Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hercules! Hercules!

This weekend we will be witnessing my cousin, Daniel Duling, being ordained into the priesthood of the Catholic church.  We are all so proud of him for his perseverance through A LOT of years of school and studying and we know that he will make a wonderful leader in the church.  Congratulations, Daniel.

As for the kids….ahhhhh, the kids.  They are still pushing us as parents, but we know that they are starting to grow up.  They improve a little each day with how they act and are starting to get easier to rationalize with (little by little).

DSC02176  The kids were so excited to go to Bishop Carroll for one of my signings.  That doesn’t mean that they moved any faster than normal.

Much to Monica’s chagrin, I joined a Disney DVD club so we could start building the kids’ movie cache.  In the first shipment, we received a Handy Manny movie, Bedtime Stories and Hercules.  I made watching the kids a much easier job with the Hercules movie.  They LOVE THAT MOVIE.  They want to watch it all the time and love singing along with the songs.  Hercules has even taken over as the top idol among the Graf boys…Buster Posey, Tim Tebow, Champ Bailey and Daddy have been replaced.


What our house looks like after Hercules is turned on.


Lunch?  Please, Mommy!

LaLa (my brother Ryno’s fiancĂ©) came over last week and surprised the kids with a bunch of new toys.  She brought the boys some new sandbox toys for the playground in our back yard and she gave Danna a princess potty and some new big-girl panties.  Danna was so excited she started tearing off her diaper and wanted to sit on her pot.  So we gave her a go at it…and she lasted about 2 hours before peeing in her new panties.  We will probably start on that next week after Daniel’s ordination because Danna now has a potty that she isn’t terrified of.



My career as a “professional” author started with four book signings last week and I was extremely pleased with the turnouts.  I’ve almost sold out of my first shipment which I am very happy about.  The reviews (although all by friends and family so far) have been very good and it has been nice to hear good things about the book so far.


“Scary Monster Pi-Jimmy”

 DSC02193    “Fo-Mikey being a clown”

DSC02225“A Mommy/Laine-Train self-portrait”  

See you next time…

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Jekyll and Hyde!

As strange as it may sound, some days it seems like we have 8 kids.  It feels like each of our children have two completely different personalities.  I know I have said this about Laine for a couple of years now, but as they each grow and develop strengths and weaknesses the other three seem to be joining him with split-personalities. 

In two days they will be officially three and a half years old.  While we are so thankful for them, this stage in their lives has easily been the most challenging.  Here, on the brink of them turning “halfway to seven,” I will give a current profile on each of the kids.

Pius James is a sweet little boy.  He is so good-hearted and is a lot of fun to be with.  It is almost impossible to be mad at him because of his infectious smile and attitude.  Pius was probably the first of the boys to be fully potty-trained, however he has started a new trick.  We put the boys in pull-ups for naptime and bedtime, and Pius has decided to start pooping during these times.  He poops on the toilet, but you can tell that he forces some out while he is lying down.  We’re not sure why he does it, but if it is staying consistent with his past exploits, it is purely for attention.

Pius is also the whiniest.  He seems to be the least tough of the four of them and if he gets dinged a little bit he is pretty whiny about it.  I can tell if he is honestly hurt, or if he is just being a little soft.  I’ve told him over and over that if he wants to play sports he is going to have to toughen up.  Usually when I say, “Buster Posey doesn’t cry when he gets hurt,” he will pop right up and say, “I’m going to play catcher for the Giants.”  He loves his sports.

Forrest is a smart little boy.  I know I’ve said over and over that he is our parakeet, but he really is.  He loves to be outside and work in the garden with Monica.  He listens and remembers every thing she tells him.  I’m pretty sure he knows more plants by name than me.  Last night he asked me what kind of tree some tree was.  I told him I didn’t know for sure, and he says, “Daddy.  That’s an evergreen tree.”  We honestly kind of talk to him like an adult and sometimes I worry that might make him a little bit nerdy.  Last week, I took the kids to a WSU baseball game and we were out on the hill behind the outfield wall.  There were a couple of other kids there and Forrest walks up to them and says, “How are you doing today?  It’s a beautiful day outside.”  The two boys looked at him and didn’t know how to respond.  I was just laughing and thinking, “Good Lord.  I need to get my kids around other kids more often.”

As far as Forrest’s biggest current weakness, I think this may be a recurring battle that we will have for his whole life.  He is hard-headed and things have to be his way.  It gets extremely frustrating because his way is not always the best way.  In fact, his way is sometimes completely unacceptable.  Well, as far as he is concerned, his way is the only way.  Forrest and I have had more than a few “who can be more stubborn” standoffs and that gets pretty tough sometimes when I don’t feel like fighting the battle.

Little Miss Danna Lynn is easily our biggest challenge right now.  Her brothers and I have created a spoiled little monster.  She is content and happy most of the time.  She loves animals (especially doggies), balloons, books and flowers.  Every morning I ask them what they dreamed about.  Danna always dreams about doggies.  Every night when we say what we each are going to pray for, Danna always says doggies.  Perhaps we have a future veterinarian on our hands?

I’ve already touched on her biggest weakness, but without a doubt, her selfish attitude is hers.  Danna is selfish about everything.  As I said, her brothers and I created it.  For the first three years of her life, “Dannawant” meant Danna gets.  Since we always gave her what she wanted, the past couple of months have been a real struggle.  And her scream is piercing.  I will say she has improved (a little) but that much “unteaching” is taking pretty long and has been hard.

