Song Draft – Pick #1 – Mind Over Matter – Nolan Strong and the Diablos

This blog is part of the 2021 Song Draft hosted by Hanspostcard…. I have followed his blog, for some time and he always posts some great musical and movie stuff! His blog can be found here:

https://slicethelife.com/author/hanspostcard/

I’d like to thank Hans for allowing me to participate in the song draft (and Max for asking if I’d be interested).

In preparation for the draft, I went through years worth of Billboard charts, scanned my entire DJ library, and listened to all of the songs on my iPod (more than once). After going through a list of songs, I came up with my list. I have a few extras picked, just in case one of the other drafters pick one of mine.

My first draft choice is probably a song that many have never heard. I was born and raised in the Detroit area, and worked on the radio in Detroit for 10 years. Because of this, I decided to find a song that is not only a favorite, but showcases my hometown. The song is not a Motown song, but there certainly is a Motown connection to it that I hope you will find interesting.

When I first started at the radio station in 1988, my dad gave me a list of songs to put on cassette for him. They were almost all songs from his childhood that he couldn’t find in stores. While at the station, I searched for many of the songs on the list and heard them for the first time as I recorded them for my dad. The first song on the list was “Mind Over Matter” by Nolan Strong.

The Diablos with lead singer Nolan Strong was one of Detroit’s most successful early vocal groups. The group’s classic 1954 recording of “The Wind” would have probably been a national R&B hit were it not for spotty distribution by the tiny Fortune record label.

According to author David A. Carson, “In 1962 Fortune owner Devora Brown wrote a song expressly for Nolan Strong. Although only his name appeared on the label, the Diablos backed him up. ‘Mind Over Matter’ was an irresistible midtempo dance record full of sudden stops, starts, and vocal acrobatics, as Nolan sang about putting a hex on his girl to win her love.”

“Mind Over Matter” quickly shot to # 1 on the Detroit charts. Sheldon Brown, Devora’s son, remembered that Motown’s Berry Gordy was not pleased with Fortune suddenly having a # 1 record in his backyard. The story goes like this:

It’s early in the evening one day towards the end of September, 1962. The Temptations fourth single, “Paradise,” is being pressed up (along with a bunch of other new Motown records), ready for signing over to the distributors. The Motown rep who periodically comes to the pressing plant to check the print run notices stacks and stacks of boxes piled up in the corner, all full of seven inch singles.

The rep casually enquiring as to what’s going on, he’s informed that those boxes contain the complete inventory of the latest Fortune Records single, “Mind Over Matter” by Nolan Strong and the Diablos. The record was officially meant to have been released by now. It’s been getting some radio play, and indications across Detroit are that it’s going to be big. (For sure, the rep notes to himself, Berry Gordy Jr has remarked loudly and often how much he liked the record, and how he’d previously tried to sign Nolan Strong to Motown, with no success.) But some sort of organizational screw-up has meant that the distributors haven’t been able to get them out yet, so there they all are, still sitting in their boxes, still waiting to be taken away.

The Motown rep nods, makes his excuses, hurries out to a payphone and gets Berry Gordy on the line. Urgent, he says. Fortune Records has dropped the ball, he explains. The Nolan Strong record’s on the radio, but it’s not in the shops. Nobody can actually buy a copy. The rep doesn’t need to explain any further. Berry gets the point. Berry hangs up without a word. He’s got some calls of his own to make.

Gordy calls A&R. He calls the studio. He calls producer Clarence Paul. Got a top priority mission for you. Drop everything else you’re doing right now. Don’t care what group you cut it on. Just get me the damn record as soon as possible.

Within five days, Motown has its own cover version of Mind Over Matter recorded, pressed and in stores. That, in itself, it pretty amazing! What a turn around!!

A clip from the local paper shows how Motown tried to really capitalize on the fact that Nolan Strongs version was unavailable:

The story wouldn’t have a happy ending for Motown, as someone at Fortune got wind of the ploy and made sure the Nolan Strong record found its way into local stores, where – backed with Fortune’s undivided attention – it promptly flew off the shelves and became a regional chart-topper, squashing Motown’s competing version before it had had a chance to get started. But it’s illustrative of just how much could be achieved if Berry Gordy wanted it to happen badly enough.

The group Clarence Paul wound up recording Mind Over Matter were the Temptations, who (as noted above) already had a new single lined up; their record was due out on October 1st, and there was no point having two Temptations records out at once battling each other’s sales and damaging the group’s image. The quickly-recorded cover thus went out under an adopted name; enter “the Pirates”.

(The Gracenote CD database, and thus much of the Internet, insists that this group is actually white British novelty rockers Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, but that’s a bad mistake; these are the Temptations, under a stupid name, with Eddie Kendricks on lead).

Some people like the Temptations version better, however, there is something magical to the Nolan Strong version for me. Maybe it is the simplicity of it. I feel like his vocal is more solid than the Temps. Of course, maybe it is just because I never even knew that another version existed until a few years ago.

I’m not saying that the Temps version was bad, because it isn’t. Berry Gordy was an astute judge alright – and it came out as a decent single with a strong, driving groove, only to be denied a chart hit by the circumstances in which it came to be made. One cannot dent that the song is an important early record by one of Motown’s most important groups nonetheless.

As mentioned above, “Mind Over Matter” by Nolan Strong reached #1 locally around Detroit, but only made it to #112 nationally on Billboard. One of my favorite songs of all time!

According to author David A. Carson, “In 1962 Fortune owner Devora Brown wrote a song expressly for Nolan Strong. Although only his name appeared on the label, the Diablos backed him up. ‘Mind Over Matter’ was an irresistible midtempo dance record full of sudden stops, starts, and vocal acrobatics, as Nolan sang about putting a hex on his girl to win her love.”

“Mind Over Matter” quickly shot to # 1 on the Detroit charts. Sheldon Brown, Devora’s son, remembered that Berry Gordy was not pleased with Fortune suddenly having a # 1 record in his backyard. “Berry Gordy thought it was such a great record that he took the guys in the Temptations and they recorded a version of ‘Mind Over Matter’ as the Pirates for Motown, but Nolan Strong had the bigger hit.”

