Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Happy Birthday Annika Rose!

Annika, my first girl born in Oregon turns 7 today.

Hard to think that we’ve been in Oregon as long as we have, or that my little girl is 7.  She woke up this morning and was shrieking over the fact that she’s a year older.  It’s been a good day.

And no, I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth, or ever the blogosphere.  Just been busy as hell between the new job, 8th grade graduation, 5th grade graduation, Cub Scout Bridging, Girl Scout Bridging, my new job, Topher, Teke’s wedding and more!

I’ll get to all of that later, but I had to get on today to wish Annika a happy day!

        aka: goofdad

Monday, May 31, 2010

Good Times with Old Friends

So … It’s been a busy week.  Since I started the job at Yahoo! last week, I haven’t had a moment’s rest!  So far I’ve been out with friends practically every night.  Yes, I’ve missed all my bloggy friends, and I doubt it is going to be any different this week.

I’ve visited my cousin, visited my Jr. High School girlfriend, visited old friends from dance, visited my mother-in-law … But the best experience of the week:

Monday, May 24, 2010

First Day of the Rest of My Life ...

So ... started at Yahoo! today.  You know, you forget pretty quick how much every first day is the same.  The same boring paperwork.  The same administrative snafu's ...

But I got through it.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The best part of going to CA

Next week, I start my new job at Yahoo!  I'm going to be staying at my Mother In Law's house in Richmond while training at the Santa Clara and Sunnyvale campuses over the next two weeks.  I was going to fly down, but plans have changed, and I'm driving down with Adam.  I'm going to be doing lots of things while down there ... visiting family, hanging out with friends.

So ... what is the "Best Part" ... what's the best part of driving to CA?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Saying "YES!"

So, there's a lot of great "yes" stories over at Five-for-Ten!  There's stories of romance, of birh, of giving in.  As one of the few dad bloggers participating, I thought I'd do something different.  I thought I'd talk about why I said yes to blogging.

It's my birthday too, yeah!

For those not in the know, my son Adam was born the day before my 20th birthday.  That means that the day after his birthday ... is mine ;-)

I'm not going to make much of a blog post about my birthday ... I just couldn't resist the titles.  Instead, you get a (mostly) Wordless Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

They say it's your birthday!

Ninteen years ago, I wasn't a father. Nonetheless, my son was born. I didn't know it when I met him, days after his birth, at a Square Dance convention but the baby I played with, who'se fists bunched around my fingers, would all too soon be someone I claimed as my own.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Today is the NSFW post, and if you're easily turned off by visions of middle-aged, overweight, tired adults still trying to get it up ... read no further.

Because today's Five-for-Ten topic is ... Lust ... the SAK title would be ... Sex After Kids ...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Role Models

Been struggling with Five-for-Ten's topic of the day since ... well ... since I read it when I started.  Courage was an easy topic.  Happiness fell into my lap.  I'm a man, so Lust should be just plain fun.  Yes ... whatever.  But Memory?  What do I want to talk about?  I've related cute stories of my past in my blog before, but that's "a memory", not "memory" ... what could I possibly say about "memory" ...

I've been texting those closest to me, and mom just texted me back "well, there was a book called I remember mama.  arent I interesting enough?" ... I LOL'd, but it did it ... I started thinking ...  If I were to look back at what shaped me, who would I write about?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Children's Day at the Coast

Episcopal Diocese of Oregon
Children's Day at the Coast
Photography by:
Doug Young, Christina Young, and Rev. Susan Church
(clicky for bigger version)
      Dad Blogs Wordless Wednesday    
         aka: goofdad

The Pursuit

I started thinking about Thomas Jefferson on the Declaration of Independence and the part about our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And I remember thinking how did he know to put the pursuit part in there?
             -- Christopher Gardner, The Pursuit of Happyness
It's interesting how, when you're given a topic, the fates conspire to send you messages based on that topic.  One of those messages arrived from a fellow scout leader last night...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


