Thursday, July 28, 2011

What Adventure?

In my men's group from church, a couple of the guys were talking about their experiences either in the military or in law enforcement.

Then, at work, I had the opportunity to attend a lunch-and-learn where one of the employees discussed my company's efforts to prepare a bid for developing and executing another trip to the moon, and eventually to Mars.  During this talk, he also highlighted his personal experiences, such as flying in a Mig-25 into the upper atmosphere (space?), meeting and working alongside Buzz Aldrin and other famous people.

I can't help thinking "what the heck have I done that is exciting?".  Where is my adventure?  What stories do I have to tell?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Mr. Mom, part II.

The second weekend after Amanda got back from Ohio, she turned right around again and headed to North Carolina.  She has been planning a college roommate reunion for quite some time, and had long since purchased the tickets for it.  So I was alone with the kids again for a long (4 day) weekend.  Here is the daily log:

Day 1:  Brought Amanda to the airport at 4:30am.  The kids actually went back to sleep when we got home, and even slept in!  Great start to the day (a bit more sleep).  For breakfast I made blueberry and chocolate chip pancakes (1/2 of each).  We all loved it!  Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were lunch.  Then for dinner I bought Save Mart chicken fingers and wings, along with broccoli salad, ambrosia salad, and hawaiian sweet rolls.  They scarfed that down too.  Not a very exciting day really, but it wasn't bad either, especially since all of the meals were successfully enjoyed by all.

Day 2:  Had the men's group over (only 2 guys this week), then had Amanda's left over french toast casserole for breakfast (the kids didn't like it so much, but I loved it).  Then we attempted to go to Wacky Tacky, but they were only letting parties in (birthdays or whatever).  The kids and me were pretty disappointed, especially since they were looking forward to it all morning. 

So we changed gears and decided to go to Whitney Park instead, which has the biggest play gym equipment that I have ever seen.  I noticed a Buick T-Type in the parking lot when we pulled in, and as we were parking, I noticed a gentlemen walking toward it with his son.  So I went over and asked if I could show the car to Lucas, since it's almost exactly like the vehicle that we're building the model of (a Grand National). He was happy to show it off.  After playing at the park for a while, we brought our cache of left-over tokens (from Clara's birthday) to Chuck-E-Cheese, and ate lunch there too. 

After nap was in the books, we went to get hair cuts (Lucas, Clara and me), followed up by renting Rango from RedBox and watching half of it while eating our smoothie dinner (with crackers, cheese, and bologna).  Then I gave the kids a bath and got them to bed at (gulp) 9:30pm.

Day 3:  We finished watching Rango this morning, then had a hodgepodge breakfast of cereal, eggs, english muffins, and strawberries.  We then headed over to the Effie Yeaw Nature Center from 11:00 - 2:00.  The kids enjoyed it, but it was a bit of a long hike for them.  We came home famished and had hot dogs with sauerkraut, beans, dried snap peas, and chips for lunch.  Unfortunately, Clara caught a short (15 - 20 minute) nap on the drive back, which caused her to not be able to nap at home, which sucked for me and made her a bit cranky the rest of the day. 

When everyone else was awake from their nap, we transferred all of the old sandbox sand into the basketball hoop, then washed out the sand box.  When it's dry tomorrow then we can add the new sand.  The girls were playing in the little pools while Lucas and I added one layer of paint onto his GN model.  Clara had taken off her diaper though and ended up pooping on the floor of the backyard.  We ended the day with Panda Express for dinner (Lucas' idea), then a scoop of ice cream at home for dessert.  I probably should have given them a bath, but hated to get them to bed later (was already just after 9pm) and had just given them one yesterday.

Day 4: Brought the kids to Wacky Tacky in the morning.  I think I got us there sometime between 10:30 and 11:00.  I brought my laptop and set up a table to try to get work stuff done while they played.  I had to take breaks though to a) make sure they were alright, b) give them snacks and water (I remembered to bring both), c) take care of Clara when she got hurt a couple of times and d) play with them a bit too, especially in the spongy ball pit.  We stayed until between 1:00 - 1:30.  I think we had PBandJ again for lunch, along with some other healthy sides like cheese, yogurt, canned peaches, and cherries.

After nap, it was time to get to business.  First we hit Big5 sporting goods to pick up a regulation frisbee (175grams) and 8 cones to possibly play Ultimate Frisbee with the high school kids tomorrow (Tuesday) night.  Then we deposited a couple of checks and stopped at Boston Market for dinner.  Before giving them an evening bath, we dumped two bags of new sand into the sandbox.  After bath it was time to start cleaning the house so it will look good for Amanda when she gets home.  Clean up went smoother this time, especially since there was more time to get it done. 

I got the kids to bed around 9pm, just before Tammy came over to hang out while I went to pick up Amanda from the airport.  As before, her plane arrived early so I had to pick her up at the ramp instead of meeting her as she came down the escalator like I would prefer.

Summary:  As a whole, I think this weekend with the kids went smoother than the last one.  I took the kids to do one fun thing per day, and I made a concerted effort not to raise my voice or lose my temper as much.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Mr. Mom for (almost) Five Days

Amanda's last remaining grandparent, Grandma Eggert, passed away on Tuesday night, 6/28 (or 6/29, depending on the time).  So Amanda caught a last minute flight to Ohio to be with her family while I watched the kids here at home.  She was gone for 4.5 days total.  Ideally, the kids will view their time with dad as somewhat fun at the least, and unforgettably great at best.  However, since I found that I myself was forgetting what we did only one or two days out, I decided to make a record of it.  So here is what we did:

Day 1:  Dropped off Amanda to airport, cinnamon/Raisin bread French toast for breakfast, Carl's Jr. picnic at Royer Park, swim class (got there in the nick of time).

Day 2:  Donuts for breakfast, went to Home Depot for a few things, played in the front yard and brought Eliot (our bearded dragon) outside for some fresh air too.  I also added more sand to his enclosure while he was out (we've been meaning to for months now).

Day 3:  Men's group from church came over in the morning, we had cereal for breakfast, smoothies for lunch (Lucas helped make it), then watched Karate Kid (the new one) in the evening with Papa Murphy's pizza for dinner.

Day 4:  Bagels for breakfast, was not able to make it to (either) church on time, found a new park (Westwood Park), brought Taco Bell to Royer Park for lunch.

Day 5: Was thinking that Amanda's flight arrived at 7pm, but at about 9am I realized that it was actually due to arrive at 11.  I really wanted her to come home to a clean house, so it was panic time.  Unfortunately, the last thing the kids ended up experiencing (although hopefully not remembering) was dad cracking the whip for the kids to help clean everything up. 

I had hoped to get to the airport with enough time to be waiting for her as she came down the escalator into the baggage pick-up area, but her flight ended up arriving early.  So we picked her up at the arrival ramp instead.

Special time with kids:  Worked on a puzzle with Emily,  Started a plastic scale model (of a Grand National) with Lucas, reading to Clara.

Chores completed:  Several loads of laundry,  several piles of dishes, shredded a pile of documents,
replaced light bulbs (hey, it counts).

Summary:  I enjoyed being Mr. Mom for the weekend, but the most difficult aspects of it were a) getting everyone ready to go anywhere, especially in the morning.  b) fitting in the planning and making of meals c) fitting chores of any kind into the mix while still taking care of the kids (especially Clara, who is more demanding at this age).
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