Last Man Standing

Percentage of where my son’s puke wound up after leaving his body:

18% brand new NY Yankees comforter
22% newly cleaned carpeted floor
3% bucket for puking in
5% on Max (approximately 3% of which was licked off by Buster)
45% down my back
5% my arm
2% himself


I consider myself to be an expert… a connoisseur of sorts when it comes to father-son bonding time… camping, fishing and working on cars. No I’m just kidding I don’t do any of those things. But watching Yankees and Packers games, reading Harry Potter books and making pancakes? Check, check, check and check! There are not many things I’ve missed. But honestly most of my father-son bonding is just plain old father-son time. Just spending time is time enough for me.

The thing about having kids though… sometimes when you think you’ve seen it all… sometimes that’s when they can surprise you the most. Sometimes, every so often, they do something so out of the blue that you just have to sit back in awe trying to find the right words to describe what just happened.

When I went to bed last night, I never could have imagined the special experience waiting for me before I even hit my REM sleep. It was a new bonding experience to say the least.

As my eyes began feeling like lead weights and my eye lids could not hold themselves open for one more second… I heard the cry, “Daaaaaaadddddddyyyyyy. I cleaned many messes in my day, and I’ve prepared myself for most of them knowing what I was getting myself into before even seeing it. But nothing would ever prepare me for the chunks that were blown all over me.

This event. This night I’m sure… will haunt me for the rest of my life.  At one point there was just two of us who had survived PUKE-AGEDDON. Now there just one.

There are not enough words to express what happened to me, to Jax… and in a broader context what happened to our house. It wasn’t what I would consider a “normal” bonding experience… hell anytime you get puked on, its not “normal.”  Then again parenting in and of itself rewrites the book on what “normal” really looks like.  Getting thrown up on at 2:00am, and just persevering through it, acting like you’ve been there before…

Maybe getting puked on is the new normal… maybe its not even the new normal… maybe its just my NORMAL, it is at least a normal bonding experience between my son and I at this point… Where else besides college is getting puked on par for the course?



A Coming of Age Tale

A tale as old as time…

It’s a typical coming of age story… part of a genre and film that focuses on the growth of a protagonist from youth to… well in this case… from youth to youth. The typical coming-of-age story tends to emphasize dialogue or internal monologue over action, but in this here… in Oliver’s case… the kid is like barely one year old. Let’s not focus on the dialogue or lack there of and just look at the fact that this little boy is about to become a menace to society. He’s mobile and not just rolling over, or crawling around on all fours.

The subjects of coming-of-age stories are typically teenagers, which makes sense considering you need some years behind you in order to actually “come of age.” But not in this case, Oliver is walking… he’s a danger to not only himself but everyone around him! I’ve seen this far too many times (just once really- Jackson), but I know what’s going to happen. We’re going to wind up with a few falls at the very least… and to be honest, I predict numerous black and blues and at least one hospital visit in the very near future.

Keep your fingers crossed this kid is more coordinated than his bother and his father.

Oliver’s First Steps

There’s something to be said about a child’s first steps. It’s a new dawn, both for the child and for the adults. It’s both exciting and scary. It’s also hilarious. Watching a child take their first steps is like watching a penguin walk across a frozen lake.

They know it’s going to be a dangerous few steps… their body and more importantly gravity is telling them not to do it… but that darn penguin I mean child throws caution to the wind and takes his first step towards their destination. The similarities to a child’s first steps and the “penguin walk” are glaring: Extended wings (er… I mean arms) out to the side, slightly bent knees, and then the side to side shuffle as they move forward (rather than taking big steps). All of this helps penguins and children maintain their center of gravity during their treacherous hike across a massive glacier or in Oliver’s case the living room.

What does this all mean? In reality… for parents with an almost four year old and now a second walker… it means back into full on man to man coverage. No more cheating off Oliver to give double-coverage to Jax… it means everything needs to be boarded up again. Stairs, doors and windows. And with the way this meatball moves, fast and with a purpose he’s more like a wrecking ball then an infant.

“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Here’s a hilarious story about Jackson’s first steps and my attempt to “walk for the first time again!!!!”

Happy Birthday to an Amazing Mom

Anyone who’s read this blog before knows that I don’t take myself too seriously. I’m not an amazing wordsmith… I don’t have the lyrical prowess of Tupac or the ability to turn a a few stanzas of a poem into a Grammy winning hit like Boyz II Men, but I can, every once and a while write something that has some depth.

Today, I will take a stab at some more meaningful prose and take after the two aforementioned rap/R&B legends with a dedication to Jax and Ollie’s Mom (I’m sure it won’t be as perfectly written as “Dear Momma”, and there’s not a chance I could make it sound as nice as “A Song For Mamma,” but we’ll give it a shot anyway.

