A Perfect Weekend to Celebrate

Saturday I got to spend some time with my wife and celebrate her birthday. I arranged for Nana and Papa to watch the kids so we could have some time together. I am so grateful for them.

I worked Friday night, and when I came home, I went right to bed, so I could catch a few winks before our date day. The time I was asleep was rough for Sam as the kids were a bit crankier than normal. We almost called the whole day off.

Thankfully, all fell into place. We dropped the kids off and went to our favorite steakhouse for lunch. The weather was absolutely perfect, so we asked to eat on the patio. When the greeter walked us out there, I was surprised to see no one else there. We had the whole patio to ourselves for most of the meal!

What a wonderful afternoon! We sat in the sun enjoying conversation and each other. It was so nice to just be together.

Because we got a later start than we had planned (and because showtimes didn’t really line up with our plans), we decided to skip the movies. There were a few things we wanted to do, so we just spent the rest of the time doing them.

We had recently bought a two camera baby monitor from Target. It was a nice one and expensive. We set up the cameras and for whatever reason, one of the two cameras would have trouble connecting. We could see one, then it would go out and we could see the other. It never seemed to be able to show both cameras at the same time. This bothered us because we were on wifi, and no matter where we were, it should connect. There was an app you could download on your phone and you were supposed to be able to check from anywhere. I never really did get that to work. We decided it was best to take it back.

So we walked through Target just looking around and talking. We ended up buying a few things for the kids while we were there. Then we wanted to walk through the Christmas Tree Store. They always have a lot of holiday type stuff. The Red, White and Blue wreath we put on the door for Memorial Day and the 4th of July was looking pretty ragged and faded. We hoped to find something there for the door. We did.

It was getting close to the time we told Sam’s folks we’d be back for the kids, so we jumped back in the car and drove to get them. I held Sam’s hand on the way there and was just so glad to have had a day with her.

When we got the kids loaded up, we started to head home. It was getting close to Andrew’s bedtime. He started to cry a lot in the backseat. Sam crawled over the center console and squeezed between the two car seats and made him a bottle to drink on the way home. She had to be extremely uncomfortable! Once we were home, she had to climb back over the center console to get back in her seat to exit the car. I joked with her that I should have taken video to get her back for posting a video of me trying to hop the fence in our backyard! It was a humorous way to end the night.

Sunday night, Sam had to work. I took the kids out to Sam’s Club to pick up a few things we needed at home. Ella found some beautiful flowers and wanted to get them for mommy. Sam’s loves sunflowers and roses, so it was almost as though she knew exactly which ones to get.

We hoped to get a cake while we were there, but they didn’t have any. On the way home we stopped at the little grocery store around the corner from us. There were three cakes there and Ella picked the one with a sun on it. When I asked the girl at the counter if she could write on it, she asked what it should say, and Ella just spouted off, “It has to say ‘Happy Birthday, Mommy’ on it!” The woman asked Ella what color she wanted it in and she told her it had to be pink.

When we got home, we decided to make mommy a birthday card. I wrote on it and she “colored” in it. I helped both her and Andrew “sign” their names. She was so excited to give it to her this morning.

When Sam got home this morning, we went out to breakfast. This would mark the first time that either one of our children has been in a restaurant to eat! Hard to believe, but it is true. Sam and I prepared for the worst. We expected Ella to be running all over the place and Andrew to just cry through the whole thing. We were surprised at just how well behaved they both were! It was a very nice breakfast.

The restaurant wasn’t too busy when we got there. It was mostly retirees and older couples eating. It was a tad busier when we left. Ella said that she had to say goodbye before we could go. So she stopped in the middle of the aisle and yelled, “Goodbye, friends!” It was priceless. We were getting the kids in the car and the waitress came out to stop me. I thought maybe I paid the wrong bill or something. Nope, she just wanted to give each of the kids a plastic duckie.

Sam needed to head to bed when we got home. She had to work tonight, too. Before she did, she only had one request – a photo with the kids.

This was like the fourth or fifth picture. It’s hard to get Ella to sit still long enough for one now! The first three Andrew was smiling like crazy, but he obviously only had three takes before the smile went away!

What a wonderful weekend to celebrate, Sam! One thing is for sure, I’m gonna be diligent to keep scheduling monthly date days/nights!!

