Monday, November 21, 2011

Dear Poltergeist Toys,

I've checked historical records and the house wasn't built on a Native American toy burial ground. I've checked your switches and they're off. I called Egon Spangler and he couldn't find any ectoplasm.

I'm not sure how or why you've been tormenting us with your random electronic squeals, but I will say we know you're here and we don't want to play.

Don't make me call Sam and Dean Winchester.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Welcome Home

After watching the videos I recorded for them, the kiddos decided to make some of their own. Here's a sampling of what awaited my return...

video

Friday, November 18, 2011

Dear Mini-Me, Wubster, and Mickey,

I miss you guys. Even when I called and heard the screech-filled chaos reverberating throughout the background, I missed you guys.

I miss the random one-liners, the imaginative adventures, the joyful exuberance. I even miss the dinnertime drama, the sibling taunting, and the glass shattering shrieks...a little.

Mickey, I miss your snuggles.
Wubster, I miss your smile.
Mini-Me, I miss watching you paint.

Today I had the chance to chat with Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld, authors/illustrators of several of the books we've enjoyed reading at bedtime. I thanked them for their contributions to our family, but mostly I talked about how much I enjoyed reading with you guys. Mini-Me, I told them you've started reading on your own and how proud of you I am. Wubster, I told them how you can spell your name and several colors. Mickey, I told them it won't be long and you'll be reading, too. I thanked them again and walked away excited to have met them and excited to read some new books with you three.

But mostly I walked away and thought about how I was going to miss reading with you tonight.

I certainly hope you've enjoyed the story-time videos I recorded before I left, but I hope you're as excited as I am to snuggle up together with a few books when I get home on Sunday.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dearest Inspiration,

Some days you escape me. 

Today it seems you've sneaked out the window with your pal, Motivation.

Seated on the couch in the dark, I'll be waiting up for your return.

I won't yell or scream, send you to your room or ground you for weeks.

I'll embrace you and ask you never to leave again.

I'll put you right to work, but all the while, you'll be looking for another way out.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Sirens' Song

Dear Scissors, Gum, and Permanent Markers,

Please stop...

Just stop being so tantalizing to Mini-Me.

The "fireworks" are finally fading from our kitchen table and Mini-Me's hair survived what could have been an ugly battle fairly unscathed tonight.

I'm watching you three...don't give him any more crazy ideas.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

We've Reached an Impasse

Dear Stubbornness,




We're not getting anywhere anytime soon.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dear Pet Crate,

It's not bad parenting if they want to sleep in there, right?*

*No children actually slept in the crate after the making of this picture

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Olly Olly Oxen Free

Dear Shin Guard,

Look, I know Mini-Me hasn't taken good care of you lately, leaving you strewn about in the kitchen or abandoned in the back of the van. I know you want to be tucked warmly, safely, securely into his cubby. I know because we're more alike than you realize.

Umm...no, I don't have to spend hours inside Mini-Me's sweaty socks. What's that? Oh, no, I don't suffer the abuse of five-year-old soccer players' wayward kicks. Yeah, no...you're right. We're nothing alike...'cause I know where I am. Yeah, that's right. How's that feel!?!

No...I don't feel good about that. I'm sorry. It's just that searching for you right before each game is driving me so crazy I think I can actually have conversations with you.

I know you're around the house somewhere. Probably in an incredibly obvious spot that I've looked at three-hundred times in all my searches. I know Mini-Me needs to learn to take responsibility for his belongings and he should be the one looking for you, but he has a tendency to put on his super-tunnel-vision-goggles anytime I ask him to help search...they only allow him to see (and get distracted by) what's not helpful.

I won't give up hope, shin guard. Your twin is safe in the cubby already. I know you're out there. I will find you. I will win.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

I've Got a Bad Feeling About This...

Dear Mini-Me and The Wubster,

I had a blast playing Star Wars with you tonight with the action figures. First and foremost, thank you for letting me be Jango Fett. He's got a cool helmet and a jet pack...I'm proud of your willingness to share. Speaking of, Mini-Me, your willingness to share Captain Rex with The Wubster impressed me as well. You guys both did a great job of sharing tonight.

As we played, I'm sure you noticed my skillfully created weaponry sounds, deftly switching from rapid-fire lasers to concussive photon blasts to booming bazookas. Don't worry, boys. One day, I'll share the secrets of these skills, but for now, just rest assured that my arsenal's got your backs when we're surrounded by droidekas!

