Thad Parties It Up In Aberdeen

We headed up north for a weekend with the grandparents and Thad partied hard. And by partied hard, I mean he played so hard that he slept in past 8am both Saturday and Sunday. In turn, Mommy and Daddy slept in past 8am for two mornings in a row for the first time in about a year and a half. (Is Thad that old already? Yup. Time is flying!)

Other than playing hard with Grandma and Grandpa, we lucked out with Aberdeen activities as there was an indoor kids day at the Civic Arena that included inflatables, games and snacks for kids of all ages. Seriously. Melissa went through the bouncy course with Thad and Little Ox #2. Yeah, that second boy is already having the same fun as his brother via Mommy’s tummy.

Get ready for some pictures. I documented the entire bouncy course:

Testing it out.

Testing it out.

Okay, he likes it. "Moooooore!"

Okay, he likes it. “Moooooore!”

"Seriously, Mom. Let's do this thing!"

“Seriously, Mom. Let’s do this thing!”

"Umm...now that I'm in, I'm having second thoughts..."

“Umm…now that I’m in, I’m having second thoughts…”

"Mommy! What's happening!"

“Mommy! What’s happening!”

"Okay. A slide. I like those."

“Okay. A slide. I like those.”

"Weeeeeeeee!"

“Weeeeeeeee!”

"Okay, now that it's over, I think it was fun! Let's go again!"

“Okay, now that it’s over, I think it was fun! Let’s go again!”

That’s pretty much how it happened. I was pretty lucky to be able to hear what Thad was saying inside his head so that I could relay it to you in the captions of those pics. Aside from the bouncing, there were also games. Thad got to go bowling for the first time!

"Wait. You actually WANT me to throw the ball at something now? Make up your mind, parents!"

“Wait. You actually WANT me to throw the ball at something now? Make up your mind, parents!”

And the ball only made it about one foot. Melissa had to help him and he ended up knocking down about 5 pins. Pretty spectacular, I know. The best part, everyone gets a prize! I think he got a new book for this one. Then he played plinko and won a new toy!

"I'm gonna play with that car soooo hard later!"

“I’m gonna play with that car soooo hard later!”

If by “play soooo hard” he meant take it out of the package and try to sit on it, because that’s what he did. In Thad’s defense, it is a red 4-wheeler. Pretty much an exact replica (albeit much smaller) as the larger riding toy he has at home.

Lucky for Thad, the fun didn’t stop there. After the bouncy and the games and, of course, a cookie for a snack, we hit the park!

"Now this is a real slide."

“Now this is a real slide.”

Don’t mind Melissa in this photo. She’s just looking around, checking out the scenery…

"I'm going down the tall slide and it's soooo fun!!!"

“I’m going down the tall slide and it’s soooo fun!!!”

Again, don’t mind Melissa in this picture. She’s scared of heights…

All of these escapades happened in one afternoon. Yeah, Thad played hard this weekend and there’s no doubt that’s why I ended up with a little extra sleep. The next day he helped dye Easter eggs (sort of), had a mini Easter egg hunt, played in the back yard and even helped Grandpa sweep up the leaves on the patio. All before eating lunch.

It was a busy weekend full of fun for the little Thad Monster. Oh, and our Regal Dog lucked out too. Here she is eating her prize from the weekend, leftover bones from the ribs Melissa had on Saturday night with a little flavor left on the ends.

"These...Ribs...Are...So...Good..."

“These…Ribs…Are…So…Good…”

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Thad Comes Clean

We’ve all seen those pictures. We’ve all been embarrassed as our parents show them to friends, relatives and girlfriends/boyfriends. Yes, I’m talking about the naked in the bathtub pictures from when you were a kid. Lucky for Thad Monster, he has some strategically placed bubbles.

Splish splash!

Splish splash!

And he also was pretty excited to have his picture taken as he waved at me and said, “Hi!” with the enthusiasm only a child could have for the simplest things in life.

Hiiiiiiiiiiii!

Hiiiiiiiiiiii!

Full disclosure, I made sure the bubbles were covering all the important parts before taking the pic. It’s a little bit less embarrassing for him later in life and also wife approved.

Most important of all, this kid loves bath time. We’ve reached the stage of parenthood where Melissa and I have to spell things back and forth so we don’t get Thad’s hopes up. I mean, heaven forbid it is 2 in the afternoon and we discuss giving him a bath and he hears the word. We’re talking about a 2-3 minute meltdown that any parent is willing to avoid if possible.

