Escaping a Burning Building

I posted last week that MyLove and I firmly believe that kids shouldn't prevent you from traveling. I seriously rethought that statement yesterday...the next few days of posts will cover our journey home.

We had an AWESOME week with the fam in Colorado. But the last three days of the trip were work, and being that things were not going well I was working on 4 to 5 hours of sleep. By the third day, yesterday, I was beat and finally had the opportunity to sleep in. At around 7:30 am Bubba hobbled over bleary eyed from the hotel pull out couch, got 2 inches from my face, and whispered loudly, "Dada, I gotta go pee pee."

"Well go pee pee then Bubba!" was all I could muster while opening one eye. Bubba headed half-way to the bathroom with that stiff legged gate that is characteristic of one thing...wet pants. He paused, turned around and walked back all wiggly. "Dada, I peeped (there is not an "e" missing from that word) in my bed."

"I'm so freakin' tired!" was all I could think, but I dragged my still asleep butt out of bed to change his pants. What I quickly realized was the stiff legged jittery walk was due to the fact he was holding the other half of his pee in after waking up half way into the act.

Let us take a moment to realize what a feat that is for a 3 year old. I can't remember the last time I had bodily fluid involuntarily escape while asleep (5 years ago), but I'm sure once it started there would be no stopping it. Next time you take a pee, stop the flow and try and walk around for 2 minutes without it bursting like Niagara Falls while you tremble uncontrollably hyperventilating.

I peeled his pee soaked pants, shirt, and underpants off only to watch his naked self pee for 2 minutes straight. I don't remember him drinking a keg of beer the night before, but I was really tired.

I pondered whether to go back to bed or put him in the shower. I opted for the shower since I was already up and didn't want to sit next to him on the plane smelling like a public bathroom at the beach.

To set the stage he was already pissed about being awake and peeing the bed, and did not want to take a shower with daddy. Normally he finds showering with me intriguing given all the similar body parts covered in hair. And let me say a man can never get enough of another man saying how much bigger your "parts" are, even if that other man is 3.

I wrestled him into the shower and was forced to hold him so to prevent him from scrambling out of the tub. As I completed a rather impressive one handed thick lather over his body, the fire alarm went off. And not the accidental steam from your shower in your room alarm. The deafening one that goes off when the entire building is in evacuation mode. I'm buck naked holding a greased-pig-slippery-sud-soaked toddler while half asleep trying to decide if this is the real deal or some glitch in the alarm system. After a quick mental flash of me attempting to escape a burning building while naked with naked boy in tow I decided to treat it like the real deal.

At this point Bubba is covering his ears and yelling, "Maaaake it stoooop daaadaaa!" while trying to rinse him off. I shut the water off and threw a towel around him and jumped out of the bathroom in my birthday suit while pushing him with hands still over his ears. I grabbed my clothes from the previous night while searching for my glasses.

I'm almost legally blind so me hopping around with one leg in my jeans squinting in the dark doing wide sweeping motions over the bathroom counter for my glasses I'm sure look hilarious at the time. Turning on the light escaped me as a good idea at the time.

Bubba was standing stark naked and wet turning circles in the middle of room towel at his feet with hands over his ears still yelling, "Maaaake it stoooop!"

I threw on Bubba's cloths while MyLove threw on some pants one-handed holding SweetPea in the other. I will say I took 30 seconds to grab my laptop bag and phone before pushing Bubba out the door. Judge me when you're in the position of loosing a decade of work history.

Because I have to try and be in control I also took 10 seconds to argue which would be the best direction for a stairway...and because I'm an idiot. MyLove barked at me, "There are stairways at both ends of the hallway, come on!"

Our exit into the parking lot was met with "Oh, she has a baby!" No hotel employees ushering us to safety. No distraught hotel guests begging to get back in to rescue their laptop. No fire engines racing to the scene ready to save the lives of dozens of trapped guests. I'm thinking the building is burning down and these people are ogling over the extreme cuteness of SweetPea.

They had it way more together than me who was sweating profusely from carrying Bubba down five flights of stairs and had phone in hand ready to text everyone in my address book to let them know we made it out okay...because I was sure our tiny hotel fire was being covered by CNN and all our friends who didn't know we were staying there would be worried.

Anyway, the hotel did not burn to the ground, but someone did burn some toast.

Stay tuned for part two of the travels home.

Flying, Magic Toilets, and Sherpa Training

I've been in training for an event that was going to test me both physically, mentally, and parentally.

I spent endless hours doing laborious yard work (read about 8 hours over 4 days of which most likely had nothing to do with my prep but seems now to have made me slightly more physically resilient), overhead pressed Bubba during wraslin' matches, lifted baby carriers in and out of the car, and took mental notes of distraction techniques for for a 3 year old occasionally nicknamed "Whirlwind".

Quick side bar... The day after 4 hours of furiously whacking away at some dead grass that needed removing I was sure I must have whacked myself a few times...though maybe took a blow to the head in the process which is why I didn't remember hitting myself across the back with a shovel. That or I unwittingly and unknowingly disturbed the previously serene home of some yard gnomes who then took revenge by sneaking into my bed and beating my arms, legs, and back with their tiny shovels leaving me immobile and irritable.

Or it could be that wielding a pick-ax and shovel for 4 hours when the most regularly exercised part of my body is my phalanges fondling the keyboard of my Mac may have been better thought. I wonder what the actual age is when sporadic fits of strenuous exercise leave you regretting it the next day?

For me it is apparently 32.

Back to my story of preparation...

Hours of labor and meditation were logged building up to a singular event...


MyLove and I are firm believers that kids should not mean you become home dwellers never leaving the confines of your city, unless it is to embark upon a torturous car ride where you stop every three hours to eat or pee. Man invented airplanes so we could fly, kids too.

Yesterday morning as the sun peaked it's way past the curtain my ears picked up the sound of, "DAAAADAAAA, IT"S LIGHT TIME!" I glanced at the clock to see it read 6:15. "Crap!", I thought. "My alarm isn't even supposed to go off for 15 minutes." I had been prepping Bubba for his airplane ride and he apparently was ready to fly.

The previous night had been spent packing up the car for the trip to the airport. We felt pretty good about our inventory as we had reduced essentials into 3 suit cases with a combined weight of only about 120 everything else.

3 Roller Suitcases - Check
Car Seat - Check
Car Seat Base - Check
Infant Carrier - Check
Stroller - Check
Laptop Bag (trip is half work, and even if it wasn't I have to have it) - Check
Backpack filled with snacks - Check
Backpack filled with activities - Check
Diaper Bag - Check

Curbside check at the tiny Oxnard Airport.
Translated to carry your own darn bags!

Flight #1
Our first flight was a puddle-jumper from Oxnard to Los Angeles (about 60 miles). These are great planes because if they crash you don't need a coffin because they are the same size. MyLove carried SweetPea onto the plane with Bubba in tow and I had our 4 carry-on bags and infant carrier while ducking low to keep from cracking my skull on the ceiling and weaving my way through the 18 inch aisle apologizing as I smacked each passenger on the shoulder and neck with our back-pack full of food. "Sorry! Oh, sorry about that! Excuse me. Ah, sorry!"

