Monday, December 28, 2009

Back in the eggs

I just noticed a theme.

Back in April, The Princess was anxiously awaiting the time that her hen would catch up with all the other birds and lay an egg. Butterscotch didn't come through until May 11. And for the past month or so, The Princess has been anxiously awaiting the time that her new hen would catch up with all the other birds and lay an egg.

Gold Diamond finally came through when we were out of town. The Law Talking Guy and his kids came over to feed the dog and let the birds roam a little while we were in Ft Worth. While here they collected three eggs, one much smaller than the rest. He called me to make sure things were OK with the birds. I assured him that it was a "First Egg" and that they are usually noticeably smaller.

Gold Diamond, 5 month and 2 week old Buff Cochin's first egg.
In relation to two from M&M and one blue/green egg from Roadrunner the Easter Egger.

The Princess is still out of town with Grandma, so I'll save GD's first egg for her to see when she arrives home. But now that we have 3 laying hens again, I better warn the neighbors. With the birds laying somewhere near 18 a week, I'll be pushing lots of eggs off on them shortly.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A peek at the awesomeness

A week ago I promised some upcoming awesomeness . I admit I have been negligent in posting the goods and I have been a tease. Turns out I don't have a flatbed scanner anymore. I thought there was still one in the garage. As a result, the project is going to be a little more time intensive than I thought.

So for the time being I bring you this. (Are you sure you can handle the awesomeness?)

Wait for it...

This little 15 page cookbook from 1965, turned up when The Mother of the Bride was at her Aunt's house. The MotB thought I might like it. And turns out she was right. Just like she always is. Isn't that correct, MotB?

Anyways, I'll try to figure out a decent way to share some of the recipes soon. Until then I am off to bake up some Bean Dip a la Dr Pepper. Or maybe I'll whip up some Dr Pepper basted Barbecued Spareribs...

More than you ever cared to know about blue eggs

Yesterday we got our first egg from The Talker's Easter Egger Pullet. I wanted to follow up with a little more info about the odd looking little egg.

First of all, yes they are edible. And like all of our backyard eggs, the blue eggs are very tasty! I can now vouch for this personally, since I just polished off 2 egg and cheese tacos.

One interesting tidbit about the blue egg shells, they are blue all the way through. Look at the brown egg shell to the left and you might notice that the brown eggs are actually white on the inside. The brown coloring is only on the outer surface of the shell. Not so with the blue eggs.

Roadrunner's egg, left. One of M&M's eggs from the last 4 days, top right. Grocery store organic, free range egg, bottom left.

The brighter color of the yolks from our backyard eggs is even more noticeable when compared to regular, white shelled, grocery store production eggs (which happen to make way better boiled eggs, by the way).

The three egg yolks in closer comparison. Roadrunner's egg bottom. M&M's egg top left. Grocery store egg, top right.

As chickens get older and lay more eggs, they tend to lay larger eggs. Their first eggs are smaller and the yolks are noticeably smaller. This is true regardless of egg shell color.

And finally, the real reason to keep a backyard flock! Egg and cheese tacos with a little Hell on the Red hot sauce and side of Dr Pepper! Good eating, thanks to our chicks!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Blue eggs and ham anyone?

The Talker has been fascinated with blue egg laying hens since we started our backyard flock. A year ago we talked about trying to find an Easter Egger Chicken, but our flock was already too big.

The neighbor's dog took care of that problem. A couple of times.

Back in July we bought a couple of chicks. One was labeled as an Ameraucana, but as we started to watch the bird mature, we realized that we actually had brought home an Easter Egger chick. No big deal, since The Talker's only wish was to have a hen that laid blue eggs.

Today, after a 5 month and 5 day wait, The Talker's wish came true.

The prize!

Here is Roadrunner's egg compared to M&M's latest offerings.

This is the only halfway decent picture I have ever snapped of Roadrunner. She is a fast, super timid bird.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Maybe next week

Bad news. The upcoming awesomeness isn't going to happen in the next few days.

The girl was home sick from school again today, so I did not even begin to work on the project.

You'll have to trust me. It is worth the wait, I promise.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The molt is ending!

This post is still not about the upcoming awesomeness. Sorry to extend the wait, but with The Princess home all day today it will be Thursday at the earliest before that project hits the internet.

But this is good news, too! M&M is finally finishing her molt. She had not laid an egg in a month. I saw her hanging out in the hen house all afternoon, so I was hopeful. Sure enough, when I went out a few minutes ago there was a nice, fresh egg waiting for me.

Now that M&M has remembered about her egg laying duties, maybe she can convince these other birds to start forking over some eggs also.

On an unrelated note...

Full disclosure: this post has nothing at all to do with the upcoming awesomeness. I really don't want you hurting yourselves and thinking that this post = some sort of clue. So on to the good stuff:

A conversation between myself and The Princess. This morning in the car, on the way home from the pharmacy:

", who is my brother?
Uncle J.
Right. Who is mommy's brother?
Right, she only has a sister.
That's Aunt A!
Right again. Who is daddy's sister?
Uh. I forget her name. You mean the one with funny hair, right?
Pure greatness from the mouth of the babe.

Wait for it...

There is something AWESOME coming shortly. Need to work on it today and hopefully will be getting it posted up shortly.

Set your faces to stun.

But until then, try to get some work done.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

We survived.

The Blizzard of Death'09 ® ended up being a 2 hour snowfall in the middle of the afternoon. But the way the local news was selling this story, someone was surely going to die. Sadly, as far as I know, no one did.

The kids got to go outside in the middle of the school day to play in the blowing snow. Which pretty much made for an exciting Friday. And my favorite type of Death Storm.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Prepping the chickens for the worst

The Blizzard of Death'09 ® is upon us.

At least that is the way the weather man are making the next two days of cold weather sound. The city is evidently prepping for mass casualties and ravaging outbreaks of hypothermia.

I went and did my dad duty this morning and I found the boy a new coat. Then I needed to fulfill my farmer-ly duties, so this afternoon I have been bust getting the chickens ready for the cold weather. (Which I don't mind doing, since they actually do sleep outside, where it might drop down into the upper 20's tonight.)

I never have successfully evicted the birds from my storage shed. Instead, I have made them a nice cozy home in there for the nights and occasional egg laying. The birds seldom go in the shed during the day, but I generally keep the door open anyways.

So tonight my chickens will be nice and toasty, thanks to the brooder lamp that I rigged up out in the shed. And I'll be watching the temps. If it is colder than expected tonight, I have also set up a little electric heater for the girls. On top of everything, the entire chicken pen inside of the shed is covered with a nice stack of old blankets, which should keep things nice and toasty.

