Wednesday, November 7, 2012

It Was Nice Knowing You

Dear America,

It was nice knowing you.

As my mom used to say, "Be careful what you pray/ask for, because you just might get it."

There you go, America.  I hope you're happy.  I'm not.

As our country increasingly turning its back to God, let us be reminded how things worked out for those countries who did so.  Not so good, methinks.

And as another mom from Star Wars said, "So this is how democracy dies.  With thunderous applause."

I, for one, ain't clapping.

Pray for America. Hard.

Friday, November 2, 2012

An Extravaganza of Pumpkins and Tape

Happy Fatherhood Friday!

I hope you had a Happy Halloween!

Mom-E and I very much enjoyed ourselves, more so than in years past.

Perhaps this is because all small men were eager to ambulate and carry
their own Trick-or-Treat baskets (at least until the very end.)

This enabled Mom-E and I to just sit back and enjoy the boys in all of
their giddy excitement.

The boys made for an exciting entourage of superheros, dressing as
Iron Man (Big Brother), the Flash (Little Brother), and Robin (sans mask-
Bab-E Brother).

Big Brother wore the Dark Helmet-esque talking light up Iron Man mask
that was a favorite present from Aunt-E last Christmas.

Little Brother looked like a mini-Sheldon dressed as Flash.

And Bab-E Brother is just plain stinkin' cute.  Truth be told, he really
didn't even want to wear a costume, but a last-minute diaper change and
seeing his Halloween bucket proved to be enough of a distraction to
put a costume on before he had a chance to protest too much and try to
take it off.

And while Halloween was a great time for all, I'm not so sure that Mom-E
and I feel the same post-Halloween.

You know - the CONSTANT begging and whining for Halloween candy,
that if left to their own devices, would constitute about 95% of the boys'
diet the first week of November.

So, Mom-E and I have insituted a "one piece after lunch and one after dinner"
policy, as well as a "token economy."

That's right, negative behaviors mean that Mom-E and Dad-E confiscate a
piece of Halloween candy, and being extra helpful can earn them back.
So far, it seems to be a helpful motivator - at least after the boys figured out
we meant business and they lost about 10 pieces in a span of a 20-minute
dinnertime meltdown.

That's neat.  Yeah, fun.  Neat.  Neat.  Good times.

And of course no Halloween would be complete without...

If your kids are like mine, there's tremendous excitement about selecting a
giant pumpkin and talking about carving it up...

...until, that is, it actually comes time to do the carving.

At which point, the crowd murmurs something about the pumpkin smelling
bad, the pumpkin guts being gross, and "hey Dad-E, we're going to go
outside and swing while you freeze on the porch and carve the pumpkin
for us."

Thanks, loads.

However, in an attempt to satisfy the hunger of our Transformer-obsessed
beasts, I we opted to go for a Deceptacon pumpkin this year.  I was a little
leery about the associated level of difficulty, but this pumpkin carving hack
was pretty pleased with the result.

But the pumpkin obsession didn't end there.

No, the boys were adamant that we needed to get some kind of inflatable
Halloween decoration this year, and even offered to chip in some of their
pennies to assist.

Little Brother was delusional was certain that Mom-E had already ordered
a large inflatable BOO sign, when, in fact, they had just perused.

So, after much politeness, comments about how practical such a
decoration would be, how nice the house would look, Mom-E and I
caved and I took the boys to Wally World to pick something out.

Yep, we ended up with a 9 foot tall inflatable stack of pumpkins.

(It was either that or the $98 15 foot stack of ghosts, and my wallet felt
a little light.)

Fortunately, being 2 days before Halloween, the inflatable was 25% off,
so not too bad of a deal, and the boys were THRILLED.

I mean genuinely THRILLED.  Like Christmas level excitement thrilled.
Like actually willing to HELP set it up thrilled (and by help, I don't mean
run around the yard and play while Mom-E and Dad-E do all the work).

You might be asking yourself, "What's that white box atop the pumpkin 

Well, that's Little Brother's new "piggy bank."

Yes, you heard me right.  

Little Brother, who is more obsessed with coins that that mummy from
the long-ago Scooby Doo episode...

