Tuesday, December 27, 2011

And Another One Bites the Dust

Well, another holiday season has passed in our house. All the last minute craziness is over and all the kid's presents are scattered throughout the house.  Our last few days will be spent at the In-Laws just getting a little much needed R&R.  It's also a great time to reflect on the last few days and the passing of the Christmas Season.  What will we do different for the new year? 

This year, my oldest daughter and I spent a lot of time together shopping for the family, wrapping presents, and just talking.  She's getting old enough now that I wanted to make sure that she understood the real meaning of Christmas and why we celebrate it every year.  To my amazement, she already knew and really surprised me.  It really warmed my heart to hear my daughter tell me the story of Jesus's birth and sacrifice for mankind.  She really understands the meaning of the Season. 

Another thing we talked about this year differently then last, was the need out there for people that don't have anything.  If you watch any TV, you see commercials all the time about "for $.25 a day, you can feed this child in Ethiopia."  My daughters saw these commercials and repeatedly asked me why the child was so sad and where their parents were.  It was sad to hear them ask and it really made me reflect again on the meaning of Christmas.  This lead me to discuss needy children and how my oldest daughter felt about it.  Together, we decided next year that we are going to go through our local churches, angel tree, etc and take all the money we spent on ourselves and give to needy children next year.  She really liked the idea of being able to help others and that made me feel good.

This is all a plan to make sure that when my children grow up they understand that you don't have to have a lot to be rich, as long as you have your family and that there is always someone else out there that needs more then you do.  I don't think I said that exactly right, but you get the point.  We have been blessed in so many ways in our life and now is as good a time as any to share those blessing with others. 

So, with that being said, I hope you and your family had a very Happy Holiday.  May you be blessed with more then you can ever imagine and may you share those blessings with the one's you love.  Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

It's Beginning to Feel Alot Like Christmas...

Well, not really.  One of the perks living in the south is fairly moderate, but unpredictable weather.  We rarely have days below freezing and the thought of snow is almost laughable.  Today's high temperature will be in the 70's and that is just not Christmas weather.  It makes it so hard to get into the Christmas spirit.  It just doesn't feel like Christmas. 

Thanksgiving day we put up our Christmas tree.  It was fake, of course, and it is a pain in the butt to put up.  It's been in my family close to 20 years, but it is still a Christmas tree.  We used to have a real tree for Christmas.  My wife and I would spend hours looking for the "perfect" tree.  That used to start putting us in the mood for Christmas.  Ever since we moved back to where I grew up though, it's been a fake tree every year.  There's just something about a fake tree that doesn't do it for me.  It took us another three weeks to actually put lights on the tree an decorate it.  Again, another message that it just doesn't feel like Christmas.  We actually don't even have any presents under our tree because we are scared the kids are going to get into them.  It's actually kind of sad.  It's just not Christmas in our house yet. 

So, how do you get into the Christmas spirit when your walking around in shorts and a T-shirt, complaining about the heat, hating the tree that you see everyday, and not wanting to wrap presents?  I say you remember why we celebrate Christmas, be thankful that you're not dealing with three feet of snow, and just try to enjoy this special time of year with your family.  There will always be next year to get fully engulfed in the Christmas mood and it will be here soon enough.  So, Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to everyone out there.  Remember the reason for the season and be thankful we've had another year. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Who's Coming For Christmas?

So, every year we ask our children what they want for Christmas.  Most of the time it amounts to about every darn thing, but for my six year old, it was different this year.  She only asked for two things and she asked for them consistently.  Yes, my child is growing up, but it's way scary to hear what she wants now.

Justin Beiber now infatuates my little girl.  NO!  She wants a Justin Beiber doll.  Now I don't know if she really wants it for her, or if she wants it because everyone else wants it.  I can't figure it out yet, but I don't except that my little girl has been beiberized.  It's very scary for a DADD.  She also wants a makeup kit (to replace the one her sister's broke last year.)  She adds that last part consistently as well.  So, a my six year old wants makeup and a boy doll.  Someone please shoot me and put me out of my misery.  I thought I would at least escape this stress until she was a teen/pre-teen, but I guess not.  My little girl is growing up.

So, the next hurdle is the fact that Santa is not bringing her a Justin Beiber doll this year.  Have you priced these things?  They are ridiculous.  I just can't justify getting her one on top of what else we have gotten her.  We thought her "Santa" gift this year would be a MP3 player since she now loves music.  We've gotten her some books she's wanted and a couple of odds and ends.  I feel guilty though because all she has asked Santa for is that doll and a makeup kit.  How can I not get it for her? 

