Parenting with Clickers On My Socks…

At it’s roots, this is a parenting blog. More often than not I write about the joys and frustrations caused by the two creatures my wife gave birth to. I love those heathens, even when I’d rather they take a long walk off a short pier. In the words of Homer:

I want it all: the terrifying lows, the dizzying highs, the creamy middles…

I chose to make this blog mostly about parenting mostly because it’s what I know, mostly. I am certainly no expert on the topic. I’m not even an expert on parenting my own kids let alone yours and everyone elses. Kids provide an endless supply of stories, laughs, tricks, techniques, and thank-God-they’re-finally-in-bed. So I have plenty of material to share with you. Whether it’s about stupid, straight brimmed hats, places we visited, or answers to many, many questions, you’re bound to find something useful. Since I handle most of life with humor, I make sure to add as much of that spice as I can.

I have almost no idea what I’m doing.

I know I’m not the only daddy blogger and that’s okay. I’m glad I’m not alone. It means I get to look at what other dads are doing like a cheat sheet in Home ec class. I’ll show you my answers if you show me yours. Come to think of it, it’s okay to work in groups. It’s encouraged, really. We all want what is best for our kids, so why not cheat a little and look at what others are doing?

My kid is being an arsehole. Is it just a phase and how do I make it stop?

My kid won’t stop dabbing. Should I put him in a straight jacket?

How much wine will I need after today?

There are as many ways to parent as there are kinds of parents. Helicopter. Snow plow. Crunchy. Free range. The whole continuem between drill sargent strict and hands-off lienient. Breast fed, bottle fed, spoon fed. You know which one is best? Which on should we all be?

We all should be the best we can be. We should be the kind of parent that raises compassionate, educated, healthy human beings. Whether you live in a shack in the woods with no electricity or the penthouse suite on the 25th floor, just be the best parent you can be. Know your child and make decisions and saccrifices in their best interest. You’re not their friend. You’re their mum, their dad, their legal guardian.

Parenting is not a democracy, it’s a dictatorship. Set rules, set boundaries. Lord knows there are plenty of both out in the big, wide world. Follow through with consequences. Lord knows the big, wide world will do that, too.

But don’t forget to laugh and laugh loudly. Act silly and dance in the kitchen or the living room or the bedroom. Or dance in the bath tub until the smoke detectors start blaring (Yes, in our house, that is possible. It’s been done). Sing loud and sing proud.

So don’t come reading this blog looking for parenting advice. It only looks like I know what I’m doing because you never see all the edits, corrections, the behind the scenes action. I call myself a guru in the parenting world on the basis that others seem to think we’re doing a great job. We’re gurus. I’m also clueless. I mostly have no idea what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, or if it’ll make things better or worse. In the words of my wife’s Uncle Bud,

If clues were shoes he’d wear clickers on his socks.

P.S. While I’m out looking for clues you can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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A Few Pictures of Love from My Phone

The boys and I have done a few things since DW started back to work a couple weeks ago. We’ve stayed close to home, mostly. It’s the joys of having just one vehicle. I don’t mind, though. It’s cheaper and we make it work.

The little one loves to do math. He’s adding numbers that sum up to 20. He does it with no problem. Mostly because he uses his fingers. Isn’t that why we have them, in the first place? I decided to teach him something new. Addition with carrying regrouping. I did the first problem for him. I helped him with the second problem. He did the 3rd on his own and then we went back and corrected it. The fourth (and all thereafter) he did on his own without error.

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After teaching him school stuff, it was time to teach them life lessons. Their next lesson I called “How to tell if a girl loves you”. The good old pick-the-petals-off-a-daisy trick never fails. She loves me. She loves me not. This daisy told me she loves me. I’m pretty sure it was talking about DW and not that chick from Game of Thrones.

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When Crash tried this trick it worked for him as well. We always knew it was true love. You know a love like this could last forever. He loves to tell everyone he loves ketchup so much that he puts ketchup on his ketchup.

