... Or parenthood from the male perspective.

... Or parenthood from the male perspective.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Summer Time

Two words: Pig Train.
That is all you need to know. Well... Ok, a bit more information might be helpful.
We spent the day at a "Berries, Brew and Barbecue" event at French Prairie Gardens in St. Paul, OR. Despite the 100 degree day and my seasonal allergies making my nose leak like a sieve, it was a blast!
   From the moment we got there and purchased our fun bracelets ($5 each) it was all about the pig train. The little one couldn't get enough of this thing. I honestly couldn't guess how many times she rode the thing. And there were a few times that she and her friend were the only ones on it and the drive of the tractor didn't stop at the usual spot and hey just went around the track again. The big smile on her face was probably only matched by the one on mine.
   Then there was a fairly large slide that required burlap blankets to ride down on. I thought for sure this would be too scary but it happened so fast that I don't think my daughter had time to freak out. In fact, we did it a second time. And even came back to it a couple times later in the day.
   I've never picked strawberries before and I'll be the first to admit that they are a pain. in. the. ass. But the were also the absolute best strawberries I've ever tasted in my life. Not exaggerating.
   The duck races were also popular.
   Between the good food, fun events, strawberries and refreshing beverages there is a good time had by all who go here. My only hope is that the hundred degree temps today scared everyone off. There was hardly anyone there which made it great for us, but I hope they pick up more patrons in the next couple of weekends. 
   So if you're looking for something to do in the next weekend or so, I strongly recommend this place. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


Days like today make me think I'm winning. My wife is out of town on business over night and I had an awesome day with my kid. I wasn't sure how it would go. Whenever it is just one of us, bedtime can sometimes end in fountains of tears because we miss momma/daddy so much.
   To make things worse, when she doesn't nap at school during the day the level at which she is inconsolable is well past 11 on a scale of 1 to 10.
   I feel guilty for my approach to the day wondering what all will go wrong.  
   Then we go to the park after I pick her up from school and we spend a half hour running around from swing to slide to teeter totter. Look how awesome she is.  

The Rey shirt and Zita boots add a nice touch. 
   Even at this point, I was worried about the rest of the evening. All my fears were ill-founded because the rest of our evening was just as wonderful.  Dinner was followed by the regular bedtime routine. Then we read a little Captain Underpants and she went right to bed with little coaxing from me.
   As I was straightening up tonight, I realized that she had even cleaned up her loom project that she decided to work on while I made dinner. 
   As I said: winning. But of course, there will always be the opposite days. I'm just glad for days like these where she makes it easy for me to not be an ass.
   A couple more photos from recent weeks just because:

Tuesday, March 8, 2016


We’re working on reading and tying shoes, now. Well… E is, anyway. And she is blowing. My. mind.
She brings home a folder with a sheet of paper and a small book from her preschool. On the sheet of paper is a series of columns showing the title of the book, the date, and parent(s) signatures showing that she has read the book. The little books about Mac, Sam, Dot, Jig the pig and Meg the dog start off pretty simple, but in a little more than a week, I am amazed at the progress the little one is making. True, these books are not going to win any Pulitzers for literature. But I don’t think I could be a prouder father seeing my daughter read and seeing the wheels turning behind her eyes thinking She GETS it!

And then she starts working on tying her shoes pretty much the same week. She always makes a big deal about helping me with my shoes each morning and going through the motions of tying them. The last shoes that we got for her with laces didn’t last long. (because of how fast she’s growing) I think it also must have gotten frustrating for her.

But the other day, the wife was working all day Saturday so it was a father/daughter day spent mostly running errands. But in an attempt to make it more interesting for her, I asked if she wanted to get tie shoes. She seemed into it so we went to Freddies and found ourselves staring at the long row of shoes. Of course she navigated to the bright pink one with stars and lights. Then in an attempt to cast of the shackles of gender programming, I explained how the store ‘thinks’ girls should wear these shoes that are all pink and boys should wear these shoes which is why they are all separate. But that she could choose whichever shoes she wanted. She may have been trying to please me (or we just selected the first pair that we could find in her size) but she ended up with some awesome converse in the navy blue shade. I may have been projecting this choice on her a little bit.  But she seemed excited regardless.

Not having any other kids to compare her to, tying shoes and learning to read seem like pretty major milestones. And it seems like she’s hurdling these milestones at a young age. (she only just turned 4 in January) But then as her parents, we are going to think she’s a prodigy no matter what she does. I think she may have handed me her booger today but she did it in a brilliant way.

It’s times like these that make me think I’m making the right choices as a parent. But I’m sure that won’t last long and I’ll start pulling out the rest of my hair for having yelled at her for some stupid reason like not washing her hands immediately after going potty or leaving her coat on the floor.

Whatever.  Enjoy these.

 And here we are getting a smoothie to help get us through the rest of our errands.

Sunday, February 14, 2016


It has been well over 20 years since I’ve been to Disneyland. So it didn’t take much convincing when my wife brought up the idea of a Disneyland trip with very short notice. 

We picked not only the perfect time of year to go (first week of February) but also the best time of week to go. (Wednesday through Friday) We never waited more than 20 minutes or so in any line with a couple of exceptions: Star Tours, Peter Pan and Casey Junior (#$@#) Railroad. Don't get me wrong, I love Dumbo.  It’s got a great story, great music and some very touching moments. But this ride should be avoided at all costs unless there is absolutely NO line.

