Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Two years ago

Your summer moment of cute. I held off on releasing this picture as we were planning on using it once Eli's adoption was finalized. Well, we never got around to doing that, so I am posting it here for the first time. This was on one of our many trips to the zoo that summer and one of the first with Eli in tow.
The luster of having a new little brother had not worn off and I was able to capture this moment on the train.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Artsy-fartsy stuff

Just in case you don't know about my other art blog, please take a moment and check it out.


I will be updating it as the summer unfolds and we move closer to Art Prize 2011, which I am taking part in. Yes, yes, I know I have been less than gracious with my posts about it on here in the past.
You might remember this from last year, and this from the first year.
But, I am in, and I am now an official Art Prize Artist.
So, take a minute and catch up on the other site.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


AWESOME! We bought it at Menards here in Jackson.

We have been pretty busy these past few days.

We dispatched the Grandparents to come in and help with the build and child care.
It’s a pretty cool thing, and yes, the kids love it.

We have to work out the ground issue. Mulch, pea gravel, or sod. We’ll see.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A very special JH2D Father's Day greeting

Anna, her Mom, and little sister Kara
Without a remarkable young woman, Tod and I would not be able to celebrate Father’s Day. Thanks to Hillary for the ultimate Father’s Day gift. We increased our family by a hundred or so the day Anna was born, and for that we are so thankful. Much love to you and your Moms on this special day for Dads (and Papas!)
The extended family
On a not so happy note, we have lost contact with Eli’s biological father on Facebook, and for all we have read, that’s a good thing. We are happy to report however, that we are still in contact with his foster dad and Eli loves that connection. We hope to continue to celebrate all the good that has come into our lives and tailor our holidays to celebrate their unique qualities.

Happy Father’s Day to you all, whether biological, accident, or by choice, all Fathers are special today.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A comment from the other day

My recent post on the Tony's vs. I Carly generated this message on Facebook. I asked him if I could share, as I thought that this was pretty funny. He said yes.

Sorry to message you on FB. I tried several times to post this on your blog about the Tony's without success:

Tom . . . I find this ironic as I was completely the opposite of you. I never really cared for musicals and I didn’t give two hoots about the Tony’s yet I saw much of the episode on Sunday. My partner Bill is an actor/director and a Tony addict. Two years ago he dragged me to a Broadway Across America performance of WICKED! when it played in Portland OR. I loved it and we’ve seen it two more times since but I still didn’t care for the Tony’s. That was until last Sunday. We had just returned home from seeing our latest performance of WICKED! in Vancouver BC in time to join the Tony broadcast in progress in our Pacific time zone. Bill happened to turn on the TV just as Joel Grey was introducing the closing number from “Anything Goes”. OMG, I loved it! I must see that show! And, I am now hooked on the Tony’s as well. I look forward to seeing them next year. I enjoy your blog. BTW, (unfortunately) the kids grow up and (fortunately) you can return to your favourite routines in the future. Cheers, Mike      

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I Carly killed the Tony's

In the time known as B.K. (Before Kids) Tod and I did many things that we now no longer do, including going to shows. I lettered in Theatre in High School and was a card-carrying Thespian. I adore musicals and love plays, usually the more cutting-edge stuff. “Glee” has top priority on our must watch list. We have traveled to NYC on many occasions just to see a show. Our family room on the third floor resembles Sardi’s as it is plastered with signed headshots and Playbills from the many shows we have seen or from the Broadway actors I have stalked in the alleys of Broadway and beyond. So how the hell did I miss probably the GAYEST Tony’s ever?
Easy, we were watching I Carly.

Yup, while the rest of the LGBT world was tuned in to the Gay Super Bowl (hoping for an Angela Lansbury nipple flash) we were watching the super I Carly/Victorious mash-up show on Nickelodeon. B.K. I would have had the Tony’s circled on my calendar and I would have pored over the list of nominees and plotted out trips based on who won and where we could see the show as it traveled to the midwest. B.K. I would have possible made something fancy and fussy in the kitchen while listening to the tech awards on PBS.
But this year was different. We had been out and about all weekend visiting family and after a long drive home from Grand Rapids, sitting on the couch with my daughter snuggled up next to me watching the I Carly special was just what we all needed. Well, all of us except for Eli. He wasn’t really down with the show and only came back when music was on to dance in front of the T.V. much to Anna’s dismay and shouts of “EEEEEE-LIE…. get out of my waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!”
So yes, there was drama, and there were Diva moments, but it wasn’t the Tony’s as in years gone by. Times change and that’s okay. As mentioned in previous posts, we are raising Rachael 2.0 here in Jackson, so perhaps a few more trips to the Big Apple and some more Broadway shows will help fuel her love of musical theatre and shows.  And maybe in a few years we can all get dressed up fancy, have a nice dinner and tuck in on the couches to watch the Tony’s together.
Until then, I Carly it is.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Girls in the mist

