W is for

WTH?
WTF?

One of the boys asked about WTF? one day. They caught it on my FB or Pinterest  or Twitter while reading over my shoulder unbeknown to me. “It means Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. As in which day would be best for this to occur.”

The answer is always Friday.
Or never, depending on what you’re asking.

Speaking of asking questions and WTF?, today is Thursday. Time to ask some questions to the little urchins.

seaurchin

No, not these urchins.

Since this is episode 40, I think I’ve exhausted my list of questions. So I’ve turned to the internet. Specifically, Q4Kids. Lets see what random questions I can find there. As always, if you have a fun question you think my boys would like to answer, feel free to ask down in the comments. Also, feel free to ask your own kids these questions. Just be sure to link to this post so I can laugh at their answers!

1. If you had a magic bicycle, what magic powers would it have?

Crash: Flying
Bang: Flying and punching

2. Imagine you could give a superpower to someone else in our family. What would it be?

Crash: Throw fireballs to Mom

Bang:
I would give it to you and the super power would be kicking harder than you

3. If you could make rain taste like anything, what would you make it taste like?

Crash: Pizza
Bang: Apples

4. You have friendly monster living in your closet. What does it look like?

Crash: It has blue reptile like skin, 10 red gleaming eyes, spikes on it’s back

Bang:
All purple, 60 eyes, 2 mouths, 80 heads, he’s slimy, and very very very skinny

5. You were just bit by a spider that makes you grow an extra body part. Which body part are you going to grow?

Crash: An extra leg so I can run faster

Bang:
Another skull

6. If you were to bury a treasure where would you bury it?

Crash: Somewhere in China

Bang:
In Maryland near Nana and Pop Pop’s with a big X

7. What’s the worst super power you can think of?

Crash: Gravity power that makes you go upside down

Bang:
When I touch stuff it turns into poop

8. What is something you are better at than Mom and Dad?

Crash: Building Lego

Bang:
Cleaning

9. If our family lived in a zoo, what animal would each of us be?

Crash: Dad would be an orangutan, mom would be, giraffe, I would be a tiger, and Bang would be a rabbit

Bang:
Dad would be a tiger, mom would be an elephant, I would be a giraffe and Crash would be a turtle

10. What would be the best part of living on a farm?

Crash: Playing in the mud

Bang:
Feeding my animals

V is for The Spice of Life: #atozchallenge

Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. I think. 

So we spice things up a bit by changing it. Though not by switching sides of the bed with our bed buddies.

 is for variety. Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes we like things exactly the way we like things. Our spot on the couch. Our side of the bed. Our icons in the right place on the computer. Somethings, when moved, take some adjusting to get used to. Like water temperature that’s a bit too cold. After wading around for a bit it feels normal again.
However, things need to be kept interesting. 

Suppertime. That time of day when the kids are restless, tired, and hungry. A combination that can be lethal if not fatal. Some nights it’s pasta. Some nights it’s meat and potatoes. Some nights it’s casserole. Some nights, like our house tonight, it’s pizza. Imagine eating the same thing, cooked the same way. Every. Single. Night. After a few nights you’d not want to eat ever again. Hmm… new diet plan?

Books. I love historical fiction. The Book Theif is my favorite. I’ve read it three times now and I’ve even taken notes inside the book. I’ve gleaned so much by doing that, too. But I would probably quit reading if that was the only book I read. And just because that’s my favorite genre doesn’t mean that’s all I read. I love fantasy. Mystery/thriller. Young Adult. The boys are the same way. Crash will read everything from a book of “fascinating” facts to How to Be the Best at Everything for Boys to Minecraft based fiction books to Harry Potter. And DW’s guilty pleasure are the romance novels. Though she enjoys the mysteries and thrillers, too. 

Clothes. While I wouldn’t mind wearing the same thing every day, given that it’s clean, I prefer to spice it up. When dressing for school I’ll wear a tie, most times. Sometimes I just opt for a collared shirt. Fridays are jeans and t-shirt days. I  am currently wearing one of my favorites… running pants, t-shirt and a thin pullover. Comfy. It’s usually what Crash opts for as well. He loves his gym clothes. We try to get him to wear “music” clothes. These would be clothes that make him look handsome. Dressy, but not uncomfortable dressy. Just nice pants instead of gym pants. Part of me wants him to appreciate looking nice and dressing appropriately. The other part doesn’t really care that much about clothes. I loved my parachute pants and neon shirts growing up and I turned out mostly normal. 