20170822_130839[1]The littlest hellion heathen sweet darling child loves to help. We found a couple blackish bananas in the fridge, added those to the freezer bag of bananas already frozen, and we baked them. With some flour and eggs and ten pounds of chocolate chips we made banana chocolate chip muffins. My little beater was having a blast. He wanted to taste the batter before the bananas were added. Afterwards, I’m surprised he was still willing to touch the bowl…

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Lastly, our love of donuts and tea and coffee always lead us to one place – Tim Hortons. It’s usually our Sunday treat after church. Bang sits with the choir singing away. Crash sits with his dear old mom and dad not singing a word. Then there was one day our baseball games were rained out. The games had started then stopped when the Heavens open up and we found ourselves at Tims…

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What picture on your phone means love to you?

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What 12 Years Gets You

It has taken many years to get where we are today. The learning curve was steep. We were newlyweds learning how to be married. How to be husband and wife. And now 12 years later, here we are. Wiser. Slightly more crazy. More in love today than we were 12 years ago.

Wiser

We learned to work as a team. Mostly, I learned to listen and follow instruction. To test how well a couple teams up give them a brand new BBQ in 50 pieces and poorly written instructions. The good ones will have it together in an hour laughing along the way. The ones who are still learning? Both will argue that their way is right. Both will give instructions. Neither will listen. The marriage will dissolve and someone will be threatened to be beaten to death with the unbuilt BBQ. It’s the same with furniture assembly and vacation planning.

Twelve years has taught us (me) that listening, not just hearing, is as important as doing. Of course, being weak to her Mind Tricks helps.

Crazier

Twelve years is a long time to be with the same person. You learn to find your own version of normal. It’s buying your own anniversary present because your wife is sick with the flu and can’t get out. It’s playing with said present (Bop It) and dancing like a drunk June bug to make her laugh. It’s knowing who is going to jump on the trampoline with the kids and who is going to plan the birthday party.

Kids have a tendency to make you a bit crazier than usual, too. Whether they entice you onto the kitchen dance floor, adorn you with macaroni jewels, or just plain refuse to go to sleep, you will find your own crazy and you will embrace it. Wear it proudly as if it were a crown.

Love

We have learned what sacrifices the other has made to help the family. Whether it was a move or using birthday money to pay a bill or going without sleep because of a sick kid, hungry infant, or worry. We learn to see what we do for each other. Whether it’s simple things like cooking, cleaning, or entertaining the kids. Or it’s big like planning a big party, support through a tough time, or a surprise outing. Also, having kids gives us a common enemy goal.

Though all we have learned over the past 12 years (14 if you count when we first met), I have learned the most. Some how I have hunch I’m not yet done learning.

Now come find and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Being the Dad

It has been a work in progress, really. 40 years in the making. Skills like this don’t happen over night. It comes in tiny portions, miniscule lessons, an observation here and there, a pinch of know how, and a whole lotta luck. 

You don’t get to be a kick ass dad without having a kick ass dad to set the example. Some will tell you how it’s done. Others will show you. Either way, you know you’ve got a good one when you can look back on your childhood and realize that you dad just like your dad did. 

I was a patient kid. I’m a patient man, just like my father. He didn’t teach me to be patient, but I saw the value in it. I understood that it was virtue. Naturally, I lose my patience from time to time. Anyone who knows me knows I lose stuff. My patience shouldn’t be any different. We understand that good things come to those who wait. Work hard. Do your time and your time will come. 

Like patience, my dad knows the value of hard work. So I know a job worth doing is worth doing right. When I walk into a classroom I teach my heart out. I’m a “yes man”. When administration needs me to step up and do extra, I do. My dad worked hard, too. I can still picture him walking into my high school gym still in work clothes to watch my wrestling matches. That was after dark.
Being a good dad isn’t easy. It at comes with it’s share of doubts and hardships. Am I doing the right thing? Am I raising good people? What’s going to happen next? What should I teach them?

However, the rewards outshine both. The laughter. Seeing them act kindly. Watching their excitement when they are successful. Feeling pride swell when they learn, when they win, when they do good when they think no one is watching. 

Any man can be a father. The exceptional ones get to be called dad. I am the dad I am because of the dad my dad is. 

