Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Starting to think it is me!

Some of you have heard this but for those who have not...

I am starting to think that I am the one with issues. As you know, we have a swimming pool in our back yard. It is 18 feet across and 4 feet deep and a big responsibility. A couple weeks ago, we allowed 4 extra neighborhood kids to go swimming. Bill was home and said it was okay, he would help keep an eye on them. Well, I have no problem with these kids using the pool, I only ask that one of the parents come sit and help watch their kids. I didn't think it was unreasonable...I wouldn't expect someone to watch my kids in the water without me. So, this past weekend, we were going to have a lazy, sit by the pool, family Saturday when these kids show up, they find out we are swimming and they go home and change into their swim suits! I tell them about our "new rule" and they go home and come back without a parent. They tell us their parents are too busy and can't watch them but said they are allowed to go in the pool. Bill, being nicer than me says, it's fine but only because he is there. I said I didn't like that because throughout the week he is not there! Anyway, they hop in the pool and their mother shows up and says to me why are they in the pool I thought they weren't allowed? I told her Bill said he would help but when he is not here it is too hard for me to handle all the kids by myself. She then says that if it is too much trouble send them home, but she doesn't see the problem because she has a trampoline and has had up to seven kids on it and she has watched them all by herself. I said if that is okay with you and you want the responsibility then that is your choice. Then, she says would you like my husband and I to sign a waiver releasing you from all responsibility? WHAT!?!? I simply ended the conversation with today is fine but next time someone needs to be here to help watch THEIR kids.

I am glad my kids have friends and I am okay with them coming over but all I ask don't take advantage of my generosity. Swimming is not like playing on the swing set it is a bigger responsibility and a huge liability! We are willing to let them swim...just asking for a little help!

Friday, June 26, 2009

A post by my husband...

10 things I would like to pass on to my kids

I spent some time today, thinking about my Dad and the many things I have learned from him. My Dad is old school. He is a blue collar guy that has worked hard his whole life. Hugs and kisses were never his way of communicating love. He was never the warmest guy but he was always reliable. I also have been thinking of my success and failure as a dad. I have noticed that over the years the thing that I never wanted to happen has happened. In many ways, I have turned into my dad. Anyway, here are 10 things I would like to pass on to my kids. Keep in mind that we have a very testosterone rich household and many of these are geared toward boys.

10. The importance of a good hair cut. I think all of us have taken a stroll down memory lane and pulled out the old year book or looked at some old photos and have thought “how embarrassing”. Oh yes, even the high and tight Bill Looman went through a period of rebellion and has had to explain to his kids that the “mullet” was cool in the 80’s. Let me tell you, there is a lot to be said for the Johnny Unitas look. It is timeless and shameless.

9. How to fix things. My dad could fix anything. Cars, T.V.’s, the washing machine, the lawn mower, he could do it all. However, he was not the most patient teacher. I did always learn new words when I worked with my dad. I am not afraid to do anything. I have successfully plumbed, done electrical work, dry wall and rebuilt a transmission. We live in a day where if your car breaks down, take it to the shop. If you need electrical work done, call an electrician. I love the sense of accomplishment you get by starting a project and finishing it.

8. How to cook the perfect steak. Have you ever spent $10 / lb on a nice Delmonico or NY strip only to destroy it on the grill? Grilling a good steak is a lot like making love. At least, that is what my dad says. It has to be strategically planned. Stick to the basics. Not a lot of seasoning. The taste of a good steak can stand on its own. Marinating is for people who can’t grill. Get the grill nice and hot (600 or better). When it has reached the optimal temperature, put the steak on the grill for two minutes each side. This sears in the juices. Then turn the grill to low, take your time and cook to order. Well or medium well is not on the menu.

7. Never under-estimate your ability to reproduce. Don’t get me wrong, kids are my source of a lot of joy in life. I love sitting at the dinner table when one of my boys says something that starts the domino of uncontrollable laughter. Our house is a blast. There is a time to have kids and a time not to and believe me (I have 6) they are easy and fun to make. I am hoping that my kids choose to be more productive than reproductive. Set relationship boundaries. Remember “chicken is finger-lickin’ good and one thing always leads to another”.

6. Make the most of your education. My dad never finished high school. He joined the Marine Corp when he was 17. I remember from the day I started kindergarten knowing that I was going to college because my dad said so. I can’t remember what I ate for lunch today but I can remember what happened 39 years ago. We never had much but my dad found a way to send us to Catholic Schools and help pay for college. I admire that so much. My parents were very unselfish that way. I regret not focusing on school as much as I should have. If accomplishment in college was determined by rolling the perfect doobie or how much tequila you could drink, I would have been valedictorian. Those were my rebellious years. I wish I could do it again. Unfortunately, you only get one shot at your 20’s. I could have accomplished so much more. I hope my kids do not make the same mistake.

