Tasty Buttered Toast

Quips and Quandaries from a re-employed house husband

Archive for the tag “Short Stack”

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!

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Bicycle Race

Bicycle bicycle bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle bicycle bicycle

We all remember that feeling.

The smell of the asphalt.

The wind in your hair.

The sudden realization that you finally had transportation and you were free; free to jump on your bicycle and go for a ride, even if you didn’t have any particular place to go.

I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like

Ever since the weather has changed, Eddie has been hounding me, almost on the daily to go for a bike ride.  He has a small bike that is just his size, but he hasn’t had a lot of time to ride it.  At daycare, they have a couple tricycles and a big wheel or two that he has been able to practice this pedal technique; which I can say has come a long way compared to what he was attempting last fall when the idea of a pedal was confusing at best.

Bicycle races are coming your way
So forget all your duties oh yeah
Fat bottomed girls they’ll be riding today
So look out for those beauties oh yeah
On your marks get set go
Bicycle race bicycle race bicycle race

Today I told him if the weather permitted, I would ride bikes with him for a while this afternoon.  His face lit up and he was all about it.  He couldn’t get to nap soon enough… and would you know you, as soon as he was out of bed he was asking about going outside and riding bikes.  Who am I to deny this young lad a small taste of freedom… well, as much freedom as you can have when you aren’t allowed to ride past the mailbox.

*Lyrics to Bicycle Race by Queen

My first attempt at authoring a video, I had no idea all that cast & location stuff was needed at the end and yes I know my camera work is terrible, but this kid loves to ride! It might not be much to watch, but the soundtrack is fantastic.

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…

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!

Flew The Coup

Gobble! Gobble!

Having a sick kid is never fun… not for anyone involved.  Those of us who are parents or know how frustrating it can be to try to comfort your child or to get them to chill out so they can find a way to recoup.

This past week Ed has had a pretty fierce cough, so we took him to the doc to get checked out and the result was allergies.

Allergies?  Really?  Ok, I’ll bite, but then why doesn’t the allergy medication do the job and turn the faucet that is his nose off and maybe do something about that cough?

And then to top everything off, Saturday evening while spending a ruckus time with some friends, he gets a fever.  Cue the drugs to take care of the fever and then the eventual dosage of the allergy medication.

Now this is the part where I’m going to take a little side step and make a suggestion to those pharmacists out there.  You know how medications that cause dizziness and drowsiness and they put those brightly color stickers on the bottle to make you aware of those side effects?  My question is; why don’t they have one that says “It might make your child act like a serious wack-a-doo”?  Needless to say, Ed was and has been a serious wack-a-doo about 30-45 minutes after his dosage.

Anyway, some have mention that this symptoms could be the result of additional teething… while this seems odd in my mind, everything but the cough is quite similar to his teething exploits of months past.

The doc said to give a call on Monday if the cough hasn’t left / if he hasn’t improved.  I’ll be on the horn tomorrow morning and see what she’d like us to do.

What I do know is that Ed as a wack-a-doo before bed is not a fun way to end an evening.

May your turkey be moist and delicious, the gravy be smooth and delightful, and the cranberries be not from a can.

Safe travels on your Turkey Day… don’t be afraid to take a nap while the Lions get their backsides whooped by the Packers… as is tradition.

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.

PGA Tour or Golf Buddy

I’ve always told myself growing up I wasn’t going to be on of those fathers that push their children into taking up a sport, so they can become the next phenom in that sport.  I am happy to say that I’m still not that father, but something interesting happened the other day…but first a little back story.

Throughout this spring and summer, seeing as I was still looking for employment and home with Ed, we would need to kill time during the day.  And if it was nice enough outside, we would take a walk around the neighborhood; he would be in the stroller and I’d fire up my iPod and listen to a Pearl Jam concert or catch up on my hip-hop lyrics.  It was a great way to kill 30-45 minutes without feeling the need to entertain or work up an unnecessary sweat.  These walks would typically be capped off with my parking Ed (still in the stroller) in the garage and out of the sun, but still facing the front yard.  This is the point where I would wonder over to my golf bag and grab a 4 iron or 5 wood and take a few dozen swings.  This, for some reason was HILARIOUS to Ed.  I still haven’t decided if it’s because there is a problem with my form or if swinging a golf club is just that darn funny.

I keep a lone sand wedge and a shag ball in the garage leaning against the wall just in case I need to kill a few moments, I can chip around the front yard or swing a little when I’m bored.  The club also makes for an excellent poking stick for when the flag on the front of the house gets all wrapped around the flag pole.  It was this club and ball that drew the attention of Ed yesterday afternoon.  We had just completed a walk around the neighborhood and since it was nice we were hanging out in the front yard when Ed decided that he need to get some toys from the garage.  This is what I saw when I turned around from putting the wagon away…

So I have to say part of me is pretty geeked that he may be interested in taking up golf.  I can say that right now because he isn’t able to shoot a lower score than I can at this point; I’m sure that day will get here soon enough. I was just blown away to watching take the ball, take the club and know what was the right way.  Of course, once he discovered that he couldn’t swing the club, it was dropped and he began throwing the golf ball around the yard… it’s a start thought, right?

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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