How Playing Paper Football Led to Prayer

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on February 5, 2018.


Albert Einstein once stated, “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.” Simplicity is an attractive quality. I experienced simplicity in a unique and seemingly ordinary way—through a game of paper football with my 4 year-old daughter!

Too often I strive for the complexities in life—whether that be in solving difficult problems or seeking joy in extraordinary things. Technology is also a double-edged sword, its purpose is to simplify human life, however, because of the explosion of technology in the 21st century we face a digital deluge—I feel the daily pressure [that I impose on myself] to constantly check my social media and blogging sites.

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Why do I inflict such frivolous constraints upon myself? What do I need to prove by keeping up with the trending blogger scene and marketing on various social media platforms? Will my family love me any less if I fail to hit my target goals for views and monthly posts? Certainly not! My struggle is that I tend to implement false activity to mask my slothful tendency.

Raising children—especially children who recently suffered continual fevers—takes a toll on a person. The daily grind of parenting wears on a father, mentally, physically, and spiritually. While I strive to live a virtuous life, I fail, and fail often as a father. Love for my children is replaced by a mindset of viewing children being burdensome. When that occurs the seed of sloth blossoms into a tree of acedia!

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Paper Football and Prayer

The Holy Spirit conferred graces to help me withstand and eliminate my slothful nature through the simplicity of a paper football game. Triangular paper footballs are becoming common in our home. I recently renewed interest in the classic middle school table-top game. Football is my favorite sport to watch.  And I always enjoy football to help keep the stresses of life at bay during the icy winter months.

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Having to stay home [YET AGAIN—at this rate I may be burned completely out of my PTO before spring 🙁 ) with my children because of low-grade fevers, unbeknownst to me a fantastic, yet simple encounter with love. After dishing out a bowl of cereal for my daughter, I sat at the kitchen table with her. Reaching into my pocket, I pulled out the paper football and flicked the triangular toy across the table. This simple gesture turned into several minutes of laughter and great fun!

Find Joy in Play

St. Mother Teresa speaks of joy in this way, “Joy is prayer; joy is strength: joy is love; joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.” I’m not sure if  my daughter will remember this simple and joyful experience of playing football paper. I’m confident this memory will stay with me forever. Both the Holy Spirit and my daughter taught me that play and prayer do not have to be mutually exclusive, instead God intends to use all types of interactions to draw us closer knowledge and love of Him.

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Thank you for sharing!

Muffingate— Case Closed But Do Shenanigans Win Out?

After months on the run, the Muffin Miscreant finally was found by local authorities.

No one truly knows the amount of shenanigans the blue-eyed blueberry bandit committed. Detective Daddy estimated it could be upwards of 2020 tomfoolery incidents.

Witnesses claim the Muffin Miscreant expanded her shenanigan supply to include waterworks, toothpaste terror, and diaper-removal dances.

Because of the persistent pandemic the trial for the Muffin Miscreant had to be done mostly through online Zoom meetings. This added a time delay before her sentencing could occur.

Police tactics came under fire due to an national incident. Protesters gathered in the streets asking for reform in the justice system and to show more mercy towards perpetrators of shenanigans.

Social workers and teachers gave professional development sessions to the Chicoineville police department.

Detective Daddy learned about the importance of patience and understanding should another level 7 shenanigan event happen.

The Muffin Miscreant served a few months under house arrest but was able to cut her sentencing short through community service. She helped write a Christmas letter for a busy young family.

The new year began with much promise and hope. Shenanigan awareness will be a major discussion topic in city council meetings. But important questions remain:

❓How far will society go in making shenanigans seem normal?

❓Will Detective Daddy continue to serve as the premier local gumshoe? Or will he finally realize shenanigans may have beaten him?

❓Will the Muffin Miscreant stay away from muffins (and toothpaste too)?

❓Is this finally the end of the story dubbed “Muffingate”—a level 7 shenanigan event?

📍 Stay with PRNT TV 📺 to receive full coverage on future shenanigans.

📍Text “Muffingate story” to 55555 to receive a link to the entire Muffingate.

📍This has been I.M. Shocked with PRNT News reporting. Thank you for watching (reading)!

Thank you for sharing!

The Simple Catholic’s First Christmas Card

This is the inaugural Chicoine Christmas card.

Both my parents are too tired to chip in with input on the letter. And my three siblings are too busy acting like lemurs or black & white pandas to care about starting a new tradition.

Anyways, it’s up to me to present our family’s successes and 2020 highlights. Free of shenanigans.

Yeah right! Shenanigans are part of my middle names (unofficially).

Hope you enjoy the seasonal shenanigans!

January— New Year Same Routine

I started the new year as a fresh one year old. Noah, Amelia, and Josiah enjoyed going to school and playing in the snow. Mommy continued teaching special education at Valley Springs Elementary. Daddy worked overnights at a local grocery store.

My new year’s resolution was simple— add new shenanigans each month. Last year, I got caught stealing too many blueberry muffins (Pro-tip: Make sure to clean up the evidence before leaving the crime scene).

