About stomperdad

I am a lover of family, books and the outdoors (year round). Sometimes in that order. I hike, I kayak, I eat pie. I run miles and miles (sometimes I switch to kilometers). Lastly, I write.

What Determination and Perseverance Will Get You

Determination: noun: firmness of purpose

The only creature more determined than a toddler trying to get a snack 5 minutes before supper is the preteen trying to stay up past their bedtime.

Perseverance: noun: persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

Parenthood is a game of perseverance.

My last post was about the newest addition to our family. She is the best ball of floof ever in the history of floofliness. I suggest you get yourself one if don’t already have one. At least someone will be excited to see you come home. Though, I have to apologize, we have the cutest one. Úna is our 16 week old (4 month old) fluffy puppy. A soft coated wheaten terrier. I told part of the story in my last post. I’m going to tell you more now.

*side note before I start: you can follow her on Twitter @una_dog* please do. Please with peanut butter on top?

Lola is a wheaten terrier belonging to a friend of ours. It was Lola that made us fall in love with the breed. She is the reason there is one in our living room asleep in front of the fan right now. However, the story started 2 years prior to our meeting.

Bang decided one day 2 years ago that he was going to start saving his money.

Me: What are you saving your money for?

Bang: A puppy.

Once he made that proclamation there was no deterring him. We had made it a Sunday tradition (if a routine can be a tradition) to stop at Tim Hortons for a treat after church. Bang would hork down his Timbits then go open the door for people coming and going. On the odd occasion someone would tip him with a Loonie ($1). One day, a traveler loaded with bags tipped him $10. At the grocery store he jump ahead in line and bag people’s groceries. On occasion someone would tip him a Loonie. Once, he was tipped with 2 Toonies! He did this because he loved to help, the tips were just a perk. All those tips went into his “piggy bank”.

Money also came from birthdays, Christmases, report cards (from grandparents, not his mom and dad), a lemonade stand… Not once did he use any of that money to get something he wanted. He. Saved. Every. Penny. One time, DW’s mom gave the boys $10 to spend at Toys R Us. Crash couldn’t get there fast enough (it was a 2.5 hour drive). When we got there Bang asks, “Do I have to spend mine?”

“No, but I’m not buying you anything.” He came out empty handed telling us he was going to save his money. I don’t know too many kids you can take to a Toys R Us and they don’t want to buy anything. Hell, I have a hard time not buying anything for myself.

A year later he had about $400 saved and we knew he meant business. DW started researching dogs. We couldn’t get a rescue because DW is allergic to most breeds. We needed hypoallergenic. I didn’t want a “purse dog”. That’s right around the time we met Lola. Shortly thereafter we also found out how much he really needed. We also knew we had another year to save because we wanted to get a puppy when we could all be home with it – summertime.

So Bang continued to save for another year. In total he contributed $700. Then he bought the dog bed Úna sleeps on every night.

With determination you too can persevere. You just need the focus of a kid who wants a puppy.

354 Days Later

It’s been 354 days since I wrote my last post. It was a “Go Ask Your Father” post. Life has carried on as it always does. I appreciate everyone who has stopped by during that time.

Now for the meat of the matter. These are the dog days of summer, so this would be an appropriate story to tell.

Crash and Bang (who are now 12 and 8…. not 6 and 2 like when I first started blogging) had been asking for a couple years to get a dog. With DW being allergic we couldn’t just get any ol’ dog. It was another mouth to feed. It was the responsibility of cleaning up after it, exercising it, training it, feeding it, taking it to the vet, and a hundred other things… the answer was always “no”.

Then one sunny afternoon the four of us were out and about and DW saw a dog hanging out the window of a parked SUV. DW made kissy noises at it and the whole dog started wagging. As we passed the SUV we realized it was a friend of ours. She told us she would take her pup, Lola, out for us to meet. Lola was the fluffiest 6 month old puppy. She had feet that were all fluff. She looked like a giant teddy bear. She told us Lola was a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier. Then she told us that she doesn’t shed. DW’s next words were, “I could go for a dog like that.”

