This past weekend the boys and I set out on an adventure… I’d like to tell you a bit about this adventure. However, be aware, this tale is not for the faint of heart.
It started out as any sunny and mild Sunday. A walk in the woods, a dad and his sons. No map, no backpack for of supplies, no survival kit. Just three dudes and the Sun to help us navigate. (PS I don’t know how to use the Sun to navigate. I can barely use the navigation system in my car to navigate).
However, it didn’t take long for things to go awry in the (labeled and trail blazed) back woods of our town’s land trust –- known for both rock slides, quick sand, extreme temperatures and multiple clear paths (out to a main road).
With limited food and water, and no safety or camera crew, Les Stroud style (Survivorman: the single greatest show in the history of TV) we wondered down the slick, wet mountainside (more slight hills than mountainsides) in hopes of finding not only a way out, but someone who could lead us to the way out. The thing is, even with the proper gear, food and water… survival in the these uninhabited and rarely traveled (mapped out and totally accessible abs used by hundreds of people a day) is nearly impossible.
Just like Survivorman, after nearly an hour of traveling with out the essentials… Nintendo Switch, an iPad, an iPad charger, puffing snack packs, Ellio’s Pizza or a microwave to heat said pizza in, we were left Scavenging what he we could from the barren landscape.
We were lost… even though I denied that to the multiple people we ran into, even when both boys begged them to help us get out, we were exhausted and I was trying to draw on my years of survival experience (years of watching Survivorman reruns) and we kept moving forward to try survive and endure being lost 1/2 mile from our house.
Like Stroud, who’s survival show, easily the best of those types of shows, we needed to keep our wits about us and use what the land provided. In Survivorman it wasn’t just crazy cliff jumps and bear attacks, he’ll often show the mistakes that he made such as lighting his shelter on fire or cutting himself after getting careless from mental fatigue. He never downplayed the mental aspect and how getting stressed or anxious in a situation like this could be fatal.
I won’t lie, were in a life-or-death situation. The kids were freaking out and in dire need of an episode or two of Paw Patrol. With only my wits and only one glove, two winter hats and a few random M&Ms found in Oliver’s sneakers to keep us alive, I drove us forward. I would not let the sound of cars on the adjacent road or the lady walking ahead of us with her dog keep us from getting home to a couple of cold ones (juice boxes).
Eventually, we realized we had walked in a large circle and my lack of navigation skills had led us back to where we began almost three hours ago. We were finally safe, almost home and close to a warm meal, a cold drink and Netflix. Along the way we faced challenges that would break most people, but not us. Not this dad and his sons and definitely not with this Survivor(dad) leading the way.
Virtual learning hasn’t stopped an amazing teacher from making sure her students are OK in person, even after the school year is done. Teachers are the hardest working and most underappreciated people in the world! (I won’t reveal who this teacher is)… but know that I would want my sons in her class every year!
Day 107: July 2:
My favorite part of summer is when my kids ask for the sprinkler and then I turn on the sprinkler and then they cry hysterically if they get wet from the sprinkler and then they yell at me to turn the sprinkler back on after I turn it off.
Day 108: July 3:
It may just last the night, or maybe only an hour, but for now brothers are best friends and they’re both so excited for a slumber party!
Day 109: July 4:
We spent the Fourth super low-key and it was perfect! We are so lucky to have amazing neighbors! Best part is they actually put up with us and even better, their kids like our kids
Day 110: July 5:
What do you do after spending an entire day with your neighbors? You wake up and spend the entire next day with them on their water slide! My kids would choose this water slide over anything!
Day 111: July 6:
Last night I tucked my Oliver in, kissed him goodnight and he hugged me and said “goodbye daddy.” So, I guess I won’t be sleeping until he moves out.
Day 112: July 7:
Things I have tried during Covid Quarantine to ensure better sleep:
–threats to call Santa
–earlier bed time
–later bed time
–threats of violence against stuffed animals
Times either of my children have slept through the night as a result:
Day 113: July 8:
He thought I wouldn’t dunk on him… let alone actually dunk HIM!
Day 114: July 9:
We made it to Cape Cod. I have not taken a REAL vacation in years. This was the first time I actually tried to shut down from work in ages (granted I didn’t do so well considering I conducted virtual teacher interviews from the beach and also called hundreds of families about our distance learning survey), but that’s me… I love what I do… and I don’t ever take a break from it!
