Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Boys of Summer

Last week, I took Little E to his first minor league baseball game for a dad meetup. We had fun, sitting on the left field lawn. It was sunny and hot, and the kid was tired before the game was over, but the ballpark was nice and so was the company. I took just a couple of photos, and am planning to take the rest of the family back later this summer, once school lets out. I've been a baseball fan since I was little, and remember going to games with my dad. After sharing the pics of our trip with Nana, she dug out a shot of me as a kid attending a game with my dad. Baseball really is the game that transcends generations.

Friday, May 1, 2015

girl power

Recently, DC Comics announced they were launching a new line of books and products called "Super Hero Girls" aimed at girls age 6-12. It's really kind of exciting, as the comic industry has done a poor job of engaging women throughout their history. Finding a strong heroine who is not over-sexualized or who doesn't simply play a supporting role is not easy.

I can't say I gave it much thought before having a daughter, when as a boy, I had all the heroes I could ask for. When Nat came along though, I began looking for a heroine who could play the roll in her life that Superman and He-Man did for me in my youth. We have enjoyed She-Ra and Supergirl through the years, but the one that my daughter loves the most is Wonder Woman.

With Free Comic Book Day coming up, I thought it was the perfect time to finish this project I've been working on. You may have seen my son become both Superman and Captain America, and my daughter embraced her inner Amazonian for Halloween, well now she has been fully integrated into Wonder Woman's history with an appearance on the cover of the classic Sensation Comics #1! The process is the same as it was with Action Comics #1, only this time, we get some bullet deflecting bracelets!

It starts with a sketch...

Ink it in, and get rid of any left over pencil lines...

Before I started adding color, I made sure I could get my daughter in the pose I would need. This part takes more than a steady hand with a pencil, but an eye for posing, a little minor skill with Photoshop, or a basic editing software like Pixlr, and a subject willing to pose several times until you get the photo just right. 

This photo was only the third take, and was as close to the original pose as we were going to get. A little Photoshop magic to lift her arm a touch and clip her from the background comes next. I also sized her on a page to fit the positioning of the cover and added the bracelets we forgot to wear for the photoshoot.
Now you can print it out and make sure it lines up on your page, then start filling in the color.

Once the color is complete, layer the two images and frame it up to add to your kid's wall!

With this on your wall, the next time someone tells your daughter that girls can't be superheroes, she'll definitely know better!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Slug Life

Mornings have always been slow for me. I fact, I can't think of a time where I wanted to get up and move right away in the morning. This has not caused too many problems in the last 12 years, as I've worked nights since college. Before that however, I missed more than a coupe classes in college, and chased the bus in high school more than I care to admit.

Today, this slow morning syndrome is only a problem when I am trying to get the kids up for school. Godzilla takes two to three wake-up calls before he will roll out of bed, and then it's instantly the groans of a man 59 years his elder. How can a six-year-old wake up with a sore back? Once he finally gets dressed, its a trudging shuffle out to breakfast where he supports his head on his hand as he lazily munches on his food.

I cant really get upset at his morning pace, not when it took hitting the snooze twice to get out of bed myself. Add to that the fact that he doesn't even have coffee to crutch himself up, and I have major sympathy for him.

So, we work our way through breakfast and out the door to school and turn to his brother

E wakes up slowly in his crib, cries for someone to come get him and takes about 10 minutes of cuddling before he's able to walk around without falling over. He literally stumbles around the living room like a drunken sailor if you put him down first thing in the morning. I've seen him walk into walls and fall down straight on his diapered butt.

I really don't mind a few minutes of cuddle time in the morning, as long as he lets me get to the coffee before very long. Breakfast can always wait until I have time to do it up right, but the coffee can't wait.

Nat, meanwhile, has finally started to embrace her morning routine. She gets up and gets right to work getting ready for school. (Although, she would still stay in bed all day if she could, if we would let her just read) It is hard to look at her and not see the little girl who needed my help to brush her teeth, who always asked me for songs at bedtime, who ran and jumped into my arms before I left for work (though that last one may still apply) For the most part, she has things in hand now. She gets up and moves in the morning, brushing her hair, checking her backpack, watching for the bus, and very little of my style of sleepy foot dragging.

Here I sit, writing this post for the third day in a row, and it's not even much of an update. Blame my work schedule, blame wanting to spend my day off with my family, blame my kids demanding too much of my time, but you'd probably have to blame my slug life too.

Oh well, looks like it's time for more coffee, maybe then I'll get something done.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Bedtime Songs

Its true, we're creatures of habit. At least, I am a creature of habit. How else would you explain the fact that I've been singing the same lullabies to my kids for 10 years now? Not that I mind, I enjoy them, my kids enjoy them, and that's all that matters in the end, I suppose. And it's not just lullabies, it's songs in general.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Basketball Diaries

There are first times for everything, but what first is quite as exciting as the first game you catch with your kids? I'm a baseball guy, and a baseball game with my kids is the holy grail of firsts for me. However, when opportunity knocks, I'm more than happy to open the door.

And that was the case last night. After working so hard to raise money for Jump Rope for Heart, Godzilla was given a voucher for an Indiana Pacers game. He had a choice of a few different nights, and was really excited to get to go. Unfortunately, my work schedule got complicated, and we waited a little too long to find tickets and were unable to get to any of the games available with his voucher. He was so proud of his work and of earning the tickets that we weren't going to break his heart and not take him to a game, so instead of buying one ticket to go with his free one, we picked up two and made our plan to see the Pacers take on the Oklahoma City Thunder.

As the day approached, we talked about it more and more, until Sunday morning came and he was ready to go! Of course, if you're excited to go to a basketball game, you have to warm up for it, as he pointed out before lunch.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Jumping Rope for Ducks

Godzilla just started at a new school, after we uprooted the family and moved to a new city. One of the first things he came home with from his new class, was a donation kit for Jump Rope for Heart. He walked in to the house so very excited about getting on with the fundraising. No small part of his excitement stemmed from the fact that he could earn amazing prizes at different levels for funds raised. The biggest draw were these little rubber ducks. The joy on his face as he told me all about which ducks he wanted shone like the sun. "Look at this one Dad! It's called splatter duck, because it looks like he's all splattered with paint!" and "I really want this one, because it looks like he's a super spy!" Words spilled out of his mouth at a rate I rarely hear, and this kid can talk!

He also told me about how he was working out in gym class to learn about heart health and how important it is to stay active through the Jump Rope for Heart campagn. This is where I began to get impressed with his excitement for Jump Rope for Heart.

Monday, January 12, 2015

It's a Dog's Life

When Kate and I started dating we often talked of what our future life might hold, as young kids in love often do. Our daydreams included kids, and cars, and a house, and a dog... many of the normal things you plan to have when you're older and mature and free to do as you please. As we made our life together, we've slowly worked on each of those goals, meeting them with varying degrees of success.

Our first child arrived in 2004 and our lives were instantly changed forever. Our eyes were opened. Nat was adorable. She was our pride and joy. She was our little drama queen. She was a nightmare to put to sleep.

We worked through those issues, and in 2008 moved on to our second child. Godzilla was my handsome mister. He was my heir. He was the reason the world turned upside down as far as his sister was concerned.

Two kids down and we went looking for a house. 2009 brought it to us, and while it is not the house of our teenage dreams, we have made it our home.

And once we had our home... we could finally get the dog we always wanted.

Enter Aurora.

Isn't she sweet?