Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bring It On 2012!

Sadie, New Year's 2004

For this year’s New Year’s resolution blog, I thought I’d do things a little differently. I decided to ask my daughters how they can be better in 2012 and I figured I would tailor my resolutions to them. Why you ask? They continue to make me into the man I am. Even though kids can sometimes drive you nuts, they teach you a lot about life. 

Here is what they told me. Below these, I decided to reflect on what they said. Enjoy!


1.       I want to be really good at games.
2.       I want to be a great coloring girl.
3.       I don’t want to get attitude, and I want to be nice to Sadie.
4.       I want to help more with cooking, because I never cook for people. If I could make dinner, I would make a burrito and pizza.
5.       I will try not to talk like a baby, because I want to be a big girl. 


1.       Exercise, because I need to be way more flexible.
2.       I would like to cook by myself and try to make something. I want to cook a recipe and practice measuring while I’m doing that.
3.       Not yelling at my sister, because I don’t want to make my mom and dad upset.
4.       Reading more, because pretty soon I can read a Harry Potter book.
5.       Trying to sleep more, so I don’t get sick one day.
6.       Doing chores, because I want to make my parents happy.
Great goals from the two of them. Based on what they said, here are mine. 


1.       Instead of spending so much time holding my phone in my hand or opening my laptop for many hours of the day, I will play more games with my kiddos. My youngest says she wants to be better, so we will practice! Also, my oldest needs to learn that cheating doesn’t get her anywhere. What fun would games be if you won all the time right? (ok….for me it would be really fun). 

2.       Both of them mentioned cooking. I will take at least one day per week to make something with them. That could be cookies, some concoction (Sadie loves to do this) that we will attempt to eat, or burritos and pizza (in Hallie’s case). Maybe some of it can even be edible!

3.       To help them “not get attitude”, and “not yell at my sister”, I will be purchasing a cattle prod, or shock collar. Ok….fine. I need to be better about consistency with my own daughters. I have my classroom pretty managed, but sometimes the stress at work carries home and I don’t have the energy to deal with my own kids. 

4.       To help with stress, I will be spending a lot of time playing Just Dance with my ladies. Dancing is their passion, and that exercise can actually be fun. We would meet their goals of exercising, getting flexible and getting better at games. Maybe I’ll even lose some of the hibernation chubbiness I got over this Christmas break. 

5.       I will be turning off the tv a lot more. We need to spend more time together doing other things when we are at home. As parents, sometimes it’s much easier just putting on a movie. Most of us are guilty of this. However, I feel a little more guilty this past year. If they are going to “read Harry Potter” this year or get better at coloring, this is the perfect time to make this happen. 

6.       More sleep for all of us! This means I guess I should go to bed before 11:30 every school night. I swear it doesn’t help much, but maybe I need to set an example for my daughters. My oldest has been having a terrible time getting to sleep. I’m going to start giving the girls some mantra before they go to bed. A couple of weeks before break, I started writing Sadie letters in the morning. I noticed her self-esteem improving when I did this. Being more positive in all of the craziness in the world can’t make things worse. 

7.       I’m excited that Sadie said she wanted to do more chores. My resolution is to give her more responsibilities….how cool is that? Growing up on a small farm made me appreciate the free time I did get. Chores help you appreciate more the hard work your parents do and teach you how to be responsible. We’ll see how this goes. Considering she has attention problems like me, this could be a challenge. 

Noticing how quickly time is passing, I look forward to doing all of these things. They don’t stay young forever. Enjoy your New Year everyone!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Magic Lives On

 Alpenrose 2011


The magic, though dwindled at some point in our adulthood is brought back to life through the eyes of our children. Even though there are so many years of memories when I was a little one, there is usually one that stands out where that magic is powerful, coming from somewhere unexplainable . Just ask Ralphie in the Christmas Story, the Griswold’s, or those lucky enough to meet Buddy the Elf. 

What is your favorite memory from your childhood of Christmas where you remember the magic the most?

I was around 6 years old coming back from a gathering of extended family in Salem on Christmas Eve. It was an icy and snowy night and our journey home would be an unforgettable one. We barely made it out of the city and still had quite the journey to go in our old Ford pickup truck. For those that know me, you remember the trek up to the house in the country. It was a dark and snowy night and the snow drifts up in the hills made us feel like we would leave the road at any moment. My father was one heck of a driver in the snow, but even with his expertise and relentless will to get us home, Old Man Winter taught my dad a lesson. We hit a drift which sucked us toward the side of the rode where we would stop in silence. I remember my parents looking at each other with the “What are we going to do?” look. At this point we were only about two miles from our house, but a family trekking through this snowstorm at around midnight put us in a position of helplessness. I remember my dad getting out of the truck to try to dig us out of the drift, wanting to get us home to a warm bed to get ready for Santa’s visit. I knew there was nothing we could do when the only thing that came back to that truck cab was a discouraged face. 

