Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sandy Sanger

Greatest Aunt Ever.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


My sister, Erica, wrote this blog post:

If you have ever moved; if you have been to my home in Miami then you will enjoy reading this. Erica's post says it all.

Update on Bella's Vision

This is good news. Her vision is doing really well and her second cornea transplant will have lasted for one year this August. She went to Omaha to see her doctors yesterday and everything looked great. Her eye pressure was where it needs to be and she is seeing well out of her new cornea. Fingers crossed.

Her last cornea transplant worked for about 18 months before it rejected so we still have some hurdles to overcome. She is still patching to make her eye stronger and to keep the pathways between her brain and her eyes alive. She does this for about two hours a day and we anticipate that will stop in the next year. Apparently when you are 7-8 those pathways cannot develop any further. She's been a champ.

She graduated from Kindergarten about three weeks ago and is enjoying her summer. She is taking swim lessons (wearing goggles) and is a little more brave than her mother would like her to be. Jumping off diving boards in the deep end of the pool, holding her breath under water, just being a kid who has learned to swim. Its great to see how far she has come, unfortunately it has gone by too fast. I still like to remember her as the little baby with glasses and a patch on.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Where the Hell is Matt?

I feel like we all need more of these kinds of things in our world. Enjoy.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Seperated at Birth?

Anderson Cooper and my son, Drew.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Swim Lessons

Bella and Caroline are taking swim lessons at a local aquatic center. They love going, always the highlight of their day. Bella is jumping in, going underwater and being very brave. Caroline, not so much. Caroline is afraid to put her head under the water. When I asked her what she was afraid of she admitted that she "didn't want her boogers to get washed away. "

Now I don't have the best memory in the world, but I never felt too much of an attachment to my boogers. In fact, I can recall putting them on my wall at night while I would lie there thinking about the day. Its rather gross and I was like five. I point it out because one of my darling sisters (who read this stuff) certainly will comment about it if I don't state the facts here.

So, we are working with Caroline on her booger attachment issue. Better in than out for her I suppose. Guess I won't have to paint her bedroom walls anytime soon.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Screenplay

So I wrote a screenplay called The Knot. My screenplay books say I need to have some sort of log line for the movie. A "what is it" kind of line. This was a challenging exercise. I mean you spend over two years working on something and now I have to sum it up in one sentence. So here it is: A dejected landlord falls in love with the widow of his recently murdered tenant. .

So now I need to get this thing sold, made or fulfilled in some capacity. Not typical fodder for this blog but its an outlet for expression so there you have it. I have had several people read it already and have made some significant edits. If you are interested in reading I would love your feedback, and most importantly, your truthful feedback. If you hate it, you can tell me and we'll still be friends. If you know anyone in the industry, I would appreciate some help in putting it in their hands.

If you can help in any way (reading or otherwise), shoot me an email.

Thanks all.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Marshmallows for Breakfast.

My buddy Gene and I took our kids, (his one, my three) to Jester Park, which is a campground north of Des Moines and not completely flooded by the flood of 2008. We showed up at about 5 p.m. on Saturday night. We were well prepared for the trip with the exception of mental stability and capacity to manage children who had never camped before.

Its amazing what you can get away with when Mom's aren't around. This would include popsicles, marshmallows cereal and bacon for breakfast, and smores after hot dogs for dinner. Caroline only had to pee every 20 minutes which was a drive, and Drew didn't really settle down and stop antagonizing his sisters until about 11. Nemo was watched in the tent by all four kids, and all was well for about 10 minute intervals until someone would hit someone else and then there would be crying and threats from Gene and I about no marshmallows for breakfast. Dads never fulfill these kinds of threats. It would be more painful for us not to give them marshmallows for breakfast. The idea that we, simple men, could get away with giving them marshmallows for breakfast, something mom's would not allow, either made us feel cool or like unsupervised children ourselves.

We secured a spot just overlooking the river with plenty of shade. No rain, about a 65 degree night. Could not have been any better. After the kids went to bed, Gene and I had some beers and just sat by the fire. We both agreed that while this was a good time, we both could have handled having some moms around.

6 a.m. came pretty quickly, and the children alerted the rest of the campground at about 6:02 that it was time to wake up and seize the day. We were packed up and home by 8:30 a.m. Looking forward to a nap and for the chance to take them camping again.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Into the Wild

Dad and the kids are heading to Jester Park tonight to go camping for the first time. The kids are pumped for hotdogs, smores and the great outdoors. There is something extremely interesting to a child about camping. I'm not sure if its the whole sleeping outside part or the idea of experiencing something new. Either way, I'm actually looking forward to not getting much sleep tonight, should be a great experience for all of us and a wonderful way to spend Father's Day.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Flooding in Des Moines

If you haven't heard, parts of downtown Des Moines are slowly flooding. Luckily our house is in Waukee (that's in the country for you city folks) and we aren't close to any of the main rivers. With all of the revitalization of downtown Des Moines its sad that there will have to be so much work done to get things back to where they were.