Of course, the best part of tonight's adventure was the victory dance party. Wubster, having Captain Rex perform the Cabbage Patch topped my clone trooper Hammer Dance, but Mini-Me, you really knocked it out of the park when your clone trooper brought out the confetti canon. Our celebration was better than anything those Ewoks could ever throw!

Sleep tight tonight, we've got missions to complete tomorrow.

Friday, November 11, 2011

It's Time to Start the Music

Dear Jim Henson,

The boys saw a preview for The Muppets tonight and were thrilled at the prospect of going to see the film. I'm thrilled at the prospect of sharing your legacy with them. The Muppet Show, The Great Muppet Caper, and The Muppets Take Manhattan shaped my childhood as much as Star Wars.

Thank you for sharing your passion and imagination with us!

P.S. My college friend Dave has an amazing project to count down the days to the film's release. I'm sure you'd approve!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Believing is Seeing

Dear St. Louis Cardinals,

For the majority of my childhood, my family lived in the Dallas suburbs. Once I started truly paying attention to sports I was in high school (early 90s) and the Cowboys were on the verge of a run of Super Bowl dominance, the Stars arrived to teach me about hockey, and the Rangers built a new mecca where I spent much of the Summer before college. The Texas teams were MY teams.

Despite all the cheering in and for Texas, though, I harbored a Cardinals Connection. My maternal relatives lived in the St. Louis area which meant annual visits to the Gateway City, my dad grew up in Missouri, cheering on Stan Musial, and during my 6th and 7th grade years we lived in the St. Louis suburbs.

I faintly remember early trips to Texas Rangers games in what seemed to be the all-aluminum stadium prior to The Ballpark in Arlington. In those years, I remember cheering on Nolan Ryan, Jose Canseco, Rafael Palmiero, Kevin Brown, and Pudge Rodriquez. While my first major league game was probably in Texas, my clearest early memories of attending major league baseball games are of Busch Stadium and the Cardinals, of meeting Todd Worrell during a 6th grade field trip to a local hospital (his wife had just had a baby), of watching Ozzie Smith, Vince Coleman, Willie McGee, Tom Brunansky, and John Tudor.

When we lived in Missouri during my middle school years, I spent most of my time hanging out with Johnny and Jay, brothers who lived at the opposite end of our street. We were inseparable; spending our days playing G.I. Joe, M.A.S.K., or Transformers, exploring the creek that ran alongside our street, skateboarding (for transportation more than Gleaming any Cubes), and cutting a hole in my fence to make it easier to go to Dairy Queen for Full Meal Deals and Altered Beast.

At some point in our adventures, my dad took us to Busch Stadium to see the Cardinals play. I don't recall the opponent, the snacks, the weather, or the final score, but what I'll always remember are the souvenirs. Johnny, Jay, and I each got a red and white Cardinals batting glove that day. We wore those gloves home. We wore them the next day. We wore them most of the rest of the summer. We became "The Red Glove Club."

I recently found a photo of the three of us wearing our gloves, arms around each others shoulders, legs kicking, Rockettes style. We were quite the trio. The glove itself is in storage in the basement, but every time I run across it, I can't help but smile.

As the 2011 baseball season drew to a close, I watched excitedly as the Rangers finished out another great season and I nervously peeked through my fingers to watch you claw your way back from 10.5 games out to claim the NL Wild Card spot.

I cringed after the Rangers' first game against Tampa Bay, but was relieved to see them resume form and win the series easily. Watching you play the Phillies, I was a bundle of nerves on the edge of my couch until the final out of Carpenter's Game 5 gem to claim a spot in the NLCS.

I bet my sister-in-law's Michigan-born boyfriend a case of beer that the Rangers would beat the Tigers and I whooped and hollered with each game-winning home run by Nelson Cruz.Watching you play the Brewers, I was a bundle of nerves wrapped in a blanket of anxiety on the edge of my couch until you guys trounced the Brew-crew in game 6 to claim a spot in the World Series.

As my childhood dream came true and you and the Rangers were scheduled to meet in the World Series, it clearly became a win-win situation for me. I was going to be happy no matter who won, right? With the first pitch of Game 1, though, it was obvious my loyalties are entirely with you.

