Show Me Where YOU Blog!

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Since “Best Bud Ed” was coming over to my house this morning, I cleaned up the “disaster area” that is USUALLY our computer desk.  When I was done, I stepped back, gazed upon my workspace – and began wondering about everyone else’s.

Call it creepy, or a tad bit voyeuristic – but I often wonder what type of setting the creative minds behind many of the blogs I enjoy work in or at.

So – I’ll start it off here.

Here is where the magic of “The Life of a Father of Five” happens. 

Where does the magic of YOUR blog happen?


 

For the record…  It does not “always” look this neat…  
And by “It does not ‘always’ look this neat”, I mean it RARELY looks this neat…

I Have a Theory

Often times elementary, junior high, and high schools have “theme days”…   A week where the kids all dress  in a different theme each day of the week.  Hawaiian day, Super Hero day, silly hat day, backwards day, or twins day.

Our little school is not immune to these fun little shenanigans.  In fact, because the kids wear uniforms, a day to dress “out of uniform” is likely to be more meaningful, and more anticipated than their public school counterparts.

“Catholic Schools Week” begins next week.  To be honest with you – I do not know the “theme” behind each of the days – with the exception of one particular day… 

Dress like a twin day.

Two (or more – as in triplets, quadruplets, quintuplets, sextuplets, septuplets, or octuplets) all dress alike. 

Both #4 of 5 and #5 of 5 have been working with their friends (i.e. the parents have been working together) to find outfits that match.  Since this is next to impossible – the parents have been talking about going out and finding inexpensive matching shirts.

Over the past two days, both my daughters have come home with cute shirts that one of the parents has gone out and located matching shirts for the whole group (thankfully, in both cases, the shirts have been from the clearance racks – which is where we usually shop

As I looked at my daughters new shirts (bought for “Dress like a twin day”) I realized that in once instance a group of 4 shirts were bought, and in the other, a group of 3 shirts were bought.  Seven shirts – all on clearance – and that was just from two groups of girls…

How many other schools have “Dress like a twin day” – and of all the schools having a “Dress like a twin day” – how many groups of girls (lets be honest here… How many 8-15 year old boys want to “Dress like a twin”???) how many groups of girls are buying groups of the same shirt?

That’s when the conspiracist voice within me starts whispering (and I start listening)…

I am pretty sure that department stores lobby the schools to host “Theme Days” to rid themselves of closeout clothing stock that is not selling.

They know that parents of large groups of kids will be out shopping for a bunch of the same shirts (at the lowest cost possible) for “Dress like a twin day”.

Think about that for a minute… It does not just stop at “Dress like a twin day”…  What about silly hat day (to get rid of the worst hats that no one else would buy), “Mismatch Day”, “Crazy Clothing day”, and who can forget Hawaiian day (Hawaiian shirts… need I say more?)

If you do not hear from me in the next 48-72 hours, call the police… I may have been “quieted” by the Department store closeout rack lobbyists… They are a silent but POWERFUL force – not to be messed with – and I think I may have just crossed the line by “outing” their dirty little secret!

I Finally Did It

Ever since I started "The Life of a Father of Five" (and even before), I have marveled at some of the AMAZING layouts of a few of the blogs I regularly visit.  A few of them even having their own "domain" name!
 
I started  "The Life of a Father of Five" on Blogger.  It is free, and full of the features that I wanted.  I knew nothing of HTML (and still know precious little), but because Blogger has such an easy to use format generator, and a built in post editor I did not need to know much HTML.  Blogger even allows you to choose a portion of your URL...  I say "a portion" because you will still have the "blogspot.com" on the end of the URL.
 
For a couple of years now, I have wanted to scoop up the domain www.father-of-five.com.  Despite finding a few other "father of five's" out there (in various other combinations) the one that matched MY blogspot.com URL was still available.
 
A little over a month ago, I finally did it.  I "bit the bullet" and scooped up www.father-of-five.com as my very own! 
 
The night I "purchased" it (more on that in a little bit) I was so excited - I started the conversion over at that very moment.  I do not know if it was because I was tired (I was still working overnights), excited (for actually getting the domain) or both - but the conversion was unsuccessful.  I followed the directions over, and just could not get it to work.  Since I owned the domain, I just pulled the plug on the project, and told myself I'd get to it in a little bit.
 
