As I’m sitting down to write my thoughts down on my two little toddlers, I can’t help but to get choked up and get caught up with regrets. I miss my two infant boys, terribly. All the times I was upset at them, or all the time I pushed them to be more independent and to leave me alone, I wish I could have just slowed it down and accepted it all. I wish I could have taken more naps with them while gently cradling their soft baby skin, but instead I was on the computer. Regret over all those pictures taken with a camera phone, because I was too lazy to grab a real camera. Countless opportunities to see them in a little song and dance performances, but I was out having lunch with clients and co-workers. I can’t redo any of these things because kids are older. I now realize, we are at a closing of a chapter where my two little toddlers are no longer toddlers, they are boys. This is an irreversible milestone; there is nothing I can do to relive the previous pages of their lives, and it hurts. Thomas & friends represent everything I miss about my two babies.
‘Thomas and friends’ go beyond rank of toys, it takes on a rank as a family or a friend. I was really disappointed when, for the first time, my boys didn’t want any Thomas&friends item for Christmas…It was sad because they are not babies anymore, and I’m not mentally ready to let it go yet. Out of all the things I’ve done with the boys, T&F(Thomas & Friends) has the most amount of hours logged, with some of the best memories. Only daddy is able to build the ‘Big Big Bridge’ like nobody else can. Only daddy can build the awesome cool ramps that make trains fly with paper wings taped on its back. These toys have given me so much and I am not going to let these friends to die off like this, I need to send these little choo-choos off with a very honorable discharge, with a medal of honor if you will.
Pic#1 is the first train we ever purchased; it’s what I secretly carry in my work bag. My wife and kids think I threw this in the trash along with bunch of other toys, because I was upset over their toys being all-over the living room. Most of their first set of trains are in terrible condition because they do get smashed quite often. I wanted to salvage little Thomas to serve as a compressed memory of their babyhood. Every time I hold this toy in my hand, I get flooded with baby memories. I’ve shed some tears just thinking back to when they were so tiny and just babbling. I reminisce about their struggle during tummy time or when they took their very first step. I think about the moment when my oldest made his journey from my hands to the nearest sofa. He was happy as a clam, squealing and laughing while pounding the sofa seat, all in the little yellow striped onesie outfit w/ big diaper bottom. All these wonderful memories captured inside a little beat-up train toy…
Pic #2 is a picture of my boys’ 1st starter underwear when they graduated from pull-ups. My oldest boy had it first, and then it was handed down to the wee-bear who is now 4.5yr old. My wife and I can’t stop laughing when the wee bear runs around with this battered undie on, with all its tears and holes. We call him the ‘Incredible Wee Hulk’ because that’s what happens to Bruce Banner’s clothing when he turns into the Hulk. This undie is finally getting retired this year because it is one cycle away from losing its functionality per outlined in this write-up.
‘Can underwear outlast a marriage?‘
Sadly this will go in my treasure box that consist of their first beige colored baseball cap with little bear ears, and their first pair of shoes (size of my thumb!) Gosh they were so cute wearing that stuff. I’m proud of my boys because they are following my footstep of appreciating everything, recycling, and using items until it’s beyond repair, like their paper thin undies.
Here is a list of all my favorite Thomas & Friends characters and what they accomplished for me:
***Warning: List may contain possible adult language***
- Thomas ‘the cheeky one’: He is the little engine that could. There is a lot to like about this guy because he is little, compassionate, follows orders, and loves helping friends out. If there is a perfect role model outside of mommy and daddy, it’s definitely this little #1 engine.
- Gordon ‘rumbles down the line’: Big powerful steam engine with pretty big ego. He is a great character for my kids to imagine what it would be like to be bigger but also teaches them it’s not nice to walk around with big ego.
- Lady: She is the only female train character we have. As you can tell from the first picture, my boys are extremely rough with their toys. Lady was brought in to establish some order and calmness with their play style. I SPECIFICALLY told them to be gentle with Lady, because it is a girl. Needless to say, it’s the only T&F toy that is in excellent condition with all her colors.