What are your thoughts?  Beiber or no Beiber, that is the question.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

People Should be Born with a Universal Remote

8724311 Larger FrontWouldn't be nice if everyone was born with a univeral remote?  Mute, volume controll, rewind, pause; how nice would that be?  It could be so usefull in everyday life.  The evil would probably corrupt its pure principal, but I think it would be worth the risk.

I can remember clearly waiting anxiously for my girls to talk.  Random Girl began talking early age and hasn't stopped since.  I can't say she hasn't stopped, she doesn't talk when she reads, most of the time.  It wasn't long after she began talking I was repeating one of my Dad's favorite phrases, "Can I just have five minutes of peace and quite?!"   I wasn't sure then why five minutes was so magical and now I know why. Five minutes to a 6 year old is a blessing.   Five minutes is actually a manageable goal to try and reach. Ten minutes would just kill your child and would throw the whole world off balance. 

It's kind of funny though because as Monkey and Punky Doodles came along, I had the same anxiety about wanting them to talk.  I actually told my wife that I was worried about Punky because she hadn't began talking yet.  How silly am I?  Now, again, just five minutes please.  Words start flowing out of their mouths at about 5:30-6:00 am and don't stop until, well, they don't stop.  Monkey actually talks in her sleep, constantly.  It has become my morning tradition when I am not at work to put on my headphones and listen to some music while they are occupied by the cartoons.  They even talk then.  I know that makes me sound like a terrible dad, but it's my five minutes of peace before the day really begins.

This handy little tool would be useful with my job as well. I would love to be able to rewind and let people hear what actually comes out of their mouths.  Sometimes I want to look at them and go, "Seriously, did you just say that?"  The worst part about it is that more and more people actually do not understand the amount of junk that is coming out of their mouth.  It's becoming an unreasonable world and the greatest thing about my job is that I have to put up with it.  Sometimes I just want to ask them where they work so I can give them a visit one day and let them understand what it feels like.  Enough about work though.

So, kind of like the movie "Click," we all need a universal remote.  We don't need to to fast forward through our lives or to navigate our past showings, we just need it to shut some people up sometimes, turn down their over inflated volumes, or just to get the five minutes of peace we need from our children.  I don't think that's a lot to ask for, although it is pretty selfish.  What do you think? Would a universal remote come in handy in your life?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Dream a Little Dream

So, when the idea of being a dad came to be almost 8 years ago now, it was definitely a new experience.  It was so surreal to think that I was going to be a father.  Now, it seems like it was just always meant to be now that we are expecting our fourth child.  It was dream of mine to have a family as I got older, but it hasn't always been my dream, not wholly. 

Growing up I was able to experience a lot of different things.  I played football, baseball, and soccer as a small kid. I went to sports camps and was pushed to be a little athletic.  I dreamed of being a great sports star.  My parents never took the time to tell me that my shot of making it to the pros was slim to none, one in a million.  They let me have that dream and as most things do in small children, it changed over time. 

What were your dreams growing up as a kid?  Did you dream of being an astronaut or a fireman?  Did you want to fly to the moon or did you want to own a horse farm?  What did your dreams consist of?  The reason I ask is that I believe we grown and develop as children based on our dreams and hopes.  As young children most of us had imaginary friends we played with.  We built forts out of blankets and had entire worlds made of Legos.  We developed through our imaginations,our hopes, and our dreams.  So as parent's, do we cultivate our children's hopes and dreams or do we introduce them to the hard facts of life early.  I ask this based on a parenting theory I just read, parents should not lie to their children.  The question is, what is so different from cultivating their belief in Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny and lying by omission, telling them their dreams of being the next world class ballerina is not realistic?  I ask this in all seriousness because to me it is one and the same.  Parent's fib to their children constantly, trying to protect them from the real world, trying to coax them into doing what is best for them, and trying to help them be children.  Really, what's crossing the line.

Now, I know that this stretches the idea of being a good parent, but I think it just feeds to the fact in all reality, everything we do is to make our children happy and keep them safe.  I believe that is the ultimate goal of all parents,  We all just have different methods to get there.  There is no single path better then another and we just have to accept that all parents are not created equal.  Don't judge other families for wanting their children to live our their dreams.  If I could say anything to a parent it would be to let your children dream, let them imagine, and let them enjoy being a kid.  It doesn't get any better when you get older and your dreams consist of paying off your car.  Let'em dream. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

New Baby, New Worries

You would think after having three beautiful, happy, healthy girls that the wife and I would be old pros at this pregnancy thing, but alas, we still have more to learn.  We can pull the heartbeat out of the air and read a ultrasound as good as a tech, but is still so much to know, especially with a new one. 

