Monday, December 21, 2009

Have Presents Will Travel

Happy Bonehead Holidays!

It's almost here. Christmas. What a wonderful time of year! In true Johnson style we didn't send out any Christmas cards this year, so if you didn't get one don't feel rejected. In fact, most of the people that read this didn't send us one either so don't feel guilty. :)

Life at the Bonehead Ranch is still as exciting as ever. School is out and the kids have taken a page from the union thugs and gone on strike, refusing to do work. Maybe we'll do the same thing and when they wonder where dinner is, we'll say that we're on strike. That should end negotiations quite amiably.

This year we're traveling to Neisha's parents' house for Christmas, which requires us to take our presents so the kid have something to open while there. Ok, let's do a little bit-o-math here:

2 Parents + 4 children + 4 or 5 presents each + luggage for 5 days + one minivan = interesting. Now I'm not the world's greatest packing expert but I'm fairly adept at making things work and I'm thinking to myself "Self, why?" "How?" "Who am I trying to kid?" We don't even have one of those roof rack containers! After mulling it over for a week, I've decided to first place the children in their seats and hook up the catheters. Second, put in the luggage. 3rd, pack the presents. In the event we actually had to stop, the children would have to be level 4 yoga masters to be able to get out. We'll try to take some pix of the event and post them here.

The other little bit of news is the Christmas village. It took me longer than expected to make it but here are a few shots. Merry Christmas everyone!

Love, Team Johnson

Friday, December 11, 2009

Holding on to the Magic

Greetings fellow Boneheads! It is c-c-c-cold here! And to make things worse we don't even get the privilege of having any snow! I mean, at least if we're going to suffer we should at least be able to throw snowballs at people! Life is good. In the kid department, Marcus, aka "Spiderman" or "Whiney-2000" has reached new heights in both his ability to perform death-defying feats of sheer stupidity and his ability to mimic the most annoying sound on earth. Those of you who know this precocious 4 year old know that it is not unheard of to find him on top of things. Things like the van, my car, the bookshelf, sinks, etc. Well he recently learned how to #1 do backflips and #2 do front flips onto our bed. Wait for it... from the floor. How exactly does a child manage to do a front flip onto a bed that is as tall as he is? I haven't the foggiest. I decided to try the experiment out myself and went out to our 6ft tall wall, took a good run at it and tried to do a front flip over it. It's not as easy as it looks, ladies and gentlemen. He also has learned long, drawn out whining is not as effective as the car alarm approach. That's where he wants mom and starts shouting, "Mom!" "Mom!" "Mom!" over and over again like a car horn going off. He also occasionally yells, "What the crap!" which is a post for another day.

The title of today's edition is on a more sentimental note though, and one I've been putting off writing. As you all know, Christmas time is a time of magic. Freshly fallen snow, catching snowflakes on your tongue, the sound of sleigh bells, Hymns being sung, all create "the Most Wonderful Time of the Year". But as children grow older, the magic slowly fades. Last year at this time 3 of our 4 boys were absolutely convinced that Santa came every year and that elves were sneaking around our Christmas tree checking on presents and throwing elf dust around for the kids to find. The belief of a child is so wonderful. It is like the warmth of a fire after you've been outside in the snow. It both fills and surrounds you. Well, this past year 2 more of our boys asked the big question about Santa and we told them. They are not as excited about Christmas as they were last year. At least not for the same reasons. So we are down to one and even though I know the real reason we celebrate Christmas, I find myself desperately holding onto that magic in him. We watch Rudolph and I answer his questions every day about how "far Christmas is", and when we sit like statues by the tree watching for elves, sometimes I almost think I can see one too.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Photo Edition

Hallow Boneheads!

Due to the many pictures I'm posting this will be a pretty short post. I'll try to give a bit-o-commentary as we go.

Okay! First things first, Halloween. Anyone who knows us knows that Halloween is our favorite holiday, enough so that we're willing to drive 7 hours to be with family when it happens. Granted, Page sucks when it comes to Halloween (the city actually ENDS Halloween at 6pm) so we just leave and go have fun elsewhere. This year we went to Hee Haw farms and no, I didn't see any joke-telling banjo players. Speaking of Hee Haw though,What do they call "Hee Haw" in Arkansas?

A documentary.

What do they call it in Kentucky?

Life Styles of the Rich & Famous.

Had to throw those in there. Anyway, here are some pix of the kids who ran around a small zoo terrorizing chickens and ducks. They actually caught some and Alex put his captive to sleep!

Next we spent Halloween rigging up a spook alley in my sister's back yard. It was pretty amazing but unfortunately I don't have any pix of it. I do have a photo of the coffin in which Dracula would lie in wait, preying on unsuspecting trick or treaters. The kids would have to knock on the coffin lid and Dracula (aka Alex) would say, "Who dares wake me from my slumber!" and then kids got to dig around in the coffin for goodies. What's different about THIS Dracula is that when he arose from his eternal slumber he was often spotted eating a PBJ sandwich and had to curse people between mouthfuls.

Here are the kids:

And last but not least, the village. It's my hobby, and I had some fun this year creating a landscape display for it. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Non-DNA Sports Gene

Great Galloping Hornytoads, it's nearly October! And at the Bonehead ranch that means we'd better decorate for Halloween! It's true my family endures a lot of curious questions about my sanity around this time of year but oh well, you only live life once. And speaking of living life once, I used to want to only eat natural foods until I learned that most people die of natural causes. Burger King for all!