Don't worry, though. I am a good farmer, so I made sure the blankets were not too close to the heat sources. Don't want to find my little birdies have turned into fried chickens overnight...

All my mother's dreams came true at Wal Mart this morning

My momma used to say "I hope you have a kid just like you." And guess what, I do.

One example: Here in Austin we are facing The Blizzard of Death'09 ®.

Weather is supposed to stay in the mid to high 30s tonight, tomorrow and much of Saturday. To prevent frostbite, instant hypothermia and projectile vomiting, the weather forecasters are suggesting that we Texans wear coats during this half-week Ice Age.

So we went about digging out the "big coats" this morning. Yet, The Talker's was nowhere to be found. He has worn the same big coat for a year, maybe two. It is one of those layered systems that you can separate into a lightweight jacket and a thicker polar fleece sweater. And amazingly he has managed to keep up with all of the component parts for this long.

The Princess has the same type of coat. And her's was missing for a few minutes too, but it was found in the trunk of my car. But she is a stylish girl and she had a spare, fuzzy fake fur Wookie looking coat lying around.

Anyways, I don't really want the kid to freeze to death. Plus, I simply don't have time to deal with Child Protective Services coming to my house, so I figured we needed to replace the boy's coat. this morning I hit up Target and a couple of other stores. No dice. Either the jackets were too thin, too bulky or too money. (I don't really need the boy to wear a faux-fur trimmed, goose down, parka for this 3 day winter storm.) I even stopped at a resale shop or two. Still no coat for the kid.

I was heading to the mall, when I saw the sign for our nearest Wal Mart. I'll admit, even though I worked for an arm of the giant for a few years in college, I don't really like Wal Marts. They are simply too big for my taste and my usual experience is that they are messy. But this store has recently been remodeled, so I am not as afraid of it as I once was.

Less than 15 minutes after I parked the car, I was walking out with the most perfect, $13 boy's coat ever made in China. It isn't as fancy as the lost jacket, but it should last at least long as our frigid temps. Hopefully The Talker will keep up with it longer than just this weekend, though.

But if not, I now know where to go for a quick replacement.

The Talker is getting off easy. No lectures, no hassles. Just a new coat because all during this journey I kept wondering how many times my mother made a similar trek to buy me a coat and to keep me from freezing to death in a t-shirt. I would guess that she did it more than once while I was in elementary school.

So Mom, Thanks for the curse. I want you to know that it worked.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fastest cleaning in West Austin

A co-worker of The Bass Lady's just called. The two of them have been working on a project for a while. Turns out the co-worker, with her family, are stopping by in about 10 minutes.

They are coming to our house.

On the day after a bunch of my family left.

And my family leaves a disaster in it's wake any time the herd goes away. I was planning to spend much of next week getting the house back in order. But we managed to get the public parts of the house "clean enough" in less time than it took the friends to drive across town. And I have to say, for 10 minutes work, it looks pretty good.

But no fair peeking in the garage or master bedroom, where the clutter was thrown while we were "cleaning".

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Odd Family (Traditions)

Does your family have any really odd traditions? Mine does.

In fact, I am currently participating in one of the oddest things we do every year. It is 6 AM, the Saturday after Thanksgiving and I am in my spot. On a downtown street, sitting in a folding chair, with a blanket wrapped around my legs.

Because it is 6 AM and it is cold. Meaning Texas cold, which evidently equals 52 degrees, FoF.

So why am I here, sitting in a chair beside Congress Avenue, overlooking the state capitol? I am waiting for the start of the Chuy's Children Giving to Children Parade. Also known as the official kickoff event of the AtHomeFam Christmas Season.

In a few hours there will be 100,000 people crammed into downtown to watch the parade. And this parade has grown so important to our family that I come down early in the morning and camp out on a good spot. The Boss Lady and kids come into downtown a few hours later, ensuring that we get a prime viewing location AND the kids get some decent sleep.

Like most great family traditions, this one has kind of murky origins. The Boss and I came to this parade several times before the kids were born. And we have only missed one year (due to rain) since The Talker was a baby. But we made up for that miss by accident one year, when we showed up a day early, toy donations in hand, to end up seeing the Aggies march into town for the UT vs A&M football game.

Several times we have waited hours before hand at a good spot only to have a late arrival come sit their family right in front of our spot. We always have enough room for extra kids to cram in, but blocking the view of the AtHomeKids is a bad idea. So I have moved my camp out time earlier and earlier over the years to get here and hold a great spot. And then I defend MY house! Last year I decided we had found the perfect viewing spot, so this year I made extra sure to get to our spot on time. Of course, when people ask, I'll lie and tell them that I only arrived "10 minutes ago". No need for future early arrivals, you know.

Anyways, I have the laptop in hand, and there is wifi available all over downtown, so entertaining myself for a few early morning hours should be no problem. In case I get really bored I also have the Kindle and my iPod. Otherwise, if you need me, I'll be sitting here on Congress, waiting for the fun to start.

And wishing I had brought along a potty...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The completion of the face burning

A follow up to my original post from Halloween day:

I have finally completed all four weeks of treatment for actinic keratosis. Hopefully now my face will start returning to it's usual level of baby-scaring ugliness.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The sounds of home

You know, this house never really sounds right without some noise. I think that is why I have not really settled into a groove while the kids are at school. It is simply too quiet. So I find myself breaking up the quiet with errands and chores that involve gas powered tools.

Right now there are 4 different clocks chiming the 8 o'clock hour. None of them are exactly on time, but I like them, because they need my help to keep going. Guy Clark is playing on my iPod that is connected to the home theater system. Good music to go with the ice cold Shiner Bock in my glass. And the dishwasher is running in the kitchen. The sound of a chore done by someone (or something) else.

All is right with the world.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Darth had a hard day @ skool

Look who fell asleep on my couch:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tooth Fairy Tricker - Patent Pending

The Princess just brought me this.

A treasure from the school lunchroom that she had managed to keep up with all day. Just a little, white piece of plastic from who knows what type of lunch container. I sure HOPE no one was going to eat it...

She told me to "Be very careful. I want to use it tonight. Don't lose it." After that serious warning I asked what I was holding. Turns out "it is a Tricker. A Tooth Fairy Tricker."

"Please Daddy, can I put it in my tooth box and see if she leaves me a prize?"

Of course, I am torn. Let her scam the Tooth Fairy? Times are tough all over and a 5 year old has to do whatever it takes to get by, right? Or should let her know that we are not going to sell counterfeit teeth to an apparition.

Ripping off the Tooth Fairy might be some time of federal crime or something; now that I am involved I am sure the Feds would just love to run us up on some conspiracy charges. Besides that, we live in Texas. Five year olds are still eligible for capital punishment down here. And I am not taking the rap for The Princess if this plan goes bad...