Day 115: July 10:
This is what family vacation is all about. Forget Corona, forget quarantine and hand sanitizer. Family vacations are all about getting a KING SIZE BED for mom and dad and having the kids sleep in it. Relinquishing an amazingly comfortable mattress and 1000 count Egyptian cotton sheets for a pull out sofa bed is parenting at its finest!
Day 116: July 11
The family… sans masks… sans tears… just happy to be out of the GD house!
Day 117: July 12:
Screw you CORONA! We still livin’ our best life!
Puffy said it best:
“Don’t push us, cause we’re close to the, edge We’re tryin’, not to lose our heads, a-hah hah hah hah…
get the feeling sometime, that make me wonder Why you wanna take us under Why you wanna take us under
I get the feeling sometime, that make me wonder Why you wanna take us under Why you wanna take us under
Can’t nobody take my pride Uh-uh, uh-uh Can’t nobody hold me down, ohh no I got to keep on movin’…”
Day 118: July 13:
If there is a picture that represents our lives in 2020 this is it! All dressed up for a family photo with designer masks! #CapeCodCorona2020
Day 119: July 14:
We are home from the Cape and we spent some time just relaxing today. This quarantine thing has been stressful, scary, unpredictable, calm, insane, all of the above… but most of all, it has been a time to just reconnect with each other. Today we did just that. The boys and I took Buster and Max for a walk. No electronics, no phones, just us. It was as close to perfect as you can get… we were just missing mom.
Day 120: July 15:
Parenting books never prepared me for how much time I’d spend arguing for my kids to get into and then out of the bathtub.
Day 121: July 16:
15 years ago she (Stephanie) said “Yes.” Then we quickly got in line on the Wildwood boardwalk for the Half Blood Prince midnight book release. I read the book all night in the hotel lobby and finished it in the morning on the beach! Such a memorable day… and still… After All This Time, I’m Sirius-ly happy to still be Making Magic with you Stephanie, You’re a Keeper and there is no one else in the world I’d rather be quarantined with than you!
Day 121: July 17:
We’ve been in quarantine for 121 days and my six year old has been talking nonstop for 150 of them!
Day 122: July 18
We’ve tried everything as parents to keep our boys engaged in educational activities, but it’s mid July now… we put together a schedule for the boys to give them some structure during the summer quarantine and I think other parents might find it helpful:
7am-7pm: Unsupervised screentime, with periodic snack time.
Day 123: July 19:
Don’t underestimate a child’s ability to grasp what’s happening right now. I’ve discussed the pandemic and social distancing with both boys. I figured Jax would get it and for the most part he does, but I was surprised how informed Oliver was. He really gets it. He’s now decided to speak 3 inches from my face instead of the normal 1 inch.
Day 124: July 20:
Today while we were out practicing some mask wearing to build up tolerance for Oliver a women with no mask on her or her children screamed at us to take off our masks because were falling for the “hoax.” I won’t put my response here in writing… but WTF?!???
I just don’t get it. The people who refuse to wear a mask they’re almost like those last couple of leaves on the tree right before winter hits. They are so proud of themselves. They must be so excited sitting on the tree thinking we’re definitely gonna make it, we’re gonna make it. That is until all your friends are gone and you’re the last one hanging on for dear life.
Day 125: July 21:
Today while listening to our secretary of education speak about re-opening schools full-time in person, I realized that she has a bookshelf with no books on it. Listening to this woman speak about re-opening schools is like listening to my three-year-old try to explain how to play chess… in Latin. 🙄
Day 126: July 22:
You would think with two dogs and two toddlers one of them would be the first to ruin the new patio…
If you put your money on that you definitely lost. In the category of 2020 just keeps getting worse… I spilled an entire canister of melted citronella wax all over the patio today.
Day 127: July 23:
Today we, painted pictures, went in the pool, completed two puzzles, cooked dinner together and watched a movie. Or, as the boys described it to mommy when she got home from work:
“Buster and Max peed on the floor and dad yelled at us two times.”
Day 128: July 24
The boys are so used to staying in the house that they think pants are just optional at this point. God forbid I tell them we need to actually wear said pants when it’s time to go out…
Day 129: July 25:
Just heard from downstairs:
Jax: “Oliver USE YOUR FORCEFIELD…”
Oliver: “ OWWWWWWWWWWWW!” Followed by screaming…
Day 130: July 26:
Today, I decided to take the filter and pump apart to clean it, since the water was a bit cloudy the past week.