Earlier this week when I gave Thad a bath, I’m pretty sure I timed him at 10 minutes straight of using two cups – one in each hand – to pass water back and forth, pausing after every couple of pours to laugh hysterically before continuing the same process over and over again.

I’m glad he likes bath time, though. From what I hear from other parents, it’s much better than the alternative of a child despising the bathtub and throwing a fit instead of readily striping on their way to the tub and hopping right in. Sounds like it would make it much harder to keep the kids clean. Again, Thad continues to spoils us in a lot of aspects of parenthood.

That’s all for today. Tune in next time when we might further explore Thad’s ability to fix his toy car with his toy screwdriver.

Just checking the rotar...guder...thingy.

Just checking the rotar…guder…thingy.

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Loving Warmer Weather

The sun came out and warmed up South Dakota this week. Pretty sure I was able to hang out in the driveway yesterday in shorts and a T-shirt due to the 65 degree weather. Today we even fired up the grill on the deck and made burgers for supper. But I must say, the best part of the warmer weather has been taking Thad outside to play. The kid is busy. His attention span is still short, but when he’s outside he’s running all over the place.

Here’s a pic of Thad riding his 4-wheeler along the sidewalk:

Vroooom!!!

Vroooom!!!

Yeah, I would have uploaded the video but it wouldn’t accept the file type. You can see the video on my Facebook post.

Props to my cousin for the hand-me-down toy that Thad loves. He rode it all over the living room before it was nice enough to take outside. He’d even stand on the seat like a little trickster. Not while it’s moving of course. It is self-propelled, not battery operated. I’m not ready to let this little man start driving yet.

Getting outside and enjoying the weather, there’s nothing better after a South Dakota winter. Even Sophie got to play in the driveway with a new tennis ball…that is sure to be brown in a few days of letting it roll down the driveway into the puddles of the gutter. After two days in a row of enjoying the sun and warmth, I’m sure we’ll head out again tomorrow and the next day and the next. Have to take advantage while you can. Someone once said, you only live once…

Side note – it has been a couple of weeks since I’ve posted. Easy to get caught up in this and that when you’re not following a schedule with commitments to blog posts. The warm weather might not help as I’ll probably be out enjoying myself and way from my computer a little more. But I’ll aim for once a week to keep this Regal Dog rolling.

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What’s In A Name?

Picking out a child’s name can be a fun thing to do. If you’re like me, you throw out a bunch of different ideas, even if you don’t really like them. And because I joke around too much, I think of off-the-wall names that we really would have no interest in using and tell people that’s what we’re going with.

It’s been a joke since before we knew we were having a boy that if we did I’d call him Chaddeus. So we’d have Thaddeus and Chaddeus – Thad and Chad – our two little monsters, partners in crime, running around the house creating havoc.

Other names I’ve joked about just to keep people guessing might include Bob, Zaiden and Jermichael. Why? Just for fun, of course. I mean, let’s be honest. When I was in high school I wanted to name my son Neo Evan Ochsner because then his initials would be his first name. NEO! Yeah, I liked The Matrix, too. Me focusing on the initials got this response from Melissa, “You’re just lucky our last name doesn’t start with ‘S’ or I’d make our child’s initials spell ASS just because you pay too much attention to the initials!”

To get serious, Melissa and I talked about names long before Thad was born. With him, we just knew for a long time what his name was going to be. We had a boy and a girl name picked out and waiting. I know other people who are definitely the same way. They know the name right away and that’s that.

This time, we’re less settled at the moment. We think we have it figured out, but really there are four different names we’ve been throwing around lately. It’s true, we’re only 22 weeks along and should have plenty of time to pick one. Since we don’t have the name decided and etched in stone, we’ve got a couple of names penciled in the sand. I know people who were like this or even had no clue what the name was going to be until days before birth to a couple of days later. Evidently they ‘make’ you name the baby before you can leave the hospital, though. So you kind of have to pick something…

I’ve also known people who’ve had a name picked out for months and then when the baby arrives, they name it something different because it just didn’t look like the name they had picked. I’m not the best at that because there are adults that, to me, don’t look like the name they have. A child is a clean slate that can be named whatever the parents desire.

We didn’t tell anyone Thad’s name until after he was born because we didn’t want other people’s opinions to alter our thoughts of the name. We like it, it’s our child, that’s it. We also didn’t want to say it and then have someone else use the name before we got a chance – this is why we still aren’t telling our girl name. Not that we’re planning on having a girl after this child, but you never know. We’ll keep it quiet until we know we’ll never have to use it.

