey loved his collector cars. He never drove them. Just collected. In a week, two of his precious beings would be here. Take my bank account and I’ll take your cars, bastard.

I knew this was just the beginning.

Read chapter 9 “Dead Threat”.

This is a continuation of an experiment. It’s hard to believe this is the 7th week! Each week there is a 100 word short story photo prompt challenge posed by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. My challenge to myself is to connect these photos into one seamless story. Click the blue frog to read other stories inspired by this photo.

A Heart In My Hands

EKG 001

That’s our new heart shape. It really doesn’t mean much to me. I don’t know how to read an ECG – electrocardiograph (a.k.a. EKG) recording. But, it means the world to me because this is the shape of Crash’s heartbeat when recorded by an ECG. If you know how to read these things, you’ll notice that’s it not normal. If you don’t know how to read it, I can tell you this is not what it’s supposed to look like.

If you haven’t yet read Crash’s arrival into this world, you can read With An Open Heart, here.

This past Wednesday we made a trip to the renowned IWK Children’s hospital in Halifax, three hours away. We’re country folk, so going to the big city is a big deal. We made sure to do a bit of shopping. But I’m not here to tell you about what we bought.

I’m here to tell you about what we saw.

A heartbeat.


Crash had TGA – Transposition of the Great Arteries. It’s just a fancy way of saying his aorta and pulmonary arteries were switched. At just 5 days old, a surgeon put them in their right places. This meant open heart surgery, bypass machines, and a 16 day stay in the hospital.

Flash forward 8 years and he gets his routine check up only once every two years. While this is good news as it means he’s doing well, it makes his mother and I a bit nervous going that long between check-ups. These check-ups aren’t for him. They’re for his parents’ peace of mind.

Anyway, upon our arrival at the IWK, they take us to a small doctor’s room where his cardiologist comes to talk to us. He simply wants to know if we have any concerns. He asks Crash if he’s had problems with dizziness or fainting (nope). If he’s had problems with chest pain while exercising (nope). Then Crash is off to be measured.

Robot 8 year old


He’s 35 kg (77 lbs) and 44 inches tall. No failure to thrive here.  Then he gets stickered up for the ECG. We joked with him and called him robot baby like we did when he was just an infant and hooked up to a bazillion monitors. A minute later and was done. I barely had time to get this picture with the phone.

Then we were sent back to the room where we first spoke with the cardiologist. He informed us that all looked good. While the ECG wasn’t “normal” it was normal for him. No surprise. We always knew his version of normal wasn’t quite like everyone else. DW had the great idea to ask for a copy of Crash’s ECG. Then she mentioned making a tattoo out of it. You betcha! We now have a physical copy of our son’s heartbeat. I can hold his heart in my hands. I can wear his heart on my sleeve.

From there we went to yet another room for an echocardiogram.

When his aorta and pulmonary artery were switched 8 years ago, some stretching occurred (as was expected). Imagine what happens when you stretch a hose. I narrows. This was what they were looking at in the echo. They were making sure those arteries hadn’t narrowed further and that blood was flowing properly. Again, when I say properly I mean properly for someone with TGA. To our great relief, all was “normal”.

He even got cleared to join Tae Kwon Do.

Then Crash asked for a picture with Dr. Wong. Perhaps a hero. Or, at least, an idol. Crash wants it printed and put in a golden frame.

Crash and Dr. Wong


Go Ask Your Father: Vocal Cords, Knives, Mississippi, and Police in a Hurry

Another week has passed us by. If you missed the questions my kids answered last night you can catch it here. While there you can leave a question you’d like me to ask them in the comment section. Just remember, they’re 4 and 8.

The only news I have this week is my Orioles lost Dexter Fowler to the Cubs. He was going to be our right fielder. I’m still waiting to be called up. I’ll play if they need me. I’m not sure they’re that desperate, yet.

The Force Awakens was not nominate for Best Picture at the Oscars. Not sure who made that call, but I’m guessing they don’t have a job any more.

On to the questions…

1. What’s a jackknife?

It’s either A) when a tractor trailer turns too far in an uncontrolled skid or it’s B) a knife with a folding blade. Since we’re reading Bud, Not Buddy and Bud sleeps with an open jackknife, using context clues I know it’s option B, a knife. Not be confused with the switchblade made famous by Bernardo when he accidentally killed Riff and when Tony used Riff’s to kill Bernardo. That’s a whole other Westside Story. A switchblade is spring loaded so it will open quickly with the push of a button. A jackknife opens manually. Perhaps the Sharks and the Jets would have survived if they used jackknives. Tempers would have cooled by the time they were peeled open.

