Friday, April 19, 2013

Barney Is Crack

Anyone who has children knows about Barney addiction.

He actually carried his little chair to the middle of the living room so he could relax and watch Barney. Sure, he looks relaxed, RIGHT?!! BARNEY!!

There’s basically three stages.

  1. Pre-Barney: At this point they have no idea the television even exists.
  2. BARNEY!!!: It’s o.k. if Barney handles some babysitting. But, be warned, the songs will slowly drive you insane.
  3. Barney…meh: Barney becomes old news once a child can start to follow a basic plot. This means cartoons are now in the realm of possibility. No more purple dinosaur!
This week, we started crossing from stage one to two. Looking for a moment of peace, I (stupidly) checked the Roku for Barney episodes. Oh, look, there’s like a gazillion. Press play. To prove Barney is like crack for kids, I’ve included this video. Mind you, this was only the third time he’d heard the intro. The first two times, he spun around in circles during the entire thing.

Notice how destructive he gets near the end with the golf clubs? We may need to put him on a strict two episode limit. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Guessing Game

I'm about to brag. Consider that your warning.

My now 12 year old has always been amazing at guessing the number of [X]'s in a [Y]. He has, at least 3 times in his life, won guessing games at fairs or carnivals that depended on that particular skill.

Today at his schools scheduled goof-off day, he won again, by being the closest.

There were 774 skittles in this jar. His guess was 771.

There are less in there now. A guy's gotta make friends.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


My 5 year old has outdone himself this week, which is no easy task, as he's the one I tweeted this about with only a hint of sarcasm.

Earlier this week I had woken him up and he was supposed to be getting ready for school. He's a bit of a dawdler (I'm being polite) so I wasn't surprised when I found asleep on the couch.

Poor guy must have been really worn out.
I went in to scoop him up, and immediately felt like Ferris Bueller's dad.

Twenty minutes later the wife and I found him laughing under his bed. He wasn't afraid that he was in trouble, he couldn't comprehend that he'd be in trouble because he was just so amazed at how much "fun" we were all having.

Naturally, he ended the week with another strong showing.

Is he the Omen? No. Hopeless? Doubtful. The next Dennis the Menace? I'm not ruling it out.

P.S. As I was writing this, he was headed out back to play. He opened the door and told the dog to come outside with him. By barking. That's right, he genuinely believes that he can talk to our dog with a series of "arfs." That doesn't seem so hopeless. 


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Epic Sh!t Wednesday

I won't lie, I have another blog. I run a small business on the side selling running shoes and apparel. I typically write product reviews or talk about how my leg hurt during such & such race. But Its been awhile since I've written something that wasn't about that and I think it has some staying power on this blog also.

Wednesdays are days that are kind of different in the AM due to my wife not working on this particular day of the week and 2 of my kids don't go to their respective daycare providers. Its a bit less crazy and there isn't as much of a sense of rush around the morning. So, recently I have been getting up early (5am) and heading to the gym to get a swim in and whatever else I think I need to work on... mainly my mid-section. I get a great burn at the pool and the workout following is good, but I feel like I could do something more remarkable than just swim and do sit ups.

Enter my brain and the want to start something epic for Wednesdays... So this morning I crafted up what I have dubbed Epic Sh!t Wednesday (#epicshitwednesday) and I'd like you to join me. What I see as the impetus around this hump day event is to do something extra than your normal routine. So today instead of driving to the gym and swimming. I ran the 2.5 miles there, swam, and ran the 2.5 miles back. Its not climbing-Mount-Everest or running-100-miles epic but its a little break from the mundane weekly grind.

You get the idea...

So, I'd like you to think about this when you go to do your Wednesday activities. Have 4 miles on the schedule? Stretch it out to 5 miles or do 25 pushups after ever mile. Just challenge yourself to do a little more or be a little better than your planned exertion threshold.
(end post)
Now, here's the SFA twist to it... Why don't you try to incorporate you family into some Epic Sh!t also. Put the cell phone down, get on the floor and play with your kids. Take the kids for a walk and give your wife some downtime. Teach them a life skill like fire making or carpentry. Just think about your mundane schedule when you get home from work and crank it up a notch. When you are done, tell us about or even better tell the world about it. - #epicshitwednesday

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Anyone Ever Had a "Terrific" Car-Buying Experience?

Consumer Reports has dedicated entire issues to telling people how to buy cars. From reading several of those articles, here’s the gist of the CR way to buy a car.

Conduct no less than eight hours of research to ascertain what sort of interest rate you qualify for, how big a monthly payment you can swing and what your trade-in is worth.

With that “basic” research out of the way, you may now begin narrowing your choices. Start by reading the annual car issue and paying special attention to the recommended models. Now, go test drive all of the models in your price range, taking careful notes along the way. Be sure to list positives and negatives.

Take a week to ruminate on those test drive results. At the end of that week, host a live debate with your spouse in front of friends and family where you each argue for your top choice. Be sure to serve cookies and punch at said debate.

At this point, you are ready to speak with a salesman. Negotiate the purchase price of the car. Once a mason has chiseled the agreed-upon price into stone, bring up the fact that you have a car to trade in. Under no circumstances should you negotiate both at the same time.

We bought a Subaru Forester from Ballwin's Dean Team on Manchester. If you go, ask for Keith Strickland. Our vehicle was a victim of "lot damage" (someone backed it into a building). Keith got it repaired and knocked a chunk off the price for the inconvenience. We also appreciated his low-pressure, candid demeanor.
Once you’ve agreed upon the terms of the trade-in, which should be triple checked with Kelley Blue Book, you may submit the three independent financing offers you obtained nearly a month ago. Now, let the dealership compete for your financing business.

If everything is in order, you may sign the papers. Be sure to maintain a scowl during the signing process, or else risk being fast talked into an extended warranty.

The Reality

Here’s how we bought our first car.

Me: I don’t know that our Jeep is reliable anymore.
Tiffany: Maybe we should look for a new car.
Me: There’s a Nissan dealer.
Tiffany: I do like that black one up front.

Boom! We bought a black Nissan Sentra, which we still own to this day. In all honesty, we lucked out. It’s been a reliable car, albeit with a few minor problems.

The best part of the new car -- LATCH anchors! Our last car didn't have these. They make car seat installation much easier and more secure. 
I resolved to avoid an impulse buy with our next automobile. We did, sort of.

Again, we came to the conclusion that one of our current cars was less than reliable. Here’s what we did right.
  1. We got pre-approved for a loan prior to looking at any cars.
  2. We did the research and concluded we wanted a small crossover SUV: specifically a Toyota RAV4, Subaru Forester or Honda CR-V.
  3. We looked up our trade-in’s value before going to the dealer. We also negotiated the car’s purchase price separate from the trade-in’s value.
  4. At the end of the day, we were well within our monthly payment limits, while keeping the loan terms favorable.
Still, I feel we could have done some things better. Find me one man who claims to be completely satisfied with a past car-buying experience and I’ll introduce you to a huge liar.
  1. A little more research revealed a model we should have given a serious look – Mazda’s CX-5.
  2. We should have insisted upon connecting one of our phones to the car’s audio system via Bluetooth. Hands-free was a big item on our list. I think the system could be more user-friendly.
  3. We ended up buying the car the same day we test drove it. While a week might be a bit much, I think waiting a day or two to think it over is a pretty good idea. Judging by the amount of follow-up calls I've received from the dealerships we didn't buy the car from, I'm betting the price might drop if you "sleep on it."
Well, there’s always next time. In the meantime, the new Subaru has told me it would prefer I stop washing my hair and start wearing Teva sandals year round. I also need to save up for a kayak and bicycle.