Been a Crazy 12 Days!

October is almost over already and the time is just flying! Since the birth of our son, we have been on the go nonstop and are longing for sleep. Trying to find time to write an update between diaper changes has certainly been a challenge!

Ella is getting used to having a baby in the house. She doesn’t like when he cries, and usually joins in with him. There are things she was able to do before that she really can’t right now. For example, if mommy is laying on the couch feeding her brother, she can’t just run up and jump on her. She also is getting used to the fact that the baby is taking a lot of attention.

We’re doing the best that we can to each get one on one time with her when we can. It’s harder for Sam, because she is breastfeeding. I try to take the baby and let him sleep on me so she gets mommy/daughter time. On a recent nice day, I made it a point to take Ella to the park and we had a daddy/daughter day. It was nice to be able to share that time with her. It is important that she knows that she is still very important and that she is still our baby too.

The hospital where the baby was born is still not doing newborn pictures, so we scheduled a day to have some done at JC Penney. Our hope was to get some pictures of the baby and a few with his sister. Sam and I went to Carter’s and found the cutest outfit! I love this little bowtie!

We wondered if we were going to even get to have the pictures done. The day before we were scheduled for pictures, there was an incident at the mall involving a shooting! I don’t know the details, but the entire area was on lockdown the night before. I was glad that we got in, got the pictures, and got out!

We were able to get a few with both of the kids, including this amazing picture

The gal who took the pictures had Sam and I sit in and she snagged a couple family pictures. This one came out so cute.

When AJ is a bit older and more alert, I’m hoping to get a photoshoot with Ella, AJ, and their big brothers.

It seems like we have spent a lot of time at the doctor’s office, too! The day after AJ was born, we had a well visit for Ella and had the doc look at AJ as well. A day or two later, we were getting Ella ready for bed and as she was following me to her room, she missed the top step to the kitchen and fell. She was having trouble walking. She was crying like she was really hurt, so I wound up taking her to urgent care.

They didn’t want to do an X-ray because of radiation. In the waiting room, she had calmed down and was ok until we went back in the room. She hates the doctor’s, so she was upset. She walked a bit to be while the doc was in there and she told us to keep an eye on her. She told us that if she was limping on it or if it bothered her the next day, to call her PCP or an ortho doc. It was 10pm and well past her bedtime, so she came home and slept.

The following day, there was a little limping, but when she got up from the floor and started crying, I figured I’d call the doc. They got us in that afternoon. She took a good look at it and said she didn’t think it was broken. She said she probably bruised her calf and sent us with an order for an X-ray should be need it. She’s doing well and walking around fine.

Andrew gets more and more alert each day. He is having trouble sleeping due to GERD. We went back to the doc to ask her about it. He seems to gag and choke when he is on his back, which is how they tell you the baby should sleep. She wanted to make sure the baby was getting enough food, so Sam went to the lactation specialist at the hospital. After watching the feed, we found out that the baby is tongue tied and that thing that holds your tongue to the bottom of your mouth needs to be clipped so he can move his tongue around. His top lip is also connected very low on the gum, which makes it hard for him to latch during feeding. So we’re heading to a pediatric oral surgeon for a consult on Monday.

Never a dull moment here!

In the days ahead, we will continue to grab sleep when we can. I have one more week off work to spend with my family, and I hope to enjoy every moment of that time.

Song Draft 2021 – Round 8 Pick – Jump, Jive an’ Wail!

With all the baby stuff happening here this week, I almost forgot to post my song draft pick!

This is my 8th pick for the 2021 Song Draft. As we come down to the final three picks, I have found it more difficult to select my songs. This one wasn’t even on my list of “possible” choices until a week or so ago. I was scanning through my iPod again, and from the opening notes, I thought, “How can I NOT pick this one?!” My pick – Jump, Jive an’ Wail by the Brian Setzer Orchestra.

I was introduced to Brian Setzer in the 80’s when he was in the band The Stray Cats. They had hits with Rock This Town, Sexy and 17, Stray Cat Strut, and I Won’t Stand in Your Way (among others). Their rockabilly sound really stood out on the radio, and while it was not a new sound, it was to many young people who listened.