Both of them.

This Is the Boy…

You know the cliche, the days go slow the years go fast. Today before me stands a six year old. Yesterday he was five. He started school this year and is learning in leaps and bounds. He’s stubborn but loving. He’s quite the comedian, too. If you’ve read any of the Questions I Asked My Kids posts you’ll see that humor shine through. We never know what’s going to come out of him.

This is the boy who talks to himself while doing his business in the bathroom. He pretends to make YouTube videos. 

This is the boy who loves kayaking. His first time in a kayak he paddled away like he’d been doing it for years. He was 5.

This is the boy who still loves trains, trucks, ships, diggers, dumpers, dozers and crossing bridges. He puts his window down to “hear the bridge” whenever we cross one. 

This is the boy who love dirt more than trains, trucks, diggers, dumpers, dozers, and ships. Dirt loves him, too.

This is the boy who loves to do homework with his brother. It won’t be long before his brother will be paying him to do his homework. 

This is the boy who is a half inch taller than what his brother was at the same age. 

This is the boy who’s taught to say “I love you” without saying “I love you”. “I like your face” has become the new quote around the house. “Night night, like your face”. “Bye! Like your face!” Or at some random time when we’re just sitting around watching TV. 

He’s stubborn as an old mule. He’s got his grandfather’s (Guppie) temper. But he’s a lovey boy who sits with the old ladies in the church choir, who has hugs for his teachers every day, who shovels the neighbor’s driveway. 

Happy birthday sweet boy. 

This Is the Boy…

You know the cliche, the days go slow the years go fast. Today before me stands a six year old. Yesterday he was five. He started school this year and is learning in leaps and bounds. He’s stubborn but loving. He’s quite the comedian, too. If you’ve read any of the Questions I Asked My Kids posts you’ll see that humor shine through. We never know what’s going to come out of him.

This is the boy who talks to himself while doing his business in the bathroom. He pretends to make YouTube videos. 

This is the boy who loves kayaking. His first time in a kayak he paddled away like he’d been doing it for years. He was 5.

This is the boy who still loves trains, trucks, ships, diggers, dumpers, dozers and crossing bridges. He puts his window down to “hear the bridge” whenever we cross one. 

This is the boy who love dirt more than trains, trucks, diggers, dumpers, dozers, and ships. Dirt loves him, too.

This is the boy who loves to do homework with his brother. It won’t be long before his brother will be paying him to do his homework. 

This is the boy who is a half inch taller than what his brother was at the same age. 

This is the boy who’s taught to say “I love you” without saying “I love you”. “I like your face” has become the new quote around the house. “Night night, like your face”. “Bye! Like your face!” Or at some random time when we’re just sitting around watching TV. 

He’s stubborn as an old mule. He’s got his grandfather’s (Guppie) temper. But he’s a lovey boy who sits with the old ladies in the church choir, who has hugs for his teachers every day, who shovels the neighbor’s driveway. 

Happy birthday sweet boy. 

Sunday Share: Week 24

We relayed all day yesterday. Relayed for Life. Our town used to host a Relay for Life. However, last year they opted not because of a lack of support. So “Ray Ray’s Sugarbears” made this their final year for Relay. Their dad put the bug in their ear last fall about taking part in one nearby since our town wasn’t holding one. When he passed in February DW and her brother vowed to make it their best one yet.

They set ambitious fundraising goals. DW wanted to raise $2,000. Her brother, $15,000. Not only did they reach their $17,000 wish, they blew it out of the sky.

They were the top fundraising team with $22,500.

The goal for the town’s Relay was $20,000. They raised $50,000.

RayRaySugarbears

Left: DW’s Brother, an Aunt, Nanny, an Aunt, DW, an Uncle Front: Crash, cousin, cousin, Bang

Lutheran Liar
A special party with Champagne and dancing…

A Song Diary
Totally not Beyonce’s song…

Dramatic Momologue
Dammit y’all…

True North Nomad
Finding a new kind of home…

Old Time Rock and Roll
R.I.P. music…

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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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!

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.