Happy birthday, Sam. I love you now and forever!

Aaargh You Excited? Absolutely!

As the title of this blog suggests – I am excited. I have a couple things to be excited about and I wanted to share them with you. I guess I should explain the whole pirate flag first …

What Kind of Shoes Go With a Peg Leg?

My job often requires us to put in for time off months in advance. This is never an easy thing for me, because quite frankly I barely know what I am doing next week. At any rate, a day or two after the May schedule was posted, I found out about an event coming up that I had to go to!

There is a nature preserve and arboretum near us that is having a Daddy/Daughter event. It fell on a day that I work, so I hurried and put in a request to swap days if possible. Luckily, my boss was able to switch my schedule for the day so that I could go to this with Ella. I didn’t know much about the event, other than it has a pirate theme. Honesty, I thought it was a Daddy/Daughter dance with a pirate theme, but I don’t think that is the case now. Either way, I am excited to have a special night with my little girl.

I may have to do some searching on the internet for a pirate costume! When I thought about it, I remembered that there was an episode of Ella’s favorite show, Bubble Guppies that featured Alice Cooper (Yes, THE Alice Cooper) as a pirate named Windy Pete. Maybe we could go dressed like they did in that episode?

Of course, Windy Pete has a penguin, who he thinks is a parrot in the show. I might look a little funny with a penguin on my shoulder.

… and ear muffs! I would look weird as a pirate with ear muffs.

I can’t even begin to tell you how very excited I am to have this Daddy/Daughter event to look forward to in a few months!

Celebrating 4 Years

My wedding anniversary is coming up on Saturday. I am excited to be able to share some time with my wife. Our schedules do not allow for us to spend time together often. The schedules work well for minimizing the need for child care, but husband/wife time is lacking.

Having two children under 2 has really taken a lot out of both of us. We were lacking good sleep before, but it has reached a whole new level of tiredness. Lack of sleep is not good for anyone, and as sleep technologists we are well aware of the issues go along with that. We both tend to be a bit shorter with each other. Little things tend to get under our skin a bit more. All of it is due to our lack of sleep.

That being said, I decided that I wanted to make sure to do something special for our anniversary. My wife deserves it. I don’t know how she does it. I wish I could afford to have someone come over and watch the kids so she could sleep. She hasn’t really ever had a break and we’re both feeling the stress – her more than me!

I have never been the best gift giver. 9 times out of 10, she knows what I get before I even give it to her. I guess I really suck at that. I also am not the best at coming up with interesting things to do. I’m not sure why, but I kinda suck at that too.

I began a search of all of the nearby theaters a few weeks ago. I was hoping that somewhere there would be a play, a concert, or event we could go see. We had been talking about seeing the Symphony, but that show falls on a Sunday and she works. The only thing that I found happening on Saturday near us was a hockey game. I’m sure she wouldn’t enjoy that as much as I would (and it is not about me, but about her, so hockey was out)!

Interrupting to tell a funny story

I had taken $100 out of our account and stuck it in my wallet to use for our anniversary. I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing yet, but I wanted to have it ready. I had taken Andrew to the doctor and Sam gave me her insurance card. I put it back in my coat pocket to give back to her and forgot to do so when we got back. When I was sleeping before work, Sam was making appointments and needed the numbers off her card. So she went looking for it. No big deal, she knows the places I usually put my wallet, so she looked for her card – and found the $100.

Caught Red Handed!

When I woke up, she said she was looking for her card and asked why I had $100 in my wallet. I was so surprised that she found it, I fumbled around trying to lie my way out of why I had it. “It must have been in there for a long time and I forgot about it!” LOL – who the hell am I trying to kid?! She is my wife and knows me better than anyone! She knew I was flubbing my way through! I finally told her I was saving it for our anniversary. I should have just come out and told her, but I didn’t want her knowing I was spending that much.

This Saturday

As far as Saturday night, I knew I was going to take her to dinner. We always go to Lucky’s Steakhouse, which we love, but I wanted to do something a bit different. Some co-workers and friends offered up some really neat places (which I plan on going to in the future), but I wanted to stay semi close to home so we weren’t out all night. We have a sitter, and I know she’s totally ok with us being out late, but I know Sam would feel better if we were close.

