Category Archives: Family

“I don’t want to be frustrated.”

I really can’t believe how fast this little guy is growing up.  We were heading home from Wichita on Sunday and about halfway Luke was getting quite restless.  I had my 3DS with me so I asked him if he wanted to water some flowers in Animal Crossing.  “OH YEAH!” he said.

So I got the game started for him.  Got it all set up.  And he pretty much took over.  The part I can’t believe is how much he can do for himself.  Together we’ve probably only spent maybe an hour or 90 minutes with Animal Crossing.  But he knows how to walk around, switch his tools, paint on the patterns and open the chat and type letters.  All on his own.

It kept him satisfied for a good 30 minutes or so, but he was without a nap all day and started to get frustrated.  I asked for the 3DS and told him he needed to take a break because he was getting frustrated.

“I don’t want to take a break!,” he screamed.

“You need a break because you are getting frustrated,” I reiterated.

“I don’t want to be frustrated!” he sobbed.

It was a little sad, but mostly cute.  It reminded me of the first time I got to play a Nintendo at one of Mom’s friend’s house when I was just a kid around 5 or 6 years old. I didn’t want to leave and wanted to stay and play so bad I remember crying.

Tonight we played some Super Mario 64 and I made him do all the work.  I’d give him instructions like, “go left” or “push A” and most of the time he’d figure it out.  He’s not going to be saving princesses anytime soon… or is he?  Don’t blink, I tell ya.

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Super Bowless

It sounds like I didn’t miss much of a game tonight.  We didn’t have any big plans to go to anyone’s party so we just stayed home and it was pretty much just another Sunday around here.  First time in many years though we didn’t do at least a little something special.  Sometimes we at least get some snacky stuff and make our own little Super Bowl Party.  Honestly quiet days are so far between anymore that I didn’t really want to occupy most of it with a game featuring two teams I didn’t really care about.  Today pretty much reflected my interest in the whole NFL season this year.  The Vikings started sucking pretty much immediately, so I didn’t have much to get excited about.

I spent a good part of the day playing with Luke and that was fun.  I love the weekends and being able to get up and eat breakfast with him while he watches his cartoons.  This morning we watched “Mater’s Tall Tales”, a bunch of little shorts featuring the characters from Cars. It’s fascinating watching him watch these shows.  He’ll be watching and see something funny, then just look at me and smile, as if to say, “You know that was funny.”

Later we went down stairs and built up a new fort.  It’s way better than our old one, because this one has a window!  We both had fun with it.  He was getting sleepy and he absolutely despises going down for naps, so I thought maybe he’d lay down and take a nap IN his fort.  After all, he even told me, “I’m sleepy.”  So we got his pillow, blankest and a couple of his stuffed animals and he laid down in there.  But the fun of the fort and all the toys nearby was too much to shut his little brain down and he couldn’t lay still… so it was reluctantly off to his bed.

On and off throughout the day I also started working on a new project.  It’s in the very early stages, but it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.  Definitely not ready to show it yet but I think I’ve got a good foundation for something to build on, and it’s something I can work on here and there.

So off to bed.  It’s a (theoretically) normal week next week.  I’m really looking forward to it.  Getting a whole night’s worth of sleep and all that.  We’ll see though.  It never ends up that way.  C’est la vie.

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

Bucket List Checkmark

This weekend was a whirlwind to be sure.  It was Andrea’s birthday, she’s 29!  And we went up to the NASCAR race to celebrate her and Duane’s birthdays together.  It was a lot of fun.

The Birthday Crewe

I’ve seen a lot of NASCAR in my days.  I’m not as huge a fan as I once was.  I was probably most into it back in the early 2000’s.  Bobby Labonte was driving the #18 car back then and was pretty darn good.  I remember one season (after his championship) where he finished in the Top 10 like 26 times.  He was a lot of fun to cheer for.  After that he switched teams a couple times and just never was as competitive.  And since then it seems like all they focus on is the drama.  As far as I’m concerned, you can save the drama for your llama.

Bobby doesn't race, and Pontiac doesn't even exist anymore.  Sheesh I'm old.

Bobby doesn’t race, and Pontiac doesn’t even exist anymore. Sheesh I’m old.

Having never been to an actual race I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  Honestly I anticipated it to be not as good as watching it on TV.  What I found was it was completely different than a TV experience.  You don’t get the benefit of replays.  I mean they have a big screen down by the pits that show stuff, but it’s not like TV.  But you really get a broader picture of the whole race.  I’ve been to lots of little dirt track races over the years.  And maybe it was all the caution flags, but this really felt more similar to that than I expected it to.  Each restart seemed like a new “heat”, but there was an added strategy of pitting and tires, etc.  It was just really cool to watch it all unfold on a broad scale.

We paid attention to Mark Martin for a good part of the race, a person I’m sure they weren’t talking about much on TV.  But we had the little headsets where we could listen in to his radio.  We could listen to the race officials, the cleanup crews.  It was really cool.  Kinda felt like behind the scenes.

But there were times where I just took the headphones off and just soaked up the experience.  I loved the noise.  It has been on my bucket list to hear the “Drivers start your engines!”.  Check.  And just listening to the cars go flying by.  It was totally awesome to be there.

I don’t think I’ve ever been in one place with that many people before.  I’m not sure what the capacity is, but I bet it was over 150,000 people.  Looking at them from our seats high in the air, they all just looked like gnats.  It probably took us 45 minutes just to get in and parked.  But only took us 10 minutes or so to get out.

I’d definitely be up to do it again, which going into it, I figured I’d go to one just to say I’ve been.  But I can definitely see how people get hooked on it.  I’d love to take a camper out to the infield and just hang out, drink beer and party for 5 days on a race weekend.  That may be a little hard to accomplish anytime soon though!

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.