Put on your warm boots…

This morning we were going through our new morning routine which includes all of the family walking 1.25 miles with me to school and leaving at 7:30 AM so that we can arrive 5-10 minutes early when I had an interesting exchange with the two year old, John Caleb.

Of course there are a number of difficulties with a routine like this: prime among them is getting all the boys out of bed, dressed, fed, into their snowsuits, boots, gloves, and hats along with the occasional diaper change.  Keep in mind that the boys are ages 7, 4, and 2. It is dark and cold this time of year.

This morning there was a rash of boys wanting to wear their lightweight summer boots instead of their heavy warm winter boots. John Caleb, the two year old, in particular wanted to wear his smaller boots and was wearing them in the foyer waiting for the door to be opened so he could begin the journey to school

I said to him, “John Caleb, you need to put on your other boots.”


I started walking towards him, “John Caleb, those boots are too cold for winter.”

He said, “No.  I want these boots,” and started backing away from me, avoiding eye contact.

He was not far away so I reached him in a couple steps. I picked him up by the midsection and started pulling off his boots.

Rather intensely, he said, “No. No. No. I want THOSE boots!” and pointed to them as I held them together and dropped them to the floor. I set him down facing me and put his winter boots in the proper donning position with the right and left boots aligned so that the feet can slide in properly.

He stood there and looked at me.  I was at eye level with him. He pointed over at the uninsulated boots.  “No. I want those boots.” He stomped on the ground and frowned at me.

I put my hands on his shoulders to stabilize him so he could balance on his left foot to insert his right foot.  He looked down at the boots, grabbed my arms, lifted up his left foot, and leaned to the right.

“Okay.” He said, then he put pointed his toe and put his foot into the boot.

Then he added, “But next time, I’m goin’ to be angry.”

Time to Get out of the Cabin!

In the winter, it’s easy to eat too much, get fat, argue, get depressed, and spend too  much money.  So it’s important to go outside, so you can be thoroughly miserable.IMG_0263

It’s even better to go outside with the family and take a long walk down into the wind until they get to the freezing cold beach, where there’s no escaping the wind, so they learn to appreciate how warm it is inside and hopefully get along better.  At least that’s what I thought when Holly decided it was time to go outside and enjoy the beach on Sunday afternoon. 


Unfortunately, the little guys have such nice snowsuits and such an eager positive outlook that they don’t seem to realize how nasty the weather is often.  Nobody knows where they got that…  Even when it’s cold and miserable, they still squat down on the ground or lie down, etc., they play in the water (with their boots only), they run up and down the streets.  Frankly, they’re kind of unstoppable even in the winter.


One thing the boys did that you can see here in the photo is they decided to build a wall to hold back the tide.  You can see them in the photo above each working on a separate part of the wall, which is about three inches tall.  I suppose there will be some time in the future when I’ll teach them about tidal forces, water, wind, etc.


John Caleb wasn’t miserable at all.  He just think’s it’s normal to head out on a windy cold day when everyone else is inside and go play at the beach.  And of course Luke was happy to be playing a game with his older brother that he could fully participate in–holding back the tide with the dirt wall. 


After playing outside, we got some salad, rice, and fresh baked bread from home and went to the annual Presbyterian business meeting/potluck and had a wonderful time with the people there.  All of our salad and bread was eaten and some of the rice made it home again.

Life is good.

GoDaddy dot com

I saw this video today from www.Godaddy.com, the company that I host my domain at, and really thought it was funny.  It requires a bit of bandwidth. To be honest, it’s a bit out on the edge, as far as parodies go.  It’s making fun of the 3rd circuit court’s decision to nix the fine CBS got for the Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction a few years back.  Perhaps I should not leave it up.

Let me know if you think it’s funny, or just inappropriate.  If you want you can skip along to about half way through the video and save some time.

Here’s a link, incase the video does not imbed.


I thought it was pretty funny.

So, maybe I’m not the best Father…

The other day, I came home from school and the boys were just going at each other and wouldn’t stop.  Mark kept climbing on Luke, or taking his stuff, Luke kept wanting Mark’s stuff, and John kept wanting to be held, the house was a mess, Holly was trying to make supper and Elisabet was helping her with something.  After about the fifth time of telling Mark to leave Luke alone, or sending him to his room for a few minutes of time-out, I had a long talk with him.

He didn’t seem to be getting it.  So I explained how lame it is to be squished and have his toy taken out of his hand by showing him what it felt like, not in a mean way, but just using enough weight and strength as needed.

He agreed he didn’t like it at all and that he didn’t need to keep doing that to Luke all the time if he really did like his younger brother.