I pay approximately 0.85 (eighty five cents) per month for the domain...  So even if I could not get it running, I was not out too much to keep it my own.  Who knows what the future holds, eh?
 
Well, a couple of nights ago (just for the heck-of-it) I sat down and just started fiddling with the domain, and the blog again...  Immediately I noticed one tiny step I forgot and my excitement was rejuvenate!  - less than fifteen minutes later...
WWW.FATHER-OF-FIVE.COM came to life! 
Since the blog is still HOSTED at blogger.com, those of you who have book marked the old www.father-of-five.blogspot.com link can rest assured that your link will continue to work!  There is a "patch" in place that will send you from the blogspot.com domain to the "blogspotless" domain!  If you use an RSS feed in your readers to keep up, rest assured that your feed will continue to work!
 
I have also added RSS Feed buttons (one for posts and one for comments) in my sidebar for anyone who is interested.
 
Thanks friends and readers!  While I maintain FOF for my kids, it's you all that keep me coming back, and make maintaining FOF as much fun as it has been (and I hope continues to) be!

Heritage? Throwback? Dublin?

While walking through my local Target store the other day, something caught my eye… Something I had not seen before.  HERITAGE DR. PEPPER. 

Heritage Dr. Pepper is one of three sodas also known as “Throwback” sodas that Pepsi has released on a temporary basis.  Throwback Pepsi, Throwback Mountain Dew, and Throwback Dr. Pepper.

IMG_0285 The Heritage Dr. Pepper looked SIMILAR to something I had seen or read about MANY TIMES before…

(Like THIS EXAMPLE, and THIS ONE, and THIS ONE, and THIS ONE, and THIS ONE…  I think you get the idea!)

Had I actually stumbled across “The Good Stuff”, “The Nectar of the Gods”, “The Holy Grail of Soda Pop” (as I have heard it referred to over and over again)?? 

It was too close a coincidence to not even try it, so I shelled out the extra $$ this 12 pack cost me (compared to a “Regular” Dr. Pepper), and headed home with a mind whirling with the possibility!

“Heritage” Dr. Pepper is made with pure cane sugar (like Dublin Dr. Pepper) as opposed to the High Fructose Corn Syrup that most (if not all “common” soda is made with nowadays (and that includes the “regular” Dr. Pepper))

I could not wait!!  I rushed home and (while the soda was still warm) I cracked one open, and poured it into a glass of ice. 

Immediately, I did noticed a “slight” difference in taste.  I could not tell if it was stronger flavorings, a different recipe, or something else.  I drank half the can in a glass with ice, and took the other half of the can with me to go pick up #2 of 5 from basketball.

I subsequently forgot about the soda in the drink holder in my car.

The next morning as I got into my car to head to work, I was pleasantly surprised to find the Heritage Dr. Pepper still sitting in the drink holder (and still half full!) calling out to me with it’s sirens song. 

What is even better, is that when a soda is left in a car, in January, in Minnesota, the finder often discovers the beverage either a frozen popsicle, or chilled to the PERFECT temperature.

IMG_0287That morning, it was the latter.  Although no longer carbonated, the Dr. Pepper was chilled to PERFECTION!

(Little known FOF fact…  I do not mind soda that has lost it’s carbonation…  I even prefer it that way sometimes!  I often leave a soda opened in the fridge, sipping at it little by little over several days!)

Drinking the Dr. Pepper on the way to work, I experienced the same flavor as I did drinking it the evening before…  I could not tell if it was stronger flavorings, a different recipe, or something else.  Initially, I assumed the melting ice affected the taste, but in the case of the Minnesota Winter Chilled Dr. Pepper, it was not watered down liked the soda in the glass with ice.

I was looking forward to having another later that day (to try and narrow down the differences) but came home to find almost half the case gone… 

(Downside to having 5 kids…. “Can we have a soda” means half a 12 pack is wiped out!)

So, like any good father would do, I snatched up the remaining Dr. Pepper, and locked it in the trunk of my car.  (So the kids wont drink too much soda, thereby harming their teeth… Right??  That’s what a good dad would do… Huh?  Someone??? ANYONE???)

