Tasty Buttered Toast

Quips and Quandaries from a re-employed house husband

Archive for the tag “Dad-do”

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.

Listen To Your Uncle

It started Saturday morning… Ed and I were headed to my mother’s house to deliver a car seat and instructions as to the goings on upon the arrival of little bro.  The morning Charlie arrives, she is going to come and stay with Ed at our house and bring him to the hospital to meet his brother before the slew of visitors arrive that evening. We wanted Ed to be one of the first to meet the new addition.

On the way to her house, Ed says from his seat, “Dad, can you play that Pearl Jam song for me?”

“Which Pearl Jam song is that, buddy?”

“Pearl Jam.”

So I turned on the radio, thankfully I have Sirius in the truck and channel 22 is Pearl Jam Radio… 24×7 Pearl Jam… well, normally.  When it fired up a track by Green River was on.  Ed knew immediately that this wasn’t Pearl Jam; which impressed me to no end.  So I began to explain how a couple of the founding members of Pearl Jam were in Green River first.  He seemed to understand and thankfully a Pearl Jam track came on next and we jammed out the rest of the way to Grandma’s house.

Cut to later that afternoon and the family is loaded up and we’re headed to hang with some friends to the evening with a classic rock station on.  Ed asked for it to be turned up… the song in question: Rockin’ in the Free World by Neil Young.

Immediately he makes fish lips and starts nodding his head.  I notice in the mirror his enjoyment of the music and motion to Kate to take a look.  She turns around to see what he’s up to and is quickly met with a “turn around Mommy, no look at me.”  She turns around and we exchange half smiles.

Then, to top it all off, during the third chorus, Ed starts to sing along with Uncle Neil… the low sounds of his trying to sing along with “…rock in… free world” was enough to tell me that I’m doing what is needed to expose and appreciate music in some of its best forms.

I look forward to the day that Ed and his brother want to sit down with Dad and take in some tunes from my formative years.  I hope that I’m still open minded enough to give their stuff a listen as well without being too judgmental as to the sound or style of music they like.

As Uncle Neil says… Keep on Rockin’ In the Free World.  I’m confident we will be.

Goals

What is it about the end of one year and the beginning of another that can either suck the smiles out of you, or hit you with a right hook to the gut when you least expect it?  For me, I feel like I had a pretty solid dose of both this weekend.

The New Year gives us a moment to reflect back on those things or events that help shape our year and our lives, while the idea of opening a fresh calendar to the first month of the year is like the birth of the person you want to be or the spectacles you hope to witness in the coming year.

Rather than make a list of “resolutions” or the idea that I can make a list of the things that I like least about myself or my habits, and decide that this year I’m going to change; I thought I’d make a list of goals that I hope to achieve this year.  Maybe it’s the same as a resolution, but in some cases, I think it’s different…

Vehicle Upgrade for Kate – it’s no secret that Kate in in need of a different vehicle.  A small, two door coupe isn’t exactly conducive to a hot mama taking the kids home from day care.  Something with four doors at a minimum and decent gas mileage wouldn’t hurt either.

Graduate from College – Some of you will remember that I was fortunate enough to graduate with an Associates of Liberal Arts, and if the schedule at the school works out, I should be able to graduate with an Associates in Network Administration.  This would be great as I’m ready to be done with school for a little while.

Welcome Charlie to the family – My 2nd son will be joining the family in March.  Given the inspiring journey I’ve made with Eddie thus far, I am super excited to see how the addition of another person to our family dynamic will affect our routine / mindsets / emotional growth.  I can’t wait to become a family of 4.

Ride my bike more – Ok, this really sounds like a resolution… but the truth is, I was fortunate enough to receive a bike last Christmas, but failed to ride it as often as I had hoped to.  This year, I hope to log some miles of pleasure riding as well as for purpose… that is, as an added element to an exercise plan.

The exercise plan – so yeah, resolution #2… but isn’t this one that is on everyone’s list?  And if it’s on our list every year is it still a resolution?   I might even think about running another 5k.  For some reason when there is something to train for, it makes it easier to get out and actually exercise.  So that’s what I’m going to try to do.

Be a better friend – Over the last year or so, I haven’t done a whole lot to maintain those relationships with the friends that I hold near and dear. Most of them are now spread out across the country, that seeing them in person happens so infrequently, I feel guilty when I can’t give them my full attention when they visit.  My goal is to make a more concentrated effort to communicate with them on a more regular basis… be it a text, email, skype session or a hand written note… just something to make sure they know that I’m thinking about them and that they are important to me.