At some point the Stray Cats broke up and Brian went solo. In 1990, he formed the Brian Setzer Orchestra which combined his rockabilly style with swing, big band, and jump blues. The year before, there was a “swing revival,” which some referred to as “neo-swing” or “retro swing.” At that time bands like Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, and Royal Crown Revue were getting airplay on the radio.

In 1994, The Brian Setzer Orchestra (BSO) released their debut album. It included covers of Lady Luck, A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, Route 66 and some originals. I was hooked from my first listen.

Jump, Jive an Wail!

Louis Prima was a trumpeter who had been playing in bands and combos since the late 1920’s. He wrote Benny Goodman’s hit “Sing, Sing, Sing.” In 1967, he voiced King Louie in Disney’s The Jungle Book.

Songfacts states that Louis Prima was “a popular nightclub singer/trumpeter in the 1930s and 1940s, by 1954 work had dried up for him. However his career revived after he joined with young saxophonist Sam Butera and secured a gig at the Sahara Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. They soon became the most popular act in that city and cut The Wildest! album live in April 1956 at the casino lounge.” The song Jump, Jive an’ Wail is featured on the album and the record is considered one of Swing music’s finest. It became Prima’s signature recording from the set.

In 1998, The Brian Setzer Orchestra covered it on their album “The Dirty Boogie,” and it became their biggest hit. The song was released as its lead single, it peaked at #23 on the Hot 100. Setzer’s cover won the prize for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals at the following year’s Grammy Awards.

While I love the Louis Prima version, it sounds weak compared to the BSO version. There is so much more “Oomph” to it! While the BSO arrangement is very true to the original, there are so many other little musical things in it that make it so much better. First, Setzer’s guitar solo is completely unique to it – and it rocks! Next, you have more musicians – and the orchestra makes it sound “full.” Then you have the amazing key change – to me this takes the song to the next level. Lastly, the three note “stabs” by the trumpets intermingling with everything else … I dig that so much.

Here is the BSO official video:

I love how the video has a cold ending. I wish the album version ended that way.

For comparison – here is Louis Prima’s version:

Jump, Jive an’ Wail Lyrics:

Baby, baby, it looks like it’s gonna hail
Baby, baby, it’ looks like it’s gonna hail
You better come inside
Let me teach you how to jive and wail

Oh, you gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail away

Papa’s in the icebox lookin’ for a can of Ale
Papa’s in the icebox lookin’ for a can of Ale
Mama’s in the backyard learning how to jive an’ wail

Oh, you gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail away

A woman is a woman an’ a man ain’t nothin’ but a male
A woman is a woman an’ a man ain’t nothin’ but a male
One good thing about him
He knows how to jive an’ wail

Jack and Jill went up the hill to get a pail
Jack and Jill went up the hill to get a pail
Jill stayed up, she wants to learn how to jive an’ wail

Oh, you gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail away

You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail away

Oh, you gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail
You gotta jump, jive, an’ then you wail away

You gotta jump, jive
Jump, jive
Jump, jive
Jump, jive

He’s Here!

Our son made his entrance into the world this week! As you know, there were a few times that we actually thought he’d be arriving very early. Needless to say, there was a lot of stress.

For the past three weeks, every time Sam had her OB/GYN appointment, I was ready with bags at the door. I knew that at any time, the doc could say that he was going to induce. Sam had a rough go this pregnancy. She had high blood pressure, and a few other things that may have led to an induction.

Thursday – Last Week (10-7)

The doctor visit the week before had the doc on the fence. Do we induce or not? After this appointment, he was pretty sure that the baby was going to come that weekend. Just to be safe, he scheduled an induction for Monday morning (10-11). Sam called me on her way home from the appointment and told me she was coming home.

I worked Wednesday night, so I stayed up anticipating us going to the hospital. When she got home, I went to sleep so I could get some rest before work. Every night last week, I was on edge, I had my phone on me awaiting the call. The doc had already told us that if the water broke, things were going to progress quickly. I work an hour away, so I was very worried. The last two nights, I only had one patient, so that if I had to leave, my coworkers wouldn’t be overwhelmed.

Sunday (10-10)

It became very obvious over the weekend that Sam was struggling. She was not feeling well and was in more pain than she had been in. We debated taking Ella to Nana and Papa’s Sunday night so we could just get up and go, but we elected to keep her home. Ella must have known something was up, because she spent lots of time snuggling mommy on the couch and daddy in my chair. It was wonderful.

