Tag Archives: dads

Challenging Myself

As a dad I face many challenges every day. Most of them involve living up to the expectations of my kids, my wife, and God.

Son, not making a fool of himself on the field.

For instance, this evening it’s off to the ballpark where I get the pleasure of serving as assistant coach to my son’s baseball team. The challenge here: until a few weeks ago neither he nor I had ever played baseball. He’s 9. I’m almost 40. The challenge lies in rising above myself and not worrying about the fool I will make of myself on the field. Because you see, this one is all for my little boy.  The reward is great though. He’s getting super good super fast and I’m learning quite a bit about a game I’ve never played. Somewhere in the recesses of both of our minds are visions of the two of us being drafted by the New York Mets. And we’re having lots of fun in the process.

Me, making a fool of myself (and demonstrating what a friend politely called “a natural tennis swing”) at the batting cages.

On the marriage front, I am always faced with the challenge of becoming a better husband. Daily I look around my house and my world and ask myself what I can do to make my wife’s life even marginally better. In the past year alone I have found myself tinkering with my homes electrical system, building props for the play, finally advancing in my career (ūüėČ), and shopping for produce at a farmers market at five in the morning on a Saturday. Every time I’m given a task I’ve never done before I find myself rising above my own fears and coming to realize that because she trusts in me I can do anything for my wife. And we’re having a whole lot of fun in the process.

So this afternoon when I got home from work I decided to challenge myself. Remember the pull-up bar? This one is a challenge to which only I am answerable. After hearing that friend of mine toss out the figure of 25 to 50 pull-ups a day, I decided to reach for the stars. I don’t expect to be as good as him ‚Äď certainly not right away ‚Äď but one cannot hope to achieve great heights without starting somewhere. The challenge is to complete 25 pull-ups within five minutes every day of every week. And of course, as I notice myself gaining strength, I will have to increase that number. A short while ago I just barely beat the clock. Five sets of five pull-ups with a little more rest between sets than I would’ve liked; but I did it. The reward, I hope, will be great.

And I’m having tons of fun.


Dear Daughter, Don’t Ever Change.

My dear baby girl, my precious daughter, I have a request for you. ¬†Please, don’t ever, EVER change on me.

Oh I know it’s inevitable and you’re going to grow up. ¬†But that’s not what I mean. ¬†You did something today that just made me realize how beautiful you are, how blessed I am, and how wonderful God is. ¬†It’s the kind of thing that a father takes note of and files in his brain in the “cherish” department. ¬†It was just a moment between us. ¬†No one else was around. ¬†It speaks of your personality in all its glory. ¬†It speaks, I guess, a little about how we’re raising you.

But most of all, it speaks of that tender and private bond that a daddy shares with his little girl.

Private, that is, until I blog about it.  Oh well.  Sue me.

What’d you do?

I was in the middle of watching the Superbowl.  You were not.

You had gone into my bedroom to watch a movie. ¬†At least that’s what I thought you were doing.

Getting up for a quick bathroom break, I stumbled into my bedroom to see the most adorable thing.

You, dear one, were sitting on my bed, fully be-decked in a princess dress, sprawled across the foot of the bed, crayons in hand, scribbling on a piece of paper.

You looked up as if to see who was interrupting your artistic endeavor.

I glanced at you to realize that you had so much make-up on your face you looked like a raccoon.

And then… we both burst out laughing.

I think in that moment we just knew that something funny and special was taking place. ¬†You see, sweetheart, you aren’t very good at applying make up. ¬†Then again, you’re only six. ¬†I give you lots of credit for trying though. ¬†However, Daddy thinks you’re beautiful and don’t need make up. ¬†But I have no problem with it. ¬†If you could only have seen your face. ¬†I guess you didn’t have to since you saw mine and my reaction.

The drawing? ¬†You were making a card for your teacher. ¬†It was beautiful, like you. ¬†It was also thoughtful. ¬†She hadn’t been your teacher until after Christmas and you wanted to make sure she got a Christmas card so you had drawn a tree. ¬†You asked me to write the lyrics to “O Tannenbaum” on the back, which I did.

