Celebrating My Children!

In the Bible, in Psalm 127:3-5, it reads:

“(3) Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. (4) As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. (5) Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them”

My quiver has been blessed four times! I am certainly a lucky man to have been chosen by God to be a father to my children. Each of them, different in their own special way, fill my heart and soul.

Dimitri (holding Andrew), Ella, and Dante’

Dante’

My first born. He’s the one who made me “dad” for the first time. He is probably the most like me. He has a love for old music, old movies, and loves information on older celebrities. He is loud and boisterous at times, but is also a gentle soul who loves to help people. His random acts of kindness make me so proud of him. He’s a hard worker who loves to have fun and loves to be surrounded by friends. In a sense, he is my “Mini-Me.” He is currently studying hard with college and continues to thrive!

Dimitri

My second born. He is also a bit like me, but in another way. Now a high schooler, I see him mimicking many of my study “habits,” which is probably not good. I was the same way – waiting till the last minute to do homework or projects, forgetting to do things I need to and only doing the things that I WANTED to do, and never really studying like I should. I try to use those things as “teaching opportunities” with him. He is, however, a typical teenager right now. He is learning how to golf, so I cannot wait to go play a round (and rounds) with him. He has a bright future and in the years ahead, I know he will do great things!

Not unless there is a miracle

After some tests, I was asked if I was done having children. At the time, I was. The doctor said this was good, because based on the test results, I only had about a 4% chance of ever having more children.

After my divorce, and after I remarried, my wife and I discussed children. She is younger than me and wanted children. Knowing what I knew, it would take a miracle to have more. We discussed adoption at one point and even looked into other methods of getting pregnant. Then the miracle came ….

Ella

I will never forget the day Sam told me that we were having a baby. I will never forget they day we found out that our miracle was going to be a girl! I will never forget the day that she was born. For some reason, God decided that I would once again be a daddy and he sent me this beautiful little girl. What a joy it was to relive the first tooth, the first steps, the first words, and all the things that come with having a baby. She is so smart!! She excels at so many things! She her laughter is music to my ears. When she breaks out in song, I could listen all day. I love our moments playing Little People, reading books, and watching Bluey together. She is my sweet princess and I look forward to those special daddy/daughter moments.

Andrew

Another miracle! Ella was about a year old when we found out that Sam was once again expecting. It was truly a huge surprise to both of us! He is the opposite of Ella in so many ways. We never had to baby proof anything with her, but he is always into something. He is WAY ahead of where he should be. He was walking early and no doubt will be talking early. He is doing all he can to keep up with his sister. He is one of the happiest babies. There is something about his smile that just makes everything better. His laughter is just as musical as Ella’s. His first year is flying by and I look forward to teaching him to throw a baseball and those great father/son things.

My dear children –

Thank you for each being so special to me. I am so honored to be your father. I love you with every ounce of my being. I hope that I will live up to the responsibility that God has given me to teach you, to raise you, and to prepare you for life. In the time ahead, I will be happy to listen to you, to help you, or to give advice. I promise to be here for you till the end of my days.

Love always,

Dad

A Weekend of Ups and Downs

This weekend certainly was one that left me emotionally drained. It also left me knowing that there are things that I need to do as well as some priorities that need shifting. Some things are just too important and changes need to be made. I have every intention of doing what needs to be done. That is all I really want to say about that.

Monday

The weather was perfect to be outside. I decided that I was going to take the kids to the zoo. We are members, so it was a free day for us. I packed a lunch and we got there when it opened at 10am. Both Sam and I thought it would be quiet for a Monday, but there were a few childcare places doing field trips there.

We didn’t let that spoil our fun. I think I sometimes go a bit crazy with picture taking, but I love to look back at them. I was so happy that both Ella and AJ sat still at the opening photo op of t he zoo.

We saw the penguins, the otter (who was extra busy that day), the monkeys, kangaroos, and a huge emu. We also saw a wolf, chickens, an owl, alpacas, and a bunch of crazy prairie dogs. One of the first things Ella wants to do is ride the train. We’re members, so we can ride as many times as we want. I think we rode the train five times Monday! During on of those ride, I was able to grab my favorite picture of the day:

Look at the joy on their faces! What a wonderful picture!!

I realize that at 52 years of age, when people see me with my kids, they may assume that I am grandpa. So I chose to go to the zoo with my Bandit from Bluey “Dad” shirt on. I’m sure when I left the house, my wife probably thought I looked ridiculous, but that’s ok. When we got off of one of the train rides, a mom came over and said she loved my shirt.

