Sunday Share Week 20: The Mother’s Day Edition

It takes a village to raise a child.

I had my share of mother’s growing up. My own mother who made sacrifices to make sure I got to play sports – baseball, soccer, and in high school, wrestling. Then there we all my friend’s mothers who often times allowed me over for sleepovers and would feed me and make sure my mom knew where I was. Then there were my two mother-in-laws who took me into their family as if I was one of their own.

Then there is DW, the mother of my children. Not only does she keep our kids in line, but she’s taken over keeping me in line, too. Kind of like the passing of the torch.

It takes a village.

KS Beth
Moms and circuses…

Erika Kind
100 years…

A Momma’s View
An unpaid, full-time job…

Ah Dad
Scoring brownie points…

Sheila Moss
Trying to say thanks…

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Go Ask Your Father: Sun, Space Temps, Rubber Band Balls, and Weekends

Welcome to Friday, y’all. Hope it finds you happy and healthy.

Now let it find you educated…

1. How big is the sun?

About as big as a few egos. I won’t names names, like the new ruler of the US. Or perhaps it’s the same size as a certain singer’s derriere. The sun, by human standards, is enormous. The sun is 864,400 miles across (diameter). Compared to the Earth, that’s 109 times bigger. It weighs about 333,000 times more. WTH? Who the hell weighed the sun? If the sun were an ajar jar and the Earth a marble it would take 1,300,000 marbles to fill it up. That’s just compared to the Earth and humans. When compared to other celestial bodies, the sun is just another average, run of the mill, star. Unless you compare it to Arcturus. That star is just over 22 million miles across!

2. How cold is outer space?

Colder than the ice bucket challenge. Colder than throwing ice water on the person in the shower. To be exact it’s 2.7 Kelvin (-270.45 Celsius, -454.81 Fahrenheit). A typical Canada winter. I speak in Kelvin because it’s easier. Just know that a comfortable 70F is 293K. 0 Kelvin is bottom of the Kelvin scale. 0 Kelvin = −273.15° C or  −459.67° F. Outer space is still 45 degrees above that theoretical 0 mark. Scientists can easily reach 2.7 Kelvin here on Earth. They’ve been as low as 0.3 K using an isotope of helium. Beyond that and gravity is too strong. NASA is sending Cold Atom Laboratory to the ISS (space station) where there is no gravity. They are expecting to reach 100 picokelvin, or 100 trillionth of a degree above 0 Kelvin. Or the same temperature as my feet when I crawl into bed.

3. How are rubber band balls made?

These things are not only fun to play with, but are very effective at keeping all those elastics in one place and untangled. Assuming you can figure out which band is on top. First, you need a core. This core can be one of two things. It can be a small ball slightly larger than a marble or it can be a bunch of rubber bands all rolled up. Then you use small bands to wrap around the core. As it grows larger use larger bands. Soon enough you’ll have yourself a bouncy ball of fun. Just don’t put your eye out should one come flying off!

4. Is it the weekend?

Indeed it is. All though Saturday and Sunday are the two weekend days, Friday night counts, too. The boys know that on the weekends we’re a little more lenient with bedtime. It’s also a time for sleepovers. Sometimes at Nanny’s house. Sometimes in each other’s bed. Where they go to dream dreams of soaring through the Universe no matter how big, no matter how cold, but always fantastical.

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.

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!

#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.

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.

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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.

N is for… #AtoZChallenge

We are officially half way through this challenge. If my stats stay consistent I’ll have 1,838 views by the end of it. Lets go for two grand!

 could be New Growth. 

 These little guys showed up over the weekend. Broccoli, Romaine, Cucumber, and Peppers. Carrots will be planted directly in the garden. It may not be warm outside yet, but these little guys are a promise that it will be. New growth from the boys, too. Each of them is growing like a bad weed. Crash is nearly in my size shirts and he’s only 2 sizes behind me in shoes. He’ll be 10 this summer and he’s already wearing size 8 shoes! Bang is a 50 pound wrecking ball. According to the door frame marks he’s taller than his brother was at the same age.

 will instead be for never. This word has been stuck in my head all day. There are never ending bills, laundry, arguments with kids who don’t want to clean, and work weeks that drag on longer than the 100 Years War. Never is, by context, a negative word. I’ve never been to Australia. I never won the lottery. I never appeared on “Freshly Pressed”. However, after pondering most of the day I realized that never is not always negatie. Hence, I opted for the more positive side of never.

Never ending growing up of our children. Like I said earlier, Crash is damn near wearing my T-shirts and shoes. Once upon a time he was an 8 pound 9 ounce jelly roll. I remember washing all his newborn clothes beore he was even born. I was joyous hanging all those tiny clothes on the clothesline in the Virginia summer sun to dry. Now he’s a saucy, snuggly, 4th grader. To see Bang already taller than his big brother was at his age is amazing. I keep reminding Crash to be nice to his brother because one day his younger, little brother will only be his younger brother. Sometimes we wish they would be 

Never ending grocery bills. While Crash eats better than Bang, they both have a healthy appetite. They can eat and eat and eat and I’m fearing when they turn teens and decide they need 8 billion calories a day. But it’s not the amounts they eat so much as that we’re able to feed them. We certainly aren’t making millions, but we are making enough to feed a family of four healthily and for that I’m thankful. 

