Same Strokes, Different Folks

WARNING: The following is a completely random post. You’ll find a lot of rambling, opinions, nonsense, and cutesy kid garbage. Be prepared.

Don’t Tell Mom!
Commercials are dumb! Unfortunately when we decided to end our five-year sentence of no cable, I mistakenly bought the package that didn’t come with the DVR, so now commercials are what we occasionally have to sit through. Every once in a while a commercial will pop on that will make me chuckle, and that I can relate to. During the World Cup Hyundai produced a commercial called “World Cup Spoilers” that showed a man attempting not to see or hear any of the World Cup game because he’s recording it. This one hit home for me. Earlier this year Hyundai (hmm…maybe I should get a Hyundai) produced a commercial called “Don’t Tell Mom!”, which again hit the spot.

This morning that commercial welcomed itself back into my life as Lis had to leave for work (more on that in a bit) early and would be gone the entire Saturday. That left me and the trio to fend for ourselves. Let me straighten this out real quick – I don’t watch or babysit my kids. I’ve had to correct my friends in the past when they mentioned, “Are you watching your kids?” I even had to correct Lia on that earlier this evening when she said, “Next time you babysit us…” They are my kids and we all hang out, or spend time together.

Like the “Don’t Tell Mom!” Hyundai commercial there are moments during the day when I may drop a “Don’t Tell Mom!” Well Lukas thought he would tally those up, and here are the few we remembered:

Don’t tell Mom…I put too much butter in the eggs
What it makes the eggs a little fluffier, and flavorful!

Don’t tell Mom…I used an extra egg
I don’t know if I’m being wasteful. Heck, I don’t even know if I’m making them properly.

Don’t tell Mom…I had tacos at Jack in the Box.
Lis worked at Jack in the Box for a few months. She knows what went into those tacos. I don’t care.

Tragedy Hits Close to Home
How do I transition from Jack in the Box tacos to the tragic news that hit close to home yesterday. I guess I’ll attempt to transition by saying, my role as a parent is to love, support, discipline, and really have a strong, solid relationship with my kids. Yesterday’s shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Marysville, WA proved – to me – that there are a lot of us that just aren’t doing enough of that.

How did the event hit close to home? Okay, so I know we moved across the mountains, so close in this instance doesn’t necessarily mean distance. What it means is that in the six years I worked for the Everett Herald, I became extremely familiar with the Marysville-Pilchuck High School and its campus. I covered dozens and dozens of basketball and volleyball tournaments, swim meets, and football games. It was hard seeing pictures of gun-drawn police officers roaming the hallways that I once sprinted down, late in the evening, in an attempt to find the closest WiFi spot to send my story. I have friends that were graduates of that school, and friends that lived blocks from that school.

I also was a youth leader at my church in Snohomish, a town just a few miles from Marysville, and a few of the kids that I hung out with were teenagers at a neighboring high school, Lake Stevens.

I’m also a parent, and the more and more I hear about these incidents, and the more and more they become closer to home, the more and more I get frightened. Our future leaders already frighten me. Actually it’s not so much them as it’s the people who claim to be raising these future leaders that will be going to school with mine.

But let’s not blame the parents, let’s blame guns. Lis and I are split on that decision. She comes from Brazil where only the criminals have guns and I, well, ‘Merica right? I don’t own a gun and never will. Not because I side on the anti-guns issue, I’m pretty conservative, and once again, ‘Merica right? However, I know how I’ve raged in the past, and though I’ve gotten better, I know it’s best for me and my family that there is not a firearm anywhere near me. That’s just me knowing me.

We both agree that we’re totally confused on why these kids have such easy access to their parents’ weapons. Why do they? This kid didn’t shoot his friends with the hunting rifle his parents bought him for his birthday. He used his dad’s “high-capacity” handgun.

Still, I don’t blame the guns, because it took this kid time and thoughts to plan out his attack. So let’s blame mental illness.

Though from all indications this kid was a “good guy,” the Homecoming king for the freshman class, of course, to do something like this takes a demented mind, but was he mentally ill? Um…can’t we all be, at least a little bit? So let’s blame video games.

My co-worker mentioned the types of video games the kids play these days. Yes, tons of kids spend tons of times playing tons of first person shooter games. But blaming these video games on them crossing the stupid line is like blaming Eminem and Marilyn Manson in the ’90s. I play video games, I listen to rap music, and especially like Eminem’s. That never made me want to create havoc. So let’s blame social media.

Um … I have nothing, so I’m going to blame parenting.