Mines black – not grey

About 11:30, we found some tables by the carousel, which we were going to ride next. Mom packed a PBJ sandwich for Ella, a PB sandwich for AJ, some goldfish crackers, bananas, apple sauce pouches, and something to drink. It was fun to just sit and eat with the kids. AJ was in my lap and I think I wound up wearing more of his lunch than he actually ate! There were also plenty of crackers on the ground for the birds to eat after he was done.

A couple rides on the carousel, another train ride, back to the carousel and we were getting close to nap time. I told Ella we had to pack up to get ready to go. She wanted to go to the store. Sam and I had already said that we were not going to buy anything day, as we really hadn’t budgeted for it.

As we are walking through the gift shop, Ella picks up a small stuff wolf and says, “My wolf! Look Daddy, it’s my wolfie!” I told her that we’d have to get it next time and the melt down began. Urgh! I hate making her cry. I told her she could carry it for a bit and then it would have to be put back.

When we set it down, she started to cry again. As we walked to the door, a nice older lady stopped us and handed Ella the wolf, saying that she couldn’t stand to see her cry. I told her that we couldn’t take it, but she insisted. It was a nice way to end our trip to the zoo.

Weigh In Day

Before I go on, let me say that since I started posting about my weight loss journey, I have been followed by just about every keto diet page, healthy living page, eat better workout more page and such. This urks me for some reason. I post my stuff here to keep myself accountable. On the weeks I gain weight I will post that, too. This is my journey – if you are here to cheer my on, fine. If you are just here to sell your products, you may unfollow me at any time. I don’t plan on following you back.

Now that I have gotten that off my chest, I am happy to say that the scale showed a 3 pound loss this week. After 8 weeks, I am down 27 pound thanks to Weight Watchers. I am very happy about that. It is nice to be under 300 pounds! I can’t wait to keep reaching milestones.

Eating right and getting a walk in every day has been helping. The heat made it a bit rough this week, and so did the rain. Getting in a mile or two every day is something I have come to enjoy a lot. I love being out with the kids in the stroller.

The last time I saw my doctor, I was supposed to have lost 10 pounds. I hadn’t and she kind of gave me a lecture about that. I was supposed to have joined Weight Watchers and because money was tight, I chose to wait. When I left that appointment, she told me to see her again and the 10 pounds had better be gone – or she’d yell at me again! I see her this week and can’t wait to show her the progress.

Maybe next week – I can hit the 30 pound mark?! We’ll see ….

Finally – A Movie I Can Get Excited To See !

If you were to ask me “What is the last movie you saw in a theater?” I wouldn’t be able to give you an answer. Honestly. I don’t remember.

For what it is worth, there really haven’t been any movies that have really made me want to go to the theater to see them either. I have become extra picky about what I will drop down money to go see. For quite a while, it seemed like I’d go to see a movie that looked good in previews, but ultimately, the trailer was better than the movie itself.

While I can’t remember the last film I saw in a theater, I do know the last GOOD movie I saw in one. The Incredibles 2. I realize that “good” is my opinion and also subjective, but really it was the last movie I felt was worth the money.

Sam has watched the Downton Abbey show on Netflix (or some other streaming service) and really likes it. I’ve never seen the show (as a matter of fact, I actually called it “Abbey Downton” instead of Downton Abbey). It is, however, one that she wants to go see. We had planned on doing it for her birthday, but time got away from us. I still plan on going with her, before her schedule changes.

The two movies that seem to be getting all the “hub bub” this year are: The Batman and Top Gun Maverick.

I’ve been a Batman fan since I stumbled on to the 1966 TV show. I enjoyed the first few movies with Michael Keaton, but now it seems so dark that I have no desire to see it.

I saw the original Top Gun in the theater. I liked it. It seems like every one wo has seen it says the new one is superior to the original. I’m sure that it is an exciting movie with more CGI/Green Screen stunts than they can pack into it. It’s just not one that I am going to run out and see.

I Guess I Have Changed

The change happened long before Covid threw the world into an uproar. I used to love going to the movies. Not so much anymore. Especially since I can usually watch them at home now. I can pause the movie when I need to use the restroom or rewind it if I didn’t understand what an actor said. Refreshments are free at my house and I can wear whatever I want when I watch it.

I had found myself walking out of the theater more disappointed than I used to. The stories just weren’t good. There was an over abundance of special effects. Often times, the sound effects drowned out the actors talking. It wasn’t fun anymore.