- Spencer: He is fast, shiny, looks cool, but is very arrogant. He is another one that served its purpose by teaching my boys to separate out the good and the bad. Appreciating someone’s beauty and power is good, but arrogance is bad. Concept of arrogance is very difficult to teach, but having Spencer around was a great help. Thanks Spencer.
- Percy ‘pulls the mail on time’: my my my…I wanted to save the baddest little engine for last. This little green character sent me in a full panic mode! Normally he is meek, gentle, and is Thomas’ best friend. He truly teaches how one friend should treat another. Here is a little story on how I got acquainted with little Percy. I came home from work and I asked my little wee-bear, “What do you want on your birthday?” To that he replied, “I want pu-cy for my birthday”. Now with more seriousness I asked again, to which he replied with, “I want pu-cy for my birthday”. I panicked because this is the kind of stuff that lands deadbeat dad in jail! I called for emergency meeting with my wife and told her this had to get resolved ASAP! I didn’t care for her explanation about the “r difficulty” and a toy character named ‘Percy’; I wasn’t going to jail over this. We practiced countless hours with the letter “r”.
I look at my boys now and can’t believe how big and independent they have become. They inflict a lot of damage when they jump into our bed now. There is nothing scarier in the morning than opening your eyes to a wild toddler, airborne and barely missing the family jewel upon landing. I’ll yell at them, I’ll scold them, but I know with 100% certainty that I will miss these morning attacks. When they were babies, all I wanted was for them to grow up quickly so they would be more independent. Now that they are independent, I want my babies back. What is going on? I miss them terribly. I know you can argue that I can still do these things with them, but it’s not the same.
I don’t usually have morbid thoughts, but with all the tragic deaths in the news and worrying about my wife and two kids, it’s hard not to. If I get into a fatal car accident tomorrow, or some lunatic fires a fatal blow, I plan on using the last remaining breath to hold the Thomas train(picture #1) with my right hand and place my left hand, with the wedding band touching little Thomas, close against my heart. I can’t think of a better way to make the best of the given situation than that. I would be at peace…
This music video sums up everything and I think it’s the perfect music to close the chapter on a group of very special friends, Thomas and friends. They will all be missed and will always have a spot in this dad’s heart. Here is Thomas & Friends with Josh Groban:
I don’t remember last time I felt this kind of anger and grief toward anything in my life, not even 9/11 or Columbine. My wife and I cried today over all the innocent little children that will not be celebrating this Christmas with their moms and dads, only 11 days away!! What sick lunatic slaughters the purest and the most precious representation of humanity? They were as young as 6 years old, dammit! They smile at everything and everybody, they have tiny little hands that barely wrap your fingers, they haven’t been corrupted by the society yet, they put on biggest happiest smiley face when they are allowed to wear their little Transformers t-shirt, they run around with their oversized princess and pony book bags. Just thinking about all the unopened presents underneath their Christmas trees, and thinking about what these parents are going through right now is ripping me apart. How can anybody be this damn evil? With all the information/classes on tolerance, education, & anti-bullying, how can something like this happen? Already people are out blaming the pro gun group; already people are out blaming the anti-gun group. Politicians are already setting up to politicize this. I can’t stand people right now.
Here is my simple message to all the lawmakers:
Get these psychopaths that lack empathy toward life off the streets right now!! I don’t give a crap what you do with them, but I don’t want these maggots anywhere near my family and my kids. They need to be kept far away from anything that can be used to kill innocent people: guns, cars, Home Depot, hardware stores, lathe, mill, etc…
Its 11pm and they are still going though all the little lifeless bodies in the kindergarden… God, I can’t stand this.
Going to start off by saying, Gangnam style song has NOTHING on these two songs I’m going to talk about!