By then, the pasta was done and John Caleb was still crying out loud all the time, as I hadn’t been holding him, so I asked Holly to switch seats with me so I could feed him:

IMG_0022She often feeds him at a slower rate than I do when she’s feeding him with a spoon,  waiting until he signals with a long, loud series of wails, that he needs some more food, and I was in no mood to listen to all that through the meal.  Since  he needs a different meal than pasta, I grabbed some of his home-made split pea soup from the fridge.  Holly offered to heat it up on the stove, but by then I was ready to sit down and have some peace and quiet.

So I took the cold split pea soup for John Caleb and a nice hot plate of pasta for myself and a small spoon with an empty plate for John Caleb and sat down at my place to eat in the chair that is right next to the high chair.

  I served him up a spoonful but he didn’t seem to like it really well, and just barely choked it down.  The rest of the meal was going pretty well, so by the time he was ready for another bite, I was there with another spoonful of cold split pea soup.  He just looked at me questioningly and kind of half heartedly opened his mouth part-way, so I inserted what I could before he turned away then I ate some more spaghetti.  He swallowed what he could then looked back at me with an imploring look.  Holly said, “I think he’s trying to tell you something.  See that look on his face?”

Being a confident male in no need of further direction on how to feed a baby, I ignored her.

This time, when I went to feed him, he frowned and turned away.  So, being the larger one, I put my hand on the top of his head, turned it toward me, and pushed his lower jaw down with the spoon and inserted the food.  Holly piped up right away, “I think he was trying to say he’s not really hungry for cold soup.”

IMG_0002 Then he banged his hands around until he his plate was on the way to the floor, then he banged around with his hands until the spoons were on the floor too.  So, seeing that he was more interested in throwing things on the floor than eating, I picked up the things for him throw on the floor again and ate some more pasta.  The next time, the stuff went off the high chair on Luke’s side so he squirted down onto the floor to pick them up. John Caleb did not look happy.

This went on for a good 15 minutes or so, during which time, I tried to pretend all was well, and Holly tried to pretend that it was all pretty normal too.  Finally, after about 20 minutes of the loud racket and clamor of plates and spoons hitting the floor: CLANG, BANG,CRASH, CLATTTER!

He was getting pretty good at getting them of his tray on the first attempt, and I was just about at my wits end.  I asked Elisabet, “Do the babies do this in Spain too?”  she laughed softly and said, “Yes.  Sort of.”

Holly said, “I think he didn’t like the cold soup.”

I had to agree, so I picked him up out of his chair and put him on my lap.  To my utter surprise, he did not immediately grab at the plate or the spaghetti, or the fork or the drink or anything.  He just sat there on my lap waiting to get some nice warm pasta.  So, I took my fork and minced up some pasta, sauce, and Parmesan Cheese and fed him a bite. 

He liked it a lot. He sat there quietly and calmly and did nothing to make a noise or cause a problem.  Then turned his head around, looked up at me and smiled, asking for another bite.

Holly said, “I guess he wanted some of the good stuff too.”

I guess I can learn too.

10 Things I know are true

Here’s a list of ten things that are true.

  1. No one cares what I ate for lunch (Peanut butter & Honey sandwich on home-made bread).
  2. Family members are more important than others.
  3. Kids are a LOT of work.
  4. There are different types of friends, not all friendships last forever.
  5. When you have kids, you will see your best traits reflected in them.
  6. When you have kids, they will magnify your worst traits and give them back to you in sades, so be a good example.
  7. Some foods make you sleepy in the afternoon when you eat them for lunch, and other foods give you energy.  Pay attention to how you feel, and think back to what you’ve eaten lately–they may well be related.
  8. Eat too much sugar and you’ll become pre-diabetic.  In today’s world, this is especially true for our youth.
  9. The next time Holly wants to clean out the pantry, I won’t start a fight about it.  It’s nice having a clean pantry.
  10. It’s important to discipline one’s children, but that is easier said than done. 

A Sailing We Will Go!

Bob called early this morning and asked if we wanted to go sailing!  The plan was to take the boys in the morning, so we settled on gathering at the boat at 10 AM sharp.  IMG_5444

The Greta is a 35′ fiberglass sailboat that Bob & Margaret (My In-Laws) have owned for as long as I’ve known them.  The came to Alaska aboard her and toured SE Alaska until the decided to settle at the Senior Village in Haines. IMG_5462 Back before we had the boys, when bob was trying to go sailing once a month, he’d often bring me along to help man the lines or to steer while he set the sails.

The Greta (short for Margaret) is in immaculate condition, as Bob is quite faithful about polishing the hull each year and also varnishing the teak when it’s time.

Boats are great places to learn tons about the weather, physics, water, wind, and life in general.  IMG_5469Plus they’re great places crawl around and explore.  Margaret fed the boys peanut butter and jelly sandwiches down in the galley while Bob set the main sail to the second reef as we headed out of the harbor.   There were quite a few whitecaps on the water just out past the protection of Port Seward.  As a matter of fact, one of the reasons the Pluckers decided to stay in Haines when they were casting about for a home all those years ago, is that a decent sail is to be had just minutes out of the small boat harbor.

