A Great Fall Weekend!

This weekend marked the 14th anniversary of my mother’s passing. It was very much on my mind through the entire weekend. However, there were so many other things going on that there was more happiness than sadness.

My brother came into town from Ohio and got to meet his niece for the first time. We have done many video chats prior to this, so when he came in, she recognized him and the hit it off immediately. It was such a wonderful moment. I’m sure we took a gazillion pictures, but my favorite one, he actually made his Facebook Profile Picture:

Uncle Chris and Ella

My brother and I drove down and picked up Dimitri and we all piled into the van and went to Crossroads Village. They usually do a Haunted Train Ride for Halloween, but because of Covid-19 they are not running the train. Instead, they are doing a nightly drive through of the village. It is all decked out for Halloween. My brother caught some pictures. It was a very nice time.

At the end of the drive, every passenger in the car got a goodie bag. I had to laugh because Dimitri opened a candy necklace, took a bite and said it was gross. I remember loving them growing up. I tried it and it was a bit … chalky!

We then came home and it was pumpkin carving time! We went to the orchard last weekend. We picked pumpkins and didn’t get the chance to carve them, so we did it this weekend.

Dimitri carved a skeleton playing a trumpet. For Ella’s, we took a drill and drilled holes in it. It looks like polka dots when the candle is in it. She loved touching the pumpkin guts, which surprised all of us.

Ready to carve
Determined
Yay! Polka Dot Pumpkin!
The finished product

On Sunday, we met my friend Jennifer at the park to take some family photos. Everything fell into place for the session – Dante was not working, Dimitri was here, Sam was off work that night, and Jennifer was available. We were worried that Ella wasn’t going to last long, as she was a bit tired. She loves being outside and we ended up getting some really amazing pictures!

The plan is to get one of the family pictures made into a canvas to go with the canvas we have of us with the baby. I also plan on printing some to frame and hang in the hallway. There are plenty to chose from. I wish I had a cubicle or an office at work so I could frame some of them to look at while I work. Here are two of my absolute favorites:

My Beautiful Girls – my wife, Sam, and my daughter Ella
My Three Wonderful Children – Dimitri, Ella, and Dante’

Both of these will be framed!! Perfect photos!!

After the photo shoot, the boys and my brother and I went to the cemetery to visit my mom’s grave. Dante’ has such fond memories of her. Dimitri never got to meet her and it bothers him a lot. They both got very emotional. It was nice to have some time there with them.

Monday, Sam worked days, so she was home by afternoon. We took a drive and grabbed pumpkin spice latte’s from Starbucks. When we got home, we raked up a big pile of leaves. We put the baby in her winter coat and let her sit outside and play in the pile. Look at this cutie:

The temps are cooling down. There is already snow up north. I’m glad to have been able to enjoy such a wonderful fall weekend with family.

“Hey, Ringo! Play Something Hot!”

One of the great female drummers, Sheila E!

I’m sure there are more, but when I think of female drummers, there are a few that immediately pop into my head:

  • Karen Carpenter – The Carpenters
  • Meg White – The White Stripes
  • Sandy West – The Runaways
  • Debbi Peterson – The Bangles
  • Gina Schock – The Go Go’s
  • Sheila E

In the future, there just might be another female drummer on that list – my daughter, Ella!

Future Drummer??!!

Sam was loading the dishwasher this week and she brought Ella into the kitchen. She put some pots on the floor and gave her a wooden spoon and the “music” began! I can’t even begin to tell you how cute this was! She’d rather hit the pots with her hands and chew on the spoon, but when she’s done teething I have a feeling there will be lots of noise!

The whole scene reminded me of a time when I was around 7 years old. I may have been younger, I may have been older. Any time we had a day off at school, if my mom and dad were working, we’d go to one of my grandparents for the day.

If we went to my mom’s mom, she would usually have something planned for us. We’d go to Greenfield Village, Belle Isle Aquarium, or the Henry Ford Museum. If we went to my dad’s mom’s, we would bring bags and bags of toys to play with. The funny thing about that, is that we rarely played with the toys.

My grandma had just about every possible cooking utensil imaginable. She had pie tins, rolling pins, spaghetti pots, metal strainers, whisks, wooden and metal spoons, cheese graters, cup cake pans, cookie sheets, and so much more. I swear, my brother and I would drag out every last pot and pan and play with them. We played with everything except sharp things like knives and forks. I am sure that we drove my grandmother crazy! I can only imagine the noise that we had to be making!

When we were older, my grandmother mentioned to me how much she hated us playing with that stuff. When I asked why, she simply said that she hated having to rewash all of those things! You see, the dishwasher in her house – was her! I can only imagine how exhausted she had to be when we finally went back home. I can also imagine how much she must have hated having to rewash each and every thing we pulled out of her cupboards and cabinets!!

Kids grow up too fast! I already have a hard time believing that Ella is 8 months old! In my opinion, let the noise ring out! Bang on those pots and pans, baby girl!! It is music to mommy and daddy’s ears! We will enjoy every concert you perform.

Rock on my little Princess!

Autumn in Michigan

The weather has been nice enough over the past two weeks for us to get out and really enjoy the fall weather! It’s been pleasantly warm with temps in the high 60’s and low 70’s. I’m glad, because this has allowed me to take Ella out for walks in the stroller through the neighborhood. At one house, the red leaves on the ground were so bright, I took her out of the stroller and let her play in the leaves.

After we got home, we both sat on the front lawn and watched the cars go by. She just loves to be outside! She loves to watch the squirrels, listen to the birds and wind chimes, and play in the grass.

This week Ella turned 8 months old! She has 4 teeth and two more popping through. She’s pretty much crawling like a champ and will no doubt be walking before we know it! To celebrate, we took her and her brother to the orchards to go pumpkin picking. I hope that this will remain an autumn tradition.

At the orchards, you can purchase pumpkins that are already picked, or you can take the hayride and pick your own from the pumpkin patch. Naturally, Ella needed to go on her first hayride, so we did that! She was SO tired when we went, but I was still able to get some amazing pictures. This one is my favorite from the hayride:

I love how she is cuddling with mom! She was loving the ride and the colors were just awesome. She wasn’t really sure what we were doing when we got out to the pumpkin patch. At one point, Sam made her sit on a pumpkin … she was unimpressed!

I love the way Ella looks at her brother. She lights up when she sees him. I have no doubt that she and him will have a strong relationship. After we got our pumpkins, there were quite a few pumpkins out in front of the orchard. I had Dimitri sit down among the pumpkins and then sat Ella next to him. While there are some really great pictures of them looking right at the camera, my favorite is probably the one below. She reached over and put her hand on him and they both are kind of looking at each other. A priceless moment!

