A Day At The Park With Cousins

The day before NHL’s birthday, we decided to spend some time with Nana, Papa, Uncle I and Cousins S & B.  First, though, we needed to return some Netflix DVDs.  So NHL and JSL walked with me to the mailbox.  Along the way, we spotted some mushrooms growing in someone’s yard. Given the boys’ recent obsession with certain little blue characters, I joked that Smurfs might be living in there.  Luckily, I didn’t see anything come out of the mushrooms as I took photos of them.

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With the Netflix DVDs mailed, we piled into the car and went to meet B’s family.  We were meeting them at a local park that hosts a farmer’s market every Saturday.  The boys were a bit annoyed at having to walk through the market since the playground was so close.  Still, we made the best of it and looked at all of the interesting vendors.  Sadly, I didn’t take many photos since I was trying to keep and eye on the little ones while looking at the wares for sale.  At one stand, though, there was a sunflower for sale that a bee had landed on.  I took out my camera and showed JSL and S just how I take bee macro photos.


We returned to the cars to get a quick drink and then off we went to play.  We had taken our Aerobie Sprint Flying Ring, Z-Curve Bow, and Zing-Shot Launcher so we broke those out.  The kids loved tossing the Aerobie or shooting the bow and arrow across the grass.  (The slingshot had a few misfires so I put it away lest it frustrate the younger kids.)

Uncle I had two really good bow-and-arrow shots.  In one, he hit JSL (by accident) from about 50 feet away.   We all laughed about the good shot while JSL proclaimed that he wasn’t hurt because the arrow’s made of soft foam.  The second shot was later on and rocketed a good 150 feet.  It was quite amazing to behold.

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At one point, we stopped by a veteran’s memorial in the park.  I’ve been to this park many times and, for some reason, I hadn’t visited this before.  It’s quite impressive (even if the lack of wind kept the flags from unfurling properly).

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NHL used the benches at the memorial to show his love for his cousin.


Then, it was on to the park’s pond where we got to see ducks and fishes.

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At some point, Uncle I took NHL away.  You see, there’s one thing NHL loves more than anything about this park: the hedge maze.  He was dying to show it to Uncle I.  After a few more minutes admiring the ducks and fish, JSL wanted to show Cousin S the maze also so I walked them over.


Once at the maze, we all went crazy running through it.  JSL even got brave enough to allow himself to be separated from me a few times.

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Park play is hungry work, so we all went out to lunch.  Well, we all went to go out to dinner.  Unfortunately, B fell asleep in the car.  (He had skipped an earlier nap so we were expecting this.)  Nana and Papa took him back to their house for some much needed rest while the rest of us ate in the Cheesecake Factory.

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Finally, it was time to go back to Nana and Papa’s house to play and (later on) eat dinner with more family.

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What a Difference a Decade Makes

Ten years ago tonight, I was in my apartment getting ready for the biggest day of my life.  I was going to get married to the most beautiful woman in the world.  My friend and best man was in town and staying in my apartment as well.  He was writing out his speech for the reception after the wedding.  (In hind sight, I should have insisted on reading it beforehand.)

The very next day, a gorgeous woman walked down the aisle to me and said “I do.”  Our lives changed.

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Over the years, our family has grown.  We’ve had happy moments, sad moments.  We’ve had angry moments and scary moments.  We’ve gone through our share of highs and lows.  Still, there is nobody I’d rather have by my side during all of this than my angel, B.

Our lives may have changed drastically in the past decade, but in many ways they haven’t changed at all.  I love B with all of my heart and look forward to spending the rest of my life trying to make her as happy as she has made me!

Happy Anniversary, B (a day early), from your Long Island Love!

Who Am I?

Yesterday, the rain held off.  It was the perfect time to catch up on some yard work that needed to be done.  I mowed the lawn, put down some grass seed (our lawn still hasn’t recovered from the burst water pipe last year), trimmed some hedges, and potted some plants we had purchased the previous day.

While I was doing this, the boys were inside with B.  They could have come out, but they don’t like the noise that the lawn mower puts out.  JSL, who came out for a little bit, freaked out that every small flying bug was a bee coming after him.  Besides, I had set up NHL on my computer and he was having a blast playing Angry Birds, Gravity Duck and other games online.

So I had the time to myself.  It was nice.  I had peace and quiet and could think while I lugged heavy bags of dirt or pushed our mower up and down the yard.  I began to enjoy my “Dad’s Day Out” until it hit me.  This *was* the closest thing to a dad’s day out that I’ve had in awhile and I was doing yard work.  Some day out.

I began to think about how I’d rather spend a day out by myself.  Suppose B came up to me and told me that, this coming Sunday, she would take the boys and I could do whatever I wanted.  What would I do?

I don’t have any family or friends here and it often feels like I switch between “Worker Mode” (where I’m in an office all day with little to no social interaction beyond “we need you to do this for us”) straight to “Dad Mode” (where I try to cook meals, take care of my wife and kids, clean up, etc).  If I’m not in “Worker Mode” or “Dad Mode”, who am I?  Who is TechyDad when he’s not coding web sites or being a dad?  I’m not sure I have an answer for that question and it scares me.  I love being a web developer and I love being a dad, I don’t think it is too much to ask to be able to be “just me” from time to time. 

The dream I had last night isn’t helping my mood, either.  I was with B and my parents visiting my grandparents’ grave site.  Only, I didn’t know exactly where it was.  Somehow, I got separated from everyone.  As I tried to find them and the gravesite, they visited the grave and then prepared to leave.  I tried to explain to them (via cell phone) that I still needed to visit the grave, but they told me they’d leave without me if I didn’t get to the car.  Then, B came by to bring me back to the car over my objections.  I was almost in tears over being denied the opportunity to visit my grandparents’ grave when I woke up.

