Ponies in my pocket: The night of a thousand pees.

I’m sorry Whitney. I lied to you. Well, I didn’t really lie so much as I inadvertently omitted a few key pieces of information when we were talking potty training the other day. While it’s true getting a kid to be full on potty trained, where they can clean themselves, wash up, turn off the light, and close the door, is possibly the greatest human achievement aside from landing on the moon, there can still be issues. And they be nighttime issues.

So Frank is a certified, licensed, bonded and insured pottier. He’s qualified to potty indoors and outdoors by himself. He prefers outdoors which is to say, “Daddy I have to potty, can I pee in the forrest?” The forrest being the line of trees that separates our backyard from the next property, an undeveloped plot of land that has seen far too much of Frank. Before I can answer the moon is out and Frank is watering the indigenous vegetation.

Damn-it Frank!

Damn-it Frank! The potty boy, pee in the potty!

But all those fancy credentials and experience aside, Frank still has the occasional workplace accident.

It has been 0 days since our last workplace accident.

Around 1am on a clam Friday night I notice Frank’s door open as I come to bed. I peek in and see my #1 child laying across the bed, half in and half on the floor. I step to pick him up and rearrange things for him and I’m greeted with a splash. It was a true WTF moment. Turns out the what was a giant puddle of pee in the door way. Not sure if this was some sort of perimeter defense he set up or he slept his way to what he thought was the bathroom or forrest and let fly.

Undaunted but with slightly warmer feet, I get to Frank. Oh guess what, he’s soaking wet almost from head to toe. The bed is wet, the pillow is wet, the blankets are wet, the carpet around his bed is wet.

WTF!

Only Perry the Platypus escaped the carnage, Lenny/Lambie (Lenny goes to Finland for the full 411 on that situation), Dog, Mickey, they all got caught in the field of fire. It was a massacre.

Frank’s just standing there, still in a sleep induced stupor. He managed to get off one question, “Daddy why am I soaking wet?” Indeed Frank, indeed.

All peed out and no place to sleep.

All peed out and no place to sleep.

Well, I ain’t cleaning this up tonight. This won’t be a wet cloth with some club soda operation. This is a full on code 5 industrial, requiring my heavy duty carpet shampooer and some serious laundry cycles, plus stuffed animal triage. In other words it’ll wait till Saturday morning. Frank, having no clean sheets now, got dry PJ’s and slept in the recovery ICU, aka between mommy and daddy. This normally means a spleen-ectomy for me, courtesy of Frank’s knees. But we have dueling adjustable beds now so our mattress is really two smaller mattresses squeezed together to form a king.

Frank got stuck in the crevice between the two and only the left half of his body was visible most of the night. Never fazed him so we let him be. I was getting a back ache just seeing that, but he woke up around nine the next morning, extracted himself and was right as rain.

Always the trooper, Frank cleaned up his trains so I could have a clean run at the carpet. He only stepped in the puddle once.

Midget#2 on the other hand was intent on stopping the operation. Not sure if this was some Green Peace protest against industrial equipment or what, but she did everything short of laying herself in the pathway of the carpet cleaner. Once she succeeded and we shut everything down to address her concerns it turns out all she wanted was for me to carry her two princess ponies or whatever they were, in my pocket while I cleaned. She saw them go safely in my pocket and she walked away happy. Cleaning operations commenced and went smoothly. Frank’s linens were laundered and all animals antiseptic-ized.

Of course as this always goes, since I had the damn thing out I might as well address those coffee stains on the stairs.

Unbeknownst to me, while stair operations were in full swing, midget #2 figured out how to undress herself and remove her diaper. She appeared at the top of the now clean stairs completely unclothed, holding a tragically mismatched pair of pants and shirt, babbling something about, “Mess on the ground.”

It took me a few seconds but connecting the dots, she was in PJ’s – now has pants and a shirt in her hands – is yelling about a mess. She must have baptized her closet.

Yep. Back up the stairs with the carpet cleaner. We are now at -1 days without a workplace accident. Is that even possible?