Mind Over Matter – Nolan Strong and the Diablos

My mind is made up ’cause you’re so cold
I want your love to have and to hold
I’ll have your love cause you are so fine
Mind over matter, gonna make you mine


And I believe that someone wants someone bad enough
The way I want you for you’re the one that I love
I’ll command all my powers to make you fall in line
Mind over matter, gonna make you mine

[Chorus]
I’ll put a spell on you, put a hex on you
I’ll make you love me too and I’ll be so nice to you
You have to fall ’cause I’ll be so dog gone kind
Mind over matter, gonna make you mine

(Instrumental Break)

I’ll put a spell on you, I’ll put a hex on you
I’ll make you love me too and I’ll be so nice to you
You have to fall ’cause I’ll be so dog gone kind
Mind over matter, gonna make you mine

Oh baby, so nice, ohh, you gotta be mine
Oh baby (fade out)

___

Here is the Temptations version, since it played so prominently in the story:

Thanks for reading – and listening!

What’s In A Name (Part 2)

When Sam told me we were expecting again, I was pretty sure the baby was a girl. As a matter of fact, I even had a dream about about it. I blogged about that here: https://nostalgicitalian.com/2021/04/23/and-the-baby-is-a/

This pregnancy has been difficult for Sam. She has been in a lot of pain. We found out that the reason for this is that the placenta is positioned anterior. Because of this, she has had a few extra ultrasounds to make sure everything is ok. While at her OB a couple weeks ago, he stated that while doing the ultrasound, he should be able to see the gender and asked if Sam wanted to know. Sam told him that we had already gone to the 3D place and found out the gender.

The doc told her that those places are right “about 50% of the time.” While he checked her, he really couldn’t tell for sure what the baby’s gender was. He even stated that there was certainly “a possibility” that it could be a girl. The reasoning was that the position of the placenta could have made it look like something it wasn’t.

This threw a big curve ball at us. What if the baby was a girl? We had already made the announcement that we were having a boy. We would have to wait and see. If it WAS a girl, we had a solid name picked out. Just like with Ella, it was a name we both agreed on almost immediately. The only thing that we hadn’t nailed down was a middle name, but we had our top choices all picked.

So we kept things quiet until this week. Sam went in for the 20 week ultrasound and we can confirm that the baby is indeed a boy. He is a very active boy (as Sam has been able to see in all the ultrasounds). Due to the placement of the placenta, however, it really limits how much Sam gets to feel him move. So with the confirmation of gender, we moved back to our list of Boy Names and had to nail one down!

We had a few names that really stood out. We went back and forth on a couple of them. We had one name that we really liked, but it was ruined by a story from a family member. There was another we liked and just really kept going back and forth with it. Finally, we came to a decision.

The baby’s name is …

Andrew Joseph to be exact.

Sam’s grandfather was Joseph, which is where the middle name comes from. Andrew was just a first name that we both liked. It works out great in the “nickname” department, too. We can call him Drew or “AJ”. I like AJ a lot!

There is lots of excitement and anticipation for his arrival. October seems a long way away, but at the same time, it will be here faster than we know it!

Funniest Observation of the Week.

Leave it to my dad! I called him to let him know the baby’s name before Sam posted it on Facebook. I loved to see his reaction. It was a few hours later that my dad commented on the post on Sam’s Facebook page. He observed that now I will have three sons and a daughter – just like Don Corleone in the Godfather!

David O’Keefe’s fantastic Godfather artwork!

Only my dad would have observed that!! That’s just one of the reasons I love him! Thanks Dad!

Nice Lids!

I rarely post two blogs in one day, however, my last post made me think about something – hats. The reason for this is the first line of the song “On the Sunny Side of the Street” (Grab your coat and get your hat ….)

I guess I have always appreciated a good hat. I wish that people would dress up like they used to. It seems like there was a time when folks would wear a nice suit and tie and always had a good hat to complete the ensemble. My dad had some pretty cool hats growing up…

My dad and cousin Diane.
My dad and grandpa looking swell! Dig that hat!

When I watch an old movie I always am impressed by the way some of the actors dressed. In the Rat Pack film “Robin and the Seven Hoods,” there is a scene where Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Bing Crosby sang a song called “Style.” Frank and Dean are singing about how Bing needs to dress better.

Anyway, there is a line in the song that says, “A hat’s not a hat till it’s tilted.” As I thought more on this, so many of the great actors wore hats and they always tilted them. I love that look! I always wanted to find a hat that I could wear titled and have it make me look good! The fedora seemed to be the choice of many stars ….

Cary Grant was always looking suave –

Cary Grant

Bogey and Cagney knew how to wear a hat!

James Cagney – Humphrey Bogart

Classic Gangster – Edward G. Robinson was almost always wearing a hat….

Edward G. Robinson

Al Pacino looked great in a fedora …

Al Pacino

Harrison Ford brought the fedora back to the screen as Indian Jones..

Even the great Curly Howard from the Three Stooges looks amazing in a hat!

Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra often recorded songs with their hats on …

Speaking of Dean Martin, the first line of his song “Bummin’ Around” says, “Got an old slouch hat ….” I wasn’t aware what a slouch hat was. I looked it up online and it was a sort of military hat. Google said, A slouch hat is a wide-brimmed felt or cloth hat most commonly worn as part of a military uniform, often, although not always, with a chinstrap. This picture came up.

slouch hat

I thought it was just a floppy hat, like Curly wore in Stooges films.

Curly

…or like Cagney wore ….

Cagney

Come to find out, those hats are called “newsboy hats.” The newsboy cap or newsie cap is a casual-wear cap similar in style to the flat cap. This is the hat that I always wear in the winter. Most people call it my “old man hat.” LOL

My daughter LOVES my hat!!

Wearing Daddy’s hat!

Maybe it is just the nostalgia lover in me, but I wish that I could pull off a nice suit, tie and hat and look as good as so many of the actors from the movies ….

9 Years Old For a Night

In my blog “A Special Visitor,” I wrote about Santa’s visit to my daughter, Ella. Santa is my friend Jan. It had been a while since we caught up, so after pictures, we chatted for a while. We were trying to figure out how long ago we had met. I can answer that with certainty now – it was 12 years ago. I know this because of something that came up in my Facebook Memories.

At one time, Facebook allowed you to write “Notes,” which were much like the blog option that was on My Space at the time. Tonight, back in 2008, I had one amazing night. Here is the contents of that Facebook note (with occasional elaboration from me in italics):

9 Years Old For a Night

(I’m not sure how I was made aware of the Proud Fathers class that was offered by the school district. My sons were 6 and 1 at the time, so I may have read about it at the daycare my son was going to. I remember that the flyer stated that the class was designed “to help strengthen the significant role that fathers and Very Important Males play in the successful development of their children. This program is open to all dads, grandfathers, uncles, and other Very Important Males.There is no handbook to parenting, and I thought this class would be extremely beneficial to me as a father. Jan was one of the many dads who was in the class and we hit it off immediately.)

