Sometimes if we have Christmas cards left over I will wait until Dec. 22 and mail them out to our “fringe friends” just to make them feel guilty. This year I thought I would try to get on the good list for once and share what we sent to our friends and family with you. It can’t be all great but even with the weak parts, it is still my favorite time of the year.
This is me. Christmas morning nineteen eighty awesome
Some parts of Christmas make it the best time of the year. Other parts, not so much.
- The look on tiny faces as they peer up into the attic anxiously awaiting the first box of Christmas decorations.
- That moment when the tree is finally lit and decorated and the floor is vacuumed and you can sit back and take in one of the first moments of Christmas.
- Electricity is in the air, presents are being hidden, elves are up to mischief, children are on their best behavior. The anticipation starts to build slowly and if you’re lucky it becomes almost tangible.
- The best sing along music of the year, even when your wife tells you to let Whitney hit the high notes in O Holy Night by herself.
- Pausing the hustle and bustle to read aloud about what happened that night in the little town of Bethlehem.
- Shouldn’t Christmas decorations come with coupons for couples counseling?
- Sorry honey, I tried to dry my hair without following the steps on the Christmas light electrical flow chart you made and now all the lights in the house are out.
- Stands of Christmas lights that only light halfway are the reason for the first spiking of eggnog.
- I think I just found a Frasier Fir needle in my underwear.
- Do people still use the word tight to mean cool? Because that would make me feel better about how last year’s Christmas sweater fits
I hope you have a safe and wonderful holiday and 2015 brings happiness to you and yours.
I lost a dear family member this year that was one of my favorite people to laugh with. We made this the day we were remembering him. Miss you Uncle Wayne.
Oh, one more thing. I got to be part of a very cool project this year and join with 30 other writers to create The Big Book of Parenting Tweets These writers are insanely funny and I was honored to be included with them. If you are a parent, have a parent, know a parent, or are thinking of becoming a parent, you should buy this book. It is full of short snippets of the raw and honest side of parenthood and it will leave you laughing out loud. Seriously, it is great. Ok, pitch over.
I’m not saying it can teach your kids to read but I think this photo speaks for itself.
7 Comments | tags: books, Christmas, Christmas Card, decorations, family, food, funny, holiday, humor, Jesus, kids, lights, parenting, singing, snowman, sweater, Twitter | posted in Uncategorized
Last night I was up until the early hours of the morning trapped in an anticipation fueled cycle of checking the weather app on my phone and stepping out onto the back porch to monitor the various forms of winter precipitation as they fell from the sky.
Is snow a body of water? Social media loves pictures of feet next to bodies of water.
My days are numbered
Even now in my thirties I can’t help but get excited about the prospect of a snow day. I guess it should be prefaced that I am a born and raised Georgian and in Georgia, snow is magic. When I was a kid, snow in Atlanta was like the universe just giving you an extra day.
A free day. A magic 24 hour period inserted between, “Oh crap, I haven’t even started that book report yet” and “Please turn in your book reports.” It meant your parents stayed home from work and played outside with you, it meant supplementing your not so winter wardrobe with bread bags on your feet and 3 pairs of socks because you had to wear tennis shoes in the snow, it meant hot chocolate and wet gloves hanging by the fire. Snow days in Georgia are made of happy even when your mom makes you wear a pair of tube socks for gloves with sandwich baggies on top because why would you need to own ski gloves down south? Snow days meant rummaging through the basement looking for anything that could be turned into a sled and playing until your hands were numb, your cheeks were red and you collapsed into the house one big freezing, soaking, pile of exhausted joy at the end of the day.
We’ve Lost that Lovin Feelin
Remember that time that our kids went to school? I think it was called 2013 and it was neat. I admit I went a bit overboard on the whole waxing poetic about the wonder of snow up there because the truth is, when a snow day overstays its welcome, the harsh reality sets in. This is the part when you see what you are really made of, when the loving family dynamic gets put to the ultimate test. Cabin Fever.
I admit using a pic from The Shining is a bit too obvious but some things are obvious because they are right.
