Monday, March 15, 2010

Umm, Max could be dead again.

Unfortunately after the joyful reunion with Max the hamster, Paris seems to have left his cage open and we haven't seen him again in a week. We have been leaving a little bowl of food out to lure him out of wherever he is, but it doesn't seem to be working. Guess we are white trash with critters running around after all.

Monday, March 8, 2010

DAY 5 -- Will Saves Max (for the second time)

Max is the name of our hamster. Max was almost snake food. That is how we found Max. Our friends were going to feed him to their snake, but we decided to keep him. Unfortunately, his 9 brothers and sisters were not as lucky.

Late last night Cooper told me, Max, our hamster was lost. He said it happened before Mom left.

"What?" "We lost him 6 days ago?" "How come nobody said anything to me?"

Cooper started to look as if he were being caught in a trap --

" I , ur, don't know - ask Mom -- just ask Mom - Just call Mom!" Apparently the the two had decided it would be better if Dad did not know that we lost the hamster. While I was annoyed, Will just found out at the same time I did. He was crushed. He sobbed himself to sleep as I told him Max was probably dead and could not live this long without food and water. Will said a sweet prayer "that Max could be ok, wherever he is "

6:00 AM -- I woke the kids up for school and Will is getting his bag and shoes when he sees something scamper across the floor from our closet into the bathroom (No we do not just have "critters" crawling all over our house, but apparently we are more red neck than I thought. A hampster can live off our crumbs for 6-8 days without being phased.).

"MAX!" WIll yells.

No one else even saw him, but Will was right. He was decidedly skinnier than we remembered him but we gave him some food and water and he gobbled it down. When we saw him do his spiderman trick where he climbs up the side of his cage, we knew he was ok :)

I had to go back to work today and tomorrow, so I we had a nanny service come today. Her name is Jessie and my kids love her. We have had her on multiple occasions thanks to this sweet new benefit we found at my work. Feels like cheating but I don't see them again until 6:00.

6:00 PM -- We had dinner together, did homework and got ready for bed. Mom comes home tomorrow. We called Mom -- The kids loved talking to her. You could just see how much they love their Mom.

Mom sounded great too. I guess 6 days in Newport Beach taking in the sunshine and beaches and good food will re-energize you. Can't wait for her to come back.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

DAY 4 - A Day of Rest?

A few of you have made some great points like "I applaud the efforts but, I don't hear anything about cleaning the house." or "They better tell you thanks if you take them to Chik-fil-a, Five guys and Pizza (It was frozen) every day." These are all very valid points.

Let me be clear - I am in it for survival in the short term. If all kids are alive when my wife comes home, I will call it a success. I just want to make it to the end -- to see Mom again.

There is absolutely no question, Mom is way better at this than me. And these "opportunities" always turn into "Mom appreciation weeks" but honestly, I appreciated her a ton going into this. I appreciate the work all Moms do even more. It is full on, all out, never ending, I could always be doing something more, WORK. It does have some rewarding moments, and you have to savor them.

But if it makes any of you feel better, we did clean today and we did not eat at any restaurants today :).


Today was Sunday, and it actually felt the most normal of any of the days so far. Knowing this was my biggest chance for Shanda's friends to leak information back to Shanda, I made sure the kids were bathed for church. They may have been dirty all week, but I am not dumb enough to leave them that dirty for church.

9 - 12:30 Went to Church. The kids were good during church overall. I was pleasantly surprised.

1 -5: Paris takes a nap the majority of the time. I made cookies with the boys. Cooper has some serious chef skills. At age 8 he may know more than me about cooking. He knew how to use our kitchen aid better than me. Will knew where aprons were for everyone (except me - come on, just cause I am watching the kids does not mean I am at home wearing an apron!). It was fun and tasty. We also all cleaned our own rooms, did the the dishes and cleaned the the front room. We will have to tackle the enormous mountain of clothes tomorrow. Made lunches for the next day.

