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.

Happy Valentine’s Day

In what seems like 100 years ago I met a young lady with the whole world in front of her. She asked for some help carrying things up to her dorm room and of course the gentleman that I was… Could not leave a damsel in distress. In all reality I volunteered to carry some water bottles up to her room… but so started what would become two children, two dogs, a house, some laughs, some tears and a whole lot of love.

There’s been work. There’s been more work. There’s been interviews that have led to more work. Work that’s lead to more work. And then after that there’s been work because the work we do needed more work to be done. And all that work sometimes leads to frustration, short tempers, and the need for a quiet peaceful night. And then you get home to these two amazing, loving, kind, beautiful children and everything is right in the world again.

There are times that are tougher than others, there are times where you can imagine where the last 18 years have gone. I remember continually limping into the orthopedic on crutches and depressed that my track and field career could be over… I remember her accompanying me time after time comforting me helping me through one of the worst times of my life at that point. I knew then she was the one… She was less confident for a while as she wouldn’t agree to be “my girlfriend.” That was until the cast came off and I thought things couldn’t get any better.

I remember sitting on the rooftop of the hotel in Wildwood. I remember being on the phone with my buddies, I remember the butterflies I remember the nerves I remember walking downstairs and being told by Jay and Brea that I better shave and put on something nice I remember sitting on the rooftop of the hotel in Wildwood. I remember being on the phone with my buddies, I remember the butterflies, I remember the nerves, I remember walking downstairs and being told by Jay and Brea that I better shave and put on something nice.

I shaved, I put on a purple Abercrombie polo, and I wore sandals. I was such a dork. I walked on stage, got up in front of thousands of people and asked the most amazing woman I’ve ever met to marry me. I’m still not sure if she actually said yes… but all these years later we’ve made it through a whole lot of stuff… good and bad… a couple of houses, multiple roommates, doggie hospitals, knocked out teeth, multiple wetlands violations, wiggle ball tournaments that led to broken vertebrae, parties that led to getting “iced,” winter power outages that led to sleeping like revolutionary war soldiers in front of a fire, baseball games, Football games, Backstreet Boys’ concerts (not my idea), glasses, contacts, Lasic surgery, great friends, great neighbors, great family members, a marriage that is stronger than ever… and most importantly… two of the most amazing children any parents could ask for.

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” -Ferris Bueller

I’m glad we’ve taken the time to stop and look around a bit. You’re a better mother than I ever thought possible, you deal with my annoying personality daily and you’re not so bad to look at.

I love you more now than the day we met. Thanks for letting me carry your water bottles up to your room.

Love Always,

Me

…and Jackson

……and Oliver

………and Buster

…………and Max

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).

Oll-E > Wall-E

Both are pretty cute and they even sound the same

I’ve blogged about all the normal baby and toddler firsts… I’ve talked about cleaning nuclear-like diaper messes and first solid foods… I’ve written about bubble wrapping and baby gating the house for their first steps. Now don’t get me wrong those are all hugely significant moments in time, but they all pale in comparison to hearing you child speak their first words. I’ve been in educational for nearly 20 years… I’ve taught children to read, to multiply triple digit numbers and I’ve taught children how to explain their thinking, but teaching a child to speak… that’s just magical.

Parenting is just a series of events that makes you feel equally proud and sad… watching your child become more independent each and everyday makes your heart both swell with pride for the amazing little being you are raising and also makes your heart long for the days when your baby needed you for everything. Like Elton John said, “it’s the Circle of Life” (I’m not sure if that analogy works here, but it sounds good so if you don’t mind, please just roll with it).

