Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Post of the Seven Veils

I have been graciously tagged by The Good, the Bad and the Ugly to list seven weird things about myself. It was over a month ago so that I doubt she even remembers tagging me. But, like an elephant, I didn't forget. Last January I was similarly tagged to come up with seven interesting things about myself and then tag seven more to do the same.

Once again, I am severely tempted to go the easier route and make up 7 untruths about myself for reasons of interest. But since I have never lied or embellished anything on this blog before, I find telling falsehoods uncomfortable. I hope you bought that.

So anyway, here they come.

My first four items of personality involve food.

1. I do not like to eat eggs. Well, most eggs. I will eat an omelet on occasion since it is mostly cheese, ham and hash browns. I can also eat scrambled eggs only if they are hot and loaded with cheese, ham and hash browns.

2. I love to eat cake. I even have a whole set of rules about eating cake. My first ever post on this blog was about cake. You can read it if you are curious about cake, but you probably are not.

3. I love school cafeteria food. I know I am in the minority, but I just love to eat there. It's probably because most school cafeteria food can be classified as either, fried or sweet. And when they serve french toast sticks, it's both. Now that Sweet Pea and Number One Son are both in school, I have many opportunities to join them for lunch when I am not working. I can also lean over to one of them and ask, "I'll trade you my stewed tomatoes for your tri-tater-tot."

4. The last food related quirk about me is that I like to mix corn with my mashed potatoes. That may sound weird to some of you, but I know there are a lot of you out there that do the same thing. Don't be embarrassed. Go ahead and give the waitress something to talk about back in the kitchen of your favorite restaurant.

5. Over half way to the end. Hang in there. One thing I definitely do not like is foot massages. My feet are too ticklish for any touching. I also don't care for back rubs or any kind of massages much. If I'm tense, I'll lay down on the couch and watch "The Office".

6. Let's get back to something I like to do. There is a sport that I enjoy to watch on television every four years. It is played during the winter Olympics, and it is called curling. For those who know what curling is, I'm sure you're eyes are rolling back into your skull from boredom just thinking about it. For some reason heavy stones sliding across the ice and knocking into each other entertains me. It's also fun to cheer on the sweepers and maybe hope that one will slip. But, sadly, they never do. In the last winter Olympics, the USA team got the bronze medal. That team was from Bemidji, MN and we visited the team captain's pizza restaurant. It was odd seeing an Olympic athlete tossing pizza dough behind the window. I so wanted to see him wearing his Olympic medal while spreading pepperoni, but it must have been at the medal polisher shop that week.

7. For those who made it this far, your reward is soon approaching.
When I was around six or seven years old, my Mom would take me to the mall to shop. I would be bored out of my mind while she looked at bolts of fabric and sewing patterns. During these times my mind would wander and I would people watch. Everyone I watched seemed more interesting than me, so I thought up something to make myself more exciting. My idea was to walk around the mall with an odd limp. In my mind, I thought everyone who saw me would wonder, "How did he get that limp?", "I wonder what happened to that kid.", "That poor kid. I should buy him some ice cream."

As I think about it now, they were probably feeling sorry for my mother for having such a nerdy kid.

Well, if you made it to the end, congratulations, you don't have to read any more. Give yourself a pat on the back.

I'm not going to tag anyone because I always end up tagging the same people over and over. If you would like to share seven of your innermost secrets, then I tag you. Just let me know when you do, so I can limp over to your blog to read them.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Leeches, Tigers and Dots, Oh My!

May in Minnesota, means field trip season if you have school aged kids. Both kids had class field trips in the last two weeks. Lady Di chaperoned Number One Son's class trip to the Three Rivers Park. Three Rivers Park is a huge hiking, biking, fishing, camping nature learning center. It sounded pretty interesting. On their trip they learned about nature and conservation. They got to gather various bugs and creatures from a pond to make a bug zoo. N1S and Lady Di were the only ones to include a leech in their zoo. Lady Di had to reach into a mossy, slimy pond up to her elbow while N1S cheered her on. Lady Di is so lucky. Here are some of the creatures that N1S and LD collected for their zoo. Their zoo's main attraction, Mr. Leech, is prominently displayed in the lower left corner.

