15 December 2012

Midnight Rant

(WARNING! The following post is written by a father going on his third night without sleep because of the people written about below.) 

This goes out to all you danged, inconsiderate, idiotic jerks out there who either think your actions have no impact on others, or who are just too sick to care. You know who you are. You drive around with your radios blasting at ear shattering volumes. You drive around thinking it's cool to have your exhaust system modified to be louder than a 747 at takeoff. You rev your motorcycle, with its freight train-like mufflers, in the middle of the night. You have no concern for the children you wake, or the dogs you set to barking, or the people who actually have to sleep. You don't care that the noise you so thoughtlessly produce scared a child so badly that he couldn't go back to sleep. Of course, even if he had been able to go back to sleep, you would have woken him up again as you continued to drive around all night long.

Now, we all know that your penises are so tiny that you feel you have to try to prove your manhood by making loud noises and beating your chest - rather like the Neanderthals you seem to aspire to emulate. But do the rest of us have to suffer because of your inadequacies? A booming radio is not going to make you a man. Waking up children in the middle of the night with your ridiculously loud vehicle will not make you little wee wee grow. 

So grow up and learn some consideration, you jerk!

And if not, let me leave you with the words of one of my favorite songs of old, by the great Jimmy Dickens:

"May the bird of paradise fly up your nose, May an elephant caress you with its toes ..."

Well, the rest is about your wife, and we all know you probably don't have one of those, so I'll add my own words to it.

May your testicles explode in a fury so that your genes may leave humanity forever and relieve the rest of us of your stupidity.

13 December 2012

Thought for the Day #21

You know it's going to be an interesting day when your two year old sleeps so fitfully that he manages to roll off his bed twice during the night and you actually have to hunt for him on the floor - "Hmm, is he under the bed or did he roll across the room to land under the chair?" (answer: 11:30 pm and 2:30 am respectively)

06 December 2012

Daddy School: Attention To Detail

I learned this in the Navy, and it has kept me out of trouble many, many times. Especially as a Daddy.

What is "attention to detail" you ask? It is basically the art of being aware of everything around you and also of being aware of the possible consequences which might arise from possible scenarios involving things and people around you. I know this might sound impossible, but it's actually not. It simply takes a little forethought.

For instance, if I leave my tablet on the kitchen table after writing this post, and then Little Man comes into the kitchen while my back is turned, then my tablet is going to be damaged when he pulls if off the table to play with. So, I will not leave this tablet on the table where little hands can grab it. That's a detail I'm going to pay attention to , therefore avoiding the consequence of having to replace a fairly expensive tool.

Daddies are the ones who have to check the tires before a trip to ensure that their entire family isn't killed in some horrific explosion. And Daddies are the ones who have to make sure that the home security alarm is always on when the kids are safely tucked in bed, not to save the family from hordes of raging zombies or hoodlum burglars, but to keep those ingenious little kids from falling out of their second floor windows if they figure out how to get the windows unlocked. Hey, let me introduce you to my daughter and you'll realize it's not that farfetched.

This kind of thinking amuses my wife, until such a time as I'm proven right. For instance, I made her favorite red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting for her birthday. The frosting on that cake consisted of roughly six full cups of powdered sugar. I should point out the fact that we do NOT eat a great deal of sugar in our home. About the only times I use this much sugar in anything are the four annual birthdays we celebrate (I don't make a cake for the Furball's birthday, just a recall big southern biscuit shaped like a bone. He loves it!). Now, my habit of paying attention to the details of life ensured that I only ate one piece of that cake (per day). My wife on the other hand, ate two pieces (both worthy of a man of my girth, not a little bitty thing like her), not thinking at all of the possible consequences. This is why I slept well that night while she LITERALLY bounced around the house laughing hysterically, wondering why she was so hyper. Suffice to say, she often has to say this wonderful words, "You were right." Well, at least I think they're wonderful. Her, not so much.

However, while it pains me to admit it, I'm not always great at paying attention to, or even remembering the details of everyday life either. For instance, I could use the same cake as an example against myself as well. I was changing Little Man's diaper when I just about came out of my skin and started to call for Sweetheart to grab the car so we could get to the ER. But thankfully, I caught myself just before I made a complete fool of myself.

You see, if you pay attention to details, you'll remember that when you feed a toddler cake with green food coloring in it (I didn't have enough red), his poop will be a terrifyingly fluorescent shade of green.

05 December 2012

Daddy School: Be Enthusiastic

When I first became a Daddy, I had grandiose notions of guiding my child gently, but firmly, through life to adulthood. I imagined sitting at the table, teaching her Aristotle and Twain, Churchill and Verne, geometry and geography. I would tell her, "Job well done, daughter.", and she would smile contentedly.

Oh, the idealistic days.

Reality is slightly different. Now I find myself standing over the boy as he pees in the potty while I scream, "Yay! Yay! Way to go! Wow!", and generally going into hysterical affirmations and other wild encouragements.

You see, as a Daddy, one of the foremost requirements is enthusiasm. And not just your average, mundane, run of the mill enthusiasm, such as you would exhibit for your favorite team. No, I speak of the extraordinary, wild, seemingly uncontrolled, often forced, very loud and EXTREME enthusiasm small children demand for every step they take towards maturity. It's the only thing capable of convincing them that something is right and good. That they have done something correctly. That you actually ARE paying attention to them as they put together yet another stack of blocks for you to revel in with uncontrollable joy and NOT actually passing out on the couch from sheer exhaustion. It's hollering "Yay!" so many times for so many things that other adults look at you like you're insane because you see them buckle their seat belt on their own and you began clapping and yelling, "Yay!! You did it! Such a big boy!"

Yes, enthusiasm is an absolute Daddy requirement, as stated by Law.  Our children require it to build their self confidence and basic skills, such as motor skills, hand-eye coordination, balance, speech, eating , walking, etc. They look to us to know that they are clearing the current hurdle, and if we are quiet or inattentive, they see no reason to continue their stellar progress. Oh sure, they will develop certain skills naturally, simply through necessity, but they will not develop as quickly or as steadily as they will when they see and hear their Daddy (or Mommy) wildly approve of their actions. Nor will they develop the same level of self confidence.

So don't be ashamed to show your nurturing side. Enthusiastically cheer your children on to accomplishment. That's what Daddies do.

And if, the next time you're eating supper at your favorite steakhouse, you loudly cheer for the huge man in the next booth for using his knife correctly, don't despair. You may be kicked out, or you may get your hind end beaten into the ground - but you'll still be building up his self confidence.

04 December 2012

Daddy School: Drive Like A Daddy

My dogs actually taught me about this one.

Before we even had children, we adopted two Cocker Spaniel puppies. At the time, we had a Subaru Forester with one of those protective doggy seat cover/hammock type thing. It was advertised as protecting your seats and your dogs at the same time. Yeah right. Dang dogs ate through the "chew-proof" fabric within a week.

Anyway, one evening, we were coming back from the dog park and had both pups in the back seat. They were fine until we were a few blocks from home. Suddenly, we began hearing whimpering and whining coming from the back seat. I didn't think too much of it because we were almost home. No big deal. Yeah right!

A few minutes later, the smell began hitting us. Oh, it was awful. As was the fact that both pups were frantically jumping and running around the back seat. I pulled over as quickly as I could, but it was way too late. Oh, yes, it was entirely too late.

When we got parked, we were horrified. The seat cover was dislodged from their crazed activity. What we saw made me cry. Two dogs and the entire back seat of my car were covered in vile, runny, extraordinarily malodorous puppy poop. They had ground it into the seats, the seat belts, the worthless freaking seat cover and each other.

Being the wonderfully loving husband I am, I agreed to drive the car (with my head as far out the window as I could get it) the rest of the way home, while my wife took both dogs the remaining block to the house on their leashes. Daddies (even if they're only doggy Daddies at the time) are always required to take the short straw. That's just the law.

Now of course, due to my epilepsy, my wife has to do all of the driving. But I'm steadily teaching her to drive like a Daddy.

You would think that her memory would be long enough to remember that incident from five years back just as clearly as my much more foggy brain. Nope. She forgot.

