Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Night In The Life

I got home from work at the usual time, more or less, and I got changed out of work clothes. The weather was 48 degrees and drizzly, which is actually a step better than most of the month. Thursday is a running day. I gave the boys a choice: run before dinner and have more play time after, or run after and have less.

We ran before dinner. Cool thing? They ran with hero costumes on, Batman and Superman. Little Bear was Superman, of course. He had a rough run - he said his legs were tired from the beginning, which made it harder on all three of us. Eventually, he got the idea that we weren't interested in listening to him complain, so he stopped. (I might have encouraged him that complaining had negative consequences.)

We had a nice dinner, and they put their plates in the dishwasher. I cleaned the kitchen while 1&2 practiced. Afterwards, I played superheroes and bad guys with The Baby: I was Red Skull to his dinosaur. He would roar at me, and I would spin backwards, out of control. We "fought" for a while, and Little Bear joined in to defeat the villain (me).

I dueled Little Bear in Yugioh afterwards, and he got very upset when I beat him. He said, "Daddy, I dueled my hardest, and you still won!" I showed him how he should have used the cards and beaten me, and I'm sure he will next time.

The boys entertained themselves for a while (highlighted by The Baby building a recognizable house out of duplos), allowing me to straighten up a bit. Then, Mom left for choir practice, and I bathed the kids. We watched this week's Flash episode, and The Baby fell asleep. I read "The Matzoh Ball Fairy" to the bigger ones, then they went to sleep.

I did some chorus work, interrupted only by The Boy, who had snuck out of his room to play with Legos in the play room. I shuffled him back to bed, then did some pictures work after my chorus work was done. Then, off to bed once The Wife got home.

A wonderful, plain, boring evening at home.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Chocolate Sunday

Sunday morning, I was feeling a bit under the weather, so I slept in and didn't exercise. Side note: as I'm getting older, and reading the things I'm reading, I'm really trying to pay careful attention to what's going on inside me, and to give myself a break when I really need it. At age 40, sometimes my body doesn't want to exercise 6 mornings a week, and I need to be patient with myself. I don't want to make a habit of it, but there is only so much willpower that one can use in a given day, and I knew later that day would be difficult.

We went to breakfast with Grandpa like usual, but we ate at the Eat N Park in Squirrel Hill instead of the one near our house, at Little Bear's choice. I dropped things 1 & 2 off at Sunday school, and The Baby and I went to the JCC, as was our custom. We did make a quick stop at Home Depot first, though, so were a shade later getting there than we usually are.

He doesn't like to climb as much as his brothers did at that age. He likes to run, and he really likes to play ball. We sat and rolled the ball and threw the ball back and forth. The best game was just me rolling the ball down a foam ramp to him. He laughed almost every time he caught it.

We left the JCC and went home to rest for a little while. I turned on a TV show and napped for a half hour while he watched the shows. After lunch and some cleaning around the house, we went to a birthday party. One of the boys' friends - a girl, B - has twin sisters that were turning 1. We went to Klavon's Ice Cream Parlor, which happens to be around a tenth mile from my office. Sigh. So much for getting away. The Baby and I met the rest of the family there.

The boys had spent a couple of hours at the end of preschool at the "Chocolate Seder." The Seder is the special meal/ceremony at the start of Passover where they retell the Passover story, drink ceremonial wine, etc. This day had the whole Seder thing, but with chocolate and candy. They drank glasses of chocolate milk (the cups of wine), had tootsie rolls instead of the lamb shank, chocolate eggs instead of the hard boiled egg, etc. so, basically, they spent two hours eating candy before heading to the ice cream parlor.

Did I mention the milk shoots right through my kids, to disastrous digestive results?

So, they arrive, already soaring from a sugar high and with upset stomachs from too much candy. They proceed to behave badly for an hour or so, until we got sick enough of them to go home. They didn't eat any ice cream, but at least they hung out with B for a while.

Grandma and Grandpa invited us over for dinner, so we sent them the children and stayed home. I cleared out my Hulu queue while The Wife messed around on the computer. We had leftovers - while not as yummy, I needed the rest.

