Back to the Grind …

Back to Work …

After three weeks off work, tonight I have to return to the grind. I was lucky to be able to take some time off to be with Sam and the kids. While showering yesterday, I realized that the time I’d be home was coming to an end. Sam joked that I was probably happy to be able to get away from the crying and craziness, but that isn’t true. I know that I am going to miss them and want to be home instead.

I am looking forward to getting back into “the norm”. Things have been “on hold” for a few weeks while I’ve been home. I’m behind on my Bible reading, my classes, and other things, but know that once I am back into the swing of things, I’ll get everything caught up.

One thing about being back at work that will be nice – lack of snacks. Over the past three weeks, I feel like I was always eating! Potato chips, cookies, fast food, and candy seemed to be everywhere. I am glad to be back at work where I have a packed lunch and a bit more control of what I am eating.

AJ

Our baby boy has kept us VERY busy. We took him to the ENT to discuss his lip tie and tongue tie. While in the office he snipped both (which freaked us both out – because they literally just clip them with scissors!) and he has been doing much better. Sam and I discussed things and we’ve decided that he will eventually go to all formula. He has no trouble with bottles and is sleeping much better. He still has the GERD, so he will be on meds to help with that.

Sam has all her pictures saved on her iCloud. She found picture of Ella and took a picture of AJ and they could be twins. It’s really amazing how much he is starting to look more and more like her as a baby.

Ella on top. AJ on bottom. Both about the same age.

He still gets cranky, but he is starting to take time to look around. He’s more and more alert every day.

Great Neighbors

I don’t recall if I blogged about it, but this summer a neighbor had posted on the neighborhood Facebook page that they needed someone to mow their lawn. I reached out and said I would help. She asked whether I had children and explained that I had two sons from my previous marriage, a daughter with my wife and one on the way. She asked if I knew what we were having and at the time I knew it was a boy.

Last week, Sam was on the couch breastfeeding and there was a knock on the side door. She freaked out, because the couch is right by the door! She asked if I was expecting anyone and I told her I was not. When I opened the door, it was the lady whose lawn I mowed. She asked if I remembered her and I told her I did. She told me that she wanted to drop something by for the baby. She had a little gift bag and handed it to me. Ella was standing there saying “Hi” and “Bye Bye,” so the visit was cut very short. I felt bad because I couldn’t even introduce her to my wife.

Anyway, she made a beautiful sweater for AJ. I can’t even begin to imagine how much work goes into something like this, but it is so nice. I can’t wait to get a picture of him in it to send to her.

Halloween Weekend

For Halloween, we had to make sure to let AJ wear his “My First Halloween” onesie. Ella happened to be wearing her Halloween dress, so we snapped a few pictures of them.

As I began this paragraph, I started to write “my youngest son came over…” I realize that I can’t say that anymore, because now AJ is my youngest son!

Anyway, my second born son came over for Halloween weekend. I picked him up on Saturday and he stayed Sunday night to trick or treat. He brought a bag with two or three costume ideas. He decided to go as “an old man.” As he trick or treated, he told people who asked that he was “my dad when he was younger!” That got quite a few laughs.

Prior to trick or treating, I took Ella on a walk around the neighborhood. I had to stop and get a picture of one tree, because it was just breathtaking. So much color to it.

Ella had her first round of Trick or Treating and didn’t quite get what to do. She went as a ladybug and was so cute. At the first house, I got her out of the wagon, handed the bag to her and she walked up to our neighbor. I told her to say “Trick or treat” and hold open her bag. Once the neighbor started to put the candy in the bag, she dropped the bag and grabbed the candy from them! It was quite funny.

We walked just our street with Ella and then took her home. She didn’t get her afternoon nap, so she was getting pretty tired anyway. I then drove Dimitri around the rest of the neighborhood. I was glad we drove, because it got very windy and very chilly as the night went on. My aunt had some things for the kids and actually found us while we were out trick or treating. She stopped by when we got home and got to see them.

Because he had school the next day, I had to take my son back home. My oldest son had gone out trick or treating with his friends and was at his friend’s house. The house is pretty close to ours, so I met them there and he took his brother home. By the time I got home that night, I was in bed and fast asleep!

As far as weekends are concerned, it was a good one! It’s always nice to get to see all of my kids and spend time with my family!

