No way did we get this much stuff when we were kids!
Don’t get me wrong. Santa hooked me up every year and we never went wanting, but I remember getting a WWF Wrestling Buddy, a 1987 Topps factory set and a Rickey Henderson autograph and I literally thought Santa went broke just on our Christmas presents every year!!!.
PS: the single greatest XMAS present ever given to any child:
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, totally accessible and 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, pudding 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 Survival show ever, 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 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, we 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… 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 earlier. 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.
I’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 😂🐧
Waking up before your two year old on Christmas morning is like finding Bigfoot. It’s like discovering the Lockness Monster. It happens once in a lifetime. But it happened here on Sunday. A real life miracle.
Coffee was brewing and I was able to conduct a full home inspection to make sure Santa wasn’t still lurking around somewhere. I heard somewhere on the internet that the last one up on Christmas Morning gets to open the first present. Jax must have read that one too, because he slept in like he was on vacation (in all reality I guess he’s always on vacation).
The walk down to see what Santa brought wasn’t as exciting as I’d expected. I guess Santa and “Bammy” are one in the same? Once we were able to coax him down to the Christmas tree the wrapping paper and cardboard boxes became airborne and toys flooded the family room floor. The people who thought up Peppa Pig and the good folks over at Disney’s who created Frozen made a fortune off of this household.
I think this is the last year we are going to get away with a relatively “small Christmas.” Now that Jackson and Santa are homeboys I have a feeling next year’s Christmas list is going to be quite big.
Merry Christmas to all… and to all a good night from all of us and of course from Jax in his Peppa Pig tent that took three adults to put together (even though it only had four pieces).
Another Halloween… and another day of shoving my poor son (who doesn’t even like wearing normal clothes) in a costume as soft as sandpaper. Why do parents do this to their children? The last thing Jax wants to do before getting dropped off at day care is to put a 14 pound puffy cotton ball on his head.
Getting this kid ready in the morning takes a particular set of skills. Skills needed to have been acquired over a very long career of parenting. Skills that I apparently don’t have which makes mornings a nightmare for people like me (Taken reference). Yet today we decided to add 37 more steps to our morning routine by sending him to school dressed up as Olaf. Poor, poor, poor kid. He took it like a champ though… after ripping the Velcro open a few time and throwing his Olaf head at Buster.
Our first Halloween night where jax was old enough to “get it” was fun. The neighborhood fell under Little Olaf’s spell as they literally dumped candy into his bucket. He said a lot of please and thank yous and even ran into a little Elsa on the side walk and stopped for a quick hug!
Jax then had to begin handing out candy to the older kids before we realized the dogs ate two of the three bags of candy we bought. The final four kids come to the door. Stef says sorry we only have three pieces left and Jax carefully watches his last three snickers bars fall into open pillow cases. The last kid drops his head and is sad. Mind you there was a GIANT SIZE candy bar left of the counter… Stef literally sent a child away because she didn’t want to give up her last KitKat!!!
The night ended when I let the dogs out the front door because a huge crowd rolled up in a trailer hitched to a pickup. No more candy, lights out yet they still kept coming… the dogs took care of that. The dogs literally scared the poop out of hose high schoolers as kids were tripping over each other to get away.
As I sit here drinking my Luke warm coffee in my sleeveless packers tshirt, the pure delight like that of a kid on Christmas morning… For the greatest day of the year has finally arrived… It’s opening day… It’s GAME DAY… It’s the Packers first football game of the season today.
Yet I can’t quite connect with my feelings. There’s something I can’t quite put my finger on… I should be Marching Parade around the house happy… In my Aaron Rodgers jersey doing push- ups on the back porch happy… Yelling “Go Pack Go” for all of the neighborhood to hear happy!!! But I just can’t get in the mood for some reason…
As I sit here writing and thinking and reflecting Jackson is chanting “FroFro” as the DVD ends… AGAIN. Because of that I have to go restart Frozen for the 7,853rd time today. Hang on… That’s it… Is that the reason it doesn’t feel like football yet? Because I’m watching an animated Disney movie on repeat?
There has to be some sort of connection here. There’s no way my son… The son of a Green Bay Packers Owner, the same kid who knows no letters EXCEPT the letter “G”… Would choose Frozen over the NFL’s opening day. The Packers opening game.
Wait a minute… Frozen… GREEN BAY? Frozen TUNDRA…? THE FROZEN TUNDRA OF GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN… THE HOME OF THE GREEN BAY PACKERS!
… That’s it… This kid is a genius! Hit play on that DVD kid it’s time for some football!
Yesterday something magical happened. It wasn’t something tangible, it wasn’t even something quantitative. It was a real moment that can and will never be rightfully explained by words on paper (or in this case words on a screen). It was definitely a moment out of a Disney movie. (And I’m not talking about today’s Disney… Im talking early Michael Eisner Disney movie type. The Classic Disney music was quietly playing in the background. It was a long day. A day that father and son spent together doing father and son things. We went to the gym together (in matching Yankees shirts… I know, I know… But we did so just deal with it and keep reading). We stopped for a slice of pizza together (as an aside, there needs to be some work done around the pizza making where I live… I grew up on amazing NY pizza, Bethel Pizza and now where I work… But where I live? We need to step it up around here).
But, I digress… So here I am a so called “daddy blogger” trying to enjoy the day with my son. We played together and ate lunch together and as he went down for a nap I gave me a kiss and passed out. Nothing out of the ordinary for our day.
It wasn’t until later that night when I pressed play on the DVR and Elsa and Anna appeared that my son ran to me, climbed on my lap… Leaned over kissed me on the cheek and laid his head on my shoulder to watch Frozen. My son doesn’t sit still for more than ten seconds at a time and then all of a sudden plops himself down on my lap, snuggles closely, and leans his head onto my shoulder? He looks up me you with a sparkle in his eye and a sweet smile and I instantly fell under his spell again, honestly it was an even stronger feeling of love than when I had first held him. I felt like at that moment he was telling me that he knows I am always going to be there to provide him comfort and protect him as much as I can. I felt like this was “his” way of saying “I love you.” He might not be talking, but he got his message across loud and clear…
I was never really a snowman kinda kid. I was more of a snow fort and snowball fight kinda guy. But the snowman is a right of passage, its a staple in the northeast, its what sets apart the men from the boys. Jax has been out in the snow before, but he hasn’t had the honor of meeting one of the famous snowmen made by dad… and none of that Olaf crap… I’m talking the real snow man that uses sticks for arms and a carrot for a nose and poop for eyes…
Yup. My kid’s first snowman and I used dog poo for the snowman’s eyes.
I feel awful but, I am sure he won’t remember. There is a time for keeping things simple and this was that time. I wasn’t about to go find some coal. Who even has coal around these days? I mean I guess if you had a steam train running through your backyard… then maybe you might have some coal laying around… but not us. This family is all about using what is available to you… and there is an abundance of poo in the front yard these days.