10 Questions I Asked My kids

I created the first two questions.

The rest were all Crash and Bang. I asked them, “What questions do you want me to ask?” This is what they came up with. Be prepared to be entertained…

1. Instead of building a snow”man” lets build a snow______.

Crash: Castle

Bang:
Fort

2. Did you have any dreams?

Crash: I don’t remember

Bang:
A secret one

3. Why does coal get red?

Crash: Because it warms up

Bang:
Because it gets very very hot when it burns

4. Who is your favorite Pokemon?

Crash: Eevee

Bang:
Pikachu. He’s cute.


5. How long is a giraffe’s neck?

Crash: 17 feet

Bang:
50 inches I think

6. Why is thunder loud?

Crash: It explodes

Bang:
Air moves very very fast that it makes a noise

7. How many pounds can you lift?

Crash: 80 I think. I can lift my friend so over 100.

Bang:
Over 33 thousand

8. What does tax mean?

Crash: Where you pay extra to the government. For every dollar you spend you have to pay an extra 15 cents.

Bang:
Giving mom and dad part of our treat

9. What animal can you run as fast as?

Crash: Giraffe

Bang:
Cheetah

10. What do you get to eat in jail?

Crash: Hungryman (for our jail, he’s right)

Bang:
You get to eat bread

42

A city girl from Pennsylvania.

A farm boy from Maryland. 

They met in college at the boy’s birthday party. The rest, as they say, is history.

The girl’s mother asked the boy, “Why do you want to marry my daughter?”
“Why not?” the boy responds.

I laughed when I heard this story. I used to think it was smartass remark. But thinking on it, perhaps he had no reasons why not to marry her. Perhaps, he knew all the reason why. 

But knowing him, it was probably as much a smartass response as it was romantic.

Through the years they’ve had their ups. They’ve had their downs. Perhaps even a few side ways. They’ve lived in at least four different states. Twice as many houses. They brought two strikingly handsome, brilliantly intellegent, incredibly strong yet gentle, loving boys into the world. They couldn’t have done that if they weren’t all that themselves. 

It takes something special to make it 42 years. A great sense of humor, for instance. Like when your husband sneaks up on you while you’re blow drying your hair in the bathroom and bangs on a pot with a wooden spoon. If you don’t laugh, you might kill him. It also takes wisdom. Like knowing you can only get away with said scare only once. It takes great patience. Whether one of you is working vast amounts of overtime or it’s time to move house again or finances are a struggle or your kid just broke another window, patience will see you through. Supporting each other when the going gets tough and laughing together when going gets easy will help any marriage survive the test of time. 

I try to follow their example in both marriage and parenting. Patience. Humor. Love. With a little luck we’ll last 42 years, too.

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

Go Ask Your Father: Universe, Rubberband Balls, Owls, and the Inevitable Travel Question

This is our last sleepover for this trip. Tomorrow we’ll attempt Hope for Wildlife and then make trails for home. The boys are excited to see in real life what they’ve been seeing on TV. There are the animals which they love and the rescuers/vets they’ve met through the show. I’m kind of excited, too. DW’s brother say they have a talking crow. We call him Russel or Sheryl. You know… famous Crows.

1. How big is the Universe?

Freakin’ huge. I can’t even begin to fathom the size. It’s measured in distances that light can travel in years. In one second it can travel 186,000 miles. With every tick of the tick tock clock light can travel around the Earth 7 times. So you can imagine the distance it goes in just one year is pretty far. The known universe is estimated to be 13.8 billion years old. This is 3 times older than Earth. When the light left the stars of the farthest galaxies Earth didn’t even exist yet. However, while looking at light that 13.8 billion years old, the universe has moved to 46 billion light years away. This puts the known universe somewhere around 92 billion light years in diameter. Or about the same as Trump’s Ego.

2. How are rubber band balls made?

These are easy. If you happen to have enough rubber bands on hand and an equal amount of time, you can make these fun things on your own. Start with one and simply twist and fold it into a tiny ball. Continue doing this with other bands, wrapping them around your starter. Eventually, you’ll have a ball of rubber bands. The largest one made weighs 9,032 pounds and is 6 feet 7 inches tall. About the same size my Ego.

3. What’s a screech owl?

There are Eastern and Western screech owls and they are very similar. They average the same small size, 6 inches in height or 9 inches  and 4-8 ounces in weight. Adult plumage is a combination of brown, black, and white. Nesting screeches are grey and fuzzy. It’s their voice that sets them apart. If you hear it you would compare it to a kid screaming. Just looking it up. It’s haunting.

Listen to a screech owl

4. How much farther?

If you’re lucky you won’t hear this question get asked before you even leave the driveway. You hope to never hear it during a three hour trip. But, without a doubt, it will be asked. Even if you’re only driving 10 minutes down the road. We’ve made a few side trips since getting here and without a doubt the youngest always wants to know where we’re going and how long it’s going to take to get there. I do my best to give them my best estimate. But sometimes I tell them, “The Promised Land and we’ll be there in 40 days and 40 nights.”

