The chronicles and ramblings of a stay-at-home father raising his three beautiful girls, Anya Rose, Caitlin Rose and Reegan Rose.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

All-In in Vegas

It's been a busy two weeks here.  Two weeks ago my parents came to visit us for the weekend.  The girls were sooooo excited to see Nana and Papa!  We wanted to show off all the cool places we've found in the Pacific Northwest over the past six months.  We took my parents on a handful of hikes to see waterfalls, mining pits, and greenery that one can only find out here.  It was great to have them here; in the morning the girls jumped into their bed instead of ours!  Anya and Caitlin were able to bring Nana and Papa into their classroom and show off all the cool toys they get to play with in school.

Two days after my parents returned home, I left for Las Vegas for a 3 day volleyball tournament.  It was the North America Gay Volleyball Associations (NAGVA) National Championship.  I know what your thinking, 'I knew it, the wife and the kids were just a cover, he's gay!'  Unfortunately for all the new friends I met this weekend, I am as straight as an arrow, but I had a blast people watching and hanging out with some amazing volleyball players.  We finished the tournament 7th out of 14 teams in AA.  7th isn't that great, but when you consider we lost to a team with 6 D1 players from UCLA, a team with 5 guys from UCSB and the libero from the US National team, and a team of former Long Beach State players, I think we did pretty damn well.  It was the highest level volleyball I've ever played and I had a blast!

Vegas on the other hand ins't exactly my favorite city. Only in Vegas can they get away with charging $16 for a 2 oz bottle of sunscreen.  It's really the ultimate city of discontent; a place where you go to make up for all the mundanity of your daily life.  Have a shitty car?  Rent a Benz and cruise the strip like a big shot.  Wife been giving you a hard time?  Why not upgrade for the weekend with a 21 year old 'escort'? Having fun by the pool?  Take it to a whole new level of enjoyment by buying a $22 foo-foo drink.  And above all, want to have the money you've always dreamed?  Just throw a dollar in this machine and your troubles are over! They have slots everywhere!  I'll bet they'd wheel a machine into the bathroom so you could play while taking a shit if you asked.  It's not exactly the place for a family man.  I guess I'm just getting too old for all day drinking benders, not that I didn't try to keep up. ; )  Oh and hun, on the credit card bill, the $237 charge for the Moonlite Bunny Ranch was for back massage.  I swear!

I'm glad to be home now.  We only have two more weeks until we're heading back to MN for a 16 day vacation. Looking forward to seeing family and friends.

Tip of the Day - When at a gay volleyball tournament, be aware that when you shout 'Fuck me!' out of frustration, there are people willing to take you up on your invitation.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Down by the Seaside

Last week was incredible!  On Wednesday Alicia had to travel to Portland to visit with some clients and the girls and I decided to tag along.  With the hotel covered by the company, all we had to pay for was our meals.  I've heard great things about Portland and now I know why; it's like Uptown Minneapolis times 10!  They had great local restaurants and awesome city parks.  With the weather in the upper 70s, the girls and I spent the whole week outside.  After 3 days of parks and swimming in the pool, Alicia and I made the spontaneous decision to head to the Oregon coast for the weekend and take in a few days of the Pacific Ocean.  We chose to visit a city named Seaside which was just an hour from Portland and found a room right on the ocean.

We arrived late Friday night and spent Saturday and Sunday on the beach.  Now we've taken the girls on all kinds of weekend trips, but I must say this was one of the best.  Usually Alicia and I spend the majority of our time and energy entertaining the girls and keeping them from killing themselves.  But this was different; this was actually relaxing! The hotel we stayed at had a huge bucket of sand toys available to the residents and the Roses found an endless variety of ways to keep themselves busy.  The beach was huge and we set up camp about 100 yards from the water (right next to the volleyball courts).  I took the girls down to the water to find sand dollars and sea shells, but the frigid cold water kept the girls from going in.  Score! No worries about them getting sucked out to sea!  I waded in knee deep water and found various creatures to show the kids.  When I grabbed what I thought was a sea shell and a crab reached out to pinch me, the girls decided it was much better to sit in the powdery sand than risk losing a limb in the water.  I'm not sure why they were so scared, maybe it is because the ocean was so majestically huge with 8 foot tall waves crashing on the shore, or maybe it was because I squealed like a girl when I grabbed the crab, either way they didn't want to go in.