I have not partaken in another Heritage Dr. Pepper yet…  I am going to try and spread them out a bit…

In the mean time though, I started doing some internet searching, and discovered (to my dismay) that while the Heritage Dr. Pepper is different than the “run of the mill” Dr. Pepper (example, example, example) it is still not the same as “The Good Stuff”, “The Nectar of the Gods”, “The Holy Grail of Soda Pop”…  Dublin Dr. Pepper.

Tonight, the Vikings are in a playoffs.  The Mother of Five has a family football party planned (not something we do here very often…) – I plan another “Heritage Dr. Pepper” tonight during the game.

Watch for an update!

Geography Bee

A couple of weeks ago, #2 of 5 came home with a note from his teacher… 

Being the pessimist that I am, I immediately started thinking of the many ways I am going to have to punish him at home for whatever it was that this note was going to inform me about. 

But… NO, I was pleasantly surprised!

#2 of 5 was one of nine finalists (from a school of 500+ students (grades 5-8)) to have been selected to this year’s Geography Bee!! 

The students took Geography tests, and the top 2 students in grades 5, 6, and 7 along with the top three students (I think there was a tie) from grade 8 all moved on to the Geography Bee.

The sheet also asked each student to answer two “opinion” questions on Geography (as sort of a “bio” for the evening’s program…)

#2 of 5’s questions (and answers) were…

If I could travel anywhere in the world, it would be to: 
Rome.  Because they have many examples of great history there.

I believe that studying geography is important because:
We should know about other places and where they are located.

 

The Geography Bee was held tonight 
(Sorry the pictures turned out so blurry. It was a "low light" environment)

IMGA0019We were there (of course) along with my parents, and my in-laws – to support #2 of 5’s run for the championship.

The questions were tough…  I think I “may have” gotten about half of them (or less) myself.  #2 of 5’s interest and knowledge base of all things History / Geography surprise me from time to time.  I guess all that time letting the History Channel “entertain” him is starting to pay off, huh?

Well, #2 of 5 did not make it as Champion.  He did make it to the “second to the last” round, and he was the last eighth-grader standing as the Bee progressed!

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I am still proud of his accomplishment…  Even though he did not make “champion” – he did finish in the top six students in the whole Junior High, and for that – I just aint gonna complain one iota! 

WAY TO GO #2 of 5!!

The Last First

Many years ago, back when I was in high school (and for the first time in my life high school is starting to feel like it WAS many years ago) I was a fan of the newspaper columns Dear Abby, and Ask Ann Landers.

I do not recall which one of these columns printed a specific letter, but I vividly remember reading it, and how it stuck with me all day.  When I came home from school, I actually CLIPPED the column out of the newspaper (the only time I ever did this), carefully folded it up and stuck it in my wallet.  The clipping was in my wallet for many years, but through too many times falling into a lake or pool, and trips through the washing machine, the article succumbed to the ravages of time.

Over the years (despite the miracle of the internet) I have never been unable to find a copy of that letter.  I do not remember which column it was in.  I do not remember the date.  I do not remember the exact syntax of the letter. 

The letter was written to help remind the readers, to take time to smell the roses.  Yes, that thought applies to everyday life, but in this letter it was specifically about raising children. 

Even back then, I always assumed I would be a father (of five??  Not so sure of that, but a parent non-the-less).  So, even though I do not remember the column, the date, or the syntax, what I do remember, was the message it conveyed…

As parents we frequently celebrate our child’s (or children’s) “firsts”.  The first time our baby rolls over, the first time our baby crawls, the first time our baby eats solid food, our baby’s first steps, the first time our baby says Mommy / Daddy (or their version of the equivalent).  Let’s not forget our camcorders, cameras, photo-albums, and scrap-books which are stuffed with videos and photos and memories of these momentous occasions…  

Yet somewhere along the line, we become complacent.  These events (such as rolling over, crawling, walking, eating solid food, or talking) become mundane.  They become the norm.  Then, we forget about the excitement we once had for these milestones.

As many of these things become everyday occurrences, they because all to easy to overlook as “lasts”… 

Sometimes lasts are a good thing - like that “last” diaper.  (Whoo-hoo!!  No more diapers!!!