So Whitney I will say this, it might not get better right away once they become full fledged pottiers, but it gets more funny almost instantly, in a sleep depriving, tearfully tragic sort of way.

Good luck!

 

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Hey Frank: It’s Masters Sunday!

Aside from two major holidays, Christmas and Easter, there is no more hollowed week in this house than Masters Week.

That’s golf by the way.

For a golf fan Masters Week is the Super Bowl but without the two weeks of media redundancy leading to the actual event. The Masters competition starts on Thursday and ends today, there is the par three competition on Wednesday and State of the Game address on Tuesday, with an opening tee shot by Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, and Jack Nicklaus starting things off early Monday morning.

This year a new event has been added to the “Tradition unlike any other.”

Masters Week now starts off on Sunday with the Drive, Chip, & Putt contest. Think punt pass and kick. Regional winners from across the country, ages 7 – 14, come to Augusta National to compete for the championship in their age group. All 4 hours was televised on the Golf Channel. Guess where I was last Sunday.

At 8:00am I settled into my office chair, propped my feet up and watched little kids, boys and girls, hit their drivers 250-300 yards. Clearly poisoned by the steroid ear of baseball, those kids must be on the juice.

Anyway, my 2yr old daughter waddled in, said GOLF! and climbed into my lap. It was shaping up to be a good Sunday morning.

Well for a bit anyway.

Out of no where my beautiful bride appears asking, “Are you taking Frank golfing?”

Crazy at it sounds I had no plans to golf that day or take Frank.

“Well he just gave me detailed “constructions” on how I was to watch after Anne Marie while you two went golfing. He’s in his room getting dressed, polo shirt and all.”

OK then I guess we’re going golfing.

It’s no secret I am trying to get Frank hooked on golf. I have no delusions about watching him compete in the Drive, Chip, and Putt competition at the Masters. Besides each competitor can only bring one chaperone, and I know he would pick his mother.

No, I’m just trying to cultivate some playing partners for the next 15-30 years. The Masters would just be a sweet bonus.

But for real, how awesome would I look in the white coveralls each caddy must wear during competition, toting Frank’s clubs as he comes down the back nine on Sunday at Augusta?

Back to realty. We’re dressed and hauling the mail to the Par 3 course about 5 miles up the road. Then off to the driving range at our home course to put in some work.

Peep the skills of my 4yr old.

New Tee boxes at the Par 3. Old boxes couldn't contain him. The course has been Frankified!

New Tee boxes at the Par 3. Old boxes couldn’t contain him. The course has been Frankified!

Posture getting a little closed. Trying to really pound this one.

Posture getting a little closed. Trying to really pound this one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Going for the green in one.

Going for the green in one.

His first ever par putt.

His first ever par putt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chasing greatness can be a lonely business. The great ones put in the work after everyone else goes home.

I’m just taking pictures and eating a hotdog I had actually bought for Frank, he’s doing all the work. Keep working Frank, still got some chips to eat!

It’s hard to see but he’s throwing the balls around the chipping green and chipping them until they go in. The beauty of golf, he stops to watch a flock of birds fly over. Do that on a soccer field and you might take one in the onions.

All that work leads to the payoff, imitating a move he saw in a dopey Adam Sandler golf movie.

Enjoy Masters Sunday!

 

 

 

Diary of a SAHD: Water water everywhere…

All fun a games till someone gets peed on.

All fun a games till someone gets peed on.

Never has the obscure phrase, “There is a reason my hair is wet.” elicited such riotous laughter from a group of medical people. But that’s exactly what happened when Frank and I returned from the bathroom at the doctors office. It was his third and finally successful trip to offer up a urine sample.

I’m not sure this is a genetic thing, but I had a similar problem, so it might be all my fault.

