Where’s Mom?

Over the last year or so, my wife and I have developed a Sunday routine. After church, and the twin’s afternoon nap, I take both of the children grocery shopping while my wife cleans house and tries to catch up on the pile of laundry that never seems to go away.

Taking two 16 month old toddlers to the grocery store and pick up more than a few things can be quite a challenge. Do you put one in the seat, one in the basket? If so, where do you keep the actual food without little fingers opening packages and how do you keep the bread from becoming the shape of a basketball by the end of the trip? Kroger has made the right decision and removed the giant shopping carts that look like cars and drive like battleships.So how do you do it?  My solution, two carts.

One child in each cart, in the seat, secured with limited mobility. I pull one, push the other through the store. It’s become a bit of an attraction at the store. Most of the employees recognize us, and say hi. The kids love the attention, which keeps them happy, so that’s a bonus.

People say things to me too, of course. “Wow, that’s a handful.” “You’re so lucky!”,”You’re so blessed!” I usually have a response. “You have no idea!,” “Very lucky!,” “Yes we are blessed.” But there’s one response I cannot stand.

“Where’s Mom?”

This one really bothers me. If you see a woman with her two children, do you ask, “Where’s Dad?” I try not to take offense.   I know people are just looking for something to say, or to be friendly, but after a while , it starts to burn. Just because I’m a man, that doesn’t mean I cannot handle two toddlers on my own.

There seems to be a double standard. If a mother takes her kids out, and she’s struggling with them, or if socks don’t match, or hair isn’t brushed, I think there’s a feeling of solidarity, or sympathy for her. She’s doing her best, taking care of two all by herself.  If the father is out somewhere with his kids, he has to have his ducks in a row! One kid crying, a bit of cookie crumb in their hair and the thought is  look at that bumbling, incompetent father. Can’t he do anything without their mother around?  Where’s mom?

I get a bit crazy when I take them somewhere by myself. Do their shoes, match? Is my little girls shirt the right shade of pink to match her pants. Is it OK for her to be wearing pink? Is my boy’s hair too crazy? Are their faces washed? Can’t give them anything but water to drink now, can’t show a bit of spilling. 

Where’s their mother? Why does it matter? Am I being a bad father? Is it so unusual these days to see a man who knows how to change a diaper without gagging like a sissy? In a world where men are being asked to spend more time with their families ( and we’re glad for it!) why would it be so unusual ?

So, if you see me in the local Kroger, pulling a cart, pushing another, by all means say hello. My kids adore the attention. Wave, make faces at them. If you’re not sick and have washed your hands within the last couple hours, give them a high five. Any distraction that lets me re-check my grocery list without worrying about the shelf full of cheerios next to us.

Please, don’t ask about mom. She’s fine, I’ve got this. Just don’t judge me when their shoes don’t match.  

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Camp Cooking – Cowboy Breakfast

In a previous post I spoke of the joys of camp fire cooking. Whenever possible, when weight is not a factor, cast iron over a fire ( or camp stove) is the best way to get back to the rustic roots of cooking. Isn’t that what camping all about ? Today, I’m going to walk you through one of my favorites, a Cowboy Breakfast.  Continue reading

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My Desktop Sound Solution

Like most computer geeks, my desk is gadget central.  On any given day, my desk has a Desktop PC, a Laptop, a TV, and some random gadget or two. When the twins were born, I saw a bit of a problem. Outside of the times I’m working from home, the only time I can get to my desk is after the kids are in bed. My library is right next to their room, so I need to wear headphones. But how do you wear headphones for 4 gadgets at the same time? Continue reading

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Camp Cooking – Dutch Oven Enchilladas

One of the best things about camping verses backpacking is the food. While it’s quite possible to have a tasty meal on the trail, nothing beats a well prepared food. I thought I’d take a few minutes to share the recipes I used on my last camping trip. Continue reading

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Indian Staircase – Revisited

I had some vacation time coming and thought it might be a good idea to hit the Gorge(like it’s ever a bad time.) From the get-go I had decided to forgo my normal backpacking trip. This time, I decided to try out a traditional camp site and do some trail hiking. I wanted to reconnect with my car camping skills, including breaking out my dutch oven. I’ll have a few more posts about that later. I figure, with two young children, in a few years, this would be the best introduction to camping. Continue reading

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Perspective

The other day was a bad day at work. I had started working at 7:30 as per normal. As anyone who’s worked in a customer-facing office environment knows, a significant part of the day is fighting fires. That day was a forest fire. Continue reading

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Artemis Bridge Simulator

As mentioned in my last post one of my goals this year is to build a strong post-youth group presence at my church. Right now, the group consists of mostly guys, though we do have a few women who show up.

One of the more quiet guys, out of nowhere  sent me a link on Facebook. It was a YouTube video about Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator. Continue reading

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New Life, New Goals to Set

It’s been quite a while since my last post, but with good reason. I have two new additions to my life. The last several months have been quite an adjustment. The wife and I went over a decade together without children, so to have 2 new people taking up our free time was a challenge.

Now that we have somewhat of a routine, and the holidays are over, I’m thinking it is time to begin again. I have several projects on the back burner and it’s time to prioritize. I’m taking up some time today to write out what my goals are for this blog, my life, and this year in general. Continue reading

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Cord Cutting Part 3. Wiring up !

+++In my last post, I determined what antenna I need and this time, I’m working on a solution to run TV options through my home. As mentioned previously, we are still traditional TV watchers. We just cannot sit and watch the same program for a season at a time. We like Network TV, where new episodes come out weekly. We still like to DVR the occasional show, we do watch Netflix, we have Amazon Prime, and we have used on demand stations to get shows we’ve missed.
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Adventures In Cordcutting 2 – Over the Air

+++So, as I mentioned in my previous post, I’m determined to rid myself of my $190 cable bill. The first thing to do is get the major networks. Call us a bit old fashion, but the wife and I are not binge watchers. We cannot sit down and watch a straight season of a TV show, a couple months after it was shown on network TV. No cable service, leaves only one option Over the Air broadcasts.
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