Vacations. I’m sure there are some who enjoy going to same place year after year. There are some places I would love to visit every year, too. Assateague Island with its white sand and wild horses. The Highlands of Cape Breton Island with it’s majestic views. But we need to add variety by trying new things and going new places. Our trip over March Break was just that. We visited a wildlife rescue center and a science museum. I even documented the trip, here. This weekend we’re changing up our trip. We’re not taking the kids! Seriously.

U is for Universe: #atozchallenge

Infinitesimally tiny we are. It would take 59,520 people stacked standing upright to reach outer space. If you stacked that many ants atop each other it wouldn’t be the size of a human. It would be 200 feet tall. We are closer in mass to that of a single atom than we are to the size of the Earth. The entire human population can fit comfortably inside Texas.   As we expand outward we get even smaller.

1,300 Earths would fit in our solar system’s largest planet, Jupiter.
1,300,000 Earths would fit inside our sun.
Arcturus, the largest known star, is 26 times bigger than the sun.

Continue expanding outward and we see the solar system. Zoom out further we can see our Milky Way galaxy. Continue outward and our galaxy turns to a smudge as we see millions of other galaxies each with their own population of billions of stars. Continue still further and we see our known universe. There is no comparison between you and the Universe. 

10 to the power of 21. That is 10 to the 21st. 1021.  That is 10 with 21 zeros after it.

10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 = 10 septillion. That’s the estimate on how many stars there are in the Universe. If you’re not familiar with Hubble’s “Deep Field” photograph, NASA pointed that famous telescope at a completely empty piece of sky. Over 10 days it collected this image that represents just 1/24 millionth of the night sky:

Two of those points of light are stars within our Milky Way. All the rest are galaxies. Yes, galaxies comprised of millions and millions of their own stars. 

How amazing is this? How amazing is it knowing that there is something so much larger than ourselves. Something so large we can’t possible begin to imagine the size and scope of it. Yet, being what seems to us, infinitely huge, it’s all made of the same stuff.

The five most populus elements in the universe are hydrogen, helium, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen. Ironically, those are the same five most abundant elements here on Earth. We are not here and the rest of the universe out there. We are the Universe. We are made of stars.

 

T is for Birthday… 

This A to Z Challenge is in the 7th inning stretch. Not much more to play, now. 

One year is one trip around the sun. That’s 584 million miles.

 is for three. Plus 60. Today is the day my dad turns 63. That’s 36,792,000,000 miles. That’s more miles than Gangnum Style has views. Sometime ago, Bang was assigning nicknames to family members. None of them stuck except for one. Dad’s. Bang called him Pop Pop grumpy frog. Dad is Pop Pop to his grandkids, just like his dad before him and will be after him. We still don’t know how Bang came up with Grumpy Frog, but it still makes us laugh. 

I called Buck and let him know that it’s Pop Pop Grumpy Frog’s birthday and that he really wants a win for his birthday. Apparently he forgot. The O’s are currently losing 3-1. 

Nevermind. They just tied it up at 3.

So, anyway, I get my patience from my Dad. I remember him teaching me to drive a stick shift in his little, blue Nissan pick up truck at the ballfield before it was a ballfield. We were bunny hopping all over the field like Peter Cottontail. When I decided to join the wrestling team in high school, dad would go to the attic with me so I could practice with him on whatever old carpet was up there. In 4th grade I got to go duck hunting with him and a friend of his. I sat in the duck blind reading most of the time. 

Of our favorite stories to tell, though, involves a sucker punch to the chest. Dad was famous for scaring us. Usually, it would happen in the car while he was driving. There would be long lull and silence. Suddenly, Dad would yell smack our chest and scare the shit out of whoever was riding shotgun. Well, one day, I was about 10, I think – Crash’s age. Our house had a long hallway and the rooms were off to each side. I hid in the bathroom and when Dad came down the hall I jumped out, punched him the chest as best as a scrawny 10 year old could. The grunt that came out of him! 

Of course, I’m the dad I am because of the Dad he was and still is. 

*I’m sorry to interrupt this post, but the Orioles just took the lead 5-0 with a two run homerun by Adam Jones. I now return you to your regularly scheduled post*

And now to watch him with his grandkids it reminds me of when he would play with my brother and I. Have a styrofoam pumpkin and some plastic soda bottles? Lets make it bowling. Except the kid will call it knock a boom. Shoot some hoops. Play some catch, some racquetball, horseshoes, or whatever else you want to play. He was always up for it. 