Recently, we were beginning a long road trip to attend my nephew's wedding. Now, we live in the Metroplex. If you're not from the greatest land on Earth and live in ignorance of the geography of this most beautiful land, then you know my home as the Dallas-Forth Worth area. It's a little area of about 160 some-odd cities and towns all spread together. It's populated by a couple million of the most aggressive, crazy and non-vigilant mix of Rednecks and transplanted freaking Yankees in the world. I mention that so you will understand that we have a rather high incidence of traffic accidents and their attendant traffic jams. So when my wife, who thinks like a woman (I can leave ten minutes before I have to be at a destination 30 miles away and I'll be there in plenty of time), left the house, she expected to have an easy trip.

HAHAHAHAHAHA

Oops, sorry, Sweetheart.

So, there we were in the car. The kids were in the back seat comfortably playing and napping. I was heavily drugged to ensure a seizure-free drive (which meant I was peacefully snoring) and my poor wife was in the driver's seat with a white-knuckled grip on the wheel and eyes wide with shock as she began the horrifying experience of driving through the Metroplex, from one side to the other, for the first time in seven years. See, as the Daddy, I always drove. She always slept. Not anymore.

Three hours later, I began to wake up and looked over to see my beloved wife glued to the wheel with red face, frazzled hair, glassy eyes and smoking ears. The girl was in the back saying, "I have to go potty and I can't hold it!" The boy was back their crying. We were in heavy traffic and my wife was saying something to the effect of, "I said I'll pull off and find a rest from as soon as I can!"

Oh, my! It's my fault. I hadn't taught her enough about driving like a Daddy.

I told her to pull off at the next exit. She said no, she couldn't get off in this traffic. I said pull off at the next exit. Period.

It took me awhile to convince her, pretty much until the smell started coming forward. Then she agreed to pull off.

An hour later, after we had changed both kids clothes, bagged them up to burn at the first opportunity, cleaned the poop out of BOTH car seats, powdered both behinds and taken them both to the potty again - just to be sure - and eaten a snack (to let the car air out), we were back on the road. It was an awful way to learn a lesson.
  • Now, I am very proud to say, my wife is well on her way to driving like a Daddy. She is learning the ,most important lessons quickly. Things like:
  • Always asking about the need for potty breaks at every single exit you pass.
  • Always have snacks portioned out in easily opened packages within easy reach.
  • Always have plenty of fluids to drink - no sugar allowed.
  • Always have plenty of baby wipes, hand sanitizer, sturdy plastic bags, diapers, changes of clothes and tissues on hand.
  • If at all possible, drive in the right hand lane, in case you hear those horrible words - "I'm going to be sick!"
  • Always remember, there is a destination. The trip WILL end and you will be able to get out of the car and the kids will stop driving you insane - and hopefully be taken by grandparents happy so happy to see them that they won't notice you sneaking off to the nearest bedroom to cry into a pillow and close your eyes for a minute before you have to unload the car.
  • And most importantly, if you ever hear a child (or a pregnant spouse) say, "I have to go potty and I can't hold it!", you pull that car over immediately and make rapid arrangements to get that child in a safe position - namely, out of my car!
And that is driving like a Daddy.

Daddy School

Today, as my Sweetheart and I were redecorating the parlor after our children happily "decorated" the tree, she asked me how I had managed to fix a tricky section of lighting. I told her I had learned it in Daddy School. She looked at me like I was crazy before asking me what Daddy School was.

Now, I will be the first to admit that my ancestors didn't just kiss the Blarney Stone, they married the danged thing and had kids with it.  In other words, we can sling it just a wee bit better than most. Especially the men of my family.

This may explain why she thought I was making it all up when I began to explain that all Daddies go to Daddy School when their wives are pregnant with their first child. It's the law I told her. The Daddy Law.

She seemed less than convinced, and I'm a little offended by that. So I decided to break the Daddy Laws and reveal some of the secrets I learned when I attended Daddy School. That way she'll know I'm not just full of it. Right?

So, thus begins a series of articles revealing the secrets of how to be a Daddy. Secrets passed down for thousands of years, from one Daddy to the next. Secrets intended to ensure that Daddies may always be known as the great fixer, the supernatural bouncer, the most bestest hugger, the most awesomest block tower builder and so much more.

Welcome to Daddy School

03 December 2012

Sweet Revenge

My dog loves little more than to lie under my feet passing gas. Often it gets so bad he has to leave, while I'm left gagging.

Today, I got revenge.

He jumped up in my lap expecting a good ear scratch, and when he landed on me, I passed gas. Right in his face! The shock in his eyes was priceless. That dog has never moved so fast. He broke and ran, crossing the room in a split-second before diving head first into the floor and rolling around snorting. I guess he was trying to rub the stink off. I must admit it was pretty potent.

I was laughing and enjoying my revenge right up until my wife started hollering at me, saying something about something being crude, or something or other. I'm not exactly sure, as I was already running from the room to escape the toxic cloud myself.

It's good to be a man!

02 December 2012

It's Her Birthday!

It's my Sweetheart's birthday. So we've kind of been celebrating all weekend. Especially since our church had a Parent's Night Out Friday, which meant we could actually relax and watch a movie. Keep in mind, we don't ever get to see a movie unless it's at Red Box and the kids are passed out - and we still have energy to sit up long enough to watch one. I don't remember the last time I was in a theater.

Now, of course, since it's her birthday, I told her we could watch anything she wanted. I told her I would even sit through a sappy chick flick with her. She said, "You make that sound so bad." To which I replied, "Of course I do! It's required by law for men to object to chick flicks - especially the sappy romantic comedies."

She wasn't amused.

Which meant that on Friday, I had to sit through the "Five Year Engagement."

"Oh Dear Lord, I prayed, please take me home now so I don't have to watch the rest of this movie!"

That was my prayer after about fifteen minutes. It had to be the worst movie I've ever seen. It was SO bad, Sweetheart even apologized for picking it.

YES!

Any time your wife feels guilty without you saying anything, is a good time. It's like a blank check  Of course, that works the other way to, but that doesn't matter, because it means that tonight I get to watch a "Prometheus" and see aliens and gore and action! HA HA HA HA HA!

Oh, dang - kind of got carried away there. Oh well, it's off to the movies.

Happy Birthday, Sweetheart!

Things I Never Expected To Say #1

Sweetheart, our son is licking the dog's food bowl.

01 December 2012

All Hail Pharaoh!

So I was sitting at the kitchen table, peacefully enjoying my coffee, when Sweetheart suddenly asked me what I wanted to do today. Now, I have learned a little Femaleze over the last 7 years, so I knew what she was saying. In MaleSpeak, she said, "I have a list a mile long of tasks for you slave, now jump!"

{At this point, I probably should state for any folks out there reading this, who might be deficient in the humor department, that this is a humorous translation - pretty real to life, but no whips involved - and I don't want any freaky emails about me being a woman hater, or pro-slavery, or any of that other nonsense. I'm not a politician - I'll just laugh at you.}

Anyway, I felt frisky, so I headed her off at the pass.

"I have in mind a rather Pharaonic day, supervising the slaves." I said. "I'll have them cleaning the courtyard so that they may erect a pyramid to the glory of our wondrous Creator."

Translation: "I'm gonna let the kids run rampant and watch TV, while I amble around the parlor clearing it out so I can build my annual Christmas Extravaganza - all the while trying to keep the girl from playing with the nativity, and the boy from eating ornaments and the dog from eating fake snow.

Lo and behold, it actually worked!

She looked at me and said, "Boy your in a goofy mood." Which ,in Femaleze of course, means, "I'm thinking of having you committed to the state asylum, but before I have you hauled off, I'm going to see just how much work you can actually get out of these little critters. Just in case it works."

Or maybe it meant, "You're so nuts, I'm going to give you a pass today so you won't screw up and burn the house down."

Who cares which.

I got to go back to enjoying my coffee.

30 November 2012

How I Saved the World from a Zombie Apocalypse

This morning, as I sat savoring a quiet cup of coffee, my wife and son came smiling down the stairs. The reason I consider this worthy of note is simple - it hasn't happened frequently here lately. The boy has been teething again and has been crankier than an old man who's wife has drug him along to the quilting bee.

Anyway, the boy got ahold of a Wii remote and started happily slinging it around. This concerned me, since the things aren't cheap, and I am. So I asked him to bring it to me.

He refused.