Well, to get right to the point of today's edition, I have four boys who love soccer. They love flag football. They love baseball. They love competition of any kind. And not only that, but they are all really good at them. Right now soccer is going on and Josh Parker and Alex are all top players on their teams. Saturday was the Northern Arizona Middle School Soccer Tournament and Josh's team took 3rd overall. Now the neat thing about that is that In game 2 Josh scored 2 goals to end the game at a tie and in the 3rd game scored the only goal of the game to win for us. He got a plaque. Parker and Alex are right on his tail in their leagues. Parker is becoming a very aggressive goalie and Alex a solid half-back.
How did they learn this? People say it is in the genes. Well if that's true than I'd better do my family history because it ain't from me that's for sure! Allow me to explain. My earliest sporty memories are of elementary school "Red Rover" or "Kick Ball" teams and how much people fought over me..
"You take him!"
"No way, you take him!"
"We don't want him so you get him!"
"We got stuck with him last time!"
"So? Take him again!"
There actually was one game where I was always chosen first; Smear the Queer. This is a game where you give one guy a football and tell him to run and then the other 49 guys run after him and try to tackle the bejeezus out of him. It was so great to be in demand back then. Needless to say that did a lot for my desire to play public sports and so I never did.
So where did my kids get it? Could it be that there is a gene somewhere in my DNA that would explain my kids' talents? Nope. I just asked Neisha if she was sporty growing up and she said, "Yep, I was always playing sports. In fact at recess I never played with the girls. I was always playing soccer and football with the boys." Dang, I was hoping there.
I'll tell you though, there's nothing quite so great as witnessing your son do something great and seeing him being congratulated by his teammates.

And maybe this is a bit on the warm and fuzzy side, but in the game of life your teammates are your family and when one of your kids makes a great play don't forget to congratulate them.

Love the Johnsons

Friday, September 18, 2009

Through the Eyes of a Child

Hello and welcome to September!!!
For all you boneheads across what is left of our free country we are enjoying soccer season. 4 boys, 3 teams, 2 parents, 1 bottle of Alieve. That about sums it up. Actually they are all doing great and are star players on their teams! (insert proud dad look here). Of course, as dad is out there sweating and coaching them on and working with them, the first thing they do when they see you and their mother at the game is to say "Hi Mom!" Oh well.

The purpose of this entry is to bring attention to a rare moment in parenting; catching a glimpse of life through your child's eyes. Now sometimes you have a child like Marcus who likes to tell you EVERYTHING on his mind over and over again. All day. This gets annoying. And then he tells you everything that SHOULD BE on your mind. Stuff like sharing your candy, giving him money, giving him your gum, buying him toys, etc. And then there is Josh. Josh is entering that gauntlet of life from which no boy returns. He has become somewhat secretive and quiet. He broods. But he doesn't say a whole lot about what his little pre-pubescent mind is thinking. Well stop the press! I happened to be on the computer today and ran across this little gem. After reading it though I wonder if I need to laugh and tell him what a great writer he is, or put him in his room. :) Read on...

How to torture your little brothers

Have you ever felt angry or annoyed? Well, here’s the answer to your problem: torture your brothers! This is a fail-safe way to get you back in shape. There are several ways to torture your little brothers. Today I will explain three of them.

The first method is to do something to your brothers (like poke them). If they tell you to stop after a while, then you’re doing well. After they say, “stop” you keep doing it until they either go tell your parents or until you think you’ve done enough. If they tell your parents and you get sent to your room, start doing it again when you come out. Keep doing this till they start crying. Then you start laughing like you think it’s really funny. When they run off crying your work is done.

Another way is to take their stuff and then show it to them. When they say “give it back its mine” run around for a while then throw it out the front door. Keep doing this until you feel better or you get sent to your room 3 times. After that stop or else risk big punishment. This technique is something I’ve used many times. It works very well.

The last way to torture them is to call them a name. If one of your brothers has a name they hate people to call them start calling them that name. When they start crying, stop. When your parents ask you if you called them that name, you say yes. If you do that they will get very mad or frustrated. On the way to your room, call them the name one more time for effect.

These methods are not advisable unless you’re really angry or annoyed that day. Even then be cautious because you might get into bigger trouble than you thought. This essay was written from experience. All of the methods are genuine and do work. Happy Torturing.

What else can I say? Happy torturing!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Lessons Learned from Dad: Snow Removal

Welcome to the Dog Days of August!

Man it's hot. Hot and dry. I don't know why its called the "dog days" of August, because even the dogs don't like it, but maybe it is because everyone just wants to lay low out of the way until things cool off. School starts for the boys tomorrow and that means the kids will be filing into school like a funeral procession and the parents will be doing cartwheels on the lawns.

On the home front the biggest piece of news is that Alex got baptized. It's official, and he has taken it really seriously. While there he did tell me that he remembered to wear white underwear so people wouldn't see batman through his baptismal suit. Good thinking, buddy. It was a wonderful experience for everyone there and I know he felt the spirit strongly. Parker was a great mentor for him, showing him where to go and how to stand and talked to him a lot about his own baptism. I didn't know Parker remembered that much about his.

Well, I suppose I should get to the title of today's Lesson from Dad. Before I do this though, I have to say that probably the biggest lesson I've learned from my dad is that he loves me and is always there for me when and if I need him. Not too many people can say that. I know a lot of people who actually go out of their way to avoid their parents. That's hard for me to understand. It is so painfully obvious that life's greatest happiness comes from family and while there is a lot of humorous things I remember I also remember a lot of joy and fun. So with that in mind let's learn about snow removal.

There are times when a father’s lack of knowledge in exactly how to get something done results in some interesting improvisation. Some of those improvised techniques actually become really useful inventions. Like bifocals. Ben Franklin had poor vision and needed glasses to read. He got tired of constantly taking off his seeing glasses and putting on his reading glasses, then putting the other pair back on, so he decided to figure out a way to make his glasses let him see both near and far. He had two pairs of spectacles cut in half and put half of each lens in a single frame. Thomas Edison invented the incandescent light bulb and the phonograph. My father falls into that noble category of men who changed their world with their ideas. Ideas like the snow-remover. As a child I grew up in Northern Utah and during the winter we saw lots of snow. And often the snow would pile up so high on the roofs of houses that some roofs caved in. Every year my dad would get the ladder and hike up on top of the house with his shovel or sno-blower and go to work.