As I said here, Julian was asked to participate in the school art competition.  He's finally done with his dragonfly, and I thought I'd share some pictures:

Monday, May 10, 2010

Defining Courage

Something close to 15 years ago, I sat and watched a movie called Angus.  It was a nice commentary on the whole High School experience, but one quote struck me hard, and has been with me ever since:
Grandpa: Superman isn't brave.
Angus: Did you take your pills this morning?
Grandpa: HeHe. You don't understand. He's smart, handsome, even decent. But he's not brave. No, listen to me. Superman is indestructible, and you can't be brave if you're indestructible. It's people like you and your mother. People who are different, and can be crushed and know it. Yet they keep on going out there every time.
This was the first time I had heard this concept.  I now quote that at my Scout group every year.  I explain to them that Courage and Bravery mean doing what you think is right, even when there's a very real possibility it's going to hurt.  If you can't get hurt, you can't be brave.  Your acts, as Grandpa says, may be good and decent ... but not courageous.

Well, last week it hurt.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Talk

About two weeks ago, The Well Read Hostess posted a blog entry that ended with the following paragraph:
My son is 8. The questions he asks about life's many mysteries especially those that involve body parts and babies are looping in ever tighter circles around the BIG QUESTIONS. I've always said I'm going to be totally straightforward, no euphemisms, no weird or cute terminology. But oy. Sometimes this stuff is way harder than 3 a.m. feedings, chafed nipples, and projectile baby poop.
It reminded me of a story that I've been meaning to blog about ever since.  Unfortunately, other things got in the way, but the story has been kicking around my brain dying to come out, so here it is.  For those of you "in the know" ... sorry, yeah, you've heard it before a time or ten ;-)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Live in the sunshine

"Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air ..."
                           -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Just before I went to CA, I was notified by one of my favorite bloggers, Juggling Eric, that I had received the Sunshine Award for my blog!

The Sunshine Award: The Sunshine Blog Award is awarded to bloggers
whose positivity and creativity inspire others in the blog world.

Friday, April 30, 2010


So, what do you do when you get a call from your boys’ friend:

“Hey, Doug, this is Ethan and Topher’s friend Johne.  I’ve known Topher for years, and have really seen the change in him since he’s moved in with you.  I’ve really got to get out of my house.  Would you be willing to take in another foster son?”

UMM … UMM … Wow!


I'm back, and should be back with vigor.  My absenteeism was totally worth it, but I'm now bustling with stories to tell.

What a busy two weeks it's been since I last did this!  So, here is a rundown of what the parenting survival family has been doing during these two weeks:

So, for those that have missed us (and, for those that haven't):

Monday, April 26, 2010


Going to be gone for a couple days.

Just got word I'm interviewing with:
On Wednesday.

Wish me luck!

        aka: goofdad

Thursday, April 22, 2010


 What are your Top 3 places to shop?

The “College Game”

For the second day in a row, I’ve gone to respond to someone’s blog and couldn’t keep my comments short.  Yesterday, it was Emily from Mothers of Brothers.  Today, it’s Terry from First Day of the Rest of My Life.

Terry's oldest is going through the college application process, and Terry is struggling with the chaos of it all and hating the pressure.  You can read much of the history on her blog.  Like holding my kids, this is a subject I feel very strongly about.  Despite the degree on my wall from U.C. Berkeley, one of the top universities in my field, I don’t encourage my kids to attend a major university fresh out of High School.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Snuggling with your kids …

This started out as a response to Emily’s recent post on Mothers of Brothers: Age Old Questions.  The problem is that I’m one of those people who can’t not re-read my emails and posts (only time I don’t is text messages … they’re too quick and pervasive to edit).  With this response, though, every time I edited it got longer instead of shorter and more concise.  After a couple of attempts, I gave up and decided to turn it into a blog post of it’s own.

So … here goes:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Well, the Honeymoon is OVER!

Having spent the last 24ish hours fighting with Topher, I'd have to say that the "honeymoon" period is done.