Done. I found out which breeder she got her Lola from and then contacted said breeder (who was only a couple hours from us). She got back to me and told me she would let me know when she expected more puppies. In the meantime we found some other Wheaten Terrier breeders. We ended up on a waiting list with one of those others. Unfortunately, the owner decided not to breed. That breeder recommended us to another breeder here in Nova Scotia. We were lucky enough to make on to her waiting list. Again, unfortunately, she ended up not breeding (one of her older dogs passed away and it was too much stress on her younger ones). It was now February, 8 months later. DW had gotten in touch with breeder we originally contacted and found out that her Cassidy had just become pregnant.

Yadda yadda yadda… DW kept in touch with the breeder through the pregnancy and in April Cassidy had 9 puppies! Sadly, one died at just a week or two old. We thought the breeder would tell us which of the 8 puppies we would get. We thought wrong. We got to pick out our puppy! We made the first trek with much excitement to meet the breeder, the momma, and the puppies. The pups we just 3 weeks old. It was cuteness overload. After 2 hours of visiting and chatting we just couldn’t choose. We wanted them all.

We returned two weeks later.

Upon entering, Miss Purple (because she had on a purple collar) stared up at DW from inside the pen. She pawed at the sides as if to say “Pick me up. I’ll go home with you.” So DW picked her up and gave her snuggles. Next she picked up Mr Brown (naturally, he had a brown collar). Mr Brown licked DW’s nose! So we had to decide… Mr Brown or Miss Purple?

I am here now to introduce you to Miss Purple, now affectionately known as Úna. Pronounced “Oonagh”.

Where We’d Build a Tunnel to, in 6 Words

One story, six words… Thanks Eli!

Coach Daddy

stormtrooper first order castle Sometimes you get to storm a castle at the church yard sale. #truecrusaders

I’m all for being in the moment.

6 words graphicBut sometimes, you just want to tunnel your butt someplace else. Not always even to a churro factory after hours, although … well, we all have aspirations. And I’ve asked several strangers, bloggers, friends, and a few strange blogger friends this question:

If you could build a tunnel from your house directly to anywhere in the world, where would it go? And why?

That’s a lot to get into six words, but it’s possible.

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Go Ask Your Father: Tetanus, Climate, Probiotics, and Poop

My Orioles are just 49.5 games back from first place. I’ve seen better games from little leaguers. I got a new ball glove for my birthday and I’m tempted to try out. I think they need my help. in 1911 they lost 111 games that season. With just 37 more losses, they can tie that record. There are 43 games left so don’t count them out yet.

Now, if you’ll excuse us, it’s hot and we have a friend with a pool before we leave for Crash’s ball game that is over an hour away. Happy Tuesday (or here, aka Garbage Day) everyone!

1. What is a tetanus shot for?

It’s for the wound you’re about receive from swinging around that piece of wood that has two nails rustier than the Oriole’s bats (they’re currently 49 games back). This where the can of worms was opened. Does it hurt? How much does it hurt? What’s tetanus? My goal is to always answer their questions has honestly, simply as possible, and sufficiently enough to not raise more questions. I failed miserably here. Tetanus is caused by bacteria found in dirt and animal poop. This bacteria forms spores that are highly immune to heat and drugs. They are the Jason Borne of the bacteria world. Tetanus causes painful muscles contractions, often in the jaw and neck. Imagine labor contractions in your face. No thanks. I’ll pass. And there’s no cure for it. You may need to be put on life support until the disease runs its course. Lesson? Keep your tetanus vaccine up to date.

2. What is climate?

It’s that thing a certain president and his following of “deniers” don’t believe in. Though, to be fair they don’t believe that it’s changing. Canada is known for it’s cold weather. However, for the past six weeks we’ve had little rain and temperatures in the 90’s. For two weeks the temps were near or over 100F! Soon there will be palm trees and coconuts in Nova Scotia. Anyway, climate is different from weather in that weather is the day to day forecast while climate is over a longer period of time. Neil DeGrass Tyson has a great two minute explanation here. As the climate changes, so does the weather. There’s so much that can be effected and none of it is particularly good. Colder temperatures in winter mean less snow which means less ground water. Warmer temperatures mean more sickness. It could mean longer droughts. Worse floods. Stronger hurricanes. Melting ice caps and warmer oceans. Anyone who has had to flush a pet fish knows how sensitive fish can be to water temperature change.

