Tasty Buttered Toast

Quips and Quandaries from a re-employed house husband

Archive for the category “Celebrate”

Schools Out Forever!

Ok, well, maybe not FOREVER… but for an extended period of time to be sure.

I recently completed my last round of finals for a while and can consider myself a college graduate once again, this time with an Associates of Network Administration.

With any luck, I’ll be able to post a little more often as I won’t have homework, tests, or other general school preparation to deal with.

Until next time… which I hope to be sooner than the 5 months since my last post.  🙂

Happy Festivus! Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

A Day For Dads

Today is Father’s Day.

Since 2005 this has been a difficult day for me. I try to do all the right things to keep it from getting me down, or being in a light depression for a few days; and for the most part, I would say that I’ve succeeded.  The arrival of my boys solidified that.

Becoming a dad has been one of the coolest things I’ve done with my life to this point.  Not that it hasn’t come without some stress or difficult times, but on the whole, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Simple Reminder

Kate got me this mug for my “first” father’s day, before our first miscarriage.  I thought it was a little corny then since we were only expecting and didn’t have a baby yet; but she assured me that I was a father to the little ball of whatever was growing in her so it still counted.  Now when I read this mug, which is most Sunday mornings, I take pause and usually look at the boys to try to remind myself that this is what is all about.  Trying to teach them right from wrong, be that strong person to guide them with wisdom, and to be a person they strive to be when they “grow up.”  It’s a heavy burden, but one I’m proud to carry.

Happy Father’s Day Pops.  You are greatly missed, but I want to thank you for being that person for me and everyday I strive to be better than I am.  And to G. Sluiter and G. Potter who are in heaven sharing this Father’s Day with you, give them a hug for me too.  The three of you had a huge impact on making me the man I am today.  Miss you all.

This wasn’t supposed to be a post about anything… I was going to post this picture and leave it at that; so if when reading you feel it doesn’t flow all that well or transitions are less than delightful, you have my permission to let me have it in the comments.  I encourage it.. it means that you’re out there reading what I have to share… even if it is less than once a month. 🙂  Hopefully as school winds down I can get back here to post a little more often, but until then, thanks for stopping by!

Opening Day

Spring Training is a time to work out the kinks, get back in to game shape, and get back into the groove of being a team.

In less than two days, if all goes according to plan which it rarely does, the newest addition to our little tribe will be in our midst.  I would like to think that we’re all set and prepped for Opening Day; unfortunately, since we know when he’s planned to arrive, certain items haven’t been completed or are still in a state of limbo. We could maybe use another week of Spring Training.

When Ed was on the verge of joining us on the outside all we had to go by was the due date.  We knew that there was the potential of him coming early which put us on our toes a couple weeks in advance “just in case.”  And as luck would have it, he arrived on his due date, and even with all the preparation, I had left the laptop, Kate’s overnight bag, the camera… EVERYTHING at home in the excitement of it all.

For some reason, having a planned C-Section makes it feel like he won’t come early because we have an appointment.  He’ll arrive on Tuesday, and that will be that… ultimately, I hope that is the case, not that one day will throw too big of a wrench into things, but certain items are already in place to accommodate his arrival on Tuesday; so why mess with plans, right?

But as the big day draws near, Kate gets antsy.  She sees things around the house that she feels need to be addressed before Charlie’s arrival.  I’m not too surprised as this is her nature, sometimes it is a good thing, but other times, not so much.  This would be one of those times… since we are so close to the birth day; she needs to take it easy to prevent things from being accelerated.  And keeping her low key is proving more and more difficult the closer the big day gets.  Thankfully, she has been listening to my pleas for her to take it easy and relax.  I’m more than able to do as much of the heavy lifting as necessary until she is healed up and ready to retake her position as my teammate in this game of parenting and housekeeping.

This time I feel we are more ready, Kate has her bag packed, and laundry is finishing up as I type this.  Mothers and Mother-In-Laws have their Ed assignments for the week and so long as Charlie cooperates, we should be good to go.

Bring on the baby lotion, tiny clothes, and car seat.  When the “first pitch” is thrown on Tuesday, this team will be ready to play ball.

They Say Its Your Birthday

A lot can happen in a year.  This past Saturday was my birthday… and after having to get up early to drive 40 minutes to school so I could take my first final of the semester,  I was able to return home just in time to gather up the family and roll over to my in-laws house to help decorate Christmas cookies.  And while I’m pretty sure if I had wanted to, I could have played the birthday card and went back to bed or something, but I would have felt guilty for leaving my post.  My MIL and I are the two lone frosters… everyone else (we had 6 this year… ) and I it is up to us to get the cookies frosted so they can be adorn with sprinkles, candies, and various items of deliciousness.