By the time I reached our seats I was a like jittery squirrel on crack as I tried to cram our belongings under the seats like nuts being forced into a too small whole. We were the last people on the plane but I was hurrying like the flight depended on my ability to quickly crush all Bubba's snacks and fold my MacBook in half.

We landed in LAX on time, only to find our flight to Denver was delayed by 1 hour, then another 30 minutes, then another 30 minutes. Thank Steve for creating the worlds greatest toddler distraction...the iPhone. I have Cars and Toy Story ready at all times. Screw productivity, just go buy one for your own sanity. Is your sanity worth $199...I thought so.

I am pretty adamant about Bubba not touching anything in public bathrooms for fear of him touching the mint in the urinal, then his mouth, then sticking his fingers in SweetPea's mouth. Upon completion of his first peepee trip Bubba turned to flush the toilet, but to only find as soon as he turned around it flushed itself. He turned to me and said, "It's a magic toilet dada!" I love that kid.

Flight #2
Being that my normally good sense went to pieces that morning I decided we didn't need to buy lunch at 12:15 pm before boarding the plane. Which didn't really bother MyLove because since I'm the greatest husband ever had upgraded her to first class, so she enjoyed bottomless Cokes and shrimp salad.

But as Bubba and I made our way to our seats it soon became apparent I had the luxury of putting my 6'4" frame into a middle seat directly in front of the bathroom...yep, last row on the plane. Nothing like the smell of poop mixed with that weird blue liquid at 30,000 feet.

To stifle the hunger pangs I ate one Cereal Bar, one handful of Craisins, a few bites of Panda Puffs cereal, and three pretzels from a Chex Mix. Brody ate everything I gave him, while making a gigantic crumbed mess in the process.

Bubba did great on the plane, thanks again to Steve. Cars and Sesame Street podcasts on a 17" screen. At one point we had a great conversation, and because everyone around us heard.

Bubba: Dada, you and me are boys.
Me: Yep.
Bubba: Because we have penises.
Me: Yes we do.
Bubba: But mama, sister, and RahRah are girls because they have baginas.
Me: Yes they do.
Bubba: It's like a penis but little and squished up inside em'.

The guy next to me got kinda fidgety at this conversation, which I thought was hilarious. I had have talked about body parts with Bubba the whole flight to see how uncomfortable he got.

Getting to the hotel
Thankfully when we arrived baggage claim all the luggage was already there, which really wasn't that surprising because after a bathroom stop, diaper changing stop, and short detour the wrong way I'm sure all the luggage going round and round with ours was from a different flight.

With dollar signs in his eyes one of those lurkers waiting to load your luggage before you can tell them not to silently approached us, to which I immediately waved him off....because I'd been training. MyLove wasn't sure about my ability to move everything in one trip, but I'd been training.

I had been training.

So I loaded up, and according to MyLove looking pretty silly slowly made my way through the airport to the rental car bus.

The family sherpa.
And as I type this I'm not sore...yet.

Love and Discipline

The "Best NGD Dad" contest so far is no contest, and not because I already have 5 amazing stories. Rather because I don't have a single story.

I wait till the last minute to do everything, so maybe the rest of the bloggosphere's procrastinators will submit a story on Friday at 11:55 PM and the contest will actually go somewhere...leaving me to voraciously review submissions all day on Saturday.

But in honor of the contest I figured I'd submit a "Best NGD Dad" story to get the creative juices flowing for the rest of you. This one is about my dad. Obviously my story is not officially entered, but I'm hoping it creates some desire to honor a dad.

My dad fit the 'traditional' dad model. He did the man stuff like mow the yard, bring home the bacon, and have complete control over the TV remote and best viewing spot from the couch. His role in the parenting was rough housing, coaching any sport we played, helping with hard math homework, and disciplining. Things like diaper changing, house work, and nurturing were usually left to mom.

But one instance of my dad's rarely encountered nurturing side will forever be imprinted in my memory of what it means to be a great dad.
Me, Dad (Papa) and Bubba
(I wrote this story about 10 years ago in a college English course. My English Professor was a tough middle-aged Viet Nam vet that told me it was the first story from any student that made him cry...he was the dad of a 12 year old at the time.)

Here it is...

I have rarely considered my father an emotional person. He doesn’t really express his feelings outwardly, and my family has become used to this fact.

When I was about 11 or 12 years old, I began having a slight problem with authority. It seemed to me that I knew what was best for me and did not need parents or teachers “encouraging” me in what I should do.
Needless to say, this behavior earned me a few groundings, a couple of swattings, and more then a few guilt trips. My parents felt that these things would straighten me out, and for good reason; the punishments always had in the past. But for reasons that I still cannot explain, they did not.

On one occasion which I was sent to my room, for something now which I don’t remember, my father came in and sat down, took off his belt, and told me to sit on my bed. To this day I don’t ever remember my father striking me with his belt, but he often enforced an idea which he entitled, “Proper Fear.”

My dad proceeded to sit down and talk to me about my actions and words that had hurt him and my mother. He then apologized to me for anything he had done that I felt was unfair, and with tears in his eyes he again said he was sorry and gave me his belt to spank
him for what I thought he had done wrong.

I was broken inside, and instead of spanking him I crawled onto his lap and we both cried. I tell you this story because I have seen lots of 11 year old boys act the way I did, but have never seen or heard of a father act the way my father acted. My dad is one of my heros. I pray that one day I will be as good of a father and husband as my dad.

I lied it a little in my story when I wrote it. I do remember one thing I did.

My dad subscribed to Sports Illustrated, and I discovered the SI Swim Suit Issue as it arrived in the mail. With hormones versus common sense influencing my judgment I swiped it, took it to school, and proceeded to cut out pictures for me and my friends paste all over our Trapper Keepers. Twice dad asked me if I took it, and twice I said, "No."

When the call from Principal Cook came, my cover up of covering my notebook with women draped in skimpy cover ups was up.

The following day dad drove me to school and asked to meet with me and all of my friends privately. I was sure I would be the loneliest kid in school after that. When you get all your friends busted, notes sent home their parents, and then your dad wants to meet with all of them life as a pending junior higher is over.

Dad sat down with all of us and proceeded to all of our surprise apologize to us. He apologized for getting Sports Illustrated which led to the incident. He then told us though he loved reading SI he had canceled his subscription and would never renew it again.

That was about 20 years ago, and I've never seen an SI in my parents house since.

Thanks dad.

Basketball Diaries...or Baseball...or Soccer...any sport really

I love sports, but not as much as I'd love to. In my single days I followed my teams (Broncos and Lakers). Broncos because I was born and partly raised in Denver (pass the Orange Crush anyone!?), and Lakers because the "Hey Moe" Nuggets just couldn't overcome who..."Show Time". And at the age of about 8 "Magic" was a really cool name.

Actually Magic is a cool name no matter what age you are.

