Adventures in Fatherhood, Part 2

Both kids were up around 6:30 on Sunday morning, April 6. Too early for me, but I managed. With a clean house, I was able to get through the morning routines fairly quickly (get dressed, eat breakfast, pack up stuff for church), with a little help from Fireman Sam, a British kids cartoon that Eliana has been watching a lot lately.

With everyone ready to go a bit earlier than expected, I kept things moving by heading for the early (9:00 a.m.) service at church. I missed the first song and the announcements, but I successfully dropped each child off in their respective child care rooms. Jonas always gets pretty upset, but there was only one other kid in the nursery, so I had a feeling he’d calm down fairly easily. Eliana was already playing with toys in the 2-4 year-olds room before I could say ‘bye’. It was nice to relax and enjoy the service. I missed Jenelle, but I was happy for some kid-free time.

Eliana's church outfit (she picked it out)

Eliana’s church outfit (she picked it out)

Jonas' church outfit

Jonas’ church outfit

About ten minutes into the message (sermon), I got a text to come and pick up Jonas. This had never happened before. The basic response from the nursery staff was that they were unable to calm him down. While I was hoping they would have kept trying, given that I provided a bag full of diapers, water, snacks, etc., perhaps he was a bit out of sorts from a mommy-free weekend. So, I took him and walked around the building with him for a while. He seemed to enjoy that. I didn’t pick up Eliana until the service was over, so that she got the full amount of playtime with her friends.

On the way home, the much-hyped trip to the bakery was a success. Eliana had her purse and her money, so she treated us all to donuts. She did a great job telling the clerk what she wanted, handing her the money, and saying ‘thank you’. So cute.

With the weather fairly decent, my parents invited us over for a cookout for dinner. When I mentioned this to Eliana, she was ready to head over to Bubba and GrandPat’s house right away. I think it had something to do with the fact that they have a pink Power Wheels jeep that she can drive around their yard. The kids stuff was already packed for a trip. I added enough to get us through the whole day — including toothbrushes, pajamas, and an overnight diaper for Jonas — and we made our way over. I also packed my bag with running clothes, as the neighborhood where my parents live is pretty nice for a relaxing jog.

I include the next paragraph in an effort to be a bit more transparent about the daily challenges of parenting. I did pretty well while Jenelle was away, but here’s an example of where I have room for improvement.

When we got there, for a reason I can’t explain, Eliana ran away from my parents’ house and toward a small hill that we sometimes use for sledding in the winter. It was strange and confusing, because nobody was over there, and she moved rather quickly. I was in the process of getting Jonas out of the car, so I handed him off quickly to my dad. I sprinted after Eliana so that she wouldn’t get too far past the hill. I eventually caught up to her and scolded her in a typical freaked-out parent voice — you know, ‘What were you doing’ ‘You scared me!’ ‘Don’t run away like that.’ — which of course, made her upset, because she didn’t see the big deal with playing over there. It’s pretty far from the road, and she’s gone over there before. Anyway, I think I could have done a better job of talking to her about it more calmly, so that I could learn why she darted away.

Anyway, Eliana was still ready to drive around in the jeep, so I chased her around the house a few times. She still hasn’t quite gotten the hang of steering this or any other vehicle, but we’re hoping to make great progress in the weeks ahead. Jonas tagged along for a while. My dad made french toast and bacon for lunch, which the kids enjoyed.

Cruising around in the jeep

Cruising around in the jeep

Getting Jonas to nap in the crib at my parents’ house is no easy task. I think it took 90 minutes or so of on-and-off holding him, leaving him to cry in the crib, consoling him a little more, leave him again, etc. before he finally fell asleep. As you can imagine, we were close to giving up, but with the beneficial 3:2 adult-to-kids ratio, we were not overly frustrated.

Eliana was having fun both inside and out, so we didn’t even bother to get her to nap. While Jonas slept, I got out for a nice ten-mile run. It was a bit windy, but otherwise conditions were near-perfect. I had planned for twelve miles, but Eliana was starting to miss me and went walking with Bubba to find me in the subdivision. So, I stopped and walked back to the house with the two of them. This gave Eliana the opportunity for a “swing” ride where she holds one hand of each adult so she can be lifted up in the air and swung back and forth. Fun times.

