One of Those…

Ever had one of those moments…

Perhaps it was just a moment
perhaps it lasted all day

or all week
or all month…

I realized this morning that my Taboo Word Challenge list is backwards. I didn’t mean to start the month the hardest word. I got my head in the game now and got it fixed. Check it out… The image is also on my sidebar. Feel free to add it to yours, too.

On another note…

If I’m not entertaining the boys then they are trying to kill each other
by annoying each other to death.

That’s not an understatement either.

Just this morning, after we dropped DW off at work we went and paid for the truck’s license plate registration. The boys were good as gold at the “DMV”.

The minute we walk in the door the little one is jumping on the big one.
The big one is making annoying sounds to make the little one scream.
The little one is screaming because he’s trying to get the big one in trouble
(and laughing when it works).

So I hollered at them…

Told them to get sock and shoes on because we were going to the beach. That quieted them because they were confused.
“Why do we need socks and shoes for the beach instead of Crocks?” they asked.
Then they got in the truck to go, and I hauled them out. I told them we were walking. Confusion set in again.

But at least they weren’t annoying and killing each other.

They eventually clued in that we were going to the across the street beach.
I know what you’re thinking,
“You have a beach across the street? How awesome!”
You can stop thinking it, now. It’s probably not the kind of beach you think it is.

There is no sand, just rocks.
The water is bordered by a dozen industries – NS Power which burns coal, a paper mill, a gypsum plant, a pipeline and terminal for oil and gas which, of course, brings the giant tanker ships.
So it’s not a beach for swimming and tanning and sandcastle building.

But it is ideal for beach glass hunting and metal detectoring. On a previous hunt we found 5 rusty bottle caps and a dime.

So we took a walk along the beach.
The boys walked together. They walked apart.
They walked with me and then they didn’t.
It didn’t matter. We were the only ones there.

Once we were back home though, all hell broke loose again. So I made them lunch and took them to play racquetball. They played for about a 1/2 hour when DW called to tell us she was done and ready for us to come pick her up.

The boys went up to her classroom and were back to killing each other again. This time they were fighting over who was going to get use the paper shredder.

Seriously?

I just now got my 45 minutes to sit and write because the little one is at the neighbor’s house playing with their daughter and the big one is at his grandparent’s for a sleepover.

Can I get an Amen? This adulting thing is frickin’ hard. I’m going to get some wine now…

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Good Morning Sunshine

How do you take your coffee? Or perhaps you prefer tea? Or orange juice? Or maybe just water? I’d like a Coke, but I’m on day two of cessation. So far no caffeine withdraw headache. But I’d still really like one.

I was hoping this morning’s run would summon my idea pallet. No summoning happened. Instead it was a quiet, foggy four miles with Crash cycling beside me. We set a goal of 34 minutes and beat it by 10 seconds. But it was never about the numbers. The scenery was picture worthy, but we were so enraptured by the it that I didn’t even think of it. I usually do my best brainstorming during my runs. This morning my brain was as quiet as Mother Nature. I was wracking my brain for some kind of juicy, meat and potatoes, awe inspiring post.

Sorry, this isn’t it.

The best words of wisdom I can come up with at the moment is

Nevermind the numbers.

What if your blog received one view every single day? No more, no less. Well, maybe less. Would you still write? Would you write differently?

Would I write differently? I’ve made my blog mostly about being a dad. Which, when I look back at previous posts, really isn’t any different than being a mom. Or perhaps I just write about being a dad like a mom would. With the exception of childbirth and breastfeeding, they’re nearly identical positions. While I wouldn’t mind the breastfeeding aspect, child birthing isn’t for me.

I think and I say I wouldn’t write differently if I didn’t get the views. But deep down inside, I think I would cater to my readers. If that one view was always from my “Month in Review” post, I would write more reviews. I would provide more stats than the MLB. If it was my short stories that garnered the view I would join more photo prompt clubs.

