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It’s Going to be A Looong Summer

Top 7 Signs of a “Dad Just Happened” Summer


  1. You immediately calculate the hours until bedtime as you open your eyes to your “good” morning alarm.

  2. Your second thought on awakening is how guilty you feel for sleeping in — It’s 6:00 a.m.hqdefault

  3. Your food budget is up 37% because you’re now feeding them lunch and two snacks.

    Note: Before you ask, the kids do eat lunch during the school year. Reduced school lunch (40 cents/meal) is an automatic when you’ve got 13 dependents


  4. Your are tortured by a spoken word that should be beautiful — “Mom”  Yesterday, one child alone said this word 112 times by dinner. You know this because there’s a “Tally Counter” app for that!IMG_3246 2  (Now multiply “Mom” x 13 x 112 to equate the pure madness this once beloved word brings)

  5. Paper is pure survival.  Paper cups, paper plates, paper bowls, paper towels, craft paper, paper cutouts, paperbacks, etc.                      forestpaper.jpg

  6. 90% of the food consumed, cleaning supplies used, and birthday gifts given (there are 8/15 birthdays that fall between June 21st and September 22nd) arrive by delivery from places like Amazon, Boxed, Walmart.

  7. You will take at least one member of your gang to a doctor’s appointment on 33 of the 93 days of Summer!

    BONUS SIGN:

    You’re too exhausted to write posts of substance!!!IMG_2859

I need a vacation from vacation!!!

dadjusthappened.com

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5

The Promise of a Do-Over

There are those temperamental moments in parental life that fill you with self-doubt, anxiousness and downright defeat. It can be something we say to our kids in the heat of the moment. Maybe it is love we withhold because we feel hurt. Worse, there are those issues from another aspect of life (men: read work) for which our children pay. This aftermath is a cascade of negative self-talk (“I’m a horrible father”), guilt (“I’ve ruined them”) and regret (“their never gonna get over this”). Yet, if there is one thing I’ve learned about children in my years it is this: Tomorrow is another day — You get a do-over!

Yesterday was a do-over day for me. I won’t get into the details of two days prior but you’ve been there in your own life. If it could go wrong, it did (and this was all by 7:00 am). The next day I woke up and determined not to go the same place — starting off with prayer helped set me up for success by placing my day in God’s hands. I found the same challenges I experienced the day before but a different mindset made the difference! My world didn’t come crashing down, even when the calendar revealed a forgotten doctor visit for my son, Sam.

Sam was one of my “problem” children the other day. His history, prior to adoption, is traumatic and that manifests its ugliness from time to time in unique (not fun) ways. Ultimately, these behaviors just mean, “I need to know I’m safe. I’m secure. I’m loved” but on the surface (and in time real) reading between these lines is beyond blurred. Sam lacks the ability to articulate, or even truly understand, why he does some of these things. Therefore, I need to help him process his anxieties and needs; I need to be on my A game when these moments happen not somewhere lost in my own stuff!

So he’s got this doctor’s appointment and I’m taking him. This is a ripe opportunity for a do-over day! I lead off with letting Sam pick which vehicle we’ll take. He is a monster truck fanatic and I know he’ll chose my F-150. This is a perfect choice because it only has a front bench seat. I slide him right next to me so we can talk and I can put an arm around him!

Sam needs an ultrasound before seeing his doctor, so we head to the Radiology waiting room. Here, there’s about 10 patients waiting. Some kids are running around, some are glued to the TV, some are coloring at a central table. The adults in the room though, are all doing the same thing — the thing I always find myself doing — they’re mindlessly scrolling their smartphones. Not one person is engaged with a child! Today, I choose the road less traveled.

I finish registering Sam for his appointment and find him engrossed in the activity of the waiting room aquarium. Snails (one of Sam’s favorite creatures on Earth) cling to the glass walls and I explain they help keep the tank clean. This leads to a barrage of questions, some of which I can only answer by asking Google.

