Catching up…

It’s hard to believe that is has been over a month since I have written a blog, but then again, it isn’t. I feel like I have been busier than ever, and I have been.

I’m hoping this blog looks ok, as I see WordPress has changed a few things ….

6 Months already??!!

On August 10th, Ella turned 6 months old! She is growing up so fast! There are times I look at her and wonder, “When did she get so big?”

She is rolling all over the place now. She rolls from back to front and front to back. She will be crawling before we know it. She is primarily moving backwards. What I mean is, when she is in her walker, she tends to push it backwards. When she is on the floor playing, she will often slide backwards on the floor. She is semi-scooting if a toy in just out of reach in front of her, so I know she will be crawling soon.

One of the biggest changes, has been the switch to real food. She has had carrots (which she wasn’t too keen on), bananas, apples, squash, peas, and sweet potatoes. She’s having sweet potatoes the past couple days, and we’ll keep introducing new foods for three days at a time to be sure there are no allergies. When she eats all her food, she gets to chow on puffs.

She loves these things! She’s getting into the habit of grabbing them from her tray and putting them in her mouth. I remember when my boys ate these. They are actually good and I would steal one or two from them to make them laugh.

Sam and I are each saying “Momma” and “Dada” to her (she says “momma” and I say “dada”) to see which one she will say first! Personally, I think her first word will be “kitty” because the cat is always right by her. They have daily staring contests with each other.

One of the highlights of my time with her has been morning walks around the neighborhood. She loves getting in the stroller and walking with me. She loves to see the dogs, cats, rabbits, and squirrels along the way.

One day we were walking and I was stopped by an older woman. She told me her grandchildren had outgrown a wagon she had and she wanted to give it to us, if we wanted it. It was a nice plastic wagon, like the one I had for both of my boys. I asked her how much she wanted for it, and she told me she didn’t want anything for it. She just wanted to give it to someone who would use it. It had been out in her backyard, and she told me she wanted to wash it before I took it. I came back the next day and it was washed and ready to go. I sent the couple a thank you note in the mail and told them the world needed more people like them. I can’t wait until we can start walking the neighborhood in the wagon.

Ella is at the age where “peek-a-boo” makes her laugh. I can’t even tell you how much I love this! I usually take her burp rag and cover her face and say “peek-a-boo” pulling the burp rag off her face when I say “boo!” She cracks up. Sometimes I lay with my arms in front of my face on the floor and say “Peek-a-boo” and lift my head up at “boo,” which makes her laugh too. Today, she pulled the burp rag over her face and pulled it down on her own and laughed every time her face was not covered. I swear, she was playing “peek-a-boo” with me!

I used to wear hats all the time (probably why I am bald!), and recently grabbed a ball cap to go on our walk. She was fascinated by it. When we came home and we were playing on the floor, she kept grabbing for it. I eventually put it on her and caught the cutest picture!

She is still teething (doc says there should be 4 teeth coming in VERY soon).

The Boys

My oldest son is working like crazy. He found a job delivering pizzas, and he loves it! It makes sense, he was always my road map! He always knew which way to turn and such. He loves driving and he’s making decent money in tips. He calls me often when he is on his way home from work. He is working like 6 days a week, so I don’t get to see him too much.

My youngest son will be doing school all online till further notice. Not sure how that will work for him (or others for that matter). I can see some subjects not being too bad, but I don’t think that math works well online. I need someone explaining things to me (not a computer). I had a very hard time when my pre-algebra class in college was all on computer. Thank goodness I had a teacher who would walk me through problems. I don’t know how much he will have.

When he comes over, we usually play catch, cribbage, or chess. Last time he was over, he creamed me in chess! Wow, I made some silly moves! I enjoy that time with him though. We had good talks the last couple times he was over. It was nice that he asked me some bible questions. I enjoy talking to him about it.

One day, I got to go to lunch with both of them. There is a little outdoor hot dog stand by their house. We sat and ate coneys and drank home made root beer. It was nice to be outside and enjoy the day and just talking.

My Days on Furlough

Thankfully, I was called back to work and did not have to be on furlough more than a couple weeks. My list of things to do while I was off really didn’t get done. I was able to finally get family pictures (from when Ella was born) hung on the walls! I did get a chance to read a book or two, but that “to read” stack is still huge (including a new book by John Byner).