Face eating, week 3 of 4

A follow up to the post I made on Halloween, about my recent adventures treating widespread actinic keratosis on my face.

Here is the picture, just to get it out of the way:

The good news is that even though the redness and dry skin is a lot more obvious, and I am sick of explaining what is up, the medicine does not burn nearly as much any more. Hopefully only one more week of treatment and then a few weeks until my mug is back to it's normal level of ugliness.

The molt is on...

I knew the day would come, M&M, our only laying hen surely could not keep up with our family's egg needs by herself. But I have to say, the girl did an admirable job. We have not bought eggs since April. For a few months, up until Dog Attack v2.0 she had the help of Butterscotch and Fillet. But even when they were still helping out, she laid most of the eggs.

But now, with the longer nights and cooler days, egg production has stopped altogether- interrupted by her first molt, the periodic loss of old feathers and growing new ones. While molting chicken either stop egg production or lay much more infrequently.

We haven't seen an egg from the coop in a week. So this morning I had the sad duty of buying eggs at the grocery store, since the wife needs to bake for a work lunch tomorrow and she will be bakin' like a toasted cheeser for the family feed next week.

Boring white eggs, because if I want the $$$ eggs,
I'll just wait on M&M to quit molting.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Network this!

I know, I know. Blog postings have been painfully infrequent and sub par around here. But life hasn't been that interesting lately.

Still, if you can't get enough of AtHomeDaddy know that I am available to you in real time elsewhere.

On Facebook

On Twitter Because some jackhole has already registered AtHomeDaddy. Dude better take care of MY brand. Of course, he was quick enough to jump on when it opened up...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

No Mercy Rule here

I was out in the backyard, cleaning the chicken coop and patio with the power washer. (Yes Mom, I was wearing The Hat. And Sunscreen.)

While I was working, The Princess was up in the playscape, playing dolls and The Talker was holding one of his imaginary baseball games. This afternoon he was staging a rematch of Game 7 of the 2004 World Series.

And along with no Mercy Rule, I gotta tell you, there is no Curse of the Bambino in play on our home field either.

The final result?

Boston Red Sox 100, New York Yankees, 0. (And one clean chicken coop.)

The Mommy Speaks...

"Good morning, guys. Would you like me to take you to school today?"

"No", said the girl.

"Oh, that's OK"
, said the boy.

And mommy said, ""Well, then, let me rephrase. I am GOING to take you to school. So there!" as laughing daddy was running out of the room.

I did not know that The Boss was going in late today, so I could be annoyed that I am missing out on sleeping a little late, but then I would have missed that conversation. Which makes it worth giving up a few extra minutes of shut-eye.

Plus, I knew that The Boss would soon be stealing the only Dr Pepper in the house, so today was not the day to sleep in.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Facing up to the whining and bitching (and burning and itching).

A followup to a post I made almost two weeks ago:

The short answer: Yep. Still burns like a @#(*_@)$*)(#%&(*^@*&^# !

The long answer: Yep. Still burns like a @#(*_@)$*)(#%&(*^@*&^# ! And it hurts like a @#$)(#&% when ANYthing touches my face. And anything includes stuff like pillows, clothes, air. You know, stuff like that.

In the next two weeks I have been assured this will get worse. So much bitching and moaning to look foward to!

Let's get cooking!

After almost seven and a half years at home, you might think I have this house husband thing down pat. But one of the many domestic duties I have still yet to master is cooking for the family. Oh believe me, I have cooked enough food during my time that we are not starving. Far from it. I just have not gotten GOOD at it. But now the kids are gone to school 8 hours a day and I have been trying to step up my kitchen skillz.

Let's start with the House specialty. After years of resisting, I bought a crock pot a year ago. I wanted it for a specific item, pot roast. Now my pot roast is finally good enough that I served it to my own mother. I have pretty well conquered the gas grill, too. Burgers, hot dogs and chicken are no problem. Sometimes I even branch out a little and grill some veggies. I bought a smoker last year and I can crank out a pretty good smoked chicken.

I even do pretty good when it comes to putting an entire meal together. Fruits, veggies (almost always green beans) and other sides. But I seem to be in a cooking rut. We eat the same things frequently. The biggest problem with that is that the kids have grown resistant to trying new foods.

Recently I have brought out some new meals, baked potatoes and all the fixings and several different stews. The black beans I made from scratch tasted blech. Tonight we are eating chicken fajitas and I just finished a batch of home made re-fried beans. They turned out OK, but hopefully a second effort will be a little tastier.

When I turned into AtHomeDaddy I looked for a cooking class. Never did find one that wasn't geared at gourmet or specialty cooking. But now, after all these years of trial and error, I seem to be getting the hang of the kitchen.

The clone should watch his back. Might be spies nearby

The Talker hit the Mother Lode a couple of nights ago. Halloween costumes on a 90% off sale at Target. He scored a Star Wars Clone Trooper costume for $4 and a Darth Vader for $2. Needless to say, the boy can hardly be talked out of his new gear.

This morning he wanted his Clone Trooper picture taken. While I was trying to snap a decent shot, I noticed that we had an extra set of eyes watching our every move. M&M the Hen may be a double agent for the Jedi. Because, as The Talker just informed me, "the Blue Clone Troopers are bad guys and they fight the Jedi. When Anakin Skywalker was a..." (At that point I just sort of quit listening since his Star Wars talk can go on for a while.)

A Clone Trooper can not be too careful around here!

The eyes are watching. Always watching.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Random notes from the AtFarmFam

Life is kind of status quo around here lately. The kids and chickens are cute. The weather is perfect. The Boss Lady is working hard and I still have a face that feels like it is melting off.

Not that any of those thing are bad (OK, the face thing sucks a lot, but I have always been ugly.) But there just isn't a lot of blog fodder in the normal routine.

So here are the pictures:

The earlier dark hours have cut into M&M's egg production, but the other hens should be starting to lay in the next month to six weeks.

This may end up being my new favoritest picture of the brood.

The Princess, ready to go to her cheer leading gig at the high school football game.

And now the video:

Just to prove that she really is my kid.
(There are a couple of other vids on my Facebook page
if you are a glutton for the cuteness that is my daughter.)

Monday, November 02, 2009

And the teasing shall begin in 3... 2... 1...

Having the doctor scare the pee outta me in regards to my chances of developing skin cancer, has made me do some strange things. For example, I spent money on myself at the makeup counter this week. Which is something I hardly ever do. Plus, I have been slathering sunscreen on day and night.