I know parenting (mostly) and I know humor (mostly) and I know writing from the heart (mostly). Writing what you mean and meaning what you say is more important than the numbers. Especially if you’re professing your love of pigeons. Crash’s posts get 5-15 views each time he blogs. He still asks to write posts. He’s working on his next draft at this very moment.  He also sees that I get 50+ views and he thinks he isn’t getting enough. I see others getting 100+ and I think I’m not getting enough. I’m sure those 100+ people see others getting 200+, 500+ or 1,000+ views and think they’re not getting enough. What would be “enough”?

We write anyway. We parent anyway.

So my advice today is ignore the numbers. Whether you’re blogging and hoping to become “popular” or you’re running and hoping become “fast” or parenting and hoping to “survive” ignore the numbers and do what you love to do. Do what you do best. Do what is best for you, your blog, your kids, your whatever.

Just do.

just do

And while your at, please join us for a new, fun blogging challenge.

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Science Questions I Asked My Kids

Ahh… to view the world with child’s eyes. Nothing quite beats the imagination of our youth. The hows and the whys of our world might seem mind boggling. Except when viewed through the vision and mind of a child it’s all really quite simple. How else could one describe such complex intricacies so simply and so accurately.

I thought I’d try something a little different today. Normally, I ask my kids fun questions about life. Today’s questions are all sciencey (except for the dream question Bang was so eager to answer yesterday). This is their take on what happens in the world around them.

1. Did you have any dreams?

Bang: Yes. So like I don’t know where we were. It was sorta like the beach. It had lots and lots of sand but I don’t know where it was. There was a green train. It came toward us super fast. It didn’t need train tracks, it could go anywhere. On top of trees. In the water (the wheels go all gone and it rows). There was mean mom and she said “There goes your garbage”. I was swimming in the water and the train came on the sand. Then I woke up.

Crash: My friend and I were playing outside in the dark. Then someone jumped on my back. My friend was gone because he turned into a zombie Sponge Bob. So I ran away. A thing was hanging from a tree and it had a flashy button on it. I pushed the button and it exploded and I woke up.

2. Why does it rain?

Bang: Because the clouds go for a swim and suck up some water and when they go back in the sky the water comes out of little tiny holes and it rains.

Crash: Because when it gets hot some water from the oceans and stuff float up. It’s called vaporization. Then the clouds soak up the vaporization because they’re like sponges. They turn dark and the water falls out as rain and it all cycles through again and again.

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3. Why do bees make honey?

Bang: To make honey sandwiches, honey bread, honey toast, and honey strawberries (which are orange and taste like honey)

Crash: So we can eat it, obviously.

4. Why is it windy?

Bang: because wind clouds come and they make the wind blow around.

Crash: Because God blows through his mouth and makes it windy.

5. Why is the sun hot?

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Bang
: When you’re cooking something, the wires get hot so space gets hot and then the sun gets hot.

Crash: That’s an unanswerable question. Earth’s atmosphere is like a magnifying glass and the light from Earth heat up the sun.

 

6. How many bones are in your body?skeltw2

Bang: I would say a lot. I would say a really big number. 60 90 100

Crash: 163

7. What is the largest animal on Earth?

Bang: An elephant and rhino are bigger than all the animals.

Crash: The humpback whale. Whales are ginormous! Or is the beluga bigger?

8. Why is the sky blue?

Bang: Because there are blue snowballs that float in space and they make the sky blue.

Crash: Because of light. The sky is practically space, but the sun lights it up.

blue-sky-clouds

9. What makes a rainbow?

Bang: There are invisible balls inside the blue sky and it makes a rainbow when it’s ready to make one.

Crash: Rain and sun. Obviously the sun heats up the water and somehow it makes a rainbow in the sky.

double-rainbow

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10. How do airplanes stay up in the air?

Bang: They have 2 wings and really big propellers that spin super fast that they can stay up in the air when you count to a thousand.

Crash: Because they have turbines usually. And they have big gliding wings.

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A Letter To My Oldest Son

Hey buddy,

I can’t believe you’re going to be nine in a couple weeks. It seems like just yesterday your mom and I were bringing you home from the hospital. You gave us a good scare there in the beginning. You don’t remember your open heart surgery when you were five days old, but we remember. Vividly.

