Tuesday, April 28, 2009


This past week, different forms of illness have been moving through our household. Last weekend we were down with family in Iowa. My oldest threw up on Sunday morning. We had a six hour drive home (the first 2 hours were without my wife as she was visiting some other friends at the time, whom we were supposed to spend the night with, but had to leave early). He continued to throw up a few times on the way home. We eventually figured out that he would drink water & throw up about 20 minutes later. Once we put a stop to that, he was fine.

But then colds set in for both the boys. Nothing too miserable, just constantly running noses. But the oldest one got worse. He actually took naps two days in a row. We finally figured out (right before it rained) that it was allergies. After the rain (and a little OTC allergy medicine) he's been better.

But then after church on Sunday, I started feeling sick. I tried to make myself feel better, but I eventually threw up (and felt fine afterward--if I had let myself get sick earlier, I think I would have gotten over it quicker). I hate being sick (who doesn't?). It's worse when you're the one who needs to keep taking care of others through it. And knowing that the kids would love to spend time with you, but that they really shouldn't be close to you--and you don't have a lot of energy, either. I always wish, as a father, that I could take the sickness from my kids for them. But I really hate having it, too.

Other than a few sniffles, we're pretty much back to normal right now. And we'll keep washing our hands and coughing into our elbows and doing whatever else we can to keep the next round of sickness at bay.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Spring Hike

My wife had a scrapbooking party this weekend with friends a couple hours away from us; I took the boys down to see family a couple more hours from there. I haven't done that much traveling with just the boys. We stopped at a state park to stretch the legs and get some air. Of course, it took much longer than I expected. We hiked back up to our car along the road (which wasn't open yet) which is crisscrossed by a river several times. It was fairly warm--both the weather and the water--for April. As we walked across the thrid ford, I pointed out an area on the road that wasn't covered by sand and told the boys that it would be slippery there. Of course, the four-year old walked over to it and slipped. So it took longer because he wasn't happy about having to hike in wet clothes (uphill all the way). But mostly, it took longer because I was hiking alone with a 2- and a 4-year old. I should probably know that by now that the hike would take longer. After all, getting out the door takes longer, eating any place takes longer, shopping take longer when you have kids with. But things are often more enjoyable with the boys around. They tend to bring their innocent wonder to things.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dads in the News

Lately ABC has been airing commercials for their new sitcom, Surviving Suburbia, in which Bob Saget plays a suburban dad. The ads have focused around Saget being a completely inept buffoon as a father--hmm, seems like that's been covered on TV before, hasn't it? It seems Hollywood only sees fathers as incapble of being anything positive in a family.

One of our local news stations, however, is aware that there are good fathers out there. In response to an "Oprah" segment on at-home-dads, they did a local follow-up with a dad from my local at-home-dads' group. Good father role models are needed out there. I'm glad we can put a face to it.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Remember When . . .

As I was shaving my beard down to a goatee today, my 4 1/2-year old made sure I wasn't going to shave it all off "like in the good old days when I was little."

Friday, April 10, 2009

Growing Up

Today the 2 1/2 year-old dressed himself. He came out of his room with his underwear, pants and shirt on. I was impressed. He also kept his undies dry all day. We haven't forced potty training on him; he's kind of just following his big brother's lead. And he's independent enough that he just has to want to make it happen. He can keep dry if he's naked or just in undies (no pants), but he tends to have accidents if he's in undies with pants. But not today. He kept dry up until nap time (when I put a diaper on him for resting). I guess it's just a matter of him wanting to do it enough. Maybe it helps having had my niece around a couple times this week and seeing a baby wearing diapers and not wanting to be like that. He also doesn't want his potty seat that goes on top of the toilet any more. Just straight up sits on the toilet now. I guess he's getting bigger (now if I can only get him to eat more so he grows more).

Another good thing of late: he's been taking naps again after several weeks of not taking them at all. We put up some fabric that hangs from the upper bunk and makes a play area, so it's darker in there and I just leave on a lamp in the corner. Hurray!

One last note: he's also figured out how to put on a temporary tattoo by himself. We're going to have to keep an eye on him . . .

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Spring Brings . . .

people back to the park. It's been a long winter not seeing anyone outside. Especially since we've only been here a year and don't know a lot of people in our neighborhood yet--at least not well enough for the relationships to continue much through the winter.

Thankfully I've had the local stay-at-home dads group that meets each week. During the winter they met a little closer to where we leave and it worked better in our schedule to get to it. So it was good to have that connection with people. Especially other dads. It was also really good to be able to get out of the house and get the boys moving through the winter.But now, it's good to be able to get outside (I've needed to be able to walk and exercise more to burn off those winter pounds anyway). We can go outside just about anytime and run into someone. And that's always good. Good for the boys to have other kids to play with, and good for me to have other adults to talk to--and get to know better.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

And Niece Makes 3

Today I'm beginning the first day of watching my niece on a semi-regular basis. I've watched her before, so it's not a new thing. But her dad got an internship, so I'm going to be helping take care of her while he's at work. Not everyday: he's hoping to do his hours in 3 full days instead of 5 half days, and his mom will watch her as well. So at least one day a week, with options for more.
It's still an adjustment, though. Three kids to take care of is a different story than just two. Especially when one of them is not mobile. And wants to be held. A lot. (I'm working on helping her see that she can survive without being held for a little while.) The boys are pretty good with her at least.

It does take a more focused effort to get things done. But I'm proud of myself. So far today I've got a loaf of bread baked, and I've got laundry washed, dried and half-way put away (4 loads in the apartment laundry room, which to me makes it an extra feat).

The 4 1/2 year-old just commented that he's "tired of the crying right now." There'll be more things we'll have to get used to. Like figuring out how to do rest time for everyone in two rooms. And try and get some quiet time for myself.

I know plenty of people do this with more kids. So it can be done. We just need to learn to adjust. That's probably the hardest part--trying to work with several different schedules.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Mall

My wife has the morning off on Wednesdays, so we often do some sort of outing--story time at the library, play time at the rec center or shopping if needed. It was snowing this morning. First we went to the nature center, since it opens fairly early. The boys looked at the displays, played with some of the games and watched the wild turkey and other birds outside the window.

Then we went to the mall. I'm not a big mall fan, personally. It's just more commercialism than I can handle. Really, the only times I've been to the mall in the past year (other than once to the Mall of America to take the 4-year-old to the Lego Store) have been to take the boys there to play. They like the play area our local mall has. It also has this projected video game(/advertisement) on the floor. The kids step on things and the display reacts. There's probably about a dozen or so different segments and they only last a minute or so, but the kids get moving and have fun. And I have a friend who works in a store next to it, so I get some adult conversation in, too. It's helped get through the long winter.