I’m hoping that the weather cooperates in the next week or two, as I’m hoping to get both boys over and take some family pictures outside. Sam bought a cute outfit for Ella and shirts for everyone that match the polka dots on Ella’s outfit. I can’t wait to go out and get these pictures done!

Fall is my favorite season and I just love looking at the beauty of God’s creation! Happy Fall!

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 ….

Antiques and Other Thoughts

Old Treasures = Old Memories

Lately, I’ve noticed some things on Facebook marketplace that take me back to my childhood. This is much like when I have stopped by Goodwill or the Salvation Army. One time I was walking through Goodwill and I saw a brass teapot that my grandmother had on a table in her front room.

One day Facebook marketplace had an old oil lamp I recognized. I don’t remember who had this in their house, but I remember it being something that fascinated me. I would just sit and watch it.

This week, someone posted a piece of patio furniture that used to sit on my grandma’s back porch. I will always remember this glider. It was metal, so it got hot in the summer time. I also remember that when you got up, you had all these squares imprinted on the back of your legs! My brother found a picture of me in a rocking chair that obviously went with the glider. He seems to think the glider ended up at our house, and he may be right. I don’t remember. All I know is that someone was asking like $500 for it on Marketplace!

I remember there was a lamp that hung at my grandma’s (and I think my mom had one, too) that was an eagle. I want to say it was ceramic. I now it hung on a chain. It was heavy and I always seemed to bump my head on it!

I really wish there were more pictures of things like this in our old photo albums…

I’m A Moron

I had to make a call to my credit card company today to ask a question about something. When I called, it asked for the last four numbers of the card. I read them and the automated voice said that they didn’t match their records. I read it again and they said the same thing. Recently there was a fraudulent charge made and the cancelled the card and sent a new one. I shredded the old one (I thought) and put the new on in my wallet.

Man’s hand holding credit card to stop over spending on it

Yeah, nope. I actually shredded the new card and put the old one back in my wallet. I guess I am glad that I called with a question, or I would have never known I had the wrong card in there. What a dope!!

Little Moments I Treaure

Being back to work, I feel like I don’t get to see Ella. The last couple days when I get home, she looks bigger to me. I mean vastly different. I know this is only perception, but that’s how I feel. I know I am not crazy, cause Sam will say the same thing when she comes home.

This morning, I sat with her on the couch and she was drinking her bottle. When she finished, she snuggled up to me and took my finger in her hand. Man, that is one amazing feeling. I love when she does that. It was the perfect way to end my day!

A Quote to Post on Your Fridge

The following quote showed up in my Facebook Memories and I wanted to share. It comes from the great Sid Caesar:

“Do you know how important ‘NOW’ is? Enjoy it as much as you can, because no matter how much you want to hold on to ‘NOW’, it’s going to be ‘WAS’ !”

Enjoy the NOW!

Thanks for reading!

Catching up…

It’s hard to believe that is has been over a month since I have written a blog, but then again, it isn’t. I feel like I have been busier than ever, and I have been.

I’m hoping this blog looks ok, as I see WordPress has changed a few things ….

6 Months already??!!

On August 10th, Ella turned 6 months old! She is growing up so fast! There are times I look at her and wonder, “When did she get so big?”

She is rolling all over the place now. She rolls from back to front and front to back. She will be crawling before we know it. She is primarily moving backwards. What I mean is, when she is in her walker, she tends to push it backwards. When she is on the floor playing, she will often slide backwards on the floor. She is semi-scooting if a toy in just out of reach in front of her, so I know she will be crawling soon.

One of the biggest changes, has been the switch to real food. She has had carrots (which she wasn’t too keen on), bananas, apples, squash, peas, and sweet potatoes. She’s having sweet potatoes the past couple days, and we’ll keep introducing new foods for three days at a time to be sure there are no allergies. When she eats all her food, she gets to chow on puffs.

She loves these things! She’s getting into the habit of grabbing them from her tray and putting them in her mouth. I remember when my boys ate these. They are actually good and I would steal one or two from them to make them laugh.

Sam and I are each saying “Momma” and “Dada” to her (she says “momma” and I say “dada”) to see which one she will say first! Personally, I think her first word will be “kitty” because the cat is always right by her. They have daily staring contests with each other.

One of the highlights of my time with her has been morning walks around the neighborhood. She loves getting in the stroller and walking with me. She loves to see the dogs, cats, rabbits, and squirrels along the way.

One day we were walking and I was stopped by an older woman. She told me her grandchildren had outgrown a wagon she had and she wanted to give it to us, if we wanted it. It was a nice plastic wagon, like the one I had for both of my boys. I asked her how much she wanted for it, and she told me she didn’t want anything for it. She just wanted to give it to someone who would use it. It had been out in her backyard, and she told me she wanted to wash it before I took it. I came back the next day and it was washed and ready to go. I sent the couple a thank you note in the mail and told them the world needed more people like them. I can’t wait until we can start walking the neighborhood in the wagon.

Ella is at the age where “peek-a-boo” makes her laugh. I can’t even tell you how much I love this! I usually take her burp rag and cover her face and say “peek-a-boo” pulling the burp rag off her face when I say “boo!” She cracks up. Sometimes I lay with my arms in front of my face on the floor and say “Peek-a-boo” and lift my head up at “boo,” which makes her laugh too. Today, she pulled the burp rag over her face and pulled it down on her own and laughed every time her face was not covered. I swear, she was playing “peek-a-boo” with me!

I used to wear hats all the time (probably why I am bald!), and recently grabbed a ball cap to go on our walk. She was fascinated by it. When we came home and we were playing on the floor, she kept grabbing for it. I eventually put it on her and caught the cutest picture!

She is still teething (doc says there should be 4 teeth coming in VERY soon).

The Boys

My oldest son is working like crazy. He found a job delivering pizzas, and he loves it! It makes sense, he was always my road map! He always knew which way to turn and such. He loves driving and he’s making decent money in tips. He calls me often when he is on his way home from work. He is working like 6 days a week, so I don’t get to see him too much.

My youngest son will be doing school all online till further notice. Not sure how that will work for him (or others for that matter). I can see some subjects not being too bad, but I don’t think that math works well online. I need someone explaining things to me (not a computer). I had a very hard time when my pre-algebra class in college was all on computer. Thank goodness I had a teacher who would walk me through problems. I don’t know how much he will have.

When he comes over, we usually play catch, cribbage, or chess. Last time he was over, he creamed me in chess! Wow, I made some silly moves! I enjoy that time with him though. We had good talks the last couple times he was over. It was nice that he asked me some bible questions. I enjoy talking to him about it.

