Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Breaking Hearts

I was picking A-Ro and Dave Dave up from childcare at the Y. Dave Dave did his usual "Daddy Came Back" chant. A-Ro was lounging on the sack chairs...with a boy!

"Daddy, Daddy!" she shouted when she finally looked up from the book she and the boy were "reading."

"That's the boy from the park yesterday. His name's Gabriel!"

Lia had taken the kids to the park yesterday afternoon. I heard about this boy. The first thing A-Ro told me when I got home was about this boy. All through dinner I heard about this boy. And here he was, Gabriel, smiling at me. No, he was smiling at my little girl.

So A-Ro and Dave Dave run out the door and as I go to follow them Gabriel comes up to me. He looks at me with these sweet, puppy eyes and asks, "Can I kiss Anna Rose?"

My eyebrows furrow. My hands go to fists. I say, "Not so fast, buddy." I glare. My lip curls. "Try me again in 16 years."

...five years old and already breaking hearts...why should I be surprised? She stole mine a long time ago.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Comes Early Once Again

It all starts with the visit with Santa at the Mall. We shed no tears this year - that's not entirely true - I shed one thinking that we might be past the years of shedding them on Santa's lap.

Dave Dave asked for a reward for having to sit on Santa's lap. He got it.

Anna Rose received "bins" for Christmas. We opened these several weeks ago in preparation for the things she might receive on Christmas.

The weekend before Christmas mommy and children watched Pocahontas on the couch. Correction: Anna Rose watched Pocahontas, Dave Dave watched me, Lia watched David.

On Tuesday, December 20th we celebrated Christmas. This makes 10 out of 12 Christmases for Lia and I celebrating Christmas early. It took three years of asking, but Anna Rose finally got her parrot pillow pet.

Dave Dave insisted on putting his present on by himself.


My parents bought us a board game called What's in Ned's Head. You stick your hand in Ned's ear or nose and pull out the things that are inside his head like his "pea brain" and his "mouse from his science experiment" and his "pet spider" and "stinky cheese" and "space alien".

Amazing. How did they know this stuff?

Merry Christmas everyone. The 25th will be here soon.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

How Have You Bin?

Bin ("Bean") is my new brother and my parents' foreign exchange student. I had the fun of meeting him for the first time over Thanksgiving.

Lia and I were a little bit nervous about having him. My parents warned me that he has eaten them out of house and home. They have also had difficulty motivating him to get off the couch. Plus, the week before Bin had a "hot noodle accident" that landed him in the hospital (long story).

So anyway, Lia and I were anxious. Our children, of course, were not. Anna Rose had a friend she could play Wii with. Dave Dave had someone he could show his cars to. Bin also took easily to them.

Our anxieties were quickly quelled. He really was a great house guest. And it was Thanksgiving so there was plenty of food.

The highlight for me, though, was watching Anna Rose. I was washing the dishes one afternoon when I heard from the other room: "Bin, do you believe in God?" Bin answered: "No." Anna Rose then asked: "Well, what DO you believe in?" Bin answered: "Games." "GAMES!?!" said Anna Rose. "Why would you believe in Games?" Bin didn't have an answer for that.

I peeked in at this point. Anna Rose had walked over to the Nativity she had made out of Legos earlier that week. She grabbed Jesus from the manger and carried it back to Bin. "So you don't believe in Jesus?" she asked. "I don't know him," said Bin.

Anna Rose couldn't believe that piece of information. So off she ran. A few seconds later, she handed Bin a Bible. She opened to the picture of Baby Jesus. "I can't read yet, so you will have to read it to us," said Anna Rose. Bin tried to explain that he was not the best at reading either, but Anna Rose would not be deterred.

And so that is the reason Bin is reading the Jesus story to my children on our couch.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

The Last Hair-ray

No shave November ended a day early - November 30th I had a meeting - the kind of meeting that wouldn't appreciate the finer things like "The Snake" - which I dubbed the beard-do above.
But it ended well - with the 3rd Annual Showing of Christmas Vacation. This year, Lia and I didn't dress as any character in particular. I simply chose a sweater representative of the period.

"The Snake" is timeless.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Update on my Face

Scott and I pushed through the halfway point of No Shave November. This was taken on the Ides of November after celebrating Thanksgiving with the College Life Troupe.

I cleaned up the beard a little for Jed and Cecilie Macosko's 10 year Anniversary Party. What a great night. It was like Wedding Reception rewind. The love power point (except with photos of the kids). Dancing without the Chris Brown song. The bouquet toss but everyone was included (Victoria Secret gift card...for both the women AND the men! Ha!). Jed singing his engagement song "Cecilie Macosko Do You Like that Name?" A classic.

