Sorry I buried your feet

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms out there!

When I was five I went through a "pirate phase", everything was treasure and therefore must be buried.

When I was five I went through a “pirate phase”, everything was treasure and therefore must be buried.

My Mom has had to put up with a lot from me over the years and has always been there no matter what. She’s endured over forty years of my weirdness and now my offspring are carrying on this fine tradition.

It's all fun and games until the baby decides to play tackle football with Grandma!

It’s all fun and games until the baby decides to play tackle football with Grandma!

Thanks Mom for putting up with all these years of buried feet and up-your-nose photography. We love you.

"Wow, Grandma sure is tall!" taken by Zack (age 2)

“Wow, Grandma sure is tall!” taken by Zack (age 2)

In case you’re afraid that all my boys do is torture my poor unsuspecting mother, they can be rather sweet at times…

Mom and her newest grandson "Andrew James Husted" (3 days old)

Mom and her newest grandson “Andrew James Husted” (3 days old)

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Baby talk

As we get closer and closer to the due date for Andrew James, I’m trying to get our boys excited about the new addition to the family.

Move over Mickey, there's a baby coming to take your spot. Hope these two are ready for it.

Move over Mickey, there’s a baby coming to take your spot. Hope these two are ready for it.

Are you excited about getting a new little brother?

Josh: “His name is ‘Joshie’!”

Zack: “I have a brother named ‘Joshie’ too!”

Josh: “No, your brother is named ‘Zachary'”

Zack: “Hey, that’s my name!”

Josh: “Okay no, my baby brother’s name is ‘Vacuum Cleaner'”

Zack: “He no named ‘Vacuum Cleaner’, his name is ‘Chainsaw’!”

Josh: “Don’t put vacuum cleaners in your pocket.”

Zack: “No, pockets are for chainsaws”

Josh: “And baby brothers!”

At least they are kind of looking forward to the baby now, even if they do want to rename him. Don’t worry, when little “Chainsaw Vacuum Cleaner Husted” does get here, I’ll make sure to keep the boys from putting him in their pockets.

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Put that down and pick me up.

Hello, my name is Brian and I’m an addict, a technology addict.  There isn’t a minute of the day that I’m not far from my computer, my cell phone, the television, or my iPod. I still get plenty done around the house, but it’s not without the occasional interruption to look at my Twitter feed, browse Facebook, or check my blog. It’s become second nature to me to do and I hadn’t realized how bad it had gotten.

Ignore this and pay attention to ME!

Ignore this and pay attention to ME!

It’s hard to recognize how addicted to something you are until you have to go for any length of time without it, and that’s exactly what happened. Yesterday my wife dared me to go a day without any electronics at all. She didn’t think I could do it, but I’m just stubborn enough that I took her up on the challenge.

I left my iPod in the bedroom (I’d fallen asleep listening to it), put to the cell phone on the fireplace mantle, didn’t turn on the TV, and made a conscious decision to ignore the computer.

Turns out it was a real struggle for me. On more than one occasion the boys did something adorable and I found myself looking around for the cell so that I could tweet about it, or dash over to the computer so I could jot down a few quick notes for a future blog post. Even though I hadn’t touched the computer all day, it still chimed every few minutes when there was a new post on my Facebook feed. I’m proud to say I was strong, and I fought back the urges to give in. My devices stayed ignored, my email unanswered, my tweets unchecked, and my feeds unread. Sure, it helped that Kat was there and would know if I cheated, but I was too stubborn admit defeat anyway.

The day was a success. I hate to admit it, but my wife was right. I did get more done being “unplugged” than when I was distracted by all my electronics. The boys also had a lot more fun knowing that they had their Dad’s undivided attention. The only downside of this challenge is that now I can’t help having a twinge of guilt whenever I am on this computer or checking my cell phone. I suppose that was the whole point of this experiment, recognizing my addiction for what it is and being more aware of how I’m spending my time.

I'm so much happier when you aren't playing with this.

Hey Daddy, I’m so much happier when you aren’t playing with this.

I may still be hooked on electronics, but I’ll try to learn from this and limit my time spent online. There are much more important things to interact with around here anyways. Their names are “Zack” & “Josh”.

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How about baby?

I asked my sons Zack (age 4) and Josh (almost 3) what they thought about getting a new baby brother in just a couple months. These were their answers:

Zack: “I love baby Andrew. He lives in Mommy’s belly. When he comes out I’m not going to do anything with him.”

He's happy now, but we'll see how he feels when he has TWO little brothers to contend with.

He’s happy now, but we’ll see how he feels when he has TWO little brothers to contend with.

Josh: “Baby Andrew isn’t in my belly. I don’t want him in my shirts. I have my own shirts and baby Andrew is too little.”

I may have to live with him, but I ain't sharing my stuff with him.

I may have to live with him, but I’m not sharing my stuff with him.

Hopefully they’ll be a little more excited when we get closer to Andrew’s due date. I think we’ll have to work on this.

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Our Snow Day!!

Zack was the first to sound the alarm "It's Snowing!!"

Zack was the first to sound the alarm “It’s Snowing!!”

I had plans for this last weekend, I really did, but those all went out the window when Zack uttered those magical words “It’s snowing!” Josh soon joined him and was quick to point out “Look daddy it’s snowing outside. I love snow!” (This is especially cute being as he’s only been out in the snow once in his entire life).

Hey Mom, this white stuff is awesome!

Hey Mom, this white stuff is awesome!

