“No Roots” – Alice Merton

Oh, our little bear. You have found your favorite song and I’m not sure how. But I do love that you are super into a song that isn’t a children’s song or a pop song or the like.

We listened to No Roots by Alice Merton a few times and it just struck a chord with you.  I hope it’s not because you feel like you have “no roots”. We’ve moved many times in your young life and maybe it’s a microcosm of your mind, but anyway you slice it, you’re the cutest when you sing it.

And you know every word. Every word. It’s amazing how your mind can memorize songs. It’s a little like your dad’s mind, actually. I’m thrilled you may have the same memory as me. Then again, it could be a curse.  Time will only tell.

The Summer of Threes

It’s been a summer full of triple digit heat.  As Emerson is now three and a half, life has been pretty fun.  “Threenager” is still a thing, but she’s been a great kid all in all.

This morning, we woke up and measured our little opinionated daughter.  Thirty-nine inches tall – 3′ 3″.  She weighs 33 lbs and demanded some chicken pot pie.  We acquiesced.

During our lunch, Emerson stated another opinion when Jess asked her what she wanted to do with the afternoon.  “The zoo,” Emerson whispered softly.

With the incredible heat and Dad’s ability to soak through a shirt, Jess didn’t think we’d be making that trek. Maybe it was heat exhaustion from the YMCA the day before, but again, we acquiesced.

And it paid off.  I had a very proud Dad-moment.

Kona ice is a requirement when we go to the Zoo.  Not for me.  Not for Jess.  Emerson needs cherry, strawberry or cotton candy flavored shaved ice. Like right now.

We wandered to the Kona Ice truck, which is stationed across from an animal encounter exhibit. There, a monitor lizard was being carried around by a zookeeper spouting off various facts about the lizard. And, as Emerson was devouring the frozen water flavored with red syrup, the zookeeper said, “This lizard is a cousin to the biggest lizard in the world.  Does anyone know what that is?”

My eyes lit up as I patted E.K. on the head. I knew she had her dad’s know-it-all attitude shining through. She volunteered, “the Komodo dragon!” Nailed it.

And, funny enough, the Dallas Zoo actually has a herpetarium. We’ve gone to the Zoo dozens of times this year (probably) and had never been inside it. Sure enough, there is a Komodo dragon there. He was hiding under a rock with his giant head sticking out. Emerson was thrilled. Though, don’t show her snakes. She’s out on snakes.

I think we were at the Zoo for three hours in total.  Two more than normal. But, for the first time in my thirty-seven years of life, I saw a Komodo dragon in person.

Father’s Day 2018

Any idiot can become a father. This mantra has always been my bailiwick. We’re 99.9% granted by God’s given right to reproduce. Most of us are unworthy of reproduction, but we all still do it.

So Father’s Day hasn’t ever really meant a lot to me in the grandeur sense of the term. But my father was special. Loved that man, as I’ve noted many a time here. And he’s taught me a lot.

Funny thing about losing a father and then marrying someone is that you gain another.  Jess’s dad is a gruff, quietly loud man. He’s complicated, in my opinion, however I imagine he says he’s simple. Sounds like a dad I also had. We’re all lucky to have our dad’s, flawed or not. And today is a day we should honor those who deserve it.

So E.K. honored me by waking up in THE WORST MOOD EVER. It was awesome. Jess made a fantastic breakfast and we were so busy with it we missed church. But that meant Dad got to pick what we did instead. Zoo.

We’ll add this zoo experience to the annals of zoology.  The chimpanzees were going ape sh– (yep, that’s right), when the littlest chimp got all the way to the top of the 30 foot tree before its elders.  You should’ve heard them! Amazing. Rivaling the lion’s roar in FW.

Our zoo-ing ended with some splashing in E.K.’s new swimsuit and a drive to Dad’s favorite restaurant.

Got home. Hmmm… Maybe we should replace the 13′ x 3′ x 1′ dead grass driveway with some decomposed granite. Great idea! I always do my best home improvement in the 100 degree heat.

It was my idea and I went with it. And you know what, happy Father’s Day to me. It looks awesome.

The Hunger Strike

I pick Emerson up most weekdays from her school. Oh, remind me to post about the school drama someday. Anyhow, I grab her up one day as she’s sprinting down the hall to the water fountain, and I give chase in my boots, hands full of school papers, projects and glitter (oh, the glitter). Rounding her up, she insists on opening the door with her mighty muscles on her own. Our ritual complete, we get to the Buick where she always inquires, “what do you have for me?”

I’m expected to bring a snack on days that I’m late. No snack on days I’m on time. As you can guess, I’m peanut butter-crackering to appease her often.

This particular Wednesday, E.K. states that she doesn’t want my offering. She “wants to stay this size”.

Okay, I’ll bite. I get this explanation:

Mom says she doesn’t want me to ever grow older because she loves me like this. I told Ms. Tiffany that I want to stay this way forever so I can be a Super Kid. So I don’t want to eat. That way I can stay this size.

I certainly had some concerns about that especially when she lost 1 lb. But she was just being her normal, wonderful self and entertaining everyone.

We went home. Mom made pasta. E.K. gained her 1 lb back easily.

Advice for My Daughter – Rev. Andrew Forests

I fancy myself a wordsmith in oftentimes a egotistical way. In that regard, I feel like I could tell E.K. how to live a wholesome and good life in a crazy world. After all, we  chose to bring her into this world with open eyes. But, I was humbled in my abilities after hearing this sermon. I never want to be too “churchy” in my approach to this blog, my work, my relationships… I just think I’m not worthy – likely a quality Methodist trait…

That being said, I hope every Dad gets to hear this sermon.