I was never the guy from who's mouth flew fountains of fabulous facts like every player with the middle name Frank from the 1972 to 1977 MLB playoff teams. I had friends like that, but I instead filled my head with juicy gems like how much blood the human body has (about 6 quarts), why lightening actually strikes up instead of down, and how to geometrically calculate the number of jelly beans in the jar at the school fair. Yep, I that guy.

The Lakers are still my team, I just know nothing about them anymore. And there it is, one of life's big changes for this NGD.

I used to watch sports, especially basketball. I could watch the same Sports Center three times in a row (still could...if we had ESPN). If I was in the car for a long drive I'd find a game on the radio.

Now instead of sports I watch Disney movies, Curious George, and Land Before Time. Whoever is making those movies should now stop...for God sakes stop! After "Land Before Time MCDXXVI: The Round Circle of Flying Light that Wiped Out Our Existence" I think I've had enough. And the sound poker meet ear drum....ah relief.

Instead of sports radio in the car we listen to Veggietales and The Music Machine.

But sometimes, though very rarely, Bubba climbs up on the couch and will watch sports with me. This is great for me because I can justify it as quality time with Bubba without feeling guilty when MyLove is trying to entertain SweetPea, do laundry, and get dinner ready whilst I get more out of shape by watching athletes whom I envy and get younger than me every year.

But those rare occasions we do partake in athletic tube-togetherness are some of my favorite as they allow me a momentary glimpse to what the future may be like. Me watching him play and us watching our favorite teams together. Cheering at their success and sharing in the disappointment of their defeat. Times when I get to explain the rules like my dad did with me.

I can't wait when most of my sport watching consists of a mashable mass of kids running after ball kicked in random directions, or an intense moment of fatherly fear as a hopping ground ball must become more interesting than the rocks at his feet, or when the pure excitement and adrenalin of touching the ball means shooting at any hoop even it is the wrong one. I can't wait.

Bubba, you don't have to love sports. But I hope you at least like sports. I know I will be disappointed if you don't, but I'll love you tons still. And I'll hope that SweetPea will be a bit of a tomboy.

Father's Day "Best NGD Dad" Contest!

In honor of all dads fulfilling the calling to be a Next Gen Dad, NGD is hosting a "Best NGD Dad" contest. And here is the best part...there will be 5 winners!

The concept is easy, submit a compelling story by 11:59 PM on Friday, June 13th nominating who you think is a "Best NGD Dad" (there is an FAQ below). The 5 winners will have their story posted to NGD on Father's Day AND receive 11 great books courtesy of Hachette Book Group USA.

  1. Living on the Black: Two Pitchers, Two Teams, One Season to Remember by John Feinstein. Read an excerpt here.
  2. The Last Real Season by Mike Shropshire. Read an excerpt here.
  3. Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell. Read an excerpt here. (Available in audio format)
  4. A Tale of Two Subs by Jonathan McCullough. Watch the video or view photo gallery.
  5. A Terrible Glory by James Donovan. Read an excerpt here.
  6. The Training Ground by Martin Dugard. Read an excerpt here.
  7. The Film Club by David Gilmour. Read an excerpt here.
  8. The Whole Truth by David Baldacci. Read an excerpt here. (Available in audio format)
  9. Child 44 by Tom Smith. Visit Read a excerpt here. (Available in Audio format)
  10. The Adventures of Slim & Howdy by Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn. Read an excerpt here.
  11. The Dudes' Guide to Pregnancy by Bill Lloyd and Scott Finch.
Who can submit a story?
Anyone can submit a story, but the story must be a nomination for a dad.

What is a NGD?
For the complete description read this. The short version of a Next Generation Dad is one that believes and daily lives out that raising kids is an equal partnership and joint effort between a mom and dad — with the reasonable exception of birthing and breast feeding. (A special mention should also be made here to dads that raise kids on their own, as they truly are NGDs in every way).

What is a "compelling story"?
That is really subject to the reader, which in this case is me and MyLove. So in that case the story should evoke emotion (happy, happy-sad, funny, etc.) and describe why the dad you are nominating is the "Best NGD Dad".

How long should my "compelling story be"?
All submissions must be under 500 words, which is basically one page, double spaced, with 12 point font (high school flash back). All submissions over 500 words will be immediately disqualified, no matter how compelling. :P

What is the deadline?
All submissions must be received by 11:59 PM on Friday June 13, 2008.

Where should I send my nomination?
Email Me your nomination ( with "Best NGD Dad" in the subject line. Please include the following information in the body of your email: Your Name, Email Address, Relationship to Nominee, and a link to your blog or website if you have one.

What happens if I win?
If you win I will notify you on June 14, 2008 and your story will be posted to this blog on Father's Day, June 15th. In addition you will be shipped all of the books above from Hachette Book Group USA. I will request your shipping address when I notify you that you won.

A special thanks to Hatchet Book Group USA for providing the prizes for this contest.

The Fine Print (literally)
If you submit a story you are releasing to me the right to publish your submitted story on Next Gen Dads at my discretion. You'll need to email me a follow-up request to not print your story if you wish to no longer have it published.

When I Grow Up

I'm blessed to get to work from home. I highly recommend it for dads, as you get to experience your family at a much greater level. I also highly recommend being self-employed, but I save those pitches for another blog.

Bubba regularly asks me to play during the day while I'm working. I enjoy my work, but I'd rather play. But alas I have to work. The other day he hopped (literally) into my office (which doubles as the nursery) and we proceeded to have this conversation.

Bubba: Dada, want to play with me?
Me: Yes, but I can't right now. I'll play with you after nap?
Bubba: But why?
Me: Because I have to work Bubba.
Bubba: On your computew?
Me: Yes, on my computer.
Bubba: But why you have to work?
Me: Because I have to make money.
Bubba: But why you have to make money?
Me: So we can pay our bills and buy fun toys for you.
Bubba: Dada. When I get biggew, and biggew, and biggew, and biggew I'm gonna make money on your computew and then I can play with you.

I felt a tinge of guilt that I wasn't playing with him but also was so tickled that he kind of understood that fact that when he grew up he would work. And it felt great that the wanted to be like dad!

Bubba is a computer genius. Before he was 3 he could use both the touch pad and external mouse, and keeps himself fully entertained on PBS Kids for at least 15 minutes navigating around the games. I haven't taught him how to navigate to favorites for fear I'd have to buy him his own laptop.
Me and Bubba "Working"

Don't Stand In the Doorway

*Updated on 6/4 with new info located at the bottom of the post*

I received an email forward today, and normally I don't read email forwards. But every now and then Karl Willig, one of my mentors, forwards me an email and they are generally worth reading.

I went to elementary school in Colorado and we had tornado drills regularly. The alarm would go off and I did exactly what I had been told to do for years....crawl under my desk. If I was at home the family would go the basement and crawl into the bathtub.

I now live in California's central coast and if someone asked me what to do during an earthquake I'd say, "Sit down in a doorway." (Assuming I couldn't get out of the house.) I asked MyLove what she was taught in school in TX and it was either crawl under her desk or sit next to the wall in the hallway. For an earthquake she said sit in the doorway.

The email forward was an article by Doug Copp of the American Rescue Team and it negates everything about disaster survival I have heard or been taught. I've pasted the article below but you can also read it here or watch the videos here.