It starts out innocent enough; a board game, an extra snack, a glass of wine or beer a bit earlier in the day than usual, a sarcastic remark to your spouse, a snap at your kid for making a mess. We don’t catch any of the warning signs because we don’t know how long we will be here. Somewhere along the way the sanity rope feels like it is starting to fray a bit and the local weather man showing the snow in his area becomes some bizarre backdrop back drop to your family’s de-evolution.
In what feels like an instant you are turning a blind eye to your kid eating a bowl of “skittles cereal” and you are dreaming about that Amazon droid helicopter thing delivering a case of booze to your frozen snowy doorstep. You become a bit numb to what your kids are up to as long as they keep it down and don’t get blood on anything as you settle into your own little wi-fi fueled haze. Cycling through social media, weather apps, and random google searches, you are suddenly curious if the U.S. just invented slopestyle to pad our Olympic stats. Eventually you start to wonder how long you have been sitting there. When did I take a shower last? Why are my children’s collective worldly possessions all in the living room? Did I just eat this entire can of Pringles? How long have I been wearing these pajama pants? Is it still snowing? No school again? What day is it? What year is it? Netflix is the only one in this house that truly understands me. How many lunches have we had today? Is there anything left my kids haven’t fought about?
Sound familiar? You start organizing games like the nap game and the prize is whichever kid falls asleep first doesn’t get a spanking. You gather the family around the table to work on a 1000 piece argument. You start wondering if you should send the internet a Valentine’s day card. You try to make the best of it by thinking of all of the great family memories the snow storm has provided but get interrupted because now that your kids have not played with every single toy that they have, they have resorted to taking breaks from fighting and crying to climb on stuff and jump off of furniture and you are pretty sure you need to find an ACE bandage so you can tie them up with it and MAKE IT STOP.
RIP Snowman, gunned down by the glorious thaw.
Being cooped up for days on end can push us right to that edge but somehow we hold on. Sibling rivalry wears itself out and sleep gives us the short respite we so desperately need. The thaw is coming and we just have to hang on and one day we will look back and only see the happy. When you are in the moment though, cabin fever is completely weak.
19 Comments | tags: activities, Atlanta, Blog, cabin fever, family, food, funny, Georgia, humor, ice., kids, netflix, Pax, Random, relationships, siblings, snow, snowman, technology, valentines day, weather, wi-fi | posted in Uncategorized
This sticker sucks, where is the princess?
My kids can go from adorable and well-behaved to faking an injury in the speed of being told no. Injuries have always been spotlight grabbers and kids are smart. We go through band aids like paper towels because let’s be honest, band aids are just princess stickers that come with sympathy and attention. Could there be anything better to have for a toddler. So yeah, I recognize that when I hear, “I NEED A BAND AID” it rarely is warranted and often the location of said boo-boo can mysteriously relocate in the time it takes to get the wrapper off of the
sticker band-aid. That’s because keeping tabs on the locale of imaginary injuries can be a tough job.
There is a real benefit to those little bumps and bruises though, both real and imaginary ones. It gives me a chance to kiss something and make it better. Even though my lips have no magical healing abilities, as long as I am dad and they are little, kisses get to be better than medicine because they make everything feel better. There is definitely some magic in that. When we grow up tears usually have so much stress fueling them that kisses and hugs seem to lose their luster. I try to remember how lucky I am to be able to provide the kind of comfort that a parent gives their child and though some level of that will always remain, this is the time that it is really special. For example, go find an adult that is crying and start to tickle them and see what happens. One of the greatest things about being a parent is being able to make everything better in their eyes even on days that you can’t seem to get anything right in yours. Seeing a tiny little smile begin to blossom out of a face puddle of tears is totally sweet.
There Will Be Tears
I don’t want crust on my sandwich!
Speaking of face puddles, toddlers are crazy good at crying. In their defense, if I was just beginning to learn and understand that I was a part of a whole big world instead of the whole big world being a part of me I may get a bit verklempt as well. I’m not suggesting that our little one isn’t still the boss of us in a lot of ways but she is starting to figure out that the whole baby thing where the world and everyone in it revolved around her was only temporary. That is probably a tough pill to swallow and for the most part she is handling that kind of life changing realization rather gracefully but every now and then the reality slaps her cold in the face and she isn’t in the mood to deal with it.