Many of my friends, who are also My Space friends, know that I have been taking a class through the GISD called “Proud Fathers”. It is by far the best thing I have ever done. I have learned more about myself, my dad, and my kids in 8 weeks than you can possibly imagine. It is a state funded program, so it is free and is a 14 week class.

(It was interesting to look back at my childhood and how my father parented to see how that affected my parenting style. In one of the classes, there was a cartoon in the workbook. It was two guys standing in a driveway looking at two piles of boxes. The caption of the cartoon read, “They’re things my dad gave me. Some things I am going to keep and some things I’m going to throw away.The point of the cartoon was tied to an exercise. We listed the various things our father’s did when they parented. From that list, we kept certain things we liked about his parenting and got rid of the things we didn’t like. It was a fairly eye opening exercise.)

(Within the course, there was a day that was set aside for what they referred to as a “playshop” week. The week before, the fathers all threw around ideas on things we could do with our kids the following week. I remember all of us being excited as we began tossing around ideas. The more ideas came out, the more and more excited we got.)

Last week, we made plans for our “playshop” week, which was tonight. We had the parachute out and were bouncing balls off it, letting the kids run underneath it, and making the “mushroom”. We had a fishing game, where each child threw a line in (behind a big marker board) and someone from behind would attach something to the end, like a book or toy. We had kid bowling. We put our kids on one of those boards with the wheels on the bottom and pushed them into the pins (my idea).

But the best part of the night was the dodgeball game!

You can only imagine, the adults and the kids going at each other. It was a BLAST! The only difference with the way we played was you had to get hit three times before you were out. These kids were killing us dads! It was awesome! For a half hour we were all nine years old, doing our best to catch the balls hurled at us. Well, just like elementary school, I sucked! I was laughing to hard to care. I was amazed at the way these 6 year old kids were beaning me! We finally had to quit when someone hit the blinds in the back of the room and busted a few slats. We probably should have played it in the gym, but we figured a smaller room was safer.

Playing with your child – what a wonderful place the world would be if more parents did this! Dante’ and I bonded – especially when we were on the same team. Dimitri and I bonded when I drove him around on a tricycle made for an adult and child (Jan reminded me of this when he was at the house this weekend!). It was an awesome night. The joy that I experienced is something that I cannot wait to feel again. I may even have to schedule a play date…dodgeball anyone??

(Needless to say, it’s been 12 years since I played dodgeball. I really need to gather up a team to play!!)

When is the last time you played with your kids? If you can’t remember, boy are you missing out.

“Spending time with your children is one thing you will never regret”

Wednesday Worries and Thoughts

Covid-19

Am I the only one that starts to freak out if I get one of the symptoms related to Covid-19?!! Monday, I got one of the symptoms (I will refrain from saying which one, but I visited the bathroom often), and my first thought was “Please don’t let this be Covid!” I called in to work on Tuesday, and around the time we normally punch in, a co-worker texted me with one word: “Covid??” I told her I was freaking out about it, and she told me when she had a cough recently, she was doing the same thing! Needless to say, I didn’t have a fever, I was able to taste and smell coffee, and have recovered.

Recently, a co-worker from another lab, a former co-worker, and a co-worker from one of the radio stations I work at were all diagnosed with Covid. One of them works from home, so how she got it is anybody’s guess. My neighbor (who had asked earlier in the week if he could borrow my lawnmower – but never did) texted this morning to say he just got a positive Covid test. I hope he keeps it down at his house!

Looks like this is gonna be around for a while longer ….

Classes

Over the past few months, I have been reviewing an entire year of Bible classes that I took years ago. I am finally in the finally weeks of the last semester of that year. Once I finish reviewing those, I will enter the first semester of the second year, which is where I left off. I am beyond excited to continue these classes. I have found the time in God’s Word to be exactly what I needed. Reviewing the classes is taking time, and I am glad that I chose to review instead of jumping right back into the classes where I left off. There was so much information that I had forgotten, yet so much information that I remembered.

I’ve also found myself watching live streams of church services on Sundays when the baby naps. I am lucky to have met many pastors through Bible conferences, and other believers through mutual friends on Facebook. Many of their messages have been applicable to my daily life and have been helpful to me. It’s been a while, but I am glad to see some growth in my spiritual life.

9 Months!

Ella turned 9 months old on Tuesday. It’s hard to put into words just how much we adore her. With each new day, it seems she’s doing something new! She’s got 6 teeth, crawling, standing, and will be walking in no time. It’s already a challenge keeping up with her! LOL. If you look at her and pucker up like you are going to kiss her, she will lean in and give you a kiss. It’s my new favorite thing that she does!!

Every year, we head to Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth and get a new ornament for the Christmas tree. We got one when we got engaged, we got one when we got married, we got one last year when we were expecting, and this year it was “Baby’s First Christmas.” I think that we’ll be putting up the tree this weekend. I can’t wait to tell her the story of her first visit to the store.

Incidentally, for those of you who don’t live in Michigan, this week was a great example of how we experience more than one season in a short time. We had great weather last week and right up to Tuesday (it was almost 80!). This morning, it was about 45 degrees and windy (which made it feel a whole lot colder). You’ll notice Ella wearing her warm sweats this morning in the picture below!

She was a bit tired as we walked through the store. We knew exactly what we needed, so we were in and out. The place was a zoo! We were thinking, “Who goes to Frankenmuth at 10am on a Wednesday?!” Obviously, a lot of people! Anyway, we had to document her first visit there…

Veteran’s Day

Lastly, I wanted to say thank you to all of my readers who have served in the armed forces! Whenever I am out anywhere and see someone wearing a hat that says “Veteran” or a branch of the military, I always say “Thank you.” I know that the freedoms we love in this country came at a cost. I thank every man and woman who have proudly wore the uniform and served out country. I am especially grateful to my dad (on the left) who served in the army , and my Uncle Tom (on the right) who served in the navy. They both served during the Vietnam War.

Thanks for reading!

“I Hate These Damn Stickers”

My wife reminded me of a funny story this afternoon before work.

