Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Random Thoughts? They've been in my pocket; they're real warm and soft.

Keely, the Empress of Random, is on hiatus, but many of us are still purging our randomness. There's a memorial service taking place as we blog over at Us and Them.

What's red and smells like blue paint?

The boys wormed their way into our bed pre-sunshine Saturday morning and proceeded to wake up on the wrong side of the middle of our bed with their feet firmly planted in my back. It was lovely. I couldn't handle the crying anymore (mine or theirs) so I started telling knock-knock jokes. It's like black magic! They were giggling and snorting and our prospects for a happy weekend looked much better. And since it wasn't even 6am yet, there was plenty of weekend to be had.

What's that? You want to know their favorite knock-knock joke? Well, you have to participate...
Knock Knock
Knock Knock
Knock Knock
Knock Knock
Orange ya glad I didn't say banana!!!!
That gets 'em every time!

Of course, my arsenal of knock-knock jokes is limited, so we've been repeating the same five or six lately. I could certainly find some online, but I want tried and true, field tested knock-knock jokes for the boys...I'm hoping you'll share some personal faves.

A few days ago, after a rousing level of Wii Lego Star Wars, Mini-Me was reminding me of the awesomeness of our adventure:
Dad! Remember how we got the power brick and then the tough guys kept getting us and we couldn't get away but then we did get away and then we finished the level and we unlocked that one guy, what's his name?
No! Not Frank! The green guy?
Kermit the Frog?
Noooo...the green guy who talks funny.
Ralph Nader?
Who? No, daddy...Yoda. We unlocked Yoda. That was fun, daddy. Can we keep playing Lego Star Wars even when I get older? I can live in the basement and we can play Lego Star Wars. We can play forever then. I can just always live here and we...
Oh, yeah...red paint.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Brotherly Love

Daddy! The Wubster hit me! Put him in time out, please!
Nooooooo, Wubster!!!! NOOOOO!!!
'ini-'e, noooo, is mine! MIIIIIINNNEEEE!!! ME WANT IT!!!!
hrmph *awkward shoulder sulking*...DADDY!!! The Wubster's not being nice!!! I NEVER GET TO PLAY WITH THAT TOY!!!
The boys' bickering drives me crazy some times. There's nothing abnormal about it, though. Nothing at all. When The Wubster wants to play with a toy, amazingly it just so happens to be the same toy Mini-Me wants. Of course, it doesn't matter whose toy it actually is or if it's one that hasn't been touched in months, once the bickering begins the apocolypse would be a welcome relief.

But then there are days like today when the boys show how much they truly love each other and how well they can get along. We've been struggling with The Wubster's regression and stubborn refusal to potty train and have been trying a reward system where he earns stickers each time he 'goes', which can then be exchanged for a variety of prizes.

Apparently Mini-Me's noticed and took it upon himself to help at preschool today:
Daddy! I made The Wubster a picture today. It's got twenty circles on it so he just needs to go potty and he can put the stickers right here and he can earn his prize. He can do it, daddy, I know he can. Wubster, look! I made you this picture for your potty stickers! Can I hang it in the bathroom, daddy!?! Wubster, you wanna go potty and get a sticker right now? Daddy can I have some tape? C'mon, Wubster! Daddy! He pottied! I'm giving him a sticker!
I guess they'll get along af...
NooooOOOO, Wubster!!! Don't put the sticker THERE!! DAAAAAADDDDYYYY!!! The Wubster's not putting the sticker on the circles!!!! WUBSTER!!!!
                                                      ...ter all.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

RTT: A spider, Daddy!!! A SPIDER!!!


The Wubster has become fascinated (troubled?) by bugs the past couple days after Mini-Me pointed out a number of spiders while we were playing outside over the weekend. It took an extra twenty minutes to get from the preschool doors to the van this afternoon because we had to investigate every speck on the sidewalk...

Daddy!!! Spider!!!
No, monkey...that's just a clump of mud.
'ook, daddy!!! Spider!!!
Nope...bird poop.
No, daddy...you're a poopy head.
Nice. Thanks for noticing.
'ook, daddy!!! Spider!!!
N...yep. That's a spider. Now let's get in the van before it eats us.
Eats us?!? *screams & runs to van*
(What? Wrong approach?)

Next time Mini-Me acts up I'm threatening to send him to boarding school here...of course that might be punishment for me more than him.

My dad forwarded an email today that introduced me to Terry Border's Bent Objects work...phenomenal stuff. I highly recommend you check out his blog or treat yourself to a new book. Here's a sample...

