What you see here is a stack of wood I just acquired. I am working on building a workshop in my garage. My wife has shown me skip troweling for some mudding on the walls and that looks great so far. She also mixed me some paint which is also looking great. She also came up with this great idea to find some reclaimed wood and create an accent wall. I can’t wait for it to be finished. Actually, I can’t wait to start!
God: Come out with your hands up!
Me: I’ll come out but if I put my hands up it will be easier for you to take me
Me: Well, I’ve got these plans to share you with others. If you take me now I might miss out on some opportunities to share YOUR news with others.
Me: Um. God? What’s so funny?
God: I was just visualizing what happens if I set you loose with your plans. I mean…you think that will work?
Me: It’s the best I got. C’mon. Stop laughing.
God: Ok. But will you just wait for me? I’ve got this and you’re going to like how it unfolds.
That seems to be the story of my life. I may have an idea and want to run with it. I get a little glimpse of something that could be and want to immediately develop it. I don’t have much of an ability to wait or leave control in someone else’s hands. I feel that there things in my life that God has used or is using to continue me on a path somewhere but I still don’t know where. I know how disheartening it is to wait. I know that I need to learn to step back and lot God accomplish his work while I just stay obedient, but being in the captain seat looks like fun. I may mess it up but sometimes even that is more appealing than simply waiting.
That is the stage I am in right now and I want to take advantage of the time to learn instead of trying to move ahead full steam. God has a plan. It’s either to do something or do nothing with me, but until he reveals that my efforts are futile. A question I often wrestle with is what makes a decision so big that I need to wait for God to provide a definite answer. I don’t think I need to wait on him to reveal what cereal I eat in the morning. I don’t spend my morning praying that he tells me the best way to drive to work for the day. At what point do I need divine revelation in regards to a decision if that decision is not in contradiction to any of his previous revelations (his word, his convictions, his revealed plans…).
And thus is my thoughts right now.
This homemade tortilla press project sure is cool. It is made out of red oak, stained with a red oak stain and finished with polyurethane to protect the wood. This was made by Dan Lauerman and his dad. Tools used in the process include a band saw, a scroll saw, a router and lots and lots of sandpaper.
A tortilla press is used mainly to make corn tortillas. They are difficult to roll out by hand and a tortilla press is often used by families who make corn tortillas. The ingredients are simple, mainly consisting of instant masa flour available from a local grocery store or Mexican store. Simply add water per the instructions on the package and use this tool to squash the dough balls into perfectly formed corn tortillas.
Corn tortillas are a staple ingredient in Mexican cooking and are very tasty. You can buy them at the store but why do that when you can make them at home.
Dan Lauerman has created these name plates for his kids. Using just some cheap “white wood” from Lowes, a scroll saw and his new router he was able to finish these as he was looking. The names were cut out as one piece but the wood was too weak to support some of the thin parts of the letters and broke multiple times. Next time, for just a few cents more for this project pine would definitely be used in place of the white wood.
The paint was just done with some standard spray paint in a gloss finish and three layers. Sanding was very difficult with the small spacing between letters. A more bubble like letter would probably be better.
So what is white wood? It appears just to be a really soft wood. Some research leads me to believe that it is basswood but that it could also change from time to time from a specific distributor. It would probably be a good idea to stay away from this wood for anything you want to be a quality finished product.
Overall material cost was pretty low. Two of the boards at 4 feet long were about $3.60. Two cans of spray paint would cost about $7.00 and leave some paint to spare. Upping this to using pine would add only a few dollars and more quality. The nice thing about whitewood is how easy it is to sand, however it tends to stay very pitted even with rigorous sanding.
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Dan Lauerman has put together this bench, but cannot take credit for the design. The design came from Ana White and her plans for a Providence Bench at www.ana-white.com. This bench was fairly simple to put together. The most complicated part is cutting some of the angle and bevel cuts. With the right equipment, that isn’t too difficult.
The tools required to build this, or at least used in this design were the following: Miter Saw, Measuring tape, Rafter Angle, Drill, Circular Saw, Belt Sander and Painting supplies.