He smiled real wide and I knew - I had to deal with this carefully or I could spend the remainder of the day locked in miserable combat with a two year old. So I asked him again to bring it too me, at which point, he smilingly laid down on the floor in front of the back door and put the remote under his head while giggling at me.

Now I don't think he was being malicious, he just thought it as a game. But you have to be careful about these things. The game of today can turn into the thermonuclear devastation of tomorrow. So I asked myself, do I want to preserve the day and give in, thus setting my son of for a life of running from the zombies who inherit the earth after he giggles and decides punching the red button on a tour of the White House is funny, thus setting off the nuclear apocalypse which mutates all survivors except himself into brain eating zombies, or do I want to ruin the whole day, and smash his developing sense of independence and fun by forcing him to return the remote.

I decided to explore the situation and gather more information. Kind of like one of those Senate fact finding missions that politicians enjoy so much. Except without the champion bar and the private jets. And hopefully with more useful intelligence, although I wasn't sure.

I asked the boy, as he smiled up at me, if he thought he was cute enough to get away with disobeying Daddy, in answer to which he smiled even bigger and nodded vigorously.

At this point, I was in dangerous territory and I knew it. I had to defuse this situation carefully. So I looked back into the fog of my accumulated knowledge and decided on the one ploy that may avert disaster. The big stick compromise. Oh ya gotta love Teddy!

I told the boy with a big smile on my face, "Okay, I'll let you play with it for now, as long as you play very carefully. You can't swing it around or hit anything else with it. You have to hold it in both hands and not by the cord. Do you think you can do that?"

He jumped up smiling even bigger - that boy can smile with his whole body -and nodded so hard he got dizzy, after which he carefully clasped both hands on the remote and began playing.

Shortly after, I heard it hit the bakers rack.

Uh oh.

I told him that he had broken the deal and he had to bring it to me. He shook his head. Dang, how could I solve the situation. I don't want screaming today. "Bring it to me son", I say. He runs to mommy.

Ah ha!

"Okay, son" said I, "give it to mommy." That brought him up short. He was confused at first, but he knew he was outsmarted. Mommy knows she can just go to her office and close the door. Mommy wouldn't hesitate to make him scream by taking away the toy. He handed it over to. I called him to me, hugging him and forgiving him - so he would know he had done wrong (as if he cared), and got set him up with some safer toys.

This round went to Daddy. I was able to finish my coffee in relative peace, while patting myself on the back for saving the world. Zombies averted.

This time...

29 November 2012

The Crazy Time

I know it sounds ridiculous, but as much as I hate the grouchy, tantrum filled hour or so leading up to it, I get the biggest kick out of the Crazy Time.

If you're a parent, you know what I'm talking about. The Crazy Time is that hour or two (hopefully less) when your precious child has passed the time of  "I'm tired, ready for bed, but - for whatever reason - unable to go to bed yet" to "WOW! I'm so tired my brain has gotten confused and thinks I'm Super Man! I'm gonna run around, climb the walls and bounce off the ceiling like an out of control balloon - all while laughing and shrieking hysterically!"

This evening, Little Man passed the barrier into Crazy Time and I actually managed to catch a couple of pictures of this amazing transformation. They're a bit blurry, but the laws of physics are pretty clear about the impossibility of a child staying still long enough to be caught in a photo. Something about the speed of light being slower than the speed of a toddler in the grips of Crazy Time.

Especially when said toddler is launching himself off the ottoman towards his father's temporarily unprotected crotch. Thankfully, God gives Daddies special guardian angels. How do I know this, you ask? Because a pillow miraculously fell on my lap mere nanoseconds before his feet crashed into me. It was astounding! I'm pretty sure I heard a rip in the space time continuum as the universal laws of toddler physics were broken.

So for the first time ever (at least on this blog) here is the amazing transformation caught on film.

He's almost there. Note the drooping eyes and sagging mouth. The transformation is about to begin.
There it is! Caught on film for the first time ever. Crazy Time has begun!
And this is when God intervened to protect me! Note the faster than light travel.

Crazy Time is trying, and often grueling. Perhaps even infuriating at times, depending on how far you are from their beds when it hits.

But most of the time, if you can manage to keep your sanity and just watch the show, it's absolutely hilarious.

Just remember to protect yourself.

26 November 2012

Thought for the Day #20

I miss driving so much. But I must admit, long road trips are so much more pleasant now that I can sleep - and let my dear wife do all the work.

(Shhh - don't tell her I said that!)

24 November 2012

Thanksgiving Terror

So, everyone except the kids and I were out shopping, taking advantage of the early shopping deals on the night of Thanksgiving.

I figured I was in for a pleasantly quiet night, seeing as how both kids were asleep, everyone else was gone and I was happily ensconced in front of the TV, slowly recovering from the nearly overwhelming amount of excellent fare in which I had been indulging all day.

To aid in my recovery, I decided to play a little Wii tennis, but I soon tired. After all, Mom makes great candied sweet potatoes and I had very nearly eaten my weight in them.

So I turned off the Wii and decided on a quick potty break. By the way, how do you know a 40 year old man has children under five? He says he's taking a potty break.

So anyway, I took my potty break and walked out of the bathroom - and then everything went crazy.

I suddenly found myself under attack! In my In-Laws home! Hoodlums were flying around the room, screaming and howling and generally acting like some insane group of howler monkeys.

It was horrifying.

My own safety was disregarded - I was expendable. But I had SLEEPING babies!! Right in the next room. Something had to be done. I would sacrifice myself, if necessary, to keep those little ones peacefully slumbering.

So I faced the band of hooligans and tried to reason with them. I tempted them with loot. I begged them to take their chaos elsewhere. But to no avail. The attack simply intensified.

That's when I heard the boy scream. I quickly left the gang in my wake as I ran to my son. I vaguely remember the violent din behind me dying down. Perhaps the hooligans had run off in search of easier pickings. I calmed my son and soothed him to sleep. I blessed him and tucked him in. I checked on my daughter, returning Snuggle Elephant to her proper place on the pillow, and quietly slipped out of the room.

Whereupon I was once again immediately beset by the returned terrorists. They were even more violent than before. This time I attempted to take the battle to them by a quick flanking maneuver around the sofa. Ah, but they were fleet of foot. They outpaced me and their cacophony reached unheard of heights.

And that's when my son awoke the second time.

Again I retreated from the field of battle. The boy must be quickly soothed before he becomes so wound up he'll never go back to sleep, and possibly wake his sister. This had to be avoided at all costs. After five minutes sleep, the girl can function with incredible hyperactivity for at least another eight hours. She must NOT be disturbed!

The boy soothed, and the girl still blissfully dreaming, I quietly tiptoed from their room. Only to be met, you guessed it, by the now familiar band of hoodlums.

By now, I was recognizing a pattern, so I quickly retreated to my nearby bedroom, and was pleased to hear them once again stealthily sneak off. To further investigate, I began to slowly open my door, to once again be met by raucous ranting and raving, cursing and threatening, bullying and bravado.

This is when it dawned on me.

I was being held hostage. A hostage! On Thanksgiving, no less!

I realized I had to do something soon. I had to call the Hostage Rescue Team. I didn't want to. I knew it could end badly, but it had to end. I made the call.

Soon Dad arrived to end my plight. Which was only fitting since it had been his job to secure the premises before he left. Unfortunately, by the time he arrived, the boy had been woken another three times and I was exhausted. But he managed to capture all three of the criminals and haul them off to serve their justly deserved time, sitting in a cold car, forced to wait for hours on end for two excited women to finish shopping. They deserved it, the little criminals.

The two Bischons I could understand - they're crazy. But my own Furball! Oh the agony of betrayal! For hours on end, I had been held hostage - by lap dogs.

And Dad, well I guarantee next year he'll lock the little critters up before he heads out for driving duty. 'Cuz one of his own precious little furry ones peed right in Dad's lap. I guess the ornery little critter wanted to warm up.

I know Dad did.

Sleeping Away

As a parent of a preschooler and a toddler, I've found that routines and schedules make life so much easier for everyone concerned. The kids have a set bedtime and a nighttime routine, although that's kept flexible, and a routine for getting up and pretty much for the whole rest of the day. What can I say - my kids are most definitely creatures of habit. And that's not a bad thing. Not by a long shot. It makes things around the homes run somewhat smoothly through most days.

And then we go somewhere. And it bites us on the backside. Hard!

