Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010

Growing up, Halloween was not one of my favorite days of the year.  For one reason or another I just didn't get into it.  That has changed now that I have little ones that get so excited every October 31st.  Parker woke up this morning with quite a spring in his step and instead of greeting me with his usual "Good morning Daddy" it was a very enthusiastic "Happy Halloween Daddy!".

This year we had a ladybug, a Clone Trooper, and Superman.  Can you guess who was what?

Walking from house to house just wasn't cutting it for our superhero, so he could be seen streaking from door to door on his scooter. 

Addy got to ride in style as Grammy and Pop pushed her along on our journey.

After we made the rounds, there was still time to sit on the front porch and pass out delicious treats to other trick-or-treaters.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sweet talking Santa Claus.

Sara came across this note in Parker's bag today after school...

For those of you at home who are not used to deciphering the writing of a first grader, allow me to help:

You are awesome Santa Clause
Baseball stuff
Toy gun
Cheetos bag
Basketball stuff
Nintendo DS

Parker undoubtedly wrote this because one of his teachers at daycare moonlights working as an elf at the North Pole, or at least that is what she has Parker believing.  He mentioned this morning that she was starting work this Friday evening so he wanted to write a note to Santa that she could personally deliver. 

The kid knows what he is doing.  Not only is he trying to be one of the first to get a letter to Santa, he also knew that rather than just list the things he would like to get for Christmas, maybe he should try to stroke Santa's ego a bit by telling him he is awesome.  Even Kris Kringle enjoys a little flattery every now and again.  Nice work son.

It's no secret how Parker has nearly doubled his body weight since coming home with us last summer...the boy loves food.  Hence a bag of Cheetos made his Christmas list. 

Since I know Santa pretty well, I like his chances when it comes to the baseball and basketball stuff.  No so much when it comes to a toy guy or a DS.  Cheetos bag?  I feel like one of those is likely to at least find its way into a stocking.

I'll be sure to report back once Lleyton makes it known what he might like to get for Christmas.  I am sure it will be just as entertaining. 

"Celebrity" look alike.

Johnny Lawrence looks a little more serious than our little man.

For those that aren't into Karate Kid as much I used to be, Johnny Lawrence is the villian who Daniel-son took down in the final scene with the unmistakable swan kick.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A hayride for the ages.

Our fall festivities continued this weekend.  We met one of Lleyton's friends from daycare and his family at a farm near our house yesterday afternoon.  This farm has what many others you might visit during this time of year have, a small petting zoo, a corn maze, a small pumpkin patch, and a play area for the kids made out of hay bales. 

What sets this experience apart from others is the hayride. 

It's no ordinary ride, as it takes you deep into the farm where all of the cows reside. These cows are accustomed to having visitors and are not bashful about coming right up the their new friends and "politely" asking for an ear of corn or two. 

This one in particular seemed to have his eye on me (and I was thankful that I was on the other side of the trailer).

Here are a few other pictures from our enjoyable afternoon/evening.

Today's activity was making jack-o-lanterns.  What better way to spend a few minutes after yet another Bengals loss than by taking out my frustration on a couple unsuspecting pumpkins.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mr. Mom: Fritos and a false alarm

The kids and I wrapped up a very successful week with an enjoyable trip to Jump Zone this evening.  It was my way of rewarding the boys for being so well behaved throughout my tenure as Mr. Mom. 

A rookie mistake on my part nearly derailed the trip shortly after arriving at the inflatable filled fun house.  The boys were bouncing off of the walls with excitement and Addy and I were watching with amusement when I realized that I had no diapers in the diaper bag and Addy had most certainly had an accident.  I went through the a thought process that included considering how bad of a parent I would be if I ignored the fact that Addy needed her diaper changed because I didn't want the boys to be upset because we had to leave so shortly after we arrived.  Addy has really seemed to like me all week, which isn't always the case and I wasn't prepared to jeopardize that, so I decided that I would go ahead and tell the boys we had to leave, but first I checked to make sure my senses were correct and that she had, in fact, had an accident and needed a diaper change.  To my delight, it was a false alarm and my rookie mistake did not prematurely end our outing. 

The boys did what they do at Jump Zone, ran around from inflatable to inflatable, Lleyton usually going down the slides headfirst only to be greeted by myself and an employee telling him he couldn't do that and he has to go down on feet first.  

For those interested in what the boys ended up eating for dinner, tonight it was popcorn chicken and Fritos. 

Nutritious?  No, but the boys loved it, and they were nice enough share a couple of their chips with Addy, who also has quite an affinity for Chili Cheese Fritos.

The kids are now fast asleep.   I am not far behind.  It's been an enjoyable week.  The kids have showed me alot and we are all excited to see Sara tomorrow.  Park can't wait to tell her about his spelling test, and Lleyton can't wait to lay on her belly (it's one of his favorite things to do, he adores his mommy/mom/Sara).

