Saturday, December 18, 2010

At home . . . to play . . .

So . . . here we were with another weekend and I was feeling . . . BEAT. Jacob - once we got on the road headed west announced that he was feeling "sick" and so we quickly stopped for medicine at Wal-Greens. The whole - "I don't feel good" became a theme for the weekend (3 - 5 December) as we simply stayed put in the house - playing Wii, making cookies, watching Movies and of course napping! Sadly - not much to report but that even spending "down time" with the kids ROCKS! in amazing ways! I love them so very much.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fall Blues . . . . . Homework . . . (blah . . . . ).

We were ready for another great weekend (15 - 17 Oct) but had to temper it with the reality that a lot of the time would be spent doing "homework" as Jacob and Hannah are both far behind in school. Jacob seems to be struggling more than Hannah and honestly has me very concerned for him. So - we knew that we would not be all "play" this weekend.

Friday we were invited to a "Taco Dinner" and play date with William and Quinn at Erin's house. I have become very thankful for Erin, William and Quinn. It is awesome that the kids get along so well with them and I enjoy the adult company and conversation with Erin. So - the four of us made the journey to Erin's on Friday night and had Taco's, played, X Box 360 and played outside. Erin lives "way - way" off the beaten path so the yard is huge and the kids had a ton of area to play in. This is new for them as although my house is large there really is no "yard" to speak of. So it was a great joy for me to go out and have fun outside with them. They enjoyed playing on the swing set. Hannah loved playing with the boys dog, Reese (yes, he is named after the peanut butter cup).

Hannah, Quinn and Knoah playing on the slide.

Jacob (foreground) with William (background) playing on the swings.

Knoah and the slide!

After playing outside we all ventured in for Taco's and games which mostly meant X Box 360. Jacob and Quinn are really enjoying playing together while Hannah and Knoah are having a hoot playing with the many thousands of Lego's! We all had a good time but needed to venture west to my home. We arrived at my house just before ten and of course, Knoah was fast asleep. I put him in my room only to find that he would be coming out of to the living room to join me by 11:00. I am not sure why but the kids have been really needy over the last several weeks and have spent a great deal of time wanting to sit on my lap or hug me. Part of me is really cool with this because I am a very affectionate (translation - touchy / feely) kinda person so I was good with it. But, I am growing a bit concerned that Knoah has gotten to the point that he now does not sleep anywhere in my house except on my chest. Hannah is making it a point to always hold my hand and always be in the same room with me - which is a really good feat inside my house as it is a pretty big rental. Jacob, well - we will get to that later.

Saturday Morning came with some not so good surprises for me (see blog post; Go to a happy place, go to a happy place . . . below for more details) and some wonderful surprises for the kids! I was able to find Jacob's Halloween costume on Amazon and that was ordered so he was happy but that now means we had to go out and find him a Ninja Sword. After breakfast and a bit of homework we all dressed and set out to find the swords we would need for Jacob.

I had decided that we would start out looking for his ninja sword at Value World (honestly - because if I can get a good deal . . . yeah, that's what ya do). We set out and made the trip to Ypsilanti and began shopping. Sadly, we were not able to find his sword at Value world but - OMG! What we found was awesome. We found three Ralph Lauren sweater vest for Knoah (total 3.00), the game "silly golf" (2.00), a pair of Timberland boots for Hannah (4.00), a pair of Children's Palace saddle shoes for Knoah (2.00), three Coach belts for Jacob (2.00), Harry Potter board game, Candy Land Boardgames, trouble tracks play set, dress up dolls (wooden play set), power kicker play set and Thomas the Tank Engine board game (7.00) and walked out of Value World with a huge hall for only 20.00! Yeah! !

We then went to Wal-Mart and found Jacob's swords for his costume. By this point the kids were ready to eat and so we decided to grab a quick bite at McDonald's. We then had an appointment to meet Quinn, William and Erin at one of your favorite places; Jungle Java!

If I have not been more forceful with saying this I will do so now - if you live near Jungle Java and have young children - you have to go! The food is awesome; organic, reasonable prices (for Ann Arbor - keep that in mind) and the best part is that you can sit for hours as the kids play. On site free Wi-Fi and a terrific atmosphere, what more could you ask for.

