The best way to start a day ever

This morning, when my son woke up and after he told mom good morning, he sought me out. He had something to give me. And as he stepped down the hallway with purpose and authority I heard him call out to me.

“Daddy, I have a pwesent fow you.”

“What is it son?”

“It’s a hug and a kiss. I love you daddy.”

And with that he jumped into my arms and hugged me as big as his big boy arms could hug a dad of my size.

I’m certain he doesn’t know how much he touched my heart this morning, or how good of a day he gave me today. But hopefully I can share this with him so that he can look forward to those moments with his kids. I am a truly blessed father.

An outing of sorts

Today my wife needed a break badly. She has been without one for a while and asked me a couple of days ago whether last night would be alright for her to go out and have some “her” time. Last night did not exactly happen for her, but today did, so I gave her that time and decided I would spend some time taking the kids for a walk to get slushies because the kids really love doing that, generally it doesn’t cost too much and it usually wears the kids out and makes for an excellent quiet time when we get home.

Quick tip for the husbands: Your wife needs a break. Whether she tells you or not is irrelevant. Give her a break frequently. She needs it and she will be very appreciative of your thoughtfulness toward her. And even if she isn’t, you should do it anyway.

Quick tip for the fathers: Your kids need to get out the house. They need to blow off steam and they totally need to do that with their dads. This is not to say that they cannot get that with their moms. In fact kids need mom time too. But dad time is crucial, so if you have kids make time for them doing something you all can enjoy together.

So we set off on a walk, the six of us, to the 7-11 just down the street from us. The weather was nice, a little chilly but sunny, so the walk was pleasant right off the pop. We hit up 7-11 and grabbed slushies for all of us – well I prefer coffee so I did that instead – and a couple of bags of chips to snack on. Then we headed out to the front of the store to kick it and snack.

But that is something we always do, so I decided we would change things up a bit so instead of sitting out in front of the store we walked a little bit further to Mission Boulevard where we found a bench and sat on it, snacking and slurping and watching the cars pass us by. This is what it might have looked at from the cars’ perspective:


After our snack time and car watching was over was decided to cross the street and check out Mission San Jose. It wasn’t until we got there that we realized it was going to cost more money that I brought with us so we just sort of hung around the outside and checked out as much as we could without spending any money doing it.

After a short while we decided to start the walk home with a planned stop at the Olive Hyde Art Gallery. This ended up being a much shorter trip than I wanted it to be seeing as the gallery was displaying quilts and artwork that ran as high as $10,000. If not for the fact that four of my kids suddenly had to go to the bathroom at the gallery we would have only been there for a couple of minutes. In fact we were there for almost a half hour.

After that we took a slow stroll home and ended our two hour walk by coming home and resting. So when Sandi got home from her alone time she was able to come home to a quiet, resting house. Now how could this day have gotten any better?

Think BBQ. I know I am.

The brilliant observation of a three year old

Last night, as we approached church, we all noticed a blimp flying off in the distance. As we got to church Sandi noticed that the blimp was getting lower and lower to the ground.

Thinking it was about to land, she said out loud “I wonder where the blimp is going to land? Is it going to land at the airport?”

Without skipping a beat my son, all three and half years old of him, says “No mom, it is going to land at the blimp port”.

I love my son.

Hey, what can they say?

The other day I was in my room when I heard a shout from the living room of “Stop pulling your pants down! Both of you!”. Intrigued and amused by this I waited for my wife to come back to the bedroom then I asked her what that was all about.

Apparently Alaynah, my youngest daughter , and my son Aaron were playing in the backyard and they game they were playing involved them pointing their naked nude butts at one another. Awesome.

Last night, as I stood on the BART platform in Concord waiting for my train I got a text message from Sandi. The message was:

A conversation with AJ…
Sandi: “Aaron, quiet time is over, come on out to watch a movie.”
Aaron: “I’m getting my underwear on.”
Sandi: “Son, why are you naked?”
Aaron: “Because I want to sleep that way. It’s fun.”

Last night, as I rode in the car on my way home from work with Sandi and my two youngest kids, I hear “AJ, do you want to see my vagina?”. Shocked and awed by my daughter offering to display her privates for her brother both mom and I asked what was going on.

Apparently that sentence was the second half of a statement that she had made in response to my son’s constant barrage upon her of “you have a penis”. Her actual sentence was “Girls don’t have a penis they have a vagina. Want to see my vagina?”. Yeah, that made it all better.

And lastly, in a bit of humor that I find particularly delightful, as I was watching TV last the commercial for the new Macbook came on. As I watched it I mentioned to my family that “I must have the awesome” to which Adriannah replied “You already have the awesom sitting on your lap”.