5. The importance of a good work ethic. My dad taught us how to work. Growing up, we had livestock and a large garden that fed our big family. There was never a shortage of work. We had jobs to do every day. I think so many times, kids are not taught how to work and when they grow up they don’t know how. My kids all have jobs to do and I expect excellence from them and I inspect what I expect. Hopefully they will grow up to expect excellence from themselves.

4. Commit or don’t. I grew up playing sports. I played football, basketball, baseball and ran track. I have trained and completed marathons. Committed people are a dying breed. My son Tyler is getting ready to start football for the first time. He is ready for it but I don’t think he understands the amount of commitment it will take. My dad had a rule regarding sports. If you commit to playing a sport you cannot quit until the end of the season. Once the commitment has been made, you cannot quit until your commitment has been fulfilled. This principle has carried over into my marriage and my job. At work, I am driven to accomplish what I was hired to accomplish. My marriage was a forever decision. Divorce is not an option. Cheating is not an option. My only option is to make it work. I know it is easy to say that and that it takes two which leads me to my next point.

3. How to pick your spouse. I believe that a man should not be able to get a marriage license until he is 30. That is a personal feeling based on my life experience. I started to grow up at about 30 and that is when I began to understand what I wanted out of marriage. Prior to that, finding someone I was attracted to was the first, second and third priority. Let’s face it, no matter how handsome or pretty you are right now, when you hit 40-50, the pendulum starts to swing the other way. It happens for some quicker than others. Wrinkles, balding, gray hair and the disappearance of the six-pack are inevitable. The year prior to meeting Sherry, I went on approximately 60 first dates. I read a book on how to know after 2 dates if a relationship is worth pursuing, and for the most part, never needed the second date. I remember one particular occasion, meeting a girl for a drink. When I found out she lied to me about smoking; I excused myself to the restroom and never returned. I made a list based purely on character traits I wanted in a wife. Things I needed in a woman, things I could live with, and things I could not. There was only one physical attribute on my list (5th) and I believe it is related to character. I pray that my kids find the right spouse and get married for all the right reasons.

2. How to love your spouse. Having a productive marriage is hard work. I’m sure it is harder for Sherry than it is for me. My marriage is not perfect but it is strong. Sherry is a woman of strong character. She is always honest, always trustworthy, and always committed, always thinks the best of me and has never lied to me. She is a good listener. If I had to nutshell “how to love your spouse”; I would say don’t be selfish, always put your spouse’s needs above your own and make sure they know that they are the most important person in your life. I pray that God helps me do that every day.

1. You were created for a reason. God loves you and has a purpose for you. I sometimes wonder how people who don’t believe that get up every day. One on my kids has doubts in God’s existence. It is hard for me to deal with but I have faith in his eagerness to find answers and he who seeks will find. I would be lying if I said I have never had doubts, but as I get older and look back on my life I see His footprints alongside mine. I see who I was and what He has made me (and the work He has yet to do). I see my kids, my wife, friends, and family and I am certain that they came from God.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood...

I know that I am always talking about my neighbor and a lot of people really don't know how bad it really is and so I thought I would share a story and I'll let you decide if I am overreacting...

THE SCENE: Bill and Jon were doing some work on the hot tub (which is about a foot from his fence).

NEIGHBOR: Hey Hey Hey! Stop shaking my fence!

BILL: What are you talking about? I am not shaking the fence. What is your problem with me?

NEIGHBOR: I'll tell you what the problem is living next to you is like living next to the Jones! I have a pool, you have to get a pool. I have a hot tub, you have to get a hot tub! (His hot tub and pool were there when he moved in. We didn't get ours to be like him we got it because our kids love to swim and Bill wanted the hot tub)

NEIGHBOR: And what are you some kind of homo (sorry but gotta tell it like it is) you are always hanging out with a bunch of guys! And I know you guys have been peeing behind your garage! Why don't we take this down to the park and settle it like men?

BILL: I haven't been invited to a fight at the park since I was in grade school, that is real mature.

NEIGHBOR: And what is with you and breathe spray? You are always spraying it in your mouth!

(at about this time I am at the back door because I hear all the commotion)

He says something to me about my husband then continues...

NEIGHBOR: I know that you have been calling the police on my dogs. Come on let's settle this, lets go down to the park!