One day, I got to go to lunch with both of them. There is a little outdoor hot dog stand by their house. We sat and ate coneys and drank home made root beer. It was nice to be outside and enjoy the day and just talking.

My Days on Furlough

Thankfully, I was called back to work and did not have to be on furlough more than a couple weeks. My list of things to do while I was off really didn’t get done. I was able to finally get family pictures (from when Ella was born) hung on the walls! I did get a chance to read a book or two, but that “to read” stack is still huge (including a new book by John Byner).

On nights that Sam worked, and I was home, I would put the baby to bed and review my bible classes. I was able to get one of the three semesters I had already finished reviewed. I am glad I chose to go back and review, because there were things I had forgotten. These classes have really helped me a lot and I am excited to get through them. When I get to the classes I haven’t already taken, things will slow down a bit as I will be taking detailed notes.

I rediscovered Calvin and Hobbes while I was off. I forgot how much I loved to read about the boy and his tiger that came to life when they were together. (Toys that came alive before Toy Story!) I posted this on my Facebook, because I just loved it.

I always love sitting outside and star gazing. My co-worker told me about an app called SkyView which you can point at the sky and it will show you planets and constellations. It’s very cool.

Speaking of the sky, I found myself doing something I hadn’t done in forever while I was off. Ella loves to be outside. So we’ve been putting a blanket down on the grass where the shade is. We bring out a few toys, and she will just lay there and play. I laid down next to her on my back on day and noticed the clear blue sky loaded with white clouds. As I watched them move across the sky, I remembered sitting out in my front or back yard and looking at the clouds with my friends. We’d look at the clouds to see what they looked like. Was it a castle? A wolf? Snoopy? We’d spend hours watching the clouds. What a peaceful way to spend time on a summer day! Did you ever do that?

So much more has happened in the last month, but I will close for now. Life is moving fast and sometimes we forget to enjoy things that are right in front of us. Remember the old saying “Take time to smell the roses?” Since I have started to really notice things, I find myself more grateful and more at peace than I have been for a long time.

On my first day back to work, I was feeling so much anxiety when getting ready to go in. While driving in, I was simply amazed at the beautiful sunrise. What an amazing sight! All anxiety faded away and I found myself smiling at God’s artwork.

Until next time – look around and enjoy those things that normally wouldn’t catch your attention.

Thanks for dropping by! I hope all is well you you and yours!

Friday Fodder

Hello readers. I hope this finds you safe and healthy. This is, yet again, another blog that is full of random thoughts in no particular order.

Baseball

My home team, The Detroit Tigers, have not been much to watch in the past. I guess I was spoiled in that I got to watch the magical year of 1984 and a World Series Crown. Since then, they have struggled. “We are rebuilding” has been what us fans have been told for years! In 2006 we went to the World Series and lost. So, in 30+ years, we really haven’t had much to cheer about.

Despite that fact, I really miss baseball. Today in my Facebook memories, a picture popped up that I posted two years ago. The picture is the view of the baseball diamond that is literally behind our house. “One of the things I love about our house is that I can walk out on the porch and catch a good ball game all spring and summer long,” is the caption. Sigh. Not this year. Even the neighbor kids aren’t out playing ball.

I have mentioned in the past that my favorite Tiger from the 1984 team was Aurelio Lopez. Senor Smoke, they called him. There was something about his pitching style that I liked. As a 14 year old kid, I used to pretend I was him. When I was with my dad, or my buddies from school. We’d pitch to each other calling balls and strikes. When I was alone, I had a square I drew on the side of my house that represented the “strike zone,” I used to throw the ball at. There used to be a square spray painted on the wall of our elementary school, and you could stand in the parking lot and throw tennis balls at it – calling your own strikes.

aurelio_lopez_autographed_signed_jsa_detroit_tigers_8x10_photo_world_series_champs_autograph_p4632938

I miss hearing baseball on the radio. I miss watching it on TV. There is some talk about teams being allowed to play without people in the stands. While it would certainly be weird to just hear the sound of a ball coming off the bat, I would miss the sound of the crowd cheering for a home run. At this point, however, I would welcome baseball in any form.

The Boys

After my self quarantine of over two weeks, I was able to pick up my sons. They will be staying with me for a little over a week. Despite having seeing them briefly when I took my oldest’s birthday gift to him, and their short visit in my driveway, I felt like I hadn’t seen them at all! Sure, video chats helped, but to actually be with them and give them a hug means so much.

My youngest still has school work that he is doing online and will continue to do through the end of the school year. Because he is a senior, my oldest had the choice of continuing with the final marking period or taking the grades he had when all this Covid stuff came down. He had excellent grades, so he chose the latter and is officially done with school. We’re still waiting to see about graduation and stuff. We haven’t booked a place for his graduation party yet, because we just don’t know when we’ll be able to hold it!

We were able to celebrate my son’s 18th birthday here. We made a cake and sang Happy Birthday. Choices were limited, but we told him he could chose what he wanted for his birthday dinner. He chose pizza (no surprise). It was nice to be able to do that.

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They are always on their devices. They have an Xbox, a Wii U, a Nintendo Switch, and countless games on their cell phones. I am trying to get them away from that stuff, but with the cold weather, it hasn’t been easy. At least today it is supposed to be in the 50’s and we can get outside to play catch or take a walk.

Recently, I taught my youngest how to play chess. It is not my favorite game to play, mainly because I suck at it. I decided that I was going to teach him cribbage. My grandpa taught me how to play when I was about 9 years old. We played the game open handed (where you could see each other’s cards) and I walked him through things. He beat me, and I am hoping to play a few more games while he is here. I am also hoping to get my oldest to play, too. It is ALWAYS nice to have something to do when there is a power outage, or when you are bored.

cribbage-2

In preparation for the boys, I made sure to put clean sheets on their beds, and straightened up their room. While I was in there, I raised the blind on the window to let the natural light in. We have a huge tree that is outside their window. The birds were driving Maizey crazy flying back and forth. She sat like this meowing and jumping at the window for about 5 hours!

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I remember a time when parents put their kids to bed and then stayed up and watched TV before going to bed themselves. However, it’s been the opposite here. Sam and I are ready for bed by 10 and last night they were still up at 3:30am!!! What is up with that?!?

Layoffs

As stated in previous blogs, I am off work on doctor’s orders. While I am here recovering, I have been lucky enough to spend it with family. I have been praying for my co-workers and others who are still working at the hospital. The labor pools at hospital continued to grow because of ambulatory sites being closed, and those workers being put in the pool. This meant less hours for those working. To make matters worse, this week hospitals in the state announced massive layoffs and cuts. Some positions were completely eliminated!