Munger Place Church

Imagine If… The Fairies

Imagine if Fairies existed.

What would they be? What would they do? Where would they live?

To E.K. at 3.5, there’s no telling what a fairy is to her. My imagination runs wild for her. And then I remember she’ll never remember.  She’s only three.

We went to the Arboretum to the Arts Festival. Not sure what the official name was, but it didn’t really matter when we walked our way down to the end of aisle 1.

The Fairy Corner. Maybe I’m making up that name. But the two people there watched Emerson at a distance. Clearly they loved the idea. Fairies in little garden houses. They made these beautiful garden stands that were made for fairies to house.

E.K. picked the purple house and we’ve planted it in our entry way pot, along with the dying humingbird-attracting tree. A small hole in the side of the house welcomes a little feather or leaf.

The inside of the house has a bell that has the slightest ding to it when the wind blows. The feather from my pillow offers the entrance for the imaginary fairy.

Each morning Emerson checks the tiny house to see if a fairy is inside.

FW Stockyards

Ever been?

Cow Town is what they call Fort Worth. Or something to do with a Panther, but that’s not for us to bother.

The Horn family had some visitors. Welcomed visitors indeed. The Moores (in-laws) came to town. And we wanted to try something new, so we thought the Stockyards might be a gas.

Driving into downtown FW isn’t anything new, but when Google Maps suggested a northern route out of the main part of downtown, I knew I wasn’t so sure where the Stockyards was.

We followed the AI voice and headed up north from downtown FW. It became evident we’d found our way.

The FW Stockyards boast a train ride, shops, petting zoo, maze, and enough bars to satisfy the thirstiest of men.

The train was our penultimate goal. All others were gravy. So we enjoyed the pony rides (well maybe E.K. was the only pony-rider), and we walked around waiting for our ticket to be punched.

Choo Choo, our train pulled into the station.  Unfortunately the train posted a sign that suggested no one else would journey along. Yes, the only reason we’d jaunted to the FW Stockyards had been cancelled. Bummer.

Oh, wait. E.K. and I might have had a blast feeding the goats, sheep, llama and others in the petting zoo.  Or at least – dad had a blast.

Three Years… Four Months Too Late

We’ve had a big discussion at Horn Cotton Tales as to when you can post blogs.  Or blog post.  I’m not quite sure the etiquette either way. Point in question is whether you backdate posts to act as if you’ve written them that day (which I do often) or fess up to your laziness and post a whole bunch in one day (which Jess insists on).

So I sit here and post a blog at least four months in retrospect (you can see who won that discussion), hoping I can conjure up what I wanted to post back then.

E.K. turned 3.  What a sweet age.  “Threenager”.  Who wouldn’t want that?

But she’s progressed so much. This age is incredibly fun.  She has a very opinionated view of her world (not yours). All things fall within two categories:  1) I like this, 2) You’re wrong.

In the same dissertation, we’ve suggested one option, another, and then reversed them. For instance, “do you want a blackberry snack or a peanut butter pretzel snack?” Perhaps in this moment she’s watching TV or otherwise distracted.  We’ll always…ALWAYS… get the last answer regurgitated to us. “I want peanut butter pretzels.”

If you ask her in the reverse… Yep, she picks the last thing she heard.  “I want blackberries.”

We’ve tested her time and time again and found that if she really cares about the decision, then she’ll pick.  Otherwise, as she’s indifferent about the decision, she’ll just repeat the last thing you said.

I’ve been asking a lot of questions that end in, “do you want to do chores (hard labor) or do you want to clean your room?”

E.K. the Sommelier

We try to keep a decent amount of fancy wines. I guess that’s maybe the best way I can describe our wine fridge (which Regan gave to us and actually doesn’t work anymore).

So… our decorative wine rack holds some fancy wines from all over.  France, Italy, Texas. Actually, that’s about it. But those places make amazing vino.

It was a Sunday, several weeks ago. Mom and Dad thought, “why don’t you just pick the next bottle, Emmy.”

She pulls open the wine fridge door and picks the second most expensive bottle we own!

The sign of being good parents – “that’s a great choice, Emerson.”

And it was delicious.

Go Fly a Kite!

It’s the best 1950’s tell-off. “Go fly a kite!” I imagine the world would be better if that’s the expression we used instead of an alternative.

We were graciously gifted a butterfly kite, I assume from the Easter Bunny. But it could have been Granny Grunt aka GG. E.K. couldn’t have been happier.

So now I’m going to type to all young, new dads only.

Have you ever flown a kite? No, of course not! That’s what the STEM (not called STEM in our day) kids did. But now your kiddo wants you to fly… no… master… kite flying.  Immediately.

We have our work cut out for us. I know we need wind. Let out some string and try to get the butterfly-vinyl in the air. I told the other dads around that they weren’t allowed to witness the first launch. Judgement would be too harsh.

We stalled. Not because of the impending embarrassment, but because of the destined failure. I’m not sure Jess felt the pressure the same as I did, but I welcomed the silliness of the wind. Minus being the sweatiest human on the planet. Different story.

I’m happy to report, flying a kite isn’t so bad. We tried, tried, tried again and figured it out. Now all the kids in the neighborhood want a kite.