Finally, this morning I have been out on the hunt. Big game was not my prey. Instead, I have been stalking big hats. The likelihood of me staying inside all the damn time is slim. So I need to do the next best thing to keep the sun offa my face and neck. Luckily, I live in Texas, so even if I look a little a whole lot silly, I can still get away with wearing a cowboy hat.

OK, remember, this thing is a precision medical device. So be gentle and don't hurt yourself laughing. Dr's orders.

On a little more serious note, you can see how the medicine is starting to tear up my skin pretty good in that first picture. That is, if you can get past the laughing...

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Clean up day

Here is how the modern, urban chicken farmer rids himself of unwanted post-Halloween pumpkins.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Trick or Drunk!

A year or two back I stole Halloween back from the kids. I started serving frozen margaritas to the parents as they cruised by. Honestly, we have to have some gimmick. We live on the "retired end" of a long cul-de-sac and never have gotten many Trick-or-Treat-ers. Last year the word was out and we were a hit!

The neighbors seem to have either gotten the idea or they got offended. There are several other outdoor parties tonight. So I had to find a niche once again. The hook this year? 2 TVs for college football AND margaritas.

Oh yeah, there is some candy, glow sticks and plastic bugs for those of the non-drinking age, too. Also, just to be safe, Bugs Bunny isn't drinking tonight, so he is driving the bar.

Scared Shi*less on Halloween

The pic of my face is not SUPPOSED to be the scary part, but there you have it. This week may end up going down as one of the scariest moments in my life. And in the grand scheme of things I pretty much hope it does not get worse than this.

Anyways, after ignoring some raw, sore spots on my ugly mug for far too long I finally hit up the dermatologists office this week. Didyaknow it is a bad idea for a guy with pale skin complexion to be outside all the damn time for almost 40 straight years? Yeah, I knew that too.

Of course, I have also known for years that I should wear a hat, long sleeves and sunscreen. And I have been doing all of those things since I was born since I left the dermatologists office with a prescription for a creme that will hopefully help keep these pre-cancerous spots on my face from developing any further into cancer cells.

The downside of the medicine is that it basically burns your face off for a month or two, causing the bad skin spots to die and slough off. So for the next two months or so I am going to look like The Boss Lady finally threw that vat of boiling acid that she keeps on the stove, on me. Which may not even be much of a change. Also, the medicine buns like a mother @#*)&@#$)(!

I have used it for two nights and so far I have managed to sit an whimper for two or three (or four) hours after slathering my face. All for the greater good of not having my fave turn into a giant tumor.

One side effect of all this attention to my face was completely unexpected. I spent more this week at the makeup counter than my wife has all year long. The dermatologist wanted me to buy a specific facial moisturizer and some industrial strength sunscreen to use all the dang time. And never being one to ignore great advice (except for all of that stuff about sunscreen, hats and sleeves that I ignored for 40 years), I dropped $35 at Walgreens the other day.

All of this to say that this week could have been a lot worse. Still it has made Halloween scary enough I think.

The Boss Lady and I have tried to attack this as we usually do, injecting as much humor, information and booze into the situation as we dare. I do understand that the diagnosis could have been a lot worse. And I can't help but think that if I had remained as stubborn as I usually am, then it might have been.

And finally, here is a little more information about actinic keratosis.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I didn't see it on Maslow's Hierachy,

But I did find it on Aisle 36!

Yes, it is true. I did email the wife today and tell her "I need more laundry soap."

Go ahead, take away the last tattered pieces of my man card. At least I'll have clean underwear when I have no dignity left.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bring on the Trick-or-Treat-ers

We never go too crazy with holiday decorations around here, but I can't resist a little something for Halloween. Add to that, Pops brought us two big floats that had drifted ashore on Matagorda Island and the kids and I could not resist.

I bet we have the biggest pumpkins in the neighborhood this year!

Besides that, who else has a ghost made of a bed sheet, a beach towel, a soccer ball and a couple of zip ties?

Friday, October 16, 2009

I think we can all see how this is going to turn out...

The Boss Lady's dog woke me up at 4 am. With a 110 pound dog I really do not want to wake up and find a big wet surprise on the hallway floor, so I got up to let him out.

But of course he can not STAY out. He would bark away the rest of the dark and tick off neighbors all over the 'hood. So I waited at the backdoor with a treat, to bribe him back in.

Of course he fell back asleep immediately. Didn't even make it out of the living room. Me? No more sleep for me, thanks.


We are out of Dr Pepper.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Field trip day!

I am taking off in a few minutes to go with The Princess' class on a field trip. We are heading down to the Zach Scott Theatre. I have no idea what the show will be about. But I bet the side show, trying to keep a couple of dozen Kindergartners content during the show will be just as much fun.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

News from the coop

I tried to take full advantage of the first sunny afternoon we have had in about two weeks. I spent more than an hour cleaning the chicken coop today. Cleaning up after the birds is a messy job anyways, but it is almost impossible to do in the rain. Still, I had let it wait too long.

The chickens have decided to boycott the outdoor chicken coop that I created for them out of a re-purposed dog kennel and a couple of the big, plastic dog houses. They have started heading into my storage shed at night, where they had lived until I thought they were big enough to handle the weather outside.

The birds have less room inside the shed, but they evidently prefer it to the yard. I still had the brooder space in the shed set up, so they have taken that space back over. I'll be keeping the kennel/coop though. Hopefully the birds will be back out there when the rain lets up.

M&M (Mystery Meat) Our year old hen.
She has survived two dog attacks without a scratch and she still lays 5 eggs a week.

The Talker finally settled on a name for his girl.
This is Roadrunner, a 3 month old Ameraucana pullet.
She is one fast bird!

This is Gold Diamond, The Princess' 3 month old Buff Cochin.
Also known as GD Chicken. (Hey, the girl named her, I didn't!)

Yesterday we ran out of eggs. No big deal, except that The Boss Lady was cooking cornbread for dinner and she needed one more egg. Since our first birds started laying last spring we have not bought any eggs (except a few that we decorated at Easter).

I was about to go door to door to mooch an egg from neighbors, when I remembered to check the coop. M&M had laid a rare late afternoon egg. She saved my dinner! Hopefully in another 2 or 3 months M&M will have some reinforcements and the other birds will be laying eggs also.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Log time, little blog

I haven't had much to say lately. Odd, I know. But every time I sit down to blog, it just sounds like a big whine-fest.

The kids have settled into school, The Boss Lady has gotten herself into the groove of a new job and here I am, hanging at the house and watching the world go by.

One reason I haven't blogged much lately is that I just don't think anyone really cares that I watched ANOTHER episode of Hitler's Bodyguard on the Military Channel. To put it mildly, this whole staying at home without kids around really hasn't turned out to be my favorite thing.

