Friday, June 29, 2012

Warm Week

It was a bit of warm week and the girls loved jumping into pools this week.  Kaitlyn has been going to UND reading camp.  It started on Monday and to her delight, there were plenty of kids from St. Michaels there, including Naomi Lee.  Kaitlyn really seems to enjoy it.  She gets up well, goes right to her "teacher" when she comes out and is smiling when she gets back in the car when we pick her up.  Well pleased with whatever is going on there.  She got in the car one day telling me they learned about haiku's.  UND has plenty of summer camps for kids and they seem to do a good job putting all of them on.  Unfortunately, after we learned of all the St. Mike's kids, we realized we maybe should have put Ella in it too.  I had fun one night with Kaitlyn when it was just her and I at home and we pretended to play basketball together, practiced passing and pretending there was a hoop on the garage.  I don't know why my mind gets occupied with things to do at home or why playing with the kids seems like more work than...well work but I am always glad when I take the time to play with them, if even for a little bit.  I remember those little times my dad took to do something, so hopefully this sticks out in my daughters mind years from now.  I like playing basketball and shooting hoops so hopefully we can get a real hoop and her and I can have more times like that.  

Ella has been enjoying going to the pool on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  She learned the first week that Isabel Vonesh would also be at the pool so that was the icing on the cake.  Yesterday Ella went to Vonesh's to play all day and then met us at St. Michael's where we got to  meet all the new teachers and new principal.  Apperently Ella and Isabel were left with Isabel's older sister for a while cause she talked about sneaking berries and picking up poop.  That was lovely.  

Sophie continues to go to Shannon's for day care.  She is jealous however that the girls often would get to sleep longer than her.  This week wasn't quite as bad because Kaitlyn has had to get up in order to go to reading camp.  On Tuesday she fell asleep in my car on the way home from daycare.  It was almost 5:30 when she fell asleep and she slept the remainder of the night.  We could not wake her up for nothing so we took a chance and let her go.  

This weekend is our annual camping trip and I think I get as excited as the kids.  Always a good group of people even though a few of them have their issues, don't we all.  Some are just more public with their issues.  It's always a good time no matter what.  I wish I could take more time and go to Auger's cabin afterwards.  

I love my girls.  

Friday, June 22, 2012

Bullied Bus Monitor Shows Us What's Wrong with Society

If you haven't seen it, check out this video of the 68 year old bus monitor that was bullied

insert video later.

It highlights a number of things that is wrong with society.  Of course everyone wants to start pointing the blame on the parents, and rightfully so. Problem is when kids do this sort of thing, the natural instinct of everyone to look towards the parents, but we as a society don't easily allow the parents to do what needs to be done.

We we first heard my wife was pregnant with our first daughter we both were so happy and excited.  We read books about pregnancy and birthing and about parenting.  Many of the books were about what not to do.  Don't give in to the pacifier. Don't give up breastfeeding. Don't use the word "no". Don't punish the kid by taking something away but rather rewarding them for good behavior. Don't spank. Don't yell.  The list went on and on.  Can I tell you my parents did all those things and here I am, a 37 year-old man, holding down a job, I have a house, wife and three good children.  I think I am doing OK.  What's more is my five older siblings went through the same treatment at home and they are all successful with children that have been raised right.

Yet here we are in a society where we are more than happy to sue and blame someone else.  A society where outsiders are ready to step in if they think a child is being abused.  I always remember the story of my older sister who had her little (at the time) boy who was acting up all through Target.  They were in the checkout line and the boy continued to act up as someone was trying to slip past them.  She told him repeated to back up and finally had enough and grabbed him tightly by the arm and told him to back up and having to raise her voice a bit in order for the boy to listen.  The woman trying to slip by suddenly said, "OH NO, that's OK that's OK.  Just take it easy!"  The woman must have thought my sister was being to rough but I'm willing to bet she has never been through a store with a 5 year old child.  It can be challenging.  My wife and I both have had moments when our kids act up in public and we dare not do anything cause you never know who is watching or videoing.  Sometimes (many times) kids don't respond to your normal voice so you have to handle them different in order to get their attention.  Schools and parents are constantly told "don't".