I’m not sure if the dream is somehow related to the “Who am I” feelings from the previous day, but this wouldn’t be the first time that I dreamt about something bothering me.  Between yesterday’s identity crisis and this morning’s bad dream, you’ll excuse me if I’m feeling emotionally on edge today.

Mom Field Trip = Dad Day With Boys

Today, over on TheAngelForever.com, B is recounting the story of her mom field trip with Christina from CutestKidEver to see Rene Syler (aka Good Enough Mother).  But what of the flip side?  What did the boys and I do while B went on her road trip?  Well, the boys and I had our own fun times.

As you may remember, I was undecided on whether or not I should go to Free Comic Day.  After B left, I made my decision: We were going.  I armed the kids with their Green Lantern rings from our Green Lantern party, got them into the car and headed over to Zombie Planet.

I had heard that the 501st, a group of Star Wars fans who dress up like Stormtroopers, would be there.  NHL was excited to see “costumes.”  Ever since Disney, he’s gone costume-crazy.  He must meet (and get his photo with) any costumed character who is anywhere near him.  He was not disappointed.

We got out of the car and there, in front of the store, was a single Stormtrooper.  He was joined by a Tusken Raider.

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The Tusken Raider would occasionally make a growling sound (like the one that the movie Tusken Raider made as he stood over Luke Skywalker).  This scared NHL off from getting his photo taken with the Tusken Raider.  So we went indoors and proceeded upstairs to the free comics section.

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Unlike last year, when it was “take as many as you like”, there was a 5 comic per person limit.  I had gone online the previous days to Free Comic Book Day’s website to see which comics would be available.  This meant that I knew just which comics were the best for my boys and which should be skipped.  The only complaints from the boys came when NHL looked out the window and spied Spider-Man.  He insisted that we *HAD* to go outside right now to meet the web slinger.


I explained to NHL that we needed to check out (even we had nothing that we were being charged for).  Besides, I had brought some Phineas and Ferb action figures that needed peg stands.  I hoped that the comic shop would be able to help.  (Sadly, they didn’t have what I needed.)

Finally, we left the comic shop and NHL immediately approached Spider-Man for a photo.


Then, I made a Geeky Daddy decision.  NHL was wearing a Green Lantern ring.  Green Lanterns Hal Jordon was supposedly “born without fear.”  So I couldn’t very well let him leave afraid of the Tusken Raider, could I?  I’d have been deducted 30 Geek Points!

I spoke with him about it and he finally agreed to get his photo taken.


After that, we headed home for lunch and some comic book reading.


Once the boys were fed, I decided that it was too nice of a day to be couped up indoors.  So we grabbed some of our colossal cannons and headed out to play.

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Eventually, NHL had a bright idea.  His great-grandmother had given them some butterfly nets, but NHL thought they’d make great colossal cannon disc catching nets.  And they did!


Our next door neighbor’s daughter, N, also came over and played with the boys for quite awhile.  Eventually, they tired of chasing after green discs and wanted to play with bubbles.  Cue the Winnie the Pooh bubble blower!

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They also wanted to play with chalk and I eventually relented.

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I noticed the skies were getting dark and warned the boys that we might have to go inside soon.  Besides, B’s return time was getting closer and closer.

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As B pulled up, I hurredly gathered the chalk and got the boys (and N) off our driveway.  The boys said goodbye to N and hello to B.  Then, as we walked in, the heavens opened up.  Perfect timing!

The boys and I had a fun day together and B had a nice Mommy Road Trip.  I’d call that a win all around!

The Beginning and Ending of Passover

 0418110823 0418110823a Today is the last day of Passover.  During the day, we’ll eat up some of the remaining matzoh and dream of the bread-filled meals coming the next day.  Technically, we can break Passover tonight, but, practically, eating dinner after 8:30pm isn’t worth it, even if it will be our first non-Passover meal in 8 days.

I was going to end with a Cooking With TechyDad post on how to make matzoh brie, but I realized that I did that last year.  So instead, I’ll give you a quick photo tour of our Passover experience.

The day before Passover, we mostly spent cleaning and shopping.  However, we did have one unexpected treat.  As we pulled into a local Target’s parking lot, we saw a familiar pink truck.  It was the Fluffalicious cupcake truck!


We decided to get the boys one cupcake each and split a giant cupcake between the two of us.  NHL got a S’mores cupcake.  JSL chose a chocolate banana cupcake.  B and I split a giant cookie dough cupcake.  (Let me tell you: It’s torture to go through these photos during Passover!)

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The morning before Passover, I went to temple very early.  You see, because one of the plagues was death of the first born, first born Jewish males have to fast the day before Passover.  However, there’s a way out of this obligation.  If you attend a special learning session, you have to celebrate afterwards by participating in a celebratory meal.  And once you eat, you’re let out of the fast for the rest of the day.

After temple, we went out to Friendly’s for breakfast.  B had eggs and french toast (which I don’t have a photo of), I had eggs and pancakes and the boys had M&M pancakes.

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Sadly, while delicious, this was our last non-Passover food for the next 8 days.

That night, we went to B’s aunt’s house for the Passover seder.  We had a great time with family and had fabulous food.

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The next night we had the second seder.  In many ways, it was a repeat of the first.  Lots of good times and good food with family.

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During the rest of Passover, we dealt with a finicky child’s hunger strike (luckily, it turns out he really likes matzoh pizza), a lot of exhaustion and a lot of matzoh.  Tonight, we’ll pack up our Passover pans, cooking utensils and the like and put them away for another year.  I can’t say we’ll be very sorry to see it go.  Passover is fun, but by now we are all dreaming of our favorite non-Kosher-for-Passover foods!

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