A few days ago, she told me that she ordered a playhouse toy for Ella. As she gets older, she is getting bored with just chewing on the toys she has. So we decided to get her something that might keep her a bit more busy.

The above playhouse, can be put together in a square, like pictured above, or spread out. Anyway, it arrived today. When I woke up, the box was in the hallway, and I knew I wanted to put it together before she got home from Nana’s house. So I immediately went to work on it.

The thing that gets me about these toys is the gazillion steps it takes to put it together! There is always that 300 page instruction booklet with the bad pictures that are supposed to help you piece this thing together. Maybe it is just me, but I always find it extremely difficult to figure out which way a piece is supposed to face when I look at these pictures!

At any rate, I was practically done with it when Ella came home with Sam (who got her haircut today and looks as beautiful as ever). It was nice to actually be able to see her explore her playhouse before I left for work.

The one thing I didn’t do, was put the various stickers on it. Sam said that she would do it later tonight. When I talked with her after she got the baby down for bedtime, she said her OCD kicked in and it took her longer than she thought to put the stickers on. Hell, I’m glad she did it, because I literally have no patience for that!!

That is exactly what reminded me of a Christmas from my childhood. I think I was 10 or 11 and I had asked for the Millennium Falcon from the Star Wars movies. I remember seeing the commercials for it and it was my “big” Christmas gift item. It was at the top of my list and mom and dad didn’t disappoint.

I remember being so impatient as I watched my dad put this huge thing together. By the time he had gotten it all together, he pulled out this big sheet of stickers (there may have even been more than one sheet). There were little stickers that went practically everywhere on the inside and outside of the ship.

Some of these stickers were so small and went into places that my dad’s hands barely fit! The combination of him struggling to get the stickers on right and me asking him “is it done, yet?” was probably enough to drive him crazy. At one point I just remember him yelling out, “I hate these damn stickers! You’d think for the money you pay for something like this, they’d find some idiot to put them on for you!”

THANKS to my brother, Christopher, for sending me this picture of dad putting it together!

Dad all duded up to assemble Christmas presents!

He was so frustrated, and there were plenty of stickers that were a little crooked. I knew better than to say anything to him, though! I learned to appreciate his patience when I had to start putting stickers on Lego sets for my sons when they were growing up!

I have a feeling that I will be building plenty of toys in the years ahead, and yes, struggling to get tiny stickers into small places. I will love every minute of it, though, because the look of joy on your child’s face when they see the finished product is one of the best things a dad can ever experience.

Fall Photo Shoot 2020

Maybe I need to add this shirt to my wardrobe …

Blog # 300!!

Another Milestone

Well, here it is – my 300th blog post. To be completely honest, I have a few more than 300, but some were kept private. So this is my 300th “published” blog. Over the past few blogs, I knew this milestone blog was coming, and wondered just how a blogger celebrates this kind of achievement. I found that most look back and reflect on stats.

I don’t know about doing that. Does it matter that the most popular day my blog is viewed is Thursday? Are you impressed that in the first 299 blogs I have written 64,488 words? Does it thrill you to know that each blog averages about 921 words? I highly doubt that means anything to you.

A Short Reflection

300 blogs. It is amazing to actually look back and see the wide variety of content that I covered since beginning this blog:

  • The blog is full of many posts about music – some about specific tunes (Tune Tuesday) and some filled with many songs.
  • There have been many blogs about television – whether it be actual shows or just theme songs.
  • I have also written many blogs about movies – some as part of blogathons hosted by other bloggers and some of my personal favorites.
  • There have been blogs about holidays from throughout the year – some contain specific memories and some are just general thoughts.
  • I have written special blogs to family and friends – my mom, my dad, my grandparents, my godfather, my kids, my wife, and my lifelong friends.
  • There have been no shortage of radio stories about listeners and coworkers.
  • Some blogs were just full of random thoughts and observations.
  • There were blogs about celebrities – some funny, some musical, some just for the hell of it.
  • I shared the love story of my wife and me.
  • I shared with family and friends the news on our miracle baby and blogged about the days that led up to her arrival.
  • Of course, after she was born, there have been many wonderful stories and things to share about her as she continues to grow up.
  • I was honored to have my brother write a guest blog for me (and hope to have more in the future).
  • I opened up about many personal things – my divorce, thoughts on suicide, the changes in my personal life, reflections on life and death, my faith, and so many other topics I kept to myself.
  • There have been some “Question and Answer” blogs that contained things asked of me by friends and family.

Looking back, I am impressed with myself. Who knew I had it in me?

New Connections

If you have a Facebook, you know that they will occasionally give you friend suggestions. They will offer up “People You May Know.” Many of those suggestions stem from mutual friends. There are people that pop up and I have 65 mutual friends with them because we went to the same high school together, or we both have the same radio friends, etc…

With this blog, we don’t have that feature. However, through searching things for things like movies, TV, music, and such, I have found many bloggers that share my interests. I follow quite a few blogs and continue to add more to my “read” list. Some of those bloggers offer up personal stuff like I do on occasion. Some respond with personal stories to my personal blogs. Through that, I feel like I know many of them.

Max is a good example of this. He has blogged about things I remember and vice versa. We also share many of the same musical tastes. He actually helped me set up the index on the side of the blog. Since doing that, more of my older blogs are being read than before. We swapped e-mails and eventually phone numbers. When I called him to talk about the index and creating some pages, it was like talking to someone I had known for years. How cool is that?

Lessons Learned

After 300 blogs, I think it is important to note some of the things I have learned since the beginning. If you are a new blogger, maybe some of my observations can be useful to you.

Even with spellcheck, I make mistakes. I found going back through some older blogs that there are some typos. Some are spelling mistakes, some are grammatical. My one radio buddy, who also works for a newspaper, told me I need an editor. He then proceeded to tell me I couldn’t afford him! I need to be better at proofreading.

There really is no way to know which blogs will be popular. I have written blogs that I think will get a great response, only to see that is not the case. At the same time, I have written blogs that I feel are just “ok” topics, and had a ton of hits on it. You never really know. It hurts your ego a bit when a blog you think is great is barely read, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.

Keywords matter. I try to include as many “tags” as I can with each blog. I have found that this will ultimately lead to more followers and readers. My most read blog? It is about a scammer. I got an e-mail saying that someone noticed I spelled a word wrong and said I should download some app. With research, I found the app is actually something you want to avoid. The keyword “Scam” or “Scammer” has lead to many reading that blog and some even commenting saying that they got the same type of e-mail.

