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  • SPRING BREAK IN FLORIDA

    This is the second year in a row that we've decided to travel down to Florida for Spring Break with our friends. Last year, we stayed in Cape Coral, Florida and did somewhat of a beach crawl. This year, we decided to stay in Siesta Key, Florida and include other activities outside of beach life.


    Welcome to Florida!


    Mmmmm, orange juice...


    Working hard to find a shark's tooth.


    This pier was awesome. Met some folks from Michigan, watched a couple of kids fishing off the pier and saw the beginning of an awesome sunset.


    Fish cleaning station...


    Mo washing away the excess fish blood.


    The spoils of a fisherman.


    Getting ready for a dolphin cruise and snorkel trip.


    Running and jumping down the beach just behind Stephen King's home.


    Nothing like a nap on the beach.


    One week is never enough.


    *Holga IFORD HP5 PLUS Film and iPhone with VSCOCam Editing

  • 2014 Christmas Card Outtakes and Christmas Card Reveal

    Here's the making of our 2014 Ruth Family Christmas Card. We chose simple and cute this year instead of big and complicated. #hopeyoulikeit

    Merry Christmas from the Ruth's!!!!

  • Madden Football, Trash Talking and Parenting

    Madden Football 15

     

    It's football season! College football is in full swing. The NFL is up and running and just completed week three. Madden Football released Madden 15. Guys, get excited!

     

    Football is here!

     

    I really believe that, when Andy Williams wrote, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" he actually wrote it about this time of the year and not Christmas. In fact, I think the opening song lyrics actually went something like this...

     

    It's the most wonderful time of the year
    With the coaches all yelling
    And everyone telling you "Be of good cheer"
    It's the hap-happiest season of all
    With those big game-day greetings and big draft-day meetings
    With fantasy football
    It's the hap-happiest season of all...

     

    Our household, like many around the country, loves football. So in honor of the season starting, Carter asked me if I wanted to play Madden. My response, "Uh ya. Let's go. You're about to get smoked kid." So he chose Denver and Peyton Manning. I decided to take it easy on him and chose the Chicago Bears. I haven't played Madden in over a year. Maybe a year and a half. So he opened up a 21-0 lead on me in the first half. The only thing that was better than his Madden skills, were his trash-talking skills. The boy's mouth would make Richard Sherman proud... minus the cussing and swearing of course.

     

    Then, the second half began. He kicked off to me. I ran it back 34 yards. One pass later... end zone! (21-7) Carter's not phased. He keeps talking, confident he's gonna win. A few series later and now in the 4th quarter, after two interceptions and two more passes to the end zone, it's 21-21. Still confident, but a little bit quieter, Carter throws another interception. I throw an interception. He fumbles deep in my territory. There's one minute and 32 seconds left. I drive into field goal range with 46 seconds left and I... put. it. through. the. uprights. (24-21)

     

    There's 46 seconds left. And knowing there's still time, Carter is still confident he can get the job done.

     

    I kick off. He runs back to his 27 yard line. Now, there's 41 seconds left. First pass, first down 12 yards down the field. 38 seconds left first and 10. Pass by Carter... incomplete. Another pass by Carter... incomplete. Still, another pass by Carter... incomplete. It's now 4th and 10 with 22 seconds left. Carter is visibly nervous. He knows this could be his last shot. He hits the "A" button to hike the ball. Scrambles to the right. Throws it down field to Thomas where my defender (who I let be controlled by the computer) knocks the ball down. Game. Over. At which point, I get up, do the Superman move like you see above and let my trash talking take over and I emphatically and dramatically declare...

     

    "Who's your daddy now, boyeeee!"

     

    I thought Carter would break down in laughter. Instead, Carter, who is EXTREMELY competitive, just...

     

    BROKE DOWN

     

    And through real, gigantic, salty tears my nine year old declared...

     

    I'm a loser! I thought you were taking it easy on me!...

     

    He then promptly went to upstairs to his room to lay in his bed in defeat.

     

    I felt horrible. I gave him a few minutes alone to gather himself together, then I went up to see how he was doing. We talked for a bit. Then, I helped him get ready for his soccer practice and sat on the front porch with him while he waited for his ride.

     

    As I sat there with Carter, I realized that Kids have basic expectations of dads. Sons have basic expectations of fathers. And, more importantly...

     

    Kids have unspoken expectations... expectations that, in the moment, we as parents may not even be aware of.

     

    These unspoken expectations are different in different situations. There are unspoken expectations for each and every moment with our kids. And while we as parents may not be aware of them, it's still up to us to take care of them, to be mindful of them and to hold them as close as our kids do. Because our kids' unspoken expectations are bigger and more powerful to them then their spoken expectations of us.

     

    So, as we go about our days with our kids, lets, as parents, be thinking about our kids' unspoken expectations of us. Because I guarantee...

     

    they're thinking about them for sure.

     

     

     

     

  • My 7 Year Old and Twerking

    Stories from a parent...
    So, My 7 Year Old and Twerking

     

    My little girl is constantly dancing. CONSTANTLY! It doesn't matter where she's at or who she's with. If she feels the beat, she will drop it like it's hot on the spot. Just like she did this time when she was five years old...

