Category Archives: Luke

Vegetating and getting caught up.

What a great day.  I slept until 9AM and got out of bed and Luke was already up, goofing around in his crib.  The Saturday morning ritual commenced with pancakes and Care Bears.  I actually had zero obligations today.  Well… I did have to work on a website for somebody, but that only took about 15 minutes.

hexxit

Biebs has been bugging me to play Hexxit, a Minecraft mod pack with heavy emphasis on adventuring.  Today I finally got the opportunity.  At first I pretty much dove right in.  I made a wooden sword and started rolling through some of the light dungeons near the spawn.  I promptly got my butt kicked.  So at that point I decided I needed to establish a stronghold and build up some resources.  There’s a TON to do and a ton you can do in this version of Minecraft.  And I’m excited to dive into it.

I’ve been enjoying Animal Crossing: New Leaf to a great extent.  With only one big gripe… there’s only been the fishing pole, net or shovel for sale at Nookling’s since I started the game.  I really need my slingshot, watering can, and axe.  It bugs me to no end as I’ve seen about six presents floating overhead so far and no way to get them.

This is the first Animal Crossing game since the first that really feels different.  The biggest difference is you get to be the mayor as Tortimer has retired to a tropical island.  It’s cool because you get to decide in what order you want to enhance your town.  It definitely would benefit from multiple players as many of the projects are pretty expensive.  Right now I’m working on getting my house filled out with more room, so that soaks up all my bells.  But there will be plenty of time to get to it all.  Animal Crossing is a long term dedication.

I’d really been craving a game of this type too.  Something you can build on incrementally.  You end up feeling pretty invested in games like this after you’ve been playing off and on for a couple years.  You have your favorite residents, the collections you’re trying to complete and all the different holidays you want to check in on.  We even used Animal Crossing as our official New Year’s Eve countdown!

All of the holiday travels are done.  And they weren’t without some eventfulness.  We got all loaded up to head to Kansas City for Christmas with Andrea’s family, that’s when I noticed a steady stream of antifreeze dripping from underneath the Jeep.  It was coming out quick enough that I knew we weren’t going to try taking it.  I looked it over quickly and couldn’t exactly deduce where the leak was coming from, so Andrea, frustrated, loaded all our gear into the Cutlass instead which made the trip without issue.

Old Water Pump Removed

New pump installed!

When we got back home Thursday, I looked the Jeep over a bit more and it looked like it was leaking from the gasket.  Which meant the pump had to come off, which in turn meant, might as well replace the pump.  Long story short: I have learned never to be shocked by what you find when you buy a used vehicle.  The water pump had a HOLE in it!  Like an actual hole through the pump.  Sometime before we bought the Jeep someone had dabbed some RTV sealer over the hole.  It’s amazing that it lasted over a year.  But now we have a new pump and thermostat and it seems like it’s working great and doesn’t leak a drop.  Even got it put back together in time to head to Cimarron on that Saturday!  Not too bad for the old KartMaster’s Garage.

Bright red amp power cable and fuse.

Also did some work on the Jeep that was more, “scheduled”.  For Christmas I got Andrea a new amp and speaker box.  We already had the speaker which is what made the project affordable.  It was quite a bit of work, but I’m glad I did it right.  Had the front seat out and all the interior trim apart on the passenger side to run the power cable.  Ended up breaking off one of the bolts that holds the seat down because it was siezed up, so that won’t be fun to drill out and fix… but I’ll get it done eventually.  The finished product is the only thing you can really see is the power cable under the hood, and the speaker in the back.  No ugly wires showing anywhere.  Real clean.

So that kinda gets caught back up to today.  Got a little more snow, but just about an inch or so, nothing that will slow anything down.  Maybe enough for Luke and I to go play in tomorrow morning!

Let it Snow

I think the key phrase in the song “Let it Snow” is “Since we’ve no place to go…”  Without that qualifier, the song could take on a whole different tone.