My last music related blog was about Guns N Roses, so I thought it’s time to do another music blog. There are couple of songs that’s been humming in my brain for some time now, its the holidays, and you can say these are couple of my favorite things 🙂
I’ve been listening to lots of Christmas tunes lately and there is one song that’s an absolute smash hit with my two little boys. Song is called ‘I want a hippopotamus for Christmas’. It makes me laugh just reading the title. Every time this song plays on the radio, we all sing along to it and we also add our own little twist to it.
My version: replace all the “I” with “My naughty boys” and replace all “hippopotamus” with “lump of coal”
My boys’ version: replace all hippopotamus with any Thomas&friends stuff, T-rex, Rhinoceros, Ninjago, etc…
Just how powerful is this holiday song? My boys could, once again, easily destroy another one of my electronic gadgets in an accident, but if the song comes on, I can’t help but to smile and sing the coal version of the song!
Some people think the hippo song was sung by Shirley Temple, or that it was sung by a much older person pretending to be a kid. The truth is, the song was recorded on the set of Ed Sullivan show in 1953 by an amazing 10yr old talent named Gayla Peevey. Check out the video and tell me you are not impressed by her spunk, & talent. Love the song and love the video.
Now that brings us to “Sweet Nothings” by Brenda Lee. I know I’m probably sounding like a senior citizen raving about all these golden oldies, but when quality is involved, there is no age gap! Brenda Lee is one of my all time favorite artists and this is my favorite song from her. It’s hard to go back to listening to the modern stuff after listening to this type of music. I love her voice and her stage presentation. Wish I could have seen this performance live…so simple…so mellow.
How about you folks? Care to share some of your favorite things? 🙂
Here is a quick summary paragraph if you don’t care about all the details. This blog is about how I ended up purchasing a super discounted lab grade microscope because a blogger reminded me how badly I wanted to watch Caddyshack (popular 80s movie).
My incident with sale sites such as Ebay and Amazon is legendary, when my wife is out of town. Those that follow my blog probably know about my 1973 Swedish military truck purchase and the carbon fiber wheelset purchase. Yesterday started out innocent enough. My wife is out of town and I’m out of town with my 2 boys, for a nice quiet weekend getaway. Earlier in the week, I started having conversation over some 80’s movies. It’s really hard to stop an 80’s discussion when it was such a nostalgic period for me. Long story short, the conversation concluded with an urgency and a burning need to watch Caddyshack, ASAP.
My quest started with my local RedBox movie rental box on the way to the vacation…unfortunately, Caddyshack was not available.
I also checked the local grocery store near the hotel. Luckily, they were having a big sale on all the old DVD movies! But, unfortunately, no Caddyshack showed up even after about 45minutes of probing and flipping through bottomless pit of old unwanted DVDs. By then my two little boys were pissed at me for wasting their pool time…lol. No biggie, I can always sign up for Hulu or Netflix and watch it when kids go down for bed…so I thought.
Kids had a wonderful pool time, fried chicken dinner, and ice-creamy (that what they call a good tasting ice cream). Woo hoo, they went to bed and it was my time to fly!
I rush to get the laptop and my headset, lunge into my comfy bed, and I start putting all the pillows together to build a man-throne, I was set!
hurry…quickly…hulu+[cntrl & enter]…sign up for membership…search Caddyshack. Damn! They only had trailers of the movie!
hurry…quickly…netflix+[cntrl & enter]…sign up for membership…search Caddyshack. Double damn!! Bunch of golf swing videos and no Caddyshack the movie!
On to Bing search for ‘watch Caddyshack movie’. Among all the questionable sites and torrents, I see a one result that was simply heavenly. Amazon.com came up, I clicked on it, and sure enough they have streaming service, too! Lucky me I am already a long time Amazon member, and $2.99 for 48hour streaming rental was very reasonable.
Everything was all downhill after that. Time was 10:30pm and I figure I’ll just peruse through their deal page for few minutes.
