This year we decided to steal an idea from our lovely neighbors and only give our kids 4 gifts this year. We break the 4 gifts down into something you want, something you need, something you read, and something you wear. I like the simplicity of it. Plus, when you add in grandparent gifts and a sibling gift, Christmas is going to be just fine.
As part of this effort, last night each of our kids created a list for each of the 4 categories. It’s always fascinating to see what our kids put on the list. My favorite might have been our 6 year old who put a cheese head on the list. Last week we went to NYC for Thanksgiving week and we had a layover in Milwaukee on our way there and the kids all wanted to buy a cheese head. The funny part is that our 6 year old has no idea what it means, but he now really wants a cheese head for some reason. We’ll see if he gets it.
My favorite part of the experience was how few things my kids listed on the “need” category. It’s nice to think that most of their needs really are met and that they’re not lacking. Hopefully, they saw the same thing when we made these lists. They certainly had plenty of wants, but not many needs. That’s quite satisfying to see as a dad.
I was proud of my 6 year old son who put disc golf discs on his list of needs. It was on my needs list too.
Yesterday we were trying to figure out dinner. My wife was holding Crash Kid #4 when she sarcastically said, “I think we’re going to have a 5 course meal.”
Crash Kid #4 was having none of that (Although, it’s not clear that he knows what a 5 course meal really is). In his anger at her proposition, he said, “No…grrrr…I want a hot dog. Or Mac N Cheese.”
I can’t believe we would try and propose a 5 course meal when we could have a hot dog or Mac N Cheese. Seriously, what’s our problem?
Needless to say, we acquiesced and had Mac N Cheese for dinner. I added hamburger to take it to that next level of awesomeness. I know. We have very refined palettes. It’s tough being a father of children that are such foodies.
I was driving home with my son (Crash Kid #1) after a church event where we got to hear from a member of the 12 apostles (Elder Holland for those following along at home). It was almost 10 PM as we got home and I told my son that he’d turn into a pumpkin at 10 PM. He corrected me and said that you turned into a pumpkin at midnight, not 10. He then went on to share his feelings about Cinderella. Here’s more or less what he said:
What was Cinderella doing out so late? She had until midnight. She shouldn’t have stayed out so late and the party even went on for 3 more hours or something. (Side Note: My son usually goes to bed around 8 PM)
Glass slippers. Those weren’t very practical. Glass isn’t very strong and can’t hold much weight before it breaks. Plump Cinderella would likely break them. (Side Note: I’m not sure why he thinks Cinderella was plump. I always thought she was skinny.)
They didn’t do a good job on the prince either. He’s wearing overalls or something. Wait…you know those things that hold your pants up. Suspenders! They should have spent more time on him. Those weren’t the right style then. (Side Note: I didn’t realize he knew Cinderella period styling)
Kids can be so awesome. Tonight was awesome with my son. When he said his evening prayers he prayed “I hope we can do a night like this again.” Can you give me an “Amen!”?
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.
Crash Kid #4 just walked into my office (also my bedroom for those keeping track at home) and was laughing totally uncontrollably. I’d never seen him have such uncontrollable laughter. In fact, I can’t remember any 3 year old laughing so much that he couldn’t control himself.
It was awesome to watch, but I wondered what was so funny. I asked him why he was laughing so hard and he replied, “Momma…..She’s so Funny…” which then led to even more laughter. I guess the Crash Mom might want to consider a career in comedy.
Although, as he left the room, I realized that his laughter was so totally infectious. All I wanted to do after seeing him laugh was smile.
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.
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?”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As most of you who follow me on social media know, my wife left me (again) for Women’s Conference. I think this is the third year in a row that she’s made her annual trek to the mecca of women known as Women’s Conference. I say that only somewhat facetiously. I really love that she goes, but this year the timing was terrible since I’m planning a conference that is happening next week. Such is life. I want her to go to it and so I sucked it up and just dealt with 4 kids, my regular work, and a conference I’m organizing next week (I didn’t mention science camp the week after and then Dubai less than a week after that). Hopefully my complaining hasn’t been too distracting for my wife to enjoy Women’s Conference.
Today I finally broke down and decided we were going out. I told my kids I had a surprise Friday evening. That basically meant I had to do it. I’d been sent a gift card to go and check out the latest Chuck E. Cheese decoder glasses and so I thought what better way to celebrate with the kids while the wife is away? For about 2 hours my kids were dancing around the house talking about going to Chuck E. Cheese, playing the Chuck E. Cheese mobile game, Skate Universe, so they could rack up ticket before we even got there. I may have slipped in a game or two myself and it’s a lot of fun. Plus, we were able to get 480 tickets just from playing the game.