Living in western Washington we don’t get to see snow very often and it’s quick to turn into slush. We had to act fast, so Kat and I decided on a change of plans. Out was the shopping trip to Costco. In was bundling up the family and going out to play in the white stuff. I’m sure the boys thought that we were crazy when we dressed them both in footy pajamas and then started layering outdoor clothes on top of it, but any argument they may have had quickly vanished as they realized that it was leading up to the entire family going out to play.

Okay Dad, now that we made these, what do we do with them?

Okay Dad, now that we made these, what do we do with them?

Neither of the boys has had much experience with snow so this was all pretty new for them. First on our agenda was going for a walk and once I showed them how to scoop up snow into snow balls, both boys were fascinated with making “snow blobs” of their own. They weren’t quite sure what to do with them however,  so they just carried them around for a while. Josh soon discovered that these “snow blobs” were the perfect size to be thrown, and Daddy made a great target. After that it was open season on me.

As expected, they team up against me. I suspect this won’t be the last time.

As expected, they team up against me. I suspect this won’t be the last time.

When we got back to the house we started building the kids’ first ever snowman. Zack was very helpful, making us a scale model that we could copy for the full sized one. Lacking rocks and carrots for a face we improvised with a broken toy fire helmet and pine cone, but I think it turned out just fine.

The boys put on the finishing touches on our "Snow Firefighter".

The boys put on the finishing touches on our “Snow Firefighter”.

By now we were completely soaked so we ran inside to warm up. While the kids had grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup we dried our boots over the fire and threw all our wet snow clothes in the drier.

After our pit stop it was back outside for round two. This time we stuck to our own yard and set to building a snow castle. The boys had a great time bringing me snow and enjoyed instructing me on where to put each part of the castle. In the end their design with two “windows” in front somewhat resembled a face, so Zack had me give it nostrils and a smile. Once I was done he told me “I love my Dragon Snow Castle” and gave it a hug, so I guess that means I did pretty good on my construction.

"This is the bestest castle ever!"

“This is the bestest castle ever!”

We didn’t get many of our chores accomplished on this “Snow Day”, but I think it was more productive in other ways. We had gone on a family walk in the snow together, the boys had had their first ever “snow blob” fight (aimed at me), we built their first snow man, and created their first snow castle. These family memories are more important than any “to-do” list, Costco can wait until next weekend.

Our happy little guys in their Snow Castle.

Our happy little guys in their Snow Castle.

Zack gives a hug of approval on the final product.

Zack gives a hug of approval on the final product.

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My typical morning…

An actual conversation with my kids this morning:

Zack: “I want milk”

Me: “Okay, here’s some milk”

Zack: “I don’t want the blue cup Daddy, I want it in the pumpkin cup.”(The cup with pumpkins on it)

Me: “Fine, here’s some milk in the pumpkin cup. Josh, you can have the milk I poured in the blue cup”

Josh: (crying) “I want pumpkin cup too!”

Me: “Okay, here’s some milk in the other pumpkin cup.” (I pour the milk into an identical second pumpkin cup)

Josh: (now screaming & crying) “No! I want pumpkin cup!” (Points to the cup Zack is drinking out of)

Me: “Zack, can you trade cups with your brother? I know they look the same, but he really wants the cup you have”

Zack: “But it’s MY pumpkin cup!”

*Both boys are now screaming and crying.*

Me: (trying to be patient) “I know that one is yours, but Josh would really like to trade with you. Could you be a good big brother and let him switch cups with you?”

Zack: hesitantly “Okay”

I swap cups and give each boy the milk that their brother was previously drinking out of. Josh takes a couple sips and finally stops crying.

Zack: “I want juice”

*Screaming starts again*

They're always so pleased with themselves when they've worn Dad down to a frazzle.

They’re always so pleased with themselves when they’ve worn Dad down to a frazzle.

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Who flipped the switch?

It’s amazing how quickly a little guy will bounce back from feeling bad, the parents… not so much.

Yesterday afternoon Zack came down with a bad cold. The poor little guy was pretty miserable. Sniffling, sneezing, buckets of snot, the usual. When I got home from work I could hear him coughing in his room, unable to breath due to the face full of boogers.

Last night quickly turned into one of “those nights”. You know the kind, up and down over and over, running in to check on a munchkin time and again. Ultimately we ended up dragging him into our room to sleep in our bed with us, hopeful that at least one of us would get some sleep.

Our plan was a disaster and Z didn’t do much better. He still woke several times from being stuffed up, but at least we were literally an arm’s reach away to help him.

Cut to this morning, Kat has staggered sleepily off to work and, thanks to an extra-large iced mocha, I’m barely functioning. I called Zack’s school bus driver and preschool teacher to let them know that he’d be absent today because he doesn’t feel good and didn’t get much sleep.

I swear as soon as I set down the phone the laughing started. Josh and Zack began playing and having a spirited debate over whether their Transformer Bumblebee toy was a “Robot-Car” or a “Car-Robot”. Since then it’s like someone waved a green flag and the two of them are off to the races.

Zack and Josh take a break from running around like crazy people to take a few pictures.

Zack and Josh take a break from running around like crazy people to take a few pictures.

In the last hour they’ve done laps around the inside of the house, stopped for “toddler photography”, played dress-up, petted the cat, ate breakfast, played in their trampoline, got dressed, spread legos all over our living room floor, picked the legos back up (under threat of death from me), and are now back in the trampoline wrestling.

Kids bounce back, much better than Dads in their forties do. Zack is probably going to be a little out of sorts today, but nothing that an extra-long nap, a few well-placed nose wipes, and some extra cuddles won’t fix. Kat and I will be lucky if the two of us have recovered from Zack’s being sick by tomorrow or maybe this weekend.