Competition Daddy Blog

Crash Kids IKEA Soft Toy Designs

It seems that my kids have plenty of my wife in them. They absolutely adore designing just about anything. So, when IKEA announced a plush toy design contest, my kids were all in. I’m not sure how the contest works completely, but it looks like it’s based on people’s votes. So, here are each of their designs and a link to vote for them if you like their design (or even if you don’t and just want to help them win). You can vote every day if you’re bored like that. Voting ends on 11/22.

Vote for Crash Kid #1’s Animal named The Kingikea-plush-toy-crash-kid-1

Vote for Crash Kid #2’s Animal named Daisy Dodoikea-plush-toy-crash-kid-2

Vote for Crash Kid #3’s Animal named Arnoldikea-plush-toy-crash-kid-3

I imagine it’s just my skewed father eyes, but I’d actually love to see all of these as stuffed animals. They’d all be pretty fun to have.

Crazy Ideas Daddy Blog

Surprising Your Children – The Reveal

This year my wife and I decided to surprise our children with a trampoline. We were lucky that are friends wanted to get rid of there trampoline and so we just had to go and get it. Since we decided to make it a surprise, we had to get it and store it across the street at our friends house until Christmas.

In order to make it happen, one afternoon while 2 of the Crash Kids were at school we had Crash Kid #1 watch Crash Kid #4. Crash Kid #4 asked us where we were going and the Crash Wife said, “We’re going to do some service at our friend’s house.” Well, it worked.

As you read in my last post, we were in New York for 2 weeks for Christmas. So, we had some other friends put the trampoline back together while we were away so it would be there and ready as a nice surprise for the kids.

I’ll tell you. It was a nice surprise. The kids saw it through the window and got so excited.

Today Crash Kid #1 asked us how we were able to surprise them. We told him that we’d gone to get the trampoline when we said we were going to do some service at our friend’s house (Technically we were serving our children, so it wasn’t even a lie!).

When Crash Kid #1 heard about this he responded, “I thought it looked suspicious. You don’t go and do service in the middle of the day on Tuesday. It’s not like it was Saturday.”

He then added, “I was OK though, because I got a snack while you were gone. I got me a Snickers and I was happy that you left.”

I guess we need to have lessons on service and snacking.

Daddy Blog Dancing From the Mouths of Crash Kids

From the Mouths of Crash Kids

The Crash Kids were on something last night and just kept saying funny things. So, I decided to capture some of them and make a post about them so you could enjoy them as well (at least I hope you laugh at them like I did). Sometimes it’s the small things with kids.

Crash Kid #3 was bouncing literally off the couch yesterday night when I asked what his sister was doing on the computer. He replied, “She’s updating my awesome dance moves on my special blog.” Note: He was dancing while saying this. He actually had some good hip action.

Then, he said, “She’s computering on the computer.”

A short time after this he was walking up the stairs to bed when I told him that I loved him. He responded, “Never say I love you or else I’ll beast you up.” I don’t know about you, but I’d loved to be beasted up.

When I went to say prayers and good night to Crash Kid #1, he told me that “Failures is how you become famous.” Besides the poor grammar, it took me a second to process what he meant. Then, I replied that “That’s true. My first website failed, it only made $200.” Crash Kid #1 replied, “How’s that a failure?” I replied, “I can’t live off $200.” He replied, “I can.”

Looks like we still need to teach him how much it costs to live. Although I still love that $200 seems like a ton of money to him. Also, in case you’re wondering, he did clarify that what he meant was that many successful people had failures before they became successful. He then reeled off a slew of stories about Michael Jordan getting kicked off his high school basketball team and a whole bunch of other successful people. I told him that it was great that he’d learned that failure doesn’t preclude success, but is part of success.

I love the Crash Kids.