We found ourselves playing until they closed at 8:00 which is always and awesome thing. I have really found that I love rolling on the floor and goofing around with Knoah! Sadly, I really need to lose some weight so that I can get back up into the big play area with Jacob and Hannah more often. Oh, I can fit but I just feel a bit more "sluggish" than I should!

Playing with Knoah in the "Toddler" area!

Hannah had a bit of an attitude Saturday night at Jungle Java. I think much of this was because she was enjoying playing with some of the "girls" that were there instead of being surrounded by Jacob, Knoah, Quinn and William. Hannah darted from place to place with her "new friend" and then at the end of the visit asked if she could, "give your telephone number to her" . . . yeah - no - she didn't quiet get the idea but it was cool to at least have Hannah playing with some girls for a change and she obviously loved it.

Hannah and her "new" friend.

Jacob enjoyed running and playing "tag" in the upper play area including the tree house. It is so cool to see Jacob running, playing and smiling - he is such a wonderful young man and I can't really express how much I love that guy!

Jacob - playing in the large play area at Jungle Java.

We ended up leaving once Jungle Java closed down at 8:00 and made the 40 minute drive to my house where the kids all quickly went to bed. Knoah has been doing this thing the last several weeks where he does not want to sleep in the bed but instead will only sleep laying with me. The cool thing is that I am good with it and it gives me a great chance to simply be with him and spend some quiet time.

Sunday came way too early and sadly was set aside for Lions football tailgate - which has become a staple of our visits and more homework. Jacob was able to finish nearly everything that he had brought with him for work and of course the Lion's win steak ended at one thanks to Eli Manning and the NY Giants!

We then headed east and met up with Mommy at 7:00 pm and it was time for the weekend to end. Leaving them is always hard and I keep praying that it will get more and more simple but - I am nearly sure that it wont! The good news was that come Monday afternoon (18 October) I get to go to Monroe and hang out with the kids for the evening. I am working sixteen hour days on Tues, Wed and Thurs so it will be awesome to see them during the week.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

It's cool . . . because it's random . . .

Happy things that I found around the house (and one outside the house) this morning before the kids awoke to face the day.

Hannah's "sailing painting" in the bathroom.

Hannah's "Popsicle" book marks.

More of the "Popsicle" book marks by Hannah.

Hannah's "Lion's Rule" drawing.

Hannah's "Tiger's Rule" drawing.

Hannah's "Bull" drawing.

Hannah's "Rainbow Lion".

My car door - Thanks to Hannah!

Hannah's "Blue's Clues" for Knoah.

Jacob and Hannah drawing from Chuckie Cheese.

Knoah and Me drawing from Chuckie Cheese.

Good memories.

Not so "Happy Hump Day" . . . again . . .

So - here we are . . . 6 October and another chance for a mid - week visit missed on work! Oh well - there is no way to be happy about it but I can at least think about something good - Jacob, Hannah and Knoah preparing for Halloween 2010.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mid Week Visit . . . What a Happy Hump Day - Again ! !

So after this past weekend (3 - 5 Sept) I was really missing the kids and so I took the chance on to arraigned a dinner meal on the 8th of September.

We met at Buffalo Wild Wings in Monroe. Yeah, I know not the most wonderful restaurant but they do have good food a cool enviornment and on Wednesdays a clown that does balloon animals!

So - the short of it; we had alot of fun and it was awesome to see them. Now - here are the pictures:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bye, Bye Summer . . .

A couple of weeks back (30 July) the kids and I went to the Monroe County Fair which has traditionaly been the "end of summer" for folks in Monroe County. But as they have moved "fair week" back from mid-August to early August it just isn't the same - end of summer deal as it once was. So, I decided to come up with some other "end of summer" ideal that would help fill the bill for a kinda - back 2 school kinda thing and so this weekend (3 Sept - 5 Sept)was focused on those "transition" activities.

The first activity was each to pick - Hot Dogs! ! Not just any hot dog mind you, an end of summer hot dog from the greatest place for weiners in America - Monroe's Original Hot Dog's and Rootbeer. Monroe's Original has always been one of our favorite places and with me living so far away this would be a special treat for me! The kids have always loved hot dogs and as you can imagine they were happy to humor me in this endevor. For those unfamilar - and if that is you, I am sorry, you really are missing out, Monroe's Original is a traditional type of place straight out of the 1950's with young girls coming to the car (car hop's) to take your order then deliver your food on a platter that hangs on the glass of your door. The cooliest part of the meal (ok - other than the terrific food) is that you have a great opprortunity to sit in a captive enviornment with your family to laugh, joke, talk and just be together.