When the kids were done with the pond they went to the next station. Lady Di was so engrossed in studying her bugs that N1S had to come back to the pond to retrieve her. Through clenched teeth he hissed, "Come on, Mom." It appears Lady Di has an interest in pond scum.

The park gave a presentation and slide show inside about what they have been studying in their pond all year. As the presenter asked the class questions, many hands went up as the kids were eager to show what they have been studying. Lady Di looked back and forth to the other parents as they all shrugged their shoulders with each question. Clearly, they were out of their league.

I was lucky enough to be chosen to chaperon Sweet Pea's class trip to the Minnesota Zoo. This is about my third or fourth class trip to the zoo since both kids' pre-school and kindergarten classes always go to the zoo. Some of the animals are starting to recognize me. I was assigned to Sweet Pea and her friend M.

We arrived to the zoo at 9:55am and had to hustle from the bus to get to our first stop, the dolphin show at 10am. The dolphin show was a big hit with the kids. The oldest dolphin at the zoo is 41 years old. I had no idea that dolphins lived so long. After that we walked around to see the camels, caribou and bison. This is when the girls started asking, "Can we eat lunch yet?". It was 10:15AM.

We then ventured to prairie dog town where the girls squeaked until they were answered by the prairie dogs a few times. After another plead for lunch, we trekked to the tiger lair. Both of the ferocious beasts were unferociously sleeping. Exasperated, Sweet Pea whined, "When are they going to wake up?".

For a while, the funnest part of the trip for the girls was balancing on the curb walking to each exhibit.
Things got better at the monkey area. The girls thought the chimps red faces and red butts were cute. Then, once again, "Is it time to eat yet?"

I muttered under my breath, "No, but it may be lunch time for the tigers if you two are not careful."

I forced the girls to view a few more animals before finding a table to eat lunch. We finished our sack lunches, threw away our garbage and were ready to see some more animals. That is, we were ready after the girls asked for some Dippin Dots because they were still starving.

We finished with the tropical forest building and made it back to the bus just in time due to a slight detour at the bathroom. It seems little girls take a little more time in the bathroom than I had budgeted. We had to sprint back to the bus and I had to throw the girls through the opened bi-fold bus doors as the driver was pulling away. In the back of my head I could hear trumpets playing the Indiana Jones theme song. Not having a whip, I tossed our backpack through the bus door for the girls to pull me out of danger. Once in the rolling yellow tank, I picked up my dusty tattered Twins cap, wiped my sweaty brow and nodded my thanks to the girls.

Despite the long bus ride and the long walking at the zoo, we all had fun. The weather was great and most of the animals cooperated. I think Sweet Pea may have one more year of going to the zoo for her class field trip. Next year will be Lady Di's turn. Hopefully, the tigers will be rested by then.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bowling For Cupcakes

We have finally brought an end to the endless birthday parties at our home. We've had family parties, neighbor parties, extended family parties, school parties and finally a bowling party.

We invited Sweet Pea's kindergarten class to a bowling birthday party. We invited her entire class, a few friends in other classes and her brother and his friend. I don't know what we were thinking. Luckily for us, only about half of her class were able to attend. The party still came to 15 kids, but once you reach more than 9 or 10 it doesn't really matter how many more show up. And as long as we are within 2 or 3 kids at the end, I don't see any reason spend that much time with a head count.

Our local bowling alley is less than a year old and has a really nice party room connected to a dozen lanes. We used three of them. The kids enjoy bowling as it is, but when the alley turned out the lights and turned on the party lights, the kids went nuts. Each lane had runway lights going up and down the alley. There were also a half dozen large screen TVs showing various Nickelodeon shows.
After the disco bowling, the alley staff brought cupcakes and root beer. Sweet Pea then commenced with the 'grand opening' of her double digit number of gifts. She made a big show of reading each homemade card and trying make everyone laugh with a joke. She did get a lot of laughs though. Comedy clubs may start requiring a two cupcake minimum.

Our party lasted exactly two hours. The alley staff were very efficient. The bowling alley then provided a small cup of tokens to burn at their arcade. I'm sure they do that just in case some Dads have any left over money keeping the moths company in their wallets. They only provide enough tokens for a game and a half. Just enough to get the kids into the arcade to work their financial sucking powers.