Folks let me tell you about the deal they had on Amazon…it was a $1200 microscope that was on sale at over 80% off! I had a few thoughts,
- I didn’t know a microscope was so expensive
- I bet it will be fun to see what is in my drinking water
- I better buy it before it sells out
Followed by reasoning phase,
- Why do I need a professional level microscope when a professional level water analysis is only $20?
- It’s huge and weights over 10lbs, where can I put it?
- What would the wife say when she finds out?
And lastly, the justification phase,
- I need it because it can do more than just look at drinking water. Maybe I can find a cure for certain blood disorder, or at least look at a fish tail when it gets ich disease.
- Well…we do have the dining room that never gets used. I can probably put it on the corner of the table and nobody would even know it’s there.
- Maybe she’ll be proud I’m making positive progress buying things on Amazon and Ebay. It’s probably better than the old 1973 Swedish military vehicle and all the carbon fiber goodies for my bicycle. Microscope is educational and maybe it will encourage our boys to become a brain surgeon or a neuro-scientist, because their daddy took the heat for the microscope and stood up for their future! [insert ‘U.S.A…U.S.A’ chant here]
It was about 12am by the time the microscope was in the shopping cart and I’m thoroughly going through every single review on the scope. I was really hoping to find the one comment that would explain why this thing was 83% off and why I need to back out of the deal. Every reviewer was in full agreement that this scope does EVERYTHING.
The biggest coincident occurred when I got a reply comment from the same blogger that basically paved the way for me to get this microscope, reply comment came as I was putting my credit card info in the checkout box. I had a chuckle with her explanation for this purchase on a whim,
‘THE ultimate man reason…. “because it was on sale” hahaha doesn’t matter WHAT it is….’
Christina is a wonderful blogger and she loves her Caddyshack and Spaceballs. Check out her blogsite @
She asked if I saw the movie yet and it dawned on me, it was now about 1am and I was SUPPOSE to watch Caddyshack hours ago! All I wanted to do for the evening was purchase the Caddyshack rental for $2.99, but somehow I ended up with a Lab LED Binocular Compound Microscope with Double Layer Mechanical Stage.
You guys are probably thinking the exact same thing I’m thinking right now; there is something wrong with this society when it’s so much easier to buy a lab grade microscope over one of the greatest comedy movies of all time…lol
My road trip back home should be interesting. I have to train the boys to say the “right” thing. Three of us need to have a consistent story when mommy finds out whats in that brown smiley box from Amazon. I will also make my wife a nice soothing Lipton tea, when the box arrives. Did I mention I bundled the Lipton purchase with my microscope purchase? 144count tea bags for $3.99, it was 79% off 🙂
Not losing any more focus, this weekend isn’t over yet, and I will watch Caddyshack this evening!
This is a big travel week and I need raise this concern for people driving along regions affected by this crazy heat wave. This is something that I noticed yesterday on my own truck and it is important enough for all of you that drive, to understand. What you feel may only be 110-114degrees, but that’s nothing compared to what your tires feel going over that hot pavement. I’m not going to go through the equations and theories on why gas expands when heated, they just do. PLEASE PLEASE, check your tire pressure under two conditions:
- Check it when its cool
- Check it after you’ve been driving for some time.
My tires are 44max psi. I noticed they were at 55psi during this intense heat wave!! That is 20+psi ABOVE the recommended pressure when its cool! Be sure to make sure your tire pressure stays safely below your maximum psi rating. Happy 4th everybody, and safe driving. Don’t be that guy/gal with a blown tire during this bizarre climate.
I took a week off with my 2 boys and we went back to a place where it’s a guaranteed perfect vacation spot. Here is my short summary of the resort:
I decided to write about my experience at this resort because we live in a world where people are quick to complain but not enough complements are given out. I’ve already stayed here 4 times (in the past 14months) and it’s one of the best resorts I’ve ever stayed at. It’s easy to find a resort that is pure family friendly, they are dime a dozen. Its lot more difficult to find a resort that goes another big step further, and accommodates a vacationer who HAS to work during the vacation. Haters can hate me and criticize me for working during family vacation, but I’m the one that has to put the food on the table, and that dang electric bill better be paid so the light turns on when my wife flips the switch at night.
