Thursday, May 30, 2013

Gnom gnom...

No real story here; I just love taking pictures of Angie when she feeds. Mmmm, mango.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: That Sebastian was here the whole day.
David: That Sebastian was by us.  
Tom: That I play with Lisi.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: That we couldn't sleep on the balcony.
David: That my lamp broke.
Tom: That I can't play not Nintendo.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To play with Sebastian.
David: I want to play with the new Skylanders.
Tom: Eat something sweet.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

100 minus 93

This was actually about 12 hours before Disco Dave had any right to wear a birthday suit, but for some reason, he was begging to get clean. Don't ask me why. I've given up on trying to comprehend my wife's offspring.

12 hours later turned out to be 6:00 in the freakin' morning, when David burst into our bedroom screaming something about presents. At least he smelled presentable.

'Can I open them? Huh? Can I open them now? Huh? Huh? Can I?'

'No. We're not opening any gifts until your brothers are up.'

I didn't notice the slight pause as Davey's brain switched gears, but Angie's facial pillow-plant was followed by nasal thunder that signaled approval, but unfortunately drowned out any chance of me hearing coherent thoughts.

'My feet are cold. Can I go put on a pair of socks?'


I was just getting my dream on when I heard chaos from the other room. I jumped out of bed, raced down the hallway and found David in his room, repeatedly slamming his closet door.


I stood at the doorway and dumfoundedly watched as David karate-kicked his dresser drawer.


I was still scratching my head as to how the birthday boy had lost his mind when he noticed me.

'Oh, hey Papa. Um, Peter and Tommy are up now. Can I open my gifts?'

I looked over to the bed and saw Peter and Tom yawning and kicking off covers. To be honest, I was torn. It was David's birthday, so a few spankings were certainly in order, but in the end, I gave points for tricking his parents and headed to the coffee machine.

As David began his gift frenzy, Tommy yawned and demanded a coffee as well.

'Nice try, but I have a little rule that's called NO.'

David didn't ask for a cup o' joe, but his adrenaline levels were already pinging off the chart. A previously unknown side effect of happiness overdose is apparently jig dancing. Nice crown, buddy.

One of the hits this year was a bunch of new extensions for the boys' HEXBUG NANO robotic bug farm. Right, note to self - buy a shitload of batteries.

You might ask where Mama was this whole time. Sleeping? No, but a damn good guess. Angie was pinging around the house trying to clean up for a group of people who would be showing up later to completely trash the place.

'Angie, calm down! You still have two and half hours before anyone...'


I almost giggled, but something about Angie's twitchy eye warned my mouth to sit back in the closed position.

'Aaagggghh! I'm not even dressed yet!'

I thought about making an incredibly witty comment about how spiffy she looked in pajamas, but whoever had rung the bell must have really wanted in.


'Just go jump in the shower. I'll tell whoever it is that you normally sleep until noon and that you just woke up.'

My ears are pretty sure that Angie was vocally unthrilled with my plan, but I was too busy answering the door.

'Horst, Judy, hi! You guys are, uh, a little early.'

Judy coughed her explanation.

'I'm sorry - I'm sick and can't stay long. We just wanted to drop off the birthday boy's gifts before everyone showed up. Ba-bye!'

We wished Judy a speedy recovery, but their fly-by visit did mean that we had some extra time to finalize everything.

You might not think it, but Angie and I are actually more synchronized than SEAL team five. She finished vacuuming the dishes and dollied up as I picked up David's strawberry-covered birthday cake. Against all odds, we managed to rendezvous at exactly the point when the brigade of well-wishers hit our shores.

I have to admit, the rest of the afternoon was a bit of a blur. I remember that Tommy's Ute stopped by, but I don't remember how she managed to escape the trampede. Somewhere in the fog of my mind, I also recollect that it was Arman's birthday, but I left his celebration to Peter. It rocked.

At one point, I also remember asking David how his birthday was going.

Pictures can say a thousand words, but Tommy added a new tilt when he decided to scream three peculiar words at the end of the traditional Happy Birthday song.


Don't ask me why. I've given up on trying to comprehend my wife's offspring.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: That David has his birthday and that he got so much Skylanders and so many gifts.  
David: That I have birthday and all the friends were coming.
Tom: That Lauri and Alessio and Chiara was there.  

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: The worst part was nothing.
David: 'Cause I ask Taisiya ob Arman can spend but he can't.
Tom: That I cannot have the ring.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: Play with the Skylanders on the Nintendo.
David: I want to try the new level from Skylander Giants.
Tom: Nintendo, why I got new Skylanders.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Guess who discovered the security camera in Judy's shop today? I'll give you three guesses:

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

We don't need no water...

