First Day of First Grade

First grade? First grade?!?? Wait what happened to kindergarten? This pandemic, this homeschool your kid even when it’s impossible to homeschool your kid when you’re prepared to do so… that… that was nuts, but not as nuts as waking up today and realizing we have a first grader in the house.

This little dude was up at 6:00am and got himself dressed and ready for school by himself. He even made me a cup of coffee. Granted he woke up everyone in the house in order to tell us he had brushed his teeth and was hungry for breakfast, but I digress. With only about three hours to burn before drop-off this morning, we were able to play catch, ride power wheels and change outfits four times.

I’ve taught first grade. I was a first grade teacher for seven years. It’s the (in my opinion) the most challenging and complex grade level to teach and in turn has to be one of the most complex grades to be a student.

This is going to be such an interesting and even more challenging year for Jackson (let alone mom and dad). Then again if this morning is going to be any indication of how the school year is going to go… I think we’re in for a successful year.

The Aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaias

Hey eversource my six year-old is working harder on the storm cleanup than you are!!!!

I’ve been lucky enough in my lifetime to not have to face the kind of natural disasters that so many people deal with between hurricanes down south, earthquakes on the west coast, tsunamis, tornados, sharknados… and the list goes on and on.

Don’t get me wrong we’ve had some serious weather to deal with, Hurricane Sandy and Irene for example. We’ve lost power before. As a matter of fact a few years ago we were without power for almost two weeks during a massive snowstorm. The kids and Steph went to grandma’s house and I “braved”

It here by the fireplace. We lost a lot of food and whatever was in the fridge and freezer… things were tough, but not life threatening. You throw a couple logs on the fire wrap yourself up in sweatpants, a hoodie and a few warm blankets and you can survive… I did. . We have been very lucky. But as of right now… We’re on Day five with no power and it’s becoming an issue.

But this… no power when it’s 90* with 100% humidity outside? That’s some rapture kind of stuff. Right now as I’m writing this, I have decided to sacrifice the fridge and freezer for the ability to live another day. I just “borrowed” two giant ice packs out of the freezer for my upper and lower body. Yes I have a wife and two children who are hot and sweaty, but I’m sorry, it’s hotter than hell right now and at this point it’s survival of the fittest, (or the one willing to walk downstairs in the pitch black and grab an ice pack)!

UPDATE: FYI both ice packs have been confiscated by masked characters who looked very similar to Steph and Jax!!!

Everyone comfortable????

At this very second there are four humans and one cockapoo and a mini-schnauzer in a king sized bed… all seem to be cool and asleep. I, on the other hand, am sweating and sleeping on the floor. It is hotter than hades in this house and there is no air being circulated, or any breeze to bring some relief to these children who don’t yet understand that not everyone in the world has central air conditioning.

Yet, we survive and persist, but I’m not going to lie… I’m exhausted. Everyone is exhausted. There’s no power. People are fighting over generators and which tree fell on who’s side of the yard. There’s generators as loud as a WWII tank running all over the neighborhood and people are frustrated. Children are tripping all over extension cords, it’s a war zone.

New Covid/Power-Outage CrossFit workout: stair climbing through extension cords.

Here, at Casa de Chronicles, it’s not easy either. Mom works harder in a week than most people work in a life time, dad is trying to create multiple reopening plans for school, the dogs love having everyone home everyday and Oliver and Jax are stuck in the middle… all of that with no power. Every child in 2020 is going to need therapy, because this year keeps on “one-upping itself!”

Luckily when you have good friends you can count on them if you need to borrow some sugar or a stick of butter when you run out… or in my case a massive generator, three gas containers about 800 extension cords!!! So at least we have a small AC unit I found to stick in the window of the bedroom and the refrigerator running and an added bonus is we now have working internet and can now charge all of our devices… because god forbid Jax and Oliver can’t play Tom Gold Run on their iPads!!! Thank god for good friends.

Quotes of the week without power:

“Why won’t Alexa answer me?!??”

“Dad, we still don’t have power” (every 35 seconds as he flips a light switch)

“Can I plug this in here?”

“Someone throw me some soap.” (as I’m in the pool)

“Why doesn’t my iPad work???!???”

