Posts Tagged ‘family’

Sippy cups suck

Posted: January 13, 2014 by terryvandrovec in Uncategorized
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For me, the title of “bane of my existence” is akin to Lays potato chips – it’s impossible to have just one.

But in the current rankings of banes of my existence, the sippy cup is No. 1 with a bullet. Actually, it’s not the cups; it’s the what happens to them after they’re filled with milk, handed to a toddler – or two, in this case – in a highchair then dropped to the kitchen floor from the highest point possible.  (more…)

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By Sam Mooney
Guest blogger

My story is a tale of incredible kindness, a father-son relationship, and the Philadelphia Eagles. It starts when I was a 10-year-old boy; watching Randall Cunningham on “Monday Night Football” against the Giants. That play, that touchdown, that player sparked a lifelong fandom that would take me places I never thought I’d be. I live in a small town in South Dakota. Stories like this just don’t happen to us.

Fast forward 20-plus years to October 2012. That 10-year-old boy is now a 33-year old married man and father of four. Life, as it tends to, has happened. But I remain a devoted Eagles fan. I’ve passed on my love of the team to my oldest son. Every Sunday, come hell or high water, we sit down together and watch the Eagles game. Regardless of how busy I am at work or how busy he is at school (he’s 12) we are watching our team. (more…)

Two turn one

Posted: November 25, 2013 by terryvandrovec in Uncategorized
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My twins turn 1 today, and my wife is feeling sentimental about it being that these will be the final first birthdays in our household.

Frankly, I’m not sure what to think and I certainly don’t know how to feel since I’m only half human. (The rest is robot.) Has the time gone fast or slow? Will I miss the baby stage or welcome the changes?

I am sure about a few things. (more…)


I ran the worst timed 5K of my life Sunday afternoon and had the best time doing it.

This fall, my 9-year-old daughter joined Girls on the Run. If you’re not familiar, it’s an after-school program centered on getting girls together to hang out and have fun while exploring ideals like confidence and fitness. The culmination is participating in a real 5K – in this case, held in conjunction with the Nike Heartland Regional high school cross country meet. Same day, same soccer complex, same grass course – mounds, hay bails and all.

The participants are required during the race to pair up with a coach, a friend or a parent. Boom – finally a role I can handle without feeling anxious or awkward or inadequate.

(more…)


Effective Monday, Daddy Daycare scaled back to a half-time operation. That’s right: The kids won.

To be fair, the decision was two-fold. First, we happened to find a home daycare that’s run by a former school counselor and mother of twins. She lives in our neighborhood, doesn’t charge during the summers, had room for our 11-month-old twins and was willing to take them on a half-time basis to coincide with our 3-year-old going to preschool. It was too good to pass up. Still, we wouldn’t have been looking for help if I hadn’t started to crack under the pressure of taking care of my three youngest children on top of working full-time with only occasional help from a rotation of nursing students. (more…)

Double trouble

Posted: October 17, 2013 by terryvandrovec in Uncategorized
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Sort of overnight, my 10-month-old son, Ty, learned to crawl. He’s been working on it for some time, mostly in vain and to great frustration, taunted by his slimmer, swifter twin sister, Taylor.

On Tuesday he just sort of got it, moving around pretty well within the upstairs level of the house. At first, it was glorious – suddenly, he wasn’t begging for help or complaining about being immobile. I was able to get some things done around the house. You know, real manly stuff like doing the dishes and entering diaper points on the Pampers web site. (Free plug. Comp gift?)

Then the reality set in: We now have two saboteurs to track instead of just one. The twins are sort of like raccoons – and I mean that in the nicest possible way – in that they get into anything and everything. To wit, Taylor seems determined to find out what electricity tastes like, hellbent on gnawing through a power cord. No sooner did I pry her off my laptop outlet and pull the cord tighter to get it off the floor than Ty (a dead ringer for Butters from South Park, by the way) scooted in and tried to swing from it like a tiny Tarzan.  (more…)


I’d been away from home before, but not like this – not with three years and four children between visits.

In fact, let’s back up for a second. Jamestown, N.D., is not my home anymore since I haven’t lived there on anything resembling a full-time basis in 15 years; rather it’s my hometown. And going back over the weekend with my wife and kids to celebrate the baptism of my newest niece was … nostalgic.

Plenty has changed. There are coffee shops now – yes, plural. The newspaper where I got my start in journalism moved a block. The high school is now the middle school and has a patch of synthetic turf where the parking lot used to be.

Plenty more hasn’t. The cement buffalo atop the hill remains the world’s largest. The baseball field remains green and vibrant. And the kids still yearn to leave.

Is it safe to say that your hometown never really gets a fair shake? Rebelling against it is among the safest forms of teenage angst. Plus, it’s pretty easy to to trash something you know inside and out.

Sure, there’s not a lot to do in this town of 15,000 compared to its North Dakota neighbors of Fargo-Bismarck let alone when stacked up against legit large cities of the world. Opportunities are harder to come by and/or have lower ceilings. But there remains room for appreciation.

My parents have a great house in the deepest part of a cul de sac – large and interesting and spread over four staggered levels. We moved there from four blocks away before my freshman year of high school. The backyard features an oversized, shaded deck that overlooks a gully bordering a public golf course. On a warm summer day, it’s one of the most peaceful places on the planet.

I was especially struck by the trees in the yard and the surrounding area – so many types and shapes and sizes. There’s almost no way I noticed that before.

It felt nice to sit and read the paper, the breeze threatening to carry it away. Normally a treadmill turkey, I opted to go for a run outside in the afternoon, zipping by familiar homes with unknown owners, turning near a lawn I used to mow and continuing past the golf course, the soccer park, the softball fields. I was surprised to find memories at every spot – they weren’t all good, of course. But this time they felt more like bygones than open sores.

Meanwhile, my oldest daughter made fast friends with a neighbor, another 9-year-old fond of neon colors. They cut flowers and swung on swings and invented a game using the seeds from the whirly birds that fell from the trees. It was the most classic kid stuff I’ve ever seen her do.

For those couple of days, things seemed slower, smaller, simpler. It’s highly unlikely that I’ll ever move back, but it felt good to be able to see the old place through different eyes.


One of the worst things about having an oversized family wrought with health issues is that it’s virtually impossible to leave home as a group for an extended period of time. But this week, with our first real trip as a group of six on the horizon, that immobility feels more like a positive. (more…)


My parents came to visit over Easter weekend. They came bearing food, packed in ice inside a casket-sized cooler so as to survive the 5-hour drive and/or a nuclear Armageddon. But not just typical holiday fare, a ham, dessert-based salad, etc. They also brought ingredients such as eggs, oil and frosting for making a cake mix.

That is what it’s come to, people of, well, whatever generation this is. Not only am I incapable of and/or uninterested in cooking a proper holiday feast, others are aware of that to the extent that they (sometimes properly) assume that I don’t even possess the most basic edible elements. (more…)

Family matters

Posted: November 22, 2012 by terryvandrovec in Uncategorized
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Dear diary,

Team Vandrovec is on the verge of making a couple of roster moves, bringing two babies – one boy and one girl – into the fold sometime in the next three weeks. It’s going to get weird. Actually, it already has.

My wife, labeled high risk because of issues with a previous set of twins (I’ll spare you the internal details), is being required to stay in the hospital until she delivers via c-section sometime on or before Dec. 10. That means I’m running the show, although it feels more like stumbling than running. I’m swamped at work due to an extended football-basketball overlap, our oldest daughter has time off from school, it’s a holiday weekend, the little one is out of sorts because mom isn’t around, my narcolepsy is acting up. It’s all about survival. (more…)