We're  visiting Grandma and Granddad for Thanksgiving. We've been having a fun time, laughing, talking, playing and enjoying too much good food. And dealing with kids who won't eat or sleep regularly.

Hence me being up figuring out a foreign coffee maker at oh dark thirty. Little Man kept us awake most of the night refusing to sleep in his bed. After my sleepy Sweetheart put him back to sleep - oh, I don't know, probably for the fourth time - he figured out he could just climb out of the doggone thing. Apparently it's not escape proof enough. For Little Man, it has to have vertical bars that are really tall and be solid enough that he can't shake it apart. Hmm, I wonder if we can move to Alcatraz?

Sorry, the coffee's not ready yet. It's hard to stay on track with a brain starved of caffeine.

So anyway, the little fellow figured out how easily he could get out of bed, so he just decided not to stay in bed. Of course, he did this after I had fallen back to sleep. Suddenly, I found myself jerked out of my sweet dreams by a tiny, and cold, hand reaching out from the darkness to beat me on the throat! Scared the living daylights out of me! I'm afraid to look in the mirror - I just know my hair is probably doing some freaky Elvira thing. I don't think I'm going to look good with a shock of white hair.

But, like the wonderful father I am, I restarted my heart, took the little boogie man back to bed, rocked him, shushed him and got him back to peaceful slumber.

Or so I thought.

I couldn't have been asleep more than five minutes when I was once again woken abruptly. This time it was a loud thump. I had my suspicions. I was pretty sure the boy was once again roaming on the loose - probably stalking the Furball through Mom's garden.

So, as tempted as I was to let him wander until he found Grandma's room, I decided it might be safer to try to hunt him down first. I climbed out of bed and softly padded off into the night, careful not to wake my sleeping beauty or to spook my prey. My hunter's instinct (okay, okay, I know I'm not a hunter, but I've read a lot of Alan Quartermain stories) told me my quarry would head for food. After all, there's pumpkin pie in the kitchen. Who could rightly ignore such a tempting morsel.

So as I silently stalk through the bedroom and out the doorway into the main hall, with complete confidence in my sneaking prowess, I gleefully imagined the shocked look I would see on my boy's face as I jumped out of the darkness and interrupted his pie fest.

It didn't occur to me, or to my ego, that the hunter could become the hunted. As I came out of the hall, he jumped in front of me and scared me so badly that I'm now afraid all of my hair has fallen out from shock.

Needless to say, once I began breathing again, I surrendered. I know when I've been bested. So, I did what any father would do after being scared half to death twice in less than thirty minutes and woken up beyond any hope of further sleep.

I put the little hooligan in bed with Mommy so she could deal with him, and I went off  in search of coffee. Now that's game I can catch.

20 November 2012

WARNING! Sappy, Emotional, Lovey Dovey Content!

Well, my beautiful, incredible Sweetheart is about to turn, um, 21 years old. I'm taking her out for the special dinner she asked for, and of course, I've chosen a few surprises for her. But, being the hopelessly sappy, and unrepentant, romantic that I am, I also wrote her a love poem.

Now, I could just write it out on pretty paper and give it to her at the restaurant, or maybe slip it into her work laptop for her to find in the morning. But I figured why settle for something so simplistic and private when I can let it all hang out, publicly embarrassing myself for the sake of love, and put it up here for her and the whole world (or at least the seven people who read my blog) to see, so that everyone can know what my dearest friend, my sweetest companion, my lifelong dream who is my Sweetheart, means to me.

And yes, I know full well that I am a few days early. For those of you who know my life, you know that for me to get things done correctly they often have to be done early or late. I didn't want this to be late. And with the holidays and the traveling, I figured I'd better be early.

(I warn you, this is your last chance to back out before it's too late and you find out just how sappy I can get!)

"How have I loved you:

I loved you in the park that day, as the sunlight framed your face and God told me you were mine;

I loved you under the stars that beautiful night you said, "Yes!";

I loved you as I stood and watched you meet me at the altar to join our lives in Covenant;

I loved you as we walked the beaches and sailed the seas, holding one another tight;

I loved you as we chased one another round the country, stealing moments when we could;

I loved you as we dined together each night, though we were a thousand miles apart;

I loved you as I held you while God stood over the deliveries of our dear children;

I loved you as you stood by my side as the doctor said those dreaded words;

I loved you as you held me up through the long and painful years, lending me your strength to carry on;

I loved you as you broke down walls to allow me in where none others had been;

I loved you as I watched you blossom into a Mother of whom mine would be proud;

I loved you as we laughed and snuggled and held hands through the mundane and the frantic;

I loved you as you I watched you sleep through the night, while you held my arms tightly around you;

I loved you as I watched you teach our children how to play leapfrog;

I loved you when you took time off from work to draw a chalk rainbow in our driveway;

I loved you as we learned to live and love as a family;

And I will continue to love you, my Sweetheart, as we walk through the years, hand in hand, holding one another tight as our love grows through all eternity."

17 November 2012

Thought for the Day #19

There's just no way to stay stressed out about anything after you've felt your child patting you on the back while you rock him before putting him to bed.

15 November 2012

My Turn

For almost all of my son's life, he has been Mommy's Little Man. He didn't want much from me, and I could understand that. After all, I couldn't compete with the booby.

Ah, but in the last few weeks a shift has occurred. The universe has changed, and it is good.

I now finally have my Daddy's boy. My Mini-Me. My shadow.

Ah, life is good.

Sweetheart tried to put him to bed just now and he grabbed his blanket, jumped off her lap and ran around searching, singing "Dada, Dada, Dada." She seemed incensed, but I could hear the smile in her voice. I took him to his room, patted his back and he smiled and drifted right off.

I exercise, and he's there beside me, holding my hand so he can match my stride. I play tennis on the wii and he has to have a remote, too. I shave and he "shaves" with a little Taylor Almond Cream from Daddy's bowl, and a few blade less strokes from Daddy's razor. And he absolutely refuses to leave the house without a tiny touch of my Clubman aftershave, so he can smell like Daddy.

I don't know how long it will last. Someday he may jump back to Mommy for a bit. But for now, he's MY shadow, and life is good.

Thought for the Day #18

You know you have an interesting life ahead of you when you have to break out the electrical tape, not to repair wiring, but to keep your boy from ripping off his diaper and waving it at you.

14 November 2012

Thought for the Day #17

I know my children aren't out to get me...

but I don't think THEY know that.

13 November 2012

Feel Good Moment

The other day, I had the whole family out shopping for a new outfit for my Sweetheart. Yes, I know that was a stupid idea seeing as how the kids were both tired and cranky and the boy was spewing snot everywhere, but that's not the point - and in any case, I'd only slept a few hours in several days, so I wasn't in my right mind, and as such I'm assured complete immunity by the Daddies Bill of Rights for any snot or vomit covered clothing or shopping carts, and for any headaches, blurred vision or seizures caused by the screaming of my overtired children. (And don't get all self-righteous on me - you know danged well your kids have done the same thing.)

Ah, but I digress. So as I was saying, I had the whole noisy messy bunch at Kohl's, watching serenely as the Little Man screamed and cried and pulled his limp noodle act and rubbed snot all over me and his Mommy. Generally, he was just trying to be annoying enough that he would be allowed to get down and run around naked (yes, we've reached that wonderful age of streaking), but God was sweetly buffering me somehow that afternoon, and I was strangely un-annoyed. Or perhaps I had a really bad seizure and went temporarily deaf. Whatever the case, I was enjoying roaming around my beautiful wife, enjoying the view and taking turns wrangling the boy and keeping an eye on the Princess, who was bound and determined to get at least thirty or forty new outfits of her own.

Well, we finally tracked down numerous outfits for Sweetheart to try on and proceeded to the dressing room. Then things got even more interesting. To cut my long story short, let's just say that the boy went crazier than usual and was tossed back and forth between me and the dressing room. He stripped, he tried to tear off his diaper, he screamed, he threw up, he produced a larger volume of snot (by weight) than his own body mass, which is one of those mysteries of physics which I am struggling diligently to solve. I figure I'll be getting the Nobel Prize for it eventually, once I solve the puzzle.

