Category: Meanwhile at the zoo we call our family

Building a Family – An Unexpected Surprise

This is a continuation of yesterday’s post in a series of how my family came together. I’ll give you a moment to catch up, if you so need. – – How I Met Your Mother It was a day like any other day with me slaving away behind a greasy grill at McDonald’s trying to get some lady her extra sized, triple layered, with all the fixins burger, and a diet coke with a side of large fries. Ashlee was at home because she had been vomiting for the past week. It’s a scene that every boyfriend enjoys. That moment when you are rubbing your lady’s back while she is bent over the toilet. It’s priceless. I was halfway through my shift when a manager brought me the phone. I hear a crying voice on the other line. “Joseph, I’m pregnant.” Now there are two types of people in this world. There are those who view the glass as half empty, and then there are those who turn on the faucet to let it overflow all over the place. I danced. I may have even performed an Irish jig right there in the back of the store for everyone to...

We Live in a Constant State of Fear

Being parents of a child who has transitioned into eternity has cut deep into our lives in many ways. But today, I would like to focus on one aspect. The midnight hour falls. Ashlee and I lie in bed wide awake, overcome by the weariness from a busy day. Neither wants to move, but we both know we won’t sleep until we do. Everyone knows how cranky my wife can get when she hasn’t had her beauty sleep. I reluctantly get out of bed to begin the night’s ritual. I walk through our dark house, tripping over Barbies, stepping on legos, and holding in expletives. I enter the boys’ room. Switch on the light. And I stare at their chests to make sure they are breathing. Their chests rise softly, but I am unsure. My eyes could be playing tricks on me from the tiredness that weighs them down. The next step is to uncover their feet, and run a fingernail down an arch. Their foot jumps. Alive. Next room. The girls are a little more difficult. Sometimes, they are shallow breathers. Sometimes they snore. When they snore, the whole room vibrates like a dragon’s lair, but you can never...

Learning, Growing, and Green Haired Ariel?

Yesterday’s great adventures included 10 kids, 4 adults, 85 degree weather, roller coasters and wave pools. Still reading? Wow. I’m impressed. It stressed me out just writing that, and I lived it. It was an overwhelming sense of chaos blended with glimmers of awesomeness. It’s what we call life, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. (Unless of-course said world had chocolate trees, then…) Who am I kidding? I love it. I love every minute of our chaotic bliss. I love watching my kids glow as they see and discover new things. I love watching them. (Not in like a creepy stalker way In a “I wanna see you grow up and make good choices” observation way.) I love allowing them to just be little. To make decisions like little people, (which color shirt matches this pair of pants, or what color hair should this character have). Simple things that help them learn to make bigger decisions later.  You see, if Ariel has green hair in your story and she rocks it, and has a reason like “it’s seaweed mom!” then by all means she can have green hair. As long as you are confident in your creativity, then...

We Celebrated Mardi Gras.. On a Wednesday.. In June… With a Serial Killer

Yesterday.. We took the family to Six Flags! Well.. technically we took 2 families and 2 friends. Needless to say, there was an absolutely crowd in just us. How crazy to you have to be to take 9 kids ranging 6-11 to an amusement park? Then again, how crazy do you have to be to have so many in the first place? We were completely unaware of any festivities going on so imagine our surprise when we arrived. It looked like Martha Stewart and Louie Armstrong had a baby who went on to be an interior designer. The only thing they were missing was Quasimodo himself. There were streamers, alligators, masks, and half naked dancers everywhere. New Orleans vomited all over the park. They were celebrating Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) on a Wednesday in the middle of June just because… why not? Who are we to judge? We celebrate Jesus’ birthday, and nobody really even knows when that is! We enjoyed all the festivities. The kids were having a merry ol’ time with parades, rides, and costumed zealots. But then my wife met a clown. He approached with his beady eyes set on my wife. There was a sinister step...

I Ruined All Her Dreams… or something

My daughter is on a rampage. Today, we discussed lying.. because… you know.. all kids do it. A few years back, Ashlee told her that the little blisters you get on your tongue were caused from lying. Which confused me because I didn’t know some people referred to the massive amounts of acidic food we eat as lies, but everyone has their own thing. It was clarified to me that she was not referring to our salsa addiction, but rather trying to keep the kids honest. It didn’t work, but we did catch the kids checking out the mirror anytime they spoke with us. Today, Hannah (my oldest daughter) exclaimed to us about how unfair it is that her mother and I do not get bumps when we lie to them. I replied, “Hannah, I never lie to you.. like ever. Except…. about Santa Claus…” Her jaw dropped. Now mind you, at the time of me writing this, my daughter is 10 years old. She’s practically a teenager. I mean, she already has the sass and swinging hips. The only thing she needs now is a face full of pimples. I then continued to list all the other lies I...

Cardboard Titanic

As a family, we decided that we were going to make memories this summer. You know, because what makes vacation more relaxing than filling up your whole schedule? We signed the kids up for a local contest. The rules were simple. Create a two person boat out of only cardboard and tape. What they forget to tell you is that you are required to have a degree in engineering, and dabbled in a bit of rocket science to pull it off. After scouring town for piles of cardboard, and emptying out the stores supply of duct tape, we were on our way to success! Six hours and umpteen paper cuts later, we have something that resembles a boat. Today was her maiden voyage. I just want everyone to know that the kids are very proud of their Titanic award. The boat sank as soon as they stepped inside. After that,  I need a cup of coffee. This is our big creative fail of the week.  What’s something you have completely botched,  but are able to laugh about?