Kids used to fear the three P's, parents, principals, and police.  Don't cross any of those three or there will be hell to pay.  You did something wrong and got sent to the principal and the principal felt it necessary to discipline you in some way, the parents probably would have said you had it coming.  Same with when the police showed up at your door.  Not so much anymore.  I was told of a case when a senior girl in high school went to check on her grandparent's house while the wintered in Arizona.  A couple of her friends were with and saw where the key was hidden.  The two friends decided to have parties in there complete with drugs and alcohol, often times being up past one or two in the morning on a school night.  They made the mistake of posting a picture on Facebook and of course the granddaughter saw it, recognized the place and told her parents.  Police were sent over and busted the two friends that threw the party.  The house was trashed when the police got there. What did the parents do?  They put a restraining order on the police for blaming the incident on their child.  "Oh no, not my Johnny!"  Police can't even do their job anymore because parents have turned into idiots that believe everything they read about parenting and support their child no matter what they say or do.

Society, it's time to shut up and let parents do their job.  I'm not suggesting look the other way when there are signs of abuse.  Believe me I hate abusers as much as the next guy, but an occasional spanking can't hurt.  It may look like the parent is being a jerk but I know that kid will respect, or at least fear, their parents as they grow up.  Parents often hate giving them as much as kids hate getting them, but there needs to be that respect.  Ground them. Take away their video games.  Yell. Do something that will get their attention!  I hate yelling and hate spanking. In fact I will contend that I spank my youngest daughter less than my oldest because I just don't like doing it and I hate being the bad guy. But they know the warning signs now when Dad is mad.  They continue to push the limits however, especially when we are around, but we are proud parents when we are not there and we hear reports how well behaved our child is. If they respect you, they will respect others as well.

Circling back to the bus story.  Let these parents take the necessary steps to correct what needs to be done.  Unfortunately others are taking it into their own hands with death threats which is hypocritical when you think about it.  If I would hear my child is bullying someone, they would be in a world of trouble and they would know it before they came home.  Remember on "A Christmas Story" when Ralphie beat up his bully?  His little brother Randy was crying because "Daddy's gonna kill Ralphie."  Yup, they would know the trouble they would be in already.

Finally, we have to stop suing based on stupid things.  I was a camp counselor and a kid would not listen the whole time he was there.  He talked back.  Was rude to the counselors and other campers.  The last straw came when he was throwing a boom-a-rang in the hall after I told him not to. Of course he knocked out a light so I grabbed him by the shirt and said knock it off.  He responded by saying, "you better let go or I'll sue you." I ignorantly called his bluff and said, "try me."  He listened after that and I was glad he didn't decide to sue me.  I had no intention of doing anything to him, but he didn't have to know that, all I needed was his attention and I got it.  I will admit, I was secretly nervous afterwards of possible reprocusions.  Years past the parent probably would have sided with me, not anymore.

One more story of how out of hand people are with suing. A recent article states a NY woman is suing an 11 year-old because he threw the ball to far in a little league game and hit the woman.  She is suing the boy for over $100,000.  If she wins, then I think we can surely say that this is the end of society as we know it.  Might as well start acting like "Lord of the Flies".

---Light Notes---

We've had my wife's grandma watching our school aged girls in the morning this summer.  My wife is particular about how things are done around the house. Very organized and neat. Her grandma flies more by the seat of her pants and that bothers my self-proclaimed anal wife.  However the anal part of my wife is definitely trickling down to the oldest child.  When grandma asks Kaitlyn which outfit goes in which closet, she will tell her.  We learned that Kaitlyn has informed Granny the order of things like, "short sleaves go here, long sleeves here, long pants, capris, dress pants, and stuff that has just come out of the wash goes to the back of the rotation"  It made my wife both upset and proud that she is carrying on with her analness.

We were watching a video in church titled "Fishers of Men" Of course the beginning of the video showed men throwing nets over a boat.  To which Ella asks, "Why are we watching Deadliest Catch?"