On nights that Sam worked, and I was home, I would put the baby to bed and review my bible classes. I was able to get one of the three semesters I had already finished reviewed. I am glad I chose to go back and review, because there were things I had forgotten. These classes have really helped me a lot and I am excited to get through them. When I get to the classes I haven’t already taken, things will slow down a bit as I will be taking detailed notes.

I rediscovered Calvin and Hobbes while I was off. I forgot how much I loved to read about the boy and his tiger that came to life when they were together. (Toys that came alive before Toy Story!) I posted this on my Facebook, because I just loved it.

I always love sitting outside and star gazing. My co-worker told me about an app called SkyView which you can point at the sky and it will show you planets and constellations. It’s very cool.

Speaking of the sky, I found myself doing something I hadn’t done in forever while I was off. Ella loves to be outside. So we’ve been putting a blanket down on the grass where the shade is. We bring out a few toys, and she will just lay there and play. I laid down next to her on my back on day and noticed the clear blue sky loaded with white clouds. As I watched them move across the sky, I remembered sitting out in my front or back yard and looking at the clouds with my friends. We’d look at the clouds to see what they looked like. Was it a castle? A wolf? Snoopy? We’d spend hours watching the clouds. What a peaceful way to spend time on a summer day! Did you ever do that?

So much more has happened in the last month, but I will close for now. Life is moving fast and sometimes we forget to enjoy things that are right in front of us. Remember the old saying “Take time to smell the roses?” Since I have started to really notice things, I find myself more grateful and more at peace than I have been for a long time.

On my first day back to work, I was feeling so much anxiety when getting ready to go in. While driving in, I was simply amazed at the beautiful sunrise. What an amazing sight! All anxiety faded away and I found myself smiling at God’s artwork.

Until next time – look around and enjoy those things that normally wouldn’t catch your attention.

Thanks for dropping by! I hope all is well you you and yours!

Well, well, well. Look who’s back…

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This is my first blog since May 18th. I guess this is the longest I have gone between blogs and many have sent private messages wondering if I am doing okay. My good buddy, Max, sent an email asking about me and it took me a while to write him back. Knowing I work in the medical field, and knowing how often I blog, he feared the worst. Needless to say, he was relieved to hear back from me. I figured if folks were worried if I was still around, I’d take some time to write.

It is not that I haven’t had stuff to write about, because I certainly have. I guess I was just having a hard time motivating myself to do so. It has been a very emotional month. So where do I even begin?

When I last wrote, I had just celebrated my 50th birthday. It seems that every time I hit a mile stone birthday, something happens to remind me I am getting older. This birthday, I found myself trying to read and really having difficulty seeing the words. I had Lasik surgery done years ago and I have had no real issues with my vision. I was told that the only thing that they couldn’t correct was if I needed reading glasses. I need to make an appointment to have my eyes checked, but until then, I am reading with these ridiculous readers on!

Speaking of birthdays, I feel bad because two very important ones came and went since I last blogged and they certainly both deserved a full blog. My wife celebrated at the beginning of the month and my youngest son officially became a teenager just a few days ago. Birthdays in quarantine suck. I didn’t get to really do anything for either of them! It will be a week or two before I see my son, so I am planning on doing something for him when he is back here with me.

I got Amazon gift cards from my mother and father-in-law, and from my dad. I decided I’d get some vinyl to play. One for laughs and one for music.

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You can’t go wrong with Frank Sinatra. They remixed his Nice and Easy album and I picked that up.

Next, I found an album I had years ago that is loaded with laughs from the great Soupy Sales.

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Graduation on the Internet

My oldest son graduated this year. You may have seen something about his school, as it made national news. They rented the Drive-in theater in town and showed all of the commencement speeches, staff speeches, and called out every graduate’s name (while showing their pictures) on the three big screens. Sadly, only one car per student was allowed, so Sam and I watched the live stream from home. It was certainly not the way I thought I would see my son graduate.