Later in the day while Alicia and I were sunbathing and the girls trying to dig the worlds biggest hole, a couple started peppering by the volleyball courts.  They had two little girls who were playing in the sand next to them as the started running some hitting drills.  Unlike the majority of the volleyballers on the beach, this couple actually knew what they were doing.  After watching hours of super buff guys look like complete pansies while attempting to hit a ball, I had to ask these guys if we could play.  I went over and introduced myself and asked if they wanted to play doubles.  I explained that we had three kids and we actually know how to play.  They sheepishly agreed and I brought the family over.  Alicia and I played ball with our new friends Angie and Eric for 3 hours while our kids kept each other entertained. Around 6pm we had to wrap up the game and get some grub.  We ate some fresh seafood and called it a night, 8 hours of sun wiped out my Roses.

By 8:30 all my Roses were asleep, Alicia included, and I wasn't ready to call it a night.  I decided to buy some wood and have a campfire on the beach.  I sat enjoying the three greatest sounds in the world; the ocean waves crashing on the shore, the crackling of the fire, and pure unadulterated silence.  Heaven.  Around 10:30, some yablo started pounding some gangster rap and I decided it was time to call it a night.  With a pile of unburned wood left, I ventured to the nearest fire and asked them if they'd like to use it.  They happily accepted it and asked if I would like to hang out for a while.  My new friends happened to be from Green Bay and we started a spirited discussion on the supremacy of football teams in the Central Division. Despite their allegiance to the Green and Gold, they were very nice people.  We sat and talked for hours.  When the last of our logs turned to ash, we called it a night.

The girls woke up around 8:00am on Sunday and headed straight for the indoor pool.  Anya is becoming quite the little swimmer and Reegan and Caitlin both can float on their own in their life jackets.  We splashed around for a hour or two and headed back to the beach.  Again sand toys for the girls, sun tanning for us.  Our friends Angie and Eric came back on Sunday and we spent another couple hours playing some ball.  Around dinnertime we had to head out and make our way back home.  After a three and a half hour drive, we were home.

Tip of the day:  If you are talking to a 2 year old on the phone, be advised that they don't understand that the person on the other end of the phone can't see the same things they are pointing to.  Reegan spent 5 minutes explaining to my sister the layout of our bedroom by pointing at random items and saying:
Reegan: "Then there's the bed. The door is open, but don't open the door! The green wall is big."
Me: Can I talk now Reegs?
Reegans: When I'm done talking in a while Dad.
-Five more minutes of complete nonsense, followed by dropping the phone on the floor and running to play with toys -

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Life is about learning to dance in the rain

I know, it's late here in Washington.  But I can't sleep and I have nothing better to do than write.

Life has been good in WA.  This past weekend was my last weekend of reffing for the JO season.  Since February, I have only had two weekends off from reffing which probably wasn't the best decision on my part since Alicia had a big April 15th deadline.  In the absence of a real career, volleyball officiating to me has become very important; I love the sport of volleyball and being a stay-at-home dad doesn't provide any directive goal for which to attain.  I guess if my girls don't become strippers, I have succeeded, but I mean more immediate, ego-gratifying goals. As an official I hear about how good of a job I do and how I stand out among my peers.  Clearly it is simply a external means to feel important, but I like to feel special too. Anyway, working most weekend while my wife works late during the week isn't exactly the best recipe for a happy marriage.  The good new is that we both share the excitement of spending our coming weekends together.

The Roses have been doing great.  After four months of rainy weather, I finally made the decision that we're not going to let a little rain keep us from enjoying the plethora of outdoor activities right in our backyard. To Caitlin's chagrin, we have been doing a lot more hiking and adventuring in our new surroundings.  Everyday this past week we have sought out new areas to explore and have been appreciating Mother Nature's bounty.

On Tuesday, the girls and I decided to plant a garden in our backyard.  Together we tilled up a small area and planted some tomatoes, onions, peppers and spinach.  We spent several hours preparing the soil for our new garden (and by we, I mean I did the lions share of the work while the Roses flung worms at one another).  It's amazing how much life is right outside your back door.  Slugs, grub worms, spiders, weird maggot looking things; the girls loved making comfortable new ecosystems for the creatures at the bottom an old 5 gallon bucket we had sitting in the garage.  Apparently to a five year old, animals feel much more secure in the confines of an old Home Depot bucket with an inch of water and several handfuls of dead grass than they did in their natural habitat.

We look forward to the next coming weeks.  This week Alicia will be working in Portland and the girls and I decided that we'd like to tag along; nothing builds family bonding more than spending three days together in a small hotel room.  We'll be hitting up Oregon's best museums and parks.  The following week, Nana and Papa will be visiting for Caitlin's 4th birthday.  Can you believe my little KK Bird is already turning 4?  And before we know it, we'll be heading back to MN for a two-week stint visiting our family and friends in June.  Life is good.

We look forward to all our new life adventures and I promise to be more diligent in keeping you posted on all our shenanigans.

Tip of the Day - You can either accept reality or deny it, but denying is so much more painful and doesn't make for as good of stories.