3. What are probiotics?

They are biotics that get paid for what they do. They are pros. Like the NFL, NHL, MLB, MLS, NBA, and teachers. In the world of good guys and bad guys, probiotics are the superheroes. Captain America: Civil War was really about the microorganisms in our guts duking it out with the E. coli. These healthy, live bacteria keep our immune system strong and our digestive tract clean. In our time of antibiotics and antibacterial soaps and lotions, we also need to remember that we’re killing the good guys too. Imagine the Avengers fighting Thanos then Superman and Batman swoop in and just kill everyone.

4. Why’s my poop green.

Yellow, let it mellow. Brown flush it down. But what if it’s green? When you are summoned to the bathroom by a seven year old (or younger) it could be for any number of reason. This time it was see the color of poop. I didn’t take a picture, but believe me when I tell you it was the color of Crayola’s meadow green. This happened to us once before when we ate cookies made by Crayola. They came out the same color they went in. Anyway, Bang’s poop wasn’t green from eating too many leafy greens, I can promise you that. It was also wasn’t caused by anal fissures. So it must have just been a hiccup in his digestive tract somewhere. The most likely culprit is that his intestines moved the food along too quickly resulting in the bile pigment not being broken down in the stool to its normal brown color. Either way, it was nothing to lose our shit over so we just laughed and flushed it down.

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Questions I Asked My Kids: The Rorschach Edition

Here’s something a little different. The Rorschach test. Administered to my two kids. Before you scroll down to their answers, take a look at them yourself first. See what you can see then compare it to what they saw. Then after you read their perspectives, see if you can see what they saw.

And when you’re done looking at these inkblots, check out my pictures on Instagram. (Follow me for completely-made-up-imaginary bonus points)

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Crash: I see a castle with windows. I also see a three eyed monster eating an apple.

Bang: It looks like a tank with dots all over it. It also looks like a big scorpion monster.

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Crash: I see what looks like two dog heads with a butterfly or some sort of bug in the middle

Bang: It looks like a monster with four eyes.

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Crash: It looks like a pirate ship. Or a face with a Ninja Turtle mask. I also see a super tall Batman that has a mask that’s way to big for his face.

Bang: It looks like a pirate ship. Or a space ship shooting missiles.

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Crash: I see five faces. And what looks like an animal of some sort. Like a horse.

Bang: It looks like two goldfish swimming away from a monster that shot cannonballs.

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Crash: I looks like a giant with a boomerang in each hand and he’s sitting on a stool.

Bang: Looks like a transformer that transforms into an 18 wheeler that has rockets to make it fly and fire coming out of it.

Some Stuff I Learned Coaching Baseball

This is my second year coaching nine to eleven year olds in the American pastime known as baseball. I learned so much last year. I’m not a rookie any more, but I’m still learning. They seem to be bigger lessons now. Deeper. And they apply to life, not just baseball. It’s weird like that.

These kids, boys and girls alike, are on the field because they want to play, because they’re looking to be a part of team, to have fun, and learn the game. They’re not competing for multimillion dollar contracts. They’re not competing for a first round draft pick. They’re not even competing for a golden glove. They want to hit the ball, run the bases, and perhaps a few of them are looking to get dirty sliding into home. Or second. Or first, even.

Give each of them their chance

Once you take winning and losing off the table, when it’s no longer an option, then the field is wide open. That kid who keeps asking to pitch, but has trouble throwing hard enough to get the ball all the way to the catcher? Give them a chance. At least then they’ll know there are 8 other positions they can try. That kid who has never played baseball before asks repeatedly to be the catcher? Let them armor up and try catching. So what if they make a better goalie than catcher, at least now they know it’s not as easy as it looks. And outfield sucks. The ball is either never hit out there or when it is, you have run to go get it. UGH! Most worstest position, ever!