Many of the layoffs are temporary and employees can take advantage of unemployment benefits (while keeping their health care benefits). If I am being honest, I wish that this had been an option from the beginning for many of us. It would have been much less stressful (and safer) for people. I know I would have opted to just be home with family, instead of having to go through a the mental breakdown I had to be home.

I continue to pray for my friends who are still right there in the thick of things. I continue to pray for the many healthcare workers across the state, and throughout the country, who are doing what they can to save lives – while trying to stay safe themselves. I just want life to be back to normal. I want to go and do the job I was trained to do. I’m just not sure when that will happen and if I can even do that!

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Skinny Me

I was out in the garage this week looking through a few boxes. I was looking for some notes from some classes I took years ago (more on that in an upcoming blog). I stumbled on something that I had totally forgotten about – an old magazine I was in.

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Mobile Beat Magazine is still around and it is mainly for mobile DJs. I used to get it when I was DJing more. It had great ideas regarding set ups, equipment, contracts, etc… It also put out a top 200 list every year of the most requested songs from that past year. I still look at it when I do get out to DJ (which is rarely ever now). This particular issue did a story about mobile DJ’s who were also radio DJ’s. I was interviewed and I was one of those featured in the article. My ugly mug even made it in the magazine!

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It is funny to see this picture.

  • I am about 100 pounds heavier now.
  • The glasses are gone thanks to Lasik surgery.
  • The hair is gone because of …. natural causes.
  • The station is gone, because of typical radio politics.

The shirt I am wearing was given to me by my buddy Tim, who is now working in major market radio on a morning show. He and some buddies (Doug and Phil) used to have this set up in their basement where they “played radio.” In all honesty, the stuff they did was better than the stuff you hear on many radio stations today. They would make tapes and I loved them. They called it “Fake Radio” and had me voice some liners for it. Making those up were a blast. I loved that shirt and was sad when it finally was so tattered that I couldn’t wear it anymore!

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My baby girl continues to be a source of happiness. It is amazing how much she has grown in just 10 weeks. She is “talking” so much! I could listen to “baby babble” all day! I love how she smiles at me when I talk to her. There is NO better feeling. While putting clothes away this week, my wife slipped on the tutu and bow my friend Margaret had sent. She slipped it on over her PJs and it looked great. Looking at her, I can totally see her wearing something like this for dance classes.

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I am so guilty of taking a million pictures of her. I will totally be “THAT” dad who will drive her crazy with my camera! “Dad! Enough with the pictures!” I will sit and go through the pictures and claim a “favorite,” only to go through them another day and claim another as “my favorite!” My latest “favorite” is this one:

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I love this little girl SO much.

I love my children SO much. Blessings – each and every one of them!

Until Next Time …

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My Mind Overflows With Random Thought

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Life used to have a routine.  I could plan my day.  Phrases like: Business as usual, status quo, day to day affairs, normal activities, daily grind, staying the course, standard practice, and as per usual – don’t mean anything anymore.  Nothing is normal anymore.  As a midnight shift worker, it’s hard to know what day it is, but when the routine is thrown off, it becomes more difficult.

Give Me Just A Little More Time

I have been seriously trying to make time to sort through thoughts.  Believe it or not, it’s been a little easier to do since I have been at home a bit more.  Last week I only worked about half of my 40 hours because of low census and the eventual closing down of our lab.  I was able to get some hours helping out in the Labor Pool at the hospital.

Our techs were reassigned.  Some had jobs in the hospital, but I was reassigned on Wednesday night to go to the hospital to help direct traffic.  We were given one of those orange vests and we were sent out to the main parking lot.  Our job was to make sure the cars that were lined up to be screened for the Covid-19 virus had first been checked in at the ER.

Basically, a check in at the ER determined whether or not your situation or symptoms warranted actually getting the test.  You probably know that there are a limited amount of tests, so the ones who would benefit from a self quarantine were sent home, while others drove to where I was and got in line to be screened.  Screenings were done in their cars.

I reported to work at 6:45 pm.  Seeing the line of cars made this whole thing much more of a reality for me.  There were plenty of cars in line.  Some of them had not been screened at ER, so we had to instruct them to go there first.  As you can imagine, there was a lot of stress, worry, and anger going on.  I saw a road rage incident while we were out there.  Apparently, a car in front of another was not pulling up far enough and the rear car kept beeping at him to move forward.  A few beeps and the driver was out yelling at the other.  Security had to be called. It was nuts!

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As the evening progressed, the line became shorter.  Testing ended at about 2 am, and that was when we left.  I had to go inside to use the restroom at one point and I can tell you that the doctors, nurses, and staff in the hospital were busy!  They were frazzled, but it was a picture of controlled chaos.  Kudos to these men and women, who are doing everything they can to help stop this thing!

My Anniversary

I was standing in the parking lot directing traffic at midnight yesterday.  I set an alarm so I would not forget to wish my wife Happy Anniversary.  I posted this on my Facebook page:

“Two years ago today, I married my best friend. Two years ago today, I married my one true love. Two years ago today, I married the woman who completes me, brings me joy, companionship, encouragement, support, and love. I swore two years ago that I could never love another female like I loved her … then she gave birth to our daughter. I am blessed beyond measure having these two in my life!

Happy anniversary, Sam, I cannot wait for the years ahead.

Thank you for two amazing years – our adventure continues….”

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People Unite

Covid-19 is a worldwide issue!  It is everywhere and it is effecting everyone.  In my many years on the radio, I have had the chance to meet and become friends with some musical artists.  Working in country radio, I can tell you that the country artists are just amazing.  I could sit and chat with them about songwriting, their tour, their families, etc…  I always enjoyed having the chance to interview them on the radio.

With all of the social distancing and people being told to stay home, the musical artists are taking a hit.  You may be upset that the concert you planned to attend has been postponed, but I can tell you that the artists are just as upset.  Going out on tour, talking to radio stations, meeting fans, and performing for you is what they love to do!  Covid-19 has forced them to stay home, too!

You probably read where Garth Brooks is going to do a live concert on the internet this week.  There are many other artists who are doing the same!  Brad Paisley did an acoustic session on Facebook, so did Jewel.

My buddy, James Otto, was the first one I heard mention that he was going to do it.  I was at work when it was live, but I did catch it afterward on Facebook.  It was great!  It was so simple and awesome.  It reminded me of the time he had come through town before his hit Just Got Started Lovin’ You hit the air. He came in, we interviewed him on the air, and then he did a little acoustic set for the staff in the conference room.  God, do I miss those!  My apologies to James for this incredibly terrible screen shot of his live stream.

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He sounded great!  Thanks for the much needed “pick me up”!