Dad Instincts Daddy Blog Holiday Stories

Letting Kids Be Who They Are

This summer Crash Kid #1 attended his first camp. Since he’s only 11 years old I attended with him. We had a great time, but before we went to the camp he had to decide which merit badges to take. As he looked through the list he started picking merit badges like leatherworks, metalworks, art, photography, and chess. As he was working through the list he got to horsemanship (my favorite merit badge by far) and he quickly said, “Oh no. I’m not doing that.”

At first my heart was a little broken that he didn’t want to do the best merit badge out there. I love horses. They scare me a bit, but I love them. They’re so powerful and so extraordinary. My gut reaction to him immediately discarding horsemanship was to try and convince him to change his mind. After I took a deep breathe I decided that this was his scout camp and not mine. As I thought about it more, I was proud of my choice to let him be who he wants to be.

That’s not to say that on occasion we shouldn’t expose kids to new things, but sometimes it’s clear that kids have an affinity to some things over others. Of course, I was shocked when later they had a special horseback riding excursion that two of the other boys were doing. I asked Crash Kid #1 if he wanted to go with them or not. I was shocked when he said he did want to go with them. To be honest, I wasn’t that excited since it’s basically follow the butt in front of you horseback riding. However, there was no way I was going to say no when he said he was interested.

I saw this same principle reinforced when Curtis started planning his birthday party. Yes, his birthday was in April, but we’d been traveling so much we didn’t get to it until many months later. Regardless, Crash Kid #1 started going into full on party planning mode. He’s totally addicted to planning and creating things. A party was the perfect place for him to invent new games, plan variations on other games, and fully decorate our home for a minion birthday party including a box of shame (which all the kids loved!).

While I’d rather gouge my eyes out with a sharp object than do all this party planning, Crash Kid #1 was in his element. I think he enjoyed planning the party more than the party itself. Once again I was reminded of my need to let him be who he was and enjoy the things he liked. That’s not always easy as a parent.

Of course, as I was thinking about these incidents and Crash Kid #1’s love of art, inventing and creating, I came across this image:
Kids and Art

Dad Instincts Proud or Scared Tech Kids

The Hijacked Cell Phone – Proud or Scared Series

I decided I should start a series of blog posts I call Proud of Scared. In this series of posts (which I’ll do as incidents occur) I’ll highlight those times as a parent when you’re torn between being proud of your child or scared. In these situations you’re proud of their smarts, intelligence, creativity, or abilities, but you’re also scared as you enter a new stage in your child’s development. Sometimes you’re scared of the new stage and sometimes your scared of what this new talent will mean in the future. You get the idea?

Now for my first entry in the Proud or Scared series.

I took Crash Kid #1 and #3 to the park while I was playing ultimate frisbee on Saturday. While there I let Crash Kid #1 access my phone so he could play some games in the shade while I was playing ultimate frisbee. During one of my waters breaks I discovered that Crash Kid #1 had sent a few texts to Crash Mom in my absence. Here’s the content of the texts (as sent by Crash Kid #1):

Me: We are thinking of leaving soon would you like anything from Mcdonalds?
Crash Wife: Im good. I just had some leftover pizza. The kids would probably like chicken nuggets though
Me: Crash Kid #1 wants a banana strawberry smoothie should I get it for him?
Crash Wife: It’s up to you.
Me: I’m gonna play 1 more point and then I’ll be back at home
Crash Wife: Ok.
Me: Crash Kid #1 is annoying me so much about going to bounce U
Crash Wife: He is obsessed. Im not even sure it is open in saturdays
Me: Now Crash Kid #3 is following him and doing it as well
Me: STOP!!!
Crash Wife: Ahhh!
Me: I know
Me: Lol…that was all Crash Kid #1
Me: Pretty creative
Crash Wife: That is funny. What a little stinker

There you go. Should I be proud of his creativity or scared?

Being Sick Daddy Blog

Do Child Injuries Come in Threes?

How cute is Crash Kid #2? Even with a shiner she’s cute. Yes, that’s a nice black eye she has there. I asked her where she got it and she said she got it trying to do a back flip on the neighbor’s trampoline. While I love that we have a number of little Ninja Warriors in our family, it doesn’t come without its issues.