After Ella went down for bed, Sam and I gathered what we needed and had everything ready by the door. Sam got very emotional, as any mom would. Things were going to change. We were going to have another little one at home. The “what ifs” start running through your head and those only make you a nervous wreck. It was all we could do to actually fall asleep.

Monday – Induction Day

We were all up at 4:30am Monday. Induction was set for 7am.

We got Ella up and took her to Nana’s. We got to her house at 6am. We had to call the hospital at 6 to make sure that they were still going to do the induction. Thankfully, we were still set. When we left, Ella really wasn’t sure what was happening, but she did well.

We stopped to grab a bite to eat, because once you get to the room, Sam wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything except ice chips. We arrived at the hospital about 15 minutes early and they checked us in and got us to our room. By 8am, the induction process began.

Sam had been dilated to 2 or 3 for about three weeks and nothing happened. They checked her again and she was still the same. Once they got her IV in (which was a challenge because she was so dehydrated), they gave her some pill which was supposed to thin the cervix and help kick start things. The pill takes about 4 hours to work, so they really never even came to check until then.

At about noon they came in and checked her and things were progressing. She was actually starting to feel some contractions toward the end of the fourth hour. They did not start Pitocin yet. They wanted to wait an hour or so and see how things were going. About 1pm they came back in and said that they would need to start the Pitocin. At about this time, Sam was given her epidural.

When they checked her she was still dilated to about 2 or 3. The waiting was driving me crazy! At one point, they knew she was contracting, but couldn’t really tell the intensity of them, and they added some sort of pressure thingy that went up next to the baby’s head. This showed the staff exactly what they needed.

A little after 6pm, she was dilated to 4. Most OB/GYN’s will tell you that you kinda “stall” at 4 and are there for awhile. I was watching the little strip that the fetal monitor was printing and I could see the contractions getting more consistent and more intense. Sam was actually starting to feel them, unlike with Ella. 40 minutes later they checked her and she was obviously ready, because the nurse looked surprised. She told one of the other nurses, “get him on the phone and tell him we’re gonna start pushing!”

My rock star wife went from 4cm to 10 cm in 40 minutes! As they got the rest of the room ready for delivery, we got ready to start pushing. The doc walked in just as Sam was getting ready to start. Once she started pushing, it became pretty clear that it wouldn’t be long. As the baby started to come out, there looked like there might be a problem and the doc told my wife that he was going to need the vacuum to help get the baby out due to the fact that he was turned a bit and that his hand was up next to his head.

As he mentioned this, she started to have another contraction and the nurse told her to push through it. She did and that was all our son needed and he was out. It was truly amazing to witness. My wife only pushed for 7 minutes! 7 minutes!!!! The doc handed me the scissors and I cut the cord, which is always a memorable moment. I noticed that the baby wasn’t crying. That freaked me out a bit. It freaked Sam out even more.

As they were cleaning him off, I heard a little cry, but nothing like I had heard with my other children. Once he was cleaned off, they brought him over to Sam for skin to skin time. There was our second little miracle and he was perfect!

Holding mommy’s hand

While I was pacing the floor, I posted on Facebook that people should give their guesses as to what time he’d be born and how much he would weigh. My friend Sharon from high school almost nailed it! She was closest with her guess of 7:11pm and 7 pounds 11 ounces. She was only off by 4 minutes and 4 ounces.

My boy!

When she was born, my daughter looked just like Sam. My son, however, tends to look a lot like me. I say that because he was making what I call “Grumpy Old Man” faces. One of the first pictures I took of him, he has the funniest grumpy look on his face. Even in the picture above, he looks a bit angry. The picture from his birthday that just cracks me up, and reminds me of a look I would make, is this one:

Grumpy!

I love that look and pose!

They keep you in the hospital for 24 hours and then they want to discharge you, as long as nothing is wrong. My son was jaundice and so they kept checking levels. The same thing happened with Ella and she would up being readmitted to the hospital after discharge. We wanted to avoid that at all costs if possible.