In 1989 when I went for my in-processing physical for the US Air Force I had a huge problem coming up with a sample. I’ll never forget my 9 hours at the Military Entrance Processing Center, or MEPS, on Cherry St. in Philadelphia. There was a huge crack down on narcotics in the military so the urine sample was a big deal. The guys going in the Navy weren’t even allowed to hold their own cup. They had to stand with their backs to the urinal facing an observer who held the cup and when full, spin and finish up in the urinal while still being observed. The Army and Marines were able to go in a stall on their own and us Air Force guys went in a group with a single observer standing at the door.

Of course I could not pee in public and was firing dust. This raised suspicion and shaped my entire time at the MEPS. After each part of the physical I went to the kitchen area and drank 3 large glasses of water, while being observed.  After about 4 hours of this I was ready to choke. Phila tap water ain’t like drinking from a babbling brook, unless that brook is the waste water flowing from a trash to steam plant.

At the 7 hour mark I was ready to pour forth like Nile, or Euphrates, or Niagra. Just insert your own analogous large body of rushing water reference, and that was me as I was nearing 8 hours of drinking 24 large glasses of water. As I said the eyebrows were raised because of my inability to come up with a sample even after 4 hours of drinking Philadelphia’s finest nectar. So the docs decided it would be fun to make me wait until the exam was completely over. The last station of the day, a 40 pound vertical lift. I was going to be an aircraft electrician so I had to prove I could handle the weight I would encounter on the flight line.

Amazing how motivating having to pee so bad I could barely stand up can be. I threw that weight around like nothing. Could have easily gone to 60 or 80. The doc finally let me go, but I got a bathroom buddy. That same poor bastard from the Navy side had to hold the cup. But he smartened up. He let me face the urinal, he just stood in between me and it. That cup was filled at the speed of sound and he was slow to react. The result was a trip to the sink and a change of uniform for him, but not until after he handed off my sample. Then I stood at the urinal for what seemed like  30 minutes. To this day it remains the greatest pee of my entire life.

Aren’t you so glad you clicked the link.

So flash forward to January of 2014. My son is being tested for diabetes and they need a sample. It’s the sole reason we are there so guess what, he’s drinking water from the tap. Almost brought a tear to my eye. It only took him three glasses before he went running down the hall. But now I’m the poor bastard with the cup so I have to catch him.

I get there as he’s ripping his pants down. I get him lined up to hit the mark and for some reason he can’t he can’t “let go”. The cup must be throwing him off. So I turn the water on in the sink, flush the toilet, sing old man river, I’m trying everything to get him to pee.

Then without warning the dam breaks. But Frank decides now would be a good time to act like he’s a fireman on the high pressure hose who’s being electrocuted. He starts all manner of gyration and the “fire hose” is completely out of control. It would have been great if the roof, window, sink, mirror, floor, trash can, and my face and head were all on fire. But they weren’t.

I stayed in the fight though, taking one for the team as it were, and got the cup filled to the top.

Why Frank?!? Whyyyyyy!

Why Frank?!? Whyyyyyy!

Once the dust, or pee in this case, settled I looked at my only son with a disbelief bordering on sobbing despair. Picture Nancy Kerrigan after she got knee capped before the Olympics. “Why Frank, why didn’t you just stand still?!?” He started to get upset but then started laughing uncontrollably. Little chooch.

Well, we got cleaned up and all he could say was “I filled the cup!” It’s always about him. Wonder where he got that from?

We drop the cup off at the nurses station and the Doc was impressed that he filled it to the top too. As they are heaping praise on him I decide a dose of reality is in order and I utter the line from above. “Hey he ain’t William Tell. There is a reason my hair is wet!”

Made their day I guess. Hell, Frank got to go to the treasure chest, not for his accuracy but for his volume. Me, I got nothing but the hot nurses tagging me with the moniker as the guy who got peed on by his son.

It could be worse, but I’m having trouble imagining how.

Oh yeah, no diabetes, although at this point that seems a minor part of the story.

Is there a moral to the story? Yeah be careful who you pee on.

You never know when it’ll be you holding the cup.

 

Sock Hoppin: Raising money has never been so much fun!

Fram here to....

