Archive for the ‘day to day’ Category

Down the shore

If you blog about your daily travails for long enough, and get lazy enough, I think you use up all the good titles and start repeating them. By you, I mean me.  And I’m pretty sure I titled a post “Down the Shore” before, most likely because we go down the shore every year at some point. At this point, we went to Ocean City on Saturday, and brought a few teenage friends of ours as well. At seven in the morning we couldn’t get one kid to answer his door or phone, and it wasn’t until we gave up and picked up his friend first that we learned the proper technique for these situations… stand in the alley beneath his window and yell as loud as you can. Both the kids are Muslim and had been up at 3 for prayers (it’s Ramadan) so it was definitely excusable. Asher had woken up at four that morning, came into our room, and said “I can’t sleep I’m so excited to go to the beach!” He did go back to sleep, though. We got down to the beach by 9, and on good advice we headed all the way down to 58th st, where the city beach ends and state park beach begins. If you walk down fifty yards you don’t need to buy beach tags, and there aren’t nearly as many people. There also aren’t any lifeguards, so watch out. The boys buried each other in deep holes, Silas played ninja with incoming waves, and everybody flipped out when I showed them how to catch sand crabs. I found out later  they’re also called mole crabs and sand fleas. Striped bass apparently love them. Everybody slept like the dead on our drive home, and most of us were sunburned to some degree. We reapplied lotion a bunch of times, but we were out there for a long time, and we couldn’t put up any shade since it was so dang windy.

We have a new international student coming tomorrow to stay with us for a month. We’ve all been really busy getting the house into shape again, and between the beach and today we tuckered ourselves out. I’m also particularly tuckered because I went running with Molly tonight after the kids went to sleep. She said I had to go, since it is her birthday.

It’s her birthday! That would have made a better post title. The thing about birthdays though, is they happen every year, so I most assuredly have reused all the birthday post titles several times since this thing started 8 (!?) years ago. The kids got Molly an Aldi gift card. I bought her a fancy razor so she’d stop using mine. Babbee got a nice cake for Molly, which included the most extraordinary birthday candle I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s huge and bulbous, and doesn’t look like a candle. When lit it lights a bunch of internal candles, which rotate, which sparkle, which burst open like a flower, and play music. It’s amazing. Google it, if you can find the right key words.  But don’t google Molly, because you’ll probably get a hundred web hits, and be like, whoa Molly is a busy lady. That is the honest truth, but she doesn’t miss a beat as a mom or a partner, even though she could be forgiven for checking out every once in a while. I check out more before breakfast than she checks out all day. She and I need to go check out together now- we’re exhausted.



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Summer’s here

I’m marking summer by the parental calendar, which has everything to do with kids getting released from school for the year. Asher’s last day was Friday. Things will get more summery Tuesday, when Silas is finished, and then next Tuesday Eliza comes home for good and then lord help me. We just arrived back from a camping weekend up at Hickory Run with our friends Andi and Utsav and their kids. Thunderstorms were predicted every day, and I spent hours fussing with our tarp in anticipation, so of course only a few dozen raindrops fell the entire weekend- it was great weather. Mosquitoes never showed up. We only found one tick (not on a person.) Our tent sites were just up the hill from the playground, so they kids spent hours down there playing tag and whatever. We hiked to the pond and played on the beach for an hour or two. The water was not very warm yet, but we all had a swim.

Asher had his school’s “graduation” party at Chili’s on Friday. I love it. A few kids are moving up to Kindergarten, but everybody received prizes and certificates and cake, and it was a fun time. The kids had rehearsed a few songs for us. They spelled Asher’s name several different ways, which we should be concerned about, except we simply find it funny. We are so glad Asher has enjoyed his new school, and really hope next year is just as fun. We feel like he’d  be just fine in kindergarten next fall, but he’s not five by September so another year of pre-k for him.

Molly just hit play on another episode of Kimmy Schmitt, so I can’t seem to string any …..

Until next week



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The kids skated a lot this week. They practiced late Wednesday evening, then again Saturday morning before their end-of-year tribute performance Saturday night at the Laura Simms skate house in West Philly. They were paying tribute to musicians who passed away in the past year. There were three Prince pieces alone… a pair of George Michael’s tunes, and even some Leonard Cohen thrown in. I’m going to try to post very long videos down below. Both kids did great… as usual the hour or two before the performance were the most trying, in fact they were hellish, but probably less hellish than last year, when there were a few more intensely irritating kids participating. The skate house is going to thaw itself soon, and turn into a roller rink for the summer, so we’ll see them again in the fall. They have pick-up ice hockey, which I want to do, despite knowing I will suffer pain beyond my imagination.