Of course, many parents would really be upset with their kid for getting a black eye. Personally, I was pretty proud of her. She didn’t complain about it at all. She was actually quite proud. If she’d complained, maybe I’d feel different. However, since she was cool about it, I was excited she was living the life of a child.

I know the feeling as a parent to want to lock your child in a padded room where nothing can hurt them. There’s no feeling in life worse than seeing your child in pain. I hate it and everything about it. However, I’m also learning that many of the best lessons in life come with a little bit of pain. Sometimes it’s physical like a black eye and sometimes its emotional. I’m happy to put off the emotional for a bit. However, Crash Kid #1 is about to start middle school, so it might not be much longer.

Yesterday we went to a trampoline gym called Gravady which also incorporated some foam pits and some Ninja Warrior obstacles. It was a bit of a drive from Henderson, but was pretty awesome. I can’t tell you how excited I was to get across some of those obstacles. It was also amazing watching Crash Kid #1 do the slack line and Crash Kid #4 fearlessly dive into the foam bit over and over again. Crash Kid #3 was all about the dodge ball. Considering how many people were playing dodgeball, it’s amazing he didn’t get trampled.

Our time was up and we were getting ready to leave and two injuries happened. Curtis sprained his ankle and Alessia landed on the mat next to the tramp and did something to her knee. I guess that’s what we get for trying to play a few extra minutes on our way out. Hopefully injuries come in threes and we’re done with injuries for now.

Crazy Ideas Family Mormon

America Ninja Warrior Meets the Scriptures

Today as we were driving home from the waterpark, my wife and I were talking about what we should do for Family Home Evening (FHE). For those not familiar with FHE, every Monday we get together as a family and have a lesson, read scriptures, sing songs, have activities and dessert. It’s not always pretty, but my kids love it. That’s why I can say that every Monday we get together. Ok, we’re not perfect even with our kids wanting to do it. Travel and other things get in the way, but long story short we think there’s value in holding regular FHE and we do so regularly.

As we’re driving back, we were making sure we had something planned for FHE. Otherwise, we’d have a car full of upset children. As we’re thinking about what to do, my daughter says “America Ninja Warrior’s on tonight. We have to watch it.” Seriously, how cool is my daughter?

I thought it was a great idea and the perfect activity for FHE. My wife didn’t look at me in utter disgust, so the FHE activity was planned: America Ninja Warrior. As we drove home, I told the kids that we could watch America Ninja Warrior for FHE, but that first we had to have a lesson.

Right then and there I started proposing which prophets from the scriptures were America Ninja Warriors. I might have stretched Samuel the Lamanite’s “climb” up the wall a little bit to meet the criteria, but scaling a wall and arrows not being able to hit you felt pretty America Nina Warrior like to me.

Nephi certainly felt like an America Ninja Warrior since he was large in stature. I suggested possibly Abinadi and Ammon, but Crash Kid #1 suggested that they were just fighting and not actually ninja warriors. He was right. He also didn’t like Daniel and the Lions Den since it wasn’t like Daniel had to wrestle the lions or something. I asked him what he thought about Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego. They were thrown in the fire and survived. That felt pretty America Ninja Warrior like to me.

Finally, I saved Captain Moroni to finish them off. He climbed up on tower after tower with the Title of Liberty in his hands and held it up for everyone to see. He probably used the stairs or a ladder to get up the tower as opposed to a warped wall, but he’s still a Ninja Warrior in my book.

Not the most traditional lesson, but the kids seemed to enjoy it.

America Ninja Warrior Side Note: The weatherman looked good tonight. I think there are probably 10-20 people that could go all the way this year. It will be interesting to see which ones get hung up on something tricky and don’t make it to the final rounds.

P.S. If you’re not a mormon and don’t know some of these stories, you can request a free Book of Mormon and you can read the stories as well.