A Very Happy Father’s Day

As Father’s Day approached this year, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. My oldest son works so much, and when he isn’t working, he’s usually hanging out with his friends. My youngest son hasn’t been here in a couple months, and when I have gone to pick him up, I end up coming home without him. So, if I am being 100% honest, I wasn’t sure if I’d see them this weekend (despite the fact that it was Father’s Day).

So last week, my oldest called and said he wanted to get together. I suggested we go to breakfast or that I could make breakfast for them. He liked the idea and called me again on Saturday. There was a classic car show at one of the county parks, and he suggested we go there. I loved the idea.

So Sunday morning, I ran up to the store to grab some bacon and sausage. By 9:30, when they arrived, I had the meat all fried up, toast in the toaster, and eggs ready to go. We sat and enjoyed breakfast together and we were on the road by 10:30. I had packed the stroller in the car the night before, so all I needed to worry about was packing a diaper bag.

It was a lot hotter than I thought it was going to be Sunday, but we stayed in the shade as much as we could. We walked around and got to see some amazing cars. There was a 1902 Oldsmobile that was taking people for rides throughout the park. One of the funniest things was when my son asked me about this big rubber bulb on one of the cars. He had no idea that it was the horn!

He laughed when I told him! Then we started to notice them on all the older cars. We saw Ford Model A’s, Ford Model T’s, some classic old Buicks and so much more. My oldest loves old cars and it was amazing to hear him spout off the year, make and model as we approached them. There were also a variety of old police cars, army jeeps, and some really unique vehicles there.

There was a car that my son had seen at a car show a couple years ago and he got all excited. “Dad! That’s an upside down van … and it drives like that!” It was actually cool to look at, but even cooler to see driving around!

I wish I had gotten a picture of the inside of that!

It’s always cool to see cars done up to look like famous cars. The General Lee wasn’t there, but Ella got to meet Herbie the Love Bug!

There’s a paddle boat (The Genesee Belle) that usually runs during the summer. It is not running this year yet, because it has to undergo a bunch of inspections. The gal inside the boat told us that because of Covid, and the boat not running, it needed some extra looking over. We were, however, able to go up on the boat and look over the lake.

It was almost noon when we stopped by the boat, and I could see that despite drinking lots of water, Ella was starting to get hot. We had already bought tickets to ride the train at noon, so we decided that we’d do the train ride and head back home. The steam engine wasn’t running this weekend, so a diesel engine pulled all the passengers.

The train cars are all about 100 years old. They have all been refurbished and are quite comfortable. They all have the old wooden framed windows that can occasionally fall down for no reason. We had hoped to ride in an open air car, but they were all full by the time we got to the train. We sat in the car with the windows open.

The train goes about 10 miles an hour and the cars kinda rock back and forth. Since we were close to Ella’s nap time, it was no surprise that she fell asleep on me during the ride. Not even the loud whistle of the train woke her up. It is always fun to hear the engineer tell stories of the train while you are riding. The railroad got it’s name (Huckleberry Railroad) because the story goes that the people riding the train could jump off one of the front cars, pick some huckleberries to snack on, and still be able to jump back on one of the end cars of the train.

When we got back to the depot, we stopped for a few more photo opportunities and left to grab lunch and head home.

When we got back home, Ella was still tired and went down for a nap. I spent some time talking to my sons about the classes my oldest is going to take in college and the golf lessons that my youngest is taking. It was nice to have some quality time and conversation with them. Ella woke up just before the boys had to head to dinner with their mom. Sam woke up for work before they left and made sure that I got pictures of me and the boys and me and all of the kids.

When Sam left for work, it was just me and Ella. We may have over did it a bit as she was running a little fever. So I snuggled up with her on the couch and we watched cartoons together. Before putting her to bed, I grabbed the new book that I got from her for Father’s Day and read it to her…

I absolutely love this book. So simple, yet so meaningful. “My dad love me!” Yes, sweetheart. He does. Very much!

The last book I read to her is another favorite.

I feel like I have been reading her this book forever! It never gets old. As a matter of fact, it means more every time I read it. This is such a short story, but it expresses the love of a parent for their child so perfectly. Here is the entire book without pictures:

I’m sure my sons would think I’m nuts if I read this to them today! I mean they are both cool teenagers now, right?! But this book really sums up how I feel about all of my children, the three who are here and the one that is one the way!

What a truly amazing Father’s Day. I thank God for blessing me with these wonderful children and I pray every day that I can be the Dad that they need me to be. I love them all “as big as the world!”