They came in at about the 24 hour mark and said that the levels weren’t bad and that we could go if we wanted to. They said if we left, we’d need to follow up with our pediatrician in the morning and have blood drawn again to check levels. We opted to stay one more night so they could check levels first thing in the morning.

Ready to go home

Wednesday morning the levels were fine and we were discharged. It was time for the little man to meet his big sister! We had video chatted with her a couple times and showed her the baby. “Baby!” she would say, but not really comprehending that this baby was her brother and would be coming home with us.

We were lucky that we were able to get discharged fairly quickly that morning. We headed straight to Nana’s to pick up our little princess. She hadn’t seen us almost three days. When we walked in the house, she screamed happily and clapped her hands. She was SO happy to see us. Then it was time to introduce her to AJ.

Not sure what to think….

I’m sure that there was a lot of confusion at that particular moment. She had a lot to process. Nana and Papa got to hold their grandson before we left to go home. The ride home was unusually quiet. For me, it was weird because as I looked in the rearview mirror, it was the first time that both kids were back there. It was an eyeopener!

When we got home, Ella seemed a little more comfortable. I know she still really has no clue how to process it all, but she seemed generally happy to have the baby home. I will be framing this picture – I think it is just marvelous!

Sibling love

We were up early again today for well visits for both kids. They both are doing great!

The events of the past week only reinforce what a lucky man I am. I am so blessed!

There was so much more I wanted to write, but AJ kinda sums up what we all feel like over here….

Goodnight, friends!

My List Keeps Growing

I wanted to do a quick blog about something that has been on my mind for the past couple days. My prayer list seems to get longer and longer each and every day. I can’t even really blame it on the pandemic, although it certainly has played a part in it.

As I scroll through Facebook, I will often come across a friend who is asking for prayers. It could be in relation to the loss of a loved one or maybe a family member who is hospitalized. Sometimes the prayer request is an “open” one where the friend asks for prayer without revealing why they need them. Many times I will stop scrolling and pray at that moment, while other times I add them to a list.

That list is a long one. This week I added two more friends who shared that they have entered the cancer battlefield. They are my age. We went to school together. It’s not fair. God, do I hate cancer!

Breast Cancer cut the lives of my mom and grandmother short. Lung Cancer took the life of a radio friend. Brain cancer took the life of a young gal I met while doing a radiothon for kids with cancer. It doesn’t matter what type of cancer it is, I really hate it. I am grateful for my friends who are cancer survivors – I have many of them and I have prayed for them all.

To my two friends who shared their diagnosis with me and are beginning your battle – I will pray for you and am here for you if you need to vent, cry, or complain. For my friends who continue their fight, I pray for you, too. For those who are in remission and cancer survivors – you are an inspiration to those who are in the fight.

Keep Fighting! I’m praying for you!

We’re Still Waiting …

I really thought that our baby was going to arrive this weekend. Nope.

Sam worked Sunday night. I had the phone volume turned up, because I just knew that she was going to call to tell me she was in labor. Nope.

Sam was sent home from work on Monday night because some patients no showed. I thought for sure Sam would go into labor because we were home. Nope.

To be fair, the baby’s due date is the 13th or 14th (depending on who you ask), so we are still early. Sam said that she felt like the baby had “dropped” and is low, so I’m thinking it can happen at any time. While at work, I have my phone on me at all times, just in case the call comes.

Sam goes to the OB on Thursday, and to be honest, we’re both hoping that he sends us to the hospital to have the baby. If it doesn’t happen on Thursday, an induction has been scheduled and our baby boy will be here by the first part of the week.

For now, I pray that she doesn’t go into labor while I am at work. I want to be there from the moment she begins labor! Fingers crossed.

I’ll keep you posted…..

Alternative Cuss Words

I have mentioned the cartoon Bluey on here in the past. On the Bluey Facebook page a while back, they had a video of the dad (Bandit) using alternate expressions where swear words might be used. Exclamations like “Cheese and jam,” “Beans on toast,” and “Biscuits” are used in place of swear words.

“Biscuits!” is a favorite of mine right now, especially since Ella is starting to copy and say things we do. As much as I want to scream a dirty word when I step on a Lego, “Biscuits” works just as well.

There is a Christian comedian named Tim Hawkins who has some very funny parody songs and such that they play on Sirius XM’s Laugh USA from time to time. His standup act is funny and clean. I have seen this before, but didn’t realize that it was actually from him.

