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Diaries of a stay at home dad

Remember my last post when I said that I was going to get into a better routine of posting? I guess I was full of poop. In my own defense, I got a nasty (undiagnosed) sinus infection last week that just killed me. To their credit, the boys were easy on me last week. It probably helped that they knew there was a holiday week coming up, and they didn’t want risk losing out on any of the family and fun filled plans we has set.

So we checked out fireworks on the third, complements of brother ken/sisterinlaw michele and Avon oaks country club. But before that we went swimming, and wouldn’t you know it the pool had a diving board. Well the boys have never jumped off of a diving board before. This is a big moment in their short lives. So Liam wants to jump off without any swimmies on (those are for little kids), but of course I need to be in the water since he is not able to swim independently.
So he musters the courage to take the leap. Apparently all of the swimming lessons and reinforcement I have been giving him, while getting the best tan I have had since I was 17, left him when he broke the surface of the water. Luckily my life guard training from 20 years ago kicked in and I got him to the side of the pool with no problem, besides the fact everyone at the pool was looking at us, likely wondering if they should call child services or not. Liam tried it a couple more times, with swimmies, and seemed to like it, but retired soon to the shallow end for some less stressful wading.
Then we have Brian. Keep in mind that last august Brian fell out of a second story window and had nary (yes, nary) a scratch. So jumping off of a diving board is child’s play to him…Kind of. He has his shark float on so his fear factor is zero. So there is a line of kids waiting to go, and Brian is sizing up what jump he should perform, perhaps a one and a half twist, or a back two and a half flip. Whatever he was thinking, he was taking his time. Finally he looks down, and I tell him he has to go or get off the board. He sticks one leg out, holds his nose and falls off the board.
The Russian judge was not impressed, and only gave him a 5.0, but his originality was impressive.
So B swims to the side and hops up the ladder. “that was cool” he says. So he runs over to the board and cuts in front of like 8 kids. Clearly his diving board etiquette leaves something to be desired. Anyway, he must have jumped off of that board for an hour. He could not get enough of it.

So the fireworks are ready to start and Liam and Brian are sitting with sarah on a double camping chair, or love seat as we call it in the biz. So when the shots start going off Brian freaks out a little. We both reassume him and encourage him to enjoy, which he does, but he whispers to sarah “mom, every time one of the booms go off I pee my pants a little.” you can’t make this stuff up folks!

The rest of the holiday week we spent at the flannery retreat on Catawba island. We invited the Guinness people up to see if we could set a record of number of people sleeping in a two bedroom condo, but some plans fell apart and we didn’t hit the record. Perhaps next year.
They too have a pool that we spend most of our days at, and considering the heat index was above 100, and I needed to keep working on my tan, we were there most of the week. Liam had a huge accomplishment. All during a two day period he learned to dive to the bottom of the pool, then retrieve diving toys from the bottom. Most of this was done at the shallow end. But later in the day, a couple of the diving toys were dropped in the deep end. Uh oh. So after liam chastised Brian for dropping them in, he attempted to get them. No way, too deep. He came up, frustrated. I told him, it s just like you are swimming just below the surface. He is very good at swimming under water, but he says close to the surface of the water. So I convinced him that the deep end is a shorter distance than the distance he can already swim under water, but he still could not do it. So I told him I would jump in a get them in a couple minutes, and i sat back and relaxed for a moment
Then, without a sound, Liam took a breath, pushed himself down, dove deep and grabbed not one, but two diving toys that were on the bottom. Awesome. I was so proud my cautious, risk averse, little professor mastered his fear.

I am going to wrap up this post, but I may have a couple other stories i will write later, but I do have a quicky that made me chuckle today. We were swimming on out last day of fun, and Brian was commenting to me how cool one of the other girl’s pool float was, an alligator to be exact. She must have heard him and she offered it to him to play with. He very politely said “no thank you, I am done swimming now.”. He got out of the pool and walked over to me saying ” wow dad, that was awful nice of her to offer to let me use the alligator.” while this comment may seem unremarkable, it made me laugh to hear a child of four show appreciation for another child’s unsolicited act of kindness. Two things you don’t often see from adults, much less children.