Of course, my favorite part was when Crash Kid #4 (2 years old) came up to me and said, “Dad, Chuck Cheez. Pizza!” I loved how excited he was and was surprised that he knew that we were going for pizza. Isn’t it amazing what kids pick up?
I’ll admit that I was a bit nervous to take 4 kids to Chuck E. Cheese on my own. I thought maybe it would be a disaster. However, after hearing Crash Kid #4 being so cute, how could I stop? Plus, I figured they had someone manning the door at Chuck E. Cheese, so what’s the worst that could happen?
We kept it simple and ordered one of their value meals with pizza, drinks and tokens. I did upgrade the pizza to the family size (might have been a mistake since I ate too much pizza) and the cinnamon bread sticks. Both might have been bad choices for my diet. The kids liked them.
As part of the value meal, each kid got a pair of decoder glasses, an instant win game, and a puzzle. Because of the decoder glasses, I didn’t give the kids any of the tokens until after we’d gotten the pizza and eaten it. Instead of eating up all of the tokens before even eating, the kids were running all over the place looking for the clues that could only be seen with the decoder glasses.
I thought it would be pretty easy and obvious to find the clues. I was wrong. It was pretty hard since there’s lights and movement going on everywhere at Chuck E. Cheese. I wish they’d shown a sample of what you were looking for at the front, because once we’d found one then we could more easily find the others. It still wasn’t easy, but it made it doable. I wonder how often they’ll switch up the clues and puzzle since now we already know the answer and locations.
The kids liked sporting the glasses. This was them right after they found the last clue (I was proud they figured out what the last clue would say before they even found it, but I made them find it anyway):
Once we’d found all the clues, each kid got 50 more tickets for doing the decoder game. I think we ended up with 900 tickets. Not bad! Each kid walked away with a couple little prizes (see pictures below):
Turns out Chuck E. Cheese was great for me do go with all the kids alone. I had a good time. They had a good time. I didn’t have to cook dinner. The perfect way to celebrate Crash Mom being gone. Although, I’m ready for her to be home. We can have fun without her, but it’s not the same.
For a couple days this week Crash Wife took off to California with the three oldest. There was no room in the inn car for Crash Kid #4 to come along. Plus, Crash Kid #4 isn’t so fun when you’re sleeping on a boat and playing at the beach. That meant I got Crash Kid #4 all to myself for a couple days.
The first day I had a sitter so I could get some work done. The second day it was just him and I working together all day. We had fun times as he wanted to constantly sit in my lap or lay on my arm (try doing a mouse with a small child laying on your arm). I even talked to him about potty training while mom was gone. No such luck.
We had lots of funny moments, but my favorite was at the end when we were going to go get some “pasta.” Crash Kid #4 told me that I needed to have a hat. He’s right. I needed to brush my hair (that’s what I call wearing a hat). As I put my hat on he told me, “I need hat.” Here’s the outcome:
The Texas Rangers hat was a little big, but I figured it was good that I teach him early the importance of the Texas Rangers. What a failure I would be as a parent if I didn’t teach him right. You might notice that my hat is a Boston Red Sox hat. That’s right. I was teaching him multiple lessons at one time. The Rangers are the best. The Red Sox are the next. Wear nothing with pin stripes. #GoodFather
I had two incidents happen the last 24 hours that made me so happy. The first one happened today. Crash Mom had just left to the dentist and so I had Crash Kid #4 (2 years old). I was getting some breakfast together when I turn around and he’s jumping up and down and waving his arms while saying “I’m dancing!” I proceeded to turn on some music to continue the dancing.
Is there anything more amazingly beautiful than the smile on a child that’s dancing?
Yesterday when Crash Mom picked me up from the airport, the kids were in the back and I guess they’d been driving her nuts (this isn’t the part that makes me happy). She told me that she’d decided to turn the music up really loud as her method of dealing with it.
As she’s telling me this story, Crash Kid #3 (5 years old) said “Dad, Turn the music up!!” I look in the rear view mirror and he and his older sister and dancing in their seats. Of course, I cranked the music up a little louder.
I guess they got the dancing bug from their dad. That makes me really happy.