Last week we also took Silas to the Penn Museum for an exclusive evening for Silas’s school. Molly and I were bus chaperones, which involved riding the buses with parents. That’s pretty much all there is to say. The kids did a scavenger hunt, and managed to find everything once they found their focus. “Focus!”- I’ve yelled that a lot recently, mainly at Silas. “Asher!”- I’ve yelled a lot, because he’s too focused to notice I’m talking to him. It doesn’t matter what I yell at Eliza, she’ll do whatever she wants. This week her favorite book has been “Room on the Broom,” which is awesome. The short movie is better, but the book is cool too.

A few minutes ago Molly bought plane tickets to Brazil, for a week in August. She’s doing recon with a friend for a class they may teach next year. She’s been deliberating for a while, nay, anguishing, so now that the tickets are on my credit card it’s kind of a relief, emotionally, not financially (we’ll get reimbursed by Penn.) We’re also going to host two international students during August, so that month figures to be a smack down (on me.) Your well-wishes would be appreciated.

Molly and I have finally dived into the new Twin Peaks series, and we’re enjoying it a lot. In fact that’s what I’d like to be doing right now, so I’ll wrap this up.


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Don’t expect this to be a regular feature, but Eliza’s book of the month is “Who’s Hiding,” by Satoru Onishi. I saw this book first in Japan, and didn’t buy a copy- I can’t remember why. But I made note of it because I thought it was so cool. Then I bought a copy a few years ago, once  we had kids. Eliza is absolutely obsessed with it, which pleases me in the same way I’m happy when she laughs at Wallace and Gromit. I stuck a link to Amazon down below… I don’t think they’re printing hard covers anymore, but used they’re pretty cheap, and there’s a paperback printing.

Digitally the kids are still working through The Legend of Korra, which is the sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender. I was luke warm on it originally, and still don’t think it’s nearly as solid as Avatar, but there’s a lot to like in it, and the kids love it. Those two series have a whiff of  eastern spirituality about them, so we tried to get the kids to meditate for two minutes before bed. Fail. But I enjoyed it.

I spent a big chunk of this weekend up the ladder again, scraping window frames and shingles, and re-painting them. I’m about 3/4ths finished now, which feels good. I’m chipping away at the piles of garbage in our alley as well; mostly it’s scrap wood that I’ve ripped off of the house in various places, as well as branches that have fallen or been pruned, and piles of leaves I didn’t properly deal with in the fall. If I don’t watch it I’ll start to feel slightly optimistic about the house by the end of the year. I can still view at least one project from any seat in our house though, so I shouldn’t feel too relieved. From this chair I can see the ceiling, crown moulding, and window frames which all need to be painted. If it were light out I could also see part of our mansard gutter falling down. That will be next weekend.

Asher has two weeks of school left, Silas has three, and Eliza has a day or two more than that, although she goes two days a week, so that’s not much left. The big event left this month is the ice skating extravaganza year-end show, which both the boys are participating in. Silas has done two of them before, but this is Asher’s first year. They’re performing pieces to music by artists who died in the past year. I don’t think Silas has  a role comparable to last year (he was the object of the girls’ affection to the tune of “Do you love me?”) But I’m sure it will be entertaining.

Speaking of entertaining, Molly and I broke away and saw a concert of the Chestnut Street Singers last night- our friend Amy Hostetler had a solo, and it was freaking amazing. Really amazing… her family was out of town for the weekend, so we convinced her to come by here after the concert, and we stayed up way too late, so I’m winding down now.

Today marks the last day of Silas’s homework for the year, thank god. That’s all I’ll say about that right now.

That’s all I’m going to say about anything right now. All’s well that ends well.


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Memorial Day

Long weekends are nice for several reasons, but seldom are they nice and relaxing… I spent about five hours way up a ladder today painting our house, and the whole time Molly entertained the kids, so I’m not sure which of us is more tired. My calves are definitely more tired than hers, but that’s just one body part.

