Monday, June 27, 2011

Time to purge the Post-its.

I have so many things I feel like I need to post about. A whirlwind trip to Chicago. An early summer visit to the cabin which involved an Evan photo shoot. A potentially championship winning baseball season and of course general summer awesomeness.

But I am overwhelmed. So for now I am clearing some papers from my desk and posting some of Hailey's greatest quips from the last few months.

Bringing in her Belle doll for school show and tell -

Mom: What are you going to tell your class about Belle?

Hailey: That she used to be Belle but she is not Belle anymore. Now she is a new girl named Hodel.

She was a bit confused that the girl student that played "Belle" in last year's musical Beauty and the Beast was now playing "Hodel" in Fiddler on the Roof.

To understand this, you have to realize that the way they signal for the Cub Scouts to be quiet is to hold their arm up in the air with two fingers raised to form a "v". When the Scouts see this they do the same and know to pay attention.

We were in the car listening to the Kid's Bop CD and I was singing along.

Hailey: Mom! Be quiet! Stop singing!

Mom keeps on singing.

Hailey: Mom? Do you see my hand in the mirror?

I look into the rear view and see her arm raised and hand making the scout signal.

Hailey: That means for you to BE QUIET!


Lately in church Hailey doesn't want to go to Sunday school with the big kids. She wants to sit in the under three nursery with the babies.

Mom: What did you learn in church tonight? Or didn't you learn anything because you played with the babies instead of going to big kid church?

Hailey: I learned something!

Mom: What did you learn?

Hailey: I learned that you have to be careful with babies!

I hope she didn't learn that the hard way!

The evening after a night time thunderstorm -

Hailey: Mom? Is God gonna bowl tonight?


Hailey: Are robbers nocturnal?

Mom: Are what nocturnal?

Hailey: Robbers?

Mom: Robbers are just regular people. But naughty people.

Hailey: Then why do they come out mostly at night?

Evan: Because it's way easier to steal stuff in the dark!!!!

Hailey: Are we going to go to a well soon?

Mom: A what?

Hailey: A well. You know where your dreams come true?

Mom: Oh, you mean like a wishing well.

Hailey: Yeah. When are we going to go to a wishing well?

We took the kids to a community theatre production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Ever since Hailey has been obsessed with it. While going through VHS tapes for our garage sale I found a version of it starring Donny Osmond and a Veggie Tales version called The Ballad of Little Joe.

Hailey: I want to watch Joseph. Not the pickle Joseph but the real guy.

The comments that gave me the final push to join a gym.

Hailey: Mom is there a baby in your belly? Cause your belly is really fat.

While watching a video of Hailey's class that her teacher made.

Mom: See if you can find your fat lump of a Mama in the show.

Spencer: You're not fat Mom!

Hailey: Yes she is!

Mom: Come here I need to put bug spray on you.

Hailey: Why?

Mom: So the mosquito's don't get you.

Hailey: Can you put coyote spray on me too so coyotes don't get me?

Friday, June 24, 2011

So true

Trent may not be a stay at home dad, but he is also that dad - and I couldn't be more grateful and his children could not be any more lucky.

A father's day wish: Dads, wake the hell up!

(CNN) -- The woman started crying.

I didn't expect this, because, well, why would I? We were two adults, standing in a preschool auditorium, waiting for the year-end musical gala to begin, talking summer plans and Twitter and junk fiction and all things mindless parents talk at mindless events. Then -- tears.

"My husband," she said, "doesn't care."

"Uh, about what?" I asked.

The floodgates now open, she told me her husband works from home. But he never drops their daughter off at preschool. He never picks their daughter up at preschool. He never wakes up with their daughter, never puts her to bed, never takes her to a movie or a carnival or a ball game; never comes up with fun daddy-daughter activities. "All he worries about is golf," the mother said. "Sometimes he'll take her to the driving range for an hour. But that's it. ..."

Two days later, by mere coincidence, a different mother cornered me. I was sitting in a pizzeria with my son, Emmett, and daughter, Casey, gnawing on a calzone. The woman, another preschool regular who always seems to be dragging around her kids with the worn look of a chain gang inmate, glanced my way and muttered, "My husband would never do that."

"Do what?" I asked.

"Be out alone with both of the kids at once," she said. "Never."

In case you are wondering, I am that dad. The one who works out of the house. The one who drives his kids to school, packs lunches and pushes swings and arranges play dates and attends teacher conferences and -- generally speaking -- frequently finds himself alone in brightly colored rooms filled with women and tykes.

