‘The Farm Adventure Continues’ – Thursday Stories with Baby Frederico

BF Farm

*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…buried treasure!  Here is his story:

With a wave goodbye to his family, Baby Frederico set out to make his way across the long stretch of tall prairie grass that lay between him and his destination. (And just between us, getting there would be half the fun!)

The first obstacle was a rusted iron gate that included a thick cylinder-like chain that Baby Frederico had to use all his strength to unlatch.

The second obstacle was the tall giraffe-like grass that spread out in every way before him, and that he had to use all his jumping skills to get through.

The third obstacle was a long snake-like creek filled with water that he had to use all his swimming skills to get across.

The fourth obstacle was a dark grove of gnarled evergreens that he had to navigate through with his compass and his flashlight and his courage to get past.

Finally, he was at his destination, a large windmill that stood a hundred feet in the air. It was the only thing left of the home and farm where his grandfather Frederico had been born and raised.

Baby Frederico climbed to the very tip-top of the windmill and looked far off across the fields and out into the deep blue sky. He felt that he was surely on top of the world!

As he looked, he noticed a dark and eerie cloud forming nearby. The wind was blowing and a drop of rain landed squarely on his nose.

It was time to head home and get there as quickly as possible. Baby Frederico was on his way in no time.

More next week!!!

The Wisdom of Miss Frizzle

“Where the road ends, an adventure begins.” – Miss Frizzle, The Magic School Bus 


  Several years ago, we found ourselves completely lost. It was my wife and I and our three daughters in our Chevy Uplander.  The new-to-us GPS had somehow discovered a proverbial road-less-traveled and we were now on it. It was midnight in the far northeast corner of Kansas, just ten minutes from our destination. We were tired. I was not happy. And then we began to sink…a long, slow rain throughout the preceding day coupled with the darkness of the night and that blasted evening-sky mode of the animated GPS screen all worked together to disguise the mud-soaked portion of a path that we were nearly mired in.

Last week, our 8-year old came home from school and excitedly told me about the latest Magic School Bus book they had read in class that day.  It was a good book that she enjoyed from start to finish, but what she was most interested in was one quote by the famous, veteran science teacher of this venerable series, Miss Frizzle.  Our daughter was so “surprised by this quote I had to write it down dad.  She said, ‘Where the road ends, an adventure begins.’  Can you believe that, dad?  Right when I heard it, I took out a piece of paper and a pencil and wrote it down so I wouldn’t forget it.  Isn’t that the greatest sentence ever…Where the road ends, an adventure begins.”

What could it be about that sentence that so enthralled our third grader?  What could it be about that sentence that so enthralled her 40-something year old father?

It took me back all those years ago to that muddy swamp of a road that we found ourselves on during a “dark and stormy night,” a night that ultimately ended with no harm at all.  I took the road slow and easy and followed squarely in the ruts, just like my farmer grandfather taught me, and a few miles later we were back on the most wonderfully paved highway I had ever seen.  In no time, the whole event had become a great family story.

“Where the road ends, an adventure begins.”

May it ever be so – in a book, on a road, at work or play, among a family.  May it ever be so.




Our 100th Post! ‘The Adventure List’ 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…searching in his Momma Mia’s purse for loose change; but he did not like to be bored.  Here is his story:

The day his father told him that he could be bored or he could not be bored, that was the day that Baby Frederico decided to never be bored again. It was a challenge to “choose his own adventure” and so Baby Frederico accepted the challenge! He began a list of great boredom-blasting ideas that would soon change his life forever.  At the top of his paper, he wrote the best title ever: “Baby Frederico’s Crazy, Amazing, Shocking, No-Way, Absolutely-Kind-Of-Certainly Possible, Longest, Funniest, Strangest, Coolest Adventure List Ever!” It included:

1.  Climb a mountain made of marshmallows and peanut butter

2.  swim through orange jello

3.  Climb a cedar tree

4.  throw the fastest baseball pitch ever

5.  jump over a house

6.  slide down a snowy hill

7.  ride a bike through mud

8.  build the longest Hot Wheels racetrack ever made

9.  search for Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster

10.  befriend a large dog

11.  build a bookcase

12.  make a movie

13.  play the saxophone

14.  play the cello

15.  play the piano

16. play the guitar

17.  play the clarinet

18. dunk a basketball

19. dunk an Oreo cookie

20. ride a Parachute

21. explore the inside of a piano

22.  search for mysterious artifacts in a forest

23.  read a 500-page book

24.  write an adventure story

25. and anything else I can think of…

There.  His list was complete for now and he would get started on the first one the very moment his old friend the boredom bug decided to bite.

He said to himself, “Adventures!  Here I come…”

‘Choose your Adventure’ 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!