As mentioned above it’s my role in life to love, support, discipline (yes, we must discipline), and have a solid, strong relationship with my kids. That means knowing who their friends are, what they do on their lunch break, following them on Twitter and Instagram, friending them on Facebook (Note to Future Kevin: Do your best to refrain from allowing them onto social media, you know why), checking up on the sites they may visit on the Internet, or on their phone. This shooter used Twitter as a way to complain about life. If that was my kid, I’d be asking a ton of questions. Heck, last week Lukas wrote a story that ended with the protagonist burning down the house of the bad guy, and burning up the bad guy. Before I got a phone call from his teacher, I asked a lot of questions. I think I’ll do okay with keeping track of my kids on social media. I’m on all of those sites already, and when I worked with the youth, I made sure to know what was the “in” thing at the time.

This also means sitting down as a family and spending time together. I have relatives that don’t eat dinner together. Two eat in their rooms, one eats in front of the television, how does that help build a strong bond in a family? One of my highlights is sitting down at the dinner table and working my way around it asking how school was, what is something new they learned, and what did they do. Lia loves to share. Lukas doesn’t, so I ask him about new friends, or what he did during recess, which usually opens him up a bit. We even listen to Levi tell us about wrestling imaginary friends, or his bike rides with his mom.

And like I said, I don’t watch my kids, we hang out. Lis and I don’t have separate “Yours” and “Mine” days. We make it a point to do something together. Sure, I’m still their dad, but I’m also someone they should feel comfortable around, and enjoy being around. In my opinion, so far, so good.

I’m not an expert, and a publicly joke that as I grow up I’ll have a drug abuser, teenage pregnancy, and a high school dropout (not in any order), but we’re doing what we think is right, and trying the best we can.

Oh, and I promised to throw more Christianity in my work so … you may or may not want to believe what the Bible says, okay fine, but true or not, it was written thousands of years ago and deals with much of the same crap we’re dealing with nowadays. It’s a history book, and it proves that humankind is exactly the same now as it was back then (with less goat sacrificing). The only thing is, they didn’t have the Internet back then so they couldn’t tell how many school clubbings there were in the town next to them. Point being, don’t think the world is getting any worse, we just find this crap out easier than they did when they were passing scrolls. I wonder what they blamed back then? The shepherds? I’d blame the shepherds.

Still, if you choose to not believe the Bible, still understand that it’s a book full of wisdom, and history, and really if you and your kids read through Proverbs you might learn a few life lessons that were written a few thousand years ago, and can still be applied to this day. It doesn’t even mention the name Jesus, so you don’t have to worry about your child becoming a Christian, God forbid. Looking for that next self-help book that Oprah recommends? Try picking up one of the first self-help books ever written – the Bible. Just sayin’.

Peyton Man-Crush-ning!
Speaking of shepherds, how about that Peyton Manning eh? He sure does a good job of tending his flock. I’d like to congratulate him once again on breaking the record for career touchdowns. It’s been an odd year for me and Manning. I think after the emotional stress that the Super Bowl loss caused me, I just don’t feel the same about him anymore. It’s not you, it’s me. Okay, so it’s sort of you. I still love you, but sometimes you have to see other people, and this year I’m definitely seeing someone else. As mentioned in my football preview I’ve decided to go all-in on Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts (“One Team, One Heartbreak”) that I haven’t followed Manning or the Broncos season as closely as I did the past two years. Sure I still root for him and the Broncos, but when it comes to watching the standings I’m focused solely on where the Colts are going to end up.

By the way, nice to see Seahawks (4-3)  fans humbled, and nice to see the Colts (5-2) be the best team nobody is talking about.

Still, this whole Best Quarterback Ever crap that pundits continue to argue about is goofy. Yes, you want Super Bowl wins, but isn’t that a team thing? After all Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger have two Super Bowl victories each. Plus, I’d like to think their teams were pretty dominant on defense during their Super Bowl runs (though both had some clutch tosses in their Super Bowl victories). Last year’s Seahawks team was largely successful because of the way their defense hit, and let’s not forget Trent Dilfer’s Baltimore Ravens team from 2000.

Manning holds numerous NFL records (including MVP wins), he’ll pass Favre next year in total wins, his winning percentage is behind that not-to-be-named Patriots quarterback, Roger Staubach and Joe Montana (though if Manning keeps up what he’s doing in Denver he’ll surpass Montana this season). What clinches theBest Ever debate for me is what he’s done the last three years, at an older age, on a new team, with a wobbly ball, and an I-don’t-want-to-call-it-weak-but-it’s-not-strong arm. Two straight seasons of 13-3 (and well on pace for a third), 114 TDs, an AFC Divisional loss that is still painful to think about, and a Super Bowl loss that is still painful to think about. That’s not easy to do, and it’s actually impressive (not the latter two), and why I consider him the best EVER. At least until Andrew Luck starts threaten all of the aforementioned records. Yes, the new crush continues to grow (get your mind out of the gutter boy!).