Dinner was wonderful — hot dogs, chicken, and plenty of other things to make sure the kids get their fill. Again, the presence of two other adults makes meal time much simpler. Before heading back home, I made all preparations for the kids to fall asleep (pajamas, brush teeth, all that). However, Jonas’ nap ended up a bit late, so I was not surprised when he remained awake. I was surprised, though, that Eliana did not fall asleep, since she was up early and didn’t nap at all.

Jonas' Sunday night pajamas (a gift from Gail & Mike)

Jonas’ Sunday night pajamas (a gift from Gail & Mike)

Bedtime was pretty easy. Jonas took a bit of extra consoling, but Eliana was out in moments after her books, prayers, and songs. I went to bed fairly early, ready to take on Monday, which would be a more challenging test of my abilities, since there were no plans to visit my parents or any other helpers. Two days down, two to go!

Funny conversation from Sunday:
My mom: “Do you think you’ll be okay tomorrow?”
Me: “Sure, Jenelle does it all the time.”
My mom: “You know, if you need to go to the bathroom or something, Dad can stop by your place after work.”
Me: “Um… nah, I’m just going to hold it all day. Thanks, though.”

Back on the air!

Eliana Daddy Jonas Mommy
Hi, everyone!

Yes, Ben, Jenelle, Eliana, and Jonas are still around and doing great!

As with the last time I posted here, my hope is to have more frequent updates in the weeks ahead. For now, here’s links to TONS of photo albums. All of these are accessible via the “Photos” link above or by heading straight to

March 2013

April 2013

May 2013

Wisconsin Marathon 2013 – Ben sets a personal best!

Our Trip to Kauai – a wonderful vacation.

June 2013

July 2013

August 2013

September 2013

Pumpkin Farm (early October 2013)

October 2013

November 2013

Jonas’ First Birthday — if you blinked, you may have missed it. Our little guy is a year old. In fact, he’s 13 months old as I type this. I may share more about this event in a separate post.

Up North at the Cottage – 2012 Edition

Photo Album – Cottage June/July 2012

Jenelle and I had a few days to the two of us in late June / early July. We dropped off Eliana at my parents’ house, and we traveled up north to the family cottage. We brought the kayak along, stowed securely on top of the Prius. We didn’t foresee any kayaking opportunities at home in the near future, so we left it in a storage shed at the cottage for others to use.

We arrived on a Thursday. We realized en route that we forgot our paddles, but not to worry — we ended up renting two for the whole weekend for only $15, and they were really nice. Besides plenty of shopping, homemade breakfasts, and tasty meals at nearby restaurants, we spent most of our time kayaking. On Friday and Saturday, we visited Clear Lake, Big Arbor Vitae, and the Bittersweet Lakes Area. The last of these (Bittersweet) was the most exciting. We had to carry the kayak in between lakes to get around using portage routes provided on a map. We got video of this, so I may share that sometime soon.

On Sunday morning, I ran the Freedom 5K in St. Germain, finishing with a personal best time of 20:34. We celebrated at Paul Bunyan’s in Minocqua before heading back home.

It was a short but great time — Eliana was glad to see us when we got back, and we were thrilled to see her.

Running With the Baby

We’ve gone for walks with Eliana in our fancy-schmancy Bob jogging stroller, but yesterday was the first time I actually ran with it. I managed to run three miles in less than 11 minutes each, and Eliana seemed to enjoy it as well. Jenelle rode her bike and brought our portable video camera along.

Independence Day in Oregon

We visited Jenelle’s family in Beaverton this year for the 4th of July. Eliana was a little bit fussy on the plane rides to and from Oregon, but it was well worth it.

Here’s the full photo album!

Highlights of this trip:
1) I ran my first ever July marathon — the Stars and Stripes Marathon — in a park just a few miles away from Dave & Pam’s house. I was hoping for a personal best, but it was a bit too hot. I still managed to finish under 3:49 and record my third fastest marathon ever.

2) The ladies (Jenelle, Erica, Josie, & Pam) went to see Mary Poppins while Dave and I watched Eliana. The show was great.

3) Eliana got to spend time with cousins Lucas and Addison during the day on the 4th. In the evening, Jenelle and I went with Jeff, Josie, and Lucas for a cruise and fireworks.