Well one year he got the idea that it might be easier if he didn’t have to get on the roof to get the snow off, So he disappeared for a few hours into the workshop. The “Workshop” was a pack rats dream. There were cabinets full of wire of every color and size. The smell they produced was magical. There were a hundred little drawers containing everything from ancient transistors to knobs for stereo equipment. There was a great workbench littered with bits of solder, tools, wood, and knick knacks that spanned several decades. And in one corner there was (and still is) a large locker that contains a homemade intercom system. He created an intercom system for our house before America really knew what they were. And he built it from stuff he had laying around! Stuff like a dial-up phone switchboard. (I wasn't kidding about the pack=rat thing.) Anyway, perplexed about the amount of snow on the house he entered the workshop and came out a couple hours later carrying what looked like a 15ft long PVC pipe attached to a 4ft wide washer blade on one end. He then grabbed about 10ft of visqueen, attached it to the back of the wiper blade and grabbed us kids to come out and watch his new invention. Actually I think this might have been the day when he learned that it is best to be alone when you are experimenting.
“Ok kids, I think this is going to work great. You just stick the end of the pole into the snow and the snow slides harmlessly off the back of the visqueen like this!” It all happened so fast. One moment he was jabbing a well-aimed pole into the snow and the next he was gone. Buried, just like that. The good news is that the thing worked really well.

Stay tuned for more Lessons from Dad!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lessons Learned from Dad: The Geyser

Greetings Bonehead Faithfuls!

It's been a hot, hot week here in Arizona. In fact, Satan moved in next door and told us he's been looking for a little property for when it gets cold in hell. As far as the kid report is concerned, Parker gave a talk in church last week. He is only 9 but he asked the Bishop if he could give a talk on faith. How do you say no that face? So there he was in front of the whole congregation and talking about faith. For about 10 minutes. I was having a HUGE proud dad moment. What an amazing kid. The rest of the crew is doing well and keeping Neish and I on our toes. The boys have recently concocted a money making idea, namely to rent themselves out for yard work under the title of "Lawn Ninjas Inc." They have a flyer and everything. I'll try to post one if I figure out how. Well, enough banter, on to business!

Dads know everything. At least we're supposed to. No matter what the emergency dads are supposed to know exactly how to fix it. In becoming a dad I have discovered something both valuable and terrifying: Dads do not know everything! But I can't tell my kids that so I do what every dad has done before; I make crud up. When I shock myself I tell them that I needed to check how strong the current was. When I break the tent pole while trying to shove it into the ring-pin, I tell them "They don't make em like they used to!" Stuff like that. After a recent incident involving my remote controlled helicopter and an insane idea that flying it in the wind might be really cool, he told me "When you're experimenting it's best to do it when no one is home." That's some good wisdom there. It would save a lot of explaining. Mostly because I'd have a chance to clean up before anyone saw what happened. Like the time I accidentally set off a rather large artillery shell firework in the garage. Whew! That was exciting! I hope my dad isn't following my blog.

But it's really my dad who instilled in me the notion of experimenting with the world and learning new stuff, and making up stuff about what you didn't know. Allow me to explain. Dads want you to try things that will "toughen you up" (the reason they give you when you get hurt doing what it was they thought you should do). With that in mind let's remember the lesson of the geyser.

We have a cabin in Yellowstone National Park and as children spent some time there every summer. One of our favorite things to see each year was Old Faithful. Its uncanny ability to go off each hour or so was awesome. When visiting the geysers my dad would explain where all that hot water came from and not to go near it unless we wanted to end up looking like a cooked macaroni noodle. One time after visiting the park we asked mom and dad if we could go swimming. Dad drove around a while and eventually saw a small waterfall and pool off the side of the road. Excellent. "A perfect spot!" says my Father. We piled out of the car and hiked down the trail to the edge of the pool. Then came the sixty-four dollar question: "Is it cold?" His answer to us trusting, innocent, pure children was "No! It's completely warm. This water's straight from the geyser!" Well we all knew that geysers were way hot and so having the river mix with the geyser water would make it perfect. The three of us lined up on the side of the pool, counted to three and jumped.

Remember what I said earlier about dads not knowing everything? Yeah, this was one of those times. It took approximately .003 seconds for our nervous system to tell us that my dad was a git. At about .007 seconds our nervous system told us if we didn't get out of that pool right now we'd turned into popsicles. Needless to say my dad feigned complete surprise that the water was anything but warm (a ruse he continues to this day) and we spent the rest of the day huddled in blankets trying to keep our toes from falling off.

That's all the news that's fit to print so stay tuned next time for the tale of The Very Strong Lid.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Lessons Learned from Dad: Road Safety!

Hey Everybody!
It's update time and with it another wisdom filled episode in the "Lessons Learned From Dad" saga! But first the news...

We've recently returned from a 4 DAY LONG FAMILY REUNION. Neisha will say, "Isn't that awesome!" I will say, well I won't say anything because I'd get in trouble. But I survived and am still alive to write in the blog! Anyway, we're back to almost normal which is about two levels beneath insanity :)

And now, another lesson learned from dad.

Fathers are great. Never has there been a creature so willing to go through so much in order to teach a simple lesson. For example when my dad showed us kids the importance of not playing in the road.

There comes a time when every child must learn not to run out into the street. There are real dangers out there! Not the least of which was my dad attempting to teach us the danger of playing in it. Poor laundry basket. (Allow me to explain).
One day we kids were out playing in the yard and my dad walks up carrying a wicker laundry basket and says, "C'mon kids I'm going to teach you a valuable lesson." Now if you know my dad then you'll know that when he says "C'mon kids I'm going to teach you a valuable lesson" that two things are going to happen: #1, you will most likely witness something that is about to go horribly wrong and #2, it will most likely involve electricity, cars, or tools, and usually results in pain (see The Lesson Of the Crank Washer).

Today's lesson took place in 1982 and involved the Blue Goose (our family car which was a 68 Bel Air Chevy and closely resembled a tank with blue paint on it), a wicker laundry basket, and a serious amount of overkill. He began by telling us that "playing in the road was really dangerous and if a car were to hit us we could be killed." Not wanting to leave it at that he said, "Kids, it's really important that you know this so I'm going to show what would happen were you to be hit by a car." Then, taking the laundry basket he placed it in the road and said, "Kids, pretend this is you. I'll be right back." he then got in the tank and drove off down the road out of sight.