Friday, April 16, 2010


So, I enjoyed the Friday Wrap-up I did a couple weeks back, but had some weird weeks in the meantime.  I'm going to TRY again to make my Friday wrapup a regular thing.

Wish me luck!  This week in the Parenting Survival Household:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A sign of things to come?

So ... Topher has been having headaches.  Bad ones.  We took him to the doctor week before last and the doctor said they are tension headaches, and that we should "reduce the amount of stress in his life" ...

Let's see now ... he's been torn from the family he knows, even if it wasn't safe.  He went from a familiar family of 4 to a chaotic, strange household of 11.  He's had to learn new rules, figure out new ways of living, try new foods and new experiences, and overall change his life in almost every respect.

It's been a change for the better ... incredibly so at times, and he even agrees with that ... but stressful?


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Torn over Scouting

I, Doug, realize the obligation to my fellow Eagle Scouts;
to my home, my country, and my God.
I will at all times do my best to assist other scouts
who are climbing the trail to Eagle
to give back more to scouting than it has given me
to assist my troop as much as possible
and to be a living example of the Scout Oath and Law
to the best of my ability.
I took that oath on January 13th, 1989.  When, in subsequent years, the Boy Scouts took their anti-gay policies all the way to the Supreme Court, I cried.  It was wrong.  They were wrong.  I knew openly gay leaders, at least one of which was involved in the Supreme Court battle, and I can honestly say they were no danger to me or any of my friends.  They did not push who they were on us, and knew and taught the scouting program easily as well as any leader who I was sure was straight.

When medicine is not enough

This is a hard post to write.  For everyone who has been wondering why I've been off and on lately, this is (at least part of) it.  Topher is doing well ... as well as can be expected ... and it's a good thing, because life is trying to hit me in the head with a new 2x4 ...

My son Adam has Ulcerative Colitis.  He was diagnosed about 18 months ago, and it has been one dissappointment after another.  Initially his symptoms improved, and for about four months I had my son back.  Then, in about May, he flared up again.  It's gone back to being bad ever since.

Monday, April 12, 2010

National Child Abuse Propoganda

Child Abuse Prevention Month bothers me.  I walked into the mall with Topher this weekend, and there were cutouts of kids from infants to toddlers to teenagers standing in the walkway.  Each had a sad story taped to its chest explaining what had happened to the child that that particular cutout represented.  Honestly, it was heart wrenching.  And we can all agree that child abuse is heart wrenching.  In an ideal world, it would be preventable.

Details on Hunter

Such as they are:

Thursday, April 8, 2010

HOW old are you?


What are your Top 3 favorite ages?
(Or, your Top 3 favorite ages for your kids?)

Welcome to the family!

Topher's sister had her baby this morning.  Somewhere around 6:00.  The baby weighed in between 5 and 6 pounds.  Mother and baby are doing fine!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Topher turns 14!

So, this year Topher's birthday fell on Easter Sunday.  That made it a BIG DAY for him.  Check out the smile, and the story of the day comes after the break.

The great defender

So ... Ethan, Topher, and Douglas all share the same Guitar/Bass teacher.  Turns out, the bass teacher's son M is the same age as Douglas.  They were in the same class last year, but are in separate classes this year.  While they haven't been best friends, they get along decently enough.  Talking to M and his parents last night after Douglas' bass lesson, I learned something about my son.

If that's movin up

Mama if that's moving up
then I'm movin out

                                   -- Billy Joel
So ... Jory had his IEP meeting Wednesday Night.  He turns 21 next school year, so that's going to be his last year in the public school system.  They're trying to get him ready for living on his own.  The official stated goal is to have him ready to move out on his own by June 2011.  I'm excited.  I'm scared.  I'm not sure he's ready.  I'm sure I'm not.

Here's a list of what was brought up and how it's going to get tackled.

