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LIFE (permalink) 08.22.2014
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.
JULY 2014

KIDS (permalink) 08.21.2014
tube me mom
i've mentioned previously about alex's laid back, won't be rushed nature. i once described it to a teacher as if you recorded alex leaving the house in three different scenarios, one where he was leaving for school in the morning, another when the family was leaving for vacation and another when the house was on fire, you'd be completely unable to discern the difference between the three.

finally, after eleven years, i have found something that can make alex move with purpose: the need to urinate during his computer time. first he will stave this off as long as possible, hoping to hold the torrent in until a parent gives the 'times up' call. but in the rare moment when it can't wait he will find a good pause point in whatever he is doing then with the exacting timing of an competitive sprinter leave the blocks with an alarming start, skillfully ricocheting around corners in his driven charge to the stairs, climbing them two at a time, down the hall to the toilet. and while i'm hesitant to bring this up, i'm fearful of the physical implications of him trying to squeeze his bladder empty with the same rapidity in which he came to be standing in front of the commode. what his poor organs and vascular systems must be thinking. and i promise you, you've never seen a human wash their hands faster than this (yes, even in this hurried state, aleo belives in the import of proper hygiene). i'm telling you hummingbirds would be jealous of the fast-twitch musculature at play in the twist of the handle, the rub of the hands, and even leaning down for a pull of water straight from the nozzle (gotta stay hydrated!) and then after a quick shake and wipe on his shirt's front, he shoots through the doorway towards his start point as if fired from a magical sling shot that can flawlessly navigate corners and obstacles.

it will be curious to see alex's reaction when he hears about catheter technology. the words "home-catheterization-kit" may even make it onto alex's highly competitive and contemplated christmas list. and even after his mother explains to him how it works and how painful they are, i think you will see alex look off with deep consideration, his mind marking up its whiteboard in hopes of balancing the expense and gains of it all. and then, i wouldn't be surprised to get the catheter equivalent of rocky balboa's 'cut me mick' from our eleven year old, minecraft-obsessed son.

QUOTES, KIDS (permalink) 08.20.2014
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.

KIDS, WIFE (permalink) 08.19.2014
peanut butter spoon
the other morning in our refrigerator there was a bowl of peanut butter with a dinner spoon sticking out of it. i've learned to not question or challenge such findings. namely because i've never liked where my investigations led me.

later that morning when more people were awake and marty looked in there. she pulled the bowl of peanut butter from the fridge, and asked, seemingly to the contents of the fridge, "what's this?". she then spun and held the bowl out towards anthony who was eating breakfast and said again "what's this?".

he sheepishly replied, "a peanut butter spoon."

now this is where things get interesting, interesting in this case meaning, this is where things go drastically different than i expect them to go, which is why/how i've learned not to run down seemingly simplistic matters, because i've learned there are no simplistic matters.

marty continued, "a peanut butter spoon? a peanut butter spoon? do i need to go over again what a respectable-sized spoon of peanut butter looks like?"

she rakes the spoon through the bowl, lifts it up in example, "this! this is what a proper peanut butter spoon looks like." then showing the boy the bowl adds, "this is like, five days worth of peanut butter spoons."

she then licked the spoon, then drove the spoon back into the sticky mound and tossed the bowl back in the fridge with a conflicted mixture of disgust at the heaping glop in the bowl and the tasty dollop in her mouth which her jowls effortfully worked through.

and if you're wondering what other sorts of culinary options our children are being exposed to, it is not at all uncommon to see anthony arrive to the dinner table with a plate of ketchup, like five hamburgers-worth of ketchup by my meager estimation.

LIFE (permalink) 08.15.2014
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.
JUNE 2014

KIDS, SPORTS (permalink) 08.14.2014
double the miles, double the states, double the memories.
last year bella and i rode in missouri's ms150 charity ride. at that event bella learned that there are ms150 rides all over the nation. excitedly she said we should try to ride one in every state. always up for some time on the bike i easily agreed. i should have given an ounce more thought of who i was talking to. longish story short, bella and i are riding in not one but two rides this year. the first one is in nebraska and then a week later in kansas.

she picked those states for the relative flatness as she doesn't feel ready for a ton of miles on a ton of hills.

she picked two states because she said i won't live long enough for us to do it one state at a time. watching her do the math in front of me was most lovely. you have to love a math equation that begins with the phrase, "so dad, you are, well, well there's just no nice way to say it, you are really old so if we are going to do this we're going to have to work a little harder."

she also took my pledge sheet and hit the streets. i got in trouble last year because i didn't make my minimum pledge amount and just wrote a check out of the family account for the balance. marty was non-plussed about my pilfering cash from the family coffers. bella was non-plussed at my lack of initiative. so in gratitude to her mother for letting her take time off school for the rides and to show her decrepit father how it is done bella canvassed our neighborhood with both of our pledge sheets and collected $500 of the needed $800 in three days. i will confess she does make it look rather trivial.

so if you'd like to come cheer us on, or ride along, we'll be in nebraska the weekend of september 6th and in kansas the week of september 13th.

