Friday, November 17, 2017

Grandma Ruth and the Sorcerers Stone

Our boys are Harry Potter freaks.  Last year when I was deployed it was a tender mercy from our Lord that the two oldest became enthralled in the Harry Potter series.  They walked around for months on end with their heads buried in one gigantic book after another.  It helped her maintain control as they occasionally just needed a slight course redirection to avoid walking into a pillar at Walmart or something.

Last week we took them to Harry Potter world at Universal Studios.  It was a pretty amazing thing to see and those boys ate up every inch of it.  They each picked a wand at Olivanders, cast spells to make books in windows open and rode terrible and yet wonderfully adventurous rides through (dare I say) a magical kingdom.  Though I suppose it's technically a 'magical representative democracy'.

We stayed in this great retro hotel called the Cabana Bay Resort where everything was done up in a late 50's early 60's motif.  Right down to the V05 shampoo.  There was a lot of arguing and fighting as 6, 9 and 11 year old boys are wont to do.  There were many more baseless threats as parents of 6, 9 and 11 year old boys are also wont to do.  It was a great trip and one which we will all remember for a very long time.

Coming out of a ride with Mackay we had a conversation that went like this.
M: "Man that was so awesome I think I am going to be a vegetarian!"
I was intrigued and wondered if he knew what that word meant.
A: "So what is a vegetarian?"
M: "You know, it's like a veterinarian, but with a 'G'.  Oh ya, a veterinarian.  You know, like you Dad, someone who fights wars and rides in planes and stuff!"

For the record, he damn well knows what every one of those words means.  He was feeling really silly and started playing on the words and trolling me because he knew that I'd bite and give him a hard time.  It was some second level stuff.

Before that trip we got some crummy news.  My Grandma Ruth finally succumbed to the end of her life and passed away.  We talked about it and Michelle made it possible for me to take Brigham and go to Utah for the funeral.

It was cool experience because it was Brigs first trip on an airplane where he got his own seat and actually understood what was going on.  I got to talk him through the taxi and take off and explain to him the magic and physics of how it all happens.  I thought he wasn't terribly interested because all he kept asking for was my phone but later when we were with his cousin Max I over heard him emphatically talking about the magical feeling he had when the wheels lifted off the ground and he could feel free from earth.  As a pilot dad it was pretty cool.

I'm glad that Brigham got to be there for the funeral.  I wish they all could have been; I really wish Michelle could have as well.  It was an amazing opportunity to see what it means to be a Rasmussen.  I can't think of but a few moments in the entire weekend that were somber.  It was a Rasmussen family get together--we laughed, we joked, we poked fun at each other, we wrestled and I body slammed Felicia at least twice.  The children put together one of the most amazing celebrations of life that I could imagine and as we all met in that little chapel I attended as a child I felt at home surrounded by those people.  I always will.  Brigham did too.  He needed to feel that and know what it means.  I'm glad we could make that happen.  We will always miss our Grandma Ruth but we will never fail to have a part in this very large family that she gave us.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Naughty food diary

One of my favorite things about Mackay: sometimes when he finds a food that he really likes and he is about to eat it, he starts talking trash to it.  Like this, "Oh Marshmallow, you think you so bad but you going doooooown sucka! So soft and squishy and a little bit mooshy you don't even know yet because I'ma swallow you like cake.  Like, I'm gonna crush you and you gonna diiiiiiiiiiiiiiie!"

Yum yum yum.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Three Stories

#1--We have a trampoline.  One that is not used nearly enough, but when it is, it is an all out brawl in the Octagon of Death.  The other day the boys got into one of these tussles.  There were punches, blonde hair and bodies flying all over the place.  And then there were tears.  Now you might be able to assume, by looking at our boys, who ended up where.  Brigham is the oldest and fastest, Mackay is built to play rugby and David is a mere 5 years old. 

When their mother came out side to break it up Brigham had been 'ejected' from the trampoline cage. He lay huddled on the grass crying from the beat-down he'd just taken.  Mackay was on the far end of the enclosure leaning against the wall so as to be as far away as possible with a look on his face that was pretty analogous to 'wtf? over.'

And then there was David.  all 3'10" of him.  T-shirt pulled crooked, shredded knee jeans, holey socks he'd worn for 3 straight days, one hand defiantly on his hip and the other balled in a fist held menacingly in the air.  "That's what you get for messing with me Brigham!"

