Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ode To Delta

I originally posted this to Facebook last week, but I thought that it deserved a re-post on my blog. I know that it isn't directly related to my normal stay at home dad topics, but it was a trip that I was on with my family. It is basically my general distain for the current state of airline travel. And as a bonus, at the end of the rant I will link to the latest video I made of Big Z and Little P from our trip to California. It is a fake trailer made with iMovie. Please enjoy my rant and the video.

Attention Facebook (and Blogger) passengers this is your captain speaking, thank you for flying with Delta today. The flight crew of flight 2020 to LAX would like to welcome you aboard. The crew will soon be coming around the cabin to distribute your $15 un-complementary box of snacks and your lukewarm, half flat can of Ginger Ale, and the rest of the can, don't worry about that we'll just keep that for you. We are sorry that the bag fees where more expensive than your tickets, and that the bags could only weigh 10 lbs, but that shouldn't be a problem for a family of 4 for 10 days. As compensation please enjoy the $2 headsets and the movie Bio Dome followed by reruns of Chico and the Man. Oh, and the Wi-Fi service, that will be $13 and whatever spare change you have on you. Once again thank you for flying with us. Flight crew, sack-a-mac fry 20 whiskey tango foxtrot.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Father Of The Year - Swim Lesson Edition

Summer is here and it is time for camps, picnics, museums, and...SWIM LESSONS. I had swim lessons as a child as. I don't remember much about them. I remember using the well chewed up, red, tombstone shaped kick boards that reeked of chlorine. I vaguely remember rocking the late 70's early 80's super short swim trunks with white piping around the edges. Still waiting for those to make a comeback. But I don't really ever remember being too scared. I might has been a little nervous, but thats about it. Even my experience with Big Z could never have prepared me for the epic meltdown that has occurred over the last 2 weeks with our smallest ball of fire, Little P.

The first day of the ordeal started off quite well, Big Z had really help me get Little P pumped up for his first day of his lessons. As we entered the pool area and Little P could not wait to get into the water. He kept asking me when it was going to be his turn to get in the pool. I was feeling pretty good, my world was about to be rocked. I walked him over to his instructor and helped him get into the pool and as I took me seat I was feeling rather full of myself. He was all smiles and couldn't seem to stop waving at his "big bubber". My heart filled with pride as he held on to his float assist bar (nope, that is what they called it) and kicked his little fat legs like a pro. I even advised the woman next to me not to worry. I told her that her child would get over her fear of the water and would be having a great time before she knew it. After all, my little 3 year old was having the time of his life...that is about the time that the "fit hit the shan". (Trying to keep this blog PG after all) Little P's instructor told him to get out of the water and to jump back into the water to her. I thought, great he should love that, because that is one of his favorite things to do with his Mom and I. But what I failed to consider is the fact that the instructors want the kids to get their faces wet when they jump in, most parents try not to do that when their kids jump to them. So, as my once happy go lucky preschooler resurfaced to the air that I am sure that he thought he would never see again, he let out a scream that I am quite sure to this day still has dogs in the next county barking. Little P then began to wail and sob like I had never heard or seen him do before. But, lucky for us the lesson was over and it was time to go home. As I dried off my slobbering little man I was sure that this would just blow over and all would be well at the next lesson...right?

I should have known that things had forever changed when Little P began to ask every couple of hours if he had swim lessons that day. I just thought that his little person's brain just didn't have the space for such useless information. I couldn't have been more wronger. (As one of our little neighborhood friends always says) The day of the next lesson Little P asked about the impending swim lessons about 2 hours before it was time and I told him he had them that day. (Cue the dramatic music) He then began to wail like I have just dropped a brick on his foot. This wailing continues for the next 2 hours...while dressing him...while putting him in the car...while driving him to said torturous lesson, it just never stopped. Nothing I, or his brother could say would help him. As I handed his clinging, flop sweating body over to his instructor, he clawed a 2 inch layer of skin off of my forearm. As I took my seat he was screaming, "Daddy! Noooo!" And that is when the looks started...let me back up. You see, during the summer, most parents are at work. There are a few stay at homes around but the bulk of the adults there are, wait for it...Grandmothers. And as we know there isn't another creature on this planet that is more caring, more protective, more forgiving than a Grandmother. And they all began to look at me like I was the most wretched, vile human being that they had ever laid eyes on. But I stuck to my guns, and said a few encouraging words to my littlest son, who in between crying and screaming my name, told his instructor that he "was mad at her". I knew that this might be the longest 30 minutes of my life. As the lesson wore on, I could feel all those little chocolate chip cookie making, boo boo kissing eyes staring at me. When the lesson finally and mercifully came to an end, his quivering little wet body walked toward me. As I carried his damp quivering little body to the locker room, I felt the eyes of a thousand Grandmothers staring at me. After much loving on, and one large milkshake, all was forgiven.

