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He likes me! He really likes me!

I have recently come to the conclusion that Alex actually likes me! Maybe even more than he likes Sara. Not to say he isn’t quite fond of Sara, because he is, but his smiles when he sees me just about break his face in half.

I certainly haven’t done anything in particular to cause this, it just sort of happened. I mean, I carry him around and change his diaper sometimes, but he’s never heard my heartbeat from the inside, or had me get up to snuggle him every 40 minutes for 100 consecutive nights, or received life-giving nutrients from my body, you know?

As a dad, I understand that being second fiddle is just sort of the way of the universe, and I don’t take offense. In fact, I have a sign from 5 year old Evelyn hanging up at work that says, “Dad. Sorry, I love you last. Mom first, Nala, Ollie, then you Daddy.”

Keeps me humble. (I should point out that Nala is the cat.)

I’m sure these days I’ve even slipped a spot, since Evelyn would put Alex first on the list (and she’s not even the one who cries at night because he’s not going to college unless he can “come home every day and see Alex”), but in any case I’m just going to soak up those tasty, tasty baby smiles while they are freely offered.

He is, after all, going to be a teenager some day.

Ollie and the waterslide, part 2

Hoo boy, I have been working on this post for forever and a day. How long you ask? Well, let’s just say I had this in my notes:

On our way up, we passed a sign that said, “Happy St. Patrick’s Day!” and showed a picture of cows dressed as leprechauns standing next to a rainbow which ended in a pot of cheese curds.

Me: “That is the most Wisconsin sign I have ever seen.”

I tried to get a picture while I was driving, but it didn’t turn out.

So, we made a return visit to Timber Ridge, an indoor waterpark in Wisconsin (you can read about our previous trip here).

If anything, we had an even better time that last year. This year the kids were a little bit older, and we were able to give them more of a free reign to run around and do whatever they wanted.

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As I said last time, one night is about the max amount of time we would want to spend there. You can go to the water park before you check in, and you can stay after you check out, so one night translates into two very full days. This time we also took advantage of some of the other activities offered by the hotel, such as cookie decorating and watching the most god awful movie.

Last year we restricted ourselves to the “green slide”, since you could ride a double raft with a grown up, but this year Ollie wanted to do the “yellow slide”, solo.

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Even though he knows how to swim, I decided to go down first so I could wait for him at the bottom. However, as I was on my way down I thought, “I’ve made a terrible mistake.”

The slide is completely dark, super fast, and relatively terrifying. I thought, “This is WAY too scary for Oliver!” I figured when I got him at the bottom, he would be a quivering, sobbing mess.

Silly me! He loved it!

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After Ollie’s rave reviews, Evelyn was brave enough to try it, and then the two of them went down it over and over and over again. Oliver, in particular, couldn’t get enough of it.

The only time he almost backed out is when we were getting ready to go down the second time, and one of the kids noticed that I had blood streaming down my leg from where I had gotten a friction burn from the slide (I’m telling you, it was a fast slide!). “I don’t want to get bloody!” said Ollie, backing up, but we were already at the top so I convinced him to at least go down that one last time, and then he had such a good time he didn’t want to stop.

“Do you do something to go faster?” asked Sara.
“Uh…I don’t know,” I said. “I try to keep aerodynamic I guess. Why?”
“Because, when you come out of the slide, you make a huge wave. There was a new lifeguard who didn’t exactly look thrilled to be there, and your wave completely dunked her.”

I did notice that when I came up from under the water, I was usually nose-to-nose with a terrified looking lifeguard, trying to block me from smashing into the wall, but I just said, “sorry” and didn’t think anything of it.

Evie still prefered the green slide, but Ollie refused to go on it by himself after a little incident. I was watching the end of the slide when Ollie came shooting out without his raft. The lifeguard said, “Where’s your raft?” and Ollie said, “I don’t know”, like, “how should I know?”

Probably like 3 minutes later his raft came shooting out by itself. Ollie had fallen off about 3 feet from the entry of the slide (the lifeguard up top had seen him fall off) and spent the rest of the ride trying to “slow down so [he] could catch [his] raft”. He definitely felt like he was going to get in trouble, and he didn’t want to risk it after that (I’m still not sure how he managed to fall off).

Alex spent most of the day just sitting poolside and observing, though he did find time to get into the water a little bit (which he loves!)