I really don’t know how to put into words exactly what a mom, especially this mom means to a family. No matter what, she has always shown… many times… the great love she has for her family. After all the difficult times her and I have made it through as parents, I know that it doesn’t matter to her what happens, she will stand by me and always be there–through the good and the bad to support these two beautiful little boys. She will help me guide them through life and hopefully we, together, can instill in them right from wrong and a sense of decency, respect, kindness and leadership that this world seems to be so desperately lacking.

Jackson and Oliver, your mother has always loved you so much from the very- very beginning. She couldn’t wait for either of you to make your first appearance in this world. “She had a bag packed for the hospital months in advance… and the clothes you’d both wear home from the hospital were purchased months in advance.  When given the opportunity to have you sleep in the nursery those first few nights at the hospital, she looked at those nurses like they had five heads… not a chance she was letting you go… not then and not now.

A mother’s love is is something that I can’t explain.  Being a parent… being a mom is made of deep devotion and of sacrifice.  This mom… she is giving, often putting her own needs on hold to make sure that her sons have everything they could ever need.

If you have ever attempted to have a conversation with a three year old you know what it’s like to feel frustration… jumping from subject to subject, trying to find the right vocabulary to express wants and needs… and more often than not just hearing two words over and over and over and over again… “NO” and “Why”.  Sometimes talking to a child is like talking to your dog… they look like they get what you are saying, but then two seconds later ask a question completely unrelated to the topic at hand… but something special happens when a mom listens to their child.  A mother understands what a child cannot say.  Jackson and Oliver are so incredibly lucky to have someone so in tune with who they are that she can completely understand them, even when they don’t even understand themselves.  It’s a gift… and it’s what makes Stephanie so amazing.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still bouts of frustration and anger and lots of sleepless nights… neither of us are perfect… and she won’t pretend she is, but when we look at our children, we both know that we got something in our life so perfectly right.  Happy birthday to an incredibly hard working, dedicated, (relatively) patient mother and one hell of a role model for our children.


Peter, Jackson, Oliver, Buster and Max

Ollie’s Winter ONEderland

img_5486-1I’ve professed my unadulterated hatred for children’s birthday parties (sorry to anyone who has recently invited us, or plans to invite us to their child’s birthday party… No really, I’m so excited to attend). In all honestly though I don’t hate kid’s birthday parties. I just wish they weren’t as stressful for the adults.

On one hand you have the person attending the party. All the stress of what to get, how much to spend… how long to stay. It’s too much decision making to partake in on a day off from work. I worry at every party I take my boys to how much money worth of family heirlooms they are going to destroy. It’s scary, trust me.

Then there is the flip side… being the host of a child’s birthday party. You want to make it enjoyable for all.. you want to set the kids up for success while allowing for some enjoyment for the adults. Oliver’s birthday party did a little of all of that. There was something for everyone.

There was time adult talk and time for play for the kids. There was hide and seek and talk of politics and health. There were sandwiches as far as the eye could see (and knifes that sawed through antique furniture in the dining room). There was hide and seek and there was blue cake-icing that was mashed into the carpet in no less than four different spots.

However, after things settled down… thing is… it was all worth it. Family and friends together celebrating such an amazing little boy turning one. It is a huge milestone… for this little guy that milestone is more about the fact that he’s survived a year with Jackson as his older brother. Between full contact hide and seek and Jackson trying to feed Oliver anything he can get his hands on… it’s a miracle this kid made it to one!!!

PS: You know it was a good time when all the party penguins end up on the ceiling 😂🐧

Photography and Oliver’s Cake

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“It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are.”

— Paul Caponigro

Staci Miller… Staci FREAKING Miller… this woman is a magician. A witch, she maybe would even give Hermione Granger a run for her money… because she consistently capture the beauty (and most importantly the personalities) of my two sons. Their personalities and character are forever held in the moment that she is able to catch each time the flash goes off.

Every photograph I look at is a moment in time held still forever. Time is the one thing in life that you can never get more of, no matter what you do you can’t buy more. But somehow Staci Miller defies reality… her photographs tell a story that my words could never do.

Thank you Staci Miller for allowing us to always have these moments. Even as time continues to move at the same rate for everyone everywhere, you are able to slow down life through your photos.

OK, so yes… maybe we let Oliver eat an entire box of Nilla Wafers in an attempt to bribe him to sit nicely and smile, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do. All in all, Oliver’s cake smash was a massive success… although he did more tasting and less smashing than Jax did!