Hasta mañana


Diaries of a stay at home dad

Wow, or better yet whoa, what a week we have had. This has been the week from heck.
Liam and brian have bible camp in the mornings, then Liam has safety town in the afternoon, and the frosting for this mentally and emotionally draining cake is that Liam had three tee ball games this week.
Mercifully Monday’s game was a cancelled. But Wednesday and Thursday went on, in 90 degree heat and what seemed like 100% humidity. Tonight’s game was the last of the season. I am so proud of my little man. He has done such a great job picking up a game he knew nothing about, and really coming a long way. Considering during his second practice he batted, then when he was on first he waited for the next teammate to hit the ball, and he chased after it. After the dust had settled I explained to him that when you are batting you run from base to base. He says to me “coach told me when the ball is hit that I should run to and get the ball.” we call him “Literal Liam” for a reason.

So earlier this week Liam walked up and asked me “daddy, is it cocktail time yet?”

Cocktail time. I am sure cocktail time means something different to all people, but when I was growing up cocktail time was at 5 o’clock SHARP!
So at cocktail time in our house the boys get a delicious drink, and some nice snicky snacks, while we kick back and relax from our long days of playing in the sand box, or pulling some weeds, or perhaps drawing. Life is hard. You need to take the time to kick back, relax and enjoy it sometimes.

So I got a bike, I mean bicycle, for my birthday and I took it for a spin with Liam and Brian for the first time this weekend. We have one of those crazy cart things you attach to your bike, and it nicely fits two little monsters.
So we hit the towpath on a bee-utiful Saturday afternoon. Sarah was following us with keagan in one of our strollers. She organized the logistics, but didn’t notice that our route was 8 miles long. Not bad on a bike ride, but pushing a stroller, not gonna happen. She gave it the ol’ college try for about a mile and a half, then turned around. Good choice.
So me and the boys pushed on.
Ever see the chariot seen in Ben hurr? You know the one in the roman colosseum where the warriors are whipping the heck out of the horses as they race around the track?
Fast forward to today, substitute me for the horse, and Liam and Brian for the roman warriors. They sat back in the cart and berated me, pelting me with encouragement/criticism like “faster dad” or “put it in high gear dad”, “get up this hill, dad…c’mon, faster dad.”
I tell you what, pulling 80 pounds of kids is not easy. I loved it though, and the boys had a blast.

For all my adoring fans, I hope to get back into a better routine on my posts. Sorry for the belated post from this week.

Diaries of a stay at home dad

So at the end of our last episode I mentioned that we hit the zoo for the first time with me as captain of the starship ridiculous. I used our biking stroller as it is roomier, and I was fully expecting to have all three boys in this thing at some point.
So we begin our day as usual, breakfast, Disney show, play in the yard, and then the k-dawg takes his 2 hour morning nap…at least he usually does. This time instead he takes a four hour nap. I tried to coordinate meeting up with one of my stay at home posse (shout out to ashley Hotchkiss), but how was i supposed to assume k would take that long of nap?

So he wakes at 2, we all pile in the party van for the trip. 5 minutes in, maybe 2 miles down the street Brian asks “how long until we are there dad?”. Seriously?
We get to the zoo and everyone is heading out. Score.
We have a pass, so I don’t care that the Zoo closes in two hours. Heading in I get several looks, accompanied with the “that guys is nuts/has his hands full” comments. Little do they know I am making fun of their Aerosmith/NASCAR Shirts with the missing sleeves while I walk by them.
Sorry, that was not really necessary.

So there is a bathroom just outside the gates, and I ask the boys if they need to go. Liam apparently has the bladder of a field mouse, so of course he says yes. I convince him to wait until we get inside, and thanks to the fundamental premise of having gift shops positioned immediately as you walk through the gates, Liam totally forgets about the bathroom. Thankfully I was spared from having to drag three kids into a public restroom.

Speaking of public restrooms, as we make our way through the zoo, the boys are really doing a great job of listening and staying close, etc. keagan is kicking back in the cart, enjoying life, and all is right with the world. Then i see it. The rhino exhibit. I immediately begin to freak out. I attempt to convince the boys the exhibit is closed, but they notice that while one side is closed, the other is open. Oh, and there just so happens to be an older gentleman with some rhino bones and a horn, taking questions.
Why, you ask, am i so concerned about the rhinos? Well about six months ago a friend of mine sent me a link to a video of a rhino pooping. It sounds like a chain saw, and looks funny, to those of us with a fifth grade or below sense of humor. Thus, My boys, and i, found it hilarious.
What makes this more stressfull is that there are steps, so I cannot get the stroller up to where the boys are…they are on their own.
I am hoping against hope they dont ask the rhino to poop. They don’t, but they turn around and head towards the guy answering questions. Uh oh.
I cannot really hear what they ask, but I can tell it is not about poop, and the gentleman does not seems absolutely disgusted. In the end he says, “great questions boys.”
I think I dodged a bullet there.

