Little known fact: I participate in Improv Theatre

I have my very own improv theatre at home.

Chicago is famous for their Second City Improv Theatre.  The premise is that there is an initial story line given, and then
additional pieces of the story are made up by the participants on the
spot.  The resulting storytelling is a very funny thing to hear.

Thanks to Ryan and Sawyer, I now get to do my own improv at home.  Let me explain.

As we play with toys, Ryan will begin the Improv by saying something like “Daddy, I want you to be a talking backhoe, I will be a talking
dump truck”.  New characters get introduced throughout the story based on the actions the characters take.

Sawyer contributes in his special way too.  He brings toys into the story, hands them to us with a smile, and says “Dadda…ehhh, ehhh”.
He is learning new words, so sometimes we get something like this…”tra, tra” (truck).  When he grabs a toy that is part of the story and runs off, Ryan’s quest to steal it back with rich dialogue “Sawyer, that backhoe is hauling our dirt off, we need it back, bad baby”.  (I do not encourage the bad baby part by the way).  Often, I am able to use the story characters as a peacemaker.  “Ryan and Sawyer, Mr. Tractor needs you both back at the construction site to help with the next load”.  It is amazing how much they listen to Mr. Tractor more than Mr. Daddy.

The stories sometimes do not make any sense, but who cares?  I only have a crowd of 2-3 to make happy, and they seem to be happy.  I have found that having children has really revitalized my creativity.  I am thankful that I get to be involved in their playtime.  It is a wonderful blessing.

I would love to hear your stories about your family’s improv theatre.
Have a great day!


Kids do say funny things….and hurtful things….

Ryan (our three-year old) is saying some very funny things everyday.
Not having much of a filter at this point, he says some hurtful things
as well without understanding the ramifications.  I plan on
periodically posting some of these gems to remember and show him in
the future.

Here were some lines from this week:


On traveling back to our house from our family trip to Northeast Ohio
last weekend, Ryan said “Daddy, come in the backseat and play with
me”.  A lovable request that I normally love to accommodate, however I
was driving at the time.

I replied “Ryan, Daddy is driving the van.  I can’t come back there.
I am sorry.

As he burst into tears, Ryan stammered “The, the, the car can drive
itself Daddy”.

Maybe in the near future Ryan, but not possible in a 1999 Honda Odyssey……


“Daddy can I have some medicine?”

“Ryan, you are not sick.”

Ryan starts coughing and says “Yes I am Daddy.”

Funny…and hurtful

Later in the trip, Ryan was getting somewhat grumpy.  I suggested “Ryan, why don’t you go to sleep for a little while, a nap will really help you”.

Ryan replied, “I don’t want to go to sleep, you go to sleep Daddy you silly silly meany.”

“Ryan, daddy can’t sleep while he is driving”.

“Daddy, quit talking to me and YOU go to sleep.  The car can drive itself.”

“Ryan, we already had this conversation, the car cannot drive itself.”

“Daddy, quit talking and go to sleep.”

Great Imagination

On the ride to Northeast Ohio, we were driving along a semitrailer loaded with steel beams.  I asked Ryan “Do you see the steel beams on the truck Ryan?”

“Yes, Daddy, that is neat!”

“What do you think the beams will be used to build?”

“They are going to build a museum Daddy.”

“What do you think will be in the museum Ryan?”

“Lots of neat things Daddy.  Probably trains, dinosaurs, and animals Daddy.”

“I hope you’re right Ryan, that would be a neat place to visit.”

“I AM right Daddy, it will be neat!”

It’s all neat………..

I would love to hear about funny things your kids have said.
on truck, museum, lots of things

I am no Lewis & Clark, but I thwarted the great Lab escape

Last Friday, January 10, I went out early in the morning to shovel a beautiful new
fallen snow off of our sidewalk and driveway.  I decided to let the
dogs play in the backyard while I completed the shoveling.

As I was wrapping up, Lucy started barking.  I thought it was because
she was getting cold, but when I went to the fence I noticed Woody was
not roaming the backyard.  I then realized Lucy was alerting me to the
great escape.

I took Lucy in the house, and then did a quick walk-through the
neighborhood with no success.  I then returned to the house to get
Lucy and resume the chase.

During these escapes, my main concern is we live very close to US
Highway, and it gets quite busy with automobile and commercial truck
traffic.  Not a good place for dogs to be casually exploring.
As Lucy and I began our search, we found Woody’s paw prints in the
snow.  Lucy got the scent and our tracking adventure had begun!

I can tell you this for sure, Woody does not walk in straight lines,
not ever.  As we weaved and bobbed through the neighborhood, around
buildings, stopping at many trees, the tracks led us across the
highway.  After following more unusual paths, we had lost the course.
It was now almost 7a and people were getting up to do their daily
thing.  Lucy and I headed for home feeling defeated.

Luckily on our way home, we found the tracks again.  They went back
across the street going towards our house.  Perhaps we could find him
this time…

As we were yelling his name, Woody burst into view and came running
towards us.  I leashed him up, feeling grateful to see him, and mad
that he had not come to us sooner as we were calling his name.
Judging by the path we followed, I think he kept running away from us,
thinking this was a game.

The hole in the fence has been patched, but I am sure there will be
more adventures ahead.  I just hope the dogs do not get hurt (or
worse) or picked up by strangers.  They may think it is fun to run,
but it is tough on their owners.

I would love to hear about any great escapes from your pets.


A blessing that knocked me to my knees…..

This little man is something else……1457639_10152073174295795_1320087736_n

I annually find the holidays to be a time for reflection, to count my blessings, and wish that I could help more and give more.  A recent incident with Ryan gave me my ONE WORD to work on this year…..patience.

This year, the holidays seemed stressful most of the time.  I felt tugged in many directions and was not making anyone happy, including myself.  I felt closed in with my emotions, physical space, and inability to get out much.  My boys and nephew had numerous sleeping challenges, which made everyone else fatigued and worn out.  On the flip side (much more important), I enjoy seeing our families tremendously and am thankful to have the opportunity to see so many.

When at my parent’s house one evening, I was going to give Ryan his bath.  We were both tired, I was grumpy and Ryan was not focused.  When I picked him up to take him to the bathtub, he was distracted by something and turned away to try and grab something.  When he swung his arms back, he hit me square in the face, knocking off my glasses and giving me a cut on the nose.  In an attempt to contain these efforts, I took his face in my right hand and said in frustration “Ryan, BE CAREFUL!  YOU JUST HIT ME IN THE FACE AND KNOCKED MY GLASSES OFF!”  I was MAD!

With a calmness and gentleness that instantly touched my soul, Ryan looked me squarely in the eye (not expected from a three-year old), and magically said, “It will be ok Daddy, I’m sorry”.  It wasn’t just what he said, but the look of strength and empathy in his eyes directly looking into my eyes and soul.  My anger instantly melted and I was so grateful that he brought me back to what is important, being a loving and gentle father.

Coincidentally, I had seen on twitter the trending of #ONEWORD.  I looked into the book.  The thought is that most New Year’s Resolutions fail, but picking one word for the year and building your improvement around this word works more effectively.  The book provides some structure and case studies of how others have used One Word to improve their lives.

I had been struggling to think of my word, but Ryan made me realize this is an area of improvement.  I don’t want a legacy that I leave my wife and children is that I get frustrated too easily.  I have found I quickly give myself feedback and say my One Word to reinforce its meaning.  It is an easy concept and can be shared with your inner circle so they can help support you in living your word.

I wish you blessings in the New Year and would love to hear from you how your resolutions are going.