2. How long is the Mississippi?

It’s exactly 11 letters long. But I’m guessing he wasn’t referring to the word. Again, another question from Bud, Not Buddy – a story about a 10 year old black boy set in Flint, Michigan in 1932, during the Great Depression. They were going to hop a train and cross the Mighty Mississip on their way to California. The river itself flows for 2,350 miles (3,782 km) from  it’s head in Lake Itasca, Minnesota to it’s delta in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana. It also made this writer, Mark Twain, famous when he set most of his stories along it.

3. What if police get a red light and can’t go in a hurry?

That would be good for daddy because a police officer can’t pull me over if they’re sitting at a red light. If only that were true. Knock on wood, I’ve only been pulled over for speeding twice in my life. Cops, generally don’t stop at red lights when they’re in a hurry. Their lights are flashing, their siren is blaring, and people know they’re coming fast so those cops in a hurry have the right of way. Much like you’re father does when he’s headed to the bathroom.

4. Where are your local cords?

What he meant to ask about were vocal cords. Turns out, they’re more like vocal folds, not cords. The folds are part of the larynx and they’re in your throat. If you put a couple fingers against your throat, your adam’s apple if you can find it, and say AHHHHH you can feel it vibrate. Bang knows all about the word vibrate thanks to Cookie Monster. It’s actually quite comical.


When I ask him if he can feel his throat vibrate when he says AHHH, he knows exactly what it means and tells me, “Yes”. Those are your vocal cords you’re feeling, buddy.

A few minutes later he’s playing with one of his trucks on the laminate floor and he can feel the floor vibrating as he pushed the truck. Not missing a chance to use this new big word, he tells us “This truck is my vibrator.”

How could we not laugh?



8 Questions I Asked My Kids (3)

Yesterday was a crazy long day. We left home at 8:30am and didn’t get home until 9pm. I’ll tell ya all about it later. Today’s post, though, is still happening. Sort of later than usual but it’s still Thursday so it counts.

I’ve scoured the internet for questions. While I do have many collected now, they’re not as much fun. At least they don’t seem like it. If you have any suggestions for questions to ask them just leave them in the comments. There’s no telling how they’ll get answered. Also, if you have asked your kids any of these questions, I’d love to hear their answers. They really do say the darndest things.

1) If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

Crash: Super Masterbuilder
Bang: Be able to fly

2) How do you describe me to your friends?

Crash: That he makes me do a lot of chores and he snuggles me
Bang: I don’t know what you’re talking about

3) If you could be anyone in the world for a day, who would it be?

Crash: Batman
Bang: Captain America

4) What’s your favorite sound?

Crash: Armpit farts
Bang: Finches

5) What do you know how to do that you can teach to others?

Crash: Do a front flip on the trampoline
Bang: Teach how to play plasma cars

6) If you were invisible for a day, what would you do?

Crash: Play a whole bunch of silly pranks
Bang: Throw some blocks at you

7) What is something that makes our family special?

Crash: Me.
Bang: Watching train videos

8) Where is your favorite place in the world?

Crash: Legoland
Bang: Newfoundland, I would say

*Note: Neither one of them has been to either of these places.

Questions I asked My Kids 2
Questions I Asked My Kids 1



How to Spend Inconvenience Day, in 6 Words

Every story can be told in just 6 words say Ernest Hemingway and Eli Pacheco. In honor of “do something nice day” yesterday, Eli’s 6 word story tellers told what they would do to make the world a better place for someone. You’ll find mine in here along with 18 others. What’s something nice you would do for someone? Happy Reading!

Just a dad ...

6 words inconvenience lede photo credit: getting out on adventure via photopin(license)

Today’s the day to do something good.

GAD GRAPHICIt’s okay if you did something yesterday, or want to wait until tomorrow. Or do something all three days and even into next week. Today is Inconvenience Yourself Day. It’s also 6 Words Day around here, which makes for an interesting combination.

Every month, I compile a post called 6 Words. Ernest Hemingway inspired it when he said any story can be told in a six-word sentence. I ask bloggers, friends, strangers, and a few strange blogger friends to respond to a prompt.

Feb. 24 is Inconvenience Yourself Day. It’s in observance of doing little things for others for a day. In six words, tell of one way you can do something for someone else today – and then go and do it!

View original post 363 more words

A Heart Lesson and a Check-up

*This article originally aired on November 8,2013. Over 2 years later, we are headed to the Pediatric Cardiologist for a check-up. I will let you know how it goes tomorrow. We’ll be on the road traveling for the next 6 hours. For now, I’ll leave you with Crash’s last Cardio visit.

Heart lesson: the two top “chambers” are  the left and right atrium. The bottom “chambers” are the left and right ventricles. The lines separating the atrium from ventricles are the Mitral valve and Tricuspid valve. Those valves open and close to let blood flow through as the heart beats and pumps it through. Or at least that’s how I understand it. I’m not a doctor.

