Happy Birthday Kevin!

Today is my youngest son’s tenth birthday.

Kevin is our eccentric child. The boy doodles mini comic books, makes videos with his “plushies” (stuffed animals), and created his own language called “Derp Words.” For example, Pop Tarts are “Poop Toots,” sauce is “sus,” and soda is “so-ad.” While this may seem unusual, fear not; Kevin is nothing short of brilliant. His grades are excellent, his vocabulary is impressive (sadly, sometimes too, um, “adult”), and his teachers adore him.

Now if only we could install a filter on him – since he always says whatever is on his mind – he’d be the perfect child.

We’re not sure what Kevin’s birthday dinner will be, but since it’s Ash Wednesday, I’ll guess he’s going for pizza or pancakes. Unfortunately, I’m working tonight, so I’ll miss his choice.

Kevin is absolutely the best Valentine’s Day present anyone could ever ask for. Happy birthday, Kevin. We love you!

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Happy Birthday Erik!

Today is my middle son Erik’s 14th birthday.

Erik is my mini-me. He looks just like me when I was a kid, he’s very introverted, and gets stressed rather easily. Erik is also crazy stupid smart – unlike me – and usually earns first or second honors. Also unlike me, Erik is very popular in school – especially with the girls.

He’s in his final year of grade school, and will be graduating in June. Next year we’ll have two high schoolers, so I really need to earn a lot more overtime. I guess the bright side is soon both of them will be out of the house. (Kidding.)

We’re not sure what Erik wants for his birthday dinner yet, but I won’t be able to partake. I am scheduled night work for everyone’s birthdays this year… except Julia’s.

Happy birthday Erik! We love you.

The Princess And The Penance

One of the reasons why I took the day off yesterday was I had no posts written and we were very busy; particularly with Princess P.

Julia’s class received the sacrament of Penance Wednesday evening in preparation for First Communion this spring. Princess P was very excited for the event, and claimed she had “three sins to confess,” but we weren’t allowed to know what they were.

The mass went smoothly, save for the two ignorant white trash fathers behind us who couldn’t stop talking and/or playing on their phones. I’m no Ned Flanders by any stretch, but you’re sitting in church, not at the local dive bar! Clowns.

Princess P’s class is not very large, and her row was up quickly. While standing in line waiting for the priest to call her over, she kept rocking back and forth. I’m not sure whether she was excited or nervous, but she was making a mess of her hair!

The sacrament went well, Julia said her priest was very nice, and since we promised her a snack afterward, we stopped for donuts. Pink icing, off course.

Happy Birthday Kyle!

Today is my oldest son’s 17th birthday. A junior in high school, he rarely gets excited for birthdays anymore, but yesterday he had an epiphany: “Hey, I can buy a Call of Duty game without you now, because I’m old enough for the “Mature” rating.”

Kyle is still in his school’s honors program, is still playing lacrosse, and took the PSAT for the second time. He’ll be taking the SATs soon, and while he’s nervous, I’m sure he’ll score higher than I did. (Not a difficult feat.) Kyle can be the typical moody teenager, but he also shovels snow for the older neighbors, watches his siblings for us, and is basically a good kid.

It’s hard to believe Kyle used to be this little boy…

There is more below the fold…

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Happy Birthday, Princess P!

Today is my beautiful, smart, redheaded daughter’s ninth birthday!

Julia is my fourth and final – um, probably – child, and my only daughter. As such, she is my princess, can do no wrong, and will immediately shipped off to the convent when she becomes a teenager. God help the boy who takes an interest in Princess P, for he will become intimately familiar with my firearms.

The princess is an outgoing, fun-loving girl, who makes friends easily, does well in school, and loves dance class. Yes, she sometimes talks entirely too much, and yes, she does wear a pair of short shorts I simply despise, but all in all, she is a joy to be around.

Princess P still wants to become a “Princess Ballerina” when she grows up; a vocation I assume would pay rather well. Besides, with three older brothers, Julia can be whomever she wants to be. Like, say, a hockey goalie.

Happy birthday, Princess P! We love you very much!

Peace Be With You

Nine days into The Jury Trial Which Will Not Die, I am completely and utterly sick of court. After the events of this past weekend, I am completely and utterly sick of humanity. So, I needed to post something which will make me feel better.