Overall, it was a fun and relatively low stress event. One of the kids' mothers stayed and was a great help herding all of the little bobcats. The bowling alley staff provided a great time for the kids and parents. Happy Birthday, Sweet Pea.

Now please tell me that we are done with birthdays for a few months.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Unda Da Sea!

Sweet Pea's creative side was in high gear this week. Her kindergarten teacher gave the class a homework assignment to make an aquarium animal at home and bring it to class.

You can tell that Sweet Pea got her creativity from Lady Di and not me. I would have drawn something that looked like the Jesus fishes on the back of many cars, cut it out, and handed it in. I might have colored it purple and yellow for my football team, but that would have been the extent of my artistic abilities.

On Wednesday, SP ran from the bus and exploded excitedly through the door and yelled, "Mom! We have to make something!"

As Lady Di read SP's assignment sheet, a hobbit sized blur rushed past her to dig in the kitchen drawers. Lady Di read SP's assignment and asked if she wanted some art supplies. Little did Lady Di know but SP was already busily gathering all that she would need for her aquatic masterpiece. She had markers, tape, glue, scissors, straws and, for some reason, zip lock baggies.

Well, since SP loves to do art projects and is generally quiet doing them, Lady Di let her freely express herself.

About ten minutes later SP's creation was ready for viewing.

Lady Di knew immediately what SP had made. Two jellyfish, of course. And according to SP, she made a Mommy and a baby jellyfish.

I would have never even thought of blowing up zip lock baggies and taping straws to them. She amazes me with the things she comes up with on her own. We will probably have to see if they can swim in the bathtub once they return from the kindergarten classroom.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Things My Grandfather Said

There are many times during the day where I will say something to the kids, and they give me blank stares, as if I'm speaking a foreign language. And in a way, I am speaking a language they have never heard before. It is a language made up entirely of sayings, slang and bits of wisdom from my paternal grandfather, Grampa Pete.

When I was in sixth grade, our family moved back to my parents' hometown and we lived exactly two blocks away from both sets of my grandparents. Living that close allowed me a very close relationship with all of my grandparents. This is where I picked up many of Grampa Pete's sayings and use them in my daily life. I am very grateful and fortunate to have had such a blessing.

Of my four grandparents, Grampa Pete was the most talkative. He was outgoing, energetic and a story teller. I always regret not writing down his entertaining stories of his youth before he died. Because now I can only recall bits and pieces of them, which severely decreases their quality. Sometime soon, my Dad and I will get together and try to fill in the gaps for each other.

Along with stories, my Grampa Pete always had an unusual or humorous saying to fit the situation.

Many of these sayings found their way to the golf course. We lived in a small town and our local golf course was never very busy. Many summer afternoons found my Grandpa and I alone on the course when the rest of the town was at work. I got a lot of instruction from Grandpa Pete on the golf course. Instruction about golf and life.

Our outings usually started with Grandpa Pete asking if I wanted to play some cow pasture pool. As we walked around the golf course, I would usually be the first one to complain about how tired I was, carrying our clubs. Grandpa would always answer, "If your tired of walking, you can always run a ways." When he was golfing well, I could expect hear him say, "I'm hotter than a firecracker." Or if he had hit a particularly good shot he would utter, "That just shickles the tit out of me." or "That's a heck of a note."

Sometimes he wouldn't hit such a good shot, but the closest I ever heard him to swearing was, "Son of a biscuit!" or "Crap and Corruption!"

Many other times he would be humble after a good shot and act surprised and exclaim, "Well, I'll be a horned toad!" I love using that one around the kids.

Grandpa Pete was well known and respected in his town. Whenever my Grandpa, Dad and I were together, a few of Grandpa's friends would call us, "The Father, the Son and Holy Ghost." Or if it were just my Grandpa and Dad, they were called, "Pete and re-Pete."

Grandpa Pete also had ways to make kids smile. When we were growing up we were always supposed to wake up, "Bright eyed and bushy tailed." Whenever one of were loudly crying, he would ask us, "What's that song you are singing?" That one always seems to increase the volume at our house.

At one family gathering, Grandpa Pete was visiting with one of my young, ten year old nephews who had a reputation for competition. My nephew offered to flip a coin with Grandpa to see who would get the last dessert. Grandpa Pete agreed and said, "OK, heads I win, tails you lose." My nephew didn't see his mistake until after the coin toss.