So I have two things planned – one is dinner and the other is a surprise. I really hope that she is going to like it. I can’t wait to go. She knows what towns we are going to and keeps questioning “What is there that we can do?” She’s pretty good at figuring stuff out, so I hope that she doesn’t before Saturday.

I also ordered her a couple gifts. One has already arrived (and needs to be wrapped). The other is something that probably won’t arrive before Saturday. Again, she probably has some sort of idea about what I may have gotten her, so I hope she doesn’t figure it out. I wish that I could give gifts like she does. She hears me mention something off the cuff and stuffs it away in her mental filing cabinet until she needs it and then always surprises me. But she can always figure mine out. Example: We were at Target the other day. She saw that her favorite author, Jodi Picoult, had a new book out. I immediately think “I need to buy this for her.” If I hand her a gift bag, she will know that it is that book. (For the record – I did NOT buy that book for her! Now, I may at a later date, but not for our anniversary.

I am truly excited to have a day/night with my wife. I know she would be happy just walking the mall (as a matter of fact, she told me that!), but I am really hoping to make the day special for her. I need to make sure that I find something that we can do together at least once a month. We need a date night. It is easy to lose “us” time with two kids, and “us” is SO important right now.

I can’t wait!

Weekend Wrap Up

I am not working my normal schedule at work, so my days are a bit messed up. The weekend for me, basically consisted of half a Saturday and today. I work Friday overnight and get home Saturday morning about 8am. I slept till about 2pm and Sam woke me up so we could enjoy some family time together.

We’re not to keen on actually going out to dinner, but we ordered out and got food from one of our favorite restaurants. I’m not going to lie – it was nice to sit back and enjoy a great steak at home and be with Sam and the baby for the day (even if it was short).

Sunny Sunday Morning

Sam works tonight, so it was Ella and me today. She was up at 7:30, and after she ate, we went out for a walk in the neighborhood. There were a surprising amount of people up that early. We saw people walking their dogs, people taking out the trash, people riding their bikes, and people just enjoying the sunshine out on their porch reading the paper.

It got pretty hot today, but it was cool when we walked. I figured we should probably get the walk in before it got too hot. Ella just loves to be outside, so when we got home, we sat out on the front porch step and watched cars go by. She gets so excited when that happens. There is a church at the end of our street, so there were plenty of cars for her to watch this morning.

When we came inside to eat, we must have woke Sam up. Sam fed her (and let her play in the apple/strawberry/banana baby food that she didn’t eat). Naturally, she needed a bath afterward! She was obviously tired, and Sam was going back to bed to try to sleep, so she took Ella in the bedroom to nap with her.

I watched a pastor friend of mine from Grand Rapids on Facebook Live teaching on a passage in the book of Colossians until Ella woke up. I usually work Sunday night, too, and sleep most of the day in preparation for being up all night. Thank God for the Internet, as I can tune into pastor friends in my hometown, across the state, out of state, and even out of the country if I want.

“I know what we’re gonna do today…”

In all the time we have had cable TV, I guess I didn’t know we had Disney Channel. That was the channel that was on when I turned the TV on today. Usually, I turn on the TV for background noise, and it is usually on PBS. Sometimes, it is on Nick Jr. because Ella loves Bubble Guppies. Anyway, it was on Disney Channel and I was happy to see that there was a marathon of Phineas and Ferb on this weekend.

I used to watch this with the boys all the time. It was so much fun. If you are not familiar with the show, the entire show happens during the 104 days of Summer Vacation. Each day brings the boys on a new adventure. They are always building something out of this world, their sister tries to get them in trouble with their mom, and their pet platypus is a secret agent who stops an evil scientist from destroying the “tri-state area.” There’s always a musical number in each episode, too. It is a blast to watch.

I’m not sure if they were running them in order, but I know the last episode they showed was the actual series finale. Ella was sleeping in my arms while the last episode (which I had never seen before) played. Call me what you will, but I was totally wrapped up in it. Kudos to Dan Provenmire and Jeff Marsh for creating such an amazing show. Sadly, the entire series is not available on DVD. If it was, I would surely buy it … for Ella to watch …. with daddy….

I never had the chance to when I was doing radio full time, but I had always hoped to get to interview Dan Provenmire (who does the voice of Dr. Doofenshmirtz). I thought it would be cool if he could do my voice mail message – hell, I still wish I could have him do it! I’d love to sit and talk with him about the show. I messaged him on Facebook once and complimented him on the music numbers and he gave me a little insight into what went into that for every episode. Those are thing things I miss about not being in radio anymore – interviewing neat people.

