Friday, September 27, 2013


"When I get out of here, you're going to have such a diaper to change, mister."

Begs the question, which one of us is really being contained here?

-- Post From Safety @ the bottom of the stairs

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Finn of Fury

Finn's found a new love:  karate.

Don't worry, he'll only use his fighting skills for good.  And he's not interested in becoming the next Phoenix Jones.  In discussing his new powers, he informed me of the following:

"When I get tired punching and kicking the bad guys, I just rest and call the police."

That's my boy.  No sense working up a sweat.

On the Move

My laziness is well documented.  I have enough of a problem just moving my fingers to type this sentence, to say nothing of the challenges that I have walking up and down stairs.  Unfortunately for me, that ridiculously difficult task has only gotten more challenging as we've re-entered the darkest of days...  the Babygate Era.

Much like her brother before her, Edie has proven to be extremely dissatisfied with sitting in one place and has transitioned quickly into a crawling machine.  She's still struggling to get up on her knees, so they're mostly army-crawls, but they're deceptively quick.   If she's not lying on her stomach, screaming with her arms & legs furiously shaking in the air like an angry beached-whale, or relaxing in repose, as pictured above, she's now flopping around the house like a small-object-hungry baby seal.

This means that I either need to vacuum much more frequently to get all of the fuzz up off the floor or I don't need to vacuum at all, since she'll either gobble it up or Swiffer it in her onesie.   I just need to decide which I value more: her health or my free time.  I'll need to think about it.

It's not just her esophagus at risk, it's also Finn's Lego wonderland.  The southwest corner of our house is still Finn's undisputed territory and while it's elevated above her reach at the moment, that's not going to last.  We're going to need to either move Finn to the basement, which he won't like, or we'll need to find a way to fence him in like a zoo animal, which I'm not sure I'll like.  I predict it will increase whining on all ends by roughly 300%.

Then again, maybe we can make that work.  If I can find a way to install a zip line or giant swing between Edieland and Finnville, then we all win.  Yeah, that's the ticket.  It's just crazy enough to work.

I'll get to that right after I get done building the fort.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Camp Colman 2013


Camp Colman 2013, a set on Flickr.

Pics from the weekend


I thought I knew my son.  I thought I could predict how he would handle almost any situation - when he would dive in (rarely) and when he would sit back (often).

I was wrong.  He proved that this weekend.

Let me set the stage:  Finn and I joined Reid and one of his friends, as well as their dads, for a father son campout at a YMCA camp over on the peninsula Saturday night.  As a lifelong Boy Scout, let me just say, the YMCA camps are WAY nicer than Boy Scout camps.  Beyond the obvious - no basket weaving merit badge test to stress out over - their facilities were nicer, the food was better, and above all, instead of the aforementioned basket weaving and other fun activities such as leather working and Citizenship in the Community, Camp Colman had activities called Life & Death.  And Giant Swing.

We never checked out Life & Death, but Giant Swing is exactly what it sounds like.  A giant swing.  Attached to an enormous cedar tree deep in the woods and suspended on the same kind of cables that catch airplanes on aircraft carriers.

You need to sign up for Giant Swing at check in, so we signed up for the 6:15 pm session.  After a full day of running around like madmen, I was half expecting Finn and his buddies to bail on the giant swing after dinner, but everyone was talking it up and we were game, so we headed over.  The instructors spend the first ten minutes of your time there convincing you how safe Giant Swing is, which should tell you all you need to know about Giant Swing.   This is where it gets interesting.  When they asked who wanted to swing, Finn's hand was the first one in the air.  When they asked who wanted to go first, Finn's was the only hand still in the air.

I would not have predicted this.

In a semi-state of awe, I watched as they strapped him into a harness, put a helmet on his head and walked him down to the platform, from which they would raise him 30+ feet in the air.

Before you go any further, watch this video of the Camp Colman Giant Swing.  This is a must.

Now you see why I was so impressed.  Given that Finn doesn't even like to walk into Jena's house without me holding his hand, I was expecting him to bail when they told him I couldn't go down to the platform.  I was preparing my consolation hug for him, since he was sure to back out at that point when I realized that he was already down at the platform and climbing the ladder.  He never even looked at me, much less asked me to come down there.

I'm now starting to freak out a bit.  I ask them if I can go down closer to take some pictures.  But really I just wanted to be close enough that when I heard him tell the guide that he was too scared, I could rush right in and pick him up.  But he didn't say that.  The guide told him to jump back off the ladder to test his harness.  No way he would do that.  But he did it.  Then he said he was uncomfortable, so I breathed easy as order was restored to the universe and I prepared to get him.