There we stood at the side of the road wondering why we were pretending to be moms laundry basket. Odd. Then, from off in the distance we hear the unmistakable roar of a fast approaching, large engined tank that sounded a lot like the Blue Goose. We looked down the road and sure enough, dad was racing toward us with a crazed "I've always wanted to do this!" look in his eye.
"Is he going to run over mom's laundry basket?" my brother asked. The answer came about two seconds later as dad, reaching flux capacitor speed slammed into mom's wicker laundry basket with the force of a train. Words cannot describe the look of utter shock on our faces as mom's favorite, I might add, laundry basket was turned into a handful of wicker toothpicks. A minute later dad came back, rolled down the window and said "So never play in the road ok?" I think we spent the next six months hiding in the basement. In the corner. Behind the boxes of Pop Shoppe Pop. You know, I never did find out how my dad explained the whole thing to my mom. I can just imagine the conversation now:
"Hi Honey! Hey a, remember that laundry basket you used to have?"
"What do you mean 'used' to have? Yes, I still remember it. It's my nicest one. What have you done to it?"
"Who me? Well, nothing really. It was mostly the car. Do you want to go out to dinner tonight?"
"Lou, Where is my laundry basket?"
"Ah, it kind of broke. You see I was teaching the kids about road safety and I wanted to show them what would happen to them if a car actually hit them and well, I couldn't very well run one of them over so I had to find something similar."
"Are you trying to tell me that you used my NICEST laundry basket as a crash test dummy!"
The rest of that conversation would probably not have been g-rated so I'll stop there. And you know, as weird as that whole thing was we all still remember not to play in the road.

Follow up 2009: in the spirit of trying to be a good parent I told my kids about it hoping to instill in them a healthy respect for the road. Their response? "Awesome! Let's run over all the laundry baskets!" sigh.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Let the Blind Receive Their Sight!

Time to update the ol' family Blog and what an update we have! But first, the Obama minute:

Obama was recently reported to have taken his wife out on a "date night". Excellent. It is important to take time off from the overwhelming responsibility of telling the world what a horrible country we live in. The date was a raging success. Michelle Obama said it was "a wonderful evening". Well, for $22,000.00 it better be a wonderful evening! So my question is, was it the dinner and a movie that made it wonderful or the fact that the $22,000.00 was tax payer money? On a side note, don't you think that for 22K you might be able to do something more creative than dinner and a show?

Back to the update...The boys all took first place in their division for baseball and are proud to have their trophies. It seems they are quite talented in many sports. Including the time-honored, traditional Johnson sport of--Dad Pounding. Yes, it's been happening for years. I'm sure I'm not the only dad whose neck and back have been permanently disfigured by their sons. My pain story starts way back with Josh as a strapping young 4 year old Jump Bonk Jedi whose favorite game was "Kill the Dad Dragon". This progressed through the stages of Dad Whacking, Ninja Neck Jumping, and finally Get the Evil Geezer where I pretty much lay on the floor and pretend to be dead in the hopes that they'll lose interest and just go away. Alex and I were wrestling yesterday (I got a coupon from him on Father's Day to do this), and I had him in a good tickle hold. At this point he yelled, "Dad stop it! I'm gonna pee!" At this point I don't know if he's faking it or really serious so I let him up and off he goes to my bathroom. This is where it gets funny. This is what I hear:
[toilet flush] "Dang it! I wasted it!" Alex appears looking frustrated.
"Wasted what?" I ask.
"My special power" replies Alex. Ok. He was just in the bathroom. He did something bathroomy in there and now he's upset that he wasted his "special power". I'm totally torn between morbid curiosity and TMI.
"Uh, what 'special power' are ya referring to there Alex?" - Curiosity won out.
"My toot!" Alex says with all the exasperation he can muster. "I was saving that!"

The other big of news concerns my oldest son, Blind Boy Casey. Neisha took him into the eye doctor. After enlarging the letters to roughly the size of a car, Josh proudly announced, "It's a black thing!" Needless to say he failed the eye exam and needs glasses. So we got some contacts. After he put them in it was like he was seeing for the first time. "Mom, this is totally cool! I can read the medical labels on the files!" "Wow! Mom, I can read that sign! I didn't even know those words existed!" "Hey Mom, look at the playground! I can actually see stuff. Before it was just like colorful blobs!" Now before you call us bad parents for not noticing this, there wasn't anything to notice. Josh told us he's been seeing that badly for years but thought he'd just grow out of it. It never affected his schooling either. Oh well. He's loving life now and is currently sitting outside enjoying clouds. Life is good.

So until next time, enjoy sight. And next time you pull up to the drive-through bank window, ask them why they have braille in the drive up stall.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Lessons learned from Dad: Hammer Toe

A June welcome to everyone across the until recently fruited plains! I recently went to pick up my government cheese but couldn't fit it in my government car. Oh well. I did find a use for the car, though. I attached a spinning blade to the bottom of it and can use it to mow my lawn now! Talk about green!

Anyway, life with Team Johnson is great guns as usual. We are all slaving away in the backyard to make it habitable and have decided that weeds look a lot like grass. :) But enough banter! On with today's title:

This is one of my childrens favorite stories to hear. It usually starts out like this: "Dad tell us about the time you whacked yourself on the foot with a hammer on purpose!"
"Well", I say, "it wasn't really my fault." This is one I those stories where I wish there was actually a point or a profound lesson to be learned but no. The lesson is pretty much don't do stupid stuff. And that lesson glares at me more and more every time the kids make me tell the story. As a young child I went to the doctor to have a surgery done on my big toe and the doctor shot my foot up with Novacaine (not to be confused with Michaelcaine). I couldn't feel a thing. It was pretty cool. To a 10 year old, having a numb toe is like a whole new world. Well when I got home I accidentally kicked the door with said toe and didn't feel a thing! Way cool! No pain!

Now, as a young child I began to wonder about this new phenomenon. "I wonder if it would hurt if I..." and that ultimately was my downfall. By now you have all probably come to the conclusion that I actually hit myself on the toe with a hammer. I've never understood what makes a kid think this way, how they can go from a rational thought like "Hey this cape makes me look like Superman" to "I'll bet I can jump off the roof and fly!" but it happens. And no I didn't jump off the roof! It was the trampoline and it was really windy. So there. Kids just have a way of taking a great thing like imagination and then doing it. How else could I explain my children's behavior? What else but imagination would make my oldest son create rain by using cat litter? What else but imagination would make a child decide while in the tub to bite his younger brother and then blame it on a rubber shark?