It’s not always to go your way

Sometimes the umpire does a phenomenal job and sometimes you’re pretty sure Stevie Ray Wonder could have done a better job. Part of our job as coach is teach respect for the other team and for the umpires, so we say nothing. That pitch was at eye level but called a strike? So be it. Just be ready to swing at it next time. You got called out when you were safe? I’m sorry, but we don’t have instant replay. We’ll get ’em next time. This is where we learn “it is what it is”. Arguing is disrespectful. We can’t change the umpires, but we can change our attitude.

It’s not always fair

The kids just want to play ball. So when we showed up to a game with 12 players and the other team had just 6 we didn’t want to cancel. The eighteen kids who showed up would have been disappointed and no one would have gained any experience from that. So we asked if anyone would be willing to play for the other team (they were a team from our town so most of our team knew the other team). Three were willing and that made it nine versus nine. Fair. Then the other team won. With our players! Can you say frustrating? I can. The kids had fun, though. Isn’t that what counts? UGH… I guess so…

Even a rookie can surprise you

Our team this evening was comprised of nine players. Six of them were first year players. Several of them made great plays in the field to get us some outs. They were all swinging the bat to get hits. One nearly hit a homerun (he was tagged out at home). Just because they’re the underdog, just because they’re not expected to perform well, doesn’t mean they’ll live down to that expectation. With just the right piece of advice, or just the right timing, or just the right attitude, they can make the smallest hits into the biggest deals. When given the chance, they can end a losing-by-15 game with laughter.

While the kids are learning about baseball, us coaches are learning about life. Sometimes it’s all home runs. Sometimes it’s nothing but strike outs. Usually, it’s a little of both. We just hope for more home runs and fewer strike outs. We give it our best swing, our best throw, and make the best of it.

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Life

Life goes on…

Whether I’m writing or not
whether I’m running or not
whether my Orioles are winning or not (and they’re mostly not)
whether it’s hotter than nine hells or not (and it is)

Thank you Nike+ for informing me that I haven’t run for 127 days. Thank you Facebook for letting me know that my readers haven’t heard from me “for a while”.

Since I’ve been away from writing we’ve played some baseball games. We won three of them. We took a three night trip to PEI to spend some time away with DW’s brother and their 4 kids. Crash and Bang love playing with their cousins and were sad to leave. It’s been hotter than nine Hells here in Canadaland. The heat index has been at least 35 C. That’s 95 F. That’s 308 Kelvin. For us, that’s hotter than a toddler who was just handed the wrong color cup.

The kids are still being kids. The parents are still being parents (most of the time) (we’re off the clock after Satan’s Spawns are asleep). I have considered quitting this blogging gig. I haven’t posted since Crash’s Birthday a month ago. I haven’t written a word until right now, actually. I’m totally amazed y’all are still here. Not only have I not lost any readers, but I’ve gained a few! If you’re one the new ones, thanks for your faith in me that I’d come back. If you’re one of the old ones, you understand.

Life goes on, Obladi, Oblada,
how the life  goes on…

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A Heart, A Flower, and 7 Swallows

Today was full of coincidences. It has been difficult, as I age, to deny that things don’t happen for a reason. Sometimes things happen that seem completely unrelated only to have them come full circle and suddenly connections are made, dots are connected, and we see the whole picture.

The first dot

Eleven years ago today our oldest son was just 5 days old. He was born with a congenital heart defect called Transposition of the Great Arteries. In normal people words it means his aorta and pulmonary artery were switched. At 5 days old he was stable enough to undergo open heart surgery and Crash got his second go at this crazy little thing called life. He got the telltale “zipper” as a keepsake. We almost celebrate today like it’s his second birthday.