Speaking of your heart, you’re our tenderheart child. You feel greatly. Your feelings can be hurt easily. Sometimes I pick on you and lightly make fun of you not to hurt those tender feelings of yours. I do it to help you understand the difference between people teasing to make you laugh and teasing to hurt you. I do it so you won’t be so hard on yourself. I do it so you understand that humor can be the best medicine.

You are our snuggler. Our hugger. Hugs hello. Hugs goodbye. Hugs because you feel loved. Hugs because you want someone else to feel loved. When your actions help others and gains you nothing, I know you will grow up to be a great person.

I would never tell you to stop feeling. Feelings are important in today’s society. It means you care for others as much as you care for yourself. They allow you to empathise. They allow you to not just understand what others are feeling, but to know what they are feeling. Especially those closest to you.

I would never tell you to “suck it up” because this world needs more people who care. That is what calls people to action. Many people complain about a situation, their own or one with society. However, it’s the ones who care who step up and do something about it. They are the problem solvers of the world.

I would never tell you to “grow a pair” because great leaders understand emotion. They understand people’s emotions are an important part of a skill set. The greater you can make someone feel the more productive they’re likely to be. Great leaders tap into their own emotions as well as the emotions of their colleagues to make them feel as equals, not as minions.

I would never tell you to “man up”. To “man up” signifies that you are not a man. Obviously, you are not a man, you’re only nine. But you are of the man species. Telling you to man up would signify that you can’t be a man because you have emotions, because you care, because you shed a tear. It signifies that you are less than a man. To be less than a man is less than human. Less than life itself. You are not. You never will be. I don’t care what anyone tells you or tries to make you feel.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll will tell you to quit your bitchin’. You are to quit your bitchin’ if you are complaining more about the problem than doing anything to solve the problem. You are to quit your bitching if you’re complaining about something that can’t be changed (aka, the weather). You are to quit your bitchin’ if you’re complaining about something that is your own fault.

You are our tenderheart and I hope that never changes. I know there will be some events that will try to harden you. They will try to break you down into a person who doesn’t care. I hope you only let them build you up and make you the man I know you’ll be.

Love,
Dad

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A Little Boy’s Dream Come True

Diggers. Dumpers. Dozers. Graders. Rollers. Brushers. Pavers. Most little boys I know absolutely love love love these machines. You can imagine Bang’s excitement when he woke at 7 am to find these machines working in our neighbor’s driveway. Except for the dozer and paver, they were all there. They were all working.

Several driveways in our neighborhood (including our own) are being replaced. The excavator ripped out the old driveway and dumped it in the dump trucks. The trucks hauled it away and brought back crusher gravel to lay the bed of the new driveway.

At 7 am last Monday Bang woke and heard the trucks. As predicted, we heard the thump thump thump of two little feet running down the stairs. Those two little feet carried him right out of the front door. We didn’t even get a hi, hello, good morning, or piss off. He was on a mission.

Unfortunately, he had school that morning so he couldn’t just hang out and watch all day. As soon as he got home at noon, though, he right out there watching.

The only difference on Tuesday was that he didn’t have school. It was raining, but like a true digger and dumper enthusiast he didn’t let that stop him from watching. He was an excavator spectator. Oh sure, I suppose mom and dad were excited, too. We were getting nice, new, flat, smooth, asphault driveways! Would I like to be running this excavator? My inner little boy would love it.

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a front row seat

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Go Ask Your Father: Teapots, Puddles, Holes, and Big Numbers

What a week it’s been. Nothing big happened, but we sure were busy. Or at least it felt like it. FitBit says I have walked the length of the Great Barrier Reef, 1,600 miles, since last June. In the last seven days I have averaged 17,052 steps. Crash is still ahead of me, little bugger. Maybe that’s why I’m tired. It has nothing to do with staying up until 11:30 reading a book only two other people in the whole world have read.