Along with my wife (who, until recently, also worked from home), I wipe snot, clean poop, order time outs and say no -- Really, no! I'm being serious, no! -- to the damned ice cream man and his Satanic siren call. I know all of my kids' friends, and most of their tendencies (Ashley and Emily love dolls, Lucas only wants to talk about Derek Jeter, Tyler digs applesauce).

Hence, I have been sent here today, on behalf of the stay-at-home mothers of the world, to convey to my fellow pops a message of love and hope in this lead-up to Father's Day: Wake the hell up.

Really, wake the hell up. Now. I understand that most of you have 9-to-5 jobs, that you leave tired and come home tired and just wanna chill in front of SportsCenter with a bowl of chips. But, seriously, you have no remote idea: Being a stay-at-home parent is exhausting. At the office, you can hide. You can take lunch. You can pretend you're working while scrolling the Internet for Yankees-Blue Jays and, ahem, Lindsay Lohan news. You have genuine social interactions with folks over the age of, oh, 12. People ask questions about your day -- and listen to the answers.

I envy you, but I sort of pity you. Kids grow. Age 1 turns to age 3, which turns to age 7, which turns to 15 and 18 and 21, all in the blink of an eye. If you're there, as I am, it flies. If you're not there -- if you're almost never there -- it barely exists at all. Which is why I just can't stomach those millions of dads who view their days at home as recovery from work, who'd rather rest than engage, who have no problem with passing the tykes off for more alone time with mom and who, literally, moan to their wives, "You have no idea how hard I work."

For you, I offer these 10 commandments of righteous fatherhood. Pay close attention, because, behind your back, people are pitying your wife:

1. No golf on weekends: Seriously, it's ludicrous. Your spouse is home with the kids all the time, and you think it's OK to take five hours on a weekend day to pursue your own pastime? Selfishness, thy name is Father.

2. Wake up: Literally, wake up. With your kids. On at least one of the two weekend days -- and perhaps both. I know: you wake up early for work. Not even remotely the same thing. Rising alongside the kiddies is hard. And crazy. And (gasp!) sorta fun, if you'd just stop moping.

3. Change diapers: If you have little kids, and you don't know how to change diapers (or, even worse, refuse to change diapers), you're pathetic. That's no exaggeration -- p-a-t-h-e-t-i-c. It's not all that hard, and though the poop sometimes winds up on the fingers, well, uh, yeah. It just does. Wash your hands.

4. Play with dolls and paint your toenails: How many fathers do I know who refuse to get girlish with their girls? Dozens. Dude, put aside the machismo, break out Barbie and slather on some pink polish. You'll make a friend for life -- and nobody else is watching.

5. Do things you don't want to do: It's easy to take the kids to the driving range -- because you want to be there. Now try spending the day having a tea party at American Girl. Or crawling through one of those wormholes at the nearby kiddie gym. Fun? Often, no. But this isn't about you.

6. Order the wife to bug off: I recently met a mother who told me her husband hadn't been alone with their 9-year-old daughter for more than two hours ... ever. Inexcusable. Let your wife do her own thing: relax, take a run, whatever. Entertain your children solo. They don't bite (Note: is not liable if your children do, in fact, bite).

7. Surprise! Just once, on a random day without meaning or purpose, show up early at your kid's school/camp/wherever, say "Get in the car!" and take him/her somewhere special. Just the two of you, alone. A movie. A park. A hike. The memory lasts -- I promise.

8. Dishes Don't Clean Themselves (Nor Do Toys): It's amazing how this one works. You pick up a dish, run it under hot water with some soap, rub it down with a towel and place it back on the shelf. Then repeat.

9. Wake up your kid: Not often. But if you want to score big points and create a killer memory moment, walk in Junior's room at, oh, midnight, wake him/her up and go outside for 10 minutes to watch the stars.

10. For God's sake, tell your kids you love them: They never see you, and they'd probably like to know.

Bud, as you read this your wife is expecting little -- and your kids are expecting even less. Pull one out of the blue. Make Father's Day less about you, and all about them.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jeff Pearlman.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


We celebrated the summer solstice and tried to escape from the crazy heat and humidity by having Grama take us to the yacht club pool.

Hailey showed off her new swimming skills. She started lessons yesterday.

Spencer and Evan dove for torpedoes and little magnetic fish.

Evan did cannonballs off the side and tried to coax Hailey into jumping in off the side. She is still a little nervous to have her whole head submerged.