From here, 1lb 12oz…

For you new folk, our twins were born in March of 2012. They were born 3 1/2 months early and only weighed 1lb 12oz each. Sadly Linda Claire only survived for five hours due to lack of lung development. Anne Marie hung on and after five months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the University of Tennessee Medical Center, we were able to bring her home.

We have a debt of gratitude to the staff at the NICU that can’t be repaid, ever. But between now and ever we are doing our best to help the cause. In this case the cause is the Phase II building project at the NICU, which will convert The Big House to private rooms. So when they’re done every kid will get a private room right from the jump. Right now the NICU is made up of about 30 private rooms and “The Big House” where most of the preemies start out. Once they improve and get to the feed and grow stage they usually move to a private room.

The rooms were great and we were glad when we moved into one if only because it meant we were making progress. But I kind of liked the community feeling of the Big House. It was noisy because you’re in there with about 60 kids, side by side, plus all the equipment keeping each one alive. And every damn thing in there beeps in some fashion, in some sequence. I got used to it and it was nice having a nurse with in arms reach if the buzzers on your kid went off. Ultimately though, the private room made it much easier for our long haul.

This is where you would use an adverb like immeasurable, as in the benefit of a private room to a preemie is immeasurable. Problem is that would not be true. The value is measurable. People much smarter than me measured it and found that preemies in private rooms respond and grow and heal much better then they do in the Big House. I would lay some stats on you but lets face it, that just wouldn’t be my style. So go here if you want to self smart yourself (NCO Academy inside joke) on the subject: UT NICU 

...to here. Sock Hopin at 23 months old.

…to here. Sock Hopin at 23 months old.

To that end Tracy had the idea for a fund raiser to help the cause. We did a Sock Hop. Yes only my wife would come up with a sock hop. You know, cause it combines the things I detest the most, costumes and dancing. Of course the costumes were optional, but I greased back my hair, threw on a t-shirt, slapped some smokes in the sleeve and I was ready to sock, or hop, or whatever. I actually managed to avoid the dancing by claiming to be running the music. You can peep the photo gallery below.

Turned out to be a great time. Uncle Butch provided some great 50s music and Frank’s preschool provided the venue. We had good food, good cookies, cakes, brownies, etc… There was an impressive limbo contest and an equally impressive hula hoop contest. All to raise some dough-ra-me for the NICU.

The goal was to raise about $500 American dollars.

The money is still flowing in but at last tally we were around $1100 not counting the people who sent donations directly to the UT Medical Center.

So yeah, goal exceeded and then some. Obviously we could not have done it without a ton of help. As a matter of fact without Mary Alice, Whitney, and Ashley, it probably doesn’t happen at all. Marisa, Morgan and Becky were the backbone of the deal on game day and made it so much easier to run and shut down when we were done.

Several local organizations got in on the act as well. Dinner was provided by Gourmet’s Market. All the baked goods were donated by The Sweetery, Magpies, Buttermilk Sky Pie Co, and The Cup. Decorations were provided by Echelon Florists. Knoxville people, go buy local, go buy a lot.

Not too bad for a first attempt at a fundraiser. Probably set our goal too low. Definitely learned some things. All in all it was a lot of fun and it’s a great cause. Everyone looked great too. A special shout out to April Grimsley, who could have easily stepped from the pages of a 1950s fashion mag.

Guess what? You can still get in on the fun. Make a donation in honor of Linda Claire at the UT NICU here: UT NICU Donations. Preciate ya.

Here’s a few shots from The Hop. First one of from the UT NICU and last one from Mag Pies Bakery.

Nurse Paula (rt) and Nurse  Farideh. Two of our heroes.

Nurse Paula (rt) and Nurse Farideh (middle). Two of our heroes.

My favorite part of the Hop.

My favorite table at the Hop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was my best 50s shot at a costume. Everyone else looked straight out of Happy Days.

It was my best 50s shot at a costume. Everyone else looked straight out of Happy Days.

King and Queen of the Hop. Mary Alice and Josh

King and Queen of the Hop. Mary Alice and Josh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Becky and a child she stole from someone.