The personal blogs I wrote about suicide, divorce, staying positive, dealing with a narcissist, and depression led to many new people following this blog. Some went as far as to reach out and share their own stories about those things. You know, sometimes, it helps to know you aren’t the only one dealing with those issues.

Each blog represents a moment in time. It represents what I felt at a certain moment in time. Early on in my therapy, I was angered easily. I didn’t realize how certain things by certain people triggered it. I was not a pleasant person. Over time, I have learned to not let those things trigger anger. I have learned coping skills. I am a different person than who I was.

Think about your favorite TV show. Did you like it immediately? The first time I watched Seinfeld or Cheers, I was not impressed. Over time, I came to enjoy the shows more. At one moment in time, you may feel one way, and over time you can feel another way.

Many of my blogs are memories that I want to preserve for the future. Other blogs are about things I have observed. At the time, I felt a certain way about things – over time, my thoughts or feelings might change. It helps to keep that in perspective.

Write about what you are passionate about! Chances are if you are passionate about it, a reader will find it interesting. This same principle was suggested to me when I worked in radio. Share things that “make you feel!” Some readers love my musical blogs while some prefer my more personal ones. I am passionate about everything I write, however, not all things will appeal to everyone. Anyone who comes to this blog will see my love for all things entertainment, but also see my love for my family and my children!

Another principle from radio that translated to writing a blog is to simply “observe life.” Look around and take notice. A successful stand up comedian is one who observes little things, talks about it, and the audience says “Oh yeah! I have noticed that too!” George Carlin was a master observer! Take those things that you observe and relay them. You know the whole “which way should the toilet paper roll go on” thing was simply something that someone wondered about, right!?

I always loved the above Far Side Cartoon. It points out another lesson I have learned. Be yourself. You don’t have to agree with everything I write. That’s ok. You have a right to disagree with me. However, when I write, I’m going to be myself.

While it can sometimes feel like work, I find blogging to be fun. I enjoy writing. I also enjoy hearing from readers who comment on my blog. That’s as much fun as writing them.

There are some blogs that I just sit and write. Others (most of them), it takes time to plan out. Either way, I try to give myself time to think it through and get the flow. It takes time and sometimes, you have to MAKE time to write.

So there you have it ….

Blog #300. As a follower, I need to say thank you. I am truly glad that you are here. I always welcome your suggestions. How can I make this blog more enjoyable for you? Would you like to be a guest blogger? Please feel free to let me know. What do you like? What don’t you like? Feel free to suggest other blogs I might be interested in. Feel free to share this one with others.

Thank you so much for reading. Here is to the next 300 ….

My First Job

Today’s blog stems from a daily writing prompt – “What was your first job?”.  I’m surprised that I haven’t written about this before.  The more I think about it, the more I realize that my first job actually led to my radio career!  Let me tell you how…

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Let’s be honest, what 16 year old really wants to get a job?!  I know that was the last thing on my mind!  Oh sure, I wanted to have money, but I was perfectly content asking my parents for it!  Once I got my driver’s permit, and wanted to drive the car, my dad told me I was going to have to start helping with gas money.  He thought it was time for me to work.

My dad played in a wedding band for many years.  One of the guys he played with worked at a boat marina right down the road from my house.  He asked if they needed any help and he said they did.  So I went in and talked with Dennis.  I knew him from the band.  He asked me a few questions and then told me I’d be helping out in the back cleaning and such.

I don’t really remember, but I think minimum wage was like $3.35 an hour when I started.  I was clueless about boats.  I remember the first couple days I did a lot of cleaning.  I swept the floors and emptied trash.  I also remember washing and waxing boats that were being delivered.  It was hard work.  Hell, I didn’t like cleaning my room, and here I was cleaning the shop and washing boats.  It was quite a change for me!  I remember chuckling at the brand of boat I was waxing – a Sea Nymph!

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Now, I know that according to the dictionary a “nymph” is “a mythological spirit of nature imagined as a beautiful maiden inhabiting rivers, woods, or other locations”, but a 16 year old kid knows the other (more sexual) definition and, of course, finds it funny.

Dennis was my boss.  He was also a salesman.  A couple other salesmen worked there, too.  Bob and Gary.  I remember Gary always called me Cosmo (this was long before Seinfeld).  I don’t remember much about the showroom, other than some of the boats that were in there, the racks of accessories, and a sign for one of the brands of motors we sold.

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In the shop, there were some mechanics who worked on the motors. The only one I remember was Leo.  He was a big guy who I always thought looked like a wrestler or body builder!  He was very friendly, though and I liked him.  He made me laugh a lot.

Dave was the Service Manager. I think we started talking about the Three Stooges one day, and became instant friends.  When I was promoted to work in the Parts Department, I worked very closely with him.  He would send parts requisitions and orders for jobs that they were working on in the back.  My job was to gather what parts we had in inventory and order what we didn’t have.

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It was while I was working back in the Parts Department that I really got a glimpse at how expensive owning a boat was! I was clueless about motors and Dave was very helpful in schooling me on some of the important basics.  He told me about the most commonly ordered parts and I learned about water pumps, crankshafts and O-rings! I also learned that this fancy gadget is called an “impeller”:

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And this thing is called a “Flush Muff”:

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Whenever someone came to the Parts counter, I needed to ask them what motor they had.  Once I knew if it was a Johnson, Evinrude, Mariner, Mercury or Volvo, I could grab a Microfiche and look for whatever part they needed.  We had this big honking microfiche machine where I slid the films into and it would project the schematics on the screen so I could find parts.

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There were plenty of times I had NO CLUE what the customer was asking for, so I called Dave up to the office.  He could usually find whatever it was in like 3-10 seconds!  He also knew the “exceptions”.  “Oh, that’s a 1979?  Well, for that motor, you need ….”  I was amazed at how much he knew.  He was such a great help!

I remember he always ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day.  I remember he was a big Monty Python fan, and we often spoke in quotes from their bits.  There were times where him and I would be working late and for no reason at all he’d hit the page into the shop and just laugh or say something silly.  So I’d be in the parts room and I would hear the “ding” in the shop followed by him laughing!  He did a spot on Archie Bunker impression, too!  We had a lot of laughs while I was there.

Dave remains a good friend.  He often offered up an ear when I was dealing with stuff at home.  He always had some great advice.  He also was instrumental in clearing up some issues I was having with some things of a religious nature.  I can never thank him enough for his counsel on those things!