It also gave me the excuse to wear the old tuxedo. Then, yesterday, Lia and I were doing ourown Turkey Trot around the neighborhood when she turns to me and says, "You know Ned, you actually look kind of handsome with a beard." What?!? This coming from the lady who has gone on kissing strike because of my scruff! Well, all that's to say, even with the surprise compliment, the beard will likely be gone by the end of next week. It was fun. And itchy. And it's made me realize that I dribble when I eat soup...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fun Little Blurb from Summit's Enewsletter

Fifth Graders Learn Firsthand about Writing

Summit Parent and Author Ned Erickson is writing a children's book and recruited Fifth Graders for feedback. He talked to students this week about the project and their involvement. “This has been a great opportunity for the children to interact with a published author and be able to see the writing process in an authentic situation,” said Teresa Tsipis, Fifth Grade writing teacher.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Clay in Review

Today, I met once again with the delightful 5th Graders at Summit School. And the reviews are in!

Below are a few examples. They also did some marvelous illustrations for me. Here are a few of my favorites (I didn't know they'd bleed through, sorry) :

"But there was one thing he would always do: whistle. Clay whistled everyday. It made the nice days nicer, and the dreary ones tolerable, so there was never a reason not to. Over time, Clay had acquired quite the repertoire. He could cheerily, cheerily, cherrio, chee like the robin; and wheet, whittle, wheet, wheet like the house finch; and sip, sip, sittle-diddle-dip-pip, sawheet like a sparrow. He could even sing the tur-a-lee, chir, chir-a-lee of the bluebird."

“But the clay gets a purpose,” Clay explained, not entirely sure what he was saying.

“Purpose! What do you need a purpose for?” cawed Craw. Then, turning to his fellows: “Do you hear that, chaps? This clay wants purpose.”

The murder laughed again.

“Let me level with you,” Crick crowed, “purpose is overrated.”

“You get a purpose, all the sudden you have responsibility,” agreed Craw.

“Right now, you have no responsibilities. You are free as a bird.” Crick flapped his wings. “The minute you get a purpose, you’re not free anymore.”

“Who in their right mind would trade freedom for purpose?” asked Craw.

“I don’t know. Maybe this clay is crazy,” cawed Crick.

“Tell me something I don’t know,” cackled Craw.

“Crazy as a canary,” cackled Crick. “Come all this way just to get thrown in the fire.”

“Brave the cold just to get himself burned!”

“You’re lying!” shouted Clay.

“Not this one,” she said, guarding her package with her hands.

As it turned out, the object was not a figurine. It was a box. A small one, meant for jewelry or something like that. The knob was made to look like a bouquet of four roses – purple red, pink, and white. Each stem twisted around each other before traveling to the four corners of the lid, then down the side to where they curled into spirals that became the box’s feet.

Clay changed his mind. This was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.

Clay grasped but there was nothing to grasp. What made matters worse, when the branch broke, rain-shrapnel cascaded in a flurry and sheered off his right foot! He lost balance. His left foot slipped. Clay dangled by a hand. A wet one. It was losing its grip.

Bricks screamed, which did not help.

Desperately, Clay lunged for another handhold, but no vine was within reach. He could stretch his arm to one, but then it would be too thin and weak to do any good. Clay’s foot skated as if the branches were made of ice. He slipped to fingertips.

He made the mistake of looking down again.

He gulped.

just as he was about to retreat from the window, he caught sight of the teacup the lady of the house had gathered in her hands. It rose to her chin, the steamy aroma spreading her lips in a soothing grin. Her fingertips went pink. Delight filled her eyes; Clay saw it just before she closed them.

Now that was a purpose, Clay thought to himself.

The fact was Clay couldn’t stop staring at her. She, the teacup, was so simple yet so beautiful. She was milk white with a rim like a halo of gold. And she was thin, much thinner than Clay ever dared become; though there was no doubt she was stronger than Clay had ever been.

Are you all right? the teacup asked.

“Huh?” said Clay, lost in the slender curve of her handle.

You don’t look so well.

“Oh,” he said, noticing that the fall had transformed his body into a wad. Embarrassed, Clay hastily reformed into an even mini-er mini version of himself.


I wish I had time and space to show you more. Anyway, here are some reviews. Most were favorable. Here's one that wasn't:

"The book couldn't keep me until the end. Things just kept happening and it got boring. I thought the ending could be changed where Clay got turned into dust. The reformed then turned his arm into an AK47 and got revenge on the people who hit him with hammers." Alex

Fortunately, most were like Ashley's:

"This is one of my favorite books I have ever read!" Ashley

Here are a few more:

"I think that you should keep the end of the story, that is my favorite part."

"It was a good book. My favorite character was the potter. I liked how you said his eyes glistened like thunder and lightning or something like that. In my opinion, the best scene was when the potter found Clay."

"I liked the book Clay because it explains all of the little details. You held my attention throughout the whole book because every character had its own personality. It was very interesting. I liked the part when Clay met Ned because it was funny and sad at the same time."

Thanks everyone. I'll keep all your input in mind as we plunge into editing. And thank you Summit for providing me the opportunity to have target audience participation!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011


Yes, another wonderful Halloween has come and past. This year we went theme-less. We've never gone theme actually.

Theme, however, this year seemed to be en vogue. The Andersons, around the corner, went Wizard of Oz. The Macoskos went Smurf. The Logsdons went Star Wars.

We went...well, Dave Dave went Dinosaur.