Over the years I have joked many times about being The Boss Lady's personal mooch. But I have always been really secure in my knowledge that my having a paying job was unimportant to our family. Letting the kids grow up at home has always been a much more important focus than whatever income we were giving up. However, I had a little part time job for the last couple of years and now, without those few hours of work, I am realizing that I bore myself to tears.

The Boss Lady and I are also big supporters of public education. So no one should really be surprised that we never considered home schooling or private schools as viable options for our family. I will refrain from entering into a discussion of the positive and negative aspects of different educational systems. But there are days that I think 'if the kids were home, doing school, at least I would be of some benefit around here.'

I put in several job applications a month or so back. I did not hear a single word from any of the employers, so I have pretty much given up on finding a part time job. For the time being I am trying to keep busy by making myself healthier and trying to benefit our community. I have started hitting the gym a couple of times a week. It has been at least a year and I really want to lose 25 pounds that seem to be following me from couch to couch. Seriously though, I am trying to limit my couch time by volunteering at our church. Plus, I have some other commitments with community organizations that I try to fulfill in the evenings, after The Boss Lady gets home from work.

Anyways, all that whining was really just to say that things are about the same around here. Even though I am pretty much ready for some change and the TV and couch are probably ready for me to find something else to do, too.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Corrupting the future

This morning I went up to our church and helped out in the nursery, while the young moms of the church had a Bible study time. They met all last year and I took a fair amount of teasing from some of the guys at church, wondering if I, as the sole Stay at Home Dad around, would jump into the middle of the Stay at Home Mommy group. I assure you I never did.

When they started up the group again this school year, I told some of the ladies who organize the group that I could help out with the childcare if they ever came up short handed. They are only a couple of weeks in to a new session, but they called my bluff. Actually, it was a serious offer. I still remember a little bit about those looooooooooooooooooooooooong days at home with crying/screaming/teething/wailing/weeping/whining babies. And I remember how important it was to get together with guys who were in the same boat.

A couple of the moms, who I did not know beforehand, seemed a little surprised to see a dude in the nursery. I let the moms I did know explain to them who I was and I hung out with the 2 and 3 year old kids. We played cars, dolls, kitchen dress up and artist. And we did it all at the same time! It was a good couple of hours.

I guess I built up some good karma because while waiting at the bus stop a neighbor asked if the kids could come up and play for a while. Now that we whipped through homework, my progeny are hanging out up the hill and I have extended the quiet time in my house by another half hour or so.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Rule Number One

Remember, people, we live in a college town. A fairly liberal and progressive college town, too. So my children occasionally see some things when we are out and about in town.

This morning we went downtwn to the Farmer's Market, to hang with the old hippies. But believe me, we saw nothing out of the ordinary there. Hippies are my people. Especially the ones who shower and shop at urban Farmer's Markets. Nothing that happens there really shocks us.

But driving back across town, we were driving down The Drag when we spotted two frat boys walking down the street. Not an uncommon occurrence around The University of Texas, but I am infinitely less trusting of them than I am the old hippies downtown.

The problem with these two particular fratties? One was wearing nothing but his boxer underwear and a big grin. The other had on a t-shirt with his boxers, (which suspiciously were a matched set for Frat Dude #1's drawers.) And of course, this is a home football game afternoon, so there are huge crowds of fans all over the campus.

The Boss Lady and I took the chance to explain that college is fun, but one should not be a complete dumb ass out in public while in college. That led to a new family mantra: Rule Number One - don't be an idiot.

Rule Number One is the new measure of behavior for our crew. And I think it has some universal appeal. Feel free to make use of Rule Number One in your own dealings with your family or with any herds of free ranging frat boys that you might encounter.

By the time we made it home the kids were singing a song they had made up about Rule Number One. They also asked about the possibility of coming up with another. Rule Number Two, if you will. But I think that is the real beauty of Rule Number One. It pretty much covers every possibility.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The week is off to a good finish!

Sick kid a couple of days.

One day he was actually sick, with a fever. A reaction to his flu vaccine, I think. The second day he probably still had a fever, but AtHomeDaddy, as has been shown here many times over the years, is an idiot. I did not realize that our slick, new temporal "head scan" thermometer had a protective cap on the scanning end. And it turns out that when you scan WITH the cap in place, you get a reading near normal.

So I sent him to school. And probably infected the entire second grade with some mutant pandemic. What else is new?

I kept The Talker home yesterday, though his fever had broken the night before. We ran some errands - chicken feed and haircuts must be obtained, sick kid or not... And we played A LOT of video games. Catching up on homework? Yeah, not really.

Anyways, everyone is at school this morning so life is back to normal.

In a success worthy of front page news coverage, I decided on a whim to run my car to the dealership this morning. I had some radio problems a few weeks back, and a new problem had popped up with the system since then. I kept trying to find a time to get to the shop, but leaving myself without a car is a crap-shoot most days. If I have a car available, I won't need to bail anyone out of jail or make a trip to the Principal's office.

I have bitched and moaned elsewhere about my dislike of the local dealership's service department. But today I have to give them a little pat on the back: I stopped by the dealership without an appointment. I was assuming they would need to order a replacement part and that they would need an hour or so to diagnose the problem and convince themselves of the need for the parts replacement.

After I waited about 30 minutes I decided to just leave the car, catch the customer shuttle to the house and I would come back later. But lo, and behold! My car was finished. It was washed and waiting in the ready line. 45 minutes after I dropped the kids at school, I was back home with my car AND a fully functional stereo system.

I think I will skip the lottery this week. 'Cause all my good luck just got spent at the Saturn dealership.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Boss Lady has wondered how the kid's rooms get so messy...

When I went in to wake the girl a few minutes ago:

"Hey, Baby Girl. Good Morning! It is going to be a great day and look at how clean your room is. That will be awesome when you are playing after school."

She replied "But only if you don't play in here today and mess it all up."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

For a guy with nothing to do
I sure seem to be keeping busy

A sample of my time from this week:

Monday I was supposed to be around the house all day. Doing the usual, catching up on laundry, cleaning the kitchen, hours wasted on Facebook. You know, the essentials. I don't really remember where all of the time went, but the stove is clean and nothing else seemed to get done around here.

There was an incident in the school parking lot. But seeing that I enjoyed it so much, I don't think that is where all of my time went...

Tuesday I was in charge of pulling together a last minute breakfast meet-up for the local Stay at Home Dads who are now without kids during the day, thanks to the start of the new school year. There are about 10 of us who have been friends since out kids were born. Now that our youngest kids have started kindergarten, we should have some free time on our hands, so we get together once a week to chat and eat breakfast.