(Coin! Coin! Coin!)

...decided to tape this white box to the top of the pumpkin inflatable
box, which happens to be just big enough to fit all of his pennies.

All I can say is, "That boy's got creative style.  And a black belt in

Lord help us when he discovers duct tape.

Have a good weekend,

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pursuit of Perfection

One of our boys is a perfectionist.  Imagine that.

Okay, so maybe all 3 boys have some perfectionistic

But Mom-E and I would probably agree that
Little Brother is the least expected to be a

(And that's not a criticism, he's just overall a little
more laid back.)

Apparently when we were wrong, at least when it
comes to drawing.

Very recently, he's hit a cognitive explosion where
he's suddenly been really interested in making letters
and drawing.

Only problem is that if he makes the slightest
mistake (or what he PERCEIVES to be a mistake),
he wads the paper up and puts it in "File 13",
complete with screams of frustration and Q-bert
like @#$%^&*!

As a result, he goes through REAMS and REAMS
of paper.  In about 5 seconds.

The other night he was throwing away working on
a series of trucks the other night.

Unfortunately, he got closer and closer with each
picture, before it ultimately bit the dust.

But I salvaged them.


See you on Fatherhood Friday,

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Cool Thing About Boys

Is that while they're in the bathroom, looking at the walls (instead of where they should be aiming), and they spot the handprint art they made a year ago,

they make comments like this:

"Dad-E, there's a Yoda in the middle of my hand!"

"Why yes there is!"

Fatherhood is the awesomest job on the planet, light sabers-down.

And because I'm nerdy like that.

May the force be with you this week, and always,

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dad-E's Law

Let's face it, parenthood isn't all rainbows and unicorns.

Interestingly, I think that social media doesn't help this, and in fact, might make things worse.

Most people put their "good face" forward, being much much more likely to share news/pics of smiley, happy kids and parents, than things that are negative or maddening frustrating.  I know I do.

It makes you start to wonder, "How is it that those kids seem so happy all the time?"

Maybe they are.  Or maybe that was 2 minutes out of the day, and the remaining waking 13 hours and 58 minutes was one continuous tantrum.  Or somewhere in between, most likely.

My boys are good boys.  They give us hugs and kisses.  They smile and laugh uncontrollably.  They sometimes even hug each other.  They have moments of genuine concern for the well-being of their brothers.  They help each other and play nicely together.  They sometimes help pick up their messes.  They sometimes even follow directions.

Other times their behavior is abysmal.  They embarass Mom-E and Dad-E in public.  They get "hangry".  They yell at each other and call each other names.  They punch and kick.  They fight over toys and won't share.  They talk back to Mom-E and Dad-E. 

And the other night, after a day that started out great and an evening that went downhill as small men got hungrier hangrier and more tired, the boys and I had a heart-to-heart talk.  Basically, they needed "put in their place."

We went over the laundry-list (including laundry) of all the things that Mom-E and Dad-E do because we love them, care for them, and want them to be good boys.  An "A to Z" from "Who makes sure you wake up on time and get dressed?" to "Who reads you bedtime stories and tucks you in at night?"

I think it helped remind them of how much we have to work together as a family.

The next morning, I planned to get up at 6am to workout.

Apparently, I neglected to set my alarm, because at 7:15am, Big Brother came into our room and WOKE ME UP.  "Dad-E, I'm dressed.  Can we get breakfast?"

I think I'll call it Dad-E's Law.  It happens when you're "guilty" of the very same thing you just reprimanded your kids about.

"You better be thankful Mom-E and I wake you up and get you dressed in the morning."  So thankful that you wake Dad-E up, after getting yourself dressed, when Dad-E sleeps an hour past his alarm."

Than you, Big Brother, so that I wasn't late for work, and for waking up and getting dressed yourself.

Let's face it.  We're all children of God.  We're all fallen.  We all screw up.

But we're all loved.  And we love each other.

We're in this together.

Have a good weekend,

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fruit Snack Fights

Perhaps one of the best things about kids is their idiosyncrasies.

And when you have several children, it's interesting how despite being genetically related, just how different each child is compared to their siblings.