Mother mercifully separated them (for the older boys sake anyhow) and then led a sweaty, pissed off little pre-kinder kid by the ear through the living room to the hall way where he would serve out the length of his incarceration in his room.  But much like a defiant felon being drug out of a court room he had to take one last verbal shot.  He stopped and puffed up his chest, raised another fist and yelled plenty loud enough for his brothers outside to hear him, "Next time I won't take it easy on you.  You just think about that!"  He turned in a flourish and slammed his door for an exclamation mark.  It was amazing.

#2--  Last night we had Cub Scouts.  The bishop pulled me from Young Men's to be in scouts due in large part to the fact that my boys make up like 18% of the pack.  It's been a great experience and given us a chance to get to know Paul and Matt better.  We have a campout planned for this weekend so we ran through a few administrative things.  And then we played dodgeball.  Because that's what Mo's do on weekday mutual activities.  It was great fun, leaders v. Cub Scouts.  Brigham kind of just did his thing and occasionally threw a ball.  At the end, during clean up, he seemed to disappear.  I didn't think much of it because they're getting old enough to branch out a bit more.  Michelle couldn't find him and seemed to be getting a bit anxious.  As I was shutting off lights and closing doors I got a phone call from Chelle telling me that she had found Beeg in the car and was going to ride home just the two of them.  When I got home I found out why.

Beeg had been a little wild and knocked a ball out of the hands of a fellow 10 year old, thinking it was a funny trick.  The kid turned to Brigham and said some pretty mean things.  It's life, it happens.  It was one of the first times in Brigham's life that another child had treated him differently or intentionally been mean to him or at least that he had been cognizant of .  And it hurt.  He slunk away, hid in the car and cried until his mother found him. 

She informed me of the situation when I finally made it home.  We got everyone ready for bed and I went to his room to tuck him in.  I coaxed him into telling me the whole story.  It's a hard part of growing up.  I told him about experiences I'd had that were very similar.  I taught him the principle of the water off a ducks back.  I told him he was smart, wicked smart, and some day the control part of his brain would catch up to the impulse/smart part of his brain and he was going to be incredible-amazing.  Just give it time and realize there are going to be people out there that can't understand what you are or what you will be yet.  I compared it to Spider-Man and his superpower.  I started to explain what I meant and he cut me off, "Oh like when his uncle told Peter, 'With great power comes great responsibility.'"  I couldn't have tied the bow any prettier if I'd wanted to. 

We lay there on his bed thinking about his power and all the great things he will do with it someday.  It was the most magical twenty minutes of my life.  We had the most amazing discussion and I'll never forget it.  Ever. 

#3 Today Mackay took his FSA's (Florida Standardized Assessment exams).  He way over stresses for them.  I believe it is similar to Michelle's test anxiety at that age.  He really is very much like his mother in so many ways.  During the math portion they had been working fractions on the computer using pizza pies.  He blew through it all so quickly that he had extra time to fiddle around...a devil's workshop if I've ever seen one.  So he found a way to get the computer to open the Notes app and he typed, "I LOVE pizza!" several hundred times.  When his teacher observed what was going on she about flipped.  Because they are standardized they are also very highly controlled.  Any deviation could be grounds for kicking that child's scores off the spreadsheet.  If there is one thing they didn't want to do, it was to lose Mackay's scores from the classroom average.  You can't blame her.

There were several other little things, nothing bad, just kind of a cumulative bad news event.  So Mackay comes home and tonight just before going to taekwondo to be awarded his third degree blue belt, he pulled his mother aside.  "I think you might get a phone call from Ms. Thompson tonight.  Several boys got in trouble and she wasn't happy when we left."  Michelle shrugged it off.  Though a fortnight of minutes later her phone rang.  And it was Ms. Thompson.

She recounted the story Mackay had already told.  Michelle mentioned that Mackay had warned her and Ms. Thompson replied, "You know, I've already called the other three boy,s parents and you are the first one that knew I was going to call, even though I told all the boys before they went home.  I have to tell you, I think that speaks volumes about who he is as a person."

Indeed it does.  We expect it of him; but man do we ever appreciate it.  He's a dang good kid.


Wednesday, March 08, 2017

You put the wrong emphaaaahsis on the wrong sylaaaahble.

David is on the cusp of reading.  I lay down at night with him and go through the level one books reciting the stories in Star Wars and he jumps in at every 2 and 3 letter word my finger points at, sounding it out and reading the word.