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Field Trip

 We’re going to spend 3 hours in the truck tomorrow with 2 oragutans. Wish them luck. We’re headed to the city for a few days. Part 1 will be a stay in a hotel. A free stay! DW discovered our room last time hadn’t been cleaned properly – hair on the bathroom floor. They gave us a complimentary stay. During this part we’ll also try to visit the science museum – The Discovery Center. 

However, a friend of ours went yesterday and reported that they had to wait a half hour to get in and then weren’t able to do much once inside because it was so busy. It is March Break and every kid in Nova Scotia is out of school this week. We’ll test our luck as we love science and know the boys would love this place. 

During the second part of the trip we will be visiting DW’s brother and sister-in-law and their four kids. The boys LOVE playing with their cousins. 

The third and final part will be a visit to Hope for Wildlife. This is a wildlife rehab center. There is a show on TV of the same name and center. The boys will be excited to see first hand what they’ve seen on TV. They will be just as excited to meet the Vets, too. Perhaps I’ll drop off a couple orangutans if they misbehave.

I’ll have my GoPro when I can and hope to record what I can. That’s more of a heads up to DW than to all y’all. 

It’s Just A Movie

No it’s not.

It’s much more than that.

It’s the connections we make. It’s how we react to the message, react to the storyline, react to the words. Combine that with a powerful, stirring soundtrack and you have the makings of movie that moves us to laughter and to tears and back to laughter.

If you haven’t seen Disney’s Moana you might want to put this post in the “to read later” folder. 

To begin with, the movies tackles fear; the fear of a people who teach its peoples to fear. Fortunately, Grandma remembers braver times and encourages her granddaughter to be courageous. Secondly, it tackles love. Unfortunately, Grandma gets sick. Forehead to forehead, her last words to her Granddaughter were

There’s nowhere you could go that I won’t be there. 

Like, Obi Wan, she comes back stronger. Moana casts aside her peoples fears, shoves off from shore to save her people from despair and destruction. Her goal is to restore the heart of Te Fiti that was stolen and lost by the demigod, Maui. When she finds Te Fiti, forehead to forehead she restores her heart and restores life to her people’s island and way of life. 

I could have cried and I don’t cry at movies. Well, there was that one time. But I claim my eyes were watering from not blinking.

In church that morning, our Deakon spoke of a photograph of he and his grandson that he holds dear. They’re forehead to forehead. Then he went on to explain the significance.

It’s living in the moment. In that single moment all we can see is each other. Nothing else exists.

Nothing.

Our eyes are so close all they can focus on is who is immediately in front of us. They have our complete, undivided attention. They have our moment, we have theirs. I find it more endearing than a hug. As meaningful as a kiss. It’s going to be my new thing with DW and the boys.

Go Ask Your Father: Spring, Smarts, Lent, and Brains…

Is it spring, yet?

Thanks to that pesky groundhog, the boys think spring is supposed to come early. I had to explain to them that it was a) just a myth and b) it depends on which groundhog you believe because there are many and not all predict the same things. We had one day of unusually warm weather. It was warm enough to go without a jacket. Since that happened it’s warm enough to go without a coat every day. Or so the oldest believes. Officially, the first day of spring is March 20th. But this is Canada. Warm weather doesn’t get here until later. Much later. Like July.

Will he get smart now?

I haven’t written about this yet, but Crash has been struggling to focus on tasks. When he loses focus the fidgets set in and getting him back on track becomes near impossible. Last year he was diagnosed with ADHD (though he’s more ADD, it all falls under the same umbrella). As teachers, we know that diagnosis can be given easily and many parents opt to medicate. As we found out from the phamacist, some parents just start with highest dose possible. We are not most parents. We opted to educate ourselves and see if we could use some behavior modifications to help him. A year later and nothing has changed. He’s still struggling to focus. So we looked into medication – the lowest dose possible. Bang, having overheard many of our conversations, knows that his big brother is going to take medicine to help him focus in school. Crash takes his pill on the very first morning and Bang, without missing a beat, asks, “Will he get smart now?” Boy did we laugh.

Why is it called Lent?

Ahh. Good old Lent. What I wouldn’t give for a Coke right now. Or any pop/soda/cola. This is the first full week without and I’ve been craving one all week long. Come on Sunday! I know it’s for the better. I know it’s not good for me. But I want one. Lent originally simply meant spring. It’s origins are Germanic, specifically Old English, lencten; also the Anglo-Saxon name for March – lenct. I just wish it was called over so I can have a Coke!

What happens to your brain when you die?