I thought all of the details for Tuesday breakfast had been settled. According to my brain we were set to meet at a Mexican bakery in east Austin at 9:30. about 9am calls and emails started rolling in, looking for location and meet-up times. Evidently I had never sent a final email out to the guys, with final details. Oops!

A couple of quick calls and emails and my imaginary plan was back on. I rushed over to the restaurant, hoping no one was sitting there waiting for the group to show, I was assuming no one else would make the drive over due to the late notice. We still ended up with 4 guys and we had a good time. Glad it worked out in the end...

After breakfast I headed across town to My So Called Aunt's house to help out with some home repairs. I planned to hang a couple of ceiling fans and start on installing some new trim and baseboards in her recently water-damaged kitchen.

Installing ceiling fans is something I can do in my sleep. It usually takes me 20 or 30 minutes to take down an old fan and have the new one up and running. But I was adding a remote control unit to this fan and it turned out to be a big hassle. After trying several times to get the remote receiver installed properly I returned it to Home Depot and grabbed one of a different brand. It fit and works like a dream. After all that it only took me about 5 minutes to get the remote installed and everything buttoned up. But the one fan had taken me about 4 hours to install. :(

I couldn't sleep worth a darn after I got home from the world's longest meeting on Tuesday night. My legs were killing me from standing on the ladder for several hours.

Wednesday morning I dropped the kids and headed back out to My So Called Aunt's house. I got the second ceiling fan installed in about 25 minutes. Then I knocked out the kitchen repairs in a couple of hours. Made it back home by 1:30 which was a long enough break that I fell asleep on the couch and almost missed the school bus.

Thursday I am scheduled to be on campus with the kids again. Evidently this whole Dad of the Day thing is a sham award given to dads suckers who are gullible enough to show up for all day volunteering. Actually, I had a good time last week and I am going to continue until we think that The Princess is successfully settled into Kindergarten.

Friday is supposed to be my day at home. The only problem is that everything will need to be done at once. Laundry, yard work and cleaning have all piled up this week. So no matter how much I want to, I guess playing Wii Sports Tennis for hours on end will have to wait until next week.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dad of the Day!

The kids school has a pseudo-honorary position for qualified parents, the "Dad of the Day (DotD)". Let's just get it out in the open, NO! I do not know if there is a "Mom of the Day" program and I don't really care to find out. Anyways, after The Princess had a rough couple of days in Kindergarten, I decided to ask about the Dad of the Day program. Turns out I am perfectly qualified.

First, I am a dad of students at the school. Second, I have loads of availability during school hours. Thirdly, I was knuckle-headed enough to take on the momentous responsibilities associated with the DotD position. And most importantly, I know how to use a copy machine and a die cut machine.

When I walked in as DotD I had delusions of patrolling the halls for scofflaw second graders abusing library books. But I ended up working a lot more directly with the kids than I had imagined.

I helped kindergartners with a science experiment (Yellow + Blue = Green). I read stories. I ate lunch with The Princess and her friends. I ate a second lunch about 20 minutes later with The Talker and his friends. I played on the playground with the kindergarten classes. I went to PE class with The Talker's class and I helped the teacher manage the herd during some relay races. After that I played with the second graders out on the playground.

At that point I think The Talker's teacher sent me to the office. I had spent enough time in there during the week prior, so I knew the way. I made hundreds of die-cut daisies and I prepped some supplies for an activity for the following day.

When the day ended I was out helping to make sure the kids got on the proper bus for the ride home. They wanted to ride home with their friends on the bus, so as soon as the bus pulled away I dashed for home. I hopped out of the car and met the school bus at the curb. My 8 hour adventure at the school had come to an end. Except for the part where I fell asleep at 7:3o. Right after I asked The Boss Lady how she and her cohorts do it every day of the school year.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I don't believe that man has ever been to medical school

I love eaves dropping on the kids when they are thick into playing together. Just now I was in the back of the house and kids were playing in the rain, in the backyard with their favorite dolls. Yes, the boy still has a doll, Phillip. But if you ask, he is just holding Phillip for his sister, OK? Anyways, I overheard the following exchange:

The Princess/Mommy: Doctor, what is wrong with Baby Emma?

The Talker/Doctor: Don't worry, lady. I know what is wrong. She has her feet stuck in her ears!

So there you go, a quick diagnosis, with no co-pays or insurance hassles. I wish I could get that kind of service from my doctor's office.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

14 years

People have done less time for murder. Of course, I live in Texas. Around here, people have probably been executed for forging their parent's names to elementary school field trip permission slips. So maybe the criminal justice system does not make for the best analogy.

Anyways, 14 years ago she said I do. And I immediately yelled "No take backs. I call it on the bouquet." Then I shot breath freshener up my nose... The rest of that story some other time.

Anyways, Wednesday is our 14th wedding anniversary. It hasn't exactly been June and Ward Cleaver. It has been messy. It has been fun. And if nothing else, it has been us, doing things our way. Together.

Thanks, Boss Lady.


Toilet! (Tipped Over!)

Fair Warning Notice: FOF, this post is about a potty.
Proceed with caution!

There is a new neighborhood under construction near our house. The builder is cramming about 20, 600K 2 story homes into a piece of property that is something less than 4 acres. There used to only be 2 houses with huge yards on the property, but progress dictates that people want huge houses with yards that can be mowed with a pair of scissors. I digress.

Anyways, a random old toilet showed up on the property while one of the houses was under construction. We see the toilet every time we drive into our neighborhood and the kids started laughing about the randomness of the potty sitting out in the middle of the new development.

For weeks it was a race, to see who could spot the potty and yell out "Toilet!" each time we passed (pun fully intentional - I work hard for this blog, don'tcha know?) by.

Then one day the abandoned throne was knocked over on it's side. And there it has stayed for a month or more.

Now, with each drive by, someone in the car yells out "Toilet! Tipped Over!" As far as I can tell, the only real rule to the game is that whoever yells last loses.

Someday I guess our magical, mysterious potty will end up in a dumpster. Until then, keep a sharp eye out. You never know when a potty might appear out of nowhere.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Parent of the Year? Maybe not?

This morning The Boss Lady and the kids were still snoozing. I couldn't sleep and had been up since about 4. Once it was light enough outside for me to get moving, I prepped to go out for a nice, quiet walk and hike on the nearby trails.

Of course, as I was walking out the front door, The Princess appeared. I was going to just skip the walk and hang out at the house so The Boss Lady could sleep. But I had already stepped outside and I knew I could not resist the 70 degree temps.