To all you dads, you need to read this and then teach it to your kids and your kid's friends. Forward this message to every parent you know. Ask your kids what they get taught in school and pass this message to every teacher you know.


My name is Doug Copp. I am the Rescue Chief and Disaster Manager of the American Rescue Team International (ARTI), the world's most experienced rescue team. The information in this article will save lives in an earthquake.

I have crawled inside 875 collapsed buildings, worked with rescue teams from 60 countries, founded rescue teams in several countries, and I am a member of many rescue teams from many countries.

I was the United Nations expert in Disaster Mitigation for two years. I have worked at every major disaster in the world since 1985, except for simultaneous disasters.

The first building I ever crawled inside of was a school in Mexico City during the 1985 earthquake. Every child was under its desk was crushed to the thickness of their bones. They could have survived by lying down next to their desks in the aisles. It was obscene, unnecessary and I wondered why the children were not in the aisles. I didn't, at the time, know that the children were told to hide under something.

Simply stated, when buildings collapse, the weight of the ceilings falling upon the objects or furniture inside crushes these objects, leaving a space or void next to them. This space is what I call the 'triangle of life'. The larger the object, the stronger, the less it will compact. The less the object compacts, the larger the void, the greater the probability that the person who is using this void for safety will not be injured. The next time you watch collapsed buildings, on television, count the 'triangles' you see formed. They are everywhere. It is the most common shape, you will see, in a collapsed building.


1) Most everyone who simply 'ducks and covers' WHEN BUILDINGS COLLAPSE are crushed to death. People who get under objects, like desks or cars, are crushed.

2) Cats, dogs and babies often naturally curl up in the fetal position. You should too in an earthquake. It is a natural safety/survival instinct. You can survive in a smaller void. Get next to an object, next to a sofa, next to a large bulky object that will compress slightly but leave a void next to it.

3) Wooden buildings are the safest type of construction to be in during an earthquake. Wood is flexible and moves with the force of the earthquake. If the wooden building does collapse, large survival voids are created. Also, the wooden building has less concentrated, crushing weight. Brick buildings will break into individual bricks. Bricks will cause many injuries but less squashed bodies than concrete slabs.

4) If you are in bed during the night and an earthquake occurs, simply roll off the bed. A safe void will exist around the bed. Hotels can achieve a much greater survival rate in earthquakes, simply by posting a sign on The back of the door of every room telling occupants to lie down on the floor, next to the bottom of the bed during an earthquake.

5) If an earthquake happens and you cannot easily escape by getting out the door or window, then lie down and curl up in the fetal position next to a sofa, or large chair.

6) Most everyone who gets under a doorway when buildings collapse is killed. How? If you stand under a doorway and the doorjamb falls forward or backward you will be crushed by the ceiling above. If the door jam falls sideways you will be cut in half by the doorway. In either case, you will be killed!

7) Never go to the stairs. The stairs have a different 'moment of frequency' (they swing separately from the main part of the building). The stairs and remainder of the building continuously bump into each other until structural failure of the stairs takes place. The people who get on stairs before they fail are chopped up by the stair treads - horribly mutilated. Even if the building doesn't collapse, stay away from the stairs. The stairs are a likely part of the building to be damaged. Even if the stairs are not
collapsed by the earthquake, they may collapse later when overloaded by fleeing people. They should always be checked for safety, even when the rest of the building is not damaged.

8) Get Near the Outer Walls Of Buildings Or Outside Of Them If Possible - It is much better to be near the outside of the building rather than the interior. The farther inside you are from the outside perimeter of the building the greater the probability that your escape route will be blocked.

9) People inside of their vehicles are crushed when the road above falls in an earthquake and crushes their vehicles; which is exactly what happened with the slabs between the decks of the Nimitz Freeway. The victims of the San Francisco earthquake all stayed inside of their vehicles. They were all killed. They could have easily survived by getting out and sitting or lying next to their vehicles. Everyone killed would have survived if they had been able to get out of their cars and sit or lie next to them. All the
crushed cars had voids 3 feet high next to them, except for the cars that had columns fall directly across them.

10) I discovered, while crawling inside of collapsed newspaper offices and other offices with a lot of paper, that paper does not compact. Large voids are found surrounding stacks of paper.

Spread the word and save someone's life... The Entire world is experiencing natural calamities so be prepared!

'We are but angels with one wing, it takes two to fly'

In 1996 we made a film, which proved my survival methodology to be correct. The Turkish Federal Government, City of Istanbul , University of Istanbul Case Productions and ARTI cooperated to film this practical, scientific test. We collapsed a school and a home with 20 mannequins inside. Ten mannequins did 'duck and cover,' and ten mannequins I used in my 'triangle of life' survival method. After the simulated earthquake collapse we crawled through the rubble and entered the building to film and document the results. The film, in which I practiced my survival techniques under directly observable, scientific conditions , relevant to building collapse, showed there would have been zero percent survival for those doing duck and cover.

There would likely have been 100 percent survivability for people using my method of the 'triangle of life.' This film has been seen by millions of viewers on television in Turkey and the rest of Europe , and it was seen in the USA , Canada and Latin America on the TV program Real TV.

*I received a comment from Maria Petal of Risk RED that the above information has some flaws. Read here some counter arguements to the above article.

Toddlers and Toilets

We were enjoying a nice family lunch on the patio about 1 hour ago when Bubba announced he had to go peep (I'm not sure when he started leaving off the last "ee"). Our goal recently has been to instill in him the confidence that he can do it "by himself" versus with a parental helper - which is really for our own sanity as chaperoned bathroom trips inevitably turn into a drawn out ordeal with talking toys and delayed peepees or poops.

The conversation always ends up something like this.

Bubba: You be Chick Hicks dada. I'll be Doc Hudson.
Me: Did you go pee pee yet Bubba?
Bubba: Nope.
Bubba: You be the dinosaur dada!

I'll be good for the rest of my life if I never have to make Chick Hicks (or any other prop) look at a poop in the toilet and pretend how bad it smells...which I suppose is really my fault for ever doing it in the first place. That is the reason for encouraging solo bathroom trips..but back to the story.

Bubba trotted into the house and was gone for a duration that apparently sets off the Mommy Alarm because MyLove said, "Can you go check on him." (I think the Mommy Alarm is more attuned that the Daddy Alarm for reasons that were proved in this incident.)

I walked into the house and hollered, "You okay Bubba?" To which he responded, "Yes." I turned the corner into the bathroom to see Bubba standing next to the toilet with shorts and underpants around his ankles with one of those looks that says I-might-have-done-something-wrong-but-I'm-not-sure-and-sure-not- going-to-say-anything.

I took an initial assessment and all looked good. "Are you done?", I asked. "Yep." I then took a second look a noticed a consistent stream of water flowing out from under the closed toilet lid onto the floor, and an extra long tail of toilet paper hanging from the roll.

Me: Didyouputalotoftoiletpaperdownthetoilet?
Bubba: Yup.

