Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

Lauren did her thing and made very cool treats.
I did my thing, using some special effects, I made it look like we were grilling children.

And the kids did their thing, looking cute in their family themed costumes. Max was Boba Fett, Wyatt was Jango Fett and Jackson was Hobo Fett.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Autumn is my favorite time of year. The crisp air, falling leaves, Halloween, Thanksgiving, back to school, Football season, Sam Adams Octoberfest on the shelves, new TV shows, the list goes on and on. This year I thought I was going to be able to add Soccer to the list of good things about Fall.

This Fall was the first Fall where our family was involved in Soccer. Both Maxfield and Wyatt joined soccer teams this year with mixed results.

Max did not play last year because he was still healing from his broken Femur so he was a bit behind the abilities and knowledge of the other players in his 6 and 7 year old league. A few games into the season the nature of the game finally clicked with him and he did pretty well. He loved to play goalie and actually played that position for at least a quarter of every game. The last day of the season, during a tournament game, he let up two goals. His emotions got the best of him, his eyes filled with tears as he declared at the top of his lungs "I am the worst goalie ever." My heart broke. Soccer is not being added to my list of Fall favorites yet.

Wyatt's approach to Soccer was to show up at games and watch from the sidelines. Wyatt would join his team at half time to eat Orange slices and then go back to sitting out the rest of the game. He refused to play in half of his games and getting him dressed and out the door became a 45 minute chore every Saturday morning. Soccer is not being added to my list of why I love fall.

Although without Soccer there would not be Soccer babies, who are so darn cute.

Also without Soccer there would not be Soccer Mom's who are so damn hot.

Funny story:

Dick's Sporting Good's was one of the sponsors of Max's league. Each child received a water bottle with the Dick's logo (as you can see in the picture). Every Saturday morning Lauren and I would get the kids dressed for the games, pack various snacks and lunches, and load up the van to spend the day at the fields. One morning I was in the living room getting Wyatt dressed and Lauren was filling the various water bottles for the kids and some for us. I could hear her getting frustrated as she kept banging something on the counter.

"What's wrong?" I called out into the kitchen as I was struggling with Wyatt, attempting to put on his shin pads.

"Nothing." she said in a tone that I could tell she was gritting her teeth. She banged something against the counter.

"Are you sure?"

"Arrrgh." Lauren growled in frustration. " I am having such a hard time with this Dick's top."

After five minutes of me trying to compose myself Wyatt finally asked, "Daddy, what is so funny?"

This is our annual fall photo. This was much easier to take than last year's photo.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Where the Wild Things Are

Maurice Sendak's book Where the Wild Things Are starts with the sentence "The night Max wore his wolf suit he made mischief ...."

The night before I brought my son Maxfield home from the hospital (two days after he was born) I brought home a knit cap that Max had worn so that our dog, Luna, could smell it and get an idea of what was going to happen in our house. Max was going to make mischief.

Three years before that, in late October of 2001, Lauren and I decided to get a dog. I was in my early 30s and Lauren, well, she was younger than that. We went to the local SPCA and as fate would have it we picked out a German Shepherd Chow Chow mix that was classified as an unknown runaway. We did not really decide on her, but she decided on us.

She had a weird look. Her teeth were gnarly (not in a Surfer dude "hey that wave is really gnarly" kind of way, but in the way that her teeth pointed in very odd directions for her mouth kind of way) and her overall appearance was somewhat ugly. The people at the SPCA could only tell us she was a recent stray that seemed well trained but had no home. They figured she was a runaway. I had visions of her being a dog of someone who lost their life on 9/11. Maybe the dog had escaped her home and found her way to the Philadelphia area. She was not pretty, but she was beautiful. Ugly beautiful. Beautifully ugly.

Lauren and I decided to call her Luna, which is Spanish or Italian or Greek or something, meaning the moon. She looked something like a wolf, and wolves howl at the moon. The name was fitting.

I never had a dog. Luna was my first.

In Maurice Sendak's book Where the Wild Things Are there is a picture of all of the monsters looking up at the moon. It is right after Max declares that the wild rumpus should start.

In June of 2006 I brought home from the hospital, a day or so after Wyatt, our second son, was born, a knit cap, for Luna to smell. She licked at the cap with her big purple tongue ( purple a genetic trait of her being a Chow, or of her being a Wild Thing) and she pawed at it with her large over sized feet and front paws with long dark terrible nails.

Luna's coloring was all over the place. Sometimes she looked brown, other times she looked striped. One of the monsters from Maurice Sendak's book Where the Wild Things Are looked the same way.

In early January of 2009, I brought home a knit cap from the hospital. Our youngest son, Jackson was born and I wanted to make sure that Max and Wyatt and definitely Luna had a chance to smell what was coming home in the next day or so. Max and Wyatt did not sniff at the hat, but Luna, Luna inhaled the scents.

In the book Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are, Max decides he is going home. The Wild Things protest and tell him "We'll eat you up-we love you so."