And then I gave the prettiest little girl in the world a big kiss. ¬†Fortunately, your make up didn’t smear.

I hope when you get older you’re just as thoughtful, just as sweet, just as beautiful, and just as funny.

Sweetheart, don’t ever change. ¬†Daddy loves you just the way you are.

Economics 101: What I’m Teaching My Kids About Money (And What They’re Teaching Me)

So last night, this happened…

Last night was a peaceful evening in our home.  I had mowed the lawn and helped my brother-in-law set some fence posts at his house.  At my home, my wife and I had straightened up from the usual kids-home-for-summer mess that seems simply to take over during July.  I was sitting at my piano, playing Prokofiev (because I can and because it adds to the serenity).  My wife was watching a movie.  Our kids were playing in their bedroom.  I was shirtless.  More on that later.

Just like that, the peace was disturbed.  My precious daughter, all of five years-old, came tearing out of her bedroom in tears.  My seven year-old son followed quickly.  My first tendency was to ask “Son, what did you do?”  To my surprise, however, he had done nothing and she, usually a bit of a dramatist, was crying real tears.  She was genuinely heartbroken.

“What happened, baby?” I said with all the tenderness a father can muster for his little girl.  By the way, she was clad in a Cinderella costume and plastic “glass” slippers.  Through her sobs she revealed that she had dropped her piggy bank and it shattered.  I looked her square in the eye and broke the cold hard truth to her.

“Angel, don’t be too sad.  Obama was just going to take it all anyway.”

She looked up at me and cried harder and louder.  I sent her to Mommy while I went in to assess the damage.

So, all those times that I have loose change in my pockets and I dump a fistful of coins onto my dresser at night before getting into bed?  Those times when I look at the accumulating silver and copper and think “What the heck.  Let me just drop this 83‚āĶ into the kids’ piggy banks.  It’s just change…”  Yeah, those times.  On the floor of my children’s bedroom I stumbled upon a picture that looked like these two had knocked over Fort Knox rather than breaking a piggy bank.

“Sweetheart?” I called.  “Scratch that, Honey?” I said, calling to my wife.  “Did you know how much loot these two have?”  No answer.  So I walked across the house to where she was sitting.  “Did you know they’ve got serious money in there?”  She looked at me and then reminded me that a friend of ours who used to visit from Paris would drop Euro coins and bills into the banks.  “No, babe, these are American coins and bills too.”  “Heh,” she said and returned to her movie.

By now I was wondering what happened to the Prokofiev and you’re probably wondering what happened to my shirt.  OK, the music I can return to any time.  The shirt?  I told you I’d been mowing.  It’s Texas.  It’s 4 million degrees.  I sweat a lot.  Oh, and I had been working out.  Bottom line, I did NOT think I’d be stopping down to pick up shards of broken ceramics off a carpeted floor.

Being the dutiful daddy, I swept into my daughter’s room, broom in hand.  Did you like that?  Swept.  Broom.  Get it?  Whatever.  Crouched on the floor, dripping in sweat, my sinewy muscles rippling – wait, wrong story.  I got down and realized a few more things about this situation.  So I already got that my kids have more money than me.  I’m Catholic so I accept that some things are just a mystery and that’s OK.  But I also noticed that broken ceramics hurt.  When I was all through sorting cash from glass I stood up, knees bruised and bleeding, muscle still rippling (had to through that in there since it is my blog) and I wondered: Who gave this gigantic torture instrument to my child? And how’d I get broken glass in my left nipple? Turns out it was my wife’s friend Jean and she gave it to us before my daughter was even born.  No wonder my little girl was so sad.  That and the fact that it was a huge, hot pink pig wearing a crown and sash ala a beauty contest.

