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.

Obviously, some songs are made to put you to sleep, and others are not. My list of sleep songs is short, and it almost always starts with "I've Been Working on the Railroad." You can blame my dad I suppose, he has always been crazy about trains. Throw in the old standbys of "Rock-a-bye Baby" and "Brahms' Lullaby," "Hush Little Baby," and "Frรจre Jacques" and you just about round out my library of bedtime songs. Occasionally, the kids have gotten "All the Pretty Little Horses" as well.

As my babies have grown up, I've added in fun songs that are more about sending them to sleep with happy thoughts, even if they do rile them up a bit. Songs like "Hagdalena Magdalena," "Little Bunny Foo Foo," "In the Boarding House," and "My Grandfather's Clock" serve as my musical bonding medium. My kids enjoy hearing me sing and singing along. Songs at bedtime are a cherished bedtime ritual from my childhood, and I love carrying the tradition on to the next generation.

Now you know what's in my song book. What songs do you claim as your own?

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?

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Stuff My Kids Say XIV

"I have two hypothesiseses (that one kind of got away from him) about my sister:

1. She will turn into a really nice person who is not annoying and likes me.

- or -

2. She will be more annoying and ignore me even more than she already does."

     - Godzilla, age 6.

Somehow, even at the age of six, this kid summed up the relationship he'll have with his sister over next 20 years pretty expertly. Of course, option two will come well before option one, but eventually she'll get there. I think most of us do. Sometimes it amazes me, the clarity of youth.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Wonder Woman Duct Tape Boots

My daughter has wanted to dress up as Wonder Woman for Halloween for years. Somehow though, we have never gotten her the costume to do it. She has had Supergirl outfits, every princess dress ever, capes, crowns, and magic wands, but every time we approach October, her focus drifts off of Wonder Woman, and she latches onto another costume. As a result, we've just never made her Amazonian dreams come true.

Until this year.

Halloween Costume

We nearly got sidetracked this fall too, as it has been the year of the dragon for her. Witches, Red Riding Hood, princess', and butterflies I could do, but constructing a dragon costume on a shoestring budget was not going to happen. Ultimately, we found this great Wonder Woman nightgown to use as the base of her costume, she had a crown already from a cereal box DC promotion earlier this year. All we were missing was the boots.

Do a quick search for red leather knee-high boots in women's size 9. I can wait (just don't lose this page!) My results came back with anywhere from $35 - $100! That kind of goes against the idea of costuming on a budget. So naturally, I turned to Pinterest. What? We might not be as well represented, but dads can use Pinterest too. One post turned up again and again on making duct tape boots, and that served as the foundation for Nat's footwear. However, the tutorial was for Musketeer boots, which had a little different styling than Wonder Woman, so I had to make some adjustments.

At their base, you'll need a pair of shoes, a pair of old tall socks, colored duct tape, and optional card stock to help form the leg/peak on your Wonder Woman boots.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Oh Captain, My Captain

I think it's confession time.

We have a bit of a superhero problem in this house.

It's not uncommon for us to be invaded by Superman, the Flash, random Avengers, Wonder Woman, etc. As a result, our closet has no shortage of costumes for the kids to dress up in (and me from time to time, if we're being honest). The kids have all the action figures, we've seen all the shows (Netflix has proven invaluable with all the cartoons the kids have had access to.) Free Comic Book Day is an annual outing, both the older kids have their favorites. Santa would in fact get hate mail from our address if he didn't provide a little superhero fix on December 25th.

I don't think there is anything wrong with our obsession, mind you. I love the idea of superheroes. They show us a better version of ourselves. They provide an example to aspire to, even if we will never be able to fly or shoot webs from our wrists, or compel the truth from someone by throwing a lasso around them. They vanquish evil, stand up for the weak, and affect change in those around them.

So, we play dress up. We imagine. We let the worlds of Marvel and the DC universe overtake our living room. And soon, the two boys and their heroes will be moving into the same bedroom. A room overrun with mutants and aliens and defenders of truth and justice is exactly what Godzilla wants, and exactly what he wants to share with his baby brother.

A superhero themed room though needs superheroes to fill the walls, so who should go up first, but the first of them all. Action Comics #1 staring Godzilla as the Man of Steel. Maybe you remember it, maybe you don't (go ahead, take a look, he makes a good Superman). The second thing will be the other iconic American hero, Captain America. And what more iconic image of Cap is there than the cover Jack Kirby and Stan Lee put together after JFK's assassination. While this cover may not be as recognizable as AC1, It is one of Marvel's most important.  It was a story of a man out of time who represented the strength of democracy and perseverance. It showed that we can overcome our trials based on our will power and conviction, and that is a message I want my kids to learn. Who wouldn't want to embody such a message? Combine Captain America with Iron Man, Thor, Ant Man, and Wasp, and you have the perfect template to base another anchor to the boy's room.