Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Highs and Lows

When I got home from work, The Wife left to pick up The Boy from his choir practice. I was getting dressed (transitioning from work clothes to real person clothes), and Little Bear was tormenting The Baby. He was chasing the little one around, saying "Nom! Nom! Nom" This alternated between making the baby laugh hysterically and cry with frustration.

"Little Bear, please stop tormenting your baby brother."

In a rare moment of true honesty, he said, "Why? It's fun!"


Today, The Boy found out that one of the other choirs in the organization is singing at the new Pittsburgh Holocaust Memorial. This lead into a discussion about what The Holocaust was.

How does one explain the true evil it takes to massacre millions and millions of people? How does one talk to an innocent child, who is just starting to comprehend the whole "death" thing and the huge part it's played in his life already, and explain the sheer numbers of people? Just as bad: explaining the huge numbers who were massacred for the "crime" of being Jewish?

I know there are people around the world who are living massacres not dissimilar. I just hope the next generation is smart enough to avoid it.


Today, we broke out the new whiffle ball pitching machine that I picked up with bonus points at work. It's pretty cool, but it pitches fast. The boys will need a couple of weeks to get used to it. Little Bear was most frustrated, but he's also the most focused. The look on his face when he's playing... that boy is a competitor.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Wet Stuff

So, the kids were staying with a friend this afternoon while The Wife was at a quartet thing, and around 4:30 she let me know that they were coming home from the playground. It was a beautiful, warm day: 83 degrees at that point in the afternoon.

The next text message, paraphrasing somewhat: "the Boy is running naked through my backyard." Fortunately, this was the same friend. It would be awkward from a different friend. This was followed by her letting me know that the boys were playing with water in the backyard.

I'm glad he's smart enough to take his hearing aids and glasses and stash them somewhere safe first. He does a good job with that. The boys know they're not going to get in trouble for being wet, like, 85 percent of the time, as long as they're smart about it. Take your shoes and socks off if safe. No electronics. If Dad has a phone outside of a Lifeproof case, he's off-limits.

Got them home, damp, without issue. Took the long way and made them run. Little Bear was whiny and complainy all through the run but, to his credit, made it through the end of the run. He's a tough kid. With his big brother? He'll have to be.


Today I was flipping through the new Photos program on our iMac while The Boy was practicing, and there was a project there: a slideshow of pictures from our Make-A-Wish trip. He and I both sat there, looking at the pictures and crying. Poor kid gets his overly emotional personality from me.

But man. What a week. May be the best week of my life.


Little Bear has started taking showers in the morning. So has The Boy. The Boy knows how to start the water. Little Bear doesn't but does know how to turn the water off. Seems like a problem that will solve itself, no?

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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Pitt Baseball

Today, I took the three boys to see the University of Pittsburgh Panthers play the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in baseball in Oakland. It was a youth group outing, and it was a wonderful afternoon.

The day started out slowly. I've been suffering from some back issues for the past week, and I woke up and decided against my normal Sunday morning workout (for the second week in a row). We had breakfast at home, then I dropped Things 1&2 at Sunday school. Since they had left sweatshirts at home, we retraced our steps before heading to be JCC to play as per usual.

From the JCC, we went back to Rodef for a pizza lunch, which was Papa John's. While I feel strongly about their stance on Obamacare, I felt more strongly about my need to eat today. So much for consistency in my political beliefs. Shrug.

The stadium turned out to be in the complex that I have driven past for the last few years on my way home from work. I've just never been inside! It's a beautiful Fieldturf field and an attractive stadium. Little Bear sat with me for an inning, and I did a decent combo of play by play and color analysis to teach him a bit of the game.

The day was absolutely beautiful: sunny and low 70's, about as perfect as it gets. I did remember the sunscreen, although I was not strict about reapplying often enough, which is okay. The boys say with me for a bit, then sat with friends, then sat with other friends, then took the little foam baseballs they got and threw them at a big concrete wall outside the grandstand.

They had a great deal, $2 for a hot dog and a drink. All the kids got drinks but didn't really want the hot dog - and it was cheaper to get the special than just a drink. There were a lot of extra hot dogs that we dads endeavored to finish. I'm happy to say that we mostly succeeded.

The game was a good game: 8-4 final, I think, but Pitt definitely won. At the end of the game, the kids lined up and ran around the bases, which the boys enjoyed so much they did it twice. The Baby waited in line as long as he could, then dashed out to the pitcher's mound to climb on top and look around. He then wandered around second base for a little while before sauntering over to me, standing in the third base coach's box to take pictures. Whatever. They were really chill about it and treated him with bemusement and amusement rather than annoyance, which I appreciated.

Then, the players sat at a big table and signed autographs for the kids, which was pretty cool. The players, as a large group, were friendly and engaging (easier after a good win, I imagine), and they were all kind to my little boys. I was coaching them to say thank you to all of the players and to say "good game today!" And "good luck for the rest of the season!" So, I think that helped a bit.

It was a good, and tiring, day.

