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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Father’s Day Reflections -2019

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As Father’s Day approached, I found a few minutes to reflect.  In a world where you hear constantly about “deadbeat dads”, I am lucky enough to have a dad who played a HUGE part in my life in SO many ways.  I have blogged about his musical influences on me (Which you can read here: https://nostalgicitalian.com/2018/03/30/my-biggest-musical-influence-dad/) and wrote a blog for him on his birthday (which you can read here: https://nostalgicitalian.com/2018/11/01/birthday-tribute-to-fred/).  I was truly blessed with a great dad.

One of the hardest jobs in the world is being a parent, I’ll be the first to admit that.  I will also say, though, that while it is a difficult job, it is also one of the most amazing things a man can do! As I look at my two sons, I consider myself blessed.  Being a father is one of the most satisfying, frustrating, fulfilling, and life-affirming things I have ever done!  I have been a dad for almost 18 years, and as I thought about my boys, I began to make a list of the things I love about being a dad.  I thought I would share that list with you.  Perhaps you can add to it or relate to mine.

Things I Love About Being a Dad

  • Your kids think you know it all.
    • If I had a dollar for every time my kids have asked me a question about something…LOL.  Many times, you know the answer, but sometimes, they ask you something that throws you for a loop!  They truly believe you are the smartest person alive!
  • Playing catch.
    • One of my favorite memories of my dad and I was playing catch in front of our house. I remember the first time he threw his “submarine” pitch to me and how much my hand stung when it hit the mitt!  Throwing the ball around with my sons is something I will never get tired of doing!
  • Coaching – Sports.
    • I was lucky enough to coach both of my sons in T-ball and baseball.  I truly wish they had both continued to play ball, but as they grew older, they lost interest.  I also helped the coaches out when my oldest son was on the bowling team in middle school.  I loved watching them play soccer and taking them to the driving range to hit golf balls, too. I only got to really go fishing with them a couple times, but I hope that it happens more in the years ahead.
  • Throwing them around in the pool.
    • We lived at one place that had a huge pool.  One of the thing I never got tired of was picking the boys up and tossing them back into the water in the summer.  I also loved letting them push me in the pool, thinking they had surprised me, when all along I was waiting for them to do it.  My oldest is as big as me now, and he still wants me to throw him around!  Pool fun is always great as a dad!
  • Your kids think you are the strongest person!
    • I remember arm wrestling with my dad and being amazed at how strong he was.  I remember “helping” my dad move things and struggling with my end of it because it was so heavy.  Dad wasn’t phased at all, though.  As kids, we are always amazed at how strong dad is!
  • Rocking and singing them to sleep.
    • Whether it is at the beginning of the night or in the middle of the night, I never grew tired of rocking my kids to sleep.  Holding them with their head on my shoulder and singing Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra songs is forever etched in my memory!  The songs changed from son to son, but some remained the same.  I used to sing “Bouna Sera,” “On An Evening in Roma,” “Watching the World Go By,” “Vieni Su,” “Cruising Down the River,” and other songs.  I used to love when they would sing them to me, too!
  • You become aware of your bad habits.
    • My dad used to smoke.  He used to say, “Don’t ever let me catch you doing this!”  He eventually quit cold turkey, whether or not it was because of my brother and I, I don’t know.  I do know that you are extra cautious about doing things or saying things you don’t want your kids repeating.  My dad always tells the story of driving while I was in the car seat behind him  Someone cut him off and he yelled, “You stupid prick!” and I said, “What did those pricks do, daddy?!”  “Sticks – there were sticks in the road!” was his response.  HA!
  • Play time and using your imagination.
    • I remember my dad coming into the bedroom and pretending to be a bear while my brother and I were under the covers.  I remember him pretending to be a wrestler and bouncing us on the mattress.  I remember pretending that way with my sons, too.  I remember playing superheroes with towels tied around our necks for capes!  So much fun!!!
  • Embarrassing them.
    • This gets more fun as they get older.  My dad did it to me.  I do it with my kids.  Just recently, we were walking down the street to go to the city fair.  On the walk I started skipping and both kids were like, “Dad!  Stop it!”  This one car was playing some song with a really loud bass, so I started dancing.  Again, “Stop it!” When the petting zoo came into view I screamed, “Oooo!  Look at the baby goats” and started running toward them.  They were so embarrassed!  It’s what dads do!!
  • Introducing them to things from your childhood.
    • For me, dad introduced me to a lot of music and such.  For my sons, I shared movies and music, but thanks to technology, I was able to share with them the Atari 2600!  They had some retro Atari that was loaded with 200 games or something one Christmas.  My oldest loved it.  He was always playing Maze Craze!  We used to hit the thrift shops and I would love when there was some old toy from my childhood there!  Of course, I passed down the Three Stooges to them!  I also introduced them to the Classic Scooby Doo cartoons, Hong Kong Phooey, and the Muppets.
  • True and unconditional love.
    • It’s a mutual thing.  I have never felt such an unconditional love for someone or from someone, until I became a dad.  Holding each of my boys for the first time, you melt!  The love just gushes out from you.  It is an amazing thing.
  • Hearing “I love you” from them.
    • This kind of goes with the above item.  As if you can’t love them any more, the minute they tell you “I love you” is just an amazing, emotional, and wonderful thing that you will never forget.  I still have voicemails from both boys as toddlers on my phone.  I need to find a way to get them into an MP3 or something.  I never want to lose those!
  • Halloween
    • There were a few years I worked nights and missed out on taking them out trick or treating.  I was able to be at all of their Halloween parades at school.  I loved being able to help pick out costumes with them.  Pulling them around the neighborhood as babies was something very fun.
  • Gibberish talk.