Couldn't find my dress shoes Monday morning after fathers day so I had to wear a different pair.  I came home that night and was told that the box on the table was from Ella cause she was upset she didn't make me a Father's Day gift.  Inside the box was peanutbutter crackers, a drawing, and my shoes.

Had a nice Father's Day. Went out for breakfast with in-laws, bought a fishing rod and some gear and took Ella and Kaitlyn fishing at Golden Lake.  Asked the owner of the restaraunt where to go and suggested going on east side of the lake, not by the pier.  We caught one little perch and had plenty of nibbles but that was it. So on the advice of a begging Ella to go to the pier, we went over there.  It took no longer than a minute after the first line was cast our first bobber went down hard.  We reeled in the first of 5 bullheads that day.  The girls thought it was great but would get no closer than five feet from these larger fish.  In fact, the last one took the hook so bad that I couldn't get it out and it was bleeding perfusely.  I told Kaitlyn to get the pliers from the car and wanted to hand her the keys but she would not get close to me with that fish in my hands so I tossed the keys to her and it landed on the pier.  I'm glad they didn't drop or we really would have been in trouble.  I still couldn't get the hook out with the pliers so I had to cut the line.  With all the bleeding, I don't think the fish was going to live long anyway.  That was enough for the girls.  They were done after that incident.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Girls are Back

Girls are back from my Mom and Dad's this week.  The week went quick for us.  I felt bad for Sophie cause it felt like we didn't get much 1on 1 time with her.  It didn't help it was a short work week seeing as how we came back from Bismarck on Monday because of Memorial Day.  On top of that I had to complete a graduation video for someone and had to get it shipped off by Wednesday so once we got home I spent Monday and Tuesday night working on the stinking video so I had no time to spend with her those two nights.  About the most we did was go to Cherry Berry with her Monday evening.  Wednesday I was so tired from staying up until 1:30 - 2am the past two nights that I just wanted to go to bed.  Thursday my sister Lori came and Sophie was so tired from daycare she fell asleep in Heather's arms.  Friday was Relay for Life but we didn't get there until later and then I went to meet up with some friends real quick, by the time I got back to Relay, Sophie was sleeping in Jeff's arms already.  Saturday was time to pick up the other girls already.  That stinks and I feel bad.

Ella and Kaitlyn had fun at my Mom and Dad's I think.  Last few years Kaitlyn would spend a week there towards the end of summer and my mom would take her places.  Years past she has gone to the capitol, Medora, and a water park.  This year was Ella's turn to go with and like the past few years Terresa came to stay with them at the same time.  Thank goodness for that or else it wouldn't have been as fun I think.  The first night I guess Ella was overtired but said she was not tired and her eyes won't close. They tried sleeping in the upstairs bedroom beside mom and dad's.  So Mom took her into their bed and she still wimpered and said she wants her mom and dad.  Eventually she fell asleep and my Dad asked her the next morning if she still wants to go home to which Ella quickly answered "No!".  Theresa came Tuesday and I think life was better, that is until they tried to figure out the sleeping arrangements for all three of them.  Evenutually they decided to sleep on the cushions down stairs together.

They got to go the capitol again because Ella and Theresa never got to see it.  My aunt Rosmary Sperle took them through once again.  They also went to the Herritage Center one day and to Fort Lincoln.  They really seemed to enjoy Fort Lincoln cause that's what I heard the most stories about.  I always thought it was cool too so I can understand.

Oh, one funny while we were in Bismarck and Dykemas quick stopped by Mom and Dad's because they were on their way to MSP.  Before they left they of course told the kids to go potty.  When Conner went to the bathroom Ella said "I hope Conner doesn't make a mess when he does this" and pretends to cup her imaginary penis with both hands and wiggle her hips in a back and forth motion like a fireman trying regain control of an out of control firehose.  Obviously insinuating he was pee all over the toilet.  There is no filter in that girl.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Allergies and End of School

So we had to bring Ella in the other day cause after her asthma flared up again, so did her “spots” that was originally diagnosed as gionatti crostoti….or something Italian like that.  This latest flare up of spots seem to be just a tad different but whatever the case, Ella’s primary doctor made an appointment at the dermatologist.  Ella was asking about the appointment and I must have mentioned that maybe she was allergic to something.  So hanging on that notion, Ella later said, “ I hope I am allergic to pork chops or chili”…gee, can you guess which foods she doesn’t care to eat? 