She doesn’t know how to do a ton of stuff yet but for as far back as she can remember tears got results. Granted back then she was crying because she needed a clean diaper and now the tears may be because butterflies won’t talk to her or her mean parents won’t let her mix Skittles with Cheerios and milk for breakfast. When she was a baby the only reasons her cries weren’t tended to immediately was If they went unheard. Well, Captain Lung Capacity has no struggle with upping the volume and if that doesn’t work, then the real exasperation begins to set in. I’ve even had her suddenly stop mid sob to look up at me and say, “DADDY, I’M CRYING!” Like anyone in our house or on our street didn’t hear her. There should be a game show where parents of toddlers have to guess if the cries of a 2-year-old are the result of an appendage stuck in a piece of running farm machinery or if they got an orange Popsicle when they wanted a red one.
Toddler-hood is the gateway into a brave new world and I need to remind myself that it isn’t all roses and sunshine for them either. I should also keep in mind that If I am going to call them a jerk under my breath I had better make sure it is way under my breath because the lady at the grocery store doesn’t understand but is happy to offer her parenting critique. Like apparently suggesting that your kid can use the tears streaming down her face to wash down the two more bites of carrots (that basically make up 79% of her entire lunch) you are begging her to eat is not good form.
I am lucky that these times are less and less frequent and love them no matter what causes the crying but when it is because they aren’t allowed to paint the TV, it is totally weak.
15 Comments | tags: babies, blogging, breakfast, butterflies, childhood, children, crying, daughters, family, food, funny, humor, kids, laughter, magic, paint, parenting, Random, rules, toddlers, TV | posted in Uncategorized
Hello There Resolution, I’ve Been Waiting for you.
It was Sunday evening and our sweet little 16 month old angel was being anything but angelic. She seemed to be trying to make a statement to the family that this was her show and we were lucky just to have supporting roles. She was cranky and whiny and just couldn’t get right. She didn’t want to play and the only time she smiled was when she was taking something that she shouldn’t have and throwing it on the floor when we said no.
She may be the smallest member of this family but on Sunday night she was taking more than her fair share of the pie. Our oldest just wanted to sit and color without prying crayons from her little sister’s mouth and the evening’s soundtrack of constant crying and bickering was putting everyone on edge.
With nerves starting to frazzle is was time for dad to step up and be the captain of the ship. So, I walked into the bedroom, put on a pair of khakis, laced up my shoes and decided to make a stand. This kid needed something that we apparently weren’t able to give her so I got her dressed and we headed to church. Sometimes it is in our darkest hour that we turn to God for help.
Luckily the church is only 3 miles from the house so we made it just in time for the evening service to start. I carried our little one and a bag filled with diapers and juice and Cheerios for her to sprinkle on the floor to the church nursery. I checked her in, handed over her gear, and gave the nursery worker an apologetic nod. I should have slipped her a 50.
Then, without looking back, I walked out to the car and drove home basking in the silence and hopeful that the preacher would be long-winded. Sometimes parenting requires an outside of the box approach and the next 90 minutes of monster free peace was just what we needed. I said a prayer of thanks to baby Jesus and gloated a bit at my stroke of genius.
This didn’t really happen but when your kid is bad enough that you contemplate extreme measures it is totally weak.
14 Comments | tags: children, chocolate, church, family, food, humor, kids, parenting, Random, religion, valentines day | posted in Uncategorized
The Fresh Laundry Avalanche
Laundry is a chore that no one particularly enjoys but in our house my girls have found a silver lining. My oldest daughter, specifically, loves few things more than having a basket of laundry (especially towels) fresh from the dryer dumped on her. There is something about wrapping up in those warm fresh towels that just feels awesome. While I can understand this little joy, I am a bit wary to share her enthusiasm due mostly to a bad experience with those copper rivets on a pair of jeans. Clothes fresh from the dryer are great but beware metal snaps and buttons. They have the propensity to achieve temperatures that would make the surface of the sun flinch in pain. I can remember a time long ago as a child waiting for pants to finish drying so I could put them on and rush out to the bus stop (sad pattern of poor preparation developing in this space). I was standing there mostly dressed waiting for them to get dry. My window of time was ticking down so I opened the dryer grabbed them and put them on. Ahh, warm and fresh as I slid each leg in grateful to be enjoying fresh dryer clothes on a cold morning. That was, however, until I got to the buttoning part and suddenly YOWWWZA! How the button on those jeans got that hot without melting is perplexing but what is certain is that any joy of warm clothes from the dryer pales in comparison to burning yourself with the button. Let’s all stop for a second and think about the location of the button on a pair of jeans and I am sure you can agree that it is a less than ideal place to attempt an accidental at home cattle brand.