Have you ever received an email from your kid’s teacher and the subject line simply says “this morning”. There’s always a brief hesitation where you hope it’s good but think “Oh God. What did he do?” Turns out Crash had a great day at school yesterday. His teacher sent him to write by hand on lined paper to a table at the back of the room. This was to eliminate the distractions around him. It worked like a genie in a bottle. She said he wrote a play for two and half hours. The ‘by hand on lined’ paper is important because sometimes his handwriting can be atrocious. She said it was neat and on the lines! Ahhh… the little things in life…

1. Why’s he holding a golden teapot?

all_hearts___genie_by_lynxgriffin-d52g7ljHe’s holding a golden tea pot because a long time ago the Gods punished the Jinn civilization by scattering to the wind. The evil ones were imprisoned. The golden teapot referenced here, though belongs not to my grandmother but to a Genie. More specifically, Aladin’s Genie. And the teapot isn’t a teapot. It’s an oil lamp.  According to legend, Genies, or Jinn, date back to about 2400 BC, over 4,000 years ago. Ironically, that’s around the same time my parents met and fell in love. According to the Qur’an, God created jinn out of the “fire of a scorching wind”. It wasn’t until the 1700’s that Europe’s Antoine Galland, the translator of the original Arabian Nights, added a few self authored tales to the collection. His best sellers included Ali Ababa and the Forty Theives and Aladdin. Aladdin’s genie was stuffed in a bottle and has been there for the past 300 years. Or at least until NBC dreamed up a genie in ’65 Disney made him blue and sing about friendships in ’92.

2. Why do the puddles instantly disappear?

It was a warm, summerish day as we were driving down the highway when Crash pipes up with this question. There were puddles on the road up ahead that seemed to be moving faster than us. But, generally speaking, puddles don’t move. This is called a mirage. Or more specifically, an inferior mirage (not a superior mirage). It’s only inferior because the mirage is  located under the real object. A heat haze, such as the one Crash experienced, is a type of inferior mirage. Heat hazes are about as unstable as a Kardashian. Pretty much for the same reasons, too. Hot air. Light bends differently in different temperatures of air. This mixing of temperatures causes images to distort when looked at.

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3. What’s that hole for?

He nearly got his finger stuck in the hole in question. I was brushing the toast crumbs (and the rest of the day’s food) from his teeth when this one popped up. This is simply the overflow drain. If your sink (or your tub, because it has one, too) fills up too high, this overflow drain reroutes the water back down the pipes rather than onto your floor.

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ignore the math here

This is a good thing because during one storm (hurricane) we started filling our bathtub in case we lost power. Naturally, we lost power while the tub was filling. We were on a well at the time so we lost water at the same time we lost electricity. We went out that evening after the storm but before the power was restored. When we came home the power was on and the faucet in the tub was running on full blast. Had it not been for that overflow drain we would have effectively flooded our own house (but not quite as effectively as kids in the tub can do it). Also, many damns have overflow drains to prevent their reservoir from flooding. It works in much the same way except it reroutes the water past the damn. It also looks creepy.

water-hole

4. What’s a big number?

I used to think infinity was pretty big. Doesn’t infinity last forever and have no end? Howblast-off-buzz-lightyear can anything be bigger than that? Apparently you can count past infinity. This means Buzz Lightyear had it right all along, “To infinity and beyond!” Michael of Vsauce describes how to count past infinity in this video. Be careful, though, it’s mind blowing. But the “big number” in question isn’t a number at all. It’s an expression. We use it describe damages, injuries, amounts eaten, etc… “Wow, he did get quite a number on his knee!” in reference to when Crash fell down while play outside at school. The number he did earned him an early dismissal. It was (and still is) gross. Or “She did a big number to your finger when she bit you!” in reference to when TimBit bit Bang’s finger. That was gross, too. If you eat many pizza slices you have done a number to it. If you smash your car you’ve done number to it also. If you give yourself a haircut and it looks like a toddler did, you have done a number. In any of the numbers (except maybe pizza) you’ll wish you had some genie wishes to take back your number.

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At Day’s End

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I’m posting this one at sunset. It is the end of the alphabet – the letter Z. Zee. Zed. Either way you say, it’s still at the end. I find it fitting to post the end of the alphabet at the end of the day. The symbolism gets me. I get the symbolism.