My Grandpa also had some funny plays on words. On the way to church potluck dinners, his standard witticism was, "Let's take our pot to church and see what kind of luck we have."

And then, when leaving, he would relate, "Let's go home and see if the neighbors left us any groceries." Which, oddly enough, happened a few times during harvest time due to an over abundance in the neighborhood gardens.

When Lady Di and I were first dating, Grampa Pete accused her of "Blowing smoke up his skirt.", when she was telling him how great I was.

Grandpa Pete holds a special place in our hearts, in that he is Sweet Pea's namesake. They share the same first name. I also call SP by Grandpa's nickname sometimes, when I call her Sweetie Petey or just Petey.

It is impossible to fit in all of Grampa Pete's sayings, since he had so many. We all miss Grandpa Pete. Whether he was "Rough and tough and hard to bluff.", or "Wild, woolly and full of fleas", "It just shows to go" , how much you can learn from someone, just by spending time and talking with them.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Birthday to Us.

Sweet Pea finally had her real birthday. She turned six this weekend. I know we already had a couple parties for her when the grandparents visited, but that didn't mean we could skip the actual day. Lady Di and I stopped by Sweet Pea's school to volunteer on her birthday. She was pretty excited. Later on we took her out for supper to Space Aliens and then back home for cake and a bonfire. The cake was pretty much the climax to the day.

Lady Di, once again, outdid herself decorating SP's cake. This was SP's first ever Barbie cake. We blindfolded her before presenting her cake so I could get a picture of her reaction. My timing was off, of course, and I managed to take of picture of a blindfolded Sweet Pea. Once she saw the cake she squealed, "Hey! That's my Barbie!"

Needless to say, she loved her cake and noticed many of the little details Lady Di included. Barbie had a frosting crown with matching frosting earrings. She then opened gifts which were all, "Exactly what I've always wanted.", according to her. Then we all watched the bonfire turn different colors from burning her wrapping paper.

I decided to borrow SP's birthday and celebrate a little myself while she was in school. I treated myself to a day of accomplishing nothing except fun. I happened to have the day off so I slept in after the kids went off to school. I then treated myself to a new bicycle. I've had my old bike for ten plus years and it was starting to show its age. I haven't been in the market for a bike for a while so I was obviously shocked at what a real bike costs. Instead of Walmart, I went to an actual bike shop. They had some pretty amazing bikes. I had to steer clear of the four digit price tags and settled on a nice mid priced mountain bike. I then had to accessorize and found a great pair of spandex neon colored biker shorts with a matching helmet. Lady Di saved me from embarrassment by talking me out of them.

Now, with nice weather and a new bike, I am all out of excuses for avoiding exercise. Maybe, the kids and I can go for a ride and give Lady Di a little peace for Mother's Day. Happy Birthday SP. Happy Mother's Day Lady Di and to all mothers today.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Signs of Spring

Even though the weather is trying to confuse us, Spring is here and I have the proof. Of course, the trees are budding and perennials are starting to break the ground. The snow is finally gone and green has returned to most of the lawn.

I also use the kids as indicators of the change of seasons. We have window clings on display year round at our house. Every holiday has their own set. We have Spring flowers and frogs up right now. Our sidewalk chalk supply is being rapidly depleted and the bike miles are adding up.

I was also able to roll the basketball hoop into the cul-de-sac. Nothing is better than showing off to your neighbors by dunking on an eight foot hoop. Number One Son has shown more of an interest in basketball this year which, in turn, has improved his play. N1S hasn't been a natural athlete so it is nice to see him take a little pride in what he can do and improve himself with practice.

Sweet Pea, who is always ready to try something, has grown just enough to start shooting hoops too. I no longer have to, nor am able to, lift her to the rim to put the ball through.

It is also a good time for the kids to explore their backyard. As long as they steer clear of Liberty's contribution to the lawn, they can find lots of trouble to get into.

N1S was seeing how long it would take him to dig a hole completely through a rotten stump.

Sweet Pea and her friend decided that they wanted to build a fort. She came to me with puppy dog eyes and sweetly asked if I had any saws or drills that they could use. They settled for string and red duct tape. They started by gathering all of the largest sticks that they could drag on the ground. After a while they found my pile of extra boards. When I came out to check on their progress, SP's friend said that when they build forts at his house, they build cool forts. And when they build forts at SP's house, they are pretty forts."