That is why we try to keep the laundry avalanches confined to loads of towels and not baby clothes (those things are like a mine-field of hot ember snaps). It is a short-lived joy, but having a basket of warm towels from the dryer tossed on you is one of those little moments to savor. On a winter morning, especially, warm dryer clothes are totally sweet.
Trying to Get it All in One Load
Yesterday I closed the garage with my tongue. (I should really probably make that the title for this blog post). I know I am not the only one, who when faced with the question, “how many grocery bags can you carry?” The answer always is “All of them.” I guess I trade in the lower body workout of going up and down stairs for the upper body workout of carrying 60 lbs of groceries. It is a tricky maneuver to maintain circulation in your hands as the handles cut into your skin and keep the bread bag from getting pinched by cans of green beans. Often, my feeling of triumph in not only grabbing hold of each bag handle but also being able to lift them out of the car is quickly defeated by the tougher obstacles now before me. First off, do I possess the super-human strength required to lift all of these bags above my head to close the hatchback (is that what you call the back door of a SUV?) of the car? Secondly, with my rotator cuffs in each shoulder slowly tearing apart, how can I get the garage door closed? I thought about trying to hit the button with my nose but that seemed silly and I was afraid people were watching so I stuck out my tongue and bingo! down goes the garage door. I waddle up the stairs and somehow get the groceries onto the kitchen counter before the fingers on my left hand turn completely purple from the seventeen tourniquets I have inflicted them to. Somehow, in my sophomoric inner person, I feel that congratulations are in order. Instead, I realize I left my phone in the car. At least my second trip should be much easier. Hitting the garage door button with your tongue? Totally weak.
22 Comments | tags: family, groceries, humor, kids, laundry | posted in Uncategorized
My 5 year old daughter: “Dad, what does F-R-E-E spell?” Me: “Free.” Her: “What does K-I-T-T-E-N-S spell?” Me: “Grass clippings.”
I love that my daughter is learning to read. Today, I was glad she isn’t quite there yet.
18 Comments | tags: family, humor, kids, kittens | posted in Uncategorized
Remember when you would have a discussion with someone and a question would come up that neither of you knew the answer to? You would banter back and forth about who played so and so in a movie or what team Dale Murphy retired with, and odds are one of you would say that you needed to look it up but if it wasn’t too important you would just go on about your normal life and forget about it. Taking the time to look for a book at the library or flip through the pages of an encyclopedia wasn’t always easy and that was just the way things were, and we were happy. Speaking of encyclopedias, remember those? One day I will show my daughters encyclopedias and explain to them that these were Google before Google was born. This was were you found answers to questions and if what you were looking for didn’t fit in one of those books you would have to get into your car and drive to a library. Libraries were whole buildings full of books that you could go to and learn stuff (at this point I will contemplate breaking down catalog cards and the DeweyDecimal system but realize that I have already blown their minds enough).
It is pretty amazing to see how much things can change in a relatively short amount of time. There is no longer any tolerance for not knowing something because the internet lives in your pocket or in the computer in your house somewhere. There is no more wondering what movie or show you recognize that actress from or having to find a newspaper to see when a movie is playing (funny, one day I will probably have to explain what a newspaper was too). The internet is super sweet. They may have been amazing to us as kids but my parent’s stories about when Coke only cost a nickel kind of pale in comparison to the stories we will tell our children about giant phones attached to buildings that you would have to put money in to use. Sure there is a lot about the internet that isn’t perfect but something that puts the 1989 Heisman trophy winner, a recipe for buffalo chicken dip, and adorable cat videos right at your fingertips is pretty sweet. Even sweet enough to tolerate the new Facebook. if you have small kids, what do you think will blow them away the most when you tell them about how their parents grew up in the olden days?