“No you can not plug Alexa in to the extension cord running the refrigerator!!!”

“Why do you always smell like gas?”

“CLOSE the refrigerator door!!!!!!”

“CLOSE the freezer door!!!!”

Dr. Dolittle

I sincerely apologize for the Blair Witch Project cinematography, but this video is Oscar worthy. Best picture, best actor, best impression of multiple animals.

Oliver is Saturday Night Live’s new GoatBoy. What do you want… a horse? A gopher? A Yeti? He’s got you… you need a duck call? How about someone to help round up a flock of sheep? Oliver is your guy.

Most people need a few cups of coffee in the morning to even be cognizant, but not Oliver. It’s 5:35am on a Saturday morning in this video and he’s coo-cooing every animal between Noah’s Arc and Old McDonald’s Farm. He’s a savant, an animal whisperer… our very own Dr. Dolittle.

The Rough-and-Tumble Life

Most days are full of running around, hurrying everyone up to get into the car so we aren’t late, or quickly moving to the next activity because my kids have the attention span of a goldfish (do goldfish have short attention spans, because it i feel that they do). There’s rarely down time. So when we do get a chance to take a deep breath and relax it’s a nice change of pace.

A Saturday morning, just the boys at home taking it easy. A cup of coffee for dad, some milk for the boys and Blaze and the Monster Machines on repeat. I mean can you dream up a better start to your weekend? Neither can I, but that’s what easy mornings are now… a dream.

I try to let Stephanie sleep in as much as possible. I’m an early riser and waking up before anyone else enables me to have a quiet cup of coffee. I’ll gladly wake up with the birds if it means a silently enjoyed cup of coffee and an uninterrupted few minutes of SportsCenter. It rarely happens, but when it does it’s heavenly.

…I put the remote down, sit back and and take the first sip of a perfectly brewed cup of joe, sure enough, here come the footsteps down the stairs. It sounds like a stampede, did a herd of elephants just over take my once peaceful house? The scene is fuzzy as I’m still wiping crust from my eyes, but I can just barely make out a couple of sets of little arms and legs as they land on top of me knocking coffee everywhere. The dogs, once relaxed are now barking and trying to lick coffee stains out of the carpet. The day has begun.

Two little boys jump, arms outstretched, are now flying through the air. I feel like I’m participating in a Ringling Brothers’ acrobatic act. It’s just a blur of body parts pushing me over. One of these little monsters shows his claws and gnashes his teeth, I swear he’s possessed (it’s all fun and games until you need to call an for an exorcism).

I didn’t ask for this. I just wanted some kids to help with the household chores and laugh at my jokes. I didn’t realize I was going to be dealing with broken arms, bloody noses and CTE.

Exhibit A:

…Hashtag Brain Injury

Added to the chaos is the fact that Oliver is now almost two and living the daredevil life. He’s up, he’s down, he’s all over the place. He jumps off the couch with the look of an old school Hulk Hogan leg drop. He rolls down the stairs… I swear lately he’s been trying to ride Buster like a wild bull at a rodeo. As a kid you love having a tough sibling… especially when you live the rough-and-tumblr life like these two. Honestly, Oliver isn’t just a little brother, he’s a real life crash test dummy.

Exhibit B:

…Hashtag Vehicular Homicide

I’ll tell you this… Oliver is one tough little dude. He’s survived two years of Jackson saying, “I swear it was an accident dad!” Parent life is not all rainbows and unicorns around here. There’s little down time and there sure is very little quiet time anymore. But, I wouldn’t want it any other way. (Although it’d be nice to have to make such frequent trips to the ER).

A Man’s Best Friend ☕️

They say a dog is man’s best friend. Not when you have a toddler and a newborn at home… that title belongs to coffee.  And this morning coffee was needed to be more than a best friend. It needed to be lover… a confidant… a trusted advisor. 

Who would have thought I found that at my son’s daycare. I appreciate the fact that Nicole, Nikki, and et al. know what parents go through in the morning.  Thank you for putting a Keurig in the lobby for those of us who need to have their third cup of coffee before 8am. 