No, I didn't fall off the face of the earth

I've been fighting a cold for weeks, and finally just took some time off work over Easter weekend to try and recover.  I didn't blog, I didn't work.  I did shop (and argue ... 'cuz I hate to shop) with my wife.  We spent WAY too much money on Easter.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My poor truck

So ... this is going to surprise everyone: we own a lot of cars.  We have the big 15 passenger van (currently laid up until I can replace the serpentine belt) named "Bertha".  We have the minivan, which is "blue" or "periwinkle" or just "the van".  We have the Mercury Mystique which is "Misty".  We have the 91 Ranger named "Strider".  And then there's my truck -- the 89 F250 affectionately known as "Fugly" ... yeah ...

New Toys!

So ... Ethan got his drum set ... and earlier this week HE snapped this picture of Kaleigh playing the drums with his good drumsticks ...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Where do you find a bee at the end of March in Oregon?  Apparently at my kids' school!  And who would find it?  Kaleigh, of course!  And ... who is allergic?  Until this weekend, we didn't know it, but: Kaleigh, of course!  It all started when Rick called me Friday Morning.  You see, he and Kiwi decided Thursday night to come up and visit for a couple days (Sat night through Tues morning).

Friday, March 26, 2010


So ... I've been trying to figure out how to wrap up my week in my Friday Posts, and I think I'm going to start making a list, every Friday, about what my kids are doing or have done in the last week.  It can be special, funny, or just normal ... depending on the week and the kid.

Since last Friday:

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The definition of Insanity:

Albert Einstein defined insanity as "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results".  My carpool driver listens to NPR, and so I've been hearing a LOT of listening to the latest shenanigans of both parties over the recently passed Health Care Reform Act.

Throwing it all away!

To the tune of Genesis: Throwing it all away, it's time for:


What are the Top 3 things you should have thrown away... like, yesterday?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Getting the laundry done

So, a while back I posted that I would never encourage my wife to take a truck load of laundry to a laundromat and do it there.  Well ... now that is pretty close to true!  Up until last week, we owned an aging Maytag Neptune washer/dryer set that we had purchased when we lived in CA.  Christina must be reading This Daddy's Blog, because I swear she channeled his wife "T" when our taxes came back ...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Randomness and Cynicism

Stealing my title from Juggling Eric ... thanks, my friend ... it's how I feel today.  Nothing prepared to write about, and lots of little thoughts running through my head ...

Monday, March 22, 2010

The perfect babysitter

Sortof ... anyway, it’s time for:

This actually happened a couple weeks ago, but I've been waiting for the perfect time to share, and today seemed like it.  We were in the process of closing down the shop, so we were rushing around on a fine Sunday, getting to Church, getting back, headed to the shop to clean-up, etc.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Hair Deux

Not to be outdone by Topher’s hair experiences, Adam and Ethan decided it was time to attack theirs.  The biggest difference here: they weren’t as timid boring normal as the latest addition to the family.  Instead of black, they decided for blue and bright pink respectively.  I know it’s not Wordless Wednesday.  Not sure what to say to these, though …

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Musical Fantasy

Last night, the fourth grade classes at our local school presented their play.  Going in, the sum total review I got was “Douglas’ play is really cute.  You need to see it Wednesday nite” from Bammy.

Understatement.  This was a production of monumental proportions (at least for a group of 4 graders, that is).  How did this happen and I didn’t know about it ahead of time?!?!

Me? Quirky?


What are your Top 3 quirks?

And the award goes to:

On Monday, Sylvia’s Girl Scout group had an awards ceremony.

Someday, I’ll post about all the little things that bother me about the differences between Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.  I have enough experiences with both to have some pretty strong opinions.  But today, I just want to be one proud daddy.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

UPDATED -- Praying for Topher!

So ... after talking with Topher, and talking to his mother, DHS called me to confirm the Friday decision.  Topher is to remain home with me.  He is to call his mother, with supervision, and if she pressures him to come home we are to call DHS.  The official desire is for long-term reunification.  I would not place money on that, as I don't think she has that much self control.  I will be getting him into counseling, and we will go from there.

Thanks for all your prayers.  As I said Friday, I couldn't have asked for a better outcome.