We had a nice little snowstorm roll through Saturday afternoon and evening.  Probably had around four inches by morning.  And it was great!  Usually I dread snow, because it means cancellations, idiots on the road and potentially getting stuck.  This time though, I literally had nowhere I needed (or wanted) to be.  It was timed perfectly!  For the first time in a long time I didn’t have to go in to work on Saturday, and nothing to do Sunday.  So as the snow fell, I just enjoyed watching it all pile up, while Luke and I dreamed about playing outside on Sunday.

As per usual, when the snow starts falling, people start freaking the heck out.  At about 8PM, church cancellations started to roll in.  Thanks to the internet, here I am, with three inches of snow on the ground, able to record audio here at home on my laptop, transfer it to the radio station, load it up and cue it up to play.  Without a single person in the building.  I just had to marvel at the technology and that it was even possible.

This morning I got up and had breakfast, then relaxed a little bit.  Wasn’t long before Luke was up too.  First thing we did was look outside at the snow.  Luke was excited and instantly wanted to go outside.  I remember the same thing when I was a kid.  I was ready to get the sled out the moment the first flake hit the ground.  All said we got about 4 inches here, maybe 5.  Enough to have some fun.  Before that though, we had to eat breakfast.

I got Luke all bundled up with two pair of socks, two shirts, sweat pants, snow pants, his coat, and his mittens.  He was as cute as he could possibly be.  And ready to GO PLAY!  He was pretty timid at first.  This isn’t first time he’s played in the snow, but it’s definitely an unusual experience for him still.  I got the snow shovel out to start on clearing the driveway, and he got excited to help.  He would hold on to the handle as I pushed the snow to the edge of the driveway.

“Luke helpin’!” he’d say.

“Yep.  When you get older, I’ll let you do it all by yourself!” I told him.

Andrea came out and hung out and did a little work herself.  After I was done with our drive, I went and shoveled my neighbor Chris’s drive, because he just happened to have a turkey for us in his smoker.  A pretty awesome (and tasty) Christmas gift.  I felt like it was the least I could do to give back.

The snow was certainly the highlight of the day.  The rest of it we spent inside and we played with toys and had some good food to eat.  I didn’t get any Wii Fit U in today, but I shoveled two driveways, so even though I don’t get a stamp for it, I’m going to say it counts!

What happens when you give Luke the camera?

Halloween 2013

Sorry for the delay getting the pictures up, and just a general lack of writing as of late.  Been super busy at work and I’ve been going to bed about the same time as Luke the past few days, so that didn’t leave much time for anything else!

But here ya go. Luke was a Train Conductor!  We just stayed here in Albert.  The night started out kinda slow, but we walked all over town (which doesn’t take too long here) and Luke did pretty good!

Somebody’s Birthday

On his second birthday, Luke was terrified of candles.  Since then, he wishes every day was somebody’s birthday so he can blow out the candles!

Growing Up

Luke Spagheti

Anybody who’s been around Luke for any amount of time, knows that he is just the happiest little guy around.  He just loves to have fun.  Loves to play.  Non stop.  He’s a chatterbox, and a goof-nugget!

I absolutely love hanging out with him, of course because of all the things I just mentioned, but also because it reminds me so much about growing up myself.  And how fun and carefree it all was.  I mean yeah, Luke will have the occasional breakdown when he really wants something, but has to put his toys away first.  But he rebounds quicker than you can flip a pancake.  I had some extra time to spend at home this weekend and just about every minute was spent with this little guy.

He wouldn’t be such a happy kid though, if Andrea weren’t such a great mommy.  I know it can be tough on her sometimes.  I can imagine going all day without any kind of adult interaction can be draining, and probably a bit lonesome.  But when you’re around Luke, you know how awesome she is at what she does!  I try to help after work and on the weekends like this, just to give her a little break.  I’m sure she could always use more though!

Luke Andrea Kangaroo

But basically what inspired this post was just all the things I’ve been able to share with him.  And that he totally latches onto.  We do a lot of things together that I did when I was a kid.  We play with Hot Wheels cars, we race around on the carpet, we watch cartoons.  We’ve been watching the Super Mario Bros cartoons from the 90’s, the Care Bears from the 80’s, and we see a lot of Mr. Rogers too.