Dad Life

Then I had kids. A trip to the movies was never to see something YOU want to see anymore. A year or so ago, I wrote blogs about movies I loved from each year of my life. As I got older, more and more kid movies made the list: Shrek, Up, Sing, Cars, Toy Story, etc… I actually found myself enjoying wonderful stories with things for kids and adults.

All of that being said, I saw a preview for the next film that I am actually excited about:

I was BEYOND excited to see that there is a new movie featuring Puss in Boots. From the moment he made his debut in the Shrek series, he became my favorite character. His solo film was not excellent, but it certainly had a lot of great moments. Antonio Banderas will once again provide the voice.

I can only hope that it is not something that was thrown together. From the looks of the trailer (and you know hoe deceiving those can be), it looks like a good premise. It should be a fun one.

I’m looking forward to it!

They Call Me “Dad”

At some point, when I get an extra few bucks, I wanna order this shirt.

I am kind of over everything right now. Perhaps it is a lack of sleep, the need for a break/vacation, dealing with stupidity in many facets of life, an overwhelming amount of stress or a combination of all of these things. I am not really sure what the issue is. The past couple weeks, I feel like even the smallest things get under my skin. I feel like there is so much going in in my life right now. I feel like I lack the mental capacity to sort through it.

I can kind of fool most people. I usually can so this by just staying to myself – reading a book, listening to music or an old time radio show with headphones, or playing a dumb trivia game. The one person I cannot fool is my wife. She knows I am struggling, maybe she hasn’t said anything, but she knows. She can sense it. Even with an Oscar worthy performance, she knows.

She’s dealing with her own stresses right now. She’s doing SO much running around with the kids. Some days she has two different doctor appointments – one for each kid – each one in different cities. While doing that, she has to be sure she has bottles and diapers, and so on and so forth. It’s hell. It is days like this, that I wish I worked a normal schedule.

That’s a lot of crap to vent, and for that I am sorry. I hadn’t really wanted to write that much, but I was told by my therapist that sometimes you gotta just get it all out.

Despite having so much on my mind, I was not going to write a blog today. I just had nothing to write about. Then, while scrolling through Facebook memories, I found a post that probably hit me harder today than it did when I first posted it! It was a powerful reminder of how no matter what is going on in my life, I have an important role that I simply have to live up to every single day.

The Facebook Memory:

An amazing thought for the day: Parenting “is greater than any milestone you will ever hit in your career. It dwarfs any fame you may receive for your ideas or inventions. You’ve been handed a piece of history in advance – a gracious gift you send to a time you will not see – and you play the biggest role in how that history will ultimately be recorded” – T. Kimmel

This quote blows me away. Wow! This really shows how important a role I play in my children’s life. I’m not always going to be here for them, and when I am gone, I can only hope that they have learned something from me that they will take with them in the future. I hope that there is something that they learn from me that helps them in the future.

Another quote that is similar to the one above is :

I do not want to fail my children. I love them with all of my heart and soul. My role as their father is more important than any of the BS that is going on in my life. I have to make it a priority. I will love them, care for them, teach them, and guide them the best that I can, so that when they get out on their own, they will be ready to take their place in history.

There are days that I look through Facebook memories and I cringe as I delete things from the past. There are days that remind me of fun things the kids did, fun trips, or wonderful memories. Then there are days when one simple quote will knock me back a few steps to realize my focus is on the wrong things … and to adjust that focus to the right things!

Tears on My Pillow

102014090_univ_lsr_xl

I’m a Registered Polysomnographic Technologist. Those are some fancy words for “Sleep Tech”. I watch people sleep. I test them for sleep apnea, and treat them with PAP therapy when needed. People ask me all kinds of questions about sleep. I know a lot about sleep. People also ask me a lot about dreams. I don’t know a whole lot about dreams. Dreams are an illusive topic.

Do an internet search on dreams and you will find hundreds of webpages or articles with thoughts, theories, and general guesses about what dreams are and why we have them. Many people have different ideas about them. Ask a doctor about dreams and they will tell you something very different from what a therapist or psychologist will tell you.

This blog isn’t searching for why I had this dream. This blog isn’t expecting someone’s interpretation of this dream. This blog has one purpose – to write this down so I will remember it. After all, they say that you forget 90% of your dreams. I wanted to write this one down, so I’d remember it. So I might be able to come back to it and ponder it at some later date. I have waited too long to write this, as some of the details are already fading.

The Dream

“It’s not fair! It’s just not fair!”

I say this as I am looking at my mother, while holding my newborn daughter. There is no rhyme or reason for her to be there. She has been dead for 13 years, I am aware of this, yet there she is. She is alive in this dream, yet I know she had died already and is dying yet again. I am crying as I speak these words.

