Recapping the Holiday Weekend

Saturday

When I woke up Saturday afternoon, Sam and I ventured out for the first time to the grocery store with both kids. We were also picking up a couple car seats to keep at her mom’s house, just in case she ever needed to take them for a drive. Because of this, we had two carts. Andrew was in one and Ella was in the other. It was actually quite comical and weird at the same time. As we both anticipated, the last part of the trip was quickly shortened as it became obvious that we were close to nap time and the kids got more and more fussy.

This was our first in person shopping experience in a year or so. Our local Meijer got rid of the Schipt shoppers recently. We actually liked having them shop. You picked your items online and they shopped for you. If they didn’t have an item, they’d text you and ask about a replacement. They even loaded the car for you! One good thing about having someone shop for you is that you are not tempted to add things to the cart that are not on your list. On the other hand, not shopping yourself often leads to you forgetting things that you might remember needing as you pass it on a shelf.

After the kids went to sleep, Sam and I fixed up the Easter baskets and set them out for them. Sam had the idea of putting plastic eggs in Ella’s bed and a trail of them leading to the front room. Of course, any time I got up to get a drink of water in the kitchen, I was kicking or stepping on those plastic eggs!

Easter Sunday

Andrew was wide awake early Sunday. Ella on the other hand was snoozing pretty good. I snapped a picture of her sleeping and put a caption on it that said, “Happy Easter. He is Risen. Ella on the other hand has not …”

When Ella finally got up, we handed her a bucket and she collected eggs from the trail of eggs, until she spotted her Easter Basket. At that point she dropped the bucket and ran to her basket. She was excited because she’s been asking for a xylophone. There is a picture of one in one of her favorite books and it is also featured in an episode of Bluey. She saw it and immediately began to play it.

I love that kids can sing whatever song melody perfectly while banging away in whatever rhythm they want to on the xylophone. The two “melodies” are vastly different, but to the performer – they are perfecting in synch! I really think she is going to be our little musician. She loves to play her xylophone and loves to sing!

We were invited to Sam’s mom’s house for Easter dinner that afternoon. Sam found some cute outfits for the kids in bright spring colors. They looked so cute together.

Sam’s mom had hid plastic eggs around the yard for an Easter Egg hunt. Andrew isn’t quite ready for that yet, so Ella went out and gathered eggs with her cousin, She loves being outside and despite the cooler temps, the sunshine made for a beautiful Easter Sunday.

After dinner and conversation, we decided to head home. Andrew is in his helmet 23 hours a day now and during the time it is off, there is a lot to do. It is important to wash the inside of the helmet, as well as make sure his hair is washed. This prevents any type of fungus or nastiness from growing in the helmet or on his head.

It’s almost weird to see him out of the helmet now. Sam took him to his appointment Friday and the measurements are looking very good. The helmet is doing what it is supposed to do.

Sunday night wrapped up with an unexpected emergency. Just before we got ready to get the kids to bed, Sam got a phone call. Her sister had to be rushed to the hospital. Sam drove to her mom’s and then drove them down to the hospital. She was admitted and is now home, but it was a bit scary. Sam got home around midnight Sunday night. I’m glad that she had the night off work so she could take her mom and sister.

Monday

We woke up to snow showers! There was very little on the ground in the morning, but after the kids woke up from their afternoon naps, there was a good coating of snow on the ground and you couldn’t see the grass! Typical Michigan weather, I guess.

What I found to be absolutely crazy was that the high school baseball team (who uses the field behind our house to practice/play on) was actually still having practice Monday afternoon. Those poor kids were out there on the diamond shagging balls in the outfield, running plays, and swinging blindly at balls being thrown to the plate because the snow was coming down so hard! It was nuts!!

Tuesday

I don’t even want to talk about Tuesday … LOL

I hope that you had a wonderful and blessed Easter weekend.

2021 – What a Year!

At midnight tonight, we’ll start a brand new year – 2022. Some have compared a new year to a book. The book with 365 blank pages – one for each day – and said that the book is ours to write. There is truth to that.

As I looked back over my “book” entitled “2021,” I see that (despite the pandemic and all the crap that came with it) I really did have a good year. Bear with me, he’s the recap:

January

January started with some snow. It actually looks like we should be getting snow again this week. Ella absolutely loved being outside in the snow. It was fun to watch her try to figure out just what all the white stuff was. Today, when she sees it, she get’s excited and yells, “Snow! Snow!”

In mid-January, we scratched our heads and wondered just how Ella was 11 months old! I mean, it seemed like she was just born!

The pressure was on as we closed in on her first birthday. With Covid, we weren’t quite sure if we’d even be able to have a party for her.

February

As we got closer to Ella’s birthday, Sam was just not feeling right. 3 days before Ella’s birthday, we found out that baby #2 was on the way!

This took us both completely by surprise! There was great excitement all over again. The hardest part was keeping it a secret…

Ella’s first birthday was a fun and busy day. We ditched the pink blocks and marked the birthday with a HUGE number “1” balloon. This was followed by a trip to the Sea Life Aquarium, the Build a Bear place, and cake at Nana’s house.