But that one ride aside, we had pretty much the perfect 3 days. (Even if the fireworks were canceled 2 out of the 3 days we were there and the only day we did see them were from the Hotel.)  Still totally worth it!

We went to Ariel’s grotto for breakfast on the first day. It was a great way to get your 4 year-old to meet 5 Disney princesses in less than an hour. The food was pretty good, too. Mind you, without a 4 year-old, we totally would have had a different vacation, but I’m really glad we didn’t wait. This was a magical time to take our little one. That said, you have to go into this situation with flexible expectations. We went back to the hotel every day to take a nap. But doing so meant we got to see some seriously cool nighttime parades and displays. I can’t imagine trying to do this if the Gremlin was not well rested. And our entirely planned afternoons went up in smoke more often than not. We were totally psyched to see Marry Poppins at the end of the afternoon parade but by then, E just wanted to go on rides. Oh well.

Highlights (for me): Star Tours (our little one was the rebel spy that Darth Vader was after), getting light sabers, meeting Chewbacca at the Launch Pad, Thunder Railroad, princess breakfast, Ferris Wheel, Gadget’s Go coaster, and the electric light parade (this actually completely floored me… both times we saw it!).

Other awesomeness: Silly Symphonies swings, Little Mermaid Ride, Roger Rabbit ride, Teacups (x3)aka Mad Teaparty, Haunted Mansion, Churros, Pluto, Dumbo, Flik’s Flyers, It’s a Small World (an oldie but goodie), Minnie Mouse, Anna and Elsa. 

So much fun.  See for yourselves.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

4 years old…

My daughter, not me. And I’m still alive. A few more gray hairs (when I let my hair get long enough to see them) but overall, I’d have to say that every year has been more awesome than the last.
                Here are things I’m looking forward to in 2016: reading for herself, writing more than just her name, going to the bathroom by herself (more often), Rogue 1, the Chevy Bolt (no, I’m not getting one), her final year of preschool, puzzles, Legos, ballet, video games, playing piano and the list goes on.
                Here she is at an art studio celebrating her birthday. Please note the shirt.
If she WANTS to become president, I would fully support that.  But I would also be fine if she wanted to become a professional pan flute player… mostly fine. It is exciting to think what will interest her in the coming years and what she’ll be doing 20 years from now.

                For the time being, it’s a pleasure watching her navigate the ins and outs of licking an egg beater. (See what I did there?  Ins and outs… cause… you know.  An egg beater has spaces and holes and stuff.  Funny, right?)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Worst. App. Ever.

There’s this app for your phone called “Parents Calling Santa” which, when activated, will have Santa call your child with one of 3 stock responses. The parent chooses depending on how their child is ‘behaving’ at a given time.

This is a horrible idea on so many levels and I can’t begin to express my disbelief and disappointment that A) this even exists and B) it’s among the top 5 paid lifestyle apps in 13 different countries. (according to their website)

This is a bad app because it scares children into behaving more ‘appropriately’ or else they won’t get Christmas gifts. Instead of helping them to do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do, kids are basically getting bribed to do the right thing with loot. What’s more, strong-arming your kid into behaving during the days leading up to Christmas is pretty much the same thing as giving them a pass for bad behavior the rest of the year. Unless, that is, you plan to have Santa call your kid in the middle of July. And I would bet that this would only work so many times before the child ended up either desensitized to the Santa calls or figures out the gimmick.

Oh, and one more reason why this is just plain stupid; how about parents actually put forth the effort to raise their kids themselves? Is that asking too much? Instead of paying a couple of bucks to have “Santa” ridicule your kid, how about trying to connect with your kid. Engage and reason with them.  Affirm and recognize their emotions and discuss possible outcomes of their actions along with alternatives.

Raising kids is hard. And I know parents are looking for help wherever they can get it. But easier is not better. A $2 app from Apple may seem like an easy way to buy good behavior from your kid. But I don’t think it’s going to help your kid in the long run.

But what do I know? My daughter is only almost 4. Check back with me in 20 years. But I suspect that I will say something similar.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The feels. We has them.

We’ve been having some major feelings lately about going to work/school to do our jobs. My daughter is going through a period right now where being separated from us is the worst thing in the world. This may change in a week or a month, but right now it presents a challenge anytime we need to get anywhere by a specific time.

And when one of us is working late or (heaven forbid) gone overnight, it leaves the other to deal with the fallout. That said we are doing well. We’re giving our DD the space she needs to have these feelings, have them acknowledged by us and working through them. Luckily, we can afford the time to give this opportunity to our daughter, unlike the guy who parked behind me at school. As I was climbing into my ‘smug’ producing Prius, I overheard him snap at his daughter saying “Quit screwing around!” Or as my wife would translate: Stop having emotions! They’re conflicting with my schedule! This is what Napoleon Dynamite would sound like if he had a kid. Only he’d be yelling at his kid for screwing around with his nun-chucks.

I’m awfully glad that I don’t need to be anywhere so desperately that I would respond to my kid in this way, especially as they’re just learning to experience these strong emotions.

There were a lot of snotty tears this morning. But this is how I left her at school.

And maybe looking forward to playing with my old Starwars toys was incentive enough to get us both through this day.