The Boy started with the diarrhea as soon as he got home and spent most of the next hour running back and forth to the bathroom. The others got settled, and The Wife and I went to bed nice and early. At 12:30, Little Bear came in: "Daddy, I threw up in my bed."


Readers, you know that a little bit of puke is not a big deal. The Wife took him and cleaned him up, rinsed his mouth, and settled him down. I changed the bedding, started a load of laundry, and put new sheets on the bed. Still, it can be tough to settle down.

Stomachs were fine by the morning. Still not thrilled with the idea of the chocolate Seder, though I did love the ice cream I ate.

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Monday, March 23, 2015

You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown

Busy weekend:

Friday night, the preschool classes (and recent alumni) sang the first few songs at the Friday night Shabbat service. It was very cute. Little Bear escorted The Baby up to the bima (altar), and The Boy sat with his friend, M, and sang with her up in front. We kind of had a late, late dinner afterwards, but the post-services snacks, combined with the pre-service stuff they had for the kids, served as a meal.

Saturday morning, I took the boys to run at Minadeo for the Saturday marathon run. We had a bit of an issue: The Boy got mad when Little Bear didn't want to run right with him, so he wound up taking a time out for a couple of laps. After the run (mile 24), we went to Home Depot and the farmer's market before lunchtime. Little Bear went to a birthday party, and I took 1 & 3 to the library to play, read books, and play chess. On the way out, we saw an awesome thing: a poster for a free performance of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, at a local college. The rest of the day was spent working outside.

The show was perfectly pleasant: a small drama club at Chatham College, an all-women's college nearby. The cast was all-female except for Snoopy. Because the genders were switched, they had to make some musical choices that were a little questionable. They made it work, mostly. We were most interested in the three or four new songs that we hadn't heard or remembered!

The Baby fell asleep right before the show started and woke up in time for the last two songs. The other two were paying close attention for the most part, although Little Bear was a bit squirrelly.

The highlight of the show had to be the actor who played Sally. Poor thing just couldn't find the rhythm - she was trying so hard but just couldn't get there. Like, the rest of the cast was snapping on 2&4, but she was on 1&3 and missing that some times. We applauded the effort.

The boys said hello the the actors after the show, which was nice for them. The Boy, in particular, said nice things, individually, to each cast member he met.

We got home close to 9:30, which was very late. Sunday deserves its own entry, so that'll be for tomorrow.

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Friday, March 20, 2015

Stream of Consciousness

really do enjoy listening to my children play games together. When The Boy and Little Bear play Yugioh together, it's very cute. It's also very illuminating as to the nature of the game and their natures.

They play by the rules, somewhat modified to suit their mood at the time. Most of the time, they keep some sort of score - but they don't remember to take points off all the time. The math is correct - it's adding and subtracting two digit numbers (with two zeroes at the end - 2000 minus 1800, for instance, and take that bit and subtract it from the 8000 life points) - but the point isn't necessarily to reduce your brother's life points to zero. It's to crush the other person, to make it so they can't do anything except get their butt kicked by the opponents cards.

"Conan! What is best in life?"


Tonight was a reunion of sorts for the boys: current students at the Rodef preschool and recent alumni students sang the first few songs at temple services. It was a neat event to get some people to come to a normal Friday night that don't normally come to Friday night, particularly since it came with cookies and fruit. The boys got dressed in their finest little suits and sang ferociously. It was very cute.

The Boy has been growing his hair out long, which is really kind of cool. It's at a shaggy length so far - not long like Austin from Home Free, more like a flamboyant conductor. With his glasses, it gives him a bit of a young John Lennon feel. I dig it.

At bedtime, the older two put themselves to bed, and The Boy made up a superhero story to tell his brother. That was kind of cool. I was proud of him.


The Boy has decided that he wants to take a shower in the morning instead of a bath at night. I'm cool with that. It'll certainly make it easier to comb the anime out of his hair. This morning was the first morning he did, and I walked him through how to turn the water on, get the temperature right, then turn the shower on in his bathroom.