It was a great day at the pool. We are eager to get into Lake Michigan, but the temperatures have been frigid. I think today it was fifty eight or something equally as numbing, odd for the middle of June.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Jim Halpert

I absolutely love it when Spencer's hair grows out into this "John Krasinski" style. It is a fleeting window of time between this look that is perfect for him and a head full of way too much hair.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

No more pencils, no more books...

Today was the last day of school for the boys.

Spencer has been talking about riding his bike to school for a while now. Since Trent was finished with school last Friday and was home, he offered to ride with the Spencer and give Evan a lift to make that wish come true.

It was kind of funny because the night before when I was tucking Evan into bed, I told him to get a good nights rest because he didn't want to be tired on his last day. He told me "I will Mom, but I am not so sure about this riding bikes to school business". I told him that if he wanted to take the bus or me to drive him I would. He opted for the biking.

And he was fine with it by morning.

Riding off to the end of another year of elementary school. Are you ready summer? Because here we come!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Somewhere only we know

I walked across an empty land
I knew the pathway like the back of my hand
I felt the earth beneath my feet
Sat by the river and it made me complete

Oh simple thing, where have you gone?
I'm getting old and I need something to rely on
So tell me when you're gonna let me in
I'm getting tired and I need somewhere to begin

I came across a fallen tree
I felt the branches of it looking at me
Is this the place we used to love?
Is this the place that I've been dreaming of?

Oh simple thing, where have you gone?
I'm getting old and I need something to rely on
So tell me when you're gonna let me in
I'm getting tired and I need somewhere to begin

And if you have a minute, why don't we go
Talk about it somewhere only we know?
This could be the end of everything
So why don't we go somewhere only we know?
Somewhere only we know

Oh simple thing, where have you gone?
I'm getting old and I need something to rely on
So tell me when you're gonna let me in
I'm getting tired and I need somewhere to begin

And if you have a minute, why don't we go
Talk about it somewhere only we know?
This could be the end of everything
So why don't we go? So why don't we go?

Oh, this could be the end of everything
So why don't we go somewhere only we know?
Somewhere only we know
Somewhere only we know


I can feel the change in the air. The excitement that the school year is days from being over. Which also means that our beach days are soon to be over as well. We will certainly go to the beach in a traditional sense this summer, but these days of solitude - days of only us are coming to an end. There is just something magical about walking to the beach in the afternoon and looking down that stretch where sand and water meet and seeing no one. No people in our favorite spot, no dogs running around wet and shaking water on us, no screams from a group of boys coming down to cool off in the water.

I realized the other day as I took these pictures of Hailey how fleeting- not only these days, but the years are. It hit me that we only have two more years of this. As I sat and tried to recall all the days and years we have been doing this I found a pattern. It all started with me and Spencer. And then there were two as Evan was added to our little group. For only one year, I had all three kids down there. Then Spencer started school full time and it was just me and Evan and Hailey. And now just her - back to one again - and I am starting to mourn the fact that those days are numbered.

This beach has always been my safe haven, Trent calls it my strength alluding to the fact that it is in a way my "Tara". I can see the same feelings toward the beach starting with my kids, and I love that. We are so lucky to have such a place only footsteps from our door.

We will hope for lovely weather for our last day at our beach before the kids get out of school and to quote Jimmy Buffett "the circus comes to town". If the weather cooperates and the wind is not too strong maybe we will even bring a picnic lunch and relish for the afternoon - somewhere only we know.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Still a few years from the DMV

On the last morning of a week spent with visiting cousins, we got the Jeep out and running. Hailey's driving skills had improved immensely from the last time she drove it in the fall.

Mirabel watched Hailey driving around the yard with a look of intrigue. When Hailey asked her if she wanted a ride she answered with a still unsure "no".

I love this picture that shows Hailey about to take off and Mira changing her mind and deciding that she did want a ride.

I am already dreading the amount of trouble that these little girls will be getting into in twelve (hopefully more) years when they can drive a real car. Sure they look all sweet and innocent here, but these two are firecrackers.

Mira quickly got over her apprehension and decided that she wanted to try out her mad driving skills. She did a good job for her first time behind the wheel. She had a little trouble steering and was terrified of going into the road to turn around even though I stood out there to be a watch and guard them from cars. That's fine by me, better to be safe than sorry.

This picture makes me laugh because of the size difference in these two girls. They are only a year apart. This photo makes Hailey look like an Amazon woman.

Hailey's reaction to driving the Jeep at full speed - five miles per hour. She drove it fast for a few rounds then asked me to make it go slow again. I guess my girl is not a speed junkie - again, not a bad thing in my opinion.

It was fun watching these two interact with the Jeep. I just wish we had hauled it out a few days sooner.