Father Knows Five 2-28-14

*Every Friday we serve you an “a la carte” style list of 5 unique videos, articles, ideas, etc. from all kinds of locations. (If you are viewing this blog through your email subscription, please follow the link to our website to view all videos.)  See you next week…

1.   Kids are Never Too Old to Be Read To – a super article with very practical tips for families as they raise book lovers.

2.  The Hat Collection of Dr. Seuss! – I now know what I want to collect next.


3.  To Do Lists Written by Children – my favorite was written by the 5-year old “1.  Find Bad Guys 2.  Be Wolverine.”

4.  A Mini-Library Idea for Your FRONT YARD – an awesome article shared with us by our friend Kim Elliott!


5.  Theodor Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, influenced nearly every living American who ever learned to read! – a fascinating article from The Denver Post.

Claire 1st Grade Hat Day 2

‘My Great Nomie’ – Thursday Stories with Baby Frederico

*Every Thursday we introduce you to another quick bedtime story about our family’s favorite resident reptile – Baby Frederico. His backstory can be found here.  Enjoy!


Baby Frederico loves his Momma Mia and Papá Frita, his buddy Grenelda the Grasshopper, blue crayons, popcorn and…grandmas!  Here is his story:

Baby Frederico was very frustrated.  It was the day before his wonderful great-grandmother’s 83rd birthday and the special homemade double-chocolate-with-chocolate-icing cupcakes that he and his best buddy Grenelda the Grasshopper had hoped to surprise her with were ruined – the middle was squishy and the bottoms were burnt.  When Baby Frederico described them as “duds,”  he and Grenelda began to laugh.  The word, among so many others, was one of his great grandma’s favorite phrases…and she had many.  They included:

You’re gettin’ pretty salty (talented).

That’s a real dud (not good).

We cooked nearly 24/7 (all the time).

Don’t take your picture (put some clothes on).

Bayjird (naked).

Hurry ever chance you get.

Pull you up by your bootstraps (growing taller).

Let’s nar up here (make some room for more people).

Is it time for a sato (tickling)?

Let’s take a minute and count those ribs (tickling)?

It scared me flat to death.

You’re a real cracker jack (smart).

Let’s get a measurement (are you taller than me yet).

As Grenelda joined Baby Frederico in making the list of her favorite sayings, they thought of all the funny things that she had taught them to do.  She showed them:

how to play tennis

how to ride a scooter

how to bake cookies using cake mix

how to catch a ball

how to hula-hoop

how to sew

how to make coconut cake

how to play the piano

how to sing harmony

how to bake fried pies

how to make chocolate/peanut butter buckeyes

how to play hide and seek

how to jump rope double-dutch style

how to play a prank on great-grandpa

The list was so long and funny that Baby Frederico and Grenelda could not stop laughing.  When they arrived for the party that night, Nomie had prepared a wonderful meal for all of the family.  They gathered around the large dining room table and laughed and told stories and enjoyed the time.  As they were leaving, Baby Frederico kissed his great-grandmother and she whispered in his ear, “You’re the best birthday present yet and I love you dearly.”

Baby Frederico smiled all the way home.


Dad, Where Are We?

You can’t learn before you set out, can you? You go along the road, and you learn as you go. – P.L. Travers

I love a Table of Contents. Whether it’s brand new or something I’ve read before, most every time I pick up a book I like to check its list of chapter titles. Sometimes I do it so I can learn something about the book, while other times I just like to see how many pages I’m in for! Either way, that Table of Contents does my brain good. It’s a key of sorts, a treasure map to get me on track and it often can help to clear a little path through a big forest of words.

And that is what I thought about when I captured this photo on our family’s hike through the woods last weekend:

Valentine Bigfoot Hike February 14, 2014

I’m not sure that you can really see it, but the brambles and thorny vines and ragged stones that envelop this particular area are especially arduous to navigate. Our littlest one is also just the right height to get swatted in the face by a stray branch. It also grows rather dark under the dense tree canopy here, even on the sunniest of days.  I can’t tell you how many times we had to turn back and detour around an obstacle while we were out there that day. At one point, we weren’t even completely certain which way was which. It was then that the girls would stop exploring and move closer to us and say, “Dad, where are we?” or “Dad, which way now?”  In other words, no Table of Contents.

It all makes me think just how much a hike with your family resembles life with your family. Sure there are sunny days and laughter and plenty of fun in the adventure of it, but there are also the thorns and the rocks and the brambles and the questions. Sometimes, we can answer their questions…and sometimes we can’t.  In other words, no Table of Contents.

The saving grace, though, comes in experiencing the hike – and life – together.  I’m certain of it.  Even the hard times have a silver lining when your family has your back.  There is simply nothing like it, not even a Table of Contents.

P.S.  There are two books about being a dad that have transformed my thinking and acting on the subject.  They are The Father Connection by Josh McDowell and These Things I Wish for You by Christopher Kimball.

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. – Izaak Walton

Julia Reviews: ‘A-Z Mysteries: The Kidnapped King’ – Tuesday’s Look at this Book!