While it's great that he can start to do it by himself, I'm disappointed in losing the cute three men in a tub that we used to have.

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Monday, March 16, 2015

Beautiful Afternoon

This afternoon, the kids stayed in the park after getting off the bus in the afternoon. It was a beautiful day, starting at 36 degrees upon waking and getting to 67 degrees after lunch. The park was full after school hours, and we saw a few friends that we haven't seen since the winter drove everyone into their homes.

After dinner, the boys and I went for a jog around our neighborhood. I had plotted a course that was right around a mile, and we three ran our marathon mile together. It was really nice: not only was the temperature perfect for a run, but people were out on their porches and front yards. Even the local fire house was open, airing out a winter's worth of smells and letting the fire truck hang outside for a while.

Running outside, particularly in Pittsburgh, is much harder than running inside. Our neighborhood is really hilly, and Little Bear ran out of gas a little more than halfway through. He does a great job (particularly for a five year old) on the flat, and he just needs to get his sea legs under him. It's a lot more rewarding to run outside, particularly for curious little boys.

The Boy did a great job of practicing after the run, teaching himself some third position shifting on one of his songs. I'm really proud of him, as it's farther along than I ever got. He's turning into a great little musician.

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Games Played

After being gone for a few days, things picked up as normal. I got to my in-laws' house at about 12:30, and we enjoyed a nice lunch with Uncle C, who was in town for a bit. The kids and I cleaned up a bit before leaving, which would be a nice habit for us to get into, and got home so that Mom could nap for an hour. I turned on Yu-Gi-Oh! and got a ten minute catnap.

Side note: I've become a little too caffeinated lately. I need to cut back. I'll work on it.

After watching two episodes, I bounced the kids from the house to go outside. The Boy made up stories while sitting on the porch. Little Bear rode his bike up and down our hill. The Baby ride his big wheel down and around the curve, where he found a big pile of icey snow. He, Little Bear, and I spent about fifteen minutes kicking the snow because it was fun.

The Wife was home around then, and she banished The Boy from the porch. He came down and all four of us played a rousing game of tag. It was a lot of fun because they played so nicely with The Baby; since everybody kind of wanted to be “It,” nobody ran too hard. Eventually, The Baby just decided that he was going to keep tagging everybody regardless of whether or not he was “It,” which was fine with us.

The Boy eventually got a scooter with which to play, and the other boys and I played monkey in the middle using The Baby's bounce ball - you know, the thing with the handle that you sit on and bounce. It's bigger than a kickball. It was a lot of fun: I would bounce the ball off of the monkey's head, and we all did a good job of keeping the game competitive.

Before I knew it, about three hours had passed and it was about ready for dinner time. Little Bear and I dueled once, then we ate, and we dueled again. He's starting to figure out that he needs to be imaginative with how he plays his cards to succeed against me, which is the point.

He was very proud, earlier in the day, to explain his strategies to Uncle C, who is a game player. Hopefully they'll be kindred spirits like that.

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Sleepy time

Today, I'm leaving for Greensburg for a few days for my chorus retreat. We're bringing in a friend of the chorus from Denver to work with us for three days and really kick off contest season with a bang.

This, of course, provides some difficulties for the family. Thankfully, we have a wonderful and supportive set of grandparents living nearby, and the boys are so comfortable with them that they can, relatively seamlessly, fit in their life for a weekend. It's still a lot of work, but as the kids get older, it gets easier. I mean, there aren't any more diapers to change, right?

However, being without half of the parental team for three days and two nights is challenging. Thankfully, my family is ready and able to support me.


We've finished the first rehearsal, and it was wonderful. I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to sleep tonight, without little bodies draped all over the place. I mean, not getting kicked by little feet all night long... That's just weird, man.

Although, when little hands reach out for you in sleep, just to touch your arm; when little bodies snuggle into you, for warmth and protection; you can't help but to sigh a bit, settle yourself carefully and just sleep. It's comforting to me as an adult, much less to the little people.

I do miss them, and I think and talk about them regularly. Like, when I call for a pitch: "play a D, like The Boy." Soon enough.

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