It’s also been great to see video messages from Simon Pegg, Matthew McConaughey, Michael Buble’ and other celebrities!  These messages have brought music, hope, laughs, and entertainment to folks cooped up in the homes.  I have read about celebrities offering dance instruction, comedians doing comedy sets, celebrities reading books to kids, chefs doing cooking lessons, and more!  It’s great to see so much good amidst the craziness in the world.

Staying Connected

The WiFi is working at my house, and I use it not only to surf the internet, check e-mail, and to write this blog, I also use it to make video calls.  I have an Android phone and just can’t convince myself to switch to an iPhone.  My wife tried to get me to switch so we could use FaceTime.  Well, I found Google Duo does the same thing.  So I am able to video chat with her and see the baby while at work at night.  I can also video chat with my dad and my brother so they can see the baby, too!

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My buddy Johnny Molson (more on him in a minute) has been taking part in Zoom meetings.  Basically group chats with friends, so they can all keep in touch.  Restaurants, bars, and places to gather have been closed, so these video group chats can allow folks to gather while social distancing themselves from others.

My new doctor has tele-medicine available.  We can video chat with her if we need to.  My therapist is actually going to be doing my session via video today. It should be interesting.  I will keep the phone above the waist….I am wearing my Minion pajama bottoms!  LOL

Already bored with TV

I don’t have a whole lot of stuff I watch on TV.  Lately, it’s been The First 48, Forensic Files, Live PD, and a few others.  Some of these cable channels are doing these all day marathons, and I wish they wouldn’t.  I love a good rerun, but I I don’t think I like them with these types of shows.  Maybe I am just picky.  Hell, I will watch reruns of old shows like Sanford and Son, Columbo, Perry Mason, and Mission: Impossible all day – it doesn’t bug me at all.  I just can’t sit and watch these over and over.

This is where the internet is helpful again.  Does your imagination need a workout?  Books can help, but if you want to “watch a show”, may I recommend Old Time Radio Shows? They are like watching TV shows, only without the video.  Families would gather in front of the radio at night and listen to their favorites – remember the scene in A Christmas Story when Ralphie is listening to Little Orphan Annie?

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I have Sirius XM in my car, and I love the Old Radio Show Channel.  I’m not sure if the copyright on some shows are a factor or what, but I have heard the channel host say that “certain shows are no longer available” for them to play.  I end up hearing a lot of shows that I was never really interested in.

I realize that these shows are dated, but they are still very entertaining.  Many are available on YouTube.  If you like crime shows – check out Dragnet, Broadway is My Beat, Sherlock Holmes, or Gangbusters.  If you like mystery and suspense – try The Mysterious Traveler, Suspense, The Whistler, or Nightbeat.  For Movie adaptations – try Lux Radio Theater, Screen Directors PlayHouse, or CBS Radio Mystery Theater.  If you want to laugh – try The Jack Benny Program, Fibber McGee and Molly, Amos and Andy, Our Miss Brooks, The Fred Allen Show, Burns and Allen, The Life of Riley, or Abbott and Costello.  Sometimes I do a google search for an actor and find shows they were on (“Edward G. Robinson on radio” will bring up a few). Let your imagination get a workout while stuck at home!

New Sleep Habit

As a sleep technologist, we tell patients all the time of the importance of having a bedtime routine.  That can really help assure that you fall asleep and keep you in a regular sleep pattern.  With a 6 week old baby, you can imagine how the bedtime routine has changed!  Sam has a routine with the baby ever night.  When I am home – I basically throw that routine off.

The baby has a sound machine that plays music.  The bassinet has a button that makes it vibrate.  Then she has a stuffed animal that lights up and puts lights on the ceiling.

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Hers is an elephant, but the dog above shows how it works.  At any rate, all of these things are on as Ella goes to bed.  It’s been a routine now for 6 weeks.

I noticed this week after coming home after my shift and trying to sleep during the day, that I was having an issue falling asleep.  You know what it is?  I have found that I actually find it hard to fall asleep now without that silly music on!  I thought it was crazy, until Sam told me that she felt like she had to turn the stars on so she could see them on the ceiling to fall asleep.  If you are a parent, has something like this happened to you?

“Buy me a coffee”

I noticed this recently on some of the blogs I follow.  At the end of their blog, there is an icon that says “Buy Me a Coffee.”

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So, is this like a “tip?”  “Hey, buddy.  Nice blog – have a coffee.”  I hadn’t noticed this before, but I am seeing it more and more.  Don’t get my wrong – I LOVE coffee, but I am not going to beg my readers for one.  I’m all for getting together and having coffee together, I would love that!  I just think it’s odd.  I mean, if you really want to buy me something, I’m not going to turn away diapers or formula!  LOL

Parting thoughts ( that I wish I had written )

I mentioned Johnny Molson, above.  He wrote a very cool piece that I shared on Facebook and I wanted to share it here as well.  I could have copied and pasted it, but I didn’t want to be accused of plagiarism.  So surf over here and check out this piece that really speaks to our current situation.

I’m Proud of You (Us)

Take care of yourself!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Letter to My Daughter

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It is my hope that one day, my children will read over these blogs and learn a little more about their dad. This blog, in a sense, is a sort of “autobiography” with some musical, and entertainment memories sprinkled in.  A year after my mom passed away, we found letters that she had written to each of us.  I cannot begin to tell you how much that letter means to me.  It remains in a safe place and I re-read it often.

Letter writing is something that we rarely hear about anymore.  This is sad.  When my oldest son began elementary school, at the end of each year, I asked his teacher to write a letter to him, that he could read when he graduated.  It is my hope that his mom still has those letters for him to read.  I tried to do the same with my youngest, but his teachers were less than enthusiastic about doing it.  I plan on doing the same thing with my daughter.

Another article I was sent while Sam was pregnant said to have grandparents and relatives write a note to the baby that could be read when they got older.  Imagine a child being able to read a note from a grandparent or relative who passed away while they were young – that would be pretty amazing!

All this talk about letter writing brings me to the subject of this blog.  What follows will come from a week’s worth of various scribbling down of thoughts, random questions, and the idea of writing a letter …..

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2/20/2020

Dear Ella,

It has been 10 days since you made your entrance into the world and mommy and I got to see your beautiful face.  We certainly tried to get a glimpse before you arrived, but you had other ideas.  When we tried to see you in your ultrasound, you kept putting your hands and arms up by your face – something that you continue to do.  It only made it more special when we finally got to look at you!

I write this letter, knowing that it will be some time before you will be able to read it.  Please bear with me as I try to put into words my feelings.  Mommy will be the first to tell you that daddy can get pretty emotional, and I am not sure that I can find the right words, but I will certainly try.

