Thursday, December 29, 2011

Homemade Speed Racer

Big Brother is obsessed with Speed Racer, in part thanks to:
1) Cheerios, who inspired him with a prize of Speed Racer cars and a mail-in offer for a bowl a while back.

2) Netflix, who carries the complete episodes of Speed Racer: Next Generation (aka Big Brother's morning crack coffee).

Since he inherited two copies of the "crafty" gene from Mom-E, Big Brother has grown a bit weary of drawing and making cutouts of the Mach 5, Mach 6, Mach 60, Racer X, Virtual Track, and crafting the Mach 6 and Racer X cars out of Legos and Trio blocks, and opted for a more complicated project.

Give a 6 year old an empty box, construction paper, and crayons, and voila: you have your own personal Mach 5 and Speed Racer helmet.

(And thanks to Mom-E for installing a seat-belt, because even with Fred Flintstone-style foot power, Big Brother can zoom around pretty fast.)

Big Brother, in a word, you're awesome. You have a vivid imagination, are very crafty, and have a real skill for building stuff.

You can be whatever you want when you grow up, but methinks you might make a fine engineer.

Have a good weekend,

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Santa Slips Up

Well, almost.

We had some Christmas "near misses" for Little Brother.

It became apparent this year that he was extremely sensitive about presents. Our dear friends got each of the boys a present. Little Brother's present was a cool Melissa and Doug firetruck floor puzzle.

The only problem was that Little Brother believed it to be a "firetruck costume". (Don't ask, just know that we have one costume-obsessed 4 year-old.)

Fortunately, the ensuing tantrum and crying fit lasted only about 2 minutes until Big Brother opened the box for him and Little Brother decided that the puzzle was quite cool. (They've been assembling it over and over ever since.)

This primed our sensitivities for the following 2 incidents:
1. Every year, Santa leaves the boys a small gift while we're at church. This is usually some jammies or slippers and a new book to read.

This year, Big Brother got a pair of thick Batman Socks, Bab-E Brother some Lightning McQueen slippers, and Little Brother Spiderman slippers.

Despite them being the same length as his regular shoes, the slippers didn't quite fit.


Based on the "firetruck present incident" described above, you can imagine Little Brother's response.

After some tears, Mom-E craftily explained that we would leave a note for Santa informing him the slippers didn't fit, and could he please have the elves make a new pair in the next size up. And importantly, Mom-E also explained that Santa wouldn't be able to come back the next night, but that he would be able to "fix it."

Whew! (Thank you, No doubt Little Brother will be very pleased to have a package delivered to him with the new slippers.)

2. Since Halloween, our superhero-obsessed 4 year-old had yet another costume on his wish-list: The Flash.

However, it wasn't until about a week before Christmas that Little Brother asked Santa at the mall for this costume as his "#1 present."

And while said Flash costume had already been obtained, it was already in Gramm-E and Grampap's hands for delivery.

With a "Flash" of quick thinking, we gave the grandparents the 4-1-1 on this situation, and in Santa's "thank you letter" informed Little Brother that a. he would get him a new pair of slippers, and b. that his Flash costume had fallen out of his bag at Gramm-E and Grampap's house, and they would bring it to him later in the day.

Fortunately, all tears were averted and Little Brother was content with the arrangements, excepting that he asked "Are Gramm-E and Grampap here?" or "Can we call them (after just calling them to verify that they had the Flash costume)?" every 2 minutes for about 5 hours.

My ears are still tired.

When the costume arrived, he was thrilled, and insisted on trying it on immediately.

In contrast to the slippers, the Flash costume was a bit long, despite being the smallest size available (Little Brother doesn't set the world on fire, height-wise.)

Cue crocodile tears and please to Mom-E to "fix i"t (aka alter it with her sewing machine) immediately.

Of course, even after Mom-E did shorten the legs, he still complained that they were too long (they weren't).

Fortunately, by the next day, Little Brother "gave in" and is now wearing and enjoying the costume.

Here's to the Christmas exploits of 4 year-olds!

See you on Fatherhood Friday,

Monday, December 26, 2011

Big Brother's Favorite Present

"Dark Helmet, you ain't got nothin on Iron Man so long as my head doesn't make me tip over!"

Thanks, Aunt E!

Have a good week,

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas (Eve Eve)

Thank you, dear readers, for visiting my site.

Oh how life with 3 boys is hectic all day and night.

Right now we're having lots of fun (and material for future postings).

Enjoying time off, I must make the most(ings).

The boys decked this gingerbread house with red, orange, yellow, green, and blue.

Merry Christmas, from our family to YOU!