Daddy wrote about this incident and dubbed it Muffingate. Since then, I’ve acquired the nickname “Muffin Miscreant”.

February— Ground’s Day Month

Noah, Amelia, and Josiah enjoyed going to school and playing in the snow. Mommy continued teaching special education at Valley Springs Elementary. Daddy worked overnights at a local grocery store.

Yes, I know my family’s boring.

I think Noah was still in his Pokémon obsession and my parents were still watching Superhero shows on The CW.

I continued to watch how my siblings got in or avoided trouble and took notes.

March— The Ides are Turning

This seemed to be a turning point. Suddenly, Mommy, Noah, and Amelia stayed home more often. I heard mommy talking to weird kids on the computer. Daddy kept referring to himself as a “Zoom call goaltender”.

Josiah had school therapy at home and this involved him being a black & white panda all the time! Pandas? Seriously, that’s such a predictable move. Couldn’t he pretend to be a platypus or something cooler than a bamboo eater?

While my dreams of traversing the Australian outback didn’t happen, I did experience a “ground under” moment.

Mommy was on her 97th Zoom call and this gave me the perfect chance to try the legendary liquid—coffee. I found a K-cup in the pantry and gained a new moniker— The Coffee Culprit.

April— Sickness and Added Shenanigans

Daddy received a promotion at his local grocery store to Assistant Manager. He was even more excited when Mommy gave him an “Assistant to the Regional Manager” hoodie to celebrate the new job.

April felt like an entire lifetime (1.5 years).

Home school made Mommy and my siblings very tired and cranky. Even worse, Daddy got super sick with a virus-thingy. I couldn’t even see him for two weeks except on the computer. Josiah was really sad and kept saying “Daddy

in downstairs emergency room”. Mommy was stressed with teaching from home, taking care of us, and being Daddy’s doctor.

But this month did have good things: the Easter bunny visited us and Josiah learned to ride a bike.

I maintained my moniker as the Coffee Culprit by eating another K-cup.

May— More Zoom

The Zoom calls continued, and Daddy resumed his role as goaltender against my shenanigans. I miss the good old days when I could bust open bedroom doors without repercussions or being shushed. The strange kids didn’t seem so strange anymore. Mommy even gave up and let me say “hi” to my new friends.

Pro-tip: Persistence pays off.

Noah was obsessed with Star Wars and cars. Amelia (and Daddy) enjoyed pushing me in my throne on wheels. Mommy and Daddy got a new swing set for us to play in. I loved sliding and swinging!

June— Celebrating Sacraments and Sprinklers

Noah received his First Holy Communion on June 14th. It was supposed to be in April but it was delayed because of the virus-thingy or the panda-emic (not sure what to call it officially). “But God’s plan is more perfect than anything we can possibly imagine.” That was something Daddy kept saying. He seemed super-smiley and happy about Noah’s First Eucharist happening on The Feast of Corpus Christi.

Along with celebrating the sacrament my siblings and I played lots of times in the sprinkler. What wonderful waterworks! Josiah showed me how to play carwash in our water table. We play carwash often.

Mommy and Daddy celebrated their 10-year wedding anniversary! This was neat for me because grandma and grandpa got to watch me and the other kids overnight! We had so much fun.

July— Zoo Fun

The local zoo reopened with panda-emic precautions. Josiah called the gibbons “black and white pandas” and we all enjoyed watching the snow monkeys and ducks.

I set a family record by becoming the earliest to ride a strider bike. Strider bike didn’t seem right, so I called it “a butt”. Mommy and Daddy laughed. I think they’re proud of me. I say “a butt” so much.

August— Back to School

Noah started third grade and Amelia began first grade at Valley Springs. Josiah went to early childhood for the second year. I enjoyed more time to plan hijinks as daddy and mommy got more tired from getting house projects done. I continued to get my hands-on Mommy and Daddy’s coffee (I love coffee!).

Amelia learned how to read and created artwork daily. Josiah continued to play carwash in new and creative ways.

September— The Mystery of the Missing Toys

This month began normally with me playing with my dolls, cars, and other gadgets. But soon I noticed things disappearing. First, books I enjoyed were gone. Slowly my stuffed animal supply shrunk, and baby toys taken. I did notice more and more cardboard boxes.

Thankfully, I had Aunt Mary’s wedding to take my mind off the missing toy misery. I had fun playing with grandma, grandpa, and Uncle Steven.

Pro-Tip: Pushing doors open to go outside the reception is fun and an effective way to get my parents to chase me.

October— Mystery Solved

More and more boxes piled up in our living room, garage, basement, and kitchen. My siblings enjoyed many afternoons riding their bikes (and I riding my “a butt”).

I had a busy month with speech therapy starting and I broke my arm. Amelia was dancing with me and I thought a flying leap was a great idea. But the good thing is I got a cool pink cast.

I got used to life with limited toys. But then something changed! All the boxes moved. We played in a different room and slept in a different area. Mommy and Daddy called this our new house. We all thought it was pretty cool!