We were glad to be able to get some professional “1st Birthday” pictures, too!

March

In March we got our first look at the baby we now know as Andrew/AJ and announced Ella’s promotion to big sister.

Ella also got her first haircut

March also consisted of many walks around the neighborhood and stops at the park.

April

Big brother, Dante’ turned 19 this month! Before that, Easter fell on my mom’s birthday. We got Ella all dressed up in her Easter dress, stopped at the cemetery to visit grandma on her birthday and then went to Nana’s for an Easter Egg hunt!

Ella is so very blessed to have wonderful people in her life. Aunt Margaret is one of them! (She will kill me for posting this picture, but I just love this!!) She and cousin Marissa came to visit and the highlight was watching them read books together.

We also found out the baby’s gender, but that wouldn’t be revealed until May.

May

Birthday’s have never really bothered me, mostly because I opt for the Jack Benny attitude and say that I am stuck at 39. However, in reality I turned 51. 30 was big. 40 was tough. 50 a bit hard to swallow. Over 50? Well…..I examine my own mortality every day.

The month started warm enough that Ella got to spend lots of time in her sandbox and pool.

We revealed that Ella was having a baby brother and got another look at him on an ultrasound.

Ella and I worked on a special project for Sam for Mother’s Day and we got to visit the Detroit Zoo.

May also brought Ella her first taste of corn on the cob!

June

My second oldest boy celebrated his 14th birthday in June. We got to spend Father’s Day together by visiting Crossroads Village. They had a Classic Car Show there and we walked the village and rode the train. It was such a great day with my kids!

It was SO hot that day!!! By the end of it all, Ella was physically exhausted. June was a hot month and we did get to get out and enjoy walks in the park and a day at the splash pad.

July

By July, Sam was 5 months pregnant and was so sick. The pregnancy was a rough one on her. The heat didn’t help things. Despite that, the middle of summer was packed full of amazing things and our family had loads of fun.

We celebrated America’s Birthday, Ella had her first visit to the public library and bowled for the first time, and we all visited the Saginaw Children’s Zoo.

August

As Summer drew to a close, we continued to squeeze as much into it as we could. I got to spend a perfect day doing a daddy daughter picnic, my name was finally on the board at the Corner Cone for a free ice cream, Ella spent lots of time drawing with crayons, and our stress levels were through the roof as we took Ella in for her ear tube surgery. We also got another peak at AJ and had a visit from my brother.

September

Fall! My favorite season of all. I was glad to be able to get together with Margaret, Walt and my buddy Chris at Margaret’s house. Since she’s already mad at the one picture I posted, I’ll just share the one she told me I could share. Hopefully, that makes things a little better….

We always love going to get pumpkins and decorating the front of the house for fall. Ella seemed to like it, too.

Ella and I also got to take one last trip to the Saginaw Zoo before it closed for the season. It was a great day for us, and Sam actually got to relax a bit.

October

We had been told more than once that there was a possibility that the baby would come before his due date. He held out almost until the date! Just two days before he was born, Ella and I got to go outside and enjoy the fall colors.

On October 11th, AJ entered the world. I watched in awe as my son was born and all the pride of being a daddy again filled my soul. We weren’t sure how Ella would handle it, but she welcomed him with open arms.

They still did not have a photographer at the hospital, so we went to JC Penney to have some newborn pictures taken. AJ looks spiffy in his outfit!

While this wasn’t Ella’s first Halloween, it was the first real Trick or Treating adventure for her. She was happy that big brother was there to walk with her. AJ was obviously way too young to attempt to go out this year.

November

Fall walks are among my favorites. I love looking at the colors. Ella and I took many fall walks and there were many instances where she’d just play in a pile of leaves! AJ kept us all busy and so it was just Ella and I making the trip to Bronner’s to get his ornament for the Christmas tree. We enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving at home and got the house ready for Christmas.

December

The final month of the year brought many happy memories. Professional Christmas pictures, my annual reading of Dickens, AJ turned 2 months old, a visit from Papa and Grandma, Christmas Eve with my boys, Holiday lights at Crossroads, our first Christmas as a family of four, and the anticipation of a brand new year.

Blog highlights included my entries to the 2021 Song Draft, salutes to Soupy Sales, my grandpa, and Ernie Harwell, a guest blog from my pal Max, silly blogs about hats and Bernie Sanders’ mittens, fishing memories, my favorite Twilight Zone episodes, and a blog about an amazing cartoon Dog Dad.

There were many sad moments in 2021. I lost classmates and friends to cancer, heart disease, and of course, Covid. If the past two years have taught me anything, it is that life is precious and another day is not promised. You never know when it will be the “last picture,” the “last phone call,” or the “last visit.” It takes me make to that quote that my band director wrote on the grease board my senior year. I have quoted it many times. “Live every day as if it were your last. Someday, you’ll be right.”

Life is too short. Live. Laugh. Love.

As we welcome 2022, I pray that it is a good year for all of us. May we find it full of happiness and good health. May God bless you and yours in the upcoming year.

Get ready. The Book of 2022 awaits. Grab your pen and turn to page (January) 1.