All kids accounted for...check.
Laundry done...check.
Dishes washed...check.
House cleaned...check.

With that, my Mr. Mom responsibilitie have come to a conclusion. 
Thanks for following along. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The boy loves to read.

Here is Parker on Tuesday morning, waiting patiently in the car as I was trying to get everything organized in the predawn hours so that I could make it to work in time for my morning meeting. 

Mr. Mom: Possible preview of things to come.

I've knowingly kept our out of the house activities relatively simple to this point, knowing that I'm not quite sure how I would handle all three kids in a retail establishment or restaurant type of business.  That all may change this evening as I got the dreaded, yet not surprising notification that Addy is out of diapers at daycare.  That would be a pretty simple fix if we had an abundance at home, but I am not that lucky. 

Looks like a diaper buying trip is in our future.  This will be uncharted waters, but I can handle it. 

The kids have been listening.  Parker has been a big helper and Lleyton made it home with us after a visit to the park last night.  So we are rolling right along.

Can the string of good behavior and cooperation continue?

Is it socially acceptable to tether Lleyton to a shopping cart with a bungee cord while I navigate around the cavernous Sam's store?

Almost every time we enter a store or restaurant, or gas station for that matter, Lleyton begins dancing around like a fairy because he has to go to the bathroom so bad, which ultimately leads Park to also have to go and I get to escort them.  It's not a fun chore having to urge Parker to go as quickly as possible (he moves pretty slowly at times) while trying to keep Lleyton's little hands out of the urinal and his eyes to himself, but it's manageable.  Yet with Addy in the mix, I am fearful that if you were to venture into the men's restroom at the Sam's store on Houston Rd tonight you may find a scene similar to this...

If you can't tell, I love the movie Mr. Mom.  It was one of my favorite movies growing up and now I am living it. 


Quick update on yesterday evening.  The kids did great once again!

We met some friends at a park for a picnic after work.  Lleyton was very excited to get to hang with his friend Liya, and I think the feeling was mutual.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mr. Mom: Day #1 report

Day 1 went great!  Bad back and all (I threw out my back horsing around with Lleyton last Friday night and am operating at about 60% right now, which is much better than the 25% I was over the weekend). 

I couldn't have asked for much more out of the kids.  That is from the time I picked them up from daycare until the time I took them back this morning.  That doesn't include yesterday at daycare when Lleyton threw a rock at one of his friends.  But that wasn't on my watch.

Sara had a talk with Parker before she left that he had to be a big helper this week and he has been just that.  Usually the routine at night is for Sara to put Addy to bed while I read Lleyton and Parker a book or two before saying goodnight to them.  Well, since Sara isn't home this week, obviously I am the one putting Addy to bed, and this is what I was greeted with when I went in to read to my boys...

Parker loves to read, and Lleyton was really enjoying hanging with his big bro listening to the Diary of a Wimpy Kid. 

This morning, all of the kids were up and at 'em without any problems.  Lleyton and Addy were up pretty early, much earlier than usual, which really disrupted Molly's (and my) sleeping, so she thought she might be able to find some refuge away from the little ones.  She was sorely mistaken, as Lleyton found her hiding spot rather quickly.

Sara thinks that sometimes I have trouble dressing the kids in things that match.  I respectfully disagree.  I think I passed with flying colors this morning.

Note: I didnt' forget to get Lleyton changed this morning, it's pajama day at school.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Goodnight wishes from across the country.

A glimpse into my week.

Look out world...I'm Mr. Mom this week.

Should be an interesting week in our household.  Sara left this morning for her first extended work trip, which leaves me in charge of the house for the next four days. 

Parker already thinks that since mom is gone, we are eating out every night and bedtimes don't exist, but I am going to have to disappoint him.  I think he will understand.

This morning as Sara was putting the finishing touches on her packing she went through of punch list of items I might want to know and she informed me that I will probably have to do laundry for each of the kids at some time during the week.  Parker, being the ever-so-helpful little man that he is, said, "Daddy, can I help you with the laundry?".  So, if you need Parker, you may want to first look near the washer and dryer.

What's on tonight's dinner menu?  Buttered popcorn and Mike and Ikes. 
Tomorrow night?  Hot dogs and Pop Tarts.

Just kidding Sara, put down the phone.  The kids are in good hands and the house will be spotless upon your return.   I can't guarantee it will be spotless between now and then, but that's neither here nor there.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Did the slipper fit?

Parker's soccer team has struggled mightily this year when it comes to winning, but you wouldn't know it by looking at his teammates faces after each game, as they all come out of the game smiling no matter how the scoreboard reads. 