The next 10 minutes were a blur of me YELLING for Chrystal to get me some towels and a bucket, me frantically soaking about 15 towels and two bath mats while attempting to stop the flowing water. All ended well and the bathroom floor is now freshly hand mopped with toilet water!

Our first toddler takes on the toilet. Mark up a W for the toddler.
Thanks to Say No To Crack for the great image.

Date Morning and Prince Caspian

MyLove and I often talk about implementing "Date Night" but have never been very good at following through with it. We did however today have a wonderful "Date Morning"! Aunt RahRah took Bubba to breakfast and friend from home group watched SweatPea.

Westmont College, my alma mater, hosted a private viewing of Prince Caspian. Westmont got this privledge for a two reasons. 1) There is a Westmont alumni that works at Disney and 2) Westmont owns what is believed to be the wardrobe that was owned by C.S. Lewis (cool huh!) here for more details on this.

The movie editing was finished on Monday this week! There was a private showing in New York City this week and we were the second group in the world to the see the movie. How cool is that?! The movie is released to the theaters on Friday next week.

The movie is awesome and it made me want to read the books again. When it comes out you should go see it!

An Amazing Kid Young Man

I think stories of suffering or struggle or overcoming obstacles about kids are more heart wrenching and emotional when you have kids. I know this is true for MyLove who before having Bubba and SweetPea did not cry much, but now regularly weeps with the most genuine tears at stories of sick, impoverished or neglected children. Her sweet heart just cannot take seeing it, and it is one of the many things I love about her (I don't understand why she purposefully watches it knowing she will cry though).

One of my very best friends, Andy, sent a heart wrenching and inspiring story to me this morning.

As I sat on the bed reading my soul ached for this young man and his family. The insignificance of my own accomplishments became apparent and I felt the smallest amount of pressure could push me to the floor as my body and soul shed tears for a young man who's body is riddled with cancer but who's peaceful spirit is filled with the grace of God. The article is written by reporter Mike White from the local paper, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. I encourage you to take the time to read the entire article. The story will make you sad but I hope will also give you hope. This young man (as his words are not that of a boy) is a witness and testament to faith in God and freedom over of the fear and bondage of death.

I pray every day that Bubba and SweetPea continue to be healthy and grow up without significant pain and suffering. But more than that I pray they grow up to have the relationship with God, maturity in faith, compassion for others, and vigor for life that John Challis has.

You can read the original article here but I've also included it below.

Teen is running out of innings, but the game still isn't over
Sunday, May 04, 2008
Photo by Matt Freed/Post-Gazette

The 18-year-old kid dying of cancer gets his wish, a chance to swing a bat maybe one last time in a real baseball game.

He hasn't played in a few years, but he's called on to pinch-hit. His eyes light up at the first pitch and he puts all of his 5-foot-5, 93-pound frame into one mighty swing, making contact and sending a line drive into right field for a single -- if he can reach first base. The cancer he's been battling for almost two years has spread to his pelvis, making running nearly impossible.

The kid worries about falling as he hustles down the first-base line. When he gets to the base, he lets out with a yell. "I did it! I did it!"

Safe at first with a hit and an RBI, the kid is hugged by a crying first-base coach. The opposing pitcher takes off his glove, starts applauding and his teammates follow suit. The kid's teammates run onto the field to celebrate.

It sounds like the climax to a heart-tugger movie. But there was no producer or film crew at the game between Freedom and Aliquippa high schools two weeks ago. The scene was as real as the tumors in John Challis' liver and lungs.

John is a kid with cancer, a senior at Freedom in Beaver County who was told a few weeks ago by doctors that cancer was winning and it was close to the end. The disease that started in his liver was now taking over his lungs.

"They said it could be only two months," he said, fighting back tears.

He paused before his seemingly never-ending optimism came through again.

"I told my mom I still think I can get two more years."

But his story isn't about dying. It's about inspiring.

His story, words, actions, beliefs and courage have become known around Freedom and surrounding areas in Beaver County, bringing people together from other communities and other schools.

Three weeks ago, Freedom baseball coach Steve Wetzel organized "Walk For A Champion" on Freedom High's school grounds. The purpose of the walk-a-thon was to raise money for one of John's wishes -- a last vacation with his mom, dad and 14-year-old sister, Alexis.

More than 500 people took part, including baseball teams from eight Beaver County high schools and members of Center High School's football team. John also used to play football at Freedom.

Mr. Wetzel, who calls the teen his hero, hoped to raise $6,000. That total was easily surpassed "and people are still calling with donations," he said.

The family has booked a cruise for June.

The Challis effect

A Beaver County church had planned a fundraiser, but John and his family asked the church instead to conduct the event and give the money to a fifth-grade boy in Beaver County who has a brain tumor.

"His family can use it more than we can," John said. "That's just common sense. Someone does something good for you, then you help someone else."

Actions and statements like those are what has inspired so many others. All of Aliquippa's baseball players wear John's jersey number "11" on their hats. At the walk-a-thon, Aliquippa star athlete Jonathan Baldwin, a Pitt football recruit, presented him with a ball signed by Pitt players.

After the walk, John addressed the crowd.

"He spoke from his heart," Mr. Wetzel, the coach, said. "He said, 'I've got two options. I know I'm going to die, so I can either sit at home and feel sorry, or I could spread my message to everybody to live life to the fullest and help those in need.' After hearing that, I don't know if there were many people not crying."

Last Thursday, Beaver pitcher Manny Cutlip tossed a three-hitter against Freedom as John watched in street clothes. After the game, every Beaver player came up to him and shook his hand. Some hugged him and some said they were praying for him. Manny Cutlip asked Mr. Wetzel if he could go to lunch some time with John. It happened the next day.

"I don't know what to say. I just wanted to get to know him better and see if I could learn anything from him to help me in my life," said the young pitcher, an imposing 6-foot-3, 225-pound standout athlete who will play football at IUP.

At lunch, he gave John a new football with a handwritten personal message on it. Part of the message read, "You have touched my heart and I will always look up to you as my role model."

Talk to John and you'll laugh at his sense of humor when he says things such as, "You can't let girls know that you know how to text message because they won't leave you alone."

But listen to his mature views on life and his philosophies ... and you might cry.

"I used to be afraid, but I'm not afraid of dying now, if that's what you want to know," he said. "Because life ain't about how many breaths you take. It's what you do with those breaths."

Figuring it out

It's been almost two years since John found out about his cancer. He knows the date like a birthday. June 23, 2006.

He discovered only recently that doctors didn't expect him to last through that first summer. "To me, that's already an accomplishment," he said.

In the first few months after the cancer discovery, John's father, Scott, would get up in the middle of the night, peek into his son's bedroom and see him wide awake, staring at the ceiling.

"He would just be thinking," the elder Challis said. "He's always been one who had to try and find an answer for everything. He wants to figure things out."

Through his own thoughts and through his deep Catholic beliefs, John believes he has "figured it out." He answers questions with maturity, courage and dignity, traits that have become his trademarks.

John requested that his mother, Regina, not be interviewed for this story because it will be too hard for her. He talks to his father about what to do after he dies.