So I tried to make everyone happy. I turned on the TV, opened a new box of pop tarts, poured some milk for the kids and I hit the road. I felt (a little bit) guilty about sabotaging the The Boss' extra sleep (for about 2 minutes). But it was soooooooooooo cool and quiet out there.

I walked my usual "Cigar Walk Loop", about 2 miles, with about 75% of that on the trails. Funny thing, it is a lot quicker to make this walk without trying to keep a cigar going the whole way. I usually spend about 90 minutes making the loop. This morning I was home in less than 45 minutes.

Bonus points that the kids fell for it! They ate the pop tarts and watched the TV. The Boss Lady was still in be when I got home and only The Princess knew that I had even left the house.

Friday, September 04, 2009

2 years and 10 days

We made it through 2 years and 10 days of elementary school education without anyone needing to make a trip to the Principal's office. OK, technically, we made it 2 years, 9 days and ALMOST to the end of lunchtime.

That is right, boys and girls, AtHomeDaddy has spent the afternoon sitting in the Principal's office. My lovely little Princess was the culprit. Or at least an accomplice.

The hard lesson of the day is this: IF your friend decides to leave the cafeteria to go home for some more lunch, AND you are busily trying to keep that friend from going out of the front doors of the school because you know it is not a good idea, THEN do not follow your friend outside of the building and towards the parking lot. Seems pretty logical, no?

Heck it even seems to make sense to The Princess. Now.

It think it started making sense to the girl right about the time a parent found the kids standing on the sidewalk, beside the parking lot. Thankfully the mom took the girls directly to the office and everything was sorted out quickly. The adventurers were returned to their classes with an adult escort and the obligatory calls were made to the parents of the Wandering Duo.

I decided to visit the girl at school to hopefully make a strong impression about how dangerous her actions were. And after we walked around and chatted at length about making better choices to help friends and the impenetrable fortress that is the school's front doors, I think a decent impression was made. If not, then a 3 day weekend with some extra chores might serve as a decent reminder...

An Addendum:
I know I am making light of what could have turned out to be a much more serious problem. Thankfully it did not and we can laugh about it a little. I have been on the other side of this type of mess when a boy walked away from my recreation center and we had to involve search dogs and helicopters to find him. 3 hours later. Yeah, not fun.

Luckily nothing more serious occurred today. I am thanking God that the other parent was at the right place at the right time to see what was going on and to bring the girls back in to the school.

Besides all that though, I never thought we would go more than 2 years without The Talker making a trip to the Principal's office. After all, I was sent to Mr. Spurling's office on my FIRST day of Kindergarten. And I learned one thing way back then: It does not matter if the Principal is your dad's friend, he really will not like to answer to a Kindergartner who addresses him by his first name. "Hello, Terry" really did not work out too well for me way back then.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Randomness from the homefront

The Talker thought the BIG bowl of cantaloupe at
breakfast was a pretty good way to start the day!

Golden Diamond, the Buff Cochin and Unnamed Bird, the Ameracuna
cruising the backyard this morning.

Then there was this:

Sometimes you have to show them who is the boss.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

A nice, smooth start to the school year

We are almost 10 days into the school year and it has been an uneventful trip so far. The Princess 's Kinder and The Talker is having a blast in second grade.

It is a big bonus that the kids are still not used to the early morning wake-ups and our house is quiet by 7:45 every school night.

Now, if only The Boss Lady and I could figure out some way to use up all of that free time at night...

Friday, August 28, 2009

I suck at craigslist

One of my new favorite websites is There is always a good showing of craptastic stuff and the mastery of the English language with aside of photography combines for a fantastic train wreck.

But evidently, I suck at craigslist a different way. You see, I seem to never make any money on my craiglist deals because I am just enough of a bleeding heart liberal and a sucker for people who show up on time.

Granted, I never put anything on craigs, or the local freecycle list that I would not be willing to drop off at the neighborhood Goodwill store. We are not talking the highest quality merchandise, here. But whatever I have to offer online, it usually isn't complete junk.

A few years ago I tried to give away an old boat on craigslist. I grew really tired of people calling to quiz me about the boat and then not showing up to look it over. So I re-listed it a few weeks later, with a $250 price tag. Within 10 minutes I had two guys ready to drive over to check it out. When the guy who had first contacted me about the boat showed up, I gave him the dang thing, just to get it out of my backyard.

This week I listed The Talker's old bike($25), a wagon($40) and a tricycle($20) on craigslist. After I listed everything, (but before anyone contacted me about the stuff), I ended up giving the wagon to our neighbors. I deleted the ad listing the wagon and all was good. Then, this morning a couple came over to look at the bike for their 5 year old's birthday. They showed up when they told me they would so I sent them away with the bike and their cash so that they could replace the threadbare seat before the birthday party.

In the end, I have the trike still for sale. And if I find a sucker willing to pay me $85 for it, then I will have made my $$ AND cleaned out a few more square feet of my garage.

For the past two days I have been working on cleaning out the garage, trying to get ready for a slew of home improvement projects that are on tap for this fall. I stopped cleaning to hang a ceiling fan out there. I had stashed the fan away in the attic after a neighbor upgraded to a nicer fan probably 5 years ago. I was using the stashed-away fan to replace one that had finally died after I moved it out of The Princess bedroom and installed it in the garage at least 7 years ago. Since the washer and dryer are in our west facing garage, the fan is almost a necessity in the afternoon.

I was laughing about how my scrounging and pack rat skills had paid off once again with this "new" fan when I started thinking about the stuff I had listed on craigslist. Then I did not feel too bad about giving it all away.

The wagon sells new for close to a hundred bucks. But we found it brand new for something like $15 at at Target store that was remodeling and they needed to get everything out of the sporting goods section in short order. The clearance prices were ridiculous and I remember we brought home a van load of stuff.

The bike was given to us by a friend of The Boss Lady after her two or three boys outgrew it. The Talker got a new bike a couple of months ago when he finally outgrew the hand me down bike, too. And the trike came out of a dumpster. The handlebars wouldn't stay tight but after a little work, they have held perfectly for years. The Princess has ridden it a million miles around the neighborhood.

Anyways, if you ever need a good deal off of craigs, check for my ads. And be sure to show up on time.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The school bell tolls for thee

Seven years ago I started the stay at home dad gig full time. I wasn't completely clueless or going into the job with no idea about what to do with kids. True, I knew very little about babies, but The Talker was 8 months old by then and I had already burned 3 months of FMLA leave with him earlier that Spring. After all, I had been raising other people's kids for a decade in my Parks and Recreation programs. So I thought I was ready and up to the task of bringing up my own kid.

Turns out, I was mostly correct.