Needless to say after whacking my toe several times and experiencing the awesome power of no pain I went on with my day. Until the novacaine wore off. Owie! Well, stay tuned for more fun with Lessons Learned from Dad!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Best Dating Advice. Ever.

Well it is time for me to write something happy in the old family blog and get the Bamster's new youth army out of there. Yeech. Life at the ranch is great. The kids are all playing baseball and having fun with it, the sprinklers are watering most of what they're supposed to, and the trees are a bloomin. To catch you up on landscaping adventures I am learning how to lay flagstone (how not to lay it more like) and how to pull out weeds. Man I love that! There's nothing quite like the satisfaction of having been so successful at growing them.

Neisha and I were recently spotted in the ballet production of Sleeping Beauty where we played courtiers and later a prince. It ended up being kind of fun. No I didn't wear tights and no mom, I'm not gay. Sheesh.

Now on to the title. As some of you know, Josh is 12 and on the brink of entering the age of unbelievable. As much as we've tried to parent the alien out of him we're noticing irregular bulges in his stomach region and a strange murky odor that seems to seep from his room. While driving around the other day he gave some of the greatest dating advice I've ever heard. Yes I know he's only 12 and won't date until he's 16 but that's ok. I'm writing it down now for posterity sake. While in the car he pointed to the Christmas Tree air freshner and said to mom, "Mom someday when I need cologne I can just hang one of those around my neck!"
Mom: (through near uncontrollable laughter) I can just see you with a 'smell' necklace.
Josh: I wouldn't wear it on the outside of my shirt, I'd put it on the inside!"
Mom: (Through totally uncontrollable laughter) I just love you Josh, you're so great.
Josh: Well, it smells like cologne...

Yep, that's my son. Mr. Vanilla-roma. His other dating advice was around the subject of what to feed your date. Josh said his idea of a creative date was to have a dinner where he put real bugs in the brownies. It would add a little crunch and his date would likely never know. It would be highly entertaining....for him. Mom said he'd better date someone he didn't like very much. Josh said, "Why?" Now why is this such great advice? Because if he follows it, it should nicely guarantee that he won't date much before going on his mission. Maybe I'll wait to tell him the real scoop until afterwards. Good times, good times.

Well that's all the news that's fit to print. Stay tuned next time for Lessons Learned from Dad. My kids have been nagging me to write about when I hit my toe with a hammer on purpose. sigh.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

I just can't ignore this

I usually stay away from politics on this blog, but this really troubles me. These are OUR children he's talking about!

Supporters of an Americorps expansion plan pending in Congress laud its efforts to "leverage" federal dollars to boost state, local and other resources to "address national and local challenges," while critics say its fine print secretly would create an "Obama-styled army of community organizers modeled after Saul Alinsky's 'Peoples Organizations.'" So which is it?
In an era in which Congress can approve thousands of pages of legislation spending hundreds of billions of dollars without reading the proposal, there seems to be no definitive answer on what some of the vague language of H.R. 1388 means.
But there is enough in the "GIVE Act," now awaiting a conference committee in Congress after being approved by both the U.S. House and Senate, to cause critics to shiver.
For example, it certainly imposes a requirement for public service on some people, even though its original much-feared study on mandatory service for all was moved to another bill during congressional debate.
"The Audacity of Deceit" exposes exactly who Barack Obama is. He isn't pedaling "change you can believe in" – he's planning to uproot American culture and replace it with the failed, secular, socialist policies of the past.
The latest version includes a "National Service Reserve Corps" whose members have completed a "term of national service," "has successfully completed training" and "complete not less than 10 hours of volunteering each year."
It also raises First Amendment issues over its limitations on what various corps participants are allowed to do.
For example, it states those in an "approved national service position" may not try to influence legislation, engage in protests or petitions, take positions on union organizing, engage in partisan political activities, or, among other issues, be "engaging in religious instruction, conducting worship services, providing instruction as part of a program that includes mandatory religious instruction or worship, constructing or operating facilities devoted to religious instruction or worship, maintaining facilities primarily or inherently devoted to religious instruction or worship, or engaging in any form of proselytization."

Probably the biggest red flag for many is how the proposal fits into the overall picture painted by President Obama when he described to a Colorado Springs audience a "National Civilian Security Force" that he wants as big and well-funded as the U.S. military – a staggering suggestion that would involve hundreds of billions of dollars a year.
WND reported when the bill began its quick trip through Congress, and its original language called for a study of how best to implement a mandatory national service program for citizens of the United States.
Later the language was dropped from that bill, only to appear at the same time in another legislative proposal.
Judi McLeod wrote for Canada Free Press that the bill simply would turn everyone into a community organizer.
"Everybody means the roughly seven million people called to public duty in the $6 billion National Service effort," she said. "But members pressed into the service of the one million-strong Youth Brigade, sanctioned by 'Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education (GIVE),' will have none of the freedoms of the community organizer who started it all.
"There's no room for God in Obama's long promised Youth Brigade, no room to protest, petition, to boycott or to support a strike, and loopholes to give its mandatory membership a pass," she wrote. "Obama's plan requires anyone receiving school loans, among others to serve at least three months as part of the brigade."
She also describes one section with a program to introduce "service learning" as "a mandatory part of the curriculum in all of the secondary schools served by the local educational agency."
The plan suggests raising the participation in such programs from 75,000 now to 250,000.
Gary Wood at said it's part of Obama's plan to set up national service. He noted the explanation offered by White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel: "It's time for a real Patriot Act that brings out the patriot in all of us. We propose universal civilian service for every young American. Under this plan, all Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 will be asked to serve their country by going through three months of basic training, civil defense preparation and community service."
Gary Lester, writing at All American Blogger, put into words the worst fears of opponents.
"Hitler knew that if you control the youth, you control the future. I wrote about him in 'The Threats to Homeschooling: From Hitler to the NEA.' As I noted in that article, Hitler said: 'The Youth of today is ever the people of tomorrow. For this reason we have set before ourselves the task of innoculating our youth with the spirit of this community of the people at a very early age, at an age when human beings are still unperverted and therefore unspoiled,'" he wrote.
He cited the Hitler Youth's launch in the 1920s. In 1933, the participants totaled 100,000, and in 1939 the membership was compulsory for those over 17. Two years later, the membership was compulsory for those over 10, and it included 90 percent of the nation's youth.
He also cited concerns it would steer volunteers away from churches, politicize charity and focus on the "education" of participants.
"The legislation will, in many circumstances, force our children to participate in charitable activity as part of school – and that activity may well be chosen by or approved by a bureaucrat," he suggested.
At Washington Watch one forum participant warned, "Our republic is under attack as never before."
Said another, "This is social engineering at the very least, and could be the first step towards the reinstitution of slavery! Take heed, the New World Order (aka 'Change') draws nigh!"