Merry Christmas,
Busy-Dad-E, Busy-Mom-E, Big Brother, Little Brother, and Bab-E Brother

“Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my servant shall be healed."
Matthew 8:8

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Vegetables in Heaven

Recently, Little Brother informed us that he planned on staying 4 years old (in an attempt to stave off death).

As such, he made it clear that he was no longer going to eat vegetables (he does really well eating raw carrots, cucumber, and green pepper), because "vegetables make you grow, and then I'll get older."

(Only if the secret to the fountain of youth was so simple [or involved eating pizza and drinking Coke]).

But then, out of the green blue, in the van the other day, Little Brother asked me, "Dad-E, are there vegetables in heaven?"

(I just assumed the answer to that question is NOT in the "Parenting Instruction Manual" and opted not to look.)

"That's a good question, buddy. I don't think anyone on Earth knows the answer to that one."

"There are (vegetables) Dad-E. I'm very serious about this."


"Dad-E. I'm really very right."

"Okay, my man."

"Dad-E, some day you will REALIZE that there are vegetables in heaven," he uttered with prophet-like authority.

"I hope so dude."

And I have certainly REALIZED that the questions are only going to get harder from here.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,
Eat your veggies,

Monday, December 19, 2011

Outdoor Piano Recital

Yes, outside in December.

So Big Brother had his holiday piano recital this past weekend.

There were 2 recitals: 1pm and 4pm.

We opted for the 4pm, to allow Bab-E Brother sufficient time to nap.

Little Brother didn't nap beforehand, but at least had some quiet time.

We also made sure that the boys were tanked up with snacks beforehand, so that they could survive the hour-long recital until refreshments (aka cookies) were served.

We found our way to seats along the side, directly facing the performers.

In short, it didn't work.

Although Bab-E Brother quietly finished off his goldfish and raisins, Little Brother was quite contrary.

As soon as Big Brother's teacher started introductions, Little Brother put his hands over his ears.

(That's not good, especially since no one had started playing yet.)

And then he rearranged himself in his chair such that his chest was where his bottom should've been, and his hind end was pointing directly at the rest of the audience.

As discreetly as possible (aka not very), I hoisted Little Brother onto my lap.

He then started mumbling "hungry" ad nauseum, interspersed with making raspberry sounds with his lips.

In case you're wondering, this was not a good prognostic indicator for his ability to get through the recital, given that at this point ZERO of about 15 children had performed.

Big Brother was fourth on the program.

I had the opportunity to accompany him, which meant Little Brother threw a small hissy fit when I helped him off of my lap.

Mom-E then had to escort Little Brother amongst the other students while carrying Bab-E Brother, obstructing her view of the piano.

Big Brother played quite nicely, and then we were all able to return to our seats.


Within 2 minutes of finishing, Big Brother had to go potty (and BAD/NOW, as evidenced by the fact that, despite his appearance, this was not a DANCE recital, if you get my jift).

All small children started to fuss and we again had to escort ourselves amongst the students again.

But at this point, we were making enough commotion/noise that the recital was paused for about 30 seconds while Big Brother was assisted to the bathroom and Mom-E and I escorted Little Brother and Bab-E Brother outside.

This was not an ACTING recital, despite our uncanny ability to make a SCENE.

If you're not laughing yet there's something wrong with you then certainly you'll laugh when I tell you that Big Brother's piano teacher is MY BOSS'S WIFE and the recital was AT THEIR HOUSE.


So Mom-E and I are now outside in the cold with the Brothers' Little and Bab-E, while Gramm-E and Grampap remain inside for moral support for Big Brother (and in case he has to pee again, which is totally in the realm of possibility) - God bless them for being there and providing 4 extra hands.

We enjoy the most of the rest of the recital outside in their driveway while I prepare for a pink slip on Monday, j/k. Little Brother finally calms down enough that he is able to go in with Mom-E and sit in the back.

But by this point, Bab-E Brother is quite loud, running around the driveway, falling into the mud, and exclaiming every time he hears a puppy bark, sees a tree, or a "big ruck" (big truck) drives by.

We escort ourselves back in at the conclusion so the boys can get sugared up on refreshments.

Admittedly, we did have a nice dinner with Gramm-E and Grampap afterwards.

Big Brother, Mom-E and I were very proud of you. You gave an excellent performance at the recital. It means a lot and is very special for me to have the chance to play with you in this early phase of your musical career.

But if you wonder about the lack (or maybe even absence) of photo/video footage of the recital, this post will serve as our explanation.

