Sunday, March 30, 2014

10 Things I Love About Rory

10.  The fact that he said Da Da first!

9.  His amazing super teethy smiles!

8.  How he grabs Bella's tail and turns away before she can push her face in and give him a tongue bath.  (Although most of the time she gets him anyway.)

7.  When he has a fit, how he throws himself down on the ground and buries his head into the floor.  (Such a dramatic kid.  Where did that come from?)

6.  The way he curls up beside me for a midafternoon nap.  (I truly have begun to love naps!)

5.  How he stretches his arms out towards me when he wants to be close.

4.  The fact that he loves being close to his Dad.

3.  His obsession with bananas!  (Well really anything food-like.)

2.  His connection to music; whether it be just the two of us rocking on the guitar, or his fanatical dancing sessions at church during worship.

1.  That he's mine.  (Thank you, God for this most amazing blessing!)  

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Up Like Grass...Down Like Rain...Back and Forth Like a Choo Choo Train!

You may not know this about me (or maybe you do) but, I'm not the typical guy in the sense that I don't mind asking for directions.  Honestly, the thought of wasting my time is appalling to me.  This is probably why the other day I posed a question on Facebook about the right time to start brushing Rory's incoming teeth.  The responses I got were awesome and plentiful.

Here's a few:   (The names have been changed to protect the innocent)

Kishell says:  "You start right away and they have special tooth paste for babies.  Its training tooth paste.  Tyan has already gone to the dentist too.  They just check teeth and make sure everything is   progressing nicely.  Dont have to follow every bit of advice such as only water to drink and some milk."

Lila says:  "I don't remember when we started.. (how sad!) but.. I think starting now would be good. We got the special toothpaste that doesn't have fluoride. Its in the baby section. We also used something like baby buddy babys first tooth brush. Which we just bought at Walmart."

Cindy says:  "As soon as they get a tooth they can get cavities........I started brushing as soon as Ava got teeth. If you want to get the special paste you can otherwise it isn't necessary to use any at this young age. The first trip to the dentist should be when he is 1 just to make sure the teeth are healthy and there are no issues."

Grammy Kay says:  "I started right away with liked the tooth brush it was a fun time in the beginning as you got older, I would have to chase you into the bathroom so you would brush! Typical boy...."

Alliandra says: "We just used a washcloth and rubbed it over his teeth until about a year. Then switched to a toothbrush."

Angelina says:  "Use that little rubber finger brush with baby toothpaste always good to get in there as soon as they have teeth at least that's what we were told enjoy! Happy parenting!!"

Melinda says:  "We started brushing as soon as they got the first tooth so they'd get used to it. We did just water until they were 2ish."

Katie says: "Start brushing now. We used a baby gum brush on Isaac for a while, then moved onto a toddler brush. We use the training toothpaste. We use the Orajel kind; Ivan doesn't like the taste of the other kind and won't let us brush if we use it."

The dental students who came to our school this year sang this song which now Kim sings while she brushes Rory's teeth:  "Up like grass, down like rain, back and forth like a choo choo train!" 

My wife was busy scouring over her online research as all of my parenty-friends were responding instantaneously.  Everyone's got great ideas that worked fantastic for their own kids and I have to say I like the options and I like knowing what's current. 

So Rory did indeed begin brushing his teeth, or should I say we have begun brushing his teeth with the little finger brush and he actually really loves the brush on his gums.  He doesn't seem to mind at all and I haven't gotten my finger chomped yet.  So those are all good things.  Plus, now I can stop freaking out about cavities.

I find myself constantly worrying about the weirdest things, like Rory getting a cavity if the milk stays on his teeth or how he's going to catapult out of his crib, or even if he will break his head by falling down while he's walking himself along the side of the couch. 

Oh parenting, who knew?

Comic By Bitstrips

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Da Da Da Da

Rory has been chirping out my name non-stop!  Da Da Da Da Da Da!  I love it!  Kim does too... maybe?

"When is he going to say Ma Ma?"  Kim asks.
"Da Da Da Da!" I say to Rory.
"Da Da Da Da!" Rory echoes.
"NO!" Kim jumps.  "Help me make him say Ma Ma!  I helped and encouraged him to say Da Da."
"Oh," I say, " I guess I didn't realize you were coaching him.  Rory, please say Ma Ma!"
"Da Da Da!" Rory shrieks.
"Well, I tried," I say.  "Maybe we should teach him to say Bella!  Be-lla!  Say it!  Be-lla!  Wouldn't it be funny if he said Bella next in a cute little voice?"
"I really don't find you funny anymore," Kim says walking away.
"Wait?  What?  I thought that was the reason you married me!"

I seriously can't believe how many things Rory is doing and learning right now.  He's the most amazing kid I've ever seen! 