This isn’t Crash’s heart. But this is what Crash’s heart looks like on an echo scan. You can clearly see the   valves separating the atrium from the ventricles. Crash’s doctors are keeping an eye on the tricuspid and mitral valves because there some regurgitation. This simply means that the valves aren’t closing completely. Therefore, some blood flows backward into his heart. However, what they are mostly concerned with is his aorta and pulmonary artery. They are making sure they are not narrowing, which is something that can happen after the surgery that he did at 5 days old. But just like he has for the last 6 years, he rocked his cardio check-up! The regurgitation is minimal and always has been. The aorta and pulmonary artery haven’t narrowed. He is thriving, now standing at 3′ 11″ tall and  61 pounds. We found all this out yesterday from his cardiologist at the IWK… Dr. Kenny Wong (joined yesterday by Dr. Matthew Woo).  Dr. Wong was impressed enough that he doesn’t need to see him again for 2 years! For the last 3 years we visited Dr. Wong once a year for Crash’s check up. Crash always amazes me while we’re there. The child who is normally loud and rambunctious as most boys are (noise with dirt as we typically describe them) was calm, quiet and patient while they did his EKG and again during the echo. Thank you Crash! I kind of liked his yearly check ups. We always used them as an excuse to get out of town and visit family we don’t get to see often. Guess we’ll have to find a new excuse… Daddy needs new running shoes? Mommy wants to go to the K-cup store?

On another note, I was terrified thinking about how Bang would behave during Crash’s EKG and Echo. I was relieved that he wanted to be held while we were in the patient room for the EKG. He watched with curiosity what they were doing to his big “bubby”. Then in the patient room for the echo, they turned the lights down to see the monitor better. Bang took that as his cue to snuggle in and fall asleep in my arms. Whew. I got to watch the whole thing! I was afraid Bang would get restless and have to go run and play and I would miss the best part. Thank you Bang!

The 2 and a half hour night time drive home with 2 sick kids (the oldest with a bad cold and the youngest with a fever) is a story for another blog.

Science Fair

It’s done. At least my part is.

I found this experiment where “adult beverages” were put through a Brita filter. Beer, vodka, a few malt drinks, etc… You can watch it here if you want (because, there are a few adult words, too). I’ll save you 10 minutes by telling you that, according them, most of the drinks they filtered tasted like water. Even the vodka.

I thought this would be an awesome test for regular kid beverages. As soon as I brought it up with Crash he was all in. Would the Brita filter make regular drinks taste like water, too?

So we decided on 8 different drinks to filter. Water, Coke, Grape Kool-Aid, Gatorade, Apple Juice, Orange Juice, Milk and Chocolate Milk. We filtered chicken broth, too. However, we concluded it didn’t fit in the project because it, technically, wasn’t a drink.

With a brand new filter and borrowed pitcher (our pitcher is too big) and our eight drinks, we began testing. We set a bit of each drink aside so we could compare color and smell before and after filtering. You’ll never believe what we discovered.

Most of the drinks had a slightly altered color. They looked watered down. However, upon tasting them we found that only two of them actually changed their taste. The Coke lost its fizz. Otherwise, I think it tasted like flat Coke. The orange juice tasted extremely watered down. The rest? They all tasted identical to their pre-filtered counterpart. What I found most fascinating was the length of time each took to filter.


You can clearly see the difference in color

Some, like the apple juice and Kool-Aid filtered very quickly. While others, like the chocolate milk filtered extremely slowly. So slowly in fact that Crash had time to go play with his brother while we waited. The orange juice we stopped early because it pretty much stopped.

Crash’s hypothesis was that they would all taste the same. I thought for sure, I would have bet good money on it, that they would have had drastically different tastes. Especially after watching that video where the Brita made alcoholic beverages taste like water. So they said. I was wrong, he was right.

The project is done now. An added element to the project here that’s different than it was in the States is the presentation. The kids have to present their project to their teacher and class. The top so many best judged projects move to the cafeteria to be judge by science fair judges with the rest of the school where they’ll present again.

Knowing this, we made Crash practice his presentation over and over. Last night at bedtime I practised with him again and when mom came in he told her, “I nailed it”. So this morning we practised one more time to makes sure all the information didn’t leak out on to his pillow and I recorded it. He didn’t want me to at first. Then we mentioned putting it on his YouTube channel and he couldn’t wait to get started. So, for your viewing pleasure, here is Crash presenting his filtered drinks experiment. Feel free to visit and subscribe. He mostly does/will do Lego builds.


Monday Humor

I just got back from a 4 mile run (it was a short one). I say “got back” what really happened was that I got off the treadmill. So my brain is tired now. This is what tired brain thinks is funny.

I took a selfie today. Well, I didn’t take it, per say. So I guess it’s just a photo of me. Oh, there’s a couple hundred thousand others in the picture, too. An ussie. It’s what we look like from space. If you look close, you can almost see our igloo from there!