Have a good week,

Friday, December 16, 2011

Cub Scuts

The spelling is intentional...

and my sucker tattoo from my coaching days is making my forehead burn like Harry Potter.

Earlier this school year, Big Brother decided he no longer wanted to do gymnastics.

Mom-E and I were cool with this, because it meant no longer having to be a in a hot place that smells like feet right when small children start to melt down with hunger.

Instead, Big brother decided to do Cub Scouts (which we both thought was probably up his alley moreso than gymnastics).

And there was a Pack at his school, which is close to home, and does not smell like feet.


It only took one pack meeting, during which they showed the foam rocket gun that was yours if you sold $1,000,000 in Trail's End popcorn, for Big Brother to get hooked.

And at the parents' meeting, the Cub Master for the Pack said that he likes to be the leader for the Tiger Cubs (first year cub scouts).

It took a little while for things to get started. They had 2 informational meetings at the school in September, because of a relatively small number of first-graders signed up.

So about the time we started wondering "are the Tiger Cubs going to have any meetings?" the Cub Master announced their first meeting.

And then the wheels fell off (or at least tried to).

They did have the first meeting, with a grand total of 4 boys, but suddenly the story changed.

Umm ... well ... *cough, cough* ... umm ... we're going to need one of you to be the den leader.

(Vacant stares. Shuffling of feet. My forehead starts burning.)

All parents mumble excuses about why they can't do it.

So, we decide to take turns leading the meetings at first, to share the responsibility. The Cub Master's Assistant says he'll come to our next meeting to help.

Of course, everyone turns green when it comes to decide who will lead the next meeting.

"I'll do it." (just get me some salve to make this pain on my forehead go away.)

So we have the next meeting (we have to find our own meeting place), and 4 boys show up, but not Assistant Cub Master, and everything goes okay (aka we "wing it" according to the Tiger Cub Den Meeting guide they gave me.)

The third meeting is called a "Go and See". Where you take the boys to a Fire Station, or a historical site, etc. The parents brainstorm an idea, and another parent agrees to make contact.

(But somehow, I'm left holding the master instruction manual for "How to be a Tiger Cub Den Leader.)

So another month goes by, and at the Thanksgiving Pack meeting, I talk to one of the other parents.

"Umm, that place we talked about is closed for the winter."

I'm thinking to myself, "Okay, were you going to tell anyone? Are we going to figure something out?"

At this point, it's become abundantly clear that if I don't grab the reigns, nobody else will (and my forehead is never going to stop throbbing).

And while I'd prefer to have Big Brother join the Cub Scout pack at our church, the year is almost half over, and it sounds like the other boys don't really have any other options, and it's not really fair to anyone.

So I make some arrangements for the boys to get a 20 minute guided tour of a local historical site. I speak directly to the person who will show us around, and confirm the arrangements with a follow-up call. I email everyone in the den to announce the meeting.

Last night we had the "Go and See". We get there, and I tell them who we are and why we're there. They go behind closed doors to tell my contact (let's call him Ted) we've arrived.

The nice lady comes out and says, "Ted's computer just crashed and he's on the phone with Tech Support. He'll be with you in a few minutes."

Not only is my forehead searing, but I'm hoping my insurance is good enough to cover the potential damages of a troop of impatient 6 year-old Cub Scouts at a "historical site".

We wait 45 minutes, passing the time by going potty en masse and attempting to play checkers.

I also tell the parents of the other 2 boys there that I'm willing to be the point person for the Tiger Cub den, because everyone feels so "out of the loop", in part because they're EXTREMELY disorganized.

You can imagine their relief. One parent was nice enough to say, "Yeah, I'm booked for work a month in advance. And Billy starts basketball in January and I'm coaching his team."

Thanks. Great to know you don't have time for the things you don't want to do.

Losing patience, I go talk to the lady again to request an update.

She comes back. "Can you wait 15 more minutes?"

"No, It's 7:30. These kids need to go home and get ready for bed."

So they give us a pamphelet and we wander aimlessly for about 10 minutes (the kids loved it because they got to ride an elevator), and then leave.

Wow, that was fun. Can we do that every night, please?

And so on the drive home we have to stop at the store for a few things, particularly because we're out of milk.

Little Brother falls asleep on the way there (yes, he came to Cub Scouts, too. Both he and Bab-E Brother screamed their heads off at the dinner table for about 30 minutes before we left, so Mom-E and I each took one cranky child), so I carried him throughout the store.

As we're shopping, Big Brother suddenly notices a 1/2 inch scrape on his hand that's barely bleeding. The world starts to come to an end.

