Saturday, August 9, 2014

Stuff My Kids Say XIII

"In 10 or 12 seconds or minutes they'll be thawed."
     - Godzilla, age 5.

The poor kid is just waiting for a frozen sandwich to thaw, but he can't quite work out the math of how time works. We'll be starting kindergarten in a manner of weeks, and it looks like Kate and I have some work to do! Time can be a tricky thing though, especially when as parents we're quick to say "You have five minutes left" and then promptly forget to set a timer. Those five minutes might take 30 one day and two the next, as our only time-keeper is how badly we want the activity to either end or continue.

Perhaps he's just embracing his inner Doctor Who, and time, from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint is more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff.

Either way, it makes a difference if it's minutes or seconds, and it's about time we helped him work that out!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Breakfast and Cartoons

I like drawing.

My kids like to eat.

So, it wasn't a huge leap for me to connect the two.

The genius of this project however, is that beyond drawing, I like to sleep.

Once the kids were old enough that I could trust them to eat unsupervised, I started sketching some of their favorite cartoon characters on post-it notes. I picked ones which each of them individually liked more than the other, so there would be no confusion. I then stuck them to Correlle lids and filled two bowls with some of their favorite cereal. Place a cup of milk for each of them in the fridge, and I found myself an extra half hour of sleep.

The early ones were simple pencil sketches with a single highlight color.

I branched out a bit in the next ones, adding more color, perhaps refining the lines with ink, but the trick was to really leave the process organic, as the original idea was to give myself a little bit of a break.

Of course, they have their favorites, and I have mine. Godzilla was really thrilled over Spider-Man, and Nat went the most nuts when she saw Minka from Littlest Pet Shop.

It's been a regular run of superheroes and adorable animals. With the occasional adorable superhero thrown in for good measure.

I'll try just about anything I feel I can draw for them, but they'll give me some ideas of who are their favorites, and I'll take it from there.

When in doubt about who to put up for my boy, one can never go wrong with Superman.

Coming down the pipeline still are Godzilla, Captain America, Tinkerbell, and R2D2, among others.

Of course, the options are limitless. What are we missing? We could go old-school with Popeye and Yogi Bear (who, as a good dad, I've already introduced my kids to). We could also go new-school with the crew from Teen Titans Go or Adventure Time or Gravity Falls... ooh, there's a good one.

Now, back to the (literal) drawing board.


yup, Popeye and Mabel showed up this week, only a few more before we head back to school.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Cats in the Cradle

I grew up in a house of song. My parents would sing to me and my brothers. We sang at family reunions. We sang at church. We sang in the shower, and yes, we even sang on car trips.

When it comes to the most memorable songs from my childhood though, they are all sung in my dad's voice.

Songs from his youth at summer camp. Songs by classic rockers and singer-songwriters. Songs straight from the hymnals. And of course, among those songs was Harry Chapin's classic "Cats in the Cradle". It's a song that I cherished as a kid, because what good father's son doesn't want to "be like him"?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Stuff My Wife Says VII

"Who wants to do something gross? You get to play with water!"

I never would have thought of this, but leave it to my wife to get creative in the parenting department. We were at that point where we absolutely had to clean out the fridge. New products were moving in, old stuff had to go. Of course, there are expired salad dressings and nearly empty salsa jars, and all of it has to get cleaned out so we can be a responsible 21st century family and recycle the bottles.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Why stand by when you should be diving in?

Sometimes I'm reminded of just how fast life goes by.

Today I can look out my front window and watch my children play. They are 9 and 5, but I don't remember when they got so old. Wasn't it just yesterday that she was 4-years-old and crying because she just found out that her little brother was a boy? Wasn't it just this morning when he was 1, and so proud to have found my power drill? When did she grow to big to sit on my lap, and when did he lose that innocent baby smile?

Before I know it, she will be getting her first job, going off to college, falling in love, bringing my grand kids over to see me. He, likewise, will soon be driving, chasing his own dreams, finding his own family, and asking for my help to roof his own house.

I can't miss this time. The spaces in between the now and the then. All the little moments that make up our lives. So often, it is those little moments that have the biggest impact. And what if I wasn't around for them? What if their mom wasn't? 

The trick lies in making the most of every moment you have, right now. 

There are families who know they don't have decades ahead of them to get their fill of moments. There are good moms, there are great dads, there are amazing kids who's lives have been impacted, shortened, who have to embrace the moments they have now. I pray I am never in that situation. 

But what if I was? What would I do? How would I handle the time I had? Could I do it on my own?

What if I couldn't go it alone? Could I ask for help?

Could you?

And if we did, who would step up out of the shadows to help? Who would break through the bystander barrier and give of themselves, give of their resources, their compassion, their time, their money? 

What if someone asked me to do the same for them?

There's a guy I know, in fact he's quite notorious in Dad Blogging circles, and he is facing this future, one where the moments are numbered. His name is Oren Miller. He has a wife and kids. A house. A job. Friends. Loved ones. A ton of blogging dads around the world. And cancer. 

I won't tell his whole story here, as it is better told in his own words and by those closest to him, but his is a story that breaks your heart. He is a man who inspires. This is a chance to rise to the question: what can we do?

Some of the people who Oren has touched have found a way to give back. Send his family on a vacation, put some money aside for the future, help him make the most of the moments they have together. What can you do?

Friday, June 20, 2014

When Reading Spreads Like "Wings of Fire"

I've talked before about how much Nat enjoys reading, but this last year at school, something amazing happened. Reading actually opened doors for her.

She has absolutely fallen in love with fantasy novels. (For some good options, check out her list!) One of the most recent addictions is a series called "Wings of Fire" by Tui T. Sutherland. The series includes five books written for young readers which profile five dragons of prophecy, destined to end a generation's old war. The dragons are engaging and the story compelling. So much so, that when Nat took the first book to school, the passion for the story spread like wildfire. First one friend borrowed the first book, then another, and another and another... Soon, she took in the second book, only for that one to begin making the rounds as well.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Neverending Roof

When you own a house, you own everything that comes with it, and that includes leaky roofs. After putting it off for as long as we possibly could, it was time to bite the bullet and install a new roof. Unfortunately, having someone else install a new roof on your house is expensive, and my budget couldn't quite cover it this year. Obviously, there is another option, but after two weeks, it is one I would never suggest anyone take: DIY.

I'm not saying it can't be done. I'm simply saying that your old body will regret ever taking on such a challenge. My knees always hurt to begin with, but after spending 8-12 hours on a roof, I'm amazed when they show up still attached. The same thing goes for my back, because there is no way one can install a new roof without doing a significant amount of bending over.