I promise I am not trying to make fun of
baby boomers any particular generation, but do you remember when we called our grandparents grandma or grandpa or some close variation of those terms? As a parent of young children with lots of friends in the same boat I have made an observation that there are fewer and fewer grandmas and more and more Nanas and Mimis and Yayas etc. I don’t want to come off critical but it is kind of a funny observation. Our parent’s generation is incredibly youthful and all of the new grandparent terms fit them well. I wonder though, is this just something I see in my circle of friends or are we going to have to change the words to that “over the river and through the woods” song. If you have kids, what do they call their grandparents? This may not really be something that is weak but I have already kind of trapped myself into this format so there you go.
29 Comments | tags: family, grandparents, humor, internet, kids | posted in Uncategorized
Getting out of the door on time.
This post may be more understandable to parents with small children but I are one and someone said you should write what you know. I don’t know why it is but getting the four members of my family dressed, ready (with shoes on) and out the door in time has consistently become one of the greatest challenges we have ever faced. It doesn’t seem to matter how early we start putting the wheels in motion to get out the door, inevitably, we will be 10 minutes away from departure and I am stepping into the shower, we are tearing the house apart looking for a shoe, the baby is crying, and we are packing a diaper bag. (Wife just read “we” and is rolling eyes noting that the first part of that list was me in the shower, missing all of the whirlwind.) Not only do those last ten minutes cause escalating blood pressures and strain to the bonds of the parental team, but it also takes a once clean house and destroys it. I can say on several occasions once we are finally all in the car we back out of the garage (and then pull back in so one of us can sprint up the stairs and grab the bottles out of the fridge that we forgot) that sigh of relief is instantly coupled with the dread of returning to an aftermath that some would declare a state of emergency. It is those moments when you have to get 5 miles down the road before anyone dare say a word that make the times that you hit the sweet spot even better.
Every now and then the planets align (translation, dad thinks ahead and realizes 30 minutes isn’t an eternity) and we make it to the car at a leisurely pace with time to spare and realize that it is in fact possible. Everyone is in a happy mood and there is no disaster relief project waiting for us when we return. Shoes miraculously were both in the same place, sock seams cooperated, diaper bags were assembled early and dad managed to make a sound wardrobe selection. Those times are so sweet I should really try to do my part to make them happen more often. Getting out of the door on time is one of those great moments in parenting (glad my 20-year-old self isn’t reading this and seeing how lame he turned out to be.) Cherish those moments parents and bask in the sweetness when it occurs because your kid shouldn’t be afraid to ask if you want to play “I spy” before you have backed out of the driveway.
The Half Beard
I notice that there is a developing pattern of self-deprecation happening here but I am an easy target. I am one of those guys that uses an electric razor in the car. I know, I know but seriously, it is a great time saver. That is, however, until the time when mid shave the battery breathes its last breath and grinds to a halt leaving you with a half beard. I am not talking about a beard that is only half way towards reaching glorious full beard status, I am talking about left side of face like a baby’s bottom, right side like a lumberjack. That is a look that is kind of hard to pull off. There isn’t really any way to hide your lack of planning when you are standing in line at the gas station rocking your half beard with a disposable razor and tiny can of shaving cream that is going to cost you 8 bucks in hand. So you shell out your hard-earned cash for a disposable razor and wonder if you just bought the last one on earth that doesn’t have 17 blades built-in. You say a little prayer of thanks that since you are about to rough it and shave with only one blade like you are a pioneer at least it will only be on half of your face. You get to your place of employment and b-line to the bathroom hoping your boss doesn’t walk in while you are trying to stop the bleeding. Technology is great but it is funny how dependent we can become on it. So charge your battery or wake up 5 minutes earlier and cut out the risk of rocking the half beard because that knowing look from the guy at the gas station is totally weak.
9 Comments | tags: family, grooming, humor, kids | posted in Uncategorized