Of course, the store doesn't carry the one kind of battery we need (for Pupp-E, who earned a reinstatement of his training collar after chewing a hole in Little Brother's comforter.)

So we get to make another stop at CVS to pick this up, all the while Big Brother screaming about his horrible pain from his miniature wound and how his hand is going to fall off.

(We'll at least we're in a pharmacy. Maybe the pharmacy can throw in a sedative or two for Mom-E and I, in addition to a narcotic painkiller for Big Brother?)

At least we got the batteries.

Man, Cub Scouts is sure neat, neat, neat. Good times.

At least we have the Pinewood Derby to look forward to.

Boys, when you're older an read this, know that the reason I do this stuff is because I love you and want the best for you, and I wouldn't do it for anyone else.

Have a good weekend, from your friendly neighborhood Den Leader,

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Assigned Color

Big Brother and Little Brother each have a favorite color. Big Brother's is blue, and Little Brother, green.

And I'm willing to admit that sometimes we (including myself) get carried away with their color fixations.

For example, Little Brother usually drinks from a green cup (with a green lid) and Big Brother a blue cup and lid. And if we have a color coordinating bendy straw, they like that, too.

We did go through a brief period where the boys refused to drink if the color of the cup or straw was "wrong", but we worked on "flexibility", and fortunately it worked, so that either boy would be willing to drink from a red cup with a yellow straw instead of dying of dehydration.

Their color preference has extended to things like toys, clothes, scarves, and balloons.

So much so that the other day, Bab-E Brother was playing at his musical table in his room.

The toy has a mini-piano with four colored keys.

Without hesitation, he points to the blue key and says "Big Brother", followed by the green key and "Little Brother".

(Okay, he can't say brother yet. I'm just substituting for what he actually calls them.)

Oh my, maybe we have taken this favorite color thing a bit to far if an almost 2 year-old spontaneously picks that out.

Sorry, Bab-E Brother, your choices are down to red, orange, or or yellow?

See you on Fatherhood Friday,

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Meaning of Christmas

The other day, Mom-E and Little Brother were chatting.

Little Brother told her that God talks to him and tells him to do "good stuff." He said he can hear God talking to him in his heart. Later, he told me that God makes him happy.

Blown away, upon further questioning, it sounds like this is something they've been discussing in his pre-K class at our church.

But the boy is "spot-on."

Being a parent is an awesome responsibility. And yet, it is amazing how we can be inspired and humbled from the faith of a 4 year-old boy.

I assure you, however, that this is not meant as a "holier-than-thou" comment.

One moment, I'm learning about faith from my 4 year old, and shortly thereafter Bab-E Brother is screaming about playing "Dice" (Yahtzee, Jr.), the dog has eaten a package of Swiss Miss and is now sporting a chocolatey marshmallow beard, and the two older boys need assistance in the bathroom, all while I'm spotting Mom-E on the ladder as she attempts to put the bow atop the Christmas tree.

Parenthood truly is a series of priceless moments, with a whole lotta chaos in between.

Have a good week and a Merry Christmas,

Friday, December 9, 2011

Use Your Senses

Hi There!

Big Brother has certainly been using his senses lately.

No doubt his taste has been affected with the departure of his front tooth's next door neighbor.

"All I want for Christmas is..." well, you know.

And apparently he has been doing a lot of looking. His weekly homework includes writing 5 sentences with his spelling words. This week there were a number of number words. He wrote the sentences below completely on his own.

I'll admit that they made Mom-E and I chuckle, because, well, he was a bit "repetitively redundant." You know, where you "repeat yourself and say the same thing over again." Kind of like the "annual holiday party that's held every year." You get the idea and concept.

We were also chuckling because at the time he showed us we were trying to eat in a rush before going to church, Bab-E Brother had abdicated "Little Brother's" seat at the table, and Little Brother was throwing a hissy about said seat (while simultaneously screaming that he had to go potty). Oh yeah, and I think the dog wanted to go out, too.

So I wrote some sentences, too.
1. I see one boy screaming at the table.
2. I see two boys screaming at the table.
3. I see three boys screaming at the table.
4. I see three boys screaming and running away from the table without eating.
5. I see Mom-E screaming at the dinner table (but quietly, inside her head only).

Might as well laugh. Sometimes that's your only defense. Still, I love those little turd balls boys.

Have a good weekend,

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Un-Surprise

If there's a gene for not being able to keep presents a secret, Big Brother has it.

And it got it from me.

Last night at dinner, Big Brother proudly announced that he was making a surprise Christmas present for Mom-E and I.

His only hints:
1. It is made (in part) with ribbon.
2. It begins with the letter R.