We Were Made for Each Other -- Terry Border
 ...but, seriously...assuming I'm not the last person to discover Mr. Border...we're done here, so go check out his blog.

And don't forget to visit The Un Mom to start, in the immortal words of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, gettin' random with it...na na na na na na na nana na na na na nana.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

You think you're some kind of Jedi, waving your hand around like that?

Obi-Wubster Kenobi has been quite deceptive lately...

Hey, monkey...do you have poop in your diaper?
Are you sure, monkey? Something smells a bit...off.
[Waves hand] This is not the dirty diaper you're looking for.
This is not the dirty diaper I'm looking for.
[Waves hand] He can go about his business.
You can go about your business.
[Waves hand] Here's some candy.
Here's some candy.

Doug?!? Why does The Wubster have a jumbo bag of peanut M&Ms?
[Waves hand] Your husband is amazing.
That only works on the weak-minded.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

RTT: Ain't no Random Tuesday Like and Ides of March Random Tuesday 'cause an Ides of March Random Tuesday Don't Stop!!!


The Wubster and I celebrated Ides o' March Random Tuesday by reenacting that infamous backstabbing:

The Wubster got a bit too into the role of conspirator...during dinner he convinced Mini-Me that the people of Rome wanted him to ask for more milk. When I returned to the table, I discovered that what was left of my dinner seemed to be occupying the Wubster's cheeks. That little Cassius is a wily one!

Also at dinner, Mini-Me began explaining the rules for the game he created at school today...
Okay, daddy. Do you want to hear the rules?
Rule #1 is...
Don't talk about Fight Club?
No, daddy. Rule #1 is there have to be good guys and bad guys.
Rule #2 is...
Don't feed the game after midnight?
No, daddy! Listen! Rule #2 is I get to be the good guys.
Rule #3 is...
Never, ever, ever under any circumstances say, "I'll be right back." Because you won't be back?
What? No, daddy!!! Rule #3 is that you HAVE to follow the rules.
Rule #4 is...
In those moments when you're not sure that the undead are really dead-dead, don't get all stingy with your bullets?
Sorry, dear...Umm, Mini-Me? How many rules are there?
Can we just play the game now and I'll learn as I go?

His game was totally fun and I enjoyed losing even though I was terribly distraught that he didn't find any of my rules amusing...maybe he'll like watching my new favorite Indie Film with me:

Or maybe we should stick to Star Wars and superheroes for now.

I've spent the past two days (which happen to be the first two days of my Spring Break) cuddling on the couch with Mickey (TKNTD) who's been out of sorts with a cold and now double ear infection. I never realized how exhausting holding her and watching hour upon hour of Bath Crashers, Man vs. Food, and Food Wars could be...it's almost like I spent an entire day frolicking on the beach and evening dancing at Senor Frogs...complete with foam.

I hope you all enjoy what's left of this week before March goes Mad...there's still time; there's still hope!

If you wanna get random, head over and say hi to Keely...you don't need an appointment.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Reluctantly Crouched at the Starting Line...

Earlier this week, Rach and I received emails with log-in information for our local school district's online grade book. Mini-Me's registered, but doesn't actually start kindergarten until August. That didn't stop me from logging in to check his grades.

He didn't have any.

His teacher must procrastinate grading like I do.

Actually, I logged in because it's the same system I use for my students' grades. It was weird, yet exciting, logging in from the other side. At least for me. I don't think Rach was nearly as excited about the opportunity.

Logging in to that grade book brought the beginning of our kids' public school 'careers' into reality and my mind flashed through future highlights like I was flipping through the pages of an unwritten yearbook: first days, homework, new friends, concerts, field trips, dances, graduations...

And tonight, at parent/teacher conferences, I spoke with a couple parents I've known for most of my 11-year teaching career. Each has three children, all of whom I've had the pleasure of teaching. Each is facing the end of their kids' public school 'careers'. I asked them how it felt and they expressed joy, relief, trepidation, but, mainly, disbelief--disbelief that time passed so quickly, disbelief that their 'baby' will be graduating in just a handful of weeks, disbelief that in a matter of months their house will be empty...and calm...and quiet.

As we reminisced and thanked each other for the "great memories" only biannual parent/teacher conferences can bring, I got a glimpse of my future and, though I know it will pass too quickly, I'm excited for this journey to begin...after teaching the kids how to fully enjoy a summer break, of course.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

RTT: So No One Told You Life Was Gonna Be This Way


I hope you clapped four times after reading the title...I really do. If you didn't, then, like my audience last week when I read "We've Been Bamboozled", you're proof that we are too far removed from the Friends era. That makes me sad. Not for Joey's and Chandler's sake, but for The Rembrandts, whose 15 minutes has completely fizzled.