"I sit up with him at night until 1 or 2 in the morning," Scott Challis said. "He'll tell me, 'Dad, when I'm gone, you have to do this or that. You have to watch your weight.' He's worried about my weight. He tells me I have to take care of mom.

"When the doctors told him a few weeks ago about how the cancer was winning, he had a lot of questions about what it was going to be like and about being comfortable. Later on, he broke down with me and you know what he did? He apologized. He was upset because he felt like he was letting everyone down who had been praying for him."

Scott Challis has found talking about his son makes the situation easier to deal with. But many people like to talk about John. Shawn Lehocky is a senior and one of Freedom's top athletes. For every football and baseball game, he wears a red wrist band with John's No. 11 on it.

"It seems like everyone in this community knows who he is now and he really has brought so many people together," Shawn said. "He's always on my mind. To see him and what he's going through, I don't know if I could act like that. He said some pretty strong words at that walk-a-thon that you don't hear 17- or 18-year-olds say every day."

John fought back tears a few times during last week's interview.

"Sometimes I cry, but people cry for all different kinds of reasons," he said. "Sometimes I just want to know why, but I think I figured that out. God wanted me to get sick because he knew I was strong enough to handle it. I'm spreading His word and my message. By doing that, I'm doing what God put me here to do.

"It took me about a half year to figure all that out. Now, when I'm able to truly believe it, it makes it easier on me. And when you know other people support what you're thinking, it makes it easier."

When asked where he gained his wisdom, he answered, "Through cancer."

"They say it takes a special person to realize this kind of stuff," he said. "I don't know if I'm special, but it wasn't hard for me. It's just my mind-set. A situation is what you make of it. Not what it makes of you."

He regularly wears his Freedom baseball hat. Under the bill of the cap is his name, plus this line: "COURAGE + BELIEVE = LIFE."

"I guess I can see why people see me as an inspiration," he said. "But why do people think it's so hard to see things the way I do? All I'm doing is making the best of a situation."

John then raises his voice.

"Why can't people just see the best in things? It gets you so much further in life. It's always negative this and negative that. That's all you see and hear."

John tries to keep complaining to a minimum, but he acknowledges his moments of crying.

"If I'm mad at anything in this, it's that I'm not going to be able to have a son, I'm not going to be able to get married and have my own house," he said, fighting back tears again. "Those are the things I'm mad about. But not dying."

The role of sports

John loves sports. He is an avid hunter -- "got three buck and two doe in the last year," he said.

He played baseball through Pony League and always loved football, despite his small stature. As a sophomore, he started on Freedom's junior varsity team as a slotback and cornerback.

"I was 108 pounds. I had to be the smallest player in the WPIAL," he said with a laugh.

The cancer forced him to stop playing football as a junior.

"But I will never forget," his father said, "when he first got sick he told me, 'Dad, I have to dress for a football game one more time.' "

He got his wish in the final game of his senior season, against Hickory. Coaches let him kick off once. He was supposed to kick and immediately run off the field to avoid danger. Instead, he stayed on the field and got a little excited when the kick returner started heading his way before being tackled.

Later in the game, the coaches put him in for two plays at receiver. Mr. Wetzel and others who saw the game proudly tell how, on one play, John tried to block a defender, fell down, but got up and pushed another defender.

Mr. Wetzel said seeing John play in that last football game, doesn't compare to seeing his hit against Aliquippa in that April 14 baseball game. John vividly remembers the details leading up to the hit. When he walked into the batter's box, he saw Aliquippa's catcher wearing a protective mask with the initials "J.C." and the number "11."

"I just looked at him and said, 'Nice mask.' "

He then noticed an Aliquippa coach saying something to the pitcher.

"I'm thinking, 'If they're going to walk me or throw easy to me, I don't want it handed to me,' " he said. "But sure enough, he threw me a fastball. That's what made it so good. ... There were only about 20 people there watching, but everyone was cheering."

Mr. Wetzel said: "We made it to the state [PIAA] playoffs two years ago and I thought that was the best feeling. I got to play in WPIAL championships at Blackhawk as a player. But that day, that hit, that moment ... That was the best feeling I've ever had in sports."

Six days later, Freedom played a game at PNC Park. John attended the game, but had an IV line in his arm for a treatment he was getting. He took out the IV line and asked Mr. Wetzel if he could pinch-hit again.

"Unbelievable. He told me the doctor said he could take it out for up to seven hours," Mr. Wetzel said. "He told me he just wanted to be a normal kid one more time."

So Mr. Wetzel let him pinch-hit. This time he struck out.

They have a unique coach-player relationship. Mr. Wetzel invited John to be part of the team a year ago and John calls the coach one of his best friends. They talk every day, at least on a cell phone, and go to lunch together once a week.

"The kid has changed my life," Mr. Wetzel said. "I cry for him just about every day. I'm 32 and I'm getting married in September. You know what he told me the other day? He told me to save him a seat in the front row of the church, because even if he's not there, he'll be there in spirit.

"He just keeps doing things and saying things that are just unbelievable. I know our team will never forget this season because of Johnny."

The two want to start a foundation in John's name for young cancer patients.

"Even if [the foundation] is something that can help only one kid or one family, to see people in a different way like I have, it will be worth it," John said. "Maybe it will help younger people who haven't gotten to see the finer things in life that I got to see."

John plans to attend Freedom's prom May 9 and plans to graduate in June. As John ended this interview, he said he wondered how his story will come out in the newspaper.

"When you write this, don't overthink things," he said. "I've learned that. There are a lot of unanswered questions in this world and the reason they're unanswered is because if you think about them too much, you're always going to come up with different answers. So don't confuse yourself and think about this too much."

First published on May 4, 2008 at 12:00 am

Product Review: Child Bike Seat

Ever wonder why kids are forced to look at your butt when trying to enjoy a bike ride together? Rather than enjoying the wind in their face they get to enjoy your occasional wind in their face (pee-u).

I have wonderful memories of riding in a child seat on the back of my dad's bike where I suffered semi-regular high kicks to the side of my head if I didn't duck low enough as he swung his 6'2" 225 pound frame over the seat while mounting his 10-speed. (A helmet back then would have actually served dual purposes for me now that I reflect on it.)

I wanted Bubba to have those same memories with me (the bike rides not the head kicks). My main requirement was it had to be a front mount seat versus over the back wheel. I spent the evening hours reading reviews on,, and I traveled to the local sporting goods stores and specialty bike shops to touch, see, and evaluate any seat that was available to me. I questioned other parent-child riders to give me the opinion of their purchase.

Ultimately I discovered three things. 1) There are a limited selection of front mount seats 2) Front mount seats have a lower weight capacity and 3) They are really expensive.

One night towards the end of my research period I happened upon the ibert, inc. Safe-T-Seat. After reading all the reviews and seeing all the pictures I knew I had found my seat. We've had the seat now for over a year and have been 100% happy with the functionality, comfort, and company. When Bubba and I ride down-town I am constantly asked where I got the seat.One of my favorite things about the seat is that your child is centered perfectly over the bike's center of gravity so starts, stops, and turns are a breeze. I also like that I can squeeze Bubba between my fore arms if I have to stop fast.

