Archive for the ‘Kid Stuff’ Category

Overheard at Wal-Mart: Respect Your Elders

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Kid1: “hey, respect your elders, yo!”

Kid 2: “But I’m older than you…!

Kid 1: “Yeah, but I’m your UNCLE!”

… good point, I guess :p

First Piano Lesson by Sam

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Today I started piano lessons with my 13 year old daughter.

That is, SHE is teaching me.

Considering she’s been playing since she was 3 (see a cool song she self-taught herself below), I figured she’d be an excellent teacher.  Plus, I’d like to see if she likes it and would teach other young kids and make a buck here or there.

It went well, although my fingers and hands don’t really want to do what they must.  Piano isn’t as much about learning what sound each key makes as it is figuring out how to control the movements of my body, and retrain my movements.

The sound I’m plucking right now are very simple, but if I can get the form down I’ll be able to move into other, complex, more beautiful music.

Just like earlier this morning when I took her to the raquetball court.  She wants to hit with her wrist, and she wants to hit overhead, and she wants to have her body point in the wrong direction on a hit, and she wants to—— use bad form.  Because it’s more natural.

But she’s learning good form, and as she masters the good form, and her muscles strengthen, and she gets more control, she’ll be able to play at a higher level.

Just like her mom, who started to write songs many, many years ago, but a few months ago she started to go to local songwriter meetings to learn how to write songs – what is a bridge, what is a hook, how to use twists, how to relate to the audience, etc.

She has dozens of songs started, but some of them are probably pretty sophomoric, because she didn’t have the training.  But she’s getting the training, and she’s practicing – in the mornings she pulls out a notebook while her mind is fresh and she writes for ten minutes.  She is reading books on lyrics.  I’m sure she’s already improved, and over time her songwriting will only mature.

Just like blogging – when I started blogging I thought I was freaking awesome, but I’m coming up on my five year anniversary and I know my blog posts have gotten better.  I didn’t go to blogging school, but I have been at it, writing almost 2,000 posts in the last five years.  I’m experimented, played, tried and just plain written, and I can only hope that my posts are more meaningful, more impactful, and just plain better.

So, could the formula for getting proficient at something be:

proper instruction + plenty of practice = profiency


About Sam – she’s really good.  She self-taught herself to play this song (we need to get a recording up on youtube):

The Miracle Van – Goodbye

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Almost five years ago I got laid off.  My wife was pregnant with our fourth child and we had to change from our car (Toyota Avalon, which is like harnessing heaven on four wheels!) to a minivan.

It was hard to give up the Avalon but the story of how we got our van is a very cool story, and why we call it The Miracle Van.  Even with it’s bumps and bruises, we really appreciated the van because we got it in a time of desperation, and it represented the goodness of humanity (many people where involved in helping us get it, since there was no money to pay for it at the time).

Two weeks ago I had just started a two week trip with about a dozen speaking engagements.  I was in California at the time when I got the dreaded call from my FIL:

“First, everyone is okay….”

When he said that I thought ... “okay, I think that’s not the statement I want to hear when I first answer the phone… is he going to tell me something bad happened?”

My wife was in an accident that could have been very, very bad, but fortunately she, and our two youngest kids, where okay.

An accident is not good for anyone… but events leading up to this accident where, as we recognized, tender mercies.

For example:

  • I had lost my car keys a couple of years earlier, so we only had one set (has a chip in it and we never got around to getting a spare). Days earlier, my wife found the lost key in a coat she hadn’t worn for a long time.
  • Her dad was in town on a really strange errand, right when it happened, and was able to be at the accident and help until she got home and was okay.

In memoriam, here’s a picture of the van, post-accident… note the numbers (explanations below):

  1. There used to be something here.  Now there is nothing but a void.
  2. This tire used to face a completely different direction.
  3. This is about where my wife’s legs were at the time of the accident.  Fortunately nothing happened to her body, except from bruises and bumps.  Sooooo close to something more dangerous :s
  4. This is one of two mirrors, and the only mirror that was intact.  Our other mirror had a few bouts with the side of the garage door, and was proudly bandaged up in shiny duct tape.  Never got around to fixing that.
  5. This is where our 18 month old baby was.  Thank goodness the impact was just a few feet in front of him, instead of where he was.

Shopping for a new vehicle isn’t fun, in general, but we’ve had some great experiences, which I hope to blog about on the JibberJobber blog.

Water Drowning

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Last week I was swimming with my kids and my three-almost-four year old had this very concerned look, and in a voice worthy of pity and sadness, she said:

aaaaaaaw, look at that water down there,” as she points down to the bottom of the pool, with serious concern, “it’s drowning :(.”

In all my years I’ve never thought about the water on the bottom, drowning.  How ignorant of me :p

140 Miles. Encouragement.

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Today was an interesting walk. I walked 6.3 miles, which is the most I can stand to do since my boss doesn’t like me to take 2 hour lunch breaks :p

About 3 miles into it a neighbor who knows what my goal is honked like a crazy woman and then pulled up beside me and yelled encouragement… thumbs up and everything.  That was pretty cool (thank you :)).

Then, about a half mile up the road I was at an intersection waiting to cross when an older guy (about 60), pushing a stroller with a baby, came up to me and said “I walked every day for an hour, cut 1/2 of what I ate and cut out the soda and I lost 23 pounds!  Don’t give up!”

That was really nice of him to share.  Of course it reminded me that even though I feel 100 times better, I still look like I need to lose 23 pounds :p

Here’s my favorite story, though.  This happened 8 days ago. I was with my 9 year old son (the romantic one LOL).  He is a very active kid but this winter he hasn’t been so active… so he would ride his bike ahead of me just so he could take a lot of rests.

When we were about 3.5 miles into the walk, which was about .5 miles from our house, I told him I was going to pass our house and walk another 2.3 miles.  I knew he was exhausted and really just wanted to get a reaction out of him.

He said, with a really calm face, “that’s okay.” — no discouragement at all.

I said “really?”

He replied, and this was the BEST part: “sure Dad, I don’t care.  I just want to make sure you hit your goal.”

He was thinking of ME hitting MY goal.  What an awesome 9 year old!

It was a very tender moment – I sure love my kids!

Does Your Tummy Feel Yucky?

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Last night Kim threw up on my bed after too much playing and laughing.

About an hour later, as I was putting her to bed, I asked her:

Does your tummy feel yucky?

She replied, with a grin:

No, my tummy feels yummy!


Choose the Right

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Along the path to becoming better parents we came across Nicholeen Peck’s stuff, which is best summarized as “teaching self government” to kids.

The idea is to help kids understand how they can govern themselves, their actions, their emotions, etc.  I’ve blogged about Nicholeen here and here.

One of the things she teaches us is how we can teach our kids to “accept a ‘NO’ answer.”  That is, when they ask something, and we say no, they can respond by saying OK with (a) a calm face and (b) a calm voice and then (c) dropping the subject.

If you think about it, it’s a brilliant thing to learn (many adults need to learn this).  Of course, they can “disagree appropriately,” also, so it’s not all about accepting our NO.

Usually when our 3 year old asks a question and we say NO, she is thrilled to say okay in that way. And then she immediately says “dad, I accepted a no answer with a calm face and a calm voice!” with the cutest smile and sense of pride you can imagine.  It’s really cute.

A few days ago she said something equally cute… we also hope our kids make right decisions… even though nobody always makes right decisions we want them to know they can CHOOSE to make a good (or right) decision – they are empowered to make decisions that will impact the consequences.

The three year old was talking to my wife and said very simply, and with a very serious face:

“I  choose the right, not the left

It was good to hear her clarify that she had made a right decision, not a left decision :p