It’s as if you were there…

26 03 2009

The school where Isaac takes his piano lessons had their annual performathon.  It’s always fun, we can sit for however long we want and listen to students of all ages and abilities performing on piano, violin, guitar, voice, etc.  We really enjoy it.  But Jonathan gets restless, so this time Karen handed him her point and shoot digital camera.  I always love seeing Jonny’s photographs; it’s like seeing into his brain and how it works.

nothing odd here

quite lovely

what is that thing on the ceiling, exactly?

okay, I suppose the chairs are interesting

yes we all knew this one was coming...

He made me show him these pictures right after he took them.

At this point I'm shaking with laughter

whew!  Back to normal.

omg why am I laughing tears?

So there you have it.  A peek inside Jonathan’s brain.  We hope you enjoyed the show.





Battle Royale

24 03 2009

Nate and Ben have been battling it out over toys lately.  It’s a toss up who’s going to win each one, but Nathaniel has been winning more and more of them.  Ben, however, has a secret weapon.  Once the toy is gone, he often loses interest. 

Let the games begin

This wonderful activity table was a Christmas present to the little ones from their dear Auntie Dawn.  It’s very cool that they can both play with it at the same time.  Nate still wants to keep pulling it away from Ben, though.






For my sister, whom I may have offended

17 02 2009

While I moved away from western PA after college, my sister moved BACK to western PA.  This has proven over the years to be beneficial for many reasons.  One of these is that occasionally she sends us items that are of a Black and Gold nature.  A delivery of that sort arrived less than a week after the Super Bowl.  T-shirts for everyone in the family (provided that I’m the same size as my 8-year-old) and that was way cool.  She asked me on the phone if they were going to feature in one of my now-famous Tuesday Twosday posts, and my reaction was something like “Oh, not this week.  It will be at least next week, if at all.”

Hmmm.  That may have been a little rude.  In my defense, two of my children and one of my wives were sick that weekend so I was a little preoccupied while on the phone.  

So this past weekend I decked out the little ones in their new shirts and Isaac helped me with the photo shoot.  It was fun, even if nobody smiled.

Look!  Daddy's doing something silly behind the camera!

Later I gave them a toy to fight over.  

back off buddy, don't make me use this

Taking these pictures is going to be very fun for a few months.





One week in

9 02 2009

We’ve got some rules in our house that we actually enforce.  One of them is “No video games during the week.”  The boys have come to accept this rule, but it usually means that on Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday they want to do nothing but play video games.  We also have a “no video games before lunch” rule.  So the actual time spent may be relatively small in relation to the week, but the amount of space in their minds occupied by the games is very large.  Time was not kept by the position of the sun in the sky or by the phase of the moon.  Time was kept by marking how many days were left until the three day gaming binge.  Obsession is a dangerous thing, and these kids aren’t even ten yet.  So we decided to prove to them that there are other things to do than sit in front of the TV with a controller.

We designated February as “No Video Games Month.”  When met with the expected protests we explained that at least February is the shortest month of the year.  We could have picked March.  We could have picked JULY, when they’re home from school (we still may do that one).

next year he performs at the grammys

So here we are, one week into our screen-free month (no TV either) and what’s been happening?  I can tell you one thing that hasn’t been happening.  Much to our surprise we haven’t heard one complaint.  There the game systems sit, in full view of the children (and parents), and I haven’t heard one question about leniency on the rule.  Isaac has, however, delved into Zelda strategy guides as if he’s living vicariously through them.  I’ve hid those now, because I find it a bit creepy.  

Jonathan is summarily unfazed by the whole idea.  While he loves the idea of being free to play video games, in truth he could give or take them.  He often plays for a while then puts the controller down and does something else.  In this case he’s gotten hooked on one of their Christmas presents from my mother, the Smart Globe from the Discovery Store.  

actually looking for Carmen San Diego

He’s played with it so much that when they ask him to locate countries on the globe he can do it pretty quickly.  He was even helping Isaac do it (and mocking him at the same time).  So far I’d say that this experiment is a success, and it’s one we’ll have to repeat in the future.