But I was determined that Little P wouldn't be a quitter and he would finish what he started. I wouldn't let judging Grandmotherly eyes soften my resolve to teach my child to swim. So the day of the next lesson arrived and I gathered his swimwear and got his change of clothes ready walked and up to Little P, he asked if he had swim lessons that day, I said yes. I saw the big tears begin to form in his eyes and his little voice quivered as he said, "Daddy me don't want to go, me scared."

We have not been back since...

Monday, May 9, 2011

So Much Art, So Little Refrigerator

On the heals of Mother's Day, I thought that would share a little exchange between Big Z and my wife recently. A few days ago Big Z had commented to his mother that he thought that his little brother had more "art" on our refrigerator then he did. A true statement, but what Big Z wasn't taking into account was that as he gets older he brings home more "real" papers and less and less "art". Little P has been attending pre school this year and bringing home a lot of little pieces of "art" during the week and slowly over taking Big Z's works of art on, the apparently, very coveted front of our refrigerator. His mother explained this to him and Big Z responded by saying that he had in fact brought home some art recently and he would get it for her. The piece of "art" that he brought to her to hang on our home front Louvre was this...

I know, scary right? This lovely piece is actually a little report on Oliver P. Morton that he had illustrated. (Yeah, I didn't know who he was either hence the link.) Creepy as it may look, the picture is very accurate...

Nice interpretation Big Z.

Most people have pictures of rainbows and little houses made of tissue paper and macaroni on their refrigerators. My family has this sour looking fellow. Well who knows, maybe this will scare me away from the fridge when I make a late night snack run. If this works as a diet I will let everyone know so you to can try it and look into the very narrow, grizzled eyes of Mr. Morton when you go foraging for the French onion dip or frozen pizza.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

24/7 Dad's One Minute Movie Review: Disney's African Cats

Anyone who knows my family and I knows that we are HUGE Disney fans. Theme parks, TV shows, movies, we are borderline obsessed with all things Disney. I am also a long time student of Disney history. And one of the big things from Disney's past (Walt and the company) was wildlife programing and movies. It was a part of the company that Walt cared so much about that he put one of his blood relatives in charge of it once he became old enough, his nephew Roy Disney. They used to call the films, Disney's True Life Adventures. Most of the programing aired on TV within the old Disney television show called The Wonderful World of Color. Walt was a huge fan of animals and nature and a big reason why most all of his cartoon features leaned so heavily on the animal kingdom for characters, and if they weren't the stars there would always be some animals in the background or part of the plot in some way. Sorry, I tend to ramble like I need medication when I talk about Disney stuff. So, I told you all that, to tell you about this...

Disney's African Cats

Big Z has always been our "animal guy". Dinosaurs, jungle, desert, any type of animal you can think of, he will have you covered. He and I, even when he was Little Z, have always watched animal specials on TV together. And when I say watched, what I really mean is studied. Big Z consumes anything that he can find about animals. So seeing this movie was really a no brainer. Little P also loves animals, but his attention span for any non-animated movie is only about 30 minutes. African Cats clocks in at 1 hour and 45 minutes. So if you have a smaller child, or one with ants in their pants, you might want to skip seeing it in the theater. But do watch it when it comes out on DVD because it is a great story that is easy for kids to follow and it is photographed beautifully. The film follows 2 different cat families over the course of a few years and shows the ways that 2 different breeds of cats raise their young. The story has it's ups and downs, but in true Disney fashion, they handle tragedies in a way that explains the situation without being gory or overly dark. Overall a fantastic film that cries out to be watched of the big screen with it's fantastic visuals and scenery. A film that can be watched by the whole family together with a lot to talk about afterward.

Disney is clearly back in the game of wildlife and nature films with African Cats. And a special thank you to Roy Disney who was really behind this project getting done, and sadly it would be his last, as we lost Roy in 2009. Thanks, Roy.