I wanted to use "the proof is in the pudding" at some point in the previous bit of randomness in order to cross another cliche off my Bucliche List, but it didn't seem to fit after I researched it. Turns out, the whole proverb is "The proof of the pudding is in the eating" and it dates back to at least the 18th century and possibly even as far back as the 14th century. You didn't really need to know any of that, but, HEY!, this is Random Tuesday. You get what I pay for...

Has anybody out there figured out the magic potion that kids drink on the weekends to wake them up at 5 a.m. happy and raring to tackle the day? I'd like to have it on hand during the week to keep from having to pry grumbling troll Mini-Me out of bed at 6:30 a.m. It's not Chocolate Milk and Red Bull, we tried that and ended up with one kid hanging from the ceiling fan and the other stuck in the cat's litter box...not really, but it made me laugh thinking about the possibilities.

Speaking of Mini-Me and sleeping, the kid still can't go to bed in the same room as his brother without creating a bed jumping, pillow throwing, Where the Wild Things Are rumpus that wakes up Mickey (TKNTD). Thus, he falls asleep in our room and we carry him to his bed once both boys are asleep. Since the kid runs hot, that process typically involves scooping up sweaty, drenched Mini-Me. Thank goodness he sleeps on his mom's side of the bed! I wouldn't want anything to tarnish my pristine, sweat/drool-free pillowcase!

 The Wubster sang Jingle Bells to me at breakfast this morning. I thought he was ridiculing me for not having taken down the Christmas lights, yet, but we finally did that a week or so ago, so I think it's just the only song he has memorized.

On that musical note, we have a music-filled weekend coming up! Not only will I be singing the praises of Spring Break, we're taking the boys to see Dan Zanes on Saturday and then the boys will be singing with their preschool classes in church on Sunday morning. Mini-Me finally broke through his shyness when on stage earlier this year. It'll be interesting to see how The Wubster does in his first concert.

Now that Writers Week is over and I finally graded those papers I'd been sitting on for over a month, maybe I'll make time for writing more than randomness...maybe...

Check out The Un Mom's random Tuesday adventures and have your own awesomely random day as well!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

RTT: And I've..Had...the Time of My Life...


Having, actually...having the time of my life...as a writer and a teacher, at least.

It's Writers Week, a week-long celebration of writing I co-organize with the amazing Jodi D. (and the support of our incredible fellow teachers), and I'm at a loss for words to describe just how this week is evolving. Of course, that could be due to the fact that it's nearly midnight and I'm trying to squeeze out some random Tuesdayness.

Let's just say year one was incredible because it was...year one...and it proved that our students had stories to tell, they needed a forum in which to tell them, and their peers would devour every word. Year two, because we moved beyond calling in favors from local college professors and friends and brought in some nationally known writers (Buddy Wakefield, Heather Brewer) and because it gave us some jaw-dropping student presentations, was outstanding.

But year three...year three...what can I say? We're only two days in, and, holy crap, how can this get any better!?! Our student presenters have upped their game, wowing us, proving that their voices are strong, their stories powerful. And our professional writers have connected with our students on so many different levels. Even a fire evacuation caused by some hooligan attempting to light a soap dispenser on fire in a bathroom on the opposite side of the building can't stop the amazingness that is the first two days of this year's Writers Week (it pissed Jodi and I off, considerably, sure, because you want the show to run smoothly, but the image of a group of students circled around Chris Crutcher in the parking lot discussing writing will be one of my all-time favorite memories as a teacher).

The past two days I've had my own fantastic opportunities to spend considerable time listening to and discussing writing with Chris Crutcher, Dave Cullen, and Antony John (amongst others). In doing so, I've learned so much about writing and publishing, and have found personal inspiration as a writer. Most importantly, though, I've watched our students...especially our writers...soak in the words of these authors and ask brilliant questions. I've watched their passion for writing swell. I've watched them realize they have stories to share, and I'm excited for them. I'm excited for you, dearest readers...because, as singer/songwriter Leslie Sanazaro told our students: "You are the future writers. You are the next generation of voices."

As for my participation in Writers Week (beyond organizing, that is), I shared my first post on this blog (a piece written shortly after our first Writers Week), and one of my December Writing Challenge posts (which has now marked me as the guy who writes about poop...but I'm cool with that.)