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Baby Frederico loves his Momma Mia and Papá Frita, his buddy Grenelda the Grasshopper, blue crayons, popcorn, and…the bowl of candy that sets on top of the refrigerator after Trick-or-Treating; but he did not like to be bored.  Here is his story:

Baby Frederico was bored.  How bored was he?  He was so bored that cleaned out his closet.  He retied all of his shoelaces. He washed AND dried every single one of his Hot Wheels.  He rebuilt his Star Wars Lego Death Star model twice.  He re-did the paperclip chain that had been hanging on the back of his bedroom door since the 1st grade.  He counted every penny in the entire house (including the handfuls that were overflowing from his dad’s billfold drawer).  He even tried to catch the dust particles that floated through the rays of sunlight that streamed across his bedroom floor.

Baby Frederico was bored.  He wondered to himself why everyone else seemed to have such cool things to do.  From doing the most awesome skateboard moves to spelunking in caves near the ocean, riding in a sailboat through uncharted waters, climbing a really big mountain (or even a little hill), finding a treasure map and the treasure full of gold coins that it leads to, becoming a rich and famous movie star or inventing a way to get all your homework done in five minutes – why was it that everyone else had all the adventure while he had to suffer from all the boredom?

Papá Frita was walking past the door to his bedroom when he noticed that familiar look of boredom in Baby Frederico’s eye.

“What’s up?”  he asked.

Baby Frederico grumped, “I’m bored, bored, bored, bored, bored.  Why does everyone else seem to have all the fun and get to do amazing things and win races and have a million friends and tell the best jokes and climb mountains every day and find lost gold mines while I get to sit here and catch dust particles in my bedroom?”

“What a great question mi hijo,”  Papá Frita said.  “I don’t know anyone who does all of those things every day but I do know people who do some of those things sometimes.  I wonder what would happen if you chose to not be bored?”

With that, Papá Frita left the room and Baby Frederico was left to think.  His father loved to do that – answer Baby Frederico’s question with another question – and it always got Baby Frederico thinking.

Maybe the reason he was bored was because he was choosing to be bored. Maybe it was because he WASN’T doing anything – well, anything that mattered to him.  Maybe feeling bored is just a way for you to realize that you need to choose your own adventure.

Wait. Did he just think that up himself – choose your own adventure?

And that is when “The Adventure List” was born…






Bored = Imagination

In a recent Time Magazine interview the creator of the wildly popular online game Minecraft, Markus Persson, talked about how “his lack of artistic ability turned into one of the game’s defining traits, ‘A tree doesn’t look like a tree, but you know it’s a tree. It makes it feel more real, because a larger part of it takes place in your imagination.’ ” I can’t tell you how many times I heard that word ‘imagination’ or how many times I was told to “use your imagination” when I was growing up; and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told my own daughters to “use your imagination.”

Eric books blog

I was just one of those kids who loved to complain about there being nothing to do – and I grew up on 400 acres of farm and wheat land, which included two old creepy houses (with cellars!) that had been abandoned decades before I came along; there was a creek that wound its way through the farm and a couple of old, rusty windmills and big, red wooden barns near my grandparent’s farmhouse. There was not one thing about this place that could really be described as ‘boring.’ Not one thing but me…

Yet my grandmother, who lived not far from us on the other side of the farm, loved to here me say that I was ‘bored.’ No sooner had I proclaimed that magic word than she would spring into action and send me off on outdoor adventures to gather this or that somewhere among those 400 acres and then return to her home later that day with what I had found; and then to have her ask me to help her make these amazing mini cherry cheesecakes, play games like Payday or Concentration, or rearrange her bookshelves and the long row of cabinets beneath them.

Ah, those cabinets beneath the bookshelves. I loved them, these little hidden spaces behind closed doors, stacked completely to the brim with books of all kinds and shapes and sizes. It was a space so full of books that you had to shut the door quickly to keep them from spilling out onto the living room floor. Honestly, it was amazing and it was a treasure to me. There were all kinds of books in there, but the ones that stand out in my mind today are mostly children’s books from my dad’s childhood and comic books and baseball cards used as bookmarks and handwritten notes scrawled inside the book covers from people I had never heard of or only heard about. I would lose myself in these cabinets and the boredom would lose itself there, too.

I’m grateful for my grandmother and that old farm and the books that she drew me into and taught me to cherish simply because she cherished them and had no intentions of ever having too many or relegating even one to be put away in a box or attic somewhere. Though she now lives in a house in the city, she still has most of those books in nearly every room of it…and I still get lost in the shelves and their cabinets when I visit her, some 30 years later.

My 80-year old grandmother and the 20 or 30-year old creator of Minecraft have something in common – they understand the value of imagination. And imagination often comes because of good old-fashioned boredom. Both are valuable for us all. So next time your kids tell you they’re bored, applaud them and tell them what my grandma told me – “use your imagination” – then smile and walk away. 30 years later, they will be glad you did.