I came home from work to find that a gaggle of weirdos had invaded my home. Before any witty donkeys start retorting, I do realize that our ranch is normally chock-full of freaks and Angie, but somehow today was even stranger.

The first of many birthday gifts from my lovely wife was cooked food. In case you've never read about any of Angie's previous culinary endeavors, let me just assure you that there are only two possible outcomes and both of them involve fire.

As soon as I came home, I bolted to the kitchen to crack open a brew-ha. Normally, I say hi to the family first, but today is my birthday. Dude, where's my beer?

I found the beer, but my eagle eyes immediately picked up on the fact that Angie was in the kitchen and two - I repeat - TWO burners were on. WTFIST?

The PG breakout of my initial thought was 'What is she thinking?'. Don't get me wrong - I really don't mind if Angie's mind dabbles with cooking, it's just that my mind prefers to have the kids safely tucked far far away before humans that I love set fire to the kitchy.

Against all odds, Angie managed to make a kick-ass potato salad and a scrumdiddlyumptious noodle salad. Chiara saved the day with hot bread and Peter, David and Tommy... well, actually, they didn't really help much. They were there, though. They ate. And, let's not forget, they ensured that the noise levels during dinner did not drop below levels that deafen the untrained.

After feeding, Tommy jumped up on a chair and demonstrated how he can make chipmunk noises.

Angie immediately hushed everyone so they could enjoy Tommy's newfound talent.

'He learned that from Steve! I can't do it, so it must be amazing!'

With that, Alessio and Chiara both tried it and nailed it. To make matters funnier, so did Peter, David and Sarah. I guess Angie is the only chipmunk-challenged person in our circle of life.

After Tommy's dinner show, I wandered into the kitchen to discover Angie's scrumptious faux pas.

'Yo Angie! I'm just speculating, but are you done cooking the empty pot of noodles?'

That's right, Betty Burner forgot to turn off the hot box after boiling her edible display of love. For that, I love her. Yeah, that's cute - can you hand me the fire extinguisher, please?

Luckily, Angie is accustomed to embarrassing food-scorching stories and has developed a sure-fire method for dealing with man-hunks cracking up at her from the 'smoking room'.

Yep, Angie's preferred method is to ignore giggling birthday boys and to spend hours sorting piles for the boys' sticker collection. They actually weren't interested at all, but at least it kept the ladies quiet. For a while.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: That you had your birthday.
David: Your birthday was the best.
Tom: Play computer. 

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: That we couldn't stay by the party the whole night. 
David: When the party started, we need to go to bed. 
Tom: Nothing was the worst part.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To ask you how it feels to be one year older. 
David: I want to stay up and watch soccer. 
Tom: Play computer.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Birthday Bouncers

I don't know about you, but something about this picture freaks me out. Perhaps it's the innocent smugs, or that they both actually looked into the camera, or maybe it's the fact that they somehow managed to stand still long enough for a photo op even though it was Lauri's birthday party and there was a gaggle of knee-highs in the background lining up to destroy Lauri's new trampoline.

'Hey!! Who the hell stole our kids and what are we going to do with these goofy looking robots?'

Before I could get my panic on, Tommy finally noticed the trampoline that the height-challenged ones had been screaming about since we had arrived. Poof!

As Tommy tried his damnedest to snap his own neck, Angie and I wished Sami and Katherina a pleasant romp and quietly exited the chaos. 

After a short coffee break back at the ranch, we rounded up Peter and David and headed out for the main mission for today - to buy a new dishwasher. Oh yeah - we are the poster family for excitement.   

Before embarking on our expensive journey, Peter demanded some time to spruce up. After five minutes of primping and preening, Peter emerged from the bathroom, all gussied up and ready to go.

'Wow, Peter. You,... you do realize that we're just going to buy kitchen appliances, right?'

'Yeah. How's my hair?'

'You're wearing a hat.'

I didn't wait for a witty retort; my wallet was already annoyed that it would be dishing out half a thou for a cleaning box, so I grabbed my credit card and moved out.

At least the sales guy amused me.

'Sure, this model might cost 400 bucks more, but it's got a special PARTY button that washes the dishes in 20 minutes.'

'Buddy, in the past two decades, I have never had an urgent need to wash dishes in 20 minutes. I'm gonna go with the model where you just push the start button and it goes.'

'Ok, but I would very highly recommend that you purchase the additional warranty package. For a hundred bucks, you can get full coverage for two years.'

'Are you telling me that these machines are such pieces of crap that they won't even last two years?'

'No, no, these are babies are solid, made to last decades'

'Yeah, thanks, but I think we'll skip the warranty. Do you guys deliver?'