He’s plotting my demise

25 11 2008

Little boys prefer their mommies.  It’s one of those laws of nature.  It’s why, back when we had one child, I pined for a little girl.  I’m over that now.  Now I’m perfectly willing to say “Honey, the baby wants you” or “Go ask Mommy.”  You get the idea.  Mommy’s home, daddy takes the evening off.

Oh.  Hi!  Of course I'm glad to see you!

But a new wrinkle has developed in this little drama.  It’s this.  Since our babies nurse they sleep in bed with us.  (Any comments debating the pros and cons of this practice will be deleted.  You are not allowed to argue on my blog.)  All is well up until this point, or should I say this child.  Nathaniel has decided he doesn’t like me.  If he’s sleeping peacefully alone in our bed and I get in too he wakes up.  It doesn’t matter how quietly or gently I lie down.  First he stirs a little, then he starts fussing.  But Karen shows up and all is right with the world.  It doesn’t matter what time of day this is.  Early morning, late at night, whatever.  Last night Karen was updating her blog and I had to call her in just so I could go to sleep.

If you’re having difficulty following me, let me summarize.  I have been banished from my own bed by a four-month-old.

The funny thing is this.  Karen will come home from work and pick up Nate.  But he’s still staring at me.  This has been giving Karen a complex of sorts, and she’s terrified that Nate is favoring me over her.  The truth is this.  He’s sitting on her lap staring at me thinking (in Stewie’s voice) “She’s mine!  You hear?!  I’ll soon be rid of you!”

Is he still there?  He's ALWAYS there!

I’m going to be watching this one very closely….

Happy Thanksgiving!





It was an educational trip

27 10 2008

Last year in October I took Isaac to see the Steelers pound on play the Seattle Seahawks, and we had a great time.  We didn’t, however, watch a lot of football.  It was 95 degrees out there and we didn’t spend a lot of time in our seats.  This time around the weather was much more favorable and the teams much more evenly matched.  Plus, Isaac is a year older now, and more educated in the ways of the Burgh.

Just like last year we parked across the river and took the boat over.  It saves a lot of walking and I’m a big believer in it.  Isaac asked to get his face painted again.

We got to our seats before the opening kickoff (Shocking, isn’t it?), and Isaac performed well.  He sang along with the Steelers cheer when the music played (“Here we go Steelers, Here we go!” Clap Clap), and he even stood up and waved his Terrible Towel when everybody else did, even though he couldn’t see what was happening because everybody was standing up.  He did ask in the fourth quarter “Daddy, why are we yelling so the other team can’t hear?”  When he asks it like THAT it does sound a bit unsportsmanlike, but then life isn’t really fair, is it?

I made Isaac sit through  We sat in our seats through the first quarter.  I could tell Isaac was bored with sitting still that long so we went for a walk to – where else – the gift shop.  We also went through the Great Hall again and while we were there he found the one place in the stadium where a boy of eight can play video games.

Midway through the third quarter Isaac said “Let’s go back to our seats.” so we did.  And we got to watch the terror that was the fourth quarter.  

That was when things got interesting.  In the stands, that is.  When the Steelers snapped that punt through the back of the end zone for a safety, one Giants fan in a hard hat got into a War of Words with about 200 people in our section.  There were all sorts of words. “F” words, “S” words, “A” words, “M-F” words, “G-D” words, “D” and “H” words to name a few.  It was quite the vocabulary lesson for Isaac.  And when the Giants scored that touchdown I learned a lesson.  When it’s time for somebody to leave, security will most likely remove the fan supporting the visiting team.

As we were walking back to our car I thanked Isaac for coming with me.  My favorite thing in the world is doing cool things with my kids.  I’m sure that had I watched this game at home on TV I’d have been all angry about it, but not on this day.  Isaac was there with me, so the score didn’t matter.  The Steelers lost but I won.





See? They’re still alive.

16 09 2008

Monday was Karen’s first day back at work, and my first day home with the (rug) rat pack.  When she came home she announced with relief “You didn’t choke the older two and you didn’t starve the younger two!”

That’s my girl.  Always feeding my ego.  

Photo credit: Jonathan.