Becky and a child she stole from someone.

 

Mike Whitney and Stylin Bennett

Mike, Whitney and Stylin Bennett

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That hurts my back just looking at it.

That hurts my back just looking at it.

 

Hula Hoopin the night away

Hula Hoppin the night away

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Really tough guy? You're wearing penny loafers.

Really tough guy? You’re wearing penny loafers.

Magpies Bakery in the Old City, Knoxville TN

Magpies Bakery in the Old City, Knoxville TN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diary of a SAHD: Parenting issues activist? Eh… no thanks.

I think anyone who writes and puts it out there to the general public feels uneasy or nervous or insecure. With the blog I’m generally not that way. I write what I write, don’t apologize for it, figuring if you don’t like it then don’t read it. If someone else wants to publish a post of mine then the nerves kick up a bit. Generally though I’m not worried about what anyone thinks about what I write. These stories are more for me than you all anyway, although I’m glad you enjoy them and I appreciate everyone who clicks and reads and comments.

But I have always wondered if I went the wrong way with this blog. Honestly I never expected so many would be reading this. I know these stories are funny, but I also thought they’d probably only be funny to me. I’m not sure I should be glad or frightened for humanity that so many of you have a similar sense of humor to mine.

As I encounter more dad bloggers in my travels throughout the internet it occurs to me that I never get into discussing parenting or parenting issues. A lot of dads write about that stuff. In fact most, if not all, of the dad bloggers I have seen write about stuff like that in some way or another. And some of them have huge followings, like numbering in the hundreds of thousands.

So I worried. Did I go the wrong way making this such a personal blog? Should I be out there advocating for dads and then writing about it here? Should I be worried about the public’s perception of stay at home dads, trying to combat it at every turn? Should I be giving out parenting tips, do’s and don’ts lists about rasing kids, or best practices that have worked for me as a dad?

If you’re playing the home version, the answers are in order: no, no way, no, and ye…ah…no.

Yeah I worried, but only for a few seconds. Turns out I’m way too arrogant and lazy for any of that crap.

Advocacy takes work. You know, you have to research stuff, look up facts and stats and quotes and on and on. I’m tired from just typing that sentence. Mocking advocates is so much easier as it requires no facts what ever. Plus it’s just much more fun.

The bigger issue, apathy. I really don’t care if Huggies makes an ad that doesn’t feature dads or pokes fun at dads. I mean that’s a device that collects poop. Why would I care what they think about dads. Add to that the fact my daughter can’t handle the chemicals in Pampers Baby Dry, so we buy her…wait for it…Huggies Natural. If I need diapers does it really matter that Huggies markets to their biggest customers, in this case moms. Answer, no it doesn’t, I’m still buying them.

Do I care what ads Procter and Gamble are running during the Olympics? No. I’m down for 16 days of curling and I care not one wit if Procter and Gamble or any other advertiser doesn’t specifically include me or other SHADs in their concepts for commercials. To be honest I have no idea what products P&G even makes so I’m probably supporting the enemy without knowing it. And yet my life surprisingly goes on unabated.

Am I kerfuffled by a zoo that marks out a space to take a break and calls it Mom’s Cove or that they provide a space for moms to breast feed? First of all I don’t get kerfuffled. Secondly who the hell has the kind of time to get worked up over that? Besides I’m too busy trying to figure out how to whoop my kid at light-sabres on the Wii.

A Jedi's power flows through the binker.

A Jedi’s power flows through the binker.