You guessed it, she was sitting on my lap.

Boys vs Girls: Having a meltdown

From time to time I notice large scale differences between my son and my daughters. They are not always magnificent, spectacular differences in nature, but they are always widely and significantly different in terms of conduct.

One such example happened this afternoon. We spent a long afternoon at Ikea , one that included lunch, playing, dreaming and a butt load of walking. We went there right after church so there was no rest time in between church and the store. Throw in the fact that ever floor we hit was a little cooler than the floor above it and you can quickly gather that our entire family was tired, hot then cold then colder, irritable and generally of a cranky nature.

In the past I have become somewhat accustomed to my daughters crankiness and fits of rage. But having a son has shed some light on the different ways in which boys and girls handle that stage of melting down that necessarily happens when the day has gone on too long for them and no one is catering to their every whim. Let me explain…

As we left the store we walked toward our truck as a family. Rebekah and Adriannah decided they were going to race to the truck. Alaynah, being the big girl that she is, took off after them. My son, being the big man that he is, followed suit. Rebekah hit the truck first, not surprisingly, followed by Annah, Alaynah and Aaron. Oh yeah, and Aaron’s scream. See, he had it in his mind that he was supposed to win. And when he didn’t win, he got upset.

If this was one of my daughters I would be able to tell you that she would have probably gotten quiet, maybe telling you that she didn’t want to be your friend or didn’t want to talk to you anymore, maybe cross her arms. Very emotional, very heart felt. My son… well, he went in a different direction.

After screaming, well yelling really, very loudly, he screamed directly at Alaynah, telling her, in effect, that he wanted to win and the she was supposed to let him win. Then he screamed again. Then he put both hands on the truck as if he was going to push it out of the parking spot it was in. And when it didn’t move, he reached under the rear quarter panel and tried to pick it up and throw it. Yes, my son wanted to pick the truck up and throw it. It was only when he couldn’t get it off the ground that the tears came.

Broken, frustrated and thwarted as a mighty man of truck throwing strength, my son became a little boy once again. And I had no choice but to pick him up, hold him, tell him I love him and then tell him that next time, if he wants to win, he needs to earn it because there is nothing at all the he will ever do in which a win will be given to him. Of course, I told him this in terms a three year old might understand some day. But he had to hear it. More importantly though was that he had to hear that I loved him. Right then, in the middle of his meltdown.

Which takes me to a place where my kids aren’t really all that different. When they are broken, frustrated and thwarted what all they really need is a little love. But then, isn’t that something we all need when we go through all that stuff, too?

Piratical music of the Caribbean

The other day I was sent a link to a video of a young girl playing “Carry on my Wayward Son” on an electric organ. After watching, in amazement, as this little girl tore it up I found another performance she did of the Pirates of the Caribbean theme song:

This got me into a piratical mood like I have not been in for a while and as a result I decided to look for other performances of the popular song. Once of the best I had ever seen was of a young Asian kid named Sungha Jung playing the song on his guitar (because that is what he plays and he plays the crap out of it). So, for your viewing pleasure, here is that performance:

Now as I was watching that performance I realized that the video was a response video to that of a Wolfgang Vrecun who also posted a video of his guitar based rendition:

Now that I have seen a few ways that this song can be played by one person I decided to search for either a tutorial or guitar tab for the song (because I am that crazy and I dig the song that much and I want to be able to do what an eight year old kid can do). What I found was both wrapped up into one. A two part video tutorial by Jeurgen Schenk and a link to sheet music and guitar tab that he posted:

Jeurgen Schenk – Part 1
Jeurgen Schenk – Part 2

So I took the sheet music home and handed it to my daughters about two weeks ago. And wouldn’t you know it, Sarah has pretty much mastered the song on the Piano and Bekah is about halfway to learning it on the guitar. In fact, they will be performing it at a talent show for our home school group in a few weeks.

Kids freaking amaze me sometimes. My kids especially. Yes, I know it sounds like I am doting on my kids. But they are my kids. I am supposed to dote.

And just for reference, here is the actual music (or a piece of it) so you can compare what is in those videos to what Hans Zimmer actually intended the music to sound like. Enjoy:

We’re off to see the wizard!

A few weeks ago Sarah and Adriannah got invited to an Ohlone College performance of The Wizard of Oz as part of their drama team from church. This was something that they have looked forward to for a while now and I was glad they got to do something as part of their teamwork with the drama team.

