About stomperdad

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

The passage of time

Four years ago two boys rode a purple dragon. They were 6 and 2 years old.


Today they are four years older, taller, smarter, saucier…
Somehow, four years slipped by us. The days are long, but the years are short. I could go on, but we all know that time passes without us even realizing it. Like a puddle drying after it rains. It’s there, then it’s gone. Like a sapling you plant as a kid becomes a tree your kids can climb like monkeys. We parents realize in small increments that our kids can ride without training wheels, they can swim without a life jacket, they no longer need a booster seat. I said we would recreate that photo. We did. We made it our mission to get this photo before we did anything else at the water park. 

Again, they rode the purple dragon. They are suddenly 10 and 6.

Now, before any more time passes, follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

He Told Me Not To

A coach once told me that if a doctor ever tells you that you have only 3 hours left to live you should go to a mosquito (little league) baseball game. It’ll be the longest three hours of your life.

We were losing the whole game. We were always close, but always losing. After the 5th inning we were down 16-15. The 6th inning would be our last chance. The sun was on the horizon and once it dipped below it would get dark fast. I knew there was a chance we wouldn’t be able to finish. You can imagine my dismay when I saw their pitcher warming up. He was throwing with heat. Gordon Ramsey in Hell’s Kitchen kind of heat. Fastballs that I feared my mosquitoes wouldn’t be able to hit and we would be 3 up, 3 down and game over.

You can imagine my surprise when he loaded the bases with walks.

You can imagine my surprise again when we had suddenly scored 5 runs and found ourselves up by 4. I was watching the darkness creep up on us and knew we had to get the 6th inning over if were to win. You see, if a game is called on account of darkness the score reverts back to last inning that was finished. We were losing in that inning. We had 1 out against us and I quietly told my next batter to strike out so we could get this inning over. Unfortunately, she was hit. A bean ball that scored us a 6th run and put us up by 5. I told my next batter the same thing. He struck out, though not on purpose. 

2 outs and the sun was below the horizon now. We were playing on borrowed time. Twilight time. We had to end the inning pronto. I quietly approached my next batter and explained it to him.

Me: This is going to make no sense right now, but in order for us to win this game I need you to strike out.
Batter: So you want me to swing at everything?
Me: Yes

And he did too. One pitch sailed over his head. He swung, not even attempting to hit the ball. Our coach down at 1st base hollered to him to not swing at pitches over his head. I laughed because coach wasn’t in on our plan. He swung and missed the second pitch, too. He swung at the 3 pitch and connected solid with it. The ball sails like a runaway kite in hurricane out into right field. The batter stands on home plate simply watching it as if he were watching a ball game instead of participating in it.

The first base coach is yelling, “RUN! YOU HIT THE BALL! RUN!”

The batter is standing on homeplate pointing toward me at third and hollering back, “HE TOLD ME NOT TO!”

The right fielder throws the ball to first and the batter is called out. 3 outs. Change sides.

Bottom of the 6th now, we’re up by 5. I’ve got a pitcher throwing who usually throws zero run innings. It’s nearing 8:30 and it would be hard for me to argue to keep playing should the other team decide it’s too dark. I’m no lawyer. I probably couldn’t argue my way out of a wet paper bag. The other team does score one run. But we also make three outs to end the game with a win.

We won because of an almost strike out, because a hitter slugged the ball but stood still,  and because a team made it happen when it counted most.

Now swing on over to FacebookTwitter and Instagram and follow me round the bases…

strike out

Sunday Share

I’ve been doing this share thing since I was inspired by A Momma’s View‘s “My Pick’s of the Week”. I think that was a long time ago, like when Yoda was just a baby. I started it because I really enjoyed finding new blogs to follow through her lists and wanted to help spread that joy like peanut butter on a PBJ. I learned quickly that other enjoyed my lists and it helps them become known.

Then I learned about the perks. Sometimes, people want to share me because I shared them and love getting those emails saying I need to approve that new pingback. It’s like having your cake and eating it, too. It’s like when the kids willingly help with chores. It’s a virtual fist bump.

Knuckle up and Happy Reading!

Forever Being Daddy
Cutting your lossing and giving in to a 1 year old’s demands…

Modern Mommy Madness
When kids notice the change…

Fitness and Others Passions of A Dad
An intro to him, his family, and a cliffhanger on how he got to where he is now…

The Salty Mamas
When all hell breaks loose at Trader Joe’s

Tracey Tobin
When you’re in a book club and your book club honestly wants to read your book…

All In A Dad’s Work
3 night camping trip summed up in 1200 laughs words…

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Go forth and be helpful…

Questions I Asked Six Kids

The boys have cousins here to visit this weekend. The same ones they played with last weekend at the campground. They always have a great time together. It’s that kind of fun. We can already see the mischief they’ll create together through their teen years. I’m not sure if I should be proud or worried. 