Thanks Dad! And Happy Birthday!

Sunday Share: Week 17: S Days

17 weeks seems such a small amount of time. Especially when you compare it to the 35 weeks we have left until Christmas. However, this time next week will be the last day of April. Mother Nature, being the fickle beast she is, decided to give us 2 inches of snow last night. It looks more like Christmas a week after Easter than it did on Christmas! Go home Mother Nature, you’re drunk.

I found some of these by searching the tag #atozchallenge in my reader. I found some new blogs to follow. Hope you do to!

coach daddy Coach Daddy
S is for Stories – 6 word stories and a 5 year gift…

shari Writing is Communication
S is for Strange games. But not so strange because I play them, too…

musing My Mildly Mortifying Musings
S is for Spark – but not the spark you thought you knew…

bit2read Bit2Read
S is for Something New or Starting Over. Or finding inspiration at TJ Maxx

sandra What Sandra Thinks
S is for Serving Size. Or WTH?

stomperdad All In A Dad’s Work
S is for the best day of the week! Not for Snow like we got last night.

dr-seuss-quote-my-alphabet-starts-with-this-letter-called-yuzz-its

 

S is for…

Two years ago when I first undertook the A to Z challenge and wrote about S, I wrote about stuffies. To date, it is one of my top three favorite posts. It’s also when I created the header you now see on this blog. In it I share how each family member in our house has a special stuffie that represents them. A panda, a rabbit, a monkey, and a penguin make up this household zoo. If our house were on fire I would not leave until I had all four. Them and the external hard drive.

Last year for S I wrote about a game called Slither. It slithered out as quickly and quietly as it slithered in. Speaking of slitherin’… 

Slitherin. Griffendor. Harry Potter. The Deathly Hallows. Sirius Black is dead. Dumbledor is, too. Crash is wondering if anyone else going to die and hoping not. I didn’t spoil it for him. Little does he know, though…

I considered writing a Saturday Share and that would get me off the hook tomorrow, but that feels like cheating. I already skipped Go Ask Your Father. 

S could be for sick. Both boys are coming down with something. S could also be for sneeze, snot, and sleepy. They’ll both be in bed a bit early this evening. 

 is for the best day of the week. Or at least it’s my favorite day of the week. It’s the day I used to devote to writing 100 word ficional stories. In fact, it’s the day this post is getting published. Saturday. For most of us it means no work. Or at least no paid work. We are free to laze in bed or rise early and carpe diem. We are free to travel or stay put. We are also free to enjoy an extra glass of wine or two. 

Of course, it’s also a day when our kids are with us the entire time. If you’re lucky the weather is nice and you can kick them outside. If they’re not lucky, you’ll kick them out into the rain. However, this is East Coast Canada, it’s still cold. Like 10 C (50F) cold. And that’s at it’s warmest. I don’t think it got that warm today. 

Saturdays are for recovering from whatever you did Friday night. Or perhaps Saturdays are for what you didn’t do Friday night. Then Sunday will be your recovery day. Still an S day. No school and no work on S days!

Yeah, right. No work. Saturday is also the day to get caught up on all you couldn’t do Monday through Friday. Rather than just trying to keep up with the mess, you might even get ahead. The laudry that’s still in the laundry basket from last weekend can be put away so you can refill with with fresh clothes (to be put away next Saturday, of course). A weeks worth of crumbs (enough to feed a  of mice) and dirt (enough for a ball field) can get vacuumed. If you’re like us, you might even venture to the car wash for the Deluxe Wash. 

I was ambitious today. After the car wash I cleaned out the inside, too. I’m not sure where the pebbles and rocks came from, but there was half the Sahara back there. Then I armor-alled it. Except for the scratches, she looks fit for a king… or at least four stuffies and two sick kids. 

What do you like to do on Saturdays? I’ve got something you can do. Find me on Twitter! Stomperdad

#AtoZChallenge: R is for…

R

 

is for Relay. It’s also for Ride.

Relay for Life was always one of DW’s Dad’s favorites.  He always attended, always ate at the survivors’ supper, always walked his survivors’ lap. Family would come from a hundred miles away to take part in it with him. Some of them are cancer survivors themselves. So many in DW’s family walk that survivor lap in their yellow shirt on the day Relay for Life takes place. Her dad survived lung cancer. Her step-mom survived colon cancer.  I’m learning, there are some within my side of the family who could have walked that lap, too.

The day after the event he would put on a big shindig (party) and BBQ for everyone. People would come by the dozens.