 On our most recent doctor's appointment, the nurse mentioned that my wife's Rubella antibodies were off.  My first response when my wife mentioned that was, Rubella?  Apparently, my wife is not immune and her antibodies were off.  So, the research began.  Nasty little virus this Rubella is and it can do some major damage to the unborn baby.  Great, something new to be concerned about.  Not to mention that since the wife is now 35 (I was being nice, she just corrected me, she's 36), they asked if we wanted amniocentesis.  So, another thing to think about.

With all this little uncertainties, we started second guessing our decision not to have genetics testing.  We started second guessing our thoughts on vaccines and medicines.  We started second guessing everything.  So, as good parents, we tried to become educated and the best place was to ask the Doctor, duh!  So, my wife called and the doctor said there was absolutely nothing to worry about and that everything was fine.  Whew!  False alarm, back to normal.

Long story short, always trust your instincts. You know you better then anyone else and if you take the time to educate yourself and listen to your heart, it will all be fine.  What do you think?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Life Goes On

At what point do we as parents realize our children are just that, children, and that the accidents, bumps, bruises, and hurt feelings are all just part of growing up.  I mean we all have our horror stories of some tragic event that happened during our childhood and we're still here.  Better maybe, stronger for sure, but we are here, alive and well.  I've had stitches, broken bones, and scars galore, each with their own unique lesson.  How else did I learn not to run with scissors?  (joke)  Seriously though, it's first hand, real world experience for children to learn that parents do know what their talking about.

Yesterday while visiting the baby doctor we ran into some friends with an 18 month old.    We haven't seen them in a while and their baby sure has grown.  Well, during our painfully long wait, their daughter had an accident.  Her Mom had asked her to stop running in the waiting room and to put her other shoe on, but as kids will do, she did what she wanted.  Next thing you know, whack, she tried to install a doggie door in the entrance with her head.  Now, as a seasoned parent my first reaction was to do absolutely nothing.  It happens.  After three kids you have a better understanding of what a mind blowing fall is and just another bruise on the head.  Now, immediately her Mom sprang to the rescue scooping her off the floor, trying to console her and her now bashed in head.  All the parents-to-be and new parents stared at her with disgust letting her poor, innocent child hit her head.  How dare her?  Then came the moment I knew would come, and almost all seasoned parent's knew it would too, the look.  The look is the point in time where the child reviews their surroundings, who saw, and decided on the best course of action.  Typically, due to the attention they have gotten, and of course their embarrassment for not listening, they begin their screams of pain and sadness.  This is always uncomfortable for the offending parent and the rest of the world that is witnessing.  Never a good situation. 

By now I am sure you think I am a heartless, terrible Dad.  I assure you I am not.  After our over protective phase with Random Girl and we had Monkey, I learned the look.  My wife and I also learned how to use it to our advantage.  When our children run and fall, they do "such a good job."  That was such a "good fall."  This almost makes it a game for our children, they forget what happened, they are not embarrassed because they did a good job, and life goes on.   There is no blood curdling screams, no guilt, and the world is at peace.  It's like it never happened.

The point is, as new parents we learn, we grow, and we adapt to our new role in life.  There is not a single new parent out there that can honestly say they are the experts, no matter how many books they've read or what classes they've taken.  What seems as a horrific fail as a parent with kid 1 will just be another day in the park with kid 2 and won't even be noticed by kid 3.  It's all apart of growing up for you and your kids.  Take it one day at a time, remember their are no rules, and do the best you can with love and affection for your children and you'll be fine.  It's all apart of the game and life goes on.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Daddy's Date Night

So, it's a rare occasion, but every once in a while I try to go on a date with my oldest daughter.  The first date night was the year before last when we went Christmas shopping for Mommy. It was a great success and a joy to watch a 4 year old pick out a present for Mommy.  So, as these things tend to happen, a Christmas tradition began.

Tonight was a little different then usual.  Random Girl is 6 now going on 21 and able to give me a lot more thoughtful ideas for a Christmas present for Mommy.  There were other reasons tonight was unique as well.  Our first stop was the Dollar Tree.  Here my darling daughter picked out gifts for her sisters.  Not once did she ask for anything for herself.  She was very thoughtful in picking out something that each of her sisters would enjoy and they were very appropriate for each one.  I was so proud of her choices and her selflessness.  If you have a young child you know it's all to easy for it to become all about them.  I was amazed that tonight it wasn't. 

Our next stop was an eye opening experience for me as well.  My daughter apparently can pick out presents better for my wife then I can.  She gave me lots of great ideas that will make Mommy very happy and as not to ruin the surprise, we'll leave it at that. 

