Thursday, May 27, 2010


Anders lost his tooth today. He just noticed it was loose a couple days ago. We were eating lunch and he said his tooth cracked. He came over to show me and we discovered it was wiggling. He handled it surprisingly well. Sometimes something like that would freak him out.

So today, we were picnicking at Como Park Zoo. Toward the end of the meal, Anders just announced that his tooth fell out. He didn't even have an issue when Beth mentioned it was bleeding a little bit.

So, he's in bed right now. The tooth is under his pillow. It's an odd custom--research it. In some countries a mouse or a rat takes the tooth instead of a tooth fairy. In other places the tooth is thrown on the roof. Whatever happens, loosing a tooth is kind of a rite of passage. So its important to note it--even if it's with fairy who takes it away.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Parenting Advice

Another Covenant pastor recently posted his advice on marriage on his blog. It inspired me to do something similar with raising children.

Discipline. And love.
The two are mutual--not exclusive. They have to go together. If you find yourself disciplining out of anger or any emotion, take a breather. Discipline only because you love your child and want them to learn to behave better.

Other discipline advice:
Be consistent. Don't give them a time out for a tantrum one time and ignore it the next.
Follow through. If you're counting to three so that your child does what you've told them to do, make sure it that it means something when you reach "three." Otherwise they just learn that "three" means nothing.
Be immediate. Don't delay. Yes, there are times when you might have to hold off the punishment until after you're home from the doctor's appointment (or wherever you're going), but let your child know that there will be consequences to their behavior right away , and let them know when it will happen.
Be firm, yet gentle.

Never connect their behavior with your love for them. It's easier said than done for us, I know.

Kids need sleep. I'm a big proponent of early bedtime. Most kids in early elementary school need 10-11 hours of sleep. Most parents need time without their kids around. I do know that my boys have more meltdowns on days they get to sleep later than usual.

Remember that your children are your responsibility. Schools aren't a place where we turn our children over to let them raise them. Neither should we turn the responsibility of spiritual development over to Sunday School.

Pray. Pray for them Pray with them. Our children know that before a meal, we thank God for the food He has given us. It doesn't matter if we're at home or out to eat. The kids know we do that. Before they go to bed we read some books, read a Bible story or family devotional, share something that we're thankful for and pray. Even if we're running late for bedtime, the kids know we will at least pray.

Love God. Love your spouse. Love your children. In that order. Make sure you let your children see how you love your spouse in appropriate ways. Let them see your arguments (so that they learn how to work through disagreements in appropriate ways); never let them (or your spouse) think that divorce is ever an option. Make sure they see how you love God as well.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cooling Off

It's hot. Very hot. It's 95 right now. And the humidity is pretty high. It was 75% this morning. Last year our hottest day of the year was in May. I hope that's not the case again this year. We didn't get much opportunity to swim in the lake. The sad thing is that none of the pools or splash pads open until the first of June. We could use a trip to the splash pad now.

So, we're left to resort to the best methods of cooling off: popsicles and water guns. What more do you need?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fireworks and Parades

For those readers who live in the Twin Cities area, this coming weekend is Golden Valley Days. We discovered the celebration right after we moved here two years ago. It's kind of a nice, small-town festival in the midst of the city sprawl.

Friday night they have a small, but fun fireworks display following the battle of the bands. The nice thing is that this time of year, dusk is a little earlier than it is in July so you don't have to wait as long for them to begin.

They also have a nice parade on Saturday morning. It's a lot of local businesses and organizations--again that small-town feel--and a lot of them throw out candy and other things. And the kids love that, of course. They've got other things going on over the weekend--but those two events are highlights for the kids.

Let me know of other events occurring this summer.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Lego Stories

My son loves Legos. He can spend all day building with them (if he's not spending all day drawing). Today I came across the website of a guy who has been illustrating Bible stories with Legos. It's not necessarily intended for children, so you might want to preview it, but my kids were enjoying some of the classic stories as told on The Brick Testament. Even if the Bible isn't of your faith persuasion, the stories are fun to see in brick form.

On behalf of the author's request, I'm not using images from that site, but for your viewing pleasure, here's a statue of Jesus made from Legos:

Sunday, May 16, 2010


A few weeks ago, both the boys did the monkey bars at the park. The 3 1/2 year old went half way across one morning. The almost-six-year old went all the way across that afternoon (it helped that the park we were at had sloping monkey bars--the downward angle is a plus for learning on). At the beginning of the school year the five-year old told his teacher that the monkey bars was one of the things he wanted to learn in Kindergarten (though I think they're a bit out of her teaching range).