Then I wondered to myself if there was a recovery fee I could legitimately charge my daughter.  Surely there was enough in here for a pack of smokes or a bottle of gin.  It’s not like I didn’t “invest” in this stash anyway.  But I’m a good day (or at least I try to be) and so I left all of her assets in a large Tupperware container on her dresser.

Here’s what I learned in all of this.

  • The global distribution of money is not fair.
  • Broken ceramics hurt and cut and, quite possibly, kill.
  • Prokofiev is deceptively difficult to play.
  • I need to keep my shirt on.

Oh, one more thing I learned is that my daughter thinks I really am a superhero. When she saw me throwing the bag with the broken bank fragments away, she looked up and said “Wait, Daddy?  Aren’t you going to put it back together for me?”  Anyone know where they sell a boatload of Crazy Glue?

Harvey Takes the Kittens to the Library

Ah, the joys of being a teacher and a Daddy!

Today, after our pool lesson, looking for something fun to do with the kids on this hot Texas day, I decided to toss them in the rockin’ Town and Country and head over to our local library. ¬†It didn’t take me long to discover that the children’s reading room has some interesting titles available to our young ones.

There’s always tomorrow and another fun day of outings. ¬†Plus, we get to go back to return the books! ¬†Who knew the library could be such fun?!

We can learn all about animals that eat their own!

The Black Death for young adventurers!

Somehow we missed the title on Scabies: Your Friend?… or FOE?!

Oh Jesus, Lord! My daughter and I both actually cried a little when we saw this gem.

I actually thought this one might be OK. My son’s name is Benny. He usually gets a kick out of seeing how things were when he was a mere tot.

…but WHOA! Look, I got nothing against breastfeeding. I think it’s grand. I just don’t want to have to explain the word “areola” to my kids at this juncture (or the creepy dad).






At Last… IAN!

Look who I finally got to meet (and hold)!


Dadbag: Unlocked

Between the four of you — James, Edward, Alli, and Busydad — you all put it together quite nicely.

In dadbag yesterday as we set out on our day trip from Dallas to OKC were the following items:

  • a change of clothes (for Rita)
  • diapers
  • wipes
  • fruit snacks
  • a bottle of vicodin
  • a pacifier
  • bug spray (which smells oddly like Lemon Pledge)

And yes, the Texas heat is getting to me.

Dadbag, unlocked.

Christmas Cookies

Ho, ho, ho!

Just saw a headline in my feed.  It was a poll question about which type of cookies kids are most likely to leave out for Santa.


Remember what I posted a few days ago about the three stages of a man’s life? ¬†The third stage is, of course, that the man IS Santa Claus.

Dear good children of the Harvey household,

Santa, too, has been very good this year. ¬†I am accepting your offering on behalf of all dads everywhere who go out of their way to make your Christmas Eve and Christmas morning memorable experiences so you can share them with your children. ¬†Your own poor dad is currently passed out on the floor, a mere foot from the base of the tree he so lovingly decorated for your sake. ¬†It seems that large playset with a ¬†million pieces my elves forgot to assemble for you has come to his attention. ¬†In fact he walked into the room so fast I had to hide behind a potted fern in order not to be seen. ¬†Poor guy… ¬†He’s got bits of scotch tape under his fingernails and a sheet of instructions stuck to his forehead. ¬†For him and the millions of others like him who make my job so much easier I will eat your cookies.


Now then, a word about those baked goods. ¬†I know it is commonly thought that I live for cookies. ¬†However, Santa (at least when he visits your house) is more partial to beef. ¬†Perhaps consider leaving a Baconator Triple from Wendy’s out for your old man, I mean, for me. ¬†And those seasoned fries? ¬†Oh, they are so good. ¬†Oh! ¬†Also, any of the following in no particular order:

  • smoked gouda
  • duck liver pate
  • iTunes gift cards
  • Fritos Scoops and onion dip
  • chocolate covered peanuts
  • gin (for the reindeer, they get thirsty and they’re drunks)

Ho, ho, ho!,

Jolly Old St. Nick

I knew there was something funny about that Blitzen...