I can't recall what happened after that we went back into the house to avoid any more confrontation. But since then things have gotten worse. He has had up to three boxers and they like to bark a lot! He has a fetish with a clean driveway and has been known to use is leaf blower every hour. He has picked weeds and thrown them in our flower garden. He has confronted us about watering our grass because his driveway gets wet. He has hip hop music playing loud throughout the day. He has been throwing cigarette butts (and other things) over the fence into our yard. The police have been there numerous times for the dogs, the music and even an under age party. He has made enemies else where because we are not the ones calling the authorities. I could probably go on but I think you get the picture. Bill asked me what I thought I was going to prove by posting this, the answer is nothing. I guess, if anything, I am looking for advice or suggestions on how to handle it without making enemies. My son has to go to school with his kids and I don't want problems for him. I know I am supposed to love my neighbor but he doesn't make it easy!

Friday, June 19, 2009

The firetruck park...

Last week, I ventured out and about with the kids. We went to the park. I like to call it the firetruck park, that is not the name of it but people know what I am talking about. It has a little "mock" city the boys rode their bikes around. Here are some of the pictures I took...

Isaiah is always putting his helmet on backwards. I think it is so funny!

Yes, that is Tyler riding the tricycle, with Isaiah chasing him! I told him I was going to post this picture, he didn't believe me!
They stopped at "HANDEL'S" to have some ice cream!
Not sure what the point of this thing is but Isaiah had fun on it!
Can he make it all the way across? No, not yet!
An updated version of a teeter totter.
Jacob hanging around.
Joshua also hanging.
Finally, lunch on the river.
If only Isaiah was looking this would be a good picture to frame!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Off the radar?

...yes I was!
Where has the last week gone? Let me give you a recap...
Joshua had surgery last Thursday. He had tubes put in his ears and his tonsils out. He was miserable and is just now starting to feel better believe it or not. On Friday, he told me this "Mom, I was sitting on a bed and the lady rolled me away from my dad and I kept crying and yelling for my dad and she wouldn't bring me back to him!" (Let me tell you I was crying my eyes out!) My poor son was traumatized!
Friday was pretty much "Take Care of Joshua Day" Bill took Jacob to work, Tyler helped with Isaiah, and I waited on my son.
Saturday, we did a little shopping just to get out of the house. That night we were going to have a hot dog roast with the kids but the weather didn't cooperate so we postponed.
Sunday, after church, we had the neighborhood kids over to swim (7 kids under 7 in the pool, don't ask). Then we roasted hot dogs and marshmallows.
Monday, I left to go camping with my mom and dad in Pennsylvania. We got back on Wednesday. We had a good time. The kids love to camp. We have been talking about investing in a camper sometime in the near future. I think it would be fun.
Well, I just wanted to fill you in on our week. I will be posting some pictures later but for now it is off to bed for me!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Now that's a big dog!

We went to the park this morning with my friend Julie. She decided she was going to bring her dog with her. They have a Great Dane. I read online it is a cross between a mastiff and a greyhound...I say they forgot to mention part horse!!! Actually, he was really a gentle giant. He has a really good dispositon and was good with the kids. These are the things they do with him...

He got up and went down again!
He is taller than Isaiah while sitting down!

Isaiah had enough in the previous picture, he didn't want to be in this one!

He is only 9 months old and weighs 145 lbs. She said he will gain another 20-25. I still say they forgot to mention horse!

Monday, June 8, 2009

4 wheeling fun!

Yesterday, we took the kids to my Uncle Jim's house to ride the four wheelers. They rode them once last summer and have been talking about it ever since. Isaiah would not ride last year but this year he got a little braver.

Tyler on the quad, he also rode the dirt bike and the mini bike. Now he wants to get one, imagine that!?!

Joshua was interesting, he didn't quite stay on track so he had to be followed.
Isaiah when he finally got the courage to ride.
Isaiah bumming a ride with his dad. Tyler, in the background, on the mini bike. In the distance is Jay riding the dirt bike
This is Jacob, he did a great job riding all by himself. My uncle did something to adjust the bike to only stay in one gear.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Get that kid....


Wednesday, June 3, 2009


...that is what she called it and that is exactly what it is. It has affected all of us at one point or another. I have lost a grandfather, a baby brother, and a sister to it.

She is my friend and she was talking about cancer. I hate to watch her go through it, I feel every ounce of her pain. A young girl, only 14, lost her battle last week. She left those of her who loved her with questions of why and feelings of anger and hurt. I didn't know her but her story is amazing. So much courage for a girl of her age. So selfless and concerned about everyone around her. It makes you want to love a little deeper. Give your kids that extra hug and thank God for their health. Consider each day a gift we are given without taking it for granted.

I know that there are no words I can say that can take away the hurt and pain but just know that I am here if there is anything you need.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


My kids do goofy things!

Here are Joshua and Isaiah putting on deodorant. Isaiah put it on his belly button and back. Joshua kept saying, "It is for my armpits don't get stinky! This is Isaiah in our hamper...I don't know why? Maybe he just wanted to take a cute picture!
At least I thought it was cute!