Today Michelle was working with him on writing words as they were thinking up a shopping list.  He had some crazy letter combinations come out of his little brain but this was the best: C E R E L.  Say and spell that phonetically with me.  Sear=CER, EEEEE=E, ELLL=L.  Sans the stupid silent A he sounded out and came up with that entire word by himself with a nearly perfect spelling.  That was pretty impressive for a kid not even in kindergarten yet. 

But then when Michelle corrected him gently he blew up, ran to his room and pouted for a good 20 minutes because he wants to be right oh so badly and even a minor set back is devastating.

Michelle called her educator mother and quietly they both held it in their hearts like the Virgin Mary did for her son.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Oh man, don't pull the old "where's the gym" routine ... ah, you did it...

Most every night we gather in the living room and read the scriptures.  The boys completely read the Book of Mormon cover to cover last year (finishing on New Years Eve) and it has been a very nice and awfully painful part of our daily routine. 

Today was funny.  We were reading one of Brigham's favorite scriptures in Mosiah 2 and the discourse of King Benjamin.  We were pretty normally into it when suddenly I realized that there was something askew. 

David had taken off his shirt.  With your shirt off it is much easier to admire your own amazing muscular-skeletal physique.  But you know what makes that even more enjoyable? If you've got a good swole on.  So he goes and grabs Michelle's 5lbs weights from the other room and starts doing a set of overhead presses, followed by 10 or 15 curls for the girls.  That's nice, but no at-home workout is complete without pushups.  ... and yoga poses. 

"Check it out Dad, I'm pretty ripped" he said as I tried to listen to Brigham reading about serving others is serving God.  I squeezed his flexed bicep with my thumb and forefinger.  "No Dad, you need to use your whole big hand to really feel all of my muscles."  Good point.  "That's quite the apricot you've got growing there." "Ya, I workout." 

Yes you do, D, yes you do.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

I am Mighty Eagle.

Today was pretty cool.  We went to church in a fantastic downpour and then came home just like normal.  And also just like is becoming normal we had so many missionaries over at our house for dinner and a lesson that our boys were starting to complain we did love them as much we do the missionaries.  Complainers.  There is absolutely very little truth to that statement.

Brigham played the prelude music in Primary today.  The right hand of "Love One Another".  We slipped out of sacrament early to let him practice and he was doing quite well.  But then all of the kids started coming in.  It was kind of like the movie "Up" where the dog kept getting interrupted and yelling "Squirrel" randomly and advertently every few seconds.  I got him to slow down and focus and he did really well.  I never had the guts to try something like that at his age.  I was very proud.

When we came home we practiced piano a bit more.  Both BGB and CMB can play a single note right hand song just sight reading it.  That's like learning the sounds that the letters make, once you know that you can sound out words.  Enough sounding out words and eventually you just know them and if you know enough words you can read.  And once you can read you can understand and interpret everything from a stop sign to a Greek sonnet.  I hope that they will spend great effort in playing an instrument.  It is one of my life's regrets that I lack that ability until now. 

After piano we played a tremendous amount of Skip-Bo Jr. on the kitchen table.  Game after game after game.  Chandler came over and he got in on the action for a while too.  Mackay is a card shark.  The kid just sees numbers and faces and connects them in a way that I will never be able to.  He has something special.  Don't ever play him in memory, you will lose.  And David is remarkably good at that game and all of the complexity of its rules.  He focuses hard and tracks something until he can do it just like his brothers, who are 3 and 5 years older than he is.  I sometimes forget he is such a little man because he is such a big man. 

Our friend Chandler has been coming over for a month or so for the new member lessons with the sisters.  He is becoming a fan favorite.  The boys have absolutely accepted him as one of our own.  They started by calling him the King of the Couch Potatoes because every time he comes over it is for a lesson where he sits on the couch for an hour or so.  They mocked him relentlessly; they slugged him in the side and choked him from behind; they crushed his ego at every chance and they teamed up against him like a pack of ravenous velociraptors in Jurassic Park.  I think it means that they really like him.  It's the only way they know how to show love.

We made another music video.  It was a take on JamesTheMormon's "Tellin You Y" song he made for the last football season.  We had a world premiere for it last Monday where we FaceTime'd with the Bagley's while they watched it and then shared it to all of the Rad Rasmussen's via Facebook.  We already have 44 views (though most of those are admittedly me.)  Friday morning something cool happened.  Michelle woke up, started flipping through her phone and noticed a friend request on Instragram--from JamesTheMormon!  The boys were pretty excited.  They thought it was the coolest thing that he had seen their video and obviously liked it.