Girls are down to their last couple of days of school. Today was their field day at the park and it sounds like they are brining most of their stuff home today as well.   We are glad the busy school year is done BUT we don’t have anyone to watch these same kids over the summer now.  We had a summer sitter lined up where us and another family would pay the girl to watch four of our children.  Well she went and took two other jobs in the mean time and now we are left high and dry.  School ends tomorrow, then they go to my parents for a week.  So we have a week-and-a-half to figure out how they are going to survive over the summer.  Kaitlyn would be good enough to stay by herself for long periods of time but not so sure about Ella.  Panic is starting to set in.

Speaking of panic (and a little off the normal subject), I am developing a video from still pictures to make a photo montage for a lady in Minneapolis.  I am getting nervous cause it’s for graduation and it is coming up soon and I have 1 ½ songs to do yet.  Hopefully I can get this wrapped up over the next couple of days.
Ree (Pioneer Woman), last night my wife made the best cheese sandwiches, and you’ll never know that it came from your cookbook.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Riding Without Training Wheels/Perfect Score!

Ella did it!  Yesterday she told me to let go of the bike and on she went!  She is so funny though that girl.  After just a short bit of me letting go she felt as though she was expert enough to not have to look where she was going.  She was looking over at the neighbors, trying to look behind her to see what Sophie was doing, looking to make sure Mom was watching and in the mean time almost ran into a curb, me as I was running beside her, and a tree. I was nervous, mom was nervous, squirrels were nervous.  But she did it just the same.  The girl who can focus enough to do well with reading is so oblivious to the rest of the world around her at times. In fact, she felt so confident, she wanted me to get on my bike and ride beside her.  No way sister, you aren't that good yet.  You still need me to run beside you to make sure you don't injure yourself or some little kid. Of course I shared my joy on Facebook and took all the credit due to my fine teaching skills.  Of course my sister-in-law questioned me but I know it was my superior ability to hang onto the bike seat and the meaningless advice I gave the ultimately helped Ella succeed so quickly.

Speaking of succeeding, we are so proud of Kaitlyn.  Some kids have trouble with science.  Some with math.  Kaitlyn ultimately struggles with spelling.  We tried to offer her money if she got perfect scores on her tests.  I think she tried so hard one time that it got her sick.  All year she struggled to get that perfect score.  Now towards the end of the year it was starting to wear on her even more as she worried that she would never be a good speller.  Of course I told her that spelling will come and the more she writes the better she will get.  Also to settle her down I told her she was lucky she lived in this new digital age as computers will let you know when you spelled something wrong and they will only get smarter.  But I was quick to point out not to use it as an excuse.  Well finally.  FINALLY, on her very last week of spelling for the year she got them all right PLUS the challenge word, so she got a 105% on her test and doesn't have to take it again on Friday.  On Monday I gave her one last push and said if you get this last one I'll give you $20 and I think Mom pitched in on some other offer.  I guess we have to make good on our offer now.  We are proud of her as she worked hard for it all year, struggled with it, and finally got a payoff before the school year is done.  I am a proud dad.

The Pioneer woman probably didn't have to teach her boy how to ride horse.  Of course, she was probably cooking while I went to our school picnic.  But boy you should have seen the cookies I brought to share at the picnic.  They were so good and made from our grocery store.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

E is for Ella

I am always proud of my girls.  Everyday I wonder what they did or learned today.  I ask them everyday and everyday I get the response, "I don't know". Then I always ask them if they were there today, they don't quite understand what I mean when I ask that.  But today I think Ella had a very productive day.  Not because she told us but because a note was sent home from her teacher and also because I was there when she was trying to learn how to ride a bike, sweating my nuts off in 85 degree weather in the process. 