You need to know that before you even arrived, you were loved unconditionally. You were cherished.  You were anticipated.  You were wanted.  Each day that passed brought more excitement as we anxiously awaited your birth.  We prayed for you.  We wondered about you.  We thought about you.  We prepared for you.  We longed to meet you face to face.  We could not wait to hold you, hug you, and kiss you. And it wasn’t just mommy & daddy who felt this way!  Your brothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles and so many others asked about you and prayed for you, too.

Your mommy and I were told that it was going to be very hard to have a baby, so when she told me on Father’s Day weekend that you were on the way, I was so happy I cried and hugged her.  You are a miracle, my princess.  When we found out we were having a little girl, we were filled with joy.  You were supposed to arrive on February 16 (your great-grandpa Davidson’s birthday).  You decided, however, that you weren’t going to wait until then!

As you know, you were born February 10, 2020 at 2:57pm.  You weighed 7 pounds 7 ounces and measured 19 and a half inches long.  We knew you were going to be born with hair, because we were able to see that on the ultrasound.  Mommy also knew you would have hair, as you gave her a whole lot of heartburn while she carried you in her belly.

I was next to mommy the entire time we were in the hospital, and watched as you entered the world.  Your tiny cry was the most beautiful sound.  The doctor handed me a pair of scissors and I was allowed to cut the cord that attached you to mommy throughout the past nine months.  Once they cleaned you up a bit, they handed you to mommy and she was able to hold you.  It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed.  I was overcome with emotion as I looked at my two favorite girls – mommy and you!

We named you Pamela Rose:  Pamela comes from your grandma’s (mommy’s mom and daddy’s mom).  Rose comes from grandma Rose and daddy’s grandma.  We can only hope that you will grow to be like these amazing ladies!  We wanted you to a have a unique nickname, so we call you Ella.

You are just perfect, sweetheart.  In the short time you have been with us, you have captured our hearts.  Our love for you has doubled, tripled, and quadrupled and continues to grow!  I look at you in awesome wonder.  My heart does flips every time you smile. I fall deeper and deeper in love with you every time I hold you in my arms.  I could spend hours looking into your amazing eyes. You are simply beautiful and suddenly – you have become everything to mommy and me.

We have so many great things to look forward to!  I can’t wait to read you bedtime stories, sing you Dean Martin songs, and tickle your belly.  I can’t wait to buy you Christmas and birthday presents and take you swimming.  I can’t wait to have tea parties and watch Peppa Pig.  I can’t wait to watch you grow and make a difference in the world!

I want you to know that I love your mommy with all my heart!  She is one of the most amazing women I have ever met.  I truly hope that you will be like her.  She is kind, loving, and fair.  She makes me laugh every day.  We are a team and we will do everything and anything for you!  We will be your biggest cheerleaders and will support you in whatever you do!  We will always do whatever we can to help you achieve your goals in life!

I promise I will do my best to keep you safe.  I promise to make you smile.  I promise to be there when you are scared.  I promise to always have a hand for you to hold.  I promise to be there to listen when you need to talk.  I promise to wipe away any tears when you hurt.  I promise to take care of you when you are sick.  I promise to be honest with you.  I promise to answer any questions you have.  I promise to put you first. I promise to love you forever, no matter what!

Only God knows how much time we will have together, sweetheart.  There is a quote that says:

“Time is free, but it is priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it.  You can’t keep it, but you can spend it.  Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.” 

I promise that I will treasure every moment we have together, Ella.  I look forward to every second of it.

I loved you yesterday, I love you more today, and I will love you more tomorrow.

Daddy

ella

 

 

 

 

 

She’s here!

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” A baby fills a place in your heart that you never knew was empty” – Anonymous

It has been a long journey, but the day finally arrived! We welcomed our daughter into the world this week, but the days leading up to her debut were far from easy.

The week before

Our due date for Ella’s arrival was February 16. The closer we got to that day, the harder it got for my wife. We had learned while trying to do a 3D ultrasound that our baby was very low. At a subsequent OB/GYN visit, our doctor also seemed surprised that she was as low as she was.

We also learned that she was “sunny side up”, which means the baby’s skull is against the back of the pelvis and the face points up toward the abdomen. What this meant for Sam was – a whole lot of pain. Because of the position of the skull, it cause an abundance of back pain. Back labor is terrible, because with every contraction there is pressure on the spinal cord. By Thursday, Sam was having sporadic contractions, and we knew we were getting close. We kept track of them with a handy dandy “contraction counter” app.

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Friday

We had our 38 week appointment with our OB/GYN. Sam was having contractions off and on and the doc had to check and see if she was dilated. She was dilated 2-3 centimeters and she was 80% effaced. He basically said that the baby could come at any time. He hooked her up to some equipment to see if there were contractions. He said there were and they were about 6 minutes apart. After some discussion, he planned an induction for Sunday night at 11pm. He then told us “You’ll have the baby before then” based on what he was seeing. Contractions and back pain kept Sam up most of the night.

Saturday

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Early Saturday morning, the contractions were between 5-7 minutes apart and Sam was having a lot of pain. We were told if the water broke, to head right to the hospital. Some people say the water breaking consists of a large pop and a gush of water. Some say it can be a trickle, which is what we were seeing. We decided to go to Labor/Delivery. While there, the contractions were only 6 minutes apart and she remained dilated 2-3 centimeters and 80% effaced. We were told that you have to be at least 6 centimeters before they keep you. I guess this is the new thing – labor at home. I think we were sent home around 2 or 3 that afternoon.

The remainder of Saturday we were home, anticipating going back to the hospital. The pain grew worse and there were times that Sam was in terrible pain throughout the night.

Sunday

No matter what happened, we knew that we had an induction scheduled for Sunday night. We had a snow storm system that was going through the state that was going to dump 4-6 inches on the ground. I had been saying that she’d probably come during a snow storm, so I thought for sure it was happening Sunday night.

The labor Sam was experiencing also indicated that we’d probably be heading to the hospital. The back pain was so intense that she was in tears. I felt helpless, and it really bothered me to see her in so much pain. The only thing I was happy about was knowing that we were going to be heading into the hospital that night.

We both had gotten very little sleep and decided that we were going to attempt to try to grab a few winks. We received a call from the hospital early in the afternoon saying that they had to cancel the induction due to them being “full”. We were again told that if her water broke to come in and they would find a way to accommodate us. They also told Sam to call about 10 am the following day to reschedule the induction.

I was immediately pissed off. How could they just cancel this?! I was furious. I wanted to call the doctor, but Sam said not to. I was angry because I had already called my boss and told her that we were going to have the baby by Monday and to start my time off, The more I thought about it the angrier I got.