5- 7 - Some friends took pity on me and invited us over for dinner. It was great, but Paris is regressing on the potty training. Unfortunately, she almost always tells me for #1 but not for #2. She is in a pull up so it is not the end of the world, but just frustrating. That's a problem I am just not going to be able to fix while Shanda is gone. I think she needs to be sent to her Nonny's for Potty Training Boot Camp. Wonder if she is reading this? What do say Ang? I know you are coming back in a week?

7:30 PM -- Kids in bed. Work tomorrow. Fairly uneventful, peaceful day.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

DAY 3 -- The Return of my Daddy Swagger

I started to get my swagger back on day three.

7:30 -- The kids woke up before me but played nice and watched cartoons for a bit. Feeling hapy about that I declared we were going to Chik-Fil-A for breakfast (a great southern fast food treat that we frequent often on Saturday mornings).

9:00 - 10:00 We then went to my basketball game where there was a solid pack of kids that I just let my three join while I was playing. We won by 20 and we are not that good. So they were just awful. I mean they shot a lot of air balls. If I were to guess, I would say like 15.

10:00 - 12:00 -- Next we went to Cooper's practice. The weather was great and their were lots of kids for my kids to play with. This was more like I imagined this experience going.

SPORTS TANGENT COMING (PROUD DAD MOMENT / BORDERLINE BRAGGING) -- If you are tired of me talking about my kids sports triumphs, just skip down a few paragraphs. One of my favorite parts of the day was when Jason Garfinkle, the #1 kid in Cooper's baseball league was playing shortstop (5th grader, 5 time All-Star, one game away from the little league Nationals (AKA the little league World Series)), while his Dad (the Coach) hit pop flies to all the players in the field.

Jason was supposed to be the cut off man. The other kids were supposed to catch the pop fly and then throw it in to the cut off man. The coach hit the pop flies to all the kids and then Jason went out and called for the cut off. And he did that for the first 6 - 7 players. Then it was Coops turn. He caught the pop fly and then Jason did not go out for the cut, signaling to throw it straight to the second baseman. Cooper then threw the ball in from the outfield and hit the second baseman standing on second in the glove.

The coach then asked his son, "Jason, why didn't you go out and call for the cut off?"
"Because he's got an arm, Dad. That kid has an arm, I would have only slowed the play up, if I went and cut it off."

Respect from the biggest stud in the league. No one else at practice probably even noticed, but I thought it was cool.

12:00 - 2:00 After practice we went to Five Guys for lunch. We then got Will some new cleats. Ahhhh, the-little-boy-with-a- new-pair-of-shoes / cleats never gets old. I told him to run a few laps with his new cleats on to try them out. I then told him how fast he looked. Will then talked about how he might be the fastest kid on his team with his new cleats and how he would always be the fastest "if people just didn't get in my way!". I love it. I can still remember running sprints for my next door neighbor as a kid because he told me thought I could run fast in my new shoes.

2:00 - 3:45 Paris takes a quick nap. We have to wake her up to go to Will's practice.

4:00 - 6:00 Will's Practice. Will half cracks me up and half annoys me because the coach puts him at shortstop but he rarely concentrates. He has the attention span of like 5 seconds. But if he pays attention, he is usually pretty good. But I look around and most all the 6 year olds are not paying attention, so I pause for about three minutes, and then start yelling at him to pay attention, quit dancing with his shadow, etc.

6:30 - 8:30 Came home - made pizza and all four of us snuggled on the couch to watch the new episode of Phineas and Ferb -- one our our family favorites from disney.

And that's a wrap -- Not too much drama -- We also got a new toilet today and Paris was the first to christen it.

Also of note -- I did the dishes for the first time. I wrongfully accused Paris of pooping somewhere because a nasty stench had started to stink up the place and then I realized that that the little bit of milk left in your cereal bowl actually curdles after a couple of days. The bad smell did inspire me to bathe all the children tonight.

And there was another poop story, but no one can take back-to-back poop stories.

Last thing -- and the highlight of the day. As we were eating Pizza that night, Will turned to me and said, "Dad, Thanks for an awesome day. We had lots of fun. You are the greatest." The other kids chimed in too. Will is definitely an emotional roller coaster, but he definitely has the kindest heart of the bunch.