A funny thing happened the day of the Rose Parade, and for the life of me, I can’t explain it at all.Anna was in full on “ME ME ME!” mode as she was coming off of a week of craziness at school and the day at Cedar Point, followed by very little sleep.  Sunday morning found her to be very bossy and pushy, ordering poor Eli around like a drone and snapping demands at us like she was in charge. Her Mom and her sister showed up for the parade viewing party and Eli got a break from the entire bossy older sister stuff. Kara was carted around, ordered to sit and read a book, and so on. As we moved outside to get ready to watch the parade a distinct shift took place in the pecking order. The granddaughter of our day care provider showed up with her family and grandparents to watch the parade. This girl is older than Anna, and spent time with Anna at day care over the years. We all knew who was in charge at day care, and it wasn’t the adult.
Hanging out at the John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids.
As this child began to interact with Anna, Kara and Eli were tossed aside like dirty tissues and Anna became the minion of the new kid. Requests were presented to us prefaced with “SHE wants to…” or “SHE said we should…” and so on. I’m not sure if a prison rec yard or gorilla behavior studies are more germane to understanding this behavior, but apparently Anna knew her place in the great circle of life when this seasoned Silverback showed up and took control. This kid will be at the daycare for the next few weeks (before our day care lady heads off to become a Carny again for the summer, no, really.) So it will be interesting to see how her submissive behavior around this kid translates at home.

Dian Fossey, yes, gorillas are fabulous creatures, but I wish you would have spent some time studying a little further up the evolutionary chain. For the life of me, I have yet to understand the machinations of the little girl brain.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Papa brings a smack down: an open letter to the lady at Target

Dear Lady,

Thank you so much for your judgmental looks at both me and my daughter yesterday afternoon. Your stink eye looks and sneers as Anna was having her age appropriate meltdown really helped the situation. Between the staggering heat, not sleeping well, and going through her last day of school Anna was a perfect storm of emotions and bad behavior as we checked out. Yes, I saw you as we were walking through the store and I saw your little sneers as Anna demanded toys and other goodies in the toy department. I also noticed that you didn’t have a wedding ring on, which probably means you are not married and do not have children of your own. I bet your precious Mr. Whiskers is just a purrfectly behaved kitty and does EXACTLY what you tell him to do each and every day. Good for you. Go get a lint roller; you have cat hair on your ass.

I also noticed that you had single serving food items, which supports my theory that you do indeed live alone and are probably a hateful cunt. I appreciate you not saying anything, as I would have had to have a little side bar conversation with you should you have decided to open your trap and comment on her behavior. I appreciated the “hang in there” from the lady in the toy department as she saw my exasperation with Anna and I really appreciate the checkout guy engaging Eli while Anna moved up to Category 5 on the meltdown scale. Those little gestures were appreciated and kept me from having a full on stroke at the checkout.

Yes, we know, kids should be seen and not heard, but that doesn’t always happen. I am sorry that your trip out for dinner after an action packed afternoon of cat grooming and watching your stories was interrupted by a little girl with some big things on her plate. She may look mature and sound mature, but in reality, she’s a 5 year old, a little girl who is working on being able to control her emotions and behavior. I was able to remain calm while dealing with this situation thanks to those two offering their support while all this was going on. Your tacit disapproval did nothing for the situation but did indeed put you in the running for Bitch of the Year. Go back to your apartment, Mr. Whiskers misses you.


Papa Tom

Monday, June 6, 2011

A JH2D update

We hit the ground running last week Wednesday with preparations for Anna’s field day and surprise visit from Grandma McMillen, and it seems that we haven’t slowed down since. Let’s recap:
Wednesday: Field Day, grandma visit

Thursday: Prep for Cedar Point trip

Friday: Cedar Point trip

Saturday: Meeting in Ann Arbor, O’s Open Party next door

Sunday: Rose Parade (in our front yard!)
The kids at the Point.

Anna and her posse at Field Day.
The trip to Cedar Point was awesome. We rode in style in a chartered tour bus and got to the park just as it opened. I have never, in my decades of going to the Point, ever been cold. It’s always been warm and sunny or hot and humid. The weather Friday was amazing, bordering on chilly at times. We rode all the big ones, and had redemption from last year’s disappointment on Dragster (seated, strapped in, no launch). The new ride, Windseeker, was shut down for the day, not sure why. The kids had fun and after a few moments of protesting “I’M NOT TIRED!” they all crashed out around us and I settled in to watch “Kung Fu Panda” on the bus’ tv screens. We arrived home in Jackson close to midnight, tired, sunburnt and full of great memories.

Kid Central, waiting for the parade to start.
The O’s Open is an annual party our neighbors put on and it involves a lot of friends and family coming in to say hello and hang out in the Beer Garden. The Rose Parade, a tacky two hour event is right in our front yard as mentioned. At one point yesterday afternoon I would estimate that we had over 75 people in our front yard and on our porch seeking shade. Great fun.

So yeah, it’s no wonder I am tired and the kids are cranky. Summer officially begins with the end of school this week. We’re excited for all we have planned including Family Week and our annual summer camping trip with da Bears. Some big changes in our jobs may be coming down the pike, more on that later, nothing serious, relax. So readers, as I catch my breath, tell me what your plans are this summer.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cedar Point memories

Heading to Cedar Point tomorrow with Anna. Been there twice before with her, can't wait.
I have been looking for pics of the park from when I was a kid, and thanks to the internets I found some great images. Remember these?
Remember burning your legs on this one? And the smell of the bags.

Ah Frontier Lift, the stoner's paradise.

I loved every single minute of this ride.

This was the best, they really need to recreate this ride. I have never been on a water ride that is as good.

JUMBO JET! Headed towards Lake Erie. Sad. Great ride.

LOL, so many memories I can't share on here. Great ride.

Sadly, it's gone.

Shannon Sweet and I were scared to death of this ride when it opened. They need to put one of the cars on backwards to make this fun again.