Unfortunately Sarah has not been feeling well the last few days so she was not able to attend. But Rebekah, being the team player that she is, took her sister’s place and attended the performance for her. What a sport.

So late Saturday night Rebekah and Adriannah had the privilege of going to see the Wizard of Oz featuring Callie Garrett as Dorothy. They not only got to see the performance but hang out backstage afterward and meet the cast, get autographs and generally have a blockbuster of a night with their friends and the cast of the play. Adriannah loved it. Bekah did too.

My heart has to go out to Sarah though, who was really looking forward to going and who couldn’t go because she was sick. I hope she gets to attend something at some point to redeem this event. It meant a lot to her and it saddened me that she was sad because she couldn’t go.

But thanks to the Jubilee Christian Center Drama Team leadership the kids were able to experience something that not a lot of kids get to do. And they enjoyed it. And I enjoyed putting my three remaining kids to bed, one each in their own room, without a lot of fuss. I so need more nights like that.

Kid funnies for the week

Part 0
The other day we were driving home and my three and a half year old son asks his mother “Mom, did we run over a dead skunk? Something’s stinky.”. Alaynah, my five year old daughter, without skipping a beat, replied “No Aaron, I think it’s just daddy makin’ fart’n’s.”. I love my kids.

The funnier part came immediately afterward though, when Alaynah told AJ “Or it could be my feet. I just took my shoes off.”. Indeed it was her feet. Holy cow pie Batman, we need to get that girl some socks.

Part 1
Before we left for home that night (we were at the in-laws) my father-in-law asked my daughter Sarah if she could see Venus. After a little banter about the bright star in the sky being Venus and not an airplane, we left.

After the fart’n’s incident we were still on our way home and Alaynah asked Aaron if he could see Venus. He replied “I can see Penis. Penis. Penis. Penis.”

Note to those trying to understand boys… yes, we can derive all sorts of entertainment from our penis. And no, we don’t need to be taught that.

Just your typical Manday, erm, Sunday

I’m not sure if I was lucky or unlucky today, but I can say that I had fun regardless of my fortune. A few weeks ago my wife had me pickup a work table for her. Well, it was really a solid core that had four 4 X 4 posts attached to it as legs. She really wants to add counter space to our kitchen and felt this was a good way to do it. The only thing was the table was about nine inches too wide.

A wide table is a useless table. It had to be shortened and the only way to do that was to run it through the table saw. Which is not really a difficult thing to do. When your saw is set up. But mine was still in the box it came in. Which meant I got to become Bob the Builder for a time.

The nice thing is that the assembly of this saw was not rocket science. It did take some time, but it wasn’t hard to do. In fact it was easy enough that I was able to set it up almost completely before we had to take a small break and head out for a little while.

See, three of my daughters were performing in a recital. So we had to head to Hayward in the middle of the day so they could awe the throngs of parents (all 10 of us) with their magical fingers and playing prowess. A nice little surprise in the midst of all this was that my daughter Alaynah was on the performance list. I had no idea she would be singing. And it was awesome.

The kids did great, the parents had fun, and after a little bit of snacking and mingling it was time to head home so I could get back to work on the saw. It didn’t take long to get the saw completed. I wish I could say that for cutting the door.

The door, as I said, was a solid core door. It was heavy. And it didn’t want to be cut. At least not by some small little table like the one I have. Don’t get me wrong. My saw is fine for cutting smaller pieces of wood. But for solid core inch and half think doors, making a seven foot long cut is probably too much to ask it to do.

In the end though the saw won. It did what saws do and it cut that door. And I was able to assemble it and give my wife the counter space she has wanted for a long time now. Plus I was able to to play with power tools. Heck, I was able to even build the power tool I used. Throw in the fact that I was able to watch about three minutes of football and I’d say today was a pretty cool day.

And if nothing else I now have even more surface in my kitchen to stack crap that never gets cleaned.

Happy Birthday Adriannah

Today is my daughter Adriannah’s birthday. She turns eight years old today. Another birthday (and thank God the last of the year for our family) is upon me and I could swear that is was January 1st just a few weeks ago.

I don’t know about you but it seems that the years are beginning to move a lot faster than they have in the past. It is already almost month 10 of the year 2008. Uh, huh? Not only is already October practically, it already 2008. Wasn’t it just last week that we were worrying about the Y2K scare?

Anyway, I will spend time later trying to figure out where the heck my life has gone over the last eight years. For now I have a little more pressing of an issue… wishing my daughter a happy Birthday.

Happy birthday to you;
Happy birthday to you;
Happy birthday dear Adriannah;
Happy birthday to you.