Watching you play the offensive powerhouse, 1st-to-3rd prodigy, destiny-guided Rangers, I was a bundle of nerves wrapped in a blanket of anxiety surrounded by the buzz of adrenaline on the edge of my couch. The series quickly developed into the best roller coaster I've ever ridden, peaking with your epic come-from-behind win on the shoulders of David Freese in Game 6. I've never been, nor have I seen Rach, as excited as after that 11th-inning home run.

To cap off the childhood dream, your Game 6 victory meant spending a crisp, October Friday night at Game 7 of the World Series in Busch Stadium, the field where Mini-Me, The Wubster, and Mickey [TKNTD] all experienced their first baseball games. It meant experiencing history with my dad, the man who took me to my first baseball game and the man without whom there would be no "Red Glove Club". It turned out to be a glorious night, boys, and a glorious end to a dream come true.

Thank you for teaching us about perseverance, hope, and tenacity this season.

Thank you for the nerves, anxiety, and adrenaline.

Thank you for memories I'll share with my kids as we enjoy Cardinals games next year and beyond.

Thank you for being my team.

Yours truly,

D

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dear Parenthood,

Despite the craziness that comes with super-stimulated dinnertime meltdowns and hyperenergetic "diapershield" battles* and overtired bedtime breakdowns and general kid tantrums, I can't thank you enough for providing me with soundbites like this:

Wubster: "Daddy, if the fire alarm goes off, when the fire alarm goes off, we have to, we cover our ears, an' we have to leave, we, it's loud, we cover our ears, an' we have to go outside, an' the 'larms light up, an' it's loud, an' there's a fire, an' we have to line up an' go outside, an' our teachers say 'go outside', an' we cover our ears an' we go outside, an' the firemans come, an' the lights go off, an' we can't hear the 'larms outside, but the firemans can, an' they go inside, an' they fix the building, they fix the hole in the building from the fire, an' then we can go back in."

Or this:

"Wubster, if there was a guy with a gun and he was going to shoot us, I would stop him and I would kick the gun away and I would save you. I would save you, Wubster. I would save all of us, but I would really save you, Wubster, because I love you."
"Thank you for wuving me, Mini-Me."





* The boys have decided immense fun can be had carrying around packs of Mickey's diapers as shields and attacking me with them.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Month of Letters

Dear November,

If you haven't noticed, I decided to use you and your NaBloPoMo (sister to NaNoWriMo) challenge to write some letters.

As you approached, I realized I hadn't been taking full advantage of my knowledge of English, Qwerty keyboards, and Internet-based publishing technology. I also hadn't properly thanked the important nouns in my life.

November...you are one of my important nouns. You mean so much to me in this moment. Heck. I'm even thankful for you.

I hope you don't mind me saying so, November, but right now...at 3:05 p.m. on Tuesday, November 8, 2011...I think you're pretty special. Even when you're gloomy and damp like the past couple days.

Actually, November, I was so surprised to see you when you showed up on my doorstep the other morning. It's hard to fathom that it's been nearly a year since we last spent time together. After you didn't call me back I moved on. But, alas, time flies as time is wont to do, and we should make the most of your visit.

Just one request, November...keep your pants on this time.

Yours truly,

Doug

Monday, November 7, 2011

Running with Wild Things

Dear Mickey (TKNTD),

You're doing quite well keeping up with your brothers whether it be running, climbing, spinning, walking backwards, swinging foam-noodle light-sabers, driving 'baby cars', throwing balls, destroying Lego creations, or leaving 'stuff' strewn all about the house.

You're also quite helpful when it comes to supervising activities. Mrs. Donna raves about your helpfulness during diaper changing duties for the other kids and at home you always make sure mommy and I practice our one-armed cleaning, cooking, and living techniques. You love to be right in the middle of all that goes on and with the amount of activity in our house, there's plenty of middle for you to dive into!

Your mom and I were super impressed, although it shouldn't have been a big surprise, when you started demanding to sit on the potty like your big brothers recently. I guess we were most impressed that you actually started using it (and washing your hands after) before you were even 18-months-old. Your brothers still need to work on that!

You impress us every day with your energy, excitement, and enthusiasm. We can't wait to see what you'll do next!

Love you tons,

Dad


Sunday, November 6, 2011

GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!