Original post follows:

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Prodigal Son

Last Sunday, I taught, and was taught, a lesson about the Prodigal Son.  If you don’t already know the biblical version, go see it here.  My version starts out differently, because he wasn’t originally my son, so I didn’t hand him 1/2 (or even 1/10) of my fortune.  Instead, he was born into a bad situation.  I guess that doesn’t make him “prodigal” by the definition of the word.  But that’s OK, because the lesson is the same.

Chaos Unleashed

subtitled: What happens when Christina is sick.
or: Yes, Emily, I lose it more often than I care to admit.

Today’s post was inspired by Emily at Mothers of Brothers, who left the following comment on my Friday blog entry:
I honestly don't know how you handle everything that comes your way. Do you lose it evey now and then? Do you bury our head in a pillow and scream? DO you have a mantra to repeat? I am humbled by your sensibility and generosity and ENERGY to come out the other side. I get overwhelmed with one kid who doesnt have any of these issues. I'm just so fascinated and wondering if you were born cool, calm and collected or it was something that you acquired over time? And can I get some?
and by Julian, who read the above and commented:
Dude:  Cool, calm, and collected !?!?  You’re a loud, arrogant, annoying a**hole!  What are you blogging?  Fiction ?!?!
Yeah … thanks for the support, kiddo.  So, read on to hear about my weekend:

Friday, March 12, 2010

I hope Grandpa was right!

My grandfather used to say: Trouble comes in threes.  If that’s true, yesterday was my perfect trifecta, as we handled each problem in turn, and came out the other side!

A day late


What are your Top 3 favorite things about being a parent?

So ... Yesterday was a BAD DAY (tm), but today is better, so I'm doing my Top Three Thursday on ... well ... Friday.  Because yesterday was all about fostering, I'm going to twist the answers to specifically address being a foster parent.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


So … this week has been hard for Topher.  It’s been a rough week emotionally, and he’s struggling with a lot of things all at once.  Yesterday (why does this always seem to happen on Tuesdays?) it got to him, and he had a difficult evening.  Read on to share in his victories.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Not feeling guilty

Despite the title, this is not a Not Me Monday post.  Mostly ...

Like many of us, I've been reading the posts on MckMama's blog, on We Are That Family, and in other places about Compassion International's Kenya trip.  I freely admit to crying when appropriate, and sometimes when not.  It scares me that people in today's world live in such poverty when it takes so little from us to make it better.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Watching through the windows

So ... my deadbeat friend Mark called last night.  He wanted to offer curse words support over my post yesterday.  He’s going through something very similar, and is not having nearly as easy a time (if you can call it that) as I’m having with Topher.  He called while I was helping go over what’s left in my shop, trying to get the last of it cleaned out and ready to turn back to the landlord.  I left the building, not wanting to discuss this in front of the kids.  Standing out there, in the cold, on the phone, I got a different view of everything going on.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

On Lenten Promises and Broken Hearts …

I said, in my post about Ash Wednesday, that Topher dropped a bomb on me and that I couldn't blog about it.  Today, he gave me permission to drop it on my readers.  This morning he said I should let it out, that he no longer wants to hide, that getting things out in the open is the only way to heal.
Actually, after last night (described below), I texted him this morning asking if I could blog about it ... he texted back "Idc" ... those three letters mean a lot, though.
What follows is what broke my heart.  You've been warned.

Top 3 Thursday ...


What are the Top 3 things you like about Spring?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Brothers are forever ...

Sadly, this is not Topher's first time around the block when it comes to being fostered.  He's told me several times about his former foster family, where he lived for a year about 8 years ago.  He tells stories about his foster-parents and their kids often.  It worries me sometimes that his favorite memories are about his foster family.  I've never heard a cute story or a fun story about living with his mom.  So, with nothing but a picture of his foster-brother, a misspelled name, and a phone number, I set out to find these people who had made such a difference in my son's life.