And it’s at the end of the day we look back and can see how our whole day played out. It seemed just as the sun rose this morning we were infants. New to the world. Innocent and pure as newly fallen snow upon the forest floor. We had the whole day before us to use however we wished.

This afternoon we learned not just walking and talking, but everything else we needed to survive. We found ourselves out on our own in the big wide world. We became whatever it was we wanted to become. Perhaps we had some kids. Some pets. We made a life and the river of life carried us along to sunset.

Now we lie in bed ready for sleep because it’s been a good day. A great day. We’re tired. We’re happy. So we sleep.

Z is for sleep. Zzz.  But this sleep lasts longer than 8 hours. It lasts forever. This is the end, isn’t it? The end of the alphabet, the end of the day, the end of life. We experienced this end first hand yesterday. Our sweet, baby boy Dozer left us yesterday for the big Ball In The Sky. To say the least, we were devastated. Crash took it pretty hard, as could be expected. It was really hard to look at his empty cage. The mention of his name would bring tears to eyes.

His sun has set and now he sleeps. Sweet dreams our little hamster friend. You will be missed…

Dozer

N is for… #atozchallenge

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Naturally, N is for Noisy.

It’s also for Nosey and Naughty. All of which I wrote about last year and they still apply this year. Not much has changed since last April. They still want to know what we’re watching on the computer. They still crash and bang. They still cause mischief.

Dad! Come here!
Dad! Come watch!
Dad! Come play with me!
Dad! Watch me!
Dad! Dad! Dad!

(Substitute Mom! for the same effect)

High maintenance. That’s what N is for.

Needy.

Neediness is a spectrum. It’s not like you’re either needy or you’re not. There are varying degrees of neediness. Mine falling on the upper part of that spectrum. Mind you, Crash is more independent because he’s 8. Nevertheless, he will on occasion call me out to the living room just see what’s on TV from time to time. It’s usually something Minecraft from the show “The Gaming Show (in My Parent’s Garage)”. Which can be an interesting show as they do go behind the scenes to talk to game developers.

Bang is forever reciting one of those 5 lines from above. Not to make it sound like we totally ignore the kids, but we do expect them to play on their own. We are not their entertainers.

If he’s watching TV and he seeing something even remotely funny he’ll pause it, rewind it, and call us to watch it. I wish I could take back the day I taught him to use the DVR. Peppa Pig. Jake and the Neverland Pirates. PJ Masks. Special Agent Oso.  Anything else that airs on Disney Jr or Treehouse.

Come watch this!

UGH! I’m making your breakfast. I’m getting lunch ready. I’m cooking supper. I’m in the bathroom. Whenever it’s most inconvenient is when he’ll holler.

He likes to make up games to play, too. I love that he’s being creative and creating his own games, but it’s difficult to play a 4 year old’s made up game. The rules are made up as we go. The rules are usually instructions for us do something. His little way of being the boss. He gets to tell us what to do.

98.5% of the time these games involve two or more trucks smashing into each other.

Don’t get me wrong. I love playing with them. We have some good laughs. But this post has taken me long time write because someone keeps hollering “DAD!”

BRB….

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I know I’m preaching to the choir with this one, but it’s fitting and true.

C is for… #atozchallenge

C

is for Crash. Of course. But it’s not what you think. This part is not for the kid who attempts to run our lives. It’s not for Mr. Attitude. Nor is for Mr. Tenderheart.

 

Nope this morning it’s for this game called “Crash”. Fitting name, actually.

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We popped into a Toys R Us one day to find a fun family game to play. This is what we came out with. As you can see from the box it’s a tower game. It resembles Jenga in the sense that you take pieces from the middle and stack it on the top. The difference is that you have to roll a die to determine what color you have have remove. Bang’s favorite color to roll is black.

Black means you do nothing.

That’s everyone’s favorite color to roll. If you don’t have to remove a column then there’s no chance you’ll be the one who topples the tower.