QUOTES (permalink) 08.13.2014
problem handled
the dinner table question of the night asked what you would do if someone kept calling your house in the middle of the night. they are definitely dialing the wrong number. you tell them this but they keep calling. i asked the table how they would handle this. as we rounded the circle people had very curteous and patient responses they'd use on the person which in their scenario would solve the problem without difficulty (dreamers). when it got to anthony, he looked up from his plate as if he had only been only half-listening and said he would say, "shut up. it's 1 in the morning in my city." and hang up.

WIFE (permalink) 08.12.2014
it was 6:27 in the morning. i was sitting at my desk writing (for you, for this). i heard marty's alarm go off twelve minutes earlier and then heard her shuffle to the bathroom. then at 6:31 i felt her hands on my shoulders. they slid down my chest as she leaned down to hug me from behind, my desk chair mildly in the way. i then turned and took my wife in, standing in nothing but a pair of cotton underwear and looking amazingly young and fit with her flat stomach (after 3 kids !!!) and tan skin. i stood up and stepped in to hug her.

you look amazing.

you're not going to want to get fresh here.

what? me? ok. why not?

i've got to go try to find the baby bunny we buried in the back yard last year.

uhh, like now?

yes. i need it for school.

is that why there is a sheet of paper on the kitchen that says BUNNY BONES?

yes. what did you think it was?

another one of your mother's recipes.

nope. for real bunny. hopefully fully decomposed somewhere in the back yard.

ladies, for the record, there are few things, and i do mean few, that can de-rail the male libido in the early morning, but i can now attest, images of your potential partner digging holes in search of a tiny rabbit carcass definitely lives somewhere on the list.

LIFE (permalink) 08.11.2014
best summer ever
last week marty's summer officially ended.


our last family act of the summer was to have a celebratory "sam-survived-cancer" (rel) dinner complete with porterhouse steaks, giant potatoes, fresh corn from sam's family farm in iowa all chased by cookies, ice cream and cup cakes. there's few things sweeter than appropriate decadence. at 9:30 (or at the end of the third hour of the dinner) and in the middle of a rich conversation about tips, tricks and lessons of growing up (mostly for bella's studious edification) but after her moving thankful about sam and diana, marty pushed her chair back, stood up and said,
as much as i hate to leave, i start work tomorrow and fear i need to get to bed if i hope to be worth anything in the morning. and i guess this also ends our best summer ever.
her final words 'best summer ever' came with oprah like fervor on free stuff day. i and the children repeated her calls of best summer ever and the kids came forward with big smiles, hugging her. en masse the group looked like a sporting team that just played their last game of the season and were ending their run together, never again to field the court in that exact complement. in many respects, this metaphor aptly describes us as we will never again enjoy a summer with a 13, 11, and 7 year old. given this magical age-set, we enjoyed a rare time together full of many things, such as:
  • marty not working (a facet of life we will never again take for granted since her return in 2012).
  • sleeping in (and it's counter-part, staying up late)
  • roller-blading (at rollercade and on our neighborhood's newly paved streets)
  • beach vacations with marty's mom and siblings (to celebrate mama nat's 80th)
  • minecraft-marathons (other marathons include xmen, star trek and x-files)
  • trampolining (a gift from our newly departed neighbors)
  • sleeping on the trampoline (a stellar marty idea and which saw a 5-night run)
  • watching blairwitch on the trampoline + sleeping the night on the trampoline (bella and i only)
  • group reading (both from books, kindle and audio)
  • monopoly (the real-one, no more of that monopoly junior bullshit - thanks to marty's brother mike)
  • eating on the porch (we've evolved to setting a table out there)
  • movie nights (one even at a drive-in, front playground included--which anthony came back soaking wet from)
  • bike rides (my biking regimen is nearly back to pre-kid form)
  • introducing my family to the great world of true, professional comedy (starting with bill cosby)
  • walking to a vp fair concert in forest park (please move it to forest park every year)
  • closeness
  • calmness
  • laughter
  • smiles
  • family
  • health
marty commented that a big difference maker this year was the kids, all of the kids, are now old enough where they can mostly run their own games and we have fully entered that next phase of parenthood where we have more mutually interactive relationships. for me, it is the last six items on the list that make for the core ingredients of great times. marty's summers-off job is what allows for great quantities of this and her working the other nine months of the year, accentuates their importance. at the start of the summer anthony asked me why i didn't get summers off like mom. i told him that mom had a special sort of job that allowed for that but that also, when mom has summer break, so do i, given that she essentially takes all of my chores on (e.g. dishes!!!) during these months and making my time equally relaxing and special. but placing an active emphasis on those bottom six is key:
  • by making attentive time for our kids.
  • by trying to run a non-frenetic home.
  • by ensuring everyone has laughed every day (tickling a human does wonders for that).
  • by breaking a funk by forcing an agitated human to smile (fart jokes and actual farts can distract young boys from a foul mood).
  • by that so often taken-for-granted human need, to know you are loved. it's one of those few, rare things you can never get enough of. so make sure you kiss and touch and wink and smile at someone you love today.
  • and possibly most importantly, by acknowledging daily that there are only two kinds of health—there is the health you have before you are told you have a life-threatening illness and there is the health you have after you are told you have a life-threatening illness—and appreciating every day you and yours spend on light-minded side of the fence (because when you are placed on the other side of the fence, it is all consuming to you and those who care about you).
so while i'm sad to be writing about the end of the best summer ever, i'm thankful to be able to healthily say we just had the "best summer ever" and look forward to trying to top it is subsequent years.

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