Now, normally, this would have had me as cranky as the kids. I'm not sure what the difference was this time, although I suspect that it has something to do with Sweetheart and I coming to the realization that if we don't try very, very hard to maintain a great (not just good) attitude, then all the health issues we've been having to deal with will drag us down, and that's not what we want for the kids. In any case, I wrestled the Little Man into the child seat of the cart by tilting the whole thing back against me and tying him down with the straps. Sound horrific, I know (I sure know he thought so), but I figured, hey, that's what those things are there for, so might as well use 'em. As I tied him in, I put my mouth to his ear so he could hear me over his screaming, and softly told him that all he had to do was sit in the seat until Mommy was done. I gently promised him that as soon as she got out, he could get out and walk with her. I had to repeat myself several times before he began to calm down enough to understand me, but he actually settled down and sat fairly quietly until Sweetheart was done. I don't know who was more surprised by the whole episode, him or me.  What I do know, was that there were lots of women passing back and forth, most of them looking at me like I was some kind of child beater for making him sit.

What I didn't know was that one woman was watching the whole thing. She could have sprung her surprise on me alone and I would have been shocked enough. But nope. She waited until my Sweetheart rejoined us and then she slipped up behind me. When she told me, and then repeated it to make sure my wife heard, that she was impressed and thought I was doing such a great job with my children, you could have knocked me over with a feather. She went on to assure me that my kids were no bother at all and that they were very well behaved and obviously were being reared well.

I was tickled pink! For her to have told not just me, but my wife, something so pleasant and wonderfully kind, was such a blessing. As a disabled father, I often worry that I'm not measuring up and that my children are suffering because of my disability. To have a stranger acknowledge my efforts and offer completely unsolicited praise was an incredible pick me up. It was a great feel good moment.

04 November 2012

Workin' Out with Daddy

Well, my Weight Watchers experience is going great. So far, I've lost 5% of my body weight in just six weeks. Without feeling deprived or hungry. In fact, we've been experimenting and enjoying new ways of cooking and baking, to the point that we are enjoying our food more than ever.

But I digress. My Sweetheart managed to catch the photos as I was enjoying my favorite light work out. I play tennis on the Wii while I'm walking or running in place. I do an hour or so of it every day, and I've also started an actual workout program as well. But today, I was just enjoying my favorite when, all of a sudden, my Little Man came up beside me and started trying to match my pace to walk in step with me. Then he reached up and took my finger. My kids inspire me!


02 October 2012

Odd Things I Hear

Ya know, as a father, you hear odd things around your home. Some you want to hear - like, "Wow, the boy just said his first word!"

Unfortunately, the things you hear most often tend to be things you really would rather not hear uttered in your home.

Today, topping the list was my wife suddenly saying, "Don't lick me!"

What made me shake my head in dismay was the fact that when I looked under the table to tell the Furball to get out of there, I didn't see the dog...

I saw my daughter.

Anyone have some Excedrin?

01 October 2012

Will Wonders Never Cease!

I've heard that it can happen. Rumors, innuendos, funny stories - but no one I know has ever actually been able to say they've seen it happen with their own eyes. I mean, seriously, it has to be against the laws of the universe. Right?

Nope!

This morning, I saw it. I could hardly believe my own eyes. If I hadn't been taking a sip of coffee, which made me look in precisely the right direction at precisely the right time, I would have missed it.

I actually saw someone pass gas so violently that it blew them up off their chair!

If you think I'm making this up, consider this. It was my own dear Sweetheart! So, since I'm obviously risking severe injury to my person, why would I lie?

This is what happened...

We've been on Weight Watchers together for the last ten days. It's been great! So far I'm down ten pounds. But I digress. The point is, we've made serious changes to our diets. And of course, that has, um, side effects.

Now, I'm a man. When I pass gas, it's funny. I blame it in the dog, who generally runs - okay, waddles - out of the room in indignation, my daughter laughs, my son looks on in admiration as he dreams of future flatulencial glory of his own and my wife rolls her eyes.

But not today. Oh, no! Not today!

Today, as we sat at the table enjoying our first cup of coffee together in that blessed predawn glory of quiet - meaning the kids were still asleep - I took a sip of coffee and enjoyed a glance at my wife, who looks so incredibly beautiful in the mornings, even if she doesn't believe it.

At that exact moment, I heard an explosion. Kind of like an M80 exploding underneath a barrel - a little muffled, but still very loud. And as the explosion occurred, my wife flew at least two inches straight up off her chair! It was astonishing!

I realized that I had witnessed history. She denied it vehemently, before giving in and remarking upon the fact that I pass gas all the time. Well, of course I do, I'm a man. But I've never launched myself off a chair!

Oh, my friends - it was incredible, truly wonderful. The only thing that would have made it better would have been me having a video camera running. I'm pretty sure she would have made the Guinness Book of Records.

As it is, I can content myself in the knowledge that I now have a lifetime of giggles ahead of me, as I remind her of the time she launched herself off her chair.

...

Of course, having posted this in the public domain, that lifetime may be short, indeed.

...

But it's worth it.

29 September 2012

Thought for the Day #16

Ya know you're truly secure in your manhood when your wife changes the car's brake lights while you're inside baking fresh whole wheat pitas - and you're both proud of the jobs you did!

28 September 2012

Surprises

When a fat man goes on Weight Watchers, and starts losing weight rapidly, he produces vapors and aromas which can be an olfactory assault unparalleled in human history. It is truly awful.

Not even the dog will come near me - and he licks his own butt!

But, in all seriousness, so far I am quite surprised. I had discounted WW, but Sweetheart I finally managed to get each other on it last week. I'm actually not having hunger pains, which really shocked me, and in seven days, I'm down six pounds.

And no member of my family will near me...

27 September 2012

Question of the Day #14

Have you ever wondered if maybe the reason our kids are so cute is so we won't eat them when they drive us nuts like an animal would?

Diversionary Tactics


I tell ya - the Navy SEALs could learn something from my kids about the element of surprise and diversionary tactics on the battlefield. These two work together to engage the enemy (me) and defeat every maneuver. They coordinate their actions and have perfect timing.

Today, my sweet, adorable little girl was practicing her writing and excitedly brought over her work to show me how well she was doing. I should have known. She was the diversion.

Once she had successfully distracted my attention, the boy - exhibiting a level of deviousness attainable only by a one year old - snuck into my blind spot.

The tactic worked perfectly.

While I was naively praising my daughter's writing attempts, the boy grabbed the kitchen junk drawer directly behind me and pulled with all his might. I heard a million tiny crashes as markers, keys, paperclips and myriad hair clips and rubber bands bounced around the kitchen.

Whipping around, I saw the boy exulting in his handiwork, holding the crayon which was the tactical objective for their operation.

Being bigger and stronger, I grabbed the little rascal and incarcerated him in the brig (his play yard) as a legitimate prisoner of war. The little Mata Hari was given parole to clean up the mess.

Victorious, I looked at the boy standing calmly behind the prison walls. I had won the battle.

But as I saw the smirk on his face and I got the distinctive feeling that the victory is not truly mine. I may have won this battle, but I think I might lose the war.

23 September 2012

The Chew Toy

The boy is teething again.

His favorite teething toy is the dog.

He lays across the dog and chews on his ear. The dog patiently lays there until I catch the boy and put him in his play yard.

Today, after the second time, the dog looked at me and I heard a goofy voice in my head saying, "Come on, Daddy. Don't I deserve a cookie for not biting him?"

It's fun having such an expressive dog.

Fun - and a little scary.

22 September 2012

The Grape

Furball is fat. He's fat enough that the vet has him on a diet. A diet which Furball is not very happy about. In fact, he roams around the house sniffing for crumbs and trying to make us feel guilty about "starving" him to death (remember he's capable of mind control).

So when the kids eat, that dog is right underneath Little Man, snarfing up anything that falls. Well, today he wasn't paying very close attention. The boy dropped a grape. The dog doesn't like grapes. The dog grabbed the grape out of midair, gulped it down, jumped like he'd been shocked, shook all over and gave the boy a look that clearly and indignately said, "You tricked me!"

The boy dropped another grape.

The dog looked at it and shook his head.

Then I heard him say, "Ah, what the heck! It's food."

And then he ate the grape.

21 September 2012

Bulletproof Boy

Yep, my Little Man is bulletproof. He's armored - with kevlar boogers!

Last night, I picked him up and saw stuff hanging out of his nose. No problem. I grabbed a tissue and wiped his nose. End of the booger, right?