With this child, Melissa’s more interested in getting a few opinions and she has even suggested making a list of about 15 names, including the four names we’re thinking of, and sending it out for feedback. A test like this could open a can of worms with people hating and loving every name, and of course, could change our minds to the point of not using any of the four and starting over. At the same time, as the parent, it also seems like it could be kind of fun to get people’s opinions of names. But we’ll just keep everything quiet until that little guy arrives, just like we did with Thad. Even if it could be fun to crowdsource…just to see what the reactions would be.

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“Songs Are Time Capsules Of Memories.”

I read this quote on Facebook today and it got me thinking…

“Songs are time capsules of memories. Hearing one can bring me back to places I need not remember.”

The ending to that quote went the complete opposite of what I expected. I would have ended it by saying, “Hearing one can bring me back to places that I love to remember.”

Now, I’m not saying the first quote is wrong. That is very true. Somewhat pessimistic, but true nonetheless. I’m saying that when it comes to music, for me, it more often leads to a positive memory. Probably because my job in high school was a DJ and I had a lot of good times hitting the play button on the CD player and fading back and forth between songs.

I could go into a rant about how you shouldn’t be scared to remember your past because it leads to who you are today (damn clichés…), but I won’t do that because I’d rather talk about the music and the good times. There are plenty of memories I have that I’d rather not look back on. But today, when I look back on them they have different meaning than they did at the time the song was popular.

Pardon me for getting a little personal here, but songs like Alanis Morissette’s “One Hand In My Pocket” and TLC’s “Waterfalls” bring back memories of junior high dances where everyone waddled in small circles at arms length, if they even danced at all. And of course there was Metallica’s Black album getting me through the other fun times of junior high. Side note: more than 15 years later, I know my grandma was right when she said I wasn’t “dry behind the ears yet.”

How about we step it up to high school where “Footloose” reminds me being a dancin’ fool in Show Choir and loving every minute of it. You know, dancing like nobody’s watching. Only I was on stage with an entire group performing for judges. Or we could go for Will Smith’s “Miami” or “Wild Wild West” and watching my cousin freak out on the skating floor at SkateAway.

A lot of songs would bring me back to SkateAway – that’s where I was a DJ after all. Just a few songs would be Eve 6 “Inside Out,” Eiffel 65 “Blue,” Eagle Eye Cherry “Save Tonight,” Edwin McCain “I’ll Be,” and pretty much any N*Sync, Backstreet Boys and Brittany Spears song. What? They were popular and beloved by the little kids that were there all the time. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.) There are many, many more, but I won’t waste time looking them up and listing them here.

Let’s not forget the good times jumping on the trampoline in the back yard while listening to Incubus “Stellar” and Cypress Hill’s “Rock Superstar.” Man, we spent a lot of time in my parent’s basement and hanging out in the back yard in the summer…

How about we skip to college. There were many different artists in that 5-year period that I listened to like Reliant K, Taking Back Sunday, Yellowcard, Hawthorne Heights, Fall Out Boy, Something Corporate, etc. But what brings me back to Focko’s Barnyard – the nickname for the room Doug Noble and I shared in the Big House at the fraternity – is definitely The Spill Canvas, Anberlin and This Day and Age. The sappy, emo-esque tunes that we really enjoyed listening to. They weren’t sad as much as they actually made us happy. Then there’s the less popular Nutsnack. They are the group that proved we like to listen to anything funny that could make us laugh and smile.

We also kind of liked to dig for the next big thing, which led to us listening to a bunch of stuff that not a lot of people will recognize, like Straylight Run’s “Existentialism on Prom Night.” We did end up listening to Panic! at the Disco earlier than most people – which was later referred to, in a fantasy football team name, as Distress at the Opera. (Sorry, too funny not be noted here.)

During college, and right after, I lived in a couple different places, so naturally, songs remind me of those times and places. The entire Spiderman 2 soundtrack mixed with a little Yellowcard reminds me of the three summer months I lived in Phoenix. Boys Like Girls, JT (Justin Timberlake to the lay person) and Hinder remind me of my internship in Washington DC – my last day being the day Senator Johnson went to the hospital with AVM/Stroke symptoms. Boy did I learn a lot by being in his PR office that day…

Back to the music and on to married life, “Bless The Broken Road” by Rascall Flatts reminds me of proposing to Melissa and our wedding day, while “I Gotta Feeling” by Black Eyed Peas and “Ours” by Taylor Swift remind me of my wife being happy and silly either singing made up words (“Thursday, Friday, Yesterday, Tomorrow!”) or dancing and clapping her way around the kitchen.