I mean it’s not like he’s an expert Jedi or anything. No, Frank’s light-saber fighting style is more like an epileptic getting electrocuted. So the one controller moving the light-saber and the other using his force powers are going one hundred miles per hour. Although that’s an unofficial speed as I have not calibrated my radar gun in a while. Regardless, I have absolutely no chance. I must figure this out and whoop him and I can’t be wastin my limited brain capacity on deep issues. The bigger issue is Frank is not a gracious winner and it’ll be a few months before I can get him on the golf course to take him down a notch or two. (Man I know I’m gonna get angry e-mails from people that have been electrocuted. Ah well, that’s the price of fame. franknfran0967@gmail.com)

Anyway, apparently there is a cadre of moms out there shooting dismissive, laser like, looks at dads who come to the park. I’m usually way too oblivious of people around me to ascertain if they are giving me looks. I also live in a great neighborhood and the moms in The Sac treat me like one of the gang. I’m a bit more of a Gossipy Gertrude than they are but they’re still pretty cool. So no I don’t understand the ‘cold shoulder at the park’ complaints a lot of dads write about. Again, I’m way too arrogant, or self assured if you like, to be phased by that.

Ultimately it comes to this; aside from my smart-alec responses before, the real issue is the mission. Caring for the well being of my two kids is the mission.

On that score I’m laser focused.

I can’t think of a time in my life where that ideal was not drummed into me either directly or by example. My parents and seven brothers and sisters all model the axiom  ‘What other people do has no bearing on me until it does.’

Of course the military lives on the mantra of the mission, and for good and obvious reasons. On the flight line early in my military career that was drummed into me by some great men. It’s the mission stupid. Figure out the mission and whatever isn’t the mission isn’t important. When I arrived as a new instructor at the NCO Academy I found there was a lesson in the curriculum addressing this very issue.

So apathy is part of why I don’t take up the banner of dad issues and the slighting there of. But at the end of the day, commercials, crossed eyed looks from moms at the park, spots at the zoo marked Mom’s Cove, have no impact on the mission and in my opinion don’t warrant my attention.

Let me say God bless the guys out there fighting the fight. I’m not sure what the exit strategy is, but they must because they all seem very good at what they’re doing. They have been blessed, unlike me, with the ability to de several things well at the same time, to include writing great blogs. But as for me and my house, we shall focus solely on the mission. As myopic as that might be.

Kids bring their own problems, I don’t have the time or energy or the brain pan size for what appears to me to be manufactured problems.

So we shall continue with dopey stories about how my kids terrorize and amaze me, sometimes simultaneously.

Here endeth the wasting of brain cells.

Now where’s my light-sabre?

Diary of a SAHD: Discovering a galaxy far far away…

Editors Note: In honor of International Star Wars Day, (it’s May the 4th Be With You day if you were not aware,) Here is a story of when my kids discovered the greatest movie franchise in the known galaxy. Enjoy. 

Discovering a galaxy far far away…

Honestly we have been actively keeping this from him. Obviously we’ve not done a very good job at shielding him from it. Kids are maturing so quickly these days. He’ll only be five in May so how soon is too soon? How early is innocence lost these days? When is the right time to tell him about it, to have THE talk?

He’s seen it by accident on TV so apparently the moment has come and the time is now.

Time for THE talk.

Time to tell him about Star Wars.

Some random dude on Twitter mentioned how no matter how many times it’s on he always gets sucked in by the Star Wars marathon on Spike. Mrs Franks Place replied to his tweet by saying she knows someone who does the exact same thing.

Two things she fails to realize is I follow her on Twitter so I saw that tweet. Second, I watch a lot of Star Wars and because of that have developed Jedi mind power which means I know she was talking about me, and in a non-complimentary way. The dark side always reveals itself sooner or later.

She’s not wrong. No matter how many times it plays I can watch the Star Wars. Like The Godfather, the Star Wars movies transcend time. They hold up. They’re great movies and always will be.

A Jedi's power flows through the binker.

A Jedi’s power flows through the binker.

I’m dying for Frank to get hooked. The light-saber battles alone will be epic. But the movies are too dark in theme for a little kid in my opinion so I’ve not let him watch. Kids in his class have though. Frank has been to a Star Wars themed birthday party and has had imaginary light-sabre duels in the school yard with his buds. We have actual duels on the Wii. But that’s me against him using just characters from the movies. No plots or darkness involved. Still I didn’t think the movies would be a good idea for him. There are parts of Henry Huggle Monster that cause him to run from the room.