Uh uh!

That booger didn't come off. It grew! It covered his upper lip as he smiled at me, as if to say, "Ha ha, feel the power of my boogers!"

As I tried again to wipe it off, the danged tissue ripped! The booger grew more. It began to harden into a protective shield.

But I am Daddy! I can beat a mere booger. Right? I went for the paper towel. More booger cleaning power.

Fear me, booger! I'm coming for you.

The booger laughed. I'm serious, I heard a diabolical laugh as the booger grew more. It might have been Sweetheart coming into the room laughing as she saw me battling a booger, but I don't think so. No, I'm pretty sure it was the booger.

As the boy smiled, I realized the booger must be filling his head. It was huge! There could be no room in the boy's head for anything except the booger.

I tried again. The booger got bigger. The booger got harder. The booger laughed again.

The paper towel was very nearly shredded by now, and the boy's nose was growing red, but the battle had to be won. The booger had to go. It was me or the booger. This house is not big enough for the two of us.

The boy's head began to shake as the booger began to stretch. I pulled - I wiped - I squeezed...

And in the end, I prevailed. I beat the evil, bulletproof booger.

I am Daddy - hear me roar, booger!

20 September 2012

A Morning Gone Awry


I made my daughter cry.

Not on purpose, mind you. It was purely accidental. But still, I made her cry. And scared her half to death at the same time, which made me feel even worse.

You see, I'm an insomniac. So I'm generally sitting at the table drinking coffee a looooooong time before the rest of the family wakes. Most mornings, as I sit drinking my good coffee and enjoying the peace and quiet of a home asleep, I journal or I blog. When I write, I'm very focused. It's one of my favorite things, so I give it my full attention.

At some point, generally during my second cup, the home is filled with a rumbling, puffing earthquake rolling down the stairs. This is the Furball following my sweet wife down the stairs. When his bladder is full first thing in the morning, he flies pell mell down those stairs, huffing and puffing as he makes his way to the back door, where he stands looking at me like I'm a total idiot for not having it opened for him already. He doesn't exactly sneak up on a person.

Then my wife slowly walks into the kitchen mumbling something that kind of sounds like a morning greeting as she gives me a peck on her way to the coffee pot.

Later, my little Princess will come down, holding Pink and Snuggle Elephant tightly in her little arms, rubbing her eyes and thumping her way down the stairs. That child makes a wee bit of noise on the stairs. I think she prides herself on it.

Normally. That's how my day starts.

Today was not a normal day.

Today, as I sat with my journal, enjoying the completely undisturbed peace and quiet, I reached for my coffee cup. I didn't have to look, since my hand knows the way.

Today, however, my hand was interrupted midway to the precious coffee cup. By my precious daughter's head.

It seems she had managed, for the first time in her life, to come down the stairs and walk into the kitchen without making a single noise. This is completely against the law of physics and nature. I'm pretty sure Einstein wrote a paper about it. Children are noisy. They are not capable of making it to their parents side without making a noise.

But she did.

And when she did, she threw herself at me to give me a hug.

At the same moment I reached for the coffee.

My hand hit her head, her head hit the wall, she hollered, I jumped halfway to the ceiling and screamed like you can only scream when you suddenly find someone right at your side in a dark room, which scared her. After my heart started beating again, I realized what had happened and reached down to hug her.

But it was too late. I had already made my Princess cry.

19 September 2012

Thought for the Day #15

I think the defining characteristic of marriage is the willingness of two people to let go of their own long held hang ups to ensure the happiness of the other.

16 September 2012

Mood Changers

So we're dog sitting for Mom and Dad for the weekend, taking care of Molly and Monty. They're cute little critters and love snuggling. It's so cute during the day. They'll sit on our laps while we work, and they're great taste testers when I'm baking.

Unfortunately, my in-laws are complete pushovers and let Molly and Monty sleep in their bed. In fact, Dad let's Monty sleep on his pillow. This is something we don't do. Furball sleeps in his nice comfy bed beside ours - which is a good thing, since he chases rabbits and snores. It's cute when he's in his bed - not so much in ours. We have an ironclad rule - no dogs and no kids in our bed.

Molly and Monty are fairly stubborn though. They just wait until we're asleep and hop up. Ah, well. Such is life.

But there's a good reason we have the rule against kids and dogs. We're young. We're amorous. We're both insomniacs. You do the math. When you have kids, the wee hours of the morning are sometimes the only time you have privacy.

So when I woke at 3:10 this morning, I grinned and reached out to stroke my Sweetheart's hair to wake her up. It took only a moment to realize the hair I was stroking was kinky. Sweetheart does not have kinky hair. Molly and Monty have kinky hair.

It took less than a moment to roll back over. Quickly. A moment more and I laughed, and went back to sleep. But not before I decided to let my sister-in-law keep Molly and Monty for now on.
Mood Changers

11 September 2012

Boys Will Be Boys

I got a new toy! I have a nearly insatiable addiction to the finest in manly accessories - the Victorinox Swiss Army Knife. I currently have eight, but one is AWOL, so we'll call it seven. My newest baby came in yesterday. The Swiss Champ! Ooooooh - I loooooove it! This thing is big, bulky, finely engineered and you can build a house with it. Or cut a steer. Or scale a barracuda. Or hang a picture. Or change Pal's batteries. Or slice your thumb open...


But the important thing is that it is a man's knife. And my son is a man. Regardless of some of the nicknames Mommy comes up with, and forgetting his occasional mimicry of his sister, my boy is a man. He saw my new knife while I was opening up a package at the table and his eyes took on that gleam - that testosterone fueled shine that says "Whoa! Hey Dad, can I have a whack at that thing? Can I have a knife like that? I bet we could rebuild the back fence, Dad. Just give me that knife and let's go. Oh, but change my diaper first, please."

Sweetheart denied it, of course. She doesn't understand. That whole different solar system things again. She said he was just reaching for a pen to draw with. Yeah, right! I held up a pen in my left hand and the knife in my right. The boy looked at the pen, looked at the knife, grew some hair on his chest, and reached for that knife with the biggest grin. He wasn't too happy when I pulled it away. Neither was my wife. But that's okay. I told the boy his knife is already tucked away, waiting for the day when I can trust him to not try to re-neuter the dog.

Then we'll go rebuild that fence together. Maybe even find a barracuda to scale.

02 September 2012

Tip for the Day

If you started the day by dropping a piece of stoneware so that it exploded near your hand, don't try to clean a counter with a Clorox Wipe unless you put on gloves first.

Waitin'

Since Sweetheart's out visitin', I get to listen to my kind of music. I think I might have mentioned a time or two that I'm a redneck - which means my favorite styles of music genres all include the word country in their names. Of course, in reality, I'm actually pretty open-minded. I like a whole range of stuff. Country & Western, Classic Country Gold ('60s and '70s), Country (which for me is anything produced before about 1994, with of course, the addition of absolutely anything put out by Reba, Loretta, Dolly, Kenny of either George), and, of course, Country Gospel. I also really enjoy Bluegrass. And in the spirit of fairness and openness, I will admit to having Pandora set up with a Falcon station, 'cuz, to be politically correct, I am, in actuality, a Texan-German-American. I'm also a child of the '80s and I freakin' love the crazy, upbeat music of the time - especially the German singers and the pre-techno synthesized wild stuff that Princess likes to dance to.

Sweetheart rolls her eyes at me a lot over my tastes in music.

The great thing about Pandora is that it pulls in tracks based on the style of music you like. So occasionally, I hear something from a newer artist. Now, most of this new allegedly country music is total bull put out by Hollywood producers to try to make money. Some of it though, is not too bad. Brad Paisley fits in that later group. Course, if you're buddies with Little Jimmie Dickens, you have to be okay.
So I heard this song by Brad Paisley, "Wait in' on a Woman." Oh, Sweetheart's gonna best my chaps over this one, but oh my goodness...

That's gotta be in my top ten favorite songs now. This old gentleman is telling a young feller about how he's been waiting' on a woman since the '50s. She was late for their first date, and everything else after that. But the wait is always worth it. And then he said something to the effect that men are supposed to die first, and he believes it because when it's her time to go, she won't be ready yet. So he knows when it's his time to go and he gets to Heaven, he'll just find a bench and wait on his woman.
The song really tickled me when I thought about it. When I was a kid, I was taught that if you're five minutes early, well then, you're already  ten minutes late. And my Sweetheart wasn't. Our wedding got started late, too. And we haven't been anywhere on time since we met. And it's been worth every single minute.