Toys that Kill

Have you ever given a thought about what life was like for kids back 30 or so years ago? Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about how our views of life change as time goes bye and how expectations or certain belief systems evolve as we grow as a society. It’s crazy to me how when I was younger there we so little safety precautions and such a lack of foresight to see what could go wrong with some of the things we used to play with.

I know I’ve written about some of this before… like the fact that buckling my son into a car seat is more complicated than sending an astronaut into outer space, or how a cup of coffee has a warning label to make people aware that it’s hot. 

I guess we’ve come a long way from playing with lawn darts… you know those 12 pound weapons that you literally threw directly into the air and would render anyone who was hit with it unconscious. You could take down an elephant with those. Or how about every kid’s favorite fire hazard… the wood burning kit. I knew I had to have this and apparently my parents saw nothing wrong with me using a poorly wired soldering gun to set paper thin wood on fire which was set up directly on the shag carpet. My mom gets mad if she sees me having one beer on Thanksgiving yet she allowed me to play a chemistry set that contained banned substances that kids in high school chemistry class can’t even use anymore. 

Today there are bumper guards on top of bumper guards for the crib and bathtub. Kids have seat belts in grocery store shopping carts and there is a gate in every doorway. When I was five years old I convinced my brother to sit on a rock that I knew had a snake den underneath it. I literally used my three year old brother as snake bait. Today everyone in the family is CPR certified.

Have you seen the video if the toddler catching his baby brother from falling off his changing table? That would never happen when I was a kid. We were literally looking for ways to injure each other growing up. It was a rite of passage. It’s how you bonded. I guess times are different now. No dangerous toys and brothers becoming best friends by fighting for family supremacy, but over saving each other from smashing heads on the hardwood floor and preventing future CTE symptoms… Tomāto, Tomăto 

This kid will never have to buy his brother s birthday present as long as they live: https://youtu.be/fHxodMNqgVs

Here’s a link to another blog about things we did as kids that were dangerous from s couple of years ago: https://chroniclesofanewdad.com/2014/11/09/15-things-we-did-as-kids-that-were-really-dangerous-article-review/

Desperation Breeds Ingenuity

I think it was The Rock that once said, “Do you want to sleep in….??…. IT DOESNT MATTER WHAT YOU WANT!!!!”

When you have an eight month old your needs and wants are no longer ranked in the top 100 things of importance. You can’t keep up with this little man. Kid is taking business calls at 6AM.

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Therefore, it is necessary to keep pounds of coffee on hand. So what happens when you wake up to this:

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Well the fear and desperation and realization that you are going to have to face 6AM with a fully awake eight month old tends to get your brain working in overtime… And boy did it ever.

Let me introduce to you to the process that led me to the invention of the millennium:

STEP ONE: Freak the hell out when you realize there’s no coffee.

STEP TWO: Calm down… And think your situation through.

STEP THREE: Take inventory of your materials.

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STEP FOUR: Use what you have and begin working!

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STEP FIVE: Experiment.

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STEP SIX: If at first you don’t succeed, try-try again.

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STEP SEVEN: Give it another go.

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STEP EIGHT: enjoy the fruits of your labor!

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5.24.14 – Mornings

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It’s breakfast time. For once, it’s actually quiet in the house and I’m able to enjoy just sitting and spending quality time with my son.  It’s so much more enjoyable when he is actually eating his food and not redecorating my shirt or the couch with it.  It’s been a pretty good night, but I’m not surprised that the coffee I’m drinking is unable to counteract the events of the week so far.  (Note to self… try making coffee tomorrow morning with REDBULL instead of water).

Out of nowhere a flash of dark fur streaks across the family room… not that out of the ordinary for my Max, who already is just weird to the level of infinity x 3.  But what happens next is what draws my concern.  He begins to squat, but this time, he slowly turns his head and looks right at me… like literally… we lock eyes.  Then it happens. He’s dropping a bomb on the floor and I think to myself, “I mean, he is literally staring at me and pooping on the floor.”  It all happens in slow motion and when he’s finished I swear he smiled at me and laughed when he walked away.

Yet, nothing stops the little guy from enjoying his breakfast of champions.  He ate the whole thing, and it didn’t result in me OR him having to change!

Today is going to be a good day, I can feel it.