Our dog Luna has been with us in -paraphrased Maurice Sendak's words- "through night and day, in and out of weeks and almost over a (decade). "

Due to circumstances beyond our control , we had to put Luna down this evening. She was (I hope) at peace, Lauren and I holding her and petting her as the vet administered the shots that would take away her pain. Luna is now Where the Wild Things Are, chasing rabbits and eating treats.

I am sad, Luna was my first and only dog. Lauren is even more sad than I am. But we are adults and have had Luna in our lives for the past ten years. We can handle it.

But even worse than our feelings, is the fact that on Friday 10/22/10 Maxfield will have his first day in his entire life ( 6 years and 7 odd months) without his dog. Max knows this and he has cried about this. Wyatt will experience his first day in his 4 years and 4 months of life without his dog. Jackson, who is only 3 month shy of turning two , will have his first day without Luna.

We know she is Where the Wild Things Are. We love her so. Let the wild rumpus start.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Greatest Dad

I was the greatest, bestest dad in the whole entire world. On Wednesday October 6th I told Maxfield and Wyatt that the new, latest and greatest season premiere of Ben 10 Ultimate Alien would be airing for the first time on that coming Sunday October 10th. I had seen a few advertisements for what was going to be a marathon of Ben 10 episodes on 10/10/10. I smiled at how awesome the marketing was to premiere the new season on that very date. I smiled even bigger when Max and Wyatt did happy dances and started to ask questions.

"When Dad?"


"What time?"

"I am not sure."


"On Sunday. You see Sunday is October tenth. October is the tenth month, Sunday is the tenth day and the year is 2010. So the date is 10-10-10 to show Ben 10. Get it?"

"We can't wait for Sunday. Yeah. We can't wait for Sunday. Yeah. We can't wait for Sunday Yeah. We can't wait for Sunday. Yeah."

"I can't wait for Sunday. Yeah. I can't wait for Sunday...."

I was the best dad ever. I think I reached the highest rating ever onthe NASDAQ (National Association of Super Dad Awesomeness Qualifier) charts.

I did a little research online and discovered that Cartoon Network was going to be running several hours of previous Ben 10 shows culminating in the newest never before seen episode at 10 AM. 10-10-10-10. Could you make a premiere time any more perfect? I also read online that they were doing something special at the NY Comic Book Convention. It all made sense. I told the boys about the extra 10.

On Thursday October 7th Lauren and I agreed to let Max and Wyatt's best buddy, G, sleep over on that coming Saturday, so they could all watch the new Ben 10 together. More happy dances.

"G is sleeping over. Yeah. G is sleeping over. Yeah. G is sleeping over. Yeah."

Still the best dad. My NASDAQ rating split and then shot through the roof.

On Friday October 8th I perfected and tested my Candy Corn Pancakes recipe. The boys loved them. I told them I would be making them again on 10-10-10 day for the Ben 10 sleep over marathon. No happy dances but my best dad in the whole world rating was clearly unmatched.

Saturday October 9th was blur of soccer games, food shopping, house work, chores and other activities that were all done with smiles and whistles. G came over. The boys ate pizza and played and watched a movie. They were excited to wake up and spend the morning in their pajamas and eat sugary breakfast and snacks and watch Ben 10. Life did not get any better than that for a kid.

I was enjoying my spot at the top of the father charts. It was like I could do no wrong. Life did not get much better than that for a dad.

The next morning I woke up and turned on the TV to Cartoon Network. Ben 10 was not on. I checked the Verizon Fios guide and saw that Ben 10 was not scheduled to come on for any time in the morning. I felt a sense of dread overcome me but shook it off knowing that sometimes the cable guides are wrong. I went to the computer and did some quick Google searches. I found the pages that I read about the Ben 10 Marathon and the times of the shows. I read them again. Yup 10 AM on 10-10-10 is the time. I checked the local TV listings and saw that Ben 10 was not airing in our area until later that afternoon. I thought that it was odd that I had conflicting reports. I went back to the websites I had just read and scrutinized the pages. The dread returned. I had been reading some news articles from some Asia Pacific sources. Apparently Ben 10 is a huge hit in Fiji and Malaysia. The only problem was I did not live in Fiji or Malaysia.

I eventually gathered the boys in the kitchen hoping the smell of melting Candy Corn would soften the blow of the bad news. I explained to them that Ben 10 would be coming on.

"But how come?" They asked.

"I messed up the times." I said.

"But it is 10-10-10. It has to be on."

"It is not coming on until 7 o clock tonight." I explained.

"But how did you mess up?"

I could see the tears of disappointment starting to form in their eyes at the same time I felt my worlds greatest dad status start to plummet. The news was devastating. The kids looked as though I had punched them in the gut. They looked as if their favorite pet had just died. No they looked even worse. They looked as if, as if I , as if I had just told them that Ben 10 would not be on.

I screwed up. My kids were sad. I felt horrible. I did what any father would have done in this situation. I lied.

"Well I did not really mess up. It was the cable company. They messed it up. I called them and they are going to try and fix it but I don't think they will get it to work in time. Here, have some candy corn."

