Nov 3, 2014

Build a Bigger Iceberg

I took some of the kids camping this weekend (mom stayed home with a sick child and a homebody). We go camping around this time most years. It's freezing cold outside and it's my favorite time to camp. It's the kind of camping where a fire isn't just for looks or roasting marshmallows -- it's for keeping your toes from going numb. The campground is mostly empty and there isn't a bug to be found. It feels just a bit more survivalist and that makes it all the more invigorating.

This was a fairly cold one. The low was 26º and the high was 40º. The kids were completely unfazed and hats and coats somehow managed to become optional. (How do such little bodies with so little insulating fat maintain so much heat?) We were well fed with food and drink that warmed from the inside. The peacefulness of it all was amplified by the cool air and nearly bare trees. We had no choice but to unwind. And, the best part, there was no talk of movies, video games and cell phones.

The water couldn't have been more than 35 degrees.

My grandfather built this killer campfire rig in his shop.
My kids never met him, but they're impressed with his work.

While this may look like chopping firewood, in reality it was
getting the splitter caught in a log. Repeatedly.

The cold was for real.

Cold weather camping bonus: No need for ice!

Junior sausage chef.

Biker heaven.

Oct 9, 2014

Some Things Are Big (And Some Things Are Small)

A throwback to my post from five years ago. Not much has changed. In all the best ways.

Originally posted October 9, 2009.

It was on this date in 2004 that you hit the jackpot, Julie.

It's been five years since we tied the knot and since then I think I've continually exceeded your expectations. Surely you didn't expect me to gain so much muscle weight. I'm certain you never anticipated how passionate I could be about fantasy football. And I know you didn't think it was humanly possible to spend so much time in the bathroom. What can I say -- I'm an overachiever.

But today isn't just about me. It's also about all the things I do for you. I've introduced you to so many wonderful things. Like online first person shooter games. And breakfast cereal for dinner. And dutch ovens. I even cultivated your unconditional love of camping and watching ten straight hours of football on Sundays. How empty would your life seem without me?

Just think of all the personal growth you've achieved with my gentle and persistent coaching. I'm sure that when you eventually learn where exactly the toilet paper belongs in the bathroom you'll only have me to thank. (Hint: It's not on the sink or the back of the toilet.) One day, you too may obsess over refrigerator organization all because of my mentoring. And if you commit to it, I think you have the potential to surpass my own hypocrisy and stubbornness -- traits revered in political circles the world over. These are just a few of my many gifts to you. (I'm what the single ladies out there refer to as "a keeper.")

Sure, it hasn't been all wine and roses. I've gotten pretty adept at anticipating your every need, but sometimes even I make a mistake. Luckily those mistakes are few and far between. Married life is full of challenges, but I'm just as committed as ever to help show you the logical way to overcome those challenges. I know logic doesn't come easy for you, but that's what I'm here for. That's why we make such a great pair.

So here we are, five years in on an already crazy journey. (Seriously, what's up with cranking out four kids already?) Most people probably look at our relationship and scratch their heads. How did Hoolie land such a man? How does such an imbalanced marriage thrive? Well, I just smile and wink at those head scratchers. We're in this marriage for the long haul and I know you've got plenty of time to make it up to me.

Happy anniversary, Julie. There's no one else in this world I'd rather drive crazy. I love ya' lots.

Sep 27, 2014

The Littlest League Possible

This picture tells two things:
1) Why I cannot hang out on Saturdays.
2) The height of my children relative to their peers. (The lower the number, the smaller the jersey.)

Despite his small stature, Darwin is one of the more aggressive players out there, especially for his age group. But since his usual competition is always bigger, stronger and faster, it's not really a surprise.