But other times it’s not so celebratory – like the last time your baby calls you Mommy or Daddy (and you become Mom & Dad, then Ma & Dad, and finally around age 14 or so, they just grunt at you when they want your attention), or the last time your baby crawls, or the last time your baby sits on your lap.   Don’t forget the last time you are able to carry your baby in your arms, or the last time your baby is interested in having you read them a story, or give you a hug or kiss in public.  I use “baby” here, but in many of these instances, your “baby” is no longer a “baby”.

For every first, there is almost always a last.

IMG_0267 Yesterday, we achieved one of those lasts.  After 16 years of being married, and five children under our belts, we experienced our last “first lost tooth”. 

Yes, #5 of 5 lost her very first tooth.

While it was exciting, it was (at the very same time) a little sad. 

When the kids were younger (much younger – as infants) I would frequently tell the Mother of Five something along the line of “I can’t wait to see what s/he is going to be like as a toddler”. 

As a toddler I would say  “I can’t wait to see what s/he is going to be like as a pre-schooler”. 

As a pre-schooler, I would say “I wonder what s/he is going to be like as a school-ager”, and

As a school-ager I told myself “I can’t wait to see what s/he is going to be like as a teen ager”…  

The Mother of Five would always caution me as to how fast they will grow up, and how when the time does arrive, I will want to take my wish back.

LoveYouForever She used to read a book to the kids when they were younger (although I suspect she was reading it more for herself).  “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch.  (If you are a parent and have never read this story… DO IT!  Do it for yourself.)

Now that I have an adult (or a close proximity to an adult) and a teen ager (who is everything you think of when you think teen-ager) – Just as the Mother of Five predicted, I am finding myself wondering where the time went…  Wishing I could take that wish back.

I am struggling to remember when #1 of 5 (now 21 years old) or #2 of 5 (now 14 years old) lost their first teeth.  Struggling to remember a time when it seemed like our house would keep the tooth-fairy busy - VERY BUSY - for a very long time! 

I do not get that feeling so much anymore…  The seemingly endless supply of children’s teeth from the FOF compound is showing signs of drying up…  And while it excites me, it also leaves me saddened. 

I often think of my parents (who I take for granted all-to-often) - and how independent a man I have become (which is, in many ways, a good thing – and speaks highly of how they raised me) – but how THEY must have felt as I grew up, and grew independent, and how they may have felt less and less needed – as I am starting to now. 

My solace kicks in (and I have always hoped my parents parents felt solace) when I remind myself even now, as a happy, successful, 40 year old, father of five, husband, and homeowner – that some of the sadness I feel about watching my children grow (or that I suspect my parents may have felt at one point watching my sister and I grow) comes from the signs of future successes yet to come.  The signs that my children are growing  into happy, healthy, well adjusted, and independent adults – just as I have.

 

It reminds me of why I started this blog. 

Why “The Life of a Father of Five” exists today. 

I write to help me remember the “lasts”.

For those of you who are new here, or who have never had the chance to read the inaugural post of “The Life of a Father of Five” (and are interested in doing so) you can find it HERE.

I have my own version of “Love You Forever”.  Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle” is my “Love You Forever”. 

I so seldom listen to this song.  It always brings tears to my eyes… Tears of joy, and tears of sorrow.

It reminds me of the “lasts”.

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Enjoy the firsts folks… by all means!  But please do not forget to pay attention to the “lasts” too – they can be just as important – just as much a milestone. 

I am going now.  I need to wipe the tears from my eyes.  Thank you for reading. 

FOF Observation #16

Let’s start off the new year with one of my favorite aspects of “The Life of a Father of Five”… 

An “Observation”!!

The "FOF Observations" are a series of "Perpetual Posts" where I will share with you, my readers, short little "one line" observations that I have made (or will be making) on being the father of a large family. You will be able to access each of the posts in a cohesive list by clicking on the "FOF Observations" link in the "Perpetual Posts" group on the sidebar.
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One benefit of winters in

Minnesota

icicles 

 

Nearly UNLIMITED freezer space, and the best part??? 

 

IT’S FREE!!

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