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Sam and I go back for his ultrasound and I do something different than my typical. I pay attention to Sam and not the ultrasound screen (I’m a nurse and easily fall from my role of Dad in these situations). I can see Sam is nervous about this procedure and explore this a little with him. His fear turns to fascination. His lower GI and urinary systems are being evaluated and when you’re an 11 year old boy, there’s nothing better than a good ol’ convo about Poop and Pee! He does great through the study.

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Next, we head to Urology. We’re a little early so I introduce a classic board game, now turned into a Kindle video game, called Othello. We play multiple rounds and I give him some of my best secrets (“always try to get your pieces in the corner spots!”). He wins some, I win some but it’s win-win for all because the wait time passes quickly. The team evaluates Sam, makes minor recommendations and were done long before I expected. That’s when a bulb lights in my head — the Zoo!

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The Philadelphia Zoo is about two miles from the hospital. It is the oldest zoo in the U.S. and one of the best! My parents gave us a membership last Christmas and, with 70 degree weather in February, it’s a great day to play hookie from school. I don’t tell Sam my idea (he’s hoping we might get McDonald’s on the way back to school). We get there and his excitement matches my anticipation. Walking in, we find the place is empty.

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Sam charges ahead and is fascinated even by the pigeons. He asks me how they catch them and keep them from flying away.

The goats and sheep are restless and “rammy”. Spring is in the air!

 

The Burmese Pythons’ size blow Sam’s mind! Another prayer — Please don’t let Sam ask why the boy one is wrapped around the girl one!

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The Orangutan is not feeling too social today. Then Sam rolls up and he takes the bucket off his head to check out the dude in the wheelchair — the admiration is mutual.

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The lions are Sam’s favorite animals of the day. Sam says, “That lion could bite my leg right off.” I reply, “The nice thing for a guy like you is you wouldn’t feel it!” This gets Sam laughing until he is crying. Unfortunately, I get quite the look from the mother that hurriedly ushers her three and four year old children away from the exhibit.

We took a break for a little lunch…

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…and some unsavory vagrants come begging for a little something.

 

This nut though, was the only one that got sweet reward!

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And just when things couldn’t get any better…

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…this giraffe, “He’s taking a dump, Dad”  brought out the 11 year old boy in both of us (also, to the judgmental disdain of nearby mothers with young children)!

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Sometimes moms make mistakes and dads just happen but kids are resilient and ready to give a Do-Over!

Dad Just Happened!


We Still Need Your Help! 

Thank You to everyone that’s been praying for us, supporting this site and contributing to the Make Dad Just Happened Again Adoption Fund. We’ve been officially matched to our daughter and overcome other big hurdles initially in our way. Our home study is underway, as well as additional legal requirements necessary to complete an adoption. Dad Just Happened! received over 6000 visits in February — a blowout record for us! Finally, 65% of expenses are now covered by your donations to our YouCaring fund!!! As before, please keep us in your prayers, continue to like/share the DJH posts and consider donating to our fund.

Thank you again so much!!!

Adam and Amy

 

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School Holiday: A Survival Pictorial

Well, it’s yet another day off of school for President’s Day. In fact, it’s vacation day five for some of our crew and the “I need my routine back” is setting in hard. Thankfully, we have sunny skies and 60 degree weather in February!

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So we pack ’em up and take them to the place where everyone, and I mean everyone, else is eating lunch today.

The price I pay for my rookie parenting mistake is getting to enjoy listening to this Junior Road Rager scream “CMON MOOO IT” continuously for the 23 minutes it takes to get our order (she’s not talking to the cow mascot. She means MOOOVE it)!

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So we survive the remainder of the 10 minute ride to an adaptive playground and everyone digs in to lunch.

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I attempt to charge a Dad Tax of one chicken nugget per kid and Maddie isn’t going for it!

Knowing she’s a force to be reckoned with, I don’t push it (Provoke not thy children!)

In the end though, I achieve what I call 6 for 6 PCFAS or Post Chick-fil-A Satiation:

 

One of my rules though — a good carb load needs an equal off-load, so we head to the courts:

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It’s all fun and games until someone catches a ball to the head. Why does it have to be her?

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Irina starts flipping out and yelling so Amy takes her over to this clever device:

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I’ve got to install one of these face mufflers at my house!