The second dot

When DW’s father was in the hospital there was a hibiscus plant in the sunroom across the hall from him. When he was taken in to the hospital the plant had one giant, red bloom on it. Being February, it was odd that it had bloomed. Rarely do they bloom in the winter. On his second day the bloom had withered and hung sadly from its stem. That night the bloom had fallen and DW’s dad quietly passed away in his sleep.

The third dot

A friend of ours makes and sells bird houses. When we found out he was making houses for swallows we knew we had to buy one from him. Two days later we had two swallows sign a lease and move in. We saw them come and go frequently, mostly during breakfast and supper times. We love watching them. They’re aerial acrobats while they’re chasing bugs to eat and salvaging nesting material. The pair of them flitted around, the female would build their nest while the male would sit on the wire above and watch for danger. They made a good pair. Until today. Today they were no longer a pair. I counted seven swallows on the line above their home.

The whole picture

This morning while DW was updating her Facebook status to share our joy of the eleventh anniversary of Crash’s heart surgery, I went out to the front porch to shake the beach out of our front door rug. That’s when I noticed that one of her hibiscus plants had a single, orange bloom and it was wide open, gulping the morning sunshine. Here, on the 11th anniversary of our son’s second chance was sign from DW’s dad. Then, to see five fledging sparrows flying for what could be the first time, it is many coincidences that happened for a reason. Life.

Sunday Share: Week 26

We’ve crossed the summer equinox here in the North. The days are long. Though here in Canadaland, they aren’t quite warm yet. Some days are, mind you. It just depends on how you define “warm”. It was 18 C today. For us, that’s warm. If you live in Lebanon, you’ll need your winter coat. My O’s still suck, but I wouldn’t be a true fan if I only rooted in the good times. And I made mozzarella pepperoni stuffed chicken this evening that was totally delicious. You should check out my instagram to see it. You can follow me there, too.

superishdad SUPERishDAD tells about a meal before and after having a child. If you’re a parent you’ll totally relate. If you’re not a parent, enjoy your ignorance.

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presentThe Lupie Momma writes about the etiquette I wonder about twice a year- that gift bag for the kid who came to your kid’s birthday party.

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busWatching our kids grow through the school can be rewarding. Even more so when your kid has ADHD. We do what we have to do to help them have a successful year.

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treeSnoozing on the Sofa tells a gripping tale of Paul Bunyan, George Washington, and a good woman…

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wonderoakJess at Wonderoak illustrates how she is learning to parent while parenting. Sometimes you just don’t need to rush. Sometimes waiting is all that’s required to survive, especially with a strong willed child.

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Questions I Asked My Kids

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See more photos on my Twitter

This may be the longest day in the northern hemisphere, but this is the shortest list of questions to date.

We’ve been busy. Today DW and I chaperoned a field trip of 45 5th graders to The highland Village. It’s a living museum representing about 150 years of Scottish history, covering the time just before they moved to Cape Breton Island to the Mid 1900’s. It was great to talk to people in character, ask questions and see just how much life changed for them over that time. From cooking over an open fire in the middle of their dirt floor stone hut to a cast iron wood stove that closely resembles today’s stoves. The kids were interested and were asking all kinds of questions.

My favorite question was asked of a character in the stone hut who represented a time around 1800 in the Highlands of Scotland. “Do you know what Fortnite is?” Without missing a beat the character, a lady, responded with, “It’s a measure of time, 2 weeks.” It was great to see them stay in character.

1. What are three things you want to do this summer?
Crash: Make YouTube videos, visit cousins, and have my birthday
Bang: Go to the beach, play with the sprinkler on the trampoline, and sleep

2. What’s something to do this summer that we’ve never done before?
Crash: Play the FortNite laser tag
Bang: Fly on a plane

3. What would be the funniest gift to give Crash for his birthday?
Crash: Toilet paper and pile of poo
Bang: Poop in a bag and put it in a present box!

4. We are going to start a new country, what should we name it?
Crash: Rhymania
Bang: Afflick

5. What would be the first law we make in our new country?
Crash: Technology must be used at all times
Bang: You’re only allowed to speak with a British accent.

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