Our town stopped holding the event so he missed out on it the past two years.

This year, he wanted to join the even in another town and it was going to be his last Relay. His last big support for the cancer research fundraiser since this would be his 10th year cancer free. DW had just finished setting up her own fundraiser page. Then she got a phone call…

This year, our Relay will be in memory of him. DW has raised $1,075 of her goal of $2,000. Please, if you can, click on the link above and donate. Whether you can give $5 or $5,000, every little bit counts.

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R
is also for Ride for Roswell.

For eight years my younger brother has been participating in this bike ride fundraiser ranging from 14 to 44 miles. Our dad and his father-in-law take part, as well. Roswell Park Cancer Institute is located in Buffalo, NY, home of Niagara Falls and my sister-in-law. It is known for its cutting edge research on cancers.  This year, he rides for all who have been effected by cancer. Thus far, he has raised $704 of his goal of $1,000. Please, if you can, visit his page and donate here. There’s no telling how many lives you may change.

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Brother on the left, Dad on the right, Brother’s F-I-L in the middle

I guess, ultimately, R is for relatives relaying and riding for research.

Q is for…

Today is the day of the week I get revenge. The boys are forever asking questions and I’m forever giving them answers. Usually truthful. I am dad. I know all. Well, almost. If I don’t know, then Google does. Thursdays is the day I t I ask them questions. This is episode 39. That’s 390 questions. This isn’t counting questions like:

  • What do you want for breakfast?
  • Are you ready for school?
  • Did you brush your teeth?
  • Who broke this?
  • Who spilled this?
  • Why is there blueberry yogurt on the wall and the fridge door?
  • Why are you naked?

is for the questions I ask for the blog. I’ve asked the kids questions. I’ve asked my parents questions. I’ve asked my grandmother questions, too. They are usually a bit more amusing than my run of mill, every day questions. The boys often ask, “Can we answer questions for your blog?” They look forward to it, now.

1. What’s your favorite thing to do in the summer?

Crash: Play baseball
Bang: Do the ice bucket challenge

2. What do sharks eat?

Crash: Seals
Bang: Fish

3. What animal would it be fun to be?

Crash: An Eagle
Bang: Giraffe

4. Why would it be fun to be that animal?

Crash: Because you have the ability to fly and glide
Bang: Because you have a tongue that’s 22 inches

eagle

giraffe-tongue

5. What would you like to learn more about?

Crash: Gravity or how the world started
Bang: Your skull

6. What’s the best thing about you?

Crash: I’m smart
Bang: That I play on the trampoline

7. What’s the best thing about Dad?

Crash: His farts!
Bang: That the Orioles win

8. What’s the best thing about Mom?

Crash: She loves us, I guess.
Bang: That she drives faster than you

9. What do you want to be famous for doing?

Crash: Making Lego Minecraft sets
Bang: Being the king

10. What do you want to be when you grow up?

Crash: I want to work at Lego or Nintendo. Either one, but probably Lego because Nintendo is all the way in Japan.
Bang: Builder. I want to build houses and drive a cherry picker

As always, feel free to ask your own kids these questions. Just be sure to link to this post so I can read and laugh, too! 

P is for…

You’re sitting the front car, a dozen more are behind you. All is quiet except the familiar click click click of a chain slowly pulling your coaster to the top of a very high hill. For just a split second you hang motionless staring down the near vertical drop. Then the chain lets go…

According to crosswordsolver.org there are 22,046 words that start with the letter P. This is exact number of time I’ve told the boys to clean up their toys in the basement.

The possibilities are endless.

This is a house of mostly boys. Therefore, P could be for penispee peepisser, or pecker. I’ll refrain from talking about our private parts.

This space is generally about being a dad. Hence,

P will be for parenthood. One of life’s greatest accomplishments is to raise self-sufficient, happy, healthy, educated offspring. There is also nothing else more frustrating. Except for maybe that last piece of leftover pizza disappearing from the fridge.

Are we ever prepared for this journey? Oh sure, we buy the book about what to expect. That’s like me describing what the roller coaster The Super Duper Looper felt like. Until you ride it for yourself, you’ll never really understand that first drop and the feeling of your stomach in your throat. Isn’t that kinda what parenting feels like? You climb that hill, anxiously waiting for the ride to really begin just as mom’s belly grows and grows (you might even call her your punch buggy). Suddenly, life is flashing by at 65 mph and the best you can do hang on and scream. But, my God, it’s fun!