This weekend was the end of year tournament.  The boys were guaranteed to play two games yesterday and one today, with the championship game coming this afternoon if they played well enough during the first three to make it that far.  Needless to say, we weren't planning on being at the game this afternoon, but the boys shocked us all. 

The Strypers came out firing yesterday morning and played to a 1-1 tie.  That surprise performance was followed up by an exciting 2-1 win yesterday afternoon.  After a hard fought 0-0 tie this morning, the boys earned a berth in the championship game against a team nicknamed the "Weenies".  I'm not sure who came up that name, but I must say it was pretty humorous to hear parents cheering on their little ones by exclaiming "Let's go Weenies!".

So the scene was set for this afternoon's titanic struggle, Strypers vs. Weenies.

It was a beautiful autumn afternoon.  The sun shined brightly and the temperature hovered around 70 degrees as both teams shook off their nerves early as the crowds grew.  The Strypers jumped out to an early 1-0 lead that stood for about 10 minutes before a Weenie snuck a well struck shot past Parker's outstretched hands.  The score remained locked at 1-1 through regulation and the first 4 overtimes. 

The 5th overtime was one for the ages. 

Unbeknownst to me (and most other spectators, players, and maybe coaches), the overtime rules in soccer are not sudden death.  We found that out the hard way after one of Park's teammates took full advantage of a handball inside the opponent's box and converted the free kick by going upstairs, beyond the goalie's reach, to take a 2-1 lead as time wained.  The Stryper crowd roared with excitement and beamed with pride.  Our boys had done the unthinkable and won the championship...or had they?  Our excitement only lasted long enough for the referee to make it clear that the game was, in fact, not over just yet.

The opposing team quickly kicked off and dribbled the ball past the somewhat confused Stryper defenders and snuck a shot through Parker's legs as time expired. 

The championship ended in a tie. 

I think the referee may have just been too tired to go through another 5 overtimes, so everyone wins.

All in all, Parker did great.  He only allowed two goals over the course of four games and five overtimes, including a heroic save in the third overtime of the championship battle.

We celebrated Parker's outstanding play and the big win/tie with cake pops after we got home.  If you're keeping track, add these delicious treats to the list of Addy's favorite foods. 

Next  I can only hope it will be as enjoyable for us and him as baseball and soccer have been.

Monday, October 11, 2010

He's growing up.

It is becoming more evident each day that Lleyton is growing up. 

Somethings about that we like, somethings we don't want to change. 

Perfect example:

Rather than calling calling us "mommy" and "daddy", he has begun to call us "mom" and "dad".

We aren't quite ready to let go of the mommy and daddy tag, so we have gone about inconspicuously urging him to continue calling us by our preferred monikers. 

Here is the transcript of a conversation that took place this evening while Lleyton and Sara were spending some quality time together while Addy and I were at Parker's soccer practice:

Lleyton:  Can I have more Goldfish Mom?
Sara:  Lleyton, Mommy really likes it when you call her Mommy.
Lleyton:  Ok, Sara.

I laugh out loud each time I imagine hearing that exchange.


Today was my first shot to experience what it is like to be a stay at home dad (SAHD). 

Bank holidays used to be days where I would tune up my golf game or get a project or two (or sometimes more) done around the house.  Times have changed, and that is fine by me.  Sara no longer works for a financial institution, so it looks like bank holidays may now be my chance to hang with the kids for the entire day. 

I had these visions of the kids sleeping in until 8, giving me some time to lay in bed and watch Fox and Friends or Mike and Mike in the Morning.  Then I envisioned the kids all getting along all day, cleaning up after themselves, having their "listening ears" on, and wrapping up our enjoyable day with ice cream in the park. 

Did it go exactly as planned?  No, but I must say it was an all around enjoyable day.

Our day started off quite well, Addy was happy, the boys were content, and all was well.

Our morning wrapped up with a trip into the city to visit Sara and grab a bite to eat for lunch. 

The kids were excited to see their mommy and to get to walk around downtown a bit.

Our visit with Sara included a trip up to her floor.  I am pretty sure the kids, especially Lleyton, as he put on quite the show, were the highlight of Sara's coworkers' days, but suffice to say Sara looked a bit mortified as our little man ran through her floor while being a "tad bit" too loud.  There were quite a few folks peaking around or over their cubes so they could witness what I like to call Hurricane Lleyton.

The kids LOVE Skyline. 

I LOVE that the kids love Skyline.

The trip downtown was certainly the highlight of the day.  We had a blast visiting with Sara.

The remainder of the day went well.  The kids showed me alot today.  There were no timeouts, there was no unnecessary crying, and I think they enjoyed themselves. 

I don't really remember my mom scrambling around the house at quarter past 5 to get the house picked up, or at least make it look a little less like a tornado hit, before my dad arrived home.  But that is what I was doing right before Sara arrived home from a tough day on the job.