As always, I’m already looking forward to my next trip to the Pacific Northwest.

A Special Father’s Day Card

Eliana gave me a wonderful card for Father’s Day. Here she is giving it a personal touch.

For those who might not have noticed, be sure to check out two more photo albums from May. There’s pictures from the Wisconsin Marathon on May 7 (including some of Eliana), and more Eliana pics from May. More to come soon!

Soon and very soon

In approximately five weeks, we’ll be welcoming our baby daughter into the world.  In the next several days, I’m going to try and post a bit more about our preparations.

Until then, I encourage you to visit the running blog to read about our latest adventure in Door County.  I ran fifty miles and raised over $2,000 for Compassion International!  Here’s a direct link to the photo album.  By the end of the year, I may also have a video to share.

Cottage Adventures 2010

Go straight to the photo album.

It was another fun trip up north.  Jenelle and I made the drive up on the afternoon of Friday, June 25. Janet & Jamie joined us on Saturday.  We spent a few days enjoying the crisp air of the northwoods before returning home on Tuesday.  If you want to know everything we did, you’ll have to drive up to the family cottage in Arbor Vitae, WI and read the log book in the desk drawer. However, I’m happy to post my favorite memories here.

Kayaking — Jenelle and I didn’t have the energy to lug our kayak all the way up north, so we rented a pretty fancy one on Saturday afternoon.  We spent a couple of hours on the water, as it was a very nice day.  Thankfully, we didn’t get too tired.

Celebrating My Birthday — After Janet & Jamie arrived, we all went to Monical’s Pizza for dinner.  I ate plenty of pizza and breadsticks.  After a round of mini-golf at Kastle Rock (which is in need of groundskeeping and other maintenance), I had just enough room for some ice cream.  I enjoyed a double-scoop of “birthday cake”-flavored ice cream, which was chocolate with bits of cake batter flavoring in it.  It was a fun night, but I was completely STUFFED when I went to sleep.

Freedom 5K — For the third year in a row, I ran the Freedom 5K in St. Germain.  I posted a short recap in the running log.  The race was on Sunday morning.  Thankfully, all the food from the night before didn’t slow me down.

Mike & Gail’s Cabin — For the first time, we visited Uncle Mike and Aunt Gail’s cabin in Mercer. They made lunch for us and took us out on a pontoon boat tour of Long Lake.  It was another beautiful day, so it was great to spend it with both family and friends.

St. Germain Fireworks — We ventured back to St. Germain in the evening for an amazing fireworks display.  Just like last year, we had great seats.

That about sums things up.  We look forward to another trip next year, when we’ll hopefully bring even more friends with us.

Adventures Up North, Part 2

From June 26-30, we ventured north to the family cottage for the second time in a month! This time, we were joined by three other couples — Mark & Heather, Rich & Maryke, and Jamie & Janet.

The photo album covers most of the stuff we did.

We went kayaking on Clear Lake on Saturday afternoon. Rich & Maryke came along. We did just fine alternating who was paddling and who was relaxing on shore. It makes me wish we had another two-person kayak. Hmmm….

Miniature golf was the big activity on Saturday night. In a match play format (four singles matches), the gentlemen managed a 3-1 victory over the ladies. It was great fun, as we had pretty much the entire course to ourselves.

On Sunday morning, Janet, Jamie, Mark, and I (Ben) ran the Freedom 5K in St. Germain. I set a new personal best, finishing in 21:12. Mark wasn’t far behind. Jamie & Janet each finished their first ever 5K, so congrats are in order for them as well. We celebrated by going to Paul Bunyan’s for breakfast after the run.

One thing that’s not in the photo album — we went back to St. Germain that night for fireworks. It was an amazingly impressive show. They seemed as good as (if not better than) the fireworks we saw in Racine on July 4.

We tried a new pizza place on Monday for dinner – the Minocqua Pizza Co., which is outside of town (south of the bridge). Not bad.

The weather was a bit cool for late June. On Monday night, before heading out for one last fishing trip on Little Muskie Lake, Jamie and I bundled up in some old clothes we found in a closet in the cottage (there is a picture of it in the album). We didn’t catch that many fish, but we still had fun.

I’m not sure if we’re heading back up to the cottage again this summer, but if we do, I know it’ll be a blast.