Well the only other mishap was in the ice cream shop where the boys seemed determined to pull down the rope thing that set the line. Funny thing is, I told them that if they didn’t stop pulling that thing down, I was going to take them out of the ice cream shop without ice cream. I am pretty confident that they would have made a much worse scene had I done that as opposed to the insignificant annoyance they were causing by pulling on the rope dividers. Choose your battles wisely.

Today was uneventful, but it had its moments. We went for a nature walk, about two miles. A quarter of the way through Liam wants to turn around. I make him push on. He complains throughout, but we make it back to the car. Then we head to Walmart to grab a couple random things. Liam started asking me for a jump rope. Huh? He doesn’t even know how to jump rope and he is apparently too tired to walk, but he wants a jump rope.
I don’t think so.

Big day tomorrow…need my beauty sleep.

Buenos noches!

Diaries of a stay at home dad

Brian: dad, I am not going hit liam or push him or yell at him today, because that is not nice. And if he does that to me, I am just going to tell him to stop, but wont hit him back.

Yes, my little Brian, the spark plug of the family, made that statement to me yesterday clear out of the blue. I bent down and told him that I was very proud to hear him say that, and he should never use violence to solve problems. Apparently he has been listening at church more than I thought. Funny considering I needed to carry him out of mass last week when he began yelling at Liam…its all a big cycle.
So, now are you wondering if he could walk the walk? Well give yourself a hand if you guessed approximately 2 hours before B was wailing on Liam. I asked him about what he had said to me earlier, and actually looked somewhat ashamed.

Ha…five minutes later he was picking on him again. Oh well. Baby steps.

If it is any consolation to Liam, whenever keagan has a chance he beats on Brian, and B takes it. Especially in the grocery cart. Brian sits in the cart, and keagan sits up top. Keagan kinda turns himself around and smacks the top of Brian’s head, over and over again. Brian: “ouch, stop. Ouch, stop. Ouch, please stop keagan.” it is actually funny to watch. The elderly contingent at the local giant eagle seem to find it adorable.

Speaking of the k-dawg, I have noticed that he taking his place in the slaght play group. Liam and brian have been more actively engaging him in play, and he has been following them around. At what point do they start having him do things for them. Pledge brother keagan, I can see it now.
And on the adorable-meter, brian and Liam were preparing to watch their afternoon show, and I had not put keagan in the pack and play, like I usually do. Keagan makes his way to the couch to climb up with his bro’s, but he doesn’t have the ups to…uh…get up on the couch. So Liam hops down and lifts his brother on to the couch. Then the three of them enjoy the antics of the octonauts. Life is good.

Got another post about hitting the zoo today,but I am tired…I will post tomorrow. Yes, that was a teaser.

Diaries of a stay at home dad

A week has flown by since my last post. Not sure how that is possible. Not sure I remember much, since it was such a blur, but I will do my best to paint a accurate picture of the last week.

I realized that if I am going to survive I need more sleep. Getting to bed at 11pm is not healthy, wealthy or wise when attempting to keep up with three little men. So I decided to neglect the blog. You didnt really think I was going to keep up posting on a daily basis. Are you mental?

It is amazing to me how crucial routine it to my boys. Keagan misses a nap, or only gets a short nap, or Liam wakes up at 6:15 like he does often, and the whole day is out of whack. I am quickly realizing though that if the day is off a bit, it is a good idea to give the boys some latitude in determining what is next on our agenda. For example, keagan decided to head up stairs on his own, and liam told me “it must be time to play upstairs.” I asked I’m what he meant, and he said that keagan decides when we are going to play upstairs, because if we don’t he gets really mad and then he is hard to handle. Ok…if it is that simple, then I will just follow keagans lead.