Laine-Train is usually a pretty fun challenge.  He seems to think the most like an adult.  The other day he was messing with something I’d asked him not to and I told him, “I’m going to smoke you, fool.”  He doesn’t even look up, he keeps messing with whatever it was and says, “You better pack a lunch if you’re going to smoke Laine.”  He asks why a lot.  He is extremely inquisitive and wants to know how and why things work the way they do.  He is always the first to figure out how to do things because he studies them.  Also, his sense of humor seems to be the best of the four.  When they are watching movies or TV, he laughs at things that are supposed to be funny, and he will try to tell jokes that he’s heard.

Notice at the beginning of writing about Laine I said “usually”?  Laine talks back all of the time.  I know that he thinks of himself as an adult and as his brothers and sister’s daddy.  He constantly “counts to three” for his siblings if they aren’t doing something he wants them to, and he is turning into quite the tattle-tale.  He has foiled quite a few of Pius, Forrest, and Danna’s plots and I know that as they grow up, this is going to be an issue between the four of them.

I promise that when I find the camera, I will post some updated pictures of our brood.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Another show next week!

Hi everyone, I've added another show next week. The schedule:

Saturday, May 14th
Oasis Lounge (Maple and West)
3:00-6:00 p.m.

Wednesday, May 18th
West Acres Bowl (Central and Ridge)
7:00-9:00 p.m.

Thursday, May 19th
Bishop Carroll High School (Central and Tyler)
11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Saturday , May 21st
Avon Store (Maple and Maize)
2:00-4:00 p.m.

Hopefully we'll get some pictures from the shows to post for everyone to see, and I will write another blog post about what has been going on with the kids at the end of the weekend.

If you've received your book, I'd love to hear what you think. You can leave comments here, Facebook, Twitter, or you can email me at Thanks for all the continued support!


The first 3 book signings!

Hi everyone.  I’ve scheduled my 1st 3 signings here locally and hopefully you can make it to one of them.  I will be doing more shows locally and regionally in the coming months, but I wanted to do a few here quickly so I can learn what to expect and how they work.

The first one is this Saturday at the bar where I used to bartend, The Oasis Lounge (Maple and West).  I will be there from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. selling books and signing them if you want them signed.  That is also the day of the annual patio party so there will be a lot of drink specials and, of course, if you haven’t already, you have to eat an O-burger (Top 10 burger voted by U.S.A. Today).

The next one will be at West Acres Bowl (Central and Ridge) on Wednesday night, May 18th from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.  This is one of our favorite places in the world.  They also have great food and also will have some drink specials going on that night. 

The third one will be Saturday, May 21st at the Avon Store West (Maple and Maize) from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.  There will also be a live KGSO remote at that strip mall at Rolling Hills Wine and Spirits.  (Notice my first few shows involve alcohol in some way?  Not on purpose, but that’s the way it worked out.)

If you pre-ordered a book, I signed and shipped them today (United States Postal Service) and they told me you should receive your book/books in 3-5 business days.  If you haven’t received your book by next Friday, please let me know so I can try to track it down.

Thanks again for all of your love and support.  Hope to see you all soon.


Monday, May 9, 2011

We’ve got a shipment!!!!

I received my first shipment tonight around 6 p.m. CST.  For those of you who pre-ordered (FREAKIN AWESOME, THANK YOU SO MUCH), I will have them shipped out tomorrow morning.  As far as those of you who will be coming to signings (hilarious to me), I have three places lined up here in Wichita…for now.  They will be at the Avon Store (west), The Oasis, and West Acres.  I don’t have specific times or dates, but as soon as I have them (hopefully in the next few days) I will post them here, my Facebook page and my Twitter account.  Thank you everyone for your support, and hopefully you will all enjoy the book.  It’s a fun, short (105 pages) story to read….PLUS I only use my “bar language” twice:)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Being Blown Away…

No.  I’m not talking about the Kansas wind (although that has been blowing like crazy too).  It hit me like a ton of bricks the other day, my kids have grown up.  They are so smart, so funny and so independent.  They all hold onto everything we say and they love trying to sound grown up.

Here are just a few examples from the last couple of weeks:

Pius:  Daddy, it’s spring time right now, but when it turns to summer and warms up we are going to go to Paula’s and go fishing.  The water is too cold right now so the fish are still sleeping.  (That last part was my explanation to them why we can’t go yet.)


Pius is already like his mommy, taking self-portraits.

Forrest:  Tornados are scary because they knock down trees, destroy houses and throw cars into the air like little toys.

Danna:  I need the doggie.  I need the moth.  I need….(smiles at me), no, Daddy, I need a hole in my head.

Laine:  You better pack a lunch if you’re going to smoke Laine, Daddy.  (After I told him to quit doing something or “I’m gonna smoke you, fool.”)

  DSC02160  Forrest and Laine fighting over the box.  Forrest wants to “read” it, and Laine wants to stand it up and stand on top of it.

They have turned from babies to toddlers to now full-fledged little kids.  They want to do things by themselves, without help a lot more often.  The boys have done a great job with potty-training and we haven’t really had an accident in as long as I can remember.  Danna does not even want to try and I think she has been scared to sit on the pot since she felt like she was falling through one time when we were trying with her.  She is still so little and even the baby toilet seats are too big for her small frame.

I’ve also been blown away at the reception I’ve been getting for The Quadfather.  Family, friends and our blog followers have been so helpful to me to get the word out on my book and buy it :) and I can’t thank everyone enough.


Even little Danna loves it!

One last thing heading into Mother’s Day 2011, I wanted to send a shout-out to Moni, my wife, my kids’ mother, my best friend.  She works so hard for us and the house couldn’t run without her.  I love you so much.


That’s her.  My beautiful wife.  Happy Mother’s Day, Moni!

See you next time!