As I think about it, I was very lucky to work here.  They were very understanding of my schedule, even if it meant more work for everyone else.  As a band kid, we had football games, concerts, after school rehearsals, band festivals, and so many other things.  I would often go right after school to work and on a normal day worked 3p-6p (they closed at 6).  Some days I would only be able to go in and work a couple hours.  Many times, I would only be there long enough to put in the orders for the day because I had band rehearsals.  I know that Bob probably hated the fact that I was there sporadically.

Summer time I was there more.  We used to run over to the Dairy Freeze for burgers for lunch.  I’d work full days until the week of Band Camp.  Summers were busy at the boat place!  There would be a steady stream of customers at the window needing parts.  The radio played all day while I worked.  The two things I remember ordering the most were (1) these little blue O-rings that everyone seemed to need and (2) propellers.

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I am sure they are more expensive now, but I remember these things being about $120 for aluminum props.  I remember having to know what “pitch” they were, too.  The stainless steel props were like $300 if I remember right.  We also sent props out to be reconditioned.  Usually they’d bring it in with some big chunk taken out of it because they hit a sand bar or a log or something.  Sometimes they could fix it, other times they couldn’t.

When winter rolled around, we did a lot of winterizations of motors and shrink wrapping of boats.  That’s the crappy thing about Michigan, you can really only use your boat about 3-4 months out of the year.  I want to say by October or November, they would run on a skeleton crew.  Hours were cut because we just weren’t busy.  After all the winterizing was done, I had to do inventory.  I HATED inventory.  You had to go into every box and count everything to make sure that the inventory was correct.

It was during this slow time that I paid more attention to the radio.  Paul Christy and the Christy Critters were on WKSG Kiss-FM in the morning.  I would get to work at 9am and hear their last hour.  At 10am, Jim McKenzie came on.  I listened to him every day.  I always tried to guess his “Slow Motion Stumper” (a song intro that he slowed down a lot).  One day I actually won – movie tickets to see the movie “Can’s By Me Love” which starred a VERY young Patrick Dempsey!!

The more I listened to Jim, I always felt like he was having fun.  He was great talking with listeners.  He always had great topics to talk about.  He had loads of trivia stuff that would say about the songs he played.  This guy was getting paid to do something FUN, while I was counting friggin’ O-rings and impellers! It was during the summer of 1987 that the idea of working in radio first entered my head….all because of Jim McKenzie and Kiss-FM.

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It’s funny how that first job eventually led me to my radio career.  I started as an intern and eventually got the overnight show.

I still hear from Dave regularly on Facebook.  Dennis and I are still friends, too.  I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to work at Suburban Marine.  I had hoped to find a copy of their logo, which was kind of a boat steering wheel like this:

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I can’t remember how many years I worked at Suburban, but it was probably like 2-3 years.  I remember while I was in school, I also started doing work as a stage technician (running lights and sound), and was working at Kiss-FM as an intern every morning before school late in my senior year.

If I had actually gone out to look for a job as a 16 year old, I know I would have never looked at a boat place.  I probably would have ended up at some fast food place or something.  It was a good job where I learned a lot.  It also gave me plenty of time to work on homework, study, practice my trumpet, or go out toilet papering houses at night.

Now that I think about it … I wonder why no one from work ever took me fishing?! I must have been a real pain in the ass……

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What’s in a name?

The title of this blog is a reference to a great quote by William Shakespeare:

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Based on Mr. Shakespeare’s quote, names really shouldn’t matter that much. I think many of us would disagree with him. I mean, a name is often the first thing we learn about a person, right? It is also one of the most common questions asked of expecting parents regarding their unborn child – “Do you have a name picked out?”, “Have you thought about names?”, “What are you going to name him/her?”

Can you see where this blog is going??

Weekend Recap

On Friday, my dad celebrated his birthday. My oldest son was at a friend’s house, so it was just me, Sam, and my youngest who drove down to visit him. Because of traffic, it took us a bit longer than expected to get there. When we walked in, I hugged him and wished him Happy Birthday. We all joined dad and Rose in the kitchen. I had found a neat book on Amos & Andy at a used book store and bought it for my dad, and gave it to him for his birthday.

Once we were all seated, Rose looked at me and said, “So what’s the baby’s name?” I chuckled and reminded her that we were not telling. She replied, “Well, it’s your dad’s birthday and it would be the perfect gift!” I chuckled again, and tried to change the subject. Sam reminded everyone that it was my idea not to tell anyone the name. Rose, then went on to say that she didn’t “see what the big secret was” or why we’d “want to keep it a secret”. I again, tried to not give in (even though Sam had said we should tell because we’ve been calling her by name and she was afraid to let it slip). Rose, however, didn’t want to let it go (which made me laugh even more, cause I wasn’t about to let the cat out of the bag).

At this point, Rose stated that she knew the name already anyway. So I asked her what she thought it was. So she says, with all the confidence in the world, “(First name)(Middle Name)”! Now I thought she might be able to guess one of them, but the fact that she picked out both of them – in order – caught me off guard! My face filter was non-existent! I was stunned. I looked at her and asked, “How did you know?!” Once she explained, I guess it really wasn’t that hard to figure out.

So, what’s our baby’s name, you ask?? You’ll know in a paragraph or two …

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Picking a name

You may recall that I mentioned in an earlier blog that our baby is a miracle. The chances of me having a baby were like 4%. Sam and I were actually leaving a doctor appointment and we were discussing baby names. We were not even expecting yet! I don’t even remember how the discussion started. If I know Sam, she probably said, “What about _____ if it’s a girl?”

At any rate, what I remember about this conversation was that we had a girl’s name picked out almost immediately. There was little discussion. The name was THE name. We both liked it. We loved the way it sounded. We both liked the reason behind it. That was that. We then began discussing boy names – because a boy was a possibility, too. Hell, there was also the possibility of twins!

Over the course of the next few weeks/months, the topic of a boy’s name kept coming up. We had a few that we liked, but none really stood out. When we found out that we were actually expecting, we went out and bought a baby name book – for boy names. We each had a different color highlighter and when a name we liked was mentioned we highlighted with the appropriate color. The ones with both colors would be considered if the baby was a boy.

(Side note: Sam is about nicknames. So she wanted the name to be one that could be shortened to a nickname.)