So we went to baltimore for a long weekend, and the boys were my entourage as we prepared for the trip. Washing the car, packing the bags, getting some groceries and snacks, and of course hitting the liquor aisle. For some reason Brian has an affinity to high priced red wine. Case in point, I was picking up some booze recently and Liam says “Brian, you should out that down.” Brian was sitting in the cart, and as I wheeled by the high end wine, sticky fingers nabbed a nice bottle of $60 red wine. I realized that I should not raise my voice or make any sudden moves or I may be the proud owner of a broke bottle of red wine. I slowly made my way around the cart and calmly grabbed the bottle from Brian, and then told him to stop touching everything. I actually thought to myself “why do they have a bottle of expensive red wine at the level a 4 year old could reach.” I just transferred my parental responsibility to some 16 stock boy…I losing my edge…may have to turn in my wings.

I also let them pick out snacks for the car ride: pizza combos and rice crispie treats…that father of the year award is all mine.

Baltimore was a blast. Had a great time partying with our 11 week old cousin/nephew, and my brother and sister in law, and the boys learned some new stuff. They climbed a tree, and learned how to throw a frisbee, and cracked fresh crab…but they were not brave enough to eat it.
As for the frisbee, I think that my boys may have a bit of a trust issue with me now. After teaching them how to throw the frisbee, and showing them how to catch it, and telling them that the frisbee wont hurt them, I hit both of them in the face with the disc. Doh!
Now they both run from the thing when I throw it, and once it lands they pick it up. We will have to work on the frisbee.

Time for bed…another new day tomorrow.

Diaries of a stay at home dad

As I write this entry I am listening to rocky mountain high for the third time today, all on different pandora stations. Don t get me wrong, I love pandora, I wouldn’t be able to stay sane in this new “job” without some sweet tunes. It just seems like the variety can be limited at times. Then again, it probably has more to do with the narrow width and depth of the musical selections i have setup on this thing. I am not going to embarrass myself and list my stations…in my own little world I know that I have little to no contemporary musical taste. But it is my own little world, so as long as keagan shakes his little booty to my selections, I am happy.

Had a nice weekend. I found it funny that on saturday sarah asked the boys if they wanted to hit the mall with her while I stayed home while keagan napped. I must be way too much fun to hang with because Liam and Brian decided to stay home with me. There goes that nap i was going to take. Boo.

So when I was a kid I was not allowed to leave the table until my plate was clean…I mean licked clean. My brother chris would sometimes sit at the table for weeks because he would not eat his asparagus. So when I feed my kids it pains me, literally and figuratively, when they don’t eat all the food I give them. Segway time…
When sarah and I started down this path i was very excited at the thought of more exercise, hiking, walking, etc. we have more metro parks near us than i can count. I want to get the boys up, fed, out the door and experiencing nature.

Ha. They just want play in the back yard. Mean while, when i see food left on their plates, I don’t want it to go to waste. So, i am eating their scraps so they don’t go to waste, and I am up 3 pounds since last week! How can that be? In don’t stop moving until 9pm.
I need a drink…oh, I have one, nice. Uh oh…there’s another pound.

So we needed to finish planting a huge garden we put in to teach the boys about sustainability, gardening, etc. I ask the boys to help me dig one inch deep holes for some onions. Of course they will help. There are hand shovels involved. So i show Liam and Brian what to do, and how to do it. I walk away to find some stuff we need and they have dug a small trench, as well as digging up some veggies i already planted.
But wait….they dug up a worm. AWESOME. They are so excited about these worms. It is really amazing what they find interesting. And then they see a millipede. Whoa! It’s the little things in life.

Throughout all of this, I keep asking the boys how I am doing…”great dad, but we need the shovel to dig up more worms.” who needs disney channel when you have a garden.

So we are done in the garden, which is good because keagan is waking from his slumber. He gets a snack, and then we play for a bit. I attempt to have him stay in our screened in porch, to no avail. The kid slides through doors as soon as they open, like a master thief. I lose track of him for a moment, and he is gone. I run into the house, and I see Liam. “where is keagan?”
Liam: ” I don’t know”
Me: “what do you mean…he was right here. I asked you to keep an eye on him”
Liam: “sorry daddy. I think he went this way…”
After we found him in our bedroom, I put keagan in his high chair and locked him in. Then I realized that i just held Liam accountable for keeping track of a one year old, as if he was 16 or perhaps even older. And the best part was that Liam reacted as if it was his responsibility. There is a lot of people I used to work with, and who may be reading this blog, that didn’t show that kind of accountability. Liam is 5 going on 35.