I am not sure if I am in a park or some public place. My dad is there, too. There are people around me. A crowd, perhaps. Is this a fair? I don’t know.

There is a stroller. Without knowledge of handing her to him, my dad now has his granddaughter and is walking with her in the stroller.

I cannot recall any conversation between my mother and me, but I am aware she is there. This is different from other dreams with her, where she usually speaks to me.

There are occasional interruptions by people I may or may not know. I do not really hear what they are saying, as my mind is still trying to comprehend how my mother is here, and why she is dying again. Cancer has already taken her once. How can she be back and how can it take her again?

I am aware of my dad returning with the baby in the stroller. He looks at my mother and asks if she wants to push the stroller for a bit. I am suddenly aware that I am standing next to a car. The driver’s side door is open and I am standing between the door and the inside of the car (almost like I am going to get into it). Am I in a parking lot?

I am aware that my daughter is now back in my arms and my mother seems further away. She is not looking directly at me, or anywhere in particular. I am overcome with emotion again as I lay my right arm on the roof of the white car and lay my head on my arm. I again begin to sob. I can feel the tears falling and I keep repeating, “It’s not fair! It’s just not fair!”

I woke up today with tears in my eyes. My pillow was wet from those tears.

What does it mean? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. This dream was just … different. There may be some sort of meaning to it. Maybe it was just my mind sorting through a variety of thoughts. Maybe it means absolutely nothing. It left me contemplating and thinking – enough that I felt I needed to write it down someplace, and that someplace was here.

Maybe one day, I will make sense of it. For now, I will just leave it here.

If-You-See-A-Woman-Doing-These-Things-In-Your-Dream-You-Future-Is-Very-Bright_1400x_progressive

Daddy’s Little Girl

81-OoLKAXJL__SX425_

The past 16 weeks have been very exciting for Sam and me.  It has been especially nice to have this blog as a place that I can write things down and look back on later.  My last blog told of the ultrasound, finding out the baby’s gender, and how we shared the news.  I am writing today’s blog because something was missing from my last one – I’ll explain in just a minute.

First, let me say that we are overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and congratulations we have received from our friends and family.  It was fun to tease that a gender reveal was coming and watch friends post their guesses on Facebook.  I was reminded how blessed I am to have such wonderful friends as they sent private messages, texts, and called with congratulations.  Thank you all!

So what was missing from the last blog?  It was a lengthy blog, so what could I have possibly left out?  Sam pointed out that I had certainly written about a lot of things that happened over the weekend, however, I really never said much about how I felt.  I shared about watching the ultrasound, how I told my dad and the boys, but how do I feel about it?  What am I feeling?  I don’t know that I can put it all into words, but I will try.

Elation.  Joy.  Excitement.  Delight.  Jubilation. 

I mean, how can I NOT feel these things!?  I was told that there was only a 4% chance of me being able to have a baby, and then, the amazing news that we are having a baby – well, that makes you pretty damn happy!  I’ve been given the opportunity to be a dad again – and this time, I’m having a little girl!

Over the years, I have been an uncle to many nieces, and have loved every minute of it.  I have danced around in a princess crown for them, gone to Peppa Pig World, read girly bedtime stories, and made puppet monkeys talk.  Having a daughter takes things to a whole new level!

First girl

I had always hoped that when I had children that I would have one of each.  I wanted a boy to play sports with and a girl to walk down the aisle.  I was blessed with two amazing sons, who I loved playing catch with.  I love those boys with all that I am.  I was NEVER unhappy that I had boys.  They each have very distinct personalities.  They are both very smart.  As I look at all they have accomplished, I beam with great pride.  I am honored to have been chosen to be their dad!!

12 years later, after many changes in my life, I am once again about to become a father.  This time, I will be “daddy” to a little girl.  What a great responsibility this is!  I will not lie about this – as happy as I am, I am also scared as hell!!!

Scary things

Boys could get away with 2 or 3 pairs of pants.  All you really needed were a bunch of shirts and you could be set.  Girls are different!  They need pants, shirts, leggings, shoes, and many, many dresses!

81znnwskZeL__SL1500_

I hope Sam knows that she will probably be picking out most of the clothes!  I have a feeling what I think is “cute” really isn’t!

Have you seen the Xfinity commercial where the girl is dressing up her dad??

xfinity-home-welcome-to-the-neighborhood-song-by-dinah-washington-small-7

I would TOTALLY let my daughter do this!  Now, if I have to do nails or makeup, I have this awful feeling that it will look something like this guy!  I have never had to paint nails before.  I don’t know how to put on eyeliner, blush, or any type of makeup.  I will definitely need a crash course!!!