And now, I look at my children and see that the same holds true. My Little Man grabs his shoes as soon as he hears the word "go." That boy is like me - ready twenty minutes before anyone else in the house. My Princess - well, she couldn't be on time if you set all the clocks in the house back by two hours. Just like her Mom! Apparently it's gender based. But I've learned over the years. I don't make reservations, and I don't ever try to set a schedule for anything.

So when Princess meets that special man someday, I'll sit down with him and tell him the same thing my father-in-law told me when he saw me starting to get hot under the collar about always being late. Just sit down and relax. They'll be ready eventually, and getting annoyed won't speed them up a single bit. Hmm - that's probably why Dad's TV is always on - so he can sit down and watch TV while the women folk get ready.

Yep, I'll tell Princess' young man to sit down and relax, 'cuz it'll be awhile, but it'll be worth the wait.

01 September 2012

Did You Know...

That it's actually possible to sleep until the rising sun shines flickering sunbeams through the curtains and into your slumbering eyelids? I had no idea! With Sweetheart and the blessed short ones gone, I slept for eight hours. In one night! Amazing!

But, I must say, waking up to a rousing "Wakey wakey, Daddy!" makes me wake up with a bigger smile on my face.

31 August 2012

While the Mommy Cat's Away...

The Daddy cat will get in trouble - but have fun with it. I mean honestly, is there anything funnier than a dog trying to get peanut butter off his nose?

I'll get in trouble over it, but it's worth it!

26 August 2012

Great Firsts

Gotta warn ya in advance, I'm a big old teddy bear sentimentalist, so if you're a big old macho Dad, or if you have no daughters, stop here. It gets sappy.

Wow! Ya know, sometimes being a Daddy is purely overwhelming. And I love being overwhelmed by these little angels.

Today, as I was baking some bread and Princess was making special play dough bread, a very special song came on. Well, at least it's special to me. The Statler Brothers song "Do You Know You Are My Sunshine." I love this song! And I said so. Which, of course, meant I had to explain to my little font of questions why.

So I told her a story of MY sunshine. I told her of a day long ago. A day before she was born. I told her of a day when I had met a beautiful woman and was taking her for a walk through a sunlit park. I told her of how, as I asked the beautiful woman a question, she turned to me with the prettiest smile and the most enticing laugh. Her eyes twinkled with merriment and the Texas sun was dancing across her hair. And in that moment, I knew the beautiful woman was the only woman I would ever love. That was the moment I knew her Mommy would always be the Sunshine of my life.

Then I told her of how Mommy and I both traveled for our jobs back then, and how I would drive all across the country - all the way, thinking of my Sunshine. And whenever that song would come on the radio, I would remember the day I first met her and how amazing it was.

My little Princess looked at me with a contemplative smile before asking a thousand more questions and, I thought, forgetting my story. Such is the way with children.

A few hours later, I was relaxing for a few minutes between chores, watching her play with her dolls, when she turned to me suddenly and knocked me to my knees. She wrapped me around her finger for life in a way that only a daughter can when she smiled and asked, "Daddy, when I grow up, will you marry me and be my sunshine?"

Wow! I've heard it in movies and on TV. I've read it in books and always thought it was cute. I had no idea how emotional I would get when my own daughter asked it of me. She's growing up so fast. And she's so much like her Mommy. She's going to make some lucky young man a wonderful wife some day.

But not until she's at least 30.

24 August 2012

Little Pitchers Have Big Ears

Oh, my! Kids are the best at making you see the error of your ways. Recently, when Princess wanted to do some crafts and was told she couldn't, her response was a simple and vehement "Oh, Hell!"

Ouch! Apparently Daddy has not gotten his language completely under control yet. I sure thought I was doing better than that. I guarantee you I'm doing a whole lot better now! I could almost feel my Mama pop me upside the back of the head and hear her say, "Little pitchers have big ears!"

Now being the curious creature I am, I had to look that up. Did you know it's actually based on fact? In the olden days of centuries past, small earthenware jugs had to have disproportionately large handles to enable a person to easily pick them up. Some fellow, probably after drinking a few pints of ale out of said small earthenware jug, decided that the handles of the jug looked like big ears. Thus was born not just one, but two idioms of the English tongue. "Jug ears" and "little pitchers have big ears."

Hmm...perhaps the trend setters we look to for our language are not the most sober examples to emulate.

In any case, "little pitchers have big ears" still means that the youngest person in hearing distance will automatically forget everything else being said and pick up on the absolutely worst thing you say. Said youngster will then store it up in their cute little mind, waiting for exactly the right moment to spring it loose on an unsuspecting world. Generally at a moment when that youngster's offending parent is congratulating himself on how great an example he is to the precious developing minds under his careful tutelage.

Oh, He...

Oops...

Um, oh my!

23 August 2012

Thought for the Day #14

You know you're a Daddy when it's lunch time before you realize that you put your pants on inside out when your daughter woke you up at 4 am with a bad dream. You know your a Husband when you find yourself worrying, not about your fatigue, but about your Sweetheart being so tired that she didn't notice and mess with you about it.

22 August 2012

Furry Kids

Furball was our first child. We adopted him when he was six months old, right before our first Christmas as man and wife. We had looked for months for the perfect puppy to fill out our little family. We found him at a breeder in Missouri. He was a mess when we picked him up at the airport. It didn't take too long to figure out that he had a seriously nervous disposition. He whined and peed and chewed up carpets and tore up doors and blankets and boots and...well, you name it, Furball has eaten it. When I was still smoking, I used to get a kick out of wandering the yard, trying to figure out what he could have eaten to make his poop green or blue or fuzzy. Once, it was like a rainbow. Once, it was 3 feet long - I think it was from eating a sock. He seemed to be trying to knit a new one as he went.

All Our Children
We joke that he's our $5000 dog, but it's probably closer to about $8000. He's had to have sedatives for thunderstorms and anti-anxiety pills during construction projects around the area. He's had to have surgery for torn ligaments, and he has congenital nerve damage in his tail that causes him to have problems with moving his rear legs when it flares up. So right now he's on steroids, and we have a medicine box just for him.

"Don't type, Daddy - scratch!"
We also have a huge spot in our hearts for the little doofus. He's not much different from our biological children. He just goes to a different doctor, and he chews up clothes instead of wearing them. But he's part of the family. And losing him would be an extremely difficult event. He's been here through it all. He helped Sweetheart keep in shape when she was pregnant with Princess and had to control gestational diabetes. He had to run to keep up with her walking, but he would keep up through 45 minutes walks, drag himself through the door and still be happy. I've seen that dog step on his tongue before, but there was no way he was letting Mommy brave the outside world without him by her side.

When I was recovering from thyroid cancer, he would be right beside me, keeping me company. And I don't believe it was only because Daddy gives him the best ear scratches. When I started having seizures, he stayed near me and would do his best to alert us before I would collapse. I always thought it was a myth that dogs could detect epileptic episodes, but it's not.

Not a night goes by that he doesn't roam through the bedrooms at least twice (and I know because he often wakes me up) to check on the kids and make sure the house is secure. I'm not sure what the little fella would do if someone broke in, but I'm betting he would go out doing as much damage as he could to whoever threatened his family, same as I would.

I'm not stupid - I know he's not immortal. I dread the day I have to tell the kids he's gone. He's already given us several scares, and I've spent sleepless nights praying for him. I've done what it takes to keep him healthy and happy, and I always will. But I know the day will come when it won't be enough.

Faithful Dusty
I say all this because Mom and Dad are there now. There little Monty is in critical condition due to kidney failure. The vets say he has a couple of months at most. They've already had to say goodbye to two furkids in the last six years. When Dusty passed on from old age, it tore all of us up. Then Baby pined away until she also succumbed to her years. Dusty was such a sweet old fella, and Baby was the first person in my wife's family to give me unconditional approval. And now Monty, who has been the Furball's buddy and is one of the kids' favorite playmates at Grandma's house. We're all in shock, and I'll admit, I'm terrified of telling the kids. We're all going to miss him.