Customer service at ibert is also beyond any expectation I could have. When they released a gel pad for the seat they sent it to me for free. Recently the cross-bar latch on the seat broke (I'm still not sure how). I emailed ibert and had a new cross at my front door within the week, no questions asked.

Pros: price, comfort, ease of balance, customer support
Cons: weight limit, child's access to brake and/or gears

Price: $79.99 (at
Shipping: Free with Super Saver Shipping

You can buy the seat here and here and here (me and Bubba made the ebay listing!)
Click here for benefits of the seat.
Click here for Safety Tips.

Other seats I reviewed: WeeRide Kangaroo and Bike-Tutor.

Me and Bubba out for a ride

P.S We found a matching green Specialized bike helmet at our local bike shop.

No Cuts, No Buts, No Coconuts!

I took Bubba to the fair Saturday evening and while in line to ride "The Bump Cars" (Bubba's reference to the crash-up-derby ride which I thought should be called Shatter Dad's Kneecaps) found myself getting further and further from the entrance to the ride. After the third parent with three kids in tow apparently related to the mother with two kids in front of me cut in line I decided I wasn't going to take the injustice to Bubba and politely tapped the teenage girl with toddler in front of me (hoping it was a brother or cousin) an said,

"If you would like to ride this ride you can wait like everyone else. My son and I have been waiting patiently here and you can do the same at the end of the line. If you have a problem with this we can call over the fair authorities whom I'm sure will tell you that cutting in line is not good fair etiquette. Your other option is for me to create a huge scene about how you are rude and inconsiderate of other people's children and should be publicly ridiculed for teaching all the children in this line that it is acceptable to NOT wait your turn!"

When I finished my lecture all the agreeing parents hollered, "Yeah" and shot me looks that said, "Thank You!" and "Way to tell 'em!"

That is exactly how it went in my head...

Outside of my head I just gave the teenage girl a typical disapproving dad look (the if-I-was-your-dad-I'd-be-making-you-apologize-for-that), to which she nervously turned forward and stopped the little boy she was with from kicking dirt on my shoes.

If the in-my-head tirade had been out of head I was pretty confident I was going to find myself fending off 80% of the fair goers since they all seemed to be related and there with each other. Every freakin' line we waited in kept getting longer from the front! Each time the ride operator would start letting a new group on the ride a crowd of parents and kids would join one of the parents in front of me shoving their kids through the gate inevitably filling the entire ride making Bubba and I wait another round before getting on.

After multiple "whys" from Bubba on why it was taking so long I finally whispered in his ear, "Because people keep cutting in line which we do not do." I later regretted this because in one of the lines while I wasn't paying attention I think Bubba said something about line etiquette to one of the other daddies that was conveniently tattooed up with his "805" gang affiliations and seemed to have his entire posse with him in line. He laughed then looked up at me not laughing, to which I responded with a sheepish grin and shrugged my shoulders in a effort to say, "What-can-you-do-please-don't-stab-me."

If the line-cutting wasn't bad enough at least one mother (note never a father) in every line had a 60 second debate with the ride operator on one of two issues (60 seconds is a very long time by the way when you are going to make it on this ride but at any moment 15 relatives may show up and get on meaning you don't). She was either in disbelief that her 14 month old was not able to ride by himself (though there were dozens of posters and measuring signs clearing displaying you had to be at least 32" tall to ride) or she was irate that her child that was 32" tall could not ride alone and she had to buy a ticket for herself to ride with him (which was also posted clearly at every ride).

What I realized after about the third let-my-kid-on or I-don't-have-a-ticket debate was each mom knew the rules. I again had an in-my-head-tirade similar to the one above. During one very eloquent speech Bubba asked me, "Dada, you talkin' to yourself?". To which I responded "Yes" because I was apparently silently mouthing my tirade while staring at the mother hoping she would somehow hear my disdain through some sort of supernatural-pissed-off-dad-mind-meld. No dice though.

The ironic part of this experience was on about half the rides the ride operator stopped me on the way out to award me with a VIP ticket for a free ride. I think it was because I made Bubba say "Thank You" after each ride, but I also think it may be because I accidentally mind-melded with them instead of the aimed at mom so to make up for my suffering gave me a free ride in order that I could suffer the entire ordeal over again...

I had so many tickets left over I was able to award three girls with 9 ride tickets to which they very politely said, "Thank You". As I walked away I heard their squeals of joy as they told their friends they just got a bunch of free tickets, which made the night out with Bubba ever better.

They Call Me "The Baby Whisperer"

Wanna win the cry war? Either call me because I'm a freakin' pro at this or watch this 7 minute video (do not call me by the baby soothing schedule is all full up). All I can say is thank you Dr. Karp for making The Happiest Baby on the Block.Dads this is especially for you because I think this is easier for us as we have longer forearms and bigger hands. Sorry if you are of the vertically challenged or just have freakishly short arms and stubby fingers because you're probably screwed here and on the basketball court...bummer.

After mastering this technique with Sweet Pea I now wonder why in name of sleep deprivation did I not watch this video when Bubba was born? I promise if you do this right you will get more sleep and you will be a stud-man-awesome-husband-gentle-father all at the same time in the eyes of your wife. And that combo is a rarity.

If you are thinking I already know "the 5 S's" so I don't have to watch this, do it anyway. I knew them before with Bubba but I was doing it wrong. Swinging is not really swinging, but rather jiggling..."the 5 =S's" just sounds better than "the 4 S's and 1 J".

As a word of caution here do not "shake" your baby. Shaking babies is bad.

Martini + Shaken = Good
Baby + Shaken = Someone should punch you in the nuts

Now go out and make some happy babies. After all, happy babies means happy mommies and happy mommies means you might actually get some in another 3 to 4 weeks...

Conversations Only of the Parental Type

We had bigs plans for the Santa Barbara Fair today. We left the house approximately one hour after our rendezvous time with friends at the fair. From the outside of Dora (our Explorer's name. Dora the Ford...get it? What? You don't name your cars?) it appeared as though we were going to run a marathon while pushing three kids.

toddler bag - check
diaper bag - check
single jogger - check
double jogger - check
kiddopotamus - check
Baby Bjorn (in case Sweet Pea didn't like the jogger): check
The Ultimate Wrap (in case Sweet Pea didn't like jogger or Baby Bjorn) - check
three Nalgene bottles - check
Bubba - check
Sweet Pea - check

It really does take longer to get out of the house with two kids...

On the way to the fair we were listening to VeggieTales Sing-Alongs: O Veggie, Where Art Thou. Bubba's favorite song is Old Time Religion. MyLove's is Amazing Grace, and when it came on she turned the volume way up so she could hear the end solo part. And then we had this conversation...
MyLove: Isn't that solo part at the end by the asparagus great!
Me: I don't think that's the asparagus. It's Grandpa Bob.
MyLove: No way, it's the asparagus. Listen closer.
Me: (listening)
MyLove: It's the asparagus. (she at this point sings the part like and with said asparagus having very pronounced arm motions like she is the lead in a Broadway show)
Me: Yeah..maybe it is.