Congress also is considering a "public service academy, a four-year institution that offers a federally funded undergraduate education with a focus on training future public sector leaders."
Joseph Farah, founder and editor of WND, used his daily column first to raise the issue of a "national civilian force" and then to elevate it with a call to all reporters to start asking questions.
"If we're going to create some kind of national police force as big, powerful and well-funded as our combined U.S. military forces, isn't this rather a big deal?" Farah wrote. "I thought Democrats generally believed the U.S. spent too much on the military. How is it possible their candidate is seeking to create some kind of massive but secret national police force that will be even bigger than the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force put together?
"Is Obama serious about creating some kind of domestic security force bigger and more expensive than that? If not, why did he say it? What did he mean?" Farah wrote.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Bedtime Marines

Yo ho, Blow the man down! At least that's what it's doing in Page. As if sand isn't uninviting enough, now we get to deal with near constant 30-40 mph winds which help us experience the sand with all 5 senses. Yeech.

April 1st has come and gone and everyone got a good joke played on them, except Neisha hasn't discovered her joke yet so I'm waiting in total anticipation of getting in trouble. The kids also played lots of jokes on each other because they're very competitive. This brings me to the first part of today's title. My kids are extremely competitive. When they were tiny, they would have contests to see who could ram themselves into the wall the hardest. They have contests to see who can drink the most milk without throwing up, who did the most interesting thing that day, who can kick the hardest (and get kicked the hardest without crying). They compete with brushing teeth and throwing things, and getting ready for bed. This particular time we were driving home and I said to them that when we got home the first person ready for bed all the way including jammies, bathroom, teeth, and drink (you have to say this or they won't do it) will get a 5 minute backscratch. This was followed by a lot of shuffling in the back of the van.
Finally we reached the driveway and as I was pulling in the side doors suddenly flew open and the boys piled out like Marines out of a helicopter in a firefight. The difference between Marines and my boys though are that Marines are dressed for combat and when my kids left the van they weren't dressed at all! They had alreay stripped most of their clothes off in prep for being the first one ready.

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Most Extrodinary Talent

Greetings, greetings it is I King Bonehead returned after a brief trip to the doldrums to regale you with tales of wonder, wiffle ball, and waffles. First, my brief trip to the doldrums. I admit, I was caught up in the depressed mood the country seems to be going through at the moment despite the stimuless package but have decided that as long as I can have a Dr. Pepper and plant things in my yard I'll be ok. For any of you who don't already know, we live in a VERY small town. About 7000 I'd guess. Living in a small town brings with it some unique experiences. For example, I went to the local plant nursery today and started talking with the lady in charge. As I described what I wanted to plant in the front yard, she said "Oh that will look wonderful right next to your driveway!" Huh?
"Have you seen my house?" I asked innocently.
"Oh yeah. It's the brown one on Pinto." Insert twilight zone music now. She then made suggestions about what might look nice next to the house too. I didn't argue. And when I had a question about a certain plant, she gave me directions to her house as well as three others where I could go see what they look like. I secretly wondered if the people that live in those houses sit at home wondering why so many people show up out of the blue just to get out of their cars and gawk at their Yucca Recurvifolia.

Well, enough said for now. The family is doing wonderfully. My oldest is doing home school and therefore my wife is a certified hero. When she's not pulling her hair out. We might have to invest in Rogaine before long. He is also doing scouts, trumpet and piano lessons, and soccer. His first tournament was a lesson in abject humiliation. His team showed up and discovered they had to play the Area 51 genetic mutant team of indeterminate age and origin. They had kids with legs that were bigger than my whole kid! Ugh. He did alright though.

Parker and Alex are starting baseball and are both really good at it. Alex likes any sport that allows him to get dirty. And as for Marcus, well, he is the title of today's edition.

Every Monday we have family night which means we don't do extra curricular stuff. It's our night. And we make a big deal of it. We have an activity and a snack, a short lesson about something good and a talent. Each week one or more of our boys gets to show off a talent they have. You might be thinking, "how sweet." If so, please read more about my boys. Usually when it's talent time we go get the first aid kit and a fire extinguisher. So tonight Marcus comes up to me and wants me to watch his talent he's been practicing for family night (remember, he's 3). I say, "Ok Marcus show me what you've got". He then turns around and grabs the squirt bottle and squirts himself dead in the face. Repeatedly! He then wipes it off with a towel and says, "I'm all wet dad. Cool." Yep, that's my kid.

Well that's all the news that's fit to print so until next time if you really want to impress someone squirt yourself in the face. It'll leave em' speechless.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Return of Dr. Vox!

You know, being a dad is tough work. There are lots of things you have to be willing to endure. Barf, toys that trip you in the middle of the night, bits of Dorito chips in your bed, tools that suddenly go missing, finding the cat's hair inside your electric razor, stuff like that. There is one thing though that I'll bet not many of you dads out there have had to endure: Dr. Vox. Let me introduce you: Dr. Vox was invented by my son Parker a couple years ago. Dr. Vox is part mad scientist and part door-to-door salesman. He was introduced in 2007 and a visit to Dr. Vox went something like this:

(Scene: Missionaries over for dinner.)
Dr Vox: You have a problem you need to see Dr.Vox! (the mere fact that he refers to himself in the 3rd person is disturbing enough)
Missionary: But there’s nothing wrong with me.
DV: Yeah, there is, your foot hurts.
M: Ok. You’re right, it has been hurting a bit.
DV: Prepare the operating room!