After our meal we made the normal trip for snacks and then out to my home for the weekend. It isn't that I live forever away from Monroe but normally the hour drive is not something that I look forward to but with the kids in the car I really adore the drive as it gives us time to not only talk but do some of the silly things that I miss so much - like singing Ramones songs as we go down the road!

Friday ended with the normal movie and then our typical arguing over who would sleep with Knoah. I normally like this argument because Knoah has really taken to sleeping with me and to be fair - I love that. I so miss him when he is not with me and every second that I am with him is one that I want to spend close to him!

Saturday we had a wonderful breakfast and then set out to find some more odd and end items that they may need for school. This was fun as it allowed us to go shopping and mostly browse for items. Hannah, while we were shopping, came up with one of the better ideas for us which was to purchase some "crafts" that we could build together. This has become something that we normally try and do at least a couple of times a month and this weekend was no different.

Hannah picked a wonderful Birdhouse for herself, Knoah decided he needed to do a sailboat and Jacob was estatic that they had a "race car".

The kids grew hungry before we headed home and so we decided to stop and pick up something to eat. We settled on a place that none of us had ever eaten at in Yspsilanti called Sinbad's Koney Island. While the food was pretty good and the service was excellent the one thing that Sinbad's gave us was something we never expected - a trip in a time machine! Well, maybe not exactly but once we sat down Jacob noticed that the chandiler hanging above us in the resturant was the very same chandiler that used to hang in our home on South Macomb in Monroe. Seeing the lamp hang above me was both a good thing and a bad thing. It was cool that Jacob's memory is so wonderful but it was a bit uncomfortable to be reminded of happier times. Still we had a good time at the resturant and everyone seemed to enjoy there food. Hannah seemed the happiest as she not only finished her pasta but also tow of Knoah's chicken strips and my salad!

Saturday ended again with another film and the promise of another awsome day on Sunday. With sunday's arrival we decided that we would build our "crafts" so we spent time putting them together. Of course, since this involved painting, Hannah was the most aggresive at doing this and the happiest.

Thankfully though Knoah seemed to enjoy doing his "sailboat" too and we were able to finish it before making the journey home. Again this week the separation was, for me, difficult at best but it was made somewhat easier by knowing that in just a few days we would be meeting for dinner. Still, leaving the most important people in your life is never easy but is something that I am finding I have to learn how to deal with, at least for now.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

If you build it . . . we will play . . .

I knew that the weekend would be hectic (30 Aug - 1 Sept) but I really had no idea some of the "silly things" we would do!

After picking up the kids and doing the normal "snack" shopping we decided to get something to eat. I really try to let the kids pick where they would like to eat and don't really fuss too much when it comes to whatever selection of restaurants that they have made. For me, going four days without seeing them means that I can tolerate someplace that I may not really want to eat just so long as I am with them. There selection this week was no different! They decided that it was necessary for us go to Pizza Hut! I am as much a pizza lover as the next person and really don't have anything horrible against pizza hut it's just not the place that I would have picked. Thankfully, anytime you are with "Jannob" it can always be fun if you let it.

Jacob and Hannah had ended "summer school" earlier in the day and were excited to tell me about all the cool things they had gotten for "point reward". Hannah was most appreciative and happy with what she was able to get. She did not care that she had earned enough points to get a backpack or that she had earned a new book. No - Hannah was happiest that she had gotten "vampire teeth"! Her obsession with the little plastic "vampire" teeth is really nothing new and every year around this season she begins "craving" them! The funny thing here is that Hannah is scared by "Halloween" and does not like anything with blood or gore! Which makes me wonder - she knows that when you are going to "drink someones blood" there is "gore" right? Hannah was able to get several pair of her beloved "vampire" teeth and willingly recruited Jacob and Knoah into becoming part of her clan before we ate! Honestly, I am not sure who was more amused by them - me or a former co-worker that we ran into while at Pizza Hut. The best part came when they agreed to a group "vampire" photo!

