Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Stuff My Kids Say VIII

"Open your mouth Mom, I want to talk to the baby"
          - Godzilla, age 4

Kate is now about 5 months pregnant, and had mentioned to the kids that the baby can hear you talk to it. So naturally, Godzilla knows you talk through your mouth, so if the baby is in Mom's belly, you must need to talk to it through her mouth!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Reading Reviews with Nat - The Land of Stories, The Wishing Spell

Welcome to Nat's Book Nook. We've been reading for our library's summer reading program. It's a great program with prizes every 10 books, and a grand prize drawing at the end of the summer if you read 40 books. While some kids go for quantity, racking up over a hundred titles, Nat has decided to go for substance, reading mostly chapter books, some as many as 450 pages long, while still filling out her 40. She just finished this book and wanted to share.

Hi, I'm Natalie, and I am almost 9 years old. I found this book at the store and just knew I had to read it. Now I can't wait for the next one to come out!

The Land of Stories, The Wishing Spell is about a pair of boy and girl twins named Alex and Conner. In the beginning of the book they are just normal kids who's grandma gives them her old book, "The Land of Stories" for their 12th birthday after their father dies in a car crash. The first night they have it, they realize it wasn't your average book. While wishing with all her heart to travel inside the book they accidentally activate it and fall into the land of stories. And that's how it all begins.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Dress Up

We have a large hamper full of dress up clothes at our house. It started when Nat was just a little thing. We would pick up princess costumes after Halloween on the clearance rack. And the collection grew. She was even given her very own pop-up "fashion show" tent. As far as costumes, we had a little of everything, from Cinderella to Belle, to renaissance, to flapper-girl. And jewelry, shoes and purses to match.

Oh the purses!

Then along came Godzilla. And train conductors, firemen, knights and superheros all began appearing in the hamper. He has masks and belts and hoods and capes and even a pair of fireman boots. The two of them go through phases where dress-up is included in every day's play. Right now is one of those phases. They are forever wearing masks and crowns and "glass slippers" and capes.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Lists of Five, its an "Old School" Thing

Lets talk about tagging? If you thought that was only for Banksy-wannabes, either realign your expectations, or add me to your list, cause I just got tagged. Tracy over at Crazy As Normal tagged me for one of those "Old School" internet-meme-list-maker-get-to-know-you things. (I think she just knew I couldn't resist a dare, not that I've ever done anything embarrassing on a dare before. I haven't. So stop asking) So lets get to it!
A little disclaimer before I get started, these lists will be random, unless otherwise stated, cause what good is a list if you can't argue with yourself about which of your favorites is actually your favorite.

Five Things I Have a Passion For:
1. Family - if I change their diapers now, they'll have to change mine when I'm older
2. Coffee - the rich, bitter depth of a well roasted cup is my first and best motivation to get out of bed any given day 
3. Baseball - nothing I love doing outside more than swinging a bat, and no better way to spend a summer Sunday than with the Cubs on the TV
4. Television - I work in it, so I must like it. right?
5. Reading - if I had more hours in my day, I might actually get to enjoy this one

Five Things I Would Like to do Before I Die:
1. Travel through Europe - we're talking a full on summer abroad. I'd do all the tourist traps, but I would love to see the backroads of Ireland
2. Own a Corvette - nothing feels quite like the hug of soft leather at 100 mph
3. See the Grand Canyon - I hear its quite something
4. Go to a blues bar in Chicago - I know there are a few here I could never see, but these musicians move me. BB King, Muddy Watters, Eric Clapton, Son House, John Lee Hooker, Etta James, Buddy Guy, Shemekia Copeland, Howlin' Wolf, Taj Mahal, John Mayall, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Robert Cray... I could go on and on
5. Write a children's book - everyone has a story to tell

Five Things I Say A Lot:
1. "Stop trying to eat your sister"
2. "That's your boy"
3. "No"
4. "Whatever"
5. "Just let me drink my coffee first"

Five Books And/Or Magazines I Have Read Lately:
1. Broken Harbor, by Tana French - was a book club thing, a little disappointing at the end
2. Spin, by Robert Charles Wilson - a really good character story about a dystopian future where the Earth doesn't age at the same pace as the universe around it
3. Sports Illustrated - because what man doesn't read SI every so often
4. DC comics New 52 - assortment. I've covered the Justice League, the Flash, Earth 2, Justice League Dark and International, Superman, and Green Lantern Sinestro Corps in the last month or two. Just getting caught up.
5.All My Friends are Dead, by Avery Monsen - a short funny picture book where on each page you meet something else who's friends are dead, or bread, or Kentucky fried, or obsolete. You should check it out.

Five Favorite Movies (Maybe You've Seen Them Five Times...):
1. Office Space
2. Spaceballs
3. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
4. Marvel's Avengers
5. Lord of the Rings (take your pick, all 3 go together, so I'm counting them as one. If I had to pick just one to watch though I probably go with Fellowship of the Ring)
8. Princess Bride
9. Anchorman
10. Inception
was I supposed to stop somewhere up there?

Five Places I Would Love to Travel:
1. Ireland - the homeland. the green hills. the castles. the pubs. the history.
2. Venice - from churches to bridges to all the water, it all would be amazing to experience firsthand
3. The Grand Canyon - though I wouldn't tightrope walk over it, I'm not stupid
4. NYC - give me about a week, maybe more
5. The Louvre - so much beautiful art to see

People I Invite:
I've never been one to pass these things on, but in the spirit of the game... I really like these folks. I either ramble with them on twitter or get to know them via their blogs, either way I would love to hear their answers.