After dissembling the filter… I am pretty sure I discovered where Coronavirus started.
Day 131: July 27:
Today while playing with his stuffed animals Jax told me he wants to be a dad one day.
My response: “Have you seen the shit I put up with?!!??”
Day 132: July 28:
Jackson complained this morning because his breakfast was not ready fr him when he came downstairs. I told him to be sure to leave his negative review on Yelp! and also, I don’t care!
Day 133: July 29:
My legs are in the best shape since I was running track in college. I think I have an idea for an exercise video for parents where all the lunges are just going around the house picking up juice box straws and wrappers.
Day July 30:
Steph is at work and I had a two hour meeting this afternoon that was extremely important about reopening the schools. Jackson and Oliver had to fend for themselves the entire time and they didn’t fight once in the playroom.
I heard them talking and giggling I couldn’t figure out what they were doing. They didn’t pick up their iPads or put the TV on once. When I was done they told me to come out of my office bc they had a surprise for me.
And when your two kids ask you to sit for a tea part (with wine glasses for the adult) you sit together the tea party.
Day: July 31:
… the end of the fourth month brings us right back where we were four-plus months ago, the same place almost every parent is in… what do we do with our kids… our children… our babies…
Have you ever tried something new? As parents we try to get our children to try new foods on a regular basis. We ask them to be open to new things and not just say no when something unfamiliar is put in front of them.
The thing we don’t think about in this situation as parents is actions speak louder than words. Try to tell your child who spent an entire afternoon thinking up a meal that can be created out of food found sitting in the back of the refrigerator drawers and under the couch cushions that you aren’t hungry. Their lip begins to curl, tears well up in their eyes and then they give you the line every parent fears… the one where they throw something in your face that you use on them… “but, you always tell me to try new things!??!!” So you know when they hand you that plate or in our case a red solo cup filled with last week’s leftovers that you’re going to have to take one for the team.
There isn’t a chance you are going to be voted parent of the year, let alone get your kid to listen to you ever again if you don’t at least eat what’s in front of you. So with that being said, I present to you
Two years old? Like how is that possible. (I mean I know how it’s possible in a literal sense… but still, I just can’t believe it. Thank you to an amazing mom who has done everything for this happy, healthy little man… a very caring older brother who has not one time pushed him down a flight of stairs… a loving Bammy who has helped to raise this little man. His Auntie buys him more clothes than any child needs and his Mima continues to buy him those damn remote control Magic Track cars which drive me crazy… thanks for that and thanks to all the amazing family and friends who have contributed in one way or another.
I’m not sure what it’s like being the youngest or the second born. I was the oldest and loved that role, but I can imagine it’s not always easy being the little guy. Then again you are almost as big as your brother, so I’m not so sure how much longer we can use the phrase “the little guy.”
I guess the first thing I need to say is thank you. You have been an amazingly perfect blessing to mom and me. You have brought so much joy and happiness to everyone around you. Your huge smile and whimsical personality. You walk in and you light up the room. People are in a better mood when you are around. It’s unreal how much joy a little boy’s giggles can bring to so many people.
You’ve given your brother a best friend and especially someone to get in trouble with, although at times I suspect Jax is the one blaming you for his trouble, but that’s what older brothers are supposed to do! I love watching you two play together. I love watching how your eyes light up when you see him. I think Jax is a happier little boy because of you. You just do that to people. You make everyone better… happier.
You’re already such a sweet and caring little boy. You show kindness and compassion at such an early age it makes us forget how young you still are (I’m sure the fact that you eat like a grown man I’m sure contributes to that as well). You’re going to be a momma’s boy for sure, don’t get me wrong… being a momma’s boy is a great thing… just look at uncle Vinny.
Please keep your smile as big as it always is… your laugh as loud and continue to be inquisitive about the world around you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, when you say sorry- mean it, be kind to strangers and animals and love your mother and brother. If you do those things you’ll always be in a good place.
I’m proud of you. I love you and I’m so thankful you came into our lives. Happy birthday (not-so) little guy
How is it possible that this kid is feeding himself right now? And realistically he’s doing it and keeping it pretty clean. I have a four year old who can’t eat this neatly.
With Jax we shoot for a 1/4 ratio. If he can get 25% of the food on his plate into his mouth and avoid the floor than we count that as a win in this house! (a .250 batting average will get you in the Baseball Hall of Fame at this point).
Nice work Oliver! Now please stop growing up so fast!
