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.

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!

J is for…

If you’re a parent you need a serious sense of humor. If you can’t laugh when your toddler decides too pee off the front porch because he’s too lazy to walk up a flight of steps to the bathroom, you won’t survive parenthood. If you can’t entertain the thought when one of your kids tells you that when he turns 5 he’s going to turn into a puppy so he can poop in the yard (different kid than the one who peed off the front porch) parenthood is going to be long and brutal. 

 is jokes. I bring you ten five jokes to tickle your funny bone.

1.“Every night before I get my one hour of sleep, I have the same thought: ‘Well, that’s a wrap on another day of acting like I know what I’m doing.’ I wish I were exaggerating, but I’m not. Most of the time, I feel entirely unqualified to be a parent. I call these times being awake.” ~Jim Gaffigan

2. For weeks a six-year-old lad kept telling his first-grade teacher about the baby brother or sister that was expected at his house. One day, the mother allowed the boy to feel the movements of the unborn child. The six-year old was obviously impressed, but made no comment. Furthermore, he stopped telling his teacher about the impending event. The teacher finally sat the boy on her lap and said, “Tommy, whatever has become of that baby brother or sister you were expecting at home?”

Tommy burst into tears and confessed, “I think Mommy ate it!”

3. 

4. A child asked his father, “How were people born?” So his father said, “Adam and Eve made babies, then their babies became adults and made babies, and so on.” The child then went to his mother, asked her the same question and she told him, “We were monkeys then we evolved to become like we are now.” The child ran back to his father and said, “You lied to me!” His father replied, “No, your mom was talking about her side of the family.”

5. Little Susie, a six-year-old, complained, “Mother, I’ve got a stomach ache.” “That’s because your stomach is empty,” the mother replied. “You would feel better if you had something in it.” That afternoon, her father came complaining that he had a severe headache all day. Susie perked up, “That’s because it’s empty,” she said. “You’d feel better if you had something in it.”