How’s that for morbid curiosity? Obviously, when we die our brains die with us. The heart no longer pumps the needed blood and oxygen required for it to function. According to LiveScience and Jimo Borjigin, a neuroscientist at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, a study of rats was conducted as they died from a lack of oxygen. Just prior to heart failure, their brain sent a flurry of signals and chemicals to the heart. This combo caused their hearts to stop. The researchers found that when they blocked those signals and chemicals the heart lastest three times longer. After I die, I know exactly what will happen to my brain. It’ll be put in a jar on a shelf right next to Einstein’s.

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10 Questions I Asked My Kids

Welcome to Thursday. That makes tomorrow Friday! They’re calling for some snow here tomorrow night. 5-10 cm. Not much. But it is much because it’s March. They’re calling for another 10-20 sometime next week. But this is Cape Breton, ‘bye. That’ll change a dozen times between now and then. Plus we’re making a road trip next week. We don’t need no snow storm screwin’ up our plans.  I’m officially ready for spring. I’m tired of winter clothes.

1. If you were going to live on a desserted island, what 3 things would you want to take with you?

Crash: Food, games, and a TV
Bang: Ice cream, Cookies, and Toostie Rolls

2. When is a time I made you angry?

Crash: Not let me on my electronics
Bang: When we lost electronics

3. Want to be when you grow up?

Crash: Construction and ride in the cherry picker
Bang: Construction worker and drive the cherry picker

4. How can you tell when two people love each other?

Crash: They usally play together a lot
Bang: Because they’re hugging

5. What’s a good name for a pet elephant?

Crash: Geronimo
Bang: Tronto

6. What do you think your teacher likes best about you?

Crash: Everything
Bang: That I listen at school

7. What is something mom or dad can do that you wish you could do?

Crash: Stay up late all night and have unlimited amount of electronics
Bang: Play basketball

8. If you could have any animal in the world for a pet, what would you want?

Crash: A chameleon that can change colors
Bang: Giraffe

9. What Mom’s best body part?

Crash: Her head
Bang: Her ribs

10. What’s Dad’s best body part?

Crash: His arms
Bang: His skull

Go Ask Your Father: Air Conditioning, AM vs PM, Getting Ashed, and Getting Bread

This ninth week has proven to provide a small amount of luck (9 is a lucky number in this house). I managed a couple days of subbing and am already booked for a day next week. We received a sympathy card in the mail from my aunt and uncle with some $$ in it. The after school ice skating was free today. Nanny cooked us supper this evening. Crash is off at a sleepover with Nanny and Pop so we’re down a kid. The Nintendo Switch became available today (though I’m not lucky enough to be able afford one, it’s nice to know it’s a possibilty). 

1. How do air conditioners work?

In the year 1902 (I think that’s the same year DW and I got married) a young man by the name of Willis Haviland Carrier needed to control the humidity in a lithographing and publishing company so he created what we now call the air conditioner to cool the air. Cool air carries less humidty, therefore his air conditioner was highly effective. 

Today’s air conditioners use simple physics (if physics can be called simple). According to a law of thermodynamics, when a liquid turns to a gas it absorbs heat from the air, thereby making the air cooler. So inside your AC unit is an evaporator in which refrigerant liquid evaporates. The refrigerant has a low boiling point so it turns from liquid to gas (vapor) simply from the warm air of your house passing over the tubes that contain it. From there the refrigerant, now a gas (like steam, but not steam) passes through a compressor. Naturally, the aptly named compressor compresses the gas thereby raising it’s temperature even higher (like a pressure cooker, but not a pressure cooker). Then the refrigerant passes on to the condenser where, if you haven’t guessed yet, the gas condenses (like warm air on the side of your Coke can) where it cools (releasing heat) and turns back into a liquid. Now cooled off it starts reabsorbing heat from the air again (making the air cold) and the whole process starts over. A fan on the inside of your house blows the cooled air around the evaporator into your house. Another fan near the condenser blows the hot air outside your house.

2. What’s AM and PM?

We have Latin to thank for this one. Carpe diem is Latin for sieze the day. AM is Latin for ante meridiem, or before midday. PM, therefore is Latin for post meridiem or after midday. You can carpe diem if you want. Or for those of you who enjoy your sleep you can just carpe PM. We’ll leave the carpe AMing to the farmers and our children.

3. Why do we get ashes on Ash Wednesday?

This past Wednesday was Ash Wednesday and the first day of giving up happiness that which tempts us. For me (and Bang) that was pop. For Crash, chocolate. DW gave up the can of whoop ass. But the ashes placed on forehead in the shape of a cross symbolize something much larger than that material we chose to forego. The ashes are made from burning the palms of last year’s Palm Sunday and are then blessed. The ashes represent our plea to God for mercy and compassion in the forgiving of our sins. On our forehead they are a public admission of guilt and an expression of sorrow for the wrongs we have committed. They are a promise of reform and a pledge to resist temptation in the future. So we give up something that tempts us so we can better appreciate it. I tried to convince Crash and Bang to give up talking so they could better appreciate silence, but they yelled at me for even suggesting it.