Precious Baby

Our furry kids burrow their way into our hearts and make up such a large part of our lives. They comfort us and protect us and give us their unconditional love no matter how upset we get when we catch them chewing up our new shoes. They rarely ask for anything more than a comfy scratch. Well, and a fresh baked biscuit.

I don't know how to say goodbye to such big parts of our lives. But I do know this. They will never be forgotten, and they will always be loved.

Lovable Monty

Great Moments

I was lying in the bed at the hotel, having been woken by the occupants in the next room. It had been a rough few days, between the wickedly sprained right foot and all the travelling, so I was enjoying a few moments to enjoy the quiet. I was stretching and waiting for the alarm to go off before waking up Sweetheart and the kids. Suddenly, the alarm went off and in a flurry of practiced orchestration, my beautiful wife slapped the snooze button, threw herself across the bed and wrapped herself around me. The next thing I knew, my love was peacefully snoring on my chest while her hair tickled my nose. I could hear the little ones begin to yawn and stretch and roll back over to sleep in their beds. I was pretty much overwhelmed by the comfortable peace of the moment as I gently reset the alarm and enjoyed the wonders of my life. Husband - Father - both at peace, lying there surrounded by everything worthwhile in my life. I was counting my self as the luckiest man in the world and thanking God.

And then my precious Sweetheart twitched gently in her sleep, moved slightly...

and kicked me square on my right foot.

Ah, well - the pain couldn't stop my glow. And I even managed to stop whimpering before she woke up.

21 August 2012

Thought for the Day #13

You know you're getting old when you here your doctor tell you that you have a severe ankle sprain and a severe midfoot sprain and that you have to be careful how you walk on your feet for now on.

20 August 2012

Great Mistakes

Ain't it great when you make a mistake and it turns out better than if you hadn't screwed up? Yesterday, I made a couple of loaves of this really good country oat bread. Sweetheart makes some incredible french toast with it. But when I was kneading the bread, something just didn't look right. The dough just stayed shaggy and wouldn't form up. So I added a little more flour. And a little more. And a little more. I finally realized that I was using freshly ground whose wheat flour, and in our humidity yesterday, it was just too moist to form up the dough. So I added a touch of all purpose flour and it came together in a nice satiny smooth ball.

But it wouldn't rise. We waited an hour. Then we waited two. Finally we panned it up and waited for it to rise in a warm oven. Nope. Sweetheart said to just give it up and bake it. As it was baking, I finally realized - I had to use instant yeast in this recipe, which I don't normally use. I use active dry yeast instead. Which requires a much lower temperature. Instant takes a little more. And I didn't give it to the poor little critters, so they didn't fart enough to lighten up my bread.

But I figure, what the heck - it's for breakfast anyway. If it comes out the consistency of a week old bagel, we'll just toast it. So it came finally came out of the oven. And looked a little, um, carmelly. Yeah that's a good word for it. It looked kind of like a brick like cinnamon roll. Oh, good grief. I didn't have maple sugar. So I substituted. No big deal. Except that the substitution list I found had two separate possible substitutions, but I misunderstood and thought they were one single substitution. So instead of just adding maple syrup OR white sugar and maple extract, I added all of it. That's some sweet bread! And dense! Oh, my goodness, the thing just about broke the counter.

But my beloved and ever-supportive Sweetheart said not to worry. It'd be fine in the morning, and we can always toast it right? I was skeptical, but what the heck. The dog was sitting there at my feet begging me not to throw it away, but to give it to him instead. Course, he's on a diet, but if it's a bomb in the morning, I can sneak him a little before i throw it out - as long as my sweetie pie ain't lookin'. So fast forward to this morning, and you get some astonishingly great soft, gooey, sweetbread which goes great with a little cream cheese.

Poor Furball is so disappointed. He didn't get a bite.


Oh, My! Good Morning World.

Well, more like and nice, but conflicted morning to you world. Ah, the joys of parenting! Yeah, joys. The joy of being woken up at 4am by the very pleasant knowledge that my ravishingly beautiful wife is bumping as grinding into me, pushing up against me to ensure I wake up in a GOOD mood. Oh, what a joyful way to wake up! I don't care what time it is - I'm always happy for that kind of good morning.

Hey, wait a minute...

Why is she moving away. Oh, maybe she's getting...what the...! There's a FOOT IN MY FACE!

Oh, my...

It's my Princess. "Daddy, I had a bad dream. Can I sleep between you? I dreamed of..." oh my...

I would share the dream with you, but honestly, at that point my mind shut down as I rapidly turned over to try to get back to sleep, as I pondered whether I would have to get her therapy later on if I threw her back into her own bed.

Oh, good grief! Might as well go make the coffee.

19 August 2012

Who'd Have Thought?

Ya know, kids can be so amazing! Concepts that you would think are beyond their comprehension can be grasped in the blink of an eye, while the most simple ideas can be readily ignored.

Princess had been acting out and pouting and throwing tantrums and just generally being unmanageable. I had gotten worn out to the point I could barely see straight when I got the wild idea of simply sitting her down and explaining a few things to her. I told her that Daddy wasn't able to give her attention every minute of the day like she wanted. I told her I wanted to, but I just couldn't. Little Man has been having a hard time teething, my seizures are just now getting under control yet and I am so sleep deprived it's crazy. I explained that, regardless of what I wanted and regardless of what she wanted, I couldn't give her my undivided attention as often as she wanted.

But, I told her that if she could handle playing by herself or with her brother sometimes, and help me out by not destroying the house in the process, then I would make her a promise. I promised that any time she felt like she needed my undivided attention, all she had to do was ask me for it. And if I could manage it right that second, I would drop anything I was doing and I'd be hers. And if I absolutely couldn't manage it, I would ask her to be patient and let me make time for her as soon as I was able.

I didn't expect it to actually work. I mean seriously - she's a very hyper four! But...you guessed it. The child who can't remember not to treat her brother like a toy has suddenly developed an understanding of patience. It's utterly amazing! I've always believed in speaking plainly to my children and I know how clever they both are, but wow! She has begun to be more polite and patient and she's begun helping me clean the house and do simple chores. She's been playing more gently, and she exhibits admirable patience when she asks for attention and I have to tell her no. She's still four, and she still gets in trouble, but it's much more controllable and low scale than it used to be. As a result, I'm able to spend much more time just playing with her and spending quality time with her. It's wonderful! Who'd have thought?

17 August 2012

Blessings

Many times in the last few months, I've had reason to think about Blessings. I use a capital B because I'm not talking about the things we daily think of as blessings, as gifts from God which show His love for us. No, I'm referring to Blessings in the Biblical Patriarchal sense. I've noticed that people think it's unusual - either in a good way or a bad way, depending on the person - that I Bless my children daily.

I don't remember when I began Blessing them both every night before they go to bed. All I can say for sure is that some time after the Little Man was born, I felt strongly that I should hold both of my children and Bless them in the Name of Jesus. I don't know if it's Biblical or not, I just know that, as their father, I feel compelled to Bless them with peace, love, healing and protection. And a big hug and kiss - and of course happy dreams. I feel in my heart that God honors the promises of a father to his children when they are asked in the Name of His own Son. I see evidence of it almost every night. Little Man started sleeping less fitfully and seems to be bothered less by teething at night. The biggest change, though, has been in my Princess. She absolutely will NOT go to sleep without being my Blessing. She used to wake up many times during the night. She was afraid of the dark, afraid of noises, afraid of the door being closed, afraid of monsters and anything else she could come up with. She would get up and run in our room sobbing or screaming. This went on for two years. Since I began Blessing her, she sleeps like a rock and wakes up happy. She goes to sleep faster, too. It's been rather amazing to watch. My wife looked at me kind of funny at first, until one night I said no and she told me I HAD to Bless them. Biblical or not, it held power and my children relied upon that security. So Blessings they receive.

I don't generally think about it except that tonight, I felt compelled to Bless my Sweetheart. She's had so many stresses and problems pulling her in so many directions that I just felt I had to do something to help, and since I can't take over her career, and I can't heal her folks or move her brother to Nashville, I did what I could do. I laid my hands on her and gave her the Blessing of her husband. She seems to be more peaceful now, and she's snoring happily, so Lord willing she'll be Able to drop the worries and sleep well.

At the risk of attracting crackpot comments, I would definitely enjoy hearing from other parents on this topic. Am I alone, or are there other fathers who Bless their children?