Dear Mini-Me,

I'm so proud of you for playing so well during your first indoor soccer game today. I asked you before the game to try your best and to work on being more aggressive, attacking the ball instead of being so polite about sharing the ball with the other team like in outdoor.

You did a fantastic job. You got right in the middle of a number of scrums. You cleared the ball when it was in your end. You weren't afraid to fight for the ball along the wall. You ran hard.

As a reward for all your effort, you even scored your first goal ever!

Your mom, Grandma Barb, and Grandpa Mike said it was fantastic...I didn't actually see you score. I was busy looking down because I couldn't believe your team had just kicked the ball into an opponents face for the third time in the game. Apparently you took the rebound off his face and, finding everyone distracted like me, buried it into the back of the net.

I hope you're as proud of yourself as we are of you.

Great job, buddy!

Love,

Dad

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ode to Exhaustion

Dear Exhaustion,

Autumnal sun rises amidst the fog,
Whispers of winter wait in the shadows.
Three children stir and then so does the dog.
The clock khhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhijjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii


Friday, November 4, 2011

Who's That Girl?

Dear Girl Next Next Door,

Mini-Me is infatuated with you. It's cool that you two have started playing. He talks about you all the time. You're two years older and, thus, are wiser in the ways of the world. You're a take-charge kind of gal...some might say, bossy.

Mini-Me likes you a lot. You like frogs a lot. How long did you say you kept the one you caught from your friend's pool? I'm sorry to hear your mom made you release it back into the wild. Yes, it is fascinating to know that it will bury itself in mud to survive the winter. No, no, I believe your mom...I don't need to go look it up on the Internet. No you can't wade in our koi pond. His name's Eddie. No, we don't take him out of the pond and hold him. Please get out of the water.

As I was saying, Mini-Me likes you a lot. You're welcome to hang out in our yard any time we're home. I just hope you're not just using him for the swing set.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Tight Knit Relationship?

Dearest Hat and Glove,

You don't know how much it means to me that we are reunited.

Hat, I thought I'd lost you forever. I was heartbroken and, yet, we'd only just met.

Glove, I didn't know you were gone until I was spiraling into despair over Hat. When I reached into Coat's pocket and found your mate, I was angry because I didn't find Hat. When I reached into Coat's other pocket and found nothing, I was angry because I didn't find Hat. Then I realized you were gone, too, and I immediately refocused on my search for Hat.

What?

You're the one who jumped out of Coat's pocket, plus you never really kept my hand warm anyway.

Hat, though? Marvelous Hat? Hat who keeps my head so toasty warm in FallWinter's crisp air? I mourned his loss. I scoured the house. I tore apart the van. I called in the National Guard. I cursed. I wept.

After minutes of searching I gave up and sat down to drown my sorrow in grading. As I pulled my stack of papers out of Backpack I caught a glimpse of a wicked smile. Hat jumped into my arms and our sweet, sweet reunion warmed my scalp.

Glove, I was okay with never seeing you again. It was quite the surprise, then, when I looked down as I dodged rain drops while dashing across the parking lot this afternoon and there you were, drenched, dark, dejected, delirious. I scooped you up and tossed  you on the floorboard of the van. You owe me.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Missing Socks

Dearest Washer/Dryer Set,

All these years you've been blamed for stealing socks and you sat idly by in the dark recesses of the house, absorbing the abuse, never complaining, even though you knew you were innocent.

I'm sorry for slinging accusations.

Tonight I found two more socks in the back yard. I know you didn't put them there.

The evidence made this an open & don't touch case, what with the missing socks discovered compressed and encased in poop.

That couldn't have been you...only a Golden Retriever (or two) could be so diabolical.

If there's anything I can do to make up for this misunderstanding, please let me know.

I have some unmatched socks I'd be willing to feed you.

Much appreciation,

Doug

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Many Apblogogies

Dear Noisy Little Adventures,

It's not you, it's me.

I know I've left you alone for too long...
I know the pain has been unbearable at times...
I know my excuses will fall flat.

But you know how the kids are...

And, well, um...there's other writing, too.
It's not prettier than you...please stop crying.
It's just writing I have to do...I didn't want to.
Please believe me when I tell you the lesson planning and grading means nothing to me compared to you.

I'm sorry.

And I'm here now...if you're willing to welcome me back.
Will you let me caress your pages, again?