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Sunday, April 5, 2015

A Good Day

Today might have been my best day in a couple of weeks.

The second Seder, last night, went quite well. It was a much smaller group: an illness derailed one family, and one of our guests had a time miscommunication where he thought everything was starting at 8 instead of 6. Whatevs. He still got fed, which was the important bit. But, ironically, because there were less people, things wound up less structured and more spread out. So, we didn't get back home until around 11, which is very late for my small people.

I was asleep about a half hour after them, which was before The Wife finished up and came home.

This morning I slept until about 6:15 and was woken by snoring little boys. I lolly gagged in bed, enjoying little snuggles, before coming downstairs and having a brilliant cup of coffee in an entirely silent house. There are few feelings better than a good cuppa and the morning news in a quiet house.

I did my normal Sunday workout with the boys hanging out and playing iPad. Little Bear, for his afikomen present, requested some extra levels unlocked for his favorite game, Mr. Crab. We had breakfast after exercise, and we lazed around the house until The Wife and The Baby got out of bed around 9. We facetimed with Grandpa for a while.

Little Bear and I had an epic duel which I won. He took a little while to get over it, and once he was ready to listen, I told him a couple of moves that he should have taken which might have won him the duel. I mean, so much of dueling card games comes down to luck (drawing the start of your powerful combinations before your opponent does), but you have to know how to use the cards. He's struggling with that, but he's learning quickly. Too quickly, as he wiped out a couple of good gambits I started earlier in the game.

We jogged our mile for the Steel City Kids Marathon around the neighborhood: it was a 60-something degree day. The Boy wasn't happy about our running route but finished strong regardless.

Once we got back home, they packed and left for Washington, DC. Aunt W got tickets for the boys to participate in the White House egg roll tomorrow morning. I hopped into bed and slept for an hour to celebrate.

When I got up, I read for a while before getting to work paying the monthly bills and finishing the state and local tax forms. I treated myself to a nice dinner at Applebee's tonight before settling down in front of the baseball game. I'll watch until I'm bored - probably about three or four innings, considering I have other things to do before bed.

The Cubs look good this year. Not as good as the Cardinals or the Bucs, but good.

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Friday, April 3, 2015

First night

Tonight was the first Seder of Passover. Outside of Israel, many Jews will have two Seders on the first two nights. But, night number one was the big one.

We had the Seder at Grandma's house again. It's a wonderful environment for it: really really big living room that holds a lot of people, and we had 33 people come to this one (including the five of us). It was definitely a kid friendly place: there were toys and crafts on one side of the room, within easy sight of the table, so that kids who needed to take a break could.

There were my boys; a 2-year old son of college friends; a family with three little ones litter than mine; and another family with an older kid in a wheelchair. It went well. The kids were reasonably well behaved and participated in the festivities, singing their songs.

They were dressed in their finest clothes tonight, which is always cute. They love their clip on ties.

It's always a late night, so we didn't get home and didn't get settled until ten o'clock. Another long day tomorrow, with The Wife singing services most of the day.

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Thursday, April 2, 2015


Passover Eve: the boys have had their haircuts, they have some new clothes to wear for the first Seder, and most of the food is prepared. Everything seems to have survived my illness and my wife's illness, and the kids have been briefed as to behavior and standard for the next few days.


The walls are nearly done outside of our house. Surprisingly quickly, considering the breadth of the project - there is a lot of wall around our house. They are doing a wonderful job, and these walls look like they'll outlast the house. Which is nice, I suppose. All I need is for them to last long enough so that when we sell the place (when we're too old to be going up and down these stairs all the time) they'll be a plus and not a negative.


One correction that The Boy needs to understand: yesterday was not HIS day but OUR day. It wasn't his fight; it was our fight. While he directly experienced the medicines and surgeries, we were there to clean surgical wounds, clean up puke and poop and piss, cheer him when he was sad, comfort him when he was in pain, and live through the peaks and valleys. My wife, my mother in law, and I were there for every single day; our fathers were there for an exceptional amount of it as well. Little Bear spent most of his first year going to hospitals with his brother. The family and friends who gave time, and help, and money, and gifts, and prayers were there for us as well. A village does not even begin to describe it.

I have all of the get well cards that people sent, saved in a box on a shelf. I will give him those one day, when he needs it.


Opening Day is on Monday, and I'll have my usual terrible baseball predictions over the weekend. Spoiler: I might not have, for the first time since I started blogging, picked the Yankees to win the World Series.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April Fools

April first is a very important holiday for our family. This is the day that The Boy was considered cancer-free, and our treatment was over. This was the day that were finally allowed to rebuild our lives and our family. Today marks the fifth anniversary of being cancer free.

He went to Eat N Park for lunch with Grandma. We went to Subway to pick up dinner and picnicked in the park, playing baseball while he hung out with some of the neighborhood girls. It was a blissful and simple afternoon, and we capped it off with watching this week's Flash episode until he fell asleep halfway through.

We'll do treats at some point, when we're all healthy and Passover is behind us. No rush.

It's a good day. No pranks for us. Today's too important.

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