After dinner we decided to begin making the trek to my house but not before stopping at the Goodwill in Monroe to see if they may have any "board games". This has become a new thing for us and something that I have really grown to enjoy; board games! We have found that looking for new games anytime we are near a second hand store is always fun - first because the games are usually under 2.00 and secondly because each time it is always a surprise! I normally try and avoid the Monroe Goodwill (long story but let's just say that several years ago a "manager" there decided that it was OK to mistreat my self and my family . . ) but as the parking lot was nearly empty (meaning . . her car was not there!) and it is right next to Pizza Hut we decided to "check it out"; good thing too! We found an awesome game called - "Rhyme N Climb" (which was a 3D Dr. Seuss game). It was our other "purchase" that proved "troublesome" for me!

Jacob has grown an odd obsession with the "Titanic" which I guess I can understand as when I was younger and Dr. Robert Ballard "found her" and photo's were broadcast around the world, I became very fascinated with the ship and the legend. So much so that I still have the National Geographic from that time and have even read; "A night to remember" by Walter Lord. Jacob decided that he needed to expand his Titanic knowledge after finding the film; "Titanic" - you know the James Cameron 3 hour and 14 minute epic starring; DiCaprio, Winslet, and Zane! Yea - that "Titanic"! Look - I am not a hater but . . truth told I just did not think that he would sit through the film and more importantly I was scared that if he did it would become a "Jacob Obsession", which is to say that he would grow so attached to the film that it would not leave the player for days, weeks or months! Still, he wanted it and it was only 50. cents so I took the chance. Bad - bad, move! Once we arrived home Jacob ran straight to my bedroom and put the film into the player - which is where it remained until Sunday night (thank you, very much).

Saturday morning was the normal - Knoah up early with me and he and I playing games. We put the "new" game together - "Rhyme n' Climb" and began playing. After a few rounds I noticed that Knoah was doing his normal thing of grabbing his head and saying, "ahh, man . . " when something happen but that this time it looked different. This time his fingers were nearly touching! This is kind of a big deal for kids that have achondroplasia (to be able to touch there hands on top of there heads) and I became very excited over it! Knoah really did not get what all the fuss was over but was able to get excited after he beat me at the game!

Once Jacob and Hannah awoke and joined us was "plotted" the day. Earlier in the week I had stopped at TJ Maxx and had found set of Bocce Balls for only 6.00. Of course, I picked them up as I figured that anything with a ball and throwing could be something that Knoah would love. I asked the kids if they were interested in "building" a bocce court out of PVC pipe so that we could play. They were so we knew that a visit to Lowes would be in order. After breakfast we gathered ourselves together and set out for the Adrian Lowe's to get the items needed for our bocce court.

Next to Lowe's in Adrian is a re-sale shop which again - is "way too difficult" for us to simply pass up! I am glad that we didn't as we found an art easel for Hannah along with a new game; "Mator's Tractor Tipping" all for four dollars!

We than decided to make our way to McDonald's for an early dinner (and because the kids LOVE the play land in Adrian - mostly because of the video games) then made our way home to set up the bocce court.

While Knoah and I were working on the bocce court, Hannah decided to "draw" on her new easel (oh, Jacob was watching Titanic, just in case you were wondering). Hannah kept her subject matter close at hand and once finished announced that we needed to "come see" her newest work. I know that everyone thinks there kids are the most gifted, prettiest, smartest, fastest, strongest, happiest and most wonderful children ever. But, in the case of Hannah and her creativity and ability to draw - it's true! I could not help but smile when she showed us her "newest work" and I can't help but "share it"!

Knoah and I were then able to finish the bocce court and even able to play for a while before we decided to finish the night with a bit of a "dance" party; brining out the disco strobes, turning on music and having fun. We were even able to get Jacob away from Titanic long enough to join in the festivities! (Course if you notice he is on the right and is standing still! He joined us but only long enough to ask; "OK, can I go watch Titanic now?").

Sunday morning came as it normally does - way too quickly! But, we all rose early, which is to say that Jacob rolled out before we hit double digits! We then had a nice breakfast of Pancakes and both Jacob and Knoah received a new "hair cut". Hannah had her nails done and then we decided to really break in the bocce court by playing together.