4. Can I get bread?

No, Bang wasn’t asking for prison rations. He didn’t want bread and water. I still had to tell him no, though, because he can’t have bread until he’s 6. Next April he will partake in his first communion. At Jesus’s Last Supper (that supper where everyone sat on the same side of the table) Jesus took bread and wine and told his desciples that the bread was his body and the wine his blood and whenever they ate and drank these in his name he would be with them. Wrapped in the Holy Mystery that is the Catholic church, we too can share in the eating of his bread and the drinking of his wine. Perhaps toasted and buttered with a bit of cheese could make the bread and wine better. However, Jesus was a man of simplicity.

10 Questions I Asked My Kids (ep 33)

It’s hard to believe I’ve asked my kids 330 questions. They all up for grabs, too, so feel free to ask your own kids whether they are 4 or 40.

1. What did you give up for lent?

Crash: Chocolate
Bang: Pop

2. What makes you happy?

Crash: Puppies
Bang:
Getting licked by a dog

3. What makes me happy?

Crash: Reading, teaching, good listeners
Bang: A clean basement

4. What makes mom happy?

Crash: Candy Crush, good listeners, whale watching
Bang: Snuggling

5. What is your favorite song?

Crash: I Gotta Feeling by The Blackeyed Peas
Bang: Ghost Town by Adam Lambert

6. If we got a dog, what would you want to name it?

Crash: Winn Dixie
Bang: Sparky

7. If you could meet anyone from TV who would you want to meet?

Crash: Hope and Alison (or Rebecca) from Hope for Wildlife (Hope for Wildlife is a charitable wildlife rehabilitation and education organization)
Bang: Ellen DeGeneres

8. If a genie granted you 3 wishes, what would you wish for?

Crash: More video games (Pokemon Sun and moon), More hockey cards to trade with my cousin, and Minecraft robots
Bang:
To go on stage to dance, being the best player in basketball, if Zoe and Felix were alive

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9. If you could be a sound, what sound would you be?

Crash: I’d be a “ruff” like a dog
Bang: Mooooo

10. What is love?

Crash: When two people like each other
Bang: Hugging people

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Things I Won’t Write About This Year

As a parent, I see so many different methods, rules, suggestions, ways to parent it’s tough to tell who’s right and who’s wrong. It’s hard to tell which method will work and which ones won’t. Well, not until 20 years later and we look back using our perfect hindsight vision and wish would would have done, said, reacted, taught, reared, our kids differently.

Looking ahead is difficult. We don’t know exactly how our kids will react to certain rules, certain consequences, the various methods of time outs and the whole reward/punishment philosophy. Over my 9 + 5 years of parenting I’ve used my own strategies and I’ve used suggestions from others. What I have learned the most are the kind of parents I dislike the most.

Parents who allow unlimited screen time  

They explain that technology is the way of the future why should their child not embrace it. They might as well learn it now and get a head start. They seem to instinctively know how it all works anyway. Besides, when they’re on their phone/tablet/computer/game console they aren’t out running the roads getting into trouble.

Parents who are strict with screen time

These parents are almost obsessive with how much time their child spends in front of a screen playing games. They justify it by arguing that there are more important things to do than play video games. They expect their child to engage in physical play, use imagination, interact with others, and in general – learn.

Babies who are breastfed

They say repeatedly that the benefits of breastfeeding are immeasureable. Antibodies, vitamins, that it provides ample nutrition for proper growth of body and brain. It’s convenient in that the baby can be fed anywhere with no prep work. It’s almost a celebratory event when a mom’s milk comes in.

Babies who are bottle fed

Some moms just aren’t physically able to breastfeed. Perhaps they don’t produce enough milk. Perhaps they see their breasts as something sexual and feel uncomfortable breastfeeding. Perhaps the baby isn’t able to breastfeed. If they can’t latch properly, they can’t eat. If they’re lactose intolerant and power puke after feeding, then they won’t eat. 

Tiger parents, helicopter parents, free range parents, snow plow parents
Some parents push their kids to succeed, even at an extremely early age. Some parent hover over their child to make sure those who influence their child do so in a way that benefits the child. Some parents allow their child the freedom to be and do what they want. Some parents push aside all problems their child might encounter before the child even knew the problem was a possibility. 

I won’t write about any of them. They’re all right. They’re alright. I’ve written it before and I’ll write it again: So long as your child is happy, healthy, and educated, keep on keeping on. Do what is right for you, your child, and your family. Never mind what that other mom is doing to survive her children. We’re just doing the best we can with what we’re given. No one knows how it’ll all turn out in the end.