This includes not only their likes and dislikes, but also in the ways they show and receive love.

Little Brother, for example, is all about "things" when it comes to how he receives love.  And not big things.  In fact, it's the opposite.  He absolutely loves anything that might be considered a little throw-away trinket or bit of junk.  Think Squinkies here.

And tape.  Oh my goodness is that boy OBSESSED with tape.  Just straight up Scotch tape.  Loves it.  Can't get enough of it.

(Can't find any in our house either, because of him.)

Seriously, I can't wait to see and hear his excitement when he wakes up on Christmas morning to find his stocking chock full of tape.

(Note to self, go out of your way to make sure he NEVER, NEVER, EVER sees/hears/learns about silly string, or the house is doomed.)

But I digress, slightly.

And another important way that he shows and receives love is through afternoon snacktime.

Every day, regardless of the weather, even if it's 110 degrees outside, that boy wants a cup of "hot" chocolate.  And as I've mentioned before, he has to put some kind of mint in it.

Again, the look on his face when he's drinking hot chocolate is truly worth $1,000,000 (at least).

But lately, in addition to hot chocolate, Little Brother also wants to share some fruit snacks, and have a "Fruit Snack Fight" in addition to his hot beverage.

And the Fruit Snack Fight basically consists of making little boy pretend battle sounds, and trying to make your opponent drop their fruit snacks (or just take it out of their hands.)

Apparently, Star Wars fruit snacks are the best for fighting (for obvious reasons).

I'm glad that Mom-E and Little Brother get to enjoy this quality time together - usually when Bab-E Brother is napping and Big Brother is still at school.

I was also fortunate a while back to get the opportunity to Fruit Snack Fight with him over afternoon hot chocolate during a random day off.

Out of the 23 hours and 55 minutes of chaos in the day (hey for parents even sleep time can be chaotic), these are perhaps 5 of the best minutes.  Just to sit down, have a snack, and play.

Carefree timelessness.  It's all about moments of carefree timelessness.  Even if it's only 5 minutes.  It makes all the difference.  At least to a little boy I know.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,

Monday, October 22, 2012

After-Church Snack

Hello there!  I hope you had a nice weekend.

I think it's safe to say that following the service, many churches have coffee, donuts/cookies, and fellowship afterwards.  Ours is no different.

After running around in the grass outside the church with some good friends (okay, they didn't run around with Mom-E and Dad-E's friends, but rather their children) for a solid 20 minutes, the boys were ready to munch.

However, this week the boys opted for a very different kind of snack.

Within about a minute of being strapped into his carseat (I guess technically we should call it his vanseat), Bab-E Brother had tossed off his shoes and his socks, and was happily "munching" on his TOES!

Yes, toes.  Yuck.  And for me, it makes no difference that he'd had a bath about 30 minutes before we left for church.  Toes = Yuck.  Period.

And not just a little peck or sniff.  He was going to town.

I guess this shouldn't surprise me.  After all, this is the child who likes to SMELL my sweaty shirt when I get home from a run.

"Dad-E, can I smell you?" he says with bright eyes and eager anticipation.

"Okay, if you really want to," I reply, with trepidation.

And we're not talking about smell like when you inadvertently discover that someone else in the room has effluviated, I mean like "getting your nose right into the pan of hot brownies from the oven and sniff as deeply as you can", kind of sniff.

So, if he likes that, I guess it makes sense that his toes are (somehow) desirable, too.

And I also learned there's a reason why people still ask things like "If your friend did [insert danger], would you do it, too?"

Because following the response to Bab-E Brother's "snack", the next thing you know we have a van-load full of 3 boys happily trying to stick their toes in their mouth.  Nice.

Really, I promise that we do feed our children actual food.  More than once a day, even.

On the other hand, perhaps Mom-E and I have stumbled on a solution to chronic complaints of "I'm hungry", most often uttered 1) 2 minutes after we've eaten, or 2) when we're as physically far away from food or drink as we possibly could be.

"Hey, the last time you boys were hungry, you opted to stick your toes in your mouth.  Bon appetit!"

Have a good week,
Keep your toes inside your shoes at all times,