Daddy Blog Food Single Dad Video Games

#SuperDad at Chuck E. Cheese’s

For Father’s Day, my wife decided to leave town for about a week. Wasn’t that generous of her? She left 4 beautiful angel children with me for a whole week. Crash Wife is so generous! I feel so lucky to have her make such sacrifices for me.

As you may remember, when the wife is away I go to Chuck E. Cheese’s. I really didn’t plan to make it a tradition when I wrote that post, but it seems like I’ve now officially made it a tradition. I won’t be surprised if the next time that crash wife goes out of town the crash kids ask me, “When are we going to Chuck E. Cheese’s?”
Crash Kid 2 and Chuck E Cheese
The good part is that Chuck E. Cheese’s is fine even with 4 kids. They have the person manning the door and so you can relax and enjoy the time together while the kids run all over.

Chuck E. Cheese’s sent me a Father’s Day pass to be able to go and get some free pizza, drinks and tokens. Plus, they gave me a challenge to teach my kids a lesson in skeeball and basketball. Ok, that’s not how they phrased it. They asked for us to go and have fun competing with our kids. Anyone who knows me understands that I’m hyper competitive and there’s only one person in the world where I don’t mind losing: Crash Wife. I’ll take it easy on the Crash Kids and I’ll make sure they have a good time, but I’ll also make sure I win. It’s just who I am and how I’m made.
Skeeball High Five at Chuck E Cheese
See what I mean in the picture above? He certainly seems like he’s happy (even if I just smoked him in a game of skeeball). My favorite game though has to be the basketball shoot out. Luckily Crash Tennessee Aunt wasn’t there or I’d get smoked by her, but she was no where to be seen. However, I have to admit that Crash Kid #1 is starting to catch up with me. I’m sure a few years down the road he’ll read this post and laugh as he challenges me to a game of something. I figure I’ll just retire by that point.
Beating Crash Kid 1 at Basketball at Chuck E Cheese
I also loved playing Skeeball with Crash Kid #4. It’s so funny watching a 2 year old play skeeball. He can’t score any points since he can’t roll the ball hard enough to get up the ramp into the scoring area so our ticket collection suffers. However, he also gets a bunch of free rolls since half of his rolls don’t make it all the way up the ramp either and roll right back down to him. He has a great time even if it pulls at my heart to not score points on each ball. At least he’s cute doing it.
Barely Big Enough to Play Skeeball at Chuck E Cheese's
While the games were fun, I couldn’t help but let out a big belly laugh when Crash Kid #1 said the following as we were leaving, “I just have to say, that pizza was great!” In fact, he’s been raving about the delicious cheese pizza at Chuck E. Cheese’s ever since. This coming from the kid who doesn’t like to eat anything.
Crash Kid 1 and Chuck E Cheese's Pizza
As part of Father’s Day, Chuck E. Cheese’s is giving dads a chance to win tickets to the 2015 Big Ball Game in Cincinnati (You know the one that can’t be mentioned). All you have to do to enter is to share images and stories about what you love most about being a dad using the hashtag #SuperDad. Plus, I think they’re giving away some free guest passes to Chuck E. Cheese’s as well. Here’s my entry with a picture of Crash Kid #3 making new friends that I tweeted out today.

What a great day with the kids! I even was a real Super Dad since I let Crash Kid #4 bring one of his friends with us as well. Nothing quite like being the cool dad who takes your kids’ friends fun places.

Child Dates

Heading to Science Camp

I’m about 6 hours into an 8 hour bus ride with a bunch of fifth graders. I can definitively answer that I’m smarter than a fifth grader.

To be honest, they really haven’t been that bad. However, I don’t like travelling at all and so 8 hours in a bus of any kind would not fit on my category of fun.

Of course, it’s all worth it since it’s for my son. He’s having a good time and that’s what matters. It’s interesting to watch the interactions on 5th graders. There’s a wide maturity level gap between most of the kids.