In my head I'm thinking this has to be the most ridiculous debate that has ever taken place on the face of God's Green Earth.

Please tell me that you have these conversations, too.

Poo and Christian Music

In no way am I running out of This and Thats, but I just read a great one on Ross King's blog here.

"Public Announcement" - Go Download It NOW!

My Lover and I love our Church. We feel supremely blessed that we have the most amazing worship leader of any Church I/we have been to. I have been in too many congregations where no one was singing but the band on stage, and I think, "How is this worshiping together?"

I think it is rare to find a worship leader that is a professional performer and also "leads worship" versus performs. As a worship leader and performer Dominic Balli is a gifted musician and has just released his first full length album - Public Announcement.

Dominic is a daddy to daughter Selah and son Solomon (awesome names). But before Solomon was born Emily (Dominic's wife) miscarried twins. I can't imagine the pain associated with a loss like this, but Dominic shows a glimpse of his feelings on the track Babies - one of my favorite songs.

If you are looking for some unique Christian music with really great lyrics go download Public Announcement. You can also download it on iTunes.Here is a snipit of a review of Public Announcement and Babies. Read the full review here.

"Lastly, is an emotional song written about Dominic and Emily's recent miscarriage. These are touching lyrics that are sure to resonate with anyone who has ever lost a loved one. And just when you think the album is done there is a ghost track that is well worth the wait!

I am going to be totally honest with you. I have two of the most critical ears of anyone that I know in the industry. I rarely endure the first song (in its entirety) on any album that is sent to me. It is even harder for me to listen down an album from beginning to the end without pressing that magical ">>" button whenever I hear something that makes me cringe. This may have been the first album that I didn't skip forward on since Bob Marley's "Exodus." This CD is incredible! Since I received it I have listened to it over and over again at work, at home and in the car.

I am convinced that this album has the greatest crossover potential of any album sold on Dominic is an incredible worship leader at his home church (Reality Carpenteria) and an awesome husband and father with a burning passion for his Lord. Having known him for the last few years I am confident that when he does crossover, (and he will) he will take the CROSS-over with him."

Poopie Brownies!

My Lover's funny mother sent me this parenting story today. I'm sure it's been around a while, but it is worth sharing.

When a simple ,'No' just doesn't suffice here is a wonderful reply for all of the children in our lives.


A father of some teenage children had the family rule that they could not attend PG-13, R or X rated movies. His three teens wanted to see a particular popular movie that was playing at local theaters. It was rated PG-13.

The teens interviewed friends and even some members of their family's church to find out what was offensive in the movie. The teens made a list of pros and cons about the movie to use to convince their dad that they should be allowed to see it.

The cons were:

  • It contained ONLY 3 swear words!
  • The ONLY violence was a building exploding (and you see that on TV all the time they said),
  • You actually did not 'see' the couple in the movie having sex, it was just implied sex, off camera.
The pros were:
  • It was a popular movie, (a blockbuster).
  • Everyone was seeing it.
  • If the teens saw the movie then they would not feel left out when their friends discussed it.
  • The movie contained a good story and plot.
  • It had some great adventure and suspense in it.
  • There were some fantastic special effects in this movie.
  • The movie's stars were some of the most talented actors in Hollywood.
  • It probably would be nominated for several awards.
  • Many members of their Christian church, including the pastor, had even seen the movie and said it wasn't really 'that bad'.
Therefore, since there were more pros than cons the teens asked their father to reconsider his position on just this ONE movie and let them have permission to go see it.

The father looked at the list and thought for a few minutes. He said he could tell his children had spent some time and thought on this request.
He asked if he could have a day to think about it before making his decision.

The teens were thrilled, thinking, 'Now we've got him! Our argument is too good! Dad can't turn us down!' So, they happily agreed to let him have a day to think about their request.

The next evening the Father called his three teenagers, who were smiling smugly, into the living room. There on the coffee table he had a plate of brownies. The teens were puzzled. The father told his children he had thought about their request and had decided that if they would eat the brownies, then he would let them go to the movie. But, he explained, just like the movie, the brownies had pros and cons.

The pros were :
  • They were made with the finest chocolate and other good ingredients.
  • They had the added special effect of yummy walnuts in them.
  • The brownies were moist and fresh with wonderful chocolate frosting on top.
  • He had made these fantastic brownies using an award-winning recipe.
  • And best of all, the brownies had been made lovingly by the hand of their own father.
The brownies only had one con :
  • He had included a little bit of a special ingredient: The brownies contained just a small amount of dog poop.
But he had mixed the dough well and they probably would not even be able to taste the dog poop and he had baked it at 350 degrees so hopefully any bacteria or germs from the dog poop had probably been destroyed. Therefore, if any of his children could stand to eat the brownies which included just a 'little bit of crap' and not be affected by it, then he knew they would also be able to see the movie with 'just a little bit of smut' and not be affected.

Of course, none of the teens would eat the brownies and the smug smiles had left their faces.
Now when his teenagers ask permission to do something he KNOWS THEY SHOULDN'T BE DOING the father just asks, 'Would you like me to whip up a batch of my special brownies?

Hey Guys Look At Me!

Do you ever wonder what goes on inside the head of a three year old? I constantly wonder.

How does a 3 year brain work that it would know putting an oven mitt on one foot and dad's shoe on the other would be funny? And then to top it off with a red foam bat for good measure. He knew it was funny because he walked outside and said, "Hey guys, look at me!"

How do they know?!

Walt Disney and Dead Cats

As dinner wound down a couple nights ago Bubba and I were sitting at the table together talking about life. My Lover was changing Sweet Pea's diaper in the other room so it was man-to-man talk. We talked about cars, airplanes, going to the zoo, and other things that happened to Bubba that day. The conversation then took an odd turn.

Bubba: Dada, I'm gonna kill the cat and put it in a box.
Me: WHAT!? (attempting not not laugh)
Bubba: I'm gonna kill the cat and put it in a box.
Me: Your going to kill Bowen? (our cat's name is Bowen)
Bubba: Yes.
Me: Why?
Bubba: Because I like to.

At this point I was thinking maybe I need to show a little more affection toward Bowen. I'm not a huge cat fan (he was part of the package when My Lover and I got married), and have probably said a few times with gritted teeth when he does stuff I don't like, "I'm gonna kill that cat." I thought maybe I had turned our loving 3 year old into an estranged cat killer. But I was hoping something else was maybe happening here...

As a side note "Because I like to." has become a very common answer when asking Brody why he did something wrong and he is not sure how to respond.

Me: But why would you kill Bowen?
Brody: Dada! (with arms out streched a palms up) Like the guy on Scamp.
Me: You mean like the dog catcher does with Scamp?
Brody: Yes.
Me: Bubba, do you mean you are going to catch the cat and put it in the pound like the dog catcher does with Scamp.
Brody: Yeah dadda, like that.

So there you have it. Walt Disney made my toddler want to kill our cat and put him in a box.

Lady and the Tramp II is a really cute
movie and great for toddler ages.

Scamp (aka Whirlwind) = Bubba