Well, I think they did a very pretty job.

After all of that hard work, SP had to soak her feet in the water that collected in our fire pit table.

It must have been warm enough to say that Spring is here.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Birthday Weekend

Last weekend, was a busy one for us. To start, we had an early spring blizzard on Friday. Just what we wanted after a week with temperatures in the sixties and seventies. My folks and my grandmother also came to visit. We have a small cluster of birthdays in our family and since my folks live five hours away, we celebrated four birthdays in one weekend. Lady Di outdid herself on my Dad's cake and it tasted as good as it looked.

On Saturday, we took everyone to a play in Minneapolis called, Triple Espresso. This is a long running musical comedy which is closing this week. We had great luck with traffic and were able to park right across the street from the theatre. We were also surprised to run into someone from our church as we left the theatre. He was on his way to see the next show. Lady Di has always been able to find friends of hers where ever we go, but this was eerily coincidental even for her.

After the show, we all went to our favorite hibachi restaurant and had a great meal. I only lost one eyebrow when the chef made his flaming onion volcano.

On Sunday, we all went to Number One Son's piano recital at our church. He played, Boogie Boardin', and he brought down the house. Well, he at least brought down our pew. We are all very proud of him.

This was the perfect weekend to have so much planned. The weather was absolutely terrible, so we didn't miss anything by being indoors. I'm glad my folks were able brave the blizzard to attend N1S's recital. They don't get to see the kids very often, so every visit is nice.

It was also nice to treat them to something that they haven't done in a long time. They seemed to really enjoy the play and hibachi. We always say, "We should do this more often". Maybe, now we will.

Sweet Pea also wanted to get in on the recital by posing for her picture with her brother. She also wanted to show off the new watch that Grandma Peg gave her for her birthday.

Now she has to learn how to tell time.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Blog the Vote!

Happy May Day. I don't know if anyone gives May Baskets anymore, but Sweet Pea and her neighbor friend exchanged theirs today. That's about all I have for May Day. And since I don't have any real posts ready, I thought it would be a good time to let you know of an honor I have recently received.

Apparently, I have been nominated by Father of Five to the Best of Blogs contest. This blog website rates blogs which are relatively new to the world wide web. In my case, new means 'low traffic volume'. Blogs can be nominated for various categories based on what kind of posts are written. I was nominated in the Dad Blog category.

I am very flattered that someone would think so highly of me to actually nominate me for something. I know very little about writing and my topics basically involve my kids, Lady Di, my interests and my kids. I've heard, you should write what you know. I know how to be a Dad to my kids, and how to mow the lawn, and that's just about all I know.

Anyway, with this nomination comes campaigning for votes. I'm sorry that I can't promise to lower taxes, or a 'chicken in every pot', but I will do my best to keep posting cute pictures of the kids and chronicling the life and times of Number One Son, Sweet Pea, Lady Di and anyone else who has the misfortune to cross my path.

For anyone so inclined to vote for me, the website is http://www.thebestofblogs.com/. Or else you can click on the link at the left. Voting begins on May 5th, 2008. What a great way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo!

I'm not sure how voting is handled but, as I said, I am in the Dad Blog category, not the Icelandic, Naked, Snowshoeing, Recipe Blog category. I'm also not sure how the contest will list me. It may be listed as 'Stuff in my Brain', 'Dad Stuff', or 'Lbsimba' so you may have to search a little. Which ever one it is, go ahead and give me a click if you want to.

The kids were nice enough to volunteer their time and make me some campaign banners. I will have them going door to door this weekend, drumming up support and conducting various polls and other political-type things.

To raise funds for my campaign, Sweet Pea is going to host a $5 per plate tea party for all of her stuffed animals. If she invites N1S's action figures, we should have enough to make it all the way to election day.

Sing to the tune of 'Rock the Boat'

(Blog the vote.

Don't blog the vote, baby now.

Blog the vote.

Don't tip the vote o-ver.)

Stuff About Me

My photo
I'm a 40 year old dad of two. My wonderful wife, Lady Di, and I try to keep the kids from blowing things up here in central Minnesota.