Tonight, the training wheels went off both their bikes. I had to replace a tire on Nils' bike, so he wanted the wheels left off while I did that. Anders decided the other day that he was ready to try without as well. I must admit, Nils is going to have it down first. He's much more balanced. If we could afford to get him in gymnastics, he would be a prodigy. Nils was actually doing it on his own as my wife pulled up coming home from work. It almost brought a tear to our neighbor's eye.

But, I'm just as proud of Anders. He didn't give up. He's becoming more willing to persevere through things and practice. They're also both doing well at pumping on the swing. Again, Nils is a little further ahead. But he's the monkey--more coordinated and athletic. Anders is more artistic, creative and a builder. The definitely each have their own gifts. But they're also doing well at learning new things and taking the necessary steps to get there.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


One of my boys' favorite activities is "wrestling." This involves going on our bed and letting them jump on me. I throw them around a bit, lifting them up in the air on my feet, a la Superman. There's generally some tickling, a lot of laughing and eventually someone getting bonked. But they keep asking for more.

So, we keep doing it (though I try not to do it right before bed because they don't go to sleep if we do it then). It's actually good exercise for me: I try to do a few reps with each of the kids on my hands and legs. It's also a good bonding time. And that's what is most important. I hope you're finding some good activities to bond with your kids as well--ones they want to do over and over again.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


It seems like stay-at-home dads are starting to make their mark on television lately. One of them is on PBS Kids' Sid the Science Kid. Well, maybe. I'm not sure if it ever is stated what his dad does for work, but he's at home all the time. Presumably watching Sid's baby brother while Sid as at school.

The more noticeable example is on NBC's new show Parenthood. I'm not a fervent enough viewer to be able to tell you the character (or actor's) name--I got the picture of him by googling "Parenthood at-home dad". His wife is a lawyer, and he's at home. He takes slack for it from others, but he also does his job very well. He fends off flirtatious house wives, works through his kids' issues with them, keeps the house running well and supports his wife. In the little I've seen, he is shown in a positive light. Which, on the whole, doesn't happen with many dads on television.

Is this a growing trend? Have you noticed others on TV?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Of Watching Kids and Dreams

I feel like sometimes I get asked to watch friends' kids a lot because I'm a stay at home dad. And truly, I don't mind doing it. They're all good kids. And they tend to be around the same age as my kids, so they have someone with whom they can play. Play dates can often make taking care of kids little easier as they don't need my constant attention (though sometimes they require more attention).

Sometimes I wish someone would say, "Hey, you're with kids all the time. I bet you (and your wife) could use a break. Why don't I take them off your hands for a few hours? I'd enjoy doing that for you." While people are being generous, I also wouldn't mind it if someone said, "Hey, our family has a rustic cabin on a lake up on the North Woods (or along Lake Superior). It just sits empty a lot of the time. Would you guys enjoy using it over a weekend? We know you'd take good care of things, and we'd love to bless you with some peaceful time away. We have some kayaks you could use, and there are some wonderful hiking trails nearby."

Of course, I don't have friendships for the things I can get out of them. Well, I guess I do. I do have friendships that build me up, encourage me and keep me on the straight and narrow. But I don't look for friendships based on what others can offer me. I'm called to be a servant to others without looking for what I get in return. Indeed, I think I often forget the things I get in return. Still, a weekend in a rustic cabin would be nice . . .

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

First Picnic of the Year

I was watching my niece today. In the morning, she and Nils went on a walk around the pond with me along with a bag of starting-to-get-moldy bread. We stopped at the fishing dock and fed the ducks. Riley really enjoyed it. She kept asking for more pieces of bread to throw in. Nils enjoyed it, too, but I caught him chewing it a few times. Not the moldy pieces, thankfully.

When Anders got home from school, and Riley woke up from her nap, I put together a picnic lunch. We haven't gotten outside to do one yet this year (we've taken them to the zoo and on other outings, but we haven't had a springtime picnic on the grass yet).

So I put Nils and Riley into the bike trailer and Anders and I biked up to Brookview Park in Golden Valley. It was a nice day to be out. Both my boys did their first time across the monkey bars on their own (Nils only did half-way, but he's only 3, so I'm still impressed. He actually did it first, earlier in the morning).

Picnics are a good thing. I think my boys actually eat better outside. We'll even take lunch out and eat in the park right next to our apartment whenever we want. I'm looking forward to picnic suppers at the lake this summer to listen to concerts.