Almost Monday

Ella is sleeping now and the sounds of her sound machine are coming out of the baby monitor next to me. I watched a message from a pastor in Warren about the importance of the Bible and how it will be used in the last days, which was very interesting. One thing the pastor mentioned was how he tries to read through the entire Bible once a year. I really need to find a way to do that.

As I ate my dinner, I watched our cat run back and forth chasing a fly that got in the house. She finally caught it … and ate it. I’m glad I was already done eating. I’m going to take a little trip down to see my dad tomorrow. He’s recovering from knee surgery and I want to make sure he doesn’t need anything done.

One request before I close – I have something brewing that I am hoping might pan out for me. I will be looking into it further this week. If you would be so kind as to pray for me, or send positive vibes, I’d appreciate it very much.

Thanks for reading!

Weekend Wrap-Up

wrap up

Because of my “real job” work schedule, I have Thursday-Saturdays off.  I have my sons three weekends a month, and I love that time with them.  One weekend a month, my wife get a “date” weekend.  This past weekend was that weekend.

Thursday

Thursday is usually a short day, because I work the night before.  I sleep late into the afternoon, and then begin the process of going from “midnight” mode to “daytime” mode.  Thursday night, Sam and I didn’t feel like cooking, so we went to our favorite restaurant for dinner.

luckys_fenton-768x297

I LOVE Lucky’s!  Not surprising I am a “meat and potatoes” guy.  I usually get a Filet Mignon and baked potato.  Because I am currently on Weight Watchers, I opted for broccoli instead of the potato this time.  I also drank water, instead of beer.  The steak was cooked to perfection, as always.  I love when a steak is cooked and seasoned so right, you don’t need to put anything in it.  I always ask for steak sauce, but never use it.

Friday

Friday is “weigh in” day for me.  After the BIG meal the night before, I stepped on the scale hoping I had lost weight.  Happily, I was down 4 pounds and that took me to an overall milestone.

30 pounds weight - SMALL

What an amazing feeling to be down 31 pounds.  Years ago, when I first did Weight Watchers, I hit a 30 pound loss on the week of my 30th birthday.  I was a bit lighter then, but I am working toward being down to where I was the first time I did it.  The journey continues!

***

I am not ashamed to admit that I’ve been seeing a therapist since before my divorce.  I needed to have someone who was non-biased to talk to.  It was a decision that I am glad to have made.  She has helped me in so many ways.  I have learned much about myself, and gained many skills through our visits.  I had an appointment Friday morning.  She, once again, hit on something that really helped me.  I’ve been struggling with something outside of my home life and she helped put some things in perspective. Those moments are awesome.  It should help a lot moving forward.  It’s always a good thing to be able to talk to someone who sees things in a different way and can offer honest opinions and advice.

***

Sam had a practice exam she had to do for her final clinical class.  It was a three hour test that is helping her prepare for the actual test she needs to take for her new credentials.  While she worked on that, I finished the book I was reading.

first conspiracy

Can you imagine America without George Washington?  Me either!  Hell, he’s one of the first famous people you learn about in elementary school.  I went to elementary long before there was President’s Day.  When I was in school, we celebrated Washington’s Birthday and Lincoln’s Birthday in February.  Washington, the “Father of our Country”, was almost NOT.

This book is a work of non-fiction by one of my favorite authors, Brad Meltzer.  As a history buff, I was excited to read this.  This all takes place prior to the Revolutionary War, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and his presidency.  As a matter of fact, I was surprised at just how close to the start of the war and July 4, 1776 all this took place.

You get a really good picture as to what kind of man Washington was.  Through excerpts of his letters, you see the various struggles he faced and the stress he bore on his shoulders.  You really get a sense of the weight and pressure that was on him during this turbulent time in our nation’s history.  You also see the “birth” of counter-intelligence.  It’s a very good read.

Turn

The book takes place prior to the Revolutionary War primarily, but it does touch on the first few battles of it.  It mentions the “Culper Ring,” which was a group of spies that Washington used to gain information throughout the war.  AMC did a very cool series surrounding the Culper Ring in the series Turn, which I believe is still on Netflix. Ian Kahn played Washington in the series.

