Thursday, May 26, 2011


I know, I know. What a horrible title for a blog entry. Perhaps you are just as shocked and appalled as Lynley and I were when we were confronted by Graham and Ainsley last night. We heard the argument coming down the stairs.





"Is not!"

"Is too!"

Yep, this was the argument reverberating through the house as my brilliant little progeny made their way to the kitchen. Supposedly, they were clever. It did not take them long to find us. There we were, 2 innocent parents toiling away in the kitchen making dinner - slaving away for our children to feed their little bellies and nourish their growing brains.

Here they were, my 5 (almost 6) and 7 year old fighting over the correct pronunciation of the girlie part. They were not quiet. Oh know, they were loudly debating with clearly no remorse, tact, or fear of consequence.

This is what my life has come to. I am now settling arguments on the correct pronunciation of the word vagina?

It does not seem like it was that long ago that we were cuddling our little kiddos and nurturing their bright young minds with the likes of Dr. Seuss and Baby Einstein.

Where oh where did we go wrong? What happened?

My purpose has been raped of its innocence.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Keeping the wolvelets at bay

Just a quick note to let you know that, as predicted, Graham is well on the road to recovery. A couple of days of antibiotics and you would have no idea that he had been sick. He was so well he even attended a gruelling 2 hour Tae Kwon Do practice on Saturday morning. We are about a month away from Nationals (the Junior Olympics) and the kiddos have started an intense preparation regimen. I grow tired just looking at them.

I probably shouldn't say anything but wearing them out is probably a good thing. I love my kiddos but we have a cancer growing in our house right now. (No, hopefully not the real kind.) The kiddos can't stop fighting with one another. It starts the moment they get together and it only gets worse from there. Simply stepping into our house right now will raise your blood pressure by about 30 points. I don't know what has happened to spark this week long session of infighting but it is unbearable.

It is not a happy place to be.

As a parent it is extremely hard to not let it affect you. It does not take long for the constant barrage of tattling and yelling to have an effect. You can go from feeling calm and peace to anger and anxiety in a moments notice without knowing what hit you. It is like a poison and it isn't healthy. While I would like to say that everything is hunky dory around the Dungan household - these are unfortunately dark times.

So, how do you break the cycle?

I don't know if we have the answers but we are working hard. Tag team parenting seems to help Lynley and I stay somewhat rationale. We have instituted several new rules to keep the arguments from escalating but we have had many failures. Go figure, a calm, intelligent conversation with them was absolutely useless. (It only maintained sanity for about 2 minutes.) But, swift punishments and lots of time alone seem to be working. Hopefully we can continue to drain the level of tension.

My only fear?

School ends this week. Then, they will be together all of the time.

It will not be getting easier.

We will need more purpose to keep us sane and to keep the wolvelets at bay.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Life is like a box of chocolates

First, I have been meaning to post this for weeks. As Jay's wedding reception went on the kids eventually grew tired of all of the face time. Graham would take a break from all of the action by walking out in front of the building to grab a quiet seat on the bench that lined the side walk. The moment I saw him a could not help myself from making the comparison to Forrest Gump. I asked Lynley to come out and snap this picture. Just like Forrest, Graham would be the first to tell you that life is like a box of chocolates.

Think my opinion was too far off of the mark?

Run Forrest Run. That's my boy.

Now, on a relatively sad note for our little Forrest, the Gumpster is home sick with strep throat. Yesterday, we sent Dudely to school with high hopes. Although he had been complaining about a sore throat for a day or two we had assumed it was just some drainage from allergies. We drugged him up with some Ibuprofen and hoped for the best. Unfortunately, he didn't even make it through lunch. We received the call and I picked him up from school a little after lunch. Given the time and the fact that I knew I probably would not make it back from the doctor's office until after school was out, I elected to pick up the girls as well. With a full car, we were off to get milkshakes and make our way to the doctor.

It did not take long to confirm the diagnosis. Within an hour he was choking back some penicillin and on his way back to reality.

It is a good thing that we nipped this in the bud pretty quickly. Graham has no ability to tolerate sickness. Although he is rarely under the weather, when it hits, he is barely able to cope. Yes, I am quite certain that the boy's life has flashed before his very own eyes. While I am certain that he doubts he will survive this we believe we have him well on the road to recovery.