We weren't here for the 1993 flood, but the news says the city is better prepared this time with new levees and more time to prepare. In Iowa, sandbagging has a whole different meaning than it does in the game of Spades.

It poured this morning and there is more rain expected in the river basins north of Des Moines. The river is apparantly rising faster than expected and there is a fear that Des Moines may lose power. Lots of businesses are closed.

Here are some recent pictures of the flooding.

This is a pretty good link to track what's happening.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

My Best Day Ever

Yesterday we went to Advertureland to celebrate Drew's third birthday. Advertureland is an amusement park in Altoona, Iowa. Nothing fancy but it does the trick. The park opened at 10 a.m. and we were first in line. On an overcast day on a 75 degree day, the threat of rain meant no lines for any rides. If the kids wanted to go on the rides 20 times in a row, we let them, and they did. Good stuff.

At the end of the day, Caroline said "This is my best day ever." I think I'd have to agree with her. There were no arguments, Drew only had one meltdown but he recovered nicely. Its amazing what three rides on the sky ride will do for a little man.

The girls became more like dare devils throughout the day. Its wonderful as a Dad to watch your kids experience things for the first time. It reminds you that this life is largely about the experiences you collect as a kid that formulate who you become as an adult. The element of danger, the perceived risk, your parents saying its okay to go out there and live.

The park closed at 6 p.m. and we were there to shut it down. It never rained, not even a drop. Eight hours of rides seemed like the perfect amount.

Life on June 4, 2008 was a one of those days you never have enough of. Taking time off in the middle of the work week to enjoy your family and act like a kid again makes coming back to work on Thursday that much easier.

I was reminded yesterday about how few new experiences adults get to have. We've done it all, haven't we? Maybe we haven't. Short of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane, I am going to be on the look-out for new experiences in this life. I encourage you to do the same.

Monday, June 2, 2008

A post by Bella and Caroline (noted by Dad)

Isabella has a friend named Carsten and he says "Oh waiter" while he is at lunch in the school cafeteria. He apparently also has a habit of blurting out the word "BreeeeeBah!" when its quiet.

Caroline said that she took Drews bottle today and bit it. `

Apparently Drew said "Chalah Beep Beep" today. No idea what this means.

Isabella and Caroline find this stuff pretty funny.

I may not set them up with their own blog just yet.

Stella Blue Update

Stella has recovered nicely. After about a week of sleeping in her kennel, bowls of white rice hold the soy, she is just fine. We live on a flood plain and have the drainage river thing in our backyard. Apparently Stella has been drinking the run off water which most likely includes pesticides and whatever my neighbors are putting on their yards. Hasn't helped that we have had so much rain we could flood if we get another heavy downpour.

So, Stella now goes out on a tie down chain. Its kind of sad but she has become a little too independent and likes to roam a little too often. Sometimes I am lazy and let her out and watch her and she starts barking at kids walking down the street.

Stella is a dog by the way if you haven't figured that out. We stopped putting our kids on tie-down chains weeks ago.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


If you don't know my father-in-law this may not be as amusing. I encourage you to read it anyway as it paints a picture of who my father-in-law is and who my son is becoming. If you do know my father-in-law, Kazimierus Totoraitis (Cuh-Zim-Er-Russ Toto-Rye-Tis), or Tor for short and obvious reasons, then I encourage you to get a fresh pack of underwear. Tor is from Lithuania, speaks in a high falsetto voice yet stands 6'2 and weighs about two and a half bills. Think, Kojack, with white hair and more lovable.

My son is turning into Tor, or mini-Tor as his sisters have been calling him. Here's the evidence.

Tor will walk into a room at any given moment. You will be in the middle of a 30 minute story and he will but right in and say, "What's the problem? What are you talking about?"

Mini-Tor runs around yelling at people at any time. "What doing? What saying?"

Tor will drive seven hours to our house, not even stop to use the bathroom or say hello and go straight to the basement and work on the computer. The computer doesn't really need work, he just lists "defragging" as a skill on his resume. For hours on end he will defrag, update, check his updates, install programs I will never use and provide me with the latest and greatest version of Norton Anti-Virus. He won't sleep because he is worrying about something happening to the computer. Lightening struck the house the last time they were here. He didn't rush to see if we were ok, but he made darn sure the computer was just fine.

Mini-Tor spends hours in the backyard focused on one task that really doesn't matter. Whether its moving dirt from the sandbox to another location, or moving buckets of water between the kiddie pool and a sand bucket, Drew is focused on the task at hand.

Tor is a very generous man. He will often tell you he is going to do something overly kind and you object. He resonds with "Don't argue with me. Please Sashua don't argue" (He can't say the letter "J" so he calls me Sashua.)

Mini-Tor doesn't like arguing either. I will say, "Drew, its time for bed." He responds with "No say that!" Both of them seem to live avoiding confrontation.

So if Drew grows up to be a generous, determined, focused and thorough adult I guess I can't complain. Although everyone enjoys a good argument every now and then.

More quotable...

So Daina worked all weekend and barely saw Drew.

"You've grown taller in two days," she said, "What happened to baby Drew?"

To which Drew replied. "He's in a picture."