Speaking of records, Boyz II Men released a new record (do they still call them records?) called Collide on Tuesday. As I have done with all 11 of their studio released albums (and four of their compilation albums), I bought it on the day it was released. I still can’t get a retweet or Instagram share from them, but whatever, I’m a dude, a dude that may arguably be their biggest fan, but it’s cool.

After one week I’m diggin’ about six of the 14 tracks on the album. The others will need to grow on me. Still love my Boyz though! I am honestly thinking about coming up with a database for dudes, that allows them to look up a Boyz II Men song based on a situation in their love life, that will help them explain themselves to their lady, in hopes they better understand how we’re feeling. Does that make sense?

The Johnson Five
IMG_1877Speaking of making sense, this entry sure isn’t. We had a nice time with my family (folks, and Erik and Stephanie) last weekend as they rolled into town for Lukas’s 10th birthday. We went bowling, drove bumper cars, and played miniature golf, before returning home for Stevanato Pizza and some Lukas Jeopardy. It was fun, different from the birthday parties we usually throw, and something we’ll probably look into doing on an annual basis.

10-18-2014-10-18 13.36.53 (10)Lia continues to both impress and surprise us. We had high hopes for her when she entered kindergarten, especially since we felt she was ready two years ago, so it was nice to receive an email from her teacher saying, “Just wanted you to know how awesome I think your daughter is. She is always kind and a good listener. Whenever we get a new students, I put them next to Lia because I know she will be a great help to them.  Thanks for sending such a terrific girl.”


Kindergarten at last!

We couldn’t believe it. One thing we worried about with Lia starting school, was the listening part. Once she’s settled in she loves to be social, so the “good listener” part surprised us. The rest impressed us and we’re extremely proud of her.

Levi … he’s three, and though he’s speaking really clearly now, there’s not much more to report, other than he makes us laugh, is occasionally, extremely bossy (especially in the morning), but also extremely chill. He just needs to wrestle with someone.

As mentioned above, Lis started working part-time for Staff Pro, a staffing agency for events. Today she took a shuttle to Pullman for the Washington State Cougars’ football game. Something to do for the much-needed extra cash.

I nearly forgot about the title of my post called “Same Strokes, Different Folks”. What did I mean by that?

We may be in a new town, new region, new environment, but that doesn’t mean I have to stop doing what I like to do (or get suckered into doing).

I began coaching Lukas’s YMCA basketball squad, mostly because they needed someone to coach. It’s only one day a week for eight weeks, but it’s been fun. Last year was a great learning experience for me, so I come into practice with confidence of what the kids need to get out of me and the weekly practice. I will say if there is one thing I miss, and one thing that is better about where we came from, it’s the Sultan Youth Basketball program. Well run, organized, inexpensive, but you know the kids and the coaches are learning a lot, and together. I do miss the SYB.

On Wednesday night our church has a program for the little ones (our kids), the adults, and the regular youth group. Well, rather than hang out with the adults I’ve been hanging out with the teenagers. Good group of kids, and a well ran program, thanks to our new youth pastor (and a new friend of mine). It’s been fun!

I also just started working for the Spokesman-Review in their sports department. Working part-time for the third largest newspaper in the state, I’ll be taking high school game scores from incoming phone calls, and possibly patching together the preps roundup. It’s nice to be back in the sports department, taking phone calls, doing some writing and just hanging out in a newsroom.

So yah, same strokes, different folks.Darth Vader EPVII

I’ll spare you the talk on the leaked Star Wars concept art that has made me even more giddy about December 18, 2015. I won’t bother you with the turnaround season I’m having in fantasy football, and how Lukas has put together a couple of nice squads.

I will tell you that the following is What The Johnson Five’s watching: The Amazing Race (our family’s Friday fix, helps the kids learn about the world in an entertaining sort of way), The Middle (us in TV format), Star Wars Rebels (goes without saying), Dog With a Blog (that’s mostly the kids), Gotham (I’m a Batman fan, but this seems a little too dramatic for me, I’ll stick around for a bit), Criminal Minds (that’s all Lis), and Tosh.0 (sometimes you need to laugh at how dumb people are).

Party on!

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