Yesterday was more relaxing, somewhat. We all made the trek up to my parents’  house because Rebecca, Mike, and Jacob came up for the weekend. Jacob is a far cry from the difficult baby he was as an infant, and he hardly uttered an angry peep the whole time we visited. We did our customary bike-jog down the creek, and even found a box turtle digging a nest. Just the day before Dad stumbled upon a painted turtle laying eggs in their backyard; I guess it’s turtle egg laying season.

Tomorrow we’ve got another shot at relaxing. Of course, I still have two bay windows to scrape and paint, so my only chance of relaxing is lousy weather. That would be okay by Asher, whose wish this morning was to “stay inside all day.” The danger of being inside all day is that it’s easier for Eliza to physically abuse you. These days she doesn’t hesitate to bite if she sees no better option, and she’s also likely to smack her brothers on top of the head just to observe their reaction. And she’s taking to calling people “poopy pants,” which is charming.  She’s taken her physicality to a whole new level today… she figured out how to scale the playhouse, traverse over to the deck railing, and climb up and over the top of the deck. It’s impressive and scary.

Now Molly and I have a date- with unfolded laundry and Twin Peaks. Not the bad date at all.



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A Day Late

Yesterday evening was the textbook worst-case-scenario as far as having adult-time at the end of the day. I went from preparing dinner, to dinner, to bath time, to bed time, to falling asleep with the kids, to not being able to get up, to giving up and going to bed. The new Twin Peaks premiered last night, and I was too tired to tune in: that’s serious. But what can you do? You do what you can.

My fingers are chilly typing this. A few days ago we had 93 degrees, and now we have 50 and rain. But that’s ok. We got a lot of play time in yesterday, jog-biking around John Heinz nature preserve, and playing down at the park. I managed to not shoot any photos all week, so all of the below photos were taken yesterday.

Asher had a great line the other day. He was riding on the back of Molly’s bike and he said, “Dad’s a funny guy, isn’t he?” Then yesterday I made some silly joke and he looked at me and said “You’re a funny guy.”   Eliza can make you laugh and cry in equal measures. She’s on a biting jag at school, so I’m sure a few of her classmates don’t find her humorous at all.  Silas had me wondering this morning, as he ate a bowl of cereal, four waffles, a banana, and two eggs for breakfast- he needs a lot of food to fuel his big emotions.


I’ve been at this desk all morning, which stinks, but some days you need to catch up, and that’s today. A few more calls to make and then off to get Eliza, and then to laugh or to cry, we’ll see what today brings.


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dum dum dee dum

That’s the beginning to that graduation song. Elgar, or whatever.  Molly is on her way home from graduation as I write, having once again endured the 8 hour event. I’m hoping she’s in good shape; her texts seemed positive enough, and all the kids are asleep in bed, so we may have just pulled it off.

I guess I should have led instead with something about Mother’s Day, except for the fact that Molly and I don’t tend to celebrate it. Or maybe I don’t celebrate it and she doesn’t hate me for it. I went out first thing this morning and bought doughnuts, but I did buy two apple fritters, which only I eat, so one would be right to question my selfless motivations.  Babbee, however, gave Molly a few very nice gifts, as did Molly’s sister Kerry, so our house wasn’t without well-wishes.

Eliza has been obsessed with roly poly bugs this week, scratching around in the dirt in the backyard, looking for “just one roly poly…” In the rambling video below she examines one, and hollers, and acts cute.  Here is a bit of text from the web about the roly poly… fascinating.

“Armadillidiidae is a family of woodlice, a terrestrial crustacean group in the order Isopoda. … It is this ability which gives woodlice in this family their common names of pill bugs, roly polies, or doodle bugs. The best known species in the family is Armadillidium vulgare, the common pill bug.”

I had a very irritating week, myself. A few weeks back I visited the local ophthalmologist to get checked for glasses. My eyes are not particularly bad, it turns out, but the doctor got all nervous about this and that and recommended I get screened for glaucoma. I maintained a low grade anxiety attack for ten days before having my screening at a hospital downtown. After a few hours and half dozen tests, the ophthalmologist was like, no, you’re fine… was that other ophthalmologist young, that she sent you here? See you in 20 years. No, the original ophthalmologist was not young, but whatever. So I’m glad to be in the clear, but pissed to have wasted so much time and energy.

This next week, though, gonna be an awesome week. Absolutely. No doubt. Bring it on.



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