Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The blind leading the blind

It's an old expression.

I find it particularly applicable today.

This is a true story about today's adventure and how little siblings look up to the big ones! There's a great leadership lesson in here for all of us!

So we're working on honesty, namely with 14 y/o Andrew. "Working On" as in failing miserably. So the untruths seem to be increasing in frequency, yet everytime they are discovered this very smart boy goes to the new 'sorry shuffle'

It goes something like this:

Me: "andrew, what were you thinking?"

A: Approaches me shagrinned, head down, shuffling feet...."I don't know, I'm reaaaal sorry Daaaad."

M: Trying to stay mad, but can't resist this repentant-routine, "It's ok, don't do it again, though o.k?'

A: "O.K."

Repeat, constantly. For variation, throw in the, "I'm not mad at you honey, but I am disappointed."

Anyway, this silliness can only go on for so long. Although I'd like to think I am an endless supply of mercy, quite the contrary is true.

SO he leaves me no choice but to go to the....


Andrew actually ASKED FOR MORE DAYS OF GROUNDING INSTEAD of the write it down business, which tells me this one may work (for now).

Anywho, we're at my office today for a bit, and he is writing,

"I will not lie or deceive"

Over and over and over and over and over again.

Namely, 1,000 times.

Now before you gasp and scream "teenagers rights!!" (who in their right mind would scream that, anyway?) you should know we didn't start at 1,000 - we worked our way up to it.

So I get him a legal pad and pen and he's off to the races...or not. But he is writing.

15 minutes later Maddie comes in and says, "Dad, can I have a piece of paper and a pen?"

Oblivious to why, I ask.

Me: "Are you going to draw Daddy a picture?" (Again, she's 8, but sometimes I talk to her as if she's 2)

Mads: "No."

Me: "What are you going to do?"

Mads: "I am going to write something 1,000 times, I want to be like Andrew."

Me: "What are you going to write?"

Mads..thinking of something....considering her options...Hannah Montana, High School Musical 3...Suite Life of Zach and Cody....she ultimately proclaims,

"I love to play!"

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Remember the story of my cousin, 'Little James?' (If he becomes a rapper, Lil' James) If not, check out the previous post called, "pronouns & curse words."

Anyway, he and his twin brother are in town this week for VBS (vacation Bible school).

So we're outside wrestling and during a brief pause in the WWE action I ask him how it is.

Me: "So how's VBS going?"

LJ: "Good."

Me: "Are you having fun?"

LJ: "Yep."

Me: "Who are you learning about?"

LJ: Wants to get this one right, yet seems pained by the answer. I'm waiting patiently as his 8 year old mind wanders to and returns back from Sponge-Bobville, and he finally says:


I look at him, he looks back at me. He doesn't say it like he's exasperated, he says it like he means it, as if he is spending his days learning about Gosh.

Me: "You mean, "GOD?"

LJ: "Ummm yeah."

Me: "There is no Gosh Almighty, you know."

LJ: "I know."

Now this exchange is really funny to me because our kids (and cousins) know saying "Oh my God" is not an acceptable thing to say. So apparently in his pee wee brain he figures he can't say "God" because he may get in trouble. So he says "Gosh."

Brilliant, actually.


Monday, June 15, 2009

You said WHAT? (a/k/a You're gonna' get knocked up)

We are passionate people.

A very spirited family.

An abundance of ambition (although sometimes a deficit of motivation).

We can also be quite sarcastic, dramatic, stubborn and ill-tempered.

There is really nothing we don't joke about. A kid throws a temper tantrum (any of them, ages 14/11/8/1.5), within an hour or so we're re-enacting it with dramatic flair to the cheers and jeers of the family crowd.

A true (albeit embarrassing) family story:
Let's just say for conversation's sake that your in Canada with the kids driving around down by Niagara Falls at night on what is apparently the Canadian Labor Day Weekend (who thought to check the Canadian calendar before our trip?? No wonder that dive motel was so expensive!) and your SUV stops running. By the way, you're leaving the next morning because you HAVE to be be back in town in two days for a court-custody hearing. So you're coasting, that's right, COASTING down the road in neutral trying to get off the road (there is, apparently, every Canadian in Canada at the Falls this night at 11:30 PM).

You almost get through the intersection, 3/4 the way turned when you run out of momentum. So you're kind-of blocking 1 lane of traffic. Apparently people are not too happy that time of night, because Mr. Minivan behind me honks his horn. Granted, an inconvenience, but sheesh pal go around me. I did have my flashers on, what could I do?