In the picture below, it looks like Bob was doing all the work.  But in reality, it was Bob at the wheel, me taking pictures, and Margaret on kid duty.  You do the math.

IMG_5508 Both Luke and Mark got a brief chance at the wheel before it got a little to windy for fun and we headed back in to the harbor.  Basically we made a straight shot for Skagway, then came about into the wind and headed back home the way we came.  Distance one equals distance two.

It was slightly overcast/scattered clouds when he called this morning, and we had three adults for three kids.


“He’s whacking me!”

The other day, at the Green’s house, Luke wanted to get Lydia’s attention so he walked up behind her as she sat playing quietly by herself, minding her own business, and WHACKED her on the back. Lydia almost fell over. Holly saw it all happen and went over to chastise him and explain that we don’t whack people when we want their attention.

IMG_0270g Later Lydia’s mother, Shannon Green, explained to Holly, “I don’t think he was being mean. I think he just does that when he wants someone’s attention. Earlier, Luke was playing quietly by himself and Mark wanted to show him something he came up to him and WHACKED him on the back, and Luke just acted like it was no big deal.”

This morning in the shower, Mark whacked Luke really hard while Holly was fixing her hair, which looks beautiful by the way. It was quite loud. I know because I heard it from my position in bed. Holly was quite alarmed and was starting to scold Mark when Luke turned and whacked Mark right back. Wow, Holly about went through the roof then!

She got real serious and explained: “We are not a whacking family. That is not how we treat each other. We use our voices and we talk to each other. daddy doesn’t whack mommy, mommy doesn’t whack Mark, Mark doesn’t whack Luke, and Luke… Luke, you don’t whack Blacky (that’s grandma).

I thought that was funny.


Holly likes to have nice meals where we sit down at the table as a family, say our prayers and eat good healthy organic food in a peaceful manner, talking and telling stories from the day. Lately it hasn’t been so peaceful.

For the past couple weeks, our one-year-old, Luke, had been trying to say something that we’d not been able to understand. Then, two nights ago, we figured out what he was saying. He was trying to say, “FORK,” but he wasn’t saying the ‘r’ and he was mispronouncing the ‘o’. Think about it.

He would say it at the table, really loudly. It was kind of distracting. I’d look over at Holly, and she’d have her game face on, “Everything is okay. Just pretend nothing is happening.” Luke of course was not perturbed, he’d just get louder. There he’d be at his end of the table, across from me at the foot of the table, standing on his chair. Before too long, he’d be howling the word into the air like a wolf in a story he’s been read.

I’d look over at Holly, and whisper, “Should I get out the video camera.

“NO.” She’d whisper back. “Everything is just fine, there is no problem.”

Luke would start yelling the word louder and faster.

I’d say, “It’d be really cute later.”

She’d lean over and say, “I’m just thankful no high school kids are here.”

“Yeah, that’d be really bad.”

His patience would start to give way and he’d start banging his hand on the table.

After a while, our pre-school aged son, would ask, “What is that word he’s saying? What is he saying?”

By this time Luke would be all worked up, and would start banging his cup or bowl against the table as he would continue his yelling one word chant, punctuated each time with a sharp crack of his plate against the table.

I suppose, at this point it’s important to ask, “Are parents stupid?” Imagine the scene: a perfectly normal 1.8 year old asking for something everyone else at the table has. It’s something he uses almost every day. He’s only mispronouncing it by a tiny bit. And yet we don’t have a clue what he’s trying to say. Am I stupid? Is Holly Stupid?

These are important questions to ask yourself when you have kids.

These are the questions the kids are asking.

I just couldn’t go with the ‘stupid’ theory. The word that seems to fit is DENIAL. Denial is a great parental technique, it turns out.

You see, to us it just did NOT seem possible that we’d have a child saying such word. We do NOT have a TV. We don’t listen to shock radio. Neither boy has a parent or significant adult in their lives, at this time, who swears around the home or even at work at all. None of their friends swear, or have enough influence on them to cause this type of behavior. Logically, it just did NOT make sense that we had a son who swore. And yet, here he was at the end of the table, saying this word over and over and over. It was quite a puzzle. I guess it makes sense. We did what the books say we’re supposed to do when a child accidentally happens across a swear word as he’s learning to speak and pretended it wasn’t happening.

Eventually, Luke would give up, get down from his chair, and walk over to my side of the table to get some food.

Well, eventually we did figure it out. I think that Mark was the one that eventually said, “I think he wants a fork.” Then it dawned on us. Of course he wanted a fork.

It was the only thing that made sense.

The meals are a bit more peaceful now that we’ve learned what he’s been saying.

And the Luke is still pretty cute.