I’ll list their answers in order of age from oldest to youngest. You know Crash (10) and Bang (6). Added to the mix will be their four cousins. Booski is 11. Crafty is 9. Whim is 7 and Beanie is 5. 

Happy reading! Oh, make sure you’re not eat or drinking. I’m not responsible for food and drink being spit on your electronic device…

1. What two animals would fun to combine?

Booski: Elephant and a cat
Crash: Cat and komodo dragon
Crafty: Panda and a pug
Whim: A squirrel and a koala bear
Bang: Panda bear and a penguin because that would make a giraffe
Beanie: A cat and a chicken

2. What is something Mom says a lot?

Booski: Stop instigating
Crash: The “f” word
Crafty:
Don’t poke the angry bear (telling my sister to stop instigating)
Whim: Go to sleep!
Bang: a-s-s
Beanie: Go to bed!


3. What is something Dad says a lot?

Booski: Yes
Crash: Do math
Crafty: Sure!
Whim: I love you
Bang: Go clean your room
Beanie: He says, “You just ate!”

4. What is something you wish your parents would say more?

Booski: We can go out to dinner tonight
Crash: Yes
Crafty:
That they have the time to play with me
Whim: Yes
Bang: You don’t have to clean anything… No wait. You get tablet time every day!
Beanie: I wish they would say I’m allowed all the candy that I want!

5. What superpower would you like to have?

Booski: Invisiblity
Crash: The ability to hypnotize people
Crafty:
Being able to fly because that would be really cool to see from a birds eye view and touching the clouds would be pretty awesome
Whim: Flying
Bang: Flying
Beanie: To eat alot of candy

6. What is your favorite thing to do in school?

Booski: Art
Crash: Art class 
Crafty:
Math
Whim: Math
Bang: Go to the playroom
Beanie: Play outside

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

Booski: Teacher
Crash: Racecar driver
Crafty:
A stay at home mom
Whim: Hockey player for the Pittsburg Penguins even though that’s not my favorite team but they have a really good franchise right now (Boston is my favorite)
Bang: A builder and a maid
Beanie: A vet

8. If you could have animal skin, which animal’s skin would you want to have?

Booski: Elephant
Crash: Cat
Crafty:
A panda’s
Whim: A huskey dog’s fur
Bang: Frog with green skin and red eyes 
Beanie: Cat fur so I could act like a cat and I would have a tail

9. What was your favorite part about your PEI trip?

Booski: I liked going to Cow’s Ice Cream and spending time with family
Crash: Shining waters and Sandspit
Crafty:
Probably going to Sandspit and spending time with you guys
Whim: Sandspit – The Cyclone rollercoaster was my favorite ride there
Bang: The rollercoaster! I liked it a teeny bit which is why I screamed so loud
Beanie: Going to Cow’s Ice Cream

10. Did you have any dreams?

Booski: I don’t really dream or I never remember them 
Crash: Yes. Oh boy. I had a dream we were on a boat and this eagle lands on the front of the boat and he talks to me. I forget what it said, but I was like “got it”. Then he flew away and dove into the water and didn’t come back up. Then I got splashed with water then I woke up.
Crafty:
Mostly I don’t remember them. One Time I dreamt that Voldemort came to my house to kill me. But I hid under my bed even though in real life I don’t fit under my bed.
Whim: Nope…But sometime I dream I hear my brother snoring, but that’s really real.
Bang: No. They’re all secret dreams because I sleep in.
Beanie: I had a dream about flying cats and they were flying to New York to walk around

Month in Review: July

It was a good month. I sort of took a break from all the posting. Like MLB takes a break for the All Star games. Except with blogging. And no all stars. With the boys in baseball, bonfires in the evenings, and going places, I didn’t keep up too well.  Not that I lost interest, but my muse was on vacation, too. Not sure where she went, but it must have been far away. Like Timbuktu. I continued to respond to comments. I didn’t, however, read  or comment on many others. Now that our short trip is over I’m getting back into the swing things (there’s that baseball reference again). Rejoining the world of blogging again. So what did July look like?

I posted just 17 times. Down from 21 in June. The second month in a row that had a drop in the number of times I pushed publish.

Those 17 posts (and a few older ones) brought me 1,063 views. Again, another decline. I’m certainly not losing any sleep over it, though.

There were 549 visitors. This means that almost everyone who stopped by read two posts. That’s pretty cool. Now I need to get all y’all to read 3 before yas leave.

