A Great Father’s Day

Papa and his submarine girls

Papa and his submarine girls

What better way to spend my fourth Father’s Day than eating huge pancakes and piloting a submarine with my girls, all in lovely Portsmouth, NH? There’s much to tell about today’s adventures, so read on…The day started at 3:30am when I woke up to cries from Esme and mumbles from Mama about a wet diaper. So I got her out of bed, changed her diaper, and gave her back to Mama for some milk. Then I was luckily able to fall back asleep…

At 7:15am, Catherine woke up, and I made us some bagels with strawberry jam. Yum! The two of us went downstairs to watch some PBS Kids TV and do some computering. I wished all of the Dads I follow on Twitter a happy Father’s Day. Turns out there were enough of them to fill up three tweets (tweet 1, tweet 2, tweet 3)! I’m pleased to be able to follow so many great Dads on Twitter. I like to keep up with them and learn from them, as well as share my own experiences with them. Though I do know many Dads outside of Twitter, this group of folks is interesting in that they’re mostly close in age to me, and have similar personalities, interests, and family dynamics. Luckily for me, many of them also live in the area, and in fact are part of the Build Guild web-geek meetup that I attend on a monthly basis.

After breakfast and TV, it was time to get everyone ready and out the door to church. While we were getting ready, Catherine brought me my Father’s Day present: a book of homemade coupons for Papa and a poster entitled “Shiny Eyes: A Tribute to Papa,” a reference to a book we have called “Papa, Papa” which contains the line “Papa, papa, you are wise, I like to watch your shiny eyes.” We have always thought that line sounded a little strange, but it’s cute and meaningful nonetheless. I’m trying to decide whether to binge and use all of my coupons right away, or save them for opportune moments (diaper-free day, evening of peace, weekend day to yourself, etc). I should add that the poster and the coupons were cleverly made by Rebecca using her new favorite program, Pages.

Today was originally scheduled to be the Dane Street Church all-church picnic, and so that was our tentative plan for the rest of the day. However, due to the apparently now-standard rainfall, the picnic was canceled and we were left with the entire day open.

The King Cakes

The King Cakes

So my suggestion was to go and visit a restaurant in Portsmouth, NH called The Friendly Toast. I’d heard many good things about it from my local friends on Twitter, and so I wanted to finally have a chance to try it. As its name might suggest, The Friendly Toast specializes in breakfast items (though they do also have burgers and such things on the menu). The restaurant is filled with kitschy memorabilia and definitely has a funky atmosphere (as many restaurants in Portsmouth do). I ordered the “King Cakes,” a stack of two huge banana and chocolate chip pancakes with peanut butter sandwiched in between, served with bacon, and accompanied by two small, individually packaged jars of real maple syrup (from California, though… what’s up with that?). I also ordered a side of home fries. All were delicious, particularly the pancakes (I’ve always been a fan of peanut butter on pancakes). I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who lives close to Portsmouth and wants a good, filling, funky breakfast (at any time of day, and 24 hours a day on weekends!).

Ahoy there!

Ahoy there!

After our meal, we drove over to visit the USS Albacore. The Albacore is a former US Navy research submarine, designed to test new submersible technologies. It is permanently on display just off of I-95 in Portsmouth, NH. There is a small visitor’s center, and then a self-guided tour of the Albacore. We dashed through the rain to get into the submarine, and then spent time walking around its corridors, looking at all of the tiny little spaces, crawling through hatches, trying to get into impossibly high bunk beds, and listening to the audio tour. There were a few points where Catherine said it was “scary” and “dark” but overall she seemed to have fun. Especially when we got to the pilot’s seats, where there were lots of levers and knobs for her to play with. Afterwards, we took another quick walk through the visitor’s center, and after Catherine checked out some of the gifts, I bought her a squishy foam replica of the Albacore on the sly, and waited to give it to her until we were in the car (having apparently bought nothing). I experienced my first father-gift-giving disappointment as Catherine examined the sub, and then sadly said she wanted to have one of the “plastic ones.” There were indeed some colorful plastic submarines with wind-up parts, but I had passed them over since there was a pretty good chance they would end up broken before too long. After a few minutes of talking to herself, however, she came around and was enjoying playing with her new submarine.

By the time we got home, Catherine was at the end of her rope, so we need to move quickly into the bedtime routine. I ran out with both girls to pick up some Thai food at Siam Delight while the world’s hardest-working Mama had a few minutes to herself. We all ate dinner and watched Little Bear, and then it was time for bed. I gave the girls a “tubbath” together, passed Esme off to Mama, and did the rest of my usual bedtime routine with Catherine (jamas, bedtime snack, water, stories, and singing).

This was definitely a great Father’s Day. I thoroughly enjoyed spending the day with my family, doing fun things and eating good food, and I’m ending the day in high spirits. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to be the Papa to two great girls. I’m learning more about being a father each day, learning more about my daughters, and constantly trying to be better.

You can see all of the photos from my wonderful Father’s Day in the Father’s Day Gallery.

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