A-Ro went Pirate Princess.

Lia went as a Chinese Masseuse. Somehow she avoided getting pictured. I went as a Wedding Singer (ironically, I happened to lose my voice earlier that day). Fun was had by all.

On a sad personal note, this year marked a turning point in the Erickson household. For the first time, our children are hording their candy. Looks like from here on out, Lia and I are going empty handed...It was good while it lasted.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

No Shave November

Scott Siegler, one of my new favorite peeps, introduced me to one of his November traditions: NO SHAVE NOVEMBER. According to him, everyone in Connecticut does it.

Who knew?

I mean, I knew of course that Connecticut people are brilliant and burly, but I didn't know that they adopted a month to put it on display. Then again, why wouldn't you?

And so, on behalf of Scott and the rest of the people of Connecticut:

Men and women, boys and girls, you are all cordially invited to participate with me, Scott, Connecticut, and friends in NO SHAVE NOVEMBER.

...it's for the kids.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Wild Horses

Grayson Highlands State Park is famous for its wild ponies. But last week, when we went there, all we found were tame ones.

Actually...I take that back...

One ate our bag!

Monday, October 24, 2011


The number 40 has always symbolized endurance, struggle, and adversity.

Take Noah and the animals: they endured 40 days and nights of rain.

Or the Jews: they had to wander in the wilderness for 40 years.

Or Jesus: he fasted 40 days before kicking into mission mode.

There must be something about the number...

Take me in high school: ever trying to gulp down (and hold down) "the 40"

Or the 40 mile hike in the Smokies we do every couple years or so.

And now there's a new one: Two weeks ago, I ran in the Triple Lakes Race - a 40 mile endurance race around three lakes (believe it or not) in Greensboro.

Speaking of believing it or not - somehow I got fourth place! A total surprise to me. My watch had malfunctioned and had added a solid hour to my time. Plus, the last fifteen miles I didn't see a soul. I spent a good chunk of it wondering if I made a wrong turn (which would have been the end of me, because I had no clue where I was and I didn't have any gas left in the tank!). Needless to say, it was quite the adventure.

Which leaves me with this question: what 40 challenge will be next?

Monday, October 17, 2011


Here are some shots from our recent vacation to Utah. Utah paid me nothing to tell you this: but y'all need to check this part of the country out for yourselves.

Pioneer Park: St George, Utah, after eating Olive Garden to go while watching the sunset.

Left to right: Lia, wearing a monarch butterfly necklace made by A-Ro; Ned, wearing my new cool green shirt; Paul, sporting one of his fifty triathlon shirts; and Stef, who is simply, purely, all around sporty.

The next morning on the trail. Zion Park: sixteen miles down river. Here we go!

Either the walls got higher, or we got smaller.

Feeling small.

This is one of the many obstacles we had to navigate. Fortunately, this one required some off river scrambling instead of a waterfall plunge! Although we did experience one casualty here: Paul's dry suit (aka Star Trek Costume) disappeared.

Ned and Lia and our poop bags, post coffee and oatmeal...guess who had to carry them...

Miraculously, a hiker found Paul's Star Trek Costume! Have you ever seen a happier Spock?

Taken at Big Springs. Did I say this already? The trail IS the river. I think I may have forgotten to share this minor detail to Paul and Stef as well!

That little ant right there is Lia! By the way, this picture only gets half the wall!

We journeyed east to Page, AZ the next day to explore the Antelope Canyons. Here's Stef. For a second, we thought we lost her!

It's even more spectacular in person.

We only took 1,000 photos.

Paul and Stef jumped in our photo! Just kidding.

I saw this high point and took off. I looked over my shoulder to discover no one following me.

Can anyone say, Christmas Card 2011?

This photo was taken at Houston's Family Restaurant. Hands down, our best meal of the week.

It was raining everywhere in Southern Utah except in Bryce Canyon, where it was snowing. Guess where we decided to go?

Photographers would tell you that the first snow of the year at Bryce is one of the best photo ops there is. From this amateur's point of you, I'd have to say I agree.

We were on the Queens Garden Loop when this man coming from the other directions says: "There's a must stop ahead. You can't not do it."

He was right.

Around the bend there were hundreds of tiny rock piles. Whoever started this, thanks! What fun! Let me say: If it's been awhile since you played with rocks, do so soon. It's more fun than it sounds.

I told the team that the guidebook called this place Kissers Arch. Lia fell for it!

We bought the hats at the lodge.

Cliffside, Paul and Stef didn't trust me with the camera.

Our last day of hiking took us back to Zion where we journeyed up to Observation Point. Quite a view, I must say.

Paul only had to take 10 pictures to get one of me actually in the air! Ha!

Same day, different world: Las Vegas, the Venetian, Tao restaurant, a floating fifty foot Buddha behind us. Our waiter said that last week a couple got in a fight and the lady threw her wedding ring into the fountain underneath the Buddha. The next day she came back looking for it. According to the waiter, the ring was never found. All this to say, even after all the adventure, our marriages (and our friendship) managed to evade a similar fate.

What a trip! Looking forward to the next one...