Listen, becoming mobile matters, it’s a huge step (pardon the pun) in the growth and development of a child. Learning to talk… to have a reciprocal conversation… is like the when the caveman first discovered fire, or first time you realized you didn’t have to actually flip open a cell phone to use it. It’s a game changer

Oliver has been saying words for a bit now… some much more clearly than others. But to hear him say his own name… I don’t know why… it was really cool. It was special. I know he has asked for juice when he’s wanted it and I’ve heard him yell, “dog” when Buster and Max were being naughty, but this… saying his name… I feel like it transforms him from a parakeet to a real person. I’m not sure why (especially since he was literally repeating his name), but just stay with me here… it’s my blog so I can write whatever I want.

Talking is transformative, getting to a point where you’re child knows his name, can say his own name and can string a word or two together changes an entire parent-child relationship I’m just hoping we are getting to the point where we can get a response from Oliver when ask him, “why are you screaming and what was the purpose of throwing yourself on the ground just now?”

But for now… I’ll take the slow and steady progress, even if he sounds like that robot WALL-E when he talks!

Elf

Boys night watching #Elf 🌲🎅🏼

Half and hour in and my four year-old has already made approximately 187 references to Elfie (his #ElfonTheShelf). Check out @thedadexperience on Thursday, December 20th for a hilarious look at how that damn Elf has ruined parents everywhere. There’s also an in-depth look at the #Hanukkah equivalent of the Elf called #MoistureOnAMat

What breakfast, lunch and dinner looks like with two children

“The best way to spread Christmas Cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.”

1.21 Gigawatts

“That was the day I invented time-travel. I remember it vividly. I was standing on the edge of my toilet hanging a clock, the porcelain was wet, I slipped, hit my head on the sink, and when I came to I had a revelation! A vision! A picture in my head! A picture of this! This is what makes time travel possible: the flux capacitor! It’s taken me nearly thirty years and my entire family fortune to realize the vision of that day.”

That’s exactly how I felt yesterday. I’d spent my entire adult life wishing I could invent something. Create something to better the world, something mankind could benefit from… maybe even make me rich. And all this time it was right in front of me. In plain sight… already inside of an appliance we use everyday (one parents are especially used to… as a parent you could win the Nobel Peace Prize and not feel as accomplished as you do when you finish the laundry).

The AGELSTERILE. The part in every dryer that no one know about… why not?… because Jax just invented it. It’s there. It’s always been there… right in front of you.

That’s why I have this kid around… he’s a GD genius. Anyone know knows me know I’m not the handiest of people. I usually just take things apart and put them back together (minus a few screws) and hope it starts working. I’ve been relatively successful with that strategy. Although now I have a mason jar full of random screws, I consider myself capable of fixing most small household items. I have installed new smoke alarms, hooked up new lighting in the dining room and even rewired cable and electrical wires to hang the TV on the wall, but those projects paled in comparison to taking apart a dryer to install a new AGELSTERILE.

That’s why I am so glad I have kids. These major projects, the ones that could cost you or hopefully save you thousands of dollars, are where Jackson comes in to save the day.

I must have watched 15 how-to YouTube videos. I read the instructional manual, all to no avail… and I’m not to manly to ask for help, so I did. I called in the one guy who could assess the situation and make a confident decision… my four year old son.

I’m not going to say I knew what I was doing the majority of the time and I definitely won’t say that I knew the name of many (none) of the parts I was looking at, but I will say that spending time with Jax while working on fixing something was well worth the effort. He was great. He had his tool box and kept asking great questions. “Dad, what is this called?”

“Im not sure,” I’d reply often with a little sadness in my voice.

“It’s ok dad, I know what that is… it’s an AGELSTERILE,” he would respond with a confidence in his voice that made you think he knew something you didn’t.

This kid either has a fantastic imagination, or is the next Emmett “Doc” Brown, Ph.D. I’m impressed either way. Even if he wasn’t able to help me figure out where those three extra screws were supposed to go.

I Gotta Say, It Was a Good Day

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. 

  1. Bottle for the kid who doesn’t drink from a bottle? ✅
  2. Nap for the kid who doesn’t nap? ✅
  3. 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.”

__________________
Highlights:

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…