Well, here goes. Someone emailed me to have fun on my “vacation”.  I’m not sure I’d classify this as vacation. At least not how I’d plan a vacation on the California shore. However,  we’ll make the most of it and have as much fun as possible.


Dad Instincts Holiday Stories In-Laws

Second Christmas is Awesome!

This year we made the great decision to fly across the country to spend Christmas with my in-laws in upstate NY. The great part is that we avoided any major snowfalls and for a large portion of our trip it was colder in Las Vegas than it was in New York. I’ll consider that a serious answer to prayer.

We had a great time enjoying all the Christmas traditions that my wife grew up doing. I was glad we did it since we’d never had a chance to do it before and I’m not sure how long my in-laws will be there for us to do it in the future.

Since we were traveling across country with 4 kids, we decided to leave all our family presents at home and just let Santa and the crash grandparents give gifts in New York. Luckily we flew Southwest and had 2 free checked bags per person (yes, that meant we could have 12 checked bags). We ended up only using 8 checked bags, but that was still far more than we’re used to taking. A year and a half ago we “moved” to Hawaii for a month and only checked 2 bags for the entire month (aren’t we awesome?). Turns out that Christmas gifts and snow clothes and gear takes up a lot more space.

We had a great Christmas gift opening extravaganza in New York since the crash grandparents went a little lot overboard on the gift giving. It’s hardly something to complain about since it’s a really kind thing for them to be so generous. Plus, our kids didn’t seem to mind too much either. Who am I kidding? They loved it.

With that said, I was especially excited to have our “Second Christmas” at home. I think my excitement for the second Christmas mostly came from the one time I visited my grandparents as a kid and my parents did the same thing for me. If I remember right, I got a recorder at my grandparents house. However, I remember the wild anticipation of my siblings and I as my parents got our second Christmas ready. I was hoping to create a similar memory for our kids.

Since we flew in late, we decided to do our second Christmas similar to a normal Christmas day when the kids woke up to Christmas. Here’s a look at the spread (sorry it’s not in better focus, but I was tired when I took it).
Second Christmas
It felt just like Christmas morning back at our house even though it was January 2nd. It was awesome to see the kids excitement two times in one year. However, it wasn’t the tree or presents above that got the best reaction. Just off to the right of the above picture was what caught the kids eyes the most:
Huge Stuffed Animal Christmas
Yes, those are some big huge massive stuffed animals. They’re literally bigger than our children. When I saw them, I knew they’d make for a great Christmas morning. I was definitely not disappointed. How can you really argue with a pink unicorn that big? We’re going to have tons of stories with these animals I can already tell. I’ve been told, for example, that the boa has choked out the pink unicorn, but that story is unverified.

You might also notice in both pictures is a really massive box. The day of our second Christmas, Crash Kid #1 had mentioned about how the size of some of the boxes indicated a good present. He’ll learn over time that the most expensive things come in small packages, but he’s not there yet (thankfully!). With this idea in mind, I decided to give him the biggest box we had for Christmas. Not just any box of course. It was the biggest box and as you can see it’s pretty large. You could probably fit one of the stuffed animals in it. Plus, we loaded this big box full of all the other boxes we’d received (Thanks Amazon).

In case you’re not sure you’re reading this right, Yes, I gave my son a box full of boxes for Christmas! Aren’t I sweet? Some of you might be wondering about my choice of gifts. Lest you think that my dad instincts are out of whack, guess what the first gift Crash Kid #1 started to play with after opening his gifts was? That’s right…the boxes!

Everyone always said that the kids loved the paper and boxes more than the gifts themselves. I just cut to the chase and made the gifts the boxes straightway. You can be sure if he disobeys you’ll hear this echoing through our house, “You better obey or I’m going to take those boxes away.” Have you ever seen how attached kids are to their box creations? It’s a powerful thing.

We closed out the second Christmas with our traditional swim through the wrapping paper and a lovely blueberry muffin breakfast with bacon, eggs and grape juice.

Man I loved my second Christmas!