It just so happened there was a Star Wars marathon a few weeks ago. Spike TV was playing all six movies in numerical order. If I was single I would have never changed from my PJ’s and eaten nothing but popcorn for the entire Saturday. Married with no kids: I would have still lived on Diet Coke and popcorn all day, but I would have done it standing at the ironing board folding all the laundry in the house. That would have got me through three and a half of the six moivies. Would have been sitting on my ass for the last two.

Married with two kids: still doing laundry but with remote set to the Star Wars and Disney Junior so I can flip to Octonauts in case the two midgets wander in. They wander in all the time so I was seeing a lot of Octonauts and not much Jedi. But one particularly quiet moment when midget 2 was down for her nap, midget 1 wandered in to my laundry station undetected while I was watching A New Hope, the first Star Wars movie released, (1977) but fourth in the series. Also least darkest in my opinion. Although Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen were sent to their eternal dirt naps in a less than glorious fashion by the storm troopers.

Anyway, once I realized he was standing by the door I switched it to Disney. Too late. The questions start.

What was that movie? Why were they shooting that man? What happened to that ship? And on and on.

It was time. No way around it now.

You see son a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…

Ah the explanations won’t do any good. I just let him watch it. In five minutes he saw a light-saber fight and thought they were playing the game we play on the Wii. When Obi Wan is killed by Darth Vader Frank asked, “Where are they gonna play next.” In the game after you win a duel it restarts and you can pick which planet or scene you want to duel in next. Not so in the movie. Obi Wan was sent to the eternal ether. This stark reality caused Frank to deem it a daddy movie and he promptly ran out.

That same day, three baskets of laundry later, midget 2, up from her nap wonders in while I’m watching the third movie in the series and the latest one released, Revenge of the Sith. It’s by far the darkest of the six movies in my opinion. The particular scene she saw takes place on Chewbacca’s home planet, loaded with Wookies in a bloody battle with the droid armies.

Wookies/Sheep - Anne Marie speaks their language.

Wookies/Sheep – Anne Marie speaks their language.

Anne Marie’s response? Pointed at the TV and yelled “Sheep! Sheep! Baaa”. Yeah so I guess they do look like sheep, if sheep could stand on two feet, fire a laser crossbow, and you know, be self governing so as to run an entire planet. But I took her point. That kid is a pistol.

So Frank appears to be unfazed. He got a light-saber from the birthday party he went to Saturday, (not a real one, I would have kept that for myself) and he still wants to have duels on the Wii. He just doesn’t want to watch the movies.

That’s ok I guess. Seems a bit unnatural to get sucked in by the merchandizing without seeing the actual movies, but ok.

Maybe the force is not strong with him after all.

His sister on the other hand…

Jedi or Sith? We report, you decide!

Jedi or Sith? We report, you decide!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OK maybe not.

 

 

 

Diary of a SAHD: Zero to Holly Jolly in 8 hours.

We dig the Christmas season just as much as the next family. We just don’t do a whole lot about it from Thanksgiving to Christmas day. We’re not grinches as much as we are lazy. I put up lights but that’s only because the neighbors went all Clark Griswold and I had to respond. That’s really an exaggeration. The Sac was a little subdued this Christmas. I know one thing, Frank’s Place is copying the next door neighbors and going all color lights next Christmas. You’re a trend setter Mike, and have delivered me from these awful energy saving dull white lights. But my meager light display was about as much as the yule tide spirit we were willing to imbibe.

Frank’s unwillingness to see Santa this year played right into our laziness. Scribing the letter was easy, no fuss no muss. Shopping was even easier. Wait in lines? Get up at 3am the Friday after Thanksgiving? Who does these things with the advent of internet shopping? It’s cold out there man. Ain’t no way I’m getting up that early to put on 3 layers of clothes just to wait in line so I can duke it out with Ma and Pa Kettle over an leopard print iPad cover. I’m not ashamed to say there were some days I was Christmas shopping at my computer without wearing pants. Not sure why I never got a picture of that. Ah well, opportunity lost.