There are 6 areas within the resort that are critical to my family’s enjoyment, they are:
- Indoor pool
- Outdoor pool
- Hot jetted pools
- Restarurant #1
- Restaurant #2
- Kid’s activity area
All these locations are clustered together and it’s easy to migrate from one area to the next, if need be. I have perfect line of sight, and all within audible range, to what my kids are doing from any of the mentioned locations. There are comfy chairs and tables to accommodate my work package. I also have direct line of sight to all my work stuff as I’m interacting with my kids, too. All this adds to peace of mind and I don’t miss a beat. Everything just flows from work to fun seamlessly.
I found this 1900acre BEAST of a resort hidden away in West Virginia that has earned the Four Diamond Award from AAA. It’s so huge that it’s got its own separate waterfront campground, waterfront cabins, full marina, fishing bridge, 18hole Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course, and 3 restaurants. You might be saying, did he just say West Virginia?? Isn’t that where all the hicks hang out?
This resort couldn’t be further from the West Virginia stereotype. All the staff and visitors are so friendly and I assure you they all speak the proper English. It feels like visiting ummm…that Munchkin land from Wizard of Oz, with normal sized people though. Everybody is smiling there. Not just any ordinary smile but a radiant one from all the staff members. There are visitors of many shapes and sizes. Best way to describe the resort experience is, it feels alive! You can feel life there! There are cute little kids bouncing around, there are great grandparents holding hands by the campfire, there are newly married honeymooners embracing by the dock, & everything in between.
Just because there are cute little kids there doesn’t mean people without kids are going to be shortchanged. All the parents I’ve seen are very responsible and staff member are very strict about keeping things in order and enforcing the resort rules. For example, when my kids jumped into the adult heated whirlpool, one of the staffers was on to them like a hornet on a stick wielding kid. Let me repeat,
The staff members will STRICTLY enforce the, no kids in the hot pool rule!
I love kids, but just not in my whirlpool. I wish I knew the name of the staffer that booted my kids from the whirlpool; I would have tipped her generously and would have given her boss a high review.
I’m kind of an uptight vacationer and I do embarrass my wife with all my complaints. But as I said, I’ve vacationed here 4 times and I haven’t had a single incident. When a resort does something so magical where it makes even the grumpiest vacationer happy, I will reward them. I am extremely generous tipper, and I will tip like I’m gambling in Vegas when I’m jolly.
Lastly, I want to comment on their drinking water, because it is so clear and so crisp. I have a nose for fishy water, probably from all the years of my aquarium hobby, but I’ve been to various high end restaurants where water smells funny. I love the drinking water from all of Stonewall’s restaurants. I think the water is so good to a point where it could be a bad for their business. Why? Because I will not order my usual glass of Coke with my meal, when I’m at Stonewall. Their drinking water is that good.
That’s my quick summary in a nutshell. If you ever see a man with a portable Dell laptop and 2 rowdy little boys, stop by and say hi to me. Now I’m going into the details that matters to me the most.
If you are vacationing with little kids, pool is a #1 priority. Stonewall have a large heated indoor-outdoor pool. Two pools are connected so the indoor side is warm and the outdoor side is cooler. Also, there are two adult only whirlpools that are jetted and bubbly hot, it will instantly melt all your stress away. Sometimes I’ll get in a repeating rhythm of working on my laptop for few hours followed by relaxing in a whirlpool for 10-15 minutes. There is also a fitness area with changing room, complete with sauna and a steam room.
No such thing as a good resort without good food. Exquisite food can only start with the freshest locally raised ingredients. Their meats and veggies taste noticeably different than what I’m used to back home. Burgers are amazing and they use traditional recipes on their other fine gourmet dishes. Oh and kids under 8 eat for free!