Poor Maddie is on neck precautions until her surgery next month. Thank goodness for this swing set that keeps her safe and, for a brother that’s willing to hang with her!

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Now back in the car (Irina all the way in the back now) and to home we go!

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Seven pottied, showered and backpacks packed in preparation for school and it’s playtime before dinner.

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Dinner becomes the favorite leftover from the past 3 nights including Italian Wedding Soup, Thanksgiving Dinner with all the fixings and/or Turkey Noodle Soup.

Then it off to bed for Kindle Time (Barney, Power Rangers and iCarly) for an hour before sleepy time!

Then a homemade dinner for parents only — Pepper Beef and Scallops in Garlic Sauce!

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But just as I put a bite in my mouth, a college kid calls looking for something @ home that had to be found immediately! And…

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that’s when I went a little Daffy!

I almost made it then…

Dad Just Happened!

5

Idle Hands are Indeed the Devil’s Playground

Many look forward to upcoming school holidays as times of relaxation and recuperation. I, on the other hand, dread them like a pending root canal. Kids with ASD and Down Syndrome love routine and when the routine of going to school is canceled, you’re going to pay. I awoke last night in a cool sweat just thinking about it!

Typically, I fail miserably in meeting the kids needs on these days. There is just not enough Barney, KidzBop Kids or Avengers to satisfy the savage souls I usually refer to as my children. Add Winter to the equation and there’s no going outside to run off the pent up energy!

Today though, I might be winning. Amy uses an online company called Boxed (boxed.com) for bulk item supplies. These supplies include paper products, cereal and school snack items. Thank goodness my brilliant wife put in an order last week and included the 45 snack pack of Goldfish. I’m not sure what Pepperidge Farms puts in these nuggets of gold but Irina will do anything for a mere five fish bribe. A one fish penalty is applied for each instance of non-compliance per directive given. Rarely does Irina need to pay more than a two fish deduction.

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So that’s one kid solved leaving me six others to entertain. Just as I start to wonder if I’ll make it to bedtime, Amy calls me to the kitchen for a little surprise. Here’s what she shows me:

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The folks at Boxed are marketing geniuses – they’ve included this “Reveal Your Treasure” kit for kids to make a faux aquarium from the empty box. Fish stencils, markers, paint and even googly eyes are included with directions (they obviously don’t realize I’m a man and have no need for this last item!). This is something I know my guys are going to enjoy. Let me show you how we did it!

STEP ONE: Got Fish, You’ll Need an Aquarium

You need a suitable box to start this project and what better one for a faux aquarium then:

Bam!!!

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STEP TWO: Cut a Window and Side Portholes
STEP THREE: Make the “Fish Net”

I punched five small holes using a small Phillips head screwdriver across the top of the window. Blair strings decorative pipe cleaners to corresponding holes on the back wall.
Two lengthwise pipe cleaner are then woven through the widthwise ones.

Your Fish Net looks like this when you are done:

STEP FOUR: Put them Kids to work! (SlideShow)

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We backed the stencils with 3×5 index cards to give a firmer “fish”. The younger kids used markers and crayons instead of the supplied glitter paint (because this ain’t our first rodeo!)

STEP FIVE: “Fill” Your Aquarium

Ivan’s my big guy and more than responsible when it comes to painting with blue glitter. He coats the four sides and ocean bottom like a pro!

STEP SIX: Hook ’em and Hang ’em!

I staple the fish to the pipe cleaner, cut pipe cleaner to length and make a “hook” at the top. My guys then hang their catch from the fish net!

STEP SEVEN: Add a Bottom Dweller and Some Flora (Added Bonus Dad Joke If You “Click the Pic”)
STEP EIGHT: Enjoy the Catch of the Day!

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A great little project to keep in mind as President’s Day and probably some snow days lie ahead. Have Fin Fun with your own little project!!!


Special Shout Out!!!

Special Thanks to Dana T. for her generous donation of Arts & Crafts supplies. We hit the jackpot on this one and couldn’t have gotten this done without you!!!

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