A Santa only a homeless shelter could love.

A Santa only a homeless shelter could love.

Anyway, Christmas Eve rolls around and Mrs Frank’s Place gets the holiday spirit. Lets take the kids to the mall and get a picture with Santa she says. Eh ok, what the heck. So we dress them in their Christmas PJs and off we go. Line is short. This can’t be good. Annnnnd potty break for Santa. A mere 25 minutes later Santa’s bladder is right as rain and we’re making pictures. Result to the left. A Christmas Miracle!

Look man, I don’t mind sayin the Santas were all pretty damn creepy this year. Look at that dude. If I ran into that guy in a parking garage in broad daylight I’d crap my pants. It took all my will power to keep it under control for that picture and it was 11:30 in the morning. His eyes haunt me even now.

No matter we got the shot, Frank asked for a snow ogre and we headed out into the mall for some shopping and then out into the world for lunch, on Christmas Eve no less.

A Bond Unbroken 

After lunch we decided to pay a visit to Linda Claire’s grave with some flowers. If you are unaware, Anne Marie is a surviving twin. Linda Claire was her sister and she died five hours after being born. Neither Frank nor Anne Marie have ever been there so it felt like a risky proposition, but we pressed on and told Frank to ask any question he wanted.

Tracy showed Frank Linda Claire’s grave and I put Anne Marie down and let her walk to Frank. Except she didn’t walk to Frank. She walked up to the grave marker which is a flat stone, flush with the ground. AM stood there for a second, then crouched down a little and stared at the stone for what seemed like forever. It was somewhere in the 5 minute neighborhood, maybe 6  or 7. I was having a hard time processing. AM never made a peep. She just stood there slightly crouched, staring. Then she reached down, touched the plaque, said “baby, baby”, turned and waked back to the van. Cemetery trip concluded.

I question my own sanity even typing that last paragraph. I have absolutely no explanation for what happened. As my father said, why waste time trying to figure it out, just enjoy it. Well said Pop, well said.

Frank broke the silence by asking how would we get LC the flowers. Great question. We had no answer other than to say she could see them from where she was, in God’s house. Ten minutes later he asked “What about all the other names on the ground?” What names Frank? “All the other names on the ground in God’s house? Do they get flowers too?” LC is buried in the infant section of the cemetery. Most of the graves are marked with stones that lay flat on the ground. Kids pick up on the craziest things and then ask about it in a way that makes their parents start crying all over again.

Then it was cookie baking time. AM and Mrs Frank’s Place went off for a nap and that left me and Frank in the kitchen to get our Christmas cookie on. I gave the orders and Frank did all the work, short of putting the cookie sheets into the oven. He plays the mixer like a member of the Philharmonic. We cleaned as we baked and fun was had by all. All two of us. Cookies were out and cooling and it was time for church.

This was going to be the biggest test of the day. The picture below should give you an indication of how it went.

Running laps in the church basement. Baby Jesus better put on some track shoes.

Running laps in the church basement. Baby Jesus better put on some track shoes.

My theologically versed sister maintains that you receive grace even if you sleep in church. So running a half marathon in the basement should be worth a “double portion”, as Benny Hinn would say.

Church was OK for a first try in a long time. Thanks to an amazingly large basement the kids were able to run laps for the entire service. But we had to git on home, there were cookies to decorate.

But first we had to throw reindeer food on the lawn. Down here they call it bait, but it’s really food for Santa’s team when he comes to the Sac. Then it was cookie decorating time.

Frank’s cookie decorating style could loosely be described as a cross between the great cubist Pablo Picasso and a drunk of his ass Andy Warhol. Ultimately it got the job done. We put four masterpieces on a plate and put them under the tree.

Kids went off to bed and thus ended our first family Christmas Eve-a-palooza. We crammed more Christmas into this past Christmas Eve than we have the last 5 Christmases combined.

Not sure what got into us but it was a good day from start to finish.

By golly it was a holly jolly Christmas indeed.