Washington

I watched the entire series, but now that I have read this book, I think I am going to revisit it.

***

We spent part of the day grocery shopping and we made turkey burgers for dinner.  We then retired to the couch to relax.  The original plan was to watch a movie, but when we turned the TV on, the Tigers were on, so we watched the game.  It was their “Pink Out the Park” game.

PinkOutthePark2019

As you know, my mother and grandmother both died of breast cancer.  I wish I had known that it was “Pink Out” day.  If I had, I may have gotten tickets to the game.  I LOVE when professional sports supports a cause like this.

The Tigers lost (miserably, I might add).  Tiger fans are living through more of the “we are building” stage.  Basically, that means we’re going to suck for a few years.  Maybe, because of this, I haven’t really been watching or listening to a lot of games this year.  At any rate, the game was one of the first ones I really got to sit and listen to the broadcasters.

Matt and Kirk

Matt Shepard and Kirk Gibson were calling the game.  I was quite disappointed.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Gibby as a ball player, but as an announcer, he is boring and monotone.  If there wasn’t a game to watch, and it was just audio, I would have fallen asleep.  I guess I was lucky to have watched George Kell and Al Kaline call games on TV, and Ernie Harwell and Paul Carey call games on radio when I was growing up.

***

After the game was over, Sam and I tuned in for one of our favorite shows – Live PD.

Live PD

I have dissed “reality” shows before.  This, however, is not Survivor, the Bachelor, American Idol, America’s Got Talent, or those other shows about winning money or a bride.  This is real cops doing their job.  I LOVE this show!  There are some other variations of this show – Live Rescue and PD Cam – which are good too.  In my many years on the radio, I have interviewed police, fire, and rescue people before and I ALWAYS made sure to say “thank you.”  They are out there putting their lives on the line, saving lives, and keeping us safe.  Live PD is a guilty pleasure.

Host Dan Abrams has actually wrote a couple books I want to read: Lincoln’s Last Trial and Theodore Roosevelt for the Defense.  Definitely, two to add to my stack of books to read.

Saturday

Saturday started early, as usual, for me.  I have to be up early so I can get to the radio station to be on air at 9.

Moose small

I worked for the Moose years ago full time.  I left to take a morning show position.  I was so grateful to be asked to return part-time.  The staff hasn’t changed much since I left and it’s like returning home to family.  I truly enjoy being back there.

***

I woke up Saturday feeling like I might have a sinus infection.  This is never a good thing for me.  Upon feeling those symptoms, I need to act fast.  If I don’t, I wind up with vertigo.  Every time I have ever gotten vertigo, it has happened because of a sinus infection.  Unlike, Mel Brooks poking fun at it in High Anxiety…..

vertigo

…it’s not fun.  It is crippling!  The last time I had it, I couldn’t even sleep in a bed.  I had to sleep sitting up.  The dizziness is SO bad.  I swear, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.  You have no control over anything.  You can barely turn your head.  EVERY little movement can cause you dizziness.  It’s awful.

Because of this, Sam and I went to the Urgent Care and I got checked out.  Definitely the start of a sinus infection.  So they gave me some steroids to bring down the swelling, told me to up the Flonase and sent me on my way.  So far – so good.  Fingers crossed!

***

While we were filing the fridge Friday night after grocery shopping, Sam pulled out the package of bacon that was in there.  She looked at me and said, “You know….BLT’s sound really good.  We should do that for dinner tomorrow.” Behold the power of bacon!!

Tomatoes - Summer 2016

So, we had BLT’s for dinner!  “You’re on a diet, though, Keith” you say?  Yes, indeed.  And Turkey bacon works just as well!  Sam had hers on bread and I had mine in a low carb wrap – BLT wraps are just as good!!

The Week Ahead …

I may have a Guest Blogger lined up in response to my earlier blog.  If you have a story about us you’d like to share, a favorite memory, or a story that one of my blogs reminded you of – I’d love to hear it.  Let me know.

It’s back to work for me, tonight, but I have a very important appointment to keep this week.  It can mean some big changes on the horizon.  It’s exciting.  If all goes well, I will be sharing the “breaking news” in the days ahead ….

BREAKING-NEWS

Until then … Have a great week.  See you Tuesday for Tune Tuesday.