I emailed the principal and voiced how disappointed I was that only one car was allowed per student. Certainly there were more divorced parents than just me! I had hoped that he would return my email, but that didn’t happen. So, I cheered and cried when they read his name from my living room. He wore his cap and gown to the ceremony, but I haven’t gotten any pictures of him in them. I am hoping that he will come by with them so I can at least get one.

Back to Work

I returned to work two weeks ago. I really wasn’t sure I was ready to return, but the doc thought I’d be okay. The lab where I work is open, but only a few of the staff is back there. The rest are still working in a labor pool at jobs that they are assigned to. When I returned to work, that was where I went. The only bad thing is, the labor pool is going away and that means I will have to take a temporary lay off.

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The thing that scares me is wondering if they will ever call me back. I know of many people in radio who were told they were being laid off temporarily, only to have the companies eliminate those positions and terminate them. This is happening all over as many companies are doing whatever is necessary to keep their business alive. In the weekly trade magazine that comes our for just country radio stations, there is almost three pages of people LOOKING for jobs, while there is just a half page of stations looking to hire people.

Father’s Day

Father’s Day I was up early to meet my sons for breakfast. It was the first time we’d eaten in a restaurant since things opened back up. It was nice to see both of them together. Lately, I have only been seeing Dimitri, as Dante’ is now working and usually hanging with his friends. We had a nice breakfast and I enjoyed my time with them.

When I came home, Sam had Ella all dressed for Father’s Day.

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I received my Father’s Day/Birthday gift from Sam between my birthday and Father’s Day. She ordered me something that was made special for me. She had hoped it would be here by my birthday, but it took a few weeks to make. I was floored by this when it arrived. It was a book –

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She got to design how I looked, and how Ella looked. She said it was hard because her hair was still looking red some days and blonde on others. There were various stories to put in the book. She had Ella point and those were the ones that ended up in the book. She asked me to read it and I could barely make it through. It made me so emotional. It was the perfect gift and I will treasure it forever!!

My Baby Girl

The one thing that has been a plus though all of this is the time that I have gotten to spend with Ella. She brings me so much happiness. On nice days, we always try to take a walk around the neighborhood. She loves it! We look at the squirrels, listen to the birds, say hello to neighbors, and just enjoy the nice weather.

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We like to play with her toys on the floor, she likes to bounce in her jumpy seat, we nap together, and occasionally, we’ll watch Bubble Guppies together (she likes the music on that show).

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Sometimes, I will put on my Dean Martin or Frank Sinatra albums and we’ll sway and dance in the living room. Having this precious time with her has been a blessing. With the layoff, I will have more time with her and that will be the positive in a negative situation.

Classes

My DVD’s arrived for my Bible classes. I am currently re-watching the first year (the stuff that I had already done) and will continue with the new classes when I am finished. Just revisiting these classes has been very beneficial for me. I am glad that I decided to return.

I certainly feel like my spiritual life is moving in the right direction. I have a lot of peace right now, despite the uncertainty that lies ahead. I have faith that no matter what is ahead of me …. Every thing will be okay.

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With that being said, I guess that brings you up to date. I hope to not be so long between blogs. Thanks for reading!

The Little Things

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Spring!

I saw the above cartoon on Facebook and had to share it. Even though the “official” first day of Spring was in March, it is actually starting to feel like it here in Michigan. When people ask my what my favorite season is I usually say “autumn.” Spring is a close second. Spring is an amazing time of renewal. The grass goes from brown to green, the trees begin to bud, and flowers begin to bloom.

Cleaning

I actually got to go outside and accomplish a few things yesterday! When I moved in with Sam, I had many boxes of things that I stored out in the garage. Most of them contained books and various papers. Some of those boxes were full of things that my ex threw in boxes and sent here.

I spent a few hours yesterday and went through many of the boxes that were full of “unknown” things. A lot of the boxes contained old mail and stuff that just needed to be thrown away. There was plenty of stuff that contained personal information that needs to be shredded (the shredder will be working overtime soon).

I also found some boxes I will call my “wishful thinking” boxes. Those boxes contained clothes that are a size or two smaller than I wear now. I kept hoping that I would soon be able to wear them again. The problem is, by the time I can fit into them, they will be out of style (took me forever to give up on the bell bottoms!). Those clothes all went in a Goodwill bag. The rest went to the curb!