Let’s not even talk about her hair!  I used to do my own hair, and now I am bald! How on earth am I going to be able to do her hair?  With the boys, I brushed it, combed it, or parted it.  This isn’t how it works with girls!!  Have you seen the gazillion ways to braid hair?!

There is this:

693a5332826f0ea83cbf5d6767490f15

And this:

17-adorable-hairstyles-your-toddler-girl-will-love-2-19638-1417557069-9_dblbig

And this:

8d5d418175ca1ecf88e2e42164352ffb

And this:

79170917-Braids-for-kids-

The braid is hard enough!!  I gotta make a heart, too?!? The pressure is unreal!!!!

Then there is play time.  Very different from boys.  I have never EVER hosted a tea party …

659c5be9a8fda370258542cfd8343ced

Whew!  I’m glad there is a book!!!

Another scary thing is diaper changes.

Huggies Ultra soft pants Girl Packshot

It’s a whole new ball game for me!  It’s been some time since I changed diapers, and I know it will all come back to me … this time, however, the parts are different!!

Then there is GLITTER!  Man, I really hate glitter!  It stays with you for years!  LOL

main-qimg-a898362676c7256f71649bf1e3a495f1

Sports

Sam asked what sports I thought our daughter should do.  Me, being a guy, thought about what I had already done with the boys.  Hey, girls, do these things!!!

T-Ball – How cool are pink bats and gloves??!!

L12023377

Bowling – Some of the high school’s have girl bowling teams!  I gotta tell you, these gals bowled better than some of the guys I bowled with over the years!

little-girl-in-pink-clothes-play-bowling-and-jumps_xyizddz9___F0000

Golf – I knew a gal who golfed for the high school team.  She was pretty amazing!  How good was she?  I never golfed with her, because I knew she’d beat the hell out of me!  Golf, like bowling, had scholarships, too, so why not?!

Find-a-Site

Sam must have thought I was crazy!  She said that she was thinking about gymnastics – which after she said it, made total sense!  Of course, our girl could do gymnastics!  I can see her at the Olympics!  Our little gold medal winner!  Of course, I won’t let this guy teach her …. this doesn’t look right ….

nastiajrclubtraining

One of the things I can see her doing is dance.  My nieces do dance now.  Whether it is ballet or just dance in general, I can totally see our daughter doing it.

pre-ballet2

Sam has already warned me that girls in dance class have to have many outfit changes.  Tutus, ballet slippers, tap shoes, bows, leotards, and more!  Yeah, I’ll be out in the audience doing all the moves with her (minus the leotards).

In all seriousness

I won’t lie, raising a child in the world today is very scary.  Hell, it was scary before my oldest was born (9/11 happened just 7 months before he was born)!  As a father, I know that my daughter will be looking to me for many things.  I hope that she sees me as her hero!

889993081

I hope she will see me as her protector and as someone she can always trust.  I hope she will feel comfortable to share what ever is on her mind, and come to me for advice.  I cannot wait to share that special bond and special love that a daughter and dad have.

Things I am looking forward to

  • Her first cry
  • Her first photo shoot
  • Her first words
  • Her first tooth
  • Her first steps
  • Holding her in my arms
  • Singing her to sleep
  • Hugging her
  • Piggy back rides on my shoulders

dad-carrying-daughter_SI

  • Reading bedtime stories
  • Holding hands
  • Buying her whatever she wants (Sam says she’s hiding the checkbook)

The list goes on and on.

So am I feeling?

I am overjoyed!  I am ecstatic!  I could not be happier that I am going to be a dad again!!

I am also scared.  I worry.  I am told this is natural.

I am nervous.  I don’t want to fail or disappoint.

I am anxious.  I look forward to all the firsts, all the accomplishments, and milestones.

Final Thought

Over the past 30 years, I have DJ’s thousands of weddings and hundreds of Daddy/Daughter dances!  At weddings, I have watched countless times as two special people shared their moment in the spotlight. At Daddy/Daughter dances, I have watched dads wonder just what their little girl is screaming about when Justin Beiber or Taylor Swift start playing.  I have then watched as they finally get a slow song to dance with their little girl.

As a father of boys, I never understood the bond or the feelings involved with those dances.  I know I have a few years yet, but time will fly and soon enough I will be able to relate to those dads I have watched over the years.  To say I am excited as I look forward to that first dance … is quite an understatement.

dancing-with-dad