And finally… Blog more – I stated a couple months ago that I was going to try to blog every Sunday… and for the most part I managed to stay true to that goal.  Unfortunately, once finals rolled around and term papers were due, I found it tougher than I had tough to get a post up every week.  In fact, after writing a couple pages for class, I really didn’t want to think about writing anything else, even if it was for fun.  With the New Year, I’m going to try to stick to that Sunday post goal, but not beat myself up if I miss one due to a school requirement.

What about you?  Any goals that you’ve set for yourself in the coming year?  I’d love to hear them, maybe even append my list…

Open Letter

Pops,

Hard to believe it has already been six years since you’ve left us.  So much has happened in the last two years alone, it is difficult to decide where to begin… but I’ll try.

Two years ago in June your first grandson was born, and he continues to amaze me with how much he is able to absorb and retain each and every day.  He is speaking more and more phrases and is able to repeat many new words on his first try.  He loves the water and is becoming more and more comfortable in his life jacket.  As he gets older, I can’t but help wonder how your influence on his growth would enhance the little boy he is quickly becoming.  You would love him, he’s such a character; he has that little twinkle in  his eye just before he does something he isn’t supposed to that makes me wonder if you somehow had something to do with it.  On the good days and bad, I really wish you were around to offer up parenting advice… or at least share some anecdote on how to handle a particular situation.

This past March I started a new job.  I’ve taken a position working for Construction Specialties as their inside sales person, and assisting with some estimating duties.  The guys I work with are great, and I really feel like I’m starting to hit my stride in this line of work.  Who knew selling truss installations would be so different from selling the trusses themselves.

Kate is looking forward to her second year teaching mainly Spanish at Park after being bumped around from her English position for the last couple years.  Speaking of Kate, she / we are expecting child number two.  She’s 8 1/2 weeks along and is feeling the first trimester blahs in full force.  She’s a trooper and has been dealing with it as best she knows how, and is beginning to know when to ask for help and lean on me a little more than she is accustomed to.

This past May I can finally say I am a college graduate, all be it a lowly Associates degree, I know that you would be proud to know that I have finished, and am still attending to complete my Network Administration degree, and potentially get a Bachelors.  Believe it or not, I graduated with a g.p.a. north of 3.8… hard to believe I know, especially considering how much I didn’t exactly excel the first time I attended.

That is a quick swoosh of what has been going on, and there is more to share, but for now we’ll leave it at that.  Know that while you might not be here in person, I feel your presence everyday.  My goal every morning is to try and do my best to make you proud of me as your son, a husband, a father, and as a man.  I wish there was a way to know your thoughts and feelings about the job I’m doing and the decisions I’m making for myself and my family. I always valued your opinion and insight on everything… and I still do.  Those old stories still find away to work their way in to my everyday life and I want to thank you for that.

Six years have past since you left us, but the pain hurts like it was yesterday.

Love you Pops.

Cortney

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.

Gonna See My Friend

While standing at the sink this morning, washing a sink full of dishes I noticed these two cups just sitting there as content as could be.  Now, bear with me as I get a little symbolic here, but I want to say that these to cups just looked happy to be in each others’ company.

I realize inanimate objects don’t care where they are or what they are doing… I get that, I’m not completely crazy… but they looked happy.

Don't They Look Happy?

Obviously the one on the left is mine and the other is Kate’s.  I took this after they had been washed, dried and were ready for their close up.

Normally these two cups wouldn’t last 3 minutes on the coffee table with Short Stack running around causing havoc.  What got me thinking was the fact that mine says “The Best Dad Ever.”  A bold statement to be sure, but I realized that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to try to be that Dad if it wasn’t for Kate being a Mom… and a damn fine one at that.

I know she goes through her days sometimes wanting to be home with Short Stack and me being the one at work… I know she feels like she is missing all the growing up time while she is away bringing home the bacon.  We have made this arrangement work, and it has worked for a reason.  I just hope she knows that even when she isn’t here, E and I think of her often and can’t wait for her to come home.

Inquiring Minds Want To Know

Ask and you shall receive… today’s post topic comes via Twitter from Lins610.  Lins610 asks “I’d like to know if you have always had the “stay at home dad” in you or did you adapt?”