There were also old pieces of drywall out there and things from various projects and even from the previous owners that just needed to be tossed. I truly believe I heard our garbage men swearing at me this morning as the were picking up the trash.

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Catch

It was in the 50’s yesterday and sunny. The weather has been chilly and rainy. We’ve even had some snow. The sun was a welcome sight! It has been nice to open up the windows and enjoy the breeze.

Because of the weather, my sons have been kind of cooped up in the house. I mentioned in my last blog about playing cribbage with my youngest son. I have hoped to dig out the Scrabble game as well, to keep them busy. Yesterday, I asked if they wanted to take a walk around the neighborhood. They looked at me like I was nuts! “Exercise?! Really?!”

Instead, I suggested we get out the baseball and play catch. Surprisingly, they agreed. I’m not going to lie, I enjoyed every minute of it. Just me and the boys playing catch – priceless memories! I was able to snag a few shots of them and I love how I was able to capture some with the ball in the air. My phone takes better pictures that some of the expensive cameras I have owned.

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Daddy/Daughter Time

While it isn’t what I would call a “schedule,” I am enjoying some special moments with Ella. She usually gets up around 3 or 4 in the morning for a bottle. Sam has usually be doing this feeding, although I have once or twice. Ella falls asleep much easier for Sam, so after that bottle, she cuddles her and gets her back to sleep. Ella will then wake up around 6:30 or 7 and it’s my turn.

She doesn’t necessarily want to eat right away, and she is usually wide awake. She is usually full of many smiles (and presents many photo opportunities). For about an hour, I have “daddy/daughter” time. First, we sit on the couch and I make silly noises and make her smile. She is cooing a lot more now, so we have lots of conversation. Next, we have floor time. She has a little “toy tent” where there are toys that hang down for her to play with. At her feet, there is a piano that plays music when her feet hit the keys. She is going to be very musical!

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Usually, when floor time is over, she will be ready for a bottle. After that, she will go down for one of her longer naps. Yesterday, after floor time, she wasn’t ready to eat yet. So I picked her up and just kind of walked around the house. I usually sing to her while I hold her, but yesterday, I did something different.

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I pulled out one of my favorite Dean Martin albums and put it on the turntable. She listened to the whole side! She watched the record going around and around. She loved every minute of this. I put the above picture on Instagram and tagged Dean Martin’s daughter Deana and said, “My 10 week old daughter thinks your dad sings his songs better than me!”

It was so special for me. I sing her almost every song on this album. I just swayed back and forth with her in my arms. I hope that she will always want to share a dance with her daddy to these songs.

Back to the Book

Almost 20 years ago, I was taking Bible classes. I was completely focused on them, and then my first son was born. My ex felt that the classes were taking up too much of my time. We ended up leaving the church we were attending because she “didn’t feel comfortable” and so on and so forth. Because I hated arguing about it, I just gave in and stopped my classes and we stopped go to that church.

We went to a few different churches after that, which she always seemed to like (because she knew people there or they had a place to leave the kids). With each church, I always seemed to have issues (mostly doctrinal). When I mentioned my issues, they were usually blown off. She was happy there and that was all that mattered. Eventually, we stopped going to church all together.

As I have written in past blogs, since the quarantine, I have found myself returning to my faith. I have had the chance to watch many church messages from pastors I know. I was watching one message from a pastor who taught many of the classes I was taking. I mentioned this to Sam and she asked, “Why did you stop taking your classes?” When I explained, she told me “You should finish your classes.” Deep down, I knew she was right.

I called the school and asked what I had to do to start back up. They told me that I could start right back where I left off. I had the choice to start over and take tests again, but they still had a record of the tests I already took, so I didn’t have to if I didn’t want to. I found all of my notes from the first year of the school (all still neatly in their folders) and am reviewing them in preparation of continuing. Sadly, I do not have copies of my graded tests. I don’t even have a copy of my ungraded tests.

I am looking forward to moving forward and finishing what I started so long ago.

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End of Quarantine

It looks like we are nearing the end of the quarantine. I hope and pray that life can get back to normal – or a close to it – soon.

Be safe, my friends! Enjoy Spring!

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