I guess it’s time this Elf on a Shelf thing happens. He’s here… And I can’t say anything to change that. Santa has a lot going on. I know that. You know that… we all know that. So of course he has little helpers everywhere and this house is no different.
Elfie is here to check things out. He’s just going to be a silent observer of sorts as Santa described. Bottom line… when Santa asks you for a favor… well, he’s not the type of person you can deny.
When your kid won’t eat breakfast… but your elf will. #Christmas2017 #Elfie
Great way to motivate your kid to start piano lessons. (PS Elfie is no Beethoven). #Christmas2017 #Elfie #PianoLessons #NiceHairJax
This has been the most elaborate Elfie appearance so far and will probably be the most elaborate one of the season…
PS: Is this a Flour Angel or crime scene body outline?
I’ve resorted to this. #Elfie #Christmas2017
And this effectively ended Elfie’s life… you don’t sit near, let alone in, Buster and Max’s food bowl and expect to live to tell the story. Thanks for a fun run Elfie… sorry your hat and leg were gnawed off.
I’m not sure how or why Elfie makes such a difference in some households… maybe it’s because here we don’t spend six hours suspending him and props from the ceiling with elaborate decorations… but our kid could care less about this thing, who he reports to and what the repercussions may be from misbehaving.
Case in point… RULE NUMBER ONE of fight club… don’t talk about fight club… RULE NUMBER ONE of Elf on a Shelf… don’t touch the Elf on a Shelf. To Jax this means… literally not only touch the Elf, but take him and body slam him repeatedly and then launch him into orbit. We’re screwed with this kid… Santa I hope you packed enough coal.
In what can only be called a crazy turn of events long time educator and still relatively new school administrator Peter Fragola was charged with daddy daycare duty on the morning of Tuesday, September 19, 2017. With current and raining babysitting MVP Bammy on the disabled list and back up second string babysitter Pop-Pop also being unable to take part in Tuesday’s action due to injuries sustained being a grandfather Peter was called up from the minors
In what could be One of the most controversial, yet exciting September call ups in recent history. With the team trailing late last night and all options being considered, including possible retired Manny, up-and-coming babysitters, and even distant family members who’s travel expenses would far outweigh their salary. With nowhere to turn and limited options to choose from (limited meaning none) there was no other choice but to call on this energetic, yet inexperienced talent to care for Baby Ollie for the day.
A call up of this magnitude is usually not made at such an important time. With an eight-month-old who refuses to drink from a bottle and has yet to nap more than 10 minutes at a time i’m sure having someone with the ability to feed the baby and get him to sleep would have been more preferable. But again with nowhere to turn the team as a trusted Peter with a daunting task.
A Quick look up Peter’s stats show a relatively successful and injury free infant period for younger brother Jackson. However Jackson a relatively easy child could take down a bottle no matter who was holding it and to this day can fall sleep anywhere his head hits. And that was years ago… Coming in for a job like this is not like riding a bike that you can just pick up a where you left off. The subtle nuances of the midday shush, hold, cradle and rock, the extremely specific angle at which the bottle is held all need to be figured out and figured out quickly. Yes, he’s done nighttime and morning time duties, but a last minute daytime event like this calls for concentration and confidence.
The time to study and ask questions had passed… but panic… nope… this guy stepped up to the plate with the confidence of a three time MVP. And you know what just like any future hall of famer the results spoke for themselves. There was nothing that could stop the performance of a life time.
Bottle for the kid who doesn’t drink from a bottle? ✅
Nap for the kid who doesn’t nap? ✅
Cook, clean and still have enough time to watch Harry Potter together? ✅
In the words of the ever quotable, especially when it comes to parenting, Ice Cube, “I gotta say, it was a good day.”
There’s no better feeling then seeing your son all smiles after creating your own homemade playpen:
A Harry Potter marathon and some lunch makes for a nice little afternoon:
All dressed up and no where to go:
… I guess you can say #SuperDad saved the day again…
Where has the time gone? This kid is now reading me bedtime stories? I can’t believe how far we’ve come… this little boy amazes me every single day.
A 17th century philosopher once said, “I know it seems hard sometimes but remember one thing. Through every dark night, there’s a bright day after that. So no matter how hard it get, stick your chest out, keep ya head up…. and handle it”. Last year at this time I was so scared, but now this kid is legitimately a beginning reader.
PS: That 17th Century Philosopher from above… Tupac Shakur