Amie driving her MinivanFullOKid
Chris of CanadianDad
Brad in ReadBradTheDad
Meg at DearCrazyKids

Finally, just the legal disclaimers and all. You know, the small print.

If you want to play, please do, even if I didn't tag you. If you just want to tell me what you think of my list, the comments are always open. If you like what you see here and want to dive deeper into the internet, check out our hosts Elaine and Alison. They don't know me. I don't know them, but their little corners of the web look like fun. If you want to count to 1,643,914 in French... please record it and post it to YouTube, then send me a link.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

USP - Unscheduled Sleep Positions III

At the table. Classic, right?

How is it that bedtime doesn't mean sleep, but dinnertime does? The number of pictures and videos we have of this guy falling asleep at the table is a little frightening. I guess it just means he's wearing himself out during the day. And if he's wearing himself out, that means I'm doing my job.

It also means I will probably fall asleep at the table too.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Summertime Shouldn't be Bored Time

It happened today.

My daughter was lounging on the porch with her neighbor friend. I walked past her, getting ready for some yard work.

Me: Whatcha doin?

Nat: Nothing, we're bored.

Me: Huh, why don't you girls write some poems.

Friend: Why would we do that? Writing is school work.

Nat: yea Dad, I don't want to write. That's what school is for.

Me: Oh come on, don't tell me you guys couldn't think up a good poem? Like this.
"There once was a girl from South Bend, who sat on the porch with her friend. She pouted and whined, and wasted her time, unaware that soon summer would end."
Nat: DAD!

Me: What, coming up with a poem isn't hard when you have good source material.

I then got the eye roll to end all eye rolls. I walked away to get back to my work, and left her there to obviously talk with her friend about what an embarrassing dad she had.

This doesn't have to be the end of the story. I actually have a list posted on my fridge for those kinds of moments, and am usually able to find something to catch their attention. The list ranges from drawing a flip book, to blowing bubbles. From building a ramp to drive Hot Wheels® over to hosting a tea party. I might have to go through a couple ideas to find one that sticks, but it's never failed me yet.

Today however, I let her activity be shaking her head at her nerd of a dad.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

6 Days in a 7x7 Room Never Looked so Good

So, my bathroom got renovated this past week. Not being the richest family in town however, I needed to stick to a budget and do the work myself. Thankfully my Father-in-Law, Dave came to help, and there's a Lowe's store just up the street.

To give you an idea of what we were working with before getting started, I took a page from all the home-reno shows on cable and took before, during, and after pictures. To give you an idea of what I was working with before, here is a shot of the sink and toilet. Please excuse the smiling child in front of both.

The walls were a pale purple and we had a flowery shower curtain. The toilet was known to rock when you sat on it and was stained beyond belief much to my wife's chagrin whenever we had company. The cabinet doors stuck if you ever tried to open them. The bathroom also serves as our laundry room, and the open shelves over the machines were simple planks of wood, that were forever dirty and disorganized.

Kate and I have been eyeing a remodel for several months and had fixtures picked out and budgeted for. We knew it was a small room, and that would help, plus we decided to wait on changing out the tub until next year.

Here is the vanity we wanted at first, but budget won out and we got this one instead, with matching mirror. I can't say we minded the downgrade, but are really happy with the results. We also quickly picked out a toilet, vinyl floor tiles, and paint.

That was the easy part!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

I'm Going to Pump *Clap* You Up!

No, I'm not heading to the gym with Hans and Franz, I'm pumping up my bike tires. And you can too!

Every year as summer comes around, I think about the delicious Christmas ham and that bird we stuffed and gorged ourselves on in November. I think about the cold-weather climate I live in and how animals store up fat for their long winter hibernation. I also think about how I used to be a runner, and about 40 pounds lighter. To be fair, that was when I left high school - college happened (we all know how that goes), I've gotten married and started raising two kids, and about 15 years have gone by. Never-the-less, every summer I long to get back to fighting shape, but every year, something stands in my way.

  • Left-over Easter candy sits in the cupboard
  • Rotten weather sours my appetite for outdoor exercise
  • Unaccommodating work schedules mix with child-care needs
  • Gym memberships are expensive (then you add in child-care costs)
  • I'm 30-something and my knees are already starting to go
  • That third S'more and Porter at the weekend campfire look really good

Whatever it may be though, I struggle to get out and get healthy. Not this year.

This year I have a bike. And this year I am riding it. To this point, I have been riding for the last three weeks, about four days a week, and averaging about 5 miles a day. In fact, I'm feeling pretty good about it. To make things even better, I got a challenge. Publicly called out to put in 360 miles by the end of the year.

Seeing as I had already started riding, I thought: "What better way to stay committed than by bragging about how far I ride online?!" That's what the internet is for anyway, right? That and trolling... It doesn't take much to get out and work out if you're properly motivated. And right now, I'm motivated. The folks over at Dads Round Table got it started, and I'm committed to finishing it.

360 miles sounds like a lot, and if I trail off come winter, it might not happen.

But it only takes three months for something to become a habit.
That's a fact.
Don't ask me how I know.

Fine, I read it on the internet, but regardless... three months gets me into September, and the weather is still nice in September. As the weather does turn into fall and then winter, I'll be into the rhythm of going out every day, and if I can't ride the bike, I'll be up for a jog around the neighborhood.

Until the point I can't ride due to snow and ice, I'll just have to push myself to get ahead of the curve on mileage. You know, average 25 miles a week instead of 13. Ride five days instead of four. Skip that third s'more... but not the porter. I like my porters, leave them out of this.

Are you motivated? If not, why? What would it take for you to get out and get started? Why not join me in the DadsRT360 challenge?