Like I wrote in Life Before and After Kids, our lives change drastically. No longer can we do what we want when we want how want where we want. We suddenly have this little ball of squishy, adorable, Jell-O tagging along.

matilda-honeyI always thought I’d be a parent like Ms. Honey from Matilda, was a teacher. I would kindly ask in my sweetest voice for something to be done and the kids would scurry to get it done. They would answer my questions in complete sentences and dazzle me with their brilliance. Turns out my parenting style feels more like Ms. Trunchbull.

trunchbull-matilda-movie-pam-ferris-a

So whether you have 1 kid or, like Mr. and Mrs. Vassilyev you have 69 children, do what you gotta do to get it done. Books, TV, other parents, non-parents, and “experts” will try to tell you the best way to do it. Sometimes they’ll be right. Sometimes they won’t. Sometimes you’ll get it right, sometimes you won’t.

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O is for… 

 is for Orioles! This has zip, zero, zilch to do with parenting except that I did allow Bang to stay up and watch a game last Friday. It was an 8 pm start time and his big brother was having a sleepover at Nanny’s. Bang didn’t want to go home and go to bed so I offered to let him stay up to watch some of the Orioles game. They were playing the Blue Jays, his favorite team. We are in Blue Jay territory, so I allow it. We have a friendly rivalry. DW went to visit a friend so Bang and I skipped off to the store to pick up a bag of Ruffles then we parked ourselves on the couch and munched our way through 7 innings of baseball. He learned what all the numbers meant – the score, the count, the outs, and the innings. Mom was surprised when she got home at 9:30 to find him still wide awake. By 10, his Blue Jays were losing 5-3 and he lost interest in the game so up to bed he went. I was impressed that he was so interested in the game for that long.

is for obsession. My two obsessions are running and baseball (and perhaps this blog) (Okay. Definitely this blog). Though, I’ve been watching more baseball than I have been running. But I’m slowly getting back into it. I’ve got a new pair of shoes to help me do just that. I have a drawer full of running shirts. Long sleeved. Short sleeved. Tank tops, even. I only have a few pairs of shorts and some pants for running. I use Nike+ on my phone to track my runs. My Orioles memorabilia is limited to a couple hats, a lanyard, and few shirts. The Eddie Murray jersey being my favorite. I can’t wait to make it back to Camden Yards again.

Crash’s obsession, like so many other 9 year olds, is with Minecraft. Some may argue that it’s a waste of time. Others argue that it’s a tool for creativity through it’s endless way to build. Or a tool for science with its redstone circuits. It’s a double edged sword. It can be obsessive. If we didn’t set a time limit he would do nothing else. I can see it’s obsessive nature when his time is up. I hear either, “1 minute” which he tries to drag out to 20 more minutes. Or I hear, “UGH!”. It’s to the point now that if he doesn’t turn it off within a couple minutes of his time ending he loses it for a week. This is one of those weeks. We’ve allowed him to earn it back each day by cleaning. I also see how much he loves to play it and after a long day of school, it’s a great way to wind down. Plus I’ve seen how much he loves building and exploring.

Bang’s obsession is a bit more subtle. He enjoys playing Minecraft with his brother, but I wouldn’t call it an obsession. He loves playing Mario Kart on the Wii, but again, it’s not something he’s constantly thinking about playing. He loves junk food, chocolate especially. But who doesn’t? He’s just taking after his parents. I think the closest thing to obsession he has is with Candy Crush. Yes, that cell phone game. What’s more though, is that he’s good at it! Not only does he beat levels that we’ve been stuck on for days, he also gets us top rankings in high scores among our friends. Whether he plays on my phone or his mother’s, he loves it.

DW’s obsession might be me. She loves me to no end and everything she does she does for me. Stop laughing, it’s not a joke. Okay. Yes, it is. I would venture a guess and say that Facebook might be DW’s obsession. She loves coming home from work and just relaxing on the big, comfy couch and catching up with friends via Facebook. It’s also her way of sharing everything from what we’re up doing to what’s going on in town our local friends are interested in. Her other obsession is gardening. Her rose bushes make the neighbors jealous. Her clematis is climbing up the downspout and the porch is always in full color with the flower she picks for the planters.

Our obsession are the little things that make us happy. They’re the things that distract us from the endless responsibilites of life. It’s our time out. I just have to remember to put down the blog, turn off the Orioles game, and go make supper before the kids start eating each other.

What’s your obsession? If it’s Twitter you’ll find me at Stomperdad.