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Proud dad moment

Our small town has an annual festival put on by the fire department. The proceeds help the fire department. The event helps unify a community annually for a few short hours.

My employer is gracious enough to donate and sets up a booth. We answer business questions and hand out some branded merchandise. We also have a few raffles handing out a few small prizes just for fun. One of the items My employer raffled off this year were fidget spinners. These are a popular item and many kids were excited about a chance to win one. These little toys had lots of kids excited. They stood eagerly for drawing of the tickets.

My co workers ran the booth while I was working the dunk tank. I took a break from my Fire Dept duties and checked in at the booth to make sure they had all they needed. The woman running our booth tells me my 8yr old daughter won a fidget spinner. She followed up my high five with, but winning it upset your daughter. My daughter told her, “Dad would be mad that I won the fidget spinner. Dad bought them for the community.” She gave her prize away to another kid. I couldn’t be prouder of her. It’s a great sign that kids do watch how we lead our lives. This was a very big parenting moment for me.

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A warm day in April

We love living in our small town. Nothing warms my heart more than seeing my family enjoy it too. After a long day at work I came home to my family out for a ride on the ATVs. It was a reminder of how blessed we are. During dinner the wife announced  the date of our next chicken dinner at our Fire Dept. The kids said the love helping at the Fire station. They immediately starting discussing who would do what job serving our community a chicken dinner. I’m a very lucky man. Raising kids to help others is becoming endangered in this day of technology burdened children.

We are also fortunate to be surrounded by other like minded families. Many families in our community set an example for many of us to follow. Many in This town help each other. This is the kind of place where neighbors aren’t afraid to stop by unannounced. The kind of place where neighbors call on neighbors when they need help. Places like this do exist and I’m proud to witness and contribute.

What have you done for your neighbors lately?

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What are your neighbors like?

I want to share my day with y’all. Today was a day worthy of reflection. 

    I started my day with a quiet cup of coffe on a small deck. I live just outside of a town of less than 200 residents. We have a post office but no traffic lights. This mornings coffee was entertained by some earthmoving equipment. So your first thought may be, laughter due to this city type noise.

My neighbor is installing a new driveway. Allow me to elaborate. He already has a driveway. It’s 1/4 mile long from the road to his house. Now here is where you find out about the community we have. The new driveway is being cut using equipment owned by my neighbor. His “labor” is his brother and father. Both brother and father live on either side of the gentleman. That’s correct, brother, brother then the fathers house. All three in a row. All three helping work on the new driveway. They didn’t call a contractor. They called on family. That’s setting the example for all of us.

    After admiring the family strength of my neighbors I sat down to a breakfast of eggs and toast. My wife cooked me breakfast as I decided how to start my day. The kids had a couple friends spend the night so dad would not be need until later in the day.  I started thinking about things like maybe a day of fishing or riding my ATV. I started watching the weather and saw some rain in the forecast. My thoughts drifted to a friend and farm down the road. I helped them with some hay a few days ago. We didn’t get the job done due to some mechanical issues. Getting the hay out of the field before it rains is important to a farmer. I bet they would have some use for a middle aged bored guy. It turns out the hay was made but still needed taken off the hillside.

     In this area we use contour farming to utilize our steep terrain. Here in the foothills of Appalachia farming can be dangerous.  Un even ground mixed with inexperience and ground hog holes can school a rookie like myself. The steep hillsides make for lengthy traverses to get crops off the hillsides. It’s time consuming transporting Hay and silage from between rows of corn or soybeans. Having some unskilled labor around (like myself) means the farmers can get back to money making tasks. 

    Don’t rat me out to my farming neighbors but I’m using them. I enjoy an afternoon on the tractor. I don’t mind working on equipment, the grease or the dust. I spend most of my “real work” days shuffling papers and taking care of HR issues. I love my day job but a break is nice. I get about 60 emails a day and so many phone calls it’s laughable. A day on the tractor is a day of solitude for me. My limited phone service at the farm is a blessing. It’s also fun learning a new skill. I’m not much of a farmer but the skills learned are easily transferable to other tasks. I’m not helping the farm much. I could be replaced by a 12 year old honestly. I feel blessed they let me come. 

    After a few hours on the farm I completed getting the round bales off the field. I got home in time to load the kids up in our ATV and wagon. We went to the gas station for ice cream. We played at the, park. We ran into some friends. Back at home the wife was preparing dinner. We ate dinner as a family like always. After supper the farmer dropped off an elderberry pie for us. I’d argue the pie is an overpayment at my skill level. I’m pretty sure it’s rude to pass on a pie so I gladly accepted. 😀

    I share my day with you to point out people still help each other. Pockets of good people that think outside of their own needs still exist. Ask yourself, what do my kids see me do that helps our neighbors. Be honest and set the example. What do you want your kids to see? How do we expect our kids to contribute to our community if we aren’t contributing? Get off your couch and get involved. Take your kids with you. 

  
   

    For a great lesson in history attended an Appleseed. 

Appleseedinfo.org.

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Play together to stay together

Have you heard the saying, “Those that play together stay together”?

Our family does a few things together. We always eat as a family. If we go to a park or a swimming pool we go as a family. Going together is not the same to me as playing together. We all like different things. Liking different things doesn’t mean we don’t like each other.