At one point one of the sisters was watching the circus play out in front of us all and she said something I really liked.  "I love to come over here, this is just wonderful."  It really is.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal.

Merry belated Christmas!  I've started to figure out this federal employee gig finally.  There was Halloween, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, a wingmen day, time off at the beginning of December to spend time with Grandma Susie here on vacation and then Christmas break which rolls solidly into New Years.  Then I scheduled my knee surgery for the 3rd of January and that comes with two weeks of convalescent leave.  I'm going to have to go to work some day and it's going to be awkward when I invariably introduce myself to people I've 'known' for 3 years. (again.)

Grandma Susie bought the greatest present, a puppy.  Aaron and G's dog, Belka, had a litter recently and they saved us the very best one of the bunch.  We love this dog very much.  He is a beautiful Cocker Spaniel/Poodle mix named Chocolate Thunder.  We've had to shorten it to Chaco to make him more responsive in training sessions. Yes, he is a Cocka-poo named Chocolate Thunder and no, he is not a professional male stripper. 

Michelle and I have been debating whether or not to get a dog for a very long time now.  The algebra changed when Brigham went up to his mother and in exasperation declared, "Mom, having a puppy is a rite of passage for a little boy!"  That's tough logic to argue with. 

We had a low-key Christmas this year.  I enjoyed sitting and watching the boys open their packages in person rather than via Skype.  BGB blasted into our room at 6:38 a.m., completely unable to contain himself another minute.  "Mom! Dad! Get up, it's Christmas!! I've been up since 4:00 and I can't wait any longer!!!!!"  He meant the last part.  We opened our stockings and one present before we had to get ready for church.  The ward put on a fantastic Sacrament meeting program with some wonderful talks and a ton of songs.  We all stood around talking longer than the kids were comfortable with.  We've built some great relationships in this little ward and appreciate having so many good friends.

Then it was back to the presents.  The thing is, our boys cherry picked their presents we opened before church and so there wasn't much surprise left under the tree.  The quote of the day was Brigham's, "Man, I wish I were like 8 or 9 again because then I wouldn't get all these stupid clothes and books."  The boxes of Pok√©mon EX cards at the end were a saving grace. 

Brigham got a U-Wing Star Wars Lego set, Mackay a Ninjago Tower Lego set and David a City Builder HH-60 helicopter and some other Lego set.  The older boys were able to go to the Santa Shoppe at school and bought each other fantastic little trinkets and David gave his brothers their first Yo-yo's.  Their still trying to figure them out.

My big gift from mOmmie was a bike so that I could take my boys on bike rides and today we went out for the first of hopefully many rides.  And boy was this one to remember.  Brigham set the stage and David ran with it.  We were a four-ship of X-wing fighters, zooming through the streets of Hidden Creek.  We would go hyper speed when we went down hill, if you threw on the brakes and rode behind someone you could shoot the tie fighters on their tail and the brick mail boxes look strangely like the defensive turrets that lined the Death Star.  We stopped to refuel and throw stuff in the creek and we drove past David's girlfriend's grandparents house--a surveillance mission if I've ever been on one before.

It was a pretty amazing ride and the imaginations never slowed until we had landed and carefully parked our X-wings back in the garage/hangar. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

"I'd kiss you, if I didn't have puke breath."

Florida is the new infection section.  It started with David last week, then it moved on through Brigham and Mackay.  Michelle picked it up this last weekend and today was my turn.  Fever, aches, liquid coming out both ends...terrible terrible things.  I personally don't handle being sick very well.  I fall and I fall hard.  I complain and grump, I get weak and I look for a kind nurse to care for my poor baby self. 

David is sort of like that but mostly with cuddles.  He has spent a grossly inordinate amount of time these last 7 days snuggling with me, cuddled in my arms, watching TV or playing a video game or sometimes just talking.  It's been an awful week and yet because of this it's been one of the best too.  Even today when he could tell that I was not feeling well he found me on the couch, crawled into the bend in knees and nestled in.  I wish I could capture the feeling in his face, the timber of his laugh or the sincerity of his embrace.  Somethings you just don't forget.

He is a special child and will be a great man.

Tonight we all went to a choir concert.  Brigham and his 4th grade school chorus put on a veterans day show that was fairly wonderful.  I suppose that this is the perfect age for teaching them about some of these basic concepts and music is a powerful instrument to do so.  The look on his face as he sang and the appreciation he craved when we met up with him afterward was palpable. 