I wrote just well enough to garner a few likes. 355 of them, to be exact. Again, another drop, but this one was more of a wheel chair ramp than roller coaster hill.

What keeps me going though is this next stat. The comments. The discussion. I love it. 288 comments were left for me last month. Thank you thank you thank you. I know I haven’t been writing my best, yet you continue to find your way here and leave me a little sign that you passed through. Lets talk more.

Besides my home pageLosing My Independence and Sunday Share: Week 29 were my top viewed posts tied at 54 apiece.

Only one search term was known. “Dad Bath” was searched. I sure hope they weren’t expecting see/read about this dad in the bath. Ew. I did write once or twice about bathing the “otters”. I hope they found what they were looking for.

I was visited by 56 countries. I wish I could visit 56 countries. The US, Canada, and Netherlands were the top three with the UK and France trailing close.

August ended with 1,013 followers! I broke the 1,000 follower mark. I think that’s pretty cool. The real trick will be to get all 1,029 of you to read, like, and comment.

I uploaded a video to YouTube, too. It’s a video of all our screaming and laughing and excitement on our trip to PEI. Roller coasters and water slides! And a ferry.

Lastly, to those of you who come back regularly, who let me know you’re reading, here’s your shout out. I love giving shout outs. That’s why I do Sunday Shares. Speaking of which, you can leave me a link to read on last Monday’s Share because it was my birthday…

This is for the 5 who left the most comments…

Grubbs n Critters
Dorky Mom Doodles
Dewy
Welcome to the Nursery
A Momma’s View

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The Camping Trip

It started with a list days before. Every time we thought of something we’d need we’d add it to the list. By the time we were done we nearly needed a 26′ U-Haul. I swear we had as much stuff for a 3 night camping trip as we did for a two week trip to the States.

On the highway, DW likes to spot eagles soaring overhead. She’ll point them out when she find them. Then this happened…

eagle copter

We laughed and laughed and laughed…

Then on the Ferry to PEI the boys found a puppy to sit and pet and talk to. Five month old Riggs was a good dog. An English Bulldog. They played with him for a solid hour. The owners thanked our boys for entertaining their dog during the trip. Likewise, we thanked their dog for entertaining our kids.

Back in the truck and en route to our campsite Bang was restless and bored and so he decided to look for trouble. He usually doesn’t have to look hard. This time he put his hand in his mouth and tried to wipe it on his big brother. DW told him to keep his hands out of his mouth since he was just getting licked by a dog who had probably licked his hole.

Bang replies in complete horror… “I didn’t lick his hole!”

The weather was fabulous, though a bit hot. The nights were cool and perfect for sleeping. Even if our camping neighbors talked until 12:30. Even if the sun acted as a damn alarm clock at 6 am. We really didn’t spend much time camping. Our 8 person tent was more of a bedroom than campsite. Once we were awake and had breakfast we weren’t back at our site until bedtime.

Do you know how hard it is to cook pancakes on a BBQ? Once you get past the whole needing something to cook it on because a grill won’t hold pancake batter, you better have something to make it non-stick. I used a tin bowl. At first I just poured the pancake batter in. It cooked up like a loaf of bread. Except it was still liquid in the middle. And the top wasn’t cooked because I couldn’t flip it over. So, being above average intelligence, I cut the tin so it would lay flat, then poured the batter on. Worked like a charm until it was time to flip it. It was stickier than a toddler with a roasted marshmallow.

We went out to eat for breakfast.

After breakfast we went to visit Anne Shirley’s house. She’s the character created by L.M. Montgomery in Anne of Green Gables. The boys really enjoyed it. The house was set up as Lucy would have envisioned it in 1908. There was even a girl dressed as Anne and in character!

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After this we joined DW’s brother and his family and went to Sandspit – a small, carnival-like amusement park. There were lots of laughs, lots of screams and endless rides. It was so hot there was barely anyone there as they were all at the water park. We could ride a ride, get off, and get right back on. No lines.

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lovebirds atop the ferris wheel

Then it was off to supper to feed hot, hungry, thirsy (a deadly trifacto) people.

Then back to DW’s brother and his family and the trailer they had rented for a week. A dip in the campground pool, a bonfire, and meeting up with new and old friends. A friend I went to high school with in Maryland, now lives in Ottawa. She and her family happened to be in PEI at the same time as us and even camped at the same campground! So we got to play catch up on the last 20 years.

Then back to the tent to sleep.