"What's he doing?" I ask.
"He's climbing up your leg!" Kim says typing on her Ipad.
"Again, little Ror-ster?  I love that you can climb now but why don't you sit and play or crawl around for a while?"
"Da Da Da!"
"Aww," I say, "He loves me and he knows my name!"
"Poppycock!" Kim screams and then pretends like she didn't say anything.
"What?" I ask.
"It was Bella." 
I stare at the cute dog laying on the floor wagging her tail.
"Oh Kim," I say..
"Ma Ma!" I squeak.
"I really don't find you funny anymore... and be careful when you are playing with him... you don't want to hurt your riblet again."
"Okay, love you!"

And I definitely love my little monk-a-moo!  He's so amazing when he smiles or laughs or contorts his face into a red blob when he poops.  There is nothing in this season I don't love.  (Although I'm sure when my wife reads this she will remind me of something... but I can live in the bliss of this day!)

Comic By Bitstrips

Saturday, March 22, 2014

First Camping Trip

Spring Break was this week and it was ever needed.  Kim had her heart set on camping and even though there was supposed to be a massive thunderstorm we decided to brave it.  We usually go to a place in Ocala National Forest, but with the storm we decided to try another place a bit closer.  Kim's mother, Grammy D flew in especially for this trip, and our friends Tim, Tina and their kids also came along.

The weather was absolutely beautiful and as soon as we stepped out into the wild, Rory immediately dropped off into a comatose of nature viewing.  Something about nature makes him so content.  I wonder if he will always feel so at ease in the magnificent creation.  I looked over at Tim who was as giddy as a monkey with a banana just out of reach.  He was spouting off all of the things the park had to offer and it all sounded amazing.  Unfortunately due to my very manly rib injury I wasn't able to do all of the things I would have liked to do, including biking and wrestling alligators but we were able to hike on the nature trails and see all kinds of wildlife.

There were alligators laying around in the sun, trying to get warm, wooden walkways over swamps, the smell of orange blossoms and delicious looking oranges that I couldn't reach. ( I tried desperately.) 

"I think it's illegal to pick an orange," Kim says.
"I'm not going to pick one," I say.  "I'm going to find one on the ground."
"Trying to knock them down, doesn't count as finding it on the ground."
"What are you saying?  I don't understand."

Having spent 5 summers living in the Wisconsin Wilderness, spending 23 hours a day outdoors, I've learned a few tricks about starting fires, cooking anything in a dutch oven, and of course playing a guitar.  All things which I ALWAYS do when I go camping and ironically seem to do better outdoors.  This time however I wasn't able to cook because leaning over the fire made the foreign object in my body that was pretending to be a bruised rib scream in outrage.  I did build a fire here and there but I let the other fire enthusiasts have their turns too.  I just relaxed a little bit with the guitar glued to my hand. 

The first night Rory slept amazingly and so did I actually.  My rib must have fell asleep because the next morning it hardly hurt at all.  Miracle!  However, Grammy D had some issues.

"Oh my gosh!" Grammy D explained.  "My air mattress deflated in the middle of the night and I swear there was a raccoon out there trying to drag me back to its den!  I couldn't stay in that tent one more second so I slept in the car."
"You did?" Kim asks confused. 
"Yes!  I just couldn't sleep on the hard ground, and you know the raccoon."
"Oh yep you did!" I say seeing that Rory's car seat has moved to the front seat from the wake of the Grammy D tornado. 
"No one puts Grammy in a cold tent!" she yells.

It was Tina's idea to start breaking the games out.  I chose Scattegories because I'm so out of the box that I always have really random answers that other people rarely have and this usually lets me win.  Here's what my answers usually looks like.

Girls Name: Pikaboo
Way to get from here to there: Portkey
Things people shout:  Chug, chug, chug
Things at the beach: chicks

And this is usually how playing Scattegories with my wife goes:

"Things at a football game: tires," I say.
"There are no tires at a football game!" Kim shouts.
"Yes there are!" I yell back, "How did people get to the game?  Cars have tires!"
"Not at the game!" Kim grits her teeth and bites into a broccoli crown, rather than my neck.
"They are in the parking lot which is at the game.  What do the rest of you think?" I ask.
"Well, I would agree that the tires are at the game," Tim says, holding back tears of laughter.
"And... I bet somewhere at the game a quarterback is throwing a football through a tire," Tina says pensively.

And that's how I always win.  Once you get one person to buy in to your totally out of the box answer, you have the game in the bag.  And let's face it.  There are always more than one creative person that will agree with you if you sell it.  The problem with my poor wife, and she is also very creative, but in completely different ways.  When it comes to her Scattegory game playing she is very black and white.  I still love her though.  I'm sure she feels the same way as I do when she forces me to play Boggle with her.  She can see every word combination in the world where I struggle to see simple word patterns.

"Remind me never to play Scattegories with Josh again!" Tim says after 12 rounds. 
Apparently, it gets old when Josh always wins. I don't know.  I never get tired of it.