Today, I listen to a lot of random stuff that people would definitely say is obscure and not mainstream, like Mariana’s Trench and The Dangerous Summer. It’s just what I jam to while I’m working. I listen to a lot of mainstream stuff and pretty much like anything with a good beat and good lyrics. Any goofy stuff like “Wobble” by Family Force 5 gets a thumbs up in my book as well.

In summary, “Yay music!” I look forward to the capsules of memories you bring me in the future with good things to look back on. One thing’s for sure, every time I hear “Wheels On The Bus” I’ll think of having to sing it a minimum of five times in a row to my little man, Thad.

In the future, what will today’s music make you think of? Hopefully something good!

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Behind The Creative Scenes

Here’s what really goes into creating a baby gender announcement at the Ochsner household…

"I don't wanna sit still!"

“I don’t wanna sit still!”

Because we all know that 1-year-olds like to sit still for pictures. We tried anyway. But Thad got scared of the little brother shirt right from the get go and wanted nothing to do with it. There went the idea of Thad holding the shirt and looking happy. So we decided to have Melissa put the shirt on her bump and have Thad sit next to her. Still not having it. Too close to the shirt.

In the meantime, I took a picture or two of Sophie acting sad like she never gets any attention – which isn’t true.

"Umm...I'm sad."

“Umm…I’m sad.”

"For real. Play with me."

“For real. Play with me.”

Then there was the idea of using the shoes with a balloon.

Already getting hand-me-downs.

Already getting hand-me-downs.

Then there was the idea of what else can we do with this balloon now that we have it? Other than scare the dog. For some reason Sophie is terrified of balloons…and the vacuum. But I digress…and give you the balloon in the bed!

Not bad, ehh?

Not bad, ehh?

Then there was the idea of “Screw it, we’ll just post ‘It’s a Boy!’ and call it good!” But in the madness and waiting and trying and scheming, Thad sat in the middle of the floor and with his back to me and started playing. He didn’t know I had the shirt with me. I subtly let Melissa know to get her camera ready. I held up the shirt and Thad somehow instantly knew what was happening. He freaked out, lunging forward away from the shirt. We were lucky that this picture turned out to be PERFECT for an announcement to our family. See, even with the best of intentions, dumb luck turned out to be better than the actual plan.

#NailedIt

#NailedIt

Moral of the story, you’ll have to be persistent and roll with the punches when it comes to trying to coordinate anything with a child. I guess they say “patience is a virtue.” Crap. There I go with the clichés again…

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A Trip To The Blizz Show

I went out for a crazy night on the town. Let me set the scene: It was a Friday, actually warmer than usual on this frozen tundra. I put on my Blizzard sweatshirt and Blizzard hat and set out to watch the local minor league hockey team in Brookings face off against the Aberdeen Wings – new home town versus old home town. Melissa and Thad stayed home to watch over the house (and to sleep) while Daddy was out for the night. Then things got crazy.

I made it to the game in time to watch the intro:

The Intro

The Intro

And also in time for the 2-for-1 beer special. Okay, so I had one in the first period and one in the second period and didn’t drink the entire third period. Super cray-cray, I know. The game was pretty good, until the third period started. No, not because I was out of beer, but because the score shifted from Wings up 2-1 to Wings up 6-1. Honestly, the Blizz were out playing the Wings the entire first two periods. They just fell apart down the stretch. Hmm…maybe I should have kept drinking.

A view from my seat.

A view from my seat.

A view from the beer garden.

A view from the beer garden.

Aside from the game itself, I did run into a few old friends from Aberdeen. Always nice to chat for a couple of minutes and catch up. Also met up with the local beer garden ladies to chat after the game. Melissa actually worked the beer garden for the Blizz a couple of years ago; they make some pretty good tips.

This was actually the first game I went to as a paying customer in the past two years. I was asked to help out fairly often last season either at the ticket counter or manning the goal light. Pretty exciting to sit that close to the action and be constantly looking for the puck to cross the line (completely, not just part of it).

Then, almost like Cinderella but then again not like Cinderella at all, I was at home by 10pm. Thad was already in bed and Melissa was finishing up a movie on Netflix. Let me tell you, that was a pretty crazy Dad’s night out! While not actually very crazy, it was still a little taste of life outside the house when you’ve got a 1-year-old.

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