I will be in bed early tonight.  It's not easy acting like a SAHD for a day. 

Tomorrow...back to my day job.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Police (not the law enforcement type)

Do you ever get a song stuck in your head?

I do. 

It's usually some Taylor Swift or Lady Antebellum ditty (I'm not afraid to admit it), but today is different.  I can't get Message in a Bottle by The Police out of my head.  You can picture it I am sure.  I have been walking around the house acting like I am Sting while I belt out the chorus...

I'll send an SOS to the world
I'll send an SOS to the world
I hope that someone gets my
I hope that someone gets my
I hope that someone gets my
Message in a bottle
Message in a bottle

There's a reason this is my song of choice for the day.

I told Sara early this evening that I was going to send an SOS to the International Adoption Clinic at the Children's Hospital.  The issues that Lleyton has are only intensifying and we are becoming increasingly bewildered with how to adequately help our little guy, while at the same time trying to effectively discipline him when he is continually acting out (which he is doing much more often as of late). 

I don't feel that I can accurately describe his behavior.  He seems to be on an emotional roller coaster.  At one minute he is the sweetest, most loving kid you could ever meet, the next second he crying uncontrollably, then he is smiling and laughing, then he could swing into a moment of extreme frustration or anger that leaves him uncomfortably tense and shaking. 

It's tough to describe, yet much tougher to deal with.  I find myself very frustrated with him and it's only when I make myself take a step back and realize that he is battling some issues that we need to help him cope with that I can move past my frustration and focus on helping him relax and calm down. 

We know he has sensory issues, that was diagnosed by the experts at the Children's Hospital, but there has to be something else...and that is what we need the IAC to help us find. 

We have reached out to the public school system for help with occupational therapy for his sensory issues, and we are hopefully moving towards getting him the help he needs in that area. 

Our experience with the IAC was positive during our fist visit there with Lleyton, but that was the first week after we brought him home.  Obviously since then, much has changed and our little guy is really beginning to struggle more and more, so it's time to head back there.  I am confident that the staff of experts there will be able to help. 

Wish us luck.  We are really concerned about little guy.

Kids come in handy...again.

The lowly Bucs score 10 points off of two Carson Palmer interceptions in the last 1:26 to beat the hapless  Bengals by a field goal...thank goodness I have three kids that are more than happy to distract me during such games.

Three years ago I may have stewed over this loss for the rest of the day. 

Not today.

We are off to the park to hopefully burn off some of the limitless energy these kids have.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pumpkin picking fun.

Our travel this afternoon took us back to Tuttle's Orchard where we spent some more quality time with the Lopers.  Our little guys were very excited to get back to the orchard, as we really enjoyed our apple picking adventure a couple of weeks ago. 

It didn't take long for Lleyton to take off running through the seemingly endless fields of pumpkins in search of the perfect gourd.

His goal was to find a "huge, huge, giant pumpkin.  The biggest pumpkin in the world."  This wouldn't win any contest, but it was the one that caught his eye after a lengthy search.

He had quite a selection to choose from.

This boy never objects to having his picture taken.

Our future Gap model.

The unseasonably warm weather (not complaining) we had here today cut our time at the orchard a little shorter than we had expected, but not too short to try to capture a decent shot of our little ones enjoying hanging out together.

Lleyton thoroughly enjoyed his time on top of the tower of straw.  He could be heard from far and wide exclaiming, "I am king of the world!"

Last, but not least, how could I fail to share this gem of Sara with her straw chewin' country girl Addy.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

366 days ago.

On October 5, 2009 Sara checked her email to find the following pics...

She's changed quite a bit over the past year. 

She's changed quite a bit over the last three months. 

We are in for a treat with this little beauty.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Thinking of Grandpa Bob.

Thank you to everyone that has said an extra prayer for Sara's grandpa over the past week.  We received a very encouraging update on him today, so we are hopeful that he is starting to head back in the right direction.

The kids were a little jealous that Sara and I were able to visit with Grandpa Bob last Saturday afternoon before our anniversary trip to Indianapolis, so they wanted to do something special for him.

These kids love their Great Grandpa Bob.

Addy's favorite food is...


The girl goes crazy for ice cream.  She sits on the floor and hoots and hollers between each bite and the last spoonful is almost undoubtedly followed by a mini-tantrum.

Can you sense the anticipation in her eye as I dangle the spoonful of goodness in front of her?

At her happiest.

Friday, October 1, 2010

5 years later...

Sara and I tied the knot five years ago today along the sandy beaches of Kiawah Island, SC. 

It couldn't have been more perfect, as we were surrounded by our closest family and friends in one of our favorite spots on earth. 

The last five years have been nothing short of remarkable, and we can't wait to see what the next five hold for us. 

Maybe 3 more kids?