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I guess it was at this point that we heard about a place nearby that could tell the sex of the baby at 15 or 16 weeks old with an ultrasound. That’s when we went to find out. I think we both were leaning towards a girl, we both had a feeling it was a girl, and were both thrilled to find out that our baby was a girl! Now, I know that there were plenty of people who were told the baby was a girl and then found out it was a boy, so we waited a bit longer until the OB/GYN ALSO did an ultrasound and confirmed that we were indeed having a girl.

We decided to tell everyone that we were having a girl. Everyone, of course, has asked about the baby’s name. We had said that we were going to keep that secret until the baby arrived. Now at home, Sam and I refer to the baby by name when we were together. She will send texts to me that say “_______ is really kicking me tonight” or “_____ is doing flips in my belly” or “______ likes those cookies you made.”

As I mentioned before, Sam was worried that because we were both calling her by name (well, her nickname), that one of us would accidentally say the name in conversation. I told her that if that happened, we’d tackle the situation at that time. Neither one of us was expecting Rose to shout out the first and middle name this weekend. I didn’t think that I would lose my face filter and basically say, “Yep! That’s it!” Yet, that is what happened. So my dad, got a good birthday present!

This, of course, meant that we had to call Sam’s parents and tell them, too. Then we had to tell the boys. Then we had to tell her grandma (who’s been wanting to know since she found out Sam was pregnant). Then we told my aunts (my Aunt Linda also guessed the name correctly!), and Sam’s sisters. And now, here we are, spilling the beans here, and on Facebook.

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She’s got a name …

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Looking at it now, I guess it would be easy for people to figure out. Sam’s mom and my mom were both Pamela. (Sam’s mom may have been onto the name, as she texted me last week wanting to know my mom’s middle name!) My grandma’s (Dad’s mom) name was Rose, and Dad’s Rose is going to be her grandma, so Pamela Rose covers all her grandmas! It really is the perfect name and a wonderful tribute to four special ladies!

Remember that Sam likes nicknames. We are going to call her Ella.

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I truly think Dad was moved by the name, I think Rose was too. Dimitri was there and overheard the name, so he found out Friday, too. We let him tell Dante’ the name. Dante’ was overcome with emotion, knowing that his sister was going to be named for his grandma. It was a very special moment to see.

Sam knows how special this is for me, too. We have talked about the role that my mom must have played in this. “She handpicked her, knowing that we wanted a girl”, etc… For the anniversary of my mom’s passing, Sam had this made for Ella, and had me open it:

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Yes, I cried. It is perfect.

With each passing day our excitement grows in anticipation of Ella’s arrival. Each week, I go to the “Week by Week” pregnancy book to see what is going on with her. She’s always compared to a fruit or vegetable (This week your baby is the size of a pea, a plum, a lemon, a cantaloupe!). Sam always tells me when she is kicking and puts my hand on her belly so I can feel it too. Sam’s sister gave us one of those things that we can put on her belly to hear the heartbeat. I never seem to be able to find it, but Sam did this weekend. That sound is such an amazing thing to hear!!!

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Ella is due in February. As we continue to count down the days until she arrives, I cannot help but think about how blessed she will be. She is already loved by her mommy and daddy, her brothers, her grandparents, and aunts and uncles – and will be spoiled by all of us!

I cannot wait until she is here. I cannot wait to hold her. I cannot wait to sing to her. I cannot wait to see her showered in love and affection by her family. Until then, I’ll keep kissing and talking to Sam’s belly, singing to her, and letting her kick my hands.

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Spilling the Beans ….

It was a very busy weekend for me.  It was a weekend full of many emotions. As I sit down to write this, I have to remind myself what day it is.  My work schedule was a bit different last week, and then you toss in a couple days off for the holiday and it adds to the confusion.

Friday

I normally do not work Friday nights.  Fridays are my days to do almost everything.  I schedule all my appointments on Fridays, because I can get most everything done in the morning, and still be done in time to get the boys.  This Friday, due to some miscommunications at work, I had to work.  It was my weekend without my sons, so it wasn’t really an issue to work.  What made Friday difficult was that we had scheduled an ultrasound for that night.  I had also scheduled an appointment for therapy on Friday morning.

Thursday afternoon, my therapist called to see if I’d be available that night instead of Friday.  Knowing that this would allow for sleep before work, I said yes.  The plan was to come home, stay up all night and then sleep all day Friday until I had to get up early for the ultrasound.  As we sat on the couch watching TV, it was obvious that Sam and I would be going to bed earlier than anticipated.

Friday morning, I rolled over and checked my phone.  I had a text message from my boss at the radio station asking if I could come in and record the show for that afternoon because the regular gal was sick.  I figured I could go in, record, and then be home in time for a quick nap.  It ended up taking a little longer than expected and I got home around 1.  At this point, I could still grab about 2 to 2 and a half hours sleep before I absolutely had to be up.  I ended up lying in bed staring at the ceiling and my eyelids.  I probably dozed for 20-30 minutes before I had to get up.

The Ultrasound

We scheduled this ultrasound a month ago.  There is a place in Grand Blanc that does 3D ultrasounds and can tell a baby’s gender at 15 weeks.  Sure, we could wait until 20 weeks for our OB to tell us, but we were very anxious to know.  I got up, showered, and got ready for work.  We had to drive two cars there because I needed to leave for work right after we were done.

Sam and I were very excited and full of anticipation as we went in to the ultrasound.  We found out that the appointment before us didn’t show, so they were able to get us in earlier.  The room was decorated almost like a child’s bedroom, with a big screen TV on the wall.  The ultrasound machine was to the left of the bed.  Sam got up onto the bed, and I took my seat on the stool to her right.  They prepped her with that gel and we were under way.

It has only been a few weeks since the last ultrasound, but I was really amazed at how much bigger the baby was.  Baby was VERY active Friday and seemed to keep flipping around as the tech tried to get good pictures.  In one picture, we were able to see the baby’s foot.  Then we were able to see the profile.

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Then we were able to hear the baby’s heartbeat again.  This is one of those wonderful sounds that I just love to hear.

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The baby’s heart rate was 150.  At the last ultrasound, the heart rate was 159-160.  Our OB stated that if he had to guess, he’d say we were having a girl.  Today, we’d find out if he was right.