Purpose is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are gonna get.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A weekend of nothingness

A new week has arrived. The weekend around the Dungan household went pretty smoothly. Believe it or not, Friday evening found us up at Lynley's work madly stapling and stuffing. Lynley and her team were in the midst of an EMR (electronic medical records) upgrade which took the better part of the weekend. The twerplets and I found our niche stuffing packets full of directions and information for the installers and end users.

The kiddos would impress you here with their skills and commitment. They are all business. They work hard as a well oiled machine and love to help out. I don't know how we have instilled this work ethic in them but they are the first to volunteer to work and they always do a great job. I must admit. They make me very proud.

Saturday was more work, but this time it was around the house. Lynley handled the inside while the kids and I washed cars outside. The good news was that we did a spectacular job on the cars. The bad news was that Sydney got a horrible sunburn. Who would have thought a cool Saturday morning would have brought a sunburn? Obviously, not I. I guess I learned my lesson. Please don't call CPS. Forthwith I promise to keep her slathered in SPF 1,000,000.

For lunch the kiddos and I picnicked at the park.

Sunday was a lazy day for half the clan. Unfortunately, Lynley found herself at the office in the control center overseeing the EMR migration. I was left at home with the kiddos. We did nothing but sit on the couch and watch TV. How typical is that? I am quite sure that if Lynley had been home we would have had structured activity with some kind of learning objective. Or, at the very least, we would have had a family project that certainly would have brought us all closer together.

Nope. Not with Dad. No, you leave me in charge and you get a bunch of lazy wastoids sitting in front of a television. Typical Dad stuff, isn't it? I would like to tell you that we had gotten a bunch of chores done or had a momentous occasion of family bonding but about all of the bonding that occurred happened between our hineys and the couch.

Right before Lynley got home we messed up the house a bit to make it look like we had actually moved from the couches since. We even finally decided to get dressed. By the time she dawned the door we were all out of breath. That had the added benefit of making her think that we were cleaning up after a busy morning. She was none the wiser.

Let's go ahead and keep the truth between you and I and the Internet.

Sometimes purpose just needs a relaxing break.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Too much slack in the rope?

Good morning! Well, two days ago I left you in the lurch. Hanging over all of our heads was a mysteriously broken foot and I am sure the suspense had you as covered in hives as Graham.

First, Graham. Well, the boy is hivey. We don't know why. He just is. It all started on Monday evening. Since then he has been on a routine of benedryl at night and Zyrtec during the day. The has kept his condition under relative control. When it comes to allergies, Graham has always been our itchy star. If you look back over the years you will find that this time of year has brought him a bevy of conditions. Whether asthma like symptoms or something like this, he has always been our sniffly springtime fixture.

He may look blotchedy and with the exception of some itchiness, the good news is that he seems to be just fine.

Ah, the broken foot. Sydney is our culprit here. Would it surprise you that it had to do with Tae Kwon Do? Yes, it was a violent Tae Kwon Do injury. But, before you start chastising me for having that sweet little girl in such a violent sport or telling all of your friends to keep their kids out of martial arts, just dial it back a bit. First, it turns out her foot is not broken. It is swollen. There is a big nasty bruise and I am quite sure that it hurts quite a bit. I feel sorry for her for that - I do.

But, that is where my soft, supportive Daddy feelings end. The only reason the hipster doofus got injured was because she was not wearing her pads - as she was (and always has been) required to. You see, for some reason, Sydney decided that it was not cool to wear her instep pads. Be them not cool, not comfortable, or whatever her rationale was this time, the pads were forgone.


In the process, she learned why she should wear them.

You ask me, lesson learned.

I know that sounds harsh. And, if I am being honest, I do feel a bit guilty. I mean, I don't want her to be hurt and her safety is ultimately my responsibility. But, at some point, she just has to do what she is told. At the age of 9 (almost 10) it seems she should know that she should be wearing her pads when sparring - especially if she has been told to do so. Am I still supposed to be giving her a full body check every time she steps on the mat? At what point am I doing her a disservice by coddling her too much. At some point she has to learn.

This reminds me of a famous Bill Cosby skit where he is describing his kiddos bathroom routine and the fact that he didn't only have to remind them to take a shower but that he also had to remind them to actually turn on the water once they were there. Then, as if that was not enough, if you have any hopes of them being clean it was also necessary to remind them to use soap.