Mario Cartoon

It’s fun watching him get excited about things like the Care Bears.  To us, they’re retro and dated, they’re brand new to him.  And to be honest, it’s fun for me to watch them with him and see certain things and think to myself, “I THINK I remember that…”  Mostly it’s not really specifics, but like the voices of a lot of the characters just feel super familiar, and this after not even thinking about the Care Bears for at least 20 years.  Funny how our minds work.

Care Bears Cartoon

Part of me feels a little guilty that I’m subjecting him to something that’s 3 decades old, compared to what his peers are probably being exposed to.  He’ll go off to school and his friends will have whatever the hot new lunchbox is, and he’ll have no idea who the characters are on the cover.  It’s not going to derail him socially, but still it’s a consequence of a choice I made, that he didn’t even know existed.

The other part of me thinks… you know my parents would have done the same thing as me… if they had the option to.  We don’t have cable.  We watch all this old stuff on places like Hulu and Youtube.  It’s amazing how much is out there.  More than I ever saw as a kid of these shows.  When I was growing up, what was on TV is all that I could be exposed to.  I suppose if my parents had the ability to keep me in a bubble of the media that they knew, trusted, and felt comfortable with, they would have done it too.  They just had to keep an eye on what we watched and make sure it wasn’t too “out there”.

Mr Rogers Feed Fish

It does make you wonder though, if this is all he knew, what would Luke share with his children?  Will kids still be watching really bad Mario & Luigi skits between animated mushroom adventures from 1991 in the year 2033?  I’m sure as he gets older and starts interacting with other kids and being exposed to more, he’ll develop his own memories.  Stuff that I just won’t understand.  It will happen eventually.  But until it does, I’m going to soak up our awesome Saturday mornings eating pancakes, watching cartoons, and pretending I’m growing up all over again too.

Pancake Smiley

LAZY

This is where Luke and I spent most of the weekend.

Here I am, sitting on my bum, like I have spent most of the weekend.  I haven’t left the house for almost 48 hours now and it feels glorious.

Without a doubt the majority of my time has been spent hanging out with Luke.  He truly loves to play.  From the moment he wakes up, until he is reluctantly put to bed, playing is serious business.

In all honestly, it’s really fun for me too.  Deep down I’ve never really grown up.  But now, as a dad, it’s socially acceptable for me to play with Hot Wheels, make tracks for the trains, race cars with Luke, watch cartoons and do all the stuff a kid wants to do.  We spent probably an hour this morning, eating breakfast and watching Super Mario Bros. cartoons from the 90’s.  Then we played cars on Luke’s rug with all the streets on it.  Took the putt putt golf set and pretended we were playing hockey.  Sang songs in the bathtub.  Made a mess with a deck of cards.  Had a pillow fight.  Watched a full season of Video Game High School.  And had a tickle fight.  All just this weekend.

So no, I don’t really feel guilty at all about not getting anything done.  What I did get done feels pretty rewarding.

 

Time… It Flies.

It is almost literally impossible for me to believe that this was just last year.

Busy But Productive

Man, today was action packed for a Saturday.  I had a lot to do at work, still working off my punishment for taking a vacation.  No we aren’t actually punished for taking time off… but the work still piles up while I’m gone.  I already had to stay late Friday for some sports so I didn’t want to stay even later and not get to see Luke at all.  Rather I decided to just come in while everybody else was sleeping.

I rolled out of bed around 4AM, chatted a bit with Andrea who hadn’t gone to bed yet, ate some cereal, got dressed and made it to work by 5AM.  I was able to get everything pretty much caught up by 11AM and headed back home.  Luke and Andrea were just getting around for the day, so my plan worked out pretty well.  I was a little tire so I caught a quick nap on the couch.