Feeling pretty good through 3 days - all things considered.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Life without Mom (Shanda) -- DAY 2

Today was considerably harder. Despite no alarms being set, the kids woke up like clock work right around 6:00 AM.

6:15 AM: Cooper asked me what was for breakfast and I gave him the "It's-gonna-be-a-long-six-days-for-you-kid-if-you- still- can't-pour-your-own-bowl-of-cereal-and-you-are-turning-9-this-month-speech." He then spilled the milk, while pouring.

9:00 Shanda calls. Wow - 6:00 AM her time. Apparently she has not adjusted yet. I find this mind boggling since she is always tired. But while I had her on the phone, I tapped her for a few of her ideas. She gave me like 50, and after like 10 I was like ok, now you are just rubbing it in. You have far superior kind watching time killing ideas than me. Point taken. You don't have to rub my face in it.

10 - Noon -- One amazing idea was to take them to the local YMCA. The kids enjoy going there and they have something for all ages and 2 hours of watching your kids daily is included in the membership. Yeah Haw -- Chester's Dead! (top gun reference for those who follow). We milked that until lunch. Coop went to kid zone for kids 7 and over. This is clearly the big ticket item at the Y and the dream of envy of every six year old in the surrounding area. Will is 6 but I felt no remorse in sending him to the kid zone. I told Coop not to blow his cover. No questions were asked -- clearly this is a tactic Mom has used as well in the past. Coop was playing Michigan Football on the EA Sports College football and destroyed Ohio State. That is as close to a big time victory as Michigan has had in recent years. Will and I played foosball. I worked out for an hour. We then picked up Paris. Genius, Shanda, Genius!

12 - 2 : We went to subway for lunch. Then off to the batting cages, Then off redeem our gift cards at Cold Stone - despite it still being unseasonable cold for Charlotte.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE DAY -- No nap today but caught a break -- Cooper's friend asked him to spend the night. Let me think about that for a second, "um, yeah -- I think we can accommodate. Would you like Will and Paris as well. No sleepover is complete without them? "

4:00 - 6:00 Baseball Practice -- Now this is usually the highlight of my day. I love watching the kids play baseball. But with three kids and no help, It was decidedly different. Paris says she has to go potty and is holding her croutch with both hands. I was helping out playing first base at the time and said -- Looks like someone will have to take over for me. I pick her up and run to nearest bathroom. Since we haven't had the first game yet, it appears the facilities are locked. Checked my back up -- the port-a-potty in front of field 10. It is no where to be found. Newman!

I have no choice but to take her in the woods. Can I just say this process is SO MUCH EASIER FOR BOYS? Here i am in sub 40 temperature pulling Paris pants, shoes, socks and underwear off so she can pee. And then, and I thought this only happened to boys, but not being in her natural comfort zone, she gets stage fright. Nothing comes out. She turns to me -- All done Daddy.

You gotta be kidding me, For the love of all things, "Pee Paris" "Pee like the wind."

" I no have to pee Daddy." So I put it all back on.

20 minutes later she says she has to go Poo-Poo. Now I am really in trouble. I find out there is a facility about 300 yards away. I run to the car -- Don't bother buckling her and drive as fast I can. I keep encouraging her to hold it. She is doing it valiantly. We get to the bathroom and I choke under the pressure and am admittedly slow getting everything off. Right as I am pulling down her pull up, she let's it fly. So close and yet so far away. Needless to say, Paris went commando the rest of practice.

Practice finished. We rented Harry Potter and got treats. Then I realized Harry Potter is like 2 and half hours and called it at the half way point. I am exhausted. But they are in bed and I am soon to follow.

Hoping today will be better and it will get warmer soon.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Life without Mom (Shanda) -- DAY 1

So in a moment of weakness, I offered to send Shanda out to see her brother and his family and watch our three kids for six days. I am used to watching the kids for a few hours at a time, but needless to say, this will be quite an adventure. So for kicks, and for the 5-6 of you listening, I am deciding to chronicle the highlights of each day. By the way, it is only day one, but I already have mad respect for all the stay at home spouses out there.