Here’s the gist:
Each white ring as space for 10 columns. To start you build the tower 6 levels high. Then your youngest starts the game by rolling. Remove the color column and add it the top. This continues until all 10 spaces are filled on the top at which point you add another white ring and continue playing. We’ve never fully filled the 5 extra rings there are to add. We’ve built it high enough to add the 5th, but we didn’t get it filled. Here, check it out:

C

is also for Crash, our 8 year old boy wonder. Because, boy does he make us wonder. He’s the creator of his YouTube channel, Crash’s Corner where he likes to create Lego videos. His curiosity rivals that of a little monkey named George. His questions are relentless, amazing, and show that he really is a thinker. Even if he does think of doing some really dumb stuff. He provides as much comic relief to our life as his little brother. Hiding a Nerf gun behind his back, he comes to me smiling and says, “I’m no handed, Dad.” I knew what he meant but I just had to ask him, “You mean unarmed?” He’s stubborn, full of attitude and hates math and cleaning. But he’s our tenderheart, our snuggler, and hugger. He’s also protective of his little brother. He’s the only who is allowed to pick on his baby brother. He’s creative, curious, and a creator of calamity.

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Go Ask Your Father: Bloating, Drugs, Jumping, Diabetes #atozchallenge

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is for Ask. Because anyone with kids, who has been around kids, or even just heard of kids knows that they ask a lot of questions. Hence, every Friday I answer them right here on my little bloggity blog. While I inject a bit of humor and few extras into my blog answers, the boys get a slightly more watered down version, yet just as informative, answer. Ever since they discovered I started answering their questions, they’ve become aware of their questioning. So it’s had an educational experience I didn’t expect. Naturally, we’ve covered topics in every category of life. From things falling out of the sky to police cars. From Bavaria to tentacles. It’s been a learning experience for all of us at times. I’m not too proud to say “I don’t know, let’s look that one up” (this doesn’t stop me trying to give totally bogus answers, though).

1. What’s bloating?

It’s when our bodies retain water and swell up. Like Guppie’s (their grandfather) ankles if he’s been standing for too long. It could be either from water retention or from a build up of gasses. So if you’re not peeing or farting you’ll eventually become bloated. Like Shrek says, “Better out than in!” Or those washed up whales we occasionally hear about. Gasses build up inside them from the bacteria breaking down their muscle and tissue. If they aren’t dealt with they could explode. Like this one.

2. What are drugs?

drugsinhandBetter living through chemistry! Drugs can allow us to live better lives or they can destroy our lives. We take drugs for things like fevers and cold relief, headaches, high blood pressure, and even for chemotherapy. There are so many different drugs for so many different ailments that it would be impossible to list them all here. When taken properly drugs can improve our lives and make us healthy. However, some people don’t take them properly because they think drugs will make them feel good. But then they always need more. They become addicted. And no. Drugs aren’t the reason for Nanny’s pain. She needs those.

3. How do they jump that high?

We were watching basketball highlights last night during supper and most of the highlights were slam dunks. Something the boys have never (nor ever will) see my vertically challenged self do. They jump high enough to dunk because they have the hight and the leg power to reach a hoop 10 feet off the ground. However, these players aren’t the real jumpers. The high jumpers get their whole body up there! The record men’s high jump was set in ’93 by Javier Sotomayor from Cuba at 8 1/4 feet! The women’s record stands at 6′ 10 1/4″ set in 1987 by Stefka Kostadinova from Bulgaria.

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4. What’s the difference between type 1 diabetes and type 2?

Diabetes is when your body can’t control the amount of sugar in your blood. Our neighbor’s 10 year old son was just diagnosed with type 1 shortly before Christmas. His older sister is diabetic, too. Nanny is type 2. While our neighbor’s son and daughter need insulin shots, Nanny’s diabetes is controlled through her diet. Type 1 occurs suddenly while type 2 is gradual. Type 1 usually occurs in people under 20 while type 2 typically occurs in people older than 40. Type 2 often occurs in those who are overweight while type 1 can occur at any weight. Type 1 can be more severe causing drastic highs and lows (often very dangerous) in blood sugar levels.

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