So MV Man honks again, this time a little longer. I of course am oblivious (except apparently in my subconscious where it's building like 1980's Mt. St Helen's), as Andrew, Hannah, Maddie and 8-month pregnant Jill wait for me to do something great.

HOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNKKKKKKKKKKK. As if the guy is sleeping on his horn.


I fling my door open and bum rush MVM. I start yelling passionately about how my truck is stalled as in it won't start and although I can appreciate this driver's impatience I'm sure he can understand I AM NOT DOING IT ON PURPOSE.

The male driver (mid-60's) is just staring straight ahead like, 'cooo-cooo bird' which of course makes me more frustrated. Just when I realize what a dufus I am being, and when I finally pause to catch my breath, his unlovely wife leaned over and very patronizingly stated,

"you need to caaaaalllllllmmmm down."

Composure? gone.
Reason? gone.
Good sense? gone.
Mild yelling tone? long gone.

Calm down? Calm down? You and your jerk husband have the audacity to sit here in the comfort of your glorified station wagon, which unlike my vehicle at this point, WORKS - while my three children and pregnant wife are sitting in the middle of the busiest intersection in North America a mere 8 hours before we're supposed to go home all the while knowing not a single auto shop will be open in the morning because of your stupid labor day holiday, smack dab in the middle of summer, and blah blah blah...

They drive off, and I am left seething. The locals came over and applauded my tongue-lashing (making me feel worse).

By the way, I work in ministry.

So we got it all ironed out (eventually), and wouldn't you know it, now all the kids have to say is, 'remember Canada?' I did apologize profusely to them and beg their forgiveness, telling them it was a perfect lesson in WHAT NOT TO DO, and that I was in every way wrong.

Remember Canada. Brilliant.

Ok, so I shared that loooong story so you know that everyone and everything is fair game. After all, WE ARE TEASERS!

So yesterday Andrew and I were teasing and wresting. This is quite fun for both of us, and of course he tests the boundaries of how far he can take it. So we're jockeying for position and he's running his mouth like a marathon-er, and in my mind I meant to say (again, we're teasing here...)

knock it off and shut it up

But what came out was, "You're gonna' get knocked up!"

How he knows what this means, I have no idea. But of course, game over. Hysterics. Andrew, Jill, Hannah (who has no clue what this means, but just joins in the laughing anyway), even Nate find my slip up amusing.

Guess what I've heard constantly for the last 12 hours?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

You can't handle the truth

It's classic exchange between a zealous, young prosecutor and a complex, senior ranking military general that most of us recognize instantly from the classic movie, "A Few Good Men."

A great line, a great lesson. Today the point was driven home in a very memorable way.....

Earlier Maddie and I were watching the Brewers game after church, snuggled up on the couch. Relaxing, having some good laughs and just being goofy. I like to check in with her once in awhile on the 'boy' front, if you know what I mean.

She is, after all, 8 big-years-old, headed in to 3rd grade and quite the bright one. She of course scoffs at the mere suggestion of boys, which I reinforce emphatically. She understands that dating begins sometime in the late-20's, and marriage talk....30 minimum! This all sounds good to her (now), and I consider it good ammo for the future.

Me: "Sooo, any boys catch your eye lately?"

Maddie, "Daaaaad.."

Me, "Whaaaa??" (feigning innocence and ignorance)

Maddie, "Noooo Daaaaddddddd" (cue eye roll and slight head shake)

Me, thinking 'whew, so far so good', "Well, do you think any boys are cute?"

June-bug, "Nooo"

Me, wondering if I'm still the apple of her eye, "Well, so, ummm if you had to rank from like one to ten, you know, one being awfully ugly and ten being really really cute (I smile reaaaal big, like a cue), what would you rate Dad?" (Why I'm speaking in 3rd person to her here, I have no clue!)

Madalishous, staring at me intently, "Hmmmm..."

Me thinking, 'come on junior, it's not a trick question....'

Mad-dogg, still eyeing me up....

Me thinking, 'sheesh, I feel self-conscious now...out with it already....come on, come on...I can help you with it....one number after NINE....say it with me Teeeee.."

Maddie, "5"

Me, "Whaaaaatttt?"

Maddie, staring even harder now for what seems like an eternity, but in actuality is about 3 seconds...."and-a-half?"

This is her consolation prize. Her vote of confidence. Her telling me, 'gee Dad, you're not average...just ever so slightly above..'

That is vintage Maddie.

And just like that young attorney, I apparently can't handle the truth, either!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A chart to help

A chart I made may help the uninformed....

This chart should be preserved for future generations. Parents (especially Dad's) should print it, post it, and memorize it!