For your every day use – here is a list of “approved” alternate cuss word! Enjoy!

Song Draft 2021 – Pick 7 – Love Runs Out

We are in the 7th round of the 2021 Song Draft and I’m throwing a curveball at you this round. If you’ve been following my choices up until now, they are all what many would consider to be “oldies.” Almost all of them have a local (Michigan/Detroit) link to them. For this round, I have chosen a song from recent years that I thought should have been a bigger hit than it was – Love Runs Out by OneRepublic.

If I am being honest with you, I rarely listen to new music. As a matter of fact, I hate most of it. However, while working at the Adult Contemporary station in town, I got to hear many of the current hits at the time. It is interesting to note that even when I was DJing high school dances or proms, much of the music that was being requested was heavy rap or songs that were inappropriate for school dances! I always had the “Mainstream Radio” hits available (clean versions), but the kids always wanted to hear that other stuff.

OneRepublic was formed in Colorado and is one of those cool success stories. The group consists of Ryan Tedder, Zach Filkins, Drew Brown, Brent Kutzel, Eddie Fisher, and Brian Willett. Ryan and Zach went to high school together in Colorado Springs in 1996. They went to separate colleges and eventually reconnected in 2002 and formed the band with some friends.

Back in the day they had a MySpace (remember that?!) page that featured their music. This led to them to play many shows in the Los Angeles area. Eventually, after many labels approaching them, they landed a record deal. They were dropped by their label just a couple months before their first single “Apologize” was released. In 2007, Timbaland remixed it and released the single, which became a number one song in 16 countries!

In 2013, the group released their 3rd album, Native. Love Runs Out was not even on the album until it was reissued in 2014. Ryan Tedder in an interview said,  “We have a new single that’s not even on the album that’s about to drop. I can’t quote the date.” He says, “I wanted [“Love Runs Out”] to be the first single, a few of us in the band did, but I could not finish the chorus. And you can’t have a song without a chorus.” Approximately a year later, they had a chorus. The group appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and explained how it all came together:

The first time I heard the song, the driving bass drum caught my attention. Then you have this piano playing the same note over and over. It kept building and I was literally listening to see what would happen next. Ryan Tedder’s vocal is fantastic in this song. It’s almost like two people are singing it. You hear the “softer” Ryan on the verses and then he takes it up a notch on the chorus! His voice cuts through this song and I love it!

The song peaked at #15 on the Hot 100 chart, but I really felt like this was a number 1 song. It should have been.

In the official video, I believe the woman at the piano is Ryan’s mom!

Love Runs Out

I’ll be your light, your match, your burning sun
I’ll be the bright in black that’s makin’ you run
And we’ll feel alright, and we’ll feel alright
‘Cause we’ll work it out, yeah, we’ll work it out
I’ll be doin’ this, if you have a doubt
‘Til the love runs out, ’til the love runs out

I’ll be your ghost, your game, your stadium
I’ll be your fifty-thousand clapping like one
And I feel alright, and I feel alright
‘Cause I worked it out, yeah, I worked it out
I’ll be doin’ this, if you have a doubt
‘Til the love runs out, ’til the love runs out

Chorus:

I got my mind made up, man, I can’t let go
I’m killing every second ’til it sees my soul
Oh, I’ll be running, oh, I’ll be running
‘Til the love runs out, ’til the love runs out
And we’ll start a fire, and we’ll shut it down
‘Til the love runs out, ’til the love runs out

There’s a maniac out in front of me
Got an angel on my shoulder, and Mestopheles
But mama raised me good, mama raised me right
Mama said, “Do what you want, say prayers at night”
And I’m saying them ’cause I’m so devout
‘Til the love runs out, ’til the love runs out, yeah

Chorus:

I got my mind made up, man, I can’t let go
I’m killing every second ’til it sees my soul
Oh, I’ll be running, oh, I’ll be running
‘Til the love runs out, ’til the love runs out
And we’ll start a fire, and we’ll shut it down
‘Til the love runs out, ’til the love runs out

Bridge:

Oh, we all want the same thing
Oh, we all run for something
Run for God, for fate, for love, for hate
For gold and rust, for diamonds and dust