Day 2 started with another attempt at pancakes on the bbq. We borrowed a bottle of olive oil and I used that to keep the cakes from sticking to the foil pan. Worked like a charm. Other than them taking 15 minutes to cook…

We spend most of the day hanging out with family. The kids visited the campground store for treats. They rode scooters and bike and played on the playground. They were inside and outside and back inside and back outside and back inside then kicked back out.

It was hot. We were hoping to go to Shining Waters, the water park, asap. DW’s brother said, “Nope. You don’t want to spend the day there. You are going to be there for a couple hours and then you’ll be done and ready to leave.” He was right.

The lines were long. 45 minutes long. Bang rode a big water slide with mom in an inner tube built for 2. He was skipping and jumping and hooting and hollering the whole way up the stairs. He was singing a different tune on the way down the slide.

He hated it. Both times. Both slides. I’m pretty sure he was convinced his mother was trying to kill him. After that he wandered the park with his older cousin to ride some rides that had neither water nor slides.

Then Saturday night happened. The wind picked up. Gusting at 50 kph. 31 miles per hour. Not really all that bad unless you’re in a tent under some trees. The boys were fast asleep. I lay my head down to sleep after reading (I’m reading The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay) and then a thought crossed my imagination and my stupid brain decided to wreck havoc and tell me that with that wind a tree might fall. Stupid stupid brain.

We woke Sunday to overcast skies and the wind still howling. Then it started raining. Not so bad in the tent. We were dry in there. Except that it was Sunday and time to take the tent down. We packed what we could and I backed the truck up as close to the door of the tent as I could without running it over. With my history of backing up, that was an impressive feat.

We got it down in record time. It didn’t fit back in the tent bag, but I didn’t care. It was down, packed in the roof top carrier and I was in the truck, mostly dry and ready to drive.

We stopped in Charlottetown for some more Cows ice cream and to visit the Provincial House which is under construction. So we visited the replica at the Confederation Centre of

 

the Arts. This is where Canada’s forefathers came together from across the Great White North to create the country now known as Canada.

 

One forefather and 2 foresons…

While the Province House wasn’t all that exciting they did have Lego sets so the boys could build their own Lego Province House….

 

That’s our trip in a nutshell… if a nutshell were 1,140 words.

Of course there was excitement over riding the ferry and seeing cousins and being allow far more freedom at the campground than they’re allowed at home.

We’re home now. All unpacked. We set the tent up in the yard to dry out. It’s now raining…

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The whole gang (minus Nanny Moe and Pop)

Monday Share: Week 31

We made it back from our 3 night camping trip. The tent didn’t catch fire nor did a bear break into it. I’ll call it a win. We hung out with family, met up with some friends, and overall had a great time. I’ll give all y’all an update on it later. There were some funny moments that totally need to be shared.

And some pictures.

Tomorrow is my birthday. I’ll be 878 years old. Almost as old as Yoda. However, I’m only as wise as a wookie. Since it’s my birthday, I want you to share with me. Down in the comments leave me a link to a post written within the last week. I’ll go read it and comment. It can be your post, or a friend’s post, or whatever post you read and liked and want to share with me. Then share this post. I want lots to read and it won’t cost you a cent.

You have to.

It’s my birthday.

eagle copter

Monday Share: Week 31

I’ve learned a lot since I started coaching baseball this summer. For instances, it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, but it does matter how you win or lose. I’ve learned that it’s also not about winning and losing, it’s about how much fun you had. Lastly, I learned that winning is more fun. There is a post in progress about it, actually. Tonight, however, our ball team won. There were good plays made in the field. There were good hits made at the plate. There was even a homerun. We allowed just 1 run in the first inning and 2 runs in the last 3 innings. We won 17-11.

Now here are some winning posts…

A Momma’s View
On seeing for the first time what’s been there the whole time…

WonderOak
On what to say (and not to say) to a mom with full hands…

Four Princesses and the Cheese
When minds spin like spin classes…

Grubbs-n-Critters
On a nail polish that both excites and saddens at the same time…

Home with Peanut
On the funniest meme’s on Facebook

All In A Dad’s Work
On kids answering questions about an upcoming trip…

winning

If you’re looking for a winning social media site you can find and follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. For a grand slam, follow me on all four!

Questions I Asked My Kids

Kids are fountains of youth and knowledge. I ask mine questions all the time while they still know it all. We leave for a short camping trip with DW’s brother, his wife, and their 4 kids in 6 sleeps. The boys are as excited to see their cousins as they are to sleep in a tent for 3 nights. We’ll be visiting the neighboring province, Prince Edward Island. Home of the fabled Anne of Green Gables, PEI potatoes, Cows Ice Cream, and an alpaca that, four years ago, scared a certain 2 year old for years.