So my time management is out of whack. In started dinner at 5, and Liam has a 6pm t-ball game. Wha? I look at the clock at 5:25 and i am just putting the food on the boys plates. Uh oh. I basically tell the boys to eat as fast as possible, while putting on their shoes jackets. Now I know why Brian is asking to take my blood pressure with his toy doctor set at least a dozen times a day.

T-ball was great tonight. Liam had a couple hits (one actually his arm, but give him a break) and a couple nice snags in the field. You know, where he sticks his glove out and the ball ends up in his glove. I tell ya what, he looked smooth!

Yet again it is 11pm, and I wanted to be asleep by 9. Oh well. I will make up the sleep when I retire.

Diaries of a stay at home dad

Ok, i missed a day, so sue me. For Bernie kosar’s sake, I am trying to manage the lives of three little kids, and my wife who…I better stop there. But if it helps paint a picture, she told me “you’ve organized more stuff in this house in one day than I did during my whole maternity leave last year.”
Tell me something I don’t now. Bazinga!


I realized that my Wednesday did not start well because all we had left was decaf coffee. No wonder I was out of sorts. I struggled Wednesday, and yesterday I was like a new man. It was like an elixir that gave me energy and confidence. So much so that I thought it was a great idea to clean out the detached garage during keagans nap. Wow. Talk about a miscalculation in needed time and resources to complete a project. For every item I removed from the garage, Liam and Brian moved three or four around, in or out of the garage. Not efficient. By the time keagan woke after his standard two hour nap, I had only moved about a quarter of the stuff out. I still needed to hit home depot (second day in a row), make dinner (smothered and stuffed pork chops, nice) and take Liam to his tee ball game. I need a drink.

What was I thinking trying to clean the garage out while watching three kids? Caffeine. Oh well.
So we made our way back to the yard to play. I was hanging out with keagan, when I see Brian pulling the hose across the yard. I ask him what he’s doing.

Flashback to Wednesday when the boys begged me to get them play sand for their sand box.

Brian says he want to fill the sandbox up with water so all the sand floats out. He wants the sand box to be a water table now. I tell him that he better not do that because I am not going to buy them anymore sand if they dump it all out of the box. Clearly the light bulb above Brian’s head when on. As soon as I walk away he attempts to dump the sand/water table on its side. My spidey-sense warned me of Brian’s shenanigans. I walked back over just in time to see him tilting the box.
“you said if I dumped the box we wouldn’t get anymore sand, and I want it to be a water table only.”
Touché young grasshopper.

Tee ball was good, except for Liam tackling a girl on his team who got to a ground ball before he did. He didn’t actually tackle her. It strongly resembled a browns defensive lineman attempting to tackle a running back during the 2011 season. It was funny/embarrassing in several ways. What is worse is that i was “that parent” who is constantly yelling “directions” to his kid during a meaningless game. I suck, but I caught myself in time to avoid too much damage.

Woke up today feeling like I was hung over. What did I do to deserve this? Need coffee.
Giving the boys baths in the morning is a pain. Keagan haaaaaaaates getting his head wet, ever since a week or two ago when he did his scuba diving imitation in the tub. Yes, it was on my watch…cut me some slack.
So we got past that, had breakfast and then I made the decision to attempt our greatest adventure to date: the west side market.
Overall went smoothly, i counted at least three people who said “oh boy, you got your hands full.”
Ha ha ha…please leave me alone.
On the bright side, i asked for a half dozen brats from a stand where the woman working exclaimed, yes exclaimed, “those are the cutest three boys I have ever seen!”
Besides being extremely perceptive, this woman was also a pushover. When she went to ring me up, she saw I had a five spot in my hand…when i asked how much…low and behold, it was five dollars even. Isn’t that ironic. I think my boys cuteness just set the market for bratwurst. Maybe I should take them to a stock exchange and attempt to by apple stock for 20 bucks a share. Yes, that was supposed to be funny…i am such a hack.

We came home and unpacked. All the boys wanted for lunch was a cannoli we always get from Theresa’s at the market. Being the health conscience dad, I was determined to have the boys eat something healthier than a cannoli for lunch, so I also got them Stromboli, which is basically a small pizza. Dad of the year, right here.

We spent the rest of the afternoon watching cars 2, since it was raining. Movie stunk, but the quiet, calm of hanging out with my boys was a nice end to my first week at my new “job.”