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At the end of the day, we were all wiped out, even Alex. I will count that as a successful trip!

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Quote Monday is true to form

The YMCA sent Ollie a postcard for this birthday which entitled him to a free shirt with the slogan “Be Better”.
Ollie: “But…how did they know I was bad yesterday?”

Evie: “Ollie keeps kicking me!”
Ollie: “I only kicked her on purpose one time!”

Evie: “Mama I was reading a book about children’s rights…”
Sara: “Oh boy.”
Evie. “It was very interesting.”

Hamilton

So, if you’ve been following me on Facebook or Twitter, you know that I have recently discovered the musical Hamilton.

Now, a lot of people I know are already obsessed with Hamilton, and I have watched for months as they go on and on and on about it. I do not know of a single person who has listened to the soundtrack that did not immediately become a Hamil-zombie.

I love musicals as much as the next man. I take that back, I love musicals WAAAAAAY more than the next man. I love musicals with the passion of a thousand suns. And I was really overdue for a new one that would take my breath away (the last one must have been when we saw Wicked in NYC, which would have been in 2005).

Anyway, that is to say that of course I expected to like Hamilton when I got around to listening to it. So the other day I queued up the soundtrack on Spotify…

HAMIL-ZOMBIED.

I mean, literally from the very first song. It is just that good. It is better than any musical I have ever heard. It is better than ANYTHING I have ever heard. It is probably the crowning achievement of human beings as a species.

It’s a compelling story, and suddenly I’m feeling real emotion about people who haven’t been alive for almost 260 years. Important people, who shaped our country, and it’s all being RAPPED at me, with current culture references, but also sung by amazingly talented people.

I feel a little stupid making such a fuss over it, especially since I’ve watched everybody do that already. I really didn’t want to be “that guy”. But seriously, I simply cannot help it. Every five minutes I’m like, “This reminds me of something that happened to Alexander Hamilton…” or “I think Aaron Burr said it best when he said…” If I have a stretch of 5 minutes, I think “Why aren’t I listening to Hamilton right now?” If I have a job to do, like washing dishes, I think, “I’ll wait until Sara’s done with the iPad so I can listen to Hamilton.”

Hamil-zombied.

(Hey, did I mention Hamilton won a Pulitzer?)

So I was worried I would be annoying all the Hamilton fans by squeeing about it on social media, but it seems to have had quite the opposite effect: everyone seems to be enjoying it. I guess nothing makes an addict happier than dragging someone down to their level…as demonstrated by their feeding me buzzfeed lists and websites such as this one which allows you to click on any part of the lyrics for a full breakdown of the historical significance, references, connections to other songs…yeah, there goes the rest of the day.

And, in fact, while I was assuming that I was the last person on earth to listen to this, it’s a good reminder that we all surround ourselves in a little bubble, because several people have told me they hadn’t heard of it until I started talking about it.

So there’s still time to find and infect victims! ONE OF US! ONE OF US!

 

At the best of times, I am an obsessive song-listener. Sara can back me up on that. When I find a song that I like I listen to it over, and over, and over until I have it completely memorized. Except in this case I love ALL of the songs, so that’s a 2 hour and 22 minute loop (but who’s counting?)

Now, the good news is, I had the foresight to pre-emptively name my son Alexander. (Side note: is this going to be a super popular name now?) “Alexander Halbach” does not have the same cadence as “Alexander Hamilton”, but here is an incomplete list of substitutes I have sung in the past week:

  • Alexander Halbach-ton
  • Alexander Snugglepuss
  • Alexander Smoochington
  • Alexander Fancypants

Alexander Fancypants
My name is Alexander Fancypants
And there’s a million things I haven’t done
But just you wait, just you wait…

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it has been several minutes since I’ve had my fix…

 

In regards to my last post

I know, because I am surrounded by absolutely wonderful people, that some of you are going to read my previous post and say, “How can I help?”

And I really appreciate that, I do. And a lot of you have helped in the past, and I will no doubt call on you to help again in the future. But please don’t feel the urge to bring us meals, or take the older kids for playdates, or really do anything at all.

Of course I appreciate those things, and your desire to do them, but for right now you’ve done enough by listening to me rant and ramble. If I’m being totally honest, charity makes me feel a bit uncomfortable (even if you REALLY, ABSOLUTELY assure me that you REALLY, ABSOLUTELY don’t mind! No really!)