When I go shooting I will invite my family. Some times they all come other times one will come. Occasionally, no body wants to come. I’ve never forced any one to come shooting. I truly love shooting and encourage every one to become proficient. We shouldn’t expect for us all to like all the same things.

I am a big fan of Appleseed. I suggest every one should attended an Appleseed course (Appleseedinfo.org). I have invited my wife and kids. I have only had one of my kids attend an Appleseed. Not liking the same things is good and healthy.

Forcing those around you to like what you like is unhealthy. I don’t think playing together is as important as making time to be with your family. For us its mostly dinner time. Make room in your schedule for the time together. If it happens to be play that’s fine as long as everyone there is a willing participant.

Now go hug your family.

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How often do you do laundry?

    So you want 4 kids? Learn how to do laundry with out a break. Wake up and start the washer. Start the washer and make the kids lunch. Start the washer and make dinner. Start the washer right after the evening showers. Start the washer and head to town for groceries and laundry soap. This evening is a great example of how dirty laundry is created in excess amounts. 

       It rained again today. It seems like a steady weeks worth of rain. Rivers are at flood stage and the rains are still coming. It’s hot, muggy and raining. The kids have been playing in the yard most of the afternoon. They started dabbling in the puddles. They got their pants wet. They came in to get on shorts to wade in the puddles. Then they decided to come inside and put on bathing suits. The kids played hard for hours in the rain and puddles. Mom drags them inside to get showers before evening dinner as a family. Mom dictated they put on PJs for the evening. Fed, showered and ready for bed with only 4 sets of clothes x 4 kids. 

   Then dad gets out the ATV . The kids sneak out the back door and jump,on their own ATV. Splashing through the puddles at a high rate of speed they live on the edge! The edge isn’t from riding. The edge opens the back door and firmly suggests it’s time to park the ATVs.  Round two of showers and round 5 of clothes for the day. Now all of the kids are back inside and in Pajama set #2 for the evening. 

    Be prepared to do laundry for preventative maintance. I recently had my wife explain to me that she gave the kids clothes to put away. The kids took the clean clothes and piled them in their rooms. They put the clean clothes right in with the dirty clothes. Poor mom had to wash all the clothes. 

  Dirty Laundry seems to be an example of a self perpetuating machine. No matter what you do, more laundry is coming! 

  

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ATV trip with my 14 year old.

    Having solo time with any of my daughters is very difficult. My oldest is 14 this year and we don’t have much in common. She likes boys, I want to choke them 🙂  She likes helping animals and I like eating them. My daughter likes clothing that makes her look like a woman and I want to ground her for life. Let’s talk shoes another day. This post is about our weekend. 

   When I asked her to join me for a weekend of Camping, shooting and ATV riding I was expecting a NO. I was pleasantly surprised by her hurried yes answer. We got to spend almost 3 days together. We can both say we never had a dull moment. We truly enjoyed each others company. Her time as my baby girl is growing short. I was able to admire her tanacity and good decision making. She’s becoming the caring, thinking and grown person I hoped she would be. She was polite to our hosts. She respected their cabin and courtesy. She never uttered an unkind word. She volunteered to help our hosts when she could. She always wore her helmet. She is the responsible and polite person of the group. 

    Enough bragging about my daughter. Let’s get to some fun. We rode about 100 miles in mountainous terrain. She got bruised, scratched and blistered. I never heard one complaint. She never stopped smiling and neither did I.  

 

   We got in some shooting after a day’s riding. She got to shoot a golf ball out of an AR. I doubt many of her classmates can claim the same!

   A day after we had returned I asked her if she had fun. She said it was all fun except the sharp turns on the steep hills. We had water, mud and lots of sharp steep turns. She said she would go do it again so I must have done something right. 

   Now it’s time to play with the other 3 kids. The requests to play with dad are pouring in.

  
      

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An afternoon fishing with 4 kids and the wife. 

Have you ever fished with four kids? Let’s start with gear. Things like poles, hooks and bobbers aren’t too expensive and tend to last a few years once purchased. Worms were $4.99 a dozen at the local stop-N-rob. 12 worms means we all get 2 worms each. You better buy $20 worth of worms. Kids love a soda on a warm summer day. Buy a 12 pack of soda so we all get 2 cans each. It’s smart to take some water, sun screen and bug spray. Grab 6 folding chairs, 6 hats and the cooler. That gets us to the water. 

     Once at the lake it’s time to fish. If fishing means tying hooks, bobbers and sinkers for a crew of 6. Once all the poles are tied and baited I start handing them to the kids. I hear the first cast go directly into a tree branch. I Set up the rest of the poles then start working on getting the bobber from the tree. As soon as it’s free I hear,”Daddy my line is tangled”.  I need a 1/4 stick of dynamite and a samari sword to de tangle this rig. Now they all want a soda. Then the bugs start biting. Now we smell like bug spray, spilled soda and worm guts. 

   We never did catch a fish. I’m not even sure we had fun. We did spend the afternoon together. 

   Days like this make life worth all the hassles. I love my family.  

 

Family trips are few and far between. Sometimes you need to step back and say, “yep, I survived that trip”. I’m already looking forward to the next one! 

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