The second night's sleep was harder for Rory because his teeth were bugging him and all he wanted to do was stand up and climb on things.  There really wasn't much for him to climb on because Kim nixed the fire pit and the squirrels probably would have picked him up and taken him away if he played on the trees.  All he really had was our air mattress and well he didn't really want to be in the tent the whole time.  One of the funniest things was the strange laughing games that Rory and Tim and Tina's youngest daughter E, played with each other.  Rory and E would stare at each other and then Rory would start making mouth noises which would cause E to crack up.  Then E would make noises and Rory would crack up with his dramatic long chuckles.  I don't know where the kid got all the dramatic tendencies from?  (Oh that's weird, my mind instantly shot back to the moment of Kim's hip attack when she was pregnant and couldn't move her hip.  You can refer back by clicking on the side bar to the blog titled: Hip Attack.)

Wow!  There's really nothing better than spending your day outdoors never worrying about what time it is, until you have to figure out what time it is to feed the baby... but if you can just get past that and stare at the amazing surroundings, and sing the songs around the campfire, then I don't know how you can't be blessed by being in nature with your wonderful wife, your amazing son, and great friends!  Rory's first camping trip was a fantastic success! 

Comic by Bitstrips


Monday, March 17, 2014


Rib still hurts!  Can't pick up Rory without shouting in pain!  I hate this! 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Leaving a Legacy

I did it!  I spent a night away from Rory, and nothing went wrong.  Well almost nothing. 

"It's about negative ten degrees out," I say, watching my breath float away in the breeze.  "And I forgot to pack a sweatshirt."
"I didn't pack one either," Tim says, "I feel fine.  Aren't you from Wisconsin originally?"
"Yes, but... ugh I'm going to run to Wal-Mart and get one.  I can't imagine spending all night in a tent without a sweatshirt."
"Hmmm," Tim says, "Yeah I'll come too.  Just so you aren't lonely.  Not because I'm cold at all."

"Thanks Reid for suggesting tent camping at this retreat!" I say.
"Welcome!" he grins, "but you can blame Tim.  He's like some kind of magician of extreme cold weather and you can expect either snow or some random hurricane to appear."
 Tim shrugs, "It's true."

"So..... do you think my Harley will fit in the tent with us?" Reid asks.
"I'm thinking no," Tim says. 
"It's already going to be a tight squeeze with three of us," I say.
"Darn," Reid says, "So when are you buying a motorcycle so you can come to South Dakota with us next summer?"
"I don't...."
"You're going!  Or I'm going to call your dad , Jacob!"
"Jacob?" I ask.  "Ohhh... it's a joke.  Because he thinks your name is Stu?"
"Yes, totally joking!" Reid says, "but remind me of his name again?"
I laugh, "I've been motorcycling through South Dakota twice and once by car.  Maybe I'll just meet you there."
"Yeah," Tim says, "I think I'll go by airplane."
"Sturgis is the dream," Reid whispers under his breath.  "It's the dream!"
"Hey guys!" Darren says running up with a bag of leafy seaweed chips.  "Do you guys want any?  They taste like old gym shoes.  Very good!  And uh, where am I sleeping?"
"Darren? We didn't even know you were coming," Tim says.
"Yeah, and I kind of forgot a sleeping bag," Darren says.  "Oh look there's a spot in the tent for me if I curl up against the side of that tent pole."

This weekend I went to a men's conference about leaving your legacy in this world.  I thought the speaker was great and for me specifically I felt God telling me some things I need to continue to routinely do and establish in our home.  Being a strong leader and visibly loving God is the only way to show Rory the way.  The do what I say, not as I do method has never worked for anyone ever.  Who wants a hypocrite for a dad?  I also want him to see a family system that not only works but is overflowing with love, joy and of course Parcheesi game nights! 

Will it be easy?  Probably not.  Once you make those  promises to God and then step back into the real world, those things can slip away as if they were mere memories from a dream.  I don't want to forget the way I feel right now.  I don't want the passion to know God more to go away and I want Rory to have that same passion.  I know I come up short and can never be the perfect role model, but there are things I can change and do better and that's what I have to do!  It's mandatory!  Maybe writing it here will help me to remember and sometime soon you can ask me if I'm still on track.

On a similar side note, the guys who led the worship service were a father and son, and I thought it was really cool to see both men strumming their guitars in perfect harmony praising God and I kind of had a flash forward moment.  I can picture Rory and I someday playing guitars together and singing out in worship.  (I don't know if it will be in perfect harmony since I really have no rhythm, and he might get his mother's singing voice, but I can imagine it being amazing.) 

As I sit at my desk now with a bruised rib, the memory of making it to the top of the 30 foot rock wall, and those amazing feelings I had at the camp seem to float into the back of my mind I know I need to keep them in the forefront.  Rory's so young.  He's a fresh canvas and we have so much time ahead of us to teach him everything that he needs to know about God and life.  A wise man told me to not get complacent because the time will disappear right before my eyes.  I have to do what I have to do and not screw it up!  I have the great responsibility now to make sure Rory grows up right, and dag-nabbit I'm going to do it.

Comic By Bitstrips