I couldn't help but look around the cafeteria full of family members, veterans and children on the stage, the myriad red white and blue shirts, hear the words they so heartfully pronounced and then mutter some awful things about Colin Kaepernik following the National Anthem.  I'd apologize but I'm not sorry.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Sandestin Resort

I just got back from being away for a week long TDY.  It was a nice break for Michelle from me, though she probably won't admit it.  When I came back I went directly from the airport to the Sandestin resort.  The Air Force has been dealing with a lot of stress after fighting two simultaneous non-stop wars for 15 years and as such they are starting to realize that broken families cause people to get out. AFSOC gave their chaplain corps a literal truck load of money and said, "take care of those folks."

So they rented out a big section of the Bayside at Sandestin as well as the conference rooms and then provided meals, rooms, day care and a bunch of resort activities.  It was a pretty cool experience, one that we many not ever get to do again.  The marriage/family communication counseling was solid and the time together for Friday, Saturday and Sunday was really great.

We rode bikes together, walked around the wharf area and found a thousand butterflies, blue crabs, chrysalis', lizards and unidentified bugs.  We monkey walked until we almost all fell down, teased a macaw that was strictly off limits, threw a football on the golf course, made a bunch of new friends, and swam in a rather chilly outdoor pool.  We had a really nice time.

During a break we went up to the 8th floor to grab the football and I decided to take a moment to hang out with my blondies.  I laid down on the bed and pulled each of them on, one by one.  I told them that I just wanted to cuddle with my boys.  What we really did was make fart noises by blowing on our arms.  ...  for 52 minutes! Like, I'm not kidding.  I wanted a moment and I got one.  Farting. Fart jokes. Fart noises. Answers to questions in astute fart inflections.  It was nuts.

During our bike ride Brigham was doing a pretty solid job of keeping up with me when just sort of out of the blue the kid says, "Dad, when we go on these outings together as a family it makes us grow closer together.  Thank you."  That is the point I suppose.  He wins kid of the day.

When we got home we watched "The Testaments" for the first time since we had just finished reading Helaman and 3rd Nephi as a family.  Mackay told his mother, "I'm not going to cry even in an emotional movie."  Then he cried anyway. "But these aren't sad tears Mom, I'm crying because I'm happy."  He is a sweet young man.

Sunday, October 02, 2016


Busch Gardens, another bucket list item accomplished.  It wasn't as much fun without KK et al. but we still enjoyed ourselves nonetheless.  This weekend was my 20th high school reunion and after several weeks of attempting to get ahold of the three friends that I really was hoping to see, I finally gave up on the idea when they informed me they weren't going to be able to make it.  Ten hours in a car to see people that hardly recognize me and watch a 2A football game just didn't really seem appealing.  So instead we grabbed the boys and took SeaWorld up on their offer of an annual free pass to their parks for military.  It really was cool and we are very grateful to that company for carrying on that gracious offer for so many years.  Btw, amusement parks in early October = great idea.

David is getting big.  He is the sweetest boy you could imagine, and he thinks he is every bit as big as his older brothers (ironic because Mackay tries to act every bit as young as his little brother).  But David is at a point that I vividly remember with all of my children; I can't pick him up and carry him without effort any more.  In Utah I remember pulling Beeg out of the car one night way too late, and he was so heavy I almost considered waking him and having him walk up to bed.  I can see every detail in my minds eye.  Mackay was in Idaho when I came out to visit him while transitioning down here to Florida, I lifted him up a couple five stairs and realized I wouldn't be able to do that much longer.

It happened this weekend with David.  I don't know why this is important to me but it is.  I think it's because they stop being my physical 'babies' and their heft is how I know they have grown to become even more.  On top of that, David is my last (barring unforeseen circumstances) and that realization stings a bit sharper than the first two.  I thoroughly enjoy being a dad and am trying my best to figure out how to be a better one.  It's a pleasure with that child, I really mean that.

On another note: Mackay was stressing pretty heavily about how hard we were pushing him to put his stuff away, brush his teeth, take a bath, put on his clothes, read his scriptures and generally just get ready for bed.  So in the litany of redirection he was constantly receiving he tossed the best hand-grenade he had over his shoulder on the way out of the room. "I might as well go to the Air Force Academy!  They'd treat me just like this any how and I'd get a good meal three times a day."  Let me just tell you son ... you're right.  Good luck.  I'll write you often.