It was around that point that we noticed the time. We were supposed to pick up Tom at 6:00, which meant we had approximately five minutes to make it to the other side of the city. We're the Johnsons, though, and on the way out of store we passed a Chinese restaurant.

'Man, those mini egg-rolls look yummy.'

Yup, you guessed it.

So, yeah - we stuffed ourselves and picked up Tommy around seven. After that, we went grocery shopping. As I already told you - we are the poster family for excitement.

When we finally made it home and got the boys settled, Angie informed me that Simone would be coming over and that they would be watching the Eurovision contest. For those of you lucky enough to have never had the pleasure, it's basically four and a half hours of Europe's crappiest karaoke.

I was frantically looking for a nice wall to smash my head into when I remembered that Veris was celebrating into his birthday. The best part - he was doing this at a pub. 

'So, you ladies have fun. Don't wait up for me, but if you do, make sure there's cold beer in the fridge. Ba-bye.'

I don't know about you, but something about this picture freaks me out. 

Perhaps it's the insane amount of combustible sticks that Lena felt compelled to jab into the cake, or that the birthday boy's wife damn near burnt the arm hairs off the poor guy cringing next to her, or maybe it's the fact that Veris was expected to blow out fire, even though he had just downed multiple shots of highly flammable whiskey. 
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When Mama take us to Rewe and we get the stickers that we are missing for our books.
David: When we can play on the iPad the whole time when you and Mama were the washer buying.
Tom: When I jump and do the flip-thing with Lauri.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When you make fun of me why I ask you on my hair and I have a hat on.
David: As I on the sofa was and I fell on my neck.
Tom: When I fall down on the road and I get this owa here - look, Papa - here!'

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To go to Arman's.
David: I wanna dance like this - bogatady-smak-a-tady-foo. Yeah, maybe even two times.
Tom: I want to go to Lauri's why he so many new toys has.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Sami and I decided today to challenge the urban myth that ankle-biters under the age of five can not be tuckered out. Bullshit.

It started with a road trip to the Playmobil FunPark. No, Tommy, for the last time, it's not Legoland!

Sami has been to Playmo-land multiple times, including one rather loud visit with David, so he was the tour guide, event organizer, and navigator. It's what we in the parental industry call a package deal. Our park ranger started earning his keep at our first stop.

'Trust me - this stop is one of the few where you have to wait in line - we need to get this one behind us early on while they still have patience.'

The 'stop' was to dig into humongoid clams and search for plastic shells. At first, Tommy didn't want to. I then promptly reminded him that Mama is a self-admitted shell-collecting freak and that she would probably disown him if he ditched an opp to snatch some dead crustaceans. Yep, that worked.

After fishing for exoskeletons, we moved on to climbing. Sami insisted on tackling the basic climbing first. As with Angie, I had no idea what he was babbling about, but I blindly trusted the leader. Go for it, Tommy - make it look difficult.

What Sami didn't tell Tommy was that the baby-rope eventually led to the biggest slide ever witnessed by my third-born. Holy slide!

Lauri and Tommy are a bit like the Odd Couple. They love each other, but have firm, but differing beliefs when it comes to certain things. One of those is apparently slides. Lauri's train of thought was 'hey, look a slide - whipeeeeee!!!' whereas Tommy's brain went 'whoa, a dark and covered death tunnel - hell no!!!'. So, yeah - Tommy walked the 'stairs of shame' back down and learned what gloating means. Thanks, Lauri.

Oddly enough, Tommy is not afraid of hooks, eye-patches or scurvy, so we decided to take the scallywags on a plank walk. Arggh, matey.

Sami and I actually managed to paddle our way out to the pirate ship on wooden rafts without drowning any of our offspring. I only mention this because certain lady-types tend to overlook the small triumphs that certain manly-types like to brag about. No dead kids, where's my high-five?

Avoiding a watery grave apparently makes you really crave cooked food. Who knew?

I love this picture. First, there's 'Jaws of Life' Lauri, who obviously has not been fed in a fortnight. Then there's 'Drink Swiper' Tom, whose thirsty liver ignored basic laws like 'Though shall not steal thy neighbor's juice'.

After lunch, we went looking for a castle.

Just for the record, I'd like to point out that it was MY son that found the big huge castle that was the predominant centerpiece of the fun park. That's great Tommy - you can put your hand down now.

The 'castle' had more secret passages and hidden tunnels than agencies that endorse waterboarding. Unfortunately, Tommy was caught in enemy territory and sent to the gallows.

Luckily, they stayed his execution and derelict-boy managed to scale the prison walls and escape.