PEI 2013

We will try to recreate this image from 4 years ago…

1. What are you most looking forward to doing in PEI?

Crash: Hanging out in the thing… the tent and trading Pokemon with my cousins. And going to Shining Waters
Bang: Roasting marshmallows (he doesn’t eat them, just roasts them)

2. Who is Anne of Green Gables?

Crash: A girl and she was in a bunch of movies but I completely forget who she is
Bang: Pime Minister?

3. How long will it take to get to PEI?

Crash: Probably about 75 minutes
Bang: 18,000 minutes
(It will take 4 hours)

4. What is something we should do while we are in PEI?

Crash: Go to Shining Waters
Bang: Ride our scooters

5. How many S’mores will you eat in 3 days?

Crash: 10+
Bang: Zero because I don’t like them with marshmallows on them

6. What is something you want to learn about while you’re in PEI?

Crash: Who Anne of Green Gables is
Bang: Being safe

7. What is something you remember from last time we were there? (4 years ago)

Crash: That I got my Cows Ice Cream shirt that said “Gangnum Cow”
Bang: I got scared by the alpaca (an alpaca was laying behind a wall and stood suddenly when Bang approached scaring him. For the longest time we kept him out of places (such as basements) by telling him there alpacas in there)

8. What will we do if it rains while we’re camping?

Crash: Me and my cousins will trade Pokemon cards
Bang: Go in the tent

9. What’s your favorite animal?

Crash: Cat because they’re stealthy and cool
Bang: Camel because people can ride on my humps

10. What country would be fun to visit?

Crash: Houston, Texas
Bang: Alberta… no wait, Newfoundland!
(Seems we need some geography lessons)

Alexander Graham Bell

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Beinn Bhreagh (I say Ben Bree-uh) Alexander and Mabel’s home

He is more than just the inventor of the telephone. He’s an expat who came not just to Canada, not just to Nova Scotia, but to Cape Breton Island. Just like me. Though he was born in Scotland, not America. He was a teacher for the deaf. I think my kids are deaf, sometimes. He was an inventor. The only thing I’ve invented so far are new ways to annoy DW. In that I am excelling.

Alec came to Canada, originally to an area near Brampton, Ontario, in 1870. This is 130 years after the British destroyed the French Fortress of Louisbourg. Once here, he continued working on methods to teach the deaf. He created the System of Visible Speech which helped deaf students learn to speak by allowing them to visualize the sounds.

Mabel Hubbard’s inability to hear inspired her father to work with those who were also deaf. He also founded the first school for the deaf in the US, the Clarke School for the Deaf. She eventually became one of Alexander’s pupils. Because she was educated in both Europe and the US she learned to speak and lip read in four language. When she was 19 and he 29 they married at her family’s house.

One story says that during arguments Mabel would turn her back on Alec so that she could not read his lips effectively making his argument null and void.

On March 10, 1876, just 3 days after receiving his patent, Bell spoke to his colleague, Thomas Watson, through his telephone

Come here. I want to see you.

Watson heard him clearly on the other end of the line. Wouldn’t they be impressed to see how far advanced his telephone is today? No wires needed. Though maybe not. Shortly after the telephone’s success, he and a partner developed a way to transmit a voice message on a beam of light. He would later say that that was his greatest accomplishment. Little did he know this achievement would directly lead to fiber-optic communication.

That wasn’t all of Bell’s accomplishments.

He created a metal detector which was successfully used on a patient to find a bullet, though the patient died. Unfortunately, the patient was President James Garfield.

He created hydrofoils – a slight combination of boat and plane.

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He worked extensively with kites. His favorite being tetrahedral (triangular pyramid) that were so big they had to be towed with a boat to gain lift.

In 1909, Bell and his associates witnessed their plane, The Silver Dart, take flight from the frozen Bras d’Or Lake, becoming the first powered flight in Canada.

Amoeba

What’s even more is that we where it all happened. Baddeck, Nova Scotia. There is a museum dedicated to Alexander Graham Bell’s life and works. The boys got to make their own kite. They got to see exactly how Alec lived and taught and all that he created. They saw a life size hydrofoil. They saw the Silver Dart.  They got to see the 37 room house of the Bells (from the outside). They got to take a ride on a 67′ schooner, the Amoeba, on the lake where Alexander performed his experiments with kites and hydrofoils. On the lake of which The Silver Dart took flight.

 

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Fun Fact Bonus!

Beinn Bhreagh means “beautiful mountain”. The house has 37 rooms, 11 of them are bedrooms. It has 17 fireplaces. It cost them $22,000 1893 dollars to complete and sits on 600 acres.