Since the beauty of this bench is that you should be able to build it from supplies laying around the house, I ended up using a few twisted 2×4 boards. The only supplies needed are about five 8-foot 2×4 and a bunch of 2 1/2 inch wood screws. Painting is optional but really gives it a nice touch since it is created with everyday dimensional lumber. Once assembled, the four boards on top were pretty twisted and the ended up being the only reason that the belt sander was needed. It was used to try and flatten the bench top a bit.
Although you may build this as an outdoor bench, it looks great indoors. It has been located in our dining room along a wall next to our patio door. This is a great location for sitting and looking outside or getting your shoes on. The real reason we placed it there is just how cool it looks all painted and put together. It is so hard to believe that it was made with 2×4 boards.
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Once in awhile, your child may need a part for the Halloween costume and you realize that is the perfect time to fire up your CNC machine. My daughter is going to be a Statue of Liberty for Halloween and I volunteered to cut out the torch. I just got my CNC machine a few weeks ago and have been trying to find real uses for it so I am not just cutting wood pointlessly. This was a good example and let me practice the idea of layering different elements.
You can see the parts all laid out in the software. I am using VCarve Pro 7.0 which came with my CNC Shark Black Diamond machine. The design was pretty easy to set-up, but it was my first time planning parts to fit together. I used the allow extra feature when making pockets that I would fit other parts into. In the end, I made too large of an allowance and would try to keep that in mind.
One of the biggest problems I run into is how deep to cut in order to get through the wood. It seems as though I am always working with warped wood since I store it in my garage. This means that I often don’t cut deep enough to produce a cut-out and sometimes cut too deep and don’t have strong enough tabs holding my material in place. The two clamps I have are just not enough to flatten a warped board.
My machine ran and was finished in about 15 minutes. This run I used a 3/16 upwards cutting end mill. I still don’t push it as fast as I could as I am getting used to everything. A minor fix I had to make from the design was I could tell that the allowance I made in the pocket that holds the flame was in the wrong direction. That meant it made the pocket a little smaller instead of a little larger. So I left the board where it is and quickly made a new tool path to fix the issue.
The assembly was easy with some wood glue. I am leaving it to my daughter and wife to take care of the painting. That isn’t my department!
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More months have passed than I had hoped to report on the adventures of being a new dad. My son is now eight and a half months old and I will talk about what has been happening for about the last month I assume. It’s funny that as fast as reality changes, old realities become distant memories. It’s difficult to remember my son when he wasn’t forming any syllables, holding his own bottle, and laughing at almost everything I do. I love getting a reaction out of him. I have him trained now that when he thinks I’m about to tickle him, he starts screaming. It’s really funny because it is like clockwork. I make a quick move towards his ribs and he thinks he knows what’s coming and screams accordingly. A happy scared scream, that is.
I think he actually has me more figured out than I have him. I am still trying to find the secret formula to get him to sleep through the night. I often think I have a new plan that will keep him satisfied and asleep, but it never works. Either my wife or I are waking up with him to rewrap him in his blanket or feed him at night. If I haven’t mentioned before that I can be kind of a bear at night when woken up, then now is the time to admit my level of irrationality in the middle of the night. I sometimes think that I could maybe get him to stop crying before I will feed him because he gets so worked up. He wins. There is only so much I can take before I just give him what he wants. At 8 months old, he isn’t as open to logic and rationality as I might hope for by this point.
But he has the beginning of a tooth!
My wife and I have been waiting for a while to see something poke through his gums and we finally have. If I thought he was irrational before, I think I am in for a treat. Now he’s not only in charge, he doesn’t even know what he wants. Like a crazy dictator!
Now let’s talk about sleep again. I used to take a full night’s sleep for granted. Even when my son was born through the first 6 months or so, sleepless nights seemed expected. At 8 months old my expectations were that he would be sleeping through the night by now. With that not being the case, my appreciation for little things in life continues to grow. It’s a good thing. I am grateful that sleeping continuously from midnight to 9:00 AM on a Sunday morning means so much to me. I want to enjoy little things more and having a baby gives a man so many opportunities.
The joy that my son brings though is the biggest “little” thing I’ve learned to enjoy. I get home from work and always enjoy the way he smiles at me as if acknowledging that he’s happy I’m home. My other kids often do the same only their smile is in the form of seeing how much weight I can have thrown at me as I walk up the stairs. I usually cannot even hit the couch before they have a request they’ve been waiting for hours to ask. My wife reminds them often that their chances are better for me to say yes when they give me more time to settle in. I often say no because I really need some time to wind down after work, but it is fun that they ask.