Jacob became disillusioned early in the tournament as he does not like doing things that he is not immediately good at - normally this occurs when the game is something that Hannah or Knoah can beat him at and bocce proved to be Hannah's game! (who knew?).

Hannah and I then finished an Oreo Cream Pie that we made for them to take home and then began our trek to Monroe for ending of our "weekend". Saying, "good bye" always sux's but this weekend it was not so bad as I knew that in just a few more days we would be together playing again!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

"Jake the Snake's" MoJo is . . . "GGGGGREAT" for the Lions (even if Tony the Tiger said it!).

OK - let's be clear here . . The Detroit Lions are one of the oldest National Football League franchise. History has seen the Lions as both great and well, for the majority of my 42 years on this earth, horrible. But . . thanks to a creative, thoughtful, intelligent and insightful eleven year old boy, things are (as Bob Dylan sang) "a change'n".

We can all play the little game of "why" the future looks bright for the Lions and well, maybe, drafting Matt Stafford, Javid Best and Ndamukong Suh has "helped" the cause - a little. But, I for one, know that the real cause for the new "sunny" forecast for the Lions (in addition to the win over the Amazingly talented and highly respected, Cleveland Browns on the 28th of August (Lions 35, Browns 27)) is due first and foremost to the game changing pre-season tradition brought forward by "Jake the Snake"! Yes, were it not for his ingestion of "Lion's Kick Off Crunch" and the prayers, wishes and dreams laid forth to the football God's (all hail Vince Lombardi and those who have hoisted his trophy) the Lion's would not have such a rosy outlook as they approach this season!

Yeah - deny the power of a boy and his dream!

"Snakeman" - Jacob Matthew Reagan Sweat . . With his magical "Kick-Off" Crunch!

Notice: No commitment to victory or future winning is predicted and or anticipated by this writer. This prose was crafted with the full intent of offering forth one of the few viable services this writer may possess - sarcasm. The reader would like to remind everyone that at the end of each day the team wearing the Honolulu Blue, Silver and Black are still owned by William Clay Ford (no offense intended - in fact, I own a Ford and Mr. Ford if you somehow hear about this entry - I think you are a great owner who has had misfortune since you purchased the team in 1964 and that such misfortune is neither something you could control or something you caused. In fact, Mr. Ford, may I say . . if you are searching for a personal valet or any other underling role within the Ford Dynasty . . please feel free to contact your humble servant at the blog) and are still . . The Lions.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The "Trifecta of Terrible" (or just ironically funny)

Ya know, I am pretty happy with my life right now. I am employed at a facility that I believe in the message and mission of what we do. I am working (kinda - but not too hard) to lose the weight I have gained in the last nine months. I have gained some really wonderful friends over the last nine months and have reconnected with some terrific people that I knew in childhood (btw: Ronnie - got your message, your right and I honestly take your advice - have not had time to respond but I will - thx you, sir). Although I did not think it possible I have grown to adore my children even more (although I still wish I could see them more often). I am looking at graduate school and am committed to ensuring that I enroll. With the help and guidance of others I am at peace with where I am in life and where I would like to be heading. I have accepted responsibility for my actions without equivocation and have asked for forgiveness from those I have hurt. I am, I pray, headed in the right direction and although I know it will be a bumpy ride from time to time it is still the right direction. Then . . . it happens! Those events that let you know - yeah, the "goodness gods" still want to mess with you and just like celebrity deaths it comes in three's! (OK - yes, I am being funny and sarcastic - don't read into it!).

First, over the last few weeks at work one of my co-workers has been enjoying building a world and life for "Crockey" and his family. "Crockey" is a crocodile that, I would assume, was born in a toy factory (most likely in China) and migrated to the states to raise a family. Sadly, Crockey was "Crocknapped" and a ransom note was sent to the owner along with elaborate instructions. Thankfully the reptile has been returned. However, the issue here is that somehow I have been made a suspect in this devious adventure! OK; I admit that I am a bit of a prankster but - in the words of "Shaggy" - It wasn't me! Although, I do enjoy hanging out with "Crockey" - I would never stoop so low to rip a father from his family - geez, cut me some slack, people!

Me and "Crockey" in better days when I was not a suspect in the "Crocknapping" caper!