Hardly able to contain himself, Little Brother started a "challenge MacCauley Caulkin from Uncle Buck for the greatest number of consecutive questions"-style interrogation.

Is it a toy?
Is it food?
Is it a diaper?
Is it a staple?
Is it a staple on the table?
Is it a staple on the floor?
(Did Little Brother do some speed at the dinner table unbeknownst to to us?)
And on and on and on

(Mom-E and I took full advantage of this time to actually eat a few bites of WARM food. Amazing, Big Brother did not have a conniption over the questions. Probably because he didn't have a chance to talk.)

Sorry, dude, but all of you answers are wrong based on the letter R hint.

Unable to contain himself, Big Brother had to whisper the surprise to Little Brother.

(At which point, Mom-E and I were thinking, "T-minus 10 seconds until WE find out what it is.")

Amazingly, that didn't happen.

Fast forward to the next morning.

I'm waiting with Big Brother before he gets on the bus for school.

Out of the blue, he asks me, "Dad-E, how can you make a wreath in 1 day?"

"Um, buddy, is that the present for Mom-E and I?"

"Oops. Yeah. Don't tell Mom-E, okay."


"Hey, buddy,"

"Yeah, Dad-E."

"By the way wreath actually starts with a W."


1st graders' spelling is AWESOME.

(Either that, or he was using some kind of counter-intelligence strategy to throw us off by telling us it started with R.)

Nah, I've seen his homework papers. Just a lot of bad, phonetic spelling. :)

C U L8R on Fatherhood Friday,

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tah-Tee or Hah-Tee

Mom-E and I are not a case of "opposite's attract"...

...with the exception of our choice of warm, caffeinated, morning beverage.

I'm a hot tea kinda guy.

And she's a coffee lady.

And while Mom-E also likes hot tea, the same can not be said about my sentiments for that nasty stuff coffee.

Bab-E Brother has heard both of us comment on our morning wake-up.

He calls coffee, "Tah-tee."

And hot tea, "Hah-tee."

In other words, it's pretty hard to tell one from the other.

So being a stinker, this morning I asked Bab-E Brother if what he liked better: Tah-Tee or Hah-Tee better?

His answer came out "Ah-Tee", which I interpreted as tea, and Mom-E coffee.

Of course we all know that he was trying to say "hot tea." What else would one drink in the morning?

(Sorry, Mom-E :)

Although Mom-E and I both STRONGLY AGREE that giving any of our children caffeine would be a REALLY BAD IDEA (unless we add on a padded room to the house.)

Those 3 boys have enough energy as-is.

Give them coffee and you'd have a bunch of monkeys jumping up and down on our bed at 5am saying, "I'm hungry. I'm hungry. Breakfast. Breakfast. Let's play Yahtzee. I've gotta go potty. What's your favorite color?"

You get the idea.

Wake up! It's Monday!

Have a good week,

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Rolling in the Blankets

Happy Fatherhood Friday!

Bab-E Brother definitely has a fondness for very plush blankets.

Many times in the store Mom-E has witnessed Bab-E Brother try to pretty much dive out of the cart head-first to cuddle with a plush blanket.

Or, if he's ambulating, Bab-E Brother will grab the blanket, squeeze it tightly like a treasured stuffed animal, then throw it on the floor and jump head-first on top of it.

So Mom-E decided that for a fraction of the cost, she could just make/sew Bab-E Brother his own plush blanket.
(She's got mad skills/a black belt in grandma arts like that.)

And so she did. An amazing plush blanket, with Lightning McQueen prints on one side to boot! It is SOFT! (I want one.)

And consistent with his brothers and other hand-made items, Bab-E Brother pretty much TOTALLY IGNORED the blanket.

What what what what? Even his brothers like it.

And so, Mom-E and I were left to scratch our heads as to the reason for his diametrically opposed reactions to plush blankets at home versus the store.

Inspired by the words of Tom Petty, I figured it out the other night.

"So get to the point...let's roll another....BLANKET!"

(Okay, so the Tom Petty lyrics came afterwords, but it seemed like a good fit."

That's right, we figured out that Bab-E Brother likes his blankets only one way...ROLLED. That's how they're packaged at the store.

Fortunately, this theory was very amenable to scientific experimentation.

And so I took the plush Lightning McQueen blanket, rolled it up, and said "Hey, Bab-E Brother, LOOK HERE!"


Like moths to a flame, he INSTANTLY ran over to hug and jump on the blanket.

Ah, such is parenthood with the little ones. The moment you figure out what your kids are trying to communicate, BAM! pure bliss.

Have a good weekend,
Snuggle with your blankie,