So what is 8 months? It’s appreciating that you still don’t get as much sleep as you want and watching the little one really start to blossom. It’s beginning to chase your son or daughter around the house. There isn’t much cuter than them kicking it in high gear, scurrying across the floor when they realize you are about to stop their current pursuit of the curtains. Or the TV. Or the outlets. Or the crumb you just dropped. Or the ball of yarn. Or the scissors. It’s enjoying all of that.
“Is it a line? It looks like a line and it is more of a line then before you “used” it. But it isn’t as dark of a line as I would expect. It is somewhere between blank and a line. Let’s go buy a pregnancy test that doesn’t cost a dollar and try again.”
Those were my words when we first took a pregnancy test. After going out and buying the Cadillac version of the test for ten dollars, it was still positive. We believed it now. Oh crap! We are going to have a baby. But I don’t know anything about babies. I know about 5 and 6 year old girls. That’s when I entered the lives of my given daughters. I even knew 6 and 7 year old girls because they don’t stay 5 and 6 forever. I didn’t, however, know much about babies. They cry and poop. They are needy and stinky.
This is all I knew. Now we had decided to do this so it was definitely something I was excited about. That didn’t mean I knew what to expect though. For right now, it was us and the pregnancy. I wanted to go out and buy some diapers and maybe some baby toys. That would help it sink in. So far all that I could see of this was a few used pregnancy tests, a doctor appointment on the schedule and the excitement in my family’s eyes.
First things first was the appointment at 10 weeks. I looked forward to that appointment to learn more about the process. We heard the heart beat which was a little crazy. There was actually a living being inside my wife. And it was my fault. At this point I was just as concerned as what to expect during the pregnancy as I was with what the baby would be like. Would I be waking up in the middle of the night to run to the store and fulfill my wife’s cravings? What would it feel like when my wife with the baby bump is on the back of my motorcycle with me? The first few months were really full of questions. I wanted to know how it was all going to work out. I wanted to know what to expect.
As time continued I received many answers to those questions. I will attempt to answer them as we continue on in the new dad’s guide. When you find out you are expecting, you may not feel much right away. It often takes a good amount of time to sink in. Maybe even some physical evidence like a baby bump or morning sickness. Don’t worry if you don’t feel like things are very different just by finding out. Some dads jump around like a ape while others are just happy. The adventure is different for everyone but nonetheless an adventure. Pregnancy is an adventure just as much as the infant. We will continue talking about pregnancy in the next article.
I had a son born early May and you are reaching my thoughts and descriptions on what life is like with a baby at various ages. I have two step daughters but I didn’t experience life with them as babies. Until my son was born I didn’t have much idea of what it was like having a baby. I am sharing those experiences.
As diapers get larger so do the loads that they hold. Although that is not the most important thing I am noticing in month 3 with my son, it is the first thing that came to mind. He seems to like it a lot when I tell them how stinky they are. He also seems to think anything is funny that I tell him is not. I’m used to it though as it is the same with my seven and eight year old girls.
There has been a huge change recently in how he interacts. He follows movements more, reaches out for things and laughs a lot. I like to think he is really happy. I wish I laughed as easily as he does but I am also grateful that my laughs don’t turn to crying as easily as his do. When he wakes up he is very pleasant for a bit. It doesn’t take him more than a few minutes though to realize that he is hungry and it is time to satisfy the craving. He wants formula and wants it now. I enjoy how eagerly he sucks at the bottle when he is really hungry. It is more satisfying to feed him when he seems so hungry instead of much of the time when he just casually drinks.
Yes, my son is often a casual drinker. Not all the time. He can drink pretty quickly but when I want him to down a bottle he seems to know and drink purposefully slow. He will drink for a long time and it will seem like he hasn’t even taken any of it. It makes me glad that I don’t have to feed him from my breast because that would be really annoying.
He just started playing with toys that we give him. The way that he plays with toys, or anything for that matter, is he grabs them and sees how quickly he can coordinate the placement of them into his mouth. My wife often speaks on his behalf to let people know the perpetual question in his mind. The question is “how can I get you into my mouth?”.