The labor became more intense as the night went on. One of the suggestions we received in our birthing class for back labor was to hold your partner face to face and sway – like you were slow dancing. I did this more than a few times. Each time, Sam stood, there was a trickle of fluid running down her leg. I wondered if that was the water breaking, neither of us was sure. At 2am, Sam had had enough. She said we needed to go to the hospital, but then suggested we wait one more hour.

I am sure by this point, we knew we were heading to the hospital. Sam decided to take a shower because the hot water really helped. At 3:30, I finally called the Labor/Delivery department and asked about the trickle. They said it was probably not her water breaking, but if I felt like we were truly in labor to come in. I really felt like her water broke, despite the amount of it we were seeing, and quite frankly, was sick of seeing my wife in so much pain. So we were in the car and driving by 4am, Monday morning.

Monday (Technically, that last paragraph was where Monday started)

The hospital is about 30 minutes from us. A 30 minute drive for a woman in labor is not the most comfortable thing in the world. We were lucky that the snow had stopped, and despite some snow on the roads, we made it to the hospital in good time. We arrived at 5 am. The first thing I noticed was the fact that I was able to get a front spot in the Labor/Delivery parking lot. This never happens – especially when they are “full”!

When we walked in, there was nobody in the waiting area. When we pushed the call button, we were immediately brought back. As we sat giving the woman at the desk our info, I noticed that all of the triage/holding rooms were open and empty and there were members of the staff just sitting and talking. I also noticed that they had Sam’s paperwork already printed and ready for us. I mentioned it and they told us “We knew you were going to be here” (probably from my phone call).

Normally when you check in, they put you in one of those triage/holding rooms and hook the mom-to-be up to a monitor that measures contractions and listens to the baby’s heartbeat. We skipped that step entirely and were shown directly to our birthing room. We were in our room by 5:15 am. I couldn’t believe how fast this was all coming together.

I don’t remember if Sam asked about it, or if our nurse just let the information out, but we found out that because of the weather, many of the staff called in. That was the reason they had to cancel and reschedule the induction. Honestly, just tell me that. Why make up a story about being “full”? I don’t get it.

So through all of this, Sam is continuing to have this terrible back pain. Sam had told me during our birthing classes that she wanted to do the delivery with no medications. She told me that she did not want an epidural for pain. After hours of insane pain, she told me on the way to the hospital that she wanted to do the epidural. The epidural was in place by 5:45 am.

They won’t let anyone stay in the room while they place the epidural, so I was encouraged to go downstairs and have a cup of coffee. Sam and I hadn’t gotten any real good sleep since Thursday, so coffee sounded perfect! When I arrived back to the room, Sam was a different person. Those epidurals are pretty amazing. I watched that monitor thingy and could see these contractions, and Sam and I were just chatting away like nothing was going on!

This was Sam’s first baby, so we kept being told that labor is always longer on a first baby. They checked Sam again, and told us that she was dilated to 4 centimeters (10 is the magic number you need to get to). Our doc popped his head in on his way to a C-section and he told us we may be at 4 for a while. He said moms tend to “be stuck” at 4 for quite awhile. “It’s all downhill after you hit 6,” he said. He also told us that the baby had probably broke the water at the top of the sack with her foot, and that because she was so low, her head acted like a stopper, only allowing a little bit of fluid to trickle out.

They had started her on potocin, which is a medication that helps induce labor. The next time they checked her to see how dilated she was we were told that she was 100% effaced and she’d be pushing soon. That went a whole lot faster than either of us realized. Sam said she could tell the contractions were stronger and more frequent. She could feel pressure, but no pain. Another check from the nurses and we were told we were going to start pushing. It was about 2:10 pm. It was “go time”.

Approaching the Finish Line

Home-Stretch

As if on cue, all of a sudden my stomach started to churn, I began to sweat, and I pulled up a chair next to Sam. I thought “I am totally going to pass out. I swore I wasn’t going to pass out!” Luckily, this feeling passed quickly and by the second push, I was feeling better. We hadn’t really eaten anything for hours, so I am guessing that’s what was going on.

There were two nurses who had been working with us. One was a seasoned vet and the other was shadowing her and training. When it came time to push, the nurse could see the contraction start on that monitor and would tell Sam to take a deep breath and push through the contraction. She was to push for 10 seconds and the nurse counted those off in a steady tempo “1..2..3..4..5…..”

A few minutes in, she turned to the trainee nurse and said for her to keep count. This poor gal was obviously not in band/choir in school because she had no sense of rhythm at all! The contraction would start and she’d start counting “1..2…….3…….4.5.6………7…8…….9………….. and …….10.” There was never any real tempo to it. It was almost like she was thinking as she was counting. “1..2…(I wonder if I locked the front door)…..3…..(I may need to stop at Wendy’s for breakfast now that they are serving it there. I like eggs. Whoops – count!) 4.5.6…….(with my overtime, I should be able to afford to buy concert tickets) …. 7…8….It was crazy! There was more than one time that Sam just exhaled after this gal said 8, knowing full well it was more like 15!

This was the first natural child birth for me (both boys were born by C-section). I had heard all of the horror stories from friends who said they pushed for like 36 hours or a week or something before their baby was born. “The first one is always the hardest” people told us. Well, either our baby was in a hurry to meet us, or Sam is a super hero (I think both may be correct), because Sam pushed for just under 45 minutes and Ella was born!

Welcome, Ella!

(Some birth details here – for those readers with weak stomachs) One of the things my friends and I were asking about was what color hair she might have. Sam’s hair is light, mine was dark, and she has some red-heads on her side of the family. So as I started to get a glimpse of the baby’s head, I tried to figure it out, but really couldn’t. I remember as she was pushing thinking “Wow, this baby has a tiny head. She is going to be small.” Those thoughts vanished immediately as her entire head appeared. Once that happened, she slid right out. It was the grossest and most beautiful thing I have ever witnessed! I glanced at my phone and noted the time – 2:57pm.

fox tag

Her tiny cry brought a smile to my face and tears to my eyes. The doctor called me over to cut the cord (something I had done with my youngest son, Dimitri). I remember the cord being extremely hard to cut with my son, so I was totally ready to fight this cord. The doc had clamped it and showed me where to cut, and it cut like butter. It actually threw me for a loop. They cleaned stuff off the baby and handed her to Sam so that they could share some skin to skin time. As I sat next to Sam, watching her look at our baby, my heart overflowed with happiness!

Having those moments to ourselves meant so much. Sure, the doctors and nurses were all still in the room. They were cleaning stuff, stitching, and doing some other things, but I couldn’t tell you what they were. In that moment, there were six other people hustling around in the room with us, but in that moment, it was just the three of us. It was Happiness, Awe, and Wonder beyond measure!!