It seems it is the same thing with pads if you have any hope of keeping your kids from being injured. Sydney did you remember to put on your gear? Did you put on your arm guards? What about your shin guards? Do you have your chest gear? Is it on? What about your helmet? Your mouthpiece? Is it in your mouth? Ah, what about your instep pads?

At what point do you stop? At what point do you stop coddling them so that they learn?

Purpose isn't always about protecting them at some point it has also got to be about giving them some rope to learn about reality.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A killer combination - a wedding, a broken foot, and hives

Good morning! If you are mad that I have not been writing, well, you have every right to be. However, it has been one hectic roller coaster ride. In the last week we have been to Huntsville, AL and back, had one of the kiddos covered in hives, and darn near broke another's foot in half. Yep, this is the stuff that you should be hearing about live in the blog, not first hand and a day late from actual people.

First, the wedding. Oops, I forgot to mention the fact that we were in Huntsville for Lynley's brother, Jay, and his marriage to Christina, or Stina, as she is known to Ainsley. The twerplets were somewhat of a wedding combo pack - two flower girls and a ring bearer in a box. Although packaged together I don't want to give you the impression that this is some kind of low quality bundle. This is a first class marriage package. This trio was nothing short of spectacular and left everyone in amazement by their professionalism and excellent behaviour. They were perfect. I can't tell you how many people came up and introduced themselves just to congratulate us on our magnificent kids and their impeccable behavior. I tried to explain that anything could be accomplished with a lion tamers whip but no one took me seriously.

The fact remains that my kiddos were truly something to be proud of. Here is a little taste:

We are also happy to report that the marriage appears to still be going strong, making it through the first 2 days of the honeymoon with nary an incident. Yep, at that point in our marriage Lynley was already having some significant second thoughts. Thank goodness I called "no take backs" after she said I do. I was also smart enough to honeymoon in a foreign country where she had no easy get away. By the time the honeymoon was over, I already had her brainwashed. Remember boys, it only takes 21 days to instill a habit - good or bad.

Yep, given the fact that we have made it 14 years, I hold out high hopes for them.

Wow, a full page of writing and I am still yet to cover the other two crises. Well, I guess that will just have to wait. It gives us both a reason to come back tomorrow.

Purpose is non stop.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Putting my purpose where my mouth is

I would like to say that the rationale behind only writing in my blog one day last week was a tribute to our 14 years of marriage. Yeah, lets just go with that.

I love you honey.

Other factors that might have played a part in that were the fact that it was, yet, another incredibly busy week and I, for some reason, developed a week long pattern of not being able to sleep at night and getting up too late in the morning. While I can clearly see that we will not be any less busy over the next couple of days I am happy to say that my sleeping situation has greatly improved. With that I know I can be more prolific.

A highlight from last week was belt testing for Graham and Sydney. They successfully tested and received their red striped belts. This is the 8th belt in their journey towards black belt. They are getting closer and closer and last week's testing was truly a testament to their readiness. It is like watching art in motion. They have come so far and their hard work has put them in a category of their own. It was clear from anyone watching that they have something special.

You know, at just this very moment, I have decided that I do not give enough credit to my kiddos. We are so consumed with buzyness we haven't given them adequate praise for how great they have been lately. I keep getting caught up in the minutia. I am spending too much time making sure they do everything right and not spending nearly enough time appreciating how great they truly are. I spend far more time looking for their shoes and chastising them for misplacing their belts than I do in appreciating the great things that they do on a daily basis.

That is not right.

I need to change that.

In fact, this week I am going to dedicate to ensuring that my kids know how incredibly proud I am of them. It is one thing to tell your kiddos that they are doing great but it is quite another to show it with action.- to show them how much I appreciate their hard work and how proud I am of them for it. This week I will get that through to my kiddos. They deserve it. I will also make sure that I make this a habit going forward.

Minutia and nonsense always gets in the way. There is always more work to be done, more chores to finish, and more projects to get under way. It is because of all of that nonsense that we become out of touch with what are number one job truly is. I need to bring the focus back to my kiddos. I need to show them that they are as high a priority as I say they are.

This week I will be putting my purpose where my mouth is.