Camping with Cub Scouts

So, this last weekend I went camping with 10 screaming little monsters adorable young Cub Scouts and 3 louder bigger monsters helpful Boy Scouts.  I've already recapped shopping for the trip and how my weekend started.  Read on for the rest of the comedy adventures!

Monday, March 1, 2010

How to be a total jerk to your wife

Sorry to say it but I screwed the pooch last week.  Anyone who knows me knows that this never happens to me (wait, is this still not me Monday?).  Tonight is my first chance to make it up to her … any suggestions?

Not Camping with the Cub Scouts ... Not Me!

This weekend I DID go camping with the WEBELOS.  All ten of them.  Ranging from 9-11.  And 3 Boy Scouts ages 12 to 14.  In the spirit of MckMama's Not Me Mondays, here's the story of Friday Night.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Top 3 Thursday …

Sometimes, a Blog Carnival catches my eye, so here goes:


What are the Top 3 reasons why you blog?

I’ve only just started blogging.  My reasons for starting are spelled out here.  Here are the reasons I keep doing it:

So … maybe they’re not so grown up yet …

The other day I blogged about how wonderful it was that my boys were growing into young men I was proud of.  All I can guess is that Julian must have read my blog … because last night I swear he regressed … He teamed up with Kaleigh for goodness sake! 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Shopping with Cub Scouts

So, I'm the WEBELOS den leader, and I tend to run my Cub Scout den more like a Boy Scout patrol.  In case you don't know the difference, the general rule for Boy Scouts is that they do things themselves.  Therefore, I try to let the boys make their own mistakes as we go.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Long live teenage rebellion!

I’ve heard it said that teenagers rebel against everything their parents believe and stand for so that they can grow up into miniature versions of us.  I’ve lived through teenage rebellion from both sides now … and it hurt from either side.  But last night, I truly got a taste of what my boys have grown into.  I have to say, it was worth all the heartache, all the pain, all the arguments.  I feel like I’ve seen the light at the end of the tunnel!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Building our House

A bit ago, while Chris and I were arguing, Annika said the coolest thing to Bammy:

“Daddy and Mommy built our house for us”

Now, we’re not into construction, although we do many of our own repairs.  And no, we didn’t actually build the house we’re living in.  But it occurs to me, the more I think about it, that this is true.  We are building a home together, and we’re doing it day by day.  Here are some of my thoughts on this analogy proposed by my 6 year old wise woman:

Not Me Monday

In the spirit of MckMama's blog, I'm going to tell you some of the things that didn't happen this weekend ;-)

Friday, February 19, 2010


One of the biggest things I'm looking forward to at the end of my Cub Scout career is having the time to go on outings with my older boys again.  When Julian was a WEBELOS, I started running short on time to split between my older two boys and Cub Scouts.  The Scout Troop was doing fine, so I discussed it with Adam and Jory (who were 12 and 14 at the time) and asked if they’d mind if I started focusing more on Cubs and less on them.  It was one of those tough choices as a parent  where there is no right decision, but one must be made anyway.  I knew I was going to miss many memories.  I knew I was, at least in part, sacrificing their scouting career for Julian’s.  I knew, though, that it was the best choice we could make at the time, and that we’d survive it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

You never forget your first

With fostering, the firsts have a tendancy to hit you fast ... and hard.  I just thought I'd share a few of Topher's with everyone:

Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return

And when you pray, do not imitate the hypocrites: they love to say their prayers standing up in the synagogues and at the street corners for people to see them. In truth I tell you, they have had their reward. But when you pray, go to your private room, shut yourself in, and so pray to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you. -- Matthew 6:5-6
I think I've been hearing that quote, and been bothered by it, on Ash Wednesday about as long as I can remember. The gospel says to pray in secret, to not make a public spectacle of yourself ... and then we mark our heads with ashes as an outward sign of our devotion ...

Wait ... say what? Back that truck up and run it over me again!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A few minutes with my wife

It doesn't happen very often, but last Saturday it did.  My older boys all took off ... some to visit relatives, some to visit girlfriends, some just to get wrapped up in computer games.  I found sitters to watch all the little ones.  Thus it was possible, for a brief moment or three, for Chris and I to go to dinner.