After about 20 minutes, they took Ella to be weighed, measured, and to give her a general examination. At this time they put her feet in ink and stamp them on a card for you. In my previous post, I posted a picture of a pink T-shirt with “Labor Coach 2020” and baby footprints on it. That is the shirt I wore during the delivery, with one specific purpose in mind – I wanted her footprints on my shirt.

footprints

What a keepsake!

Ella’s first visitor was Aunt Emily, who brought her a a cute stuffed elephant. Nana came over after that and got to hold her granddaughter. That evening, I received a text message from my friend Margaret. It was a picture of the hospital lobby. I responded and asked “Are you here?!” She said she was and that she brought food. When I walked to the lobby, she had food for an army (which was kind of intentional)! She and her husband Walt brought Chicken and Eggplant Parmesan for Sam and I (with salads and breadsticks) from Olive Garden. She also had three big things of soup, huge salads, breadsticks, and more for the staff. Those nurses were surprised when I told them that the food was for them! They were more than grateful.

Ella had two other special and important visitors on her first day – her brothers. I sent them a picture when she was born and told them they could come up after school. Dante’ was able to get the car and bring his brother to the hospital with him. I met them in the lobby because they weren’t sure where to go. When Dante’ saw me he yelled “Dad!” and ran to me. He and Dimitri were so excited to see their sister. On the way back to the room, they both asked if Sam was ok. Both boys had a chance to hold her.

boys with sister

I had to chuckle when she started to cry while Dimitri was holding her. I laughed because I remember that feeling! I was probably about his age, maybe older, when my Uncle Tom and Aunt Jane’s twins were born. I remember holding Sara and she started crying. I panicked! I didn’t know what to do! I know he had to be feeling exactly what I did, so I grabbed her from him. They stayed about an hour, but had to head home because it was a school night. Both have texted throughout the past couple days asking if she was ok and for updates. I am so excited to see how their relationship will grow!

Nod to the winner

On my Facebook page, I asked for guesses as to when the baby would be born. There were almost 200 guesses! Folks who guessed had to pick the date and give a weight in case of a tie. Congratulations to Christine Anderson who went to high school with me. She not only picked 2-10, but she was only off by an ounce! She guessed 7 pounds 8 ounces. She lives out of state, so I gotta find a way to buy her a coffee!

Tuesday

Day two included a bath, hearing test, and blood work. Visitors included Papa (Sam’s dad), cousin Matt, Uncle Jeff, and Aunt Stephanie. With her bath done, we decided to get her dressed and take a few pictures. Sam is a Pinterest junkie. She saw something on their that spawned an idea for a picture. Prior to our trip to the hospital, I stopped at the store and picked up what we needed. I absolutely love this picture.

cupcake

Speaking of pictures, both boys had pictures done at the hospital when they were born. They had yet to come and do them, so I asked about it. I was told that their photographer had quit and they had a new one starting at the end of the month. Well, this doesn’t help us! That’s when you improvise – I think this will be our birth announcement picture:

clean after bath

I had already started taking things out to the car and had the “going home” outfit (purchased by my co-workers) ready. It was then that we were told that the bilirubin levels were high and they wanted to keep us one more night. While we were anxious to get her home, we also knew we needed to stay to see if they were better the next day.

That evening was a rough one for both Sam and I. Neither one of us had really slept much. Sam was up and down all night breastfeeding. The baby was quite fussy that first night. At one point, I tried to sleep for a bit. ANY dad who has had to sleep on that awful, rock-hard, “couchy” thing can tell you how uncomfortable it is! I got a few minutes here and there, but nothing really worth anything.

After one particular wake up, I looked up to see my wife holding the baby. I watched her, and reflected on the past few days. This woman was simply amazing. She endured intense pain, emotional mood swings, and pushed out this little miracle all in a span of 72 hours! I also reflected on the 9 months prior. I remembered her telling me we were having a baby, our baby shower, the many nights where I put my hand on her belly to feel this miracle kick me, picking her name, our doctor’s appointments, building the baby’s room, and many other moments that brought happy tears. How do I even begin to explain how much I love this woman?! Well, I found a quote from Tina Brown, but am altering it a bit to make it fit:

“Having a baby is like falling in love again with your (wife) and child”

mom holding baby

I thought I loved her before! I thought I fell more and more in love with her each day! My love for both of them has increased a hundred times infinity!

Wednesday

We were anxious to go home. They did take some more blood to check the bilirubin levels and we waited. We also did another hearing test, because one of the ears did not pass the day before. While we waited, we held our baby and watched her cute facial expressions. All through the pregnancy, every time we did an ultrasound, her hand was by her face. It was no surprise that she continued to do this after she was born. I think she is trying to suck her thumb here…

thumb sucking

The blood work came back, and the bilirubin level was still a bit high. He told us we could go home, but we needed to see our pediatrician first thing the following day to check the levels again. I called and made the appointment and loaded up the car. We were all happy to be heading home.

headinghome

Ella’s first stop at home, was her room. Sam made sure she got to see it.

in crib

Sam and I continued to sleep poorly (Sam more than me, because she was breastfeeding throughout the night). We had to be up early to get to the pediatrician on Thursday. Because of my insurance, her doctor is 45 minutes away. The roads were awful thanks to snow, but we made it down on time. The doc did her examination and we went to the lab to have blood taken yet again.

We drove all the way home and as we pulled in the driveway, the doc called Sam. The levels came back twice as high as the should be, so she suggested we go to the ER. She’d need light therapy to bring those levels down. This time we had to take her an hour away because now she is on my insurance. We waited about 7 hours in the ER waiting for a room to open. While we waited, we watched as three nurses poked out little girl for blood unsuccessfully. That is one of those hard parent moments, let me tell you!

blue light

Happy to say that the numbers continue to fall, and hopefully we will be able to leave soon. Dig those rock star shades!

If all continues to progress in our favor, we can go home. Today, after a feeding, she opened her eyes and just stared into mine. Like the Grinch, my heart grew three sizes today!!

As I look at my sweet princess, I wonder. What will those eyes see in her lifetime? What will those ears hear in her lifetime? What experiences will she have? How will she do in school? What will she grow up to be? Will she be right or left handed? Who will she act more like – mommy or me? SO many unanswered questions! Excitement lies ahead! I can’t wait!

I love you, Ella, and will always be here to hold your hand!

Hand in hand

“I loved you from the very start. You stole my breath, embraced my heart. Our life together has just begun. You are a part of me, my little one.”

My princess’s story began 2-10-20 with “Once upon a time…..”