November— Shenanigans Supreme

My siblings and I love our new house. More room to run and climb. Noah had fun throwing the football in the garage with Daddy. Amelia found new places for art.

Josiah and I found a new way to play carwash. When Daddy was sleeping on the couch (from working a late night) my brother and I overflowed the kitchen sink. Water poured on the entire floor. We had TONS of cars to wash that morning! Daddy seemed surprised about all the water. After this incident we couldn’t sneak and do carwash anymore. Still not sure why?

Mommy continued to balance her teaching job with her additional virus-things protocols. She seemed tired most days, so I try to cheer her up with hugs!

December— Enter the Boss Level

Daddy kept making Jumanji references throughout the year. Everyone was talking about an election thingy. What more did 2020 have in store?

This year they say was tough, but in my experience all life can be challenging but fun too. I’m going to turn two on December 29th. I felt I gained a lot of wisdom this year.

Noah taught me countless facts about Harry Potter and read books to me. Amelia taught me how to draw and be creative. Josiah taught me how to laugh and play with cars. Mommy taught me how to love and hug. Daddy taught me the importance of a balance between seriousness and shenanigans.

Hope you have a Merry Christmas and a blessed 2021!

P.S. Daddy thinks he’s a creative writer, but he gets all his best ideas from my shenanigans. Follow #Muffingate for more funny stories

P.P.S. Special thanks to Daddy for being my secretary for this Christmas Letter. Extra special thanks to my brothers and sister for all this great content

Love,

Avila: The Muffin Miscreant, Coffee Culprit, and who knows what else.

Thank you for sharing!

Use Imagination to Relate to Your Children Better

Tolkien quote about imagination

💡Dadhack #123—Think like a child to relate better to your children

Someone made a comment to me that everything is rainbows and unicorns to me.

Initially, it upset me. But after thinking about it I realized he was right.

The young don’t have a monopoly on imagination.

Thank God for it because reading only the news or talking about serious stuff makes me curmudgeony.

Amelia had trouble sleeping because of her brother making noise (she had a long week at school)

I hugged her tight and told her,

“Tonight you’re a caterpillar. I’m wrapping you tight into a cocoon. Tomorrow you will be able to fly like a butterfly. Maybe we will see a butterfly and say, ‘Is that Amelia?'”

🦋 She gave a sheepish grin and a tired laugh.

I could have easily got frustrated (it’s been a long week and I have failed in similar situations in the past).

🌈 But I think the Holy Spirit gave me patience and the ability to summon up silliness (who doesn’t like butterflies or find them calming?) to help her calm down.

Imagination isn’t merely child’s play or silliness. It’s living life open to the possibility of a higher reality—a world where anything is possible.

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I did end up replying to that comment 👇

🦏🦄I do believe in real unicorns (rhinoceroses).

😊😂😆

How does imagination help you as a parent?

Thank you for sharing!

Why is a Sock 🧦 in the pantry?

Scene from the latest sock shenanigans.

Why is a sock 🧦 in the pantry?

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A question asked maybe once in your life (depending on how many socks, kids, pets, or sock thieves you have in your life). This should be an odd question to ask except for two facts:

📍I’m a parent

📍 My kids have wild imaginations

My theory?

They befriended a house elf and are hoping to convince him to take the sock for his freedom.

What would your caption be for this photo?

Share your most creative explanation for ‘why a sock is in the pantry?’

Thank you for sharing!

Why Teaching Your Children to Do the Chores will Save Your Sanity

Dad hack #4— Train the kids early to help clean 🧼 🧽 around the house (it gives me time to post more #dadhacks 🙂)

Avila and a broom

The Muffin Miscreant doing community service to atone for her shenanigans.

This summer my wife and I taught our kids how to:

🧺 Fold the laundry

🗑 Take out the garbage

🧽 Load the dishwasher

😜 Battle the shenanigans of their 18 month old sister

It took a lot of time, patience, modeling good behaviors, and reteaching but I’m glad we did.

Teaching kids chores result in:

Teamwork

Learning a mop was not something you hit your brother in the head with (my daughter may or may not have done this)

 More gratitude

Instill a good work ethic

Play/work balance

How did chores play a role in your childhood and later professional work?

What was your favorite chore (mine was drying the dishes— my brother and I usually made my sister wash 🙂)?

Thank you for sharing!

Shenanigans Captured— The Craft Caper

Happy you have a great weekend!

It begin with some shenanigans courtesy of my daughter.

Here is a silly story inspired by her antics.

🚨 🚨 🚨 BREAKING NEWS 🚨🚨🚨

📍Photographic evidence show this culprit committing a clandestine craft caper.

📍 Is she a first time offender or will further information pencil her in as a calculated crayon 🖍 criminal?

📍 Stay with PRNT TV 📺 to receive full coverage on these colorful new shenanigans cutting through Chicoineville.

📍Text “craftcaper” to 55555 to get text updates and exclusive interviews with the sheriff, eyewitnesses, and first-responders.

📍This has been I.M. Shocked with PRNT News reporting. Thank you for watching (reading)!

Craft Caper is clandestine and cute.
Thank you for sharing!