Chic-fil-a was our dinner location of choice as it has a playground and she wanted to go make some new friends.  They were having a birthday party and she enjoyed watching the other kids and eating her Kid's Meal.  She then went a played for hours on end until she was plain warn out.  I got her a milkshake since she had been so good and we headed home.
On the way home, Random Girl told me about Jesus and God and why we celebrate Christmas.  She is so smart.  She told me why Jesus was so important to us and about his mother Mary too.  I was so amazed that she has learned so much.  I wasn't raised in a very religious family and for her to learn this at such an early age through an after school program is just wonderful.  She understand the reason for the season and I don't think many 6 year olds can do the same thing. 

So, that's my little journey for tonight. I know it's not a lot, but it means the world to me and I just wanted to share.  Just when you think your kids aren't looking, they will surprise you to the point where you just kind of sit back in awe.  I love my girls.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I Am Number Four!

Totally different then the action packed thriller about aliens living among us with super powers, this post is about my family's journey to child number four and all the emotions along the way.  Not any less exciting, just without all the killing and stuff.

"Four kids, really?"  That's the typical response from anyone I tell that we're expecting another child in May.  That and the always classic, "You haven't figured out what causes that yet?"  It's funny that people look at four children as such a high number.  I think in the current world, two or three is the norm.  After having two children, the third was pretty easy to handle, so why not try for four?    It just seems like a logical choice to me.  I can't help it that I prefer even numbers and symmetrical architecture.

With all that being said, I never thought I would be the father of three or even four.  I thought two was more then enough.  God blessed me and mine with a third though, and at that time, I knew in my heart that three kids was good and plenty.  My wife had said she wanted another child, but I had all but taken that completely off the table.   We struggle to raise two, much less three.  There was no way we could afford to have a fourth child.  So, almost two years passed and I woke up one morning thinking about having another child.  My wife and I had not even talked about it.  It was just there.  A seed had been planted and began growing in my mind. Every Dad can probably agree that they want to have a boy, sometime in there life.  I had already been blessed with three beautiful girls, but I wanted to see if the fourth time was the charm.

Several days later, during one of our day off, house cleaning sessions, I proposed the idea to my wife.  I didn't immediately want to start trying, but I could see having another one in the next couple of years.  It took all of a week for us to find out we were pregnant.  Thank God that He had planted that seed in my brain because I was already ready for it.  Now, we are about four months along.  We find out in about four weeks what the sex of the baby will be.  I hope it's a boy, but whatever God decides to bless us with will be more then wanted and loved.  I remember clearly my wife, then my girlfriend, telling me that she had been told since she was fourteen that she couldn't have children.  Every child to us is a blessing.

So, I picture a little boy growing in my wife's belly, sucking his thumb, running his laps, and thinking "I am Number Four!"  He will be blessed with super powers just like the rest of us.  Love, compassion, humor, and smarts will be in his tool box.  And he will be born in May.  I can't wait to see the world premier.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Our New Ride

Well, we sucked it up yesterday and traded in our totally awesome truck for a minivan.  I hate to see the fun thing go away, but I know it was necessary with number four on the way.  I never thought we would be a minivan family, but I know now that is was inevitable.  I guess I am growing up after all.

With that in mind, let me tell you about our new ride.  It's a 2007 Nissan QuestYes, not new as in brand new, but new to us and in a lot better shape then our previous 2005 Toyota Tacoma. 60,000 miles vs. 150,000 is kind of a no brainer.  It's fully loaded, which is also new to us.  It has all the functions that a family vehicle should have, including a DVD player.  All I can say is that's totally awesome.  It's roomy, seats are comfortable, and it's ride is smooth.  Even a cool feature the kids like is that they each have their own private sun roof.  How cool is that?  Every time we go out I feel like Captain Kirk is going to come over the intercom and give me some orders.  It's very futuristic looking.  I have to say that we have looked at many minivans and this is the coolest one yet.  If you've got to have a minivan, this is the one to have, definitely.

Now that I am done bragging about our new car, let me say it didn't come without a price.   We were about nine months from paying off the truck.  Oh how I hate having a car payment.  It is a lower payment and a shorter term, but the interest rate is ridiculous.   Sometimes I really do question my judgement, but I also look at it as no one knows what my family needs more then me and the wife.  If someone wants to judge me based on my decision, that's fine.  It's not your money, your time, or your family so get over it. 

That being said, it's nice to have a new car, not so nice to have a new payment, but GREAT to have a Nissan Quest.   Next time your in the market, check'em out.  I don't think you'll be disappointed.

(Pictures to Come)