Big Z gives it 5 stars for animal goodness. Little P gives it 3 stars because it can be a somewhat talky for those with little squirmy butts.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Inside The Mind Of A 10 Year Old

Something that I want to do from time to time is to post some of my children's school work or drawings that I think are cute or funny. I would say that this piece of artwork easily fits into that framework.

The other day Big Z came home from school with a very interesting piece of art. Sometime during the day he had some spare time and was inspired to draw a diagram of what his brain looks like. Please feel free to click on it to see the bigger version and take some time to soak it all in.

Where to begin? There are many funny aspects to this drawing, like the very small space for "school" at the top. I was a little surprised about the amount of space he allocated for "boring stuff", but considering it's location next to "school" I guess it kind of makes sense. But I think the one that puzzled my wife and I the most was the real estate given to "furniture". When questioned by my wife about "furnitures" large floor space Big Z simply said, "Well, I was thinking about things to add to my picture and a figured that I had to have furniture in there because if I didn't I wouldn't know what to call things if somebody asked me like, that over there is a couch, and that over there is a chair." Touché Big Z, touché.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Here Comes Peter Cottontail, Grab The Shotgun

Well, it's Easter time and that can only mean one thing, time to get out the recipe for boiling eggs. (No, I'm not kidding) So let's rip open the Paas egg dying kits, that haven't changed in 100 years, pour the vinegar in the cups and share some old and new Easter memories.

While I was attending Little P's preschool Easter party Thursday I started thinking of some Easter memories from the past and thought of one that made me smile. During the Easter season my Grandfather (Papaw) would take the opportunity several times to tease me about the Easter Bunny. Sample exchange:

Papaw: I just saw the Easter Bunny.

Me: Really?

Papaw: Yeah. And I could swear I just saw ol' Ronnie Cooper going for his shotgun.

Me: What!?! No. You are just teasing, right?

Papaw: I don't know, I guess you'll just have to wait and see.

Now I knew in my heart that he was teasing me but, there was always a just enough sincerity in his voice to put the slightest shadow of doubt in my mind. And of course that shadow would become smaller as the years went by and the same "tale" was repeated each year. (I never saw it coming) But, he had one other trick up his sleeve that would almost always cause me to think that the he was telling me the truth though, and it was a doozy.

In my hometown we had a small local grocery store that carried the produce and beef of local farmers and sometimes even fish that fishermen in the area had caught. Papaw always purchased his beef and chicken there. I always thought that the place smelled funny and the building looked super old. Papaw would just smile at that comment and say, "That's how you know what's inside will be good". We would then proceed back to the meat counter to place Papaw's order and it was at that point that he would drop his bombshell. He would point to down inside the refrigerated case and rock my world. Oh wait, did I forget to mention that the market also sold RABBITS seasonally? My young eyes would then look down into this case of doom and see the words Fresh Rabbits. Then to further cement the deal he would then talk to his friend behind the counter and ask, "Did Ronnie bring that rabbit in here?" It was at that point that the grizzled man behind the counter would look me right in the eyes and say that Ronnie had just brought it in. Game over. Well played Papaw, well played.

As we rode home in the car and I sat in stunned silence, Papaw looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and a smile and say, "You know that wasn't really the Easter Bunny, right?" And mustering all of my dignity I had I would said that of course I knew that. Papaw and I played this game for many Easters, and to this day it still makes me smile.

So a couple of years ago, hoping to continue this Easter tradition with my family, I told Big Z that I had seen the Easter Bunny along side the road about to be hit by a car, and with all sincerity Z looks at me and says, "Daddy, that isn't possible." Puzzled by his answer I ask him why not, and with the wisdom of a double digit aged child he says, "Daddy, come on. The Easter Bunny is a magical creature and doesn't live anywhere near here. That bunny you saw must have just looked like the Easter Bunny. I am surprised that you couldn't tell." I once again sat in stunned silence at Easter time. Where is a market that sells rabbits when you need one?

Here is a slide show from Little P's Easter party. For those that don't know, he is the one in the striped blue shirt.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Wrestling Fool Brothers

The family and I had a little fun last night and made a "wrestling promo" featuring Big Z and Little P. Not a typical blog post, but we are not a typical family. And at the end of the day who really is typical?

Go get em' boys!