So I assumed my post on the east side of the island in the kitchen with seven bowls of homemade frosting between us and a pile of cookies, my MIL and I got after it.  The family time is something that I really enjoy… with Kate’s brothers living farther away than we typically travel, I really enjoy the time I can spend with them and their significant others… and hanging with the nephew is always good times too.

After cookies, we headed home for a nap for Eddie and what I thought would be a little unwind time for me… but then I remembered some of the items on my honey-do list… so I was off.  Reflector stakes to line the driveway, return cans because the box was full, try not to lose my cool while waiting for the can return machines to be fixed; making friends with a little girl in the cart in front of me was a highlight of that trip as well.

Closing out the evening was a visit with Santa and dinner with Kate and Ed, with a special viewing of The Big Lebowski made my birthday celebration complete.  Given all my little family has been though this past year, both good and bad, I think made this year’s celebration that much more sweet.  Seeing Ed so excited to give me a birthday card brought emotions to the surface I hadn’t ever felt before.  This birthday is one I shall not soon forget.

Thank you family for a wonderful celebration, you make me feel special each and every day!

In A Father’s Eyes

Unless you are a dad, you have no way of understanding the overwhelming emotion that comes with holding your child for the first time.  Until tonight, I thought that kind of feeling could only come from biological children….

Tonight I had the distinct pleasure of spending a lovely meal at my sister’s house with her husband, my brother and his wife, my mother and step-father, and Kate and Eddie.  You see my sister and her husband recently returned from their first trip to Ethiopia.  They are in the middle of the adoption process and had the awesome experience of being able to spend a few precious hours with their soon to be children, and then having to leave them until the paper work clears the embassy… which could be anywhere from 4 to 10 weeks before they will be able to hold their children again… anyway, getting back to that emotion that only a dad can feel…

After dinner we all left the dining room and retreated to the living room to look at some pictures and video from their trip.  These images were some of the first of my new nephews that I had the pleasure of viewing.  And that’s what I saw it.

My brother-in-law, new being a first time father to twin, 6-month old boys from Ethiopia, had that look… that twinkle, the perma-grin type look that only a father can have when he holds, meets, EXPERIENCES his child / children for the FIRST time.  He had it.  As plain as the day is long… I could see it in the photos, in the short video that was shared… he had that look and I knew exactly what he was feeling because I remember how I felt when I held Ed for the first time.

I couldn’t be more happy & excited for my sister and brother-in-law… they are so very happy and excited, and I’d like to think a little terrified about how much their lives are going to change in the next 2-3 months.  They have a blog called Stepping Stones Feel free to pop in and say hello.  I’m sure they would appreciate the support and well wishes!  As the big brother, I couldn’t be more proud.

Thumbing My Way

This past week I had the pleasure of guest posting at a little blog most of you have heard of called Sluiter Nation.  I was a Sluiter Nation Recruit, and I have to say, it was a fantastic experience.

If you haven’t heard about a Sluiter Nation Recruit, you can check it out here, and while you’re there, why not check out my post.  🙂

That post, in it’s most basic of topics, was a joy to write.  Not only was it fun for me to try to create something worthwhile for Kate’s HUGE readership to consume, but it sparked a renewed enjoyment of putting together a post, flushing out what it is that I want to say, and trying to say it the right way.

The comments were so supportive and genuine, it reminded me how much I enjoy writing and commenting when I have a chance to read your writings.  I will make a pledge to return the favor of your readership and make a presence known on your blogs as well, so let me know when you’re here and where I can find you.

That being said, I’m going to do my best to post at least once per week… probably on Sunday or Monday, in hopes that my writing skills improve, and that you special few who check out my blog will have new posts to read on a more regular basis.

Until next week…

Happy Birthday Pops

You would have been 55 today.

I miss you and think about you daily.

Just In Time For Father’s Day

Artists Rendering

This weekend is always a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me.  My wonderful wife and I were married the day before Father’s Day back in 2005.  It was a wonderful day, one that I will never forget for obvious reasons.  But at the same time, there was a grey cloud over that weekend, as there was the unspoken understanding that this could be the last Father’s Day that we would have Pops with us.

On Thursday I decided to get a tattoo in honor of my father.  While he was never in the Navy, he was definitely a boater through and through.  We ended up spreading his ashes in Lake Michigan per his request.

I’m not one who has many a tattoo, in fact, this was my first.  I had been thinking about this particular tattoo since he passed, but did not know what I wanted.  I just knew I wanted it to be nautical in nature for him, but still have the symbolism for me.

Finished Product

The ship’s wheel and an anchor just made sense.  The ship’s wheel to represent the various changes in direction my life has taken over the last 6+ years… and the anchor to remind me to stay grounded and know that I have a place that I can call home.