Great question because during my days leading up to the arrival of E, I had wondered what my feelings would be on the subject.  I’ve always been able to get along with younger kids, not sure what it was but I’ve either been able to relate to them and they never really were scared of me.  In fact, back in my middle school days I would volunteer to help with nursery during Sunday service at church.  Obviously most of the girls would want to help, but I was one of the few boys that would want to as well.  Those 3 and 4-year-old kids were a lot of fun.

Even into my high school years, while my nursery volunteering went away in order to give other kids a chance, I still found that I had an uncanny ability to get along with the younger crowd.  When friends / cousins started having babies, I was never afraid or slow to want to hold or play with them.  So I suppose it would just be a natural progression to enjoy a child of my own.

Now, getting back to the question at hand… have I always had the “stay at home dad” attitude or did I adapt?  Well, leading up to E’s arrival, Kate and I had talked about it and I know I had made the statement that if we could swing it financially, I would be all about staying home and being a full-time house husband.  Then, when being laid off back in October of 2009, I was essentially thrown into that role and I think I embraced it as much as I could thinking that it was only temporary until I could find new employment.  Fast forward almost a year and a half and I’m still at home, raising E, doing my best to keep a little house, maintain my grades as a part-time college student, and still be as supportive of Kate as I can.

Ultimately, yes, I think I’ve had the stay at home dad mentality since becoming a dad.  While I miss adult interaction on a regular basis, I wouldn’t trade the time I’ve been able to spend with E for anything.  I suppose if there was a positive to come from losing my job it would be that.

I suppose this was the long answer to Lins610’s question… the short being, yes, I think I had it in me all along and was just waiting for the opportunity to show off my “Molly Homemaker” skills.  Thank you to Lins610 for her question… If you have any other ideas or questions that you’d like my thoughts / opinion on, please feel free to comment here or shoot me a tweet.

Man Of The Hour

My wife is amazing.  For those of you who know her, both in the flesh or online, you can attest at how great she is… this would be another example of why she is wicked sweet.

This past weekend was our 5th wedding anniversary and my first Father’s Day.  In celebration of our day of wedded bliss 5 years ago we enjoyed a fantastic dinner at Alpen Rose, our favorite anniversary dinner spot… correction, our only anniversary dinner spot.  We split a delightful bottle of wine over dinner and talked about how much our lives have changed since that wonderful day 5 years ago.

On Saturday, we ventured off to Detroit to take in a Tiger’s game.  Last year we weren’t able to make the trek due to Kate still being pregnant or due to the arrival of Short Stack and our not being quite ready to leave him overnight yet.  This year was a different story, we were going to make it to a Tiger game and I wanted to make a full evening of it and stay the night.  So with some added budgeting I was able to put away a few “extra” bucks to cover the cost of the hotel.  What a great time!  We were able to stay after the game had finished and enjoy a wicked fireworks show in center field.  Had we not stayed the night, we would have been on the road before the first shot had been lit.

Sunday was Father’s Day, and even though we were in Detroit and our little man was in Alto, Kate didn’t disappoint.  She did wish me a Happy Father’s Day but I was told I had to wait until we were home and with Short Stack before I was allowed to receive any gift from him.  I we stopped in Alto to pick him up and spent a little time with our good friends the Visels.  I was given something completely unexpected from my godson, a very nice card for Father’s Day.  It’s odd, but I didn’t expect anything and that probably made it a little more special.

Little did  I know once we got home, my little guy had a lovely card and a super cool surprise for me.  He, with the help of his mother, had gotten me a bike cart so I can take him with me on bike rides.  I have wanted one ever since I found out I was going to be a dad, giving me a renewed reason to ride my bike.  It was awesome and I can’t wait to us and share it with Short Stack.  I have Kate to thank for a fantastic first Father’s Day and a great time over our anniversary.

On a more somber note, this is my 4th Father’s Day without my Father.  Not having him around always makes this time of year a little difficult.  Lucky for me I have my son around to cheer me up, a supportive wife that allows me to be a little sad when I need to be, but not so much that I lose myself, and I have a father-in-law and a step-father to share my joy with too.  I know Pops would be proud of the job I’ve done thus far, just sometimes I wish he was still around for some “extra” pointers.  If you’re interested in reading more about our weekend fun, check out Sluiter Nation and check it out.

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