Back then, though I never said it out loud, I was determined to finish the job. I was going to do the Stay at Home Dad thing until the boy was in Elementary School. After that I would figure out what was next. Of course, little sister came along and I stuck with the original plan, though she and I did detour through a couple of seasons of preschool.

And now, tomorrow, The Princess enters Kindergarten. But now I am sure, as my friend M pointed out today, my SAHD job is nowhere near finished. The kids are still going to need a chauffeur, a sick day and vacation day playmate and loads of other things I can only imagine.

Then there is our house. Have you seen this thing? I love it, but we put off a bunch of badly needed upgrades for years, because it proved impossible for me to do any real home repair or renovations with kids all over the place. Maybe I will finally get to finish up the bare concrete floors in our bedroom. Not to mention the other half finished projects lined up in the garage.

And the yard? OK, it may be a lost cause due to the drought, but I have put off mowing for a week simply because I knew that come tomorrow I could mow. On a weekday. While it cool(er) outside. And not waste a Saturday cleaning up the yard. That is good stuff right there!

The Boss Lady and I have started a list of things we want to do. There are a ton of things to get done around here. Probably more than I can do in a school year. But in this business, a really long To DO list = AtHomeDaddy job security.

For the record, tomorrow is a wash. Heck, I am not planning to get much done this first week. Cleaning the main house is in order: kitchen, living loom, the dining room. You know, all the stuff neighbors might see. The kids rooms can wait. I have all school year to get to that mess.

Addendum: Adding to the changes around here, the chicks have gotten the boot as of this evening. They have moved from their overnight quarters in the living room (in a Guinea Pig cage) to a giant dog crate in the garden shed. They have been living outside for a couple of weeks already during the daytime. M&M is getting used to them and she has almost quit chasing them around the yard. In another month the should be ready to overnight with her in the chicken coop.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Three of our favorite things (and one, meh.)

If I had my wish, we would have a whole herd of big dogs around here. I love me some Great Danes, Old English Sheep Dogs and of Course, Great Pyrenees.

Until then I guess we will have to make do with a dog food commercial aimed at people who own West Highland Terriers. At least the first 19 seconds of this clip rule!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Art and the Giant Spaghetti

The kids and I are trying to cram a lot of fun into the last week of summer. This morning's adventure had us exploring the Blanton Museum of Art, on the campus of The University of Texas.

One of the all time favorites at the museum is an unnamed work outside of the museum. The Princess and The Talker dubbed it Giant Spaghetti. After we played in Giant Spaghetti for a wile, we explored the inside of the museum. There were loads of paintings that the kids were not too sure about, like Jo Baer's work, Horizontals Tiered (Vertical Diptych). They wanted to know why the museum was showing a painting with nothing on it.

Still, there are also several pieces on exhibit that the kids really seemed to connect with, like George Sugarman's Two in One and, for some reason, Claude Vignon's David with the Head of Goliath. They talked about that painting the entire rest of the visit and on the way home, too. And I certainly hope they don't get any ideas for my next birthday present.

Of course, we ended up the morning with another visit to Giant Spaghetti, stopping to grab a couple of pictures on the way to the car.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It was (supposed to be) a rhetorical question

A dialogue between the girl and myself, after I heard the "Jingle Bells, Batman Smells" song for the six billionth time in 30 minutes:

Me: "Baby girl, how many times have I asked you to quit repeating yourself over and over?"

The Princess: " I don't know. You said it a BUNCH of times."

The girl speaks the truth.

Monday, August 17, 2009

And everyone has survived this far...

I just realized that as of yesterday I have been a full-time Stay at Home Dad for 7 years. The Talker, who is entering the 2nd grade next Monday was 8 months old. The Princess, who is starting Kindergarten this year was not even a remote possibility and I was one clueless sumbitch about it all.

Still clueless, but the children have managed to live through to the start of school. I'll probably work up a little photo retrospective later. For now the kids are celebrating with sprinklers on the playscape.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

That's what she said...

As I was rearranging the living room and putting away the last of the cleaning supplies:

Me: "Do you think modern witches ride Swiffers?"

The Boss Lady: "I don't know. Call your momma and find out."

Me: "Oh. You are so getting blogged for that!"

Friday, August 14, 2009

Man, these kids really know my number...

So the KnuckleHeaded Twosome has been at each other's throats all morning. Or at least since they woke up at a little after 8.

In my best Dad voice I announced that they would be helping me clean the chicken coop before they ate breakfast, because I was evidently sick AND tired of all of the griping. Then they pulled a fast one on me while I was dragging the gear and supplies out of the shed. The arguing little punks started playing nice.

So I left them alone so they could get along. And I cleaned the coop by myself.

Never fear, now that the cleaning is finished, life has resumed it's regularly scheduled bickering. I swear, as soon as the last of the coop cleaning stuff was put away, the bitching and complaining started back instantly.

At least I had 20 minutes of the kids getting-along and now I have a clean chicken coop.

An aside,
the chicks are now about a month old and they are getting sent to chicky boot camp. They will hereafter be taking some licks from M&M, our 10 month old hen, while she establishes the pecking order of the coop. M&M has been knocking the little ones upside the head all morning long, while they spend some bonding time outside in the yard.

Bet it takes her less time to knock them into shape than it has taken me to get my two little ones working properly...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Out with the old...

The kids and I have spent about 6 days over the last two weeks helping my parents move into a new house. I am thrilled that they get to move in to a nice, new house and the fact that the new is less than half a mile from the old house just adds a little comic relief. From the neighborhood park just up the street from their new house, you might be able to see both places at once.

Anyways, I had time to help and the kids were glad to make a couple of extra trips out of town right before school starts, so we have been back and forth a couple of times to help The Queen Mother and Dad.

They haven't moved since I was less than 2 years old, so I assumed that they were a little rusty on how to get it all done. Turns out they had the right idea. Hire professionals! The move went without any major hitches. The only known MIA thing (so far) was the receiver for their wireless keyboard and mouse. And that was easily fixed with $50 and a quick trip to the office supply store for a new keyboard and mouse set up.

During the last two weeks I have spent more time in the neighborhood where I grew up than I have since I moved away a lifetime ago. Thanks to Facebook, I have reconnected with lots of friends from way back. And reminiscing about our shared experiences in my childhood 'hood has been a blast.

All of this has led me to realize that my parent's old house, though nothing special to look at from the street and certainly too small for a family of five, always will be a huge part of my life.

I only hope that my own kids can look back at whatever time we spend in this too little, not very fancy, rock house with as much love and good memories at I have for that little, yellow, brick ranch styled house with the big backyard of my youth.

And I just have to state, that for the record, much to my mother's consternation, all of those years of roughhousing did NOT in fact, tear down that little house.