He often sleeps through the whole night. Just a part of the way through month three we started getting up and swaddling him again instead of feeding him. It’s been working like a charm so far and he has been going all night without eating. Heck, he’s doing so well we are about to embark on a three night camping trip. It will be his time to shine.
We are now skipping a few days ahead. We have gone on our three night camping trip and I have to say I am impressed. The final night he was pretty inconsolable but it coincided with an over abundance of flatulence. I may have to admit I would have been the same way had I been experiencing the same thing. He slept well in a tent. Yes, people do still camp in tents. Only the final night where he had the gas did my wife get up and feed him. The other nights we continued the swaddle and back to sleep.
A quick disclaimer on the swaddling and going back to sleep thing I have been talking about. What you don’t see about the picture is that there is a singing seahorse that has a light up belly. This thing is probably the major reason he can just go back to sleep. You need to get a singing animal for your baby that can stay in the crib. Every time we put him in the crib, the seahorse goes on and lasts about ten minutes.
The raising a baby thing has been going real well so far. We are headed towards four months and seeing constant development that is exciting and fun. If there is anything that can make a grown man silly it would be a baby of his own. I never thought I would say stupid things to my baby when I had one but I definitely have joined the club. I just hope he doesn’t remember half the things I say to him some day!
After a long hard day at the office, in the mill, or on the road we often don’t feel we have much left to give. In fact, we think after all of our hard work it might be about time for someone to serve us. That may be true. Do you really want your kids learning from you that they should expect to be served? That is what they will see you do and that is what they will also learn to do. Kids are very good at monkey see, monkey do. You are teaching your kids things when you don’t even realize they are paying attention.
I know this is hard to accept, but the most important thing you need to do when you get home from a long day of work is to start your second and most important job. Being a dad. Good news is that this job should be fun. If it isn’t than you have some learning to do. Being a dad has many tasks but one of the most important ones is to play with your kids. If you don’t regularly play with them then you are missing out on a very important aspect of your relationship. Playing with them provides many benefits.
Benefits of Playing With Your Kids
There are many healthy benefits that come as a result of play time with your kids.
Playing is Fun - The time should be enjoyable to both you and them. You can do many different activities. We will list some ideas later. You can do something that you both enjoy. Ok, maybe it won’t always be your cup of tea. You’ll have to watch the same High School Musical movie again that you just watched last week. Just like you will ask your kids to help out in the garden which is fun for you but a chore to them.
Playing Builds Trust - Playing with your kids tells them that you think they are important. It also gives you a chance to do activities that are new to them or that they normally could not do without you. This is a chance to show them that you are there to support them and will keep them safe. You should find ways to play that challenge them in new ways.
Playing Keeps you Young - Your kids want you to stay young. They don’t care about your age, but they do care about your ability to stay vibrantly involved in their lives. Just like they want you to have time for them, they want you to get up off the couch and do cart wheels with them. No shame, no laziness and no excuses! Get up and participate. The more you play, the easy it will be. Choosing active activities will help you stay in better shape and teach your kids to stay active as well.
Ideas for Playing With Your Kids
Here is a list of things that you can do with your kids that should be fun for the both of you. If an activity looks like a chore, then it is up to you to make it fun!
- Play a sport
- Play twister
- Go for a walk
- Go for a run
- Play on a swingset
- Go to the lake
- Go bowling
- Wander the mall
- Cook a meal
- Build something
- Play dress up
- Paper, rock, scissors
- Declare a thumb war
- Play video games
- Wash the car
- Go swimming
- Go for a ride
- Go camping
- Fly a kite
- Look for critters
- Plant a seed
- Walk the dog
- Watch a movie
- Race around the house
- Find somewhere to volunteer
- Draw a picture
- Surprise your wife
- Bring them to visit your work
- Make a fort
- Go fishing
- Read a book
- Pretend to be superheros
- Make a campfire
- Do each other’s hair
- Go to a sporting event
- Sit on the front porch
- Find a science experiment
- Visit a relative
- Practice words from a foreign language
- Talk about your faith
- Take pictures
- Make a movie
And those are just the start of the possibilities