    • As parents, we all do this. Especially when they are babies.  I wish I could remember all the things I said to my kids, I don’t.  I know there were gibberish phrases that I used for each boy, though.  I used to love saying them to make them smile.
  • Making them laugh.
    • My kids were always my best audience.  “Do it again, Daddy!”  There is nothing like making your child laugh.  Their laughter is like music!  Even as they grow up, I still love listening to them laugh.  They may not laugh at it everything like they used to, but that’s ok.  It’s still fun to make them laugh.
  • Roughhousing.
    • It’s a bit different now that they are older, and have the potential of kicking my butt!  I love when they want to rough house!  I remember my mom yelling at my dad, “Stop that rough housing!”  Why?!  It was fun for all of us!
  • Being silly.
    • Adulting sucks.  Sometimes, you just have to be silly!  Being a dad allows you to be silly.  Silly is good.  Sometimes, you have to break away from the serious and embrace the silly!
  • Letting them win.
    • Oh how many games of cribbage did my dad let me win?!  With Uno, he wasn’t so nice.  I think he used to love putting down that Draw 4 card – much like I do with my kids today!  Sure, I have let them win occasionally, and there is some satisfaction in watching him and his brother brag about how they beat dad at the game.  Every once in awhile, though, you gotta show them you can beat them at it too!
  • “Caving” at the store.
    • I don’t do this as much now, but I used to.  You know how it is – you go to the store and there is that “can we get this?” or “I need this!”  All too often, I would cave and buy whatever it was.  Now that they are older, they understand a bit more when you tell them you don’t have the money to buy that right now.  they younger they are, the easier it is for dads to cave!
  • Getting beat at video games.
    • I love spending time with my boys.  They love their video games.  They have this one called Super Smash Brothers.  I really don’t understand it, but the gist is that you are a character (there are many) and you beat each other up until someone wins.  They kept asking me to play, so I did.  They wiped the floor with me.  Both of them were laughing as they beat the snot out of my character.  I was just pushing buttons trying to make it hit or whatever.  All of a sudden, my character started to light up and did this crazy punch/kick thing!  My youngest said, “Dad, you figured out how to use the special!”  There was some special move – every character has one!  They just neglected to tell me about it and let me lose!  LOL!  Smart boys!!  I don’t care whether I win or not, I just enjoy the time with them.
  • Carrying them on my shoulders
    • I remember as a kid, loving when my dad carried me on his shoulders.  I used to hold on to his hair!  My boys did the same thing!  I would give anything to be able to carry my sons again on my shoulders.  I used to love walking through the store with them up there.  I loved taking walks in the park with them up there.  I wish I had more pictures of them up there.
  • Snuggling/Hugs
    • I have always been a hugger.  I love hugging my kids.  I miss the days of snuggling up next to them for a nap.  I miss holding them while we watch TV.  I remember many times trying to get up from the couch, trying not to wake them because they fell asleep.  Those moments are so special for a dad.  I love when they come up and hug me for no reason.  It is still an amazing thing.
  • “Pull my finger”
    • This is probably the one thing that is exclusive to dads.  Not many moms do this!  Farts, dads, and kids mean laughs.  It’s probably such a huge annoyance for moms.  Dads fart.  Kids laugh at farts.  I remember one time my friend and I were outside in the front yard playing with Matchbox cars.  Dad came home from work and as he was walking in the house he made the “finger gun” with his hand and “shot” it as he farted.  We still laugh about that!  The fart will always be a funny thing that dads and kids both laugh at together.
  • Looking at your relationship with your kids and being able to connect it to memories you shared with your dad.
    • Go back and read how many times I mention something I love about doing with my sons, and how many times I can connect them with something my dad and I shared!
  • The “bond” that is eternal.
    • There will never be anything that can come between me and my kids.  I love my sons with all that I am.  They are my flesh and blood and will forever be my little boys.
  • The firsts and lasts
    • Those firsts stay with you forever.  The first steps.  The first words.  The first day of school.  The first concert.  Both of my sons are still in school, but if social media is an indicator, the last day of school is just as emotional as the first!  Watching each of my sons get on the bus for the first time was very emotional for me.  Big days – big emotions.
  • Artwork
    • Back when I had an office at work, I used to have countless drawings that they did in school.  I used to have a macaroni bee that my oldest son made.  The noodles eventually broke on it.  I still have some paintings they did and the coffee mug coasters that each boy made me for Father’s Day in kindergarten or first grade.  Those little things hold special meaning for me.
  • Bedtime Stories
    • It starts as you reading to them.  I don’t know how many times I read “Goodnight Moon” or “I’m Thankful Each Day” to my sons, but I enjoyed it every time.  I am sure there were other books, too.  “Snowmen at Night” was a favorite, too.  I used to love when they would read to me!  I wish the video games weren’t so accessible, because I really wish they would find more time to read.  I loved when they would tell me about a story of book they read in school.
  • The emotions that they make me feel.
    • They make me proud.  They make me happy.  They make me cry (both happy and sad tears).  They make me worry.  They make me thankful.  They make me feel a never ending love for each of them.  I am not ashamed to admit how emotional I have gotten watching them in a play, a band concert, a baseball game, or during an awards ceremony.  God help me, when they graduate, get married, and have children – I can barely hold it together now!!

I am sure if I had a few more minutes, I could add many more items to this list.  Being a dad is the greatest thing I have ever had to do.  My sons have been tremendous blessings to me and fill my heart with joy and laughter.  I love them so much.  If and when I am blessed with another child, I will look forward to reliving some of the things mentioned and creating new memories with that child, because being a dad is one of the coolest, most special, and fulfilling things I have ever done, or will ever do in my lifetime.

Happy Father’s Day!

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