No kids.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Blue and Gold Winner

This weekend our Cub Scout Pack had our annual their Blue and Gold Banquet.  My WEBELOS den represented itself very well during the “business” part of the meeting.  They did their skit on their own, while I stood in the back of the room and watched and cheered.  They earned over half the badges presented at the meeting.  I had 5 boys earn their WEBELOS badge.  All of my boys earned something, most of them earned several things.  It was very successful.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Good Customer Service

This is really going to surprise you ... we have a lot of cell phones at our house.  As my son would say, we have "an official crapton" ... My wife and I both have Droids (woot!), and the four older boys all have cells.  We use Verizon's Family Share plan, but that only covers 5 lines (2+4 = 6), so Ethan's phone was on my parent's Family Share plan.  In case you missed it, though, we added a foster kid last week.  And, we're paying more for our landline now than we are per cell phone.  That makes two more lines we needed to add. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Words fail me

Annika decided to make a mask out of a tortilla ...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

DFS ... Welcome to the Fail Boat!

Topher's mom is an addict.  In addition, she's been diagnosed with schizophrenia.  If that wasn't enough, she's got cancer.  Don't get me wrong ... I'm not going to make any excuses for her.  Rather than dealing with her problems she used illegal drugs to cope.  I have big problems with the choices she made and with the danger she put her children in.  I'm just setting the stage.

Friday, February 5, 2010

End of an era

So ... about 18 months ago I borrowed $30,000 from my family and opened an internet LAN gaming center.  I found a partner, invested tons of time, and in a month we were open.  We have 10 high end decent gaming computers (they were high end when we put them together), two XBOX 360's, one Wii, a Pool Table, and a tabletop RPG Table.

About 6 months into the experience, things were getting difficult.  The shop wasn't making a profit.  Since the primary reason I opened it was to help my kids with their resume's, and they couldn't work for free because it wasn't family owned, this was a BIG problem for me.  There were other issues with the partnership, but the whys are largely irrelavant.  I made a buyout offer, and my partner freaked.  He cleared out everything he brought into the shop, from the freezer to the microwave to the TV stands.  Then, when things got worse, he came in and literally tore the wires from the backs of the machines (doing upwards of $1000 worth of damage), pushed over a customer, and more.  We were ousted by the police, and were locked out for 6 weeks while we settled this.  He finally settled with me (for less than my offer, in the end, so ... I was confused), and we re-opened last March.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I love my wife

So, this morning my wife and I fought. No, I don't mean some lame, tame argument over who's turn it was to do the dishes or take out the trash kind of fight. Those are easy. I know better. I'm wrong. No, this was hard. This was an all out, sit in the car in the office garage alternately yelling, crying, screaming, and whispering into the phone for an hour kind of fight. It's not about our shop, which we are pretty sure we're closing, but it is. It's not about money, but it is. It's not about Topher, but it is. It's not about the fact that I'm an incurable slob who has a desk stacked with soda cans from the last week which will probably stack there until I can’t see over them and into the mirror, at which point I’ll throw a fit and throw them all out, but it is. It's one of those fights that only two individuals who love each other so much that they can't imagine life without each other can have, because if you didn't love someone that much you would brush it all off and not care.

Let's just say, it's not been a good day. But the key to my survival lies in that last sentence. “Two people who love each other so much that they can’t imagine life without each other”. So, I thought I’d try today to talk about why it is that I love my wife so much. Not a snarky cute list, but something with a little bit of actual meat behind it. I hope it helps.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Why did it have to be "Pops"?

This whole thing with Topher started to get serious a couple weeks back.  I had been the kinda-sorta father figure in his life for some time, but it was starting to look like it was going to turn into more than that.  I explained to him that we had a name problem.