Now putting the whole - "rubber reptile for ransom" thing aside the second thing was the near loss of "freaky chimp" (to be referred to as "FC" from this point forward). Jacob managed to con me into (no, it wasn't that hard) getting him this little chimp that has light up eye's and makes a really odd and scary noise when it's button is pressed.

Jacob was enjoying "FC" (to the dismay of others) and while we were spending some time walking through downtown Dundee after dinner he decided to have a seat with "FC" on a park bench. Sadly, "FC" is very skinny and his (or her) butt was not big enough to maintain an upright seating position and "FC" fell through the bench and into the storm drain. (OK - yes, my first reaction was; "awww, sorry Jacob" all the while quietly and silently singing in my head; "Ding, dong the chimp is gone, the chimp is gone, the chimp is gone, ding dong the freaky chimp is gone"). Sadly, my euphoria of only lasted a mili-second as Jacob then looked at me, nearly in tears and exclaimed . . . "you gotta get him back"! The only think that would have made this moment any more like a Lassie movie would have been if he had included, "Pa" at the end of his statement. So, of course . . . I grabbed the storm drain and (thankfully) was able to pull it off and rescue the creature that I don't like; yeah me!

Then it came time to encounter the third thing that would make up, the "Trifecta of Terrible". Earlier in the summer I picked up a pool for the kids and put it on my back deck (concrete - don't stress) so everyone (yes, including me) could stay nice and cool. The first pool did not work out too well at my house as it was too big and decided to run, actually, roll away - rolling off the deck and down the hill toward the creek that runs behind my house! (Yes, it's funny - NOW - at the time, not so much!). So, I packed that one up and sent it to stay with the kids at Mom's house as the backyard there can accommodate it. I purchased another pool that has been wonderful till now.

The problem, really, isn't the pool but maybe me in this case. I have made it a habit of feeding the birds and cats that are in the area (OK - I live out in the country and there are cats - not mine, maybe not anyone - I don't know . . but, Hannah and I like watching them (actually, Hannah likes watching them and I like watching her) so I have been feeding them - clear enough?). Creating this "animal" haven has cost me and is the third in the trifecta. How is that, well, one of the local critter's must have needed a drink and thought that the hose to the pool was a nice place to get water! So, when we arrived home I found the pool draining out the hose from the "bite marks" left! Thanks - whomever (or whatever) you are!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sometimes . . . It's a Jungle in here . .

WOW - the last week seemed like it would never end and that I would never, ever, get to the weekend to see the kids. I don't think that I set an agency record for the week at 97 hours but I am pretty sure that I am close to my own personal weekly record, although I have never kept track. As soon as 3:00 pm on Friday the 13th rolled around I was in the car and headed east to pick up the kids.

I have missed them so much that seeing them, holding them and hearing them talk honestly made me want to cry. All I could think about was how wonderful they are as children and how much I have missed them.

We started our weekend (13 - 15 August) off with what has become normal fair; picking up snacks and supplies at either Wal-Mart or Meijer. While picking up snacks we spent some time discussing our plans for the weekend and what they may want to do on top of that. Knoah was excited about his Thomas the Tank Engine toys and wanted to talk only about "Thomas". This was fun for a while but after about 45 minutes of shopping and talking about Thomas it was time for a distraction and thankfully, Jacob found one. Jacob became enamored by a Dr. Scholl's insole diagnostic machine in the pharmacy isle as we searched for body wash. Knoah, not being one to really like being left out, demanded that he be allowed to try the machine and figuring that it would end the Thomas talk for at least a few minutes I figured why not! It worked as Knoah spend 10 - 15 minutes standing, jumping, walking and at one point I think talking to the machine! Best part was that seemed, as he normally does, he gains the attention of others as the, "cute little boy" worked hard to get the machine to tell him what insoles he needed!

We had "kind of" agreed that today's shopping experience would not turn into, "hey Dad, can I have this toy?" and we mostly stuck to that. Jacob did however ask really nice (yeah, it worked) if we could get the movie, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" so we did pick that up along with the film Igore. Knoah fell in love with a little green backpack and so that become his (OK, this purchase was justified as being three going on four he would really "need" this for school - right?). Hannah for her part only wanted a "Hannah Montana" book bag and well, as Jacob had the movie and Knoah a book bag - yeah, she got that for her.