My kids’ elementary school holds mass the first Friday of every month. During the celebration, the teachers give out an award called Peacemaker of the Month. It’s given to one child from each classroom based upon that particular month’s featured trait.

This week, my eighth grader Erik received the award for the trait of Fairness. I guess he let the girls in his class stare lovingly at some other boy last month.

Any hoo, Mrs. Earp was able to attend the festivities – since someone was stuck in court with the dregs of humanity – and the post-mass snacks. Erik has won Peacemaker a few times in his elementary school career, and it’s nice to see him win it before going off to high school.

Kevin J. Earp, Super Genius

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The kids are going back to school. Today was Erik and Kevin’s first day in 8th and 4th grade, respectively. They both landed the teachers they wanted, and both had a lot of friends in their classes.

The one exception was Grace, Kevin’s “girlfriend”, who is in the other fourth grade class. It will be the first time they have been apart.

Anyway, when the missus went to parent-teacher night, she received Kevin’s Terranova scores. Terranova is standardized testing used to measure students’ progress in social studies, science, math, and so forth. Last year’s grades were available just now – boy, what a racket – and when I read them, I almost cried.

Last year’s third grade students were scored on reading, language, and mathematics. Reading is not his strongest subject, but he scored an 81. Kevin scored an 87 in language, which was impressive. However, the pièce de résistance was his math score: a 91!

All three scores were listed in the Above Average category, and while Kevin didn’t think the scores were a big deal, we were all very proud of him.

Home Sweet Home

Well, we’re back in Philly after a pretty excellent week in Sea Isle City, NJ. The family went down the shore on Saturday – I came down Sunday because I had to work – and we returned late last night. It’s nice to be back, but since I need to go back to work Tuesday morning, it serves as a reminder to take two weeks of summer vacation next year.

The weather was nearly perfect. Sunny every day, temps in the mid to upper-80s, warm ocean water, and only one fleeting incident of rain. Of course, that didn’t prevent me from getting sunburned. NOTE: Don’t complain about a farmer’s tan when the alternative is scorched upper arms for four days afterward…

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Skating Toward Success

Princess P’s second grade class has been working on a project for the last month or so. The assignment was a wax museum, where the students were to choose a notable American citizen and write a report about their life.

The students were to also dress as the person profiled, and pose in the school’s human wax museum in the gymnasium. When visitors approached, the student would recite certain facts about their citizen.

Julia’s teacher sent home a sample list of Americans, most of which are the same boring suggestions every child receives: Susan B. Anthony (our ugliest president), Amelia Earhart, and so forth. Yeah, we weren’t having any of that. The teacher said we could add our own suggestions, and being a tremendous hockey fan, I asked Julia if she wanted to research Cammi Granato.

Who is Cammi Granato? She is the first woman to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, and is a member of U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame and International Hockey Hall of Fame. She was captain of the 1998 U.S. Women’s gold medal hockey team, and scored the first ever Olympic goal for that team. She is the U.S. Olympic team’s all-time leading scorer and received an invite to the New York Islanders training camp.

Granato is also a member of NBC’s hockey coverage and a color commentator for the Los Angeles Kings. Outside the rink, Granato supports special needs children by starting Golden Dreams for Children Foundation. She also runs an annual hockey camp during the summer in Chicago for young girls.

Julia embraced the idea of representing Cammi in school, and wore a USA hockey jersey and brought Kevin’s hockey stick. Mrs. Earp attended the wax museum, and said she did a tremendous job.

That’s my girl.

Video of her presentation is below the fold…

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A Star-Studded Gala

A week or so ago, Kyle received a letter from school – no, it was not his release; that one was mine – stating he would be receiving an academic award at the Honors Convocation.

Kyle, being Kyle, immediately quipped, “Well, that’s gotta be a mistake.” Naturally we agreed, but hey, the school was offering free snacks afterward. Free. Snacks.

Kyle had to wear his school uniform, and the missus made me dress up. I chose ripped jeans and a tuxedo t-shirt – because I keep it classy – and we headed to school.

None of the letters identified the award the students would be receiving, nor the teacher who made the nomination. So it was like the Oscars, without pompous blowhards making political speeches, but chock full of wardrobe malfunctions…

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