Topher is actually Donald Christopher.  Up until recently, he has always gone by Chris.  He hates the name Donald, as kids have teased him about being Ronald Mc- ever since he was little.  But, as I explained to him, "Chris" around my house was taken.  By my wife.  About the only person more important to me than my kids.  End.  Of.  Story.

Yesterday's Birthday Boy

Finally getting to the promised pic (sorry...only one...snapped during scouts last night)

        aka: goofdad

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

my Bug is 14!

Ethan turns 14 today!  I meant to snap a picture of his sleeping face this morning, but forgot on my way out the door.  So I'll post a picture or two tonight when I get home.

In the meantime, it's time for a montage of memories:

Monday, February 1, 2010

Ikea's got nothing on Teenagers, Tools, and Two-by-Fours

I learned from my Grandpa that when you do something yourself, you get more satisfaction out of it than when you just buy it. Well, this weekend we decided to put that to the test by building beds. It all started when the decision was made for Topher to move in with us (which also happened this weekend...look for more about that later). That left us a bed short. Add to that the fact that my bed had mostly fallen apart, and we had our weekend projects cut out for us.

Friday, January 29, 2010


It was late in my High School career, maybe even into my college life, when I realized that not everyone's parents spent their lives teaching lessons through parables.  I had never thought the bible to be obtuse, or difficult to understand, because I was used to puzzling out what it was my parents and grandparents actually meant instead of listening to what they said.  Somewhere between "You make a better door than a window!" (means, you're blocking my view!) and "I hope I never get that old!" (stop whining, I got it worse!) translating in real time became second nature.

So, without further ado, here's one of my favorites.  One that I heard from Bammy, and I tell to anyone who hesitates long enough to listen, about who it is I want to be.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


If you've been following along, by now you know that Topher is my newest kid.  I just thought I'd share part of how I came to love a kid so much that I'd be willing to become a foster parent.  One day, maybe, I'll share how he came to be in the situation he's in ... but I have to come to peace with it first, and my lack of peace is at least part of why I'm here blogging.

Topher came into my life because of my shop.  About 18 months ago, I opened a LAN Gaming Center in downtown Lebanon.  Currently we have XBox 360's, a Wii, a Pool Table, and 10 gaming PC's.  Everything (except the pool table) is connected to the internet, and teens and tweens can come in to the shop and for $3/hr can play whatever they like (with their parent's permission, of course).


I feel we've lost something with our modern, nuclear families.  Maybe it's my old world heritage.  Maybe it's the fact that my older kids are my stepsons, so the idea of "blood relation" never even occurs to me.  Maybe it's the fact that I have first hand knowledege about what it's like to not have the extended support system, and never want to be without it again.  Maybe I was dropped on my head too many times as a baby.  Who knows?

In any case, I can't limit my family just to those people that are related to me by blood, or by marriage.  The closest I can come will be to list the people that get invited to Thanksgiving Dinner, Epiphany, and/or Birthday Parties.  Because those of you reading this may get lost in the myriad of names, here is a guidebook ... a who's who ... so you can follow along and be a little less confised.  Beware ... this is a very long post!

Each of the people below has stories for me to tell, and when I run out of things to say, you'll probably hear them.  Not all of the stories are happy, or end well ... or even end at all.  Some I'll have to get permission for before telling them online, as they aren't 100% my stories to tell.  In any case I hope you stick with me and enjoy ...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Losing your identity

There are a few things I love to share about my family ... tales that everyone who knows me is tired of hearing already knows.  But they're part of who I am, and part of why I'm here, so I figured I'd start off by sharing one of my favorites.

I remember the day I truly became a parent.  The day I totally lost my own identity and became identified by my kids.  It was, honestly, traumatic.

Who am I, and why should you care?

Well, the first part I can answer!

I'm a biological / step / foster parent to (currently) 9 kids in Lebanon, Oregon.  And I'm still alive.  If that doesn't qualify me to write a "Survival Guide", then nothing does!  I'm loud, sarcastic, arrogant bordering on narcissistic, crazy, and I hope sometimes funny.  I have high hopes for what to do with my blog.