There is something you all need to know about now. Dr. Vox has two sadistic henchmen, uh, I mean nurses who are ready to inflict cures upon anyone Dr. Vox deems worthy. Suddenly Dr. Vox yelled that the patient has a foot problem and that he needs to be put to sleep for the operation.

DV: Go get the sleep gun!
Henchman: I’ll get two!

The henchmen return a moment later with a semi-automatic anesthesia gun (which shoots 10 consecutive sleeping darts) and an anesthesia bazooka. The missionary begins to say (while on the floor) that he doesn’t need to go to sleep, that’s it’s just an ache. Dr. Vox then told him to stop being a wimp and stood on top of him while the nurses whapped in the head with approximately enough anesthesia to put down a small herd of elephants.

DV: Ok, guys get the saws!

What followed was not pretty. But in his defense, I will say that Dr. Vox, in an attempt to ease the pain of having his foot cut off, cut off his leg first so that he wouldn’t feel his foot being cut off. God bless him.

That was then. I told you that story in order to tell you this one.
Vox is back. We thought that a strong regimen of medications and calming music might cure him. We thought wrong. It all started with me wrestling the boys on the floor. When they won't get off I pull on their toes. It drives them nuts and so they will get off. So there I was pulling on Parker's toes when suddenly Parker turned into Dr. Vox and yelled, "Josh quick! Something's wrong with Dad's head! Get the saw!" The sheer insanity of that statement made me laugh out loud. I couldn't stop thinking, "Gosh that's bit over the top" but oh well. Drastic measures and all.

Well the henchman nurse brought out a 4 ft. long sword which Vox instantly sawed my head off with. Then he yelled for the nurse to grab some nails and a hammer in order to keep the rest of me on the table. Of course I start laughing again and couldn't resist the running violin gag:

Me: Doctor, tell me! Will I ever play the violin again!?
Vox: Well I don't know, your head's off and so you shouldn't even be able to talk! He yelled the last part just to be sure I heard. In hindsight his response is almost as funny as the original punchline. After removing my brain with tweezers and fixing it, he told me to lay still while he nailed my head back on. He was almost done when he exclaimed, "Oh crap!"
Nurse/henchman: What Dr. Vox?
Vox: We forgot the pain killer!
Nurse/henchman: I'll go get it!
Vox: I'm going to have to cut your head off again. we forgot to put in the pain killer. (Regardless of what they tell you in med school, if you screw up an operation just start over. That's best.)

The pain killer turned out to be a tranc bazooka and Vox had the 'nurses'tie my arms and legs to the table. My theory? If you have to tie your patients to the bed in order to give them pain meds, the meds probably aren't that great. That's just a hunch though. Once the pain meds were in place they went ahead and nailed my head back on and as a special service he painted the nails with a nice skin color so they'd match my neck. How nice.

Stay tuned for lessons we learned from Dad being dumb!

Friday, February 6, 2009

And That's the Tooth!

Greetings everyone! Okay, enough silly banter it's on to business...

I have a confession to make: It's tough being a tooth fairy! Who made up the legend of the tooth fairy anyway? And what does said fairy do with all the teeth? Does she wear them? Does she use them to pave her fairy driveway? Or are they really what's inside maracas? Regardless, it's kind of scary to think about someone who has an obsession with human teeth. Yecch. Yet that's what kind of Goofiness we parents inflict onour kids.
"Goodnight Alex, and remember, the tooth fairy is going sneak into your room tonight and steal your human teeth... Sleep tight."
Anyway I digress. I was saying that it's tough being the tooth fairy. The Tooth Fairy that visits the Johnson home must be kind of old because frequently she forgets to come for a few days. Allow me to illucidate Alex lost a tooth on Thursday and the TF only just managed to show up Saturday night. Every parent who is trying to perpetuate the lie by giving their kid money for teeth so that their kid can use the money to buy more candy and lose more teeth hates the realization that they forgot to do it. So Alex asked both of us many times (over the three days) why the TF didn't come. Here are some of our favorites:
• Well the TF just likes her teeth aged a bit buddy.
• The flu has been going around, maybe she has a sore throat.
• You know Alex the TF has been around a Long time, maybe she kind of forgetful.
• The TF doesn't like Your teeth. They smell funny (just kidding!)
• Maybe she only comes on Saturday night?
* Have you checked inside the cat's mouth?

You get the picture. We're not very good tooth fairies.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Ramblings, Musings, and Weird Stuff

Greetings to all you visitors across the fruited plains! (Fruity plains if you're in San Francisco).

Gosh where to start...The kids are running around the house doing "tidy army," which is a cleverly disguised game in which the kids get to put on rollerblades and zip around the house putting stuff away. This is a good time to wear shoes and stay out of the way. We've also managed to inherit another cat. She was rescued from the dump and she's great. Her name is Gracie. And she's already chasing Jack around the house.

In Alex news, the weirdo with a penchant for strangeness has once again proved beyond all doubt that he needs to stop watching Monty Python. Let me explain. Each night Neisha or I take turns reading the scriptures with him. Neish or I will read a few verses and then he gets to. Well, Alex has decided that it is his life's goal to never read the scriptures in a normal voice. The other night he decided it was Chinese day and when he read he pronounced all the 'L's as 'R's. So we read about the Rord and Arma and I nearly started crying with laughter when he belted out in his biggest 7 year old Chinese voice, "Behord Thus sayeth the Rord God of Israer!" We've also enjoyed opera style where he sings the verses like a princess, slo-mo style, and the always popular Power Ranger style in which every few words are emphasized with a genuine Power Ranger pose.

In Parker's corner we find a rat named Mack who has really captured his heart. A rat is not something we usually equate with affection but Mack is not an ordinary rat. He rides on Parker's shoulder and really enjoys burrowing under his shirt until just his eyes and nose poke out. Anyway, Parker really loves him. Recently we told him that he had to put Mack back in his cage and go to bed. A few minutes later Neish went in to sing him a song and found Parker hiding under his covers just sobbing uncontrollably. She sat down next to him and after several minutes was able to get him to stop crying and settle down. She asked what had made him so sad. "Well," he said, "I put Mack back in his cage and when I shut the door he just put his down and walked back into his little house like he was really sad that I did that to him." Precious.