Yesterday, Kate and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary, and today we celebrate fathers everywhere… specifically those who are near and dear to use.  We love and cherish those fathers that w can still spend time with, and miss those greatly who are no longer with us.  I miss my father greatly, and think of him more now than ever, but knowing that he’s watching over my family is a comfort.

Happy Father’s Day to all you Dads out there, and to those of you who maybe aren’t Dads yet, or will be soon, there is no greater satisfaction.

Education

I’m questioning my education
Is my education who I am now?

So… this past Friday I became a college graduate.  Granted it’s been almost 14 years since my last day of high school and this being my third college that I’ve had the honor of attending; I will have something to show my long days and tired afternoons.  This journey has been one of many nights where I didn’t think I would make it to the finish, and actually took quite a few years off while I found my direction.

I had the great fortune to marry Kate, who, being an educator by trade, was more than supportive of my going back to school.  I think what really helped me go back was something she said when I was trying to decide if school was the right choice for me.  I knew I needed more education to get ahead or open up additional career options, but I was stuck.  Then she said it…

“So to school for something you enjoy.  It doesn’t have to be for what your job is right now; just because your job is sales now doesn’t mean that is what you have to choose.  You like computers and technology, why not pick that?”

And there you have it…it’s like a light switch had been flipped and I knew what I wanted to go to school for… and in the fall of 2008, I applied and registered for classes to start my new path towards a CS degree in Network Administration.

While you’re deciding, I’ve been finding
Looking around in the here and now.

And then it happened… In the fall of 2009, I was let go from my place of employment and I wasn’t anywhere close to finishing my degree.  I had only been going to school part-time, a class or two per semester, whatever my schedule or budget could handle and now I was in serious trouble with finding a way to cover tuition, books and the whole lot.  Not to mention that without a degree finding new employment was going to be a serious challenge, especially in today’s job market.

I met with my adviser.  I wanted to know what my options were for financial aid since it was the middle of the semester, I had a pile of classes to finish and I knew I needed to keep 1st shift hours available so I could still continue the job search.  While reviewing my transcript, he noticed that, while being on the path to a Network Admin degree, I was only 10 or so credits away from finishing an Associates in Liberal Arts… so the path took a little turn.  Now, instead of taking computer courses and following a set path, I had new pressures to finish that degree as quickly as I could…

I’m questioning my education
Rewind and what does it show?

And with great pride, I can say I’m a college graduate.  I made the Dean’s list a few times, managed to maintain a 3.9 GPA since going back to school.  Of course, now that I have the one degree down, class starts up again on tomorrow (Monday) and the path regains its original direction… hopefully in a couple more years, I’ll have another degree to hang on my office wall someday.

Could be, the truth it becomes you
I’m a seed, wondering why it grows

* lyrics from the song Education by Pearl Jam, composer: Vedder

I <3 My Dentist

Most people aren’t fans of going to the dentist.  I mean, there are those that look forward to their six month check up so they can have that professional cleaning that sticks with you for such a long time that you almost hate to eat or drink something because you know that once you do, you can’t get that super clean feeling back for another six months when you come in for your next check up.

I can honestly say I’m not a fan of cleanings.  Yeah, you teeth feel clean and junk, but you also feel like you’re chewing sand until you eat or rinse a few times.  But beyond that, I always feel as though I’m running a gauntlet of dental instruments trying to find a cavity or tartar build up that wasn’t bothering me… but the hygienist knows it will turn into a larger problem if it isn’t take care of right away.  And thus begins the scraping with that mini pick ax trying to mine the garbage that has decided to take residence on my tooth.  I’ve always been prone to cavities, this probably adds to the anxiety of getting the cleaning… it was never a matter of IF a cavity was found, it was how many.  My worst report was double-digit cavities after one check up.  We still joke about that one no matter how good or bad the report ends up being.

Which brings me to why I’m writing this post.  My dentist and her staff are awesome.  Even though the reason for my visits typically cost not only time from family or work, but usually end up in a little discomfort to my gums or teeth.  But even with all that aggravation, I still look forward to going.  I would mention my dentist & her trusty assistant by name but they specifically said they were concerned about making the blog, so I won’t mention them at this point, maybe if they leave a comment you can learn their true identities.

Being able to joke and spit one liners while my dentist is trying to complete a filling or drill a cavity is what makes my visit worth while… I know, (because she told me as much) that they look forward to my visits because they know every visit will be different from the last.  I like to think if I can bring a little joy to their day by being a fun patient, then maybe they will take it easy when drilling, scraping, and mining in my mouth.

…. oh… and the nitrous helps.

Thanks for visiting… I welcome all comments, even if it’s just to say you were here.

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