The doctor called today.  They got the results from Luke’s lead test and his lead level has gone from a 5 to a 6 since the last time he was tested 6 months ago.  I’m wracking my brain trying to figure out where he is coming in contact with the lead.  This house was built in 1978 so there shouldn’t be any lead paint.  I don’t think he’s been playing with any old toys or anything like that.  It’s a little scary because he’s now crossed the threshold where they start getting concerned and we need to figure out where he is interacting with it before his lead level gets any higher.  It’s not necessarily dangerous yet.  But it’s getting into his system somehow, and if it continues to rise, then he will be at risk of health problems.  So we need to get it sorted out.  But I honestly can’t think of any place he’s been exposed to lead!

Later we headed up to Hoisington for the Labor Day celebration.  They had an event called “Touch-A-Truck”.  It was really pretty cool.  Kinda like a car show, but with all kinds of trucks, tractors and other driveable machines.  Luke was really excited when we first got there.  Until the fire trucks and police trucks started sounding their sirens and blowing their horns.  The loud noise scared the little guy.  Luke was immediately ready to go.  But we toughed it out and saw all there was to see.  It’s a real bummer because he totally would have had a blast if it weren’t for the noise.  He would briefly get interested, but then realized he was letting his guard down and nuzzled back into my shoulder.

So we went to town.  Needed to get a few things from the store and ended up just walking around Wal-Mart for kicks.  I don’t think I’ve done that since high school.  I guess we were pretty bored.  Didn’t see much we couldn’t live without and got out of the store for under $14.

Luke had to get a new Hot Wheels car though, because obviously he doesn’t have enough already… He did pick a pretty cool one though.  He got an 84 Monte Carlo with flames on it.  It is almost the same color as the Cutlass though, so we call it “Daddy’s Car”.  Hehe.

So I had a lot of fun playing cars with Luke.  He’s starting to develop that little brain so much.  He’s to the point now he’ll start telling you what he want’s you to do.  “Move, Daddy.”  “Hey, watch this.”  I’m just a pawn in his little scheme, but it’s totally worth it when you see him loving every minute of it.

After supper I took it on myself to deep clean the tub/shower upstairs.  We had a nasty plumbing issue where everything in the garbage disposal drained into the bathtub.  It was 7.5/10 on the “Nasteriffic” scale.  And that’s about as high as you can go without getting poo involved.  I mentioned calling the plumber in a previous post.  He was able to take care of it straight away.  Every job is all about having the right tools.  But what was left was a working show that no one wanted to use until it was thoroughly sterilized.  I guess if any good has come of it, the show is now cleaner than it’s ever been.

So now Luke’s asleep.  I’m down stairs chilling, and trying to decide if I want to do some gaming, or just watch some Youtube videos.  I’m actually craving a bit of retro gaming right now, so maybe I’ll head to the retro room and fire up something old.

Luke is Two!

Luke celebrated his 2nd birthday yesterday!  His big shindig party isn’t until next week.  But we wanted to at least commemorate the day.  

We didn’t have a cake, but we did make some brownies, which he probably ate too much of (along with chocolate milk) since he spit up a bit of it later while he was playing, haha.  I could have swore we had some extra birthday candles laying around.  I couldn’t find any, so we used some tea candles.  We lit two of them and set them on the plate with his brownie.  He wanted NOTHING to do with them!  He squirmed and cried.  “Fire Away!” he kept saying.  I think he’s still scarred from his 4th of July experience!

Then get got to open the present we got him.  Just a little racetrack with some wind up cars.  It’s actually pretty cool for as cheap as it was.  He has had a blast with it so far.  I’m sure by next week it will be “just another toy” but it is fun watching him just get completely fascinated by something.  Then we let him stay up until about 10pm, which is way past his bedtime.  

We definitely spoiled the little guy.  But hey, it’s your birthday! 

Everybody says it, but I can’t believe it’s been 2 years already.  Seems like just a few weeks ago we were heading to the hospital with Andrea.  It has been completely amazing though.  Luke has to be the easiest kid to have around.  He’s almost always in a good mood, loves to play, can entertain himself… sometimes. And is just a love filled little boy.  

It’s so much fun watching him grow up.  He’s really becoming his own person.  He has his own preferences, his own favorites, his own habits even.  If it wouldn’t go quite as fast, that would be great though!