Marcus is still on stupid patrol and manages to hear from anywhere in the house when someone says that "S" word. He also had aquired the incredible talent of climibing up the shelves in the pantry to eat chips. 7 feet up the shelves. At age 3. Going to need to keep a leash on that one.

And of course Josh keeps busy with soccer, home schooling, trumpet, piano, video games, and listening to every adventure book known to man on his ipod.

Well, the superbowl is almost on, I don't care, and we're having steaks tonight!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Travels with Llamas

You know, occasionally I get really stressed and have to remind myself that it's not the destination that matters but the journey. Journey's got me to thinking about our travels as a family. And traveling as a family brought back lots of memories. Memories of Advil, Alieve, Tylenol, Benedryl, etc.

Actually I got to looking in my files and found this great example. Enjoy.

A couple of summers ago we went on a hike with my brother and his family, which proved not only to be cursed, but quite funny– In a cursed sort of way. The idea was simple enough: Hike to a waterfall. Scott, my brother, had a GPS unit and everything. It was only a mile or so. What could possibly go wrong? We reached the beginning of the hike, consulted the GPS, and headed up the trail. And when I say “up,” I mean up. 4 sneezing adults, 8 children and various biting insects climbing a 60-degree slope. Are we having fun yet? We eventually reached a level plateau and sat down on the side of a wide dirt trail just in time to see an SUV full of people drive by leaving us in a cloud of dust. I looked at Scott. Scott looked at his GPS unit. The kids asked, “Why are those people driving up the mountain?” Cursed. Scott thought we must be over a little too far west. His idea was to cut across the mountainside and then “we’d be there in no time!” We did. (Insert various complaints and whining here). Finally, after several hundred more consultations with the mystic GPS ball, we found. . . another road. Except this one was paved and there were lots of nice houses. Then the pest control guy drove by and we asked him where the waterfall was. He laughed. This was not a good sign. He told us we needed to go back down to the bottom and try again, as we had missed the trail. Double cursed. Another mile back down. The kids took great pleasure in saluting all the people who drove by and forgot all about the evil GPS unit when they discovered a pack of Llamas standing near a parking lot. It was quite a spectacle to see 8 kids dancing around shouting “Llama Llama, we found a Llama!” To bring this story to a close, approximately 5 hours, 3.5 miles, 3 band-aids, 47 salutes, 37 GPS insults, and 6 slightly harassed Llamas later, we arrived at the place we began and discovered that we started our hike from the wrong parking lot.
Now before you all laugh and say, “that fool deserves to be cursed” thus dooming 4 more generations of my family to weirdness, let me share some “cursed family outing” survival tips:

• When roaming in the heat, take some hard candy. It helps keep you from needing a drink all the time, and it helps your children forget that they think you’re an idiot for making them come.
• ANYTIME you say to yourself “Gee, what could possibly go wrong?” pull this story out and read it. Then take some Duct tape with you. I don’t know why, but they say it fixes everything.
• If your spouse thinks you dragged them out into the middle of nowhere on another hair-brained attempt at family togetherness, tell them they’re absolutely right. (This is for shock value) Then before they have a chance to lecture you about how you can’t follow a map to the floor and how you almost have the brains God gave dirt, hand them a $50 and say “go tell someone at Dillard’s.” This will keep them quiet. Then tell them that you’ll give them another $50 if they keep the kids happy.
• Take a lot of Band-aids. They don’t work worth beans, but the kids don’t know that. And if Band-aids don’t work, tell them that suffering builds character.
• Most of all, remember to enjoy the journey. The destination is important, but how you get there makes all the difference. Life is like that you know. It seems like it’s all uphill and just when you think your making progress someone else zooms by, leaving you in the dust. You get tired, scratched up, lost, your kids whine, and sometimes there’s even a Llama or two. But as a very wise person once said, “You never know when your making a memory” so have a little more fun with life. You’ll be happier in the end.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Welcome Mack!

Another year has come and gone. And boy what a ride it was! It felt like our family crossed the finish line in a tangle of legs, nerf guns, sand and cat food but we finished. As my New Year's resolution I vow to write in this blog more often than someone else does. That should do it.

Christmas was a blast. The kids got some great toys and then went to St. George for the week so I got to play with them. Among many things, Josh got a remote controlled spy car with a video camera on it and let me tell you, there is nothing quite like the satisfaction of chasing the cat around the house from the comfort of my own bed. Gotta get me one of them! That or else find reasons to ground Josh from using it. Daily. Parker got an iClops, a really sweet microscope that projects whatever you're looking at on to a small digital screen. I looked at the stain on my levis to see what it was made out of (I still don't know but it could be paint), I looked at the stuff on the bathroom counter and now I'm not going in there anymore, and I looked at a whole bunch of other stuff. And let me say for the record that cats don't like to be subjected to microscopes! PJ also got a remote controlled helicopter and seems as how I broke mine I got to use his. Having Dad privileges is great.

We had one addition to the zoo this year (no Neish didn't have a baby). The newest member of our family is a rat. He's small, he's white, he loves to watch TV, and Parker named him Mack. Which kind of goes with the whole pet naming theme. We have a cat named Jack. Life is good. You might be wondering, "Wait a sec. You just said you have a cat. and you bought a rat? Are you nuts?"

The answer is as complex as time itself. So yes, we are nuts. The other day Parker had Mack in his lap watching TV and Jack was just sitting nearby, totally still except for the occasional twitch of the tail. I know what he was thinking. Jack was thinking "Happy Meal. To go, please." Needless to say we're careful. I was thinking about getting a dog. Hmmm...

In other news I was cleaning out our garage and found my old box of high school stuff. What a riot! I still had the year books complete with pictures that would make the Fashion Police's Hall of Fame list, my trumpet awards, ceremonial mug and I even found a video from 1988 of the Bonneville High School band! I have to say it was a lot of fun watching my carefree life, acting the fool and not having a clue about what amazing adventures lie ahead.