Nope.  The guide adjusted his junk and Finn gave the thumbs up.  The ascent began.  Wow.

At roughly 20 feet, they asked Finn if he wanted to go any higher.  "HIGHER!" he yelled.  He yelled it again when they asked in another 5 feet.  At about 30 feet they made the mistake of asking again and up he went another 5 feet.  He went as high as they could crank him.  I almost threw up.

They gave the command to pull the rip cord, where he would unleash himself, and that was the moment I was sure he'd ask to be let down.  I was so sure that when he pulled the cord, dropped straight down ten feet and then shot about 50 feet over the forest, I forgot to take a picture.  I was trying too hard not to pee my pants.

After he had about two swings in, they told me I could grab a helmet and run down to take pictures at the bottom.  I quickly did so, certain that I'd hear him crying and begging to be let down as the swing slowed down.  Instead I heard this:


After we unbuckled him, and after I regained my composure, I gave him the biggest high-five my weak arms could muster.  As we climbed the hill back up to the group, the entire hill erupted in cheers of "FINN!  FINN!  FINN!"

It was amazing.  He was smiling ear to ear and begging to go again.  The grown-ups who had previously volunteered to go next, on the other hand, were looking a little queasy.  I couldn't blame them.  After promising him that we'd come back in the morning, he ran off to play with his friends.

It's worth noting that I never rode the swing.  I was lost after that performance.  Stunned.  And so it was that later, as the kids got even more tired and started in with the inevitable hitting & pushing, I was in a bit of quandary.

After all, who am I to yell at the maniac that conquered the Giant Swing while I stood idly by fretting with a dry mouth?

I'm that maniac's dad, that's who.  And I couldn't be prouder.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

I Wish

One of the many fantastic things about having a friend like Jena to hang out with Finn is that in addition to being able to regularly pawn off the boy so that I can do important things like drink and watch baseball, she also represents one of the few channels through which we are able to extract any real information from him via the regular Q&A sessions through which she puts the kids.

Here's the latest, which she was nice enough to package for me as a ready-made blog post.

On the topic of things that he would wish for, Finn provided the following gems:
I would wish for sugar to not be bad for you. My mom wishes dairy was not bad for her so she could eat it, and sugar too. I wish for my dad that he was my teacher. And I wish my mom was my teacher. I wish we could fly. I'd fly to my house first and do nothing. Actually, I would fly to Key West. I wish my sister could crawl. I wish she could never cry again, like if she touched something she would stop crying... Like a water bottle cap. I wish Grandma Parker's area where she lives didn't have any hurricanes. I wish it would be snowing right now. I wish it would snow all year long. I wish I never got bloody. I wish Myla never called my sister "Itty" cause its not telling the truth. I wish my dad told the truth. He doesn't tell the truth that much. He said my elbow was my armpit. The last thing I wish for is a pet dolphin and a baby nurse shark.... They are not harmless. They don't harm anything.
Kitty thinks I should take that second-to-last comment as a sign that I should stop teasing and/or lying to him.  I think exactly the opposite is true.  I take great pride in the fact that my son can see through my BS.  

After all, he's going to need that skill if he's ever going to survive in this family.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Great Grandma Parker

Grandma and me, June 1973
Tomorrow is Finn's first day of kindergarten, and while that is bound to be an emotional day in the
Parker household, I'm going to defer getting into that so I can cover another emotional topic:  the passing of Finn & Edie's great-grandma Parker this weekend.

She picked an auspicious day to leave us - her 99th birthday.  I think she was embarrassed by the thought of Willard Scott reading her name on live TV and opted out a year early.

Meeting of the Edies, Summer 2013
Not surprising for someone who came from a time in which it was proper for an expectant couple to push the car out of the driveway on your way to the hospital before starting it so as not to raise a fuss with the neighbors with so indelicate a topic.

Alex, Finn & Grandma, Summer 2011
So here's to the Original Edie Parker, whose culinary mastery introduced the world to the now iconic dish of French Toast and Hotdogs (served mixed together in bite sized pieces) and who loved nothing more than to have her grandkids laying on the floor, watching the Boss Hogg show on TV (Boss being the real hero of Hazzard County on accounta sharing her maternal last name).

I hope that in Heaven, no one says that they hate anything - they merely "don't prefer it" - and that MTV is nowhere on the channel listings.

Rest in Peace, Grandma.