6:00 AM -- Wake the kids up and get them ready for the bus. Had 30 minutes to get them dressed, fed and lunches ready. It is bad enough that our kids are supposed to be picked up at 6:35 AM for school, but the bus driver got to our house at 6:24 AM today. D&*% that bus driver! Oh well, got them off safe and back to bed I go.

6:37 AM -- Paris wakes up. So much for the back to bed plan.

9:15 AM -- I can not believe it is only 9:15 AM. I read stories, watched a cartoon, made breakfast, played basketball and went on a walk with Paris. I got nothing left in the tank or pool of ideas. About 2.5 hours into this I am hitting my typical time period that I watch the kids. No wonder Shanda takes these kids to the YMCA everyday. I am in trouble.

10:15 -- The kids asked if I could meet them for lunch at school since I am not home very often. So I said sure all flattered and then they left their orders of the food they wanted me to bring them. WIll wants hamburger and chicken nuggets and Cooper wants Sushi. But we needed something to kill the time so I accommodated.

10:55 -- I ran into the gas station for 1 minute with Paris in the car and the doors locked. I could see the car the entire time, but thought to myself, moms must be tempted to lock their kids up all the time when they run errands. I feel bad about it.

11:15 -- Met Will for lunch. Waiting in the cafeteria, one of the neighbor girls sees me and quickly takes me under her wing and explains that I am in the wrong table and how the lunch process works. It was appreciated and cute all at the same time.

You can learn a lot at a lunch table with 6 year olds. Let's start with I thought I was the starring attraction, but I wasn't. It was all Paris. They ate her up. Repeatedly asking her questions and laughing at whatever she said. Paris loved it too. Will held his sisters hand most of lunch and all the way back to his class. It was pretty cute.

By the way, I think Will is officially the class clown, but he did not really want me to know. The kids kept asking Will -- "Hey Will, tell us a joke. Come on Will, just one joke." He kind of gave them the look like, not now guys, my Dad is here.

12:15 -- Lunch with Cooper and his friends. Sushi definitely got Cooper the attention he was looking for. About 5 minutes into lunch Cooper announced "Who wants a Wasabe Sushi Bomb?" It had shades of the playground on Christmas Story and a double dog dare. His good friend Ecam rose to the occasion. " I am African," he declared. "Africans eat all sorts of spicy things. It does not bother me at all. I am an African American. "

Ecam had thrown down the gauntlet. Cooper took the entire side of wasabe meant for 12 pieces of sushi to share and pasted all on one "Wasabe Sushi Bomb." I was nervous. This could seriously do some damage I thought. I was the only adult at the table. Ecam ate it up without hesitation. Not even a blink. No water. "I am African American," he declared again in victory. Impressive stuff.

We also started beating our hands to rhythm of "We Will Rock you" on the table. The two tables next to us started joining in and then I realized, oh no, I started this ruckus. Good to know I can still hang with the 8 year olds at lunch. Good Times. I think I was cooler than Paris with the 8 year olds, but it was still debateable.

1:15 -- Paris down for a nap. Will and Coop still at school. I had a nap. This is the only perk that I found in staying at home today.

2:45 -- Kids home from School. We played baseball. Coop practiced pitching to me. We all played a little hoops. Paris dunked. Made a snack.

5:00 -- Went to the dollar movies. Snuck in drinks and suckers. I had a can of Fresca for each of the kids. Dad's don't do wussy juice boxes. I think this might have been the first time Paris ever got an entire can of pop. oops. Luckily there were only about 7 people in the theater and we were 4 of them. She was bouncing off the walls. It has no calories -- I thought it would be ok. oops.

7:00 -- late dinner. Made left overs -- Thanks Shanda. 8:30 -- Kids in bed. No school tomorrow. It is going to be even harder. And I think I used some of my best stuff today. We'll see.