After Prisoners Gone Wild, I fully expected Sami to lecture him on the responsibilities of being a four-year old.

Okay, talk about your all-time backfires. Thanks, Sami.

After busting out of Compton, my pint-size delinquent decided to go digging for gold. Yeah, baby - find Mama a new tooth!

He failed miserably, but luckily Angie still has a full grill. That didn't stop our height-challenged derelict from continuing on his criminal spree, though.

After looting the sand pits, he bellied up to the bar at the local saloon.

I would like to point out that it wasn't my kid that threw the first tennis ball at whiskey bottles that have a hard time falling over. I'm not saying that it was LAURI - I'm only stating a simple fact that it was not Tommy. You do the math.

I'm crap at math, so I decided instead to force Tommy to paddle around in a boat using only his arms. No reason, really. Just, you know, for fun.

My plan worked until I asked paddle-boy to check out the pond of tadpoles that a certain insanely hot father-of-three type had discovered. Sami only has two boys, by the way.

'Hey buddy - check this out! Do you know what these are?'


'Okay, great, I just wanted to check. I mean, I could just leave it there and trust that you're a genius, but I'm more curious than George - what are they?'

'Baby shrimp!'

With that, paddle-boy giggled off to ram Lauri's boat. Whatever, I'm sure Ken's kid is also no brainiac.   

Not that I was worried at all, but after the Bubba Shrimp incident, I decided to show off my boy's motor skills.  

Yup, that was pretty much it. As Tommy struggled with the go-kart that wouldn't freakin' go, I realized that Tommy cannot pedal. Embarrassing? Yes, but not for me. For a change. For Tommy, embarrassing started when the friendly woman asked if 'wittle Tommy-wommy would like to wide a wittle twactor instead?'.

It wasn't so much a response as it was a growl.

'No! This can I DO!!'

I was seriously contemplating about intervening to save grammatically inept kids with pedaling issues and undersized legs, but at exactly that moment, Lauri came barreling around the corner on his fifth lap. Pedaling like a maniac, I might add.

'Hey, Tommy, check it out - Lauri's on his fifth lap. Um, why are you still in the parking lot?'

After Tommy's blubbery meltdown, Sami and I decided to cool the race horses down.

'Oh Lauri, that's sooo great how you won the race. Really. I am sooo happy for you. Yeah! Really. In fact, here's an ice-pop trophy, just for your face...'

I broke up the Odd Couple shortly before Tom could put actions to words. Lauri's face can thank me later.

Our second attempt to cool down overheated kids was at least moist. It started with Tommy sinking a bunch of boats.

This killed the better part of an hour as the kids raced around the water canals sinking shit. Most of the parents were screaming things at their kids like 'What the hell are you doing? I told you to stay dry' and 'damn it, stop getting your sister wet'. In case you're a new reader, Sami and I are not like most of the parents.

'Yeah, Tommy! Splash him again!'

You see, Sami has been to the park a few times and is a wise grasshopper. Luckily, he called me up the night before.

'Bring an extra change of clothes, a toothbrush and pajamas.'

'But we're not spending the night.'

'Just trust me.'

So yeah, after the sink-and-soak ride, we changed the boys into dry clothes in front of screaming moms and decided to make our way indoors. The first stop was the build-a-kick-ass-robot-that-can-destroy-anything station.

That was it, actually. There were at least ten other stations, but I guess the build-a-pony and Playmo-doll stands didn't rank above making your own cyborg.

As the pint-sized builders terrorized androids, I grabbed a coffee and asked Sami what was next. He glanced at his watch briefly before explaining THE PLAN.

'Those two have been running around all day. They are gonna peak soon, but I've kept the real energy-burner for the end.'

I shit you not; it was like how apes must feel when being released to the wild. Go, be free.

Sami's plan worked - the boys went absolutely nuts and damn near killed themselves from exhaustion in the indoor jungle gym. At one point, Sami rallied up the primates.

'Right! Time to brush teeth and get pajamas on.'

I laughed out loud before the boys could respond. There was no way in hell that they were going to....


I did a double take and confirmed that my son actually was one of the two kids voluntarily agreeing to stop playing. That should tell you how tired they were, but in case you're a moron, here's the money shot.

Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: That I did a test in school in math.
David: That Tommy was in Plamobil Land.
Tom: That we was by the climbing thing in Playmobil.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: As by sports, I got kicked on my shin bone and I couldn't play.
David: That I can't sleep with Tom.
Tom: That I had a bad dream on the way home when I asleep fall.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: I want to play with my friends by the party.
David: I want to sleep by Tom.
Tom: Play Playmobil dragons.