Dinner became the next priority and so we moved to eat. Eating is difficult with the kids because they are very picky and at times do not want to go outside of this little comfort zone that they have (Mac N Cheese, Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, Noodles, Chicken). Not wanting to make a big deal of it I let them pick the restaurant and they decided on Bob Evans. I don't know if I would call myself a big Bob Evans fan but I guess it works. The best part, for me, was that we could sit at the table, talk, sing, get loud, color our place mats and even share our food and it did not seem that anyone in the world cared. Of course, I can't say that I would have cared if somebody would have been bothered!

After the meal it was off on that westward trek of an hour or so to my house. Once home we all agreed that we would watch a movie and then turn in for the night. Well, everyone except Knoah who was asleep long before we arrived and needed to be carried to bed. So, Hannah, Jacob and I settled into watch "Diary of a Wimpy Kid". Jacob has become a huge fan of the books over the last couple of years and I was more excited to watch his reactions and to hear him tell me about how, "that's in the book" (along with which book). But, I do have to admit that after watching the film I was surprised at how good of a movie it was. The story, if you have not seen it, is an awesome testament to friendship and one that I am sure we will see at least 200 or 300 more times! The movie also provided what became the weekend tag line; "Cheese touch"! (watch the movie and you will get it).

I had the kids turn in around 9:00 as it was a weekend (meaning they can stay up about an hour later than normal) and then I fell off soon after that. I woke up several times during the night and could not help but sit and look at the three of them as they slept. It is amazing isn't it, your children? As I looked at the three all I could think of is how wonderful and perfect they are and how blessed that I am to have them call me Dad. Knoah at one point seemed to be having a bad dream and as I put my hand on his chest to comfort him he grabbed it, holding it there and then drew in a deep breath and exhaled heavy. It was something that made me smile then and writing this now makes me smile.

Saturday morning came early as Knoah seemed the need to get up at 6:45. Honestly, I was fine with that as it met that I would get a chance to play with him and get some coffee. We played on the Thomas table for a while and then Knoah ask that I read him a story from one of his Thomas books. Four books later Hannah rolled into the television room and asked for breakfast. The three of us then played for a bit longer and discussed our options for the day.

I let them know about a place one of my co-workers had told me about in Ann Arbor called Jungle Java and asked if they might be interested in going there. Neither had much interest at first so I decided to "up the ante" and pulled out the Internet and Jungle Java's website - with full color pictures at which point Hannah was ready to wake Jacob up and leave now! Thankfully, he woke within a few minutes anyhow and joined us for breakfast.

We discussed the order of today's events and they were; play, chores (help clean out Beardsly and the Pigs), play, shower, have lunch and then head to Jungle Java. All went off without a hitch - until it came time to shower. Jacob and Hannah are doing very well with showering and I am proud of them. Knoah, lets just say that he is not so easy. Saturday proved to be extra hard as he was growing tired after getting up so early. Normally, I shower with Knoah (BTW; he showers simply because I do not have a bathtub), helping him scrub up and then we move along. This was the case on Saturday and after helping him wrap a towel around himself I sent him off to my bedroom where I planned on joining him just a few seconds later, after I had rinsed off. Sadly, this was not to be as Knoah found the eleven foot walk from the bathroom to the bedroom too much to manage in his current state so he simply collapsed in the doorway - wrapped in his towel and all!

I was able to get Knoah dried, dressed and loaded into the car without really waking him (and yes - I even got his trademark "Mohawk" done without disturbing his slumber), knowing that the 45 minute drive would give him a decent nap and that once we arrived at Jungle Java he would be ready to go.

I was as much excited to see the place as the kids were and once inside I was not disappointed! Jungle Java is really just an indoor play scape for children. It is similar in a way to McDonald's play land however the equipment is much nicer and the focus is more on interactive play than on simply "running around". I was also impressed the the menu which included healthier food options than McDonald's and considering my current desire to lose weight I really liked this!