We got a note from Ella's teacher today. At her school they start out at a reading level of AA.  Their goal by the end of the year is to be at a reading level around C.  Ella, the child who probably says the damndest things the most often, the child who said "what the hell" right as we are getting ready to cross the street to her new Catholic school last fall, the girl who lost her Mothers Day gift she made for mom and found it under her pillow 3 DAYS LATER, is reading at a level E!!  "I guess E is for Ella" she exclaimed when I asked her about it. No use arguing with a reading expert there.  We are obviously very proud and figured already she was doing pretty good when she reads to us at home.  We always read stories or have our children read at least one story if they can each night before bed.  Ella has been reading some harder words and is able to sound out the words if she needs to.

As long as we are on the subject of reading quick.  Our oldest has really come along this year.  She is finally up to where she needs to be for her grade.  She also reads every night and will often ask if she can read even if it is late, which we usually grant.  We don't want to squash that habit and hopefully she continues to enjoy reading.

Ella's other semi-glorious achievement was her ability to ride bike without training wheels.  We started out and she did really good starting out and thought about letting go for a brief second and then she started to wobble and I had to keep hanging on.  I was never able to fully let go of the seat but she did OK for the first time.  We went around the park two times and my back was killing me from having to bend over and run at the same time.  Something my fat body can't handle anymore.  I should probably hope I have to do more of that so I can work off some pounds but I think I'll skip that particular cardio workout if I can.

Little girls; there is always something to look forward to when you have them in your life. Today it was accomplishments for one particular one.  We are always proud of them all.  Everyone should be.  Always tell them how proud you are and watch them smile and give you hugs.  I can tell my oldest loves hearing me praise her for something.  Her voice softens sweetly and then she hugs me as she says "thanks Dad".  And it's not just the oldest but the younger two as well.  It makes me feel good too knowing I am building their confidence and making them stronger women for later in life.

And Pioneer Woman, we had a damn good beef sandwich.  Don't ask me how to make it but it was good.  And I submit that my child riding something on two wheels is cuter than your boy riding something with four legs.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mothers Day!

Of course even this egotistical dad needs to step back once in a while and recognize the women who make it possible for schmucks like me to even become a dad.  If you are a first time dad or even expecting your third child (or more) it is a wonderous thing to have your lovely wife pregnant.  If you are like me, you feel bad for all that she has to go through.  Not only getting larger and putting up with the hormones and wierd cravings or getting sick of things that normally doesn't get you sick, but you have to push a bowling ball out your butt to top it all off.  I know I sure wouldn't want to do that. 

I remember my wife suddenly getting sick when onions would be cooking on the stove or in the oven.  She loves onions in recipies but when she got pregnant, it mader her want to gag.  She wanted to eat more but knew she had to also make sure not to over do it either.  I've known some women that got "morning sickness" so bad that they were literally out of work for a couple of weeks of their pregnancy because they could not keep their food down.  After a while they had no choice but to tough it out and that has to suck. 

With pregnancy there are the miracles as well. Seeing the baby on the ultrasound for the first time or feeling the little feet and hands bump against the moms stomach.  For all of my wife's pregnancies, but especially the first two, I would often come home late after work and she would be sleeping.  I would curl up with her in bed and put my hand on her stomach and it would seem that is when the little girls were the most active.  I love it, love it, love it!  I would push back to see if there was a response.  Sometimes it would seem like I would get one.  Nothing better as your wife is laying so still and you play with the little miracle inside her.  That's something special. 

So I guess I managed to turn mothers day about me.  So in order to redeem myself....first thank you mom for the gift of life and taking care of me all those years.  I look back at the love I try to show my girls and I know that is what you felt and I thank you for that.  I can never repay you for what you have done for me.  Second, thank you to my wife for my three beautiful daughters.  They can be a handful at times.  In fact, today was one of those days as our middle child had a sip of coffee this morning and the hyperness seemed to last her from church right on through supper time tonight.  But I know I will look back on all the times with hearfelt love.

Show your mom and your wife you love them in any way possible. Be it a simple card, calling them, picking a single flower, take the kids for the day, or even clean the house for them, show them what they mean to you, after all they deserve it and they made me the dad I am today. 

And of course, Pioneer Woman, happy mothers day to you as well.  My wife made chili and some damn good brownies, even on mothers day.  Wonder what the Pioneer Woman had? :)