We huddled together in that truck for about 15-20 minutes when we heard a vehicle and saw lights. Could that be Santa’s sleigh? It wasn’t, but it was just as magical. Out late that night were some neighbors that lived down the road that just happened to have a nice big truck. Even though there was no room in the cab, we jumped in the bed and huddled up for the two mile journey home. As the snow fell on my face I looked up at my mother with a worried look on her face and asked “Mom… can Santa come in this weather? Did we miss him?”. Her response….”Santa will come….he always does”. 

That was a night that was unforgettable. Not only because of a higher power watching over us and helping us get home safe, but the feeling of how close I was with my family and them reassuring me that everything was going to be ok. 

Other memories I have as a child?

-Singing hymns at church, and seeing friends and family
-“Cousins Christmas”, with great-grandmas homemade fudge and grandma’s cake and bean dip.
-The yearly tradition of going up into our own forest to cut down a Christmas tree.

I never had many presents as a child, but I was always thankful for what I did get and the luckiness of the experiences I had. 

The fun of being a parent is to create our own traditions and to pass those magical experiences on to another generation. 

-The yearly trip to Alpenrose to see Storybook Lane (I’m so glad it was back this year)
-Every two years going to Dilley to see the other Storybook Lane.
-Disneyland many years (including the monsoon in California last year)
-Always opening pajamas on Christmas Eve (Keely and I have been doing that for 17 years now)
-Going to the Holiday Food and Gift Festival and eating snacks
-Getting our tree the few days after Thanksgiving (definitely dead this year at this time)
-Decorating the tree together
-Driving around in our pajamas looking at Christmas lights.
-Having white sauce enchiladas at Grandmas on Christmas day
-Heading to the local pub on Christmas night (this is the adult tradition)
- And so many more

Hopefully, your traditions are continuing to live on and you are making new ones every year. I hope all of you have had a wonderful day. Happy Holidays!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Me time and Friend Time? What Is That?

Me time and Friend Time? What is that?

What is “Me” time? I’ve never heard of it. Oh wait……I remember there was a time about seven years ago when that something in my life was a possibility.

Parents……sound familiar? With getting up in the morning and getting the kids ready, going to work, coming home, taking the kids to activities, coming home to make dinner, cleaning up, spending some time with them before bed, getting them ready for bed, and having some time with the spouse, there isn’t much “Me” time at all! I know some of your schedules (the older your kiddos are) are even more packed.
When I finally have some “Me” time, there is always something else happening. Usually, it’s a little munchkin jumping on my lap wanting to play, or wife requesting something from the kitchen, or countless other errands I have to do. I guess I don’t have to do these things that take up my time, but sometimes there are things that we have to suck up and do to maintain our relationships. 

My youngest daughter can play for an eternity by herself. However, for some reason my oldest has decided a long time ago that she needs one of us to play with her. If she doesn’t have an activity that I’ve planned out or that is semi-exciting, all the down time that I had has been sucked dry. Part of it is the age, and part of it is her dependency. I know I will miss this someday though. It won’t be too long before the teenage years infest my home. At that point I will wish that I had my young ones back. 

So what does a guy like me do to have time to myself?

Wife complains about the length of time I take in the bathroom. Honey, there is a reason I do this. Do you really think it takes me that long to do my business? Had you fooled I guess. You might laugh at this, but this is serious “Me time” business. I do what I want to do without anyone telling me what to do. Reading, playing video games (no I don’t have a TV in the bathroom….just on the phone), every now and then spending time on the laptop (I know….gross right?....that is a legit bitching moment by wife;)). 

Wife has also learned (it has taken years) not to be mad at me if I don’t come to bed. This again is my time. Sitting in my recliner, watching sports without screaming kids, playing video games, just chillaxin’. Yes, there have been some weekends that I have fallen asleep in this spot. Sometimes, I remind myself of my own dad. I guess the difference though is that I woke up my dad for him to go to bed. 

Thank you friends and family for understanding that we don’t have a shitload of time on our hands to spend time with you. It’s a tough balancing act. It’s not that we are purposefully ignoring you. We are truly busy. If we’re not busy, usually we just want to sit down and relax for our own sanity. We love you all, but we love our kids and ourselves just a little more. Any time we do get with you is fantastic. 

Why am I writing this? Because I have some “Me time” right now. ;)

Hopefully, you get some time during the holidays for yourselves, your family, and friends. Happy Holidays!

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