Jacob and Hannah quickly found "friends" that they could play with and Knoah and I made our way into the play land for some fun of our own. After about an hour in the "toddler" area Knoah wanted to venture into the tree house and large play land. Jungle Java encourages parents to "go play" and frankly, I did not need much more than that so Knoah and I were off into the large play area. This was fun but after running into Jacob a couple of times it became obvious to me that I was "cramping his style" of play as he was "holding court" with some new friends so Knoah and I moved into another section to play. Thankfully the play area is "HUGE" and includes; slides, zip lines, foam obstacles, a rope bridge, tree house, net bridges and tunnels and of course areas to simply "sit and play".

Knoah on the "Lilly Pad's" at Jungle Java - he and I had fun playing "frog".

Part of the "Upper Play Area" at Jungle Java.

The Tree House at Jungle Java - yes, it is as cool as it looks!

Mr. No Fear - tackles the entrance to the toddler play area!

It really turned out to be an amazing place and a great find (thanks, KO, for telling me about it and we are thinking about trying "Glo - Putt" next week!) that the kids could not stop talking about during the entire ride home. We decided to make it to the house to watch the film, Igore, which meant that Knoah (as we were driving) would be asleep! We closed Saturday with a film and then all fell asleep watching Igore - a perfect day!

Sunday was pre-planned for us, in many was as we needed to finish laundry (yes, I think it is wrong to send the kids home with dirty cloths) and then make it to the Clinton Theater in time to see "Despicable Me" at three.

The movie was really wonderful and as a Dad, I have to tell you that the transformation the main character goes through is so very true and also so very wonderful to see played out.

After the film we returned home for an early dinner and to also pack and prepare for the drive back east. Being at the house gave us some time to play as a "family" and we deiced to use that time playing on the train table.

Knoah and his "Thomas" table.

Jacob playing with Knoah and Hannah.

Hannah playing with Jacob and Knoah.

Thankfully the drive was uneventful and we were able to listen to some music that the kids love - The Ramones! (yeah, I think it is cool as hell that my kids can sing along with; "I wanna be sedated", "beat on the brat" and "blitzkreig bop" - and?). I know I will miss them this week but that's alright because in just four short days I will get to hold them, talk face to face and play with them again! What a great weekend.

Jungle Java's Website:

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Week of living . . . at work . . .

The kids were with Grandpa Frank from the 5th to the 8th of August so I figured now was the time to pick up some "extra hours" at work . . So, my schedule became:

Thursday 5 Aug - 16.5 Hours
Friday 6 Aug - 16.5 Hours
Saturday 7 Aug - 16.5 Hours
Sunday 8 Aug - 10 Hours
Monday 9 Aug - 16.5 Hours
Tuesday 10 Aug - 16.5 Hours
Wednsday 11 Aug - 16.5 Hours
Thursday 12 Aug - 16.5 Hours
Friday 13 Aug - 8 Hours and then pick up the kids! !

Totaled more than 97 hours this week! Yeah, it's a bit psychotic but what the heck. I was able to call the kids everyday - too bad Jacob did not keep his phone with him, but they got my voice mails and I FB messaged them everyday so that they knew they are in my thoughts and that I missed them.

What a week . . . and it will all be worth it come Friday afternoon at 5:00!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Smile . . .

I would like to think that I am a pretty simple person with basic desires and needs. One thing I know I want is the admiration and affection of my children. Living outside of Ann Arbor and an hour away from them it's hard. Normally, when I drive to get them I go the back roads because, well, it's quicker and I really don't want to take the Escort above say 50! So when I pick them up my car is normally pretty dusty from the road. This "dust" has become a "pallet" for Hannah and nearly every weekend she leaves me something. Recently it was this:

Thing is, I am not about to wash the car and have that removed!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Tell me he isn't obsessed!

OK, short and simple; Knoah has a problem. Everything he does somehow goes back to "bowling". I don't know exactly where he gets this from but it's the truth. Don't believe me? How about this, we go to the park and play. While in the sandbox playing Knoah insist that we make "pins" so that he can "bowl"!

Sorry about the video being "sideways" and the "no sound" thing, I have a horrible camera but his "cuteness" comes through anyhow!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day . . . .

Happy Father's Day to All . . . . Espeically to my Father; Jackie Corbie Sweat the only man in my life I have ever wanted to be proud of me. I love you Dad. Thank you for always being there for me and for showing me what it means to be a Father.

It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father.

~Pope John XXIII