The best dad market crashed that day.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


It is rare for Lauren and I to go food shopping together. Usually one of us goes to the grocery store while the other stays home with the kids. Every so often though, we go to the Giant Food Store that has the child care play area, drop off the kids and Lauren and I make a date out of food shopping.

We try to make the best of the 90 minutes of free babysitting that the grocery store provides by shopping together, making food choices together, and every so often holding hands while in the canned goods sections. But my favorite part of grocery shopping with my wife is that we try to make each other laugh. Sometimes, during the day to day business of being a family we forget to try make each the other laugh, but not in the food store. The comedy potential is abundant at the grocery store.

I don't know when or how it started but it may have been back in the spring. Lauren from across the produce section held up two cantaloupes in front of her chest and yelled, "Bill, what do you think of these melons?"

The looks from the people around us was awesome. I, of course, burst out laughing.

The rest of that shopping trip became a duel to see who could get the better reaction from the other people shopping. Now whenever we get the chance to food shop together we make it a point to see if we can get a reaction, not only from each other, but also of those around us.

"Hey Lauren, what kind of nuts do you like? In bulk or already in a sack?"

"Bill, I got crabs!"

"Lauren? How do you want the sausage?"

"Bill, get the presliced cheese. I hate it when you cut the cheese at home."

Last week, Lauren and I split up in the store to get the shopping done a bit quicker. I was in the main front aisle, pushing the cart towards where we were going to meet up when she popped out from around the corner of an aisle 4 rows down. Lauren held up a jar a peanut butter.

"I already got some." I hollered to her. I picked up the jar of peanut butter in the cart and held it up for her to see.

She turned to put the jar in her hand back on a shelf. I could see the smirk start to form on her face when she turned back to me, held the jar up in the air and yelled.

"Did you get the big one? You know how I like the big one."

Sunday, October 10, 2010

...feeling like a fool

Sunday, 10/10/10. Phillies playoff game on tonight. Philadelphia Eagles on tonight. Mad Men almost season finale on tonight. And of course this is all the same night (10/10/10) that there is a Ben 10 marathon and new episode of the Ben 10 Ultimate Alien airing.


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Middle Child Syndrome Medicine.

Wyatt has been going through a phase (I hope its a phase) that whenever he is upset or disappointed he starts spouting off with "I NEVER..." Sometimes I get his frustration and where he is coming from.

"I NEVER get to sit on that spot on the couch."
"I NEVER get to be Batman on the Wii."
"I Never get to go to first grade birthday parties."

Sometimes I don't get where he is coming from and I chalk it up to Middle Child Syndrome.

"I NEVER get to turn off the TV."
"I NEVER get to go to the bathroom first."
"I NEVER get to open the refrigerator door."

Ridiculous things like that.

Wyatt is the middle child. He does not get as much attention as Max does ,due to school work and activities. Nor does he get as much attention as Jackson, who is not yet 2 and needs help with almost everything.

Every now and then I need to remind Wyatt that he is special and that he does get special treatment every so often.

At the end of our Little League season (back in June) one of our coaches, Lee, suggested we have a pizza party at the local firehouse. The coach is one of the chiefs at the fire department and thought the kids would get a kick out of seeing the trucks up close. While we setting up the party Max and I were invited to go for a ride on one of the engine trucks. We of course said yes. We sat in the back and ooh and ahhed like little kids (Max id a little kid) the entire ride.

The pizza party was a huge success. Towards the end of the party the Chief Lee heard me tell Max not to tell Wyatt that we went for a ride on one of the trucks.

"Wyatt will be upset that he did not get to go." I explained to Chief Lee.

"Well, I will make sure that I take Wyatt another time." Lee responded. "When would be a good time?"

"Actually Wyatt's birthday is tomorrow, what are the chances I could bring him by tomorrow?"

Lee, being the good guy that he is, smiled and said. "How about I bring the engine to your house?"

On Wyatt's fourth birthday a fire engine pulled up in front of our house. Chief Lee asked Wyatt if he wanted a ride. Wyatt of course said yes. Chief Lee took Wyatt around the neighborhood with the lights flashing and the siren blaring.

Every now and then, when Wyatt starts with his "I NEVERS", I show him these pictures and I tell him that Max and Jackson never had a fire engine show up for their birthdays.

A ride in a fire engine is definitely good medicine for Middle Child Syndrome.

Sunday, October 03, 2010


This morning I ran my first official 5 K race/run. I say official because I actually wore one of the number things on my shirt. The proceeds from the run benefit Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and Ryan and Jack fighting back. If you feel so inclined go to their website and donate.

This was the first year they held the race so the turn out was somewhat small in comparison to other runs I have attended. But this was the first race I have ever entered and although I was disappointed with my time I did place first in my age group which was Blue Eyed Men Born Between May and July 1970. That's right the rest of the dudes in that category ate my dust.

I pushed myself pretty hard during the race and then when I finished I ate my body weight in soft pretzels and Dunkin Donut Munchkins.