* Thank you to our daughter Julia for writing this week’s first ever guest review and recipe! Every Tuesday we introduce you to a favorite book from our secret book room, and give you a unique “recipe for fun” this week over on our Book Cook page.Mystery
Today’s Great Book:  The Kidnapped King was written and illustrated by Ron Roy (Random House, 2000)
Time to Read:   I was so into this book that I read it in only 2 hours because it was fun, interesting, entertaining, and…MYSTERIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Summary:  from the back of the book…The king and queen of Costra have been kidnapped! For his protection, the prince is sent to Green Lawn-to hide out with Dink’s family. Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose promise to help their royal friend rescue his parents from the enemies of the Crown. But then the prince gets kidnapped, too. Can the three sleuths catch the kidnappers and unravel this royal mystery?
Best Quote from the Book:  “Dink was reading Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson. He had seen the movie, but he still loved the story. He took the book to the reading corner and plopped down in a bean-bag chair.”
Julia’s (age 9) View:  I very much enjoyed reading this very detailed story. If you are a mystery kind of person, then you will instantly fall in love with this book. If you are good at figuring out clues you will know the answer to the mystery even before it starts.


Remember to visit our Book Cook page for the recipe – The Case of the Mysterious Fudge!  – created by the kids to accompany this particular book.

The Book of Grief


The casket was just two pews in front of us. It held the sweet and generous wife of a good friend of ours who had battled cancer to the very end. Our grief-stricken friend sat between his two grief-stricken sons at the pew to our right. The large media screens that flanked either side of the sanctuary filled themselves with the photographs that held her life’s story.  Our pastor stood in the middle of it all, just above the casket, and shared his heart on the matter, consoled those who were hurting, reminded those who were forgetting, and read and prayed for hope and peace in the midst of such profound sorrow at the loss of such profound goodness.

My sweet and generous wife sat just to my left and I grasped her hand a bit tighter as I thought about what I was seeing on this day.  There is just no other way to put it – look around and take it in.  Soak up these days together that we have been given, that we have left, and relish the time…for it does not linger.  Things end and time moves on and we have no time to take back the time.

Life is fleeting and beautiful, harsh and wondrous.  This means just one thing to me on this day…now is the time to think about not what we have, but who we have, while we are still alive at a funeral.

P.S.  If you are a parent or grandparent or teacher of young children who might be experiencing loss and grief, there are some really wonderful books out there to help them through the process.  They include Everett Anderson’s Goodbye by Lucille Clifton, Jim’s Dog Muffins by Miriam Cohen, Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs by Tomie dePaola,The Saddest Time by Norma Simon, The Tenth Good Thing About Barney by Judith Viorst, When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death by Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown, My Father’s Arms Are A Boat by Stein Erik Lunde, and Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing After Loss by Pat Schwiebert and Chuck DeKlyen.

Father Knows Five 2-21-14

*Every Friday we serve you an “a la carte” style list of 5 unique videos, articles, ideas, etc. from all kinds of locations. (If you are viewing this blog through your email subscription, please follow the link to our website to view all videos.)  See you next week…

1.  A favorite children’s author and Mother Goose – click to watch the video and get information!

Mother Goose

2.  Oklahoma City metro friends of the library sale this weekend through Sunday at the state fairgrounds! You’ll love it!!

3.  Get ready for March 5!!!  What’s your favorite read-aloud?


4.  Bookstores in Crazy Places – this is my favorite!


5.  Who was Ralph Caldecott of the famous Caldecott Book Award?


‘Sing Your Address’ Thursday Stories with Baby Frederico


*Every Thursday we introduce you to another quick bedtime story about our family’s favorite resident reptile – Baby Frederico. His backstory can be found here.  Enjoy!

Baby Frederico loves his Momma Mia and Papá Frita, his buddy Grenelda the Grasshopper, blue crayons, popcorn and…lots of snow!  Here is his story:

Baby Frederico was excited about winter and snow and snow sledding and snowballs and snow ice cream and icicles and snowmen and trying to ride his bike on the long snow-packed driveway that ran from his garage to his mailbox.

There was just one thing, though, that he wanted more than anything – a snow day out of school.  He longed for it.  He prayed for it.  He held his breath every time he watched the local weatherman give his hopeful snowy forecast.  Surely someday there would be enough snow to get him out of school, for Baby Frederico desperately wanted that someday to be this week. It needed to be a very big snow that would make the roads impassable and encourage teachers, especially his teacher, to stay home and drink hot chocolate!

This was Kindergarten and Baby Frederico had been thinking about something that brought all kinds of worry into his little brain – during Circle Time, the teacher was going to ask each student to stand up and recite their home address and tell something about themselves, all by themselves.  He couldn’t stand the thought of it. Not only did he not know his address, but he didn’t know anything about himself that the other kids would think was interesting. He had a long green tail, two eyes, two ears, four legs, and he was in kindergarten…what else was he supposed to say!

That night at dinner Baby Frederico told his Momma and Papa about his troubles. They listened carefully and then his Papa smiled and said, “I’ve got it! You can sing your address and then tell them about your comic book collection. They’ll love it!”

That night, Baby Frederico and his Papa made up a funny tune that would help him easily remember his address. They gathered up three of his favorite comic books and put them in his book bag. No longer was BF worried and he slept peacefully through the night.

The next day there was enough snow that school was cancelled, so BF sang his address all day long and couldn’t wait for school to start again.