     

    [vimeo]https://vimeo.com/104359752[/vimeo]

     

    Jami and I are pretty sure Mo walks around with a giant boom box running through her head. If you could look inside I'm sure you'd find a version of MTV or VH1. If you could hook up speakers to her ears, I'm sure you'd hear music streaming 24-7. Even now, at age 7, whether there's audible music or not, she could stop where she's at and break it down like she's starring in the show, So You Think You Can Dance. And the crazy thing is...

     

    She CAN... and she KNOWS it.

     

    It doesn't matter where she's at. She could be walking in the Water Tower Place in downtown Chicago... if she feels it, boom... she drops it like it's hot. If she's at home and she hears and feels it, boom... you got it... she drops it like it's hot. AND... if she's at the pool... well, especially if she's at the pool where there's music playing on their boom box... yep, she's dropping it like it's hot. In fact, at one point at the pool, while she was getting down, I looked over as she was... that's right...

     

    TWERKING! My freaking 7 year old was TWERKING. And she knew she was TWERKING because she was telling her friend that she was TWERKING!

     

    Talk about being horrified! In that moment I could hear all of the parents' judgmental comments running through their minds. It was a parenting wake up call! My 7 year old knows how to twerk!? What. The. Crap!?

     

    After yelling across the pool and giving Mo the silent death stare to stop, that got me thinking...

     

    What themes is my 7 year old daughter experiencing? Whether it's tv shows, music or friends, what themes is she experiencing? Adult or age-appropriate? What's the storyline in the Disney shows she's watching? What's the message in the music she's listening to? Mo loves Taylor Swift. We love Taylor Swift. And there are songs that Taylor Swift sings that are age-appropriate for Mo to listen to. But, there are also songs that Taylor Swift sings that have adult themes that Mo just shouldn't be listening to.

     

    Because adult themes cause Mo to grow up faster than God intended her to grow at age 7.

     

    We can't protect Mo from every adult theme. She's not with us 24-7. But we can protect her from the ones we know about and need to redirect her towards age-appropriate themes.

     

    It means that we have to actually work at this thing called parenting. We actually have to put some effort into it. It means monitoring the content of the shows she watches and the music she listens to. As a result, we've also been listening to more "church" music, as Mo calls it. It's actually been fun, because she's been asking for "church" music when it's just been our family in the car AND when she's had a friend ride along as well.

     

    So it's a win... trading in twerking for age-appropriate themes. And hopefully Mo can "Shake. Shake. Shake. Shake it Off. Shake it Off."  for good.

     

    Cause Mo doesn't need to grow up any faster than she already is.

     

     

     

  • Frogs, Warts, and lying to My Kid

    Frogs, Warts, and lying to My Kid

     

     

    Meet my boy's new foster frog. He found it and gave it a home yesterday. He really wants to keep it in his room, but for right now, it's living outside on our back deck. Well, you can call it living, if you mean he's trapped in a small nilon cage that's really meant to house butterflies and insects.

     

    Knowing that it's hot outside, Carter asked me to check the frog's water before I left for work. He even gave me step-by-step instructions on what to do...

     

    1. Open the door.

    2. Stick your finger in the water to see if it's hot.

    3. If it's hot, take the cup out of the cage.

    4. Close the door.

    5. Dump water out.

    6. Refill it with cold water.

    7. Put cup back in the cage.

    8. Close the door.

     

    So, being the awesome father that I am, I said yes to pacify him all-the-while planning on not checking on his frog. If you want to get technical, I lied to him. Why?

     

    Because I hate Frogs.

     

    H A T E...Like, all CAPS, bold/italic typeface style hate.

     

    I never touched frogs growing up because I was afraid I would get warts all over my hands. And now, even as an adult I don't touch frogs. I just can't stand them. So I lied to Carter.

     

    Then he left for school and I started to get ready for work. And then I started to feel bad about lying to Carter. And my heart apparently grew three sizes like the Grinch's. So against my better judgment, I decided to actually follow through and check the frog's water. So I followed Carter's instructions step by step.

     

    Or at least I thought I did...

     

    I apparently missed step number 4, which is a pretty important step. And I know I missed step number 4 because as I was bringing back cooler water for the frog, I noticed that the frog was in fact no longer in his home.

     

    Then, at the exact same time, I noticed our dog Zoe barking at and stomping on something on our deck. And before I could get the words, "No Zoe," out of my mouth, she dropped her head and flipped the frog up in the air causing his little froggy legs and head to go spiraling upward then he landed back to earth on his little froggy back. I felt like I was watching it in slow motion.

     

    After watching it bounce off the deck, I sprinted to where the frog was and covered him up like Big Herb Dean covers a fighter after he's been knocked out during a UFC fight. Once I was sure the frog was fine, I ran back to get his froggy home and put him back in. I'm not sure who was more happy that the frog was back in his home... me or the frog. But I do know that...

     

    I still hate frogs. But I also love my boy.

     

    I just hope I don't get any warts...