I’ll be your light, your match, your burning sun
I’ll be the bright in black that’s makin’ you run

Chorus:

I got my mind made up, man, I can’t let go
I’m killing every second ’til it sees my soul
Oh, I’ll be running, oh, I’ll be running
‘Til the love runs out, ’til the love runs out
And we’ll start a fire, and we’ll shut it down
‘Til the love runs out, ’til the love runs out

I’ll be your light, your match, your burning sun
I’ll be the bright in black that’s makin’ you run
And we’ll feel alright, and we’ll feel alright
‘Cause we’ll work it out, yes, we’ll work it out
And we’ll start a fire, and we’ll shut it down
‘Til the love runs out, ’til the love runs out
‘Til the love runs out

Times Have Changed

When I was in school, I remember how the fire alarm would scare the heck out of me! What made it worse was when you knew it was coming. “We’re having a fire drill today, boys and girls…” So you’d be waiting for that loud alarm to happen at any time!

Really, the alarm was the worst part of the fire drill. It was obnoxiously loud. You’d walk through the halls covering your ears as you and your class would walk to your “safe spot.”

I used to hate when they’d do fire drills in the winter. You’d line up and go outside – no coat, hat or scarf – and freeze until the “all clear” bell sounded.

Then, you had tornado drills. I remember doing these one of two ways. The first way was grabbing a text book and going out in the hallway covering your head.

The other way was even more uncomfortable. You would get on your knees and face the wall and tuck your head into the wall.

I always hated doing them this way.

I do realize just how important these drills are. There was always the possibility of severe weather. There was always the possibility of a fire, too. When I was a kid, these were the only two things we really had to worry about.

Today, however, things are very different – and scary.

Already within the first month of face to face school, my son’s school has had two lockdowns and Sam’s brother’s school has had one, too. All of them involved weapons brought to school or a plan to do some sort of school shooting.

God forbid something like this happen in real life!

A lockdown drill is also called an Active Shooter drill in some schools. I cannot even imagine being a young child in school preparing for something like this! I know that in today’s warped society it is a complete possibility, and it is sad that we even have to subject the kids to this. I don’t recall where I read this, but someone said “Of all the lessons a child learns in school, the most important one shouldn’t be how to survive.”

A parent shouldn’t have to worry about sending their child to school, yet this is becoming more and more of a reality. In the past, school shootings and such were things that happened on the news and far from home. The fact that in just under a month, there have been this many lockdowns scares me to death.

Home schooling is looking more and more appealing to me than ever ….

Busy Weekend

The “baby watch” was definitely on this weekend. A week ago Thursday Sam’s doc thought she’d go into labor by that Sunday. This past Thursday, her blood pressure was high and she was told to rest. Her doc was on call last weekend, so he said to come to the hospital this weekend if “conditions were right.”

Saturday, I woke up and Sam was having some contractions, so we kept watching and waiting. Nothing. Sunday, same thing. Sunday night, she had to work. I thought for sure that I’d be getting a call from her in the middle of the night. I had her bag, my bag, and everything we’d need to take to the hospital at the door – ready – just in case. Nothing.

So we enter another week and we continue to be on edge!

They say that walking helps bring on labor, so we went to one of the nurseries this weekend and picked up a few mums and fall decorations for the porch. Ella loves the pumpkins and has been crawling up on the hay bales to watch cars go by.

Monday turned out to be a nice day. Ella has so much energy, but I’m just not comfortable taking her to the mall or the store yet. Sam suggested I take her to the zoo. There is a small zoo just north of us that is perfect for kids. There are plenty of animals to see and you can be through it in an hour or so. They have a carousel and train that she can ride on, too.

We got there just after it opened, and while there were some other people there, it felt like we had the whole zoo to ourselves. I brought the stroller, but she walked most of the time we were there. The highlight for her (and me) was the otter exhibit. There was this one otter who must have saw us coming. Once we were in front of the window, he jumped in the water and began swimming around in front of her. She was giggling so loud.

Monday was National Sons Day. I am certainly blessed to have to fine boys (and another on the way). My oldest is gearing up to start college in the winter and my youngest is enjoying the beginnings of his freshman year. I am proud of all that they have accomplished and look forward to the things they will do in the future! I’m truly a lucky man to have such wonderful kids!