Also, not for nothing, but I maaaaay be guilty of a little hyperbole now and again. Not to let you peek behind the curtain or anything, but, you know, this is my blog and…just take things with a grain of salt sometimes, alright? Alright.

I write these posts more in the spirit of commiseration with other parents, and to put these things out there on the Internet: a lot of times we don’t talk about how much work it is to raise kids, and we put up these veneers that everything is a perfect little baby paradise, or whatever. And sometimes I think to myself, “Someone out there is feeling overwhelmed and looking around and only seeing all these clean houses and smiling baby pictures on Facebook, and I want to take that person by the shoulders and say YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN YOUR CHILD-INDUCED MADNESS!”

So, while I don’t necessarily write these posts as a cry for help, it is a testament to your kindness, dear readers, that you often respond that way.

-The Management

Overwhelmed!

Since Sara started back at work, this baby stuff has really gotten out of control.

Suddenly all of the little things that we were handling so well just reached the boiling point. It’s a lot of little things: Alex being a bit grumpier when his momma’s not around, everyone getting up a bit earlier, spending just a bit more time solo-parenting three kids. Even Sara not being at home during the day; whereas previously she might have only been able to do one thing, like a load of dishes…well, that’s one load that doesn’t get done now.

The sleeping thing is a big one. It’s not so much that we’re not getting enough sleep (though we aren’t getting enough sleep), it’s more that in order to GET enough sleep we have to go to bed at like 8, which means no time in the evening to do all of the things we didn’t do during the day. And everything takes longer when you’re holding a baby; I now have to get up at 5:30 a.m. in order to get to work by 9 (I don’t know if that’s better or worse than Sara going to work at 6:30).

Sara and I are also burning through our vacation time trying to make up for the hours that we don’t have time to work. A half day here, a couple more hours there…

I don’t know. We just crossed some magical line where everything went from:

to

There is something about a baby’s cry that just removes all of your patience, and when Sara’s not around, there are times when there’s just no way to stop him from crying. Add that to older kids pestering you non-stop with questions while you’re trying to make dinner…I guess I didn’t realize how much of a toll it was taking on me until the other day when Sara came home and I handed her the baby and then just straight up sobbed for about 5 minutes. Me! The seasoned veteran, with 2 kids behind me! (There also may have been a separate incident a different day in which I told the kids, “stay right here, don’t move, I have to go downstairs and yell as loud as I can for a minute.”)

I do kind of feel like the log jam is breaking up a bit. School is winding down, Evelyn’s play is over, and we’re going to get into a routine sooner or later. Sara and I are also making an effort to remember that we typically go out of our way to do things in the most difficult possible fashion, and we need to give ourselves permission to just…let things go sometimes.

But in the meantime, I just kind of feel like I’m running really fast down a hill and if I don’t keep my feet churning as fast as humanly possible, I’m going to do a spectacular face plant (probably right in front of all of the REALLY POPULAR kids too).

Which reminds me of a great story, which I’m going to include here instead of making you click over to read the original post.

So the final funny thing that happened was that there was this MONSTROUS sand dune that we encountered a few times.  We took pictures, but the pictures couldn’t possibly do it justice.  It was so steep at the top it was like a wall; straight up and down.  It was just amazing.  It was so much fun to run down that you couldn’t help but laugh like a loon even as you were busting out all your teeth on a tree.  Right about when you hit 70 mph you realize “this is going to end badly” and the rest of the time is spent just trying to get your next foot out in front of you.  So my brother missed the first trip there so I had to go with him the next day.  Walking (actually crawling, literally, on our hands and knees because it was so steep) up the hill nearly killed me!!  It was so much worse than I could ever have imagined.  So anyway, after going to the beach, we walked back and I went down the hill first so I could take pictures of him coming down.  So he really gets going, obviously a little too fast, because he just does a perfect face plant right into the sand.  I thought he died, so I tried to get a picture of it, but then the most amazing thing happened!  For a split second the shutter was closed so I didn’t see it exactly, but the next thing I see is him running straight at me!  Apparently his momentum was great enough that his feet just flipped over his head and landed back on the ground and he just kept going!  When he got to the bottom you couldn’t even see his face, it was just a solid mass of sand with eyes blinking out.  He couldn’t even swallow because all the sand in his mouth dried it out.  It was HIL ARIOUS!

So hey, here’s to face planting with enough momentum to land back on your feet again!

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