Never ceasing to amaze. Crash and I are the 7th book of Harry Potter. Until last week it has been me reading to him. Last week he wanted to read to me. Give’r buddy. And he gave’r. He read the chapter in which Dumbledor died. Being a teacher parent, I asked him about what he read just to make sure he understood it. He did. Even the big words like accomodating and excruciating. Bang is following in his footsteps. He, too, is reading above grade level. He sounds out big words and can use context clues and pictures to help him figure out the words. He’s also a little math whiz. He compares number to 100 using < and >. He adds and subtracts numbers to 20. He’s even picking up Crash’s multiplication cards and trying to memorize some of them. He caught on that multiplication is repetitive addition, too. They never cease to amaze me.

Never feeling excluded. Love flows freely here. All though it’s harder to see through the frustrations of parenting, it’s always present. We get frustrated because we’re trying to raise self-sufficient human beings and when it seems all your hard work is fruitless, it’s frustrating. But we do it because we love them and want them to be the best they can. When they’re not living up to their best we get them back on track. It’s a two way street, though. When they tell you at the most random time they love you, when they ask you to be with them simply because they want to be with you, when they imitate you because they want to be just like you, you know that love is present. 

So never mind the struggle and the strife, we are all fighting our own battles the best we can. Never mind those who judge and the naysayers, it’s their opinion and none of your business. Never mind what everyone else is doing, just do the best you can and the rest will fall into place.

M is for… #atozchallenge

 is for the real super heros, the boss of the house, the ever loving mothers. Known as Mommy, Mom, Mum, Ma, and Mooooooooooooom! they are the wise ones, the protectors, the sacrificers. They take on a job with no pay, no vacation time, on call 24/7 and they do it willingly. This post is about them

I’ve got so many Moms in my life that I’m convinced it has taken that many to keep me alive this long. My own mom kept me alive until I went off to university. She raised me right and was able to impart just enough sense and know how so I could fend for myself. My friends’ moms took care of me, too. Watching out for me, calling my mom when I made it to their house, etc… Now I have the mother of my own children, her mom and her stepmom looking after me, too. Am I lucky? I’m 40 and still kickin’. I’d say I’m lucky.

Moms, you make sacrifies we dad’s only dream of making. You give up your time, your money, your energy, your space, even your body and your junk food to make sure your kids have everything they need or want. Working all day, or staying home all day with kids, then having the energy to cook supper and go through the three billion step bedtime routine is a super power not even Ironman can compete with. 

Female = Fe (iron) + Male (man) = Ironman

This post is for the moms who can laugh through tough times. Perhaps the kids broke another window. Perhaps the kids managed to somehow get blueberry yogurt on the wall, the ceiling, the floor, the fridge and 2 wall hangings. Perhaps they’re just tired and restless and stuck on an airplane. Either way, you always do what you have to do and move on. Then look back and laugh at how stressful it seemed to be.

This post is for the moms who are too strong to break. Or perhaps just too strong to break in front of their children. Through financial burdens, busy schedules, no time for yourself, and the worst of the worst, you keep it together, you stay strong. Or perhaps you break down and your children see that it’s okay to break down and talk about the troubles. 

This post is for you moms who support each other. There isn’t much greater in parenthood than parents who help each other. Whether they watch your kid after school or bring over a bottle of wine after the kids are in bed, the support is inspiring. 

But mostly, this post is for you moms who give up your nights and weekends for sports, for dance, for band, for travel, for family… You go to parent/teacher night. You know your kids favorite food make sure it’s well stocked. You play Barbie, you play trucks, you play. 

We dad’s are forever in awe of how you do it. You get it all done and it amazes us. 

Cheers, Moms!

#AtoZChallenge – K is for…

Kwestions?
Kwiz?

I could write about kids but that’s so vague I could I could write a book. Or at least a novella. Perhaps the world needs a parenting picture book.

But today is Thursday and I don’t like to break tradition. Neither one of those is a “K” word. Besides, the kids were asking anyway. So today…

K is for knowledge. Not just random useless knowledge like

If all the females in a group of clownfish die a male will change its gender in order to keep its group alive.

There are humans that do that, too. But not because they want to save their species.

Nope, this kind of knowledge is about my kids. It comes in the form of an interview – questions and answers.

1. What makes me happy?

Crash: Drawing with chalk
Bang: When we clean our own messes
Mom: Me. No wait. Running.

2. What makes you happy?

Crash: Pug puppies
Bang: Playing baseball
Mom: Sunshine

3. How do I make you laugh?

Crash: Fart while we’re playing Lego
Bang: Do silly things while you brush your teeth
Mom: Do stupid shit

4. What is my favorite thing to do?

Crash: Watching the Orioles play
Bang: Look at clouds
Mom: I already answered that. Supid question. Running.

5. What is mom’s favorite thing to do?

Crash: Hanging out outside with her friends
Bang: Kiss dad (prompted to say that) 
Mom: Spend nice days next to, in, or on the water

6. What do mom and dad do after you go to bed?

Crash: Play Marbles (board game) and drink wine and have friends over
Bang: Go to a meeting or something
Mom: Eat junk and watch TV (what we do after the kids are in bed)

7. What is my favorite food?

Crash: Salad
Bang: Salad
Mom: I didn’t know you had a favorite. Spaghetti? I don’t know! I was going to say “my lasagna”.

8. What is mom’s favorite food?

Crash: Lasagna
Bang: Pizza – she’s a Lamborghini
Mom: Roast beef, turkey dinner or lasagna

9. What do you enjoy doing with me?

Crash: Spending quality time with you
Bang: Playing Uno
Mom: Star gazing and kayaking

10. What’s one thing you wish you could have?

Crash: The Nintendo Switch
Bang: A million people on my head
Mom: Vacations