As we watched the screen, the baby was moving arms and legs.  The hand was up near the face, and the tech said that there may be some thumb sucking going on.  For a short time, it did not look like the baby was going to cooperate and let us see anything.  Finally, the tech was able to find the baby’s butt.  At this angle, we could finally see…

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Our baby is a girl!  I do not have the ability to put into words the feelings I experienced at that moment.  I remember looking back at Sam and seeing her face.  Seeing her smile made the emotions even more overwhelming.  Fighting back tears, I turned back to the screen to watch as the tech pointed out features on the ultrasound.

The tech could go from the regular ultrasound to the 3D pictures, and it was very cool to see.  We will be going back later in the pregnancy to see more.  They told us that at this young, it is a bit hard to see and that there were things that were still developing.  This is a shot of our baby with her hand up near her face.  It was very cool to see and I am excited to see her again in a few months.

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After the ultrasound, they took a picture of Sam and I with a huge pink G, and an “It’s a Girl” sign.  We walked out to our cars and we sat together in Sam’s.  We looked again at the pictures and Sam suggested we call my brother.  He has been such an amazing support and Sam wanted to hear his reaction.  He was naturally very excited.

After I hung up, all I could think about was how going to work was the last thing I wanted to do.  We had just found out we were having a baby girl and all I wanted to do was go home with my wife and hold her.  I sucked it up and went to work.  As I pulled out of the parking lot, I realized just how thankful I am for this amazing blessing.

Telling Dad

We had hoped to go see my Dad and Rose Saturday night, but he told us they were not going to be home.  I called him as I drove to work and asked if I could stop over after work because I had a couple things I wanted to show him.  He said he’d be around.  He started to ask about the ultrasound and stopped himself saying, “Oh, wait, that’s next week, right?”  I lied and told him it was.

Sam said that she would meet me at work in the morning and then we could go together, if he was available.  So I texted her and said he would be home, and she said she’d see me in the morning.  Sam had bought some pink socks and a pink bow with the intention of using that as the way to tell him.  When she got to my work, she told me she had left them on the counter back home (an hour away), so we had to stop at Meijer before we went to see him.

(We used the bow and shoes in our Facebook announcement)

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We picked up a pink onesie that said “Baby Sister” and some pink and blue foil paper.  I wrapped the onesie in alternating pink and blue layers and and we headed over to dad’s.  He was surprised that Sam was with me.  I told him I had lied about the ultrasound and that we were there to tell him whether he was having a grandson or granddaughter.

I recorded the whole thing on my phone.  As he began to unwrap the onesie, Rose was saying “Pink! Pink!” as she watched.  Dad first questioned why we used such good paper to wrap it up.  Then he got a bit more frustrated with each layer (and alternating colors).  When he finally saw the pink onesie, he jumped up and hugged on Sam.  As he hugged me, he was wiping tears from his eyes.  This, in itself, was pretty amazing to see.  Sam had asked me in the car how I thought he’d react.  I told her that he would be happy, but would probably keep his emotions under control.  To see him shed tears, really made it more special for us.

Saturday Night

My Aunt and Uncle moved to Florida after she retired.  They have a summer home here in Michigan.  We’ve been trying to get together with them for some time and we were finally able to find a day to do dinner.  As an extra bonus, my cousin Melissa (who had been away at school in Wales for almost two years) was staying with them for the weekend and was able to join us.

What a wonderful time catching up with them!  It didn’t seem like it, but it had been about 10 years since I last saw my cousin!  This was the first time they had met Sam, and it was just so nice to have this time with them.  I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen, as Sam has really had a hard time with morning sickness.  The doctor gave her some meds to help, and they’ve been hit or miss.  I was glad that Sam felt good enough to go to dinner and that I had time with my family.

After dinner, we drove to Sam’s grandma’s to tell her.  She just celebrated her 90th birthday and she is very excited for us.  She’s been wanting to know if it was a boy or girl since we found out she was pregnant!  Sam’s aunt lives across the street, so Sam texted her and said that we were on our way to visit.  When we walked in, Sam’s grandma looked at us and just said, “Well?!”  It was priceless!  She had guessed a girl right from the beginning, and she was very happy.

Sunday

Sam had to work Sunday night.  I didn’t.  I let her sleep and I went to the radio station.  I had to do her show since she was still sick.  I also had some recording to do, which took most of the afternoon.  I got home around 3pm and cut up fruit and prepared Sam’s lunch for work.  She left around 5:30pm for work. I had called and asked my ex if I could see the boys for a couple hours Monday so we could tell them.  She said I could.

I then had to figure out how to tell them.  My idea was to do a scavenger hunt.  I wasn’t sure what the weather was going to be like, so I made sure to keep all the clues inside the house.  I spent most of the evening writing poems on index cards that would serve as clues.  Once I had the clues done, I put them in envelopes and hid them throughout the house.

I took the “Baby Sister” onesie (which my dad sent home with us), and wrapped it up in layers of blue and green tissue paper and put it in a box.  Hid the box in it’s appropriate place and was ready for the boys.

Even though I was tired, I couldn’t seem to fall asleep.  I turned on this silly golf game I have on the X-Box and played a few rounds.   One round I played I was 14 under par!  LOL – if I could only play like that for real!!!  After that, I fell asleep while texting Sam.  I slept a few hours without my CPAP, so I didn’t really sleep well at all!

Telling the Boys

Sam called me on her way home.  She was exhausted and had a really crappy night at work.  I told her to try to sleep a bit, since I’d probably be about an hour before I had the boys back home.

When I picked up the boys, I asked if they wanted to eat breakfast first or if they wanted to know first.  They each said they’d want breakfast first.  I offered to make pancakes or waffles – they chose eggs.  I said I had bacon and sausage – they wanted sausage.  It was a pretty easy breakfast to make.  While they ate, we talked about the first day of school, their teachers and what they were looking forward to.

After breakfast, I sat them down and told them about the scavenger hunt.  They were both very excited about it.  They each got the chance to read the clues out loud.  With each clue, they got more and more excited.  It was so fun to follow them around the house.  When they read the final clue, which brought them right back to the kitchen where they had breakfast, they couldn’t believe it.  On top of the box, was one more envelope.  They both had to tell us what their guess was….

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I was quite surprised that they both thought it was a girl.

When they opened the box, they unwrapped the onesie and when they saw it, they yelled in jubilation. Their reaction was more than I expected.  Their happiness was so genuine.

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They are excited and wanted to know if we had names picked out.  We do – but that will remain secret until she is born.

We’re 16 weeks in ….and she will be here before we know it.   I can’t wait!

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